updated 8/27/2008 11:36:33 AM ET 2008-08-27T15:36:33

Guests: Mike Barnicle, Chuck Todd, David Shuster; Howard Fineman, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Eugene Rivers, Chris Van Hollen, Terry McAuliffe>

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Well we‘re out here with Rocky Mountain High. 

And guess what?  Ted Kennedy has come to Denver.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good afternoon, good evening, depending on where you are. I‘m Chris Matthews. Welcome to HARDBALL from the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

I‘m talking like Teddy Kennedy and Mike Barnicle because he is coming tonight. We‘re here live from across from Union Station, Denver, surrounded by a rambunctious crowd of Hillary—pro-Hillary, Hillary pro-Obama types.  Then we‘ve got the PUMAs here.  And their illustrious title—they call themselves Party Unity My Ass.  That‘s their word. They are very felicitous comments by these ladies out here who talk like that—Party of Unity My Ass is the way they describe themselves.

We‘re hear to celebrate the nomination—everybody here—the people here—of Senator Barack Obama and his new running mate, Joe Biden.  The convention kicks off tonight at the Pepsi Center, less than a mile away—

I don‘t know why we‘re a mile away from it, but it‘s a mile away from here.  We‘re going to have the speakers tonight, the big—on the bill tonight, Nancy Pelosi, former president and much controversial, Jimmy Carter, and then a video tribute and perhaps and an appearance, most likely an appearance, by Senator Ted Kennedy, who is suffering from brain tumor. But here‘s the big one tonight—an emotional moment for Ted Kennedy, followed by another emotional moment, the scheduled event tonight, Michelle Obama who is going to speak around 10:30 tonight from the podium. 

That is going to be a very dramatic appeal, obviously, on behalf of her husband.  We don‘t see much of Michelle Obama, we‘re going to see a lot of her tonight.  Also going to be a televised cameo appearance—well can you move the prompter back so I can read the words before they go by?  Let‘s go back her—a tribute by her husband. 

MSNBC is the place for politics.  We‘re going to tell you that all week.  And our place has been this mile-high city, it‘s a fairly high stage.  Take a look at this place.  It‘s a huge double decker where we‘ll be reporting and anchoring all week. Beginning at 7:00 p.m. tonight Eastern, my colleague—I love that word, my colleague—Keith Olbermann will join me for complete coverage of the convention and we‘ll be on the air until—guess this -- 2:00 in the morning.  Eight straight hours. 

Well, eight, Michael, how many hours is it?  Seven hours.  No, eight?  7:00 until 2:00 in the morning—it‘s going to be on seven hours-plus. But first, the curtain raises tonight at the convention with Barack Obama. He has his work cut out for him. 

And that‘s the question we put to our experts—Chuck Todd, Chucky T, he‘s the NBC News political director, “Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman, an MSNBC political analyst, and there he is with us, Michael Barnicle with an update on what Teddy Kennedy‘s up to, as well as other things. 

We have a noisy crowd behind us.  Again, the people shouting at each other involve two groups—the warring factions, the pro-Hillary, Hillary crowd, who still want her nominated I guess, and the pro-Hillary crowd who wants Barack Obama to win the general election.  We‘ve got two different groups here.  They‘re fighting each other.  This is ground zero.  This is it, this is what you see in America today—this civil war between the Hillary people, between the loyal Democrats who want victory in November and the ones who call themselves PUMAs—public—what is it called?  Party of Unity My Ass.  That‘s their phrase, they love the—they‘re very delicate people, aren‘t they? 

Howard Fineman, what do you make of this fight behind us right now? 

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, it‘s hard to know how serious this is a reflection of things.  But based on going around the Pepsi Center where the convention is and hotel lobbies and all around town, I think it‘s real.  And I think it‘s a dangerous situation for Obama in that there are thousands upon thousands of journalists like us with nothing better to do, unless they supply something better for us to do -- 

MATTHEWS:  Go find a PUMA to talk to. 

FINEMAN:  -- and go find a PUMA to talk to, which is why, one of the reasons why Ted Kennedy is going to be in here tonight to try to give a measure of unity and history and purpose to the Democratic Party. 

MATTHEWS:  Is he going to be the peacemaker? 

FINEMAN:  Well, I think symbolically he stands as a symbol of the Democratic Party, what it‘s supposed to have stood for over these many decades, that all sides and all people in Denver of the Democratic persuasion can agree on. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

FINEMAN:  That will have to help in the place of the Obama people carefully working the ground, delegate by delegate, to bring the Hillary people in.  They‘ve done it in some states.  Like a guy like Tim Kaine in Virginia, which went for Obama—Tim Kaine has made a big effort to bring all of the Clinton delegates on board to soothe the feelings, to make it a unified Virginia delegation. 

But that hasn‘t happened across the board, it hasn‘t happened in Denver as a whole here.  And it‘s going to be a story and it‘s going to grow as a story unless and until the Obama people stop it from being one. 

MATTHEWS:  Chuck Todd, give us analysis of where this civil war stands right now.  Out here it‘s pretty noisy between the PUMAs, the hold outs, and the majority, apparently, of Hillary people who really want Barack Obama and the Democratic Party to win this November. 

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  I tell you, in here, they actually just started the convention, so I‘m sort of confused.  I do see the crowds out there going a little nuts.  But they actually did start the convention behind here.  Howard Dean just dropped the gavel, gave the opening remarks. 

But look, I think this is one of the stories that we‘re in the bubble, we are in the Denver bubble right now.  And as Howard said, there are Clinton people everywhere.  You can find a PUMA not just on your feet for shoes that you might need to be using if you do all the walking that you do, but you can find a PUMA anywhere you want and you can write this story.  But that doesn‘t mean it‘s a story. 

I kind of think we‘re hyping it up a little bit.  It‘s getting a little overheated.  And I wonder if in three days we look back and say, why did we waste all of our time with that?  The big moment tonight is going to be Teddy Kennedy, when he does something tonight.  Does he speak?  I think we all assume he‘s not coming out here to go on stage to wave.  That‘s not the Teddy Kennedy we‘ve all come to watch over the years. That‘s going to be a bigger moment than any Clinton people who are bitter, arguing outside looking for cameras to get attention. 

They feel almost like—they‘re becoming like Ron Paul supporters were back in the Republican primaries.  I think they‘re a much smaller group than we make them out to be, frankly. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, well it‘s a free country, but the noisiest people get the attention. 

TODD:  They do.

MATTHEWS:  Mike Barnicle, talk about Ted Kennedy.  You‘re an old pal of his. 

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I mean, off of what Chuck was just talking about, I mean, what do the Clinton people do this evening?  Do they boo Ted Kennedy because he endorsed Barack Obama?  Ted Kennedy, in 1960, stood on the floor of the convention and announced alongside former—the late Congressman Teno Roncalio, that Wyoming was going to go for John F. Kennedy and put John F. Kennedy over for the nomination. 

He‘s going to appear tonight, I‘m led to believe that if he‘s physically able, if he‘s not too tired, he will, indeed, speak.  He‘ll speak about his party, their party, our country, his family and the future of this country.  It will be a very powerful moment.  I kind of thought that at one point that the Obama people might want Michelle Obama to introduce him. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

BARNICLE:  Which would have been—

MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE) Teddy.

BARNICLE:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, but Caroline is going to be here tonight, too, right -

-

BARNICLE:  Yes, yes.

MATTHEWS:  -- the daughter of the former president.

Let me ask you about the country because I want Howard to start and then I want Chuck to get in here.  You look at all these polls and they just get you dizzy.  Basically, somebody—one of the producers said, -- basically, the country is 45, 45, 10.  You can chuck out all the numbers, but that‘s the message. 

What is Barack Obama, and starting with Michelle Obama, tonight have to do to get that 45 up to 50? 

FINEMAN:  Well, one phrase that I‘ve heard on the campaign trail traveling with Obama recently has been, my story is your story.  So that will be part of it.  Michelle will talk about her working class background, how hard her parents worked to put her through college.  To say my story, the Obama—Robinson, that‘s her maiden name, Michelle Robinson—our story is your story.  That‘s one thing. 

The second thing is a focus on jobs and the economy.  That‘s the key to the whole thing.  We understand your life, and here is how we‘re going to rescue the middle class in America. Because of our understanding of it, we know what needs to be done.  That‘s the basic two-part theme here all through the week. 

MATTHEWS:  Pick up on that, Chuck. What do they have to do to carve into that?  Nobody‘s getting above 45 percent in this fight yet.  How do they move in and grab that—maybe -- 50 percent by the end of the convention? 

TODD:  Well, it‘s interesting.  I think with Michelle Obama, I don‘t think they know how to deploy her yet.  I think that you have, on one hand, an assumption that maybe she can appeal really well to suburban women.  This is a working women, this is someone actually very similar, only the second potential first lady in a long time who came from a working background the way Hillary Clinton did, had a professional career as well as a mother and a family head.  So I think that there‘s some hope inside the Obama campaign that she will connect to middle class, middle-aged women. 

But we don‘t know if she will.  Will they have to deploy her—I think they‘re going to be focus-grouping her tonight, they‘re going to be dial-testing her remarks.  And they want to see, do the suburban Philadelphia women respond to her?  And if they don‘t, then you‘ll see her deployed—maybe she ends up at college campuses, maybe in urban areas, maybe they keep her away from the suburbs, the way that John Kerry‘s campaign kept Teresa Heinz-Kerry basically away from all swing voters.  They sent her to Arizona at the end and they used Elizabeth Edwards instead to appeal to working women. 

MATTHEWS:  Well you know, it just seems to me, Michael, that if you‘re a tough white guy out there, and you‘re tough on blacks, because he (ph) said they didn‘t do the right things, too much crime, they‘re not—whatever—too much welfare.  Here‘s a family that pulled itself up.  They come out of south Chicago.  Michelle Obama—her brother went on a  basketball scholarship to Princeton.  She wins an academic scholarship to Princeton.  They go to great, great schools. Their brother coaches at Brown. Everything they‘ve done is right.  They do everything the American way, and then they go and devote themselves to public service, not to making a bundle.

How can you—if you‘re black, you say, what do the white people want?  What do they want us to be?  We do everything exactly the way they tell us, and then they say, well we‘re going to vote for a white guy. 

BARNICLE:  We have the tendency in this business of ours to overcover the oddities.

MATTHEWS:  This—

BARNICLE:  This is minimalists behind us.  The larger story around us, I think it‘s the largest story of my lifetime writing about politics, is -- 

MATTHEWS:  Are you saying this is the Port Authority of New York out here?  Is that what you‘re saying?

BARNICLE:  Yes, Port Authority.

No, I‘m not.  I‘m not.  I don‘t know what it is.  But, you know, this is the biggest story I‘ve ever encountered, writing about politics in this country. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

BARNICLE:  Just as you said, this young couple come out of Chicago—

MATTHEWS:  They did it right. 

BARNICLE:  They do do it right.  You don‘t get to be the president of the Harvard Law Review on affirmative action.  That doesn‘t happen.  You earn it through intellect. 

FINEMAN:  I predict she will sell really well.  I think Chuck put his finger on it, if they can use her in the suburbs, that will be the tell of the tale, and I bet you they do. 

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t know what that is?  What is that?

FINEMAN:  That‘s Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  Obama.  That‘s an Obama crowd.  What we‘re watching out here, Chuck, as we‘re watching the competition between the pro-Obama, Hillary people and the anti-Obama, Hillary people.  Who‘s going to win the fight? 

TODD:  Well I think the one that gets the nomination is going to win the fight. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re at ground zero.

TODD:  They‘ve already won the fight. 

Look, Hillary Clinton has a lot to do to try to make sure her flock calms down a little bit.  She sort of almost opened the wound today, by the way, when she said—she talked about the popular vote again and sort of implied that she may have gotten more popular votes than Obama, which of course—you sort of have to juggle the math and do different things to come up with that number, you know, than the number that Obama had in the popular vote.  But it was like almost one last, little squeak that Senator Clinton wanted to give to Obama on the popular vote, which was never a fair measure of whether it was even true that she was ahead or not. 

So, all it did was, I think, rile up these PUMAs. 

MATTHEWS:  Isn‘t that the fairest question—did Barack win the nomination fair and square, or didn‘t he?  I‘m going to put that question to Terry McAuliffe.  Because it seems to me an implication of what you‘re saying and what you hear from this crowd, it wasn‘t a fair and square competition. 

What are your thoughts? 

(CROSSTALK)

TODD:  I want to—

Go ahead, Howard.

No, no, go ahead.

MATTHEWS:  Chuck.

TODD:  Well I want to put it another way, which was I actually think the Clinton campaign did a disservice to their supporters.  They didn‘t have a 50/50 chance on February 20th, the day after the Wisconsin primary.  They had a 10 percent chance.  And then she put more money and—the problem was people were telling Senator Clinton she had a 50/50 chance.  She didn‘t.  She had a slim chance.  And it looked like it was a better chance than that because she‘d win some primaries.  But the way this whole thing—it was done—when you look back, we say this thing was over on May 5th, well that‘s when she had to say uncle. It was over on February 19th, the day of the Wisconsin primary, when you look back, because that‘s when he grabbed the lead and he couldn‘t lose it without completely melting down. 

That‘s a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination.  And so what happened is the Clinton supporters thought it was a fair—they had a fair chance and they were led to believe—they were sort of sold a bill of goods by the media and the Clinton folks who said that it was a fair fight when it really wasn‘t. 

BARNICLE:  The Clintons, the Clinton campaign, what‘s left of it, and it is still active, I would submit is on very thin ice, because one thing that Americans understand, coast to coast, they might not understand a whole lot about politics, but they understand winners and losers.  They understand when you lose.  It‘s just ingrained in us.  And this is a dicey situation. 

I absolutely agree with Chuck.  They have to do something to put a cap on it. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Thomas Jefferson once said, a long time ago, that the acceptance of a one-vote victory is essential to democracy.  Anybody can accept the wipeout, but what democracy is about is accepting the fact when somebody wins 51-49, that means they won.  That‘s how you keep score.  And that is democracy—close calls, that‘s what democracy is all about. 

Thank you very much, Howard Fineman. Thank you, Chuck Todd.

I‘m at the Pepsi Center, with the Pepsi generation, and Mike Barnicle over here with me. 

Coming up, how bad is the tension between these two groups behind us? 

By the way, these are (INAUDIBLE) groups fighting with each other.

You‘re watching HARDBALL.  HARDBALL—at the site of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Hey, welcome back to the scene of the action here.  We‘re right out here.  I didn‘t expect this.  But we‘re at the Democratic convention in Denver, but we‘re far away from the Pepsi Center.  But look at all the people out here. We‘ve got a fight going on behind us here.  We didn‘t set it up.  It‘s the pro-Hillary people who don‘t want to help Obama, and the louder voices are the Hillary people who want to help Obama.  They are fighting it out between them out here. 

We have a new “USA Today” Gallup Poll.  It shows that 30 percent of Clinton supporters don‘t support Obama, another 20 percent support him, but could change their minds. 

Let me get through these numbers.  We‘ve got so many different kinds

of numbers here.  Look at the delegates, lets‘ take a look at the delegates

60 percent of Hillary delegates support Obama enthusiastically.  Let‘s get that number up there.  Look at it.  And 31 percent support him with reservations. 

Well, who doesn‘t support anybody with reservations? 

Only 5 percent—in other words, this is not reflective, Senator Boxer, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, obviously, and Chris Van Hollen, the U.S. Congressman, and Chairman of the Senate—of the Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee. 

This is a small percentage of what?  Because most of the delegates are with Barack, even the Hillary people. 

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA:  Well, most of the delegates are over at the convention.  But we‘ve got it started, we‘re going to make sure that Barack Obama and Joe Biden get elected. And I want to say, I‘m sitting here, listening to this, and what I‘m thinking is, this is not China.  This is not the Olympics in China where they put people in police cars.  Good for them. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, freedom.  Freedom!

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND:  What we‘ve got to do is channel all this good energy to making sure we do not have a third Bush term.  Because that‘s what this is all about when it comes right down to it.  I think at the end of the day, everyone, even that 5 percent, will understand that if they continue to divide the party, we‘re not going to be able to have the unity we need to make sure we don‘t have Bush III, and we have Barack Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s take a look.  And Republicans, just like the Democrats, know how to fish in troubled waters.  This is troubled waters, right? 

Look at the ad they‘re running out now.  It‘s apparently a very effective ad.  I haven‘t seen it yet.  This is a woman named Debra, and she‘s a Democrat, I guess, who is going to vote for McCain.  So you take a look at this, vet this ad. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN AD)

DEBRA BARTOSHEVICH, HILLARY CLINTON DEMOCRAT:  I‘m a proud Hillary Clinton Democrat.  She had the experience and judgment to be president. 

Now, in a first for me, I‘m supporting a Republican, John McCain.  I respect his maverick and independent streak.  And now he‘s the one with the experience and judgment. 

A lot of Democrats will vote McCain.  It‘s OK, really. 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I‘m John McCain, and I approved this message. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, that was spontaneous. 

BOXER:  Oh, Chris, Chris, we could do...

MATTHEWS:  That was the most scripted, choreographed thing I have ever seen. 

Go ahead.

BOXER:  ... we could do the same thing. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

BOXER:  We could have someone get up there and say, “You know, I supported Mitt Romney against John McCain, and now I‘m voting for Barack Obama.” 

The thing is silly.  But...

MATTHEWS:  Have you found that guy yet?

(LAUGHTER)

BOXER:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  Is there such a guy? 

BOXER:  There‘s a lot of Republicans supporting our Barack Obama, a lot of independents.  They‘re going to be heard at the convention. 

So, yes, we could do the same thing.  This is no big deal.  You‘re talking about 5 percent of Hillary supporters. 

And here‘s the deal.  This woman in the ad says John McCain‘s a maverick?  Excuse me.  He voted with George Bush 100 percent of the time in ‘08, 92 percent of the time in ‘07. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

BOXER:  Let‘s get real.  He‘s a zero on choice.  He doesn‘t support equal pay for equal work.  Any woman that gets up there and supports him has to say, why would you support someone who votes against equal pay for equal work?  So, I...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Where is he on minimum—let me set you up here.  Where is he on minimum wage?

(CROSSTALK)

BOXER:  I don‘t think he‘s been for the minimum wage.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s not too good on minimum wage...

(CROSSTALK)

BOXER:  He‘s a zero on labor issues.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN HOLLEN:  It‘s hard to imagine—look, somebody who went into the booth and voted for Hillary Clinton is somebody who would support the Democratic agenda, who is a pro-choice candidate overall, who supports the economic agenda for Obama.  To turn around and say you‘re going to vote for John McCain is a total...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s Hillary speaking for herself.

VAN HOLLEN:  But, I mean, it‘s falling into the trap that the McCain campaign is trying to set for some of these people who are being...

BOXER:  And, by the way, it‘s being exaggerated by the media, no question about it.  I counted how many people are out here. 

MATTHEWS:  Count them.

BOXER:  There‘s 40 Hillary people.  There‘s 50 Barack people.  And there‘s 20 McCain people. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

BOXER:  So, what is this? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, as my father always said, it‘s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. 

Let‘s take a look at that.  Here‘s what Hillary Clinton, the senator, said in response to this latest Republican ad exploiting some of this recalcitrance—quote—“Now I understand that the McCain campaign is running and trying to divide us.  And let me state what I think about their tactics and these ads.  I am Hillary Clinton, and I did not approve that message.”

(LAUGHTER)

BOXER:  Exactly. 

MATTHEWS: “So, let there be no mistake about it:  We are united.  We are united for change.” 

BOXER:  All right. 

MATTHEWS:  Chris Van Hollen?

VAN HOLLEN:  Well, that‘s right. 

Look, I mean, Senator Clinton has been very clear, since the day she acknowledged Barack Obama had clinched the nomination, that our primary objective has to be to win in November, because, if you want the old crowd that we have had for seven years back, yes, vote for John McCain. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

VAN HOLLEN:  But, if you want to support what Hillary Clinton stands for, you‘re going to be voting for Barack Obama, because their differences were minimal. 

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

VAN HOLLEN:  They are together now.  It would be great if all the people who supported Hillary would listen to her now, as they listened to her during the primary. 

BOXER:  They should. 

I mean, we have to have someone elected who knows how many houses he owns, for God sakes.  This is ridiculous.  You‘re going to take John McCain and this is a man who doesn‘t understand what the American dream is, thinks the economy is great.  I just don‘t see it for people who really want the dream for their families. 

MATTHEWS:  How are we going to have this worked out this week?  You got Senator Clinton speaking on Tuesday night, former President Clinton speaking on Wednesday night.  But, in a way, they‘re going to arouse their supporters.  Obviously, there will be a lot of support out there, crying, emotions. 

How do they direct that back to the advantage of the Democratic ticket, Senator? 

(CROSSTALK)

BOXER:  Well, I think you heard Hillary—it‘s—look, I have lost an election in my life.  It is very difficult.

MATTHEWS:  No, you haven‘t.  When‘s the last time you lost?

BOXER:  Oh, I did.  The first time I ran, OK?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

BOXER:  I know what it feels like.  I know how my family felt.  I knew how my supporters felt. 

MATTHEWS:  Right.

BOXER:  But, at the end of the day, it wasn‘t about me.  It was about what the people need. 

And I think Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton understand that.  They understand that we can‘t have eight more years of what we have had, or four more years, or two more minutes. 

MATTHEWS:  Senator Barbara Boxer, who hasn‘t lost an election in about 1,000 years—thank you, Senator Barbara Boxer.

Thank you, U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

When we come back, we‘re going to talk about one of the most influential politicians in the Democratic Party.  Senator Ted Kennedy is going to speak tonight. 

So, don‘t go away.  We will be right back from Denver, where, moments ago, the Democratic National Convention got under way.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  What‘s everybody thinking? 

Ted Kennedy.  Ted Kennedy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Shuster.

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, you know, Chris, Ted Kennedy has been at every Democratic Convention since 1960, except for one, ‘64, when he was recovering from a car crash.  So, you really can‘t even talk about a Democratic Convention without talking about the impact of Ted Kennedy. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER (voice-over):  In 1980, it was Ted Kennedy who delivered in defeat what historians call one of the best convention speeches ever. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.  For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on.  The cause endures.  The hope still lives.  And the dream shall never die. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  For nine months, Kennedy had battled incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the nomination.  But, in the end, Carter won, and Kennedy was relegated to a supporting role. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)

E. KENNEDY:  May it be said of our party in 1980 that we found our faith again. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Ted Kennedy burst onto the Democratic Convention scene during his brother‘s 1960 presidential campaign.  He was a 28-year-old floor manager at the Los Angeles convention helping John Kennedy secure the nomination. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And we stand today on the edge of a new frontier. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  In 1962, Ted Kennedy won his brother‘s Senate seat in Massachusetts.  A year later, John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and then Robert was killed in ‘68.

And, at the ‘68 convention, anticipation swelled that Ted Kennedy might step into the void. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Conventions are great rumor mills, but I do not expect Senator Edward Kennedy to be a candidate in 1968. 

SHUSTER:  In fact, Ted Kennedy was not.  Four years later, in 1972, George McGovern invited Kennedy to be his running mate.  Kennedy declined the offer, but introduced McGovern to the delegates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1972)

E. KENNEDY:  ... senator from South Dakota and the next president of the United States, George McGovern.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  1980 marked that battle between Kennedy and Carter.  At the convention, Kennedy denied Carter the picture he was looking for, and, instead, offered Carter three handshakes and a pat on the back. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s the picture that the president and his people want very much. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Four years later, Kennedy surprised Democrats by not running for president again.  In ‘88, Kennedy led the ridicule of the Republican nominee, the then Vice President George H.W. Bush. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)

E. KENNEDY:  Some people say, don‘t count your chickens before they are hatched.  Well, the Republicans have already hatched their chicken in this campaign.  And George Bush is a dead duck. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  In 1992, Ted Kennedy invoked the memories of his brothers in urging the nation to support Bill Clinton. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1992)

E. KENNEDY:  My brother had every gift, but length of years.  The years have been left to us. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER:  But, when you talk about length of years, you obviously talk, of course, about what‘s on everybody‘s mind with Ted Kennedy, his battling cancer.  But he is in Denver.

And, Chris, I was over at the Pepsi Center today.  And when the delegates got the word and word started trickling, you could just see the emotion in people‘s eyes when they realized Ted Kennedy will be there at the Democratic Convention here in Denver tonight.

MATTHEWS:  Is he bigger than this fight? 

SHUSTER:  Yes.  He is bigger than this fight.

MATTHEWS: OK.  Let‘s go.

What do you think of Ted Kennedy tonight? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think he‘s going to be excellent.  We need Ted. 

We need the Kennedy family. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Fabulous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think Barack is the man of the future.  We love Hillary, too.  We just hope her supporters come with us.

MATTHEWS:  Whoa.  Well said.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They lost.  They need to just do what Hillary said, and start following Barack. 

MATTHEWS:  Whoa.  Well said.

What do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And I—my prayers are for Ted, and I‘m glad he‘s here with us. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

Young man, you have a thought? 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It goes back to when I was supporting Kennedy.  And that‘s the one Kennedy brother.  And now I‘m here with Obama, and as much excitement as possible. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  What do you think? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is history in the making.  Barack Obama for president, yes!  Yes, we can.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have been a Clinton supporter since I was 4 years old.  But now it‘s time for Barack Obama to take this nation back. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What do you—what do you think is the issue of the November election?  Why does it matter to somebody watching right now how this election turns? 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re the man, yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Why does this election matter? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It matters because this is the time for the Democratic Party to prove that they can unite.  So, it‘s important that we all come together and stop fighting about Hillary and stop fighting about Obama.  We‘re all one. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

Well, why doesn‘t she say it‘s time to wrap it up here?

Say, it‘s time to wrap it up here. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s time to wrap it up here. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, that‘s what it is.  It‘s time to wrap it up here. 

We will be right back with more.  We have got a lot of guests coming up here in the next hour on HARDBALL.

Stay with us. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Joining me right now, it‘s a familiar face on HARDBALL, the Reverend Eugene Rivers of Azusa Christian Community Church up in Boston.

REVEREND EUGENE RIVERS, AZUSA CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY CHURCH:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  You have got a tough job right now, Reverend, which is to tell—well, to tell Michelle Obama...

RIVERS:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... through us, through the audience, what she has to do tonight. 

RIVERS:  Right.  Right. 

This evening, she‘s got to charm the American public. 

She has to make clear to the public what is obvious and—and real, in fact.  Michelle Obama is a phenomenal American story. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

RIVERS:  Here‘s a kid that comes from the South Side of Chicago. 

Parents were hardworking.  They did the right thing.  She got to Princeton.  She got to Harvard Law School.  But her roots are in the South Side of Chicago. 

And this is an extraordinary story.  She is a success story.  And she‘s played by every rule that America says a person is supposed to play by. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

RIVERS:  And, so, this evening, she has to communicate:  Look, I‘m one of you all.  I came from the South Side of Chicago.  I have come up through the rank.  I have worked hard.  I‘m a committed mother.  I love my husband.  I love my country.  And—and I want to be given the opportunity to be the first lady of the entire country. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

The one quote she has to deal with it is, “This is the first time I have felt proud to be an American.”  She said it early in the campaign. 

RIVERS:  Right.  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  A lot of people hung their hat on that and say, this woman‘s attitude is wrong.

RIVERS:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  She‘s holding out on America.

RIVERS:  Yes.   

MATTHEWS:  She doesn‘t really like this place. 

RIVERS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you deal with that?

RIVERS:  Well, first of all, what she says is, that, look, I said it was a poorly stated remark.  It was a foolish remark.  It‘s not the sum total of who I am.  I made a mistake.  It was an indiscrete remark.  I apologize for it.

MATTHEWS:  What did she mean to say? 

RIVERS:  What she meant to say is that, listen, as a result of my husband‘s campaign, right, I now view politics in a completely new way. 

No, no, no, she‘s from Chicago.  Think about this, right?  She comes from one of the toughest towns in the world, politically.  And, so, what she‘s saying is, in contrast to the bare-knuckles politics that I was raised in—my father was a ward captain.  I come from the South Side.  I now see—and this is true for the country—I now see possibilities, today, that I didn‘t see 20 years ago. 

MATTHEWS:  Look at the sign out here, Reverend.  We have got a very positive sign about the many faces of Benetton, if you will, using a commercial phrase...

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS:  Right.  There you go.

MATTHEWS:  ... about the various parts of the American story. 

RIVERS:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  She‘s the great American story. 

MATTHEWS:  How does a woman who is proud and strong and in many ways very admirable deal with the women who have stayed at home, who have not gone out and been in the workplace, and certainly not as professionals?  Are they intimidated by such success? 

Now, woman find Hillary—I mean, she‘s very much like Hillary Clinton, if you think about it, Ivy League, the whole thing. 

RIVERS:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS:  Yes, the whole thing, right?

See, what she does is—and, then, she can do this because she comes from it, right? 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

RIVERS:  She comes from regular working-class black people out of South Carolina. 

You emphasize, and you don‘t wear your pedigree, your Harvard Law School, Princeton, on your shoulder.  You emphasize and relate to the average American woman mother-to-mother, wife-to-wife. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

RIVERS:  That is what she has got to do.

MATTHEWS:  You know what I think is interesting?  And I‘m obviously a white guy.  I found it interesting the way that Barack‘s dealt with his parenthood. 

RIVERS:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  Switch to him for a minute. 

RIVERS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s a guy, no matter what he says about how great his dad was, he was split at the age of 3. 

RIVERS:  Right.  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  I mean, when your father leaves you at the age of 3, you take it personal.

RIVERS:  Well, you...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: “He left me.”

RIVERS: “My father left me at the age of 3,” right, right.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  He left you.  “He left me,” so—in your case.

RIVERS:  Exactly.  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  So, he says—I have read a speech—I think it was in “Newsweek” this week that, in raising his daughters, his two wonderful daughters....

RIVERS:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  They‘re very delightful kids.

RIVERS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  They‘re so happy looking and vulnerable. 

RIVERS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  And they haven‘t exploited them.

RIVERS:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  That he‘s trying to make up for that, a reparation in his -

he wants to be the good dad that his dad wasn‘t. 

RIVERS:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  Talk about that, because that‘s admirable. 

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS:  Listen, look, you know, let me tell you something.

The one thing, when my father left me at 3, that I determined in my life that I was never going to be my father.  I was never going to leave my wife with the kids by themselves.  My greatest achievement in life—I think this is true for Obama—will be that he was a good father, and he was the father to his daughters that his father was not to him.  Here, again, that side of Obama needs to be played up, just as the wife and mother, loving, playing by the rules, raising your kids the way they‘re supposed to be raced.  It‘s part of the narrative that they‘ve got to project to the American public. 

MATTHEWS:  This is the Bill Cosby line that a lot of white people love to hear. 

RIVERS:  Absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  Because they love to hear the community that they‘ve been somewhat rivaling with for years is doing things they really find wonderful. 

RIVERS:  Absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, and they have to say, yes, you‘re right. 

RIVERS:  Well, look, they are the Huxtables.  What do you want?  Come on, right.  Here they are husband and wife, the kids.  The Huxtables, right?  What could be more American than Bill Cosby? 

MATTHEWS:  I think they‘re a little elite, unfortunately.  Thank you, Reverend Eugene Rivers up from Boston.  He‘s going to be with us all week.  Joining us right now from the Pepsi Center former Clinton campaign manager, chairman, Terry McAuliffe.  Terry, we have an interesting group back here.  You think the action‘s over there.  Behind here we‘ve got Hillary holdouts, the PUMAs.  We‘ve got pro-Obama Hillary people.  Barbara Boxer did a count.  She says the pro-Obama Hillary people are winning 50 to 40 here.  What‘s your sense of the numbers game? 

TERRY MCAULIFFE, FMR CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN:  I was over there today.  You‘ve got a great crowd, the great news, no matter who they‘re for.  We‘re all Democrats and we‘re are all going to make sure Barack Obama is the next president of the United States, Chris, I can promise you that. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s put on the back of the Obama family, both of them, starting with Michelle and then ending up Thursday night.  What do the candidate and his wife and his running mate have to say to bring in the Hillary holdouts?  What do they have to do? 

MCAULIFFE:  I think, tonight, Michelle, obviously, as you went through in the discussion, talk about their family, talk about their upbringing.  I think a lot of people really don‘t know.  I think folks are just beginning to tune into the general election.  It‘s about 75 days away.  Now is the time.  Who is Barack Obama?  Who is Michelle Obama?  Let them talk about their upbringing, which is spectacular.

What they both have gone through is a great American story.  Tuesday night, obviously, Hillary Clinton will give a great speech, will tell the people why it is absolutely critical why we elect Barack Obama this November 4th.  President Clinton, spectacular speech Wednesday night.  And then Barack Obama brings it home on Thursday night.  We leave on Friday morning out of Denver unified, pumped up, taking it to John McCain on November 4th

MATTHEWS:  Did Barack Obama win this nomination?  You know the apparatus of the Democratic party.  You know the procedures.  Did he win it fair and square? 

MCAULIFFE:  Sure he won the nomination.  Sure he did.  You know, Chris, I may quibble here and there about how some of the press treatment of Hillary.  We‘re so far beyond that.  He ran a great race.  It is over.  It is now focused on Barack Obama running against John McCain.  And, you know, listen, John McCain is about George Bush.  This is Bush/McCain.  He voted with him 95 percent of the time.  His tax bill, as you know, the 25 percent goes to those that make over 2.8 million dollars. 

People want to go if a new direction.  That‘s what this election is all about.  There are some Hillary Clinton holdouts but once we—that‘s what this convention is all about behind me.  Once we finish up, Hillary‘s going to convince them, Barack, Michelle, and then finally President Clinton.  All of them are going to drive that message.  It‘s about health care.  It‘s about education.  It‘s about getting our troops out of Iraq.  It‘s about the federal judges.  It‘s everything that we believe in as Democrat, the ideals of our party. 

We‘re going to be pumped out coming out of this thing on Friday morning, I‘m telling you. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, what‘s the magic word going to be from Hillary and Bill?  Is there something they haven‘t said yet that you think they‘ll say well on Tuesday and Wednesday night?  Is there a theme that will unite?  Not just—a theme, what is it going to be? 

MCAULIFFE:  I mean, I think the theme clearly will be from both of them how important this election is, all the issues we have around the world.  We‘ve got two wars going on, a battered economy, record home foreclosures, credit card debt through the roof, interest rates through the roof.  Americans want to go in new directions.  The stakes of this election, what this November 4th election means to Americans, means to their pocketbook, means to their national security.  That is going to be the message.

Bill Clinton is going to—he‘s written his speech and it‘s a great speech.  He‘s going to talk about why this is the most important election of all time, really, coming in front of us right now. 

MATTHEWS:  I love them riding by the Hillary Clinton camp tonight, maybe you had a hand in it, when they ran the exploitative ad by John McCain trying to grab the anti-Barack Hillary supporters, and Hillary Clinton came on and said, my name is Hillary Clinton and I did not agree to this ad.  I thought it was great.   

MCAULIFFE:  Chris, I hope they spend a lot of money on that ad, because nobody cares. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you much, Terry McAuliffe. 

When we return, we‘ll talk to the crowd here in Denver.  We‘re going to out to the people, the real people. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back.  We‘re back.  And we‘re talking to some real people.  We‘re going to give you some dissonant voices here from not necessarily the representative sample of the American people, but the representative people of you, sir.  Who are you with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re volunteers from Salt Lake City, Utah.  And we‘ve come to Colorado to show it‘s a swing state.  We‘re not going to let the Democrats go willy-nilly in this state.  We‘re going to have a presence here.

MATTHEWS:  What are you doing here?  . 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘re here to show our support for John McCain.  We want somebody to be our next president who is strong is going to protect us and keep us safe. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you a Republican? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, sir. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you a Republican?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am. 

MATTHEWS:  What are you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am absolutely a Republican.  We‘re here to let people know we‘re going to fight for Colorado.  We want Colorado.  It‘s going to be a red state. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you for this war in Iraq?  Are you in the war? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am in the military.  I am absolutely for the war.  I am for victory in the war against terror. 

MATTHEWS:  Who are you with?  Let‘s take a look at your sign.  Let‘s take a look at a wide shot of that.  Tell me about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Clintons for McCain.  We‘re with the coalition called Just Say No Deal.  We have about three million people who are Hillary supporters who didn‘t like how the Democratic process played out during the primaries.  This is our way of protesting.  We feel like our party got lost.  We want our party back. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m Clintons for McCain.  I‘m an independent.  While some people have an open mind and they feel comfortable voting for a man who went to Madrass Muslim school when he was younger, the Clintons -- 

MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  Before you put out that information, what evidence do you have that he went to a Muslim school? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I have a 17-page paper written by a Congressional investigator. 

MATTHEWS:  What are the consequences?  Just a minute.  Do you believe this?  Do you believe he‘s a Muslim. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We didn‘t say he was a Muslim.  He was registered as a Muslim in Indonesia. 

(CROSS TALK)

MATTHEWS:  If you‘re wrong, what are the consequences? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘re not wrong. 

MATTHEWS:  If you‘re wrong. 

(CROSS TALK)

MATTHEWS:  Give me the name of the newspaper who wrote this. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  People like me will not vote for him. 

MATTHEWS:  What newspaper?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:    It‘s not a news paper.  It came from a Congressional investigator.   

MATTHEWS:  Who?  Which one? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m not going to tell you. 

MATTHEWS:  You just went on national television and said the guy went to a Muslim school, went to a Madrassa school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I said he went to a school in Indonesia and he was a registered Muslim.   

MATTHEWS:  Where do you have the evidence from? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Would you like the report.  I could e-mail it to you. 

MATTHEWS:  Tell us now, what Congressional committee it was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Maybe you can‘t hear.  Should we clean your ears out. 

MATTHEWS:  I want to know what Congressional committee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We have on record with his name as Muslim on his record when he got enrolled Indonesia. 

MATTHEWS:  What is this from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We also have a court order right now.  There‘s an injunction against the DNC right now that he is not qualified to be the president of the United States. 

MATTHEWS:  You said you have an investigative report of Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I said a former Congressional investigator. 

MATTHEWS:  A former Congressional investigator?  Who‘s working for who? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m not going to tell you that.  I told you I would be happy to send it to you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  We just heard from a point of view here.  What do you make of that. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What do I make of that?  I‘m a Catholic.  Do you hate me?  Can I not run for president? 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think of this? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hillary lost and Obama won.  Let‘s go on and vote for Obama. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Support the Democratic party.  That‘s all it is. 

I‘m a Democrat. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘ve been going back for eight years.  Let‘s go forward.  That‘s backwards.  That‘s backwards. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hillary supports Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think of this group of people here that said that he‘s really a Muslim?  Secret documents that prove it. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I have a message for you guys.  Give me one minute.  I am one of the young supporters that has come out for Obama‘s candidacy.  I have never been involved in politics before.  I understand how upset you are.  I know it‘s hard for you to vote for him, but I‘m asking you to vote on behalf of us.  I don‘t want my children to have to bare the ramifications of four years of a McCain presidency.  I want you to bare that in mind. 

I know.  Trust me, if Obama—no, if Obama had lost the nomination, I would still be in bed right now.  I know you‘re disappointed.  Senator Clinton today—can I have a minute? 

(CROSS TALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Give her a minute!

MATTHEWS:  Your thoughts?  I let you talk, madam.  Let her talk. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I was at the New York delegation breakfast this morning.  Senator Clinton said, on behalf of the—can I have just one minute.  I promise a minute and then you can say whatever you would like to.  She said that the McCain ads that have come out do not represent her.  Her direct quote was—I been up to date. 

Her exact quote was “my name is Senator Clinton and I do not approve that message.”  The message of Obama‘s candidacy, the reason why I‘m here in Denver from New York right now, is because the country he talks about, where there is no black and white, where there is no red and blue, is the country I want to grow up in. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, very much.  I want to hear from this lady here.  I want you talk about Obama and these people that are trying to identify Barack Obama with a Muslim identification.  They said he was registered as Muslim. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, that is not true at all.  Obama is a fabulous, fabulous, very intelligent young man, who will change this country.  He‘s very sincere.  I know a lot of people who know him personally.  Trust me.  When they talk about feminism with Hillary and everything, racism comes from this.  I ask you, how many African-American female senators are there today? 

MATTHEWS:  There‘s none. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  And how many white female senators today?  I‘m from Chevy Chase, Maryland.  I‘m inside the Beltway, listen to you all the time.  Love Keith Olbermann, love Rachel Maddow.  Also, Chris, we need more intelligent African-American pundits on TV.

MATTHEWS:  I agree with that.  What do you think, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m a big Obama supporter.  As anything showed us, the foreign policy of the Republicans, as well as economic policies, has devastating our country the last eight years.  It‘s time for a change and Obama is the man. 

MATTHEWS:  Madame?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think Republicans, Democrats and independents alike are fed up with a lot of our leaders in the Congress and in the Senate.  And it‘s accountability time.  We want Obama.  Obama‘s the one who will bring us accountability. 

MATTHEWS:  We have a great group out here.  I think you can make your own judgment about what you heard from some of these people.  We‘re all grown ups.  You can see and hear insanity when it‘s available to you.  We‘ll be right back with more HARDBALL.  Thank you, we‘ll be back tonight with more, with Keith Olbermann, covering all night tonight.

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

END   

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