updated 4/4/2007 12:13:13 PM ET 2007-04-04T16:13:13

Guests: Rep. Charles Rangel, Anne Kornblut, Mike Allen, Tommy Thompson, John Kerry, Teresa Heinz Kerry

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  The president ridicules Democrats for opposing the Iraq war.  He says the Baghdad surge won‘t peak until late this summer.  Meanwhile, Rudy and Hillary campaign in Iowa.  Could this be the start of something big?  Will the two New Yorkers meet in the final match-up?  Are we looking at a subway series?

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL.  At a Rose Garden news conference this morning, President Bush vowed once again to veto any Iraq bill with an exit date.  He ridiculed the Democrats for going on spring break without finishing their work and giving him what he wants for Iraq.  President Bush will be leaving for his Easter break tomorrow morning.

Plus, Rudy and Hillary and the 20008 contenders, the other ones, have hit the road and are out on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire.  We‘ll go to our reporters tonight in the field.  And later, Senator John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, issue a warning on global warming.

But first, HARDBALL‘s David Shuster has this report on the president‘s address.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID SHUSTER, HARDBALL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Eager to veto a troop funding bill that would require an Iraq withdrawal next year, today President Bush ridiculed Congress for leaving town and keeping him on the sidelines.

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Enough politics. 

They need to come back, pass a bill.  If they want to play politics, fine.  They continue to do that.  I will veto it.  But they ought to do it quickly.  They ought to get the bill to my desk as quickly as possible, and I‘ll veto it, and then we can get down to the business of funding our troops without strings and without withdrawal dates.

SHUSTER:  Congress is on vacation this week, and when lawmakers return, they are expected to take until the end of the month to reconcile House and Senate bills funding U.S. military operations in Iraq but also setting an end date next year for combat.

Democrats and a few Republicans argue it‘s wrong to keep sacrificing U.S. troops for what the lawmakers call a mistake, and they say it‘s now time to minimize the further loss of American life.  But in pushing to keep the war going, the president warned that the dispute with Congress could make the status of some troops even worse.

BUSH:  Congress‘s failure to our funds troops on the front lines will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines.  And others could see their loved ones headed back sooner than they need to.

BUSH:  Some troops, though, are already headed back sooner because of the president‘s escalation.  In any case, the rhetoric between the administration and Congress is getting tougher by the day.  Senate majority leader Harry Reid now says he will support the harshest anti-war measure in the Senate, a proposal that would cut off all war funding.

Recently, Reid visited several wounded Iraq veterans at a military hospital, and he told a radio interviewer the experience had a profound impact on him.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NE), MAJORITY LEADER:  The American people, I repeat, Pat (ph), have to understand what is happening.  It is not worth another single drop of American blood in Iraq.  It is not worth another damaged brain in Iraq.

BUSH:  The other Democratic certainly leader, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is also sharpening her differences with the White House and not just on Iraq.  A week after Pelosi criticized the administration‘s Iraq policy and told the president...

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Calm down with the threats.  There‘s a new Congress in town.

BUSH:  ... today Pelosi went to Damascus, Syria, and met with leader Bashar Assad.  The Bush administration refuses to deal with Assad‘s government because of Syria‘s support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and the president suggested today that Pelosi‘s trip, which follows a Republican congressional delegation visit, may cause more harm than good.

BUSH:  Sending delegations hasn‘t worked.  It‘s just simply been counterproductive.

BUSH:  Democrats, though, feel emboldened.  And against all of this, the president is now getting pummeled nearly every day by Democrats running for president.  One by one, each of them over the last 24 hours has been declaring that if the president vetoes funding for the troops, he will be the only one responsible for short-changing the military in Iraq, nobody else.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  ... you know, restrictions on the president and timelines and deadlines for him to start bringing our troops home.  Now, he says he‘s going to veto that.  Well, I challenge him, Mr. President, don‘t veto the will of the American people!  You need to listen!

BUSH:  Today, in the face of all of the criticism, the president repeatedly defended his Iraq war policy by invoking 9/11.

BUSH:  And what makes Iraq different from previous struggles is that September the 11th showed that chaos in another part of the world and/or safe haven for killers, for radicals, affects the security of the United States.

SHUSTER (on camera):  In a sleight (ph) at Democratic congressional leaders, the president today repeatedly referred to them as being in the “Democrat Party.”  Mr. Bush also labeled the congressional actions on Iraq a “political dance,” and he ridiculed lawmakers for being on vacation.  The president starts his vacation tomorrow.

I‘m David Shuster for HARDBALL.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s tomorrow afternoon, David.

Let‘s bring in the HARDBALLers, MSNBC political analyst Patrick Buchanan and HARDBALL political analyst Bob Shrum.

Pat, you‘re not running for president this time, are you?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  No, we‘re not, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s stopping you?  It looks like an open field to me!

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Well, $23 million!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Oh, the money.  Well, let‘s talk about that.  Shrummie (ph), thank you for joining us.  Bob Shrum, of course, is our other...

BOB SHRUM, HARDBALL POLITICAL ANALYST:  Glad to be here.

MATTHEWS:  ... political analyst, a HARDBALL political analyst.  Bob, what did you make of the president‘s ridicule of the Democrats today?  It was pretty harsh.

SHRUM:  Yes.  It‘s the same kind of stubborn swagger that got us into this mess in the first place—don‘t listen to anybody else, don‘t really talk with anybody else.  And what he said was the lowest form of garden-variety fraud.  I mean, he said, We‘re going to endanger the troops on the front lines if we don‘t do it my way.  The fact is that the only person who would endanger the troops on the front lines, you set a deadline and cut off the funding after that deadline, would be the president if he recklessly kept them there without body armor, which is how he sent them there in the first place.

MATTHEWS:  Pat...

SHRUM:  But this isn‘t going to lead to...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m sorry.  Pat, do you think this was a good showing for the president today?

BUCHANAN:  Yes, I do, for this reason, Chris.  President‘s going to win this fight.  The Democrats are going to send down the bill, if they ever get it together, and it‘s going to have a deadline, you know, fixed or not fixed.  President‘s going to veto it.  And then the Democratic Party, despite what Mr. Reid or Senator Reid is saying, will have to fund the troops.  It is not going to cut off funding for the troops when you got 150,000 there.

So the president‘s going to win this.  And in the meantime, he is going to beat them up for endangering the troop.  The Democrats have played the cards they‘ve got.  They ought to move this, I think, to end game as rapidly as they can.  They‘re not doing it.  They‘re making a mistake.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s the end game, Pat?

BUCHANAN:  The end game is, look, the troops are going to get the money without strings attached.  Hillary Clinton‘s going to vote for it.  Barack Obama‘s going to vote for.  And Joe Biden‘s going to vote for it. 

And we all know it, and there are...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You want the Dems to throw in the towel on the war issue.

BUCHANAN:  No, I just—I don‘t say whether they should or shouldn‘t, they‘re going to.

MATTHEWS:  OK, Bob, do you think by the next couple of weeks, when we have the next round on this appropriation, this supplemental, the Democrats will eventually throw in the towel and say, OK, Mr. President, your way?

SHRUM:  Well, I hope that they continue and actually are even stronger at pointing out that the argument Pat‘s making, the argument the president made, is a lie.  The troops are not going to be left without weapons.  They‘re not going to be left without support.  If Congress sets a deadline and cuts off the funding, any president of the United States who keeps his oath is going to bring them home.  But we‘re going to keep hearing this...

BUCHANAN:  Well, wait a minute...

SHRUM:  We‘re going to keep hearing this.  We heard it from Dick Cheney, who—that decorated war veteran, who accused the Democrats of turning their back on the troops.  This administration turns its back on the truth.

BUCHANAN:  But the truth is, the president‘s veto is going to be sustained.  The Democrats...

SHRUM:  I agree with that.  It‘s also wrong.

BUCHANAN:  ... are then—the Democrats are—whether it‘s wrong or right is irrelevant.  What happens then is both houses are going to have to vote the money for the troops, and we all know it.  Otherwise, General Petraeus will get up and say, For God‘s sakes, don‘t risk my men over here!  I need that legislation now, and the Democratic Party will fold!

MATTHEWS:  But the only reason the troops would get cut off of any kind of funding, even for training and all this preliminary stuff, is if the president vetoes the bill.  He‘s vetoing the bill.  How can he blame the Democrats for doing what he‘s doing?  Pat?

BUCHANAN:  Watch.  Watch.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s the one...

BUCHANAN:  Watch!

MATTHEWS:  ... who‘s decided to veto it.

BUCHANAN:  Chris!  Chris, he‘s going to do it!  You know it as well as I do!  And he‘s going to get the money!

SHRUM:  I think Pat resonates sympathetically with Bush on this because when he was making these arguments today, he sounded like Agnew without a Teleprompter.

MATTHEWS:  OK...

SHRUM:  The arguments aren‘t true, but they‘re the same arguments we heard during the Vietnam war.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you this, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

MATTHEWS:  I thought that David Gregory asked a good press person‘s question today.  He asked, What are the Democrats supposed to do, Mr.  President?  They were elected last November in response to a tidal wave of opposition to the war.

BUCHANAN:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Are they supposed to be potted plants?

BUCHANAN:  No, they‘re supposed to...

MATTHEWS:  What‘s their role here?

BUCHANAN:  They‘re supposed to do what they did.  They voted for the money with a deadline.  And then they‘re going to lose.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

BUCHANAN:  And then they‘re going to have to face the situation when they‘ve lost, and then they‘re going to have to fund the troops, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Can we agree that this is having no effect on the troops at all, or is it—you think it will, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Oh, it has—it‘s having no effect right now, but if you take this into May, I think you got real problems.  And the president‘s point, you‘re going to have to keep some there and move others around—will start taking effect.  The pressure will grow incredibly on the Democrats.  That‘s why if I were advising them, I‘d say, Get it over with!

MATTHEWS:  OK, Bob, if you were advising the Democratic leadership, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, how would you win this argument and end the war, if that‘s your goal?

SHRUM:  I would take the argument on very directly.  I would say, This has nothing to do with supporting the troops in the field.  The fact of the matter is, if he vetoes it, he‘s the reason the money isn‘t there.  And if he refuses to set a deadline, he‘s the reason people stay there.  Setting a deadline means taking the troops out, not leaving them there without body armor.

BUCHANAN:  In other words, you are saying when the president vetoes this, Congress should not send him the money again.  If you do that...

SHRUM:  Oh, I‘d at least go through...

SHRUM:  ... the Democratic Party will cut its throat!

SHRUM:  Pat, I‘d at least...

BUCHANAN:  Barack Obama said you can‘t do that!

SHRUM:  You know, Pat—Pat?  Pat!  Pat!  Your sympathy and concern for the Democratic Party is really moving to me.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Look, I don‘t...

SHRUM:  I don‘t think that‘s what you‘re interested in.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t care about the Democratic Party...

SHRUM:  These are the same arguments that were made...

BUCHANAN:  ... but what I‘m telling you...

SHRUM:  ... during the Vietnam war.

MATTHEWS:  OK...

BUCHANAN:  Well, cut the Vietnam stuff!

SHRUM:  Those arguments were wrong then...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I want to remind you gentlemen the number of Democratic congresspeople, members of Congress or senators, who lost their seats in the last election for opposing the war.  The number was zero.

BUCHANAN:  All right, but Chris, if you—let me tell you this. 

Let‘s suggest they do that.  The president vetoes it, and they say, Mr.  President, you‘re responsible.  We gave you the money.  We‘re not sending any more money.  The president will beat the Democratic Party to death!

SHRUM:  They won‘t do that.  They won‘t do that.

(CROSSTALK)

SHRUM:  Send him a bill with a deadline.

MATTHEWS:  Pat Buchanan...

BUCHANAN:  What, another one?  And he‘ll veto that?

MATTHEWS:  Pat Buchanan, from the independent forces of the Buchanan Brigade.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Thank you both, gentlemen.

Up next: Congressman Charles Rangel.  Let‘s see what this Korean war veteran knows about ending the stalemate we‘ve just seen on Iraq.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back.  The confrontation has come between President Bush and the Democratic Congress over the Iraq war, as President Bush pledges to veto any war spending bill that includes a timetable or an exit date for troop withdrawal from Iraq.  Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is now supporting legislation that would cut off funding, period, for the war by next March.  Do the Democrats have the power to end this war?

Democratic congressman Charles Rangel is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.  He‘s also a decorated Vietnam—veteran of the Korean war, and he‘s written a new book, which sounds great, about his life, called, “And I Haven‘t Had a Bad Day Since.”

Mr. Rangel, sir, thank you for joining us.  You were great on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, back by popular demand.  So how did we get out of Korea, the one that almost killed you?  What does that tell you about how to get out of Iraq?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY), WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN:  It means that no president can pursue a war if they don‘t have the public‘s support.  And how does the public express that?  They don‘t write the president or telephone him.  You have the House of Representatives and the United States Senate, and you send them a message, Get the hell on out.  If they don‘t listen to it, then those who don‘t support the people are voted out of office.

This whole thing about the supplemented budget and supporting the troops is really a vehicle for those in the Congress to say, I heard you, Mr. Public, and Mr. President, you have to hear.  People talk about pork and why don‘t we cut it off.  We need the vehicle to send the message.  We know he‘s going to veto, but I tell you this, sooner or later, he‘s going to get the message that you can‘t conduct a war without public support.

MATTHEWS:  It sounds to me like a tenant banging on the pipes for more hot water.  I mean, it‘s like you‘re saying, Make some noise, and that‘s what—and then Bush, the president, will respond to that noise.  But he‘s been listening to the racket from the Democrats now for—well, when the war really turned bad a couple years ago—for quite a while now, and he hasn‘t moved an inch, has he?

RANGEL:  No, but Rumsfeld‘s gone.  The generals are gone.  You hear the people that are being discharged from the military.  You know, I view these type of things like the Civil Rights movement, when the moral atrocities were being committed against blacks and the church and the synagogues.  No one paid any attention to it.  But boy, when it came on television and you saw the dogs and you saw the firehoses, the religion got in everybody, and all of a sudden, people got involved.

Sometimes it takes longer than others.  I‘ve been frustrated for five years, saying, Listen, Mr. and Mrs. America, where are you?  Americans are being killed.  Hundreds of thousands of Arabs are being killed.  And we started this.  We were misled in going there, and we‘ve made a mess of things.  And now we‘re looking for a victory that we don‘t even know, if the terrorists want to surrender, where to go.

The Americans have gotten it.  Hopefully, the churches will get it.  But I tell you this, we have a two-year contract in the House of Representatives.  Republicans understand that and Democrats know they have an obligation to fulfill the reason they put us in charge.  And what we‘re doing now is telling the president that, We‘re going to use every means possible to let you know that those troops are coming home.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the Democratic Party‘s better than the Republican Party on war and peace issues?

RANGEL:  You know...

MATTHEWS:  I mean, looking back over your career, do you see a pattern where Kennedy and Johnson and Clinton were better than Reagan and Bush, et cetera, et cetera, and Eisenhower?  Do you think your party‘s really got an advantage on security questions?

RANGEL:  I don‘t want to look like I‘m the keeper of morality.  You know, I really follow just one thing spiritually, and that is Matthew‘s, and that is, How do you treat the lesser of my brothers and sisters?  And that‘s all it is.  Do you treat those people in poverty as though you would want them treated better?  Are you seeking peace rather than war?  Are you prepared to give health care, Social Security and Medicare?  Do you want to give an equal opportunity to people?  Do you care more about people than you do about corporations?

And no matter what I‘m dealing with, Ways and Means, taxes, trade, it seems to me that the party—any party that embraces that—you take a guy like Lyndon Johnson, who took the political gamble to give Americans who were black the opportunity to vote, to know that he was going to destroy the Democratic Party as they once knew it in the South—wow.  That is something that‘s the lesson (ph) of brothers and sisters.  I don‘t want to say Democrats are better than Republicans, because of the personalities that are involved.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

RANGEL:  But if you take a guy like DeLay, who said he wanted a permanent Republican Congress, and see the things he did, the things that he opposed, I can tell you I would rather be a losing Democrat than a winning Republican any day.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you‘re neither!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, the name of your book is, “And I Haven‘t Had a Bad Day Since,” a very handsome picture.  You‘re very well turned out in this, Mr. Rangel.  I‘ve been your friend and fan for about 30 or 40 years now, at least.  Anyway, congratulations on the book.  I hope everybody buys this book, and I hope more people buy it because of you being on here than being on “Meet the Press,” for one thing.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway—just kidding, Tim.  Anyway, thank you, Mr.  Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.  Thank you for coming on HARDBALL.

Up next: Thompson says he‘s running—not Fred, Tommy Thompson.  And later: Hillary and Rudy both in Iowa today.  Could either of them get us out of Iraq?

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

He calls himself a reliable conservative.  And, this week, this former governor of Wisconsin and former secretary of health and education—health and human services announced he is running for president. 

Tommy Thompson joins us now from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Governor, I want you to think about the most successful Republican administration in recent history.  That‘s the Reagan administration.  How will you uniquely fill that legacy? 

TOMMY THOMPSON ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I think there are several reasons. 

As you know, Ronald Reagan tried welfare reform in the state of California.  I was able to pass welfare reform, and became the father of welfare reform.  President Reagan tried to do something in educational choice.  I was able to pass the first private school choice in America. 

President Reagan tried to veto several pieces of legislation in California.  I vetoed over 1,900 pieces while I was governor.  And I also am an individual that is able to get along with people on both sides of the aisle, as you know, Chris.  And that was also the legacy of Ronald Reagan. 

He was able to sit down with Tip O‘Neill, be able to talk about things, and sell—and tell an Irish story.  And they really enjoyed each other.  Then they could go and argue over policy.  But he was able to develop a friendship.          

And I have been able to do the same thing throughout my whole life, especially since I was governor with the Democrats in the Congress and in the legislature.

MATTHEWS:  Why do we elect governors, rather than senators, traditionally? 

THOMPSON:  Because—because governors know how to—how to execute. 

Governors know how to govern.

You know, I put together a budget in the state of Wisconsin for 15 straight years.  And I also put together the largest budget in the federal government.  A lot of people think it‘s the Department of Defense, and the Pentagon, but, basically, the Department of Health and Human Services has got a larger budget, except for the war in Iraq, over $600 billion.  And I put together that budget four years in a row. 

So, people really rely upon people that know how to govern, know how to put together budgets.  And that‘s why governors, I think, are individuals that people have more confidence in and more trust in.

MATTHEWS:  Speaking of the Irish, the latest betting in Ireland, which is the only place you can bet on American elections right now—I—I check it almost every week...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... has the Democrats with an advantage, generically, in other words, not knowing who their candidates are going to be.  The Democrats have an advantage of about 56 percent.

Why do think you can offset that sort of historic edge for the Democrats this time around?  It is sort of their turn coming up.  How can you offset that trend? 

THOMPSON:  Well, I think the only way that a Republican can win in 2008 is carry the Upper Midwestern states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.  And I think I am by far the strongest candidate to carry those four states.  And I don‘t think... 

MATTHEWS:  You can beat Hillary in—you know, you‘re speaking my language.  I agree with you.  That is the vulnerability of a Hillary campaign. 

THOMPSON:  That is right.

MATTHEWS:  Michigan, Ohio, those states in the industrial Midwest, they‘re sort of—well, I think they are macho states.  They are gun owner states.  They may not like people like Hillary. 

But you tell it your way.  Why would you do better up there than Hillary? 

THOMPSON:  Well, I think there is no question about it, because you just got done saying it. 

These are states that are progressive, but they are also states that look forward to making sure that people rely upon each other, have a strong work ethics.  That is why welfare reform was so favorably received in this particular area.  That is why private school choices—that‘s why people like the fact that we talk about fiscal conservatism.  I just think the values, the ethics, the work ethics are the kinds of things that I—I represent in the Upper Midwest.  And I think...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Is Hillary Clinton vulnerable on the Second Amendment?

THOMPSON:  I think she is.  I think most Democrats are, but especially Hillary.  I think the Second Amendment are individuals that really believe in gun rights.  And those individuals usually will vote for Republicans, especially somebody like myself, that is a hunter. 

MATTHEWS:  And Hillary is not a hunter?

THOMPSON:  I don‘t think so, but I‘m not sure.

MATTHEWS:  But you said she is especially vulnerable on the Second Amendment.  How so? 

THOMPSON:  Well, I think most gun owners are quite suspicious of—of Democrats in general, as far as being gun owners.  And they are also very suspicious, I think, of Mrs. Clinton.

And that is a problem I think she is going to have to overcome, if she is going to get elected president of the United States.  But I think people in the Upper Midwest—I ride a motorcycle.  I hunt.  I fish.  That are the kind of values and the kind of things...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

THOMPSON:  ... that people, you know, really relate to. 

MATTHEWS:  I think you are on to something up there.  Well, you know that area better than I do.  I just sense it up there.

Anyway, thank you very much, Governor Tommy Thompson, running for president...

THOMPSON:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  ... running for the Republican nomination. 

Up next:  Rudy Giuliani takes his first campaign trip as a presidential candidate out to Iowa.  Plus, guess who else is there today?  Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden, they‘re all there.  The gang‘s all here.  They‘re all in Iowa.  Is that still the key state?

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I am Margaret Brennan with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

Stocks rallied, as home sales rose and oil prices fell.  That helped the Dow gained by triple digits, up 128 points, S&P 500 up 13, the Nasdaq up some 28 points. 

Oil fell, after Britain and Iran signaled a break could be near in the stalemate over 15 captured British sailors and marines.  Crude oil dropped $1.30 cents in New York‘s trading session, closing the day at $64.64 a barrel. 

And a sign—one sign here, at least—of resilience in the housing market:  Pending sales of existing homes rose in February a better-than-expected seven-tenths-of-a-percent.

And General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler all reported lower vehicle sales in March.  But Toyota‘s U.S. sales jumped almost 12 percent, helped by record sales of hybrid vehicles.  Honda and Nissan also reported solid gains. 

That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to

HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Presidential candidates are all over Iowa and New Hampshire this week. 

In fact, today, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are in New Hampshire.  Hillary is in Iowa, as are John Edwards and Joe Biden.  Rudy Giuliani is hitting both states today, Iowa and New Hampshire.

But, with more states moving their primaries to earlier dates, February 5, in fact, how important are Iowa and New Hampshire going to be?

Will they be more important?  NBC‘s Chip Reid is in Des Moines.  “The Washington Post”‘s Anne Kornblut is in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Love that place.  And Mike Allen is here with me.  He‘s from “The Politico,” of course.

Let‘s start with Chip.

I want each one of you to tell me to put together—I want a simultaneous equation solved here.  Why is money so important?  How important are Iowa and New Hampshire?  And how important is the fact that half the country is going to have a primary on February 5?  Put it all together into the day‘s headlines.

You first, Chip.

CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I think the headline here is that Iowa is still enormously important, which we are seeing. 

Seven different candidates are here today and tomorrow, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani kind of having a subway series here, two New Yorkers fighting it out.  Both of them were asked about the Iraq war, and both of them took opposite positions. 

Hillary Clinton went after the president, saying that he should not veto that bill, and, if he does veto the bill that has that goal of beginning to bring the troops home, then he is vetoing the will of the American people. 

Rudy Giuliani, about 100 miles away, said that, absolutely—that is absolutely wrong, that the president is the commander in chief; he is the guy who should be in charge of the troops, and that the Democrats have no right to try to hold up this money that is so desperately needed over there.

But the bottom line is that they are doing it in Iowa, and they‘re doing it in New Hampshire.  So, even though we have that super-duper primary day coming on February 5, it is still clear to all of these candidates that they can slingshot themselves into success, they believe, on February 5, if they do well in here—here in Iowa and in New Hampshire.

MATTHEWS:  Anne, your assessment.

ANNE KORNBLUT, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I would have to agree. 

I mean, we have asked all the candidates:  Why are you spending so much time here? 

I mean, obviously, this week, we are seeing everybody, because the Senate is in recess.  They can all pack up and, you know, head to Iowa and New Hampshire.

But, I mean, the hope of all these states who had moved their primaries or are in the process of moving their primaries up is for them to gain an influence.  But I think we might actually be seeing the opposite effect here, judging from the level of campaigning.  I mean, Chris, you wouldn‘t believe it.  It feels like it‘s a year from now or half-a-year from now.

Yesterday, we—I went out with John Edwards.  We went to the yogurt factory that‘s a must—it‘s a must-stop here outside Manchester.  Last night, ran into Mayor Giuliani in Portsmouth.  Today, saw Barack Obama.  I mean, already, the motorcades are crossing.

MATTHEWS:  I love that stuff.

KORNBLUT:  It‘s really incredible.

MATTHEWS:  Is a destination resort, isn‘t it?  It‘s great.

KORNBLUT:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s like the old days in New Hampshire like the weekend before the primary.

But your bottom line is—do you agree with Chip, that this—that you can still win, that a little person, politically, can win in one of those states and slingshot themselves to victory?   

KORNBLUT:  I mean, judging from what everyone is saying, absolutely. 

I mean, that is something that, say, even a John Edwards is banking on.

The flip side of that is, you see that these larger candidates are not taking either state for granted.

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

KORNBLUT:  Senator Clinton certainly isn‘t; Obama is not, because they know that, if they lose one or, let‘s say, two of them, it‘s over.  There‘s nothing—there is no way to recoup...

MATTHEWS:  Did you—OK.

KORNBLUT:  ... even with all the money in the world. 

MATTHEWS:  Mike, do you agree with that assessment?  It still matters; these first little ones in Iowa and New Hampshire are key?

MIKE ALLEN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO.COM:  Yes, absolutely.

Professor Matthews, to solve for X in the equation that you have given us, money matters, in part because it shows organization, it shows enthusiasm, excitement, and it creates momentum, which is the second part of your equation. 

The campaigns tell us, as Anne said, that they believe New Hampshire and Iowa are more important now, because that February 5 super-tsunami Tuesday will be won off momentum from Iowa and New Hampshire.  And why February 5 is so important, it‘s—that means it‘s less than a year from now. 

We keep talking about how early it is.  It isn‘t that early. 

MATTHEWS:  I want to be out there.

Let me go back to Chip.

Chip, let me just challenge this a bit.  Let‘s imagine that John Edwards, who has always done well in Iowa, beats the rap up there, beats—comes in first in Iowa, then jumps out to Nevada, and, with all his labor support and regular people support out there, with waitresses and people who work in the casinos and restaurants, all that union support, he wins two in a row, and then he does pretty well in New Hampshire, maybe a second, maybe a first, and then he does very well in South Carolina. 

Couldn‘t Hillary come in and rain on his parade with just huge money on February 5, with all her celebrity, and Bill saying, all through those early defeats, well, I am looking forward—I can‘t do his accent today.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Bill saying, I‘m looking forward to the big election on February 5, and just discount the whole thing?  Can‘t he do that?

REID:  It is possible.  It is certainly possible.

But—but—and I‘m not saying that, if you win Iowa and New Hampshire, you are guaranteed to win the whole shebang.  But it certainly does...

MATTHEWS:  No, but can the Clintons simply erase all that and say...

REID:  They might be able to.

MATTHEWS:  ... hey, we‘re waiting for the big one?  Yes.  Can anybody else?

REID:  They may—it is certainly possible. 

MATTHEWS:  Can any—OK.  Let me...

REID:  It‘s certainly possible.  Money—obviously, money in California...

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

REID:  ... and states like that is going to be huge. 

And, in fact, Chris, let me back up a little bit.  I think Edwards could slingshot himself.  It would be a lot harder for a real dark horse candidate...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

REID:  ... because, even if you do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, you have got to have the money for TV in California and all those other places. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask the same question to Anne.

Is it possible that the Clintons have already got a fallback position figured out, have a lot of money in the bank, have to face the fact they might lose some early contests in Iowa and Nevada, but have the huge bucks to compete when half the country votes in those primaries on February 5?

KORNBLUT:  Well, I mean, sure.  I know that they have talked about all kinds of contingency plans and have gamed out pretty much every scenario.

But they certainly aren‘t skipping the early states, in the hope that they could just bank it in California.  And, look, we are going to see, with the numbers, that it is not going to be such as stratospheric gap for anyone, that they can just say, oh, I‘m rich.  I will buy all this TV time in California. 

It is $3 million a week in California for TV time.  That‘s a lot of money, even with the huge sums these guys are raising.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  But Hillary has got unlimited money, unlimited.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, our panel is staying with us.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  And, later, Senator John Kerry and his wife, Teresa, are going to be here to give us a big warning on climate change. 

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re back with NBC‘s Chip Reid, who‘s in Iowa, the “Washington Post‘s” Anne Kornblut, who‘s up in New Hampshire, and the Politico‘s Mike Allen, who‘s with me. 

Mike, big question, let‘s do for the gander what we did for the goose.  If the Republicans hold all their primaries on February 5th, will a big state guy like Rudy walk?  Will he own it because he is so well known New York, New Jersey, California, all the states? 

ALLEN:  Chris, what the campaigns say is that the free media, television momentum will be everything in those days and by then it will be clear if Mayor Giuliani turns out to be the brittle candidate that a lot of people think he is.   

MATTHEWS:  You guys are so tough.  You‘re all just like, jump, jump, come on Rudy.  Go crazy.  You all think he‘s going to do it, don‘t you?  You all think he‘s just going to go wild.

ALLEN:  He‘s announcing his campaign this month.

MATTHEWS:  I‘m watching this too.  Anne Kornblut, back to you.  Will the big state advantage of Rudy Giuliani be effective on February 5th, super duper day? 

KORNBLUT:  Well, I mean, he is certainly trying to argue that right now, but I can tell you that Mitt Romney is not going to let him get away with saying that New Hampshire is unimportant, even though it‘s Mitt Romney‘s next door.  And look, like I said, I saw Giuliani here in New Hampshire last night, so he obviously thinks it is important.  It‘s not just going to count in the big states.

MATTHEWS:  So you think the sling shot rule still applies in both parties?   

KORNBLUT:  Maybe a little more for the Democrats, but sure, absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  I love the sling shot.  It‘s the perfect reference to bring to Chip to follow up here and finish up.  David and Goliath, can David still beat Goliath in our political process, or do you have to be the big money, establishment candidate from the get go? 

REID:  Well, nobody is really a David here.  That‘s the thing.  They are all not that far apart in the money, as somebody was saying earlier.  David and Goliath would apply to maybe Tommy Thompson, somebody like that, and that‘s a lot tougher.   

MATTHEWS:  How about John Edwards?  Let‘s give him credit.  John Edwards is a David here.  He is down about third in all the categories, money and popularity.  Can he sling shot his way to victory, beating the biggest names in the country right now, Barack and Hillary? 

REID:  I think it is certainly possible, and I think that Barack and Hillary think it is possible too.  So I do not think there is anybody who‘s counting that out, and that‘s why they are here fighting him so hard in Iowa.  You know, the latest poll, when Hillary first got into this at the end of January, Edwards was way ahead.  Now they are all pretty much neck and neck, Obama, Clinton and Edwards.  It is a real battle and they all care about it. 

ALLEN:  Do not forget the Goliaths on the bench, Vice-President Gore and Fred Thompson. 

MATTHEWS:  Fred Thompson, maybe not Gore.  Anyway, thank you Chip Reid, Anne Kornblut and Mike Allen. 

Up next, John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry and what they are doing and what you can do to help the environment.  This is all about climate change, hot new book out, really doing well, an important book.  You are watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re joined now by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and his wife Teresa.  They‘ve written a new book called “This Moment On Earth.” 

Why has the environment finally kicked in as a major American issue? 

SEN JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  We hope it has.  I began working on this in 1970 and the first Earth Day, and Teresa has been working on it a lifetime.  And there wasn‘t one speech, not one, in 2004 where we didn‘t talk about energy independence, the environment.  But now, I think, with global climate change—I think what Al Gore has achieved is spectacular, with the awareness people have suddenly felt.  I think the increase in Cancer—many people suspect it is environmentally induced. 

There are a lot of things happening suddenly.  People know we are going backwards on air quality, land use, other things.  So we hope to connect the dots here.  This book, Chris, is not some political treaties on the environment; it is really the story of Americans, all over the place, in Louisiana, North Carolina, Arizona, state of Washington, who are fighting back, at a grass roots level, to preserve a way of life, to preserve their surroundings.  And they are wonderful, heroic stories of these individuals who are trying to get control about what is happening around them. 

And what we do in this book is try to show that you can make money, you can create jobs, you can have better health, you can improve America‘s security, and you can improve the environment at the same time.  This is a win-win if we get at it and do it properly. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk self interest.  A lot of people, Teresa, think the environment is sort of a big picture thing, humanity, the future, our children, but you bring it home in this book to current challenges like the water we drink.  Why is cancer seem to be—we have Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards and every friend and relative seems to—It is in our lives.  Is that because of water, chemicals in water, chemicals in the air, in our food?  Is that what‘s happening?

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, CO-AUTHOR, “THIS MOMENT ON EARTH”:  Yes, I think a lot of it is chemicals.  And a lot of it is let‘s say pollution, whether it‘s air pollution outside of the home or air pollution inside of the home.  And if you are talking to a lot of the scientists, like Jack Spangler (ph), who is public health at Harvard Medical School—and many of them, they will talk about walls that off gas. 

And we all have heard about Radon that comes from the ground.  Well, walls that have noxious things in them also do that.  Water, of course, is another, our rivers.  Our rivers are in a terrible state, a lot from pesticides and fertilizers.  Just indiscriminate use and actually abuse of what might be specifically all right in an instance.  And we are paying a big price.  And every day I have somebody that I know is getting cancer.  I get calls.

MATTHEWS:  Is it DDT still?  Is it that kind of bug spray, insect spraying? 

T. KERRY:  That diminishes within X amount of years, has a life span of—let‘s say, people in 1972, for instance, in the Cape Cod study, as the years went on and as the exposure of the people to it was diminished, so was the number of cancers.  The ones that were closely affected had high incidence. 

J. KERRY:  And we had high incidences of people recently and we write about some of them in the book who were linked to that.  But what is incredible is that we have a Toxic Substance Control Act in America.  Under that act, because the chemical industry came in and worked their way, it is up to you, me, the consumer to prove the harm that a chemical that comes on the market might do.  It is not up to them to show that it does no harm. 

We have 80,000 chemicals out in the marketplace today.  Less than 10,000 of them have been actually vetted and had approval from the FDA.  The others are out there and there are warnings and this and that, but most people do not read the warnings and they don‘t even look at those things.  So there is a connection, and increasingly, scientists are now doing the research showing these connections.  And every time you sort of advance in that scientific inquiry, we‘re finding out more and more about how we are at risk. 

MATTHEWS:  I like the fact that you talked about growing up in Mozambique as a kid, and knowing about the connection between being a human being, a person, a primate, if you will, and having to protect your body from the environment, like you do not go swimming in the river at sundown.  The direct connection to our physical well being and nature; people lose connections like that when they live in bit cities, don‘t they? 

T. KERRY:  And it‘s also a question of survival.  If it‘s mosquito season, you don‘t do certain things.  You don‘t go into waters that are still, because you get Balargia (ph).  As a child, that is how you survive.  And you do not go certain places at certain times; you get bitten by snakes.  I never was bitten by a snake.  So, you learn cause and effect. 

J. KERRY:  You were in 2004, but that‘s OK.  No, I‘m joking.

T. KERRY:  That was a monster.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you a tough question, the Kerry family of Pittsburgh and Washington and Massachusetts, what have you done?  Because everybody out there is watching it, you know.  What have you folks done to cut down on environmental hazards affecting everybody around you? 

J. KERRY:  All kinds of things.  In our house, for instance, we only have green cleaning.  Actually, Diedre Imus, the Imus folks have put that out.  That‘s what we clean with.

MATTHEWS:  But he mandates that in your case.

J. KERRY:  No, he doesn‘t.  He really doesn‘t.  We had different cleanings before that.  

MATTHEWS:  So you are not using those toxic chemicals to clean your house? 

J. KERRY:  We don‘t use that.  That‘s number one.  Number two, we have switched all of our light bulbs, in order to go out of incandescent and into the longer lasting, less pollution light bulbs. 

MATTHEWS:  The new ones. 

J. KERRY:  We had energy audit in order to determine what we can do to further weather proof and reduce costs.  We have hybrid vehicles.  And I just looked yesterday, a company called A 123, Watertown, Massachusetts, has a lithium battery which gives you a life of 40 miles, which is the average commute of Americans.  We‘re going to put it into our hybrid and I‘m going to wind up getting 150 miles to the gallon in the combination of electric plug-in hybrid vehicle. 

We could have this all over our country.  We have jobs to be created in Detroit.  The big three are in trouble.  You have the Prius.  You know, Toyota and Honda are out there with their hybrids.  We should be leaping into this as a nation now.  And we also try to buy—we don‘t try to buy, we do buy carbon credits, though some people are arguing that they don‘t do that much.  We‘re pushing like crazy for alternative fuels, renewable fuels, for a carbon cap across the country.  And this is what we‘re doing. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you feel this every time you get on a private plane, that you‘re involved with this, because people like the Gores are talking about environmental neutrality, carbon neutrality.  That means you have to make up for every one of your benefits in life?  You make up for it somewhere else.

T. KERRY:  I am glad that we can do that, and we try to do that, but it is still not good enough.  So what I‘m trying to do to is to fly a lot less.  So I‘m trying to fly to about—get to about a third of what I was flying.  So I have gotten video conferencing capacity for me and my sons for when we have meetings. 

MATTHEWS:  Some of this stuff is fabulous.  But some of it I just wonder about.  Like everybody who has had kids in the last 20 years knows that you get diapers, the plastic kinds, that you throw away with maybe the stuff still in them.  But it is a lot more convenient than washing the diapers, cloth diapers, and a lot less expensive than having one of these services we used to have back 20, 30 years ago, or maybe 40 years ago.  So how do you—You said these diapers cause an amazing amount—number three cause of solid waste. 

J. KERRY:  Eighteen billion diapers are disposed.  They take 500 years to degrade. 

MATTHEWS:  But we‘ve got a lot babies out there that make messes, so what do we do with them?  But what do we do?

J. KERRY:  You can do what is proposed in the book, which is use a disposable diaper where you actually keep the outer plastic shell.  The inside you wash as you would normally any kind of—you rinse it.  And then it is biodegradable within a about 150 days.  You could create a collection—

MATTHEWS:  And where do you buy these things from?

J. KERRY:  Well, they are sold in Portland now.  I don‘t know if they‘re readily marketable.

MATTHEWS:  Because this is one of those things, you say is the number three cause of solid waste, which blew my mind.  And it never biodegrades.  It just lays in the ground. 

J. KERRY:  But the point is, Chris, these are the kind of things that

MATTHEWS:  And it‘s made of oil, right?

J. KERRY:  As the market develops, these things will come on, as

people learn that it is available.  A

And we ought to provide some kind of incentives and help people get into these alternatives. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think, bottom line, your book is called “This Moment On Earth;” do think you and Gore and everybody else out there making noise on this thing is really going to change, or just be a fad?  People say yes, I‘ll try it for a while and then --  

J. KERRY:  Let me tell you why this is not a fad.  Some of the top corporations in America are now embracing that you have to have a carbon-neutrality.  Dow chemical, 3M, General Electric, British Petroleum, Xerox, IBM, a bunch of companies.  And they are reducing their emissions by incredible amounts, and they‘re savings huge amounts of money. 

In energy efficiency, Chris, we can be more competitive as a nation, we can create jobs.  A great example in the book of Texas Instruments.  They were going to move to China.  They were going to do business over there because it costs less.  They said to their engineers and architects, if you can design us a plant that makes up the difference of what we‘ll gain by going to China, we‘ll stay. 

Guess what, they designed a plant that was more energy-efficient.  They saved literally millions of dollars a year, 88,000 jobs, with an end product to the state of Texas of about 14 billion dollars.  This is a winner.

MATTHEWS:  If you can show this is going to create American jobs, a lot of people who don‘t care about this generally will care about it then. 

J. KERRY:  This is jobs.

MATTHEWS:  “This Moment on Earth,” Teresa Heinz Kerry and John Kerry.  I‘ll start with your name next time.  Thank you senator.  Bring her along next time. 

Play HARDBALL with us again Wednesday.  We will have all the news on Rudy Giuliani‘s first visit to Iowa, and hopefully first visit as a candidate.  We‘ll also have Obama‘s numbers by tomorrow.  Right now, it is 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 2007 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2007 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

,