updated 10/5/2007 11:20:30 AM ET 2007-10-05T15:20:30

Guests: Jonathan Capehart, Ed Rollins, Stan Brand, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Kathleen Matthews

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Two big headlines tonight.  Larry Craig loses in court, but breaks his promise to quit the Senate.  He‘s sticking.  Plus, the match made in political heaven.  Both the betting and the polls now say it‘s Hillary versus Rudy.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL.  Our big story tonight, blockbuster.  Larry Craig, the arch-conservative U.S.  senator caught in a sex sting in the Minneapolis airport, said late today that he will not resign from the Senate.  He will not follow through with his public declaration of intent to quit the Senate, he will continue to serve as the U.S. Senator from Idaho through January 2009.  That‘s what he said tonight.

The impact will be explosive, setting time-released embarrassments right through the 2008 presidential campaign.  How will the Republican presidential nominee explain that his party harbors a cultural conservative who attacks gay ambitions on the Senate floor but pleads guilty to making sexual advances to another male in a Minnesota restroom?  Tonight, the repercussions of this reversal in fortune.  Will the Republican senators vote to expel Craig, making him the first senator banished from the body since the Civil War?  Is getting caught in a sex sting equal to swearing allegiance to the secessionist Confederacy, which is what got those long-ago senators thrown from the Congress?

Our second story tonight is the October matchup between the two 2008 frontrunners, Hillary Clinton and Giuliani, both leading in the polls, both leading in the betting odds.  The two New Yorkers are firing up the campaign trail right now, lobbing new ads and accusations at each other.  So is it a subway series coming up in 2008?  More on this heat in the race later.

Plus: All week, we‘ve been celebrating our tenth anniversary here on HARDBALL.  And later tonight, we have a very special guest who will turn the tables and play HARDBALL with me, my wife, Kathleen.  So don‘t touch that dial.  This‘ll be interesting.

But we start with the breaking news on Larry Craig.  Ed Rollins is a Republican strategist of the old school, and Jonathan Capehart is with “The Washington Post.”  I want to start with you, Jonathan.  What do you make of this, that this senator, who has been involved in what looks to be gay sex, a strong opponent of gay opportunities and gay rights in this country, now says, I‘m going to stay in the Senate, against all earlier promises?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, “WASHINGTON POST”:  Well, I think he‘s thinking that things went so well for him the last couple of weeks, being on the Senate floor and seeing his own colleagues again, that he figures he can stay.  But I think from the Republican leadership‘s point of view, he‘s sort of like the Effie White (ph) of the Senate, the guy who is desperately saying, you know, And I‘m telling you, I‘m not going.  And by his announcement today, saying that he wants to serve out his full term or that he‘s going to fill out his full term, is something that the Republican leadership just didn‘t want to hear.

MATTHEWS:  I know that.  Ed Rollins, give me a political assessment.  This man‘s going to be there like an albatross right through the presidential election.  Whether it‘s Rudy Giuliani or it‘s Mitt Romney, whoever wins this nomination, Fred Thompson, they‘re going to have to defend the fact that the Republican caucus in the Senate includes among its members Larry Craig.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, no one is going to defend Larry Craig.  I think Larry Craig‘s going to find himself in a very lonely place.  I think people were nice to him over the last several weeks, figuring he was going to leave the Senate.  But I think at this point in time, his decision to go back on his word and to stay—I think he‘s going to basically find himself in a very lonely place and a very ineffective place.

I can‘t imagine the cowboys of the Republican conservatives in Idaho have been coming up to him, saying, Larry, we need you desperately in Washington to represent our values.  So I think the reality is, if he‘d resign now, we could appoint a Republican senator who could get some seniority, continue to serve the state well.

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe that this—would you anticipate to be the shunning—I think that‘s the right word—of Larry Craig will be effective in forcing him, out or he‘ll just be isolated?

ROLLINS:  I think he‘ll be isolated.  I think to—you know, the Senate is a different place than the House, but I do think that they‘ll look hard at the ethics.  I think he‘s got a lot of embarrassment ahead of him that he could basically do—he‘s been very embarrassed already.  But with his own colleagues looking into these charges and looking into other things that he may have done, you know, I think to a certain extent, he‘s bringing on a lot of pain and anguish on himself, let alone the voters of Idaho.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s go to Stan Brand, who‘s his lawyer right now.  Stan, thank you for joining us again.  Your client, Senator Larry Craig, lost his fight in court.  He wasn‘t able to withdraw his guilty plea in that disorderly conduct case.  He‘s stuck legally now.  What reason does he have for staying in the Senate?  He said he‘d quit if he couldn‘t win the court fight.

STAN BRAND, ATTORNEY FOR LARRY CRAIG:  Well, the reason he has is what I‘ve said from the beginning of this case, Chris, and that is that the Senate of the United States in 220 years has never disciplined someone for a misdemeanor having nothing to do with the performance of their duties.  And you can start with Senator Blunt (ph) in 1797 and come forward to, you know, Senator Dodd and Senator Packwood and Senator McCarthy in the modern era and you won‘t find it.

MATTHEWS:  But this guy promised to quit.  Your client—let‘s talk about the precedent that he set.  He said he‘d quit.

BRAND:  He said that he would...

MATTHEWS:  At the end of the month of September.  It‘s now October, and he says, I‘m staying until January of 2009.  That‘s a hell of a change of position.

BRAND:  No, it wasn‘t a change of position.  He said it was his intent to resign, pending review with his lawyers.  And his lawyers have told him, including yours truly, that the people of Idaho are entitled to be represented by someone with his seniority until he determines that it‘s time for him to leave.  So you know, that‘s where we are.

MATTHEWS:  Well, what happened to the September 30 deadline he was offering up, that he was going to quit if he didn‘t win his case by then?  What was that all about?

BRAND:  He said it was his intent to resign on the 30th.

MATTHEWS:  But why did the intention change?

BRAND:  His intention changed.


BRAND:  Because he got lawyers who explained to him that there was no reason for him to resign based upon a misdemeanor having nothing to do with his office.

MATTHEWS:  Does he still face Ethics Committee action?

BRAND:  Well, you know, everybody keeps talking about the Ethics Committee.  You know, the Ethics Committee isn‘t run by the Republican leadership.  The Ethics Committee is an evenly split committee chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer, and the Ethics Committee is subject to review and oversight by the full Senate.  So until someone wants to change the 220-year unbroken precedent, you know, I‘m assuming that we are going to live with that precedent.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Jonathan Capehart of “The Washington Post,” which has editorialized in favor of Larry Craig.  Can you speak for your editorial page—you‘re a member of the board, Jonathan—that it supports the right of Larry Craig to stay in the Senate?  Is that the position of your paper, according to your last editorial?

CAPEHART:  Well, I thin we‘ve—we‘ve never said that Larry Craig—the decision of Larry Craig, whether he stays in the Senate or not, is Larry Craig‘s decision.  And that‘s still the case today.  But you know, I think the fact that if he does stay and the Ethics Committee does meet and goes through with this, this is going to be a nightmare for the Republican Party.  This means open hearings, public hearings, talking about things that, you know, we might not even be able to print in our own newspaper, let alone you put over the air without bleeps.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you this on the issue of gay rights.  Here‘s a senator who has voted against every initiative to come before him that‘s offered opportunities, legal opportunities, constitutional protections for gay Americans, whether it‘s marriage or whatever.  He is against gay rights.  He‘s now been caught in a sex sting involving same-sex sex.  Does that, in fact, hurt his ability to be a proponent of his public position, when he has the private behavior staring us all in the face?

CAPEHART:  Well, sure, but it remains to be seen whether he will be faced with the situation where he would have to vote on something, say, the employment non-discrimination act or the hate crimes bill, which has already passed, or maybe even a same-sex marriage bill.  But right now, I think Larry Craig has more to worry about, you know, if this Ethics Committee hearing actually happens and he presents whatever evidence he has, and you know, there‘s the cross-exam and all these other things, he‘s going to be embarrassed.  The Republican Party is going to be embarrassed.  And the Senate‘s going to be embarrassed.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I can‘t wait for the Senate—or rather, the presidential nominees or candidates of the Republican Party, Rudy, Fred, Mitt and the rest of them, are all be speaking out in the next 24 hours on this.  Ed, do you think they‘re going to—any of them—defend this guy?

ROLLINS:  I don‘t think anyone‘s going to defend him.  You know, the unfortunate thing is he didn‘t have someone like Stan defending him initially.  You know, he obviously was a lawyer himself and he shouldn‘t have made this decision that he made either to go in the bathroom, to do whatever he did in the bathroom or to basically plead guilty.  Once he did that, everything he‘s done since then has been an absolutely disastrous mistake, and I think this one is even a greater mistake than the rest.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I guess his biggest mistake, besides the one that got him in trouble, was believing the police officer was going to keep this secret.  Anyway, thank you very much, Stan Brand.  Thank you, Jonathan Capehart of “The Washington Post” editorial page.  Ed Rollins, of course, thank you for coming to HARDBALL tonight.

Coming up: Ed‘s going to stay with us.  There hasn‘t been a single primary yet, but Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are already moving toward a public fight.  They‘re duking it out like they‘ve got to figure—they‘re figuring they‘re going to be the ones that are nominated by the party.  And it looks like that is going to be the case, as well, this October, anyway.

And later, my wife, Kathleen, comes here.  This is something I‘ve looked forward to for weeks.  She‘s coming here to play HARDBALL with me, and I can‘t wait.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, coming up with Kathleen Matthews, on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  The two presidential frontrunners for 2008, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, have been attacking each to her on the campaign trail in what‘s shaping up as a pre-game to a subway series.  HARDBALL‘s David Shuster has tonight‘s report.


DAVID SHUSTER, HARDBALL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Just three months before the voting began, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has become Rudy Giuliani‘s booster rocket.  At almost every opportunity, Giuliani is leveraging Hillary Clinton‘s domination of national Democratic polls to argue that in a general election, he is the Republican who would beat her.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FMR NYC MAYOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I run the most competitive against Hillary Clinton by a big, big margin, and I take some Democratic states from her.  Nobody else does that.

SHUSTER:  This week, Giuliani‘s campaign issued a strategy memo and declared that in a general election against Clinton, Giuliani would win swing states including Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Nevada.  Several states, according to the memo, would be competitive, including California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The idea has begun to take hold among Republicans that Giuliani, because of 9/11 and his moderate social views, would be Hillary Clinton‘s most formidable opponent.  When asked which of the Republican candidates would have the best chance of defeating Clinton in the general election, 47 percent said Giuliani, 16 percent said Fred Thompson, 14 percent said John McCain, 8 percent said Mitt Romney.

All of the Republicans have been taking shots at Clinton.

MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Hillary Clinton fundamentally doesn‘t believe or trust the private sector.  Of course not.  She‘s never worked in the private sector, except to sue people.

SHUSTER:  And this week, John McCain was on the verge of accusing Clinton of being two-faced on the war.  But it is Giuliani who has been invoking his New York rival the most.

GIULIANI:  Hillary Clinton‘s proposal of $5,000 a child is very, very similar to George McGovern‘s proposal of $1,000 a citizen.  The American people saw through that then.

SHUSTER:  For her part, Clinton has now begun to fire back.  In her latest ad, Clinton criticizes President Bush‘s veto of health insurance for children, but then she takes a dig at Giuliani over his detachment from 9/11 rescue workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hillary stood up for universal health care when almost no one else would and kept standing until six million kids had coverage.  She stood by ground zero workers who sacrificed their health after so many sacrificed their lives and kept standing until this administration took action.

SHUSTER:  If the general election battle turns out to be Clinton versus Giuliani, right now, Clinton is the early favorite.  The latest “Washington Post”/ABC News poll found it 51 to 43.  Independent voters are the difference because among Democrats, Clinton beats Giuliani 88 to 9, and among Republicans, Giuliani beats Clinton 88 to 10.  But at the moment, independents prefer Clinton 48 to 44.

The poll found that most voters view former president Bill Clinton as an asset and that voters who have bad memories of the last Clinton administration are now convinced his wife would take the country in a new and different direction.  Giuliani, however, is dragged down by President Bush.  According to the NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll, only 38 percent of Republicans want a continuation of the Bush policies, 48 percent of Republicans want a different course.

(on camera):  Still, Giuliani and Hillary Clinton are clearly the titans of October, and they‘re now starting to feed off of each other as they prepare for their respective primary battles.

I‘m David Shuster for HARDBALL in Washington.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David.

We‘re joined right now again by Ed Rollins, a man I really want to know your opinion, of course.  Katrina Vanden Heuvel joins us now from “The Nation” magazine.

Ed, right now, let‘s just set it up now.  Imagine these are the two candidates to run against each other.  They‘re obviously separated now by a number of votes.  Hillary‘s well ahead.  Given the change in fortune you can expect next year, what‘s it going to look like next October?

ROLLINS:  It could look exactly the same.  I expect it will be a very close election.  We‘ve had two in a row—presidential election.  I expect this one to be very close.  And I think it‘s pretty much the same battlefield.  Giuliani still has to win the nomination.  I think there‘s still a ways to go there, Chris.  And more important, he has to unify a party behind him.  He‘s going to have some fights on that front.  But if he is the nominee, he can draw some of those independent voters, and I think he‘ll be very strong, very tough, aggressive.

MATTHEWS:  Who do you think would sweat in the debate, Hillary or—who would be the Nixon in this debate and who would be the Kennedy?  Who will sweat it when they have to confront the other person?

ROLLINS:  I don‘t think either one of them sweats it.  I think that she has gotten to be very cool.  I think they look forward to this battle.  I don‘t think either of them like each other, and at the end of the day, you know, that may make the fight far more intense than the public wants.  They may not like either one of them at the end.  But I think at this point in time, it‘s going to be—it‘s going to be—it‘s going to be a real battle of titans.  And I think it‘s—you know, the New York street fights are something that most Americans don‘t get to see very often, and we‘ll get to see it if they end up being the nominees.

MATTHEWS:  Katrina, thanks for joining us tonight.  Let me ask you the same question.  Let‘s assume that these two are going to go at it because in international betting right now, they‘re both favored.  Hillary is a prohibitive favorite, Giuliani has a plurality of the people betting on him.  What do you make of them as a matchup?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”:  Well, I don‘t buy into the inevitability scenario.  I think there are...

MATTHEWS:  Well, no, but...


MATTHEWS:  You don‘t have to buy it into.  I‘m asking you, what do you make of the matchup?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  First of all, it‘s going to be the nastiest, most polarizing, brutal, thuggish race in recent American political history.  I think that Rudy Giuliani has one rationale for his race, 9/11.  And I think as the media and Americans pay closer attention to that, listen to the firefighters and the families of 9/11 who‘ve assailed Giuliani for his critical mistakes before, during and after 9/11, dysfunctional radios, the costs of what Hillary Clinton‘s ad speaks to effectively, the cost to ground zero workers who now have cancer and infections from the tragic attacks and the aftermath, when Rudy Giuliani could have provided more protection, as was done at the Pentagon.

I think that will focus people‘s attention.  And I think the backdrop of all of this is—look at Bush‘s veto of the children‘s insurance program.  The Republican Party, many of them, think this is heartless, lacking in compassion.  Rudy Giuliani brings out that sense of a kind of hard line, lacking in compassion Republican.  That will be tough to overcome at a time when this country, I think, is trending in a direction which wants more support for the vulnerable while remaining tough and strong, which Hillary Clinton will play to effectively.

MATTHEWS:  Ed, one of the ironies is that word “dynamics.”  It looks to me like when you watch the polls that Rudy has already tried to exploit Hillary‘s rise in the polls.  The more that she looks inevitable, the more his case strengthens that it takes somebody interesting, someone from the middle, the middle right to beat her.

ROLLINS:  Well, the reality is that Rudy gains nothing by beating up McCain or Romney or Fred Thompson.  He needs their voters to basically get a plurality of the votes and to win the primary.  So it‘s—every Republican wants someone who can beat Hillary.  And I think, to a certain extent, he at this point in time has decided that‘s the best strategy.

In the end, I think, and where I disagree with my friend on the show here, is that this is not going to be about the past and it‘s not going to be about touchy-feely, it‘s going to be about who is best to be the commander-in-chief when we‘re still in the midst of a war, we‘re still in the midst of a battle against terrorists, too.  And I think, to a certain extent, that even though both show great toughness, who do you want to be your commander-in-chief?  And I think that‘s going to be...


VANDEN HEUVEL:  I do think that the issue of commander-in-chief is going to be front and center.

But I also think, at a time when there is real economic pain and discontent in this country, that children‘s health insurance veto plays into an image of a Republican Party disconnected from so many millions in this country who want someone who will be, sure, tough, as you define it, but also believes in real security for people in this country. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And I also think what Rudy Giuliani is doing—it‘s something you would understand well, Ed—is, she is a gift that keeps on giving, because she mobilizes and energizes social conservatives, who are very unhappy about Rudy Giuliani, as you know better than I do.  There‘s talk of third party by some of the leaders, like Tony Perkins and James Dobson. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that would be—but that would be self-defeating, wouldn‘t it, Katrina?  If you want to get rid of Hillary, why would you split the conservative side by backing a third party?  That would be suicidal.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I—I‘m not—I‘m just reporting on what is out there in terms of real discontent...


VANDEN HEUVEL:  ... which is why Rudy Giuliani is still weak, weak, weak.  I don‘t think that he has cemented that... 

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t either. 


MATTHEWS:  But, if he runs—I think he‘s still running on Hillary, and Hillary is running against him already.  And that is what I find fascinating, Katrina and Ed, that, already, well before we have even had the first caucus or primary, these two people are shooting at each other.

And I would love to have you both come back.  We have to end the conversation now, Katrina Vanden Heuvel of “The Nation” and Ed Rollins.

Up next:  Does Mitt Romney need to address questions about his Mormon faith?  Can he still compete if he doesn‘t?  That‘s a problem within his administration—rather, within his campaign.  They‘re thinking about it. 

Plus, Brad Pitt‘s picks for president. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Here‘s the day‘s political action.  As I said, Larry Craig looks like he‘s finished as a U.S. senator some time in 2009.  After being denied a chance to change his guilty plea by that judge in Minnesota, Craig said—quote—“When my term has expired, I will retire and not seek reelection.  I hope this provides the certainty Idaho needs and deserves”—close quote.

This means the Republicans will spend a full election year with Larry Craig actively engaged in their caucus. 

Hard-nosed columnist Bob Novak, who proudly wears the mantle “Prince of Darkness,” says that presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon, must talk about his faith soon, or it‘s all over.  And “Newsweek” put the well (INAUDIBLE) Mitt on its cover this week, with a look at his candidacy and his faith. 

Novak reports today that, within the Romney campaign—quote—“The consensus is that he must address the Mormon question with a speech deploring bias.  Campaign sources say a speech has been written, though 90 percent of it could still be changed.  It‘s not yet determined exactly what he will say or when he will deliver a speech that could determine the political outcome in 2008.” 

That‘s all according to Bob Novak, who generally has a good inside feel for Republican politics, especially the intramural hatreds.

Elsewhere in the Republican presidential field, Ron Paul, that anti-war libertarian Texas doctor, reported making—bringing in more than $5 million for the third quarter.  Instead of courting cultural conservatives, maybe the message here is, maybe Republicans should worry about their libertarian friends, the ones who like less taxes and less government, but don‘t like the wars.  That‘s $5 million.  That amount is almost as much as the well-known John McCain raised this quarter. 

And now some gossip -- 50 years of journal writings by the late Arthur Schlesinger are out now.  Our friend Jonathan Alter at “Newsweek” had an early look.  The best stuff is that Henry Kissinger told Arthur Schlesinger that President Ford told Kissinger this about President Nixon—quote—

“Sometimes, I wish I had never pardoned that son of a bitch.”

Those were his words.  And Kissinger called Don Rumsfeld—quote—

“the rottenest person I have ever known in government.”

Well, that‘s Henry.

Anyway, ouch.

And, finally, Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt tells “Parade” magazine this week that he has no desire to run for office, but he thinks George Clooney and Ben Affleck should run for office.  Well, Ben Affleck is coming here to play HARDBALL next week.  We will find out who he thinks has got the bug to actually do some running. 

Up next, my wife, Kathleen Matthews, plays HARDBALL with me about my new book, “Life‘s a Campaign.”  I can‘t wait for this.  It will be a kick. 

Kathy is coming here. 


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

Stocks closed little changed, as investors await tomorrow‘s September jobs report.  The Dow Jones industrial average gained just six points, the S&P 500 up 3 ¼, the Nasdaq up by a little more than four points. 

Oil prices, though, took a big jump, rising $1.50 in New York, closing at $81.44 a barrel.  Factory orders fell a larger-than-expected 3.3 percent in August.  That‘s the biggest drop in seven months.

Another bit of worrisome economic news:  First-time jobless claims posted a larger-than-expected increase last week, but it‘s tomorrow‘s monthly jobs reports that investors are keying their eyes on.  At issue, the strength of the economy and whether the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates again at the end of the month. 

And 30-year mortgage rates fell this week, after two straight weeks of increases.  The nationwide average dipped to 6.37 percent. 

That‘s it from CNBC, America‘s business channel—now back to


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

I have had an exciting week this week, talking about my new book, “Life‘s a Campaign.”  I have been on “Martha Stewart,” “Jon Stewart.”

But, right now, a different take from the great Kathleen Matthews, my wife.  I call her my queen, because she is.


MATTHEWS:  She is here to take over HARDBALL. 

And I‘m sitting in this seat for the next 30 seconds.


MATTHEWS:  Thirty minutes. 



This is more like sitting around the dining room table, isn‘t it, after work?

MATTHEWS:  But you‘re taller than me in these chairs.  So, that‘s what they did.

K. MATTHEWS:  That‘s because I‘m in your chair right here. 

You know, everywhere I go, Chris, people stop me, and they say, what‘s it like living with Chris Matthews?  Is it HARDBALL at home every night of the week? 

So, why don‘t we start this interview by pretending we‘re at home, that we‘re sitting around the dining room table, which we would normally do in about three hours from now, when we both got home from work.

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

K. MATTHEWS:  And let‘s...

MATTHEWS:  How would I know what it‘s like living with me?


K. MATTHEWS:  Well, I just want to ask you...


MATTHEWS:  I have no idea how to answer that question. 

K. MATTHEWS:  What people are asking is, sort of, who is the real Chris?  Is it the guy we see on TV, or is there another Chris? 

So, how do you think the real Chris Matthews comes through in your new book, “Life‘s a Campaign”? 


MATTHEWS:  I think inspiring, because I started with no connections, and because I figured out a lot of the way things work by experience, by mistakes, by blunders.  And I ended up being exactly where I wanted to be. 


MATTHEWS:  So, it worked out well.  I got you, didn‘t I? 


K. MATTHEWS:  So, is it a more thoughtful Chris Matthews than maybe we see on TV, a more soulful, a more conflicted, or is it kind of the same guy we see on TV, do you think? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, as you know, Kathy, I‘m kind of a romantic.  And I love to hero-worship.  And, although I‘m tough on politicians, I have my heroes.  And some people know who they are and some don‘t.  And I...

K. MATTHEWS:  And you‘re very sentimental about those heroes. 


MATTHEWS:  Yes.  And I look up to them.  And I cry sometimes when I think about them. 

And I‘m loyal to all the guys I ever worked for.  I‘m pretty independent, in terms of the two parties.  I have been just as tough on Bill Clinton and Hillary and Rudy and the whole bunch of them.  And I like to root for the person nobody thinks has a prayer. 

K. MATTHEWS:  You...

MATTHEWS:  And I like rapping the guys who got us in this war, too.  I don‘t mind doing that every hour or two.

K. MATTHEWS:  You also love politics.  And that was the first thing I knew about you when I went out on my first date with you.

MATTHEWS:  What was my nickname from your roommates?  What did they call me?  Two words.

K. MATTHEWS:  They called you White House. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 


K. MATTHEWS: “White House is on the phone,” because you were working at the White House for Jimmy Carter at that point.

And we went on our first date to a Chinese restaurant.  And I will never forget sort of sitting there.  And, basically, I interviewed you, like I‘m interviewing you now, because I think you like being interviewed about what you think. 


K. MATTHEWS:  You like telling people what you think. 

All of your college roommates say you were exactly like that in college. 


K. MATTHEWS:  And it sounds like that‘s what you think is the ingredient for a good politician, that every great leader, you say in the book, possesses motive, passion, and spontaneity. 


K. MATTHEWS:  Does that...

MATTHEWS:  I really believe that. 

I think, if you can‘t tell why a person is in public office, they shouldn‘t be there.  If they can‘t tell you right away when you ask them, why are you there, and really come out with it—we have always known.  We knew why Lincoln was there, to save the Union to eventually end slavery.  We know Roosevelt was there, to remember and look out for the forgotten man. 

We knew why Reagan was there.  Every cab driver knew why Ronald Reagan was president.  He wanted to cut the size of government, cut taxes, and beat the Soviets with smart, strategic spending.  And he did. 

And I think that‘s the test of office.  First of all, it‘s motive.  And, of course, passion helps.  You want too know whether the guy can cry and laugh.  And spontaneity is great. 

Sometimes, I wonder, with the Clintons, do they really have that spontaneous ability to react to events, or is it just all script?  That bothers me sometimes. 

K. MATTHEWS:  How about you?  What‘s your motive, as you do HARDBALL every night and as you write a book like this? 

MATTHEWS:  Try to tell the truth by stirring things up. 

K. MATTHEWS:  And how about your passion?  What is your passion that kind of—the underlying passion that fuels the kind of questions you asked or where you want to end up at the end of a show? 

MATTHEWS:  I like catching people in contradictions.  I love catching them B.S.ing us.  I like to bring them down, if they deserve to go down. 

I also like to build them up.  And I do try to play traffic cop.  I used to be a cop, as you know.  Before you met me, I was a cop. 

K. MATTHEWS:  And how about spontaneity?

MATTHEWS:  And I had a gun.


MATTHEWS:  But now I don‘t have a gun.  I just have that microphone right here.  You know, that‘s all I got. 

K. MATTHEWS:  How about spontaneity?  Do you think spontaneity can also get you into trouble, as well as make you maybe likable? 

MATTHEWS:  How many times have you told me, count to 10? 


MATTHEWS:  How many times have you said, you‘re a big mouth?  Back when I was drinking, in those days, you would say, you won‘t believe what you said last night.  You—you really did it this time. 

We would get up in the morning, and you would say—and I would be in a kind of a fog, and you would say, well, you really did it this time. 

Remember that?  I know you did that.

K. MATTHEWS:  And you quote Thomas Jefferson in the book, who said, when you‘re really angry, count to 10.  And, when you‘re really, really angry, count to 100. 

MATTHEWS:  And I believe that. 


K. MATTHEWS:  But do you always do it? 


K. MATTHEWS:  Even since you have stopped drinking, do you always do it? 


MATTHEWS:  I tend to react abruptly and sometimes dangerously, and often, too often, suicidally.  But, luckily, I‘m still here.  I‘m still doing HARDBALL.  So, I must have been somewhat careful over the years. 

I always say to you when you‘re back-seat driving on me, you know, I got here, where we‘re at right now.


MATTHEWS:  All my life, I got here.  I didn‘t need, you know, instruction all the way.  But you help. 


K. MATTHEWS:  You also talk about ambition as a good thing.  And I think, particularly among Gen X, Gen Y, to say somebody is ambitious is kind of a knock.  It‘s saying...

MATTHEWS:  They‘re wrong.

K. MATTHEWS:  It‘s saying you‘re kind of...

MATTHEWS:  They‘re wrong.

K. MATTHEWS:  Why is it—why is ambitious...

MATTHEWS:  Because I think they secretly are.  They‘re don‘t want to admit it.  They think it‘s uncool. 

K. MATTHEWS:  Can you be successful without being ambitious?

MATTHEWS:  But I have never met a young kid who doesn‘t want to do something, whether it‘s make movies, like one of our kids, or act, like another kid, or perhaps be a lawyer.  They want to do something. 

I‘m not saying they‘re out for the loot.  Some of them are.  But I think they want to be happy.  They want to be secure.  They want to have happiness in their lives.  They want to find love.  I think people are ambitious for those things.  I‘m not sure everybody wants to have a castle and—and piles of money in the basement. 

But, yes, I think everybody is ambitious for something.  Priests are ambitious.  Nuns are ambitious to do God‘s work.  And I‘m—yes, I think people who say they‘re not ambitious aren‘t telling the truth.  That is what I think.  But I may be wrong. 

K. MATTHEWS:  You also talk about seminal experiences, and your own seminal experience, leaving Philadelphia and going to the Peace Corps in Swaziland. 

MATTHEWS:  Big change in my life. 

K. MATTHEWS:  As you look at the presidential candidates who are out there, have any of them had the kind of seminal experience that you think really positions them to be a leader and somebody who can be truly great? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Hillary—and this will sound negative towards Hillary, but, you know, I have come to like her a lot more over the years.  I just respect how far she‘s come. 

I think putting up with Bill has been her rite of passage, putting up with that marriage, and coming out pretty whole, at least the way we look at it.  And I think that‘s a fair estimate.  It‘s not the nicest estimate. 

But she‘s a tough cookie.  And I think he made her tougher, not necessarily by being nice.  But she‘s a tougher woman than she was 20, 30 years ago, I‘m sure.            

K. MATTHEWS:  We are going to take a break right now.  But we will have much more from Chris Matthews when we return. 

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 



K. MATTHEWS:  I‘m Kathleen Matthews, Chris‘ wife.  And up next, he is still in the hot seat, talking about his book.  HARDBALL returns after this. 


K. MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  I‘m Kathleen Matthews, Chris‘ wife.  And Chris is in the hot seat.  I‘m sitting in his chair today.  We have sort of switched roles, talking about his new book, “Life Is a Campaign.” He told me, hold this book up as many times as I possibly can. 

You know, we were just talking about.

MATTHEWS:  I spent years writing that baby.  That is everything I have known in 36 years of following politicians and trying to figure these guys out. 

K. MATTHEWS:  And more than anybody, I know how hard you work on these books, because I go off to bed and you go off to your computer and you sit there into the wee hours of the night typing this out, and when I wake up the next morning, you are back at that typewriter working on the book. 

MATTHEWS:  You know what that sounds like to the average guy out there, don‘t you?  He looks at your beautiful face and he says, this guy goes off and types when he has got you?  What is the matter with you, Matthews? 

K. MATTHEWS:  We were talking a little bit about rites of passage.  And the kind of experiences that shape people and make them what they are and how sometimes adversity oftentimes creates greatness and qualities for leadership.  You said Hillary—you talked about Hillary.  Let‘s talk about a couple other candidates, pivotal experiences that you think might have made them better candidates for the presidency. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, John McCain has had a hard time this year.  He used to be on this show a lot and we all liked him because he was a great guest, very candid when he had his Straight Talk Express, especially in 2000.  I always thought that, you know, five-and-a-half in a POW—being tortured, in solitary for all those years, the way he was treated, even though he actually did get out alive, and he really could have gotten out a lot earlier if he just pulled ranked and said, my father is head of CINCPAC, you know, the chief of foreign... 

K. MATTHEWS:  So certainly courage in his case.  How about other candidates?

MATTHEWS:  I think it is more than that, I think that in sacrificing so much for his country, he fell deeply in love with his country.  I think that is a very interesting thing I have discovered about politics, the more you give, the more you love.  And I think that was a big change in who he is.  I think he really loves America.  And I—and that is one of the areas where I‘m sentimental about this business. 

Although I‘m—you don‘t see me rooting for the guy, I really do respect his patriotism a lot. 

K. MATTHEWS:  Other things that you see in candidates‘ experiences that you think really shaped a great human being perhaps? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I think it‘s hard to find it in Mitt Romney, it is hard to find it in Fred Thompson.  Certainly I think the death of.

K. MATTHEWS:  Maybe because we know less about them? 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I don‘t know if they had those sort of great moments. 

I think the loss of Wade, their son, to the Edwards family, has a lot to do with his dedication to this campaign.  I think it‘s very deep.  It‘s hard to find out what else is driving him in a very difficult uphill campaign. 

I think the loss of their beloved son, and we have had that in our family with my brother, and I think when you lose someone it just changes everything.  And I think for him, his way of dealing with that horrid loss was to try to build something, try to create something, a campaign for president.  And I really do think it drives him. 

K. MATTHEWS:  Now you talk a lot about the candidates‘ spouses in this race, I think because of Hillary and Bill, it is sort of a hot topic.  As you talk about the kind of partnerships they have, do you think our relationship informs how you view them and how you see those—the dynamic of those relationships? 

MATTHEWS:  I try to be nicer to people, although I can be tough, because I know how strange marriage is, because it is weird in a way.  I mean, every time I go to bed or get up in the morning, I don‘t know if I ever told you this, I look over at your side of the bed and I look over at your side of our house—not your side of our house, but the way you share it with me, and I go, what is it like being there rather than where I am? 

What is it like to be 180 from me and life?  How strange it must be to be my partner in life all of these years.  We have been together 30 years almost and we will be together another 30 hopefully.  And what is that like?  I have no frickin‘ idea what it is like to be married to me.  I‘m not sure I want to really know it either. 

K. MATTHEWS:  So you understand the complexity, maybe, in those relationships.

MATTHEWS:  But I also know that since people are living longer today than they were years ago, that these marriages are for life, of course.  But they are for a long time.  People can get married today in their early 20s and be married until their 90s.  And they can be married, 60 or 70 years.  In the old days, people lived to be 50-something, they would get married at 20.  It was much less of a commitment, to be blunt about it. 

And this is true.  I mean, it is bigger deal today.  We are healthier and live longer.  And these are astounding relationships, when I see people are hugging each other at Starbucks or somewhere or walking along the beach together and they‘re 80-something.  And I go, God, back when they got married, they probably got married young, and that is a bond that is for real, you know?  And I think it is great. 

You know, there are people watching right now who know just what I‘m talking about.  Of course, there are a few people watching right now who wished they had gotten out of it earlier.


MATTHEWS:  But I shouldn‘t get into that.

K. MATTHEWS:  If we start talking about books and why you write books, you do six TV shows a week between HARDBALL and “THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW.” Why do you also want to write books, Chris? 

MATTHEWS:  Immortality. 

K. MATTHEWS:  That there is something that is.

MATTHEWS:  Something is enduring—I go home, as you know, I put all the books together, I look at them all together, I put them between the bookends.  I go, hmm, I did all that?  How many total pages is that?  And I want to write a bigger book next time. 

You know, I have ideas, you know the book—I want to do one about this and one about that.  And I want to do one about General Grant and I want to do about—one about Burgoyne.  You know, I have all of these ideas floating around in my head.  You know. 

Can‘t do everything, but you know what, I just think I have got to write. 

K. MATTHEWS:  We are going to be back in just a moment.

MATTHEWS:  Got to be me. 

K. MATTHEWS:  You are watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.     


K. MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  I‘m Kathleen Matthews, talking to Chris about his new book, “Life Is a Campaign.” That is the third time I have brought it up, isn‘t it? 

MATTHEWS:  It is almost like an infomercial, I love it.  It is like, I think we are on the Food Network or something, but I love it. 

K. MATTHEWS:  It is a cartoon of what a book interview is supposed to be, Chris.  You know, you are big consumer of books.  You have got about five of them piled up at any given time next to your side of the bed.  What do you learn from books?  Why do you read so much?  And what do you get out of them? 

MATTHEWS:  I‘m fascinated by biography.  I mean, Jack Kennedy once said that the reason we read biography is to answer the question, what was he really like or what was she really like?  And I want to know what people were like.  I always asked that question.  What was that guy—what was Kennedy like? 

There is a bunch of guys like Ben Bradlee, Ted Sorenson in New York, I always wondered, what was he like?  Well, I loved looking at pictures of Churchill in sort of an old battle scene where he is with having lunch with some officers in North Africa, having fun, drinking beer, eating bread, and I go, I want to see that. 

I just—I want to know what Hemingway was like.  I want to know what Fitzgerald was like.  I want to know what Teddy Roosevelt was like.  These are my heroes and I want to know them.  I mean, I just want to know them.  I‘m a hero worshipper. 

K. MATTHEWS:  Well, I also think you share some common instincts, maybe.  I mean, I think one of the reasons why you like Churchill and JFK is because they really had the political bug.  It is that, actually, why you like Richard Nixon, because he had the political bug. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, they were all writers too.  You will notice there is a commonality to all my heroes.  They were all writers.  They were all men of action that did something interesting overseas.  Why do you think I went into the Peace Corps in Africa?  It wasn‘t like escaping the Boers or fighting in the South Pacific. 

But that early action overseas, that experience of being in a strange land and having to deal with a different world and different people and being alone.  And I tried in my own sort of mellow way, moderate way to try to match the arc of these guys. 

And I‘m really understating what I do—I mean, I‘m overstating perhaps.  But I just think that there is something exciting about guys who do things and can write, and then love history.  There is not a hero I have had who doesn‘t love history. 

And don‘t you always want to know more about Ernest Hemingway?  I always want to know more about the guy.  I always want to know more about Jack Kennedy and more about Churchill.  The same three guys seem to grab me. 

K. MATTHEWS:  Another one of your heroes is a guy you worked for, Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine.  We are looking at Jack Kennedy right now.  Certainly.


K. MATTHEWS:  . you know, yes, amazing when you look at those pictures.  Yes, Ed Muskie said, and I think Kennedy.


K. MATTHEWS:  I think Kennedy would also relate to this.  Ed Muskie said, and you quote this in the book, that the only reason to be in politics is to be out there all alone and to be proven right.  That really resonated with you. 

MATTHEWS:  There is nothing like it. 

K. MATTHEWS:  Why, tell me what that feeling is about. 

MATTHEWS:  Because if you really deeply believe something, and you know it is an unpopular belief, but you really believe it, like I believed about this war being a catastrophe to begin with because of my understanding of Third World people and how they resent and resist invasion by the white guys, like we go in there, the modern countries.

And I like being right—I like to be right about basic politics.  Like, I have always said Rudy will do better among the Republicans than any liberal friend of mine thinks he will do because Republicans are a different culturally.  They don‘t want to go to a meeting, they want a leader.  They are different. 

And I like being right even about little things like that.  But I really do try to follow my instincts and my brains and my history and I like to be right.  But it is more important to be honest and say, even if I don‘t turn out to be accepted, some people aren‘t respected for 30 years after they are dead, or 100 years after they are dead. 

The great poets are discovered well after they are gone, but you know, it is nice to get some recognition.  But it is not that important.  The important thing, I think, is to try to be honest.  You know me, I try to be honest. 

K. MATTHEWS:  Well, thank you.  It has been great talking you. 

MATTHEWS:  The queen.

K. MATTHEWS:  It does feel kind of like the dining room table, doesn‘t it? 

MATTHEWS:  Executive vice president for the Marriott International. 

Anyway, thank you, Kathleen, my queen (ph). 

K. MATTHEWS:  Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  You (ph) know a little bit about how we live, but not everything.

K. MATTHEWS:  Thanks to the audience for letting us kind of do this thing. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, they didn‘t have any say in this.  Anyway, thank you, buy the book. 

Anyway, tonight is HARDBALL‘s big 10th anniversary party here in Washington.  We are going down to right in front of the White House at Decatur House on Jackson Place.  Many of the big players in town are going to be there.  We will see who shows.  And tomorrow tonight, we will bring you the pictures.  We will show you all the big shots.  Hopefully we will have a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats down there. 

I want to say thank you all for watching tonight and every night.  It means the world to me that when I bump into people like I have done the last week, who watch all the time. 

Let‘s take a look now at some of the wild times we have shared on


Here we go!



We‘re going to see some fireworks tonight. 

This is a big story. 

Now the HARDBALL stuff. 

So I‘m going to be a little tough with you right now. 


MATTHEWS:  I haven‘t.


MATTHEWS:  You read the question I.


MATTHEWS:  I don‘t have a script.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  . play HARDBALL with me.  Let me tell you something.

MATTHEWS:  Let me tell you something. 

CLARK:  Let me tell you something.

MATTHEWS:  This is no B.S., just HARDBALL.

You got to love it. 

Did you ever advise the president to go to war? 


MATTHEWS:  This is my life.

SAM WATERSTON, ACTOR:  Happy anniversary, Chris Matthews. 

MATTHEWS:  When you first wake up and you first become Al Gore at the break of dawn, does that Al Gore want to be president and wonders why he is not? 

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I‘m actually Al Gore while I‘m asleep also. 


MATTHEWS:  This is so inspiring. 

If nominated, would you run?  If elected, would you serve? 

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR:  Never.  I would never be nominated.  It would be like the same odds as Gary Coleman being in the NBA. 


MATTHEWS:  Do you ever feel like, damn it, what an awful system to put some guys at risk and other guys... 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  No, you know what I felt, I feel like, what a bad war, we didn‘t fight the war to win and the lessons to this generation ought to be not to commit troops (INAUDIBLE).

MATTHEWS:  How about Hillary, can you take her down? 

MIA FARROW, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST:  Happy 10th anniversary and I wish you at least 10 more. 

MATTHEWS:  How are you going to win the presidency? 

REV. AL SHARPTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I‘m going to win it unlike the present occupant, I‘m going to get the most votes. 


GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You guys are tough, but that is what America needs.  Happy 10th anniversary. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think bin Laden is in your country? 


MATTHEWS:  Where have you been for 35 years, sir? 



MATTHEWS:  You are like a voodoo doll for conservatives. 


MATTHEWS:  Is that bombastic enough for you? 

So what do you do when you do me? 

DARRELL HAMMOND, ACTOR:  I do you being uncomfortable, slowly being driven mad. 

Great, but just on principle, I‘m still going to tell you to zip it. 

Stick around, I‘m going to go outside and shout at cars.  You are watching HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  You are not—everybody is not in love with you.  You are not the poster boy for the League of Women Voters... 

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA:  The only thing that matters to me is one thing, and this action.  No lip service, action, action, action. 

MATTHEWS:  You know who is on the line, somebody to respond to what you said about Edwards yesterday morning, Elizabeth Edwards. 

Elizabeth Edwards, go on the line.  You are on the line with Ann Coulter. 

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS:  These young people behind you, you are asking them to participate in a dialogue that is based on hatefulness and ugliness. 

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR:  I think we heard all we need to hear.  The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking.  No. 

MATTHEWS:  Leadership.  Hillary Clinton, she got it? 

RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Not from my point of view. 

MATTHEWS:  I have heard that you can do me. 

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR:  Not as well as Darrell Hammond, but I could—all right!  Ben Affleck, you are on the show.  What do you know?  You are an actor.  You are an idiot.  Tell us something, what are you here for?  What have you got?  I‘m sitting with David Gergen, (INAUDIBLE) for four presidents.  What do you know?  Why I am talking to you?  Go ahead, answer.

GIULIANI:  You want to make trouble, or what?

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER:  Hi, this is Michael Moore, and it is the 10th anniversary of HARDBALL.  Thanks, Chris, for all these years of giving them hell. 

MATTHEWS:  When you hear the word government, are you happy with it? 


SEA, CALIFORNIA:  No, no.  I have always been a small government person. 

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Chris, I would have done what was necessary to know that you had exhausted the available remedies with the French and the Russians. 

MATTHEWS:  It is a tough question.  It takes a few words. 

ZELL MILLER, FORMER GEORGIA SENATOR:  Get out of my face.  If you are going to ask me a question, step back and let me ask it.  I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel.  Now that would be pretty good. 


MATTHEWS:  I‘m convinced I was laughing when he said that.  Anyway, it has been a great ride.  HARDBALL returns tomorrow night again at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern.  We will hope to see you all then.  After the party, we will have party pictures tomorrow night.  Please join us.



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.


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