tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 25, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
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from the campus of hofstra university in new york. the site of tomorrow night's big showdown between hillary clinton and donald trump. tonight in the midst of -- [ crowd chanting "usa" ] tonight's a mix of christmas eve and halloween. the true believers are very excited as you've seen at the prospect of victory and uneasy at the specter of the unexpected. the big story of tomorrow night is what the 95% of the country that doesn't tune in to politics every night sees in those 90 minutes of donald trump and hillary clinton. will that 95% see the cartoon of donald trump, the picture he in concert with his critics have concocted or will they see a lone outsider taking on a country's direction that 2/3 of us are not happy with. will they see something we like? and what will the 95% see in hillary clinton? will they see the dead serious policy wonk concerned with her privacy or will they see the
patriotic public servant that's committed her life and career to the country she loves? will they see the confident leader they can trust to do the job? the big question for the candidates is whether to double down on their strengths. for trump to push himself as the change agent. for hillary to sell herself as the safest. or to go on defense and for trump to emphasize calm and thoughtful detachment, for hillary to work on charm and transparency. as i said, america will be watching. and for the first time doing it all together. but as we begin tonight amidst thun settled atmosphere, there have been some bizarre occurrences just recently, the last few hours. usually a campaign tries to lowball its candidate's performance. that wasn't the case today with trump's campaign manager, kellyanne conway. watch this. >> i can understand why the clinton camp is very nervous because donald trump's got great presence, stature. he's a brilliant debater. newt gingrich put it best. the former speaker recently said donald trump is the best debater he's ever seen. he's like the babe ruth of
debating. he really shows up and swings -- and does a great job. >> the babe ruth of debating. well, that's not underselling your candidate. meanwhile, the pregame taunting has begun. mark cuban, the billionaire trump critic, tweeted he would be in the front row tomorrow night at the invitation of the clinton camp. trump countered by saying he'd bring in gennifer flowers to lighten things up. today kellyanne conway and mike pence both said flowers had in fact not been invited. in all fairness to both sides, the main attraction tomorrow is donald trump. and the question how he behaves, in fact even the clinton camp is selling the story they don't know which trump will show up. will it be a subdued trump focused on the issues or the trump we saw during nearly a dozen republican primary debates over the last year? let's watch some of that action. >> i never attacked him on his look. and believe me, there's plenty of subject matter right there. >> donald is great at the
one-liners. but he's a chaos candidate. and he'd be a chaos president. this is a tough business to run for president -- >> you're a tough guy, jeb. i know. >> we need to have a leader that's -- >> you're tough. you're real tough. >> you're never going to be president of the united states by insulting your way to the presidency. >> i'm at 42. you're at 3. so far -- >> doesn't matter. >> i won the lottery when i was born 63 years ago looked up and saw my mom. my mom is the vongest woman i know. >> she should be running. >> this little guy has lied so much -- >> here we go. here we go. the personal -- >> -- about my record. he has lied so much about my record. >> i have a policy question for you, sir. >> let's see if he answers it. >> i will. don't worry about it, marco. don't worry about it. don't worry about it, little marco. i will. >> why do you lie? >> donald, you should learn not to interrupt. donald, adults learn not to interrupt each other. >> yeah, i know you're an adult. >> this is robin hood over here. he talks about corruption on his financial disclosure form he didn't even put he's borrowed
money from citibank and from goldman sachs. >> why don't you release the -- >> you're the one -- >> why are you hiding -- >> excuse me. i've given my answer, lyin' ted. >> you are all talk and no action. what i've seen up here, first of all this guy's a choke artist and this guy's a liar. >> well, joining us nbc's hallie jackson along with the former chair of the republican national committee michael steele. and the "washington post's" eugene robinson. both of those gentlemen are msnbc political analysts. i think we should start with w hallie. >> where to begin? >> it's hard to be a reporter and an analyst, opinion person. let's go with reporter. will trump be trump tomorrow or surprise us? will he do what he always does like that and come out sniping at hillary, knocking her, trying to get her off her game, or will he come out and be a statesman? >> i think you're going to see less of the montage that you just played and more of donald trump trying to get at what has been his biggest negative in this campaign so far, which is his temperament. his campaign advisers know that
that is a vulnerability for him and that if he can come out and look presidential that he will essentially clear the bar that has been set for him. >> can they both do that and sell to the 95% watching tomorrow night who normally don't watch shows like us, who don't watch anything on television, they watch other shows. le be able to sell them his message and also be calm about it? can he do both? he's got to reach those 95% out there. that don't watch tv -- >> let's be clear about why those 95% are tuning in. to see a show. right? they're there to watch the show. i think you will see donald trump try to present what several strategists have said needs to be an optimistic and not scary point of view. he's got to attack clinton but he's got to do it in a way that doesn't make him seem like a demeaning bully -- >> when he wants to do something can he do it? >> if he puts his mind to, it he's a candidate who can for sustained periods of time -- we have seen that for sustained periods of time. follow the the advice of kellyanne conway, his campaign manager that only recently -- >> michael, i think what would be deafening to hillary's people
when they're out there with their counterpunches all ready, for him to come out and ignore her. ignore her for an hour and a half. that would put her whole game plan to rest. would he have the guts to do that? just ignore her. >> that's the smart thing to do. but the problem is donald trump can't ignore an opening. and if she creates one he's going to take it. if she gets under his fingernails just enough he will respond. that's the advantage she has going into this. you're absolutely right, if he can take that space -- >> what is she, the viet cong? under the fingernails? >> you feel the pain under the fingernails. >> she can do that? >> yeah. >> when have you seen her do that? >> i'm saying she can do that -- >> have you ever seen her show the ability to get to him? >> to get to him? >> yeah. >> women have in the past. >> women have in the past. but carly fiorina -- yeah. absolutely. >> i think that's the minefield. the principal minefield he has to walk is he'll be debating a woman. at 6'3" he'll be debating a woman who's 5'4". the whole body language. the sexism --
>> you all agree -- >> -- that we know is there in there, right? will come out -- >> you all agree he has a sensitivity to shots at him from women. is that true? ? i think -- >> let's show an example. let's get an example without getting -- one of trump's worst moments in the primary debate had to do with comments he made about carly fiorina's appearance, looks if you will, in a september 2015 debate fiorina responded. let's watch. >> in an interview last week in "rolling stone" magazine donald trump said the following about you -- "look at that face. would anyone vote for that? can you imagine that? the face of our next president." mr. trump later said he was talking about your persona, not your appearance. please feel free to respond what you think about his persona. >> you know, it's interesting to me. mr. trump said that he heard mr. bush very clearly and what mr. bush said. i think women all over this country heard very clearly what mr. trump said. [ applause ] >> i think she's got a beautiful face, and i think she's a beautiful woman.
>> you know, i thought, hallie, just trying to judge these debates that was one of the most successful sunday punches i'd seen in all the debates. >> from fiorina. >> yeah. >> absolutely. and she delivered it in a way that was a little bit of a mike job. she didn't belabor the point. she delivered her two sentences and let it speak for herself. >> boom. >> and that's part of tomorrow night for donald trump that could be treacherous, if she -- if he affords hillary clinton that kind of moment. >> let's talk about what he can do to go on offense. again the strategy which is the most effective in all these debates, whether it's there you go again or you're no jack kennedy, is the attack from a defensive position. let the other candidate take a shot and then you come back and knock them over. one of trump's strongest debate moments came in january of this year when he responded to an attack by ted cruz on something cruz called new york values. let's watch that one. >> he insulted a lot of people. i've had more calls on that statement that ted made, that new york is a great place. it's got great people. it's got loving people.
wonderful people. when the world trade center came down, i saw something that no place on earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than new york. the people in new york fought and fought and fought, and we saw more death and even the smell of death. nobody understood it. and it was with us for months. the smell, the air. and we rebuilt downtown manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved new york and loved new yorkers. and i have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that ted made. >> okay. gene, suppose tomorrow night with 100 million people may be watching, he says we've lost on trade, immigration's out of coal, we've fought stupid wars, that's what i call deplorable. suppose he takes her word deplorable and throws it right back? >> and look, she'd better plan for that. she'd better plan for him to attack on the deplorables. she's apologized for it.
but it's still out there. and sure, he'll come after her on that. but she'll be looking for her oepgds too. it's not as if trump has left a rich array of targets for her to go after. >> if he clams up on the some of the worst stuff he said can she use -- like the other day you called me crooked hillary. are you going to say that again tonight, donald? >> oh, absolutely. >> you know what he says in that moment if she does that? well, you are crooked. and where does she go there? >> that manner of behavior won't work with 100 million civilians watching. >> they would be shocked if the words "crooked hillary" passed his lips tomorrow night because he and his team are so aware of what that could do in front of those 100 million people we're talking about. deplorables, i agree with you. his supporters when you go to these rallies, when they're out on the road they love deplorables, making signs and handmade t-shirts saying i am a
deplorable supporter. they have appropriated what was hillary clinton's insult into a rallying cry. >> throughout the primary debates trump made a point of attack the moderators of the debate format. let's watch him do that. >> honestly, megyn, if you don't like it, i'm sorry. i've been very nice to you. although i could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me. but i wouldn't do that. >> these folks, cnbc, they had it down at 3, 3 1/2 hours. everybody said it was going to be 3 hours, 3 1/2, including them. and at about two minutes i renegotiated it down to two hours so we can get the hell out of here. not bad. >> just for the record, the debate was always going to be two hours. >> i thought it was very unfair that virtually the entire early portion of the debate was trump this, trump that, in order to get ratings -- >> but mr. trump -- >> mr. trump, you told me -- >> are you going to ask anybody else a question? every single question comes to me? >> mr. trump -- >> i know i'm here for the ratings but it's a little bit
ridiculous. >> well, let me ask you. riding the ref. we all know what it means. guys pay for sideline seats at basketball games so they can get the name of the ref and yell at him all night. >> no, they do. >> lester holt is one of the least political people in our business. i have no idea what his politics are. >> that's true, but -- >> he's a reporter and an anchor. will trump pull something like that? >> judging from past performance, trump does that to establish himself as the alpha dog. right? he wants to be the alpha dog. i'm running the show. this is my show. i'm the big man. you may be the moderator, yeah, you're supposed to be, but i'm in charge. right? and it will be interesting to see, though, on the stage who has that air of authority. is it trump or is it in fact hillary clinton, who is pretty good at this? >> well, roger ailes, who has some role in this somewhere, we're going to get more into that later in the program, as a corner man for trump. he says you've got to do exactly that. and he talks about his interviewing with tom snyder and charles manson. and you had to get the killer to
learn who the boss is in the interview. will trump try this? will he try to be the alpha dog -- >> i think he'll try to be the alpha but i think he's aware that holds a lot of risks if he tries to outalpha hillary clinton. he could come off looking like a bully. when i look at that -- we've done this after a lot of primary debates. right? the big difference for tomorrow night, there's not going to be 15 other people on that stage that trump can try to throw elbows at. it's going to be just -- he's never been in that position before. >> can he do 45 minutes of talking, half of 90 minutes? >> on policy, on specifics, and on personality. he's never done 45 minutes like that, half of a debate, by himself with no breaks, no huddling with advisers. we didn't see that during the primaries. >> and if he falls back and just repeats the same thing again and again, you know, make america great again and i'm going to build a beautiful wall, if he doesn't go beyond that and have something new to say, he could come off looking pretty bad. >> i think that's been part of the prep to the extent there's been prep, has been to actually try to push that envelope to get him to do those 45 minutes so
that he doesn't have to fall in -- >> there are areas we all know from watching these debates that he doesn't think that much about. >> no. >> and if one of those areas he would go into hillary could say or lester might, i don't know what his approach would be, more, take some more time on that. i'll give you some more time on that. let's see what you think. >> but i get the sense he's being prepped for that to say if they ask a real question maybe you're not comfortable with talk about what you want to talk about. that's politics -- >> hillary's a wonk. okay? she knows these issues. even foreign policy. she knows all the world capitals. she's been to them all. will she try toex pose his ignorance? get him to make a -- >> i think she will subtly. i think very much she'll subtly try to do that, maybe a reference back to something he said that was wrong or incorrect -- >> who's the president of mexico? would she try something like that? >> i don't think it will be that direct. she doesn't need to be that direct. and again, don't look at this in
just one direction. if she goes down that road, everyone knows that she has the gravitas in terms of policy. if she tries to show that off too much, then she may come off a little bit more like a bully. >> okay. do we all think trump knows who the prime minister of great britain is right now? would he be able to answer that question? >> i think he would. >> 50-50. >> i think so. >> think so? maybe that's the kind of question that would cause history tomorrow night. anyway, hallie jackson will stay with us. michael steele, eugene robinson, they're all sticking with us. and coming up -- keep going. what can we expect tomorrow night from hillary clinton? she's got the lead right now. it's not a big lead but it's a lead. we've got some of her best debate moments she showed already. what can she tell us about what she might do on the debate stage tomorrow? hillary may not be as wide ranging. there's only one hillary. but we'll see how she wins this thing if she does. plus trump's got one of the sharpest minds in republican politics niz corner tonight. roger ailes, the former head of fox news. what he'll do for trump and what he did for richard nixon and
ronald reagan and george herbert walker bush. three things about tomorrow night's debate we might not know. finally, a big announcement here on "hardball" coming up this wednesday night. it's the return of the "hardball" college tour. love this tour. we're going up to the university of new hampshire with presidential candidate gary johnson and his very exciting running mate bill weld, the former governor of massachusetts. that should be an interesting night. [ cheers and applause ] it's the "hardball" college tour. wednesday night at 7:00 eastern. this is "hardball." live from hofstra! on the eve of the first presidential dablt. people would ask me in different countries that we traveled, what is your nationality and i would always answer hispanic. so when i got my ancestry dna results it was a shocker. i'm everything. i'm from all nations. i would look at forms now and wonder what do i mark? because i'm everything. and i marked other. discover the story only your dna can tell.
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[ applause ] >> you have to deck your opponent. that is something most -- back at "hardball." hillary clinton in tws, nine years ago saying she believes when you're attacked you deck your opponent. is that what she's planning to do in her first face-to-face match with donald trump tomorrow night? hillary ace seasoned debater. even took on her husband's opponents in the middle of a press conference where she debates him on the spot. watch this. >> he has consistently avoided a debate. >> who is the one person who didn't show up in springdale? give me a break. i think that we ought to get the record straight. it's ironic to me that before you were a candidate many of the reports you issued not only praised the governor on his environmental record but his education record and his economic record. you now turn around and as a candidate have a very short memory. >> well, since 2000, the year 2000 when she herself became a candidate for office hillary clinton has participated in nearly 40 debates since then.
as a candidate for the senate or for the democratic presidential nominee. here's a look at her past performances. hillary clinton. here she goes. >> what can you say to the voters of new hampshire on this stage tonight who see your resume and like it but are hesitating on the likability issue, where they seem to like barack obama more? >> well, that hurts my feelings. >> he's very likeable. i agree with that. i don't think i'm that bad. >> you're likeable enough, hillary. >> i just want to add, i did not say that it should be done but i certainly recognize what governor spitzer is trying to do it and we have failed. >> wait a minute. >> we have failed. >> no, no, no. you said yes, you thought it made sense to do it. >> no, i didn't, chris. but the point is what are we going to do with all these illegal immigrants -- >> that's a legitimate -- >> is it healthy for a democracy to have a two-family political dynasty? >> i thought bill was a pretty good president. >> you talked about ronald
reagan being a transformative political leader. i did not mention his name. >> your husband did. >> well, i'm here. he's not. >> i can't tell who i'm running against sometimes. >> i think that if your candidacy is going to be about words then they should be your own words. that's i think a very simple proposition. lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in. it's change you can xerox. and i just don't think -- >> i'm just reacting to the fact, yes, they did have ideas and they were bad ideas. bad for america. and i was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, resco, in his slum landlord business in inner city chicago. >> the guest who laid out this scenario for me with that proposed solution was william jefferson clinton last year. so he disagrees with you. >> well, he's not standing here
right now. [ applause ] >> so there is a disagreement? >> well, i'll talk to him later. >> credibility is an issue. out there with the world. and we have repair work to be done. i think we need someone who has the best in ethical stands as our next president. >> secretary clinton, you want to respond? >> no. >> governor o'malley -- [ cheers and applause ] >> is bernie sanders tough enough on guns? >> no. not at all. i think we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. this has gone on too long, and it's time the entire country stood up against the nra. >> well, sometimes hillary clinton came out on top by what some perceived as the errors of her rivals. let's watch this. >> i'm not asking you to admire it. i'm asking you to sign it. >> i would be happy to when you give me the signed letters -- >> right here. sign it right now.
>> we'll shake on this. >> no, i want your signature because i think everybody wants to see you signing something you that said you are for. >> i think the secretary is right. and that is that the american people are sick and tired about hearing about your damn e-mails. >> me too. >> enough of the e-mails. let's talk about the real issues facing america. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you, bernie. thank you. >> isn't it wonderful when people throw in the towel before the election? that's what bernie -- everybody loved bernie but he threw it away right then. that's when everybody realized it's not really a contest for bernie, it's about principle. back with hallie jackson, michael steele, and eugene robinson. let me ask you, the only woman here i count. okay. so we ask you. the rules of the game used to be you better be careful if you're debating a woman and you're a male. i watched how george herbert walker bush say i kicked a little butt the other night. stupid comments. he was condescending to
geraldine ferraro. everybody said so. she called him out on that. we did it the other week. this stuff. does hillary clinton benefit from that? does she take advantage of that? how does it work? that trump can't take shots at her but she can take shots at him. how's it going to work out? >> i think anybody on this panel could probably answer that question, not just a woman. i don't know that there is a double standard necessarily. i do think that she is make history as the first woman to appear on that stage as a major party presidential nominee in a one-on-one debate like this. so there will be a lot of eyes on how the gender dynamic plays out. that is simply a fact. >> let's ask about the rough stuff. crooked hillary. if he says crooked hillary gun or he reminds the audience that's brand new, 95% of 100 million people will be watching, not the urk 5 million that are political junkies, and she says you called me crooked hillary. at what point does the audience say at he did? he called you a professional woman, a lawyer, secretary of state crooked hillary? >> if she's going into the deuce
that, she does have to find exactly the right opening to -- for her to introduce the fact he did that. otherwise, as michael suggested earlier, he just said yeah, you are crooked and then he takes it in a different direction. the thing is i think she doesn't get enough credit for her debate performances, for her range, which goes all the way from declamatory sentences and finger pointing to all the way to that hurts my feelings. that point in the new hampshire debate was perfect. maybe it was scripted to the nines. but it came across as spontaneous and genuine and as a window onto the person. and she won. >> i think she's going to need all of that range tomorrow night because i think what we saw in those clips was hillary clinton in a conventional traditional debate setting where her opponents stepped back when she got the zinger.
>> what i'm saying is don't assume that because it's going to be unconventional warfare from the trump side that she's not prepared for it because she's nimble -- >> i think she's going to have to be prepared to engage in it more than we saw. that was one moment out of an hour and a half. it could be 45 or 50 minutes. >> so in sports terms she has to be a really good shortstop. >> yeah. >> she has to be able to catch the ball no matter where it goes. >> clinton campaign is complaining because if you're going to go with the sports metaphor, they're saying if she's got to be the shortstop and be able to play offense and defense all donald trump has to do is not drop the bat at the plate. they're arguing that is the double standard in this game. i would argue if this crooked hillary -- >> what do you mean drop the bat? >> clinton campaign is saying the bar is so low for donald trum. he gets up to the plate and just doesn't -- >> do you believe that? most people are going to be watching him for the first time. >> but i do think there are certain things baked in with him. even for those not tuning in every fight and watching politics. when you get to the crooked hill i. part if there's something people know about donald trump
in this game is he insults people, lyin' ted, little marco -- >> let's talk about skecretary clinton and what she needs to do. i looked at the format. there's a lot of time to give a little taunt, just use the moment and -- is there a hillary message she's not gotten across that this is the time for? >> yes. here's how i'm going to make your life better. here's how i'm going to make things better for you and for all americans. for your family, for your children. >> i'm a change agent. >> in specific terms. >> so i'm not a defender of the status quo. >> i'm not a defender. i'm a stealth change candidate. >> i think in addition to that, gene, she also has to let people know in the words of her husband i feel your pain because a significant number of americans out there still hurt in this economy. and it is bifurcated that way. and if she -- >> that's the point. if 2/3 want change and are that satisfied in the direction of
the country you don't want to be the champion of the 1/3 that is satisfied. >> donald trump has been tapping into that this entire campaign. people who are in pain, people who are hurting. he's going to go after her as being not a change agent, stealth or not. she's going to have to aggressively not just defend herself but put on her own affirm fif case. >> i have a sense that -- i guess we've all watched her debates and she hasn't really lost one. she's obviously a great lawyer. she knows how to argue against the facts thrown at her. do you think she's just better at the prep? i'm a big believer in prep. kennedy prepped, nixon didn't. reagan prepped well. some people don't really prep. >> she's prepped. and i tell you, this is kind of where i wonder and worry a little bit. not that i really worry about how she performs tomorrow. she amay be a little overprepped. when i was reading stories about them bringing in psychiatrists and psychologists to sort of break down the donald trump thing, i was like you know, what if you're in that space you're going to be in a world of hurt tomorrow night because you don't
know what donald trump is going to show up, which one's going to show up. you go in and you prepare your game plan to be president. that's what it is. it's exactly what you said, gene, before about -- >> i don't think it's possible for her to overprep, actually. because i think that's who she is. i think she is prepped to the max. >> she does her homework. >> here's the problem, is how we see it. commander in chief debate is a classic example of being able to take a question that she's asked a thousand times and not being able to answer it in very simple strokes. if she got lawyerly and she's overprepped -- >> we're going to talk about wh we come back about this guy roger ailes who we know to some extent is prepping donald trump. this guy has written a master's book at one point. i've been reading it all day getting ready for what ailes will recommend to trump. hallie jackson, thank you. thank you, michael steele. thank you, gene robinson. you don't want to miss the
debate tomorrow night. brian williams, rachel maddow and i will bring you that coverage starting at 7:00 eastern tomorrow. then our colleague lester holt moderates the debate at 9:00 eastern. we'll be back with post-debate coverage and analysis all night. this is "hardball" live from hofstra university. on the night before the first presidential debate. there's only one egg that just tastes better. fresher. more flavorful. delicious. only one egg with better nutrition- like more vitamins d, e, and omega 3s. and 25% less saturated fat. only one egg good enough for my family. because why have ordinary when you can have the best. eggland's best. the only egg that gives you so much more: better taste. better nutrition. better eggs. better nutrition. i'm terhe is.at golf. but i'd like to keep being terrible at golf for as long as i can. new patented ensure enlive has hmb plus 20 grams of protein to help rebuild muscle. for the strength and energy to do what you love.
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. welcome back to "hardball" and hofstra. the first presidential debate. "the new york times" and other outlets have reported that former fox news chairman roger ailes is preparing donald trump for his debates against hillary clinton. considered a master at political stagecraft, ailes has a long history of advising presidential candidates, starting with his work as richard nixon's media consultant back in '68. that fall ailes produced a series of carefully choreographed live performances broadcast intended to showcase nixon's spontaneity, his command of the issues. while the candidate took questions from a pachbl citizens the studio audience, which was stacked with loyal supporters,
was ready to applaud his every word. the result was gimmicky. but the forum communicated right image of the candidate to voters, and that's what mattered. in 1984 ailes came to the rescue of ronald reagan after the president's first debate performance raised real questions about his age and fitness for office. facing walter mondale for the first time, reagan had appeared to lose his train of thought on numerous occasions. >> the system is still where it was with regard to, uh -- the -- with regard to the progressivety, as i've said. >> everyone knew reagan had bombed in that first debate, but it was ailes who confronted reagan and pushed him to put an end to the age issue at the next debate. here goes. >> you already are the oldest president in history. and some of your staff say you were tired after your most recent encounter with mr. mondale. >> mr. truitt, and i want you to know that also i will not make age an issue of this campaign.
i am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience. [ applause ] >> look at mondale. he's laughing even though he knows he's crushed. four years later in 1988 ailes famously coached george herbert walker bush for his explosive confrontation with cbs's dan rather on live television. at the time bush was fighting the image popularized on the cover of "newsweek" that he was a wimp. the exchange was a chance to prove that bush had a combative side. let's watch that exchange with rather. >> i want to talk about why i want to be president, why those 41% of the people are supporting me. >> and mr. vice president, these questions are -- >> a whole career -- it's not fair to judge my whole career by a rehash on iran. how would you like it if i judge your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in new york? would you like that? >> when you walked off the set. brilliant writing.
roger ailes was standing behind dan rather during that exchange, cuing him with a line, tennis court. so when we see the inference of roger ailes in trump's performance tomorrow. i'm joined by robert costa of the "washington post" and ben ginsberg, former counsel of the alc. i've been reading roger ailes' book. it's all about tv values, all about first impressions, the first sen seconds. i expect trum lp try to establish something about his image. >> it's not just about winning on points. it's about the projection. it's about the image. and i'm sitting with trump on his plane last week, i say what is ailes' actual role, he's ain formal adviser. trump says he's telling me the history. trump, he's not coming out of a political junkie's mindset. so ailes is walking him through nixon, walking him through bush 41. >> basic history. >> it's not basic history. it's trump needs depth to understand how this all went in the past so he has some kind of
basis -- >> you know what this sounds like? it sounds like "dave" the movie where the guy has pictures of all the cabinet members around for the guy to pretend he's president. >> he's such an outsider. >> it's going to be great. look, what roger ailes did with three really different personalities, nixon, reagan, bush, different people, is that he got to the essence that each one needed to project. he'll do that with trump also. >> big question. offense or defense with trump? i would argue offense. trump should recognize that 90% of the audience tomorrow night hasn't been watching "hardball" or any of the cable political shows or "meet the press" or anything else, that they're for the first time -- sell those people. ignore hillary. sell those people on the need for change, that we're not going in the right direction. what would you do? >> exactly the same thing. these debates are the chance for the candidates to present themselves unvarnished, no ads, no reporters, no nothing. it's them. it's exactly what you want to project to people that -- >> you know the night of the big debate with carter and reagan?
reagan said are you better off than you were four years ago? my dad called me up and said that was a great line. i said he's been saying it for months. my dad said i haven't heard it. so when the average person like my dad watches it tomorrow night that's a different audience than the usual nightly cable audience. >> he's not an ideological candidate. no one's expecting him to make the republican case. can he be the agent of change? i'm talking to people who've been in the room with trump at trump tower. they say he's not just going to be change, he's going to be trump. >> will he throw the word deplorables back at hillary? will he say what's really deplorable is where we're going? >> i know it's part of his prep. >> it is part of his prep. >> they wanted to cast hillary clinton as -- >> as an elitist. >> as someone who's part of the establishment both financially and -- >> after fueling the birther conspiracy for years trump tried to end the issue earlier this month by finally acknowledging that the president of the united states was born in this country. here's what he said last wednesday when he was asked by a local reporter why he changed his mind.
>> after all the years where you've expressed some doubt, what changed? >> well, i just want to get on with -- we want to get on with the campaign. >> what'd he say? >> trum -- >> i want to get on with the campaign. that was his reason after five years of portraying this guy as an alien who snuck in the country, and i just decide to drop that number? >> so there's an answer to that that they will have practiced for him to unfurl tomorrow night during the debate. one of the hallmarks of what roger ailes does for his candidates is be sure they have zingers and pivots to be able to -- >> what's a pivot in. >> a pivot is when you get a question, you don't like the question, you pivot to another topic. you want to talk about. >> so you catch the person pivoting, then you nail them. then you go right back and say you didn't answer that question. >> with a good zinger. >> part of that's going to be lester's job. you didn't answer the question. answer the question! anyway, thank you, robert costa, who knows many things. ben ginsburg, excellent attorney. up next the "hardball" round
table's coming here with their predictions. this is going to be the best part of the show. they're going to tell us what's actually going to happen tomorrow night tonight. and don't miss the "hardball" kolt tour this wednesday from the university of new hampshire with the libertarian ticket. i can't wait. gary johnson. the wild bill weld. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. before the first presidential debate. ♪ there's no one road out there. no one surface... no one speed... no one way of driving on each and every road. but there is one car that can conquer them all. the mercedes-benz c-class. five driving modes let you customize the steering, shift points, and suspension to fit the mood you're in... and the road you're on. the 2016 c-class. lease the c300 for $369 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says, "you picked the wrong insurance plan."
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hillary clinton's up by two points, secretary clinton. no bigger opportunity for the candidates to deliver a game-changing moment that could dramatically alter the trajectory of this chain. here now with their debate predictions are msnbc political analyst howard fineman of the huffington post, rana jones, deputy editor of "time" magazine. and jeffrey -- all the big heavyweights here. if you were lester jones tomorrow, what would you ask? >> i would ask donald trump some substantive questions. this debate is about donald trump. as you were saying earlier tonight. because this is donald trump's chance to remake himself or make himself before those tens of millions of people who only know him vaguely by reputation. so he's got the chance to get over the thing that's holding him back and putting him behind hillary clinton. which is his reputation for deliberate pride in his own ignorance and his deliberate recklessness, if that isn't an oxymoron. so if he's going to get over that, this is his one chance to
do it. it's bigger stakes for him i believe than for hillary clinton -- >> would you ask him something like how should the united states exploit brexit, the break-up of europe, or something like that? you're asking for a very smart question, a new president would have to handle. what do we do as a result of uk coming out of the european union in. >> i wouldn't asked brexit because that's not on the american voter's radar screen but i would -- >> would you replace it -- >> i would ask him about that. i would ask him about the middle east. i would ask him to name some people. >> you would -- >> no, no. >> like who's the president of mexico? >> well -- >> would you dare to do that? that's pretty risky. he might know it. >> i wouldn't ask it that way. >> you wouldn't? >> no. i would say tell us in detail with the names of the people that -- you are a dealmaker. you tell us you're a dealmaker. you know how to look people in the eye. >> good point. >> tell us those people you're going to look in the eye and how you're going to reshape a region you said never should have been involved in the beginning. >> raddica how would you
approach questioning, just generally, not a specific question? >> i would ask him about north korea to add to that list. >> what do we do when they reach us with their range, with their nuclear missiles? >> where does our negotiation take us when that happens? yes. to me i think the onus is on lester holt to be fair and to treat those candidates equally. but i had i that the way that hillary clinton comes out ahead with that kind of questioning is just to be utterly consistent and unflappable, which is something she can do. >> what if trump were to say i never said president obama wasn't born in america? >> i think you call that out. it's not true. you call it out. >> jeremy. >> the moderators in these previous debates, especially the fox news debates, did a pretty good job of saying candidate x, you said this and it wasn't true, explain yourself. >> we also learned you have to have the backup right there, that moment. >> at that moment. anderson cooper actually did a very good job of this -- >> but candy crowley did a good job of it too last debate.
and where's candy crowley? she was attacked by the republicans by simply saying governor, he's right. he did say terrorism. >> all hell broke loose when that happened and, you know, the fire rained down on her like nothing i'd ever seen happen to a political moderator before. but i think steering trump toward specifics is going to be the moderator's job above all else. you were asking what question would i ask. pin him down on syria. he has still not explained whether or not he would allocate ground troops to solve our problems in syria. and he's danced around this. he said we'll bomb the hell out of them. but he has never explained how he would effect change in syria. the more you can drill into him on specifics and not let him get away with his general sweeping statements i think the better off the moderators will be. >> i think the people in his corner are perfectly aware that that's the main -- i think going to be the main thrust here, to try to show whether donald trump will bother to study his own brief. whether he's going to bother with it.
and what they're going to be doing with it is looking for clever ways to avoid and cover up the fact that he has not studied the brief on the things and he's not going to do it. that's not donald trump. donald trump thinks he can override that with rhetoric. it will be up to lester to say otherwise. >> gives the president of the united states ten minutes to decide on reacting to a warning. ten minutes. a nuclear warning. is it fair to ask him, what would you do in that ten minutes, what would you ask the general in charge, what are your questions? >> i think it's not only fair, it's required to ask these two candidates what will you do in a situation that is realistically presidential? where you have to make a split-second decision? and i think the people you keep referring to in this hour, the people who haven't been watching -- >> yes. >> the people among those expected hundred million who really don't know trump as a presidential candidate, even though we feel like we've lived with it for 100 years, you know, they want to see someone who can answer that question in a presidential way. >> it seems to me the one topic that's going to come up is
police. >> police. >> but -- >> law and order. >> it's got to come up. >> yeah. >> how do we reduce what seems to be the situation of police firing on african-americans? and the situation with -- >> can i just say that donald trump set that term for the debate, himself, by making his convention speech. essentially a law and order speech. >> yeah. >> he talked over and over again about law and order, how specifically, and -- >> do you ask questions like stop and frisk, do you ask a president of the united states, will you stand on stop and frisk? >> right. >> something -- a politician procedure question. >> you might want to ask them that can show whether he knows the difference between federal law enforcement and local and state law enforcement, too. >> anyway, i think it's great to ask information questions, but it puts the moderator in a tricky situation because if he does snackbacks and knows it, you look like you lost the exchange because he knew what you were asking act and you were obvio obviously trying to catch him off guard. right? >> i think she should be
prepared to have trump come up with clever one liners. it can't be an entire debate of one liners from trump, but i'm hearing he is pretty well prepped and he's going to -- he's going to outperform the expectations. >> you know, it will be pretty still debating whether you outclever each other. anyway, we'll be right back with the roundtable. next, these three will tell me something i don't know. they've been doing that already. this is "hardball" the place for politics with just one day to go, this is the eve of the great debate. somewhere between christmas eve, there's the debate -- they're cleaning it up. look, they're already vacuuming. what has happened, you have to vacuum already? you vacuum after the debate. anyway, just before the first debate. when heartburn hits, fight back fast with tums smoothies. it starts dissolving the instant it touches your tongue. and neutralizes stomach acid at the source. ♪ tum -tum -tum -tum smoothies! only from tums ancestry helped med buildfind out that military service goes into my family pretty far back. that makes you more proud to be an american and
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you know, i have to tell -- you know these people out here, they're aull students at of the tr of the tra. i just want to do one pithing. how many of you are registered to vote? how many of you are going to vote? howard, tell me something i don't know. >> chris, everybody is talking about the size of the television audience. this is the first time that social media is going to play a big role both not just in clips you see afterwards -- >> okay. >> -- but in live viewing. >> 15 seconds. >> so, the debate audience is something that trump i don't think is ready for. he got where he was in the primaries because the debate audiences were so revved up. they were partisan. >> yes. >> they were told to stand up and applaud and shout. that's not the case in there. it's like a law blibrary in
there. >> the loser tomorrow night will be the nfl, monday night football ratings are down. >> i never thought of that one. howard fineman, and jeremy peters of "the new york times." that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. join us tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern for complete coverage of the first presidential debate. at mercedes-benz, we make every vehicle to be eye-catchingly beautiful. we make them to be exhilaratingly agile. we make them to be meticulously engineered. and for the cla we also made it...for this. ♪ the 2017 cla. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
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does that threaten you? no! don't be silly. i'm just, uh, going to go to chop some wood. with that? yeah we don't have an ax. or a fireplace. good to be prepared. could you cut the bread? one day this sunday it's game on, one day away from perhaps the most watched debate in american history. >> i'm going to be very respectful of her. >> you have to be prepared for, like, wacky stuff that comes at you. >> will this be the moment that determines who becomes the next president? donald trump adviser general mike flynn and the hillary clinton campaign chairman, john podesta, both join me live. plus, debate prep school. one moment can change everything. >> i can't. the third one i can't. sorry. oops. >> how the presidential candidates plan to knock their opponents off stride. i'll talk to two for