Show: HARDBALL Date: November 2, 2018 Guest: Sahil Kapur, David Wasserman, Shawna Thomas, Sam Stein, Eli Stokols, Neera Tanden, Adolfo Franco
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Mark your ballots. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews from Washington.
The closing arguments in the run up to Tuesday`s elections have created a split screen. Democrats, aided by the star power of surrogates like former President Obama and Oprah Winfrey, are concluding with a message of hope and calls for civility. At the same time, President Trump is the commander in chief fueling anger and resentment to turn out his base. As "The New York Times" puts it, the President has fully embraced a dark anti-immigrant message in the hope that stoking fear will motive voters to reject Democrats.
Well, taking the fight back to him former President Obama today accused Trump of manufacturing a crisis at the border, asking voters to reject what he calls the politics of fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have seen repeated attempts to divide us with rhetoric designed to make us angry and make us fearful. Now in 2018 they are telling you the existential threat to America is a bunch of poor refugees a thousand miles away. They are even taking our brave troops away from their families for a political stunt at the border.
When words stop meaning anything, when truth doesn`t matter, when people can just lie with abandon, democracy can`t work. The only check on that behavior is you. The only check on that behavior is you and your vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, "Politico" is reporting that some Republicans as well are distressed by Trump`s anti-immigrant rallying cry, believing it could backfire when they are candidates. According to Republican campaign official, Trump is solidifying swing voters who were already leaning Democratic and are now definitely going to vote for Democratic candidates, yet this President seems intent on fanning the flames of division no matter what the consequence.
We have already seen in a politically and racially motivated violence of last week that the forces of hate are emboldened in this country. But rather that heal the provisions that might provoke similar violence, this President instead blames the media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Half of Americans say you are encouraging politically motivated violence with the way you speak.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no, you know what? You are creating violence by your question. You are creating, you. And also, a lot of the reporters are creating violence by not writing the truth. The fake news is creating violence. And you know what in the people that support Trump and the people that support us, which is a lot of people, most people, many people, those people know when a story is true and they know when a story is false. And I tell you what, if the media would write correctly and write accurately and write fairly, you`d have a lot less violence in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is Heidi Przybyla, a national correspondent for NBC News, Donna Brazile is the former chairwoman of the DNC and Michael Steele is the former chairman of the RNC. We have got the heavy weights.
I want to start with Donna, though, because this is really the battle of the bugles or the battle of the tubas. I mean, the President wants fear to work. It`s worked for him. It`s got him the job. And Democrats are bringing back the sort of the nice voices of Oprah Winfrey, hopefully uplifting, and Barack Obama has always been uplifting, but who wins?
DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER CHAIRWOMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I think hope and change, hope and civility. Democrats are riding on a wave of hope. They believe that they cannot only galvanize Democratic voter, but bring independents who might be leaning toward democratic candidates over the threshold by being positive, by talking about health care, by talking about education. They want to avoid this politics of fear because they believe it is corrosive that the American people are tired of it, and they are confident that they can get their voters out with a real positive hopeful message about the future.
MATTHEWS: And when has that worked before? Just compare history.
BRAZILE: 2006 it worked in that midterm. If you go back to 1998 when Bill Clinton was being impeached, it worked then because folks -- people decided not to focus on the top of the ticket, but go down to the bottom and reach people where they live. I think it will work just fine.
MATTHEWS: Why did fear work in 2016? Because it did.
BRAZILE: Fear worked because there are many people echoing that fear. We had the Democratic Party faced a huge onslaught of weaponized emails from the Russians. We couldn`t get our message out. We know in 2016 we had a hard time reaching people. But this time Democrats are not knocking on that have probably not been knocked in four year.
MATTHEWS: My own theory is that people who voted against the establishment in 2016, and right now they are going to vote against Trump. Your thoughts?
HEIDI PRYZBYLA, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there is no question that Democrats have to do this. They have to pull out their heavyweights. Because you look at these hugely consequential races like in Georgia and Florida, the coalition that they need is the old Obama coalition. You bring in Oprah, you are speaking to those minorities. You are speaking to those liberal white women. And you need, you know, the polling, internal polling shows that they have actually been depressed, all of this negativity has actually depressing them. So they need something positive.
But the same time, I was in southern Virginia just yesterday, and I think that you are also right about the President`s message pushing some of these swing Republicans, some of these moderate Republican voters. I talked to a panel of these moderate Republican voters. They have all voted Republican most of their lives. Now they`re voting for the Democrat because they say we need a check on Trump. They didn`t even actually know much about the Democratic candidate. They just knew that we needed a check on Trump.
Now that said, we have had such massive vote increase in voter registration. It`s just hard to tell which way is going to break. The pollsters I talk to say our models are all based on previous voting behavior. And so it`s hard to tell. It`s going to come down to the wire.
MATTHEWS: You know, Mike, what is so interesting, if you look at commercial power in this country where the money, beer commercials are always mixed.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Right.
MATTHEWS: It`s always a bunch of guys hanging at a bar, white and black guys. In fact, that`s the way they sell beer right now. It used to be only white guys. Nationally, and when I look at that thing today in Florida, I get - I am actually very emotional about politics. There is Bill Nelson, probably in there for his last hurrah, you know, in their first - last election. And an African-American mayor of Tallahassee. This is pretty striking.
MATTHEWS: His coattails, the white guy -- I don`t want to get too ethnic about this, but it`s fascinating to watch this thing go on down here.
STEELE: But Chris, you should because that is at the rub of the whole thing. The white power structure such as it is shifting. It`s changing. It is becoming more diverse. It is looking more and more like Andrew Gillum and --
MATTHEWS: Yes, like beer commercial.
STEELE: Like a beer commercial than the old established order, which is what Donald Trump is harkening become to. Republicans still cling on to that. I ran into this when I was at the RNC, where people who, you know, we went to Harlem. Why would you go to Harlem? They said, well, that`s where the votes are. That`s where the votes of the party. But there are people who still hold on to this idea that particularly white male vote which is an angry vote, which a scared vote, afraid of the future in many respects, Trump speaks to that in an authentic way.
MATTHEWS: Apparently it is authentic. And here is the awful point. Maybe it is authentic. In an explosive report in "Vanity Fair" coming out today, former Trump lawyer -- now you got to be careful about this guy. He has got an attitude now. He is speaking out about the kind of language he says, he says Trump has used in private.
Well, Cohen now has an interest in bringing down Trump. I want to emphasize that. He says that in light of the President`s recent rhetoric quote "he wanted to offer potential voters what he believed was evidence of Trump`s character." Cohen says that in speaking to Trump about the crowd at one of his campaign rallies quote "I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded that`s because black people are too stupid to vote for me.
On another occasion Cohen say that quote "Trump said to me, name one country run by a black person that is not run by an s-hole," you get fill in by the word there, and then he added, name one city. He is talking about America, of course.
Speaking of African-American contestants on "the Apprentice," Cohen says that Trump said there is no way I would let this black expletive win. In other words, it`s rigged. A source inside the Trump organization told NBC News Cohen`s allegations were moralized from a serial liar. OK, fine.
Heidi, you are the straight reporter here how. How do you unpack this stuff? I think there`s something there. But then again, I know if it comes from Cohen it probably smells in terms of interest. His interest now is bringing down Trump.
PRYZBYLA: It`s not going to change anybody`s minds, but for those people who are already, you know, believe that the President actually thinks like this and talks like this.
MATTHEWS: And the guy, the white guy who has that attitude says, yes, he is one of us. If you want to be blunt about it. You said genuine. Michael?
STEELE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: Donna, does this matter at this point? Because there no surprise in this package.
BRAZILE: Look, whether it`s the Central Park Five, the fact that his family was investigated for housing discrimination, or comments that he has made just in recent days calling himself a nationalist, the President has shown so much incivility, so much intolerance that I try to ignore that and focus on the fact that we have to talk to young people. They don`t want to hear this anyway. We have to talk to them about issues that matter to them.
MATTHEWS: He is polling 58 percent in African-American community.
BRAZILE: And I haven`t figured out exactly who those people are.
MATTHEWS: It`s pretty low statistically.
STEELE: It`s a low statistic, but remember, that probably is more slanted towards African-American men than women, because African-American women have made it very clear going back to the summer where they stand when it comes to Trump and Republicans, which is a big problem. I think going into Tuesday is an undercounted vote. It is not fully appreciated the impact it can have in swing districts around the country. That`s the vote to watch on Tuesday night for my estimation, how black would come out, the (INAUDIBLE) they come out and where they put that vote.
MATTHEWS: I hope. And I hope young people vote. I`m going to be a little sarcastic now. You got time to wait in a Starbucks line. You got time to wait to vote.
MATTHEWS: I mean, young people, I know they are busy with classes ten hours a week. I know it`s overwhelming. But I`m just kidding. You can find a couple of minutes to vote. I don`t know why you don`t want to vote. In his rally last night -- were you going the say something?
BRAZILE: I was just going to say that`s what the early voting is telling us. I mean, we know older people tend to cast their ballots early anyway. But, you know, we are seeing some signs here that we should be alarmed. And that, you know, just like every previous election, that the millennials are going to disappoint.
MATTHEWS: The rally last night, at a rally Trump bemoaned those recent acts of hate and violence. We know it is about starting, of course, with the bombs that went to people, mostly on the Democratic side, the media side, on the liberal side if you will. But also, the two African-American guys gunned down by white guy. And then of course what happened at that synagogue a week ago, because of that fear but because they heard his phrase like this.
So Trump out there now saying the problem with those horrors is not that they are horrible, but they distracted from his message about the caravan. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will tell you we have gotten tremendous numbers, tremendous numbers of Republicans are going out to vote. Now, we did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible because for seven days, nobody talked about the elections. It stopped the tremendous momentum. More importantly, we have to take care of our people. And we don`t care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to our country. But it did, nevertheless, stop a certain momentum. And now the momentum is picking up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Michael, he cease it and he didn`t even mention the African- American shootings by that white guy.
STEELE: Of course not.
MATTHEWS: But he mentioned the other synagogue and the media and the bomb thing, and he sees it as a flaw in his strategy. I mean, really.
BRAZILE: It`s stopped his momentum.
STEELE: He goes on and he goes on and says, well, I don`t want to talk about momentum and then goes on to talk about momentum. It tells you at the core where this President is. The circle is very small. There is only one person in that circle, and that`s him. At the end of the day, the impact is how does it impact me, how does it impact everything I`m trying to do. And the President looks at this election through that prism.
PRYZBYLA: Can I just say something really quick? The fact that Obama said this was manufactured, he is factually correct about that, because let`s just -- "The New York Times" had a tick-tock on how this all started. It started on FOX News. The President saw it. Within 30 minutes, he started tweeting about the caravan. Within a week it was crisis and we are sending troops to the border.
MATTHEWS: Who came up with that word in the old days? Timbuktu, the caravan. Anyway, responding to Obama`s rebuke today, President Trump attacked Obama at a rally in West Virginia. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I heard President Obama speak today. I had to listen. I was in the plane. I had nothing else to do. And I heard him talk about telling the truth. He was talking about you have to tell the truth. And yet 28 times he said you can keep your doctor if you like your doctor. You can keep your plan, if you like your plan. They were all lies. Then I heard him talk about the freedom of the press. We have to maintain the press. We have to love those people, except that nobody was worse to the press than Obama, nobody. In fact, he even used, as I remember, the justice department to go after reporters. Remember? Remember? But he was talking about how I should be nice to the fake news. No thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK. Here`s a thought. Trump is running now. I just saw it in David Brooks` column today exactly where he was among white men, exactly where he was with all men. His numbers are exactly where they were, 54 and 38, all men 38. So he has gotten hotter and crazier and angrier and more stoking of the violence in this country to keep his current level for another six years, he has to got to be hotter and hotter and hotter.
BRAZILE: He is not expanding the electorate. He is not building a coalition.
MATTHEWS: But he is getting hotter.
BRAZILE: And he is going to get even hotter over the next 72 hours because he is trying to keep people pumped up. But look, what the President said last night, that was just amazing. People are still burying their dead. They are grieving in Pittsburgh. They are grieving in Kentucky. And yet this President shows no empathy. His strategy is to keep his base fired up. And the hell with the rest of us.
MATTHEWS: He didn`t mention those two African-American guys getting killed.
MATTHEWS: Michael, you are chairman of this thing called U.S. vote foundation you all helped to launch, an initiative to turn out young. Tell us how.
STEELE: Yes. We have got a great PSA that is the big deal 2018.com. Go check it out. This is the deal. The promise from parents and family members is, look, we won`t mess with your social media if you go and show us you voted. So we all are asking the young voters on election take a picture of yourself voting, whether you have got the "I just voted" sticker on, or you`re going into the poll. And the deal you make with your relatives is they won`t interfere with your social media. No more checking in on your Instagram, no more checking on your tweets.
STEELE: It`s a fun way to look at the election. But bottom line, Chris, is what you have been talking about and Donna, that you`ve been talking about and you`ve been reporting on, young voters you`ve got get off your behind and go vote. But if you want the information go, to usvotefoundation.org. You can figure out where to vote, how to vote. We have got all the information there. And check out that PSA at the big deal 2018.com.
BRAZILE: I agree with Michael.
MATTHEWS: In the pleasure principle, it`s fun to vote. It really is. Go do it. It works. It`s simple. You do it. And if you face it, that was fun. That was cool. It`s not painful. It is fun. You are going to feel like a man or a woman, whatever you want to feel like. You are going to feel good.
Heidi Przybyla, Donna Brazile, (INAUDIBLE), Michael Steele, you guys are great. Everybody is here tonight.
Coming up, everything we know about Tuesday`s critical contest. Where do things stand in the fight for the House? For the Senate? Very different stories. We will find out that. And what about the governorships? I haven`t talk much about them but these big state governorships look like they are going D, and the momentum looks very clearly Democrat.
And speaking of a fight for the House, what would a Republican victory mean? We are going to go the other way and scare the heck out of people that haven`t voted yet. Just think of that. We are going to show you what happens if the Republicans hold the House. An embolden party under Trump could go after Obamacare, make adjustments to Social Security, Medicare, in other words, cut them, and kill the Mueller probe all together.
Plus, according to "the Washington Post," the President told 1100 lies in October alone. That`s 1100. What does that say about his closing message to voters the next couple days?
Finally, let me finish tonight with the three reasons Democrats should have a little faith going into Tuesday, a little faith. It`s good to score some Chorda (ph).
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Next Tuesday`s election could significantly impact the balance of power in Washington and in statehouses, governorships all around the country. Evidence already suggests voters are engaged at historic levels. Lots of early voting.
According to the NBC data and analytics lab, using voter data provided by TargetSmart, roughly 29 million, almost 30 million voters have already voted, 30 million. That number exceeds the total early voting in the 2014 midterm election by more than eight million. The total amount has already been beaten by eight million.
In the past week, President Trump`s approval rating, however, has dropped four points. And in a recent NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll, it showed that 50 percent of likely voters preferred Democrats to control the House of Representatives vs. 41 percent, about a nine-point spread, which should be enough, even with all the gerrymandering, to give it to the Democrats.
For more, I`m joined by David Wasserman, The Cook Political Report House editor, who covers the House, and Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg Politics national political reporter.
I want to start with David.
David, I have been -- since April have been saying 30 to 40 House seat pickup, based upon just looking at the suburbs and looking at women voting, without the -- without getting too in trouble here -- the complexity of Hillary Clinton for a lot of voters. That`s not there right now, the things happened to her with Comey at the end, the people`s feelings about her.
That`s not the way. It`s really about Trump now. That`s my argument. It`s not about whether you like the Democrats or not. It`s about Trump. Your thoughts?
DAVID WASSERMAN, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Yes, that`s our range too, 30 to 40 seats at the moment.
And there are three reasons why Democrats are the clear favorites to take the House majority. It`s not a done deal yet -- but women, open seats and money. Women with college degrees give President Trump a 27 percent approval rating in the latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, and they`re also the likeliest demographic to vote in the midterm election.
Republicans have 41 open seats. That`s a record going back over a century. And we think Democrats are the favorites to claim 12 of those 41, which would be halfway to the 23 they need for the majority. And then fund- raising. There are 112 Republican incumbents who are -- or Republican-held seats, including 93 incumbents, who were outraised by a Democrat in the last fund-raising quarter, which is just unprecedented.
And that could create some election night surprises.
MATTHEWS: What are the win conditions? Are there any win conditions? Are we in a calm right now? In other words, is the movement over this weekend likely to be pro-Democrat or not? Where do you sense the wind between now and Tuesday to be blowing?
WASSERMAN: Well, Republicans feel pretty good about closing the enthusiasm gap.
But the Democrats I talk to and Republican pollsters agree that independents are the biggest problem for Republicans now, the check-and- balance voter. And, fundamentally, we`re looking at three big buckets of House races, the upscale suburban Republican districts, what I would call Whole Foods districts, where Barbara Comstock has been trailing, very likely to lose, for example.
Then we`re also looking at these Trump districts that voted for Trump by at least 10 points or more. The Republicans have clawed their way back a little bit in places like downstate Illinois, the Iron Range of Minnesota, Upstate New York.
But the districts that we have seen move most in the last couple weeks are those middle-class suburbs, places likes suburban Detroit, the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, and Des Moines, Iowa, where Democrats have -- have these House seat opportunities in districts Trump won by single digits.
And those are looking better for Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m with you, sir, David. I really think you only get one vote, and it`s all about Trump. And I think a lot of women and evolved, culturally evolved men are going to vote against Trump and his behavior.
Anyway, The Cook Political Report has also updated its Senate races. There are currently nine tossup Senate races in the country, five of which are held by Democrats, four by Republicans. If Democrats hope to retake control of the Senate, they would have to hold all the likely, lean or tossup seats, plus pick up two tossups.
Let me go over to Sahil Kapur.
I have been saying that Republicans will probably pick up a couple Senate seats. Your thoughts?
SAHIL KAPUR, BLOOMBERG: It seems likely.
MATTHEWS: Because of the red state advantage.
The map for Democrats is about as bad as any map as a party has had in a very, very long time,maybe in history. The three states I`m looking at right now are North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. Those have broken in favor of Republicans in recent weeks, and probably recent months.
MATTHEWS: People are coming home.
KAPUR: People are coming home. And if Republicans can hold on there, Democrats have no path to the Senate majority.
The single biggest question of the midterms may be whether Trump`s brand of politics is a net winner or a net loser when he`s off the ballot. In previous special elections, like in Virginia and the Pennsylvania House special, that turned out to be the opposite. It ended up mobilizing more Democratic voters than Republican voters.
So will that materialize in these Senate races and potentially save Democrats in some of these tough seats?
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about personality. Everybody`s good at numbers these days, but personality.
Someone like Tester, with the crewcut, who really looks like a guy on a tractor, who doesn`t look like a liberal lefty -- he certainly doesn`t look like a Bernie Sanders kind of guy at all. He looks like a Westerner, a cowboy. You got somebody like Manchin, who seems to do TV all the time. People sort of know him.
They make -- how much will personal personality and sort of the cut of their jib are going to affect this election? And how much will be just sweep of the -- of the pattern voting?
KAPUR: These are popular incumbents in small states, in rural states. They know their states very well.
They have won elections against all odds in the past. I think personality has something to do with it. Joe Manchin, of course, had this ad where he`s shooting -- takes a gun. He`s shooting a copy of the lawsuit that Patrick Morrisey has signed that Texas brought forward that would wipe out the ACA.
KAPUR: And the health care issue has worked out very well for them. So it`s a combination -- I think it`s a combination of ideological issues set that they`re that -- that they`re triangulating and personality.
MATTHEWS: The same back to you, David.
When it comes to the personality of people like Comstock in Virginia, very strong personalities -- you`re laughing -- but she really does have a strong personality. Everybody knows who she is.
WASSERMAN: Well, she used to be one of Republicans` top dirt diggers.
WASSERMAN: And the thing about these Republican moderates in those Clinton seats -- and we would lump them into one group of thinking as them as moderate -- but some of them really have only changed their posture recently.
And the ones who are likeliest to survive, the Brian Fitzpatricks in suburban Philly, for example, and Will Hurd in Texas, they have been the ones who who`ve been most willing to take on the president before he took office.
So I`m -- Philly -- I`m thinking, Philly, you count on 2nd and 3rd, 2 and 3 in Philly. That`s always by 80 percent, 85 percent Democrat.
Then I`m thinking -- well, let`s see. I`m thinking 4, 5, 6, 7 all going Democrat. What do you think?
WASSERMAN: Yes. And you know what, Chris? I was just in Harrisburg actually the last couple days, and the people on the ground that I spoke with there, including a lot of Republicans, are nervous about how the new registration map in that state could cost them seats, including in Central Pennsylvania, a place that hasn`t been competitive in years, where Scott Perry, a Republican Freedom Caucus member, could be...
MATTHEWS: I will pick that too, and I will pick 16, DiNicola, too, over the Kelly guy up there.
I think the Democrats could sweep Pennsylvania. The only one I`m worried about or wondering about is the one you mentioned, Fitzpatrick, who inherited the seat from his brother. And he`s no friend of Trump`s.
Anyway, thank you, David Wasserman.
WASSERMAN: Thanks a lot.
MATTHEWS: Love to have the expertise on the show.
Sahil Kapur, as you well know, we respect your numbers too, even though you don`t even give us a lot of numbers. You just know stuff.
KAPUR: I`m no Dave Wasserman.
MATTHEWS: You`re no Dave Wasserman.
WASSERMAN: I`m no Sahil Kapur.
MATTHEWS: We know Dave Wasserman.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Well, it`s looking more like Democrats are going to win control of the House on Tuesday, but if they don`t, if the House Republicans hang on, what do you have to fear? What could be the worst-case scenario? It looks like the Mueller investigation will be in trouble. Obamacare will be in trouble. So would Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a lot of things to worry about.
Maybe this is to goose people into voting, but we`re going to tell you what to really fear if the Republicans hang on, keep the House, worst-case scenario.
HARDBALL coming back with that, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, Democrats are fighting to take back the majority in the House -- I think they will get it -- but what would mean -- would it mean if the Republicans hold onto the House? What would the agenda look like for an emboldened -- because they`d be emboldened if they won -- Republican Party?
According to "The New York Times," House Republicans have deferred the messy work of planning a legislative agenda at this point. But if they were to win on Tuesday, Republicans would claim a conservative mandate to cut taxes, chip away at the Affordable Care Act, and shrink federal spending.
Something else that could land on their agenda is special counsel Robert Mueller`s ongoing investigation into Russia`s 2016 election interference.
For more, I`m joined by Shawna Thomas, Washington bureau chief for VICE News, and Sam Stein, politics editor for The Daily Beast.
Shawna, what do you think they would really want to do if they did keep clinging to power?
SHAWNA THOMAS, VICE NEWS: I think the tax good thing is clearly what they would want to do, which is try to, number one, make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent.
In the original tax cut bill from last year, it had a 10-year sunset period. And one of the things that they kept saying, just to make -- you OK -- to make the math work, is -- was to...
MATTHEWS: Excuse me.
THOMAS: ... basically truncate the amount of time that that tax cut was available, and then later on, of course, they would make it permanent.
So I think they may try to do that a little earlier than anyone thought.
MATTHEWS: Well, why would they do that at the time they`re talking -- Mitch McConnell`s out there talking about deficits all of a sudden.
MATTHEWS: After passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich and the corporations, he says, whoops, we have got a deficit of almost a trillion dollars a year.
SAM STEIN, THE DAILY BEAST: Deficits don`t really matter to them, unless...
MATTHEWS: But he`s saying we need to cut Medicare.
STEIN: Unless it`s used as a cudgel to go after Democrats when they`re in power or as an opportunity to attack entitlements.
THOMAS: And it gives them another opportunity...
MATTHEWS: Are you saying they lie?
STEIN: Yes, they do lie about their care for deficits.
I think evidence shows that, when they are in power and they have the spending purse strings, deficits suddenly do not matter to them. It happened during the Bush years. It`s happened during the Trump years.
When Obama was in power, especially from 2010 onward, deficit hawkery was the name of the game. And now suddenly they don`t care.
THOMAS: And also, I mean, the idea that they may try to go after Social Security, like change how that works, the idea that overall they`d be able to get it together to change Medicare, those are not the...
MATTHEWS: Well, they can change the COLA. There`s all kinds of games that could be played.
You could play with the COLA.
THOMAS: There are.
But the idea that they`re going to do that two years before a presidential election is just...
MATTHEWS: OK, let me suggest something just to take a little of the scare out of this.
The average Democratic congressperson or senator from the Rust Belt -- they don`t like to hear the phrase -- look, in the Upper Midwest and Industrial states -- they know that the average Democratic voter or Republican basically wants Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for Alzheimer`s, basically, for long-term care, and have a job somewhere near, so their kids will stick around.
Trump knows that too. Trump always says, I talk jobs, but he never talks cutting these social -- these social programs, never.
STEIN: And that is why I find it very implausible that, should the Republican Party maintain control of the House and the Senate, that they would even go after Social Security.
Maybe they might tinker with Medicare in terms of means-testing more programs within it, but Social Security has been such a bedrock promise from Trump, something that he has smartly run on, to your point, in the Industrial Midwest, and something that he knows he would be incredibly vulnerable on if he were to touch...
MATTHEWS: His vote.
STEIN: Yes, he can`t.
STEIN: Trump is not stupid politically. He will not risk that.
MATTHEWS: These are working white people that they live up in Scranton and Erie and places like that.
They`re not going to have a house in Florida, probably. They`re not going to Barbados, maybe for a week or two, maybe. But they basically age in place, and they have a need for these programs.
As George Will, who sat here the other night, says, the American voters are conservative. They want to conserve the New Deal.
STEIN: Yes say.
MATTHEWS: They don`t want to -- and the Great Society.
Anyway, as we have been talking about now, the U.S. deficit has ballooned under Republican control the last two years. And one way Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had suggested to get it under control is cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: It`s very disturbing, and it`s driven by the three big entitlement programs that are very popular, Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Why would he do that on an eve of an election?
THOMAS: Because he wants to seem like the guy who is fiscally conservative, even after the tax cut.
The tax cut argument didn`t work in this election. It got sort of overrun by immigration and what the president decided he wanted to talk about. So he gets to come back to saying, look, maybe we will take a look at this.
But there`s no one -- no one cuts Medicare and Social Security before an election. And this president, as you already pointed out, is not going to do it. And with Medicaid, they don`t need Congress for that. They have states who are proposing waivers to add some means-testing, to add work requirements to Medicaid.
This is how they want to go after that and change those programs. And you can do it between the states and regulation.
MATTHEWS: In the middle of the night in 1972, Richard Nixon said, when he was talking to Chuck Colson, his henchmen...
MATTHEWS: ... we just won 40-some states, but we lost the subpoena power in the House.
MATTHEWS: Trump is aware that if he keeps control of the House through some miracle, he keeps the control of the subpoena power in his hands.
He doesn`t have to worry about Mueller.
STEIN: And even if it`s just by one or two votes.
I mean, this is what the election is really about. So, if he were to maintain control of the House, it will be a vindication for him for all the demonization of the Mueller probe. It will be a vindication from for all the nativist garbage advertisements that he`s put up in the closing weeks.
And he will feel emboldened to go hard on immigration and hard against Mueller as soon as the election is over. And that will be the thematics of the next two years.
MATTHEWS: You think he`s running again?
THOMAS: For president.
STEIN: Yes, I do.
MATTHEWS: You think he`s committed?
STEIN: Yes, I think so.
THOMAS: They have been running and raising money since he actually got into office.
STEIN: OK, let me let me back up a tiny bit, because none of us can put ourselves in his head. Perhaps there`s a scenario in which he says, I`m done with this. I feel like I should go out on top.
But from everything I have observed of him, and from the people I know who know him whom I have talked to, he is someone who craves more than anything else competition and emerging victorious and defeating his foes.
And he`s someone who would get up for the fight more than anything else.
MATTHEWS: He wants to serve in the White House six more years? Really?
STEIN: I think he likes being the center of attention.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I wonder about health. At some point in your age, you start to -- at that age, you start to think about, can I keep eating hamburgers? Can I keep this kind of level up of lifestyle, where you`re constantly under pressure, which you do, to eat? That`s what you do.
It`s like an ongoing campaign. You get heavier and heavier, and less healthier all the time. At some point, you got to stop the action...
STEIN: Don`t I know it.
MATTHEWS: ... and save yourself.
Anyway, I do. I`m just a human being. I wonder why he would want to do it for six more years.
Shawna Thomas, thank you. You, you`re a kid.
Sam Stein, you got -- Sam, you guys nothing to worry about.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Trump`s closing argument ahead of the midterms is a big helping up fear, seasoned with literally thousands of misleading statements and outright lies.
Boy, he -- 1,100 in this month.
MATTHEWS: Will it matter to voters, 1,100 a month of lies?
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
"The Washington Post" fact-checker -- and there is one -- is reporting that in the seven weeks leading up to the midterm elections, the president made 1,400 -- let me get that right -- 1,419, 1,419 false or misleading statements. That`s 1,419, an average of 30 false statements a day in the last seven weeks.
That`s more than he made in the first nine months of his presidency. So he is galloping right now in mistruths, the number of claims he made in September alone.
Anyway, "The Post" notes, "The Washington Post": "The flood of presidential misinformation has picked up dramatically as the president has barnstormed across the country, holding rallies with his supporters."
Let`s watch some of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you look at that caravan, and you look -- of largely, very big percentage of men, young, strong, a lot of bad people, a lot of bad people in there, people that are in gangs.
You had towns that were practically taken over by MS-13. These towns, like a country that was invaded and taken over and then was liberated.
Justice Kavanaugh, number one in his class at Yale.
We have the best economy in the history of our country.
I got the women`s vote.
Republicans will always protect Americans with preexisting conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let`s bring in tonight`s HARDBALL Roundtable.
Eli Stokols is White House reporter for "The L.A. Times." Neera Tanden is president of the Center for American Progress. And Adolfo Franco is an RNC surrogate and former adviser to the great John McCain.
Does it matter, Neera? These statements -- the other day he was saying, I`m a known recognized expert on crowd measurements. Everybody knows he is the opposite of that. He is a joke when it comes to measuring crowds.
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think what`s happening in the country, honestly, particularly over the last week, is Trump is -- it`s not that -- just that he lies. He lies to stoke fear. He lies to juice up his base.
But I think what`s really interesting is that I do think...
MATTHEWS: Is he trolling us? Is he trying to get us to do this?
TANDEN: Yes, he is trolling all of us. He is trolling all of us.
MATTHEWS: To get us to say he lies.
But I think his whole effort is to, you know, get the people who voted for him, white non-college voters, to come into this election. They haven`t been showing up as much in the special elections. White college-educated voters who are surging for women have. He is really trying to juice that.
But what`s been interesting, I really think that there is a counter- response to the divisive lying. I mean, it`s not just lying. It`s divisive lying. And so I think the thing is, I think what -- a lot of people, there is a broad coalition whose like wants a check on this.
MATTHEWS: Adolfo, you like to be lied to, Neera says. You like the feeling of it.
ADOLFO FRANCO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: A couple of things.
What are you doing, Neera, trying to juice up your base? I just saw those clips. The fact of the matter is, I don`t know if it was the lies in this regard. Let me give you a couple of examples.
TANDEN: Are they true or not? Are they true or false?
FRANCO: I didn`t interrupt you. I didn`t interrupt you.
FRANCO: I didn`t interrupt you.
A couple of things. According to the Mexican ambassador to the United States, there were a lot of violent people that came over. There were a lot of incidents.
Now, don`t interrupt me. Secondly, another thing that happened very clearly is that we know that these -- this caravan is two-thirds at least men, according to the Border Patrol. Yes, it is. And I can show you where....
MATTHEWS: How many Arabs?
MATTHEWS: How many Arabs?
TANDEN: How many Arabs?
FRANCO: How many? I don`t know.
TANDEN: How many terrorists?
FRANCO: I don`t know. And that is the point. That`s the point. That`s the point. We don`t know. We don`t know.
MATTHEWS: Of course we don`t know. How many Alaskans are in there?
FRANCO: We know it`s men. We know this thing has been organized by Sin Fronteras and other NGOs. It has been.
In terms of help, this is not organic. A lot of these people are...
TANDEN: Of course it`s organic. Where do you get it`s not organic?
FRANCO: Where do you get that people just come together?
TANDEN: I`m sorry. I`m sorry.
FRANCO: Oh, yes. Well, look at the organization the makes it, Sin Fronteras.
TANDEN: I`m sorry. I appreciate that like this is what you get from the president.
FRANCO: I`m not getting anything from the president.
TANDEN: The idea -- the Mexican ambassador said there was some -- there was one incident.
FRANCO: Very violent. Not one incident. More than one.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s take a look at this.
MATTHEWS: Happening live right now, besides what`s happening here right now, is a look at the two split-screen right now.
Here is the president of the United States. He is out there campaigning in Indianapolis. Donald Trump`s rallying his supporters, trying to defeat Joe Donnelly, while at the same time former President Barack Obama is in Atlanta. There he is, no tie, getting the vote out for Stacey Abrams.
Let me go to you, Eli. Who is going to win this battle of the presidents?
ELI STOKOLS, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": I don`t know who is going to -- I think we have to wait until Tuesday. I`m done making predictions.
MATTHEWS: Really? That`s all I do.
STOKOLS: Well, and I think that we`re going to have a different electorate than we have ever seen in a midterm election before.
MATTHEWS: How so?
STOKOLS: I just think there are more first-time voters coming out in a midterm than we have seen before.
MATTHEWS: That`s good for Democrats.
STOKOLS: I think a lot that is a response to 2016.
In some cases, it`s a response to the candidates that are running. But it`s impossible to predict, and it`s hard to predict exactly. I think the impact of the president you see on the right, that`s the one whose having an impact, for good and for bad, OK?
He is motivating Republicans in a lot of these red states, but he is also galvanizing people who haven`t voted before. He is galvanizing Democrats, independents who might sit on their hands...
MATTHEWS: I think you`re right.
FRANCO: ... to come out and vote against him.
MATTHEWS: He has a bigger impact.
FRANCO: That`s a very -- that`s telling thing that Eli just said.
I`m done predicting. I don`t -- didn`t feel in 2010 and 2014, when there were wave elections, and everybody was saying it was going to be close or I don`t know where it is. There was a feeling, a feeling in 2010 and `14 by both parties that the outcome was going to be what the outcome was.
There is still a prediction you just earlier -- in your earlier segments, if the Republicans hold the House. That`s still a possibility. That was nothing that was being discussed...
FRANCO: Well, there wasn`t discussion in 2014 and `10.
TANDEN: OK. There`s been weeks of talk of Democrats taking the House.
FRANCO: You think by 60 seats, 40 seats?
TANDEN: I think it will be a 35 seats.
But you`re right. I`m predicting.
MATTHEWS: I`m with her. I have been with her since April. I think it`s just the way it`s going to be. I`m not sure it matters.
FRANCO: My point is, with all this Trump talk, expansion of the Republican control in the Senate is likely. I think that -- I personally think...
MATTHEWS: Adolfo, where does this go over the next six years?
MATTHEWS: If he stays in office and keeps getting more heated every year with this scare stuff, what kind of president will he be in six years? He is not going to stay this level of heat. He gets hotter every month.
FRANCO: I don`t think it gets hotter every month.
MATTHEWS: It doesn`t? We have all watched it.
FRANCO: I think this whole, for example, which is largely based on an immigration in the last few weeks, is consistent with Donald Trump`s message on immigration since 2016.
TANDEN: OK. I just need to say one thing about this. OK?
We had pipe bombs last week sent to people. We had 11 people die.
FRANCO: And the president went to Pittsburgh, yes, right. He went there for sympathy.
TANDEN: No, you`re right. He went to -- I know that`s like one of the things we talk about.
But seven hours after it happened, he was tweeting about a baseball game. People -- and actually attacked the fake news, said it`s a fake -- today, he said the fake news is creating violence in our country.
The fact that you want to create this reality that he`s some uniter, when he does everything to divide this country, and I think a majority of the country is going to respond on Tuesday, is going to respond, and say, we need a check.
FRANCO: When "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" basically say -- almost say that they are now going to have a duty to attack this president the last two years...
TANDEN: That`s just false. That`s just false. That`s fake.
STOKOLS: That`s just wrong, OK?
And the White House -- I`m going just keep it to the White House. The White House loves to attack journalists for writing things that are true about this president and saying that they are negative stories. They`re 90 percent negative.
Well, the president is lying 30 times a day, delivering false statements 30 times a day. Journalists try very hard to refrain from using words like lie.
But when he is out there, when he is saying these things that are not true constantly, journalists are going to point that out, and they`re not going to be intimidated when people say, oh, you`re against the president because you`re pointing that out. It`s our job to point that out.
FRANCO: The president doesn`t attack all journalists. That`s not true.
TANDEN: What are you talking about? That`s crazy.
FRANCO: And he has said it himself. He has said it himself.
A lot of journalists are fine people.
MATTHEWS: We have got to stop right now.
What I have noticed about the president, he never goes after opinion people like me or Rachel or anybody else, because he doesn`t care about us. He cares about front-page writers like you who put the facts on the table. He doesn`t like the facts.
FRANCO: He likes you. That`s why he doesn`t attack you.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s move on from that, Adolfo Franco.
I don`t know about that.
Neera, it`s great to have you on. You`re smart. And you can beat this guy any night of the week.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, HARDBALL, that`s where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Be sure to tune in tomorrow night for a special night of live analysis and discussion just three days before the midterms elections.
We`re going to have Joy Reid, Ari Melber, Stephanie Ruhle, and Lawrence O`Donnell. It starts at 6:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC on Saturday night.
And when we return tonight, Let Me Finish tonight with three reasons -- I think they`re good ones -- that Democrats should have a little faith going into Tuesday. I mean it, some good faith.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Let Me Finish this Friday night before the election with this.
Two things are happening as we get closer to Tuesday. One, President Trump is getting more mad dog crazy about the caravan, historically -- or hysterically talking about ways to spook people into the voting booth.
Two, Democrats giddy at the thought of victory are nonetheless getting nervous they might blow it, like they did in 2016.
Well, look, only one side`s going to turn out to be right about this. Either this election is heading towards the Democrats, which is what is scaring Trump, or it`s going to be a repeat of 2016, a very bad Democratic memory.
So, please listen up. Here`s a straight-from-the-shoulder reason for the Dems to have a little faith.
The election next Tuesday is not about you. Got it? You`re not the government. You`re not running things. What you have been doing or not doing doesn`t matter. Voters only have time to worry about what affects their lives. You don`t.
The reason you lost the last time is because 2016 was about you. It was about the Republican voters` rejection of the Republican establishment candidates, followed by the country`s rejection of the Democratic establishment`s candidate.
Next Tuesday is, again, and fortunately for Democrats, not about you, but about solely and profoundly about Donald Trump. The verdict on him will start in the suburbs, where women and culturally evolved men will lead the charge against Trump, against Trumpism.
This will be true in burbs across the country, highlighted in the early hours of Tuesday evening with word from the collar counties of Philadelphia.
That`s not to say the Republicans won`t get a piece of the victory. The fact that this midterm election is going to be about Trump is not to say it`s going to be all against Trump.
A good many deep-red states who voted for him in `16 will vote for Trump`s candidates in `18. This will show in the results for the U.S. Senate.
But the results for the House of Representatives will be far different. For sound, constitutional reasons, the House prides itself in being the people`s house. Unlike the Electoral College or the U.S. Senate, it better reflects, even with gerrymandering, the national popular will.
I believe that, in electing its members, American voters will make a sound, undeniable statement against the man awaiting the results in the White House.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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