updated 9/5/2008 3:24:48 PM ET 2008-09-05T19:24:48

Guests: Rudolph Giuliani, Amy Klobuchar

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Palin hits pay dirt, and the crowd roars.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL from the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a big crowd outside here.  We‘re live from Rice Park—which I like to say is older than Central Park—on this last night of the Republican convention.

But the buzz is all about Governor Sarah Palin‘s speech last night.  The Republican Party‘s first woman nominee for vice president electrified the audience last night, serving up a speech that sizzled, that gave us a lot of red meat, certainly for the base, and scorched the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, with biting sarcasm.  More on Palin‘s speech in about a minute.

Tonight, Senator John McCain‘s in the spotlight, and he‘ll address the convention, with a rebuilt stage giving his speech a town hall look.  Here he is just a couple of hours ago on his walkthrough, checking out the mikes, doing the mike check, which everybody does, to see if he‘s comfortable up there, everything‘s the right height, et cetera.

But Governor Palin is a tough act to follow, as everybody who watched last night knows full well.  The big question is, can McCain top that?  Does he even have to?  After all, he picked her.  We‘ll get into that with John McCain—what John McCain has to do tonight with everybody tonight, starting with our star guest in a minute or two.  Rudy Giuliani, is coming here in a minute.  We‘re going to talk about how he kneecapped the Democrats last night with that keynote speech.  Boy, did that rip the bark off.  We‘ll also get the Democratic response from Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, I‘ve gotten to know out here in small town cafes the last couple days.

MSNBC will have full primetime convention coverage starting at 7:00 PM when Keith Olbermann joins me from New York and with NBC News correspondents in and outside the hall.

But first: Last night, a star was born.  The Grand Old Party‘s energized.  But what next?  Pat Buchanan and Michelle Bernard are my pals here sitting next to me to my left here in this beautiful setting.  And the weather is turning autumnal.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Patrick, do you feel—was it—was it—what was it, one of the great poets who used to talked about how he felt re-energized every time he felt the first nip of fall.  Do you feel that way, Pat?  Are you re-energized, or because of that speech last night?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  The right wing is coming home, Chris.  They‘re all coming home...

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  ... from the fever swamps and forests.  They‘re all coming home to Sister Sarah.  It was a phenomenal speech, Chris, on the levels you mentioned, but more important than that, I mean, it was so—she‘s been under fire for three days terribly just as a human story.  The woman got up there.  She‘d never been on national television before, never spoken to a convention like that, and it was an astonishing performance.  And it‘s not only her critics but her friends and her critics both are saying so.  And I think it‘s made this convention a tremendous success.  The enthusiasm factor is now roughly equal on both sides.

But you know, I think there are women all over America who must have said, Here‘s a young woman under fire, let‘s see how she performs.  Forget politics.  And I think they‘ve got to say, I mean, that‘s just a terrific young woman, and we‘ve got to be proud of her as a woman...

MATTHEWS:  When did you become Dr. Phil?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  You are the most sympathetic person!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  After weeks of crocodile tears over Hillary Clinton, now you‘ve become...

BUCHANAN:  Somebody...

MATTHEWS:  ... the foster father...

BUCHANAN:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  ... of all women politicians.

BUCHANAN:  Chris...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  By the way, it was Harry Truman last night who said, If you can‘t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.  Excuse me.  You guys are playing a game.  You‘re saying, Let‘s bring on a woman candidate, which is a great advance for American life, and then, Oh, let‘s play—let‘s not be too tough.

BUCHANAN:  Look, Chris...

MATTHEWS:  Excuse me, Pat.  The name of his show is HARDBALL, OK?

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you—HARDBALL...

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s get started here.  I want to know what question‘s been out of line.

BUCHANAN:  OK...

MATTHEWS:  What question‘s been out of line?

BUCHANAN:  The question‘s been out of line, the questions they‘re asking about her family life, putting it on the front page...

MATTHEWS:  That‘s out of line?  Since when have you left the Clintons‘ family life out of the picture?

BUCHANAN:  OK...

MATTHEWS:  Since when has the Republican right left the Clintons alone?

BUCHANAN:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  You‘ve been trailing them like bird dogs for 20 years!

BUCHANAN:  OK...

(CHEERS APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  It‘s nonsense!  You guys are complete—complete charlatans on this issue!

BUCHANAN:  OK...

MATTHEWS:  Charlatans!

BUCHANAN:  What‘s your problem—what‘s your problem...

MATTHEWS:  It‘s not—I have no problem with press coverage of anybody who wants to run this country!

BUCHANAN:  All right.  Well, you let me talk a second.

MATTHEWS:  Go for it.

BUCHANAN:  What‘s your problem...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Answer the question.

BUCHANAN:  What‘s your problem with strong women, buddy?  You beat up Hillary.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  You beat up on Hillary.  You had to apologize for that. 

You‘ve been beating up on this gal.  You‘re apologizing for that.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  The MS in NBC should not stand for misogyny!

MATTHEWS:  The current state-of-the-art term for a woman running for president is woman, not gal.

(CROSSTALK)

MICHELLE BERNARD, INDEPENDENT WOMEN‘S VOICE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: 

And the woman—the person sitting on the set that actually has estrogen flowing in her body would like to speak!

MATTHEWS:  These crocodile tears are so fraudulent!

BERNARD:  The questions that have asked about Sarah Palin from the mainstream press...

MATTHEWS:  Have been...

BERNARD:  ... have been proper.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

BERNARD:  It is a proper line of inquiry.  “US” magazine, anybody who sells newspapers in the magazine aisles in the grocery story—that line of inquiry is inappropriate.  But just as Barack Obama had to take these questions, and every question he got was not racist, some of the questions that are being asked of Sarah Palin are not sexist.  She‘s on the top of the ticket...

MATTHEWS:  So is the true...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... sexist the person who asks for a separate dispensation, or someone who says you can‘t ask questions about her appropriateness for national office? That would be the true sexist.  What did Bush call that stuff, the “bigotry of soft expectations”?

BERNARD:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  Isn‘t he the guy that coined that one?

BERNARD:  He coined the phrase, and was absolutely correct.

MATTHEWS:  Right.

BERNARD:  The questions that are coming from the mainstream press I don‘t have any problems with, and I‘m the only woman sitting on the set.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  You‘re not an expert.  You‘re not an expert.  Look...

(LAUGHTER)

BERNARD:  Neither are you!

BUCHANAN:  No, I‘m not, either.  I‘m not, either.  But Chris, ask yourself—you got Mitt Romney...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  ... you got Fred Thompson, you got Rudy Giuliani, and you got Mike Huckabee, all of whom are mainstream moderate conservatives.  All of them attacked the media for what they‘re doing to this woman.  Howard Wolfson...

MATTHEWS:  What are they doing?  Please tell me what they‘re doing!

BUCHANAN:  Well, why do you think they were cheering in the hall?  Do you think they were making up what was being done to her?

MATTHEWS:  I have sat here four days, ever since we‘ve heard of Sarah Palin as the nominee for vice president, learning, learning, learning about her.  There‘s been no nasty questions coming from this show.  We‘ve been trying to learn.  That‘s all we‘re trying to do.  Who is this person?

BERNARD:  Can I say something?

MATTHEWS:  Make a list of the...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Hold it!  Do you think...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Name one attack from this show!

BERNARD:  OK...

BUCHANAN:  Do you think the front page of “The New York Times,” two or three stories on her pregnant daughter...

MATTHEWS:  Here it is.

BUCHANAN:  ... is legitimate (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS:  I think it was one story, Pat.

BERNARD:  All right!  I‘d like to just say, as someone who does not feel victimized by the fact that I am a woman, Sarah Palin is the only person who‘s not whining.  She got up on that stage last night—thank you for coming to her defense night, but she got up on that stage last night and she rocked the house.  She‘s not saying...

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.

MATTHEWS:  I know what‘s going on here.

BERNARD:  ... Here‘s—you know, I‘m a woman, I‘m victimized.  She‘s saying, Bring it on.  She came out with both guns blazing, and she has said to every man and every woman in this country, I am running for the second highest office in the country, and if you come for me, I‘m ready.

MATTHEWS:  I think, Pat, we have to ask the questions of all the candidates.  So let‘s get—let‘s get to the sweet spot.  The stock market dropped 3,300 (SIC) points today.  What are we going to do about it?

BUCHANAN:  Well, 330.

MATTHEWS:  No, what are we going to do about it?

BUCHANAN:  It‘s 330.

MATTHEWS:  What are we going to do about it?  Those are legitimate questions.  What are we going to do about it?  What are we going to do about the...

BUCHANAN:  I think those are not only legitimate questions, they‘re valid issues.  Why is the dollar sinking?  Why is the market going down?  Why is—you know, housing, these are all economic...

MATTHEWS:  So these are the questions that the candidate for vice president and candidate for president both should submit themselves to on the Sunday talk shows, the weekday talk shows, the radio shows.  They should get out there and answer the questions.  Pat, I‘m asking you the question.

BUCHANAN:  All right...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Is Governor Palin responsible to the public to begin answering those questions or not?

BUCHANAN:  What Governor Palin and John McCain ought to do is run the campaign they want to do, communicate in the ways they want to communicate.

MATTHEWS:  You‘re not answering the question.

BUCHANAN:  I‘m not.  They don‘t owe you a damn thing, Chris Matthews.

MATTHEWS:  See?  That‘s the point!  So we can‘t ask any questions...

BUCHANAN:  You can ask...

MATTHEWS:  ... from the candidates!

BUCHANAN:  Ask them right into the camera.

MATTHEWS:  This is an interesting kind of campaign, that the candidate for president will give a speech which everyone likes and then move on to what, the election?  When is there a question put to the candidate, Pat?

BUCHANAN:  You can ask her—reporters covering her can ask her questions.  You can invite her on this show, “Larry King” “MEET THE PRESS.”  But the campaign itself has got the right to decide how they communicate...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

BUCHANAN:  ... to the country that they want them to elect them.

MATTHEWS:  So the references to Harry Truman last night about, If you can‘t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen, are irrelevant.

BUCHANAN:  No, you can say it right into the camera.  You can say they can‘t stand the heat.

BERNARD:  Look, she‘s going to...

BUCHANAN:  But you can‘t order her on this show.

BERNARD:  No, he can‘t order her on the show, but he will invite her on the show.  And I guarantee you that if she‘s a guest on this show, she would be insulted...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

BERNARD:  ... if he didn‘t ask her...

MATTHEWS:  If we...

BERNARD:  ... the same questions that you would ask a male.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think it‘s appropriate for Pat to even suggest that we might have a candidate for vice president of the United States who would skip from the nominating convention to the election booth without submitting herself or himself to tough questioning from the press?  Is that even an appropriate concept in a modern American democracy?

BERNARD:  Well, I don‘t think—I‘m hoping that that‘s not what Pat is suggesting.  I mean, she...

BUCHANAN:  No, I‘m not suggesting that, I...

BERNARD:  I think what he is rightfully suggesting is they‘re going to spin and they‘re going to answer questions any way they want to.  But I think that the bottom line is, the only thing that would be sexist would be not to ask her the same questions that you would ask Joe Biden.  That‘s the only...

MATTHEWS:  Well, I remember a campaign in 1968, where the Republicans had Bud Wilkinson (ph), the coach—football coach, asking—of Oklahoma, asking...

BUCHANAN:  You know who wrote the questions?

MATTHEWS:  You did.  I know you did!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Now, that‘s a Pat Buchanan campaign.

BUCHANAN:  There were hardball questions...

MATTHEWS:  The campaign flack writes the questions for the candidate and has some -- (INAUDIBLE) coach, put the questions to the candidate.  Boy, is that democracy!

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Roger Ailes.  Roger Ailes programmed it as a 28-year-old. 

Look, Chris...

MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE) Pat.  Tell me the whole biography of how a campaign should be run.

BUCHANAN:  Here‘s what I‘m saying.  In the White House, as White House communications director, you‘ve got an obligation to communicate with your people if you want to lead.  Like Reagan, his basic format was speaking out, true speeches, and he wasn‘t as good at Q&A.  Nixon was terrific at Q&A.  He had primetime press conferences.  We used those.

How McCain and Palin communicate—they‘ve got an obligation—is their own decision based on how they best win the presidency of the United States.  You and I can say anything about them we want.  We can ask questions...

MATTHEWS:  But I‘m asking about if the American people have a right...

BUCHANAN:  The American people aren‘t demanding it.  You are.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I‘m asking this.  Do the American people have a right to see candidates for president and vice president submit themselves to tough questioning by objective journalists?

BERNARD:  Yes, they do.

MATTHEWS:  Yes or no.  Do they have...

BERNARD:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  Do they have the right to have that kind of performance by the candidate, demanded of candidates?

BERNARD:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  Do you agree?

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think it‘s the law of the land, no.

MATTHEWS:  But do you think they have a right as—as people who vote in a democracy, to have the candidates submitted to tough questioning?

BUCHANAN:  I think they can look at her and say, if she‘s not answering or he‘s not answering tough questions, I‘m concerned they don‘t know anything.  I may not vote for them.  But there‘s no moral obligation on them to...

MATTHEWS:  Is there a political obligation?

BUCHANAN:  No.  No, there‘s not.  You run a race to win.

MATTHEWS:  This is extraordinary!  This is extraordinary.  But you were saying if Barack Obama were to run for president and not go on any show where he might face adversarial questioning, you wouldn‘t find a problem with that?

BUCHANAN:  He just went on “O‘Reilly” for the first time today.  They‘ve been begging him to come on Fox.  The Democrats don‘t even go on Fox.  You‘re scared to death of them!

MATTHEWS:  Scare of...

BUCHANAN:  Yes, you are!  Why don‘t you go on there?  The Democrats have been ducking them for years!

BERNARD:  I predict she‘s going to go on the air.  She‘s going to answer the questions.  She‘s going to absolutely surprise everyone, the way she did last night.  I think it‘s wonderful...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD:  Pat, please excuse me.  I think the sense of chivalry that we are seeing within the Republican Party is really nice, but you know what?  She doesn‘t need it.  She is going to do fine on her own.  She‘s on the offensive.  And she is exactly what John McCain needed.

BUCHANAN:  No, she doesn‘t need it.  But I‘ll tell you, all those four guys getting up there hammering the media—that‘s not only selling in this hall, that‘s selling in this country.

MATTHEWS:  I know.  It‘s great PR.  There‘s no doubt what you‘re performing here tonight is part of the performance.

BUCHANAN:  It‘s not PR, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, it‘s brilliant!

BUCHANAN:  They don‘t like the press.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s 1950s version of chivalry, Let me get the chair for you, in an attempt to reduce her potential as a leader.

BUCHANAN:  Nobody‘s...

MATTHEWS:  It is reducing—you accuse me of not respecting strong women.  This courtesy that you expect people to show her is debasing her potential as a leader of this country.

BUCHANAN:  You should have shown her the courtesy for the last three or four days...

MATTHEWS:  I have done so.  I have not said a word against her.

BUCHANAN:  (INAUDIBLE) all over.

MATTHEWS:  I cannot stop your magazines, like “US Weekly” that you read...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  ... from going after her.  I mean, the fact that when you go shopping for Shelly (ph) -- I know you‘re such a modern guy, I know you‘re going through Safeway with your cart every day, like a regular Mr.  Mom...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  It‘s such an absurdity that you‘re playing this part, Pat! 

You are the most traditional husband in the American planet...

BERNARD:  Well, I think...

MATTHEWS:  ... and you‘re portraying yourself as Dr. Phil.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m sorry, Alan Alda!  Alan Alda!  You‘re Alan Alda here! 

It‘s outrageous!

BUCHANAN:  (INAUDIBLE) is out of control.  That woman got up there...

MATTHEWS:  That little woman with her...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  ... slapped him down last night, and he can‘t handle it.

MATTHEWS:  I‘m sorry, Pat.

BERNARD:  You know what...

BUCHANAN:  You cannot handle it, Chris!

MATTHEWS:  This is—this is, ladies and gentlemen, political cross-dressing of the worst sort you‘ve ever seen.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  This guy playing Alan Alda, Mr. Sensitive!  Pat, pal of mine, some day you‘ll take back these charges, but until then, I forgive you.

BUCHANAN:  (INAUDIBLE) tough time in Philly with the women, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Patrick J. Buchanan, still living in somewhere about 1957, but still happy to be there.  Coming up...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  ... in 2008.

MATTHEWS:  Coming up—this is completely ridiculous!  Coming up: He met resistance in the Republican primaries, but Rudy Giuliani wowed the crowd last night in support of the McCain/Palin ticket.  He‘ll be coming right here to answer my tough questions, just like anybody running for president.

You‘re watching HARDBALL from the site of the Republican national convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FMR NYC MAYOR:  Governor Palin represents a new generation.  She‘s already one of the most successful governors in America and the most popular.  She‘s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.  She‘s been a mayor.  I love that!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL, broadcasting live from the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.  And with me right now is the man who wowed them last night.  Well, he was the preliminary act last night.  He was the undercard keynote speaker, former McCain rival Rudy Giuliani.

Mr. Mayor, you were a classic keynoter last night.  Isn‘t the purpose of a keynoter to throw red meat out into the hall and wow them up?  Isn‘t that the keynoter‘s job?

GIULIANI:  Yes, I was to get them off their feet and get them enthusiastic.  I mean, this is a united convention, but you want it to also be an enthusiastic convention.  These are the people who go out and do the work for you, right?

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Let me ask you about this—the governor of Alaska.  How many minutes total have you spent in her company in your whole life, total minutes?

GIULIANI:  I‘ve talked to her on the phone.  I was with her a few minutes the other day.

MATTHEWS:  But in other words...

GIULIANI:  I didn‘t know her...

MATTHEWS:  ... your encomium, your endorsement of her was based upon what?

GIULIANI:  My endorsement...

MATTHEWS:  What exactly with her?

BUCHANAN:  ... was based upon a conversation with John, going over her record.  It‘s not something I would have thought of.  The minute it was presented to me by John McCain, I realized that this could be an enormously effective pick.

MATTHEWS:  Did you bring some New Yorkers with you here?

GIULIANI:  Yes, I know, they‘re...

MATTHEWS:  Are you guys from New York or what?  Quiet up, will you? 

Especially the drunks.  Cool it a little, will you?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  You know—I love to rile them up, too.  But you don‘t really know her.  You don‘t really know whether she could settle the—we‘ve got a New York stock market problem.  The Dow went down 340-some points today.  It‘s getting scary.

GIULIANI:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Does she and John McCain together possess the fiscal knowhow—I mean, John McCain has said, I don‘t know much about the economy.  Is it smart to hire somebody, for the American people to bring somebody in to run the economy who says they don‘t know anything about it, along with somebody else they don‘t know much about?

GIULIANI:  Well, she‘s got a lot more experience running an economy than Barack Obama does.  I mean, when has Barack Obama ever run an economy?  He‘s never run a city, a state, a government agency, a military unite, a business of any kind.  He knows nothing about the economy.

John McCain has been in the Senate a long time.  He‘s got a long record on fiscal issues.  He really understands them.  And the quote that you keep using is because John McCain has a tendency I have.  Sometimes we shoot our mouth off too much and we try to be funny.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

GIULIANI:  John McCain knows plenty about the economy, a lot more than Barack Obama does.  And she‘s run a city.  She‘s run a state.  She‘s run a large budget.  She has a real sense of the—maybe the single the most important issue to our economy, which is energy right now.  So she‘s got a substantial amount of experience (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS:  But compared to you?  They‘re not in the same league as you on understanding finance...

GIULIANI:  I think—I think...

MATTHEWS:  ... the New York financial capital.  Do they have any—would they know where to go in New York to find out what‘s going on?

GIULIANI:  Of course they would.  Of course they would.

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

GIULIANI:  John has been on committees that have dealt with securities legislation.  I have had long conversations with John about the economy.  He understands it really well.  And what he will do for the economy is positive, and what Barack Obama will do will be an absolute disaster. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, well, let me ask you about this.

The American people, as you know, have been through a tough time the last 10 years.  And it‘s going to get tougher.  We do face Islamic terrorism, as you pointed out.  We face a competition from world challengers in the economy, the BRICK countries, Brazil, Russia, with all its petro-power, and China and India with—India, what, with the second largest stock market now. 

GIULIANI:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you see in the mettle of the people running the ability to take on those global challenges?  Do you see it in Governor Palin?  And where do you see it?

GIULIANI:  Well, I see sure mettle in Governor Palin. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  To take on global challenges? 

GIULIANI:  I see real mettle—real mettle in Governor Palin.  I think she‘s a terrific—she‘s a terrific executive.  She‘s been enormously effective. 

She did something that a lot of politicians would shy away from.  She took on people in her own political party, went after them...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

GIULIANI:  ... when she thought they were corrupt.  This is a very strong person.

She‘s been involved in a key issue of our day, which is energy.  And, look, a ticket has to balance—they have to balance each other.  Nobody‘s going to have the strengths, all the same strengths and weaknesses. 

So, this is a ticket the try balances each other.  John McCain has more foreign policy experience than probably any candidate we have had in many, many years. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about this political situation your party faces.  The American voter has a simple tool.  It‘s called the vote.  You vote the ins in or the outs out.  Do you think the Republicans, after eight years, deserve to be renewed in their contract?  Have they done a good enough job for eight years to have their contract renewed? 

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI:  Well, that‘s the way the Democrats want to frame the election. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, isn‘t that the way the most voting situations occur? 

You decide whether to keep the ins in?

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI:  No.  People vote—people vote for a person as a person of the United States.  They vote for John McCain or they vote for Barack Obama.

By the time we get to this election, their personalities, their issues, their ideas are going to overwhelm either, you know, the idea that you‘re going back to George Bush or Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter or...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

GIULIANI:  Those issues will be raised. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you confident that John McCain will bring in a new

crowd, or will he just recruit from the usual Republican suspects that are

to be honest, are fairly tired right now, after eight years?  Most political parties run out of talent after eight years.  You get the second and third string running the jobs. 

GIULIANI:  Well, look at—look at...

MATTHEWS:  Does he have the talent people in the Republican Party?  Or, if McCain pulls this out, will he have to go outside his party and bring in people like Bloomberg, bring in people like General Powell, that haven‘t been particularly part of this team? 

GIULIANI:  When you look at John McCain‘s history, that‘s exactly what he‘s going to do?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Yes?

GIULIANI:  John has been—John has been probably the most bipartisan member of the United States Senate, Barack Obama probably the most partisan. 

If you‘re looking for, in their history, who can reach to the other side, no idea or suggestion of that with Barack Obama, highly partisan Democrat, most liberal member of the Senate.  In the case of John McCain, he used to get in trouble with his political party...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

GIULIANI:  ... for reaching over to the other side too much. 

I expect to see in a John McCain administration—I have no doubt about it—Democrats, independents.  You are going to see people who disagree with them.  He‘s being doing—he‘s familiar with that.  He‘s being doing it all his career.  And he‘s paid the price for it at times. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about Northeastern Republicans, like you, like where I come from. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Lots of them, Tom Ridge, Arlen Specter in the country, my brother. 

GIULIANI:  Right.  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  They‘re a lot of Northeastern Republicans around.  But they‘re getting to be a smaller and smaller group. 

Do you find it odd that Tom Ridge was unacceptable, that you were basically rejected as a potential nominee of the party, even though you have got all the talent and all the history and the world knows you?  Is the Republican Party tent too small? 

GIULIANI:  First of all, I don‘t feel that I was rejected or Tom was rejected.  I feel that John made the choice that he thought was the best choice.  He had a lot of people to select.

MATTHEWS:  I meant in the primary season. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Inability of a pro-choicer to get anywhere in this convention fight, that it seems to be narrowed down to the Governor Palins, the very culturally conservative people, small-town people, which, by the way, I noticed you saluting the other day—last night. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Is the party no longer an urban, metropolis party?  I think you used the word cosmopolitan last night. 

GIULIANI:  I used it...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I know, sarcastically. 

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI:  ... somewhat sarcastically.

MATTHEWS:  But is the Republican Party retreating from the Northeast, retreating from the big cities, to the rural areas? 

GIULIANI:  No, we‘re not.  No, we‘re not.  At times, we do better.  At times, we do worse. 

We have got eight—we‘re going to have two terms of Republican mayors of New York City when Mike Bloomberg finishes.  We just had a Republican governor there.

MATTHEWS:  He just switched Republican Party.

GIULIANI:  OK.  But he‘s really a Republican. 

MATTHEWS:  He is?

GIULIANI:  That‘s how he got elected.  That‘s how he got elected.

MATTHEWS:  Everybody thinks he‘s really a Democrat. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Come on.  You know.  Bloomberg‘s a Democrat. 

GIULIANI:  That‘s how Mike...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  He‘s a Red Sox fan.  Come on. 

GIULIANI:  Well, if Mike had remained a Democrat, he wouldn‘t be mayor of New York City. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

GIULIANI:  He got elected as a Republican.

MATTHEWS:  I agree with that.

GIULIANI:  And...

MATTHEWS:  But don‘t you—I mean, honestly, don‘t you see your party retreating away from the more big city, the more suburban—you know, the numbers in the suburbs this year around the Northeast were really bad.  You lost a lot of seats.

GIULIANI:  I think—I think you‘re going to see...

MATTHEWS:  You have got one congressman from the Republican Party in all of New England, one left, Chris Shays.

GIULIANI:  I think you‘re going to see—I think you‘re going to see John McCain help to build that base in the Republican Party.  John wants to rebuild the Republican Party.  He wants to build a broader Republican Party.

And look at—and look at the choices that he made.  Sarah Palin brings in a new generation of people.  You can see that.  You can see the enthusiasm it creates.  He has Joe Lieberman there last night, a Democrat, now an independent, supporting him. 

So, I think you‘re going to see him broaden the base of the party. 

MATTHEWS:  Now, let‘s—let‘s play nice.  Let‘s show Senator Joe Biden, who is running for vice president on the Democratic ticket.  Here‘s what he said today about last night‘s boffo performance by Governor Palin. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  The thing that I was most impressed by, beyond her—her standing and how confident she was, was what she didn‘t say. 

She didn‘t mention the word health care. 

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN:  She didn‘t mention the world education—word education.  She

didn‘t mention college education.  Not one time that I‘m aware of, I‘m told

I know, in her speech, and I assume in all the speeches—not one time did I hear the phase “middle class” part their lips. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Joe Biden faces an unusual challenge politically.  He‘s going to have to debate Governor Palin, the hero of last night.  What do you think he can do?  Has he got a...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI:  I think, based on that advice, he wanted her to give a Joe Biden speech, which would still be going on. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You mean a litany?

GIULIANI:  A litany, talk and talk and talk and talk.  It was an excellent...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

So, you‘re mocking Joe Biden here? 

GIULIANI:  No.  I wasn‘t...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m just asking.  Let me ask you the generic question.

GIULIANI:  Joe is a great guy.  He—but you know he talks too much. 

MATTHEWS:  I understand the whole situation.

But I also—I‘m wondering about—you almost faced Hillary Clinton for the Senate race.  You had the health problem.  And it presents an interesting challenge.  Terms like sexism are being thrown around by both parties.

Pat Buchanan‘s become the great—the great troubadour of concern about sexism, with his crocodile tears flowing hard by the gallon, like Niagara Falls, of his head.  I shouldn‘t say that.  I will...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI:  Let him come here and defend himself.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, I just did, and he did very well.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  He did very well.

Let me ask you about this.  Is it particularly challenging for Joe Biden to score points without looking like an ogre?  Is it still a challenge for a male politician...

GIULIANI:  No.

MATTHEWS:  ... to take on a female politician...

GIULIANI:  No, I don‘t believe...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... on equal terms without either being an ogre or pulling back and losing some of your game? 

GIULIANI:  I think we‘re all—we‘re all beyond that now. 

MATTHEWS:  Really?

GIULIANI:  I think Sarah Palin‘s going to run as an excellent governor, a really good candidate.  She‘s obviously somebody who can more than take care of herself.

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

GIULIANI:  She is going to handle Joe very well.  And he‘s going to...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  But can he handle her? 

GIULIANI:  Of course he can.

MATTHEWS:  Can he be too rough?  Can he—does he risk that if he takes a shot at her? 

GIULIANI:  I doubt it.  Joe is a professional.  And he‘s going to know how to do it.  I think you‘re going to see an excellent—an excellent debate. 

I think you‘re going to see the past vs. the future.  I mean, Joe is very much...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

GIULIANI:  ... a part of the Washington establishment.  He almost says Washington.

She says the rest of America.  I think that‘s what you‘re going to see, a difference.  But I think, personally, they‘re going to deal with each other very well.  They are both very, very fine people.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What would you like to do, besides be highly successful in your private sector enterprises?  Do you want to come back in the public life as secretary of state? 

GIULIANI:  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know what I want to do after—after we—after... 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  But nobody turns down secretary of state. 

GIULIANI:  People don‘t turn down things like that.  But then the question is, do you go fight for it?  Do you go try to get it? 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

GIULIANI:  And, right now, my desire is no further than getting John McCain elected.  And then we will see what happens.

MATTHEWS:  But you would be a tough-ass U.N. ambassador.  You would love that job, wouldn‘t you? 

GIULIANI:  Oh, yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s not big enough for you.  That‘s not big enough for you, is it ? 

GIULIANI:  Well, I...

MATTHEWS:  Hah! 

GIULIANI:  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know, Chris.  I would have a hard time there.  I spent a lot of time trying to collect tickets from them. 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  But I think you would love to...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Like in the tradition of Pat Moynihan, a real tough U.N.  ambassador. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  You know, you have got enough money.  You got tons of money.  Don‘t you want to do something for your country? 

GIULIANI:  We will do probably something in public service again.  But I done know when.  I don‘t know which job.

MATTHEWS:  Ambassador to...

GIULIANI:  And I don‘t know have my mind filled with all that stuff right now.

MATTHEWS:  You could shake up the Vatican with... 

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI:  Yes.  I could shake up the Vatican.

MATTHEWS:  His Holiness would love to have you show up. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  No, it‘s great to have you on.  Thank you. 

GIULIANI:  Thank you, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  By the way, let me just say this. 

GIULIANI:  Take care.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... with Pat.  And we were getting along very well last night.  And we will get along again.

I thought your speech last night was one of the great, fun speeches of my life. 

GIULIANI:  Thank you, Chris.  

MATTHEWS:  I giggled at every line.  I thought that there were so many brilliant lines, zingers. 

But I thought it was funny that this West Coast culturally conservative group of Republicans—I mean, it‘s almost like American Gothic out here—were laughing at some city guy with a city sense of humor, which it could have been Jackie Mason.  And, yet, in putting down cosmopolitan the way you did...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  ... and putting down community organizer—where did you come up with that one, community organizer? 

GIULIANI:  I don‘t know what they do. 

MATTHEWS:  I know.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  And Keith—Keith last night—we were on last night—and Keith said, this is going to cost the Democrats—the Republicans the community organizer vote.  Didn‘t they lose them a long time ago? 

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI:  Yes, I think so, yes.

MATTHEWS:  I think so.

Governor...

GIULIANI:  Take care.

MATTHEWS:  You didn‘t make governor.

Mayor. 

GIULIANI:  Mayor.

MATTHEWS:  Mayor Rudy Giuliani, America‘s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani. 

Up next:  What are the rules that John McCain has to follow to have a successful speech tonight? 

(CROWD BOOS)

MATTHEWS:  I was too nice to you.  You hear that? 

We will tell you. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL from the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, only on MSNBC.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s hear from David Shuster right about the dos and don‘ts at Republican National Conventions. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  In a break with tradition, John McCain will address delegates from what could be described as a theater in the round.  But that doesn‘t mean he will not follow the tenets of Republican Convention history. 

GOP rule number one, be a champion for unity. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1964)

BARRY GOLDWATER, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We Republicans are pledged to restore and revitalize. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)

RONALD REAGAN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I want my candidacy to unify our country. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Rule number two, accentuate the positive. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1976)

GERALD FORD, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  My fellow Americans, I like what I see. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Of course, there‘s nothing wrong with taking a jab at Capitol Hill. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I have ridden stationary bikes that can move faster than the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Other themes, remember your Republican forefathers. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REAGAN:  Let me add, in the party of Lincoln, there‘s no room for intolerance. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Be tough on defense. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1996)

BOB DOLE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If you harm one American, you harm all Americans. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Fight for tax cuts. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)

G.H.W. BUSH:  Read my lips: no new taxes. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  In the end, no matter what John McCain says, he will have the attention of Americans have cross the country.  And, in a close election, a stirring speech can make a crucial difference. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REAGAN:  The choices this year are not just between two different personalities or between two political parties.  They‘re between two different visions of the future, two fundamentally different ways of governing, their government of pessimism, fear and limits, or ours of hope, confidence and growth. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re pack out here at Rice Park with all the people staying here all night, watching the program.

Let‘s take a look and hear what they have to say about they want to hear from John McCain in the big speech tonight. 

Sir, what do you want to hear?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want to hear what he has to say about health care.  I want to hear what he has to say about education.  I want to know, does his energy plan extend beyond drill, drill, drill?  Does he really care about renewable energies?  Those are the things I want to hear that actually affect Americans, not how much Sarah Palin think Barack Obama‘s inexperienced. 

She‘s from a town of, what, 6,000 people. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There‘s more people on the Chicago trains right now than she‘s ever governed.  It‘s a joke.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you. 

What do you want to hear from Senator McCain tonight, the nominee? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I need to hear what he—what he has in store for all of us, what he believes—I‘m sorry. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s all right.  I got the point.  We will come back in a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s an excellent point, Michelle (ph).

MATTHEWS:  You want to hear what he believes is a good thing to start with.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I would like to know that, too, from all these guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m interested in the specifics of the platform of the Republican Party.  I think the Democratic Party has laid their platform out very, very well with regard to health care reform and education and the economy.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  So, you don‘t mind a litany?  You want—you want details.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want details on it. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s what they used to say about Clinton.  I thought some of his speeches were too long and boring.  But every time we polled afterwards, the people want more information. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s correct.

MATTHEWS:  Do you want to go again? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I would like to hear about the economy, what, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What do you think about the stock market going down 340-some points today? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think that sucks. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Well, maybe he will say that word.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would like to hear a little more Minnesota nice and how we‘re going to get out of the hole we‘re in as far as—and the issues.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s Minnesota—Minnesota nice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, we‘re getting kind of mean here last night. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Part of it‘s my fault. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I think Governor Palin was solid.  I think she was very positive. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, not the second half. 

MATTHEWS:  No, the second—she...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And I didn‘t hear any issues, how we‘re going to get out of the hole that we‘re in, education. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, we‘re going to come—we‘re going to come right back and more HARDBALL coming back.  We‘re going to be a little more Minnesota nice, maybe.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re live from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, where John McCain will deliver his big acceptance speech tonight here on MSNBC.  Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar joins me right now to discuss what she thinks about last night‘s speakers and how the McCain/Palin ticket will play in Minnesota. 

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA:  Thank you, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  It is a great—I‘ve had such a great time here. 

KLOBUCHAR:  Welcome to our town. 

MATTHEWS:  St. Paul, it‘s so nice.  It‘s very clean.  You‘ve got clean politics in this state.  Teddy White used to say, when you have an election in Minnesota, you can count on each vote being honestly counted. 

KLOBUCHAR:  That‘s correct.

MATTHEWS:  Where did Minnesota get its clean politics from? 

Scandinavia?  Where did it come from?

KLOBUCHAR:  It has that history, Scandinavian immigrants coming in, believing in democracy.  We have one of the highest voter turnouts in the country, which is going to bode well for Barack Obama in this election. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about gender politics.  It‘s so sensitive.  I have said a couple things I had to reconsider.  I‘ve been trying to learn.  It‘s developed again.  There‘s a new level of sensitivity.  I was struck by the charge by the Republican people running this convention that for reporters to question a mother‘s responsibilities to her children, even very young children, in the face of her political ambitions and public responsibilities, any more than they would do it about a male candidate is sexist.  Is that the state of play, in terms of our culture now?  Is that sexist to say a mother even with very young children doesn‘t have a more—more of a personal responsibility than a husband does? 

KLOBUCHAR:  You know, I really don‘t think that should be an issue. 

This is a woman that‘s been able to balance being governor with her kids.  We all have this.  Before I got on your show, my daughter called about whether she could eat chocolate chunk ice cream with her braces.  We all go through this.  What bothers me is when they‘re claiming sexism if you even want to start questioning her record, if you want to start what she believes in. 

You should be able to criticize some of the things she did.  Like last night she gave a well-delivered speech, no doubt about it.  Nowhere, as I look at my state, 250 people laid off in one of our companies while her speech is going on.  We‘ve got health care costs, new study coming out saying 60 percent of those increases are going to go on the backs of employees.  Did I hear anything about health care in her speech?  As you last guest, Rudy Giuliani said last night, nowhere, nothing, nada. 

Did you hear anything about education.  No where, nothing, nada. 

MATTHEWS:  Pat Buchanan was here saying they have a perfect right as candidates—handlers of a candidate, Republicans, to hold her off, almost like in a witness protection program, bring her out for major speeches, haul her back inside, keep her away from tough reporters, tough White House correspondents.  That would be fine.  Do you think that would be falling victim to the soft bigotry of low expectations by says, oh, she‘s not really been involved in the national environment.  We can protect her from it right up to election day? 

KLOBUCHAR:  I don‘t think that would be a good thing for her.  She‘s put herself out there now as the attack dog.  I think she used the word pit bull with lipstick.  She put herself out there like then she should go on shows like HARDBALL.  That‘s what I think. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think she will? 

KLOBUCHAR:  I don‘t know.  You‘re going to have to ask her.  The other thing I want to point out here is we don‘t see anything in her record that deviates anyone from where McCain is going.  She‘s a fresh face.  She has a fresh voice.  But it‘s the same old politics and it‘s the same old policies.  It‘s not good for middle class families.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much.  It‘s great to meet you, by the way. 

It‘s great to meet you out here.  It‘s wonderful. 

We‘re going to have to change topics.  We‘re going to Howard Fineman right now.  Thank you very much, Howard, from “Newsweek,” our chief political adviser on the sate.  I‘m getting a weird signal.  I got an audio problem.  Someone should help me with it.  I‘m getting a weird sound.  Howard, what do you think of Pat Buchanan‘s theory that the Republicans have a perfect right to basically hide her? 

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”:  Well, they have a political right to try to get away with anything they can get away with.  And I think they‘re going to control her even more tightly than most political figures have been in recent years.  I think the McCain campaign has an argument that early in the campaign and in his political history he‘s been very open.  I mean, I covered the Straight Talk Express, and McCain had tried to keep that spirit alive.  I think that‘s legitimate. 

In recent weeks and months, I think they‘ve closed him off some.  They‘ve become more careful.  And in her case, they‘re going to be extra careful, extra vigilant and they‘re going to attack pro-actively any reporter or news person who they think they can get away with intimidating.  In my own personal case, they put out a story claiming that I was going around town predicting that Sarah Palin would have to get off the ticket.  I never said any such thing. 

MATTHEWS:  What‘s the tactic about?  Why are they doing this?

FINEMAN:  The tactic is to put us back on our heels and try to make us be extra cautious in everything we do.  Caution is good in a reporter.  Fairness is required.  Accuracy is indispensable.  And I‘m going to do my best, and I will succeed, at staying neutral and keeping my cool as these people go about the business of trying to go after any reporter that they think they can intimidate. 

MATTHEWS:  Is there a fear on their part that the candidate for vice president on their ticket might show a lack of knowledge in certain areas simply because she has not been part of the Washington debate and, therefore, they must protect her from the inquiries that might expose that.  Not a lack of smarts, a lack of familiarity with certain topics. 

FINEMAN:  I don‘t think they should be afraid, frankly.  From everything I have seen of Sarah Palin and from what I‘ve said on this show and others, this is somebody who was ready for prime time, who showed so last night,  has been out on the conservative circuit for more than a year, who‘s well known to the conservative activists.  She‘s a big time player even though she‘s from a state that most people have never visited. 

I think she‘s perfectly capable of answering for herself everything about the Wasilla city counsel and the mayoralty of Wasilla and the governorship of Alaska.  It‘s a state.  It‘s got reporters.  It‘s got a press corps.  It‘s got Democrats.  It‘s not that big of a deal.  And they‘re trying to do whatever they can, and I give them credit for playing tough HARDBALL, to keep it under control to the extent they can.  That may work, so far it has.  Or it may backfire. 

MATTHEWS:  But the Nixon crowd—Pat was part of them, and proudly so, from his point of view.  Back in 1968, they hid their candidate after he had a hard time debating Kennedy.  They him back eight years later.  They hid him from the press.  They had Bud Wilkinson, a football coach, asking questions of him on national television.  Pat Buchanan had written the questions.  It was a complete fraud.  They‘re not going to go to that level are they. 

FINEMAN:  This isn‘t that.  Look, these are people running this campaign who are tough operatives, who have been through the wars for decades.  OK?  They have no great love for most of the press corps.  They never will.  They don‘t feel that they owe us a darn thing. 

MATTHEWS:  Do they owe the public? 

FINEMAN:  I must say, we have sometimes behaved in a fashion and said things and done things to give them just enough rope to try to hang us with.  OK?  They‘re going to get away with it if they can.  By the way, Barack Obama is no saint on this topic either.  The Obama entourage, they‘re very controlled about the access they give him.  This is the world well live in now, Chris.  We don‘t live in a world where politicians feel a moral obligation to talk to the press anymore, if they ever did.  They don‘t anymore.  Maybe some do, but most people don‘t. 

And in the tough environment we‘re in, where the press corps is divided id logically, and in the way it operates, each side will take advantage of whatever fissures in the press corps they can to get the advantage where they can.  That‘s the ball game, as it‘s played now.  That‘s the way Obama plays it and that‘s the way McCain plays it.  Sarah Palin is the quintessential example because she‘s so new and, in their view, needs some protection.  I think she needs less protection than they think.  If they can get away with using the sexism argument to protect her, they will.  It‘s up to us to do our job and do the reporting as best we can, and be accurate and fair about it. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about the—I‘m sorry, I have to thank you.  We have to talk later about how Joe Biden has to address this too, from a partisan point of view.  Is there a particular challenge he‘s going to face?  That was very vigorous.  Thank you very much, Howard Fineman.

Up next, we‘re going to talk to the crowd here right behind me.  It‘s an interesting crowd.  We‘ll be right back from the site of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.  It‘s fall weather all of a sudden.  It‘s quite nice out here, as you can tell, from the looks of the people.  They are all happy and they‘re happy to be here, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  OK, John McCain‘s going to give the biggest speech of his life tonight.  And the question is what are the questions people have that they want answered by Senator McCain tonight in his acceptance speech? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is he going to say anything about immigration and our open borders, since he‘s on this terrorist trip? 

MATTHEWS:  So where are you on those? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Let‘s do something about it.  Like if we have terrorists, they‘re going to come in through Mexico.  They‘re going to come in through Canada.  Does he know anything about this? 

MATTHEWS:  Are you worried about Mexican terrorists, or Arab terrorists? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Arab terrorists. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What I want to hear Senator McCain state is since he‘s claiming to be a maverick, is he going to fire all of the Bush staff that are now on his campaign like Karl Rove. 

MATTHEWS:  Is Karl Rove working for McCain? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, he has a contract with the campaign.  I think if you‘re a maverick, let‘s start acting like one. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think Karl Rove‘s good for America? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Absolutely not.  No, he brought us eight years of misery. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  First of all, I would like to say my parents are both hard working individuals and they can‘t afford to send all four of me and my brothers and sisters to college.  So my question to you, seeing that the economy is so bad right now, there‘s no grants and scholarships like there were back then, what can you do for me and my brothers and my education?  And finally, elephants belong in a circus, not in the White House. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tough crowd to follow. 

MATTHEWS:  Good points there. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My focus is domestic priorities.  I‘d like to hear more about we‘re going to restart the economy.  And I‘d really like to see the Republican party get back to our core principles of fiscal conservatism. 

MATTHEWS:  What happened to those principles?  I always thought the Republicans were the tight spenders. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I always did, as well. 

MATTHEWS:  What happened?  No vetoes the past eight years, just spending. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That was disappointing, as well. 

MATTHEWS:  The national debt has gone to almost 10 trillion dollars from four trillion dollars under a fiscally conservative president.  How did it happen? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think we need to go back and look at our priorities.  I think sometimes—

MATTHEWS:  Did you vote for Bush? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I did support Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you vote for him twice? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I did.

MATTHEWS:  If you didn‘t like the direction he was taking, why did you do it twice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I wish he would have used his veto pen more often, no doubt.  But I want to see the party get back to fiscal conservatism.  I think McCain and Palin will do that. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you a moderate Republican, a fiscal conservative Republican?  What are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am a fiscal conservative. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  Madame, what do you think about the speech tonight?  What should Senator McCain say to the American people?  He could reach 40 million people tonight. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think that our country is in terrible trouble.  Not only the economy, but health care, and we‘ve got a looming Social Security and Medicare bill that we‘re unable to pay.  And we‘re facing an enormous deficit.  So when they talk about cutting taxes, I‘m wondering how they‘re going to do that and take care of the obligations that they already have with Medicare and Social Security. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘d like to hear where the money‘s going to come from to pay for our debts.  As far as I know, the Democratic party wants to raise taxes and I want to know what the Republican party wants to do. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s get a wild card here.  You‘re up next, I‘m sorry. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My big question is, why did McCain who is running on his campaign on the theme that Barack Obama‘s too inexperienced and too green for the White House pick someone who looks even less experienced and has less stature in foreign policy than even Barack Obama does. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘d like to hear something on health care, because we are the richest country in the world and people are going bankrupt because our system is just so corrupt. 

MATTHEWS:  So what do you think they should do? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We should have some kind of compulsory health insurance, like the Europeans, the Canadians. 

MATTHEWS:  Would you support higher taxes to do that? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, we‘re paying for it now. 

MATTHEWS:  Would you support higher taxes to pay for it? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We were doing it already.  People are paying higher premiums to pay for people that don‘t have health insurance.  It‘s the most corrupt system in the whole world. 

MATTHEWS:  Actually the fact, polls show the Democrats would be willing to take higher taxes to deal with more of a health care.  And the Republicans almost would do the same.  Anyway, we‘ll be right back.  A big question, will John McCain answer some of these questions tonight.  A lot of people think he‘s going to talk about the future.  He‘s going to talk about what he‘s going to do to lead the country in the next eight years.  David Shuster‘s coming up next with RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.  I‘ll be back with Keith for the whole night coverage.

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

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