updated 7/28/2004 11:23:42 AM ET 2004-07-28T15:23:42

Guest: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Sara Kloek, Ron Wyden, John Glenn, Gerald McEntee

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Well, that‘s Senator Ted Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts, making the case, as you just heard, for Senator John Kerry for president.  Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin joins us now.  And MSNBC‘s Keith Olbermann is also with us from MSNBC headquarters. 

Doris, I thought that was a great speech.  It was grand.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN:  Absolutely. You know, it was not the typical barn-burner speech that just had sarcastic, easy lines.  By setting it in history, he made people feel the pride of being a Democratic, which I think he wanted to do.  He made people feel proud of being in Massachusetts.  There is this wacko sense of what Massachusetts represents.  And I think the Democratic Party had to show the country what we really are here.  And I think, by talking about it tonight in terms of the patriots and Faneuil Hall and the revolution, he—but it was meanwhile a very tough speech, tougher than any one we‘ve heard, right?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Keith, I‘m looking at these lines like he‘s going to bring John Kerry is going to bring honesty and wisdom back to the White House. 

He basically compared George Bush to some European hereditary monarch along the lines one of the Hanovers, one of the Georges.

KEITH OLBERMANN, NBC ANCHOR:  George III, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s about the worst you can call—he also said, we have nothing to fear but four more years of Bush.  It did have a fine tone to it, an historic context, but clearly it was a rock-em, sock-‘em political speech. 

OLBERMANN:  Yes. 

When does this prohibition against bashing, if you will, go into effect?  Obviously, the clock hasn‘t started on that.

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Apart from the ones that you have mentioned, there was a then and now kind of feeling, that this was an America that precipitated the revolution, which was cited so many times in the speech.

When was the last time you heard a political speech in the 21st century that spent so much time talking about 1776?  It brought in the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid and the revolt at Tiananmen Square and said, that was then.  Now we have the Bush presidency. 

It was extraordinarily hard-hitting and again and again these comparisons to what is happening now were strong, without being totally impolite, although I guess there was some sort of suggestion there that the election of John Kerry would represent a modern Boston Tea Party. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

OLBERMANN:  So this was strong, indeed. 

MATTHEWS:  Keith, not only did he accuse him of being a king.  He accused him of being an illegitimate king, I thought.

Stick with us, Keith and Doris. 

Let‘s go right now to NBC‘s Carl Quintanilla, who joins us now from the floor with a real American hero, John Glenn. 

CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks,  Chris. 

Senator Glenn, did Senator—did Senator Kennedy pass the mantle for the Democratic Party tonight? 

JOHN GLENN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  Did what? 

(CROSSTALK)

QUINTANILLA:  Did Senator Kennedy pass the mantle for the Democratic Party tonight? 

GLENN:  Oh, yes, I think so. 

I think I‘ve never seen a convention this united.  And what I find in talking to a lot of Republican friends back home in Ohio is that the Republicans are wondering whether they got cheated or not on how they voted last time.  They have seen the biggest deficits run up.  They have seen the biggest the biggest debt run up.  They‘ve seen a reversal of our policies abroad.  And I think things look very good going ahead.

QUINTANILLA:  Senator Kennedy is clearly loved in the room.  There are signs bearing his (AUDIO GAP) But what kind of effect does he have outside of this room?  Do moderate voters feel any differently after the speech tonight? 

GLENN:  Oh, they may, if they listened to—if they listened to exactly what he said, yes.  If they come into it with their predisposed ideas of Senator Kennedy personally, it may be different.  But I think the words were there.  If they judged him by what he said, I think it was a very powerful message. 

QUINTANILLA:  Let me ask you to brag about your state really quickly. 

Is there a more important state than Ohio to win this year? 

GLENN:  I don‘t think so.  I think every poll and every indication, every analysis I have seen puts Ohio right in the middle of it this year. 

I was very encouraged by a CNN poll yesterday I think came out that showed Ohio about six points up for Kerry.  That‘s—if it is, that is a big jump.  I hope that is confirmed by other polls, because it has been very, very even up to now.  We have several states that are going to be key (AUDIO GAP) and Ohio is one of them.  I think the plan, I think the importance (AUDIO GAP) attaching to Ohio is indicated by when they leave the convention, they are going straight through Pennsylvania.  We will be in Ohio.  I‘ll be with them across Ohio.

QUINTANILLA:  We will be in Zanesville. 

GLENN:  We will be in Zanesville.  That‘s right in my home area.

QUINTANILLA:  Chris, back to you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thanks, Carl Quintanilla.

By the way, the Democrats were looking for a vice presidential candidate along the lines of—quote—“a younger John Glenn” for a couple of months.  They settled on John Edwards.  They couldn‘t find a younger John Glenn.  I don‘t think there is one.

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

CAMPBELL BROWN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, I‘m with Sara Kloek, who is from Stillwater, Minnesota, 20 years old.  And she is joining me now.

And you just heard Senator Kennedy speak, who clearly represents sort of the old-time Democratic Party.  You are the new generation.  What did you think? 

SARA KLOEK, MINNESOTA DELEGATE:  Well, he is speaking directly to us.  He is saying that we need to unite the country.  And we need to continue on (AUDIO GAP) America.  And he is just saying what we need to do. 

He is speaking to us and saying, here is the charge.  Go forward with it and continue. 

BROWN:  Minnesota, where you are from, a key swing state.  Pollsters think it is a tossup.  It could go either way.  And you even say your best friends are all Republicans. 

KLOEK:  Well, not all my best friends.  I have—one of my very best friends is a Republican.  And I know that Minnesota is going to stay a blue state.  It is going to vote Democratic and it is going to be a landslide.  We just wanted to be treated as a swing state once, so we tricked them into thinking that we were a swing state. 

BROWN:  But why do you think things have—you know among your friends that it is very divided, especially where you live.  Why do you think that is? 

KLOEK:  I think it is because of upbringing.  I grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota.  It‘s a conservative town.

But I think you can see things are changing.  People‘s beliefs are changing, even within the town.  They see the divisive conservative politics that are going on.  And things are changing there.  And people are starting to realize that we need to make good decisions for our town and for Minnesota and for the United States.  And I think we are seeing a change of things. 

(CROSSTALK)

KLOEK:  Where I grew up.

BROWN:  Sara Kloek, thanks for joining us from Minnesota—back to Chris in the studio. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Campbell Brown. 

We are still with Keith Olbermann here right now, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. 

It‘s interesting that we are going to be seeing and hearing from the guys who lost the fight for nomination.  I wonder—poor Howard Dean, we‘re going to hear from him.  And I always was taken with the heart of Howard Dean, because I just love politicians who say what they feel, as well as what they think.  Is he ever going to get over the scream scene? 

GOODWIN:  He should get over the scream scene.  That was not what lost him the race.  The media made much too much of that.  The race was lost before he screamed.  It has just become the symbol of why he lost.  You know that. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Keith Olbermann.

Do you agree with that?  Do you think it was fair of us to play it 30 or 40 times a night? 

OLBERMANN:  Fair is a tough word, isn‘t it, Chris?

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Especially when it was so good. 

OLBERMANN:  But in the vacuum of information, unfortunately, fair didn‘t enter into it.  There was no word that night from Des Moines that that room really was as noisy as it certainly sounded to Howard Dean.

And so the facts took the judgment out of our hands, I suppose, in some degree.  But, yes, that was just the symbol of what happened to his campaign.  It was a potent symbol, but, obviously, it was not the real meaning of what—of how Howard Dean went from the position he was this time last year to the fact that he‘s speaking at a little bit before 9:00 on the Tuesday, instead of on the Thursday. 

GOODWIN:  You know, what interests me about tonight‘s speech, though it is very old-fashioned speech that Teddy Kennedy gave—it had a beginning, a middle, an end.  It was steeped in history.

Nowadays, you have these speeches where each line is focus-tested and they simply are looking for an applause.  The overall content of the speech was the speech, the theme about the revolution and what we‘re not having, old George, new George.  And I think that‘s very effective.  I wish more politicians did it these days. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know, Keith, you know, we all went through covering this sort of mania in America during the war with Iraq in the buildup, how we had the freedom fries and all the other sort of substitute phrases for our favorite foods, especially french fries.

And there was a lot of sort of anti-foreigner aspect out there.  And I get a sense from this convention—and I know the biggest applause line of all last night was something about, we have got to stop burning bridges to our friends in the world.  And there was Ted Kennedy saying and quoting from the Declaration of Independence that we Americans have a decent respect for the opinions of mankind. 

I think America likes to be liked.  I think when we Americans go overseas, we like to have people smile at us and treat us nicely and we don‘t like being hated.  And I think the president may have missed this one.  I may be wrong.  What do you think? 

OLBERMANN:  Clearly, there‘s a balance between the two things, if you look at it in the total text of the American history, I think, Chris, that we go back and forth from wanting to dominate the world, and if not dominate, then certainly lead it with us making most of the suggestions, compared to that point that you exactly—you make so well, that we want to be part, that we want to be liked, that we want to be perhaps team captain, but not necessarily the world‘s policeman, because, of course, coming with being the world‘s policeman, you have to be the world‘s landlord.

And being the world‘s landlord means you have got to go fix the world‘s backed-up toilet in the middle of the night. 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  We‘re the people that like to hand out the M&Ms and the Hershey Bars and maybe the silk stocking on occasion.  I don‘t think we like to be the people goose-stepping through the world, anyway, just a thought.

Let‘s go right now to one of people who really lost both times for president and for vice president.  He‘s on the podium, Dick Gephardt of Missouri. 

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D), MISSOURI:  There‘s a candidate whose character was forged throughout the genuine battlefield of heroism, through three Purple Hearts in the Vietnam war.

John Kerry defended our freedom at the barrel of the gun.  He put himself in personal peril to save the lives of his crewmates.

We know he won‘t take matters of war and peace lightly.

(APPLAUSE)

John Kerry has the strength to keep America strong.  This year in this election, there‘s a candidate whose character has shown through in the many battles he‘s taken on for our families.

He was one of the first Democrats to take on the deficit.  He‘s a champion of public education in our children‘s future.  John Kerry has been a leader on these issues for decades. 

And this year in this election, there is a candidate who understands middle-class squeeze, who understands what it means for a parent to lose a job, for a family to go without health care or be hit by rising college costs.

As some of you know, I‘ve had a single, simple purpose for my years in public service:  to make it possible for hardworking American families to succeed, to help the growing number of families where both parents work just to pay the bills, where life if a never-ending scramble of credit card debt, where it‘s a struggle to pass on the right values, to teach simple lessons of discipline and respect, right and wrong to our children.

Instead of just helping...

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back.

That is, of course, Richard Gephardt, the longtime U.S. congressman from Missouri.  By the way, he is probably one of the least wealthy men in the Congress.  He never made any money in private life.  He never obviously did anything to make money in public life.  He has raised a family.  It may not sound so hard, but it is in public life, I think, to keep two homes, one in Washington, one at home, and to do it all with cleanliness.  And this guy is one of the cleanest guys in politics, Dick Gephardt. 

It seems to me, Keith, that the battle here in Boston right now is to portray John Kerry as a warrior, a man who was captain of the ship, won all the medal in Vietnam, but also as a regular guy.  And I would think that would be the hardest sell here. 

OLBERMANN:  Any time that you get a Massachusetts senator with money behind him, it is that conundrum that Teddy Kennedy‘s second eldest brother faced 44 years ago now, Chris.  It‘s the same thing.  It is that wish to make the man look embraceable, to make him look human.

And at the other hand, there is that—the reality of the finance and of the seemingly aristocratic geographical nature.  A Massachusetts politician coming into the national scene seems to have something of a disadvantage just walking through that door to the national scene.

MATTHEWS:  I remember Richard Nixon in a five-o‘clock shadow, trench coat.  Late in the campaign, he was behind the numbers, but narrowly.  And he decided to take a real crack at Kennedy‘s money.  And he said to the people, you know, it is not going to be Jack‘s money he is going to be spending. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  In other words, it is the taxpayer, the regular working stiff.  He is going to be spending their money if he gets into office as a liberal. 

Doris, I actually enjoyed that crack, because it had real grit to it.

(CROSSTALK)

GOODWIN:  But the point is, like FDR was a wealthy man, John Kennedy was wealthy, it is whether you have empathy for other people.  And I think the reason the Vietnam experience is so important for John Kerry is not simply the hero and the Bronze Star and the Silver Star, but he was with ordinary people and he led them and he did it well, presumably.  And that‘s what people are talking about, which is the same thing for John Kennedy. 

They said, if he hadn‘t been in World War II, he might not have come across when he ran for Congress that first time, way back in 1946. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, Doris...

GOODWIN:  Ordinary guy.

MATTHEWS:  You know, Doris, although you haven‘t said it yet, that a lot of middle-class and working people deeply resent rich liberals spending their money.  They come into office with all kinds of family money.  They don‘t even need their salaries.  And they commence to pass legislation which spends money on poor people and taxes the middle class.  And it drives them absolutely crazy.  That is why they vote Republican. 

(CROSSTALK)

GOODWIN:  Yes, but there‘s no reason Massachusetts should be labeled with this more than any other state.  What about California?  What about New York?

MATTHEWS:  Taxachusetts?  It‘s Taxachusetts.  Why does everybody move to New Hampshire to get out of this place? 

GOODWIN:  Look, we have had Republican governors here.  This state,

that is what I

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  But why do people leave to avoid taxes?

GOODWIN:  Oh, more people stay.  And people come in all the time. 

We‘ve got immigrants all the time.  You love this state. 

MATTHEWS:  I do, but I know—I also love New Hampshire. 

Anyway, Doris, Keith, stay with us.

When we come back, Keith Olbermann takes look at the meteoric rise and fall of one-time Kerry rival Howard Dean, who is speaking here tonight, the former Vermont governor himself.

You are watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Democratic Convention. 

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

Campbell.

BROWN:  Chris, I‘m here with Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon. 

And, as you well know, Oregon is in play for a lot of different reasons.  What is the challenge there for Democrats? 

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON:  Well, clearly, we will be outspent there.

But I have never seen the kind of unity that I have seen this year.  I also think Oregon has always rejected extremism.  I just think so many people look, for example, at this administration‘s position on stem cell research.  Their policy is going to make it harder to get cures for people, to create high-skilled, high-wage jobs.  Those kinds of policies, the Bush position on stem cell research, that kind of thing is really going to hurt the administration in Oregon. 

BROWN:  Why?  Why do you think that issue resonates?  Obviously, we are going to here from Ron Reagan shortly on that issue.  Do you really think that that is something that can be a defining (AUDIO GAP) campaign?

WYDEN:  I think that Americans just hate to see (AUDIO GAP) a chance to help people (AUDIO GAP)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re right back here.

Let‘s go right now.  As Campbell Brown talking, let‘s talk about that stem cell thing. 

Doris, older people, according to Ron Reagan—and we talked to him earlier tonight on the program right here—say that one of the big issues, that one of the biggest constituency groups that cares about stem cell researcher are older people, senior citizen.  Ron Wyden, by the way, is an expert.  That‘s how he came to Congress, with the Silver Panthers.

Do you sense that could be a turnout issue for older people?

GOODWIN:  I do.  I think especially because it is going to be put in the context of a Ronald Reagan supporter, son, being able to talk about.  And it makes no sense.  I think it is a huge mistake politically on President Bush‘s part. 

MATTHEWS:  I think it is an issue that is not like the right to life or the right—the pro-choice position.  It doesn‘t have to do with sexual behavior.

GOODWIN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  It doesn‘t have to do with what we consider normally sexual misbehavior.  It doesn‘t have to do with what we might normally consider irresponsible behavior. 

It has to do with science.  It also has to with a very, very primitive human being, you could argue.  And I think that is where it gets to be very tricky.  Is this part—is this a human being we are talking about dismembering for scientific purposes?  Does it have a little bit of that dangerous stuff we got in the third Reich, we we‘re experimenting with all kinds of things we shouldn‘t be? 

Howard Fineman is with us now. 

Howard, are you with us? 

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  I think I am.  I‘m plugged in, in various ways. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, we have just transitioned from a very high-minded, I think, lethal attack on the president by Ted Kennedy. 

FINEMAN:  Yes, it was.

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t know about you, but that had a silver lining, but, boy, I was suggesting before, he accused him of being King George, basically, of Britain, who inherited his throne. 

FINEMAN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Somewhat illegitimately.  He said we needed to return wisdom and honesty to the White House, suggesting it is not there now. 

That‘s a pretty good

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  Yes.  With the

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  Suggesting there‘s a dumb liar in the White House right now. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, those are your words. 

FINEMAN:  No, well, that was

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  By the way, you sound like the first draft of most of these Democratic speeches, by the way. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  A dumb liar is now a man who lacks wisdom.  What is it, then?

FINEMAN:  No, I‘m not saying that.  That‘s what Ted Kennedy was saying.  This whole convention so far has been an amazing study in veiled knifings. 

It has been like the British police who have the ball bearings inside the gloves.  They look like they‘re hitting you with gloves, when there is really metal inside.  That‘s what they are doing here.  Very rarely are they actually using George Bush‘s name.  It is was unusual that Ted Kennedy did that tonight.

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

FINEMAN:  But they are going after him, George Bush, as hard as they can without making it seem personal.  It is trick of the eye and of the ear that they doing. 

MATTHEWS:  Right.  To paraphrase Muhammad Ali, they are floating like a butterfly, but stinging like a tarantula. 

FINEMAN:  Yes, they are.

GOODWIN:  Like a tarantula.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Let me go right now to Keith.

Keith, this issue of stem cell, have you ever put it on your top five? 

It is a hard one to argue in a political bar room like we have up here. 

OLBERMANN:  It is.

But notice the last time we were talking about this, Chris, was at the funeral of President Reagan, where it was so presumed to be a topic with which the current Republican leaders would have to negotiate with Nancy Reagan in terms of what her participation would be in the Republican Convention and how key the Republican position and the administration position on stem cell would be for the George Bush coronation at the end of August. 

And instead, because of various reasons, not the least of which Ron Reagan speaking at the Democratic Convention tonight, it has suddenly become an issue in which, whatever happens and however this is further resolved, it is clearly the Democrats in control of the issue, as opposed to where it was when George Bush originally ruled on it in 2001 and where it had been seemingly through the entire week of mourning of the late President Reagan. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, it an interesting bookend issue, although it‘s not one of the top three or four issues in the campaign.

Howard, it seems to me that right before Ronald Reagan—rather, before George W. Bush really had to reach the heights of his political career in dealing with 9/11, in that month before, we often forget that the issue he was grappling with on the ranch in Crawford wasn‘t terrorism.  It was stem cell.

FINEMAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  And he gave a rather delicately put together speech that sort of sewed it up for a while politically, didn‘t really answer the question.

FINEMAN:  Right.  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  And here it is coming back tonight.  Is this going to have any profound impact on the election because of Ron Reagan and Nancy Reagan? 

FINEMAN:  I don‘t think it will be profound, but anything at the margins in a close race like this is going to be can be profound. 

It shows you the sensitivity of the Republican Party and Karl Rove, Bush‘s strategist, on this, that they spent the entire month of August in 2001 doing that, very carefully crafted to try to seek a middle ground at that time.  There is no middle ground morally on it in many people‘s minds on both sides of it.  That is why it is going to continue to be an issue. 

But, No. 1, the war, the economy, health care.  For people who care passionately about the theory of life, it will matter. 

MATTHEWS:  Of course.  I understand.  I‘m Roman Catholic.  I know the issue.  It has to do with when life begins. 

And, of course, that has been addressed by John Kerry very recently.  And it is a tricky subject in a secular society to discuss metaphysics and what people really deep down believe based upon their background largely. 

Howard, Keith, Doris, stand by.  Howard Dean will speak in just a few moments. 

NBC‘s Carl Quintanilla joins us again from the floor now.  And he is with a former Dean supporter—Carl.

QUINTANILLA:  Chris, good evening.

Howard Dean does speak at 9:00 Eastern time.  And one of the few unions who originally endorsed Dean was the Municipal Workers Union.  Gerry McEntee is the union president and also the chair of the AFL-CIO‘s political committee.

GERALD MCENTEE, PRESIDENT, MUNICIPAL WORKERS UNION:  Right.

QUINTANILLA:  What do you expect to hear from Dean this evening? 

MCENTEE:  Oh, I think Dean is going to give a speech.  Oh, he will talk about issues, obviously, like health care.  But I think it is going to be a speech of coming together, of unification, of solidarity within the Democratic Party. 

I think he is for Kerry.  I think he is truly supportive.  I think he will go all around the country.  He may even mention Ralph Nader and the harm that Ralph Nader could do, like he did in 2000 and could be repeated in 2004.  So, I think it will be a speech of unity, but one of direction.

QUINTANILLA:  Your union originally backed Dean, then in March endorsed Kerry.  How much now is the union backing out of what appears to have been putting their money on the wrong horse? 

(CROSSTALK)

MCENTEE:  Well, we supported Dean.  And then Dean wasn‘t able to be the messenger in terms of the primaries.  And Kerry actually grew, you know, almost day by day, winning Iowa, and then going in New Hampshire.  And I think he has really measured into being a presidential candidate. 

And we are happy with him, very, very happy. 

QUINTANILLA:  Mr. McEntee.  Thank you, Gerald McEntee of the Municipal Workers Union—Chris. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Carl.

Keith—he is taking a look back, by the way, back at the spectacular year that Howard Dean had. 

Let‘s talk about—tell us about his rise and fall. 

OLBERMANN:  It has been epic.  It reminds me a little bit, though not contextually, of Eugene McCarthy in 1968. 

But in a parallel universe somewhere, Howard Dean is not going to be talking tonight.  He is going to be talking and addressing the convention, as all the nominees do, on its final night.  He is gearing up in this parallel universe for the final 97 days of his campaign.  He is going to ride that bump from having selected his running mate.  He‘s going to come down the stretch of the kind of ascendancy from obscurity that only people like Woodrow Wilson or Harry Truman or Jimmy Carter could have previously claimed. 

But that is another universe.  In this one, he is talking on Tuesday night at about 9:00 and in the backs of their mind, some of the delegates have to be wondering if he is going to scream again. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And then we‘re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House.  Yes!

OLBERMANN (voice-over):  OK, hold it right there. 

Contrary to instant urban legend, the scream did not define Howard Dean and it did not end his candidacy.  But something did. 

CROWD:  Dean!  Dean!  Dean!  Dean!  Dean!  Dean!  Dean!  Dean!  Dean! 

OLBERMANN:  Exactly one year ago today, “The Washington Post” described his seemingly mad dash to the Democratic nomination as a campaign that has been defying gravity.  He had raised $4 million over the Internet.  He was not just the next Democratic nominee.  He had invented the next way for candidates to become nominees. 

Then the big boys got out of school and started throwing the fish around.  Dean had survived near anonymity.  He had broken out in front in polling in Iowa in April 2003.  He had shattered the fund-raising marks, then shattered them again.  He had debated the mainstream guys and held his own. 

DEAN:  I‘m tired of being the pincushion here.  I‘ve seen you do to that me long enough.  And eventually I am going to respond.  And I am now. 

OLBERMANN:  He had the pincushion part right, but in fact it was the other candidates doing the responding.  Dean had made a big win in the Iowa caucuses central to his candidacy.  So his opponents, especially John Kerry, raised the stakes there.

And Dean made a series of tactical errors, none by itself fatal, cumulatively, disastrous.  December 2 and 3, he stumbled over a question about unsealing records from his time as governor of Vermont.  December 9, he accepted Al Gore‘s endorsement at a time when that provoked as many laughs and shudders, even among Democrats, as it did nods of approval. 

December 15, 48 hours after it happened, Dean announced the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer.  Possibly, it was true.  Possibly, it was not what America wanted to hear, not with the hidey-hole images so fresh. 

January 8, 11 days before those vital Iowa caucuses, we at NBC dug up the old Canadian public affairs programs in which Dean had criticized the nature of those caucuses themselves.  And January 11, as the state‘s biggest newspaper endorsed not Dean, but John Edwards, Dean got into a verbal battle with a Republican heckler. 

DEAN:  You sit down.  You have had your say.  And now I‘m going to have my say.

OLBERMANN:  And then came the caucusing in Iowa, Kerry first, Edwards second, Dean third. 

And after then, the scream that really wasn‘t.  By the time the national media and thus the national audience found out that Howard Dean really did have to scream to be heard in the back of that packed campaign headquarters, it was too late, too late for the acoustical truth, too late for the candidacy. 

DEAN:  Yes!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  In retrospect now, it also seems reasonable to suggest Dean was the front-runner because of the front to which had he run. 

His opposition to George Bush was stern.  To the action in Iraq, it was unqualified, this while full-scale war and seemingly full-scale victory was still fresh in most Americans‘ minds and too hot for most Democratic candidates to handle.  For a while, it must have looked to Howard Dean and his supporters as if he was the only Democrat who really opposed the incumbent administration.  In fact, he was only the first—Chris, back to you outside Faneuil Hall. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, Keith, I think that is the main point.  It wasn‘t that he was the first.  He was the pacer bunny, wasn‘t he, for this campaign? 

OLBERMANN:  Ultimately, I think we can conclude that without any fear of contradiction. 

He was the guy who sort of knocked that wall down.  If not a pacer from a horse-racing sense, then he was the first one through the wall, and everybody else was able to slipstream or follow through him—with him. 

MATTHEWS:  And that is what I think was the bit of profile in courage right here, since the phrase was used earlier.

END   

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