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updated 6/11/2012 1:04:42 PM ET 2012-06-11T17:04:42

Guests: Joe Klein, Brian Katulis, Michael Hirsch, Joe Williams, Mark Penn, Matt Cooper

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Oshkosh b`gosh.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in Philadelphia. "Let Me Start"
with last night`s big loss by labor in Wisconsin. I`ve got some questions.
Why did 2 out of 5 union families vote against the recall? If labor is
united, why didn`t they vote united? Was it because 60 percent of voters,
3 in 5, think recalls should be reserved for official misconduct?

Finally, was the victory by the Republican governor a preview of the
presidential election? If so, why did President Obama outpoll Mitt Romney
in the exit polls out there in Wisconsin by 7 points, 51 percent to 44
percent?

Let`s get the answers from the HuffingtonPost`s Howard Fineman and
Politico`s Joe Williams.

Howard, what do you think about this? Let me get through some numbers
here. What did go wrong for Democrats last night, if you look at it party-
wise. Look at what the voters told pollsters about the use of recall
elections. And overwhelming 60 percent, as I said, responded that they are
only appropriate, recall elections, in cases of actually official
misconduct, abuse of office.

And look at another interesting number from the exit poll. Unions
were not as monolithic as some thought -- 37 percent of the members of
union households voted for Scott Walker.

What do you make of those two numbers?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, first of all, Chris, I think we do have to be careful in
overinterpreting Wisconsin. I was just talking to Steve Law (ph), who runs
American Crossroads for Karl Rove, that`s that big independent spending
group that is really the master of all it surveys on the Republican side.

He cautioned me not to overdraw the lessons of Wisconsin, and I think
what you focused on, which is the recall, is a very big part of it. That
one reason.

Another reason is that Scott Walker was a better candidate than Tom
Barrett. Let`s just be frank about it. He was a better candidate. And
the Democrats put up the same guy that got beat by Walker last time.

And of course, there`s the role of money from the outside, which was
hugely important and hugely to the advantage of the Republicans, and it
played in specific ways in Wisconsin that may not be repeated elsewhere.
That`s the good news for the Democrats.

The bad news for the Democrats is that the Republicans, I think, feel
they`ve found a wedge issue here, Chris, that they can divide the labor
movement, or what`s left of the labor movement, between public employee
unions and non-public employee unions.

And if they focus on benefits that public employee unions get, as
opposed to focusing on collective bargaining rights, which a majority of
Americans still believe in, that they can force the Democrats, as Law said
to me, to defend the indefensible, which are some of the pensions and
benefits that public employees have amassed over recent years.

Mitt Romney talked about this today in analyzing Wisconsin. I predict
you can expect Republicans from Mitt Romney on down to focus on public
employees. Even though there are risks, they`re going to do it.

MATTHEWS: Let`s go to Joe Williams. Same question. Howard`s
focusing on the number that I`m fascinated by, 37 percent of families that
have a union member, a member of an organized labor union in their family,
voted with Walker, the Republican, on this issue which was supposed to be a
whole campaign about the rights of labor.

JOE WILLIAMS, POLITICO.COM: That`s right. Well, and I also think
that another factor here is if the election had been held in early months
of 2011, when this issue really started to take fire, when people were
occupying the statehouse, when there were people in the streets, it`s
almost certain that the outcome probably would have been different.

But you had a cooling-off period between then and between when the
Democrats selected a candidate. All that time, Walker had to make his case
to the public, gather independent money, gather outside money, and then
mount a very aggressive campaign against Barrett.

Conversely, Barrett only had a couple of weeks -- or a couple a
months, rather, to not only secure the nomination but also raise money.
Not a lot of time to do that. The Democrats are feeling that the money
advantage was just too big to overcome, that they feel very good about the
organized labor movement, but it does show some signs of fraying, as Howard
mentioned.

MATTHEWS: Joe, you`re dodging my question.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Why did union households, almost 2 in 5, vote against what
was supposed to be a union vote?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think also because of public sector unions and
private sector unions. It`s kind of a battle. I mean, we`re looking at
private sector unions, where barely 10 percent of the working public are
members of unions today. And even those unions have different interests
than public sector unions, especially when framed politically on the issue
of spending and spending of tax money.

People don`t like to hear the fact that public employees are arguing
for higher salaries when their taxes are going up or when they have to
sacrifice libraries only open every other Sunday or public school
classrooms being filled to the brim. And you see public sector employees
arguing for more money, that`s distasteful to a lot of people.

MATTHEWS: Fascinating. Let`s go right -- despite the victory, of
course, last night for the Republicans in the recall itself, President
Obama still showed a lot of strength in the exit polling. Voters said they
supported him 51 to 44 for Mitt Romney. So he`s got a 7-point lead in the
exit poll.

Howard, that`s pretty good news, if you believe these exit polls. The
problem is, I`m not sure how good they are. But you know, I`m skeptical in
this environment.

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I am very skeptical about polling this year.

FINEMAN: Well...

MATTHEWS: I just sense that this is going to be a very tough year to
poll in terms of turnout and everything. It`s just too hard to figure
who`s going to vote, how`re going to they vote, even.

FINEMAN: No, I agree. And since you brought up the topic of the exit
polls, I think there are lots of concern about them. And why? We want to
know why.

One reason is, I think, in Wisconsin -- I was astonished, if you
believe the exit polls, in how firmly and strongly people are divided.
This poll -- this information says that most people, like, almost 90
percent of voters in Wisconsin decided which side they were on on this
before May, before last month.

So maybe when attitudes are as hard as concrete, it`s harder to poll
them and it`s harder to predict who will actually turn out.

If I were President Obama, I`d be relieved about that 51-44 number you
mentioned, Chris, but I would be concerned in a way about another number in
there, or at least interested in it, in which 18 percent of the people who
voted for Scott Walker said that they would support President Obama for
reelection.

So the question is, how does the president reassure those people and
make sure he keeps that 18 percent of Walker`s supporters so that he can
win Wisconsin?

And this is exactly what the Republicans are going to try to do.
They`re going to try to force Barack Obama to defend public employee
pensions and benefits, defend public employee unions, which has another
benefit for the Republicans, it takes attention away from the fact that it
was the Republican Congress and the Republican president that`s primarily
responsible for the huge increases of the federal debt and deficit before
Barack Obama ever came into office.

This is a wedge issue of their dreams, and they`re going to push it.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think the logic on this...

MATTHEWS: Especially since we`ve seen so many rifts...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Go ahead.

WILLIAMS: I think the logic on forcing him to defend pensions and
benefits -- I think the way you defend that is by saying that these
pensions and these benefits are contributors to the economy. If people
have money in their pockets, money that they`ve earned, by the way, or that
they -- that the public sectors have agreed to under legitimate bargaining,
under legitimate contracts, that puts money in people`s pockets. That
money creates demand when people go out and spend it, and it stimulates the
economy.

The problem is that does not fit on a bumper sticker. That`s logic
that takes a little too much explaining to do. So I think Howard is right
in that if the Republicans force the president has to defend on that issue,
it`s going to be very, very difficult.

But conversely, if you have him talking about why this is important,
why people need to have higher wages because wages have been stagnant for
so long, and public sector employees deliver very good services -- cops,
firefighters, the top (ph) line (ph) suggestions that they always talk
about -- this could be something that people could more easily relate to.

MATTHEWS: OK, a lot of things -- the other thing to remember is that
a lot of these rifts, reductions in state and local employees over the last
couple of years, which is the real reason why we have an unemployment
problem -- as private sector employment`s going up, it`s that public sector
that`s been going down -- is because of the terrible economy this president
inherited.

WILLIAMS: Well, not only...

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Governor Walker had some advice. He won this
thing. Here`s his advice for Mitt Romney today when he was interviewed by
Chuck Todd of NBC. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: They`re hungry for people to say,
you know, I don`t care about the next election, I care about the next
generation, and here`s what I`m going to do to fix it. And the keys for
Governor Romney to be competitive enough to win is I think he`s got to lay
out a clear platform, something similar to what our friend Paul Ryan has
done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: But Howard, here it is, the same old song. People care
about the future, not who`s responsible for the past, both Romney -- and
here he is, Romney`s booster, Walker, who won yesterday -- saying you got
to talk the future, not complain about the past.

FINEMAN: Yes. Well, you got to talk about how people are going to
get jobs. And of course, one of the ironies here is that the president
tried to get another jobs bill through. The Congress refused to do it.
And that resulted in a lot of cutbacks in state and local spending that is
resulting in the pressure on the public employees.

So the Republicans are coming at the president from all directions
once here on this, and they`re going to try to make it difficult for him.

By the way, on Scott Walker -- Scott Walker I think said in the last
days of the campaign that he would rule out seeking or wanting to be on the
ticket with Mitt Romney. But the Scott Walker that I saw in his victory
statement last night and again this morning seemed like a guy who had an
awful lot of advice to give to Mitt Romney and would probably like to give
it at close range.

WILLIAMS: Well, and also might be booking a hotel...

MATTHEWS: You think he might be euchring (ph) an invitation to be put
on the short list, Howard?

FINEMAN: Well, he`s a hero. He`s a big hero for -- you know, as is
Paul Ryan, also from Wisconsin. The two of them are big heroes with
conservatives now. Scott Walker has the luster of battle on him. He just
-- he just won this big victory, and conservatives are -- are saying that
he`s the guy who showed the way forward. He showed both the mechanics and
the message and was a very good candidate. I`m just reflecting what I hear
from conservatives today.

WILLIAMS: Right, but that`s...

MATTHEWS: Also, he comes from the state of Reince Priebus. That
matter -- that ought to matter a lot.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: And maybe -- nobody else...

FINEMAN: I don`t know about that!

MATTHEWS: Of all the possible VPs, nobody`s lit up the pinball
machine yet. Nobody. Anyway, thank you, Howard, and thank you, Joe, for
coming on the show tonight to go over what happened last night.

Coming up now, the most overlooked or underlooked group of voters of
all, men. Why are they deserting President Obama? Wait until you hear the
numbers from last night.

Most days, he`s -- and by the way, some other stories tonight. Most
days, he`s your best ally, Mr. President. But sometimes, he, Bill Clinton,
gives ammo to the other side. The ride (ph) with bill Clinton as your
money (ph) mate (ph).

And another top al Qaeda leader gets droned, if you will. When is
President Obama going to get some credit for nailing the terrorist network
as he`s been doing?

Finally, who says Democrats can`t find common ground with Republicans?
Two former Pennsylvania politicians, one an R, one a D, have wound up
living together in jail. They`re bunkmates in the state pen, believe it or
not. We`ll get to that story.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: New poll numbers from two key presidential battleground
states. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard" starting right here in
Pennsylvania, where a new Franklin and Marshall poll has President Obama
with a 12-point lead here in the Keystone state, 48 to 36. Wow.

Now to Florida, where a new Democratic PPP poll has President Obama up
by 4 over Mitt Romney in a much tougher state, 50 to 46.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President Obama beat -- actually
beat Mitt Romney by 7 points in the Wisconsin exit polls yesterday, but
he`s got a problem with one significant demographic, men. According to the
same exit polls, Obama`s support among Wisconsin men has taken an 8-point
dive since 2008 -- 8 points. Nationally, Obama`s disapproval number among
men has risen now to 50 percent, and it`s going up. That`s up from two
years ago.

We talk a lot about the significance on this program of women`s vote -
- fair enough -- coming up in November. But what about the men? And what
can Obama do to win more of them?

Matt Cooper`s White House managing editor for "The National Journal"
and Mark Penn is a Democratic pollster who was chief strategist for Hillary
Clinton in 2008.

It`s great to have you both on. And I`m looking at these numbers, and
they`re pretty depressing in this sense. A drop of 8 points in the exit
polling yesterday, whatever you take it for, whether you value it a lot or
not, that`s a significant drop among men, whereas the women vote held about
where it was before.

Mark Penn, you understand this as well as anybody. What`s going on?

MARK PENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think you`re seeing a real
problem with men, especially white men. Remember, only 1 in 4 men really
think the economy is improving. If you look at this, I think particularly
southern white older men, they`re probably out of reach.

You know, my suggestion really is to go after the soccer dads, to go
after the suburban, better-educated men who can appreciate a president like
President Obama who`s been hunting down Barack Obama (SIC) and yet has
sensible and economic and social policies.

MATTHEWS: So you go after the more sensitive males, the less macho
males, is that what you`re saying?

PENN: Well, look, the Republicans have taken a Joe the plumber
stance. Joe the plumber is pretty tough (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Yes, the rougher guy, the rougher-hewed (ph) guy seems to
be the image of the Republican vote these days. Is that what we`re talking
about here? Is it about manner, style, income, what?

PENN: Education. I think the more educated men are, the more likely
they are to go in Obama`s camp. If he gives them a good economic plan and
he appeals to them, I think -- I think both on economics, his social
policies I think fit with the better educated. And frankly, he`s a more
sophisticated candidate than we`ve seen come out of Republican Party, who
appeals to better educated men who live in the suburbs, who have kids.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me go to Matt Cooper on that. And that is an
interesting question. I assume women, just because of all the numbers we
see and just in our lives, are more for same-sex marriage. They`re more
for gay rights generally. They`re more empathetic, if you will, to the gay
community.

Number two, they are clearly more concerned by abortion rights and
contraception, if that comes up as an issue again. Men are more
conservative than them, obviously, because that`s where the numbers break
down.

But that does mean you have to go after men who basically agree with
women on social issues?

MATT COOPER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Well, to some degree. I think
Mark`s right. I mean, you`re trying to go after affluent -- more affluent,
better educated men, rather than white working-class men, who are starting
to look like a lost cause for Obama.

You know, in our own "Congressional Connection" poll that we do in
"National Journal," I mean, it just drops off the map on almost any
question that you would think might be someplace where they could find
common ground.

For instance, we had a question this week about food stamps, why
working-class men overwhelmingly thought that, you know, there should be no
extra money for food stamps. They like the cuts that the Republicans are
talking about. You would think these guys...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

COOPER: ... kind of on the precipice of unemployment might be more
sympathetic to that. They`re not.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Mark -- I always imagine driving along an
old highway, like route 40 or something, not 95 or 70 or 80, but a regular
old highway interstate. And there`s these stops -- you see a little bar
along the way where men go after a hard day`s work, and or they may be
there late on a Friday night, talking at the bar. What are they saying
about Obama? Working guys.

PENN: Oh, you know...

MATTHEWS: What do you think those conversations are like?

PENN: I think those conversations are pretty rough. I think I
probably couldn`t repeat a lot of it on the air. I think they`re really
upset about the health care mandate. They`re upset about the state the
country`s in in terms of the economy.

I think those are really tough conversations. I think you ought to go
to the water cooler, right, in the offices of America, in the office parks
and so forth, where you`re going to find the kind of men who are going to
have a reasonable conversation, who aren`t going to think Romney and the
Republicans are the solution to the answer.

MATTHEWS: Yes. What do you think, Matt, of that anecdotal factor of
style of the people who work in offices, rather than work on road gangs or
work in factories, you got a better shot?

COOPER: Yes, I think that`s right. Although, you know, there are
parts of his record that are macho, as you mentioned, you know, killing bin
laden, you know, prosecuting these wars.

MATTHEWS: Saving Ford and GM. How about saving the auto industry?

COOPER: Yes. I mean, that -- yes, I mean, I -- those are things
which (INAUDIBLE) can play up. I`m not sure it`s going to work, but there
are certainly things they can turn to.

MATTHEWS: Well, what is it about -- I want to give you a shot at
this, Matt. What is it about Obama that turns off, we`ll say it, white,
working-class guys who didn`t go to college? Let`s be demographic about
it. I hate this stuff, but go ahead. What is it that turns those guys off
to Obama?

COOPER: You know, I...

MATTHEWS: Is it race in some cases? Is it ethnicity? Is it
background? Is it -- what is it mostly?

COOPER: You know, I don`t think we entirely know.

I don`t think -- you know, I -- it is not far-fetched to think race is
part of it. But part of it is also what is happening to the economy,
working-class men feeling more dispensable and vulnerable, feeling like the
world is not theirs anymore.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

COOPER: And part of it is the style of this president, much commented
upon, that he can seem a little academic, a little aloof at times. And
that probably doesn`t help either.

But, look, you know, I mean, politics is about forging alliances and
constituencies. And he is going to have to forge one that is not as
dependent on white men.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think there`s been comment in the last couple days,
guys, about him spending too much time with the glitzy people in Hollywood,
maybe doing too many gay events.

I don`t know whether that offends the white working guy. I know one
thing. They feel threatened, they feel humiliated by no jobs out there.
They see their kids aren`t getting jobs. It is a humiliation to be out of
work and to face unemployment. And they don`t like it and I don`t blame
them one bit. I can understand. A lot of this is clearly irrational.

Anyway, thank you, Matt Cooper. Please come back.

And thank you, as always, Mark Penn.

Up next: Why did a supporters slap Tom Barrett in the race last night
during his concession rally, slapped at a guy at his night of loss? That
is ahead in the "Sideshow."

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I met a guy yesterday, seven
feet tall.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: Yes, handsome, great big guy, seven feet tall. Name is Rick
Miller, Portland, Oregon. And he started a business.

Of course, you know, it was in basketball. But it wasn`t in
basketball.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: I mean, I figured he had to be in sport, but he wasn`t in
sport. His business is caring for seniors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.

The fact that Romney used that word, as he often does, sport, rather
than sports, overshadows the fact that he saw a guy who was seven feet
tall. But it`s not just those awkward moments from the candidate that can
cause problems. How about his team`s issues with spell check? First, it
was the iPhone app that misspelled America. That is a serious misspelling
when you get the name of the country wrong.

The trend continued with some Facebook gaffes, one offering a "sneak
peak" of a new ad, peak, P-E-A-K, peak as in mountaintop, instead of look,
and a reminder to buy your 2012 official gear, or something close to
official.

Well, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel has got some ideas about what
would happen if that problem expanded into actual campaign ads.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: America faces enormous "challengs"

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: "Unepoylment, out-of-control "spednig," political
"grilldonk."

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Economic "stanagtoin."

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We need a "real loader, Mint Wrongy, Repelican
for Perspiresident."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: "Paid for by Amexicans Butter Tomato."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: They need to get someone on that, don`t you think? It
makes them look amateur.

And isn`t he, Romney, supposed to be the tough, smart business
manager?

Anyway, next, losing is a slap in the face. But get this. After his
concession speech last night, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett went down into
the audience to thank supporters. Apparently, one of them, one of his
supporters was peeved that Barrett had conceded before all the votes were
tallied and offered to slap him. Barrett said later that he had suggested
a hug instead. But when he leaned in for an embrace, she stunned him with
a slap.

Look, everybody listening right now, when you lose and it is clear you
have lost, you say it. That is how it`s done.

Finally, these days, it can be tough to imagine some Republicans in
the same room as their Democratic rivals. Well, how about bunkmates, like
in prison? Well, that`s exactly what has happened in my former state with
two former speakers of the Pennsylvania Statehouse of Representatives.

Republican John Perzel and Democrat Bill Deweese landed in prison
after being convicted in separate corruption schemes. According to a piece
in "Capitol File," Deweese was uncomfortable with his first roommate. That
was his former chief of staff who had testified against him. I can
understand not wanting to room with him.

Perzel, the Republican ex-speaker, then proposed a switch that led to
the line of the day from Deweese -- quote -- "John, I don`t think we get to
pick who we room with here."

Wow.

But according to the article, the two did end up becoming roommates.
Red and blue don`t matter when you`re both wearing orange.

What a story.

Up next, Bill Clinton is President Obama`s top surrogate. So why is
saying such nice things about Republicans, and not just Romney, but Donald
Trump? What is he up to? Let`s find out.

And what does it mean to the Obama campaign?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. I`m Veronica De
La Cruz with your CNBC "Market Wrap."

Stocks logged their the biggest gains of the year. The Dow soars 286.
The S&P jumps 29, the Nasdaq rises 66. Stocks rallied in part on hopes of
further monetary easing from the Fed. Earlier today, two Fed presidents
raised the prospect of taking action if conditions deteriorate.

In the meantime, the Central Bank`s so-called Beige Book showed the
economy grew at a moderate pace in April and May and it also showed hiring
was steady.

I`m Veronica De La Cruz -- and now back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Bill Clinton made three fund-raiser appearances for the Obama campaign
this week as a forceful defender of the president and his policies. In at
least one instance, he made the best case we have heard yet against Mitt
Romney.

But he has also given fodder to Republicans, intentionally or not,
honestly or not, on their part to use. We wondered just what is the cost-
benefit analysis of having Bill as such a major surrogate out there.

Joe Klein is a columnist for "TIME" magazine and Salon`s Joan Walsh is
an MSNBC political analyst.

Let`s look at the earlier stuff just coming in today. Let`s take a
look at the CNBC interview the president had the other day, the former
president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t have any
problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending level,
but the real issue is not whether they should be extended for another few
months. The real issue is whether the price the Republican House will put
on that extension is the permanent extension of the tax cuts, which I think
is an error.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, realizing or expecting how Bill Clinton`s tax remarks
there were going to be misinterpreted, a Clinton spokesman just a few hours
after the president spoke put out the following statement.

"As President Clinton has said many times before, he supported
extending all of the cuts in 2010 as part of the budget agreement, but does
not believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended
again. In the interview, he simply said that he doubted that a long-term
agreement on spending cuts and revenues would be reached until after the
election."

Fair enough. I thought he was clear as a bell there.

Joan Walsh, the Republicans have completely distorted what Clinton
said last night. But there is always the question, did he give them enough
wiggle room to do so?

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I don`t know, Chris. I heard it
the way he meant it. And so did you.

So, you know, I really do think that they were being unfair there.
The remarks last week about Mitt Romney having a sterling business record
and taking Bain Capital off the table, I happen to disagree with him. But
I think we would both agree that the president -- President Clinton is a
net gain for President Obama, for one thing because very dishonest
Republicans, brazen Republicans are now trying to act like they loved Bill
Clinton in the `90s, he was a good Democrat, when in fact at the time they
savaged him, they impeached him.

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes.

WALSH: So, I think it is really important at this point that
President Clinton is out there saying, you can`t use me that way. And, you
know, he is a star. There is a downside. We will talk about the downside.
But I think the Republicans are being disingenuous at every turn.

MATTHEWS: You know, Joe Klein, he is not Clarence Thomas imitating
Scalia. He doesn`t have to be a synchronized swimmer with the president.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: So every time he says something a little different than the
president, the people on the other side jump on it and say, oh, he`s not
with the president .

But I heard him last night. Boy, was he clear. They may disagree on
Donald Trump. They may disagree on the record at Bain by Romney, but they
are damned in agreement on the fact that we should not have a continual,
permanent extension of these Bush tax cuts for the rich.

JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, "TIME": Yes, that is absolutely clear.

And, you know, the stuff that you are getting from Republicans now
just kind of smacks of desperation to me, when -- you know, I saw that kind
of stuff coming out of the Gore campaign in 2000. It is not unique to the
Republican Party.

But, you know, Clinton says weird things sometimes. I can`t imagine
anybody saying anything nice about Donald Trump, unless they wanted to get
some Trump money for their Global Initiative perhaps.

But, you know, you were just talking about the white male blue-collar
vote.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

KLEIN: And, you know, if I`m Barack Obama, I want to have Bill
Clinton out there talking to those folks, because they loved him. He was
living the dream. He was dating lounge singers and going to McDonald`s.
Those guys -- he was the last Democratic president that those guys kind of
liked.

MATTHEWS: I agree with you completely. I think you and Joan are
right. You want Bill Clinton at your side. He is the most popular
Democrat, maybe the -- well, he`s certainly the most popular politician in
the world. What am I talking about right now?

Well, here we have some Republicans up on Capitol Hill jumping at the
chance it read their little talking points written for them by their
dutiful little staff, written for them for the staff by the RNC and the
Obama -- or the Romney campaign.

Here is a few of them sporting total, utter dishonesty, starting with
John McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I want to thank you for having
President Clinton on. He is the gift that keeps on giving. I hope you
will have him on more often to talk about Bain Capital and the necessity to
extend the Bush tax cuts.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: And with regard to the tax
increases, I would make the same argument. It`s the same argument actually
that former President Bill Clinton has been making, and that is that we
need to extend these tax rates.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Even Bill Clinton
came out for it, before he was against it.

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: Obviously, President Bill Clinton
gets it. He knows in this economy you should not be raising taxes on
anybody.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: President Clinton not wanting to further
undermine our economy recommended a short-term extension of all the tax
relief.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: There he is. It took Orrin Hatch to say what he said.
Bill Clinton said a short-term extension to get us through the election so
they could actually make a deal based on who won the election and we get
the policies straight.

Joan, the absolute dishonesty there, pants-on-fire dishonesty of
McCain and Thune and Boehner and this character Hensarling -- who writes
this crap for them? Who writes down what is totally a dishonest statement
from last night? Anybody who wants a newspaper, go out and look online on
the Web, go out and check it right now, see what Bill Clinton said last
night the first time he said it.

We will get through this campaign and then we will deal with the long-
term extension and not give it to the rich. He is so clear. And yet they
completely are dishonest here. I don`t -- sometimes politics amazes me.
It really does, the absolute dishonesty.

I can only forgive them if I realize some dinky staff member wrote
this for them based on some dinky staff member working for Romney.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Who writes this nonsense?

WALSH: They didn`t. They didn`t.

MATTHEWS: Nobody believes...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You couldn`t pass a lie-detector with this.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: They have well-paid think tankers. They have FOX News. They
have bloggers. They talk to themselves all day long.

And they have decided that this is a line. I want to go back to
something that Joe said because I think it`s deeper and I think it`s
important. President Clinton really is a boon to trying to get some, just
some of those white working-class men.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

WALSH: But they didn`t just like him because he got to hang around
with starlets and eat McDonald`s. He also talked about the underlying
economic rot in this country and he did things for them. He expanded the
earned income tax credit. So there was an economic core at the heart of
their liking for him, as well as a cultural affinity.

But on the flip side -- and this get us to Donald Trump and Bain
Capital -- President Clinton did something that I really don`t admire at
this point. At the same time that he was telling the white working-class,
I`m one of you, I`m for you, he made a decision that the Democratic Party
was also going to become the party of Wall Street and the party of the
financial sector.

And, quite honestly, maybe there were good reasons for that at the
time, but now we see what the financialization of our economy has done to
the country, most importantly to the country, but also to the Democratic
Party.

So, that white working-class guy without a job who feels like he is at
the bottom, he doesn`t have anybody who is really looking out for him,
because the Democrats have become as bad -- almost as bad as the
Republicans on Wall Street issues.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You know what, Joe and Joan? I got to take a minute here,
buy some time on -- would somebody please tell the people who didn`t get to
go to good colleges or go to colleges, who have to go out there and work
hard, often with their hands, that, let`s face it.

We had two Republicans in a row, W. and this guy Romney, born on third
base claiming they hit a triple. That`s a fact.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: The other two guys -- Bill Clinton was born with a drunk
father he had to beat up to protect his mother from. He came up from
nothing basically down in Hot Springs. It wasn`t exactly -- his mother was
a practical nurse trying to make it, keep him alive.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: You got the other guy more into a mixed family. His father
skips town after about two or three years.

These guys had to work their way up through their brains and hard
work.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: Joe, I want you to jump on this. Would somebody please
tell the working stiff out there these guys weren`t -- weren`t born with a
silver spoon?

The Democratic guys, although they made it, did it through work and
brains. The other guys made it because they were born to it. Just a
thought.

(CROSSTALK)

JOE KLEIN, TIME: All of what Joan said about Clinton and
deregulation is absolutely correct. But he had this ability to explain
complicated things and ways that average folks can understand.

I`m traveling around the country now on a bus tour and I swear to
God, I can`t find a single person who knows what`s in Obamacare. And
that`s something that the president should be out explaining and telling
people everyday.

But the most important thing here is that I think the folks, the
think the American public realizes, that this is a serious, serious
situation for our country and you know, talking -- talking points lined up,
you know, the way the Republicans do it, is an insult to their intelligence
and insult to our country at this point. We need to have a serious
conversation right now.

MATTHEWS: Well, Joan, if this guy Romney, with limited ability, was
able to convince the country he`s a regular guy, which he isn`t, looking
out for regular people, which he`s never done, boy, that`s going to be one
of the great jokes in history.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Well, I think and that is partly what
bothered me about President Clinton, you know, defending -- taking Bain
Capital off the table, because it`s not that he is a bad man but he does --
you know, President Obama put it much better. He said that his economic
experience is what gives him the background to be a good president and grow
the economy -- absolutely not. That did not happen under Mitt Romney.
Bain Capital had nothing to do with that.

And then, you know, embracing Donald Trump was inexplicable. You
can`t embrace the birther in chief. You can`t embrace this man who is
basically asking our president to show his papers.

He really -- if he is a friend, he should usher him off the public
stage and take him golfing. That bothered me a lot.

KLEIN: But still, an awful lot of this, an awful lot of this lands
on Obama`s doorstep. He`s got to be a lot better. If he is going to make
the case against Bain Capital, it has to be more than just layoffs because
that is kind of a phony issue. It has to be the fact that private equity
was all about paying executives a lot more money, paying stockholders a lot
more money and it was all about short term profits rather than long-term
planning and long-term growth.

WALSH: Right.

KLEIN: They stripped out the research and development departments of
all these places. You have to be specific if you are running for
president.

Barack Obama is still campaigning like way over everybody`s head,
including mine sometimes.

MATTHEWS: Ha! Thank you, Joe Klein. I hope he`s listening or
somebody`s listening over there at the White House or in Chicago.

Thank you, Joan, as always. I think we got this one right tonight.

WALSH: Thanks.

MATTHEWS: The president and former president are together. They may
have slight differences about who they`re going to go after personally.
But I got to tell you, they agree completely on policy.

Anyway, thank you so much for joining us right now.

Up next, President Obama won another huge victory against terrorism
with the death of al Qaeda`s number two leader. Can Obama turn success on
the battlefield, killing one of these top bad guys after another to a win
in the ballot box?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Where are the presidential campaigns and super PACs
spending the most TV ad money per electoral vote? Well, Charlie Cook and
Kantar Media crunched the numbers.

At number three, Ohio. It`s worth 18 electoral votes and a ton of
money being spent there already. Just short after half million dollars per
electoral vote.

Number two is Iowa. The campaigns have spent $3 million there in on
its six electoral votes. That`s also about a half million per electoral
vote.

But the number one state, Nevada, with nearly $700,000 per each of
its six electoral votes. That`s where the moneys go in.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back.

President Obama`s quiet campaign to kill al Qaeda`s leadership had a
major victory Monday. That`s this Monday, when a U.S. drone strike killed
the terror organization`s number two in charge, Abu Yahya al-Libi in
Pakistan again.

Why isn`t the president getting credit for his campaign against al
Qaeda which is hitting the top people?

Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Michael Hirsch is a chief correspondent for "The National Journal".

Well, let me ask you -- why don`t we start here? But first of all,
here is Jay Carney trying to explain the importance of this killing of al-
Libi. He called it a major blow to al Qaeda. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is now no clear
successor to take on the breath of his responsibilities. Al-Libi`s death
is a major blow to core al Qaeda. Removing the number two leader for the
second time in less than a year, and further damaging the group`s morale
and cohesion, and bringing it closer to its ultimate demise than ever
before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, let me go to Brian on this. It would seem to me
that W. would be doing hot dogging on the front steps of the White House in
his cowboy boots if this was going on under his watch. And here you have
Obama doing it in a quiet sort of way.

The public is not paying attention to the killing at the top, are
they?

BRIAN KATULIS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, it`s clear that
economy is the number one issue. But President Obama`s record on national
security has been so strong -- it`s almost as if many people have not
noticed. I mean, we`ve got bin Laden. We`ve decimated the core of al
Qaeda. And we`ve dealt with a lot of the problems that say, four or five
years ago everybody was worried about. We`re out of Iraq and we`re winding
down the war in Afghanistan.

So, I think the president, when you look at poll ratings, he performs
very, very well on national security, stronger than other areas. And it is
an asset. It`s neutralized this national deficit disorder that some people
thought Democrats suffered from after the Vietnam War. And it is a pretty
strong suit. But I think, you know, the big issues are the jobs and
economy, are going to be where the election is fought out.

MATTHEWS: You know, Michael, it sounds like the old days when you
dealt with inflation and there wasn`t any inflation, you didn`t get any
credit for it because there wasn`t anything to complain about, therefore
there was anything to deal with, everybody ignored it.

In this time, if you`re dealing with a foreign threat that really
scared the heck out of us in 2001, and did frighten us and hurt us badly as
a national wound, and here we are feeling pretty secure I think and nobody
gives any credit for it.

MICHAEL HIRSCH, NATIONAL JOURNAL: No question a certain amount of
complacency set in. And you`ve had, apart from the bin Laden targeting
which, you know, did make big news and give Obama something of a bump for
at least a little while, what you have here is sort of a drip, drip, drip
of, you know, one al Qaeda leader after another.

Most Americans have never heard their names before. In total, I
think he has been enormously effective against al Qaeda to the point where
traditionally, al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is no longer the main
threat. It`s the new offshoot of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

But people don`t pay that much of attention to that. And as Brian
said, the economy has become so much the all embracing issue that this, at
best, is going to be, you know, a slight edge for Obama.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at the president back when he was
debating in 2008, candidate Obama was hammered by his opponents, including
Hillary Clinton, for saying he would take out terrorist even on Pakistani
soil, with or without that country`s permission. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

BARACK OBAMA, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we have actionable
intelligence about high value terrorist targets, and President Musharraf
will not act, we will.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We will risk the confused leadership
of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally,
Pakistan.

HILLARY CLINTON, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, as Senator
Obama said, yes, last summer, he basically threatened to bomb Pakistan,
which I don`t think was a particularly wise position to take.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MATTHEWS: Brian, so he stuck his neck out. He basically determined
it would not be a drone strike to get Osama bin Laden. It would be a
direct action by the SEALs, with all the dangers there, but the certainty
of having got our man.

Let me ask you, when you look at the world right now, who has the
capability to hurt America here in America? Who can hit us -- not
existentially, nobody is going to do that, or strategically -- but who can
do real harm to this country right now, anybody?

KATULIS: Right now, when you look at the al Qaeda affiliates in
places like Yemen and Somalia, those are caused for concern, as we`ve seen
from some recent news with some of the recent plots. And that`s why
getting this guy, al-Libi was essential. Al-Libi was the number two, who
served as a key link to the al Qaeda affiliates in those places and taking
him out was I think essential.

And I got to add, we took him out in a place, part of Pakistan where
under the Bush administration and in those clipped in 2008 that you just
showed, we essentially had a situation that those areas were seated in
tribal deals by President Musharraf at the time. We had a very passive
approach and what we have had under Obama has been a very aggressive
approach to go after the al Qaeda core and these key links.

So, I would say it`s the terrorist groups in Yemen and Somali.
Another threat quite clearly is the cyber threats that come from many
different parts of the world -- Russia, China and other things -- which I
think are very real and new threats. And I think this administration`s
move into address that, and then quite obviously, Iran and the role that it
plays in the Middle East and in the Gulf region and its attempts to support
terrorist networks. They`re a grave threat. But on all those --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I have to go to Michael on this.

Michael, can Iran hurt us? Can Iran hurt us? How does it hurt us --
through Hezbollah? Who do you see is the threat to United States now here
in America?

HIRSCH: Well, I mean, I agree with what Brian just said. I think
the asymmetric threats of various kinds. I mean, what we have been most
concerned about, when our troops were still in Iraq and now in Afghanistan
is the IEDs, the night attacks, to target out soldiers there. As far as
the homeland, cyber threats from China, and, you know, possibly an
asymmetric threat from Iran through Hezbollah contacts in this hemisphere,
we have not seen any very credible with that.

I will say that the Obama administration has been trying to get this
message out here, that they`re countering this.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, gentlemen. It`s great to have experts.

We have to go, I`m sorry. Mike -- Brian Katulis and Michael Hirsch,
I think that Hezbollah concern unleashed by Iran is always there and
dangerous.

Let me finish with what President Obama should do I think to fix the
problem with male voters, with men, with guys.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. Men, males, guys,
whatever -- what are you guys problem with President Obama? I think it
would be interesting to know the answer.

Well, 60 percent of women in Wisconsin said they`d vote for Obama in
November, compared to just 45 percent of men. We can imagine why women are
pro-Obama. He`s put the focus on health care. He`s been supportive of
women`s rights, of equal pay, and other concerns, where the Republican
Party has become suspect on these issues, or forthrightly hostile.

Now, about the men. If you look at Obama`s foreign policy record,
he`s been surprisingly tough out there. He`s carried out a smooth
withdrawal from Iraq, begin a similar pull out from Afghanistan, he`s
gotten bin Laden. And just this week, he got the new number two man in al
Qaeda.

So, again, why the Obama problem with men.

Well, the latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll has his disapproval
number is 50 percent and rising among men nationally, and it`s not good.
And it requires an explanation.

And Obama is losing men to Romney right now 49 percent to 40 percent,
a nine-point spread. Well, the reason is something Bill Clinton`s campaign
hammered home, I think, in winning the White House back in `92 -- it`s the
economy, stupid. Men are particularly sensitive to humiliation, as we all
know -- being out of work is a humiliation. It carries an insult, as well
as an injury. They can argue that this shouldn`t be any worse than this
for women, a woman out of work especially. But there`s a lot of history at
work here and it is.

I think the president would be better of if he were standing right
now at the foot of Capitol Hill demanding a big jobs bill, big in promise,
big employment, big in pride, to rebuild this country the way President
Eisenhower did in the 1950s. The trick is to do it now -- a huge job bill
that everyone understands that rebuilds roads and fixes bridges and gets
the trains moving fast like in today`s Europe and Asia, would get this
country moving again, literally. It would also put a lot of men to work.

Mr. President, please, a huge jobs bill. The Republicans would have
to say yes or no to it, that`s the ticket. If they say yes, you put 5
million people to work right now. If they you say no, you put them, the
Republicans out of work.

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

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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