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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Friday, October 19th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Friday show

October 19, 2012

Guests: Kathleen Turner, Jonathan Allen, Anne Gearan, David Sanger


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this. The battle between the president
and his challenger is heading into overdrive. One guy`s going to survive
this two-week drill between now and election day, the other guy is going to
go down big time -- big time -- because everybody can see how close this
is. The loser`s going to get pilloried by his party. How could you throw
it away? How could you be so out of it?

So the closing struggle begins now, this weekend, then Monday in Boca
Raton, Florida, for the final debate, this one on foreign policy. But
never let it leave your mind this election`s about the economy. President
Obama has two weeks to sell the country on what he`d do in a second term.

He needs to ramp it all up, the policy that saved the auto industry
and how this kind of active industrial policy can bring a surge in American
manufacturing. He needs to push the overdue construction in this country -
- roadway, rail, brick and mortar investment, a campaign that will bring
this country aggressively into the 21st century.

He pushed that big jobs bill in his first weeks in office that kept
the economy from heading off a cliff. He needs to show us what a second
bill will look like. The more he paints the picture of his second term
economic rebuilding agenda, the better.

Chuck Todd is NBC`s chief White House correspondent and political
director and Jonathan Martin is Politico`s senior political reporter.
Gentlemen, I brought you on as the big brains. Now I want some big brains.
This thing -- I was at the Al Smith dinner, blah, blah, a bunch of rich
Irish, I get it, you know?


MATTHEWS: And I mean it. Some of the guys are smart up there,
actually. But the fact of the matter is, this election...

JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO: Finger on the pulse.


MATTHEWS: It doesn`t -- no, not regular. This thing seems to be
drifting around. I don`t want to bring a lot of numbers in tonight because
there`s so many of them, they all conflict with each other. Is there a
drift, a turn -- is it moving towards Romney clearly ever since that first
debate? Is that a safe assessment, or is it not?

moved clearly in Romney`s direction. I think it is now sort of sitting
there. The question is, has he still have a little momentum, or did the
president stop him? And you know, that`s...

MATTHEWS: So that`s...


MATTHEWS: ... a little more momentum left, but did he gain ground --
a lot.

TODD: He gained a lot of ground. I think this is basically an even
race, a coin flip race. It`s about whether Mitt Romney can break through
in the three Midwestern states. He`s got to unlock those three Midwestern
states, Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin. It`s the only way the math works.

MATTHEWS: So you`re implying that it`s going to be so close in the
popular vote -- you and Jon -- that these electoral decisions state by
state are going to really matter.

TODD: I think they absolutely are going to matter.

MATTHEWS: It`ll be that close.

TODD: I think right now -- I mean, I think, look...

MATTHEWS: There`s not going to be a big national...


TODD: I mean, Colorado and Virginia are the two closest...

MATTHEWS: So you don`t see a national mandate crossing the country
right now.


TODD: You know, I am still a believer that it`s still possible.

MARTIN: I think it`s still possible.

TODD: Yes.


MATTHEWS: Do you agree with him it basically moved a big space toward
Romney after that first debate, and that sort of came to a still, that
swing? Or has it, in your mind?

MARTIN: I think it is still moving in Romney`s direction.


MARTIN: And I think that one of two things are going to happen.
Either the Obama campaign is going to sweat out an electoral vote victory,
where they put together a combination of the states that Chuck mentioned,
Iowa, Wisconsin and Nevada, and Romney can`t get to 270.

TODD: Right.

MARTIN: And they sweat out a really tough race, negative race. They
grind it down, and they get 275. Or in the next couple of days here, we do
see that national swing and Romney does make a sort of huge push...

TODD: And sweeps it.


MATTHEWS: At what point does it become a popular vote election, where
the electoral decisions state by state really are overwhelmed by the
national surge?

TODD: If -- if Romney moves, it could happen. It would only happen
in the Romney direction.

MATTHEWS: If he has a strong movement the next two weeks that he had
two weeks ago...

TODD: Correct.

MATTHEWS: ... is he a winner?

TODD: It`s hard to...

MATTHEWS: Is he the winner?

TODD: ... imagine -- yes.



MATTHEWS: OK, let`s take a look at the president today. Or actually,
let`s look at the next bite we have on the president. It was "The Daily
Show," I believe. Let`s look at that the other night -- last night. It
wasn`t "The Daily Show." The president tried to sell (INAUDIBLE) did a good
job. I`m not sure he`s done yet. Let`s watch.


I`d end the war in Iraq. We did. Said I`d pass health care reforms, make
sure people don`t go bankrupt when they get sick. We have. Said that we
would refocus our attention on al Qaeda. We have. Made sure that...


OBAMA: Made sure that we saved an auto industry that was on the brink
of collapse. We`ve done that. So we`ve got a very strong story to tell,
whether it`s on social issues like, "Don`t ask, don`t tell," or economic
issues that matter for middle class families.


MATTHEWS: Does that lean forward enough or is that just the past?

TODD: You know, it feels like the past, but I have to tell you -- you
know, one of the odder things that we`re seeing in the polling is the right
track/wrong track is moving in the direction that should be helping the


TODD: And yet Mitt Romney is the one making -- is still making gains,
even as people feel better both with the job the president is doing...


TODD: This is -- what`s weird about this is that this is not a
seesaw. The Romney move up is not correlating with some sort of Obama
going down on his job rating.

MARTIN: Right.

TODD: And that is...

MATTHEWS: Could it be that the president...


MATTHEWS: Could it be, Jon, he outran his string? In other words,
his good news has come too late.

MARTIN: That`s a very, very strong...

MATTHEWS: The housing market`s up...

MARTIN: ... possibility.

MATTHEWS: Housing market`s up. The job claims are going down for


MARTIN: But it came two months too late. I think that`s very
possible. Look, I think the best thing that happened to Romney was that
first debate because you had 70 million people who finally saw him, not the
caricature in the TV ads. They finally saw him in the flesh.

And I`ll tell you what (INAUDIBLE) talking to a lot of swing folks in
places like New Hampshire, places like Florida the last couple of days,
operatives in both parties in those swing states, and they say that was a
huge moment because for the first time, people saw, yes, this is somebody
who could be a plausible alternative.

It doesn`t mean they were willing to sort of buy the house right
there, but yes, I can live here.

MATTHEWS: They let him in the house, too. I think once you let the
guy in the house, it`s very hard to say, Get out of the house.

TODD: Here`s a fun little nugget...

MARTIN: He`s sitting on the recliner.



MARTIN: He`s sitting there on the recliner, you know?


TODD: ... fun little nugget about that first debate. It is the --
the time that -- between first and second debate, it`s the longest period
of time between a first and second debate since 1988. That is also what
hurt the president and helped Romney is that it sort of -- he got two weeks
of momentum out of this debate.


TODD: You know, the president needed...


TODD: And the president needed to...

MATTHEWS: Who was it that said he`s got...

TODD: ... stop the bleeding...

MATTHEWS: ... five weeks to live off that first debate between that

TODD: Well, he got two...


TODD: ... for longer than Mondale got with Reagan. He lived it on
longer than Kerry...

MATTHEWS: OK, unemployment...


MATTHEWS: Everybody`s listening now. The employment numbers are
getting better. In 41 states, they`re better than they were. I mean, I
thought the joke last night -- you were asking me about the Al Smith
dinner. He -- Romney made fun of Obama by saying you can say based on the
September numbers, you`re better off than you were four weeks ago. I mean,
they`re starting to put down the fact of this late recovery.

MARTIN: No, and that could be a huge challenge. Look, the idea that
the VP debate, Chris, or the debate at Hofstra earlier this week were going
to somehow turn this around for Obama -- it hasn`t happened yet.

TODD: It slowed it down. I think you`re seeing some evidence that it
sort of -- Romney didn`t lose any ground. He didn`t peel (ph) anything.
But I think the president stopped the erosion.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about this question of what you think.
I know you guys don`t want to take political positions or partisan
positions, but I will. In fact, this is (INAUDIBLE) analysis.

I think the American people will not vote for nothing. They`re not
going to vote for Obama`s track record. They`re not going to vote for
Romney`s business know-how. What they`re looking for a plan that they can
say when they voted, it meant something to them.

I like -- I`ve heard people say, I like this guy Romney because he had
that five-point plan thing. He had something I could see. I`m going to --
he`s a business guy, says, I`m going to do these things.

Obama has done a lot more at the national level than Romney ever
thinking of doing, but he doesn`t turn it into a future map. He says, OK,
I`ve done the automobile. I did the stimulus. I did health care. But
where does that point to what he`s going to do next time?

MARTIN: Their investment and their theory of the case is that the way
to get reelected in this environment is to render Romney as unacceptable.

MATTHEWS: Didn`t work!


MATTHEWS: What do they do now? That didn`t work.

MARTIN: They`re still doing it.

TODD: Well, and that`s -- that`s...

MARTIN: I mean, look at today, for example...


MATTHEWS: ... look at the president today. Cue it up. Let`s show
the president today because I agree with you. Instead of trying to build
the case for the president staying in the game, being kept in as starting
pitcher, they keep making the case against the guy in the bullpen.

MARTIN: Right.

MATTHEWS: And I don`t think that`s the way it works. But here he is
this afternoon. The president called out Romney for shifting positions on
issues like equal pay, women`s health, taxes and coal even, coining a new
phrase for his opponent`s condition. Let`s watch him.


OBAMA: I mean, he`s changing up so much and backtracking and side-
stepping, we`ve got to -- we`ve got to -- we`ve got to name this condition
he`s going through. I think -- I think it`s called "Romnesia."



OBAMA: That`s what it`s called. And if you come down with a case of
Romnesia and you can`t seem to remember the policies that are still on your
Web site or the promises you`ve made over the six years you`ve been running
for president, here is the good news. "Obama care" covers preexisting


OBAMA: We can fix you up! We`ve got a cure!


MATTHEWS: Well, we`ve got a big fight coming up later in the show
about women and this whole thing, and you two guys are going to talk about
it as distant people here, males. But is that going to be an issue here
now? Because I saw those younger women there. I saw Cecile Richards
introduced him in northern Virginia today. And my question is, without a
gender gap, can a Democrat win?

TODD: No. No chance. No chance. They have to.

MATTHEWS: Because if the issue is...


MATTHEWS: ... of the Democratic Party is health, education, it`s
women`s rights, the whole plethora of issues...


MATTHEWS: ... for women mainly.

TODD: That`s why, you know, when you see the race this close and then
you`ll see some polls that`ll be a 2 or 3-point race, but then there`s no
gender gap, you`re, like, Oh, throw that poll out. There`s a gender gap in
American politics.

MATTHEWS: Well, do you think that Romney...


MATTHEWS: I`m going to get to this with Kathleen Turner and some
tough hombres in a minute, not just you guys. But my question is, how can
one guy one night -- you start at this -- he walks in, he`s very
impressive, he`s even pushy. He is. He`s a bully. And yet he seemed to,
in the polling, impress a lot of women, Romney.

MARTIN: Well, sure because...

MATTHEWS: Why does his manner impress people?

MARTIN: Because the perception of him was, as Haley Barbour famously
said, he was an out-of-touch plutocrat who`s married to a known equestrian,
right? One of the most famous quotes of the cycle. When people saw in
Denver that, actually, this guy was a serious, articulate person who was
not the sort of Thurston Howell, you know, character, it helped him. And I
think that is still the case.


MATTHEWS: I thought he looked a little bit like that guy, and that`s
why people liked him. He looked like a big business big shot.

TODD: Well -- but by the way, in that first debate, you say he was
kind of a bully. No, he wasn`t in the first debate. In the first debate,
I thought there was a civility to him. You know, he was...

MATTHEWS: Covering up a lack of deference.

TODD: He was -- there was...

MARTIN: On the "Obama care" issue, for example, or...


TODD: He did little subtle things that I actually thought he made a
mistake in not doing in the second debate, that he was too aggressive...


TODD: ... and too hot in the second...

MATTHEWS: Oh! Hold on, you`ll get your chance?

TODD: Right. That was...

MATTHEWS: Can you imagine if Obama had done that to a sitting

TODD: It would have -- it would have...

MATTHEWS: They would have brought the police in!

TODD: It was -- it was not a good moment for him there. I thought in
the first debate, what helped Romney is that it came across with a
civility. It was toughness with a smile.

MARTIN: Right.

TODD: It was toughness with a deference.


TODD: ... being pushy but without...


MATTHEWS: ... a bit of cordiality about the wedding anniversary, 20th
anniversary, and then a lot of good civility. He didn`t call him Mr.
Obama, he called him Mr. President. But all through it, there`s a real
lack of deference. He sort of faced down the president, you know?

TODD: Well, but that`s what a challenger has to do when you`re
running against a sitting president of the United States, is you -- you got

MATTHEWS: You treat him like he`s not president.

TODD: You got to find that line (ph). But you`re trying to get
people to equate -- make you think you`re as presidential as the actual


TODD: You`ve been through this.

MATTHEWS: Been kind. Anyway, thank you. I wouldn`t be that kind. I
think he was so lacking in deference, it was disrespectful.

TODD: The second debate, he lacked deference. I think the first

MATTHEWS: The first time, he masked it. It was there. Anyway, Chuck
Todd, thank you, gentlemen, smart guys. Thank you, Jonathan Martin.

Coming up, the battle for the female vote. It can`t help Republicans
when Congressman Joe Walsh -- you know him -- says concern for the health
of the woman is just an excuse to have an abortion. Kathleen Turner comes
here, the Kathleen Turner, to fight the fight for women.

Also, it got hot last night in those Senate debates around the
country. Check out this bout between Ohio`s Sherrod Brown and his
Republican opponent, Josh Mandel.


SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Being called a liar, a liar by the
winner of the pants on crown fire (SIC) is just a pretty remarkable thing
for a young man to say, or for a man of any age to say in a political


MATTHEWS: Well, that was one of the many roundhouse punches thrown
last night in Senate debates around the country. We`re going to bring you
the important action. It`s going to get hot here.

And Monday, the last of the presidential debates coming up now, this
one on foreign policy, a home game for the president, but the president
needs to put out the bottom line on what happened in Benghazi and get it
over with.

"Let Me Finish" with this crowd from the past trying to take charge of
the country`s future. What a bunch of troglodytes out there!

Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We`ve got some new polling in some battleground states.
Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

Let`s start in Colorado, where a new PPP poll shows President Obama up
3, close there over Mitt Romney, and at that all-important 50 percent mark.
And that`s good for the President Obama, 50 now, Romney 47.

Next to Iowa, where a new PPP poll there has Romney up by 1 -- boy,
that jiggles around -- 49 to 48. That`s a big difference from our NBC
News/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll that has the president up there by
8. So how do you put that together? I told you about these wild polls.
Same score in New Hampshire, where PPP again has Romney up by 1, 49-48.

Finally, in Michigan, President Obama is maintaining his lead there.
A new Epic/MRA poll shows the president up by 6. That`s pretty comfortable
these days, 52-46. These numbers are gyrating, as I told you.

We`ll be right back.



OBAMA: When it comes to issues critical to women...


OBAMA: ... the right to make your own decision about your health, the
right to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace...


OBAMA: ... Governor Romney wants to take us to policies more suited
to the 1950s.


MATTHEWS: That`s for sure. Anyway, welcome back. President Obama
campaigning today in Virginia, northern Virginia there, at George Mason,
kept the focus on women. A lot of young women there, by the way, and also
Cecile Richards introduced him.

Now, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party have taken positions on issues
related to women that can only be described as extreme, and I mean extreme.
We`ll run through the list before -- including -- we`ve done it before,
including a GOP platform that criminalizes abortion.

And now we`ve got a new entry following his debate last night. The
illustrious -- I mean that totally sarcastically -- U.S. Congressman Joe
Walsh said allowing an exception for abortion when the mother`s life is at
risk is not medically or scientifically necessary.

Let`s listen to this genius.


REP. JOE WALSH (R), ILLINOIS: This is an issue that opponents of life
throw out there to make us look unreasonable. There`s no such exception as
life of the mother. And as far as health of the mother, same thing. With
advances in science and technology, there`s -- health of the mother has
been -- has become a tool for abortions any time, under any reason.


MATTHEWS: And this quote -- unbelievable, the way these guys are
talking -- scientific theory to Republican congressman Todd Akin`s theory -
- back it up there -- that women don`t get pregnant from a "legitimate
rape." In other words, if they don`t want to get pregnant, they aren`t
getting pregnant.

Anyway, here`s a sign of how important Democrats believe abortion
rights are to their fate. This chart shows that the number of ads for
Democratic candidates on this issue -- and that`s the blue one up there --
and all races that mention abortion, contraception and funding for Planned
Parenthood has increased far more in the past month than ads in that
category for Republicans, in red. No surprise.

Great guests right now. Joining us is activist and actor Kathleen
Turner, the great...


MATTHEWS: ... and managing editor of TheGrio, we`ve got Joy Reid
joining us. We`ve got two great women here to talk about -- you know, they
don`t want to call it a war on women, but I got to tell you, this guy Walsh
again, the other day said -- my mother was told not to have any more kids
at the risk of her life. This is what happens! This is real. How could
he just come along and say stuff like you can`t get pregnant if you get
raped? They just throw this stuff out...


KATHLEEN TURNER, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: What`s scary is that, I mean,
he and Akins (SIC) are by no means the exceptions. I mean, this is going
on continually in every state across our country.

The idea -- the CDC, you know, has stated that availability of
contraception and a woman`s ability to control her reproductive life has
been the greatest health advancement in the 20th century, leading to the
greatest economic rise, in that women can now have higher degrees, earn
higher hourly wages. Forty percent of women earn more than their husbands.


TURNER: So, this is not simply a question of women`s rights. It is
also an economic question.

MATTHEWS: And my question to Joy, we call this with a women`s issue
because it`s primarily women who have to take responsibility for birth
control, I guess you could say, although both parties should be

Let`s put it lightly.

TURNER: But they`re not.

MATTHEWS: Let`s not be too complicated about this. Both engage in
sex, both knowing that there`s no protection going on and not taking
responsibility when that happens.

But women have to be the first-responders you might say because they
have got to live with it.

So, here is the question. Here is the question. Why don`t men and
women both say birth control is a darn good thing? We should make sure
it`s available to women who are working as resplendently and prodigiously
as possible. Spread it around, birth control, get it out there. We want
to reduce the number of abortions, the number of unwanted pregnancies. Do
something about it. Stop talking about it and passing bills that don`t
mean anything.

Your thoughts, Joy.


And especially a guy like Joe Walsh, who won`t even pay his child
support. This is a guy who won`t take responsibility for the birth that
he`s directly responsible for producing. And Chris has a great point, but
birth control has just become yet another part of the culture wars.

And you have guys like Walsh that have taken this hard and fast
position which is anti-abortion. But just to give some statistics to Mr.
Walsh in case he needs to be educated on them, maternal death still happens
in this country. In fact, the United States is 39th. We rank is 39th in
the world behind countries like Greece and Germany. Albania has a better
rate in terms of maternal death vs. places like let`s say Houston,
specifically, especially in red states where you have got something like 16
deaths, maternal deaths per 100,000 births according to a study in "The
Lancet" in 2010.

This is still a very real problem and there are still very real women


MATTHEWS: Let`s get off sex, because it concerns -- I want to get off
sex for a minute and obviously reproductive rights.


MATTHEWS: I want to say it, but I want to something on equal pay.
Why has Governor Romney refused to say as of this moment, Friday afternoon
at 5:00 Eastern time -- he`s refused to say why he`s against the equal pay
bill. Or is he -- he even won`t say whether he`s for or against it.

TURNER: I don`t think it`s just about the equal pay. I think he`s
obviously not giving many specifics about almost anything.

I wanted to follow up on your point about contraceptives being
something that both men and women must be for.


TURNER: I`m chairman of the board of...


MATTHEWS: I know that. You were one of the founders. You were at
the beginning.

TURNER: And one of the things that I believe we have great common
ground on is the fact that what we want is no child unwanted.


TURNER: That every child should be wanted, which means every child
should be planned.

And given those conditions, the ability, the access, when you see this
new ad about a woman saying, oh, well, Romney is not against contraception
at all, this is ridiculous, because it doesn`t mean that contraception is
even available to that woman, whether Romney personally is for it or not.

MATTHEWS: No, he means it`s legal. He means it`s legal. That`s the
most nonsensical...


TURNER: Right. It doesn`t mean the woman can actually get her hands
on it.

MATTHEWS: But he only did that to basically be dishonest, because the
issue is not legality. That was decided in the `50s. It`s access, it`s
availability, it`s affordability.


MATTHEWS: Joy, I always wonder about the reporters, beat reporters
following Romney around. When he says that malarkey or whatever the latest
Irishism we`re supposed to use these days, when he says that, I`m still for
access, it`s clearly -- I hate saying lying -- he`s dishonest about it.
He`s not answering the question of should it be in your health care plan,
should any employer who feels like denying it to a woman be able to do it?

That`s the question.

REID: Yes. I mean, Romney is the ultimate niche marketer. Whatever
audience he`s in front of, he`s saying whatever he thinks he has to do to
get elected. We don`t really know what his personal beliefs are, because
Romney seems to be a person that`s an empty vessel willing to be filled
with whatever he thinks is politically expedient at literally that moment.

You get the feeling five minutes later he could just say, you know
what? I have changed my mind, I`m now against contraception. His wife
even backed that up on "The View." They`re testing the proposition that
voters are so shallow and are not paying any attention whatsoever except
for the moment that he`s speaking to them.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me make a case to you. You`re the expert.

TURNER: Go ahead.

MATTHEWS: There are a couple things I want to get to, because it
isn`t just about sex and reproductive rights and abortion and
contraception, because that`s the way the Republican right lights to paint
it, like they`re the moralists against everybody.


MATTHEWS: If you`re a woman, you generally -- if you`re in a marriage
situation generally take the primarily responsibility for your older

TURNER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: You`re the one that calls them. You`re the one that keeps
up with their health care, and you are the one to make sure they have
health care. And you make sure they`re taking advantage of Medicare.

You know that women are going to live longer. They just do.

TURNER: Yes, they do.

MATTHEWS: So women are much more concerned about Social Security
being there for them, Social Security and Medicare. There`s a whole range
of issues that women have a more personal interest in than men, and why in
heck would a woman vote for Romney and against those issues?

TURNER: I cannot imagine. I cannot understand this at all.

I mean, I think that this election should be -- women should be to
this election what the youth were in 2008. And what I do not understand
and I`m very fearful of is like women are so underrepresented, and we are
the majorities in this country.

And our needs, we accept the fact that our needs are not prioritized.
I find this very difficult to understand.

MATTHEWS: Well, the squeaky wheel.


REID: Well, Chris, just to add to that point, I think Democrats have
a harder job typically in elections.

Democrats are trying to defend this big social compact, these big
ideas from the 20th century, whether it`s Social Security and Medicare,
women`s rights and access to an abortion. These are all of these big sort
of amorphous things. Democrats are saying we`re here to defend the past
and defend these gains.

Republicans have a much simpler job. They`re just saying, don`t pay
attention to any of that. Jobs. Don`t pay attention to any of that.
Unemployment. They`re just driving home this very specific message,
including to female voters.


REID: That`s what Romney is doing. He`s saying ignore all of these
big generalizations that the Democrats are talking about, but that you take
for granted.


MATTHEWS: By the way, just remember what Romney said, the governor
said the other day. He was asked if he would sign a bill outlawing
abortion across the country.

REID: He would be happy to.

MATTHEWS: He said it would be a terrific idea. He was thrilled.

TURNER: Yes, he would be delighted.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, he would love to have nine Scalias on the court.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Kathleen, love to have you back, love to have you
back. And we will have you back. Thank you very much.


MATTHEWS: And Joy Reid.

MATTHEWS: Kathleen, by the way, is starring right here in Washington
in a play called "Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of the Great Molly
Ivins." And that`s here in D.C. through October 28, still here.

Up next -- boy, you and Molly Ivins, what a pair.

Up next: highlights from last night`s Al Smith Dinner, where President
Obama made a special apology to me, anyway. I didn`t need it.

Anyway, This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



right out of the gate.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will repeal Obamacare and
stop it in its tracks on day one.

Starting on day one, I`m going to do what it takes to get America back
to work. I will on day one put a halt to all the regulations that were put
in during the Obama years.

COLBERT: Mitt is going to keep those promises.

I know because I have his day one schedule right here.


COLBERT: 8:00 a.m. to noon, inauguration. 12:30, appoint Cabinet.
1:00, take photo for White House I.D. card. 1:07, retake photo. 1:45,
repeal Obamacare. 4:00, pick nuclear launch codes, maybe zip code plus
Ann`s birthday, question mark?




Well, first to last night`s Al Smith Dinner up in New York. As you
can see, I was up on the dais at the big event seated right behind
President Obama and Mitt Romney. Here is the view I had from my seat. I
have to say, thanks to Tom Moran (ph) and his global food program concern
for taking this great photo right in front of us there.

Well, in his own joke-laden speech, the president made a very specific
apology regarding his performance in that first debate.


apologize to Chris Matthews.


OBAMA: Four years ago, I gave him a thrill up his leg.


OBAMA: This time around, I gave him a stroke.



MATTHEWS: Actually, there`s a better shot of me sitting right over
there. Anyway, that was something.

Now to more of the night featuring both presidential candidates.


ROMNEY: A campaign can require a lot of wardrobe changes, blue jeans
in the morning perhaps, a suit for a lunch fund-raiser, sport coat for
dinner. But it`s nice to finally relax and to wear what Ann and I wear
around the house.


OBAMA: I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand
Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown.


OBAMA: Sometimes, it feels like this race has dragged on forever.
But Paul Ryan assured me that we have only been running for two hours and
50-something minutes.


ROMNEY: Don`t be surprised if the president mentions this evening the
monthly jobs report, where there was a slight improvement in the numbers.

OBAMA: The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since I took
office. I don`t have a joke here. I just thought it would be useful to
remind everybody.


ROMNEY: President Obama and I are each very lucky to have one person
who is always in our corner, someone who is a comforting presence without
whom we wouldn`t be able to go into the day. I have my beautiful wife Ann.
He has Bill Clinton.


OBAMA: Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden.




MATTHEWS: Actually, it was mostly a pillow fight, especially by the

Now the big debate, not the presidential one. Earlier this week, I
showed you part of my encounter with Bill O`Reilly for Jon Stewart`s autism
benefit "Night of Too Many Stars."

There was a lot where that came from. O`Reilly and I had some strict
guidelines, however, to stick to in our debate. Take a look.


JOHN KING, CNN: You know the rules of the debate. Neither
participant shall be permitted to speak without first filling their lungs
with helium.


KING: The participants may continue to speak only if the helium has
kept up the pitch of their voice.

BILL O`REILLY, HOST, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR": Oh, we got to start now?
Why don`t you ask a question first.

KING: You inhale, they decide.


MATTHEWS: That means like it or lump it.

KING: As you all know, our annual deficits are now above -- you might
want a little more of that -- $1 trillion a year. The president says it`s
time to raise taxes on the rich.



KING: Governor Romney says that would inhibit job creation.


O`REILLY: Well, I don`t agree with that.


KING: Who is right?

MATTHEWS: And I say we have to go back to the Clinton tax rates and
get the hell out of Afghanistan.



MATTHEWS: Anyway, you can catch the full production, if you want to,
this Sunday on comedy Central at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Up next, if you thought this week`s presidential debate got hot, wait
until you see what happened in some Senate debates around the country last
night. It was like Thursday night fights, and we have got the highlights

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


"Market Wrap."

The Dow marks the 25th anniversary of Black Monday with a 205-point
slide. The S&P drops 24 and the Nasdaq plummets by 67. GE shares fell 3
percent after quarterly revenue fell short of estimates. GE owns a
minority stake in NBC Universal. McDonald`s also skidded today after
profits missed expectations. And existing home sales dropped 1.7 percent
last month. That`s in line with estimates. However, home prices were up
more than 11 percent.

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

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and some fireworks.

And some key races last night, Senate races showed on the down-ballot
debates how exciting they can be and contentious, certainly as the
presidential showed us a bit on Tuesday.

Anyway, in Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Virginia, and Missouri last
night, just last night, red and blue faced off. And we saw some
candidates` true colors.

With me now is David corn, an MSNBC political analyst and author of
the big new e-book "47 Percent," Politico senior Washington correspondent
Jonathan Allen.

Gentlemen, thank you. You`re going to enjoy this.

Let`s take a look at the action from the always interesting state of
Ohio. Here is Republican Josh Mandel. He`s challenging Democratic Senator
Sherrod Brown in Ohio. They kept up the attacks against each other we have
seen here. Here they are in last night`s debate going at it.


You`re falsely attacking me, and I won`t stand for it. You might want to
try to push people around in Washington, but you`re not going to push me

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Being called a liar, a liar, by the
winner of the pants on crown fire is just a pretty remarkable thing for a
young man to say or for a man of any age to say in a political debate.

Josh Mandel, as we know, has trouble telling the truth. We can`t
trust Josh Mandel to do his job. We can`t trust Josh Mandel to show up for


MATTHEWS: That kid looked -- I`m sorry. I must be getting old. He
looked 10 years old, the guy.


MATTHEWS: Is he a real threat to Sherrod Brown?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he is a real threat.

It`s Ohio, it`s a key state. Obviously, a lot of money is going in on
the presidential side. The interesting thing here, what they were
referencing is that Mandel earlier in the campaign ran an ad saying that
Sherrod Brown was responsible for all the jobs lost from Ohio to China and

And, the fact-checking organization, gave him a Pants
on Fire rating for that ad. And he got that rating and he said, great, I`m
going to run this ad again and again and again.

MATTHEWS: That`s the new -- Jon, that`s the new thing now. If you`re
caught not telling the truth, you just say, I`m not going to let my
campaign be run by fact-checkers.


And what you end up seeing is everybody calls each other liars in debates.
There`s a house --

MATTHEWS: Don`t we need Candy Crowley to be available for all these


MATTHEWS: Just come out and say, I`m Candy Crowley, he`s right, he`s

ALLEN: I`m surprised you didn`t pick an MSNBC host.


MATTHEWS: -- exactly to call in for that one.

Anyway, in Wisconsin, former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson and
his Democratic opponent, actually a Republican opponent, Tammy --
Democratic opponent Tammy Baldwin, of course, sparred over each other`s
positions on Iran.

Now, this gets tricky. You`re in the weeds here, but let`s watch.


thousands of dollars in investments in companies that do business with the
Iran, including a company that teams up with Iran doing uranium mining in

$60,000 in campaign funds -- $60,000, ladies and gentlemen, for a campaign
from a company that believes and supports no sanctions in Iran. I heard
about this stuff --

BALDWIN: Who are you talking about?

THOMPSON: I heard about --

BALDWIN: You can`t even --


THOMPSON: Wait a minute, let me finish. Let me finish. You had two
minutes. Let me finish. You want to interrupt me, Joe Biden, just give me
a chance.

The other -- the other thing is, ladies and gentlemen, is that she`s
talking about stock. I didn`t know about the fact that my stockbroker had
purchased two shares -- two company stocks. I sold it.


MATTHEWS: What is this about? This is what -- this is why people
hate politics. They dig into somebody`s stock portfolio, probably never
spent three seconds looking at it. Now, she gets the aid of $60,000 from a
company that doesn`t believe in sanctions. She`s now vulnerable but she
argues -- or quibbles, I guess, over the name of the group.

CORN: Yes, I --

MATTHEWS: Is that what it`s come down to knowing the name of the
group on live television?

CORN: It does come down to that to a certain degree. You hear the
audience booing him a little bit --

MATTHEWS: Because of the Biden reference.

CORN: He got booed a couple times for acting more like a bully and
interrupting, and Tommy Thompson, you know, his big advantage in that state
is he walks into any room and what do people say, they go, Tommy. You
know, he`s just really well-known, very popular.

MATTHEWS: Regular guy.

CORN: That people recognize him, great name recognition. So, if
he`s going on these debates and coming across as a bully and people are
seeing him in a different light, it`s more damaging to him than I think the
$60,000 Iranian stock --

MATTHEWS: If she is getting -- in fairness, if she`s getting 60,000
bucks from an organization that says let`s trade go with Iran, that`s

CORN: But you can`t get $60,000 from a company that give --

ALLEN: The big underlying issue is Israel. That`s what they`re
really fighting about. And Tammy Baldwin has been a liberal on Israel
issues. Tommy Thompson has been hammering her for that.


ALLEN: And then she found something she could knock him back with.
You own stock in companies that are --

MATTHEWS: Got you. Got you.

Let`s take a look at Connecticut. Here`s Connecticut. I love this
race. Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy called out Republican Linda
McMahon and she`s been tough in this case, for being vague on her
positions. Let`s watch.


LINDA MCMAHON (R-CT), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I`ve not talked about
specifics when I have been on the campaign trail because they get

that she`s going to get demagogued. Well, that maybe is a different way of
saying she`s going to lose votes. Well, you might lose votes if you take a
position, but that`s our responsibility as candidates, to tell folks what
we do.


MATTHEWS: Linda McMahon just parroted absolutely echoed what Romney
has been saying and what`s his name, Paul Ryan is saying. I can`t tell you
what deductions I`m going to get rid of, I can`t tell you how my tax plan
is going to work because you will use it against me.

ALLEN: You don`t expect a World Wrestling Federation owner to duck
and weave so much, but she was obviously doing it there.

This actually points out what`s a problem for a lot of politicians
right now, which is you`re either talking about raising taxes or cutting
spending and taking away government services. There are no good options
for the future.

MATTHEWS: Or spending money. You have new idea.

ALLEN: Or running up the deficit. There are no good options.

MATTHEWS: It`s all bitter. It`s just all bitter out there.

ALLEN: That`s why nobody is saying --

MATTHEWS: It`s a problem. What do people want to run for office?
They can`t do anything new, because every time you try to do something new,
they say, you want to borrow from China for that? So you can`t even fix
the light bulbs, you can`t replace light bulbs in the government. Let the
light bulb be dead out for a while, save the money.

CORN: I mean, Jonathan is right. This is sort of a new development
which is the candidates saying I`d like to tell you, but I can`t because
it`s going to hurt my chances, my prospects.


CORN: They say it so brazenly, it`s like, OK, that makes sense to
me. No, it really doesn`t.

But, you know -- but Mitt Romney is tied in the polls, and he has
demonstrated again and again that he can actually succeed with this, that
he doesn`t get laughed out of the room. She should have been laughed out
of the debate hall.

MATTHEWS: I read "The New York Post", a conservative newspaper
obviously, I read the paper with their new letters. Do you know every one
of the letters on the letters side of the op-ed page, editorial page,
attack Candy Crowley for being right. You can`t be right.

CORN: No, no.

MATTHEWS: That`s intervening here.

Anyway, thank you. Great to have you on, Jonathan. Thank you,
David, as always.

Up next, Monday`s third and final presidential debate and it`s all
about foreign policy. That should be friendly terrain for the president,
he`s good at it. But there may be trouble if the administration can`t get
his story clear on Libya. I think it`s his chance to end this discussion,
put a bottom line on what happened, what we knew, when we knew it, and what
we could have done and what we couldn`t have done.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Is outspoken Republican Congressman Allen West headed for
re-election or not? We`ve got two polls with two very different results.

Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard. First, a new PPP poll shows
West leading Democratic Patrick Murphy by 51 to 42. But a "Sunshine State
News" poll out today has the race much tighter. West`s lead in the poll
was only one, meaning nothing really, 49-48.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back.

With each passing day, last month`s attack in Benghazi becomes a
bigger headache for the president certainly ahead of Monday`s foreign
policy debate. Mitt Romney and the Republicans think they`ve hit on a
strong issue to go after the president here. They accuse his
administration of not coming clean about the nature of that attack.

Today, "The Associated Press" reported, quote, "The CIA station chief
in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month`s deadly
attack on the U.S. consulate that there was evidence that it is was carried
out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about the American-made video
ridiculing Islam`s Prophet Muhammad."

Well, it`s not clear when that information got to the White House but
it ensures that questions won`t go away. So, what is the truth about what
happened in Benghazi? Who was responsible? Was it planned? They`re
spontaneous? And what, most importantly, was the motivation?

Anne Gearan is the national security correspondent for "The
Washington Post", and David Sanger is chief Washington correspondent for
"The New York Times."

David, I want to go to you because I`ve been reading a lot of "The
Times" about this. And I guess the question is -- one of the charges being
made by Romney and the other Republicans is, that this was motivated by a
plan to do something of a terrorist style on 9/11. It had nothing to do
with the video that was made in Los Angeles, which ridiculed the prophet.

What was -- let`s get to one point. Was the motivation a planned
9/11 marking by a terrorist group or was it an opportunistic move which
jumped on this video and used that to cause the attack? Which one?

DAVID SANGER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, Chris, based on the
reporting from my great colleague David Kirkpatrick, which seems to line up
very well with what we`re hearing from U.S. intelligence sources is that
this was motivated some by the video but that the group that did it were
militants and they were looking for an excuse. Now, you can ask the
question, would they have done something on September 11th even absent the
video and I don`t think that I`ve got at least right now sufficient clarity
on that question.

But we do know is that there was no demonstration that then turned
into a bigger militant attack. In fact, it began as a militant attack.
But it may have been motivated in part by word of the video, which, of
course, was spreading from Egypt and other places. The protests in Egypt
had been just a few hours before.

MATTHEWS: Well, how did Ambassador Rice get the idea that she
presented on all those five interview shows that Sunday that it was -- that
it began as a demonstration, kind of protest demonstration we`ve seen so
many places around the world those days? Where did that come from?

SANGER: The account we`ve heard so far is that she was relying on
the intelligence reports that they had gotten up to the Saturday before she
went on the air, and she was pretty strong on the air saying that this
began as a protest.


SANGER: That view got rapidly revised by the intel community.

I think the other interesting question to ask here, Chris, I haven`t
heard the candidates asking but it strikes me as the most interesting one,
which is, what did the intel community know about the general threat
against both Tripoli and the Benghazi consulate leading up to 9/11? It
would have been a good reason to be on guard on 9/11 for the anniversary
even if that didn`t turn out to be the cause. And it looks like there was
a fair bit of threat report.

MATTHEWS: What could they have done to deal with that threat? You
can`t put an extra 10 Marines in somewhere and say -- let me go to Anne
Gearan first. I want to catch with her first of all. Same points I`d like
to raise with you with "The Washington Post", Ann. Does your reporting say
that the video had something to do with stirring this -- triggering this
act of terror against our consulate in Benghazi?

ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, yes but sort of in the
reverse from the way it was reported earlier and the way Susan Rice
initially described it, rather than it being a spontaneous protest outside
the embassy gates or the mission gates mirroring the one earlier in the day
in Cairo, this has emerged quite clearly as a planned attack, which was
likely inspired by anger over the video, but a group of militants who saw
their opportunity and took it. And then once the gates were breached and
there was an actual attack going on, a protest followed.

So there was a protest. There was a video involved. There was an
attack. But the order appears to have been reversed.

MATTHEWS: Got you. I`ve learned a lot. Thank you both for coming

I do understand now, it was opportunistically using the video but it
was a militant group and it was not really a protest beginning this whole

Anyway, we`re going to hear a whole lot about this Monday night.

Anne Gearan, thank you so much. And David Sanger, again, as always.

When we return, let me finish with this stuck in the past Republican
Party that wants to control the country`s future.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. I don`t know where these
people are coming. The Senate candidate out of Missouri who says women
don`t get pregnant if they are raped. And then this other guy, this odd
duck who now says a woman cannot lose her life or even risk serious harm in
child delivery. Well, that`s a new one.

Well, you know, if someone obstructed to deny climate change despite
the fact that people up in Alaska where it was for coverage recently are
talking about commercial shipping seems being able to pass easily over the
North Pole, talk about a northwest passage, you can chalk up believing the
planets only a few thousands years old, religious belief I supposed,
ignoring all the bones left from the ages past, all of those skeletons of
large animals and all of that oil that we use deep in the ground, built up
there over the millions of years this planet has been here, vegetating and
filled with life.

But now this anti-science looniness is merging with this ancient
attitude toward women -- keep them at home, keep them pregnant, don`t let
them get equality at work, don`t let them have birth control with their
health plans, threaten them with high crimes if they have an abortion --
all of this with the same intellectual peanut gallery that denies all the
other progress of man and womankind. And these people want to lead America
to the next decade of the 21st century, these people who believe most of
all in not believing. What a crowd to turn over our future to, people who
don`t even have a grip on the past, except the part they want to go back

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Monday night
is the third and final presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt
Romney. I`ll be live from Boca Raton for NBC`s live debate coverage. And
the debate starts at 9:00 Eastern.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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