Guests: Andrea Mitchell, Pat Buchanan, Eugene Robinson, Bob Shrum, Hilary Rosen, Ed Rogers, Chuck Todd, A.B. Stoddard
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tomorrow 100 million of us votes, so what‘s our message to the president: Keep up the good work or get it together? Let‘s play HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Good evening, I‘m Chris Matthews and welcome to HARDBALL and MSNBC‘s non-stop coverage of Decision 2006. Tomorrow is of course, Election Day and tonight, we‘ll look at all the latest polls and get predictions from some of the best political minds in the country. Andrea Mitchell, Eugene Robinson, Patrick J. Buchanan and Bob Shrum. Plus reports from the hottest races across the country from our NBC News reporters out in the field.
Will we see a revolution tomorrow with voters dumping the Republicans or will Karl Rove‘s Republican machine rally the base? Voters could make history tomorrow. Most polls show it looks like Democrats will win the House of Representatives but then have to run the table to pick up the six seats they need to control the Senate. No party by the way has ever won the House without winning the Senate. We‘ll figure out what that means. We begin with a report on one of the hottest races in the country—the Missouri Senate race and NBC‘s Kevin Tibbles.
KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey Chris, well this thing is too close to call and its been that way since the get-go. The Show-Me State, Missouri, could very well be the bellwether when it comes to the Senate race. Sitting Senator Jim Talent is neck and neck with his challenger, Claire McCaskill of the Democrats. At this point in time, both of them are crisscrossing the state. Talent hitting the rural areas, McCaskill hitting the Democratic strongholds of the cities, but also hitting the rural areas because she knows she may need those votes in order to pull this thing off. All of the polling, polling yesterday for MSNBC and again today, Gallup polls are saying that—neither polls are showing anything outside the margin of error, either a 1 percent lead for McCaskill or a 4 percent for McCaskill in today‘s Gallup poll. And again, neither of those are outside the margin of error. This thing is going to go down to the wire, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Kevin, is there any news story breaking out there that might affect the results?
TIBBLES: Well, there are two things. There is a ballot issue here on stem cell research. The people of Missouri tomorrow will vote as to whether or not they want to have that take place in their state. I may say that Washington University here as well as the Starors (ph) Institute, which is in Kansas City, are two places where this research could take place. It is very important to the state and this is a ballot issue. Now the Republicans are hoping that isn‘t going to bring out the people who are going to vote no on the stem cell issue. As a matter of fact, in a lot of churches here yesterday from the pulpit, the congregations were urged to go out and vote no on stem cell and Republicans are hoping that many of those people at the same time would vote for Mr. Talent. Of course, the Democrats are hoping and the polling seems to show that the stem cell issue is going to pass and the Democrats are hoping that that is also going to mean a vote for Ms. McCaskill.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much Kevin. Now to a Senate race that no one thought would be so close, Republican George Allen verses Democrat Jim Webb in Virginia. HARDBALL‘s David Shuster is in Richmond. David, which way is it going tonight?
DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, both the Allen campaign and the Webb campaign say that this is a dead heat and that it will come down to their get out the vote operation efforts. However, the Webb campaign is now charging that the Republicans have been engaged in widespread voter intimidation and voter suppression. The Webb campaign says they‘re preparing a complaint for the Department of Justice tonight because they say they have documented dozens of calls that were made from outside of the state into heavily Democratic precincts in which callers claim to be Webb volunteers and told the person on the receiving end of the phone call that their polling location has changed. In addition, the Webb campaign says it has documented dozens of calls in which—that were targeting people who recently moved to the state of Virginia, in which they were told if they tried to vote tomorrow, they would be arrested.
This has caused some confusion according to the Webb campaign—that their supporters are confused in many precincts and they‘ve had to go back to them and reassure them and said they are preparing a complaint for the Department of Justice. But putting that aside Chris, the number one issue that has been on the minds of voters here in Virginia has been the war in Iraq. At every stop today, Jim Webb, who is finishing his campaign tonight with an event with President Clinton in Alexandria—at every stop, Jim Webb has been saying that the war in Iraq, that the troops need to start coming home. That there needs to be a diplomatic solution to the war in Iraq, not a military one and that the troops need to start coming back. George Allen has been on the defensive over the war in Iraq. George Allen today appeared in campaign events carrying a football, suggesting that this is now the time to engage in the two-minute drill at the end of a football game where you try to come from behind to win. Allen says that is what it will take for him to win. But again, both campaigns are exceptionally nervous tonight.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much David Shuster. We‘re joined right now by our panel—NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Eugene Robinson of the “Washington Post”, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and HARDBALL political analyst Bob Shrum.
Andrea and gentlemen, it seems to me we know where we stand right now in following this race. The House looks good for the Democrats—we‘ll get to that later tonight. The U.S. Senate battles, there‘s two in which Democrats believe they have already won, that‘s Pennsylvania and Ohio because of the polling. There‘s four states in play that they have to win to win control of the Senate. We talked about Missouri, we talked about Virginia and of course we‘ve got Montana and Rhode Island. But, let‘s get back to the familiar territory of Virginia. Pat Buchanan—voter suppression, serious charge, are you surprised?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I‘m not surprised at the charges. I don‘t know if they‘re valid or not. If I were you know, a Democrat, frankly, I would make an anticipatory charge in order to stop that ahead of time to frighten people who might be doing something like that. I don‘t know if it‘s true or not, Chris. It clearly looks like something to hurt Allen right now and if Allen‘s doing it, if Allen‘s campaign is doing it, I be terribly surprised. This sounds like some kind of an outside operation if it‘s being done.
MATTHEWS: Well of course, we already have the ethnic issue race in this campaign—the notorious macacca remark. Is this an attempt, Eugene, to suppress or cool down the macacca vote?
MATTHEWS: What is going on here? To be blunt about it—it seems to be a direct target here.
EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: The macaccans always go Democratic. Of course Allen would try to suppress them. Who knows? I mean, if this is true, it could be as Pat says, an attempt you know to keep them from...
MATTHEWS: It‘s an old trick People who have a criminal record and maybe wanted for something—we‘ll get you the parking ticket, don‘t show up or we‘ll get you on the parking ticket. The other trick is just good old scare tactics, which is we‘re going to have the Federal Marshals there. We know these tricks, they were played forever against black communities to scare the hell out of people.
Let me go to the question of the football, can this guy really win an election by throwing a football around and reminding everybody that his dad coached the Redskins? Andrea.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Redskins won in the last seven seconds—no I was doing my homework like you—we were both working for the election, it was the first game we‘ve missed. They won in the last seven seconds. It was a wild game. They beat their legendary rivals the Cowboys.
MATTHEWS: The infamous Cowboys.
MITCHELL: The infamous Cowboys.
MATTHEWS: America‘s team, I should say.
MITCHELL: So, is this an omen? He‘s trying to bring up the memory of his sainted father, who of course was the great coach of the Redskins and the also the L.A. Rams. But, let‘s face it, he has bigger problems than that. The fact that George Allen has not been able to put this away, that Webb is still so competitive is you know, shocking, if not for a series of mishaps—macacca and alot of other things. But they have played this very smart in the last couple of weeks by really trying to depress the female vote, the women‘s vote—scare women that Webb still believes the outdated mysogonist things that he said 20 years ago.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s have some fun here since you‘re the only one here. I have learned from northern Virginia political types on both sides, the key to northern Virginia is transients. Women come to Washington and live in Virginia because they feel it‘s safer, more comfortable to live there. They live in places like Arlington and Alexandria. They move in and out quickly. They live in apartment houses. They‘re all pro-choice on abortion rights. Why would a woman be mad about somebody anachronistic on women in combat. By the way we still don‘t have women running around with M-16s. We have women pilots and piloting planes and helicopters. Would they vote more on that issue Andrea, since you‘re the only woman here or more on the general issue of women‘s rights?
MITCHELL: I think it‘s just really too hard to say. But, it‘s very clear, they are bringing in the superstar in terms of getting out the women‘s vote.
MATTHEWS: Women tend to like Bill Clinton.
MITCHELL: Which is Bill Clinton.
MITCHELL: Politically, we should say.
MATTHEWS: Shrum, you are dying over here. What do you want to throw
BOB SHRUM, HARDBALL POLITICAL ANALYST: You are right what‘s going to
happen here I think. Northern Virginia is the key to this race. It‘s a
structural problem that George Allen faces. He actually did reasonably
well in Northern Virginia when he beat Chuck Robb in 2000. He is going to
do very badly in Northern Virginia this time
MATTHEWS: You know what I hate, words like structural and dynamics.
What did you mean by structural.
SHRUM: What I meant by structural is that southwestern Virginia and
some of the places
MATTHEWS: You mean geography?
SHRUM: Sure. The structure of the race.
MATTHEWS: They use big words to confuse people—they use big words like the dynamics of this race. I go, what does that mean.
BUCHANAN: Its all the liberals are moving into northern Virginia, the place is getting more and more...
MITCHELL: Pat, you still live there.
MATTHEWS: That‘s where you live.
BUCHANAN: I am overwhelmed. I‘m in McLean. It‘s a tiny conservative...
MATTHEWS: By the way, if anyone‘s looking for Pat Buchanan‘s house, it looks like Tara. So imagine the music from the movie “Gone With the Wind”, and you drive by, and there‘s Pat‘s house. He‘s on the front porch...
BUCHANAN: CIA is right across the street.
MATTHEWS: He‘s on the front porch with a cane and a pipe.
ROBINSON: I actually disagree a little bit. I don‘t think it‘s so much the liberals. It‘s the moderates...
ROBINSON: The kind of technocrats—there‘s all that high-tech in northern Virginia...
MATTHEWS: A lot of Indians.
ROBINSON: A lot of Indians...
MATTHEWS: South Asians.
ROBINSON: a lot of south Asians, a lot of east Asians, a lot of immigrants.
BUCHANAN: A lot of them are illegal out there, my friend. That‘s Herndon, that‘s Herndon.
SHRUM: You know, a lot of them are legal, Pat. And they‘re going to vote. And they‘re not going to vote for Allen.
MATTHEWS: Well, they‘re the richest illegals you‘ve ever met in your life because they are high-tech folk and they‘re highly educated.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let‘s just—we want to follow this up. The Democrats have to run the tables. They‘ve got to win four. They‘ve got to win four. They‘ve got to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Montana, Missouri, Rhode Island and Virginia. As we go to break, does that look likely or not likely, right now, given the polls? Just do conventional wisdom here.
MITCHELL: I think unlikely.
ROBINSON: On the cusp.
MATTHEWS: On the cusp.
BUCHANAN: I think it‘s possible.
SHRUM: I think it‘s likely.
MATTHEWS: A good array of opinion. The panel‘s going to stay with us. When we come back, the latest from the Ohio Senate race, another one that‘s turned out rather badly for the Republicans. And later, how the web site YouTube may help shine light on the voter irregularities this election. I love that phrase. That‘s another one like structurally. People are cheating out there!
You‘re watching an election eve addition of HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Ohio is in the center of this political fight this year, the big fight over the control of the U.S. Senate. With Democrats trying to beat Republican incumbent Mike DeWine, NBC‘s Ron Mott is in Columbus—Ron.
RON MOTT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Chris. Good day to you.
You know, all that drama we had here in this state two years ago with President Bush and John Kerry battling for the White House. It was very close. This races doesn‘t appear to that way. The excitement seem to be gone from this race.
The Democratic challenger, Sherrod Brown, appears all but certain to be named senator elect here sometime tomorrow night, perhaps. It‘s a Wednesday—he spent part of the day today at a diner here in Columbus, Tommy‘s Diner, shaking some hands with some folks.
He looked relaxed and confident, probably because he got word of the University of Cincinnati poll that came out today that shows him with a double digit lead, 54 to 55 percent for Sherrod Brown to 43 percent or so for his challenger, the Republican incumbent Mike DeWine.
Now Mike DeWine, for his part, spent part of his day with some of his friendly supporters, some of his volunteers there GOP Headquarters, thanking them for their time, folks working the phones trying to get the vote out for the Republicans tomorrow, because they‘ll certainly need that based on those polling numbers.
One of the things that was interesting about the Mike DeWine race is the Republican National Committee, according to some wire reports today, pulled a lot of their money out of this race in favor of more competitive races. Although, one official there told us, when all is said and done, the RNC will have spent more money on Ohio than anywhere else around the country.
Now, one other thing to point out to you, Chris, people here in Ohio are really, really concerned about the economy. The war, of course is on everyone‘s mind. The economy is especially hard here in Ohio. More than 200,000 jobs lost over the years. Seventy-three percent of registered voters who were polled believe that the economy is fair or poor. And so that‘s why they are looking to go out in force tomorrow to essentially make their voice known that they don‘t like the way Ohio is headed in terms of the economy.
Chris, back to you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you Ron Mott in Columbus, Ohio.
Let‘s turn back to our panel, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, “Washington Post” columnist Eugene Robinson, MSNBC‘s political analyst Pat Buchanan and HARDBALL political analyst Bob Shrum.
We talk a lot about the war. I think, Iraq, we all agree, the number one issue. But inside the country, in its industrial core, there is a hollowing out going on.
Pat, this is your key concern in the world. What‘s happened to America‘s ability to build things for itself, rely on itself, have blue collar jobs for people when they come out of high school. That‘s dying.
BUCHANAN: De-industrialization of Ohio, same thing happening in Michigan. This is what‘s killing the Republican party in those two states. It‘s what‘s driving away the Reagan Democrats. Sherrod Brown is running hard on the trade issues, these unfair trade deals that send our jobs abroad. They‘re not taking care of our workers. This is what is shearing off the Reagan Democrats from the Republican party.
MATTHEWS: And what could change in that in the next couple of years?
MATTHEWS: Because we have a free trade policy.
BUCHANAN: No, you‘re not going to have a free trade policy. That has gone down the tubes. The president‘s not going to get fast track authority this year. He‘s not going to the free trade deal with Peru. He‘s not going to get the Doha round. It is all over for free trade in this Congress.
MATTHEWS: The American consumer, do you think, will put up were going back to the store that has one kind of pants, one kind of jacket, one suit that doesn‘t fit, you got to get work weeks to get it fit, are they hooked on the emporia you go into today where you can pick on any pair of pants you want. I‘m telling you, the consumers got it made in this country if you got the money, because there‘s so much in these stores. Because of trade.
MITCHELL: I don‘t think it‘s the consumer that is real political fact here. The political fact, the reason why people don‘t feel good about this economy, is that you‘ve 4.4 percent unemployment, yet the wage increases have not been up universally.
MITCHELL: Only 20 percent of Americans have felt any benefit from this economy.
MATTHEWS: Well, will tightening up the borders and killing trade help the unemployment rate?
BUCHANAN: You don‘t kill trade.
MATTHEWS: You‘re saying it will.
BUCHANAN: I—go ahead.
ROBINSON: Well, no—I was going to say, I think there is a consumer constituency. I think people like to shop at Wal-Mart. I think they like to be able to, you know, buy a station wagon full of stuff for $8.95 at Wal-Mart. And I think it‘s—I don‘t know if you can go back from that to a different...
MATTHEWS: People today can go into Gap and buy a pair of pants that fit and take them home with them...
BUCHANAN: The real wages of a working man in this country have not gone up since 1973.
MATTHEWS: How come this fight‘s only going on here at this table here and in the Midwest. Why are the coastal areas...
MATTHEWS: Where‘s it going on?
SHRUM: I think it‘s going on all across the country. I saw, for example, in 2004, in Minnesota, the jobs that have been lost have been replaced by jobs that paid on average $9,000 a year less. I thought the Bush administration lost their mind last Friday when they started saying the unemployment rate is down.
MATTHEWS: What about the Mall of America, Bob? You go to the Mall of America, it‘s the most amazing...
SHRUM: But you know, as Henry Ford understood, people have to make the money to spend the money.
BUCHANAN: Chris, look at what is happened in Nussle‘s district in Iowa. It is gone for the Republicans. Braley is running on this issue. “Wall Street journal” put it at a huge piece on it.
MATTHEWS: OK. If we‘re talking like this now—you are, with this visceral reaction at the end of a recovery. These people have missed the boat this time, and I think the voter may be feeling that they know the rich are doing well. They see it doing well, they see this recovery advancing on and on. They say, wait a minute, these things don‘t last long. We may have missed the boat again. Is that going to drive voters to vote Democrat?
SHRUM: Yes, it is. And to use a word you don‘t like, structurally, these economies actually don‘t have anywhere to go right now. The industrial heartland has not seen the development of alternative industries that can give these people jobs that pay decent wages.
MATTHEWS: So all the money is moving to northern Virginia and northern California, is that what‘s going on?
MATTHEWS: And Massachusetts.
SHRUM: A lot of it is Massachusetts.
BUCHANAN: Chris, we‘ve lost high tech jobs. They‘re moving to China. We‘ve lost manufacturing jobs, three million. You know what the jobs coming in are? They are health services. That‘s not exportable.
MATTHEWS: So it‘s—are we going to see the impact of this economic anger in Missouri maybe, in Ohio definitely, in Pennsylvania definitely. Where else?
SHRUM: Well, Michigan. Michigan is unbelievable.
MATTHEWS: Why is Jennifer Granholm hanging in there?
SHRUM: Because they don‘t blame Jennifer Granholm, they blame George Bush.
BUCHANAN: They were blaming her, that‘s why she was in trouble.
MATTHEWS: She‘s up double digits.
What about Rod Blagojevich up in Illinois. He‘s surviving, too. Why are they blaming the president for bad economic times and not the Democratic governors?
BUCHANAN: Well, they always do.
MITCHELL: The national economy...
SHRUM: Always blame the president.
ROBINSON: Well, it‘s that number one, the policies that are at issue here, like trade, for example, are directly traceable to Bush. So he does have some responsibility.
MATTHEWS: We‘ll be back to talk later with you guys about the irregularities in the campaign tomorrow, the structural problems facing the Republicans, and the dynamics which will reveal themselves later tomorrow night.
Andrea Mitchell, Eugene Robinson, Pat Buchanan and Bob Shrum.
Up next, tracking election day voting problems—here we are, irregularities—on your cell phone.
You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: For the first time in election politics, voters may have a whole new way to get the word out about voting problems on November 7. And all you need is a little camera on your cell phone.
HARDBALL‘s Jeremy Bronson has this report.
JEREMY BRONSON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whether it‘s posting campaign video on YouTube or connecting with voters on MySpace and FaceBook, 2006 kicked off a revolution in online politics. And come election day, that revolution could take one more giant leap forward.
Web sites are now encouraging voters to use their own personal cameras to record voting problems on November 7. The same YouTube technology that gave rise to this homemade video clip of George Allen:
SEN. GEORGE ALLEN, ® VIRGINIA: Let‘s give a welcome to macaca here.
BRONSON: And showcased this ad against Tennessee‘s Harold Ford.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harold, call me.
BRONSON: Could now become a potent watchdog tool for documenting problems at the ballot box. Take videothevote.org, a new web site created by three documentary filmmakers, which issues this call to arms:
“Starting this election, citizen journalists—people like you and I
will document problems as they occur. We‘ll play them online, spread word through blogs and partner web sites, doing our part to make sure the full story of our elections is told.”
The videothevote campaign has already established a big presence on YouTube. Video and cell phone cameras could document all sorts of problems: excessive waiting lines, equipment malfunction and improper voting rolls.
There is, however, a tradeoff. Would cameras at the polls create intimidation or an invasion of privacy? Ian Inaba is a co-founder of videothevote.
IAN INABA, CO-FOUNDER, VIDEOTHEVOTE.ORG: Some people are concerned that videotaping at polling locations is going to take away the privacy of the voter. But what we‘ve found is that, you know, not all Americans have problems voting on election day. But there are some communities, some neighborhoods, particularly in the closer races or in the swing states, that repeatedly have problems.
BRONSON: Another site getting attention is pollingplacephotoproject.org, which calls itself a nation-wide experiment in citizen journalism. It encourages voters to take snapshots of their election day experience to document the complexity of voting in America. And while not expressly for reporting ballot problems, it could very well end up serving that purpose on election day.
(on camera): In addition to these efforts, you can also expect YouTube and other video sharing sites to be loaded with clips of election problems should they occur.
Jeremy Bronson, MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Jeremy.
Coming up, why is the Senate race in Rhode Island tightening between Republican incumbent Lincoln Chafee and his challenger, Sheldon Whitehouse?
You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
As we have been saying tonight, the Democrats need to pick up six seats to get control of the United States Senate. They have a very good shot in Pennsylvania and Ohio. They now have to win in Missouri, Virginia, Montana, and Rhode Island. We‘re going to talk about Rhode Island right now.
It‘s one of the hot issues. They‘re hoping to steal that from the Republicans. They have got the moderate incumbent Lincoln Chafee. He‘s in the fight of his life.
NBC‘s Rehema Ellis is in Providence tonight with more.
Rehema, do you have any indication of who is going to win that thing tomorrow?
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: That is the $64 billion question, I guess, because this race now has really tightened up. And analysts say it is really too close to call.
What has tightened in this race, they say, is the way that these two men have been approaching it. The incumbent Republican, Lincoln Chafee, he has been approaching as it is a local race, telling people that he‘s really interested in their issues, and reminding them that, even though he is a Republican, he has often voted against the Republican Party line.
Meanwhile, his opponent, the Democrat, Sheldon Whitehouse, is telling everybody that Chafee is a nice guy, but remember the fact that he is a Republican. And he‘s saying, the Republicans have been in power in Washington too long, and it‘s time to make certain that they lose that power in Washington.
It is making this race very tight, and too close to call right now—
MATTHEWS: Is—is Bill Clinton coming up there?
ELLIS: He is. He is expected to be here this evening.
And it will be his third time that he has come here in this state on behalf of Sheldon Whitehouse. They hope that he will be able to help sway those voters who are thinking one way or the other about these two candidates.
You know, often, what is being said about Lincoln Chafee, as the Republican incumbent, they call him a RINO. And that is “Republican in name only,” because he so often votes on issues the way that a Democrat would. And he is in a state, after all, Chris, where he is outnumbered by Democrats. It‘s—they outnumber Republican 3-1 in this state.
MATTHEWS: And, also—I‘m looking at this chart I like to carry around with me which shows how President Bush is doing in various states. And there are states where I have said before he still popular. He is at 57 percent in Idaho.
He‘s at 57 percent in Utah. He is at 52 percent in Wyoming. And the other state he is above 50 percent in is Montana.
But, then, as you say, we go to the other end of the spectrum. In Rhode Island, he is the least popular of all the states in Rhode Island. He is only 23 percent, less than a quarter.
Thank you very much, Rehema Ellis, in Rhode Island.
Hilary Rosen is a Democratic strategist. She‘s sitting with me. And Republican strategist Ed Rogers is a former adviser to the first President Bush.
Ed and Hilary, I want to ask you to make a case now. You are both partisan. Fair enough. Let‘s make partisan cases.
First, Hillary, why should a voter who is voting in one of these close Senate races be looking at this race as a national referendum on President Bush‘s policy, especially in Iraq?
ED ROGERS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Good question.
HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It...
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Hilary first.
ROSEN: It is a good question.
And I have to say, in Rhode Island, I think people like Linc Chafee.
He‘s a likable guy. And he has been fairly critical of the war.
Several years ago, Linc Chafee was the Democrats‘ number-one target for party switching. Many of us actually thought he would. I think, if he had switched parties, he wouldn‘t be in a reelection fight. He would be sailing to reelection.
The problem is, he cast those votes for the Republican leadership. And people in Rhode Island don‘t like the Republican leadership. That‘s a legitimate reason to make a change.
MATTHEWS: In other words, he won‘t vote for Trent Lott two or three years from now for leader?
ROSEN: He‘s going to vote for...
ROSEN: He—he—he might vote for—well, he is going to vote for whoever the Republican leader is.
MATTHEWS: He‘s going to vote for Trent Lott.
ROSEN: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: Who are we kidding, ourselves?
MATTHEWS: Ed Rogers, isn‘t that the argument...
MATTHEWS: ... of the year, which is that, if you vote for a Republican, you get Republican policies, even if the guy is a maverick?
ROGERS: Well, it‘s certainly the argument that, if you vote for Democrats, you get Nancy Pelosi as speaker. And who is the jihadists are for? Nancy Pelosi or George Bush?
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute, Ed.
ROGERS: I thought you would let me slid—let that slide.
MATTHEWS: Are you the spokesman—are you the Tony Snow of jihadism?
MATTHEWS: You are their spokesman now?
ROGERS: I love Tony Snow. But Linc Chafee is going to win tomorrow night.
MATTHEWS: No. You just said the jihadists want the Democrats to win.
Are you a spokesman? Are you paid by them to speak for them?
ROGERS: I will let that comment stand.
Who do you think that America‘s enemies want to win tomorrow? Nancy Pelosi or George Bush?
ROSEN: That‘s why you are going to lose tomorrow, Ed, because you make ridiculous comments like that.
ROGERS: That‘s not a ridiculous comment at all, and I will let it stand. Come on. Who do you think?
MATTHEWS: This is the best break that jihadists ever had, was us going into Iraq? Didn‘t that give them the biggest argument they have ever had in history?
ROGERS: Not at all.
You know, they came here, and they killed 3,000 Americans before we in Iraq—before we were in Iraq, and we haven‘t had an attack since then. So...
MATTHEWS: Well, it could mean that they came here from Saudi Arabia, because we had 10,000 troops parked in their holy land for 10 years. That might have been a motive, since they said that was the motive.
And if you are into speaking for them, get their speaking points.
ROGERS: Linc Chafee is going to win tomorrow.
ROSEN: Well, and, as a practical matter, if you‘re supporting Linc Chafee, Linc Chafee was against the war.
ROGERS: Well, Linc Chafee is going to win tomorrow. He‘s going to win tomorrow, because the economy is coming home is an issue, because Kerry‘s insult to our troops broke through, and because the Democrats got caught...
MATTHEWS: What was Kerry‘s insult to our troops, again?
ROGERS: His insult to out troops were, if you‘re stupid, you end up in Iraq.
MATTHEWS: When did he say that? I didn‘t hear that.
ROGERS: If you‘re not stupid...
MATTHEWS: What did he say?
ROGERS: Oh, come on. Let‘s not regurgitate that, Chris. That‘s exactly what he said.
MATTHEWS: No, I just want to know what he said. I want you to tell me what he said.
ROGERS: What he said was, if you read and write, if you do good in school, you won‘t get stuck in Iraq.
MATTHEWS: Right. You won‘t—and that means what?
ROGERS: And that means that was an—he was belittling the civilians and the soldiers who are working there.
MATTHEWS: He was saying, if you flunk out of school, you get drafted, you get in the army, and then you get killed in the war.
ROGERS: Yes, hearkening back to Vietnam...
MATTHEWS: ... because that couldn‘t be what he meant, because we don‘t have a draft.
ROGERS: .. which is part of the mind-set that he is stuck in.
But what he said, it broke through. And it made a difference. And it
stifled what some of the Democrats had going on at the time. They should -
just talking politics here.
ROSEN: No, no, no.
MATTHEWS: What Kerry said was, if you don‘t understand the region of the Middle East, you get us stuck in a war over there, and we get stuck in the sands of Iraq. That‘s what he said.
ROGERS: Let‘s play over and over what Kerry said. That‘s good for Republicans.
ROSEN: Ed, focus for a minute on Linc Chafee...
ROSEN: ... because Linc Chafee has spent the last three weeks distancing himself from...
ROSEN: ... statements you are making, from the president‘s policies in Iraq and everything else. If he wins, it‘s not going to be because of what you‘re saying.
ROGERS: He is a great Republican in the Rockefeller tradition. And I love it. And he‘s going to win tomorrow because the economy is coming home.
MATTHEWS: Isn‘t it an irony, Ed, that a man who wrote in the name of George Herbert Walker Bush, rather than the president you defend, our president, is now your candidate for reelection in Rhode Island? Isn‘t that an irony?
ROGERS: Hey, he is the best Republican that can win in Rhode Island.
I‘m all for it.
He is a Republican in the Rockefeller tradition. Let him in, please.
Let him in.
ROGERS: We‘re a big tent. He‘s going to win tomorrow. And it makes the Democrats crazy.
ROSEN: You only want him for the same reason the Democrats don‘t, because you know the first vote he‘s going to cast is for the Republican leadership. So, that‘s it.
ROGERS: He‘s going to win because the economy is emerging as a vote
driver, because Kerry insulted the troops, and because the Democrats got in
got caught celebrating too early. That‘s why Linc Chafee is going to win.
ROSEN: If he wins, it will be because people believe he is not an associate of George Bush. It‘s not because...
ROGERS: It‘s good thing that you are conceding he is going to win.
It‘s good thing that you are conceding he is going to win.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you for predictions now, since you‘re both fired up, appropriately so, as America should be.
MATTHEWS: You believe—let‘s go through it...
MATTHEWS: ... because you are giving me the talking points, Ed.
Will the Democrat or the Republican win in Pennsylvania for Senate?
ROGERS: Hey, it looks tough for Rick Santorum.
MATTHEWS: Who will win? Who will win?
ROGERS: It looks tough for Santorum.
MATTHEWS: Who will win?
ROGERS: Don‘t make me say it. Don‘t make me say it.
ROGERS: It looks bad for Santorum.
MATTHEWS: In Ohio—in Ohio, who will win? Will it be Mike DeWine, a good guy, or Sherrod Brown?
ROGERS: Mike DeWine does not look like a losing incumbent. He has no scandal. He‘s a good, honest guy.
MATTHEWS: OK. You are saying DeWine will win.
ROGERS: I‘m for DeWine.
MATTHEWS: Missouri, will Jim Talent win?
ROGERS: I‘m for DeWine.
MATTHEWS: Will Jim Talent win in Missouri?
ROGERS: Yes. Yes. Talent will win.
MATTHEWS: Will George Allen win in Virginia?
ROGERS: Yes, early. And if Allen is winning at 8:00, it‘s going to be a long night for the Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Will—will Conrad Burns win in Montana?
ROGERS: Yes. He is closing the gap, yes. Burns one more time.
MATTHEWS: So, you are basically saying the Democrats will only carry maybe one or two seats?
ROGERS: I‘m saying we will lose a few, but Republicans will maintain control of the Senate.
MATTHEWS: What is—speaking for the jihadists, as you were earlier, what do you think they think will happen in those six races?
Hey, come on. What I said was, who do you think the enemies of America most want to win, Nancy Pelosi or George Bush?
MATTHEWS: Probably the person with the least knowledge of the Middle East. That‘s always been good for them before.
Let me go to you, Hilary.
ROSEN: Who do you think will win those six races, same test? Will they—will the Dems win, five, four, three, two, one, or six?
ROSEN: Look, I—I—I think that the potential sleepers are Harold Ford.
ROGERS: He‘s asleep.
ROSEN: And I‘m worried about Claire McCaskill, only because I think Democrats have been ahead. With Jean Carnahan, we were ahead six points before the election with...
MATTHEWS: There is a rural conservative vote out there.
ROSEN: We‘re consistently ahead in—as Democrats, in Missouri...
MATTHEWS: You are worried about the part of the state that says they live in Missouri.
ROSEN: I do think we take—I do think we take Montana.
The cat has got your tongue, you two. I thought you would say be fiery. I thought Ed would say you‘re going to lose all six, or win all six.
ROGERS: Oh, come on.
ROGERS: You know, it‘s a six-year cycle. We‘re going to lose some, because we‘re supposed to. That‘s going to happen.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you, Ed. Last chance for absolute clarity from you...
MATTHEWS: ... all right, speaking for yourself.
ROGERS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Will the Democrats carry the House?
MATTHEWS: Thanks, Ed.
MATTHEWS: I found your true self.
Thank you very much, Ed Rogers and Hilary Rosen.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the latest on the Tennessee Senate race between Harold Ford Jr., the aforementioned challenge, and Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Coming up: The man who wants to replace Jeb Bush bails out on George W. Bush. It‘s not your brother‘s Florida anymore—more with our panel when HARDBALL returns.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The Tennessee Senate race is one of the most hard-fought in the country.
For the latest developments in the Rob Corker—Bob Corker-Harold E.
Ford Jr. race, we turn to NBC‘s Tom Costello, who is in Memphis tonight—
TOM COSTELLO, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, we have some interesting data. Listen to this.
The secretary of state‘s office here in Tennessee has just told us that they expect a total voter count here of 1.8 million; 1.8 million Tennesseans will vote. Listen to this number: 867,000 of them already have. That‘s 40 percent of the projected voter turnout in the state has already voted. And they had to vote in a 14-day period that has already expired by a few days.
Theoretically, many of those people voted when Harold Ford was up in the polls. So, the question at this moment, how did those people vote? We don‘t know. We won‘t know until they start counting all of these votes. But that‘s a very interesting kind of a little caveat here, as we look at the latest polling data.
The absolute latest number from the Mason-Dixon poll puts Bob Corker, the Republican, up by about 12 points. However, a “USA Today” poll puts him up by only three points.
I just got off the phone with the Ford campaign. They say all of their data suggests this is neck and neck. Of course, both Bob Corker and also Harold Ford Jr. have been working the state very hard today, campaigning from east to west.
One other interesting caveat here, Chris: It has been really a nasty day here in Memphis, rain and mud. And that weather is expected—expected now to progress eastward across the state. The west is considered to be more of Democratic territory, the east considered to be more Republican territory.
So, as this sloppy weather moves off to the east—and it‘s supposed to be rainy tomorrow in eastern Tennessee—how will that impact conservative, Republican voting areas? The Democrats are saying they are not really sure that they would rely on that to suppress any Republican turnout, but it is true, here in the Memphis area, early voting up 80 percent over 2002. This, of course, is Harold Ford‘s stronghold on the entire state. This is really the Ford‘s dynasty‘s political base—Chris.
MATTHEWS: Can you read through the—perhaps the game face of the Ford people? Are they truly optimistic or putting out optimism?
COSTELLO: I get a sense that they really have a feeling here that the latest Mason-Dixon numbers may not be accurate. That is their read on this, of course.
COSTELLO: They point to the “USA Today” poll, which is a Gallup poll, which shows only about a three-point spread. And they really are taking great heart in the fact that 40 percent of the state may have already voted, and may have voted when in fact Harold Ford was up in the polls.
COSTELLO: And, so, keep in mind, at this point, though—this is critical -- 16.3 percent of this state is African-American. Harold Ford is expected to carry all of that vote. But he needs 40 percent of the white vote to carry this state.
So, the question, will this state vote for the first African-American in a Southern state since Reconstruction? And what will the white voters do when they actually go into the polling place?
MATTHEWS: I know.
COSTELLO: This is still the Deep South.
MATTHEWS: That‘s also—it‘s still America, too, in all fairness to any region, in that...
COSTELLO: It is, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: ... there hasn‘t been a lot of success in these big statewide races for an African-American.
Thank you, Tom Costello, reporting from Memphis tonight.
COSTELLO: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Now let‘s put things into some political perspective with our panel.
We are on election eve night now. We got a great group joining us, A.B. Stoddard of “The Hill.” That covers Capitol Hill, her newspaper. CNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent, John Harwood, is with us, and Chuck Todd, editor in chief of “The Hotline,” and Craig Crawford of “The Congressional Quarterly.”
What a powerhouse you all are.
MATTHEWS: You really are. I don‘t mean to nice.
MATTHEWS: This is HARDBALL.
But who should I start with first?
Is anything happening now that we couldn‘t have said was happening Thursday, Craig?
CRAIG CRAWFORD, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think these independent voters are flopping around on us in some interesting ways that are causing a lot of this confusion in the polls.
Yes, I add up about a fifth of this electorate tomorrow as undecided, independent voters, or leaners, leaning one way or another. I don‘t think they like anybody. I don‘t think they like either political party.
CRAWFORD: And when they heard Democrats might get...
CRAWFORD: ... backed off.
MATTHEWS: I‘m with you. I‘m with you.
Does anybody else support the idea that Bush‘s—President Bush‘s smartest political comment—it was a snide one, but a good one—they were already dancing in the end zone, they‘re hotdogging it, and they haven‘t scored the touchdown, which made a lot of people think, hey, wait a minute, the Democrats have won? I don‘t like them much either.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Democrats were saying the same thing before President Bush said it.
They were very concerned that, a week, 10 days out, the whole party had decided they were going to pick up 25 or 30 seats in the House and that they were really on track in the Senate. So, overconfidence, complacency has been a big problem.
I think there are two races in motion right now that seem to me perhaps to confound conventional wisdom at the end. One is the one you were just talking about with Hilary and Ed. That‘s the Linc Chafee race. He could win that race. And Democrats are increasingly nervous about it.
The other one is Tennessee. I do not think that race is over. I think both campaigns have that very close. Each side thinks they‘re up a little bit or dead even. And it‘s going to depend on what happens in turnout, how big the African-American vote, a bunch of factors that we have all been talking about.
MATTHEWS: You really think that Ford can still pull this thing out, based on all the factors?
HARWOOD: I do not expect him to pull it out, based on what I know.
But I think it‘s possible.
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “THE HILL”: I think it is the great surprise race that we are all looking at, because of what the reporter just said.
STODDARD: We just looked—there‘s going to be good weather for his voters, bad weather for Corker‘s voters.
There‘s a lot of factors at play here. And I think that Tennessee is sort of everyone‘s big—you know, top of the surprise list.
But, generically, I mean, across the country, generally speaking, about what has happened in the last few days, I disagree. I think it‘s the Republicans who are coming home, getting scared about the Democrats...
STODDARD: ... and deciding that they‘re not going to be complicit in this, that—that they might not be able to stop the Democrats. But they‘re not going to be complicit; they‘re going to actually—instead of sitting it out, they‘re going to vote.
MATTHEWS: I‘m convinced, the older you are, the less optimistic you are about this race, because you‘re less optimistic about America and race.
And the younger you are—I think this is true right down the line, from 60 to 20. The closer you get to 20, the more you‘re optimistic about this country when it comes to race.
Older people like me go, damn it, I have seen this before. All the hope—all the hope of Doug Watter (ph), of Tom Bradley in California, and it doesn‘t happen the way it‘s supposed to, because people lie to pollsters.
The panel is staying with us.
You are watching HARDBALL on election eve, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We are back with our esteemed panel, A.B. Stoddard of “The Hill,” a newspaper which covers Capitol Hill, CNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent, John Harwood, Chuck Todd, who is editor in chief of “The Hotline,” which keeps all of us informed online, and Craig Crawford of “The Congressional Quarterly.”
Chuck, I mentioned you in that introduction, because you are going to be our star right now. You have some history to share with us about these weekend-before-the-election jiggles in the polls, and what they don‘t tell us.
CHUCK TODD, EDITOR IN CHIEF, “THE HOTLINE”: Well, I went back to ‘94. I went back to archives. I wanted to see what were the final numbers in ‘94? Saw such an important point that I had to write it down.
MATTHEWS: In which the Republican campaign won 54 new seats.
TODD: Fifty—over 50 seats, and then they had these huge leads in the generic in the two weeks up until the election.
And, then, literally, election eve, Democrats closed the gap. In fact, ABC had Democrats up a point in the generic. It was a six-point swing. Gallup showed a four-point swing. Times Mirror, which was the Pew, the same pollster that does Pew now, was doing this Times Mirror poll. They showed a seven-point swing, all toward the Democrats.
It was four—four polls—NBC also showed movement toward the Democrats—four polls in the final three days.
MATTHEWS: And that caught the Democrats off guard, then. They said, oh, we passed it. We missed the bullet.
TODD: We missed it. We dodged the bullet. This thing isn‘t going to be so bad.
So, it‘s sort of one of these sort of reality checks. It‘s like, you know, it could be...
CRAWFORD: There was a like a loser momentum.
TODD: Exactly. Exactly.
CRAWFORD: A loser momentum. I like that.
TODD: It could be that just Democrats came home at the end, for them, in ‘94, started popping up a little bit in the generic.
But we got have to remember, a five- or six-point generic victory by the Democrats...
MATTHEWS: It‘s huge.
TODD: ... is huge, huge.
MATTHEWS: Well, 5 percent of 435 members is still about 25, 30 seats.
TODD: Right. It is a big number.
MATTHEWS: If you do it across the board.
TODD: It is a big number.
HARWOOD: Chris, nobody expected Democrats to have a 15 percentage point advantage like we had in our “Journal”/NBC poll.
TODD: Well, they would have 300 -- they would have 300 House seats if they had done that.
HARWOOD: You still cannot find a strategist in either party, outside of the White House, who thinks the Democrats are not going to retake the House. In fact, even Ed Rogers on your show just said it.
MATTHEWS: I know.
MATTHEWS: I finally got ...
MATTHEWS: As I do on this show with non-journalists—and you guys are mostly—you‘re journalists. Usually, with non-journalists, I have to squeeze it out of them, like—let me ask you this. Do you believe that “Washington Post...”
CRAWFORD: I want to know about gerrymandering, if that‘s changed...
TODD: Totally overrated.
MATTHEWS: But let me ask about...
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, there was a poll that was written up in a narrative in “The Washington Post” this weekend that said that three-quarters of the people are going to vote for the Democrats for the House. What is that about? This is tsunami-ville. What is...
TODD: Well, I thought that piece seemed like it went counter to their
and their own polling.
MATTHEWS: There‘s some numbers out there in this—and Stu Rothenberg is pretty respected. He tends to be seen as a Republican guy, saying 38 to 45.
TODD: That‘s not fair to Stu. He‘s not a Republican.
MATTHEWS: What is that all about?
TODD: Well, I because he is reading it. He‘s sitting there looking at the way these—you know, we‘re—this is a fight in Republican districts. This is not a fight in swing districts.
These are fights that are taking place in Republican districts. So, even though the Democrats have a four-point margin in some of these districts, that‘s a big win.
MATTHEWS: You know, I talk a lot about the war. We cover it every night on HARDBALL. And I care about it. I think it is probably the most issue of this election. That was may view. It doesn‘t have to be anybody else‘s.
But wouldn‘t an issue like we are at war and 3,000 people are dying a month over there—we have lost almost 3,000 guys—in a war that wasn‘t really supposed to be that bloody—it was supposed to be fairly a matter of containing the remnants of the old regime, not really an all-out war like we have seen over there.
Why would a person vote for any other reason, than to either support the president or say, get it together, Mr. President, A.B.?
STODDARD: I think that people—I think that this is going to be decided on the war.
But I think voters that tomorrow are going to looking for some catharsis. Those who are going to vote against the war are going to try to express themselves. But I think they need to realize, sadly, that we are going to be putting a lot much more mileage on this thorny road ahead. There is no consensus with a Democratic Congress, a Democratic House, and President Bush. There‘s no consensus even within the Democratic Party for the four sort of options that are out there...
STODDARD: ... for proceeding.
And the experts in the diplomatic community tell us there is no right answer in Iraq.
CRAWFORD: But, you know, there is no consensus among the public either about what to do about Iraq. In that way, I would say Democrats—
Democrats are closer to the voters, because they don‘t have an answer.
Neither do the voters.
TODD: It‘s why Cheney said no—the policy wouldn‘t change. He was almost trying to tamp down enthusiasm.
MATTHEWS: And where will Cheney be tomorrow?
MATTHEWS: Hunting animals.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, A.B. Stoddard, John—what a metaphor.
And, John Harwood, thank you.
Thank you, Chuck Todd.
Thank you, Craig Crawford.
We are back again at 7:00 Eastern for a whole new live edition of HARDBALL. Then, join us for a special live pre-election edition of HARDBALL tonight at 10:00 Eastern. I really enjoy this. I hope you do, too.
It‘s time for “TUCKER” right now.
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