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Biden to represent moderate wing. TRANSCRIPT: 7/31/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Adrienne Elrod, Danielle Moodie-Mills, Symone Sanders, J.A. Moore,Dina Titus


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Thanks for watching THE BEAT tonight.  Thanks to Chuck Nice, Tara Dowdell and all of our great guests.  I`ll be back at 9:00 p.m. Eastern anchoring debate coverage tonight.  Brian Williams takes over after that.

But don`t go anywhere because "HARDBALL" starts now.


Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews out in Detroit again.

Well, the candidates will take the stage in the next hour for round two of the second democratic debate here, and all eyes will be on center stage, of course, as frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden gets a rematch for Senator Kamala, Harris, whether he wants one or not.  Biden has said he plans to be less polite in tonight`s debate.  Biden campaign officials told NBC News the former V.P. plans to take the fight directly to President Trump, but won`t take any attacks on his record lying down.

Well, today the former Vice President made clear one thing he plans to fight for tonight.  He released an op-ed column going after his democratic rivals on the issue of healthcare.  His campaign also released a video showing his opponents struggling to discuss their own healthcare plans.


NORAH O`DONNELL, CBS HOST:  How much would Medicare for all cost?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ):  So a couple things.  First of all --

O`DONNELL:  Just quickly, so that people would know how much it would cost.

BOOKER:  But again --


MATTHEWS:  Well, the former Vice President will be flanked tonight at center stage by Senators Harris and Cory Booker, who has criticized Biden in recent weeks over his role in crafting the 1994 crime bill.  So we`re going back a quarter century tonight for this debate.

Anyway, earlier this week, Senator Harris previewed her strategy for tonight`s debate.  Let`s watch.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA):  My mother raised me to be polite, and I intend to be polite.

It is my intention to do as much as possible to use that time on the debate stage to talk with the American public about the issues they care about and the issues that wake them up at 3:00 in the morning.


MATTHEWS:  Well, Senator Harris, of course, got a major boost after her confrontation with Biden in the polls in last month`s debate over her legislative -- his legislative work with segregationist senators and his record on court-mandated busing.  She hit him on those issues.

But according to Politico, the former V.P. is prepared this time for a pile-on.  He is expected to fire back both at Booker for his time as Newark, New Jersey Mayor when police were racially profiling citizens, and then Senator Harris who supported a controversial truancy law in 2010 when she was Attorney General in California.

For more, I`m joined by Adrienne Elrod, former Senior Adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign, John Heilemann, MSNBC National Affairs Analyst, and Danielle Moodie-Mills, Sirius XM Radio.  Thank you all for joining us right now.

I want to go through the list as I`ve listed.  John Heilemann, tonight, everybody is watching this fight.  It`s like a heavyweight fight between the reigning heavyweight in the polls and someone who may well end up the nominee, but it`s moving up certainly.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  Yes.  And, look, I mean, Chris, you got Joe Biden who took those blows in the first debate.  His numbers have bounced back to a large extent.  But there is no one, including no one around Joe Biden in the Joe Biden campaign who doesn`t recognize the stakes here that the calling card for this candidacy is that he is the one best equipped to take on Donald Trump, and that two bad debate performances would put a huge dent in that aura.

So there is expectation and a fair amount of nerves on the part of the people around Biden about whether or not he is going to be able to bounce back in this debate and prove again that he is the guy to go after the President of the United States.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Adrienne.  It seems to me Biden challenges Biden.  He has to look at the -- he is not being threatened in the numbers by Cory Booker, who is about 1 or 2 percent at the most.  He is not really being threatened even by Kamala in the numbers.  His challenge is to hold his numbers.

ADRIENNE ELROD, FMR. SENIOR ADVISOR, CLINTON CAMPAIGN:  Well, that`s exactly right, Chris.  He`s got to rise to the occasion tonight and play more offense than defense.  I mean, he`s got a record going back to when he was 29 years old, when he was first elected to Congress.  He is now 76.  So if he allows every single person on that debate stage tonight to attack him on his record, he is not going to do very well.

And his team knows that.  He knows that.  He`s got some of the best campaign operatives in democratic politics today working on his campaign.  They`re fully aware of the stakes.  And I think he`ll rise to the occasion tonight.

MATTHEWS:  Danielle, what would you think it`s going to look like tonight?  Give us a little preview of let`s go after Cory Booker, let`s go after Kamala.  They`re the ones who really have nothing to lose.  Certainly, Booker has nothing to lose.  He is about two points.  Kamala is one of those two or three people, maybe four who could be the nominee right now, looking at the numbers.

DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, SIRIUS XM HOST:  Yes, I mean, absolutely.  I think, one, we saw Kamala Harris perform extraordinarily well in Miami, and we know that she is going to come out strong

Look, Biden has been running from his record, and that`s what he showed us in the last debate.  So he needs to stand strong.  He needs to show the American people that he is somebody that can play into days` political game, not bring us back to yesteryear, not give us promises of working across the aisle when we know that republicans are not interested in doing that, but that he`s ready to play today`s game.

And I think last night, we saw the moderate versus liberal wing of the Democratic Party.  And, frankly, America doesn`t want a moderate right now.  They want somebody who can handle the big issues.  And so Joe Biden has a tall order tonight to be able to prove to the American public that he is ready.

MATTHEWS:  Well, there is one thing missing in the conversation last night about legislation.  They`re all talking about legislation, basically, things, programs they`re going to push through, Medicare for all, the whole thing.  And I kept thinking, wait a minute, there is something missing here.  You need 60 votes in the U.S. Senate.  That means you need a big majority, a super majority for any of these programs.  You can maybe play around with the tax system, but you can`t do anything in terms of programs without 60 senators.

John, you start here.  What world are they talking about in 2021 when we have 47 democratic senators now with an unlikely ability to even get 50, let alone 60?

HEILEMANN:  Yes.  I mean, Chris, I think they`re talking a little bit along the lines of what Governor Bullock said last night from the stage.  There`s a little bit of a wish list quality to some of the democratic proposals.

It is the case that there are a lot of democrats who think that the more cautious, more pragmatic style of politics that Hillary Clinton practiced in 2016 did not work against Donald Trump.  And so now, the argument goes, you need to have a full-throated progressive point of view that will enliven the base and drive turnout if you`re going to try to beat Donald Trump.

I don`t think that has very much to do in this conversation.  It has very much to do with governing.  People are kind of saying, worry about governing later.  We`ve got to figure out at how we go about beating Donald Trump.

And to come back to Joe Biden, I mean, it`s one of the things that`s a little bit of a conundrum with Biden, right?  He is seen as the one who is most likely or best equipped by a lot of democrats to take on Donald Trump.  At the same time, he also has this vision of the Republican Party, which is a vision that is kind of outdated.  I think we can somehow figure out how to do business of the Republican Party.

And that is another problem that he has with this electorate.  Most democrats look at that and say, dude, the Democratic Party cannot do business with these republicans.  You can`t pretend like that old vision of the Republican Party still obtains.  And Biden is going to face challenges on that front too going forward probably tonight on this debate stage and as this campaign progresses.

MATTHEWS:  Danielle, your thoughts about this, just in terms of promises to the voters.  I mean, people have been promising voter stuff for the whole history of this country they can`t deliver.  But what I listened to last night, I kept thinking how does this happen?  How does this happen in a political division we have in our country now which is roughly 50-50?  How do we make good on these commitments made last night?

MOODIE-MILLS:  I mean, here is the thing, Donald Trump hasn`t made good on one thing that he has put forward.  So I think right now, what we`re looking for is visionary leadership.

And to John`s point, you know, the fact of the matter is that Donald Trump has been lying to the people for so long.  And the idea that the Republican Party has totally backed him, and then you have Joe Biden coming out and giving us this kind of nostalgic idea of the Republican Party and working across the aisle.  I think, yes, we have to find a way to work out these big ideas in Senate that if Mitch McConnell is still in control of it, we`re going to be in a lot of trouble.

But the idea is here, we need somebody that has big ideas, big vision to be able to solve some of our big problems.  And maybe if a democrat gets into office, that`s going to be done through executive orders if Mitch McConnell is still going to be playing the Grim Reaper role.

MATTHEWS:  You can actually do this through executive order, creating a Medicare for all program?  I mean, I don`t understand how you do that.

MOODIE-MILLS:  We will have to find ways in which to work around the Senate if, in fact, Mitch McConnell is still the leader of the Senate at that time.  They will have to work around and they`ll have to find the maneuvers and the political strategies in order to be able to do that.  Because working with the Senate, if Mitch McConnell is in power is not going to be an option.  So democrats are going to have to get creative.  Republicans have not been playing by the rules this entire time.

MATTHEWS:  Do you have any thoughts about this?

ELROD:  I do, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  H how do you work around the U.S. Senate.  I mean, it`s a great idea.  I think you can do some things by executive order.  But these major visionary proposals are going to take the approval of the U.S. Congress, and usually 60 votes in the U.S. Senate.  That`s just the fact.

ELROD:  Yes, Chris.  You`re simply not going to be able to pass some sort of Medicare for all plan by executive order.  And we`re not going to be able to get pass -- democrats cannot pass that plan with a senate majority that is ruled by Mitch McConnell, that is ruled by republicans.

And I think that`s what Joe Biden is planning on here.  That`s one of his tacks.  He is saying, you know, what, look, I was part of the team that passed Obamacare.  I know there are some things that need to be fixed, but I also don`t think we need to overhaul the entire healthcare system.

A lot of Americans feel that way and a lot of Americans remember how hard it was to pass Obamacare in 2009.  I was working on the Hill at the time, Chris, and it was a very difficult, very carefully crafted plan to pass, but it passed.

MATTHEWS:  And you had Ted Kennedy.

ELROD:  And you had Ted Kennedy.  To actually overhaul the system right now it`s nearly impossible.

MATTHEWS:  And, you know, I think you got a great proposal.  I wish I could get up in the morning tomorrow morning and figure out a way to deal with Mitch McConnell because he has been awful.  John Heilemann, maybe you`ve got the plan, because I think it takes a visionary president.

I agree with Danielle.  Somebody could go and shout from the rooftops.  This guy is an obstructionist.  He is closing down everything we are trying to do.  We can`t get anything past this guy.  This is not democratic.  This is just obstructionism.  And how do you beat him so that republicans are finally embarrassed by this guy and people like Mitt Romney break loose or Susan Collins or somebody?

Is there any way to beat Mitch McConnell, honestly, John Heilemann?

HEILEMANN:  Well, Chris, I think you know that the only way to beat Mitch McConnell is with actual raw political power, and that power is going to come from the ballot box.  So, you know, a situation in which Donald Trump suffered a devastating large landslide loss in 2020 and democrats either retook control of the United States Senate or came close, I would say actually, probably they would need to take control of the United States Senate.

That scenario that takes McConnell out of the majority leader`s job and that makes the Republican Party recognize that they are paying a giant political price for having gone into bed and fully into bed with Donald Trump might change the dynamics on the Senate side.

But I don`t think there is some clever procedural way around this.  I don`t think there is a clever -- there is a kumbaya way around this.  You can`t work with him and I think you can work around him.  I think you`ve got to go straight through him and you`ve got to beat those Senate Republicans in order to give yourself the kind of power and leverage that will be able to change the game.

MATTHEWS:  Well, tonight`s debate comes against the backdrop of President Trump`s ongoing attacks targeting members of Congress of color.  Here is how some of the candidates at last night`s debate confronted the President`s embrace of racial division.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT):  What Trump is doing through his racism and his xenophobia is demonizing a group of people.  And as president, I will end that demonization.

REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D-TX):  We`ll call his racism out for what it is and also talk about its consequences.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA):  We live in a country now where the President is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, healthcare racism.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN):  There are people that voted for Donald Trump before that aren`t racist.  They just wanted a better shake in the economy.  And so I would appeal to them.  But I don`t think anyone can justify what this president is doing.


MATTHEWS:  Let me go back to Danielle.  I want to ask you a tough question.  I`m not sure what your answer is, so this is wide open from my end.  Do you have a sense that, you know, traditionally, and tradition is not so great if you`re a person of color in this country, traditionally, the candidates, they run white people, except for Obama, it`s been white people running for president and vice president.  Do you think this is one time where the ticket has to reflect our diversity?

MOODIE-MILLS:  I think, just in general, we need a ticket that is going to be reflective of somebody that can beat Donald Trump.  And if that happens to be a Kamala Harris and a Warren ticket or, you know, whoever is winning at that time, then that`s who we need to go with.

But the fact of the matter is, yes, Donald Trump is a racist, but he is using racism as a distraction from the fact that the impeachment walls are closing in on him.  And that needs to be uplifted as well.  It`s not diversity for diversity`s sake.  We need somebody who is going the beat Donald Trump, beat him on policy, beat him on measure, and restore some type of sanctity, some type of decency to American politics right now, which is completely absent under his rule.

MATTHEWS:  Did it bother you that ten democrats were on the stage last time before national television audiences in so many networks and none of them raised the issue of impeaching Donald Trump, Danielle?

MOODIE-MILLS:  Yes.  I think that it`s -- we need to be talking about impeaching Donald Trump on a day-to-day basis.  And we need to be talking about it not because we don`t like him, because he`s a republican, but because he`s a national security threat to the United States, and that every day, he is doing something that puts the American people in danger, and that his racism is, in fact, a distraction, and that we need to be talking about it and calling it out because he is using his base as a way to move them on their racism and to divide us.  And it`s something that we cannot stand for.

But at the same time, he is doing it because he is running scared.  He is scared of the big I, which is impeachment, that I believe is coming for him.

MATTHEWS:  Okay.  Thank you so much, Danielle Moodie-Mills.  Thank you, Adrienne Elrod right here, and John Heilemann, thank you.

Coming up tonight on HARDBALL, more on tonight`s big rematch tonight between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  Everyone is going to be watching center stage tonight.  Will Biden show more passion and spontaneity that he lacked last time?  I`m going to talk to surrogates for both the Biden and Harris campaigns on their debate strategies for tonight.

And for years, Mitch McConnell has worn his hyper-partisanship and obstructionism as a badge of honor.  But now, the nickname Moscow Mitch has hurt his feelings.  Joe scarborough, who coined that wonderful phrase, joins me tonight live on HARDBALL.

Much more ahead tonight in this hour.  Stick with us.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

In tonight`s democratic presidential debate, all eyes will be on former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, who will meet center stage for the first time since last month`s dramatic encounter.


HARRIS:  There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day.  And that little girl was me.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT:  It`s a mischaracterization of my position across the board.


MATTHEWS:  Since then, a month ago, you`ve seen the two candidates willing to take the gloves off.  Here they go.


REPORTER:  What did you mean when you said you`re not going to be as polite in the next debate?

BIDEN:  We`ll see.

HARRIS:  I will express differences and articulate them, and certainly point out where we have differences of opinion, because I believe that democrats and the American voter have a right to know that.  But there is no reason we can`t be polite.


MATTHEWS:  Well, Biden campaign officials tell NBC that the former veep is not naive about being attacked by other Democrats, but he is fully prepared to point out where other candidates may not be as on solid ground as they think they are when they attack him. 

For more, I`m joined by Symone Sanders, senior adviser to the Biden campaign. 

Symone, thank you. 

This is the rematch, Ali-Frazier.  You know what I mean?


MATTHEWS:  Everybody is looking to see how this is going to go.

How is Joe going to be different this time? 

SYMONE SANDERS, BIDEN CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER:  Look, I think Vice President Biden uniquely understands that he will be a target on that stage for a number of people.

But he also knows that the American people are tuning into the debate because they want to hear his plans for the future, specifically, Chris, when we talk about health care. 

So you can expect us to draw stark contrasts between ourselves and the other folks on the stage, but also President Trump. 


S. SANDERS:  I mean, look, there was a lot of stuff that went down this week from the president`s Twitter feed that, frankly, Chris, is unacceptable. 

He launched racist attacks over in Baltimore, on Congressman Cummings, OK? 

MATTHEWS:  Hey, I`m with you.  OK, let`s -- everybody watching this show agrees with you.

I want to ask you, how does he deftly take an attack, for example, from Cory Booker about how he stood on a crime bill back in `94, 26 years ago, 25 years ago, and turn it into 2020?  How does he go from `94, the history, all to way to the future, which you say -- how do you do that in one quick response? 

S. SANDERS:  In 60 seconds or 30 seconds. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you do that?

S. SANDERS:  Well, look, Chris, I will say this. 

Look, Vice President Biden is proud of his record.  And we can talk about records.  He also wants to talk about the future.  But if we want to talk about records, you can expect Vice President Biden to say, in 2007, when Cory Booker was then -- Senator Booker was then a mayor, talking about being tough on crime, Vice President Biden, then Senator Biden, was introducing a bill in the Senate to end the crack cocaine-powder disparity. 

So, we can talk about records.  We`re more than happy to do that.  But I think the American people want to talk about the future. 

MATTHEWS:  He had an interesting role as V.P. for Obama. 

I think he was a guy who tried to make -- he was sort of like in the old days Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson.  He was the regular guy.  Carson was a big, aloof -- you`re too young to know this, I guess, but a bit aloof. 

And he sort of made Obama`s very intellectual -- sort of an intellectual visionary -- he brought him back to regular people.  I always say he put the apostrophe in Obama.  You know what I mean?  He made him a regular guy. 

Now I think he`s trying to get back to sort of remind people of that.

How does he remind them of something that was so recent, but yet seems so long ago?  Isn`t weird? 

S. SANDERS:  It`s kind of strange, Chris. 


MATTHEWS:  Obama said...

S. SANDERS:  But then people want to pretend as though Vice President Biden was not the vice president to President Obama for eight years and worked alongside him in the White House on everything from the Recovery Act that benefited and helped folks right here in Michigan, particularly right here in Detroit, to housing. 

MATTHEWS:  Saving the auto industry. 

S. SANDERS:  Saving the auto industry. 

So, you can expect I think we`re going get those questions tonight, Chris.  And the vice president is going to talk about it, because that is his experience.  That goes directly to his experience and how he is equally positioned to do well. 

MATTHEWS:  Can you do me a favor?  Can you do me a favor?  See where we`re standing right now? 

S. SANDERS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Right after the debate, I want you to bring the vice president right here.  OK?


S. SANDERS:  Well, we will see what we can do, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Because everybody wants to hear from him.  Everybody wants to hear from him. 

And if he wins, he should come in here.  But if he is too tired, I would understand. 

S. SANDERS:  Oh, no, no. 


MATTHEWS:  I`m just teasing. 

S. SANDERS:  You know him.  You know him. 

MATTHEWS:  I`m teasing. 


MATTHEWS:  Get him over here. 

Thank you, Symone.  You`re a great guest, a great surrogate.

S. SANDERS:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Symone Sanders.

Well, back in January, Senator Harris, Kamala Harris, was asked if Joe Biden would make a good president.  And here`s what she said then. 


HARRIS:  I think there are many people who would make a good president.  And I got to know Joe as a person through Beau.  They had an incredibly special relationship. 

You`re not going hear me criticize Joe Biden.  I think he is a great guy. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, after the first debate`s pointed out -- pointed exchange between the two of them, Senator Harris was asked why her position on the vice president had changed so much. 

Let`s take a look. 


HARRIS:  I have no intention of attacking Joe Biden, but I am going to point out our differences of opinion. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is also running for president, accused Senator Harris of playing politics there. 


REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Levying this accusation that Joe Biden is racist, when he`s clearly not, as a way to try to smear him, this is just a political ploy, and I think a very underhanded one, just to try to get herself attention, to move herself up in the polls. 

I think that we need to be above that, all of us. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, for more, I`m joined right now by State Representative J.A. Moore.  He is from South Carolina.  He is co-chair for Kamala Harris` presidential campaign. 

Thank you, Representative.


MATTHEWS:  Well, let`s talk about tonight.  I was just talking to Symone about this thing. 

How do you see this fight tonight?  Because you notice how CNN has positioned there in the center?  They want Ali-Frazier here.  They want the fight. 

How is it going to look tonight?      MOORE:  Listen, it`s not going to be a fight.  What it`s going to be is Senator Harris...

MATTHEWS:  It was last time. 

MOORE:  Well, what Senator Harris did was articulate her point, making sure that the American people know that she is the only candidate that can take on Donald Trump. 

And what she was doing is just giving contrasts.  So, it definitely wasn`t a fight.  And what...

MATTHEWS:  OK, wait a minute. 

You have seen the pictures.  How many times do you see it?  She turned over, leaned around the guy next to her, and leaned over and pointed to him.  That was a fight. 

MOORE:  That definitely wasn`t a fight. 

MATTHEWS:  It wasn`t a fight?  How come it looked like one?


MOORE:  Well, listen, here`s what I want to say. 

MATTHEWS:  Sure, go ahead.

MOORE:  The most important thing is what we`re focused on now, is making sure the American people know that Senator Harris will fight for them. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

MOORE:  That`s the most important thing, not fight against any of the other candidates, because, at the end of the day, when Senator Harris is the nominee, we need to all come together as a party. 

So, that`s the most important thing.

MATTHEWS:  What do you think about -- but maybe there is something going in American politics now, but we`re really focusing a lot on things that were 25, 26 years ago. 

And maybe that`s good.  Is it? 

MOORE:  Listen...

MATTHEWS:  I mean, we`re going back and arguing about the crime bill back then.  We`re talking about incarceration patterns then were set and mandated -- mandated sentencing and things like that. 

Is that helpful as we chart our way to beating Trump? 

MOORE:  I think so. 

MATTHEWS:  Is that a smart route? 

MOORE:  Well, I think it`s important, if you have an over 40-year record you, have to examine it. 


MOORE:  I mean, I think that`s an important thing.

MATTHEWS:  How about somebody who doesn`t have any record? 

MOORE:  Well, you have to examine that non-record. 

MATTHEWS:  That`s a lot more fun attacking...

MOORE:  That`s right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... the guy with 40 years, isn`t it? 

MOORE:  Well, listen, it`s not about attacking him. 

You have to be able to look at a person`s record to see how they`re going to govern. 



MATTHEWS:  Because I thought, in the beginning of this campaign, Biden was sort of in first place with all the numbers.  We all saw the same numbers.  And Kamala was coming on, the new kid on the block, sharp as hell, great record, moving in there.  I said, this would be a hell of a ticket. 

Is it still possible either way?  Is it a ticket possibly still? 

MOORE:  Well, I think we`re far aways -- away from making that kind of decision. 

And I am definitely not going to make any announcements tonight about that.


MOORE:  But what`s important for us to remember is, right now, what Kamala is trying to do is really talk about her 3:00 a.m. agenda, when you talk about her plan for Medicare for all. 


MOORE:  And I`m going to tell a personal story, if I have a second. 

My business partner -- my business partner and really close friend, Clifford Smith (ph), passed away just last Thursday. 


MOORE:  He had cancer.  He did not have health insurance, 70 years old.  So, I know firsthand the importance...

MATTHEWS:  Right.  He never got treated? 

MOORE:  Well, he got treated, but he was paying out of pocket. 


MOORE:  And you know how expensive that can be. 

MATTHEWS:  I can imagine. 

MOORE:  And so, for me, this is -- it hits me very personal. 

I have a daughter that is going to be born in like a couple of days.  And under Kamala Harris` plan, she will automatically get into Medicare for all.  That`s important. 

My friend Clifford, if he was uninsured, would have automatically got into her plan. 


MOORE:  I mean, this is important. 

And so it`s important that we obviously talk about a person`s record. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

MOORE:  But we also have to talk about the future. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you finance something like that, when you have 60 Republican senators -- or you have 47 Democrats in the U.S. Senate, you have a bill that`s going to have to be financed?  Something has got to pay for all this. 

MOORE:  That`s right. 

MATTHEWS:  Medicare now, pay for it.  You work for 50 years now, from the time you`re 15 to the time you`re 65, to pay for your own health care when you retire. 

MOORE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Who is going to pay for your health care your whole life under this new plan?  I`m just curious, who is paying for it? 

MOORE:  But if you actually study her plan, what it talks about is that there`s a lot of things we can do as far as the tax program with large corporations. 

MATTHEWS:  So the corporations pay for everybody`s health care? 

MOORE:  No, no, no, no, definitely not, not pay for everyone`s health care. 

If you also look at a plan, it`s anyone making above $100,000 will pay a larger portion for affordable health care.  That`s important.  That`s important. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I agree.  OK, I think we`re going have to pay for part of it. 

Thank you.  Thank you, Representative Moore of South Carolina. 

MOORE:  Thank you very much.

MATTHEWS:  Up next:  His new nickname, Moscow Mitch, is reportedly giving a little stomach problem to the majority leader. 

We will be getting to that now.  Will it be enough to get him to finally do something about election security?  I don`t think so.  But it certainly caught his attention, and he now thinks a lot about Joe Scarborough, who gave him that wonderful nickname. 

And Joe joins us live in just a minute on HARDBALL. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

After blocking several election security bills in the wake of Robert Mueller`s testimony last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come under increasing pressure to protect our elections against Russian interference. 

And last week, McConnell`s stonewalling prompted "Washington Post" columnist Dana Milbank to call him a Russian asset for refusing to defend his country from Moscow`s attacks. 

But it was MSNBC`s Joe Scarborough who rolled out a new nickname for McConnell, which he hammered him home on Friday. 


JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE":  I want to hear about Moscow Mitch. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Moscow Mitch, that being Mitch McConnell of Moscow, Kentucky, Moscow Mitch blocks two bills. 

Moscow Mitch. 

Moscow Mitch. 

Moscow Mitch keeps killing any bill that would protect American democracy. 

But I want to talk about Moscow Mitch. 

Moscow Mitch. 

Moscow Mitch. 

Moscow Mitch. 

He is aiding and abetting... 


SCARBOROUGH:  ... Vladimir Putin`s ongoing attempts to subvert American democracy. 

Moscow Mitch won`t even let the Senate take a vote on it. 


SCARBOROUGH:  That is un-American. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, "The New York Times" reported yesterday that McConnell`s incensed by that nickname, which has spread to all across social media, thanks to Joe. 

And now the Associated Press is reporting that the nickname is even catching on in his home state of Kentucky, where he faces reelection.  You are seeing people with signs there. 

Even President Trump had to deny that McConnell was acting like a stooge for Moscow. 

Here is how Trump attempted to defend his buddy in Kentucky. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Mitch McConnell is a man that knows less about Russia and Russian influence than even Donald Trump.  And I know nothing. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, the question now, will the pressure on Moscow Mitch, as he has come to be known, prompt him to do something about the Russians and what they`re doing to us?

We`re joined next by the man who made up the nickname that seems to be sticking, Joe Scarborough. 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to resonate after he blocked legislation intended to protect American elections from Russians. 

Anyway, sensing an opportunity, Democrats have kept the pressure on McConnell and his fellow Republicans. 

Here is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer today:


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY):  Using paper ballots, not partisan.  Making sure that our machines are safe from hacking, our election machines are safe from hacking, that`s not partisan. 

Giving the states resources to better manage their elections, that`s not partisan. 

That`s American.

And I would say to my Republican colleagues, where are you?  Why aren`t you telling the Republican leader that we ought to do something? 


MATTHEWS:  I`m joined right now by Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC`s "Morning Joe." 

Joe, a couple of things. 

Were you watching?  When you watched the debate last night, were you kind of stunned by the unreality of a lot of the arguments about how they`re going to do this big health care, they`re going to rich -- tax all the rich, they`re going pay for health care, they`re going to pay for everything, hearing aids, teeth, dentures?

I mean, everything, they`re paying for, and it`s all going to come from this new program they`re going to pass through the Senate. 

And I kept thinking, it takes 60 senators to get any of that through, if it`s programmatic.  And you got Mitch McConnell there with the majority control of 53 right now. 

How do you beat him?  How do you get anywhere near 60 senators, if you`re a Democratic presidential candidate? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it really is unbelievable that the Democrats kept going on and on about how they were going to provide universal health care to Americans, instead of talking about how Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have spent the last three years trying to strip health care coverage from millions of Americans... 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... trying to strip preexisting protections for millions of Americans, trying to do all of these things, while they give the biggest pharmaceutical companies on the planet and they give the biggest multinational corporations regarding health care massive tax cuts. 






  JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE":  Well, it really is unbelievable that the Democrats kept going on and on about how they were going to provide universal health care to Americans instead of talking about how Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have spent the last three years trying to strip health care coverage from millions of Americans. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Trying to strip preexisting protections for millions of Americans, trying to do all of these things while they get the biggest pharmaceutical companies on the planet and they give the biggest multinational corporations regarding health care massive tax cuts. 

So I sat there saying wait, wait, you`re facing Mike Tyson next year, and this is like a Princeton diner`s club having intramural squabbles instead of taking the fight to Donald Trump.  And they just didn`t do it. 

And by the way, Chris, you`re completely right.  Union members in Youngstown, Ohio, as Tim Ryan was saying are sitting there going wait a second.  You`re going to give me health care for life.  You`re going give me free dental.  You`re going give me free everything, and wait, I`m supposed to give up my union contract for that? 

No.  They`re not going to do it. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And it`s every bit as unrealistic as Donald Trump promising in 2016 that he would going to provide universal health care, that everybody`s deductible is going down and they`re going have better coverage.  Democrats need to say we`re for universal health care and the other side is against it.  Let`s work together to beat Mitch McConnell, to beat Donald Trump.  And to assure that Obamacare which is a big deal, Biden was right about that, that Obamacare is mended and not ended. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let`s talk about how you get after McConnell.  You got under his skin, obviously, Moscow.  I mean, this reminds me of Tokyo Rose, and he didn`t like it one bit.  I think he heard Tokyo Rose.  It`s questioning whether he really cares about our country or simply maintaining his majority more than this country. 

What do you think is going on in his quarter right now?  What are you hearing about his burning from this thing? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I hear they`re upset, but I think Americans actually have every right to be upset because think about this, Chris, I --my dad, my dad`s a Kentucky native.  My mom and dad met at the University of Kentucky.  My dad dragged the family around.  We used to follow Adolph Rupp`s Kentucky Wildcats throughout the late `60s and `70s. 

And my dad would have never understood any American doing what Mitch McConnell`s doing right now. 

The CIA, the Republican appointed director of the CIA, the Republican- appointed director of the FBI, the Republican-appointed director of national intelligence, I mean, the Republican-appointed Department of Homeland Security chief, the United States military have all said explicitly, here we go, are you ready for this?  That Russia poses a grave threat to American democracy. 

They said that.  Not Democrats, not talk show hosts on MSNBC.  The FBI, the CIA, the DNI, the United States military, all said that Russia was doing that, and we needed to try to stop it. 

And, Chris, he`s not just killing Democratic bills to protect us from Putin`s meddling, he is killing Marco Rubio`s bill that simply says if we catch you meddling in our elections and undermining American democracy, we will sanction you.  Can you believe Mitch McConnell even killed that bill?  That`s not just wrong.  That`s un-American. 

MATTHEWS:  I`m with you.  Let`s go to -- coming out of Trumpland today attacks Congressman Elijah Cummings again.  It`s eliciting criticism that Trump is using a strategy of racial division coming into the 2020 campaign. 

However, according to "The Wall Street Journal," the president`s advisers concede the tweets are necessarily helpful to Trump`s reelection efforts but said they mark yet another case of the president prioritizing the personal over the political, whatever that is. 

What do you think?  Do you think Trump is doing this like surgically saying, I`ll get this racial number in right now, and next year near the election, oil cool it down, I`ll cool my jets.  I`ll have gotten the people I want behind them, some of the rough people.  I`ll have them behind me and then I can become a regular president for a while, while the Democrats run a socialist against me or a very hard left candidate and I`ll be the middle of the road. 

Do you think he is calculating like that or he just has bad instincts on race? 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, we`ve seen it before.  You`ve seen it.  I`ve seen it.  Presidents get elected a certain way.  Everybody tells them they`re never going to get elected, and whether it`s Donald Trump or Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Jimmy Carter, whoever it is, they go into the White House thinking wait a second, everybody was wrong about me. 

Even George H.W. Bush, one of the most humble men in the White House, once asked an adviser when he was losing in 1992, if you`re so GD smart, why aren`t you president? 

So Donald Trump because of James Comey`s letter, because of a lot of different things got elected in a once-in-a-lifetime anomaly.  And he thinks that he can play that game again. 

But what he is doing is by being racist, by attacking these individual members of congress, he`s chasing off the suburban voters.  He is chasing off women.  He is chasing off voters who -- remember, I think I saw it on your show last night.  He was very proud that they stayed at home.  That black voters stayed at home and didn`t vote for Hillary Clinton. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, guess what?  Guess what?  They`re going to be mobilized.  People of color are going to be mobilized, and Donald Trump is going to pay for it. 

So, it`s really shortsighted.  I don`t understand why he is doing it.  And anybody that thinks that`s going to help him win the Philly of suburbs -- the suburbs of Philly, have never been to the suburbs of Philly. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I know. 

Hey, Joe, the way you described his lucky punch reminds me of Ingemar Johansson, the Swedish boxer who won the heavyweight championship of the world.  He had one punch, his thunder and lightning punch.  He never won again. 

Thank you, Joe Scarborough, for talking about -- 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  -- the once in a lifetime Trump victory in `16. 

Anyway, with 114 Democrats in the House now, 114 backing impeachment, are we approaching a tipping point?  A few more and Speaker Pelosi may be facing a pro impeachment majority in her own caucus. 

HARDBALL back after this.  Don`t go anywhere. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

It`s been one week since former special counsel Robert Mueller testified on Capitol Hill, and the number of House Democrats now supporting impeachment or impeachment hearings against Trump continues to rise.  Since Mueller`s testimony, 20 more House Democrats have joined the list.  The total number now of House members, Democrats, 115, 114 are Democrats, that includes independent Congressman Justin Amash. 

But while Democratic candidates attack President Trump 34 times during last night`s debate, not once in all those two hours did any candidate for president mention the word "impeachment."

I`m joined by Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada, who announced her support for an impeachment inquiry just this week, and Michelle Goldberg, columnist for "The New York Times."

Congresswoman, let me ask you a couple of question.  Let`s start with the obvious one.  Last night, nobody brought up impeachment.  They`re running against Trump, and they never bring it up. 

What do you think that`s about? 

REP. DINA TITUS (D-NV):  Well, I don`t think they were asked about impeachment by the narrators, and they were trying very much to present themselves, show they were strong and talk about maybe too many intricacies of policy. 

MATTHEWS:  You mean to tell me that politicians need to have the interviewer bring up a topic?  I`ve been following this thing for 100 years.  I got to tell you something, you politicians have no problem bringing up a topic if you want to.  Why didn`t anybody want to bring it up last night? 

TITUS:  Well, I don`t think it has to do with the fact that they don`t support impeachment, because the presidential candidates were some of the first to come out in favor of it.  I just think they were more focused on comparing themselves to each other than they were to attacking the president. 

MATTHEWS:  Well said.  Well said.  Thank you. 

Second question, why do most Democrats in the House of Representatives oppose even beginning an impeachment inquiry, even beginning it?  Most of your caucus members in the House, Democrats are against even beginning a process.  Why? 

TITUS:  Well, I think we`re reaching a tipping point where it will be a majority.  It`s like that hourglass, the closer you get to the end, the faster it runs.  I think they have different reasons. 

Some are in swing districts.  They don`t know what impeachment will mean for their voters.  Some are very loyal to Nancy Pelosi.  Some are conducting their own investigations and don`t want to give up that jurisdiction.  I think it`s a combination. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Michelle.  You`ve been watching this.  What do you think is going on right now in the House? 

Is it an hourglass that`s moving faster?  Is it accelerating and time to get this thing rolling and time to get it done, or at least started? 

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST:  Well, it`s clearly rolling.  And I also think it is started.  You know, when people say that they want Nancy Pelosi to come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry, basically, she would have the House vote to instruct the Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation. 

Well, the Judiciary Committee has begun an impeachment investigation.  That was what happened last Friday when it in that legal filing that it submitted in the lawsuit to get the underlying grand jury testimony.  So the process has begun.  I guess the question is --


MATTHEWS:  I don`t agree.  I don`t agree, because historically, you have to vote for an impeachment resolution.  Richard Nixon, the House passed that in February of `74. 

GOLDBERG:  Right, right.  But, but, the Judiciary Committee -- 

MATTHEWS:  I mean, don`t you have to say you`re going to investigate?

GOLDBERG:  No, the Judiciary Committee had already begun its work before the House in the Nixon impeachment voted then to sanction it.  And what the people on the Judiciary Committee will argue is that yes, that`s been the process in the last two presidential impeachments there, but there`s no about the way impeachment is supposed to be conducted. 

The Constitution doesn`t say anything about how an impeachment inquiry is to be sanctioned.  It`s not the House rules.  When they impeach judges, often the Judiciary Committee begins the process on its own. 

And so -- and clearly, Nancy Pelosi is behind this strategy, or at least is in favor of this strategy of now they`re going to court and saying we are conducting an investigation into whether or not to recommend articles of impeachment to the full house. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, today, Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana presented an ultimatum to Democrats over the issue of impeachment.  Let`s listen. 


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA):  If the Democrats, Democratic friends feel that strongly about it, then they need to go hard or go home.  You know, stop talking about it.  Go to Amazon, buy a spine and do it.  But if they`re not going to do it, then they need to accept the fact that Donald Trump is president of the United States and they need to let him go about doing his job. 


MATTHEWS:  Let me go to the congresswoman again.  When do you have to begin this process formally of looking at impeachment if you`re going to do it this Congress? 

TITUS:  Well, I think you need to do it sooner rather than later, because the closer you get to the election, the more it`s just going look political.  But I think you need to do it.  You can`t have it both ways. 

You know, the power to investigate and oversight is not in the Constitution.  That`s an assumed power.  And over time, the court has broadened it and narrowed it.  But the power to impeach is in the Constitution, and that gives us more authority I believe to subpoena people, to get information, to really turn the dial. 

MATTHEWS:  Michelle, do you think they`re going to impeach Trump? 

GOLDBERG:  At some point, I think they will.  I mean, I think that you have --

MATTHEWS:  This Congress? 

GOLDBERG:  I think that -- 

MATTHEWS:  OK, I disagree. 

GOLDBERG:  I think you`re getting very close to a point where -- 

MATTHEWS:  I don`t think they will.  I think it`s a reasonable bet. 

GOLDBERG:  Look, you`re going to get very close to a point where a majority of Democratic congressmen come out for impeachment, and a super majority clearly believe that he merits impeachment, right?  There is no question about whether he has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.  The only debate is about whether this is politically viable and politically smart. 

MATTHEWS:  It`s a hell of a proposal.  I don`t think they`re going to get 218 for impeachment.  Fairly or not, I don`t think they`re going to do it.  I think there are too many Democrats that are worried about their own reelections. 

Thank you, Dina Titus of Nevada. 

Michelle, I read you all the time.  You`re a great reporter, a great columnist. 

Don`t go away.  You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Tune in to MSNBC tonight for post-debate coverage starting at 10:30 Eastern.  I`ll be back right here in the spin room. 

And by the way, I predict Biden will focus the debate on good versus evil, the Democrats against President Trump, not against each other.  We`re going to get a better sense after tonight of who could be the best contender to go head to head with the man who has spent his presidency stoking racial division. 

That`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us. 

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.