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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Tuesday, Oct. 12th, 2010, 5pm Show

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Mark Halperin, Richard Wolffe, Hampton Pearson, Michelle Bernard, Natalie Morales, Jeff Gardere, Dee Dee Myers, Josh Marshall, Ron Christie


Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington. 

Leading off tonight: Rescue in Chile.  Crews are ready to start their rescue operation that will free 33 miners trapped underground for 68 days, more than two months, the longest anyone‘s been trapped alive inside a mine.  Chile‘s president has arrived at the site, and the first miner‘s expected to be brought to the surface in about two hours.  It‘s a big international story, and we‘ll be covering it throughout the night here on MSNBC.

But big political news tonight, as well.  The Democrats finally break out of what James Carville, the “ragin‘ Cajun,” calls the fetal position.  They‘re fighting back now against the Republican onslaught—the battle for the women‘s vote and what Democrats need to do to get them to the polls.  And big Bill.  Bill Clinton hits the road for the Democrats, nine states to rally for his party.

We begin with the Chilean mine rescue.  NBC‘s Kerry Sanders is at the mine.  He joins us now with the latest.  Kerry, what a story, and you‘re covering it.  Everything looks like tremendous preparation to do this just right.

KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Everything has been set to make this all come off without a hitch.  All that said, they do recognize it could still be dangerous.  What they‘re going to do, if everything goes according to plan, is in the next couple of hours, they‘re going to take an escape capsule and they‘re going to drop it down the mine and bring it back.  It won‘t go all the way down that shaft, 2,0400 feet.  They‘ll bring it up, and then they‘re going to get one of the paramedics to get inside that capsule and they‘re going to send it down to the bottom.

He‘ll get out.  He‘ll greet those 33 miners who have been trapped down there.  And then the first miner will get in and take a journey of about 15 minutes to the surface.  They have special, designed clothes, much like a fighter pilot in an F-16.  It will keep the blood flowing, circulating, so as they stand in that tiny little capsule like this for 15 minutes, they won‘t have a problem with any sort of blood flow causing any clots.

Each man will take an aspirin before they depart.  That way, the blood will remain thin.  They‘ll be given an oxygen mask, which has about a 30 percent mix of oxygen with the air, slightly more than we normally breathe in, about 21 percent oxygen in the air.  That‘s designed to just keep their lungs clear as they come up what could be a dusty pipe.

And then when they get to the surface, they‘ll step out into the arms of three family members who have been camping in this desert, anxious to see them.  They had to make a choice of only three family members.  And as they come out—and this is going to be a worldwide event, and hopefully, it all goes off without a hitch—another mine—or another rescue worker, another paramedic, after they inspect the capsule, will get in and it will go back down.

They‘ll repeat this.  About four of five rescue paramedics will go down.  All 33 men will come up.  And in the time that they have now under a current schedule, they figure it‘s going to—they take only 15 minutes to come up, but they anticipate, with all the inspections and all the other things they need to do, that the entire process of bringing 33 men up from down below could last for 48 hours—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Kerry, who‘s running this rescue operation, the mining company or the government?

SANDERS:  Well, Kodoco (ph) is with the government.  It‘s sort of like in Mexico, where the oil company is nationalized.  That‘s the mining company here that is running the operation with the minister of mines.  But there are 1,000-plus people here, experts who all have a role in this.  They have technology brought in from a dozen countries around the world.

But the minister of the mines here, he is the one who is—Laurence Goldblum (ph).  He is the one who is in charge, to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.  He said today, You see me standing here with five other officials, but there are others who are involved that won‘t get the credit, that deserve the credit, as well.  But at the end of the day, if it goes well, he takes a big bow.  And if there‘s a problem, well, he‘s got some questions to answer.

MATTHEWS:  Are they worried about the psychology of people getting into this Phoenix 2, the rescue capsule itself?  It‘s only 22 inches wide.  I guess the guys haven‘t—they‘re not that big, I guess.  But I was thinking, it‘s only two sheets of paper wide, roughly, the whole capsule.  That‘s going to be a bit claustrophobic in there, but I guess they‘re used to that after two months.

SANDERS:  It is claustrophobic—well, they‘re not—and they‘re

miners.  This is the life that they‘ve chosen, to be inside the mine,

although Jimmy Sanchez (ph), who is the youngest of the miners, has only

been doing this for four months.  You know, when we talk about the size of

it‘s actually a little bit wider, 26 inches in the capsule, fitting into a 28-inch shaft there.

I‘m trying to think about the way to describe the width, and the best I can think of is when you get on one of those cheap airline seats.  It‘s kind of like that tight.


SANDERS:  But of course, you‘re standing, and you‘re in like this, so you either have your arms like this or like this, and then you come up.  The real concern is if the arms are down here, that means the radio to communicate, so they‘ll be able to talk, is down here in the hand, or up here.

So these guys have lost, on average, about 20 pounds, so they believe that there is not going to be any sort of size issues of the folks coming up here.  The real concern, quite frankly, is that 15-minute ride.  It can be a very anxious, anxious moment.  In fact, the health minister was even talking about the possibility in that 15 minutes, these men who have bonded in a way that brothers bond, that there may actually be some separation anxiety in the process.  And their greatest fear, of course, is somebody panicking.

MATTHEWS:  I can totally understand it.  I can‘t imagine what these guys are going through.  Anyway, it looks like they‘re going to make it.  At least the signs are good.  Thank you so much, Kerry Sanders, for that great report.

Much more on the mental state of the trapped miners after 68 days undergrounds.  Let‘s go to Jeff Gardere.  He‘s a psychologist and an NBC contributor.  I am so impressed, so admiring, obviously, of what these men have been able to do, keeping their sanity, their togetherness, becoming the opposite of “The Lord of the Flies,” from the book, but actually, creating a civilization of their own.

JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST, NBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes, they‘ve been able to set some sort of a structure down there.  People have stepped up, Chris, and taken on roles, one as a leader putting procedures together, one as a spiritual leader, one as sort of an entertainer, another one trying to make sure that they get exercise.  So they‘ve done all of the things you need to do in order to minimize the trauma that one will have.  But certainly, they are traumatized.

MATTHEWS:  Was this self-generated, or did someone send down to them some advice about how to organize?  Or how did it work?  You know how it started, this amazing ability to create a community?

GARDERE:  There was a shift leader by the name of Luis Urzua.  He was the one who was actually the leader of that group, to begin with.  And so he helped to begin putting all of these sort of procedures and structure in place.  And then, of course, then they have consultants, psychologists from around the world, people from NASA who contributed information, people who were submarine shift commanders, and so on.  All of these people gave them information that helped them in setting the structure and getting the people from aboveground to guide them all the way through this.

And of course, the families were instrumental in keeping these guys and having them keep their sanity, though some of them still have some severe mental health issues.

MATTHEWS:  Is claustrophobia, which I have—I think a normal amount of it, at least—is that something that‘s natural to human beings or do we build it up in our head?  We worry about what could happen if the ceiling came down or worried about oxygen being deprived.  Is claustrophobia normal, to be afraid of closed spaces, like you would think most people would really hate to be down in that mine right now?

GARDERE:  Well, it‘s not really normal, Chris, but it‘s something that many people do have.  And it‘s a learned behavior, a learned helplessness.  And I think what‘s happening with these guys, because they‘ve been down there for 68 days or so, I think all of them will have some element of claustrophobia.  And you made a great point.  When they‘re coming up in Phoenix 2, now they‘re going to be really in a very small space.

Of course, they‘re used to it now, but I think what the bigger issue will be is how will they deal with the claustrophobia once they get to the surface.  They may be out physically, but psychologically, they‘ll still be in.  Anything that will remind them of that mine—the smell of the earth, the sound of a crane, even looking at a bird cage, for example—will throw them back into that claustrophobia.  And as you know, Chris, people who have a severe case of this feel like not only the walls are closing in, but they‘re actually dying.  They have panic attacks.  And so that will be a big concern.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I was once in an airplane where the air was not pressurized, and I know what that feeling‘s like.  It is the walls coming in on you.  What do you say to them before they get in that capsule, that Phoenix 2, to come up?  Do you just say—well, this, obviously, is sort of an absurd situation we‘re in, but you‘ve just got to sort of close down the worries, like an astronaut.  You‘ve just got to not think about—well, how do you tell a person not to think about what could go wrong, for example, or the fact they‘re in this little 26-wide capsule, closed off from everything else but dirt around them?

GARDERE:  Well, I think once that medic gets down there, the medic will give the information as to what it is that you should do.  Certainly, being in that very small space, you will feel that claustrophobia.  So he can—he or she can explain that situation, what it is that they will experience.  And that will help lessen the claustrophobia because they‘ll have a little more sense of control.

But I think the most important thing is to listen to what it is that they have to say, what the fear will be while being in that capsule.  But the most important thing you can tell them is, Your family, friends will be waiting for you aboveground.  So it‘ll be much more intense for this 18 to 20 minutes, but once you‘re out, you are free, and that should be able to carry them through some sort of a panic disorder.

MATTHEWS:  Wow.  What a great guest you are to have right now.  Thank you, Jeff Gardere, for that insight...

GARDERE:  Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  ... into what it must be like for these fellows coming up.  And they are going to be free.  We will continue to track developments in the mine rescue throughout the hour and also throughout the evening here on MSNBC.

When we come back: Democrats are fighting back, throwing anything and everything at Republicans, seeing what sticks in the last three weeks of the campaign.  What is going to stick?  This is fascinating to watch.  We‘ve got some great stories coming up from the campaign trail, including one about big Bill Clinton, who‘s out there hitting nine states.  This guy is on a roll.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.



JACK CONWAY (D), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE:  This election is not about President Obama.  This election is about Jack Conway versus Rand Paul.  And he‘s going to keep saying Obama, Obama, Obama.  It‘s about putting Kentucky first.  Who do you want to go up there to represent you?


MATTHEWS:  Wow.  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  That was Jack Conway up against Rand Paul—that was Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway last night in a Senate debate with Republican Tea Partier Rand Paul.  With just 21 days left to the election, Democrats are clearly fighting back.  There‘s a mood out there.  It may not work, but it‘s definitely subjective.

Here‘s Senator Russ Feingold getting tough finally with Republican opponent, the self-financer Ron Johnson out in Wisconsin—last night it was.  Let‘s listen to the debate.


SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN:  Mr. Johnson just refused to answer the question about Citizens United, and I‘ll tell you why, because he already endorsed it.  He‘s all for it.  He is benefiting tremendously in this campaign from millions of dollars of these ads, and I am not and I don‘t want to.  You say you don‘t want them?  Will you call on them to stop?

RON JOHNSON ®, WISCONSIN SENATE CANDIDATE:  I have no control over that.

FEINGOLD:  Will you ask them to stop?

JOHNSON:  That—that—that—that‘s part of the problem.  You have no control over...

FEINGOLD:  Will you ask them to stop?

JOHNSON:  That‘s their right to free speech.

FEINGOLD:  Will you ask them to stop?

JOHNSON:  People...

FEINGOLD:  That‘s your right to free speech, to say to them “Stop.”

JOHNSON:  People—people have a right to free speech, Senator Feingold.

FEINGOLD:  Will you ask them to stop?

JOHNSON:  People have right to free speech.

FEINGOLD:  The answer is no.


MATTHEWS:  Well, can Democrats present a wipeout by that kind of

backtalk, if you will?  “Time” magazine‘s Mark Halperin‘s MSNBC senior

political analyst, and MSNBC‘s Richard Wolffe is the author of “Survival” -

rather, “Revival: The Struggle for Survival Within the Clinton White House.”


MATTHEWS:  “Obama White House.”

WOLFFE:  It‘s the same thing.

MATTHEWS:  Which comes out next month.  You know, it‘s next months.  OK.  Let me—I can‘t pump these books until they actually come out, Richard.


MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go with you first, and then Mark.  Mark, you guys really know your stuff, but first Richard.  It seems to me that the Democrats have hard time—they can‘t talk about health care because the numbers don‘t really show that it‘s going to help with the independent voters.  They can‘t brag about finreg, financial regulation, because that‘s too obscure.  They can‘t talk about unemployment because it‘s hanging up there at 9.6.  So they can‘t talk their record, they can‘t talk their promises.  That excludes a lot of material.  So what do they hit?

WOLFFE:  Right.  Well...

MATTHEWS:  What‘s the vulnerability of the other side?

WOLFFE:  They‘re hitting the other side.  That‘s what they got to do. 

They can win ugly, for some of the candidates who can play ugly.  But...

MATTHEWS:  You mean go after bad stuff...

WOLFFE:  ... the problem is...

MATTHEWS:  ... in their background.

WOLFFE:  Right, go after bad stuff or go—or tie them to the Bush economic policies.  But that‘s no substitute for what you put your finger on in the first place.  They have not found a way to talk about the stimulus, about the Recovery Act, which is the most important piece of their record.

MATTHEWS:  But they don‘t want (INAUDIBLE) positive.

WOLFFE:  They need to get out there and (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS:  Why don‘t they go positive?

WOLFFE:  Why don‘t they go positive?  Because they have—they don‘t know which piece of this to sell.  And the other side have managed to frame it that it hasn‘t worked because unemployment is high.  They haven‘t talked about the jobs they‘ve saved, the teachers who are still teaching, the tax cuts they‘ve given.  They lost this battle six months, a year ago!

MATTHEWS:  I know.  I know.  I know.  And I‘m not going to come on the air every night and say that!


MATTHEWS:  I‘ll just go to Mark Halperin.  Mark, here‘s the question.  When the president rolled out that big tank, the stimulus package, the one that was going to get the economy back on its feet no matter how long it took, was going to be the best way to fight a Great Depression II, he rolled it out—he never explained why he had to do this, why we had to roll up the deficit in this fiscal year, this next fiscal year.  He never really made the case.  Is that the problem the Democrats have?  They can‘t sell what he didn‘t sell, which is the need for this kind of fiscal stimulus.

HALPERIN, SR. MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST, “TIME”:  Well, Chris, look, you can go back through the course of the administration and find things they might have done or said differently in order to be in a better place.  I think trying to sell, it‘s clear from the polling data—trying to sell what they‘ve done is a loser.  I‘m surprised, though, that they aren‘t talking more about what they would do next.  This is a president who, come January, whatever the results of the mid-term, I think is going to be pushing hard on immigration and energy and deficit reduction...

MATTHEWS:  So the people want to hear that?

HALPERIN:  I don‘t—I don‘t think so.  But I think the president would be better off going out—going down, even, fighting for what he‘s going to do next, rather than engaging in strictly assassination of Republicans on a case-by-case basis where they see vulnerability.

WOLFFE:  Well, Mark, I don‘t know.  What can they do next?  In this environment—and it‘s off topic.  Immigration is not what people care about, so I don‘t see how that‘s a winner, either.  I can see why they‘re going negative.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at another example here.  Let‘s take—here‘s an example of Democrat getting tough but not on the economy.  Here‘s Patty Murray, who‘s had a tough race, seems to be coming back, her latest ad out in Washington state.  This is the long-time incumbent Democrat, Patty Murray, hitting back at her opponent.  Let‘s listen.


SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON:  I‘m Patty Murray.  I sponsored this ad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Can we trust a man who wants to turn back the clock?  Dino Rossi voted against insurance companies covering women‘s contraceptives.  He voted against funding for emergency contraceptives.  Rossi even voted to deny women unemployment benefits if they were fleeing domestic violence.  And Rossi wants to take away a woman‘s right to choose and make abortion illegal.  Dino Rossi will take us back.  He‘s not on our side.


MATTHEWS:  You know, Mark, that‘s the kind of ad I thought a lot of the women Democrats like Barbara Boxer, who are pro-choice, very pro-choice in the case of Boxer, would run late to try to hold on.  That‘s not something you‘d run if you had a choice.  If you‘re 20 points ahead, you wouldn‘t be running that ad.

HALPERIN:  No, and I think, Chris, we‘re going to see a lot of those ads.  Remember, one of the cards still left to play in a lot of these House races is House Democratic candidates have a lot of money in the bank.

I‘ll just go back to talking about immigration and energy and these other issues.  They‘re not popular.  There‘s not a pollster in the world who would tell the president that‘s what he should be running on.  I think it‘s a Bullworth moment for him.  If he wants to try to have this—give himself some sort of mandate, some sort of way to go forward after the mid-terms, I think he needs to start telling the country again, I want to do big things.  Let the politics take care of themselves.  The way they‘re going now, I think he‘s going to end up with the worst of both worlds, losing a lot of seats and also not really laying down any marker for what he wants to do next.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s take a look at the president‘s travel schedule.  It‘s quite amazing, campaigning in the states he—look at all the states he won in 2008. 

Look at where he‘s heading now, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Delaware, Massachusetts, Ohio, Washington, Oregon out West, California, Nevada, Minnesota, Rhode Island. 

Richard, he is going to try to cover the world out and—


MATTHEWS:  -- and all the states.

But the question is, the question is, he can‘t talk the past, he can‘t talk the future, and the current situation sucks.  So, what‘s he talk about?  He goes after foreign money. 

Bob Schieffer, who is a totally objective journalist and a real pro, seemed to nail the Democrats on Sunday with—with Axelrod, who is the chief communicator of the administration, and said, is that all you got? 

I mean, that‘s one of those great “There you go again” lines.  It‘s funny how the most basic counterpunch seems to work, like high school almost.  “Is that all you got?”

HALPERIN:  Right. 

WOLFFE:  Well, it‘s a known unknown, isn‘t it?  They‘re going after secrecy, but they can‘t talk about it, because it‘s secret.  So—


MATTHEWS:  Because money—if—if—just to be fair to the U.S.  Chamber of Commerce—I don‘t want to be totally fair, because I think there‘s some shenanigans here—they bring in say $100 million, right?  And $20 million comes from abroad, right?

And then they spend money on campaigns. 

WOLFFE:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  Who‘s to say the $20 million didn‘t go towards the campaigns?

WOLFFE:  Well, that‘s what the White House is arguing.


MATTHEWS:  And how can they deny it?  It all goes into one big bundle.

WOLFFE:  Well, they say that—they say that they keep it separate, but we don‘t know.  Now, the interesting thing here is that, for Democrats, and maybe for some independents, this sort of anti-business piece of it, the anti-special interests -- 

MATTHEWS:  You mean they mark the dollar bills and make sure they don‘t go to the—


WOLFFE:  Well, that is the argument from the Chamber.

MATTHEWS:  That is such a nonsensical argument, because that just means the money goes to pay the plumbing bill—

WOLFFE:  Sure.

MATTHEWS:  -- while their money goes somewhere else.

WOLFFE:  Well, we don‘t know, but that isn‘t really a framing of the entire election.  It‘s off-topic.  Again, it‘s not about the economy.  And it doesn‘t say—

MATTHEWS:  No, it is about the economy.

Let me tell you what I—


WOLFFE:  How is it about the economy?

MATTHEWS:  Well, I will tell you why.  Because what‘s going on in America today?  Big corporations are saving money and getting back—look at the Dow going up.  You know why the Dow is going up?  Because they‘re cutting jobs.  You know how they—that‘s called cost-cutting. 

That‘s how you get your profits up.  How do they cost-cut?  They get rid of employees.  And they reduce the number of employees they plan to hire.  And then they outsource overseas and they go to India or places like that to answer the phone call.  They do every trick in the world to screw the working guy to make a profit. 

It is fundamental.  And it has to do with international—Mark, I think it‘s relevant.  That‘s my view.  This question of taking foreign money from multinationals seems to me playing into this game of reducing the number of American people who get jobs by very successful, tough cost-cutting by big corporations. 

HALPERIN:  That‘s good analysis.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s unreasonable.


HALPERIN:  It‘s reasonable analysis, but I don‘t think it has anything with the political efficacy of attacking the Chamber of Commerce or with the question of whether the Chamber is somehow breaking the law or doing something improper with its foreign entities.  There‘s no—

MATTHEWS:  Don‘t you think most working guys in factories say, wait a minute, we‘re losing work to foreign competition; my job went over the seas, whether it went to China or went to Mexico or somewhere?  That‘s their attitude?

HALPERIN:  They do and that‘s—they do and that‘s what the White House is tapping into, but they‘re tapping into it with no facts, and in a way that not just Bob Schieffer, but a lot of other people, have repudiated.  It‘s uncommon to have that much repudiation of a Democratic White House across the board. 

MATTHEWS:  I know. 


I agree.

HALPERIN:  And it‘s because they are just—they‘re so desperate to come up with a way to tap into that anti-foreign sentiment that they‘re bringing stuff up. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, maybe Axe should have had a better response when Schieffer hit him.  I thought my response was better than his. 

But here‘s James Carville at Politico—quote—“It‘s got to feel good to get out of the fetal position.  You have to try something, right?  You can‘t just talk about the economy.”

Mark, maybe it looks better if you‘re just trying to hold your base, like we call in politics your ones, as opposed to one, two, threes.  You hold the ones.  At least you get the ones, the people you have talked to and believe you are going to vote for you, if you get them out, rather than a complete wipe—I think the Democrats are looking at shutout here.  They have got to score some runs.  That means they have got to get some of their people to the polls. 

HALPERIN:  They do, Chris.  And it‘s a two-track strategy. 

One is this national message of Karl Rove and boogeymen and Chamber of Commerce and foreign money.  And the other is—you‘re starting to see it already—and the next couple weeks are going to be filled with it—you‘re seeing these Democrats who have been holding on to opposition research, videos, trial testimony, people‘s job histories, comments from the past.  That‘s all coming out now, because they‘re trying to whip up the base.

MATTHEWS:  Dirt.  So, they‘re going to dig up dirt on guys and they‘re going to try to get the populist case nationally.

HALPERIN:  Exactly.  But they have already dug it up.  This is stuff they have just hung on to and they are going to release it at the end when the press doesn‘t have time to thoroughly scrutinize it, when the other side doesn‘t have time to come back and respond. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, I love politics. 


MATTHEWS:  Isn‘t—you‘re an expert, Mark.  Do you like that kind of politics, where they save these little sugarplums until like a week out and then drop it on the other guy or woman, so they can‘t play really defense?  Do you like that?

HALPERIN:  If they‘re relevant and solid, I‘m not bothered by it.  If they‘re total hit jobs that are meant to be detonated at the end, where they can‘t be scrutinized by the press and the public, I‘m not that big a fan.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I have seen cases where they say he was sued by this guy or that guy, as if it somehow proved he‘s a bad guy.  All it is, is something that sounds bad, but isn‘t.

Richard, do you like this kind of dirty politics—dirt-digging politics -- 


WOLFFE:  It‘s entertaining for media.

But I tell you, it‘s self-defeating for this White House.  If they‘re going to win this way, it‘s going to be hard for them to come out the other side of it and say, we‘re going to reform this game.  We stand for a different kind of business. 


MATTHEWS:  The tone thing.  We‘re going to raise the tone. 

WOLFFE:  Yes.  You know, that‘s the old politics.  And it‘s hard to decry it if you‘re going to play it like that.

MATTHEWS:  You know what I think?  There‘s one danger to the president getting out on point.  He‘s exposed right now.  And the fact that Karl Penhaul and people like that and Ed Gillespie can start shooting at him and hitting him, that tells me he‘s exposed, when the middleweights are going after you, or welterweights.

Anyway, thank you, Mark Halperin.

Thank you, Richard Wolffe.

Up next, we have got brand-new poll numbers from hot races across the country, as always, in our HARDBALL scoreboard.  We will go to that scoreboard when we return. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Time for the HARDBALL scoreboard. 

Let‘s check in on the latest polls in the tight races across the country.

Let‘s start with that generic congressional ballot.  Wow.  The new Bloomberg poll has the Democrats up 42-40.  That‘s the first time I have seen that.  And that‘s among likely voters.  In Delaware, Democrat Chris Coons has a huge lead over Republican Christine O‘Donnell.  Coons is up 57-38.  That‘s a 19-point spread.  You don‘t see many of those.

In the West Virginia Senate, Democrat Joe Manchin—we had him on this week—leads Republican John Raese by three, which doesn‘t mean anything.  That‘s, by the way, a Democratic robo-poll, which some pollsters say aren‘t as accurate as people actually talk to people.

Another PPP poll, in Nevada, Senator Harry Reid has a slim lead over Republican Sharron Angle.  And slim leads don‘t count for much.  Look, it‘s only 47.  At some point, he‘s got to get up near 50. 

Finally, in Wisconsin, a new Reuters poll has Republican Ron Johnson, the self-financer, leading Russ Feingold by seven points.  I don‘t understand what‘s going on in Wisconsin. 

We will continue the check the HARDBALL scoreboard in all the big races every night on HARDBALL here.  Check us every night for the polls leading up to Election Day.

Up next: the fight for the women‘s vote.  Women have tended to be Democrats over the years.  Should Democrats be worried about losing them they have traditionally had in their corner?  There‘s always been that gender gap that favors Democrat among women.  It could have to do with the issues like health care, education, seniors‘ care, the issues that are so important to the household, as well as to the working woman outside the home. 

And you know something is going wrong this time.  It must be the economy.

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 


HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

Stocks giving up gains to finish slightly higher, the Dow adding 10 points, the S&P up four, and the Nasdaq climbing 15 points.  The Federal Reserve reinforcing ideas another round of asset buying is on the way, but investors are still wondering when and how much. 

Two big names reporting earnings after the closing bell.  Intel beating on estimates on rebounding demand and solid margins, and transporter CSX beating expectations thanks to steady growth in volume. 

That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to



Is the Democratic Party in danger of losing the women‘s vote? 

Dee Dee Myers served as White House press secretary under President Clinton, and Michelle Bernard is an MSNBC political analyst and president of the Independent Women‘s Forum.

And I think you‘re actually a Republican, a moderate Republican, aren‘t you?  Is that what—


MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I‘m a registered independent. 





BERNARD:  I‘m center-right.  I‘m center-right. 


MATTHEWS:  Center-right, OK, now, that explains it, center-right.

And you‘re center?


MATTHEWS:  Center-left.  Well, that‘s good.  We have got bookends here. 


MYERS:  Look, we‘re reasonable people.  We agree on a lot.



MATTHEWS:  I think I‘m somewhere in there, too, somewhere in the 40-yard lines.

BERNARD:  Right. 


MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the whole issue of women who have tended to vote Democrat.  Now, I used to—I wrote something about this years ago, that political parties seem to divide that way.

But if you take the issues that women have to live with every day, the primary person in the family who knows about the teacher, knows about the education of the kids, tends to more of the homework than the husband does, the father does.  They‘re focused on health.  They know all the health benefits in the insurance policy.

I‘m being general here, but it‘s certainly the way I live.  My wife knows—she is genius at this stuff, at knowing what is covered, what is not, what is due, what is not.  In terms of child care, they have to do all the paperwork.  So, they tend to be more pro-government, in the sense that they need programs that will help, child care help, public education, better public schools. 

I have always figured that was a logical reason why women tend to vote for Democrat than men.  Well, what is going on with that now?

MYERS:  Yes, I would add that I think sometimes women feel more vulnerable.  And so they‘re more concerned about having a safety net underneath them and their children, because they don‘t—if they‘re one paycheck away from losing their house—

MATTHEWS:  Have their parents.

MYERS:  -- and taking care of their parents. 

So, I think that there‘s just—they see vulnerability.  They sometimes feel more vulnerable.  Look, I think that when all the dust settles on this, more women will still vote for Democrats than vote for Republicans—

MATTHEWS:  This time.

MYERS:  -- this time, but I don‘t think by as large a margin.  Obama won women by about 12 points.

MATTHEWS:  What changed?  What changed? 

MYERS:  I think women are frustrated the same way the rest of the country—

MATTHEWS:  They‘re anti-incumbent. 

MYERS:  Yes, they‘re anti-incumbent.  They‘re frustrated.  They‘re very frustrated by the state of the economy and don‘t think—feel like things are getting better—


MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go to the center-right and see what they think. 

MYERS:  Let‘s see what they think over—across the divide.

MATTHEWS:  Michelle?

BERNARD:  Well, it‘s true that, historically, more women vote Democratic than vote Republican, but that changed in 2004. 

We saw that gender gap in terms of voting really slim down a lot in 2004.  Women put George Bush back in office.  A lot of people at the time thought, the conventional wisdom being, right before the last election, there was that horrible Beslan massacre in Russia and you saw all of those children, hundreds of children that were killed. 

It became a terrorism war issue.  And you saw Democratic women voting for George Bush. 


MYERS:  But still more women voted for John Kerry than George Bush.


MATTHEWS:  But women are not as hawkish as men, are they?  Are women as hawkish as men?

BERNARD:  Well, it depends.  A lot of people feel—


MATTHEWS:  No, are they generally more—as hawkish as men?

BERNARD:  I don‘t know.  A lot of people will tell you that Hillary Clinton is more hawkish than Barack Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  She is.


MATTHEWS:  -- individual, though.  Obviously, an individual is different.  But we‘re talking about a general pattern here.


MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at some these popularity—some figures here, Michelle.

Michelle Obama, look at the percentages on these people, 68 percent positive, 62 percent Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, 57 percent the president, 44 percent President Bush.  That‘s the most recent President Bush, the junior one, and Sarah Palin at 38 percent, Nancy Pelosi 33 percent.

Now, of course, these are across-the-board percentages.  You get into the Republican Party and Palin is up around 76 percent.  She could well win the nomination, based on her popularity.

But here‘s the question about women and how they‘re going to vote.  I have a theory that, if you look at—let‘s take California, Jerry Brown.  You know California well.  Jerry Brown against Meg Whitman.  The men are going to vote for Meg Whitman.  The women are going to probably vote for Jerry Brown, because they‘re more liberal.

BERNARD:  I don‘t think so.  I don‘t think so. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you want to bet? 


MATTHEWS:  Do you want to bet right now, because I will bet you big money on that, that the women in California will vote predominantly Democrat and the men will vote predominantly Republican. 

BERNARD:  I think that women across the board, California and all over the country, are voting on pocketbook issues.  It‘s the economy. 


MATTHEWS:  So, you‘re saying that the Democrats—that women in California will be as conservative as the men, just as conservative? 

BERNARD:  Absolutely.  Their issues are no different than the men.

MYERS:  No way.

MATTHEWS:  No way.


MATTHEWS:  In college, I would just put the money on the table right now.  But I think you‘re just bluffing.


BERNARD:  No, I‘m not bluffing.  I think that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, I think Republican women across the board are going to do well, because it is pocketbook issues. 


MATTHEWS:  OK, McMahon vs. Blumenthal in Connecticut, I would argue that the men are going to vote for McMahon and the women are going to for Blumenthal. 

BERNARD:  I agree with you there.  I do.

MYERS:  I think party trumps gender.  I don‘t think there‘s any doubt about that.


MATTHEWS:  I don‘t think you vote your gender.  You vote your interests.

BERNARD:  I think you vote your interests.  And I think it‘s all economic interests this election.  It is pocketbook issues.


MYERS:  And I agree completely with that.  And I think that more women tend to see Democratic solutions as being the answer to their problems. 


MATTHEWS:  If Jerry Brown has to count on carrying the men, he will lose this election.  But he doesn‘t have to count on carrying the men.  He will carry a majority of the women, and he will win the election if he does. 


MYERS:  Look, Jerry Brown cannot win without carrying the majority of women. 


MATTHEWS:  Barbara Boxer, enormous advantage among women, I would bet, based on an extreme position, absolutely reproductive rights, absolutely pro-choice.  That helps her in women.  Do you agree?

BERNARD:  Well, it helps her with women, but you‘re also assuming that tons and tons of women are single-issue voters.  And I think if you‘re going to talk to women about the difference between voting for somebody on abortion rights vs. whether or not she‘s going to have a job and be employed next year, she‘s going to go with the job. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, then will you cut me the slack of admitting that Barbara Boxer would do better among women than men? 

BERNARD:  No.  I don‘t know that.


MATTHEWS:  Can we bet some—



MATTHEWS:  I wish this was—what‘s that online thing where you bet right now? 


MYERS:  You don‘t have to bet based on hunches.  You can look at the polling.  Barbara Boxer does do better. 

She does drive even a bigger gender gap because I think a lot of men are uncomfortable with women who are very outspoken.  I mean, I think that‘s true of Hillary Clinton at times.  It‘s true of Nancy Pelosi at times.

MATTHEWS:  If anybody wants to call me and bet me, I‘m here.  Find me in—find me in Washington.  I will make the bet. 


BERNARD:  Democrats cannot win without carrying—


MATTHEWS:  Boxer will do better among women, and Jerry Brown will do better among women. 


BERNARD:  No one can win without carrying a majority of the women‘s vote, Republican or Democratic.  You need the women‘s vote.  Women are what‘s going to show up.

MYERS:  No, no, no.  Republicans can win without carrying, like President Bush was reelected by carrying the majority of men and not a majority of women.  And so, I think that‘s been a—since the Reagan years, it‘s been a pretty standard thing.  The question is why.  It just think it comes back to how do you see your interest being re-enforced and secured.  And I think women feel more vulnerable, especially in hard economic times.

BERNARD:  I‘ll show up on November 3rd


MATTHEWS:  You‘re making an argument rather than fact.  Women, I‘m going to get back to the argument.

BERNARD:  You are generalizing.


MATTHEWS:  This is a general discussion.  We‘re talking about gender gap, if there‘s still a gender gap that favors Democrats.

BERNARD:  There is still a gender gap that favors women, that favors Democrats.

MYERS:  Or the gender that favors men with Republicans.  And it depends on how you define it, right?

MATTHEWS:  Guns, law and order, tough foreign policy, men are just as much a category as women.  In fact, a minority category.  Men have their things they care about, guns in many cases, law and order, in many cases, capital punishment, they‘re much tougher on that.

MYERS:  Republicans will do will in the cycle because they‘ll carry men by a greater margin than Democrats will carry men.

BERNARD:  They will carry men.  They will carry independents, men and women who are all favor Republicans, not because Democrats are so great or Republicans are so great, but because they‘re tired of everything that has been going on.  They‘re saying we don‘t like anybody.

MATTHEWS:  Who‘s going to win in California?

BERNARD:  Meg Whitman.

MATTHEWS:  And who‘s going to win in the Senate side?

BERNARD:  I‘m voting for Carly Fiorina.

MYERS:  Are you registered in California?

BERNARD:  No.  I‘m joking.

MYERS:  No, I think Boxer wins that one.  I think the governor‘s race is a toss-up.  I think—

MATTHEWS:  Too hard to call.

MYERS:  Yes, too hard to call.

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t know.  I‘m looking at Fiorina, she looks very upbeat these days.  I think is anything is possible, defending on turnout.  I think the turnout is going to be terrible for Democrats this year.  I just sense it.  We can talk about anecdotally.  But I just sense that you can be a young Democrat today and see another young Democrat say, I‘m not bothering to vote, I know what you mean.

You‘re a right wing, white older guy, you didn‘t vote, you‘re angry, how come you didn‘t vote, what‘s the problem with you?


MATTHEWS:  You got to vote your rage.


MATTHEWS:  And you vote your age, too, by the way.


MATTHEWS:  After the show—we will bet a few bucks.  Thank you, Dee Dee Myers.  Thank you, Michelle Bernard.  We generally get along better.

Up next: Superstars in the stump, Bill Clinton‘s in Nevada today for Harry Reid and boy, does he need him.  It‘s just the latest campaign stop for the former president.  He is Mr. Happy Warrior, this fellow, Bill Clinton.

Look at this guy.  He is floating on air, this guy, you‘re guy.  And thanks you.

It was Dee Dee Myers who made him what he is today when she (INAUDIBLE) so beautifully.  And he makes the difference for the Democrats.

Look at this guy.  I don‘t think he‘s too skinny, do you?

MYERS:  No.  I think he looks good.  He got a little bit smaller shirt.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s with the Reagan suit and the brown suit?

HARDBALL, back after this.



WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:  They say all the Republicans are all motivated.  The Tea Party crowd, they‘re all motivated and young people won‘t show up.  Working people won‘t show up.  There is nothing wrong with this country, as I‘ve said 1,000 times, it can‘t be fixed by what‘s right with it.  But you can‘t be played.


MATTHEWS:  Wow, welcome back to HARDBALL.

President Bill Clinton is in Kentucky there.  He‘s a key omen (ph) of the Democrats‘ efforts in these final three weeks before November 2nd.  Can he be a game-changer?

Josh Marshall is founder and editor of  And, of course, Ron Christie, our friend, is a Republican strategist and author of a new book, “Acting White: A Curious Story of a Racial Slur.”

We‘re going to have you on to talk about that at some point.  But good luck with that book.


MATTHEWS:  I give you the blur because I believe in—I believe in everybody deciding what they want to be.  It‘s a free country.

CHRISTIE:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go right now to Josh.

Josh, it seems to me that Bill Clinton has more than just charm and good looks and style.  He is a campaign fact.  The fact is, when he was president, we balanced the budget.  The fact is, when the was the president, the economy was booming.  We had unemployment way down in the single digits.  He had something to come from when he goes to these people and says, vote Democrat.

JOSH MARSHALL, TALKINGPOINTSMEMO.COM:  I think that‘s definitely true.  I think there‘s another thing, too.  That‘s when you can see that one of the things that Bill Clinton has in his advantage is about 10 years where the, you know, right wing noise machine hasn‘t been on his case.  I think, you know, if you go back and you remember this—if you go back to like 1994 or 1995, you know, Bill Clinton could barely show his face in a lot of these states where he‘s sort of the clutch hitter.  A lot of—

MATTHEWS:  But he could have carried West Virginia even when it was terrible for him politically.  He could carry those white, you know, crusty or Southern, or more Southern states, more rural states.

MARSHALL:  He definitely had an advantage over most Democrats.  No question about that.  But I think, you know, even something you saw back in 2008 when suddenly, you know, Hillary Clinton was the person who had more traction among rural, white voters and stuff like that—nothing like in the 1990s.

So, I think it‘s both.  I think, you know, Bill Clinton, a successful Democratic president, one who was in office during a period of great prosperity, but he‘s also—you know, his enemies have laid off him a lot in the last decade.  That‘s definitely playing a role, too.

MATTHEWS:  It is a great time, Ron Christie, not to be running for office.  I mean, it‘s even better time not to be defending office.

CHRISTIE:  That‘s right.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at the map, and I want you to comment.  Here‘s Bill Clinton‘s packed campaign schedule, in Las Vegas for Reid today.  In Arkansas for Blanche Lincoln tomorrow.  In New Mexico for Diane Denish, Denish running for governor.

On Thursday, in California for Jerry Brown.  On Friday in Denver for Michael Bennet, the incumbent senator.  Next Monday in Washington state for Patty Murray.  Also next Monday in Florida for Kendrick Meek.  An Obomber, as we say here, Obomber for the governor of Maryland, Marty O‘Malley.

Now, where do you think he‘ll make the difference, Ron?

CHRISTIE:  Well, I think if you look at the map, Chris, New Mexico, certainly California, states where Barack Obama was extraordinarily popular in the last election, where perhaps now, his popularity is going down just a little bit.  But Bill Clinton is still a rock star in my home state of California.  People still love him out there.

MATTHEWS:  So, where you from out there?

CHRISTIE:  Palo Alto.

MATTHEWS:  So, you‘re from the northern part.  But I‘ll tell you, I‘ve been out there—I‘ve been out there, Josh, to southern California with him.  Santa Monica is his spiritual home.  The guys is in Birkenstocks, the intellectuals, the beach comers, the Hollywood crowd, the people—everybody comes out for him when he is out there.

MARSHALL:  Bill Clinton is still just a big political star.  There‘s no question about that.  He can—you know, he has just his inherent charisma.  As you said, successful Democratic president.

And you know, I think the key is, is that in a moment like this, where the economy is bad, it‘s a very polarized environment, you have someone like Bill Clinton who, you know, politically speaking, policy-wise, pretty close to Barack Obama in pretty much everything, but you know—

MATTHEWS:  That‘s not how he is seen.

MARSHALL:  Well, such a -

MATTHEWS:  That‘s not how he is seen.  I think he is seen as center-left, more and fluid.  I mean, able to go back, but never left.  Do you think?

MARSHALL:  Well, you know, I think that‘s right to an extent—

MATTHEWS:  Whereas Obama gets tagged, fairly or not, with being a candidate increasingly because of health care of the left, and because the big stimulus.

MARSHALL:  Look, Barack Obama‘s health care plan is considerably more centrist than President Clinton‘s one back in ‘93/‘94, for one thing.  But again, that‘s what I‘m talking about.  I think a lot of this is, again, a very polarized environment.

I don‘t think there is much a factual argument that Barack Obama is any further to the left than Bill Clinton.  But again, you are in—you‘re coming off a really polarized political year and if you‘re running for office, you don‘t necessarily want someone who has—you know, who is carrying that baggage in some parts of the country—


MATTHEWS:  What‘s Bill Clinton‘s most famous political tag line, most famous political tag line, I feel your pain.

CHRISTIE:  Well, I feel your pain, or it‘s Carville‘s—it‘s the economy, stupid.  And I think Bill Clinton reminds people of a different era, a better time.  He‘s a lot more popular.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about your hero, Sarah Palin.

CHRISTIE:  Of course.

MATTHEWS:  Now, Sarah Palin, we have seen across-the-board nationally.  She‘s got low numbers in the 30s.  But you put her in the Republican Party, she is in the 70s.  The question is: look at this, she‘s going to two rallies in California this Saturday and Florida the following Saturday.  She‘s sort of doing the weekends.  I guess Roger Ailes lets her off for the weekend from FOX.

CHRISTIE:  You had to.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I think she has a job.  I mean, she‘s working over there, OK?

CHRISTIE:  And she‘s doing a fantastic job of going out and mobilizing the base and getting people who are fired up for this election.  You talk about her numbers being in the 30s.

MATTHEWS:  You think she‘s qualified to be president?

CHRISTIE:  I do.  Of course, I do.  She was governor of Alaska.  She was mayor of a city.  She‘s certainly had a whole heck of a lot more experience than a particular junior senator from Illinois.

MATTHEWS:  No, I like the way you say that with absolutely no hesitation.  She‘s qualified to be president of the United States.

CHRISTIE:  Of course.

MATTHEWS:  Handling our nuclear weapons, handling the world‘s population—

CHRISTIE:  You mean of course considering the one that we have sitting there now who‘s been indecisive on the economy?


CHRISTIE:  Indecisive about every single issue.

MATTHEWS:  Josh, what‘s the role of Sarah Palin going to be?

MARSHALL:  It‘s obviously to rally the base.  You‘ve got, you know, the electorate is much more polarized around her than around Barack Obama, if that is even possible.  But I‘m curious—I‘m interested to see that that is becoming the sign on the dotted line question for Republicans across the country.

You see Carly Fiorina a few days ago, they each have to eventually answer this question: do you think this woman is qualified to be president of the United States?  They tried to duck it and they try to duck it, but a lot of them have to say yes.

MATTHEWS:  I love it.  I think it‘s the litmus test.  That‘s why Ron Christie is selling books and not running for office.  He can say yes.

Thank you, Ron Christie, my friend.

CHRISTIE:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Josh.  It‘s great to have you on, Josh.  Please come bag back.  You‘re much respected, as is Mr. Christie, whose new book “Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur”.

CHRISTIE:  Buy today.

MATTHEWS:  We‘ll get the latest Chile where the rescue capsule has arrived to the mine site, as crews ready to rescue those 33 guys down there, been there 68 days, imagine, 68, down 2,000 feet in the earth, just some other guys in the dark.

You are watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Just about an hour away now from the start of that amazing rescue operation down in Chile.  Let‘s go back to Chile and get the very latest from NBC‘s Natalie Morales.

Natalie, thank you for—well, you‘re there and we‘re not and I guess I have to ask you everything you know.

NATALIE MORALES, NBC NEWS:  Well, Chris, I got to tell you, there is just so much excitement in the air now.  It has been 69 days to get to this day and to within the next couple of hours, they are expecting Operation San Lorenzo.  Yes, that is the name they‘ve given this rescue mission, because San Lorenzo is the patron saint of miners.

They expect the operation to begin here now.  Already today, just a couple of hours here ago, Chile‘s president, Sebastian Pinera, visited with the families and he actually told one of the miners‘ families, the family of Florencio Avalos, that he would, in fact, be the first miner to be rescued out of the ground, he is a 31-year-old, has a couple of children, also happens to have a brother who is trapped in the mine as well.

So, we‘re already starting to learn the details of some of those who will be coming out first and also, perhaps the miner who will be coming out last, we understand, is going to be really who has become one of the heroes of all of these 33 heroes, of course, and that is Luis Urzua.  He was the first to really—he is actually the mine—the manager of the mine at the time.


MORALES:  And he was actually the first to say over the next 17 days, the first 17 days, rather, that they were to ration two days‘ supply of their food.  So, he was the first to really have that presence of mind.

But all of the systems are being tested right now.  The rescue capsule has gone down a couple times over yesterday and today, and we understand it‘s all now just a matter of maybe a couple hours, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  You know, the amazing thing about it, Natalie, I‘ve read today that they have agreed as a group not just to stick together for these 68 days but in the future, they have agreed on a compact apparently on what they are going to say about what happened down there.

MORALES:  Yes, it truly is amazing.  I mean, these are men who have shown every bond possible.  I mean, they have not shown any sort of rift whatsoever, as far as we know and as far as we are told.  In fact, we have been told that they actually don‘t even want to all leave the rescue area right away.  They want to stay until every last man is brought out—


MATTHEWS:  Natalie Morales, thanks for that great report from the mine in Chile where all the great rescue efforts are going to be taking police tonight.

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

We‘ll be right back an hour from now with another live edition of HARDBALL as we cover this rescue of the Chilean miners.

Right now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.



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