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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/28/15, 11PM Show

Guests: Ben Carson, Rosario Marin, Steve House, Ashley Parker, RobertCosta, John Harwood, Sharon Epperson

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: It`s 11:00 p.m. in the East right now, and 9:00 p.m. here in Colorado, where the Republican candidates wrapped up their third debate in the past hour. The focus was the economy, but the biggest target was the media. There were also plenty of fireworks between the candidates. Early on, Jeb Bush went after his fellow Floridian Marco Rubio on his voting record, or his failure to vote in the U.S. Senate. Let`s watch that bit of action. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama missed 60 percent or 70 percent of his votes and the same newspaper endorsed him again. So, this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative media. (APPLAUSE) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m a constituent of the governor and I helped him and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work. He got endorsed by the "Sun Sentinel" because he was the most talented guy in the field. He`s a gifted politician. But, Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term. And you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French work week? You get like three days where you have to show up. You can campaign or just resign and let someone else take the job. RUBIO: I`ve listened to Jeb as you walked around the country and said you`re modeling your campaign after John McCain, that you`re going to launch a furious comeback the way he did, by fighting hard in New Hampshire and places like that, carrying your own bag at the airport. You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying that furious comeback that you`re now modeling under?    (CROSSTALK) RUBIO: Jeb, I don`t remember you ever complaining about John McCain`s vote record. The only reason why you`re doing it now is because we`re running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, the candidate we just heard from, right here, Ohio Governor John Kasich took on Donald Trump and then Trump hit Kasich back hard. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re just going to have a 10 percent tithe and that`s how we`re going to fund the government? And we`re going to just fix everything with waste, fraud and abuse, or we`re just going to be great, or we`re going to ship 10 million Americans or 10 million people out of this country, leaving their children here in this country and dividing families. Folks, we got to wake up. We cannot elect somebody who doesn`t know how to do the job. You`ve got to pick somebody who has experience. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John got lucky with a thing called fracking, OK? He hit oil. He got lucky with fracking. Believe me, that`s why Ohio is doing well. Number -- and that`s important for you to know. Number two, this is the man that was a managing general partner at Lehman Brothers when it went down the tubes and almost took every one of us with it, including Ben and myself, because I was there, and I watched what happened. And Lehman Brothers started it all. He was on the board and he was a managing general partner. OK, just thirdly, he was so nice. He was such a nice guy. And he said, oh, I`m never going to attack. But then his poll numbers tanked. He`s got -- that`s why he`s on the end. And he got nasty. And he got nasty. So, you know what? You can have him.    (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Boy, it was gladiatorial today, like the Roman Coliseum in moments like that. I`m joined once again by Chuck Todd, moderator of "Meet the Press," Michael Steele, the former RNC chair, and, of course, Steve Schmidt, the former senior strategist in John McCain`s campaign. So, let`s go over that interesting fact. First of all, we talked earlier tonight. It seems like the candidates for whatever reason telegraphed their punches. What is the reason to do that? Why do they go in and say I`m going to get Trump tomorrow, I`m going to get Carson tomorrow, I`m going to get Rubio tomorrow? Why do they do that and then go in there and have their punch stop right there? CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: I think if you`re John Kasich, I get it. Everybody is talking it about Trump, Carson, Bush, Rubio. Nobody was talking about John Kasich. So I have to get it in Kasich. I kind of get it with Christie and Paul. Both of them sort of telegraphed hits on each other. Stuff like this. Probably the one that`s the head scratcher is Jeb telegraphing it a little bit because he`s a main guy. He didn`t need to do that. But, look, like I said, I get it for Kasich. He wanted in the conversation. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Michael, I thought -- go ahead. (CROSSTALK) TODD: You`re also working the reps.    MATTHEWS: I think you`re working the reps all the time. MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You`re working the reps all the time, but the other thing is, you get prepped in such a way to do that and to have that line. And you`re always in your head looking for that moment to say it. You know, I just remember whether it was a debate when I was running for the Senate. TODD: You were doing prep, right? STEELE: Yes, oh my God. TODD: You get in your head. STEELE: You get it in your head and you`re waiting for that moment. Just say it, just say it. (CROSSTALK) TODD: Set up Carson. (CROSSTALK) STEELE: You`re still debating.    MATTHEWS: Did Jeb take something off his smack at Rubio when he said the French work week? I think he was trying to put a little too much icing on that. I`m mixing my metaphors. He didn`t need to say French work week. This anti-French nonsense. STEELE: Keep it simple. MATTHEWS: That`s what I thought. STEELE: You know who was good at doing that, Carly Fiorina in the second debate, where she didn`t have to say -- she said, everyone in America knows what you meant by that, Donald Trump. Boom! MATTHEWS: That was a great line. But I also thought tonight, she was talking about I don`t smile enough, so she smiled. Of course, when Becky Quick was going after her, she wasn`t smiling one bit. (LAUGHTER) STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: We have this election right now where we`re seeing the power of authenticity, particularly with these outsider candidates. You look specifically at the Jeb attack on Marco Rubio. It was rehearsed. It was deliberate. It was premeditated. It was almost like a quarterback dropping back in the pocket, scanning for the open receiver. Throw it, throw it, don`t throw it. I have an open man. I`m going to throw the ball. He leaned in there with his chin, and Marco Rubio, real effective counterpunch, knocked him out. TODD: I`m thinking another step, it`s when you try to trick play on the first play of the game. How often do you see those guys try it and it ends up with a ten-yard loss.    MATTHEWS: Let`s take one minute on Jeb Bush. The family had two presidencies. Mixed results in both cases. One had one term, one had two terms. (CROSSTALK) TODD: If you win, you win. If you get in the hall of fame of politics if you win the presidency. MATTHEWS: OK, Mr. Moderator. That may be true. But on HARDBALL, we look at it somewhat differently. I just don`t think he`s got it in him. Is that too strong a statement? He doesn`t look happy. He doesn`t look like a fighter. He doesn`t want to throw a punch? SCHMIDT: We talked about this. We talked about this earlier. Resiliency is the most underappreciated virtue. It`s the quality most necessary to navigate through this process, come out on top as the nominee, to get elected president of the United States. This is just a moment in time in that campaign, a lot of criticism, a lot of doubt. All of the donors chattering now, chattering to the media, chattering to each other, chattering to the campaign, a lot of voices in the ears over there. So, you see now a campaign that is off its footing. That you saw that moment tonight where he goes after Marco Rubio really demonstrates a lack of patience. MATTHEWS: When she even on his footing? When has Jeb looked good this year? SCHMIDT: He`s been off his footing and increasingly so. MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at the media shots. No big deal, take it on the mainstream media, not FOX, not a.m. radio clearly, and not terrestrial radio, which is all right wing now. There`s their favorite target.    Let`s watch a bit of this for sheer masochism. Is that right? Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don`t trust the media. This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions, Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don`t you resign? Jeb Bush, why are your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issue people care about? (APPLAUSE) RUBIO: In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 percent or 70 percent of his votes and the same newspaper endorsed him again. So, this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative media. (APPLAUSE) MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To a lot of people in the media, this is just a great big game and we`re the players. RUBIO: Democrats have the ultimate super PAC, called the mainstream media. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So, it`s interesting, Michael, that in each case, the candidate was smart to do a bicentennial moment. They had the mike, they pulled back, they stretched it out. They didn`t talk about a particular thing. They said the media generally, it was a targeting of the -- they don`t mean FOX, probably. What they see as the liberal media or secular media. It was really dramatic how they all know that audience.    STEELE: And it was effective, and it was set up by how the questions were presented to them right out of the box, where they were personalized, where their character was somewhat under assault. You didn`t have the straight- up policy question about your tax plan does this. How do you justify it? It was, well, you seem a little crazy in the tax plan that you put out there and people sort of resented that right out of the box. It sets the moment, it set the stage for what would come later. For all of them, they had that moment and they took it carefully. They did it smartly. And it was effective. Now, you can do the whole plays to the base, but I would bet you it resonated with a lot more people than just the base. MATTHEWS: Steve? SCHMIDT: We live in a time where trust has collapsed in every institution in the country. Not just the politicians and the political parties and the Washington establishment. It applies to the media as well. You saw that tonight. These candidates going at the media, going at the mainstream media in front of a Republican primary voting audience. And this works. It worked for Newt Gingrich four years ago when he went after the media. It fueled his rise. And it was determinative in helping him win the South Carolina primary. MATTHEWS: And the generalization goes on all the time. You can have an opinion like mine is. You can have a straight news program, and to them, it`s also -- but they also are more sophisticated. I think the people on the right know a lot more about the way the media is divided up. You take a network like FOX where you have a number of shows that are very much aimed at trying to be straight news programs and then a show like Hannity, which is clearly a conservative Republican point of view, and then O`Reilly, which is sort of in the middle there. People are smart, they know what they`re watching. Why do they applaud a general knock on the media, when that includes FOX, includes radio they`re listening on the car. STEELE: That`s not the way people interpret it. MATTHEWS: What does the media mean? STEELE: It means the left. It means the left media. It means those networks and radio stations --    MATTHEWS: Including straight media. STEELE: Right. TODD: Remember when this began. This is back -- MATTHEWS: CNBC, liberal? I don`t -- TODD: You know this better than most. This goes back to Nixon. This goes back -- MATTHEWS: Pat Buchanan. TODD: That`s right. This really took hold in the conservative movement in the `60s. And really with the Nixon White House in many ways, and it`s been carried through basically since Watergate. MATTHEWS: Nattering -- TODD: It has only grown inside the party. It used to be a small part of the party who believe this, and it`s grown. Whether a majority -- look, I guarantee half the guys on the stage didn`t believe half of what they were saying about some aspect of the media. But they know it works. SCHMIDT: Every day out in talk radio, on FOX News, the equivalent of millions of dollars is spent communicating to Republican primary voters listening to talk radio, through social media, none of this is on the level, that this is all part of an effort that is complicit in acting the president`s agenda. What these voters believe coming back to explain why we have 60 percent of these Republican voters supporting these outsider candidates. They believe that Barack Obama has succeeded. He has won. He has changed the country. And he`s done it with a complicit, feckless Republican political establishment class.    TODD: By the way, the irony is here is it is many of these folks that are making this claim that don`t trust the mainstream media, they`re just building their own business. It`s their own -- they`re making a business decision. They`re trying to attract their own eyeballs. MATTHEWS: All the candidates were asked at the outset what their personal weaknesses were. Didn`t get much of an answer on that. Here`s what Ben Carson answered. By the way, hardly any were straight in their answers. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In terms of applying for a job as president, weakness would be not really seeing myself in that position until hundreds of thousands of people begin to tell me that I needed to do it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That was the only honest answer tonight, the guy just couldn`t see himself sitting in the Oval Office. STEELE: The only honest answer. And again, one of those aspects about Carson that people like. He`s not pretending. He`s not doing the phony. He`s not doing the, oh, hey -- MATTHEWS: The hail to the chief in the bathtub. STEELE: He`s being honest because anyone who looks at this would say that honestly, I never saw myself in this position. TODD: By the way, Stan McChrystal, General Stan McChrystal, this is his version of that question, which actually is probably what is the worst thing someone would say about you if I called somebody who didn`t like you for a reference?    MATTHEWS: That`s a good question. TODD: And that might -- that`s the way McChrystal suggests asking it at a job interview. I think that might have been a more fun way. MATTHEWS: Whose turn is it to answer that question? Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That doesn`t mean they`re right. That doesn`t mean they`re right. TODD: I agree. What`s the worst thing, right? MATTHEWS: OK, thank you. I went through all this with Peace Corps training. What don`t you like about him, what do you like about him? It drove me crazy. Chuck Todd, Michael Steele, Steve Schmidt -- really helps you teaching business in Africa, by the way. Much more from the spin room here at the University of Colorado for the Republican presidential debate. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    JOHN HARWOOD, MODERATOR: If you were president, and you were offered a bipartisan deal that had $1 of tax increases for $10 of funding. Would you take it? BUSH: You find me a Democrat -- you find me a Democrat that will cut spending $10, heck, if I`m find me a Republican in Congress that would cut spending $10. HARWOOD: You don`t want the coach to put you in anymore. BUSH: Look, the deal is already done. The biggest tax increase happened under the watch of Barack Obama and spending has gone up. You find a Democrat for cutting spending $10, I`ll give him a warm kiss. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL live from the University of Colorado. The Republicans had a field day, actually, tonight going after the media. Didn`t you hear it? And Donald Trump took credit for keeping the debate personally at two hours. Something that CNBC moderators took issue with. Let`s watch that back and forth. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: These folks, CNBC, they had it down to three, three and a half hours. I just read today in the "New York Times," $250,000 for third- second ad. I went out and said it`s ridiculous. Nobody -- I could stand up here all night. Nobody wants to watch three and a half or three hours. It was a big sacrifice.    And I have to hand it to Ben. We called Ben. He was with me 100 percent. We called in. We said that`s it. We`re not doing it. They lost a lot of money. Everybody said it couldn`t be done. Everybody said it was going to be three hours, three and a half, including them. And in about two minutes, I renegotiated it down to two hours so we can get the hell out of here. Not bad. And I`ll do that with the country. We will -- we will make America great again. And thank you, everybody. HARWOOD: Just for the record -- just for the record, debate because always going to be two hours. Senator Rubio -- TRUMP: That`s not right. That`s absolutely not right. You know that. That is not right. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I`m joined be three of our best reporters. MSNBC political correspondent, Kasie Hunt, NBC news correspondent Katy Tur, and NBC News senior White House correspondent, Chris Jansing. Chris, this got a little revolting tonight because I thought that the candidates were trying to get votes. And they were using that initiative to take it out of the moderators, and they were making charges which were general charges about the media`s behavior and how -- but then they were storing it on them in the room. Just sitting there. CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s an easy target, right? That`s one way you can go and know you`re going to get an applause line.    MATTHEWS: Yes. JANSING: And it`s also a way in which I think that they lose their own argument, because a lot of them are now complaining, we didn`t have enough time. We wanted this to be a more substantive debate, as the three of us were trying to fight through the crowds and hear what they had to say, those were the complaints we heard. But you also have a choice over how you use your time in the debate. I think in some cases, they used their time to complain about something they knew, that a Republican audience would cheer about, which was to complain about the moderators or challenge the moderators, but then you don`t also get to say, where was the substance in the debate? MATTHEWS: You know, Katy, the trade craft, which you all know, part of it is to have the facts, solid. And when you have to confront the politician, he doesn`t want to hear the facts, especially in a public event like tonight, you got to be ready for them to try to intimidate you. We saw that tonight, even when you`re 100 percent right. S I give a lot of props, if you will, to people who go in with the facts, stick to the fact, get proven right against an onslaught of abuse like Becky Quick did tonight regarding immigration. KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Regarding immigration, regarding him saying that Marco Rubio was Mark Zuckerberg`s personal senator on that issue. Trump looked her in the eye and said I never said that. She said I read you said that. He said, I never said that. You`re the ones who write that thing. In fact, it is part of his immigration plan, his own immigration plan, that is posted on his own website. MATTHEWS: You put up -- none of us have it that bad. When you`re out on the line as you all are, when you get your facts straight and somebody tries to buffalo you, as they say in cowboy movies, just buffalo you to the side of the tracks, they had the advantage tonight of time. Becky had producers and people she could call and get the paper and read it back. Then he said, what, you`re right? You got me. TUR: Then he pivoted and talked about how he was going to be number one for immigration. He really didn`t answer that question.    MATTHEWS: She had him. TUR: By the time she got back to the facts, Donald Trump had already had his moment. It was gone. MATTHEWS: He had the dramatic moment. TUR: That`s why he in some ways is so brilliant in interviews. He dodges and weaves like he`s a prize fighter. You cannot pin him down on anything because he twists it, he turns it around, and he moves on to a subject he`s more comfortable with. If he doesn`t agree with you, he`ll blame you for asking a question he thinks is unfair. MATTHEWS: OK. Thought on that? KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The one person I will say who while on stage took issue with the media but whose campaign is certainly not complaining is Marco Rubio. I asked his campaign staff in the spin room here whether or not they would be interested in taking a shot at CNBC. They said, you know what, absolutely not. We`re not -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He turned that denunciation from the sun sentinel and flipped it around to his advantage. HUNT: He has shown -- of all the candidates on the stage, he showed remarkable skill at taking an attack, and it`s the strongest attacks out there so far, and turning it around and not being defensive. MATTHEWS: What`s the name of his media adviser? Todd Harris. So good. I was watching him tonight prepare at the microphone. I think they orchestrated everything. Maybe this is conspiratorial. They had the audience ready. They were ready to cheer like mad at every one of the cues. JANSING: But it`s not only that. You can have your lines ready to go. You have to be able to deliver them in a way where it seems unscripted, where --    (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Jeb Bush hated his job tonight. TUR: I felt Marco Rubio seems very rehearsed and very practiced. I`m not sure that -- MATTHEWS: They liked it. TUR: The crowd liked it here. But is the viewer not going to take issue with it? MATTHEWS: I thought it was very well orchestrated, the attack from the defensive position. The other guy telegraphs the punch, you come back. People root for you. Hillary Clinton knows how to do it. Ronald Reagan knew how to do it. It`s smart. By the way, it`s on the military tactics books, attacking them in defensive position. HUNT: You have to do it without seeming defensive. MATTHEWS: Thank you guys. Fun to talk about this stuff. Kasie Hunt, Katy Tur, Chris Jansing. Chuck Todd, moderator of "Meet the Press" has caught up with Ben Carson. Chuck, take it away.    TODD: Thank you, Chris. Dr. Carson, let me ask you this question. What was your goal tonight? And do you think you accomplished it? CARSON: Well, the goal was to show up. (LAUGHTER) TODD: Fair enough. CARSON: I accomplished that. TODD: Check. CARSON: But I was hoping to obviously get a chance to weigh in on at least a few economic questions. And that was possible. Not in the depth that you would like to do. TODD: Let`s go to your tax plan. That, I feel like you did get cut off. You didn`t get to finish it. I remember you had said, you use 10 percent, because it`s easy to do the math. CARSON: Right. TODD: You say it`s closer to 15 percent. Walk us through what your tax plan is.    CARSON: We`re talking about an $18 trillion economy. Now, I`m hoping it`s going to be a whole bunch more than that when we get things done the right way. We have to deal with what we have. So, 15 percent on that gets you to $2.7 trillion. Now, the annual budget is around $3.5 trillion. So you know, you`ve got to make up another $800 billion. But, remember, you have capital gains tax. And capital gains of about $6 trillion. It`s going to bring you a fair amount of money. It`s going to make up that difference, plus we haven`t even talked about the corporate taxes yet. So when we add all that up, it`s going to get us to where we need to be. TODD: You`re going to run into a few political problems. One of things you said is we`re going to get rid of all deductions and loopholes. There`s one deduction every homeowner in America loves, the mortgage tax deduction. So -- CARSON: Understood. TODD: That`s gone, too, in this plan? CARSON: Understood, but they have so much more money in their pocket that they`re much further ahead than they would be with that mortgage deduction. Also, we`re taking 150 percent of poverty, that level of people, and we`re giving them a rebate. They still have to pay the tax. But they`re getting a significant rebate. TODD: I was just going to say, because -- look, the argument against flat taxes is that essentially the wealthy get a bigger tax break. CARSON: Right. TODD: And in some ways, working class, if you`re not at the poverty level, you`re over the 151 percent of poverty level, you may be actually paying more taxes because you don`t have the earned income, you know, the income tax credits, things like that. CARSON: We`re working that out, but the way it`s looking initially is I don`t think anybody is going to be paying any more. TODD: Let me ask you about, you said something you don`t hear other politicians hear very much. You said I was wrong.    CARSON: Yes. TODD: During a discussion on Medicare. CARSON: No, I think it was about the subsidies. TODD: The subsidies, excuse me. CARSON: And yes, I was wrong. I was going to take one subsidy and shift it over to somewhere else. And that really violates the whole concept of getting the government out of the way and letting businesses rise and fall based on their own merits. The meritocracy philosophy was one of the things that led America to the pinnacle so quickly. TODD: That`s the big philosophy. Bottom line is you`re not for the ethanol subsidies. CARSON: That`s correct. TODD: You would get rid of them in Iowa. You thought you would be for them, you`re (INAUDIBLE). One last question before I turn it back to Chris. Besides yourself, who do you think did as well as you did tonight? I assume you believe you did better than everybody else on stage. CARSON: No, I don`t necessarily believe that. TODD: OK, who did the best on stage?    CARSON: Because it all comes out much later in the wash. TODD: Right. Who are you impressed with tonight? CARSON: I was -- I was impressed with everybody. TODD: Oh, you`re -- you`re not going to take that bait, huh? CARSON: I`m not going to take that one. TODD: Were you surprised Donald Trump didn`t come after you? CARSON: Well, he`s a smart man. You know, he does what he thinks is expedient. I think he`s looking at the numbers and he`s saying, this doesn`t seem to work out all that great when I attack him. Particularly if I don`t have anything legitimate to attack him on. So he`s moderated that. Just means he`s a smart guy. TODD: Dr. Carson, all right, stay safe on the trail. CARSON: All right. Thank you. TODD: All right, Chris. Back to you, brother.    MATTHEWS: Thank you, Chuck Todd, exposing there the charms of Dr. Ben Carson. Up next, the road to the White House goes right through the state you`re in right now, Colorado. This is a perfect purple state. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics, live from the third Republican presidential debate here in Boulder. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL from the University of Colorado, the site of tonight`s of course Republican third debate. After a tense exchange with moderator Carl Quintanilla, Ted Cruz offered him a truce that is unique to Colorado. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARL QUINTANILLA, CNBC MODERATOR: Senator Cruz, before we go to break, we`re clearly not having that beer you mentioned. But I`ll give you 30 more seconds -- SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ill buy you a tequila. Or even some famous Colorado brownies. QUINTANILLA: I`ll give you 30 seconds -- whoa. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: What did the swing state voters out here in Colorado hear tonight. The debate comes as dozens of Hispanic conservative groups are descending on the state and threatening to boycott the party if it doesn`t soften its tone on minorities.    Steve House is the chair of the Colorado Republican Party is with me. And Rosario Marin was the treasurer of the United States under George W. Bush. So, let me start with this. You`re a Republican. ROSARIO MARIN, FORMER TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. MATTHEWS: And you vote Republican in every instance. MARIN: Faithfully. MATTHEWS: Do you feel at home in the Republican party as a Latino? MARIN: Absolutely. Yes. MATTHEWS: Ha! I need more. Tell me why, because I look at Trump. Maybe I was too crass about it, mentioning he said Mexicans who come here are rapists, and I thought, no, Hispanics who came here tonight were pretty good debaters if you want to get crazy about the discussion. MARIN: So, Chris, first of all, I will not mention him by name, but he does not represent -- he`s not even a conservative. He`s always been a liberal. He has supported more liberals than he ever supported Republicans. He has served a position in the party that he doesn`t belong. He doesn`t belong to. But I am very much at home in the Republican party. I have been since I became a U.S. citizen, I always felt that home. And I have worked and been a surrogate and have had the pleasure of serving a Republican president. And this is my home. The fact that this particular gentleman has a rhetoric that is insulting, not just to me as a woman, but as a Latina, as a Mexican, as an immigrant, he`s not getting my vote. But he doesn`t represent the Republican Party that I love. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, how do we get to a deal? A fair deal? We had sloppy immigration enforcement for decades. We had the Simpson-Mazzoli bill under Reagan that was never enforced. People got amnesty, but we never had enforcement of stopping of illegal hiring. We all know people don`t come here to be on the dole or have babies. They come here to get jobs.    And yet, the people who decide who come here now is some guy who runs a restaurant in Chicago decides who comes here because he offers a guy a job. And it`s illegal. When are we going to have a regular system like most countries, a work permit. You come here with dignity, you get a good wage and everything is on the books? Can`t we get there? STEVE HOUSE, COLORADO REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN: We have to. There`s no question the discussion has to be had. It could have been had in the first couple years of the Obama administration and the Democrats seem to blame us for not dealing with immigration reform, but the reality of it is, they had the White House, they had the Congress completely, they could have dealt with it. It could have been dealt with even earlier than that. It`s got to be an issue we get to because there are too many people in this country who could be productive citizens or productive workers, if you will -- MATTHEWS: But if you ask one party to do it without the other party helping, you know how it works. One party has to give cover to the other party, if you`re going to have a tough enforcement provision, Republicans have to carry the load, and if you`re a Democratic president like Obama, I do hold this against them, he`s got to sell it. He has to sell the tough enforcement to his own party, not expect the Republicans to be the bad guys while he`s the good guy. MARIN: Right, this is what happened. You`re absolutely right. MATTHEWS: Grown-ups do things like this all the time. We make grown-up deals that don`t make everybody happy right away, but in the long run, it makes us a better country. MARIN: It needs to be fixed, Chris. If we Republicans recapture the White House. I`ll tell you why. Hillary Clinton had the opportunity to -- MATTHEWS: But we had the Clintons for eight years and they didn`t do it. MARIN: They didn`t do it. The Democratic party doesn`t want it. They want an issue. They don`t want a solution. MATTHEWS: Do Republicans want cheap labor? MARIN: The Republicans want to find the solution.    MATTHEWS: Do the business people -- look, what I always heard, the hardest working person in America is a guy who just got here, or woman. That`s a good worker. HOUSE: I don`t think it`s about cheap labor. I think everybody has, a business person, I`m a business person myself, it`s not about having cheap labor. It`s about having appropriate labor at the right cost. And there are some circumstances in America where workers that come into this country do jobs at wages that are relevant to what that business needs. I don`t think there`s anything wrong with it. I think the problem is, we haven`t addressed the real issue which is, this is not a homogenous group of people and something needs to be done. MATTHEWS: I`m glad you could make it here. Anyway, thank you. HOUSE: I agree. MATTHEWS: Thank you. HOUSE: Thank you. MATTHEWS: You were mentioned earlier, madam, I`m glad you could make it here in person. Rosario Marin, thank you for coming here. Madam Treasurer. How will tonight`s debate change the course of the presidential campaign? Coming up, that`s up next. You`re watching HARDBALL live from the spin room in Boulder, Colorado, from the Republican presidential debate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is how socialism starts. Government causes a problem. And then government steps in to solve the problem. This is why, fundamentally, we have to take our government back. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn`t inherit any money. My dad was a bartender. My mother was a maid. They worked hard to provide us with a chance at a better life. But I`m not worried about my finances. I`m worried about the finances of everyday Americans. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Wow. Welcome back to HARDBALL, from the University of Colorado, the site of tonight`s Republican debate. This marks the third time the Republicans have faced off against each other in primetime. So, how will it change the dynamics of the race? We`re back right now with Chuck Todd, of course, moderator of "Meet the Press", and Robert Costa of "The Washington Post", and Ashley Parker of "The New York Times". Ashley, let`s talk about Marco Rubio. He seemed to be the most planned, prepared, organized, choreographed, whatever. He took down the man who attacked him, who may have demolished him tonight, Jeb Bush. ASHLEY PARKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, absolutely. This is why people think and have said Marco Rubio has the most pure, raw, natural talent of the field, because he did that when he got a lot of questions that should have put him on the defensive about his poor Senate voting record, about sort of he mismanaged his personal finances, and he took those and he calmly and confidently turned them on the offensive against Jeb, against the moderators and used it as a chance to tell his story.    MATTHEWS: So, he`s a no-show, a deadbeat, but one hell of a talker? ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: Dynamic. The mentor and protege at war on national television. CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Star Wars. MATTHEWS: They`ve been at war with a guy named they`ve been at war with Barack Obama for seven years now, a guy who`s talker who came from nowhere. Now they want one. COSTA: Republican Party is looking for inspiration. MATTHEWS: They want an Obama. COSTA: It`s a fractured party that needs youth, someone who can reach out to new demographics. The Hispanic vote that is expanding across the country. Rubio is standing there and saying, "I`m not an outsider, but I`m establishment, I have some conservative cred. Look to me," and I think tonight, that exchange with Bush is going to be one of the defining moments of this campaign. They`re going to say these two Floridians clashed and the younger one emerged unscathed. MATTHEWS: We thought it would take until mid-March, but here it is October. TODD: It could be. MATTHEWS: The fight between the two of them. TODD: The question who -- were the people, we think the people watching this fight between these two are a bunch of donors, right? A lot of them are people who have been sitting on the sidelines. A bunch of old Bush pioneers from `04.    MATTHEWS: Sheldon Adelson. TODD: There`s also a bunch of Romney donor whose have been sitting on the sidelines. The question has been, which one of these two guys, is that what we see? Is that what the next six weeks, all of a sudden, is -- MATTHEWS: Is he credible as a new establishment figure? Marco? Because I think he plays both inside and out. TODD: Here`s the other thing he`s gifted at, the raw, and the Buchanan line, political athlete. Look how he talked about tax policy tonight. He said, let me tell you about my dry cleaner. You know, he`s an (INAUDIBLE). That`s what Bill Clinton does so well, what George W. Bush does. Jeb Bush was up there telling you the facts of the things he cut and all this stuff. All very -- MATTHEWS: How did he learn this? That`s a rotating speakership, Ashley. TODD: I don`t know if you learn it. MATTHEWS: It`s a rotating speakership. It`s not like John McCormack or Sam Rayburn. You get it in the third or fourth term you`re in there and you don`t have it again. So, how did he get the talent so quickly? PARKER: He`s a natural communicator. But to Chuck`s point about the donors watching this, when they watch and this is what they hear when you talk to them, they see Rubio as a smart investment because he either gets the nomination this time, or even if he doesn`t, it`s not bad to be with him because he gets it next time or he`s vice president. And so -- MATTHEWS: If you were teaching political debate, what you would hear and watch in him is not the attack, but the grab. A lot of people take it Bush is forever handling an issue. Thanks for giving me that. I have to talk about it. He grabs. Give me that apple. Give those peanuts. Give me that bottle of beer. Give me that, I want it. Then he loves it. He loves every topic he grabs.    COSTA: He doesn`t just grab the apple. He takes it, cuts it up exactly how he wants it. He turns everything back to the generational theme -- new blood, future, new, fresh. Everything comes back to that. TODD: By the way, he even used an Obama phrase, talked about turning the page. Turning the page was the most powerful, single three-word phrase Obama used in `07 and `08. If you recall, turn the page was about Bush and Clinton. He was trying to run against Bush and Clinton at the same time. Here`s Barack Obama, here`s Marco Rubio -- MATTHEWS: Good mistake. TODD: -- using the same language. It was -- you heard the blind quotes earlier this week, where the Bush people said, boy, he`s the GOP Obama. It was supposed to be an attack. A Rubio person said, if we win the presidency twice, we`ll take it. MATTHEWS: OK, nobody blames him for defending himself against Bush. He was under attack. Bush had telegraphed his shot yesterday. He was going to hit him. So I`m defending myself. So, you cheer for the guy. Cruz on the other hand, is a predator. PARKER: Yes. MATTHEWS: Cruz comes out. He saw the three moderators, mild manners, straight reporters. I can get them. I can eat them for breakfast. PARKER: Yes, and as he said at the beginning on this opening statement, his weakness is that he`s a fighter, he`s too passionate and he knows the crowd, and he knows the base. MATTHEWS: And nobody likes him. PARKER: They hate the press.    MATTHEWS: You hate me, you hate them more. That`s what he was doing. PARKER: Exactly. MATTHEWS: It was -- TODD: Actually, magnanimous tonight, because he defended everybody on stage. MATTHEWS: Yes. TODD: Which is a little un-Ted Cruz. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Interesting, the two Hispanic guys, I keep going back to that, because they were under assault as a community a few month ago, now they`re the stars. Anyway, Chuck Todd, I`m going to tall you Mark Todd. Who is Mark Todd? Anyway, Robert Costa, Ashley Parker, thank you. When we come back, CNBC`s John Harwood, the man right there, pivot tonight, right on point, and Sharon Epperson, who helps moderate tonight`s debates will be here to respond to all the attacks. No, they won`t.    We`ll talk about the attacks as a method of attack. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics, live from Boulder, Colorado. The Republican presidential debate. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don`t trust the media. How about talking about the substitute issues people care about? RUBIO: The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC called the mainstream media. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Such a nasty question. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John, do you want me to answer or do you want to answer? Because I got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you are doing is called rude. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: We`re back in the spin room at University of Colorado right now. It`s great to have you. As you saw the moderators on tonight`s debate facing some heavy attack on the candidates in the free fire zone out there. Ted Cruz had one of the most explosive moments when he went after the moderators. Let`s watch him one more time.    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: Nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators has any intention in voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn`t be trying to get people to tear into each other. It should be, what are your substantive solutions -- MODERATOR: I asked you about the debt limit, no answer. CRUZ: You want me to answer that question? I will be happy to answer the question. MODERATOR: We are moving on. MODERATOR: I have a question for you on the same subject. CRUZ: You don`t want to hear the answer, John? MODERATOR: You used your time on something else. CRUZ: You are not interested in an answer? MODERATOR: I need an answer from Senator Paul. (END VIDEO CLIP)    MATTHEWS: Well, the chairman of the RNC, the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, tweeted this, CNBC should he ashamed of how this debate was handled. Anyway, I`m joined by tonight`s debate moderators, CNBC`s John Harwood and CNBC`s Sharon Epperson. I know both of you are completely straight reporters who try to get the facts. What was your goal tonight before you knew the onslaught of ridicule was coming your way? What was your goal in the two-hour to give to the voters out there what they needed? JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Well, I wanted to do two things, one, was to play out the divide between the outsiders, Trump and Carson, in the traditional candidates. We saw it the last few days it, John Kasich saying there is crazy stuff happening in our party. We need to get serious. So, let him make that case. Let them respond to the case. The second thing was to try to get the candidates to defend and explain the economic proposals that they have to help average workers in this economy, and so, we asked a lot about their tax plans, about the distribution of income, income inequality. And, you know, some of those questions, especially given the prescriptions they are offering, are questions I feel hostile to those Republican candidates. MATTHEWS: Asking someone to fill in the blanks to give a flash on the bands (ph), to explain something and also show that it adds up is a challenge. SHARON EPPERSON, CNBC: It is a challenge. MATTHEWS: To the candidate, they don`t want to be told to explain. EPPERSON: Exactly. And as CNBC`s senior personal finance correspondent, my goal was to come in and talk about the issues that matter to the American people, get the candidates to discuss issues that matter to people`s wallet, and to ask Carly Fiorina about the sharing economy and what`s going to be done in terms of people being able to save for retirement and have her say the federal government should do nothing about it, that was telling for the American people who are part of the sharing economy to know that if Carly is president, she would not do anything to help you with your retirement. MATTHEWS: Now, the challenge with interviews is you can ask the question and the person who answers can turn it into an adversarial discussion. There is no referee to come along and say, you are right. So, you have to sort of somehow get them in their answer to acknowledge they are not answering it or give you the answer. But I noticed tonight they were doing different things than that. They were just saying, we are right, you`re wrong. They just say they dictated the verdict and they were the winners.    HARWOOD: There were a lot of conservatives before the debate who were urging them to go hard after the media. And that`s what they did. MATTHEWS: Where was that? HARWOOD: Oh, I was seeing a lot of that online, on Twitter, articles saying that they were anticipating a debate that was unfair to Republicans. But -- MATTHEWS: Trump was saying that all over the place. HARWOOD: Well, sure. On the top came out on the campaign in the debate and denied that he had ever said anything. MATTHEWS: My god. He found the material. HARWOOD: Finally said the material that said it was on his own web sites. You know, Senator Rubio said to me that I misstated something about his tax plan that was not true. I didn`t misstate about his tax plan. As I explained to him, provides greater after tax income for the top 1 percent than the middle. MATTHEWS: Sharon, this tells me, the next time around is going to be tougher for reporters. I mean, if they think they can buffalo a reporter, even buffalo a reporter with the facts, they`re going to buffalo them, just whack them out of the way and hope that time will run out. EPPERSON: They are hoping people don`t care about the facts, and I think they`re wrong about that. If you talk to the students here at the University of Colorado, they care about student debt. They want to hear what these candidates have to say about it. And the fact that they kind of gloss over the issue is something that really matters to them. If they want millennial votes, if they want votes of a wide range of people in the electorate, they`re going to have to answer the tough questions. If they are just speaking to their people, they probably -- MATTHEWS: You know, I was just thinking, I used to work for the budget committee for years. I worked for -- and I have to tell you, when you say you`re only going to tithe, a biblical 10 percent, does that mean the size of the federal government will be 10 percent as long as we leave under this regime? Ten percent, that`s all they want from the federal government, entitlements and everything else, military, just 10 percent.    HARWOOD: Yes, exactly. MATTHEWS: How can you exist? The government is huge and bigger than that. No, I cannot imagine. John, you did great. John Harwood, thank you. HARWOOD: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Totally straight reporters who had to take the crap tonight. I think that`s a new word old politicians are using. Sharon Epperson, thank you. We`re live right now in the spin room at the University of Colorado for the third Republican presidential debate which is finally winding down, even the commentary. Join me tomorrow at 7:00 Eastern Time for HARDBALL. Our coverage on MSNBC continues after this. 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.>    HShow: HARDBALL Date: October 28, 2015 Guest: Paul Ryan, Austan Goolsbee, Stephen Benjamin, Marq Claxton, Joy Reid, Steve Schmidt, Jim Cramer CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, HARDBALL: Running against Hillary, let`s play HARDBALL. I`m Chris Matthews in the spin room at the University of Colorado in Boulder where fight night lived up to its billing. Ten Republican candidates met for their third debate and the gloves came off. John Kasich took on Don Trump and Trump punched back. Jeb Bush went after his old pal Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump all took on the mainstream media. John Kasich started the night with this warning -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: We are on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone who cannot do this job. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump took issue with his first question from moderator John Harwood. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Is this a comic book version of a presidential --    DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: No -- HARWOOD: Campaign? -- TRUMP: Not a comic book and it`s not a very nicely asked question the way you say that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, the media seem to be the candidates favorite target, the mainstream media, if you will. Here was Marco Rubio getting cheers for going on the attack. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC, it`s called the mainstream media. For every single day -- (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile, the audience booed the moderators for challenging Ben Carson too hard on questions about his relationship to a nutritional supplement company Mannatech. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    BEN CARSON, AUTHOR & RETIRED NEUROSURGEON: It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes, I think it`s a good product. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be fair, you were on the home page of their website with the logo over your shoulder. CARSON: If somebody put me on their home page they did it without my permission. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that not speak to your vetting process or judgment in any way? CARSON: No, it speaks to the fact that I don`t know those -- (BOOING) See, they know. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: OK, who landed the best blows tonight? Who came out unscathed? If anyone -- Chuck Todd is moderator, "Meet the Press", Lawrence O`Donnell is the host of "THE LAST WORD" on Msnbc.    And Steve Schmidt is the former senior strategist for John McCain`s presidential campaign and Mike Steele is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Let me go to Chuck on this. I don`t know, so, you tell me, who won? CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: This is Marco Rubio`s debate. Pure and simple. Because he`s got the viral moment that you want to have. He was put in the spotlight early, he was going to be on the defensive early. His main rival Jeb Bush decided to go at him. He swung, he missed and Rubio fired back hard. Look, if Marco Rubio ends up the Republican nominee, we`ll say that it began with this debate. MATTHEWS: Well, of course, it started because of Rubio`s great abstention rate -- absentee rate as United States senator. He was asked about a newspaper editorial that came out today that challenged his voting record and his absence vote in the Senate. Jeb Bush jumped in on the criticism, let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: Barack Obama missed 60 percent or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him again. So this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative -- (APPLAUSE)    JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I`m a constituent of the senator and I helped him and I expected that he would do constituent service; which means that he shows up to work. He got endorsed by the "Sun Sentinel" because he was the most talented guy in the field. He`s a gifted politician. But Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term and you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it? Like a French work week, you get like three days where you have to show up. You can campaign or just resign and let someone else take the job. RUBIO: Listen to Jeb as he walked around the country and said that you`re modeling your campaign after John McCain. That you`re going to launch a furious comeback the way he did by fighting hard in New Hampshire and places like that, carrying -- BUSH: Well -- RUBIO: Your own bag at the airport. You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you`re now modeling under? -- BUSH: He wasn`t my -- RUBIO: Now, Jeb, I don`t remember -- (CROSSTALK) Well, let me tell you. I don`t remember you ever complaining about John McCain`s vote record.    The only reason why you`re doing it now is because we`re running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, that`s called the attack from the defensive position, it`s a classic, let the other guys jump you -- looking like it`s a gang attack and then come back. Lawrence O`Donnell, a classic maneuver by Mr. Rubio. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Yes, and I agree with Chuck. That was a moment where we had the first look at what is turning out to be the winner of this debate. That was a winning moment. I think we have a second and a third place so far too, for Ted Cruz and Chris Christie. For Chris Christie, it`s academic though, I don`t think he`s going to be able to push -- pull himself up very high. But Cruz lit up that stage with the first really powerful attack on the moderators, which has been the most successful debate tactic used by anybody up there on the stage. And at this stage based on expectation, based on what everyone said he needed to do, it seems we do have a loser tonight. It seems Jeb Bush is losing this debate based on what everyone was saying he needed to do to impress his campaign investors and to push up his poll numbers. MATTHEWS: You know, Michael, I don`t think he liked going after his buddy Rubio. Yes --    MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Yes -- MATTHEWS: There was no joy in -- STEELE: He was hesitant in it, and I think Rubio ducked and came back with a left hook and took him down. And I think what you saw Rubio do tonight was create a lane for himself. The others now are going to have to catch him. I think he`s sort of launched his effort to move into the frontier of this race. Jeb Bush is losing ground quick, and it`s unfortunate to say for him, but he did not do what he needed to do tonight. He was hesitant, he was not -- he was not sure-footed in terms of his attack and he came off weak. MATTHEWS: I want to talk about the media with you. It seems like the "Sun Sentinel" was the local paper. This is where I think Jeb Bush missed an opportunity. Of course, they`re going to go after the local guy. They endorsed him. It`s the local paper that looks at your attendance record. Why would the "Sun Sentinel" go after John Kerry or -- TODD: Yes -- MATTHEWS: Or John McCain did -- TODD: Well, no -- MATTHEWS: Why didn`t he see that? Why didn`t Jeb see that?    TODD: But it`s also the wrong thing to hit him for. The issue in "The Washington Post" story was Marco Rubio saying he`s so frustrated with being a senator that he can`t wait to get out, he can`t wait to leave this whole thing. The question to Marco Rubio should be OK, you know what? Being president, you`re going to have some frustration. You`re just getting up and walking away. How come you`re not staying to reform the place? What are you doing to fix it? What are you doing to get it done? That`s the way it would have been an effective way for Jeb Bush. What he did was he fell into the rabbit hole of missed votes and that frankly -- MATTHEWS: Yes -- TODD: Works in house and senate races. MATTHEWS: He did a pretty -- TODD: It`s not work -- MATTHEWS: Bright numbers there, Steve, he didn`t seem to show any political sophistication. The newspaper did the hard work for him by attacking his colleague, saying Rubio missed all those votes. He thought he could just me-to it. And Rubio was totally -- you know that Todd Harris` media guy has worked on this with this candidate. You know that Rubio was totally ready and attacked from a defensive position, there you go again. It always seems to work.    STEVE SCHMIDT, CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST AND PUBLIC RELATIONS WORKER FOR THE U.S. REPUBLICAN PARTY: In presidential debates, knockouts come on the counterpunch. MATTHEWS: Yes -- SCHMIDT: Marco -- MATTHEWS: Yes -- SCHMIDT: Rubio knocked Jeb Bush out tonight. Flat on his butt. Worse day of the campaign for Jeb Bush since his announcement was tonight. The devastating moment. And it showed a political tone deafness, because the crowd had erupted into cheers -- MATTHEWS: Yes -- SCHMIDT: With Rubio`s defense. And even after the cheering, Jeb Bush leaned right in with his chin to Marco Rubio who was clearly prepared for it. And so you had now in this debate the first direct combat between Bush, between Rubio. We knew it was coming, we`ve known it`s been coming for months. We know they faced off against each other ultimately in Florida, and only one of them comes out of that state. And so, you saw that moment tonight in Marco Rubio, the clear winner -- MATTHEWS: Let me -- let me ask everybody here. Let me get --    TODD: All right -- MATTHEWS: Lawrence in this -- get him in here -- Lawrence, I get the sense listening to the debate and listening to the cheers, they were not even. There was an orchestration it seems to me on the Rubio crowd, they damn well know what this election is about. It`s looking good in the debate for the presidency. And it all has to look together. The counterpunch, the successful execution, the timing, and the audience approval. And I thought that Rubio`s people were ready to jump and they jumped. O`DONNELL: Well, you know, I`m not so sure it`s Rubio`s people, Chris. It`s an audience that, as you say, wants to see -- they were cheering for Chris Christie. I`m not sure there`s a lot of Chris Christie people in that audience. They wanted to see a certain kind of energy. They wanted to see an attack on the media. They loved that. That was the -- that was one of the strongest things that could happen out there. But what was also fascinating ultimately if you -- I can`t wait to see the minutes of this, but the disappearance of the frontrunners, Donald Trump and Ben Carson. It was -- it`s amazing that somebody like Christie, Ted Cruz, could play significant roles in this debate, have very significant moments in this debate while their frontrunners were standing idly by on that stage. MATTHEWS: Yes, Trump looked like a mannequin up there. Anyway, Senator Cruz got some of the biggest cheers of the night, as you said, Lawrence, taking on the mainstream media. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don`t trust the media.    (APPLAUSE) This is not a cage match. And if you look at the questions -- Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don`t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues people care about? (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked you about the debt limit -- CRUZ: Hold on -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I got no answer. (CROSSTALK) CRUZ: I`m happy to answer --    (CROSSTALK) I`m happy to answer -- (CROSSTALK) Question. Let me tell you how the question is -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, we`re moving on. CRUZ: Let me tell you how that -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re moving on -- CRUZ: Let me tell you how that -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Paul, I`ve got a question for you -- (CROSSTALK) CRUZ: So, you don`t actually want to hear the answer, Jon?    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Paul -- CRUZ: Of course, you don`t want to hear the answer -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey! -- CRUZ: You don`t want to -- (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse yourself, you used your time on something else. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You don`t want to hear the answer -- that was brilliant, because he iterated every one of the questions that have been raised in order, showing them to be wrong as he saw it. So, he was really alert in keeping notes. STEELE: Yes -- SCHMIDT: Ted Cruz had --    MATTHEWS: He got the notes -- SCHMIDT: A big night tonight. STEELE: Yes, great -- SCHMIDT: When you look at this race right now, you see Ben Carson`s numbers. Ben Carson goes down, Ted Cruz is going to go up. They`re going to swap votes between the two of them as we get deeper in this campaign. And you saw Ted Cruz, all those political talent on full display tonight. Very strong performance from him, very strong performance from Chris Christie tonight as well. MATTHEWS: Well, 50 percent of the Republican Party going into tonight were in what I would call the renegade category. They`re very much against the establishment, as Dr. Carson and Donald Trump. Do you get a sense that Cruz grabbed a chunk of that tonight? STEELE: I think he did. I think -- I think he becomes that safe spot to go to. We`ve danced on the wild side with Trump and with -- and with Carson. Now, as we begin to settle this thing, as we get closer and closer to December and January, Cruz becomes a safe harbor for a lot of Republicans who already like him. MATTHEWS: Yes --    STEELE: Who already like him -- MATTHEWS: And he`s ideologically -- STEELE: So, this is not -- MATTHEWS: Secure -- STEELE: Reached a -- MATTHEWS: Look -- let`s take a look at this, John Kasich attacked Donald Trump, however, and Trump hit him back hard. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KASICH: Folks, we got to wake up. We cannot elect somebody that doesn`t know how to do the job. You got to pick somebody who has experience, somebody that has the know-how, the discipline. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, the first thing that Trump came back and said, weren`t you with Lehman Brothers? (LAUGHTER)    STEELE: With Lehman Brothers -- TODD: And I tell you, Kasich and Jeb, right? Kasich and Bush -- MATTHEWS: It was this other thing -- SCHMIDT: Wow -- TODD: Kasich and Bush for the last 48 hours both vented the establishment`s frustration with how this campaign is going. In their own different ways, right? Bush did it on that Saturday, I got a lot of other -- MATTHEWS: No -- TODD: Things I can be doing and then Kasich yesterday -- and they both tried to bring that to this debate tonight and they both -- MATTHEWS: Didn`t they -- TODD: Got whacked -- MATTHEWS: Didn`t they deliver their Sunday punches the day before?    TODD: Yes -- SCHMIDT: Yes -- MATTHEWS: Didn`t they -- TODD: Something there -- MATTHEWS: Give away what they were doing? -- TODD: They did -- STEELE: That`s what they did -- TODD: That`s exactly and they both got whacked. MATTHEWS: Well -- TODD: By the way, we talked about Trump, yes, he disappeared at times. But I could make a case of this, of the three debates, this was Trump`s best debate. He`s not been good at these debates. He was downright awful --    MATTHEWS: Where was he good tonight? TODD: That`s a -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Putting away Kasich. TODD: Put Kasich away and intimidating. Look, I think he is a factual disaster on his hands when he just full fledged denial and bullied Becky Quick on that initial answer of where he was just flat-out lying. Either that or he didn`t read his own plan. But he owned the moment. And that`s -- you know, as a performer, he was better tonight than he had been in the first two nights. I think Trump`s got to pay a big price for this down the road for literally not knowing what was on his own website in that thing. And -- SCHMIDT: Yes -- TODD: So, but as a performer -- (CROSSTALK) And stylistically --    SCHMIDT: Yes -- TODD: But it outlasts all of its punch. MATTHEWS: When you see -- SCHMIDT: You look at the Trump base, blue collar, economically down scale, non-college educated. These are the Americans who lost their homes in the great recession. This is a huge psychic event, the collapse of the economy in 2008-2009. Him going after John Kasich on Lehman Brothers was devastating -- TODD: Yes -- SCHMIDT: To John Kasich. MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about strategy here tonight everyone, Lawrence, to pick up on this first of all. Ted Cruz, tonight, I`ve been told is heading towards -- trying to aggregate the entire right wing. He wants the evangelicals, the Tea Party and he wants the libertarians. Tonight, almost systematically -- well, systematically, look what he did. He wants to audit the Fed, he -- O`DONNELL: Yes --    MATTHEWS: Wants to replace Rand Paul as the champion of the libertarians. He wants to get rid of the IRS, the champion of the tea parties. He just seem to be checking off his list to try to aggregate, so, I think Cruz is really moving in on Trump, Trump was so good on the anti- immigration that he`ll probably will hold on to 20 points maybe, maybe not. I got the feeling Cruz is going to be joining them very soon. Your thoughts in that right-wing pack of three -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- MATTHEWS: It will be three now -- O`DONNELL: The Tea Party now clearly has a candidate, it`s Ted Cruz, there`s no doubt about it. And he definitely solidified that. Well, look, the win tonight went to the people with the best debating skills. It`s a pretty old-fashioned way to get to an outcome here. (LAUGHTER) You know, Marco Rubio showed much better debating skills tonight than he ever has before. Ted Cruz, we knew had the skills but he never really had the time and he never had the moments in previous debates to show it off. Chris Christie we knew had debating skills and he got a couple of those moments tonight. It`s not complicated where this went.    I think one of the big problems for Trump is, the Trump campaign and the Republican campaign has been all about Trump. Meaning, it`s all about a star. This campaign has a star, Donald Trump. He was not the star of this debate tonight. And in the -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right -- O`DONNELL: World in which Donald Trump cannot hold on to that candidate stardom, I am not sure he can continue to support his poll numbers. MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t think Hispanics looked like rapists tonight, they looked like great debaters -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- MATTHEWS: Which is astounding you look at Trump. Anyway, Chuck Todd will be back later in the show, Michael, Steve and Lawrence are sticking with me. And coming up, Senator Rand Paul is going to join us here, fresh off the debate stage. This is HARDBALL, a place for politics live in the spin room from Boulder, Colorado, in the Republican presidential debate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I don`t see a lot of weakness on the stage, quite frankly. Well, I see the weakness in those three people that are left on the Democratic stage.    You know, I see a socialist, an isolationist and a pessimist, and for the sake of me, I can`t figure out which one is which. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back live right now at the spin room at the University of Colorado, the site of tonight`s Republican presidential debate. Ohio Governor John Kasich went after both frontrunners, Trump and Carson tonight, and Trump hit him back. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KASICH: We`re just going to have a 10 percent tithe and that`s how we`re going to fund the government? And we`re not -- we`re going to just fix everything with waste fraud and abuse? Or that we`re just going to be great or we`re going to ship 10 million Americans or ten million people out of this country, leaving their children here in this country and dividing families? Folks, we got to wake up. We cannot elect somebody that doesn`t know how to do the job. You`ve got to pick somebody who has experience. TRUMP: John got lucky with a thing called fracking, OK? He hit oil. He got lucky with fracking, believe me, that`s why Ohio is doing well. Number -- and that`s important for you to know.    Number two, this is the man that was a Managing General Partner at Lehman Brothers when it went down the tubes and almost took every one of us with us including Ben and myself. Because I was there and I watched what happened and Lehman Brothers started it all. He was on the board and he was a Managing General Partner. KASICH: OK -- TRUMP: And just thirdly, he was so nice. He was such a nice guy. And he said oh, I`m never going to attack, but then his poll numbers tanked, he`s got very -- that`s why he`s on the end. (LAUGHTER) And he got nasty. And he got nasty. So you know what? You can have him. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: I`m back with the host of "Mad Money" on "Cnbc" Jim Cramer who is part of the "Cnbc" team tonight, did moderate the debate. Of course Steve Schmidt and Michael Steele are both still with me and with us from New York is my colleague Lawrence O`Donnell, host of "THE LAST WORD" here on Msnbc. Well, it got a little hot tonight, what did you think Jim? You know, the media was definitely at ground zero in the target zone -- JIM CRAMER, CNBC: Well --    MATTHEWS: True when I say -- I mean I`ve never heard so many shots at the media. CRAMER: Yes, I mean, they`re running for president, they`re running against everyone. They`re running against the media -- MATTHEWS: Mainstream media -- CRAMER: The -- a bit of a mean-spirited to it that I just care for. If they all hate the government so much, why do they want to work for the government? MATTHEWS: Well, that`s good -- CRAMER: I mean, the government was on trial, media was on trial, I think the economy should be on trial. We stick with that and it would have been a little more holistically way to be able to make sense at things. But they`re running for president, Chris, and -- MATTHEWS: Oh, it looked like they did -- CRAMER: All this point -- MATTHEWS: It was a course -- anyway, as Chuck Todd referenced early, Donald Trump went after "Cnbc" moderator Becky Quick tonight during an exchange over immigration and visas. Let`s watch that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    REBECCA QUICK, CNBC: You have been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who has wanted to increase the number of these -- TRUMP: I was not -- QUICK: H-1B -- TRUMP: I was not at all critical of him. (CROSSTALK) QUICK: Did not say that -- TRUMP: At all critical of him. QUICK: Where did I read this and come up with this that you were -- TRUMP: Probably -- I don`t know, you people write this stuff. I don`t know where you -- (LAUGHTER) QUICK: And you had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg`s personal Senator because he was in favor of the H-1B --    TRUMP: I never said that. It really -- (CROSSTALK) I bet he`s really doing some bad fact -- RUBIO: So, I`ve been -- (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, here`s where Becky Quick got that information. Where she got it, it was from Trump`s own issues page. Trump writes, "Mark Zuckerberg`s personal Senator Marco Rubio has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities." Well, Becky was right -- CRAMER: Yes, she was -- MATTHEWS: And Trump was wrong, but the thunderclap was, "you people write this stuff." CRAMER: Well, look, I mean, when someone comes in with hard questions like Becky did, it`s sometimes difficult to answer them. So, the way you deflect it is to attack the homework which was extraordinarily good, Chris.    MATTHEWS: Yes -- CRAMER: And I`ve worked with Becky for years and it was just -- I thought she came right back and had the goods and yet somehow in an -- a charged environment, the goods don`t matter as much as they should. MATTHEWS: Lawrence, you know, this -- I`m not going to defend anybody against anything generally. But in a situation like this, those moderators were in no position to shoot back. All the invective could come from one direction and they had to sit there like professionals and take it. So, anybody who thought it took balls to do what they did tonight is wrong. It`s easy to hit people sitting there doing their jobs who have no way to shoot back with the same kind of venom or personality -- let`s put it that way, that could be directed against them sitting there. O`DONNELL: Yes, and the -- and the surest bet you have in a Republican primary debate is to attack the media. Newt Gingrich showed that last time around. There`s -- nothing works better, nothing gets you a bigger cheer than doing that. And Trump was refuting something that was right there on his website. And he did use that phrase, calling Marco Rubio Mark Zuckerberg`s personal senator. It was all there. Look, Becky Quick, there`s another moment that Becky Quick had that I thought was really important. Becky Quick going one-on-one with Carly Fiorina over her performance at Hewlett-Packard. It seemed to me that, that really was the last word on Carly Fiorina at Hewlett-Packard. Becky Quick just -- I think wiped out Hewlett-Packard as any conceivable, relevant experience, positive experience for someone to become president of the United States. MATTHEWS: Well, here`s Christie getting in a final jab at the media. Let`s watch.    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, we -- CHRISTIE: Say that -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were just talking (INAUDIBLE) -- CHRISTIE: We have a government involved in fantasy football? We have -- wait a second. We have $19 trillion in debt. We have people out of work, we have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us and we`re talking about fantasy football? (APPLAUSE) Will you stop? Please just stop -- (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: OK, Steve, fire away.    SCHMIDT: Well, he couldn`t be more right about that. MATTHEWS: Yes, but it was right at the end -- (CROSSTALK) Of a two-hour debate, OK? -- SCHMIDT: Of course, right at the end of a two-hour debate, but the crowd loved it, it ate it up. He`s fundamentally right when you look at the problems that the country is facing, when you look at the challenges globally, we`re talking about fantasy football here. So, Chris Christie, I think you saw today for the first time in the campaign, you saw Chris Christie`s star power unleashed. STEELE: Yes -- SCHMIDT: You know, you saw why Chris Christie became a national phenomenon. And I think Chris Christie did himself a lot of good tonight. I think that before this is over, Chris Christie is going to get a hard second look by a lot of these Republican primary voters, probably in the state of New Hampshire. MATTHEWS: Are you telling me that Chris Christie has got a problem with free media? STEELE: Exactly --    MATTHEWS: This guy`s entire career was built up on the fact that he gave the hard shoulder to a caller on a call-in radio saying -- named Gail when he said none of your business, Gail. That made him -- STEELE: But not -- MATTHEWS: A media star -- SCHMIDT: When you -- when you hang -- MATTHEWS: He knows how to play the media -- (CROSSTALK) As good as anybody -- SCHMIDT: When you hang a fastball over the middle of the -- playing -- STEELE: No -- SCHMIDT: Chess, a guy like Chris Christie --    STEELE: Exactly -- SCHMIDT: Is putting it out into the -- STEELE: Every time -- SCHMIDT: Bleachers -- STEELE: Every time -- SCHMIDT: And he took his swing at the bat and he put it in the bleachers. MATTHEWS: And I think -- SCHMIDT: He`s probably mad at us anyway generally -- STEELE: But I think -- well, I was going -- SCHMIDT: Yes -- STEELE: To say, I think a key part of what Steve just said is true for Christie, because the reality that he`s now facing -- remember, his star power diminished when Trump got in the race. He --    MATTHEWS: Yes -- STEELE: Was the guy who was outside the box. As Trump`s power and influence -- MATTHEWS: His problem -- STEELE: Diminishes -- MATTHEWS: In gambling, he became Mr. Conehead -- (LAUGHTER) That was his problem -- CRAMER: No, but -- MATTHEWS: When the cones were put out there on the bridge and he said I wasn`t the guy that put the cones -- STEELE: But Chris -- MATTHEWS: Out there --    STEELE: That`s not a factor here, that`s not -- (CROSSTALK) No, I don`t think that`s been so much a factor as a lot of people want to make it out to be. I think a lot of the presidential momentum he had was dissipated by Donald Trump early on. And now tonight, I think he found a way to get some of that back. SCHMIDT: One of the most memorable lines in this debate with regard to the attacks on the media, Marco Rubio on Hillary Clinton. When he says the mainstream media celebrates Hillary Clinton`s performance at this Benghazi hearing, this is the great week of her campaign. But, in fact, communicating to that Republican audience, what we`ve learned out of that hearing is that she communicated to her family that week. What this was and then communicated something very different to the families of those murdered Americans and to the country as a whole. And Marco Rubio hit a homerun with that tonight for -- STEELE: Yes -- SCHMIDT: Republicans out across this country who will be voting in these early primary states. It won`t resonate with the national media, certainly won`t resonate with Democrats, but it will resonate with Republican voters in a rather profound way. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the need or the challenge of getting business news into a presidential debate. That was the challenge.    CRAMER: Yes, but it was -- MATTHEWS: It was -- it was attempt at force speeding. Let`s talk serious macro economics and they all found a way not really to do it. CRAMER: Dr. Carson -- he`s a doctor, right? MATTHEWS: Right, he`s a brain surgeon -- CRAMER: The biggest issue with -- right, the biggest issue right now in medicine is that the prices keep going up for drugs. We can`t afford the Hep-C -- MATTHEWS: Right -- CRAMER: Pill. The Hep-C pill cures people`s lives and bankrupts a nation. So, why isn`t it a fair game? Well, the answer is, well, you know what? That`s not what I`m here to talk about. Well, that`s the fundamental issue right now that is Medicare is on the line. Because it will be bankrupted by these great new drugs. But we want the drug companies to spend money and develop this. There -- look, this is so (INAUDIBLE), these are legitimate questions that should be asked by people who, you know -- who are running for president have to solve those issues. And they didn`t want to talk about that kind of stuff --    MATTHEWS: I agree there`s so much -- I mean, I need medicines, I use them, I`m diabetic. I got to tell you something, I feel for the people who don`t have a good healthcare program. CRAMER: Oh -- MATTHEWS: It`s unbelievable, the out of pocket cost that even people like me have to pay, and the regular person out there who doesn`t have a great income, modest income, retirement income, I don`t know how you handle it. Thanks for Medicare -- CRAMER: You changed it -- MATTHEWS: That`s all there is -- CRAMER: That`s where you have to ask for them -- MATTHEWS: These are really good questions -- CRAMER: The Medicare bargain question is a totally legitimate questions. When the drugs cost $85,000 -- SCHMIDT: Right -- CRAMER: For a pill -- SCHMIDT: I got to show you -- I got to show you one thing, when these advisors are back there with these candidates before this debate prepping for it.    Rule one, don`t get into a macroeconomic debate with Jim Cramer. (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) You know that`s right, I think -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You know what I think -- STEELE: I`ve got you a few times -- MATTHEWS: The greatest question that I don`t think -- I would have asked for like -- everybody has their own favorite questions. If we have another recession, having overused monetary policy to the point we have no interest rates right now. Having used fiscal policy with huge deficits, what do we do next time? what`s left in our tool kit? O`DONNELL: Chris, I can tell you what the answer would be --    MATTHEWS: What have you got in your tool kit Mr. Trump? -- That`s a great -- OK, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: The answer would be Chris Matthews, we won`t have another recession, we`re going to have a double digit economic growth when I am president. They wouldn`t go near it -- MATTHEWS: All right -- O`DONNELL: They would just tell you, it won`t -- MATTHEWS: I know -- O`DONNELL: Happen, we`re just going to have growth. MATTHEWS: Another shower -- (CROSSTALK) Another shower of BS. Anyway, thank you Jim Cramer and thank you Lawrence for warning me about what we`re up against here. (LAUGHTER)    Michael Steele, Steve Schmidt, much more coming up tonight here on MSNBC from Boulder, including the candidates themselves are coming here. This is "Hardball" The Place for Politics live from the -- can you believe it -- Republican presidential debate. (MUSIC PLAYING) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARCO RUBIO (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The democrats have the ultimate Super PAC. It is called the mainstream media. For every single day -- (AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING) And, I will tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she has sent e-mails to her family saying, "Hey, this attack of Benghazi was caused by Al Qaeda-like elements." She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And, yet the mainstream media is going around and saying, it was "The greatest week in Hillary Clinton`s campaign." It was the week she got exposed as a liar. (MUSIC PLAYING) (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    CARLY FIORINA, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is the height of hypocrisy to talk about being the first woman president when every single policy she espouses and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball live from the spin room, as I have said several times at University of Colorado, the site of tonight`s republican debate. We have shown you, of course, the big highlights from tonight. What is the front-page headlines in tomorrow`s newspapers? And, what did not we see tonight and where do the candidates go from here? I am joined now by three of the best journalists in the business. NBC`s Andrea Mitchell, "The Washington Post`s" Robert Costa and "Bloomberg Business Week`s" Josh Green. Let us listen now to Donald Trump, who is live right now in the building. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What is next for you after this? DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have another one in two weeks. And, I know one thing, we will have big crowds. Have a good time. A.J., how many people are here if I do not do it? (LAUGHING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You do bring everybody out as far as watching the debate and bring up issues that many other candidates do not bring up. What do you think it is that -- TRUMP: I bring up the right issues and I think it is one of the reasons Iam number one in the polls, because I bring up issues that people want to hear about, whether it is illegal immigration or whether it is trade or -- A lot of issues that people do not want to talk about, but they are very important. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: And, lastly, SNL next weekend. Are you ready?    TRUMP: Saturday Night Live, I am ready. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are you -- anybody going to -- who are you going to for advice? TRUMP: It is going to be a big fat surprise. (LAUGHING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The candidates really went after the moderators tonight. There have been a lot of personal attacks during this campaign. The candidates have given the moderators a lot of materials to work with. Do you think that maybe, you know, it is partly on you all? TRUMP: Well, if you look at the Hillary debate, that was all a soft. That was all softballs. And, our debate was much tougher. I mean I loved it. I had a great time. But, it was a much different debate than what the democrats had. (CROSSTALKS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: When you are giving them red meat to work with, do you think it has anything to do with it? TRUMP: I loved it. I mean I loved it, but it was certainly a lot different than what Hillary got. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you think anyone will say you faded tonight? TRUMP: There is no fade. That was no fade. That is for sure.    (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Andrea Mitchell, it seems like a lot of the people delivered their punches ahead of time. The punches clearly Jeb Bush was going to get Rubio and a couple of things were pretty clear ahead of time. And, one of the things was the Donald Trump was going to blame the media, because he said it was going to be an unfair debate before he even got in here today. And, now he is doing a nice little tour de force as he goes through the room there, shouting at everybody, telling us all that we are the bad guys. Your thought about the effectiveness of such a move? ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST, "ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS" PROGRAM: I think it is very effective in a republican primary. And , I think we have seen this before. Eight years ago, there was a particular debate with a live audience where they all went after the moderator. I think that, that works for republican candidate. And, it was not just Trump. It was others. I think the real missed opportunity tonight, Jeb Bush. This was his moment to stand up and show the donors, who have big doubts about him. MATTHEWS: Well, he is the one that tried to use the media. -- said that his chief rival Marco Rubio should quit his seat in the senate and stop taking free paychecks. And, he tried to jump on and double down and it killed him. JOSH GREEN, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT FOR BLOOMBERG: You do not telegraph your attacks. MATTHEWS: Yes. GREEN: You do not tip your pitches in baseball. You do not telegraph your attacks in politics. He walked right into a trap. Rubio knew it was coming. He was prepared for it. He had crisp answers and just as Trump did in the last debate shut Jeb down and it backfired. MATTHEWS: Just as Trump was totally ready for John Kasich. Why do these guys announced to the press the day before what they are going to do? ROBERT COSTA, POLITICAL WRITER AT "THE WASHINGTON POST": The Rubio-Bush exchange devastating. The other big moment, Trump and Kasich. The opening exchange. Because he drew Kasich out, got Kasich to get nailed on Lehman Brothers.    He also had Kasich say, I am proud of being a banker. And, Kasich was trying to be the truth teller coming in to this debate to rise in New Hampshire and Trump took him out. It is going to be very tough right now for Kasich coming out of this debate. Christy had a solid night. Rubio had a solid night. Where is the path for Kasich? MATTHEWS: OK. Let us watch Kasich now. We got a live report here. Go ahead, John Kasich. -- Well, do you have him there? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Governor what did you think of Governor Bush`s performance tonight? Did he do what he needed to keep -- JOHN KASICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did not even -- I do not pay any attention, really. That is for you to decide. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Governor Kasich, there is one thing that people talk about when they talk about you, and that is you are part of the establishment. Are you nor one of them -- GOV. KASICH: I have never been part of the establishment. I know how to get things done and work with the establishment to achieve things, but I have been a reformer all of my life. I mean how do you balance the federal budget? It was like the folks on the stage did not even recognize we had once done it. How do you go into Ohio and take an $8 billion hole and turn it into a surplus if you are not a reformer. I mean I know how to do these things and I know how to land the airplane. So, we will be fine. Thanks. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Thanks. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Thanks, governor. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Thanks, governor.    (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Nobody figured they got their job done in two hours. And, there is Donald Trump. He wanted less time and here he is trying to get the dessert here. MITCHELL: I got to tell you, that I think Ted Cruz had a hell of a night. And, that Ted Cruz -- Not only beating up on the media, defending the other candidates, but really playing to a Tea Party base. He was strong. You know, he is not a popular character among his colleagues, republican and democratic. MATTHEWS: Tell me about his beating skills, because he hit the IRS. He hit the fed. He said he is bringing back the gold standards. He looked like he was stealing Rand Paul`s pocketbook. I mean what did he have left? MITCHELL: But, you know, he had a great night. I think Marco Rubio had a big night. I think Ben Carson filled in some details and showed that he had prepared for this debate as he had not for others. MATTHEWS: Well, here is some economic policy for you -- Economic policy. Ted Cruz wants to bring back the gold standard. Jack Kemp, big night for him. Let us watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On Wall Street, the fed is doing great. It is driving up stock prices. Wall Street is doing great. You know, today, the top 1 percent earn a higher share of our income than any year since 1928. But, if you look at working men and women, if you look at a single mom buying groceries, she sees hamburger prices have gone up nearly 40 percent. She sees her cost of electricity going up. She sees her health insurance going up and lose money is one of the major problems. We need sound money. And, I think the fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy and simply be focused on sound money and monetary stability, ideally tied to gold. (END VIDEO CLIP)    MATTHEWS: Josh, very economic. He went through all the various erogenous zones of the right. You know, the concern about the IRS, saying it is not going to be -- they are not going be an IRS, he said, because you will not need the paper work. Number two, there is not going to be a fed because we are going to audit it to death. We are going to have a gold standard. We do not need any kind of economic and monetary thinking. It is going to be so simple. GREEN: There are two problems with that answer and two big overall problems with this debate. One, if you are the mom trying to buy hamburger, going back to the gold standard is not going to solve your problem. MATTHEWS: Right. He said it would. GREEN: It is not. And, the second problem is, you know, this is supposed to be a debate on jobs and the economy. If you are a businessman, who is turned in -- if you are an economic leader, a banker or whatever, what did you learn tonight? You learned that everybody is angry. You learned that Donald carries a gun. You learned that Jeb Bush is wanting his fantasy sports league and Ted Cruz wants to go back to the gold standard. MATTHEWS: Yes. GREEN: Business leaders want stability, predictability. They are happy about the budget deal -- MITCHELL: They are all like flat candidates, though. GREEN: Maybe. But, they are also realistic -- MATTHEWS: Let us all be honest about it.    GREEN: You know, the best line was Ben Carson who said, "Look, the government over regulates." That is something mainstream business people can get behind. The rest of the stuff is going to make people look at Hillary Clinton. MATTHEWS: OK. MITCHELL: But, I still cannot understand why Jeb Bush spoke about fantasy football. MATTHEWS: OK. (LAUGHING) MICTCHELL: Standing himself up for Chris Christy`s great political ad. MATTHEWS: OK. We are going to get some other candidates on right now. Thank you, Andrea, my pal. Thank you Andrea Mitchell, Robert Costa of "The Washington Post," Josh Green of "Bloomberg". Still ahead, I speak with the candidates just off the debate stage tonight including Senator Rand Paul. He is coming. I can see him right now. You are watching us live from the University of Colorado, Boulder. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC PLAYING)    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SENATOR RAND PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now on the floor of the congress, the Washington establishment from both parties puts forward a bill that will explode the deficit. It allows President Obama to borrow unlimited amounts of money. I will stand firm. I will spend every ounce of energy to stop it. I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it. And, I ask everyone in America to call congress tomorrow and say, "Enough is enough. No more debt." (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: We are back to the spin room. We are in the spin right now. And, that was Rand Paul in tonight`s republican presidential debate, promising to stop the bipartisan budget bill that passed the house today. Senator Rand Paul joins us now. Senator, it looks to me like you put all these pieces together. More money on defense, more money on domestic, some moving around, tricky stuff with entitlements. That seems like the way the government has operated for about a hundred years now. SENATOR PAUL: I tell people all the time, it is the unholy alliance that is bankrupting our country. Republicans say, "Oh, it is democrats." Democrats say, "Oh, it is republicans." It is both parties that are bankrupting the country. The right wants more money for the military. The left wants more money for domestic. We do not have any of that money, so they are willing to borrow it. The extraordinary thing about raising the debt ceiling is they are going to raise it without any limits. This is extraordinary. Usually, we say we are going to raise it $500 billion. MATTHEWS: Right. SENATOR PAUL: We are raising whatever is spent between now and March 2017. This is irresponsible. That is something that -- I do not really want to be part of a government that is not going to have any rules about what we spend.    MATTHEWS: The Republican Party that believed what you just said goes back 20 or 30 years. We had people like Jerry Ford, Bob Dole, who really were fiscal hawks. What happened today? SENATOR PAUL: There were very few fiscal conservatives, and the one line I did not get out tonight that I would have like to gotten out was, "I am the only fiscal conservative on the stage, because I am willing to see spending cut across the board, or at least hold the line across the board for military and for domestic spending." Because I think the country is weaker when we borrow a million dollars a minute. MATTHEWS: Can we have a postcard tax system that is so simple that you could fill out a postcard and everybody goes home? SENATOR PAUL: That is what my tax plan is. It is one rate, 14.5 percent for everybody. MATTHEWS: A postcard. No paper work. This is just a postcard. You check a couple of numbers, and you are home. SENATOR PAUL: Actually, mine is different than most of the rest of the republicans that I get rid of the payroll tax also. So, most of the problem politically in passing a flat tax is democrats say, "Well, what does it do for people?" Poor people say, "I do not want to vote for it, it is for rich people." But in my flat tax, you will actually get rid of the payroll tax so the working class will get a significant tax cut with my plan. MATTHEWS: What did you make of Cruz`s killing approach to your things today. You are a libertarian. Everybody knows you and your dad are libertarians. You have been skeptical about the role played by the federal reserve system in our country. He says he wants to audit it. Then he said, he wants to eliminate the IRS. Then he said he wants to do the gold standard. It sounds like you, guys. It sounds like the Paul father and son team. SENATOR PAUL: On economic issues we have some similarities. But on whether -- MATTHEWS: Cruz -- Cruz agrees with you. SENATOR PAUL: Yes. But whether or not we are fiscal conservatives, he is unwilling to look at defense spending. We is one of those who will vote for increasing defense spending by $200 billion without any offsetting cuts. I will not do that, because I think that is fiscally irresponsible. So, I am the only real fiscal conservative because I am willing to look at spending across the board.    MATTHEWS: It seems like this -- I can only imagine being a candidate and trying to keep control of even the intellectual reality of this campaign. Because what it seems to be is a battle of who can be the furthest removed from government functioning, the furthest removed from the details and the requirements of the government. If you are a preacher -- I am sorry. A neurosurgeon or you a tycoon in Manhattan. If you are a Fiorina, a former executive, you can find yourself a lot of distance from anything to do with government. You look attractive. You have been a U.S. senator. Your father was a congressman for years. I think that seems to be a problem with your party. SENATOR PAUL: I think one of the ways we get to sort of intellectual truth or an intellectual debate of what is the best way to run a country or the best direction is you have to run through hours and hours and hours to get little snippets of truth, similar with the debate. The debate a lot of times does not bring much forward, but they will be little snippets of truth from that debate that I think can honestly help people make a decision. That is also what we need to continue to have debates to get that information out. MATTHEWS: So, you think debate was useful. SENATOR PAUL: Somehow, yes. MATTHEWS: Did you like the attacks of the media tonight? SENATOR PAUL: You know -- MATTHEWS: You always liked them. SENATOR PAUL: I thought some of the questions like asking whether Donald Trump was moral enough. Look, I have been a big critic of Donald Trump, whether or not he is moral enough to be president, I thought that was a little bit of -- trick question. MATTHEWS: Yes. Howard Dean is the man of the democratic left. He blamed the media for being a PAC attacking Hillary on e-mail. Later on tonight, I watch you guys attack the media for being a bunch of left wing jack holes.    SENATOR PAUL: You guys are easy -- MATTHEWS: You can all be true. SENATOR PAUL: You are an easy target sometimes. MATTHEWS: Thank you. All right. Senator Rand Paul, thank you very much. SENATOR PAUL: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Much more from the spin room here in Boulder coming up ahead including Ohio Governor John Kasich. We will have the frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson tonight. This is "Hardball, The Place of Politics." The move for politics live from the republicans presidential debate in Colorado. (MUSIC PLAYING) GOV. KASICH: My great concern is that we are on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone, who cannot do this job. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. KASICH: Folks, we got to wake up. We cannot elect somebody that does not know how to do the job.    (MUSIC PLAYING) (END VIDEO CLIP) (MUSIC PLAYING) MATTHEWS: We are back live in the spin room from the University of Colorado. And, Ohio Governor John Kasich has gained to join us. Thank you, governor. GOV. KASICH: You are welcome. MATTHEWS: I watched you out there. You landed that sandy punch on Donald Trump and he came back like a wham bat and hit you and Lehman Brothers. GOV. KASICH: Well, that Lehman Brothers -- you know, if I had bankrupted Lehman Brothers from a two-man office in Columbus, Ohio, I should be poked in our president, Chris. Look. Tonight, was a chance for me to talk about the end of fantasy. You know, we are going to get rid of Medicaid and Medicare and replace it with some tax credit or something -- or we are going to deport 10 or 11 million Americans and break up families. Or we got these tax schemes and you know I have always been a tax cutter. But, a tax scheme is going to cause us trillions. I mean it is ridiculous. MATTHEWS: Where did they get these things? Somebody out there -- it is Dr. Carson who got the tighting plan -- GOV. KASICH: Well, he is saying, you know -- MATTHEWS: -- It is a Jewish law hanged to the temple.    GOV. KASICH: Look, I have a tax cut plan. I got a balance budget plan. I did it in D.C. as you know when I was a Chairman of the budget committee. MATTHEWS: Right. GOV. KASICH: I turned Ohio around with a great team of people. I did not do it alone. I can go back and take a team and fix a country. MATTHEWS: I do not know any republicans who -- my dad was a republican, loved the party`s philosophy. But when he turned 65, he also loved Medicare, and I do not know how. I think -- Who are these republicans out there, who want to get rid of medical coverage for themselves after they retire? GOV. KASICH: I do not understand it. That is why I have been saying these things. And, you might notice that I also talked about Medicaid, where we took the growth from 10 percent to 2.5 percent without taking one person off the rolls or cutting any benefits. We modernized the program. We can do the same kinds of things in Medicare that we have done in Medicaid and stabilize the program. MATTHEWS: Well, what about the 11 million? Do you believe your constituents want to get rid of the 11 million people here who came here illegally? GOV. KASICH: You know they are not going to be deported. MATTHEWS: Well, then explain to me -- GOV. KASICH: How would you even do it? MATTHEWS: Well that is what I am asking about it. You or somebody said you cannot separate them from their kids. It would be like hellacious to watch, like that kid being pulled out of his chair at school. I mean -- GOV. KASICH: How did we get there? I do not know.    MATTHEWS: You are running in political party you have done well in and yet that political is buying all these wild plans. GOV. KASICH: I am not sure that they are, and we will see. I am going to be traveling a lot in the next few days. And, I do not think that I am going to get anything other than people saying, "Thank goodness somebody stood up and begin saying what is real and what is not?" Look, and if they do not, I got to serve my country. I cannot let somebody be elected president, who I think cannot do the job. MATTHEWS: What do you do when you see a wild four-corner pander and somebody says I am getting rid of the IRS. I am getting rid of the IRS. I am going to audit the fed reserve. I mean these are lines aimed directly at the audience. GOV. KASICH: Well, I will tell you. The problem with auditing the fed is they want to turn the fed over to congress. MATTHEWS: Yes. GOV. KASICH: I mean are you kidding me? Let congress print the money? MATTHEWS: Yes, that would be great. (CROSSTALK) GOV. KASICH: I am not crazy. MATTHEWS: Now, clearly, it was a smart move to keep it independent. But, I am just wondering what you think when the fantasy game -- they talked fantasy football tonight. When is fantasy politics going to end and people are going to say, "We got a November date with Hillary Clinton and she is going to be tough." GOV. KASICH: She will be tough but she can be defeated. And, I think, Chris, the problem with Hillary, she is brittle. I mean she does not exude any warmth. There is no -- you know, it is just sort of boring and it is a measuring of which group likes me and which group does not. Look, you know this. The democrats worry about me more as a nominee than anybody else in the party, as I get to the primary.    MATTHEWS: But they also like you more, which could kill you. They do worry about you, because they think you will appeal to the middle. GOV. KASICH: Well, I mean the fact is that we want everybody to rise. I am a fiscal conservative -- I am a conservative. I mean we cut taxes. We balance budgets. We tame regulations; but you know, we also want people who live in the shadows to have an opportunity and a life. That is like Reagan. MATTHEWS: Will Hillary carry Ohio if you are not the nominee? GOV. KASICH: I would not say that. We will have to see who the nominee is, but it has to be somebody who is a uniter. MATHTHES: And, who is that besides you? GOV. KASICH: I will let you decide. That is why you make all this money. MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you for that and the less personal the better here. Everybody else is attacking the media. John Kasich. GOV. KASICH: Thanks. MATTHEWS: One minute more? OK, let us talk about tonight. You took on Trump. You targeted him. GOV. KASICH: No. I really did not. I talked about all these programs, whether it is a tax scheme -- MATTHEWS: The moderators tried to get you to name names and you would not. But, you are talking about 11 million --    GOV. KASICH: Yes. MATTHEWS: You are talking about the guy who wants to get rid of the Medicare, that is Carson. GOV. KASICH: Well, that is not Trump -- It is Carson. The tax schemes. MATTHEWS: And, you are talking about the 11 million. That is Trump. GOV. KASICH: Tax schemes, you know, yes. That would be some of them. MATTHEWS: Why did not you call them by name? GOV. KASICH: I wanted to be polite. Yes. (LAUGHING) MATTHEWS: Really? GOV. KASICH: I figured you -- Look, I got to leave a little mystery out there for you guys to figure out. MATTHEWS: OK. It is great to have you on.    GOV. KASICH: Thanks, Chris. Thank you very much. MATTHEWS: Governor Kasich, a real executive from a real state. And, by the way, decides most of these elections. Anyway, Ohio, it is 11:00 P.M. in the east right and 9:00 P.M. here in Colorado, where the republican candidates wrapped up their third debate in the past hour. The focus was the economy, but the biggest target simply was the media. 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.>