updated 11/6/2008 1:09:23 PM ET 2008-11-06T18:09:23


November 5, 2008


Guests: David Shuster, Margaret Brennan, Chuck Todd, Michelle Bernard, Pat Buchanan, John Harwood, Julian Bond, Clarence Page, Jeff Johnson, Howard Dean

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: It's real. It's America. It's us.

Let's play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews. We Americans live in the time of our presidents. As Franklin Roosevelt was to the 1930s and '40s, as Ike was to the '50s, Jack Kennedy to the '60s, Reagan to the '80s, Barack Obama will be to the oncoming 2010s. Like his predecessors, he will give his name to our era. His will-his will be the spirit that stirs the country.

Barack marked the instance of this new era late last night in Chicago. Quote, "Because of what we did on this day in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America." We all woke this morning to this new time, the time of Barack Obama, and with it the first crackle of his new leadership, the rustle of imminent high-level appointments, the willingness to serve among the top ranks of available talent, all of this heralding the arrival in Washington of a disciplined public service, of crisp, informed public action, and yes, more clearly than ever, government of, by and for the people.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.


OBAMA: As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies, but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.



MATTHEWS: It's a powerful thing to elect a president because we elect an era with him, or her, and that becomes or time, the time in which we live. It surrounds us. It's not just something in Washington.

We're joined right now to talk about that by Clarence Page of "The Chicago Tribune," Julian Bond is chairman of the NAACP, and Jeff Johnson here with me in New York is with BET.

I want to go to Julian Bond, who's been such a figure so many years of my life, going back to the-I guess the 1968 Democratic convention, when your name was in nomination for vice president, sir. Do you remember that? I remember that. Here we are...


MATTHEWS: ... on the edge, on the cusp of a new era. I want you to tell me your feelings about the era in which we're entering.

BOND: Well...

MATTHEWS: The era of Obama.

BOND: You know, when Senator Obama began, I think I was like a lot of people and thought he was an admirable person but he couldn't possibly go all the way. It just couldn't happen. A black man could not come this far. And it was only after he won a few primaries and Iowa gave him the seal of approval that I think many people, myself included, began to think this was possible.

Honestly, it's not something I had considered possible ever before. I'm so happy to have been proven wrong. This was a great, great day yesterday, a great day for him, a great day for Democrats, a great day, really, for the whole country, and I think for the whole world. You look at the response we're getting from people all over the globe about what a great step forward we've taken. This is really a validation of the American dream.

MATTHEWS: Clarence Page, my pal, what are we stepping into? What era are we stepping toward? Can we tell yet, or do we have to just anticipate, at this point?

CLARENCE PAGE, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE": I'm always ready to assess the era, Chris.


PAGE: And by the way, thank you very much for the honor of letting me sit here next to Julian Bond. I remember very well when his name was put into nomination there. I was a young newspaper intern, the first African-American reporter on the paper where I was working, and I had that job a lot in those days. We've come a long way.

I think-people talk about Barack Obama transcending race or this thing, a post-racial era. I think we got to say it's a multi-racial era. I think we have to look at race in a different kind of way now. Our racial problems are not behind us, but they take on a different hue when people like my 19-year-old son and other young people I talk to are now speaking admirably of, you know, be like Barack rather be like than Michael Jordan or be like Jay Z. We're entering a new era. And like I always taught my kid, You know, this is your century, I'm just walking around in it. And I think Barack Obama has really opened up a new era and a new dialogue.


JEFF JOHNSON, BET: I want to build a little bit on what Clarence is saying. I mean, I think I agree. This is going to be the era of the global U.S. president. I mean, I don't think we've seen a time like this since we saw the release and subsequent election of Nelson Mandela, when you've got 80 percent approval rating abroad of a U.S. president and somebody that's got the ability to spark the imagination of an entire world, not just those who he's been elected to govern. That's something that we don't see very often.

MATTHEWS: You know, a part of this-Julian, you remember this, and so does Clarence, as well, that sort of crisp, thin-tie, 50-mile hike New Frontier, not the Camelot of the colorized version that came later, after Dallas, but the reality of it, the tough politics and getting things done when government was cool, when public service was admirable and desirable. I sense that's coming with Barack Obama. I sense something very crisp and very disciplined is coming, like his campaign.

Clarence, you first, the sense of this campaign as an advertisement, if you will, of what's to come for the next four or eight years.

PAGE: Well, I think, first of all, I'm very impressed by the international folks. I've done a number of interviews with international media, and the international signal that Barack Obama has projected presents the kind of America that we Americans like to think this country is all about.


PAGE: And there's certainly the idea that he has brought in a clean slate and a fresh breeze. He has played by the rules and mastered those rules. The strategy was brilliant. It worked out. He got a couple lucky breaks, took full advantage of them. Got a couple bad breaks, too. But the fact is that there is now a sense that the opportunity is there, if you take it. But he's got a tough road ahead. I mean, there could hardly be a worse time to be taking the reins of power in the country right now.

MATTHEWS: Julian, I have the sense we're not going to have any Monicas and we're not going to have any Katrinas. We're not going to have distractions. I just am very confident-this is a non-partisan assessment. I'm very confident about this guy's ability to keep us on track in a direction that matters.

BOND: Oh, yes. I think if you look back at the past, past elections, the last time young people got engaged was when they got "clean for Gene," when Gene McCarthy ran for president. The last time black people got this engaged was when Jesse Jackson made his two races for the presidency. And Jackson's races, while unsuccessful, created a cadre of black political people who ran for office, for mayor, for city council, for all kinds of jobs and won those jobs and are serving today and serving well.

I think Obama's going to have a similar but different effect. He's going to inspire a lot of people to say, You know, I can be on the city council, I can be on my school board, and they won't just be black people. They'll be all sorts of people. There'll be women. There'll be men. There'll be Asians. There'll be Hispanics. There'll be a new cadre of younger people who say, I can do it, too. He did it, and I can do it, too.

MATTHEWS: Here he is talking about that ability to inspire that this campaign has already demonstrated with this older woman who made a point of voting. Let's take a look at this, I think, inspiring moment last night.


OBAMA: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old. She was born just a generation past slavery, a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky, when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons, because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin. And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America, the heartache and the hope, the struggle and the progress, the times we were told that we can't and the people who pressed on with that American creed, Yes, we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told the people that, We shall overcome. Yes, we can.


JOHNSON: I mean, Chris, what's really powerful about this is we're looking at a candidate who's got the ability to attract a 106-year-old and an 18-year-old. And from an-really not even from an African-American perspective, but from an American culture perspective, here's somebody that for the first time represents the best of multiple generations.

Obama is this fusion, perfect storm of hip-hop and Civil Rights. He looks at what the best of Civil Rights is-I've got to be better than everybody else. I have to be articulate. I have to be intellectual. But he's got this confidence and swagger and ability to keep his calm and be cool in the midst of a storm going on around him. I think that's why he-he's one of the first leaders I've seen in my generation who's got the ability to attract those that are 106 and those that are 16.

MATTHEWS: Well, that's, I guess, the question, Clarence, I put to you, and that is to call to public service. Since Ronald Reagan was elected, he made the case that the public service wasn't that important, government is not the solution, government's the problem. Let's have less taxes, less government, less regulation. Let's leave town, basically. Let's dismantle the Great Society. Let's dismantle the New Deal, if we can. And let's just cut taxes and deregulate. And now we've realized that ain't going to work. Do you think the public's ready for a strong call to public action and public service?

PAGE: Well, yes, government's always a pain in the neck until you need government. And even Sarah Palin was both attacking government and saying, Where's government now that we need them on Wall Street? The fact is I think Barack Obama has issued a call to service. And he mentioned the other "S" word, sacrifice, during his speech last night, and that in itself showed he's ready to be a true leader, to talk about, Hey, you know, the land of milk and honey is not here. We're going to have to get together and work. It's going to be a tough struggle. The fight isn't over with the end of the campaign.

I think he's ready to really launch a national movement in the way that Chicago mayor Harold Washington did in Chicago, to form a movement there in that city that helped him to fight what was left of the Democratic machine in city council. Now Barack Obama's going to have to have some power to try to get what he wants out of Capitol Hill.

MATTHEWS: OK, to be continued. It's great. We'd like to have all three of you back on this very topic of what this means to America as (ph) large (ph) and large. It seems to me that this is hard to fully absorb yet, the big change that's coming in America, in terms of ethnicity, diversity, bipartisanship and youth all being promised by this new administration.

By the way, I got it on the inside. He really does want it to be bipartisan. He really doesn't want-he really wants it to be diverse and he really does not want to have retreads running the government.

Thank you very much, Clarence Page of "The Chicago Tribune," Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, and Jeff Johnson of BET.

Coming up, more on Barack Obama's historic victory. We'll talk to Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean. He's coming here in a minute.

We're watching HARDBALL-I am, you are-only on MSNBC.


OBAMA: Tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.




OBAMA: To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Here's a look at the latest electoral map. It's really up to date there. North Carolina is still not called. It's got 15 electoral votes. Barack's up by-Barack Obama is up by 13,000 votes there, so he could win that state, as well. Here's the popular vote, which is fascinating, 5246, which is about what I thought it might be. It turned out-that was one of my predictions, that turned out to be right, 5246, which is a substantial victory. I think it's a more substantial victory than President Bush has had in either of his last elections.

Now take a look-let's take a look at the Senate here-the House, rather. Here's the House, 259. That's a very healthy majority, a pick-up of over 20 seats by the Democrats already, give or take 3. So that looks like a pretty healthy victory.

There in the Senate, now-now, make sure we understand this. See that 54? Add to that the two independent members, Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who vote with the Democrats generally, that's 56 to start with. They could pick up another 2 out of the 4 that are still being contested. They could still win 58 seats, probably, with quite plausible results coming in later. So they could end up with 58 seats, not quite the 60 they were looking for.

Joining us right now is Howard Dean, who's chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Chairman, Governor, thank you and congratulations. Your 50-state strategy has yielded some surprising turf pick-up. I mean, who would have thought Indiana, the Hoosier State, would vote Democratic for president, especially with an African-American president, and a very good chance to pick up the Tarheel State, North Carolina.

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, it helps to have a great candidate.


DEAN: That makes a big difference. But you know, it's great to-great now to be competitive again in the South, and Georgia where it was-which was close, where got probably a run-off in the Senate there. And it's great to do as well as we have in Indiana. And imagine having a candidate for president of the United States on the Democratic side picking up Indiana, the first time in 44 years. The West was, of course, the crucial part because that was our firewall if we weren't able to win Florida and Ohio. And fortunately, we didn't have to test that problem.

MATTHEWS: You know, I was struck by how well-how well up in Pennsylvania, which we talked about so often on this program because it was the key to a Republican upset in this election-it didn't work out for them. Not only did it not work out, the Democrats won about a 10-point victory over the Republicans in Pennsylvania, and even in places which were highly contested, like Scranton, where you had Hillary Clinton going back there for the Democratic ticket, you had Joe Biden really put on the ticket to help bring Scranton, you had John McCain up there all the time with Sarah Palin, and yet a 63 percent victory for the Democrats in Lackawanna County, which is Scranton, a big victory.

You know, I was worried about Hillary people up there. I thought a lot of them might not go over to the other side. You were able to get a very strong united party up there. How did you do it?

DEAN: Well, again, let's just be fair about this. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had a lot more to do with getting a strong united party. What we did was we had people on the ground for three-and-a-half years. We actually had a wonderful, wonderful organizer in that area, who is a native of the area. She's from Allentown. And she's been there for three-and-a-half years. She knows everybody. She got the ground prepared.

You know, what I do and what we do here at the DNC, we don't win this election for Barack Obama or other candidates. What we do is prepare the ground for somebody like a Barack Obama. My favorite saying in the world is Louis Pasteur quote, "Chance favors the prepared mind." We can't win a state like Utah that hasn't voted Democratic for years, but we can do is give a great candidate an opportunity to win in a place like Utah or Indiana by paving the groundwork and having a long-term business plan for winning elections. And that's what we did when I took over the party.

MATTHEWS: Right. And Senator Casey did a lot, I think, helping Barack up there.

DEAN: He certainly did. He was terrific.

MATTHEWS: He really did the job up in that part of the country.

DEAN: And so did Hillary. Hillary was absolutely spectacular in Pennsylvania and in Florida. She was just terrific also.

MATTHEWS: Well, I agree. I thought her heart was in it, too. I was skeptical in the beginning, but I think her heart was in it right, especially at the end, especially at that speech she gave out in Denver. It was exhilarating.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about how you do this in real time.

I mean, now you have a government. The Democrats have the House, the Senate with healthy numbers. You have got the White House. Time to deliver. Accountability is obvious now. You have to do it. You are transparently in charge of the U.S. government.

How do you govern in a way that unites the country?

DEAN: Well, again, I think you are going to discover that the president-elect is someone who really does believe in consensus and bringing people together, someone who is willing to work with anybody who is willing to work with him in good faith.

I happen to be a big fan of both Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid. I think they have done a very good job in the last two years. And I think it's going to be by helpful to President Obama when he takes the oath of office on the 20th. And I expect we will get off to a pretty quick start.

He has said that the energy situation and health care will be two things that are going to come up very quickly as part of the long-term plan to deal with the economy. I think that's true. And I think we're ready to go. That was what we got hired for, and now we are ready to go.

MATTHEWS: But-that's what you got hired for, but how do you avoid making good on deals or promises you have made to constituency groups, like organized labor-which is not a special interest-it's a big interest. But it's not everybody.

How do you make good on those promises you make to particular groups, like the AFL-CIO on card check or on trade, and at the same time keep a strong majority of the country behind you, a united country behind you?

DEAN: Well, I don't-I didn't-I didn't hear Barack Obama make a single promise that he couldn't keep and that he has no intention of keeping.

I think he-everything he said he does-he wanted to do was out of a principle that is part of who he is. So, I don't-we are not going to have trouble-quote, unquote-"keeping our deals" that we made, because I don't think we made any deals.

What we said was, this is what we believe in and this is what we're going to do for the country. Some of those things will be popular with certain sections, and some of them won't be. And I think you will see the pretty much what you saw during the campaign is what you are going to get as president of the United States.

MATTHEWS: But most people believe in secret balloting for a union organization. It seems like a very American idea. Can you support that, if labor want to have a card check system, where you just a sign a card to say you want to organize in a private meeting with organizers?

I mean, isn't that a cutting question for most people who are Democrats as, opposed to the general public, who don't support labor-the labor movement?

DEAN: I think the general public does support the labor movement-labor movement, first of all.

Secondly, I think the reason for the card check, so-called card check, is because of the horrendous abuses that the labor movement had to put up with over the last eight years. So...

MATTHEWS: Look, I know the case for it. I'm just telling you, I wonder if it's a unifying issue. I know the case for it, because it's very hard to organize. But is that going to unite the country, those kinds of is?

DEAN: It's not-look, it's not our job to-to put our thumb on the scale in terms of organizing. It is our job to make sure that wages go up, instead of down. They have been going down for the last eight years. It is our job to make sure that working-class and middle class people get their fair share and a fair shake, which they haven't done in the last eight years.

That's what the campaign was all-all about. That was probably the single biggest issue that-that elected Barack Obama and Joe Biden, is, let's do something for middle-class Americans and working-class Americans, who haven't had much done for them in the last eight years.

So, I think you are going to see-and some-look, some-not everything that-that was promised is going to be popular. That-I don't think that's the guideline. The guideline is to be fair and to work with everybody and include them in the solutions. That's what Barack Obama promised last night. And I think that's going to be what the mold that he puts on his presidency very early on.

MATTHEWS: I'm told that he wants to have a government that reflects three values, bipartisanship, diversity, and youth. He doesn't want retreads.

Do you-are comfortable, as chairman of the Democratic Party, that he puts together something of a coalition government, that he puts a lot of substantial-rather-let me put the right word-significant Republican participation in this administration, does that bother you?

DEAN: I think it's-no, not at all. I think it's a great idea.

I think we-what we want is bipartisan. Look, the people that were on before me, the panel, talked about this new generation. Barack Obama is the-is the Jack Kennedy of my children's generation, just as Jack Kennedy was for us.

This is a-a new generation president. And the core message of under-35-year-olds in this country to my generation is, would you please stop fighting about these things that you don't agree on for 30 years and would you get something done about the things that you can agree on?

And what I always say is, look, evangelical Christians, under 35 evangelical Christians, here's what they care about: one, poverty; two, climate change; and, three, Darfur.

Why shouldn't we work with people? We don't have to agree on every single issue in order to get stuff done about the things that we do agree on. And I basically think that is what Barack Obama very clearly said last night about the kind of president he wanted to be, and that's exactly what he should be doing.

I think it's wonderful. And if there's some Republicans that need to be included, I think that's great. You know, Republicans have good ideas, too. And you can take that in the bank from the chairman of the Democratic Party.

MATTHEWS: Well, that's very nice of you. Let me ask you about how you keep a 50-state strategy. Are you going to be remaining in states like Georgia? Are you going to contest down there?

Are you really going to try to get senators elected from Georgia on a consistent basis? Are you going to try to invade Texas and actually get senators elected, in Utah, Wyoming, out west in the Rockies? Can you compete out there with the Democratic Party of Barack Obama?

DEAN: Absolutely, yes. But, you know, Barack Obama is going to be-is the titular head of the Democratic Party. He'll be running indirectly the Democratic National Committee.

But, look, in this campaign, he demonstrated that he was very supportive of the notion of the 50-state strategy. When he would put more resources into a state, for example, like Minnesota, which was very close and maybe not as many into North Dakota, instead of pulling everybody out of North Dakota, he would leave a force behind, not as much as maybe the folks would like, but a force behind.

We had an office open in Utah. And we knew we weren't going to win Utah for President Obama, but we thought maybe we would be able to help them. And sure enough, Utah went from being the very most Republican state in the country to maybe the fourth or fifth most, in terms of how much of the vote he got.

And in Georgia, we've got a runoff. You know we're going to contest that and work very hard to get Jim Martin elected. He's a wonderful human being, and he'd be a great United States senator from Georgia.

So I do believe that President Obama is going to want a strong Democratic Party everywhere, as he demonstrated in his own campaign, where he pulled in states that we haven't pulled in, in some cases for over 40 years.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me just tell again what I said last night-I shouldn't have referred to you as St. John the Baptist, because that got a little too biblical last night, and it gets me into trouble in...


DEAN: We're the party of faith now, Chris. Not a problem.

MATTHEWS: I know. I know.

But I think you are, in fact, a man who discovered and the person who discovered this empowerment, where people, because of their opposition initially to the Iraq war and continually to that war, but on other issues later on, the idea that individual people, especially young people, can get involved, make some noise, make a difference, and, even if you don't win the first time, eventually change everything.

And I think you were the one that started it, because you were the one that made the word "you" very powerful.

Governor Dean, thank you very much, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. By the way, for much more on the election results, log on to MSNBC.com, and you can see not only how your state voted, which is always - I think you probably know that now-but how your own county voted, which you may not know, or any county, for that matter. If you want to know everything, check in with us. We know it. We're the place for politics. Remember that?

Up next: the emotional moment last night in Grant Park which a lot of us won't forget. It was Technicolor. It was CinemaScope. It was wild. David Shuster was there. He's going to tell us what it was like to be there.

You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back.

Last night, at the strike of 11:00, this country realized that Barack Obama had just been elected the president of the United States.

Let's take a look back at that dazzling moment.






MATTHEWS: Some kind of deliverance going on right there.

HARDBALL's own David Shuster was on the scene in Grant Park, Chicago, during the Obama victory.

David, the last time I heard about Grant Park was 1968, during the police riots during the Democratic Convention, with a whole different set of issues perhaps, but definitely a different winner and a different set of losers. Tell me about last night.

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, and, Chris, the anticipation last night was building early, and it was evident early.

Keep in mind that they didn't allow the public into Grant Park until about 7:00 local time. The media was already there, but, all of the sudden, Chris, you start to see people running from the magnetometers, from the security area.

And they had to go about 200 yards. And when you see the video people essentially pouring over that hill, and then they had to run about 200 yards, everybody, they were all running, because they wanted the best possible location near the stage. So, right from the beginning-again, this was before the results-you had people were running up and so excited just to be part of it, and they wanted essentially the front row.

And, then, Chris, the moment where it really sort of became evident, the emotions, I think, after that was when Pennsylvania was called. And this, of course, was a couple of hours before California. When Pennsylvania was called, that is when you started to see the tears streaming down people's cheeks, because it became apparent that, not only was the racial barrier simply going to be broken, but it was going to be shattered.

This was not going to be a closed election. And the emotion sort of poured out. And, then, at that moment, Chris, when California was called, when Barack Obama was named the president-elect, I mean, people had been jammed in for a couple of hours. They are hugging one another. They were hugging strangers. They were hugging the media. Everybody was in tears. Everybody was in-crying.

It was just-it was unbelievable, unbelievable.

MATTHEWS: You know, David, it's amazing. As I was reporting the Pennsylvania results, I was thinking-because we had talked so much about that state being the strategy, the last-gasp strategy, for the McCain forces to hold off Barack Obama's campaign-and we thought there would be a lot of Bradley effect, white voters who were not telling the truth who were going to vote against the black candidate.

It was a sweep. It was unbelievable, places like Scranton, 63 percent, 10 percent margin overall across the state, a bigger victory than any Democrat has had, really, going back to 100 -- back to, like, '64, I mean, nothing like it since Johnson after the Kennedy assassination.

SHUSTER: Well, Chris, and in-and, in Grant Park, when it sort of -word started becoming clear, when it became evident to people that there wouldn't be a Bradley effect, I mean, imagine. There were 70,000 people in the park, about 150,000 just outside.

And there was just a sort of deafening roar. And, again, Pennsylvania called, they had this gigantic Jumbotron that was probably five stories tall. So, people could see the election results. And people were just going bananas. And the reactions ranged from people jumping up and down and-and-and raising their fists, to people just breaking down and weeping, on the ground and weeping, because they were so overcome with emotion.

MATTHEWS: Well, appropriately so.

Thank you, David. Great-I am glad I had some friend out there.

Thank you, David, for being out there.


SHUSTER: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Up next-your soul is as good as a camera, sir.

SHUSTER: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you for giving us that report. In fact, it's hopefully better.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, up next: How did Barack Obama do it, politically? NBC News political reporter-actually, director-Chuck Todd is going to take us inside Obama's historic and decisive victory. We're going inside the engine room to see how he pulled this thing off. It's going to be fascinating.

You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I'm Margaret Brennan with your CNBC "Market Wrap."

The market gave back those Election Day gains, with the Dow closing 486 points lower on the day, the S&P 500 lower by 53, and the Nasdaq gave back 98 points.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for $61 billion worth of new economic stimulus funding. Democrats in Congress have a new package on the table. And it includes infrastructure spending and an expanded food stamps program. NBC's congressional correspondent, Mike Viqueira, says that the chances of getting President Bush and Senate Republicans on board is slim.

Oil prices fell nearly 7 percent today on slowing U.S. demand, closing below $66 a barrel. Americans are using about 6.5 percent less fuel than they were one year ago.

And Google is abandoning a planned advertising partnership with Yahoo! amid antitrust concerns. Yahoo! had been counting on the deal to boost revenue. And the question now is whether Yahoo! will feel pressured to renew talks with Microsoft.

That's it from CNBC, first in business worldwide-now back to Chris and HARDBALL.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.


MATTHEWS: Here's a big number for you, those of you who watch HARDBALL, and watch my big number every, or our big number every night, 133 million people, just leave it at that. What a turn out. People have questions about American democracy; 133 million people, something like 11 million more than last time. It grows each time now. People are getting involved, really involved this time. Democracy as a system reflects American opinion, not just voter opinion.

NBC News political director Chuck Todd is with me, and John Harwood is with cNBC, who joins us as well. We are going to talk about this. And I am in a celebrating mood, so don't fight me, Chuck and John. I spent my life listening to the nay-sayers, nobody wants to vote; they are tired, too bored. People waited in line. I think they are going to be bragging five years from now, 10, 20 years from now, I waited in line eight hours; I waited in line 10 hours. It's going to grow.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: First time in 100 years that turn out increased for the third straight presidential election. That has never happened before. Usually, we go through these dips. You only have one or two hot elections and we dip.

MATTHEWS: I think a lot it is President Bush. I was looking at a fun statistic. John, you can have a crack at this one: of those who think that the economic performance of this country is pretty good right now, they like the economy, they voted for Senator John McCain by four to one. So he got the people that think things are just peachy right now. What does that tell you?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC ANCHOR: That was just six percent of the people. It's extraordinary. Four years ago, you had 40 percent of the people saying the economy was good or excellent. Now it was down to six percent. That's really the story, in large part, of this election.

The other part the story, as you alluded to, tremendous participation, and by the way, record numbers of people watching on television last night as well. But you had Barack Obama change the shape of this electorate, as well as the electoral map. Black turn out up from 11 percent in 2004 to 13 percent now. That's a big deal. That turns a lot of votes in important states.

You also had young voters, those under 30, ticking up by one percentage point. That matters as well. So Barack Obama has really bent history in his direction.

MATTHEWS: Let's talk about those issues. I think we all know, everyone who watch this is program and others on MSNBC and programs like it, know-well, they know the economy sucks, to use a common expression. They also know President Bush is enormously unpopular right now. He may come back in the history books like Harry Truman did. Who knows. Anything is possible. And I mean that without sarcasm, anything's possible.

But let's talk about something new and surprising. I was taken with the fact that Sarah Palin, who came on with such dazzle when she was picked, with a lot of Democrats saying, oh my god, they found a winner. This could turn things around, it could enliven women, it could bring the Hillary voters to the Republican side. Things are happening. They have a hot new person on their ticket. I mean hot in the political sense. A genuine article.

It turns out people don't think she is the genuine article, at least not yet. Look at this, Chuck: 60 percent of the people, three out of five, think she is not qualified. I'm not sure they think she never will be, but they don't think she is now. That's pretty dramatic.

TODD: No, I think maybe with some slice of voters that might have hurt. But if we really think Sarah Palin is the reason that John McCain lost then we are ignoring everything else out there, the economy and the most important part.

MATTHEWS: It was a deal breaking in a lot of suburban areas. They really didn't like her.

TODD: We saw some evidence that Obama improved among college-educated whites. And when you look at the suburban counties he carried-when you look at Pennsylvania, he carried all of the suburbs. You look at northern Virginia, he extended the suburbs out to Prince William, sort of one section out there to those outer suburbs. Orange County in Florida-we can go through it. Every major suburban county in a swing state, Obama seemed to carry. Maybe that was one answer.

But the running mate that John McCain had a problem with was George Bush.

MATTHEWS: OK, John, your thoughts? I think people take pride in reading an occasional book felt that Sarah Palin was a downer. They just felt that she was an insult.

HARWOOD: I think there are a lot of voters who feel that way, but I totally agree with Chuck on that. I think George Bush was more consequential than Sarah Palin. And I do think that Sarah Palin is responsible, to some degree, in getting Republicans pumped about the election, conservatives, in a way they weren't before.

By the end of this election, John McCain got to right around 90 percent in the exit polls among Republican voters. Would he have been a couple of points lower without Sarah Palin? Maybe. We can't be sure. So Sarah Palin had a contribution to make. I do think she has been grievously damaged. I don't know if she can recover going forward. She is a young person. She has a lot of time to serve, but Dan Quayle discovered that a bad first impression with the American people can stick with you a long time.

MATTHEWS: I wonder about that, because Chris Rock, the comedian, once brilliantly, as he often does brilliantly, commented and he said, some people come in the room and you think, heavy. He said, Colin Powell, no matter how he stands, no matter what he's doing, captures you with a command sense. You look at a leader. Dan Quayle doesn't convey that. I'm not sure the verdict is in on Sarah Palin, in terms of her attractiveness as a candidate. I think people still want to hear what she has to say.

TODD: She has six months I think to fix this thing. She has some opportunities. A Senate seat could open up that she could end up running for, a crazy special election. There are opportunities for her, but she has to do it. She's got to sit down and she's got to start doing this herself. She blames all the people that handled her. She had never had handlers really before. It was really just her and her husband.

MATTHEWS: She doesn't need handlers. She needs people than can think with her.

TODD: She has six months to fix this. She can't let it fester if she really does want to be a player. I want to do one thing that John said, by the way. This idea-let's remember, everything went Obama's way and the Democrats way, and he still only won by six points nationally. The ceiling for a Democrat is still a little bit lower.

MATTHEWS: What do you mean by six points?

TODD: Nationally, the ceiling for a Democrat on a great night is still lower than a ceiling for a Republican on a great night.

MATTHEWS: Well said. I think everything did right. I think his karma last night-did you see balmy weather in Chicago on a November night. Everybody was out there like it was May 15th. It was beautiful last night. It was beautiful all over the country. By the way, the second city may well be-listen, New York, you won't want to hear this-the first city. Chicago is looming right now as the center of action in this country.

Thank you, Chuck Todd. Thank you, John Harwood. Up next, a stunning victory for the Ds, that's the Democrats; a stinging defeat for the Rs. How do the Republicans come back? They've done it before. They did it after 64. Let's see what happens. We have an expert joining us. He's got his pitch fork. The brigades are ready to march. Pat Buchanan, Michelle Bernard both coming here about the future of the Grand Old Party that just took a licking, but won't stop ticking. The HARDBALL-the politics fix is coming up. This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


OBAMA: It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. It's time for the politics fix, my favorite part of the show. I like all parts of the show, but I like this one. It's all about politics. We've got Pat Buchanan, who has woken up after a beauty sleep, and Michelle Bernard, who doesn't need one. Let's take a look at this situation. So much changes with each president, the Zeitgeist. Pat?


MATTHEWS: Forget policy. Just the Zeitgeist, the speed of action. I get the sense this president is going to be highly quick. I sense there's going to be appointments made quickly, crisply. I think there's going to be discipline, no Tom Foolery, to Monicas, no Katrinas, no screw ups, no side shows, no dramas. I think you're going to get fired in three seconds if there's any of that crap.

BUCHANAN: Well, he's already shown that and I think he's a tremendously disciplined individual. I think he's a very savvy individual. As I said, it's going to be good by Trinity United and hello National Cathedral. This guy is now the president of the United States.

MATTHEWS: By the way, he has shown a willingness to throw people under the bus.

BUCHANAN: That's what I say. Sure, he took Power and a lot of the others went right over the side.

MATTHEWS: I don't think Bill Ayers will be the grand marshal of the inaugural parade.


BUCHANAN: I think Bernadine Dohrn can quit looking at the appellate court is she's looking at it.

He's got to make a decision, Chris, whether he wants to move strong center, as Bill Clinton did, frankly, or whether he wants to move with the Pelosi and the liberals who only have got three years. I think if he stays to dealing directly with the economy-the market was down almost 500 -- and goes after energy-

MATTHEWS: Like Reagan did?

BUCHANAN: Reagan did. I think he can bring along Republicans on that. If he goes for don't ask, don't tell-

MATTHEWS: So stay off the culture.

BUCHANAN: Yes, but he's going to be under pressure.

MATTHEWS: But it isn't just new school uniforms and the little funny stuff like Clinton did. He's got to do real stuff.

BUCHANAN: The economy-look, the market went down 500 today.

MATTHEWS: So big centrist stuff.

BERNARD: Stay in the center. I think he's got to stay in the center. We're already hearing people say, what does the Latino community feel that he owes them and what does the African community think that he owes them? What does big labor think? I think card check would be the worst thing he could possibly do during this administration or ever. He's just go to go center and reach out to everyone.

MATTHEWS: What about bringing Larry Summers in? Is that going to cause a storm with the women on a mathematics aptitude and things like that?

BUCHANAN: He's got Summers. He's got Rubin. Volcker's one of the most respected individuals in economics anywhere. He may be too old, but I would sure have him on the phone today-

MATTHEWS: Who is too old?

BUCHANAN: Paul Volcker must be 80 now.

MATTHEWS: Right, I thought you meant Summers. Summers is 53.

BUCHANAN: Somebody like that-

MATTHEWS: OK, let's come back. We're going to about this. We've all agreed, go to the center, go to economics, stay off the culture, if you can. Pat Buchanan, Michelle Bernard are planning the Democratic administration. You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC-as well they should.


MATTHEWS: We're back with Pat Buchanan and Michelle Bernard. As promised, having given the Democratic new administration to be all kinds of advice about how to go down the center and stick to economics, like Reagan did and other successful presidents like Bill Clinton. Don't get caught up in the lefty cultural ideas, which Pat is probably right about for the wrong reasons. But thank you. That's something Bill Kristol wouldn't do. He wouldn't give advice to how to survive. He would screw him.

Anyway, here's a thought, what does the Republican party do? Take it easy? Wait a couple years? Come back slowly or try to come back fast?


BUCHANAN: I think, look, if Barack Obama puts off-which I think he will do-puts off the tax hike on the upper incomes and go straight for middle class tax cut, I would say we support you on this. We'll go along with this. We'll go along with your energy program. OK, you want to hit the oil companies with a bit of taxes, fine. We are not going to balk on that. I think they'll go along with centrist policies. A number of Republicans will.

But they ought to stand up. If he does this card thing, or he does this-frankly, if he does the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate all state regulations of every kind on right to life, they will stand up and fight and they should.

BERNARD: The other thing the Republican party has to do is go back and figure out what are the ideological roots? What is the Republican party today? It is fractured. There are all kinds of different splinter groups. They need to go back and find out why they lost the election, how they lost it, and why there is such an enormous disconnect between the majority of the American public and the Republican party.

BUCHANAN: We lost the Reagan Democrats. It is my belief, obviously, that "Wall Street Journal" Republicanism, big government Republicanism, and neo-conservative foreign policy, which got us into Iraq, these the primary things that brought Bush down. And I think we're going to have to find a way to get these middle working class Democrats back. What are they afraid of? They're afraid of economic insecurity, loss of jobs, and, frankly, mass changes in their communities.

MATTHEWS: Can you reject, at this point, Bush's war and Paulson's bailout? Can you, yes or no?


MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, Michelle Bernard and Pat Buchanan. Join us again in one hour for another live edition of HARDBALL tonight at 7:00. Right now, it's the premier of "1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE" with David Gregory.



Copy: Content and programming copyright 2008 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2008 ASC LLC ( www.ascllc.net ) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC's copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

Watch Hardball each weeknight at 5 & 7 p.m. ET


Discussion comments