updated 8/30/2004 2:27:09 PM ET 2004-08-30T18:27:09

Guest: Ron Silver, George Pataki, Kevin Sheekey, Anne Nortup, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I want to be your president for four more years to make our economy stronger.  I want to be your president for four more years to make our future brighter and better for every one of our citizens.  I want to be your president for four more years to make our country safer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Coverage of the Republican National Convention live from MSNBC convention headquarters in New York‘s Herald Square.  This is by the way going to be the second Miracle on 34th Street.  All week live from the heart of New York and Broadway, we‘re going to bring you full coverage of the convention.  The first ever Republican Party convention in New York City.  The town so nice, they named it twice. 

This hour, my interview with New York governor George Pataki.  Plus, we‘ll get the latest on the protests that have taken place here.  They‘re not too bad, but they‘re crowded.  And we‘ll talk to the crowd that‘s gathered here—right here at Herald Square on Broadway and 34th

We‘re joined right now by our panel.  Actor Ron Silver, MSNBC political analyst Ron Reagan and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan.  And in a moment, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell will be here. 

Ron silver.

RON SILVER, ACTOR:  Yes, sir.

MATTHEWS:  Where did you grow up? 

SILVER:  I‘m reporting for duty—about 20 blocks south of here. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  So that doesn‘t explain why you‘re here at a Republican—the last time we had dinner, you were a Democrat, but you‘re for the war in Iraq.  So, why are you fighting for the Republicans. 

SILVER:  I wasn‘t for a war.  But I support the president‘s response to 9/11. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you support the war in Iraq? 

SILVER:  Yes I did. 

MATTHEWS:  What brings you from the Democratic fold, I know you‘ve been a Democrat actively in the past, why are you speaking at the convention here?  I know the guy sitting to your left has also pulled one of those interesting moves.  But he was never an active Republican.  You were a Democrat.

SILVER:  I still am a registered Democrat.  I consider myself...

MATTHEWS:  A Zell Miller Democrat? 

SILVER:  He used to be.  After Wednesday night, ask him.  You know, I have no idea.  But to, look, I‘m a New Yorker, I‘m happy that the convention is here, but I‘m very supportive of the president, I will be speaking tomorrow night about 9/11 and about the war in Iraq.  Not withstanding some of the mistakes and the execution...

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe that the Republican Party has grabbed hold of the issue of security more effectively than the Democratic Party? 

SILVER:  Yes, I think they have.

MATTHEWS:  Explain.

SILVER:  For a variety of reasons.  One, he is the president.  He was the incumbent who had to respond and he‘s responded very vigorously and very muscularly and so far I think they‘re doing a very good job.  I like the Patriot Act.

MATTHEWS:  They‘re coming to get you, by the way, the Democratic police, the Democratic police are only minutes away, they‘re going to take you away. 

SILVER:  My hold neighborhood is coming to get me. 

MATTHEWS:  Have you ever committed any street crimes in your old neighborhood? 

SILVER:  No I have not. 

MATTHEWS: OK.  Ron Silver, you‘re here, congratulations.  Tomorrow night, by the way, we‘ll have him on—I‘m sure we‘ll play you live, 8:45 p.m. 

Ron Reagan, your thoughts about New York?  Didn‘t you live here and work here? 

RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I worked here for 5 years.  I used to dance with the Geoffrey Ballet (ph). Lived for for 5 years. 

MATTHEWS:  How many Republicans in the Geoffrey Ballet (ph)? 

REAGAN: Oh, two or three, I‘m sure.  I didn‘t know them of course. 

MATTHEWS:  What is the cultural reality of the Republican Party, the Midwest and the South, the Heartland Party coming to this bicoastal city. 

REAGAN:  Well, I don‘t think they have to worry much about New

Yorkers, because most of the New Yorkers have left.  Ron is one of the only

real New Yorkers left in town here.  You drive around here, the streets are

empty

MATTHEWS: I am amazed, guys.  Pat, this city is packed with people. 

I‘m amazed.  I‘ve never seen so many people in the streets of this city. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes.  But a lot of folks left town, I agree.  But you‘re right, I‘ve never seen demonstrations like that just today, where they went for blocks and blocks on end since I was in the Nixon White House in 1969 and they were trying to get over the fence. 

MATTHEWS:  And you were on the inside, then.  What‘s it like to be exposed? 

BUCHANAN:  I was up in the Essex House watching on TV. 

REAGAN:  You weren‘t marching with some of the anti-war people. 

MATTHEWS:  Ron, I know you‘re on the other side of this issue of the war, but when I went out there, I noticed guys exactly my age, class of 1967, they were all out there, they haven‘t changed their clothes. 

BUCHANAN:  They‘re the same guys.  I recognized them from the White House back in 1969 and 1970. 

MATTHEWS:  So it is about the war.  And it is generational, right, Pat? 

BUCHANAN:  No, I think the demonstrators, you make a good point, there‘s a lot of young people, but you have got a lot of people who are middle aged, older, who are Baby Boomers, and quite frankly these demonstrations are not hostile, they‘re not as angry, and one reason is, they‘re more mature.  There‘s a lot of mature people in...

SILVER:  I heard a lot of Joan Biaz (ph) and the Kingston Trio (ph). 

MATTHEWS:  Ron, there was a time you liked that sound. 

Let me ask you Ron Reagan, Mr. Theatric Howdy (ph), it does seem that the people do love—and this is a free country, and I tell you I feel good near those guys, because there‘s a happiness.  These are not, as Pat says, they‘re not angry screaming mad, they‘re basically people who disagree on a policy question, and they come here to express that view.  I think it‘s healthy as hell. 

REAGAN:  I think it‘s healthy as hell too. 

MATTHEWS:  The Republicans, too.

REAGAN:  Americans are always ambivalent about protest and civil disobedience, though.  I mean, we champion that sort of thing, the Boston Tea Party, hell our country started with a revolution.  But at the same time it makes people edgy.  They don‘t—you know, wild costumes, strange hats, placards, it makes people nervous. 

BUCHANAN:  If they get nasty, when they get violent—like I was in Seattle, and a group of them did.  And they took over the demonstrations and that became it.  If you get that kind of contrast with the president in the hall and people using bad language and throwing things at cops, it will be a disaster, it will help the president.

MATTHEWS:  Very interesting point here.  Back if 1968, my favorite convention, the Democratic convention that year, I just sat and watched it, riveted every minute of it, you were probably out there causing problem somewhere in Grant Park. 

BUCHANAN:  I—Conrad Hilton. 

MATTHEWS:  ...Spreading hell—I‘m sure you were.

Those demonstrations hurt the party in the hall.  Why—I have a sense the Republicans are confident that they have a great police force here.  They don‘t have the old Chicago problems that we had back then with Daley.  And they‘re confident that whatever happens here, it will probably create the right context for an argument over security. 

SILVER:  I think that‘s the hope.  There‘s no question about it.  And I think it‘s in the demonstrators‘ hands, depending on what they decide to do.  If there is massive civil disobedience...

MATTHEWS:  It helps Bush.

SILVER:  Exactly.

MATTHEWS:  You agree with that, Ron? 

REAGAN:  I do agree with that.  And I think one of your previous guests said that the Republicans are working very hard not to use the word protester or demonstrator, but Democrat.  As if anybody who throws a brick through a window is a Kerry man. 

MATTHEWS:  That is really hilarious.

But there were some Kerry signs out there.  But as I said earlier in the night, there‘s funny signs, like four more months.  That was a pretty good—or stop mad cowboy disease.  There‘s some cleverness out there. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me say that.  The trouble in Chicago for the Democrats was this: those cops usually voted Democrat.  Those kids in the park were basically liberal left kids who were voting Democrat.  That war was inside the Democratic Party.  You saw Ribicoff (ph) up there, talking down, accusing Daley of fascism.  That was inside the party.  Here you have a united party, totally united and the demonstrators will be out, so the whole party can use that as a foil. 

MATTHEWS:  So it‘s a partisan fight? 

BUCHANAN:  Yes.  So they can say that‘s them and we are us. 

MATTHEWS:  And it‘s very hard to go in the crowd, as we did tonight, and not find a lot of Kerry people. 

BUCHANAN:  This is a Kerry town as well as the demonstrators are probably all pro-Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that was all part of the Republican thinking, Ron.  I think when Karl Rove, whoever made the big decision, the president ultimately to come to New York, he knew he didn‘t like New York—he doesn‘t come here that often.  It‘s not like a hang-out for him.

SILVER:  I hang with Karl Rove in New York all the time. 

MATTHEWS:  You are really trying to—you are dragging every drop of it now.  Come on.  The theater aspect of this, because you‘re an expert at the political theater.  You want to pick—who was it who said pick your enemies better than your friends.  If you picked the protesters, was that a smart pick for the Republicans? 

BUCHANAN:  Listen, the protesters again—if the protesters have filthy language up there, because I saw some of it coming down, or they got violence, they‘re throwing things at cops or hassling cops, it will—people will say the president is standing up, and that‘s what‘s against him.  And Kerry is against him and that‘s—those are Kerryites, so that‘s a disaster for Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, by the way, in hot weather, protesters don‘t always look their best, because you‘re schwitizing (ph), you‘re sweating profusely, you‘re yelling, you don‘t look like the person you want for your son-in-law. 

REAGAN:  And occasionally your date, too. 

(CROSSTALK)

SILVERY:  ... looked their best, in Bergan, Norway? (ph). 

MATTHEWS:  I think on What‘s My Line.  Or the Chris Matthews Show. 

SILVER:  But, you know what, picking New York was absolutely appropriate.  I wish the Democrats had the convention here too, because 9/11 and the response to it has become the critical issue for this election, and I—I would have hoped that the Democrats would have chosen New York as well. 

REAGAN:  Ron, would you agree it‘s not quite the home run that the Republicans imagined they would be when they first chose New York, since 9/11? 

SILVER:  No, I think it‘s too premature.

MATTHEWS:  I remember the Republican Party, Pat does too, and you do too I think, that used to say Barry Goldwater, and I really liked Goldwater in a lot of ways, although I disagree with him on some things, but he used to say, I‘d like to sever New York from the rest of the country.  Remember that?

BUCHANAN:  It was the Atlantic Seaboard, Chris.  Saw it off and let it drift out into the Atlantic. 

MATTHEWS:  You probably went along with that. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Goldwater right, we moderated before...

MATTHEWS:  You want to sever the Eastern Seaboard from the rest of the country. 

SILVER:  Wasn‘t Goldwater nominated in San Francisco, Gaven Newsom‘s town?  I mean, a lot has changed since Goldwater was nominated. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Are you speaking...

(CROSSTALK)

SILVER:  There you go.  There was thumb (ph) on target.

MATTHEWS:  I wonder what Jean Kirkpatrick meant when she said San Francisco Democrat. 

REAGAN:  Goldwater eventually came after...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  The panel will stick with us throughout the hour. 

In fact, -- earlier today I spoke today, by the way, with our welcoming governor, Governor George Pataki, who came right up here where Ron Silver is sitting, and another Republican is sitting here right now, George Pataki gave us a big welcome.  Let‘s watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  As a New York Republican, you also know how far you‘ve come as a party in unifying, because I remember, you do too, back when we were kids, that Barry Goldwater wanted to cut New York off from the rest of the country.  Now all the Republicans are coming here.  What‘s changed in the party?

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI, ® NEW YORK:  Well, I think a lot of it is what‘s changed in the city and the state, that we have had Republican leadership in the last 10 years.  And it‘s a safe city, it‘s a great city, it‘s an exciting city and a lot of people from around the country want to see that.

And I also think the party understands that New York is a symbol of America.  We‘re not different from the rest of the country.  We might be more diverse, we might be a little more liberal, we might be a little more outspoken, but we‘re America.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about the moment three years ago, it‘s almost coming up as anniversary, 9/11, it seems to me something changed even then. 

PATAKI:  There‘s no question, I think the attitude of America towards New York changed.  And they saw the strength of New Yorkers under incredibly adverse circumstances.  For all our diversity, we all came together and stood shoulder to shoulder.  And with the help of the rest of America, we were able to bring New York back to where it‘s still again the most exciting and wonderful place in the world. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about Yale.  Yale is a train ride from here, but for some weird reason, President Bush, former Governor Bush, the president of the United States, went to Yale, he was a year behind you, right? 

PATAKI:  Yes he was. 

MATTHEWS:  And John Kerry, the guy whose running against him on the Democratic ticket was a year ahead of you, right? 

PATAKI:  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  And then the Clintons both went to Yale Law. 

PATAKI:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  What is this?  Is this a combine or what? 

PATAKI:  Vice-President Cheney went to Yale too for a couple of years. 

MATTHEWS:  For a day or two. 

PATAKI:  It is a great school.  And I‘ll tell you, we had pretty heated and intense political debates back in the 60‘s when we were all in school.  And I think it was a great education and great training for America. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you see—did you ever hear of George Bush or John Kerry in college? 

PATAKI:  I knew of them both.  I met them both.

MATTHEWS:  Tell me about them. 

You were right between both of these guys. 

PATAKI:  You know, I knew President Bush.  He was a year behind me.  I didn‘t know him that well.  But I was involved in Republican politics and trying to get him involved and he just refused. 

MATTHEWS:  He was too much of a fraternity boy. 

PATAKI:  Well, he had a great time. 

MATTHEWS:  How about Kerry, was he already known as Mr. President back then? 

PATAKI:  I knew Senator Kerry.  I knew him better than I knew President Bush, because we were both very active in the political union.  And Kerry was the chairman of the liberal party the semester before I was the chairman of the conservative party.  So, we had a lot of...

MATTHEWS:  Did you ever debate, you two?

PATAKI:  We never debated. No.

MATTHEWS:  Did you see John Kerry‘s ambition on display at Yale? 

PATAKI:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Was it pleasant or unpleasant? 

PATAKI:  I don‘t want to characterize it.  There was no question that from the time I first met him when he was a sophomore, he had very clear political ambition. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think changed George W, the president of the United States from being a fraternity guy, that wasn‘t interested in politics, when you knew him as a fellow student, to being this almost Henry V character here, who is honestly on display after 9/11? 

PATAKI:  Well, I think he really was interested in politics as an undergraduate, but it wasn‘t the right time.  But then he went back to Texas.  Really enjoyed it very much. 

And one of the things I‘ve always liked about the president is he loves people.  He just loves being out there among the people.  And it‘s awfully hard when you‘re the the president in these times, but he‘s a great guy and he just wants to make the country better. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re coming back with the panel.  And when we return, the man responsible for overseeing the Republican Convention on behalf of the City of New York, is actually a Democrat.  He‘s standing right next to me.  We‘ll get a preview of the week ahead from Kevin Sheekey, the president of the host committee.  Your watching HARDBALL‘S live coverage of the Republican National Convention from Herald Square on MSNBC. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FRM. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This fellow, if nominated, claims he‘s the new Thomas Jefferson.  Well, let me tell you something, I knew Thomas Jefferson.  He was a friend of mine.  And governor, you‘re no Thomas Jefferson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL‘S coverage of the Republican Convention in New York City.  We‘re live from Herald Square at the heart of today‘s protest.  And we‘re joined right now by the man whose job it is to oversee the convention on behalf of the city.  Lifelong Democrat, and former chief of staff for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Kevin Sheekey.  He‘s now the President of the New York City Host Committee. 

What is the difference in planning this?  I want to ask you an anthropological question.  We‘re here in the heart of New York City in Manhattan, what‘s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican? 

KEVIN SHEEKEY, PRESIDENT NEW YORK CITY HOST COMMITTEE:  Well, I don‘t think there is a difference between a Democrat and a Republican.  I think there‘s a difference between New York and any other place.  Because in New York you can do a convention like this, and the city goes on.  The difference is, New York doesn‘t close for anyone, not even the president of the United States.  And you have some great people out here tonight.  If you keep looking down 6th Avenue, it‘s packed with people.  It was packed yesterday, it‘s packed today, it will be packed next week.  And it‘s a great time for the city.

MATTHEWS:  Why don‘t Republicans like to go out and yell across police lines like this and make some noise, why do Democrats like to do it more? 

SHEEKEY:  I think we‘ve got a lot of Republicans right here.  I think

·         hey listen, when people come to New York they like to have fun.  And it‘s great to have HARDBALL here in Herald Square. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the finances.  Every big city wants to have a convention, because it usually makes them some money.  How about New York, will you guys come out ahead this week? 

SHEEKEY:  We‘ll make about $235 million this week.

MATTHEWS:  Net?

SHEEKEY:  We‘ll net about $235 million over what we would do in a normal week.  We have hotels up this week compared to the same week last year, up 13 percent.  Hotels generally year to year, this year compared to last, about 5 percent.  And that‘s the difference you can see in the hotels this week.  Doesn‘t have to do with the 64 odd million dollars we spent at the Garden this week, those are Union jobs.  Those are carpenters, those are electricians, those are people working on a big event. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the out of towners.  I‘ve been walking around the streets of New York, my son just started college up here.  And I‘ve got to tell you, I‘ve never seen so many people on the streets of New York.  What‘s the appeal besides the protests and the convention, or is it those? 

SHEEKEY:  I think New York is always crowded.  There‘s never a time when you come to New York when the streets aren‘t crowded.  There‘s never a time when Times Square is quiet.  It wasn‘t quiet today.  It‘s not going to be quiet this week. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the mayor of New York.  Bloomberg is a Republican.  Is there a chance in hell that the Democrats can lose New York to you guys this year? 

SHEEKEY:  Is there a chance...

MATTHEWS:  Is there a chance the Republicans will win the presidential electoral votes of New York State after coming up here.  Usually when you go to a place, you hope to get their electoral votes.

SHEEKEY:  I think people did away with that a long time ago.  I think that the conventions now are basically a message to the nation.  And what conventions have done, they‘ve said listen, we‘re going to put on a show, that we‘re going to show the world, and we‘re going to show the nation. 

And the truth is they recognize something important, which is that people want to see things that happen in New York City.  That‘s going to bring in viewers.  And that‘s what they‘ve recognized.  And what you‘re going to see this week. 

MATTHEWS:  Not that long ago, this city was the scene of the worst tragedy in the country‘s history.  How has New York reacted to it now?  Do people have any—do they have a special concern about another hit? 

SHEEKEY:  Well I mean listen, I think New York is always a target. 

You know, I think New York goes on and New Yorkers rebounded from 9/11.

We‘ve come out of the recession, it was the quickest of the last 3. 

New Yorkers don‘t turn away from fear.  New York keeps going on.  But I think the message that the nation needs to understand, is that New York is always the target and because of that, I think the nation needs to understand that New York is it always going to need some help going forward. 

MATTHEWS:  Tell me about the police and how they‘ve dealt with the possibility of more trouble, not that big perhaps, but trouble from terrorism?  How do you put the police at work?  I‘ve seen them everywhere, the mounted police, the foot patrolmen, they‘re out here everywhere, they‘re all doing their job.  How do you put them in a deployment that stops somebody who is really out for trouble? 

SHEEKEY:  Well, a lot of it is about numbers.  The police department of New York City is about twice the size it was in 1992 when we did our last convention.  The New York City Police Department is larger than the next 3 largest police forces in the country combined. 

And so a lot of it has to do with numbers.  It has to do with experience, it has to do with training.  And that‘s the—that‘s what New York City Police Department brings to the table. 

MATTHEWS:  Are the firefighters of this city still getting the respect they got in the weeks just after 9/11? 

SHEEKEY:  I think so.  I think people are always going to respect New York City firefighters. 

MATTHEWS:  Are they cheering them when they go by in the trucks? 

SHEEKEY:  Are they cheering them?  Hey listen, I don‘t think anyone...

MATTHEWS:  Because the reason I say that, is because one of the really great things that came out of that horror was the respect for the guy whose out there sticking his life on the line, climbing stairs when everybody else is running down.  And I just wonder if that glow has gone away or is still there? 

SHEEKEY:  Hey listen, I remember when I was a kid, I think what 9/11 brought to the forbearers is really what the risk really is.  We always knew that a fireman would be there to run up in a building when we‘re running out, what we saw on 9/11 is that they actually did. 

But I think very basically they‘re probably a symbol for every fireman in this country.

MATTHEWS:  So where should a Republican—my brother is a Republican delegate, we just had him on from Pennsylvania, he in one of the swing states, not necessarily a swinger state, but a swing state, where should they go in New York of to have fun after this stuff is over with every night?  I wonder if you‘d give me a list of hot places right now.  Here‘s your chance. 

SHEEKEY:  Well, if I give you the list of hot places everyone‘s going to be there. 

MATTHEWS:  Give me some, give me some.

SHEEKEY:  We have to keep it kind of secret.  But I‘d head up to Times Square, I‘d head downtown, uptown, I‘d head to Brooklyn.  I‘d head to, you know, to a few good spots in Queens.  The truth is, there‘s spots all over this city. 

MATTHEWS:  So you wouldn‘t go to the Bronx? 

SHEEKEY:  I‘d go to the Bronx as well. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘m just teasing you. 

SHEEKEY:  Yankees are playing this week. 

MATTHEWS:  Who‘s going to win this year.  Yankees are five ahead of the Sox.  Are they going to hold the lead? 

SHEEKEY:  There‘s no question New York is going to put on a better convention than Boston.  There‘s no question that at the end of the day, the Yanks are going to finish ahead of the Sox.  That‘s just...

MATTHEWS:  What about the wild card, you might have a shot from the Sox because they are doing really well right now. 

SHEEKEY:  I‘d like to you have a shot.  But I just don‘t think you you do.

MATTHEWS:  If Steinbrenner doesn‘t win another world championship, is somebody going to get fired? 

SHEEKEY:  If you don‘t win a championship at Yankee Stadium, someone is always going to get fired. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re a tough guy.

What‘s it like being a Democrat working with Republicans? 

SHEEKEY:  You know listen, I think it‘s great.  The truth is, this is an important event for New York.  I think, that‘s what all New Yorkers recognize.  Whether you‘re a Democrat, whether you are a Republican, whether you‘re Independent.  The eyes of the world are on New York this week, and when that happens, New York comes out ahead. 

MATTHEWS:  When are you running for mayor? 

SHEEKEY:  I believe the mayor is running for reelection. 

MATTHEWS:  You got it all over you.  I can smell it.  I can smell the political activity in you.  You‘re not running ever for mayor? 

SHEEKEY:  I‘m not looking to get fired this week. 

MATTHEWS:  Imagine working for Bloomberg and for Pat Moynihan.  You can‘t beat that.  Kevin Sheekey, a Democrat, running the Republican Convention. 

Up next, HARDBALL correspondent David Shuster takes a look back at the history of Herald Square.  You‘re watching HARDBALL‘S live coverage of the Republican National Convention, the second Miracle on 34th Street. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL‘S coverage of the Republican Convention.  We‘re here at Herald Square in the heart of Manhattan, as you can see.  And for New Yorkers, it‘s always been quite a landmark.  HARDBALL correspondent David Shuster joins us live now with more—David. 

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Chris, here at Herald Square—it may actually look pretty small on camera to all of our viewers watching at home, but as my friends here and I both know, it would only take about 90 seconds to walk around this entire park, but it‘s a place that looms very large in the history of this great city. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER (voice-over):  In the shadow of the Empire State Building, along 34th, where Broadway and 6th Avenue meet, it is a square named after the New York Herald Newspaper and its offices that once stood here.  But most Americans may know Herald Square because of this: the Macy‘s Day Parade.

The parade has been a fixture here for nearly 80 years, along the same street that was once the heart of New York‘s red light and entertainment district.  But in 1901, a man named R.H. Macy bought and leveled an opera house across from the Herald and built the world‘s largest department store.  It was called Macy‘s.  Other stores would follow, including Gimbels, Saks 34th Street and B. Altman. 

The parade began in the 1920‘s when Macy‘s employees, many of them immigrants, wanted to honor their American home with a tradition they knew from Europe.  So, they walked down 6th avenue with bands and floats.  And the parade became a hit. 

Another hit came courtesy of producer and playwright George Cohan, who wanted to memorialized this area of New York in song. 

(SINGING)

SHUSTER:  Through the years, the square has seen its share of rallies and political events. 

RICHARD NIXON, FRM. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We‘re on the way to victory in New York. 

SHUSTER:  But these days, all that is left of the old Herald Building is this memorial park.  There‘s an inscription to the founders of the Herald, and you can still see the bronze bell ringer‘s that helped shoppers keep track of time. 

There is also this sculpture of Minerva Greek goddess of wisdom and invention. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER:  Wisdom and invention.  And Chris, I think the Greek goddesses would all be quite pleased with what our crew has done here in putting all of this together.  And by the way, I know that Ron Reagan has been blogging about the Greek Goddesses.  And so for everybody at home who wants to learn about our coverage, click on to hardball.MSNBC.com.  Hardblog.com.  We welcome all of your comments.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David Schuster. 

When we return, our panel will be with us.  Activist Ron Silver,

MSNBC‘s Ron Reagan, Patrick Buchanan.  And we‘ll be joined, as you can see,

by Andrea Mitchell.  She‘s already joined us.

You‘re watching HARDBALL‘S live coverage. 

I want to talk about the McCain speech tomorrow night, the Giuliani speech tomorrow night.  I‘ve got a teaser to look at.  I‘ll tell you about it when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re in New York.  Welcome back to HARDBALL‘S live coverage of the Republican Convention from New York‘s Herald Square. 

We‘re back with a panel, actor-activist Ron Silver, now working on the other side of the street, MSNBC‘s Ron Reagan, who only works his own side of the street, former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, who did win the Republican nomination primary in New Hampshire. 

Joined now also by NBC News senior foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell.  Andrea, you‘re the news person, let me start with you.  News, we got the clips from the speeches tomorrow night.  The two big speakers tomorrow night.  They couldn‘t be more on point.  The issue, security against terrorism.  Senator McCain, he starts it off with, he has been tested and has risen to the most important challenge of our time.  That‘s John McCain talking about his old nemesis, George W. Bush.  The importance nationally?

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  It‘s hugely important, because John McCain is the most Republican—the most popular figure in the Republican Party, has the best credentials on national security.  The strength that George Bush has in all the polls, particularly our new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll this week is his handling of terrorism.  His weakness: domestic economy and Iraq. 

So what they‘re trying to do this week is shore him up on terrorism, keep pointing to 9/11, keep emphasizing that, and try to finesse his problems on both Iraq and the economy. 

MATTHEWS:  The theatrics, Pat, has risen to the occasion, could there be a better spot to demonstrate that than New York City? 

BUCHANAN:  There‘s no better spot than New York City, Chris.  But let me say this, you have got three speakers up there, McCain is one, Pataki is another, Giuliani is another who will be doing the good guy, they‘ll be boosting the president, that‘s part of the job done here, and they will be boosting themselves, because they‘re all candidates in 2008. 

Look for sell Zell Miller and the vice-president to do the cutting work on Kerry for the Republicans here, because you‘ve got to do that.  And the president should come in, clean up with something of a vision for the future, no negatives in his speech.  And I think that‘s the way it will go.

And I think it‘s probably been very well orchestrated.  And that fits with the personality of everybody.  But the big star is going to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he‘s got—he has real star power beyond politics. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about, Ron, this guy again, let‘s talk about what Rudy Giuliani is going to say tomorrow night.  I‘ll tease some of the quotes.  You couldn‘t do better than this, this is Rudy Giuliani quoting Winston Churchill, who he‘s been identified with because of his heroic stand as Mayor of New York during 9/11. 

Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler when his opponents, and much of the press characterized him as a war mongering gadfly.  This is Giuliani on Churchill, really about the president.  Ron Reagan saw and described the Soviet Union as the evil empire when world opinion accepted it as inevitable and belittled Ron Reagan‘s intelligence. 

REAGAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  Pretty smart stuff here. 

REAGAN:  It is smart stuff.  I would remind everybody that Ron Reagan negotiated a settlement with the Soviet Union.  Negotiated them out of existence essentially.  We didn‘t go to war with the Soviet Union. 

There was another line that McCain said actually, if I can go back to that, what our enemies have sought to destroy is beyond their reach.  It cannot be taken from us, it can only be surrendered.  Now you know the Democrats and people on the Kerry side will say that‘s exactly what‘s happening.  We‘re surrendering a lot of our civil rights.  We shouldn‘t be doing, and it‘s Bush‘s and John Ashcroft‘s fault.  So that line right there caught my eye.  And sort of a double edged sword, I think, not intentionally. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s put it all together.  It‘s a wonderful note to start convention on.  First night, John McCain says he‘s risen to the occasion Henry V style.  He‘s pulled the sword from the stone—King Arthur, whatever.

Secondly, that he‘s Churchillian in his majesty and his leadership

against the people who thought we didn‘t have to fight.  So it‘s domestic,

fighting terrorism with McCain, and then it‘s—and then it‘s foreign

fighting with Giuliani.  So they did a little chiasmis there.  They shifted

REAGAN:  A little chiasmis there?  I like that.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s like the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the grease paint and the smell of the crowd.  You mix the adjectives up, you get the domestic guy, saying he‘s great on foreign policy, you have the foreign policy guy, McCain, saying he‘s great on domestic. 

SILVER:  Well, I think they‘re both exactly on point.  And I think that‘s why I‘m here. 

MATTHEWS:  Explain that. 

SILVER:  Because I‘m going to talk about the same thing tomorrow night.  I think tomorrow night is about 9/11, terrorism, the response to terrorism, and comparing George Bush, I think very favorably, with of the vision that Churchill had in 1937 and 1938 where he tried to alert people to the dangers of fascism, but people even in this country. 

As you know, Charles Lindberg was giving speeches at America First rallies.  And he said, let‘s be sensible about it at Madison Square Garden.  And eight years later in 1945, there‘s an awful lot of people that wish we had listened to the Churchills in the 37, 38. 39, as opposed to going through what we had to go through to get to 1945.  And I think the analogy here is very well taken. 

MITCHELL:  But he‘s already trying to soften the edges around his position on Iraq.  He did three interviews coming in to this convention week.  In all three interviews, including the one with Matt Lauer, what he does is, he admits to some mistakes, he talks about prewar intelligence, postwar Iraq, so he‘s acknowledging that maybe things hadn‘t worked out quite so well. 

MATTHEWS:  Is that a course correction? 

MITCHELL:  That is a course correction rhetorically, just for the purposes of this week and to appeal to the independent and swing voters. 

MATTHEWS:  But it‘s what the polls say the people want. 

MITCHELL:  It‘s what the polls say the people want.  And it‘s also trying to acknowledge that in time for showing this kinder, gentler convention. 

MATTHEWS:  He‘s in effect saying you don‘t need a change, I‘m making a change. 

MITCHELL:  Look at the speakers.  Look at the speakers.  You‘re not going to hear Pat Buchanan, or his compadres at this convention on the floor, because you‘re going to hear John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, you‘re going to hear Pataki Schwarzenegger.  You‘re going to hear 4 speakers who disagree with the Republican platform on every social issue. 

MATTHEWS:  Pat, you said the real guy, the ax slayer is going to be Zell Miller. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, Kerry has had a terrible two weeks.  These guys are happy, they cannot believe their luck coming into a convention with Kerry in this swift boat mess.  The president of the United States is ahead.  No challenger has ever won if the president goes into his election like that. 

But they‘ve got to keep it going, so you have to have a couple of ax men who do the negative work.  Miller is perfectly positioned, he‘s a respected Democrat from the south, he can go in there and say my party has abandoned real national security, Kerry has.  Cheney has to do the hard work up here and he‘ll read the speech and do it well. 

And I think, then, you have got the president who‘s got to give a little vision and where we‘re going.  But Chris, I think him doing this—all of us have been saying, Mr. President, why haven‘t you said look, it hadn‘t gone the way we thought, and we all thought they had weapons and they don‘t got them. 

MATTHEWS:  But isn‘t that his strength, his certitude? 

BUCHANAN:  No, but he ought to say it.  Look, they didn‘t turn up. 

And it didn‘t go they we though, but what we did in getting rid of them was the right thing. 

MATTHEWS:  I hear the fire of Pat Buchanan.  The man who won the New Hampshire primary not too many years ago, this party.  Andrea Mitchell, thanks for coming.  We‘ll have more of you this week.  Patrick Jay Buchanan, Ron Reagan, Ron Silver. 

Up next, the role of women in the Republican Party with Congresswoman Anne Northup of Kentucky and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. 

And don‘t forgot, sign up for HARDBALL‘S daily e-mail briefing.  Just log on to our Web site, hardball.MSNBC.com. 

Ron Silver doesn‘t think much of Web sites.  You‘re watching HARDBALL‘S live coverage of the Republican National Convention on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re really here.  Welcome back to New York‘s Herald Square and HARDBALL‘S coverage of the Republican Convention. 

Joining me now, representative Congresswoman Anne Northup of Kentucky and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congresswoman from Florida. 

Anyway, let me talk about this convention and women.  Everybody likes Laura Bush.  She‘s unbelievably popular, and one reason is she‘s not threatening to anybody.  She‘s not really a politician, right? 

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, ® FLORIDA:  No, I think there are other reasons to like her. 

MATTHEWS:  All of a sudden she‘s coming out and becoming a strong policy advocate for the president.  Why do you think the Republicans decided to unleash her on the issue of health research, Anne? 

REP. ANNE NORTHUP, ® KENTUCKY:  Well, I think that they feel like women especially like to hear from women and she‘s very articulate, very smart.  And you know, the polls show that with married women, the Republicans have—are holding their own or better.  With unmarried women, they‘re not.  And I think that women want security and they feel secure with Laura Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  But the question about health research, Alzheimer‘s, Parkinson‘s, the usual things, Ron Reagan has raised the issue here at the Democratic Convention, why do the Republicans want to use the first lady with all her almost untouchable popularity on an issue which is so controversial, so debatable? 

ROS-LEHTINEN:  Well, because there are other aspects of health research.  It‘s not just about embryonic stem cell research.  The Democrats want to frame the entire healthcare debate to be on this one...

MATTHEWS:  Why do they want to do that? 

ROS-LEHTINEN:  Because for them, they think it‘s a wedge issue.  And they think it‘s a winner issue for them. 

MATTHEWS:  Don‘t wedge issues usually work? 

ROS-LEHTINEN:  Who has reformed Medicare, who has brought Social Security back to solvency, who has gotten prescription drugs for seniors?  Those are all health issues.  And Laura Bush could be a good spokesperson for that.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the matchup with Laura Bush on the Republican side and Teresa Heinz Kerry on the other side.  As a voter in Kentucky, give me their perspective on the two first ladies? 

NORTHUP:  I think most women believe that most partnerships, the wives and husbands talk about issues, they discuss them, husbands draw a lot of insight and—from their wives and I think that Laura Bush is somebody that far more women in Kentucky identify with, feel like they want talking about public policy with the president.  And I don‘t think in Louisville or much of Kentucky, Teresa Heinz Kerry seems like somebody that would be reassuring to them. 

MATTHEWS:  How about your community, an interesting community, Cuban Americans, many others, do they identify with a woman who grew up in a Portuguese colony?  Don‘t they see a sort of an Iberian connection there?

ROS-LEHTINEN:  I‘m not going to dis anybody, but it‘s like the barbecue factor.  For us, it‘s like the Roast (ph) con Pollo factor.  Who do you want to have over for roast con pollo (ph), and I think Laura Bush beats Teresa Heinz Kerry.  And I think it‘s a comfort level.  People really connect with Laura Bush in a very personal level. 

MATTHEWS:  I connect with cafe leche, but what‘s these other things you‘re talking about?  What‘s this food that Cubans... 

ROS-LEHTINEN:  It‘s a yellow rice with chicken.  It‘s a basic staple. 

You‘ve got to come down to...

MATTHEWS:  OK, latest numbers show, as you‘re not surprised Congresswoman, more women are voting for Kerry or saying they will than note voting for Bush.  What is that gender gap—and more men by somewhat similar margin for Bush.  Why do the Democrats tend to—I mean, if only women voted in the country, the Democrats would win every presidential election practically.  What is that about, that difference? 

NORTHUP:  Well it‘s a narrow difference, but when you actually look at married women, more are for Bush, unmarried, more for Kerry.  And I think that..

MATTHEWS:  OK, why are unmarried women Democrats?

NORTHUP:  Because I think that certainly the security, not having somebody—another adult to depend on in the home, I think the Democrats‘ scare tactics about issues that are near and dear to women tend to scare them successfully. 

MATTHEWS:  But women are smart, they know what a scare tactic is it. 

NORTHUP:  Exactly.  And I think more and more women in this election, more than the last election understand that education has been reformed and that their child has less of a chance of being left behind now with a good accountability factor. 

Healthcare, insurance gets less expensive, and the Republican Party has to reach out to women and make these points that secure education, secure healthcare, that our ideas, rather than being scared about change, are really invitations to address challenges that we haven‘t addressed in the past. 

MATTHEWS:  Guys, let‘s talk about something that really is brand new.  That‘s women seeing, my colleague Gloria Borges (ph) pointed this out, that now women look upon national defense as a domestic issue, because of what happened in this city 2001. 

ROS-LEHTINEN:  Absolutely.  And you see that in all of the key states.  Florida, for example, in my home state, we have got not only military families, people who are not connected to the military, for them, security and security in the homeland and security abroad, and making sure that their home is safe, their neighborhood is safe and our country is safe, that‘s going to be a key issue.  And it‘s not just the dads that are worried about that, it‘s a mom issue as well, and it‘s a single mom issue as well. 

MATTHEWS:  I guess it comes down to the heading, which presidential candidate is going to get my kids home from school safe? 

ROS-LEHTINEN:  Then I say with President Bush, he‘s led the fight, he‘s a wartime president, he‘s a guy who geared our country after 9/11, fighting this international war against terrorism, making sure that we‘re fighting in Iraq rather than right here in Herald Square. 

MATTHEWS:  Both of you are going to speak at the convention.  What‘s your night Anne?

NORTHUP:  I am Tuesday night.

MATTHEWS:  What time are you? 

NORTHUP:  On adoption.  8:40 pm.

MATTHEWS:  8:40. 

What time are you?  You‘re part of that big she-bang at the end.

ROS-LEHTINEN:  I‘m going to be moderating a panel on the economy on Monday, but we‘ve got a she-bang in Little Havana on Thursday. 

MATTHEWS:  Thursday night right before the president, they‘re going to do a remote from Miami and try to grab Florida one more time.

Anyway, thank you Congresswoman Anne Northrup and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. 

And don‘t forget, you can keep up with everything going on here in New York for the Republican Convention on Hardblogger, our election blog web site, just go to hardball.MSNBC.com. 

Our coverage continues tonight just after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to New York and HARDBALL‘S coverage of the Republican National Convention.  We‘re here with the crowd at Herald Square.  A little HARDBALL exclusive.  Here‘s what the confetti looks like this.  I‘ve got it in my hands here. 

Most Democratic conventions are never successful with their balloon drops.  The Republicans are notoriously good at balloon drops.  Look at this confetti, it‘s got a picture of George Bush on it, Laura Bush, Dick Cheney.  I‘m not going to throw it at the crowd.  It is really dangerous stuff. 

Anyway, that‘s one thing the Republicans can do much better than Democrats. 

I want to know how many Republicans here?  Why do you boo when I ask you that.  Now how many Democrats? 

I want to ask, is there a Republican here?  I‘m going to ask this lady.  I want to ask you a question.  Why is it that the Republicans are better mannered than Democrats? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘re just classier people.  No booing from the Republicans.  No Republicans are booing the Democrats.  See, they‘re calling me stupid.  Isn‘t that rude? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Because the world is on fire.  We have something to argue about.  That‘s why. 

MATTHEWS:  I just noticed that, because whenever I said, how many Republicans here?  That‘s great.  No boos. 

Who else is a Republican here?  Come here.  Come here.  What do you think about this convention here in New York? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think it‘s crazy right now.  It‘s great.  I think they should go wherever they want to go. 

MATTHEWS:  How many Democrats here are glad the Republicans are holding the convention here? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Come on!

MATTHEWS:  You‘re not happy with that. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We can‘t even get across the island.  What‘s going on here?  Get out of here.  Go home.  Go somewhere where you‘re wanted.  Just like back in the war, go somewhere, where your not invited.

MATTHEWS:  He you‘re like a moth to a flame.  You love it here. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How could we not be welcome here?  We‘re bringing economy to New York City.  Being here, this convention is bringing a lot of money. 

MATTHEWS:  I just heard that despite all the complaints, I understand that according to Kevin Sheekey we just had on, this is going to bring a couple hundred million dollars to the city. 

Anyway, HARDBALL‘S coverage.  The Republican National Convention begins tomorrow night at 6:00 Eastern.  We‘ll be here until midnight tomorrow night.  And every night of the convention, I‘ll be here six hours a night.  Of course, I love this stuff.  And here‘s a look at some of the convention speakers coming up this week. 

(SINGING)

MATTHEWS:  It will be big tomorrow night.  I have to tell you.  Stay tuned.  We‘re coming up, picking our presidents is Tom Brokaw and I relive the greatest moments in America‘s rich history of political conventions.  It is going to be a lot of fun. 

If you haven‘t seen it yet, you have to watch it tonight.  It is a great show. 

Anyway, I‘m going to talk to you for a moment here and say how much I love the fact, it is the first time the Republicans have been to New York.  It is a fabulous place.  We‘re here at Herald Square, named after the great old New York Herald, the great old New York Herald.  It is a hell of a corner.  The Miracle on 34th Street with Edwin Quinn, John Paine and Maurine O‘Hara and Natalie Wood?  We‘re right on the corner.  This is the Second Miracle on 34th Street.

We‘re back tomorrow night at 6:00.

END   

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