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updated 10/9/2012 11:15:49 AM ET 2012-10-09T15:15:49

HARDBALL
October 8, 2012

Guests: Michael Nutter, Steve Clemons, Jonathan Martin, Lizz Winstead, Nia-Malika Henderson


CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Second quarter.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" with the debates, last week`s and this week`s. Last
week`s got a lot of harsh commentary and a lot of satire, including this
from "Saturday Night Live."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joining us from outside the University of
Colorado, where he has refused to eat, shower or sleep since the debate,
Chris Matthews.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell happened? I want answers!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Is that me? Anyway, so that`s the battle. The war
continues.

There are two kinds of success, Winston Churchill once said, initial
and ultimate. Well, the presidential candidate who comes out on top of all
these four these debates, including the vice presidential debate, will be
the one who impresses the American people with one message, that he can
take us to a better place, he can deliver us from the economy we all
inherited from George W. Bush to something better.

Romney came out best in the first debate because he denied the path he
has chosen, denied the big tax cut from 35 percent down to 28 percent for
people at the top bracket, the all-out elimination of the estate tax, the
big-time cut in the corporate rate. He denied his plan to eliminate
Medicare, denied he would kill coverage for those with pre-existing
conditions seeking health care.

And because the president never got to it, Romney got away without
bothering to deny his plan to let the automobile industry go bankrupt and
to dump 40 million uninsured people to wait in the emergency room.

Well, the reckoning may be coming. Truth may be on the way in the
debates ahead, the next being the VP confrontation this Thursday in
Kentucky.

Let`s take a look at the some of the latest polling, by the way, in
the wake of Wednesday`s debate. This afternoon, Pew released a poll that
showed a dramatic shift toward Romney. This poll covers the four days
since the debate, and it has Romney pulling even with President Obama among
registered voters, 46 even. Four weeks ago, Pew had Obama up by 9 among
registered voters, so this has been a huge shift in the Pew poll.

The move in the Pew poll towards Romney is even greater among likely
voters. Today, Pew has Obama sinking to 45 percent and Romney surging
ahead by 4 points to 49. Four weeks ago, Obama led among likely voters by
8, 51-43.

Now to the latest Gallup tracking poll, which covers the last seven
days. Gallup has President Obama back in the lead at 50 to 45. What a
difference from the other poll. That`s exactly where the race stood before
the debate, 50-45. Romney had surged in the tracking poll. The two
candidates were actually tied in the three days immediately after the
debate, but the president seems to have wiped out Romney`s gains in the
Gallup poll.

Well, joining me right now are Howard Fineman, editorial director of
the Huffington Post, and the honorable Michael Nutter, mayor of
Philadelphia and presidential surrogate in this tough campaign.

Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Always go to the elected
official first. Mr. Mayor, what do you think needs to be done right now to
right this ship, to get Obama back on a winning course?

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: Well, the president is on a
winning course. And as you laid out earlier, Chris, with all the things
that Mitt Romney either lied about or denied about, what we call that in
Philadelphia is just lying, denying, and alibi-ing. And if that`s what
you`re going to spend your time doing and focus on style, then you`ll have
a pretty decent night. President Obama is focused on substance.

Let me give you three quick numbers here, Chris, which I think
ultimately is what this election is all about -- 31 straight months of job
growth here in the United States of America, 5.1 million jobs created in
the private sector, and unemployment at 7.8 percent, the lowest it`s been
since the president took the oath of office in January of 2009.

Things are moving in the right direction. This campaign is moving
forward. We`ve got 30 days to go, and we`re focused on voter registration,
getting our voters more educated and then out to vote.

And when you talk about all those polls, one poll up, one poll down --
what I`m focused on is the polls opening, at least in Pennsylvania and many
other places across the country, on November 6th because the only poll that
matters is the poll on election day. Polls open at 7:00 in Philly, close
at 8:00. That`s what we`re talking about.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s take a look. President Obama spoke to his
Hollywood backers last night at an LA fund-raiser, and it sounded like he
realized how bad last week went. By the way, he wasn`t as good as you were
just now, Mayor Nutter, but let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody here is
incredible professionals. They`re such great friends. And they just
perform flawlessly night after night. I can`t always say the same.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Back in 2008 -- everybody always remembers the victory, but
they don`t always remember the bumps in the road. You know, things always
look good in retrospect, but in the middle of it, we were -- we made all
kinds of mistakes. We goofed up. I goofed up. But the American people
carried us forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: He doesn`t look too happy in having to be self-deprecating
there, Howard. It`s not his favorite pastime, saying, I blew it.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
No, it`s...

MATTHEWS: That`s nobody`s.

FINEMAN: It`s not, and that was borderline cringe-worthy. I think
the people inside know, as has been said and reported, just how bad it was.
My reporting tells me that the professional -- the professional preparers -
- you know, there`s a kind of class of professional debate preparers here
in Washington...

MATTHEWS: Right.

FINEMAN: ... on the Democratic side worked with President Obama and
were pretty pleased with the work they`d done. They thought he was up to
speed and ready to go.

But what I`m told is that the very last meetings that the president
had were with his innermost circle, with David Axelrod and David Plouffe
and the Chicago crowd.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: And they had the last word sort of with the president before
he went into the ring, and whatever they advised him to do was not what the
preparers thought they had prepared the president for.

There`s a certain amount of Monday morning finger-pointing going on
inside the Obama camp. And interestingly, that`s something you didn`t see
at all in 2008.

MATTHEWS: It`s not a good sign.

FINEMAN: Everything was so smooth in 2008. Now you got a situation
where there`s a little bit of finger-pointing going on. It will be greatly
alleviated if Joe Biden can turn in a good performance on Thursday.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look at this, Mr. Mayor.

NUTTER: Look, I...

MATTHEWS: Go ahead. Did you want to say something, Mr. Mayor. Go
ahead.

NUTTER: Yes, I mean, look, you can`t refight the last fight. Last
Wednesday was last Wednesday.

FINEMAN: Right.

NUTTER: We can`t debate the debate. Let`s move on. We have one this
week. We have 30 days to go. You know, every day is not a spectacular day
for any one of us in these professions that we have.

President Obama is the same president he was last Tuesday, last
Wednesday, last Thursday...

MATTHEWS: OK...

NUTTER: ... moving this country forward, getting people back to work,
focused on issues both domestically, as well as our international partners
around the world.

I mean, the speech today by Mitt Romney about foreign policy was a
joke. It has been already panned by so many who actually know what they`re
talking about. This is the same guy who couldn`t even go to the Olympics
in London and do that right, insulting our good friends and our great
partner in the U.K.

So let`s talk about the substance of what it takes to run the United
States of America, the most powerful country in the world, and not about,
you know, style points at a debate. This is a real job here, and you have
to be focused and know what in the world you`re doing.

MATTHEWS: Right. So you`re criticizing us for criticizing the
campaign debate, right? OK, let`s move on.

(LAUGHTER)

NUTTER: I think the American public wants to hear about the
candidates.

MATTHEWS: I agree with your main point. Anyway, let`s go back -- the
Obama campaign released this new ad over the weekend going after Romney`s
plan on taxes. Let`s watch the campaign ad it put out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was dishonest.

MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I`m not in favor
of a $5 trillion tax cut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney is being dishonest here, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to an independent nonpartisan study,
Barack Obama and the liberals will raise taxes on the middle class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chairman of that so-called independent group
is from Romney`s former company. Dick Cheney is on its board. Newt
Gingrich was there, too. It`s not independent. It`s just not true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, the amazing thing about Romney was the way he was
able to -- and I have to say, somewhat sleazily the other night in that
debate, just make up stuff, Howard. I mean, his position is not worrying
about Social Security people. It was basically dismissing them as leeches
and moochers and deadbeats. And then he goes in and shows this crocodile
tears for the people who need those Social Security benefits because that`s
their main retirement plan.

And across the board -- the pre-existing condition stuff he threw out.
And unfortunately, the president didn`t tag him on the automobile industry,
on other issues like -- how about 40 million people left in the emergency
room? That was his health care plan.

FINEMAN: Well...

MATTHEWS: That`s big-time bad, and nobody nailed him with it.

FINEMAN: Yes. Now, this isn`t style points, Mr. Mayor. This is not
style points. This is substance. Part of being president is being able to
explain what you`ve accomplished...

NUTTER: Sure.

FINEMAN: ... and what the risks are of the challenger facing you for
reelection. The president just simply didn`t do it last time.

I think Joe Biden is going to try to begin the work on Thursday of
answering the points that the president didn`t answer himself.

They allowed Mitt Romney to sort of become or portray the moderate
Mitt Romney running for governor of Massachusetts...

NUTTER: Right.

FINEMAN: ... a decade ago, and nobody called him on it.

NUTTER: Sure.

FINEMAN: The notion that he advertised himself as a paragon of
bipartisanship, that he praised the fact that Tip O`Neill and Ronald Reagan
had worked together...

NUTTER: Right.

FINEMAN: ... when he has spent -- he, Romney, has the last year
sucking up to the Tea Party...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: ... is something that the president should have...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK, here`s Robert Gibbs defending the president on "MEET
THE PRESS" yesterday, and then follow, Mr. Mayor. By the way, Gibbs tried
to tackle Romney`s debate flip-flops. I think he did it here. Let`s
watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN ADVISER: It`s not rocket science to
believe that the president was disappointed in the expectations that he has
for himself. But look, I think part of that was because, as I said
earlier, we met a new Mitt Romney. We met a Mitt Romney that wanted to
walk away from the central theory of his economic plan, which is his tax
cut.

I don`t have a tax cut that`s $4.8 trillion or $5 trillion. I`m not
going to cut taxes on the rich. I don`t have a Medicare voucher plan. I
love teachers. I think we need more of them.

I mean, look, don`t believe me. Speaker Gingrich was pretty eloquent
in running during the primaries in saying, Look, Mitt Romney will say
absolutely anything to get elected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, one thing I`ve been saying about the campaign is the
president needs surrogates out there, needs confederates, people out there
doing what he did (ph). I loved Charleston. A lot of people loved --
rather, Charlotte...

NUTTER: Charlotte, yes.

MATTHEWS: ... because in Charlotte, you heard an entire political
party speaking, led by people like Deval Patrick, the governor of
Massachusetts, after yourself, Mr. Mayor.

NUTTER: Sure.

MATTHEWS: I think it sounds better when it`s a serenade than when
it`s a solo. Let`s take a look at this -- what do you think about that?
Because the other guy has these terrible attack dogs out there, people like
Trump pitching the birtherism nonsense, Sununu talking about being lazy.
You got Priebus and his nonsense about him being from Europe and foreign,
and then Newt saying terrible things, not to mention Jack Welch with trying
to undermine the latest unemployment numbers.

He has dogs out there, Romney, dogs that do the barking for him, and
the presidential doesn`t even have nice guys and women out there making
noise for him. Your thoughts?

NUTTER: Well, first of all, I mean, I think it`s pretty clear from
the convention and from the debate last week, Mitt Romney is a shameless,
lying chameleon. He will say anything. He will do anything. The same is
true with his running mate, Paul Ryan. Unfortunately, we`ll probably hear
more of that this week.

We do have a great surrogate team, and they`re on the ground in their
respective cities or states. They move around. I certainly move around.
You talk about Deval Patrick. I`m in Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, Stephanie
Rawlins Blake in Baltimore, Kasim Reed (ph), in Atlanta, Julian Castro, the
mayor in San Antonio. I mean, the list goes on and on.

We have the best candidate in President Obama and Vice President
Biden. We have the greatest surrogate team, and they`re on the ground in
those places where there are real people with real issues and real
problems. And they`re talking about the things that the president talks
about, jobs and the economy, health care, education, energy, and tax
reform.

Those are the president`s themes. He`s never walked away from any of
those issues. And it`s easier, I think, quite frankly, for Mitt Romney to
have multiple positions on the same issue because he has no plans. He has
no ideas. He has no proposals.

MATTHEWS: OK...

NUTTER: He`s not ready for primetime.

MATTHEWS: OK, we got a month to go. Please spread the word among
those surrogates you mentioned that we are welcoming them here on HARDBALL,
not to be afraid of me.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I can be dealt with.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I will take them on. I`ll hit them on the points, but they
have a -- they`ll have a welcome...

NUTTER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: ... wagon here if they want to come on and make those
points. You`re very good at that, by the way.

Howard...

FINEMAN: Yes?

MATTHEWS: ... Jack Welch was here Friday. He did all right...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN: I would just say it doesn`t feel -- I get what the mayor is
saying, but it doesn`t quite feel like the chorus that you`re talking
about, for some reason. I would get every -- speaking of the surrogates,
what about the entertainment people? They love Barack Obama. Get out of
LA and get on the road.

MATTHEWS: OK, go to your home town...

FINEMAN: Get on the road.

MATTHEWS: ... and tell people what you think. Never talk out of LA,
never talk out of New York. I say this to every celebrity I know. Go home
where you came from and talk to the people you grew up with. They`ll
listen to you.

NUTTER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: And thank you, Howard Fineman. Thank you, Mayor.

NUTTER: All advice appreciated. We`re moving on to win on election
day on November 6th.

MATTHEWS: It`s free.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, coming up -- thank you, Mr. Mayor. Doing a great
job in Philly.

Coming up, Mitt Romney attacks President Obama on foreign policy,
saying if he were president, he would heat up and prolong every war front
in the world, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, more war, continuous war, new wars.
That`s the Romney plan.

Also, Joe the first responder. He`s taken guff for his gaffes and
been lampooned on "SNL," but surprise, surprise, Vice President Joe Biden
is the guy who Democrats are counting on this week to turn the fight when
he debates Paul Ryan on Thursday. Hey, man, can do you it?

Plus, the president had a bad Wednesday night last week, and the late
night comedians are joyriding on it. Even Big Bird got into the act on
"SNL."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So how did you find out that your name had been
mentioned in the debate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I got a million tweets.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So the you`re on Twitter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I`m a bird. Tweeting is how we talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Finally, somebody said it. Anyway, finally, "Let Me
Finish" with why Mitt Romney reminds me of the guy from "Groundhog Day,"
always readjusting his pickup line.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`ve got a lot of state polls, actually, that could
determine who controls the U.S. Senate. Let`s check the HARDBALL
"Scoreboard."

In Virginia, a PPP poll shows Democrat Tim Kaine with a comfortable --
catch this -- 7-point lead right now, 51 to 44, over George Allen in a race
that seems to be tilting towards Kaine.

In Wisconsin, PPP has Tammy Baldwin leading former Republican governor
Tommy Thompson. Here`s (ph) pretty good, 49-46, still close.

It`s important to keep in mind that PPP generally skews a few points
Democratic.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The Romney campaign billed
today`s speech by Romney as a major foreign policy address. What did we
learn about his policy today? Well, let`s take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The president has failed to offer the tangible support that
our partners want and need.

But America`s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has
been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence.

The president has also failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30,000
men, women and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the
past 20 months. We can`t support our friends and defeat our enemies in the
Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds.

I`ll put the leaders of Iran on notion -- on notice that the United
States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear
weapons capability. No friend of America will question our commitment to
support them. No enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to
defeat them. And no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America`s
capability to back up our words.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, you`ve got to wonder about that guy. We should have
stayed longer in Iraq, open-ended conflict in Afghanistan, arm the rebels
in Syria, regardless of the fact we know little about them, and on to Iran
and talks there of a red line that almost guarantees conflict.

However, if you want clarity in what a Romney presidency would look
like, don`t ask the candidate`s own foreign policy advisers. It turns out
many of them don`t even know.

"The New York Times" interviewed half a dozen advisers to Romney.
According to "The Times," those advisers say, quote, "say they have engaged
with him so little on issues of national security, they are uncertain what
camp he would fall into and are uncertain themselves about how he would
govern. `Would he take the lead in bombing Iran if the mullahs were
getting too close to a bomb or just back up the Israelis?` one of his
senior advisers asked last week. `Would he push for peace with the
Palestinians or just live with the status quo? He`s left himself a lot of
wiggle room.`"

That`s the way he put it. If they don`t know, who does?

You know, absolutely -- Steve, I`m going to be pretty broad here and
just start with my critique of Romney. Every time he speaks, he lists more
fronts he wants to get hotter and he wants to stay in longer, whether it`s
Afghanistan or Iraq. He wants to go in deeper. We should have gone in
deeper on Libya and we should go in deeper on Syria. We should be tougher
on drawing a bright line earlier than anybody but the Israelis in terms of
the Iranian nuclear threat.

Everything is go to war, go to war. And would you name one member of
his family history, anyone in his family history going back or going
forward who has ever put on a military uniform. They have no intention of
participating in all these wars in any way, and yet he wants to fight it as
an instinct.

It doesn`t square. You can`t have an instinct for martial activity,
military activity in every issue. First thing you think is military and
never think it`s your duty to have anybody around you ever participate.
How can you be such a chicken hawk?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Steve on that. I find it -- isn`t there a
little shame in his eyes when he cease these kids coming back dismembered?
Isn`t there a little fear, wait a minute. Why aren`t we doing that? We`re
all healthy. We look great. We could get over there. My father, my sons,
me, nobody, brothers, nobody.

It never occurs to them to join the military. I`m not saying -- I
didn`t -- in the military. I didn`t believe in the Vietnam War, but I
wasn`t out there protesting for the war like he was at Stanford. He was
one of the guys out there protesting the protesters against the war, and
yet he never thought for a second, hey, wait a minute, this means I should
fight the war.

Where is the shame? Where is the embarrassment?

STEVEN CLEMONS, "THE ATLANTIC": He`s not setting priorities. He
doesn`t have...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s Cheney who used to say, I had other priorities.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes. I`m sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

CLEMONS: I have been thinking today rather than Democrats critiquing
Mitt Romney, what would some -- two serious presidential strategists like a
George H.W. Bush or a Richard Nixon?

I think that Nixon would be turning over in his grave and I bet Bush
is grimacing because these were serious guys dealing with tectonic forces
that were huge, and they knew what the risks to the country were, and they
moderated.

Now, not everyone would like me tributing Richard Nixon on your show,
but the fact is that he would have serious problems with what Mitt Romney
did. And I think both of them would say he just doesn`t get it. He
doesn`t understand the stewardship responsibilities of the president of the
nights.

MATTHEWS: Right.

CLEMONS: His speech, if you think about it, was a speech designed for
the 1950s, when America was six times larger than the next biggest economy,
could do all things in all places.

He tributed George Marshall in this speech, who was a great man, in my
view. It was interesting that he spent so much time on Israel in his
speech today, but it was actually George Marshall who was trying to fight
Harry Truman.

MATTHEWS: No, I think he`s appealing to the evangelicals on that
front.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m dead serious. I think it`s pure politics.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Go ahead.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what`s interesting about
the speech is there`s a lot of talk about strength and resolve, but there`s
really nothing showing us what he would do.

He kind of implies we will go to war and we will do all these things,
but he`s kind of a chicken hawk in his actual policies, too. What are we
going to do about Iran? We are going to get tough with sanctions. That`s
what Obama is doing. What are we going to do with Syria? We`re going to
try to find those people who we can help with weapons, which is -- kind of
what the Obama administration is doing.

On the top line, he talks this big, strong, big stick game, but he
doesn`t really seem to have a clue about how you would even do that in real
life.

MATTHEWS: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Steve, I have got to get to something really dishonest
here.

CLEMONS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Because I think everybody agrees, whether you`re hawk,
middle of the road, or whatever, a dove, you will agree that this is
dishonesty here.

On the two-state solution, which we all know would be tricky to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there`s a big different what the candidate --
that`s Romney -- says in public and what he says behind closed doors to
backers he views as more hawkish.

Here was Romney today sounding reasonable, in fact, consistent with
U.S. policy. Let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will recommit America to
the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side
in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital
issue, the president has failed, and what should be a negotiation process
has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In
this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a
new president will bring the chance to begin anew.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, here he was in May when he was recorded at that fund-
raiser down in Boca Raton with a lot of very wealthy people I assume, where
he said a solution wasn`t possible in the Middle East, in fact, arguing the
best thing to do was just sort of accept and let it remained an unresolved
problem.

Let`s watch his very different approach to people he viewed, I think,
as more hawkish even than him. Here is Mitt Romney then behind closed
doors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I look at the Palestinians not wanting to seek peace anyway
for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of
Israel and these thorny issues, and I say, there`s just no way.

And what you do is, you say -- you move things along the best way you
can, you hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize this is going
to remain an unsolved problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s basically the policy of the Likud bloc over there,
which is Bibi`s position, which is we`re going to wait this thing out, in
effect.

CORN: Well, it`s also -- you know, I was the first person to see that
tape, and it was one of the few moments other than the 47 percent moment
that kind of stunned me, because I knew that he had supported the two-state
solution publicly.

MATTHEWS: As has all -- both parties.

CORN: Yes, which has been the policy here for almost 20 years. But
if you watch the whole three-minute, four-minute answer, people can go to
MotherJones.com and elsewhere to see it, he goes on and on, in detail,
passionately about why that solution can`t work.

He says all the Palestinians, not just some, are bent on the
destruction of Israel, and the best we can do is just sort of lean on them
forever and hope that some day they come around and then maybe there`s
peace.

I have yet to see -- because the 47 percent remark got all the
attention, I have yet to see a reporter question him and say, what`s the
difference here between what you said there and what you say publicly?
What do you believe? He`s gotten off on that so far.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Israeli public opinion, which is always wonderfully
turbulent and exciting, is for a two-state solution, because of the simple
demographic time bomb.

CORN: Oh, they know.

MATTHEWS: They cannot be an Arab-dominated Jewish state. It won`t
work.

Anyway, thank you, David Corn.

I wish we had more time, Steve Clemons, but I think you made your
points.

Up next: the Republican congressman who says evolution is a lie
straight from hell. Well, he`s a deep thinker. And he sits on the Science
Committee. Great. That`s in the "Sideshow." I think he`s in the
"Sideshow." This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For all you moms and
kids out there, don`t worry, somebody is finally cracking down on Big Bird.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Cracking down on him.

Elmo has made a run for the border.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Governor Romney plans to let Wall Street run wild again, but
he`s bringing the hammer down on Sesame Street.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.

That was President Obama, of course, in Los Angeles just yesterday
taunting Mitt Romney for saying he will starve Big Bird if elected
president.

And check out this cartoon from "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"`s
Mike Luckovich -- quote -- "President Mitt Romney and his team viewing live
video on raid of Big Bird`s compound," a simple case of, I see your bin
Laden raid, I raise you Big Bird.

Anyway, as for operation save big bird, there`s this. Hillary Clinton
takes the lead -- quote -- "Confirmed, I got the bird. We will move him to
a safe house in the morning." That`s Hillary Clinton.

Now a few words from a member of the House Science Committee, Georgia
Republican Paul Broun, a medical doctor, gave a sermon at a Baptist church
last month and addressed the issue of evolution. He`s against it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL BROUN (R), GEORGIA: I have come to understand that all that
stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology, Big Bang theory, all
that is lies straight from the pit of hell.

And it`s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that
from understanding that they need a savior. There are a lot of scientific
data that I found out as a scientist that actually showed that this is
really a young Earth. I don`t believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years
old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, had this to say in
response to Congressman Broun`s comments -- quote -- "Since the economic
future of the United States depends on our tradition of technological
innovation, Representative Broun`s views are not in the national interest.
He is by any measure unqualified to make decisions about science, space,
and technology."

Wow. Well, ready for something really scary? One of Broun`s cohorts
on the Science Committee is Todd Akin, who holds the theory that women can
prevent getting pregnant in instances of what he calls legitimate rape.

Up next: Can Joe Biden save the day for the Democrats when he debates
Paul Ryan this Thursday?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SEEMA MODY, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Seema Mody with your CNBC "Market
Wrap."

A down day for stocks this Columbus Day holiday. The Dow falls 26
points, and the S&P is off five, and the Nasdaq loses 23. One stock
bucking the trend, Netflix, which gained more than 10 percent thanks to an
upgrade from Morgan Stanley. A different story though for Facebook.
Shares sank nearly 2.5 percent after a brokerage downgrade.

And earning season kicks off tomorrow with Alcoa`s profit report after
the closing bell.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

SETH MEYERS, ACTOR: Is there anything more exciting than Joe Biden
thinking it`s up to him to get the lead back?

(LAUGHTER)

MEYERS: It`s Tebow time.

(LAUGHTER)

MEYERS: There`s like a 50 percent chance he`s going to come out at
the next debate with his shirt off. He`s probably covering himself with
animal fat right now to make himself harder to grab.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

"Saturday Night Live"`s Seth Meyers there isn`t the only one excited
about this week`s V.P. debate. Here is just a sampling of today`s
headlines. In The Huffington Post, Howard Fineman`s piece is titled "Obama
Needs the Merciless Joe."

"The Wall Street Journal" amps up the anticipation with "Bigger Bang
Expected From Ryan-Biden Bout." And Politico lays out the high stakes for
this V.P. debate in a Jonathan Martin article headlined "A Veep Debate That
Could Really Matter." Even Paul Ryan admits Biden will undoubtedly bring
his A-game. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We think he`s
probably going to come at me like a cannonball.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, this undercard fight is generating incredible hype,
as you can see, especially for Vice President Biden, who has got some
cleanup to do following the president`s debate performance last week.

Jonathan Martin is the senior political reporter with Politico and
Joan Walsh is editor-at-large for Salon and an MSNBC political analyst.
And of course she`s author of "What`s the Matter with White People."
Anyway, I said that like I`m supposed to talk anyway.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: This idea of -- let`s talk tactics. Does Biden go in there
and nail Ryan for what he stood there for all those years and say you stand
for those things? Put it in the present tense, you want to voucherize
Medicare, you want to give a lot more money in tax incentives for the rich,
you are an Ayn Rand ideologue who wants to shift wealth from the poor to
encourage the rich with more money?

JONATHAN MARTIN, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, POLITICO.COM: The short
answer is yes.

My reporting indicates from talking to both camps that Biden is going
to be the aggressor. He is going to go through the transcript from last
week in Denver, and the places where President Obama either did not raise
or didn`t fully prosecute the issue against Romney, Biden will do so
against Ryan.

It`s the entitlements, Chris, it`s the auto bailout, and I think also
it`s the going to be something along the issues around Romney, perhaps the
income taxes, his 47 percent comments. This is going to be, I think, a
full-throated Joe Biden Thursday night in Kentucky.

And I think what they also want to do, the Biden folks, is try to get
Ryan into the weeds. They want to get Ryan in a conversation on math, to
get to the sort of question as to whether or not the Romney tax plan adds
up.

And the Ryan folks that I talked to want to keep it at 20,000 feet.
They want Ryan to sort of stick with the Romney-like message of jobs and
the economy, sound centrist, don`t get too far out there into some sort of
ideological makers-vs.-takers debate.

MATTHEWS: Everybody that`s ever worked for many years in an
industrial company or any kind, Joan, fears the guy like Paul Ryan to show
up. He comes in and he`s the efficiency expert. He`s the cost-cutter.

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

MATTHEWS: He comes in looking for people to fire, you know?
Everybody hates him. Can he make him look like he really is, is that guy,
or can he wag his tail and seem like he`s the cute younger guy and get away
with that?

WALSH: Well, I don`t think he really needs -- he should think about
wagging his tail and being the cute younger guy, Chris, because then you
really do have this amazing stature gap between the two men.

There`s an age gap, there`s an experience gap. I don`t think Paul
Ryan can afford to look cute and fuzzy. I think this is teed up perfectly
for Joe Biden. All the things that you and I talked about last week that
we wished that the president might have thrown at Mitt Romney or asked Mitt
Romney about are even better for Ryan.

It was Paul Ryan who confronted with Chris Wallace asking him about
the math of the budget plan, was the one who said, well, I just don`t have
time to get into that. Joe Biden can say, I would like to give you all the
time you need. Take all the time you need, Congressman Ryan, and tell us
which deductions you two are going to close.

He can confront him on the $716 billion that he also likewise cuts
from Medicare.

MATTHEWS: Yes, identical number.

WALSH: Identical number. That`s a wonderful thing to be teed up for Vice
President Biden. And he can also just come at him on the issue of
entitlements generally.

I mean, Paul Ryan is somebody who lived, who apparently saved the
survivor benefits that he got from Social Security, used them to go to a
good college, and now has been a long time advocate of privatizing Social
Security.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I just wish -- I just wish Joe Biden would at some point
ask the question, why do you right-wingers think that the way to get rich
people to work harder is to give them more money, and the way to get poor
people to work harder is to screw them? I mean, I`m telling you, you have
different attitudes about how to approach people.

WALSH: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Biden delivered many people believe topnotch
debate performances during the 2008 primary campaign when he was running
for president. Anyway, this takedown of Rudy Giuliani was his most
memorable. This was good work by Biden. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The irony is Rudy
Giuliani, probably the most under-qualified man since George Bush to seek
the presidency is here talking about the people here. Rudy Guiliani,
there`s only three things he mentioned in a sentence, a noun, a verb, and
9/11.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO: I remember that line, very, very well.

Chris, I had a Ryan staffer tell me that they were going back and
looking at some of the research that not only did Biden do very well in his
debates, but David Plouffe, the Obama strategist, write in his book that
part of the reason why President Obama picked Biden was because he was
impressed of his debate performances.

So, this notion that Biden is some kind of a gaffe machine misses the
point that he`s also a 40-year veteran of Washington politics who`s played
a high level for a long time, and he`s going to be a capable debater. Keep
this in mind, when Joe Biden was debating, Chris, in `87 and `88 when he
ran for president the first time, Paul Ryan was in high school.

So there`s going to be I think a fascinating age gap there on that
stage. Joe Biden is not somebody that`s going to come out there and sort
of stumble around. It`s possible he could commit a gaffe, but the Ryan
folks that I talked to are getting ready for, you know, the chairman of the
Foreign Relations Committee, not the gaffe-prone and sort of lampooned Joe
Biden.

MATTHEWS: Do you think they might take a stick at him and taunt him.
Even little Ryan doing that, like how is Neil Kinnock doing or something
like that from the old says, speaking of the `87 race? Your thoughts,
Joan?

WALSH: I think --

MATTHEWS: Can you gig him?

WALSH: I doubt it. That`s a little dangerous.

I agree with Jonathan. You know, the vice president`s gaffes when he
makes them tends to come before really friendly crowds where he kind of
gets decided and gets --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

WALSH: You know, they don`t come in the debating stage. He`s got a
great -- he`s got great mastery of the facts and he`s also got -- you know,
he`s got a winning personality. Certainly anything can happen in these
debates, none of us would have predicted President Obama would have
performed as poorly as he did last week.

So, you know, I don`t want to set him up as though this is an easy
thing, but it`s a lot more favorable than the people who are making the
gaffe jokes.

MARTIN: I think Ryan also is a very capable debater.

MATTHEWS: OK.

MARTIN: This is going to be a substantive I think really, really
tough debate. Look, 2004, you had Cheney really take John Edwards to
school.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MARTIN: There are similarities generationally, but, look, Paul Ryan
is going to be much more skilled at that table than Edwards was eight years
ago.

MATTHEWS: I just want to know -- will we hear about Grandpa Finnegan
from Biden?

MARTIN: I`m pretty sure we`ll hear about Scranton.

WALSH: Yes, definitely.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Some of that old family stuff.

Anyway, thank you very much, Joan Walsh. And thank you -- not that
there is something wrong with it -- Jonathan Martin, thank you.

Up next, the debate and it`s aftermath becomes fodder for the
comedians. Wait until you catch the -- we got a lot of "Saturday Night
Live" stuff coming up, like this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got time to go full blown Tyson, show up in
the next debate with a face tattoo. Not one of those subtle ones, but one
of these -- one of these jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: I think we can probably stop worrying about the Obama
campaign is surely going to be well outspent by Romney`s. The Obama
campaign and the DNC announced that they have raised $181 million just last
month and that`s just $10 million shy of the moment they raised in
September of 2008. No word yet on how much the Romney campaign has raised.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Jim, when it comes to jobs, President Obama
prefers what I call a trickle-down government solution. Now, my plan is
different. It involves 41 basic elements, six abrupt reversals of
positions and three outright lies.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We`re back.

For political comedians, the presidential debate is the gift that
keeps on giving and nobody does it better than "Saturday Night Live." This
week`s show tapped into the zeitgeist of last Wednesday`s debate, Romney
stretching the truth and Obama not catching him. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The anniversary gift -- I can`t believe I forgot
the anniversary gift. OK. I`ll be out of here by 9:00 local time. I have
the Secret Service distract Michelle while I hit the hotel gift shop for
some kind of anniversary present.

Let`s see, they had a Denver Broncos sweatshirt. She might like
that. The hotel had some nice bathrobes for sale. That could be good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, Governor, Mr. President?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sorry. Yes. What`s up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, Governor Romney has just said that
he killed Osama bin Laden. Would you care to respond?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you two go ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: With me now is Lizz Winsted. She`s creator of "The Daily
Show" and author of "Lizz Free or Die". And we also have "The Washington
Post`s" Nia-Malika Henderson joining us as well, which is good.

What did you think of what you saw, ladies, so far? That -- is this
going to educate America or de-educate us? What`s all this satire going to
do for us?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: Well, Lizz, you go.

LIZZ WINSTEAD, AUTHOR, "LIZZ FREE OR DIE": OK. I think that anytime
you shine a light on when powerful people are messing up, you do a service.
So I think that`s a good thing, and I think that`s a good thing. And I
think that "SNL" this weekend, if that was a washrag, they took it and they
mine every piece of comedy out of those debates. It was pretty impressive.

MATTHEWS: You know, Nia, I tried not to use the word "lie" because
once you say the conversation is over, that`s just a bit of rare politesse
on my part. But everybody is using lie. There`s real, real, real problems
with the way Romney sort of sleaze through that debate. Looked good but
didn`t exactly convey a lot of truth.

Your thoughts?

HENDERSON: That`s exactly what Democrats are saying. Paul Ryan was
out today and says that he expects for the next month he`s going to hear
from the Obama campaign that they are liars and you hear liberals picking
up on that.

Again, to go back to this point about "Saturday Night Live," I think
it underscores what people already saw from that debate, which was that
President Obama turned in a very poor performance. I had thought
immediately after the debate that he would have been smart to go on to
"Saturday Night Live" and sort of lampoon himself. We saw him do that out
West --

MATTHEWS: Yes.

HENDERSON: -- and make fun of his own appearances. I guess the
"Saturday Night Live" folks reached out to him, but he declined. The same
with Mitt Romney. I think both of these candidates would do themselves
some good to go on "Saturday Night Live." It has been a right of passage
in elections, going back certainly to 2008 when McCain was on, Obama was
on, and Hillary Clinton was on at some point, Sarah Palin, too.

So, it is part of our political discourse. It reinforces the
narratives in some ways. I think "SNL" has had problems capturing Obama in
some ways. They switched now to a new guy -- Jay Pharoah seems to be more
effective at poking fun at Obama.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at Seth Meyers here. He took a stab at
one of Romney`s most egregious statements during the debate, that his
health care plan would provide coverage for people with pre-existing
conditions, which it would not do as his own staffer, Fehrnstrom, put out
that night. Here`s a dishonest statement that was -- they admitted to be a
dishonest statement that night. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SETH MEYERS, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: Winner: people with pre-existing
medical conditions. Romney defended his health care plan, claiming that
like Obamacare, it will take care of you. Loser: people with pre-existing
medical conditions because, you know, he`s not telling the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, there you have it, Lizz, how can you chuckle at a
guy accused of lying. Lying is not a very nice thing to do, especially
when the stakes are so high.

WINSTEAD: It`s true. And I think when you have someone like Romney
who has been switching sides so much, you just go, wow, both sides of your
mouth must be exhausted.

But I think it`s the comedian job to cut through it because when you
dance around the word "lie", Chris, like you said, regular folks don`t
dance around the word "lie." When they hear it, they`re like, well, that`s
a lie.

And I was hosting 400 people in a room watching the debate and we
were having -- with comics. And when Romney threw out that the president
is taking away 716 -- and the president just sat there, the audience oddly
went, whoa, dude, speak up. Like they were yelling and they were so mad.

MATTHEWS: Here`s an example of somebody being satirized that did
something like that, perhaps more broadly. "SNL" lampooned what it called
"My Debating Style". Let`s watch

(LAUGHTER)

(BEGION VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing President Obama has nothing to say.
But why was he letting Governor Romney talk? Forgot the first rule of
debating, always be interrupting. When I don`t have points to make on my
show, I make up for it by screaming at people. That`s how you win a
debate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris, I don`t know about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you`re wrong. See? The debate is over. I
win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Nia, you`re on this program all the time. Is that me?
Come on, is that me?

HENDERSON: You know, you have never interrupted someone, as far as I
can tell. Certainly never have interrupted me.

I have to give props to Jason Sudeikis. He can play you, he can play
Biden, and he can play Romney. He`s fantastic. So funny, over the top,
playing Chris Matthews, the interrupter and the yeller.

MATTHEWS: What do you think, Lizz? You`re not on the show very
often. You may never be on again. But do you make --

(LAUGHTER)

WINSTEAD: Debating how I answer this question?

MATTHEWS: Maybe.

WINSTEAD: Chris, you`re like George Clooney, that was an outrage. I
cannot believe that they would do that to you. I didn`t say -- I didn`t
know it was you.

MATTHEWS: I like him. I like it. It`s all fun. It`s not true but
it`s all fun.

Anyway, we`re going to have some fun.

Quickly, Lizz, your thoughts, will Joe Biden be the guy that is
played by Sudeikis on "Saturday Night Live" or he`d be a more sober guy?
What do you predict is coming this Thursday night.

WINSTEAD: I think that`s exactly right and I also think Paul Ryan
and with the abs and the P90X and they are going to play -- I bet you 10
bucks there`s a skit with Paul Ryan without a shirt on.

MATTHEWS: OK, good. That`s not $10,000.

Anyway, thank you, Lizz Winstead. Thank you, Nia-Malika Henderson,
who is my friend.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: When we return, let me finish with why Mitt Romney reminds
of Bill Murray`s character on "Groundhog Day". Think about it.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: the campaign for
president is getting exciting. At last week`s debate, Romney showed his
willingness to say whatever would get him through the night. He can etch-
a-sketch in real time now, shifting his positions, denying to deals he`s
made with the right, positioning himself just where it works, with the
voter.

It reminds me of Bill Murray`s character in "Groundhog Day". Every
day he gets up to the same day, every day comes up with a new pitch to
Andie MacDowell based on what she said about her likes and dislikes the day
before.

This is the Romney approach. Sell whatever people show willingness
to buy, sell a big cut in Medicare and sell it as a cut in government
spending. If that causes trouble, say you`re against any cuts in Medicare.
Get it?

Sell big tax cuts to the job creators, those in the country with the
most money. If that causes trouble, just deny it. Say you don`t know
nothing about tax cuts for the rich, pretend you never said a word about
giving a break to those job creators. Get it?

Say that you want the auto industry to go bankrupt. Say when they`re
not looking, you don`t care about that 47 percent of the country that
depends on programs like Social Security. Then when that 47 percent is
watching you on television, say your heart is bleeding for them. That`s
right, just like in "Groundhog Day", you keep listening to the one you`re
trying to woo, listening for clues of what doesn`t work, what in your pitch
isn`t selling, make the changes overnight and come back with a new and
improved version of just what she or he wants to hear.

So, the clock radio keeps going off. We keep hearing Sonny and Cher
saying, "|I`ve got you, babe". And Mitt Romney keeps honing his latest
pick up line.

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

"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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