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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


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Stephanie Cutter is deputy campaign manager (INAUDIBLE) manager-in-chief for President Obama, and Steve Beshear is the illustrious governor of the state of Kentucky. Thank you.


MATTHEWS: By the way, Governor, how can you get elected in this regular-seeming (ph) state and Mitch McConnell is your senator and Rand Paul? You don`t seem like the same (INAUDIBLE)


GOV. STEVE BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY: Well, you know, Kentucky`s a little schizophrenic with this national politics. We elect Democrats on a statewide level, and then we go back and forth. You know, we voted for Carter. Then we voted for Reagan. Then we voted for Clinton. Then we voted for Bush. So you know, we go back and forth on the national scene.


STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: What are they going to do this time?

MATTHEWS: ... as far as Frankfort, but not to Washington.


BESHEAR: That`s right!

MATTHEWS: Stephanie, thanks for joining us. Stephanie Cutter has been out there all the time. Give me a sense, if you can, of the feeling, because you can tell me that, I think, honestly, of inside Chicago, inside the headquarters.

CUTTER: Well, you know, Chris, it`s the same as it has been for months. We have always said and always believed that this is going to be a very close race all the way up until election day. You know, the president wasn`t happy with his debate performance. He is looking forward to the next debate to, you know, take Romney on, clear up some of those facts that Romney wasn`t so clear on, and you know, we`re working hard.

MATTHEWS: What do you think about -- Governor, what do you think about Romney`s performance last week? I mean, I thought it was different than everything I`ve seen before.

BESHEAR: Well, obviously, the president wasn`t on his game and Romney was on his game. Tonight, I think you`ll see two guys go at it, and they`ll both be invigorated and exciting. And then I think you`ll see a different president the last two debates.

MATTHEWS: Well, the stunning thing is the difference between the cosmetic and the performance values of Romney, which were excellent last week, and what he continued to say -- no matter what Michael Steele said here a moment ago. He`s wrong.

The fact is, the governor -- former governor of Massachusetts` answer for the vast majority of people who don`t have health insurance is, if you`re lucky an ambulance will arrive, an ambulance will take you to the ER, and if you`re lucky, you`ll be treated or you`ll sit there. It may be a chronic condition, whatever it is. The ER is not right for everybody.

CUTTER: Right.

MATTHEWS: It`s certainly not right for people with chronic illnesses or potentially chronic illnesses, and yet he`s satisfied with that horrible plot.


MATTHEWS: No industrialized country in the world is satisfied with that. Why would a Republican, a serious person like Romney, say it`s OK, throw them in the emergency room?

CUTTER: Well, I think -- well, I`ve got a few points to make on this. One, it`s sort of emblematic of that 47 percent comment that he made, that...


CUTTER: ... half of the country, he`s not fighting for them. But in terms of his specific comments on health care, number one, tens of thousands of people lose their lives every year because they don`t have insurance, because they don`t get the care that they need.

Number two, tens of thousands of people go into bankruptcy because they don`t have an -- insurance. And, number three, what he`s doing is encouraging people to use emergency rooms for their health care, which is
the entire free rider problem that Obamacare fixes and actually Mitt Romney`s plan in Massachusetts fixes. So, there are several problems with that statement.

MATTHEWS: But there`s a more drastic difference between the two. You`re the expert, but I have got to tell you, when I hear your people, including the president, he`s our president as well, say the difference between the health care plans of the Democrats and Republicans on Medicare is it will cost more if you have to go to vouchers, I`m telling you this, as a thoughtful person.

No fricking 82-year-old person can go out on a bus and go buy health insurance. Nobody is going to sell it to them.

CUTTER: That`s exactly right.

MATTHEWS: Why don`t you say that? Why do you say it will cost a little more? Who is going to give grandma, 82, 90, years old, is going to say, oh, I will buy you health insurance?

CUTTER: Right.

MATTHEWS: Nobody is going to sell it to them.


MATTHEWS: So, in other words, he`s condemning people to no health insurance.

CUTTER: Exactly.


MATTHEWS: Your thought, Governor? That`s common sense.

BESHEAR: Chris, this is the same -- this is an example of what Romney has
been doing now for a year.

You know, he gets out...

MATTHEWS: Playing peekaboo.

BESHEAR: He plays peekaboo. He changes his positions.

And this thing -- when you get right down to it on November the 6th, this
is going to be decided on trust factor.



MATTHEWS: Would you trust him for what he said to those rich people down
in Boca Raton, Florida, or what he says on national television? I trust what he said down there.


BESHEAR: Well, listen, people understand that you can really find out what a guy really is and what he thinks when he gets behind closed doors with his buddies and nobody thinks anybody is listening. And he said what he thought then, and that`s the real Mitt Romney.

And I don`t think people trust him to be president.

MATTHEWS: I noticed he was for a two-state solution in the Middle East when everybody was watching, but when he was with a bunch of people he thought was further right than him on the Middle East, he pandered, he pandered.

BESHEAR: Yes, exactly.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the way these things work.

A lot of Americans vote early now.

CUTTER: Right.

MATTHEWS: I will probably end up voting early because I have got to be in
New York for election night.

And I`m thinking, as we have these debates, it seems like some people might
go right from watching a debate and go vote.

CUTTER: Well, it`s possible.

MATTHEWS: And it`s kind of tricky, because you could have an off-night and
lose scads of voters.

CUTTER: Right.

Many of them have already voted. In the NBC Ohio poll, of the people that they polled, 20 percent of them have already voted. We have been working hard to make sure...

MATTHEWS: Do you like this poll of ours that says that two-thirds of the people who voted already in Ohio voted for Obama?



MATTHEWS: I mean, do you think it`s true?


BESHEAR: Well, and also...

MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s true? That`s what I mean by like.

CUTTER: Well, it`s your poll.

BESHEAR: Also, Chris, those polls are indicating that 90-some percent of the people have already made up their minds even before these debates.

MATTHEWS: But that last handful seems to be hard to get. I keep waiting for them to make up their mind.

What do you want to hear? I love "Saturday Night Live" when they say what do you want to know? Well, I want specifics. Now, who are the two candidates running for president?


MATTHEWS: And I want to know exactly who is the current president of the United States and how long the term is, because I`m against this lifetime thing.


MATTHEWS: I mean, do you really think there are people that really -- how can -- let me ask you this. I`m feeding you this, Stephanie, my friend.

CUTTER: OK, good.


MATTHEWS: You`re pro-choice, that`s Obama. You`re pro-life, it`s the other guy.

You`re for bailing out, a rescue in the auto industry, that`s Obama. You`re for letting it go bankrupt, that`s the other guy. You`re for health insurance, the other guy is for the E.R.


MATTHEWS: You`re for Medicare, the other guy is for vouchers.It ain`t complicated. What are you waiting for? There`s nothing in the middle for anybody here.

CUTTER: No. What are you doing later at about 9:00?


MATTHEWS: No, it just seems like a simple thing.

CUTTER: It is a simple thing.

MATTHEWS: A woman -- a single woman, for example, who is concerned about
reproductive rights, you don`t have to sit and watch television to decide.

I heard that there was a swing among single women towards Romney after that
debate. They never talked about abortion rights.


And you have seen the back and forth with Romney over the past couple of days, what he tried to -- he understands he has a women`s problem. He understands that if he is going to win, he has to close that gender gap. So what did he do in the Iowa "Des Moines Register editorial board? He tried to soften his position on abortion. But what did his campaign do the moment he walked out from that?


CUTTER: They called Tony Perkins and said don`t worry, don`t worry. We
will clean it up.

MATTHEWS: So who is running for president, Andrea Saul or Mitt Romney?


CUTTER: Or Tony Perkins.

MATTHEWS: The amazing thing is, Governor -- I don`t know if you can do it
down here, but in that campaign, Romney can say something on "60 Minutes,"
he can say it on national television, anywhere he wants, and at some time around 11:00 at night, some fellow named Eric Fehrnstrom shows up in some
briefing room and says he didn`t mean that, or somebody named Andrea Saul,
but 99 percent of the people heard the cosmetic pandering that the governor
engaged in, and said, I sort of like that guy.

And only in the midnight, in the darkness, when the movie, when the Etch A
Sketch goes on, they change and say, well, he didn`t really mean that. He really is pro-life. He really doesn`t believe in covering people with preexisting conditions. It was all malarkey.

BESHEAR: But, you know, Chris...

MATTHEWS: How do you get away with this?

BESHEAR: They don`t.

MATTHEWS: Are you this good, Stephanie? You can`t do this.

BESHEAR: In the end, in the end, he doesn`t get away it because on November the 6th folks are going to vote their gut. When you get right down to it, they`re going to vote who do they trust the most?

And they like Obama. They may not agree with all of his policies, but they trust him, that he`s out there trying to fight for them. They don`t trust this other guy.


MATTHEWS: Well, OK. well, we will see, we will see, we will see, we will see.

I`m still confused by this state. They got a guy like you and they have got Mitch McConnell?

Anyway, thank you, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Stephanie Cutter of
the Obama campaign.


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