tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 5, 2016 11:30pm-12:01am PDT
coast of florida and the day's political news as well. "hardball" with chris matthews begins right now. pensive. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthew withes back in washington. it's an interesting challenge to decide in realtime who's won a political debate. but if you accept the challenge, as i have, you better do it straight, don't pretend to be a judge if you're not willing to accept the responsibility of judging. well, last night i called it for pence off the bat. he acted like a grown-up, kaine seemed overwrought, emotionally upset at what pence was saying. it's as if kaine couldn't stand hearing anything said well about donald trump, couldn't stand hearing anything said bad about hillary clinton. it was emotional. pence was solid if often misleading.
kaine was forever trying to get his point in, sometimes successfully but not impressively. but if you think this is how i look at the two of them generally, you couldn't be more wrong. my job isn't to say who i preferred on the issues going into the debate, it's to say who i thought did well and advanced his position during it. after trump's bad week last week, the big question now whether pence's strong performance last night was enough to reverse the momentum toward clinton. before trump and her face off again on sunday night, so they have a few days to do this. will trump be able to exploit his running mate's performance last night to get things headed back in his direction? well, throughout last night, tim kaine tried repeatedly, as i said, to engage with pence, attempted to hold him accountable for everything donald trump has said and done over the course of the campaign. but pence delivered an unwaivering performance effectively side stepping kaine's attacks while sticking to his talking points. as the "new york times" noted, pence dodged, deflected, and demurred, deciding, it seemed,
that all the fires that mr. trump has set in the past year could not be doused in a single night. that's good writing. and as "time" magazine pointed out, "to some on servers it was a sign that the indiana governor's debate strategy was also designed to protect his own political future in the event of a trump loss." well, trump didn't hesitate to praise pence, by the way, at a rally this afternoon, citing pence's performance last night as an example of, guess what? donald trump's judgment. this is trump on trump. sort of on pence. >> mike pence did an incredible job. and i'm getting a lot of credit because that's really my first so-called choice, that was my first hire as we would say in las vegas. i'd argue that mike had the single-most decisive victory in the history of vice presidential debates. i believe that, too. last night america got to look firsthand at my judgment. that was judgment.
>> katy tur is an expert on trump's ego. it was on full display. katie, here we have a guy instead of saying i have a great running mate, the guy did a hell of a job, instead he says, well, this just goes to show that i'm a great man and i know how to pick them. your thoughts about trump and his reaction to last night's strong performance, i believe, by mike pence. >> well, you're right. he did take credit for pence saying that he should get credit because he picked pence as his running mate. it was reminiscent of donald trump taking credit for a number of things on the campaign trail. also reminiscent of donald trump talking about himself for 30 minutes while he was supposed to be introducing mike pence as his running mate officially. also those tweets where he congratulated himself on predicting things like terror attacks both in orlando and when he talked about the new york bombings at a rally in colorado.
donald trump is never going to say that he did a poor job on anything or that maybe he should have improved on something, frankly. that's nothing she's den in this campaign season, i don't believe it's anything he's done during his business career. so you're not going to have him come out and say mike pence excelled in areas that i need to improve on. but the reality is that pence did. where governor pence was calm, donald trump was erratic at his -- during his debate. where pence was able to deflect, donald trump was easily baited by hillary clinton. where pence was able to turn the conversation into more favorable territory, pivot, if you will, spin the conversation, start talking about a different subject entirely than he was asked, that's not something that donald trump was able to do during his first debate. looking forward it's going to be interesting to find out how if any of donald trump takes this performance to heart and adjusts to his next debate on sunday. >> i guess that's the question we'll get to tonight.
is this going to be an opportunity for trump to exploit the success of his running mate. but also to learn from it. it seemed to me in a way that -- i don't want to knock kaine, i like that guy, but kaine was acting more like trump last night. he was the one jumping in and out, interrupting. your thoughts. >> i think you're right. i think what the rnc was trying to capitalize on today was how many times tim kaine interrupted governor pence. it's almost like the i'm rubber and you're glue campaign strategy. every time donald trump is knocked for something, donald trump or his campaign or the republican party seems to turn that around and then insult the opponent with that same criticism or take that criticism and throw it at their opponent. in this case they did have a it will is reason to do so when it came to tim kaine. he did repeatedly interrupt governor pence. donald trump, though, repeatedly interrupted hillary clinton during the first debate.
ultimately, though, chris, these vice presidential debates, while interesting to us, don't matter so much to the viewier, don't matter so much to the voter at home, they're very much voting for the top of the ticket and these are two candidates with large personalities and large presences so the idea that one way or another how the vp reacted, behaved, went off on policy discussions that won't factor that much into whether a voter decides to vote for hillary clinton or donald trump. the reality is, governor pence looked pretty good on that stage last night and many are saying he was auditioning, essentially, for 2020 to run on his own ticket for president in 2020 whereas tim kaine was auditioning to be vp in 2020. >> well, that's an opinion. i don't agree with it. i think that 40 million people last night -- >> some people were saying it, that's what i heard. >> that's an opinion.
i let me tell you my opinion. when 40 million people or so watch the television program, they form an opinion about the ticket. i remember years ago voting for humphrey because i liked muskie. so sometimes you look for an excuse. now if republicans are feeling uneasy about trump, which many should be, they may say i think this guy pence is solid, i feel better about voting for trump, i think it makes a difference. any time you're talking about audiences of 40, 50 million people, which we may have last night, i don't know yet, that's an enormous amount of people paying attention. all that means is a couple percent of those millions of people watching and it changes things. i think it's about the enormity. we only get 10 million people on cable but suddenly when you have one of these debates it blossoms. suddenly they never show up for political shows show up for this. so i'm going to argue with you, katy tur. >> you're not incorrect there. in terms of this campaign season there is a block of people that just don't like either candidate
and are they going to see either senar tim kaine or governor pence as a way to enable them to feel more comfortable voting for the top of the ticket. this is about enthusiasm. can donald trump turn out more people than hillary clinton can? right now his base is of white men without a college degree. he needs to find a way to appeal to women. he needs to find a way to appeal to moderate republicans, maybe governor pence would be able to help him do that. but, remember, governor pence is a very conservative christian who has been on the very conservative side of abortion politics in the past. that doesn't necessarily appeal to women in this country, many women in this country. in terms of moderates, governor pence isn't a moderate, either. so it could do some to help him gain christian conservatives that donald trump might not have in his corner but i'm not entirely sure it will get those moderates and women which is what he needs right now. >> i want to bring the other guys in.
here's my last point, among newt gingrich and giuliani and trump they have nine wives among the three of them. they need some sort of more conservative christian or whatever traditional religious kind of person to come in and say you're okay. because those other surrogates are not helping trump in the heartland, that's my thinking. giuliani and newt are not helping trump. he needs somebody with a more traditional -- i'm not making value judgment here. more traditional thinking about human behavior to back them up. he's not getting the right surrogates out there. in his harshest attack of the night, this was memorable, tim kaine invoked the name of former president ronald reagan in an effort to portray donald trump as too darn dangerous to serve as commander-in-chief. let's watch this very strong strike against trump. >> ronald reagan said something really interesting about nuclear proliferation back in the 1980s. he said the problem with nuclear proliferation is that some fool or maniac could trigger a
catastrophic event and that's who i think governor pence's running mate is. exactly who president reag warned us. >> that was beneath you and hillary clinton, that's pretty low. >> that's even beneath you. thank you, ronald reagan, for coming on, always great to have you on. he's author and msnbc political analyst, we have steve cortez surrogate for the trump campaign. steve, i want to talk with ron and get a point of view and both of you mix it up here. last night and next sunday i'm looking for st. louis, meet me in st. louis, as judy garland said, next sunday night. will trump learn and exploit the strong performance by mike pence or not? you first, ron. >> no, i don't think he will learn. i think donald trump is donald trump and you always get donald trump. if he was going to learn, he'd have done so by now. he's been doing this for quite some time now, running for president and he hasn't bothered to learn anything about anything. so apparently he doesn't think he needs to learn anything and i don't think he will by next week. >> do you think that was too
strong a shot or too low a shot for tim kaine to say he was the guy that your dad when he was talking about some maniac getting ahold of a nuclear button now has a face, its name is donald trump? do you think that was too personal to say he's a nut case with the chance to blow up the world? >> maniac might have been a little over the top. but basically i think he was correct. i'm quite sure my father would be appalled by the donald trump candidacy so in case that's where you were going with this. >> i'm always going there because it's amazing how progressives are lining up with ronald reagan this year in the strangest way. let me bring in steven. steven, your thoughts about last night and next sunday. because i really want to know how this leads from one presidential debate. i'll give credit to katy tur who said it's the presidential candidates. >> pleasure to be on, i grew up in the 1980s, i'm a political nerd. most of my buddies on their
locker had joe montana or pam anderson, i had a picture of my father on your locker at school so i'm proud to be on with you today. >> i'm not sure you needed to admit that, steve. >> i just did on national television. >> go for it. >> listen, here's the thing. >> pass the beef cake, we're on to politics. >> is donald trump ronald reagan? no, there will never be another ronald reagan or winston churchill. however, are the scenarios similar? i would argue vociferously they are right now. to the late 1970s. back then we had slow growth. we had an america that was lost in the world. we had a dangerous world. we had a crisis of confidence. we had a malaise self-described by the then president jimmy carter. we have a very similar scenario right now and we also have another outsider. we have donald trump who is saying i am ready to smash the political class. i'm ready to smash the crony capitalist system that k street
has constructed in washington, d.c. and guess what? the people are rallying to that cry. so i think it's working so far and it will continue to work into november because the macro issues of prosperity and security are on our side and the status quo -- >> that's not working. what you're talking about is not the message of these debates the news every night. it's about machado, about a guy that ran the miss universe contest who wanted to be hugh hefner. it's all about his social life. he has not been able to escape who he is. now you're talking about -- i agree with you. there's a force for change but donald trump is donald trump. he's bigger at some points than the discussion we should be having about change versus the way things are, the status quo. that's a great argument you're making, steve, but that's not what trump is talking about. he's talking about machado and miss universe and this nonsense he gets involved with. >> and he should stop doing that and i think he's going to. it's a fair point. part of having an outsider and a
maverick and non-politician, it's mostly an attribute but it does come with the challenges. it's two-edged sword to some degree. he hired mike pence. i think last night matters for that reason. not because the debate itself mattered but because he showed the american people, it's natural to worry about a non-politician. if you handle the oval offers and the nuclear button. >> ron, last night i remember alfred e. newman on mad magazine, every time kaine had a shot, everything, the answer from pence was "what, me worry?" he was like alfred e. newman, he acted like it didn't happen, i don't have to talk about it. he was the king of deflection last night. it's an art and not useful perhaps to us but him. >> i don't know what else he would have done because some of the things donald trump has said over the last, well, the course of the election are really
indefensible so there was no defending these things and i think mike pence was thinking ahead to his career and you notice even when he would defend donald trump he would do it without for the most part mentioning donald trump's name. he didn't -- there was no full-throated defense there. it was as if he didn't want any videotape of him to exist when he was talking about donald trump because i think he has a feeling that, you know, a few years from now when he wants to come back and take another run at this thing he doesn't want donald trump's stench all over him. >> >> thank you, that's what i thought. in fact, last night i thought what was the safer move for your guy mike pence to defend trump or attack hillary? the obvious answer is the safest thing in the world on the republican side is attack hillary. one more shot at her ain't going to hurt much. but it will help the guy who will take the shot and you're laughing because you know it's true. >> i'm not laughing and it's not true. here's what happened. tim kaine show up with a
laundry list of embarrassing quotes or supposedly embarrassing quotes about donald trump. >> were they true? were they true? >> a couple were, some weren't. >> couple? which one wasn't true. >> what mike pence did -- >> just a minute, steve. what did tim kaine say that wasn't true? >> i'll tell you one and this matters to me as the son of an immigrant and as a latino, he said -- and they're said this all along -- they keep saying donald trump is a racist and that is the sign of an intellectually failing campaign. >> did he say that last night? i don't think tim kaine e said that. >> he said that donald trump said mexicans are rapists murderers. that's ridiculous. are there some illegal immigrants who are? are there dangerous illegal immigrants? absolutely and they need to be gone yesterday and there are sanctuary cities and people literally suffering and dying because of that policy but are most mexicans? of course not? latinos are a treasure to this country as are immigrants in
general so i think what he showed up with, tim kaine, was a landry list and said "i dare you to defend one through ten" and pence sedley defend broad principles but i won't go down your rabbit hole. >> here's not a rabbit hole but a google search for everybody. ron, you can do it, too. everybody with their key boards, do this now. take google, the search engine and look up two words, right? "mexicans" and "rapists" and see if the word trump doesn't show up as well. i'm betting it will. that's what i have to say steve cortez, it will show up. he's the one who attached the word rapist to mexicans. nobody in history has ever done that. he did it and you know it. thank you, steve cortez. thank you, ron reagan. when we return, troubling new poll numbers for donald trump. plus my election diary for tonight, october 5 as we look forward to sunday's clinton/trump matchup. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. clinton is in the lead 44% with trump 42% with gary johnson at 5%. the real clear politics average of all the polls still has trump up by 2.5 in that state. okay, without ohio trump would have no path to winning the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the presidency. ohio is always a must and it is again this year. we'll be right back for republicans.
election diary, wednesday, october 5, 2016. i believe today the turn in the road this this presidential election. after last night's solid work by mike pence, the big lift now is for trump himself. he needs to use the break pence gave him last night and get serious. hillary clinton learned last night that it's not enough to jab at trump, not enough to score points off her opponent's off-putting behavior. she herself needs to climb the stairs of greatness, needs to show herself as superior, not
just superior to trump. the way this race the going now, trump will be fortunate to win states like ohio, florida, north carolina. he runs the risk of winning none of them, finishing a dreadful number of electoral votes behind his arrival, a humiliating number of electoral votes. this means, that hillary clinton is in a position to win a real mandate, winning most of the major states, winning most of the truly contested states and ending up with the u.s. senate in democratic hands. so the race now balances between a big victory for hillary clinton and a smaller one. for donald trump it's the balance between a nice try and a lifetime embarrassment. to change the situation, trump will need to change his behavior from the erratic to the deadly serious. back from the crazy to the three big issues that got him this far -- trade, immigration and bad wars. to exploit the current trend, which he can do more easily, hillary clinton needs to talk about the future and how she will make the big changes america wants. a country focused not on
>> as hurricane matthew approaches florida, today's massive announcement on climate change from the white house. "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. after mike pence managed to get through 90 minutes of last night's presidential debate without insulting a single woman's appearance or bragging that not paying taxes makes him smart, the nominee had managed to deliver a stylistically move although a substantively challenged debate.