updated 7/26/2004 11:33:42 AM ET 2004-07-26T15:33:42

Guest: Edward M. Kennedy, David Nyhan, Thomas Menino, Ed Jesser

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Live from Boston, the most political city in the world, An exclusive interview with the liberal lion of the U.S. Senate, the senior senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy.  Plus, the day after the 9/11 report, has anything changed?  And we‘ll talk about big union problems and big political parties with the host of the Democratic convention, Boston mayor Tommy Menino, live from historic Faneuil Hall, where we‘ll be covering the Democratic national convention for the next week.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I am honored to join you in this endeavor as a candidate for president of the United States.

I am pleased to announce that with your help, the next vice president of the United States of America will be Senator John Edwards from North Carolina.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  We‘re live in Boston at

Faneuil Hall, previewing the Democratic convention, set to kick off on

Monday.  As the Democrats count down to their nomination for John Kerry for

president, they‘ll parade their stars to speak in primetime and rally the

party, among them both Clintons, Hillary and Bill, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter,

John Edwards, Howard Dean, Teresa Kerry and Senator Ted Kennedy.Faneuil

Mike Barnicle interviewed Senator Kennedy, and he joins us now from Doyle‘s Cafe across town—Mike.

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Chris, he is 72 years old now.  His name, his face and his voice are all familiar to history.  He engenders great division, as well as great devotion.  And now, in the winter of his political life, he returns here to his hometown with the Democratic national convention.  He is Edward Moore Kennedy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. EDWARD M. KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  Do for him what you did for my brother.  He‘ll be a great president.  He‘ll lead this country!

BARNICLE (voice-over):  If John Kerry wins the White House in November, he‘ll owe a huge debt to fellow Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy.

KENNEDY:  He is the leader for our generation, this generation, for our country and the world!

BARNICLE:  When Kerry‘s campaign was floundering shortly before the Iowa caucuses, Kennedy came to the rescue, making appearances and loaning some of his staff to Kerry‘s campaign.

(on camera):  Why do you think he appeared more relaxed when you were with him in Iowa than he had prior to your arrival out there?

KENNEDY:  It‘s really up for others to comment, but I think he‘s listened, he‘s internalized.  I think he‘s more relaxed.  And I think he‘s a better candidate.  I think it‘s all been evolving.  But he‘s a first-rate candidate now.

BARNICLE:  Tell us what personal qualities you admire in John Kerry.

KENNEDY:  I admire his inner strength, his determination, his guts, his willingness to stay the course.  Let me tell you, John Kerry fought in the war.  He tried to end the war.  He got elected to the Senate and tried to bring about the reconciliation between the United States and Vietnam.  He‘s got the inner kind of determination and stick-to-it-ness that are very, very important for national leadership.

BARNICLE (voice-over):  Kennedy hopes to someday work with President Kerry, but he says he often finds himself at odds with President Bush.

KENNEDY:  I think that you ought to work with an administration when you can and differ when you have to.

BARNICLE:  Last Wednesday, Kennedy was at the White House when the president signed a new bioterrorism law into effect.  Kennedy helped draft that law.

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I want to thank Senator Greg and Senator Kennedy, Senator Cochran for working on this bill.  I appreciate the efforts.

KENNEDY:  I believe in getting things done that are clearly in the public interest.  And this legislation, what they call the bioshield legislation, is something I was very, very involved in.

BARNICLE:  Kennedy has a history with the Bush family going back three generations.

KENNEDY:  I knew his grandfather, Prescott Bush, who was a senator.  He came down when I was the president of the student legal forum at the University of Virginia, and spoke to the students there.  I had worked with his father, particularly in the areas of the Americans With Disability Act, and we got something done.  I had been very hopeful that we would have been able to get some more things done with this president, but we were unable to do so.

BARNICLE (voice-over):  I‘d like to ask what advice you‘d have for George Bush, President Bush.

KENNEDY:  For the—President Bush, I think he‘ll fight hard.  He‘ll work hard in the course of the campaign.

BUSH:  I‘m here to let you know I‘ve got more to do for this country!

KENNEDY:  But it isn‘t going to work out for him because this country wants new leadership, in terms of ending the war in Iraq with honor, restoring American prestige internationally and getting a president who‘s going to wake up every morning and worry about the middle class and working families.  And this administration, this president, just doesn‘t understand that.  John Kerry does.

BARNICLE:  So would it be fair to say that you‘ve been disappointed in the intensity of the partisanship in the relationship between the president...

KENNEDY:  Well, the—I‘d say that you—on issues, you try and move the process forward.  But if you come to the point where you just—it makes no sense to compromise, then you take a strong position against it.  The clearest recent example was the Medicare proposal that we passed this last year.  But then the—that bill was hijacked by the Republican right wing, and the legislation that they passed was a sweetheart deal for the drug industry, the insurance industry, and seriously undermines Medicare.  And I led the fight against it.

BARNICLE:  Why has health care been such an obsession for you in your Senate career?

KENNEDY:  We had a sister who‘s mentally retarded, and President Kennedy lost a son from hyeline (ph) membrane disease.  That child, had it been born two years later, as the result of research, would have lived.

BARNICLE:  You had a son with cancer.

KENNEDY:  Cancer, two children that have had cancer, and I‘ve seen the breakthroughs and importance of investing in research.  And I think this is one of the great responsibilities of a humane society, that we ought to be able to have a system that works for it, and we‘ve got ideas about how that can be done.

BARNICLE (voice-over):  Ted Kennedy has passed a lot of legislation during his 42 years in the U.S. Senate.  But his political career started before he entered Congress.  In 1958, at the age of 26, he successfully managed John F. Kennedy‘s Senate reelection campaign.  And in 1960, at the Democratic national convention, he had the job of convincing Wyoming to pledge all its votes for JFK.

KENNEDY:  And suddenly, it came down to Wyoming, and Tracy McCracken (ph) was there with that mike, wondering what in the world to do.  And out of his voice came 15 votes for Senator Kennedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman, Wyoming‘s vote will make a majority for Senator Kennedy.

KENNEDY:  And that was it.  So it was exciting time.

BARNICLE:  Does that seem like a long time ago to you?

KENNEDY:  Not so long ago.  Time goes fast, and it doesn‘t seem that long ago.  I can still remember the moment.  I still remember the people.  I remember those instances, and I suppose, of joy and excitement and thrill.  I remember those.  And my memory isn‘t all that good on some of the political events but, certainly, that one holds a special memory.

BARNICLE (voice-over):  In 1980, Kennedy‘s dream of winning the Democratic nomination for president died when he was beaten by incumbent Jimmy Carter.

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

BARNICLE (on camera):  Is politics more mean-spirited...

KENNEDY:  I think so.

BARNICLE:  ... today than it was when you first got into it?

KENNEDY:  Yes.  I think so.  I mean, I think the country is much more divided.

BARNICLE:  Why?

KENNEDY:  Well, as—I think a lot of it is because of the appeal to narrower interests, the darker side.  If you have darker leadership that appeals to a more selfish aspect to our society, there are people who are going to respond to it.  And I think we‘ve had that over a period of political leadership.  It‘s about, Get what you can, leave the fighting to somebody else, and enjoy another tax cut.

BARNICLE:  Do you look at this convention in your backyard, in Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of 72, after, you know, all these years in Senate, first elected in 1962, as, you know, This better be good because this might be it?

KENNEDY:  No.  I‘m, first of all, enormously proud of Boston.  I‘m looking forward to John Kerry convention and a John Edwards convention and a great speech there, and I‘m looking forward to the election.  And what most of all I‘m looking forward to is being on the floor of the United States Senate when John Kerry sends up his bill on universal health care and universal and improving and strengthening education and knocking down walls of discrimination on Civil Rights and being on the floor of the United States Senate and battling for those.  That‘s what I‘m looking forward to.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BARNICLE:  Chris, that was Senator Ted Kennedy, obviously.  And a really interesting life, filled with controversy, filled with wounds, some of them self-inflicted -- 72 years of age.  It‘s about the No. 4 in the list of longevity, in terms of the United States Senators, behind Carl Hayden (ph) and Strom Thurmond.  It‘s been quite a career.

MATTHEWS:  Mike, I wonder if you‘re willing to do some psychobabble about Ted Kennedy, who is, of course, the heart of this city.  I don‘t believe he ever wanted to be president.  Do you?

BARNICLE:  I do believe he wanted to be president, Chris.  I think he may have been a little afraid of making the race, once he got into it, afraid of all the controversy, and unaware of what—clearly, what Chappaquiddick did to his...

DONAHUE:  Right.

BARNICLE:  ... plans to become president.  But I think he did indeed want to be president.

MATTHEWS:  I think if he wanted to be president, he would have ran more than once.  Anyway, Mike Barnicle, great interview.  We‘ll talk to you again over at Doyle‘s a little later in the show.

Coming up, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and veteran Boston journalist David Nyhan with a preview of the convention.  Plus, Boston mayor Tommy Menino.  And later, when, if ever, will Congress or the president act on the recommendations of the 9/11 report?

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:   Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re live at Faneuil Hall In Boston for the Democratic national convention.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is, of course, an historian.  She was an aide to President Lyndon Johnson, and she has the Pulitzer Prize already won.  David Nyhan is a veteran journalist.  He was with “The Boston Globe” for three decades, covering national, and most importantly, regional politics...

DAVID NYHAN, POLITICAL ANALYST:  I‘m still working for the Pulitzer Prize.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  ... and presidential elections.

Let me ask you, why are the Democrats coming to this city, Democratic liberals from all over the country?  That‘s like bringing beer to Milwaukee, isn‘t it?  David Nyhan?

NYHAN:  This is the city where this country began, where the American dream began.  The Revolution started right around the corner.

MATTHEWS:  Didn‘t they sign the Declaration of Independence up here?

NYHAN:  No.  No.  You‘re thinking of the Philadelphia Phillies. 

That‘s the other league.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let me ask you, Doris Kearns—it seems to me Ted Kennedy has brought home the bacon, right?  This was his win, bringing the Democratic convention.  Is it good for the party?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, NBC NEWS ANALYST:  Oh, I think it‘s great for the party.  I know that some of them worry about the fact they don‘t think Massachusetts is going to hit well in the country at large.  You got to be proud of your home base, and you got to show people that this is—and this city loves politics.  As you know, politics...

MATTHEWS:  But this is a city for voted for McGovern.  It‘s a city that thought Michael Dukakis was a winner.

GOODWIN:  Do you think we would have been better off...

MATTHEWS:  You thought he was a winner.

GOODWIN:  ... having Nixon, if we had Nixon instead of McGovern? 

Remember?

MATTHEWS:  Let me (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on here.  It‘s a city that thought that—that actually has been consistently liberal—same-sex unions, the whole message of the Kennedy‘s.  You think it‘s good for the party to win in those—those tricky states like Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, this is going to help them?

GOODWIN:  They‘re going to be national candidates.  They come from a place.  You can‘t run away from your home.  I think if they had run away from their home, it would have looked worse.  They have no roots.  He‘s got roots here.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s talk about the presidential candidate John Kerry. 

Do people like him in Massachusetts?  Like him?

NYHAN:  They don‘t know him as well as they know Kennedy.  And he‘s an intellectual guy, a bit of an aloof guy.  He‘s also—he‘s not afraid to pull the trigger.  He showed that in Vietnam.

MATTHEWS:  This is your kind of guy, David Nyhan?

NYHAN:  Yes, I like him.  I‘m for him.  Yes.  I‘m for him.

MATTHEWS:  You think he‘s—you think he‘s a likable kind of guy?

NYHAN:  He‘s the type of guy who grows on you.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you this.  Why has he needed these personality transfusions?  He had Teddy come out to him like a big happy St. Bernard in the snow Iowa.  Then he brings this kid in, wagging his tail.

NYHAN:  With a cask around his neck?

MATTHEWS:  No.  Yes.  No, that‘s right!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I mean, he keeps bringing in these new personalities to substitute for his!  You‘re laughing.  Does very a personality that will sell?

GOODWIN:  I think he does.  I mean, people don‘t know him yet, right? 

So they‘re going to learn.

MATTHEWS:  But you know him.

GOODWIN:  Yes, I like him.  I‘ve known him for a long time, and he‘s much more fun than he seems to appear.  I think he‘s going to wear well.

MATTHEWS:  Does Ted Kennedy like John Kerry?

GOODWIN:  Does he like him?

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

GOODWIN:  Who knows.  We‘ve heard gossip over the years that...

MATTHEWS:  You guys are—are hedging on every...

GOODWIN:  Well, now, wait a minute!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you this.  Didn‘t John Kerry...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... Tom Daschle against Teddy‘s friend, Chris Dodd...

NYHAN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... for the leadership?

NYHAN:  I‘ve talked to...

MATTHEWS:  And didn‘t Teddy hold that...

NYHAN:  ... Kerry about that...

MATTHEWS:  ... against him?

NYHAN:  No.  I talked to Kerry about that, and he said, Teddy never asked me.  He said, I never promised my vote to Dodd.  I was with Daschle and I stuck with him, which is a very Boston loyal trait, as you should know.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... there‘s a rivalry here between Kennedy and Kerry that we‘re not really talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

GOODWIN:  ... a junior, senior senator?  Of course, they don‘t like each other at some level.  One‘s trying to outdo the other.  No, of course.  But at this stage, Teddy‘s the lion in the winter.  There‘s no reason to be jealous anymore of this kid coming up.  So it‘s different now.

NYHAN:  Kerry is the kid...

MATTHEWS:  So the thing is...

NYHAN:  ... brother that Teddy never had.  Teddy‘s three older brothers were shot down and killed.  Kerry—they‘ve become a lot closer in the last couple of years, as Teddy saw Kerry as his ticket back to the White House.

MATTHEWS (on-camera):  For years now, the Democratic Party has been pilloried by the Republican Party using poster children.  It was Bella Abzug for a long time, liberal from New York.  Then it was Ted Kennedy.  now it‘s Hillary Clinton.

NYHAN:  It was Tip O‘Neill for a while, too.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s true.

NYHAN:  You might remember that.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you.  Is he the right poster boy for the Democratic convention to put out there, David?

NYHAN:  Who, Kennedy or Kerry?

MATTHEWS:  Kennedy, with all of the conservatives who don‘t like him.

NYHAN:  He—his best use—the thing he did best for Kerry was in the primaries.  Don‘t forget, Kerry won 28 of 30.

MATTHEWS:  Does he have any value in the general election...

NYHAN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... when you have to get...

(CROSSTALK)

NYHAN:  ... minorities, Hispanics and some independents who think that we‘re on—who like Kennedy‘s outspokenness against the Iraq war, which he calls a disaster.

MATTHEWS:  I have to tell you, I‘m a little bit cynical at times, but I do sense Teddy really wants to win this.  Is it because he wants to win for John Kerry or because he really doesn‘t like President Bush?  Doris?

GOODWIN:  I think he doesn‘t like President Bush.  I mean, there‘s no question.  And I think he‘s got unfinished agendas.  I mean, when he talked about health care, if he can finally get that through, it‘ll be his legacy, not as much as John Kerry‘s.

MATTHEWS:  Can Kennedy, at some point, go to Ralph Nader and say, If you think you‘re a man of the left, of the liberal persuasion in this country, a progressive, get out of the race?  Can Teddy use his clout to do that to Nader?

NYHAN:  I don‘t know if Nader would respond to that.  But I think Kerry has handled Nader with kid gloves, and quite deftly so far.  I wouldn‘t be surprised to see Nader two weeks out endorse Kerry.

MATTHEWS:  You think...

NYHAN:  If he wants to be back into the house of...

MATTHEWS:  That‘s wishful.

NYHAN:  ... government.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think it‘s credible that he‘ll get out...

GOODWIN:  I think that‘s...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... ego could handle that?

GOODWIN:  I mean, so far he hasn‘t gotten out, which seems incredible. 

So I‘m not sure...

NYHAN:  Wait a minute.  We‘re talking ego.  Now we‘re talking Chris. 

Let‘s...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you the question, first of all.  Who‘s going to get—now, I want—I‘m going to ask you a multiple choice because you‘re both political junkies.  Who‘s going to give the best speech of this convention?  This is the tough one.

GOODWIN:  Edwards.

MATTHEWS:  Kerry, Edwards, Kennedy, Hillary?

GOODWIN:  Edwards.

MATTHEWS:  Edwards the best speech of the convention.  David Nyhan?

NYHAN:  Hillary.

GOODWIN:  No way!

MATTHEWS:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) convention?

GOODWIN:  No way.

MATTHEWS:  What makes you think that?

NYHAN:  Because I think she is seething at not having been invited at the first part, and I think she will do something that will galvanize—there‘s a certain type of women voters who respond to her.  She turns a lot of other people off...

MATTHEWS:  Your kind of women?  You‘re kind of women?

NYHAN:  I don‘t know you well enough to...

MATTHEWS:  Many are called...

NYHAN:  ... answer that, Chris.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Many are called, few are chosen!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Nyhan.  Both of you will be with us all through the week, lucky for us.

Up next, the politics of the 9/11 Commission report.  Will Congress or the president back the commission‘s recommendations?

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC from Faneuil Hall in Boston.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL, live in Boston.

In the wake of yesterday‘s 9/11 report, Democrats, including John Kerry, are lining up behind the commission‘s recommendation of a new intelligence chief.  Republicans, including the president, seem less than impressed.  And while the arguments play out, the commission report also included some stark warnings that have lawmakers in both parties scrambling.  HARDBALL correspondent Shuster joins us now with more—

David.

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, it‘s an issue that has taken on a life of its own, and it‘s quickly taking attention away both from the president‘s campaign and from the Democrats gathering here in Boston.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  One day after the 9/11 report slammed Congress and both the Bush and Clinton administrations, lawmaker are grappling with the commission‘s frightening conclusion that the nation is more at risk than ever.

THOMAS KEAN, 9/11 COMMISSION CHAIR:  Every expert with whom we spoke told us an attack of even greater magnitude is now possible, and even probable.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE:  They‘re pointing out that there‘s basic things unrelating to restructuring we could do right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Like what?

BIDEN:  No protection at chemical plants, nothing done on Amtrak, nothing done on cargo.  It is shameful.

SHUSTER:  Biden blamed the Republican leadership for blocking votes on the Senate floor.  Republicans, including those advising the president, argue that throwing money at security challenges and adding more bureaucracy won‘t solve anything.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER:  The president is a man of action.  I think he will want to be decisive.  But we have to be responsible, too.

SHUSTER:  Caught in the crossfire, those Americans bewildered that nothing seems to have changed.

CHRIS BURKE, BROTHER OF 9/11 VICTIM:  If we can‘t find a way to come together and institute effective solutions, we‘re going to find ourselves back at square one.  And square one is ground zero.

SHUSTER:  The pressure ratcheted up on the president today when Susan Collins, a crucial moderate Republican, broke ranks and backed the idea of a new intelligence czar.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS ®, MAINE:  The stakes are too high.  We just can‘t allow turf battles to dictate the organization of our intelligence capabilities.

SHUSTER:  But the issues are getting squeezed by the presidential campaign.  Both parties are reluctant to give the other any victories, and both candidates are eager to put the focus back on themselves, instead of on the complex challenges underscored by the commission.  The president avoided the topic today while reaching out for votes at the Urban League in Detroit.

BUSH:  I believe in my heart that the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, is not complete without the perspective and support and contribution of African-Americans.

SHUSTER:  And John Kerry was at his birth place in Colorado to begin his countdown to the Democratic convention.

KERRY:  And the next time I get to be back this way and stand in front of you, it will be official.  I‘ll be your nominee for president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER:  Meanwhile, the Senate has decided to begin hearings in August on the commission‘s recommendations and warnings.  But a hearing isn‘t exactly the most scintillating or active way to tackle a problem.  But right now, Chris, it is the only thing that the presidential campaigns and their supporters in Congress can agree on.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you very much, David Shuster.

Up next, Boston mayor Tommy Menino on the upcoming Democratic convention in the most political city in the world.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC from Faneuil Hall in Boston.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  This half-hour on HARDBALL, we‘re live in Boston for the Democratic Convention.  And we‘ll be joined in the most political city in the world by Boston Mayor Tommy Menino, plus Mike Barnicle and longtime Boston political strategist Ed Jesser. 

But, first, the latest headlines.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I am honored to join you in this endeavor as a candidate for president of the United States. 

I am pleased to announce that with your help the next vice president of the United States of America will be Senator John Edwards. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s coverage of the Democratic Convention, as you can see, live from Boston.

With three days before the festivities begin, I‘m joined by Boston‘s mayor, Thomas Menino.

How did you get the convention, Mr. Mayor?  

THOMAS MENINO (D), MAYOR OF BOSTON:  Well, we just worked out—we brought the community together, the business community, the community at large.  And a lot of community folks want to be involved in this.  And this community raised $21 million before we‘re even designated, the most ever before. 

MATTHEWS:  Why would you bring a bunch of Democrats to Boston?  Isn‘t that like bringing a lot of beer to Milwaukee? 

(LAUGHTER)

MENINO:  No. 

MATTHEWS:  Don‘t you have here?  Don‘t you enough Democrats here? 

(CROSSTALK)

MENINO:  Well, we are going to have a great cast to talk about the future.  We‘re going to talk about how Boston has continued to reinvent itself by invasion and creativity we have in our city. 

MATTHEWS:  If you were in a real crunch and you needed real help from a United States senator, who would you go to, Ted or John Kerry? 

MENINO:  It all depends what the issue was. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  OK, that‘s a nice slide-out. 

Let me ask you about the strike situation.  Will this city be protected against violence, all kinds of terrorism problems?  Will we be in good shape, even though the police are on strike, at least unofficially or officially, however it works? 

MENINO:  Well, the police aren‘t on strike.  We have our contracts with all the police unions of the city of Boston.  We got the final two this afternoon.  So all the police unions are under contractual agreement. 

MATTHEWS:  What about the picket lines, the informational strike that‘s going on? 

MENINO:  Well, I don‘t know if they‘re going to picket.  What are they going picket for?  They have a contract.  What‘s their other agenda they may have?  Is it a political agenda, trying to cause embarrassment?

They said they wanted a contract.  We gave them a contract.  Why would they be picketing? 

MATTHEWS:  Do the people of the city here support your effort to try to save their money? 

MENINO:  It sure does.  The people in the city are behind me 1000 percent.  And I just say...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MENINO:  The police want too much money.  The arbitrator gave us a little bit more than I expected, but I‘m going to live by the agreement. 

MATTHEWS:  Now, there seems to be, according to “The Boston Globe” this morning, a lot of bipartisan cooperation up here in getting this convention online, dealing with the strike situation.  I‘ve never seen so much support from “The Boston Globe” for the Republican governor in this state, Mitt Romney.  Is it deserved?

MENINO:  It sure is.  The governor helped us on the Joint Labor Management Committee, appointed a chairperson out of that committee, and the chairman brought everyone together and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) arbitration.  That‘s why we have a contract today for the Boston Patrolman Association. 

MATTHEWS:  Tell me something. 

Everybody is watching right now around the country.  About one-fifth of the country seems to want—or at least thinking about voting for Kerry, but they don‘t really know him enough to say, yes, I‘m for Kerry.  Tell me what they should know.  Tell them what they should know about the senator from your state as the mayor of this capital city. 

MENINO:  Well, first of all, he‘s a veteran, a combat veteran who did a great job in the war for us.  But, also, he‘s a liberal from Massachusetts.  He understands education.  He understands health care.  He understands the issues that affect the American people.  He‘s not thinking about other issues.  He thinks about how can we are going to improve people‘s lives. 

MATTHEWS:  Everybody says that Boston—is that how do you pronounce it, by the way?  How do you pronounce the name of this city?

MENINO:  Boston. 

MATTHEWS:  Boston or Boston? 

MENINO:  Boston. 

MATTHEWS:  Boston.

That everybody says this is a big liberal city.  Do you really think it really is?  I have been to Celtics games and I‘ve been to some Fenway.  And everybody seems pretty gritty to me. 

MENINO:  Well, is liberal caring about health care, education, housing?  Is that liberal?  If that‘s liberal, I‘m a liberal. 

MATTHEWS:  In what way are you not a liberal, Tommy? 

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  This city and this state has sort of stood out front in terms of same-sex unions. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  You will get your chance.  There‘s a supporter. 

Do you think that‘s a cultural statement about this commonwealth, that this is a state that‘s so far ahead, or behind, depending on your view, on issues like that? 

MENINO:  Well, I think same-sex marriage, we‘re way ahead of the rest of the country.  It happened.  The world didn‘t come to an end, people get married.  These folks who got married had long relationships with each other.  It ends that discrimination.  It ends one more barrier we had in America. 

We did a poll, the mayors, recently.  We only lost the poll by one vote, so it‘s across America, not just Boston.  Every city wants to go that way. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you explain a state that has so many Roman-Catholics, so many culturally conservative people in many ways, who are so supportive of a woman‘s right to choose on abortion, are so supportive of things like gay unions, how do you put it together?  Because most people have a hard time figuring out the anthropology of this state.  How does it add up, traditional values in terms of religion, Roman Catholic in many ways and also very, very liberal on social issues?  How does it work?

MENINO:  Well, it works, because I‘m a Catholic.  I‘m a practicing Catholic, go to church all the time.  But there are certain issues out there I truly believe in my heart that I should be in favor of. 

I think a woman‘s right to choose—I believe in same-sex marriages.  That doesn‘t mean anything bad.  It‘s about our society and how we break down those barriers that allows people to practice what they want to do.  And I just say with a woman‘s right to choose, that‘s a some‘s choice. 

Same-sex marriages, same thing. 

We‘re progressive in so many ways.  We‘re ahead of most people.  Why do we want to be the right wing, the right wing which wants to prosecute everyone and stop everything we‘re doing in America, making the progress we‘re making in America?

MATTHEWS:  In 1946, a guy came back from the Navy in the South Pacific.  He ran for Congress in the 11th District.  It‘s now the 8th Congressional District, Tip O‘Neill‘s district, James Michael Curley‘s district.  He ran as a war hero.  Any connection to the guy with the JFK initials today running for president as a war hero, Catholic, same deal?  Is he similar or what? 

MENINO:  Well, he‘s somewhat similar.  He‘s a Navy hero.  He‘s a Catholic and he served in the U.S. Senate.  And I think they both have a lot—he has a lot to give this country.  Watch John Kerry on the stump.  Watch what he talks about.  He‘ll you issues that affect everyday people‘s lives. 

That‘s what you got to talk about.  The administration in Washington, as a mayor, I see how all those programs we had in the past are just deteriorating in front of us.  If we go four more years, what‘s happens to the American people?  They want to have good health care, education, No Child Left Behind.  Every child is being left behind.  We have got to get back into the mainstream and help people have a better life. 

MATTHEWS:  Is this country, the United States of America, better off for having gone to war with Iraq or worse off? 

MENINO:  I think we‘re worse off. 

We support our troops over there.  I support them all.  But are we going to get out of there?  There‘s no plan.  Go in there, do your thing.  But how do we bring those men and women back? 

MATTHEWS:  How come the candidate for president of this party, the Democratic Party, won‘t speak as clearly as you just did? 

MENINO:  Well, that‘s the candidate. 

(CROSSTALK)

MENINO:  I‘m the mayor of a city.

MATTHEWS:  Ted Kennedy says we shouldn‘t go to war.  It was a big blunder.  It was wrong.  You say it was wrong. 

How many people here think the war was a good idea? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bad idea!

(BOOING)

MATTHEWS:  How many think it was a good war? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bad war!

(BOOING)

MATTHEWS:  That seems to be the Massachusetts opinion, at least down here in Boston. 

(CROSSTALK)

MENINO:  ... most people‘s opinion, where we support our men and women over there 1000 percent.  But why are we there?  How are we going to bring those home?  I look at and it could be another Vietnam.  And I don‘t want another Vietnam in our country. 

MATTHEWS:  Last question.  The Kennedy‘s are known for giving great speeches, Bobby Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, the late Jack Kennedy and Bobby.  Will John Kerry rise to that occasion and give a Kennedyesque speech next week? 

MENINO:  Oh, I think he will give a great speech next week.  One thing I know, I won‘t give a great speech. 

(LAUGHTER)

MENINO:  But he will give a great speech.

MATTHEWS:  You‘ll probably give a good one.  That‘s called lowballing in politics. 

Anyway, we‘re coming back with Boston Mayor Tommy Menino, the very popular mayor. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  And when we return, we‘ll go live to one of Boston‘s hottest gathering places with Mike Barnicle and political insider Ed Jesser as we gear up for the convention here in Boston, Massachusetts.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Coming up, more from Boston Mayor Tommy Menino, plus, Mike Barnicle and longtime Boston political insider Ed Jesser—when HARDBALL returns.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with Boston Mayor Tom Menino.

And over in Doyle‘s Cafe in Jamaica Plain, we‘re joined by Mike Barnicle and longtime Boston political consultant Ed Jesser. 

Let me ask you, Mr. Mayor, if you‘re advising the presidential candidate and to the extent you do advise him, what is the big thing Kerry has got to do to get those undecideds? 

MENINO:  Well, first of all, he has to give a message out there what he‘s going to do to improve the quality of the life in America for working people. 

We can‘t continue to bash Bush.  It‘s about what are you going to do for the American people, how are you going to move this country forward, what is your program when it comes to education, what is your program when it comes to housing.  You‘ve got to convince people that you‘re on their side. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think he‘ll do that, flesh is out like the New Frontier, the New Deal, that sort of thing, where they lay out a picture? 

MENINO:  I would hope, on Thursday night, he flushes that out and gives his ideas of where he wants to bring this country in the next four years. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me go right now to Mike Barnicle. 

Mike, if you were advising this guy, I know you‘re still writing a column for “The Herald” now, but if you were advising John Kerry and the speechwriters, what would you say to put in the speech? 

BARNICLE:  Oh, I would put a lot about himself in the speech in terms of his soul, his character. 

John Kerry is an interesting guy, Chris, in that the really only time he is comfortable talking about the war experiences is with other veterans.  And when he does so in a large or small group, he is an entirely different individual at that time.  So I would try not to get into psychobabble with him, but to have him emerge more as a human being, because he‘s a much more likable guy I think than he has thus far appeared on this particular medium, television.

MATTHEWS:  Well, then why does he need—then why does he need your advice?  If he‘s already showing a grand personality out there, why does he need to hear it now at this point in his career?  He‘s been in public life for a generation.

BARNICLE:  You know, Chris, he‘s always been that way.  In every election he‘s ever been in, he‘s been down up until about the last five or 10 days of an election, and then a different Kerry emerges.  And it‘s a different Kerry that emerges on the point of a fight.  When he feels threatened, when he feels vulnerable, you see a different John Kerry in those last few days prior to Election Day every single time out.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Ed Jesser, a political insider in this city.

Ed, what do you think Kerry needs to show the public that still doesn‘t think they know this guy? 

ED JESSER, POLITICAL CONSULTANT:  Well, I agree with what Mike said.

I would take you back a few years.  If anybody remembers, in 1988, Michael Dukakis was accused of similar lack of charisma, ability to project.  And, in 1988, he gave a brilliant speech in Atlanta, which people have forgotten.  But it was superb because he needed to give it, and it was a bit of a surprise to some people.  And I would be less surprised at a brilliant speech from Kerry.

And again I would go back, if people remember the 1996 debate with Bill Weld, when Weld was running for Kerry‘s seat, Weld was brilliant and Kerry was better.  He was absolutely brilliant for over an hour, both in give-and-take, taking body punches, and making the specific points that he wanted to make. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Mike, why do women tend to vote for John Kerry and men tend to vote against him?  What‘s that about up here? 

BARNICLE:  Well, I think this is a unique place in terms of John Kerry‘s political life, Chris, because, while there is a great deal of respect for him around here among the political class, the mayor, who is standing right there next to you, and normal people, not that politicians aren‘t normal, while they have respect for him, there‘s not the reservoir of deep affection for him that there is for other politicians, like Ted Kennedy, who we talked about earlier. 

Men tend to look at John Kerry and I think resent him a little bit, because he appears to be a patrician, and yet he‘s an Irish Catholic.  He wears Hermes ties and yet he talks about working-class issues.  If you look at the statistical data on every election he‘s been in, he does very, very well in true blue-collar towns, like Fitchburg, Massachusetts, New Bedford, fishing towns, less well in upscale, tonier suburbs like Weston, Lincoln, Brookline, places like that. 

The liberal will always beat John Kerry in the liberal town.  John Kerry will always beat the liberal in a working-class town in this state.  It‘s an interesting phenomenon. 

MATTHEWS:  Sir, are you comfortable having a candidate in the Democratic Party who‘s known for windsurfing and snowboarding and all those sort of individual rich-kid pastimes?  Is that the way to sell yourself to a working party, a working-class party? 

JESSER:  Well, Senator Kennedy behaved in some similar fashions in his lifestyle, as his brother John did. 

And in—sort of in answer to your previous question, one of Kerry‘s great problems is, he‘s the junior senator from Massachusetts.  And in many respects, all 99 senators are juniors of Senator Kennedy in terms of coverage, excitement.  If any member of the Kennedy family does anything, it gets an inordinate degree of coverage.

And Senator Kerry has had politically the misfortune of being the other senator.  If anybody else were the junior senator to Senator Kennedy, the same thing would occur to anyone, even somebody with the enormous charisma of Mayor Menino. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, I want to ask you, Mr. Mayor, about this whole question of the Kennedy‘s.  This country is filled with people who honor the Kennedy‘s of the past, but often have a hard time with the Kennedy‘s of the present. 

Jack Kennedy is beloved by the country.  Bobby Kennedy to a lot of people my age was the hero of our time.  He was the guy, the little guy that went out there and fought the war.  He fought for civil rights, especially African-Americans in a lot of cases.  Ted Kennedy, what do you think his legacy is going to be after coming out of this convention? 

MENINO:  Oh, Ted Kennedy‘s legacy is about helping people.  I just continue to tell you, Chris, he is the best.  We all should try to emulate what Ted Kennedy does.  He delivers.  He gets back to you.  He has conversations with you.  He puts himself out to help you.  And every mayor in this commonwealth knows Ted Kennedy.  He‘s out there talking to them all the time.  And that makes him different than a lot of folks in Washington.  He cares about his home state.

MATTHEWS:  Why?  What makes him run?  Forty years of doing this, what is it that drives Ted Kennedy?  He has got all the money in the world.  He doesn‘t need—he has fun in his life.  He‘s happily married now.  Why does he work so hard? 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m not building him up.  I‘m just curious. 

MENINO:  I think he hasn‘t met his goal yet of making a better world for some of our people. 

And that might sound corny to you, but let me just tell you.  Senator Kennedy is out there every day trying to help us.  I call him up, say, about today, and he‘ll call me back in about four months.  Mayor, you know the problem you called me about four months ago.  Here is how we‘re solving that problem.  He just called me today with an answer on (UNINTELLIGIBLE) money for the DNC.

And I asked him three weeks ago.  He came back.  He says, here is how

we‘re going to do it.  Here‘s how you‘re going to solve this problem.  And

you know

(CROSSTALK)            

MATTHEWS:  Why do you think he arouses such anger across the country from conservatives? 

MENINO:  Well, because he is a symbol of what America should be about. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s not why they‘re mad at him. 

MENINO:  Yes, they are, because the conservatives don‘t like what Senator Kennedy talks about, because he is not for tax cuts.  He is for spending money on people, making people‘s life a little bit better. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think Ted Kennedy is going to go down as the great senator of our time?  I don‘t mean that as a pop question.

MENINO:  No, I really do.  I honestly do.  He gets along with Republicans, Democrats.  He files more bipartisan legislation than any other senator up there.

And so here is how to work with the other party, which is the key to his success. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you the question I asked before to Doris Kearns and to David Nyan (ph).  Do you think he ever really wanted to be president or he just wanted to run once, lose and get it over with?

MENINO:  Oh, I think he wanted to be president just to...

MATTHEWS:  Why did he run just once? 

MENINO:  I think he saw what happened to him when he ran and he saw how his campaign just didn‘t get off the ground.  And he said, I‘m not going to subject myself to another run for president.  I‘m happy in the U.S. Senate.  And I‘ve got my seniority.  I‘m making a difference.

And Senator Kennedy just decided that was where his place in life was going to be.  And he‘s been great at it. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think because of the tragedy of 1969 that brought the Chappaquiddick death of Mary Jo Kopechne, do you think a lot of that has driven him to try to expiate through his life, a hard life of, really, I‘m serious, liberal commitment to sort of make up for what happened?  That‘s what I think, but I don‘t know the guy as well as you do. 

MENINO:  I don‘t know if that‘s—but I think Senator Kennedy, that had an effect on his life.  And he will always live with that, but he wants to get beyond that.  He knows that that was a tragedy.  It‘s black mark in his life.  But Senator Kennedy says, that‘s not going to hold me back.  I‘m going to go out there and help people. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re an immensely popular mayor, as we just heard here.  You‘re a soft-spoken guy.  You don‘t give big speeches.  But good luck next week. 

(CROSSTALK)

MENINO:  Thanks, Chris. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You‘re a great politician. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Mayor Tom Menino. 

Mike Barnicle and Ed Jesser, today, we‘re introducing a new component to our election coverage, the first ever HARDBALL blog.  I never heard of the word either until recently.  Check it out at hardblogger.MSNBC.com.  Along with our regular panelists and correspondents, I‘ll be hosting daily all the behind-the-scenes action from both conventions, give you a preview of what we‘re planning for each night‘s coverage.  I‘ll also be able to send you feedback, which we‘ll post as well.  Log on to hardblogger.MSNBC.com.

More HARDBALL from Faneuil Hall when we come back.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL live at Faneuil Hall here in Boston. 

Let me go to some of the people who have standing here all night. 

You, sir, why do you think this election is important? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Because our lives depend on it.  We‘re sending guys to death for an unjust war for 1,000 unjust reasons. 

MATTHEWS:  How many people here opposed the war in Iraq? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

MATTHEWS:  How many think it was a necessary war? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  How many Republicans are here? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  This is a typical state. 

Let me ask you, lady, what do you think is important about this election? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The war, stopping...

MATTHEWS:  How many think that the war is the biggest issue of this election? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  How many think the economy is the biggest issue? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s go around here. 

Who else wants to talk about this election?

You, madam, tell me why you‘re for Kerry, if you are.  And if not, why not? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  To get rid of Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s a positive reason. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  How many people just want to get rid of the current president? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  How many feel a particular strong affection for John Kerry? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  How many like Ted Kennedy more than John Kerry? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Whoa! 

Let me go to this guy over here.

You wanted to say something.  Harvard University.  I‘m deeply impressed. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What can I say? 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, God, does anybody want to talk about this election? 

Come on, sir.  God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, sir. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How about on the Supreme Court?  We‘re going to have a couple of new nominations coming up.  And it‘s always an issue with every election. 

MATTHEWS:  And what kind of justice do you want on the court? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Scalia, another Scalia. 

MATTHEWS:  You want to vote for a Republican, then? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Absolutely. 

(BOOING)

MATTHEWS:  Whoa.  OK.  OK. 

Let me ask—I think you have something to say, madam? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Respect overseas. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think America is more popular in the world than we were four years ago? 

CROWD:  No. 

MATTHEWS:  We got to go right now.

Anyway, thank you.

Our coverage of the Democratic National Convention continues this weekend on Sunday.  Join me here on Sunday again at 6:00 Eastern, I‘ll have a full-dressed interview with Teresa Kerry.  And then, at 8:00 Eastern, join NBC‘s Tom Brokaw and myself.  And this is going to be a great show, a special presentation, “Picking Our Presidents: The Greatest Moment.”  Tom and look back on the historic moments of America‘s political conventions.  For political junkies, this will be the best night of your week. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, that‘s “Picking Our Presidents,” Sunday night, Eastern, 8:00 Eastern.

And all next week, we‘ll have good old gavel-to-gavel coverage of the convention.  And, at midnight Eastern, join Joe Scarborough and Ron Reagan for—I love this title—“Convention After Hours.”  Sounds dangerous.

Anyway, good night from Faneuil Hall. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  We‘ll see you Sunday for full convention coverage on MSNBC beginning at 4:00 p.m. 

Right now, it‘s time for the “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

END   

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