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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 2/10/2016

Guests: Donald Trump, Eugene Robinson, Steve Schmidt, David Corn, Howard Fineman, Jay Newton-Small, Francesca Chambers, Ben Ginsberg

Show: HARDBALL Date: February 10, 2016 Guest: Donald Trump, Eugene Robinson, Steve Schmidt, David Corn, Howard Fineman, Jay Newton-Small, Francesca Chambers, Ben Ginsberg

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to a special edition of HARDBALL. By the way, there`s our great license plate from New Hampshire, PLC4 POLTX. Live free or die. And we`re here in Manchester, New Hampshire, for a special edition of HARDBALL.

Donald Trump silenced critics today who questioned whether his months-long lead would translate into actual electoral success. Trump won with a double-digit lead over his nearest opponent, Ohio governor John Kasich.

According to our exit polls, Trump led among men, among women, among young people, among older voters, people at every single income level, as well as voters who call themselves very conservatives, those who call themselves moderates.

Donald Trump joins us by phone.

Mr. Trump, what do you like better?

Let`s say, caucuses or primaries?

What do you prefer?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I loved what we did this week and I think the caucus system is a difficult system, but I just don`t think it`s as accurate.

It`s something nice, Chris, when you can walk in, pull a lever or do whatever you have to do to vote and leave. So I think it`s a much more accurate system and I think it`s a much better system, actually.

MATTHEWS: I`ve been arguing all night that both you and Bernie Sanders have one thing in common: you`re not going to self-destruct. Someone`s going to have to beat you. You`re not going to beat yourself.

Who do you think -- or what do you see when you look between here and Cleveland at the convention?

What`s between you and getting the nomination right now?

TRUMP: I think I have a chance to do very well in South Carolina. I`ll be going there tomorrow and we have a tremendous speech. I mean, the crowd is going to be enormous tomorrow in South Carolina.

You know I`ve been doing very well there. We`ve attracted a lot of people and very big audiences. And I look forward to doing well there, Chris. I think it`s going to be very special just like New Hampshire was.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the military, because we all know South Carolina is a military state. What are you going to do about the military? Have you thought through how you`re going to rebuild the American military to make it number one again?

TRUMP: Well, I have and I think one of the reasons I did so well with the vets up in New Hampshire was because of the fact I have a great relationship with the military, a great relationship to the vets. And we`re going to redo it.

I mean, our military is depleted. We`re somewhat laughed at, somewhat scoffed at and we shouldn`t be but we are. And we`re going to build it up and make it very, very strong.

We`re at a point where I remember when not so long ago when General Odierno, who`s a good man. When he left, he said, it`s really in terms of preparedness one of the worst we`ve been in many years. I mean, think of it. Our military is not in a good state of preparedness and I was amazed to hear that.

But when you think of it, we shouldn`t be too surprised. So we`re going to build it up and make it very, very strong. And hopefully, we`re not going to have to use it, Chris. But we`re going to be very strong nevertheless.

MATTHEWS: Are you going to increase the force levels? You going to increase the size of the Navy?

I mean, are there any elements you`ve thought about in terms of -- you`re going to be commander in chief.

What do you want more that we don`t have now?


TRUMP: Well, I think what we`re going to be doing is we`re going to be dealing with the admirals and the generals and we`re going to be talking to them and finding out what they need. I know for a fact that they order equipment that in many cases, Chris, they don`t want but it`s politically expedient.

You know, people that give people that I`m running against and will be running against, perhaps, they do campaign contributions. And they`re buying equipment they don`t want. And stuff that they do want they`re not able to buy because it`s not political.

It`s sort of like, you know, the drug business, the medical business where we buy things and we don`t even negotiate price. So we can build up the military, but we want to build it up with the right stuff.

I`m self funding, so nobody`s going to be telling me what we should and shouldn`t buy. But I know for a fact we`re buying things that, in many cases -- not in all cases -- they don`t want. They want other alternatives.

MATTHEWS: Now that you`re on top, are you going to continue with the series of debates that have been planned?

Will you go to the CBS?

Will you go to the rest -- FOX, all the debates that have been scheduled?

TRUMP: Yes, I actually like the debates. I mean somehow, I guess you would -- I think you would agree, but I`ve done well the debates.

I mean, the one debate I missed with Fox, I missed it because they did something which wasn`t very nice. But we`re totally patched up and that`s fine now. But they did something which wasn`t appropriate. I wouldn`t have missed what I did. I raised $6 million and now it`s up to $7 million for the vets that night.

So you know, that`s sort of what I`m telling you about my relationship with the vets and the military.

So it was a great night, but I did miss that one debate. The last debate, I think I did very well on it.

One thing you know, Chris, if you don`t do well, you start going down and you go down pretty rapidly. You got a pretty good glimpse of that.

MATTHEWS: Is that what croaked Rubio?

TRUMP: Say it again, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Is that what croaked Rubio?

What happened Saturday night?

He went way down in the polls here.

TRUMP: I guess so. I mean, he`s a good guy. I like him. He just, he really took a beating. It was a tough debate. I think the press was pretty tough, but maybe they were right in being tough. But it certainly did not help him. He came in a little bit lower, maybe a lot lower than people thought he would.

I mean, the ultimate poll is the one we just had. And he`s lower than a lot of people -- had he not been in that debate or had he not had the misfire, if you want to call it that, certainly he would have been higher than he ended up.

MATTHEWS: OK. I now have to pronounce you something you may not like. I now pronounce you, sir, a politician.

TRUMP: Oh, I don`t like that. I don`t like that.

MATTHEWS: But the good part is you`re a winning politician. No, no, you`re in the business now, sir. You`re inside that game. Thank you for calling me so late tonight. Congratulations, really, on a personal level.

TRUMP: Thank you, thank you very much, Chris. I greatly appreciate it. Great honor. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Let me bring in the all-star panel with me tonight. We`re up in Manchester, the moderate MEET THE PRESS Chuck Todd is here.

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist (INAUDIBLE) Eugene Robinson.

And Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who was senior advisor to the great John McCain campaign.

I got to start with Chuck here.

It looks to me like I`ve been arguing Newton`s law of motion. You got to stop these guys. You got to stop Bernie, you got to stop Trump. They`re not just going to die. That`s been an illusion, I think, of the critics on the Left. Oh, Trump`s going to die. He`s a clown.

The (INAUDIBLE) on the Right say this guy`s a socialist. He`s an old fogey. They`re doing well.

CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": No, they are and you`re right. The Clinton campaign has to figure how to, number one, they need a message, they need an elevator pitch. In 10 seconds I can tell you what Bernie Sanders` message is. I can`t do it with Hillary Clinton. I tried it with every one of her surrogates today. I`ve tried it with -- and they don`t get there.

MATTHEWS: Is this the Ted Kennedy problem?

TODD: I think it is.


TODD: Why do you want to be president?

And I think she hasn`t figured it out yet. That`s number one. It`s going to be a rough ride.

And, yes, they`re going to have to take it to Sanders and that comes with some risk, going after Sanders.

On the Republican side, who`s going to take Trump on?

Somebody has to. I think the most fascinating thing to watch in the next 10 days is figuring out who goes after whom --

MATTHEWS: Let me run something by you --


MATTHEWS: Let`s take it back before Iowa because I think that`s where we are.

Won`t Cruz and Rubio have to fight it out now personally?

TODD: Look, you got -- I think Jeb needs to go after Trump. I think Jeb and Trump share more potential voters in South Carolina than anybody else. And it`s those veterans, the coastal moderates there in South Carolina.

Yes, I do think there`s a Cruz and Rubio, that they may be going after each other a little bit; that`s true.

And then look, Kasich`s the wild card here. He gets a little bump out of here. I still don`t know where he quite goes.

MATTHEWS: Does he get a bump in South Carolina?

TODD: He gets a bump financially.

I don`t know if he gets a bump in South Carolina but he`s got to play there.

MATTHEWS: I know a guy from South Carolina. Here he is.

Gene, you`re a South Carolinian Democrat. I think you know the Democratic Party. You know the Republican Party. I was talking about military stuff because I`m assuming when we get there it will be all about military.

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: Well, look, South Carolina has a lot of military installations. And making the military strong again or stronger is not just a philosophical thing for South Carolinians, it`s an economic thing. So there`s going to be a lot of talk about that.

Is South Carolina a natural state for John Kasich?

I`m not sure it is. Remember that, before 2012, South Carolina had a quite good record of choosing the eventual nominee.


MATTHEWS: There`s some really rotten campaigning. Things were nasty --


TODD: I think that`s what`s coming. I think this is going to be 10 days of nasty. I think this is going to be -- we`ve been using this analogy --


TODD: -- a Tarantino movie. Everybody`s going to be shooting at everybody.

MATTHEWS: Do we know the targets yet?

TODD: No, I think --

MATTHEWS: Well, last time it was John McCain`s wife is a druggie. His daughter`s --

TODD: I don`t know if it gets that personal but I think it`s going to be rough.



How rough will it get down there?

STEVE SCHMIDT, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN ADVISER: It`s very rough. Meanness is a virtue in South Carolina. This is a state that has a unique political culture out of all the --

MATTHEWS: Is that from the Atwater --

SCHMIDT: This is a rough and tumble state.

ROBINSON: Atwater --


MATTHEWS: We remember how much John McCain went down because I was hanging out with our boss here. We would hang out with Lindsey Graham because we`re all coverage down there, the McCain campaign, holding town meetings and college tours and everything.

And we got pretty familiar with the mud being thrown, the dirt balls being thrown at John McCain about his family and drugs and everything, all nonsense.

SCHMIDT: At the end of the day, it`s a tough business and South Carolina is probably the toughest state.


SCHMIDT: -- in a tough business.

MATTHEWS: Are you defending it?

SCHMIDT: I think it`s part of the process.


MATTHEWS: Part of the process to have your kids --

SCHMIDT: No, no, no. There is virtue, stress testing the people who wish to be the most powerful person in the world --

ROBINSON: I agree with that --

SCHMIDT: -- and demands the world`s most lethal military.

MATTHEWS: Do the people of South Carolina see through the crap storm?

Do they see the truth or are they just stuff flying through the air?

SCHMIDT: I think like you look at this race, Donald Trump inside a Republican primary, over the course of this year, he has a very compelling message. It`s simple in its eloquence, make America great again. It`s resonated with voters.

He has tapped a vein amongst Republican voters in this country. He`s appealing to them, to the sense of loss they feel, to the economic anxiety they feel and we`ve had all these predictions.

And now you`re seeing it play out in the Democratic primary, that there`s an expiration date, that one day, somehow, some way they`ll self-destruct.

MATTHEWS: You believe that`s true?

SCHMIDT: And it`s not happening. I`ve never believed it.


SCHMIDT: -- that is the first hour of the campaign.

You`re exactly right. Someone will have to engage; someone will have to try to beat these candidates. But so long as you have an unsettled establishment field, Ted Cruz is the ideological conservative in the race; Donald Trump is the insurgent in the nationals but that establishment field, dividing the vote, bodes very well for Donald Trump.


MATTHEWS: Some of my progressive people I talk to on the air -- and you know them -- were all very happy in saying, oh, once it`s one-on-one, Trump loses.

Well, not so clearly. If he`s up against Cruz, a number of those people, like Bush`s voters and Christie`s voters and Kasich`s voters are not going to Ted Cruz. They can just as like or more likely go to Trump. I don`t buy this, him against everybody means everybody`s against him.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: I would not count Donald Trump out because the difference between Donald Trump and -- we were talking about this earlier -- and, let`s say, Pat Buchanan`s victory in New Hampshire in 1996 is that Donald Trump has been the leader of the polls for nine months at least.



MATTHEWS: He was a talk show host.

TODD: And he had no money --

MATTHEWS: He had no money, nothing.

TODD: -- when he left New Hampshire, even after he won it.

MITCHELL: Donald Trump can sustain from now until the convention.

MATTHEWS: He got blown away in Arizona because --


TODD: Trump still hasn`t had income. He hasn`t had a sustained -- I want to see what happens --


TODD: -- hang on, buddy. I want to see what happens when right to roz (ph) when the Jeb Bush mauling machine that has been pretty destructive to Rubio, I want to see what happens when they dump $20 million on Trump somewhere.


TODD: Then let`s see -- well, that`s been --


ROBINSON: -- because it`s so risky?

Are they afraid?

TODD: I think they have been. I think --

MATTHEWS: Oh, here`s what I hear --

TODD: -- here`s what I think: if they don`t do it now, then they`re ceding the nomination.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at Marco --


MATTHEWS: -- because I hear Christie and Clinton until he gets rid of Rubio. So let`s watch him now, saying how he let down his voters on Saturday night and therefore did badly tonight. Here`s Rubio.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can just tell you I know many people disappointed. I`m disappointed with tonight. I want you to understand.

But I want you to understand something, I want you to understand something, our disappointment tonight is not on you. It`s on me. It`s on me. I did not -- I did not do well on Saturday night, so if you listen to this, that will never happen again.



MATTHEWS: His problem was that he flubbed Saturday night. His problem was he repeated himself five times in a strange version of I don`t know what.

Do you think he`s out?



ROBINSON: I think this was very damaging him to because the classic Washington definition of a gaffe, you accidently say the truth. This confirmed the rap on Marco Rubio. He`s not ready; he`s robotic, he`s preprogrammed and ta-da, you know.


Is he dead?

SCHMIDT: Yes, I think it`s over. Look, at the end of the day, Marco Rubio had his moment. He emerged as a candidate who could have been the nominee. He was on track to potentially come in second, maybe even win New Hampshire.

He goes the into the debate, his supporters couldn`t name a single qualification. Tell me the state that Marco Rubio wins next.

If he wins the Nevada caucuses and he`s organized out there and he has a chance, he rehabilitates himself. But if he doesn`t win in Nevada, he`s got big problems and it`s tough --

MATTHEWS: Because you walk around up here --


MATTHEWS: -- there are a lot of voters. I -- the old phrase of the elitist, low-information voters.

But let`s say they don`t pay a lot of attention. They don`t watch the debates, They just sort of like, he`s cute, he`s well-spoken, he`s young. They look at the visual attributes and say I like him better than the others because he doesn`t yell as much. He`s still -- so a lot of people and the neocon money behind him, he`s got two things going for him.

MITCHELL: He`s got some money, he`s got a lot of attractive qualities. But I think that Saturday night debate was so destructive to him.

SCHMIDT: He`s definitional.

TODD: I think he`s got a lot of pressure got on him on Saturday. He has an opportunity. I don`t think you can totally say he`s out because he does have some resources. He`s got more cash.

MATTHEWS: Who`s got a better chance of surviving, he or Jeb?


ROBINSON: That`s tough.

TODD: I don`t know, man. Jeb`s got some high unfavorables among Republicans. I tell you, I sit here; Rubio has more room to recover. I hear what Steve`s saying. And it`s one of those things -- maybe it can`t - - maybe it`s a virus that can`t be cured.

But he still -- you still have a higher favorable rating there. Jeb has some hard negatives.

MATTHEWS: Around the room, starting with you, if you`re on that plane tonight, just landing in New York with Donald Trump and his people, who are you afraid of between here and Cleveland convention?

Who`s your biggest fear?

TODD: I think a rehabilitated Jeb and Cruz.


ROBINSON: In a funny way, it`s Jeb -- and the funny way it`s Jeb, Jeb could do fairly well in South Carolina. And he`s a substantial guy. You might figure if you`re Trump, Rubio`s --

MATTHEWS: This is fascinating.

ROBINSON: -- could be on the way --

MATTHEWS: I never would have thought of him.

Do you think Jeb -- ?

SCHMIDT: No, it`s Ted Cruz. Donald Trump can`t get into a binary race with Ted Cruz. That`s an ideological fight in the way that Hillary Clinton is now in an ideological fight with Bernie Sanders. So long as there are a couple other candidates in the mix, Donald Trump can win this 34-35 percent and he is on track to get the nomination.

MATTHEWS: So that`s the argument --


TODD: I think there`s three lanes here.

MATTHEWS: -- oh, well, we`ll see.



MITCHELL: I think Ted Cruz.

MATTHEWS: I think Cruz is tough because he`s got that hard right-wing rail and he`s been hanging on to it and it`s hard to get to his right. But I also think -- and everybody is out of the race -- it may go to --


MATTHEWS: -- and his personal relations are --


MATTHEWS: -- you know them better than I do.

Do they like Trump or not?

The moderates?

TODD: The moderates?


MATTHEWS: -- Kasich hate Trump enough not to go with him?

Or to go with Cruz?

The same with Bush?

The same with Christie?

Christie wants to get rid of Rubio. That`s his goal.

TODD: I think Christie is done because he`s not going to qualify for that debate and that`s his oxygen. He`s got no other oxygen.

MATTHEWS: We`re going to miss him.

ROBINSON: -- South Carolina --

TODD: Oh, yes, I think a lot of people are going to --


ROBINSON: -- the Hillary Clinton plane going to New York tonight.

MATTHEWS: If I were you, I would make everybody get off the plane and try to get some new people --

ROBINSON: What`s your plan?

MATTHEWS: We`ll see. We`ll get back to that --


MATTHEWS: -- because she`s got to beat Sanders and he looks really good right now.

Thank you very much, guys.

Eugene Robinson, "The Washington Post"; Steve Schmidt, thank you; Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd.

Isn`t tomorrow Sunday morning again?

Seems like it should be.

Anyway, still ahead, the other big winner this night, Bernie Sanders won by double digits over Hillary Clinton.

You`re watching a special edition of HARDBALL, live from Manchester, New York, on this historic primary night.








SANDERS: We will need to come together in a few months and unite this party and this nation because the right-wing Republicans we oppose must not be allowed to gain the presidency.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Manchester, New Hampshire and this special edition of hardball. This is really an amazing time in this year`s presidential election fight. That was Bernie Sanders, speaking tonight after his resounding -- and I mean resounding victory over Hillary Clinton up here in the Live Free or Die State with more than 80 percent of the vote and now Sanders won by a margin -- catch this -- of more than 20 percent. That`s more than double digit, double double digit.

Anyway, I`m joined right now by my colleague, Chris Hayes, the host of "ALL IN" on MSNBC; MSNBC national political correspondent Joy Reid and one of George Washington bureau (ph) chief, David Corn.

You`re the oldest guy here besides me. Let me tell you, Howard Fineman is so right, Bernie Sanders` approach is brilliant. He reads notes, no teleprompter. Nothing fancy. I`m going to start talking like him, with the hand flying around. He`s like a college professor who`s 28 years old, assistant professor of political science doing a teach-in.

And he`s got all these interesting statistics and he brings them out and each paragraph or thought has one great statistic. And everybody going, wow, and everybody -- he`s teaching us, we like this guy.


DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES": You talk to people who have worked with him or known him for 50 years and they say he hasn`t changed. He`s gotten older but he hasn`t changed. He didn`t do drugs back in the `60s; he wasn`t a hippie. He was all about changing, taking on capital --


CORN: And so when he talks this way, people realize it`s from the gut. Like it or not, there`s no question about whether he`s calculating or trying to present an image to win votes. It`s his message and it`s something Hillary Clinton has not been able --


MATTHEWS: You get the feeling tonight that Hillary Clinton`s speech was teleprompted and it had no poetry. It was like a Walter Mondale speech in the old days I`ve got something for gay people, I`ve got something for people of color. I got something for this group, that group.

And it didn`t sound like it had a whole purpose. Like when Bill ran, it was for people who work hard and play by the rules, very centrist --



MATTHEWS: And it`s the economy, stupid, and don`t forget health care. There were centric things that he kept talking about.

Hillary has no unity of argument, whereas Bernie is one unitary theory of everything.

Citizens United.

REID: But here`s the problem. Here`s the thing. So when Bill Clinton runs in 1992, he`s running not only to inflict generational change on the country but to also -- a partisan change.

You had a Republican president who had -- who was in office. He`s running against Republicans. Bernie Sanders is essentially a change candidate, change from Barack Obama, saying that his policies were not liberal enough.

There`s an interesting piece in our -- in the exit polls where people, 40 percent said they want Obama`s policies continued. Hillary wins those over overwhelmingly. The 40 percent say make his policies more liberal, 42 percent say we want them more liberal. Sanders, Clinton, he is essentially running a change argument.

Hillary Clinton, yes, she`s the polished candidate. She doesn`t have a -- she doesn`t have a change message because she wants continuity.

MATTHEWS: She wants the job.

REID: She wants Barack Obama`s policies continued.


MATTHEWS: I want this position, the presidency.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Part of the issue here is -- and I think there`s two things going on -- and one is the fact that the deep structural conditions of the country, the inequality, the fact that wages have stagnated, even through the recovery of the Great Recession, it`s just a real fact.

You`re seeing in Bernie Sanders, when you look at those exit polls, the entrance polls in Iowa tonight, him winning voters, making less than $50,000 a year. They`re like -- that message resonates with people that have not seen gains from the Great Recovery.

The second thing is I can`t help but think back to 2004, right. Democrats totally different mindset in the bunker. Just in the bunker, they`re like, who can we run against Bush?

We have a general -- is there any general around? There`s a general, Wesley Clark. Let`s run that guy.

There`s no like I`m in a political revolution. It`s like can we find a dude who`s worn a uniform to run against him. Now it`s this expansive idea that we`ve run two in a row, maybe we can elect Bernie Sanders.

REID: He`s right.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, people want all the things he`s offering. But when he comes back and says I`m going to slap a tax on the stock market speculation, you got to know what exactly does that mean?

And how much money does that --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- that`s a totally reasonable policy.

MATTHEWS: How much can you raise on the stock market?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you can raise a lot of money.

MATTHEWS: How do you do it?

What do you tax?

What do you tax?

HAYES: You tax the transactions.

MATTHEWS: Transactions?

All transactions?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not all you --

MATTHEWS: -- call it that. He calls it speculation.

HAYES: Right, because the point is that if you`re buying and holding, you`re going to pay essentially nothing on it. The people that will pay a lot on it are people that --

MATTHEWS: So all the people -- and all the retired people in mutual funds (INAUDIBLE) are eventually penniless.


REID: -- going to be on somebody else, OK?

You have younger voters and people who are saying we`re going to get the Wall Street guys.

I was talking to voters today who are undecided between Clinton and Sanders and the deciding factor was not taxes on Wall Street. It`s taxes on them, on themselves. And the question of whether they would be taxed.

And if you start to talk to people about across-the-board taxes, that just don`t hit the 1 percenters but hit them, then you start to get to brass tacks. We have not litigated that part of Bernie Sanders` agenda at all.

CORN: Well, the thing is, Hillary Clinton, in 2008, won working-class, blue-collar men here in New Hampshire. She had an argument; the Clinton people had, for years, worked to that crowd. She`s totally lost them because she`s not connecting on these issues of economic security and structural change.

MATTHEWS: Did she connect tonight?

CORN: What?

MATTHEWS: Did she connect tonight?

CORN: I don`t know. It sounded like too much of a speech. People want to -- and I think Obama kind of raised the bar. People, when they --

MATTHEWS: Why did she offer a speech tonight that really emphasized anger?

CORN: Because she`s trying to find some emotional connection to the people. She`s been running as the person who can do the job, be the best, most competently.


CORN: -- was Michael Dukakis.

MATTHEWS: OK, this is -- is she trying mimic Sanders?


MATTHEWS: -- tonight. Let`s watch.

I think she was trying to do Sanders. Here he is with his succession (ph) speech.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People have every right to be angry. But they`re also hungry. They`re hungry for solutions.

What are we going to do?


CLINTON: I will fight to rein in Wall Street and, you know what, I know how to do it.

We have to keep up with, every fiber of our being, the argument for the campaign for human rights as women`s rights, human rights as gay rights, human rights as worker rights, human rights as voting rights, human rights across the board for every single American.

Now that is who I am. That is what I`ve always done. That is why I am in this race.


MATTHEWS: You know, tonight would have been a night to quietly talk to people about a loss and to remind them why you`re in politics and the issues you`ve been fighting for all your life in a soft way.

Why she fought the applause there like then, why she had a whole series of things to fight the applause with, just in terms of style. I mean, this is a workers of the world unite. You just lost an election. Talk about that and why you`re still in the fight.

REID: Yes, but I --

MATTHEWS: She was imitating Bernie and he does it so much better because he doesn`t seem angry.

HAYES: -- more than -- I actually think her -- look, I mean, if there`s one characteristic you would attribute to Hillary Clinton here in her years of public life, it`s resilience.

I mean, has there been someone more resilient in American life -- ?


HAYES: Bill?

Hillary Clinton has been through it time and time again. And tonight I thought that was part of what she was showing. But ultimately, look, here`s the thing: Hillary Clinton, she is not a terrible politician. She`s not on the Jeb Bush level disaster. But she is not an incredible natural politician. This is clear now on the second campaign.

She is a remarkably competent, accomplished individual, who probably has the best resume for president ever.

MATTHEWS: How would you rate her as a candidate, 1-10?


HAYES: -- 7 as a candidate.

REID: She`s a 7. She`s a 7. But the difference between --


MATTHEWS: What would you say, David?

CORN: I would say 6 but the thing is she`s talking about her resume and how she can do a good job and be competent and go practical solutions.

Bernie is talking about a cause.


CORN: -- what I can do, join this cause, join this revolution.

Those are two very emotionally different pitches and right now the Democratic Party wants to be part of a crusade and part a cause. I think, in part, the expectations came up with Obama and these people want the next chapter.

REID: And you have to remember that in 2008, when Barack Obama lost here, what he did was he walked out on that stage and he gave people a dream. This dream written in the founding documents.

He went big, he talked about the dream of the country. He has that ability to go beyond himself and go beyond the campaign itself and talk about a driving dream. That is not who Hillary Clinton is. Hillary Clinton is a resume. She`s an incredible --

MATTHEWS: And these are not --


HAYES: David`s point here about rising expectations is key. Political scientists talk about revolutions of rising expectations. The revolutions don`t happen during famine. They happen when people actually attain something.


HAYES: This is a classic example of that.

MATTHEWS: -- without taking sides, this is a tricky one.

Can you see, in your imagination, Hillary overtaking Bernie Sanders in terms of appeal to the country?

Her appeal?


REID: Yes, and the reason for that is because we are talking right now about a slice of the electorate that is more liberal, that is whiter than the electorate we are coming to. I`m telling you, black voters are about winning pragmatism --

MATTHEWS: Can you see her doing it?

CORN: I can see her winning; I can`t see her forging a stronger, better, more enthusiastic --

MATTHEWS: That`s what I`m talking about. She can pull a (INAUDIBLE) but she can`t be exciting, maybe (INAUDIBLE).

HAYES: Here`s the last thing I`d say. Best moment in Hillary Clinton`s campaign so far was 11 hours of Benghazi. Think about what that means.

CORN: That`s a lawyer`s job.

HAYES: But that`s the point. She was at her best when people saw her for 11 hours. Their challenge is to boil that down into what you see.


MATTHEWS: There`s a difference between handling issues, which she`s very good, and winning --


MATTHEWS: This is a hot topic. It`s after midnight. We`re in a bar.

Anyway, thank you, Chris Hayes; thank you, Joy Reid and thank you, David Corn.

Coming up, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. I`m going to speak with three MSNBC reporters, who are at the headquarters tonight with Sanders, Clinton and Bush, the actual people. You`re watching a special Election Night edition of HARDBALL. Live from Manchester, New Hampshire.





GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning.

And you made it happen. You made it happen. You made it happen. You made it happen.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL in New Hampshire, this special edition of HARDBALL late tonight and early in the morning if you`re (INAUDIBLE), evening if you`re around California.

Anyway, I personal, having watched politics forever, love those personal moments when the guy or the woman is caught up in the emotion of victory or defeat, it`s those rare moments you actually get a little honesty and I should say that, it`s too tough, a little bit of personal revelation about the person, what kind of person they are.

It`s like the guy that wins the Oscar, the woman who wins the Oscar.

Norway, let`s bring in three of NBC`s top reporters on the campaign, Kasie Hunt, is right, here, covering the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Kristen Welker, right here, covering the Hillary Clinton campaign.

And Chris Jansing.

Well, why don`t you two reporters just compare notes?

Let`s talk now -- we`re going to take a look at now at what Jeb Bush I think said tonight. Let`s watch Jeb Bush.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This campaign is not dead. We`re going on to South Carolina. We also need someone that can defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall.

Not just Hillary Clinton; apparently, maybe, Bernie Sanders as well. Who knows.


MATTHEWS: Well, at least that wasn`t the name of a plane and I`ve been down so long looks like up --


MATTHEWS: I mean, he`s in fourth or fifth and he`s really happy.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: Well, he`s still fighting for third. And third is the new first.

Didn`t Marco Rubio set that standard in Iowa?

Look, this is a campaign that was left for dead. He`s right about that. He said, people have written my obituary. So he feels like he`s been given a new life. I will tell you that the energy in that room --

MATTHEWS: Go through the numbers: Trump the big guy, 35; then Kasich leading a significant 4 points, then the rest of really bunched, Cruz, Bush, Rubio, all within 1.

JANSING: And all of them have an argument to make about South Carolina and going forward and reasons that they`re going to do that, although Rubio is the only one tonight who gave an apology. He told his supporters what happened on Friday night -- or what happened in the debate won`t happen again.

MATTHEWS: Obviously we know that because that wasn`t purposeful. It`s not like he did it on purpose. He repeated himself five times because he was apparently shook.

JANSING: He says he`s not going to be shaken again.


MATTHEWS: -- do it again?

JANSING: There`s a lot of exhaustion at play there. But there also is, that is very much if you go to any of his events, you will see that he does have these standard lines, as they all do.

MATTHEWS: None like him. All right, I think he`s the worst in that regard. I think he`s very much a robot guy. But you`re -- which one you got the report about happiness, like who`s your candidate and why is he happy?

KRISTEN WELKER, MSNBC HOST: Look, what we heard from Marco Rubio tonight was stunning. I was at the Clinton campaign headquarters and she tried to spin this loss. It was a bruising defeat tonight. They were hoping they could hold the loss to single digits. When they saw that wasn`t going to happen, they were hoping it would be within 10. It was a lot higher than that.


MATTHEWS: -- the former president, why was he so transparently, obviously miserable when she was speaking?

WELKER: I think Bill Clinton has been out on the stump. He`s been sticking to his script with the exception of Sunday night, when he really let loose.

MATTHEWS: Why is he not happy when his wife is speaking?

WELKER: Well, I don`t know if he`s unhappy --


WELKER: -- the wheels are turning in his head. What does he need to be doing differently?

I can tell you, Chris, I`ve been talking to some sources who are close in the campaign; there a little bit of a retooling going on when it comes to her messaging. She knows she`s got to be sharper.

She knows she`s got to --

MATTHEWS: Does she know why she`s running?

WELKER: -- younger people --

MATTHEWS: Does she know why --

WELKER: Well, that`s a question for her.


MATTHEWS: That`s the message.

WELKER: Well, what`s interesting tonight -- and I think you`re going to hear moving forward -- very focused on Wall Street tonight.


MATTHEWS: She`s just doing what he`s doing.

WELKER: -- I think it`s going to be a tough sell. I think you`re right.

MATTHEWS: But don`t you think people are going to notice that she`s me- tooing him?

WELKER: I think you`re right. And I think that`s going to be her challenge moving forward. She`s going to make the argument, look, I`ve been talking about this all along. But what she`s also going to do is go after him on the issue of taxes. And I think that`ll be --

MATTHEWS: That will be great because what he says, all tuition at major state universities, nada, paid for by the government; big increases in Social Security benefits without taxing the individual, big --

WELKER: She hasn`t been talking about it at all.


MATTHEWS: But when he says Medicare for all, life, that`s a misstatement because Medicare, you work 50 years and then pay into it and then get 10 or 15 years at the end of your life and if you`re a woman, 20 or 25 years. But that`s the model. He`s acting like we`re going to get it from the time we`re born. The money`s going to be coming to us.

WELKER: You talk about --


MATTHEWS: Doesn`t make sense.

WELKER: I think there`s a sense among some of the campaign, possibly Bill Clinton as well, that they wish she had started talking about some of what you`re saying earlier instead of waiting until this was a real race, which --

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s right, because it looks now she`s only attacking because he`s beating her, not because he doesn`t have an argument.

WELKER: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Kasie Hunt?

Who`s your candidate?

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I have been with Bernie Sanders for the last week and a half.

MATTHEWS: As I said, I thought, you`ve heard him so many times. He does it so differently than most politicians. He doesn`t use the damn teleprompters, which are so phony and you can always see them. He reads notes and he looks up and down like a guy who`s like a professor and there`s something genuine about it.

HUNT: It is, and that`s what is resonating with a lot of these young people, the folder that he carries actually has a copy of his speech. He showed it to me once in an interview. He carries the same --


HUNT: -- it`s like all crumpled, like maybe he spilled some water on one page.

MATTHEWS: -- no, like he`s a professor who`s been teaching introductory lit, English lit for 20 years.

HUNT: And body guy carries this folder around for him when he`s not carrying it. I thought he was a policy guy for the longest time because he`s there with this manila folder.

But I think it`s really clear that there`s something going on here that the Clintons completely missed and they`re talking in particular about -- and, Chris, you`ve focused on this a ton over the course of the years. But working class, blue-collar voters, they are voters who are not with Obama in the primary in 2008. And they are with Bernie Sanders, huge numbers.

And they went for her, for Hillary Clinton, in 2008 and that is what the Sanders` campaign sees as the key piece of a potential coalition --

MATTHEWS: Last question, can you tell -- coverage it every day with the candidate -- why a 55-year-old white guy, to be blunt -- I hate talking like this -- but a white guy who`s making 40 or 50 a year if he`s lucky that year, why would he turn to Bernie rather than Trump?

Can you discern that?

HUNT: Well, look, I think that the Trump supporters, people who showed up at Trump rallies, much more likely to say, hey, I might think about Bernie, too, than the people who were at Bernie rallies, who were at Bernie Sanders rallies.

Much more likely to say, I have these core liberal activist beliefs that are driving me. But I think that there is fundamentally something going on with people who are working these couple of jobs, they feel excluded from the economy.

On the Republican side, it`s, hey, I want to be like that guy, Donald Trump. I want to be able to make that kind of money.

And Bernie Sanders message is, this whole system is wrong. We need change it.

So I think there`s resonance on both sides --

MATTHEWS: I think some people --


MATTHEWS: -- we don`t talk about it much, but a lot of a people who come from Europe, for instance second generation, third gen, they do bring that social democratic tradition with them. They don`t consider it anathema or weird. Their parents talk like that.

Anyway, thank you, Kasie Hunt; thank you, Kristen Welker; thank you, Chris Jansing.

A lot of Chris`s around here. Much more -- good night to everybody. I`m going to get a pizza after this. More coming ahead from Manchester. And this is a special edition of HARDBALL, live from New Hampshire on this really big historic primary night. And something happened tonight.


CLINTON: We`re going to fight for every vote in every state. We`re going to fight for real solutions that make a real difference in people`s lives.





SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now we go on to South Carolina.


CRUZ: The Palmetto State and, you know, Washington liberals may find South Carolina far less hospitable environs.

And on to Nevada and Super Tuesday, the so-called SEC primary.


MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Cruz, before you get to this place you called Nevada, think about a place called Nevada because in Nevada, they might like you to name the state correctly.

Anyway, Donald Trump and John Kasich were one and two tonight, leaving Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio piled up in the middle of the pack. There was a lot of congestion in the Republican lane tonight, while Rubio acknowledged his disappointment, Jeb Bush said that he has reset the race. My god, he`s unbelievable. Here he is. This is great.


BUSH: The pundits had it all figured out last Monday night when the Iowa caucuses were complete. They said that the race was now a three-person race between two freshman senators and a reality TV star. And while the reality TV star is still doing well, it looks like you all have reset the race and, for that, I am really grateful.


MATTHEWS: And now the future of the race depends on who stays in and who drops out. And of course I`m joined by some hot shots here, MSNBC political analyst and my friend, Howard Fineman, (INAUDIBLE) and everything else in the "Huffington Post." He writes everything, he never stops writing and reporting.

Jay Newton-Small, "Time" magazine, what a great magazine.

And "The Daily Mail`s" Francesca Chambers from the British press.

And Republican attorney Ben Ginsberg, who knows far more than he`ll ever tell us on television.


MATTHEWS: I`m going to -- Howard, what is it about these old WASPs who have such confidence in defeat?

What makes Jeb Bush think he had a great night? He`s fourth or fifth or what?

HOWARD FINEMAN, "HUFFINGTON POST": It only cost his $35 million -- $35 million -- to end up in fourth place with 11 percent.

However, his point is -- and I think it`s valid. Let`s say stock car racing, Donald Trump is Jeff Gordon. He`s five laps ahead; you got four guys all trying to crash each other on the track of the race. You got Kasich, Cruz, Bush and Rubio. And for that roll to be the non-Donald Trump, it`s true. Jeb, having spent like $55 million in Iowa and New Hampshire, is still part of that. I think not a big part of it; I think it`s basically Rubio and Cruz. I would look at Cruz as the likely number two going down the road.

MATTHEWS: No, I see Cruz in his own lane. I see him in the SEC. I see him as the conservative. I see Trump sort of in the middle and then four on the left.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, "TIME": I see Trump and Cruz sort of in that same lane where it`s competing and then everybody else in a different lane.

MATTHEWS: OK. That`s one way to do it.

NEWTON-SMALL: But I do think -- I mean, Bush`s people told me last night that they are really hopeful for South Carolina.

They think that --

MATTHEWS: Who`s hopeful?

NEWTON-SMALL: Bush`s campaign.

MATTHEWS: Well, they have to be hopeful.

What else are they going to be?

NEWTON-SMALL: But they really think -- and this is amazing to me -- that eight years after his presidency ended in flames, that they think that George W. Bush can pull off South Carolina for his brother. Basically (INAUDIBLE) --


NEWTON-SMALL: -- the Bushes are golden.

MATTHEWS: -- typical state where Jeb -- where W could help him.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, "THE DAILY MAIL": OK, I see it more like the March Madness in a basketball game. Now I went to the University of Kansas. So it`s a basketball game over here going on and, on one side of the bracket, you have got Donald Trump versus Ted Cruz and then you have the Rubio versus Bush dynamic going on and John Kasich is your wild card, right. He`s the 16th seed trying to get in there.

MATTHEWS: I`m waiting to hear what sport Ben Ginsberg is --


MATTHEWS: You know everything we don`t know. So tell us what we don`t know that you know.

BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY: So I look at this as going to a fair and you have one of those horse races where you got to bang on the thing. So you got three different lanes that you`re dealing with. You got a Trump lane, clear; you got a Cruz lane, because he`s got evangelicals and libertarians and then you got a third lane of all the establishment Republicans.

By the time you get to a convention it`s a third, a third, a third; nobody`s nominated.

So that`s why the competition for the establishment lane helps --

MATTHEWS: -- a convention with those three lanes, which two lanes get married and screw the other lane?

GINSBERG: Well, I think all the delegates, ultimately become sort of free agents.


GINSBERG: -- after the first ballot, 85 percent of them are unpledged.

MATTHEWS: Is that fun?

GINSBERG: Who knows --


FINEMAN: This is great news for Ben Ginsberg.


FINEMAN: He`s going to be the convention score card guy.

MATTHEWS: -- great night for American politics. People voted today like mad. Big turnout --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful weather.

MATTHEWS: Young people voted. It was a great democratic day, lower case D. Thank you. That`s a good thing for you, too.

Howard Fineman, Jay Newton-Small, Francesca Chambers with the British press and Ben Ginsberg, this special edition of HARDBALL continues live from New Hampshire after this.




MATTHEWS: Big winners here tonight, that simple. Bernie Sanders for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. And that does it for me in this special edition of HARDBALL, live from Manchester, New Hampshire. Our coverage of the New Hampshire primary continues right after this here on MSNBC.