Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/19/2016
Date: October 19, 2016
Guest: Heidi Przybyla, Harry Reid, Rudy Giuliani, Meg Whitman, James
Carville, Megan Murphy, Ben Ginsberg
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Big casino.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews at the university campus –
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: … presidential debate. This is a big one. Tonight`s the
last chance, as we all know, for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to reach
a massive television audience before the election, I figure 80 million, at
Trump, reeling in recent polls, needs a game changer. Will he
concentrate his fire tonight or just throw everything he`s got against the
wall? In other words, what does he want the headline to be tomorrow
morning? And is he disciplined enough to deliver that headline, or will he
Anyway, it`s a big showdown. Trump seem to be waging battle on
multiple fronts, not a smart move. There`s Benghazi. Among his guests,
the mother of one of the slain Americans and a former fiancee of Ambassador
Chris Stevens, but also reportedly on the guest list, Sarah Palin and
MATTHEWS: Well, that went over well – a half-brother of President
Barack Obama. And I don`t know what he responds to, half or full.
Anyway, meanwhile, “The New York Times” reports Mr. Trump`s aides are
preparing him with a sharp escalation of the attacks on Mrs. Clinton`s
character and a focus on her health. That should be fascinating. Trump
previewed that line of attack last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When Hillary develops the
energy to go to events, she`s got very small crowds. Now, she`s home
sleeping, and I`m working. So that`s the way – the way it`s going to be
in the White House, too. She`d be sleeping, I`d be working.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, taken together, this could be a spectacle tonight.
Joining me now, MSNBC`s Joy Reid to my immediate left, host of “AM JOY”…
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: … Hugh Hewitt, how of “The Hugh Hewitt Show” on the Salem
Radio Network – he`s over there and “The Washington Post`s” great
reporter, Robert Costa…
MATTHEWS: … and “USA Today” Heidi Przybyla.
I`m going to go right now with a couple big-paper newspapers right to
start with. Robert Costa, will Trump spray his bullets or his shots all
over the place tonight or focus on something like that news out of that
ROBERT COSTA, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He`s got
Steve Bannon in his ear, the former head of Breitbart news, whispering a
lot of advice, but most of it is to be aggressive as heck in going after
Secretary Clinton, not just on her health, but on her e-mails, on President
Bill Clinton`s past, different allegations, and make it a (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: What`s the headline? What`s the headline if he goes like
COSTA: Attack, attack, attack. It`s not so much building up Trump,
it`s about taking down Secretary Clinton.
MATTHEWS: But if he can`t – anyway, I`m arguing something right up
front here tonight. If you can`t think about what happened tonight after
the night`s over, it had no value at all politically. You have to come out
with a thought, What did I learn tonight? What will they try to get us to
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, “USA TODAY”: Well, I just got off the phone with the
Hillary Clinton campaign, and they said, Be our guest. We couldn`t be
happier if this is going to be his scorched earth approach to this, which
is essentially the same thing that he tried to do in the last debate.
And what did we see after the last debate? We saw her numbers start
to move a little bit up and this consolidation in the polls. We saw voter
registration numbers start to go up in some of the states.
And all Trump will do if he does do this is play right into that
temperament argument that the most recent Fox News poll shows is one of the
underlying problems, that she`s been successful in prosecuting this case
against him on temperament and judgment.
MATTHEWS: Joy, how do you walk away, right, left or center, pro-Trump
or anti-Trump, or maybe undecided, if you see this cavalcade of
personalities – a half brother from Kenya, you know, a supposed fiancee
from 20 years ago or whatever? I mean, it`s an amazing – a mother of a
slain guy from – you know, Mrs. Smith, mother of Sean Smith. Fair enough.
But what are we going to get in terms of this political debate? Then
one of the survivors, and then the lone survivor guy, Mark Halper (ph)
played him in the movies. You know, what are we getting out of all this?
JOY REID, HOST, “AM JOY”: Yes, and some of them are sort of
inexplicable, right? The half brother of Barack Obama is somebody who
brags about having been good friends with Moammar Gadhafi, of all people.
MATTHEWS: Yes, he`s pretty (INAUDIBLE)
REID: … somebody who won`t say how many wives he had. Far be it
from me, my father and his father before him from the Congo did the same
thing with the multiple wives. It didn`t exactly go over well in my
family. It`s not something that`s a selling point.
So I`m really not sure what the point of that invitation is and who he
thinks that he`s getting at by doing it. But I do think a lot of what
you`re seeing in terms of this plan to just do the scattershot attack on
the Clintons – you`ve got people who are surrounding Donald Trump who have
waited a quarter century to wage this full-bore scorched earth attack on
the Clintons that they feel that the Republican Party was too weak and too
timid to wage.
It doesn`t even matter if it has electoral output. What they want to
do is wage this attack that in their gut, they feel the Republicans should
have been doing for 25 years, and darn it, they`re going to do it, no
MATTHEWS: OK, what`s the smart move tonight, Hugh?
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Open up
by declaring, Congratulations, Ohio. The Cleveland Indians are in the
World Series for the first time since `97.
HEWITT: Congratulations to the Cavaliers. Go Browns. And win the
swing state of Ohio. We just clinched the pennant, Chris, so Donald Trump
should be happy, upbeat…
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) go for the one state and…
HEWITT: Go for the one state!
HEWITT: Knock one down on the first…
REID: The one-state strategy!
MATTHEWS: That is boring!
MATTHEWS: Totally boring. I`m sorry. Let me go into this thing
here. Does anybody have any idea why the half brother from Kenya is
COSTA: Yes. Because you have to think about this campaign. It isn`t
a Republican campaign. It is a Breitbart campaign. A media organization,
a galaxy of Web sites and figures has supplanted the GOP and made their own
messaging, dark falsehoods, suggestions about the president, about
Secretary Clinton. This has now become the Republican Party nominee. This
is the campaign.
MATTHEWS: What are you supposed to – what`s your emotion supposed to
be after you see a guy from Africa?
PRZYBYLA: It feels like it`s just entertainment, Chris. I mean, at
what point do we start to bring up these reports about Trump folks going
and talking to seed investors in New York about a post-Trump TV network?
Because to me, this…
MATTHEWS: Don`t speculate. If you believe that, say so. Do you
believe that the Trump campaign right now is not about winning the
presidency but developing a TV network afterwards?
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that?
PRZYBYLA: Chris, at this point-
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that?
PRZYBYLA: Even if he wins all the toss-up states…
PRZYBYLA: … Trump wants to survive this.
COSTA: I asked Trump point-blank. He said it`s absolutely false.
Besides, the kind of model for this, it would have to be subscription-
based. This thing of an uber-conservative network – I asked Trump many
times about this on the record. He said, No, no, no. We`ll have to see.
REID: But not necessarily a TV network. I think that you`re right.
The Blaze TV, for a while, it was able to make money, it didn`t make it.
Alex Jones does make money on line only.
But think about Donald Trump`s past actions. He used the Brexit
opportunity to promote his golf course. He used the supposed…
MATTHEWS: What is his purpose…
COSTA: … counter the allegations.
REID: No, no. This is…
MATTHEWS: From women.
REID: This is 60 million people…
COSTA: It`s not just about marketing Trump. When you talk to the
Trump advisers, this is really about countering this wave of allegations
and accusations against Donald Trump. He`s facing severe problems with
female voters, and part of what he`s doing with Hillary Clinton and the
secretary – Bill Clinton`s past is trying to say, Hey, it`s not just me.
PRZYBYLA: Here`s the problem with that. They are not stupid people,
these people advising Donald Trump, and they have had this research, Chris,
for months that shows a lot of the moves that he`s been making in terms of
going after Bill Clinton on the accusers, for my God`s sake, going after
Hillary Clinton on her health. Those are all the exact wrong thing that
you want to do in terms of the hundreds of thousands of dollars of research
that they put in a long time ago on this. So why, pray tell? Why?
MATTHEWS: You have the stage. What should they do? What should they
be doing tonight?
PRZYBYLA: At this point, I don`t know that – he`s – it`s not just
that he needs to turn the ship around. The ship`s stuck on an iceberg
MATTHEWS: So what should he do?
PRZYBYLA: I don`t know that there`s much he can do.
PRZYBYLA: If he really wanted…
REID: If your goal was to win an election, what would you do is – I
spent the morning watching the advertising that`s running on local
television here in Nevada. It`s all about women. Even Joe Heck`s ad is
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
REID: It`s all about women. What Donald Trump, if he was running an
actual campaign, would get up there to do tonight and try to make a case to
the very small number of women who are still undecided, who maybe want to
vote Republican but can`t bring themselves to vote for him. Attacking
Hillary Clinton won`t get you there, which is why…
MATTHEWS: … agree with Robert.
REID: … campaign. I think he wants to knock those…
REID: … so what he`s doing won`t work.
HEWITT: Energize your base by bringing up Project Veritas, by
bringing up Cheryl Mills in Haiti…
REID: Most Americans don`t know what any of that is.
HEWITT: … bringing up General Hoss (ph) Cartright facing jail for
misleading the FBI when Hillary Clinton…
REID: That was the last debate.
REID: That was the last…
HEWITT: … have the media follow after it because what you have to
do is tie your down ballot…
HEWITT: … to the fact that Clinton needs to be surrounded by an
MATTHEWS: … your one point of view is that he should go out and try
to win this election and try to win women back because he has to get women
in the suburbs who normally vote Republican. The other one is he`s
basically building his anti-establishment cotillion the next 20 years.
Anyway, in recent days, Trump has warned of a rigged election. He
tweeted last week, “Of course there`s large-scale voter fraud happening on
and before election day.” Someone who doesn`t buy that, Trump`s own
campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going to the polls in this country, do you
believe there will be widespread voter fraud?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No, I do not believe that.
So absent overwhelming evidence that there is, it would not be for me to
say that there is. We know in the past, you know, we know that people who
are dead are still in the voter rolls. We know that people are voting a
couple of different times in places. So you do hear reports here and
there. But I think Donald Trump`s point is a larger one. You don`t want
me to talk about the other stuff, but he does – yes, there is larger
conspiracy, larger collusion…
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Ohio governor John Kasich today also criticized
Trump`s rhetoric on voter fraud. Let`s watch the governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To say that
elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen, that`s like saying we
never landed on the moon, frankly. That`s how silly it is. No, I just –
I don`t think that`s good for our country, for our democracy. And I don`t
believe that we have any massive fraud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know how you watch a football game, college or pro, and
there are fouls, and they get penalties, right? That`s not to say the
games are thrown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
MATTHEWS: Just because you can find examples of voter fraud doesn`t
mean elections were stolen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: I mean, Philadelphia, for example, went $330,000 – 330,000
votes for Kennedy – 330,000…
HEWITT: Voter fraud exists.
HEWITT: It`s a question about how much and whether or not it`s
significant. There have been cases in Virginia…
REID: It`s insignificant.
HEWITT: … and Colorado…
MATTHEWS: Yes, cases don`t mean…
REID: But this isn`t…
HEWITT: Jon Husted is right. There is no massive rigging.
REID: It`s insignificant, I mean, infinitesimal. But the reason to
bring it up and the reason that it isn`t just Trump that brings it up,
sorry. Jon Husted does the same thing when he`s trying to undermine the
opportunity to vote by making it harder and harder and harder.
It is a dogwhistle to people who want to believe that African-
MATTHEWS: Listen closely to this.
REID: … are cheating…
REID: … dogwhistle to the far right…
MATTHEWS: You mean when he says St. Louis, Cleveland, Chicago…
REID: Think about the…
MATTHEWS: … Philadelphia. What do they all have in common?
REID: It`s feeding…
REID: … (INAUDIBLE) who feel that this – that black people…
MATTHEWS: All right, let`s…
REID: … are stealing our elections.
COSTA: Let`s remember…
REID: That`s all it is.
COSTA: Joy`s right. And let`s remember the history here. You go
back to the Republican Party in the 1950s before William F. Buckley. You
had this old right that would speak of things like globalists. There was
the John Birch Society. What we`re seeing is a revival of this strand that
has been part of the Republican past.
MATTHEWS: Yes. So we still have a division here in this jury. I`d
say it`s hung right now between those who know what they`re talking about.
I`m just kidding.
MATTHEWS: And those who agree with me. Anyway, basically, is he
going to go tonight and is his (INAUDIBLE) try to win this election by
maybe doing something to at least apologize even or soften the anger
against him from most Republican women that`s really going to hurt him from
any (ph) having a chance of winning, or going on the attack and sticking it
to the left one more time and sticking to the Clintons one more thousandth
time. Will that change anything?
We`ll see tonight. I`d put my money on him having a brain tonight,
which (INAUDIBLE) go after this whole thing with e-mail, Benghazi and the
whole murkiness of Washington, which I think appeals to a lot of people.
They don`t like it. They don`t like Washington.
Anyway, Joy Reid, thank you. I think you`re on the smart side. Hugh
Hewitt, you weren`t. Robert Costa, you were (INAUDIBLE) Heidi was playing
MATTHEWS: Coming up, Senator Harry Reid, Rudolph Giuliani, James
Carville`s coming here. And also coming up at the top of the hour, I`ll be
joining Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow as we all get together for
Then at 9:00 Eastern, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in
their final big casino debate. At 10:30, we`ll have full team coverage of
the debate, and I`ll be here covering everything that happens until 2:00
AM. I think we got Kellyanne on tonight after the debate, Kellyanne
This is a special edition of HARDBALL live from Las Vegas the final
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: Mitch McConnell is as
responsible as anyone for creating Trump. What they`ve done in the Senate
of the United States to give life to birtherism, immigration. (INAUDIBLE)
Donald Trump all started in the Senate of the United States, and of course,
at the House. McConnell is one of the people that created Donald Trump.
And if that`s the legacy that he wants, he`s going to have it whether he
wants it or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to this special edition of HARDBALL, live from
Nevada, in fact from UNLV…
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: … for the final presidential debate. That of course,
Nevada senator and Democratic leader Harry Reid earlier today running –
well, pinning the rise of Donald Trump on Senate Republicans themselves.
Reid`s message to the GOP is, You own Trump.
Well, Senator Reid is no stranger to bare-knuckle fights. He`s
retiring after 34 years in the United States Congress. He joins me now.
Senator Reid, thank you.
So I want to give you an opening shot, like in boxing, an opening chin
here. Of all the Republican candidates for president in your political
career, where would you rank Trump in quality?
MATTHEWS: Is that all you can do?
REID: Can`t go below zero.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about – I`ve been watching, as you have,
better than anybody, you and Schumer and a few other people, this battle
for the United States Senate. It looks to me like you`ve got – your party
has a very good chance to get control of the Senate. If Hillary Clinton`s
elected, you just need for. So I figure you got Illinois probably. You`ve
got Wisconsin. Feingold`s up by 8.
What are the next best chances to win the Senate.
REID: Well, number one is what`s going to happen in Nevada. That`s
MATTHEWS: You`re going to hold that.
REID: Yes. So going to – we`re good in Wisconsin. We`re certainly
good in Illinois. We`re going to win in Indiana. I have no doubt we`re
going to win in Pennsylvania. But we`ve got a lot of stuff going on. The
numbers out of New Hampshire have been really good lately for Governor
Now, what`s happening in Missouri is unbelievable. Public polls have
our candidate ahead…
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) Roy Blunt.
REID: He`s – he`s – yes, I think – I think he`s so good.
MATTHEWS: How`s Burr look? How`s your candidate against Burr look in
REID: Burr looks bad. She looks great.
MATTHEWS: So you`re talking about a pick-up of seven or eight seats.
REID: Well, we feel – we feel that with Trump pulling everybody
down, the only thing the Senate candidates for the Republicans have had is
the Koch brothers. They`ve got nothing else other than loads of money.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you about – do you believe in coattails?
Do you believe that people vote for the Senate based upon how they`re
voting for president?
REID: No, I`ve never believed in split tickets. I`ve never believe
in that. You know, some people split tickets, but they do it just because
they want to do it. It`s not anything they think through.
MATTHEWS: Why do they do it?
REID: Because they vote for the candidate, not the party all the
MATTHEWS: OK. It could be they`re afraid to trust one party with the
REID: Well, possible, but I don`t think that`s the case.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about Trump and Hillary tonight. You`re an
old boxer. You know how to put up – get ready for a fight. What do you
think Trump`s going to do tonight, throw everything at Hillary Clinton or
just think on the e-mail and Benghazi? Bring in the half brother.
REID: There is no way you can predict what Donald Trump`s going to
do, no way. But it would be very nice if for once, he had a debate. They
talk about the economy. They talk about foreign policy. They talk about
relations with women. They talked about immigration. They talked about
Planned Parenthood, talked about issues that the American people can
identify with, not the craziness about building a wall, who`s going to pay
MATTHEWS: What do you think he can say tonight after all these
accusations from women about different forms of groping, terms we`re not
used to saying on television, groping and kissing in public in these
strange sort of romantic – or sexually aggressive ways that don`t seem
normal and don`t seem appropriation? How could he – how could he address
that issue in one night?
REID: Chris, he has a problem, because actions speak louder than
And not only are his words awful, but his actions have been much –
even worse than his words.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he is unfit to be president?
I don`t want to egg you on, because people have been accused of egging
REID: No, people don`t have – I`m pretty easy to egg on.
So, no, I think that he would be a disaster for the American people.
I think he would be a disaster for the world.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
REID: And the world is standing by, going to see what is going to
happen at this debate and on November 8.
The world cares, as they should.
MATTHEWS: What are you going to miss in this business?
REID: Not you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Thank you. I don`t mind that.
Thank you, Senator Harry Reid.
MATTHEWS: Let`s bring in the former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who
will miss me. He supports Donald Trump.
So, let`s bring in – let`s – well, Mayor, this guy just took a shot
at me. Maybe you can be nice. Anyway, thank you for coming on.
MATTHEWS: He just said he won`t miss me. Well, I can live with that.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this campaign. The odds now, in
Ladbrokes, in London, the betting odds right now in this campaign, to make
$11 – let`s see. To make $2, you have got to bet $11 for Hillary.
Basically, she is the overwhelming favorite. Your candidate is a 4-1
underdog. He`s got to – you only get $1 – $4 back from $1. So, it`s a
tough bet. So, how does he overcome those odds tonight and winning the
election in the next three weeks?
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: You know, I`m interested
in knowing what Brexit was. I don`t – I have no idea what the numbers
were on Brexit that turned out to be a big surprise.
I think, tonight, he has to do a little bit like Harry Reid actually
said, although for a different purpose. He has got to stick to the issues.
He has got to point out why he would be a better president than Hillary
Clinton on producing jobs, reducing taxes, getting businesses back, putting
people back to work, fixing schools, which she can`t do because the
teachers union prevents her from doing it.
He has got to talk about the Iran agreement. People kind of get a
chance to make an up-or-down vote on, do we agree with this agreement with
Iran making them nuclear in 10 years? Or do we disagree with it? She
agrees with it. He disagrees with it.
So I would think the best thing for him would be a highly issued-
oriented debate, because I think, on the majority of the issues, he comes
out ahead. And so far this campaign, the issues have kind of been buried
under e-mails on the one side and the revelations on the other.
MATTHEWS: Did you think the Democrats or Hillary Clinton, her people,
dug up all these cases against him? Because they have definitely deflected
from the issues that made him an exciting candidate, trade, and immigration
and what he called stupid wars, foreign policy he didn`t like, he didn`t
think protected us.
He had those issues in hand to get about 40 percent. And he`s been
struggling to hold that 40 percent. Who has been responsible for shifting
the attention away from the issues he could win on?
GIULIANI: Well, I think the – you`re talking about the eight or nine
women that came forward.
MATTHEWS: Yes, the whole mess he`s in right now.
GIULIANI: I don`t believe in coincidences. I have to believe that
was orchestrated in large part to blunt the tremendous – tremendously
horrible revelations that come from WikiLeaks about their feelings toward
Catholics and evangelicals, about the fact that they were paying people to
protest and some of them led to violence, about having a public and private
position on different things, about how she kind of played up to all the
bankers on the one hand and then gave a totally different impression when
she debated with Bernie Sanders.
All of that would have been very damaging if you didn`t have these
eight women to come in on top of it. And the press paid a lot more
attention to that.
MATTHEWS: What did you make of her speeches that came out from
WikiLeaks, where – let`s assume for a section they`re accurate. And when
she came out for open borders, when she came out for absolute free trade
within the hemisphere, she says she is against TPP. She never says she is
for open borders in public.
What do you make of all that?
GIULIANI: Well, I think it confirmed for me what I have always
thought about Hillary Clinton, that she doesn`t tell us the truth, that she
does have two or three positions on everything.
After all, she was against gay marriage. Now she`s for gay marriage.
MATTHEWS: A lot of people were like that, though.
GIULIANI: She was for the war in Iraq. Then she…
MATTHEWS: Mr. Mayor, a lot of people were involved in that issue.
GIULIANI: For the war in Iraq, against it.
GIULIANI: Then she was against the surge.
She calculates her position for political impact. Or TPP. TPP„ I
know she is against – I mean, she is for it. But she`s pretending she is
against it. We know that.
MATTHEWS: I know that. I agree with that.
Well, tonight, what do you think? Trump should focus his attack on
the e-mail thing connected to Benghazi where you have this kerfuffle in
Washington between the FBI and her State Department? Or do you go all over
He is bringing in half-brothers and fiances and mothers. And it is a
whole cavalcade. How the hell are you supposed to absorb all that
information in one night?
GIULIANI: None of that is going to have to do with the debate.
I would think the situation with the FBI is a relevant one, sure. It
looks like a bribe to me. He is telling the guy he wants to bury a
document, and he is offering him eight or nine agents in return for it.
MATTHEWS: Well, he didn`t take the bribe. Let`s be fair. He didn`t
take the bribe. Whatever it was, he didn`t take it.
GIULIANI: A bribe doesn`t have to be taken. It just needs to be
The crime of bribery is committed by offering. He offered it. And he
offered a quid pro quo. That`s bribery.
MATTHEWS: I`m getting squeezed, Mr. Mayor. It`s always good to have
you on. Thank you so much for coming. I am getting squeezed.
MATTHEWS: So many people.
GIULIANI: And I will miss you if I`m – when I finish politics.
MATTHEWS: You`re not going to miss me, sir.
Up next, Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a former
Republican candidate for governor of California, she is in the debate
supporting Hillary Clinton. She joins us next.
Plus, James Carville is coming here.
And this is HARDBALL, the place from – we`re here from Las Vegas for
the final president debate.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL live from Las Vegas at UNLV.
That`s where we are heading into tonight`s debate.
Donald Trump has what must be called the daunting task of turning the
momentum around. His most challenging task will be stopping the widening
advantage everybody sees Hillary Clinton gaining among women voters.
Anyway, currently, according the most recent NBC News and “Wall Street
Journal,” Hillary Clinton has a 20-point advantage among women voters over
Trump, 20 points.
One of Hillary Clinton`s most prominent supporters, Hewlett-Packard
executive and Republican fund-raiser Meg Whitman, the one-time Chris
Christie supporter, told “The New York Times” that Donald Trump is a –
quote – “dishonest demagogue” and decided to put country before party when
she endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Joining me right now is the CEO of H.P. and Clinton supporter Meg
Thank you, Meg Whitman. Thank you, madam.
I want to ask you about this – about what is the key reason that
would stop you from voting for Donald Trump, if there was one thing that
said, no matter what else changed, this is the thing would stop me?
MEG WHITMAN, CEO, HEWLETT-PACKARD: Well, as you know, as a lifelong
Republican, right, voting – going across party lines to vote for Hillary
Clinton and be a supporter was a challenge.
But I think Donald Trump is a dishonest demagogue. He has exploited
our worst fears around xenophobia, racism. And he has lowered the level of
discourse in this country, which I think is really, really under fortunate.
So, I`m for Hillary all the way.
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m asking you, what is the one issue that bugs you?
Do you like the fact that is for – he says he`s against trade, he`s
against TPP, he`s against NAFTA. Does that bother you?
WHITMAN: You know, I actually think it is his character that is the
most problematic for me.
WHITMAN: I think we need to look up to the president of the United
States. I think he needs to be a role model or she needs to be a role
model for our children.
And so it really is around the character that I think bothers me the
most. Yes, I don`t agree with his trade policies. I don`t agree with his
immigration policies. There`s lots I don`t agree with. But what I will
say is, I think it`s about the character of the person.
MATTHEWS: What about the fact that over 60 percent of the American
people don`t like, don`t trust either Hillary Clinton or Barack – or
Donald Trump? We see these numbers every day. You see them. What do you
make of them? How do you explain them, both candidates not being trusted?
WHITMAN: Yes, listen, it is a very – it`s an unprecedented election.
I have never seen anything like this in my entire career.
But one of these two individuals will be president of the United
States. And I think Hillary has the temperament, I think she has the
global experience, I think she has the economic plan that is going to make
the economy work for everybody.
And I really like the fact that she is going to pull this country
together, because we are going to be stronger together. Divided we fall,
united we stand. And I think she is going to do a great job after the
election, when she wins, of pulling this country together, which I think is
MATTHEWS: You were backing Chris Christie. He has gotten involved
with this whole Bridgegate problem. You trusted him.
Do you trust Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie both to this day, both
WHITMAN: Well, listen, I was a supporter of Chris Christie. I
thought he had done a lot of very good things in his career. I was
disappointed around his endorsement of Donald Trump. And, obviously, the
Bridgegate thing has been problematic.
But, listen, what I really think that Hillary brings to the party is
the economic policy. If the president could only work on one thing – and
the president needs to do a lot of things – it would be to fix the economy
for average working people.
MATTHEWS: Which Hillary do you believe, though? This is tricky.
This is tricky. One last question.
MATTHEWS: We`re hearing that Hillary Clinton, thanks to WikiLeaks,
has come out for open trade, open borders, free trade in the hemisphere.
But publicly, her public position has been, I`m against TPP, I`m
Which is she, a free trader or a protectionist? Because we`re getting
different messages from her. And which do you like?
WHITMAN: Yes, well, listen, I think smart trade deals are important.
Listen, it is very important for the economy of the United States to
trade with other countries. Isolationism will not be the right answer for
this country. So, we have got to do smart trade deals. And I think
Hillary is for smart trade deals.
MATTHEWS: But that doesn`t say whether she is a free trader or a
protectionist. Which is she? Which do you like?
WHITMAN: Well, you know what? Usually, these things aren`t black and
white, are they, Chris?
You`re a free trader if the deal is smart. You`re against trade if
the deals are not smart.
MATTHEWS: Meg Whitman, with all due respect, you have to be for TPP
or against it. Are you for TPP?
WHITMAN: I am for TPP. Yes, I am.
MATTHEWS: Where is Hillary on TPP?
WHITMAN: So, she is against it, and not that I agree with every
single thing that Hillary Clinton stands for.
MATTHEWS: But you said the most important thing is the economy. You
said the most important issue is the economy.
MATTHEWS: And you disagree with her on our role in the world
economically. So, where do you agree with her on economics?
WHITMAN: So, first of all, I agree on her infrastructure program.
We need to rebuild the infrastructure in this country. It not only
provides jobs, but it actually creates the ability for goods…
MATTHEWS: Yes, Trump is for that, too.
WHITMAN: … and services and people to move around this country.
The second area is her innovation agenda. We have got to own the next
generation of industries in the world, whether that`s 3-D printing or
immunotherapy or robotics or artificial intelligence or big data and
And we need to make sure that we are the leader in those categories,
that we create jobs for every kind of American with all kinds of
educational backgrounds. And we can do that if we set our mind to it and
we decide, as a country, we want that we lead in these brand-new industries
that over time will create a lot of jobs for this country.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much. It`s an honor having you on the show,
Meg Whitman tonight from Hewlett-Packard.
Let`s bring in Democratic strategist James Carville. James Carville
is down in New Orleans, I believe, New Orleans. And here he is right now.
James, let me ask you about tonight. Try to do this. Give us a tout
on tonight`s fight. What it`s going to look – it is going to be very
pugnacious. What do you think it is going to look like tonight?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, normally, if the normal
person were doing it, you would say Trump has fallen behind. He has got to
solidify the Republicans a little bit. He has got to appear to be a little
less scary than he is. That`s what I would or anybody else would do.
That`s what you would do.
But I think Robert Costa made the money point here tonight. It is all
a Breitbart thing. It`s all narrowcasting, international bankers, and, you
know, Obama`s half-brother, and every kind of thing he can think of. So, I
have no idea.
In terms of Secretary Clinton, I hope she comes across as answering
the questions, straightforward, kind of policy-oriented, sort of likable
and gets those numbers up that you keep referring to, and gets her
favorability up and drops her unfavorable a little bit. And I think she
has a good position to run away with this thing right now.
MATTHEWS: She once said to a crowd, and I`m sure the crowd enjoyed
it, because we all did, she said, when somebody is coming at you, deck
them. Deck them.
MATTHEWS: Sometimes – you`re suggesting a kind of rope-a-dope – not
rope-a-dope – that`s not right. Sort of let him make a fool of himself
tonight and fall back and laugh at him, like she does. Is that a smart
strategy to just laugh at the guy?
CARVILLE: Well, I don`t – I think what she has got to do is take it
seriously. She has to take the questions seriously.
I don`t think she necessarily has to take Trump seriously. And she is
fond of repeating Michelle Obama, who says, when they go low, we go high.
And so there are two different sides here. I mean, she clearly decked him
in the first debate. I think the guy has been decked.
He`s on his way to losing. And I think, tonight, if she comes across
as I know she can, a very knowledgeable person that has a good grasp on the
country, I think she will put him away pretty good here.
MATTHEWS: What do you make – I have got to ask you something you
know more about than I do. That`s Pennsylvania races for Senate and
governor and all that, because you have run a bunch of them and won them.
MATTHEWS: What do you think is the – is there a woman problem in
Pennsylvania? I have always thought that sort of a – it has sort of a
tough guys, gun owner kind of mentality of the state, especially in the T.,
away from the big cities.
MATTHEWS: Do you think Katie McGinty is facing a cultural threshold
there, a ceiling of some kind?
CARVILLE: Well, I think that`s a legitimate thing in the west and to
some extent in the T.
But you have got to realize, the Philadelphia suburbs have just become
such a big part of the vote in Pennsylvania. And it has become so much
more Democratic. Chris, in 1986, when I did Bob Casey`s campaign, if we
got 36 percent in the suburbs, a Democrat could win the state. They will
get 60, better than 60 in the suburbs now.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s changed.
CARVILLE: And that`s really – and the state has changed. It is a
little bit different than the state that you grew up and I worked in so
MATTHEWS: You`re right. I think 22 percent of the state is just in
the burbs around Philly. That`s a lot. And I think they are much more
Democrat, but more Democrat.
CARVILLE: Democrats, we will get clocked – yes, we will get clocked
in Westmoreland and Washington and Beaver and a lot of counties like that
that we used to carry, but Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and those
kind of counties, and that`s where the population growth has been in the
Some night, we`re going to do all 67 counties, OK?
MATTHEWS: Thank you, James Carville.
CARVILLE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the HARDBALL roundtable joins with what we can
expect tonight. How should Hillary Clinton respond to the question I put
to James, to attacks? Should she deck him or laugh? That`s ahead.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. Or, actually, the
place is Las Vegas tonight, UNLV. It`s just about 60 minutes to go to the
final presidential debate.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome back to HARDBALL, live in Las
Vegas. Hillary Clinton wants to expand her widening lead over Donald
Trump. Her campaign said she is expecting Trump to take a scorched-earth
approach in tonight`s debate. So, what can we expect from both candidates
in their last face to face?
By the way, this is the last chance for both candidates to reach
basically 70 million or 80 million people tonight. And I always tell
people, everybody knows that watching now, that 90 percent of these people
don`t watch programs like this every night. They don`t keep up with
politics. They show up for the biggies, the big events.
So, they`re watching tonight, the voters. So, Trump has a chance,
Hillary has a chance to talk to them.
Let`s bring in our group. Megan Murphy, of course, is with Bloomberg.
Michael Steele is the former chair of the RNC and a political analyst for
MSNBC, and Ben Ginsberg as well, GOP attorney.
Let`s go right now to you, Megan, in tonight`s strategy. Let`s say
you`re Hillary Clinton tonight. Do you deck him or do you smile?
MEGAN MURPHY, BLOOMBERG: You`ve got to smile. I mean, you`ve got –
MATTHEWS: Don`t deck him.
MURPHY: Don`t deck him. You`ve got so much – hey, like take the
shots if you go get shot. Whether he`s going to walk into it, whether it`s
going to be a Mohammed Ali type thing, rope-a-dope. She`s got such a huge
lead, she really just needs to protect her advantage right now. She
doesn`t want to make that mistake.
MATTHEWS: That`s a little Nixonian, though, isn`t it?
MURPHY: A little Nixonian, but also, it`s not her style to go hard.
MATTHEWS: You don`t think she is a tough person?
MURPHY: I think he is tough as nails. I think she`s been very
disciplined about not taking that case.
MATTHEWS: Michael, I think she`s going to take some punches tonight
because she`s done it before.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What I`ve noticed about
Hillary, what she`ll do is she`ll take them subtly. Like in the first
debate where she referenced getting the money from your daddy. That
approach. The subtle stuff that will get under Donald Trump`s skin a
little bit. So she is very good at that.
I agree with Megan. She doesn`t have to come out swinging. There`s
no need. She has the lead. She can counter-punch. She can lead with a
couple of soft punches knowing that Donald Trump will probably get excited
about that. And then sit back and let him go off the rails.
MATTHEWS: Also, if she can shift the conversation to where he may not
want it. He has to win tonight. If he doesn`t get to his sweet spots, he
doesn`t win. So, if she shifts the attention away from emails, away from
the crazy stuff, how`s he get to it?
BEN GINSBERG, FORMER RNC GENERAL COUNSEL: I`m not sure. She is
trained as a lawyer. What lawyers know how to do, know which arguments
matter and which are fluff. So if they`ve done debate training, right, and
they`ve done a lot of debate training. It has been very, very good. She`s
going to have certain things to respond to and certain pivots. And then
certain sort of deck him lines. If she gets opening, she`s going to take.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk Benghazi, because they`ve got the Benghazi
mother, Mrs. Smith. The mother of Sean Smith, he was killed there. They
have a survivor, I believe, from Benghazi. Also, the lone survivor guy
from the movie and actually from real – from that.
And so, we`ve got a lot of focus on Benghazi. Should Hillary Clinton,
I`ve always wondered why she didn`t do something like, unlike you, I knew
Mr. Stevens and I really cared about what happened and I did my level best
that night to save him. It was just too darn late. Something like that.
GINSBERG: She might, but the other thing is why would Benghazi come
up in the normal course of this debate? I mean, it`s not certainly not
part of –
MATTHEWS: What about the crowd in the first row? All these people,
so related to that issue.
STEELE: Well, yes. There may be an opportunity for Donald Trump to
use them as a reference point, say, I had with me tonight –
MATTHEWS: In the audience tonight.
STEELE: In the audience tonight, and then try to draw Hillary out
that way. I don`t think she bites at that. I think she sits back. And
just takes and it says, OK, fine. You make your point and she`ll move.
Again, she`s got to lead. There`s no incentive to get into it.
MURPHY: I mean, Benghazi is not going to be a game changer for her
when you look at polls –
MATTHEWS: Not for her.
MURPHY: Winning now among men, winning among less educate voters.
For the first time since summer, she`s showing a lead, she`s got has 20
points for women. Do we really think Benghazi is going to make up that –
MATTHEWS: Her biggest weakness is trust and below that, a subset of
that, e-mail, a subset of that, Benghazi. And then the latest, the big
news story about the so-called quid pro quo.
GINSBERG: One of the topics tonight, and they are awfully broad
subjects is fitness to be president. So, that probably the segment in
which this is –
MATTHEWS: OK. Why don`t we take drug tests? This gets so
GINSBERG: So she goes back to substance.
MATTHEWS: He wants to do saliva test on the air.
GINSBERG: Great entertainment.
STEELE: But the question, I think one of the questions for me, it
should be for the Trump camp is, doing all of that, going high profile
ballistic on Hillary. Who are you convincing to now come to you and see
you as a presidential candidate? What upside is there?
MATTHEWS: OK, Michael. And I`ll go to you because you`re a woman and
this is for women.
MURPHY: I am a woman.
MATTHEWS: I know. How do you get to the number he is really being
killed on, Republican women? You`ve got to start with that. You start.
MURPHY: OK. First of all, you have a personality change and that you
are humbler and apologetic and truly apologetic about the incredibly
offensive comments you made. And you say I made a mistake also in the path
after that video was released. I didn`t exactly was as contrite as I
should have been. I should have come forward and totally acknowledged and
admitted how offensive those comments were and how they put –
MATTHEWS: Instead of blaming Billy Bush?
MURPHY: And then second, go back to the issue Republican women really
care about, which is the economy and their children`s future. Hammer on
those points. Those are the two points that have always shown him in that
segment of voters, that he can gain real steam with, and the two issues
that he`s been least effective.
MATTHEWS: But his defenses have been so complete. Blame it on Billy
Bush. Melania did that. She`s taking it for the team. And then blaming
it on Howard Stern? What are you doing on Howard Stern in the first place?
MURPHY: And then Howard Stern saying it.
GINSBERG: Look, in third debates, candidates don`t change their
personalities. If they do it, it doesn`t look genuine. So, I think you
may see doubling down on what`s happened before. The theme that he`s
gotten away from, the income inequality/populist divide. And so, there
will be questions on that.
MURPHY: Why doesn`t everything after Hillary saying in public and
private speeches when you`re paid $250,000, you`re big a free trader. You
get out in front of a labor group or Democratic progressive group and
you`re miss protection of the union guy. What is it?
GINSBERG: He needs to go back to, I`m the disrupter, things are
dysfunctional. He`s gotten away from that and defending personal things.
MURPHY: What about saying, Hillary Clinton, you told Goldman Sachs
you supported open borders? I mean, these are all –
MATTHEWS: I would go after open borders because there`s only one
meaning I heard, open borders.
STEELE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, the round table is sticking with us. Up next,
these people tell me more that I don`t know anything about. We`ll be right
This is HARDBALL, live from UNLV for the final presidential debate.
MATTHEWS: We`re back from UNLV, with just over an hour to go before
the final presidential debate right here at UNLV.
Ben, tell me something I don`t know.
GINSBERG: So, what you don`t know is that as Donald Trump goes along,
he`s relying more and more on low propensity voters. It`s up to the
Republican National Committee to turn them out. This election is turning
into a referendum on whether the national party committees can do anything,
on whether they`re about to become extinct creatures. Bad cycle for the
DNC, bad cycle for the RNC unless they can show –
MATTHEWS: Reince Priebus has to bring out the vote for Trump. He`s
GINSBERG: He has promised that he would and that`s the referendum.
MATTHEWS: He`s stuck with him, it`s interesting.
MURPHY: Talk about a rigged election, whether there`s going to be
voter fraud and a lot of talk about whether it`s rigged debates. Three-
quarters of Donald Trump`s supporters believe the debates have been rigged.
But tonight –
MATTHEWS: Debates have been rigged. What`s that mean?
MURPHY: Three quarters, but unfairly tilted towards Clinton.
MATTHEWS: How do you rig a debate?
MURPHY: Good question. I don`t you do it, maybe get the question.
The 60 percent of voters think Chris Wallace will be fair tonight. A lot
of pressure on him to see what he does tonight.
MATTHEWS: Is tonight rigged?
MURPHY: Does he have the questions?
MATTHEWS: You said 40 percent already said it is rigged.
MURPHY: I can say anything`s rigged.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
STEELE: Efforts are already under way to rebuild post-November 8th
inside the GOP. Meetings are starting to take place.
MATTHEWS: You coming back?
MATTHEWS: Your record was pretty good when you were running the RNC,
in terms of numbers.
STEELE: Yes, biggest historic –
MATTHEWS: Let`s move the previous question here.
STEELE: We`ll move the previous question back to the future.
MATTHEWS: So here we go. Anyway, thank you, it`s great.
The crowd out here has been great. There they are, there they are.
We`re getting serious now.
Anyway, thank you all, Michael Steele, as my friend always here,
Megan. A new friend – Ben Ginsberg, an old friend.
When we return, my election diary and what I`ll expect you`ll see
tonight. I`m making a preview of the final presidential debate.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Election diary Wednesday, October 19th, 2016.
As I said, tonight`s big casino, the betting odds are so bad for
Donald Trump that he has to bet big and hope it`s his night. Right now,
you bet a dollar on Donald Trump this election, you win four. That means
he`s got one chance in five chances to come out on top on election night.
So, what would you do? Would you throw everything you have at his
rival Secretary Clinton or concentrate your attack on one key target, this
murky deal with the e-mail dealing with Benghazi and the former FBI agent
who said he saw a quid pro quo to cover it all up?
Anyway, I`m going to get on the Benghazi e-mail. I`ll double down,
triple down on it because it gets to Clinton`s chief problem, which is
trust. It gets back to Benghazi and puts rival Clinton in the role of
having to defend the bureaucracy, in other words, that easily targeted word
So, Mr. Trump, if he`s listening now or listens to anyone any time, he
should stick to the smart shot, trying to hit Hillary on everything is
trying to go to a 21st century media war with a blunderbuss. Like Elmer
Fudd going to war with Bugs Bunny. As you recall, he never did catch that
And this is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Stick
around. I`ll be joining Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow for our great
complete coverage of the third and final debate.
It`s going to be a huge night – as I said before and will say again,
big casino here in Las Vegas. What a night it`s going to be. Who do you
bet`s going to make the big shot, who`s going to be calm and laugh at the
other guy? I still don`t know and neither do you.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>