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  1. Headline
updated 10/6/2010 10:19:15 AM ET 2010-10-06T14:19:15

Guests: David Corn, Faiz Shakir, Jeanne Cummings, Jon Ralston, Chris Van

Hollen

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Bewitched, bothered and bewildered.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

What a time in politics.  Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews down in Washington. 

Leading off tonight: “I am not a witch.”  Not since Richard Nixon said “I am not a crook” have we heard such a grotesque claim of innocence.  It came from Republican Senate nominee Christine O‘Donnell in her biographical ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL ®, DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE:  I‘m not a witch. 

I‘m nothing you‘ve heard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Tonight, we‘ve got this and all the latest on the races around the country, including a new poll that has some good news for Democrats.

Plus, remember the words of Deep Throat, “Follow the money”?  Now there‘s a new report that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is backing Republicans, is running an attack ad, or a number of them, with help from cash raised overseas.  Who are those overseas companies, and what do they want for their money?

Also, it‘s gaffes like calling yourself a witch or claiming there are headless bodies in the Arizona desert that have led some Republican candidates to hide from the press.  What‘s this, the Tea Party or the Halloween party?  Can Republicans win by running out the clock, or will they pay a price?

Plus, it turns out that Joe Miller, the Republican Senate nominee up in Alaska, was for unemployment benefits before he was against them.  Apparently, he picked up his constitutional objections to unemployment comp after his wife was receiving them.  That‘s in the “Sideshow.”

“Let Me Finish” tonight with this question.  Why can‘t politicians just ‘fess up when they get caught red-handed?

All that‘s ahead, but first let‘s check the newest polls in hot races across the country in the HARDBALL “Scoreboard.”  There it is, the board.  We‘ll start with two generic ballot polls of likely voters with very different storylines.  “The Washington Post” has Republicans up 6 points now, 49-43.  A month ago, that same poll had them up by 13.  But here‘s the bad news for Democrats.  In a new Gallup poll of likely voters, very big lead for Republicans, 13 points among likely voters on Who are you going to vote for in the House races?

Now to some state races.  In the Senate race in California, it‘s Barbara Boxer out in front by—over Carly Fiorina by only 4 points.  In Connecticut, Democrat Dick Blumenthal has a 7-point lead over Linda McMahon in a poll that was taken before last night‘s debate.  We‘ll see what the debate does two things.  Now to Florida, where Republican Marco Rubio is at 46 percent with Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek, the Democrat, way behind.

Finally, a couple governor‘s races.  In California—look at this—

Jerry Brown picking up a 7-point lead now over Meg Whitfield—Whitman.  That has a lot to do, of course, with her hiring that illegal person all these years.  And in the New York‘s governor‘s race, Andrew Cuomo pulling out to a 24-point lead over Republican bomb-thrower Carl Paladino, the guy who says he‘s going to take out anybody he doesn‘t like.

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

Let‘s go now to MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and “Mother Jones” magazine‘s David Corn.  I think you two are my favorite guys here in terms of deep belief.  You both have very firm convictions.

Here‘s Christine O‘Donnell on Bill Maher‘s show talking about her involvement with witchcraft.  Let‘s listen to this quote first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘DONNELL:  I was dabbling into every other kind of religion before I became a Christian and I—

BILL MAHER, HOST:  You were a witch.

O‘DONNELL:  I was!  I was.

(LAUGHTER)

MAHER:  You were.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  “I was.  I was a witch.”  Now, here‘s Christine O‘Donnell‘s newest biographical TV ad paid for by her campaign.  Let‘s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘DONNELL:  I‘m not a witch.  I‘m nothing you‘ve heard.  I‘m you.  None of us are perfect, but none of us can be happy with what we see all around us, politicians who think spending, trading favors and back room deals are the ways the stay in office.  I‘ll go to Washington and do what you‘d do.  I‘m Christine O‘Donnell and I approved this message.  I‘m you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s a nice little A (ph) tune or whatever it is playing on the piano there behind her.  I sort of like it!

(LAUGHTER)

DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES”:  I thought it was John Tesh!

MATTHEWS:  But she‘s very—she‘s—well, no, that was a real piano. 

Don‘t be mocking.  That was a real piano, and I think it‘s a real person.  The question is, how does she square her very innocent appeal—and she‘s certainly a very person by anybody‘s estimate.  I‘d like to meet her.  She (INAUDIBLE) nice person—who‘s saying she dabbled in all these things, including witchcraft.  How do you—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  -- Hare Krishna and all this stuff.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, certainly, she has to admit she‘s goofing around on Bill Maher and all that stuff.  I don‘t know whether she—

MATTHEWS:  That was a joke?

BUCHANAN:  -- was in high school—well, high school, and my guess is she probably made up an awful lot of it or exaggerated.  What she‘s doing here, though, Chris, is she‘s running against the Washington establishment and against the people who are mocking—

MATTHEWS:  Chris Coons?

BUCHANAN:  -- mocking, ridiculing—

MATTHEWS:  I never heard of the guy!  You never heard of him!

BUCHANAN:  She‘s running—

MATTHEWS:  Why is he the Washington establishment?  You never heard of the guy two weeks ago!

BUCHANAN:  She‘s running against—she‘s not running against Coons, she‘s running against you.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, OK.

BUCHANAN:  She‘s running against the Washington establishment—

MATTHEWS:  But I like her, so it‘s not going to work.

BUCHANAN:  -- and people mocking and ridiculing her.  And she‘s saying

you know what she‘s saying?

MATTHEWS:  No.

BUCHANAN:  I‘m one of you.

CORN:  Listen—

BUCHANAN:  It‘s us—it‘s against them.

MATTHEWS:  David Corn—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  She‘s saying the things people are saying about her—what people are saying about her is what she was saying about herself in the tapes of Bill Maher.  Go ahead.

CORN:  No one‘s making this up.  In fact, this ad reminds me a little bit of Pat‘s old boss saying “I‘m not a crook.”  When you start coming on, saying what you‘re not—I guess she‘s also not a hobgoblin or she‘s not a sorceress.  I mean—I mean, she can try to pull this off, but she has said so many silly things not just about herself, but about policy—I mean, China has a plan to take over the United States, that scientists have created mice with human brains.  I mean, it‘s not just that—you know, the witch thing is kind of—is indeed silly, but she has shown that she is just not ready for primetime when it comes to—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Pat, I don‘t know where you stand on evolution, but she said the other day in one of these quotes (INAUDIBLE) she said—doesn‘t believe there is evolution because, she said, “Otherwise, monkeys that we‘re looking at, they would be changing in front of us into people.”  What kind of a defense of—

BUCHANAN:  Well, look—

MATTHEWS:  -- traditional values is that?

BUCHANAN:  -- the vast majority of people believe evolution and Christian creation should be taught side by side.  But what she—again, look at what she‘s doing.  She‘s—

MATTHEWS:  Well, you weren‘t taught it.  You weren‘t taught it.

BUCHANAN:  She‘s (INAUDIBLE) look, I never took biology.  They made me take Greek, Chris.

(LAUGHTER)

CORN:  That explains it, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  (INAUDIBLE) down 14 points, we were down—she‘s down 14 points.  What she‘s trying to do—this isn‘t for you.  She‘s trying to connect with the people of Delaware.  It is us versus them.

MATTHEWS:  Would you vote for her or Coons?

BUCHANAN:  I would vote for her in a second.  I would not vote for Coons.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

BUCHANAN:  The guy‘s a “bearded Marxist”!  He admitted that, Chris!

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  He said, I was that in college—

MATTHEWS:  OK—

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  He wrote an essay, I‘m a bearded Marxist now!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Pat, you‘re great!

CORN:  You know, intelligence—intelligence—

MATTHEWS:  I think you got the nail in that coffin!

(LAUGHTER)

CORN:  You know, intelligence—

MATTHEWS:  OK—

CORN:  -- policy doesn‘t matter, Pat.  You know, this—listen, this woman is just not ready.  I mean, she barely got out of college!

BUCHANAN:  She‘ll do all right.

CORN:  She barely got out of college!

BUCHANAN:  Got out of—what a snob you are!

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Harry Truman didn‘t go to college!

MATTHEWS:  OK, wait a minute, what‘s worse—what‘s worse, a clean-shaven Marxist or a bearded Marxist?

BUCHANAN:  Well, he called himself a bearded Marxist—

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I just want to know—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  -- your calibrations.  Let‘s go to—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You think it‘s venomous now, wait‘ll you catch this race.  Here‘s the McMahon campaign ad.  It‘s a devastating ad right before last night‘s debate.  We‘re going to show you the ad, followed by Blumenthal addressing it in the debate last night.  Let‘s listen, see who won.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Would you lie about serving in a war?

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

I served in Vietnam—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Dick Blumenthal did it again and again!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLUMENTHAL:  I‘m proud of my military service.  On a few occasions out of hundreds when I commented on it, I described it inaccurately, and I regret it.  I take full responsibility for it.  It was not intentional, but that is no excuse.  And I want to say that I am sorry, particularly to our veterans and most especially to the veterans of Vietnam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Can you explain the fact that “I take full responsibility” for it but “It was not intentional”?  How do you say you served in Vietnam unintentionally when they‘ve got the quotes, just like they have on O‘Donnell?

CORN:  You know, you‘re—

(CROSSTALK)

CORN:  The interesting thing about this, Chris, is that even in some of the same speeches, he said it right sometimes and wrong sometimes.  He contradicted himself really within five, ten minutes of one another.  So it doesn‘t seem like it was an outright deception, like we‘ve seen in Congressman Kirk‘s case and others—

MATTHEWS:  Why would he do it?  Why would he say, I served in Vietnam?

CORN:  I think it‘s inexplicable, and I think he‘d be up 20 points in the polls if he hadn‘t made these dumb mistakes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  So you‘re saying it‘s a mistake to say you served in Vietnam when—you say that‘s a mistake, an unintentional, it‘s an inaccuracy.  It was like a slip of the tongue, is what he—

CORN:  Because at the same time in the same speeches, he described his service accurately.

MATTHEWS:  So you believe it was a slip of the tongue.

CORN:  If he‘s trying to lie, he‘s then a really bad and lousy liar, which might be a good thing to have in politics.

MATTHEWS:  Well, look—

MATTHEWS:  I think you speak with forked tongues on these issue.

BUCHANAN:  Look—

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t know why you‘re defending this guy.

CORN:  I‘m not defending him!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Are you defending every single Democrat candidate for the Senate this year, every one of them?  You defend every single Democrat.  Is that your position?

CORN:  Every single Democrat?  No, not necessarily.  I‘m not—

MATTHEWS:  Well, name one you don‘t support.

CORN:  I‘m not—

MATTHEWS:  Name one you don‘t support!

CORN:  Well, I don‘t—

MATTHEWS:  Name one you don‘t support!

CORN:  Chris, I don‘t endorse candidates!

MATTHEWS:  You just endorsed him!

CORN:  I tell you what I think about them.  I didn‘t endorse him.  I told you what I thought—

(CROSSTALK)

CORN:  You know, he talked about—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN:  Do you endorse?

MATTHEWS:  No, but I see a problem with this guy‘s statement.

BUCHANAN:  Well, look—

MATTHEWS:  I think it‘s a problem more than anybody—

(CROSSTALK)

CORN:  I agree with you!  It is a problem!

BUCHANAN:  When I came home from Vietnam and when I was in Vietnam—come on!  Now, look—

MATTHEWS:  Well, here‘s McMahon going after—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let her do her thing.  We don‘t have to do it.  Let‘s listen to what Linda McMahon said here about him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCMAHON:  And we need people who know how to create jobs.  We need people who‘ve walked in those shoes.  We also need people who‘ve experienced when things aren‘t so good.  I‘ve been bankrupt.  I‘ve come back from bankruptcy.  I‘ve had an opportunity because of the American dream in this country to grow and to experience what a lot of our folks here in the state are experiencing now.  Mr. Blumenthal doesn‘t have that experience.  He‘s been on the government payroll all his life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  Now, that is really an effective shot.  I think—she‘s got two of the most effective shots.  First, this guy lied about Vietnam.  Secondly, this guy‘s been on the government payroll his whole life and I‘ve been out there in the real world.  I don‘t know if she can win, but if there‘s any two messages—

CORN:  She‘s been out there in the real world—

BUCHANAN:  -- that can do it—

MATTHEWS:  What‘s wrong—

CORN:  -- exploiting wrestlers who have tremendous health issues—

BUCHANAN:  Oh!

CORN:  Come on!  I mean, she‘s—

BUCHANAN:  Well, what—look—

CORN:  She‘s been taking advantage of workers and then saying, We don‘t—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  -- I don‘t have any idea, which—this is a flip of the coin, this baby.  I want to know who‘s going to defend Carl Paladino here.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Here goes, two faces of Carl Paladino, first threatening a reporter, and then in his new ad where he comes off as rather pleasant.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

CARL PALADINO (R-NY), CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR:  You send another goon to my daughter‘s house, and I‘ll take you out, buddy!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re going to take me out?

PALADINO:  Yes!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How you going to do that?

PALADINO:  Watch!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALADINO:  This campaign is not about my family.  It‘s not about divorces or affairs.  It‘s about who has a plan to restore prosperity and economic growth to New York state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  So we saw him there in a kind of an unstructured moment, perhaps unscripted, where he says, “I‘m going to take you out, buddy.”  Now we see him there not exactly—

BUCHANAN:  I think—

MATTHEWS:  -- Ivy League, but—

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  The first one was the real guy!

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  I conceded, Chris!

MATTHEWS:  OK.

BUCHANAN:  That‘s a guy who would hit you right—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  You‘re a journalist.  You went to the Columbia journalism—he probably doesn‘t like you (INAUDIBLE) for that reason!  If Paladino came up to you and said, I‘m going to take you out, Buchanan, what would you—what would you make of that phrase, “take you out”?

BUCHANAN:  I think I would take him seriously.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  What do you think of the phrase, “I‘m going to take you out”?  I think that‘s still the best quote of the convention—of the campaign here.  David, buddy, I don‘t know where you‘re coming out on this, but Carl Paladino, good guy, bad guy?

CORN:  I think he‘s a thug!

(LAUGHTER)

CORN:  If this is the best the Republicans can come up with in the entire state of New York, I mean, then the party is really in a lot of trouble.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know, Lazio got pretty rough with Hillary Clinton in that debate, when he went over and served her papers—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Now this guy comes up and says, “I‘m going to take you”—imagine him debating Hillary Clinton!

BUCHANAN:  But you know—let me say this—

MATTHEWS:  That would have been—

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  I think he had a fighting chance to—because he came off as a rough, tough guy—

MATTHEWS:  He‘s 24 points behind!  We just showed it.

BUCHANAN:  No, but I think it‘s because of what happened with—with

--

MATTHEWS:  Fred Dicker.

BUCHANAN:  -- Fred Dicker.  But I think before that, he was really moving.  He had Cuomo really upset.  And Cuomo was having these meetings and was cussing out his staff.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  -- 6 points, I think this hurt him very badly.

CORN:  He was moving because no one knew anything about the guy.  I mean—

BUCHANAN:  No, they liked the tough guy!  They liked that guy!

CORN:  They liked the racist cards he sends.  I‘m sure they like that, too.  Did he send you one, Pat?

BUCHANAN:  No.

MATTHEWS:  By the way—

BUCHANAN:  He didn‘t go to college, either.

MATTHEWS:  OK—I like it when you‘re against the upper classes, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Well, I mean, why would you—

MATTHEWS:  No, I do!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I think it‘s not—doesn‘t speak well of you, Mr. Corn, to be taking the position of the cultural elite at every—at every front here.

CORN:  Well, are we saying that, you know, having a college education is usually a good thing for government officials?

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think that‘s—

CORN:  Usually a good thing.

BUCHANAN:  -- what you said!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  -- you and me, Pat.  Before you start putting—you were a speech writer for the president!

BUCHANAN:  I had eight years.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s a long time—

(CROSSTALK)

CORN:  You were the establishment, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Yes, but how many‘d you have?

MATTHEWS:  More than that!

BUCHANAN:  I had the—you had the post office, Chris—

MATTHEWS:  I had nine.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  If you can count working as a Capitol police—

BUCHANAN:  OK.  I would.

MATTHEWS:  -- if you count working as couple of senators and speaker of the House, yes, it‘s about 10, 15 years.  You beat me.  You‘re more private sector than I am.

BUCHANAN:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  By a little bit!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, Pat Buchanan—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  -- says, They‘re both on the payroll!

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CORN:  I‘m watching out for Paladino when I leave the studio.  I‘ll tell you that.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David Corn.  I wish it would go on forever.

Coming up: There are new reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is raising tons of money from overseas to help Republicans win elections.  We‘ll follow the money next.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  If the Democrats hope to stave off big losses this November, they‘ll need their core supporters, obviously, to show up and vote.  And that‘s why President Obama‘s holding a town hall meeting with young people next Thursday.  The hour-long town hall will be live on MTV, BET and Communist, and the president will take questions from the audience and also via Twitter.  The youth vote helped him win two years ago, and he needs them to get out there to save the Democrats in these mid-terms.  And boy, is that a challenge, getting the young people to vote in a mid-term.

HARDBALL back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  This is going to be hot stuff.  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Are foreign dollars funding campaign ads in the U.S.?  Thinkprogress.org has a report today about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the fight for control of Congress.  Now, listen to this.  Here‘s what they say.  “The largest attack campaign against Democrats this fall is being waged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which can raise and spend unlimited funds without ever disclosing any of its donors.  A Think Progress investigation has found that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign out of its general account, which solicits foreign funding.”

Faiz Shakir is editor-in-chief of Thinkprogress.org and vice president of the Center for American Progress.  Faiz, thanks for joining us.  I‘ve never met you before.  Fascinating report.  Can you discern where this money‘s coming from that‘s apparently going through the U.S. Chamber, down here in front of the White House, this powerful building down there, and going to Republican candidates?  How‘s the money run?  Where‘s it go?

FAIZ SHAKIR, THINK PROGRESS:  Let me just tell you how this works.  The Chamber is now running a $75 million unprecedented ad campaign to defeat Democrats.  It runs that ad out of a general account.  That account, as we reported today, is funded by foreign entities, including foreign-owned corporations.  We don‘t know exactly how that money gets transported (ph), but we know that all that money is going into a central account that is being used for running attack ads.

MATTHEWS:  So it‘s fungible.  It goes into a big pile of money—

SHAKIR:  It‘s fungible.

MATTHEWS:  -- and it goes out another door.

SHAKIR:  That‘s exactly it.  And I think, you know—

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Do you have any way—is there any way they can argue that the money didn‘t go through that route, it didn‘t come from that source?

SHAKIR:  They could argue that they have internal controls, but we‘re trusting them, and I don‘t think that that‘s the proper—

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s go to this—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s what the Chamber says, their spokesman, Tita (ph) -- spokeswoman, Tita Freeman, said, “The report is completely erroneous.  AmChams”—which are these American Chamber units around the world—“are independent organizations and they do not fund political programs in the U.S. We have a system in place for ensuring that they are not government-controlled entities.  The Chamber is proud to have global companies among our membership.  We‘re careful to ensure that we comply with all applicable laws.  No foreign money is used to fund political activities.”

SHAKIR:  We want to know what the system is.  They claim to have a

system.  It‘s not enough to just simply trust them.  We need—we need to

--

MATTHEWS:  But you also argue, basically—

SHAKIR:  -- verify it.

MATTHEWS:  -- if you throw a pile of dollars into a pile of dollars, what difference does it make where it came from?

SHAKIR:  Exactly.  I mean, money is fungible.  If they‘re getting foreign funds, it‘s important for people to know that.  I think they‘re operating as a PAC, Chris.  You know how PACs operate.

MATTHEWS:  Sure.

SHAKIR:  They run ads against candidates.  But the difference here is that PACs disclose where—

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s—

SHAKIR:  -- they get the money from.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s—let‘s talk about the impact.  First of all, let‘s go to the motive. 

I always like to know why, if we know why.  Why would somebody overseas want to give to a congressional campaign in the United States?  Free trade? 

(CROSSTALK)

SHAKIR:  The Chamber operates like a vessel.  Health insurers gave them money to run attack ads against health reform while publicly claiming they were supportive of Obama‘s efforts. 

Wall Street bailed out banks, said that, oh, we want regulations, but then gave money to the Chamber to fight regulations. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You mean is it money-laundering operation. 

SHAKIR:  It‘s a money-laundering.  I mean, it‘s just—it‘s a vessel. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, is it a money-laundering operation?  You‘re afraid of that term?

SHAKIR:  I‘m afraid of that term.

I don‘t know exactly what the intents of the foreign companies are.  But if the Chamber‘s record proves anything, it‘s that the people who give them money give them money for a reason.  When that—when BP gave money, the Chamber turned around and said, OK, we will lobby against making -- 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  So, your story is, the money came in the door from foreign sources.  It went out the door in terms of campaign contributions to Republicans to kill Democrats, and that‘s all you know and you want to know more. 

SHAKIR:  That‘s right.  And if they say they have a system, they should talk about what their internal controls should be. 

We know that the current law prohibits companies—from foreign companies from donating into American elections.  Now, the Chamber has lobbied against the DISCLOSE Act.  And that‘s important.  They said that they want transparency.  The Chamber will probably say, we have controls.  But why are they fighting the DISCLOSE Act then?

MATTHEWS:  So, we don‘t know which foreign countries or—and foreign entities are giving them money?

SHAKIR:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Give me some examples.

SHAKIR:  If you were a Bahrainian businessman and I‘m a Chamber lobbyist, you wanted to join our—I would hand you this application.  This is an actual application that they give to their—

MATTHEWS:  The Chamber does. 

SHAKIR:  The Chamber does. 

And it says foreign companies are eligible.  So, you‘re asking, well, am I eligible.  You can give $10,000.  But where does your check go, Chris?  Right here to Washington, D.C.  It‘s to the general account. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

SHAKIR:  So, explain your system.

MATTHEWS:  Keep working.  Thank you so much, Faiz Shakir from American Progress.

SHAKIR:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

Let‘s turn now to Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, who is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

Congressman, what do you make of this charge that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is basically filtering money from overseas into the pockets of Republican campaigns against your candidates?   

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND:  Well, it‘s a very troubling possibility here, because what you would have then is foreign-controlled interest directly trying to influence U.S. elections by using the Chamber of Commerce as a conduit. 

Here‘s what we know.  We know that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce bitterly fought our efforts to take away taxpayer subsidies, loopholes that went to companies that ship jobs overseas, that outsource jobs, American jobs.  We got that passed over their vigorous opposition.  And the fact of the matter is, their position has been one that serves the interests of overseas profits of multinational corporations over American workers and American jobs.

So it‘s not surprising to see them taking these actions in American elections.  But what we‘re seeing is the potential now that out of this big general fund, they are using it—the foreign contributions as part of it. 

So, we need to get to the bottom of it, and the easiest way to do it is for the Chamber to disclose and just tell the voters who is putting the money in. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Here‘s the scary part.  Here‘s the scary part.  You work for an American car company in this country, you work for an American a steel company up in Pittsburgh, you‘re trying to fight for your job, and you find out that, somewhere over in Japan or somewhere in Brussels or somewhere, there‘s some guy with a lot of money sending money over to defeat to your Democratic pro-job Senate candidate or House candidate. 

In other words, they‘re against free trade.  They‘re against some sort of trade deal.  This foreign government that wants that trade deal that way to open the market in the United States or beat us in some market situation, they‘re trying to defeat your congressperson. 

Doesn‘t that scare you? 

VAN HOLLEN:  It does scare me.

And, look, this is a moment of truth for the American voter.  Are they going to demand, is the voter going to demand that these third-party groups that are dumping millions of dollars of secret money—we don‘t know exactly where it comes from—into campaigns, are they going to come clean and tell us who‘s bankrolling them, whose interests are they serving?

We know in this case that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce worked hard to stop legislation that would end these taxpayer rewards for offshoring American jobs. 

But let me—look, 60 Plus is an organization, Chris, that is funded by the health insurance industry, which would make hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars from the Republican plan which they voted on in their budget last year to privatize Medicare.

So voters have got to wake up and ask themselves the question, why are these outside interests secretly funding these candidates?  And what‘s their agenda?  Because I can assure you, it‘s not the agenda that serves the interests of the people in these districts. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you get regular people in this country, not far-left people or far-right people—they will probably vote—how do you get people who are sort of center-left or down-the-middle voters, if you‘re a Democrat, to get up on the morning of November 2 and make an effort to vote, when they don‘t have a lot of visceral anger out there?

I know the angry people always manage to get to the polling place.  But regular people who say I think Barack‘s done a pretty good job, I like the health care thing, let‘s see how it works, I don‘t like the tax breaks going only to the rich—they agree with your party, but they do with less passion than the other side, the haters do.  How do you get them to vote? 

VAN HOLLEN:  Well, look, they need to be reminded about the fact that the day Barack Obama took office, we were losing 700,000 jobs every month. 

We have made significant process since then.  We‘re not where we want to be, but we‘re making progress.  Why in the world would we want to return to a set of policies that served some narrow special interests and took the economy into the ditch? 

And what we‘re seeing now is all these outside groups, whether it‘s Americans For Prosperity, 60 Plus, or now the U.S. Chamber ads that are coming in.  They were very well served by the Bush economic agenda.  That agenda didn‘t serve the vast majority of people in this country. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

VAN HOLLEN:  Those groups are fighting hard to take us back.  And this is a wakeup call, Chris, to people who don‘t want to go back. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

(CROSSTALK)

VAN HOLLEN:  And the latest—this latest issue about foreign-controlled interests trying to influence the outcome of American elections should send a little shockwave through the electorate. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you very much, U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

VAN HOLLEN:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Up next: hypocrisy alert.  Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller of Alaska has been railing against unemployment benefits, saying they‘re unconstitutional.  Well, apparently, they‘re not unconstitutional when they go to his wife.  Check out the “Sideshow” next.  You never know about hypocrisy.  It gets better and better. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  Now to the “Sideshow.” 

First:  Do as I say, not as I do.  Alaska Tea Partier Joe Miller has taken a particularly tough stance against unemployment benefits.  Here he is last month on FOX. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”)

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”:  Why are unemployment benefits unconstitutional?  And in a time of a tough economy, a recession, and now a kind of jobless recovery, what are you going to do for the 44 million people who are living in poverty? 

JOE MILLER ®, ALASKA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  I think what you need to look at is the context. 

We had an extension of unemployment benefits several weeks ago which is beyond what we have had in the past in this country.  What we have in this country is an entitlement mentality.  It‘s an entitlement not just at the individual, but even at the state level, that if all goes wrong, it‘s the federal government‘s role to get in there and provide for the general welfare. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, talk like that makes the following story all the more rich. 

Back when Joe Miller worked as a federal magistrate judge, his wife worked in his office as a part-time clerk.  After Miller‘s wife left that job in 2002 -- you guessed it—she applied for and received unemployment benefits. 

Isn‘t hypocrisy just downright wonderful?

Next: an oldie but goody from Christine O‘Donnell.  In a 2006 Republican primary debate, O‘Donnell said she had classified information about a Chinese plot to take over the U.S.  Here it comes.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL ®, DELAWARE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  In terms of the government, I think that there is a very carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America.

There‘s much that I want to say that—I wish I wasn‘t privy to some of the classified information that I—that I am privy to, because I think that we can‘t be—

QUESTIONER:  Can I interrupt and say how are you privy to classified information?

O‘DONNELL:  Because I have been working in various—with various nonprofit groups—

QUESTION:  Do you have a security clearance?  Do you have a security clearance—

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL: -- for over 15 years. 

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  And we‘ve been sending missionaries to China for a very long time. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, there‘s been no comment lately by O‘Donnell on that little sugarplum. 

Time for the “Big Number” right now. 

Let‘s look at World War I and how it officially ended on Sunday.  That‘s when Germany finished paying off its debt from reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles.  Some historians are calling this the real end to the conflict.  By that measure, how long has World War I lasted?  Ninety-six years, almost a full century start to finish.  Ninety-six years from the beginning to the settling of the German war debt—tonight‘s “Big Number.”

Up next:  Republicans in some big races across the country are avoiding the press.  Will voters let them run out the clock without ever answering the tough questions? 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Wall Street staging a major rally, pushing stocks to five-month highs.  The Dow Jones industrials soaring 193 points, the S&P 500 climbing 23, and the Nasdaq searching 55 points. 

Investors moving away from currencies in a big way today, after a surprise interest rate drop in Japan that reinforced ideas that the Fed is about to expand quantitative easing. 

A surprise jump in service sector activity also boosting investor confidence.  The ISM index showing accelerating growth and an uptick in hiring.  The tech sector looking especially strong today.  Microsoft says it will be looking to take on the iPad with its own tablet computer in stores by Christmas. 

Gold continues its rally as well, settling at a record high above $1,340 an ounce.  And children‘s clothing retailer Gymboree jumping more than 6 percent after hiring Goldman Sachs to start shopping around for potential buyers.

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

HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Well, from Tea Partiers like Christine O‘Donnell and Sharron Angle to senators like David Vitter, a number of Republican candidates have gone MIA when it comes to media events and debates this campaign season.  But can they win by dodging reporters and running out the clock on the press?

Jeanne Cummings writes for Politico.  And Jon Ralston, of course, has been covering Sharron Angle‘s many gaffes as a columnist for “The Los Angeles (sic) Sun.”

You‘re chuckling already.  I‘m going to start with Jon.

Let‘s take a look at this Angle and the latest from here.  Let‘s take a look.  Sharron Angle had a tough time clarifying her comment that people may seek Second Amendment remedies, as she put it.

Here she is with ABC‘s Jon Karl, followed by her original statement in January with radio host Lars Larson.  Let‘s look at what she‘s had to deal with in terms of running away with—or running away from what she‘s said.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT:  When you said, if things don‘t turn out the right way in this election, people may seek First—Second Amendment remedies, what did you mean that?  What are Second Amendment—

SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  No, I don‘t think that was exactly the way I said it. 

(CROSSTALK)

KARL:  Well—well, you—you—you—you—tell me.  Forget how you—you tell me. 

(LAUGHTER)

ANGLE:  OK. 

(LAUGHTER)

ANGLE:  OK.

We were discussing once again—

KARL:  Yes. 

ANGLE:  In a context of the Second Amendment, we were having a discussion about the Founding Fathers and why they had put the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ANGLE:  You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason.

And that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government.  In fact, you know, Thomas Jefferson said it‘s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years.

I hope that is not where we are going, but, you know, if this—this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.  They‘re saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around?

And I will tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out. 

(END AUDIO CLIP) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t know how to put that.

There‘s an interesting juxtaposition there, Jon, of this frightening language about using gunplay to kill members of Congress if you don‘t like the way they‘re voting, and then that wonderful old phrase I grew up with, oh, my goodness. 

What is this folksy gun play, I guess you would call it?  Is this frontierswoman‘s talk or what?  How could somebody put someone like this in the Senate, just thinking, just asking?

JON RALSTON, “THE LAS VEGAS SUN”:  Well, I guess what disturbs me a little bit about watching Sharron Angle is what I would describe her careless rhetoric. 

And that‘s a perfect example of it, because you can‘t actually believe, Chris, that she thinks that people should go out and shoot members of Congress, who, by the way, she‘s also said there are domestic enemies—remember that one—inside Capitol Hill, as if there are some quislings we have to worry about.

So, her careless use of this kind of rhetoric is very disturbing.  Remember, at the end of the original sound bite, she said, we have to take Harry Reid out.  She eventually backed off from that.

But that is very incendiary kind of language.  And I just don‘t think she understands the impact of it.  Or, if she does, she suddenly gets amnesia about it and says, “I never said that.”

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s take a look.  I want Jeanne Cummings to respond to this Sharron Angle comment.  Here‘s her latest fiasco. 

She trashed the Republican Party in a secretly recorded audiotape. 

Let‘s listen to her words.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ANGLE:  The Republicans have lost their standards.  They‘ve lost their principles.  Really that‘s why the machine in the Republican Party is fighting against me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, what do you make of that?  I mean, I don‘t know if that offends anybody?  The Republican machine is not exactly in great shape.  I mean, it‘s not they are winning the elections, it‘s the—potentially, it‘s the attitude of the voters, generally.  They don‘t like what‘s been going on in the economy.

Your thoughts.  How can this—these kinds of candidates, we‘re going to run through two or three of them here, guys, if  they—if they can allude any more serious questioning, I guess they‘re hoping that the voters will forget these incredibly wild comments.

CUMMINS:  Well, I think that they hope that the voters forget that they‘ve already said and they‘re hoping that they don‘t say any more.  It‘s interesting that with these new candidates, what they lack is experience.  And so, what we often hear from them is real conversation that often will take place behind closed doors.  And then if they don‘t—they don‘t have the filter that an experienced politician does when they‘re careful not to say these things when they‘re out in public.

And so, they just say whatever is on their mind—as Jon was saying, a careless use of language.  And in some cases, you know, very dangerous language.  And I—so, I think what we‘re seeing several of them do is to pull way back and so that they can‘t be caught making a mistake like this again and then, you know, try to run the clock out as you said earlier, Chris, to Election Day.

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, of course, helped to support that tough immigration law out there—anti-illegal immigration law.  Here she is having a brain freeze during her opening statement at a debate.  I‘m not sure what this tells us, but I‘m going ask both of you what it tells you.

Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA:  Arizona has been brought back from its abyss.  We have cut the budget, we have balanced the budget and we are moving forward.  We have done everything that we could possibly do.  We have—did what was right for Arizona.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, here‘s how Brewer dealt with reporters, asking her about her erroneous claim that illegal immigrants were behind beheadings in the desert—something she had said before.

Let‘s listen to her defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER:  Governor, why wouldn‘t you recant the comment that you have made earlier about the beheadings in the desert?

REPORTER:  That‘s a serious question, Governor.

BREWER:  Well, this was an interesting evening tonight.

REPORTER:  Please answer the question about the headless bodies.  What won‘t you recant that?  Do you still believe that?  Come on, Governor.

BREWER:  OK.  Thank you.

REPORTER:  Governor, what do you make of—

CROWD:  Oh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Jeanne, what do you make of that?  Well, Jeanne and then John.  What do you both make of that, with the candidate doesn‘t seem to either is having a lack of anything coming to mind, or is just saying brilliantly saying, I know if I don‘t say anything wrong, I won‘t get hurt?

CUMMINS:  Well, I think this is my favorite one of this campaign season because it is clearly just such a brain lock and I can‘t imagine like the sheer terror that must have been running through her when she realized she needed to keep saying something.  I mean, the very idea—this, by the way, is a veteran.  This is not a newcomer necessarily.  And when I at least can respect in Jan Brewer, is when she was asked recently, when will you go into another debate?  She said, when my poll numbers start to fall.  Maybe I‘ll go then.

So, at least she admits it that she is trying to run the clock out.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

Jon Ralston, I think it was Jonathan Martin on “Politico” this morning that said there used to be the old Dean Smith four-corner offense down in North Carolina where you just keep running the clock out.  Of course, then they have the shot clock and you can‘t do it anymore.  I guess there‘s no shot clock on these candidates.  They can just not shoot the ball, not say anything, when they‘ve said stupid things before and don‘t want to talk about them.

RALSTON:  Well, what‘s interesting, Chris, and you‘ve known a lot of skillful politicians.  If they get thrown up their script, or don‘t remember their script, they‘ll pivot and go to something else, they‘ll access another part of their brain or their script.

What‘s interesting in the comparison between Brewer and Angle is that Brewer started to chuckle when she forgot what she was going to say, in the same way that Sharron Angle you saw chuckled with Jonathan Carl of ABC when she was taken off her script.  She does that a lot.

And it‘s clear that if they go off of their script, or take it off of their script, they get into trouble—which is why they‘re doing the four corners, to run-out the clock, and hoping.  And here in Nevada, they‘re just counting on the fact that so many people—so many—just hate Harry Reid that they‘ll vote for anybody but Harry Reid.  She can still win this race with that strategy.

MATTHEWS:  Well, could it be that ignorance is bliss?  Maybe it‘s right, the old phrase.

Anyway, thank you—I hope not.  I hope you have to know something to get elected.  Thank you, Jeanne Cummins.  And I hope you have to answer the question.  Jon, thanks a lot, as always.

Up next: Republicans look to tie a popular governor to President Obama, governor with Tea Party ties to—well, they‘re trying to label Lisa Murkowski a sore loser.  We‘ve seen the Tea Party knocks her off.  We‘ve got hot new campaign ads and we‘re going to show them to you next.

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, we‘re learning more about the Tea Party and who its supporters really are.  A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that there is significant overlap between the Tea Party and the Christian conservative movement.  Roughly half of Tea Partiers say the bible is the literal word of God, literal.  And the same numbers say public officials should pay more attention to religion.

In addition, the poll‘s author say there is no significant demographic differences between Tea Partiers and Christian conservatives.  No surprise there at all.

HARDBALL will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.

With one month to go in this election, political ads are powerful and they are nasty.  Can they make the difference?

Michelle Bernard is president of the Independent Women‘s Forum and an MSNBC political analyst.  And Eugene Robinson, of course, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for “The Washington Post” and an MSNBC analyst.  He‘s new book, by the way, is called “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America.”  We will have more on to talk about that.

But let‘s go here with the latest ads.  This ad against West Virginia Senate candidate Joe Manchin.  Now, he‘s the governor.  It was put up by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Obama‘s messing things up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Spending money we don‘t have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Stimulus, Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  And Joe Manchin supported it all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Joe is not bad as governor, but when he‘s with Obama—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He turns into Washington Joe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And Washington Joe does whatever Obama wants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, well we better keep Joe Manchin right here in West Virginia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Away from Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  It‘s the only way we‘re going to stop Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  So hokey, what do you think?  Don‘t trust him in Washington?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Right.  This has been the most effective argument against Joe Manchin.  People in West Virginia like him a lot.  He‘s a very popular governor, so the argument is: let‘s keep him here.

MATTHEWS:  Keep him leashed.

ROBINSON:  And keep away from that Washington—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Where he will be corrupted.

ROBINSON:  Right.  He‘ll go, he will be corrupted, or just be another

--

           

MATTHEWS:  He‘ll go Potomac.

OK.  This ad from Marco Rubio down in the Florida Senate race was put up by American Crossroads, which is the Karl Rove group.  You can probably expect this one to be what it is.

Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR:  The choice is clear.  Marco Rubio stood up for taxpayers by saying no to the failed Obama stimulus.  Charlie Crist embraced it.  Marco Rubio opposed Obamacare with its $500 billion Medicare cuts.  Charlie Crist has flip-flopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Boy, you think there‘s only two people in that race, wouldn‘t you?  What happened to the Democrat?

MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  And you‘d never know that one of them used to be a Republican.  They‘ve turned Crist into the Democrat in this race, doing the same thing we have seen in the other states, tying him to Barack Obama.  No mention of the fact that this once was a poster boy for the Republican Party.

MATTHEWS:  And they don‘t even mention the candidate of the Democratic Party.

BERNARD:  Don‘t even know who it is.  Exactly.

MATTHEWS:  Because, obviously, they don‘t worry about him as much as the other guy.

Well, this is an ad put by the National Tea Party group.  It criticizes Lisa Murkowski.  Of course, she‘s the one who lost that primary to Joe Miller.  Here it is: it‘s warning Alaska broadcasters not to air—by the way, her campaign is warning them not to use it.

Here‘s part of the ad.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR:  And now, Lisa is trying to pretend she is running to serve us?  Yes, right.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI ®, ALASKA:  So, I am here to tell you, you are disenfranchised no more.

NARRATOR:  You lost, Lisa.  And it‘s time you respect that this Senate seat doesn‘t belong to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  There you go.  Pretty strong knock there.

ROBINSON:  Yes, it‘s a strong knock.  I don‘t know how well that will work in Alaska.  This is a national group trying to intervene in Alaska politics.  She is well known.  Her family is well known.  They are Alaskan to the core.  I don‘t know if this is really going to have the—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, we got to point here.  Look at this, the latest CNN/”Time” poll has Republican Miller and Murkowski, both Republicans in a statistical tie, 38-36 respectively.  But remember, voters to write her name in.  And I‘m not sure that‘s hard to write the name in—apparently, they don‘t even have to spell it right.  You just have to get a strong effort there.

ROBINSON:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Well, your turn—your turn.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s go to Wisconsin, Russ Feingold.  He‘s fighting for his life out there with this ad but the NFL has some problems with this video.  Watch.  This is the ad put out by Russ Feingold to save himself.  Here, as well, is the problem.

Let‘s watch the ad first.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  They are dancing in the end zone.

NARRATOR:  In pro-football, they call this excessive celebration.

ANNOUNCER:  That is a disgusting act.

NARRATOR:  And they punish it with fines and 15-yard penalties.  It‘s exactly the kind of behavior the corporate special interests and Ron Johnson are engaging in.  They‘re dancing in the end zone because they think they‘re going to take down the U.S. senator who‘s been named the number one enemy of Washington lobbyists.

ANNOUNCER:  Another half to play, score is tied.

NARRATOR:  Fortunately, the game isn‘t over yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  What do you think of that ad?  Is that pathetic or what?

ROBINSON:  Yes, it is.  Yes, I don‘t like—I don‘t particularly like the ad.  And the NFL doesn‘t like it because they protect their brand, right?

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

ROBINSON:  They he don‘t want their brand—

MATTHEWS:  Hot dogging in the end zone, spiking the ball, the whole thing we‘ve been through.  I don‘t think people get it.

Anyway, thank you, Eugene Robinson.  Thank you.  Your new book is called “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America.”  Come back, we‘ll talk about it.

Michelle Bernard, thank you, as always.

When we return, why don‘t politicians simply admit it when they are caught?  You know, when your kid, you shoot the other guy and he says, “You got me”?  They don‘t say “I got me.”  Ever.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with the refusal of politicians to admit it when they are caught.  Believe me, this is bipartisan.  People in both parties right now are denying what everyone else can see.  They‘ve got their head so deep in the ground that they—that all we can see is their rear sticking up high in the air.

Who should I start with?  OK, how about up in Connecticut?  We showed you Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal captured in that TV ad aired by his opponent, Linda McMahon, captured claiming on a number occasions that he‘d served in Vietnam.

He didn‘t, of course.  He never stepped foot in the country, much less got where the bullets were flying or rockets were hitting.  He was never in it.

But he got himself caught on several occasions saying he was.

Last night in the debate, he said he regretted describing his service in the Marine reserves unintentionally and, quote, “inaccurately.”  Well, why is he still talking like this?  Why is he refusing to say that he never served in Vietnam, should never have said he did, and it wasn‘t a slip of the tongue?

Why don‘t these people admit it when they‘re caught?  We kids used to yell, “You got me” when we‘re playing cops and robbers.  He was one of the kids, I guess, who refused to say it even when he was clearly hit.

Was he the guy who refused to admit he‘d foul some guy in basketball?  Is he a guy you want representing you in what‘s happening in Washington, representing you in Washington, when you can‘t get a simple admission out of him when he‘s caught red-handed?

How about Meg Whitman?  She hired someone for a decade then said she never knew the person.  She claims she never knew that this person she treated like a member of the family was in the country illegally, never suspected it.  Right.

Meg Whitman, nobody believes you.  You had the money to hire someone who was here legally, legally documented, and you went for the cheaper deal.  And now you‘re paying for it.

OK, can‘t skip over Christine O‘Donnell.  It‘s impossible not to like her, for the simple reason she seems totally childish about who she was and who she is.  I don‘t know what sounds weirder when she said in on Bill Maher without a hint of embarrassment that she was a witch, or in the new ad of hers where she says almost in the caricature of Richard Nixon, “I am not a witch”?

You know the great Groucho Marx once said, “Who you‘re going to lie—

Who you‘re going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”  Well, you got to wonder what tells you more about these folks, what they did or how ridiculous they get trying to deny it?

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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