CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The big fight card, Trump versus Kelly. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. And not since Bobby Riggs`s challenge to Billie Jean King have we seen a matchup like this one. Everyone on the right wing is now touting the match, Megyn Kelly with her direct shot last night at Donald Trump`s demeaning references to women, countered by Trump`s throwing of Rosie O`Donnell under the bus, followed by Rush Limbaugh`s claim that the entire match was fixed, that unknown big money boys bought the Fox News Channel to dump Trump from the race. Well, yes, it`s all true, so-called (ph). Anyway, the entire crazed spectacle after (ph) the spectacle, the buildup to a really wild battle that has Donald Trump hoping to fight his way all the way to the top, perhaps even the nomination, over the conservative media`s dead body, meaning Fox. You could see it coming. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: I`m wondering whether it`s going to be a battle maybe between Megyn and Donald. I`m just trying to think through the drama to tonight, like Roger (ph) has already thought through it a hundred times by now. (CROSSTALK) I think the real debate`s going to be Megyn Kelly against Donald Trump. Trump better be careful. He better let her have a couple points. If he takes her on, that`ll be -- that`ll be television. By the way, the best matchup tonight, and I know this is just pure media chatter, but (INAUDIBLE) I think it`s going to be Donald Trump against Megyn Kelly. I think she`s going to be tough in her questions. He`s going to not like to take it from her. He`ll try to stop her from scoring any points on him, and that`s when he`ll lose. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Saw that one coming! And at 3:00 o`clock this morning -- 3:00 o`clock this morning, Trump saw a message actually on Twitter calling Megyn Kelly a "bimbo," which she certainly isn`t, and he retweeted it to his 3.5 million followers. A few minutes later, he went after Kelly again, saying, "Wow. Megyn Kelly really bombed tonight. People are going wild on Twitter. Funny to watch." And in an interview this morning on MSNBC`s "MORNING JOE," Trump called it a setup job. "I`ve been set up before," he said. "I think I handled it well." Wow. Howard Dean is governor of Vermont, DNC chair and presidential candidate -- he had all those positions. And Jonathan Capehart is the opinion writer with "The Washington Post," and Liz Mair is a Republican strategist. Let me go -- Governor Dean, what it this -- you know, blame the ref. Sometimes they do. But they don`t usually blame the entire operation. Trump is saying this was a fix, a fix to get him by Fox, with Limbaugh jumping in, saying, Oh, it wasn`t just Megyn Kelly, this was the money boys who put a contract out for you. What in the world are we watching here right mow? HOWARD DEAN (D-VT), FMR. GOV., FMR. DNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is the -- I mean, all the usual rules don`t apply to Donald Trump, Chris. I mean, if I`d said something like this in my campaign, it would have been over that day. But he`s done this again and again and again and it`s just stunning. So I mean, the big thing is I want to see what the snap polls show, who won the debate, who liked who and all that kind of stuff. I haven`t been able to find them on the Internet because they`re probably not quite ready yet. I think it`s unbelievable. And if he goes up in his ratings after the performance he had last night, I think we can`t have any prediction what`s going to happen. MATTHEWS: Yes, with 24 million people watching, Jonathan, I think he will tweak up a bit. I think he will crest soon, but not yet. Your thoughts, just about the battle of the media, taking on Megyn Kelly. I knew this was coming because I knew she`d be tough and I knew he`s not used to that from Fox, a real tough question from her, which she nailed him with, his language about women, which is obviously demeaning and indefensible. And of course, he threw Rosie O`Donnell under the bus... JONATHAN CAPEHART, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. MATTHEWS: ... you know, a gay woman. He thought it would be a laughingstock, and he turned her into the joke with that nasty audience last might. Your thoughts. CAPEHART: Right. That was, I think, the most shameful moment in the debate, and it came near the beginning. When those 10 people are on that stage, yes, they`re in a debate, yes, they`re in a television show. And for Donald Trump, it`s just a broader extension of his reality television brand. But the people at home are looking at that stage and looking at a potential president, and the bar`s much higher. The expectations should be higher. And the responses to the questions from the candidates should -- should comport to a president. And I think Donald Trump`s act, his shtick -- my hope is that it will start to wear thin because there`s only so long I think people will put up with sort of these glib answers and these putdowns, when what they -- as we go along in the campaign season, what they`re going to want to hear is specifics about the problems that worry them, that keep them up at night. And for the Republican Party primary base, there are a whole lot of problems from their perspective. MATTHEWS: Liz, it seems to me he was caught there by Megyn. She did her homework, and her producers obviously did. They dug up these nasty words. I`m sure there are more, and words you can`t use on television, knowing his reputation for his wiseass attitude. But then that didn`t stop him. He was -- he may have been caught there, but he didn`t look embarrassed. He throws Rosie O`Donnell under the bus, makes her look stupid, and she wasn`t even a combatant here, not even involved in this. And then he starts this blaming on her. And then he did that weird thing last night with his hands. He said, You know, I`ve been nice to you, Megyn, but you know, we may have to change that -- he twists his hands back and forth, like a little bit of a weird threat against her. What is that all about? And how can you -- I do think he`s going to go up because I think there`s a third of the party, not the Republican Party, about a third of the party on the right that does love this over-the-top political incorrectness, as he puts it. LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, I would just point out that we do actually have some numbers back indicating how people responded to all of this. And both of you look at the focus group that was done afterwards and some of the numbers that came back independent of that. It actually shows that, no, Trump didn`t play best with the audience, and the people who benefited most from this debate were Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump. And I think that part of the reason is this. There are a lot of people out there, a lot of conservatives who love Megyn Kelly, think she`s incredibly sharp, smart, and I think she demonstrated that with her questions last night. And I think when Trump turns around and pulls this kind of stunt with her, that just shows people that he is an unserious person who is fundamentally ungrounded, unhinged. And even if they like his lack of political correctness, he looks like a grade A something-something clown. I mean, there`s just no way of getting around that. And you know, so the conservatives that I`ve been speaking to -- I`m down here in Atlanta at the Red State gathering, and the conservatives that I`ve been speaking to, the people that they`ve had good things to say about coming out of the debate are Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio. MATTHEWS: Yes. MAIR: I have not heard people saying good things about Donald Trump, and that accords with the data. MATTHEWS: What do you make of Rush Limbaugh, who in many ways is the grand vizier on the right? Whatever you think of it, he`s got about 10 percent of the country behind him, backing up Trump. What`s that? In the media fight here, he`s taken (INAUDIBLE) he`s going in, throwing in with Trump against Fox. MAIR: Yes, I don`t know. MATTHEWS: And he`s saying... MAIR: I don`t listen to Rush Limbaugh. MATTHEWS: He`s saying there was a... MAIR: I don`t listen to talk radio... MATTHEWS: OK. MAIR: ... so it`s hard to opine. But I will say that... MATTHEWS: Well, you can`t just... MAIR: ... I think Fox has... MATTHEWS: ... dismiss him like that. MAIR: I think Fox has -- I think Fox much more clout when we`re talking about the Republican Party and actual Republican voters at this point probably than Rush does, whether he likes that or not. And you know, whether he says that Fox engineered this and went out to get Trump -- that may be the case, but if you actually look at the questions that were asked of all the candidates, none of these guys got a pass. They got very, very tough questions. This was actually an excellent debate, and I think Fox did an outstanding job of giving it to these guys up hard up front, putting them on the spot and making them get on their A-game. And it`s sad, perhaps, that Donald Trump wasn`t capable of providing his A-game and actually playing at that level. MATTHEWS: Yes, well... MAIR: But he really has nobody to blame but himself. He said he didn`t prepare for the debate. He doesn`t do debating. And guess what? He didn`t do that well. MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about the way they did promote it last night, thanks to Roger Ailes. Let`s look at this, the way it started last night, the decision by Bret Baier and I`m sure his producers and his boss probably, Roger Ailes -- they decided to open this up, to rip the scab off, Will you -- all you candidates agree to back the winner of this derby? Whoever one of you wins, and of the other seven (ph) (INAUDIBLE) use (ph) 17 all together -- whoever gets to be the winner, will you back -- will you back that nominee? And I thought -- Governor Dean, I think that was great stuff because it forced that news story... DEAN: I couldn`t believe... MATTHEWS: ... right off the bat. Anyway, we got to take a break right now. We told you that there`s going to be a story here, and there is right now, from Aurora. We`ve got a verdict right now from the sentencing phase of James Holmes, the gunman who opened fire in that Colorado movie theater in 2012, killing 12 people. Let`s go to the courtroom now for that sentencing verdict. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Final sentencing verdict form count 2, murder in the first degree. After deliberation, Alexander Boik (ph), we the jury do not have a unanimous final sentencing verdict on this count, and we the jury understand that as a result, the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on this count. Final sentencing verdict form count 3, murder in the first degree. After deliberation, Jessie Childress (ph), we the jury do not have a unanimous final sentencing verdict on this count, and we the jury understand that as a result, the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on this count. Final sentencing verdict form count 4, murder in the first degree. After deliberation, Gordon Kowden (ph), we the jury do not have a unanimous final sentencing verdict on this count, and we the jury understand that as a result, the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on this count. Final sentencing verdict form count 5, murder in first degree, after deliberation, Jessica Gowey (ph), we the jury do not have a unanimous final sentencing verdict on this count, and we the jury understand that as a result, the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on this count. Final sentencing verdict form count 6, murder in the first degree. After deliberation, John Larimer (ph), we the jury do not have a unanimous final sentencing verdict on this count, and we the jury understand that as a result, the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on this count. Final sentencing verdict form count 7, murder in the first degree. After deliberation, Matthew McQuinn (ph), we the jury do not have a unanimous final sentencing verdict on this count, and we the jury understand that as a result, the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on this count. Final sentencing verdict form count 8, murder in the first degree. After deliberation, Michaela Merrick (ph). we the jury do not have a unanimous final sentencing verdict on this count, and we the jury understand that as a result, the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on this count. Final sentencing verdict form count 9, murder in the first degree. After deliberation, Veronica Moser (ph)... MATTHEWS: So the jury has failed to reach a unanimous verdict there, meaning the court imposes a life sentence without the possibility of parole. That`s for James Holmes there, the shooter in that Aurora killing. Let`s go to NBC`s Scott Cohn, outside the courtroom. Scott, is this the procedure if it`s not a unanimous -- it`s a hung jury on sentencing, you get life without parole? SCOTT COHN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: That`s right. They had to -- the defense only had to convince one juror that they could -- that it was not necessarily right to impose a death sentence on a man that the defense said is mentally ill. And with that, the automatic default is life in prison without the possibility of parole. It`s worth noting, Chris, that 17 months ago, the defense offered this deal to the prosecution, and the prosecution declined it, wanted to go ahead to court and go for the death penalty. And now, after a three-month trial, millions of dollars in expense and hundreds of witnesses, the jury has been unable to agree on that death penalty. So that means that James Holmes automatically will go to prison for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole. MATTHEWS: Scott, it`s very understandable, what happened there. Thank you so much for that news analysis. Let`s go back to the politics of last night. And Governor Dean, I was asking you about this amazingly striking moment when you ask all the candidates who are running for the nomination of a party to say, Will you at least -- at least support the winner? Let`s watch that moment right now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Is there anyone on stage -- and can I see hands -- who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person? Again, we`re looking for you to raise your hand now... (BOOS) BAIER: Raise your hand if you won`t make that pledge tonight. (CHEERS, BOOS) BAIER: Mr. Trump. MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You`ve called women you don`t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. You once told a contestant on "Celebrity Apprentice" it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn, if you don`t like it, I`m sorry. I`ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me, but I wouldn`t do that. But you know what? (BOOS) TRUMP: I have never gone bankrupt, by the way. I have never. But out of hundreds of deals... CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: But sir... TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me! WALLACE: That`s your line, but your companies have gone bankrupt. TRUMP: Excuse me. Out of -- what am I saying? WALLACE: That you`ve (INAUDIBLE) TRUMP: Let me tell you about the lenders. First of all, these lenders aren`t babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people that you think, OK? (LAUGHTER) TRUMP: You know, I mean, you`re living in world of the make-believe, Chris, you want to know the truth. KELLY: You said in most cases, you identified as a Democrat. When did you actually become a Republican? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Governor Dean, those are tough questions, but you know, the guy`s running for president of the United States. He ought to be able to handle the tough questions. And those, in fact, get back to who he is. Is he a Republican? Is he loyal to the party? And has he said terrible things about women? They all seemed appropriate to me. But they`re all buzzing out there saying, you know, he`s being afflicted by a media attack being put together, according to Rush Limbaugh, by the money people. The big contributors in the Republican Party put a contract on him in -- in -- somehow, through those three moderators of that debate. Your thoughts. DEAN: Well, it reminds me a little of Ross Perot saying that George Bush interfered with his daughter`s wedding or spied on it, or something like that. Look, you can`t survive these kinds of questions, I don`t think, with the answers or the non-answers that he got. I mean, I don`t know of any candidate in either party that I`ve ever seen in any race who`s been able to raise his hand and say, I`m going to run as an independent, in front of a partisan audience like that. So that`s why I want to see what the polling numbers show after this has all settled in. I just can`t believe this guy can survive this stuff, but he keeps surviving one crazy thing after another. And who am I to say? It`s just -- I can`t believe what`s going on in the Republican Party. It`s really -- it is a spectacle. It`s a spectacle. MATTHEWS: I know. Liz, what -- what about the guys and the women out there who`ve spent their whole lives working for the Republican Party, doing all the scut work, the committee work, the chairmanship of the local county party, all of them who believe in the party, as such, for a guy to say, Look, if I don`t win, I`m out of here? What`s that say to them? MAIR: Yes, those people don`t like that. But more importantly, I think with a number of Donald Trump`s answers last night, we got an insight into why conservatives don`t like him. It`s not just about party affiliation and party loyalty. There are a lot of people out there who will vote Republican but don`t have a great degree of loyalty to the party. They do to conservatism. And what those people do not want to see is Donald Trump setting Hillary Clinton up for a win, which is what a lot conservatives suspect he`s been up to from the beginning. Don`t forget this is a guy who`s donated to her. He`s been very close to her... MATTHEWS: You think he`s a mole? MAIR: ... you know, all the points -- I think there are a lot of people who suspect he is. I don`t know whether he is or not, but I think that is a suspicion that a lot of people have. MATTHEWS: Wow. MAIR: And that is a problem for him. MATTHEWS: OK. MAIR: Beyond that, I would also make the point that a lot of people have a problem with the substance of what he had to say on the topic of health care last night. You know, he basically went out and defended Britain`s National Health Service, which is an extraordinary position... MATTHEWS: OK. MAIR: ... for anybody who`s purporting to be a conservative or a Republican to take. And it doesn`t work in this party. It`s not tenable. MATTHEWS: Please come back. We`ll talk more about this. This debate`s not going away. Thank you, Howard Dean. Thank you, Jonathan Capehart. Thank you, Liz Mair. And Jonathan, we`ll see you tomorrow morning filling in for Steve Kornacki on "UP." Good work tomorrow. CAPEHART: Thanks, Chris. MATTHEWS: Coming up, here`s what you didn`t see in last night`s Republican debate -- any discussion of voting rights, race relations, gender issues. These are front-page issues in this country, and they weren`t even talked about last night. And that`s giving Hillary Clinton and the Democrats plenty of ammunition to use come the coming debates. Plus, the presidential candidates who didn`t help themselves last night -- Jeb Bush -- where was he last night? -- Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker all may be in need of a reboot, don`t you think? And after 16 years on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart says farewell last night. We`re going to show you the highlights from the end of his incredible run tonight on the "Roundtable." Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the jamboree I witnessed out in Cleveland. What a show. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`ve got new polling data on potential 2016 general election matchups in the swing state of New Hampshire. And for that, we check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard." According to a new WMUR/Granite State poll, Rand Paul leads Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by 2 points -- Paul 45, Clinton 43. Scott Walker leads Clinton by the same 2-point margin -- 45 for Walker, 43 for Clinton. Jeb Bush has just a 1-point lead over Clinton. It`s Bush 46, Clinton 45. But look at this. Against Donald Trump, Clinton leads in New Hampshire by 10 points, 50 percent for Clinton, Trump 40. Keep in mind, these polls were obviously conducted prior to last night`s debate. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Hillary Clinton`s campaign said the former secretary of state was the real winner at last night`s debate. Someone there loved this moment from Marco Rubio, one of her people. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This election cannot be a resume competition. It`s important to be qualified, but if this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton`s going to be the next president, because she`s been in office and in government longer than anybody else running here tonight. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin actually tweeted: "Thank you, Marco Rubio, for telling the world Hillary Clinton is the most" -- well, he didn`t exactly say this -- but "the most qualified for president." Pretty close to that. But there were other moments that gave the Clinton campaign reasons to pop the champagne corks, including missed opportunities by the Republicans on issues like climate change and women`s health, no discussion at all about income inequality or college affordability, college loans, child development, nothing on raising kids, also no discussion about voting rights and barely any discussion about race or police behavior or any of that stuff that we have all been talking about in this country. And the GOP also continued their assault on Planned Parenthood again last night and stuck to their default position on abortion, which Democrats believe will send female, women voters running back to the Dems in 2016. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out. I have got a position that`s in line with everyday America. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As governor of the state of Florida, I defunded Planned Parenthood. I created a culture of life in our state. RUBIO: What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro- life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they`re parts to a Buick. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, 10 men agree, anyway. Stephanie Schriock is president of EMILY`s List. And Perry Bacon is senior political reporter for NBC News. Well, I would think that is a fund-raising vehicle for you last night, because 10 guys out there, all men, all agree on getting rid of Planned Parenthood, which in our NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll is the most popular organization that we polled on. STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, PRESIDENT, EMILY`S LIST: Right. We are in uncharted territory with this Republican Party. I mean, think about this. Not since Roe v. Wade in 1973 has the Republican presidential nominee been opposed to abortion in cases of rape, incest or life of a woman. MATTHEWS: Life. SCHRIOCK: Life of a woman. That`s right. That`s right. MATTHEWS: So let the woman die. SCHRIOCK: And we heard it last night from Walker, from Rubio. MATTHEWS: I never heard that before. SCHRIOCK: It`s unbelievable, where we are with how right-wing and out of touch this cast of characters are. MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about manners. I know. The reason that politics makes some kind of sense is there are reasonable manners. Nobody doesn`t think like this until Trump comes along. Now, last night, he was called out, I thought effectively, by Megyn Kelly. And I think this tape is going to be played again and again between now and whenever Trump leaves the field. In fact, watch this tape, because I think this is going to have legs. Here`s the exchange between Megyn Kelly of FOX News Channel and Donald Trump over how Trump talks about women. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You`ve called women you don`t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. (LAUGHTER) Your Twitter account... DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Only Rosie O`Donnell. (LAUGHTER) KELLY: It was well beyond Rosie O`Donnell. TRUMP: Yes, I`m sure it was. KELLY: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women`s looks. You once told a contestant on "Celebrity Apprentice" it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women? TRUMP: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: And I don`t frankly have time for total political correctness. What I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn, if you don`t like it, I`m sorry. I`ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn`t do that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Perry Bacon, you have dealt with politicians in rough circumstances. They don`t always like you. They get mad at the questions. They don`t like the way you report on them. What`s this mean? What`s this thing? If you don`t keep -- if you don`t change the way you talk to me, Megyn, let me see -- what`s this mean? What does it mean? PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you have seen over the last day or so where he`s come out on Twitter and so on and used the term... MATTHEWS: Bimbo. BACON: Bimbo to describe her. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He`s dragging into every negative thing people say. But what`s the point of this fight he`s having? Why would he want politically to go to war against the majority voter, women? BACON: Two things. Trump is pretty thin-skinned. So, I don`t think it`s a strategic move. He seems to be very mad about Megyn Kelly, who asked great questions. MATTHEWS: Did he think he lost last night to her? BACON: He did lose last night to her. And it looks like he acknowledges that. Second thing is, he`s definitely trying to get into a war with the media. He`s definitely trying to say, FOX kind of bullied me. And I`m going to try to defend myself against them. It`s FOX, not MSNBC. So I don`t think this is a great strategy for him. But that`s where he`s... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, apparently, Rush Limbaugh has jumped on his side and says that it`s all about... SCHRIOCK: Not surprising. MATTHEWS: ... the rich people got together and told FOX to throw the game, to fix it. I mean, what is this, paranoia or what? FOX is a conservative network, openly so. SCHRIOCK: Right. And watching the questions all last night, you knew where FOX`s agenda was. But, that being said, it is upsetting. It was upsetting to see the crowd reaction to Donald Trump MATTHEWS: Why did they all laugh at the Rosie O`Donnell joke? Did it just show that he was tough? (CROSSTALK) BACON: I`m not sure what they... (CROSSTALK) SCHRIOCK: I`m not sure. (CROSSTALK) BACON: I don`t know why they were laughing. It wasn`t funny. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: It showed me, to protect himself, he was willing to throw a person not involved under the bus. SCHRIOCK: Completely not involved. MATTHEWS: She`s not a part of this. SCHRIOCK: And I just really think that all Americans -- this isn`t just about women. I mean, all Americans deserve an apology for this kind of behavior from the stage of a group of candidates who are trying to run for president of the United States. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Are there women out there that like, in the old school, they`d be the ones making the sandwiches for the guys` poker game? Are there women who just like macho guys, even this kind of rough behavior? Is there anybody -- I guess there must be some people that like this kind of macho talk, like, yes, Rosie O`Donnell, I can call her what I want to call her. SCHRIOCK: Yes, there are -- sure. There are some, but we know that the mass majority of women and particularly women voters who are looking at this election are looking for candidates who are about an agenda that is going to advance women and families in this country. And we didn`t hear any of that last night. MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about Ohio. Here`s John Kasich with a much different tone. He was asked how he would explain his opposition to gay marriage if one of his children was gay or lesbian. Let`s watch this reaction, which is so different. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn`t think the way I do doesn`t mean that I can`t care about them or can`t love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) KASICH: That`s what we`re taught when we have strong faith. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You know, I think I`m working on a book about Bob Kennedy now. I`m trying to figure out compassion and its role in American life. And everybody has to be tougher than the next guy. But what you really want is a president who looks out for people who are in trouble, who can think they just had this terrible hurricane. Let`s get the help to those people, like Katrina. Let`s get to those people waiting at the Convention Center with the babies crying. Let`s get them the water they need right now. You want a president who gives a damn about people. There`s a forest fire in California. Let`s help those people living out there in the hills. You want compassion. It sounds like a weak word, but without it, what do we got as leaders? A bunch of kings. BACON: You know, Jeb Bush is in this race, and his brother was a compassionate conservative. But really Kasich is running as that person. MATTHEWS: Yes. BACON: The other interesting thing about last night was he talked about he expanded Medicaid and he defended that. The problem to me in a Republican primary, I`m not sure you`re rewarded for going to gay weddings. I`m not sure expanding Medicaid really helps. I think Kasich is running a race to be -- he`s kind of running that Jon Huntsman style. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: No, no, no. He`s a Republican. (CROSSTALK) BACON: He`s a Republican. MATTHEWS: He`s a real Republican. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You have just tried to kill the guy. BACON: No. I`m not trying to kill the guy at all. I respect the guy. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I think he`s the Republican we all grew up with, people my age, people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, regular guys, a bit more conservative than Democrats, all supported voting rights, all supported civil rights. They were Lincoln party people. BACON: They lose in primaries to Ted Cruz all over the country every year. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, you`re so young, you think that`s the only Republican Party there ever was. (LAUGHTER) BACON: Well, it`s the one that exists now. (CROSSTALK) SCHRIOCK: Governor Kasich does not have a great record though on workers rights, on education, and on the advancement of women either. So, let`s be careful of where he really is standing as well. I think what`s really important here as we look at what we saw over three hours of debating last night, because don`t forget there was an hour earlier that we saw, 17 candidates, no conversation of equal pay for equal work, for paid sick leave. MATTHEWS: Or income inequality. (CROSSTALK) SCHRIOCK: Income inequality. MATTHEWS: Minimum wage. SCHRIOCK: The Voting Rights Act, on the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, no conversation. This is the difference between the parties. MATTHEWS: So, are these ships passing in the night, where the Democrats talk about one set of issues and Republicans talk about another? It seems like that. They don`t ever come together. BACON: There`s been police shootings all over the country. MATTHEWS: Not a mention of it. BACON: America is talking about that. MATTHEWS: Did not mention it. BACON: Not just Democrats, America, except in this primary. I would blame the candidates, but also Megyn Kelly and those guys did not ask a lot of questions about the huge racial debate going on in the country. MATTHEWS: I know. Perry, I thought of those old movies from the `50s and before that when you saw the streets of New York and not one African-American. They cleared the streets, those Alfred Hitchcock movies, except when they get to the trains, and they`re the guys working on the trains. That was it. That`s how they used to do it. Anyway, thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for that. And thank you, Perry. We will have much more of last night`s debate coming up with the roundtable. But up next, Chuck Schumer, a key Democrat in the Senate, says he`s now against the president`s nuclear deal with Iran. What`s that mean for President Obama and getting this thing through? That`s coming up next. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, last night, buried in Donald Trump`s debate wake, we got some big news on the president`s fight to defend the nuclear deal with Iran. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the most influential Jewish vote in Congress, you might say, and the next Democratic Senate leader, announced he will oppose the deal. Congress is expected to vote on the deal this September, or begin debating then. Anyway, Chris Jansing is senior White House correspondent for MSNBC. I thought this was common, Chris, but I thought it was interesting, the timing, right in the middle of all the ballyhoo over the Republican debate. CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and there`s been a lot of speculation about why that was. There was even a report and our folks on the Hill heard that it was deliberately timed so that it would get buried. The White House scoffs at that. They say, look, if you want to bury something, you put it out on a Friday at 4:00, not when you still have a Friday for people to talk about it. Even though it looked like Chuck Schumer was going this way, make no mistake, the White House badly wanted this endorsement. Nobody was pushed harder. Nobody was lobbied harder. Less than a month ago, I watched him as he watched -- walked across the lawn behind me going into a meeting with the president in the White House. Everybody was watching him for the reasons you have cited. And he`s been walking around for the last couple of weeks with a dog-eared copy of this agreement in his pocket. He`s highly respected for his knowledge on these issues. And when he issued that statement, it was 1,600 words` long in the end, he said that there were serious weaknesses in the agreement that left folks -- that left Iran stronger financially and better able to have a robust program. Now, officially the White House response is that they`re disappointed, but not surprised. Still, maybe just less than an hour ago, the president took off in Marine One. He`s heading to Martha`s Vineyard. And they do say that he may be making some phone calls from there, something that they hadn`t necessarily anticipated, as the lobbying on this will have to continue, Chris. MATTHEWS: Yes, Chris, I still think he still has a fighting chance to win this one, able to sustain the veto. JANSING: I think, yes, the numbers are on his side. But the question really is, and what we will watch over the next couple of days, is, will his decision influence other Democrats who are sitting on the fence? MATTHEWS: Yes, I`m worried about a couple of them in the Northeast especially. Thank you so much, Chris Jansing, at the White House. Up next, back to the Republican race for president and the winners and losers from last night`s debate. Let`s have some funs. Look at those talking heads. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome to HARDBALL. For most of the Republican candidates, last night`s debate was an opportunity to make a first impression on voters across the country. With ten candidates on stage, it was a battle royale to grab the spotlight. Here are some of the highlights. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can totally make that pledge. If I`m the nominee, I will pledge I would not run as an independent. SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`s already hedging his bets because he`s used to buying politicians. TRUMP: We`ll, I`ve given him plenty of money. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But if this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president. GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We went from $8 billion in the hole to $2 billion in the black. We`ve cut $5 billion in taxes and we`ve grown 350,000 jobs. TRUMP: I`ve been very nice to you although I could probably not be based on the way you`ve treated me, but I wouldn`t do that. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Knowing what we know now with faulty intelligence and not having security be the first priority when we invaded, it was a mistake. I wouldn`t have gone in. PAUL: I don`t trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug and if you want to again, go right ahead. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Paul, you know, the hugs that I remember are the hugs that I gave to the families who lost their people on September 11th. GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Probably the Russian and Chinese government know more about Hillary Clinton`s e-mail server than do the members of the United States Congress. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The money paid at consumption is paid by everybody including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people that are freeloading off the system now. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Megyn, I wasn`t sure I was going to get to talk again. KELLY MEGYN, FOX NEWS MODERATOR: We have a lot for you, don`t worry. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, it`s no surprise that Donald Trump got the most speaking time of all the candidates with over 10 minutes in total. Jeb Bush was second with eight while the rest each had about six. Rand Paul spoke the least with less than five minutes on his total. Despite speaking the most, Trump has six questions posed to him during the debate. Jeb received the most questions, eight in total. While Chris Christie got just four, the least of any candidate on stage. Anyway, according to Google, the top searched were Donald Trump followed by Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and John Kasich which might be the big indicator of who made the best impression last night. There won`t be another Republican debate until mid-September. So, how will the winners last night capitalize on their success? And how will the losers trying to regain some momentum? I`m joined right now by a great round table: Jeremy Peters is a reporter with "The New York Times", April Ryan is the Washington Bureau chief of American Urban Radio Networks, and Paul Singer is Washington correspondent for "USA Today". So you guys matter in this. So let me get your thoughts about this. Who do you think, Jeremy, did well? Give me a couple names. Who did well last night? JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think Rubio outperformed. I think he speaks very well to these working class upward mobility themes that are going to be really prominent in the election. I also think -- MATTHEWS: Let`s stick with that one. PETERS: OK, all right. MATTHEWS: You like Rubio, too, right? APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: I like Rubio. I think he really hit the ball out of the park, when he talked about various issues. But I also think Kasich was really -- MATTHEWS: I want to stick with Rubio. All three agreed on Rubio. That`s why I find it interesting. But how can the Republicans run a young first term senator who speaks well who has no executive experience or really lifetime experience and make him president after dumping all over Obama for being that guy -- first term senator with no executive experience with good speaking ability. What are they going to do the exact same thing? PETERS: It`s tricky. And that`s his Achilles heel. I think what he`s offered -- MATTHEWS: Has he ever done anything? PETERS: He hasn`t. He hasn`t -- I mean, well, he was the speaker of the floor of the legislature. MATTHEWS: That`s rotational job. That`s not seniority. PETERS: If you look at his record in the Senate there`s not much to point to. But for most senators these days, there`s not a whole lot to point to because the Senate just doesn`t do much. MATTHEWS: Well, if you would say why should this guy be president, what would be your answer, because he can speak? PETERS: I think he offers probably the clearest generational contrast to Hillary Clinton and he -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. Someone said last night, April, that Hillary Clinton would have a hard time dealing with that. He said it would be hard time, because he`d be able to say, don`t tell me living paycheck to paycheck, that`s how I grew up. I owed 100,000 bucks in student loans four years ago. RYAN: OK. But, you know, Hillary Clinton`s mother was a maid as well. Her mother also, she was a housekeeper. Her mother was abandoned at 14. MATTHEWS: What`s her mother got to talk about it? RYAN: She talks about her mother. Hillary was not -- MATTHEWS: He talks about himself. RYAN: Yes, but Hillary did not grow up the way that many people -- she was not Bill Clinton`s wife -- the way they`re living now when she was kid. She grew up humbly. So, but I do think -- MATTHEWS: That`s funny because most people think she grew up upper middle class. RYAN: Right, right. He has something that Bill Clinton had. Bill Clinton was poor and he went middle class, then he went to being the president of the United States. He can relate to everyone. I believe that that is his story. He has a story that Americans want to hear. MATTHEWS: One of the stories is his checkbook. Apparently he has a problem balancing it. That`s one place where we do test Donald Trump, when it comes to dollars and debits and credits, he seems to know that stuff. PAUL SINGER, USA TODAY WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: But you don`t want -- if you`re Hillary Clinton, you don`t want to get into an argument with Marco Rubio that maybe you`re living beyond your means, young man. (LAUGHTER) SINGER: You`re spending more widely, you know? MATTHEWS: Because? SINGER: Because it returns to this notion of Hillary Clinton saying we were dead broke, you know? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Did you notice last night there were a lot of guys playing Alger Hiss or Uriah Heep. Like the old Jewish comics. We were born so poor in Brooklyn and so poor we didn`t have any money. PETERS: Kasich, the coal miner`s grandson. Scott Walker, the preacher`s son. Marco Rubio, the son of a maid and a bar tender. MATTHEWS: My father was a drunk. My father was a mailman. It was a sad story. RYAN: But we knew one person who wasn`t coming from that. MATTHEWS: No, Trump started with a grubstake, didn`t he? He started with -- we`re going to come back and talk about Jon Stewart who everybody likes. People really like you at the end, by the way. Jon Stewart has left the building, highlights from "The Daily Show" last night. Big farewell last night. We`re going to show you the best stuff if you`re watching the debate last night. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: The July jobs report is out now and the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs last month. That`s a solid performance that signals the job market continues on its upward trajectory. Overall, the unemployment rate for July held at 5.3 steady for the second month in a row. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with our panel, Jeremy, April and Paul. Anyway, Jon Stewart signed off from "The Daily Show" last night after a remarkable 16 years in that chair. A few of his favorite political targets sending their farewells, and there were Democrats. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Don`t go. Come back. Jon, I`m being sarcastic. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And just when I`m running for president. What a bummer. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Here are a couple of Republicans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Have fun feeding your rabbits, quitter. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I`m Jon Stewart, I`m dumb, I`m stupid, nyah, nyah, nyah. So long jackass. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: One of the show`s most famous and successful alumni Steve Colbert came back to say good-bye. Stewart tried to hold it together while he thanked his family, and offered a final farewell. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: I want to thank my wife Tracy, and my kids Nate and Maggie -- I`m not going to look over there -- for teaching me what joy looks like. Nothing ends. It`s just a continuation. It`s a pause in the conversation. So rather than saying good-bye, or good night, I`m just going to say, I`m going to go get a drink. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Ha ha. Paul, what did he do in television? Because I always like when people start something new, don`t just heard something. He did something -- it`s satire of a different kind. SINGER: Yes, I mean, he brought politics into a fun zone, where a younger generation can really engage in it. There was a period of time, I don`t know if now is that time, but there was a period of time when people in their 20s were getting all their news, their political news from Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show." And he`s spawned a whole generation of people who are sort of reproducing his show. MATTHEWS: You say young, my daughter, every four years, I took one of my kids while they`re still in the house, up in the New Hampshire primary. It was great. I would be filing my story for the newspaper, like you do, and I`d be sitting in the bathroom filing my story and my sons watching TV. Then, we go out to dinner afterwards. And everybody would be nice to him. All my daughter -- Caroline wanted to meet, the only person she ever wanted, not Peter Jennings, not Brooke Russert (ph), all the big shot, she wanted to meet was Jon Stewart. That is the guy she liked. RYAN: But the crazy thing about it is, I wanted to meet Jon -- everybody - - he makes you laugh. We all want someone to make us feel good and laugh. I mean , no matter what life brings, you just want to laugh, and you could rest assured he would make something funny out of the worst of situations. And you could laugh. But I ran into him at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. We were staying in the same hotel. It`s interesting when he talked about family. The first thing we talked about is the fact that the convention was strategically placed at the time when school first started and he did not have a chance to send his kids to school. We`ll be talking about the same thing. MATTHEWS: You mean that was bad timing, yes. RYAN: Bad timing. And so, it`s interesting how he`s going home to his family and how he loves his family, and I just, it brings home after the conversation -- MATTHEWS: All this kumbayah and good feeling. He was knocking us the whole time, OK? "The New York Times", the mainstream press -- PETERS: Everybody. MATTHEWS: That was his thing, to make fun of politicians most importantly -- but most importantly, people covering him. He didn`t think they were being covered right. PETER: I think he`s irreplaceable. I don`t see, as you pointed out. he created this institution -- MATTHEWS: Well, Colbert is coming back -- PETERS: But we don`t know what kind of persona -- I mean, he`s not going to take on the same type of satirist persona critic. And I think he`s going to be himself, he`s going to be like a typical late night talk show host, not somebody who is a media and political critic. And I think that that`s a huge void to fill. MATTHEWS: How about John Oliver? PETERS: I don`t see it. SINGER: That show doesn`t have kind of weight. PETERS: It doesn`t have the viewers either. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, Bill Maher. SINGER: Just saying, that this show did -- was part of the ideological trend in news. It turned news into an ideological issue as well. So -- MATTHEWS: He had a great target with FOX. Anyway, in an hour -- RYAN: No one`s irreplaceable. When you have something like that. But I think the person who could replace him is Chris Rock. MATTHEWS: George Washington was irreplaceable. And in one hour, MSNBC`s "Jon Stewart Has Left the Building", a special coming up here on this network at 9:00 Eastern. Thank you, Jeremy Peters. Thank you, April Ryan and Paul Singer. When we return, let me finish with a jamboree I just witnessed out in Cleveland. What a show, I guess. Little dreadful at times. HARDBALL, the pace for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a jamboree I witnessed down in Cleveland. Part of it is the familiar faces you meet for campaign events like this. Ben Ginsberg, the top Republican campaign lawyer who tends to win his fight like he did in the Florida recount in 2000. I bumped into Kellyanne Conway, the Republican pollster who I`ve known forever. And former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, and his son, who served as that state U.S. senator. I saw John Harwood of CNBC and Ed Goeas, another Republican pollster. And Todd Harris is doing media for Marco Rubio, and as you saw last night, doing quite a job. So, they`re all out there, those boys in the buys, though there are a lot more women than there used to be. What do you make of the show up on the stage last night? I think Rubio did a good job. I think John Kasich did, too. Rubio gives a good speech. Kasich has a story to tell about as governor of Ohio. I don`t understand what Jeb Bush is up to. Right now, it looks like he`s up to nothing. But we keep hearing that he`s running for president. You`ve got to wonder when he`s going to act like it. Donald Trump was Donald Trump. He was under assault of tough questions, two of which tell us the story of his political rise and what will be, you got to assume, his inevitable fall. The story of his rise was told by his refusal to commit to backing the nominee of the Republican Party. And last night, he basically declared his independence from the party, saying, if they don`t pick him as their nominee, he may as well go it alone. And that`s the most direct statement of what he`s doing right now, leading an all-out mutiny against the Republican Party himself. He`s saying he`ll gladly accept the nomination, he`s just as glad to run against the person that they name as nominee if it`s not him. Well, the other Trump moment was Megyn Kelly`s recitation of words Trump has used to describe very various women, phrases most viewers would consider out of line, or at least unworthy of a man running to run the country. Trump`s response was a toss to a particular woman under the bus and to basically he said he doesn`t have the time to use the right words to describe women. Well, we`ll see. I think Trump showed his strength last night as a challenger to the establishment, but also the reason why he won`t in the end be the nominee for president. Having the right message isn`t enough. You need to be the right person sending it. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. END THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. 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