updated 7/28/2004 11:08:03 AM ET 2004-07-28T15:08:03

Guest: Jesse Jackson, Paul Rosenthal, Leslie Robinson, Charles Handy, Lois Romano, Richard Holbrooke, Ed Rendell, Vilma Luna

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We should choose a captain of our ship who is a brave, good man, who knows how to steer a vessel through troubled waters.  So let‘s say to America in a loud, clear voice: Send John Kerry!  God bless you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Welcome to MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic Convention here in Boston.  I‘m Chris Matthews coming to you life from historic Faneuil Hall.  Tonight‘s the night we‘ll capture the character and the characters who brought this party to town.

The living symbol of the Democratic Party, Senator Ted Kennedy, speaks tonight; the man whose anti-war campaign ignited the party during the presidential parties, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean; the man who some believe is the future superstar of the Democratic Party, Illinois Senate candidate and keynote speaker Barack Obama; the man whose father was the most popular Republican president in the 20th century, MSNBC‘s own Ronald Reagan, actually Ron Reagan; the woman—here‘s the real star tonight—the woman whose husband is about to be nominated for president and whose words—I love the way we wrote this—whose words have already shaken up this convention—in fact, shoved it forward—Teresa Heinz Kerry.

And later, our special guest—I guess he‘s special—actor Ben Affleck.  Plus, reports from our reporters on the floor and from NBC News‘ Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert.

Now let‘s go to our panel this hour.  They are, as you know, Ron Reagan; former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Meyers; and former presidential adviser David Gergen, who has been eyewitness to four presidencies.

Ron, do you have butterflies?  Are you in the locker room about to throw up?  You‘re so nervous because you‘re speaking tonight.

RONALD REAGAN, “HARDBALL” SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  No, no.

DEE DEE MEYERS, MSNBC DEMOCRATIC ANALYST:  Don‘t throw up whatever you do.

REAGAN:  I‘m going to try not to throw up.

MATTHEWS:  How do you hold it in?  I mean, how do you get ready to speak to the entire country on four or five TV networks tonight, starting with this one?

REAGAN:  Well, I‘ll tell you.  I‘m not too nervous.  Maybe I guess maybe I‘ll have a few butterflies once I get up there, but I feel pretty good.

I‘ll tell you the people in Boston have been nice to me.  When I‘m walking down the street and all, people come up to me and wish me luck.

MATTHEWS:  I‘ve been with you.  I‘ve seen you.

REAGAN:  And some people even tell me that I‘m brave which is a little embarrassing.  I‘m not brave.  I just...

MATTHEWS:  Not physically brave.

REAGAN:  Not physically brave.

MATTHEWS:  But you‘re a hell of a swimmer.  I saw you the other day. 

A hell of a swimmer.

REAGAN:  It‘s not bravery, but I...

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you.  I‘ve got to start the show off tonight to make some news.  Were you in any way forced to vet your speech, to change it in any literal way?  Were any words taken away from your thoughts?

REAGAN:  Well, there was some thought given to doing that, but—and I let them see the speech, of course, as you have to, and they came back with a draft that really didn‘t sound so good to me, and so I just told them that I thought I‘d rather do my speech instead of theirs?

MATTHEWS:  And did that—how did the reaction come?  Were you allowed to give it in your words?

REAGAN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  So you won the battle?

REAGAN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  You toughed it out.

REAGAN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  This is Hollywood stuff.

REAGAN:  That‘s right.

MATTHEWS:  You went to the meeting and won.

REAGAN:  Apparently so.

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, well, good luck tonight.  We‘re going to be talking to you all night, obviously.  And break a leg tonight.

Dee Dee Meyers, tonight‘s the night.  An interesting picture of the Democratic Party tonight.  Ted Kennedy, pro and con, good for the party?  Would you say more pro than con this year or still con?  Still a problem in terms of Republicans getting angry with him all the time?

MEYERS:  Well, I think he has high negatives among core Republicans.  There‘s no question about that, but I think he‘s always been popular among Democrats, and I think this is the bit of the convention that he never got.  Ted Kennedy never won the Democratic nomination, never got to stand in front of his own convention.

But, tonight, there‘s a real sense of nostalgia for what he‘s done.  He‘s been in many ways the most productive member in the United States Senate for the last half-century.  He has tremendous stature in the party.  He represents something that Democrats love about their party.

MATTHEWS:  Right, but isn‘t there a part of Terry Malloy in him?  He could have been a contender?

MEYERS:  Yes, I mean, I think that‘s definitely true, and I think that‘s why there is a sense of this is a convention—the convention that he never had.  This is the Oscar he never won.  This is the lifetime achievement award.

MATTHEWS:  So a lifetime achievement award because he never got the real one?

MEYERS:  Yes, that‘s what it is.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go to David Gergen.

Let me ask you about Howard Dean tonight.  I think he was the spark plug of this party last fall.  I think he got it going.  He ignited it literally, and, if he hadn‘t been out there in the fall getting the kids excited, getting the, you know, online people excited, there wouldn‘t have been a Kerry campaign of any note.

DAVID GERGEN, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT”:  (inaudible) right now because he was the one who really turned—he‘s the one who got (inaudible) to stand out (inaudible) on the part of the press.  The question is—and he was the one who had the guts to stand up and do it, and I think that—I think you‘d have to mobilize the party and legitimize the criticism by Kerry and others.

So I think he has—he was at the bow of the ship.  You know, he was the one cutting through the waves, and the rest of the guys came in riding behind him.  I‘m glad to see Ron Reagan out there tonight.   You know, it‘s so classic, all Reagans get butterflies before they speak, Chris, but, once they get up on the podium, it‘s all there.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Your father used to drink iced tea for a while.  Then

he would drink some kind of lemon juice.  Then he was into Evian water, so

·         because I was always the host on the Hill.

Let‘s go right now to MSNBC‘s Chris Jansing on the floor with the Reverend Jesse Jackson—Chris.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR;  Hi there, Chris.  Yes.

Jesse Jackson, of course, ran for president himself, ‘84, ‘88, now here at this convention.

Good to see you, Reverend.  Let me ask you about the African-American

vote.  Al Gore won 90 percent of it back in 2000, but there are polls that

show that African-Americans this year feel a little disaffected, a little -

·         disconnected from the Kerry campaign.  Do you agree with that, and what can he do to change it?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION:  Blacks like labor.  We‘ll vote our interests.  We have an interest in the one big—we have an interest in the—in the one big top—one big tent America where an interest and an open door access the White House and Department of Justice.

The last three years, Mr. Bush has not met with organized labor, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Organization of Women, the Black Caucus.  It‘s been a closed door, dispassionate administration, so there is the issue of the alternative.

Kerry has a progressive record.  His military (inaudible) stands out.  Adding John Edwards to the ticket says he‘s one to open up the gates to the South.  So it looks like rising hope, and I‘m convinced that more and more black Americans and women and workers are going to support the ticket.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, thank you so much for being with us.  We appreciate it.

Chris, back to you.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Chris Jansing.

NBC‘s Campbell Brown joins us now from the floor—Campbell.

CAMPBELL BROWN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hey there, Chris.  We wanted to talk a little bit about the platform, the Democratic Party platform, that they approved here this afternoon and what it means or, frankly, what it doesn‘t really mean in terms of bigger picture.

It‘s been so carefully written and the language so calibrated that it‘s almost benign in their effort to try not to give Republicans any targets of opportunity or potentially things they could criticize later on everything from health care to the economy to the war in the Iraq to gun control.

Gun control is one example, and the platform here calls for an extension of the ban on semi-automatic weapons that expires in September, also for background checks at gun shows, but very explicit in its language about supporting the second amendment.

We have two people with us from the Colorado delegation who actually disagreed both on gun control and also whether or not there should even be a platform or continue to be platforms voted on here at the convention.

And, first, let me ask you, Paul Rosenthal.  I know you‘re from Denver and define yourself as a moderate conservative Democrat, and you think the platform is kind of a joke?

PAUL ROSENTHAL, COLORADO DELEGATE:  Well, I don‘t think we really need it.  Well, we get together and we kind of bang our heads against the wall, and it‘s just a big document that we don‘t really need.  I think candidates should have positions, candidates should have platforms, but I think that party activists should not be telling candidates what to do and what to think and what to stand for.

BROWN:  And Leslie Robinson from ripe old Colorado who ironically—yes—is a supporter of gun control, but you are also a big supporter of the platform and taking a stand on these things.

LESLIE ROBINSON, COLORADO DELEGATE:  Absolutely.  Well, because it states the Democratic values and visions and mission statement.  We need a foundation, we need to tell the public what the Democrats stand for, and that‘s why we need a platform.

BROWN:  But do you think it‘s clear enough?  I mean, given the way the language is written, it‘s really very careful, very similar to the speeches we‘ve heard during this convention that have been vetted so as to not be too antagonistic.

ROBINSON:  That‘s no problem.  We‘ve got to start somewhere, and you‘ve got to start a little bit generic, so our candidates can build from there and get into their own positions.  But we definitely need a platform.  And also, it tells the difference between what the Democrats stand for and what the Republicans—well, whatever they do.

BROWN:  Leslie and Paul, thanks to you both from the Colorado delegation.

And, Chris, let‘s go back to you.

MATTHEWS:  OK, Campbell.  Let‘s turn right now to Carl Quintanilla. 

He joins us also from the floor—Carl.

CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, you know, tomorrow night, Senator John Edwards is going to give his address, and no one‘s watching that more closely than the citizens of Seneca, South Carolina, where he was front.  Charles Handy is from Seneca and is here at his first national convention.  What has Edwards‘ place on the ticket done for the people of Seneca?

CHARLES HANDY, SOUTH CAROLINA DELEGATE:  It‘s done tremendous—people‘s calling.  We get televisions—the night—the morning they announced that, we had television stations from Atlanta to Greenville, we had radio stations calling in from North Carolina, newspapers, everywhere, and it‘s been that way.

The phone‘s been ringing off the hook, and people‘s real excited.  Our local party has increased.  This maybe tripled it, and we‘re getting people out.  It‘s going to be a real good—it‘s good for us.

QUINTANILLA:  South Carolina is not a state that‘s known for going Democratic.  Do you think that the fact that you‘ve got someone on the Democratic ticket from so close to home is going to change that?

HANDY:  Yes, I do.  I think we‘ve got a good chance.  I know it‘s going to be a lot of hard work, but, if we get in there and get the people out to vote, we‘ve got enough registered, we can win.

QUINTANILLA:  Finally, you guys must have held out a lot of hope that Edwards would actually take the nomination.  How much of a consolation is it to have him take the second place on the ticket?

HANDY:  That‘s fine.  That‘s fine.  You know, I think he—people wanted him to do that, and I think he did what they wanted him to.  I like him because he is honest, and he says what he thinks, and I believe in him, and a John Kerry-John Edwards ticket, I think, is the best ticket.  The very, very first thing I said was that that was the two men I wanted to get it, and so they did.

QUINTANILLA:  Charles Handy, 72 years old.

Chris, back to you.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Carl Quintanilla.

“The Washington Post”‘s own Lois Romano has been traveling with Senator John Edwards.  She‘s actually just landed here in Boston.  She‘s...

Lois, old buddy.

LOIS ROMANO, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  How are you?

MATTHEWS:  How is John Edwards going to move his public persona from that of a very good traveling show—a very good traveling show—to the big room here in Boston?

ROMANO:  I think quite well, Chris.  I mean, this is a man who has overcome a lot of personal issues to get here.  His son died a couple years ago, and a lot of people thought he wouldn‘t even work again.

He has a compelling story to tell about his upbringing from a mill town, his personal tragedy, and, in fact, right before we got here, he went to see the grave site of his son at the cemetery.

I think he‘s the salesman in this operation.  You know, we all know that John Kerry hasn‘t done real well at selling himself, and I think they‘re counting on John Edwards to help sell him to our...

MATTHEWS:  Is he going to do the two Americas number again tomorrow night?

ROMANO:  Yes, he is.

MATTHEWS:  The same speech he‘s been giving over and over again?

ROMANO:  Well, I think it‘s going to be a longer version of it, and, hopefully, you know, just as passionate.

MATTHEWS:  Are we going to get the director‘s cut or what?

ROMANO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  No, the question I ask is—you know, they always say in show business, it‘s easier to find a new audience than new material, right?

ROMANO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Is he going to stick with the material that got him here?

ROMANO:  He‘s going to stick to the material.  In fact, he talked to us on the plane about that, and he said that basically he‘s going to hope to talk to everybody in the nation the way he talked in the living rooms of Iowa, to give people a chance to get to know him, to get to know his values, his background, what he believes in, and also to help the people get to know John Kerry, to personalize John Kerry.

MATTHEWS:  But isn‘t he still running against Kerry, the man of privilege?  He‘s talking about the two Americas, one in which he moved into and the other one he moved from, to a guy who‘s never lived in the other America, a guy who‘s always known privilege.  Isn‘t he basically saying I‘m the guy that worked his way up, that‘s the swell that was born on third base.  I‘m running against...

ROMANO:  But isn‘t that a balance?

MATTHEWS:  Just a minute.  I‘m running against Kerry just as much as against Bush.  If he makes it a class fight...

David, get in here.  Once you get into class warfare, it does get tricky, doesn‘t it?

GERGEN:  It gets very tricky, but I just don‘t agree that he‘s running against Kerry with that two Americas speech.  I think he‘s running against the wealthy and the elite.  The same thing Clinton was invoking...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... Kerry?

GERGEN:  Well, but it was Clinton last night.  Clinton said, “I‘m one of the wealthy now.”  I mean...

MATTHEWS:  New money.  New money.

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN:  ... quality.  That‘s a different issue.

MEYERS:  ... to a small group of people who share his objectives, and he wants to concentrate power in the hands of the few.  That‘s not John Kerry‘s objective.

MATTHEWS:  Ron, what do you think of Edwards, the cut of his gib?  Do you think he‘s got the stuff to be seen as a potential president because that‘s what he‘s running for?

REAGAN:  I think he seems to have right now, but I don‘t think he‘s there yet.  He‘s a little too young.  He‘s a little too inexperienced.

MATTHEWS:  But the election‘s in a couple of months.  Is he going to be older?

REAGAN:  Oh, I thought you meant to be president.

MATTHEWS:  Well, potential president, which is the job of VP, isn‘t it?

REAGAN:  Yes.  Well, listen, you know, the Democrats would say that George W. Bush a few years ago had even less experience than John Edwards has, and they‘d be right.  Five years as governor of Texas, no foreign policy experience whatsoever.

GERGEN:  I don‘t think that‘s his job anyway, Chris.  I don‘t think he has to run for president.  I think his job is to warm up this ticket, make it more attractive, and get it over the likability threshold that we heard about from Peter Hart last night.

MATTHEWS:  So he‘s the up-up man, as they say in Massachusetts.

GERGEN:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  The up-up man is the guy who says the governor‘s coming, the governor‘s coming.  Is that his job?

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANO:  The other thing—that he seems to understand that this is about selling John Kerry.  I mean, I think John Kerry‘s reservations about him initially was that he was competing with him.  I mean, he didn‘t...

MATTHEWS:  They were.

ROMANO:  Well, yes, but beyond that, beyond the primaries, he didn‘t want to be told, you know, this is the guy that‘s going to save your ticket.  You know, this is the upstart.  This is the guy...

MATTHEWS:  Lois, you wrote a lot about personality over the years.  I know you—you‘re a hard reporter on this story, but you‘ve written a hell of a lot of stuff about people‘s personality.

I‘ve suggested that he‘s the fabric softener for Kerry, that, if they stand together, one seems—he seems to change.  He seems to change in personality.  Edwards in the company—I‘m sorry, Kerry in the company of Edwards seems like a different guy.  He was patting people on the rear end the other day—guys.  He was acting differently than he was when Edwards wasn‘t around.

Explain that.  Do you believe that or not?

ROMANO:  No, it‘s absolutely true.  How could you not believe it?  I mean, they‘re touching each other.  They‘re hugging.  They‘re hugging other people.  I mean, I think that he inspires him to be like him.  I mean, he gets around him, and he doesn‘t want to be the guy just in the suit standing there like...

MATTHEWS:  Well, does that make Kerry a chameleon?

ROMANO:  No, I don‘t think so.  I think it just makes...

MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  He said he was suffering from Edwards withdrawal the other day.  (inaudible) like your dog‘s out of town.

ROMANO:  No, no.

MEYERS:  He‘s the guy, though, that you bring onto the basketball team and it elevates everybody‘s...

ROMANO:  Yes.

MEYERS:  He‘s the spark plug.  He‘s somebody that you bring in that makes the play.

MATTHEWS:  You mean he‘s a play maker?

MEYERS:  He‘s a play maker.  He‘s an impact player.

REAGAN:  He‘s an impact player.

MATTHEWS:  You‘re a jog.

MEYERS:  I am a jog.

MATTHEWS:  I knew you were a job.

MEYERS:  Darn right.

MATTHEWS:  Can we talk seriously about it a moment?  We‘re sitting in the company of a man who is going to speak to the nation, not just MSNBC, but those other networks as well.  You‘re going to speak to the country.  You‘ll be all over the newspapers tomorrow.  I predict top of the fold in some of the more liberal newspapers and the bottom of the fold...

MEYERS:  And we‘re sitting next to you now.

MATTHEWS:  ... the conservative papers.  The “L.A. Times” will have you right up there probably with Teresa Heinz tomorrow morning.  Can you stand it?  Can you stand this?  Are you a rock star who‘s had too much of this?

REAGAN:  That‘s way too much.  I‘ll tell you I‘m just a really lucky guy.  You know, I feel strongly about this issues, and I‘ve a great opportunity that‘s been handed to me to spread the word about embryonic stem-cell research.  I...

MATTHEWS:  Why is that important to people watching right now?  Give a preview of it.

REAGAN:  It‘s important to everybody because it‘s going to revolutionize medicine.  This is a really important issue.  I‘m surprised we haven‘t heard more about it earlier.

GERGEN:  Yes, David Brooks thinks it‘s a sleeper issue in the campaign.

MATTHEWS:  For whose side?

GERGEN:  Well, for the Democrats because it appeals to a lot of people over 55.  The whole idea that you‘re—you know, ‘you‘re over 55, you care about stem-cell research.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s for things like diabetes especially, right?

GERGEN:  Absolutely.

MEYERS:  Parkinson‘s.

REAGAN:  Diabetes, Parkinson‘s, multiple sclerosis, potentially...

MATTHEWS:  And tell me how it works, quickly for the non-scientists. 

What‘s...

REAGAN:  I‘ll give you an example.  If you‘ve got Parkinson‘s disease, I can take skin cells from your arm—prospectively take skin cells from your arm, turn into stem cells. re-inject them into your brain, and they‘ll replace the faulty cells in your brain that are causing the Parkinson‘s.

MATTHEWS:  Is that state of the art, or is that what we hope to do?

REAGAN:  That should be happening in about five years, if we can get federal research.

MATTHEWS:  Will we be able to live forever with stem-cell research?

REAGAN:  No.

MATTHEWS:  Why not?

GERGEN:  Chris Matthews forever.  What a great—HARDBALL forever.

MEYERS:  HARDBALL forever.

MATTHEWS:  Welcome to the 200th anniversary of HARDBALL.

GERGEN:  Stop it right now.

MATTHEWS:  Ron Reagan, good luck.  Break a leg.

REAGAN:  Thanks.  Appreciate it.

MATTHEWS:  Good luck with your speech.

Tonight, the rest of the panel is staying with us.  They don‘t have a speech to give tonight.

And coming up, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Holbrooke, the man who may well be the next secretary of state depending on the November election.  He‘s, of course, John Kerry‘s chief foreign policy adviser.

And you‘re looking right now at a live picture of John Kerry in my hometown, the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.  It‘s HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Democratic Convention in Boston at MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to Boston.  I‘m joined right now by former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke who is currently a foreign policy adviser for John Kerry.

You know, we‘re watching a very slow buildup this week which looks very purposeful.  To introduce John Kerry not as the candidate for president, but to introduce him as a potential president.  In fact, a man with a military background who will now become or could become quickly the commander in chief, captain of ship, a phrase we‘ll probably hear again from yourself tonight.  Is that a good metaphor for what you‘re trying to say about John Kerry?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, KERRY FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER:  Without question. 

He‘s prepared to be president.

Most recent presidents have been ex-governors—Clinton, Reagan, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter.  They came into the presidency without experience in international relations.  Only, in fact, George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush the first, was really prepared.

John Kerry would come prepared.  He knows his stuff.  He‘s been—he lived overseas, son of a diplomat, Vietnam, 20 years on the Foreign Relations Committee.

MATTHEWS:  You know, when you go through the list of presidents, it‘s striking what you are saying because, since 19 --- since right after World War II, the first man to come to the White House after World War II was Harry Truman, succeeded to the office at the death of the president.

HOLBROOKE:  Not prepared for the presidency.

MATTHEWS:  Every one of these guys came with military experience in World War II.  I mean, Ike was commander in chief and received the Nazi‘s surrender.

HOLBROOKE:  Kennedy and Bush were war heroes.

MATTHEWS:  Kennedy, Bush.  Nixon had South Seas experience.  Ford...

HOLBROOKE:  Reagan had nothing.  Reagan did not...

MATTHEWS:  Well, he served in the military.  He was in a specialty unit.  You know, you can mock that, but he couldn‘t get in because of his eyesight.  He tried to get in.

HOLBROOKE:  Well, he didn‘t have the experience nor did LBJ, but your point is well...

MATTHEWS:  They both were military men.  They were both in uniform.

HOLBROOKE:  Look, I think the striking thing about last night and the stirring thing about this convention is going to be its heavy emphasis on veterans.  Max Cleland is going to introduce John Kerry with—a triple amputee.

MATTHEWS:  What do you think the significance is of a triple amputee from Vietnam introducing the candidate?

HOLBROOKE:  Ever since you and I entered public affairs separately years ago, the Republicans have tried to portray the Democrats as the weak party—Jean Kirkpatrick‘s famous phrase calling the Democrats the San Francisco Democrats; the attempt to show that McGovern, although he was a war hero, was a wimp.

The fact is you can‘t make John Kerry out to be a wimp.  What he did in Vietnam speaks for itself—three wounds, saving his people.  The most moving moments last night to me were the reverend from South Carolina who was on that boat, that extraordinary, unbelievable speech.

MATTHEWS:  Right.

HOLBROOKE:  I was down on the Mekong Delta shortly before John Kerry was.  I know those mangrove swamps.  They are dangerous, and death lurked behind every turn down there, and John Kerry volunteered for that duty.  He volunteered for the Navy.  And he is going to be surrounded by Vietnam vets and World War II vets.  They cannot pretend any longer that the Democrats are a weak party, and patriotism is a shared national value.

MATTHEWS:  You‘re making a point in terms of a political campaign clearly, but fill it in, flush it out.  Why is it helpful to have a person who has been in combat serve as commander in chief?

HOLBROOKE:  First of all, it always helps to have a man know what war is like if he or ultimately she has the responsibility of sending people into harm‘s way.  War is hell, and the best way to know that is to experience it.

John Kerry lost some of his best friends, and he killed people to save his own life.  He saved other lives.  That helps.  He knows that war isn‘t a war game.  And I speak from strong experience, having spent three years in Vietnam myself.

Secondly, it is important to have a kind of international experience seasoned in battle that tempers your judgment, and John Kerry has tempered that because he also decided after he came back from Vietnam that the war was bad and opposed it.

MATTHEWS:  Are the Democrats still fearful of the tag of McGovernism?

HOLBROOKE:  Every Democrat who lived through that period has to be concerned because the Republicans never stop throwing that piece of mud at the Democrats.

But, in the case of John Kerry and Max Cleland and Bob Kerrey, they are just as brave as the Republicans who fought in the war, like John McCain and Chuck Hagel, and it‘s very significant, Chris, that Senator Hagel and Senator McCain, good Republicans who support George Bush‘s reelection, always criticize their fellow Republicans whenever the Republicans attack Democratic war heroes like John Kerry, Bob Kerrey, and Max Cleland.  That‘s because all of us who served in Vietnam share that common value.

MATTHEWS:  What about Bill Clinton, the former president, the other night—last night—it seems so long ago already—taking a pretty tangential—it wasn‘t a direct shot—at the vice president, the president and himself for avoiding service in Vietnam?

HOLBROOKE:  Well, I don‘t know what...

MATTHEWS:  He did do it.

HOLBROOKE:  What people did during the Vietnam War was complicated.  Some of us went to Vietnam.  I went as a civilian, but I spent three years there and registered for the draft and was given a deferment because I was already in the combat zone.

MATTHEWS:  Right.

HOLBROOKE:  Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, and many ways found ways to avoid the war.  I don‘t criticize them.  It was their decision.

MATTHEWS:  Was it right of former President Bill Clinton to bring that up, that they didn‘t serve?

HOLBROOKE:  That‘s up to him.  He can do what he wants.  But there ought to be a statue of limitations on Vietnam at the same time as recognize the core thing about John Kerry.  He was brave.  He was incredibly brave.  You know, he turned that boat directly at his attackers and charged them.  Navy doctrine says keep moving.  He attacked them and saved his crew.

MATTHEWS:  The Democratic platform basically says that people of good will can disagree about whether we should have gone to war with Iraq.  Isn‘t that a bit pusillanimous not to take a stand on the war?  That‘s not too long a word for you, Richard, and don‘t try to make a joke.

HOLBROOKE:  Pusillanimous.

MATTHEWS:  Pusillanimous.  How about weak?

HOLBROOKE:  No, it‘s not too big for me, but it‘s the longest word I‘ve ever heard you use.

MATTHEWS:  You‘ll hear more if you don‘t answer the question.

HOLBROOKE:  Wow.  Hey, the crowd liked that joke.

MATTHEWS:  No, they didn‘t.  What do you think?  Isn‘t it odd of a political party in the midst of a war?  I mean, the Democrats took a position on civil rights in ‘48.  They fought the war plank in ‘68.  Why not debate the war here at the convention hall?

HOLBROOKE:  The war is being debated.  The war will be one of the central issues in this campaign.  The conduct of the war, particularly phase two from the time our troops reached Baghdad through the occupation, which was a disaster—it‘s a legitimate issue—but the party here in Boston is looking for unity, and, since the party and the nation were divided over the war, it‘s best to set it aside.

But let me make the key point about Senator Kerry.  Many of the Democratic delegates here—in fact, a majority of them—would—if polled, as the “New York Times” polled yesterday, would want Americans to set—would want the U.S. to set a date certain and pull out of Iraq.

MATTHEWS:  Right.

HOLBROOKE:  John Kerry has repeatedly said he won‘t do that because of the problem it would cause, and I say that to you and I stress it to your viewers because it illustrates that John Kerry is not a flip-flopper.  He has been consistent on Iraq.  He‘s called for internationalization, the NATO, and not pulling out precipitously.  It‘s my view that it‘s the administration that‘s moved around the most.

MATTHEWS:  I think we‘re under attack.  Just kidding.

Anyway, thank you, Richard Holbrooke.

Would you like to be secretary of state?

HOLBROOKE:  Would you like to be the anchor on “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS”?

MATTHEWS:  Well, we‘ll get both answers during the break.

Coming up, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Ron Reagan and Teresa Heinz Kerry.  It‘s all ahead on HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Boston at MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  America needs new leadership that will make us stronger at home and respected in the world.  And we‘re here this week to present to the nation the man who should be and will be our new president, John Kerry. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to Faneuil Hall.  Let‘s get back to our panel, Dee Dee Myers, David Gergen and “The Washington Post‘s” Lois Romano. 

You know, it‘s an interesting night tonight.  Monday night was the big night to start the convention.  Of course we heard from Bill Clinton last night, the barn burner speech of the week.  Then, tonight, it‘s kind of an interesting night.  It‘s a crazy night.  It‘s like Friday night in a way during the week.  You have got Ted Kennedy, who can arouse all kinds of reactions from left and right and center.  Howard Dean, who is a real spark plug, but obviously can flare out as well.  You‘ve got this incredible new guy, whose father was from Kenya, he‘s the “Harvard Law Review” president, amazing guy, Barack Obama, who apparently is running for the Senate from Illinois without opposition.  I just talked to Mayor Daley, it‘s possible he won‘t have an opposition out there.  And Ron Reagan, who is definitely going to be spotlighted in newspapers and on television all over tonight, and of course Teresa Heinz Kerry, who has come out and used the phrase “shove it” in the direction of somebody who may well have deserved it.

But by the way, David, you are the master of this kind of PR problem for a White House.  When somebody says something that might be a little bit offensive to some people, but lights up other people‘s lights; in fact, they dig it, you wait a couple of days before you react to it and what do you do? 

GERGEN:  Cool it.  If you say shove it, cool it. 

MATTHEWS:  In other words, you don‘t say, gee wheez, we wish she hadn‘t said it?   

GERGEN:  You just—listen, let this thing go.  Don‘t make this more of a story.  You don‘t give the story legs.  You know?  You try to get people like you when you ask about it, they ought to glance off their question and go somewhere else. 

MATTHEWS:  Like you‘re doing. 

(LAUGHTER)

GERGEN:  Not exactly...

MATTHEWS:  Lois, would this have been a big story if it wasn‘t crazy July and August?  You‘re from “The Washington Post.”  Everything—it‘s like a ping-pong ball in a tile bathroom.  Every story that hits in July and August, it‘s a bing-bing-bing all over the place.

ROMANO:  I think it would have been a big story, and I think it can still be a big story.  I mean, the Kerry campaign has made a decision about a year ago when Teresa started giving these interviews and talking too much and talking about her late husband more than talking about John. 

MATTHEWS:  Saying that Botox, everybody uses Botox. 

ROMANO:  Just everything.  Talking about the money.  They made a decision...

MATTHEWS:  Everybody has a prenup. 

ROMANO:  Right.  There was a lot of hand-wringing, and they made a decision to let Teresa be Teresa. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you sure?

ROMANO:  Yes, I am sure about that.  Because they decided they couldn‘t control her, but I think that this poses a whole new problem.  Now that he is getting so much more visible.  There are still people in the Midwest that don‘t think it‘s lady-like or first lady-like to say “shove it” to somebody, and they‘ve got to think about this. 

I mean, I don‘t know who talks to Teresa in the operation, if it‘s only John, but I think they have a concern about this. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, Peter Hart, the pollster for NBC in “The Wall Street Journal” poll said that the most popular first lady in terms of regular people, not society types, was Lady Bird Johnson, that everybody saw her putting up with Lyndon J—basically, because we knew his manner of life.  And she was the great woman, because she wasn‘t a mealy-mouthed Stepford wife.  And yet she knew her role, and it was doing positive things.  Do you think that this—that Laura Bush is impossible to beat in that category? 

GERGEN:  Oh, no, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  Barbara Bush was also an extraordinarily popular first lady.  And you remember when he went up against Ferraro in that debate, and she came out and said, I don‘t know what—I just want to tell you one thing about that woman last night, I know what to call her and I will not tell you but it rhymes with the word rich.  And everybody got what was going on.  And I think...

MATTHEWS:  It sure beat what George Sr. said. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... which is not exactly gentlemanly.

GERGEN:  But Chris, I think it‘s one of these things.  The first time you do it, it‘s fine.  I think three strikes and you‘re out. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, how many strikes is she on right now?  One? 

GERGEN:  I think she‘s on one. 

ROMANO:  This is one, but the other thing about it...

MATTHEWS:  Did you hear that, Lois? 

ROMANO:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Getting into trouble.

ROMANO:  She has got a pass on this one.  But the other thing about it is not just that she said it.  When Barbara Bush said that, it was very cool.  She said it directly to one person.  The thing about the tape that has been running is that Teresa went back and forth three times.  I mean, she was exercised.  She talked to the guy, then she went away, then she came back, then she went away.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANO:  Yeah, and then she‘s like, “shove it.”  And it was not cool. 

It was just a little bit too exercised to be...

MATTHEWS:  Did it remind you of the Red Sox-Yankees game the other night, Sunday night?

ROMANO:  Yeah. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, Dee Dee, you used to do flackery at the White House.  Oh, she did far more than that.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, you used to have to deal with little embarrassments like that.  On the scale of one to 10...

MYERS:  In the Clinton White House?

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m not doing it tonight, not with you here.  Does this measure up to, say, a one or two on the one to 10 scale, or where is it?

MYERS:  It‘s pretty low.  And I think that they‘re lucky—did—she did say it in a bit of a news vacuum, so it got a tremendous amount of attention, but tonight she is going to give an actual speech that will give people a lot more to talk about. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Would you start out with a joke in reference to this tonight?  Bobby Kennedy called it hang a lantern on your problem.  Let me ask you this, do you think she‘ll make a joke about her lingo lately?  No?  You think...

GERGEN:  Oh, I think she may say something about, you know, about her

·         about the vinegar she‘s got, yeah, she may do something on Heinz or something like that, I wouldn‘t be surprised.  But I don‘t think she ought to go back to this (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

ROMANO:  Yeah, she‘s got to be careful because she didn‘t doesn‘t want it to be the news. 

GERGEN:  Right.

MYERS:  I think you‘re making it (ph) fodder.

MATTHEWS:  So you think she‘s going to resist any kind of an ice breaker where she says I promise to be good tonight, or something like that?

ROMANO:  Well, she might say she‘s outspoken, I don‘t know.

MYERS:  I think she will make some reference to the fact that she says things that aren‘t necessarily scripted.  And I think people will like that. 

MATTHEWS:  I think she‘s given new life to five-letter words. 

Anyway, coming up, let‘s talk with the governor of a swing state if not the swinging (ph) state of Pennsylvania, Edward Rendell.  He has already been talking out here to the crowd here at Faneuil Hall, and I‘ll be down there with him after the break.  And make sure you log on to hardball.msnbc.com, and check out our HardBlogger site.  Read your convention blogs from Ron Reagan, Willie Brown, Dee Dee Myers, Joe Trippi, Chris Jansing and Joe Scarborough.  You‘re watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Democratic Convention here in Boston on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to Boston.  I‘m joined right now with the people of Boston by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.  Ed Rendell, one of my favorite politicians. 

GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Hi, Chris, how are you.

MATTHEWS:  You are right up there with Dianne Feinstein.  That‘s about as good as you can do.  You are a very popular guy in Pennsylvania, but these people have no idea who the hell you are, do they? 

RENDELL:  Some of them are, some of them...  

MATTHEWS:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(CHEERING)

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the big speaker tonight, the leadoff speaker tonight, Senator Ted Kennedy.  In Pennsylvania, where you are governor, has he got a split reality, there are people that love the guy and some people that say, he‘s the problem with the Democrats?

RENDELL:  Yes, I think that‘s true, Chris, but I think he has his greatest impact with senior citizens.  And as you know, Pennsylvania is the second oldest state in the union.  There are very few senior citizens in Pennsylvania that don‘t love Ted Kennedy.  Because they know that he‘s fought for them and he cares about them.  So I think he is a plus campaigning for John Kerry in Pennsylvania. 

MATTHEWS:  There‘s a kind of a Terry Malloy quality to this guy, that he could have been a contender, right?  I mean, if you look at Ted Kennedy, remember the ‘80 campaign?

RENDELL:  Sure.

MATTHEWS:  When I was writing speeches for Jimmy Carter and you were working for Teddy Kennedy?  Tried to take my job away?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Yeah, I know, you carried—it was...

RENDELL:  Seven thousand votes.

MATTHEWS:  Yeah, you didn‘t win until like 4 in the morning.

RENDELL:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  But let me ask you about this country.  Pennsylvania.  We had a top Republican on the other night on HARDBALL, and he said the most important state of this election is not Florida or Ohio, it‘s your state.  And when I heard that, I said, wait a minute, you guys didn‘t get Pennsylvania last time.  That means you need to pick up Pennsylvania.  Is that the way you see it? 

RENDELL:  Well, I think what he means is if the Republican carry Pennsylvania, I think it‘s game over for us.  Pennsylvania is an essential for us, just like Florida is essential for them.  They lose Florida and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s fly it the other way.  If you hold Pennsylvania and the rest of the Gore states, all you have to do is pick up one, right?

RENDELL:  Well, actually, the electoral map, as you know, has changed.  So if we picked up West Virginia for example, that wouldn‘t be enough this time.  It would have been enough the last time. 

MATTHEWS:  Because the people are moving South.

RENDELL:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you a theory I have about American politics.  In the Midwestern states and now the Penn States in the mid Big 10, you are sort of a Midwestern state now, you have a lot of people who retire.  They hit 65, they lose their factory jobs, if they haven‘t lost them already.  They depend on Social Security, and usually a minimal retirement check.  And they need Medicare, right?  They don‘t have the money to move to Florida.  The people who stay in those states tend to be Democrats.  The older people? 

RENDELL:  I think that‘s right.  I think we do best with older voters in a state like Pennsylvania and Ohio, and... 

MATTHEWS:  Whereas the money people who move to Florida tend to vote Republican. 

RENDELL:  Right.  And there is one other thing I‘d add.  It‘s not just the people who have minimal pensions.  A lot of those people, their company has gone under, like steel companies, and there is no pension.  So it‘s really severe.  It‘s the reason we‘re up 6 points in Ohio, a state that we‘ve had trouble carrying in the last 20 years.

MATTHEWS:  You know, when I grew up and when you grew up, and you grew up in New York, and I grew up in Philly, northeast Philly, there were jobs you could get in factories, like the Bud plant, that you could provide for the whole family with one person working. 

RENDELL:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  People don‘t like me saying this, but that is the reality we grew up with.  Are we ever going to go back to a world where one member of the family could go out and work 40 hours a week, come home, spend time with the kids, and the wife or the husband, and provide for a family, or are those days gone?  

RENDELL:  They can come back, but we have to dramatically improve education in this country.  K-12, technical schools.  We have got to produce advanced manufacturing workers who can earn $60,000, $70,000, $80,000, $90,000 a year.  But right now we‘re getting our pants beat off of us by Japan, by Singapore, by China, by Germany, because our educational system isn‘t (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

MATTHEWS:  How come when I call to get my computer fixed or get my XM Radio fixed, and they love to argue with me but that‘s what happened—and you get about a 30-minute wait, then you hear a guy with an Indian accent get on the phone from Bangalore somewhere, and he says, “where are you?”  And there‘s nothing wrong with being in India, but why are they getting our jobs when somebody from Philly should be answering the phone?  How come?

RENDELL:  Because we are not—and it starts with the federal government—we are not committing the necessary dollars to work force development.  Our people can do those jobs if we trained them.  And we have got to spend money to train them.  But it‘s worth spending money, because we (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MATTHEWS:  But (UNINTELLIGIBLE) company that could pick up a boiler room with 30 people around a table answering phones, why do they go to Bangalore or Ireland?  Why don‘t they go to South Philly or North Philly or Pittsburgh or Allentown?  

RENDELL:  Because on those type of jobs, people in those countries are willing to work for wage rates that are not comparable.

(CROSSTALK)

RENDELL:  And we have to insist, I had a decision to make, Chris, about signing Pennsylvania on to three new trade treaties. 

MATTHEWS:  Right.

RENDELL:  Two in Latin America, one in Africa, and one in Australia.  I said no to everything except Australia, because Australia agreed to abide by the International Labor Organization standards.  The other countries didn‘t.  We can‘t race to the bottom.  We have to raise the world up.  That‘s the only way we‘re going to be able to compete.

MATTHEWS:  Can a president like Kerry do that?  Kerry, by the way, voted for NAFTA.  I think he voted for most of the free trade agreements.  And yet you are now selling him as a guy who is going to protect jobs. 

Which is it? 

RENDELL:  Well, look, there is nothing wrong with voting for NAFTA as long as you have a sound policy.  What John Kerry is going to do—and let me ask all the folks here...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, do you want to take...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  No, that‘s great.

RENDELL:  Does this make sense?

MATTHEWS:  He‘s the governor of Pennsylvania.

RENDELL:  John Kerry is going to stop the tax benefits for American companies outsourcing jobs abroad. 

(CHEERING)

RENDELL:  And these are young people.  These aren‘t factory workers, these are young people.  That makes sense.  It‘s so simple.  Why aren‘t we doing it?  You know why we‘re not doing it?  Because some of those companies are American companies who are making big bucks, and they control the administration.  We‘re going to have a policy that favors American workers and young Americans like these people (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(CHEERING)

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you a question, Pennsylvania, like a lot of big states, a third of the states, have a senatorial race this year, with Arlen Specter, your old boss.  And Joe Hoeffel, the Democrat.  Big spread there.  Are you going to be able to carry Pennsylvania for the Senate seat as well as the presidency? 

RENDELL:  I think it depends on how the presidential election goes.  You have seen the two latest polls, which have John Kerry up 10 and 11, with Nader maybe 6 or 7.  If we win by margins like that, Arlen Specter is in trouble.  Joe Hoeffel can win that Senate seat, but John Kerry‘s got to do very, very well.  I think we are going to go—I think John Kerry is going to do very well, and that Senate race is going to be very tight.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about Nader, because you brought up that name, that nemesis of the Democratic Party.  He carried 90,000 votes in Florida last time, an election decided by depending on how you counted, a couple of votes either way.  By the way, there is your candidate, John Kerry, in Philly, can you recognize what sidewalk he is on?  There he is.

RENDELL:  It‘s the Art Museum. 

MATTHEWS:  Is that the Art Museum?

RENDELL:  Yeah.

MATTHEWS:  “Rocky.”  That‘s where the “Rocky” statue used to be. 

That‘s John Kerry at home.

Let me—how do you deal with this Nader guy?  He seems like he loves being hated by guys like you, like he used to be loved being hated by General Motors.  How do you get rid of a guy who loves being hated? 

RENDELL:  Well, I don‘t think you can do anything but marginalize him, and drive home, as Al Gore did last night—Al Gore gave a great speech last night, didn‘t he?

(CHEERING)

RENDELL:  Drive home, drive home the fact that it‘s not a relevant way to vote to vote for Ralph Nader.  I believe in Pennsylvania, Nader is getting 5 or 6 percent.  On election day, he‘ll get 1 percent or less.

MATTHEWS:  How did he get on the ballot? 

RENDELL:  How did he get on the ballot?  Because he got support...

MATTHEWS:  Why didn‘t you guys keep him off? 

RENDELL:  He gets support from Republican money and Republican workers, to get him on the ballot.

MATTHEWS:  Have you heard of Republicans in Pennsylvania (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to get Nader on the ballot?

RENDELL:  Not in Pennsylvania, yet, but I‘m sure it will happen.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me give you the worst case scenario, and you respond.  I think the Republicans are going to try to get together with the Nader folk and put him in the debates.  They are going to find a way to set a low threshold, they‘ll have the civic—what they call the Citizens‘ Commission, rather than the regular one.  They will get him in that debate.  It will be a three-way debate with Nader, grabbing some of the left vote, the liberal vote, John Kerry grabbing another share, and the president running against both of them.  You get Peter Camejo saving Dick Cheney from John Edwards.  How are you guys going to keep those third-party people out of the debates? 

RENDELL:  Well, first of all, I don‘t think Ralph Nader can come close to any reasonable threshold. 

MATTHEWS:  How about 5? 

RENDELL:  Five he could do, but...

(CROSSTALK)

RENDELL:  Look at the threshold...

MATTHEWS:  What happens if the president of the United States says 5 percent is reasonable? 

RENDELL:  Well, we have a precedent though.  We have the Perot precedent and I think if we hold to the Perot precedent, Nader never comes close. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the Democrats are smart enough to be planning right now how to keep Nader out of the debate, because that‘s what he wants and that‘s what the Republicans want.  They‘re spending money to help him in his campaign.  Don‘t you think they want him in that debate with 90 million people watching?

RENDELL:  Absolutely.  If I were the Republicans I would want five or six people in that debate.  I would want to cut the president‘s time to about four minutes. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘d want a steer in a corral, wouldn‘t you?  Keep the bulls cool.

RENDELL:  But I will make a prediction here.  Ralph Nader will not a factor in this election.  Will not be a factor in this election. 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Governor Ed Rendell.  Great guy anyway.  Thank you.  Let‘s hear it now for him from everybody.  Let‘s go back right now to the floor with MSNBC‘s Campbell Brown—Campbell.

CAMPBELL BROWN, NBC NEWS:  Hi, Chris.  I‘m standing here with a Texas state representative, Vilma Luna.  We wanted to that talk to her a little bit about her feelings about the war in Iraq especially with Howard Dean speaking here tonight along with others.  And I know this is—I‘m sorry, Luna, Vilma Luna—I know this is an issue that is of great concern to you in particular the impact it has had on National Guard and Reserves, the people who have been extended, the impact it has had on their families.  What are you wanting or hoping to hear tonight?

VILMA LUNA, TEXAS DELEGATE:  Well, my hope is that we come up with a better plan.  I think that the Democratic party has a better idea of how this type of war effort really impacts families.  I don‘t have a problem necessarily with our country making a decision to go to war but I do have a problem with the way President Bush has been operating our military.  As commander-in-chief, I believe he has a duty to make sure that all of our troops are properly prepared, that they are active military.  That we should not be relying on reservists and everyday citizens. 

BROWN:  But have you heard a solution from John Kerry other than trying to reach out to other countries around the world to be multi-lateral, to try to get more cooperation than President Bush has done.  Aside from that, he hasn‘t frankly given a lot of specifics on Iraq. 

LUNA:  Well, I think what is important is to look at our country‘s history.  And historically when we have looked at taking such a drastic step as going to war, we have had the support of other countries and I think that the United States has failed the litmus test of the international community and I think as long as the United States turns its back on that, then we are making a terrible mistake. 

I think we are in the process of hearing all of that, all of us are but I think John Kerry will be a fine commander-in-chief.  I think his experience in the military itself will add a lot to it.  We have begun to hear about of that here on the floor.  I think it will be important for delegates to get fully informed about that.  But I think the public is very much in tune to the pulse of what John Kerry‘s message is on this. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Campbell Brown down on the floor.  Let‘s get back to the panel.  I was just with Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania.  I have known him a number of years.  He is a very popular mayor of the city of Philadelphia which is a very hard city to govern for a lot of reasons.  I want to ask you, when you see a natural politician like that, Dee Dee Myers, doesn‘t it remind you again how unnatural John Kerry is as a politician? 

MYERS:  Yes, his personality isn‘t what you‘d sort of expect to go into a very publicly oriented, a very sort of expositive line of work.  And I think one of the things we both heard, Tad Devine who is one of the top managers of the Kerry campaign say yesterday is that they‘re going to connect his life experience to his values and his policies and I‘m very curious to see...

MATTHEWS:  Is that enough for personality?

MYERS:  I think it does in a way.  I think it explains the motivation. 

I think a lot of people don‘t understand the exact question that you asked.  Why politics for this guy?  He had a lot of options.  Some of them in public, some of them in law, whatever but why politics in connecting his  life experience and his values to the Democratic positions that he is espousing I think is a very important step in helping to answer that question. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, David, it seems like some guys were born for this business.  Edwards, you just saw me.  He was leading the crowd, taking the audience away from me there.  He was loving it.  He doesn‘t want to be alone reading a book somewhere.  According to Teresa Heinz, I interviewed the other day, John likes to read poetry, he likes to listen to serious music.  I don‘t think Ed Rendell is the kind of guy to sit around reading poetry all day.  I mean, I‘m just guessing. 

GERGEN:  I think that John Kerry has to warm himself up.  I don‘t think there‘s any question about that.  He is never going to be the guy that you‘re going to want to go sit in a salon with somewhere and have a drink and just talk. 

But on the other hand what we‘re looking for right now in a war is frankly not somebody you just want sit in the back of the bar and go to the bar with, you want somebody who is smart enough, tough enough and can think about these things, think them through. 

I think that‘s the thing they are trying to offer us tonight is the personal strength along with the idea—Clinton was saying last night, there is no tension between somebody who is strong and somebody who is wise.  They go together.  And I think that‘s what they are trying to do.  And I think what you will hear tonight from Teresa Heinz is much that same thing.  You can be strong but you can also be smart.  And the two things go together and I think that‘s the point they want to make.

MATTHEWS:  Lois, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in your point of view a political natural?

ROMANO:  I don‘t think but I think he has got to warm up a little bit.  I think part of John Kerry‘s problem is that he doesn‘t realize that he is not warm.  I mean if you saw...

MATTHEWS:  Yes, he gets upset with that. 

ROMANO:  Well, he does.  Like, if you saw him on “60 Minutes,” someone made a comment that Edwards is a better campaigner and he says, “no, I am pretty darn good.”  Like he just doesn‘t understand what he is not doing and I think that makes it difficult to change him.

MATTHEWS:  You have covered these guys, some of the really good ones like the Clinton.  I don‘t know if I would say—I think George W. Bush is pretty close to a natural. 

MYERS:  I think he‘s a total natural. 

MATTHEWS:  Total natural and certainly Ronald Reagan was a different kind of natural. 

GERGEN:  You know, we talk about emotional intelligence versus sort of cognitive intelligence.  I think Bush is much higher on the emotional intelligence scale.  He empathizes much better.  He‘s a good—a lot of people relate to him. 

MATTHEWS:  Where did he pick it up? 

GERGEN:  I just think that‘s in his genes. 

MYERS:  I think certain things you can‘t teach.  They‘re just born.

GERGEN:  You can improve it.  But I‘ll tell you it does make a difference in the office, it does make a difference getting elected.  But I‘m not sure it‘s the only thing that makes (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  I think people are looking for more than that right now. 

MATTHEWS:  I think John Kerry is very formal even when you‘re alone with him.  I think George W. Bush, no matter what you‘ve said about him, he still manages to connect with you.  I was once talking to him about Al Gore and he says, “he‘s a beaut, isn‘t it?”  I mean, there‘s this guy talk you get out of him.  You don‘t generally...

GERGEN:  You don‘t get a lot of guy talk outside.

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, coming up in the next hour, actor—this will turn on some people—actor Ben Affleck is going to join us.  A man of the streets of Boston.  You are watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Democratic convention.  We‘re in Boston with MSNBC.  We‘ll be right back.

END   

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