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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 2/3/2016

Guests: Jeremy Peters, Terry McAuliffe, Jay Newton-Small, Francesca Chambers, John Kasich

Show: HARDBALL Date: February 3, 2016 Guest: Jeremy Peters, Terry McAuliffe, Jay Newton-Small, Francesca Chambers, John Kasich


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews, up in New Hampshire right now, where tomorrow night, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will meet in their one and only debate before the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

Clinton and Sanders come here out of her narrow win in Iowa to take the debate stage one on one tomorrow night at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. You`ll see it here on MSNBC, obviously, and I`ll have pre-game coverage tomorrow night starting with a special edition of HARDBALL at 7:00 Eastern, leading up to that debate at 9:00 moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow.

Well, tonight, the candidates are flooding the zone here in the Live Free or Die state. Hillary Clinton is about to appear at a get-out-the-vote rally in Manchester. That`s here. Bernie Sanders just wrapped up a rally in Rochester. Ted Cruz about to hold a campaign rally in Nashua. Marco Rubio`s holding a town hall in Dover. Jeb Bush held a town hall up in Merrimack. And John Kasich is meeting with voters at Raymond. Mr. Kasich, the governor of Ohio, will meet with us here later in the hour right here.

As for Donald Trump, he`s scheduled to hold a campaign rally, believe it or not, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Trumps at war tonight, of course, with Ted Cruz, and yesterday, he accused Cruz of stealing that election out in Iowa.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are dishonest people, these politicians. These are worse than real estate people in New York, I`m telling you.


TRUMP: No, no. These are truly dishonest people. Then he said, Ben Carson has quit the race, the day of the election! Ben Carson -- during a caucus, Ben Carson has quit the race! And Ben didn`t quit the race. In other words, Ben Carson quit, and let me have your vote.

What kind of crap is this? No, it`s, honestly, really, really dishonest. And I think I know why. You know why? Because he was born in Canada!


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump tweeted today, quote, "Ted Cruz didn`t win Iowa. He stole it." And he also tweeted, "The state of Iowa should disqualify Ted Cruz from the most recent election on the basis that he cheated. A total fraud." That`s Trump.

Anyway, Ted Cruz hit back again today. Here he is.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is no surprise that Donald is throwing yet another temper tantrum, or if you like, yet another Trumper-tantrum. It seems his reaction to everything is to throw a fit.

Donald`s insults get more and more hysterical the more and more upset he gets. And that`s fine. He can do that. I`m not going to respond in kind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think they`re funny.

CRUZ: I`m going to -- I think they`re -- I think they`re very funny. I think Donald -- I wake up every day and laugh at the latest thing Donald has tweeted because he`s losing it. Look, we need a commander-in-chief, not a Twitterer-in-chief. I don`t know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way having his finger on the button. I mean, we`re liable to wake up one morning, and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark!


MATTHEWS: You know, let me just offer a little commentary here. Yes, Trump`s a little out of hand today because he`s angry about losing. But every time I watch Cruz, I get the feeling somebody wrote this crap for him. It can`t possibly be coming out of a brain.

Anyway, the latest the poll from here in New Hampshire was taken partially before and partially after the Iowa caucuses of Monday night. And the show -- the newest poll shows Trump with a strong lead here. Get this, 38 percent of likely Republican primary votes are for Trump. Right now, 38 percent. Cruz right now, 14 percent. Still an amazingly (ph) for Trump up here in the Live Free or Die state.

Marco Rubio, by the way -- this is the second sort of echelon here. Marco Rubio leads the establishment pack, starting below those two guys, Cruz and Trump. He`s at 12, followed by Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Chris Christie. And those four guys are really fighting it out for second, maybe, probably third.

I`m joined right now by NBC`s Katy Tur, who covers the Trump campaign. NBC`s Hallie Jackson`s covering the Cruz campaign in Hooksett, New Hampshire. And also with me is Jeremy Peters of "The New York Times."

Let me go -- let`s start with Katy and with Trump. Trump is a little upset about losing, so he`s now denying it happened. Is that what he`s doing? This is unnecessary (ph) useful information. He now wants to say what didn`t happen.

KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: He`s trying to call the refs out to get involved and to say that this wasn`t fair, this wasn`t legal, and that they should now change it and make it so that Donald Trump is the winner of Iowa, is essentially what he is trying to do.

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) that unlike in college or in -- we don`t have redo`s. They don`t have elections over again. Does he know that?

TUR: He`s looking back instead of looking forward. And the thing that Trump needs to figure out, from the conversations that I`ve had with GOP insiders and people -- voters here, is what is second act? What does he have to do after this? What is he offering? We`ve seen pretty much the same Donald Trump, this angry guy, now for seven months. What`s he going to do next? Where is he going to lead this country?


TUR: And he`s tapped into that anger certainly here in Iowa, where there`s a very big independent streak, where people really feel like --

MATTHEWS: When`s his fresh (ph) date? What is his sell-by date? When does he have to do that?

TUR: I think he has to win here in Iowa --

MATTHEWS: In New Hampshire. He can win New Hampshire.

TUR: New Hampshire. Excuse me --


MATTHEWS: We`ve all moved on!

TUR: He needs to win here in New Hampshire. He has to win here in New Hampshire --

MATTHEWS: By double digits?

TUR: No, I think he just needs to win. I think he needs a on the books in order to move on with momentum. Then again, he is in Arkansas tonight. And in these SEC states, in these Southern states, he does get these giant rallies. And they are aware the campaigns haven`t had a lot of time to do a lot of on-the-ground campaigning. He has 100 percent name recognition.

So it is feasible that even if he loses here, he could still win in those states just because they know him. He`s been louder. He`s been on their television more.

But I think the fundamental thing the campaign hasn`t done right so far is that they haven`t had boots on the grounds in these states.


MATTHEWS: How`s he doing up here? Has he got a better organization up here than he had in Iowa?

TUR: Well, so far, we`ve talked to the campaign. They say that they have seven phone banks open in this state. They say that they have volunteers and have knocked on thousands of doors. They say that they have volunteers who`ve made thousands of calls.

We have yet to see that. They have not let us in to view any of that so far. They didn`t let us in in Iowa, either.

MATTHEWS: Well, the good thing for Trump is this is a regular primary up here. It`s not some crazy caucus we have to go in and walk around and everything.

Let me go to Hallie Jackson with -- I know I just dumped on it, but I didn`t like his reaction. I thought it was -- I thought Cruz`s reaction was something put together by staff. It didn`t seem real. Your thoughts.

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I would say this, Chris. And apologies, it`s getting loud here as they begin to set up the stage for Ted Cruz`s rally.

Regardless of what you think of how they were delivered, they were delivered very forcefully. This is really sort of an amped-up Ted Cruz, and he unleashed these lines (ph), the "nuke Denmark" line that he played (ph). He also talked about his daughters. He says, you know, Caroline and Catherine are 5 and 7, he said of his girls. And he said they are better behaved than Donald Trump who`s aiming to become the next commander-in- chief. So this was sort of really Cruz at his -- : Yes.

JACKSON: -- to coin a new word, Chris, attackiest, if you will.


MATTHEWS: We`re going to change a topic a little bit right now. Chris Christie fired off what I think is the harpooning of Marco Rubio last night. He`s doing it again. It plays it (INAUDIBLE) he says, basically, that Marco Rubio is a cute young guy that gives the same speech over and over again. You ask him any question, he gives you a portion of that speech back, like he`s already at the Hall of Presidents down in Orlando at Disney World. He just repeats the recording.

Here he goes after him. He calls him -- I don`t like this reference, but he calls him the "boy in the bubble." Let`s watch.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not the boy in the bubble, OK? We know who the boy in the bubble is up here. When Senator Rubio gets here, when the boy in the bubble gets here, I hope you guys ask him some questions. Now it`s time for him to man up and step up and stop letting all of his handlers write his speeches and handle him. Let`s get him up here. Let`s get the boy in the bubble out of the bubble. Let`s see if he`ll answer some of your questions.


MATTHEWS: So obviously, it`s getting to this fellow, the somewhat edgy governor of -- well, I`m edgy, too -- the governor of New Jersey showing some Jersey attitude about a guy who`s creeping up in the polls and did so well in Iowa.

JEREMY PETERS, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes. Is it Jersey attitude or is it bullying? You know, I think that`s the difference. When Trump does this stuff -- and I`m not saying everything Trump does is excusable -- but it tends to be funnier, right?


PETERS: When Christie does it, he looks like a bully. He looks petty. He looks mean-spirited. And this whole "boy in a bubble" thing -- you know, every line of -- Marco Rubio has so far proven himself throughout his political career to be essentially like Teflon. I remember talking to Charlie Crist about this, how everything they threw at him in 2010 -- the stuff about the credit cards, you know, his youth, his inexperience -- nothing stuck. And I would think that`s what Chris Christie is so frustrated about --


PETERS: -- because they keep hitting him and nothing`s working.

MATTHEWS: Well, he doesn`t have to interact with the press as much, either, apparently. Is that true, that he always has a press guy or woman standing next to him and he only entertains specific reporters?

PETERS: That is true. And it is frustrating. There`s an order to these press conferences that makes it seem very staged and controlled.

MATTHEWS: Well, it is! If it makes it seem, that`s what it is.

PETERS: And they -- they don`t put him out in front of reporters as much as, say, Jeb Bush does or Chris Christie does, right? But you know, there`s -- these press conferences are only so useful because Marco Rubio is such a disciplined politician that he`s only going to answer the question that he wants to answer, and he reverts right back to his script.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I get the feeling there`s, like, a recording device, like, The following announcement has been prerecorded. Anyway -- you don`t agree?

JACKSON: I think that Donald Trump is the same way, though. I think he says the same thing over and over again. He just says it in a much looser way --


JACKSON: -- because he`s very good at seeming like he`s off the cuff, but he says the same thing in his stump speeches, pretty much the --


MATTHEWS: And you`ve heard everything 100 times --



JACKSON: His press conferences also, he has his same formula answer to questions (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: It just seems more robotic with -- with --

PETERS: Yes, robotic is a good word for it.

MATTHEWS: -- Mr. Rubio. Let`s watch Christie going after him here. He does it again on Fox today, going after Marco Rubio, who did so well Monday night.


CHRISTIE: He acts like the king of England. He has a press aide standing next to him and pre-select which reporters will get to ask him questions. I mean, you know, this a guy who`s been protected and coddled his entire political career. So it`s time for him to come out of the bubble, the boy needs to come out of the bubble and he needs to get to work here in New Hampshire.


MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Hallie Jackson. What do you make of this? You`re watching the two guys duke it out for what may be one and two up here -- that would be Trump and Cruz -- but these other four guys are in a kind of zero-sum fight where one will get three, maybe get two, and the others will get nada. There`s not a lot left for them if they don`t get second or third in New Hampshire.

JACKSON: And they each get that, Chris. I mean, that`s the thing. You talk to these campaigns and each campaign understands that they have to win the so-called circular firing squad, that at no point can the governor lose to the other governor (INAUDIBLE) Rubio lose to the governors. So that`s why there`s so much pressure.

Interesting hearing Christie talk, though. You know, I`ve been out with both of those candidates, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio, and it`s just a very different feel when it comes to taking questions. One is not worst than the other. Rubio does the availabilities. It`s a little more organized. Christie, as he`s walking around will just take random questions shouted from the press, shouted from reporters, or even members of the public.

So part of this is stemming from the fact that they just have two very different styles and comfort levels with different events on the campaign trail.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the casualty list. I want to start with Katy and go right through with Jeremy, and then back to, Hallie. We`ve got a casualty list that`s growing in this campaign.

Rand Paul has suspended his campaign, which means he`s leaving the campaign, for all practical -- Santorum, according to Associated Press and others, "Washington Post," is expected to suspend tonight on a television program. Kasich has said, basically, If I get smoked, I go home.

So we`re getting close to a winnowing, not as extreme as the Democrats, where it`s just Hillary and Bernie tomorrow night, but it is getting short.

TUR: I think that that`s what was expected, though. This field has been so large for so long, and with these very poor showings in Iowa, you were expecting somebody like Huckabee, who did well there before, Santorum, who did well there before, if they did not do well, then they really had no way out of there.

Rand Paul -- certainly, a lot of people here who are supporters of his, who are die-hard supporters of his --


TUR: -- who are disappointed. But I think we`re going to see even more after this contest because who`s going to have the momentum to move forward? Who`s going to have the money to move forward after this?

MATTHEWS: OK. Rumor out there that Santorum will endorse the guy you`re covering.

TUR: Well, they`re on Fox at the same time tonight and --

MATTHEWS: OK, another rumor that Huckabee was going to do it. That`s why -- that`s why Donald Trump --


TUR: That is not happening, according to my best information.

MATTHEWS: -- cold feet by Huckabee?

TUR: We don`t know. We know that -- we were told by people in the know there was no reason --


MATTHEWS: Did Huckabee ditch him at the altar? Ditch him at the altar?

TUR: He could have. I mean -- I mean, I think if Donald Trump --


PETERS: -- unholy marriage.


TUR: I think if Donald Trump won Iowa, maybe we would have seen a Huckabee (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Well, Huckabee`s in play. Looks like Santorum`s going to -- well, those are the two guys who showed up at the rally for the veterans. Jeremy, what do you think about these four guys fighting a circular firing squad, Katy said. That has become the metaphor for these four because only one`s going to get out of this thing --


PETERS: Only one`s going to get out of it. That`s absolutely right. I think, you know, Jeb Bush has the most to lose right now in New Hampshire. He actually has a PAC in South Carolina. Conceivably, he has the money and he has the network and he has the Bush family name there, as well.

MATTHEWS: But he`s not going to run a nasty campaign like W did against McCain.

PETERS: Well, maybe Mike Murphy and Right to Rise will do it for him. They`ve been doing a pretty good job with that so far.

MATTHEWS: That was so nasty last time. Let me go back to -- let me go back to Hallie Jackson. How do you see the four also-rans who are trying to get into that second echelon?

JACKSON: Listen, I -- let`s tick (ph) through them very quickly. John Kasich up until maybe a week or two weeks ago really wasn`t getting hit with a lot of attack ads, so he was able to kind of slid in under the radar. You saw that reflected a little bit in some of the polling numbers. That`s where he is.

Chris Christie came out really strong right around the holidays with that "Union Leader" endorsement. What did that do? It brought sort of a barrage of attacks on him, which has hurt Christie a little bit here.

Marco Rubio, as you know, has been having a strong third place showing in Iowa, hoping to pick up some momentum here in New Hampshire, but questions remain about whether he`s able to do that.

Then as Jeremy`s talking about, Jeb Bush has a lot at stake here, although he could play in South Carolina. Rubio also has the money to be able to play organizationally in other states, and that`s what the campaign is counting on. This is going to be a nomination contest that stretches into April or possibly beyond.

MATTHEWS: So we have two great contests emerging on the Republican side here between now and Tuesday. Can Donald Trump win again? I mean, win. It seems like he said he won the other day anyway, but he lost. He lost in Iowa. Can he win in New Hampshire, where he has a big lead and has to win, as you say, right?

JACKSON: Has to win.

MATTHEWS: Has to win.

MATTHEWS: Has to win. And who`s going to come out among these four players on the other -- it`s not so important for Cruz what happens up here. It`s very important for Rubio and the rest of the East Coast pack, if you will.

Katy Tur, thank you. Hallie Jackson, thank you. Jeremy Peters, thank you. (INAUDIBLE) everybody is.

Coming up -- Bernie Sanders is going for political revolution. What`s Hillary`s response? How do you outbid that? Can she match the energy of the Sanders campaign and keep him from winning an easy one here in New Hampshire? Can she get the young voters? And what will she say on that debate stage tomorrow night at the University of New Hampshire when she and Sanders go mano a mano when they meet there on MSNBC for the only time ahead of Tuesday`s primary?

Anyway -- and later tonight, Ohio governor John Kasich will be with us. He`s looking for a big showing Tuesday night, he said.

And "Let Me Finish" tonight with something we`re going to do from now until next Tuesday. We`re going to take a look at the most decisive events in the history of the New Hampshire presidential primaries.

And this is HARDBALL, live from, New Hampshire, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: So what happens when an audience doesn`t applaud one of your applause lines? Well, Jeb Bush found out yesterday. The former Florida governor gave passionate remarks about how he would view his role as commander-in-chief. Watch what happens next.


JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I won`t be out there blowharding (ph), talking a big game without backing it up. I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter, but send a signal that we`re prepared to act in the national security interests of this country, to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world. Please clap.



MATTHEWS: Oh, my God.

HARDBALL returns after this.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL live from New Hampshire, ahead of the big debate tomorrow night, the one-on-one between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

We have got one hell of a slugfest, by the way, on the left coming up. Bernie Sanders has opened up a big lead in the polls up here. Of course, he`s from Vermont, which is important. He`s up 29 points in the new University of Massachusetts Lowell daily tracking poll taken after the Iowa caucuses.

So, he came off of that pretty well. That leaves Hillary Clinton looking for a repeat of her husband`s comeback kid magic 24 years ago.

Bernie has invaded the live free or die state with a simple and captivating message -- quote -- "This country needs a political revolution."

Here`s Bernie.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution.


SANDERS: The political revolution, not just in Iowa, not just in New Hampshire, but all over this country.


SANDERS: The political revolution continues next Tuesday here in New Hampshire.


SANDERS: Political revolution. Political revolution. That`s the political revolution. That message is resonating in Iowa. It`s resonating in New Hampshire. And it`s resonating all over America.


SANDERS: What they`re getting nervous about is that millions of people will now become engaged in what I call a political revolution.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt, NBC`s Kristen Welker, and the moderator of "Meet the Press," of course, NBC`s "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd, who is also the moderator or co-moderator of tomorrow night`s big MSNBC debate between Hillary and Bernie.

I always say to people who are younger than me, do you want to know what the `60s were like? Bernie. It is. He is a campus agitator. He is a campus demonstrator. As Howard Fineman beautifully put it, a guy with a megaphone yelling up -- or talking up to the administration building. That`s what it was like, grand claims, grand promises, grand arguments, grand criticisms.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": And he has been this way his whole political career.

I dug deep and did a little retrospective of him before he became mayor of Burlington. And you would recognize the guy. Yes, he`s 30 years younger, but it`s same message. It`s income inequality. It`s the two-party system, it`s the establishment. It really is the same thing.

And now it looks like the Democrat -- you could say it`s the Democratic Party catching up to him.

MATTHEWS: If it does?

TODD: Well, so far it is. He has got a voice here. I mean, look, we have seen this before.


MATTHEWS: There`s a big age difference, though.

TODD: Jerry Brown tapped into this in 1992, this sentiment. He didn`t do it his previous two times, but in `92 -- and you could make a case that sort of Bernie Sanders is an extension of that.

Barack Obama co-opted it, you know, but he was able to also be mainstream and establishment at the same time. He co-opted that, which is what made him so much more powerful.

MATTHEWS: And, by the way, just to remember how times have changed, Jerry Brown talking about having a Web site, that was like a revolution.

TODD: Remember the 800 number?


TODD: By the way, the 800 number still works, still is connected to Jerry`s political operation.

KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: But you know what? Young people are picking up on this fact, too.

MATTHEWS: That it`s a `60s thing?


HUNT: Well, not that it`s a `60s thing, but that he`s been the same his whole career.

I talked to the lead singer of Vampire Weekend, believe it or not, who said to me: "I have watched Bernie Sanders on YouTube from the 1990s and he is saying the same thing in all these YouTube video as he is saying right now." And that`s why young people are into it.


TODD: I have talked to the guy who is the lead singer of Vampire Weekend, dot, dot, dot. Sorry.


TODD: Welcome to the 20 -- welcome to 2016.

MATTHEWS: Kristen Welker, who have you talked to, any band leaders or --


KRISTEN WELKER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: There weren`t a whole lot of band leaders at Secretary Clinton`s event today.

However, they did have Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly.


MATTHEWS: Gabby Giffords, who was shot and very badly wounded, yes.

WELKER: Correct.

And she`s trying to make the argument, to Kasie`s point -- Kasie is talking about consistency. She`s trying to make the point, hey, wait a minute, he hasn`t been consistent on every single point. She`s really hitting the gun issue hard.

And I think what`s interesting, you talk about his political voice. We`re seeing Secretary Clinton find her political voice in this race. If you look at these past events that she`s had over the past week, she has been the most fired up that we have seen her. And she is talking about the issue of being a progressive who likes to get things done. And that`s her answer.


MATTHEWS: We`re not in her corner writing her stuff. Does she have a motto as strong as his, political revolution?

WELKER: She doesn`t have a motto like that, but her answer to that is she is a progressive who likes to get things done. That`s her line that she has been hitting hard.

I don`t think she wants to call for a revolution. She wants to paint herself as the practical candidate here. What`s interesting, though, is that, in recent days, she has been hitting this point that we have very similar goals when it comes to health care, when it comes to the economy, and when it comes to taking on Wall Street.

Whether young people will believe, that it is the question.

TODD: You know what she is not doing that I think what would be an opportunity to blunt this? She`s not talking about her gender as the revolution.

MATTHEWS: Why not?

TODD: I don`t know.

HUNT: She started off talking about --


TODD: Correct. That was a big part of, I would say, the first -- the last six months of `15.

As this Sanders challenge has come on, she has -- it`s not like she`s running away from the gender argument, saying let`s break the glass ceiling. It`s just not in the forefront.

And it`s, to me, always been her best answer when she says, are you running for continuity and all this stuff? And she says, you know what I think is going to be big change? Having a woman in the White House. So, she has said it before, but I`m surprised that now, when we`re in the throes of this, when it`s -- boy, it`s mano a mano here with Sanders, that she hasn`t used that fact. And that is a that is a radical change, the place mat from my kids, OK? That`s a radical change.


MATTHEWS: All politics is local. Up here, you have women Democratic leaders.

TODD: Multiple.


MATTHEWS: The governor and both U.S. senators. There`s nobody -- no state like this for women in power.

WELKER: Well, that`s absolutely right. And she talks about --

MATTHEWS: All Democrats -- well, two Democrats.


WELKER: And she calls for the fact you have Jeanne Shaheen, who supports Secretary Clinton.

And, by the way, I think you`re going to see them here campaigning for her. But you`re right. And what she is trying to do, Chris, I think, is to respond what happened in Iowa, what she saw, which is that she was trounced among the younger voters.

And so I think that`s why she`s not necessarily focused on the women`s argument, as much as she is trying to reach out to them.


MATTHEWS: Did you see the entrance polls the other night out of Iowa? They weren`t a big -- there wasn`t a big gender gap on the Democratic side. It was like 52-48.


TODD: There`s only one gap in this race. It`s by age. Everything cuts it. You look at the African-American numbers. Age is a bigger divider than anything else. You look -- where he is making inroads is among young African-Americans. Age is everything here.

MATTHEWS: Well, probably the word socialist is a turnoff to a certain generation, because we went through the Cold War.

TODD: And anybody under the age of 45, that`s post the wall coming down.


HUNT: And her arguments about what progressive accomplishments that she does have, when she names the Children`s Health Insurance Program, nobody under the age of 30 remembers that. Nobody remembers --


MATTHEWS: And pharmaceutical prices don`t ring true when you`re 18. Right? But they do ring true when you`re 60.

WELKER: What is interesting is, I spoke to one of her top advisers today and I said, do you need to change her strategy? Because, clearly, she is not resonating with this age group. And I was told she is not going to have some overhaul of her strategy.

MATTHEWS: OK. We have got news that we have got to react to for -- live.

Santorum has just endorsed Rubio. So, he was up for grabs, wasn`t he?

TODD: Yes. It is.


MATTHEWS: We thought he might -- earlier, a few minutes ago, we thought he was going to go with the guy he showed up at the rally with.

TODD: No, I -- Rubio --


MATTHEWS: Did Trump lose two endorsements because of his bad showing?

TODD: No, I think Rubio always was going to be the Santorum pick, because Santorum, what he cares the most about is foreign policy. He`s a interventionist. He is much more in line with Rubio than anybody else on that stage on foreign policy. So, I think in -- going in that direction, that --


MATTHEWS: Is Rubio picking up steam from the big donors now?

TODD: We will see.

MATTHEWS: When are we going to see?

TODD: It`s -- there is --

MATTHEWS: Sheldon is playing so hard to get out there.


TODD: There is a group of Republicans in Washington that are trying to will Rubio into this top tier. I think they`re coming. I think the last three or four days, we have seen Toomey, Santorum. Can he create a trickle into a flood, right?

MATTHEWS: Who are the big names? Who are these guys?


TODD: Oh, money-wise? I mean, it would be -- look, Sheldon would be one.


TODD: But let`s see if the Bush donors -- the Bush donors, they have all been told, give him to New Hampshire.

HUNT: They have to wait this out.

TODD: Yes. I think Wednesday, after New Hampshire, if Jeb is in single digits --

MATTHEWS: Is Rubio on the rise if he comes in third here?

TODD: No. I think it`s second. I think he needs the second.


MATTHEWS: I love this up here, because second has become the new one.

WELKER: And, by the way, Secretary Clinton, if she closes the gap and comes in second, she`s going to try to argue that that`s a win.

MATTHEWS: How close? Double digits? Single digits?


WELKER: I think she has got to close it to single digits. Right now, she`s trailing by double digits.


MATTHEWS: I love this unanimity. You agree single digits is a win for Hillary?

HUNT: I`m not prepared to go that far yet, but I --


MATTHEWS: You`re very smart. Kasie is the smart one.

Kristen Welker.

And, thank you, all three of you.

Chuck Todd, good luck. Break a leg tomorrow night.

TODD: Yes, sir.

MATTHEWS: Up next, much more on the Clinton-Sanders fight here in New Hampshire.

When we return, one of the Clintons` biggest supporters, former DNC Chair and now Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is coming here next, as Clinton gets ready to debate Sanders mano a mano here on MSNBC.

The is HARDBALL, live from Manchester, New Hampshire, the place for politics.



HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s Senator Sanders and myself in the arena, and I want to keep it on issues. I want to keep it on the contrast between us, our experience, our records.

I have been standing up relentlessly calling out the gun lobby and doing what I can to penetrate the fear, the acquiescence, the intimidation that too many elected officials feel in the face of their threatening political retaliation.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Hillary Clinton`s win over Bernie Sanders, narrow one, was razor-thin. And the tiny margin of victory is putting enormous pressure on Secretary Clinton as she prepares to take on Sanders in tomorrow night`s one-on-one debate at the University of New Hampshire here on MSNBC.

Well, Secretary Clinton has been pounding Sanders on his gun control record, but how will that play up here in rural New Hampshire?

Well, tonight, we`re joined by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. He was chairman of Hillary Clinton`s 2008 presidential campaign.

Governor, thank you, Governor McAuliffe.


MATTHEWS: A couple of things. Let`s talk guns. Is guns an issue you can win in, in a Democratic primary up here in a state like this?

MCAULIFFE: Well, sure. It`s an important issue.

And as you probably heard just on Friday, I announced a landmark legislation. For the first time in 23 years, Democrats, Republicans came together for the major gun safety legislation that will make Virginians safer. We`re moving toward the process of closing down our gun show loophole. We`re going to have state police now at every single gun show in Virginia.

We had 77 last year. And, secondly, we`re pushing through legislation as it relates to domestic abuse and issues that revolve around protective orders. If you have a protective orders in Virginia today, you cannot purchase a gun and you cannot transport one, but you can possess it.

We`re ending that. You have to hand your gun over in 24 hours, and if you don`t, it will be a class six felony. I believe this will be the toughest, as it relates to these protective orders, the toughest legislation in the United States of America.

We can do this. If you can do it in Virginia, which is the home of the NRA, working together, we can do this anywhere. People want folks, they want their legislators to come together and work with their governors to make them safe. We did a historic agreement, first time in 23 years in Virginia. We just got that done, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about Hillary Clinton, your friend and longtime political ally.


MATTHEWS: She is up against a tough one, because we have never seen a candidacy like Bernie Sanders`, where he comes in, let`s honestly say this, from the left, making promises that you and I have heard for years from the left, basically that we can give you everything, that you will get free health care for life from birth, and somehow it`s going to be paid for.

MCAULIFFE: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: You`re going to get free tuition at great universities, free tuition for anybody that wants to go to these great schools, like University of Wisconsin or whatever, University of Michigan, Berkeley, anywhere, all free.


MATTHEWS: And then he`s going to increase dramatically, according to Bernie, your Social Security without raising your taxes.

How does she match it? How can you outpromise that?

MCAULIFFE: Well, first of all, she shouldn`t. And it`s not realistic.

And I think as we go through this process, and now we have the caucuses and primaries starting, you can`t give everybody free education. As governor of Virginia, I would love to be able to promise everybody they can get free education here in the commonwealth. But you can`t do it.

And so she`s talked about things that she has done, she has accomplished, and, most importantly, what she wants to get done. And that`s the difference, I think, between Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton. She is a progressive who gets things done, instead of just making these grandiose promises that, at the end of the day, Chris, cannot be done.

She won Iowa. She is the first woman to win Iowa. Forty percent of the Democrats there identified themselves as socialists. I`m very happy. A win is a win. Now we move to New Hampshire, which is tougher because he is a neighboring senator.

But right after that, Chris, we go to Nevada, South Carolina, and then 10 states on March 1, including Virginia. And I think Hillary is up in a majority of all of those states. And I think, as you get through March 1 is when Hillary will clearly be on the road as the nominee of the Democratic Party.

MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Governor Terry McAuliffe, out of Virginia tonight.

MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Let`s go right -- oh, we were going to go to Gabe Gutierrez. Do we have -- let`s go.

We`re going to come right back with Governor John Kasich, who is coming here to HARDBALL.

We will be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez is with us right now and he`s joined by Senator Marco Rubio, who just won the backing formerly of Rick Santorum, who moments ago dropped out of the presidential race himself. He`s endorsed Rubio.

Gabe, go ahead.


MATTHEWS: Gabe, have you got the senator? We`re going to have to wait and see what`s happening. I guess he`s not coming over.

Anyway --

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Senator Rubio is right here, and he is just about to speak with reporters. Guys, we`re right here with Senator Rubio. Hey, guys. Guys, we`re talking -- hey, Chris.

MATTHEWS: I see his back.

GUTIERREZ: He`s not coming over right now. Chris, can you hear me?

MATTHEWS: Yes, I can hear you.

GUTIERREZ: Chris, can you hear me?

MATTHEWS: I`m hearing every word from you. I`m waiting for him.


MATTHEWS: OK, OK. I guess he`s not as choreographical as we like him to be.

Anyway, Bernie Sanders says he has the momentum in New Hampshire right now. But tomorrow night`s Democratic debate will be a prime opportunity for Hillary Clinton to make up some ground in the state, where according to a new University of Massachusetts at Lowell daily tracking poll, she trails Sanders by 29 points, that`s across the state here.

Well, today, Secretary Clinton address dollars the skeptics, she called them that, who say she has no chance here in New Hampshire.

Well, however, a memo obtained today by CBS shows that campaign manager Robbie Mook, he`s the top guy in that campaign, is telling jittery donors is that New Hampshire not essential to the Clinton campaign in the long run. Quote, Here is he lowballing the state, "It`s important to remember that while the first four states receive a lot of attention, they only represent 4 percent of the delegates needed to win the nomination. We have built a national organization," according to the campaign manager, "designed to secure the delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination. We`re on a path to do just that."

I`m joined right now by a round table tonight, Jay Newton Small, correspondent with "Time Magazine", right here. Alex Seitz-Wald is political reporter with MSNBC, of course, and Francesca Chambers is White House correspondent with "The Daily Mail".

Francesca, we`re hoping to get him, not just to react to the big endorsement -- I`m kidding -- from Rick Santorum, which is not a big deal, but to the fact that he`s being harpooned in the last couple of hours by Chris Christie, who accused him of being the boy in the bubble who will not come out of the bubble and answered questions. Everything is prerecorded. He is robotic, he isn`t a real candidate.

These are pretty direct shot for Chris Christie.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: Well, he has to take that kind of shot at Marco Rubio here, because in order for Chris Christie to come in second or come in third and get any sort of ticket out of New Hampshire, Chris, he would have to pull support away from Marco Rubio and that gets more difficult after Iowa, because the momentum is with Marco Rubio after that really strong third place finish.

MATTHEWS: Well, this is -- Alex, I mean, this is really a direct, personal penetrating shot. You`re not saying the guy, he`s not as smart as I am, or not as conservative as I am. You`re saying he is a boy in the bubble. He is like a medically challenged person, who can`t face the atmosphere.

I mean, this is a pretty clever metaphor and it`s hard to take back -- well, I didn`t really mean that the other night about you being a boy in the bubble. Yes, he does.

ALEX SEITZ-WALD, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, this is who Chris Christie is, right? He was Donald Trump before Donald Trump was Donald Trump in this race. He is the guy who called Barack Obama a petulant child, also not exactly a policy shot. He knows that New Hampshire is his one shot he staked everything on this state. He is going to not risk it and go after Marco Rubio and go after Jeb Bush and everyone else.

MATTHEWS: I think -- so, it`s zero-sum. These four candidates, Trump and Cruz doing their own thing, but the four candidates, Rubio, Christie, Bush, and Kasich, can`t all win.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: It`s kill or be killed.

MATTHEWS: This is one win, somebody comes in second or third, the rest join the pack of good-byes.

NEWTON-SMALL: Yes, absolutely. It`s kill or be killed, it`s winner takes all. And the sense that there`s only one set of momentum coming out there`s only --

MATTHEWS: We like it better this way, don`t we? It`s not like little league where everybody gets a trophy.

It`s old school. One kid gets the trophy. Everybody else are losers.

Let me ask you, who else is going to get tough? It seems like they all will be going for Rubio now because Rubio`s hot coming out with that -- you know, the way he celebrated the other night. I mean, I don`t like this kind of politics, but it does work. He acted like he`d won in Iowa, and he clearly came in third.

CHAMBERS: Well, he lowered expectations for himself, Chris, and then exceeded those expectations and he was able to say, look, I did so well, so much better that I expected myself to do and like you expect me to do. And it was brilliant.

MATTHEWS: Have you ever seen a victory speech given by a guy coming in third? I mean, it was a victory speech.

CHAMBERS: No, but it was absolutely brilliant the way he did it. And going back to, you know, the things that Chris Christie is saying about him, you`re absolutely right. This is what he says about everybody. This is the way he has been the whole entire time. And I think if Donald Trump wasn`t in this race, you see that a little bit more coming from Chris Christie. I think we`re just focusing on it --

MATTHEWS: OK. We`re hoping still to get John Kasich on, who I`ve known for a long time and I consider him my friend. I think he works across party lines. He is a working class guy.

He is coming across more like a regular street corner guy. He is not an elitist by any measure. Is this a non-elitist state?

NEWTON-SMALL: Talk about somebody losing their temper potentially and really going by -- I mean, Kasich is known for that, right?

MATTHEWS: Now, you`re telling us that. This is television. They don`t flow this. What do you know? Tell me something I don`t know about his temper.

NEWTON-SMALL: On Capitol Hill, he is known for having a really volatile temper.

MATTHEWS: Who told you?

NEWTON-SMALL: His former colleagues from the House.

MATTHEWS: Oh, really. Who?

NEWTON-SMALL: I`m not going to name.

MATTHEWS: Just kidding. But it is renowned? Is that true, Alex?

SEITZ-WALD: Yes, I mean, I`ve definitely heard that from lots of people.

MATTHEWS: By the way, I`ve been in politics my whole life, I have never heard a politician not known for a temper. Bill Clinton was torrential --

SEITZ-WALD: It`s an asset if you`re a politician, right? I mean, this is what you -- politics ain`t bean bag as they say, and sometimes --

MATTHEWS: But in the back room, but you guys, well turned out reporters aren`t there with a bunch of scruffy staff people around, they whip us. They`re so determined to win.

CHAMBERS: But a big difference between a Marco Rubio and a John Kasich in that aspect. Marco Rubio is a very nice likeable person. You`ll see that if you go to any of his rallies and I think that`s why he ended up doing so well in Iowa, Chris. That`s something that plays really well with the voters there. Here, however, a John Kasich kind of guy who is willing to get in there.


MATTHEWS: You don`t find him robotic?

CHAMBERS: I think he does, in fact, give a lot of the answers the same way he has them memorized in that sense. But he stays on message very well for that reason.

MATTHEWS: OK, great. You saw the movie, "The Lives of Others", they could tell the guy who was lying if he repeated the words exactly the same every time?

Anyway, thank you for the round table, Jay, Alex and Francesca.

We mention everything here, including German movies. John Kasich will be right here.

This is HARDBALL, the place -- actually, live from Manchester, New Hampshire, on the eve of the first Clinton-Sanders debate. So, a lot going on here.

We`re also still as we move around the country, always the place for politics.



GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re on the ballot in virtually every state that we`ve had qualified for. But I mean, if I get smoked here, then it`s over, I go home. But I don`t think that`s going to happen. I think if we emerge from here, I really believe, at the end, I`ll be the nominee.


MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL, live from Manchester, New Hampshire.

It`s a do or die for a lot of people up here. Not just, well, the candidates -- Live Free or Die is the name of the state. John Kasich, next Tuesday.

In their endorsement over the weekend, "The New York Times` editorial board called Kasich, quote, "the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race", close quote.

Anyway, despite the increasingly combative tone in the Republican race, Governor Kasich has vowed to stay positive.

I`m joined right now by Governor John Kasich of Ohio.

Governor Kasich, thank you for joining us.

KASICH: How are you?

MATTHEWS: A lot of people who talk to me like my producers think one of the ways you can win up here, come in second, have a very strong finish is to attract a lot of the independents, because if you`re politically independent and register that way, you can vote New Hampshire primary.

KASICH: Look, we think we can win every vote, Chris, and I got to tell you, I feel great about where we are. We`re going to finish very strong. We`re already beginning to plan other places where we`re going to go.

I had a meeting yesterday about it. There`s talk today about it. We think we`re going to do very well and, you know, Chris -- look, you and I have known each other a long time. Here`s the situation. It`s not a voter that I don`t think I could win if I have a chance to spend time with them.

So, I don`t look at one segment or another segment and if you look at my record both in Congress and you look at my record as governor, you know, I get coalitions together that no other Republican really does and that`s how we win in the fall.

MATTHEWS: You grabbed me a couple of months ago, three, four months ago up here, pulled me into a side room and said you`re going to basically work this state really hard one-on-one relation with people. How many days have you been able to clock up here in New Hampshire to do that?

KASICH: Well, I guess since I came up between Christmas and New Year`s, for I think almost two days, and then since the 1st of January, the 3rd of January, I`ve basically been here full time. I went out to Iowa to do the debate, spend a little bit of time there. But I`ve spent a lot of time here. We just finished I think our 95th town hall meeting which is really great.

The way I look at this, Chris, is like running for Congress. There`s 1.3 million and you get to meet everybody three or four times. I had a lady tonight say, you know, you`re at the top of my list. I said, well, of the 1.3 million people that live in New Hampshire, you`re one of my favorites.


MATTHEWS: Let`s talk -- let me ask you --


KASICH: We`re having a great time. The crowds are great. Look, Chris, here`s the thing. You`ll love this. I`m free.

You know, I do what I want to do. I say the things that are on my mind. I`ve got a conservative record of things I can get done and we need to get that into Washington so we can solve some of our big problems.

MATTHEWS: If you can write the second or third, second paragraph coming out in the big news reports of what happens up here next Tuesday night, what do you want it to say about you?

KASICH: He`s on the move. You know, he had a great time, a great night in New Hampshire and he`s on the move and we`re going to -- look, we are poised to move all over this country. We`ve got people in South Carolina, people in Nevada, we got people down in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee. We`re all over the place. We need to come out of here and be a story.


MATTHEWS: I meant to say what brand of conservatism. Define your conservativism as a unique selling point. Make your case.

KASICH: Well, look, my position is that you don`t have anything if you don`t have economic growth and job creation. Once you have it, it`s not an end unto itself and everybody ought to have a chance. The mentally ill, the drug addicted, the working poor, the developmentally disabled and the minority community has to have a chance to live out their God-given purpose.

It`s not much different than what the things that Jack Kemp said. It`s not much different than the things Ronald Reagan said. It`s just that I`m not afraid to say those things because I believe conservatism is an opportunity for everybody. Not a handout, but a hand up, plain and simple.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Governor John Kasich, who might do really well here next Tuesday night and surprise a lot of people.

Anyway, we`re going to stick with him. I`m sorry, we`re going to stick with you.

KASICH: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Governor Kasich.

KASICH: All right, thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Governor.

Anyway, when we return, like I told you I was going to try to tell you about the history of this incredible state of New Hampshire. There`s been so many exciting years up here starting in 1952 when not only did we kick a president out of office, Harry Truman, but this state introduced us to a president who wasn`t even in politics before that. Amazing power, this state. We`re going to begin to tell you about that story tonight in my close.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with something I promised to show you -- a look at the most decisive events in the history of the New Hampshire presidential primary. Well, tonight, I`d like to tell you about the truly wondrous couple of things that happened here in 1952. Both parties made presidential history that year, both in the primary.

On the Republican side, a group of establishment kingmakers met and decided to recruit someone from outside the political world to run for president. General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the man who received the Nazi surrender in 1945. The wildly popular Ike was serving as supreme commander of NATO and at the time of the New Hampshire primary, Eisenhower was still serving at his post in Paris but he`d given permission to Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, a key figure in the Republican establishment to put his name on the ballot in New Hampshire. He won big. He was on his way to being the party`s nominee for president without ever leaving Paris.

On the Democratic side, President Harry Truman didn`t like the idea of having his name on the ballot for renomination as president, but agreed to allow it. He was defeated in New Hampshire by Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver who made his name chairing national hearings on organized crime, something that didn`t make him popular with some big city Democratic bosses of the day who didn`t like having their backroom relations with the mob brought to such public light.

When they got to their convention in Chicago, the Democrats picked the squeaky clean high tone governor of Illinois, Adlai Stevenson as their presidential nominee. Well, we all know what happened then in November. Eisenhower served for two popular terms as president. 1952, a year that New Hampshire both dethroned a president and discovered one.

More coming tomorrow night when we take up the 1968 election that saw a glorious anti-Vietnam campaign of Eugene McCarthy that led to the forced retirement of President Lyndon Johnson.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.