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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Jan. 7

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Steve McMahon

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  The winds of change blow through New Hampshire. 

What happened in Iowa may not have stayed in Iowa.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL, tonight from New Hampshire, from Manchester, New Hampshire.  History could be made tomorrow, when voters finally cast their votes.  Barack Obama is surging right now in the polls.  John McCain has also picked up altitude.  Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are sinking.  Tonight we‘ll have all the polls and let you know what they‘re telling us about what may happen tomorrow here in the first presidential primary.

Also: Can Clinton and Romney survive if they lose tomorrow?  We‘ll talk to two political professionals about how to save their candidacies.

And what‘s behind this moment with me and Hillary Clinton?  I‘ll tell you all about how that came to be a little later.

Look at this scene here.  To me, the big story up here is the wonder and power of Barack Obama.  There are some leaders who can get men to charge a machine gun nest.  He may be such a leader.  I report that having seen, heard and felt him move an audience.

With me here in New Hampshire are NBC chief White House correspondent David Gregory, NBC News political director Chuck Todd, and in New York, NBC‘s Tom Brokaw.  Gentlemen, let‘s take a look at the numbers, starting with the Democrats.  CNN‘s latest poll has Barack with a 10-point lead up here.  Suffolk University‘s poll shows it closer, with Barack Obama leading Clinton by just a point.  But that one looks to be the exception.  The Marist poll has Obama up by 8.  A new poll out today from CBS News has Obama up by 7.

So the Real Clear Politics Web site, which averages the most recent polls all together, has this result: Barack Obama at 37, 8 points behind him at 29, Hillary Clinton.  John Edwards is a distant third with 19 percent.  Bill Richardson is way down at 6 percent.

Gentlemen—starting with you, Chuck Todd—what‘s this all mean?  Let‘s talk Democrats tonight.  Is Barack Obama on the eve of what looks like a victory?

CHUCK TODD, NBC POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Not only that, I mean, it looks like the trajectory is still going up.  I mean, in all these polls, everything seems to be moving up.  The only problem—and if this is a problem, it‘s a problem the Obama people are embracing—is this burden of expectation because what‘s interesting is the polls on the average say 8 points, you talk to the campaign, and everybody‘s thinking this is going to be a blowout, that this is going to be a landslide...

MATTHEWS:  Double digit.

TODD:  ... that we‘re on the verge—remember McCain/Bush in 2000, and it was 4 or 5-point leads that McCain had going into this final day, and all of a sudden, it exploded to 18.  Now everybody is expecting the explosion that, you know, sometime midday tomorrow, all of a sudden, we‘re going to get the whispers if the exit polls, and everybody‘s going to be, Oh, my God, he‘s up by how much?


DAVID GREGORY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  You know, everybody in Iowa remembers the fact that Clinton and Obama ran about even among Democrats, but New Hampshire is about independent voters, about 45 percent, young voters.  All these independents are expected to give Obama a real surge.  I‘ve spoken to Clinton advisers today who are already talking about a February 5 strategy.  That tells you something about where they are.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s a fallback strategy.

GREGORY:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  What I hear is Obama‘s leading among Democrats now, is that correct?

GREGORY:  Well, and that‘s a key test for him...


GREGORY:  ... because he doesn‘t just want to be the candidate of independents.  He may have created new voters in Iowa, which was significant, it can‘t be taken away, but he‘s got to look toward other states, including South Carolina and the February 5 (INAUDIBLE)  He‘s got to be able to win among Democrats.

MATTHEWS:  Tom Brokaw, 8-point spread, according to the average of the polls, for Obama.

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS:  Well, Chris, I think the interesting thing is that we don‘t know who did not get polled.  There are an awful lot of independents that David Gregory just referred to who continue to say that they‘re undecided.  But even in flinty New Hampshire, they can get moved by all the emotion that you see now attached to the Obama campaign, and when they go into the voting booth tomorrow, they may want to think, I‘d like to get with a winner here.  And that‘s the factor that could increase his lead beyond the 8 points.

But again, we don‘t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.  New Hampshire has surprised us in the past both ways, up and down.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at a moment with Hillary Clinton today that‘s getting a lot of attention, where Hillary shows a bit of emotion about the political situation she now confronts tomorrow in New Hampshire.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It‘s not easy.  It‘s not easy.  And I couldn‘t do it if I just didn‘t, you know, passionately believe it was the right thing to do.  You know, I have so many opportunities from this country, I just don‘t want to see us fall backwards, you know?


CLINTON:  So you know, this is very personal for me.  It‘s not just political.  It‘s not just public.  I see what‘s happening.  And we have to reverse it.  And some people think elections are a game.  They think it‘s, like, who‘s up or who‘s down.  It‘s about our country.  It‘s about our kids‘ futures.  And it‘s really about all of us together.  You know, some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds.  And we do it, each one of us, because we care about our country.


MATTHEWS:  David Gregory, your thoughts about that moment?

GREGORY:  Well, I think it‘s striking.  Look, I mean, the rap against Hillary Clinton is that a lot of people don‘t like her.  They think that she‘s cold and calculating.  And what we‘ve seen on Saturday night, she was asked about the likability issue, she said, It hurts my feelings.  It‘s a very human response, even though she made kind of a joke out of it.

MATTHEWS:  Is that her reaction to looking bad in the polls?

GREGORY:  Well, I mean, I think it‘s a real response.  I mean, that‘s the point.  It‘s how anybody, I think, would respond.  If she didn‘t respond that way, I think you‘d have to wonder about her.  I think in this case, too, all of a sudden, you see pent-up emotion.  You know, where that‘s coming from, there‘s probably 1,000 answers for that.

But the reality is that she is in a tough fight, and she is in a position now where she‘s saying two things.  One, she‘s giving up a little bit more of herself, that a lot of people have been saying she should do.  And second, she‘s sticking to what is a very important argument, which is change is important if you can get it done, and experience matters.  And that is still her best argument.  It could get rejected by the end of this campaign, but she still, I think, has to run on the issue of experience and Obama‘s inexperience.

MATTHEWS:  Is she saying—is she saying, Chuck, that Barack was going to lose the general, that everything we‘ve stood for is going to fall backward?  Does she mean that things will fall backward if he wins?

TODD:  I don‘t think so.  I don‘t think that‘s where she was going here.  I think...

MATTHEWS:  Well, what does she mean here?

TODD:  I think this was—a little bit of everything.  Look, the most psychoanalyzed woman in the world is Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS:  Well, keep it up!

TODD:  OK?  And I—and we sit here and we‘re trying to figure it out and what‘s going on.  I tend to think that this was somebody who‘s had a really bad week, is on the cusp of what could be the end of her national political career.

MATTHEWS:  So she was searching for words?

TODD:  And I think it was one of those...


TODD:  ... just real moments where everything gets caught up—this is not an easy time for anybody.  They‘re all tired.  Let‘s remember that.  We‘re all tired.  You know, I think we‘re all—could get overly emotional under the right circumstances, so—but I think that she‘s under a lot of pressure.  And let‘s not—I mean, this—nobody has ever lost a nomination after winning Iowa and New Hampshire.  It‘s never happened.

MATTHEWS:  So Tom, is it a Muskie moment?

BROKAW:  Well, the Muskie moment was slightly different.  You know, it was a question about whether he really cried or not, or whether it was just a cold outside “The Manchester Union-Leader.”

In this case—listen, we all know because we‘ve been witness to this, although we‘ve not been in the cockpit.  Running for president is the single hardest job in America.  I‘ve always believed that.  You really go out and expose yourself in ways that you don‘t any other pursuit that you may have.

Hillary Clinton has been triangulated in this campaign not just by Barack Obama and his campaign and John Edwards coming after her increasingly, but also by those on the right.  If you listen to talk radio as you drive across Iowa, as I did, or in New Hampshire the other day, or watch what‘s going on a lot of the more conservative television channels or read the newspapers, she‘s the target all day long.  Every day she‘s in the crosshairs.

And I think that this was a genuine moment for her, and it probably tells us more about what her expectations are for tomorrow than what any of her campaign aides or what any of the polls say.

TODD:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look right now at something that Barack Obama said about what he expects to be his incoming, the attacks he believes will be directed at him by the Clinton people.  Here he is today.


Sen. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I mean, we‘re hearing a lot of stuff lately.  You know, the dump truck‘s being backed up.  You know, Beep, beep, beep, beep.  And then they‘re unloading everything all at once.


MATTHEWS:  Chuck, the dump truck—he‘s anticipating the list of things that Mark Penn has been distributing, that the first lady, former first lady, has been distributing about how Barack Obama voted for the $300 billion funding of the war, voted for the Patriot Act, did all these things that were fairly traditional Democrat centrist voting after pretending to be a real anti-war kind of guy.

TODD:  You know, the problem is, is it‘s tougher to do against a frontrunner, to start doing this stuff and throwing—I think, looking back, they‘re going to regret not going negative in Iowa.  I think that because he‘s getting new voters in—the easiest way to turn off new voters is to run a Washington campaign and go negative and do it often and force your opponent to have to respond to these negatives.  He might get such a lead coming out of here, he won‘t feel the need to ever respond.  And you know, that‘s...

MATTHEWS:  You mean it may be too little, too late?

TODD:  It could be.  I mean, I think that the dump truck should have come six weeks ago.

GREGORY:  Just quickly, I think what‘s interesting here—you talk about politics being about poetry and not prose.  We really thought it was going to be about prose, that after George Bush, the Democrats, everybody would be motivated about experience.  You‘d have to have somebody who was experienced as a Democrat.  We‘re really finding that change, the idea of throwing everybody out, being moved by somebody who wants to take the country in a brand-new direction, even if it‘s radical change, seems to be capturing voters‘ imaginations.  But that‘s the real test here because don‘t forget, if Hillary Clinton were to pull this out, the equation would be totally different.

MATTHEWS:  Sure.  And I have to tell you, having seen a Barack Obama speech, Tom, the other day—it seems like 100 years ago, it was yesterday.  It was the most powerful speech I can remember ever hearing.  It is poetry up here so far.

BROKAW:  Well, and it was in Iowa, as well, because this campaign so far that Barack Obama has been running—choose whatever metaphor you want.  I‘ve been using the word “tone.”  It‘s much more about tone than any clause in a health care plan that he may have or how he voted for supplemental funding for the Iraq war.  At this point, there is such a desperate feeling on the part of a lot of people who are not necessarily connected to the traditional party structure that they want a chance to reclaim their country, and they think that this is the instrument or the agent who can do that for them.

Now, it‘s going to get tougher for Barack Obama, if he wins tomorrow in New Hampshire, between now and February 5, and not just because of Hillary Clinton.  Republicans are going to be coming after him, as well, because they don‘t want him to get too far out front.

At this point, he is a real phenom, to use an old baseball cliche, and politics still—we still have a ways to go here, and he‘ll have some tougher answers.  But at the moment, he‘s playing this about as perfectly as anyone I‘ve seen, and I‘ve been going to New Hampshire since 1972, covering it since 1968.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at the Republican side.  The CNN new poll has McCain leading by 6 points.  The Suffolk poll has Romney up by 3 points.  Again, that Suffolk poll may be looking like an exception to the trend.  The Marist poll has McCain up by 4 points.  The Real Clear Politics average looks like this, McCain leads at 34 percent, Romney 5 points behind at 29 percent, Huckabee a distant third at 12 percent, Giuliani and Ron Paul both in single digits.

Chuck, again, this is a much closer race.  Could go either way?

TODD:  And I feel like it could go either way.  I know I thought I sensed this in Iowa, where you thought that Romney‘s organization could claw its way, and yet a bunch of new evangelical voters flooded the caucuses for Huckabee and created this 10-point lead that none of us saw.  This time, though, you look at this and you think, all these people flocking over to Obama, you know, McCain may have more of a ceiling here and not as much room to grow because of the Obama phenomenon.  Maybe Romney can claw his way into there.  Maybe Romney can keep this really close.  You know, Romney had a better debate last night than he did Saturday night.  I think his closing message is pretty good.  He‘s trying to suddenly become Mr. Change Guy.


TODD:  And it‘s a very good closing message.  And I actually think—my theory has been he‘s trying to drive voters away from McCain suddenly become Mr. Change Guy, and it‘s a very good closing message.  And I actually think—my theory has been he‘s trying to drive voters away from McCain to Obama so that he can win with Republicans.

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s subtle.

GREGORY:  A couple of points here.  One is that Mitt Romney is making a very definite pitch to the conservative Republican base here, conservative messages is on taxes and immigration, against John McCain.  But he is now, just today, making this pitch that he‘s the one that can beat Barack Obama in the general.  He‘s trying to peel off those—some of the McCain voters, the independents, more conservative independents.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s his (INAUDIBLE) that he‘s a better shot than McCain?

GREGORY:  That Barack Obama—that Barack Obama beat Hillary, Dodd and Biden, all these inside Washington senators, in Iowa, and that he‘s not going to be capable—McCain would not be capable of turning Washington inside out—that‘s the new talking point—and that a guy like Romney can.  He can be an outsider and go outsider to outsider.

MATTHEWS:  This is why McCain said he thinks of the word “change” when he thinks of Romney...

GREGORY:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... because he‘s got a new presentation almost every day now.

GREGORY:  But look, it is, and it‘s—but it‘s tacking.


GREGORY:  It‘s a strategic tacking here that is not about argument.  The McCain people will argue that Republicans ought to coalesce behind him because he could best make a national security argument against Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS:  Tom Brokaw, it seems to me that Romney has not caught the hearts and minds of the Republican Party generally at all in these early pollings.

BROKAW:  No, I think that that‘s fair to say, in part because they can‘t figure out where he is on any given day.  He has done 180s on most of the bedrock issues for the Republican base.  On the other hand, he does have a lot of money.  He does make a good appearance.

I suppose that if I were in the McCain camp, I‘d be worrying about how they see Senator McCain at this point.  He‘ll be the oldest candidate, and the Republicans are going to start thinking about who‘s in the best position to beat Obama, if he turns out to be the candidate for the Democratic Party.

And I‘m sure that they have some questions about John McCain, who‘s been in the Senate a long time.  He is 72 years old.  His health is in apparently very good form.  He‘s very vigorous, very robust.  On the other hand, on Tim Russert—with Tim Russert yesterday on “Meet the Press,” he said, We‘re going to be in Iraq for the next 100 years, and that‘s something that he‘ll be answering for for a long time.

MATTHEWS:  Oh!  God.  Let‘s go around and get the morning line from you.  Chuck, what‘s it going to look like tomorrow.

TODD:  Tomorrow?

MATTHEWS:  Roughly.

TODD:  It‘s going to be how big is this Barack victory going to be.  And then if it is as big as people feel like it‘s going to be, even though the polls are saying one thing, but there‘s this—you get this sense that there‘s something a happening here again out there...


TODD:  ... as Buffalo Springfield says, “What it ain‘t exactly clear.”

MATTHEWS:  I like that song.

TODD:  But something‘s happening...


TODD:  ... and if it happens big, you know, it may wash out a lot of people.

MATTHEWS:  People say Deval Patrick in Massachusetts in the governor‘s race was the same kind of ballooning at the end, a big exponential growth at the very end.

GREGORY:  Right.  And you know late night rallies tonight driving out the vote.  Turn-out again is going to be key.  How big is that independent vote, and does it lift Obama...

MATTHEWS:  Will Bill and Hillary‘s appearance together tonight create an emotional pullback here?

GREGORY:  I think it could.  I think that, again, Hillary Clinton is showing more of herself here in the stretch.  She‘s under pressure, and we‘re seeing her perform under pressure...


GREGORY:  ... in a way that we haven‘t seen yet.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you, David Gregory.  Thank you, Chuck Todd.  And of course, thank you, Tom Brokaw.

BROKAW:  My pleasure, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Tonight at 7:00 Eastern, a live edition of the HARDBALL “Power Rankings.”  Who‘s showing power on the eve of the New Hampshire primary?

And coming up, the fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, it comes down to a key difference in their message.

And what about the big winner in Iowa, Mike Huckabee?  I caught up with him over a hamburger, or a Huckle-burger, in Concord, New Hampshire, late today.


MATTHEWS:  Congratulations.


MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE) lost 35 pounds, you lost 100.  My God, what a role model.

HUCKABEE:  If you lost that much, there wouldn‘t be anything left.  So go ahead and lose the rest of it and then (INAUDIBLE) gone.


MATTHEWS:  Number three tonight.  You‘re going to come in third tomorrow, right?

HUCKABEE:  We hope so, Chris.  You know, we‘ve had a great—look at the response here.  It‘s growing.  And we‘re just pumped about the people of New Hampshire‘s response to us, and we‘re very excited about where this campaign is headed.  And we‘ve surprised people through every step, and we‘re going to continue to do that.

MATTHEWS:  So what happens in Iowa doesn‘t stay in Iowa.

HUCKABEE:  Absolutely not.  It just—it spreads like a wildfire across America.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  We‘ll see you.

HUCKABEE:  Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Governor.



MATTHEWS:  What‘s this all about? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s amazing.  It‘s...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t know.  I‘m speechless.  It‘s hope.  It‘s

I‘m a Republican, and I just can‘t get enough. 


MATTHEWS:  That‘s what it‘s like up here. 

And there seems to be a clear difference in the way that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are making their presentations.  Barack Obama makes the presentation, you know, we, all together, including the regular people who have never gotten involved in politics, can get involved in this system and really retake our country. 

Hillary Clinton is more traditional.  She says, put me in power and I will fight for you the good fight against the bad guys—very different approaches. 

David Shuster is joining us right now, my pal, HARDBALL‘s best correspondent. 



MATTHEWS:  Tell us what‘s going on, in terms of the message, because I think, if you‘re not up here and walking around, you don‘t hear the real difference between Barack and Hillary. 

SHUSTER:  Yes.  And, Chris, these distinctions have been consistent, despite the differences in terms of how they tweak their speeches from event to event. 

With—let‘s start with Barack Obama.  First of all, when Obama talks, he really does try to make his audience feel like they are part of a movement, that, with everybody‘s help, we can lift up our politics and our nation, and that it‘s something we‘re all part of. 

Here‘s Obama.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  But, together, you and I, we will remake this nation, and we will remake this world, and we will create the kind of America that all of us can believe again. 


OBAMA:  That‘s what we can accomplish in two days‘ time, if you will stand with me, if you will vote for me.  Let‘s go change the world!



SHUSTER:  Now, Hillary...

MATTHEWS:  “You.”  The pronoun is you, you.

SHUSTER:  That‘s right.  The pronoun is...

MATTHEWS:  Not I, not me. 

SHUSTER:  Right. 

Now, Hillary Clinton, she also wants to change the world, but she‘s the one who has got the experience and the political chops to do it.  And you think, taking away, not we, but she, after she speaks.



SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I‘m running for president because I believe that I can continue this forward progress, solve our problems, make us proud of our country again, and restore our leadership in the world.  We are so much better than what we have had to live through the last seven years. 



SHUSTER:  Now, it‘s a little bit of a reference to we at the end, but the predicate is I; I‘m the one who can help all of you lift everybody up. 

Now, with Hillary Clinton behind, Chris, she has been taking some jabs at Barack Obama.  She‘s been taking aim at his sort of purity, the idea that Barack Obama doesn‘t take on—that he‘s taking on the special interests and that somehow he is pure. 

Hillary Clinton says, no, he‘s not. 



CLINTON:  And Senator Obama himself has said that records matter.  And, so, therefore, I think the records of all of us matter.  And, if you‘re going to be railing about lobbyists, and then you have the chair of your campaign, who is a major lobbyist in this state, I think that is an interesting piece of information for voters. 


SHUSTER:  Now, Chris...

MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  Let‘s get this straight. 


MATTHEWS:  Mark Penn is head of Burson-Marsteller, one of the biggest P.R. lobbying firms around. 


SHUSTER:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  And that‘s her campaign consultant. 

SHUSTER:  Right.  But her...

MATTHEWS:  What is—in other words, she‘s saying, “Barack is as bad as I am”?

SHUSTER:  Yes.  She‘s basically saying that:  Barack Obama is just like me, that he‘s not as pure...


SHUSTER:  ... that he—when he represents change as far as lobbyists, no, he doesn‘t represent change.

MATTHEWS:  And he voted for the Patriot Act.  I voted for the Patriot Act.

SHUSTER:  Right.  Exactly. 

MATTHEWS:  He voted for the $300 billion for the war.  I voted for $300 billion for the war.  He‘s as bad as I am.

SHUSTER:  Yes.  He‘s...


MATTHEWS:  What an amazing campaign claim.

SHUSTER:  Yes, the idea that:  Don‘t give this guy any bonus points. 

Judge him from something else. 


SHUSTER:  Now, you already—you played the clip.  I want to play it again.

As you know, Chris, the best way to sort of deal with these attacks is to sort of laugh them off, to joke about them.

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

SHUSTER:  And that‘s how Obama was, when he was sort of dismissive of Hillary Clinton with this. 



OBAMA:  I would say one more thing that we‘re hearing lately—and this is—I mean, we‘re hearing a lot of stuff lately.  You know, the dump truck‘s being backed up.  You know, beep, beep, beep, beep.  And then they are unloading everything, all at once. 


SHUSTER:  The dump trucks?  Beep, beep, beep?  I mean, it totally takes the wind out of the sails Hillary Clinton, when she—when Obama does that. 

But, again, the key message, Chris—you got it exactly right—from speech to speech, any part of New Hampshire that you go to, with Hillary Clinton, it‘s:  I will fight for you to lift us up.

With Barack Obama, it‘s:  We can all change the world together—very distinct differences. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I watched it yesterday.  I went to both speeches.  And Hillary was very defiant, and standing in the middle of the room with people around her, saying:  We can win this, bringing everybody in, saying, I will fight for you.  I have fought the good fight for 35 years. 

It‘s hard to say you fought the good fight, since you were on the impeachment committee as a law student, basically, 35 years ago, which is older than most of the people in the room, and say you‘re the change agent. 

SHUSTER:  Yes.  I mean, no, I mean, that‘s the problem, that Hillary Clinton is trying to have it both ways.

She is trying to say:  Look at me.  I have got all this experience, but, no...

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

SHUSTER:  ... I also can be the one to bring you change.


SHUSTER:  And that‘s a big difference.

MATTHEWS:  I love you, Shuster.  You‘re the best.

SHUSTER:  Thanks, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David Shuster.

Up next: the HARDBALL “Big Number.”  It‘s a big word used often in this campaign.  And, by the way, you will recognize it.  You have heard it a lot lately.

You‘re watching HARDBALL—or, as they say up here, HARDBALL—only on MSNBC.  


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She is extraordinary.  And I have never cared so much about an election.  And I‘m doing this for my children and my grandchildren.  She has to go to the White House.



MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

I have been telling you about this interesting moment between myself and Senator Hillary Clinton during the—right after a press—press conference the other day. 

Here it is.  Toward the end of yesterday‘s press conference, there‘s Hillary Clinton and myself. 


MATTHEWS:  In the final analysis, when people vote here on Tuesday and later in this season of voting, when they look at you, and they look at a Barack Obama, just the two of you, what‘s the essential difference between the two of you and how fast we‘re getting out of Iraq? 

CLINTON:  The essential difference is that I believe I will get our troops out as quickly and responsibly as is possible.  You know...

MATTHEWS:  And he won‘t be responsible? 

CLINTON:  I‘m just talking about what I will do, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, what‘s the difference between the two of you? 

CLINTON:  Well, you will have to draw the difference.  But let me tell you...

MATTHEWS:  You have to draw the difference. 

CLINTON:  No, let me tell you what I have done.  I‘m not on your show. 

I‘m answering your question. 

MATTHEWS:  Please come on the show. 

CLINTON:  Yes.  Well, right. 


MATTHEWS:  Is that an answer?

CLINTON:  You know, I—I don‘t know what to do with men who are obsessed with me.  I—honestly, I have never understood it. 



MATTHEWS:  Obsessed.  I‘m not obsessed. 

CLINTON:  Aww, Christopher, baby. 


MATTHEWS:  It‘s not obsession.  How you doing? 

CLINTON:  I‘m good.  I‘m good. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)             

MATTHEWS:  I have always said I like Hillary Clinton when I‘m with her.  She‘s a very nice person.  This isn‘t about politics. 

Let me talk about our HARDBALL number tonight, the HARDBALL “Big Number” tonight. 

Let‘s watch Hillary Clinton giving an answer the other night.  She said one word 10 times.  Let‘s watch. 


CLINTON:  Well, making change, making—wait a minute.  Now, wait a minute.  I‘m going to respond to this, because, obviously, making change is not about what you believe.  It‘s not about a speech you make.  It is about working hard.

I want to make change, but I have already made change.  I will continue to make change.  I‘m not just running on a promise of change.  I‘m running on 35 years of change.  I‘m running on having taken on the drug companies and the health insurance companies, taking on the oil companies. 

So, you know, I think it is clear that what we need is somebody who can deliver change.  And we don‘t need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered.  The best way to know what change I will produce is to look at the changes that I have already made.


MATTHEWS:  I think it‘s fair to say that, in those 35 years, she‘s used the word change a lot more frequently. 

Anyway, 103 times, the Democratic candidates for president the other night in that debate, Saturday night, used the word change. 

Tonight‘s “Big Number”: 103.  They love that word change. 

We will be right back to talk about how Hillary Clinton can fix her wagon and how perhaps Mitt Romney can do the same, if they both lose here tomorrow.  We‘re going to have the political fix-up crew join us tomorrow to tell—tonight—to tell us how they can fix their problem starting tomorrow night, if they have to.

We will be right back with HARDBALL.


BERTHA COOMBS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Bertha Coombs with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

Stocks end the day mixed, after an up-and-down day—the Dow Jones industrials gaining 27 points.  The S&P 500 picked up just over four, while the Nasdaq lost five. 

Oil prices fell on warmer weather in the Northeast and concerns about a slowing economy.  Crude fell $2.82 in New York, closing at $95.09 a barrel. 

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the Bush administration is considering how to give the economy a boost, as it weathers the housing correction, but does not want to rush.  There are growing expectations the president might unveil an economic stimulus package as early as his State of the Union address on January 28. 

And McDonald‘s is taking aim at Starbucks in a new coffee war.  The fast-food giant is planning to sell coffee and install coffee bars at its 14,000 U.S. stores.  Meantime, Starbucks announcing this afternoon it‘s firing CEO Jim Donald and giving the job back to chairman and founder Howard Schultz,. 

That‘s it from CNBC, America‘s business channel—now back to


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Well, we know the situation right now in the polling, that Hillary Clinton is significantly behind Barack Obama in all the polls up here in New Hampshire, and that John McCain is a bit ahead of Mitt Romney. 

So, let‘s go to worst-case scenarios for both Clinton and Romney with our experts. 

We have got Steve McMahon, and we have got Joe Scarborough here. 

You‘re a Democratic consultant. 

You‘re a genius, right? 


JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  I will take that moniker. 

MATTHEWS:  And you work all—and you work all day. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I work all day. 

MATTHEWS:  I want to ask you the interesting—I want to do a little cross-referencing here, cross-fixing. 

You‘re the news guy, but now you go in and you‘re the political fixer, and your job is to show up Wednesday morning in a Hillary Clinton headquarters, and you got the room‘s attention.  What do you tell them to do if they just got blown away up here in New Hampshire? 

SCARBOROUGH:  I tell them what Steve said before.  Move the goal posts, first of all, but just tell them, let‘s just throw away our campaign strategy.  We‘re not going to play by the rules anymore. 

We‘re going to go from being the presumptive nominee and the front-runner to being the guerrilla that is going to pick Barack Obama off state by state.  The first thing I do is say, get everybody out of South Carolina.  We‘re not going to be Rudy Giuliani and say, we may have this strategy; we may not.  No, we‘re pulling out. 

MATTHEWS:  Give it up?

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re pulling out of South Carolina.  The African-Americans there make up 40 percent to 45 percent of the vote in the primary.  Barack Obama is going to win South Carolina. 

We‘re going to pick the closed primary states on Super Tuesday. 

Forget Florida.

MATTHEWS:  Where only Democrats are allowed to play.

SCARBOROUGH:  Where only—forget Florida.  It doesn‘t count.  Forget South Carolina. 

We will work Nevada, but, after that, we are going to focus on the closed Democratic primary states.  And you know what?  We‘re going to get more delegates in a day than Barack Obama is going to get in a month.  And that‘s how we‘re going to ride this out.

MATTHEWS:  So, play the numbers?

SCARBOROUGH:  Play the numbers.  And, again, show the discipline that, quite frankly, Rudy Giuliani hasn‘t been able to show. 

If he had just had the Florida strategy and the Super Tuesday strategy, he would be in good shape right now.  Hillary Clinton has to have the discipline to know, she will not win South Carolina.  It‘s over.  Pick your closed primaries on Super Tuesday, and you will still be the nominee. 

MATTHEWS:  So, the prevent defense?  Let them have what they want, but keep what you need?

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Joe is a genius, but I don‘t think he understands Democratic politics as well as—as...

MATTHEWS:  As you do?

MCMAHON:  Well, as—I have worked in it for a long time.

If he—if he skips—I agree generally with what Joe is saying.  They have to move the goal posts.  I think what they should do is, they should say—they should say, February 5 is the day we are going to pick a nominee.  February 5 is the day when all the delegates are going to be allocated.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s the regular season. 

MCMAHON:  That‘s the absolute regular season. 

Every one of these primaries counts.  And the reason they can‘t skip South Carolina is because the African-American political establishment will go absolutely nuts, and they will be destroyed if they do that, in my opinion.  And she will start to see her African-American support start to flip over to Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS:  So, Jim Clymer, who is the hero down there, will switch to Obama officially?

MCMAHON:  That‘s...

MATTHEWS:  And she will lose a lot of support...


MCMAHON:  I believe—I believe that that‘s what would happen.  The African-American community would be in absolute rebellion, because...

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what?  If she follows your—your direction, she‘s going to be following sort of the Democratic process.  We‘re going to study this group and this group.

MCMAHON:  Well...

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s what has gotten her in this situation right now. 

MCMAHON:  No.  No.  Losing—losing, Joe, is what‘s gotten her in this situation.  And she needs to change the narrative.  She needs to change the trajectory. 

SCARBOROUGH:  She‘s going to lose South Carolina, though.

MCMAHON:  Well, I know.  But she—but what she needs to do is say, we‘re going to pick a president on November—or on February 5. 

What I would do is, I would say:  On February 5, we‘re going to pick a president.  I‘m going to abide by the results that day.  If Barack Obama wins, I am going to support him until November.  But, between now and then, we should debate two or three times every week, because voters should have a choice. 


Should she try to compete for the change vote, compete for the youth vote, or try to drive down participation by going negative?  In other words, if you go completely negative against Barack Obama, that will reduce participation, but she could win with a smaller group of voters.  Should she do that? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hillary Clinton is not the type of person who can go negative. 

Ronald Reagan, with a smile on his face, could go negative.  Even George W. Bush could go negative against John McCain.  Hillary Clinton can‘t go negatively against Barack Obama.  Right now, Barack Obama, he is giving Democrats across America, and a lot of independents, a reason to believe that we have turned a chanter in American politics.  For the first time since June 6, 1968, there‘s a reason to be optimistic and to believe that this country can go in the right direction. 

MATTHEWS:  Since Bobby was killed.

SCARBOROUGH:  Since the day Bobby Kennedy died.  This is just a historic time for us.  She cannot—she can‘t brutalize him or she won‘t be the nominee. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look and hear what she said, and maybe we can judge her by her performance.  Here‘s Hillary Clinton talking about Barack‘s position on Iraq.  Let‘s take a look. 


CLINTON:  If you gave a speech, and a very good speech, against the war in Iraq in 2002, and then by 2004, you‘re saying you‘re not sure how you would have voted, and by 2005, 2006 and 2007 you vote for 300 billion dollars for the war you said you were against, that‘s not change. 


MATTHEWS:  But Hillary Clinton voted for the same 300 billion dollar defense bill. 

MCMAHON:  Yes, yes.  It‘s—

MATTHEWS:  So what‘s the point? 

MCMAHON:  I now think Joe‘s a genius again in Democratic politics because he‘s absolutely right.  She cannot attack Barack Obama.  Barack Obama is not just a candidate anymore, he‘s a movement.  He‘s an idea.  He‘s an aspiration.  When she goes in and she tries to kill a dream that people have, it‘s more dangerous, frankly, for her than it is for him. 

She‘s going to have to turn this thing and win it because people make a

different judgment about her and, frankly, make a different judgment about

what she‘s bringing to the table.  It‘s not going to be what Barack Obama -


SCARBOROUGH:  She already tried this in Iowa and it failed terribly. 

This was the beginning of her problem. 

MATTHEWS:  Can she go—can she be the change candidate? 


MATTHEWS:  Can she be the change candidate? 

MCMAHON:  Not as well as he can. 

MATTHEWS:  Can she be the restoration candidate and bring back more Clinton like you had in the ‘90s?  That was a good time.  Let‘s bring it back.

MCMAHON:  A lot of people think that -- 

MATTHEWS:  Should she do that? 

MCMAHON:  I don‘t think she should do that.  I think she needs to be a different kind of candidate. 

MATTHEWS:  Should she call for a continuation of the Clinton era? 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, she should look forward.  What she should is forget the ‘90s.  She should focus on attacking George W. Bush.  That‘s all she should do.  She should stay away from Barack Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  Should she try to be nicer or tougher?  Joe? 

SCARBOROUGH:  I think she stays the same.  Well, she has to be tougher on George W. Bush.  And, again, just focus on Bush and the Republicans.  Be Harry Truman 1948. 

MATTHEWS:  How does she kill the sense of an impending execution, the sort of sick feeling out there this woman‘s going down? 

MCMAHON:  She has to change the trajectory and she has to give people some other reason to believe that she might be able to do this.  Right now nobody has any reason to believe that she‘s going to pull this thing out.  She‘s got to do something dramatic, bold, and different to change the dynamic and to change narrative. 

MATTHEWS:  Should she go into hiding for a couple days and come back with something brilliant, in other words create some drama? 

MCMAHON:  I think she would be better off doing that.  What happens with the tsunami is when it hits the shore you have to wait until the waves go away before you see who is left standing. 

MATTHEWS:  Should she leave Bill out of the picture for a while? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, Chappaqua.  Go to Chappaqua. 

MATTHEWS:  Should she keep Bill out of the picture?

MCMAHON:  I think if she wants to be a change candidate, it doesn‘t always help.  She‘s a very—

MATTHEWS:  She‘s going out with him tonight and having a big event tonight, a big rally, both of them.  I wonder if that is going to make the point you guys are trying to make. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wednesday morning she needs to have a big chart and she needs to show how she won the Democratic vote in Iowa.  She needs to show how she won the Democratic vote in New Hampshire. 

MATTHEWS:  If she does. 

SCARBOROUGH:  If she does, which I suspect she just may well do.  And she needs to say this is where we‘re going to be campaigning next. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘m afraid she‘ll lose the Democratic vote here tomorrow. 

MCMAHON:  I believe she already lost the Democratic vote in Iowa.  She lost it by one point. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go—I want you, Steve, to go over to the Republican side.  If Mitt Romney takes a second fall here tomorrow in his own backward, his own backyard of New Hampshire, being the former governor of Massachusetts, what‘s he got to do to get back in this campaign after taking two big whacks? 

MCMAHON:  It depends how big the whack is.  I think what he has to do, in any event, is he has to win in Michigan.  

MATTHEWS:  Next Tuesday? 

MCMAHON:  If he loses here by a significant margin I think it is going to be really tough for him to rebound and recover there.  But if you look at the Republican primary and if you look at this election, there‘s sort of three lanes.  There‘s strength, which Rudy Giuliani seems to have.  There‘s experience, which John McCain seems to have.  And there‘s change, which Mitt Romney seemed to be running on up until a few months ago when he became this conservative.  He was inspiring people for a while and then he decided to tried to out-conservative the conservatives. 

I think he needs to go back to a change message, an inspirational message. 

MATTHEWS:  But how many times can Mitt Romney change who he is and what he sells?  He has a new set of wares every day?  Now he says I can beat Barack, the other guy can‘t.  Where did that come from? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Maybe so.  The bottom line is that Mitt Romney still is a safe bet to be the nominee for this reason; nobody else has money!  I mean, we are not—the Republican party does not have a Barack Obama.  John McCain is in debt.  Even if John McCain wins tomorrow, what‘s he going to do?  He‘ll go to South Carolina.  Huckabee—his new enemy, will be Huckabee.

And watch, John McCain, if he wins tomorrow, will have his heartbroken again and once again in South Carolina. 

MATTHEWS:  Who is Romney, the man from Glad?  Is he the guy that shows up in your kitchen and cleans it up quickly wearing a white suit?  Is that what he is?  Is he the guys who fixes up the Olympic?

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s a great executive.  That‘s what he is.  I‘ve never known anyone that‘s worked with Mitt Romney that doesn‘t say he‘s a great executive. 

MATTHEWS:  Why is he in politics? 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s the point that Steve made, if he had said, this is the type of leader I am, and I‘m an executive; I‘m not a conservative, I think he‘d be in first place. 

MATTHEWS:  He has sold a lot of bad arguments so far, unfortunately. 

MCMAHON:  He shouldn‘t try to mold his views in a socially conservative way.  He‘s got enough as an executive, the turn around artist.  He‘s a fiscal conservative. 

MATTHEWS:  Why did he run as Jerry Falwell for seven or eight months now? 

MCMAHON:  I don‘t understand it.  But he needs to change. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, Joe Scarborough, Steve McMahon, thank you very much. 

Up next—the fix-up guys.  We‘ll have you back when there‘s more disasters on the highway.  Up next, the politics fix on the eve of the New Hampshire primary.  It is the eve.  It is tomorrow.  This is HARDBALL tonight from New Hampshire, in Manchester, with all the people around me.




can‘t make her younger, taller, male.  There‘s lots of things I can‘t do.  But—but if you want a president and you need one, she would be by far the best. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Just one day—one evening now, before the New Hampshire primary.  Time now for the politics fix.  Pat Buchanan is an MSNBC political analyst, who won the New Hampshire primary back 1996 with the Republican party.  Jennifer Donahue is with the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselms.  And Mike Barnicle, who knows how to talk the accent up here, is a political analyst for MSNBC. 

Let me ask you about the polling right now.  Pat Buchanan, eight points ahead in the average polling right now.  Barack seems to be surging. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  He is surging.  When I came up here, I guess Saturday, he was even.  Sunday, he was ten points ahead.  I‘ve seen a poll today where he was at 42.  I think he‘s surging.  I don‘t see how Hillary can prevent a real crushing defeat. 

MATTHEWS:  Double digit. 

BUCHANAN:  Double-digit defeat and I think they better go back into—they better assemble on their strategy Wednesday morning. 

MATTHEWS:  Jennifer Donahue, double digits do you for Barack up here? 

JENNIFER DONAHUE, THE NEW HAMPSHIRE INSTITUTE OF POLITICS:  I do.  I do.  Or nine points.  But here‘s another thing to look at, Edwards could come in second.  He did that four years ago.  And that would be the end for Hillary Clinton. 

MATTHEWS:  You believe the end thus endeth. 

DONAHUE:  I think that—Fini, monsieur. 

MATTHEWS:  In all the languages we know. 

DONAHUE:  Here‘s the thing, how could she recover when she‘s telling her advisers—

MATTHEWS:  She has 100 million dollars to spend. 

DONAHUE:  But who—in what other state are they going to vote for her if she loses Iowa to Edwards and Obama and then New Hampshire to them? 

MATTHEWS:  In states with lots of old people, where only Democrats are allowed to vote.  How about that? 

DONAHUE:  Name one. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I probably—maybe New York.  What do you think, Michael? 

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think this thing is so over.  If she has 100 million dollars, she better spend 95 of the hundred million on New York state because she‘ll lose there, too. 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t agree. 

MATTHEWS:  My god. 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think she‘s dead.  I really don‘t.  I think she‘s in real trouble, serious trouble.  But this is a long race.  She‘s got until the 5th of February.  If I were her, I think she should not try to change here message.  I know you were talking her earlier.  But I would go out and define Barack Obama with my ads—

MATTHEWS:  Negative ads. 

DONAHUE:  No, that‘s what got her in this pickle in the first place. 

She didn‘t show us who she was.  We still don‘t know her. 

BUCHANAN:  You‘re telling me she‘s dead and I‘m telling you she might have a chance to come back alive. 

DONAHUE:  She‘s deader than dead if she goes negative again.  That‘s what got her in this problem. 

BARNICLE:  Both of you, Pat, and you, Chris, have been around politics for years.  You‘re a much younger woman. 

DONAHUE:  I‘m not that young. 

BARNICLE:  The truth of it is, when you take out the media coverage of Hillary Clinton over the past 35 years, 25, 10 years, she is not a very good candidate!  When you measure candidates by their excellence in communicating with crowds—

DONAHUE:  Wait a minute. 

BARNICLE:  Showing empathy, she‘s not—

MATTHEWS:  Is she any worse than Dukakis? 


BUCHANAN:  Mike‘s point is exact in this sense; she cannot change her image between now and February 5th

DONAHUE:  Well, then, who is she, Pat? 

BUCHANAN:  She can define the guy she‘s running against.  It‘s the only shot she‘s got. 

DONAHUE:  I got to jump in here.  Pat, my friend, Barack Obama says, stand to a crowd of 450 people and they stand.  He says, Pat Buchanan, walk into that banner, you would walk into that banner.  He‘s a motivational speaker.  Who is Hillary Clinton?  Somebody tell me. 

MATTHEWS:  Finish your point. 

DONAHUE:  She hasn‘t defined herself.  She‘s been so busy defining the

other guy that the other guy -  

MATTHEWS:  Why did she walk away with two races in the Senate in New York? 

DONAHUE:  Because she told New Yorkers who she was.  I‘m from New York.  She told them and she went from top to bottom of that stage.  She had good advisers that time, and she heard the vote because she knew she was a transplant.  In New Hampshire, you don‘t hear the voters, you don‘t take the state. 

BUCHANAN:  Chris, let me ask you—you cannot redefine yourself.  She‘s Hillary Rodham Clinton.  She‘s got friends.  She‘s got enemies.  She has people who don‘t want her, people who do.  She can‘t change herself in four weeks.  She can maybe redefine Barack Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about the Republicans for a minute, because I think it‘s a much cloudier picture.  You start, Jennifer.  The polling shows John McCain a bit ahead. 


MATTHEWS:  But a bit isn‘t a lot. 

DONAHUE:  A bit isn‘t a lot and I‘m getting a weird feeling out there.  I thought McCain had this thing locked up about six days ago or four days ago.  And I think it‘s going to be close between him and Romney.  I do think McCain‘s got the edge.  But I think with so many independents going over to Obama, that McCain—he‘s holding some of the base.  But he‘s—you know, he‘s going to be close with Romney there, I do think. 

MATTHEWS:  What is the appeal of Mitt Romney? 

BUCHANAN:  He‘s an enormously attractive, talented, good-looking man, but one thing he has not done—he‘s articulate, very presentable, likable.  He does not bond emotionally and has not bonded emotionally with people. 

MATTHEWS:  A pollster friend of mine Alan Greg (ph) up in Connecticut once told me every great political leader—name them and you would agree on this—have three great attributes.  Motive, you know why they are there.  What drives them.  You know it.  You don‘t have to ask.  You know what they stand with.  Start with Reagan, FDR, Lincoln, you knew what they stood for.  Kennedy.

Number two, passion.  They cry once in a while.  They have emotion.  They laugh.  And three, spontaneity.  When something weird happens, they can respond to it.  Mitt Romney has no spontenaity.  If he has passion, I‘ve yet to see it.  Give me his motive.  Give me one for three. 

BUCHANAN:  He wants to be president of the United States.

DONAHUE:  Ego.  Ego. 

MATTHEWS:  Come on, Pat. 

BUCHANAN:  You are right in this sense, Ronald Reagan wanted to come there to do something. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  He wants to be president of the United States because he believes he‘s probably the most accomplished, capable executive in the country. 

DONAHUE:  Right.  It‘s a reason.  And his dad didn‘t make it. 

MATTHEWS:  Will, that‘s—


MATTHEWS:  I think we had a war over that issue once. 

DONAHUE:  I think you‘re right. 

BARNICLE:  The funny thing is that Senator Clinton and Mitt Romney have a similar problem.  It‘s the connection problem.  They have the guild-edge resume.  They are smart.  They are attractive.  They come with the whole package, in terms of knowledge of the issues.  But they can‘t connect with the voters. 

DONAHUE:  Not so fast. 

MATTHEWS:  Mitt Romney would have been a good city commons, wouldn‘t he? 


MATTHEWS:  We‘ll be back—actually join us in an hour, not at 1:00.  7:00 p.m. Eastern tonight, the New Hampshire primary.  We‘ll give you the HARDBALL power rankings.  Come back in an hour.  And tomorrow, the big night, our coverage begins at 5:00 eastern on HARDBALL.  I‘ll be in New York at our headquarters with Keith Olbermann.  We‘ll co-anchor throughout the night.  I think we might have a late result on the R side, an earlier result on the D side.  Tucker is up now. 



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