updated 7/30/2004 10:22:39 AM ET 2004-07-30T14:22:39

Guest: Dee Dee Myers, Carl Bernstein, Triumph

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Welcome back.  We are live from Faneuil Hall, in Boston.  The climax of the Democratic National Convention, obviously these John Kerry fans revved up about what they heard tonight.  We‘ve got a few hardy Bush backers in the crowd, but they are definitely overwhelmed by John Kerry‘s supporters, many of them who were actually inside the convention hall. 

Now, as you know, John Kerry did accept his party‘s nomination tonight, and tried to tell the American people why they should vote for him instead of George Bush. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  As president, I will fight a smarter, more effective war on terror.  We will deploy every tool in our arsenal, our economic, as well as our military might, our principles, as well as our firepower. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  But has the convention helped the Kerry-Edwards ticket?  Did it convince anybody in the swing states that John Kerry should be their man?  I‘m Joe Scarborough.

RON REAGAN JR., POLITICAL ANALYST:  And I‘m Ron Reagan, we‘ve got another great hour coming up for you, with Conan O‘Brien‘s “Triumph” the insult comic dog, and of course, our all-star panel, who are staying up after hours to help us put this week in perspective.  They are:  Former Clinton press secretary, Dee Dee Myers; a new addition to “Vanity Fair,” Carl Bernstein; “Boston Harold” columnist, Mike Barnacle, and former presidential candidate and MSNBC analyst, Pat Buchanan. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I must say also. 

REAGAN:  Oh.  Oh god!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Of course, Joe Trippi right there. 

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  Barnacle is not here (UNINTELLIGIBLE) remembering Mike Barnacle in there. 

CARL BERNSTEIN, “VANITY FAIR”:  I think he got bounced for the dog. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to see who gets bounced for the dog. 

Carl, listen to this, Carl.  These people are revved up for John Kerry tonight.  Obviously, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the home field advantage, but they‘re excited.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the swing states (UNINTELLIGIBLE) democrats, are they going to go out and try to elect this guy? 

BERNSTEIN:  Yeah, I do, I—you know, we got 96 days, I think, until the election, that‘s a long time, a lot can happen.  And I think that what we are seeing is the possibility of a tectonic shift of the political plates in this election.  With all the talk about the most important election of our lifetime, might be true, it‘s a little bit like 1932, a little bit maybe like 1980.  It—it—Bush is being pushed into a corner as extremist, and his party is being portrayed as an extremist party, and there‘s some facts, I think, that the democrats have to back that up, and I think this convention, they come out of it saying, “look, we are a mainstream party.  The other guys aren‘t.”  And tonight, Kerry defined himself in a very philosophical way, and at the same time, with some specificity about what kind of programs he would enact.

SCARBOROUGH:  And most importantly, to post 9/11 world, he kept going back to strength, military, talked about his faith.  I mean, this guy hit on a lot of republican-type things. 

BERNSTEIN:  Well, again, I think that—you know, the Reagan revolution was a hugely important political force in our politics, and I think maybe what we are seeing is that the conservative movement perhaps has overreached and evolved into a kind of mean-spirited and—I watched the response of republicans tonight.  It was mean-spirited.  It was same, usual kind of, “Oh, he is flip-flopping.  Oh, he‘s doing this.”  They got to come up with better than this.  I think what Kerry and this convention has done is to push Bush into a kind of corner where he‘s got to present himself as a different kind of president than the guy whose people slimed Max Cleland, or slimed John McCain in South Carolina. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, we are not going to debate the Georgia senatorial race, which is now sort of gone.  It‘s urban legend that we‘re not going to even debate tonight. 

BERNSTEIN:  But, it‘s relevant—relevant because they‘re going to portray this White House and this president as mean-spirited and divisive, and ignorant.  You know, we kept hear the word...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well...

BERNSTEIN:  We kept hearing the word—that‘s different than smart—you know, not being smart.  Ignorance is the opposite of wisdom.  And they keep using this word “wisdom” to describe Kerry, the idea that he—that he‘s widely read, that he looks at all kinds of positions.  I think that—you know the idea that George Bush doesn‘t think things through, I think these are salient issues for the first time, are going to be able to come forth in a way.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, in a way they‘re definitely going to try to do that.  We‘ll see whether they can or not.  Let‘s go ahead, we‘ve only got—we‘ve got less than an hour left in the Democratic National Convention.  But let‘s look back at some of the moments that got us here tonight. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY:  John Kennedy called my generation to service.  It was the beginning of a great journey, a time to march for civil rights, for voting rights, for the environment, for women, for peace.  We believed we could change the world, and you know what, we did. 

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), RUNNING MATE:  John is a man who knows the difference between right and wrong.  He wants to serve you, your cause is his cause.  And that is why we must and we will elect him the next president of the United States. 

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT:  Since we are all in the same boat, we should choose a captain of our ship who is a brave, good man, who knows how to steer a vessel through troubled waters, to the calm seas and the clear sides of our more perfect union.  That is our mission, so let us on tonight and say to America in a loud, clear voice, “send John Kerry.”

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM-CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  He knows very well that you have to lead the world, not alienate it.  He will...

(APPLAUSE)

H.  CLINTON:  He will lower the deficit, not raise it.  He will create good jobs, not lose them. 

BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS:  There is not a liberal America and a conservative America there is the United States of America.  There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America, there‘s the United States of America. 

REAGAN:  There are those who would stand in the way of this remarkable future, who would deny the federal funding so crucial to basic research.  A few of these folks, needless to say, are just grinding a political ax.  And they should be ashamed of themselves. 

REV. AL SHARPTON, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips—our vote is not for sale. 

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  Franklin Roosevelt inspired the nation when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Today, we say, the only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush. 

HOWARD DEAN (D), FMR. GOVERNOR:  We‘re going to be proud to call ourselves democrats in Mississippi.  We‘re to called—proud to call ourselves democrats in Utah and Idaho.  And we are going to be proud to call ourselves democrats in Texas. 

KERRY:  Never has there been a moment more urgent for Americans to step up and define ourselves.  I will work my heart out, but my fellow citizens, the outcome is in your hands more than mine. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I like the way he...

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Pat Buchanan, earlier tonight, Mike Barnacle talked about, and you were ready to put on a Kerry bumper sticker on your car.  Let‘s talk about this week.  Also, talk about, what do you think the highlight of the week was?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POL. ANALYST:  Well, clearly the highlight, Joe, is the speech tonight.  Everything was pointing toward it, everything that went before, whether it was good or weak, would have made no difference if Kerry laid an egg tonight.  I think he‘s done a tremendous job.  I do disagree with Carl Bernstein here. 

I think this whole convention, in a sense, was an effort to portray the leadership and the future administration of the country as not the same as the base of that party in that convention.  They tried to stay as far away from it as they could, so I saw this whole convention as a dramatic defensive move to bring their party into the center, and not let Bush paint them as so far out on the left, they simply were not fit to govern.  I think they may have—I think they certainly succeeded tonight.  The big question is, how long can they hold this perception that John Kerry is basically a centrist and something of a conservative democrat?  And it‘s going to be very tough with the onslaught that‘s coming, but they got a good start. 

REAGAN:  Pat, it‘s Ron, I wanted to pick up on something that Carl said.  He talked about the possibility of a tectonic shift, here.  I am wondering if you think there‘s the possibility that if John Kerry really closed the deal tonight for a lot of people, that a bunch of people who were sort of on the fence, you know, answering undecided to the pollster‘s questions, could really move over into Kerry‘s camp, and we really could see a pretty big bounce coming out of here?

BUCHANAN:  I think, you know, Ron, I think the key question here, there are a number of groups that are ready to move, and a lot of them would be the Perot voters, the voters in Ohio and West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, the ones they are concerned about outsourcing and jobs gone, manufacturing jobs disappearing.  Even in the Carolinas and places like that.  I think if they shift over to Kerry, I think he could win the election.  The long-term tectonic shift in this country, I think, is going to be against the republicans, but it‘s because the massive increase in the Hispanic vote is gradually—already moved California, moved into the democratic column.  Florida‘s up for grabs, Illinois is gone.  Eventually Texas is going to be moving in that direction.  I do believe in that sense the old Reagan democrats and the old conservatives from the Goldwater-Reagan era, we are dying out, quite frankly, and I do think there is a move basically to a party if they can hold the whites and bring all the minorities in there, it‘s a democratic shift. 

BERNSTEIN:  Well, that‘s the point I was trying to make, and it seems to me part of this tectonic shift that might occur, and again, we got debates, we got a long way to go.  Part of this shift has to do with the portrayal of the president Republican Party and the Bush administration, in particular, and the president as a kind of plutocracy.  And I think that that is the message, the economic message that comes out of this convention, that resounds in a way to all kinds of groups of voters, and I think the republicans are going to have a hell of a time confounding that message because there are facts and figures that back it up.  Look at the report two days ago from the IRS that says that real wages declined, what, 10 percent over the last two years. 

BUCHANAN:  You know, Joe, let me add to that, the “New York Times,” about a week ago, had a dramatic report in this year, which is a good year for—you know, corporations, a great year, and Americans, a lot of Americans, real wages have fallen about one percent behind inflation.  What you got is the 80 percent of the country, which is non-managerial, is slipping and sliding in an effort to keep up with inflation, whereas the folks in the stock market have had a great year, and the corporations, a phenomenal year. 

REAGAN:  Ah, check out the great crowd behind us at the Salty Dog—how‘s that for a segue?  Here at Faneuil Hall (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you read the prompter when they tell you.  I hear the seafood there is outstanding.  Check it out if you can, speaking of salty dogs, we‘ll be taking to “Triumph” the insult comic dog.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh my god, he‘s here. 

REAGAN:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) return with our coverage of the Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS, live from Boston.  Don‘t go away. 

How about a round of beers from this salty dog over here?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, “THE TONIGHT SHOW”:  You know, this afternoon I‘m watching Tom Brokaw interview  the Boston journalist, Mike Barnacle.  Watch the pinhead behind Mike Barnicle.  Look at this guy. 

(LAUGHTER)

LENO:  Can you see me honey?  Yeah, there I am.  That‘s me, that‘s me. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s amazing.  I believe—well, you know, it‘s AFTER HOURS on MSNBC.  We‘re outside Faneuil Hall.  Our panel‘s enjoying the crowd from the Salty Dog.  And we‘re joined now—and you know what if you don‘t want Conan, you won‘t understand, but this is the saltiest dog of them all.  It‘s the reason why my boys for the first time are watching my show.  It‘s “Triumph” the insult comic dog. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now Mr. Triumph, I want to ask you...

TRIUMPH, THE INSULT COMIC DOG:  OKSCARBOROUGH:  What did you think of John Kerry tonight? 

TRIUMPH:  What did I think of John Kerry?  I thought it was very inspiring.  I thought it was very inspiring.  I think the only question is—and my only question after watching it, is—you know, I think—thank you very much.  My only question...

All right.  Shut up, bitches.  We‘re trying to have a serious political analysis here, and pump up the ratings for once. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to poop on.

TRIUMPH:  Yeah, yeah, to poop on.

Listen, John Kerry has all the qualifications of being a great president.  The only question is—is America ready for a president who is half basset hound? 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  What about John Edwards? 

TRIUMPH:  He‘s a little—John Edwards is a sexy man. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What breed of dog is Edwards? 

TRIUMPH:  Electrifying.  Yes?

SCARBOROUGH:  What breed of dog would you say he is? 

TRIUMPH:  I don‘t know, he‘s hot bitch.  Let me tell you this.  I tell you this—let‘s tell you this—you know, here‘s the thing.  People give John Kerry some poop about Teresa Heinz Kerry, who I thought made a great speech, by the way.  I thought her and honestly Ron junior here, I thought those were the two best speeches of the convention.  I am not kidding, and by the way stem cell research—stem cell research is very important to me as well.  I know it‘s not the most important cause, part of stem cell research, but I have a dream that someday with stem cell research, they‘ll develop the technology for me to grow my testicles back. 

(LAUGHTER)

TRIUMPH:  Ron junior, I want to give you some credit for walking into that convention.  I mean, a republican walking—Reagan walking into a democratic convention, that‘s like me walking into a Korean restaurant.  You know what I‘m saying?

REAGAN:  Well, thank you Triumph.  Dee Dee, Carl, is there anything you would like to ask? 

BERNSTEIN:  Feel like I am on Kukla, Fran and Ollie. 

TRIUMPH:  Hey, no jokes.  This is—about Teresa Heinz Kerry, you know, I think—I have no problem with her.  I was hoping to get cursed out by her this week.  She‘s a very sexy woman.  Don‘t you think? 

REAGAN:  Yes.  European—that European kind of thing. 

TRIUMPH:  That European thing and all that Heinz, you know, that Heinz connection.  You know? 

REAGAN:  That money. 

TRIUMPH:  I hear in the sack she knows all 57 varieties. 

Now, Dee Dee, you actually don‘t stay up late.  You are a mother. 

(LAUGHTER)

TRIUMPH:  Hey.  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now Dee Dee.  You actually don‘t stay up late.  You‘re a mother.

DEE DEE MYERS, FMR. CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY:  No, you‘re right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, but this is your first chance.  You just don‘t understand, you are sitting next to a living legend, Triumph, the insult dog. 

TRIUMPH:  That‘s right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Beloved—beloved by millions.  Please, ask Triumph a question. 

TRIUMPH:  Go for it. 

MYERS:  Triumph, are you going to the republican convention? 

TRIUMPH:  Excuse me? 

MYERS:  Are you going to the republican convention? 

TRIUMPH:  I hope so.  I was—as long as they don‘t disenfranchise me for being a black entertainer. 

(LAUGHTER)

TRIUMPH:  Joe, you know, tell me Joe, you‘re from Florida.  How much of the republicans going to win by this year?  It‘s all fixed anyway. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yeah, yeah. 

TRIUMPH:  Come on, the state is more fixed than I am. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I think we are going to win by—what is it, 528 votes this year. 

TRIUMPH:  It‘s already set? 

MYERS:  Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, it‘s already set.  It‘s just like two lane (PH) back in the 80‘s, they knew what their basketball record was going to be before the season. 

TRIUMPH:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Now you, you...

TRIUMPH:  Like clockwork over there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Triumph, you‘ve got to be excited, you are actually sitting next to, obviously, to a journalistic living legend.

TRIUMPH:  Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH:  Carl Bernstein, a man that revolutionized journalism, inspired thousands of young journalists throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and today.  And now look where it‘s gotten him.  Sitting next to...

BERNSTEIN:  Kukla, Fran and Ollie. 

(CROSSTALK)

TRIUMPH:  Come on, this is the high point of your career. 

BERNSTEIN:  This is true. 

TRIUMPH:  This is true.  You are a legend.  No, I know this is the guy, this is the guy with the deep throat.  I‘ve heard all about it.  I know all about it.  No, seriously.  Come on.  You can tell a puppet who deep throat is. 

BERNSTEIN:  That‘s right.  I will whisper it to him. 

TRIUMPH:  Oh, ho, ho, ho.  Ouch.  Richard Simmons. 

(LAUGHTER)

TRIUMPH:  That was a cheap joke.  Don‘t go there, Carl. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, have you had any conversations with the dog in the White House now, the Scottie, I can‘t remember his name right at the moment? 

TRIUMPH:  I wouldn‘t call it a conversation.  Can you hear me? 

SCARBOROUGH:  I can hear you. 

TRIUMPH:  I wouldn‘t call it the conversation.  I have a—I‘m going to black my—let‘s just say, I am going to blackmail my way into the Republican Party.  I have a sex tape with Scottie, that will make Paris Hilton‘s look like—it‘s me, Scottie, and, of course—what—vermin George (PH), he knows how to party, right?  Dee Dee remembers.  Dee Dee remembers.

MYERS:  That‘s what they say.

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you remember it, Dee Dee? 

MYERS:  Oh, I remember. 

TRIUMPH:  Oh, you remember.  You were in the wildest administration. 

MYERS:  It was wild. 

TRIUMPH:  I am just happy—I‘m just happy President Clinton left town, you know.  Now there‘s some tail for the rest of us. 

(LAUGHTER)

TRIUMPH:  Right, Joe?  Now Joe, I bet you didn‘t like Kerry‘s speech.  Let me take a wild guess.  Joe wasn‘t as big a fan of Kerry‘s. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, I loved Kerry‘s speech, from the very beginning; I said it was mesmerizing, transcendent—transcendental, is that what he said?  No, I thought he kind of rushed it, I though he went a little fast.  Triumph, what do you think about that? 

TRIUMPH:  You have to find fault in it, don‘t you? 

SCARBOROUGH:  I have to, yeah.

MYERS:  He is working pretty hard, Triumph, to find fault. 

TRIUMPH:  I know, that‘s what he likes.  He‘s—yeah, come on, who kids—who‘s kidding who.  This guy swings to the right more than Marmaduke‘s pink thing. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what, Triumph?

TRIUMPH:  Yes?

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m going to be hooked into this segue.  We‘re now going to go to Frank Lutz.  Triumph, the insult comic dog...

TRIUMPH:  I was kicked out of the convention, I‘ve already written a book about it.  No truth allowed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Michael Moore, he betrayed me.  It‘s all in the book.  It‘s all in the movie.  You‘ll see. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We can‘t wait.  Triumph.  Big hand for Triumph the comic insult dog.  Right now, ladies and gentlemen, Frank Lutz puts into perspective, how did Kerry‘s speech play to voters outside of the Fleet Center, and of course, outside of the dog pound?  Here‘s our own Frank Lutz with a focus group, from the battleground state of Ohio. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK LUTZ, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Joe, there‘s no other way to define this, this was a very good night for John Kerry.  Let‘s get a wide shot of our Cincinnati, Ohio, swing voters.  How many of you have positive opinions of John Kerry and his presentation tonight, raise your hands.  Keep your hands up.  That‘s most of you. 

Lance if I could get a word or phrase, let‘s go through all of you.  Word or phrase to describe what you saw, what you heard tonight.  John Kerry, word or phrase? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I kept hearing John Kerry refer to America being divided, and I am not believing that. 

LUTZ:  Word or phrase to describe John Kerry. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Personal strength. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Concise, to the point. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sincere. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Validating. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Future president. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Confident. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Subjective. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Uninspiring. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Empty promises.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Almost too surreal. 

LUTZ:  So we have more positives on this side and more negatives over there.  Courtney, I‘ve got to ask, how old are you? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  22. 

LUTZ:  Is this your first time voting for president? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

LUTZ:  It is?  When you said future president, you walked into this group undecided. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Right. 

LUTZ:  What is it about what John Kerry said that has helped you decide? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He touched on two things that are real important to me, education and healthcare.  Being a college student, I do not have healthcare—it‘s included in my tuition, when I go home on vacations, I can‘t afford to get sick.  That‘s unheard of., I mean what are we going to do?  There‘s thousands—millions of college students out there. 

LUTZ:  And he spoke to you. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Right.  He spoke directly to me. 

LUTZ:  He didn‘t speak to you? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, it‘s a nice idea that everybody has healthcare, but again, why does it cost so much, why are we treating the symptom, but not the problem? 

LUTZ:  Patricia, did John Kerry speak to you? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Actually, I thought his speech was a lot better than what I was anticipating. 

LUTZ:  Ashley, let me ask that question.  How many of thought he was better than you were expecting him to be, raise your hands.  Almost all of you.  What made him better Derrick, than what you were expecting? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He went into a little more detail about some of the issues that he feels is important, and he didn‘t go into too much, but it was a little bit more besides “we‘re going to focus on national security and healthcare,” it was more like what we are going to do, and so... 

LUTZ:  And related to that, was his conversation about the economy, this economic plan.  You all used dials to indicate whether you agreed or disagreed with what he was saying, and whether it would make you more or less likely to vote for him.  The red line that you‘re going to see on the screen, those represent republicans, the green line, independents and democrats.  The higher that the lines go, the more favorable that reaction that our swing voters are having towards what‘s being set.  And one of the most popular phrases in the entire evening was John Kerry‘s description of his economic plan.  Let‘s take a look. 

KERRY:  So here is our economic plan to build a stronger America.  First, new incentives to relevancies manufacturing.  Second, investment in technology and innovation that will create the good-paying jobs in the future.  Third, close the tax loopholes that reward companies for shipping jobs overseas.  Instead, we will reward the companies that create and keep the good-paying jobs right where they belong in the good old USA

LUTZ:  That is one of the highest responses of anything that Kerry said in this 50-minute speech.  It‘s almost off the charts.  Roger what was so positive about what he said? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We need new perspective.  We need new ideas, new—I think he is opening up the country, saying get away from the conservative thinking of doing things this way.  Open it up.  We need expansion. 

LUTZ:  Do you agree or disagree, Robert? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I agree.  I thought it was a terrific speech.  And who can disagree with wanting to keep the jobs here? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He has already been a law-maker and that‘s what he should have been doing up to this point.  How did it get to this point if he was already in there working on this problem? 

LUTZ:  Your reaction. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think—I think overall, the Democratic Party looks to the future more than the Republican Party, which tends to stay put. 

LUTZ:  And did you feel that tonight? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

LUTZ:  One of the issues that he talked about this evening, and you guys, spoke about it, Courtney, earlier, was healthcare.  And again, when John Kerry talks about healthcare, he registered very high, not just among those who leaned left, but among conservatives and republicans as well.  Let‘s take a look at your reaction, here. 

KERRY:  Our health care plan for a stronger America cracks down on the waste and greed and the abuse in our healthcare system, and it will save families $1,000 a year on premiums.  You‘ll get to pick your own doctor, and patients and doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats, will make medical decisions.  Under our healthcare plan, Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors, and all Americans will be able to buy less expensive prescription drugs from countries like Canada. 

The story of people—the story of people struggling for healthcare is the story of so many Americans, but you know what, it‘s not the story of senators and members of congress because we give ourselves great healthcare, and you get the bill. 

Well, I am here to say tonight, your families‘ healthcare is just as important as any politicians‘ in Washington, D.C., and when I am president, we will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that healthcare is not a privilege for the wealthy and the connected and the elected, it is a right for all Americans. 

LUTZ:  You are going to hear that again and again throughout the campaign.  This idea that the average American, swing voters from Cincinnati, Ohio, have exactly the same rights as any politician in Washington, D.C. 

Joe, it was a very positive speech, very positive reaction.  And as you can see, by the scores, John Kerry really did score tonight.  Back to you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, he did, and I tell you what, you look at the healthcare score, as it goes—nobody‘s talking about healthcare.  Everybody is talking about the war in Iraq.  They‘re talking about taxes.  They‘re talking about all these other things.  Do you go to a single mom, in Ohio, making $20,000 a year as a paralegal, with two kids, I‘ll guarantee you, she cares a lot more about her healthcare than she does about what‘s going on in Fallujah...

REAGAN:  You bet.

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s going on in Sadr City.  That is the single issue.  When you talk about economic insecurity, I know a lot of people that say, “I am not concerned about the salaries as much as I am about making sure my kids have the right healthcare.” 

REAGAN:  My wife‘s a psychologist and she has to deal with the insurance companies all the time and I can tell you, it‘s pretty miserable. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is tough.  You know what?  We‘re going to be taking phone calls soon.  The number, 888-MSNBC-USA, give us a call.  We are going to be right back, live from Faneuil Hall in Boson.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)            

REAGAN:  We are live at Boston‘s Faneuil Hall for AFTER HOURS coverage of the Democratic national convention.  We‘ll be taking your phone calls in a minute. 

But first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC news desk. 

BILL FITZGERALD, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Hello, I‘m Bill Fitzgerald with the headlines. 

Pakistan announced the arrest of an al Qaeda operative who‘s on the FBI‘s list of most wanted terrorists.  Ahmed Ghailani was indicted in 1998 in the U.S.  Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.  Pakistani officials say he was arrested Sunday in central Pakistan, along with at least 15 others. 

President Bush has returned to the White House after nearly a week at his Texas ranch.  A spokesman says during his final day there, the president led a video conference with his task force reviewing the 9/11 commission recommendations.  In the morning, a Senate committee will hold the first hearings on those recommendations. 

And part of the transcript from a June 21 closed door hearing in the Kobe Bryant case has now been released.  In it, Bryant‘s attorneys say the woman accusing him of rape has received $17,000 from a victim‘s compensation fund.  The entire transcript from that hearing was e-mailed to media organizations by mistake. 

Now let‘s go back to HARDBALL at the Democratic convention. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I am Joe Scarborough, live from Faneuil Hall in Boston. 

I‘ve got to tell you, everybody‘s excited.  They‘re obviously excited about John Kerry, the speech he gave. 

Triumph‘s still hanging around and I understand Triumph actually has a DVD coming out on August 10.  It‘s going to be huge.  And it‘s going to be in the middle of the campaign.  Triumph is predicting that this may, in fact, swing the election. 

Isn‘t that right, Triumph? 

TRIUMPH:  Whatever you say.  This is—wait.  Pay no attention to the Jew behind the dog. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Very good. 

OK, I‘ll tell you what, that‘s entertainment. 

I want to talk to somebody that was actually inside tonight and heard the speech.  Here we—we‘ve got somebody right here. 

What‘s your name? 

DAVE:  My name is Dave. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dave, where are you from? 

DAVE:  The People‘s Republic of Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So you‘re—OK, you‘re from the People—you...

DAVE:  The People‘s Republic of Cambridge.  I‘m pro-choice for Kerry.  You should stand up for Kerry and be pro-choice. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Very good.  OK, obviously you‘re a Democratic partisan. 

DAVE:  No, a hard right Republican. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, whatever.  Every time somebody tells me, you know, I‘m a Republican but, I know they‘re a hard core Democrat. 

DAVE:  There is no but about it.  I wouldn‘t be a Republican if you paid me to. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, well, let‘s put your Democratic background aside and let‘s talk about tonight about John Kerry.  Obviously, you‘re already supporting him. 

What did John Kerry do tonight to make voters in Ohio, in central Florida, in places that wouldn‘t naturally vote for a Democrat, in Republican areas, what did he do tonight to do that?  And tell me how he was inside the Fleet Center? 

DAVE:  I think the first thing, he gave the speech that we all needed him to give tonight.  We were all—I was very nervous at the beginning and I didn‘t know if he was going to deliver like he should.  And I think he hit a home run and he knocked it out of the park. 

I think the issues that are going to make Ohioans vote for him, he talked about a stronger military, tax cuts and family values.  He‘s taking, as you said, Republican issues, hitting them over the head with him and I think that‘s going to swing the vote in his favor in those places. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, it‘s funny, in 1988 I remember being at home watching George Bush, Sr., who‘s not the most eloquent speaker in the world, sitting there holding my breath through the entire speech wondering is this guy going to stumble over words or is he going to deliver.  That night he stood up and delivered.  I think it helped him on his way to getting elected.  Of course, he said, “read my lips, no new taxes.”  That‘s another issue.  That didn‘t go so well.

But still, I want to know, you all were holding your breath.  Did John Kerry deliver tonight? 

Who else was inside?  You were inside tonight? 

ROB CHASE:  Yes, I did. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

CHASE:  Sure.  Rob Chase, Washington, D.C. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Rob, a natural Democrat, obviously.  But tell me, what did John Kerry do tonight that you think made voters in crossover states and swing states go his way? 

CHASE:  Well, I think he captured the mantle of militarism for the Democratic Party, something that it had lost previously.  And I think also claiming values for the family, rather than family values, was particularly important.  And I think it went over well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, one final question.  I‘ve been talking to people all week.  All week people have been telling me that they‘re excited about this convention because they want to get George Bush out of office.  What I want to know, did John Kerry give you a reason tonight not just to vote against George W.  Bush, but to actually vote for John Kerry? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What was the highlight of the speech? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The highlight of the speech for me is when he talked about the fact that patriotism belongs to all Americans and that we need to be united, the United States, and not divided by divisive political actions. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, and going along that line, I‘ve got to tell you, one of the things that I thought was one his better lines, I wish that he would have actually let the audience applaud more.  He talked about the blue states and the red states.  But then he unified everybody but saying, but you know what?  Our real colors are red, white and blue. 

Now, here‘s some of the highlights from John Kerry‘s address earlier this evening. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Mine were greatest generation parents.  And as I thank them, we all join together to thank a whole generation for making America strong, for winning World War II, winning the Cold War and for the great gift of service which brought America 50 years of peace and prosperity....

My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime.  The stakes are high.  We are a nation at war, a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we‘ve ever known before.  And here at home, wages are falling, health care costs are rising and our great middle class is shrinking.  People are working weekends; two jobs, three jobs, and they‘re still not getting ahead....

So tonight, in the city where America‘s freedom began, only a few blocks from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation, here tonight, on behalf of a new birth of freedom, on behalf of the middle class who deserve a champion and those struggling to join it who deserve a fair shot, for the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives and for their families who pray for their return, for all those who believe that our best days are ahead of us, with great faith in the American people, I accept your nomination for president of the United States....

For four years, we‘ve heard a lot of talk about values.  But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans.  Values are not just words.  Values are what we live by.  They‘re about the causes that we champion and the people that we fight for.  And it‘s time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families....

I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president.  Let there be no mistake, let there be no mistake, I will never hesitate to use force when it is required.  Any attack will be met with a swift and a certain response.  I will never give any nation or any institution a veto over our national security.  And I will build a stronger military.  We will add 40,000 active duty troops, not in Iraq, but to strengthen American forces that are now overstretched, overextended and under pressure.  We will double our special forces to conduct terrorist operations, anti-terrorist operations.  And we will provide our troops with the newest weapons and technology to save their lives and win the battle.  And we will end the back door draft of the National Guard and Reservists....

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.  Our best days are still to come. 

Thank you. 

Goodnight. 

God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REAGAN:  We‘re back at Faneuil Hall for our convention coverage AFTER HOURS. 

Carl Bernstein, obviously there‘s a lot of good feeling coming out of Boston here tonight.  But we‘ve got a long way to go, don‘t we?  I mean is there a danger that this will all just sort of Peter out? 

CARL

BERNSTEIN:  Well, I think it‘s very easy to be myopic in the midst of this fish bowl.  The Democrats are coming out of here about as well as they could have ever dreamed.  And at the same time, you‘ve got to look at what they‘re up against.  They‘re up against a tremendously skillful, very political White House with very skilled operatives.  But more than that, you‘ve got to look at what‘s likely to be thrown at them.  And one of the things is this war. 

You would think that the war is, in terms of being elected, might be Kerry‘s strongest suit, because of the mismanagement of the war on terror and the fact that maybe it‘s being fought in the wrong place, and it probably is.  At the same time, he voted for that war.  His running mate voted for that war.  And he‘s going to have to be able to explain—and he hasn‘t done it yet.  He hasn‘t gotten up and said well, look, I voted for this war because I wanted to support my president.  It turns out I couldn‘t support my president in terms of facts because the facts he gave me were not real. 

It‘s going to be a very tricky needle to thread.  And he...

REAGAN:  Pat Buchanan, do you agree? 

BUCHANAN:  I do.  I was going to use that same phrase in a column about threading the needle.  The problem for Kerry is like last night, Edwards said, you know, because of the strength of our people, we shall win this war.  And Kerry says tonight we‘re not sending the new 40,000 troops over there. 

The question, what it‘s going to come down to is Kerry, again, leads this very liberal party which is deeply anti-war.  It probably basically agrees with Jesse Jackson, bring the troops home now.  And Kerry is going to have to be up there talking like a hawk face-to-face with George Bush on a stay the course type thing. 

He‘s got a vulnerability on his left, and, of course, because of his record on defense and things like that.  Frankly, for Kerry, he‘s had a great night, but the worst is yet to come. 

REAGAN:  We‘ll be taking... 

BERNSTEIN:  Can I challenge one...

REAGAN:  I‘ve got to—hold that thought, Carl. 

We‘ll be taking your calls next.  The number is 888-MSNBC-USA.  Call in now. 

But as we go to the break, check out what Senator Joe Biden told “The Daily Show” about Democrats trying to seem like they have humble roots. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM “THE DAILY SHOW”)

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DW), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE:  Well, I might be president now if it weren‘t for the fact I said my—I had an uncle who was a coal miner.  It turned out I didn‘t know anybody in the coal mines, you know what I mean? 

JON STEWART, HOST:  Really?  BIDEN:  I tried that crap, you know? 

We were Irish, you know, and the Irish, I thought the Welsh and English owned the deal.  And I—we must have been coal miners. 

STEWART:  You took a stab in the dark.  You took a stab in the dark. 

BIDEN:  I took a stab in the dark and I found out he graduated from Lehigh.  What can I say? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY:  I want to address these next words directly to President George W.  Bush.  In the weeks ahead, let‘s be optimists, not just opponents.  Let‘s build unity in the American family, not angry division.  Let‘s honor this nation‘s diversity.  Let‘s respect one another and let‘s never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REAGAN:  We are back with our AFTER HOURS coverage. 

Dee Dee, that seemed like sort of a challenge to George W.  Bush.  I mean, you know, they‘re waiting on the death star, the Republican death star to really laser in on Kerry and Edwards and, you know, John Kerry was saying hey, wait a minute, let‘s be optimists.  Let‘s, you know, let‘s move this thing forward in a gentlemanly fashion. 

DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY:  Well, and that certainly was a way to try to set up what they know is coming, which is a ton of—not just the attacks they‘re going to get in the free media, but the millions and millions of dollars in paid advertising over the next weeks and months. 

But I think it‘s interesting because going into tonight, Kerry was looked at more favorably by voters as knowledgeable and as cares—for caring about people like them.  Bush was looked at as having better experience to lead the war on terror and  having, being more steady and optimistic. 

I think, you know, Kerry quite potentially cut into Bush‘s lead in those areas.  And then Bush‘s weaknesses were that he appears reckless, not that knowledgeable, stubborn, arrogant.  And I think, you know, Kerry did a good job of underscoring and setting up the continued erosion along those themes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All the things you call me during these breaks. 

REAGAN:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS:  No, some of the things that I call you during the break. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Some of the things. 

Joe, I‘ve got to ask you this question.  What was the lower point for you?  

BERNSTEIN:  The dogs...

SCARBOROUGH:  Losing Iowa or being... 

BERNSTEIN:  The dogs. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ...  or being bumped from our set by Triumph, the comic insult dog?  

BERNSTEIN:  The dog. 

JOE TRIPPI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  It was definitely being replaced by a hand puppet, and worse, worse.  I‘ve been sitting here for two nights next to Carl, trying to get Deep Throat out of him and he said he whispers it into the hand puppet. 

(CROSSTALK) 

BERNSTEIN:  I gave it up to a dog with a cigar. 

TRIPPI:  Hey, let me tell you, one point I‘d like to make, though, is a lot of the things that people were talking about, the press and all of us were talking about throughout this convention, got wiped out the window tonight.  The first one was, the first night Clinton, great speech.  It‘s going to overshadow Kerry.  It didn‘t happen.  No one‘s talking about that tonight.  Kerry did really well. 

Kerry doesn‘t have passion, there‘s no energy.  You saw passion, a lot of passion and energy in this guy tonight. 

And then you get this whole—what was my other thing now?  You‘re not...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, you were going to say that your book is going up the best seller charts right now. 

TRIPPI:  No, no, no, no...

SCARBOROUGH:  And it really is...

MYERS:  That the...

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ve got to go to a phone call. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But I do want to talk about passion.  I saw the sweat—every time in see sweat on a speaker‘s face...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The dog (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

SCARBOROUGH:  ...  it makes me nervous.  But talking about passion, it may have actually humanized this guy.  He wasn‘t a robot, he was real. 

TRIPPI:  Oh, I know what it was, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He was emotional. 

Too late.  We‘ve got to go to the phone caller.  We‘ll get you—that dog is throwing you off your game. 

Let‘s go to Steve in Idaho Falls. 

Go ahead, Steve. 

What did you think about tonight? 

STEVE:  Hey, Joe, thanks for having me on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Great to have you on. 

STEVE:  Speaking of fashion, I think Kerry died his eyebrows darker.  That was—he‘s looking pretty youthful on him. 

MYERS:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He was looking good.  What did you think if his speech? 

TRIPPI:  I don‘t know if he died his eyebrows. 

STEVE:  At any rate, I thought the speech was great.  A large part of the reason I became a Democrat for this election was because I thought the war was badly mishandled by Bush.  And a lot of the faith that I‘m putting in John Kerry is based on his, on my, like I say, faith in his capability for diplomacy.  And I‘m not seeing enough specifics on his, I don‘t know, I guess I‘d like to see some name dropping or something.  But all I hear is some just kind of broad sweeping generalities about how he can build the international community. 

But I just, I don‘t see how he‘s going to do it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Steve, that‘s the question that I think the Bush White House is going to be asking in the coming months.  That really, you know, you don‘t want to get to specific on nights like these.  You want to lay out general themes.  And that‘s going to be his challenge, to take care of some of the inconsistencies that you brought up over the next 90 days. 

I will thank you for calling in, Steve. 

And I must tell you, I did not notice the died eyebrows until you let us in on that fact.  It‘s amazing what viewers see out there. 

Now, we‘re going to be right back with final thoughts from our all star panel.  And we‘ll see if Joe Trippi is again replaced by a hand puppet. 

So don‘t go away. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, we‘re back, live from Faneuil Hall. 

It‘s time to say good night. 

Ron Reagan, final thoughts? 

REAGAN:  Well, there‘s a long way to go, Joe.  But after John Kerry‘s speech tonight, all the pressure is on George W.  Bush. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dee Dee? 

MYERS:  I totally agree with that.  Kerry made this a race tonight, like it hasn‘t been.  And we‘re off and running. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe? 

TRIPPI:  The pundits were all saying that they came into it—the party was rallying around Kerry because it was against Bush.  The fact is they came out tonight rallying because, to be for Kerry. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what, and look, you‘re exactly right.  A big sea change.  And look over your right shoulder.  Now it‘s an owl. 

Carl, a final thought?  

BERNSTEIN:  I want to challenge Pat, even though we‘ve agreed on most everything these couple of days.  It‘s not a liberal party.  And that‘s the big message out of here.  It may be that some of the delegates, a large number of the delegates are.  You can‘t pigeonhole the people in the Democratic Party anymore.  It‘s a much bigger tent than that.  It‘s got a lot of working class people who come from the middle, who are independents. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know what, Carl?  It has changed.  It‘s a lot like that party pre-1968, the Democratic Party that my parents were members of that they felt abandoned them.  I think some people are going to come back. 

BERNSTEIN:  Correct.  Exactly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, final thoughts from Washington? 

BUCHANAN:  Final thoughts?  Carl‘s wrong and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kerry! 

BUCHANAN:  You wait.  You wait for the artillery.  Kerry had a great night.  He‘s at his apex.  But it‘s going to be a rough road from here to that Republican convention ends.  And we will know the real cast to this thing after that Republican convention ends. 

But I think Kerry is at his peak now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Come on, move on up. 

All right, thanks so much. 

Hi, Kitty. 

Staff, get up here.  Come on.  Come on. 

We want to thank everybody. 

A heck of a time—Dee Dee Myers, Mike Barnicle, Carl Bernstein, Joe Trippi, thanks, guys.  Everybody, thank you so much for being with us and thanks for staying up late. 

And Ron (UNINTELLIGIBLE), we don‘t have time. 

We‘ll see you later on. 

From Faneuil Hall in Boston, what a week it‘s been with Chris Matthews and the rest of the MSNBC crew. 

Have a great night. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END   

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