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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Rick Tyler, Judith Browne-Dianis, Steve McMahon, Jim Burn, Dana
Milbank, Erin McPike

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: How tragedy unites.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" with the aftershock. After midnight tonight, we get
through a week of this attack inside our country that killed 12 and wounded
dozens more. So what`s it done to us? What`s this event stirred in this
country, made us different from the people who watched this program, say,
just a week ago?

I want to know. I want to hear again the many separate human actions
that night -- that night that tell us what kind of a country we are and
where we are headed. I want to hear not just about the villain and the
victims, but also the heroes, the impulsive good guys that night, the ones
who showed what Hemingway defined as courage, grace under fire and under
pressure. Again, I want to know how Aurora is going to affect this
country, us.

Well, today brought the announcement that Denver, Colorado, just miles
from the tragedy, will host the first presidential debate this autumn.
This all but guarantees that the two presidential candidates, President
Obama and Mitt Romney, will be asked about the tragedy. What should they

Well, let`s ask Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania what Obama should
say and what Rick Tyler thinks Mitt Romney should say. It`s going to be

To start with, let`s their personal stories following a tragedy like
Aurora. Look at how heart-breaking they are. And they also tell us a lot
about the spirit of community and caring in this country. Here are a few
of them, including one relayed by the president himself. Let`s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of poked my head up at that point and
realized, like, Oh, my gosh, nobody`s in here. It`s just us. There were,
like, a few other heads here and there, people I could see leaving the
theater, but, like, really, the theater was empty, it felt like.

So that`s when I got out, and yes, I thought -- I kept thinking
(INAUDIBLE) my gosh, I think John just took a bullet for me! I was
thinking about what a great hero he is. He saved me and he gave me the
opportunity to live.

He would have done it for anyone that day, you know? The nearest
person sitting next to him, he would have been, like, This person needs my
help now. That`s just who he was. And everybody knew it. He went above
and beyond to help everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it`s really amazing to see what -- how the
community is pulling together. And as I was walking up, I was thinking
whatever he was trying to accomplish, he got the opposite because
(INAUDIBLE) people really care. And it means a lot to me and I`m really
glad I came.

old, had the presence of mind to drop down on the ground with her, pull her
out of the aisle, place her fingers over where she -- where Allie had been
wounded, and applied pressure the entire time while the gunman was still

Allie told Stephanie she need to run. Stephanie refused to go.
Instead, actually, with her other hand, called 911 on her cell phone.


MATTHEWS: You know, these are the stories I`m just getting myself
about this tragedy of a week ago after midnight. And I`m stunned, so
impressed again that even for casual moviegoers, who went out to see a
Batman movie after midnight, to catch the first showing, would behave in
this way.

Governor Rendell, I don`t want to talk politics right away here
tonight. I want to talk about something about our country, that these
people -- a couple of guys in that theater saved the lives of the women
sitting next to them. I mean, they got killed themselves.

I mean, this is something you don`t expect just right off the bat
among civilians when they weren`t warned they were about to go into combat,

wasn`t -- shouldn`t be a surprise, Chris, that two of the three men who did
that were in the military because our military are heroes and are called on
to do stuff like that on a daily basis.

But look, we are a great country. We have a sense of community. We
used to care for each other and take care of each other, and politics never
got in the way. If someone lost their job, we all pitched in and took care
of them until they got back on their feet.

I think we`ve lost a little of that in the country. And when we band
together in tragedies like this, it shows us what America could be.

But what we have to do is to do something to limit the possibility
that something like this happens again. We can never eliminate that
possibility, but gosh, in the name of those victims, we ought to do

MATTHEWS: Rick Tyler, your view about this. I`m -- I`m impressed
when people turn on the TV and identify with something that happened 3,000
miles away. And they would not identify with these people except they`re
largely fellow Americans. There`s something American about this country of
ours that goes beyond politics, and the sympathy, the real -- I mean, I`ve
been listening to other networks all week, and it is something.

RICK TYLER, FORMER GINGRICH AIDE: Well, it is amazing. I mean, it`s
something that everybody can relate to. We all go to the movies. In fact,
my daughter went to "The Dark Knight" the night before, and I had all of
these mixed feelings about letting her go because you think of what
happened to those people the night before. They simply went to a movie,
and they ended up dead or 70 -- 50-something ended up wounded.

And -- but all this -- you know, it`s -- it`s the human story that
comes out. I mean, it`s an awful thing for the country to witness. Nobody
should go through it. But the stories of people who would stay behind --
and you think to yourself, Would I do that? And nobody knows until it`s
there. And then yet people did that. People put their lives on the line
for others. It`s remarkable.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, we debate a lot of good things on this
program, and I love debating like nobody`s business, you know, Governor
Rendell and Rick and I, and I think we have real arguments about the future
of this country, how we tax ourselves, how many guns we let get into
people`s hands. All of these things are great debates.

But the viciousness sometimes, I think, between people, not just
different points of view, but different people, it gets out of hand
sometimes. I mean, people have really begun to hate each other about their
politics. I don`t like the point of view of the top 1 percent
economically, but I don`t hate them. I don`t -- and they`re well off, you
know? I just don`t like -- I don`t like a lot of the point of view
politically because I think fairness is a key issue in this country.

But this idea that we`ve gotten to now where we got a country -- I
thought -- let`s take a look at what President Obama said back in -- when
he was just a candidate for president. I`d like to see what he had to say
a while ago. If we have that, we can get that up.

It`s what Obama said in 2004 about America and the blue states and the
red states. Let`s take a look at that because I think he had the right
tone then. I hope he can get it back again. Here`s the president when he
wasn`t the president, when he was just a freshman -- actually, he wasn`t
even a senator yet. He was a nominated candidate of one party for the
Senate out in Illinois.

Here he is, Obama, I think, at his best.


BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), SENATE CANDIDATE: I stand here knowing that my
story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of
those who came before me and that in no other country on earth is my story
even possible!


MATTHEWS: Rick. That`s why we liked him.

TYLER: Well, I think that`s right. And I think...


TYLER: I think if you remember, President Clinton after Oklahoma
City, I think that -- to me, that was a turning point of the presidency.

MATTHEWS: Same deal.

TYLER: It was the way he handled that, the way he came there and to
see how -- well, we`ll see how this tragedy unfolds. I don`t know how it`s
going to play politically. We`ll see.

MATTHEWS: Governor? Bill Clinton, your close friend -- nobody was
ever better as the nation`s older brother than he was after Oklahoma City.

RENDELL: He was phenomenal. And I got to see him firsthand when Ron
Brown and all those Americans went down in the plane crash. I went to
Dover with the president as the bodies came off the plane and I saw him
talk to those families. And Chris, he was unbelievable, the empathy that
he showed and the way he comforted them and made them feel that their loved
one was special and doing a mission for the country. It was awesome.

I mean, say what you will about Bill Clinton, but there was nobody
better at talking about this country and why this is a great country and
bringing us all together.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at the president now. Now it`s going to
get tricky now because Rick and I -- we`re all going to disagree now, as we
do in this country, but let`s not get personal here for at least this show.

Speaking at the National Urban League conference just last night,
President Obama addressed the issue of gun control. He was very careful.
He was speaking, however, as we are right now, in the wake of this tragedy,
where a guy came in there with a semiautomatic weapon with a 100-round clip
in it. Let`s listen.


OBAMA: I, like most Americans, believe that the 2nd Amendment
guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. I think we recognize the
traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation,
that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.

But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s
belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals.


OBAMA: As we convene these conversations, let`s be clear. Even as we
debate government`s role, we have to understand that when a child opens
fire on another child, there`s a hole in that child`s heart that government
alone can`t fill.


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s for sure. By the way, this country has an
unusual record. While two thirds of the murders in this country are
committed by firearms, another 4,000 are committed by other means of
killing. We have a violent streak in us that doesn`t require a gun in your
hand to execute.

Here`s Brian Williams, by the way, on the other side of the argument,
asking Mitt Romney about his position on guns following the Colorado
shooting. Let`s listen to the governor.


happen to believe that America needs new gun laws. A lot of what this
young man did was clearly against the law. But the fact that it was
against the law did not prevent it from happening.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": As a practical matter, do
you have a problem with being able to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition off
the Internet?

ROMNEY: Well, I don`t know that I`m going to be able to find a way to
prevent people who want to provide (ph) harm from being able to purchase
things that could carry out that harm. What I want to do is find the
people who represent a danger to America and find them and keep them from
having the capacity to use or buy things that could hurt other people.


MATTHEWS: Of course, that`s the challenge, being able to do it, like,
do what Tom Cruise did in "Minority Report," finding out criminals before
they`re criminals. Who wouldn`t like to do that?

OK, I`m getting back in my usual status here, causing trouble. But
here`s the situation. Semiautomatic weapons, AK-47s -- Dianne Feinstein
pushed through that weapon -- assault weapons ban. It lasted a while, then
it died.

What do you think we have to do about these semiautomatic weapons
where you can bring a clip of 100 rounds with you...

TYLER: Well, first of all...

MATTHEWS: ... and walk into a room and really be a terrorist?

TYLER: First of all, a 100-round clip is illegal, OK? So that law
was already broken. Second of all, he didn`t have an AK-47, he had an AR-

MATTHEWS: How are they different?

TYLER: Well, the All right-15 is the civilian version of an M-16. It
is not -- it is semiautomatic, it is not fully automatic.

MATTHEWS: Well, I know that.

TYLER: And it shoots a .223. A .223 is one of the most common
varmint rifles in America. It doesn`t shoot any harder. It may -- it
could shoot faster, if you can shoot -- but it`s...

MATTHEWS: It`s 60 rounds a minute.

TYLER: It`s 60 rounds. Because he had 100 -- he had 100 clips.

MATTHEWS: Sixty rounds a minute.

RENDELL: But that`s already illegal. That was already illegal. The
guy clearly has some sort of mental defect, mental deficiency. I think
today, he said he doesn`t remember the incident at all. But how do you
predict that? How are you going to (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Well, he would say that.

TYLER: Right. Well, yes.


MATTHEWS: He would say he forgot it. I`d say I forgot it. I`d act
deranged in the courtroom, too! I would put on that -- that...

TYLER: He`s clearly deranged.

MATTHEWS: ... that Anthony Perkins show he put on in the courtroom
the other day. I`d put that one on, too.

Governor, here`s your thought here. You represent a state that`s
heavily pro-gun, Pennsylvania. You did for all those years. You wouldn`t
have gotten into that office if you`d been anti-gun because it is deer
hunter country. We know that.

How do we reconcile the needs of the rural communities to have their
gun rights respected with the needs of big city mayors and people that live
in rowhouses to not have kids on the street corner with semiautomatics?

RENDELL: Well, let me start off by saying, Chris, that`s actually not
correct. When I was mayor of Philadelphia, I headed the effort by the
mayors to sue the gun manufacturers. So my role as someone who is in favor
of reasonable controls on guns was pretty well known, and it was used
against me in the election.

And in a state that has the second highest NRA membership, behind only
Texas, I won three times for governor, 10 percent, 12 percent and 21
percent. So so much for not...

MATTHEWS: So where were you on -- OK, correct me completely. Where
were you on guns? Do you -- you support the 2nd Amendment, obviously. And

RENDELL: Of course.

MATTHEWS: ... support the right to carry a -- to have a shotgun in
your house, I suppose.

RENDELL: There`s no question, handguns, shotguns, all those things.
But it is insane for a civilized country to make it legal for a citizen to
carry an automatic weapon that can dispose of 60 bullets in a minute.

TYLER: It wasn`t an automatic weapon.

RENDELL: A semiautomatic weapon.

TYLER: Semiautomatic.

RENDELL: It doesn`t matter. It can shoot 60 bullets -- I shot an M-
16 in the Army. I know what an M-16 can do. It`s one purpose, it`s to
kill people and kill them quickly. We`re insane if we let these weapons be
legal, imported, sold or distributed.

Secondly, we ought to go back to the assault weapon ban on any clip
that has more than 10 bullets in it. Remember, this young man went into
Gander Mountain and Bass Pro to buy his Glock, his semiautomatic Glock, and
his semiautomatic AR-15. There`s no way that any -- there are gun owners,
there are NRA members who agree with that.

After Gabby Giffords was shot, Chris, 71 percent of the people in the
country said we should make it illegal to have a magazine clip that has
more than 10 bullets in it. And that was a factor in Loughner`s ability to
kill all those people and it`s a factor in Holmes`s ability to kill all
those people.

If he couldn`t get his hands on a semiautomatic weapon, he would not
have been able to kill and injure 70 people. There`s no way in that period
of time he would have been able to do it. And it makes sense.

Are we going to be able to eliminate these incidents? No. Can we
limit the harm? Absolutely, yes, we can limit the harm. And as a
civilized society, we have no choice but to do it. And if our politicians
don`t have the guts to do it, shame on them.

TYLER: Governor, as you know, the 100 clips is already illegal. But
imagine if one or two people who...

RENDELL: But 33 clips. Loughner had a 33-clip magazine -- bullet
magazine, and that was legal. That was legal -- 33...

TYLER: I know there were...

RENDELL: ... 33!

TYLER: My guess, Governor, is that there are at least two or three
people who were in that theater that night who had a concealed carry weapon
who didn`t bring their weapon into Century 16 because it wasn`t allowed, as
a gun-free zone, and they wished to God that they had that weapon. And I

RENDELL: Oh, sure. That would have been wonderful, Rick. We would
have had, in the dark, a shoot-out battle. Do you know how many innocent
people would have gotten killed by the other shots?

MATTHEWS: OK, here we go...


RENDELL: That`s insane. That`s insane!

MATTHEWS: You`re for right to carry...


RENDELL: You guys are nuts! You guys are nuts!

MATTHEWS: HARDBALL`s back to normal. Thank you very much, Ed
Rendell, who has now clarified his position. I thought you took the Bob
Casey position. Anyway, thank you, sir.


MATTHEWS: You beat him, too. Thank you, Rick Tyler. Thank you.

Coming up: Republicans push strict voter photo ID laws to keep
Democrats from voting, I think. And in Pennsylvania, the plan may work.
Over a million voters in that key state may be without the proper ID to
vote this November.

Plus, ad wars. Both sides of the presidential race are going
negative, trying to paint the other guy as the "other." But it`s a
strategy with risks. It can make you look bad yourself.

And Mitt Romney dodges questions about his wife`s dancing horse. The
latest from the London Olympics. Boy, it`s getting bizarre over there.

And what`s all the Soviet talk from the Republicans? Why do they keep
talking about the Soviet Union? Thank God it`s gone -- for 20 years.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: New poll numbers out from some key states and some that
shouldn`t be this close. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

In Michigan, a new poll from Mitchell Research gives Mitt Romney a 1-
point lead over President Obama. Polls in Michigan have been very close
lately, and this one`s got to worry the Obama campaign.

In Missouri, it`s Romney by 9 in a new poll out there, the We Ask
America poll, 49 to 40. Missouri has been trending red in the last several

And finally, in reliably blue New Jersey, a new Monmouth poll puts the
race within single digits, Obama 50, Romney up to 42, Maybe a bit too close
for comfort in a state that hasn`t gone for Republicans since 1988.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Just over three months to go
before the election, and Pennsylvania`s strict new photo ID law may be
having the effect its (ph) Republicans want it to have, intended to have,
keeping likely Democrats from voting.

Well, a new report commissioned by the ACLU, one of the plaintiffs in
the case against Pennsylvania`s strict photo ID law, shows that there are
one million registered voters in Pennsylvania -- that is, people who have
voted and expect to vote in this election -- who think they have the right
to vote, the right ID to cast a ballot, but actually don`t have the right

The report also shows that one in three registered voters in the state
doesn`t even know that there is a new voting requirement.

Well, Jim Burn is chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, which
is gearing up its get-out-the-vote effort. And Judith Browne-Dianis is a
co-director of the Advancement Project, a group that is one of the
plaintiffs in the case.

Dianis, that`s very Massachusetts. Anyway, Dianis.

Let me go to Jim, good guy, Jim.

You have got a challenge on your hands. It looks to me like it`s a
two-front war. One front is to try to win this case in the Pennsylvania
courts on the constitutionality of this thing, the question of whether it
is constitutional to set up this kind of barrier to voting, and, secondly,
if it holds up in court, how to deal with it in November.

Your thoughts on that two-front war?

right, Chris, there is a two-front war. And we`re fighting it on both
fronts as effectively as we can.

Let me jump to the second point first. How are we preparing in the
event it does not get stricken down? We`re identifying, we`re outreaching
and we are recruiting Pennsylvania voters who we think are affected by

And some of those folks who you mentioned that either don`t have it or
don`t know that they lack the proper credentials, we`re getting to them.
And we have been doing it. Next week, we`re really pushing with our get-
out-the-vote efforts to reach out to those whom we have targeted to make
sure they have what they need in the event we do not strike down this law.

MATTHEWS: So what do they need?

BURN: Well, they need one of six forms of identification. Our
governor can`t name them. But let me tell the governor what the law is
that he signed.

You either have a military I.D. You have either a federal I.D. like a
passport, a state-issued I.D. like a driver`s license, either a health care
facility that`s run by the state, a university form of identification or
some form of a municipal identification.

Those are the six things you need. And if you don`t have them, you
are going to need to come with some type of a birth certificate or some
type of form of credential that shows...

MATTHEWS: But my health card doesn`t have my picture on it. Would
that qualify?

BURN: No, no. You`re going to have a problem.

And you may think that that`s enough and you will do nothing between
now and November if you live in Pennsylvania. We will get to you, Chris,
and we will make sure that even though if we`re knocking on your door and
you say I`m fine, move to the next house, we will make sure we ask you
specifically why you think you have what you need. And if you don`t, we
will make sure that you do.

MATTHEWS: OK. Just to be a good public interest show, the minute
somebody looks in their wallet right now or their purse and looks around
the house -- I hope you`re all doing that in Pennsylvania especially -- and
you can`t find this means of identification, which is basically a
government-issued I.D. card with your picture on it, who do they -- that`s
current -- what do you do?

Do you have to call your committee person? Or what do you do to make
sure you get to the right -- you have to go to PennDOT, which is basically
a DMV. And there`s only five of them in the whole city of Philadelphia.
So you are going to have to get on the subway or get on the bus and get
there, right? You have got to do the work.

BURN: That`s exactly -- that`s exactly right.

And we have touched on this before. Reach out to your committee
person. Reach out to someone in government who has given you reliable
information in the past and say, look, this is my situation. This is what
I have. Is it enough?

If you have access to a computer, we would invite you to go to our Web
page, There, you can find out whether or not you have
what you need. And while you`re there, look at the video of Governor
Corbett failing to be able to name the six forms of I.D.

MATTHEWS: OK. You got your shot.

Let`s try to help here. I know the shots are sometimes appropriate

Let`s say this. Democrats say that the real intent of the voter I.D.
law is to give the advantage to Mitt Romney this November. Pennsylvania
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai actually said -- well, he certainly said
that when he talk about it last month. Let`s hear the guy basically
indicting himself here.


focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we have talked
about for years. Pro-Second Amendment, the Castle Doctrine, it is done.
First pro-life legislation, abortion facility regulations in 22 years,
done. Voter I.D., which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state
of Pennsylvania, done.



MATTHEWS: Well, there is a photo I.D. this guy never wants to see
again, where he comes out and publicly basically says, the purpose of this
new I.D. law is not to prevent crime or corruption or anything else. It is
to get this guy Romney to pull an upset in Pennsylvania.

we call that the smoking gun evidence.

MATTHEWS: I call it the Perry Mason moment, when the bad guy stands
up and says, you got me.


BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right, that`s right, because this is the
smoking gun evidence of voter suppression.

There was no evidence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, but there is
evidence of voter suppression. And so Advancement Project is in court...


MATTHEWS: OK. You`re a lawyer, right?

BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: You`re a lawyer. What chance do you have in the
constitutional fight in Harrisburg with the federal courts?

BROWNE-DIANIS: We think we have a very good chance.

Advancement Project is counseling that case because the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court has said, this is a fundamental right to have the voice to be
able to elect people who are going to make the laws that govern your life.

MATTHEWS: Is this like the old literacy test? They used to say to
the black person in the South, how do you spell this? Give me some Greek
philosophy, these incredible questions they used to nail people with.


BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, it`s the new barrier. It`s the new wave
barrier. And we know who it impacts the most. It impacts African-
Americans, Latinos and elderly people, who turned out in record numbers in

MATTHEWS: Also the people that live in the old ethnic neighborhoods,
by the way, not just black people.


MATTHEWS: Let`s face it, a lot of these old neighborhoods in South
Philly and places like that. A lot of people live in row houses. They
don`t all drive. And the older they get, the more they shouldn`t drive, to
be blunt about it, to be blunt.



It disproportionately impacts Philadelphia. And that -- again that`s
no coincidence. This was really cooked up with a real partisan effort to
win this election.

MATTHEWS: Let me talk to you about -- talk turkey with you, Jim. And
this is real politics. I`m looking at these numbers. I think it is a
reach for the Republicans.

But I think this election is explosive. I don`t think it is too close
to call. I think it is too early to call this election. I don`t know
which way it will zigzag between now and November.

But we have got a new number out here. RealClearPolitics` average, it
says it is within 47 to 42. To me, that`s no difference at all. That`s
almost within the point spread, within the margin of error. Your thoughts
about whether, with the help of this I.D. card requirement, the Republicans
could steal that state.

BURN: Well, Chris, with the help of the I.D. card, if the state party
and others were not doing due diligence, assuming it is not struck down, if
we sat on our hands, yes, there could be a significant contributing factor
to their efforts here in Pennsylvania to steal this state away from
President Obama.

But having said that -- and we have -- I have touched on this before -
- we are not going to allow that contingency to take place. We have been
proactive in dealing with this unfair and unnecessary piece of legislation.
And we will continue to be aggressive in our efforts in that regard.

But, yes, if we were to sit around and do nothing and believe the
trumped-up explanations for this unnecessary bill, then, yes, there could
be a problem. But we will not allow it to happen here.

MATTHEWS: I like your spirit, sir.

Thank you very much, Jim Burn...

BURN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: ... chairman of the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania.

Judith Browne-Dianis, an expert on all good things.

It is a red scare in the Republican Party. Why are they always
talking about the Soviet Union? Will these guys accept that it is over,
the big fight between us and the Soviets is over, it is over ever since
Yeltsin stood up on that tank against the Red Army? It`s good that it`s
over, isn`t it? There are only a few people that don`t like it not being
over and they keep saying Soviet Union.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. And now to the "Sideshow."

Remember when Herman Cain was the leader of the pack in the Republican
nomination fight? Well, here`s Cain himself on "The Daily Show" showing
how he would react to a national crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, I have an incoming cable.

The pipeline has exploded in several spots. Oil is spilling
everywhere. Gather those most affected and explain to them why their
sacrifice is not in vain.




forest, assemble.


CAIN: We have a disaster on our hands.


CAIN: I know that you have sacrificed much, but until we get this
contained, run.





MATTHEWS: Well, Cain recently launched an Internet TV channel and
next year takes over for a conservative radio host Neal Boortz.

Well, next, feel like you have heard the term Soviet Union a tad too
much over the course of this presidential race? Well, here`s some of the
back to the Cold War moments we have seen on the Republican side as they go
after the president`s policies.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: What people recognize is that
there is a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They
see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and
our loss militarily going forward.

pushing into the Arctic with no response from us. In fact, the only
response is to announce the early retirement of the last remaining

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He entered into an agreement
with the Soviet -- excuse me -- with Russia work regard to the New START
treaty, which I think was exceptionally one-sided.


MATTHEWS: Well, that last one was obviously a slip of the tongue.
But why was he even thinking of the Soviets?

Well, one reason is a top adviser said it again yesterday? Here`s, by
the way, one of the advisers around the candidate, Richard Williamson,
hitting the Obama administration for its approach to the situation in


means engaging an issue like Syria, one that is, according to the CENTCOM
commander, the biggest strategic blow we could give to Iran is if Assad
leaves. It is strategically important to the Soviet Union, to say nothing
of the humanitarian crisis.


MATTHEWS: Did you hear it again, the Soviet Union?

It could be the reason here that Romney has allowed into his circle
neocons, neoconservatives, who still think and feel in Cold War terms.
They miss the Cold War.

Up next: the power and peril of negative ads. The Obama and Romney
campaigns are both trying to paint the other guy as not like the rest of
us. But will going negative pay off or hurt? That`s ahead.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


CNBC "Market Wrap."

Relief about Europe sends stocks higher. The Dow surges 212 points.
The S&P gains 22. The Nasdaq adds 39. After the bell, Facebook`s earnings
came in line with expectations. Revenue was stronger than expected.
Meanwhile, profits and revenue missed estimates.

And Starbucks earnings also fell short. In addition, it`s lowering
its fourth-quarter outlook. Starbucks and Facebook both taking a hit in
after-hours trading.

That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

If you believe Mitt Romney campaign advertising, you would think that
the president wasn`t looking out for you. As for the Obama campaign, well,
they imply Romney is different. "The New York Times" reports today that
negative advertising is alive and well in -- and it is all about describing
your opponent in terms voters can`t relate to, in other words, make them
different than you and I.

Well, 10 or so battleground states are being pelted with negative TV
ads right now. The top markets this week are Ohio, Virginia, Florida,
North Carolina, and Nevada, all there on that map.

With me are two men with experience in political ads, Democrat Steve
McMahon and Republican Michael Steele.

There you are, gentlemen, both friends of mine. So here we go into

We`re going to study the power of these ads in a somewhat objective

For a taste of what the Obama campaign wants you to know about Mitt
Romney, take a look at this recent ad. This is how they want you to see
the guy.


NARRATOR: Tax havens, offshore accounts, carried interest, Mitt
Romney has used every trick in the book. Romney admits that over the last
two years, he`s paid less than 15 percent in taxes on $43 million in
income. Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all. We don`t
know because Romney has released just one full year of his tax returns and
won`t release anything before 2010.

out as much as we`re going to put out.

NARRATOR: What is Mitt Romney hiding?


MATTHEWS: You know, that seems pretty straightforward, Michael
Steele, except for that somewhat snarky pronunciation of the word "any."
They all -- they hire the most sarcastic voices in the world to do these.


MATTHEWS: But you know what? That is the Romney position. I`m not
giving you anything more than the two years. That`s the deal. Live with
it. That`s his attitude.

Isn`t it accurate?

STEELE: Well, you know, yes, it`s accurate to the extent that he says
he is not going to give us any more than two years` worth.

But the other aspect of it that I think is very interesting is the
wording. And so they start off by saying that he uses every trick in the
book. Well, OK, that connotes something evil, nefarious, underhanded.

Well, in fact, he followed the same election -- I mean, tax laws that
everyone else has followed that has allowed him to take the breaks that he
needs to take on his taxes. So it is how you frame it and how you create
the impressions, to your point, Chris, that is the most devious here, and
it is a very good ad.


MATTHEWS: You know, I love that -- that that`s an old lyric from the
`60s. Every trick in the book reminds me...


STEELE: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, that has a nice sound to it. Anyway...

MCMAHON: Yes, everybody, just the same tax laws that we all follow.
We all keep our money in the Cayman Islands. We all offshore jobs to India
and China and other places.


MATTHEWS: You`re being sarcastic.

MCMAHON: I`m being a little sarcastic. I`m being a little sarcastic.

STEELE: You`re being sarcastic, Steve, but the tax code...


MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute.

Is he like you and me? Michael, is he -- is he the kind of regular
guy that -- I`m not saying Franklin Roosevelt.

STEELE: Right.

MATTHEWS: He was a bit off the charts in terms of not having a
regular experience.

But the whole thing today seems to be democratizing high office. The
president ought to be like us. He ought to go to the store, the
supermarket once in a while. He ought to do the laundry once in a while.
He ought to cut the lawn once in a while.

Is that asking too much of these politicians to be like most people
who are watching this show right now?

STEELE: It is not during the campaign.

But then, once they get the office, that`s the last thing they want to
do is see you out there mowing the lawn and going to a 7-Eleven.


STEELE: So let`s be honest here. OK?

So, the framing, the setup framing is the -- is the core thing to sort
of bring these guys down and to make them something, as you describe,
Chris, as something other. And that`s what this -- that`s what this ad
tries to do.

MCMAHON: Chris...

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look. Here`s another -- for their part,
the Romney campaign is using a line of a recent Obama speech to make you
think he cannot relate to the average small business guy. Let`s watch.


successful, you didn`t get there on your own. If you got a business, that
-- you didn`t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

JACK GILCHRIST, BUSINESS OWNER: My father`s hands didn`t build this
company? My hands didn`t build this company?

Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business.
Why are you demonizing us for it?

It`s time we have somebody who beliefs in us, someone who believes
achievement should be rewarded. Not punished. We need somebody who
believes in America.


MATTHEWS: You know, to me that`s -- I`m sorry, Michael. We will
fight over this. I think that`s an absolute lie, that ad. Obama never
said that somebody else got your job for you. He simply said the roads and
the bridges that get people to your businesses, or get your products out,
you didn`t build. That`s true of every home developer, everybody who runs
a grocery store. You need the basic facilities of the public sector.

that they trotted out to do that ad, apparently according to a report I
read last night, a DNC truth squad report, was himself the beneficiary of
government loans to build the business that he is talking about his father
building. And then he said, well, of course I used government loans. Of
course somebody else helped me. That`s the American way. I would be a
fool if I did not.

You`re right absolutely. They took it out of context.

STEELE: That`s not the point.

MATTHEWS: What is the point?

MCMAHON: Excuse me, wait a second, he was talking about there was a
teacher who helped you get there. There was a road that somebody else paid
to build.

MATTHEWS: So, what`s -- let`s be honest here for a second, besides
quibbling. What is the big thing Obama is trying to say here that`s
important to this debate? And what`s the big thing Romney is challenging
him on?

MCMAHON: The big thing Romney is trying to say is, does he share
your values? Does he understand your concerns? And is he going to be the
kind of president who will address them or is he somebody else who is
operated by a different set of rules and who`s never, ever understood what
middle class families go through?

MATTHEWS: OK. What do you think? What`s the big argument that
Romney --

STEELE: The big argument here -- and the contrast is very clear.
Obama, you know, doesn`t believe in you. He doesn`t trust you. He doesn`t
have faith in your ability to grow your business and to do what you want to
do with your own hands.

So, that`s why they stressed in that commercial, the word believed.
You know, believe in America. Believe in you. Believe in your community.

So that`s the contrast. One saying that, you know, this guy doesn`t
believe in you. And the other one saying this guy is not like you. That`s
going to be the test.

MATTHEWS: Let me correct your papers now. You`re wrong because
Obama doesn`t give enough credit to the entrepreneurial guts of a lot of
people who go out and start business, whether I think a small diner, he
makes it sound like they`re a product of all these things that led to it.

The key distinction to people who run a lot of businesses isn`t that
they inherited them, is that they founded them. I don`t think he gives a
lot of credit to that.

And on the other hand, the other guy, Romney, never gives credit to
the public sector. You can`t do business in this country without really
good education, without really good R&D, and a lot of things that
government alone will do. Pure research is often done by universities
completely supported by government money. They`re not done by profit

So, a lot of the good stuff that gets done in this country wouldn`t
get done economically, people would not get rich, jobs wouldn`t have gotten
rich without the Internet, right?

STEELE: Chris, that has nothing to do with the political ads that
you played. That`s the point.


STEELE: You have to do analysis of the ads, that`s what the ads are
going to something other than the core what you talked about.

MCMAHON: If you looked at what the president actually said, he was
talking about the teach here helped to educate you. He was talking about
the road that was built by taxpayers.

STEELE: So what? It has nothing to do with the politics.

MCMAHON: He is not taking away from the business.


MATTHEWS: Let me take the Democratic side which I occasionally do.
These guys keep voting against every damn highway and construction bill
there is out there. Every time the president talks infrastructure, they
chuckle. And I don`t think you should chuckle.

Anyway, Eisenhower was the big road man, remember? And Lincoln was
the great railroad man. And, you know, Kennedy was the great spaceman, and
so was Johnson and so were other people.

We have to build in this country again. Replace the smell of decay
with the smell of construction. We have to do some things.


STEELE: You know, Chris, when you run for office, the political ad
will come and tear you down on that. That`s the analysis on the ad. Not
on the substance of it.

MATTHEWS: Michael, you can get friendly with me because we`re
friends, but don`t get intimate. Don`t get talking about my career here,

Thank you, Steve McMahon.

STEELE: I was trying to help you out, man.

MATTHEWS: I know. I voted for you, remember? You didn`t vote for
me -- Michael Steele.

Up next, why did Mitt Romney say he won`t even watch the dancing
horse? He`s got a horse in this race. He says he`s not even going to
watch that horse. He says he`s going to let his wife Ann worry about that.

Is he embarrassed by his wealth and the way he spends it? Could it
be he is one of them, not one of us?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Mark your calendars. The Commission on Presidential
Debates announced the four dates you`ll want to remember this October,
including one for V.P. nominees. October 3rd will focus on the domestic
issues in Denver, Colorado. October 11th will be the vice presidential
debate in Kentucky. October 16th in town hall style where candidates will
answer questions from undecided voters in Hempstead, New York. And October
22nd will be the final debate on foreign policy in Boca Raton, Florida.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back.

It seems like only a few weeks ago we hadn`t heard of the sport
dressage at all, the sport known as horse ballet. It made its way into the
American mainstream as Rafalca, the mare co-owned by Ann Romney, gets ready
to perform in the London Olympics right now.

But if you thought Mitt Romney was interested in the support -- or
the success of Rafalca, think again. Here he was with Brian Williams last
night on "Nightly News."


BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: It seems to me this completes your Olympic
experience. You get to run the games and now you actually have a horse in
the race. What is that going to be like?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it`s a big exciting
experience for my wife. And for the person that she has work with, the
trainer of the horse who is riding the horse. And obviously, it is fun to
be part of the Olympics, in any way you can be part of them.

WILLIAMS: When is the event? And for those of us who don`t follow
the sport, what happens? Are there rounds of competition? Is there just
one chance? What happens?

ROMNEY: I have to tell you, this is Ann`s sport. I`m not even sure
which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it. I will
not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.


MATTHEWS: He seems to be dancing around that horse question, didn`t

Anyway, Dana Milbank is a "Washington Post" columnist, and Erin
McPike covers the campaign for real clear politics.

I think I heard him say there in the middle of all that stuff he was
throwing out to try to get this away from him, the horses are excited about
this. I don`t know how you read that.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: It must be very exciting for the
horses to get this (INAUDIBLE). In fact, the Romneys went to Europe in the
first place.

MATTHEWS: Did they fly over or send him by ship?

MILBANK: I don`t know. I think they flew him on to the roof.

MATTHEWS: They threw the horses. That is exciting.

MILBANK: No, it is. But I think the reason --

MATTHEWS: Look at how long the flight here. This is wild.

MILBANK: No, but they strap him to the top of the airplane.

I think the reason, I think the reason Romney is dancing around the
dancing horses is -- Rafalca, if that`s how we pronounce the name -- is
actually more of a threat than Seamus, the dog. Because the dog thing --

MATTHEWS: I don`t know.

MILBANK: That showed weirdness. But this shows who owns a herd of
dancing horses?

MATTHEWS: This is going to make wind surfing like cat ball on a
stick in south Philly. I mean, this is so elite, Erin.


MATTHEWS: Dressage.

MCPIKE: -- he doesn`t want to talk about it. He said, I`m not going
to be watching it. My wife is. He isn`t going to watch it on television.

So, it`s his wife`s problem, just like the Bermuda shell company that
he transferred to his wife the day before he became governor of
Massachusetts. He`s running away. It`s his problem -- or it`s her
problem, not his.

MATTHEWS: I don`t know. Brian Williams asked Romney if to his
experienced eye, London looked ready to host the Olympics.


ROMNEY: You know, it`s hard to know just how well it would turn out.
There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the
private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the
immigration and customs officials. That obviously is not something which
is encouraging.


MATTHEWS: What are Olympic organizers like hair dressers and
political supporters or consultants, they never like anybody else`s way of
doing it. Oh, they`re never going to let -- anyway, that reply didn`t go
over well in the U.K. A headline on "The Daily Mail" asked who invited

Prime Minister David Cameron chided, "We`re holding Olympic Game in
one of the busiest, most active bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of
course it`s easier if you hold an Olympic games in the middle of nowhere."
And nowhere, of course, was a wildly viewed as a dig at Romney`s Olympic
experience in Salt Lake City.

So, here he is battling it out in his first diplomatic experience.
His first foray, if you will, in the foreign territory, fighting it with a
conservative prime minister. You can`t get along with that guy, who can he
get along with, Erin?

MCPIKE: I don`t know. The other comment that was in this interview
that was a problem, just about the people of London is he said, you know,
we know the Olympians, the athletes are ready. We know the volunteers are
ready. But we`ll have to see if the people of that -- of this country can
come together. So he`s questioning --


MATTHEWS: Why is Romney -- I said it was like political consultants,
because they never like the other political consultant. Is he now saying
nobody does it like I did it?

MILBANK: Maybe that`s what he`s thinking, but that`s not the thing
to be doing when you`re on your first foreign foray. The whole world is
watching. And so, he has this pratfall in this interview with the series
of things. First, awkwardness with the French sounding name and German
horses. And then the strain of insulting the host. He`s been spending the
day climbing back away from those remarks and also facing all this heat
from the press corps why, is there any policy here?

MATTHEWS: Well, Brian is incredibly civilized in the way he asked
these questions. I didn`t see any curveballs in there however. He did ask
reasonable questions.

But Romney cannot do unprepared material. He seems to need his very
sharp staff. You cover him, Erin. He`s very good when he has time to
prepare a specific answer.

I mean, he`s pretty good in speeches. He`s pretty good in debates.
But when you get him out there in the rope liner, or as Brian got him in an
unfamiliar territory, he doesn`t know what to say. I just got off the

MILBANK: Apparently.

MCPIKE: There`s yet another answer in that interview where Brian was
asking him about differences of opinion that he has with the NRA. And he
couldn`t name one. Just like Sarah Palin in 2008 couldn`t name Supreme
Court justices. She couldn`t name publications she reads.

Not to compare Mitt Romney exactly with Sarah Palin, but you`ve got
to be able to answer differences of opinion.

MATTHEWS: But isn`t that consistent, Dana, with his refusal to do
anything but buckle to anybody on the right, whether it`s the NRA or it`s
Norquist or it`s anybody. Pat Robertson down there in Virginia -- yes,
yes, yes, yes, yes. That`s his approach.

MILBANK: Whatever you need me to say, that got him through the

But, you know, in a way, he`s like a dressage horse who follows a
routine very carefully. But when he starts to roam free, he`s going to
have problems.

MATTHEWS: I don`t think dressage is going to sell anyway. Thank
you, Dana Milbank. I always speak bad English when I`m talking about high
priced sports.

Erin McPike, it`s like stick ball.

Anyway, when we return, let me finish with the real impact of the
tragedy in Colorado.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: I think all great events
have great impacts. This country has never gotten over the Kennedy
assassination I haven`t. And for younger Americans, especially, 9/11 still
haunts. Well, this horror in Aurora, Colorado, continues to penetrate our
country`s feelings. I think it`s had a stronger impact on this country
than all the words thrown back and forth in this presidential election
campaign this summer.

I think people feel for each other in ways that don`t come across in
the political back and forth. They care about each other in ways that
don`t get displayed when we talk about red states and blue states. I think
we need to hold on to moments of national unity like this one when the
debate heatens up and heightens.

We need to remember that we don`t despise each other but we do
despise maybe the arguments that are thrown up by the other side. I know
that sounds odd coming from me. I freely admit there are people that get
to me, but I also know if I found them lying in a ditch somewhere say after
a traffic accident, I`d do everything I could do care for them.

I know this. And you know this about yourself. We are all God`s
children. That is a fact we need to remind ourselves of. One that comes
to remind us in times we take a hit, suffering a horror together like we`ve
done ever since the day that Aurora, Colorado, flashed across the headlines
and ventured into our hearts.

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

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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