Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/13/2016

Guests:
Susan Page, Alex Altman, Ashley Parker, Eli Stokols
Transcript:

Show: HARDBALL
Date: October 13, 2016
Guest: Susan Page, Alex Altman, Ashley Parker, Eli Stokols

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Michelle Obama makes her case against Donald Trump.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Just two words showcase today`s campaign story – Michelle Obama. What she
said about Donald Trump is the headline. And the story of what she had to
say promises, as we say in the news business, to have legs. It`s going to
go on.

Michelle was the undeniable star this Thursday, October 13th. She told a
crowd in New Hampshire that she was shaken to the core by what Donald Trump
said back in 2005 about how he treats women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This is not something that we can ignore.
It`s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another
disturbing footnote in a sad election season because this was not just a
lewd conversation. This wasn`t just locker room banter. This was a
powerful individual, speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory
behavior.

And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn`t an
isolated incident. It`s one of countless examples of how he has treated
women his whole life.

And I know it`s a campaign, but this isn`t about politics. It`s about
basic human decency. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say,
Enough is enough.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the other drama today was Donald Trump defending himself
against a variety of allegations, some of the claims stretching back
decades, that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with women.

In Trump fashion, he responded by lashing out at the women making the
charges, the media reporting on them, and the Clinton campaign, which he
accused of being behind the charges. Well, just in the past 24 hours, a
number of more women have come forward claiming that Trump inappropriately
touched them. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA LEEDS, ACCUSER: It was a real shock when all of a sudden, his
hands were all over me. He started encroaching on my space. And I
hesitate to use this expression, but I`m going to, and that is he was like
an octopus. It was like he had six arms. He was all over the place. When
he started putting his hand up my skirt, and that was it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, a second woman, Rachel Crooks, told “The New York Times”
she met Trump at an elevator in Trump Tower. She introduced herself, but
Trump began kissing her on the cheek. She said Trump then, quote, “kissed
me directly on the mouth.”

Well, then Trump tweeted, quote, “The phony story in the failing `New York
Times` is a total fabrication.” A lawyer for Trump sent a letter to “The
Times” demanding it retract the story.

Well, separately, “The Palm Beach Post” reported that a woman named Melinda
McGillivray said was groped by Trump in 2003 during a reception at Mar-a-
Lago. Well, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told “The Post,” “there is no
truth to this whatsoever. This allegation lacks any merit or veracity.”

A “People” magazine writer also claimed inappropriate contact with Trump.
In 2005, she was at Mar-a-Lago, writing a story about Trump and his wife,
Melania. At one point, Melania wasn`t present. The writer said, “We
walked into the room alone. And Trump shut the door behind us, and turned
around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall and forcing
his tongue down my throat.”

Well, Trump denied it all. Quote, “Why didn`t the writer of the 12-year-
old article in `People` magazine mention the incident in her story?
Because it did not happen.”

Meanwhile, a reporter for NBC spoke with a former Miss Utah – Temple
Taggart`s her name – who alleged that Trump kissed her back in 1997.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEMPLE TAGGART, FORMER MISS UTAH: I remember him walking over. My dad was
very confident and really admired Donald Trump. And so he went over and
introduced himself first and then he introduced me. And it was at that
time where turned to me and embraced me and gave me a kiss on the lips.
And I – I remember being shocked and – because I would have just thought
to shake somebody`s hand. But that was his first response with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump told NBC News, quote, “I didn`t even know – I don`t
even know who she is. She claims this place – this took place in a public
area. I never kissed her. I emphatically deny this ridiculous claim.”

Well, NBC News hasn`t confirmed any of the claims. Trump has denied all of
them. He did so again today. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: These vicious claims about me of
inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false! These
events never, ever happened, and the people that said them meekly (ph)
fully understand. You take a look at these people, you study these people
and you`ll understand also.

These people are horrible people! They`re horrible, horrible liars! And
interestingly, it happens to appear 26 days before our very important
election. Isn`t that amazing?

I take all of these slings and arrows gladly for you. I take them for our
movement, so that we can have our country back!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is NBC`s Katy Tur – she`s in
Philadelphia – “USA Today`s” Susan Page – she`s here, along with former
chair of the Republican National Committee and MSNBC political analyst
Michael Steele.

Katy Tur, how does this all ring with you, having covered him all these
months? Is this – I guess it`s hard to ask, but you must have had some
reaction when you hear these stories pouring out every couple of hours now.

KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, I can`t verify any of these claims.
What I will say is that we are seeing a snowballing effect, with more and
more women coming out and saying that they feel more comfortable now
telling their stories. They`re saying that the 2005 audio leak enabled
them – or first girded them to do so.

And then when Donald Trump denied touching anybody, denied, you know,
acting on any of those – any of those brags during the debate, they felt
like they needed to come out in order to, essentially, protect the country.
They felt like it was their duty, their civic duty, to come out and alert
the public about what kind of man he is behind the scenes.

Again, Chris, I can`t verify any of these stories. I have not spoken
directly with any of these women, and I certainly wasn`t there for any of
these allegations. But we are hearing women come out and tell tales of
what Donald Trump was like in person that match very closely to how Donald
Trump bragged about his behavior both in private, as we heard in that 2005
audio, and in public, on Howard Stern, even on places like Fox News,
talking about how he felt entitled to go up to women and to touch them. He
felt like he could because he was a celebrity. He was allowed to do these
things.

So while we can`t say that these claims are true, what we can say is that
they do line up with Donald Trump`s own words.

MATTHEWS: It`s got to be the first time a public figure has served as the
narrator of the story he`s denying. I mean, he actually – if you listen
to what he said on those programs, including “Access Hollywood” on that
bus, and you listen to what he said on Stern, it sounds like he`s
describing himself rather adequately.

TUR: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump forcefully denied the allegation by a “People”
magazine writer that he forcefully kissed her. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And I ask very simple question. Why wasn`t it part of the story
that appeared 20 or 12 years ago? Why wasn`t it part of the story? I was
one of the biggest stars on television with “The Apprentice,” and it would
have been one of the biggest stories of the year!

And by the way, the area was a public area, people all over the place.
Take a look. You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell
me what you think. I don`t think so! I don`t think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Insult to injury.

SUSAN PAGE, “”USA TODAY”: Well, he does…

MATTHEWS: He`s insulting her looks after he`s been accused of this, so his
way of responding is say, She isn`t somebody I would do this to. I mean,
it`s another way of whacking at somebody.

PAGE: Yes. And so here`s the question. Do his words today, which were so
defiant against these women who have stepped forward – does it encourage
other women, if they`ve had that kind of experience, to come forward
because they feel like it`s important to do so, or does it discourage
them…

MATTHEWS: What do you think?

PAGE: … because they don`t want to…

MATTHEWS: What do you think?

TUR: … they don`t want to…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, the fact that he apparently – Michael, to be really blunt
about it, the fact that he`s appearing to lose this election right now…

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

MATTHEWS: … that in addition to the truth of the – the transparent
truth of what was on the “Access Hollywood” tape and the rest of this, the
Howard Stern stuff, that would be another inducement, I would think, to
come out.

STEELE: I think that`s…

MATTHEWS: He`s not going to be president of the United States.

STEELE: I think that`s what`s going to happen. I think that over the next
week or so, you`re going to have more and more women who`ve been in that
orbit and have had that experience speak to that.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

STEELE: And I think what – what makes that happen, and as Katy knows in
listening and watching this campaign real time, is that when he gets up on
that stage and he emphatically denies it and denies it, that cuts – that
cuts and undercuts the woman that was in that situation with him and then
forces her, almost, to just take the dare – All right, now I`m going to
come out and tell my story.

MATTHEWS: It`s so interesting. Anyway, Michelle Obama, who was
unbelievable today, called Trump`s past comments about women disgraceful
and intolerable. She told the story of one young boy reacting to Trump.
Let`s watch her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Someone recently told me a story about their 6-year-old son who one
day was watching the news. They were watching the news together, and the
little boy out of the blue said, I think Hillary Clinton will be president.
And his mom said, Well, why do you say that?

And this little 6-year-old said, Because the other guy called someone a
piggy. And he said, You cannot be president if you call someone a piggy.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: So even a 6-year-old knows better. A 6-year-old knows that this is
not how adults behave. This is not how decent human beings behave. And
this is certainly not thousand someone who wants to be president of the
United States behaves.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Who wants to start here? I`ll start with you, Michael. You`re
the guy here. What do you think – what do you think inspired Michelle
Obama – we`ve watched her now, she`s been a great first lady, but she
hasn`t been this impassioned about anything that we`ve seen her on.

STEELE: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I don`t remember anything like this. This is like, I`m talking
to you. I`m talking.

STEELE: Yes, I think this was personal. I think she probably – my sense
in listening to the speech was she was talking and speaking on behalf of
people she knew who had been in that situation, and maybe other situations
in her family. I mean, it was a very personal way of pushing back and
saying, as she said at the end there, Enough is enough.

So I think that aspect of this changes this whole dynamic right now.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

STEELE: I think her sort of reframing this, the story with the 6-year-old,
the – you know, the pushback on drawing the line – No more, no more – I
think is going to really have a debilitating effect on the campaign.

PAGE: You know, I think this was one of the most effective, most powerful,
compelling…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Her speech today will have legs. We`ll be showing this for a
while.

PAGE: And she gave a great speech at the convention. This was better.
And it wasn`t – it was not a partisan speech.

STEELE: No, it wasn`t.

PAGE: I mean, there wasn`t a bit of policy ideology in it. I mean, I
think – and I think she felt personally because there`s no woman who
hasn`t had some kind of experience like this.

MATTHEWS: Yes. You know, we don`t all know that.

PAGE: Yes, well…

MATTHEWS: I`m hearing stories from producers today that I had never heard
before about stuff…

TUR: Right.

MATTHEWS: … where people have been through stuff and…

TUR: Women know what she`s talking about. And they also can understand
why, 12 years ago, a magazine writer wouldn`t have put that in her story.

MATTHEWS: Of course not because that would shatter the whole deal.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Katy because Katy`s been up front. I got the
feeling when I was listening to the first lady today, she said something
that I thought was very first person. She said she can`t believe that this
guy who talks like this is a candidate for president, meaning she knows
what an elevation that is. Her husband`s had that elevation. To be a
major party candidate for president is not being president, but it`s a
really, really close to being president thing.

And I think it offends her, the notion that somebody can be like Trump and
be also in that small group of people who`ve ever been nominated for
president. It`s a short list. It`s, like what, 70 names in history.

TUR: Yes, and she`s not the only one. There are a number of people out
there who just can`t wrap their minds around why Donald Trump is so popular
and why he`s being excused for behavior that normally would never be
excused.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

TUR: I was speaking to women supporters of Donald Trump, and without
irony, they`ll tell me that everybody says these words. And then I`ll ask
them if they ever said these words, and they`ll say, No, of course not.
Don`t be stupid.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

TUR: So this is – this is defying the laws of not just politics but
normal and decent human behavior. We don`t generally exalt people who
speak so negatively about women, who trash women who are victims.

And I will point out, too, not necessarily the women that are accusing
Donald Trump of anything, but let`s look at Michelle Fields, the reporter
from Breitbart who said Corey Lewandowski grabbed her after one of the
primary celebrations. Donald Trump vehemently denied that that happened,
said he would fire Corey Lewandowski if it did.

Video came out proving that it did. Not only did Donald Trump not fire
Corey Lewandowski, but he went on the attack against Michelle Fields,
victim-shaming her over and over again, saying that she was lying about the
bruises.

So that speaks to something that a lot of women in this country find to be
inherently appalling, that it`s a guttural reaction you get from women who
have ever been placed in that situation…

MATTHEWS: Yes.

TUR: … where people don`t believe them because they are a woman. It`s
not necessarily women out there who have been touched in inappropriate
ways.

And I got to tell you, most of us have at one point or another, even just
walking down the street, some of us, but people who have felt like they
have been diminished because they are a woman, unable to speak out about
situations that make them uncomfortable because they feel like their jobs
are threatened, their position is threatened. They don`t want to ruin the
mood of a party, say.

This is not something that is unique. It doesn`t happen infrequently. It
is something that is – that is – that is something that you`re brought up
to learn how to deal with as woman from a very young age.

MATTHEWS: Well said. Katy Tur, you`re the best. Thanks so much for that
very personal portrait of what the world looks like right now, the world of
Donald Trump. Anyway, thank you, Susan, as always, and Michael Steele,
another erudite comment tonight. Everybody`s at their best tonight.

Coming up – Trump is sinking in the polls. That`s a fact. His party is
reeling. That`s a fact. And the damage could get much, much worse for
Republicans as a whole. We all know this. We don`t have to report it, we
know what`s going on, everybody watching now.

Plus, the Clinton campaign`s also in a bit of a damage control mode right
now over the latest batch of e-mails hacked by Wikileaks.

And we`re waiting now for two big live events tonight in this hour, both
from the battleground state of Ohio. President Obama will be making
remarks to the Ohio Democratic Party in Columbus. He`s expected to respond
forcefully to the allegations facing Donald Trump. That`s going to be hot,
too, tonight.

And Trump also is on the campaign tonight himself, holding a rally in
Cincinnati, another Ohio spot. We`re watching both events, and we`ll bring
them to you as the news develops.

Finally, the HARDBALL roundtable is here as Donald Trump`s campaign enters
meltdown mode.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let`s get to the latest polling today from the key battleground
states. For that, we check the HARDBALL “Scoreboard.”

In North Carolina, a new NBC News/Marist poll has Hillary Clinton up by 4,
and Trump needs that state – Clinton 45, Trump still at 41, 3 shy – 4
shy. In a four-way matchup in the Tarheel state – that`s been trending
towards Clinton. Next to Ohio, where NBC News/Marist poll has Trump up by
1. He`s still holding onto Ohio by a thread, 42 to 41. The
RealClearPolitics for Ohio has Clinton up by half a point. He needs that
state.

Next to Pennsylvania, where a new Bloomberg poll has Clinton up by 9. It`s
Clinton, 51 to 42. And that lead for Clinton is fueled by huge margins in
the Philly suburbs, and that could be the killer punch against Trump.

Finally, to Michigan, where Clinton`s lead in the new “Detroit News” poll
is 11. It`s Clinton, 42, Trump down at 31 – a lot of missing votes there.
Clinton`s lead was 7 in the polls two weeks ago.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The Republican Party appears to be
coming apart at the seams right now. Think about it. Since Trump – since
Donald Trump`s attacks on House Speaker Paul Ryan, two of the most loyal
advisers of his, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Dr. Ben Carson,
have said Trump isn`t doing himself or the party any good. Let`s watch.

Byline: Howard Fineman
Guest: Katie Packer, Annie Linskey

since Donald Trump`s attacks on House Speaker Paul Ryan, two of the most
loyal advisers of his, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Dr. Ben
Carson have said Trump isn`t doing himself or the party any good. Let`s
watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: First of all, let me just
say about Trump, who – and I admire and I try to help as much as I can –
there`s a big Trump and a little Trump.

The little Trump is frankly pathetic. Donald Trump has one opponent. Her
name is Hillary Clinton. Her name is not Paul Ryan. It`s not anybody
else. It`s Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump`s job is to go out and make the
case, because the elite media won`t. He has to make a case that is clear,
unified, simple, that people understand.

DR. BEN CARSON, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: Getting into fights with Ryan or
anybody else, complete waste of time. And it`s not helpful at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, NBC News reported that the Trump campaign is moving
resources out of the key swing state of Virginia. A source told NBC News
that it`s because the path to win to get to 270 is easier through these
states, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina. I agree with that.

The source says that the RNC is not helping in states where they don`t have
any competitive down-ballot races – quote – “What the RNC told the Trump
campaign is, if you want to play in Virginia, you have to write your own
check.” So that`s one less state he`s going to win.

For more on the crisis facing the GOP, joining me right now is former
deputy campaign manager of Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign of last time
Katie Packer. And Howard Fineman is global editorial director of The
Huffington Post.

Katie, let`s go into this thing. What do you think`s actually happening
when – it`s almost like choose your leader. Do you think Republicans are
being asked, are you loyal to the movement conservatives of Paul Ryan –
the Tea Party to some extent is also part of that – or are you loyal to
the Republican establishment, or you`re loyal to Trump?

I`m not sure. Trump is one side. What`s the alternative to Trump in this
civil war in the Republican Party? How would you describe the alternative?

(LAUGHTER)

KATIE PACKER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, there isn`t much of an
alternative right now. I mean, it`s whether or not to uphold the values
that you hold dear and the values that brought you into the Republican
Party or to sell out to this guy. That`s really the option that`s before
Republicans right now.

And a lot of people feel like they have to sell out because Hillary Clinton
is such a horrible alternative. They spent the last three decades
despising the Clintons and the values that they brought to the White House.
And so it does feel like none of the options for Republicans are appealing
right now.

MATTHEWS: So, in other words, the Clinton campaign, which is to hose Trump
every night, which they`re doing in their ad campaign, isn`t working,
because it`s not making her more attractive to moderate Republicans, right?

PACKER: Exactly.

And I`m not sure that there`s much that they can do for Republicans,
because FOX News and Rush Limbaugh and sort of the conservative media have
done a really good job of making Hillary Clinton into such a pariah to them
that they can`t stomach the thought of supporting her.

And so it`s a very – a very steep hill to climb for the Clinton campaign
to get those Republicans on board.

MATTHEWS: Well, the Hillary hatred is something that`s almost a religion
or a disease, whatever you want to call it, Howard. It`s a strange thing,
but it`s not just the alt-right, the hard-right people.

There`s a lot of suburban Republicans that don`t like Hillary either, so –
a lot of women, too, so you can`t generalize.

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.

But one of the top Republican strategists who I spoke to earlier today
said, this is every man for himself, every man and woman for himself within
the Republican Party right now. Trump`s got his supposed path to the
presidency through those four states that you mentioned. He will focus on
those. He will hold the rallies there. He will spend whatever money he`s
going to spend there.

Everybody else is on their own. Mitch McConnell is on his own in Kentucky
with the Senate. Paul Ryan`s on his own out of Wisconsin trying to
preserve the House for the Republicans. Reince Priebus is trying to
maintain his dignity, if he can. And that`s the situation.

And Donald Trump in his speech today gave what to me was the toughest, most
hard-right speech that he`s given, scripted speech, that he`s given so far.
Defending himself against those women, he basically created an aura of
conspiracy and shadowy evil surrounding him.

MATTHEWS: Demons.

FINEMAN: Demons around him, and offered himself as a kind of sacrificial
lamb for the Republicans. I will take the slings and arrows for you, he
said.

MATTHEWS: From Shakespeare, yes.

FINEMAN: I will take the slings and arrows. I will suffer on your behalf.

I will lose, perhaps. He didn`t say that, but that was the subtext. I
will lose in the interests of trying to save the country. And if we don`t
win this time, he said, there will be no America, basically no American
culture, no American future, all in order to try to fight back those
accusations from those women.

MATTHEWS: It`s so Hamlet, whether to suffer the slings and arrows of
outrageous fortune, or to take up arms against the sea of troubles and, by
opposing, end them.

FINEMAN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: My God, who is this guy?

Anyway, let me ask you about this. This is a hard one. I only ask hard
questions here, Katie. So, I`m going to ask you a hard one. If you had to
say, the people who All right, opposing Trump right now, are they to the
right of the Republican Party, those opposing him? Are they to the left of
him in the Republican Party?

Because Howard`s pointing out he`s making his final call to hold what he
can on the hard right, the alt-right. He`s not saying – he`s going to the
alt-right, at least you guys stay with me, the haters. The real right-
wingers, stay with me. I will send you all the signals. It`s us against
all establishment people in this country, Republican and Democrat.

Is that what he`s doing? He`s trying to hold the right. Is that fair?

PACKER: Well, I think he`s trying to hold the far right, but I don`t think
that necessarily means that that`s where Trump is.

Trump has staked out this position because he thought that it was a
position that would get him the nomination and potentially the presidency.
But I think we all know by now that Donald Trump doesn`t necessarily
subscribe to any of these views.

MATTHEWS: It`s so true.

PACKER: He`s just sort of inserted himself into this political philosophy
as a means to an end.

MATTHEWS: Well said. I haven`t heard anybody say that before, that the
whole thing is a guise.

FINEMAN: Yes. No, I…

PACKER: Absolutely.

FINEMAN: I agree with that up to a point.

But when he said today, I used to be a member of the club, I could have
stayed in the club, but I have gotten out of the club, and now they hate me
for it, because I`m telling the truth about them, I think he means that.

I think this experience that he`s had, especially in the last few weeks,
first with the tax story, then with his horrible performance in the first
debate, then with this flood of accusations, I think have really turned him
into a more bitter and kind of desperate guy. That`s the sense I got in
this – that`s the sense I got in this speech today.

MATTHEWS: Katie, Katie, you`re really on to something here, I think,
because I`m a political buff, like probably you are too.

And I have an older sense of this buffdom. And I have got to tell you,
what you just described about Trump is what Joe McCarthy was, who basically
was a demagogue of the early `50s. And Joe McCarthy ran an anti-communist
campaign because he heard about anti-communism. He said, that`s a good
thing. I`m going to ride that baby.

And so he rode the anti-communist very effectively. He was a good
demagogue, a good showman, a good marketer. He didn`t believe any of it.
There are many people believe – Richard Rovere wrote about this – that,
basically, that`s why he drank himself to death, because, after it was
over, he lost, he was censured, he said, well, I don`t care about any of
this stuff, because if he really was an anti-communist and he really
believed in his cause, he would have fought to the end. He would given
himself to it.

Trump, we all know, a week from after the election, do you think he`s still
going to be Trump on all these issues, still against trade, still against
illegal immigration, still against wars? Or will he flip on anything
again? We don`t know, Katie.

PACKER: Well, any time he`s asked a complicated question about any of
these things, he can`t really even scratch beneath the surface.

That`s why, when you ask him about a Supreme Court nomination, he always
goes to Scalia, because he doesn`t really know any of these people whose
names he put forward. He doesn`t know what qualifications conservatives
are looking for. He points to Scalia because it`s an easy answer, but he
doesn`t even really know why Scalia is appealing to conservatives.

MATTHEWS: You`re so smart.

PACKER: He`s just sort of a centimeter thick.

FINEMAN: OK, so to argue against what I just said and agree with you,
Donald Trump himself said that, if he loses, of course, American
civilization will end, as we know it, if he loses.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: The deluge comes out to be.

But, on the other hand, he says, if he loses, he doesn`t know what he`s
going to do. He has no idea what he`s going to do, which to me – which
goes to your theory, which is, if he really was in this for the alleged
crusade that he`s on, for the – quote – “movement” that he talks about,
he would be saying, well, I`m going to fight this whether I win or lose.

PACKER: Right.

MATTHEWS: Bernie is like that.

FINEMAN: I`m going to keep fighting against the establishment whether I
win or lose.

MATTHEWS: Compare him to Bernie.

FINEMAN: One gets the sense that, having exiled himself from the club, we
will see if he knocks on the door again within a week or two.

MATTHEWS: Comparison to Bernie Sanders, who I`m not as far over with, but
I totally believe he believes it.

PACKER: Oh, for sure.

MATTHEWS: I absolutely am convinced that Bernie is Bernie is Bernie. It`s
not a show. It`s not a gig. It`s who he is. He`s a socialist, and proud
of it, because he wants the government to play a larger role in our lives.

I don`t necessarily. But I do believe he is for real. Trump, mezza mezza
there.

Anyway, thank you so much.

PACKER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Melania Trump issued a statement through her attorneys
tonight. She`s demanding an apology and a retraction of that “People”
magazine accusation against her husband. So, the beat goes on.

That was – thank you, Katie Packer, for that great thinking here today.
Thank you so much, and Howard Fineman.

And up next: new revelations in that latest batch of hacked e-mails from
the Clinton campaign. And that`s ahead.

And we`re also waiting for President Obama in Ohio to speak live out there.
He`s expected to take on the Trump thing. By the way, we have got good
information he`s going to be tough tonight, very tough, maybe as tough as
the first lady, which should be very tough.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

WikiLeaks today released 2,000 additional hacked e-mails from the Clinton
campaign chairman John Podesta`s account today, which follows five previous
e-mail dumps since last week. The e-mails, which the U.S. intelligence
community say were hacked by Russia, the intelligence community says that,
have not been authenticated by NBC News.

And the Clinton campaign has said they won`t – well, they`re not going to
help anybody with this story. Let`s face it. The Clinton people are not
going to come out and say, of course they`re all real.

But the content we have seen so far shows anxiety and concern over
Secretary Clinton`s candidacy from within.

And as “The Washington Post” reports, the correspondence reveals a campaign
that has struggled all year to improve a flawed candidate. Aides were
keenly aware that she was resistant to the media, perhaps out of touch with
regular Americans, and unable to convey a clear message to voters.

In an exchange last may over whether Hillary Clinton should take questions
from the press, John Podesta says, “If she thinks she can get to Labor Day
without taking press questions, I think that`s suicidal.”

Well, one former political adviser wrote in a March e-mail – quote –
“Right now, I am petrified that Hillary is almost totally dependent on
Republicans nominating Trump. She has huge endemic political weaknesses
that we would be wise to rectify” – close quote.

In another Clinton communications director – actually, communications
director Jennifer Palmieri commented on Rupert Murdoch`s decision to raise
his kids Catholic – quote – “I imagine they think it is the most socially
acceptable politically conservative religion out there. Their rich friends
wouldn`t understand it if they became evangelicals.”

Well, that`s a conversation which should never have been held, obviously.

Anyway, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan yesterday condemned the campaign
for, as he says, disparaging the Catholic Church, but when asked about the
comments, Palmieri said she did not recognize the e-mail.

Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER PALMIERI, CLINTON CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I`m a
Catholic. I don`t recognize that e-mail that we saw. And this whole
effort is led by the Russians. The Russians are the ones that orchestrated
this hack. We believe, as noted by the statement from the director of
intelligence, that they`re also behind the timing and manner of the leaks.

And we`re not going to do any more to comment or aid their efforts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I`m joined by Annie Linskey, who is national political reporter
for “The Boston Globe.”

Well, first of all, that`s Clinton M.O. Let`s do that. Whatever you think
of the Clintons, that`s their won – back when they had that tape with
Gennifer Flowers, President Clinton at the time apologized to Mario Cuomo
for what he said on the tape. Meanwhile, Carville`s out saying, it was
edited. It wasn`t real.

ANNIE LINSKEY, “THE BOSTON GLOBE”: It was doctored, right.

MATTHEWS: So, they get the advantage of doing – of fend-mending people
offended by it, at the same time denying it`s real.

LINSKEY: Right.

MATTHEWS: She`s not authorized, obviously, Jennifer Palmieri, who is a
great person, not authorized, to say it`s real, because Hillary won`t say
it`s real.

LINSKEY: Yes. Right.

MATTHEWS: Because something else will come out worse, and they will have
to say that is real.

But what I found great about it, from the Clinton side, was the
intelligence of the people inside.

LINSKEY: Yes.

MATTHEWS: They`re asking the questions that everybody on the outside has
been asking, like, where`s the coherent message? What does Hillary really
want to say? What does she truly believe should be said?

LINSKEY: Right.

MATTHEWS: Can she really identify with regular folks making regular
incomes?

LINSKEY: Yes.

It was very affirming for anybody who`s covered the campaign and asked
those questions on the outside. Like, is she connecting with people? What
exactly is her message?

MATTHEWS: What`s the media strategy?

LINSKEY: What`s the strategy here?

And, you know, is she going to talk to people? There was one point –
there`s one e-mail that I love where there was a suggestion that she say,
oh, well, I have been in living rooms across America, and somebody said,
well, actually, she hasn`t really been in that many living rooms this time
around. So, let`s not do that one.

So, you know, it was very much a bunch of adults talking about and
grappling with some of the same issues that people on the outside have
identified.

MATTHEWS: I guess the only one that was damaging to some extent was when
she told those bankers, I guess those swells up in New York, that you have
to have a public presentation, a public message, and then a sotto voce
private message that you don`t…

LINSKEY: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: That sounds like politics.

LINSKEY: It does.

MATTHEWS: But you`re not supposed to admit it.

LINSKEY: Right. And I don`t think she had a very good answer for that in
the debate.

MATTHEWS: Like, you can say – it`s like Alinsky, Saul Alinsky. When you
get into an argument, always take the whole side.

You may have certain views about abortion, for example, where you don`t
really believe in late-term abortion, you`re against it.

LINSKEY: Right.

MATTHEWS: But your whole crowd is for, you know, a woman making that
choice in late term, so you shut up.

LINSKEY: Sure.

MATTHEWS: That`s what I think politics unfortunately is.

LINSKEY: You don`t want to say it.

The way that she said it – and the problem is that that e-mail or that
transcript in particular so underscored her weakness as a politician who
can`t be trusted, who`s saying one thing to some people and another thing
to other people.

But that`s something that came out 30 minutes after this Donald Trump
bombshell of a tape.

MATTHEWS: I know.

LINSKEY: So, it really – if that was the big surprise, the atom bomb, it
was really washed away.

MATTHEWS: Well, to use Newt Gingrich`s phrase about little and big, the
big Donald and the small Donald, nobody likes to think that she`s giving
one message to the big shots and another one to the little people, the
regular people, because that means it`s elitism.

LINSKEY: Right. Exactly. And that`s exactly how that one came across.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

Well, we should keep watching these e-mails. I think they`re great to
learn. I think they`re a great learning device, however we get them. I`m
not going to thank the Russians for it. But it`s one way to get the
information. They`re not going to tell us otherwise.

LINSKEY: They`re not going to tell you, yes.

MATTHEWS: Annie Linskey, I like your journalism. Thanks so much for
coming on from “The Boston Globe,” from the hub of the universe.

LINSKEY: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, we`re expecting to hear from both President Obama and
Donald Trump in the next half-hour, in fact, fairly quickly. The
president`s in Columbus, Ohio, right now, where he will speak before the
state`s Democratic Party. And Trump is holding a rally across the state in
Cincinnati, a much more Republican area. We`re keeping an eye on both
those events. They`re both live tonight. They`re coming up.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We`re expected as Ted Strickland now campaigning for the Senate seat in
Ohio, we`re expecting President Obama to take that stage before the Ohio
Democratic Party. It`s in Columbus, right now, as you`re watching.

Anyway, the president is expected to respond to the Trump campaign in harsh
language tonight, and the new allegations, of course, facing Donald Trump.
And Trump himself is about to take the stage at a campaign rally in
Cincinnati, well, earlier today in a combative and unrepentant speech,
Trump dismissed his accusers and laid out a kind of apocalyptic choice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a conspiracy against
you, the American people, and we cannot let this happen or continue. This
is our moment of reckoning as a society and as a civilization, itself.

I didn`t need to do this, folks. Believe me. Believe me. I built a great
company. And I had a wonderful life. I could have enjoyed the fruits and
benefit of years of successful business deals and businesses for myself and
my family, instead of going through this absolute horror show of lies,
deceptions, malicious attacks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the new allegations that Donald Trump groped women has
sent his campaign into what the “Time” magazine is calling a total
meltdown. Look at that rough cover there, in the article that hits
newsstands on Friday, the writers at “Time” talk about an unhinged Trump in
the throes of a meltdown, demolishing, quote, “the emollient line between a
campaign aimed at the base and one intended to debase.”

Anyway, for more, I`m joined by Alex Altman. He`s one of the authors at
“Time” magazine, one of the writers of that cover story. Ashley Parker
reported for “The New York Times,” and Eli Stokols is political reporter
for “Politico”.

You know, it`s very apocalyptic, but he`s also offering himself as the
people. I am you. Like Marshal Petain, taking over the government of
Vichy, or offering up the French republic to the Germans, by saying, I will
take this role upon myself.

ELI STOKOLS, POLITICO: He`s been messianic for a long time, but this is
next-level stuff here. And all these victims come forward. And what does
he do? He dismisses them and he plays the victim. He tells his supporters
that they`re being victimized by this conspiracy theory, this cabal of
media and banking elites, which is rich, right?

I mean, the bank saved Donald Trump, the media made him, and he`s out there
sort of dog-whistling to the base, saying, it`s all those East Coast
elitists, those greedy people trying to preserve their power.

MATTHEWS: Well, it could be. That can also be true. It isn`t a lie that
says that the elite liberals don`t like Trump. That`s not a lie, including
those in the media. It`s not a lie.

But the thing is, how did he get there?

Ashley, it`s like he said, I did this as a sacrificial being for the
people. I gave up the trappings of wealth, to come out here and defend
your cause. Now, he did pick up the cause of anti-trade, anti-illegal
immigration, and anti-stupid wars. But we don`t know what the motive was,
do we? He will say the motive was sacrifice.

ASHLEY PARKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, the thing you realize when you
cover Donald Trump, very quickly, is that it`s all about him. He is sort
of a classic narcissist and everything is about him.

But the smartest thing or one of the smartest things his campaign has done
is sort of say, this is about you. This is a movement. I`m doing it on
behalf of you.

And you see the way it moves the crowd. I mean, those are some – other
than building the wall, you know, and having Mexico pay for it, those are
some of the biggest roars that he gets.

MATTHEWS: Is that in danger now that he`s talking about himself?

PARKER: I don`t think so, because let`s be honest, he`s been talking about
himself this entire time and he`ll occasionally throw it to the crowd. But
it`s really about you in Pennsylvania. It`s really about you, whose jobs
I`m saving. And that`s just more of what he`s doing, sort of on steroids
today.

MATTHEWS: Alex, do you think he`s a fraud, Alex?

ALEX ALTMAN, TIME MAGAZINE: You know –

MATTHEWS: More so than most politicians? In other words, he`s presenting
himself as a man of the people as the guy – in this case, a guy, who
despite all his wealth and success in business and the beautiful wives and
the life he leads and Mar-A-Lago and all the golf courses, in heart, in the
depths of his soul, he`s the guy looking out for the Saudi buster after the
regular guy fighting it out for a living, is he that guy who did this out
of sacrificial purpose?

ALTMAN: No, I don`t –

MATTHEWS: Or did he do it to enhance his PR?

ALTMAN: Well, I think he did it to enhance what he sees as his future. I
don`t think he ran to lift up factory workers in Ohio or, you know, the
people in Pennsylvania that he goes and talks to.

You know, I think it`s difficult to know what Donald Trump believes,
because he shifts his policy position so often –

MATTHEWS: What does he care about?

ALTMAN: I think he cares about himself. I think, you know, narcissist is
an apt word for it. He has built his campaign when he says I am –

MATTHEWS: Why couldn`t somebody who does care about it speak out and
become the leader? That`s what I don`t get. Why`d it take this guy to put
together that, what you call perfect storm win called it, of trade, illegal
immigration, and stupid wars with the working class that says we`re getting
screwed, because on every front, we`re the ones that pay the price and get
no benefits, between the wars and immigration and loss of no manufacturing
jobs.

How come he can do it and Democrats can`t – why can`t a – Democrats can`t
do it because it would be seen as anti-Hispanic or whatever. A Republican
can`t do it because it would be seen as anti-cheap labor, right? And also,
Republicans like wars – at least they have supported the war in Iraq, you
know?

STOKOLS: He speaks very successfully. His message resonates with people
who have deep grievances about the way the country is going, feeling left
behind in this economy, this changing economy and changing country. And
he`s sort of used his own grievances, personal grievances to sort of
motivate his run. I mean, this whole presidential run, a lot of people
think came out of that speech that the president made five years ago at the
correspondents` dinner, where he just trashed and humiliated –

MATTHEWS: So you think it isn`t about the larger picture?

STOKOLS: I think he was very motivated by vengeance in a way. And who
knows what he does?

MATTHEWS: And guess who`s motivated by that now? Obama – Michelle,
they`re looking back at him and saying, yes, you said, we`re illegal alien,
I was an illegal alien. I`m from Kenya. Well, I have some thoughts on
that.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. This is HARDBALL, the place
for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, top Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani, there he is, he`s on
stage right now in Cincinnati. Giuliani`s backtracking after suggesting
that Hillary Clinton lied after being at New York`s ground zero on 9/11.
Here`s Rudy yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: Don`t tell me, if you said that, that you
remember September 11th, 2001. I remember September 11, 2001. But I heard
her say one day that she was there that day. I was there that day. I
don`t remember seeing Hillary Clinton there.

That was like – that was like when she said she had to run through
gunfire. That turned out to be, what do we call it? A lie!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Shortly after Giuliani made that statement, NBC News and other
outlets report that Clinton never claimed to have been in New York City on
September 11th, 2001. She returned to New York the following day and
surveyed Ground Zero alongside then-Mayor Giuliani. There they are
together.

Later yesterday, Giuliani was told that Clinton never said what he said she
said.

Anyway, when Giuliani was told he was wrong and was being criticized online
about it, her told our NBC affiliate in New York City, “I probably deserve
it.” Well, we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, we`re watching right now for President Obama to take the
stand, stage in that Columbus, Ohio rally, up there. He`s also expected to
forcefully respond to the allegations facing Donald Trump. He`s going to
be tough tonight.

Back with our roundtable right now, Alex Altman, Ashley Parker, and Eli
Stokols.

Well, here`s a little bit more of Michelle Obama`s passionate speech
earlier today. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: We thought all of that was ancient
history, didn`t we? And so many have worked for so many years to end this
kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are, 2016, and we`re
hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail. We are
drowning in it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Ashley, she has a presentation which is unbeatable. I`ve never
– I mean, this encompassing, we, it`s interactive, it`s personal, it`s
dramatic reading. She doesn`t yell. She speaks in a way that`s like the
highest level of performance. And she means it.

PARKER: She`s possibly the best messenger for this because even though she
never mentioned him, she was clearly talking about Donald Trump and about
groping, but what she did was she sort of brought into that, right, not
every woman thankfully has been groped or kissed when they didn`t want.
But every woman can relate, the man who stood too close, stared too long,
the man at your workplace who made you uncomfortable but you didn`t feel
like you could say anything because you`d jump through the hoops to get
there.

I mean, that is a very universal message that I have to imagine resonates
with every single woman.

MATTHEWS: We`ve been talking right here with the producers, also the old
things where the guys sitting with the helmets, the hard hats on the corner
when the woman walks by and get an approval, disapproval button pushed.
Nobody asked for that.

ALTMAN: Yes. I mean, you know, she spoke with such emotion, just sort of
a stirring remarks. You know that Brooklyn right now, Hillary Clinton`s
advisers believe she is their most powerful surrogate for the next 25, 26
days. And I would even say she`s probably the Democrats` best speechmaker,
perhaps the best speechmaker in American politics right now including her
husband.

MATTHEWS: OK, Eli, let`s talk politics. Not gender politics but politics
generally.

Isn`t this a time for her to be very positive and talk about why she should
be president? Because the risk she runs right now, she would be elected
without a fault, without a mandate, without a purpose, without a mission,
without a momentum behind her. They won`t be any woosh behind her as they
say now.

STOKOLS: Yes, I think that`s what she`s trying to do.

MATTHEWS: All her ads are negative on Trump.

STOKOLS: Well, I think what was also successful about the Michelle Obama
speech today was that it was sort of simultaneously devastating on Donald
Trump and also inspirational and uplifting, right? It doesn`t have to be
this way, shouldn`t be this way.

I mean, inspirational and uplift is generally what we see at the end of the
campaigns from both candidates. Since Trump has gone so much in the
opposite direction, it shouldn`t be that difficult for Hillary Clinton to
come out with that and to sort of be careful as she`s going to be by nature

MATTHEWS: I think there`s a vacuum developing where people are saying,
yeah, can`t vote for – people said today on this show that Republicans in
the suburbs who are the swing voters now will not go for Hillary. Well,
they ought to make an effort at it because women going to vote, ought to
have a reason why they do it, not just anti-Trump.

ALTMAN: Well, I that one thing Trump`s campaign is calculating, if they
drag this campaign so far down into the mud, it will depress turnout such
that they could get lucky and pick up a couple states or two because we
know that Trump has electrified the smaller base of core supporters whereas
Clinton is sort of banking on a turnout machine.

MATTHEWS: I think she`s got to go positive. I`m not the boss obviously.

Ashley?

PARKER: I think you`re right. We also have to keep in mind if we weren`t
talking about Trump right now, what we might be talking about are the –

MATTHEWS: E-mails.

PARKER: The hacked e-mails. So, in a way she may not be going positive
but she`s certainly avoiding what would otherwise be a negative story.

MATTHEWS: I haven`t seen anything bad in the e-mails. I`m looking for a
good story. I see the worst is this one about the inside message and
outside message. That`s not lethal.

PARKER: Sure, sure. And for people who cover politics, that`s sort of how
the sausage gets made, but it`s never pretty and it`s never what you want
to expose to the wider world.

MATTHEWS: Yes, like people who have made clear that we`re not against all
trade with Canada, but we have to say that during the campaign. Remember
that guy?

Where we have to say this but we know in the end it`s going to be a deal,
or we`re going to find a middle in the end but we can`t say we`ll find a
middle because we have to play to the left or the right? Can people see
through, Eli? I hope they can by now. Politicians do that.

STOKOLS: Yes, I think so. And I think, you know, at this point, these are
the two least popular nominees, candidates we`ve had in history. So, I
think Ashley`s right, you know, the candidate that we`re all talking about,
that`s the one who`s losing.

And it`s been Trump dominating media coverage of this for better or worse
from the beginning when there is – when there have been these stories that
could be damaging for Hillary Clinton, he has stepped on too many of them
to count.

MATTHEWS: Did you see Jacob Rascon of our news reporting team today, every
time he goes to a rally he meets Trump people, and he never has ever in all
the rallies he`s been to found anybody who changed their mind about Trump?
They stick with him.

PARKER: It`s so striking. They either, there are three camps there. One
is, they don`t believe the media, right. They take his line – dishonest,
crooked media. The second is they don`t care. He`s just acting like an
American male. And then the third is they do care, they wish it weren`t
that way, but Hillary is just so awful, they`re still sticking with Trump.

MATTHEWS: Whereas Trump keeps giving people new reasons not to like him.
Hillary hasn`t given anybody any brand new reasons not to like her. Isn`t
that weird?

The Hillary hatred, whatever is formed upon, sits there like this brewing
thing, self-brews itself over and over again. I just hate her, why do you
hate her again? I just don`t like her.

Oh, Benghazi. What, actually, did she do in Benghazi? What did she do?
They can`t tell you.

What did the e-mail thing tell you about her? Well, I can`t – it`s not
clear. She`s a liberal. She`s well-educated.

What else? She`s going to be the next president. I guess that`s enough.

ALTMAN: Yes, I mean, I think it`s the accumulated drip of hearing sort of
– seeing sausage making as revealed in the e-mails, hearing sort of
scandals real and imagined over the course of many years. People get tired
of it. I think it`s one reason that, you know, as we`ve said, both
campaigns want this to be –

MATTHEWS: These are so small, though. Whitewater was nothing, it turned
out. Nobody`s ever forgiven the people went after it – it was nothing.
It was nothing. They made no nickel, nothing.

There was no – the travel-gate, it was about who paid – who handles press
travel. Who cares?

STOKOLS: But it`s not that any of these are that damaging by themselves.
Right? Even the e-mails that the FBI investigated, even the Clinton
Foundation, there`s this aura of something being amiss or some corruption.
Really, it`s the Clintons are secretive, nervous about these things, day
try to protect themselves and go too far.

It`s not that anyone of these things on its own – just like WikiLeaks and
e-mails we`re going through, it`s not like you ever find a smoking gun.

MATTHEWS: Like Trump on the other end is brazen. He doesn`t seem to hide
his boorish behavior.

ALTMAN: You call that, sort of the primary where he said, I could shoot
somebody in the middle of the street and I wouldn`t lose votes. You know,
he might not have been half wrong.

MATTHEWS: Well said. Sometimes I`ve been outdone. That was well done.
Good recall.

Anyway, thank you, Alex Altman for joining us from “Time” magazine, the
home of the total meltdown coverage. Anyway, Ashley Parker of “The New
York Times”, Eli Stokols, thank you.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. We`re going to
have coverage of President Obama`s speech tonight coming up. There he is.

“ALL IN,” Chris gets to cover this. What a great opportunity. That starts
right now.

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

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