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updated 9/14/2011 10:12:30 AM ET 2011-09-14T14:12:30

Guests: George Pataki, Ron Reagan, Marsha Blackburn, Tim Ryan, Donny
Deutsch

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Playoffs.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Leading off tonight: Fear factor. How scared of Rick Perry is the
Republican establishment? Well, in one short month, Perry shot to the top
of the GOP chart with tough Texas talk about states` rights and saying the
Federal Reserve chairman may be guilty of treason. It`s raw meat for the
base, but the party`s grown-ups, if you will, desperate to beat President
Obama, are growing worried. Perry`s loose lips could sink their ship.

And it`s not just the Republican establishment hitting Perry. Look at
what happened last night. The Texas governor got beat up from the right at
that Tea Party debate, with Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum leading the
attack. Can Perry take the punches and keep on swinging?

Plus, why has Rick Perry caught fire so quickly? We`re going to ask
ad guru Donny Deutsch, who thinks Perry`s got just what the right wants
these days.

Plus, President Obama goes to Ohio, home of House Speaker John
Boehner, to sell his American jobs bill. And if Speaker Boehner doesn`t
think there`s work to be done, we`ve got the list -- oh, you knew we would!
-- of 95 bridges in Boehner`s own district that are structurally deficient,
according to the Department of Transportation, and one`s in immediate need
of repair right there in Boehner`s own district.

And "Let Me Finish" with the reign of terror now sweeping through the
Tea Party right.

We start, however, with Rick Perry and the Republican establishment.
Pat Buchanan, who is not part of the establishment, is an MSNBC political
analyst, and George Pataki, a long-time governor of New York, joins us, a
man who I once thought would be the nominee of the Republican Party. Shows
what I know about Republicans.

Anyway, last week Karl Rove was asked about Rick Perry`s past writing
and statements on Social Security being a Ponzi scheme. Here`s what Rove
told ABC News. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Well, what they`ve
done thus far is, I think, inadequate, which is to basically say, Look, we
didn`t write the book with the presidential campaign in mind. Well, OK,
fine. But they are going to have to find a way to deal with these things
because, as you say, they`re toxic in a general election environment. And
they`re also toxic in a Republican primary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Vin Weber, a former member of Congress from
Minnesota, who has backed Mitt Romney, said there`s, quote, "deep concern,"
close quote, inside the Republican Party about nominating Perry, given his
lack of appeal to moderates and independents.

Here`s what Vin Weber told "The New York Times" Quote, "What I think
you`re seeing is that it`s partially establishment versus Tea Party.
There`s no question about that. How concerned should we be? People I talk
to are concerned." Well, that`s Vin Weber.

After the debate last night, GOP strategist Mike Murphy, a smart guy,
wrote Perry, quote, "is not ready for the press scrutiny he`s facing."
Here`s what the great Murphy tweeted while watching the debate. "Listening
to Perry try to put a complicated policy sentence together is like watching
a chimp play with a locked suitcase." That is the inimitable words of Mike
Murphy.

Patrick, I can only go to you with that. But what is going on? I got
a sense -- I get a sense in the media world here, which is not a whole lot
of Republicans floating around --

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

MATTHEWS: -- but there are a few, I suppose, all worried, oh, like
trouble in River City, we`ve got to stop this guy, Perry --

BUCHANAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: -- because we`ve got to get the right nominee. What`s
going on in your erstwhile political party?

BUCHANAN: I think they`re scared to death of Rick Perry for a couple
reasons. One, he`s not one of them. Secondly, there`s that fear that has
existed ever since Goldwater that if we give this guy the nominee (SIC),
he`ll explode and he`ll take down the ticket with him, and he also will
lose the Senate and House, when we got this golden opportunity.

Chris, this is the battle we`ve had -- 1968 with Richard Nixon. It
was, Look, you nominate Nixon, you lose. Rockefeller`s guys were putting
out polls -- We win, you nominate, same as Goldwater. Go back to Taft.
Sure, he`s Mr. Republican. We want to win. We got Eisenhower.

This is the battle endlessly in the Republican Party for the
nomination. The problem with Rick Perry, for the establishment, is he is
really out there and he is out front right now.

MATTHEWS: He seems to have the juice for the campaign. I`m not sure
he has the wit for it. Let me go to Governor Pataki. Governor Pataki,
I`ve always thought of you as an Eastern Republican. I know you`re a
conservative, but what is the difference now between conservatives --
everybody`s a conservative in the Republican Party now, I guess -- and
Perry? What`s the fight?

GEORGE PATAKI (R), FMR. NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Well, I think Pat Buchanan
really hit it on the head. There are two reasons why Rick is getting
hammered these days. One is he is from Texas and he`s not part of the
establishment, and he hasn`t used the rhetoric that Washington insiders get
very comfortable with. And two, he`s the front-runner. And the front-
runner`s always going to be attacked from both sides by people who want to
derail him.

But I think -- let`s calm down. It`s early in the process. He`s only
been in the race a few weeks. He has the ability and the time to answer
questions, whether it`s about Social Security or things he wrote in his
book. He has the time to lay out an agenda as to what he would do if he`s
the nominee and what he would do if he`s president. So I mean, the media
gets all in this huff because people are taking shots, and yes, he`s used
some --

MATTHEWS: Well, it looked like "Gulliver`s Travels" last night --

PATAKI: -- Texas-type rhetoric --

MATTHEWS: It looked like "Gulliver`s Travels" and he was surrounded
by the Lilliputians.

BUCHANAN: Oh!

MATTHEWS: They had him tied down and they`re all jumping on him.
Didn`t you -- have you ever seen a candidate hit from left, right and
center? He was being hit as too conservative on things, and then --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- one thing, Social Security, but he was seen as too left
on things like the border --

BUCHANAN: He`s getting it from two directions. Here`s the reason,
Chris. One, Romney`s running a general election campaign, and Social
Security is a wounding issue on the general election. The others have got
to get Rick Perry out of the way -- Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Rick
Santorum. They are coming at him from the right. That`s the only place
from which Perry can bleed.

What hurt Perry last night is not the Ponzi scheme, it`s that
inoculations forced on those 12-year-olds and it`s the immigration issue --

MATTHEWS: Yes. I agree.

BUCHANAN: -- which is a real problem. You notice that Romney got
around to Perry`s right on immigration because that`s a general election
issue, as well.

MATTHEWS: How did he do that? Because he wants a tougher border?

BUCHANAN: Well, not just simply a tougher border, he said, Look, In-
state tuition -- you don`t give benefits who (ph) are in the country
illegally.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, will that work? I mean, are you concerned about
that, Governor Pataki, that in tearing down Rick Perry for being too
liberal, the party looks pretty far right?

PATAKI: No, I don`t think so because, first of all, most of the
public isn`t paying attention. Obviously, we all are, you are, the people
who watched the debate, but the public`s not focused yet. And I think what
the people are going to want to see in a general election is an alternative
policy direction to the one that Obama has put in place --

MATTHEWS: Yes.

PATAKI: -- over the last three-and-a-half years. And there`s plenty
of time to do that. I think --

MATTHEWS: You don`t think "Ponzi scheme" has been heard by the
average person living down in south Florida, the average person in
retirement right now? They haven`t heard that word "Ponzi scheme" --

PATAKI: Well, they`re certainly going to hear it a thousand --
they`re going to hear it 100,000 times between now and next November if
Rick Perry is the nominee. But I think he can lay out a reform of Social
Security that says, You know what I mean, it`s underfunded, it`s not going
to be there for our children.

BUCHANAN: Right.

PATAKI: Everybody knows that`s true. And here is the solution. And
if he does that --

BUCHANAN: Right.

PATAKI: -- I think all this --

MATTHEWS: What`s a reformed --

PATAKI: -- anger will go away.

MATTHEWS: -- Ponzi scheme? What`s a reformed Ponzi scheme?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I mean, (INAUDIBLE) with other campaigns and all kinds of
gimmicks, but what is a reformed, a corrected Ponzi scheme, Governor?

BUCHANAN: I think --

MATTHEWS: Let the governor answer this.

PATAKI: Rick -- Chris, it`s not a Ponzi scheme. It`s an underfunded
entitlement program that`s going to go bankrupt and run out of money if we
don`t fix it. And I think there`s plenty of time for the Republican
nominee --

MATTHEWS: OK.

BUCHANAN: Right.

PATAKI: -- whether it`s Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, or someone else --

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s take a look at --

PATAKI: -- to lay out that plan and to take it to the senior citizens
and say --

BUCHANAN: Sure.

PATAKI: -- in south Florida and say, This is what I will do. It`s
not going to hurt you at all, and it`s going to help your children and
grandchildren.

MATTHEWS: Here`s why I think Perry`s got the upper hand in your party
and why I think he`s doing very well. Look at this poll number right now.
We`ve got the polls, the latest CNN poll. There`ll be more polls as we go
along here, but this is pretty hefty. Rick Perry at 30, Romney still down
below 20 at 18, just a bit above Sarah Palin, who`s not even running, and
Ron Paul, who`s always going to be a somewhat minority candidate, down at
12, and Herman Cain, a good fellow, but he`s probably not going to win, and
Gingrich is probably not going to win, and Bachmann down below them at 4.
She`s not even on the chart here.

What I`m thinking of is if you hold that chart up there, Governor --

BUCHANAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: -- please hold the previous chart up there with all those
names up there -- everybody is to the right of Romney on that list.
Everybody. So if it comes down to the playoffs, Governor, it looks to me
like all those votes coalesce around Perry because they`re all to the right
of Romney. I mean, I don`t see how Romney brings people to the left to
him.

BUCHANAN: He`s got to --

MATTHEWS: He`s to the left of those people. Look at that. Perry`s
to his right. Palin`s certainly to his right. Ron Paul`s to his right.
Cain`s to his right and Gingrich is to his right.

BUCHANAN: That`s why --

MATTHEWS: Once you get to the playoffs, it`ll be everybody against --

BUCHANAN: But Perry`s got to clear the field.

MATTHEWS: OK, how`s he do it?

BUCHANAN: That`s the problem. That`s the problem I had. It`s a
problem conservatives --

MATTHEWS: You can`t get rid of those people --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: You got to get them out of there. What he`s got to do --
what Perry`s got to do is get to South Carolina alive and have the field
cleared of Michele Bachmann and Santorum -- he`s not going to get Ron Paul
out -- and have a head-to-head with Mitt Romney in South Carolina. I don`t
see how Romney beats him in South Carolina. Then you`ve got a new race
starting, if Perry can get there standing up.

MATTHEWS: Yes. What do you think of that scenario, Governor?

PATAKI: Well, I think there`s really a different dynamic this year.
And the dynamic is -- we used to have anti-communism uniting the Republican
conservative side, so that the others seemed less important. There`s one
issue uniting Republicans and independents now, and that is to replace
Obama.

And I think if Rick or Romney or anyone in this race who is credible
comes out with a plan that people can look at from across the Republican
side of the political spectrum and say, Yes, this will lead our country in
a better direction, keep the focus on the failed policies of this
administration --

MATTHEWS: Yes, but --

BUCHANAN: Well, you got to win the nomination.

PATAKI: -- and present the alternative -- and I think you can win the
nomination, Pat.

BUCHANAN: But you got --

MATTHEWS: But what kind of an election night is that, Governor, where
you don`t applaud the winner, you applaud the concession speech? Can you
imagine a country where election night, the people on the right are
giggling and getting drunk about that Obama`s been thrown out of the White
House, but say, Who do we have in there now? Oh, yes, this guy, who`s sort
of an establishment guy from St. Paul`s, he`s LDS, I don`t know what he is.
I guess he`s sort of a middle-of-the-roader.

Do you really think that the right, the Tea Party right, who couldn`t
imagine in a million years Mitt Romney walking into a Tea Party meeting --
in a million years, he`d never go to a Tea Party meeting -- being happy
about his nomination?

PATAKI: Chris, whether or not they`re happy about their nomination,
if he is the nominee and lays out a conservative platform that he would put
in place to change this country, he`ll get their votes.

MATTHEWS: OK.

PATAKI: He`ll get their votes as much because they want to change and
replace this administration as perhaps the lack of excitement on his side,
but it doesn`t matter. It`s, Do you get the votes or not? Mitt Romney
would get those votes. I think Rick Perry will get those votes.

BUCHANAN: You know, Romney almost has a bye into the finals in the
Eastern conference.

MATTHEWS: He`s won the Eastern conference.

BUCHANAN: Perry got -- there`s a number of guys he`s got to eliminate
in the Western conference. And they`re going after him terribly --

MATTHEWS: Who`s got the wild card? Is there anybody else besides
these two?

BUCHANAN: No. I mean, you`ve got Huntsman in the Eastern conference,
but he`s --

MATTHEWS: Oh, he`s gone by next week. He`s out by next week.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Governor, I had you on because you`re a highly educated Ivy
Leaguer, unlike us, and I wanted you to look at some of these numbers here.
Here`s the latest "best chance of beating Obama" CNN poll. Among general
Republicans, Perry gets 42 percent, Romney gets 26 percent. So he`s
favored -- Perry is favored among Republicans as to who they think has a
better shot against the president.

But then when you go to the Washington insiders -- and this is always
a poll done by "National Journal," political insiders -- 69 percent say
Romney. So there you have the establishment, if you will, saying Romney`s
the best bet. But the average Republican voter doesn`t make that strategic
assumption. How do you make that -- isn`t that important to know? Not
everybody`s thinking strategically.

PATAKI: Chris, four years ago, the Republican establishment was
saying that John McCain was the right person and that we couldn`t win with
a Mike Huckabee. I have a great deal of confidence in the people, as
opposed to the experts and the insiders and the establishment.

MATTHEWS: OK.

PATAKI: It`s early in the process. The one thing that we can be sure
of is it`s going to change dramatically. I think Rick Perry not only can
win the nomination, he can win the general election, but I think Mitt
Romney can, as well.

MATTHEWS: Who would be a better president, you or Rick Perry?

PATAKI: You have to look at the people --

MATTHEWS: Oh! You got to answer the question!

PATAKI: -- on the field. I don`t --

MATTHEWS: You have to answer the question! You must answer this
question!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Who is a better candidate for president, who would be a
better sitting president, George Pataki with three terms behind him as
governor of New York, the Empire State, or this guy from down in the Lone
Star state?

PATAKI: Chris --

MATTHEWS: Who would be more qualified to be president of the United
States, sir?

PATAKI: Chris, it`s a moot point. I`m not a candidate.

MATTHEWS: Oh, he`s Jesse Jackson, "It`s a moot point"! You got that
right from him.

BUCHANAN: Chris --

MATTHEWS: The question is moot.

BUCHANAN: Chris, it`s a tough call. It`s a tough call.

MATTHEWS: Tough call for Pat. OK, my bottom line, do you think Rick
Perry`s qualified to be president?

BUCHANAN: Yes, I do.

MATTHEWS: Governor, do you think he`s qualified to be president?

PATAKI: Yes, I do -- governor for 10 years of one of the largest
state in the country.

BUCHANAN: Sure.

PATAKI: He has a lot better qualification than Obama had.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I love this fight.

BUCHANAN: He`s a better debater than you think he is. He`s a better
debater than George W. Bush was in 2000.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me tell you from the liberal and the center left
point of view. For years, people -- I worked in the White House, I worked
for Frank Moss (ph) in Utah years ago. They always said, Oh, let us run
against the liberal -- the far-right guy, because we can always beat far
right guy. We can`t handle George Herbert Walker Bush. He`ll get -- he`ll
grab the center from us.

BUCHANAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: Let`s go against Reagan. He clobbered them. Frank Moss
(INAUDIBLE) run against this guy, Frank Carlson (ph). Remember that?

BUCHANAN: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: He was assistant secretary of commerce, a nice moderate
Republican from the establishment. He`s the guy we`re afraid of. Orrin
Hatch never heard of the guy.

BUCHANAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: He killed him.

BUCHANAN: Gone.

MATTHEWS: So these right-wing guys do win general elections. The
idea that if you`re far right, you can`t win is wrong.

BUCHANAN: They get out the energy and the enthusiasm and the fire and
--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: The left always gets it wrong. They always think, Let us
run against a right-winger, we can beat him easy. We`ll see. Anyway --
although I still think it`s easier to beat Rick Perry.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Pat Buchanan. And if I can`t push
Bachmann, I`ve got to push Perry.

Anyway, coming up: It wasn`t just the establishment, the shirts, like
Mitt Romney, coming after Perry in last night`s debate. The skins got into
the game, too, hitting the Texas governor from the right. He was getting
battered. Can Perry take the punches and keep on fighting?

You`re watching it, HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, voters are actually voting today. They`re heading to
the polls today in a pair of special elections in House races in upstate --
in actually, Brooklyn, New York, and in Nevada. As FirstRead points out,
Democrats were expecting one to be a nail-biter and the other to be a
blowout for them.

But the problem for Democrats is their candidates are about to be
blown out in Nevada and they could very well lose a blowout or a close
election in that usually safe district in Brooklyn and Queens once held by
Anthony Weiner. Polls close at 9:00 Eastern in New York and 10:00 Eastern
in Nevada. Look for a double-header loss tomorrow morning. We`ll see.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Last night marked a first, a Tea Party-sponsored debate for the
Republican presidential nomination. And the front-runner in the race,
Texas governor Rick Perry, got hit from, as we said, all sides. Will last
night`s debate performance end up hurting Perry? We`ll see.

Joining us right now to score the debate are author and commentator
Ron Reagan and former Republican National Committee chairman and MSNBC
contributor Michael Steele.

But before we get into what happened inside the debate hall last night
down in Tampa, let`s talk about this scene on the outside. This is a video
of an airplane flying around over the debate site, which was sponsored by
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah. It`s flying a banner which reads,
"Where`s the real birth certificate?"

Are we going down this path again, Michael Steele? What is it in the
bloodstream of the Republican Party that won`t let go? I think there`s
about 6 percent of Republicans who won`t drop this baby.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Right. Well, I --

MATTHEWS: That guy`s flying a plane, spending a thousand bucks to
waste his money to put that thing up there.

STEELE: Yes, well, that`s his money and he can waste it. And it`s
not in the bloodstream of the Republican Party. You would see a vast
majority of the Republicans -- you just cited the percentage, so that means
94 percent of the Republicans think that this issue is dumb to talk about,
particularly now that it`s been solved.

So I think that individual spent his money, you know, his chance to
get on national news. He flies his little plane around with his little
tail thing on there, and you move on. It doesn`t mean anything.

MATTHEWS: So it`s a small, insignificant minority --

STEELE: A small --

MATTHEWS: -- of your party.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Ron Reagan, how come I don`t think --

STEELE: I don`t even know if the guy`s a Republican.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- buy the fact that there isn`t an undercurrent of anti-
Obama, almost deeply tribal attitude about the guy that gets so deep under
the skin -- they don`t know what to call themselves -- birthers, they`ll
come up with something (INAUDIBLE) can`t use that against them. That guy
flying that plane was a real person.

RON REAGAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I imagine that the -- I imagine
that the group in that hall last night for the debate -- you`d probably --
if you polled them, more than 6 percent in that hall think that Obama
doesn`t have a legitimate American birth certificate.

It`s not just Obama. It`s not even just race in this case. I think
it`s just that these are just people who think that anybody who doesn`t
reflect their point of view and ascends to the White House is somehow
illegitimate, just because they don`t reflect their point of view.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s try to get to the --

REAGAN: We saw it with Clinton, too.

MATTHEWS: Let`s get to the -- excuse me, Ron.

Let`s get to the gut instincts of the people in that hall last night -
-

REAGAN: Sure.

MATTHEWS: -- which I found rather frightening, just like I did the
people at the Reagan Library.

Here it is. Here`s an eyebrow-raising clip. This is the crowd at
last night`s debate reacting to a hypothetical question from Wolf Blitzer
about caring for an individual in a coma who does not have insurance. In
other words, what do you do with the guy? Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That`s what freedom is
all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare
and take care of everybody --

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN`S "THE SITUATION ROOM", MODERATOR: But,
Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!

PAUL: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Did you hear that yelling? Did you hear that woman with
blonde hair shaking her head yes? This crowd was like something out of the
French Revolution. They were unbelievable.

(CROSSTALK)

STEELE: But, Chris, they will be the first ones looking for that
assistance from whatever source, including the federal government, if they
are in that situation.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s what I say. I argue this with my kids.

I say, wait a minute, you`re on a motorcycle or something, and you
want somebody to come get you on the highway when you get run over?

STEELE: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Here`s -- by the way, I`m talking about your party now.
Ready?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Here they go again. Last week at the Reagan Library, it
was -- look at that exchange that came up about executions, when Perry
started bragging on his list of executions. Here it is. Let`s listen to
the NBC/Politico debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the state of
Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you
kill a police officer, you`re involved with another crime and you kill one
of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas,
and that is, you will be executed.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, HOST, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": What do you make of --

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, there was a lot more of that. That clip wasn`t done
right. I got to tell you, there was a lot more of that enthusiasm. It
crackled in that hall. And I was sitting up there in the back --

(CROSSTALK)

STEELE: Well, right. Exactly.

MATTHEWS: And I had never heard anything like it. These people, they
heard there were executions. They didn`t care what it is. And then he
said it again, and they thrillingly got excited about it.

(CROSSTALK)

STEELE: -- better clip. And we -- you and I looked at each other. I
remember this very well, when he gave the number that he had executed, 234
people, and they applauded that.

MATTHEWS: What is it in your party?

STEELE: Well, it`s not just my party. A lot of Americans support the
death penalty and they feel very strongly about it. And I think the way
the governor laid out the argument for the death penalty there with respect
to children and police, people would generally agree with.

Where I had a problem was just the --

MATTHEWS: By the way, if you extrapolate that to every state what
they do in Texas, that would be like 15,000.

STEELE: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: How many people are we supposed to execute?

STEELE: Where I have the problem is just the reaction to the killing
of any individual, whether it`s by someone who goes into a home or the
federal government.

MATTHEWS: You mean you`re pro-life?

STEELE: Very much so, consistently so.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Ron Reagan, what do you make about this, this bloodlust for
letting people die on the gurney if they don`t have the right insurance
cards and for killing people?

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: Yes, well, the killing people part, that`s -- you know,
that`s -- many people may support the death penalty. Not that many
Americans, I think, would hoot and holler for the death penalty.

That`s a different subset of people.

STEELE: Exactly, Ron.

REAGAN: As far as the insurance -- the insurance thing goes, you
know, that`s the sort of thing that might sound good after a few too many
beer bongs in your dorm in college or something, that we will let them die
and doesn`t that make me sound kind of intellectually tough-minded or
anything.

But you give it five minutes` thought and you reject that notion. The
problem for the Republican Party is that there is a goodly number of people
in that party who have not given it five minutes` thought. And they`re
going to have to deal with those people.

MATTHEWS: You`re so smart.

Let`s take a look at one of the most pointed exchanges of last night.
This is the one that got the headlines. It`s between Romney and Perry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you still believe that
Social Security should be ended as a federal program, as you did six months
ago, when your book came out, And returned to the states or do you want to
retreat from that?

PERRY: I think we ought to have a conversation.

ROMNEY: We`re having that right now, Governor. We`re running for
president.

PERRY: Yes, sir. If you let me finish, I will finish this
conversation.

But the issue is, are there ways to move the states into Social
Security for state employees or for retirees?

Rather than trying to scare seniors like you`re doing and other
people, it`s time to have a legitimate conversation in this country about
how to fix that program.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Where`s this going to end up, Michael, this debate over
Social Security? It sounds like the kind of thing we had back in the `60s,
we had in the `70s, the `80s. Your party never seems to be able to lose
this one. Dump it.

STEELE: They`re not going to dump it, and for good reasons. Because
the system, by and large, has problems that need to be fixed. I think
where the governor would admit now that he made the mistake was not leading
with the solution. In other words, I see a problem, I want to fix it, not
I see a problem, I want to blow it up.

MATTHEWS: But he said it was unconstitutional. But he said the whole
system is unconstitutional.

STEELE: Well, but, again, how you frame your initial argument is
going to stay with you in a presidential race throughout the race.

MATTHEWS: OK.

Let me -- Ron, you have been through this, your family. We have all
been through this debate at the dinner table. I have argued it as a kid
saying, why do we have to have Social Security? My dad would say, you have
to have it because people are irresponsible or poor and they don`t prepare
for their futures. And somebody will end up having to pay for it with
welfare anyway. So why don`t we make people provide for their futures
basically through forced savings, Social Security?

That argument has always been able to sell with the majority.

REAGAN: Yes, and it will continue to be able to sell with the
majority.

You know, a Ponzi scheme is a crime. Governor Perry is on record as
calling Social Security a crime. And he can`t really run away from that
effectively and I don`t think he did a good job of it last night. But the
people who he`s appealing to, the Tea Party types he`s appealing to, they
also think it`s a Ponzi scheme. They don`t care if it sounds a little
stupid.

What really hurt him last night, though, is not Social Security. I
agree with Pat Buchanan from the last -- the last segment. It was the HPV
thing, because that kills him with the Tea Party people.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go with that. Here he is.

STEELE: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Michele Bachmann taking on the fight. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The governor`s
former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company. The
drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the
governor, and this is just flat-out wrong.

PERRY: The company was Merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that I
had received from them. I raise about $30 million. And if you`re saying
that I can be bought for $5,000, I`m offended.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BACHMANN: Well, I`m offended for all the little girls and the parents
that didn`t have a choice. That`s what I`m offended for.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: By the way, it like I lost something in translation from
Texas there. In other words, if you said I was bought for $50,000, it
wouldn`t be an offensive comment.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: What are we talking about?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It`s the old joke, where it`s the price that`s --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- here.

(LAUGHTER)

STEELE: That`s one of those lessons, Chris, that you learn where you
leave it alone. You do not go down that road. Michele had set that up
perfectly. He walked right into that and she closed the trap. Boom.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I`m worried about the women --

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: A terrible sequence for him.

STEELE: It`s a terrible --

REAGAN: Terrible sequence.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Where are you, Ron? Are you a libertarian on that? Should
young women with a danger of cervical answer out there be told in school
you have to have this shot?

REAGAN: We vaccinate for all sorts of things and HPV would probably
be a decent thing to vaccinate for, yes. Whether you should do it with an
executive order or not is -- you know, that`s for other people to decide.
But, yes, the vaccine is probably a good idea.

MATTHEWS: This goes back to the old arguments over fluoridation. You
know, how much role does the public play?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It goes way back. Should the public make these decisions
or should families be making them? It`s a good American argument. As long
as we`re a republic, we have to have these arguments --

STEELE: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: -- because it`s how we stay free. I mean that.

STEELE: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: You have got to fight about this stuff, or somebody else
will make the decision for you. Good country. We know what we`re doing
here.

STEELE: Amen.

MATTHEWS: We know what to fight about.

Thank you, Michael Steele.

Thank you, Ron Reagan.

REAGAN: You bet.

MATTHEWS: Up next -- and I`m not just -- that`s not rhetoric. I
really believe you have to argue these things out as citizens, or somebody
else will be making these decisions out of habit, and you won`t want them
to get about habit.

By the way, talk about corny. The Republicans running for president
last night were all asked about what they would bring to the White House if
they won. Cue the canned answers next in the "Sideshow."

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the "Sideshow."

First up, adding a personal touch at last night`s CNN Tea Party
debate, the 2012 GOPers were asked for some personal specific on what they
would add to the White House should the election end in their favor. Think
they would unprepared for that question? Not in the slightest.

Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have seven children, so
we`d add a bedroom or -- and some beds to the White House.

ROMNEY: Winston Churchill, used to have his bust in the Oval Office.
And if I`m president of the United States, it`ll be there again.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BACHMANN: I would bring a copy of the Declaration of Independence,
the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, and that`s
it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PERRY: I`m going to bring the most beautiful, most thoughtful,
incredible first lady that this country`s ever seen.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would bring a bushel
basket full of common sense.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`d have a lot more
music. We`d have a very large chess set.

JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As a 40-year motorcycle
rider, I would bring my Harley-Davidson and my motocross bike.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would bring a sense of
humor to the White House, because America`s too uptight.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s grounds for coming up with another candidates
list.

Anyway, I have to say I did like Romney`s call to bring back the bust
of Winston Churchill to the White House. Too bad Churchill himself isn`t
among the candidates.

And now for the "Big Number."

GOP candidate Rick Perry may be making headlines for clarifying or
classifying Social Security as a -- quote -- "monstrous lie and a Ponzi
scheme," but that doesn`t mean people agree with him. In a new CNN poll --
catch this number -- people were asked about whether they agreed with that
"monstrous lie" description of Social Security.

How many of those who identified themselves as Republican answered no?
Sixty-nine percent. Not quite rallying the troops with that one. Sixty-
nine percent don`t like that call on Social Security, a monstrous lie.

Up next, President Obama turns up the heat on House Speaker John
Boehner, pushing his jobs plan in Boehner`s home state of Ohio today. If
you don`t think America needs jobs, I have got a bridge for you to fix.
Make it 95 of them, all in John Boehner`s district, all structurally
deficient.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANDA DRURY, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Amanda Drury with your CNBC
"Market Wrap."

Well, modest gains keeping in check by ongoing concerns about the
European debt crisis. The Dow Jones industrials adding 44 points. The S&P
500 picking up 10 and the Nasdaq with a nice surge, climbing 37 points.

European stocks finished higher overnight, setting the tone on Wall
Street this morning, with European banks seeing some big gains as bargain
hunters targeted a sector that has lost nearly half its value over the past
seven months.

Most U.S. financials, meantime, trading on the upside as well. And as
you saw from the Nasdaq bounce, a lot of interest in techs today, with
Apple gaining after RBC said they see unprecedented demand for the iPhone
5. Intel also surged after teaming up with Google to develop a new type of
energy-efficient chip for smartphones, but Nintendo slumped after attempts
to rescue its 3DS with an avalanche of new games failed to generate much
enthusiasm among analysts or investors.

Well, that`s it from CNBC for now. We are first in business worldwide
-- back over to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maybe there are some
people in Congress who would rather settle our differences at the ballot
box than work together right now, but I have got news for them. The next
election is 14 months away. And the American people don`t have the luxury
of waiting that long.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

President Obama traveled to Speaker John Boehner`s home state of Ohio
today to highlight a renovated school in Columbus and to push for
construction jobs to update schools and repair the nation`s infrastructure.
Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There`s a bridge in Cincinnati that connects Ohio to Kentucky
that needs this kind of renovation.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: There are construction projects like these all across the
country just waiting to get started. And there are millions of unemployed
construction workers who are looking for a job. So my question to Congress
is: What on Earth are we waiting for?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, that bridge in Cincinnati just happens to
connect the home states of Speaker Boehner, Ohio, and Senate Republican
Leader Mitch McConnell, so can president get Republicans aboard his plan to
create American jobs?

U.S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is from Tennessee. She joins us
right now live. And Congressman Tim Ryan is a Democrat from Ohio.

Welcome, both of you.

Congresswoman Blackburn, I guess the question is, all politics being
local, I have to wonder whether the president isn`t doing the right job
politically here by going around, playing hardball, if you will, calling
attention to projects that could immediately bring jobs in those districts.

I`m looking at your district. For example, according to
Transportation for America, using data from the Department of
Transportation, you have got 182 bridges in your district that are
structurally deficient.

Isn`t this a reasonable argument to be made that there`s work to be
done?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Chris, when they voted for the
first stimulus and passed it -- without my vote, by the way -- supposedly
there was going to be all this infrastructure money in there. And our road
builders and our county mayors were left saying, where`s the jobs? Where`s
the money that was going to be here?

I`m one of those members that for years has supported removing the 10
percent enhancement set-aside that was in the transportation bills and
putting that toward roads and bridges --

MATTHEWS: Yes.

BLACKBURN: -- and letting state governments make those decisions.

I think that one of the big problems you have got here is a
credibility problem. People don`t think the infrastructure money would be
in a stimulus. They didn`t see it the first time. They don`t think
they`re going to see it this time.

MATTHEWS: Well, I`m with you, Congresswoman. We disagree sometimes,
but I`m completely with you.

I want to see real job building, really shovel-ready projects. And we
have got the evidence that they exist out there. We get it from DOT
through Transportation for America.

BLACKBURN: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: And, by the way, tonight, as we have done this before --
and it is not partisan -- we`re trying to get a message across. There`s
real jobs out there to be done. We`re running at the bottom of the screen
the 95 bridges below -- that are deficient in Speaker Boehner`s own
district, as described by DOT as structurally deficient.

By the way, they include three bridges along Interstate 75, Mr.
Speaker, that each carry 50,000 cars and trucks every day, Mr. Speaker.
You`re a congressman, as well as speaker. And those bridges in your
district need repair.

Throughout this segment, as I said, at the bottom of the screen, we`re
going to be listing -- listing those 95 bridges in need of being fixed in
Mr. Boehner`s own district.

Let me go to Congressman Ryan.

Your thoughts about this. I agree with Congresswoman Blackburn. I
thought that first stimulus bill had too many tax cuts and some stuff and
mess -- interstate stuff and aid to states and localities, probably stuff
for the unions. But I didn`t see anything in there for the construction
trades and building roads, not enough in there. Your thoughts?

REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: Well, let`s go back and remember why we had
to put $200 billion to $300 billion worth of tax cuts in there. We were
trying to get Republican votes. And we didn`t get one out of the House.
We only got one in the Senate in order to help it pass. And there was $300
billion that were basically taken out of what could have went into
infrastructure projects, and really put people back to work.

But the president wanted to get Republicans on board. That was their
idea. As far as the states go, you know, we needed to plug that hole.
Ohio at that point had an $8 billion hole that needed to be plugged. If it
wasn`t plugged, we`d have laid off thousands of workers there.

So I agree that the stimulus wasn`t big enough to begin with. But
here now, we have an opportunity to rectify the problem and pump money in,
and once again we`re getting resistance from the Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Congresswoman.

BLACKBURN: Oh, Chris, I just need to -- listen, you`re not going to
get jobs by passing stimulus bills. There are no bills --

RYAN: Yes, you are.

BLACKBURN: -- that are going to do this. You know, budgets are about
priorities, and what you need to do is say, it is going to be a priority to
repair infrastructure. That wasn`t done, and people don`t think it will be
there again.

They don`t want to see tax increases. We can`t afford tax increases.
They don`t want to see tax reductions.

RYAN: No one`s talking about tax increases.

BLACKBURN: Individuals want to keep more of their money in their
pockets. Americans know that two wrongs never make a right and passing
another stimulus bill isn`t going to make the first one right. It is the
wrong recipe for getting Americans back to work.

Let`s talk about putting a moratorium on regulations for a year.
Let`s talk about getting the EPA off of individual`s private land. Let`s
talk about putting people in factories back to work by rolling back these
EPA regulations.

MATTHEWS: OK --

BLACKBURN: There`s plenty that could be done there.

MATTHEWS: But, you know, Congresswoman, let me just throw out this.
You know, we`re living basically under the tax policies of George W. Bush.
You all passed that big tax cut. It`s still in effect.

If the economy is in terrible shape right now, isn`t President Bush
responsible? It`s your tax structure. It`s not President Obama`s tax
structure. He said he doesn`t like this tax structure. It`s yours. And
this is your economy.

Why do you keep blaming it on Obama when he wasn`t been able to change
the tax policy?

BLACKBURN: I think it`s amazing that you continue to blame it on
George Bush.

MATTHEWS: No, because it`s your tax policy.

BLACKBURN: I think it is so important --

MATTHEWS: You didn`t hear what I said. I`m not blaming it on him.
I`m blaming it on the tax policy he left behind.

BLACKBURN: And I think it`s important for us to have a flatter,
fairer, simpler tax code. I am for that.

MATTHEWS: Well, why didn`t Bush do it?

BLACKBURN: I am for reducing taxes. Listen.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK.

BLACKBURN: Listen. You know, I am one of those that believe if 10
percent is good enough for God on Sunday, then it should be good enough for
the government on Monday.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you both. I want to start with Congressman
Ryan, whose tax structure are we operating under in this country, Bush`s or
Obama`s? I thought it was Bush`s. Obama hasn`t been able to change it.

RYAN: There`s no doubt. It`s what we -- it got re-passed at the end
of last year. We`re living under the George Bush economy -- from the
regulations to the tax structure. And now, just to respond in a bit, they
are pulling money out of the economy when we need money to be in the
economy. We have high unemployment. We need investments into these
projects.

And it`s not going to happen by us cutting all kinds of spending in
the short-term. Of course, we`ve got to balance the budget in the long-
term. But, right now, we need the United States federal government to push
projects like the ones you were talking about, ones all over the country,
to directly hire people. Get money into their pockets. They will go out
and spend.

It`s not about regulations or anything else. This is about the
average American citizen in Youngstown, Ohio --

BLACKBURN: Yes, it is about regulation.

RYAN: Marsha, the average American citizen like the ones in
Youngstown, Ohio, have had wages stagnant for 30 years. They don`t have
any money in their pockets. And until we get them back to --

BLACKBURN: Average Americans, individuals in my district, my
neighbors, my friends, those I go to church with on Sunday will tell you,
it is not the government`s job to create jobs, that is the private sector`s
job. The government --

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Well, the private sector -- Marsha, the private sector -- with
all due respect, the private sector --

BLACKBURN: And what the private sector wants to do is see government
off their backs, out of their pocketbooks.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask for a moment of clarity. Is it the
government --

BLACKBURN: They want to be able to create jobs and they want to have
research and development here. They want to manufacture products here, and
right now --

RYAN: Well, they`re not doing it.

MATTHEWS: OK. Can I just get back to where I started? Is it the
government`s responsibility or the private sector`s responsibility to fix
our bridges that are below safety code, Congresswoman?

BLACKBURN: The government, certainly, has a priority there. But
let`s let our states take the lead. That`s what we do in Tennessee, where
we have no bonded indebtedness on our roads. We pay as we go.

MATTHEWS: Apparently, the state of Tennessee is deficient, because
you`ve got 182 bridges in your district, Congresswoman, below code.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKBURN: -- set aside --

MATTHEWS: You got 182 in your district, and Congressman Ryan`s got 85
in his district. These jobs are not getting done. The money should be
spent to keep our bridges safe -- some people think, others don`t, but I
think you`re with fixing the bridges.

Congresswoman, thanks for coming on as always.

BLACKBURN: Good to be with you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who believes in
infrastructure spending -- and Congressman Tim Ryan, who also does.

Up next: what is it about Rick Perry that shot him to the top of the
Republican field? We got to get back to this frontrunner. It is
fascinating how fast he`s going there.

We`re going to talk to ad guru Donny Deutsch, who has a strong feeling
about why this guy is kicking butt in the Republican Party, and while
they`re all coming after him and not coming after Romney because he`s way
down in second place now.

This has HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Two pieces of election news.

In Massachusetts, consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren will announce
tomorrow morning she`s running against Senator Scott Brown. She`s a
Democrat running against Republican Brown. Warren was tapped by President
Obama to start a new consumer protection agency, but she was rejected by
Republicans for the job.

And in New Jersey, a federal appeals court ruled that nine-time
Olympic gold medalist Karl Lewis should be on the ballot. Good for him.
He`s running for state senate as a Democrat. He was bounced off the ballot
by the state`s Republican lieutenant governor, sparking a lengthy legal
fight.

We`ll be right back. He`s going to win that race, I hope.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

A clear sign he`s the one to beat, Rick Perry took most of the heat in
last night`s debate down in Tampa and he gave as good as he got. While he
might not have won every exchange, he showed Republican voters how the guy
rolls.

Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PERRY: It has been called a Ponzi scheme by many people long before
me, but no one has had the courage to stand up and say, here is how we`re
going to reform it.

BLITZER: All right, Governor Perry. You were dealt four aces.

PERRY: Well, I was going to say, Mitt, were you doing pretty good
until you got to talking poker.

He had $800 billion worth of stimulus in the first round of stimulus.
It created zero jobs.

If you`re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I`m offended.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I don`t know whether it`s priceless.

Anyway, this morning, advertising executive Donny Deutsch -- I didn`t
like that exchange. He was suggesting I`m more expensive than that.
Anyway, he called the style an arrogant pugnacity, I agree with that. Is
this what appeals to Republican voters?

Donny, I was so impressed this morning listening to you on "MORNING
JOE." Expand on what you think the personality fit is of Rick Perry and
why it`s good for the Rs this time around or any time.

DONNY DEUTSCH, ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE: Let`s look at the last two
Republicans what I`ll call in a soulful way connected with the party.
Ronald Reagan and George W. before he, kind of, fell off a cliff. And both
those guys had a quality of an arrogance, I`m right, you`re wrong. I`m
ready for a fight. Even that kind of smirky quality.

If you watch Perry last night, whenever, for instance, anybody was
going after me, had this kind of like smirk like, what are you talking
about? I`m right.

And if you look at a persona of a party, if we were going to describe
the Republican Party as a person, let`s think about its Wall Street. It`s
the Tea Party. It`s we`d rather fight than switch. Look at the Congress.
We`re not negotiating.

That`s what Republicans respond to. And, you know, we can decipher
this thing about issue, issue, issue. It`s the stalt (ph). It`s an
overall persona.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you.

DEUTSCH: And I care what this guy says. He smells of it, and, you
know, they laughed at Reagan also. They said, oh, he`s not going to stand
the test. Oh, he`s a buffoon.

He had what I call that arrogant pugnaciousness that the Republicans -
- they just eat it up.

MATTHEWS: And they love cloth coat Republicans.

DEUTSCH: Yes.

MATTHEWS: They don`t like mink coat Republicans.

Here`s Ronald Reagan showing his pugnacity when the occasion called
for it. Let`s watch Reagan in action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Is this on?

CROWD: Yes.

REAGAN: Mr. Green, you asked me --

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!

(CHEERS)

REAGAN: You know, I wasn`t going to say this at all, but I can`t help
it. There you go again.

They are in violation of the law, and if they do not report to work
within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.

There are cities in Michigan -- oh, shut up.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: You know, firing those air traffic controllers, I`m pro-
union, was what sent the word to Moscow this guy was real.

DEUTSCH: Yes.

MATTHEWS: OK? I absolutely know that as a fact. They got over
there. They said he`s got steel in his spine, look out.

I think when I met Reagan one time, I know, I was working for Speaker
O`Neill and weren`t exactly in friendly territory. I felt I was meeting
Jimmy Cagney, not Jimmy Stewart. And I think that Jimmy Cagney, don`t
touch the gutter. A little tough guy from the street, you`ve got it. It`s
what people like in the fighter they got on their side.

DEUTSCH: If you look at opening of the debate last night, when they
paraded the seven dwarves and the candidates come out. Perry`s body,
literally, his chest is stuck out, he`s like this. He`s ready for a fight.

And I just think Republicans, they don`t -- the Mitt Romney, doesn`t
matter what he says. Romney did a great job last night.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

DEUTSCH: And even Romney tries to fight, it`s kind of like when Obama
tries to fight. It`s not who he is. And, once again, who is the one
Republican president of the last several decades that didn`t make a deep
connection with the party? It was Bush Sr., because he did not have that
quality. Junior did.

MATTHEWS: By the way, I`m -- I think Democrats would like to see some
fighting quality, too, and Jack Kennedy had it. Anyway, thank you. Harry
Truman had it and Roosevelt had it.

DEUTSCH: And Bill Clinton had it.

MATTHEWS: Yes, he did. Thank you so much, Donny Deutsch. You know
what you`re talking about.

DEUTSCH: Appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: When we return -- by the way, who was the actor who said
knock this off my shoulder, the battery?

DEUTSCH: Robert Stack.

MATTHEWS: Robert Conrad. Anyway, thank you.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:

The fight for the Republican presidential nomination has begun to look
like those old movie scenes in "A Tale of Two Cities." It`s the French
Revolution where every week the angry crowd calls for the beheading of yet
another mistrusted leader.

Consider the reign of terror these past months. Remember how Donald
Trump led the polls a few months back by spreading the word that the
president of the United States wasn`t born here. Then it was Tim Pawlenty
was going to be the one who found common ground for the Tea Party and the
mainstream. Both gone.

The revolutionaries grow in fury. The hunt continues for traitors in
their midst. Yesterday -- yesterday`s leaders today`s suspect.

Governor Perry is suddenly the one being surrounded and questioned
now. Did he give girls shot to keep him from getting cancer? Did he give
in-state tuition to young people whose parents brought them into the
country illegally? Did he say a bigger, higher wall wasn`t the solution to
keeping people out? Treasonous, sparks one of his accusers.

Is everyone right enough? Is everyone right enough to be safe in this
angry crowd? Is anyone secure from the charge he is not sufficiently
right, or that he lacks the stuff to throw Obama from the White House?

I have to say I`ve never witnessed such a crackle of enthusiasm for
executing people as I heard at the Reagan Library debate last week. I
recalled it last night when I heard the clap of applause when Ron Paul said
he`d let someone die if they failed to pony up for health insurance.

Well, this is a tough crowd, an angry crowd. The only question now is
whether the Tea Party, the Tea Party-driven Republican movement, wants to
one run of their own, Rick Perry, or is so angry at Obama or so determined
to whisk him from the White House that they are willing to have someone as
their candidate, someone who -- Mitt Romney -- while he`s long had his
heart set on the White House would never in a million years have shown up
at a Tea Party meeting? And that`s fair to say about Mitt Romney.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.

END

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