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

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 2/2/2016

Guests: Carol Lee, Paul Singer, Robert Costa, Scot Lehigh, Hillary Clinton

Show: HARDBALL Date: February 2, 2016 Guest: Carol Lee, Paul Singer, Robert Costa, Scot Lehigh, Hillary Clinton

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We just did a recent filing, and I would be probably having spent now maybe $14 million, $15 million.

But I`m self-funding. And I must tell you, I don`t know that enough people appreciate -- I`m self-funding any way, whether they appreciate it or not. So I won`t be influenced by the lobbies, and you know, et cetera, et cetera.

But I don`t know -- I was talking to Scott about this before. I don`t know that it`s appreciated really by the voters. I`m the only one on both sides that`s self-funding. I`m putting up my own money.

And I don`t know that the voters appreciate it. When they go in to vote, I don`t think they say, you know, I`m going to vote for Trump because he`s self-funding and he`s not going to be influenced by lobbies and special interests, et cetera.

QUESTION: Are you going to do more to tell them?

TRUMP: I`m going to tell them, but I tell them, and sometimes they like it, but I don`t think it`s something they vote for, which is a shame because it`s actually a very big thing. You understand that. It`s a very big thing. It`s a very big element. If you can have somebody that can actually self-fund and not be influenced by bad decisions, by people that are looking for themselves or looking for the company or country they represent that`s a real positive.

QUESTION: You talk about...

TRUMP: I just -- but I just don`t know -- I just don`t know whether or not the voters appreciate it.

QUESTION: You talk about self-funding, but you`ve received...


QUESTION: This is the first time that you`ve run. What did you learn in Iowa that you`re going to try and apply down the line?

TRUMP: I`ve learned that they`re great people. I really -- I thought the people in Iowa were fantastic. I think they`re just great people.

And you know, obviously, I was second. I had the largest vote-getting in the history of a Republican primary except for one, and I brought many of those extra people in. And they also had, as you know, the largest turnout in the history of Republican primaries in terms of Iowa by far. Not even close. I think it was, like, 50,000 or 60,000 more than they`ve ever had before.

So you know, I just -- I learned that they are terrific people in Iowa.


QUESTION: Mr. Trump, do you worry...


TRUMP: Yes, I look forward to that, yes.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump, you talk about self...


QUESTION: ... going after Marco Rubio. And also...

TRUMP: Who? Am I going after who?

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) spend more time going after Rubio?

TRUMP: Who said that?

QUESTION: No, I said, Do you?

TRUMP: Oh. No, I don`t think so. No, I have a very good relationship with Marco. I like him. I don`t see that necessarily. I mean...

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) exit polling shows that (INAUDIBLE) who decided early tended to go with you. But for folks who decided later in the process...

TRUMP: You`re talking about in Iowa?


TRUMP: Well, that could have been with the debate. I think it could have been the debate. I think some people were disappointed that I didn`t go in the debate.

If I had it to do it again, I would have done the exact same thing. And the reason is, you know why? Because I raised $6 million for the vets in one hour. So if I took a second place instead of a first place and could give the vets $6 million, I`ll do that all day long.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump, do you worry that you banked too...


QUESTION: But do you worry that you -- do you worry that you banked too much...

TRUMP: Excuse me. Behind?

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) spending more on ads than on the ground game?

TRUMP: On what?

QUESTION: On the ground...


TRUMP: Well, we`re going to be spending money. We`re going to be spending a lot of money. We`ll be spending money on ads and we`ll be spending money on the ground game. Yes?

QUESTION: Do you worry that you banked too much on your own celebrity and the crowds in a place like Iowa? And (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I can`t help it. Whether I`m celebrity -- I mean, this is me.

QUESTION: But too much focus on the celebrity and not enough focus on the ground game?

TRUMP: Look, I think most people say I did a great job in Iowa. I came in second. I spent far less than anybody else. And had I known I was going to be liked as much as I am in Iowa -- and people did like me, you will understand that -- I would have maybe spent a little bit more and I would have been there a little bit more and maybe I would have won it.

But you know, I`m very happy with it. I have seven delegates, right, you know, at the top. You look at other people, in all fairness, senators, governors -- they`re -- you know, they`re way down. When I have 25 percent or 26 percent, and they have 1 percent, hey -- and but you people don`t mention them.

QUESTION: Is it time for someone to drop out?


TRUMP: But the one thing is you people don`t mention them.

QUESTION: But is it time...

TRUMP: You don`t mention all of the other names. Now, you mentioned the person, Marco, good guy. But he came in third. And they make it sound like he had a victory but I didn`t. But I came in second.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump...

TRUMP: And I was -- excuse me . I was -- I started off on 17th. I was 17th. When I first started, I had nothing. And then I inched my way up, went pretty rapidly, actually, and now I`m leading everything, and I did OK in Iowa, pretty good in Iowa. Yes?

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) what your campaign is doing. You`re not going to change a thing. Is that right?

TRUMP: Well, I think we`re going to have great success here. I think it`s a very much different kind of a process. This isn`t a caucusing process. This is much different. This is a normal voting process. The -- Iowa is, you know, a much different kind of a thing. Yes/

QUESTION: Mr. Trump (INAUDIBLE) attack your character, citing the way you`ve treated people. He said -- he spoke personally that one day you were his friend, and the next day, you were insulting him. What do you say about that?

TRUMP: Well, he insulted me. I mean, he started with the insults and -- as you know. And he insulted Ben Carson by doing what he did to Ben Carson. That was a disgrace. And he insulted the people of Iowa by doing a "voter violation" form that nobody`s even seen before, which was disgraceful. So no, no. He`s -- he`s a man of himself.



TRUMP: No, I`m going. I have thousands of people going. No, but we don`t have that in mind.


TRUMP: I like -- I like Mike Huckabee, but no, I don`t think he`s even going to be there.


TRUMP: I did. I did. No, I like him. Well, he`s left the race. I mean, so you know, I feel pretty good about that. He`s a good man. Yes?

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) in Exeter? And do you plan to change that at all, seeing as the people of New Hampshire (INAUDIBLE) your competitors are holding one or two a day?

TRUMP: Well, we`re adding some and we`re adding them pretty rapidly.


TRUMP: Mark?

QUESTION: Two questions. One, who do you see now in the wake of Iowa as your competitors for the nomination?

TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) Mark, you never know. I mean, they`re talking about some people that are down at 2 and 3 and they could emerge. I don`t think they will, but people in your world are saying they possibly could. So I don`t really see one or two. I see -- you know, there could be a number.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) comfortable as you seem to be finishing second in Iowa, finishing second here?

TRUMP: I`d love to finish first. You know, again, it would still not be horrible because you`re competing against a lot of very talented people that have been politicians all their lives. I`ve been a politician for six months. But no, I`d love to finish first.


TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) horrible. But you know, it wouldn`t be the worst thing in the world. I can think of worse things, but I`d like to finish first. I think we will finish first. I would like to finish first.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump, you talk about self-funding your campaign...


QUESTION: ... but you`ve received...

TRUMP: Only -- only -- just so you understand. I`m totally self-funding my campaign, other than small donations because people send in small donations for $10, $10, $20...


QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) $6.5 million in small donations, right?

TRUMP: Well, no, that -- that`s merchandise sales. That`s a lot of...


QUESTION: No, no. I believe -- as far as the donations that you`ve received to your campaign that aren`t from the loans you`ve made to the campaign.

TRUMP: It`s a small amount of money compared to what I`ve put in.

QUESTION: It`s a third of what...

TRUMP: It`s very hard, when somebody sends in a check for $17.50 and $9 and $200 -- very hard to send that money back.

QUESTION: But what does that say to those people who are sending you their hard-earned money when you say, I`m a self-funding my campaign...


TRUMP: ... and I always make the preference. I always make a reference to that, and I do it every time. OK. Yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Trump...


TRUMP: Well, he`s somebody that I respect and I`ve always liked. And he`s very, very respected throughout the country, but he`s very respected here. And everybody wanted his endorsement, and I`m very honored that he`s giving it to me, and he`s going to give it to me on the stage.


QUESTION: ... are slightly more moderate than yours. He`s for abortion rights. He -- as you know, Senator Brown, for a ban on assault weapons. You`re very much not for those things, and you`ve been vocal about that. Do you think that...

TRUMP: That happens with endorsements. No, that happens with endorsements. That`s pretty common with endorsements.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump, a lot of your supporters here said they were not disappointed (INAUDIBLE)


QUESTION: Can you tell us (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Well, I probably had a tinge because a poll came out, you know, a few days before, that said I was about 5 points up. So maybe there was a tinge.

And again, it may have been the debate, which would have set records if I did it. So I would have liked that. But the fact is, it could have been the debate. Maybe it is, maybe it isn`t. But I would have done it exactly the same way because I raised -- Scott, we raised -- in one hour, I raised $6 million for the vets, and I would never, ever give that up to go between first and second in Iowa. It wouldn`t be worth it. So thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump, can you give us your take on the state of the Democratic race and Secretary Clinton`s e-mail situation.

TRUMP: I think her e-mail situation is very serious. I have a feeling she`s being protected by the Democrats because it just looks to be more serious than anybody that I`ve seen, including General Petraeus. If you watch and study and read about various lawyers that really -- you know, that`s what they do, they really feel that she`s in grave danger and what she`s done is against the law -- not just against rules, it`s against the law.

I just don`t know what`s going to happen because I don`t know whether or not the Democrats, Bob, are going to protect her.


TRUMP: Is that OK?

QUESTION: Any thoughts on the Democratic race or the tight race in Iowa?

TRUMP: I never saw a race where they`re flipping coins.


TRUMP: I mean, they`re flipping coins. What kind of a race is that? It`s ridiculous. I thought -- I thought it was terrible. I mean, you call it a tie, but to flip coins and say, OK, you`re going to get this district, we`re going to flip a coin?


QUESTION: Is Senator Cruz running a dirty campaign?

TRUMP: I don`t know. I can`t tell you yet. I think he certainly was dirty. What he did to Ben Carson was terrible. I think what he did, the "voter violation" form -- I thought that was terrible, actually. I thought it was terrible.

And you know, when they said that Ben Carson is out of the race and come vote for him, I thought that was terrible.

OK? Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you.


TRUMP: It`s a long ways away. We`ll see.

QUESTION: What`s the closing argument (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: You watch.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: That`s Donald Trump up in Milford, New Hampshire, today in his first appearance since last night`s second place finish in Iowa.

Well, good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

All the action tonight is up in the "Live free or die" state, now the center of the political universe. Bernie Sanders is holding a rally in Claremont. Marco Rubio`s in Exeter tonight after his third place showing in Iowa. Bill Clinton is in Laconia. Jeb Bush is holding a town hall in Hanover. Donald Trump is about to hold a rally in Milford. And Hillary Clinton is holding an event on the New Hampshire seacoast out at Hampton.

We begin tonight with my interview with Secretary Hillary Clinton. I spoke to the Democratic front-runner earlier today from Nashua after she eked out that dramatic victory in Iowa.


MATTHEWS: Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us. It was quite a night last night...


MATTHEWS: ... and I was taken with your moment of candor there before the cameras when you said -- you had a sigh of relief. Tell us about that sigh of relief...

CLINTON: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: ... and what it meant to you.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, Chris, it meant the world to me. As we all remember, I was not successful in Iowa last time, and I know how hard that caucus process is. I`m so proud of our organization, our volunteers, all my supporters.

Everybody said if there were a big turnout, that would advantage Senator Sanders. There was a big turnout, and we won. And now I`m in New Hampshire, looking forward to the primary next Tuesday, and you know, continuing to make my case in this contest of ideas between me and the senator.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, "The New York Times" ran this story this morning that you were disappointed, and I think it`s possible to be both disappointed and relieved. You could have been disappointed at 9:00 o`clock but very relieved at 11:00 o`clock. I mean, the times change during the course as the results coming in.

Are both those possible, you thought you could have done better with your field operation, but you`re also glad you came out ahead?

CLINTON: Look, Chris, I really believe that during the last few weeks leading up to the caucus, I could feel the energy building. You know, it`s a tough process, and what I was seeing on the ground as people were telling me they were changing their minds, that they were supporting me, what my organizers were reporting was all consistent that it was going to be close, but if we did our work -- and we did, -- we would win.

So I was thrilled by winning and getting that boost out of Iowa here in New Hampshire, where I am in Senator Sanders`s back yard. As you know...


CLINTON: ... as a political expert of your many years, that New Hampshire votes for neighbors. And so I have to really get out there, make my case, which I intend to do this week.

MATTHEWS: I just love the way you snuck that in. It`s his back yard. Therefore, he has an advantage geographically, and we shouldn`t put too much stock into it.

But let me ask you about this, because I`m looking at these polls. There`s a range in the polling over the last couple weeks in New Hampshire -- and it is his back yard. Look at the map. It`s Vermont and New Hampshire right next to each other, twin there.

Between 6 and 33 points, he`s got a lead on you up there, and I wonder how much ground you can make in a week because we only got a week now.

CLINTON: I feel really good about my campaign in New Hampshire. And I remember getting off the plane in New Hampshire after the Iowa caucuses last time, where I did not win, and I was way behind going into what was then just five days before the primary.

And the work that was done on my behalf, the people who came out to support me, the incredible excitement -- I saw that today in Nashua. I got here, it was amazing, Chris, the level of enthusiasm, people who were with me before, people who were with President Obama in `08, everybody working so hard to support me to get to that primary, to do everything we possibly can.

We`re not leaving anything on the ground. We`re moving forward. And I think we`ll do well.

MATTHEWS: You know, I think everybody should have been impressed -- maybe I wasn`t as impressed as I should have been, but everybody should have been about the way you handled New Hampshire last time around. You came off the loss in Iowa.

You went out there, and you would stand there -- it was like Bill Clinton staying there until the last dog died. You were out there on that arena. I remember you standing in a -- I think it was a fieldhouse, and you went on and on and on. It went on for five hours. It was incredible. It was a marathon, answering every single question of everyone in that room. It really was a physical -- a marathon.

CLINTON: It was.

MATTHEWS: Are you going to try to match that performance this time, that kind of "I can do this" thing?

CLINTON: I`m going to do everything I can to get out there, to meet with folks here, to answer their questions. I`m really happy we`ve got a forum on CNN tomorrow night. We`ve got your MSNBC debate on Thursday night, which will give us a chance to reach a larger audience.

But I`m going to be there day after day between now and Tuesday. I respect this primary process. I know how seriously people take it. And I just want them to understand what I`m offering, what I believe we can do.

You know, ideas that sound good on paper but can`t create results for people are just that, good ideas on paper. I have a track record of producing results. I know how to do all parts of this job. Because we`re going to be voting for both a president and a commander-in-chief.

And in New Hampshire, those two sides of this incredibly difficult job are really joined together. And I feel good about the opportunity I`ll have to get out, meet with Granite Staters, make my case, and you know, I`m going to do everything possible to get them to support me next Tuesday.

MATTHEWS: I know you`ve been saying nice things about your only opponent now. It`s really a battle -- since Martin O`Malley, Governor O`Malley has withdrawn, it`s a two-person race.


MATTHEWS: The only person -- and I`m going to say this bluntly. The only person between a confirmed socialist who`s calling for political revolution in this country winning the nomination of the Democratic Party, which has always been more moderate than that, is you.

So when you saw that rally last night, the young people all around Senator Sanders, when he yelled "revolution" out there, and they all applauded like mad, do you think that`s something that is going to help in a general election, or are we looking at what we used to call in the `60s an NDC campaign, "November doesn`t count"? We just want to win the party, we don`t care about the general.

You seem to be focused on the general. How do you beat a person who`s coming along in the primaries, however, who`s saying, I`m going to give you all the things you want, free tuition, more Social Security benefits without an increase in your taxes, health care from birth to death, all government paid. How do you compete with a revolution of promises, really?

CLINTON: Well, firs, let me say I am thrilled, too, that we`ve got young people getting active in the campaign on the Democratic side. I was very proud of the many, many young people working for me, volunteering for me, voting, caucusing for me in Iowa. And the ones I have here in New Hampshire, I`m just so impressed with. So that`s a net good, no matter what.

I do think that we have an obligation to keep people focused on what`s at stake in this election. And you got close to saying it, Chris. We can`t let the Republicans rip away the progress we`ve made. We can`t let them go back to trickle-down economics, repeal the Affordable Care Act. We can`t let them stack the Supreme Court for another generation against common sense kind of changes that we need.

We`ve got to get back to the middle. We`ve got to get back to the big center. We`ve got to get back to solving problems. That`s how we make progress in America.

I am proud to be in a line of Democratic presidents who just got in there and fought it out, who got civil rights, who got an economy producing high incomes, who got, finally, the Affordable Care Act, something we`ve been fighting for since Harry Truman.

I know how hard this is. And I totally appreciate how exciting it can be to be involved in a campaign that really just puts out these great big ideas. But I want folks to stop and think, no matter what age you are, OK, we agree on getting the economy going. We agree on raising incomes. We agree on combating climate change. We agree on universal coverage.

Who has the track record? Who`s gotten the results? Who can actually produce the kind of change you want for yourself and your family and for our country?

So I`m very energized about this because I like a contest of ideas. That`s what politics should be about. We`re going to be talking about and arguing about issues on our side. They`re going to keep insulting each other on the Republican side. But the goal for any sensible American has to be, do not turn the White House over to the Republicans in November. Do not turn the Supreme Court further over to their nominees. We can`t let that happen.

MATTHEWS: Well, of course, I think you`re offering a lesson in civics, and I wonder if we can do that in a couple weeks now. Look, the history of the Democratic Party, your party, not Bernie Sanders`s -- he`s not a Democratic Party member. Your party has produced the New Deal. It produced -- the progressive income tax came from the Democrats, from Wilson. Social Security, the greatest anti-poverty program ever, came from Roosevelt. And Harry Truman started the fight for health care and civil rights and all these good things that led to the Affordable Care Act.

But in every case, you had to battle Republicans who voted against it to the last person. And it`s always been a tough fight. And you need 60 votes in the Senate. You need 200 -- what is it, 218 in the House. You need these votes.

CLINTON: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: And if you don`t have them, nothing gets done.

CLINTON: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Do the Bernie people need to be taught -- not him, he won`t be taught. Can the kids behind him need to be told, This is how it works in our system? You can call for revolution, but it ain`t going to happen. There isn`t going to be a revolution. There`s going to be an election, an inauguration, and then there`s going to be a Congress sitting with you you`ve got to do business with, no matter who gets elected.


MATTHEWS: Revolution sounds like a pass, like you don`t have to worry about logic anymore. Just, I`m going to have a revolution and pay for everything.

CLINTON: Well, you know, where I come out on this is, I don`t think our country or the American people can wait.

I don`t think they can wait for better jobs with rising incomes, getting prescription drug costs down. I think people want to vote for somebody who is going to get in there on the first day, knows how to do the job, is prepared to do the job and gets to work.

And I will give everything I have got to make sure that we preserve the progress we have made, because you`re right. It is hard-fought. Our system is set up to make it difficult, you know, checks and balances, separation of powers.

You know, our founders knew that, if we were going to survive as the great democracy that they were creating, we had to have a system that kept the passions at bay. We had to have people who were willing to roll up their sleeves and compromise. We couldn`t have ideologues who were just hurling their rhetoric back and forth.

We had to actually produce results. That hasn`t changed since George Washington. We have got to produce results now, because a democracy is a fragile organism, Chris. People have to believe they have a stake in it, that their voices count, that their votes count.

But then they have got to see results from their investment in our democracy. Our democracy has to work better. Our economy has to work better. Our politics has to work better. That`s what I know how to do, and that`s what we have to get done in this election.

MATTHEWS: Madam Secretary, unofficially, not on behalf of MSNBC or NBC, congratulations on last night and your much-deserved relief.

CLINTON: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And break a leg on Thursday night, even if you`re the only one in the chair.


MATTHEWS: Thank you for joining us today.

CLINTON: I`m going to be there.


MATTHEWS: You said it. I believe you.

CLINTON: Thanks, Chris. Thanks a lot. Take care.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. Thank you.

CLINTON: I`ll be there. Bye-bye.


MATTHEWS: Well, coming up, we`re waiting for Donald Trump to take the stage at a rally in Milford, New Hampshire. It comes after his surprising second-place visit -- finish out in Iowa. What`s he going to say and do tonight to get back in the saddle? He is, after all, the man on horseback. We are going to find out any minute now.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: I`ll be hitting the road and heading to New Hampshire pretty soon, like tomorrow morning. I will be anchoring the 3:00 p.m. Eastern hour tomorrow here on MSNBC, as well as a special edition of HARDBALL live from the live free or die state tomorrow night, 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Join me as we count down the final days to the New Hampshire primary.

And I`ll be right back.


We continue to watch for Donald Trump to take the stage at that rally up in New Hampshire. In a New York minute, his momentum has been broken, however. He built his campaign on winning. That`s the word, an unstoppable power in the polls. Well, last night, he lost. The polls were wrong. They said he would win. He didn`t.

Iowa winner Ted Cruz should get strength heading into New Hampshire based on that victory out there. And Marco Rubio may be the establishment`s only hope coming here in New Hampshire next Tuesday.

But he has got a phalanx of establishment politicians, Republicans, to face in New Hampshire, including Chris Christie, who has still got his ego up there. Jeb Bush is hanging in there. And, of course, John Kasich, who has been living in New Hampshire for weeks now.

NBC`s Katy Tur is at the Trump event in Milford, New Hampshire.

Katy, that was a different Donald Trump, and you should know. How did you describe -- how would you describe that somewhat humbled figure we just saw?

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the press conference just now, what we saw is Donald Trump really doing his best to spin the headlines that he is a loser and also tamp down the expectation that he should have won Iowa.

I think we have seen him make giant strides as a candidate over this past seven months. Where we would have seen him get angry, today, he was gracious in the loss. He thanked the people of Iowa again. He didn`t take the opportunity to attack Marco Rubio.

We saw him grow. We saw him admit that he maybe should have been at that debate last week, but instead of saying he would have done it differently, he stood by his guns. He said he wouldn`t have changed a thing, and he was happy that he raised $6 million for vets.

So, I think this is a very different candidate. I think this is a candidate that realizes that that loss hurt him, but he`s not one that is ready to get out of this race. I think what we saw here tonight is somebody who is determined to keep going for as long as he can.

MATTHEWS: Well, I think it`s fair, without putting too much pressure on the guy, that he has to win in New Hampshire. I mean, he`s been up by 20- some points. He may not be up that much by now, but if he loses New Hampshire after losing Iowa, I don`t see the glow of victory coming.

TUR: I think you`re absolutely right. I think he`s up 18 points in New Hampshire right now. I think he`s been doing really well here. I think he has banked a lot on this state.

He seems to have support here that runs deep. His crowds here are larger than anywhere else. The lines are longer. The people seem to like him more. It`s more in line with his personality than Iowa was. This is where Donald Trump needs to make a stand.

And if he does not, it could be essentially his Waterloo. It could be his undoing, because going down to South Carolina, where the evangelical support runs deep, that`s a place that Ted Cruz could really do well again, as he did in Iowa.

Donald Trump, of course, is leading there, but now we have to question a lot of this polling, as we saw in Iowa, because he was leading in the last few minutes, as to how reliable it can be. But I think New Hampshire is a place where they do hope that they`re going to do well.

I asked them if there was anything they want to change after Iowa, any mistakes that they made after Iowa. He said that there were no mistakes. I asked about any retail politicking to do here, meeting with voters one- on-one, instead of these big rallies. He said there would be, but we don`t have anything on the schedule for that right now.

It doesn`t seem like they have a change of strategy for this state. They certainly are banking on this cult of personality, this ability for him to draw these crowds. But we are seeing more volunteers here tonight. We`re seeing more volunteers than we saw in Iowa. We`re seeing larger crowds.

And I will say that when I have talked to supporters here in New Hampshire over the past seven months now, Chris, they seem to have a stronger feeling for Donald Trump than we were getting in Iowa. Same thing in South Carolina, though.


TUR: His support out there seems to run pretty deep as well. But I think you`re right. I think New Hampshire is a place where he has no choice but to do well. If he doesn`t do well here, I`m not sure what the path out of here could be for him.

I think the South is for him at the moment, but it certainly could go very easily to someone like Ted Cruz.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I would think make America great again is going to sell very well in the live free or die state of New Hampshire.

Thank you very much, Katy Tur.

Trump is trying to reset expectations, of course, as Katy said, as he hits the live free or die state. He tweeted today: "The media has not covered my long-shot great finish in Iowa fairly. Brought in record numbers, record voters and got second highest vote total in history."

Well, Trump has been his own worst enemy in that regard when it comes to setting expectations. Social media was buzzing last night over a Trump tweet from three years ago which read, "No one remembers who came in second." That`s from Trump.

Trump has been out there for months now promising wins everywhere, especially in Iowa.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will have so much winning if I get elected, that you may get bored with winning.

We have to win in Iowa. A lot of people say, Donald, just say do well in Iowa. I say I can`t do that.

Sixteen years, and you haven`t picked a winner. Please pick a winner this time. OK? I`m going to win.

I think I`m going to win Iowa. A lot of people said, it was so foolish that he said he thinks he`s going to win. They would like me to say I will do well. That way, if I don`t win -- you sort of got -- I don`t care.

Unless I win, I would consider a big, fat, beautiful, and, by the way, very expensive waste of time.


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump is now on stage at that event up in Milford, New Hampshire, but with me now are "Boston Globe" columnist Scot Lehigh, and "Washington Post" national political reporter Robert Costa.

We will probably dip into that a bit there.

But, Robert, I wanted to have your thinking. Does -- outwardly, does Donald Trump have the heart, the character, to take that loss last night and come on and win and show he still has got character inside to face -- I`m not talking about moral character. I`m talking about political character. Does he have it? Can you tell?

ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": We`re watching it in real time.

Chris, I was on the tarmac here in Manchester when his Boeing 757 landed tonight. He came out of his plane with his daughter Ivanka. He said to his entourage, let`s go. They went to a stop at his campaign headquarters, did a surprise stop to greet his volunteers, told them to keep making calls, to not get distracted.

He`s making a play for New Hampshire. He`s trying to brush aside what happened in Iowa, move forward. He is showing some heart by going to his grassroots volunteers tonight, not going to any kind of big donor or Republican elites. He`s going to his grassroots people, and bringing on like someone like Scott Brown to say, I know the terrain here.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Scot Lehigh.

Scot, thanks for coming on the show now from "The Globe."

Let me ask you about the voters in New Hampshire. To me, there`s two kinds of voters in New Hampshire, the old dying Yankee type, who is in the minority on the Republican side. He used to be up there in big numbers. And the Irish-Italian guy that moved up there because he didn`t like Massachusetts. He didn`t like big taxes, didn`t like Dukakis and the whole liberal thing.

Tell me your notion of the character of the voter, of the electorate of Republican New Hampshirites.

SCOT LEHIGH, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": I think a lot of people here are looking for an alternative to the front-runners from Iowa. They`re looking to say, hey, this is a whole different state. We decide a different way. And we`re not really interested in a Ted Cruz. He`s not -- this is not a religious state.

People don`t look to God to decide how to vote. I don`t think they`re frankly -- Marco Rubio seems a little light. I think every time you watch him, he runs instantly for the rhetorical refuge of his stump speech and starts repeating practiced lines. He`s not really a New Hampshire type.

I think there are a lot of voters here who are saying we want someone who we think is reasonable, economically and fiscally, has some experience, isn`t such a programmed candidate. Honestly, I think John Kasich is an overlooked story. I think you are going to see this guy do much better than the national media is giving him credit for, because they have been focused on Iowa and he`s been focused on New Hampshire.

But look at the polls. He`s in second. He`s got the certifier. He has got John Sununu. He`s got former Senator Humphrey, picked up Charlie Bass, congressman, today. He has got -- he has the run the table of the newspaper endorsements. The only one he hasn`t gotten, the only significant paper, is "The Union Leader."

But he has got the Portsmouth paper, "The Telegraph," the Keene paper, "The Valley News," "The Concord Monitor." I think that`s still worth something, Chris.

MATTHEWS: I love this.

Scot, I think you talk my language. I think I`m hearing my soul talk when you talk, because I agree with you completely about the evangelical vote in New Hampshire. I don`t think it very much exists, where your religion drives you to church, and then on the way to the polling place. I think there is a big separation of church and state up there, and proud of it.

The other thing is, I think a lot of people are struck by how Marco Rubio seems to be reading speech parts he has memorized. Every time somebody asks him a question, you hear a speech part. It`s beautifully rhythmic.


LEHIGH: It is ridiculous.

MATTHEWS: It doesn`t sound look a human being talking.

LEHIGH: No, he sounds like a poorly programmed robot.

And, actually, if you watch him -- when you see him once, and you say wow, this is a smart guy, very articulate. You see him twice, and you say, is this all he has to say? And you see him three times, and you realize he`s just doing that.

He`s saying, oh, that`s a good question. Let me go to part A-2 of my speech. That`s a good question. Let me go to part D-1 of my speech. It`s just -- it`s not the New Hampshire way. He`s not engaged.

But Donald Trump isn`t either. Donald Trump isn`t doing town meetings, which is what people do here, taking questions. Donald Trump is doing a nightclub act. And that`s why I think he fades as well.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s get back. Hang in there, Scot.

Let`s go to Donald Trump on the stage.


TRUMP: When you think, the amazing thing is, the press -- not all of them. Some were great. Some were saying, you know, he came in second. He started off in 10th and he came in second.

But, with me, they don`t like to hear second. I don`t like to hear second that much either, to be totally honest.


TRUMP: But one poll came out that said I was leading five or points, and I guess come in second, and the headlines were Trump comes in second. He`s humiliated.

There were 17 people when we started. Now you have 11. I come in second. I`m not humiliated. You know, you have -- think of it.


TRUMP: These people are the most dishonest people ever, OK, ever.

So, Marco is a nice guy. Marco Rubio, nice guy, and he comes in third, right? And all of a sudden, he comes in third. He`s a senator, does this stuff for a living, he`s a professional politician, he comes in third. I come in second. Trump, no good. Rubio, unbelievable night, unbelievable victory.


TRUMP: Unbelievable. Think of it. You got to think of this.

And then they said he`s very, very close. He`s very close. Oh, he could maybe surpass -- I think it`s about a difference of almost 3,000 votes. That`s a lot. That`s a lot of votes.

But, you know, for Iowa, that`s a lot of votes, let me tell you. But I think it was 2,500, 2,600, some large amount of votes. It wasn`t really close. But he came in second. The headline is, winner of the night, Marco Rubio, Trump humiliated. No, they didn`t really use that word. They used like, didn`t do that well.

And I`m saying, how come the guy that comes in third, and he`s a professional politician, and I beat him by, you know, a lot, how come the guy that comes in third -- isn`t this typical reporter, the media? The worst people ever, the worst. The worst. The worst.


MATTHEWS: Well, there he is.

Let`s go back to Robert Costa, who is a real student of this guy.

I say to the guy, it`s an old Irish term, he listens with his tongue. There you saw a great example. When he said humiliated, and then he waited. Sometimes, Hillary Clinton, in fact, a lot of regular politicians do this. They fight the applause. They fight it. And their voice rises as they sort of surf on that.

What he does is, he says something, and he listens, and he waits for the applause to build, and he basks in it. He seems to know how to modulate back and forth. Tell me about that, Robert, because he is -- that is classic Trump we saw right there. He is back on his game here.

COSTA: People forget he`s been on the public stage for four decades. He knows how to be a showman.

And when it is time to make his closing argument right now, it`s partly political. You see echoes of Spiro Agnew. You see echoes of Pat Buchanan, that immigration hard-line message. At the same time, you`re seeing a billionaire who knows how to work the stage, how to work a crowd and who understands the press.

And he needs to drive a news cycle right now. And he says he`s going to attend the next debate and he`s going to continue to attack his opponents, but his favorite right now is the press.

MATTHEWS: Yes. And I think he enjoys that, even though, individually, he`s not exactly -- you notice how he was pretty nice to the press tonight in that press conference. It`s showbiz. We all know that.

Anyway, thank you, Scot Lehigh. It was great having you on. I think you talk the way I think, anyway, the way I analyze these things. And I think you got the voter up there, my hunch, and you know that voter.


MATTHEWS: Thank you, Robert Costa, as always.

Up next, NBC`s Jacob Soboroff, well, he went inside a caucus last night, a little bit of last night now, some of the theater for some of the most fascinating voter-to-voter political debate we have seen. These are voters arguing with each other, some of them misinformed. But you know what? They were getting to the voter right before they voted, so it counts. He is coming here, Jacob is.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



From Sioux City to Des Moines, it was a wild ride in Iowa last night as the battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton came down to a photo finish. Democrats caucusing in churches and gyms made their stands and rally for their candidates. There was a lot of back and forth last night.

MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff navigated the action in Iowa City, that`s in Johnson County, at the University of Iowa field house.

Let`s take a look at the highlights visually.


JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brian, so by the looks of things in here, right now, you wouldn`t know this is about to be one of the most important nights in American politics. We`ve got a lot of cheerleading going on. A little basketball game over here, on this side, we have a badminton match.

And over here, on the far corner of the field house, built in 1927, is Carla Smith. She`s the caucus chairperson for precinct number three in Iowa City. She`s the one who`s going to run the whole show there starting in 7:00 p.m. when the doors close. The doors were supposed to close at 7:00.

But have you been able to close them yet?

UNIDSENTIFIED FEMALE: They are, they are close, as far as people, but they`re still people in line. If they were in line at 7:00, they could come through the doors. And there`s too many people in line to get them off of the doors.

Carla has an incredible job on her hands. Running around back and forth. Here she comes again. Carla -- there goes Carla.

This is a Hillary Clinton group. They`ve already gone over to the undecided group to recruit voters from the undecided group. But when you swing around here, Bernie Sanders, maybe two, three, three times as large as the Hillary Clinton group. And again, this group, they`re counting them all at the same time, because they literally ran out of cards.

In all fairness, we should show the Martin O`Malley group, too, come this way. These guys in the corner over here, as the seas part, are the Martin O`Malley group. So, they`re certainly not viable yet and they`re going to get pitched to join either Hillary or Bernie --

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Wait, wait, Jacob, I can`t see them. They`re invisible. Who are the Martin O`Malley people?

SOBOROFF: You are here for Martin O`Malley.


SOBOROFF: You don`t look viable yet? What are you guys going to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re looking at the undecided vote right over there. I think they`re really key in the political party system. So, we`ll see what they had to say.

SOBOROFF: And who are you thinking about realigning to right now? Hi. What`s your name? What is your name?


SOBOROFF: Who are you going to realign to?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably Bernie Sanders.

SOBOROFF: Bernie Sanders. How about yourself?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I`m holding out for O`Malley.

SOBOROFF: Holding out, all right. Looks like a heavy lift. Going to be here for a while, right?


SOBOROFF: Right now, we`re seeing a little democracy in action. Recruiting session going on right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie is going to do. Bernie is trying to lower, or is trying to equal them, so the upper class are not paying the same amount of taxes as the middle and lower. Bernie is trying to equal the playing fields. Do you understand?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I still feel like paying the same amount of taxes whereas people who make more income would be paying even more taxes because they can afford it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, OK, so the percentage that you pay is going to be equal no matter how much income you have.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s what Bernie`s stance is, he`s trying to level it.

SOBOROFF: Rachel, Brian, this is how it goes.

Are you concerned that your not able to get them out because of the battery?


SOBOROFF: And is that something that you guys have talked about in advance?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, yes, but there a number I can call and use somebody else to call them any think.

SOBOROFF: All right. So, we`re going to let you do that and you can do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

SOBOROFF: Again, guys, that is Carla Smith, the caucus chair for Iowa city precinct number three at the field house at the University of Iowa.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Help her out by loaning her a charger, that would be really cool of you.


MATTHEWS: Jacob, the thank you so much, great reporting last night. As I said last night, it was a wow of photographic excellence last night. I`ve never seen that display of the different factions and how people have lined up. There`s some wonderful interplay there. In fact, that young kid was dead wrong. Of course, Bernie Sanders is not for the flat tax. Somebody should tell him that he would be the last guy, Jacob, for the flat tax.

SOBOROFF: I would have done it, Chris, there were so many things going on. We really appreciate your kind words on the air last night.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me tell you about, because playing in the pocket, the fact that you could move around a lot. I wouldn`t do an all reporting, but the fact that you could move around that room with that wonderful style of yours to keep the camera on you and actually teach us something, that you could only do visually. You could sit in a booth and talk about caucus, but you showed us what it looked like.

When we hear about Iowa, oh, yeah, I remember that gym in Iowa City, the University of Iowa, I remember that place.

SOBOROFF: The field house -- yes, it`s the field house, Chris. When you`re in that place, it felt remarkable. It`s really the only way I can describe it. When you look at ultimately the final results, and you look at the bird`s eye camera that we`re able to set up last night when we`re looking at it right here, look how close it was, right?

So, Hillary Clinton walked away ultimately with one precinct level delegate from that location, and it makes you think that little clump of people that you`re seeing on the screen, that had to make a difference.

MATTHEWS: Yes, she got something to get into the game with. By the way, not under your purview, but the wonderful pictures, did you see them last night of Bernie Sanders in his hotel room. These were historic pictures of a guy watching television, watching his political fate unfold.

It was great. As I said last night to Brian and Rachel, it`s the kind of picture you wouldn`t get until a week or two until "Time Magazine", it was photo play, and then you get a sense of the history -- or at the end of the year in fact.

SOBOROFF: Real time stuff. And you know, he`s sitting there watching the television, so he`s in real time watching this group of voters, I would assume, I would hope, watching MSNBC, seeing them in a field house right there, all assembled. I mean, what is going through his head at that moment is what I was wondering?

MATTHEWS: I don`t know how it happened, but everything we did last night was great reporting last night was the way I wanted us to do, and we did it. It was great coverage of reporting of the events last night.

Thank you, Jacob Soboroff. We`ll be seeing you on HARDBALL a lot more later.

Up next, wheels up. Just one week after the New Hampshire primary, who can seize the momentum off the Iowa caucuses and leave the "Live Free or Die" state a winner next Tuesday night?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

I`m joined right now with the HARDBALL roundtable tonight, "The Huffington Post", Howard Fineman, "The Wall Street Journal`s" Carol Lee, and "USA Today`s" Paul Singer.

I guess the top question on left, center-left Democratic politics is, Hillary Clinton won a photo finish last night. And now, she has to go to New Hampshire where she faces an uphill road. She`s down by double digits. Can she walk away the way Bill Clinton did in 1992, and say it was a comeback if she gets closer? Can she pull that off? You first.

HOWARD FINEMAN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: That`s the strategy. Talking to her people in New Hampshire today where I`m headed tomorrow, as are you, they`ve got a tremendous infrastructure there from last time around. And women, especially, are a terrifically important in New Hampshire Democratic Party politics. They essentially run the Democratic Party in the state.

MATTHEWS: We can see it. The senators.

FINEMAN: You can see it. You can see the senator, the governor, et cetera. It`s all hands on deck for those people. In Iowa, there are a lot of celebrity drop-ins who are canvassing. Maybe they will show up in New Hampshire. But what matter s the local women. That`s going to be what saves Hillary if something does.

MATTHEWS: Organizational question. Back in `08, when Hillary had her great comeback out there, and we watched -- you and I watched those -- I talked about her interview. Hours of standing out in the field house just talking it through and answering every question like Bill used to do back in `92.

You had Tommy Menino`s troops up there in Boston. Well, remember the mayor?


MATTHEWS: Will she have Marty Walsh? Will the mayor now be able to deliver those? Because all of a sudden, (INAUDIBLE) shapes up, all of a sudden, in New Hampshire, you see a lot of Boston civil servants showing up.

FINEMAN: I think the back signal has gone out. OK.


FINEMAN: Every party person in the Northeast taken up there for Hillary because they`re theory is that`s the only way to win the White House. That`s they`re theory. Not Bernie`s.

MATTHEWS: She will get second there`s two candidates.

FINEMAN: How close she can get?

MATTHEWS: You want to make a call, Carol? How close does she have to get, the chorus of the comeback girl, or the comeback kid?

CAROL LEE, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: She needs to get pretty close. You heard her in her interview. She was lowering expectations, saying this is Bernie`s backyard. And your neighbors vote for your neighbors, you know?

MATTHEWS: I called her on that.


MATTHEWS: Paul, how close, come on, three points?

PAUL SINGER, USA TODAY: I think if she`s within five points she can claim victory. I mean, Donald Trump wasn`t declaring victory with his second place today.

I think if Hillary Clinton can say, hey, we came within five points, we were down 20 points last week. Look at our momentum. We`re going to South Carolina. We`re going to win there. She can claim that she won one, came close --

MATTHEWS: A big question for the big thinker. I`m not being sarcastic. You know I`m not.

Is Hillary Clinton still the favorite to win the nomination even after the photo finish?

FINEMAN: Well, I guess but by a coin flip, if I can use the pun. The fact is Bernie Sanders is a weaponized version of every progressive/liberal you`ve seen in the past.


FINEMAN: It`s usually the mainstream person that wins. This is not a mainstream political year. Bernie Sanders has three and a half million donors. He`s got small donations from everywhere. She`s got a very sophisticated crew behind him.

And this thing is going to go all the way down to June. It`s going to go all the way to June.

MATTHEWS: Without me talking about it because I work with MSNBC, at NBC, s that what this debate is about? That he wants to have a string of debates right there? He wants to keep the fight going.

FINEMAN: Here`s why I think, because Hillary thinks she can knock him around in this next debate because she seized on a good argument about preserving Obamacare. But then, if it`s a whole series of debates that gets into every issue, then that gets back into Bernie`s yard.

MATTHEWS: Oh, it does.

FINEMAN: I think so, yes.

MATTHEWS: Who wins a bunch of debates?

SINGER: I think Bernie wins. He has only has one point.


MATTHEWS: This is not clear.

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


MATTHEWS: The king of the weekly magazine writers, yourself here Howard, will lead the band here. Give me who`s going to be the big surprise, beat the spreader in New Hampshire, Republican side. Who`s going to go way ahead of anybody thought he was?

FINEMAN: I think it`s going to be John Kasich because the people in New Hampshire say we don`t care who Iowa sent. We want our own guy.

MATTHEWS: I got it. They`re live or free die. Screw you.

LEE: I think it`s going to be Rubio coming off of his momentum.

MATTHEWS: You`re killing me. Did you hear what that guy said?


FINEMAN: She`s allowed to have it.


SINGER: Counter-culture here, I`m going to say it`s Jeb Bush, because if he doesn`t, he`s done.

MATTHEWS: OK then. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Howard Fineman, Carol Lee, and Paul Singer --


MATTHEWS: He`s a tough cookie, too.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.