updated 8/29/2008 2:58:27 PM ET 2008-08-29T18:58:27

Guests: Howard Fineman, David Shuster; Willie Brown, Rev. Eugene Rivers, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jon Corzine, Bill Richardson

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Barack Obama accepts the nomination tonight, a parade of history.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL, live from the Democratic national convention in Denver, Colorado.  We‘re coming from Union Station, and behind me, as you can hear, as you can see, we‘ve got our own people‘s convention, hundreds of folks who have joined us in the Mile High City.

And tonight, we‘ll all be witnesses to history as Senator Barack Obama, the first African-American candidate for president of the United States, delivers his acceptance speech.  It happens tonight, on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King‘s “I have a dream” speech, in front of tonight 75,000 people at Mile High Stadium.  And one thing we know, Barack Obama knows how to give a speech.  So tonight, you don‘t want to miss this.

And there are reports from the other party that Senator John McCain might have his running mate figured out and announced tomorrow.  Most believe that Mitt Romney, and perhaps even higher up on the list, Minnesota‘s Tim Pawlenty, are on McCain‘s short list.  But who knows?  There‘s at least some buzz out there that he might name Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  She‘ll be on HARDBALL here in a minute.

Our live primetime coverage, by the way, begins tonight at 7:00 PM Eastern, when my colleague, Keith Olbermann, joins me from Mile High studio right here, with complete coverage of our final day.  I hate to leave this town.

But first—Denver!  But first, a look ahead to tonight‘s historic acceptance speech by Barack Obama.  Joining me, former mayor, former Speaker of the Assembly of California, has ever honor the people of California can give a man, Willie Brown, and “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, my best buddy on television.  Thank you.  And (INAUDIBLE) MSNBC‘s everything.  He‘s got every honor we have to give.  And of course, the Reverend Eugene Rivers.  I missed you at breakfast.  Sorry.  It was too early.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  We stayed up too late last night.  It was you at 2:00 in the morning, you and Amy (ph) at 2:00 this morning.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Look, I thought, Mayor Brown, that last night in covering this, we may have, because of all the build-up and all the stuff, we missed that sort of crowning moment, when with tremendous professionalism, and I must say patriotism, Senator Clinton asked the convention to act by acclamation and give this nomination to the man who barely bested her in his long primary and caucus season.  And all those older African-American women, they didn‘t miss the moment because they‘ve been waiting for it forever and maybe they thought they‘d end up waiting forever for it.

Tonight, it makes it all clear.  He‘s going to be out there.  It‘s going to happen.

WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR:  There‘s no question about it.  And Senator Clinton did exactly what she should have done.  She did not allow her people to drive her into symbolic demonstrations or any of those things.  And I got to tell you, Chris, there had to be some real maneuvering on the floor to get Hillary Clinton in a position to be able to make that announcement and do that nomination at the right time.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about history.  There‘s so many echoes tonight.  John F. Kennedy gave his speech at the LA Coliseum in—were you there?

BROWN:  I was there.

MATTHEWS:  But you‘re always—you‘re Zelig!  You‘ve always been there, or Forrest Gump, even.  Let me ask you this.  Franklin Roosevelt, Franklin Field, where our daughters (ph) go (INAUDIBLE) in 1936, he gave the “Rendezvous with destiny” speech outdoors.  This isn‘t the first time.  Roosevelt did it.  Kennedy did it.

Let‘s talk about Martin Luther King—August 28th, 1963.  Tonight‘s the memory of that coming alive.

BROWN:  And Barack Obama, I think, will meet that standard in his presentation to the American people, and in particular, to the people who will be in that stadium.  After all, the reason why it‘s a stadium, he wants to make clear that it is just not delegates whom he wishes to inspire, it‘s just not contributors whom he wishes to inspire.  It‘s just not old politicians like Willie Brown whom he wishes to inspire.  But it‘s the people.  And those 75,000 people will be there.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let me go right now to the Reverend Rivers.  This—I know you worry.  You worry, sir, that this is getting the public too hopeful.  Now, reverends aren‘t supposed to be worried about people getting too hopeful, but you are.

REV. EUGENE RIVERS, AZUSA CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY CHURCH:  Well, no, I...

MATTHEWS:  You‘re afraid this is going to come smashing down the morning after the general election.  He isn‘t going to win, all the hopes of young African-Americans and old people of every background, and they‘re going to say, Damn it, we blew it again, aren‘t you?  You‘re afraid of that.

RIVERS:  No, no, no.  My concern is this, that—well, number one, we need to applaud and celebrate tonight.  As the mayor has said, this is a historic, unprecedented event.  I mean, not only is it the 45th anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech, in a very powerful way, it‘s a redemption moment in that it‘s 40 years -- 40 years ago, Martin Luther King dies.  And so there‘s something very powerful, you know, and significant about the fact that this young man, a symbol promise, has really inspired millions of people.

Now, my concern, Chris, is that, you know, as—during this euphoric period of unlimited optimism, that there be—that the balance with a very realistic sense of how we move forward in the political discussion.  So listen, I‘m happy.  I‘m ecstatic.  This is unprecedented historically.  And this country—in fact, this country has reason to celebrate itself because what happens today is an empirical evidence of the greatness of the American experience.  This is phenomenal, you know?

MATTHEWS:  Howard?  Howard?  I want you to be Sol Hurok here.  I want you to talk about the—be an impresario tonight...

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes?

MATTHEWS:  ... because as Mayor Brown points out, it‘s not just the political people that are watching tonight.  For the first time tonight, not just in this stadium, I would bet that the audience is the biggest audience of the campaign so far, potentially, on all the networks, broadcast, cable, whatever, on line.  So people who hadn‘t paid attention to this guy will see him.  Talk about what he has to say to the newcomers to this campaign discussion.

FINEMAN:  Well, there have been a lot of studies done and they show that maybe one out of five voters fixes their decision on whom they‘re going to vote for during the conventions.  The conventions are a key moment.  Not the only one, but a very key moment.  It‘s one out of five voters.  That‘s a lot.

Tonight Obama‘s going to be looking backwards, but more important, he‘s going to be looking forwards.  He‘s achieved unity, pretty much, at this convention.  Sure, there‘s still a little upset under the surface.  It doesn‘t really matter anymore.  Hillary put it to rest.  Bill Clinton put it to rest.

And he‘s going to—one adviser told me, Look, to the extent he can, he‘s going to let the moment speak for itself.  We know the history.  We honor the history.  Even John McCain has an advertisement on honoring the history.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

FINEMAN:  Obama will refer to that, of course, but he‘s going to try to speak to the whole country and to that whole crowd at one time, and he‘s going to try to speak about how he, as a president, can restore the American dream and restore America‘s standing abroad, and try to do it in pretty specific low-key terms.  What he‘s been telling people, and telling the people I know, is that he doesn‘t want this to be another “I have a dream” speech in terms of soaring rhetoric.

We know the history.  The history will support them.  The scene will support him.  But he wants to speak directly to voters, especially undecided, worried, middle-class voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan, and so forth and say, Look, I‘m here to help you, and so are these 75,000 people.  They‘re going to work on your behalf.

MATTHEWS:  Mayor Brown, every great American election we‘ve been through, it‘s usually meeting some great challenge and resolving it by election, whether it was ‘52 and the Korean war and we brought in Eisenhower, or it was that Eisenhower was getting too old and we were losing the cold war and brought in this young warrior, John Kennedy, or in ‘80, when the country felt we had the hostages and we had high inflation and interest rate, they brought in the old movie star to give us the movie ending, all right?

What‘s the big problem in America today that the candidate, Barack Obama, can capsulize out there at Mile High tonight and say, I‘m the solution?  Can he do it in one night?

BROWN:  Chris, he may not be able to do it in one night, but he certainly will commence it.  And it will be about the economy.  When people begin to believe that they will no longer have to pay $4 for gas, when they believe that they‘ll be able to afford bread, they‘ll be able to afford milk, they‘ll be able to afford shelter, they will be able to afford and have provided for them, if they can‘t, health care—when those steps are taken, it will reflect a growth in the economy, a growth in jobs, and a growth in income.  Obama will need to do that tonight, and I think he will.

MATTHEWS:  In a spiritual sense, Reverend, Willie Brown has just said that the challenge of Barack Obama is to promise deliverance.  Deliverance!

(LAUGHTER)

RIVERS:  That‘s right.

MATTHEWS:  That is one big, tall order.

RIVERS:  Yes.  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Can a man, a woman, a politician, secular, religious today, in these cynical times of tremendous world competition, convincingly offer deliverance from your current travail?

RIVERS:  Senator Obama, the—is now in a position to resurrect hope for a generation of young people for whom hope has died.  His—this contest has countless numbers of young people across this country.  This—this—his campaign has introduced possibilities for kids in Jersey City...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

RIVERS:  ... Gary, Indiana, North Philadelphia, South Central Los Angeles.  Millions of young people now believe that there is a possibility that despite the hard times, we can do something new.  Listen—see, and we shouldn‘t burden one message with the responsibility of transforming the world.

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s a question, though (INAUDIBLE) Steamboat Willie over here keeps challenging us every night here with that horn.  Anyway, remember the cartoons?  Steamboat Willie?

FINEMAN:  To follow through on your history of presidents and what they offered—what Obama offers besides hope, of course, is unity.  And it‘s hope through unity.  It‘s hope through not being judgmental about other people, about viewing us all as a human family, about giving everybody a sense of dignity because they‘re part of this effort.

That‘s the reason for the—you asked me about the thematics of the

site tonight.  You‘re going to see a big, big crowd of not just political

people, and not even just Democrats.  And Obama‘s going to be saying, Look,

I can bring these people here.  I can unify.  Look at this scene.  I can

bring people of all walks of life here.  And the—my ability to do that -

and this is what Bill Clinton said in his brilliant speech last night. 

Bill Clinton said this, Guy has a unique gift to bring people together.  And it‘s that act, Obama will argue, that will allow him to bring a better economic life to you because he‘ll make Washington work in a way it hasn‘t in recent days and decades.  That‘s the essence of the message.

MATTHEWS:  Right now in Invesco Field, stadium, Mile High Stadium, people still call it, there are thousands of people sitting in the upper decks right now getting ready.  They‘re in the sun.  They‘re getting hit.  They‘ve got their sunscreen on, these people.  They‘re waiting like they‘re a bunch of Duke basketball fans, you know, waiting—they‘ve got their faces colored blue.  They‘re getting ready.  And I‘m telling you, the sense of expectation I guess is like—I‘m getting so old.  What movies do people wait in line for now?  I don‘t know, “Narnia”?

BROWN:  No, no, no, no, no.

FINEMAN:  They were waiting in line for...

BROWN:  “Indiana Jones.”

FINEMAN:  They were waiting in line for “The Dark Knight.”

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  There‘s some people here who think that whenever McCain pops up, he‘s looking like the joker and they‘re hoping that Obama is Batman.  So we‘ll see (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know, the great thing about this place out here?  You know what the great thing about the people—you don‘t need credentials.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  I want to thank you, Mayor Brown.  Thank you, sir.  Thank you Howard, as always.  Thank you, Reverend Eugene Rivers.

Up next...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  9/11 was an inside job!  9/11 was an inside job!

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  That guy is—I‘ll tell you, that guy is (INAUDIBLE) inside job.

Up next: Senator McCain will reveal his running mate tomorrow.  We‘ll talk about that with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  We‘ll be right back here in just a moment and we‘ll keep this going despite the interruptions.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, on the site of the Democratic national convention, Denver, Colorado, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  A huge night here, of course, in Denver.  We‘re going to have the acceptance speech by Barack Obama at Mile High Stadium.  It‘s now called Invesco stadium.  Seventy-five people are going to be here.  McCain is expected to announce his VP pick tomorrow.  We‘ve got some demonstrators here (INAUDIBLE) despite that distraction.

Let‘s go—there she is, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  Thank you.  Senator, thank you for joining us.  I‘m really dealing with a lot of noise here.  Let me ask you, what kind of a running mate should John McCain pick to sort of balance out his ticket?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON ®, TEXAS:  I think he, Chris, will take someone that can be president tomorrow.  That will be his first criteria.  And then secondly, of course, if that person has appeal in a state that is up for grabs, and the people he‘s talking about do have that criteria.  And then it will be someone that I think John McCain is comfortable with both on the issues and on a personal level.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, is there a litmus test, however—I mean,

it seems like we‘re getting a short list of Governor Pawlenty and governor

former governor Romney of Massachusetts as the real short list.  And then we‘re having these other names sort of touted as, like, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a Democrat, the independent Democrat, and of course, Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania.  And now (INAUDIBLE) recently, your name, Senator Hutchison, has been added to that longer list.  Do you think that‘s a real list or that‘s just to give the party a sense of broader unity?

HUTCHISON:  Oh, I think that, of course, John McCain has made his choice.  So, now it is a—a matter of speculation. 

And I think that it will be a choice that is safe.  I think that that‘s what, certainly, Senator Obama did.  And I think Senator McCain will, as well, pick someone with whom he‘s comfortable.  I don‘t think it‘s going to be a long ball.  I think it‘s going to be someone that he thinks America will believe can be president and is a very solid person.  I believe that. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the Republican Party platform is inclusive enough on the issue of reproductive or abortion rights? 

HUTCHISON:  Well, I believe that that is a very personal issue.  And I think that we ought to acknowledge that people in the same family can differ on that issue.  People who are the closest friends can be different on that issue. 

And I think that we should have standards.  But I don‘t think we should eliminate people or say you can‘t be welcome in our party if you have legitimate and—views on that issue. 

But, Chris, I do think that both the Republican and the Democratic platforms generally have areas that are not mainstream.  And I don‘t think that you can agree with either platform in its entirety.  And I think you just have to understand that a candidates‘ views are going to prevail.

And I think people choose the candidate, the party, of course.  And the overall priority is a factor.  It‘s important.  But you can‘t agree on every issue in a platform, and you wouldn‘t with your wife or your mother or your husband or your children.  And, so, I don‘t think we should do, you know, really a litmus test on either party platform. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, you‘re quoted as saying that—just recently, that your sights are not set on staying in Washington the next four years. 

I have always thought that you were at least considering going back to Austin and running for governor, because that was really what you were thinking about, and not trying to make yourself available for the national ticket. 

HUTCHISON:  Well, that‘s correct.  I didn‘t hear your whole question, but I did hear that you said I was looking at running for governor, which, of course, I think everybody knows that is where my heart is.

And I did say early on I did not want to be vice president, did not want to be considered.  I definitely support John McCain.  I think that his views are right for America.  He‘s a very independent person.  He‘s a leader.  He‘s someone who will take the bold stands that we need to get this economy on track, to bring down the price of energy, to stand up for American values in the world. 

And I believe in him.  But I do not want the next four years in Washington.  That‘s for sure.

MATTHEWS:  You know, I have to explain to you what‘s going on here.  We‘re having an outdoor—we always do it outdoors, and it‘s open to the public. 

There are a group of screwballs out here—and I mean truly screwballs—who believe that we were not attacked by 9/11 by terrorists flying planes, that those people really were not killed by terrorists, that that‘s that not what happened, and, in fact, George W. Bush was sitting somewhere in the White House basement with one of these plungers, that he blew up those buildings. 

That is what these people believe.  They‘re truly crazy people.  Just so you know, we‘re not muffling intelligent dissent here.

Were you vetted for vice president, Senator?  Tom Ridge told me the other day that he wasn‘t vetted.  Some of this list is apparently—listing of people as possible prospects for V.P. isn‘t as long as it seems.  Were you—were you vetted by the campaign of John McCain? 

HUTCHISON:  Well, you know, I talked to the campaign a number of times on issues of—certainly, but whatever that was, I don‘t know.  And I never—I don‘t think that it was ever something that was really going to happen. 

I didn‘t want it to happen.  I said so from the beginning.  That isn‘t where I wanted to go.  And, so, I don‘t think—I think that I am a trusted person as an adviser, and that‘s what I want to be. 

I—you know, we‘re going to schedule events with Senator McCain.  I want to be there with him.  And—and that‘s the role that I want to play. 

MATTHEWS:  Would you like to see the Republican ticket be filled by both Republicans, or would you be the—would you be open to the idea of an independent Democrat, like Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, running as a running mate with John McCain?  Would you be open to that idea, or do you think the Republicans should nominate two Republicans? 

HUTCHISON:  You know, I have great respect for Joe Lieberman.  And he‘s been so courageous in standing up for his beliefs of the security of our country.  And I think he‘s going to go down in history as a great man. 

I do think the Republican ticket should be Republicans, people who embrace all of the major values and strengths of our party.  And, so, I—

I think two Republicans should be the Republican nominee.  And I do think that‘s what it will be. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

It‘s great—I‘m a great fan of yours, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, perhaps—well, who knows what the future holds for her in the state of Texas. 

HUTCHISON:  Good luck with...

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much. 

HUTCHISON:  Good luck with all those people out there.  I hope you can hear. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Well...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  ... thank you.  Thank you, Senator. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  Up next:  What can history teach us about tonight‘s nomination acceptance speech?  We‘re going to look back a little bit.  This is not the first time.  FDR, JFK both addressed their conventions by out—in outdoor rallies. 

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

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Here I am, back here.  We‘re back at the—right across from Union Station here at Denver, Colorado. 

Let‘s go right to the scene of tonight‘s big night, Invesco Field for

Mile High Stadium.

And David Shuster‘s already there. 

David, set it up. 

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Chris—well, Chris, it‘s 80 degrees, and there are probably about 15,000 people who are in the stands already, even though Barack Obama‘s five hours away. 

As you can hear, the opening act, a bluegrass band, has already started—a lot of anticipation, tonight, about what exactly Barack Obama‘s going to say.  And looking back to the history of speeches since 48 years ago, when John F. Kennedy became the last nominee to deliver their acceptance speech outside, there are some guideposts as to what you can expect. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER (voice-over):  Through the years, it‘s been the building block for almost every Democratic nomination acceptance speech: a bold plan for the future. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And we stand, today, on the edge of a new frontier. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The Great Society. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  A new covenant. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Rule number one, when you‘re the challenger, change is good. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNEDY:  Their pledge is to the status quo, and, today, there is no status quo. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Rule number two, play up your humble beginnings. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  My father grew up in a small community named Possum Hollow in Middle Tennessee. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Rule number three, voters tend to value a speech that addresses your own weaknesses. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  I don‘t have all the answers. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORE:  Sometimes, people say I‘m too serious, that I talk too much substance and policy. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  And don‘t be afraid to name your opponent. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  George Bush, if you won‘t use your power to help America, step aside.  I will. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  And never, ever forget that you are fighting for the most important and powerful job on Earth. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNEDY:  Give me your help and your hand and your voice. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER:  Barack Obama‘s speech, we are told, will go about 50 minutes tonight.  And you would think that, in a football stadium with more than 80,000 people, you might see some of the soaring rhetoric that Barack Obama‘s known for. 

But we have been urged that this speech will be very different.  It will be much more of an American narrative.  It will not have the rhetorical flourishes that a lot of people saw after the speech after the caucuses in Iowa on primary night in New Hampshire.

We‘re told that Obama will talk about health care, the economy, national security, and that he will draw some contrasts with John McCain. 

But just to set the scene for you, Chris, again, five hours before Barack Obama‘s going to speak, there are already more than 10,000 people in the upper deck, at the very top of the stadium.  They have been here for hours.  Some of the people we have been speaking with, they say they just want to take it in and enjoy this historic moment for all it is worth. 

Earlier this afternoon, Al Gore came to check out the stage.  And, even though there were a few hundred people when Al Gore came in very early this morning, they broke out into wild cheers.  There was a roar, even with these few people, as Al Gore was walking around—so, quite a night. 

And, as you can hear, the music has begun.  And one thing to look for, Chris, in anything to the soaring speeches, if there are soaring speeches, watch for Jennifer Hudson singing the national anthem.  When she did her practice session today, it blew the doors off of this place, Chris.  It‘s going to be incredible.

MATTHEWS:  Will it still be daylight when he speaks?

SHUSTER:  No.  It will just have started—started to get dark.  There may be some shadows and some shade, but it will be mostly dark.  And that is what they‘re preparing for.

And it‘s actually pretty important, Chris.  It will be about 8:15 local time at night.  If he were to do it much earlier, he might not be able to see some of the prompters that are set up for his script at the back of the stadium, in addition to the reflecting glasses right in front of him. 

MATTHEWS:  Has he rehearsed it out there in the stadium, yet, Barack, himself? 

SHUSTER:  No. 

Last night, he did a sort of walk-through.  And we‘re told that he has been practicing the speech under conditions in a—in a conference room, where there have been some distractions and some opportunities for him to try to go through the speech, anticipating that there might be cheers, applause, roars, to try to get him used to it. 

But, no, he has not actually practiced the speech in the stadium, just the—just the walk-through last night.  But he‘s getting a lot of—I‘m sure he‘s getting a lot of advice. 

I mean, Michelle Obama, just a short time ago, Chris, sort of took a walk around the perimeter, to a huge, thunderous roar in this section of the stadium.  A lot of people in the other section couldn‘t see who it was.  But I‘m sure Obama is getting an earful on just what sort of atmosphere he‘s going to walk into tonight. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

David Shuster, I have to give you a little bit of historic point here. 

Back in 1960, John F. Kennedy gave that great speech at the Coliseum. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  But, because there was so much wind, and his voice was blown around, Richard Nixon, watching on television, said, “I can beat this guy in debate.”

And that‘s when he decided to debate Kennedy.  He thought he could beat him.  He made a big mistake. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you very much, David Shuster. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What do you think about tonight?  You are a Republican. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I am now.  I was a Democrat. 

MATTHEWS:  What happened to you?  You‘re wearing a Hillary button. 

Where do you stand, really? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m going to vote McCain.  And if we didn‘t...

MATTHEWS:  Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... have the caucus system, I think it would be Clinton. 

(BOOING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... and not Obama.

(BOOING)

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you, sir.  I see GOP.  What does that stand for? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Grand Old Party.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... Republican.

MATTHEWS:  And where do you stand in this campaign? 

MORRIS:  I stand—I mean, I‘m a McCain fan.  I‘m a Republican for the last 20 years. 

I came to watch the chaos that is the Democratic National Convention. 

(BOOING)

MATTHEWS:  What do you think? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m totally undecided. 

MATTHEWS:  Really? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  So, what are you going to listen for tonight in the 50-minute address by Senator Obama?  What would be your key word or what would you like to hear? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m not sure.  I‘m going to listen tonight. 

MATTHEWS:  You are going to—you will know when you see it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I will know when I see it.

MATTHEWS:  All right.  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Chris, I‘m an Irish Catholic kid from Kansas City. 

And I‘m so proud of our country for bringing this man to the stage for us. 

I‘m with Obama.  I‘m voting Obama. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Obama!  Obama!

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you about that ethnic thing. 

You know, back in ‘60, when—I‘m Catholic, too, and Irish—and, when Kennedy ran, some people voted against him for those very reasons.  Do you think the Irish this time will vote for a guy who‘s African-American? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re talking to one, and I come from a large clan in my parts, and I believe we‘re all with him. 

MATTHEWS:  Great.  Thank you very much.

I‘m looking for optimism here from all sides.

MATTHEWS:  Madam, what do you think about tonight? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

MATTHEWS:  Whoa!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Whoa, a Saskatchewan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Moose Jaw.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Saskatoon.

MATTHEWS:  Saskatoon.  And I have been to Regina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Really?

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yeah.  It‘s cold up there. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, it is. 

MATTHEWS:  So, what are you doing down here?  You‘re not going to be able to vote, huh? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, unfortunately. 

MATTHEWS:  So, what do you think the Canadians think of our contest this year?  Are they all rooting for—I would bet they‘re Barack people, just guessing. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The majority...

MATTHEWS:  They tend to be more liberal than we are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Do the Canadians think America is still a great country? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Mixed feelings on that. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s work on that, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  We will be right back with these Canadians.  We have got to sell them up north. 

We will be right back.  We have got some big guests, Bill Richardson, and other big guests coming up.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  We will be right back.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Barack Obama will make history tonight when he delivers his acceptance speech as the first African-American nominated for president of any political party, of any, well, major country in the west.  Anyway, the speech comes on the 45th anniversary of another ground breaking speech.  That, of course, was the Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream Speech.”  Let‘s listen to that for a moment. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER:  I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.  I have a dream today. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Joining us right now, two men who know that history, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.  He‘ll also be speaking tonight.  Let‘s take a look at another moment in history.  This is very familiar to tonight.  I know you two guys remember this because I do.  This John F. Kennedy speaking on the night of his acceptance speech at the Los Angeles coliseum in 1960. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And we stand today on the edge of a new frontier, the frontier of the 1960s, the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, the frontier of unfilled hopes and unfilled threats. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Amazing how times have changed.  People wore hats.  But the new frontier that John F. Kennedy spoke about—you first, Governor Richardson.  You talk about a new frontier, this nominating experience that‘s going on to its fruition tonight. 

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO:  You know, there‘s a lot of similarities I see between Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy, both young, talking about change, idealism, a certain style, a certain elegance.  And I think what Obama‘s talking about for the country is change in the same context as John F. Kennedy: a better America, leadership around the world, moral leadership, human rights, democracy, protecting our constitution.  There‘s a lot of similarities and I believe it‘s a master stroke to have the event tonight at a stadium like John F. Kennedy.  He‘s speaking to all the American people, not just the delegates here at this convention. 

MATTHEWS:  Of course, FDR, I was reminded today, also spoke at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania on the last night of his acceptance in 1936. 

GOV. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY:  Great presidents speaking about the sweep of history, I think, as much as they were talking about the events of the day.  And this is one of those moment, no matter how you assess it, where America is actually moving very far ahead from where it‘s been.  It is in on a threshold of a whole new era, as far as I‘m concerned.  I know you‘re going to hear a speech tonight that captures that sentiment, because that‘s the essence of the individual. 

MATTHEWS:  But America is a country in conflict right now, between the desire for change and a desire for something more comfortable and fear of change.  I know New Jersey.  You are there.  You‘re the governor.  We hear that New Jersey might even go Republican this year.  It‘s possible. 

CORZINE:  Not a chance.  I‘d like to take a bet with anybody who wants to put that down.  With Joe Biden, by the way, on the ticket, and you know this in south jersey, whatever the size of the margin was, it went up by three or four points because he‘s very well known.  He‘s very well appreciated for what he‘s done. 

We‘re interesting in that Northeast train line.  No one has fought for it more than Joe Biden.  He mentioned in his speech, Amtrak.  Joe Biden is a very, very meaningful addition to the ticket.  The experience on strategic and foreign policy issues are a strength.  He‘s also a man of the people.  And I think he‘ll do a great job across the country. 

MATTHEWS:  In attempt to try to, oh, intimidate the Democratic party, the Republicans have been very smart in saying in, oh, he‘s a celebrity, as if they wouldn‘t wish they had a celebrity candidate.  Oh, he‘s just a rock star.  He goes to Berlin and gives big speeches.  He‘s an international rock star.  Does that intimidate the Democrats into thinking, oh, we‘ve got to act small; we‘ve got to avoid some of the hoopla tonight? 

RICHARDSON:  No, look at all these people out here.  This is what Barack Obama demonstrates, young voters, independent voters, committed people.  And I think what you‘re seeing here is a negative campaign at every turn by John McCain.  He can‘t accept the fact that Barack Obama—that the world, the international community, 200,000 people at the Brandenburg Gate, want to see America lead again.  And they see Barack Obama as somebody that can provide not just that political and military leadership, but moral leadership to stop global warming, to promote human rights, to try to end poverty, to try to deal with scourge of AIDS, to end genocide in Darfur. 

(CROSS TALK)

MATTHEWS:  Can you change the world through the United States with one election? 

CORZINE:  You can get on a pathway for change.  Yes, sir.  You can get on a pathway to change.  If you don‘t start, you can‘t get to the end point.  You can‘t move forward.  This whole discussion, as the governor was suggesting, is about covering up the flaws and mistakes of the last eight years.  We got into a war we should never have fought.  We have not gone to the right strategic places.  We‘ve got an economy falling apart.  People are hurting.  So you have to talk about something.  You might as well talk about how big crowd somebody can pull in Berlin.  That‘s a sign of desperation, in my view, in the sense that they want to turn away from talking about things that Barack wants to change so that we can actually have a better place for Americans to live. 

MATTHEWS:  Governor Richardson, back in 1960, we came through the period where Richard Nixon had been stoned all over Latin America.  They hated us.  All of a sudden, Jack Kennedy showed up with Jackie Kennedy, and the whole hemisphere loved us.  Is it possible that can happen again, have that great flip of the switch?

RICHARDSON:  Yes, because Barack Obama has said that he‘s going to care about Latin America.  He‘s going to care about comprehensive immigration.  He‘s going to care about changing our policy towards Cuba, which is not working.  He cares about building new relationships with Brazil and Argentina and Chile and bringing renewable energy, cooperatively with Latin America. 

He‘s going to be a president that inspires the third world.  You know, our foreign policy, our strategic interest is not just the Middle East.  It‘s not just Europe.  It‘s Africa, Asia, Latin America, a community of nations, all of us working together. 

MATTHEWS:  You know—we have some nut cases out here.  You know, it‘s a free country.  It‘s an amazingly free country and we‘ve taking the risk of letting freedom ring out here.  Let me ask you about tonight‘s fruition.  Will we see the American people freeze up in their thinking between now and the debates?  I‘m just thinking what happened in ‘60.  The people know that these two guys, Barack Obama and John McCain, the new kid and the veteran, are going to meet on the same stage.  Are they going to wait until that happens before they choose sides? 

CORZINE:  I think there will be a movement.  I think that traditional bounce you‘re going to see, because he can speak to the emotions that I think people want to have tapped into.  They want to believe that change can occur.  I think we‘ll get that.  We‘ll get a little bit of pull back.  And then the debates will be the place where people make up their minds.

RICHARDSON:  I think what Barack Obama‘s going to do tonight is say, you‘ve learned about me and my family.  We‘re the American dream.  Now, I want to connect with you and tell you, America, how we can connect together, get into the dreams of the American people to see what they mean.  I think it‘s going to be an historic night.  It‘s going to start moving very much in Senator Obama‘s direction and the Democrats in the polls, in voter sentiment, because he can bring this country together.

MATTHEWS:  Governors, so great of you to come over here to our own mile high stadium.  Thank you very much for joining us.  That‘s Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey.  Up next, we‘ll go out in the crowd here and see what they have to say.  You‘re watching HARDBALL from the site of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, tonight‘s the big night; Barack Obama receives the nomination of the Democratic party.  Really, if you think about it, it‘s the first time in history that any African-American has won the nomination of any party anywhere in the western world.  It‘s an amazing development.  Any African-American, let‘s be honest about it.  African Americans don‘t win other country‘s nominations either.  Let‘s go to—what do you think about tonight?  I know you‘re Republican.  Your feelings as an American? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  As an American, I‘m looking towards the future and change is inevitable.  So I‘m looking for the candidate that‘s going to lead us in change. 

MATTHEWS:  And John McCain can also provide change, you‘re saying? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know.  I haven‘t heard what he‘s had to say. 

MATTHEW:  That‘s great.  No, an honest voice. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He hasn‘t told me anything. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s an honest assessment.  Next week, we‘re covering that convention.  Are you all going to be watching the Republican convention next week? 

(CROSS TALK)  

MATTHEWS:  Keep your minds open.  Who wants to speak for Obama here? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Initially, I was for Hillary Clinton because I believe that women have an important voice in this nation.  We make up a large population.  And I really think that we need to someday be president.  But I have to say I‘m totally for Obama.  He represents—I‘m a minority obviously.  He represents a lot of minorities.  But I think, because he‘s also white—we‘re forgetting that.  He is also white and raised by white parents—that he has a unique aspect and idea about America as a whole. 

And we are a united country and everybody has to think of that as they go to vote.  We have to vote for whoever‘s going to do a good job and it can‘t be anybody like Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Got to have a change in the economy, energy and get rid of the war. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you.  Who do you think. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re a woman of few words.  Yes, sir.  What do you think? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What do I think?  I think Obama all the way.  I think, John McCain is clearly just agreeing with everything that‘s been done in the last eight years. 

MATTHEWS:  You look like a ‘60s guy to me. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Definitely Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  I could have known that.  You‘re my generation.  You‘re not my generation.  What do you think about this?  You know, kids today, my kids, don‘t think about ethnicity and race the way we did.  What do you think? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think—

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She‘s for McCain. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think that Obama is our guy for our future.  I think that he has brought a message that we haven‘t heard since Kennedy.  I have worked on his campaign for the past nine months.  I totally believe that if he‘s elected in November, we‘re going to see the changes that we need when it comes to the price of our food, the price of our gas, things that the Republican party has neglected in the past. 

MATTHEWS:  Wyoming.Barack.com.  What do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Time to take our country back. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re my generation.  You‘re a regular guy.  You are the most noisy person here.  I love my Marine.  Where is your Marine?  Where is this guy? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Daniel Star (INAUDIBLE).  He‘s at the Air Force academy.  And we support McCain completely, because Obama has no experience with the military. 

(CROSS TALK)  

MATTHEWS:  We have diversity here.  We‘ll be right back with the crazy people and more with HARDBALL in a moment. 

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

END   

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