updated 11/13/2015 9:41:27 AM ET 2015-11-13T14:41:27

Show: HARDBALL
Date: November 12, 2015
Guest: John Nichols, Stephanie Schriock, Stephanie Schriock, Susan Page,
Fredreka Schouten, David Catanese

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Big man on campus.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Manchester, New Hampshire, where
I`ll be speaking tonight at the 1st Amendment Awards.

"Let Me Start" with the growing political battle over free speech at
the University of Missouri, as well as other campuses. After a series of
racially charged incidents, protests at the school prompted the resignation
this Monday of the university president, Tim Wolfe. The move came amid
student charges that Wolfe had not addressed what many consider an
undercurrent of racism on campus.

Among the examples that "The Washington Post" detailed this week, the
student body president was called the "N" word in September, a black
student`s play rehearsal was interrupted by racial slurs, and a swastika
was drawn in a residence hall with feces.

Well, now the top Republican candidates are weighing in, attacking the
university for buckling to the protesters.

I`m joined by MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman, global editorial
director of the HuffingtonPost, and Jonathan Capehart, opinion cable writer
for "The Washington Post," as well as Joy Reid, national reporter for
MSNBC.

Let me start with you, Howard. I guess this was inevitable, but I
thought it was a little bit of a late hit, but here they come, led by
Donald Trump. This morning, Donald Trump blasted the school, the
University of Missouri, for the president`s resignation and took a hard
line on the protesters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your take on this whole Missouri story?
Protests...

(CROSSTALK)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it`s disgusting. I
think the two people that resigned are weak, ineffective people. I think
that when they resign, they set something in motion that`s going to be a
disaster for the next long period of time. They were weak, ineffective
people. How we hire people like this -- Trump should have been the
chancellor of that university. Believe me, there would have been no
resignation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s so unfortunate. It really is...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, tensions have remained high at the University of
Missouri, where campus police this week have asked students to report
incidents of hate speech. But last night on Fox News, Dr. Ben Carson said
that that sends the wrong message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: What they`re telling these students right now
on the Missouri campus is, if you hear speech that you find insulting, call
the cops! You are now supposed to call the campus cops if you hear
something offensive! What are we doing to tomorrow`s generation?

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we`re being a
little bit too tolerant, I guess you might say, accepting infantile
behavior. And I don`t care which side it comes from. You know, to say
that, I have the right to violate your civil rights because you`re
offending me, is un-American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, now the news has spurred a national debate over free
speech and how to balance it (INAUDIBLE) with the interests of a community,
like the school student body. What began at the University of Missouri
has, of course, also spread to other campuses in other states, including
Yale, where students were advised not to wear "offensive" -- that`s the
word -- "Halloween costumes last month.

Carson, who`s a Yale alum himself, said it`s all part of a dangerous
trend in the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARSON: We need to recognize that this is a very dangerous trend.
When we get to a point where a majority can say, I don`t like what you`re
doing. That is offensive, and therefore, I have a right to be violent
towards you or to deprive you of rights because I don`t like what you`re
doing -- you know, that really goes against the grain of our constitutional
rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Let`s go to you, Howard, first on this. You and I went
through the `60s. This is an issue of campus unrest. Ronald Reagan rode
at least to the governorship of California on this issue. Where does this
stand with you right now?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: Well, I think the points about free speech are important, but I
don`t think that`s really what`s on the minds of the Republican candidates
who are trying to make political hay out of this.

I think they`re going back to the `60s Republican playbook. First, to
attack the universities, bastions of secular elites -- you know, that goes
back to Bill Buckley. That goes to Richard Nixon. That goes to George
Wallace, et cetera, the "pointy-headed intellectuals."

It`s about traditional culture and a permissive society. We lived
through it, Chris, during the student turmoil in the `60s, the cry from the
right and from the Richard Nixons of the world was "law and order" because
the administrators in the role of parents had become permissive and they`d
allowed traditional culture in (ph) the family to disappear.

That`s part of it, too, as is race, I think. And I think it`s a
symbol, in a way, or the result of our progress in the sense that when Ben
Carson was at Yale in the early `70s, I dare say he didn`t expect to be
clasped to the bosom of Yale culture.

Well, it`s generations later now. A lot of kids come from diverse
high schools and backgrounds. They expect to feel at home where they go to
school, and they`re not feeling at home where they go to school. I know
that from reports from all over the country. And Mizzou, I think, given
the demographics of Missouri, ended up being an extreme example of that.

MATTHEWS: Wow. Let me go to Jonathan on this. When the -- when the
president of that school and the chancellor both dropped their positions --
they just gave up, basically -- what seemed to be missing was anybody, any
umpire, if you will, in sports terms, to say who was right and who was
wrong. It looked like just a question of the students joined by some
faculty putting pressure on the guy to jump. And it wasn`t like who`s
right and who`s wrong, it was who had the most power in the moment. Your
thoughts.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
Not just the student protesters and faculty, but don`t forget the football
team. And my contention has always been -- you know, student protesters
always call for the resignation of the president of the college or the dean
of the college, but it never happens. And in this case, it happened.

And there`s a story out -- I can`t remember where it is, but it talks
about all of the other things that had been roiling on that campus separate
and apart from race...

MATTHEWS: Right.

CAPEHART: ... such as a battle over Planned Parenthood, a battle over
cuts to graduate student benefits.

But that being said, it is clear that the students who were protesting
what was going on on campus at the University of Missouri had legitimate
complaints, legitimate concerns...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CAPEHART: ... where they felt like their own physical safety was at
risk.

When you`ve got some -- when you have someone who`s on a hunger strike
because they feel that the administration`s not listening, when you have
people who feel, I dare say, terrorized because someone puts a -- you know,
puts up a swastika in human excrement, there`s a culture on that campus...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CAPEHART: ... that people were pushing back against, and the
administration wasn`t doing enough to address it.

MATTHEWS: Well, Marco Rubio also jumped in. He questioned the
protests. Here`s what he said on the campaign trail today down in South
Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Freedom of speech on
campuses seems to be under assault in some of the supposedly finest
institutions in this country. In the case of Missouri, I`m still trying to
figure out exactly what it is that got the president fired. What exactly
did he do or say that was the reason why he should have resigned?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And in a campaign stop this morning, Chris Christie blamed
President Obama. Boy, that`s an interesting thing. "I think part of this
is a product," he said, "of the president`s own unwillingness and inability
to bring people together. When people think justice is not applied evenly
and fairly, they take matters into their hands. The lawlessness that the
president has allowed to exist in this country just absolutely strips
people of hope."

Well, I just -- Joy, I just consider that purely a partisan attack. I
don`t know how you tie the president into this, or the rainy weather or
anything else.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: My question to you is -- I think what Trump`s after here --
just try to -- I know you have your views on this because we all think
about this thing holistically. But it seems like Trump always goes after
weakness. He`s the macho man -- I`m the guy that`s going stand up to
Putin. These guys didn`t think they were wrong, the president and the
chancellor, they thought they were right.

So if they thought they were right, why did they buckle and quit? I
think that`s what Trump`s after. Your thoughts.

JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that tying -- just to
tie the Chris Christie piece and the Trump piece together -- first of all,
let`s remember that Donald Trump is the guy, when he was gadfly businessman
in New York and not a candidate for office, took out full-page ads in all
the newspapers in New York City calling for the five Central Park -- five
young men, young black and brown men accused of raping a jogger in Central
Park -- for them to be put to death. So that he thought that the justice
system in New York -- which was wrong about those five guys, they were all
innocent -- was also weak.

And I think what you`re seeing in the Christie comments and the
comments by Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and others, is playing out the tenets
on the right that, to Howard`s point, have been around a long time, but
that have been exacerbated by the election of Barack Obama, in which, in
particular, white working-class Americans of the right feel that they are
being marginalized, that their speech and liberty is being taken away from
them in Obama era, when political correctness and minorities, whether they
are racial minorities or sexual minorities, are forcing the culture in
their direction and not allowing the expression of white working-class
Americans, of conservative Americans and of Christians, and whether that`s
on gay marriage, in which they feel their speech is being curtailed because
they have to bake a cake, or whether it is on racial matters, where they
feel that Black Lives Matter is essentially bullying white America on
issues of race.

This is a constant theme, and it`s been a theme since Barack Obama
stepped on the racial third rail by saying that that police officer acted
"stupidly" in the case of Henry Louis Gates.

So I think that what you are seeing is the revival of just that `70s
era, Nixon era politics on the right, which is saying the left is bullying
us and is bullying white America, you know, in terms of our speech, and
Christian America in terms of our speech.

The interesting thing, of course...

MATTHEWS: Well...

REID: ... is that they`re able to get a multi-racial pantheon on
their side to repeat that, as well, in Ben Carson and Marco Rubio and Ted
Cruz.

MATTHEWS: Well, Howard, it seems to me that the knock is true, what
she just said, what Joy just said, because those are the forces at work
here in our society. But I would think Trump`s not attacking...

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: He may be attacking the voices of change and the voices of
protest. I think he`s really attacking the weak leadership, as he sees
it...

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: ... of our institutions starting at the top. Weak people.

FINEMAN: I think...

MATTHEWS: Weak knees!

FINEMAN: Yes, I think -- I think that`s right, Chris. I agree. I
think he`s going for -- I think he encompasses the other things we`ve been
talking about, and he gains power on the traditions that we`re talking
about of political -- you know, political attack from conservatives and
Republicans on issues like this.

But you`re right. I think at a time when people so distrust their
institutions and their leadership more particularly, weak leaders in
Congress, leaders you can`t trust in the White House, corporate executives
who make, you know, 300 times what the guy on the shop floor makes -- I
think you`re right, and I think Donald Trump -- his whole calling card is
this notion of almost superhuman strength. And don`t forget in that sound
bite that you -- that we just played, he referred to himself in the third
person. You know, If Trump is president...

MATTHEWS: Yes, like Caesar.

FINEMAN: Like Caesar. I mean, and I -- I...

MATTHEWS: Like Ceasar.

FINEMAN: I think that -- yes, I think that is his appeal and his
danger.

MATTHEWS: OK, you know, I just agree with Nick Kristof on another
angle in this. You know, whenever you go to a campus to give a speech, a
group complains about you coming to the campus, I said make sure you show
up. That`s when you have to show up, when some group opposes your being
there. You`ve got to accept the invitation of the institution and be proud
of what you have to say when you get there and be glad you got the
invitation.

And don`t let somebody cow you into thinking, Oh, I don`t want to
cause any trouble. That`s not the way to proceed in a free society.

FINEMAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: The way to proceed in a free society is to utilize and
exploit your 1st Amendment rights.

Thank you, Howard Fineman -- that`s my little speech...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Jonathan Capehart -- it sounded a little too holy, but...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Joy Reid, thank you.

CAPEHART: And I`d agree with you, Chris.

FINEMAN: Me, too. Me, too.

REID: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Coming up, Hillary Clinton meets Bernie Sanders and Martin
O`Malley this weekend for the second Democratic debate. Clinton, though,
is pulling away in the polls, have you noticed? Can Bernie Sanders regain
his momentum and make this a real race? To make that happen, he`s got to
win New Hampshire, where I`m at. We all agree on that. I think he does,
too.

Plus, Donald Trump has rolled the Republican -- roiled the Republican
party with his talk of deporting 11 million illegal immigrants. Such talk
works on the right, but could it be deadly to the party come next November
next year?

And former Reagan speech writer and top columnist Peggy Noonan is here
to talk about her new book, "The Time of Our Lives."

"Let Me Finish" tonight with the power of this great, gritty, flinty
"Live free or die" state of New Hampshire.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)


MATTHEWS: A new McClatchy/Marist poll has some revealing new numbers
on what Americans think matters when it comes to presidential candidate
traits. 44 percent of registered voters say they would definitely not vote
for a candidate with no government experience, 19 percent say they would,
while 36 percent say they could vote for that person but with reservations.

Meanwhile, half of the voters, 50 percent, say they would definitely
not vote for a socialist, 29 percent say they would do so with
reservations, 18 percent say they definitely would not (sic) vote for a
socialist. That`s pretty low, actually.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. While the insurgency on the
right continues to dominate the race, thanks to Donald Trump and Ben
Carson, we`re seeing a strange thing happening on the left. Their outsider
candidate, Bernie Sanders, is falling behind. A new national poll today
from CBS and "The New York Times" has Hillary Clinton now with a 19-point
lead over Sanders nationally.

The polling here in New Hampshire tells you everything you need to
know about how that happened, about the state of the race. Eight weeks
ago, Senator Sanders held a double-digit lead here in the polling -- in the
averages of the polling, actually. It was Sanders 45, Clinton just 32.

Well, Bernie`s support hasn`t fallen here in New Hampshire since then,
but his lead has evaporated because Clinton is surging. They`re now tied
in the mid-40s. She`s surging out in Iowa, too. Sanders was neck and neck
with Clinton back in September. Now she`s got a 24-point lead in the
polling averages there.

So has Bernie burned out? How does he take on -- how does it manage
to be an insurgent now against Hillary Clinton? Can he re-surge? How does
he win here in New Hampshire, where he has to win?

Stephanie Schriock is the president of Emily`s List, which has
endorsed Hillary Clinton, and John Nichols (ph) is the national affairs
correspondent with "The Nation."

I want to start with John Nichols because I`m trying to think -- "The
Nation`s" a pretty liberal magazine, and I`m trying to figure out if
there`s still hope that this is going to be a two-person race from you and
your readers and editors. Your thoughts, John.

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Well, I do think there`s still hope that
it`ll be a two-person race. And you know, look, the fact of the matter is
that Bernie Sanders and Martin O`Malley got into a very tough race at the
start. They got into a race with a real front-runner who had strong
organization, great name recognition.

Hillary Clinton had a rough late summer and early fall, and then she
hit her mark. There`s no question of that.

To my view, what Sanders has to be thinking about, and I think also
O`Malley, is how do they distinguish themselves in this race? If it`s just
attacking Clinton, that`s not going to, in my sense, get them very far
because Clinton is attacked so much from the right, and I think there`s a
natural sense...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

NICHOLS: ... that that doesn`t work and it shouldn`t work. And so
for both of them, it really is an issue-based drive. They have to
distinguish themselves on a couple of issue.

And then also, one final thing, Chris, I`ll put in the mix. We do
have to understand that despite the fact that things have sped up so much,
it is still relatively early in this process. Remember, Eugene McCarthy
didn`t announce his candidacy in 1967 until November 30th.

MATTHEWS: Yes, in fact, he was still down about 10 percent in the
early part of `68.

Anyway, Senator Sanders recently told "The Boston Globe," quote, "that
I disagree with Hillary Clinton on virtually everything." Perhaps it`s
wishful thinking because Hillary Clinton has orchestrated a full-scale
invasion of Sanders`s left flank on issues ranging from trade to the
environment, the economy and foreign policy.

On the big issue of trade, she recently came out against the massive
TPP trade deal. On the environment, she came out against Keystone
pipeline. And on the economy, she now favors a tougher crackdown on Wall
Street, hedge funds and big banks. And she`s recasting her hawkish image.
She says she`s no more aggressive overseas, or will be no more aggressive,
than President Obama.

Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Is it fair for people
to expect that you would be a more aggressive commander in chief than
President Obama has been?

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. And here is
why.

I want us to use diplomacy, which is why I spent 18 months putting
together the sanctions against Iran, so that we could force them to the
negotiating table to try to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon and
end the talk of bombing them and going to war against them, but instead
using diplomacy.

So that is how I will approach these issues. However, I will not -- I
think it`s irresponsible to rule out force. I just will not do that. But
it should always be the last resort, not the first choice.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Stephanie on this.

Stephanie, it seems like Hillary Clinton has said fairly recently that
she is a political moderate, a moderate Democrat. At the same time, Bernie
Sanders keeps trying to draw distinctions from her, and she is not letting
him draw those distinctions.

Explain to the voter out there watching right now, what is the
differential in terms of policy between Hillary Clinton, a moderate, a
self-described moderate, and Bernie, a self-described socialist, a
Democratic socialist?

STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, PRESIDENT, EMILY`S LIST: Well, I think Hillary
Clinton said it the best during the debate that she completely excelled at,
which is, she is a progressive who knows how to get things done.

She can get it done. And she has laid out a whole series of policies
that the voters are really, as they are tuning in, as we get a little bit
closer, really recognize are the right direction to go for this country and
why we`re seeing great momentum going into this next debate and heading
into the weeks and the months to come.

MATTHEWS: Do you think Bernie Sanders made a mistake, Stephanie, when
he basically threw in the towel on the issue of the e-mails? Now, we don`t
know how that whole investigation from the FBI is going to go.

And they could -- the partisan committee that is looking at it. But
for Bernie Sanders, as a partisan, as a guy who is running for office, a
rival for the presidential nomination, to just throw that away and say, I
don`t want to hear anymore about the damned e-mails, do you think that
helped Bernie or helped Hillary?

SCHRIOCK: Well, I think nobody wants to hear about the e-mails
anymore.

What have seen is thousands and thousands of pages that have been
looked through. We saw -- we saw Hillary Clinton sit and deal with the
committee for 11 hours and the momentum shift, because what we saw was a
true leader who has done nothing wrong.

And we are done just debating this. I think the mistake Bernie
Sanders has made is going negative at all. When you`re an insurgent
candidate who is supposed to be different than all the politicians before
and then you make a political move like this, you start seeing some
faltering.

And I think that actually may be the problem now. It will be
interesting to see what happens on Saturday night.

MATTHEWS: It will be, but let me ask you about -- let me ask John
about that, because Stephanie said that Bernie has been negative. He has
been lately in a kind of a glancing way.

But to throw away the issue that was being used by Hillary Clinton by
others, certainly not by people to her left, but by others, struck me as an
odd sort of jumping over the tennis net and saying I`m going to make sure
you win this game. It didn`t seem like the action of a competitor, more
like the action of a protest candidate who would rather run on the issues
than win.

NICHOLS: Well, I don`t think that Sanders thinks of himself as a
protest candidate.

But I do think that what he did there was very different from what we
see a lot of in politics. And here`s the bottom line with Bernie Sanders.
He has said again and again he doesn`t like that. He doesn`t like the
personal back and forth. And it has been a signal from the start of his
campaign that he was not going to do it.

My sense is there was a certain wisdom in it, because the fact of the
matter is, had he gone on a major attack, had he made that central to his
campaign...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes, but, no, don`t set up a straw man, John.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: John, I`m smarter than you on that one. Don`t try to set
up a straw man here. Nobody is saying he should have gone on the attack.
He gratuitously went out there and said, let`s hear no more about these
damned e-mails. That was gratuitous.

That as not like, I don`t like -- it`s not like I`m not going to slam
you. Nobody thought he would. Why do you think he took it off the table,
and the took it off?

NICHOLS: I think that it was in the moment. And I think he
genuinely...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Because he`s been sliding in the polls ever since.

Thank you so much, Stephanie Schriock. And thank you, John Nichols,
from "The Nation."

Up next, do Republicans want to widen the net or shrink it? The anti-
immigrant rhetoric of late is gaining force, thanks to Donald Trump, but
will it hurt GOP chances next November? That is next year?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

When it comes to immigration, is Donald Trump leading his party with
his talk of rounding up and deporting millions of immigrants here
illegally? Is he the leader? Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Can you just send five million
people back with no effect on the economy?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You are going to have to
bring people -- you are going to have to send people out. Look, we`re a
country...

BARTIROMO: So what will you do?

TRUMP: Maria, we`re a country of laws. We either have a country or
we don`t have a country.

QUESTION: You have said that your deportation plan would be humane.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Totally humane.

QUESTION: ... 11 million undocumented immigrants.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: But, Katie (ph), it will be very, very humanely done.

QUESTION: Are you going to have a massive deportation force?

TRUMP: You are going to have a deportation force. And you`re going
to do it humanely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: A deportation force.

Well, last night, FOX News host Bill O`Reilly challenged Trump for
comparing his proposal to the actions to President Eisenhower, who deported
hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR")

BILL O`REILLY, HOST, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR": But believe me when I
tell you, Mr. Trump, that was brutal, what they did to those people, to
kick them back. The stuff they did was really brutal. It could never
happen today.

TRUMP: Well, I have heard it both ways. I have heard good reports.
I have heard bad reports.

O`REILLY: No, no. You know me.

TRUMP: We would do it in a very humane way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump`s rhetoric has ignited a civil war, if you
will, in the Republican Party. Jeb Bush and John Kasich have warned the
party that it will lose if they follow his lead.

Meanwhile, today, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul slammed Marco Rubio who once
backed immigration reform efforts in the Senate that included a path to
citizenship. Rubio hit back at Cruz for his own history on the issue.
Cruz supported giving legal status, though not citizenship, to some of the
undocumented workers in the country.

And all this hard-line talk on electability -- an electability time
bomb may be at work here against the Republican Party.

I`m joined tonight by our roundtable, the HARDBALL roundtable.

Susan Page is Washington bureau chief for "USA Today." David Catanese
is the senior politics writer for "U.S. News and World Report." And
Fredreka Schouten is a reporter for "Today" -- "USA Today," I should say.

In order, but as I have introduced you, Susan, go at this.

Is Trump basically setting up what the Republicans are going to look
like next year? Are his words going to be the words that the Democrats use
to say this is the Republican position; we`re sending you back to Mexico or
wherever?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": You know, we heard
Jeb Bush say that they were high-fiving themselves in the Clinton campaign
during the debate that they just had when they talked about immigration.

And I think that is right. This is going to create huge problems for
whoever the Republican nominee is, because we know that Hispanic voters are
the fastest rising group of American voters. And it`s such a message to
the Hispanic voters to say you`re going to deport 11 million illegal
immigrants.

And you know it`s true that even you see other candidates who in the
past who have taken more moderate positions like Ted Cruz now piling on to
go to the right on immigration and take a very hard line. That is going to
work perhaps in a Republican primary. It is going to be a tougher sell in
a general election.

DAVID CATANESE, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": But Tuesday`s debate in
that sense was very useful because it crystallized this debate.

You have got Trump and Cruz taking the hard-line position on this, the
governors, Bush, Kasich, on the other side. And, frankly, if you go back
and look at the tape, Rubio didn`t intervene in that debate, meaning he
wants to straddle this and have it in the middle. And now he is feeling
that today, given what Cruz is doing.

And now they`re in the middle of it. But, frankly, I think it was a
very helpful debate, because the party is divided on this. You have got
multiple candidates on each side of it.

MATTHEWS: Well, today, Cruz threw a not-so-subtle jab at Marco Rubio
on immigration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Chuck Schumer and
Barack Obama joined with establishment Republicans in pushing the massive
amnesty plan, the gang of eight bill, I joined side by side with Senator
Jeff Sessions. We led the fight to defeat amnesty.

If the Republican Party nominates a candidate who supports amnesty
along with Hillary Clinton, we will lose the general election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, later in the day, Laura Ingraham questioned Cruz
about Rubio`s past immigration support.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Refresh our memory about the
enforcement amendments that were offered and summarily defeated. One, I
think you proposed. Another, Jeff Sessions proposed. Did Marco Rubio
support any of those amendments?

CRUZ: He opposed every single one of them.

INGRAHAM: He basically is saying now that he has heard the concerns
and the people are not where their thinking was. I guess that is what he
is saying.

CRUZ: You know, look, it`s not like people were quiet in sharing
their concerns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Rand Paul also bashed Rubio today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What have I objected
to with Marco is that he has blocked all conservative ideas. There was
basically a secret deal between Marco and Chuck Schumer to exclude all
conservative amendments on the immigration bill.

When Marco got together and made a secret deal with Chuck Schumer to
block all amendments, I knew really the fix was in, that he was not going
to allow any conservative immigration reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Fredreka, it seems to be the loud impressive voices are
coming from the right on this and not from those who talk practicality in
terms of the elections next year.

FREDREKA SCHOUTEN, "USA TODAY": No, certainly, that is the case.

I mean, you have Jeb Bush, you have John Kasich saying, please, we
need to be more compassionate, trying to offer this compassionate
conservative message. And they`re just being drowned out.

It is a race right now among Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio to
say who is more conservative. And part of this, of course, is the rhetoric
of Donald Trump that seems to be succeeding. Donald Trump talked about a
military-style deportation in the -- like Eisenhower during the debate.
And he is pushing that message and people seem to be trying to chase behind
them and be even firmer on the question of illegal immigration and trying
to appeal to this very conservative Republican electorate.

MATTHEWS: Let me to go Susan.

Susan, my problem is that you do know where Trump stands. Whether
it`s emblematic or it`s P.R., whatever it is, B.S., he talks about sending
everybody home to the countries below our southern border. At least you
know what he is saying.

I have no idea what Bush stands, where he stands on immigration, or
where Kasich stands. All I know is they`re tut-tutting what they consider
to be the horrible idea of -- and many people -- the ideas of Trump. But
they don`t have a position. I don`t think the Republican Party has the
cojones right now, to use a Spanish term, to come out and say you know what
we`re for? We`re for some stopping of illegal hiring, but we`re not for
sending everybody home.

We`re going to stop the guy coming across the border tomorrow night.
We`re not -- we`re just going to regulate our immigration like every other
country. But they don`t say it. And I think that is why Trump is heard
and they are not. Your thoughts?

PAGE: Yes, well, I think that`s right. Trump is being very clear and
of course he`s touching a chord that resonates with a lot of Americans.

Of course we`re a nation of laws and of course we need to have control
of our borders. The fact that he doesn`t -- talk about people who don`t
have plans. Jeb Bush may not have a specific plan, but Donald Trump
doesn`t actually have an articulated plan on how he would go about
deporting 11 million people.

You see it. He said it would be compassionate, it would be humane.
He said there would good management techniques. Well, we will see how that
works.

MATTHEWS: The roundtable is staying with us, however.

And up next, these three are going to tell us things we don`t know.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.

Forty-three people are dead and 239 people are wounded after a pair of
suicide blasts in Beirut. ISIS has reportedly claimed responsibility for
those bombings.

A major offensive against ISIS is under way in Iraq. U.S. airstrikes
are supporting Kurdish fighters in an effort to retake the town of Sinjar
and cut off a key supply line.

And Defense Secretary Ash Carter has removed his top military
assistant over allegations over misconduct. The matter is being
investigated by the Defense Department`s inspector general -- back to
HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We`re back with the roundtable, Susan, David and Fredreka.

In that order, starting with Susan, tell me something I don`t know.

PAGE: Well, you know, there has been a debate within the ranks of the
Bernie Sanders campaign about whether he needs to do the kind of speech
about being a Democratic socialist that Barack Obama had to do about race
and his minister Jeremiah Wright, or that John Kennedy had to do back in
1960 about being a Catholic.

Here is some -- something has come out in the last 24 hours that is
increasing the odds that he will feel he has to give that speech. It is a
poll by Marist that shows that 50 percent of Americans say they definitely
wouldn`t vote for a socialist. Only 39 percent of liberal Democrats say
they would be willing to consider voting for a socialist.

This is an issue that increasingly looks like Bernie Sanders is going
to need to address.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Finally. I thought that would have came earlier.

CATANESE: Chris, don`t expect...

MATTHEWS: David, go ahead.

CATANESE: Don`t expect any of the campaigns, besides Donald Trump, to
go after Ben Carson.

I spoke to people in Rubio`s and Cruz`s campaigns this week, and they
see themselves as the primary rival. They are fighting for that number
three slot. They know Carson has the highest approval and favorability
ratings in the Republican Party. And that`s a risk. So, they said they
will worry about taking him on later.

MATTHEWS: Fredreka?

FREDREKA SCHOUTEN, USA TODAY: And Chris -- this week there will be a
bunch of Latinos, I mean, several hundred going to a test prep class in Las
Vegas in Spanish to pass a driver`s license exam. Some of them are
undocumented.

Now, the folks who are sponsoring this are not some union or some
liberal group. It is Libre Initiative, one of the organizations that is
part of the large Koch Network, funded by Charles Koch and his brother,
David, and other donors. And they are trying to reach out increasingly to
Latinos. They`re giving out turkeys in Miami for Thanksgiving. They do
English language courses in Arizona. It`s all part of spreading the free
market message and getting Latinos to look at Republicans.

So this is very relevant to this debate that we`re having about
immigration and the efforts of some conservatives to try to make inroads
with this audience.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, my round table tonight, Susan Page, David
Catanese, and Fredreka Schouten.

Up next, top columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan is
going to be here.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Home state Senator Ted Cruz is tied with Donald Trump in a
new poll of Texas Republicans. Cruz and Trump are topped with 27 percent
apiece. Ben Carson is 13, Marco Rubio again at 9.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is on top with 61 percent of
Democrats backing her in Texas. Bernie Sanders gets a surprising 30
percent down there.

Texas holds its primary on Super Tuesday March 1st.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: The crew of the space shuttle
Challenger honored us for the manner in which they lived their lives. We
will never forget the last time we saw them as they prepared for their
journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch
the face of God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We`re back.

That was Ronald Reagan, of course, delivering one of his most famous
speeches, the Challenger speech. It was written by one of his speech
writers, and a brilliant wordsmith herself.

Peggy Noonan joins us right now. She has released her ninth book
called "The Time of Our Lives". It`s a collection of her writings spanning
more than 30 years, including columns she`s written for "The Wall Street
Journal", where she still writes today. The trove of writings is a story
about America, its changing culture and the importance of political
leadership.

Author and columnist Peggy Noonan joins us right now.

Peggy, whether you know it or not, every Saturday morning, I rushed to
the paper, I pick up my three papers, "The Washington Post", "The New York
Times", and "The Wall Street Journal", and I read your newspaper first so
that I get to the back of the A section to you. And together with the
review section of "The Wall Street Journal" on Saturday, I think it`s the
best paper of the week.

Now, how did you go wrong?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Just kidding.

You are a great conservative writer and most of the time I do agree
with your sentiment about our country, I think we share a very strong
sentiment. I think where I disagree with you when I think you`re partisan.

How do you as a journalist, and you are a journalist, deal with the
fact of fact as opposed to opinion? I think columnists, not bloggers, not
advocates, not flacks, but columnists are also journalists. How do you put
it together, fact and your personal beliefs and opinions?

PEGGY NOONAN, WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST: My thought is never hide
your philosophy. Never hide where you`re coming from. Throw the ball
straight as you can. Marshal your facts as well as you can to make the
case you want to make. It`s sort of that simple.

I learned it from guys like Bill Sapphire, who was a great friend of
yours, I think. And also of Robert Bartley.

MATTHEWS: How do you separate opinion columning from propaganda?
From just say -- something dished out by one of the two party committees,
the DNC or the RNC. How do you separate that from flackery?

NOONAN: I never even think about that to tell you the truth. My way
of operating is to consider myself a conservative. That doesn`t mean I
represent, speak for, defend, or have a benign attitude towards the
Republican Party. It doesn`t even mean I`m always in disagreement with the
Democratic Party.

To write an opinion column is to simply share your thoughts and your
views, but not somebody else`s, not some institutions. I don`t write as
the voice of "The Wall Street Journal." I don`t write as the voice of any
party or faction.

You know, it`s just coming from me. You used to write a column.
Didn`t you feel that way?

MATTHEWS: Yes, and I think you`re right on that point. Somebody once
told me that when somebody from the Republican presidential administration
complains about what you write, and that happens, you say, "I`m not working
for you or with you, I happen to agree with you most of the time. Get it?"

I don`t think they always do get it.

NOONAN: They don`t.

MATTHEWS: You`re not on the team.

NOONAN: They don`t and it is always startling to people when you`re
not on the team. Your own side, the conservatives who are largely
Republican, mostly Republican expect you to be a loyalist. On the other
side, on the Democratic side, they just assume you are a loyalist.

MATTHEWS: That`s right. Remember, you wrote on your book here, there
are liberal columnists who see no enemies on the left, and conservative
columnists with no enemies to the right. What do you think of those
columnists?

NOONAN: Look, you can wind up in the business I am in and the
business you were in when you were a columnist, as someone who feels
they`re writing for a group or an institution, or maybe even as the voice
of a newspaper. I never feel that way.

I am writing myself. I am only good to the extent that I am telling
you what I think I see. And it`s got to be unvarnished. It`s got to be
what I think I really see. And the reasons I think I really see it.

I`m not in love with this sense of, you got to be on team red or team
blue. That`s OK with me if you are a member of the RNC or the DNC, that`s
fine, that`s your job. But it`s not my job.

MATTHEWS: I got to ask you a question, as I trust your thinking and I
love reading your stuff every week, and I -- and since you`re to the right
of me, I want to ask you about Donald Trump. Because I think, like the
monkey that typed "Merry Christmas", he caught on to something and didn`t
even know he was on it. I think there`s a sense of -- among poor white
men, if you will, but also a lot of people, generally, there`s a sense of
lost the valuing of our citizenship.

It comes in a way in which we talk about immigration. We tried to be
nice by using phrases like undocumented worker and things like that. But
somewhere in that conversation, which is intended to be euphemistic and
nice to people who`ve come here, there`s a sense of the American people who
have been born here, they get this sense of, I don`t think they get it,
people who talk like this. Being an American is the greatest thing in the
world and I was born one, you get it?

I once worked with a Capitol Hill cop who said to me, you know why
little men loves this country, because he`s always got it.

I think somewhere in the way Trump talks about it, even as crassly as
he does, as he talks about trade as crassly as he does, even about foreign
policy and our involvements in the Middle East, I think he`s on to
something, but maybe lucky for the country, he doesn`t know it. What do
you think? Nationalism, patriotism?

NOONAN: I thought -- I thought from the moment he announced, I
watched his announcement speech, from the moment he announced and said,
"I`m going to build a wall," I thought, whoa, this is going to be big. He
has hit a throbbing nerve in American life, and it is in large part about
this sense that America is a sovereign nation, it is our country, does it
have a right to control its borders? Does it have a right to decide who
its new citizens will be?

Well, most people will tell you, yes, we have borders for a reason,
and yes, we have a right to decide.

So they don`t like this stuff. Among conservatives and also with some
folks on the left, there`s this large, abstract sense of globalism and open
borders, and the inevitability of migrations, et cetera. But regular
people living regular lives, they are seeing it much more fundamentally and
basically. Does America have rights? Then let`s protect them.

MATTHEWS: Yes, as he put it, again, I don`t know how he leaps upon
this, because he`s crass in so many ways. He says, either we have a
country or we don`t. I think all politicians should say that, left, right,
and center. I think it`s vital.

Anyway, Peggy Noonan, again, your book -- I love the whole notion,
"The Time of Our Lives". We do live in our time and our time connects with
us especially if we`re trying to write about it.

Peggy Noonan, good luck with the book. Margaret Noonan, that`s her
real name. "The Time of Our Lives."

When we return, let me finish of this great gritty flinty, leave free
or die state of New Hampshire, where I am right now.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the power of New Hampshire.
This great, gritty, flinty live free or die state up here in New England.

Well, first of all, get used to it. This state where I`m speaking
tonight has been calling the shots politically from the time most of you
were born and certainly since you began paying attention.

Back in 1952, New Hampshire Republican voters basically kicked out the
old Republican establishment and made General Dwight Eisenhower president.
They voted for the man who lead the Normandy invasion and chased Hitler
across Western Europe and receive the Nazi surrender. They did it even
though he was still in Paris as his post as supreme commander of NATO.

In 1964, forced to choose between conservative Barry Goldwater and
liberal Nelson Rockefeller, it picked Henry Cabot Lodge. New Hampshire was
warning the country and the Republican Party what was to come that year, a
colossal defeat at the hands of President Lyndon Johnson.

Four years later, New Hampshire Democrats dumped Lyndon Johnson by
giving Eugene McCarthy 47 percent of the vote, they cast a decisive vote
against the Vietnam War. In 1980, they made Ronald Reagan president,
telling George Herbert Walker Bush that he would have to wait his turn.

Well, in the year 2000, they chose John McCain over George W. Bush, a
decision the country should have made. It was another early warning in a
state that takes its first in the role seriously and to hurt. W. did not
have the right stuff to be president. He lacked the one thing a president
needs, discernment, the ability to separate the truth from the arguments,
the right course from the pressure of the ideologues, special pleaders, and
a national problem case known as Dick Cheney.

In 2008, New Hampshire gave a helpful warning to Barack Obama, in
choosing Hillary Clinton, they said, they didn`t like Obama calling her
"likable enough". They decided she was more than that, he a little less
so. At least in those days of their decision, a little less likable than
they had thought, and would again, hubris hurts. New Hampshire voters
wanted to make sure it did and Obama knew it.

One of the things to look for when so many of us get up here in
February is how the media can shift the meaning of what voters decide here.
We can say as many did in 1968 that Gene McCarthy had won, even though
Johnson got the most votes. We can say as many did in `70, that McGovern
won and Ed Muskie lost, though, the arithmetic said otherwise, we can say,
as most did, that Bill Clinton won here in `92, although he ran eight
points behind.

But is this what we want from the press? Do we want the
interpretation or the simple facts? Do we want it explained or simply
told? Do we want the arithmetic or the context or both?

To the readers of newspapers, to the viewers of television news, to
the watcher of HARDBALL, here`s my recommendation -- read it all, listen to
it all, but to quote Ronald Reagan, don`t be afraid to see what you see.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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