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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/24/2016

Guests: Yamiche Alcindor, Tad Devine, Judith Browne-Dianis, Heather McGhee, Ryan Williams, Guy Cecil

Show: HARDBALL Date: October 24, 2016 Guest: Yamiche Alcindor, Tad Devine, Judith Browne-Dianis, Heather McGhee, Ryan Williams, Guy Cecil

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Is Donald Trump the new Baghdad Bob?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews out in Pittsburgh, where tomorrow, I`ll be interviewing Vice President Joe Biden, who`s out on the campaign trail.

With just two weeks to go in the race and polls showing a lead for Hillary Clinton, there`s at least one person who thinks Donald Trump is winning -- Donald Trump. According to Trump, the polls are phony and the Democrats are trying to discourage his supporters. Here was Trump earlier today.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There`s some great polls have just come out. I believe we`re actually winning. If you read "The New York Times" interview (ph) and some of these phony papers -- these are phony, disgusting, dishonest papers. But if you read this stuff, it`s, like, What are we doing? What are we wasting time for?

The truth is, I think we`re winning. What they do is they show these phony polls, where they -- you know, where they look at Democrats, and it`s heavily weighted with Democrats. And then they`ll put on a poll where we`re not winning, and everybody says, Oh, they`re not winning. What they do is they try and suppress the vote. This way, people don`t go out and vote. But we`re winning this race. I really believe we`re winning.


MATTHEWS: Well, later in the day, Trump said the polls show he`s down, but said his voters have greater enthusiasm than Clinton`s voters. Let`s listen to that.


TRUMP: I think we`re going to have a Brexit situation. You know, that one was behind in the polls, And I guess I`m somewhat behind in the polls, but not by much. I mean, in your state, I`m 1 point, 2 points, and even in three polls -- 1 point, 2 points, and even. And I think we have a much greater -- a tremendous enthusiasm, much greater enthusiasm than she has.


MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday, Trump`s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, acknowledged they were the underdogs. Let`s watch her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you see this race right now? Do you acknowledge that you`re behind?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We are behind. She has some advantages, like $66 million in ad buys just in the month of September. Our advantage going in -- we were behind 1, 3, 4 points in some of these swing states that Mitt Romney lost to President Obama, Chuck.

Our advantage is that Donald Trump is just going to continue to take the case directly to the people.


MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, Karl Rove, who spent election night 2012 arguing with the Fox News decision desk over the results, is throwing in the towel for his party`s candidate. Let`s watch him.


KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: If he plays an inside straight, he could get it, but I doubt that he`s going to going to be able to play it. He has 186 electoral votes in states that he either leads outside of the margin of error that`s -- or is thought comfortably put away. That compares to Romney`s 206.

He would have to not only win two states where he is either only slightly ahead or behind by 4, but he would have to pick up states where he is behind by, at, or above the national average. I don`t see it happening.


MATTHEWS: On the latest ABC News tracking poll, Clinton has a 12-point lead over Trump, 50 to 38. That`s nationally. Well, today Trump called it a totally phony poll, that one. Anyway, a CNN Opinion Research poll just out today shows a closer race, with Clinton leading by just 5 points, 49 to 44.

I`m joined right now by "The New York Times`s" Yamiche Alcindor, Hugh Hewitt, host of "The Hugh Hewitt Show" on the Salem Radio Network, and Democratic strategist Tad Devine -- he`s back. He was former senior adviser to the Bernie Sanders campaign. Good to have him back.

Let`s go to Yamiche and let`s go in this order. What is the strategy of Trump saying he`s not behind? Because just the other day, he was saying the election is fixed and he can`t possibly win. I thought one was to encourage his voters. I`m not even sure -- what is his strategy, saying he`s going to win and the polls are wrong, or saying he`s going to get screwed and the polls are right? I mean, which is his strategy here, Yamiche?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, "NEW YORK TIMES": I mean, we`re seeing two things happen here. Donald Trump I think is in one way trying to tell people that he`s realizing that he`s behind and that he wants to kind of rile up his base and wants to tell people, Hey, there`s still time, we need to get this together.

But there`s also this other part of Donald Trump that I think where he really is in denial in some ways. He sees these polls, the same polls that he would be talking about if he was winning and he says now they`re rigged. And it goes to this idea of making the case that the election is rigged and really wants his supporters to feel like, If I lose, it`s not because of anything that I did, but really, it`s because of the media and the people who are rigging this election.

MATTHEWS: Yes, Hugh, he`s really trying to be scientific about her, clinical. He`s saying, Let me tell you how they rig it. They give more weighting to the Democrats when they`re polled than they give to the potential Republican voters. He`s really getting into the science of polling and showing how it`s being, according to him, rigged. At the same time -- well, I`m not sure what at the same time is, except it`s rigged. The polls are rigged. The elections are going to be rigged.

Is that the theme to get his people out?

ALCINDOR: I think it`s the theme to get his people out. But I should say I think it`s also part of this -- him being angry at the system. Yes, he wants to get his voters out. And they are enthusiastic. I think I would say that he is...

MATTHEWS: I would say.

ALCINDOR: ... right with that, that he`s -- that his supporters are very enthusiastic. So there`s a little bit of that going on.

But I think some of this is the fact that he is -- he`s really kind of departing from the message of his campaign. Kellyanne Conway is really trying to tweet out and really trying to do interviews where she says, We understand we`re behind, because she wants people to understand that they are serious, that they`re presidential candidates, that they understand what the numbers are saying to them. But Donald Trump is kind of really doing what he wants to do in this case.

MATTHEWS: Hugh, can you understand his strategy, his public strategy?

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, not really. I think it`s important for him to focus on the "Obama care" meltdown, to focus on issues at this point and leave the pollsters to their polling. If he wants to point to anything, you point to Tom Cotton winning by 17 percent two years ago in Arkansas and Mitch McConnell winning by 15 percent, neither of which were predicted anything close to that kind of a landslide.

But you don`t unskew polls. It`s a bad move. I`ve fallen into that trap myself.


HEWITT: I learned trust the RealClearPolitics average and campaign on the issues.

MATTHEWS: What do you think was -- I hate to take you down a rabbit hole you don`t want to go down, but why was the Cotton race underpolled? Why was Mitch McConnell underpolled?

HEWITT: I do think that state polling is much more difficult than national polling. I`ve tried to figure it out with people like Sean Trende at RealClearPolitics. The bigger your sample, the easier it is to model a turnout. The smaller your experience, and a Senate race in every six years on an off year was a real bust.

But I think Cotton won by 17 points. Brad Dayspring (ph) of Politico pointed out to me that the last poll showed him winning by 8 to 10. But about three weeks out, they thought that Prior-Cotton race was a dead heat, and Cotton wins by 17 points. It does give you pause when you come to some polls.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Tad, who`s a political strategist, not a pollster. Tad, I don`t understand. When you got two weeks to go in the polls, why doesn`t Trump say the following. If you like the way things are going, vote for the usual candidate, Hillary Clinton. If you like the way we`re losing jobs in the manufacturing part of this country, getting killed on that front, vote for what we have. If you like the way we have uncontrolled immigration, vote for that. If you like these stupid wars, vote for that. Vote yes for Hillary.

Why doesn`t he set it up as a zero-sum game, If you vote for Hillary Clinton, you`re voting for the way things are, and really set it up smartly instead of arguing about polling and crap like that? Your thoughts.

TAD DEVINE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: My thoughts are because he`s not a disciplined candidate, because he doesn`t really care about the mechanics of campaigns, because he doesn`t stick to a message. You know, this is a guy who will say whatever he wants to say if he thinks it serves his purposes at that momentum. It`s a Twitter kind of form of communication.


DEVINE: So you know, I think he`s trying to offer reassurance to his supporters that he`s not out of it. But the truth is, he`s fallen far behind, and there`s very few, if any, paths for him to win the election.

MATTHEWS: What you think`s happened to him? Is it the tape from 2005? What is it that broke his chance?

DEVINE: Well, I think a combination of, number one, the debates, where Hillary Clinton performed like a president. She demonstrated presidential capacity. She dealt with him very effectively.

Number two, I think that tape that was released of him on the bus confirmed all the suspicions that people had about him, particularly with women. That`s why he`s trailing. He`s 20 points down in the ABC poll with women right now. So I think it`s a combination of those events.

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump went after the media today again, saying he was looking out for working Americans. I wish he would say -- not that I want him to do it, but the smart thing -- and I like politics -- is to do it the right way. Let`s watch.


TRUMP: The media isn`t just against me, they`re against all of you. That`s really what they`re against. They`re not against me, they`re against what we represent. The media is entitled, condescending and even contemptuous of the people who don`t share their elitist views. And this is all for money. This is for money, largely, money and power. I see you and I hear you. I am your voice!


MATTHEWS: Let me go to Hugh on that. What do you make of that argument, that he represents the regular folks out there and the media represents the elite? And why would the media, except a lot of us are -- a lot of media people are Ivy Leaguers and they are, you might say, the intellectual elite, although I don`t think that`s what I brag about, but they are, some of them -- why is the media pro-elite, according to him? Give me the motivation because you`re on that side of thinking and I want to hear the smart way of saying it.

HEWITT: Thank you. To quote Kissinger, it has the additional benefit of being true. Ninety-percent plus of Manhattan Beltway media elites will vote for Hillary Clinton and will applaud her election. That seeps into coverage. It`s what Dan Rather said. News is where you look. Those elites look for news in places other than, for example, the "Obama care" premium hikes or the problems at the FBI.

These are stories where if Donald Trump were making a comprehensive case -- it goes back to Nixon and Agnew. You know this, Chris.


HEWITT: This is an old saw and it`s a true saw in the Republican cannon that you don`t get a fair shake. But you`ve got to deal with it by focusing on issues, not on the problem of bias.


ALCINDOR: ... really quickly?

MATTHEWS: Yamiche, do you think that`s true? Do you think that`s true? I mean, I look at Joe Biden. He`s not elite. I look at Bobby Casey of Pennsylvania. I don`t think he`s elite. I look at Toomey, who`s not elite. Who are these -- name me the elite in the media. Give me the names.

ALCINDOR: Well, this is the thing. If we ask people like Donald Trump, or if you ask people like Bernie Sanders, they were both going after some of the same people. They were talking about "The New York Times." They were talking about "The Washington Post."

And really, this is something I think that is kind of an effective argument because people really do feel like when they go and get the news that they`re really getting it from these people who have some sort of plan to rig this election or rig the economy or don`t want to cover the real issues, when, you know, obviously, the media is in some ways covering the news of the day and covering things that we think are important. But there are people making value judgments. But I should add that I talked to...

MATTHEWS: Do you know anybody, Yamiche, at "The New York Times" who`s pro- life?

ALCINDOR: That`s not a question I`m going to answer. I have no idea.

MATTHEWS: Do you know anybody?


MATTHEWS: You don`t have to name names. Do you know anybody at "The Times" who`s pro-life?

ALCINDOR: I have not asked my co-workers that question, I should say.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s cute.


MATTHEWS: ... making your point. That`s the way you make your point. Anyway, go ahead. Go ahead, Yamiche.

ALCINDOR: But I really wanted -- this idea of -- I was talking to a Trump supporter today, and he said that he felt that Donald Trump was what he called a blue collar billionaire. It`s the first time I had heard that term. But this is the that people are really believing that he`s a voice for them.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think so.

ALCINDOR: And I think that that`s something that`s really powerful, and that could be an issue that he could continue to talk about if he wasn`t talking about suing his sexual assault accusers.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think -- I think people -- I want to go back to Hugh -- let me go back to Tad on that. I think people look at Trump, who like him, those who like him, as sort of a Sinatra kind of guy. Yes, he has a lot of money, but he acts like a little guy who got to be a big guy. He doesn`t look like he was born to it. He doesn`t look like that. Your thoughts.

DEVINE: Well, I think he doesn`t sound like that, you know, the language that he uses. But you know, listen, that clip you just played of Trump, he was taking it directly off the teleprompter. It was very effective. It was a powerful message. Trump`s problem is he stops going off the teleprompter. He goes to Gettysburg to make this big address and he says he`s going to sue the women who are making charges against him...

MATTHEWS: Great headline.

DEVINE: ... and that`s the news! Yes, it`s ridiculous. And it`s stupid and it`s selfish and it`s a big reason he`s going to lose.

MATTHEWS: Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton said she won`t respond to Trump anymore. That`s smart. Today on the trail, however, she had strong words for him, taking him to task for what he tweeted about the invasion of Mosul. Boy, this is getting interesting. Let`s watch.


HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Just last night, he tweeted that the new effort under way to push the terrorists out of the key city of Mosul is already, and I quote, "a total disaster."

He`s basically declaring defeat before the battle has even started. He`s proving to the world what it means to have an unqualified commander-in- chief.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Clinton was joined at the rally by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who attacked Trump for labeling Clinton a "nasty woman" at last week`s debate. By the way, Senator Warren knows exactly how to fight with Trump. Let`s watch her here again.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: He thinks that because he has money that he can call women "fat pigs" and "bimbos." He thinks that because he has a mouth full of Tic Tacs that he can force himself on any woman within groping distance!


WARREN: Well, I got news for you, Donald Trump! Women have had it with guys like you!


WARREN: And nasty women have really had it with guys like you!


WARREN: Get this, Donald. Nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote!


MATTHEWS: I have to go to -- I have to go to Tad because you`ve had to deal with clients. How do you find somebody so perfectly designed as Elizabeth Warren to go after Trump? She has no fear of him. She`s unassailable at home. She can`t be defeated. She seems to have a way of getting beyond tough. He`s tough on Hillary. He`s tough on everybody. She`s tougher than him.

DEVINE: Yes, listen, she`s connecting, OK? That`s what it`s all about in politics. I mean, Bernie Sanders connected with voters. That`s why he had the campaign that he ran in the primary process. Elizabeth Warren connects very powerfully. She uses plain language. She goes right at it. She`s pushing back on a bully. And you know, I think that -- you know, she`s just killing him out there.

And I -- listen, this is one of Hillary`s great advantages, that it`s not just Hillary that`s fighting this fight. The Obamas, they`re incredible, the vice president, Bernie`s been great, Elizabeth Warren today -- I mean, this is a murderers` row of surrogates that`s being thrown at Trump right now, and he`s paying the price for it.

MATTHEWS: You`re talking about the Yankees of old, of the `20s. Anyway, thank you -- the murderers` row. Thank you, Yamiche Alcindor of "The New York Times," Hugh Hewitt of Salem and Tad Devine of the Democratic Party.

Coming up -- Democrats are pushing hard to win control of the U.S. Senate. They got a good shot. One of the states they hope to flip from red to blue is Pennsylvania. Looks like they got a good shot, but it`s going to be close.

Hillary Clinton was there in Pittsburgh this weekend -- right here, in fact -- blasting Republican senator Pat Toomey for supporting Donald Trump. He`s not actually supporting Donald Trump. It`s very hard to figure out what he is regarding Trump. He`s playing it very cute. We`re going to take a closer look at the Keystone State in a minute as part of our "Battle for the Senate" series, which we`ve just really started.

Plus, with all Trump`s talk of a rigged election, here`s a real-world concern come election day. The Justice Department will be sharply restricted in how it monitors voting sites this time. We`ll have far fewer election watchdogs this year than at any time since the days of poll taxes and literacy texts.

And Barack Obama`s flying high with an approval rating in the mid to high 50s now. Now he`s using his popularity not just to help Hillary Clinton, but to punish Republicans up and down the ballot for supporting Donald Trump. I love the way he`s going after Darrell Issa of California. He wants to put the -- well, he wants to put the nails in that guy`s political coffin.

Finally, my "election diary" for tonight, October 24th, with just 15 days, two weeks and a day -- can you believe it? -- two weeks and a day and we`re going to have this election.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, the great comedian Bill Murray -- and who doesn`t like him -- has been awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American humor. It happened last night. Murray, whose 40-year film career includes starring roles in classics like "Ghostbusters," "Groundhog Day," "Caddieshack," was honored at the Kennedy Center in Washington last night by fellow comedians Dan Aykroyd, David Letterman and cast members from "SNL."

And after the event, Murray, who grew up in Chicago, paid tribute to his beloved World Series-bound Chicago Cubs.


BILL MURRAY, COMEDIAN: It`s exciting. You know, if you don`t know what it`s like to wait your whole life for the team you root for to win, you can`t explain it.


MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back. By the way, I saw Bill Murray at the airport recently. He`s a nice guy.

Back in a minute.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. One contest that could decide control over the U.S. Senate is the race in my home state of Pennsylvania, the most expensive campaign in the country for that office.

Anyway, in the RealClearPolitics average, incumbent Republican senator Pat Toomey holds a 2-point lead over his Democratic challenger, Katie McGinty.

Anyway, Pennsylvania has trended Democratic in recent elections, but one thing Toomey has going for him in history, Pennsylvania voters have split their tickets three times since 1992, when the state reelected Senator Arlen Specter back then and voted in Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton.

They did it again in 2000, when Pennsylvania reelected Rick Santorum to the Senate, but also supported Democrat Al Gore for president, again in 2004, reelected Specter at that time, by throwing their votes to Democrat John Kerry for president.

But things have changed. In 2000, Democrats held only a 500,000-vote advantage in registration over Republicans. Today, Democrats have roughly a million-voter advantage in registration.

Toomey also has to contend with the coattails of Hillary Clinton, who leads in the state by an average of six points, and with the challenges facing his party`s nominee, Donald Trump.

Over the weekend, Clinton took on actually the incumbent senator directly.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Send Katie McGinty on behalf of Pennsylvania to the United States Senate.


CLINTON: She`s running against someone who refuses to stand up to Donald Trump. How much does he have to hear or to see?


MATTHEWS: And in their first debate on television, Toomey, who has yet to say who he will vote for, whether he will vote for Trump or not, was repeatedly pressed by the moderator on that point, and McGinty, to disclose his choice. Let`s watch.


QUESTION: As a leader in your party, yes or no, do you support, as in will you vote for and encourage others to vote for, your party`s presidential nominee?

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: And because Katie is so extremely partisan, she can`t grasp the idea that somebody might have trouble with a candidate in their own party. But I do. On the other hand, I also know that, if he were president, he would probably sign legislation that would be constructive.

KATIE MCGINTY (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I will tell you, waiting to be persuaded is political-speak for waiting for the next poll.

But, again, the senator is the only person in the United States of America who has not leveled with his constituents on this simple question. Are you voting for Donald Trump? I will yield the balance of my time back to the senator, so that he can now answer that question.

QUESTION: We`re going to move on.

But, Senator, just one last go at this. Will you disclose to your constituents and to other voters how you`re going to vote before Election Day?

TOOMEY: You know, at some point, I probably will.


MATTHEWS: That moderator sounds like me.

Anyway, a few days later, Toomey acknowledged he`s in a tough spot.


TOOMEY: I`m still in the same mode I was Monday night, which is feeling stuck.


MATTHEWS: "Feeling stuck." Politicians don`t usually say that.

Anyway, Guy Cecil is a Democratic strategist, of course, and head of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA. Ryan Williams is a Republican strategist.

So, Ryan, give us an account of what -- I mean, we know what the predicament is. There`s two kinds of voters who could vote for Toomey, those who are for Trump and Republicans who are not for Trump. That`s two groups of voters. You knock one group, the other group may not like you and reverse the same thing. It`s hard to keep both of those Republican groups happy.

RYAN WILLIAMS, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT: Well, politically, it`s a tough spot. There`s no question about that.

And I think for someone like Pat Toomey, who`s been a good senator who has been focused on policy, he`s torn between Hillary Clinton, who he hates, doesn`t think she is -- would be a good president, and Trump, who he also doesn`t like. He`s been very up front about his opposition to Trump`s outrageous statements and his policies he disagrees with.

So he`s in a tough spot, but thankfully Pat Toomey has a good record in the Senate. It`s a record a party of bipartisan achievement on gun control and other things. And I think that`s why he`s leading in the polls now, despite the distractions the top of the ticket is throwing at him.

MATTHEWS: Last question on that very front. Then I will get to Guy.

Do Pennsylvania voters in the main, do they still believe there`s such a thing as an East Coast Republican, a Hugh Scott Republican, a Scranton Republican, a Jack Heinz Republican? Do they really think there are Republicans who are not right-wingers that they would feel comfortable voting for, especially in the burbs?

WILLIAMS: I think so. And I think that`s Pat Toomey.

He`s someone who has worked across the aisle, rated one of the most bipartisan senators in the United States Senate, someone who worked -- whether your agree with him or not, with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia on a commonsense solution to background checks, someone who has worked to keep child sex predators out of school.

He`s worked to clear up the backlog at the VA. He`s someone who has a record of achievement. And that`s why he`s leading right now in a challenging year overall for Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Well, Guy, Democrats have told me, Pennsylvania Democrats at the very top level have told me that Toomey`s been very shrewd in coming out for background checks along with his partner Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, that he`s done just enough to look like a moderate on guns, and, at the same time, not to offend the NRA, and therefore can win in the burbs. What do you think?

GUY CECIL, PRIORITIES USA ACTION: Well, I actually they you illustrated it perfectly, that not only when it comes to Trump, but when it comes to gun, he`s trying to have it both ways.

I think the Democrats have done a reasonably good job of pushing back on that narrative, in part by using Pat Toomey`s own words about being a friend and a reliable vote for the NRA. But I would also point to the fact...


MATTHEWS: How is he different than Casey, the Democratic senator from Pennsylvania, on guns?

CECIL: On guns?

MATTHEWS: Yes. How`s he different?

CECIL: Sure.

Well, I think there`s a couple of things. If you look at assault weapons, we have seen that there`s still differences there in terms of him disclosing what he believes. He also says, according to the NRA, that he opposes certain Supreme Court justices in part because of their view of the Second Amendment. And he also supports Donald Trump.

And that, I think, is the heart of the argument, especially in the Philadelphia suburbs.

MATTHEWS: But on the issue of guns, he`s different -- just to delineate, he`s different than the popular incumbent Democratic senator on guns? You`re saying that?


CECIL: On background checks, I think they share the same point...

MATTHEWS: I think they`re both for background checks.

CECIL: Right. But, on assault weapons bans, on limits on ammunition, on their vote for the Supreme Court justice based on the Second Amendment, which, by the way, the NRA scores, which is why most Democrats always get an F with the NRA even if they`re mildly supportive, and also in terms of their support of Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, your group, the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA, is getting into this Pennsylvania fight and running this TV ad against Toomey. Let`s watch that.


NARRATOR: Pat Toomey and Donald Trump, they`re just wrong for the women of Pennsylvania.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New fallout for Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: Should a woman be punished for having an abortion?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.

TOOMEY: I would support legislation in Pennsylvania that would ban abortion. And I would suggest that we have penalties for doctors who perform them.

NARRATOR: Pat Toomey and Donald Trump, they`re not for you.


MATTHEWS: Is that a fair ad, Ryan?

WILLIAMS: No, I don`t think so.

Look, you obviously were there. You asked the question of Donald Trump. It was about penalizing women for abortions. That`s not Pat Toomey`s position, never has been. They`re conflating two things.

And, look, I think they`re trying to tie him to Trump. It`s obviously a strategy Democrats are using al across the country. They have tried it with Toomey for a while now. But he`s holding his own. He`s a good senator.

And, look, Katie McGinty is not a good candidate for the Democrats. She`s very wooden. She`s not very likable. She gave a terrible speech at the DNC that was widely panned. I think one reporter said it was like an "SNL" sketch of someone trying to impersonate a politician, it was so bad.

She`s not a great candidate. She`s weak. She`s nothing but really standard Democratic talking points. Pat Toomey has a record of accomplishment and it`s what he`s running on. That`s why he`s leading in the polls right now.

MATTHEWS: Guy, are you running that across the state or just in the Philadelphia market, which is more pro-choice?

CECIL: We`re running it in the Philadelphia market, in the Philadelphia market.

MATTHEWS: Why aren`t you running it across the state, which is more pro- life?

CECIL: Well, in part because we`re still running ads in the rest of the state specifically focused for Trump for Hillary`s own election, which is Priorities` primary function in the election.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but why are you just running it in Philadelphia, where you know that people are more pro-choice?

Is that fair statewide to suggest that you`re just going to go out and you`re going to basically pick up the pro-choice votes around the Philadelphia suburbs, but not advertise to the rest of the state, which is much more culturally conservative, your candidate`s position on abortion rights? Is that fair?

CECIL: Right.

Well, like I said, our first priority is to focus on Hillary. And we think that, in Scranton, in Harrisburg, and in Pittsburgh, where we`re still advertising for Donald Trump, there are actually still votes to gain for Hillary. And so we`re focused on Donald Trump in those particular markets.

And in the Philly suburbs, we think we`re pretty close to maxing out Hillary`s vote in that respect.


MATTHEWS: Would you run those ads -- would you run that ad we just saw up in Scranton if it were run for free? If somebody paid you to run it, would you run it?

CECIL: An ad that says Donald Trump believes that women should...

MATTHEWS: No, just that, that ad, no, that ad.

CECIL: Yes, an ad that says that...



CECIL: Yes, I`m answering your question, if you will give me one second.

Would I run an ad in Scranton that says that Donald Trump believes women should be put in jail if they have an abortion? Yes.


CECIL: Would I run an ad that says Pat Toomey believes doctors should be put in jail if they have an abortion? Yes.

MATTHEWS: But you didn`t.

CECIL: And I also just want to point out that if the number one complaint Republicans have about Katie McGinty is that she`s not likable, which is, by the way, what they say about every strong women running for office these days, she`s going to win the election.

MATTHEWS: OK. Now I have got to give Ryan a response.

Go ahead, rMDNM_Ryan. Your thoughts about that? Is likability a factor here?


WILLIAMS: She`s not been a strong candidate. She`s someone who got caught lying about being the first member of her family to go to college. She`s someone who`s been part of this revolving door culture in government, where she was in government, steered money to corporations as a state regulator.

Then, when she left, she sent and worked for those corporations. Voters don`t like that. This is a year of populism on both sides. You have got the rise of Bernie Sanders and Trump. They don`t like people using the system for their own gain, like Hillary Clinton and like Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania. It`s not what voters want this year.

MATTHEWS: OK, Guy Cecil, and thank you, Ryan Williams, both.

Up next, this year, for the first time since the 1960s, the Justice Department will be sharply limited in sending its watchdogs to polling places to protect people`s right to vote. And that`s a big concern, especially considering Donald Trump is pushing his supporters to monitor what he`s calling a rigged election.

That`s ahead. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


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

California Highway Patrol says a tour bus may have not braked before crashing into a big rig, killing 13 people near Palm Springs.

Pennsylvania`s former Attorney General Kathleen Kane was sentenced today to 10 to 23 months in jail. She was convicted of disclosing details from a grand jury investigation and lying about it.

The White House says it`s up to regulators to decide whether to review AT&T`s plan to buy Time Warner. Critics say the $85 billion deal could lead to fewer choices for consumers -- back to HARDBALL.


TRUMP: They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt. And you see that. And voter fraud is all too common. If nothing else, people are going to be watching on November 8.

Watch Philadelphia. Watch Saint Louis. Watch Chicago. Go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it`s 100 percent fine.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

For months now, Donald Trump has called on his supporters to watch polling elections for what he alleges could be widespread voter fraud in the big cities. Now civil rights advocates say they`re worried that voter intimidation spurred by Trump`s claims the election is rigged could be on the rise this November.

This comes in the wake of the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that cut portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act which were aimed at preventing discrimination at the ballot box.

As "The New York Times" notes: "For the first time since the days of poll taxes and literacy tests a half-century ago, the Justice Department will be sharply restricted at how it can deploy some of its most powerful weapons to deter voter intimidation in the presidential election."

That means fewer voter election observers can be deployed to monitor polling locations. At same time, Trump is stoking fears of a rigged election, but he said actually on Saturday that voter fraud could actually help him if fraudulent ballots are cast for him.


TRUMP: There are 2.8 million people that are registered in more than one state. So, we will vote here, let`s ride down the road, let`s vote next door. Maybe they will vote for Trump. I don`t know. Maybe I shouldn`t be saying this.


TRUMP: I may be hurting myself. You`re right. You`re right. Maybe they`re going to vote for Trump. All right. Let`s forget that. It`s OK for them to do it.


MATTHEWS: Well, I`m joined right now by Judith Browne-Dianis of The Advancement Project and Heather McGhee of Demos.

Let me ask you, Judith, first of all, let`s talk specifically about what Trump is saying. He is basically saying, keep an eye out for the big cities, urban cities, with large minority populations, and if you`re from somewhere else, basically, get in your car on Election Day, as a private citizen, drive into some neighborhood where you think there might be, might be voting cheating of some kind, impersonation, whatever, and blow the whistle on it.

Is that feasible? Can we imagine that actually happening? And if so, what would be the impact, if, say, somebody from a suburb goes into a black community, a minority community and starts blowing the whistle? Because, in Philadelphia, there were 59 voting divisions where you didn`t get a single vote for Mitt Romney. And I believe it`s because nobody voted for Mitt Romney, but they may have different suspicions. Your thoughts?

JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Well, first, let`s be clear about this, Chris. There`s clearly racism behind this, from, first of all, saying that there`s the boogeyman of voter fraud, and, by the way, my supporters, that bogeyman are -- those are black and Latino people in the inner cities, and then dispatching people and telling supporters to go to those areas and watch what they are doing.

First, we should know that intimidation is against the law, under the Voting Rights Act. So getting in the way of anyone exercising that right to vote is illegal. Two is that, in most places, in most states, there`s actually laws about who can go into the polling places.


BROWNE-DIANIS: And it`s exactly why the Department of Justice is not going to have observers inside, because...

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about the Trump people. I`m sorry to interrupt.


MATTHEWS: But I really want to get the focus on where Trump has to show where it`s possible, even relevant to the universe we live in.

Some guy or woman comes in from the burbs, for example, a Republican comes in or a pro-Trumpy comes in and shows up in an inner-city voting area. They walk up. They got their head over the shoulder. They`re looking at the voting list, decides to stick their face into it, and they say, that`s not Mary McGee. That`s not her. That`s not that person.

Now, is that what they`re talking about, stopping in person? I`m just trying to figure out, physically, what do Trump people -- what`s Trump talking about?

BROWNE-DIANIS: What he`s really talking about is intimidating them just by showing up.

MATTHEWS: Do you think that would intimidate somebody in a tough downtown district where people all know each other, they know the community, they use the term community, they knows who`s in it and who isn`t in it?

And somebody who shows up who`s not in the community and starts giving orders, do you think that would intimidate anybody? I think that person would be shouted down probably.

BROWNE-DIANIS: No, I do think that they would be shouted down. And I don`t think they actually will be able to challenge a voter.

But what I do think it is that, you know, you have some of his supporters who have said, we`re going to racially profile. There was a guy who said, we`re going to racially profile, make them a little nervous.

And so you do...

MATTHEWS: How do you do that?

BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, I mean, I think it`s by some people who are going to show up and hope that they can intimidate people just by their very -- their very existence at a polling place.

I actually don`t think that voters are going to be intimidated. People want to cast a ballot.

MATTHEWS: That`s what I think.

BROWNE-DIANIS: I think that those -- these folks are going to be shut down at the polling place and that there will be observers who will be there to challenge those challengers.

HEATHER MCGHEE, DEMOS: But here`s what they can do.

MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Heather.

MCGHEE: Here`s what they can do, is actually they can slow things down. I mean, we saw this a few elections ago in Pennsylvania.

MATTHEWS: Tell me how that works.

MCGHEE: Because the laws about whether or not a non-official, non- registered person can go up to someone in line and, say, challenge their validity, and then have the onus be on the voter to provide I.D., to provide an affidavit from someone in the community who knows them, it`s really actually a patchwork of laws, as is the case across our country.

And in some places like Pennsylvania, the laws are really, really weak. And so what you can get there is that people -- and this is not new to Donald Trump. There`s an organization called True the Vote that did this in 2012 and have been training sort of vigilante poll watchers.

And what it can do is slow it down, so that you have those lines, because what they`re doing is making someone then prove more than they would have had to do otherwise. And that`s part of the problem.

BROWNE-DIANIS: But then it`s...


BROWNE-DIANIS: But, in states like Pennsylvania, you -- you have to -- first of all, you have to register to be an observer to go into the polling place.

And you have to either be with a party or be with a candidate. So, it`s not going to be as easy as he`s making it out to be to go into a polling place and challenge


JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, THE ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: -- you have to register to be an observer, to go into the polling place. And you have to either be with a party or be with a candidate. So, it`s not going to be as easy as he`s making it out to be to go into a polling place and challenge voters. And in most places, you also have to have some evidence.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: We have to tell everybody voting, if you`re an honest voter, and you are, vote. Don`t let anybody get in the way. But I don`t think these vigilantes from the `burbs are going to be any problem to anybody who wants to vote in their community.

So, I just really believe those people will be tough enough, they`ve fought for enough of their lives and their parents have, to get the vote. They`re not going to let somebody come in and say, excuse me, and get in their face. I don`t think so.

Your thoughts? You`re the experts?

HEATHER MCGHEE, DEMOS: I was just going say, the real problem here is that this is not just an outlier candidate like Donald Trump who has gone beyond the bounds of so many of our norms. But this is actually a pattern of voter intimidation and suppression that takes a lot of different forms. Demos just won a lawsuit where we sued the state of Ohio for kicking registered eligible voters off the voter rolls, because they hadn`t voted recently, right?

So, these are the kinds of things. Obviously, we know about the North Carolina lawsuit that won triumphantly, saying that legislators there had gone with surgical precision to find out what types of voting laws African- American used and tried to cut those out.

MATTHEWS: I remember.

MCGHEE: This is everyone. And this is part of an ethos that says that --


MCGHEE: -- we`re not all equal citizens.

MATTHEWS: And we`re going to keep reporting on that, because Souls to the Polls is a legitimate way to vote, it`s a nice way to vote, it`s godly. Let`s keep it up.

In any way, Judith Browne Dianis and Heather McGhee, thank you for doing the good work you`re doing.

Up next, if you want to know how much this election matters to President Obama, just look at his campaign schedule coming up. It`s unprecedented for a retiring president. He`s out there not just pushing Hillary, but Democrats up and down the ballot. He`s blasting away at the Republican opponents personally. And that`s ahead.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

With nearly two weeks to go, actually, two weeks and a day left in the presidential campaign, Democrats are setting their sights on a lot more than the presidency. With a sizable war chest now and a comfortable advantage in the polls, Secretary Clinton`s boosting her party`s down- ballot candidates. Let`s watch it.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And Maggie is going to be a great United States senator for New Hampshire.

I want to thank Governor Ted Strickland, our candidate for the United States Senate.

Send Deborah Ross to the United States Senate!


MATTHEWS: Well, "The New York Times" reporting that Hillary Clinton is, quote, "asking voters to strengthen her hand in Congress and repudiate not just Mr. Trump, but also Republicans who have accommodated or endorsed Trump.

And she`s enlisted a bevy of surrogates from Vice President Joe Biden, who will be on HARDBALL tomorrow. Let`s watch


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What frustrates me about this election, and I couldn`t quite figure it out, as I was on my way up to campaign in New Hampshire, day before yesterday for Hillary, and I realized it. Trump has so dumbed down this election -- no, he really has! Think about it! That the press, they`re decent people, all these folks out there, what are you going to cover?


MATTHEWS: And then there`s the president. According to "Politico", he will back nearly 150 candidates across 20 states in an attempt to rebuild the party from the bottom up. That would be the Democratic Party.

For more, I`m joined by our roundtable. Tim Alberta is chief political correspondent with "The National Review", Jay Newton-Small, contributor with the "Time" magazine, and Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter with "Politico".

From the top, and take over here, guys, this is a roundtable. I want you to explain to me kind of campaigning in plain sight. Hillary Clinton`s not doing a lot of hard-nosed interviews right now. She doesn`t need to risk anything with that. And she`s campaigning for other candidates than herself. I think it`s a strategy to get the focus off her in the last two weeks and keep it on Trump.


TIM ALBERTA, NATIONAL REVIEW: Yes, I think that`s right. Look, if you`re Hillary Clinton right now, you`re up six points on average in Pennsylvania. You`re up eight points in New Hampshire. You`re up, you know, eight points in Colorado. You`re up four points in North Carolina. You look around and there`s not a down-ballot race in Colorado.

But in those other three states, for instance, at this point, why not help the down-ballot candidates? Why not try to strengthen your hand when you`re inaugurated in next January? It has sort of a dual effect of not only helping your down-ballot candidates, Chris, but also, it is sort of a prevent-defense strategy. It`s sort of a place it safe, let`s not do anything to possibly hand ammunition to the Trump campaign less than two weeks out, at this point, or 15 days out at this point.

It just makes sense from a tactical standpoint, makes sense from a money standpoint. Democrats are now sort of starting to spread the wealth around down-ballot, as we`ve seen over the last week or two.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: And, Chris, if I can add to that, studies show that women are actually always more popular, when they`re already in office or when they`re campaigning for somebody else or working for somebody else. And so, in this case, Hillary Clinton is generally more popular when she`s out there doing something for somebody else than when she`s actually talking about herself.

And so, I think this is actually just a play to sort of keep her head down, keep her head in the sand, let everything happen with Donald Trump like go past her and really just focus on helping others on the ticket, and getting them across the finish line as well, but it also helps her, too.


KEN VOGEL, POLITICO: Yes, and I think there`s also -- it`s not just that she`s hiding in plain sight. I mean, her schedule is actually relatively sparse for the final two-week stretch of election. She did two events Saturday, but they`re not expecting like a very vigorous schedule down the stretch.

And I think part of that is, they are legitimately concerned that if she gets out there and does a lot of events, there is the potential for an unforced error. People around her believe that if she`s keeping a really intense schedule, she gets a little tired, as anyone would, and that the chances for that go up, everything is going so well for her right now, they`re trying to look for that sort of path of least resistance --

MATTHEWS: Over the weekend --

VOGEL: -- and give momentum to the candidates down-ballot.

MATTHEWS: Well, there`s one guy swinging pretty loosely. Over the weekend, during a fundraising swing out west in California, President Obama blasted U.S. Congressman Darrel Issa, he called him shameless. The Republican member of Congress in a tough reelection out there in San Diego County, a former Republican stronghold.

Well, during a closed-door event, President Obama accused Issa of being someone who, quote, "spent all his time simply trying to obstruct, to feed the same sentiments that resulted in Donald Trump becoming their nominee," closed quote.

Well, the commander in chief -- campaigner in chief, has had a few words for a number of Republican candidates. Let`s watch him in action.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, I understand Joe Heck now wishes he never said those things about Donald Trump, but they`re on tape. They`re on the record. And now that Trump`s poll numbers are cratering, suddenly, he says, oh, I -- now, I don`t -- I don`t -- I`m not supporting him. Too late.

Why does Marco Rubio still plan to vote for Donald Trump? There has to be a point where you stand for something more than just party or more for than just your own career.


MATTHEWS: He`s going to be a little careful. He is flying high out there.

Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: A big reminder, tomorrow. I sit down with Vice President Joe Biden out here in Pittsburgh. On Friday, he said he`d like to take Donald Trump behind the high school gym. Vintage Biden.

You don`t want to miss him as he says tomorrow in our interview. He`s going to talk all about it. We`re going to talk about that boxing thing with him.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table.

Tim, tell me something I don`t know.

ALBERTA: Chris, we are hearing a lot about immigration and Arizona being back in play and how Hillary Clinton would like to try to pursue immigration reform in the first 100 days of her presidency. Keep in mind, in Arizona, 200,000 new Hispanic voters since 2010 eligible on the rolls. Mitt Romney only won 22 percent of Hispanics in Arizona four years ago. If Trump is at that number or even lower, that state goes blue in a couple of weeks.

MATTHEWS: Wow. What a prediction.


NEWTON-SMALL: Well, in the race in Louisiana to replace David Vitter in his Senate seat, you have David Duke, who`s a former white supremacist and he actually just qualified for a debate in that state and that debate is going to be held at an historically black college, which will make for a very interesting debate.

MATTHEWS: Geez. That`s strange.


VOGEL: The Clinton campaign officials tell me they have not asked to review nor have they actually reviewed the John Podesta`s personal e-mails from his Gmail account. These are the ones that WikiLeaks has tens and has tens of thousands that they have jet to release so there could be some surprises in there not just for us or the media, our voters, but also even for the Clinton campaign. You`ve got to wonder, either they have total confidence in John Podesta and his discretion or that`s almost like political malpractice.


Anyway, Tim Alberta, thank you so much for joining us. And, Jay Newton- Small, as always. Ken Vogel, as always.

Back after this.


MATTHEWS: Election Diary Monday, October 24th, 2016.

Something`s changed. This campaign feels very different than it did a week or two ago. Now, there`s this feeling that the battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is over. Hillary`s going to win.

Will the former secretary of state be joined in the morning after headlines with a Senate takeover as well? Will there be a big number up there on the front page telling how many seats in the House of Representatives the Democrats gained and the Republicans lost?

You can see it in President Obama`s taunting of California Congressman Darrel Issa. He of the perpetual investigation and enduring probe of Democrats. You see it in the president`s big push for Senate candidates wherever he goes. He doesn`t just want a mandate for Hillary, he wants whopper.

And then there`s Baghdad Bob, saying none of this is true, that the Republican president for president is well in the fight. You remember Baghdad Bob? He was the guy broadcasting from the Iraqi capital as the U.S. troops arrived to take over the city.

Today, the die-hard voice coming from the presidential campaign is that of the candidates himself. Baghdad Bob, meet Donald Trump.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.