updated 8/25/2006 11:55:19 AM ET 2006-08-25T15:55:19

Guests: Ed Gillespie, Joe Biden

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Lots of politics tonight.  A big shot Republican has Bush for dinner but pal George Allen has to eat crow.  Joe Biden has an exit for Iraq and Pat Buchanan wants to close the entrance from Mexico.  Oh yeah I give Pat Buchanan the Heidi Klume test tonight.  Stick around for that one.  Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening, I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL.  August has been no day at the beach for President Bush as he said before, being president is hard work.  Next week he will lead the nation in observing the first anniversary of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina as Americans take a hard look at the rebuilding of one of our country‘s most magnificent cities. 

Just weeks later the president turns his focus from the Gulf Coast to Ground Zero, paying tribute to the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and of course the terrorist attacks against New York and Washington.  Those twin tragedies have defined this president‘s legacy.  History will judge how he led in those times of crisis.  In these dog days of Summer the president is also dogged by horrific news out of Iraq, over 2,500 Americans have given their lives, thousands more Iraqi civilians have died in the conflict and the president warns if we pull out it could get worse, such is Bush‘s world as we move into Autumn with the Fall elections coming up, just weeks away tonight.  We talk about politics with Ed Gillespie, Senator Joe Biden and Pat Buchanan, but first HARDBALL‘s David Shuster has this report. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC HARDBALL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Almost a year since Hurricane Katrina swamped the Gulf Coast and left the country shocked at President Bush‘s ineptitude, the Bush team is now engaged in damage control for the year after reminder. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:     It is a time to remember that people suffered and it is a time to recommit ourselves to helping them but I also want our people to remember that a one year anniversary is just that. 

SHUSTER:  The White House would love for Americans to forget about everything that went wrong a year ago. 

BUSH:  And Brownie you are doing a heck of a job. 

SHUSTER:  And focus instead on the future.  So to help, the president met this week with survivor Rocky Vaccarella.

ROCKY VACCARELLA, KATRINA SURVIVOR:  I wanted to remind the president that the job is not done and he know that.  And I just don‘t want the government and President Bush to forget about us and I just wish the president could have another term in Washington.

BUSH:  Wait a minute. 

VACCARELLA:  You know, I wish he had another four years, man. 

SHUSTER:  The enthusiasm seemed strange for a Katrina related event. 

VACCARELLA:  But we are going to move on.  Mr President, it has been my pleasure. 

BUSH:  You are a good man Rocky.  Thank you all.

VACCARELLA:  You are too.  Thanks a bunch. 

SHUSTER:  A White House spokesperson later acknowledged that Vaccarella is an active Republican, who once ran for local office on the Republican ticket.  Democrats pointed to continued problems along the Gulf Coast, hit the president hard.  House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, quote, tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors are still engaged in an unparalleled struggle to rebuild their lives.  President Bush is holding a public relations blitz that the survivors of Katrina can ill afford.

The White House is clearly in an atmosphere of damage management, whether it‘s Katrina or the Iraq war.  On Iraq the surprise is that the administration‘s most recent defensive posture was sparked by Arizona Senator John McCain.  This week the GOP‘s 2008 presidential front-runner pointed to the ongoing problems with the war and referred to the president‘s “Mission Accomplished” banner and assorted statements by Vice President Cheney. 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  It has contributed enormously to the frustration that Americans feel today because they were led to believe that this would be some kind of a day at the beach. 

SHUSTER:  The White House said McCain‘s criticism is old news. 

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY:  Senator McCain has made similar comments.  He is a senator who is not shy about sharing his views.  That‘s one of the reasons he is such a unique figure in American politics and also one of the most popular. 

SHUSTER:  Another Republican who supports keeping U.S. troops there indefinitely is Virginia Senator George Allen.  The president this week attended a fund-raiser for Allen, who was on the defensive in a tough Senate race because of Iraq but also because of a remark Allen made about a man working for his Democratic challenger. 

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN ®, VIRGINIA:  Let‘s give a welcome to Macaca here. 

Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.

SHUSTER:  Macaca is a term that can refer to a monkey.  Allen said he was referring to the man‘s haircut and has apologized repeatedly but last night on HARDBALL—

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN:  Look, I served with George Allen when he was governor.  I don‘t think he belongs in public service to be honest with you.  There are Republicans who are capable and smart, thoughtful people and he is not one of them. 

SHUSTER (on camera):  Reminding voters of your opponent‘s mistakes is a wise political campaign strategy and between George Allen, the problems in Iraq and the anniversary of the Bush team‘s Katrina debacle, Democrats are now having a field day.  Republicans are simply trying to hang on just 75 days before the election.  I‘m David Shuster for HARDBALL in Washington. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  Thank you David Shuster.  Republican Ed Gillespie is former chairman of the Republican National Committee.  He joins us right now.  He is now treasurer for Senator George Allen‘s political action committee down in Virginia.  He‘s also the author of an upcoming book, we‘ll have him on for that, “Winning Right.”  I think it has to do something with ideology.  Anyway, Ed, thanks for joining us. 

ED GILLESPIE, FMR, RNC CHAIRMAN:  Thanks. 

MATTHEWS:  You were, I guess, a grand fellow to host George Allen in the midst of all this stink.  What‘s your take on it?  He said Macaca.  He apologized yesterday.  Where does that put this issue?

GILLESPIE:  Oh, I think the issue is behind him.  The fact is that George Allen is a very smart person and a very smart individual but I don‘t think even he knew that a Macaca is a genus of monkey in the northeastern area of Asia or that in some parts of the world it is a slur.  Still it was a mistake to make fun of this young man on the campaign trail, even though he was tweaking his opponent.  He apologized for it, apologized to the young man personally yesterday and you know, was it wrong, yes.  Does he have a prejudicial bone in his body, absolutely not? 

MATTHEWS:  You are his fund raiser.  To a large extent you would know, if anyone on the planet would, hurt him in his fund raising.  Has it? 

GILLESPIE:  It has not.  We had a fantastic event last night with the president.  Over 400 people in the dead of August or 15 days to pull it together and people were incredibly enthusiastic. 

MATTHEWS:  Did he talk about it last night? 

GILLESPIE:  No, he talked about his vision for making sure that we continue creating jobs.  Virginia, by the way, last year microchips surpassed cigarettes in exports from Virginia production, in Virginia, that is the way that state is transitioning because of his governorship. 

MATTHEWS:  Over here in the Dulles Airport area?

GILLESPIE:  He started it as governor, perpetuates it as senator.  So the people of Virginia know him.  They know his heart.  They know he is a good man.  They know his policies and they are consistent with the majority of Virginians. 

MATTHEWS:  Is he presidential material? 

GILLESPIE:  Well he is focused on the race.

MATTHEWS:  No, but is he presidential material? 

GILLESPIE:  I think he is presidential material.  I think John McCain is presidential material.  I think Mitt Romney is presidential material.  Bill Frist, there are a lot of folks in our party, fortunately, who are presidential material.  But I don‘t know that George Allen is going to run for president.  He is running for re-election to the United States Senate and I‘m helping to that. 

MATTHEWS:  I know you both have to say that, but I want to get to the heart of what you don‘t want to say, which is do you believe that he can get past this and be president of the United States some day, if he runs?  If he runs, can he get past this? 

GILLESPIE:  You know, Halley Barbor (ph) has a saying, the governor of Mississippi, former RNC chairman, you know in politics nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems.  You know this was a tough week that he had.  I think he handled it very well and in a very personal manner. 

MATTHEWS:  You think he handled it well.  He let it string out for two weeks.  Why did he do that?

GILLESPIE:  I don‘t know if it was quite two weeks.  He thought he was going to see the young man on the campaign trail again but he went back to U.V.A. so he didn‘t get to apologize to him in person.  When he found out he went back to college, he picked up the phone and called him, which I thought was the right thing to do. 

MATTHEWS:  So if we find ourselves a year from now watching the George Allen for president campaign, we won‘t be thinking about this any more? 

GILLESPIE:  No, well, first of all, let me just say again George Allen is rightly focused on his re-election in Virginia and hammering the nail in front of him, as he says, and that is what he is focused on.  That‘s what I‘m focused on.  That‘s what I signed up to help him on.

MATTHEWS:  I think he is running for president and I think that I watched him down in Memphis.  I thought he did a good job and I think he is going to be running for president. 

GILLESPIE:  Well, we will come back and see in a year if you are right. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at the John McCain thing.  Here is what Senator McCain said this week about President Bush and his sort of explanation of the war to the American people. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN:  It grieves me so much that we have not told the American people how tough and difficult this task would be and it has contributed enormously to the frustration that Americans feel today because they were led to believe that this would be some kind of a day at the beach. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe the people of Iraq, or at least a large number of them, will treat us as liberators? 

MCCAIN:  Absolutely.  Absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  And you think the Arab world will come to a grudging recognition that what we did was necessary?  I mean by that the moderate Arab leaders, the people that we have to deal with? 

MCCAIN:  Not only that they will be relieved that he is not in the neighborhood because he has invaded his neighbors on several occasions. 

MATTHEWS:  I sincerely hope you are right. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well there he is with a very benign view of what the war was going to be like, saying it was going to be pretty smooth and that Arab leaders around the world would be supporting it.  That, you know, it was going to be received as liberators and now he is this week saying the president was wrong to say we would be received that way.  Is McCain playing fair here? 

GILLESPIE:  Well, Senator McCain, like everyone else, got the same intelligence and he is right.  We thought that this was going to be an easier time in turning Iraq back to the Iraqi people.  Not just Senator McCain, not just George W. Bush, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton.  We all, that was our understanding of the lay of the land.  It turned out to be wrong and it has been much more difficult than any of us hoped or prayed that it would be. 

So Senator McCain has been stout in his support for the winning the war on terror, for making sure we get the job done in Iraq, that we make it a free and democratic republic in the heart of the Middle East.  Not just for the Iraqi people, but because it is in our own national security interest.

MATTHEWS:  Why did he come out this week and say the president failed by not giving us a good, earnest look at how tough it was going to be? 

GILLESPIE:  I don‘t know that he said “the president.”  I think he said the people thought it was going to be easier than it was.  People did think it was going to be easier than it was.  I thought it was going to be easier than it was.

MATTHEWS:  Who were these people that told you it was going to be easy? 

GILLESPIE:  At the time there was analysis from generals—

MATTHEWS:  The Iraqi National Congress—who was telling you this?  The emigres—the emigre community.  Who was saying—it seems to me, you know—you know history.  You studied history.  What country is easily occupied?  All countries resist outsiders.

GILLESPIE:  Sure, of course they do, but I think there was a sense that the Iraqi people would more quickly and readily embrace an Iraqi free government. 

MATTHEWS:  Looking back do you think that was smart, to think that?

GILLESPIE:  Looking back, I would say that we went back and changed some of our intelligence gathering mechanisms and information sharing so that we will be more accurate in the future in such assessments. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think—quickly, we have about six senators run for

re-election, you‘ve got Talent in Missouri, you‘ve got Santorum in

Pennsylvania, Link Chafee up in Rhode Island, you‘ve got Conrad Burns out in Montana.  I know I‘ve missed one.  You‘ve got Tennessee, open seat.

GILLESPIE:  DeWine in Ohio

MATTHEWS:  And DeWine in Ohio—how are they going to do? 

GILLESPIE:  I think they are going to do very well.  We are already seeing the trend change.  The congressional generic—

MATTHEWS:  You buy that the Gallup poll?  You think that Gallup poll is a turn in the right direction for your party? 

GILLESPIE:  I think it demonstrates a turn in the right direction for the party.  Rasmussen had the congressional generic at Republicans minus two, which is great for us; we are historically minus five.  You look at Rick Santorum—Rick Santorum in the Keystone poll—five percentage point from 18 percent just two months ago.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think he‘ll win?

GILLESPIE:  Down five—I do think he‘ll win.  If I were to pick—make a list of the ten incumbent Republican senators or any senator that I wouldn‘t want to run against, Rick Santorum would be about one through ten.  That guy is a tough campaigner—he stands up to these people.

MATTHEWS:  Call the primary next week—we got a week—next week we got the primary coming up in—or, a couple of weeks—coming up in Rhode Island between Chafee and Laffey, the conservative—Club for Growth guy.  Who wins there? 

GILLESPIE:  I think the incumbent will prevail there and I think Link Chafee—

MATTHEWS:  Do you want Link Chafee to win? 

GILLESPIE:  I do.  I think that Link Chafee‘s been a good senator for the people of Rhode Island.

MATTHEWS:  Even though the other guy is the tax cutter? 

GILLESPIE:  I have nothing against Laffey, but as you know, the party is supporting Link Chafee.  He‘s been an effective senator for—

MATTHEWS:  Do you support Alan Schlesinger up in Connecticut?  The party candidate?

GILLESPIE:  The party there has urged neutrality there, in that—

MATTHEWS:  So you don‘t support him, Alan Schlesinger?  The gambling man?

GILLESPIE:  That‘s for the folks of—

MATTHEWS:  Blackjack—“Blackjack” Schlesinger.  You don‘t endorse him? 

GILLESPIE:  I defer—look—

MATTHEWS:  This is amazing.  A guy is a nominee of your party and you don‘t endorse him.

GILLESPIE:  Here is the thing, though.  The Republican party is a bottom up party; it is not a top down party.  It is not run out of Washington, the way the DNC runs things out of Washington.  And in Connecticut, what the party is telling us is, we ought to be putting our resources and our time and our energy in the House races and into the governor‘s race.

MATTHEWS:  Why did you have a primary for senator in Connecticut if you didn‘t want to back the winner?  Your party held a primary this year for senator of Connecticut.  This guy, Alan Schlesinger, won it.  Why don‘t you back him?  He won your primary?  Isn‘t that unfair to the guy not to back him? 

GILLESPIE:  I think it‘s right—when I was RNC chairman, I listened to the state party chairs because they know what is going on on the ground better than we do in Washington DC.  And I think that the state party has made an appropriate decision there to urge that the party‘s resources go into the governorship, helping good members of Congress, like Rob Simmons and Chris Shays and Nancy Johnson get reelected, and I think that is the right call.  I will back them.  I‘ll stand by them on their call.

MATTHEWS:  So you want Lieberman—so, bottom line, after all the BS here, you want Lieberman to win.  That is why you are not endorsing the Republican.  Because you want Lieberman to win and embarrass the Democrats.  Why don‘t you just say that? 

GILLESPIE:  For me, I think—I said this when, by the way, he was tapped as nominee by Al Gore, I think he Joe Lieberman is a good man, and someone who deserves a great deal of respect.  I‘ve always respected him.

MATTHEWS:  Should he stay in the Senate? 

GILLESPIE:  I think he should. 

MATTHEWS:  So you are endorsing a Democrat for the Senate in Connecticut? 

GILLESPIE:  I‘m not endorsing him.  I‘m saying if he wins, he should stay in the Senate.  I think he‘s a good man.  I‘m not endorsing anybody; that‘s not—

MATTHEWS:  But you just said you thought he should stay in the Senate. 

I heard you just a few seconds ago.

GILLESPIE:  I thought you said if he got re-elected. 

MATTHEWS:  Should he stay in the Senate?

GILLESPIE:  If the people of Connecticut vote for him to stay in the Senate, he should stay in the Senate.  I don‘t think he should get a majority of votes in Connecticut and then not serve. 

MATTHEWS:  Right, but better him than Schlesinger?  If you had a vote.

GILLESPIE:  I think whoever the voters of Connecticut choose is fine by me and would—

MATTHEWS:  But you are not—

GILLESPIE:  As long as it is not Lamont. 

MATTHEWS:  Just to finish this, you‘re not endorsing the Republican candidate.

GILLESPIE:  If the Republican candidate wins, that is fine by me.  That would be great, actually.  As long as it is not Lamont, is my point, because I think Lamont would be bad for Connecticut and bad for the country. 

MATTHEWS:  You got that shot in.  Thank you very much.  Ed Gillespie, former chair of the Republican National Committee.  The book is called—coming up, we‘ll tell you about it when it comes—“Winning Right.”

Coming up, Senator Joe Biden plays HARDBALL.  He is pitching a plan to save Iraq and redeploy US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007.  Can he rally support around his idea?  You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  In today‘s “Washington Post,” Joe Biden, the Senate‘s top Democrat on foreign relations, once again presented his plan to give regional control in Iraq to Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.  His plan also would start redeploying US troops out of Iraq this year.  Senator Biden is in Iowa tonight testing the presidential waters. 

Senator Biden, do the people of Iraq support the idea of a federal system or a confederacy, rather, where there is a lot of autonomy by the three separate groups? 

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D) DELAWARE:  The answer is, I believe, yes, Chris.  There‘s been a real change here.  If you asked me that a year ago, the Sunnis still thought they could control the whole show, the Shia thought they could take over politically and physically, and the Kurds were hoping it would fall apart.  Now they all have different equities.  The only way to hold this country together so that it is together ten years from now and it‘s not chaos and to create the conditions for us to leave and leave something stable behind is to give these three regional groups breathing room. 

MATTHEWS:  Who else supports this notion that you are supporting yourself? 

BIDEN:  Well, there‘s guys like Les Gelb, former chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, there‘s a whole lot of folks out there that do, but every time anyone says to me, you know, OK Biden, I don‘t like your plan, my response is what is your plan.  Has anyone else you have ever had on your show had a plan?  Not one single person. 

MATTHEWS:  I have been looking at this book.  I‘m only into it now, but Peter Galbraith‘s book called “Looming Tower.”

BIDEN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Is that the same theme that you are pushing, which is the separated power?

BIDEN:  No, Peter goes further than I do, although Peter called me to compliment me on the plan.  Peter, really, is looking for an actual flat partitioning.  All I‘m suggesting is that under the existing constitution of Iraq you allow the constitution to function, which says that any three governates, any three of their states, of the 18 states, essentially like our states, can get together and form a region. 

You give those people in that region, the Kurds have already done that effectively, the Sunnis have basically done it and the Shia have basically done it.  Give them control over the local laws, just like you do with the local laws on marriage and education and property in our various states.  And also give them their own police force, like the state police in Maryland, the state police in Delaware, et cetera, and have a central government that is—make Baghdad a federal city like Washington, give them control over their borders, their national army and the allocation of resources. 

And then you‘ve got to give the Sunnis a piece of the action.  What‘s the action?  The action is oil.  You‘ve got to give them some of the revenues.  That is the basis for this country being able to stay together as a loosely federated republic and not a haven for terror and not a threat to its neighbors. 

MATTHEWS:  Have you run this by Muqtada al-Sadr? 

BIDEN:  Yes, well, actually I have run it by everybody. 

MATTHEWS:  These are the kind of guys—these are the kind of militiamen who are out there dominating the country. 

BIDEN:  No, but I—you know, by the way have I personally ran this, again, by ...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m being sarcastic somewhat because these guys want to fight to take over the whole country.  They thought those were the stakes.

BIDEN:  No, no, Chris, here‘s what happens.  I disagree with you.  What happens is if you do that you, if you break these into regions, you‘ll get what I got from the British two star general in Basra three weeks ago.  I ask him, what‘s going on down here?  And he said, look, we have no insurgency and we have no civil war.  We have Shia militia fighting to establish themselves, to be able to control the Shia regions once we leave, when we fill the vacuum. 

What will happen, Chris, if you do what I said, you will see each of the militia, you will see the Badr Brigade going after the Mahdi army.  You won‘t see them going into the Anbar province and up to Fallujah.  You will not see that a tall.  The truth of the matter is they will have to stay, quote, “home” to see who controls their region.  That is the only reasonable prospect we have here. 

And, Chris, I announced this plan four months ago.  Remember being on your show I said, Chris, there‘s a civil war.  This is not the insurgency.  And everybody said, oh, no, no, no, no.  That‘s not it.  Everybody agrees it‘s a civil war and, Chris, all American troops we could put in there, all the king‘s horses and all the king‘s men can‘t do anything positive if this is a full-blown civil war, so you better figure out how to avoid that. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you make of Senator John McCain‘s crack at the president that sold us what he called “a day at the beach”? 

BIDEN:  He did sell us a day at the beach.  He did.  Remember Rumsfeld implying that Johnny and Jane would come marching home by Christmas after we went in?  Remember him saying we‘re going to get down, implying we‘d get down to 30,000 troops?  Remember them saying that we would be greeted with open arms? 

Remember this crook Chalabi who should be in jail in Jordan because he was convicted of being viewed as the guy we flew into Basra who was going to march triumphantly up to Baghdad and become the new president?  And remember that not just me, but you also had great senators like Dick Lugar, we wrote a report saying whoa, whoa, whoa wait a minute. 

You will not be greeted with open arms.  There won‘t be enough oil to pay for this.  There‘s not a civilian bureaucracy to put in place.  We will be there five to 10 years.  It wasn‘t like this was Monday morning quarterbacking.  We wrote that report six months before he went into Iraq. 

MATTHEWS:  Unfortunately, we have been carried into Iraq by the dreams of the ideologues.  Senator Biden, please stay with us.  We will be right back with Senator Joe Biden, the ranking Democrat on Foreign Relations.

And later, Pat Buchanan and Bob Shrum will battle over the hot issues for the midterms.  They‘re coming up. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  The strategy is to help the Iraqi people achieve their objectives and their dreams, which is a democratic society.  That‘s the strategy.  The tactics—now either you say yes, it‘s important we stay there and get it done, or we leave.  We‘re not leaving so long as I‘m the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  “We‘re not leaving so long as I‘m president.”  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

We‘re back with Delaware Senator Joe Biden, the ranking Democrat on Foreign Relations.  He‘s out in Iowa right now. 

Senator, let me ask about the president‘s commitment to Maliki, the new prime minister of Iraq?  What do you make of Maliki yourself?

BIDEN:  I met with him, Chris, over the Fourth of July recess.  I had a long meeting with him.  I asked him a couple of questions.  I said what are you going to do to get Sunni buy in, because everyone knows, Chris, that without the Sunnis buying into this new government, that there‘s no chance of this working. 

And I said, Zal, our ambassador, helped get you to amend the constitution before it was voted on to allow it to be further amended to give the Sunnis a piece of the action in terms of the oil.  He said oh, we have already done that. 

I said no, I said—and I was in the room with Jack Reed and others.  And I said, “Mr. President you and I may be the only two people in this room that‘s read your constitution and it does not do that.”  And he was totally dismissive.  I think he has no intention—no intention—of doing what has to be done in terms of political solution with the Sunnis. 

Secondly, I asked him the question about whether or not he was prepared to take on Sadr and those crazies that he has that have infiltrated the army, infiltrated the police and are acting as death squads. 

I think he has no intention of trying to deal with that Shia coalition of the three parties including Sadr who has 32 seats in the parliament there, and he‘s beholding to them.  So I don‘t see him as a unifying figure that President Bush sees him as.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think he is working for Iran? 

BIDEN:  I think he‘s working very—not for, but I think he sees his interests lie in Iran.  I think that most—now, most of the Shia believe that their interest lies in Iran because they are looking at this in a way that I don‘t think that—they are not ready to make the kind of concessions needed to have a unified country. 

Chris, when you had me on your show after I was over there on my fifth visit or so, when I was over there during their vote on the constitution, I came back and you asked me about that vote.  And everybody was saying—and I told you the president said when I debriefed him—great Democratic effort.  And I said, “Mr. President it was freely conducted but it wasn‘t Democratic.” 

We later learned 92 percent of all the people that voted voted for a sectarian candidate.  That is not unity and we continue to pretend that is not the problem.  And so the question is, how do you keep Iraq together, how do you protect Americans‘ interest, and how do you get troops home?  What is the plan to do that?  And the president doesn‘t have a clue. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  So we have lost 3,500 men—mostly men, in a war.  We‘ve got 20,000 wounded and half of them seriously wounded, amputees, so that we could create an appendage to Iran.  That‘s what we‘ve done.

BIDEN:  That‘s what it is turning out to be.  Look, that‘s my theory, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  I mean, really, that‘s the bottom line here, is that‘s what we‘ve created, a larger Iran.

BIDEN:  No, and by the way, I‘m not arguing with you.  Unless we have a radical change in policy, a political solution here, solution here, that is what is going to happen.  Look, before we went to war Iran was hemmed in by bad guys called the Taliban, who were running the show in Afghanistan, they didn‘t like and on the other side of the equation they had this bad guy Saddam Hussein and now what happens is we did them a great favor. 

We should have taken down the Taliban.  We should be taking them out.  We are not doing that job now in Afghanistan.  And what did we end up doing?  We end up with a Shia dominated government, doesn‘t seem prepared to make any political concession to have a united, I never thought there would be a democracy. 

All I was looking for was a loosely federated republic.  And it looks like that is getting further out of reach because the president is not listening to his military guys.  He is not listening to the guys I talked to when I‘m in Iraq. 

MATTHEWS:  And now the same mentality that led us into Iraq is leading us into a fight with Iran.  We have this character on the house intelligence committee named Flights, a student or some sort of (INAUDIBLE) of John Bolton, the same mentality, neo-conservative mentality.  All it what you want, Straussian, whatever, and now they are talking us into another war in Iran, with a stronger Iran.  What do you make of this point of view? 

BIDEN:  Well, I make of it absolute lunacy.  Look, I read the front page of the “New York Times” today like you did and what did they say?  You have, quote, the headline said G.O.P. putting pressure on the intelligence community.  What is this?  Did they not see the last replay here? 

The intelligence community is giving us an honest assessment and what they are doing this time, out loud, is they are giving us an assessment of the credibility and the degree of credibility they place in their sources.  And they are saying they are not sure.  And this administration, the G.O.P., is beating them up?  Because they are not saying that in fact Iran is a greater immediate danger than they think it is?  This is another one of those stampedes. 

I pray to god, I pray to god that all of those guys in the G.O.P., who say we are not going to make the mistake again, I hope the lord they don‘t listen to this mallarky.  I hope mainstream G.O.P.ers in the House and Senate don‘t drink the cool aid again here. 

MATTHEWS:  The big can of it being passed around up there and it is being passed around by the same mentality that took us into Iraq.  Anyway thank you very much Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.  He‘s running for President. 

Up next MSNBC‘s own Pat Buchanan has a new book out warning that America is being invaded.  He will be here to talk about it and later he will battle it out with HARDBALL political analyst Bob Shrum, another strong advocate for his view.  We‘re just 75 days away from when your views are going to count, election day.  You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Are illegal immigrants from Mexico invading the United States?  Is Mexico encouraging its poor to hop the fence to greener pastures.  Is George W. Bush‘s action an impeachable offense.  Here to answer all those questions in a certain way is is Patrick J. Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst and the author of “State of Emergency:

The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.”  It‘s currently number one on Amazon.  It will probably stay there for a while thanks to this show. 

Pat, thank you for joining us.  Why is, let‘s talk politics.  Politics is what you and I have in common.  We may not agree about it, we both are fascinated by it.  Why is George W. Bush pro-Mexican immigrant period, legal or not?  Why does he like it?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR “STATE OF EMERGENCY”  He‘s ideologically committed to open borders.  I think he believes in the United States and Mexico, this whole idea of some kind of merger, ideologically.  Politically it is hard to understand why he maintains the position of not enforcing the laws of the United States.  There are two factors there.  Karl Rove is telling him, look, Mr. President, you do that, first if you enforce the law against the business community, you lose the business guys and they pay the tuition. 

Secondly if you do that and all these Hispanics lose their jobs, there will be outrage in the Hispanic community and the Republican party will be doomed.  You will do to the G.O.P. nationally what they think Pete Wilson did to it in California.  So there‘s that fear.  They don‘t realize that Pete Wilson was down 20 points, he took a tough line on illegal immigration and he won by ten points.  He brought in four Congressmen and he took both houses of the legislature.  It is the one flaming issue out there on which Republicans can win California. 

MATTHEWS:  But aren‘t they worried about the fact they lost Arizona in 1996?  That‘s what McCain talks a lot about.

BUCHANAN:  Well this is it.  The entire congressional delegation of Republicans was against prop 200, Chris, in Arizona in the last election, 2004.  OK?  The thing carried in a landslides and 47 percent of Hispanics voted for it.  The Republican Party is frightening itself to death with its own propaganda.  It doesn‘t understand that out in the country Buchanan‘s views now are 70 percent of the country.  If Bush wanted, frankly, to raise himself to 45 percent he would say put off the amnesty, guest worker.  We are going for border security 100 percent and throw it right up to a Democratic Senate.  He would have a tremendous amount of support if he would do that.  Put it off until next year. 

MATTHEWS:  Is this, you know, we have had immigration from a lot of groups including, you know Scotts Irish, your crowd, my crowd, Irish and English, and Italians, and Jews, and everything.  Everybody has come to America and everybody has done better here than where they came from.  It is an absolute American reality.  You name any group, any group, Palestinian, South Asian, far east, everybody does well in America.  Why don‘t you think Mexicans will do well here?

BUCHANAN:  Well I think some Mexicans will do well here.  There are Mexican Americans who are good Americans.  Let‘s take a look at the situation.  Irish, I think there are about 4 million plus who came over 350 years.  There are three times that many illegal aliens in the United States, Chris. 

There are something like...

MATTHEWS:  So it is numbers you don‘t like.  It‘s the numbers.  It‘s not the people.

BUCHANAN:  It is not only the numbers, the Irish didn‘t say hey, you

Americans stole our country and we‘d like the East Coast back.  The folks

in Mexico believe, 58 percent of them, believe southeastern United States -

southwest belongs to them, secondly they come into the country, they are not assimilating.  They remain loyal patriotic loving Mexican citizens.  They maintain their culture, their language, their identity.  The numbers are huge. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me get the numbers from you.  I will trust you on these number.  I am sure you checked them.  What is the rate of learning English for first generation Americans Mexicans, people who are born here? 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t know the exact rate.

MATTHEWS:  But isn‘t that the key question?  You said they don‘t assimilate.  But if the kid—the parents come in here, the kid is born here.  The kid does learn English, right?  Doesn‘t he? 

BUCHANAN:  Let me give you a—Los Angeles, there are nine million people in L.A. County, five million do not speck English in their home.

MATTHEWS:  But are they immigrants or first generation? 

BUCHANAN:  They are both.  The are both.  Have they broken it down?  I don‘t know exactly but why do you think Hispanic media, radio, TV, books all the rest of it is assuming—why do you think the Hispanic media folks don‘t want everybody to learn English?  They are out of business, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  That is all politics.  That is all ethnic politics.  It has been going around forever.  Keep the communities isolated, keep them unassimilated, then you can own them.  I accept that part of it.  And I don‘t think anybody pushing Spanish is trying to unite this country. 

But I think that—here is one challenge I want to put to you.  How do you stop—let‘s assume the fact we are stuck with who is here just the way it is.  How to you stop the guys coming over tonight?  That‘s what I keep asking people?  Let‘s deal with this as a dynamic.  There are people trying to get over tonight.  Is anything going to stop them as long as there‘s a job here for them? 

BUCHANAN:  Sure, you get a 2,000-mile security fence over there.  And the huge crowds coming in will be stopped.  Border patrol can handle the rest.  Then you start prosecuting businessmen.  Then you cut off all welfare.  Then you interpret the 14th amendment to say look, look sweety you can come here and have the kid in the hospital, we will take care of but you.  But you and the child are going back, because the child is not an American citizen under the 14th amendment it has got to be under the jurisdiction thereof, you are an illegal alien so you were not under our jurisdiction, so the child is not an automatic citizen. 

Remove the magnets in this country, Chris.  A security border along the border, Eisenhower there—one million tried to come in 1954, Eisenhower called in this tough general, Joseph May Swing (ph), and said deal with.  They dealt with it.  They were deporting everybody.  The problem was solved.  What is lacking is courage and will and intestinal fortitude. 

MATTHEWS:  No—it‘s politics and economics are in the way, too, because Republican businessmen who go to the president, you said it a few minutes ago, the tuition money as you put it.  These politicians, Republicans mostly, get their money from business people.  Business people want cheap labor.  They are not going to do what you want done. 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly, K Street values have replaced... 

MATTHEWS:  What good does your book do then? 

BUCHANAN:  K Street values have replaced American values.

MATTHEWS:  So what good is Pat Buchanan‘s word, his thoughts or any of his books? 

BUCHANAN:  What Pat Buchanan‘s word and thought is the whole country is on fire.  They recognize it.  And I will tell you if Bush goes for amnesty and gets it and they go for guest workers and gets it, they lose both houses.  They know it.  They know it.  And a lot of us will say take them both down and then take the Democrats down because they won‘t do anything, but at least you will have new people. 

MATTHEWS:  Will the president sneak by something in a lame duck session this year? 

BUCHANAN:  He will try it.  I think he may try the Pence/Hutchinson (ph)in September.  That‘s one reason why I got the book out in August.

There is something working when you see editorials popping up that all sound the same.  There‘s a communication strategy in the White House that I can recognize. 

MATTHEWS:  I know, you used to do it. 

BUCHANAN:  Yes, I used to do it for Contra aid, right. 

MATTHEWS:  I have seen some of your memos, Pat. 

Anyway, thank you.  Pat Buchanan—the book is called “State of Emergency.” 

Pat is staying with us.  He will be joined by Hardball political analyst Bob Schrum—who is up, who is down in the hottest Senate race.  We will talk politics with these two experts from both sides of the aisles. 

We will be right back with Pat and Bob.  This is HARDBALL on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  It‘s time to talk McCain, macaca, midterms and much more.  Our HARDBALLers tonight, MSNBC‘s political analyst Pat Buchanan who continues on the program and HARDBALL political analyst Bob Schrum. 

Before we get to these complicated national issues, I want to go to some tribal questions.  I want Pat to take a look at this video right now of Heidi Klume, the world famous model.  I want to see her picture.  I haven‘t seen it yet.  Are we going to show it?

Let‘s look at her.  Pat, if she were bopping across the border right now from Mexico, would you try to stop her from coming in to the country? 

BUCHANAN:  Probably, because I can‘t see any picture of her where I‘m at, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh Pat, you chicken.  You chicken.

BUCHANAN:  All I can see is a camera in front of me. 

MATTHEWS:  Return to your teenage fantasy notion of a perfect Nordic blond walking along a runway looking like a million bucks.  If those were the people coming across the border—you know my point.

BUCHANAN:  I would take her to court and then we would release her into the population and then I‘d make sure she showed up in court. 

MATTHEWS:  Sounds like Dukakis—Dukakis crime control there. 

Bob Schrum, do you think this thing is a tad ethnic?  If they were all beautiful blondes from Northern Europe rather than people from Latin America, do you think there would be a different attitude towards immigration from the south?

BOB SCHRUM, HARDBALL POLITICAL ANALYST:  Sure, absolutely.  Listen, a lot of what Pat said in the last segment, which I listened pretty carefully to, you could find written as you suggested about the Irish immigrants, the Italian immigrants, in the teens, in 20‘s of the last century. 

I think that frankly that immigration strengthens this country and it always has.  Do we have to get the borders under control?  Yes.  Are we going to do it by having a militarization along 2,000 miles? No.  We are going to have to work this out with Mexico, and I don‘t defend George Bush on much, but he is right, we need a guest worker program. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me respond to that. 

SCHRUM:  Oh, sure. 

BUCHANAN:  We have learned a bundle of cliches here.  Look, there‘s no doubt the Irish came in the country in much smaller numbers, there was a reaction, they stopped coming.  In 1924, after the great wave came, Chris, we had a 40-year moratorium where those folks were assimilated, Americanized, introduced to our culture, our history—heroes, holidays, all the rest.  That‘s what I‘m asking for.

Legal folks should stay here, no doubt about it.  They‘ve got rights as legal immigrants.  But we need a moratorium on immigration so we can assimilate, Americanize.  You mentioned the language, that‘s the entry to the culture...

the culture.  They‘re teaching little kids 200 languages in Chicago schools and nobody is demanding these kids get immersed in English. 

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t understand that.

BUCHANAN:  That‘s what we need is a timeout.

MATTHEWS:  Bob, do you agree with that?  Bob, you know, when was in the Peace Corps, they taught young African kids who grew up in the bush, basically, out in the country, whose parents were not English literate and those kids, by the time they went to secondary school they had bilingual with Zulu and English up through eighth grade. 

But by ninth grade, you had to study geography, chemistry, biology, everything in English because they wanted to be part of the world community.  Don‘t you think we should have a tough process like that where you have got to speak English if you‘re going to grow up in America? 

SHRUM:  Sure, and I think actually bilingual education, when it‘s done right, is a bridge to English, number one.  Number two, Pat sounds like the people ...

MATTHEWS:  When it‘s done right.  Boy, you snuck that one in.

SHRUM:  Pat sounds like the people who outlawed the teaching of German during World War I.  Number three, he talks about cliches.  Let‘s talk about facts.  The Irish as a percentage of the existing American population who came into this country between the mid-19th century and the early 20th century were as high or higher than what is happening now. 

There were huge riots of Irish-Americans in the Civil War in New York City against the draft.  We didn‘t shut it all down until 1924 when we passed a bigoted immigration bill, which wasn‘t changed by the time Kennedy became president.

BUCHANAN:  Well, wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  Yes, well, let‘s—the immigration bill they passed in 1924 was probably more gracious than bringing the Union army up from Gettysburg and killing a thousand of the Irish in the streets of New York.  That is what the movie “Gangs of New York” is about.  The point here is I liked the Irish immigration, but it caused trouble.

SHRUM:  Actually, that wasn‘t what the movie was about, but that‘s all right. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, there‘s no denying that mass immigration has caused enormous social problems.  That is why the progressives, that why A. Philip Randolph, Cesar Chavez, all the others said stop it.  We need—people are coming in, taking the jobs.  What I‘m saying is there is justice on both sides. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

BUCHANAN:  We can‘t say only bigots here, only bigots ...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m with Pat on the English thing, because I think we‘ve got to ...

SHRUM:  I‘ll give in on this because ...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Bob Shrum, I‘ve got to ask you a question.  When we come back I‘m going to ask you where the hell are the labor unions?  Why the hell aren‘t they trying to reduce the supply of labor so they can get higher wages?  We will be right back with Bob Shrum and Pat Buchanan. 

You are watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We are back with MSNBC‘s political analyst Pat Buchanan, who is author of a new book, number one on Amazon, it‘s probably going stay there for awhile, beating out Nora Ephron of late, “State of Emergency,” and HARDBALL political analyst Bob Shrum.  Are you going to read Pat‘s book, Bob? 

SHRUM:  Sure. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re a best-seller kind of guy.

SHRUM:  I read all his books.  I don‘t like Pat‘s books, but actually I think maybe I will stop arguing with him about this for right now, because I want the Republican Party to take his advice.  After Pete Wilson was finished getting himself reelected in California in 1994, the Republican Party was devastated in that state.  It has been ever since.  The congressional seats that they gained in ‘94 they lost. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you something.  If a presidential candidate, a Democrat, follows your advice and follow your immigration policy in 2008, you won‘t get 0-8, Shrum.  You will be 0-9 in presidential elections. 

Secondarily, let me just say the labor unions ...

SHRUM:  Well, Pat, you know, I am not sure I could be held—wait a minute. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Let me say about labor unions ...

(CROSSTALK)

SHRUM:  Wait a minute, Pat, I am not sure that I should be held accountable for George McGovern, but I will tell you this.  One I will give you credit for is President George H. W. Bush, because you tore him down very effectively and destroyed him at the Houston convention. 

MATTHEWS:  All right, let‘s not get personal here. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I need to ask this question.  I promised Pat.  I am sorry, Pat.  I‘ve got to get to what I promised.  The tease was we were going to talk about a labor unions.  The purpose of a labor union, narrowly defined, I admit, is to get higher wages for its men and women.  That‘s their job, so they can pay the dues and you have a better standard of living. 

Why in the world do the labor unions of the America close their eyes to the free entry of cheap labor into this country, because that reduces—increases the supply of labor, especially at the bottom end, and thereby allows the price of labor to go down.  It‘s simple economics.  Bob, why do they do it? 

SHRUM:  Well, first of all, because the right answer in terms of low wages is to raise the minimum wage; secondly, because the labor movement is not racist in this country and doesn‘t want to keep people out.  They actually represent a lot of Hispanics. 

And thirdly, they are opposed to the kind of repetition of that 1924 immigration bill, which almost everybody but Pat Buchanan agrees was one of the most racist pieces of legislation in the history of this country.   

MATTHEWS:  Let me respond to that.  The father of American labor, Sam Goffers (ph), and A. Philip Randolph of the sleeping porters union, they were the strongest supporters of it because they know very well that immigrants coming in, low wages, they take the jobs of American workers. 

Second, Chris, Bush and the Democrats are bringing in what we used to call scabs and strikebreakers to work at less than Americans can work and support their families. 

Third, why aren‘t the unions doing it right now?  Because the service

workers in all these kitchens and everything, they see their industrial

workers gone, they‘re going to organize these guys, they‘ll get their dues,

they‘ll get their power back.  They are selling out American labor because

they are looking to the future, they think all this immigrant labor will

re-establish their power, because their union size has been falling. 

That‘s why they are selling their own guys out. 

MATTHEWS:  When are the traditional—I want to get back to this, my one last question, Bob.  I know you‘ll have a role in this, Pat when are the traditional conservatives of this country who believe in less government, and less role in the world, like yourself—although you might be more extreme than some—George Will, Bill Buckley—when are you guys going to retake your party from the neoconservatives and stop these overseas campaigns? 

BUCHANAN:  I will tell you, when you get a president in the United States that does not listen to them, and frankly you have got a president and a country that have been horribly burned by following this foolish ideology.  And I think in the future, Chris, quite frankly, if (INAUDIBLE) had happened, but I think after Iraq, you are not going to get a lot of adventures, although they are pushing for this Iranian thing as the last great cause. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

SCHRUM:  Listen—is Pat standing up for workers and unions?  Are we making progress in Iraq?  Is Pluto a planet?

The fact is that Pat Buchanan is not the advocate of ordinary working people in this country.

BUCHANAN:  OK.  And Schrum is?

MATTHEWS:  Actually...

SCHRUM:  Oh, I have been all my life.  I‘ve fought very hard all my life.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRUM:  You know, some of those..

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, sir.  Thank you Pat Buchanan.  Good luck with book number one.

Play HARDBALL with us again Friday.  Our guests will include Steve Laffey, the Republican trying to beat Senator Lincoln Chafee in that Rhodes Island primary up there.

Right now it‘s time for “TUCKER.”

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com) ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

transcript

Watch Hardball each weeknight at 5 & 7 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,