updated 7/28/2004 11:30:06 AM ET 2004-07-28T15:30:06

Guest: Max Cleland, Jerry Brown

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  That‘s what I think was a bit of profile in courage right here, since it‘s the phrase that was used earlier.  He did something that the other guys hadn‘t done before.  We‘re watching a convention where everyone is trying to be so civil and pleasant while they stick the knife in.  But he didn‘t bother getting pleasant about it.  He just put the knife in.  And what he did, I think, tell me if I‘m wrong, Howard, he said you can get away—in fact, you can (UNINTELLIGIBLE) support in this Democratic world, the party world, by taking on President Bush.  And John Kerry has yet to actually do it the same way he did.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  No, he hasn‘t done it that way,

because it was the calculation of Kerry—is the calculation of Kerry, and

a lot of primary caucus voters that the unsheathed knife wasn‘t exactly the

way to do it, that it wasn‘t enough just to excite the molten core of the

Democratic Party, to horribly mix my metaphors, but you have to go the

middle route in order—you‘re going to have the hard core because they

hate George Bush.  They‘ll walk through walls for him.  But you‘ve got to -

·         basically Kerry adopted Howard Dean‘s game plan, but in softer, subtler tones.  That‘s exactly...

MATTHEWS:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as a pundit—stay with Howard for a minute, we‘ll get the history in a minute here.  Howard, is it your sense that the Democrats had gone ahead and nominated Howard Dean, that he would have been McGovernized by now, he would have been marginalized by the Republicans as a lefty? 

FINEMAN:  Well, the answer is a quick yes, he would have been.  This convention here in Boston would have been portrayed as another kind of New England, the New England of Ben and Jerry, you know, not John Adams.  The New England of (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MATTHEWS:  People‘s Republic of Vermont. 

FINEMAN:  People‘s Republic of Vermont.  It would have been entirely different.  And Howard Dean doesn‘t have the military record.  I‘ll say again and again, the key to this convention are the veterans and the theme of swift boats in Vietnam.  Howard Dean would not have been able to talk about that.  That‘s a way that Kerry can reach across to Republicans, or at least try to. 

MATTHEWS:  And that‘s the John Kerry that introduced himself to Massachusetts back in the early 1970s.  I mean, this is not a morning glory here.  John—we all remember him, I remember him back when I was a capital cop.  He was leading the charge of the moratorium back in ‘71 when he threw the ribbons, not medals, but he threw them, but then he came and he had a tough time in Massachusetts, losing that race to Cronyn (ph).  And no Democrat ever loses a general election up here, it seems, for a House seat.  And then he came back and served his good time, went to B.C. law, became a good Catholic again, went to the nice Boston College law school.  It‘s very important up here to be what you are if you‘re Catholic, I think, and he joined that world.  He became a prosecutor, which reminded people of his war record, and he became although a liberal and as everyone points out correctly so, the man with the most liberal voting record in the country, in the United States Senate, he is in fact the guy who is a former prosecutor, and he‘s on the record with that, and he‘s a former military guy and a medal winner.  So isn‘t that the way he‘s selling himself right here tonight? 

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, MSNBC ANALYST:  But I think the really interesting question is suppose he had voted against the war in the first place, then he still would have been a Vietnam hero, he still would have had a prosecutor background, and then everything would have been cleaner.  The way Teddy Kennedy was able to speak tonight against the war in Iraq, because he voted against it.  What happened is Howard Dean...

MATTHEWS:  You like clarity. 

GOODWIN:  Well, yes, I think the country might have liked clarity too. 

MATTHEWS:  You think he lacks clarity?

FINEMAN:  No, John Kerry is not a man of clarity on the issues, often by design.  They‘re selling his personal story, the Vietnam side of it.  They‘re going to take the risk on the peacenick years, because they think on balance it‘s worth it.  But he is very careful.  I‘ve rarely seen a politician who‘s so careful and cautious most of the time. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go to Keith because he‘s a journalist I know loves the obscurity of everything, and you love—certainly you must love the obscurity of a guy who is a warrior, he is running on his war record, who voted for a war, at least to authorize it, but hopes to win by getting votes from people who didn‘t like the war. 

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Yeah, I also like diagraming things, and we could certainly use that in terms of following Senator Kerry on this particular issue.  But to bring it back to some degree, Chris, to Howard Dean.  Relative to Iraq in particular, if this is some sort of high school play version of Shakespeare‘s “Julius Caesar,” clearly Howard Dean was Cassius in taking the first action, and perhaps you might want to put John Kerry in, cast in the role of Brutus.  That first move was not the decisive one by any stretch of the imagination, but it was the first move, and it‘s ironic to see...

MATTHEWS:  Who is going to be Marc Anthony?  We‘re all waiting...

(CROSSTALK)

OLBERMANN:  We can keep casting as long as we need to until Dean is ready to take the podium. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... Julius Caesar, I guess that‘s in your play, playlet, is in fact the president of the United States, right? 

OLBERMANN:  Criticism of the president of the United States.  Let‘s not go off into any unfortunate analogies, but criticism of the president of the United States, criticism of the war in Iraq.  We need to reconstruct that mind-set from May 1 of last year, which is the context in which I think historically Howard Dean‘s campaign will be seen.  That flight deck mind-set, that, you know, mission accomplished mind-set. 

It was a tough thing, whether it was in the media or in the political world, to come out and say, no, I don‘t think this was the right thing to do, no, I don‘t think it was the correct administration, no, I don‘t think it‘s over.  Those were all tough issues and tough issues to be the first one to stick your head through that particular wall, and in whatever else the Democratic Party does with or about Howard Dean, you‘d think they‘d probably be thinking about those issues tonight as he speaks. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s why I think your parallel to Eugene McCarthy, a man who was a hero of mine in many ways when I was young and I moved from being for Goldwater to being for Gene McCarthy, because he seemed like another man—like Hillary did—like a man who was gutsy enough to say what he thought, like Goldwater.  Most people I think who don‘t have to really be professional politicians are romantics about politicians, and we look for the guy who is willing to say what he believes. 

Let‘s go right now, we‘re getting ready.  Here he is himself.  We‘ve been talking about him.  The prelude has been hours, here‘s the performance.  Howard Dean on the podium of the Democratic National Convention.  Let‘s listen up. 

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR:  Thank you.  Thank you, Maine and Vermont. 

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Texas and Michigan.  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much.  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

My Lord.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much.  I was hoping—thank you very much.  Thank you so much. 

I was hoping for a reception like this.  

I was just kind of hoping it was going to be on Thursday night instead of Tuesday night.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

I may not be the nominee, but I can tell you this:  For the next 100 days, I‘ll be doing everything that I can to make sure that John Kerry and John Edwards take this country back for the people who built it.

(APPLAUSE)

Because tonight we are all here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

(APPLAUSE)

I am proud of John Kerry‘s leadership.  And I intend to stand shoulder to shoulder with him as we fight for the things that Harry Truman promised us in 1948:  health insurance for every single American...

(APPLAUSE)

... a jobs program that will create jobs instead of destroying them...

(APPLAUSE)

... standing up for middle-class and working Americans who got a tax increase, not a tax cut.

(APPLAUSE)

... and standing up for a foreign policy that relies on the president of the United States telling the truth to the American people before we send our brave soldiers to fight in a foreign war.

(APPLAUSE)

I‘d like a commander in chief who supports our soldiers and supports our veterans instead of cutting their hardship pay abroad and cutting their health benefits when they get back home. 

I‘m Howard Dean, and I‘m voting for John Kerry.

(APPLAUSE)

I‘m voting for John Kerry and John Edwards because I want a president and vice president as good and as strong as the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

I‘m voting for John Kerry and John Edwards, because I want to see an America that‘s restored as the moral leader of the world.

(APPLAUSE)

America‘s greatness rests on far more than the power of our arms. Our greatness is also measured by our goodness.  It is in the capacity of our minds, of our hearts.  And it‘s in the strength of our democracy.

As I‘ve traveled America, I‘ve seen that strength.  I‘ve seen it in the people I‘ve met.  I‘ve seen it in their desire to take our country back for the American people. 

I saw it in a college student in Pennsylvania who sold her bicycle and sent us a check for $100 with a note that said, “I sold my bicycle for democracy.”

(APPLAUSE)

I saw it in a woman from Iowa who handed me $50, all in quarters. She saved it from her monthly disability check because she wanted to make America well again.  

I saw it...

(APPLAUSE)

I saw it in a 19 year old from Alabama who had never been involved in politics before he got in his car and drove to Vermont, because he didn‘t feel like anybody was listening to him in Washington.

(APPLAUSE)

They learned that politics is too important to be left to politicians. 

(APPLAUSE)

They didn‘t just pack their bags; they packed their hopes that we can take our country back.  You know what?  We will.

(APPLAUSE)

We are not going to be afraid to stand up for what we believe in ever again.  We are not going to let those who disagree with us shout us down under a banner of false patriotism.  We are not going to give up a single voter, or a single state, because we‘re going to be proud to call ourselves Democrats, not just here in Boston. 

We‘re going to be proud to call ourselves Democrats in Mississippi. 

We‘re going to be proud to call ourselves Democrats in Utah and Idaho.  

(APPLAUSE)

And we‘re going to be proud to call ourselves Democrats in Texas.

(APPLAUSE)

Never again will we be ashamed to call ourselves Democrats—never,  never, never. 

We‘re not just going to change presidents; we‘re going to change this country and we‘re going to reclaim the American dream.

(APPLAUSE)

To everyone who supported me, you‘ve given me so much, and I can‘t thank you enough.  This was never about me.  This was about us.

(APPLAUSE)

This was about giving new life to our party.  This was about giving new energy to our democracy and providing hope again for the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. 

And so, today, even though you‘ve already given so much, I want to ask you to give one more thing.  I want you to give America President John Kerry.

(APPLAUSE)

Together—together we can take our country back, and only you have the power to make it happen.  You have the power.  You have the power.  You have the power to make it happen.

Thank you very much.  Thank you very much.

MATTHEWS:  What a rollercoaster of emotions that guy has been through this year.  Howard Dean of course who was riding high, riding high.  And many people thought he had the nomination of the Democratic Party for president locked up.  He was doing extremely well in the polls until the voters started to count and then with the voters started count his numbers started to fall beginning in Iowa. 

One of the interesting things tonight will be to watch Hillary, rather not Hillary Rodham Clinton, but Mrs. Kerry, Teresa Heinz Kerry, say that one of the reasons she became a Democrat not so long ago, just a few years ago, even though she was married to a Democratic senator, was the way that the Republican Party treated Max Cleland, the senator from Georgia in that election in which they took the Senate seat away from him.  Did you know that, Teresa Heinz Kerry told us the other night one of the reasons she switched parties was watching the Republicans tear into you, a man of war record, a fabulous war record and sacrifice and accused you of not being patriotic. 

MAX CLELAND, FORMER SENATOR:  Yes, she told me that in November of last year personally.  I think basically people are sick of the kind of character assassination politics that this administration really represents.  They‘re really sick of the people going after like John McCain in 2000 in South Carolina when George Bush got in trouble and when they wanted to take the Senate back, they went after me with those ads of me up there with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. 

MATTHEWS:  What was the vote.

CLELAND:  Now they are going after John Kerry.

MATTHEWS:  What was vote that they said represented a betrayal?  wasn‘t it having to do with labor rights and federal employment, that kind of thing? 

CLELAND:  Technically was votes in committee because I was on the Governmental Affairs Committee in terms of disagreeing with taking away the security, the civil service security for those going to the Homeland Security Department.  And as Senator Byrd said, how do you make the country more secure by taking away the security of the workers.  Any ways, it was a petty thing. 

MATTHEWS:  You wanted to keep civil service jobs.

CLELAND:  The point was that they put me up there with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, which was ridiculous.  The very notion that somehow my vote enhanced terrorist attacks. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you‘ve been in the line of fire politically as well as in the war and you paid in both cases.  Let me ask you about what could happen this fall, and we‘re getting on it fast.  Suppose they say, they take pictures John Kerry—they‘ve already been doing it, tapes on television of John Kerry saying I voted for the $87 billion for the military in the occupation of Iraq, before I voted against it.  Couldn‘t they do to him exactly what they did to you and just rip him apart? 

CLELAND:  They‘ve tried that already.  They spent $90 million trying to take out John Kerry.  It hadn‘t worked, why, because as you go nation wide with this kind of stuff, you alienate the real crossover independent voter, which is sick and tired of the kind of character assassination politics that this president has been famous for.  And they are hungry for the politics of hope, the politics of optimism and real bona fide change in setting a new positive course for this country and that‘s one reason why John Kerry is doing so well. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about what you would like to see him do when he gets in.  You were head of the Veterans Administration under President Carter, the United States senator from Georgia, you know how the business of government works.  What do you expect to get to see if John Kerry wins right off the bat? 

CLELAND:  A couple of things.  He‘s already said within weeks he‘ll go to the United Nations and get the world community involved in Iraq, like it is not involved now.  Secondly, he‘ll go to NATO and get NATO money boots on the ground to actually help take the target off the backs of young Americans.  And third, beef up the Iraqi National Force.  And then focus on al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalism that came after us September 11 and also focus on North Korea and add about 40,000 additional forces and double our special forces capability, bring the guard and reserve home for homeland security duty. 

He will reorient our whole approach to national security, and make us more secure rather than less. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the Democrats have learned their lesson that you can‘t hide your patriotism.  Back with McGovern ran, as guy who had been a bomber pilot, fought with Tito against the Nazis, had done amazingly heroic things, he never really sold that, he just figured well, that‘s not relevant and let the Republicans turn him into a lefty.  Do you think the Democrats have learned their lessons, if you‘ve got some military experience and some military sacrifice, if you‘ve got some purple hearts in the team, show them. 

CLELAND:  Well, just be who you are.  The great thing about John Kerry is he is a bona fide authentic American hero.  He doesn‘t have to fake it, he doesn‘t have to spin it and when the Republicans came after him after he nailed down the nomination, he defended himself.  I mean, I think you can‘t let the attacks go undefended but you have to make sure that you put forward your candidacy in a way in which you lead the country in a positive hopeful way, which they‘re hungry for.  The American people are hungry for positive leadership now and leadership that is authentic and that they can trust.  That‘s the key issue in this campaign. 

MATTHEWS:  I think you guys are going back to the Democratic party of 1960 with high hopes and Frank Sinatra singing and the veterans are coming home to fight for leading the country.  It‘s almost a pre-Vietnam mentality ironically. 

CLELAND:  And a candidate who is a bona fide authentic hero who saved his crew—elements of his crew and came home to lead this country to better days.  That‘s exactly what you guy in John Kerry.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s the big line, we‘re going to hear for the headline when you introduce Kerry on Thursday night. 

CLELAND:  Stay tuned. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, come on.  OK, thank you, Max Cleland, great to have you.  Thanks for joining us tonight. 

We‘re joined right now by NBC‘s Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert. 

Let me—I have to say, Tom and Tim, that this reminds me of being a very young kid and watching the Kennedy and Nixon conventions of 1960 where Nixon was the cold warrior but Kennedy beat him at his own game, but they‘re both competing to be the most patriotic party. 

TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR:  Well, I don‘t think there‘s any question about that.  You‘ve got two candidates who are running this week already on the 9-11 Commission report, we talked about that earlier.  I was thinking about Howard Dean from whom we just heard and how I really think he made this party what it is today in the early stages of this primary, he phantom weight who was fighting above his weight.  He really put Iraq into play, said he represented the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.  Gave the party new energy, fighting spirit.  Brought a lot of people to the fray here, not just Democrats who felt like they were disenfranchised, but a lot of young people with the help of Joe Trippi that he helped raise money on the Internet.  So he made John Kerry not only a better candidate but probably gave him a better organization because he had to shake up his organization in the middle of all of this, so you‘re right in many ways this is the mirror image of 1960 in terms of a matchup and you‘ve even got a JFK running again this time who is a heroic figure on a navy boat in the South Pacific—Tim. 

MATTHEWS:  Only this ti‘s Jim Rassman instead of Red Fay, the crewmen are coming back and that‘s going to be a big theme Tim and Tom, in the next couple of days.  They‘re bringing back all the guys that fought with him, we had a couple up on the platform here.  Tim, it is going to be like PT-109 days up here. 

TIM RUSSERT, NBC ANCHOR:  They believe if they can make John Kerry a viable alternative as commander-in-chief who can lead the war on terrorism, that they can make him president.  And if they can have his follow compatriots from Vietnam say this is our leader, who took us into enemy fire, he can do the same thing to America he‘d do the same thing in this new war.  There‘s also as, you know, Chris, some veterans who served with John Kerry who will not say good things and they‘ve been very well organized and they‘re fanning out around the country.   And so—but this is going to be a real epic battle, there‘s no doubt about it.  Can John Kerry reach that threshold where the American people think he is tough on the war on terror, as tough as George W. Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Tim, I imagine you‘re a Republican in the White House sitting with Karl Rove and you‘re going over the numbers hand the quotes tonight.  Read the defenses, what do you think they‘re thinking? 

How are they going to go right through this team that‘s put on the show the last couple of days? 

BROKAW:  First of all, they‘ve got a white house and all the power that comes with it and an ability to control to some degree the agenda.  They‘re hoping nothing worse happens in Iraq, that there‘s not some kind of catastrophic event that reflects poorly on their record there.  And then they‘ve got a candidate who a little bit like Howard Dean, likes to scrap and is not afraid of it.  You know, as a candidate, as a political figure, George W. Bush has an admirer in Bill Clinton, who thinks that he‘s pretty good at what he does.  He knows where he has to go and what he has to say and he‘s not afraid to do it.  They‘re going to begin Saturday for example out in Ohio with their own bus tour.  They‘re not going to sit back on the ranch and just weight for the Democrats to set the agenda for the remaining weeks of August. 

RUSSERT:  Chris, George W. Bush can do two things.  One, he can implement immediately many of the recommendations of the September 11 commission, which he will do as president, as commander-in-chief.  Secondly, his convention after the Olympics, in New York City, right before the third anniversary of September 11, we will see that bull horn video replayed over and over again, just trying to crest 60 days into an election.  This is the battle.  Who can lead us into the war on terror as well as deal with the anxieties at home. 

BROKAW:  One of the tricky parts I think both for the Democrats and for the Republicans, Chris, is when we do get to New York, there will be massive protests.  There are a lot of people who are aroused obviously about expressing their feelings about this administration and what this administration has done.  They‘ll be in New York.  Does that work for the Democrats or does it cut against them?  If it gets out of control in new York especially, it could hurt the Democrats.  And it could say to the country, if George Bush handles this correctly, look, he‘s the guy in charge, we‘ve got no other choice but to back him at this time. 

Look at all the protests that went up against Richard Nixon for example and he still won in 1968 and again in 1972, at the height of a very unpopular war. 

MATTHEWS:  Is it possible, Tim, that the Democrats will make a statement this week that remains in the weeks ahead undeniable? 

Can you take back the purple hearts that John Kerry won, can you take back the salutes of his fellow crewmen who showed up this week.  Is it possible they may make a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) landing on this administration on the toughness against terrorism front that cannot be taken back in New York? 

RUSSERT:  I think they‘re going to make a lot of headway.  I think they have already.  I think Bill Clinton‘s speech last night was extremely effective.  And I think on Thursday night, Chris, you‘re going to hear John Kerry as a commander-in-chief, a potential commander in chief.  That is his goal, that is his next mission if you will.  And you know ironically, as I sat here and listened to Howard Dean, John Kerry has to thank him for two things in this regard.  One, he defined the message.  Don‘t be afraid to go after George W. Bush not only on the tax cut and the economy, but also on the management of the war in Iraq.  And number two, Howard Dean by opting out of public financing encouraged John Kerry to do the same.  And if John Kerry had not done that, he could not have resisted or avoided the onslaught of negative ads over the last two months by the Bush campaign.  John Kerry owes an awful lot to Howard Dean as we sit here tonight in Boston, Massachusetts. 

MATTHEWS:  Time, we all love that law of unintended consequences. 

RUSSERT:  You got it. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Tom Brokaw, and Tim Russert.  When we come back, keynote speaker Barack Obama will take the podium at the convention and later Teresa Heinz Kerry.  We‘re here at Faneuil Hall all night long.  We want you to take part if our election blog.  Just go to hardblogger.msnbc.com.  You‘re watching HARDBALL.  It‘s coverage of the Democratic convention on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  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 us say to America in a loud, clear voice, send John Kerry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to Faneuil Hall.  Our panel right now with us is “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, the former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, and NBC News‘s Andrea Mitchell and the host of MSNBC‘s “Scarborough Country,” Joe Scarborough.

But first, NBC‘s Carl Quintanilla is on the floor with former California governor and perhaps future California attorney general Jerry Brown.

CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks, Chris.  That‘s right, we‘re here with two-term governor Jerry Brown, reelected by the biggest margin in California history.  A lot of new faces on stage tonight, Governor.  Is this part of the normal routine, or is there a structural shift going on in the party tonight?

MAYOR JERRY BROWN (D), OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA:  There‘s always some leaving and there are always some coming, so there are a lot of new faces, but I saw a lot of old faces up there.  In fact, I have one of those old faces, so I don‘t want to see too many faces too soon.  But there‘s a lot of enthusiasm, and the Democrats finally feel like they‘ve got a winner in John Kerry.

QUINTANILLA:  You make the point that nobody‘s really listening to some of these speeches here.  Why is that?

BROWN:  Well, it‘s because they leave the lights up.  Now, notice they‘ve turned the lights down.  The only time I gave a speech, Clinton turned the lights up, no one listened.  So when the lights go down, then you know those people are in good stead with the party leadership.

QUINTANILLA:  Governor, it‘s great to see you.  You‘re at ground central right here.

BROWN:  Right here.

QUINTANILLA:  This is a mess.  Chris, back to you.

MATTHEWS:  Thanks, Carl Quintanilla with Jerry Brown.

We‘re going to be hearing from one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party, Barack Obama.  His father was Kenyan—not many of those kind of people in this country—an African-American who came over, amazing story.  I was just in Kenya, Mr. Mayor.  They‘re living in huts, his parents.  It‘s an amazing story.  This guy is Harvard Law.  He‘s president of the law review.  He‘s the state senator.  And he may well be elected to the United States Senate from Illinois without opposition because, remember, Mike Ditka threw his hat in the ring a few weeks ago.  Cindy Crawford was mentioned.  A few candidates—let‘s listen to the mayor.  What do you think of this guy?

WILLIE BROWN, FORMER SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I

think he‘s absolutely the best.  As a matter of fact, he is going to be, I think, for the Democratic Party, part of the Democratic Party‘s future.  He‘s going to win in Illinois.  He‘s almost lockstep to win that particular seat, and that would also help, maybe, the Democrats control the U.S.  Senate.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s a seat they didn‘t expect to pick up.  Peter Fitzgerald just basically retired from the Senate this year.  They thought he could run again.  Go ahead, Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, one of the reasons, I was told by the convention organizers, that they put him up to be the keynote speaker was they thought Ditka was going to run...

MATTHEWS:  Mike Ditka.

MITCHELL:  ... and that he was going to really be challenged by an enormously popular, you know, folk hero.

MATTHEWS:  The Bears!

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL:  And then, of course, Ditka drops out, but they still have what, you know, everyone expects to be a really great choice to be the keynoter.

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”:  This party and all the fund-raisers and donors and lobbyists that are here around the perimeter of the convention hall all love Barack Obama because he is the story of the Democratic Party that they are helping to fund, but don‘t in and of themselves necessarily represent.

MATTHEWS:  Well, he has so many things going for him—incredible academic excellence, an African-American, but also an immigrant.  I mean, he puts it all together.

FINEMAN:  Puts it all together.  He‘s a great story for the party. 

These are two establishments here.  This Democratic Party establishment,

Howard Dean didn‘t win, John Kerry did, an insider.  The Republicans have

their establishment.  Obama represents something from outside the system

but yet has succeeded -- -

MATTHEWS:  Do I hear a “Newsweek” cover coming?  Barack Obama?  It sounds like you‘re selling it in the meeting room.

FINEMAN:  Well, why not?  Because he is the best argument for the American dream that‘s around in politics.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s hear some rainfall here instead of all sunshine.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  Well, no, I‘ll tell you what.  This is sunshine.  The guy‘s got a great PR agent, as great a news this is for him, as great a news...

MITCHELL:  He‘s got a great biography, it‘s not just a PR agent.

SCARBOROUGH:  He does.  He does.  As great a news—as great a news as this may be for him, for the Democrats in Illinois, think what bad news it is for the Republican Party.  In 1988, Ronald Reagan leaves office, George W. Bush wins Illinois.  Reagan, I believe, won it in ‘80, ‘84.  Illinois used to be the bellwether state.  It was the crossover state. 

Republicans and Democrats would go into it.  It would be the big prize.

FINEMAN:  It hasn‘t been for a while, though.

SCARBOROUGH:  And—that‘s what I‘m saying.  It‘s gotten to such a state for the Republicans in Illinois that now we have the possibility of a Republican seat in the United States Senate, in an evenly divided United States Senate, going to Democrat by default.  And let me tell you, Peter Fitzgerald didn‘t just leave office because he wanted to leave office.  He left office because he knew he couldn‘t get reelected.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, that‘s a state a has now shifted Democrat. 

But there are other states that have shifted dramatically Republican.  Minnesota was the state of Hubert Humphrey and Gene McCarthy and Wendy Anderson (ph) and Orville Freeman (ph).  Now it‘s pretty darn tough for Democrats.

SCARBOROUGH:  But hold on.  Minnesota what?  Minnesota wins for Carter in ‘80, wins for Carter in ‘84.  I mean...

MATTHEWS:  That‘s 24 years ago.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  I know.  But I‘m saying, though, I mean, George W.  Bush didn‘t win Minnesota in 2000.  He‘s not going to win Minnesota in 2004.  Let‘s name a state that‘s trending Republican that 20 years ago...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  ... Minnesota is...

SCARBOROUGH:  West Virginia.  There you go.  And of course, these days...

MITCHELL:  Georgia.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Missouri‘s a rough one for the Democrats this year. 

Missouri voted for Adlai Stevenson in 1956, and nobody...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  Karl Rove, knowing that Ohio is up for grabs and they could conceivably lose, the Republican strategist in the White House, is focusing on Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, because for cultural reasons and because the old Democratic Party is gone...

MATTHEWS:  The old DFL.

FINEMAN:  ... the old DFL is gone and the old liberal wing in those states is moving that way.  Don‘t forget, Jesse Ventura got elected there, an independent, and helped break up the old...

MATTHEWS:  I think a lot of that old social Democratic...

MITCHELL:  Ross Perot did that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... social Democratic left economic policies, the Swedes, the Norwegians that came over here to places like Minnesota and Wisconsin - - I think that‘s died out.  They‘re much more evangelical than they were.

SCARBOROUGH:  No, in 2000, though, Karl Rove also focused on Wisconsin.  He focused on Minnesota.  They gave a very gallant run at it, but they came up short.  Again, I‘m saying a state like Illinois—again, I think the big news is a state like Illinois trending so heavily Democratic again shows because, again, Chicago, very urban area...

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about California...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... once again shows...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... once again shows how the blue and red divide continues...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN:  What‘s going to be your explanation when Arizona goes Democratic, as is an absolute distinct possibility?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, all—I‘m telling you that—I mean, you pose that question as if I haven‘t just been talking about dire consequences for the Republican Party.  I don‘t think it is going to go Democratic this year.  I do think, though—everybody always talks about the South, Southeast.  I think Kerry made a mistake by getting John Edwards, as much as I love him.  They should have got a candidate that could have helped him out in Arizona, New Mexico, because I‘ll tell you what, that‘s really...

MITCHELL:  Well, who is that candidate?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Bill Richardson.

FINEMAN:  They didn‘t have one.

SCARBOROUGH:  Bill Richardson.  I mean, you know, a lot of people say that would have been problematic for him, but the Southwest—what are you smirking about?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... problematic because I think Democrats, to win a presidential election, can‘t just go to the Hispanic vote or the Western vote.  They have to get an attempt to win the whites and the blacks of the American South.  And if they‘re seen as not doing that, blacks and whites all over the country...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... who are Southern in their culture don‘t like the looks of it.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  Can I take it back to Obama for just a minute?

MATTHEWS:  Sure.

FINEMAN:  OK.  This is a guy who the establishment in Chicago didn‘t want, either.  The Daley family was not particularly enamored of him at first.  They had another candidate they wanted.

MATTHEWS:  They‘ve changed their mind, though.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... talked to Richie Daley about three hours ago.

FINEMAN:  Well, OK.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s very happy with this ticket.

FINEMAN:  Yes, but I‘m telling you...

MITCHELL:  Now he is.

FINEMAN:  ... the history of it.

MITCHELL:  He wasn‘t (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

FINEMAN:  This is a guy who knocked on the door and got in on his own because of his skill and because of his education.  It‘s a great story, whether you‘re a Republican or a Democrat.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Remember when Jesse Jackson came up from South Carolina, North Carolina, he had a letter from Sanford, the governor, introducing him to the Boss Daley, the old man (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and he offered him a job taking tokens out on the interstate.  That was the best deal that he would give Jesse Jackson.  He said, I think I‘ll go independent.  I think that was a smart move by Reverend Jackson.

FINEMAN:  He wasn‘t from—the other guy wasn‘t from Chicago.  That‘s a big part of it.

BROWN:  You know, there are a couple of other things going on, too.  The U.S. Senate is being kind of ignored.  Obama‘s just the tip of the iceberg.  There‘s also this guy, Sanchez (ph), in Colorado.  There‘s a woman named Tennenbaum (ph) in one of the other states...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN:  It‘s Salazar (ph), not—not...

MITCHELL:  But you know, a lot of these Senate challengers...

MATTHEWS:  We‘re going to go right now to...

MITCHELL:  ... are not here at this convention...

MATTHEWS:  ... the guy we‘ve been talking about.  This is the political genuine article.  guy Joe and I agree.  This is the guy both parties would like to have as their candidate for the United States Senate, Barack Obama.  His father‘s from Kenya, “Harvard Law Review” president...

FINEMAN:  Mother‘s from Kansas.

MATTHEWS:  ... everywhere, his mother‘s from Kansas.  That‘s not as interesting as Kenya!

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  He‘s going to deliver the keynote from Kenya.  This is a hell of a speaker.  He‘s running for the United States Senate in Illinois, and he may be unopposed.

BARACK OBAMA, ILLINOIS DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you so much.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Dick Durbin.  You make us all proud.

On behalf of the great state of Illinois...

(APPLAUSE)

... crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention.  Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let‘s face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely.

My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya.  He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack.  His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

OBAMA: But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son.  Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that‘s shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him.

(APPLAUSE)

While studying here my father met my mother.  She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas.

(APPLAUSE)

Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression.  The day after Pearl Harbor, my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton‘s army, marched across Europe.  Back home my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line.  After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA and later moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity.

(APPLAUSE)

And they too had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream born of two continents.  My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation.  They would give me an African name, Barack, or “blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.

(APPLAUSE)

They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren‘t rich, because in a generous America you don‘t have to be rich to achieve your potential.

(APPLAUSE)

They‘re both passed away now.  And yet I know that, on this night, they look down on me with great pride.

And I stand here today grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents‘ dreams live on in my two precious daughters.

I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy; our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...

(APPLAUSE)

... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

That is the true genius of America, a faith...

(APPLAUSE)

... a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution; and that our votes will be counted—or at least, most of the time.

(APPLAUSE)

This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and our commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers and the promise of future generations.

And fellow Americans, Democrats, Republicans, independents, I say to you, tonight, we have more work to do...

(APPLAUSE)

... more work to do, for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that‘s moving to Mexico, and now they‘re having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay 7 bucks an hour; more to do for the father I met who was losing his job and chocking back the tears wondering how he would pay $4,500 a months for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits that he counted on; more to do for the young woman in East St.  Louis, and thousands more like her who have the grades, have the drive, have the will, but doesn‘t have the money to go to college.

Now, don‘t get me wrong, the people I meet in small towns and big cities and diners and office parks, they don‘t expect government to solves all of their problems.  They know they have to work hard to get a head.  And they want to.

Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you:

They don‘t want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or by the Pentagon.

(APPLAUSE)

Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can‘t teach kids to learn.

They know that parents have to teach, that children can‘t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.  They know those things.

(APPLAUSE)

People don‘t expect—people don‘t expect government to solve all their problems.  But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all.  They know we can do better.  And they want that choice.

In this election, we offer that choice.  Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer.  And that man is John Kerry.

(APPLAUSE)

John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith and service because they‘ve defined his life.  From his heroic service to Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country.  Again and again, we‘ve seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available.  His values and his record affirm what is best in us.

John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded.  So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he offers them to companies creating jobs here at home.

(APPLAUSE)

John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren‘t held hostage to the profits of oil companies or the sabotage of foreign oil fields.

(APPLAUSE)

John Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties nor use faith as a wedge to divide us.

(APPLAUSE)

And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world, war must be an option sometimes, but it should never be the first option.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, a while back, I met a young man named Seamus (ph) in a VFW hall in East Moline, Illinois.  He was a good-looking kid, 6‘2”, 6‘3”, clear eyed, with an easy smile.  He told me he‘d joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week.

And as I listened to him explain why he had enlisted—the absolute faith he had in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service—I thought, this young man was all that any of us might ever hope for in a child.  But then I asked myself: Are we serving Seamus (ph) as well as he‘s serving us?

I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors who won‘t be returning to their own hometowns.  I thought of the families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one‘s full income or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists.

(APPLAUSE)

When we send our young men and women into harm‘s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they‘re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, let me be clear.  Let me be clear.  We have real enemies in the world.  These enemies must be found.  They must be pursued.  And they must be defeated.

John Kerry knows this.  And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure.

(APPLAUSE)

John Kerry believes in America.  And he knows that it‘s not enough for just some of us to prosper.  For alongside our famous individualism, there‘s another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we are all connected as one people.

If there‘s a child on the south side of Chicago who can‘t read, that matters to me, even if it‘s not my child.

(APPLAUSE)

If there‘s a senior citizen somewhere who can‘t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it‘s not my grandparent.

(APPLAUSE)

If there‘s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

(APPLAUSE)

It is that fundamental belief—it is that fundamental belief—I am my brother‘s keeper, I am my sisters‘ keeper—that makes this country work.

(APPLAUSE)

It‘s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

Well, I say to them tonight, there‘s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there‘s the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

There‘s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there‘s the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats.  But I‘ve got news for them, too.  We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don‘t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.

We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we‘ve got some gay friends in the red states.

(APPLAUSE)

There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.

We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

In the end, that‘s what this election is about.  Do we participate in a politics of cynicism, or do we participate in a politics of hope?

John Kerry calls on us to hope.  John Edwards calls on us to hope.  I‘m not talking about blind optimism here, the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don‘t think about it, or health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it.

That‘s not what I‘m talking.  I‘m talking about something more substantial.  It‘s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker‘s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.

(APPLAUSE)

Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God‘s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.

I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.

I believe we can provide jobs for the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.

I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.

America, tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do, if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president.  And John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president.  And this country will reclaim it‘s promise.  And out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come.

Thank you very much, everybody.

God bless you.

Thank you.

END   

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