November 8, 2012
Guests: John Feehery, Bob Shrum, Amy Klobuchar, Amy Sullivan, John Nichols
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: All in this together.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. The America that voted the other
day is big, it is diverse, it is generous of heart. This is a country of
old European roots, of families that came here from Africa in servitude as
far back as four centuries ago, of new arriving groups from the rest of the
Americas and from South Asia and from the Asian Pacific.
We are a country of women who were created equal, who stand by their
rights to equality and respect and personal dignity, not to be spoken about
as if they are apart from the conversation, apart from a country that
honors individual decision making. They`re no longer sent into the other
room while men discuss the big questions over brandy and cigars, nor are
gay people. No longer are they the other, people to be joked about,
sequestered off as if they`re not of us, deeply a part of our American
Yes, I said it, this was a generous election. Forget this talk of
sharp elbows, every man for himself, grab your tax cut and head out on your
own and for yourself. All the nastiness we heard only served to excite and
energize the people it was aimed at, only served to turn off the people who
heard it being said and said to themselves, None of that for me. That
sounds like uncle what`s-his-name stuff, I don`t buy it, I`m not going to
So we go off, this country of ours, to a new era of hope, a time to
work and think and keep on deciding. We ain`t going back because, as we
decided on Tuesday, back just isn`t what it was supposed to be, was it.
Joining me is Republican strategist John Feehery for the other side
and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. Did you hear that, Feehery?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, sir!
MATTHEWS: Did you hear it all? OK, good.
The Republican Party can no longer count on white voters to carry them
to victory in national elections. The white proportion of the electorate
on Tuesday dropped 2 points from 2008 numbers, from 72 percent -- actually,
it went to 72 from 74 percent, while the minority percentage is steadily
Here`s how the 2012 election broke down by racial group. President
Obama won just 39 percent of the white vote, down from 49 percent last
time, but he outperforms by so much among the growing minority population
and other demographic groups that he overcomes his white voter deficit.
Obama got 93 percent of the black vote on Tuesday, 71 percent of the
Latino vote -- by the way, that`s a big difference from the way W used to -
- W did pretty well among Latino voters -- and he got 73 percent of the
Bob Shrum, I want to start with this because we all know just looking
around and who we know, the country is changing. A lot more people moving
to this country from the south, less so from Europe, more from Asia, South
Asia, India, Pakistan, people from the Far East, from the Asian Pacific.
This country is getting to be more like the world.
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think part of the Tea Party
reaction, the "give our country back" or "take our country back" is a
reflection of people`s paranoia about the changing composition of the
country. We`re going to become a majority non-white nation. White men are
now only 33 percent of the electorate, and that`s the heart of Republican
What`s happened in the election is you had a gender chasm, you had an
African-American chasm, you had a Hispanic chasm, you had a chasm with
young voters, and Republicans can`t win the White House under those
circumstances. I think they`re going to have to rethink this.
Now, Democrats, Chris, you remember we had to rethink how we did
things and how we reached out...
MATTHEWS: Yes, and I`m thinking about -- let me give this to John
Feehery. Let me ask you a question, John, about this. You know, the one
group -- we`re not -- we`re doing this very ethnically and it`s to me a
little bit uncomfortable, but it is the world we have to look at
politically. I don`t like talking about race. We`re all in the same race,
first of all. I prefer the word ethnicity.
But let me ask you about young people. I am a skeptic. I agree with
Joe Scarborough, something he said years ago, which is you`ll never get an
election if you count on young people carrying you to victory. This time,
the people between 18 to 29 outperformed their extraordinary performance in
the last election four years ago. They represented a larger percentage of
the electorate than they did back then.
So they got up off their butts, whatever they were doing that day,
Tuesday, and they voted. Big development. They must like the future
because they`re voting for the party that`s identified ethnically with the
future. What do you think?
FEEHERY: Well, first of all, a couple points. Nine million fewer
people voted for Barack Obama in this election than the last election, and
Mitt Romney did not beat John McCain`s totals in this election. Both of
those numbers are absolutely extraordinary. And it says a lot about the
Romney campaign and its inability to excite its own base and get people out
to vote for its own side. I mean, I don`t disagree with you on...
MATTHEWS: Wasn`t anger enough? Wasn`t anger enough?
FEEHERY: Well, I don`t know what it was. It certainly wasn`t -- I
think it was -- I think it was disgusted with both sides. I think there
were a large portion of voters who decided they weren`t going to vote for
Obama and they didn`t feel comfortable with Romney for a variety of
I do agree with the basic premise that going forward in the future, we
need to be more culturally diverse as a party. We need to -- we need to go
after different segments of the population because, obviously, the country
is changing. And we all get that.
But in this particular election, there was -- there was another story
being told. Barack Obama was -- was there for the taking. We could have
beat him. We just had to have John McCain numbers, and we didn`t have it.
MATTHEWS: Well, who was your candidate that would have done better
FEEHERY: Jeb Bush.
MATTHEWS: Jeb Bush? So you`re sort of an establishment Republican.
FEEHERY: Yes, of course. I`m not a Tea Party -- I will say, though,
I do think the Tea Party reaction was a reaction not to what Bob was
saying, but a reaction to big government, much of what...
MATTHEWS: Look, I think Jeb is the best of that family in many ways,
but let me just tell you something. It`s not a bad family, but he`s
certainly the best of them.
Let me tell you the problem with what you just said and gave away,
Feehery. This is a dangerous thing you`ve just given. One of my little
speech notes I always give when I talk to groups is just think about the
country we`re in. From the time I paid attention to politics in 1952 all
the way to 2004, the same three names showed up on every Republican ticket,
Nixon `52, `56, `60, `68, `72. Let`s see, Bush `80, `84, `88, `92, 2000,
Then filling in the blanks, Bob Dole, and back by popular demand in
`96, Bob Dole again.
And now you`re saying the solution to the Republican future is Bush.
FEEHERY: Well, I think -- I think...
MATTHEWS: It`s a legacy. I mean, don`t you broaden it out a little
beyond the obvious Anglo-Saxon names here, Bush and Dole and Nixon and -- I
mean, can`t you get out a little wider than that?
FEEHERY: Chris, let`s not kid ourselves. The front-runner for the
Democrats is Clinton. That`s not exactly a new name. I mean, you know,
MATTHEWS: OK, you got me.
MATTHEWS: You got me!
SHRUM: Yes, but look...
MATTHEWS: ... you got me!
SHRUM: Bush -- Bush understands -- Jeb Bush, and you said it earlier
-- Jeb Bush understands the diversity of the country.
FEEHERY: Right. Of course.
SHRUM: He`s pushed back against the Republican Party...
MATTHEWS: He got me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he`s right!
SHRUM: ... in terms of immigration. He thinks the Republicans have
to move on this. But there are two big problems here. One, if the party
performs historically the way it does in mid-term elections when you have a
president in his second term, there will be a lot of people on the right
who will succeed and they`ll go back into 2016, just the way they went into
You`ll then have a primary situation where what you have to do to get
the nomination in the primaries...
SHRUM: ... is at odds with what you have to do to try to win the
general. So there`s going to be a civil war in the Republican Party. It`s
going to be -- and I`ll broaden it out a little, I`ll create a little more
diversity -- between the Jeb Bush/Chris Christie side of this ledger and
the Paul Ryan/Mike Huckabee side of this ledger.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at Richard Viguerie. Richard Viguerie,
by the way, another familiar name from the past, Viguerie -- he`s the great
special (ph), what do you call it, direct mail expert. Anyway, he
pioneered the field of political direct mail back in the `80s.
He put out a statement -- there`s (ph) a bugle call for the coming GOP
ideological (INAUDIBLE) I think you`re on the other side of this fight,
John. Quote, "Mitt Romney`s loss was the death rattle of the establishment
GOP. Far from signaling a rejection of the Tea Party or grass roots
conservatives, the disaster of 2012 signals the beginning of the battle to
take over the Republican Party and the opportunity to establish the GOP as
the party of small government, constitutional conservativism."
John, react to that.
FEEHERY: Well, I don`t care about Richard Viguerie. I really don`t
care about him.
FEEHERY: What I do want to say is this. Mike Huckabee gets
diversity. He was an excellent governor. And I don`t agree with Mike
Huckabee on everything, but don`t throw Mike Huckabee opposite of Jeb Bush.
He gets this. And I think Paul Ryan gets it, too.
I mean, there`s a lot of Republicans...
SHRUM: Paul Ryan is an anti-immigrant Republican.
FEEHERY: Paul Ryan`s not...
SHRUM: He took up -- he took up all this language they`ve used. You
know, Mitt Romney went on and talked about people self-deporting.
SHRUM: When you do that and when you try to suppress the vote, I
think you force people to vote. I think African-Americans and Hispanics
said, It doesn`t matter what they try to do to us, we`re going...
MATTHEWS: John, your thoughts.
FEEHERY: Hey, Bob, let me say something real quick about this voter
suppression stuff. What the Republicans did was stupid. I agree with you
on that because it gets people more riled up. Let -- go after the vote,
don`t try to stop the vote. I think the whole thing was ridiculous, and I
want to get that on the record.
MATTHEWS: Well said, John Feehery. You`re a Jack Kemp Republican,
and it`s an admirable thing to be. I mean it, big tent, big tent, right?
FEEHERY: Get more votes. It`s addition, game of addition.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK, we`re watching the debate begin. It is...
SHRUM: But Chris...
MATTHEWS: Knives are always out when you lose an election. And we
got to expect this is going to be a rough fight on the Republican right-
SHRUM: The country will be better off if the kind of thing John is
talking about prevails in the Republican Party...
FEEHERY: And I think it will!
SHRUM: ... because we need two governing parties.
FEEHERY: I really believe it will!
MATTHEWS: And by the way, people should both be competing for
FEEHERY: And let me say...
MATTHEWS: Both these two sides should...
FEEHERY: Can I say something real quick?
MATTHEWS: Because it`s not healthy to have one side say self-deport
to the people who don`t have papers. And that very much gets to the
mindset of the people who do have papers, by the way, I would think. Your
thoughts last -- quickly, John.
FEEHERY: I will say that I think John Boehner is going to do a good
job as speaker and we`re going to get stuff done. And it`s going to be
good for the country because I think Boehner...
MATTHEWS: I`m with you.
FEEHERY: ... is thinking first -- he`s thinking first about how do we
make this country better, and I think it`s going to be good for the
SHRUM: I hope you`re right!
MATTHEWS: Why don`t you go work with him because I think together,
you could really make things happen. John Feehery, I hope you go get a job
with that guy. You and him would be great together. Anyway, Bob Shrum,
SHRUM: Great to see you.
MATTHEWS: I always root for Boehner to do the right thing.
Coming up: "Dirty, Angry Money," or should we say wasted money. It`s
the dog that didn`t bark this election. What did all the Sheldon Adelsons
get for their hundreds of millions of dollars in TV advertising?
Also, here`s a tweet from Alec Baldwin that`s been making the rounds.
"You know your party`s in trouble when people ask, Did the rape guy win,
and you have to ask which one?"
MATTHEWS: The notorious rape comments by Todd Akin and Richard
Mourdock didn`t merely embarrass Republicans, it exposed them, in many
ways. It shows that many -- or too many of them think like they do.
Anyway, that`s going to cost them the White House again and again, and a
lot of Senate seats this time and next time.
And now what (ph) President Obama has won reelection and can`t become
a one-term president, is there any chance Republicans will actually accept
him as their president and try to work with him instead of just rejecting
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with my hope that the president, his party
and the other party can get down and really do some deal-making for the
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Now that President Obama`s won reelection, there will be --
no doubt be big changes in his cabinet. We know they`re coming. Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton is expected to depart at the end of this
presidential term. U.N. ambassador Susan Rice could replace her -- could -
- but Republicans would hit her with questions, obviously, about Benghazi
and her appearance on "MEET THE PRESS" during the confirmation hearings.
John Kerry is another huge option, but that would open up the seat in
Massachusetts for the United States Senate. Perhaps Scott Brown would come
roaring back and grab that one. But I don`t think either of these issues,
personally, should get in the way of the president picking the best
possible secretary of state.
Former Republican senator Chuck Hagel is said to be under
consideration, by the way, for Defense. The next defense secretary could
be a Republican. At the Treasury Department, White House chief of staff
Jack Lew, our friend, is the favorite to replace Tim Geithner, we hear.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We might be retiring that particular logo now because it
may well be that the dirty money didn`t get anywhere this election.
Anyway, back to HARDBALL for some good news for those people who don`t
like too much money in politics. Outside of Mitt Romney, Karl Rove might
have been the biggest loser this election day two days ago. The political
wizard spent the night on Fox News denying reality, you might argue, as the
returns came in on Ohio and he couldn`t believe them, wouldn`t believe
He also had a surprising lack of success when it came to the spending
by his big super-PAC, Crossroads. Rove convinced a handful of billionaires
and millionaires to waste, it turns out, a lot of money to help losing
According to a study by the Sunlight Foundation, American Crossroads
spent millions not only on the presidential race and Mitt Romney, but also
on Senate races. Look at his track record here -- Connie Mack in Florida,
lost, Denny Rehberg in Montana, lost, Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, lost,
George Allen in Virginia, again a loser, Heather Wilson in New Mexico,
lost, Todd Akin in Missouri, lost.
His only senatorial winners of the night were Dean Heller, who was the
incumbent appointed senator in Nevada and Deb Fischer up in Nebraska, who
didn`t have the hardest time with Bob Kerrey.
The Sunlight Foundation, by the way, calculated how much of the
group`s -- his group`s (INAUDIBLE) more than $100 million went to
candidates who won versus those who lost. It turns out his rate of return,
if you want to put this in business terms, was an anemic 1.29 percent
return on the dollar in terms of winners and beating people he didn`t like.
He was asked about it, Mr. Adelson, on Fox. Actually, Rove was on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, look, if --
if groups like Crossroads were not active, this race would have been over a
long time ago. President Obama came out of the box on May 15th with $215
million of advertising over a two-and-a-half month period designed to
demonize Mitt Romney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, how`s that for an argument? If it wasn`t for his own
money, Romney would have been less competitive and would have lost earlier.
Well, how will that fly with the billionaires who put their money into this
Michael Isikoff knows all about this stuff. He`s national
investigative correspondent for NBC News. And John Heilemann is national
affairs editor for "New York" magazine and an MSNBC political analyst.
Gentlemen, you`re both pros. Money. Money talks. BS walks. You`ve
heard the old phrase from Ozzy Myers (ph) in Philadelphia. This time,
money didn`t seem to talk, at least not in the general election.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC CORRESPONDENT: No, look...
MATTHEWS: Or at least not for Senate and presidential.
ISIKOFF: We`ve all been talking all year about the post-Citizens
United world with these super-PACs, with their affiliated dark money groups
and how they can collect unlimited amounts and added it up...
ISIKOFF: ... at the end -- anonymously -- to very little. I mean,
the track record -- I mean, Rove`s job, what he was telling people is, he
was going to take back the Senate for the Republican Party. It wasn`t just
winning the White House. The White House was going to, you know, depend on
a whole lot of things. But his job, what he focused on was winning back
There were others -- the Chamber of Commerce spent north of $30
million. Their rate of return, according to the Sunlight Foundation, 5
percent. You go down the list of all these big super-PACs, and they struck
out left and right.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go to John Heilemann -- larger universal look at
this. I heard the other night, it must have been yesterday, someone -- a
producer told me -- executive producer said to me no Democrat office holder
lost yesterday, on Tuesday. Is that true, that all the incumbents got
reelected? Is that still there? Did that end up being true for the whole
JOHN HEILEMANN, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I don`t
know if that`s true, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I mean, by -- Congress people, members of Congress and
senators and -- the big office holders all got reelected.
HEILEMANN: I can`t think of an exception to that rule. I can`t think
MATTHEWS: Isn`t that amazing.
HEILEMANN: There may be one, but I can`t think of what it is off the
top of my head. You know, it is -- you know, obviously, it was a huge
night for Democrats.
I mean, I would say, not in Karl Rove`s defense but just as a
statement of reality, you know, Karl Rove didn`t pick these candidates in
the Senate. The party picked those candidates.
Part of the problem the Republican Party has right now, as we`ve
discussed on this show many times, is that the far right of the party in
the primary process controls things, and so you end up with the selection
usually of the most conservative candidate, often extremely conservative
candidates in the primary process. And so you end up with nominees that
are far outside the mainstream and often uncompetitive in states like
Indiana or Missouri, where they should be more competitive.
Karl Rove -- Michael is obviously right, the Senate was a huge target
for him. But again, he didn`t pick those candidates. He had to try to
help candidates who were flawed in really, really deep ways. And it may be
true what he says, that some of those candidates, in fact, would have been
less competitive than they were.
HEILEMANN: He couldn`t save -- I mean, some of these candidates were
so flawed that no amount of money was ever going to save them.
MATTHEWS: But the progressives and the moderates did so well, John.
I mean, you`re as good at this as I am, certainly. I look at races like
North Dakota, Denny Rehberg and Rick Berg (ph) -- they`re not bad
candidates. They were supposed to win in a lot of cases.
ISIKOFF: What John is saying was absolutely true in Indiana and
ISIKOFF: ... not necessarily true in some of the others, in, you
know, North Dakota, Montana. I mean, they thought they had...
MATTHEWS: Josh Mandel turned out to be a good candidate, and Smith in
ISIKOFF: But look, it does raise larger questions about the
effectiveness of these outside groups. Now, that said, I think there`s
still the question -- so, you know, the political insiders will look at
that and say, See? So the whole issue of super-PACs and dark money is
overblown, let`s just forget about it.
ISIKOFF: There`s also the health of American democracy issue which
MATTHEWS: OK, here...
ISIKOFF: ... still very real...
MATTHEWS: OK, I`m...
ISIKOFF: ... and when you have these seven-figure donors people
MATTHEWS: OK, can I give you the bad news now?
ISIKOFF: ... $50 million...
MATTHEWS: I gave you the good news. Here is the bad news.
John, you -- no, you first, Michael.
ISIKOFF: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Apparently -- I talked to a top Democrat this afternoon, a
top Democrat -- and she said, catch what? It still works in House races.
MATTHEWS: You can go into a House race, get a candidate or an
incumbent who is not that well-known in a swing -- not even a swing
district, but a beatable district, and blow them away. You can still do
Number two, it worked for John -- John, let me start with you. It
worked for you for Mitt Romney. Remember, he went in and destroyed Rick
Santorum, destroyed Newt Gingrich with huge amounts of super PAC money.
You can still do that. You can clear the field for yourself in the
primaries, in the caucuses, and you can destroy House members.
Is that still true with big money? Is that your view?
HEILEMANN: I believe both those statements are still true.
Look, in House races, you still have -- the media markets are small
enough that a relatively small amount of money can make a candidate -- can
provide the loudest megaphone in the race, louder than the candidates
themselves. And so they can still influence those races.
That`s certainly true. And, look, there`s no other way to explain the
way that Mitt Romney got the Republican nomination than through the kind of
metaphorical equivalent of firebombing at Dresden when it came...
HEILEMANN: ... to first Rick Perry, then Newt Gingrich, and then Rick
Santorum. The way that he won despite all the problems with the Republican
base was through overwhelming financial force. And a lot of that money did
come from Restore Our Future, from the main Republican super PAC that was
backing him in those primaries.
HEILEMANN: He could not have been the nominee had it not been for
MATTHEWS: Michael, I want you to respond to Sheldon Adelson. He is a
big figure in this election. He reportedly spent at least $53 million.
There`s no tax break for that, by the way, on Republican candidates. Most
of them lost on election night.
A Norwegian reporter got to him. I think I know that guy. He was at
the conventions, asked about that money. Let`s take a look at him and a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: How do you think your money was spent? Was it well-spent?
SHELDON ADELSON, CHAIRMAN, LAS VEGAS SANDS CORP.: By paying bills.
That`s how you spend money, either that or become a Jewish husband. You
spend a lot of money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So, he got a...
MATTHEWS: ... act out of it.
ISIKOFF: Hats off to Norwegian. I wonder how the joke is going to
translate in Oslo.
MATTHEWS: I wonder if they`re going to get it over there.
ISIKOFF: In any case, look, there are two ways in which I think this
issue is going to return next year and be with us for a while.
First of all, you`re going to see a big push in the Senate with the
White House backing to do something about the unlimited money and to curb
super PACs, to do something about the post-Citizens United world. Whether
it can get through with Mitch McConnell in the Senate and Republicans in
the House is unclear, but I think the White House will really give a big
push to that.
But, secondly, remember, as bad as the Republican super PACs did, the
Democratic super PACs, although they didn`t spend as much money, did quite
well. And you are going to see a big focus on who their big donors were.
And there were...
MATTHEWS: OK. That`s one other example at work.
MATTHEWS: I`m told by the pros like you, John, that one thing that
did succeed in terms of big spending was the attempt -- well, the success,
rather, in defining Mitt Romney early on by the White House people and
HEILEMANN: Absolutely incredible.
You know, Priorities USA Action, the group that Bill Burton and Paul
Begala were involved in, they made a bunch of really strategic decisions.
They didn`t have that much money, relative to the larger Republican
conservative super PACs.
They decided to go in hard into certain states, particularly Ohio,
where they spent the bulk of their money. They ran a bunch of ads that
were incredibly -- that got an incredible amount of attention both in terms
of they put them up -- they spent a lot -- got a lot of airtime in terms of
what they paid for, but also generated a lot of earned media, a lot of free
media coverage of those ads.
Some of the most striking ads of the cycle were done by that group.
And I think the president`s people would concede they hit Mitt Romney
really hard in Ohio also, but it was the double punch. It was that one-two
punch in Ohio of the two of them over the summer on Bain, on taxes, on
outsourcing and all that stuff that proved really quite effective in that
And it shows you that -- it does show you that it`s not the bulk of
money that matters. It`s about spending enough money effectively, but in
those cases, when you do that, you can move the needle, especially in
certain markets, certain states.
MATTHEWS: Michael, I haven`t talked to you in a while. Were you
surprised by the results Tuesday night, given the whole year, looking at it
ISIKOFF: I was surprised, if you looked at the final polls, at how
little -- how few surprises there were. Almost in every case, the
pollsters had it right.
MATTHEWS: But, John, when you had to look at the contours writing
your new book, contours of this election, were you surprised by the sort of
stunning sweep we saw the other night?
HEILEMANN: I certainly was, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I was too.
HEILEMANN: And, you know, look, the Obama people were very confident,
and their model -- the way that they described what they were going about
doing I always thought made sense analytically, but they won even the
states that they thought they were going to win among the battleground
states. They ended up winning them by bigger margins than they thought
they were going to.
MATTHEWS: Eights, nines.
HEILEMANN: They thought Colorado was going to be a razor-thin
election like Florida, and they ended up winning that state by what, five
or six points.
They were an incredible machine, and the fact that they were able to
get African-American turnout in Ohio to go up by 33 percent, to go from 11
percent of the electorate to 15 percent of the electorate, no one on Earth
would have thought that the Obama campaign could do that. And that was the
margin of victory for them in Ohio.
MATTHEWS: How -- how many days before the election did Romney know
his goose was cooked, that he had to go to Pennsylvania and play and
Michigan and Minnesota? How early did he know he had to go for those long
shots, that he was probably going to lose?
HEILEMANN: I don`t know that he ever thought that, Chris.
I think that they were to the last day -- I think they were somewhat
shocked. They really believed that the electorate that was going to come
out on Tuesday night was a different electorate than the electorate that
HEILEMANN: They had convinced themselves that the electorate would
look more than 2010 than 2008. And I think they believed it in their
hearts and souls.
And I think that`s part of the reason why they had such a hard time
conceding. They couldn`t believe what they were seeing in Ohio and other
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well said. Great reporting.
Thank you, Michael, as always. Thank you for coming in.
Thank you, John Heilemann.
Up next: Jon Stewart takes on Karl Rove and FOX News, and Jimmy
Fallon recreates what Mitt Romney might have told President Obama when he
called him to concede the election.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. And now to the "Sideshow."
Well, the election narrative is not over really until you get the
election roundup from the late-night scene.
First, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert taking on the results and Karl
Rove`s slow march to the realization that President Obama had won.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Do you believe that Ohio has
KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, I
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this just math that you do as a Republican to
make yourself feel better, or is this real?
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Here is what
happened. I just want to get it straight, Karl, very quickly. Are you
lying to yourself?
STEWART: Or to the millions of viewers?
"Math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better" is a much
STEWART: ... slogan for FOX than the one they have now.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Just because Obama won
these blue states up here, he`s the president of all of them now?
COLBERT: Look, Romney won all that red stuff.
COLBERT: Why don`t we elect our president on square footage?
COLBERT: Obama won. America is done, it`s over.
Jimmy, roll the credits.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, then there`s the question, what did Mitt Romney say
to President Obama during the concession phone call?
Jimmy Fallon had some ideas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Hello, President Obama.
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": All right.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Is this your concession call, or are you still
busy watching FOX News?
FALLON: No, no.
FALLON: This is my concession call. Congratulations, blah, blah,
blah, you did it.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Hey, hey, hey, now, everything OK? You seem a
FALLON: It`s just that I really wanted to be president. I was going
to create 12 million jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, look, look, buck up. You created one job,
except it was for me.
FALLON: All right, very funny. You got me.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FALLON: You know, I can laugh at myself. Hah, hah, hah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: One last incarnation of the Romney laugh.
Also, any clue what this post-election tweet from a blogger with The
Atlantic politics wire is getting at? Quote: "It`s perfectly reasonable to
plan a transition after election, but we rarely see one -- see what the
loser was planning."
Well, here goes. If you had followed the link posted in the tweet
there, you would have found yourself at the presidential transition Web
site for president-elect Mitt Romney, after he lost. That`s right. Here
is the "what could have been" home page that mistakenly went public, even a
quote from the not president-elect and the date for Inauguration Day listed
there at the bottom.
The site was eventually yanked, but not before the content got out.
As for what really went down post-election for the members of the
Romney staff, we have this nugget from Garrett Haake. He`s the NBC News
Romney campaign embed. Quote -- you`re going to believe this one -- you`re
not going to believe it -- quote -- "From the moment Mitt Romney stepped
off stage Tuesday night, the massive infrastructure surrounding his
campaign quickly began to disassemble itself. Aides taking cabs home late
that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to
the campaign no longer worked. `Fiscally conservative,`" sighed one aide
the next day."
Wow. I hear also he lost his Secret Service protection that night,
Up next: those infamous rape comments from Todd Akin and Richard
Mourdock might have embarrassed the Republican Party itself, but, worse, it
exposed them. Whether they`re saying it out loud or not, the whole party
has lost step with the country. And that`s a big reason why they lost
Tuesday night overall.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
SUE HERERA, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Sue Herera with your CNBC "Market
Another triple-digit sell-off for the Dow. It fell 121 points. The
S&P dropped 17. The Nasdaq shed 41, partly because of Apple shares, which
slid more than 3 percent after falling into bear market territory during
Meanwhile, McDonald`s lost 2 percent after reporting its first monthly
sales drop in nine years. And the latest read on weekly jobless claims
showed a decline of only 8,000. However, the data was distorted by last
week`s big storm.
And that`s it from CNBC. We are first in business worldwide -- and
now back to Chris and HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVEN LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: You know, my wife is a Democrat,
and she was so close to voting for Mitt Romney, but then, you know,
Mourdock and Akin opened their mouth. And we sent them running back to the
Democratic Party because they think we`re nutty.
We have the right message on the finances. We have to get out of
people`s lives, get out of people`s bedrooms, and we have to be a national
party. And that`s -- or else we`re going to lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And that`s Steve LaTourette, the congressman from just east
of Cleveland, describing the gender problems that his party still faces
after those rape comments from senator -- Senate candidates, not senators,
Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.
But focus on Akin and Mourdock this season revealed neither of them
are outliers in their party. As Republican strategist John Weaver told
"The New York Times" -- quote -- "They did not seem foreign to our party.
They seemed representative of our party."
Well, the Senate will make history next year with 20 women now, making
up the largest percentage of women ever to sit in the upper chamber. Well,
I don`t like the phrase upper chamber. One of those members will be
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is coming off a big win Tuesday
Senator, thank you, and congratulations. You`re one of those people
that people dare not run against, I guess.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, what do you make of the fact just the whole women`s
thing and the way women now tend to be Democrats? You see it in
California, where you have two senators who are women and in Washington
state, and in New York, of course, you have a woman senator now and in the
In fact, I think you have got 17 Democratic women now, right?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, we do.
We have -- we`re going to have 20 women senators, which is incredible.
The American public in this election, Chris, sent us a binder full of
KLOBUCHAR: And so we`re excited to have this many women in the
And the women, as you know, are a cordial bunch across party lines.
We have dinner every other month in the Strom Thurmond Room, which is
somewhat ironic. And we work together well. And I think...
MATTHEWS: No, he liked women. I understand he liked women.
KLOBUCHAR: Let`s not go there, Chris.
KLOBUCHAR: But, in any case, I think what we know is that the
American public wanted to see more problem-solvers after this incredibly
polarized election season.
KLOBUCHAR: Women tend to be problem-solvers. And I think that helped
us, as well as some of the messages that we were seeing from the other
MATTHEWS: Well, on that point...
KLOBUCHAR: And this is a great opportunity for us to work together
and put more women there.
MATTHEWS: My wife is a professional woman, a corporate executive, and
I do notice that the way men do things, a little more rivalry, a little
sharp elbows, too much testosterone.
As a group, women are good at collegial decision-making, getting
together and finding common ground and moving ahead, whether it`s in a club
or whatever. It seems decisions come with much more fluidity. What is
that? When you say you have meetings across the aisle with the Republican
women, Senator -- I`m serious about this. Go ahead.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, no, I`m not -- I`m not a psychologist.
I know that we just tend to want to get things done. Maybe it was
tougher for us to get into that job. My favorite line is Barbara Mikulski,
the dean of the women. She says that we are going to suit up, we`re going
to square our shoulders, put our lipstick on, and get things done.
That`s what the women senators plan on doing. And you have also -- as
you pointed out earlier in the show, you have a number of candidates,
including men, that won, like Joe Donnelly in Indiana, against candidates
that had more rigid ideology.
So, while the balance of power may have stayed the same in Washington,
when you listen to Speaker Boehner`s words on election night, you listen to
Harry Reid, you listen to the president, clearly, there was a message sent
from the American public: You guys better get your act together. You
better extend the olive branch and start negotiating, because our economy
depends on it.
MATTHEWS: Well, for anyone out there who thinks that Mr. Akin or Mr.
Mourdock were outliers, sort of oddities in the Republican Party, here is
the Republican Party platform approved this year in Tampa by all the
delegates. "Faithful to the self-evident truths enshrined in the
Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and
affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life
which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the
Constitution and -- this is bigger -- endorse legislation to make clear
that the Fourteenth Amendment`s protections apply to unborn children."
Well, there you have life, liberty, and property which would
basically make it basically murder to have an abortion. All in the
Constitution -- basically the Constitution of the Republican Party right
now. What do you think? What do you make of that when you walk past
Republicans on the floor and realize they subscribe to that kind of
thinking where the woman has no role?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think the American public has spoken on this in
states as conservative as Mississippi when an amendment like that was on
the ballot, the people really want to talk about the issues, the bread and
butter things that matter to America. We have to bring our debt down in a
balanced way. We have to move forward in this economy and train our
students so they have the skills that will fill the jobs we have today.
That`s what people want to talk about.
So even though the balance may have stayed somewhat the same, there
was a change in some of the candidates. I think people are going to listen
to that and our country depends on it.
Courage in the next few years is not going to be just standing by
yourself giving some speech on the left or the right. Courage is going to
be whether you`re willing to stand next to someone you don`t always agree
with for the betterment of this country. That`s what I heard loud and
clear all over Minnesota and we see in this election.
MATTHEWS: So you`re hopeful that the Democrats and the Republicans
in politics starting with the president on down can maybe begin to cut
deals in the interest of the country starting with getting away from the
KLOBUCHAR: I really do, and you`re starting to see some signs of
that today. I think that`s important as well as moving ahead with some of
these other things. Comprehensive energy policy, things we really need to
do because there`s been too much time wasted on hearings that don`t matter
and people trying to do sound bites, as great as they are on your show.
KLOBUCHAR: I think people want to see people willing to work
together, and I really heard it in our state.
MATTHEWS: Would you like to be president?
KLOBUCHAR: I love being the senator from Minnesota. That`s way want
to do. We have a great state. You should come and visit, Land of 10,000
Lakes. You`d have all kind of water to walk on.
MATTHEWS: What was that? Was that an answer, a yes or no? Just
quickly, was that yes or no?
KLOBUCHAR: That was a no. I couldn`t be clearer. I love being the
senator from Minnesota. That`s my job.
MATTHEWS: Well, others are talking about it. Anyway, thank you.
Congratulations, Senator Klobuchar of Minnesota -- a great state which I
know a bit about.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Anyway, let`s go now to Amy Sullivan of "The New Republic".
Amy is -- in your column in these -- about these two men, you wrote
about Mourdock and Akin, you said they "lost because they each made a
mistake of actually trying to explain an increasingly common position by
Republican officeholders including Paul Ryan. It`s not unusual for GOP
politicians to oppose rape exceptions but they haven`t had to defend that
at least not on a big stage. When they`re forced to explain themselves, as
in the case of Akin and Mourdock, it`s not their words that alienate voters
but the idea of forcing women to carry to term a pregnancy that began in
rape. As long as opposition to rape exceptions remains a mainstream
position for Republican officeholders, the GOP`s abortion problem is here
You know, I just keep thinking, here is a party that`s building its
future on this sort of subjunctive potential situation. They`re talking
about an era in which we outlaw abortion but only permit it in certain
circumstances and yet they`re so ideologically orthodox in their thinking,
they have to have a hard position on something like this.
AMY SULLIVAN, THE NEW REPUBLIC: Yes. Well, and this year has proven
I think that the jig is up for Republicans, because for a while they have
been able to have a very hard core position that they present to their most
conservative voters, say, I a oppose abortion in all instances, not even in
the case of rape, but that wasn`t really something that people on the other
side, I guess, had focused on. I personally was surprised that everyone
was surprised to hear the comments of Akin and Mourdock. I`m not sure what
an acceptable reason for opposing a --
MATTHEWS: Tell me why you think this gets to women voters in a
political sense, not having this exception, which is so to me way out
SULLIVAN: Right. Well, in this particular case, I think
particularly if you`re a woman, it is kind of shocking to think that having
gone through a trauma like being raped, then your government would force
you to carry that pregnancy all the way to term. You know, it is just a
violation of your own body twice, first in the initial rape and then the
act of pregnancy is not easy. I was certainly flat on my back and sick as
a dog for nine months, and a lot of us do it because we really want that
child. But if that child is the result of a rape, trying to force a woman
to go through that is something that most women cannot wrap their heads
MATTHEWS: It strikes me as a male that you`re telling people, your
body is important because you will bear the child even if you`re raped.
SULLIVAN: You`re the vessel.
MATTHEWS: Therefore, your brain, your soul, your basic human being
isn`t really relevant here.
SULLIVAN: Not really. Now, you know, we should acknowledge that for
people who are completely opposed to abortion, who think that life begins
at conception and any abortion is murder, that`s actually the most
consistent position to take, to not --
MATTHEWS: As metaphysics. Yes, I understand. We`re talking law
SULLIVAN: We are talking law and that`s where --
MATTHEWS: We`re talking about putting people in jail if they violate
that law, potentially. Anyway, thank you, Amy Sullivan.
Up next, President Obama won the election, Republicans lost across
the country. So, is there any chance they will finally accept him as
president? I mean, really try to work with that man. He`s president of
the United States. I like it when he says it, by the way, "I am the
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: President Obama`s re-election victory is less than 48
hours old, but already the jockeying for 2016 is under way. We learned
today that Marco Rubio will be making -- I can`t believe this -- his first
trip to Iowa. He`s going next weekend for a birthday fund-raiser for
Republican Governor Terry Branstad. It will be Rubio`s first unofficial
testing the waters for the next national caucus state, the first in the
nation caucus state coming up in four years.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m no longer just a
candidate. I`m the president.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The Democratic Convention with a simple declarative sentence,
President Obama owned the office. He gave a not so subtle reminder to
those who question his legitimacy, that he was in fact the president of the
The American people have unequivocally now chosen Obama to lead
another four years, and this time -- will Republicans honor and work with
him? That`s an open question.
Here`s what House Speaker John Boehner told ABC News when asked
whether he`s planning to try to repeal President Obama`s health care reform
law. Boehner said, quote, "The election changes that. Obamacare is the
law of the land." Powerful.
Joy Reid is the managing editor of "The Grio" and John Nichols is
Washington bureau chief to "The Nation." Both are MSNBC contributors,
Look, I want to start with Joy here. I mean it, Joy.
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I want to talk about this. You and I have jabbered band
and forth for weeks. Luckily, all that negative stuff, the ethnic stuff,
racial, if you will, run against the president, seemed to have very little
MATTHEWS: It may have inspired some people to get out and vote. I
heard that from a number of people, including our colleague, Reverend
MATTHEWS: And people had a registration impulse or push. So, what
do you think about the question of whether the people -- will we still see
birthers out there? Will we still people in the Congress saying this guy
is not president?
REID: Yes, you know what, Chris? And we have talked a lot about
this. And I think unfortunately -- look, obviously, the intellectuals in
the Republican Party understand what happened and they can parse it, they
realize they lost, they get that he`s the president. They accept it.
The people like Steve Schmidt, the operative, who do this for a
living, they totally get it. They even understand really what the
Republican Party`s problem is.
But I`ve been scouring, you know, right-wing Web sites all day today,
not the crazy ones, but "The Weekly Standard", RedState.com, looking at the
comments and looking at the rank and file, sort of, the base reaction. And
I do sense that they`re not going to get on board, they are not going to
accept that this man is president. They`re still out there with conspiracy
theories and the New Black Panther stole the election, and it didn`t
happened. I`m still hearing that.
And the elected Republicans, particularly in the House, they don`t
respond to the intellectuals and the operatives. They respond to that same
base. They are hermetically sealed in their own world where talk radio is
telling them and where FOX News is telling them, this is not legitimate,
and he is not legitimate. And I fear they are still going to hold sway
over a lot of House Republicans.
MATTHEWS: That is so smart. I get that from other directions, too.
John Nichols, that impenetrable rejection front that you hear on the
radio, you heard it from Rush Limbaugh yesterday. You know, I`ve heard it
could well penetrate throughout most of the House Republican caucus, talk
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, I think it`s real. I think we have
to understand that the Republican Party is divided between hacks and true
believers. And for the last couple years, the true believers have been in
charge and the hacks have followed the true believers. And the question is
whether the hacks action and they`re led by Karl Rove, whether they seek to
I think in a sense the president has a responsibility here. He has
to own his mandate. It`s very important that we recognize this election
didn`t finish on Tuesday night. They`re still counting votes in Washington
state. Every hour President Obama adds about 100,000 more votes. Sometime
tonight, he will move over to the line of 3 million popular win, when
Florida is decided 332 electoral votes, he will have won 26 states and the
District of Columbia.
And he needs to talk about that, not in a pompous or bragging way,
but to say, look, I won a big election here, and to you Republicans who can
listen, as well as to the broader American people, I have a right to
govern. And I think he needs to make that point.
He won`t get some of the people that Joy is talking about, but that`s
reality. What he can do is to force those hacks, who I have respect for,
that is what they do, force the real political people in the Republican
Party to listen
MATTHEWS: You have a lot of respect for hacks. That`s a great word.
You have a lot of respect for hacks.
NICHOLS: I do, I do. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to Joy finally. Last thought from
How does the president, just to be bipartisan about this, as we all
can be. What can he do to offer an olive branch to get the better angels
of the Republican Party come over and say, look, let`s talk start over,
let`s reset, let`s see what we can do here to get this country moving?
REID: I`m not sure there`s a message that he could send that would
penetrate those -- the base, as you said.
MATTHEWS: How about the hacks?
REID: Yes, I know. I think the hacks get it. I saw a piece that
was written -- I think he owns Carl`s Restaurant, one of these big
corporate guys. And what he was offering as a way for the president to
start negotiating was exactly the same thing that Mitt Romney was running
on. He was saying, Mr. President, come to us and roll back your idea of
raising taxes. Come to us and come to business and get with all the same
tired, old --
MATTHEWS: We`ve got to pick up with later.
REID: I don`t know what he can do.
MATTHEWS: I know. You can`t just say buy the Republican platform.
REID: That`s what they`re saying. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Joy. We`ll be talking about this, you
and John and I, for a long time. How you do get this train back on the
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: Respect the voters.
That`s what the people we elect need to do now.
I truly believe that politicians, the elected people, should follow
two rules after an election. One, respect the other people who won --
they`re entitled to a point of view, as you were. And two -- and this is
the big one -- respect the electorate. Show favor to the side that won
nationally. It`s a couple of millions, actually 3 million votes the
president won the popular vote by as well as the presidency.
Now, both sides, Republican and Democrat, need to give them their
support. This means that while the president needs to negotiate to get
Republican support, beginning with averting the fiscal cliff this January,
the other side, the Republican side, needs to lean in his direction. The
deal should be a deal in the president`s direction. It needs to favor the
Democratic side, because the president won the election.
It needs to respect the Republican side, because it`s the party that
went big in the House of Representatives, which, of course, really is an
incredibly representative body and also responsive to the voters every two
years. It needs to lean in the president`s direction.
I want action. I want deals struck starting with the questions about
taxes and defense spending, at the heart of the issue right now. Nothing
succeeds like success. If the two sides can cut a deal in averting this
fiscal cliff this January, this could be the start of something big.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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