Show: HARDBALL Date: September 21, 2016 Guest: Pastor Darrell Scott, Stephanie Schriock, Jamil Smith, Annie Karni
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: America in blue and black.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
Well, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump today addressed the latest cases of African-American men being shot by police. Terrence Crutcher was fatally shot in Tulsa on Friday. He was seen with his hands up in police helicopter video taken moments before the shooting.
Yesterday in Charlotte, Keith Lamont Scott was shot by police, who say he exited a car with a gun and he ignored warnings to drop it. Charlotte police said he was posed -- had posed an imminent deadly threat.
His death sparked protests last night that left 16 police officers injured. Look at it.
This afternoon, Clinton called the incidents "very disturbing," very upsetting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There is still much we don`t know about what happened in both incidents. But we do know that we have two more names to add to a list of African-Americans killed by police officers in these encounters.
It`s unbearable, and it needs to become intolerable. We also saw the targeting of police officers in Philadelphia last week. And last night in Charlotte, 12 officers were injured in demonstrations following Keith Lamont Scott`s death.
I know I don`t have all the answers. I don`t know anyone who does. But this is certain. Too many people have lost their lives who shouldn`t have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, for his part, Donald Trump focused on the shooting in Tulsa, which he said he was troubled by. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I must tell you I watched the shooting, in particular in Tulsa. And that man was hands-up. That man went to the car, hands up, put his hand on the car.
I mean, to me, it looked like he did everything you`re supposed to do, and he looked like a really good man. This young officer -- I don`t know what she was thinking. I don`t know what she was thinking! But I`m very, very troubled by that.
Did she get scared? Was she choking? What happened? But maybe people like that, people that choke, people that do that -- maybe they can`t be doing what they`re doing, OK? They can`t be doing what they`re doing.
TRUMP: So we all respect our police greatly, and they will just to have get better and better and better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump was speaking at a predominantly black church in Cleveland at that point to a group of pastors. Anyway, Trump defended saying to African-American voters generally, What do you have to lose, by voting for him? Well, let`s watch that part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I talked about the crime. I talked about the lack of education, the bad schools. And I talked about jobs. The jobs are just so bad. And I said it three, four, five times. And then one day, I said, What do you have to lose? I mean, what do you have to lose? I`m going to fix it. What do you have to lose? And somehow, that resonated. Some people didn`t like it. But I said, What difference does it make? I mean, it`s -- it`s -- it`s true. What do you have to lose?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was rough. Trump was introduced, by the way, by boxing promoter Don King. You saw him in the picture there. He called Trump the only gladiator that will take on the system. King got some attention, by the way, for some of the language he used. You watch, you decide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON KING, BOXING PROMOTER: America needs Donald Trump! We need Donald Trump, especially black people!
I told Michael Jackson, I said, If you`re poor, you are a poor Negro. I would use the "N" word. But if you`re rich, you are a rich Negro. If you`re a dancing and sliding and gliding (EXPLETIVE DELETED) -- I mean Negro...
KING: ... you are a dancing and sliding and gliding Negro. So dare not alienate because you cannot assimilate. So you know, you`re going to be a Negro until you die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is Pastor Darrell Scott, a Trump surrogate. Trump spoke at your church this morning. Pastor, give us a thought about what you thought about Trump`s performance today. Generally, what he talks about -- you got nothing to lose in this community if you keep voting -- if you vote for me, rather than keep voting Democrat.
What do you make of that, and also the use of the "N" word and all that by -- by the fight promoter? What do you think?
PASTOR DARRELL SCOTT, NEW SPIRIT REVIVAL CENTER: Well, first of all, we had a tremendous time today. We had an outstanding turnout, and Mr. Trump was very, very comfortable. He was able to unbridle (ph) and open up his heart and share, you know, with the pastors that were there. We asked him some questions about, you know, Supreme Court and school choice and religious liberty and religious freedom. And we had a great time. I thought we had a very great time.
Now, Don King has been a friend of his for over 30 years, and if I`m not mistaken, Don King flew in him from New York. And as a special friend of Mr. Trump`s we allowed him to introduce him. And we all know that Don King is flamboyant.
MATTHEWS: I know.
SCOTT: He`s colorful. He`s outspoken. He`s -- he`s boisterous whenever he desires to be. And he was sharing a personal insight from a conversation he had with Michael Jackson.
And I don`t know if it was an accident or if it was accidentally on purpose, but he -- you know, a certain -- certain -- certain adjective slipped out. I wasn`t offended and the crowd wasn`t offended, and it just seems as if it`s something that the media wants to harp upon.
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m not jumping (ph), I`m asking about it. Let me ask you about -- about the mood in your community, in your congregation. Where`s it stand on this fight? I mean, everybody`s talking about it, Trump versus Clinton. Where`s you -- where`s your folks -- what are they talking about? What do they say? What are you hearing out there in the -- in the -- in the pews?
SCOTT: Well, you know, in the pews, I don`t -- you know, I -- Sunday for me and church time is God`s times, so I don`t use the time that God has given me to speak his word to his people for politics, but -- and I don`t try to influence them one way or another. My congregation knows that I support for Trump, but I do not try to influence their politics. I just told them to make an educated decision and don`t let other people think for you.
However, in the black community, Trump`s message is beginning to resonate more and more and more. I mean, I talk to a lot of people. There was a young delivery man that came to my house. He was a millennial in his mid to late 20s. There actually was two of them.
And he didn`t know who I was. He didn`t know I had any relationship with Mr. Trump. And I asked him, Who do you like for the election? And his reply to me was, he said, Hey, man, listen, there`s something fishy about Hillary. I said, What do you mean? He said, There`s just something fishy about Hillary. It looks as if she`ll say anything to get a vote. And so I said, What do you think about Trump? He said, Well, At least Trump keeps it real.
And you know, I thought that was insightful. You know, here this guy is in his mid to late 20s, but he`s suspect. And millennials as a whole, black millennials, are suspect as far as Hillary is concerned, and they`d rather have someone speak to them that they can perceive is speaking realistically.
And so I think that there are a lot of undercover -- I call them the "incog-negroes"...
SCOTT: ... a lot of blacks that do support Trump, but they just don`t support him openly because they do not want to experience the backlash from our community. You know, I`ve been called a number of...
MATTHEWS: I understand.
SCOTT: ... names and...
SCOTT: ... all of that.
MATTHEWS: Pastor, one of the Trump -- one of the Trump comments today was that the black community, African-Americans, are worse off than they`ve ever been. Is that a fair assessment of how things stand in 2016?
SCOTT: Well, he was saying some segments of the African-American community are. I mean, all African-Americans aren`t doing bad. Everyone`s not doing horribly. Everyone doesn`t live in a depressed community. But there is a segment of our community, and it is to that segment he is making that statement.
I mean, to be honest, when you hear a number of African-Americans talk, we all talk about how bad things are for us right now. I mean, our graduation rate is lower than it`s been since 1963. It`s hard for us to find gainful employment. We`re having riots in the street. We`re getting beat up or killed by the police.
These conditions haven`t existed since the Civil Rights movement of the `60s. So for a lot of us, things are really bad.
And so, you know, if this is happening under an eight-year Democratic administration, and we`re saying that Hillary Clinton will be simply an extension of these prior eight years, we`re looking at four more years of the same. So what do we have to lose? I mean, we`re gambling with house money. You know, give him a shot. Give him a chance. See if he can improve it. And if he can`t improve it in four years, move him out.
MATTHEWS: You said something there that I got to ask you about. You said, We`re getting killed by police. What do you -- when you look at all these cases -- they`re all a little different, obviously, but there is a pattern.
What is it (INAUDIBLE) trigger-happy? Do you think police are -- and some of them are African-American policemen themselves. You know, I -- down in Charlotte. What -- what is -- what is it that -- is it more trigger-happy? Are they scared? Is this something that went on before we had videotape, where people were able to have cell phones and take pictures? Do you think it`s always been like this?
What do you -- how do you -- it`s on the news all the time now. What`s going on?
SCOTT: I think you answered -- you know, you asked and answered. Some are trigger-happy. Some are scared, but they`re only trigger-happy when it comes to blacks. Some are afraid of blacks. And you`re right, we`re seeing it more and more because of the advent of videocameras.
Listen, I was raised in the `60s. My very first experience with police, when I wasn`t even a teenager yet, I got beat up by cops. But you know what`s funny? Even in that time -- it was in the early `70s I got beat up by police -- we didn`t think it was unusual...
SCOTT: ... because I had a lot of friends that had gotten beat up by white police, too. I`ve had friends in the `70s that were killed by the police. I mean, I had two friends that I went to high school with, very loud-mouthed guys. Criminals, yes, but they were arrested, and they hung themselves in jail. We knew that they didn`t hang themselves.
So you know, that was a norm in the black community even when I was growing up, that -- the very real fear of getting beat up or killed by police. It was a reality then, and it`s a reality now. It`s simply getting caught on videotape now. It has to stop.
SCOTT: It does indeed have to stop.
MATTHEWS: ... your voice is powerful. Thank you, sir. Pastor Darrell Scott.
SCOTT: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank so much for coming on tonight.
Let`s bring in former RNC chair Michael Steele and Stephanie Schriock of Emily`s List.
Well, yesterday, Hillary Clinton talked about the need to improve policing in the wake of recent shootings of African-Americans. Let`s listen to Secretary Clinton right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We`ve got to tackle systemic racism. This horrible shooting again? How many times do we have to see this in our country? We`ve got to do everything possible to improve policing, go right at implicit bias.
There are good, honorable, cool-headed police officers. We`ve seen them action in New York over the last, you know, 48 hours because of the terrorist attacks. We can do better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, today, New Jersey governor Chris Christie blasted Secretary Clinton for those very comments. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She`s a disgrace. She`s a disgrace and those comments are a disgrace. It`s typical of Hillary Clinton. She knows nothing, but the mouth never stops. She has no experience in law enforcement, except for being interviewed by them. She has no background or experience on how to deal with these issues.
And it is just a disgrace. As someone who spent seven years in law enforcement, she`s exactly the kind of politician that law enforcement loathes, loathes her, because she jumps to conclusions for political gain and doesn`t care what careers or lives she ruins in the process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Stephanie, the question you have to ask -- and also to Michael, I`ll get to you -- is, what`s Secretary Clinton talking about when she talks about implicit bias? And why -- what would that mean exactly? Police officers are implicitly biased? Is that the argument she`s making now?
STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, EMILY`S LIST: Well, Chris, I think what you`re hearing from Secretary Clinton is what you`re hearing from Americans across the country, which is there`s -- there`s really something that we have to be addressing here. Hillary has spent a lot of time with the mothers of the movement and has heard so many of their stories and has traveled with them. And there is a recognition that a conversation and then some changes need to be made. And she really wants to get to the heart of all of this.
MATTHEWS: Well, what is the implicit bias? Is it police officers, men and women in blue, or is it white people? I couldn`t figure out what exactly she was targeting there.
SCHRIOCK: Well, I can`t speak exactly to what she was targeting there, either, or talking about specifically. I just -- I think what`s really important is stepping back and hearing the -- the entire piece, which is so many of our police officers do fabulous, fabulous work every day. It is such a hard job.
That being said, we are continuing to see things that we should not be seeing in this country, and really we need to get to the bottom of this. We have lost too many men and women at the hands of police officers, and we really need on get on top of this. It`s time. It`s way beyond time. It is decades beyond time.
MATTHEWS: Michael, your thoughts on what Hillary Clinton said there and what Governor Christie said, both of them, back and forth. I mean, it`s the political season.
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: We know that Donald Trump`s trying to win the support of moderate whites from the suburbs. He`s not really going after the African- American community. We know Hillary Clinton would like to energize the African-American community.
I got no objection to what she`s saying, but I do know the political realities here at work and what they`re thinking politically, as well as what they think in terms of right and wrong. It`s all mixed in together. Your thoughts.
STEELE: It is, and I think, Chris, that they were actually talking past each other. I think Hillary Clinton was talking about race, although she didn`t want to say that term or put in racial -- in a racial context relevant to the police.
And I think that Chris Christie was talking about the police, interpreting what said was somehow speaking against the police. And that is the very nature of our problem.
This is very much about race. It is very much about policing. It is very much about culture. It is very much about communication. If you step back and you listen to the video of the copter -- police officer in the helicopter, how he describes the gentleman as he approaches his car, it`s not a person, it`s a thing.
You know, there is this growing attitude or view within the black community that we`re no longer perceived as human beings, that when a cop comes up to us, approaches us, that they are reactionary because they don`t see us as someone as non-threatening, they see us automatically as a threat. That is not -- that is not a perception for black people, that is a reality. And here we are today...
MATTHEWS: Well, was Trump right today?
STEELE: ... talking about two more...
MATTHEWS: Right. Was Trump right...
STEELE: ... African-Americans...
MATTHEWS: ... in describing this situation in Tulsa, where he said that person who had their hands up in the air...
MATTHEWS: ... doing what the police officer had apparently directed them (sic) to do, or him to do.
MATTHEWS: And he was still shot.
STEELE: And you still wind up dead. So let me -- you do what they tell you to do with your hands up, you get shot. You`re handcuffed, you get shot. You`re down on the ground, and they`re standing on your neck, you get shot, or harmed. You`re in the back of a police wagon, you wind up dead.
So you tell me what environment is safe for an African-American male when it comes in the context with the police because I can no longer -- I don`t even know if telling my kids, do the 10 and 2, turn the lights on in the car, roll the windows down, do everything the officer says, is going to come out on a good end or a negative end.
That is the frustration that you hear and are seeing now expressed more and more openly by black folks. You tell me what we need to do, and we`ll do that.
MATTHEWS: Well, Stephanie, were you -- Stephanie, impressed of course with what Michael says. Stephanie, I`m sure you are, too. Weren`t you impressed a bit by what Donald Trump said today, saying -- I thought that may have been a suspect using that legal or police term. That guy had his hands in the air. He was doing what apparently he was ordered to do by the police officer. He still got shot and killed.
Was Trump right in saying that?
SCHRIOCK: Well, I think we`ve seen...
MATTHEWS: Was Trump right in saying that?
SCHRIOCK: That -- on that -- with regard to the video? I mean, it definitely looked like something went very awry. It shouldn`t have happened. It should not have happened, and...
MATTHEWS: Was Trump right in saying that?
SCHRIOCK: Well, I mean, yes, I think so.
MATTHEWS: That`s all I`m asking.
SCHRIOCK: I think so. I mean, but, you know, for all of us, we are seeing so many videos. And after listening to the pastor just earlier that you interviewed talking about, you know, growing up in the 1970s and then - - and what`s happening now and the fact that all of us -- all of us, me, this -- this kid who grew up in a very safe middle class family in Montana, now is seeing things that I never saw. And it is horrifying. It is horrifying.
And as I have seen Hillary talk about it -- and the vast majority of Americans are saying, Enough. We have to come up with some solutions here. And this is really, really important and...
STEELE: Hey, Chris...
SCHRIOCK: ... and I certainly hope we can get there.
MATTHEWS: Thanks, Stephanie. One last word quickly, Michael.
STEELE: I think we need to step this away a little from the presidential candidates and the federal level.
MATTHEWS: It`s hard.
STEELE: This is something that mayors, governors, city councilmen and women and local police and community leaders have to deal with. Are you just going to get the platitudes and the warm words and the concern at the federal level? We need to get our hands dirty on this issue, and that only happens when you`re on the ground in those communities. That`s the bottom line.
MATTHEWS: Maybe we should urge our kids to become police officers. I don`t know.
MATTHEWS: Maybe we need better cops. I`m telling you, it`s a scary job, in some cases, and I liked the way Trump handled it tonight. When you do everything right and you still get killed, something`s wrong.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Michael Steele.
STEELE: You got it.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Stephanie Schriock, for coming on.
Coming up this Sunday, a special edition of HARDBALL at a special time as we get ready for the first presidential debate coming up Monday night. We`ll be on Sunday night at 8:00 o`clock Eastern, that`s Sunday night, the eve of the great first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Coming up here tonight next -- just five days to go until the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton`s people are putting out word that she`s preparing for Trump`s -- catch this -- multiple personalities. Also, she`s getting ready to deal with what Clinton`s people call a variety of uncomfortable subjects for Secretary Clinton. A lot of interesting stuff being spun out of these back rooms as they both play this psychological battle against each other just five days out.
Plus, last night a night of violent protests, as we said, in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a man is shot and killed by police.
And the HARDBALL roundtable will tell us something we don`t know tonight.
And this is my "Election Diary," by the way. It`s coming up for September 21st, 2016, with five days to go before the first presidential debate.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We have got new polling for the presidential race.
And, for that, we go to the HARDBALL Scoreboard.
In New Hampshire, according to a new Monmouth University poll of likely voters, Hillary Clinton has a nine-point lead over Donald Trump. It`s Clinton 47 in New Hampshire, Trump 38, with Gary Johnson at 10. That`s very little change from the last poll we had.
In Wisconsin, a Marquette Law School University poll has Clinton leading by two points there, just two, Clinton 44, Trump 42, again, no different than a poll in late August, boy, very close in Wisconsin.
We will be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
With five days to go until the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Clinton people say that she`s preparing for all different sides of Trump`s personality to show up on Monday night at Hofstra University.
"The Hill" reports -- that`s the newspaper on the Hill -- "In closed- door sessions, the Democratic presidential nominee is prepping for their first presidential debate on Monday against a few different people playing the role of Trump. `The role playing game different surrogates are for his what they call multiple personalities,`" one Clinton confidante said."
And CNN reported she is preparing for Trump to confront her on a litany of uncomfortable subjects ranging from her e-mail scandal to Bill Clinton`s infidelity to her health. "Clinton has spent hours watching a highlight reel of Trump`s Republican primary debates, according to several people familiar with her debate prep. She took notes on what agitated him, particularly in his exchanges with rival Ted Cruz, and studied his style."
Well, On "The Steve Harvey Radio Show" yesterday, Clinton said she plans on standing up to Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand it`s a contact sport, but I am not going to take what he says about everybody else, you know, his attacks on African-Americans and immigrants and Muslims and women and people with disabilities...
STEVE HARVEY, TALK SHOW HOST: There -- there you go. There you go.
CLINTON: It`s just something we cannot tolerate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Heidi Przybyla is senior politics editor -- reporter, rather, for "USA Today." Clarence Page, of course, is opinion writer for the great "Chicago Tribune."
Heidi, first, and back and forth. I`m going to ask the same question for both of you, so take some time.
Should Hillary Clinton, Heidi, get in there and mix it up with Trump? Now, he is a great punch-back guy. He reacts quickly. He is good on the stream of consciousness, as we all know. Things come to his mind.
Should she duke it out with him if he starts getting to be smart aleck?
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": I think she has to, Chris. There are a couple of reasons why.
First of all, I think it is what her base is expecting. If we have talked a million times on this about there being a potential enthusiasm gap among Democrats, I think that is the one thing that they would really like to see, is that she go on offensive.
MATTHEWS: Has anybody ever beat her? Has anybody ever -- I`m sorry. Has anybody ever beat Trump at his game? I`m thinking of little Marco and sleepy head Jeb and low-energy Jeb. He seems to like the street corner.
MATTHEWS: And if he can get you on that street corner doing a lot of trash-talking, that seems to be his home.
PRZYBYLA: I don`t -- well, she can`t do the trash-talking. But she does have to go on the attack.
And we saw this, Chris, if you look at her past debate performances. She didn`t just stand by and not attack Bernie Sanders in the first debate. And she came out quite successfully as well. She had these surgical strikes against him on issues like guns.
And especially, Chris, when it is unclear at this point just how much actual fact-checking and pushback the moderators themselves are going to doing in this debate, I think Hillary Clinton has to be prepared to do a lot of that job herself.
Of course, this is a certain risk in coming off as attacking too much and being overly aggressive and allowing Trump to kind of counterpunch like that. But if he calls her -- if he starts name-calling, I really don`t think that is going to play as well on this debate stage, where the only other opponent is a woman, than it did it on this crowded, kind of alpha male cage match stage that we saw during the Republican primary.
MATTHEWS: So, Clarence , I give the guys question to you. If you`re Donald Trump, can you whack back at her, even though she`s a woman candidate?
Suppose she says something about your birther thing was a humiliation for the country, it was racist, blah, blah, blah, and he says, well, how come your people were out pushing it first? And then how would you -- how tough would you be whacking back if you were Trump?
CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE": Well, I suspect we`re going to see a softer Donald Trump, at least at the beginning of the debate, because if he is wise here, he is going to come off as too shrill if he comes out punching away like some right-wing fanatic.
He succeeds best when we see that Donald Trump that reveals the clever, crafty businessman who built up a fortune with only a mere million dollars or so to start with, and was able to get to where he is, where he has defied all predictions, insofar as being on the brink of possibly winning the White House.
This is a time when he is best off controlling his temper and saving his best verbal shots, his best trash-talking for key moments.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a tactical...
PAGE: That`s if he can do that, by the way.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Let me ask you a tactical question, Heidi. Here`s the question. If you`re Hillary and you don`t want to give Trump an opening, because you think he`s really good at the opening -- in other words, you don`t slam him on something, because you know he will come back and hit you hard, and everybody roots for the person who defends themselves.
Suppose you go in there like a mongoose or whatever. You just say, you know what? I`m going to let him do -- I will do a little rope-a-dope here. Let him keep punching me. After a while, people are going to realize, he is just punching me. He has got nothing positive to say. I`m just going to put my arms, like in boxing, protect yourself. Put the arms up and say, go ahead. Keep doing that, because people are only going to see Donald Trump smashing away at me.
And after a while, they are going to go, this guy is a bully. She`s talking positively and he`s just doing cheap shots, because unless she attacks him, nobody is going to root for Trump coming back at her, I think.
PRZYBYLA: I think she will have a keen sense when she`s on stage of exactly how that is playing, and whether she should just sit back and kind of let him self-destruct in that fashion.
MATTHEWS: Yes. That`s what some are saying in the paper today.
PRZYBYLA: Yes. But I think when it comes to the attacks on real issues like policy, like her policy on Iraq or Syria, and things like these, that she is going to have to come back and have a pretty strong answer on that.
It is when he goes low, when he goes to the personal stuff, I do think, to a certain extent, she might just let him kind of play it out.
MATTHEWS: Can you win this debate by not going low? Can you go high and talk about the future of the country? I`m going to talk about it at the end of the show, I mean, a real heartfelt love for your country and what you think it needs to do to get better and get through its problems. Would a heartfelt appeal be more -- as impressive as clubber pugilistics?
Question to you, Clarence.
PAGE: Well, it is interesting you talk about the impression, because this is a game of impressions, really.
We know these aren`t debates, for -- issue for issue would put people to sleep, as it were. But that`s Hillary Clinton`s strength, of course -- and Donald Trump`s big weakness -- is knowing a whole lot about the facts.
But if the smarter person automatically won, we would have President Gore, President Adlai Stevenson, a number of people.
You know, the fact is, this is something where people want to know, is this person, is he or her on my side? Will they be out there fighting for me and my interests? So how well you come off as being a real people person can make a big difference here as far as Trump and Clinton are both concerned.
I think the true patriot who comes across as the true lover of this country in a positive way will win this debate. That`s my thinking. After all the back and forth, I think, in the end, you are going to say, that person has my heart.
We will see.
Heidi Przybyla, thank you.
Clarence Page, I surprised you with that, didn`t I?
MATTHEWS: Up next, we will go live to Charlotte, North Carolina. Police shot and killed an African-American man. I hate saying it again, because it`s reality.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Steve Kornacki some breaking news.
Police in New York City have given the all-clear after a suspicious device was found under an overpass in the Bronx. The bomb squad investigated the scene at the height of rush hour traffic. And sources say the device was a pressure cooker, but was not connected to any wires or phones.
Authorities have been on high alert since bombings in New York and New Jersey over the weekend left dozens injured. Federal officials filed terrorism charges against Ahmad Rahami on Tuesday -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We have some breaking news.
I want to take to you live to Charlotte, North Carolina, where a rally is under way to protest the killing by police of Keith Lamont Scott, an African-American who police said had a gun.
NBC`s Tammy Leitner is in Charlotte.
TAMMY LEITNER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, this was originally billed as a vigil for Keith Lamont Scott.
It has definitely turned into more of a protest. People started arriving about 90 minutes ago, about 250 people. Most of them have started marching right now. They`re going to march around the courthouse, I`m told, and then head over to a church. There`s adults here. There`s kids, some from as far away as New York.
Most of them have been chanting, "black lives matter, hands up, don`t shoot."
Just a short while ago, the family of Mr. Scott spoke. And they basically said that they respect the right of the protesters to be out here, but they`re asking, please, for a peaceful night. Don`t destroy any property. Don`t hurt anybody.
We will be out here throughout the night with the protesters to monitor the situation -- Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Tammy Leitner, in Charlotte.
Up next: the HARDBALL roundtable.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You may have heard Hillary`s opponent in this election say that there has never been a worse time to be a black person.
OBAMA: I mean, he missed that whole civics lesson about slavery and Jim Crow and...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He`s pretty good at that.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
And that was the president sarcastically last week criticizing Donald Trump for his bleak portrayal of American life in the country today.
Well, we saw Trump double down on that approach again last night, comparing the inner cities of this country to Afghanistan, and again saying that African-Americans have never had it worse.
Let`s take a look back at how Trump has spoken about African- Americans, their communities, and their lack of opportunity in this country.
Here he goes.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You`re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?
It`s just like a total catastrophe, the unemployment rates. Everything is bad. No health care, no education, no anything.
No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels that nobody has seen. You can go to war zones in countries that we`re fighting, and it is safer than living in some of our inner cities.
Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot. Our African- American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they have ever been in before, ever, ever, ever. Places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He`s not selling real estate, is he?
The latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows that Trump`s support among African-Americans is at 7 percent, while Clinton is up at 81 percent among -- in that community.
This comes as NBC confirms that President Obama will hit the campaign trail next month to attempt to motivate his coalition to turn out for Clinton in November.
Not surprise by that, been predicting that. He is the October surprise.
I`m joined right now by the round table tonight, Jamil Smith, senior national correspondent with MTV News, and Annie Karni is political reporter with "Politico", and Alex Seitz-Wald is with us. He`s an MSNBC political reporter.
Jamil, it seems to me that there is a strange thing going on here. Usually, Republicans sty African-Americans, come on, it`s working. You know, keep your faithful keep the dream alive. What`s this?
JAMIL SMITH, MTV NEWS SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. I wonder when he started caring about what happens in the inner city. I mean, here, I mean, obviously, we know he`s trying on appeal to white voters.
MATTHEWS: Why does that work with white voters, do you think?
SMITH: Well, I think, really, for them, the standard for apologies for racism is very, very low. I mean, really, there are a lot of people who just don`t want to go into a voting booth thinking that they`re going - - they`re voting for a racist.
MATTHEWS: Of course. But it is like local news. If it leads, it bleeds. He`s given all the bad news.
SMITH: Well, I think, honestly, it speaks to a lot of curiosity on his part, and a lot of people`s part about the African-American experience in this country. I mean, frankly, if you look at what`s happened in the last several years, high school education has gone up, college degrees gone up. All these different things that he`s lying about --
MATTHEWS: I guess, let`s be honest, though. We all hear the headlines coming out of Chicago with the gang killing back there. They`re the headlines.
SMITH: Yes. Well, that`s what black life is to him.
MATTHEWS: Yes. What do you make of this, Annie?
ANNIE KARNI, POLITICO: I think, I mean, the first time he`s made this argument, it was in front of white audiences. So, that`s important to keep in mine here.
KARNI: It was a completely white rally where he is talking --
MATTHEWS: Why isn`t trash talking life in the inner city?
KARNI: I think it is. I can`t -- I -- to make suburban voters more comfortable. One thing though --
MATTHEWS: Does it justify white flight? Hey, aren`t you glad you got out of those old neighborhoods? That sounds like it might be one of the things he`s saying.
KARNI: One thing, though, that we saw in the clip you just played, one black voter he`s fired up is President Obama, who is so angry.
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s afraid that Hillary might just lose, obviously. That scares the president.
KARNI: So, I mean, I think that Obama are eighth huge part of Hillary Clinton`s strategy to motivate African-American voters. And if anything, I mean, it is back firing in terms of how mad Obama is, the recurring birther story line. I mean, he is now going to be throughout twice as much the candidate for the Republican.
MATTHEWS: OK, excuse me, the Republican candidate for president. He`s got the nomination. Donald Trump came out and basically took side of the victim today in that police shooting in Tulsa. He said the guy had his hands up. He`s doing -- he even said, he looks like a good guy. We don`t know that at all. Totally on the guy`s side and against the police.
What`s that about? Is that because he was in a black church at the time?
ALEX SEITZ-WALD, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: I mean, yes, Donald Trump likes to please whoever is in front of him. He`ll tend to say whatever he thinks that person wants to hear so he`s going to say in a black church. But that`s the exception to what Donald Trump has said.
And also, it doesn`t get at the heart of the issue. He is saying it looks like a good guy. But the whole point is that you shouldn`t be killed for being pulled over for spending, regardless of whether you`re a good guy or not. Remember, there was the whole, you know, no angel controversy around Michael Brown in Ferguson.
But this kind of whole notion that his entire argument to African- Americans is predicated on the idea that they`ve been duped by the Democratic Party and he`s going to come along and tell you what it`s really like and how terrible your life really is, and you know, vote for me because I`m the only who can tell you the truth.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know, I get that. But how do we know if this works? How do we know if this works? How do we know, if Hillary, and just look at it politically, how do we know if Trump is making any head way with this argument that he cares?
SEITZ-WALD: I mean, we have this new poll out today. And I don`t see any evidence that it is working.
SEITZ-WALD: The one thing that it maybe possibly could work is, you know, as we already said, appealing to white suburban voters, but also potentially depressing the turnout among African-Americans for Hillary Clinton. I mean, you know, you`re not going to have Barack Obama on the ticket. She absolutely needs the African-American to turnout and there`s a lot of disappointment with the Obama years. They didn`t really, you know - -
MATTHEWS: You know, let`s not overdo, that`s one thing I care about.
Back to you, Jamil, I just saw the African-American support for President Obama, 95 percent. OK? This disappointment compared to what? Compared to what? The other black presidents we`ve had? I mean, I`m sorry.
SMITH: Yes, I mean --
MATTHEWS: Alex, I think I just think that -- I`ve heard that. You hear from Cornell West and all the intellectuals that love because their life -- as H.L. Mencken said, don`t argue with someone whose job depends on not being convinced. Academically they have to take position. It`s not what we want.
SMITH: Yes, I`d like to see the number from enthusiasm from African- American voters in 2000 and 2004, you know, those kinds of candidates, you had Al Gore and John Kerry as their candidates. Frankly, I mean, the enthusiasm for Barack Obama was not going to be equaled by Hillary Clinton. What she is going to do is talk about policy, quit trying to appeal emotion. She is not going to win black voters over by emotion. She`s going to win them over by telling them what she`s going to do for them in office and also telling them that she`s going to be willing to be challenged by them.
MATTHEWS: She`s got a chance to talk to probably every African- American on Monday night.
KARNI: Yes. Well, here`s the thing --
MATTHEWS: Television is powerful. It is democratic. Lower case D. Everybody has got a TV set. Everybody can watch. Everybody has one. And they will watch.
What should she say on these issues?
KARNI: Well, first of all, I think that she -- black voters, there is older black voters and millennial black voters. And I think the hatter half is her problem. Like these older black women are what won her the primary against Bernie Sanders and there`s a lot of trust --
MATTHEWS: What does a 22-year-old want to hear from Hillary?
KARNI: I think they want to hear her say that her husband`s crime bill was wrong.
MATTHEWS: They want that.
KARNI: That, you know, that they still --
MATTHEWS: That he was wrong to sign the welfare reform bill. He`s wrong to sign NAFTA.
KARNI: They hold that against her.
MATTHEWS: He was wrong to do NAFTA. Yet, my husband was a great role model.
How do you do it all? How do you turn down -- how do you gain support from the African-American community by dumping on the one president that they really liked before Barack came along?
KARNI: Well, I don`t think you dump on him, but I think she ought to distance herself, he has distanced himself from certain parts of that crime bill. She needs distance herself from that. There was some controversy about her use of the term "super predator" back in the `90s.
KARNI: And I think she has to kind of -- and she`s talked about --
MATTHEWS: I think you may be right because if she wants to energize the black community, she`s got to do a little pandering? Because that`s the word, just change what she did because she was --
KARNI: It is not pandering. It is a different time. I think you can`t take --
MATTHEWS: Has she said it?
KARNI: What, she`s apologized, she has.
MATTHEWS: She`s apologized. She ought to do it again.
SMITH: I think if she instead just stops pandering and just goes and to say, hey, I`m going to adopt these items from the campaign zero agenda for police reform for instance, that is going to win over the millennial voters. That`s what they`re paying attention to.
MATTHEWS: Yes, anyway. When we come back, we`re going to look at these three and what ahead. They`ll tell me something I don`t know. That`s coming up here.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`ve just got five days now to the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and everybody is going to watch. And you can watch it right here Monday night on MSNBC. This is the place to watch it.
I`ll be joined by Brian Williams, of course, and Rachel Maddow for complete coverage. We`re going to start at 7:00 Eastern that night.
Then, Lester Holt of NBC will moderate the debate starting at 9:00 and we`ll be back with postgame analysis live from spin room at 10:30. Then, on through night with my late night coverage. It`s all coming Monday night. Coming soon.
And don`t forget, we`re on Sunday night as well, the night before. Join me at 8:00 Eastern for a special edition of HARDBALL, as we get ready on the eve of debate night.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable.
Jamil, tell me something I don`t know.
SMITH: Yes, it slipped under the radar last week that Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, anti-abortion group, endorsed Donald Trump. Now, Troy Newman is a guy who called for the -- he`s endorsed, I guess, the murder of abortion doctors and he`s also said that the California drought was because of abortion. So, we have yet to hear him disavow that endorsement.
MATTHEWS: I see the connection.
KARNI: Hillary Clinton gave a speech today in Orlando where she did not mention Donald Trump.
MATTHEWS: Oh, is that going to drive him crazy?
KARNI: It`s a new aim to be more positive.
MATTHEWS: I think that could be her strategy Monday night. Just ignore the guy. It`s a strange one.
SEITZ-WALD: From our new "Wall Street Journal"/NBC News poll, the least popular figure, Vladimir Putin, no surprise. Number two less popular, the media. We are only slightly less hated than --
MATTHEWS: Let`s get to that, because I refuse in my career to be a media critic. People who criticize the media are not what I want to be. So, without getting more enemies than I have.
What do you think, Jamil? Because I think the media is unpopular because half the country who are conservatives have heard their leaders trash it continually. That`s relentless. They blame the messenger.
SMITH: Yes, we`re in a culture against, exactly, you`re blaming the messenger, you`re not actually looking (AUDIO GAP) regarding inconvenient obstacles rather than things we should be discussing.
MATTHEWS: OK. By the way, the media doesn`t include talk radio, does it? Which is vastly conservative. It doesn`t include FOX News, right, does it?
When they say the media, I think movies tend to be liberal. I think they tend to be liberal. I think they`re great, but they tend to have a liberal message, a positive message about equality and all that.
KARNI: When I get negative e-mails or Twitter people yelling at me as the media, it`s always they have this vaunted image of like you`ve desecrated this sacred profession by whatever I`ve written. They seem to have this high bar of what it should be and that none of us are living up to that.
MATTHEWS: No, it`s just they disagree with you.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, your thoughts?
SEITZ-WALD: Yes --
MATTHEWS: The media`s a good word for people you don`t like.
SEITZ-WALD: Exactly. It`s like members of Congress. Everybody hates members of Congress but they keep re-electing the member of Congress from their own district. They keep reading whatever they`re going to be written --
MATTHEWS: OK. Don`t you like when people say, how come you never talk about this and you realize they learned it from your show. Where did you learn about that? From newspapers.
SEITZ-WALD: Well --
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you. We all agree here, of course. We`re only here, we`re only the media.
Thank you, Jamil Smith. Thank you, Annie Karni. Thank you, Alex Seitz-Wald.
When we return, my election diary with just five days to go left before the first presidential debate which could change all kinds of wind direction.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Election diary September 21st, 2016.
The debate, by that I mean the big debate, is just five days off. And before we know it, we`ll all be sitting in front of our TV sets waiting for the big moment when we see Lester Holt introduce us to the two familiar people in the country, people who arouse attitudes in millions of people verging from mere toleration to contempt to worse. I forgot to mention, and this is vital, two people who possess the ability in two very different ways to thrill people with the prospect of him or her in the White House, her or him, to keep things balanced.
So, here`s a recommendation from the sidelines. I know the game of big time debating is all about sound bites, all about drawing your rival into a situation where you can let loose with a sledgehammer, sending your rival skyward like Reagan did after catching Jimmy Carter in a nag, "There you go again". Or Lloyd Bentsen cowering young Dan Quayle for comparing himself to one of the few presidents Americans actually love. "Senator, you`re no Jack Kennedy."
But the effort being put into such moments of TV history might, given the mood of this country right now, be matched and to the candidates` advantage with some prep time on which he or she thinks about the country today. Its strengths, its weaknesses, their notion of what it`s good at and how it can best advance into a better country.
In other words, I think winning a debate is less important than winning the hearts and minds of a giant electorate. Roosevelt did it by telling us we had nothing to fear but fear itself, that the worst, the stark early fears let loose by the Great Depression were really behind us.
Kennedy got to us by getting to that part of our souls that felt we were losing a step from the gung-ho spirit that won World War II. He said, we`ve got to get this country moving again. And Obama got us to simply hope. That also worked its purpose.
So, next Monday night, I think the smart presidential candidate will imagine themselves sitting out there on a couch at home and looking for someone to lead us into a better future, not the captain of the zinger, but the true leader of a country. In other words, get to who we are and what we really strive for.
Well, the smart candidate, if he or she is truly smart will get in touch with his or her heart which may be the smartest and best GPS to the country`s heart, because politics, I`m convinced, is all about heart.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
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