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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/13/2016

Guests: Susan Page, Alex Altman, Ashley Parker, Eli Stokols

Show: HARDBALL Date: October 13, 2016 Guest: Susan Page, Alex Altman, Ashley Parker, Eli Stokols

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Michelle Obama makes her case against Donald Trump.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Just two words showcase today`s campaign story -- Michelle Obama. What she said about Donald Trump is the headline. And the story of what she had to say promises, as we say in the news business, to have legs. It`s going to go on.

Michelle was the undeniable star this Thursday, October 13th. She told a crowd in New Hampshire that she was shaken to the core by what Donald Trump said back in 2005 about how he treats women.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This is not something that we can ignore. It`s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season because this was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn`t just locker room banter. This was a powerful individual, speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior.

And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn`t an isolated incident. It`s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life.

And I know it`s a campaign, but this isn`t about politics. It`s about basic human decency. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say, Enough is enough.



MATTHEWS: Well, the other drama today was Donald Trump defending himself against a variety of allegations, some of the claims stretching back decades, that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with women.

In Trump fashion, he responded by lashing out at the women making the charges, the media reporting on them, and the Clinton campaign, which he accused of being behind the charges. Well, just in the past 24 hours, a number of more women have come forward claiming that Trump inappropriately touched them. Let`s watch.


JESSICA LEEDS, ACCUSER: It was a real shock when all of a sudden, his hands were all over me. He started encroaching on my space. And I hesitate to use this expression, but I`m going to, and that is he was like an octopus. It was like he had six arms. He was all over the place. When he started putting his hand up my skirt, and that was it.


MATTHEWS: Well, a second woman, Rachel Crooks, told "The New York Times" she met Trump at an elevator in Trump Tower. She introduced herself, but Trump began kissing her on the cheek. She said Trump then, quote, "kissed me directly on the mouth."

Well, then Trump tweeted, quote, "The phony story in the failing `New York Times` is a total fabrication." A lawyer for Trump sent a letter to "The Times" demanding it retract the story.

Well, separately, "The Palm Beach Post" reported that a woman named Melinda McGillivray said was groped by Trump in 2003 during a reception at Mar-a- Lago. Well, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told "The Post," "there is no truth to this whatsoever. This allegation lacks any merit or veracity."

A "People" magazine writer also claimed inappropriate contact with Trump. In 2005, she was at Mar-a-Lago, writing a story about Trump and his wife, Melania. At one point, Melania wasn`t present. The writer said, "We walked into the room alone. And Trump shut the door behind us, and turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat."

Well, Trump denied it all. Quote, "Why didn`t the writer of the 12-year- old article in `People` magazine mention the incident in her story? Because it did not happen."

Meanwhile, a reporter for NBC spoke with a former Miss Utah -- Temple Taggart`s her name -- who alleged that Trump kissed her back in 1997.


TEMPLE TAGGART, FORMER MISS UTAH: I remember him walking over. My dad was very confident and really admired Donald Trump. And so he went over and introduced himself first and then he introduced me. And it was at that time where turned to me and embraced me and gave me a kiss on the lips. And I -- I remember being shocked and -- because I would have just thought to shake somebody`s hand. But that was his first response with me.


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump told NBC News, quote, "I didn`t even know -- I don`t even know who she is. She claims this place -- this took place in a public area. I never kissed her. I emphatically deny this ridiculous claim."

Well, NBC News hasn`t confirmed any of the claims. Trump has denied all of them. He did so again today. Let`s watch.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false! These events never, ever happened, and the people that said them meekly (ph) fully understand. You take a look at these people, you study these people and you`ll understand also.

These people are horrible people! They`re horrible, horrible liars! And interestingly, it happens to appear 26 days before our very important election. Isn`t that amazing?

I take all of these slings and arrows gladly for you. I take them for our movement, so that we can have our country back!


MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is NBC`s Katy Tur -- she`s in Philadelphia -- "USA Today`s" Susan Page -- she`s here, along with former chair of the Republican National Committee and MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele.

Katy Tur, how does this all ring with you, having covered him all these months? Is this -- I guess it`s hard to ask, but you must have had some reaction when you hear these stories pouring out every couple of hours now.

KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, I can`t verify any of these claims. What I will say is that we are seeing a snowballing effect, with more and more women coming out and saying that they feel more comfortable now telling their stories. They`re saying that the 2005 audio leak enabled them -- or first girded them to do so.

And then when Donald Trump denied touching anybody, denied, you know, acting on any of those -- any of those brags during the debate, they felt like they needed to come out in order to, essentially, protect the country. They felt like it was their duty, their civic duty, to come out and alert the public about what kind of man he is behind the scenes.

Again, Chris, I can`t verify any of these stories. I have not spoken directly with any of these women, and I certainly wasn`t there for any of these allegations. But we are hearing women come out and tell tales of what Donald Trump was like in person that match very closely to how Donald Trump bragged about his behavior both in private, as we heard in that 2005 audio, and in public, on Howard Stern, even on places like Fox News, talking about how he felt entitled to go up to women and to touch them. He felt like he could because he was a celebrity. He was allowed to do these things.

So while we can`t say that these claims are true, what we can say is that they do line up with Donald Trump`s own words.

MATTHEWS: It`s got to be the first time a public figure has served as the narrator of the story he`s denying. I mean, he actually -- if you listen to what he said on those programs, including "Access Hollywood" on that bus, and you listen to what he said on Stern, it sounds like he`s describing himself rather adequately.

TUR: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump forcefully denied the allegation by a "People" magazine writer that he forcefully kissed her. Let`s watch that.


TRUMP: And I ask very simple question. Why wasn`t it part of the story that appeared 20 or 12 years ago? Why wasn`t it part of the story? I was one of the biggest stars on television with "The Apprentice," and it would have been one of the biggest stories of the year!

And by the way, the area was a public area, people all over the place. Take a look. You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don`t think so! I don`t think so.


MATTHEWS: Insult to injury.

SUSAN PAGE, ""USA TODAY": Well, he does...

MATTHEWS: He`s insulting her looks after he`s been accused of this, so his way of responding is say, She isn`t somebody I would do this to. I mean, it`s another way of whacking at somebody.

PAGE: Yes. And so here`s the question. Do his words today, which were so defiant against these women who have stepped forward -- does it encourage other women, if they`ve had that kind of experience, to come forward because they feel like it`s important to do so, or does it discourage them...

MATTHEWS: What do you think?

PAGE: ... because they don`t want to...

MATTHEWS: What do you think?

TUR: ... they don`t want to...


MATTHEWS: Well, the fact that he apparently -- Michael, to be really blunt about it, the fact that he`s appearing to lose this election right now...


MATTHEWS: ... that in addition to the truth of the -- the transparent truth of what was on the "Access Hollywood" tape and the rest of this, the Howard Stern stuff, that would be another inducement, I would think, to come out.

STEELE: I think that`s...

MATTHEWS: He`s not going to be president of the United States.

STEELE: I think that`s what`s going to happen. I think that over the next week or so, you`re going to have more and more women who`ve been in that orbit and have had that experience speak to that.


STEELE: And I think what -- what makes that happen, and as Katy knows in listening and watching this campaign real time, is that when he gets up on that stage and he emphatically denies it and denies it, that cuts -- that cuts and undercuts the woman that was in that situation with him and then forces her, almost, to just take the dare -- All right, now I`m going to come out and tell my story.

MATTHEWS: It`s so interesting. Anyway, Michelle Obama, who was unbelievable today, called Trump`s past comments about women disgraceful and intolerable. She told the story of one young boy reacting to Trump. Let`s watch her.


OBAMA: Someone recently told me a story about their 6-year-old son who one day was watching the news. They were watching the news together, and the little boy out of the blue said, I think Hillary Clinton will be president. And his mom said, Well, why do you say that?

And this little 6-year-old said, Because the other guy called someone a piggy. And he said, You cannot be president if you call someone a piggy.


OBAMA: So even a 6-year-old knows better. A 6-year-old knows that this is not how adults behave. This is not how decent human beings behave. And this is certainly not thousand someone who wants to be president of the United States behaves.



MATTHEWS: Who wants to start here? I`ll start with you, Michael. You`re the guy here. What do you think -- what do you think inspired Michelle Obama -- we`ve watched her now, she`s been a great first lady, but she hasn`t been this impassioned about anything that we`ve seen her on.


MATTHEWS: I don`t remember anything like this. This is like, I`m talking to you. I`m talking.

STEELE: Yes, I think this was personal. I think she probably -- my sense in listening to the speech was she was talking and speaking on behalf of people she knew who had been in that situation, and maybe other situations in her family. I mean, it was a very personal way of pushing back and saying, as she said at the end there, Enough is enough.

So I think that aspect of this changes this whole dynamic right now.


STEELE: I think her sort of reframing this, the story with the 6-year-old, the -- you know, the pushback on drawing the line -- No more, no more -- I think is going to really have a debilitating effect on the campaign.

PAGE: You know, I think this was one of the most effective, most powerful, compelling...


MATTHEWS: Her speech today will have legs. We`ll be showing this for a while.

PAGE: And she gave a great speech at the convention. This was better. And it wasn`t -- it was not a partisan speech.

STEELE: No, it wasn`t.

PAGE: I mean, there wasn`t a bit of policy ideology in it. I mean, I think -- and I think she felt personally because there`s no woman who hasn`t had some kind of experience like this.

MATTHEWS: Yes. You know, we don`t all know that.

PAGE: Yes, well...

MATTHEWS: I`m hearing stories from producers today that I had never heard before about stuff...

TUR: Right.

MATTHEWS: ... where people have been through stuff and...

TUR: Women know what she`s talking about. And they also can understand why, 12 years ago, a magazine writer wouldn`t have put that in her story.

MATTHEWS: Of course not because that would shatter the whole deal.


MATTHEWS: Let me go to Katy because Katy`s been up front. I got the feeling when I was listening to the first lady today, she said something that I thought was very first person. She said she can`t believe that this guy who talks like this is a candidate for president, meaning she knows what an elevation that is. Her husband`s had that elevation. To be a major party candidate for president is not being president, but it`s a really, really close to being president thing.

And I think it offends her, the notion that somebody can be like Trump and be also in that small group of people who`ve ever been nominated for president. It`s a short list. It`s, like what, 70 names in history.

TUR: Yes, and she`s not the only one. There are a number of people out there who just can`t wrap their minds around why Donald Trump is so popular and why he`s being excused for behavior that normally would never be excused.


TUR: I was speaking to women supporters of Donald Trump, and without irony, they`ll tell me that everybody says these words. And then I`ll ask them if they ever said these words, and they`ll say, No, of course not. Don`t be stupid.


TUR: So this is -- this is defying the laws of not just politics but normal and decent human behavior. We don`t generally exalt people who speak so negatively about women, who trash women who are victims.

And I will point out, too, not necessarily the women that are accusing Donald Trump of anything, but let`s look at Michelle Fields, the reporter from Breitbart who said Corey Lewandowski grabbed her after one of the primary celebrations. Donald Trump vehemently denied that that happened, said he would fire Corey Lewandowski if it did.

Video came out proving that it did. Not only did Donald Trump not fire Corey Lewandowski, but he went on the attack against Michelle Fields, victim-shaming her over and over again, saying that she was lying about the bruises.

So that speaks to something that a lot of women in this country find to be inherently appalling, that it`s a guttural reaction you get from women who have ever been placed in that situation...


TUR: ... where people don`t believe them because they are a woman. It`s not necessarily women out there who have been touched in inappropriate ways.

And I got to tell you, most of us have at one point or another, even just walking down the street, some of us, but people who have felt like they have been diminished because they are a woman, unable to speak out about situations that make them uncomfortable because they feel like their jobs are threatened, their position is threatened. They don`t want to ruin the mood of a party, say.

This is not something that is unique. It doesn`t happen infrequently. It is something that is -- that is -- that is something that you`re brought up to learn how to deal with as woman from a very young age.

MATTHEWS: Well said. Katy Tur, you`re the best. Thanks so much for that very personal portrait of what the world looks like right now, the world of Donald Trump. Anyway, thank you, Susan, as always, and Michael Steele, another erudite comment tonight. Everybody`s at their best tonight.

Coming up -- Trump is sinking in the polls. That`s a fact. His party is reeling. That`s a fact. And the damage could get much, much worse for Republicans as a whole. We all know this. We don`t have to report it, we know what`s going on, everybody watching now.

Plus, the Clinton campaign`s also in a bit of a damage control mode right now over the latest batch of e-mails hacked by Wikileaks.

And we`re waiting now for two big live events tonight in this hour, both from the battleground state of Ohio. President Obama will be making remarks to the Ohio Democratic Party in Columbus. He`s expected to respond forcefully to the allegations facing Donald Trump. That`s going to be hot, too, tonight.

And Trump also is on the campaign tonight himself, holding a rally in Cincinnati, another Ohio spot. We`re watching both events, and we`ll bring them to you as the news develops.

Finally, the HARDBALL roundtable is here as Donald Trump`s campaign enters meltdown mode.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let`s get to the latest polling today from the key battleground states. For that, we check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

In North Carolina, a new NBC News/Marist poll has Hillary Clinton up by 4, and Trump needs that state -- Clinton 45, Trump still at 41, 3 shy -- 4 shy. In a four-way matchup in the Tarheel state -- that`s been trending towards Clinton. Next to Ohio, where NBC News/Marist poll has Trump up by 1. He`s still holding onto Ohio by a thread, 42 to 41. The RealClearPolitics for Ohio has Clinton up by half a point. He needs that state.

Next to Pennsylvania, where a new Bloomberg poll has Clinton up by 9. It`s Clinton, 51 to 42. And that lead for Clinton is fueled by huge margins in the Philly suburbs, and that could be the killer punch against Trump.

Finally, to Michigan, where Clinton`s lead in the new "Detroit News" poll is 11. It`s Clinton, 42, Trump down at 31 -- a lot of missing votes there. Clinton`s lead was 7 in the polls two weeks ago.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The Republican Party appears to be coming apart at the seams right now. Think about it. Since Trump -- since Donald Trump`s attacks on House Speaker Paul Ryan, two of the most loyal advisers of his, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Dr. Ben Carson, have said Trump isn`t doing himself or the party any good. Let`s watch.

Byline: Howard Fineman Guest: Katie Packer, Annie Linskey

since Donald Trump`s attacks on House Speaker Paul Ryan, two of the most loyal advisers of his, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Dr. Ben Carson have said Trump isn`t doing himself or the party any good. Let`s watch.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: First of all, let me just say about Trump, who -- and I admire and I try to help as much as I can -- there`s a big Trump and a little Trump.

The little Trump is frankly pathetic. Donald Trump has one opponent. Her name is Hillary Clinton. Her name is not Paul Ryan. It`s not anybody else. It`s Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump`s job is to go out and make the case, because the elite media won`t. He has to make a case that is clear, unified, simple, that people understand.

DR. BEN CARSON, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: Getting into fights with Ryan or anybody else, complete waste of time. And it`s not helpful at all.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, NBC News reported that the Trump campaign is moving resources out of the key swing state of Virginia. A source told NBC News that it`s because the path to win to get to 270 is easier through these states, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina. I agree with that.

The source says that the RNC is not helping in states where they don`t have any competitive down-ballot races -- quote -- "What the RNC told the Trump campaign is, if you want to play in Virginia, you have to write your own check." So that`s one less state he`s going to win.

For more on the crisis facing the GOP, joining me right now is former deputy campaign manager of Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign of last time Katie Packer. And Howard Fineman is global editorial director of The Huffington Post.

Katie, let`s go into this thing. What do you think`s actually happening when -- it`s almost like choose your leader. Do you think Republicans are being asked, are you loyal to the movement conservatives of Paul Ryan -- the Tea Party to some extent is also part of that -- or are you loyal to the Republican establishment, or you`re loyal to Trump?

I`m not sure. Trump is one side. What`s the alternative to Trump in this civil war in the Republican Party? How would you describe the alternative?


KATIE PACKER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, there isn`t much of an alternative right now. I mean, it`s whether or not to uphold the values that you hold dear and the values that brought you into the Republican Party or to sell out to this guy. That`s really the option that`s before Republicans right now.

And a lot of people feel like they have to sell out because Hillary Clinton is such a horrible alternative. They spent the last three decades despising the Clintons and the values that they brought to the White House. And so it does feel like none of the options for Republicans are appealing right now.

MATTHEWS: So, in other words, the Clinton campaign, which is to hose Trump every night, which they`re doing in their ad campaign, isn`t working, because it`s not making her more attractive to moderate Republicans, right?

PACKER: Exactly.

And I`m not sure that there`s much that they can do for Republicans, because FOX News and Rush Limbaugh and sort of the conservative media have done a really good job of making Hillary Clinton into such a pariah to them that they can`t stomach the thought of supporting her.

And so it`s a very -- a very steep hill to climb for the Clinton campaign to get those Republicans on board.

MATTHEWS: Well, the Hillary hatred is something that`s almost a religion or a disease, whatever you want to call it, Howard. It`s a strange thing, but it`s not just the alt-right, the hard-right people.

There`s a lot of suburban Republicans that don`t like Hillary either, so -- a lot of women, too, so you can`t generalize.


But one of the top Republican strategists who I spoke to earlier today said, this is every man for himself, every man and woman for himself within the Republican Party right now. Trump`s got his supposed path to the presidency through those four states that you mentioned. He will focus on those. He will hold the rallies there. He will spend whatever money he`s going to spend there.

Everybody else is on their own. Mitch McConnell is on his own in Kentucky with the Senate. Paul Ryan`s on his own out of Wisconsin trying to preserve the House for the Republicans. Reince Priebus is trying to maintain his dignity, if he can. And that`s the situation.

And Donald Trump in his speech today gave what to me was the toughest, most hard-right speech that he`s given, scripted speech, that he`s given so far. Defending himself against those women, he basically created an aura of conspiracy and shadowy evil surrounding him.


FINEMAN: Demons around him, and offered himself as a kind of sacrificial lamb for the Republicans. I will take the slings and arrows for you, he said.

MATTHEWS: From Shakespeare, yes.

FINEMAN: I will take the slings and arrows. I will suffer on your behalf.

I will lose, perhaps. He didn`t say that, but that was the subtext. I will lose in the interests of trying to save the country. And if we don`t win this time, he said, there will be no America, basically no American culture, no American future, all in order to try to fight back those accusations from those women.

MATTHEWS: It`s so Hamlet, whether to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take up arms against the sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them.



MATTHEWS: My God, who is this guy?

Anyway, let me ask you about this. This is a hard one. I only ask hard questions here, Katie. So, I`m going to ask you a hard one. If you had to say, the people who All right, opposing Trump right now, are they to the right of the Republican Party, those opposing him? Are they to the left of him in the Republican Party?

Because Howard`s pointing out he`s making his final call to hold what he can on the hard right, the alt-right. He`s not saying -- he`s going to the alt-right, at least you guys stay with me, the haters. The real right- wingers, stay with me. I will send you all the signals. It`s us against all establishment people in this country, Republican and Democrat.

Is that what he`s doing? He`s trying to hold the right. Is that fair?

PACKER: Well, I think he`s trying to hold the far right, but I don`t think that necessarily means that that`s where Trump is.

Trump has staked out this position because he thought that it was a position that would get him the nomination and potentially the presidency. But I think we all know by now that Donald Trump doesn`t necessarily subscribe to any of these views.

MATTHEWS: It`s so true.

PACKER: He`s just sort of inserted himself into this political philosophy as a means to an end.

MATTHEWS: Well said. I haven`t heard anybody say that before, that the whole thing is a guise.

FINEMAN: Yes. No, I...

PACKER: Absolutely.

FINEMAN: I agree with that up to a point.

But when he said today, I used to be a member of the club, I could have stayed in the club, but I have gotten out of the club, and now they hate me for it, because I`m telling the truth about them, I think he means that.

I think this experience that he`s had, especially in the last few weeks, first with the tax story, then with his horrible performance in the first debate, then with this flood of accusations, I think have really turned him into a more bitter and kind of desperate guy. That`s the sense I got in this -- that`s the sense I got in this speech today.

MATTHEWS: Katie, Katie, you`re really on to something here, I think, because I`m a political buff, like probably you are too.

And I have an older sense of this buffdom. And I have got to tell you, what you just described about Trump is what Joe McCarthy was, who basically was a demagogue of the early `50s. And Joe McCarthy ran an anti-communist campaign because he heard about anti-communism. He said, that`s a good thing. I`m going to ride that baby.

And so he rode the anti-communist very effectively. He was a good demagogue, a good showman, a good marketer. He didn`t believe any of it. There are many people believe -- Richard Rovere wrote about this -- that, basically, that`s why he drank himself to death, because, after it was over, he lost, he was censured, he said, well, I don`t care about any of this stuff, because if he really was an anti-communist and he really believed in his cause, he would have fought to the end. He would given himself to it.

Trump, we all know, a week from after the election, do you think he`s still going to be Trump on all these issues, still against trade, still against illegal immigration, still against wars? Or will he flip on anything again? We don`t know, Katie.

PACKER: Well, any time he`s asked a complicated question about any of these things, he can`t really even scratch beneath the surface.

That`s why, when you ask him about a Supreme Court nomination, he always goes to Scalia, because he doesn`t really know any of these people whose names he put forward. He doesn`t know what qualifications conservatives are looking for. He points to Scalia because it`s an easy answer, but he doesn`t even really know why Scalia is appealing to conservatives.

MATTHEWS: You`re so smart.

PACKER: He`s just sort of a centimeter thick.

FINEMAN: OK, so to argue against what I just said and agree with you, Donald Trump himself said that, if he loses, of course, American civilization will end, as we know it, if he loses.


FINEMAN: The deluge comes out to be.

But, on the other hand, he says, if he loses, he doesn`t know what he`s going to do. He has no idea what he`s going to do, which to me -- which goes to your theory, which is, if he really was in this for the alleged crusade that he`s on, for the -- quote -- "movement" that he talks about, he would be saying, well, I`m going to fight this whether I win or lose.

PACKER: Right.

MATTHEWS: Bernie is like that.

FINEMAN: I`m going to keep fighting against the establishment whether I win or lose.

MATTHEWS: Compare him to Bernie.

FINEMAN: One gets the sense that, having exiled himself from the club, we will see if he knocks on the door again within a week or two.

MATTHEWS: Comparison to Bernie Sanders, who I`m not as far over with, but I totally believe he believes it.

PACKER: Oh, for sure.

MATTHEWS: I absolutely am convinced that Bernie is Bernie is Bernie. It`s not a show. It`s not a gig. It`s who he is. He`s a socialist, and proud of it, because he wants the government to play a larger role in our lives.

I don`t necessarily. But I do believe he is for real. Trump, mezza mezza there.

Anyway, thank you so much.

PACKER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Melania Trump issued a statement through her attorneys tonight. She`s demanding an apology and a retraction of that "People" magazine accusation against her husband. So, the beat goes on.

That was -- thank you, Katie Packer, for that great thinking here today. Thank you so much, and Howard Fineman.

And up next: new revelations in that latest batch of hacked e-mails from the Clinton campaign. And that`s ahead.

And we`re also waiting for President Obama in Ohio to speak live out there. He`s expected to take on the Trump thing. By the way, we have got good information he`s going to be tough tonight, very tough, maybe as tough as the first lady, which should be very tough.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

WikiLeaks today released 2,000 additional hacked e-mails from the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta`s account today, which follows five previous e-mail dumps since last week. The e-mails, which the U.S. intelligence community say were hacked by Russia, the intelligence community says that, have not been authenticated by NBC News.

And the Clinton campaign has said they won`t -- well, they`re not going to help anybody with this story. Let`s face it. The Clinton people are not going to come out and say, of course they`re all real.

But the content we have seen so far shows anxiety and concern over Secretary Clinton`s candidacy from within.

And as "The Washington Post" reports, the correspondence reveals a campaign that has struggled all year to improve a flawed candidate. Aides were keenly aware that she was resistant to the media, perhaps out of touch with regular Americans, and unable to convey a clear message to voters.

In an exchange last may over whether Hillary Clinton should take questions from the press, John Podesta says, "If she thinks she can get to Labor Day without taking press questions, I think that`s suicidal."

Well, one former political adviser wrote in a March e-mail -- quote -- "Right now, I am petrified that Hillary is almost totally dependent on Republicans nominating Trump. She has huge endemic political weaknesses that we would be wise to rectify" -- close quote.

In another Clinton communications director -- actually, communications director Jennifer Palmieri commented on Rupert Murdoch`s decision to raise his kids Catholic -- quote -- "I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion out there. Their rich friends wouldn`t understand it if they became evangelicals."

Well, that`s a conversation which should never have been held, obviously.

Anyway, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan yesterday condemned the campaign for, as he says, disparaging the Catholic Church, but when asked about the comments, Palmieri said she did not recognize the e-mail.

Here she is.


JENNIFER PALMIERI, CLINTON CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I`m a Catholic. I don`t recognize that e-mail that we saw. And this whole effort is led by the Russians. The Russians are the ones that orchestrated this hack. We believe, as noted by the statement from the director of intelligence, that they`re also behind the timing and manner of the leaks.

And we`re not going to do any more to comment or aid their efforts.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined by Annie Linskey, who is national political reporter for "The Boston Globe."

Well, first of all, that`s Clinton M.O. Let`s do that. Whatever you think of the Clintons, that`s their won -- back when they had that tape with Gennifer Flowers, President Clinton at the time apologized to Mario Cuomo for what he said on the tape. Meanwhile, Carville`s out saying, it was edited. It wasn`t real.

ANNIE LINSKEY, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": It was doctored, right.

MATTHEWS: So, they get the advantage of doing -- of fend-mending people offended by it, at the same time denying it`s real.


MATTHEWS: She`s not authorized, obviously, Jennifer Palmieri, who is a great person, not authorized, to say it`s real, because Hillary won`t say it`s real.

LINSKEY: Yes. Right.

MATTHEWS: Because something else will come out worse, and they will have to say that is real.

But what I found great about it, from the Clinton side, was the intelligence of the people inside.


MATTHEWS: They`re asking the questions that everybody on the outside has been asking, like, where`s the coherent message? What does Hillary really want to say? What does she truly believe should be said?


MATTHEWS: Can she really identify with regular folks making regular incomes?


It was very affirming for anybody who`s covered the campaign and asked those questions on the outside. Like, is she connecting with people? What exactly is her message?

MATTHEWS: What`s the media strategy?

LINSKEY: What`s the strategy here?

And, you know, is she going to talk to people? There was one point -- there`s one e-mail that I love where there was a suggestion that she say, oh, well, I have been in living rooms across America, and somebody said, well, actually, she hasn`t really been in that many living rooms this time around. So, let`s not do that one.

So, you know, it was very much a bunch of adults talking about and grappling with some of the same issues that people on the outside have identified.

MATTHEWS: I guess the only one that was damaging to some extent was when she told those bankers, I guess those swells up in New York, that you have to have a public presentation, a public message, and then a sotto voce private message that you don`t...

LINSKEY: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: That sounds like politics.

LINSKEY: It does.

MATTHEWS: But you`re not supposed to admit it.

LINSKEY: Right. And I don`t think she had a very good answer for that in the debate.

MATTHEWS: Like, you can say -- it`s like Alinsky, Saul Alinsky. When you get into an argument, always take the whole side.

You may have certain views about abortion, for example, where you don`t really believe in late-term abortion, you`re against it.


MATTHEWS: But your whole crowd is for, you know, a woman making that choice in late term, so you shut up.


MATTHEWS: That`s what I think politics unfortunately is.

LINSKEY: You don`t want to say it.

The way that she said it -- and the problem is that that e-mail or that transcript in particular so underscored her weakness as a politician who can`t be trusted, who`s saying one thing to some people and another thing to other people.

But that`s something that came out 30 minutes after this Donald Trump bombshell of a tape.


LINSKEY: So, it really -- if that was the big surprise, the atom bomb, it was really washed away.

MATTHEWS: Well, to use Newt Gingrich`s phrase about little and big, the big Donald and the small Donald, nobody likes to think that she`s giving one message to the big shots and another one to the little people, the regular people, because that means it`s elitism.

LINSKEY: Right. Exactly. And that`s exactly how that one came across.


Well, we should keep watching these e-mails. I think they`re great to learn. I think they`re a great learning device, however we get them. I`m not going to thank the Russians for it. But it`s one way to get the information. They`re not going to tell us otherwise.

LINSKEY: They`re not going to tell you, yes.

MATTHEWS: Annie Linskey, I like your journalism. Thanks so much for coming on from "The Boston Globe," from the hub of the universe.

LINSKEY: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, we`re expecting to hear from both President Obama and Donald Trump in the next half-hour, in fact, fairly quickly. The president`s in Columbus, Ohio, right now, where he will speak before the state`s Democratic Party. And Trump is holding a rally across the state in Cincinnati, a much more Republican area. We`re keeping an eye on both those events. They`re both live tonight. They`re coming up.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



We`re expected as Ted Strickland now campaigning for the Senate seat in Ohio, we`re expecting President Obama to take that stage before the Ohio Democratic Party. It`s in Columbus, right now, as you`re watching.

Anyway, the president is expected to respond to the Trump campaign in harsh language tonight, and the new allegations, of course, facing Donald Trump. And Trump himself is about to take the stage at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, well, earlier today in a combative and unrepentant speech, Trump dismissed his accusers and laid out a kind of apocalyptic choice.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a conspiracy against you, the American people, and we cannot let this happen or continue. This is our moment of reckoning as a society and as a civilization, itself.

I didn`t need to do this, folks. Believe me. Believe me. I built a great company. And I had a wonderful life. I could have enjoyed the fruits and benefit of years of successful business deals and businesses for myself and my family, instead of going through this absolute horror show of lies, deceptions, malicious attacks.


MATTHEWS: Well, the new allegations that Donald Trump groped women has sent his campaign into what the "Time" magazine is calling a total meltdown. Look at that rough cover there, in the article that hits newsstands on Friday, the writers at "Time" talk about an unhinged Trump in the throes of a meltdown, demolishing, quote, "the emollient line between a campaign aimed at the base and one intended to debase."

Anyway, for more, I`m joined by Alex Altman. He`s one of the authors at "Time" magazine, one of the writers of that cover story. Ashley Parker reported for "The New York Times," and Eli Stokols is political reporter for "Politico".

You know, it`s very apocalyptic, but he`s also offering himself as the people. I am you. Like Marshal Petain, taking over the government of Vichy, or offering up the French republic to the Germans, by saying, I will take this role upon myself.

ELI STOKOLS, POLITICO: He`s been messianic for a long time, but this is next-level stuff here. And all these victims come forward. And what does he do? He dismisses them and he plays the victim. He tells his supporters that they`re being victimized by this conspiracy theory, this cabal of media and banking elites, which is rich, right?

I mean, the bank saved Donald Trump, the media made him, and he`s out there sort of dog-whistling to the base, saying, it`s all those East Coast elitists, those greedy people trying to preserve their power.

MATTHEWS: Well, it could be. That can also be true. It isn`t a lie that says that the elite liberals don`t like Trump. That`s not a lie, including those in the media. It`s not a lie.

But the thing is, how did he get there?

Ashley, it`s like he said, I did this as a sacrificial being for the people. I gave up the trappings of wealth, to come out here and defend your cause. Now, he did pick up the cause of anti-trade, anti-illegal immigration, and anti-stupid wars. But we don`t know what the motive was, do we? He will say the motive was sacrifice.

ASHLEY PARKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, the thing you realize when you cover Donald Trump, very quickly, is that it`s all about him. He is sort of a classic narcissist and everything is about him.

But the smartest thing or one of the smartest things his campaign has done is sort of say, this is about you. This is a movement. I`m doing it on behalf of you.

And you see the way it moves the crowd. I mean, those are some -- other than building the wall, you know, and having Mexico pay for it, those are some of the biggest roars that he gets.

MATTHEWS: Is that in danger now that he`s talking about himself?

PARKER: I don`t think so, because let`s be honest, he`s been talking about himself this entire time and he`ll occasionally throw it to the crowd. But it`s really about you in Pennsylvania. It`s really about you, whose jobs I`m saving. And that`s just more of what he`s doing, sort of on steroids today.

MATTHEWS: Alex, do you think he`s a fraud, Alex?


MATTHEWS: More so than most politicians? In other words, he`s presenting himself as a man of the people as the guy -- in this case, a guy, who despite all his wealth and success in business and the beautiful wives and the life he leads and Mar-A-Lago and all the golf courses, in heart, in the depths of his soul, he`s the guy looking out for the Saudi buster after the regular guy fighting it out for a living, is he that guy who did this out of sacrificial purpose?

ALTMAN: No, I don`t --

MATTHEWS: Or did he do it to enhance his PR?

ALTMAN: Well, I think he did it to enhance what he sees as his future. I don`t think he ran to lift up factory workers in Ohio or, you know, the people in Pennsylvania that he goes and talks to.

You know, I think it`s difficult to know what Donald Trump believes, because he shifts his policy position so often --

MATTHEWS: What does he care about?

ALTMAN: I think he cares about himself. I think, you know, narcissist is an apt word for it. He has built his campaign when he says I am --

MATTHEWS: Why couldn`t somebody who does care about it speak out and become the leader? That`s what I don`t get. Why`d it take this guy to put together that, what you call perfect storm win called it, of trade, illegal immigration, and stupid wars with the working class that says we`re getting screwed, because on every front, we`re the ones that pay the price and get no benefits, between the wars and immigration and loss of no manufacturing jobs.

How come he can do it and Democrats can`t -- why can`t a -- Democrats can`t do it because it would be seen as anti-Hispanic or whatever. A Republican can`t do it because it would be seen as anti-cheap labor, right? And also, Republicans like wars -- at least they have supported the war in Iraq, you know?

STOKOLS: He speaks very successfully. His message resonates with people who have deep grievances about the way the country is going, feeling left behind in this economy, this changing economy and changing country. And he`s sort of used his own grievances, personal grievances to sort of motivate his run. I mean, this whole presidential run, a lot of people think came out of that speech that the president made five years ago at the correspondents` dinner, where he just trashed and humiliated --

MATTHEWS: So you think it isn`t about the larger picture?

STOKOLS: I think he was very motivated by vengeance in a way. And who knows what he does?

MATTHEWS: And guess who`s motivated by that now? Obama -- Michelle, they`re looking back at him and saying, yes, you said, we`re illegal alien, I was an illegal alien. I`m from Kenya. Well, I have some thoughts on that.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, top Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani, there he is, he`s on stage right now in Cincinnati. Giuliani`s backtracking after suggesting that Hillary Clinton lied after being at New York`s ground zero on 9/11. Here`s Rudy yesterday.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: Don`t tell me, if you said that, that you remember September 11th, 2001. I remember September 11, 2001. But I heard her say one day that she was there that day. I was there that day. I don`t remember seeing Hillary Clinton there.

That was like -- that was like when she said she had to run through gunfire. That turned out to be, what do we call it? A lie!


MATTHEWS: Shortly after Giuliani made that statement, NBC News and other outlets report that Clinton never claimed to have been in New York City on September 11th, 2001. She returned to New York the following day and surveyed Ground Zero alongside then-Mayor Giuliani. There they are together.

Later yesterday, Giuliani was told that Clinton never said what he said she said.

Anyway, when Giuliani was told he was wrong and was being criticized online about it, her told our NBC affiliate in New York City, "I probably deserve it." Well, we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Well, we`re watching right now for President Obama to take the stand, stage in that Columbus, Ohio rally, up there. He`s also expected to forcefully respond to the allegations facing Donald Trump. He`s going to be tough tonight.

Back with our roundtable right now, Alex Altman, Ashley Parker, and Eli Stokols.

Well, here`s a little bit more of Michelle Obama`s passionate speech earlier today. Let`s watch that.


MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: We thought all of that was ancient history, didn`t we? And so many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are, 2016, and we`re hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail. We are drowning in it.


MATTHEWS: Ashley, she has a presentation which is unbeatable. I`ve never -- I mean, this encompassing, we, it`s interactive, it`s personal, it`s dramatic reading. She doesn`t yell. She speaks in a way that`s like the highest level of performance. And she means it.

PARKER: She`s possibly the best messenger for this because even though she never mentioned him, she was clearly talking about Donald Trump and about groping, but what she did was she sort of brought into that, right, not every woman thankfully has been groped or kissed when they didn`t want. But every woman can relate, the man who stood too close, stared too long, the man at your workplace who made you uncomfortable but you didn`t feel like you could say anything because you`d jump through the hoops to get there.

I mean, that is a very universal message that I have to imagine resonates with every single woman.

MATTHEWS: We`ve been talking right here with the producers, also the old things where the guys sitting with the helmets, the hard hats on the corner when the woman walks by and get an approval, disapproval button pushed. Nobody asked for that.

ALTMAN: Yes. I mean, you know, she spoke with such emotion, just sort of a stirring remarks. You know that Brooklyn right now, Hillary Clinton`s advisers believe she is their most powerful surrogate for the next 25, 26 days. And I would even say she`s probably the Democrats` best speechmaker, perhaps the best speechmaker in American politics right now including her husband.

MATTHEWS: OK, Eli, let`s talk politics. Not gender politics but politics generally.

Isn`t this a time for her to be very positive and talk about why she should be president? Because the risk she runs right now, she would be elected without a fault, without a mandate, without a purpose, without a mission, without a momentum behind her. They won`t be any woosh behind her as they say now.

STOKOLS: Yes, I think that`s what she`s trying to do.

MATTHEWS: All her ads are negative on Trump.

STOKOLS: Well, I think what was also successful about the Michelle Obama speech today was that it was sort of simultaneously devastating on Donald Trump and also inspirational and uplifting, right? It doesn`t have to be this way, shouldn`t be this way.

I mean, inspirational and uplift is generally what we see at the end of the campaigns from both candidates. Since Trump has gone so much in the opposite direction, it shouldn`t be that difficult for Hillary Clinton to come out with that and to sort of be careful as she`s going to be by nature --

MATTHEWS: I think there`s a vacuum developing where people are saying, yeah, can`t vote for -- people said today on this show that Republicans in the suburbs who are the swing voters now will not go for Hillary. Well, they ought to make an effort at it because women going to vote, ought to have a reason why they do it, not just anti-Trump.

ALTMAN: Well, I that one thing Trump`s campaign is calculating, if they drag this campaign so far down into the mud, it will depress turnout such that they could get lucky and pick up a couple states or two because we know that Trump has electrified the smaller base of core supporters whereas Clinton is sort of banking on a turnout machine.

MATTHEWS: I think she`s got to go positive. I`m not the boss obviously.


PARKER: I think you`re right. We also have to keep in mind if we weren`t talking about Trump right now, what we might be talking about are the --

MATTHEWS: E-mails.

PARKER: The hacked e-mails. So, in a way she may not be going positive but she`s certainly avoiding what would otherwise be a negative story.

MATTHEWS: I haven`t seen anything bad in the e-mails. I`m looking for a good story. I see the worst is this one about the inside message and outside message. That`s not lethal.

PARKER: Sure, sure. And for people who cover politics, that`s sort of how the sausage gets made, but it`s never pretty and it`s never what you want to expose to the wider world.

MATTHEWS: Yes, like people who have made clear that we`re not against all trade with Canada, but we have to say that during the campaign. Remember that guy?

Where we have to say this but we know in the end it`s going to be a deal, or we`re going to find a middle in the end but we can`t say we`ll find a middle because we have to play to the left or the right? Can people see through, Eli? I hope they can by now. Politicians do that.

STOKOLS: Yes, I think so. And I think, you know, at this point, these are the two least popular nominees, candidates we`ve had in history. So, I think Ashley`s right, you know, the candidate that we`re all talking about, that`s the one who`s losing.

And it`s been Trump dominating media coverage of this for better or worse from the beginning when there is -- when there have been these stories that could be damaging for Hillary Clinton, he has stepped on too many of them to count.

MATTHEWS: Did you see Jacob Rascon of our news reporting team today, every time he goes to a rally he meets Trump people, and he never has ever in all the rallies he`s been to found anybody who changed their mind about Trump? They stick with him.

PARKER: It`s so striking. They either, there are three camps there. One is, they don`t believe the media, right. They take his line -- dishonest, crooked media. The second is they don`t care. He`s just acting like an American male. And then the third is they do care, they wish it weren`t that way, but Hillary is just so awful, they`re still sticking with Trump.

MATTHEWS: Whereas Trump keeps giving people new reasons not to like him. Hillary hasn`t given anybody any brand new reasons not to like her. Isn`t that weird?

The Hillary hatred, whatever is formed upon, sits there like this brewing thing, self-brews itself over and over again. I just hate her, why do you hate her again? I just don`t like her.

Oh, Benghazi. What, actually, did she do in Benghazi? What did she do? They can`t tell you.

What did the e-mail thing tell you about her? Well, I can`t -- it`s not clear. She`s a liberal. She`s well-educated.

What else? She`s going to be the next president. I guess that`s enough.

ALTMAN: Yes, I mean, I think it`s the accumulated drip of hearing sort of -- seeing sausage making as revealed in the e-mails, hearing sort of scandals real and imagined over the course of many years. People get tired of it. I think it`s one reason that, you know, as we`ve said, both campaigns want this to be --

MATTHEWS: These are so small, though. Whitewater was nothing, it turned out. Nobody`s ever forgiven the people went after it -- it was nothing. It was nothing. They made no nickel, nothing.

There was no -- the travel-gate, it was about who paid -- who handles press travel. Who cares?

STOKOLS: But it`s not that any of these are that damaging by themselves. Right? Even the e-mails that the FBI investigated, even the Clinton Foundation, there`s this aura of something being amiss or some corruption. Really, it`s the Clintons are secretive, nervous about these things, day try to protect themselves and go too far.

It`s not that anyone of these things on its own -- just like WikiLeaks and e-mails we`re going through, it`s not like you ever find a smoking gun.

MATTHEWS: Like Trump on the other end is brazen. He doesn`t seem to hide his boorish behavior.

ALTMAN: You call that, sort of the primary where he said, I could shoot somebody in the middle of the street and I wouldn`t lose votes. You know, he might not have been half wrong.

MATTHEWS: Well said. Sometimes I`ve been outdone. That was well done. Good recall.

Anyway, thank you, Alex Altman for joining us from "Time" magazine, the home of the total meltdown coverage. Anyway, Ashley Parker of "The New York Times", Eli Stokols, thank you.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. We`re going to have coverage of President Obama`s speech tonight coming up. There he is.

"ALL IN," Chris gets to cover this. What a great opportunity. That starts right now.