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updated 10/31/2011 10:02:06 AM ET 2011-10-31T14:02:06

Guests: Susan Page, Steve Kornacki, Luis Gutierrez, Loretta Sanchez, Carl
Colby

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Flipping out.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington.

Leading off tonight: Mitt flips again. Mitt Romney`s becoming a
parody of himself. Just three days ago, he said he had no position on an
anti-union measure out in Ohio, then lurched into reverse the next day,
saying, Why, of course, he was 110 percent behind the issue.

Well, if Romney`s serial flip-flopping has embarrassed him, he isn`t
showing it. Romney`s now disavowing his long-held position that the earth
is getting warmer and that humans are partly to blame. He now says, quote,
"We don`t know" what`s causing climate change. And he says we should not
try to reduce carbon emissions. Seriously, can you believe anything this
guy says? Does he -- even he believe what he says?

Plus, could Newt Gingrich become the first openly mean president?
That`s the clever question posed by our own David Corn from "Mother Jones."
Very quietly, Gingrich, the Mephistophelean figure who once blamed
Democratic control of Congress for a mother who drowned her children, has
been slithering his way up the polls. If Herman Cain collapses, as so many
expect him to do, could Newt become the next anti-Romney? The Republicans
certainly need one.

Also, Marco Rubio`s problems may extend well beyond the self-inflicted
damage of his embellished biography. He may just be on the wrong side of
the immigration issue for too many Latino voters.

And a Tea Party group says Michele Bachmann is all about one thing,
Michele Bachmann, and it`s time for her to G-O.

"Let Me Finish" tonight with Jack Kennedy and how he could never
figure out Texas, even at the end.

We start with the latest flip-flop from Mitt Romney. Susan Page is
the Washington bureau chief for "USA Today" and Steve Kornacki -- welcome
back, Steve Kornacki! Haven`t seen you in a while. He`s with Salon.com.
Seriously, I mean it.

Here`s the latest flip-flop from Romney. You think you`ve heard it
all. He was asked yesterday what his position is on man-made global
warming. Let`s listen to his typical Mitt Romney response, a flip-flop.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t speak
for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world`s getting
warmer. I can`t prove that, but I believe, based on what I read, that the
world is getting warmer.

And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don`t
know how much our contribution is to that because I know there`s been --
there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past, but I
believe that we contribute to that. And so I think it`s important for us
to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be
significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that
you`re seeing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And now let`s listen to what Governor Romney had to say
yesterday. Here`s the flip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: My view is that we don`t know what`s causing climate change
on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of
dollars to try and reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I`m beginning to think that the question for Mitt Romney
should be, What are you coming as? Like on Halloween. What are you coming
as tonight?

Let me go to Susan Page. What are you coming as tonight? There he is
with his shirt on, saying that there`s climate change, man-made
contributing to it, which is a reasonable scientific fact. And then he`s
just flipping completely the other day, as if he had never given it any
thought.

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": And his campaign has sent me an e-mail
saying that he hasn`t changed positions, that he continues to believe that
there is climate change and he believes humans contribute to it, but he`s
not sure by how much. But that`s not exactly what he said in this most
recent appearance. And one thing with Romney--

MATTHEWS: Why`s he doing this? Why`s he -- there`s a logic to this.

PAGE: Well, he wants to--

MATTHEWS: Why does he go 180 back and forth?

PAGE: I think it`s not a 180. I think it`s a more modest tweak than
that. But I think it`s because what he said in June in your first clip is
unacceptable to some conservative Republicans. He`s trying to emphasize
kind of the conservative part of his message.

But we`re so ready -- he`s so vulnerable on the issue of flip-flopping
because he has flip-flopped on issues like abortion rights and other
fundamental--

MATTHEWS: Health care. Everything.

PAGE: -- health care -- that it makes him very vulnerable. People are
ready to see a flip-flop wherever they can.

MATTHEWS: Let me go -- let me go to Steve. You haven`t been on in a
while. I want your fresh thinking on this. Why does he fear the right?
Here`s a guy who is going up in New Hampshire. He`s up at 40 percent now.
He should win there. He doesn`t have a consistently threatening opponent.
I mean, right now, it`s Herman Cain, but not -- it doesn`t look like he`s
got staying power. No one person seems to be able to beat him. Why
doesn`t he just stick to where he`s been, say, Look, I`m a moderate
conservative, that`s where the country is?

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Well, you know, I think, first of all,
it`s an open question if, really, in his heart of hearts, he`s a moderate
conservative because I think if you go all the way back, you know, to the
start of his political career 17 years ago, the only real constant is --
you know, for all the flip-flopping, for all the sort of modest tweaks in
his rhetoric, the one constant is, whatever he`s doing and whatever he`s
saying at any particular moment always seems to line up with what he
perceives to be his political imperative of the moment.

And that`s why I think you can sort of draw a direct line between
today and between what happened earlier this week in Ohio.

MATTHEWS: Well, what does he think politics is? I mean, this is a --
you`ve hit on a fundamental point. If he thinks politics is simply going
before an audience and basically being a hooker in a sense, a political
hooker, and giving them what they want, the party they want, literally --
You want to hear this? I`ll say this. Well, that`s certainly not
leadership.

But what kind of politics would that be, just saying what the audience
wants to hear, literally?

KORNACKI: Well--

MATTHEWS: Because that`s what you just said.

KORNACKI: Sure. And I think if he becomes president, it`s a question
of whatever he perceives at any given moment in his presidency to be sort
of his sort of -- his imperative of the moment politically.

MATTHEWS: Well, what would his role be, then? What would his role
be? It`s not leader.

KORNACKI: That`s -- that`s -- of course not. But that`s the open
question and that`s why you can read his sort of -- the question of, is he
a secret moderate, is he really a conservative? You can read it two ways
because, you know, maybe he becomes president and he feels that he has to
serve the Tea Party. Maybe the Republicans are running the House, maybe
they`re running the Senate, and he governs as a very conservative president
because he feels all the pressure from the right and all the pressure from
his own party.

But the threat and risk, if you`re a conservative, if you`re a Tea
Partier, and you`re looking at this guy is, Well, maybe that could happen,
but maybe he`s president and he sees more of an imperative, more of an
incentive to cut deals with Democrats and to be sort of a moderate,
compromising president. And the fundamental -- whether you`re a swing
voter in the middle or whether you`re part of the Republican base, the
fundamental thing is, you don`t know.

MATTHEWS: OK. You report this in a straight fashion, obviously,
Susan. Does anybody ever come up to him and say -- I know this is sort of
a trick question -- is there anything you won`t change on? Is there
anything where you`re rock hard? This is like -- like "Man for all
Seasons." It`s almost a morality play. Are there any issues where you
just say, Look, I`m willing to lose on this one -- capital punishment,
abortion rights, the usual issues people are very strong on one way or the
other? Does he got anything like that?

PAGE: Well, the issues that he talks about as his core issues, the
one he`s focusing on this time, are the economic issues like tax policy and
regulation, and so on. But it is--

MATTHEWS: You mean, it`s generally anti-government.

PAGE: But it`s -- isn`t it both his strength and his weaknesses? His
strength is that he`s adjusting to try to fit so he can get elected, and
his weakness is that that, in many ways, is not what voters appreciate.
Why do voters appreciate Herman Cain, when he -- who has himself had --
come down on several sides of an issue--

MATTHEWS: Well, they feel he`s--

PAGE: -- who think he`s pretty--

MATTHEWS: -- he`s basically a regular guy who`s never been to
Washington.

PAGE: Right. And that he`s not--

MATTHEWS: But boneless wonder--

PAGE: It`s not a calculation here.

MATTHEWS: -- here, this double-jointedness this guy`s pulling off on
every issue -- here`s Romney, by the way. He had a spectacular reversal on
this Ohio thing, which means so much to people out there, they`re really
going to vote hot on this. Back in June, Romney on his Facebook page said
he supported this law by Governor Kasich (INAUDIBLE) get touch in limiting
collective bargaining, which is a very hot issue in the Midwest.

On Tuesday, Romney visited the Ohio GOP phone bank, where callers were
urging voters to back the law, and sounded not entirely supportive anymore.
Let`s listen to (INAUDIBLE) his bones that don`t seem to be there in his
body. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not speaking about the particular ballot issues. Those
are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the effort of the
governor to rein in the scale of government. So I`m not terribly familiar
with the two ballot initiatives, but I`m certainly supportive of the
Republican Party`s efforts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Guy`s like a whirling dervish! His body parts are even
moving around faster! And then he goes over to this kind of lifeline guy
or a staff guy, like, Help me out on this, will you? On Wednesday, Romney
said this. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I fully support Governor Kasich`s -- I think it`s called
question 2 in Ohio. Fully support that. When I was referring to is I know
there are other ballot questions there in Ohio, and I wasn`t taking a
position on those. One of them, for instance, relates to health care and
mandates. With regards to question 2, which is the collective bargaining
question, I am 110 percent behind Governor Kasich and in support of that
question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, it`s like he offsets his gyrations by saying, I`m
now 110 percent, like 110 proof or something. I don`t know how you can be
110 percent for anything. But why does he shift from ambivalence and
confusion to absolutely certainty plus?

KORNACKI: That`s -- I think that`s a perfect illustration of what
happened in Ohio this week of the shifting imperatives that I`m talking
about and how they define whatever Romney`s saying and doing because on
Tuesday, when he said, you know, he wasn`t really taking a position, he was
thinking like a general election candidate.

He was thinking like the guy who`s way ahead in New Hampshire, who
really doesn`t have a serious rival on the Republican side right now--

MATTHEWS: I agree.

KORNACKI: -- and who thinks he`s going to be the nominee. And he`s in
Ohio, a big swing state. He`s talking about an issue that`s very divisive
and very unpopular in Ohio, so he doesn`t want to take a position and he
gets all cute.

But then what happens? There`s a torrent of abuse from all these
vocal conservatives saying, He`s selling us out, this is why we can`t
nominate him. And he starts thinking about those 70 percent of Republicans
who still won`t come to his side in the Republican primary polls.

And so his imperative shifts, and suddenly, he`s got to worry about
the primary. So he goes back to the, Oh, I`m 110 percent for this. How
could you ever think otherwise? And that`s the thing that conservative, I
think, are wondering. You know, he can say all the right things in the
world right now and he can say them very persuasively, but the minute he
gets the nomination, is he going to start acting like that guy who was in
Ohio on Tuesday?

MATTHEWS: He just comes across as a ruling class sort of person. I`m
not completely putting it down, but his dad was governor, he was governor.
His dad ran for president and washed out. He wants to make it all the way.
We`ve seen this story before, remember?

Anyway, Romney`s long list of flip-flops have become fodder, of
course, for his GOP rivals. Here`s a new ad by Jon Huntsman, who clearly
doesn`t like this fellow. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this
country.

-- that I have been consistently been pro-life.

When he took office, the economy was in recession, and he made it
worse.

I didn`t say that things were worse.

Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I`m not
trying to return to Reagan-Bush.

is to pursue the strategy which Ronald Reagan pursued.

We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them.

And I would protect our 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: And you know, Chris, these are the things he thought he was
past because lots of this -- the most devastating clips are really from
things when he was running in Massachusetts and things he had to go through
four years ago, when he was running for president. They haven`t haunted
him in the same way this time. But to revive them, boy, it raises all the
same old questions about his core convictions.

MATTHEWS: What happens when a really good debate moderator -- maybe
Jim Lehrer will keep doing this -- Steve and then Susan -- gets him on the
stage -- doesn`t have to be an opponent -- and shows -- I guess they can`t
show visual aids in these debates in the Debate Commission. Which one of
these is you, what are you going as tonight, Governor? What are you today?

KORNACKI: You know, the clip you just played there on the abortion
one -- and if you play that full thing, I think that`s the most devastating
when you look at the flip-flops that have defined Romney because when he
was running in Massachusetts back in 1994 for the Senate, he didn`t just
say he was pro-choice, he went so far out of his way to drive that point
home.

He talked about a close personal family member dying from a back alley
abortion and how that had filled him with this conviction that this is
never any of the government`s business because it causes tragedies like
this. He goes from that to now calling, basically, for a return to the
legal conditions that brought about the death of his relative. And there`s
never really been an accounting for that--

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: -- story about his conversion.

MATTHEWS: Right. If you`re going to be converted, show us how it
happened. Anyway, conservative columnist George F. Will says Romney`s
flip-flops are becoming a problem for the entire political party, the
Republicans.

Here`s what he writes in his column this weekend. We got a tease of
it. It was previewed by Politico today. Quote, "Romney, supposedly the
Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his
principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP
chances of capturing the Senate. Republican successes down the ticket will
depend on the energies of the Tea Party and other conservatives, who will
be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only
calculated trimming. Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a
technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from data."

You know, "trimming" is a terrible term in politics. You know, Tip
O`Neill used to--

PAGE: Dukakis is not such a great term, either.

MATTHEWS: I know. But Tip O`Neill, my old boss -- you`d trim and the
word with "B" would come after it. And it was not a nice thing to call
somebody, You trimmin` -- and then you can imagine the Massachusetts
accent.

You don`t want to be a trimmer. We got to end on that point. A
trimmer is someone you can never trust to stand with you, stand against
you. He was always trimming. He was always moving from place to place to
protect his keister.

Anyway, thank you, Susan Page. You`re so smart. And Steve Kornacki,
welcome back.

Coming up: Could Newt Gingrich, Mr. Mephistopheles himself, become the
first openly mean president? That`s a question posed by our own David
Corn, who`s coming right here, from "Mother Jones," and he`s going to be
right here.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

MATTHEWS: Big news today. It`s filing deadline in New Hampshire, the
last day for candidates to get on the ballot in the first-in-the-nation
primary. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry were among the candidates who filed in
person today, but long-shot candidate Gary Johnson, the former governor of
New Hampshire (SIC), didn`t expected to be there. Johnson`s campaign
missed an earlier deadline to allow third parties to file on behalf of
candidates. So Johnson, who was campaigning in Arizona yesterday, traveled
to New Hampshire to file in person today.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

A recent uptick in the polls for Newt Gingrich has him running third
now among Republican candidates, even ahead of former front-runner Rick
Perry. So is Newt just the flavor of the week to be, the latest anti-
Romney candidate? Or is it possible a man this angry could actually become
president of the United States?

David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones." His
piece today asked just this question, Can Newt be the first openly mean
president? As in openly gay. Anyway -- and Alex Wagner`s also with us.
She`s an MSNBC political analyst.

So you chuckle about it, as well as I do, Alex. And I`m chuckling
here because that`s always been my observation about Newt. He`s an
opportunist who will exploit any opportunity to hate the other side.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, if you go over his
history, he has decades of angry rhetoric, not just excessive political
rhetoric. You might recall the days when he said of Tip O`Neill, your old
boss, he doesn`t know the difference between freedom and slavery.

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes.

CORN: He used to counsel other Republicans to call Democrats
traitors. I mean, again and again -- we know what he`s done with Barack
Obama. And if you go back and you think about our presidents, some of them
mean behind the scenes -- certainly Richard Nixon -- but in their sort of
public personas, you know, whether it`s Reagan or Bill Clinton or Barack
Obama, they`re not mean personally. They don`t go for the angry, excessive
attack rhetoric, so -- maybe Andrew Jackson was pretty mean when he was
president.

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: But we don`t really elect these type of people to the highest
office in the land. So Newt would really be breaking a barrier.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think it`s a fair question. Would you want a guy as
president who likes wrestling in a cesspool?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Because that`s what this guy is. He likes it as dirty as
possible, both sides get dirty, and he can be a little less dirty, or
dirtier than the other guy. He doesn`t want to run on a clean field, this
guy.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I mean, and let`s also
keep in mind this is someone who recently has fearmongered over Islam and
sharia law. His comments about the community center down at Ground Zero
were incredibly inflammatory. He`s someone who`s invoked the memory of
Auschwitz when comparing- I mean, talking about Democratic policies and
politics. I mean, he`s incredibly inflammatory.

And then, of course, you have his -- you know, his -- his political
record and what happened when he was speaker of the House, the ethics
charges, his philandering, and then most recently, you know, $500,000 in
Tiffany`s debt. I mean, there are a lot of holes in a Newt Gingrich
presidential campaign.

MATTHEWS: Well, here`s a history of his abrasive comments.

Listen to what he told "National Review" last year about President
Obama -- quote -- "What if Obama is so outside our comprehension that only
if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece
together his actions? That is the most accurate predictive model for his
behavior. This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the
world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of
which he`s now president."

So, he`s a Kenyan, he`s also a street corner hustler, he`s a con
artist. He`s managed to use all the ethnic aspects of Barack Obama against
him.

CORN: And he keeps calling him a food stamp president as well. Now,
this guy who has this Kenyan perspective of anti-communism--

MATTHEWS: Who never really was a Kenyan.

CORN: Wasn`t Kenyan, he got Osama bin Laden, he got Gadhafi. It
doesn`t make sense even within the rules of reality.

My point is, besides what Alex is saying about all the baggage he has,
he has more baggage than a steamship, but nevertheless, he just has a mean
persona that most politicians tend to hide or paper over when they`re
campaigning.

MATTHEWS: He works the dark side. Here he is earlier this year on
CBN with CBN`s David Brody, who asked Newt about his past and he gave an
awfully strange reason for his marital infidelity. By the way, this will
go down in history as my favorite, favorite cover story. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s no question that
at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this
country, that I worked far too hard, and that things happened in my life
that were not appropriate.

And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I
wasn`t trapped in situation ethics. I was doing things that were wrong,
and yet I was doing them. I found that I felt compelled to seek God`s
forgiveness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: So here he is explaining his infidelity through a couple of
marital problems and marriages with his passionate feeling for the country.
The old phrase is patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. I have
never heard it quite used this way.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: The last refuge of a scoundrel and a cheat, right?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I don`t want to get into that, because it`s not our line of
country, but to use it in a political context -- Alex, you take this on --
to use that in a political context, who does he think is buying that
nonsense?

WAGNER: "The Star-Spangled Banner" made him do it?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Who would believe that? Who would believe that?

WAGNER: It`s just poppycock. It`s complete poppycock, because he has
nothing else to hide under. And as someone who launched his own ethics
investigation and used that as a road to speakerdom and then was thusly
unseated for his own philandering, look, it made no sense, it was
hilarious, I think, actually when he said it.

The reason Newt Gingrich is seeing a resurgence in the polls is
because fundamentally this entire field is wildly unsettled. And all I can
think of is one of Viennese waltzes where everybody changes partners every
couple chords. And that`s exactly what is happening.

And you know what? Rick Santorum I would predict is probably coming
up. Again he`s going to be the flavor of the month in a matter of weeks,
too.

MATTHEWS: That`s remarkable. I was thinking of the Viennese waltzes
reference to myself. I`m just kidding.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: You`re far more sophisticated.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: I was thinking of musical chairs.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Something a little more pedestrian.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- from high school.

Let me show you two recent national polls, where in both Newt Gingrich
has risen to third place. First are the results from the FOX News poll, it
has got Gingrich at 12 just behind Cain and Romney. Similar numbers in the
"New York Times"/CBS poll, where Gingrich has a 10 percent to Cain`s 25 and
Romney`s 21.

So clearly he has pushed behind -- he`s pushed Ron Paul behind him and
Rick Santorum behind him. And there he is up there with the top three.
One of the most memorable moments by the way of the Gingrich campaign, back
in May, "Face the Nation" -- I love Bob Schieffer, but this is more proof
of how good he is. He grilled Newt over his spending at Tiffany`s. Let`s
listen again to Newt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": You owed between $250,000 and
$500,000 to a jewelry company. What was that about, Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, it was about obeying the law.

SCHIEFFER: Did you owe a half million dollars to a jewelry company at
one point?

GINGRICH: We had a revolving fund.

SCHIEFFER: Well, what does that mean?

GINGRICH: That means that we had a revolving fund. It was a--

(CROSSTALK)

SCHIEFFER: Who buys a half million dollars worth of jewelry on
credit?

GINGRICH: No. It`s a -- go talk to Tiffany`s.

SCHIEFFER: It`s very odd to me that someone would run up a half
million dollars bill at a jewelry store.

GINGRICH: Go talk to Tiffany`s.

SCHIEFFER: I mean, you`re running for president. You`re going to be
the guy in charge of the Treasury Department. And it just sticks out like
a sore thumb.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: The utter reasonableness of Bob Schieffer with that
wonderful flat Texas accent, the way he just asks the most obvious human
questions, and the other guy just finally cannot even B.S. his way out of
it. All he can say is, talk to Tiffany`s, is all he can say.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: He probably should have said, ask my wife.

MATTHEWS: Oh, no. Oh, no. You`re not going to do that.

CORN: But, listen, if you look--

MATTHEWS: She may be expensive, but she`s not available for this kind
of stuff, let me tell you.

CORN: If you look at the answer he gave there and the answer he gave
on marital fidelity, it shows that he has a sort of sense of being above it
all, like he thinks he can cut like he cut corners--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Not there. He didn`t get away with Bob.

CORN: No, he didn`t. It did not work.

But this is a guy who for 30 years has had this sort of arrogant,
egotistical complex that allows him to accuse other people of being like
Nazis and he can`t even answer a question about Tiffany`s.

MATTHEWS: Well said. Well said.

To Bob Schieffer.

(CLAPPING)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, David Corn and thank you, Alex Wagner.
Have a nice weekend, fellows.

WAGNER: Thank, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Up next, you know it`s bad for Michele Bachmann when even
Tea Party leaders aren`t taking your presidential campaign to heart or even
seriously anymore. She`s in the "Sideshow." I think she`s never getting
out of the "Sideshow" now.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up, spark and fizzle. Why has that been the pattern on polling
numbers for many candidates in the 2012 Republican field, while Mitt Romney
has been hovering around 23 percent since back in 2008?

Well, let`s see how "The Daily Show" cracked the code behind that one
on last night`s show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": When it comes
to his polling numbers, Mitt Romney has been nothing if not consistent,
which is interesting, given that in every other regard, he has been
shockingly inconsistent.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: How has he managed to neither gain nor lose support? He has
clearly surveyed the Republican field and decided, I think 23 percent`s
enough to beat any of these yahoos.

(LAUGHTER)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to have a fence.
It`s going to be electrocuted -- electrified. And there`s going to be a
sign on the other side that says, it will kill you.

African-Americans have been brainwashed.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": So you`re saying any
community, if they want to ban a mosque?

CAIN: Yes, they have the right to do that.

STEWART: That`s why Romney doesn`t have to really say anything.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: His strategy in the debates should just be, hey, man, I`m
here, but I cede my time.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: So the secret is, leave the crazy talk to everyone else.

Next up, losing the last straw. As GOP candidate Michele Bachmann
went from 2012 front-runner to lagging far behind the likes of Herman Cain
and Mitt Romney, her failsafe support group has always been the Tea Party.
Well, even those tides might be turning against her. A recent letter from
the president of American Majority, a Tea Party group, to its members reads
-- quote -- "In Bachmann`s case, it is clear that the campaign has become
less about reform and more about her personal effort to stay relevant and
sell books -- a harsh commentary, but true. It`s not about Tea Party
values or championing real plans to solve real problems. While other
campaigns are diving into the substance, the supposed Tea Party candidate,
Bachmann, sticking to thin talking points and hanging on for dear life" --
that`s close quote right.

How do you like that? And she`s the founder of the Congressional Tea
Party Caucus.

And to round out the week, there`s no denying it. As if the numbers
couldn`t sink any lower, this week`s CBS News/"New York Times" poll had
approval for Congress, the United States Congress, at 9 percent. And the
representatives themselves can`t hide from the news. How are they
reacting?

Well, a tweet from Senator John McCain read -- quote -- "Congressional
approval at all-time low of 9 percent. We`re down to paid staffers and
blood relatives."

Well, paid staffers and blood relatives, does that one sound a bit
familiar? Apparently, it`s been somewhat of a go-to tagline for McCain
since as early as 2006, five years ago. How about some flashbacks?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: There was a major poll just a couple
of days ago that showed the approval rating of Congress at 13 percent. You
get down that low, you get down to blood relatives and paid staffers.

I think they`re down now on approval rating to paid staffers and blood
relatives.

Anyone know anyone in the 12 or 13 percent range?

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: We`re down to blood relatives and paid staffers.

You get down to paid staffers and blood relatives.

The only people that approve of us are blood relatives and paid
staffers.

Paid staffers and blood relatives.

Blood relatives and paid staffers.

Blood relatives and paid staffers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: OK. To me, the only thing more possibly depressing than
being down to paid staffers and blood relatives is to be down to just
saying you`re down to paid staffers and blood relatives. Hmm.

Up next, Marco Rubio may have bigger problems than his exaggerated
family history. He may just be on the wrong side of the immigration issue
for just too many Latino voters around this country.

That`s ahead. You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JACKIE DEANGELIS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Jackie DeAngelis with your
CNBC "Market Wrap."

It was a quiet end to a crazy week. The Dow Jones industrials
finished 22 points higher. The S&P 500 added a half a point, and the
Nasdaq slipped a point. Now it`s shaping up to be the market`s best month
ever. The Dow is on pace for a 12 percent surge in October.

And the final reading on consumer sentiment came in stronger than
expected for the second month in a row, but personal incomes grew one-tenth
of a percent in September, while spending increased by six-tenths of a
percent. Now, that`s making some analysts question whether last quarter`s
GDP growth is sustainable.

And in stocks, Hewlett-Packard surged after dropping plans to spin off
its P.C. unit. And then of course drugmaker Merck respond a 10 percent
jump in quarterly profits and upgraded it full-year outlook. And analysts
say a nimble production system helped Samsung rack up a 40 percent jump in
smartphone sales in September. It`s now selling more smartphones than
Apple.

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

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.

One week ago today, "The Washington Post" broke that story that Marco
Rubio is actually the son of immigrants, not Cuban exiles, as he said. It
was a significant error in the political biography that put heavy emphasis
on his son of exile storyline.

As "The Wall Street Journal" reported today -- quote -- "Many in the
GOP think Florida Senator Marco Rubio can help the party appeal to swing-
state Hispanic voters possibly as vice presidential nominee, but with a
position on immigration that includes opposing a path to citizenship for
illegal aliens, and opposing the DREAM Act, which would provide a chance
for some undocumented youth to become legal, how big of a draw would he
have been among Hispanic voters?"

Joining me now is Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois who
is a chair of the Immigration Task Force with the Congressional Hispanic
Caucus, and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Democrat of California.

And thank you very much, members of Congress, joining us on this.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: It seems to me we have got a very interesting thing here.
Now, this fellow, this member of the United States Senate, he initially was
criticized for portraying that his parents filed after -- or fled after
Castro took control in Cuba.

In fact, as of Friday of last week, his Senate biography, his official
biography read: "In 1971, Marco was born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who
came to America following Fidel Castro`s takeover," which is not true. But
the biography was only changed after the revelations about the time his
family moved to the United States, and now reads: "Marco was born in Miami
in 1971 to Cuban exiles who first arrived in the United States in `56."

So, they`re correcting the record once caught. That`s the old
question. Do you only tell the truth when you`re forced to?

Congressman Gutierrez, your thinking as a Democrat from the Midwest,
what does this mean to his marketability as a national candidate?

GUTIERREZ: Well, number one, look, Marco Rubio`s parents came here as
immigrants. That is, his mom and his dad applied for a visa, got a green
card, because they were seeking a better future for themselves, new jobs,
economic prosperity, not because they were fleeing a totalitarian regime
there.

It`s interesting that, although he benefited from that very generous
immigration policy, now he wants to take the drawbridge and say, sorry, no
more need apply or come by. He stayed silent while in Alabama they passed
the most draconian kind of show-me law. I mean, in Alabama today, Chris,
an undocumented woman taking her two American citizen children to a library
to apply for library cards commits two felonies.

You can`t walk without being discriminated against in Alabama -- 1070,
he supports that there. So he`s out of line, given -- and, secondly--

MATTHEWS: Well, why does he do that? Why -- let me give him--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- ask him to do some explanation here.

GUTIERREZ: Well, I think he does that -- I think he does that because
-- because--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Why is he so anti-illegal immigrant or undocumented
workers?

GUTIERREZ: Because he wants to appeal to a broader base of people.
He doesn`t look at -- he wants to tie himself, Chris, what he does try to
tie himself is to the refugee community that exists in Miami, right? He
wants to tie himself to that.

Listen, you want to know something? We have granted the most generous
immigration policy. It`s almost impossible to come from Cuba illegally to
the United States. The most generous --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: We opened our arms to them and embrace them, as well we
should, and yet he turns his back on others who seek nothing but a better
future in this country themselves.

MATTHEWS: Congresswoman, give us your sense from this out West in
California, where most people who come from the United States come from the
south, from Mexico, and other line of American countries on the continent.
What do you think the feeling is about this guy Rubio who`s been exposed
basically as just -- not just -- but another person who came here because
of economics?

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I would agree with my
colleague`s comments. He got caught. His family obviously came for the
same reason that so many families come, from Mexico, from Central America,
from South America, from Europe, from Asia. People want an opportunity
here.

And, unfortunately, there`s a big divide between how, for example,
Cubans get to the United States and have a very generous package of ability
to become a United States citizen, whereas, for example, Mexicans don`t.

And so, when you look at the Southwest, you`re really looking at a
predominantly Mexican-American community. You are looking at people who
have fled, really fled, areas like El Salvador and Guatemala and Honduras,
Nicaragua, when they really did have dictators there. And yet did not, in
many ways, get the same benefits that a Cuban might if he fled Fidel
Castro`s home.

So, I completely agree with Luis Gutierrez. I mean, it`s a double
face. I mean, he wants to -- he wants to look tough on immigration because
he`s a Republican, but the reality is that he benefited, as so many
immigrants have benefited over the couple hundred years of the United
States.

This is a place that does better when we allow people to come here to
work and seek a better life.

MATTHEWS: Well, an editorial in today`s "Palm Beach Post" about Rubio
says the following, quote, "The real issue is whether Senator Rubio sought
to create the incorrect impression that his parents fled Castro`s Cuba, an
impression that would further dramatize his family`s story and boost his
credibility among the rabidly anti-Castro exiles in Miami-Dade County. He
might be forgiven for not knowing the precise year of his parents` arrival,
but placing it on the wrong side of the Cuban revolution is an error that,
if not intentionally misleading, is egregiously careless."

Let me try something by you, Congressman Gutierrez, that this exactly
about immigration, but it`s about ideology. Could it be that the reason
he`s been going around saying he came here -- his parents after Castro, is
his national ambitions, he`s saying, here`s a way of identifying myself not
as an immigrant, but an anti-communist? Therefore, the right wing all
across the country will say, hey, he`s one of us. He may look Latin
American, he maybe one of them in that sense you know, ethically, but he`s
really one of us because he`s a right wing anti-communist. Look, his
parents came her fighting Castro, when he completely confected that.

GUTIERREZ: Sure. Because, you know, he is then embraced by a
broader, more conservative political community and those are his
credentials, right? His bona fides.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

GUTIERREZ: He comes, he understands that, when we now know that`s
completely -- but moreover, just think about it, Chris, think about the
millions, probably, of people who have come here, because they have fled
totalitarian regimes, because they have faced death, because they have
faced dictatorships. And they`ve come here to this country.

I mean, when I think of what he does -- shame on him. Shame on him
for all of the great people and the great standard that America is in
embracing those that don`t have freedom in other countries that he would
exploit that for political purposes and for political gain, just speaks
volumes about why he`s really not fit to speak about an immigrant community
or to our Latino community in any form of leadership.

MATTHEWS: I hope someday we get this problem solved in a fair way.

SANCHEZ: It`s completely true.

MATTHEWS: We`ve got to go, pretty much, Congresswoman.

But one last thought, quickly, just quickly.

SANCHEZ: I`m just saying that, you know, from a Latino perspective
across the United States, they probably won`t trust him after this. I
mean, we really need leadership, not somebody who makes up a resume.

MATTHEWS: Well said.

Thank you very much, Congressman Luis Gutierrez.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And my old friend, Congresswoman, who`s a young person, but
an old friend, Loretta Sanchez. Thanks for coming on the program again.

SANCHEZ: Thank you, Chris. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, in search of superspy, William Colby, one of the
most controversial CIA directors in history, I guess, we`re going to talk
to his son who`s just done a big documentary, quote, "The Man Nobody Knew."

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, it looks like Mitch McConnell`s is on the losing end
of a big battle over college sports. The Big 12 Conference, which includes
schools like Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas needed to find a replacement for
the University of Missouri, which is trying to leave the conference.

Well, earlier this week, word leaked that the replacement school would
be West Virginia. But Senator McConnell made a late push on behalf of his
alma mater, Louisville. That raised the ire of West Virginia fans and
Senator Joe Manchin threatened a senate investigation if any lawmaker stood
in the way of the mountaineer`s move. I`ve been to those games, by the
way.

And today, it`s official, West Virginia is going into the Big 12.
Score one for Joe Manchin over Mitch McConnell.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, this is going to be different. There`s a new book
out, a new documentary out, about one of the most controversial directors
of the CIA, William Colby, we all know that name, "The Man Nobody Knew."
It traces the life of one of America`s most notorious spies, if you will --
examining both the private life and the service of the man who ultimately
took the fall for revealing some of the CIA`s most controversial practices,
like assassination plots and the secret surveillance of American citizens.

Here`s the trailer or the preview for the documentary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: William Colby has been missing since April 27th. His canoe
was found washed up on the banks of the Wicomico River.

CARL COLBY: My father was a soldier. He jumped out of airplanes.

People would turn to me and say, you know, your dad was a murderer.
My immediate reaction used to be, you don`t know what you`re talking about.

Then I would find myself thinking, was he? Well, who was he, really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The CIA and director was always caught between
doing the wish of the president and the law. And when the president said,
do this, do that -- the law got set aside.

COLBY: My father lived in a world of secrets, always watching,
listening, his eye on the door.

By the time I turned 30, I came to understand the man that nobody knew
-- or at least I thought I did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Joining me now is Carl Colby, the son of William Colby, and
the Emmy Award-winning filmmaker of the film "The Man Nobody Knew."

Carl, thanks for coming in. It`s unusual territory for us -- but
spying -

COLBY: Right.

MATTHEWS: -- courageous, patriotic service to your country with no
credit.

COLBY: Right.

MATTHEWS: If you`re caught, you`re hanged.

COLBY: Right.

MATTHEWS: Explain that. Why is a spy good for your country, but the
other country has the right to hang them in the most ignominious way?
Because I think that gets to the heart of our mixed feelings about spies.

COLBY: And also, are Americans any good at it? I mean, Americans in
an open society. We try to -- you know, we profess openness, and freedom,
and we want a free exchange of ideas, and here you`re really training
people to ask others to betray their country.

MATTHEWS: Well, who`s one of the most famous Americans, Nathan Hale?

COLBY: Right. My father put a statue up of Nathan Hale up at CIA.
And what happened to Nathan Hale? He was captured and hanged.

MATTHEWS: Right.

COLBY: At 21, but that`s the sacrifice.

But there are people, men and women, leaving tonight, lifting off for
Somalia, Yemen, going into who knows where? You know, Algeria, certainly
Egypt.

MATTHEWS: What`s your sense of your father`s limits? Was he willing
to overthrow a left-wing government?

COLBY: I think he was willing to do that. And he just --

MATTHEWS: Did we overthrow the Diem government?

COLBY: That was the controversy between him and Helms. Helms said,
"I had nothing to do with it." And then my father had to come in and tell
the Congress yes, he did.

MATTHEWS: And just recently, we learned that Diem did commit suicide
based on the evidence. But overthrew him.

COLBY: Yes. He would be behind plots like that. I think

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go through the list. Guatemala.

COLBY: Right.

MATTHEWS: Iran.

COLBY: Right.

MATTHEWS: We did all this. We put the shah in. We put him in there
right. We overthrew a democratic government and began this whole cycle of
hell over there against us.

COLBY: I think we were reacting in the Cold War to the Soviet beast.
And even in the `70s, think about it, 30,000 Angolan troops, I`m sorry,
Cuban troops in Angola. The Caribbean in flames, you know, everything
really destabilizing in Latin America. We were not popular. We just lost
the first war in our history, so they play a dangerous game.

I mean, spying is necessary. People have been doing this. It`s the
second oldest profession.

MATTHEWS: I know. Look at what we`ve done. We got rid of the shah.
We overthrew the Arbenz government in Guatemala.

COLBY: Right.

MATTHEWS: We tried to overthrow Castro with the Bay of Pigs.

COLBY: Yes.

MATTHEWS: We probably killed Patrice Lamumba, who knows, right? We
are laughing, but we did this stuff.

COLBY: No, no, I`m not --

MATTHEWS: How much dirty -- I mean, how much hell did we just, in the
interests of defeating the communist, how were we willing to go?

COLBY: Well, I think the operable question is we. You know, people
are blaming the CIA. But it`s the president who makes these orders. I
mean, JFK, RFK, they were deep in. RFK was meeting --

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE)

COLBY: Well, you know that.

MATTHEWS: I know a lot of it.

COLBY: You wrote the book.

MATTHEWS: I know a lot of it. It`s coming out soon.

COLBY: Yes, meeting in the Everglades, third level. I mean, really
down and dirty with the guys who were going to do this. So, you kind of
have to look at the president, what`s he about?

MATTHEWS: Right now, what`s your estimates of what`s going over at
Langley over here in Virginia? Do we still knock off people?

COLBY: I wouldn`t say -- well, we`re knocking off the Taliban and
we`re certainly knocking off al Qaeda. And the question is: my dad would
probably ask, why are you knocking them off? Maybe it`s better, certainly
the senior guy.

But you don`t want to get the mid level guy. It would be better than
knocking him off, it would be better to capture them, interrogate, and
maybe best turn them.

MATTHEWS: Amazing figure. When he was lost in the lake out there, I
was still amazed to what happened.

COLBY: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Carl.

COLBY: Thank you for having me on.

MATTHEWS: I`m going to see it. The great document, it`s getting
awards right now. The film opening tonight here in Washington. It`s
already sold out.

You can log-on to firstrunfeatures.com to find out other cities where
the film is playing. You`ve got to see this movie. It`s great, "The Man
Nobody Knew," including you didn`t know him that well.

When we return, "Let Me Finish" with Jack Kennedy, finish that story,
what he was like and what ahead him tick. We`re going to talk about that
next week.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish` tonight with this -- on a Friday morning in
the fall of 1963, an American president traveled through Texas, trying to
figure the state out. What made Dallas so right wing, he kept asking the
two men in the car with him that drizzly Friday morning in November. Why
were they attacking him as a traitor? Why were they spitting on his
people?

One of his hosts, Congressman Jim Wright of Fort Worth laid it out on
the right-wing press in Dallas. Governor John Connelly, the other
politician in the car with him, the visiting president, chalked it up to
the economy. Unlike the city like Fort Worth, the city of stockyards and
factory floors, where the visiting president had just gotten warmly
cheered, the city of Dallas was filled with white collar office buildings,
people there all wanted to make it to the higher floor, wanted to move to
their insurance and financial companies. They were voting the way their
bosses voted, voting their aspirations to get to the next floor.

Who knows what make one city so different from another political?
Jack Kennedy was just trying to sort it all that morning. He was living
the life of an American politician, trying to figure things out
politically, trying to figure out what was in the water down there in
Dallas that made some people so viciously right wing. An hour later, he
was gone.

Next week, my book comes out, "Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero." It
answers the question that we all want answered when we read a biographer.
What was he like? To answer it, I`ve gone to the oral histories and
accounts of people who went to school with him, fought in World War II with
him, hung out with him as a close friend, lived the rough political life
with Jack, watched him grow from rich kid to the leader who saved us from a
nuclear war in the Cuban missile crisis.

I received a call the other day from an old political pal of Jack. He
just finished my book. He said I brought Jack Kennedy back alive. That`s
what I wanted to do, what I`m asking you to do, help me do it.

You can order a copy now of "Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero." There`s
going to be a lot of excitement about the book next week. I`m asking you
to order one now and discover what I`ve discovered, how we once had a hero
for a president, with much to teach our current one.

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

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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