IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/28/15

Guests: Mark Halperin, John Heilemann, John Hickenlooper, George Pataki,Lindsey Graham, Dean Parker, Bob Walker, Mario Lopez

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Republicans in a frenzy! Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Boulder, Colorado, the site of tonight`s CNBC Republican presidential debate. And I`ll admit it, it`s hard for me to get my head around the chaos of the Republican fight for president right now. Are the majority of Republican voters so unhappy with their usual leaders, their governors like Bush and Christie and Kasich, that they`re determined to pick a defiant outlier like Trump, Carson, Fiorina or Cruz, or are they ready to just give up the revolution and fall into line? Or, is one candidate cute enough politically, Marco Rubio, to appeal to both camps, the establishment and the renegades? More immediately, are those on the hard right more attracted to a candidate, Donald Trump, who knows something about the economy, or to one who seems more in league with their religious values, Dr. Ben Carson? Well, these are fairly basic questions for a party to be considering this late in the game. This election of 2016 is one that really counts, of course. It`s going to set a direction for the country, no matter which party wins, because there`s no incumbent party that can go back and work and continue on as it was. In fact, tonight, the candidates are meeting for the third time, with Donald Trump once again sucking up much of the oxygen in the room. Jeb Bush is promising to take it to him. John Kasich is calling out the crazy, as he calls it, in his party. And Ben Carson, the front-runner in the latest polls, is promising to stay out of what he calls the "slime pit." Meanwhile, Trump himself is playing defensive, warning of a very unfair debate tonight, and complaining to Iowa Republicans about his dragging poll numbers. The ingredients are there for an explosive night. Chuck Todd is moderator of "MEET THE PRESS," Steve Schmidt is the former senior strategist for John McCain`s presidential campaign and Michael Steele is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee.    In order, gentlemen, let talk about Trump. We used to say in basketball, you can win while you`re ahead, but can you win with -- do you have the heart to win when you`re behind? He`s fallen bit behind, statistically not significant, but he`s still behind and falling. Can Trump fight it out in the mix? CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Well, what I`m trying to figure out is why he wants to fight this. Like, he`s made the decision to make these poll numbers matter. He could easily -- any other candidate in this situation -- Hillary Clinton fell behind Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Did you see her sort of -- was it a full-fledged panic by the candidate? He is creating adversity for himself by making it matter so much. Look, what he needs to worry more about tonight is he`s the businessman. He`s the guy that supposedly knows -- this is his sweet spot. If he doesn`t dominate this debate -- he`s got to be Mr. Economy, Mr. Jobs, Mr. I know how to negotiate better. Well, this is his forum. He`s got to own this. This is not about Ben Carson. If it`s about other things -- and he`s a brander. He`s setting his expectations bars low -- oh, not going to have a good debate -- no, this is a debate he should own. MATTHEWS: Right. Why is he talking about women and burqas and wearing makeup under headgear? That`s an odd thing for a male, any male, to be talking about, in any circumstances. STEVE SCHMIDT, FMR. MCCAIN CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Look, with Donald Trump coming into this debate tonight, we`re going to see, is he going to take the debate -- is he going to engage Ben Carson or is he going to turn and face these establishment candidates? Is he going to drive his outsider message, or is he going to get in a fight with another outsider? If he does that, I think it`s a big mistake for him tonight. What he should be talking about is when you add up the Carson numbers and you add up the Trump numbers together, what it`s saying is that you have half the Republican electorate... MATTHEWS: Exactly 50 percent. SCHMIDT: ... We want something -- we want somebody new. We want something new. We`re going to make the country great again. So it`s going to be interesting tonight to see if Donald Trump fights everybody, if he fights Carson, if he fights the establishment guys. MATTHEWS: So Chuck says fight your strong suit, stick to your home run pitch. You`ve got the economy better than anybody else... MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.    MATTHEWS: ... (INAUDIBLE) you say talk against the establishment guys. What do you say, Michael? STEELE: I think he actually has to do probably more of what Chuck is talking about because he`s so branded himself as the guy who can fix this problem. MATTHEWS: He`s the fixer, yes.. STEELE: He`s the fixer. You know, I negotiate deals. I do it bigger, better than anyone else. MATTHEWS: Yes. STEELE: And if he gets on the stage tonight -- and to Steve`s point, if he gets in the weeds in a battle with somebody else, whether it`s an establishment candidate or one of his fellow outsiders, he`s losing points on the one thing that he has come into this race talking about. MATTHEWS: Personally, I liked it when he explained how he would build the wall, what materials he would use. I know it`s a stupid idea, but at least in terms of meeting the specs, he knew what he was talking. STEELE: (INAUDIBLE) to the economy and jobs again. MATTHEWS: OK. Ahead of the debate, Trump was tweeting in concern, personal concern. He wrote, "After a great evening and packed auditorium in Iowa, I`m now in Colorado, looking forward to what I am sure will be a very unfair debate." That`s him. Well, last night in Iowa, Trump`s slippage in the polls seemed to be all in his mind. He told the crowd in Iowa again and again to "Get the numbers up." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Iowa, will you get your numbers up, please? (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: First of all, I am a great Christian, and I am. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: I am. Remember that. And I do well with the evangelicals. But the evangelicals let me down a little bit this last month. I don`t know what I did! Will you get the numbers up, Iowa, please? This is ridiculous! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: I mean, what is my competition? Now, until Iowa came along, I said every poll, and then Iowa -- what the hell are you people doing to me? Please do me a favor. Let me win Iowa. When I heard the poll today, they said, What are you going to do? I said, I`m going to work hard in Iowa. I`m not the leaving Iowa. I`m not leaving Iowa. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: Now, if I lose Iowa, I will never speak to you people again, that I can tell you. (LAUGHTER)    (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You know, what`s with the Rodney Dangerfield? (LAUGHTER) TODD: I`ve been trying to picture... MATTHEWS: It`s Rodney Dangerfield! TODD: Can you imagine President Trump and his approval rating falls below 50 percent that first time -- you know, it happens to every president -- is he going to do -- barnstorm the country going, Come on, I`m doing a great job! (CROSSTALK) TODD: Look, this has been the one part of this that I`ve wondered about. The guy cares, obviously, about numbers so much, you could make an argument -- I`ll be curious if he does, where he basically says, Hey, I`m having an up-down presidency, you tell me. If I`m doing good, I`ll stay on this policy. If I`m doing bad, I`ll switch. MATTHEWS: Yes. TODD: (INAUDIBLE) oddly be appealing to a small slices of the electorate, but... MATTHEWS: I don`t know...    TODD: ... it seems odd to me to be so... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You know, this, We`re number one, and if we`re not number one, we`re a joke -- that`s not the way the world works. You`re a competitor. You`re a rival. You stay in the fight. It never ends. You keep competing. SCHMIDT: This is -- at the end of the day, this is a character test. We see the mettle of these people through this long, grueling process. Resiliency is the most underappreciated virtue for the person who ultimately goes on to win the nomination. Every nominee, every president, walks many lonely miles through the valley of the shadow of political death. So is Trump able to show resiliency? Is he able to be in the fight, to come back up? What`s fueled this candidacy is Trump`s strength. And when he gets out there and he whines and he complains about... MATTHEWS: Why is showing his weakness? SCHMIDT: ... it, he doesn`t look strong. MATTHEWS: Why is he a weenie, all of a sudden? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me ask you -- Bill Clinton lost the New Hampshire primary in 1992. He lost it by 8 points and declared himself the winner! STEELE: Yes.    MATTHEWS: I mean, that`s the way you win in this... (CROSSTALK) TODD: He declared himself the winner... (CROSSTALK) STEELE: Well, it`s about bringing that kind of attitude to the game. And the one thing Trump has had is attitude. So when the numbers aren`t working for him, the question that a lot of folks have -- I mean, his real -- real hard-core supporters will be with him, but for everyone else, how do you resolve yourself to that? MATTHEWS: OK, tonight, he may get some shots him. Governor John Kasich called out some of the candidates on the far right, including Trump and Carson. Let`s watch -- this a -- is this a last gasp by John Kasich or what? Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you know how crazy this election is? (LAUGHTER) KASICH: Let me tell you something. I`ve about had it with these people. (LAUGHTER)    KASICH: And let me tell you why. We got one candidate that says that we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. You ever heard of anything so crazy as that? We got one person saying we ought to have a 10 percent flat tax that`ll drive up the deficit in this country by trillions of dollars that my daughters will spend the rest of their lives having to pay off. You know what I say to them is, why don`t we have no taxes, just get rid of them all, and then a chicken in every pot on top of it. What has happened to our party? What has happened to the conservative movement? I`m fed up! I am sick and tired of listening to this nonsense, and I`m going to have to call it like it is. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, you know, he extended Medicaid in his state as part of "Obama care," and then along comes a candidate who says, Not only am I getting rid of Medicaid altogether for poor people, I`m getting rid of Medicare, which every middle class person of (ph) any money in the country depends on when they`re 65. SCHMIDT: You go back to the `90s, where the Democrats were so effective running the "Mediscare" campaigns, talking about we wanted to cut it, now we got candidates talking about abolishing it.! (LAUGHTER) SCHMIDT: It`s not a good issue for us. MATTHEWS: Is there a constituency in your party for getting rid of Medicare? STEELE: Oh, yes. Of course there is.    MATTHEWS: Get rid of it? STEELE: Yes, there are. I mean, that`s why you have some candidates out there saying that. But what I like about what Kasich did was he pushed back. And he`s going to make the case that I think will resonate for a lot of seniors and a lot more Republicans. I mean, this -- he`s governed through this. He`s had to make the hard choices, and I think he`s going to come out tonight and show that. TODD: By the way, something bigger is happening here in the Republican Party. Let me put together four different items that have happened in the last week. John Boehner, deciding to quit instead of face the fire, cut a deal with the president, deal with the debt limit. Import- Export Bank -- I don`t want to get into the weeds of this, but half of the Republican Party, the business wing, wanted it. They worked with Democrats and forced the issue out. It`s going to be reauthorized. Then you have the Kasich rant. Then you have the Bush rant. I think we`re seeing the establishment say, You know what? The base has driven us to support things that have hurt the party as a whole. We`re not going to let the base drive us anymore. Now, that said, the base has never been more emboldened, and I think they see this -- I think we`re starting -- it may end up blowing up into a civil war in the party, but the establishment clearly is trying to fight back. MATTHEWS: Could this be like 1964, when the people like Rockefeller and those guys dropped out and they didn`t back the nominee? TODD: There`s an argument -- there`s an argument... (CROSSTALK) TODD: I think worse. `64, in the long run, was a great thing for the Republican Party. In the right context, `16 can be a great thing for the - - the Republican Party has to have this fight. So the Democrats had it in 1990 between Bill Clinton and Ron Brown (sic). The Republicans need to have the Ted Cruz versus John Kasich... STEELE: They want to have it -- the base wants to have it on their terms for the first time because up until now, they feel they`ve been lied to and cheated on a lot of these points that Chuck raised. TODD: The fight needs to happen...    (CROSSTALK) STEELE: I`m just saying that the fight needs to happen. And I tried to engage a little bit of it when I was chairman, to a lot of resistance from establishment types. But the fight is coming to them, and they better be prepared for it because the base wants it on their terms. SCHMIDT: What the base of the Republican Party believes is that Barack Obama has won, he`s succeeded, he`s changed the country and he`s wrecked it. And he did it with a complicit, feckless, compromising Republican establishment in Washington, D.C. And now you have candidates out there in this race who are running against that establishment, running hard against it, and they have captured the imagination of these Republican voters across the country. MATTHEWS: OK, let`s take a look at this earlier. Chuck, earlier today on your show, the head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, tried to downplay the fighting in his own party by offering an example in history. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I think this is no different than a lot of other years, where we always have an insurgency in the party, which is true. Look, even Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary in 1992 against a sitting president. TODD: OK... PRIEBUS: It`s not unusual. (END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: (INAUDIBLE)    MATTHEWS: Well, the only problem, Mr. Priebus, is? TODD: Well, Buchanan did win New Hampshire in `96 and... MATTHEWS: He said `92! TODD: No, no, no. And to his defense, it`s very possible he was conflating `96 and `92. But it is important in `92... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... everything they`ve talked about for 20 year, conflating 9/11 with Iraq! TODD: No, but I`m -- but the point... MATTHEWS: Conflating... TODD: No, there`s a larger point here. MATTHEWS: ... chemical weapons with nuclear weapons! TODD: There is a larger point here, is Pat Buchanan, OK, he didn`t win in `92, but he won. He did win. He drove Bush`s numbers down with conservatives. He became the face of the conservative movement, and Bush Republicans will say he cost -- he started the conversation that cost him the presidency.    SCHMIDT: Well, he started the conversation and he finished that conversation at the national convention in Houston... TODD: The cultural... SCHMIDT: ... in an incendiary primetime speech. The country reacted very negatively to it. It did a tremendous amount of damage in the general election electorate. MATTHEWS: OK... STEELE: But those both seeds are still there and that`s still a part of the fight, and it`s been a fight that`s been ongoing for over 20 years now. And it`s time -- it`s coming to a head in this election. MATTHEWS: You`re a wise man, Mr. Steele. STEELE: Oh, you know... MATTHEWS: A former chairman, as well. STEELE: Been in the trenches. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Steve, and thank you for serving as the United Nations interpreter... (LAUGHTER)    MATTHEWS: ... for Reince Priebus because he was wrong and you made him right! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He owes you big-time! And anyway -- I would have just stomped him like a bug. Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd, Steve Schmidt and Michael Steele. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You will all be with us throughout the night. Anyway, we`ll be right back. You don`t want to miss, by the way, our late night edition tonight of HARDBALL at 10:00 Eastern time for two hours of post- debate coverage. I`ll be joined by Senator Rand Paul and Governor John Kasich all coming to sit in these chairs. Coming up, grudge match. What will we see tonight between Trump and Carson, Trump and Jeb? We will preview tonight`s hottest matchups with the ``Game Change" authors. They`re both coming here next. This is Halperin and Heilemann. And this is HARDBALL -- all H`s -- live from Boulder, the CNBC Republican presidential debate. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, live from the "spin room" -- that`s what it is -- on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder, the site of tonight`s Republican presidential debate. Well, the sharks are circling Jeb Bush. His campaign is in serious trouble tonight. Donors are threatening to walk away from him. And meanwhile, Jeb Bush himself is whining that he`s got better things to do with his life. While Jeb struggles, the Republican base is going gaga, of course, for the wild rhetoric of Ben Carson. He`s swapped places with Trump atop these polls right now. Donald Trump hardly a shrinking violet, duels with both of these fellows tonight, and if the past two debates are any guide at all, get ready for fireworks. NBC`s Katy Tur covers the Trump campaign, and John Heilemann and Mark Halperin are long-missed guests of this program. They`re also hosts of a very successful (INAUDIBLE) "All Due Respect" on Bloomberg.    Let me start with Katy, with the live action from what comes up to -- what (INAUDIBLE) expect based on projection (ph), and you two guys, what you think are going to be the best fights tonight. KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: I think Donald Trump is... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... Herb Sugar (ph), or one of those guys in the boxing game. Go ahead. TUR: I think Donald Trump is -- has been really focused on his polls today. For the first half of the day, we saw him tweeting about his polls. I think his campaign really wants him to focus on the debate tonight because that`s really important. I think he needs to come out there and show that... MATTHEWS: Is this like "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who`s the fairest of them all?" Is he like the old queen who`s, like, dying because they don`t... TUR: I think he`s highly focused... MATTHEWS: ... he`s not the fairest anymore? TUR: I think he was highly focused on the coverage he was getting today. He was tweeting about some of our reporters, about reports... MATTHEWS: I don`t mean it that way, Heilemann! I mean, what is -- I feel like I`m in high school here! Go ahead. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it`s your word!    MATTHEWS: I know. It still means something in history. Yes? TUR: No, I think that -- I think that we`ve seen a quieter Trump in the last few hours, and I think what they`re trying to get him to do is focus on his message, how he can differentiate himself from the other candidates, especially Ben Carson, how he`s going to be a good president because he`s going to be good at creating jobs and negotiating, and how Ben Carson and the others won`t be as good as him. MATTHEWS: Why is -- why is Trump the outside figure, the vaudevillian character, not as serious as the guy who made, reportedly, $11 billion? Why isn`t he serious about beating his opponents with his strengths, which is the knowledge of the business world, rather than worrying about who`s up in the polls this day? HEILEMANN: Well, look, he is a deal-maker, right? And this is one of the things that we talked about four years ago with Mitt Romney, that Romney wasn`t really a business guy. He was a private equity guy. He was a finance guy. Trump is not a guy who is connected to world -- the global economy. He is not connected to economic policy. He is connected to local -- how do you make the deal? How do you get the development thing? Whose back do you have to scratch? He understands how to get a lot of stuff done, but it`s not on the macro scale. I don`t think he is that savvy. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But people think he might be. HEILEMANN: Well, everybody hears business credential, right, and they think, well, he is a billionaire, so he must know a lot about this stuff, but he is not. He`s just -- there`s a lot of stuff Donald Trump knows how to do and a lot of stuff he knows, but I think it`s a lot -- he understands the local economy more than the national...    (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me go to your partner, Mark. Who knows more about the economy, just reading "The Wall Street Journal" every day, than this guy? Of all the Republicans out there, who knows more about the macroeconomy, the big picture? MARK HALPERIN, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: Than Trump? MATTHEWS: Yes. HALPERIN: Well, look, in terms of like who could be in business and do different jobs? I think the question is who do voters... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: No, what are you going to do we have another economic recession and you don`t have the usual leverage of monetary and fiscal policy? What are you going to do without them? That is the question I would ask. HALPERIN: Trump is one -- a lot of measures, not just on the economy. Voters think he is the best at it, Republican voters. MATTHEWS: Right. HALPERIN: Undergirding his rise in the polls in the horse race has voters saying best on the economy, best on foreign policy, best in dealing with Putin.    I think tonight, for these guys who want to overtake Trump and Carson, it is about traits. Can Jeb Bush convince Republicans he cares about people like them? Can Jeb Bush convince Republicans he has ideas on the economy? I think Jeb Bush tonight -- you asked about matchups. Jeb Bush vs. Jeb Bush is I think amongst the biggest matchups. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: So, who is going to go at anybody else? Anybody go at anybody else? TUR: I think Donald Trump is going to try to take on Jeb Bush, because Jeb Bush, despite what Carson is doing, is his favorite punching bag. And I think what Mark -- I`m interested in what Mark is saying. Jeb Bush needs to come out and not only have the detail to back himself up, but sound strong, not stumble on his words and sound like a leader. It`s as much of a performance... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Could this be a snuff movie tonight? Could he snuff him? TUR: He could, potentially. HEILEMANN: You saw Trump on that NBC town hall on Monday. That is the day it was, a couple days ago? TUR: Yes, it was my birthday. HEILEMANN: Yes, when Trump -- just -- he was like a shark smelling blood in the water, when Bush was back in Houston. And he was going right for all the things that make Bush crazy, talking about -- he was going back to mommy and daddy, he needs counsel.    Trump was going for the kill, like I said, a shark who sensed that blood in the water. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: It`s so high school, the lingo. Mommy and daddy? HEILEMANN: But it gets under Bush`s skin. TUR: He knows how to rile him up. HEILEMANN: He`s proven over and over again that Bush rises to that bait. It has worked for Trump. It might be juvenile, but it`s totally worked at the tactical level. MATTHEWS: Well, can he push him out of the race with big noise like that, by bullying out -- just making fun of the kid so he doesn`t show up at the schoolyard anymore? HALPERIN: My fantasy in terms of just good theater is Trump says tonight, Jeb, I`m really proud of you for showing up tonight, even though your mommy and daddy aren`t here in the audience. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Oh, God. That is high school. But, anyway, here, let`s just watch this. I have got this job here. After Jeb Bush`s recent whining on the campaign trail, his donors are losing patience. "The Washington Post" reports today that part of Jeb`s donor base could walk away after tonight -- quote -- "Some already-nervous Bush donors will close their checkbooks if the ex- Florida governor doesn`t have a breakout moment."    Bush isn`t exactly inspiring confidence, by the way, out there on the campaign trail. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: The whisper campaign`s already started that Bush is falling apart. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Blah, blah, blah. QUESTION: Well, sir, you know what they`re saying out there. BUSH: That`s my answer, blah, blah, blah. I got lot of really cool things that I could do other than sit around being miserable listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Is he riding a horse in that picture? What`s with that stance? That`s call a man stance or something? HALPERIN: But donors want to see good performance and rising poll numbers and signs of strength. He can`t raise his poll numbers tonight on the stage, but he better have a consistent performance. Every time he talks, he needs to be good. MATTHEWS: If you were the blah candidate, would you say blah, blah, blah? I wouldn`t bring up that word.    (CROSSTALK) TUR: "I have cooler things to do," which I think it`s striking. HEILEMANN: But you just made the point that he is not having fun. He said when he got into this race that he wanted to run only if he could run in a joyful way. He has looked miserable throughout almost the entire campaign. He has never looked more miserable than now. If Jeb Bush doesn`t have money anymore, what does Jeb Bush have? MATTHEWS: The name. HEILEMANN: Because we have spent the year -- we have spent the year in Iowa, New Hampshire, other places, and we have struggled to find a Republican voter who is enthused about Jeb Bush. I will tell you who I think -- you want to go back to fights, another fight I think you are going to see tonight -- and they telegraphed the punch while Bush was down in Houston -- I think Jeb Bush goes after Marco Rubio tonight (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Why? Explain the fight. HEILEMANN: Well, because they see Rubio as rising and taking up the space that Bush hoped to occupy before. They have got a -- they think of Rubio as a punk and that Jeb Bush is the senior guy and Rubio used to carry his coattails. Now, that`s a guy. Jeb might not be able to take Trump out, but he thinks he could probably take Rubio out on stage.    MATTHEWS: Could he say something like, at least when I had a job, Jeb -- what`s his name, Marco, I showed up for work? HEILEMANN: Well, he could say that. MATTHEWS: Because I think the voters don`t like a guy pulling a paycheck from the federal government for $180,000 a year and not showing up. TUR: I think comparing him to Obama is going to be something we`re going to hear from many of the candidates. HALPERIN: The other thing is, watch John Kasich. He is going to go, I think, really hard at both Trump and Carson, and try to keep it on policy, but he is angry. HEILEMANN: Kasich... HALPERIN: It`s not just tactical. Kasich is legitimately angry. And I think he realizes, if he doesn`t make a move soon on the national stage, he may not have a chance. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Bringing their... (CROSSTALK)    MATTHEWS: ... pistols tonight. HEILEMANN: Howard Beale moments from John Kasich tonight on stage, Howard Beale and Bulworth put together. (CROSSTALK) TUR: Mad as hell. MATTHEWS: I prefer Beale. But, anyway, thank you very much. Howard Beale was that good and righteous man. Anyway, thank you, Katy Tur and John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. It was good to have you guys back. Up next, much more from Boulder. We are on site for the CNBC presidential campaign debate for the Republicans. We will be joined by one of the candidates who took part in the earlier debate. Senator Lindsey Graham is coming here. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT") STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": What do you binge-watch? Do you have a show you really like? HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a lot of them, and we finally finished "House of Cards." It took a while, because we were... (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) CLINTON: We were slow-going. COLBERT: Do you watch that show and ever yawn and go, ugh? CLINTON: Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes. COLBERT: So old hat. CLINTON: Another murder. I mean, really. And we do -- I do like "Madam Secretary." COLBERT: Oh, you do, really? CLINTON: Yes, I do, actually. I do.    COLBERT: Don`t just say that because it is a CBS show. Don`t just say that. CLINTON: Well, no, because I watch "Madam Secretary," and I watch "Good Wife." COLBERT: Do you ever call them up and say, where is my residual check, where is my royalty... (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Hillary Clinton last night on "The Late show With Stephen Colbert." I think he was fabulous last night. And do you want to know what Hillary Clinton is like in person? From my experience, watch that show. That was the closest to the real-life Hillary I have ever seen, wonderful person coming across there. Anyway, the former secretary of state is surging now in two new polls out of Iowa, the all-important first caucus state, Hillary Clinton beats her nearest rival, Bernie Sanders, by -- it`s hard to believe these numbers sometimes -- 41 points, according to Monmouth University`s poll of likely Democratic Iowa caucus-goers. And that just came out yesterday, 41-point lead for her. And Clinton leads Sanders by 38 points in the Loras College poll of Iowa. So, they`re pretty consistent, also out yesterday. I`m here right now in the crucial general election swing state of Colorado, a purple state, where Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012 by just five points. It`s always close in Colorado and unpredictable.    And if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, her path to the White House will run right through this purple state. OK, joining me right now to talk about it is Colorado`s governor, the great John Hickenlooper, who won two statewide elections in tough years for Democrats nationwide. Also joining me is NBC News` Andrea Mitchell, my pal, who knows a lot of things, and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who supports Hillary Clinton. So, let`s start with the Howard Dean, supporter, our friend Howard Dean. What do you think? Everybody is getting on the bandwagon. Are you early birds going to get a little angry now, with all these people joining up like Tom Carper, all these other people joining the Hillary bandwagon? you`re going to lose some lose some clout, won`t you? HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Listen, the best clout is having your candidate win. And so I`m delighted to have everybody come on who sees the light, though I have to say, until you run those polls through the averages, somebody like Nate Silver or 538 runs them through, I am a little hesitant to believe there is a 40-point lead. But you just got to keep your nose to the grindstone. When you`re down, you got to keep working. And when you`re up, you got to keep working. So, we will see what happens. MATTHEWS: What does it look like out here, Governor? Hillary Clinton looks like she has found her sea legs, I would say, after the last debate, this most recent debate. GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: I think she has come across as the person she is. And I think people are seeing that and seeing that she is not, you know, restrained. She is a natural person. People have always -- you know, if you talk to people that knew them, both President Clinton and Secretary Clinton, back in the late `90s, more people gravitated to Secretary Clinton to just hang out. You hear that again and again. MATTHEWS: Yes.    Well, you know, I do think Hillary has been constrained, as the governor said? I like what he said, constrained. Do you think she has been like that? I think she has until last week or so. ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think the campaign is trying to reinforce this accessibility and her favorability among women, because they are putting new ads up tonight during the debate. They`re going to be running in Iowa and New Hampshire, a whole group of new ads talking about what she has done for women, equal pay, women -- but I think the best thing that has happened to Hillary Clinton is the Benghazi Committee. This is the first poll -- and I am, as Governor Dean, a little bit suspicious of that number, 41 points. That`s a pretty big... MATTHEWS: But wasn`t that like a given, a perfect platform for her to prove over 11 hours they don`t have anything? MITCHELL: rMD-BO_ But she was blessed by her adversaries, because there were plenty of arguments that could be made against the Libya policy, against the way they toppled Gadhafi without thinking about the vacuum that would ensue. I mean, you could go after the policy questions. Nobody really did in a sustained way. And so they had all of their own separate conspiracy theories, but nobody followed up, all these former prosecutors not prosecuting a case. MATTHEWS: Well, I thought that -- what I thought was interesting, Howard Dean, Governor Dean, was, if you watched that for 11 hours -- and I think that`s why Hillary is on top right now -- she never looked angry. She never looked upset. And all the guys looked like silent movie bad guys, you know? Their faces, you could turn off the sound and their looks were like canine against her. It was frightening. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I would love to show -- that would be a great ad for the party, by the way. Show those faces of Pompeo and Jordan, these guys, like wolverine looks. Like, we`re going to get this person. You know, it was so frightening. And she is just looking back at them like a pro.    HICKENLOOPER: Well, but she is also -- she is looking -- she is looking like the natural person she is. She is coming across the way people that have known her for years say... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But there are charges they could have -- go back to Governor Dean. Your thoughts about why they were so stupid as to give her 11 hours of television time free. DEAN: Well, here is the interesting thing. Andrea Mitchell was actually the person that started off, started this trend of actually looking at her as a human being. I think she did her very first cable interview with Andrea about foreign policy and other things that she knows a lot about it. And it was refreshing to stop the pack journalism of all this e-mail stuff and actually look at who she is. And when you look at who she is, she is a pretty compelling person to be president of the United States. I have known her for 25 years. The reason I endorsed her early is not because I don`t like Bernie Sanders. I do. It`s because I think she`s best suited to be president of the United States of all people on both sides. And in the last -- ever since Andrea`s interview, she`s had a series of interviews where people have looked at her as a human being. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK, Governor, this isn`t "RELIABLE SOURCE," OK, with Howie what`s his name. Let me just tell you, are you blaming Hillary`s bad rollout for her book, "Hard Choices," are you blaming that on Diane Sawyer and Terry Gross and the other woman who interviewed her up front, or on Hillary?    DEAN: No, but when she rolled her book out, that didn`t happen... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You say pack journalism. Well, what is this pack journalism shot of yours? DEAN: The pack journalism has to do with the e-mail fascination. There`s nothing to it. There never has been. It was a story that was covered for four straight months mindlessly, based on a whole bunch of stuff that was printed that was not true in some of the most reputable papers in the United States. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But the FBI isn`t a part of the pack. DEAN: The FBI is not investigating Hillary Clinton. (CROSSTALK) MITCHELL: rMD-BO_ ... continues. And it`s not investigating Hillary Clinton. It`s investigating the security of the server. DEAN: That`s right. MITCHELL: rMD-BO_ But we should point out that the State Department is going to be releasing thousands of more pages this Friday, before the end of the month.    And again, every month, they are going to be people poring over these e-mails. MATTHEWS: Yes. MITCHELL: rMD-BO_ So, she`s not out of the woods yet on this. There still is a lot that we don`t know about it. And she would have done herself a huge favor last March if she had just come out that day at the Security Council, when she was out at the U.N., and said, you know, I really screwed up. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... like Correct the Record and Media Matters working for Hillary. This idea there`s some evil forces against her, there`s a lot of countervailing forces out there as well, right? DEAN: I don`t think they`re evil forces. I think they`re lazy forces. MATTHEWS: They have allies. She has got allies in the media. DEAN: That`s true. MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, Governor John Hickenlooper.    This pack journalism -- Andrea Mitchell and Howard Dean. We will be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, live from the spin room, that`s what it`s called here, at the University of Colorado, for the third Republican presidential debate, which is coming up, by the way, at the top of this hour. Well, the candidates who didn`t qualify for the main event tonight faced off in the undercard or happy hour debate, it`s been called, they included Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Senator Rick Santorum, Governor George Pataki and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, none of whom meet the required 3 percent polling threshold. Well, during that debate, Senator Graham slammed the Democratic candidates and said the Republicans need to nominate someone electable. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At the end of the day, folks, I am trying to solve a problem and win an election. I`m tired of losing. Good God, look who we are running against, the number one candidate on the other side thought she was flat broke after her and her husband were in the White House for eight years. The number two guy went to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon and I don`t think he ever came back. If we don`t beat these people, who the hell are we going to beat? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, it got tougher. Governor Pataki, formerly of New York, former three-term governor of New York, said Clinton allowed state secrets to be obtained by foreign governments. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton put a server, an unsecure server in her home as secretary of state. We have no doubt that that was hacked and that state secrets are out there to the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese and others. That alone should disqualify her from being president of the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, former New York Governor George Pataki joins us now. Do you know if the bad guys -- the Russians or the Chinese got ahold of what Hillary Clinton had in her e-mail? PATAKI: Chris, I tell you I believe in one thing and that`s common sense and when you look at all the secure government sites that have been hacked, there`s no question in my mind, zero doubt, that her e-mail was hacked. MATTHEWS: How would they know how to get into it? PATAKI: The same way they got into everything else. MATTHEWS: How would they know she had a private server? PATAKI: By tracing what everyone else was doing, all her communications, government, came through that server and they were hacking and looking at the those government e-mails as well. We know that. MATTHEWS: With what degree of certitude do you make that claim? PATAKI: A make that 100 percent degree of certitude. MATTHEWS: A hundred percent certitude?    PATAKI: I have no doubt that whether it`s the Russians, the Iranians, the Chinese, some people who are not friendly to our interests have access to that data. MATTHEWS: How do you carry on at zero percent in your candidacy? PATAKI: Just continue to make the case that you got to win this race. You know, the two leading Republican candidates, we have one guy who says he is going to deport 11 million people. We have another a week ago saying he is going to get rid of Medicaid and Medicare. They can`t be the nominee. When people get serious about this, I hope they will look -- MATTHEWS: When will that happen? Because I`m waiting for the November to come into your party`s head, it`s beginning to come in -- PATAKI: I think so MATTHEWS: Are people going to say, wait a minute, this is a clown show, this is just fun, isn`t how much you can beat inside, the establishment, it`s got we got to beat Hillary. PATAKI: Yes, I think that`s exactly right, Chris, it hasn`t happened yet, but I think it`s beginning to happen. There`s still not -- MATTHEWS: Halloween`s coming, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, which are you betting on? When it`s getting serious? PATAKI: I`m betting on Thanksgiving, things completely different. MATTHEWS: Turkey Day for the crazies.    Anyway, thank you, Governor George Pataki for coming on HARDBALL. PATAKI: Thank you. MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by two surrogates for candidates taking part in the main event. Dean Parker is here. He`s national finance chairman of the Carson campaign. And also, former Republican renowned U.S. congressman from Pennsylvania. He supports John Kasich. Thank you. Let me get into this. You`re part of the current leadership. Your guy`s leading, right? DEAN PARKER, CARSON CAMPAIGN NATL. FINANCE CHAIR: We are. The first place. MATTHEWS: Why what is it about Dr. Carson, a brain surgeon, smart as they come, that somehow makes him a leading figure in the race for chief executive of the United States? PARKER: Well, I think you have to remember he is not only a brain surgeon, Chris. He also served on the board of Kellogg`s for 18 years, Costco for 16 years, chairman of the board of Vaccinogen. He also founded a non-profit, one of the leading non-profits in the country, on top of 15,000 surgeries, taking a department from the bottom, it was the bottom of "U.S. News & World Report" when he took it over, to the top in 2009. MATTHEWS: So, he is a man of business.    PARKER: He has done business his whole life. Medical, touching children`s lives, just a part of his story. MATTHEWS: OK, great. Well, thank you. Let me go to Bob Walker for a second. You are here for Kasich. When does Kasich think this is going to get serious? BOB WALKER (R-PA), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, I think he thinks it is becoming serious now, that things are beginning to shake out in a way differently than they were even a couple of weeks ago. And we will see a lot of that happen now through December. MATTHEWS: We`ve got Senator Lindsey Graham joining right now, fresh from the fight. Senator Graham, have a seat. You know, you just gave a speech, we just watched it, so we can`t resist it. GRAHAM: Bob, how are you doing? MATTHEWS: This fella here is backing a guy in the front right now, he likes the way things are going, right? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Fifty percent, 50 percent of the Republican voters are saying they like these two outsiders, mavericks, who never held office, that`s Carson and, of course, Trump. When is the other 50 percent going to be heard from, Senator?    GRAHAM: Well, I think, here`s what I hope will happen -- that we will nominate somebody who can win, because winning matters. MATTHEWS: Does that matter to the people out there voting yet? GRAHAM: It matters to me, because I don`t want Hillary Clinton to be the next commander in chief. I think our foreign policy is in free fall. I think our economy is stagnant. If you are looking for change, she is not it. I think I`ve got the best resume to be commander in chief. MATTHEWS: She basically is going to come out, Bob Walker, and say I want to continue what we have been doing the last eight years. She is not running away from Obama, maybe because Joe Biden said, he is the Irish cop on the beat. She`s not get away from that continue and do better but not throw it away. How does she -- well, that makes her a target for you guys, right? WALKER: Sure, because the country is not experiencing the kind of economic growth we need. The foreign policy, I agree with Lindsey, is in a disastrous posture at the present time. I don`t think you can continue down that road much longer. MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about something very practical, Medicare. Now, a lot of conservative Republicans, like my dad, who is a moderate conservative, never liked the idea of socialism, all that. But once he turned 65, he really liked Medicare, after working his butt off for 50 year, he finally got something for nothing, at least the way he looked at, coming to him. He used to make doctor appointment as part of his social life. He had a list of doctors to go see. You tell those people now, Dr. Carson is telling them -- here is your prescription. We are getting rid of Medicare after having paid for it your whole life. They`re going to kill him. PARKER: He never said he is getting rid of Medicare. MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. Help me then. What does he say about Medicare? PARKER: He says he believes a health savings account is an option given for people to use.    MATTHEWS: To get rid of Medicare. PARKER: He did not say get rid of it, he said provide alternatives, provide a choice. Providing a choice is -- MATTHEWS: So, we would keep Medicare for those who want it? PARKER: He`s going to look at all options at the table. MATTHEWS: No, he would keep Medicare for those who want it? PARKER: He`s going to look at all options at the table. MATTHEWS: No, this is dodge ball. Would he keep it for those who want it? PARKER: He`s going to look at options. MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you. Bob Walker, I think that`s dangerous territory. WALKER: Clearly, Governor Kasich believes that Medicare is a strong underpinning for our country, as is Medicaid. And that there are reforms that need to be done in order to bring down the cost, but it is not something that we ought to be getting rid of.    MATTHEWS: You know what, Ronald Reagan -- George Will once said that Americans are conservatives, they want to conserve the New Deal. I`m not so sure they are ready to throw it out. Your thoughts? GRAHAM: Well, here is the problem with Medicare -- the average person puts $1 in and takes $3 out. MATTHEWS: Yes. GRAHAM: How do you fix that? All of us -- MATTHEWS: They all should vote. GRAHAM: Yes. All of us have done well. The most you pay in premiums for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D is like 108 bucks. I would ask Americans in my income level to pay more into Medicare, I would have Medicare Advantage, allow you to buy products no the traditionally sold by Medicare, but the money goes in the system. I wouldn`t create an outside system. I would reform the system inside. And younger people going to have to work a little bit longer and, Chris, me and you are going to have to take a little bit less and pay a little more in or it goes broke. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I share with you. Thank you, I will be fine. Thank you, guys. Thank you for coming on. United States Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dean Parker here for Dr. Ben Carson, and Bob Walker, one of the great statesmen of Pennsylvania history.    Much more from boulder in our preview of tonight`s --Thaddeus Stevens in here with the two greatest congressmen in history, when HARDBALL returns after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back in the spin room at the University of Colorado for the Republican presidential debate tonight. It`s coming very quick now. We`re seeing an unprecedented gathering of dozens of conservatives and Hispanic groups here in Colorado, ahead of tonight`s debate. That`s, of course, good for everybody. They came to deliver a warning, however, to Republicans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROSARIO MARIN, FORMER U.S. TREASURER: Heed our warning. Don`t expect us to come to your side during the general election. You are not with us now, we will not be with you then. You don`t need our vote now, you won`t have it then. You insult us now, we will be deaf to you then. You take us for granted now, we will not recognize you then. Maybe some candidates will leave that we will forget. Let me be crystal clear, we won`t. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Republicans needs those votes if they want to win the general election. As Dan Balz wrote in "The Washington Post", based on estimates of the composition of the 2016 electorate, the next GOP wins the same share of the white vote, as Mitt Romney won in 2012, 59 percent, he or she would need to win 30 percent of the nonwhite vote. And that`s a tall order right now. Romney only got 17 percent of the minority vote in to 12. McCain won 19 in 2008. George W. Bush won 26 percent in 2004. Well, Steve Schmidt was the senior strategist for John McCain`s campaign, and Mario Lopez is the president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund.    Mario, thank you for coming on. Talk directly now -- there`s a lot of Republicans watching tonight. What do they have to do specifically to get back in the game? MARIO LOPEZ, HISPANIC LEADERSHIP FUND PRESIDENT: Well, I think, you know, they have half of it right. They have the border security part of it right. And that`s, of course, very important for national security reasons at a minimum. OK? Now, the second part they need is to get behind reforming the legal immigration system, because the truth is, the legal immigration system is a big government bureaucratic nightmare that should offend any conservative who consistently talks about small government. And so, that`s what we want to see. The current system is a mess and it incentivizes the fact that we have illegal immigration. That`s what no one wants. MATTHEWS: Do the -- well, let me ask about the Republican Party. Do they see this as a problem -- just talk politics, when they see they have to get, just like in Philadelphia, the old Frank Rizzo days, the more conservative candidate had to get a higher and higher percentage of the white vote until he got to the point, he -- in Frank Rizzo`s case back in the `80s, had to get 87 percent to stand a chance against a minority candidate, which is way too high, and these numbers are getting out of hand for the Republicans. STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The only last time the has lost is the popular vote, the outlier to that is the `04 Bush election, President Bush gets 43 percent of the Hispanic vote. It is not mathematically possible for a Republican to be elected to the presidency without getting 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. And one of the interesting aspects of the 2012 election was the collapse of the Asian vote in addition to the collapse of the Hispanic vote. MATTHEWS: Yes. SCHMIDT: You look at a state like California, a state that produced Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, that performed reliably for Republicans through the `88 election, Proposition 187. MATTHEWS: I remember that. SCHMIDT: Notoriously anti-immigrant legislation, 1994 --    MATTHEWS: John McCain told me that. SCHMIDT: Next year, the Republican Party will become smaller in the state of California than declined state registrations. For the first time since 1854, its founding, the Republican Party in one of the states of the Union will slip into a third-party status. That is because the degree to which it alienated Latinos in the state of California. This party needs Rosario Marin in the party, former treasurer of the United States, incredible life story. We want to be a big tent that welcomes people in. That`s what Ronald Reagan is about. MATTHEWS: OK. Well, let`s come back to the reality. The House leadership now, Paul Ryan, just said the immigration bill won`t be on the floor until half Republicans support, now, maybe that doesn`t mean full support. What did you think of that? LOPEZ: Well, I think it`s interesting, but the fact is really Barack Obama has to shoulder a lot of the blame for that, because he knew, rewind to about a year ago, right after the elections, Republicans had control of the House, increase their representation in the Senate, and what did he do? He threw a grenade into that mix on purpose with this whole executive order, which clearly violated the law. MATTHEWS: I know, that`s an argument. LOPEZ: And poisoned the well for any type of reform. MATTHEWS: Is there a deal with the two parties to make sure the Democrats is going to keep the Hispanic vote and the Republicans will keep blowing it? SCHMIDT: There is a deal. Ultimately, there has to be a deal on this, but there`s not going to be a deal before this election. You`re taking new president, you got a newly reconstituted Congress to solve this, to solve this issue. MATTHEWS: Back in the Reagan, we had the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. It was never enforced, but it was a good idea. It was very good on letting people become Americans, become full citizens who have lived here a while, but it also said no more illegal hiring, and then they never enforced it. Could we have a bill like that through, you think? Something like the Reagan bill? LOPEZ: I think you do need a real enforcement measures, I mean, that has to be part of the equation. But it`s not the only part of the equation, if your goal is to actually fix this problem.    MATTHEWS: I understand, but the Republicans know that? LOPEZ: Not enough of them do. MATTHEWS: They can`t say we`re being really tough without giving hope to the people living here. Democrats will never go along with that. The Hispanic groups won`t. LOPEZ: Well, but some Hispanic groups will, like the one I run. We`re coming at this from a conservative perspective and we`re coming at this from trying to help -- MATTHEWS: This is one area where I think the country could fix the problem, you know, and they could say we`ll have a liberal immigration policy, it`s going to be regulated, it`s going to be a work permit of some kind, the E-verify system and we`ll let the people live here. We`re not going to chuck them out. But at the same time like every country in the world, we`re going to have a regular system of letting people in the country. LOPEZ: But, Chris, too many Democrats would rather have this as a campaign issue than actually solving the problem. MATTHEWS: Thank you. Guess what? You`re right. Thank you, because you are right. Thank you, Steve Schmidt. I want to shake your hand and say good-bye. We`ll be back later tonight. Thank you, you`re a great guest. Thank you, Mario Lopez and Steve Schmidt as always. The Republican presidential debate is moments ago now. It`s actually getting into the seconds. Tune in tonight, by the way -- not just by the way, please, as Donald Trump would say please watch it. Ten p.m. Eastern for a special two-hour edition of HARDBALL tonight. That`s right after the debate. We`re going to have a lot of the candidates, including Kasich, Rand Paul, we`re going to try to get them all here for a full analysis, a real autopsy of the best and worst of tonight.    And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" right now. 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. All materials herein are protected by 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.>