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updated 9/6/2012 11:14:24 AM ET 2012-09-06T15:14:24

HARDBALL
September 5, 2012

Guests: Dee Dee Myers, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Donna Edwards, Edward Kennedy Jr., Patrick Kennedy, Darrell Hammond
buter
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL HOST: Elvis returns!

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews at the Democratic National
Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: "Let Me Start" tonight with the greatest politician of our
time -- Elvis, Bubba, the Big Dog. He goes by many names. He`s the guy
you want to hang with him. He`s the big brother you want to give your
eulogy. He`s the guy we miss, deeply miss, not just because of the
economic good times, but because of the good times Bill Clinton brings with
him.

In the words of the poet, he`s the "emperor of ice cream," the fellow
brimming with life even when others are down. He`s the Democratic Party`s
number one star, and yes, the once and future king because unlike Elvis, he
really could come back.

His wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, really could be the next
president, and the Big Dog might just be back in his bed upstairs at the
White House.

So tonight the Big Dog will give a big sell, but also, let`s be
honest, an even bigger tease. Democrats, get ready to rock. Bubba`s back
in town!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: The Big Dog`s going to bark! Elvis is about to be spotted
for real, right here on this stage in Charlotte, North Carolina!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Dee Dee Myers served as press secretary in the Clinton White House and
is a close personal friend. Steve Schmidt was the senior strategist for
the failed McCain-Palin campaign in 2008 -- not because of him. He`s also
an MSNBC political analyst.

Bill Clinton`s already been out there talking tonight. We have a clip
from "THE NIGHTLY NEWS." Let`s watch Bill Clinton this evening.

We don`t have it yet, even though, as advertised, we were going to
have it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... mystified by
that. I was honored when he asked me to nominate him. I hope what I can
do -- because we did have a good economy, because we did have the longest
expansion on history -- is explain why I think his approach is right and
it`ll pay off if we renew his contract, explain why the economy he faced
was much weaker and different than the one I faced, so that there`s no way
any president, no president, could have restored it to full health in just
four years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, Dee Dee, I love it when Bill Clinton, the former
president and your boss, puts those big hands out there, those big hands,
and he starts to explain. Tonight, is he going to explain the economic
situation we face today and how Obama`s going to get us out of it?

DEE DEE MYERS, FMR. CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He is. And
that`s what he said in that clip we just saw. I mean, one of the -- the
thing that Bill Clinton, I think, brings to this above all else is that for
20 years, he`s been out there talking to middle-class people and working-
class people about the realities of their lives. They know he isn`t just
talking because it`s an election year. He`s been talking the talk and
walking the walk for a generation. So they know he gets it. They know he
cares.

And he`s going to take that approachability, that accessibility, that
ability to explain what`s going on and why people should stick to the plan
we`re on. And he`s going to bestow that upon Obama. And that`s the
greatest gift that he can give. He`s going to give his 20 years of
credibility with the middle class in this country and he`s going to -- and
he`s going to allow Obama to rent it.

MATTHEWS: Why don`t we take a look now at the Bill Clinton TV ad for
President Obama. This is the main pitch we`ll hear, some version of this
tonight. Let`s take a look at it, TV ad running swing states right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: This election, to me, is about which candidate is more
likely to return us to full employment. This is a clear choice. The
Republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper-income people and
deregulation. That`s what got news trouble in the first place.

President Obama has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up,
investing in innovation and education and job training. It only works if
there is a strong middle class. That`s what happened when I was president.
We need to keep going with his plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Let`s go to Steve Schmidt. Steve, it seems to me that I`ve
never -- well, you -- you`re a political guy and you`re as smart as anybody
in this business. I mean, you`re really smart.

Let me ask you this. How did Bill Clinton come back from where he was
in `88, after giving that clinker of a speech down in Georgia on behalf of
Mike Dukakis, to coming back now? He`s at 69 percent in the national
Gallup poll, a 30-point jump from where he was when he left office.

He just keeps rising. We know his past. It seems irrelevant now, the
problems he got into. How did he do it? This the Lazarus stuff.

STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No,
it`s incredible. He was 42 years old in 1988. He went and delivered the
keynote address. When he finished, he said "In conclusion," and the whole
audience stood up and started cheering.

And the next night, you saw his charm, and I think it was on the
"Tonight" show, where he was able to go laugh about himself. And you just
realized that -- what a momentous talent he is.

And you know, his longevity on the scene -- you know, he`s speaking
tonight. If you love politics, you got to be excited about the speech
tonight. If you`re a baseball fan, you know, it`s like the opportunity to
see someone like Mickey Mantle play.

You know, it just -- it`s going to be a great speech tonight from, as
you said, the greatest politician of our era and also someone who`s the
most popular politician now in the United States, you know, somebody who
has endured, who`s come back. When he`s been knocked down, he`s gotten
back up, and people admire that.

And they look back, I think, to the `90s -- even a lot of Republicans
do -- with nostalgia. This was a time of peace and prosperity and good
times. And tonight, I think you`re going to see him in the role of
explainer-in-chief, trying to explain the disconnect between the promise of
four years ago and the reality. And there`s no one more effective at it
that the president could have asked to do this speech than he is.

MATTHEWS: Oliver Wendell Holmes -- I just came across this great
quote -- You can`t control events around you. You can`t control a lot in
your life. But if you have a great heart, you have tremendous confidence
in yourself, you can go through unbelievable stuff.

Bill Clinton`s gone through, let`s face it, impeachment. He`s gone
through Monica. He`s gone through Marc (ph) Rich and all that junk -- 30
points higher because he came back in and did the Clinton Global
Initiative. I called him in a recent documentary "president of the world."

This guy could get elected -- you take him to Norway, he`d probably
knock off the president there in the next election.

MYERS: Right.

MATTHEWS: Or Algeria.

MYERS: He`s the most popular political figure on the globe.

MATTHEWS: Well, I want to know how he does it, because you worked
with him, you worked on speeches with him, you worked on press problems.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. When does he think up this stuff?

MYERS: Well, he never stops, you know? He never stops thinking about
tomorrow. No, but he -- he really is a congenital optimist, is something
he`s called himself. He really does believe that it matters, policy
matters. He really believes that if you get up every day and you work
really hard and you put your shoulder to the wheel that you can make life
better for people.

And people have seen that commitment year after year after year after
year, when he didn`t have to do it, when he could have been out playing
golf, and instead, he`s traveling around the world, trying to communicate
how we can create an economy that serves all people.

MATTHEWS: But how does his mind work?

MYERS: People trust him now.

MATTHEWS: This is what I don`t know and you might know. In the midst
of his travails back in `98, when all the stuff was hitting the fan, he
walked out on the stage of the U.S. Congress, in the chamber of the United
States House, and gave an amazing, barn-burning State of the Union address.

MYERS: Right.

MATTHEWS: His mind was totally on the big stuff.

MYERS: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: How did he do that? How did he clear his head?

MYERS: Well, I suppose that`s -- that`ll be -- that`s a question for
the ages, right? It`s compartmentalization or whatever, or focus, his
ability to focus on the things that he cares about and the things that he
can control and the things that he thinks make a difference. It`s what
gets him out of bed excited every day.

And one of the things that struck me when I first met him was his
ability to bring people to his ideas and get them excited about the
possibility. And I think we`ll see that in the arena tonight, that it`s
still possible. I mean, he still is the man from Hope. He can still bring
people in, get them excited, get them fired up and send them out to do the
work.

MATTHEWS: Schmidtie (ph), let me ask you about the politics. It
seems to me if these two guys get together, as Secretary Clinton and
President Clinton have been at least formally, the Democratic Party`s
united. If he can get the white non-college people from southwestern
Pennsylvania, if he can get the people in Virginia, who may be a bit
conservative for Democrats, if he can bring them in, and with the liberals
and the mainstream Democrats, you`ve got a winning ticket.

Do you think Clinton can bring them in, the people that are holding
out right now on the president?

SCHMIDT: I think he`s going to make a powerful endorsement tonight.
It`s going to be a great speech. But at the end of the day, I always think
that the power of endorsements in campaigns, with very, very rare
exceptions, are overstated.

The election, at the end of the day, is going to be between the
president and Governor Romney, and we`ll have the three debates between
those two, and that`s going to be, in my view, the determinative -- the
determination -- you know, the determinative factor in the race.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s cut to the quick. It`s a week before the
election. These guys are 47-47. Right now, they`re about 47-47. You got
to get western Pennsylvania. You`re losing Pennsylvania or it`s too close
to call. Would you bring him in and travel around in an open car? Would
you have Bill Clinton standing next to you, or would you fear he would
upstage you? What would you do, Steve?

SCHMIDT: No, I`d plant him in Pennsylvania, you know, southern
Ohio...

MATTHEWS: New Hampshire.

SCHMIDT: ... you know, any of those states. And obviously, you know,
Bill Clinton had, you know, a great ability as a Democrat to appeal to
those white working-class voters that, you know, are an important part of
the swing, you know, vote in the election, including also suburban women,
where I think he has the ability to be very, very effective. But no...

MYERS: Now, I agree with Steve that endorsements have very short half
life. But what Bill Clinton I think is going to do tonight is make the
argument. And I think that argument could really resonate with the
president, with the surrogates that are going out around the country, with
the ads, with the whole package, tying it together and making that argument
that appeals to middle-class and working-class people.

MATTHEWS: By the way, you know Al Gore, right?

MYERS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Do you think Al Gore wished he had used Bill Clinton in
2000 in places like Tennessee, Arkansas, New Hampshire, states he could
have won, even Florida?

MYERS: You know, I mean, I think when you lose -- when you win the
election and somehow manage to lose it, right, there`s plenty of time for
second-guessing what you could have done differently. I mean, he did get
more votes. He could have used a few more. So I think he`s probably run
those things over in his mind. You know, it`s all Monday morning
quarterbacking.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s think about the future, then, not Monday
morning, next -- well, 2016.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton`s gotten great marks for being secretary of
state, has done nothing wrong, has gotten nothing but credit for what she`s
done, has been a good team player and a leader worldwide, and one of the
great worldwide leaders right now.

What do you think Bill Clinton would like her to do?

MYERS: I honestly think he wants her to take some time off. I think
he knows how tired she is, how hard she`s worked and what a great job she`s
done. She wants -- I think he wants to bring her into the foundation for
now, where she can focus on women and girls, something she`s passionate
about.

MATTHEWS: Right.

MYERS: When you see her talk about it, she lights up the room in the
world. And then if she should decide to take her also high 60 percent
approval rating out for a spin and run for president again, I think he`d be
100 percent behind her.

MATTHEWS: How many people here would like to see Hillary run for
president?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: How many would like to see Dee Dee Myers back as press
secretary?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you very much, Dee Dee Myers. Steve, you`re
a great guy on this, great analysis. Thank you very much for joining us.

Coming back live from Charlotte: Both parties talked about the
American dream, but did you catch the difference? There was a big
difference last night and last week. Let`s watch it. What did the dream
mean to both? (INAUDIBLE) starting a successful business focus (ph) to
what it meant for future generations. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: He believes that when you worked hard and
done well and walk through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it
shut behind you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: It wasn`t the only striking difference between the two
conventions. We`ll get into it in just a moment.

Plus, Ted Kennedy sadly wasn`t here last night, but his spirit was
certainly felt. Two of his children, Patrick and Ted, Jr., are going to be
right here in a couple of minutes.

Also, Bill Clinton will surely light up the hall tonight. Who better
to turn on the insight than the big man himself? We`ve got (ph) the actor
who studied him, played him, parodied him for 15 years on "Saturday Night
Live," Darrell Hammond, who inherits (ph) the soul of Bill Clinton.

And finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with the bark of the Big Dog.
You`re going to hear it tonight.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Last night, the Democrats were
fired up at the start of convention here in Charlotte. The whole field was
starkly different, I can tell you, from last week`s Republican business
meeting down in Tampa. San Antonio mayor Julian Castro gave the keynote,
in which he praised President Obama`s record and also went on the attack
against Romney.

Let`s take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN CASTRO (D), SAN ANTONIO MAYOR: Mitt Romney quite simply
doesn`t get it. A few months ago, he visited a university in Ohio and gave
students there a little entrepreneurial advice. Start a business, he said.
But how? Borrow money, if you have to, from your parents, he told them.

(LAUGHTER)

CASTRO: Gee, why didn`t I think of that?

I don`t think Governor Romney meant any harm. I think he`s a good
guy. He just has no idea how good he`s had it.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Unlike in Tampa, the speakers and the crowd out there --
here actually seem to like the candidate. Here was Massachusetts governor
Deval Patrick. I didn`t know he had it in him! This is one of the most
effective surrogates I`ve ever heard. They got to keep this guy on the
trail.

Here he is, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, defending
President Obama`s record.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It`s time for Democrats to
grow a backbone and stand up for what we believe!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

PATRICK: This is the president who delivered the security of
affordable health care to every single American in every corner of this
country after 90 years of trying!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

PATRICK: This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to
justice, who ended the war in Iraq, and is ending the war in Afghanistan!
This is the president who ended "Don`t ask, don`t tell" so that love of
country, not love of another, determines fitness for service, who made
equal pay for equal work the law of the land!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, last night, the -- they highlighted some major
differences between the parties. We`re going to get into them right now
with Donna Edwards, U.S. congresswoman from Maryland, and Gavin Newsom, the
lieutenant governor of California. Thank you so much.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

LT. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be here.

MATTHEWS: Let me just say as a student of politics -- you`re
politicians, I`m a student. Everybody who wants to go into politics should
read Deval Patrick`s speech, recite it a million times, and say, Is this
what I want to do for a living? Because that`s what politics is, selling,
getting out there and saying, This is what we stand for. This is what
we`ve done. We`re better than the other guy, got it? He was fantastic!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, and Chris, you know, not
apologizing for it. And so he put the record out there because so much of
what we heard during the Republican convention was just a bunch of nonsense
and it wasn`t true.

What Governor Deval Patrick did last night, as he said, Let`s talk
about what the real record is. And Democrats -- we`re proud of what we`ve
done. We`re not going to walk away from it.

NEWSOM: Yes, Chris, that was the most powerful thing. I think even
the reaction of the crowd just a moment ago -- standing up with strength of
character, principle, having the courage of your convictions resonates.

People want strength, and they don`t want people to necessarily
apologize for their points of view. So I agree with you 100 percent. By
the way, it does not surprise me because he`s effective all the time.
Deval`s been an amazing (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Oh, I know, but I never saw him do that street corner
oratory like that last night. That was out (ph) with a bullhorn. I loved
it!

EDWARDS: Well, you know what we saw. We saw so many people in the
Republican convention -- what they were doing, they were selling
themselves. They weren`t...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Did you notice, everybody gave 90 percent of their speech
to themselves.

NEWSOM: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: That big guy from Jersey, what`s his name, Christie...

CLINTON: Christie -- 37...

MATTHEWS: All he talked about was Christie! Anyway...

(BOOS)

MATTHEWS: I love the fact that your governor`s challenged him to a
pushup contest.

NEWSOM: Yes, no, he...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, as NBC`s "FIRST READ" blog pointed out this
morning, there was a big difference between how the two conventions talked
about the American dream. The message last week was focused on an American
dream to become an entrepreneur, a businessman. But speakers last night,
like Michelle Obama, the first lady, had a very different take.

Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Barack knows the American dream because
he`s lived it.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MICHELLE OBAMA: And he wants everyone in this country, everyone, to
have the same opportunity no matter what we are or where we`re from or what
we look like or who we love. And he believes that when you`ve worked hard
and done well and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not
slam it shut behind you.

No, you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that
helped you succeed!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the keynoter, Julian Castro of San Antonio, tied the
American dream to the immigrant experience and the role government plays in
providing opportunity.

Let`s watch him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN CASTRO (D), MAYOR OF SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: The American dream is
not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay.

Our families don`t always cross the finish line in the span of one
generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their
labor. My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people`s
houses so she could afford to rent her own.

But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate
from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead
of a mop, I could hold this microphone.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Congresswoman, I thought -- I said it last night and I will
keep saying because I learned something last night.

So much of us, so many of us whose families came, mine came over a
couple of generations from Ireland and the British Isles, and to us that
was the immigrant experience. I think that he made the point, the mayor
did last night, that the immigrant experience coming south to north is the
same thing. It may come from -- it is to get work. It is to find an
opportunity.

I thought he really did that incredibly well.

EDWARDS: Well, I think between Mayor Castro and the first lady, what
you heard is a dream that every parent and grandparent shares for their
children.

And I think that they laid that out there in a way that says that we
are connected as communities and as human beings and that our experiences
may be slightly different, but they are not all that different.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

Did you get -- were you struck by the fact that it is not just black
people but brown people, by Hispanic people, who were affected very
directly by the Civil Rights Act? Those people were discriminated against
as well?

EDWARDS: Absolutely. And then what you could hear from that is the
connectedness between all of our experiences. And what he said is that as
a brown person, what she said is as a black person, guess what. We shared
some stuff.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

EDWARDS: You could hear it.

MATTHEWS: It was a great thing.

EDWARDS: It was powerful.

MATTHEWS: Governor?

NEWSOM: It`s evocative of the best...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: And, by the way, lot of kudos to you for your work for
marriage equality last night. I think every speaker, every speaker,
including the first lady, made a big case for marriage equality.

NEWSOM: No, I appreciate it. Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

NEWSOM: And back to the point, when you stand on principle, when you
have the courage of your convictions, and that went nicely with Governor
Patrick.

But I was reminded, I think those two speeches connected me to the
best of Dr. King, said we are all bound together by a web, a mutuality. We
are all in this together. The notion of commonwealth was alive and well
last night.

MATTHEWS: That`s right.

One thing missing from both Governor Romney`s and Congressman Paul
Ryan`s speeches last week was any mention of the wars the country is
actually fighting now. That`s something Tammy Duckworth, a war hero
herself, brought up last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: When it comes
to our men and women in harm`s way, we have a clear choice on November 6.

Last week, Mitt Romney had a chance to show his support for the brave
men and women he`s seeking to command. But he chose to criticize President
Obama, instead of even uttering the word Afghanistan. Barack Obama will
never ignore our troops. He will fight for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Governor, why do the neocons, the hawks always want to talk
about fresh wars, and never talk about the wars we are still fighting with
all the horror that comes with them?

NEWSOM: Yes. For obvious point. They are messy, and they`re
complicated. It is easy to start something and it`s difficult to follow
through.

The irony of this, they get us in both these wars., and it is
President Obama that has been cleaning up this mess and it is this
convention and the conventioneers that are doing everything that needs to
be done to get us out of these wars in a safe and responsible way.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Congresswoman?

EDWARDS: Well, and you know...

MATTHEWS: No mention of Afghanistan.

EDWARDS: No mention.

I come from a military family. So what I see what President Obama has
done and particularly the first lady with our military families and our
service men and women, we can`t ignore them. And, so, you know, to talk
about starting new wars, but not even mention the honorable service that`s
going on right now and the kind of sacrifice that`s going on in this
country, no one should be president...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I think I know why they didn`t do it, because they are
trying to sell a new one.

Anyway, one thing was clear last night. The Democrats decided they
weren`t going to run away from Obamacare anymore. In fact, they called it
Obamacare. Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and education --
health and human services -- that was the old name -- said Democrats should
wear the nickname of Obamacare like badge of honor.

And one of the most emotional speeches came from Stacey Lihn, a mother
of a child with heart problems, who had some strong words on the law.
Let`s watch her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STACEY LIHN, HEALTH REFORM ADVOCATE: If Mitt Romney becomes
president, and Obamacare is repealed, there`s a good chance she will hit
her lifetime cap.

There is no way we can afford to pay for all of the care she needs to
survive. When you have a sick child, it is always in the back of your mind
and sometimes in the front of your mind.

On top of that, worrying that people would let an insurance company
take away her health care just because of politics, one in 100 children are
born with a congenital heart defect. President Obama is fighting for them.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Congresswoman, I loved it because the Republican ad
campaign has been trying to suggest that Obamacare is some plan to skim
from the middle-class retirees in Medicare and give it to poor people.

We have a poor person`s program. It is called Medicare.

EDWARDS: Right.

MATTHEWS: This is different. This is called insurance for people
that have real health crises.

EDWARDS: It is, Chris. And it is an anchor. It is what middle-class
families need.

And it is what Stacey Lihn said that she needed for her family. And
the Republicans want to take that away?

MATTHEWS: They only have one shot. It`s called November.

EDWARDS: It`s not happening.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you very much, U.S. Congresswoman Donna
Edwards, who I have always supported, anyway, and Gavin Newsom, lieutenant
governor of California.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Up next, more from Charlotte and our coverage of the
Democratic National Convention down here.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. OBAMA: I have seen firsthand that being president doesn`t change
who you are. No, it reveals who you are. I have seen how the issues that
come across a president`s desk are always the hard ones, the problems where
no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Well, here we are.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Here we are at halftime again. We are going to hear from
these people. And I just want to hear what they are thinking and feeling
right now.

I`m not -- no question, ma`am. What are you thinking and feeling?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to make sure that the president is
reelected. That`s what I`m thinking about.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And taking my energy back to Florida.

MATTHEWS: OK. Good work. You will need it down there.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m feeling very excited. The Democratic
Convention is representative of America and it was representative of the
values that the Democratic Party holds from congressional -- Georgia`s 8th
Congressional District. Warner Robins (INAUDIBLE) Georgia!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m from Conway, South Carolina. I`m feeling
very good, very optimistic about President Obama`s reelection. We are very
excited in South Carolina.

MATTHEWS: Sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m really excited to vote for President Obama for
four more years because he`s earned my vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Judy Patel (ph) from Columbia, South Carolina.
And I`m excited to be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) from South Carolina. I`m here for
Obama.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: OK. Say something else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to Charlotte. I`m an independent voter.

MATTHEWS: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Whoa. We have found one of those independents.

You are one of 6 percent of American people. What will it decide for
you, the debates? When are you going to make up your mind, when you are in
booth? On the way in the booth? Or during the debates?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No, I have made up my mind.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Who are you for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m for Obama because I trust him.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: I misread you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m concerned about future of our country, for
my daughter and her family and my son and his wife and our granddaughter.
And we just cannot go backwards. And that`s what the Republicans are
pushing.

MATTHEWS: I have to ask this guy in the Carolina sweatshirt what he
thinks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, we are from Atlanta representing as well.
We`re glad to...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Where did you get that sweatshirt, School of Journalism?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chapel Hill.

MATTHEWS: You know how many famous journalists came out of Chapel
Hill?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chapel Hill. That`s right, my daughter and my
wife included.

MATTHEWS: Thomas Wolfe went there, all these amazing writers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.

MATTHEWS: I went there.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wanted to say, how could -- how could I
vote for a president who wants to see my birth certificate and doesn`t want
me to see his taxes?

MATTHEWS: Oh, God.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: That`s pretty good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fort Myers, Florida. We are here because we are
going to do our part to support the president.

MATTHEWS: OK. Great. We have got to wrap right now. I got the
instructions. We will be right back with more HARDBALL with Darrell
Hammond.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC
"Market Wrap."

The Dow gains 11.5 points. The S&P is off by one-and-a-half points.
And the Nasdaq falls by six points. FedEx shares slipped 2 percent after
the company cut its first-quarter forecast, blaming the weak global
economy. Facebook rose nearly 5 percent after the CEO Mark Zuckerberg said
that he has no plans to sell shares for at least a year. And applications
for home loans fell last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers
Association.

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

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Last night`s convention included a tribute to the late Senator Edward
Kennedy that reinforced what a powerful presence he still is in the
Democratic Party. Here is part of that emotional video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The best way to find out
about what a party will do is what it has done. We were the ones that
brought higher education, the Medicare programs, the Medicaid programs,
knocked down the walls of discrimination. We brought a sound economy, a
sensible foreign policy. Those are the essential values of the Democratic
Party, aren`t they?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: I love this country. I believe in the bright
light of hope and possibility. I always have, even in the darkest hours.
I know what America can achieve. I have seen it. I have lived it. And
with Barack Obama, we can do it again.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: And joining us right now are Ted Kennedy`s two sons, former
U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, and Ted Kennedy Jr. of
the great state of Connecticut, which may see more of him.

Let me...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Yes, of course.

You were -- you were watching last night and you were watching the
hall. You were in it. What was your reaction to watching the reaction?

EDWARD KENNEDY JR., SON OF SENATOR TED KENNEDY: Well, I never have
been more proud of my father than I was in the hall last night, because,
you know, he was a guy who every four years came to the Democratic
Convention, reminded us all why we were Democrats and reaffirmed why he was
in public service.

You know, there wasn`t a guy who worked harder, who was more committed
to fairness, to the underdog. And he would come here every four years and
get recharged by all of his friends across the country.

MATTHEWS: Patrick, my friend, you know, it seems like everybody --
forget the big-picture Ted Kennedy, the great legislator. And I said last
night that your uncle Jack could have picked him as one of the greatest
senators of history if he had been able to look forward back in the `50s.

His personal thing he would do for people, the phone calls, talk about
that, because you were the son, and you must have wondered, how does this
guy have so much time to make all these phone calls to people, for anything
in trouble?

PATRICK KENNEDY (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, Teddy and I have
been trying to make it through lobbies in this convention town, and there
isn`t a place where we go where people don`t stop us and tell us about what
our father men to them in their personal lives.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

P. KENNEDY: And, last night, Michelle Obama talked about how all
politics is personal.

My dad understood that. My brother, Teddy, when he faced a life-
threatening illness and lost his leg to cancer, said it is not enough that
we provide health care, if it doesn`t save people from being bankrupted
because of health care costs.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

P. KENNEDY: So, you know, that`s why my dad fought for health care,
just like last night, Michelle Obama talking about her father with M.S.

That`s why this president needs to be reelected, because he represents
what average American families are facing on a daily basis.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: I was wondering why health care -- and I thought back,
having studied your family a bit, your uncle Jack, the president, had a
terrible back problem his whole life and he had stomach problems his whole
life.

And your dad of course had the plane accident and almost was killed
and his back, you could see the brace. You knew the pain he was in. Is it
-- and it was Rosemary, your aunt who had the mental problems.

And is this why your family has been so devoted to health care, the
Special Olympics? Is this personal experience?

EDWARD KENNEDY JR.: I think it is.

I think that my father was -- had incredible capacity for empathy,
just like this president does. He -- he -- I think it was, you know,
having a sister with an intellectual disability sensitized him to the
vulnerability in all human beings.

MATTHEWS: Right.

EDWARD KENNEDY JR.: And that`s the exactly the way that -- the reason
why this president is going to be reelected is because he has the same
sensibility. He can connect with people in a very intimate and authentic
way. And that`s what is ultimately going to decide this race.

MATTHEWS: Caroline, your cousin, is going to speak tomorrow night at
the convention hall. Everybody is going to watch that.

There was a wonderful story about generations. And this is very much
an American story, where the kids -- at my age, I call them kids -- in
their 20s....

EDWARD KENNEDY JR.: Yes.

MATTHEWS: ... went to their parents and said, you know, this new guy
on the block, Obama, may have a strange name for most of you, but this is
the future. We got to go with him.

Was that true in your families? The younger people tended to be more
-- how did it break out for Obama?

P. KENNEDY: Well, I think that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I know you had some Hillary action in the family.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I know that

P. KENNEDY: My father -- obviously I have great affection for Hillary, and
President Clinton. But recognize the historic moment in this country.
Fifty years after his brother was the first president to speak about the
moral issue of civil rights, my father was the one to stand in that arc of
history, Chris, that you talk about and be there for the first African-
American president elected in this country`s history.

(APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: You know, when my family -- my son Michael said something
I had never thought of before despite noticing your family what it has
done. Jack Kennedy, President Kennedy, took a segregationist party and
turned it into a civil rights party in one presidency. That`s pretty
stunning.

EDWARD KENNEDY JR., SEN. TED KENNEDY`S SON: It wasn`t hard to do. I
mean, it wasn`t easy to do, as you know. But you are right. I think the
reason why my uncles and my father, they were all incredible individuals,
but the reason why we are still talking about President Kennedy and Robert
F. Kennedy and why we are still going to be talking about Barack Obama,
years from now, is because what they stood for. Not just who they were.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about being a son of Ted Kennedy which to
most of us unimaginable. I`m one of the unimaginable because I can`t
imagine what it is like to have -- my father who was great but to be an
historic figure like Ted Kennedy and had so much impact on people
personally and collectively. What do you feel when you hear him talk about
in the past tense by people that never knew him personally?

E. KENNEDY: Well, you know, I have -- I love my father so much. I
have -- he was my hero. Tremendous amount of respect, even every passing
day, understanding and learning more and more about the multitude of issues
that he was involved with. He was able to balance his public life and his
dedication to his family.

And remember, Chris, it wasn`t -- he was not was just father to me,
and my brother and my late sister. He was a father to all of us in our
family. And that was quite a responsibility. And he took that very, very
seriously. And he was loved by everybody in my family who called him Uncle
Teddy.

So, you know, I always wondered how I would feel after my father died
-- when people would come up to me, as Patrick said in the hallways, talk a
b a story. I didn`t know whether if I would wistful and bring on
melancholy, et cetera, but you know what, I -- I love hearing these stories
about how -- ways in which my father, you know, helped individual people.
And that`s something that I feel enormous amount of pride about.

MATTHEWS: Your feeling when you hear -- the rest of your life,
you`re going to hear it.

P. KENNEDY: Well, I had the great honor of serving with my father
and in addition to calling him dad.

MATTHEWS: Of course, in Congress.

P. KENNEDY: I was a colleague of his. And we both sponsored --

MATTHEWS: Did you vote pretty much the same way?

P. KENNEDY: We did. And we sponsored the Mental Health Parity and
Addiction Equity Act, just before the health care bill. This was did
health care law that we both sponsored together. And as you know, Chris,
it`s a civil rights issue to make sure people with mental illnesses and
addictions do get segregated really from the health care system because we
don`t treat mental health as overall health.

MATTHEWS: Great. Keep working at it.

P. KENNEDY: We will. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Patrick, thank you. Thank you.

E. KENNEDY: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Up next, no one studied Bill Clinton more than the man
that played him so famously in those great nights in "Saturday Night Live."
The great, incredible Darrell Hammond is coming here.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: I asked for this next guest for months, and fortunately we
got him. As we wait for former President Bill Clinton`s convention speech
tonight, the speculation over what he will say is building. Who better to
crawl inside the big dog`s head with us than former "Saturday Night Live"
cast member Darrell Hammond who frequently channeled the former president.

We also have Gene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning genius from "The
Washington Post," who followed Clinton throughout his presidency. He`s, of
course, an MSNBC political analyst.

Well, here you are, Darrell Hammond actually speaking in front of
Bill Clinton at the 1997 radio and TV correspondents dinner. Let`s watch
you and the other guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DARRELL HAMMOND, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Mr. President, have a seat.

Typically when I come in to mop up at the end of an event like this,
I`ll just finish reading from some prepared text and say things like -- we
must find common ground.

We`re going to build a bridge to the 24th century.

I`ll have to refer you to Lanny Davis on that one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Darrell, you are amazing. You have this thing about
Clinton and biting the lip and that thing he does. What else he does?
Like closing the mouth --

HAMMOND: Well -- yes. I mean, I never actually saw him bite the
lips and do the thumb at the same time. But we did it one night at "SNL"
and it clicked and we did it 85 more times.

MATTHEWS: What`s going on? Is Bill Clinton -- when you think about
him inside, is he like sort of a really big kid? What is he?

HAMMOND: Why a really big kid?

MATTHEWS: Well, because he seems to enjoy every second like he`s got
new toys.

HAMMOND: Because he --

MATTHEWS: It is always a new toy he has been handed, that minute.

HAMMOND: Yes. He loves being the president, yes. He loves being
Bill Clinton. What is he doing now? Scribbling. It is not going -- you
and I know it is not going to be written completely. He is going to say
something that`s not on paper anywhere when he is out there.

MATTHEWS: He walked into Mrs. Martin Luther King`s funeral and he
walked in and saw the casket, Gene. What did he say? He said there`s a
woman in there.

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: There is a woman in there.

MATTHEWS: Where did that come from?

ROBINSON: You and I were on the air that day. We watched him
extemporized this speech that was just incredible. Best speech of that
funeral, the best eulogy.

MATTHEWS: And he beat all the black ministers that do this regularly
and he was better than them.

HAMMOND: Yes. I mean, he`ll say something like there`s nothing wrong
with America. That can`t be fixed by what is right in America. And that
won`t be on paper anymore. He`ll just think of it while he`s out there.

MATTHEWS: Tonight is he thinking about Hillary? Is he thinking
about Obama? Is he thinking about how needy Obama is right now for him?
What does he like -- he loves -- he seems he`s at his best with Columbine,
when something really bad happens and he comes along like the big brother.

HAMMOND: The bedside vigil.

MATTHEWS: Yes, the big brother.

HAMMOND: Yes. Well, he`s at his best then. I -- he`s one of the
most selfless performers I`ve ever seen. I think he`s going to try to make
the president look really good.

ROBINSON: He`s very -- he`s tactical and strategic in the way he
speaks too. I think he realizes the big picture of tonight. What his job
is. And I think he`ll do it. And probably knock it out of the park.

He`s an optimistic guy, isn`t he? He can never live through a bad
day without thinking that tomorrow was going to be a better day.

HAMMOND: I`ve often wondered if he even understands negativity on a
basic level. I don`t think he does.

MATTHEWS: Here you are playing Bill Clinton on "Saturday Night Live"
after George W. Bush`s inauguration. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMOND: Good evening, my fellow Americans. Tonight I am coming to
you as citizen Bill Clinton. As you know, earlier today, George W. Bush
was sworn into office and now he is your president. For a majority of us,
that`s a hard pill to swallow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

ROBINSON: You know, there`s somebody else whose voice you did pretty
well. Some guy.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s watch that. Let`s see Darrell Hammond playing
somebody I know and really love. Here he is. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMOND: Madam Secretary, the administration is chastising
"Newsweek" for printing a story which relied on faulty information. Now,
you claim they`re investigating the Saddam Hussein cheesecake photos.

I ask you is the administration losing control faster than Billy Joel
behind the wheel after a 10 martini lunch?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Ha!

Well, anyway, Darrell Hammond, who`s done presidents and people like
me even, you know? You did a great Cheney. His name is Cheney, is not
Cheney. Can you do me a Cheney?

HAMMOND: Doing what?

MATTHEWS: You starting a war.

HAMMOND: Oh, stop it.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: How about the misery of ending a war?

HAMMOND: No. No, no, no.

MATTHEWS: OK, no. What are you doing out there? Give us some Bill.
Bill Clinton.

HAMMOND: Bill Clinton?

MATTHEWS: Yes. Tonight, give us a preview.

HAMMOND: I can hardly hear you, sir.

MATTHEWS: Give us a preview of tonight.

HAMMOND: Of what he would do?

ROBINSON: Yes.

HAMMOND: He would say -- there`s nothing wrong with America. It
cannot be fixed by what is right with America. I swear to God.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBINSON: And I`m curious as to whether Donald Trump is watching
this at home. Do you think? Do you think?

MATTHEWS: Trump, he`s dying to be here.

HAMMOND: Yes.

MATTHEWS: What is it about Trump and the hair? Have you figured it
out?

HAMMOND: I don`t know. We used to call it the onion loaf. And it
didn`t seem to bother him at all.

MATTHEWS: The onion loaf?

HAMMOND: Yes. Like my hair is an onion loaf. It`s the onion loaf.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Do you say huge the way he says it.

HAMMOND: Huge!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: One more time. Huge.

HAMMOND: Huge!

MATTHEWS: OK. That`s enough. Darrell Hammond is coming back at
midnight. We`re going to be here having fun after everything. You`re
going to do Bill Clinton tonight after Bill Clinton.

Eugene Robinson, good sport.

When we return, let me finish with a look ahead to bill Clinton
taking the stage and what it could be for this convention.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with is:

Written circuses -- that`s what politics has been about from the days
of the Romans, a good economy and a good show, yes? Good times and a
spectacle, an irresistible event. Christians against the lions out there,
in the middle of the Colosseum.

Well, the big arena tonight will be there with lots of food waiting a
for the table back home. That`s the goal. Tonight, the Democrats put on
the best show they`ve had in years. Bill Clinton walks on the stage in the
Democratic National Convention and does what he does better than anyone
I`ve ever seen. He will speak to the moment, he will know the mood of the
room even as he enters it. He will address that mood like the aroma that
comes with the morning coffee. He will be there and thousands of others
will be there and feel him there just for them.

Bill Clinton will go one on one with everyone watching and listening.
He will resemble nothing so much as one of those plastic Santa Claus masks
that seems to follow you with your eyes. Seem to be looking at you, you,
not anyone else.

As I said up front tonight, he goes by many names -- Elvis, Bubba,
the big dog. And tonight, he will be all of that. Most important of all,
he will be there, he will be out there for Barack Obama. And that will
make all the difference, all the difference in the world.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. I`ll be back
in one hour with Rachel Maddow and my MSNBC colleagues for complete
coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
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