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updated 9/7/2012 10:42:48 AM ET 2012-09-07T14:42:48

HARDBALL
September 6, 2012

Guests: Sen. Chuck Schumer, Robert Wolf

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL HOST: Finest hour.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Charlotte. "Let
Me Start" with what it`s like here. It`s fun. And you know why? Because
the people here want Obama to be president. They`re not here because they
have to be. This isn`t like Tampa was last week, some business convention
they had to show up at. No, nothing like that. It`s been fun here in
Charlotte.

And the only thing that bothers people is the feeling that it`s going
to end, that they can`t just stay here until the weather changes and we get
to enjoy the beautiful Carolina autumn.

But the people here also know they`ve got a real challenge ahead.
These next two months will test their commitment. Getting out a strong
historic vote, a bombastic (ph) vote of confidence, will take a monumental
enterprise, and the exuberance and excitement and inspiration of this week
in North Carolina can only help.

The question I have is whether the people running the Obama campaign
got the real message of Charlotte. It is the tremendous power they enjoy
in these political voices we`ve heard here -- Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor Julian Castro, Michelle Obama, and most potently, Bill
Clinton.

If they send these people home, the Obama people are blowing a golden
opportunity. If they equip them, commission them, engage with them and
send them on the road, they will have a team of confederates that will
constitute the greatest partisan cavalry charge in history.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is Eugene -- Eugene -- Eugene Robinson
of "The Washington Post," Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, and the
indefatigable Steve Schmidt, who stays true to his party surrounded by all
kinds of hostile forces. Thank you, Steve Schmidt.

I want to start with Gene, and then to Steve quickly. What has to be
different in the president`s speech tonight, which we`re told is going to
be relatively brief, compared to the great speech he gave in 2004 and then
again in 2008?

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I
don`t think he can be just -- just poetry. I don`t think it can be just
hope and change, for obvious reasons. So I think it has to be more
specific than that. I do think it has to be forward-looking. I don`t
think a whole lot of "This is the mess George Bush left us in" is going to
play right now. I don`t think that`s -- this is the time for that.

Bill Clinton laid out the lawyer`s brief last night as to --

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROBINSON: -- as to -- as to where we have been and where we are
now. I think President Obama has to tell us where he`s going to take us in
the next four years.

MATTHEWS: Steve, your sense? My sense is it has to be like a booster
shot. You know, you had your first shot as a kid, you go back for the
booster. The booster hurts a little, but you know it`s going to last
longer. And that`s my thinking about this kind of address and the whole
week here. It`s got to be real. It`s got to hurt a little bit because
it`s about how tough it`s been, but it`s got to be hopeful. Your thoughts
as a pro.

STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: This
convention reminds me at this stage an awful lot of President Bush`s
convention in 2004. And President Bush came out on that Thursday night in
2004 and he outlined a vision for the future, a plan going forward.

And I think that`s what the president`s got to do tonight. Can`t be
about lofty rhetoric. Can`t be the same speeches that he`s given over the
last couple of years. He`s fundamentally got to project a vision about
what is the plan to turn the country around.

And I think that he`s going to benefit by actually being inside
tonight, as opposed to being in the stadium, which would be so reminiscent
of four years ago.

MATTHEWS: Interesting. Well, President Obama got a huge assist last
night, of course, from former president Bill Clinton. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama
started with a much weaker economy than I did. Listen to me now. No
president -- no president -- not me, not any of my predecessors -- no one
could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: If you will renew the president`s contract, you will feel
it. You will feel it!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, in "The National Journal" today, Ron Fournier wrote
that President Clinton played hardball for the president last night.
Quote, "Clinton branded the GOP as extremist and obstructionist and
hateful. And he took the central question of Mitt Romney`s campaign, Are
you better off than you were four years ago, and turned it on its head."

Well, this morning David Axelrod of the Obama campaign expanded on the
one-two strategy of last night and tonight. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: He played the role we
wanted him to play, which was to talk about where we`ve been, how his
policies affected the country, Republican policies, and President Obama`s
policies and where we`re going from here. He set up that choice.

So now the president can talk about the future, having cleared some of
that underbrush out of the way.

First of all, I think what you`re going to hear the president talk
about tonight is where we need to go and the things we need to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Gene Robinson, what do you think of that, the coach
explaining the signals during the game? I don`t quite get it.

ROBINSON: I hear that, and I say strategy-shmategy.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBINSON: Look, Bill Clinton made up half that speech on the fly. I
mean, you know, literally. I mean, half the speech was extemporized.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: -- the idea -- you know, God bless him, I love David
Axelrod, but the idea that anybody told Bill Clinton what to say and how to
say it, I`m not buying. But that is effectively what he did. It doesn`t
change what the president has to do.

MATTHEWS: Steve Schmidt, you`re on the other side from this crowd in
terms of politics, and you`ll get booed no matter what you say unless you
say something really smart, really smart. So that`s your standard out here
tonight.

It seems to me that we`ve got to hear a lot less from the back room
boys like Axelrod and a lot more from the front parlor boys like Governor
Deval Patrick and Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton.

Why do they keep putting on television their back room people to talk
about their secret strategy? Why don`t they put on people to build the
case with the middle, that 6 percent still trying to make up their minds?
Why is this campaign doing this again this morning?

SCHMIDT: Well, so far, Chris, in this campaign, you know, the Obama
campaign staff have been by far the best surrogates that the president has
had. You haven`t seen that --

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a problem, isn`t it.

SCHMIDT: You haven`t seen this before this week. And in fact, he`s
not been particularly well served by the people that have gone out --

MATTHEWS: Oh, OK --

SCHMIDT: -- from elective office --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me -- let me fight with you.

SCHMIDT: Cory -- Cory -- Cory --

MATTHEWS: Why doesn`t he bring in --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Look, why doesn`t he bring in --

SCHMIDT: -- Governor O`Malley, Cory Booker. You know, you didn`t
see until this week people step up and really hit it out of the park for
him.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK, that`s half the thing. What about bringing in
these really good surrogates like the mayor of San Antonio and the governor
of Massachusetts and the first lady and Bill Clinton? Once a week, sit
down with them. The president tells them what he`s trying to get them to
get across, and then send them out like a cavalry charge. Why doesn`t he
do that?

SCHMIDT: No, he should -- listen, he should do that. My point is we
haven`t seen before this week really effective surrogates who hold elective
office --

MATTHEWS: I agree.

SCHMIDT: -- doing that out on the president`s behalf.

MATTHEWS: Whose fault is that? Whose fault is that?

SCHMIDT: Well, you know, I think that in 2004, I was in a campaign,
in the Bush campaign, where we had a great surrogate batch. In 2008, it
was a lot harder. I don`t think it`s anybody`s fault per se. But I do
think that after some of the speakers that we`ve seen, they have a
tremendous opportunity --

MATTHEWS: I agree. We agree on that.

SCHMIDT: -- to put some of these folks out around the country
because they did a great job for them.

MATTHEWS: What do you think, Gene, whose fault is it, the guys who
didn`t send them out, the ones who didn`t do a good job speaking for the
president, like Mayor Booker, and of course, I thought Governor O`Malley
the other day not having quite the record (ph)?

ROBINSON: That could be the point that this convention marks because
Steve is right, to this point, a lot of the Democrats have been if not
wary, then at least not willing to really take the plunge, I mean, to
really go out there for President Obama. They certainly are at this
convention. I think you can predict that they will be going forward. And
if that`s the case, then this marks not just a good convention but a
turning point in the campaign.

MATTHEWS: Let`s watch how good they were, to know what I`m talking
about. What I`m saying, Steve, is they do have talent on that bench. They
ought to put them in the game. For months, the president has been waging a
lonely fight without any real confederates. Paid staffers go on shows to
defend their boss. That`s not the same as other politicians taking his
message to their own constituencies.

If this convention succeeded at one big thing, it showed this problem
can be fixed. Let`s watch the Democratic surrogates, the confederates, in
action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama has
also lived up to his responsibilities as commander-in-chief -- ending the
war in Iraq, refocusing on Afghanistan, and eradicating terrorist leaders,
including bin Laden.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO MAYOR: Where Mitt Romney was willing to
turn his back on Akron, Dayton and Toledo, Ohio, the president said, I`ve
got your back.

ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), SENATE CANDIDATE: President Obama believes
in a country where billionaires pay their taxes just like their secretaries
do --

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

WARREN: -- and I can`t believe I have to say this in 2012 -- a
country where women get equal pay for equal work.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: 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! 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!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, it`s like a football team when you`ve got this
fourth string quarterback, and all of a sudden, he comes out and starts
throwing touchdowns!

ROBINSON: Really!

MATTHEWS: Why has he been on the bench, is my question, Deval
Patrick?

ROBINSON: I`ve heard Deval Patrick speak before, but the other night,
I`ve never heard him like that. They need to send him out every day.

MATTHEWS: OK, Steve, from the other side, would you think it`s smart
to put these grown-ups out there in the field and let the staffers do the
plotting in the back room? Just a thought.

SCHMIDT: Yes. Look, you know, I think that there`s a number of
people who`ve been seen by tens of millions of people who were really,
really good. In fact, I think that`s true of both parties. But you know,
specifically --

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes? Who was good on your side?

SCHMIDT: Oh, I think Marco Rubio was fantastic on our side --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHMIDT: -- Susana Martinez was fantastic on our side.

MATTHEWS: Rubio was good.

SCHMIDT: Condoleezza Rice --

MATTHEWS: Rubio was good. You nailed my favorites! Condoleezza Rice
was great and Rubio was great. Who was the other one you liked?

ROBINSON: Susana Martinez.

SCHMIDT: I liked Susana Martinez.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SCHMIDT: I thought a star was born with her. She was fantastic.

MATTHEWS: Yes, a lot of people liked her. Hey, you`re a smart guy,
Steve. I noticed you skipped your nominee for president!

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SCHMIDT: You`re unbelievable!

MATTHEWS: Anyway (INAUDIBLE) just kidding. So let`s talk about the
jobs report tomorrow morning. We`ve got an economic report tomorrow. How
important will that be? The president speaks, he`s done by 11:00. The
report comes out by 8:00 tomorrow morning. How important will it be?

ROBINSON: It`s always a big deal and it`s a bigger -- it`s -- it`s --
(INAUDIBLE) the prediction is for a good number. So if it`s just a kind of
good number, then that becomes a disappointment. It`s an important thing.

MATTHEWS: Steve, how important is the unemployment number tomorrow
morning?

SCHMIDT: I think it`s a huge deal. I remember distinctly eight years
ago, as we were at the Republican convention, we had the jobs number coming
out that day after the president`s speech. It was 144,000 new jobs
created. It exceeded expectations, and it really helped fuel a bump.

I think that the Democrats could not so far -- and I think the
president will do a good job tonight. They couldn`t have had a better
convention so far, but the verdict`s going to come in over the next couple
of days. Did they get a bump? Is he able to move ahead a couple of
points? We`ll see the answer, and the jobs number I think is going to play
a part in that.

MATTHEWS: OK, Schmidtie (ph), thanks for coming on. You always speak
the truth. Thank you, Gene Robinson and Steve Schmidt.

Coming up live from Charlotte: The vice president is the other big
speaker tonight. Here`s what the White House is hoping Joe Biden will do:
reach out to blue-collar voters and independents and help convince them the
president deserves another four years. Will Biden stick to the script?
Well, we`ll see. Senator Chuck Schumer joins us in a minute to discuss and
preview that speech tonight.

Plus, Bill Clinton blew the roof off this place last night with a
masterful speech we`ll be talking about for a long time, perhaps even
through 2016. No point trying to dampen the speculation. The buzz about
Hillary 2016 is only growing louder after yesterday.

Also, President Obama has had a rocky relation with the business
world. Could Clinton help give him some advice on that, perhaps mend some
fences?

"Let Me Finish" tonight with the difference between the two political
parties in 2012.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Tonight, it`s Vice President Joe Biden`s
turn in the spotlight. He`s been a strong behind-the-scenes player in this
White House with a broad portfolio of responsibilities. Former president
Bill Clinton sung his praises last night. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: He appointed a vice president who ran against him in 2008,
and he trusted that vice president to oversee the successful end to the war
in Iraq and the implementation of the Recovery Act. And Joe Biden -- Joe
Biden did a great job with both!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I think Joe was verklempt there for a moment or so.
Anyway, tonight, Biden makes his case for four more years.

Joining me right now is New York Senator Charles Schumer and the
HuffingtonPost`s Howard Fineman.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Howard, of course (INAUDIBLE) You know, Biden -- you worked
with him for all those years in the Senate. Tell us about the real Joe
Biden, not the guy that "Saturday Night Live" loves to destroy.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The real Joe Biden -- he`s the real
deal. He`s a kind person. He`s a decent person. And best of all, when he
was in the Senate, there were maybe four or five senators who instinctively
knew how to talk to average people without thinking about it. That`s in
his bones. That`s who he is. That`s who he -- what he believes in. And
there`s no pretense about him. He was popular in the Senate because he was
the real deal.

MATTHEWS: Howard?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Yes, well, I watch the club from the outside, and that`s absolutely right.
You can tell who`s liked and who`s not, who`s trusted and who`s not. And
Joe Biden was trusted. He`s the guy who always took the train from
Washington back up to Wilmington.

MATTHEWS: Because?

FINEMAN: Because that`s where he lived --

MATTHEWS: And because his two kids were orphaned.

FINEMAN: His kids were orphaned. His first wife died in a tragic
accident. He`s the kind of guy who liked to ride the train, who liked to
talk to people on the train.

SCHUMER: Right.

FINEMAN: His dad was a car dealer. He`s an average guy. He went to
state schools. He knows how to speak the real language.

He is -- you know "The Onion" newspaper, the humor newspaper? They`ve
got a guy they call Onion Joe Biden, and he`s a guy with tattoos and a
muscle T who`s always polishing his Pontiac. And that`s an exaggeration,
but on the other hand, that`s who Joe Biden is.

And the other thing about Joe Biden, though, is that -- and I think
the senator will agree with me -- he was one of the best-informed, most
detail-focused guys.

SCHUMER: Right.

FINEMAN: He was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, chairman
of the Judiciary Committee. This is not just a show horse by any means.
This is a guy --

MATTHEWS: It helps if you`re 29 years old when you get elected to the
Senate!

FINEMAN: Well, yes, but --

SCHUMER: True.

FINEMAN: -- but -- but he`s a -- he`s a -- he`s a -- he`s was a
serious senator and legislator, which is the other reason why people such
as Senator Schumer respected him.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, I understand --

SCHUMER: And when he -- you know, when he walked that train and
talked to people every night, it`s because he liked to do it.

FINEMAN: Yes.

SCHUMER: There`s no TV, no cameras, no anything.

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

SCHUMER: He`s a people person.

MATTHEWS: Here`s Joe Biden giving his salute to the working people at
a campaign rally in Detroit this week. Let`s watch him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Romney and Ryan
don`t seem to think so much of y`all, of you guys. They view you, the
working women and men of America, as the problem. We view you and know you
to be the solution in America!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: Look, folks, we know who built this country and we know who`s
going to rebuild it. It`s you! And instead of vilifying you, we should be
thanking you! We owe you!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about a group that I`m very familiar with,
Senator -- and Howard, you know I am. They`re called Reagan Democrats.

SCHUMER: You bet.

MATTHEWS: They decide every frickin` election. They tend to be
conservative Catholics. Let`s call them what they are. They`re Notre Dame
subway (ph) alumni. That`s who they really are. Some didn`t go to
college, didn`t go to a great college. They make up their mind in October.
They are the October surprise. Biden, his role in getting at least half of
them --

SCHUMER: You got it.

MATTHEWS: -- to vote for the Democrat.

SCHUMER: You got it.

You know, the very people that Mitt Romney is trying to win away from
Barack Obama, the greatest antidote to that is Joe Biden, because he talks
to them.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SCHUMER: Joe Biden`s greatest effect is not going to be here in
Charlotte.

It`s going to be in Milwaukee and in Pittsburgh and Toledo and in
Akron. He will be all over those states. He will talk to those people,
and he will do it in a way that convinces them that Barack Obama is the
right choice.

In a certain sense, he`s a secret weapon. And, by the way -- and
Howard knows this -- he played that role in the administration. I dealt
with Joe on so many issues, and at times when in those rarefied moments the
great thinkers were way up here and you needed somebody to bring them a
little bit back to earth, the person we in the Senate always called was Joe
Biden.

And he earned the president`s trust. He earned the respect of the
people in the administration, pretty much for the same reason that the
senators liked him so much, because he`s the real deal.

FINEMAN: But let`s talk religion and ethnicity for a minute because
that`s what`s also at stake here.

In terms of the swing vote, those people that you`re talking about,
the Notre Dame subway alumni, many of them are Catholics, many of them are
working-class Catholics and people who have traditional social values, but
sort of more Democratic Party-oriented economic thinking. Those are the
people that Joe Biden has talked to his whole life.

SCHUMER: Who he is.

FINEMAN: That`s who he is. That`s the people he`s talked to.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: And in the administration, he was an advocate for looking at
those policies. He didn`t win every battle. By the way, he lost the
battle over what Catholic hospitals are required to do in terms of
providing abortion and contraception services.

But I think people in his community know that he and Bill Daley and
those others fought that fight, and they know he is their guy. In the key
states of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and Iowa, what I think of as the
sort of big 10 states of the swing states, that`s where Joe Biden is going
to be focused in the last weeks and months in the campaign.

SCHUMER: You know, Chris, I wrote a book about the American average
swing voter. They`re called the Baileys. There are three or four
politicians who just instinctively speak to the Baileys.

MATTHEWS: You`re one of them.

SCHUMER: And the Baileys trust them.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I know you`re in that list.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SCHUMER: Joe Biden`s at the top of that list. He knows how to do it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I saw you give the speech -- I saw him give the Fordham
graduation speech.

SCHUMER: Fordham, yes.

MATTHEWS: He always brings the house down.

Let me ask you about this debate that is coming up. You`re a pro.
You`re a pro. You`re watching. You`re in the game. Joe Biden has to
debate on October 11 Paul Ryan, national television.

SCHUMER: Right.

MATTHEWS: The whole country`s going to be watching, the kid against
the pro. How`s it going to look?

SCHUMER: Oh, Joe Biden -- I remember what they said. Oh, how`s he
going to handle Sarah Palin? He whooped her. He beat her hands down.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SCHUMER: The same thing is going to happen here with Ryan.

Joe Biden -- Paul Ryan can have all his statistics and all of this.
Here`s what Joe Biden is going to do. First --

MATTHEWS: How do you do that statistic thing again, that dance? OK.
I want to get that statistics thing. OK. Go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHUMER: We`re going to do it tonight after Obama`s speech.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

FINEMAN: Chris, I --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHUMER: I just want to say this. What Biden will do -- and here
he`s going to be particularly good against Paul Ryan.

He is going to be able in a gentle way that people care about to
actually mock the kind of mistruths that Paul Ryan has talk -- has been
doing not only at the convention speech, but before.

He is really going to show Paul Ryan for who he is, not in a mean way,
but in a way that matters to people. He`s going to knock it out of the
park against Paul Ryan. He will have Paul Ryan flummoxed.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: Now, having covered -- having covered Joe Biden at various
hearings that he`s conducted when he was on the Hill, he will be very
prepared.

SCHUMER: Yes.

FINEMAN: I reported on The Huffington Post the other day that he`s
already spent 60 hours in debate prep. He`s studying hard for this.

He wants to be underestimated on this in terms of mastery of the
facts, but he`s not going to be -- he`s going to perform. He is going to
know everything about every Paul Ryan budget proposal inside and out by the
time that debate takes place.

SCHUMER: You got it.

FINEMAN: You watch.

He`s got a really great debate prep guy named David Ginsberg, who was
head of opposition research in a couple of campaigns. Joe Biden is
studying every minute he`s got, and he will -- he`s hoping that he will
surprise people with his mastery of the facts.

MATTHEWS: Well, I have to say, as a guy like Joe Biden, I never was
elected to the Senate at 29 or anything like that, but when he got the
nomination for vice president out in Springfield and Barack Obama named
him, I was verklempt, because it was the first time in history a regular
Catholic guy from the neighborhoods got elevated that high in the world.

You know what I mean?

SCHUMER: The real deal.

MATTHEWS: It was a big deal.

Anyway, thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: I want to thank you, Chuck Schumer, senator from New York.

FINEMAN: What`s the Irish word for verklempt? I don`t know what it
is.

MATTHEWS: I don`t know.

SCHUMER: We`re not going to say what it is.

MATTHEWS: I`m going to think of something, but I have to be so
careful here. And I`m saying it anyway.

SCHUMER: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: Dewy-eyed.

Anyway, thank you, Chuck Schumer, Senator.

SCHUMER: Dewy-eyed.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m being careful. Senator Chuck Schumer.

SCHUMER: Hey, can I just -- one more thing.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SCHUMER: This Chris Matthews, when he said Democrats say the capital
of Japan is Tokyo, Republicans say it`s Osaka, and the press reports it
might be Tokyo, it might be Osaka, he hit it out of the park and told every
journalist, tell the truth.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: We will describe that later.

Up next, more from Charlotte and our coverage of the Democratic
National Convention.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

Are you looking forward to the president tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pardon me?

MATTHEWS: Are you looking forward to the president tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am, definitely. I`m exuberant, ecstatic, yes.

MATTHEWS: You look it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so excited. Four more years. Four more
years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m excited.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came all the way from New York just to see
this. It`s wonderful.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Carolina, Fort Bragg.

MATTHEWS: You served in Vietnam?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two tours.

MATTHEWS: Were you in it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Thank you for your service.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four more years. Ain`t no stopping us now.
We`re on the move.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m from Chicago and going back home to vote for
Obama. Four more years.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m from Chicago. Yes, go.

MATTHEWS: Oh, God. You`re so feisty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Josh from high point. We`re the Democratic Party.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- from Oklahoma.

MATTHEWS: Oklahoma.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. Four more
years.

MATTHEWS: I know where that is.

Hi, young ladies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m from Georgia. Hoping we will turn.

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- North Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Charlotte, North Carolina!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlotte, North Carolina.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m voting for Barack Obama, social
responsibility. Don`t need no plutocrat in there.

MATTHEWS: Well, you`re a sophisticated guy, no plutocrat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I watch you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: So, you`re learning my vocabulary.

Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cheers for Chris Matthews.

MATTHEWS: Well, aren`t you sweet?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This president has worked hard. And he deserves
four more years in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Osama is dead. General Motors is alive.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I support President Obama, and I came all the
way from Oklahoma to prove it.

MATTHEWS: All these Oklahoma people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We`re representing.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: We`re going to go right back. We`re going to go right
back. We will be right back with a lot more here in the place for
politics.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your
CNBC "Market Wrap."

Stocks soar to multiyear highs. The Dow surges 244 points. The S&P
jumps 28. The Nasdaq rises 66. Investors cheered the European Central
Bank`s agreement on a new bond buying program. On the economic front,
applications for first-time jobless claims dropped by a stronger-than-
expected 12,000 last week.

And private businesses added more than 200,000 jobs to payrolls in
August, according to ADP.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the main
reasons we ought to reelect President Obama is that he is still committed
to constructive cooperation.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: President Obama appointed several members of his Cabinet,
even though they supported Hillary in the primary.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Heck, he even appointed Hillary.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was the man who needs no introduction, Bill Clinton speaking
about his wife, Hillary, last night.

Well, the secretary of state is on the other side of the world right
now on diplomatic duty, but was able to watch a recording of the speech.
There she is late last night in East Timor.

Well, Bill Clinton made headlines for his forceful defense of
President Obama last night and also, of course, much more carefully his
rebuke of Republicans. But a lot of folks are wondering whether he was an
opening act for a possible Hillary presidential run in 2016.

Ed Rendell is the former Democratic -- well, he is the former governor
of Pennsylvania. He`s a Democrat and former great mayor of Philly, which
is even more important.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: And Joan Walsh is editor at large for Salon.com. Both are
MSNBC -- what did I say? Analysts.

Well, you`re more than analysts. Anybody can analyze.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Let`s have some passion here.

Governor, I always look at you as a great American and a great Clinton
guy. And I`m always thinking of you down the road and what`s going on in
your head when you put your head on the pillow at night.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: What`s your nirvana about the Clintons? What`s heaven look
like? Is it Hillary in the White House and Bill Clinton as the big Bubba
living upstairs and you his best friend?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Is that the world you see down the road?

ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No.

I do think that it would be a same if Hillary Clinton, after President
Obama gets reelected --

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

RENDELL: -- if Hillary Clinton ended her public service. She`s too
smart. She`s too able. She`s too committed.

There has to be roads for her to go down. Now, she says she`s not
interested in running for president, and I take her at her word. But,
Chris, I would --

MATTHEWS: But she would say that. That`s the right thing to say, of
course.

RENDELL: But she`s also beat up and tired. I went to a dinner with
her. And I went up to her and I said, Hillary, do I look like I could run
for president, that I have the stamina? And she said, of course you do.
You look great.

And I said, well, I`m exactly the age that you will be in 2016.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

RENDELL: And she laughed, she laughed.

MATTHEWS: That`s great.

Joan, women and men always look at things a little differently on some
things like age and getting older. And I`m sometimes stunned by women who
say to me, she might be too old, and I wonder, why would they say that?

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I don`t think anybody think
she`s too old.

MATTHEWS: Would be too old.

WALSH: Or that she would be too old.

I do think people think about is what she said, that she would like to
spend time on her foundation -- on his foundation, on her foundation
perhaps, working on women`s issues.

MATTHEWS: But anybody can do that.

WALSH: I know. I agree. But I think that there`s a real possibility
that that`s how she feels.

However, I feel so sorry for that woman because she`s there between
Bill Clinton and Ed Rendell, who are going to be pushing her for the next
two years to change her mind.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s get to that.

OK. You talk about an advancement. I think Bill Clinton will do the
couple -- and you know more. I`m talking to the guy who knows everything
about this. And I`m pretending to know it.

WALSH: Will he tell us?

MATTHEWS: He`s going to -- he`s already gone around the country and
disciplined many of the Democratic ranks. If you opposed Hillary in 2010 -
- or -- I`m sorry -- 2008, you get a certain reward from Bill Clinton.
It`s called punishment.

If you helped her, you get a real reward. He has made it clear to
everybody there ain`t no free shots against Hillary anymore. Those days
are over, right? He`s clearing the path for 2016.

OK, Governor Cuomo, you want to run? It will be expensive
emotionally.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: OK, Governor O`Malley, go run for V.P. That`s a smarter
move. Right? So isn`t he going to -- you`re laughing because you know
he`s going to do this.

RENDELL: Well, there`s no question the first part of what you said.

In Pennsylvania, Patrick Murphy, a great young congressman, ran for
A.G. He was for Barack Obama. Kathleen Kane from Scranton --

MATTHEWS: Altmire.

RENDELL: -- was for Hillary Clinton.

Bill Clinton came in for Kathleen Kane and made a big difference, and
she won the primary.

MATTHEWS: Altmire stated -- he stayed neutral, and they punished him.
Come on.

(LAUGHTER)

RENDELL: But that`s Bill. That`s Bill.

Is there any doubt that Bill wants Hillary to run in 2016? Absolutely
not. Absolutely not. But Hillary is her own person, and she`s got to
decide whether she wants to do it. I believe in the end -- and I would
love to hear Joan about this -- that the chance to finally break that glass
ceiling will be just too attractive for her.

MATTHEWS: OK.

WALSH: I agree.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this.

Is it better for her -- I have my own strong view -- that Obama wins,
is president during what looks to be an economic upturn coming, or to be
out of office and let her be rushed into a decision? I`m already forcing
the answer, because if he leaves office, there`s a rush to get her to be
the nominee, whereas, if he stays in office, she can think about it.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: It`s better for her in every way if he wins. There`s just no
doubt about that.

MATTHEWS: You agree?

RENDELL: I agree.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: OK.

Last night on "NBC Nightly News," Bill Clinton commented on the
potential 2016 run. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS")

BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": There`s a column out
there today that says you could help two Democrats tonight if you do well,
President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.

CLINTON: Oh, you know, she -- we`re not kids anymore. I don`t have
any idea if she will ever run again. She says she won`t. Right now, I
want to help him because I think it will help my country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, you know what? I agree -- I agree with him.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: I believe every word. But when he does that aww shucks,
come on, come on, he`s thinking deeper about this.

He`s thinking, look, if he can get his wife elected president, that is
a crowning achievement, because he`s coming back, and his whole problems he
ever had are gone, because that`s the American people saying, we have got a
vote of confidence in both you guys, right?

It`s bigger than just her even.

Of course, she gets to be president. He gets to be renewed in the
public trust. It`s fabulous.

RENDELL: I don`t think he needs renewal in the public trust. I think,
when I was much watching him last night, Chris, I thought, he`s become the
wise uncle for all Americans, almost all Americans. I believe that.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: He was breaking things down in a way that no
one --

MATTHEWS: You`re right. I think that 69 percent approval right now
is undeniable.

WALSH: It`s a lot of capital to spend. But to go to what you asked
before in terms of women, I think that women really want her to run. I
talked to female Democrats who supported Barack Obama as well as female
Democrats who supported Hillary, and they are dying for her to run. I
think that will be very --

MATTHEWS: Where`s that place you go when you want to get physically
happy and physically fit? Golden door -- what`s it called? Where is it
when men and women go out west?

WALSH: Send her to a spa for a year.

MATTHEWS: And you relax and you come back, and you think, oh, I can
take on the world.

RENDELL: Chris, remember one thing. There`s a difference between
Hillary Clinton 2008 and Hillary Clinton 2012. She`s been a great
secretary of state.

MATTHEWS: But it`s better for her not to get into a primary fight.

RENDELL: Of course.

MATTHEWS: It`s better to take on the Republicans.

RENDELL: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: That`s what I think.

Anyway, Bill Clinton called the Republicans out on both policy and
politics last night, such as when he singled out Senator Mitch McConnell`s
pledge, it was a pledge to make Obama a one-term president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He also tried to work with
congressional Republicans on health care, debt reduction, and new jobs.
And that didn`t work out so well. But it could have been because, as the
Senate Republican leader said in a remarkable moment of candor, two full
years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America
back to work, it was to put the president out of work.

Well, wait a minute. Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we`re
going to keep President Obama on the job.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Governor, you had a tough time in Harrisburg with
Republican opposition. I`ve never seen a political party operate so much
like, excuse the term, European parliamentary body and just say, we`re
going to screw this president, we`re going to make sure he gets nothing.
Not because it`s good or bad for the country, we don`t want him to look
good. They just systematically did that.

RENDELL: Your question?

MATTHEWS: I never heard of that happening before.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Un-American!

RENDELL: It is -- someone in the audience said un-American. It is
un-American. Look, the problems we face are so severe, it will take good
Republicans and good Democrats to get us out of them. There are good some
Republicans out there. There`s Tom Coburn, who I may disagree on with on
70 percent of the issues, but he had the guts to face Grover Norquist down
and say we have to raise revenue too.

MATTHEWS: And he backed the commission, too.

WALSH: It was also really important that he said, because all these
Republicans are acting like we love Bill Clinton, if only we had a Bill
Clinton to cooperate with. And he called them out and said that`s
ridiculous.

MATTHEWS: They voted to a man and to a woman against his program in
`93.

WALSH: Right. In `93, he did it all by himself, and people lost
their seats, and he lost Congress.

MATTHEWS: And when Marjorie Margolies gave the decisive vote of the
218. They mocked her and booed her on the floor and said good-bye,
Marjorie. They mocked the economic program of your guy.

WALSH: And then they pretended that they love him.

RENDELL: And I had the great pleasure, Chris, of going into
Montgomery County six years later and saying Margie Margolies cost you an
extra $35,000 on your taxes and your net worth increased by $23 million.

MATTHEWS: If you want to live like a Republican, vote like a
Democrat.

Anyway, thank you, Governor Rendell, and thank you, Joan Walsh.

Up next, Barack Obama and big business haven`t always had the easiest
alliance. Can he steal a page from the Clinton playbook? We`re going to
talk about that.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(CHEERS)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: People ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets
in a row? What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one
word answer -- arithmetic.

(APPLAUSE)

It`s arithmetic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

President Clinton did an extraordinary thing just a month after he
won the 1992 presidential election, and before he was even sworn in, in
December of 1992 -- as this headline recalls, he gathered business leaders
in Little Rock. Quote, "The new administration welcomed hundreds of
business executives, labor leaders, and economists from all 50 states to an
economic conference where everyone from the head of Xerox to the owner of a
South Dakota flower shop would get a chance to tell President-elect Bill
Clinton what`s wrong and how to fix it."

It was an incredible overture to business leaders, especially from a
Democratic president. Should President Obama follow suit?

Robert Wolf is a member of the president`s jobs council and on the
Obama finance team. He`s formerly chairman of UBS America.

Michael Steele is former chairman of RNC and MSNBC political analyst.

Ha!

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: They love me.

MATTHEWS: They don`t believe a word of that.

STEELE: There you go.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about this problem. The president`s a
populist, he`s a Democrat, he believes in fairness in taxes. He believes
in people making big amounts of money have got to pay their fair share. Is
it still possible for him to be not hated by business?

ROBERT WOLF, OBAMA FINANCE TEAM: Absolutely. I mean, we should
reflect on where we were four years ago. I know a lot of people read the
book about that weekend. I was there. We did not have the tools. OK?

And today, we have much better economic stability. That`s why the
market is up 100 percent since he`s taken office. Manufacturing jobs up
500,000. Exports double digit gains.

We have a lot of momentum. We`re not where we need to be, but we`re
certainly on the right trajectory.

MATTHEWS: You know, I always said, the old line is, if you want to
live like a Republican, vote like a Democrat because Bill Clinton said last
night, Michael, that the Republican presidents have produced 24 million
jobs since 1961. Democrats have produced 42 million. So the record is
positive for the Democrats.

So why aren`t you a Democrat?

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERS)

STEELE: Not happening.

MATTHEWS: If George Bush were president when the stock market
doubled, as it`s done, from 6,500 to -- he`d be dancing in the end zone.
You won`t be able to stop him.

STEELE: OK. The stock market has doubled and all those indices look
great. But you still have 23 million people unemployed. You still have a
sense of foreboding amongst the people out there looking for work, those
who have gotten jobs at less pay. Because the jobs that would pay them
more is not available.

So, these are legitimate issues and questions within the economy. I
appreciate those on Wall Street who are backing the president. That`s
fine.

But the reality of it is the president still needs to address in a
broad sense what the economy is going to do.

MATTHEWS: I have a theory, Bob, that one reason why rich guys don`t
like it is their kids come home and say, daddy, the president says you`re a
bad guy, because you`re one of these tycoons. And you`re a bad, because
you`re one of the rich.

Is that part of it? They don`t like the insult of being the guys who
are grabbing all the money?

WOLF: Listen, not at all. I think actually, they called me fat cat.
I went on a diet. So there.

I mean, listen -- and by the way, it`s nice being a Wall Street guy
that somebody is being booed more than me.

STEELE: There you go.

WOLF: Listen, it`s not how many is unemployment. It`s the movement
we`ve made. We have 4.5 --

STEELE: It`s not how many are unemployed? Are you kidding me?

WOLF: It`s the movement we`ve made.

STEELE: Really? What do you say to the person who`s been unemployed
for 18 months still looking for a job? The movement, come on.

WOLF: We`re on the right trajectory here. We had 800,000 jobs lost
in January of 2009. With this president, we have had 29 straight months of
private sector job growth.

STEELE: That`s great. There`s still 23 million people who do not
have a job. You`re talking about a movement. How about you move them back
to work? Why don`t you move them back to work? That`s the reality here.

WOLF: This president is moving back -- people back to work.

STEELE: When?

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a couple questions. I don`t understand
high finance. The stock market, you`ve got money in a 401(k). You`re very
happy now because you were scared to death three years ago. We`ve got a
stock market booming.

Why is it booming at the same time the business is invested? I keep
hearing businesses sitting on $2 trillion and not investing it. Why?

WOLF: Because the business community has made great productivity
gains. They`re more efficient today and therefore they`re going to have a
better return on capital.

You look at the average hour work week. It`s gone from 32.5 to 33.5
in three session levels. The first thing people do is fill that efficiency
gain. That`s what they`ve done.

Now they`re hiring. That`s what you want to get this direction
going.

MATTHEWS: When you talk to your fellow business guys without
mentioning names, I have a suspicion that a lot of them are sitting on
their money because they don`t want the economy to boom while Obama`s
president.

STEELE: Come on, Chris.

WOLF: I don`t think that`s accurate. Listen, I think -- listen.
The people in the business community are Americans like everyone else. We
want to make sure this country moves forward. We need to get housing back.

We should be clear. We`re at four-year lows in foreclosures, four-
year highs in housing. Once we get housing back, OK, you`ll see
construction jobs coming. You`ll see infrastructure --

MATTHEWS: When is that happening?

WOLF: I think it`s happening by the day.

MATTHEWS: OK. Your thoughts?

STEELE: First of all, the demonization of wealth and the
demonization of Wall Street has not helped those investors and those
companies to put money in the economy, number one. Number two, the fact
there`s uncertainty still about the tax policy, the health care policy,
what`s going to happen next. They`re holding that cash. They`re not going
to invest in the future that they don`t have some degree of certainty.

You know your business associates don`t just put money out in the
market without some sense of what the return is going to be. If the
government`s going to sit there and take more of it, they`re going to
invest less.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.

Michael, if Obama wins, will that give you certitude? Anyway, thank
you, Michael Steele and Robert Wolf.

When we return, let me finish with why Charlotte may be the happiest
place on earth tonight.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with where I began in that other
convention, the one in Tampa. If people want to know the difference
between the two political parties in 2012, let them come to Charlotte.

If people are looking for an alternative to the grim business
convention of last week wanting more joy in their politics, more generosity
in their aspiration for this country, let them come to Charlotte. I think
we heard some bad voices last week. A convention echoing with spiteful
talk about welfare and food stamp presidencies, dripping with birtherism,
back room schemes to keep minorities from voting.

I know we heard some good voices this week like that of Governor
Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Julian Castro of San Antonio. And Bill
Clinton of -- let`s face it, the whole world -- and calling for fairness
and opportunity. And yes the pursuit of happiness regardless of how you`re
born.

There was a kind of gentlemen`s agreement down in Tampa. Allow
people to say terrible things, words meant to anger and divide people than
allow all this to be said but agree to deny it to the last man that a nasty
word had even been thought, much less spoken.

There was none of that here in Charlotte. Here we felt the reverie
of people happy to be American. Not begrudging it. Not slicing and dicing
who`s in and who`s out, who`s to be turned against another, who`s to be
silenced, who`s to be specially rewarded.

If it looks happy down here, it`s because it is.

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

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.

(CHEERS)

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

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