MSNBC's Chris Matthews spoke exclusively Monday afternoon with Democratic presidential candidate, former Vermont governor Howard Dean, and his wife, Dr. Judy Steinberg Dean.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, MSNBC’S “HARDBALL”: Are you a maverick?
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE HOWARD DEAN: I don’t know. I say what I think, is that a maverick? I guess I am.
MATTHEWS: What’s it like being married to a maverick? Because he is one.
JUDITH STEINBERG DEAN: I don’t know if he’s a maverick, but it's great being married to him. He’s a really good guy, a caring person, an honest person.
MATTHEWS: Do you ever say to him, “Why are you so gutsy? Why don’t you just go with the crowd on some of these things?”
STEINBERG DEAN: Absolutely not. He is who he is, he’s really really honest, you call it gutsy, I call it honest. I just think he says what he thinks.
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MATTHEWS: Do you ever feel like your husband is being treated like a transfer student by the establishment? Like when you go to a new high school and everyone says “who’s this kid?”
STEINBERG DEAN: I think he is a bit of an outsider, but I think he’s very smart and people will hear what he has to say.
MATTHEWS: Do you ever say to him when you go to bed at night, “You should really cool it on that one?”
STEINBERG DEAN: (laughs)
DEAN: She’s being modest, the answer is yes.
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MATTHEWS: If you can‘t make it to the presidency, what do you want to say to the kids out in the cold here in Manchester, New Hampshire, when it's zero degrees chill factor? They‘re out there waving placards, and you got them into this, saying that you, an outsider, a maverick could make it?
DEAN: Well, I think we are going to make it. It's going to be long and tough, and tomorrow‘s going to be close... I think we can win it here. It's very close, as you know. It's within the margin. We‘re surging. I think one more day is enough. I think we will, but I can‘t be sure. It‘s going to be very close. It depends whether New Hampshire voters want to send somebody who‘s going to really change Washington to Washington.
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MATTHEWS: What's in the brain soup of this man here that's so different? And you seem to relish the idea of some kind of deal, of avoidance of a war. What‘s different about you from the administration hawks?
DEAN: I believe in facts. They don‘t. They have a theory that says if you send enough troops around, you can overturn the world and change the way it is. I‘d love to change the way some of the world is, but I‘m a doctor. I pay attention to facts. But one of the most interesting things here is, and I don‘t want to pick on John Kerry. That‘s not my intention. But in 1991, I supported President Bush‘s Gulf War. John Kerry voted against it. There were troops on the ground in—Iraqi troops on the ground in Kuwait, oil wells were on fire. I thought American intervention was justified. Kerry voted no.
This time, the president tells a whole bunch of things that turn out not to be true. Intimates that weapons of mass destruction are present, that aren‘t present. John Kerry votes to send us to war, I say ‘no.’
I keep getting criticized by John Kerry and others on my foreign policy expertise. It seems to me we're all getting our information from the same sources. What is really the matter in the White House, what really matters in the White House is having patience and judgment and an ability to sort out the facts, independent of political considerations.
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MATTHEWS: The President runs the West Wing, which is the business of government, and the First Spouse runs the state dinners, travel with foreign dignitaries... a lot of business, the First Lady has a big staff. Are you open to playing that role? Are you happy about it?
DEAN STEINBERG: We haven’t really spoken specifically about what role I’d play, but I’d certainly have to do some of the ceremonial duties and I think I’d probably get a lot of help with the business.
MATTHEWS: You have to decide things like whether they have dinner outside with a bigger tent, or in the East room...
DEAN: No, she doesn’t have to decide that stuff. She has to show up, but she’s going to be practicing medicine most of the time. She is going to do some state dinners, but there are people you pay to do that stuff. You know, social hostesses and all that.
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MATTHEWS: You’ve been constantly working like 20 hours a day. How do your kids, Paul and Ann, respond to this?
STEINBERG DEAN: Well, Ann’s away at college. So she’s not home, so she hasn’t missed him that much. Paul has seen him less, but he’s a senior in high school and he’s out and about himself. Howard calls every night, and he tries to get to as many of Paul’s hockey games as he can. I think they’re just really proud of him.