Show: HARDBALL Date: October 25, 2016 Guest: Joe Biden, Katie Packer, Jennifer Duffy
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: I`m Chris Matthews here in Pittsburgh with the vice president of the United States.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Well, here we are, Mr. Vice President.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good to be back here.
MATTHEWS: We`re right next to a gym.
BIDEN: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: And I`ve been listening to you the last couple days. You`re talking about taking on Donald Trump with fisticuffs behind the gym. So I brought something along for you that might be helpful to you in your new endeavor...
BIDEN: Well, thank you.
MATTHEWS: ... a couple boxing gloves.
BIDEN: I say I`m ready!
MATTHEWS: These are...
BIDEN: I`m ready!
MATTHEWS: ... worn boxing gloves. These are the real thing.
BIDEN: Well, let me tell you, Chris, I was trying to make a point. And you know, you and I grew up in similar neighborhoods, I think. And the way...
MATTHEWS: Somerton (ph).
BIDEN: Scranton and Claymont. One of the things that Trump is trying to say is -- that I was a pretty good athlete in high school, played a little in college. And people didn`t act in the locker room like he talks about. That`s not true.
And you and I both know from the locker room and the school I went to, if one of the guys said, This is what I`m going to do because I`m the star halfback or quarterback, I`m the boss, and my sister and her girlfriends are out there, I would take the guy behind the gym.
The point I was making is he is trying to dumb down -- he`s insulting everybody in the neighborhoods I come from and the people who played ball. And that was the point I was trying to make. This is just absolutely unacceptable behavior, period.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I agree with you. And I`ve never heard that. And I know what locker room sounds like, bad words once in a while...
MATTHEWS: ... but not this.
MATTHEWS: Let me -- let me ask you about -- you talked about the way people you grew up with -- you`re a regular guy, grew up with regular people. And I`m thinking about what`s going on in this state of Pennsylvania. You know what it`s like. You`re the third senator here, many people say.
I`m looking at the numbers now. Back as recently as 1996, 44 percent of the white working class, working people, voted Democrat. They voted for Bill Clinton. Recently, in 2012, it went down to 29 percent. It may go down -- why has this gone -- Pat Moynihan, your former colleague, he said the Democratic Party should build on the white working class instead of abandoning it. What went wrong? How`d you lose it?
BIDEN: Well, what went wrong is a number of things, but not the least of which was that as the economy began to crumble -- and it started with -- long before the recession in the Bush administration -- all the focus was on people that were hanging on the edge, and needed to be, people going off the cliff, working class people who were poor, people who were in real difficulty.
And so what happened is that person making between -- you know, works on a -- the guy works on the line, the woman`s a waitress, they`re making 90,000 bucks a year, and they still can`t make it if they have two kids. And we don`t talk to them anymore. We don`t -- we don`t associate with their difficulty anymore.
And it`s almost like -- like somehow, they`re in good shape, but they`re not. They`re not. They can`t figure out how to get the kid to college.
When you and I were -- well, I`ll speak for myself. You know, I always hear -- the economists in our outfit will say middle class is $51,000.
BIDEN: Middle class is about being able to send your kid to a park and come home safe. Middle class is about being able to send them to high school where if they do well, they get to college. If they can get there, you can figure out how to pay for them. You can own your house and not rent it. You can take care of Mom when Dad dies. And you hope your kids will take care of you. That`s really hard. And when this recession came along, they were killed. Their sense of...
MATTHEWS: You mean 2008 and `09?
BIDEN: 2008 and `09. They were killed.
BIDEN: They had $20,000, $30,000, $50,000 equity in their home. They thought they had something. Got wiped out even if they never missed a mortgage payment. Even if they still were able to keep their house, they absolutely got clobbered. And it`s understandable. Everything but locusts has landed on the president`s desk. We just had to keep this economy from going off a cliff.
BIDEN: And we have to be talking to them. That`s why if you notice, in the last two years, the president`s talking about the things that matter to them, tax cuts for middle class people...
BIDEN: ... getting rid of this exorbitant, ridiculous tax expenditures that go to the wealthy for no good reason, 70 -- when Reagan was president, $800,000 -- $800 million -- billion a year in tax expenditures, now $1,300,000,000, most of it not at all able to be justified.
And so we just started getting back to the point we could talk about actually beginning to rebuild the middle class. Wages are actually up. Real wages are actually up for the first time in a long time. But we don`t talk enough to their concerns.
MATTHEWS: You talk about it as if it`s all economics. Do you think that`s the...
BIDEN: No, I also...
MATTHEWS: What about the cultural stuff?
BIDEN: I think it`s cultural stuff, too.
MATTHEWS: Why do they -- why is it the Democratic Party? Is it because of all the contributors with their money have made it more of an elite party, Ivy League?
BIDEN: This is not -- you know, there`s no malarkey. The fact of the matter is, those people we`re talking about built this country.
BIDEN: They built it. And they are smarter than we give them credit for. There`s almost, like -- what`s happened in both parties is there`s sort of a -- a yielding to pedigree.
BIDEN: You know, the guy who goes to Penn State or University of Delaware and the guy goes to Yale or Penn, well, the guy at Yale or Penn must know more. It doesn`t work that way.
MATTHEWS: I haven`t noticed that.
BIDEN: Oh, you haven`t?
MATTHEWS: No, I haven`t noticed the intelligence...
BIDEN: No, no...
BIDEN: But you know what I`m talking about.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I know exactly what it is.
BIDEN: This is sort of, you know, deferring to pedigree.
BIDEN: And -- and you know -- and one of the reasons is that I think what`s happened now is we really have a much more egalitarian society, particularly among millennials, where, you know, you go into neighborhoods in Washington -- the smartest people who work for you in your staff, they all live in the same neighborhood, whether they`re black or white, Asian.
And you know, there`s this -- there`s this book written by the guy who wrote about the bell curve, talking about -- you know, there`s a test have (ph) -- you know, if you -- if you are part of the new elite. The new elite are corporate executives, really quality lawyers, doctors (INAUDIBLE)
BIDEN: And because it`s now at the point where there is -- it is merit- based, where you -- whether you`re part of the elite, we`ve kind of forgotten about ordinary Americans out there.
MATTHEWS: I know.
BIDEN: And so it`s like -- it drove my boys crazy. I had them take the test in the book, and it said, Have you ever been on a factory floor? Have you -- were you raised in a neighborhood where over 60 percent of the people didn`t go to college, where you -- if you get a chance to go to Starbucks or McDonald`s for coffee, where do you go? Do you know anybody who has whole milk in their refrigerator? I mean, there is...
MATTHEWS: Because everybody else has skim milk, the elitists, yes.
BIDEN: No, but so -- so part of it is that it`s understandable. The good news is it`s based on merit advancement in many cases now. But the bad news is that these folks who were the people who are -- not the salt of the earth, they`re the stuff that makes everything grow.
BIDEN: And they`re capable of so much more. That`s why I think our focus on free college education, our focus on making sure that there`s child care to get women back in the job market, our focus on things that are just basically simple fairness, minimum wage.
I mean, people want to know that we really do -- my dad used to have an expression, Chris. He said, I don`t expect the government to solve my problem, but I expect them to understand it.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, let me ask you about the things that Mr. Trump, who you want to beat up...
MATTHEWS: No, because you do. I know you do. You said so. Mr. Trump comes out there...
BIDEN: I said...
MATTHEWS: ... doesn`t know anything about politics. He doesn`t probably have any political sentiments or even an ideology, yet he jumps on these three issues -- uncontrolled immigration, 11 million people in the country illegally since `86, since you had the reform bill, trade relations, which have cost the manufacturing base in this country, and wars which have cost the lives and the arms and legs of their kids because it`s not the elite we`re talking about that are fighting these wars. It`s those people we`re talking about from Pennsylvania, western Pennsylvania.
So he comes on and he grabs those three issues. Why were they available to him? Why weren`t the Democrats figuring out these things?
MATTHEWS: They`re open to him.
BIDEN: And by the way, they -- they were available to us. That`s why Barack and I ended these two wars. We`re still engaged, but we`re not talking about spending $10 billion a month. We`re talking -- we`re not talking about having 200,000 people -- 170,000 people in a war zone.
They were available to us. We were talking about making sure that we take all these -- all the actions in the World Trade Organization. We brought more actions against unfair trade practice than any administration has. And a lot of people like my son went to war...
BIDEN: ... and came back war heroes. And what we did is -- that`s why we focused so much on military families. And so -- but look, when people have been really...
MATTHEWS: Everybody liked Beau.
BIDEN: Well, by the way...
MATTHEWS: Everybody did.
BIDEN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: They really did.
BIDEN: That`s nice of you to say.
MATTHEWS: It`s true.
BIDEN: I do. Anyway, but -- so -- but Trump comes along and -- for example, you never heard me criticize the Tea Party. And the reason I didn`t is a lot of people are scared, beat up, and what happens? They lost a lot in what happened during the Bush administration and the great recession, and they`re angry.
And so there`s two ways to deal with it. And people go out and you find a scapegoat. And it had to be because (ph) of the government.
BIDEN: I remember we were running in 2008, a woman standing up on a sign - - on a chair at a corner with about 100 other people saying, Don`t take my Medicare.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
BIDEN: Government out of my life.
MATTHEWS: Isn`t that funny? They think government is not -- is not the people that created Medicare.
BIDEN: So I think -- look, when you appear -- when you`re appealing to people`s fears and anxieties, you can make some gains. But the end of the day, I think you`re going to find -- I`ll make you a bet that in the state of Pennsylvania, a significant number of those non-college-educated white women and men vote Democrat before this is over.
MATTHEWS: The reason I`m involved in this -- what you were talking about because I was reading in "The Washington Post" today -- everything I`ve been thinking, you got it all laid out. Bobby Kennedy, when he died -- and you loved the guy...
MATTHEWS: ... his train`s coming down through Jersey and Pennsylvania to Washington. And you see white guys, a white guy with a dirty face, he`s a working guy with his kids with dirty -- saluting!
BIDEN: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: We`ve lost that gut connection, I think, with the working people out there. We have black support, the Democrats do, the liberals do. But this is gone, this salute to the Democratic Party. How do you get that back? You can do it, I think.
BIDEN: Because you have to talk to them. You have to engage with them. You have to -- you have to go and let them know that you understand their anxieties.
Look, you know, when Barack picked me up -- the president picked me up coming from Philadelphia in 2009 to go down to be sworn in, thousands of people were along the track in Delaware. There were those white guys in hard hats saluting. And because I`ve always -- I get it. And -- but I think we got to the point where a lot of local Democrats took it for granted.
And look, the other part of this is -- you know, I may be mistaken, but I think after Sam Nunn left, I`m the last guy in the Senate that got a majority white male vote in their state. But again, a small enough state where I paid attention. And by the way, I get overwhelming support in the African-American community.
MATTHEWS: I`ve seen it. I`ve seen (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the downside of Trump, the danger side. It looks like he`s losing. Who knows? You know more than I know. But if he loses -- and election night, it`s sort of a predictable -- suppose he carries maybe Ohio, maybe. Maybe it`s close in Florida, but he loses. Pretty clearly, Secretary Clinton wins with a very strong electoral victory. It`s obvious she won.
And he says nothing -- or he says, They screwed me, they rigged this thing from the beginning, what will be the danger? And how would you, as an elected official, be able to deal with that? How are you going to bring back the public with his 38 or 40 percent?
BIDEN: Well I think that you`ll only have -- let`s say he gets, God willing, 38 to 40 percent of the vote. I think at least two thirds of that vote knows it`s not rigged. You`re going to have people, though. You always have them, whether they -- whatever their background, who are going to believe it`s rigged.
I saw an interview on -- I think on MSNBC this morning before I took office.
MATTHEWS: Good habit.
BIDEN: Well, yes. But I saw a guy standing there and he had all these Trump signs and (INAUDIBLE) and they said, Are you going to vote? He said, No, I`m not going to vote. Well, how are you going to argue it`s rigged, it`s a rigged system? I`m not going to vote. I`m not going to vote, but it`s rigged.
Look, we`ve always had that element in every election. The difference is we`ve never had the head of a great party saying that it is rigged.
But I really don`t -- now, what would be a problem is if, in fact, it`s a - - is if you have a Gore, you know, Bush election, God forbid, and he says it`s rigged if he were on the short end. You know, I don`t often agree with Charles Krauthammer, but he wrote a hell of an article three, four Saturdays ago about how fragile democracy is.
BIDEN: And you can`t play with it. That should be disqualifying in and of itself, what he`s saying.
MATTHEWS: Let me -- you`ve been in public life (INAUDIBLE) 29. You got elected at an incredibly young age, amid all the tragedy in your life. You do know what public life is like in a way that very few living people know. Nobody`s had your run, if you put it lightly. It`s been amazing run.
What is it about public life -- I mean, what I`m stunned by, there aren`t many Joe Bidens floating around right now. Young men, young women aren`t running for office like they used to. There`s very short lists now of people running for office now like they used to.
In the old days, you know, astronauts would run, military people would run, everybody would run. This is -- it was a lot more people in the business of running for public office. Now people say, I`m not going to put up with that crap. It`s too much for me. I don`t want the personal inspection.
What can you say that`s fulfilling about your life? Because it`s been so many years, you know, where you`ve actually dealt with real people`s problems.
BIDEN: The most vulnerable time in a public official`s life is when the public only has a snapshot of you. But if you can make it through the first term, if you can make it through the first crucible you go through, they begin to have a video, a motion picture of you. And it gets harder to distort who you are and what you are and what you`re willing to -- what your character is.
BIDEN: And on balance, the American people are still extremely generous. They are fair. And you know -- - and I think people can tell, you know, not about me, but I think people can tell whether when someone says something, whether they mean it.
BIDEN: I think they can taste it.
MATTHEWS: Well, they trust you. Your numbers have gone up since you haven`t run for president.
BIDEN: Oh, it`s amazing!
BIDEN: By the way, you guys never gave me credit. They were up before I ran for president.
MATTHEWS: But you`re booming now!
MATTHEWS: Is that a lesson there, don`t run for president?
BIDEN: If I had known that, I would have announced every two years I wasn`t running.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about the World Series.
MATTHEWS: Now, you`re a Phillies fan, so does that make you a National League fan, a Cubby fan?
MATTHEWS: Or are you with the Indians.
BIDEN: I`m a Phillies fan because they`re in Philly, and I want to sleep with my wife.
MATTHEWS: OK. She`s from Willow Grove. We know this. She hails from Willow Grove.
BIDEN: Oh, God, is she a Philly fan, any sport. But I`m -- you know, I know you`re not supposed to say who. I`m an American League fan.
BIDEN: And so...
MATTHEWS: How`d that start, the Yankees?
BIDEN: Scranton and the Yankees. Everybody in Scranton is either -- I mean, there`s not many Phillies fans in (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: I know about that.
BIDEN: And that`s how I was raised. My grandpop was a great athlete, went to Santa Clara, played football, and you know, I was raised on the Yankees, even (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: Despite the domination of the National League growing up, all those years.
BIDEN: Despite. Despite it. And...
MATTHEWS: Despite San Francisco and LA?
BIDEN: And so -- but -- but you know, I`m so old, I remember...
BIDEN: I remember Bob Feller, for God`s sake!
MATTHEWS: Oh, Bob Lemon. Bob Feller. Early win!
BIDEN: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: I remember that, four straight. The best -- the Indians had the best winning record in the season with 114 games, and they lost four straight to the Giants, Leo Durocher and those guys.
BIDEN: Better to have Lady Luck on your bench than skill. Remember Durocher`s comment?
MATTHEWS: What`d he say?
BIDEN: He said, Better to have Lady Luck on your bench than skill.
MATTHEWS: Oh, my God!
BIDEN: My grandfather used to -- it`s better to have both.
MATTHEWS: Let`s think about that tonight.
Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for your time.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. I`m still here in Pittsburgh. And coming up, reaction to my interview with Vice President Joe Biden as he and the president look to help Hillary Clinton into the White House, and of course, perhaps protect their own legacy.
Plus, Donald Trump says the polls that continue to show him trailing, in some cases trailing badly, are phony. That`s his word. Yet he`s touting endorsements that he claims he had, but he`s never gotten. They don`t exist.
And a new prediction from The Cook Political Report. It says Democrats could pick up between five and seven seats on election day in the U.S. Senate and win control of the Senate.
It`s all coming up this hour, when HARDBALL comes back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: People didn`t act in the locker room like he talks about. That`s not true.
And you and I both know, from the locker room in the school I went to, one of the guys said, this is what I`m going to do because I`m the star halfback or quarterback, I`m the boss, and my sister and her girlfriends are out there, I would take the guy behind the gym. This is just absolutely unacceptable behavior, period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, Vice President Joe Biden sliming -- slamming, actually -- perhaps sliming as well -- Donald Trump`s self-described locker room talk in my interview with him today.
Well, moments ago, at a rally in Florida, Trump responded to the vice president`s words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did you say where Biden wants to take me to the back of the barn? Me. He wants to.
TRUMP: I would love that. I would love that.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Mr. Tough Guy. You know, he`s Mr. Tough Guy. You know what he`s Mr. Tough Guy? When he`s standing behind a microphone by himself. That`s when he`s -- he wants to bring me to the back of the barn.
TRUMP: Some things in life, you could really love doing. Our nation has lost. And, by the way, if I said that, they`d say, he`s violent. How could have done that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in our conversation, Vice President Biden spoke about how Democrats and some Republicans to a lesser extent have lost touch with the white working class of this country. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: We don`t associate with their difficulty anymore. And it`s almost like -- like, somehow, they`re in good shape. But they`re not. They`re not.
The fact of the matter is that those people we`re talking about built this country.
BIDEN: They built it. And they are smarter than we give them credit for. There`s almost like -- what`s happened in both parties is, there`s sort of a yielding to pedigree.
BIDEN: You know, the guy who goes to Penn State, University of Delaware, and the guy who goes to Yale or Penn, well, the guy at Yale or Penn must know more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now for their reaction individually is Robert Costa, national political reporter at "The Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst. Howard Fineman is global editorial director, of course, Huffington Post, also an MSNBC political analyst. And Katie Packer is a Republican strategist formerly with the Romney campaign.
I`m going to leave the pugilistics aside for a second here.
Robert Costa, I have never heard Biden lay this out so clearly, this sense that we have this meritocracy gone bankrupt, whereby only the people at the very top academically are given any consideration by the Democrats in terms of policy.
He speaks with personal experience, it seems, for a guy that went to University of Delaware for example, about this almost British-style system, where, if you didn`t go to Oxford or Cambridge, don`t talk, we`re not listening.
ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It was a fascinating interview, especially at this political moment, as Democrats look at the map and they wonder, in these places where Trump has been popular, in the Industrial Midwest, can they make some gains? Can they connect with these aggrieved voters who look at globalization and are unhappy, who are frustrated with the economy?
And Biden made the point that it`s not just about policy and ideology. It`s about the vernacular. It`s about making a visceral connection with these voters who feel left behind.
MATTHEWS: Howard, this has been going on a long time.
I`m going to quote David Patrick Moynihan, one of our heroes, yours as well, when he talked about this loss of support among the white working class, starting way back when Bobby Kennedy was killed. It`s been gradual, but it`s been persistent. They`re turning away from the Democratic Party, which they view as culturally elitist. Your thoughts?
HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Chris, don`t leave Pittsburgh without having a cut of Mineo`s Pizza in Squirrel Hill. That`s my number one thing to you.
MATTHEWS: OK. I went to Pizzaiolo in Market Square yesterday, which is pretty good.
FINEMAN: Yes, but to really bond with the working class in Pittsburgh, you got to do that.
FINEMAN: Look, two days before the convention in Cleveland, I spent time going to the counties around the city of Cleveland, talking to those very white working-class voters we`re discussing.
They feel screwed. It`s not about the language. You know, it`s not about learning how to talk to them. As Joe Biden said, these people are not dumb. And they`re feeling screwed. And they`re feeling screwed by trade policy, which, by the way, wasn`t just a matter of what the Bush administration did. That`s what the Clinton administration did.
They`re upset about immigration and illegal or undocumented immigration, which they feel is taking their jobs. They`re concerned about big money in Washington and the fact that their voice is not heard.
They`re concerned about terrorism. They feel that they are part of another country and it`s not theirs. And I think a lot of that has to do with policy. Joe Biden hit some of it, but he by no means hit all of it. And I think to -- and I felt back then that Trump was going to win Ohio, and I think he is going to win Ohio, because of the decimation of industrial Ohio.
That`s real, and that`s happening.
MATTHEWS: Well, you put your name on that one. I think Ohio is the one that I`m watching as a statement. Even if Trump gets blasted away other places, that is one hell of a statement for him to carry a significant state.
Katie, your thoughts about this? Because we`re talking about the cultural and economic disconnect between Democratic leaders at the highest level and voters who have turned away from the Democratic Party, starting, well, a couple of decades ago. They started moving away.
KATIE PACKER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, I do think that there`s been a real cultural shift, where there`s a sense that there`s kind of this elitism within the Democratic Party.
But when it comes to Trump, it`s very easy to speak to the anger and frustration of these people that have lost jobs, that have seen their communities collapse because businesses have left, when you don`t have a plan that`s accountable to anybody. It`s very easy to say, we`re going to fix all of this, we`re going to fix immigration by building a wall, we`re going to have good trade deals, but to not have any coherent plan that anybody`s able to challenge you on.
MATTHEWS: Well, who`s got one?
FINEMAN: Can I say?
MATTHEWS: I want Katie in here.
MATTHEWS: Katie, who`s got a coherent plan? If Trump doesn`t have one, name the other people that do.
PACKER: Yes, I don`t anybody -- I don`t think...
MATTHEWS: What are the Democrats saying to people in Ohio to Sherrod Brown`s people?
PACKER: Yes, exactly.
MATTHEWS: What are they saying to Bobby Casey`s people in Pennsylvania, who may not like those individuals, but they don`t like the National Democratic Party quite as much?
FINEMAN: Can I also say, Chris, in talking to those people there and in other states, I think they know that Donald Trump doesn`t have a plan, and they`re almost looking to Trump as a kind of bell to ring in the night. It`s a protest vote.
FINEMAN: And, frankly, on trade, Hillary doesn`t have anything much to say. She says she wants to tweak or do this or do that.
PACKER: Well, I would -- the only thing I would challenge on that is, they may not think he has a plan, but they have bought into this idea that he`s been very successful. He`s got a big plane. He`s got all these companies with his name on them.
MATTHEWS: I think that is true.
PACKER: So, he`s succeeded at things. And so they are putting a fair amount of trust in him to deliver on something.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Robert on this.
Robert, it seems to me the reason this is a good, important topic to get to, this basic cultural disconnect with the establishment and economic disconnect, the only way you can explain people voting for Donald Trump is not his personal behavior, not his lifestyle, not all that he`s been caught up with this audio that got picked up from "Access Hollywood," certainly has hurt him. It`s despite that.
They`re not voting for him because of his misbehavior. They`re voting for him despite his misbehavior. Therefore, we have got to get -- if you care for politics in this country and democracy, you have got to figure out, what is it that may cause 40 percent of the people in this country to vote for someone who many believe is disqualified personally by his character and other reasons, and yet vote for him?
If you don`t get to that, you`re not paying attention. And you`re hurt -- I think we`re all hurting the country if we don`t learn a lesson. Why would you vote for Trump? It`s not Trump himself. Something else is moving this. Your thoughts.
COSTA: Because, for many of these voters, Chris, he`s disruption. They`re not voting for Trump. They`re not even really entranced that much by his biography.
He`s disruption to the institutions, the media, government, corporate America, institutions that they believe have failed them. And the problem for both parties right now is that this dynamic is likely to continue past November 8. The Democrats who went for Senator Sanders in the primary, who are unhappy with trade and immigration and the economy, they continue to be there.
The Trump voters continue to be there, even if Trump goes back to Mar-a- Lago.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
And just to show us how dangerous this is in terms of protests, back in 1992, not a million years ago, when Bill Clinton was elected, 19 percent of this country voted for Ross Perot, who was certifiable; 19 percent voted for a guy who was uneven in his thinking. Let`s put it that way.
Now 38 percent are going to vote for Trump, probably, at least. So double -- we have double the number of the protest vote in this country against the establishment.
MATTHEWS: And that`s what`s going on.
Howard, last thought.
FINEMAN: Well, I was just going to say, if you can get somebody who comes from that part of the country, who is a regular guy, the way Joe Biden is a regular guy, and get them to use social media to raise the money to run, and not be a billionaire Ross Perot, not be a billionaire Donald Trump, that`s the thing to look for the next go-around in presidential politics.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s stick with that thought.
Robert Costa, Howard...
PACKER: Maybe Ben Sasse.
MATTHEWS: Pardon me? What, Katie?
PACKER: I said maybe Ben Sasse.
MATTHEWS: OK, that`s your guy from the state of Nebraska.
We will be right back with Robert Costa, Howard Fineman, and an early pusher for Ben Sasse, Katie Packer.
And our night of vice presidential discussions continues tonight. By the way, 9:00 tonight Eastern, join Rachel Maddow as she interviews Tim Kaine, who`s running for V.P. and could well be the winner already, heading there anyway.
And, at 11:00 Eastern, Brian Williams sits down with Mike Pence, his opponent.
So, we`re bound to get the next vice president. And we got the current one. We`re covering all the bases tonight V.P.-wise.
When we come back: Why is Donald Trump talking about polls he calls phony, and, at the same time, he`s talking up endorsements he says he`s gotten? But, actually, he doesn`t have those endorsements he says he has.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
After meeting with law enforcement and first-responders in St. Augustine, Florida, yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted that he`d received the endorsement, for example, of the St. John`s County Sheriff`s Office.
But, as it turns out, the sheriff`s office did not endorse Trump, as he had claimed, clarifying on Twitter -- quote -- "Comments have been made that SJSO has endorsed a candidate for president. The sheriff`s office has not made any official endorsement" -- close quote.
Well, Trump later spoke about it in a local TV endorsement and further boasted that he had received the endorsement of virtually -- quote -- "every police department," as well as what he called a conceptual endorsement from the U.S. military.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When we say first-responder, we`re talking about sheriffs and we`re talking about all the people having to do with the sheriff`s department, but we`re also talking about the paramedics, who are so important, and the firefighters.
And we had a fantastic meeting with some of the folks, pretty large group of folks. And they have endorsed me, endorsed me fully. I have been endorsed by virtually every police department and police group. And I have been endorsed largely, conceptually at least, by the military.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: But, as NBC News fact-checkers point out, none of that is true.
Federal agencies are barred by law from endorsing candidates in political elections. The Department of Defense, for example, has its own set of guidelines that tightly restricts any active-duty military or civilian personnel from publicly choosing political sides.
We know that.
Anyway, Trump does have the endorsement of some retired military figures, as well as some unions who are engaged with law enforcement.
We`re back with Robert Costa, Howard Fineman, and Katie Packer.
Katie, as Desi Arnaz used to say to Lucy, explain. How can he claim endorsements that didn`t -- that didn`t occur, when everybody knows they didn`t occur, and these organizations are quick to say, we didn`t given an endorsement? What`s the point?
PACKER: Well, the only explanation that I can come up with is that every military guy he talks to endorses him.
MATTHEWS: Oh, I get it.
PACKER: But I`m get guessing the people that don`t like him don`t come and talk to Donald Trump. It`s really kind of delusional behavior. That`s the only explanation for it.
MATTHEWS: Robert, is that the delusion that allows him to believe that every time he goes to a rally and there`s 10,000 people there that he`s carried the state?
COSTA: There`s no excuse for it.
It`s not based on evidence or actual endorsements, but it`s certainly reflective of Donald Trump`s personality, a marketer, a real estate developer. He`s -- he has a tendency to brag.
MATTHEWS: That`s well-said.
FINEMAN: Well, I have, Chris -- I just want you to know, I have so many conceptual Pulitzer Prizes.
FINEMAN: And I`m going to give one to Robert.
So, here you go, Robert.
MATTHEWS: Well, give them all away. You can give them all away.
FINEMAN: I will give them all to you, Robert. You can have them all. You deserve them this year.
MATTHEWS: Well, it is conceptual.
Anyway, in a photo-op with his staff, more of this coming, at the Dab Doral hotel down in Florida, today, Donald Trump that all his employees have a problem with their health care because of the Affordable Care Act, because of Obama. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So, we`re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. And I can say all of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare. You folks, this is another group. Is that a correct statement?
I mean, you look at what they`re going through. What they`re going through with their health care is horrible because of Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Now back to planet Earth.
But, later, Trump told reporters that it`s his company, not Obamacare, that provides health coverage to most of his staffers. The general manager further clarified that 95 percent of Trump`s employees at the hotel are not on the Medicare or the health -- Obamacare exchanges.
So, how do we explain that, Howard, that he`s blaming Obamacare for not being involved with Obamacare?
FINEMAN: Well, he doesn`t care. He doesn`t -- he`s not disciplined enough or able to focus enough on the most elemental details to be able to do the slam-dunk on Obamacare.
Here, the headlines are rates increase by 25 percent. I mean, a lot of people think that Obamacare is imploding, all right? There`s a legitimate argument about that. Instead of making the clean kill on that, to mix my metaphors, Donald Trump doesn`t even bother getting the facts straight about his own businesses.
FINEMAN: I mean, it`s sloppy and almost disqualifying, in and of itself.
FINEMAN: It`s like, he knows he`s not -- he seems to know he`s not going to win. He`s just kind of mailing it in here, going around the couple the last couple of weeks.
So, it`s even worse, even sloppier than usual.
MATTHEWS: Well, the great radical activist Tom Hayden just died the other day. And he once accused during a primary campaign in California -- Howard, I`m sure you remember this, but I want Robert to respond to this.
He accused his opponent, John Tunney, the Democratic senator, of dating teenagers. And then, when he said, give us one example, he said, "I can`t, but it`s metaphorical. He`s metaphorically dated teenagers."
That`s like conceptual. What does that mean, Robert, to you, metaphorically dating teenagers when you`re in your 40s? I don`t know what it means exactly. Your thoughts.
COSTA: Well, I will leave that one on the shelf.
COSTA: But I think what we`re seeing from Donald Trump is a candidate who has delved into a conspiracy in the past. He has dealt in falsehoods and exaggerations.
And, right now, most Republicans in the Senate and House races, they`re seizing on the Affordable Care Act issue, trying to say, this is something they can run on, in spite of all the thunderstorms around Trump. Trump himself is taking on the issue, but isn`t making a large coherent case against it.
Thank you, Katie Packer, for joining us. Please come back again, Howard Fineman, as always, and thank you, Robert Costa, as well.
Up next: Democrats are getting more confident they will not only win the White House come next month, but take control of the United States Senate as well. That will be a big double win. And that`s ahead.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Today, the independent and nonpartisan "Cook Political Report" increased the range of expected Democratic pickups to five to seven seats in the U.S. Senate, and that could change the balance of power in the Senate and give Democrats a majority. All the Democrats need is a net pickup of four to get to 50 if Hillary`s president`s enough, because you`ll have Tim Kaine breaking the tie every time.
Anyway, the "Cook Report" says these states are among the Republican-held seats, where Democrats are poised to make gains. They classify Illinois and Wisconsin as states already leaning Democrat. Meanwhile, they call Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania toss-ups.
Let`s bring in the HARDBALL roundtable tonight. That`s Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the "Cook Report", Michael Steele is MSNBC political analyst, former chair of the Republican National Committee, and David Corn is an MSNBC political analyst and Washington bureau chief.
I want to start with Jennifer, because you`ve generated these numbers. And, you know, I have a sense in your headline, poised to take, how confident are you that they will win a net four, the Democrats, to take control of the Senate if Hillary wins?
JENNIFER DUFFY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE COOK REPORT: Well, at this point, I`m very confident. We`re already giving them two, Illinois and Wisconsin, which means that out of that toss-up column, they need to win two more. I mean, that`s pretty achievable. But when we look at the numbers, when we look at states where Trump`s numbers have dropped, we`ve seen Republicans numbers dip not nearly as much, but we`ve seen them dip as well. It`s not -- it`s hard to see how they get five, six, seven seats.
MATTHEWS: On an issue, how Biden started tonight, I was kidding around with him with the boxing gloves, because of that thing he says, and he said it very passionately, he wants to have a fistfight with Trump, and Trump obviously reacted to that, today saying he`s ready for it, over the issue what Trump was recorded of saying in that "Access Hollywood" tape 11 years ago. Is this one of those outside variables that jumps into a campaign and jolts it in one direction?
DUFFY: Absolutely. Republicans were really holding their own before that. They were running their campaign pretty separately from Trump. They weren`t really tied to him in any way. We saw very little evidence of what is being called the Trump drag.
Now, it didn`t happen overnight, but since the tape emerged, we`ve seen those numbers go down, we`ve seen the generic ballot tests, would you rather have a Republican or a Democrat in Congress? We`ve seen that number slip some for Republicans. So, I really consider the tape a turning point.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to David Corn. Aside from philosophy, left versus right, ideological warfare, is this one of those weird things -- I`m convinced that it`s become something that the average voter, who may not be that philosophically directed left or right says, wait a minute, is that somebody running for president talking like that? Your thoughts.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, I think it was a very decisive moment. And it came at probably the worst time in the election cycle, the election campaign cycle, just as we were getting towards the final debates and when people are really focusing and trying to make a decision if they haven`t made a decision.
So, I think it really clarified the type of choice that voters face, and the type of man and person that Donald Trump is, and that was so negative. It does reflect on the whole Republican Party, and it put people like Kelly Ayotte, who`s up for re-election in New Hampshire, who`s a vulnerable Republican, really in a terrible position, and you see her state on that map there, because, you know, she can`t run from Trump at that point, although she`s trying. But it`s a little bit too late.
MATTHEWS: You know, Michael, it looks like he was trying to -- I`m looking at it a million times like everybody else, that tape, it looked like he was trying to impress Billy Bush. That`s what he was trying to do. I hope it had nothing to do with acts of behavior --
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: But I think that`s what -- you know, it`s two guys talking, jock crap. And that`s what --
MATTHEWS: But he wanted to impress how tough he was.
CORN: Come on, Michael.
STEELE: No --
CORN: He`s admitting, he`s acknowledging doing something. He`s not just bragging about --
STEELE: Of course! I`m making that point.
MATTHEWS: That`s how he tried to impress him.
STEELE: -- you know, hair on fire. Look, we`re just talking about two guys in a trailer talking crap. I mean, it`s talking trash with each other. And so, yeah, that was a defining moment in a very real way, because we got exposed to it. We heard it.
And I think for a lot of women out there especially, that was kind of the final connection that they needed to break off, you know, the relationship, if you will, with the Republicans and in particular, this nominee.
MATTHEWS: OK, Jennifer, what did woman hear? I think if they listen to it four or five times, which was easy to do, it`s been on a million times, they heard not just trash talk or locker room. They heard a guy describing physically what he`s done to women, total strangers.
DUFFY: Well, exactly. It went from trash talk and trying to talk a big game about, you know, about his prowess with women, to actually describing it. And I think that is what turned a lot of women off.
I know that we were talking about Senator Kelly Ayotte. I think that that was her breaking point. She`d been frustrated with him, you know, the party was asking her to stick with him and she just said, enough is enough. You know, I have a daughter. I don`t want anybody talking about my kid like that.
CORN: But she had just called --
STEELE: Did not do that at that point.
CORN: But she had just called him a day or two before a role model, despite all the other misogyny that he`s demonstrated and exhibited. I mean, I know that was the final straw, but there had been a -- you know, a hay wagon full of straw up until then.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think most men, when they talk among each other after a few beers or ten beers, it`s more in wonder at women, actually, Jennifer. It`s actually honesty, magically amazed by who they are and who they can be to them. It`s just astounding.
Anyway, I`ve never heard this kind of talk.
DUFFY: I know wives left their husbands if they talk like that.
CORN: I think -- I think --
MATTHEWS: Not to be too romantic, but they speak about somebody they love.
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, these three will tell me something they love. I think we`re doing that right now.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: New poll numbers in some key battleground states. For that, we check the HARDBALL scoreboard. Starting in Arizona, where a new Monmouth poll says Donald Trump is holding a one-point lead over Hillary Clinton. It`s Trump 46, Clinton 45. The Real Clear Politics Average in Arizona has Clinton in the lead by about a point. So, that`s very close.
Next to North Carolina where a new poll from "The New York Times" and Sienna College has Clinton out, this is big time, to a seven-point lead. Clinton 46, Trump 39. Last month, that poll was tied and he needs North Carolina.
Finally in Minnesota, Clinton leads by eight points in a new "Star Tribune" poll. It`s Clinton 47, Trump 39. I can`t believe North Carolina and Minnesota are the same. Who would have believed it?
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Michael, tell me something I don`t know.
STEELE: Some new polling out showing 63 percent of Republicans would rather follow Donald Trump than Paul Ryan plus or minus 1 percent. So, this tells you a significant pool of Republicans that the internal fight is just warming up post --
MATTHEWS: Wow. It means Trump could run next time as well, right? What do you think, Michael? When he loses this time, he runs next time?
MATTHEWS: That would be good for everybody.
Anyway, let`s go to Jennifer.
DUFFY: OK. I`m going to stick in the Senate. If Russ Feingold of Wisconsin is successful on November 8th and he`s favored to be, he will be the first senator since 1934 to avenge his own loss.
CORN: Wow. That`s going to be sweet.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to David.
The count of Monte Cristo. Here he comes. Let`s go.
CORN: I`m going to pivot off of what Michael said. I spoke to a top Republican strategist here in D.C. just a couple days ago. He says reporters always come to him before elections and say, tell me about the Republican civil war that`s going to come after the election and he always says, no, no, no, we`re going to be fine. This time he says they`re right, I`m wrong. It`s going to be bloody.
MATTHEWS: Well, that will be something to cover next year, won`t it?
Anyway, Jennifer Duffy, as expert as you can be. Thank you, Michael Steele. As always, David Corn.
When we return my election diary for tonight, October 25th, with two weeks to go before the election.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Election Diary Tuesday, October 25th, 2016.
My sit-down with Joe Biden in Pittsburgh today tells me that at least one top national Democrat understands the Trump phenomenon. While others may look down their noses at the Trump voter, the longtime senator from Delaware gets it. He sees their failure to connect with those white working class voters excited by Trump. He sees the economic but also the cultural factors that have driven the majority of white non-college educated Pennsylvania voters to line up with the New York billionaire, which is what we`re seeing in polling right now. He`s winning among those people, Trump is.
Biden talked today about what he calls the pedigree problem, how the Democratic Party at the top views anyone not an Ivy Leaguer as below intellectual consideration. How the party has kind of forgotten about ordinary Americans out there, how those people are smarter than they`re given credit for.
He`s got something here. As recently as 1996, 44 percent of white non- college graduates voted for Bill Clinton. In 2012, that number had sunk down to 29 percent. Those are national percentages.
One person who saw this loss of the white working class voters early on was former United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York who wrote, "In 1968, right after Bobby Kennedy was killed, in a word the people of South Boston and Dorchester ought to be as much on our minds as those of Roxbury or Bedford Stuyvesant. They`ve been abandoned," he wrote. "And our politics are very much the worse for it."
Four years later, Moynihan wrote about the loss of white working class again specifically Catholic voters. He said the white working class should be a base on which to build not to abandon. Even in the high office of vice president, Joe Biden born in Scranton hasn`t either. As my old boss Tip O`Neill used to say, he hasn`t forgotten where he came from. He knows and perhaps occasionally shares the sentiments of those ordinary people who feel they`ve been abandoned by the Democratic Party they themselves built.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC`S "ALL IN" HOST: Tonight on "ALL IN" --
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nobody should want to wake up on November 9th and wonder whether there was more you could have done.
HAYES: Two weeks out, Hillary rallies and Trump keys off.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve had tremendous success, the bookings are through the roof.
HAYES: Tonight, the Republican nominee kicks his self-promotion tour into high gear.
What we know about the 8 million votes already cast with Obama`s 2012 battleground director.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END