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updated 7/30/2004 10:11:28 AM ET 2004-07-30T14:11:28

Guest: Mary Beth Cahill, Willie Brown

(MUSIC)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  We‘re back now with our panel.

But let me say before we go to anyone else that I have been saying all week I thought that this would be the week that John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, would have to replicate if he could the power of President Bush‘s performance on the days after 9/11, especially the very gripping manner in which the president stood next to that firefighter in New York and said that those who knocked down these buildings will hear from all of us. 

Well, tonight, I think he tried to do that.  If you read these words, I think they are the key to tonight‘s speech.  He said: “I am proud that, after September 11, all our people rallied to President Bush‘s call for unity to meet the danger.  There were no Democrats.  There were no Republicans.  There were only Americans.  How we wish it had stayed that way.”

And I think he was saying that, I am going back with you to that moment to offer a different direction from that rubble.  He took us to Iraq.  I am taking us to world leadership again.  He went the wrong when we were united.  I am bringing us back together in the right direction.  I think that was the key to tonight‘s speech. 

Howard Fineman. 

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  I think he won the night from the very first moment, where he said, I am John Kerry and I am reporting for duty.  This was the most pro-defense, pro-military, pro-patriotism, pro-flag.

MATTHEWS:  Pro-I‘m running for commander in chief. 

FINEMAN:  I‘m running for commander in chief, shot from the gun turret, in the boats.  He‘s saying, my bravery, my service will be for the country now.  And there hasn‘t been a Democratic Convention like this or a speech like that.

MATTHEWS:  He was running to the mantle of Ike Eisenhower, as much as George W. Bush.

FINEMAN:  Straight at it.  Straight at it.

MATTHEWS:  Mayor.  Mayor Brown. 

WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO:  Democrats came to Boston this week for the purpose of moving the party and its leadership from Clinton-Gore operation to Kerry-Edwards. 

Everybody speculated, including the pundits, that it would never happen, that Edwards would not have the strength, that Kerry would not be the strength, that there would still be lingering hover of Bill Clinton over this party.  Edwards did best to take that away, but tonight John Kerry did exactly that.  This is now John Kerry‘s Democratic Party, and John Kerry will win if he continues this process. 

MATTHEWS:  No mention of Clinton tonight. 

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT:  No mention of Bill Clinton, no mention of other past presidents. 

And following up on your point, Chris, he said, I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities, and I do, addressing his critics.  He says, just saying that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn‘t make it so.  Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn‘t make it so.  Proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn‘t make it so. 

He is saying that he will never go to war without telling parents and soldiers that he is prepared to win the peace. 

MATTHEWS:  Joe Scarborough. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  The words, as Willie Brown said, were remarkable coming from a Democratic candidate.

But from the very beginning, John Kerry was very rushed.  He was given remarkable words to say.  It was rushed.  I‘m telling you, the pacing was rushed.  Compare this speech tonight—I see you all shaking your head. 

(BOOING)

SCARBOROUGH:  Compare this speech tonight to the gold standard of these type of speeches, Bill Clinton, 1992, Ronald Reagan, 1980.  He blew through some great lines that were written for him.  And whether people here want to boo or not, it‘s just the case.

MATTHEWS:  Keep it up, Joe.  Work the crowd.

FINEMAN:  The way this worked is, John Kerry got a lot of advice from a lot of people.  Bob Shrum, the speechwriter, was the mastermind, but there were other contributions, Ted Sorensen, other speechwriters.

John Kerry read a very long speech.  This speech should have taken an hour, hour and 10 minutes.  He did it in 50 minutes.  On that line that Andrea read about just saying it can‘t make it so, that crowd would have cheered for 10 minutes, but he didn‘t take...

(CROSSTALK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, that‘s what I said after mission accomplished line.

(CROSSTALK)

W. BROWN:  John Kerry delivered the speech the way John Kerry could

deliver the speech.  He didn‘t deliver it by anybody else‘s standards.  He

understood exactly what he was doing and the intellectual manner in which

he made the presentation.  It was more like a college professor addressing

(CROSSTALK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  And we all know that what we want is a college professor delivering a speech at a convention. 

MATTHEWS:  Joe, I‘m going to try to find unity on this panel.

Joe, who gave a better speech, the man tonight or the man last night? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I think, again...

MATTHEWS:  A better speech overall, text, context, delivery.

SCARBOROUGH:  The text tonight was without a doubt the best text that anybody has given.

But I think you could find two, three people in this convention that gave better speeches as far as the delivery. 

And, Howard, you are shaking your head no, but he blew threw lines.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s look at the mission accomplished...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  No, no, no, I‘m sorry.  No, no, no, no, listen, I hate to give you all the reality check. 

If John Kerry had delivered that mission accomplished line and just stepped away from the microphone, the crowd would still be cheering.  I am not saying these weren‘t great lines.  I am not saying this wasn‘t a great message to take to middle America.  I am saying he blew threw his best applause lines in a way that Bill Clinton would have never done.  If you don‘t like that, I‘m sorry.  It‘s the truth. 

FINEMAN:  What I am going to say—what I am going to say is, first of all, I have spent a lot of time traveling the country.  And I will give you a reality check, OK? 

The whole tableau of this thing tonight, the flags, the speeches, the salute, the content, yes, it was too long in spots, yes, too much of a laundry list, yes, arithmetic that might not add up, but for what they wanted to accomplish tonight, which is to stand on George Bush‘s ground on patriotism and military leadership, he accomplished both, which was what they set out to do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Agreed, on content, as I have said. 

MITCHELL:  Andrea Mitchell.

Let me talk a bit about the delivery, because there is a cadence to this kind of speech.  And I have to tell you, Joe, they had a network schedule that they were trying to fit into.  They built it, as Howard just described, with the family, with the biography, the video, the flags, the crewmembers, Max Cleland, an extraordinary moment. 

This had to be done within that time frame.  They got it into prime time.  Just think back to 1972 and the difference between that Democratic Party, that campaign, convention, and this.  This was well organized.  The campaign is pointing out that it was written by John Kerry, with contributions from his speechwriting staff.

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL:  Excuse me, from his speechwriting staff and Shrum and others. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But I will tell you what.

But let me make this point.  I think it‘s shameful that in 2004 a presidential candidate who is introducing himself to America has to race through a great speech so the networks won‘t cut away from him.  I think that is shameful.  This is America‘s chance to meet a guy who may be their next commander in chief, and the fact that he has got to race through some great lines is very unfortunate. 

MITCHELL:  Let me just say one other thing, because I am talking about delivery and style and the content of the values section and the biography section. 

I think a lot of questions should be raised and are going to be raised in the next few days about his points on trade, tax cuts, the promises, what Howard called the laundry list, because it simply doesn‘t add up.  So the policy prescriptions are a real issue here, but the rhetoric was beautiful. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Just to cut through this argument, which is obviously a matter of perspective on what you are looking at, the words or the ways, his ability to deliver a profoundly effective speech, clearly, there were two sections of this speech that he didn‘t write.  They were written by someone very similar to Bob Shrum, if not Bob Shrum. 

But—we are not finished.  The journey isn‘t complete.  The march isn‘t over.  The promise isn‘t perfected.  At the end, this kind of short, bitey “New York Daily News” kind of style, it is time to reach for the next dream.  It is time to look to the next horizon.  For America, the hope is there.  The sun is rising.  For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.  But for all those who...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  “The work goes on.  The cause endures.  Hope still lives.”

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  It is pure Bob Shrum.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Ted Kennedy delivers Bob Shrum.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You may prefer Ted Kennedy‘s delivery to John Kerry, but the country still has the question of whether they like John Kerry‘s words. 

FINEMAN:  He could have satisfied Joe‘s criticism by lopping the middle laundry list, direct mail portion of the speech. 

MATTHEWS:  But that was required. 

FINEMAN:  But that was required because it‘s not just what‘s on TV tonight.  That part was for the rest of the campaign and the grassroots workers and everything else after that.  That‘s why that was in there.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Mayor Brown.

W. BROWN:  Chris, I don‘t want to blow Joe‘s bubble, but Kerry was not talking to Joe.

(CROSSTALK)

W. BROWN:  Kerry was talking beyond Joe.  And he reached the people he needed to reach in the time frame.

I agree with Joe‘s criticism about being compacted into a certain amount of time.  But that is the reality check that Howard is speaking about.  And believe me, the word went out.  Kerry can‘t do it.  He can‘t deliver the lines like Reagan and he can‘t do it like Clinton. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s have a discussion about delivery. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ...very quickly.  Content—let me repeat it again—content, exceptional, delivery, rushed.  Perhaps that‘s the network‘s fault and not John Kerry‘s.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Last word.  Let‘s talk about cadence for a second here. 

I would say, looking at this speech altogether, that it was better performed in its entirety than last night‘s speech by the vice presidential candidate, when everybody said that John Edwards would be hard to beat.  I think he beat him.

MITCHELL:  I think he beat him on style and on forcefulness.  And if the mantra of the campaign has been strength, look at the words, fight.  I will fight for you.

MATTHEWS:  It was very aggressive. 

FINEMAN:  He beat him.  Edwards‘ expectations were high and hard to beat. 

MATTHEWS:  My problem would be the laundry list.  I don‘t think it has a good rhetorical quality.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  It‘s simply contract with his constituents. 

Let‘s go right now—Mr. Mayor, we have got to go right now to Brian Williams.  He‘s down on the podium, right in the middle of the action—

Brian. 

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR:  And, Chris, I will add to this only by saying the following, that the perspective from back here was unique and interesting, to watch where his teleprompter was and paused.

We said on the network immediately following the end of the speech, without value judgment or opinion, he motored through.  He motored through all applause breaks, did not let them naturally reach a crescendo or play out in most cases and certainly put down two attempts to chant Kerry, Kerry. 

He had a digital clock about three feet high directly staring at him across the hall from here, meant to be the podium clock.  And it read 10:55 at the end of this speech.  But there was no question, with all that‘s been said and written about the prime-time, over-the-air-network especially, coverage of this convention, that was the approaching witching hour.

As Tom Brokaw pointed out tonight, the networks would have gone over had Kerry gone over, but he went through this speech in rapid fashion.  He had a story to tell.  He had a job to do.  It was evident from up here—

Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Brian. 

I guess we have been spending a lot of time right now on the shot clock, because that‘s what we are talking about at the FleetCenter. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And why do you do that?

MATTHEWS:  They are arguing the case that the shot clock was the most relevant factor tonight, that he was trying to shoot before the deadline. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And why do you do that?  You do not rush history.  You do not rush your introduction to the American people . This is John Kerry‘s most important moment.  And this is not a criticism. 

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL:  Joe, I think you‘re down in the weeds.  I really think that the speech stands on its own. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it will read very well in “The New York Times” tomorrow morning.  He could have done, though—he could have hit a home run. 

FINEMAN:  The picture of the night that will be all over the newspapers tomorrow morning will be John Kerry saluting at the beginning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s great. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you all the big—let‘s move on.  Point taken and debated. 

Point now, strength of the speech in terms of its torque.  Did it have enough visceral quality, enough guts, enough chops for this crowd and this audience and the Democrats like them around the country?

Mayor Brown, was this tough enough? 

W. BROWN:  I think it is better than tough enough.  I think he has taken Bush‘s turf and turned it into Democratic turf, just as Bill Clinton took Republican proposals and turned them into Democratic proposals. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  The big poach.

Let‘s go right now to Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert up in the booth—

Tom and Tim.

TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR:  Well, we have been talking up here as well about what he tried to do here tonight.  And it seems to me that he had, as Tim and I were talking about, these counterbalancing themes.

He was trying to signal to the rest of the country that he is strong enough to protect the national security of America, going back to his days.  He made no less than six references to his personal experiences in Vietnam, saying that he would add 40,000 American Army -- 40,000 troops to active duty, but not send them to Iraq.  He would not hesitate to use force.  He wouldn‘t let any foreign nation or institution have veto over us.

But, at the same time, there was a strong strain of economic populism, tax cuts for the middle class, health care, help for the elderly.  So those were the twin themes that this party feels it has to go forward for from here. 

Just as a point of personal privilege, I don‘t want anybody in that panel or in our audience to think that we would have bailed out on him or that he was held to some kind of standard that we put in place for him to finish by 10:55.  We would have covered it had it gone beyond that, quite obviously.  We began it.  And if he had gone over 11:00, in fact, we would still be here at this hour if he were still giving that speech. 

The party and the candidate as well realize that the American television audience, for better or worse these days, have attention spans, and that‘s the prime hour that they wanted to be in—Tim.

TIM RUSSERT, NBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  You know, Tom, not only did John Kerry continue those themes on economic and health care, but also reinforce this whole notion that the Democrats are also strong on national definition, increase the size of military, double the size of special forces. 

But I think he also did something else for this convention hall.  He had to show the Democrats that he had the passion and the toughness to wage a really good campaign over these next several months.  People have been very concerned and talking privately about overcaution in the Kerry campaign.  After tonight, they have seen a candidate who was willing to take the battle to George W. Bush. 

When he said restore trust and credibility to the White House, that is what George Bush said about Bill Clinton.  When he said help is on the way, that‘s what Dick Cheney said about the Clinton administration in 2000 about military spending.  And so I think Democrats tonight heard what they needed to hear.  It‘s on charge, full-speed ahead.

And independent voters had a chance to take his measure, to size him up, and he gave a little bit of himself, much more than I have ever seen John Kerry do, about who he is, where he came from, what he stands for, and what matters to him the most. 

Now, the Republicans have taken very copious notes.  They have already called in to say, wait a minute.  Where is the coherent policy?  George Bush says Iraq was the right decision then and now.  What does John Kerry say about that?  That‘s his Achilles heel.  We will see him at our convention five weeks and we‘ll see in the debates in the fall.  This is going to be a good campaign. 

BROKAW:  How many times do you think we will hear about his vote for and against the $87 billion in the course of the next 96 days? 

RUSSERT:  Over and over again.

BROKAW:  Every day.

RUSSERT:  When he talked about parents having to send armor to their children, he will say, wait a minute, Mr. Kerry, you could have voted for it.  And Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden both said to John Kerry, don‘t vote against that $87 billion.  That will be a real tough issue to defend in a campaign.  But, at that stage, it was John Kerry vs. Howard Dean, and he felt politically he had no choice. 

BROKAW:  Of course, my guess is as well that at the White House already tonight, they are studying those debates between Bill Weld and John Kerry when they had that classic and epic race up here.  Bill Weld, who was the golden boy of Republican Party politics in the Northeast, lost to John Kerry for the United States Senate. 

And if you look at those debates, you see a different John Kerry than we have seen often along the campaign trail, Chris. 

(CROSSTALK)

RUSSERT:  I bet, Chris, that—Chris, I bet you Jenna and Barbara Bush are watching the tapes of the Kerry daughters tonight.  We are going to see the Bush daughters at the Republican Convention. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

You know, on a very important, I think, demographic note, you notice, Tom and Tim, that throughout the speech, he laced in references to women‘s concerns, particularly women‘s concerns.  This is a candidate who has built his political career on rolling up the numbers with women voters and losing the men.  He can lose to a kind of guy of—go have a beer with a guy like Bill Weld and still win election after election.  I think he is going back to his base, which is women, and I think he did it tonight fairly clearly throughout the speech. 

Anyway, thank you very much, Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert. 

NBC‘s Brian Williams is on the podium with the Kerry-Edwards—the Kerry-Edwards campaign manager herself from the Kennedy office, Mary Beth Cahill—Mary Beth and Brian. 

WILLIAMS:  Miss Cahill is with us, Chris. 

Let‘s get the reaction from the campaign itself to what is still transpiring tonight.

You came in as a much ballyhooed, steadying force on this campaign, as a manager.  This brings you up to stage one.  Stage two is yet ahead.  Are you happy so far? 

MARY BETH CAHILL, KERRY-EDWARDS CAMPAIGN MANAGER:  I think that this is a wonderful week for the Democratic Party and a wonderful week for John Kerry and John Edwards. 

I think they gave their optimistic view of where they want to lead the country.  And I think that it could not have gone better. 

WILLIAMS:  I want to get you on record with the discussion going on in two booths now.  We are making the point clear that had John Kerry gone to 11:30 or midnight with the speech, obviously, the networks would have stayed with him. 

How conscious was he of the passage of time?  It has been said that he didn‘t let applause play out, he didn‘t let chants play out.  He went through with the speech. 

CAHILL:  He did.  And I think he stopped on a dime at precisely the right time.  I think that he wanted to make a great speech.  I think he wanted to hit his mark, and he wanted a lot of balloons and a lot of confetti, and he is getting that. 

WILLIAMS:  So he was fully cognizant of the approaching hour? 

CAHILL:  He was.  He was.

I mean, he has practiced.  He wrote this speech.  He has practiced this speech.  He knew precisely what he was doing.  And, more importantly, he knew precisely what he wanted to say to the American people tonight.  And I think that he did that.  And I think that they were very impressed. 

WILLIAMS:  Mary Beth Cahill, the manager of the Kerry effort, thank you very much for being with us—Chris, back to you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Brian.

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

CAMPBELL BROWN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Chris.

I am here with Governor Ed Rendell. 

And there‘s been a lot of talk about whether or not he could live up to the passionate delivery that Edwards has been given so much credit for.  Do you believe he did? 

GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Well, I think he almost matched Bill Clinton, and that is saying something. 

It was a great speech.  He came out strong from the beginning, and never missed a beat.  I think he did achieve the two goals I thought he had to do, No. 1, let the American people know what he is about, how his life experience shaped his values, and then, No. 2, define the issues for the American people.  And he did a great job of it, laying it out one by one, clearly and concisely.

And then lastly, when he called for a different type of politics, I think that‘s going to hit a responsive chord in the American people and really put them on notice that, if they do negative campaign, they do it at their own peril. 

W. BROWN:  He obviously got to people in this room.  There was an enormous amount of enthusiasm here on the floor.  But, in a state like yours, in Pennsylvania, a swing state, did he make a connection with people who were at home watching on TV, still on the fence or still reachable? 

RENDELL:  Oh, there‘s no question.  I believe that a lot of Pennsylvanians had concluded that the Bush administration has failed to meet the challenges of the country. 

They were waiting to see whether John Kerry could be an effective leader.  I think the answer to that tonight in every person‘s mind was a resounding yes. 

W. BROWN:  Governor Ed Rendell, thanks for being with us.

Let‘s go back to you, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Campbell. 

Joe is making a very good point which is obviously causing a lot of stir around here.

But I want to give you an alternative explanation for his speed and his failure to stop for the applause.  We had Ron Reagan sitting here the other night.  And he was telling me on the air that right before you speak at the podium—and I am sure this may apply—it may well apply to the candidate as well—they instruct you with video aids how not to blow a speech.

And the one message they teach you, as you go to give your speech, is ignore the applause, do not wait for the applause, move ahead, or you will slow the speech down the way Jack Kemp did in ‘96 and missed the timing question.  Now, I admit that your proposition is probably valid, but there‘s another explanation.  He was told not to stop for applause and he certainly didn‘t do it at those big moments. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Bill Clinton never, ever—and I

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t know why we‘re setting up Bill Clinton as a role model here. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no.

FINEMAN:  Frankly, I can‘t believe we‘re spending all this time talking about this, instead of the speech.

MITCHELL:  Let‘s talk about the content.

SCARBOROUGH:  Are you telling me that you think—OK, talk about the content. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  I know you‘re print.

But are you really telling me tonight that, in the pageantry of politics, the way John Kennedy delivers a speech at the Berlin Wall or the way Ronald Reagan delivers a speech in 1980 or the way Bill Clinton delivers a speech in 1992 doesn‘t matter, that it‘s the words? 

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL:  Yes, it is the words. 

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  Don‘t set up a false dichotomy.  I‘m not saying that at all. 

MITCHELL:  That‘s ridi...

SCARBOROUGH:  What is ridiculous? 

MITCHELL:  What John Kennedy said, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” was the content. 

I stood behind the camera platform when Ronald Reagan said, Mr.

Gorbachev, take down this wall.  It wasn‘t exactly the way he delivered it. 

It was what he said.  Words matter. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Sure they do.

MITCHELL:  The content of the speech is the overriding fact.  If he had fallen down on the delivery, we would have all been talking about that tonight.  But that shouldn‘t be the most important issue.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  Let‘s talk about the substance of what he said.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I want to get to a couple of points of substance and political detergent factor here. 

FINEMAN:  Yes, thank you.  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  There will be some turbulence here. 

I don‘t know why he called for a tax increase.  I know it was carved, it was careful, but he said, and I will roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who make—well, he is talking about contributors there, first of all, who make over $200,000 a year.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  So we can invest in our job creation, etcetera.  Why would he call for a tax increase on anybody any time in a campaign? 

MITCHELL:  Because he has to pay for it.

FINEMAN:  Yes. 

MITCHELL:  To be credible, he has to pay for everything he is

promising.  If you‘re going to roll back the taxes

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Can he raise a half-trillion dollars in taxes to reduce the deficit? 

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL:  He has made a choice.  In this speech, he made a choice tonight on both trade and taxes, which is to go for the populist wing of the party, which is to contradict a lot of what he has been in the past.  And I think he is going to have to answer for that—Howard.

FINEMAN:  The key to this whole thing, this whole speech and this whole night is credibility and truthfulness. 

He basically stood there, and without saying it in so many words, said, I live in the real world.  I fought in the real world.  The man who is president of the United States lives in a fantasy world.  He doesn‘t believe in science.  I couldn‘t believe that he said that in this speech, to say he doesn‘t believe in science. 

OK, that is the key to this speech.  And the way the Republicans will counterattack is to say that you are not the man you say you are.  Your budget doesn‘t add up.  Your voting record doesn‘t add up.  It‘s all well and good to attack us for lack of truthfulness, but you are the one who is a flip-flopper. 

What this reminds me of, in a totally different context, is Jimmy Carter in 1976 trying to be the truth-teller, trying to bring truth back to Washington.  And that‘s where this battle is going to be fought.  And I thought, though it was too well, though it wasn‘t well-paced, though it had a laundry list in the middle, he established the point that he was a fighter, that he was a war hero, and that he was a real guy.  And it‘s up to Bush to tear him down. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But let‘s talk about taxes. 

MITCHELL:  Howard is exactly right about that. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, your response on taxes?

SCARBOROUGH:  About the taxes, you know, what concerned me was not the talk about the tax increase.  What concerned me was this.  He talked about a middle-class tax cut.  He talked about cutting taxes for businesses.  Soon after that, he talked about universal health care. 

Here we have what I believe is George Bush‘s weakness, the fact that he inherited $150 billion surplus.  It‘s a $500 billion deficit.  We have got a $7 trillion debt, national debt, an accumulation of debt.  We don‘t have any more room to cut taxes.  We don‘t have enough money for universal health care.  It‘s not the tax increases that worry me.  We can‘t raise enough taxes to take care of the debt. 

We can‘t raise enough taxes to balance the budget.  And we sure don‘t have enough money for universal health care.  That is where this argument fails, not the tax increase.  I think Americans would be more willing to accept a tax increase than more tax cuts right now. 

FINEMAN:  And there is—as you pointed out, Chris, there isn‘t a

single proposal for cutting a program anywhere in 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You read that platform 500 times, you won‘t find a program cut.  And, by the way, Joe knows about appropriations on the Hill.  Both parties have been at the trough. 

FINEMAN:  Yes. 

MITCHELL:  Joe is absolutely right about that.

MATTHEWS:  For years now.  They‘re both spending money.  Nobody is holding it up. 

FINEMAN:  I agree.

MATTHEWS:  Both sides are

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  And there isn‘t a budget yet. 

MATTHEWS:  The deficit is not being caused by tax cuts.  It‘s being caused by the failure to cut spending on both sides. 

MITCHELL:  But, Chris, the remarkable thing is that Bob Rubin was sitting next to John Kerry.

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL:  The entire economic brain trust of the Clinton White House years, Bob Rubin, Gene Sperling and Roger Altman devised this plan, and yet he is appealing to this broad base. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Can we all agree on one thing?  What caused the deficit to disappear in the ‘90s?  An economic boom like we have never seen. 

MITCHELL:  It was a one-time shot. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it‘s two things.

MATTHEWS:  What was the other thing?

SCARBOROUGH:  There are two things.  And, of course, Andrea obviously will know more about this than me, but Woodward wrote a great book in 1993 talking about how Clinton wanted to spend more money.  And his political people came to him and said, you know, you are going to have to cut spending.  You are going to have to raise taxes. 

Clinton raised taxes.  Republicans in ‘95 cut spending.  The economy took off.  Interest rates went down.  The problem here is for any president coming in, interest rates are going to go up very soon if the spending doesn‘t stop. 

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  The irony here is  

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let Andrea go.  I‘m sorry. 

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL:  I just want to finish that thought, that this is a real retreat from the Bill Clinton policies that John Kerry says made America economically successful.  And I think he‘s going to have to answer a lot of questions. 

MATTHEWS:  Lower deficits, lowered rates, more investment, more productivity, more GNP, GDP. 

MITCHELL:  A balanced budget.  A credible budget, Chris. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you don‘t do that by cutting taxes and giving universal health care. 

MATTHEWS:  Isn‘t it odd for the Democrats to propose in a campaign that they will raise the taxes for the rich people and cut the tax for the middle class so starkly?  I have never heard anybody say it so starkly before. 

W. BROWN:  Well, let me tell you, I think you all are missing the point of this effort. 

MATTHEWS:  All right. 

W. BROWN:  Bush is currently running this country.

But has taken what Clinton left in place and virtually destroyed all of it as it relates to the economy of this nation.  What Mr. Kerry is attempting to do in his words and in his delivery is exactly to restore hope and faith and confidence.  And no one is going to require him to do it tomorrow. 

FINEMAN:  I just would add...

MATTHEWS:  Howard

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  I just would add that Bill Clinton‘s name is not mentioned in this speech. 

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  John McCain is mentioned in this speech.  John F. Kennedy is mentioned in this speech.

MATTHEWS:  George Bush is mentioned. 

FINEMAN:  George Bush is mentioned in this speech.  Bill Clinton is not mentioned. 

MATTHEWS:  So a word search will do you no good.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask—we have been getting too much into substance here for my liking.  Let me ask you once again to a question of delivery, etcetera.

All things together, words, delivery, cadence, speed, all the good rules of delivery of a great speech, will there be a bounce from this convention because of its biggest night?

Andrea Mitchell, your bet? 

MITCHELL:  I think there will be.  I think there will be a bounce.  I don‘t know how big a bounce it‘s going to be. 

MATTHEWS:  Five points is my marker.  Will it go up five, because that has been the true average? 

MITCHELL:  Minimum five.  I would say five to seven or eight. 

MATTHEWS:  Mayor. 

W. BROWN:  I agree with Andrea. 

MATTHEWS:  Five to plus? 

W. BROWN:  Five plus. 

MATTHEWS:  Howard, a pure guess here. 

FINEMAN:  About five, because he was strong on foreign policy, but left himself under attack on domestic policy. 

MATTHEWS:  Joe Scarborough, bets on this.  Five-point bump?

SCARBOROUGH:  I think it will go up about five points or so.  It‘s actually been a very well managed convention.  We have had some great speakers, and they stayed on message. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s get back.  We‘re going to come back with Frank Luntz,  who is going to do one of his focus groups.  We are going to find out a scientific response to the speech tonight.  We‘ll see what they‘re saying about Kerry‘s speech tonight.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Democratic Convention.  As you can hear, it‘s very live right here.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And let‘s not forget what we did in the 1990s:  We balanced the budget.  We paid down the debt.  We created 23 million new jobs.  We lifted millions out of poverty.  And we lifted the standard of living for the middle class. 

We just need to believe in ourselves and we can do it again. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END   

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