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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/10/2016

Guests: Molly Ball, Andrew Sullivan, Eli Stokols, Cornell Belcher, Heidi Przybyla, Matt Schlapp, Steve Cortes, April Ryan, Dana Loesch

Show: HARDBALL Date: October 10, 2016 Guest: Molly Ball, Andrew Sullivan, Eli Stokols, Cornell Belcher, Heidi Przybyla, Matt Schlapp, Steve Cortes, April Ryan, Dana Loesch

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: To the bitter end.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

With 29 days to go, Donald Trump is clearly going to tough it out. Facing a lot of defections and calls to drop out over the weekend, Trump`s campaign took an aggressive turn Sunday night, holding a surprise press avail just an hour before the debate with former president Clinton`s accusers. There they are.

They also tried to stage a televised confrontation with the former president, which was averted by the Commission on Presidential Debates itself at the last minute.

Well, in the debate itself, Trump called Hillary Clinton a liar, of course, and he said she had hate in her heart, or does. He called her the devil at one point. He said if he had his way, she`d be in jail. Well, we know all that.

Well, today, a new national poll shows the people know a lot of this, too. It was conducted after the release of that "Access Hollywood" tape. It shows that the bottom could be falling out of the Trump campaign.

Catch these numbers. The latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll finds that Clinton has jumped to an 11-point lead, double digits over Trump, among likely voters in a four-way race. It`s Clinton with 46, Trump with 35, 11 points back, Johnson with just 9 percent.

But Trump today doubled down on his attacks on former president Bill Clinton, threatening to go even further if more damaging tapes on him are made public. Let`s watch.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Bill Clinton sexually assaulted innocent women, and Hillary Clinton attacked those women viciously, one of them said more viciously than he attacked them!

If they want to release more tapes saying inappropriate things, we`ll continue to talk about Bill and Hillary Clinton doing inappropriate things. There are so many of them, folks. You probably saw yesterday. We brought four wonderful women to St. Louis...


TRUMP: ... and honestly, it was both very beautiful and very sad.


MATTHEWS: Wow. He`s poetic.

On a conference call with Republican lawmakers today, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he would no longer defend nor campaign with Donald Trump. That`s the speaker of the House, a Republican. Instead, Ryan says he plans to focus on down-ballot races. And while he told his members to do what`s best for themselves, he did not rescind his endorsement of Trump. It`s hard to read what he`s actually saying.

Anyway, Trump today lashed out at Ryan, tweeting, "Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting the Republican nominee."

Well, the message from the Trump campaign to the Republican Party itself today couldn`t be clearer, You`re either with us or against us. This is every man for himself, according to the party.

And joining me right now is Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, Heidi Przybyla, senior politics reporter with "USA Today," and Cornell Belcher is a Democratic pollster and the author of the new book, "A Black Man in The White House."

I want to start with Cornell on these numbers. Are these -- can you tell if these numbers are outliers, an 11-point spread for Hillary now? That`s hard to catch up with.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, it`s part of a trend. And when you look at the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll and you look at the internals of it, at least from the gender standpoint, Chris, she`s continuing to -- to -- a big advantage among women, but his lead among men is shrinking. And he`s always made this thing about, you know, he`s going to run (ph) numbers (ph) with men. But his lead among men right now are only 2 or 3 points. So it`s continuing to slide and head in the wrong direction. The other interesting...

MATTHEWS: Is he doing any better among men -- just to go with my gender here -- because of the sexual nature of all this stuff that`s come out? Is there -- is he doing even as well as Mitt Romney...


MATTHEWS: ... or John McCain?

BELCHER: Well, she -- I mean, she`s within...

MATTHEWS: Among men.

BELCHER: She`s within 2 or 3 points within men. I tell you right now, if Barack Obama was within 2 or 3 points among men, we would have had a Reagan-like landslide in 2012, right? So no, he`s got to do better there.

And also when you look at the internals of the numbers, it`s an interesting number for me because I always look at this because this was a problem for John Kerry. Right now, the majority of his voters right now say they`re voting, you know, against her, not necessarily for him. A plurality of her voters are saying they`re voting for her.

MATTHEWS: OK. Heidi, that explains the strategy, trash the Clintons and keep trashing them to keep his base together, at least for -- through this rough patch, if he`s going to make it.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": Yes. I mean, the Republicans have been trying to warn him all along, though, that the one thing he had to do -- if he wanted to expand off that base last night, he had one goal, and that goal was to come in in light of this videotape and show total contrition. And he didn`t do it. He -- he...

MATTHEWS: Do you think that would have worked? Come on. You really think that would have worked?

PRZYBYLA: It was the only hope of making it work.


PRZYBYLA: I`m skeptical that it would have worked...

MATTHEWS: No, I wonder, isn`t that...

PRZYBYLA: ... but it was the only way.


MATTHEWS: ... middle of the road, namby-pambies always say, Just apologize again. Everybody`s always apologizing in this business. But the bottom line is the people he would apologize to, the moderate suburbanites -- would they have changed their minds about Trump if they`re watching that video?

MATT SCHLAPP, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: I think he handled it in the right way. It`s the first time he`s apologized during this campaign.

MATTHEWS: He did apologize last night? For what?

SCHLAPP: He apologized in the tape before and he reiterated it at the debate and he moved on. And you -- a lot of people in the Democratic Party were really happy...

MATTHEWS: How do you do this? How do you do what you`re doing right now?



MATTHEWS: ... Baghdad Bob number!


SCHLAPP: Stop! That`s totally below the belt!

MATTHEWS: Did you actually hear him apologize?


MATTHEWS: Any sentiment? Did you sense a sentiment of shame there with him?

SCHLAPP: I don`t know if it was shame...

MATTHEWS: Or was it like a POW saying, OK, I got my fingers crossed, whatever.

SCHLAPP: As he said -- as he said in his video apology...

MATTHEWS: I didn`t hear any -- any shame from him!

SCHLAPP: He said he needs to be a better man, and I think that`s the right way to take it. I mean, look, both these campaigns are doing the same thing. They`re both attacking the other because their negatives are so high. And we can go through all these polls. The polls are going to be bad for Trump for a while here.

MATTHEWS: Well, (INAUDIBLE) I`m not a huge believer in black and white and all these things (INAUDIBLE) you`re not going to get me on that one because I agree with you.

At her rally today, for example, Hillary Clinton slammed Trump for what he said about women in that tape. She`s not letting him off this, as if it`s all behind him. What do you say, move on? That`s what the left used to say during -- Heidi...


MATTHEWS: ... during -- not Heidi, during Lewinsky -- sorry about that...



PRZYBYLA: ... really help my career.



MATTHEWS: Total ridiculous slip (INAUDIBLE) let`s go. You`re here. Let`s go. Let`s watch this thing. I`m getting (INAUDIBLE)



SUPPORTERS: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

CLINTON: Donald Trump spent his time attacking when he should have been apologizing!


CLINTON: Last night, when he was pressed about how he behaves...

SUPPORTERS: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

CLINTON: -- he just doubled down on his excuse that it`s just locker room banter. Well, I`ll tell you what. Women and men across America know that is just a really weak excuse for behaving badly and mistreating people!



MATTHEWS: Well, in turn, Donald Trump blamed the media, of course, for ignoring Bill Clinton`s accusers, comparing them -- or comparing Clinton to Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. Let`s listen to that.


TRUMP: But the hypocrites in the media don`t want to talk about what Hillary Clinton has done to these victims. They don`t want to talk about what their other political heroes have done to other innocent girls and women, people like Kennedy, Chappaquiddick -- we remember that, driving his car into a pond instead of calling the police, possibly saving her life, in fact, almost definitely being able to save her life. He went home and went to sleep, did not report the incident to the police for 10 hours. Yet he was hailed as a hero.


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s about as far back and as deep as you can go in the cutting (ph) world, don`t you think, Matt?

SCHLAPP: Well...

MATTHEWS: Does it get worse than this? We`re going back to 1969.

SCHLAPP: I`m amazed how many people I talk to who are younger than me who don`t even know Bill Clinton was impeached. It`s amazing how a lot of people, a lot of millennials -- we all praise them, but they don`t -- they`re not that political, always, and they don`t know what`s happened. And look, this is how it was...

MATTHEWS: How`d it happen -- how`d it happen that Bill Clinton gets impeached, the only president besides Andrew Johnson to get impeached...

SCHLAPP: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Is it because they think he was innocent, that the Republican charge...


BELCHER: It`s called an economic boom. It`s called low unemployment and growing wages.

SCHLAPP: Don`t be dismissive to the women he abused.

BELCHER: I`m not being dismissive...

SCHLAPP: He did terrible things!

BELCHER: Listen, we`re not going to have a conversation about him abusing women, when...

SCHLAPP: Yes, we are. That`s what we`re talking about.

BELCHER: Well, to move away from what Trump has been doing. Look, I`ve got to tell you, not -- even in a partial way...

MATTHEWS: Can`t we just straighten this out? I`m not sure what you meant there because I believe what Cornell -- and I think it has to be very carefully stated for interests of decency and respect for women and misbehavior when you see it in either party.

And that is that I think people judge presidents -- say Watergate, for example -- Watergate was really a function not so much of political misbehavior, which there was, clearly breaking in and covering it up, but that stuff has gone on before. It`s was we were in terrible economic times, people were so angry -- they were so angry, they wanted to blame Nixon a lot. They really did -- they threw...


SCHLAPP: But it was also mitigated. A lot of those...

BELCHER: Well, Clinton...

MATTHEWS: They weren`t that angry at Clinton because the economy was doing well.


BELCHER: He won an election around some of that. So the voters made a decision about this.

MATTHEWS: They thought the Republicans overdid it. That`s right.

BELCHER: Well...

MATTHEWS: If they had censured him and moved on, I think they...


SCHLAPP: But he did something serious. That`s all I`m saying, is whether you`re impeached or censured or whatnot...

MATTHEWS: What did Clinton do?

SCHLAPP: What he did...

MATTHEWS: What did he do wrong?

SCHLAPP: Lied under oath...


SCHLAPP: ... about attacking Paula Jones.

MATTHEWS: You`re looking incredulous.


PRZYBYLA: I just don`t...


PRZYBYLA: No! But why is it OK to go along with some of the things that Donald Trump has said, when what Bill Clinton did was so offensive that it even led to the investigation and led to his impeachment? So I just think there is a certain reckoning that people in the party, you know...

MATTHEWS: OK, here`s what...


MATTHEWS: First of all...


MATTHEWS: I believe that every time Hillary Clinton gets attacked for this -- and I`ve been through this in so many ways. Every time Hillary Clinton gets attacked on that stuff, it`s very hard to assign blame to her. Now, you can argue that she helped in some way to cover up, but you have to prove that. And nobody ever proves that. They`ve never proved that she had something to do with covering up Bill Clinton`s misbehavior...


MATTHEWS: Just a minute. Let`s get the facts straight. I believe that she called Juanita Broaddrick...

SCHLAPP: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: ... and said, Thank you for your support. She didn`t threaten her.

SCHLAPP: That`s not what Juanita says. Juanita says that she threatened her.

MATTHEWS: With what? With what?

SCHLAPP: With the fact that if she went public against her husband, there would be repercussions.

BELCHER: I got to tell you...

SCHLAPP: That`s a fact.

PRZYBYLA: There`s a lot of allegations...


PRZYBYLA: Well, it`s a fact that she made an allegation.


PRZYBYLA: ... the fact that she made an allegation, just like there`s a lot of allegations against Trump. Bottom line is, Bill Clinton`s not on the ballot.


PRZYBYLA: He`s not on the ballot.


BELCHER: I don`t know how you win with this. I mean, listen, all due respect to you, but how do you win with this? How do you win talking about Bill Clinton over a decade...


MATTHEWS: We`ve been through this before. In 1998, the Republicans threw the book at Bill Clinton, and they went through fantastic advantages in the next election in `98.


MATTHEWS: Then Hillary Clinton runs for the Senate in New York, walks into a state she hadn`t been living in...

SCHLAPP: It is New York.

MATTHEWS: ... becomes United States senator. Well, you can`t just throw these little things out in the...

SCHLAPP: But it is New York.

MATTHEWS: She won!

SCHLAPP: Yes, she did.


PRZYBYLA: ... hundreds of thousands of dollars in research on what -- on Hillary Clinton before because they knew she was going to run. And the thing that they learned from that hundreds of thousands of dollars of research is the one thing you didn`t want to go after her on was this Bill Clinton stuff because it brought out great...


PRZYBYLA: I don`t understand that this is where we are...


MATTHEWS: It`s the right kind of debate, and you let each person talk.


MATTHEWS: Let`s do it -- let`s give an example to all debate moderators now, right?

SCHLAPP: Can I go?

MATTHEWS: Is this going to be the issue that brings Donald Trump back to life?

SCHLAPP: No. Donald Trump can only win if he talks about the economy...


SCHLAPP: ... defeating terrorism and upending Washington.

MATTHEWS: Heidi, is this within the bounds of a reasonable public discussion?


MATTHEWS: Talking about Hillary?

PRZYBYLA: Not a few weeks before the -- I think the American voters would not think that this is what they want to hear, the discussion they want to be having...

SCHLAPP: On either side.

PRZYBYLA: ... (INAUDIBLE) before the election on either side.

MATTHEWS: You can`t resist, can you. You can`t resist, can you.


SCHLAPP: I`m sorry.

MATTHEWS: Cornell?

BELCHER: No! I mean, there`s not -- listen, there`s not a woman -- a white woman, college-educated, in the Philadelphia suburbs who he needs to win who`s going to say, You know what, you`re right on this and I`m going to vote for you because of this. There`s not one...

MATTHEWS: Why won`t -- just explain to me because I think you`re right, but why are you right?

BELCHER: Because that`s not their issue. They`ve mitigated (ph) that. Guess what? They voted for Bill Clinton. They`re concerned about their pocketbook issues and they`re concerned about gender equity issues. They`re not concerned about relitigating Bill Clinton from over a decade ago.

MATTHEWS: Here`s an anthropological -- I just interrupted you. Here`s an anthropological question.


MATTHEWS: Bill Clinton`s one of the most popular people in the world. I mean, Carville says it all the time, but he`s a total supporter, but James Carville last night, he kept saying it over and over again. But he is.

I`ve been around the -- I`ve been in places like Ireland with him. He`s loved! Why is he loved despite the public record of his misbehavior? Whether it`s all true or some of it`s true or a third of it`s true, something`s there.


MATTHEWS: Why does that not hurt Bill Clinton in the public mind?

BELCHER: It`s two-part. It`s partly because of who Bill Clinton is as a politician, that he was able to do what neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton did last night on the debate stage, which is to make a really genuine, heartfelt connection with voters.

And he came -- Bill Clinton is the American dream. He came from nothing to become -- to hold the highest office in the land. And I think, also, secondly, people have fond memories of a better time in terms of the economy, as well. I mean, the 1990s were undoubtedly -- you know, indisputably a growth era for people.

MATTHEWS: I think it also...


PRZYBYLA: ... blue collar voters.

MATTHEWS: He kept coming back. People love that sort of -- it`s sort of a Protestant thing, I guess, this idea of we all sin, we all fail, we all ask for forgiveness. We all keep coming back. It`s Catholic, too.

And I`m just thinking that the one thing last night that got to me -- I am a complete sentimentalist about politics, when something wonderful happens. I thought what she said about the kids, the Trump kids, was nice. But what he said about her was so fundamental, so to the heart of politics -- the fighter.

I don`t think Donald Trump could say something better about anybody than they`re fighters.


MATTHEWS: It just blew me away. It was almost what you say when you`ve lost, it`s like, I got to hand it to the person who beat me. What a fighter.

Cornell, your thoughts.

BELCHER: But the point is...

MATTHEWS: I guess you`re not as sentimental as I am about -- when you say something so profoundly good about your opponent after you`ve been sort of, you know, potty mouth through most of the last couple days, and out of this potty mouth comes this -- really, this wonderful accolade...

BELCHER: But that`s a difference. And going back to Bill Clinton -- look, Bill Clinton made that mistake, but that`s not what defines Bill Clinton. That mistake doesn`t define Bill Clinton got millions and millions of Americans.

MATTHEWS: What mistake are you talking about?

BELCHER: What he got impeached for, for lying (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: You think that`s his only mistake in that department?

BELCHER: Well -- well, I`m not...


BELCHER: But that`s not all that sort of defines him. There is little other than sort of scandal and demagoguery that defines Donald Trump.

SCHLAPP: Oh, gosh! You just can`t have it that way. It`s got to work both ways. Give grace to both people. When they`ve done stupid things and they`ve said terrible things...


SCHLAPP: ... and done terrible things to women...


BELCHER: I don`t think it`s equal.


BELCHER: I don`t think it`s anywhere equal to sort of what Bill Clinton has done with his life...


BELCHER: ... and what Donald Trump has done with his life.

MATTHEWS: I want to ask everybody the same question (INAUDIBLE) answer, or no answer. When we elect our president, we don`t just elect the head of government, like a prime minister. We elect the president, who is basically a democratically elected monarch, in a sense, because they represent the person of the country. You`re not just there (ph). That`s why we give them a White House. That`s why we respect the first family and first and the kids because it represents our country.

Does everything matter, or just their public policy positions? Does all this stuff matter?


MATTHEWS: So what happens on the bus matters?

SCHLAPP: It plays into the equation.

MATTHEWS: OK. Does everything matter, Bill Clinton`s behavior in and out of his marriage? It all matters.

PRZYBYLA: It matters. We`ve got to assign weight. And what matters most is what they`re going to do for you, what they`re going to do for the American people.

MATTHEWS: So it`s a small part of what...

PRZYBYLA: I didn`t say small.


PRZYBYLA: But the more important part...


MATTHEWS: Does it matter? Does it all matter...


BELCHER: Everything matters when you`re running for president.

MATTHEWS: That`s what I think. I think it`s like, unlike being a senator or a congressman, and that`s why the inspection and the terrible digging and the oppo research is so intense.

And we`re going to get to this at the end of the show. Trump should have known this was coming. He should have known somebody knew about that tape. He should have made more friends on his way up because...


MATTHEWS: You know, don`t you, what I`m going to say.


MATTHEWS: If you`re not nice to people on your way up, they`re going to kill you on your way down. Anyway, Matt Schlapp -- an old show biz thing - - Heidi Przybyla -- interesting positions you`re taking here.


MATTHEWS: Cornell, you`re the pro. Thank you. Matt Schlapp, you`re the - - you`re to the bitter end, until the last dog dies!


MATTHEWS: Coming up -- last night, Trump fired up his base and did enough to stop the bleeding, I think, and Clinton showed she can withstand Trump`s worst attacks. She was charming. She was happy, even when confronted with Bill Clinton`s accusers. But with a month to go before the election -- it is a month after tomorrow -- the race is very much Hillary Clinton`s to lose. Wait until you -- well, look at these numbers.

Plus, many women who watched last night`s debate saw Trump engaging in the worst sort of gender politics. He attacked Hillary Clinton for her husband`s infidelity, threatened to put her in jail, and for some, Trump`s actions fit into a larger pattern of punishing women. We just talked about that. Cornell talked about those suburban women and how they`re going to react to this punishing ordeal that Hillary Clinton`s been going through here.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, today`s NBC New York (sic)/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows that more Americans now say they would prefer Congress to be controlled by Democrats. Look at that number there! That`s more than at any time since 2013 and the government shutdown back then. That`s 49 percent who favor Democratic control to 42 percent who say they`d rather Republicans remain in control. That`s a big number, maybe not enough to give the House to the Democrats.

We`ll be right back after this.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Donald Trump scored points last night among his base of supporters, who cheered on his attacks against Hillary Clinton. But by throwing out the red meat and hammering Clinton, Trump also, well, did he expand the pool of support he needs to win the White House? Did he win the moderate Republicans?

Clinton seemed unfazed by Trump`s attacks the whole night, and interruptions didn`t bother her, and she never took the bait when he tried to bait her, instead choosing to ignore the Republican nominee, laugh at him a lot, and, for the most part, pivoting to her positions on the issues.

Let`s watch her tactic here.


ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR: Please allow her to respond. She didn`t talk while you talked.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because you have nothing to say.

CLINTON: I didn`t in the first debate, and I`m going to try not to in this debate, because I would like to get to the questions that the people have brought here tonight to talk to us about.

TRUMP: And get off this question.

CLINTON: OK, Donald, I know you`re into big diversion tonight, anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it`s exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you.

But let`s at least focus...

TRUMP: Let`s see what happens...


COOPER: Allow her to respond.

TRUMP: Let`s see what happens.

CLINTON: But let`s at least focus on some of the issues that people care about tonight. Let`s get to their questions.


MATTHEWS: Well, according to a CNN/ORC instant poll of debate watchers, Hillary Clinton won the debate, beating Donald Trump 57 percent to 34 percent.

Well, Trump`s performance has been generally received as an improvement from the first debate, but did he pick up new voters? Did he win over female swing voters in places like the Philadelphia suburbs, like we talked about a moment ago? Or did he just stop the bleeding over the fallout from his lewd comments about his treatment of women?

Well, Joan Walsh is with "The Nation" and also an MSNBC analyst.

Joan, thank you for joining us.

And Steve Cortes is an adviser to the Trump campaign.

I want to start with Steve about this, because I sort of agree with the way that phrase, that leading question we opened with phrased it. I think he stopped the bleeding. I think he showed he was alive and a fighter. All the rough language, and I think -- well, I would say bad manners, of course, continue.

But I thought he showed he was alive and not dead, which is the most important thing he had to do tonight. Your thoughts? I don`t think he picked up moderates or moved into the center politically or found people that didn`t like him before are going to like him now. I think he was Donald Trump last night. Your thoughts?

STEVE CORTES, TRUMP SURROGATE: Well, I would like to think, Chris, that he did both, but the first, most important task -- you`re exactly right -- was triage, was, we had to stop the bleeding.

We had a bad Friday, bad Saturday. But you know what? On Sunday, he showed us that he is, indeed, a fighter. I know you have complimented him or he complimented Hillary Clinton on being a fighter. He showed that he is a fighter. He got off the mat and he roared back to life.

And so I think that`s number one, is, we stopped the bleeding. Number two now is, we have to win over those moderate voters, those undecided voters that you`re talking about. I think he started to make that case. And I think what he did forcefully was make the case that Hillary Clinton is unfit to be the president of the United States.

And he did so with humor, he did so with force, and with examples. He brought up all the things that he didn`t bring up in the first debate that a lot of supporters like us wanted him to, things like Benghazi, like the e-mails, like the Clinton Foundation. So, I think it was a forceful indictment.

He did stop the bleeding, and we are going to move forward from here in convincing unconvinced voters.

MATTHEWS: You know, Joan, I have been following debates forever, and I like certain tactics in certain situations. Hillary Clinton was brilliant last night. She did exactly what she had to do, which is not to lose.

And I thought -- it reminded me just now, because somebody brought up the word -- the name Ted Kennedy. I don`t like the way it was brought up, but it was brought up. When he was first running for the Senate back in -- he was just barely 30 years old, and he was up against Eddie McCormack, who was a tough opponent.

And he went after him, Eddie McCormack, and said, if your name was Edward Moore, you wouldn`t be here. It`s only your name Kennedy that got you here.

Anybody else would have attacked back. Teddy was told, don`t attack back. People will feel for you. They will understand that you`re not attacking back, and you are going to win.

Hillary last night knew the guy was going to throw the kitchen sink at her. He was going to use all the deplorable language he could come up with. And Hillary Clinton never -- I know I shouldn`t, as a male, talk about a woman`s appearance, but it was spectacular last night.

She was -- she looked great. She spoke incredibly confidently. Everything about her was poised. Everything about her was presidential. And she laughed.

I mean, Churchill used to say, I like people who can grin when they fight. She grinned.


MATTHEWS: She grinned like Davy Crockett at this guy, like a bear. You know, she laughed at him.


MATTHEWS: It must have driven Trump crazy.

WALSH: I`m sure it did.

MATTHEWS: And, therefore, I think it was a spectacular performance by her, even though Trump probably saved himself a couple more weeks in this candidacy.

Your thoughts? Your -- take over here.

WALSH: Well, sure.

I think that, right now, Chris, it`s not really only a matter of our opinion, did he win, did she win, did he stop the bleeding? Yes, he got a tourniquet, but he didn`t stop the bleeding. I think we have got some empirical evidence right now that shows who did what.

And he needed to do two things. He needed to kind of bring back some Republican leadership, some Republican officeholders, some of those candidates who fled there him. And he needed to bring in women. As you and Steve, I think, and I all agree, he needs to do that.

He did neither. We know, today, it`s only gotten worse. Paul Ryan came out and said, it`s every man for himself. I`m not going to campaign for him or with him, and you should all go vote your conscience, as Ted Cruz once said.

And then that CNN poll you talked about, the more -- even more interesting thing is, men actually thought Hillary Clinton won by about 10 points. Women thought she won by 34 points.


WALSH: So, he did not convince one, in my opinion, moderate Republican woman, our classic woman in the Philadelphia suburbs who might have been on the fence. I don`t believe he brought anyone to his side with that stalking around, stalking her, looking menacing behind her, and humiliating her, or trying to, because he didn`t do it, with her husband -- with these women that have made these allegations against her husband.


Let`s talk about this -- I`m sorry to interrupt, but this is what...

WALSH: Go ahead.

MATTHEWS: I want a comment from Steve.

I could -- every time -- it`s almost like what Al Gore did. He -- why is Trump lining up behind her every time she`s speaking? It seems something out of "The Da Vinci Code." I couldn`t get it.


MATTHEWS: Why was he there, Steve, behind her? There he is.

CORTES: Look, you can put a camera anywhere you want and get that kind of angle.


MATTHEWS: No, but watch him. He walks with her. He walks with her.

WALSH: He does, Steve. He does.

CORTES: Look, I think you`re really trying to read too much into that.




MATTHEWS: Don`t you know when somebody`s standing behind you? Can`t you sense the presence of a person right -- it`s like he wanted to intimidate - - why was he standing right behind her? It`s a simple question. You say it didn`t look that way. Well, we have got pictures to show it.

CORTES: No, my point is, look -- and the mainstream media has done this throughout the campaign to us.

MATTHEWS: Oh, here we go. I`m the mainstream media. One thing I`m not is mainstream media.

CORTES: Whatever Donald Trump does, we attach the most nefarious intention.


CORTES: He was standing where he was standing.

MATTHEWS: I`m asking you, why was he doing it?

CORTES: He was standing where he was standing.

I would say this too. Regarding the officeholders, which Joan mentioned, regarding Speaker Ryan and other Republican officeholders, when I was in junior high, my favorite book was "The Outsiders." And I would say, politically, we are the outsiders in this Trump movement.

MATTHEWS: Yes. That`s for sure.

CORTES: We are the Greasers.

MATTHEWS: The numbers show that.

CORTES: And Washington, D.C. -- Washington, D.C., they`re the Socs.

But guess what? The hero of that book ends up being the Greasers. And we`re going to be the heroes, I think, of this story, too, because most Americans, particularly working-class Americans who have not participated in this very sluggish economy, they are sick and tired of a rigged, crony capitalist system in Washington, D.C., that exists only for its own benefit.

WALSH: Steve...


CORTES: And what Donald Trump did yesterday is show those people that he is a fighter for them against Hillary Clinton, against the Washington establishment, against the media.

WALSH: Steve, I have got to say, though...


MATTHEWS: Joan`s turn. Joan`s turn. WALSH: Whenever we use the term working class, we have really got to throw in there white working class, because the black and Latino and Asian working class is not supporting Donald Trump.

I`m not going to say it`s about race or racism, but we really need to be careful with that modifier, because a lot of working people, a lot of people who might be angry about their taxes or the cost of living or that they haven`t got an raise in a few years, those people of color are with her.

The people -- the white people tend to be with him. And we need, when this race is over, to talk about why that was, because I personally think this race is over here. But we`re going to have a lot of time in November, December, January to talk about how we got so bifurcated in this country that we can`t use the term working class anymore.


MATTHEWS: OK, that`s good. I have got end to now.

I just want to ask you both. I love final questions, Steve, you first.

Why`d they shake hands at the end of the debate, but not at the beginning?


CORTES: I don`t know. Do you have an idea?

MATTHEWS: OK, Joan, do you have a theory?

I think because Trump wanted to shake hands at the end. Something -- I think he thought he had a good close last night. And, by the way, Jerry Seib in "The Wall Street Journal" front page has it right. I think he came on not so great. By the end of the second debate last night, he knew how to debate a lot better than he did. He was much better by the end.

CORTES: He was getting stronger as it came -- as he went along, for sure.

MATTHEWS: I think that`s why he was feeling better about shaking hands.

WALSH: I agree.

MATTHEWS: I think -- you all agree.


MATTHEWS: I agree. And I will. I never -- I don`t think I have ever said anything nice about him on your show, Chris.

But I will say, if he campaigned like that man we saw in the last minute who gave her credit for her strength, if he could treat her as an equal and campaign eye to eye with her and say, we disagree, he would be running a much better campaign. It would be a lot closer.

But he hasn`t. But I will say, that last moment was impressive. And the handshake was all about cementing that feeling.

MATTHEWS: Joan, you`re a fighter.


WALSH: I am. It`s true.

MATTHEWS: Everybody likes being a fighter.

Steve, you want to be a fighter too.

WALSH: He`s a fighter.

MATTHEWS: Who doesn`t respect that in this country? We`re a country of fighters.

Thank you so much, Joan Walsh. A rare moment of common ground. Even Steve is silenced in his fervency here.


MATTHEWS: Up next...

CORTES: I`m not silenced. I thought we were done.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, you are. Thank you.

What women saw from Trump last night on the debate stage, for some, it was the latest example of a pattern of -- here`s his word, not mine -- punishing women.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Donald Trump entered yesterday`s debate, last night`s debate, with the Herculean task of turning his race, this race around, as he often does. He`s down and nearly out, and went on the attack trying to punish Hillary last night, something he`s done before.

Let`s watch.


MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.



Anyway, last night, he threw the kitchen sink at Hillary Clinton.


TRUMP: WikiLeaks, that just came out, and she lied. Bernie Sanders, between superdelegates and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, he never had a chance. And I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil. She has tremendous hate in her heart.


MATTHEWS: Tremendous...


MATTHEWS: I have never seen anything like this.

Anyway, after months of hearing supporters demand that he lock her up, he made good on that threat and delivered this message straight to Hillary Clinton`s face.

Watch this last night.


CLINTON: It`s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.

TRUMP: Because you`d be in jail.




MATTHEWS: This is like the taste of turkey the day after Thanksgiving. It`s so unbelievable the second day.

And it`s not like -- last night, it was all so much, but here we`re getting pieces of it. I have never heard politicians talk like that.

It was clear Donald Trump went on the defensive, and he was looking to land some punishing blows as well. And it`s not -- definitely not the first time. He`s publicly scolded the former Miss Universe Alicia Machado for gaining weight. There he is. Look, he was putting this on television, showing her workout to get her weight down, all that, and, by the way, calling her Miss Piggy.

Here we go.


TRUMP: At one point, she was actually an eating machine. She was. Someone said, gee, that`s not a very nice thing to say, but it`s true. I mean, she gained a tremendous amount of weight, but now she`s losing it.


MATTHEWS: Oh, my God.

Anyway, for more, I`m joined by Dana Loesch and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, can I progressive, April Ryan, since I said conservative. I think we ought to balance this out.

Do you mind that?

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: You can do whatever you want to do.


MATTHEWS: No, no, I`m just trying to get it straight here.


MATTHEWS: Dana, I want to keep this honest. Why we always do this in this business, that every conservative gets tagged like a wild animal with some tag that says conservative on them? Everybody gets to be a free-thinking intellectual.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, let me ask you this.

What do you think about these -- putting it all together? Women should be punished for endorsing was his impulsive answer with me. This thing about, if you gain an extra 10 pounds, I`m going to put you on television and show you sweating it off. Some of the treatment he`s had towards, oh, Rosie O`Donnell, some of this other public -- does it add up to you or not, Dana?

LOESCH: In terms of -- I think these are all such incredibly different issues. I`m not quite sure you can put it all in the same equation together.

Look, I have been incredibly critical of every particular candidate. And I have caught H.E. double hockey sticks for it too, Chris.

And I`ll tell you say this. Like, with regards to the abortion question, because I thought that was a good discussion that you and he had, granted, as somebody who is pro-life, I don`t ever want to punish a woman for a really heartbreaking and a heart-wrenching decision.

I mean, if anything, you want to make it known that you`re there for a woman and that you`re there to help out, you`re there to support, you`re there to help with adoption, you`re there to help with whatever different means. I know there were a lot of groups that had responses to that who have been in the trenches on this for a long time.

With regards to Alicia Machado and the whole Miss Universe thing, I have never owned a corporate beauty pageant, but, Chris, I will say this. If you are going to participate in a corporate beauty pageant, you have to realize that, whether you like it or not, looks are part of the package.

You`re signing up and you`re showcasing your fitness. You`re showcasing your beauty. You get scholarship money. You get to travel -- you around the world. It`s like your job for that particular year. There are athletes who have to sign fitness -- they have fitness clauses in their contracts. People who are actresses and actors.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but that`s not the issue. No one denies...

LOESCH: That all goes into it. It`s part of the package.

MATTHEWS: No. Like, nobody denies that looks are in many cases the chief element in a beauty contest, whether it`s wrong -- sometimes, with the Miss America, they throw in talent and all this. But, in the end, it`s often a very attractive person.

LOESCH: Right.

MATTHEWS: So, here it is. But putting her into a situation where there`s cameras on her sweating it off, did that show a certain attitude about how to deal with a situation that isn`t -- that is a professional public situation? But, yes, let`s put her on the carpet down there, get her on the ground and make her sweat it off on camera.

Was that considerate? How would you call that?

LOESCH: I don`t know what I would call it. I would call it, why are we talking about a 20-year-old issue, because she didn`t get this title in like 1996?

MATTHEWS: Well, because the guy`s never had a political job in his life, and all we have is what he`s done in business.


LOESCH: ... in high school, then, Chris. Come on.

MATTHEWS: All we have is what he`s done in business. What he`s done in business, that`s all we got.

April, that`s all we got on this guy.

LOESCH: Right.


MATTHEWS: He has never done anything, passed a bill, governed a state, been a mayor. All we have are his public stuff and his tapes.

Your thoughts?

RYAN: His buildings with gold tone that glisten brightly in New York.

It`s -- it`s -- we need to see this. We need to know this. We need to know the Billy Bush conversations. We need to know about this -- Alicia Machado. We need to know more about what he said in the fight with Rosie O`Donnell.

We need to know more about what he thinks, especially when it comes to women, and what he said to Megyn Kelly. Women are a key piece of this society, of the economy. They`re the biggest voting bloc.

And for him to go against them the way he has -- I mean, even talking to you, he was basically going down a line that both political parties in this nation have been trying to walk carefully. He basically tried to say it was criminal for a woman to have an abortion. Who would be -- where would the onus fall? Will it be the doctor and the woman or the woman?

I mean, he`s going down a very dangerous road when it comes to women. He is not going to win talking like this and doing this.

MATTHEWS: OK, I want to go back to get the thinking here of Dana.

What did you think of him when he went after the looks of Carly Fiorina, one of his opponents for president? Going after her looks, what did you make of that? Didn`t that jump at you, like, people don`t do that?

LOESCH: Oh, at the time, I thought -- yes. Well, at the time, during the primary debate, I thought I`m not quite sure what this has to do with the - - with considering who`s going to end up as...

MATTHEWS: He`s running for president.

LOESCH: ... the Republican nominee. Yes.

MATTHEWS: Well, why do you think -- what does it tell you about him that he would knock somebody`s looks just because -- how they were born, how God made them.

What an amazing thing to attack. I mean, why would you attack somebody because of their looks? Why would anybody do that, if you think about it?

RYAN: It`s called self-esteem issues.

LOESCH: Well...


LOESCH: No, I said at the time, I had no idea why that would even be brought up in a discussion...

MATTHEWS: He brought it up.

LOESCH: ... during the Republican primary.

I know, that`s what I said, on radio and TV at the time, and I even wrote something about it over on my website. I`m not even quite sure why that`s even a consideration or even why that was even a talking point in the primary. But, look -- I mean, Chris, we`re here --

MATTHEWS: What language are you using here? It wasn`t a talking point. It was something he said on stage in the heat of a debate, and that was his reaction --

LOESCH: Yes, I don`t know why. If you`re expecting me to own or defend any of these comments, I`m not going to.

MATTHEWS: I`m trying to figure out what you think of them.

LOESCH: I told you, it had no place in a primary discussion, or any kind of a discussion, why you would go after somebody`s look. He didn`t like it when people were criticizing his wife, other women don`t like it if you go after their looks or you criticize them. I mean, it`s an open and shut kind of case.

But we just had the second general debate last night, so why are we re- litigating what happened during the primary?

APRIL RYAN, NATIONAL URBAN RADIO NETWORK: Because he did it. He started it. He`s attacking women. He`s bringing out these women. He`s --

MATTHEWS: He called her the devil last night.

RYAN: Her --

MATTHEWS: He called a candidate for president --


LOESCH: She called his supporters deplorables.

RYAN: But wait a minute, wait a minute, he was caught on tape, and we found out about this tape just a couple of days ago, and then to help bolster his confidence, he`s got to find something on someone else that happened 20 or 30 years ago and try to get his confidence, and put them on the stage, basically using those women, making them objects and products of people -- so people can look and say, oh, those poor women, and take it off -- the onus off of him.

So, there is an intrinsic problem that`s common sense that we`re dealing, as we`re looking at this Republican presidential nominee.

MATTHEWS: I think he`s down 36 points right now among suburban women. So it`s not like --

RYAN: Suburban white women or --

MATTHWES: I guess that`s our code, like, inner city, suburban. These words are used interchangeably. Perhaps not appropriate.


MATTHEWS: Why is that funny?

LOESCH: The code word, suburban, urban --


MATTHEWS: Because we try not to speak entirely in ethnic terms. That`s why. That`s why we do it.

LOESCH: Both candidates have issues.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.

LOESCH: You`re not going to find anybody that`s going to defend or own anything that was in the Billy Bush -- in the "Access Hollywood" takes. But here`s the thing --

RYAN: Were you offended last night? Were you offended last night, as a woman? Were you offended last night as a woman?

LOESCH: About what? About the debate? What was there to be offended about during the debate last night?

RYAN: Let me just say this. African-American Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who is a Democrat. She was one of the former heads of a national sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, said she could not sleep last night. She woke up in the middle of the night because she was so distraught about how she -- Hillary Clinton was attacked, how women were paraded for the benefit of Donald Trump. I`m just asking, what did you feel?

LOESCH: At the debate? I don`t -- I don`t think that Hillary Clinton was bullied at the debate last night. I don`t think that there was an attack on women during the debate last night.

RYAN: To say for the first time ever --


LOESCH: I don`t think that she`s going to be bullied be someone. She`s never been bullied in her career.


RYAN: This is the first time ever a woman is a nominee and for a man to say that he would put the female nominee in jail if she -- if he is elected president, that`s a whole different --

LOESCH: When are we going to stop playing the "war on women" card? We`ve got a female nominee, that`s great. I think that in a certain way disproves the war on women. We`ve got to stop with it.

RYAN: We have to agree to disagree. But it was a problem last night.

MATTHEWS: Well, there`s another side to yelling, "lock her up", too. They`re not serenading this.

Anyway, thank you, Dana Loesch, for coming on, and, April Ryan, thank you.

LOESCH: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Up next, with Paul Ryan cutting Trump lose, and he sure did today, and the bottom falling out of the Trump numbers, the HARDBALL roundtable is coming here to tell us where things are going from here.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are holding the competing rallies right now. Trump`s in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, while Clinton`s in Columbus, Ohio.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Anyway, the Republican Party seems on the verge of open civil war tonight over its presidential nominee, with Speaker Paul Ryan now saying he will no longer defend Donald Trump nor show up with him in any situation for politics. It comes after dozens of congressional Republicans abandoned their nominee during the most tumultuous weekend in Trump`s campaign, as of yet.

Well, Donald Trump`s debate performance last night only created more uncertainty. How does the Republican Party navigate the final four weeks of this campaign?

I`m joined with tonight`s roundtable. Molly Ball is a staff writer for "The Atlantic". Andrew Sullivan is contributing editor for "New York" magazine, and Eli Stokols is a reporter for "Politico".

And so, I guess the question is, here are we going from here, Eli? We`re in the stretch.

ELI STOKOLS, POLITICO: Straight to the bottom. I think there`s liberation for Donald Trump after a two-week freefall, and after the scandal he`s been in and seeing the erosion of support over the weekend. There`s liberation. He`s free of a lot of these burdens. I mean, not like he was ever --

MATTHEWS: Free because he knows he can`t win?

STOKOLS: But now, he`s playing the Bill Clinton card. I think that`s part of it. But I think he`s in the bunker with people -- I mean, you saw a very Breitbart-y debate last night, right? And so, he`s in this bunker right now, and when he`s attacked, he attacks back, and I think what`s that we`re going to see.

MATTHEWS: Breitbart, Bannon --

STOKOLS: Yes, right-wing, yes, alt-right, fringe, I mean, you know, conspiracy theory stuff. And that`s what we`re going to see. He says if she wants to go there and there are more tapes released, I`ll just keep bringing up, you know, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones --

MATTHEWS: This could go back to the Clinton chronicles. We could be next with the murder charges.

ANDREW SULLIVAN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Isn`t this the worst for the Republican Party? I mean --

MATTHEWS: I don`t think we`ve ever seen a guy realize unless he throws everything at the opponent, he doesn`t have a prayer of surviving with dignity. This is -- I think this is Trump`s effort to maintain some dignity in defeat. I don`t think this is a win with.

SULLIVAN: He needs to attack. When he`s feeling vulnerable, the only way -- he can`t acknowledge error. He can`t be calm and sit and reflect. He has to double down and increase the attacks on the other person.

For more, it seems like the Republican Party has the worst of all possible worlds. If he was really flaming out last night, then Pence could step in or there could be some moment in which they could fix this. But last night what he did was really shore up his base, really well. I mean, if you`re for Trump, last night must have felt, you know, euphoric. Because all those things you`ve always wanted to say to her face, finally --

MATTHEWS: Your face, I -- anger in your face right now, you`re simulating -- you`re simulating it, it`s the hatred of Hillary, the hatred of Bill, the hatred of the Democratic and Republican establishment, the hatred of all the cultural leaders. You see them. And here`s a guy just throwing crap at them for an hour and a half.

SULLIVAN: And it must be -- if you despise the elites in this country, if you despise the moderators in the media, if you despise Republicans, this was fantastic for them. He really solidified his base. But for those swing voters and for the Republicans in those swing seats, this is a nightmare.

MATTHEWS: Charlie Dent from Lehigh Valley, when I heard him, I go, I know what`s going on. He`s the bellwether. That is the swing part of Pennsylvania, which is the key state that Trump needs to win with. And it`s not a good sign that he dropped off yesterday.

MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Well, the problem is that not only is Trump ginning up the base at the expense of all of the potential persuadable voters, he`s ginning them up against the establishment. He`s practically encouraging Republican-based voters to vote against the down-ticket Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Is he forming a new political party?

BALL: I have no idea. I have a firm policy of never predicting what Donald Trump is going to do next.

MATTHEWS: I can tell you, it could be a media campaign. It could be a media empire. It could be something. But it`s not to join the Republican Party.

BALL: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: You`re giving me an incredibly profound look.

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


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the hardball roundtable.

And, Eli, tell me something I don`t know.

STOKOLS: We know that Trump has slid. The private polling tells us that a lot of Senate candidates, Republican Senate candidates, may as well be finished. I mean, there are a lot of consultants who think that the Senate majority is gone and they are looking at Missouri as a race that --

MATTHEWS: Roy Blunt.

STOKOLS: -- they may be about to lose, as well as Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and a lot of other ones. Yes, I mean, it`s crazy.

MATTHEWS: I agree with you. Every close race could go Democrats.


SULLIVAN: Straw in the wind, the pound on the international market is crumpling. Brexit, as a precursor to Trump, is ruining their economy and their future. Maybe that will be brought to bear before this election is over.

MATTHEWS: Any chance of another vote over there in Britain?

SULLIVAN: I don`t think so right now.


SULLIVAN: I have a piece in our new print issue, a profile of one of the dear broken hearted conservatives who are trying to pick up the pieces post-Trump and figure out what it all means.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, Molly Ball. Thank you, Andrew Sullivan, Eli Stokols. A great panel tonight.

We`ll be right back after this.


MATTHEWS: When we return, my election diary for tonight, October 10th, and where this race stands after last night`s presidential debate.


MATTHEWS: Election diary Monday, October 10th, 2016.

With the election for president just a month from tomorrow, it`s impossible to ignore the shattering power of the new NBC poll numbers. Hillary Clinton holds a double-digit lead at 46 percent. Donald Trump is down at 35 percent, hardly a third of the voters. If that number holds to Election Day, Trump will finish worse than Barry Goldwater in `64, George McGovern in 1972, both of whom won 38 percent.

And unlike those two candidates, the greatest electoral disasters of modern American history, Trump isn`t losing because of his ideas, his ideas on uncontrolled immigration, bad trade deals and stupid war decisions are doing fine. It`s he who finds himself in an electoral free fall.

What caused all of this is obvious -- the tape. Didn`t Mr. Trump notice that the sign over to the National Archives, the one that`s chiseled up there for all to see, "The past is prologue". Didn`t he know about the past he would need to depend in today`s political combat, where elections are won and lost with opposition research, that the first thing a hopeful candidate needs to do is hire a hot shot researcher to dig into himself to confront personally and beforehand what the public will eventually get to do when the race gets close.

Maybe Mr. Trump knew all of this, could even see it coming. What else are we to make of his admission on this show, HARDBALL, in 1988, in the heat and heart of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, quote, "You think about him with the women," Trump told me. "How about me with the women? Can you imagine?"

So, didn`t he realize when he finally decided to run that while we`re getting into now with this video, it was going to be part of the bitter end?

Well, that`s HARDBALL for now, and it really is hardball. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.