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updated 10/5/2010 1:07:10 PM ET 2010-10-05T17:07:10

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Terry McAuliffe, Scott Ashjian, Christina Bellantoni, Joan Walsh, Sam Stein, Michelle Norris

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Democrats wage counterinsurgency.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington.  Leading off tonight:

Counter—well, October matters.  It‘s the final month before the mid-term elections and races all across the country are tightening.  Democrats are showing signs of life, and they have new hope they‘ll be able to stave off catastrophe at the hands of Republicans.  Former Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe gives us his take on the state of play with 29 days to go at the top of the show.

Then: Republicans have pinned their hopes on Sharron Angle in her race to unseat Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.  But Angle‘s been caught trashing the Republican Party behind closed doors to a Tea Party candidate who‘s also still in the race.  He secretly recorded the conversation and he‘ll will join us tonight.

Out in California, Meg Whitman‘s campaign against Jerry Brown is on the rocks after allegations she knew her long-time housekeeper was illegal.  Whitman and Brown traded jabs about it in their debate this weekend, and as we enter the homestretch, we‘ll look at some races where debates may make or break candidates.

Plus: President Obama‘s approval ratings have waned overall, but there‘s one block of voters who still overwhelmingly support him.

And “Let Me Finish” with a stark contrast, what it means to the Democrats and the country if Republicans win this November.

All that‘s ahead.  Let‘s check the latest polls in tight races around the country.  For that, we go to the HARDBALL “Scoreboard.”  We‘ll start with Pennsylvania, where a new Marist/McClatchy poll has Republican Pat Toomey up 9 over Democrat Joe Sestak.  It‘s a similar story in Colorado, where Republican Ken Buck has an 8-point lead over Senator Michael Bennet.  And in Wisconsin, it‘s Republican Ron Johnson up 7 over Senator Russ Feingold.  Finally, to Illinois and a glimmer of hope and good news for the Democrats as a new “Chicago Tribune” poll has Democrat Alexi Giannoulias with a slight lead over Republican Mark Kirk.  Lots of voters still undecided in that race, as you can see.

We‘ll continue to check the HARDBALL “Scoreboard” on all the big races each night leading up to November 2nd.

Let‘s right now go to the state of play right now with just four weeks of campaigning yet to go.  Terry McAuliffe was chairman of the Democratic National Committee.  And Richard Wolffe is an MSNBC political analyst.  Gentlemen, thank you.

Let‘s look at this poll we have right now.  This is what we call a generic, who‘s going to control Congress.  NBC‘s latest poll on the congressional ballot has Republicans at 46 to 43.  Now, that‘s not good for the Democrats, but it‘s within the margin of error.  But look at this. 

These are likely voters.  Now, look at this -- 49 to 48 it was in August,

so you definitely see a projection there, Terry McAuliffe

TERRY MCAULIFFE, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN:  Yes, I think the voters are now focusing.  I think a lot of voters have let their frustration out, and now, as we get close to the election, they‘ve seen some of these Tea Party candidates.  They don‘t like what they‘re hearing.  President Obama is now out campaigning.  The folks are getting energized, and they‘ve realized they‘ve got to come out and vote.  They‘ve let their frustrations be known, but we‘re getting close to the election time.  We have a huge cash advantage, 3 to 1 advantage on some of our top House races.  The DNC just came out, 16 million bucks in the month of September.  So we have a lot more money.  The president‘s out campaigning and...

MATTHEWS:  OK, give me a commercial for the Democratic voter out there.  I always kid on this show about Democrats are the last people to show up for the movies.  They come in with all the popcorn and Coke and all, but they‘re about 5 minutes late.  How do you get the Democrats to get their act together this time?

MCAULIFFE:  Well, first of all, the Democrats saved this economy from going off a cliff.  President Obama‘s done exactly what he said he would do.  We got a lot of work to finish it up.  This is about a choice.  They want to repeal health care.  They want to undo the financial services regulation that was put in.  Democrats want to fight for manufacturing, health care jobs.  They want to fight for green technology jobs.  Republicans are against all that.

You have a choice.  We‘re just beginning.  We saved the economy. 

We‘ve got a lot more work to do.  Don‘t stop us...

MATTHEWS:  Richard Wolffe...

MCAULIFFE:  ... in 21 (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS:  ... that‘s a good argument.  How come we don‘t hear it so loudly?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  This is why he‘s the model for DNC chair.

(LAUGHTER)

WOLFFE:  Anyone think he‘s taking that job right now?

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t hear this kind of...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I hear a lot of explanation at town meetings.  I see the president out there trying to explain to that woman about why she‘s back to eating franks and beans.  But I don‘t hear a strong, you know, aggressive argument—We‘re better than those guys, those guys are bums.

WOLFFE:  Well, they‘re trying...

MATTHEWS:  Why don‘t we hear that kind of talk?

WOLFFE:  They‘re trying to do that, but they‘re trying to right play the game.  We‘re all getting played here, OK?  It‘s in everyone‘s interests to say this race is tightening, and it may be tightening.  It may open up again.

MATTHEWS:  Why is that in everyone‘s interests?

WOLFFE:  Here—because...

MATTHEWS:  No, stop right there!

WOLFFE:  Let me talk!  I‘m telling you why.  Because, number one, Democrats are demoralized.  They need to feel that this game is still worth playing so they‘ll go out and vote.  Republicans...

MATTHEWS:  But shouldn‘t Republicans want to put people to sleep?

WOLFFE:  Republicans—no, Republicans want—don‘t want to be too complacent, so they want to say the race is tightening.  And we, of course, love the fight, so everything is tightening.  But look, this could open up again.  And 6 points, 3 points—this comes down to a couple of dozen House races.  That‘s where we‘re going to judge if this is a success or failure for either side.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I got a good argument.  Some Democrats out there hope the tight races for governor, which always excites people, which help get the races in the House a lot closer in those tough districts.  Now, look at that.  We have California races really breaking out.  I think Jerry‘s Brown‘s going to get the big break out there.  He picked up a fortune cookie the other day with this woman‘s illegal hiring.

Texas—I‘m always amazed that Perry‘s in trouble, but I don‘t know -

understand that guy anyway.  He talks like a soddy (ph) buster and dresses like he‘s from Saddle (ph) Road.  I can‘t figure him out.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  And then Illinois looks like a—well, that doesn‘t look too good for the Dems.  Ohio‘s looking better for the Dems.  Florida looks very, very dicey for both sides.  But how‘s that going to get people to come out and vote in the House and vote positively for Democrats?  Because I hear Democrats have tougher races.  They‘ve got to win in races that voted for Bush and voted for McCain.

MCAULIFFE:  Well, we all know how important the governors‘ races are, especially in the elections where—where we are today, with the zero at the end, because it affects the redistricting, which is so important.  Democrats understand that we‘ve got to have governors because these are going to be the line (ph) strong (ph).  You look at Florida, Alex Sink, I think our first woman governor...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

MCAULIFFE:  ... in the state of Florida.  Bill White...

MATTHEWS:  Well, she‘s a lot heavier than the other guy, right? 

There‘s more to her than the Republican candidate.

MCAULIFFE:  She‘s a great candidate.

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  And in Texas, Bill White -- (INAUDIBLE) heavier.  I didn‘t know what you meant.

MATTHEWS:  No, I meant positive.

MCAULIFFE:  Good.  Bill White was a great mayor down in Texas.  California, I agree with you, is opening up for us.  But with the Democrats, they got to understand.  These governors are going to draw these lines.  You cannot sit home.  You got to get out.

I think—listen, people are frustrated about the economy.  Everybody gets it—their jobs, they‘re worried about their future.  But now that they realize this is serious, they‘ve seen...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

MCAULIFFE:  ... these Tea Party candidates, who believe that unemployment compensation is unconstitutional...

MATTHEWS:  That was Joe...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘d be Joe Miller.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s Joe Miller.

MCAULIFFE:  That‘s right.  Privatize Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.  That scares people.  So you can sit back and just, you know, say, I‘m not going to vote, or you can get energized and say, We got to continue...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... example of that.  I‘m hearing that Christine O‘Donnell, for example, who has—well, she apparently—we‘re going to show the tape in a few minutes—that she says, I was a witch.  I mean, it‘s unbelievable.  She‘s right out there this time around, that Bill Maher quote.  I think that‘s going to kill her candidacy.

But apparently, everybody in Pennsylvania, which shares the same media market, you know, in Philadelphia with Delaware, now is knowing about—knowing about her...

MCAULIFFE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... bad form of speech there, but they know about her, and that‘s helping the Dems get activated.

WOLFFE:  Around there, but what‘s happening up in Pittsburgh?  I mean, that‘s where this is going to get decided, right?  And Pennsylvania is going to be the real warning sign for Democrats.  Where—how‘s the Rust Belt votes going to shake (ph) this time around on the economy?

MATTHEWS:  I agree with that.

WOLFFE:  How‘s it through Ohio?  I think this—I think there could be some interesting results out in Colorado, in some of the new purple states.  But those old Democratic states, the Rust Belt states, I think Democrats are facing a really uphill...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk to the guy from Buffalo, the Tim Russert guy, the guy who wears a big jobber (ph) to a football game.  He makes middle-middle income.  He works in a factory job, maybe.  He‘s always been a Democrat for historic family reasons, but he‘s voted for Reagan.  He‘s a Reagan Democrat.

I look at the Sestak race as very tough.  I look at the race in Illinois—and Illinois looks a little better, but I‘m looking at the race in Ohio, for example.  That‘s a tough one for you guys.  Portman looks strong.

MCAULIFFE:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Right across to Mark (SIC) Feingold in trouble.  Who would have believed he‘d be in trouble?

MCAULIFFE:  Yes, but look at Strickland.  I mean, people have written him off.  Ted Strickland...

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s stick to the Senate races.  Let‘s get to them.  What about the Senate races?  Why does the Rust Belt look so rough for the Senate, right across from—right across from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin?

MCAULIFFE:  Well, it goes back to the economy.  It‘s jobs.  And if you look at the Rust Belt, that‘s where they‘ve lost most of the jobs.  They‘ve all been shipped overseas.  And I‘ll make this argument.  The whole thing about shipping our jobs overseas, that has really hurt the Republicans, and I think that‘s one of the reasons you‘ve seen the Democratic Party...

MATTHEWS:  That‘s why Democrats like—like --  who‘s the guy in—who‘s the guy in Kentucky.

MCAULIFFE:  Jack Conway?

MATTHEWS:  Conway.  Conway keeps talking about that overseas tax break.

MCAULIFFE:  Yes, it bothers...

MATTHEWS:  Smart move.

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  ... got to keep them here.

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s the Senate situation right now.  Republicans need to pick up 10 seats to take over to get to 51 because the vice president would break a tie at 50 for the Democrats.  Charlie Cook, the expert we have on all the time, has eight Republican states as toss-ups or leaning Republican.  If Republicans hold all of those and pick up three Democratic seats that lean their way—North Dakota, Arkansas and Indiana look good for them—then they‘ll need to win seven of the nine Democratic races that are still toss-ups right now.  And see, look at that race.  They‘ve got to win everything we‘re looking at right now, basically.

They‘ve got to start sweeping it.  They‘ve got to knock off Blumenthal.  Why don‘t we keep the map up there so we can talk this thing.  Blumenthal up there in Connecticut.  Then Pennsylvania, they got to knock off Sestak.  They‘ve got to grab Manchin and beat him, the governor, who‘s still popular.  They got to win that race.  They got to beat Giannoulias.  They got to beat Mark Feingold.  They got to knock out Michael Bennet.  They got to take out the leader, Harry Reid.  Then they got to take out Barbara Boxer, then go up and take out Patty Murray.  And only lose two in that streak.

MCAULIFFE:  That‘s right.  It‘s almost impossible, very tough...

MATTHEWS:  Very tough for the Republicans...

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  Look at Joe Manchin, 70 percent approval rating.  If he were running for governor again right now, he would win in a walk.  It‘s the Senate and...

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know why.  Because people are comfortable...

MCAULIFFE:  Sure.

MATTHEWS:  ... over the years, like in Utah, voting for Democrats for the governorship, which is an administrative job, where they don‘t trust the philosophy of the Democrats, right, Richard?

WOLFFE:  (INAUDIBLE) West Virginia‘s relationship to President Obama. 

Let‘s face it...

MATTHEWS:  And what—is it race?

WOLFFE:  It‘s culture.  It‘s not connecting...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, you‘re being cute.  Is it race?

WOLFFE:  I think there‘s a racial element to it, yes, and I think...

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFFE:  I don‘t think he‘s connected with those voters.  I don‘t think he has—he‘s ever done.  He didn‘t do it in the primaries, either.  And Governor Manchin ought to be in a much, much stronger—you cannot say that this is about his personality.  And is anyone thinking he‘s going to have different politics if he‘s in the Senate?  There is something again about...

MATTHEWS:  No, but he gets to vote on national issues.

WOLFFE:  Sure.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

WOLFFE:  Sure.  But I think there‘s a—there‘s a...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

WOLFFE:  ... cultural shift there when it comes to national politics, and a lot of that comes down to...

MATTHEWS:  This Blumenthal race I‘ve never understood.  Here‘s a with obviously a big brain, incredible education, looks great, looks like a politician, as best you can look in a political race, and yet won‘t straighten out his war record.  I don‘t understand why he didn‘t weeks ago, months ago, say, You know, I got caught up with this because people thought I‘d actually fought over there.  I began to say I did.  I should have never done it.  It‘s a character weakness.  I should have fixed it.  I‘m now fixing it.  I did not serve in Vietnam.  I should have never said I did.  Why doesn‘t he just do it and get it over with?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I will not have my reserve service discredited tonight. 

That kind of BS talk doesn‘t work with people.

MCAULIFFE:  We all make mistakes.  Get out and admit it, move on and...

WOLFFE:  How you deal with a mistake is critical.  I think he‘ll be OK.  Meg Whitman, on the other hand, has not dealt with her mistake well at all.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you‘re being partisan here because they have the same problem.  They‘re not admitting they made a mistake!  She knew that that person was illegal.  Look, you...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  She‘s a top executive—she‘s a CEO with eBay.  She‘s a genius businessman who‘s made hundreds of billions of dollars—millions of dollars.  She knows whether the person working for her is here legally or not...

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  For nine years?  Come on.

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFFE:  ... deal with a crisis.  Everyone knows politicians.  They‘re human, OK?

MATTHEWS:  She‘s blaming it on her husband!

WOLFFE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Is that smart politics for a CEO?

WOLFFE:  No, I don‘t think it—you got to take—you got to take your knocks.  And you say—say you made a mistake.  And this is how you clean it up, not by blaming other people or blaming the other campaign for leaking it.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think Jerry Brown...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... just plain lucky?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... I have to tell you.  Let me ask you this.  Do you think that Jerry Brown‘s just basically lucky?  How else do you explain this break of the cards?  And Boxer‘s always been lucky out in California.

MCAULIFFE:  Listen, California is a Democratic state.  If you can energize the voters, you can get them out to vote, listen, the Democrats are going to win.  It‘s a great Democratic state.  Jerry Brown has fought on the principles of the party.  So has Barbara Boxer.  For us, now we get close, I‘m excited.  But you know...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... Bill Clinton.  We spent a week with him.  I got to tell you...

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  ... Ireland, no less.

MATTHEWS:  He combines serious business with fun.  He knows how to do

Jack Kennedy used to do that, fun and serious business.  Nobody puts them together.  In fact, politics includes both, as you know.

MCAULIFFE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s going to campaign a lot the next couple weeks, isn‘t he.

MCAULIFFE:  He is booked the entire time.  I think he‘s leaving one day open the day before the election to figure where he‘s going to (INAUDIBLE) You know, you‘ve seen Gallup.  Everybody remembers...

MATTHEWS:  He‘s doing California.  He‘s doing Pennsylvania.

MCAULIFFE:  He‘s everywhere.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s going to do Colorado.

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFFE:  ... Virginia.

MCAULIFFE:  I don‘t think we‘re...

MATTHEWS:  He seems to be doing two kinds of candidates, the ones that were loyal to him in previous races, including those for Mrs. Clinton, for Senator Clinton, now Secretary Clinton, and people he‘s told to go help by the administration.

MCAULIFFE:  Right.  Let‘s be clear.  There‘s not enough time.  He gets 100 requests a day.  He can‘t be everywhere.  First of all, he wants to help the people who helped Hillary.  I mean, it was—his spouse ran for president of the United States.  You stick with the people...

MATTHEWS:  You mean he‘s a relationship politician?

MCAULIFFE:  Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I like relationship politicians!

MCAULIFFE:  And he goes where the White House says, We desperately need you.  And where we can keep the House and Senate, he will go.

MATTHEWS:  All right.  Are you going to run for governor again?

MCAULIFFE:  I want to create a lot of jobs first.  We‘ll see where they are.

MATTHEWS:  OK, you mean private sector jobs.

MCAULIFFE:  You bet!

MATTHEWS:  What a Republican you are!  Anyway, thank you, Terry McAuliffe...

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  What do you mean?  We‘re all about creating jobs in the Democratic Party!

MATTHEWS:  Sense of humor comes with the job.

Coming up: Sharron Angle was the Republicans‘ pick to take on Harry Reid.  This is a great story.  Apparently, she doesn‘t think much of the Republican Party, either.  Wait until you hear the tapes.  Now, this guy—we got a guy who sat in with her and taped the whole conversation, which is legal.  It may not be kosher, but it‘s legal in Nevada.  What happens in the—what is it?  What happens Vegas, this time will not stay in Vegas.  Anyway, we‘ll be back with that secret conversation with her Tea Party opponent.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  President Obama‘s cut his first television ad of the general election campaign.  Here it is, talking up Cedric Richmond, who‘s running for the United States Congress down in Louisiana.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The city of New Orleans has had its trials.  You‘ve also had great champions fighting to see you through the tough times.  Cedric Richmond is one of those champions.  New Orleans needs Cedric Richmond in Congress and so do I.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, there‘s a sure winner.  Richmond‘s running against incumbent Republican Joseph Cal (ph) in a race for (ph) the Democrats down there in New Orleans sure to win that one.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle was secretly tape-recorded in a meeting with Nevada Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian, and she said some unflattering things about the Republican Party.  The audio‘s tough to make out, but let‘s listen.  We have the script to watch as you listen to it.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE:  The Republicans have lost their standards.  They‘ve lost their principles.  And really, that‘s why the machine in the Republican Party is fighting against me.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Wow.  Scott Ashjian joins me right now.  Scott, thank you for joining us.  Where did you have this tape recorder, in your pocket, or where was it?

SCOTT ASHJIAN (I), NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE:  I had the tape recorder on my person.  This was just self-protection because I‘ve been lied about...

MATTHEWS:  No, but where was it physically?  Where was it physically when you were recording Sharron Angle, the candidate for the Senate?

ASHJIAN:  It was in my front pocket.

MATTHEWS:  OK, well, let me ask you, did she know you had the tape recorder?

ASHJIAN:  No.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think that‘s fair game, to go in and tape record someone secretly, as a matter of principle?

ASHJIAN:  Yes, I do.  I think that it‘s—considering the lies that have been brought forth about me, about my business and other things, considering the phone call that I got from a high-priced Washington, D.C., attorney the night before, considering the lies that went out after the fact, I had...

MATTHEWS:  Well, who was the—who was the attorney who called you up and threatened you?

ASHJIAN:  Cleetus Mitchell (ph).  She‘s out of D.C.  You probably know her, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, good, I love information here.  Let‘s keep reporting it.  Let‘s go right now to what happened on that tape.  Here‘s Sharron Angle and the tape you recorded of a conversation with her—was it this weekend you did this meeting?

ASHJIAN:  The attorney call was Tuesday night.  The meeting was Wednesday night.

MATTHEWS:  OK, Wednesday night.

ASHJIAN:  I was asked—I was asked to attend a meeting, at which I thought there was an apology coming from the lies that were put out in the press...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

ASHJIAN:  ... which is why I went.  The—after that meeting, I went out of town.  The newspaper and the reporters put out lies regarding that meeting and what the context of that meeting was.

MATTHEWS:  I see.

ASHJIAN:  And I got a call from a local TV host, Jon Ralston (ph), playing back voicemails that this Mitchell left on—on some stray voicemail.  And I said to my campaign manager, Take this over...

MATTHEWS:  Release the tapes.  Release the tapes.  Well...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I think there‘s two very interesting points in this tape that will tell you a lot about Sharron Angle, the candidate for the Senate of the Republican Party.  Let‘s listen to the first one.  I think it‘s her basically trying to get you to get out of the race so she can beat Harry Reid, which does make sense to me.  Let‘s listen to her.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  I‘m not sure you can win, and I‘m not sure I can win if you‘re hurting my chances. 

(CROSSTALK)

ANGLE:  And that‘s—that‘s the part—that‘s the part that scares me, is that you and I come from the same place.

(CROSSTALK)

ASHJIAN:  You have to understand something.  It‘s not personal with you.  And I hope that you understand that.

ANGLE:  Well, everybody says it‘s not personal, but then Harry Reid wins.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, that seems to be a reasonable argument.  She‘s saying, in a three-way vote—in fact, you have got that four-way out there in Nevada, where you can vote none of the above.  But if you have two people on the right running, you and Sharron Angle, don‘t you jeopardize the right-wing cause?  Isn‘t she right in that tape?

ASHJIAN:  I don‘t think so.  I think that you have two politicians running against the person that is for Nevada. 

We have had a Tea Party Express out of California that came in trying to—that put her in.  The Republicans themselves ran 13 people on the ballot to split the vote.  She was not the strongest candidate.  She—we have people from California and now we have people from Washington, D.C., trying to affect Nevada.  It‘s not right.  And Nevadans will vote on November 2.

MATTHEWS:  But the most—the strongest candidate—forget the ideology—was probably Sue Lowden to beat Harry one-on-one.  Who is going to beat Harry?  The best bet is Sue Lowden.  And she‘s not even on the ballot now. 

(CROSSTALK)

ASHJIAN:  It probably was.  That was a Republican mistake.  And they ran 12 people. 

We had several Republicans running against each other, chewing each other up.  And, at the end of the day, you get what you get. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

I want to ask you in a minute whether you‘re a Republican or a Tea Partier.  But let‘s get to hearing—here is Sharron Angle on her power.  Now, here she is bragging that she can open doors for you to all the big-shot Tea Partiers in Washington.  She‘s going to get you meetings with DeMint and all kinds of people.  Let‘s listen.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ANGLE:  That‘s really all I can offer to you is, whatever juice I have, you have as well.  You want to see DeMint, I have juice with him.  I go to Washington, D.C., and I say, I want to see Jim DeMint, he‘s right there for me.  I want to see Tom Coburn, he‘s right there for me.  I want to see Mitch McConnell, he‘s there.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Was it Lord Acton in England that said power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely?  All of a sudden, she‘s not even won the election.  She may lose it.  And she‘s talking about juice. 

She sounds like a Chicago pol?  What‘s this, I got juice in Washington?  Didn‘t that surprise you, that she‘s nothing like King Caucus or somebody already? 

ASHJIAN:  No, no, because I think the Democrats and the Republicans basically are the same.  And I think that‘s really the difference in this election.

In Nevada, we have a chance.  We have a Tea Party candidate.  And Nevada will have a chance to come out and vote for that candidate. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  So, she‘s not a Tea Partier? 

ASHJIAN:  In Nevada, we have a Tea Party candidate.  And it‘s Scott Ashjian.

MATTHEWS:  She‘s not a Tea Partier, you‘re saying? 

ASHJIAN:  I think she has some Tea Party aspects to her, but she‘s obviously been indoctrinated—indoctrinated by the Republican Party, and she can‘t act like she would want to act. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, here‘s some more of her. 

Well, by the way, she then gets into the fact that she‘s listing, by the way—I find it fascinating—certain Republican people that look like Republican candidates who can win actually are Tea Parties, and she‘s listing Christine O‘Donnell as the real thing, Joe Miller as the real thing.  She‘s not sure of whether Marco Rubio is the real thing. 

Do you agree that those are the real thing, those are fellow Tea Partiers, or are they just Republicans? 

ASHJIAN:  I think that they‘re—I think they‘re—anybody that has an R. next to their name or a D. is either a Democrat or a Republican, period. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, so the Tea Party stands alone, sir, right?

ASHJIAN:  Yes, sir.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s it.

Thank you very much, Scott Ashjian...

ASHJIAN:  You‘re welcome. 

MATTHEWS:  ... who is the—who has tape-recorded a conversation with Sharron Angle and may be bringing her down. 

Christina Bellantoni is a senior reporter for Talking Points Memo.

Christina, thank you for joining us. 

What do you think the impact is going to be of the fact that this guy went into a room with another politician—he doesn‘t think he is one, but he is—and tape-records that person secretly, which is legal, apparently, in Nevada?  But most people would consider that dirty pool, to be taping a conversation.  Your thoughts?

CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, TALKING POINTS MEMO:  Yes, that probably doesn‘t play all that well with the people of Nevada, but it also probably doesn‘t play well to be talking about your clout and your juice as well when you‘re supposed to be this candidate of the people. 

That high-priced Washington lawyer that he was referring to, Cleta Mitchell, I interviewed her today.  And she said that she told the campaign to completely drop this.  She told Sharron Angle not to push it further.  She thinks it should go away, because it doesn‘t make Angle look very good. 

MATTHEWS:  Look, the fact that she‘s pushing—what is Angle threatening?  What is the lawyer threatening? 

BELLANTONI:  Well, essentially, the lawyer is basically saying to your candidate that you were just interviewing, why are you talking to us about all of these lawsuits that have been brought against you?  Because the Tea Party groups have been fighting him for many months.  They think that he‘s a Democratic plant.

The guy who filed the candidacy for the Tea Party of Nevada, the official party, he was a registered Democrat many years ago.  So, there have been sort of Tea Party accusations back and forth about whether he‘s a real Tea Party candidate. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, they‘re trying to say—they‘re saying that this fellow we just talked to isn‘t the real thing?

BELLANTONI:  Exactly.  And they think that he‘s a spoiler. 

So, on this tape, which reveals pretty clearly she also thinks he‘s a spoiler, she‘s trying to cut him some deals to get him off the ballot and to help herself.  Well, I don‘t think that that is going to sit well with any voters.

And if you heard a Democrat doing it, they would feel the same way.  Nobody likes to cut backroom deals.  That‘s sort of what the Tea Party claims to be against. 

MATTHEWS:  Isn‘t it fun?  You‘re probably new to this business more than I am.  But I think you may know as much already.  Isn‘t amazing to hear politicians who are running as sort of outsiders all of a sudden talking in the language of Tammany Hall and Chicago?  This guy‘s got juice.  Is this Blagojevich talking and his brother?  It sounds like that kind of conversation, you know?

BELLANTONI:  It is pretty funny to hear it, but it‘s also a little presumptuous. 

Certainly, if she wins this race and if Joe Miller wins that race and Ken Buck wins in Colorado, they probably will have a little bit of clout.  They will be able to influence the direction of the Senate.  But if you don‘t win, you don‘t have anything. 

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s some of the treasure trove.  Here it is, Sharron Angle on Republican reaction to her primary win.  This is in the secret tape by Scott Ashjian.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ANGLE:  When I go back, there may be five or six of us.  I‘m thinking maybe Joe Miller is for real.  (INAUDIBLE)  Ken Buck I think is for real.  I think that Christine O‘Donnell is for real.

ASHJIAN:  She doesn‘t have a chance.

ANGLE:  Well, I think she‘s real.  I think that possibly Marco Rubio is real, but that‘s a stretch for me.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, there she is again, and the question of presumptions, vetting the fellow Tea Party candidates in the Republican Party, saying that she believes that Christine O‘Donnell is for real, a real Tea Partier.  She thinks Joe Miller is up in Alaska and Ken Buck is in Colorado, but she is not sure about Marco Rubio being a real Tea Partier.

She‘s already vetting the national Tea Party ticket.  It‘s interesting.  Your thoughts, Christina? 

BELLANTONI:  Yes, it would be funny to get all these candidates in a room and ask how many things they actually agree with one another on.

Joe Miller was quoted today saying he thinks there should not be a federal minimum wage.  We actually have a exposed a lot of Christine O‘Donnell‘s viewpoints.  They actually—Christine O‘Donnell and Sharron Angle actually share this lawyer, Cleta Mitchell, that we mentioned, very establishment lawyer representing these two sort of anti-establishment Tea Party candidates.

It‘s really hard to know how any of these candidates would get along if all they win and who they would really support from the Republican leadership. 

MATTHEWS:  How about this?  The zillions of dollars coming in from right-wing, very rich businesspeople helping the Tea Partiers?  They‘re not exactly the regular folk. 

Anyway, Christina Bellantoni, thank you very much for joining us tonight and talking about Nevada politics and secret messages. 

Up next:  Bill Maher releases yet another old videotape—this is a hoot—of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O‘Donnell, who has just passed the muster of Sharron Angle, but may not pass the muster with you after listening to this.  She just says she is into witchcraft, she was a witch.  It‘s unbelievable.  Wait until you catch the “Sideshow.”  It‘s all in the tape.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL and now to the “Sideshow.”

First: the newest installment of the Christine O‘Donnell files.  In Bill Maher‘s latest, O‘Donnell says she almost dabbled in the Hare Krishna movement.  Here she is back in ‘99.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “POLITICALLY INCORRECT”)

CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL, COMMENTATOR:  I was dabbling into every other kind of religion before I became a Christian.  

BILL MAHER, HOST:  You were a witch. 

O‘DONNELL:  I was.  I was. 

MAHER:  You were.

O‘DONNELL:  I was dabbling in witchcraft. 

MAHER:  Right. 

O‘DONNELL:  I dabbled in Buddhism.  And I would have become a Hare Krishna, but I didn‘t want to become a vegetarian.  And that is honestly the reason why.  Because I‘m Italian, I love meatballs.

(CROSSTALK)

MAHER:  Yes.  Boy, are you spiritual. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Look at that guy looking at her.

Anyway, Maher said O‘Donnell‘s made 22 appearances total on his show. 

And who knows what‘s coming next. 

Next for us:  Rahm Emanuel wasted no time coming out with his first campaign video for Chicago mayor.  Note here the—quote—“Glad to be home” theme. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF:  My father came to Chicago as an immigrant from Israel.  I was born here.  And my wife, Amy, and I raised our three children here.  President Obama asked me to serve as his chief of staff.  It was a great honor to be work for him.  But I‘m glad to be home. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, the hitch:  That video was not filmed in Chicago, but right here in good old Washington, D.C. 

It‘s an ironic reminder of a very real problem for Emanuel.  Illinois state code says a candidate for mayor of Chicago must reside in Chicago for a year before the election.  So, though Emanuel owns a house in Chicago, he likely will face challenges from rival candidates on that fact. 

Now to tonight‘s “Big Number.” 

Alaska‘s Joe Miller has just said he doesn‘t believe there should be any federal minimum wage law.  He‘s not the only Republican candidate this cycle to whack at the minimum wage.  How many have done it so far?

Well, by “The Atlantic”‘s count, four.  Joining Miller, Connecticut‘s Linda McMahon, Washington State‘s Dino Rossi, West Virginia‘s John Raese.  Four Republican would-be senators take shots at the minimum wage—tonight‘s “Big Number.” 

Up next: Jerry Brown vs. Meg Whitman.  Wow.  I love this race.  The California governor‘s candidates debate over the weekend, and the hot topic was those allegations that she hired an illegal housekeeper and didn‘t want to know about it.  We will get to the latest on that and look at races that could be won or lost in debates.  Debates matter. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JACKIE DEANGELIS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Jackie DeAngelis with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

A rebounding dollar and some post-rally profit-taking sending stocks skidding, the Dow Jones industrials down 78 points, the S&P 500 slipping nine, and the Nasdaq tumbling 26 points. 

Investors kicking off the new month in cautious fashion, taking profits from the September rally and waiting on jobs and earnings reports this week.  The dollar strengthening today on renewed concerns about the Eurozone.  Ireland‘s central bank says their economy will grind to a virtual halt this year.  Portugal is having trouble lining up support for their new austerity measures.  And Greece says it expects to stay in a recession for a third straight year. 

Meanwhile, in stocks, Sara Lee shares spiked on a report it received a buyout offer from a private equity firm.  Bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises plunging more than 30 percent after selling its North American operations.  And American Express tumbling as well after becoming the target of a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit linked to AmEx acceptance rules.

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

HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEG WHITMAN ®, CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE:  I cannot win the governor‘s race without the Latino vote.  And so we have worked very hard to build a Latino coalition. 

JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE:  My outreach really starts with my long record.  I don‘t come with this as something just in the last year or two. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Wow.  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  That was the Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown debate in California this Saturday night.  It‘s one race that might prove that debates matter in 2010.

Joan Walsh is the editor in chief of Salon.com.  And Sam Stein covers politics for The Huffington Post.

Joan, let‘s all take a look at this, because what everybody wants to watch is the real deal.  Here‘s the debate Saturday night between Meg Whitman, the head of eBay, made millions of dollars, hundreds of millions, as a businessperson, and here‘s Jerry Brown, coming back to be the oldest governor in California history, as well as the youngest.

Here it is.  Let‘s listen to the fight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHITMAN:  The real tragedy here is Nicky.  After November 2, no one is going to be watching out for Nicky Diaz.

And, Jerry, you should be ashamed.  You and your surrogates put her deportation at risk.  You put her out there.  And you should be ashamed for sacrificing Nicky Diaz on the altar of your political ambitions. 

BROWN:  No and no.

And let me just add, there you saw something.  This is incredible, Meg.  I didn‘t want to hit you on this, but when you try to evade responsibility—you‘re going around the state saying employers must be accountable for hiring unlawful people.

Don‘t run for governor if you can‘t stand up on your own two feet and say, hey, I made a mistake.  I‘m sorry.  Let‘s go on from here.  You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions.  But you don‘t take accountability.  And you can‘t be a leader unless you‘re willing to stand there on your own two feet and say, yes, I made a mistake and I‘m going on from here. 

WHITMAN:  What would you have had me do, other than exactly what we did?  My husband and I played by the rules.  And the fact your campaign two weeks ago was talking about this issue, the fact that you are joined at the hip with Gloria Allred, it was a political stunt.  And I think you should be ashamed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  What do we make—Joan, please help me here.  What do we make of this lingo here?  Let‘s just forget the fact she hired somebody illegally.  And we all know she probably knew it.  If she thought the person was legal, she was not a great businessperson.

But let‘s go to this question.  “My husband and I”—bringing in the husband on this—and then saying he‘s joined at the hip, this pairing off of people, what is this about?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, SALON.COM:  No.

MATTHEWS:  She‘s running.  Jerry‘s running.  Why is she bringing in Gloria Allred?  Why is she bringing her husband into this? 

WALSH: Well, Gloria Allred is a lightning rod for controversy.  But there‘s no proof that Jerry Brown had anything to do with this.  These rumors were around and you have to be stupid to think in this day and age, if you hire someone illegally, it‘s not going to somehow come after you.

MATTHEWS:  Why would you have to be stupid?  Because we—you and I know the history of Huffington.  We know Michael Huffington‘s campaign.  We know the history of Dianne Feinstein, remember?  That became dueling banjoes in the old days.  Who‘s got—they both did apparently.

WALSH:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  And you‘re right.  So, it must have a couple of years go, I‘m just guessing here, tell me if I‘m making sense here—a couple of years ago, in 2009, when this issue came up in their household, she began to clear the deck.  She probably had somebody smart say to her, what you got to do is look out for the fact that you have—

WALSH:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  -- skeletons in your closet.  Have you hired anybody who‘s on the country illegally, an undocumented worker?  And then she started to—oh, I better check on my household employees.  And then it came to a head.  That‘s what probably happened here, right?

WALSH:  Well, something like that probably happened.  You know, she said that the woman came to her and she—you know, none of us were in that household, Chris, so we don‘t know exactly what happened.

MATTHEWS:  Right.

WALSH:  We have to stick to what we really do know and what we know is when, you know, either when she found out or when—for sure—when she had it confirmed or when she decided it was a political liability, she fired this woman that she later said was just like family.  She then accused her of stealing mail that would have come from the federal government to tell Meg Whitman that this woman might be here illegally.  And then she has the audacity, the line that I loved in that debate—I just want to take one second here—

MATTHEWS:  Sure.

WALSH:  -- is she opens up and says, “Oh, I did not know that Nicky Diaz I saw at the press conference because she called me Ms. Whitman, and for nine years, I called her Nikki and she called me Meg,” like they were sisters, and like this is some kind of evidence that they were bosom buddies or even family.  But she fired the woman, you know, in a heartbeat.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let me bring up another election here, because I think this is another election we‘re going to compare these two notes.  And let‘s take a look at Connecticut.  Here‘s the latest, Linda McMahon.

Now, before we show this, for weeks now, we‘ve known about the problem that Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general of Connecticut, he‘s a fine man in so many ways.  This guy had a problem with explaining his war record.  Apparently, on many occasions, he was out there saying, “I served in Vietnam.  Not that I was in the reserve serving back here in uniform, but that I served over in Vietnam.”  He didn‘t really straighten that out and here it is coming home to haunt him in a partisan ad.

Here‘s the Linda McMahon ad hitting him the day of today, which is the day of their first debate just coming tonight.  Here it is, dead center.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDA MCMAHON ®, CONNECTICUT SENATE CANDIDATE:  I‘m Linda McMahon and I approve this message.

NARRATOR:  Would you lie about serving in a war?

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT SENATE CANDIDATE:  We have learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam.  I served in Vietnam.

NARRATOR:  Dick Blumenthal did—again and again.

BLUMENTHAL:  When we returned, we sought nothing of this gratitude.

NARRATOR:  He covered one lie with another.

BLUMENTHAL:  Since the days that I‘ve served in Vietnam—

NARRATOR:  If he lied about Vietnam, what else is he lying about?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s a deadly ad.

SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST:  Yes.  It gets at his character. 

The problem I think for the McMahon—

MATTHEWS:  With his words.

STEIN:  Yes, with his words.  The problem from the McMahon people is that they pushed this issue when she was in the GOP deliberately (INAUDIBLE) she would win the nomination.  And that was several months ago and that‘s resuscitated.  To bring it up again, it lacks the potency that it would have done in the first hearing.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think they‘re doing this—doing this—let‘s look at the tactics.

STEIN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  I could hear what you‘re arguing.

STEIN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Could it be that they‘re bringing this up to make sure that the journalists in this debate tonight, whoever the foreman is, have to bring it up?

STEIN:  Yes.  And very well could be in, I think, you know, last week, we saw that Linda McMahon stepped in a little bit with the minimum wage comments and so, they want to change the subject.  The other thing is that his favorability ratings, despite all that‘s happened remain at—

MATTHEWS:  Well, he has had a great record.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me, Joan, can you let‘s take a look, here‘s Pollster.com showing that he‘s still slightly ahead.  In fact, he‘s over 50 right now.

WALSH:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  I‘m looking at the numbers.  But he‘s above 50.  So, he should win this narrowly, but look at the direction of those two polls.  She‘s as we said in economic, that‘s a pretty slope there and he‘s got a pretty negative slope.  They‘re about to cross.

The question is, will they cross before November 2nd?  You can‘t see it but you can imagine.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH:  Yes, if it went on long enough, it looks like those two lines will cross.  But it does come to an end in November, Chris.  Look—

MATTHEWS:  Can journalists be driven by TV ads?  I mean, we‘re talking about a TV ad, will the debate now be driven by this very tough ad?

WALSH:  I don‘t know if it will be driven by it.  I can‘t see a scenario in which that would not have come up.  I don‘t think he explained it adequately.  But I also think that they‘re distorting his words and you know what?  It‘s very difficult to say that he lied.

Now, it doesn‘t sound good for him, but we don‘t know that he lied.  We could—there is—there are times when you misspeak.  I know, I‘ve done it on television.  Maybe that‘s the explanation because we also know that there were many times that he told the truth and he talked about being in the reserves.

So, they go out on the limb and say that he lied and I think that‘s a little bit too far.  And then there‘s also, as Sam alluded to, she said staggering things about the minimum wage.  She doesn‘t know what it is.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  There‘s nobody my age who‘s a male would agree with your analysis because it is such an intense issue for us—those who served and those who didn‘t.  And those who had the deferments.  I was in the Peace Corp.  We all know the decisions we made, whether they were positively because we opposed to war or we found some way to get in in uniform and avoid combat.

I mean, there were so many things were on.

WALSH:  But he‘s actually serving in the reserve.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Nobody would say they fought in Vietnam if they didn‘t.

STEIN:  Yes, you don‘t insert yourself into that narrative.

MATTHEWS:  We would never say that.  I always ask people when they serve, you know, I say thank you for your service and I always say to them, were you in it?  And every guy who‘s in it knows what that mean.  They were there when the guns were firing.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Are you in it?  And the guys look at you—

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN:  The problem here I thought was not that he just inserted

himself into the narrative of combat, but it looked like a politician

trying to embellish his resume to make him seem more palatable to the

voters.  And voters don‘t

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN:  They want authenticity.

MATTHEWS:  They need it.

STEIN:  They want authenticity.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  The question is, he‘s got a month to go, maybe it‘s time to have a little statement to the people of Connecticut, I did not serve and I don‘t—I wish I‘d never said anything like it.

Anyway, thank you, Joan.  We occasionally disagree.  Thank you.  And we should, that‘s why we‘re both here.

WALSH:  That‘s right.

MATTHEWS:  We would—one of us would be unnecessary if we don‘t disagree.  Anyway, thank you.  And I want that to be the case.

Thank you, Joan.  Thank you, Sam.

Up next, as President Obama‘s job approval ratings dip into the 40s overall, African-American voters are still with him.  Wait until you see the numbers, pretty dramatic, even higher according to this poll than they were a couple of years ago.  But can the president get them to the polls?  That—will they become likely voters, not just Democratic voters?

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Republican businessman John Raese is running for Senate against Joe Manchin, the governor of West Virginia.  But there are some questions about whether Raese actually lives there.  The law says you have to be a permanent resident of the state by election day, but Raese owns homes in Florida, Colorado and west Virginia.  And according to the West Virginia newspaper, he and his wife took a tax exemption on the Florida home, and the exemption is only available to permanent residents of Florida.

By the way, that hurt Tom Daschle.  That same issue, back when he was running for reelection.

Raese is trying to explain that it‘s his wife and not him who actually got the exception.  A hair splitting explanation to man up, helping Manchin, the Democrat in the race.  This is very bad for Raese.

HARDBALL will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Michelle Norris is host of NPR‘s “All Things Considered.”  In her new book, she looks at the issue of race through the personal experiences of her family and the secrets they kept.  The book is called “The Grace of Silence.”

Michelle, thank you for joining us.

I want to get to the book in one minute but you have to earn your spurs here, one minute.  This new poll number that‘s out here that shows that 91 percent of African-Americans in the county are still with the president, it‘s even up a bit.  I mean, these numbers are interesting and moved between d from 87 and 93.  And then you hear the concerns that he has been—I mean, the phrase, I guess, black enough in the campaign.  But now, it‘s more like issues.  It‘s not so much of ethnic identification, which I don‘t think that he‘s ever dodged, but issues, like joblessness.

MICHELLE NORRIS, NPR HOST, “ALL THINGS CONSIDERED”:  Well, there are a lot of African-Americans who look to those issues and they look at their bank accounts, they look at the friends who‘ve lost jobs.  They hear people talk about recovery but they don‘t necessarily feel the recovery in their lives.  And they, like a lot of voters, would like to see perhaps more results coming out of the White House.

But unlike some other voters or voting groups, they have a certain fidelity to this president and they‘re more likely to stay with him because of the historic nature of this presidency, they really have rallied behind the president.  The big question, though, is whether they will show the same kind of enthusiasm in the midterms.  And looking way down the road in 2012, where they‘ll show up in big numbers, whether they‘ll, you know, show up at the polls with the same sort of enthusiasm and making sure that they don‘t just go by themselves, but to bring someone with you.

You remember that people were told that, you know, in the 2008 election, of “Don‘t go to the polls alone.”  I wonder if that kind of message will get out there in the midterm, and in the general election.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  To make it—will it be a group event, like it was in 2008?  Will it be something that you celebrate together?  We—I had a theory that when you walked down the street and say hello to your friends who went to the barber‘s, who went to—or your neighborhood, whatever, hangout, you couldn‘t walk into the room and say, I didn‘t vote today.  You had to have voted.

NORRIS:  Oh, yes.  No.

MATTHEWS:  Whereas in this election, I think you could probably say to some people, you know, I‘m so sick and tired, I didn‘t bother voting, and you wouldn‘t be yelled out of the room.  That‘s the difference.

NORRIS:  Well, you know, at the White House, they understand this and what you‘re starting to hear from them, you hear it from President Obama on the campaign trail.  You‘re starting to hear it from the surrogates that are out on the road and you‘re starting to hear it more often from the candidates and I‘m certain you‘re going to hear it from the DNC, is the message: the work is not done yet.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, well, that‘s for sure.  Let me ask you about you and I‘ve always been a fan of yours and I think that you‘re something special as a reporter, obviously, and you‘ve been this—that perfection operation you work for, National Public Radio, which is so perfect.

You know, we just try here, but you guys always succeed.  I also like the fact that you‘ve kept your distinctive voice and not become—sounded like everybody else over there, but that‘s something I always pay attention to.  Your dad, this story, you mentioned secrets growing up as an African-American.

NORRIS:  Yes.

MATTEHWS:  That secret about your dad getting shot.

NORRIS:  Well, it was a secret that the family kept for years, that my father kept.  He never told anyone.  He didn‘t even tell my mother.  And what I learned from an uncle, who basically just, you know, spilled it one day, said, you know, your dad was shot years ago.

And, Chris, saying this on the television right now, saying it while I‘m on book tour, never gets—never gets easier because this is something that I never had a chance to talk my to my own father about.  But he was shot in Birmingham when he returned as a Navy veteran after World War II and he stood up for himself when—confronted by police officers who didn‘t want to let him in to a public building, and there was a scuffle and a gun went off and he was wounded in the leg when the bullet grazed his leg.

And what I realized is that he was part of a group of veterans who came back from their military service and were not fully embraced after they fought for democracy and tried to get a piece of it back home.  And yet, they didn‘t move forward with anger.

MATTHEWS:  Michelle, thanks so much.  The name of the book is “The Grace”—please buy this book.  It‘s America.  “The Grace of Silence” and what we don‘t know, some of us.

When we return let me finish what a Democratic victory would mean for the country versus what the Republicans are promising do.  This election is going to matter.  Please vote!  You‘ll have my argument in my moment.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with the year‘s number one political topic.  Are the Democrats going to get their butt kicked?

A month or six weeks ago, it was hard to get I bet against it.  They were going to lose the House, maybe even the Senate.  Well, today, October 4th, there‘s some wiggle room on that prediction.  Maybe it‘s people starting to shake themselves awake.

Democratic voters are starting to get focused.  Saturday‘s rally featured my colleague Ed Schultz, as one of the factors that may get those people thinking about the stakes.  People, the people who care about it, the politics that people who care about it can never be a spectator sport.  Ultimately, you‘re interested in it for what matters to you.  It could be philosophical, it could be about your personal economic interest, it could be and ought to be about what kind of country you want to live in.

If the Republicans gain control of House of Representatives, again, they will own economic policy.  That‘s a fact.  They will direct the tax cuts where they want them.  In the past, that‘s been very good news for people at very top.

They will cut down on government regulation which has been very warmly received by people high up on Wall Street.  They will kill health care and anything that looks like environmental legislation.  And you can forget about human rights issues—that‘s not their cup of tea.

And don‘t expect them to stop the next war coming.  When wars are the issue, you can count on Republicans to be in the “amen” chorus.

Topping it all off are the zany candidates the Republicans have on the ballot this November.  The one who thinks it‘s OK for people to use their weapons when they don‘t like the way Congress is voting; the guy running for governor of New York who threatens to take out people who cross them; the guy in Kentucky who thinks the civil rights bill was the wrong way to go; the guy in Alaska who thinks unemployment comp is unconstitutional.

Well, the list goes on.  And it‘s not as funny as it sounds.  This isn‘t “Saturday Night Live.”  It‘s Tuesday, Election Day, right here in the U.S.

Are the Democrats and independents really or any of them ready to brag that they didn‘t get around and vote to cast a vote against this stuff?

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

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

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