updated 11/2/2015 11:03:20 AM ET 2015-11-02T16:03:20

Date: October 30, 2015
Guest: Sen. Chris Murphy, David Catanese, Jay Newton-Small, Francesca
Chambers, David Catanese, Jay Newton-Small, Kathleen Jordan

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The United States sends soldiers to Syria.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Today, President
Obama announced the deployment of military advisers to the troubled warring
land of Syria. The question is why? What`s their mission? Is it one they
can possibly complete?

Is this a war we can reasonably expect to finish? Can we be sure our
role won`t grow? And what does this say about Barack Obama`s historic
position against U.S. military involvement in the Middle East?

NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel joins us from
Istanbul, Turkey. By the way, at the White House today, spokesman Josh
Earnest insisted the shift in strategy didn`t mean there would be a combat
mission in Syria.

Let`s watch that, Richard, first.


forces will be in Syria and they will be offering some training, some
advice and some assistance to moderate opposition forces that are fighting
ISIL in northern Syria right now.

These forces do not have a combat mission. In 2003, President Bush
ordered a large-scale, long-term combat operation in Iraq. That`s
something that Barack Obama, then a state senator from Illinois, spoke out
against. He disagreed with that decision. He does not believe that that`s
something that we should do again. So that is why our special operations
personnel inside of Syria have a very different mission.


MATTHEWS: Richard, everyone like me who grew up during Vietnam knows
the word "advisers" quickly becomes soldiers. Is this the case here?

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: These troops are going to be
involved in combat. They`re -- every military analyst I`ve spoken to
agrees with that. They`re going to be in harm`s way. People are going to
be looking for them and trying to kill them. They`re going to be going out
on missions.

Even Pentagon officials say that, yes, they will be advising, but they
could also be partnering on missions that other special operations forces,
other than the 50 that were announced today, will be going out and engaged
in unilateral direct action.

So to -- the idea that these troops are going to be in Syria,
partnered with a militia group that is fighting in very close quarters
against ISIS -- they will be armed. They will have air support above them.
I don`t know how that could be described as anything but combat.

The White House press secretary today was describing how it`s not like
Iraq in 2003. No, it`s not. There`s not going to be 100,000 troops in
tanks crossing a berm. But I don`t think anyone suggested that this is the
kind of war that it would be, that it was supposed to look like that.

But yes, these -- this small number of troops will be in situations
that I think anyone would describe as combat.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, NBC`s Richard Engel in Istanbul.

I`m joined right now by Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a member
of the Senate committee on Foreign Relations.

Senator, the messiness of that area is beyond imagination. We have
the army of President Assad. We`ve got the Russian air force over there.
We`ve got Hezbollah over there. We`ve got ISIL and all these -- how do we
avoid having our guys, mostly guys, get killed fighting an all-sides war?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: You know, there`s no white
knights there, and what we`ve already seen when we try to run this train-
and-equip program is that the so-called Syrian moderates really aren`t
interested in just fighting ISIL, right? They want U.S. help to able to
fight ISIL and to fight Assad.

And so this fine line that we`re trying to walk here, which is to put
special forces on the ground to only fight one set of bad guys, when
inevitably, we`re going to be asked to be drawn into the fight against
Assad, is impossible.

And of course, the very people we`re trying to help are deeply
intertwined with our mortal enemy, al Qaeda, or at least their affiliate
there. It`s really hard to understand, A, how we would stay out of a fight
against Assad, a war that we have not declared as a Congress, and how we
would stop from (ph) our help somehow benefiting the al Qaeda element
inside Syria.

MATTHEWS: Do we have a plan for destroying ISIL?

MURPHY: Well, I don`t think we have a plan for destroying ISIL today.

MATTHEWS: The president.

MURPHY: No, I think our objective today is to degrade them, to keep
them on their heels, to try to eliminate his inevitability of the growth of
the caliphate. You can do that with sustained air activity. You can do
that by continuing to stand up the Iraqi military to put pressure on them
inside that country.

Ultimately, I don`t know that 40 or 50 advisers are going to really
make a fundamental difference...


MATTHEWS: OK, what`s the goal then?

MURPHY: Well, so...

MATTHEWS: Why are we putting 40 or 50 advisers in, if it`s not for a
military mission?

MURPHY: Well, I mean, what you have seen is escalation after
escalation, that we put in a handful of 100 troops into Iraq. It wasn`t
enough. And so I think you simply have to imagine that this isn`t the last
announcement, that we`re going to start with 50, but that we`ll seen be at
another number. That certainly has been the pattern of activity thus far.

MATTHEWS: Yes. You know who said that? Jack Kennedy back in the
`60s on Vietnam. He said it`s like taking a drink. You have to take a
drink. Then the effect wears off, they tell you to have another drink.
It`s always more troops. Westmoreland finally -- over 200,000 troops after
Tet. There`s never enough once we get in there.

MURPHY: And listen, maybe this is a show of force to try to make a
play at the negotiation table to suggest to then Russians and to others
that we are serious, that if you don`t come to the table and negotiate,
that we have the stomach to actually put troops on the ground.

But that`s a real risky bet because if these negotiations don`t work,
then you are struck with a strategy that commits U.S. forces to the ground
in a civil war that ultimately could become a quagmire.

MATTHEWS: Well, one of your colleagues, Senator Tim Kaine, one of
your Democratic colleagues, by the way, on the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee had some very critical comments about the president`s foreign

He told reporters, "Many of the decisions they`ve made, I strongly
support. But we are kind of going from crisis to crisis. The president
has said his doctrine is `Don`t do stupid stuff.` That`s not a big enough
doctrine. By not doing stupid stuff, you`re often not doing stuff that is
stupid not to do." And while he said he supports much of what the
president is doing, he also said, "I don`t think the administration really
has a cohesive strategy in the Middle East." Do you agree with that?

MURPHY: Well, I think Tim`s point here is that Congress needs to be
at the table to help set this strategy. Listen, I think it`s difficult.
The facts on the ground change on a daily and weekly basis. So with the
Russians there, it`s hard to have a coherent, overwhelming strategy. You
have to change.

But Tim and I believe that Congress hasn`t authorized the war against
ISIL, and we certainly haven`t authorized a war against Assad.


MURPHY: So you`ve got to come to Congress.

MATTHEWS: Why -- you know, in World War II, we basically decided to
fight the Nazis, ally with the Soviets. You know, we didn`t like the
Soviets. Never did, never will. But we made a decision. We made a
decision to fight in Europe first, then in Asia. So we made a decision.

Why can`t we make a decision about dealing with Assad later? It`s
just another Ba`athist regime. We`ve been knocking off Ba`athist regimes
now for years. It hadn`t done us any good. We knocked them off in Iraq.
We knocked them off in Libya. We`re going after them in Syria.

Why do we do this de-Ba`athification deal? It`s such a neocon thing
to be doing. How did we get involved in it?

MURPHY: So I get the sense...

MATTHEWS: In other words, when are we going to decide who our real
enemy is? Is it ISIL or Assad?

MURPHY: Well, and I think that`s the issue here is that, you know,
what we`ve proven over the years is that we`re not real good at military
engagement, period, stop, in the Middle East. And we`re already fighting
ISIL inside Syria, inside Iraq, trying to stand up a new government in
Baghdad, trying to work with the Kurds and respond to a humanitarian
disaster. That`s hard enough to do in and over itself. You add to that a
ground combat mission against ISIL and maybe Assad, it`s just too cute by

MATTHEWS: Yes, well, thank you very much. Anyway, before you go,
Senator Lindsey Graham called the president`s strategy shift insufficient.
Let`s listen to that.


view, an incremental change, so it will not change the conditions on the
ground. In the eyes of the enemy, this is weakness. In the eyes of our
allies, this is unreliability. ISIL is not going to be intimidated by this


MATTHEWS: Well, he`s getting hit from both sides.

MURPHY: Yes, and listen, there`s no doubt that Republicans are going
to come after him on this. And it`s difficult. Listen, I think the
president has largely gotten it right. I think he is largely committed to
keeping U.S. forces off the grouped. And I`m going to hold him to his word
that this is about...

MATTHEWS: Do you still -- do you still count him among the dovish
side and against the hawkish side?

MURPHY: Yes, I think still he understands the lessons from the Iraq
war, and I think he understands that this is has to be a limited

I think he has gone too far here, but let`s hope that this is the last

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Well, today`s announcement was the second major policy shift on war
and peace the president has unveiled just this month. Two weeks ago, he
announced that more than 5,000 troops would remain in Afghanistan beyond
his presidency. For many, it`s a shift from what Obama said on the
campaign trail back in 2007 and `08. A major theme then was his promise to
end the war -- end the war -- in Iraq.


chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation. But I will only send
our troops into harm`s way with a clear mission.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against
al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office,
ending this war.

It is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will
bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank!


MATTHEWS: David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones"
and an MSNBC political analyst. David, this is a left-versus-white --
right fight. And it seems like the president has inched over onto the
right territory in terms of his position here. He`s more hawkish -- a bit

think what we`ve seen that the -- you know, the reality on the ground has
changed a bit, and he`s had a hard time sticking to those words. I mean,
Josh Earnest had a hard time today saying that these were not combat
troops. They`re not combat troops in the way that we tend to think of the
Iraq war, sending in a lot of combat troops, but they will be involved in
combat, as Richard Engel and others have said.

You know, talking to people in the White House today, they were very
clear to try to make this distinction that what`s happening in Syria with
ISIS now is a counterterrorism mission, not a big, grand neoconservative
scheme to use U.S. military might to achieve regime change. It`s not about
Assad, which is a more a western Syria matter. It`s about trying to get
the Kurds to fight better against ISIS in northern Syria.

Now, does that violate his promise? Does that cut back on what he`s,
you know, tended to say as a candidate? Probably to some degree. Maybe
it`s a little more justifiable because it`s not full-scale, and there was
no ISIS when he was running. There was no ISIS before the invasion of

So I think he`s been caught between his campaign promise, which was
very bold and stark and very clear, and a much foggier situation in that
part of the world.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Will a fresh focus on war and peace change how voters
feel view the 2016 race, especially when it comes to candidates like Ben
Carson and Donald Trump? Some of their answers to questions about foreign
policy have garnered, well, some criticism.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You believe that had President Bush simply
declared energy independence, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden.
How would they have gotten him out of the tribal areas of Afghanistan and

known where he was.

others. You have ISIS cutting off Christians` heads and others. They cut
off anybody head. They`re drowning them. They`re cutting off their heads.
We have to go in with force. We have to take the (INAUDIBLE)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Let me go back to Iran. You said, They will
do what I tell them. How do you make them do what you say?

TRUMP: They will know I`m not playing games.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Who do you talk to for
military advice right now?

TRUMP: Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great
-- you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you
have the generals and...


TRUMP: ... and you have certain people that...


MATTHEWS: You know, this begins to sound like Chancey (sic) Gardner
in "Being There." I mean, when I watch -- I like to watch. I mean, I --
that is Chancey Gardner in "Being There" -- I like to watch, you know,
these simplistic things of, They`ll know where I stand. Or you know, If we
tell them we`re going to be energy independent, then they`re going to find
this guy. According to the military experts (INAUDIBLE) nobody knew where
Osama bin Laden was being hidden.

CORN: Well, listen, they want to attack and criticize Barack Obama
whether he does a lot or whether he does a little. It doesn`t really
matter. They just want to play to their base, and that means go against

The one guy I give credit to is Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham has
said, I`ll send 10,000 troops in. So...

MATTHEWS: Yes, he`s a hawk.

CORN: ... you know, we can have a -- you can have an honest policy
debate, an honest policy discussion with Lindsey Graham.

But Donald Trump just saying, They`ll do what I tell them to do, Ben
Carson`s magical thinking? I mean, it`s incredible that they have any
credibility with any voters in any party.

But that`s because this is a really tough issue. And you know, the
senator was on a few months ago saying that Congress should be involved.
Congress should be involved. But often, Congress, especially John Boehner
and the House Republicans, have not wanted to be involved because they
don`t want to be on the hook for voting...



CORN: They don`t want to be on the hook.

MATTHEWS: I have to agree with you about Lindsey, at least
clinically. I`ll agree with you clinically.


MATTHEWS: He does show up in uniform, as a former military guy, and
he does say it`s going to take troops and he doesn`t do this abacadabra
thing -- I`m just going to -- presto, all our problems are going to go
away, like Trump and Dr. Carson talk.

And guess some people want to believe that`s the world out there, you

CORN: Well...

MATTHEWS: I guess they think that`s the way the world works, and it

CORN: Well...

MATTHEWS: Thank you, David Corn.


MATTHEWS: And have a happy Halloween.

CORN: You, too.

MATTHEWS: Coming up, the 2016 race and the Republican campaigns for
president are now rebelling against the Republican National Committee.
That`s their latest target. And that`s coming up here ahead.

Plus, Jeb Bush says he`s not demonizing Marco Rubio. But now that
Rubio`s got the hot hand, the Bush campaign is showing its lines of attack.
We`ll talk about that.

And a Halloween edition of "Tell me something I don`t know" tonight.
The HARDBALL roundtable tells us something that will scare the heck out of
you -- at least me.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the fact, as we celebrate Halloween,
that Donald Trump -- yes -- is still at the top of the heap and it is
coming into November.

This is HARDBALL, the pace for politics.


MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton has the backing now of half of Democrats in
a new on-line poll for NBC News. Clinton is up by 20 points over Bernie
Sanders now. It`s Clinton 50 nationwide, Sanders 30. Clinton`s up among
all groups, by the way, except those, you`ll notice (INAUDIBLE) aged 18 to
29. The voters -- also the voters who say they`re angry at the government.
These two factions go to Sanders.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the pitchforks are out on
the right after this week`s debate. RNC chair Reince Priebus has a revolt
on his hands. Politico was the first to report that, quote, "Republican
presidential campaigns are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on
Sunday evening to plot how to alter their party`s messy debate process and
how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee."
NBC News has confirmed this weekend`s meeting.

Well, Last night on Fox News, RNC writes assured the party that every
debate would be, quote, "reset."


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Here`s what I will tell everyone.
Everything is going to be reevaluated and reset. Every debate on the
calendar is going to be reevaluated, reset, look at the format, the
moderators, everything.

We have to take the bull by the horns here.


MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, meanwhile, the frustration with Priebus is
hitting fever pitch on conservative radio.


MARK LEVIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Enough is enough! And I say that
Reince Priebus should be fired over there at the Republican National
Committee! That guy`s an incompetent! He`s a boob! The RNC has thrown
these Republicans under the bus! He keeps serving them up, serving them up
to this idiocy!


MATTHEWS: With that as a backdrop, the RNC sent a letter to NBC News
today, citing what it called "gotcha" questions and a "petty and mean-
spirited tone" in the CNBC debate.

The RNC informed NBC News, quote, "We are suspending the partnership
with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of
Houston on February 26th, 2016." Well, in a statement, NBC News said,
quote, "This is a disappointing development. However, along with our
debate broadcast partners at Telemundo, we will work in good faith to
resolve this matter with the Republican Party."

By the way, Mr. Priebus first complained that CNBC handled the debate
poorly on Wednesday night, and CNBC responded with this statement.
"People who want to be the president of the United States should be able to
answer tough questions." Anyway, CNBC`s a sister network, just so
everybody knows, to MSNBC and NBC News, of course.

Anyway, NBC`s Chris Jansing is up in New York, and here in Washington,
The Huffington Post`s Howard Fineman. He`s also an MSNBC political

People -- thank you, Chris and Howard.

Let`s talk about this meeting. What do we know about the meeting,
Chris Jansing?

know that everybody has signed on to come, to send a representative.

They are going to get all these folks into a room on Sunday night.
And it is hard to imagine how this is all going to play out, because they
go in, of course, with competing expectations.

And if you`re a Carson or a Trump, you want to go in and say, how do I
keep my place on top of the polls? If you`re Lindsey Graham or Bobby
Jindal, how do I get more airtime? Does it benefit my candidate to have
longer, more open-ended answers or do we want to keep to a shorter format?

So, you already go in with these competing goals and expectations.
Having said that, the level of discontent against the RNC is so high. I
have talked to so many people in the different campaigns.

And I know that I`m told by organizers the RNC called them several
times last night, once this morning, wanting to make nice. And they said,
it`s a day late and a dollar short.

MATTHEWS: Well, here`s what the campaigns, at least some of them, are
saying they want.

First, Donald Trump, here`s what he wants.


QUESTION: Why can`t we get rid of the moderators and just have
debates without moderators?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you would think that
these -- I guarantee you, these moderators are not big Republican voters.
And I said that we`re having a Republican debate.

Maybe every moderator should show that they vote Republican, because
why should we have -- why should we have these people that hate everything
we stand for?




And here`s Ted Cruz`s debate demands.


primary debates ought to be moderated by people who would vote in a
primary. How about a debate moderated by Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and
Rush Limbaugh? Now, that would be a debate.


MATTHEWS: When RNC Chair Reince Priebus was asked about Cruz`s idea,
he said: "I think he`s right."

I mean, here we go. It`s interesting, Howard, that Reince Priebus
very aggressively, in a real show of strength actually, before we got into
this political season, said, I`m going to take control of this. We`re not
going to let these people out there run these debates, these journalists.
We are going to take control.

So, he`s going to pick who is and who is not. I think he especially
said no Chris Matthews, which is fine, the way he was setting this up. But
then you get into the somewhat ludicrous situation of people getting to
pick who they would like to ask them questions. And then the next level
would be, do they get to ask the questions themselves?

think there are two things going on here.

One, the nation that there is a nonpartisan, cover the waterfront, set
of journalists who can ask questions on behalf of the whole country is
under assault. Let`s face it. It is under assault. That`s not a good

The other development is that the political parties have less and less
actual power. One of the few things that they can try to do, that Reince
Priebus tried to do is get in the middle of this. And now the campaigns,
which have the real power, are saying get out of the way, we want to do it.

MATTHEWS: One of the reasons people like debates is because they
don`t know what the journalists are going to ask. The journalists have
their own quirky personalities and maybe points of view.

And it does make it interesting. You don`t want robots, like baseball
machines throwing balls at the batter and everybody asking them, what do
you think about the economy? What do you think about world events? What
do you think about culture? What kind of questions would those be?

Your thoughts.

JANSING: Yes, let`s use that sports analogy. Let`s just send
softballs over the plate all the time and let them hit a home run.

Look, as somebody who asks questions for a living, that`s what you
want. You want somebody to be surprised. You want someone to get a
question that sets them a little off their game. You want something
ideally that they haven`t sat in three days of debate preparation and
already rehearsed an answer to, because what do you learn with that?

MATTHEWS: That`s what we try to do. And, by the way, some of the
best questions that journalists have asked -- do you think Teddy Kennedy
wanted Roger Mudd to ask him, why are you running for president? It blew
him out of the saddle because he didn`t have a really coherent answer to
that because he hadn`t given it any thought.

But you know what? It isn`t the job of journalists to give the
softball just so you can hit home runs all night.

FINEMAN: No. And I would add that for the credibility of the
politicians, they may think it`s more pleasant and easier and efficient if
they get served up the easy questions.

MATTHEWS: They`re wrong.

FINEMAN: They`re totally wrong.

MATTHEWS: You know baseball. A pitch going 100 miles an hour goes
out of the stadium.

FINEMAN: It goes out the other way.


FINEMAN: It goes out faster.

And that`s what I think they are missing here. You want the tough
tone. You want the tough things if you want to be credible as a leader of
the United States. What do you think the world is like?

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s true.


MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at this new polling from NBC News. Ted
Cruz won this week`s debate, according to the people who watch these
things, which is a big audience, by the way; 24 percent of Republicans who
watched the debate picked Cruz as the winner, 20 percent picked Rubio, 17
percent picked Trump and 15 percent Carson.

Overall in this race, Trump and Carson remain at the top of the pack,
however. Each is at 26. Cruz has moved into third at 10. Rubio has 9
percent. And Jeb Bush is at 5.

You know what is interesting, Chris Jansing? And I always watch these
debates back in 2000, when Al Gore had his Goldilocks performance.
Everybody said he is going to win now. That`s when he walked up to W. and
really made a clown of himself.

They don`t change much. But the way to know who won a debate is not
to ask who won the debate. It`s, where do you stand after the debates?
And I have noticed that it hasn`t changed a lot of opinions so far, these
debates. They`re pretty solid.

JANSING: You could also make an argument, how much money have you

Marco Rubio`s folks are talking about how much money has come in just
since the debate. I was talking to Ben Carson`s campaign. They brought in
$2 million in two days after they got to the top of the last poll and then
were in the middle of this debate.

They do sometimes move the needle not just in terms of those numbers,
but in terms of the fund-raising numbers. Having said that, if I can go
back for a second to this meeting that they are going to have Sunday night,
so let`s say somehow they come to an agreement and they say this is what we
have all decided we want to do. This is the best way for us to have a

Then what do you put behind it? Where is the muscle? Do you say, if
you don`t agree to this, RNC and the networks, we`re going to do
unsanctioned debates? I can`t find anybody who thinks that is really going
to happen. So where does this go next?

MATTHEWS: I don`t know.

FINEMAN: Well, it`s a good question.

I think Donald Trump will probably offer an auditorium in one of his
hotels. We will begin there. Chris raises a very good point. Who is
going to organize it? Who is going to run it? Who is going to sanction
it? I`m skeptical they are going to come to any kind of agreement.

What they want to do is force Priebus, which they have done, to try to
be tough with the networks, which he is trying to be. I think in the end
there will be an agreement of some kind. I don`t know what it will be, but
the politicians need to be reminded that if they want to be covered as real
candidates covering real things, they have to let the press be independent
about it. Otherwise, they don`t have any credibility.


FINEMAN: They know -- viewers know, readers know, consumers of news
know when it is rigged and when it`s not.

MATTHEWS: Do you know the difference between a real book a vanity

FINEMAN: Yes, exactly.

MATTHEWS: If it`s a vanity edition, you will notice that there is no
publishing house that actually produced the book.


FINEMAN: And, ironically enough, the guy who complained the most at
the time about the way the debates were going is the one who won the
debate, Ted Cruz.


MATTHEWS: And the guy who lost the debate, everyone says Jeb Bush,
hasn`t complained at all, which is very strange.

Chris, last thought.

JANSING: I was just going to say, when you think historically about
some of the most memorable lines that come out of debates, they come out of
two things. One is either a really tough question or, one, somebody is
really quick on their feet and they have a really great comeback.

And those are things that make debates. And those are things that
really propel campaigns, not people who you know and like and who think the
same way you do sitting there and asking you about things that you have
prepped for.


Chris, it`s great having you on, Chris Jansing from the White House,
and Howard Fineman, such a great guy.

FINEMAN: Thank you.

JANSING: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Huffington Post.

Up next -- I remember where you work.

Jeb Bush swears he`s having fun running for president. Is this what
fun looks like? But his campaign is plotting attack lines right now.
Well, they`re trying to deal with Rubio. Let`s put it that way, as the
young senator from Florida rises in the eyes of Republicans and probably is
raising a lot more money.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback
that you`re now modeling after?


RUBIO: No Jeb, I don`t remember -- well, let me tell you, I don`t
remember you ever complaining about John McCain`s vote record. The only
reason why you`re doing it now is because we`re running for the same
position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help


MATTHEWS: Wow, was he well-prepared.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Marco Rubio has emerged now as the greatest establishment threat to
Jeb Bush. Bush hammered Rubio for his absentee voting record in the Senate
during Wednesday night`s debate. His most senior adviser, Sally Bradshaw,
that`s Bush`s, continued Jeb`s line of attack after Wednesday night`s
debate in the spin room.


some splainin` to do, as we say down South. I think, look, this is a tough
issue. You have to show up. You have to be engaged.

He respects Marco. He voted for Marco. He supported Marco. He just
believes you`re elected to represent people, you have to show up to vote.


MATTHEWS: And it was reported this week that senior members of the
Bush campaign huddled with top donors in Houston this Monday night to calm
fears about Jeb`s seemingly troubled campaign.

Well, yesterday, "U.S. news" exclusively obtained a 112-page blueprint
presented to Bush donors at that meeting. David Catanese of "U.S. News"
writes: "The document provides a rare behind-the-curtain look at the gritty
details of a campaign at a crucial inflection point."

Well, the new trove of details include internal polling numbers, vote
goals for Iowa, television ad strategy, and new dirt on his rival from
Florida, Marco Rubio.

Time for the HARDBALL roundtable.

Francesca Chambers is White House correspondent for "The Daily Mail."
David Catanese broke that story on Jeb`s campaign blueprint for "U.S.
News." And Jay Newton-Small is a correspondent for "TIME" magazine.

Let me go to you, David. You`re the hot hand now. I love stuff. You
found it. He was totally flat-footed in the debate. He hit him with his
Sunday punch. Rubio was ready for it and gave the peroration of the
century and put the guy down on the floor.

DAVID CATANESE, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Going into the debate, we
heard from Jeb`s campaign and advisers, we are going to see a new Jeb. He
is going to have more energy.

And there was nothing new. It shows you how tough it is to change the
guy on stage. And he missed a couple moments.

MATTHEWS: Why would telegraph the punch on the absentee record? Why
would he do that?

CATANESE: Well, even if you telegraph it, it just doesn`t resonate
with voters. Voters don`t care that these guys miss votes.

Fair or not, Rubio is right to say Obama did the same thing. McCain
did the same thing. And then Bush didn`t have a response to that. The way
Rubio -- Bush should have went at Rubio, in my opinion, is, what have you
accomplished? What have you done while you have been in the Senate?

And then you get to the immigration bill that he`s involved in, and
then that is Rubio`s weak point, I think, in a Republican primary. But
talking about voting, how many times they show up to vote, that is just not
a smart line of attack.

MATTHEWS: What do we know out of all of this? It seems to me that
the press keeps writing the death knell of Jeb Bush. And he`s not quite
dead yet.

love the fact that it is a 112-page memo, which is so Jeb Bush. It is like
this wonky, geeky, way over-researched, way...

MATTHEWS: Is he going to hit him with the book?


MATTHEWS: It`s really a heavy book. I`m going to hurt you with it.


NEWTON-SMALL: Yes. It is like such overkill, right? It`s like way -
- like just drown them in paper. And here`s all the reasons why.

MATTHEWS: It`s like one of these prosecutors that come out with a
112-count indictment.

Well, tell me about. It looks to me like Jeb doesn`t know how to talk
and Rubio does. It`s as simple as that. One guy can talk.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, "THE DAILY MAIL": It was a great night for Rubio.

He was prepared. He was -- absolutely right. He was prepared for
that attack. And he hit him back hard. He did a very good job at it. One
thing that struck me about the memo is they are spending so much time
hitting Rubio. But they did not spend as much time hitting John Kasich.

And from my perspective, what I would do if I were Jeb`s campaign is I
would be having three, four pages on John Kasich, who is the one who is
tied with him in New Hampshire. And Jeb has to win New Hampshire to stay
in this race.

CATANESE: They did have internal polling in the document too. Their
own polling in New Hampshire has Kasich tied with Bush.


NEWTON-SMALL: Which surprises me, because the public polling has
Kasich well behind both Rubio and Bush.

CATANESE: Right. Right. It`s funny. Bush`s polling has it tighter
than even...


MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s run through some of the things here. No
accomplishments. That`s one of the shots at Rubio. Right?

CATANESE: Yes. I think that`s the best shot that Bush could...


MATTHEWS: Tie to scandal-tarred -- scandal-tarred former congressman.



MATTHEWS: Who is that? Who is the...

CATANESE: David Rivera, a Florida congressman who Rubio went and
bought a house with. Then it went into foreclosure. It sort of ties into
his financial problems.

MATTHEWS: Closeness to Norman Braman. He is just a sugar daddy,
right? Is he a bad guy?


CATANESE: He is a billionaire auto dealer who...

MATTHEWS: Is that bad?

CATANESE: Well, he`s going to invest -- no. He is going to invest
$10 million in Rubio`s campaign.


MATTHEWS: OK. Here`s the shady one -- quote -- "Those who have
looked into Marco`s background in the past have been concerned with what
they have found."

That is forbidding.

CATANESE: That is the one that leaves it open-ended for people to
sort of wonder, what don`t we know about Marco yet? And they point -- I
talked to a Bush aide and they said...

MATTHEWS: That is innuendo.

CATANESE: It is innuendo.

And when they went -- when Rubio went through the 2012 vet to be
Romney`s running mate, his list of running mates, they found some stuff. I
think it leaves it open. And then now you have got stuff bouncing around
on the Internet, unsubstantiated about what it could be.

MATTHEWS: This is Nixonian, to put -- no, to put out the suggestion
there is something bad about this guy, but not having the nerve to put down
what it is, if there is anything.

CHAMBERS: Well, and the same thing on the night of the debate too,
Bush`s campaign manager, Danny Diaz, was sitting in the spin room, and I
also was in the spin room.

And I asked him about this, about the debate and the attacks that they
had on Rubio. And he tried to tell reporters, oh, it was just the dynamic
at the moment and tried to suggest that this wasn`t some planned thing.
And then you come out with this memo today and it shows that they have been
planning this the entire time.

MATTHEWS: Well, Marco Rubio`s super PAC released its memo of its own

They don`t even consider Jeb Bush to be a competitor anymore. Catch
this. The memo: "Said when you consider all angles, as we do, we believe
there are really only four candidates with a reasonable chance of becoming
the Republican nominee, Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump
and Senator Ted Cruz. And when you look on to the general election against
Hillary Clinton, we are convinced that Marco Rubio gives the GOP its best
chance to win. The Clinton machine itself openly acknowledges that Marco
is the candidate they most fear."

Here they are, Francesca, writing Jeb Bush out of the list of top
competitors. Is that just -- is that psy-war?

CHAMBERS: Well, he is not in the list of top competitors, if you`re
looking at the top three. He`s behind Rubio. You know, there`s Trump,
there`s Carson, there`s Cruz. He is tied with Carly, basically. He`s
barely in the top five.

MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s down to four, David? I think it is.

CATANESE: I don`t -- I think they are trying to suffocate Jeb. They
know he`s down. He has had a horrendous 10 days. And this is the way of
throwing more shade at him, saying, look, he`s not even in the same

MATTHEWS: There`s a new phrase, by the way, When did that phrase
start, throw more shade at somebody? When did we start talking like this?
Can`t we use standard English here, Jay?

NEWTON-SMALL: I don`t think you can count Bush out.

And I`m of the school where I think we have had candidates before,
John McCain in 2008, John Kerry in 2003, where they have lost campaign
managers. They have had multiple shakeups. They have had no money. And
they have recovered. And I think Bush has still got a ton of money. He`s
still got...

MATTHEWS: I agree with all that, except he doesn`t look like he`s


CHAMBERS: He doesn`t seem like he wants to win.

MATTHEWS: I saw Ted Kennedy back then. I mentioned it earlier
tonight on the show when he ran in `80 in the beginning of that campaign.
Now, he did turn it around and ran a decent race. But he didn`t seem to be
really wanting to be in the race. And he hadn`t thought it through.

Anyway, Poor Jeb.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. Up next on this Halloween
eve, these three try and scare me with something I don`t know. This has
got to scary, something I don`t know. It should be fun.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We`re here with a spooky Halloween edition of the HARDBALL roundtable,
Francesca, David and Jay, on this Halloween. This trio is going to try to
scary me with something I don`t know.

Anyway, Francesca.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: I don`t know if I`ll scare you.
I will try to make you laugh. So, I`m sure you heard this part already.

In Boulder, the candidates were a little bit upset about their
accommodations and they were upset that Carly had a Jacuzzi in her room and
everything like that.

MATTHEWS: How did they find out?

CHAMBERS: Rand Paul tweeted out pictures of what the greenrooms
looked like. And Carly`s had a Jacuzzi. And some people who are upset.

Well, I have since learned that she gave up in Jacuzzi room in the
peace-making deal. But they were so upset because Kasich had a basketball
goal in his room. But may I add that it`s because they were in a
gymnasium. The Boulder debate was at a gymnasium, at a sports center. But
there were some people upset because there was a basketball hoop in his
green room.

MATTHEWS: That was to really put his warren.

Anyway, David?

DAVID CATANESE, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: A delightful scare for you,
Chris. What about a possibility of a brokered GOP convention.

MATTHEWS: Please, that`s not a scare. That`s a promise. That`s what
I want.

CATANESE: Next week, an RNC member is going to push for a rule change
that would say that any candidate who gets any delegate is allowed to put
their name in for the nomination in Cleveland. This guy, is sort of a
rogue player. But he believes the primaries aren`t going to matter as
much, because they`re going to be divided up.

MATTHEWS: They`re proportional, yes.

CATANESE: It`s proportional allocation. So, he`s going to try to
push for it to be a floor vote.

MATTHEWS: Well, I think, maybe you would like a long, long, long
battle with three or four contestants in it. Rubio, Cruz, Trump, and, of
course, Dr. Carson. All four battling on for six months, ending up at a
convention where two or three of the other guys who lose can make demands
on the platform. And one might get on the ticket, one of the other ones.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME: That would be really fun.

MATTHEWS: It would be like the old days.

NEWTON-SMALL: I don`t know if you saw but Speaker Boehner has left.

MATTHEWS: Do we still call him Speaker Boehner?

NEWTON-SMALL: I don`t know. I think we still do call him Speaker

MATTHEWS: Johnny, we hardly knew you.

NEWTON-SMALL: He left today for Cincinnati. If you ever driving in
Cincinnati any time soon, one of his first plan is to buy a car. But he
hasn`t actually driven in almost a decade. So people on the road in
Cincinnati beware.


MATTHEWS: A new driver driving in the area.

Anyway, thank you so much for the roundtable tonight. Francesca
Chambers, David Catanese, congratulations, and Jay Newton-Small.

Coming up, from the segregated south to the West Wing, the story of
one political adviser`s rise from a childhood in Georgia, to serving as
chief of staff of President Jimmy Carter.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: One week from today, tune in for a special edition of
HARDBALL on November 6th. I`ll live from Winthrop University in South
Carolina, from 6:00 to 8:00, as we talk 2016 politics ahead of the first in
the South Democratic forum hosted by my colleague Rachel Maddow.

And I`ll be back again for more later that night with full analysis
and reaction to Rachel`s conversation with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders
and Martin O`Malley.

And we`ll be right back.



TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: Henry Kissinger, when he was in this
administration, is quoted as saying that power is the greatest aphrodisiac
in the world.

Do you agree with Henry Kissinger on that?

can say that I`m a fool enough to answer that question on national


MATTHEWS: We`re back.

And that was President Jimmy Carter`s chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan,
in an interview with Tom Brokaw back in 1978.

Well, known for his quick witted Southern charm, Jordan served as a
top aide to Jimmy Carter for 15 years. The fact that at the age of just
31, he was the one who devised the strategy that would put the little-known
Southern governor into the White House. Jordan was so young at the time of
his arrival in Washington that "Time" magazine dubbed him and his colleague
Jody Powell "The President`s Boys", comically exaggerating their Southern
roots on the cover there. You can see that.

But it was Jordan`s Georgia roots that instilled in him, a lot of
politics and a desire to work for social justice. When he died, by the
way, after a long battle with cancer back in 2008, Jordan left behind a
memoir about his upbringing entitled "A Boy of Georgia: Coming of Age in
the Segregated South." The book was completed by his daughter Kathleen

And Kathleen Jordan joins us right now.

You know, I`m a student of politics as everybody knows. There`s only
a couple of people who have ever figured out how to win the nomination of a
party from nowhere. One was Jim Rowe. Clark Clipper got credit for Harry
Truman getting elected. Bobby Kennedy did it for his brother. And
Hamilton Jordan did it for Jimmy Carter.

How in the world did they beat all those Democratic liberals?

Well, I think that they were political outsiders. They were looking at the
establishment. And looking at who was running. And they said, well, Jimmy
can beat these guys. So, they went to Jimmy and they told him he was able
to win.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I mean, you beat Scoop Jackson, George Wallace, Fritz
Mondale. All these amazing -- Udall. You beat every one of them.

JORDAN: And I think on the heels of Watergate, people were really
looking for outsiders, people outside the establishment. And from their
experience in Georgia politics, they were able to come in there and do that
with President Carter.

MATTHEWS: Well, you didn`t have a lot of time with your dad.


MATTHEWS: But did you get a sense of his charm? Because he
definitely had, I`ll tell you. The troops loved him.

JORDAN: He had an abundance, maybe an overabundance of charm. He had
a huge personality. And there are a lot of stories in the book where you
can really see his personality come through. His irreverence, his sense of

MATTHEWS: Well, he gave all the cowboys -- I call them cowboys in
races. They`re the kind of people who join campaigns with no hope of
getting some prestigious job in Washington, they don`t even want one. They
just love the excitement of running a presidential campaign.

And he had them loyal to him like -- I mean, a cowboy king. They were
so loyal to Ham -- Hamilton Jordan.

JORDAN: Well, he had a big heart, and he was just a people person.
He had this real keen social sense. And I think that`s what made him such
a political mastermind is that he really understood people.

MATTHEWS: How`d he put together the good old boy personality and the
enemy of segregation? Sometimes you think of the good old boys as happy
with the old deal. He wasn`t happy.

JORDAN: Not happy at all. That`s what this book is about. It`s
about his journey to slowly understand that almost every person that he
loved and respected in his life was on the wrong side of history when it
came to race. He -- one of his heroes was Senator Richard Russell. He was
interning for him.

MATTHEWS: Who was a seggy.

JORDAN: Absolutely. And that was a problem for my dad. He was
really -- this whole book is about his internal conflict and kind of --

MATTHEWS: So this flag meant something different to him.

JORDAN: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: The flag for the Confederacy.

JORDAN: Definitely. Well, I think -- you know, we struggled with
whether or not to put that on the cover but we ultimately decided that it`s
the perfect symbol for his journey because segregation is something that
was passed down from generation to generation and here it is, he`s holding
a flag, kind of blissfully unaware of its --

MATTHEWS: So I worked with your dad, under him as a speechwriter for
President Carter, with Jody, especially Jody. But those guys never got
over the civil war. Those guys looked at us as Northerners. We were
Yankees. We were suspect.

And that -- even though they were progressive on civil rights, they
definitely had an attitude about Northerners.

JORDAN: I think they just were banded together. I think it`s
something that made them kind of a family. And I think they needed a
family and a community when they really were outsiders. I mean, my dad
wore blue jeans in the Oval Office.

MATTHEWS: But they never understood there`s guys up north like me and
other people and friends of mine who really thought just like they did. We
were moderate liberals and we liked what they believed in too, you know?

JORDAN: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Back in those days. Thank you.

Your dad was great. This book is great. It`s a great story. I
always like Southern liberals. They weren`t complicated, like northern

JORDAN: We`re good people.

MATTHEWS: They`re just a lot less complicated.

Thank you very much, Kathleen Jordan.

JORDAN: Thank you so much for having me.

MATTHEWS: That`s the way you pronounce it. Not Jordan, it`s Jordan.
The book is "A Boy from Georgia: Coming of Age in the Segregated South".

When we return, by the way, let me finish with the fact as we
celebrate Halloween that Donald Trump is still at the top. Do you believe
it? In the latest poll today.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:

I`ve said for a while now that Donald Trump still leads the polls in
November, why do we not think he`ll be leading come February when the 2016
voting begins?

Well, happy Halloween. He`s still here. He`s still up there. I`d
say he`s got as good a chance as anyone to win the Republican nomination.

Sure, he`s got some company from Dr. Carson but the more we talk about
commanding the troops against ISIS, the less Dr. Carson will fit the
uniform of commander in chief.

There was something powerful, by the way, I`ve noticed about Trump.
Trump not only lives off the land, grabbing free attention based on the
latest news every day, he also adjusts to the environment around him.
You`ll notice how subdued he was at this week`s CNBC debate.

He`s realized that a candidate surrounded by nine other candidates
gets only about 10 percent of the time. So, there`s no sense in getting
frustrated and wounded up there. You take your time, you grab your shots,
you play your game. That`s what Cruz and Rubio did. It`s what Trump has
learned to do.

For his part, Dr. Carson didn`t need to learn to slow it down.
Patience is a weapon that fellow was born with.

So, here`s my bet. Thanksgiving will come, then Christmas, and then
the holidays. Before we know it New Year`s will be upon us and the eve of
the Iowa caucuses. And whatever happens in Iowa, Trump will head
gangbusters into New Hampshire. That`s where the real fight is coming
among all three major candidates, Trump, Carson, Rubio, and because of a
strong showing in Iowa, Cruz will still be there.

If Donald Trump has his stuff, he`ll fight this out until Cleveland.
If he has the stuff, he`ll either win the nomination or have to be OK with
who does. Either way he goes back to Gotham a winner.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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