Show: HARDBALL Date: October 16, 2018 Guest: John Kasich, Shane Harris, Dan Nowicki, Ginger Gibson, Jamal Simmons
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trash talk. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
With just three weeks to go until this falls midterm elections, President Trump is once again making himself the focus of our national conversation. With a schoolyard personal attack against a woman who said he had an extramarital affair with her.
Trump who denied having a sex relationship with stormy Daniels wrote, federal judge throws out Stormy Daniels lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees rate. Now I can go after horse face and her 3rd rate lawyer in the great state of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed. She knows nothing about me, a total con! Horse face.
Trump was spiking the football after a federal judge dismissed Daniels` defamation suit against him. Daniels fired back in a tweet of her own writing, in part, ladies and gentlemen, may I present your President. He has demonstrated his incompetent, hatred of women and lack of self-control on twitter again.
It was just a latest in the litany of derogatory comments Trump has made about women, often their looks. In 2016, Trump retweeted an account that wrote, a picture is worth a thousand words and included a photo comparing Trump rival Ted Cruz`s wife Heidi to Melania Trump.
In August Trump attacked his former staffer Omarosa by praising John Kelly for firing that dog. It`s the kind of language that has come to defined Trump`s comments on women such as Hillary Clinton, Rosie O`Donnell and the women who have accused of sexual assault. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said, I don`t think so.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He called this woman miss piggy.
TRUMP: She was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight. And it was a real problem.
Rosy is an unattractive person. Rosy is a very - she is a slob.
They said he invaded her space. I invaded her space. Believe me, the last space that I want to invade is her space, believe me.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump said the following about you quote "look at that face, would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that the face of our next President?"
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think women all over this country heard clearly what Mr. Trump said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: In an interview with the "Associated Press" late today, President Trump defended his comments about Stormy Daniels. Asked if it was appropriate to comment on a woman`s looks, Trump said you can take it any way you want.
Well, I`m joined by Jonathan Lemire, White House reporter for the "Associated Press" who conducted that interview a few moments ago with the President. Donna Edwards, former Democratic congresswoman from Maryland and Elise Jordan, of course, contributor of "Time" magazine and MSNBC political analyst.
I want to start with Jonathan. You just interviewed the President with some of your colleagues at AP. How would you describe his reaction physically when you questioned him about whether you should call anybody horse face?
JONATHAN LEMIRE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, as you said, this is not the first time he has made a derisive comment about a woman`s appearance. I was there with my colleague Catherine Lucy (ph) and (INAUDIBLE) in the oval office. And when we asked the President about this, about the horse face remark, he spent most of the interview with his arms folded across his chest. A pretty familiar post now that we see him.
LEMIRE: And he is behind the desk there at the oval office. And he was - he gave no grounds whatsoever. He says, as you just read, he said you can make of it whatever you want. There was no attempt and an apology. There was no suggestion of what he says was inappropriate. There was no idea that this perhaps could even hurt him among women voters going into the midterms now just three weeks away.
I mean, he was defiant in many ways throughout this interview when we asked him about Michael Cohen, his former attorney who pleaded guilty, of course, in August and suggested that he was acting under the direction of the President to violate campaign finance law. Trump tonight told us at the AP that Cohen was lying. HE says it was absolutely false. There is no truth to it. And he suggested that he was making up stories in order to get a lighter sentence.
This is a President who is giving no quarter (ph) tonight whatsoever. He was very much on the defensive with these comments, but at the same time suggesting he is very optimistic about Republicans` chances going into the midterms, so much so that unlike President Obama who in 2010 when the Democrats lost, he acknowledged he owned responsibility calling it a shellacking. Trump told us tonight that if the Republicans were to lose the House, he would not accept any of the blame. He says he is out there helping Republican candidates. And if they were to lose control of the body, it wouldn`t be his fault.
MATTHEWS: Well, Donna Edwards, you understand that. But I don`t -- here`s what I don`t understand about Trump. And I guess it takes some interpretation. When he makes this smart Alec (ph) remark about somebody having a face that he doesn`t like that day, an eight-year-old makes a comment about someone they are mad at, does he do it impulsively and then cover for it by saying that`s part of his strategy, or is it really ridiculously a strategy because most voters are women. And why does he keep doing this on the edge of an election?
DONNA EDWARDS (D), FORMER MARYLAND REPRESENTATIVE: The thing is I don`t think it`s a strategy. I don`t know how many more examples we need. The President is a misogynist. He doesn`t like women. The women who are around him is a narrow and --.
MATTHEWS: Why is he mad at women?
EDWARDS: You know what? I don`t want to psychoanalyze the President.
MATTHEWS: We got figure this. Why does he keep making snarky comments?
EDWARDS: I don`t know. Maybe he was mad at his mother, I don`t know. But I will tell you this. Women across the United States in these swing congressional districts, college-educated women are not voting for Donald Trump. And the more he is out on the campaign trail like that, frankly, for Democrats the better for Democrats because people will show up to vote and they are going to send their message by making sure that Democrats win and take over the House and maybe even the Senate. And whether the President wants to take responsibility for it or not, he is going to be responsible.
MATTHEWS: Elise, maybe I live in a dream world, but I speak with a lot of guys and hang out with them. And I got to tell you, they always are nice about their wives, especially their daughters, the people they have been with, if you want to put it that way. They don`t knock women. This guy seems to have a predilection for the cheap shot. And it goes on and no whether it`s Carly Fiorina or Stormy Daniels who may have had the affair with one night with her, whatever. Why does he take the shot physically and wherever he thinks there might be a vulnerability in whatever way, your thoughts?
ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I agree with Donna that he is a misogynist. He exhibits this behavior so constantly that of course there`s no strategy with this. It`s just his fundamental character. This is who Donald Trump is. And women across America see it.
Now while I don`t think necessarily that a Republican woman who ended up voting for him knowing all of this because it`s been obvious to see since every day on the campaign trail, while I don`t know that they are going to change their vote and vote for a Democrat, they might stay at home and that`s good for Democrats and all it does is remind Democratic women why they are investing so much of their time and energy in this election.
MATTHEWS: The latest numbers are 59-37.
Let me go now -- Trump`s latest denigrated comments about a woman comes exactly two weeks after Trump mocked the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who publicly accused justice Kavanaugh of sexual assault. He tried to explain why in his "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLIE STAHL, HOST, 60 MINUTES: You mimicked Professor Blasey Ford. You mimicked her.
TRUMP: Had I not made that speech, we wouldn`t have won. I was just saying she didn`t seem to know anything. And you are trying to destroy a life of a man who has been extraordinary.
STAHL: Why did you have to make fun of her?
TRUMP: I didn`t really make fun.
STAHL: Well, they were laughing.
TRUMP: What I said is the person that we are talking about didn`t know the year, the time, the place. I think she was treated with great respect. I will be honest. There are those who think she shouldn`t have been.
STAHL: Do you think you treated her with great respect?
TRUMP: I think so, yes. I did.
STAHL: But you seem to be saying that she lied.
TRUMP: You know what? I`m not going to get into it because we won. It doesn`t matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Yet in this mucho thing up, Jonathan, you were just with him. This macho thing, I`m on the roll, I`m going to say what I feel like saying, I`m going to trash talk anybody I don`t like. If I win a round like he just did with Stormy Daniels in the courts, I`m going to do a little jig in the end zone, I`m going to enjoy this thing. What do you make of it? What was he like when you were just with him?
LEMIRE: He is absolutely right. He is brimming with confidence right now. Donald Trump and his aides here in the White House feel like this is one of the best periods of the presidency in the last few weeks, capped off by the Kavanaugh victory, the fact that he has been seated on the court.
And they feel like the fight surrounding the nomination is really fueling Republican voters who were at a disadvantage when it came to enthusiasm going into the midterms. Democrats seem much more excited to go out there and vote for Republicans. And they believe that`s not the case anymore. The Republicans are excited that they have Kavanaugh on the bench. But more so angry at how he was treated.
And in fact, that is the point he made tonight in this interview that was very striking. That he actually drew a link to how Kavanaugh was treated. The idea that he was guilty then proven innocent to what happened with the journalist who disappeared in the Saudi Arabia - in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul believing that he, that Saudi Arabia was also being dealt the same way, presumed guilty and having to prove innocent. And he is -- this is a President right now who is doubling down on that idea and he feels that he has hit upon a winning message going into the midterms.
MATTHEWS: Do you realize the absurdity of that? Whatever you say about Kavanaugh, it wasn`t Kavanaugh`s house. This is in the Saudi Arabia consulate, his fiancee stood at the door while her fiance went in there and never come out. It isn`t like this big -- that Christie (INAUDIBLE) story here. He walked in to a building and never came out of the building. What are we talking about? And the building was Saudi. This isn`t a mystery.
EDWARDS: That`s right. In some places there`s audio and there is video. And the President - that`s right. And the President is doubling down on this and making this absurd --.
MATTHEWS: Why is he turning himself into a pretzel to defend the indefensible?
EDWARDS: Because he is getting ready to lose and he is going to lose big.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go back to Elise on this. Explain Trump, will you, right now. He is hot dogging in the end zone. He must have said I have enough male votes and very conservative women who are more accepting more of this awful talk by men and I will live with that. I will take my share of the pie.
JORDAN: Chris, I think you`re being overly generous. I think it`s his lack of self-control. I think he just wants to say what he wants to say.
MATTHEWS: What it meant to? Go ahead.
JORDAN: Well, I think that he just wanted to hit back. He is so angry over Stormy Daniels. Her, in the book describing his manhood in terms that he feels are not sufficiently flattering and that he actually had a victory.
JORDAN: He had won the defamation case. And so, instead of just resting on his laurels, he has to bring the controversy back into everyone`s view and he looks disgusting and small-minded as his par for the course behavior.
MATTHEWS: Let me add something. Both if you said and that is of you and Donna. I think if you look at the way he puts away his opponent, a male opponent like Marco Rubio, little Marco or he puts away low energy Jeb or something, there`s always a little fun with it. There`s a little sense of fond, kick him out of the room kind of this. But there is vengeance when it comes to women. There`s a hatred there. There`s something I want to get to the bottom of. Please psychiatrist, let me know.
What is this that makes him so angry in some like Stormy Daniels? If he had the affair with her, the one night whatever, why is so mad at her? And if he didn`t, then why did he dismiss this whole thing in the beginning? There is something about him that what he was enrage in Hillary. He is still angry at Hillary. He is not still angry at Jeb. He is not still angry at Marco. Would somebody explain this to me? Why does he have a problem with women?
JORDAN: Well, Chris, Stormy said in the excerpt - she said in her excerpt that she physically spanked Donald Trump. And you look at the media campaign she is waged against him over about I guess the past year. And that she has just standing up against him every day in a way that he is vulnerable and he can`t stand. And he does not like strong women who aren`t going to take any of his BS.
EDWARDS: Well, that`s it right there.
MATTHEWS: Well, you went beyond me. I didn`t know you would get into the spanking. I`m overwhelmed. But go ahead, Donna.
EDWARDS: No, but is it right there. It is the strong women. Any woman who can best him, Donald Trump doesn`t like. He can`t even take it with men, but he can laugh them away. But with women, he has to double down and then he goes deep and then he goes personal and he goes nasty. And women across America are looking at this and they are not seeing a guy that they want emulated in their homes, in their workplaces. And they are going to show that by voting.
MATTHEWS: I think you are right. I think women are going to vote.
Thank you, Donna Edwards.
Thank you, Elise Jordan.
And thank you, Jonathan Lemire for that great reporting up to the minute in fact.
Coming up, as I mentioned, President Trump said criticism of the Saudi royal family including many of his own party is another case of guilty until proven innocent. Really? Ohio governor John Kasich is coming here live in a moment to talk about that sorting out.
Plus, the Arizona Senate race turned ugly last night when Republican candidate Martha McSally threw out the word treason. Accused her opponent, Democratic opponent, Krysten Sinema of being a traitor. Is it the Trump effect on national politics?
And Republicans want to make the November race all about, you believe this, Nancy Pelosi. Give it a break. Last night a Virginia congressman managed to mention her name in one debate 21 times. He doesn`t want to run against the woman he is running against. He wants to run against the woman from San Francisco. Cute.
Finally, let me finish tonight with Trump watch. You will like it.
This is HARDBALL where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Checking in now at our HARDBALL ten. The ten key races that will determine who controls the Senate in November.
There`s a lot going on down in Texas today in that hotly contested race between Senator Ted Cruz and challenger Beto O`Rourke. These two will square off tonight for their second highly anticipated debate. There they are. O`Rourke is currently trailing in the polls, so he could use tonight a knockout punch.
Meanwhile, a new ad plays of Cruz calling O`Rourke quote "a triple meat what a burger liberal who is out of touch with Texas ties (ph)." Whatever that is. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A triple meat what a burger liberal? What does that even mean, Ted? I mean, everybody I know in Texas likes what a burger.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just as consumer, I`m a big fan of eating white castle burgers. I like their little burgers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t even know what that is. There`s not a white castle within 900 miles of Texas, Ted. Maybe up in Canada? But not in Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Political ad paid for by FDC Pac. Not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, Ted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s right, Cruz is from Canada.
We will be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Tonight, amid-global outcry over the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump made clear just where he stands and it`s not with the journalist and legal U.S. resident. In that interview with the Associated Press he just held late today, Trump called the allegations that the Saudi royal family was behind the murder of Khashoggi just another case of guilty until proven innocent. This morning he tweeted, just spoke with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkey`s consulate.
Also today, Secretary of state Mike Pompeo sat down with for a jovial meeting with king Salman and his son the crown prince. Let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday Trump floated the idea that the real culprits were rogue killers. Seemingly parroting a line of defense according to "the New York Times" that the Saudi royal family would eventually deploy.
According to "the Associated Press," all major decisions in the ultraconservative kingdom are made by the royal family.
For more, I`m joined by Shane Harris, national security correspondent for "The Washington Post."
Shane, it seems to me that -- what are we up to? Are we collaborating with the royal family of Saudi Arabia to cover this up?
SHANE HARRIS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Boy, it sure sounded like the president has made up his mind and decided to just believe the Saudi line on this.
I mean, to be clear, there is a video of Jamal Khashoggi going into that consulate on October 2. There is no record of him walking out on his own. So I understand why the president maybe doesn`t want to rush to judgment here, but the idea that the Saudis must be completely innocent in this and have no explanation for what happened to him, it just defies belief.
MATTHEWS: Yes. You wonder if he came out in recycling bags or what -- what they did to -- dismembered the guy. It`s horrible.
Wasn`t his fiancee waiting outside for him to return?
HARRIS: That`s right. He had gone in to retrieve a document that he needed to -- to be able to marry his fiancee, who was waiting outside. There`s no indication that he thought he was going to be in there for very long.
She was just waiting outside expecting him to come back. And he never showed. The Saudis have never produced any kind of video showing him leaving. They have professed all along that they had no idea what happened to him, which makes it very strange that the president started saying, after talking to the king of Saudi Arabia, well, I think it might be rogue killers.
Did the Saudi king suggest that to him? Because so far, the line has been they don`t know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. So you can already see how the statements are tilting in the direction of the Saudis saying there will be an investigation, but don`t look to us for the answers here. We don`t know what happened any more than you do. We all want to find out.
MATTHEWS: Shane, you know Rush Limbaugh calls people that do this kind of thing? Ditto heads. They just go along with what they`re told.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Shane Harris, for that reporting.
Governor John Kasich of Ohio joins us right now.
Governor Kasich, what do you make the leadership coming from the White House on this issue of a lost U.S. resident?
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Well, Chris, I think it`s just terrible.
Look, let`s just say that the president is right, we don`t know, OK, because nobody really knows yet for sure, even though the Germans, the French, the British have all called for an investigation. The evidence has mounted in terms of U.S. intelligence picking things up.
I have read a lot. I have studied a lot. I have thought a lot about this. But let`s just give them the benefit of the doubt, OK?
Well, then you don`t go to a conference over there being -- so they can extend their economic power. You don`t talk about having arms sales,. You say we`re going to freeze the arms sales. We`re not going to do that until we get to the bottom of this.
And, Chris, look, I have heard people say -- I have heard the president say this is about money, the arms trade.
I had somebody say to me the other day, America is an idea. It is an idea, the things that we believe in, the things that we stand for, that we believe in human rights, and all these things that we have stood for, for the last 70 years. So money does not trump, it should never trump our foreign policy actions.
And also, Chris, we got to say that a lot of the CEOs who thought that they needed to be in Saudi Arabia from many, many big companies in the United States stood up and said, we`re not going . And they deserve credit for that. They need to be -- they need to be held up, and we need to be able to say to them that they put some principal ahead of profit, which is what is critical for the economic system of our country.
MATTHEWS: But Trump, the president, is saying he`s out there for Raytheon, he`s out there for Boeing, he`s out there for U.S. producers. He`s acting like he`s their commercial trade representative.
KASICH: Yes, well, Chris, that`s not how you do foreign policy. Foreign policy is not just about -- and, of course, we`d like to have jobs. We want economic contacts. It`s why we -- we shouldn`t be in all these trade wars. We should try to get our -- get our tariffs down, so we can have more free trade.
KASICH: We believe in free enterprise. We believe in profit.
But we also believe that there are principles that underlie profit. And, look, just -- I know you`re a guy that studies a lot of these philosophers.
Michael Novak, the great Catholic theologian, said...
MATTHEWS: I know Michael Novak.
KASICH: He said, a free enterprise system that is not underlaid with a set of values is bankrupt.
We`re not going to go around and say, oh, OK, we could sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia, therefore, we ought to look the other way. I mean, come on.
KASICH: Listen, Chris, this is unanimous, right? This is -- this is a bipartisan outrage about this.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
KASICH: And, in the meantime, you don`t go to the conference. Mnuchin shouldn`t go to the conference. Praise the CEOs that are not going to the conference. And don`t sell them any more weapons. Don`t do that now, until we get to the bottom of it. And we will get to the bottom of it.
MATTHEWS: Well, Governor, it isn`t the first time -- this isn`t the first time that Trump has elevated the assurances of despotic leaders over his own intelligence community.
MATTHEWS: Politico quotes -- look at this -- "Perhaps more than any president in modern history, Donald Trump is often willing and sometimes even eager to uncritically repeat the assertions of authoritarian leaders, breaking with his own government experts."
Let`s take a look at some of those examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is a funny guy. He`s a very smart guy. He`s a great negotiator. He loves his people, not that I`m surprised by that. But he loves his people.
I have great confidence in my intelligence people. But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.
It`s a great honor and privilege, because he`s become a friend of mine, to introduce President Erdogan of Turkey. And he`s running a very, very difficult part of the world. He`s involved very, very strongly. And, thankfully, he`s getting very high marks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that, Governor?
I mean, this...
KASICH: Come on, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know what you call it. What is it? Why does he do this -- go ahead.
KASICH: You remember that clarion moment when Reagan in the beginning said that to Dick Allen, the former national security adviser, in regard to the Soviet Union, we win and they lose.
KASICH: He was standing up against repression.
Now we look just, not in the video and the audio that you have just played, but you think about the developments in Poland. You think about the developments that are happening in Hungary right now, a loss of the press, the shutdown of the courts.
Here`s the thing, Chris. You can`t look the other way when it comes to autocrats. You look the other way, they`re emboldened to do things that take away people`s rights.
I was just with the European ambassador the other day that said, when you start playing with fire with the extreme right, with any of these people who border on demagogues -- and that, of course, would occur in the extreme left as well -- you play with fire and you embolden people.
So this notion that somehow they`re OK, no, they`re terrible, and we ought to point out where they`re wrong. It doesn`t mean we have to go to war with them. But we should be clear about the need for human rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech.
These are essential elements for freedom in the Western world. It`s what our people went and fought and died for when they landed on the beaches in World War II. This is what we`re about.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you, Governor. And, by the way...
KASICH: Look, I don`t want -- I`m trying not to get emotional too much about this.
MATTHEWS: You are. But that`s where you should be.
KASICH: But people have made huge sacrifices for these things. And we need to honor them.
MATTHEWS: OK, I want to give you one...
MATTHEWS: You know what Jack Kennedy said, along the lines you were just speaking there? He said, those who ride the tiger end up in its mouth.
Thank you very much, Governor John Kasich of Ohio.
KASICH: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you for the honor and the passion of having you on.
Up next: a look at one of our HARDBALL 10 Senate races, where the Republican county is accusing the Democratic candidate a big a traitor, of advocating treason. This is over the top.
And this is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
In a contentious exchange during last night`s Arizona Senate debate, Republican Martha McSally accused Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of advocating -- here it is -- treason. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARTHA MCSALLY (R), ARIZONA: CNN reported that, in 2003, when she was on the radio, you said it was OK for Americans to join the Taliban to fight against us. You said you had no problem with that.
QUESTION: We`re running out a time, but we have to let you respond to that.
MCSALLY: Kyrsten, I want to ask right now whether you`re going to apologize to the veterans and me for saying it`s OK to commit treason.
REP. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D), ARIZONA: Martha has chosen to run a campaign like the one you`re seeing right now, where she is engaging in ridiculous attacks and smearing my campaign.
And she`s just trying to cut, cut, cut and not share the full picture. But the truth is that I have always fought for Arizona, and I have been proud to serve our state in elected office for over 13 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, McSally`s explosive charge comes from a 2003 radio interview that Sinema gave to a libertarian anti-war activist just before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which she also opposed.
However, the radio host went further. In a series of hypothetical arguments, he made the case that the government should not be able to force Americans to support armed struggles overseas, effectively saying that individuals should be free to do what they want in matters of war.
Let`s listen in that context.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, 2003)
SINEMA: I do think that those of us who are privileged to have more do owe something to others. I don`t think...
QUESTION: By force?
SINEMA: No, no, I don`t think...
QUESTION: As an individual, if I want to go fight in the Taliban army, I go over there, and I`m -- I`m fighting for the Taliban, I`m saying that`s personal decision.
SINEMA: I don`t care if you want to do that. Go ahead.
QUESTION: I want to go in World War II and I want to join the RAF and fight the Germans bombing London, I`m all over it. As an individual, I have no problem. You can do whatever you want with your money, not mine.
SINEMA: Right, but I think what we`re talking about here are two different things.
When you say we owe something to the world, my definition of owing something to the world does not involve war and destruction.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the latest CBS/YouGov poll shows Sinema, the Democrat, leading McSally by three points.
Joining me right now is Dan Nowicki, who is national politics editor for "The Arizona Republic," and Eugene Robinson, of course, columnist for "The Washington Post."
Dan, it looks to me like you could tell who`s ahead because somebody threw the bomb. And that was McSally. She threw the bomb. She had it right in her pocket, a little grenade, pulled the pin the last minute of the debate and threw out something 15 years ago in the context of a wild, wild interview with a super libertarian radio host.
DAN NOWICKI, "THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC": Right. And this -- from McSally`s perspective, though, the debate was a success because of that moment. She`s been trying to draw attention to Sinema`s distant past as an anti-war protester. And she was able to do it. And she was able to kind of set the conversation today about what Sinema did say or didn`t do back in 2003.
So that`s -- that`s kind of the big takeaway out of the debate. So, in that respect, it was probably a successful tactic by McSally.
Well, Gene, it seems to me it ought to be somewhat relevant that most Americans now realize that the war in Iraq was a mistake, a loss of blood and treasure, which cost us 4,000 and 5,000 lives and probably killed 100,000 people.
To what purpose?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, so, in that sense, the attack seems to us sitting here Washington like pretty weak tea.
I mean, it was something 15 years ago. It was kind of an oblique reference. She quickly turns around and says, but I`m not talking about war and destruction, that sort of thing.
However, Dan is out there in Arizona. And McSally, it looked like, is -- will, she certainly is in danger of losing what ought to be a Republican seat. I mean, let`s face it.
And so to the extent that she`s gotten people to talk about something negative or perceived as negative about Sinema, that is a win for her.
Well, here she is embracing the president here on multiple occasions throughout the debate last night. Martha McSally, the Republican, embraced President Trump and everything on his agenda. Let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCSALLY: Because of the Republican-led Senate and the House working with this president, we really see more opportunity for people in Arizona. Arizonans wants to be with the agenda that we are working on with President Trump.
And I have built a good relationship with the president. He is leading our country in the right direction. America is back and Arizona is back, thanks to President Trump, Governor Ducey, and the Republican House and Senate. There`s more opportunity for everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, quickly, Dan, is running as a Trump surrogate the smart move for her?
NOWICKI: Well, it probably is this year, because this is going to be a completely -- it`s going to be completely a turnout election.
You remember John McCain used to always kind of draw criticism for he`d run to the right during the primary, and then he would pivot back to the center for the general election. She`s not even trying to pivot back. She`s not trying to win independents or crossover Democrats, the way John McCain might have done.
It`s all about getting out the base. So that`s why you`re hearing that kind of her -- her embracing Trump. Trump`s coming out on Friday to rally the troops for her. And she`s using this kind of Trump-style rhetoric.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much.
It seems like red state/blue state this year, Gene.
ROBINSON: It`s red state/blue state. And so that`s the question.
Is there of a Trump base that will turn out to save McSally, or do Democrats and independents, who are repulsed by this sort of thing, do they come out and flip the seat?
MATTHEWS: The phrase margin of error is going to mean a lot in this election three weeks from tonight, because I think it`s going to matter in a lot of these races. They are not up -- they`re not decided yet.
Anyway, thank you, Dan Nowicki. Thank you very much, "The Arizona Republic," great paper, and Gene Robinson from "The Washington Post," a true quality paper.
Up next: Republican candidates across the country are bringing Nancy Pelosi into their campaigns as a scare tactic. They`re trying to say boo by saying Pelosi. And this approach, is it turning out as effective as it might or should be? This is an old game, but they`re doing it.
And you`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Republican Congressman David Brat of Virginia took down former majority Eric Cantor back in 2014, in a primary back then. Now, he`s defending his congressional seat from Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger.
But if you watched their debate last night, it may have seemed as if Brat was running against a different challenger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVID BRAT (R), VIRGINIA: A vote for my opponent will be a vote for the Nancy Pelosi liberal agenda.
The Nancy Pelosi.
If you vote for Abigail Spanberger, the result will be Nancy Pelosi liberal policies across the board on every single issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Must be easier to pronounce. Anyway, Brat is not alone among Republicans in using Pelosi`s name to try and rile up voters.
According to "Politico", over the past 30 days, close to 100 Republican- funded TV spots casting Hillary Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi or both as villains have aired more than 34,000 times.
Let`s bring in tonight`s roundtable: Ginger Gibson, political correspondent for "Reuters", George F. Will, syndicated columnist, and Jamal Simmons, host of Hill TV and a Democratic strategist.
Thank you for old. This is an old thing. They did it in the days of Vito Marcantonio in `40s and Bella Abzug. It doesn`t work.
GINGER GIBSON, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: This is a playbook that the Republicans think work for them and it`s mainly centered around hold up a woman, accuse her of being scary and hope that people will vote against the members of her party. They thought it`s worked the last few times. They`re not talking about Chuck Schumer. They`re not talking about some other man.
MATTHEWS: Why a woman?
GIBSON: Because they think that that playbook works. They think that that worked to get people to not vote for Hillary Clinton. The biggest criticism of Nancy Pelosi is that she`s better at her job than anyone has been for decades. The best whip of votes since LBJ.
MATTHEWS: You know what? You`re right because I worked for Tip O`Neill and she was better.
GEORGE F. WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, they are talking about Chuck Schumer. In Tennessee, Phil Bredesen running against Marsha Blackburn, the Republican, and she says Bredesen fine temperate Democrat, two-term mayor of Nashville, two-term governor, but when he gets to Washington, he would be part of Chuck Schumer`s foot soldiers.
MATTHEWS: That`s all true, actually.
WILL: Of course.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Jamal.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, what`s happening here, it makes covering this campaign odd because it`s like the Democrats are talking to one America and the Republicans are talking to another America. And the Republicans are talking to another America, and the Republican America, Nancy Pelosi is one of the biggest villains in the country.
SIMMONS: Oh, I mean, I think because she`s a Democrat, she backed healthcare, she`s a woman, she`s a liberal.
MATTHEWS: Well off, a little swank.
SIMMONS: San Francisco.
MATTHEWS: And San Francisco.
MATTHEWS: I think we can put it all together.
SIMMONS: We get all that together, which is funny because in San Francisco, I think she`s a corporate Democrat, but in the Republican Party, they are animated about Nancy Pelosi. So I guess they`re hoping Brat is going to turn out some new voters in this modern 2018 strategy, and it`s all about base Republicans.
MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile, President Trump is continuing his attacks against Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, another woman, following the release of her DNA test indicating she has some, a bit of, I say, Native American ancestry, six to ten generations ago. In a string of three tweets today sent out this morning before most people had their first cup of coffee, the president again referring to her as Pocahontas, called it a bogus DNA test and wrote, she should apologize for perpetrating this fraud against the American public.
GIBSON: If you are --
MATTHEWS: -- who is winning the battle of Pocahontas? Who`s winning? Has she won this battle by having the test or she prolonged it?
GIBSON: Well, if you`re bored with the 2018 midterms, you are getting a little preview of what 2020 is going to look like. I don`t know that anyone wins this. President Trump --
MATTHEWS: Is Trump one to run against Elizabeth Warren?
GIBSON: Trump wants to fight --
MATTHEWS: Are you sure he doesn`t want to run against her?
GIBSON: He wants to fight anyone who will fight him. Most presidents stay out of the process of their opponents being selected in a primary. He wants to be in the fight. He`s picking fights ahead of the process.
MATTHEWS: George, what`s he up? Picking her or beating her? What`s he -- does he want her as his opponent?
WILL: I`m not sure he thinks that far ahead. No, I mean that. I think she would be well-advised not to go into DNA science.
On the other hand, in 1966 when the Republican off-year elections, Nixon campaigned all over the country and began rising as the favorite against Romney and Nelson Rockefeller and others for the 1968 nomination. At that point, Lyndon Johnson lost his temper and in the White House referred to Nixon as a chronic campaigner.
Nixon immediately became the face of the opposition. And it could be that Donald Trump is doing a similar favor inadvertently.
MATTHEWS: I think so. I just -- maybe he`s stupid. But I don`t think Trump is stupid. I know he knows he`s thinking either Cory or Kamala or Elizabeth, somebody on the left side of the Democratic Party. I don`t know if he`s picking them or not.
SIMMONS: I think he`s afraid of Warren. I just have a different take on this. I think Elizabeth Warren is someone who can animate the Democratic base in a base versus base election. She`s a woman, she doesn`t have the same negatives as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is trying to define her early in a way, and she felt --
MATTHEWS: You`re touting her.
SIMMONS: I`m not at all.
MATTHEWS: I think you`re touting her. Nothing wrong with that.
SIMMONS: I like Mitch Landrieu. I`m not all, I like Kamala Harris.
SIMMONS: Hey. We can talk about that for an hour because I`m watching.
Finally, President Trump tonight is reiterating his plans to run into 2020 and is brushing off a potential challenge by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Let`s watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right.
INTERVIEWER: You`re running?
TRUMP: Yes, 100 percent.
INTERVIEWER: Michael Bloomberg might be running.
TRUMP: That`s good.
TRUMP: Yes, sure, I think it would be easy. I think it would be so easy. I don`t think through the Democrats.
INTERVIEWER: Otherwise, you wouldn`t be able to do anything in the primaries, because of where the party is going?
TRUMP: I think the Democrats will eat him up. You know, you have a lot of people running. You`re hearing names that are shockingly bad, but they`re nasty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He`s scouting the field, Ginger.
GIBSON: And as we said, he`s looking for his best opponent and his worst opponent.
I think that when he`s playing to his base, anytime he thinks he`s fighting or being perceived as taking the fight to the other side, his base gets happy. So, he doesn`t want someone that`s going to sit there quietly and politely respond to him. He wants someone who`s going to fight.
WILL: I remember what California Democrats said, if we can just get Reagan nominated --
MATTHEWS: I know all about that, George. We said that in the Carter White House. Give us Reagan.
WILL: I know.
MATTHEWS: Don`t give us George Sr.
SIMMONS: I still think this is about getting Democratic voters excited. If Democrats pick somebody that they can rally around, Trump knows that`s going to be very hard for him because he`s going to have to try to find some more voters in the middle.
MATTHEWS: Can Cory beat him?
SIMMONS: Oh, sure. I think any Democrat can beat him.
MATTHEWS: Cory can beat Trump?
SIMMONS: Any Democrat can beat him.
MATTHEWS: You think so?
GIBSON: I don`t rule anybody out.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know how far you can go past that medial strip? George?
SIMMONS: Kamala Harris proved herself better than Cory did in the hearing with Kavanaugh. She was very tough.
MATTHEWS: OK. We`ll see.
The roundtable is sticking with us. And up next, these three will tell me -- they`re already doing that. They always do that, something I don`t know.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Well, today`s the publication day for the paperback edition of my book "Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit." The hard cover spent months on the "New York Times" bestseller list. It comes, the book, at a time when we need it. It`s a joyous jog of the memory to a better time and a better leader.
Bobby Kennedy looked out for the underdogs in our world. He wasn`t afraid to talk about compassion and fairness and wasn`t afraid to take a stand for basic goodness.
What I remember and write about is how millions of people of all backgrounds saw him as the one leader who could bring the country together. That`s what we need right now. Don`t you think? A reminder of that possibility.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Ginger, tell me something I don`t know.
GIBSON: This election, the midterm elections are on pace to be breaking fundraising records for congressional candidates. They have not done so in nearly a decade. But now, $1.2 million raised by House candidates, nearly $950 million raised by Senate candidates.
These are unprecedented numbers. There will be more money in this election than any cycle we`ve seen for congressional candidates before.
MATTHEWS: Is that good?
GIBSON: If you like television ads, I guess it`s good.
WILL: In the spirit of tracing DNA back through generations, if you assume there are 3.5 generations per century, and there have been 40 generations, 44 since Charlemagne was born, the chances are pretty good if you do that arithmetic that one of us three is a direct descendant of Charlemagne.
MATTHEWS: I agree with that. That`s Jewish. I know that stuff.
SIMMONS: Not me.
MATTHEWS: I thought I was 0.3 Arab. OK? I didn`t know. Go ahead.
SIMMONS: Although, you know, you never know, I might be more Charlemagne than you think.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
SIMMONS: So, Democrats are a little worried -- some Democrats are worried about the early vote numbers that are starting to come back. They`re up a little bit from 2014 but they`re down a little bit from 2016.
MATTHEWS: OK, Debbie Downer. OK, what are you here for?
SIMMONS: The two states people are paying attention to, Texas, the Democratic share is down 23 percent in early votes, but in Georgia, it`s up 13 percent. So, in Georgia, Stacey Abrams is doing a good job.
MATTHEWS: How many seats do the Democrats win in the House?
SIMMONS: Oh, I think it`s going to be a blowout, 40.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, Ginger Gibson. Thank you, George F. Will and Jamal Simmons.
When we return, let me finish tonight with "Trump Watch". He won`t like this one. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: "Trump Watch", Tuesday, October 16th, 2018.
Donald Trump understands resentment. He understands why people in places like Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin would vote against the political establishment. He knows how those people would join others in the South and West in voting for him, putting him in the White House in order to get the establishment types out of the White House.
Well, he understands the resentment in feeling overlooked if not discarded by the establishment Republicans and Democrats alike.
But what of his own resentments? He wasn`t thrown out of work by bad trade deals or automation. He wasn`t looked down upon by the old money Republicans or the culturally superior Democrats? What`s Donald Trump`s resentment all about?
How do we explain this resentment against women, this sense of being overlooked or discarded by the female gender? How do we explain this sad bitterness that comes out in all these nasty shots, all that cheap desperate place for attention, this sad little name calling and snide shots at their looks? Why is Donald Trump so hurt, so sadly beside himself about the other gender?
Was he rejected? Does he feel so deeply inferior that he must cry out against Rosie O`Donnell or Stormy Daniels? Because how else, why else would he be so caught up in such a snit? Why else would he come across as so spiteful as to make us wonder what was done to this man to make him talk like an eight-year-old crying through his peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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