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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript, 7/29/2016

Guests: Eli Stokols, Sabrina Siddiqui, John Brabender, Steve McMahon, David Ignatiu

Show: HARDBALL Date: July 29, 2016 Guest: Eli Stokols, Sabrina Siddiqui, John Brabender, Steve McMahon, David Ignatius


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.

Anyway, tomorrow, Saturday, marks the 100-day mark to election day, and today marked, of course, the unofficial start of the presidential campaign. For Donald Trump, it was another turning point. Campaigning in Colorado amid chants of "Lock her up," Trump promised a hard-hitting campaign.


AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know what? I`ve been saying - - I`ve been saying let`s just beat her on November 8th. But you know what?


TRUMP: No, no. You know what? I`m starting to agree with you.

Every time I mention her, everyone screams, "Lock her up, lock her up, lock her up," they keep screaming. And you know what I do? I`ve been nice. But after watching that performance last night -- such lies -- I don`t have to be so nice anymore. I`m taking the gloves off. Right? Yes?


TRUMP: Take the gloves off! Take the gloves off! Just remember this. Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy.



MATTHEWS: Well, this week showed that the Democratic Party has undergone a seismic shift itself in position. Hillary Clinton and her supporters displayed an unabashed, upbeat patriotic optimism about the country. Let`s listen.


HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Now, we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against, but we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.


MATTHEWS: Well, Secretary Clinton and Tim Kaine, her running mate, took that message to the people in the heart of steel country today, the folks in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, and some of the hardest hit, by the way, by the recession, and kept up the optimistic theme of the week in Philly.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The Republican convention was like a twisted and negative tour. It wasn`t a tour of this country. It was a journey through Donald Trump`s mind, and that is a very frightening place!


KAINE: That is a very frightening place.

CLINTON: Donald Trump painted a picture, a negative, dark, divisive picture of a country in decline. I`m not telling you that everything is just peachy-keen. I`m telling you we`ve made progress, but we have work to do if we`re going to make sure everybody is included!



MATTHEWS: Isn`t it great the words the Democrats are using these days, "peachy-keen" and "malarkey"? (INAUDIBLE)

I`m joined right now by NBC News correspondent Kasie Hunt, who`s on the Clinton/Kaine campaign bus -- a new phrase for me to master. There you go. And I can see the world passing right by you, Kasie.

KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: You can, Chris. We are in your native Pennsylvania. We just had stopped in Hatfield, where they make -- the factory where they make Lincoln Logs, which you may or may not remember.

And this is, as you said, all about white working class voters, particularly men, who, of course, have broken for Donald Trump lately in polling. And Democrats acknowledge privately that Pennsylvania is frankly more up for grabs than it has been in any of the more recent modern campaigns that we`ve experienced and that there is a risk for her in letting this state go.

And of course, you know well that eastern Ohio is similar terrain to western Pennsylvania.


HUNT: So this bus tour is going to take us through Harrisburg to Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland, Columbus. You and many of our viewers know the issues there well. They`re places that are -- frankly, their economies have been structurally changed, and there`s a lot of people who can`t find the kind of manufacturing jobs that they used to be able to.

And so the pitch here from Hillary Clinton -- she has to be a little bit careful. On the one hand, she has to acknowledge the pain that all these people are feeling. On the other hand, she feels like -- or the message is more optimistic than Trump. She`s criticizing Trump for being dark about the future of the country and she`s trying to send a more uplifting message. So that`s what we have seen here on the trail.

She`s also out, of course, with Tim Kaine. The two of them actually look pretty comfortable together on the stump.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I noticed.

HUNT: I`d be interested to see -- to hear your take on that.

MATTHEWS: Well, I`ll tell you.


HUNT: ... warm her up, in many ways.

MATTHEWS: I will give you my take. So I -- I mean, I`ve been watching -- like all of us, I`ve been watching, like, 40 years now, and I can usually tell the difference between a political smile and a real one. I mean, Tip O`Neill was a different smile, the real phony -- I mean, they all have these political smiles.

But she seems to get a kick out of this guy. When he makes some comment about a weird journey to the mind of Donald Trump, she hears it as a fresh new political line that she`s just not heard before, and she seems to giggle at. Like, this is great, you know, because she`s heard all the old political malarkey. There`s a phrase I haven`t -- a term not used in 30 years until Joe Biden used it, but -- "malarkey." And now -- what`s the other one I heard? Peachy-keen! I mean, this is like...

HUNT: Peachy-keen.

MATTHEWS: ... I don`t know, the `50s (INAUDIBLE)

HUNT: I haven`t heard "malarkey" in a while, either. I think that`s right, and I think you could see on stage today in Philadelphia, they are at ease, kind of physically with each other.

And I`ll tell you, it was really interesting to see Bill Clinton and Anne Holton, you know, Tim Kaine`s wife, both sitting kind of on the corner of the stage. You saw Bill Clinton not speaking at the podium, really kind of interesting optics to see that evolution of, you know, potentially, if they win the White House, Bill Clinton as the first first gentleman.

MATTHEWS: Guess who rode along with Bill Clinton in his bus tour, his first bus tour coming out of New York, actually, in 1992? Guess who was riding with him and interviewing him? Me! Me!


MATTHEWS: ... in 1992, I was where you are right now.

HUNT: ... sure it was much better.

MATTHEWS: No, it was great. It was Clinton and Gore. It was (INAUDIBLE) Waco, Texas.

Anyway, thank you, Kasie Hunt, for the lively on-the-road reporting.

With me now, radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt and "Washington Post" national political reporter Robert Costa. Both are MSNBC political analysts. Thank you.

Hugh, I`m always trying to figure you out and your interesting political positioning sometimes because I know you always talk to conservative radio listeners out there.

Where are you after these two -- I was overwhelmed by the Democrats` manifest patriotism. No, there are patriot Democrats, of course, and most of them are, I assume, overwhelmingly, but I`ve never seen such a display.



MATTHEWS: Go ahead.

HEWITT: I`m relieved...

MATTHEWS: I think they`re positioning themselves -- go ahead...


HEWITT: At the start of these two weeks, I didn`t know where we would be at the end of these two weeks, and after the first lady spoke and was absolutely off the charts, I thought, What if they crescendo? Instead, that turned out to be the peak.

I thought Mrs. Clinton gave a serviceable, workmanlike, lumbering speech, and Donald Trump outranked her in the ratings. Then today comes the breaking news that her campaign`s been hacked across many news cycles.


HEWITT: So she got out of Philadelphia but barely. I think Donald Trump is feeling very good about winning the ratings and winning the news cycle.

MATTHEWS: I think Captain Khan`s father and mother were the hit of the campaign so far.

HEWITT: Yes. In fact, very emotional, very connecting. I believe that every civilian owes every Gold Star mom and dad a great debt of gratitude and great deal of respect. And they connected in the way that very few people could connect.

I don`t think it changes votes. And I think when you get to Hillary`s speech, she`s saying, Listen to what I say, don`t look at what I did in Egypt, in Libya, in Syria, in Iraq. Don`t look at the Russian reset button. Don`t look at my server. Listen to my words. And I don`t think that will last long, Chris.

We`ll see who gets the bump. I don`t think it`s going to be very much for Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS: You`re a rough talker, but you may have some truth there. I mean it. I`m listening to it, too. I didn`t think it was a great speech from Hillary Clinton.

I wondered almost -- let me go to Robert Costa. Is there a theory about why she gave a plain-speaking, a plain -- let`s put it this way, without value judgment. It was plain speaking yesterday. It didn`t have, which she could have easily gotten from a speech writer, more lyricism, more music, more uplift, more eloquence. Do you know there`s -- (INAUDIBLE) reason she gave such a plain-spoken talk yesterday?

ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Most top Democrats I spoke to here in Philadelphia, Chris, they`re not framing it as plain-spoken. They talked about the tone and the temperament and the delivery as something to directly appeal to these moderate Republicans, these independents in the suburbs here in Philly and elsewhere who may not like the way Trump speaks, the way Trump comes across.

And so what Clinton wanted to do, according to people close to her, her allies, is to project steadiness.

MATTHEWS: Yes, so it wasn`t meant to be flowery, right?

COSTA: This was -- there`s also an understanding, I think, around people close to Clinton that flowery rhetoric, soaring rhetoric -- that`s never been her style. And for someone who in politics has long been questioned in terms of her authenticity and how she comes across, this was a speech that was Hillary Clinton, who she is, someone who`s seasoned in elective politics, seasoned in experience and presenting herself in that way.

MATTHEWS: More a workhorse than show horse.

Anyway, as you might expect, Donald Trump didn`t like the speech. He probably did like it, but he didn`t want to say so. Here he is dumping all over Hillary Clinton`s speech of last night.


TRUMP: I watched last night. I watched Hillary Clinton.


TRUMP: What a sad -- what a sad situation. And by the way, they`re going to let some of these people -- I just was informed they are going to let some of them meander in. Meander.


TRUMP: Too bad. But I watched her last night giving a speech that was so average.


MATTHEWS: Let`s try to get the theme of the country. Let`s try to do this completely down the middle analytically, Hugh. And this is my question. I think they got it wrong. I think everything in the Democratic convention this week was beautifully choreographed.

Somebody ought to give credit to Debbie Wasserman Schultz because everything this week, from the elevation of the whole tone by Michelle on Monday to the character witnessing, including that by her husband on Tuesday, to the beautiful speech given by Barack Obama on Wednesday, all the way up through until, obviously. the very strong closing argument by the former secretary of state -- all that was very well put together.

And yet I think they missed on one truth. I don`t think the country`s afraid. I think it`s angry.

HEWITT: Oh, you`re so right.

MATTHEWS: I think they made a decision not to address anger and grievance...

HEWITT: You are so right.

MATTHEWS: ... right as well as left. Why do you think they chose...

HEWITT: Here`s...

MATTHEWS: Why did they chose (sic) the ground of, We have nothing to fear but fear itself, rather than go after the anger, which is incipient? I quoted William Allen White (ph) the other day, the dissatisfaction of the American people is manifest!

HEWITT: Well, the anger...


HEWITT: ... insiderism, and of course, the Clintons represent that.


HEWITT: But I`ll tell you what I think was going on. There are two big experiments under way. The Democrats are trying a transference experiment. They`re going to try and transfer the passion of the Bernie people to Secretary Clinton. They`re going to try and transfer...

MATTHEWS: But that`s anger.

HEWITT: ... the deep love and affection of the people...

MATTHEWS: But that`s anger.

HEWITT: ... for president -- it doesn`t -- it doesn`t work, but they`re trying it.

Over on the Republican side, they`re trying to transplant. They`re going to try and transplant economic populism into the party of Reagan and Paul Ryan, and they`ve got the anti-rejection drug of Mike Pence bathing the kidney transplant going on there.


HEWITT: But they`re both big gambles, big risks, because I don`t think you can get Hillary`s -- to transfer over the Bernie passion or the Obama love. She is competent. That`s her argument, and her record belies that.

MATTHEWS: OK, go ahead. Go ahead to you, Robert. What about the mood? Because Zeitgeist is everything. I sense -- if Trump were to win this election -- always try and look ahead and say, What would you guys write in the first and second paragraph if Trump won the national election? You`d say, Responding to an overwhelming nationalistic urge, based upon dissatisfaction with the direction of the country as manifest in all the polls, including our own -- two thirds of the country don`t like the way the country`s going -- a sense we`re being taken by foreign governments, being taken by illegal immigration that isn`t regulated at all and taken into stupid wars. All of that would be the reason for Trump to win.

And I wonder why brilliant people...


MATTHEWS: Why didn`t they address those impulses in the Democratic message of this week?

COSTA: Because Democrats realize that`s kind of the swirling storm of this campaign. But when I talked to my Trump associates today, my Trump sources, I say, How do you see this, what do you see the Democrats doing here? And they say, Look, at the core here is not just about fundamentals, on economic populism. Trump has to be seen, they say, as change. He has to be seen as different than the Democratic Party that`s been in power for eight years.

And my Trump sources keep telling me if Trump could just be change, then Hillary Clinton and the way she embraced President Obama and his administration and his record over the past week -- they think that enables them to maybe make that argument in spite of Trump`s missteps and in spite of his controversies.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I agree. Well, to make that point, did you notice just -- you know, imitation`s the greatest form of flattery. On Wednesday night or Tuesday night -- I get these nights confused -- one of the nights they passed out a bunch of placards to all the delegates saying, "Making change." And all of a sudden, Hillary decides, Oh, no, I`m not the guy that everybody`s endorsed. I`m not Obama`s ally. I`m this new kid on the block. I`m the newbie.

I didn`t think that fit into the theme of the week at all because it`s not true.


HEWITT: It`s schizophrenia. If I can sum it up, Donald Trump is the imperfect messenger of the perfect storm in American politics. Everything is up in the air and completely chaotic, and he is the imperfect messenger of that perfect storm. Hillary Clinton is the five-time winner of "Jeopardy," and she knows a lot more and...


MATTHEWS: Do you think she knows popular stuff like that that you and I know? Do you think she knows all these little things about...

HEWITT: Oh, gosh, yes.

MATTHEWS: ... the movie lines and everything?

HEWITT: Oh, my goodness, yes. She probably proofread her own book. But I think you`ve touched on it. They did not address this boiling white-hot anger...


HEWITT: ... with insiderism and privilege. Peggy Noonan`s written about this, the two Americas, people who are connected and those who are not, and Donald Trump is the tribune of the latter.


COSTA: You talk to Democrats here, they`re saying you don`t need to appeal to those angry voters. Look at Mike Bloomberg`s speech. Look at General Allen. They`re looking at those voters, national security types who are moderates, maybe intrigued by Trump and saying, Look, we can be the party of the hawks, we can be the party of security, too.

MATTHEWS: Oh, gosh! So we`ll get -- the Democrats will be the neocon party now. Oh, isn`t that great.


MATTHEWS: ... come on over, Bill Kristol! This is great! Yes, that -- never mind. Hugh Hewitt, thank you, brother.

HEWITT: You`re welcome.

MATTHEWS: And thank you, Robert Costa. Sometimes Robert`s got to give me the bad news.

Anyway, coming up, now that the conventions are over, it`s a sprint to November. It really is now. Nothing between us (ph) (INAUDIBLE) debates in September. Can Hillary Clinton successfully defend the northern industrial states where Trump is clearly trying to make some inroads, Pennsylvania, Ohio? Today she`s out there defending them. That could be the key to this whole -- I think if the Republicans can`t win Ohio, they can`t win an election. That`s history (INAUDIBLE) there. If they can`t win Pennsylvania, they can`t win this election. And our strategists are coming to talk about that from both left and right.

Plus, the FBI`s investigating reports of new hacking, do you believe it, this time at the Clinton campaign itself and also the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee which gets House members elected. This week, Donald Trump seemed to encourage -- well, he did, come on -- Russian hackers to find Clinton`s e-mails, 31,000 pieces of it. He now says he was being sarcastic. That`s not true. He was serious. But the political damage is already there, obviously.

And now also a tale of two conventions. Weren`t they different? The upbeat optimism we saw from Democrats in Philadelphia versus the doom and gloom we got from Trump and the Repubs out in Cleveland. Boy, it was manifest. It was so clear.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with a case of politics repeating itself. You`re going to love this old stuff from the Goldwater -- the Democrats` campaign against Goldwater. It`s just like the Democrats` campaign this whole week against Donald Trump.

This is HARDBALL, place for politics.


MATTHEWS: A federal appeals court has struck down the voter ID law in North Carolina -- hooray! -- saying the state`s General Assembly enacted it with discriminatory intent. Well, the law enacted in 2013 required voters in North Carolina to show a photo ID in order to vote and eliminated same- day voter registration.

The court decision overturns a lower court ruling from April, saying, quote, "A failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina."

Wow! So that voter ID law is dead.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, her running mate, are hitting the road in Pennsylvania and Ohio today, looking to sell the economic message that Secretary Clinton laid out in her speech last night.

Here it is.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In my first hundred days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.


CLINTON: Now, we`re not only -- we`re not only going to make all of these investments. We are going to pay for every single one of them. And here`s how. Wall Street, corporations and the super rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.



MATTHEWS: Well, a poll out yesterday from Suffolk University shows Clinton with a nine-point lead in Pennsylvania -- and that is impressive -- over Trump. Look at this, 50-41. We`re going to see if that`s in line with other polls.

It is a bit above the others, but not far above the average, which is about seven, I guess. And the latest poll out of Ohio from Public Policy Polling shows the race tied there at 45 percent.

So, ordinally, Trump`s got to win Ohio, then win Pennsylvania. Anyway, and Trump has a path to 270 votes, he must -- to do it, he has to pick up one - - well, he has got to pick up both of those states.

Joining me right now to talk about the path forward for these two campaigns are Democratic strategist Steve McMahon and Republican strategist John Brabender.

Let`s try to be analytical here, and not totally rosy or dismal.

Jon, it seems to me that Trump, to win, has to hold Arizona, North Carolina, then begin to pick up new states. He`s got to begin to pick up Ohio, because Republicans don`t win it without it and then Pennsylvania, then work his way up to either to Florida or to Michigan and Wisconsin. Do you see it differently?

JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, I think that`s absolutely right.

If you look at it, he first has to win everything Romney won. If he can`t do that, mathematically, he can get there, but, symptomatically, he can`t, because it means he`s losing some of the types of voters that he needs to get. So, you start there.

Second of all, you can look at it and you can say, well, but he can win Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire. That`s really hard. What he has to do is go to what has always been referred to as the Rust Belt. Ohio, obviously, he has to win. I think he has to win Pennsylvania and Florida. I don`t know how you get there. Maybe Wisconsin.

MATTHEWS: OK. I agree with that.

How do you look at that? Just look at that. Just look at that. Hold what he`s got, the Democrats.


MATTHEWS: I`m sorry -- what the Republicans had, hold that, hold on to Romney`s numbers, hold Arizona and North Carolina, which are tricky, and then begin to pick up a state. They always need Ohio.


MATTHEWS: And then pick up Pennsylvania. And then jump down and try to hold Florida, even with all the diversity down there.

MCMAHON: I think you guys are right. That`s really the only path.

MATTHEWS: Let`s go to the deal-breaker, the necessary if not sufficient condition of winning this whole thing in mathematical terms.

How does a guy who has ran against Mexicans, pretty much smeared them, get Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans in Florida, and black Americans, African-Americans? How does he get them to not kill him?

BRABENDER: The paradox of Donald Trump is when he appeals to one group, he alienates another group.

And I believe it`s come down to two things. In states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, he has got to win blue-collar, what you -- the sons and daughters of Reagan Democrats. That`s number one.

MATTHEWS: Yes, they`re great people. They just are very unhappy with the Democratic Party right now.

BRABENDER: And they agree with him on trade, on immigration, on foreign policy, on manufacturing, all those things.

MATTHEWS: And stupid wars.

BRABENDER: But he also has to get moderate Republican women who are college-educated, who Romney won, and that`s a bigger lift in some ways. And so that`s the paradox.

MATTHEWS: I agree with you. And women may not vote the same as their husbands.

MCMAHON: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: You can see the classic Carville case of the two family -- the family, husband and wife go to vote, a waste the gas, because they are voting against each other.

I can imagine a guy in the suburbs being ticked off enough and maybe sharing some of this Rust Belt attitude, and the woman saying, this guy on abortion, this guy on gays, this guy -- not gays, but other issues, social issues, he`s just bad.

MCMAHON: Right. That`s what`s happening. And those are some of the people that Barack Obama...


MATTHEWS: On race. I`m sorry. A lot of -- I generalize you and I know -- we all know this. When you talk about race, you are not just talking about how it affects minorities who don`t want to hear the negative stuff. There are certain whites who may be very conservative, but they cannot stand being seen as racist.

MCMAHON: Yes. You`re right.

MATTHEWS: Even if they have a bit of it.

MCMAHON: And that`s one of the reasons -- I don`t know if you have seen the ad -- I`m sure you have -- the ad that the Clinton campaign or one of the super PACs is running about our children are watching.



MCMAHON: And the women who are going to be the swing voters in this thing, who are probably going to determine the outcome, are looking at that ad and they`re saying, that`s exactly right. Many men are looking at that ad.

MATTHEWS: Making fun of the guy with the handicap, which every suburban family is familiar to, either learning disabilities or handicaps, because these parents live with neighbors with kids like that, with problems, Alzheimer`s -- not Alzheimer`s -- but kids with autism and people -- things like that.

Everybody has a health problem among kids in their neighborhood. And they don`t think it`s funny.

MCMAHON: That`s right.

And when you say that`s not the kind of country we are, that`s not the kind of country we have ever been, and that`s not the kind of country we want to be, people agree with it. One of the things that I think Donald Trump is doing now is, he`s sort of doubling down on the insult brigade, and he`s appealing more...

MATTHEWS: "Lock her up."

MCMAHON: ... deeply to the people he`s already got.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama especially are reaching across the middle to people who want to believe in an America that`s a better place.


MATTHEWS: Can they grab Republicans?

BRABENDER: I don`t think so.

In fact, look, I was watching her speech last night, and it was, I`m not just progressive, I`m even more progressive, I even go more progressive. Oh, time-out, oh, yes, you in the middle who are sort of moderate, I`m with you, too. But now I`m back to be...


MATTHEWS: Let me go take a look. We got a new poll tonight that came out this week in the field this week out tonight from Reuters, Ipsos, has Clinton with a five-point advantage over Trump nationally 40-35.

That`s her bump. That`s a good bump, not great.

MCMAHON: That`s the natural state of this race. If you look at this race in terms of its underlying structure...

MATTHEWS: It`s not going to last.

MCMAHON: Well, actually, I think it probably is going to last.

MATTHEWS: Five points?

MCMAHON: Because the underlying structure of this race should be about a five- or six-point advantage for Hillary Clinton. And they are sort of elastic. And Trump sort of moved a little bit.


MATTHEWS: Even after he`s betting down with Putin against Hillary, he`s still only five points down?


MCMAHON: It`s a polarized country, Chris.

BRABENDER: But wait a minute. Here`s the thing. She`s the incumbent in this race. I don`t care what anybody says. She`s the status quo incumbent.

If she stays down around 40 and she hovers there, and he can stay at 35 for awhile, at some point, he is going to pick up and she`s got real problems.

MATTHEWS: So, undecided means Trump?

BRABENDER: I think so. I think if they haven`t decided to vote for Hillary Clinton...


MATTHEWS: Let me ask the big question. How big will the total vote of Jill Stein Green Party and Gary Johnson Libertarian, what will be the total vote come Election Day, do you think?


MATTHEWS: Total vote.


MATTHEWS: Well, then Hillary wins.

BRABENDER: I think it will probably be closer to about five.

MATTHEWS: Oh, my -- total vote?

BRABENDER: Yes. I think...


MATTHEWS: So, there`s no Ross Perot year?

BRABENDER: I think this is going to be one of those races people are going to be dying to make a decision.

MCMAHON: I agree. I agree.

MATTHEWS: That`s fascinating.

BRABENDER: I want to be with Hillary. I want to be with Trump.

MATTHEWS: You guys agreeing on that means a lot to me.


MATTHEWS: I`m telling you, the biggest thing, if I were the Hillary people, if I were John Podesta and the rest of them, I would say we don`t want people voting for Jill Stein, period. We don`t want any votes for that, because that`s all our votes. And half, I think, of the votes going to Libertarian Gary Johnson could well be Democrats.

MCMAHON: But one of the problems with these polls is if you don`t have that third line in there or the fourth line in there, which is going to be on the ballot in most places, then you don`t have a poll that`s going to reflect the ballot.

MATTHEWS: I think you`re right. Well, they won`t get in the debates without 15.

Anyway, Steve McMahon, I like when you guys agree, because it means there may be real truth there.


MATTHEWS: Thank you, John Brabender and Steve McMahon.

Up next, another hack. It keeps going, the Ruskies. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says it too has been a victim of a breach, raising even more questions about whether Russia is getting involved in U.S. 2016 politics. This is amazing. This could go on right until November, the hottest stuff from Moscow leaking out or being dumped on us to affect our vote.

Anyway, we`re here at the place for politics. We will be right back.


MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening.

SWAT officers are still on the hunt for a possible second suspect linked on the shooting of two police officers in San Diego. One officer has died. The other was seriously wounded.

And Florida Governor Rick Scott says four cases of Zika in that state were likely transmitted by local mosquitoes. More than 1,600 cases have been reported in the U.S., but nearly all were contracted elsewhere. The virus is linked to birth defects -- back to HARDBALL.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Russia, if you`re listening,, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let`s see if that happens. That will be next.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Donald Trump on Wednesday this week urging a foreign power, Russia, to hack into his political rival`s e-mails. Well, yesterday, he said he was just being sarcastic.


TRUMP: His client, his person, deleted 33,000 e-mails illegally. You look at that. And when I`m being sarcastic with something...

QUESTION: Were you being sarcastic?

TRUMP: Of course I`m being sarcastic. But you have 33,000 e-mails deleted. And the real problem is what was said on those e-mails from the Democratic National Committee. You take a look at what was said on those e-mails, it`s disgraceful.


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump`s suggestion was met by a wave of criticism from Democratic leaders, of course. And here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The notion he would invite a foreign nation to conduct an attack against our country, it`s just beyond the pale. And I believe it violates the Logan Act. And I think he should be investigated for that.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The fact is, what he did is a treasonous act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that borders on treason. It`s one thing to be unfit for command. But, today, he proved that he`s dangerously unfit for command.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: He`s entitled, now he`s the nominee, for briefings, CIA briefings. I would hope they would give him fake intelligence briefings, because they shouldn`t give him anything that means anything, because you can`t trust him.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, many national security experts also said that Trump`s comments were dangerous.

Anyway, meanwhile, there are new reports of cyber-attacks on Democratic organizations. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee confirmed to NBC it had recently been hacked. And Reuters reported that the computer network used by the Clinton campaign itself was also hacked.

A campaign spokesman said an external data program was breached, but there`s no evidence that their internal system was compromised. It`s going on. The FBI said it`s investigating reports of all the hacking.

David Ignatius is a columnist for "The Washington Post." And Malcolm Nance is an MSNBC terrorism analyst and the executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project.

David, you are at the security conference out there in Aspen. What do you make of motive here? A lot of people are trying to figure out, why would Russia want to put a thumb on the scale of a U.S. presidential election? What`s in it for them, for Putin?

DAVID IGNATIUS, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": So it`s clear that the Russian intelligence agencies have been inside these computers.

U.S. national security officials have been unambiguous about that. It`s not so clear that Russia intends to put this information out. The process of transmission to WikiLeaks is still unclear.

I think in terms of motive, if you look at Vladimir Putin`s Russia, this is a country led by a former intelligence officer, from a service that uses what they call active measures, this kind of covert manipulation of information, trying to condition the political debate inside countries.

They use that as a standard tool. They have used it in Europe in recent years. They have funded right-wing political parties to destabilize European countries. They fund, support propaganda campaigns that again have this same effect.

What`s amazing, as we head toward our November election, is that a foreign intelligence service appears to be holding substantial amounts of information that it could dump on the American political scene when it chooses, with devastating effect. And I think it really scares people in the national security community.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Malcolm.

You are thinking about the motive factor here.

MALCOLM NANCE, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, to be honest, I have a far, far gloomier picture of this entire process.

I think what`s happening here is a strategic political operation and strategic and political intelligence operation that`s being carried out by the FSB, with the intent to literally select a president that is favorable to them.

And to do this, it follows actually a very old KGB, now FSB political intelligence framework, where they steal, or in this case, use cyber- methodologies to hack information, they hold that information until a strategic point within their campaign, they release that data through a cutout, in this case, most likely WikiLeaks, which is their useful idiot in this case, and then that data selectively damages an opponent in the favor of another opponent.

This has been seen in other operations, in Georgia, the Ukraine. There are campaigns against Crimea. And, of course, back in the `60s and `70s, when it was done without cyber-means, it was done with money. I think that they really are not afraid of us. And right now, as of today, three of four of the Democratic Party apparatus have been either penetrated or probed.

And that means that the information that they leak in the future, we could be spoofed, which is an intelligence term for putting out false data inside a true information stream. This is very, very dangerous to American democracy.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask David again about the motive from the other side. Does Putin not like Hillary Clinton? They worked on opposite sides of the globe. They were entangled. Was it a negative relationship?

IGNATIUS: There`s a specific reason that Putin might have -- and I have to stress this is obviously speculation -- for going after Hillary Clinton.

When she was secretary of state, she was supportive, in terms of issuing statements, of dissidents in Russia who were challenging Putin`s political party, Putin`s political standing.

And Putin said at the time back in 2011-2012 that she was fomenting active measures against him. In other words, he, in effect, was saying, you shot first.


IGNATIUS: So, in terms of motive, this is a man who feels that the United States has been trying to launch a color revolution, is the term that the Russians like to use, in other words, to launch internal dissent against Putin`s regime.

And they may see this as payback. It`s just an extraordinary moment, where our election process is being held hostage. And to have the Republican candidate in effect egging a foreign intelligence service on, it`s just hard to imagine.

MATTHEWS: David Ignatius, thank you so much.

Malcolm, we will have more time for you next time, sir. We always need you. Malcolm Nance, thank you for joining us.

Up next: two contrasting views of America we have seen. Well, now, seeing the messages from Trump and from Secretary Clinton, whose vision is going to win over voters and who is the change agent? That`s my question. Who`s going to make things better for the people who are not doing well right now?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We will make America great again.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: America is great because America is good.



We`re back from Philadelphia where the Democrats just wrapped up their convention.

And the message of Hillary Clinton contrasted to that of Donald Trump last week couldn`t be more different. "The Washington Post" writes, "For Republicans, the country is a place of near Apocalyptic gloom, whose best days are past receding. The nation of the Democrats who met this past week to nominate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile is a vibrant and diverse place and actually upbeat, patriotic place."

Let`s take a listen to the different visions for America by the two candidates. Let`s watch.


CLINTON: America is stronger because of President Obama`s leadership.

TRUMP: America is a nation of believers, dreamers and strivers, that is being led by a group of censors, critics and cynics.

CLINTON: We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world.

TRUMP: We will completely rebuild our depleted military.

CLINTON: We have the most powerful military.

TRUMP: We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration.

CLINTON: We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good job can get one.


MATTHEWS: Well, tonight`s roundtable includes Eli Stokols right here, the national political reporter from "Politico", that was attacked by Donald Trump a few hours ago, Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporter for "The Guardian", and Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC political, and opinion writer for "The Washington Post".

That was a mix of a lot of things there. But you do everything.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Eli, to start with this.

Who is the person in the Democratic Party who came up with the idea of repositioning the party? Instead of the party which is the social critic, things aren`t the way we should be, we`re going to make it a more perfect union, more perfect and more perfect every year, but it`s not there, to a party that`s pretty proud of this country the way it is?

ELI STOKOLS, POLITICO: Yes. I mean, I think --

MATTHEWS: Who came up with that? Because it was all during the week. You know, we`re not bad right now.

STOKOLS: Donald Trump is not responsible for that. I mean, the base of the Democratic Party is moving it to the left, but yet Donald Trump just sort of throws this hanging curveball over the plate by what they put onstage the week before in Cleveland that allowed Hillary Clinton to come back and respond to "I alone can fix this" with e pluribus unum.

She could say, we`re about bigger things. We`re about inclusive --

MATTHEWS: But also, things aren`t so awful, we are great now. By the way, you don`t hear people in the hard left saying, this is a good country, therefore, it`s a great country. No, it`s critical usually. Social criticism is the norm in the Democratic Party.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: You know, being in Philly, one of the things that was so striking was this -- having the stage packed with admirals, with generals --

MATTHEWS: Didn`t that blow you away? I said, how could 30 generals be doing this?

SIDDIQUI: With chants of "no more war" drowned out by the crowd chanting "USA." And I spoke with several prominent conservative commentators, people like Erick Erickson, who were sitting there saying this should have been our convention. This is the speech our nominee should have given.

It is because of Donald Trump. He`s provided this unique window where Democrats can appeal or they are trying to appeal to moderate Republicans, independent-minded suburban voters who are sitting in Virginia and Florida and saying they can`t cast a ballot for Donald Trump. Maybe we could give a look to this party even if it`s just for this election because they don`t believe Donald Trump is prepared to be president.

MATTHEWS: Do you think, Jonathan, the Democratic -- this is tricky to talk about, I don`t mean gender, I mean sort of a feminine, there`s a thing the Democrats -- Tim Kaine, an Alan Alda guy, sensitive guy, I think appeals to women in a lot of ways. Hillary Clinton`s appeal, a lot of it was not just feminist.

But this kind of we`re not the big shot big mouth party. We`re not the braggadocio party. We`re the party that`s a little softer spoken, and also, more sensitive to different ethnic groups. We don`t shout and make fun of people. I think suburban women who are the target are that`s more like me, they`ll say to themselves in that.

CAPEHART: Well, right, but also, underlying all of that is one word: competence. Actually, two: competence and stability. After coming out of Cleveland, you showed that montage of Donald Trump yelling and gesticulating, then contrast that to Hillary Clinton who is calmly speaking, the sunny vision of the country.

They are trying to show that not only do we have the most experienced person to ever run for president as our nominee, but she and her vice presidential nominee are stable and on top of all of that, Republicans because of their nominee agreeing with --

MATTHEWS: Do you guys -- let me ask you. I thought the speech was workmanlike, Hillary`s speech last night. The other speeches were fantastic. I mean, the first lady`s, the president`s, the father of Captain Khan just blew me away. Michael Bloomberg blew me away.

CAPEHART: Spectacular.

MATTHEWS: He`s not exactly lyrical. He said, as a New Yorker, I know what a con looks like.

Lines like, you pay for those lines. You don`t just make them up when you`re shaving or taking a shower. These are great lines.

Hillary`s was workmanlike without -- nothing to put in granted. You think it was purposeful to do what John just said, I want to show that I`m competent, I get the job done, I`m not a show-off?

STOKOLS: Yes, nobody expected soaring oratory from Hillary Clinton. We know that`s not her strength. But, you know, it was workmanlike.

MATTHEWS: You can buy soaring oratory, though.

STOKOLS: But it seemed authentic.

MATTHEWS: Peggy Noonan is out there somewhere. No, maybe not Peggy Noonan.

STOKOLS: It capped off a week that was more or less perfectly produced. It was easy to answer what Donald Trump put onstage. Picking up on Jonathan`s point, I mean, the Republicans attack Democrats and say you are always blaming America first. They can`t do that with this matchup because --

MATTHEWS: OK, we got to -- quick.

SIDDIQUI: One of the most striking lines was when she said, some of you just don`t know what to do with me but that`s okay. But this is why he should be president. That`s the person --

MATTHEWS: Some people don`t like me. Was that in the speech, don`t like m? She said that did or yesterday. It blew me away to say that kind of thing.

SIDDIQUI: It`s an acknowledgment of her shortcomings.

MATTHEWS: It`s the absent of Al Franken, and people like me. Remember that?

Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, these people tell me something I don`t know. Be right back.

Remember Al Franken used to do that thing about --


MATTHEWS: Well, as we said, it was perhaps the most powerful moment of either convention, here it is.


KHIZR KHAN, FATHER OF FALLEN SOLDIER CAPT. HUMAYUN KHAN: Donald Trump, you`re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States constitution? I will -- I will gladly lend you my copy. Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing, and no one!


MATTHEWS: Wow. That was the moment for me, anyway, and everybody else, I think, right? That`s the father, Khizr Khan, the father of Captain Khan. He`s going to tell his story tonight, by the way, on "THE LAST WORD", 10:00 tonight, when he speaks with my colleague, Lawrence O`Donnell. That`s a great guy to have on. And that`s 10:00 p.m. Eastern here on MSNBC. Don`t miss it tonight.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Eli, tell me something I don`t know. Never know who`s first.

STOKOLS: Surreal moment of the week at "Politico". Monday, we get our typical rejection, no credentials to the Trump campaign events. All the same e-mail requesting a bunch of copies of "Politico" magazine because Trump was on the cover, the email from Trump`s campaign. That tells you something and also --

MATTHEWS: Was it a tough cover?

STOKOLS: No, I supposed it was a flattering cover. I think he just likes all the covers. But this is happening the same week --


MATTHEWS: It`s for the wall. You know you frame those babies, you know that, when you get your face on the cover of a magazine, you frame it.

STOKOLS: To me, that said a lot.

MATTHEWS: That he likes ink.

STOKOLS: Even from the organizations that he won`t let cover him.

MATTHEWS: Sabrina?

SIDDIQUI: Donald Trump, there are many unique things about him. He`s also changing the religious contours of this race. A new poll by Pew Research Center shows that weekly church goers are evenly split, almost evenly split between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, where 49 percent of them support Trump, 45 Clinton. And that`s driven in large part by Hillary Clinton having a 17-point advantage among weekly Catholic churchgoers. Obama had no such advantage at this point in 2012.

MATTHEWS: Hope she doesn`t lose it.

CAPEHART: Last night after Secretary Clinton gave her acceptance speech of the nomination. At 2:08 a.m. this morning, she went to a party at the Kimmel performing arts center. There she is, President Clinton, Senator Kaine, and his wife, all came --

MATTHEWS: On the Avenue of the Arts on South Broad.

Anyway, thank you, Eli Stokols, thank you, Sabrina Siddiqui, and Jonathan Capehart, who I think was an eyewitness there.

When we return, let me finish with a case of politics repeating itself. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



CLINTON: Just ask yourself, do you really think Donald Trump has the temperament to be commander in chief?


CLINTON: Donald Trump can`t even handle the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign. He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis.

A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a case of politics repeating itself. Democrats this week went after Trump for publicly asking the Russians to crack into Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. He responded by saying, he was simply being sarcastic.

Well, this reminded me of a long ago Democratic assault on 1964 Republican presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, who also had a habit of saying something, then denying he said, or saying it wasn`t the way it sounded.

Well, at the Democratic convention, way back in 1964, the keynote speaker, Senator John Pastore of Rhode Island, said, "The world cannot wait until Saturday to learn what he meant when he spoke on Monday." So true today.

And here`s vice presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey going at Goldwater, as being not just out of the country`s political mainstream, but actually being out of the Republican`s mainstream.


HUBERT HUMPHREY (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: A temporary spokesman is not only out of tune with the great majority of his countrymen, he`s even out of step with his own party. Most Republicans in the United States Senate, for example, voted for the nuclear test ban treaty, but not the temporary Republican spokesman. Most Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, in fact, 4/5 of the members of his own party voted for the Civil Rights Act, but not Senator Goldwater.


MATTHEWS: It went on like that. Between now and November, we may hear a big name Democrat saluting the majority of Republicans for doing something good, only to then attack the Republican presidential nominee, for not being one of them. But not Donald Trump.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.