updated 8/31/2004 4:57:26 PM ET 2004-08-31T20:57:26

Guests: John Avlon, Joe Trippi, Ron Silver, Kim Serafin

JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST:  Live from Herald Square in the heart of New York City, right around the corner from Madison Square Garden, where tonight the Grand Old Party kicked off their party, and it‘s still going on here after hours.  I‘m Joe Scarborough.

RON REAGAN, CO-HOST:  And I‘m Ron Reagan.  We‘ve got a great hour lined up for you.  We‘re going to take a peak in at the party scene and why Michael Moore caused such a stir at the Republican National Convention.

So, helping us kick back tonight and relax, the jazzy sounds of Matt Shulman and the Shulman System Trio.

REAGAN:  And our great panel—Ron Silver‘s still with us.  He‘s an actor who excited the GOP crowd earlier tonight.  Joe Trippi is an MSNBC analyst and a former campaign manager for Howard Dean.  And the New York son, John Avlon.  He‘s Mayor Giuliani‘s former chief speech writer and the author of “Independent Nation: How the Vital Center is Changing American Politics.”

Welcome to you guys.  So, what did you think of your boy‘s speech?

JOHN AVLON, AUTHOR:  Hit it out of the park, I thought.  It was great.  It was classic Rudy.  He was being himself.  He had this New York swagger.  He showed that you can talk about war and peace without being stuffy.  People got it at home and he just had the whole crowd with him.

REAGAN:  You didn‘t write that speech for him, did you?

AVLON:  I did not.  He wrote it himself.

REAGAN:  Oh, he wrote it himself.

AVLON:  He did, yes.

REAGAN:  What did you think about that taking off on Kerry?  He actually ad-libbed a little bit.  I had a copy of the speech and I was reading along, and he got a little juiced up there and he sort of went after John Kerry, didn‘t he?

AVLON:  He did, but he did it in a way again that seemed to set the record straight and to be an honest broker.  He didn‘t go into personal attacks.  I thought one of the greatest moments in the speech was where he said, look, we‘re not electing a liberal or a conservative on election day, we‘re electing a leader.  And that recasts the whole election in a really powerful way.

REAGAN:  The implication being, of course, that John Kerry could not be a leader.

AVLON:  The implication is there.

REAGAN:  Joe, what did you think?

JOE TRIPPI, MSNBC ANALYST:  Oh, I thought it was a great speech, I mean, no doubt about that.  And the way he conducted himself, it felt like he was in a small room—somehow captured everybody in the crowd.

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘ve been around a lot of politicians, he could have been talking to a rotary group.

TRIPPI:  Yes, it was pretty amazing in that regard, but I think the whole thing was a little disingenuous, in my own view.  I mean, you sit there and you look at—McCain talked about sacrifice and about how we all had to sacrifice together.  Americans have not been asked to sacrifice during this war.  I mean, veterans have, people over there that we sent over there have had to sacrifice. 

This is an administration that cut their pay, combat pay, cut veterans‘ benefits during this whole thing, and here they are talking about McCain and these guys.  And I have a lot of respect from them, but talking about how we all need to sacrifice together.  The American people, you know what you get in this war, daddy (ph)?  A big fat tax cut. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s take a listen to what the mayor had to say from the night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR:  It was here in 2001 in the same lower Manhattan that President George W. Bush stood amid the fallen towers of the World Trade Center, and he said to the barbaric terrorists who attacked us, they will hear from us.

(APPLAUSE)

Well, they heard from us.

(APPLAUSE)

They heard from us in Afghanistan, and we removed the Taliban.  They heard from us in Iraq, and we ended Saddam Hussein‘s reign of terror, and we put him where he belongs, in jail.

(APPLAUSE)

They heard from us in Libya, and without firing a shot, Qaddafi abandoned his weapons of mass destruction.  They‘re hearing from us in nations that are now much more reluctant to sponsor terrorists or terrorism.  So long as George Bush is our president, is there any doubt they will continue to hear from us?

(APPLAUSE)

We owe that much, and more, to the loved ones and heroes that we lost on September 11th.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Ron, it was a speech, it was a night, it is a convention that all seems geared towards reminding Americans, taking Americans back to where they were on September 11th.

But, you know, Giuliani reminded me of something else, though, that I heard after September 11th, and I heard it from Democrats.  I heard it from liberal trial lawyers that I worked with who told me—right after 9/11, they said, you know what?  I‘m glad now that George Bush got elected president instead of Al Gore.  But isn‘t it interesting, you‘re not hearing that from these people anymore.

These same people that seemed to support him right after the attacks of 9/11 are now working aggressively to get him out of office.  What went wrong?  Where did the president lose these supporters?

RON SILVER, ACTOR:  I think the post-war planning in Iraq, as successful as the military campaign was, the post-war planning has been wretched.  And even though the administration has been trying to be somewhat flexible, they got rid of Jay Garner, they brought in Bremer, they tried to stick with the date and the transferring sovereignty, they seem to be playing catch-up.  And I think these casualties are a lot more than they were willing to bear for what they anticipated.  But I think they have made adjustments and they realize we‘re in it for the long haul, and they still have to sell Americans on it.

REAGAN:  I don‘t think they knew quite what a long haul it was going to be when they went in.  I mean, we‘re stuck there for a good, long time.

SILVER:  But when you say stuck, I remember in Afghanistan we were talking about quagmires.  Two days of a sandstorm in Iraq and all of a sudden we‘re bogged down with Vietnam again.  I‘m not sure.  I think the historians will know better than us how it all turns out.

REAGAN:  Indeed.

SILVER:  So I‘m not sure we‘re necessarily stuck.

TRIPPI:  But it goes back to—everything (ph) just goes back to when they picked New York as their convention site.  Back when they picked it, they thought, and they were right back then, that they had a shot at carrying New York.  And so I think things have changed dramatically.  There was a lot of things that they weren‘t counting on in the post-Iraq planning and in terms of the political implications. 

Now they‘re sitting here in New York, I‘m not sure they wanted to be here under these circumstances.

SCARBOROUGH:  Did Giuliani‘s speech change any of that?  Is it now cool for Cheney to visit Ground Zero in the wake of Giuliani‘s speech?

AVLON:  I think it recasts it.  I mean, instead of shying away from what‘s a potential problem, they went right at it.  They said, look, we‘re not going to ignore September 11th, the central event of our time.  We‘re not going to ignore Iraq.  We‘re going to stand with the troops and make that clear.  And Rudy Giuliani did something else I thought was important and interesting.

There he was.  He was the prosecutor, prosecuting the war on terror, and this was zero tolerance against terror.  It‘s an extension of all the zero tolerance policies in the country, extended around the world.  The problem with terror was that we appeased the terrorists, beginning with Munich.  He called out Arafat again, he extended it through Libya and it was a powerful speech for that reason.

SCARBOROUGH:  But did he connect the dots?  This is a question that continues, I think, to follow this president.  Things are going very well with him in the polls right now.  They turned the other way.  People are going to keep asking him the question that so many people in this crowd have been asking, and we see people in New York—connect the dots with September 11th and Iraq.

Did Rudy Giuliani connect the dots?  Did John McCain connect the dots?  Is there anything that George W. Bush can do this week to connect the dots?  Give it your best shot.

AVLON:  Well, I think Rudy Giuliani said in the speech.  He said look, there are pillars that support terrorism, and taking out Saddam Hussein and Iraq was one of those pillars.  He made the case that Saddam Hussein was a weapon of mass destruction, and that that wasn‘t the litmus test, that the war on terror required a number of different actions and Saddam Hussein and the tyranny in Iraq was one of the pillars propping up terrorism.

It‘s a different argument, and I think it works.

REAGAN:  The intelligence reports tell us that Saddam Hussein actually wasn‘t supporting international terrorism in any meaningful way, there, and in fact he of course had no weapons of mass destruction, as we found.

SILVER:  Abu Matell (ph) was living there.  He was giving $25,000 to Palestinian suicide bombers‘ families.  There were other terrorists ...

REAGAN:  There were terrorists living here, and I‘ll remind you that our good ally Pakistan is now playing host to Osama bin Laden, who knocked the towers down.  So are we going to go after Pakistan, next?

SILVER:  You know that Pakistan has UBL?

REAGAN:  I said Osama bin Laden is living in Pakistan, in the hills of Pakistan, yes.  Well, that‘s what everybody says.

SILVER:  You don‘t have the address, because ...

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  Somebody ought to go after him.

TRIPPI:  No, it just says to me there‘s, like, this—in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY,” for instance, right, you don‘t talk about supporting the troops, about how we all have to do this together, and at the same time be an administration that cut combat pay and cut veterans‘ benefit.  I mean, I don‘t even understand, how do they square that?  And I didn‘t see them talk about that stuff ...

SCARBOROUGH:  But, you know what, the thing is, you can ask that question of Republicans, Democrats, everybody salutes the flag.  They‘ve been doing it for years.  They talk about how great these guys are.  Eighteen, 19, 20-year-old kids go over, they get killed in war.  They don‘t get enough money to get buried.  They don‘t get burial benefits.  And this is a shame, unfortunately, of both parties.  It was that way when I was in Congress.  Unfortunately, it‘s still that way.  It is a disgrace.

TRIPPI:  And the real one too is the National Guard families, that these guys who didn‘t sign up for these kind of service overseas for this length of time, where their families are sitting under duress, no real compensation, no way to take care of themselves.  And we‘re—I just think this is like—there‘s something wrong with ...

(CROSSTALK)

TRIPPI:  ... at these conventions when that stuff‘s going on and this is the party that—he is the commander in chief.  Why isn‘t George Bush ...

SCARBOROUGH:  John‘s jumping out of his chair. 

John, we‘re going to give you chance to talk about this, because we‘ve got plenty more straight ahead of AFTER HOURS.  We‘re going to be looking at how Michael Moore reacted to being booed by all of Madison Square Garden, plus, more of your phone calls.  That number‘s 888-MSNBC-USA.  And that‘s when MSNBC coverage of the first night of the Republican National Convention continues in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And welcome back.  I‘m Joe Scarborough.  We‘ve got a very, very revved up crowd here.  We even have a Howard Dean for president button.  Joe Trippi has got to be excited.

I‘ll tell you what, this is democracy at its best, Ron Reagan, isn‘t it?  I mean ...

REAGAN:  How does this crowd divide, by the way?  I see a lot of Bush people over here, I recognize.  And then we‘ve got the Kerry people over here.

SCARBOROUGH:  It looks like we‘ve got Kerry people, we‘ve got Bush people.  We‘ve got a book (ph), thank you President Bush.

Were you inside the hall tonight?

JEANINE JACKSON (ph), BUSH SUPPORTER:  Yes, I was.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, where are you from?

JACKSON:  I‘m from Washington state.

SCARBOROUGH:  And what‘s your name?

JACKSON:  Jeanine Jackson. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, tell me, what was the highlight of the night for you?

JACKSON:  It was truly remembering 9/11, and just feeling, being in this city.  New York is just a tremendous place to be, and I really believe in the integrity and character of President George Bush, and I want to see him back in the White House.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

REAGAN:  Do you agree with that, that 9/11 was a big moment here, that moment?

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH SUPPORTER:  It was a big moment, but I think the whole thing is President Bush and his character and his leadership that won‘t vary no matter what goes on.  He just won‘t back down.

REAGAN:  How much do you wish that we‘d gone after Osama bin Laden a little harder and actually gotten him?

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH SUPPORTER:  I wish Bill Clinton had have done it.

REAGAN:  Do you wish George W. Bush had done it?

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH SUPPORTER:  Of course, but Bill Clinton first.

REAGAN:  But he‘s not in office now, so it‘s not his responsibility, so what about the president?

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH SUPPORTER:  But as soon as things happen that nothing—Bill Clinton didn‘t take care of, George Bush did what needed to be done, and I don‘t think a lot of guys would have done what George Bush did, that‘s the way I look at it.

REAGAN:  Do you mean leave Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and go to Iraq?

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on one second.  Hold on.  You know what?  This is what we want to do ...

REAGAN:  I‘m going to get Joe fired up now ...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Everybody, listen, this is what we want to do.  We want to hear everybody talk.  We want to hear everybody‘s side.  Let‘s respect each other.  I saw you shaking your head while these two supporters of George Bush were talking. 

Are you supporting John Kerry, and if so, why?

UNIDENTIFIED KERRY SUPPORTER:  I believe in public service on the part of the government, and that‘s not forthcoming from the Bush administration.  All of the money they‘re spending and squandering in Iraq should be being spent on U.S. citizens here.  We have plenty of needs, and that war is totally not serving the U.S. public.

SCARBOROUGH:  So you agree with John Kerry when John Kerry says you should spend money on firehouses in New York City, instead of Baghdad.

UNIDENTIFIED KERRY SUPPORTER:  I believe we should go after those who have attacked us.  That‘s Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda.  They are stateless terrorists.  They don‘t live in Iraq, Iraq was not supporting them.  The claims to that are totally tenuous.  We should be going after people who have attacked us, and then using our funds wisely at home.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, let‘s look for some other people, Ron.  We‘ve got a best (ph) right here?

REAGAN:  Red here, if I can just kind of ooch (ph) my way down here.  I‘ve got more wires  ...

SCARBOROUGH:  Ooch.  Is that a California word, ooch (ph)?

REAGAN:  Ooch, ooching (ph), yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  Ooch, ooching. 

REAGAN:  Kind of like scoshe (ph).

SCARBOROUGH:  Ooching , OK.  We say scoshe in Florida.  OK, so ooch on over.

REAGAN:  So what do you think about all this stuff?  We‘ve been talking about Iraq versus the war on terror and Osama bin Laden, who‘s still swanning around Pakistan with his video camera.  Would you like to see him behind bars, or maybe worse?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I do.  I was in the first Gulf War.  I served my country.  I‘m proud of America and it‘s freedom.  I‘d fight for that right, and I‘d go back if I could.  I‘m a disabled vet and I stand up for America and its freedom.  It‘s a great place to live, and God bless America.

REAGAN:  Now, in the first Gulf War, if I remember correctly, we drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, and George H.W. Bush, the president, declined to pursue them into Baghdad.  And he actually wrote a book that dealt with that, saying, you know, the problem with that if we went into Baghdad, we‘d be in charge of Iraq, and we just don‘t want that.  It‘s bad for America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It is a little frustrating.  I spoke with some Iraqi women today at a women‘s summit and they said that they wished that we had done that 10 years ago, we would have saved a lot of lives, a lot of American lives.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, unfortunately, a lot of Shi‘ites that actually came out ready to go against ...

REAGAN:  We encouraged them to come out.

SCARBOROUGH: We encouraged them to go and then pulled back.

You say veterans, New York City veterans for Bush ‘04.  Are you the lone member of that club, or are there more of you here?

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH SUPPORTER:  I‘m (ph) here tonight, but I‘m sure there‘s a lot of us around.

SCARBOROUGH:  Why do you support George Bush?

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH SUPPORTER:  I support George Bush because I believe in his credibility.  When he stands up there and he tells you something he‘s going to do, he does it.  There‘s no lies that I see.  All these people who say no flip-flopping, correct? 

And for someone that ...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let him talk.

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH SUPPORTER:  One of the biggest parts of leadership is in the face of adversity, you stand up and you believe and you do what is right, regardless of who says it‘s wrong.  George Bush believes in what he‘s doing.  He believes in his country, and he believes in protecting its people.  That‘s why I‘m for ...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, listen.  First of all, I want to thank all of you for letting everybody talk.  We‘re going to be coming down here all week.  We had some problems in Boston before with some people screaming back and forth.  You all are showing great respect.  That‘s what the first amendment‘s about.  That‘s what freedom of speech is about, and we want to thank you for coming out tonight, very important to take part in this process.

Now, after the convention, Michael Moore‘s spoke to CNBC and when they reacted, it was no so friendly welcome inside the garden tonight.  This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER:  I was honored to be mentioned in a speech at a national convention.  That doesn‘t happen to you every day.  And I don‘t know why he‘d want to send more people to the movie theater to see the movie.  This is a mistake these Republicans have made since the movie opened.  The more they attacked it, the more people went to see it.  And we‘re just a little under $120 million now at the box office, and I think tonight Senator McCain put us over.  I have nothing but my deepest respect and gratitude for that.

I was in the press area.  I‘m doing a daily column for “USA Today” on the convention, so I have press credentials, and I was sitting there doing my job, and suddenly I looked up and he was doing a review of my movie, a movie apparently he hadn‘t seen, because he was quoting from a scene that doesn‘t exist in the movie.

You know, these guys, they were—I‘ll tell you, they‘re something, these Republicans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And still with us, we‘ve got actor Ron Silver, MSNBC analyst Joe Trippi and former Giuliani speech writer John Avlon.

Ron, what did you think about John McCain giving Michael Moore so much free publicity tonight?

SILVER:  I‘ll tell you, I was stunned that Michael Moore was in the hall.  I mean, that‘s cajones, to come right into the enemy territory.

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘ve got to hand it to him.

SILVER:  But I hope it wasn‘t free publicity.  I think as many people saw that—I guess you can call it a film, as I‘ve seen it.  I can‘t imagine other than the DVD coming out other people going to see the movie.

SCARBOROUGH:  Maybe we can get 9/11 going again after the swift boat thing, but I don‘t think McCain and Moore are going to be working on a movie together anytime soon.  I would not expect that.

Now, John, you almost flew out of your chair before the last break.

AVLON:  Well, we were talking about the fact that—the issues of soldiers pay, and is there a double standard?  And it actually goes back to McCain, something he said at the outset, which is never in history have we cut taxes during wartime.  And there‘s an issue of being able to pay for all of this. 

This is a very idealistic, wide-reaching enterprise, the idea that we don‘t have to worry about paying for it is one of the problems we‘ve got in politics.  Dollars are details, and it‘s one of the reasons that both parties have abandoned fiscal responsibility, and it‘s one of the reasons why we‘re going to have a harder time down the road.

REAGAN:  And George Bush may have a harder time during this campaign.  Most presidents, when they‘re running for reelection, like to appear at a convention and propose big, bold things.  Well, when you don‘t have any money to pay for big, bold things, that gets to be a problem.  Is this going to be a problem for George W. Bush?

TRIPPI:  Well, it‘s a bigger problem when you have the largest surplus in history and have turned it into the largest deficit in history.  And I understand we have to pay for the war, and I think Americans understand that, but to do it in the face of massive tax cuts in the same time, we‘ve never done that before.

This is what I was getting into before, about the American people haven‘t been asked to sacrifice during any of this.  And I don‘t mean sacrifice in any real, material way, but to get these tax cuts that have put us into this deficit.  I think most Americans would rather have our troops with the right armor, with the right protection and with the right benefits, instead of these tax cuts, particularly at the level of tax cuts the president and the administration put out and who they gave them to.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I talked to you about health care before, Ron, but we can talk about other fiscal issues, other local, economic issues, domestic issues, the deficit, the largest ever, the debt, largest ever.  You talk about no choices, you know what?  I supported the tax cuts.  But if you‘re going to support tax cuts, how can you support an $8 trillion pharmaceutical plan, large entitlement spending?  How can you support another tax cut?  How can you support the largest foreign subsidy bill ever?  How can you support the largest transportation bill ever?  How can you support an energy boondoggle? 

I‘m telling you, I have never seen a lack of discipline by both parties—and, you know what?  You can blame the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress, but in the end, John, the buck stops at the White House.  Why hasn‘t this president, a president that I‘ve supported, not vetoed a single spending bill over the past four years?

AVLON:  You‘re right, and there‘s a degree of accountability that‘s got to be compelled.  Look, I mean, the Republicans have slipped into what the Democrats did for decades, essentially bribing their way back into office through pork barrel projects.  And you would have thought that, being consistent with fiscal responsibility, one of the heart issues of that party, that it would have made a difference and that we would have seen real change, at least, on that front.

Instead, the fiscal conservatives in this country are politically homeless right now, and it‘s going to be one of the front lines on on the realignment we‘re going to see.

TRIPPI:  One of the reasons I think this is happening is because the Republicans have it all.  They‘ve got the presidency, the Senate and the House.

REAGAN:  Don‘t forget the Supreme Court.

TRIPPI:  Well, yes, we can talk about that, too.  But my point is, I think both parties have gone through this, when they got in charge.  All of a sudden, spending‘s not a bad thing.  I mean, there‘s something in their district that they want or something, and so I think we‘re totally out of control.

But I really think this is about the future of the country.  Both parties have to get some responsibility and start addressing ...

SILVER:  The way we talk about this, about both parties, that there‘s so much dishonest conversation about the economy.  There is no difference, at the end of the day, between the Republican and the Democratic Party.  They play around the edges.  Anybody who really wants to make a difference in terms of economics and finances, Nader is their guy, because he understands that both parties ...

TRIPPI:  Oh, here we go.

SILVER:  What do you mean here you go?  Nader ...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I just blogged about this about an hour ago.

SILVER:  I was here.  I did not see your blog.

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe Trippi, I don‘t know if you saw it, but Ron was walking around with a sandwich board.  The front of it said Bush/Cheney.  The back said Nader.  You‘re playing both sides, across (ph) the middle.

(CROSSTALK)

TRIPPI:  What I saw (ph) is there‘s a movement now on the net to get Gillespie to allow Nader to speak at the convention to his Republican supporters, to come into the ...

(CROSSTALK)

SILVER:  The dishonesty is—look, manufacturing jobs are not coming back to this country.  It‘s gone.  The ship has sailed.  They‘re going to be done everywhere else, because nobody‘s going to pay the wages we have to do to get manufacturing, which ...

(CROSSTALK)

SILVER:  ... manufacturing is here.  Both of them are not going to talk honestly about that.  And there‘s a whole host of issues that the Democrats and Republicans will not talk honestly about.

SCARBOROUGH (?):  John?

AVLON:  These Republicans or Bush supporting Nader, I mean, there‘s an incoherence here.  I am an independent, actually.  And it‘s interesting, you look at where independent voters are, Ralph Nader‘s a Trojan horse, maybe a far-left protest candidacy, maybe something opportunistic from the right.  But the truth is this, independent voters are not backing Ralph Nader.  He‘s independent in label only.

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know what?  Does anybody really think, at the end of the day, when people go in to vote, that Ralph Nader is going to decide a single state in 2004 like he did in 2000?

REAGAN:  Well, he‘s not going to decide Pennsylvania, because he‘s not on the ballot anymore in Pennsylvania.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  We are live from Herald Square in New York City, the city that never sleeps, so don‘t go to bed just yet.

SCARBOROUGH:  Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what, as much as we love hearing ourselves talk, we really want to hear from you tonight.  Give us a call at 888-MSNBC-USA.  We‘re going to be taking your calls a little later, but first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.

(NEWSBREAK)

REAGAN:  It‘s time to party the Republican way, which presumably involves a lot of cigars and red meat.

SCARBOROUGH:  And red meat, red wine...

REAGAN:  Here in the city that, as we like to say so often, city never sleeps.

The convention‘s delegates are going out exploring what the city has to offer.

Joining our panel, Kim Serafin, former Giuliani press secretary who now hosts a weekly talk radio show on KABC. Welcome, Kim.

KIM SERAFIN, FMR. GIULIANI PRESS SECRETARY:  Thanks.

REAGAN:  So, what have you noticed about the Republican party style?

SERAFIN:  Well, they‘re actually more fun than people think.

I remember that four years ago, I was at the Republican convention and I actually got yelled at for dancing on a table. But we‘re in New York City now, so that doesn‘t happen. They encourage things like that. They want you to have fun. And the thing about being in New York is that it‘s not just about Republican parties.

I mean, of course, there was the Bush twin party.  I was at that last night.  But I was also at a Susan G. Komen breast-cancer fund-raiser where they raised $100,000.  There were Democrats there, there were Republicans, there were New Yorkers, there were out-of-towners. So you‘re seeing a really - a wide spectrum of a lot of different events.

REAGAN:  Are the delegates getting out and about? These people from, you know, the Heartland of America are coming into Sin City (sic) here. Are they staying locked up in their hotel rooms, you know, desperately afraid that, you know, they‘re going to catch something? Or are they getting out and...

SERAFIN:  I haven‘t seen that, and they‘ve been pretty friendly. I‘ve seen them exploring. I was downtown in SoHo the other night, saw some delegated.  You definitely though—you can spot the delegates a mile away.

Now, I‘m a New Yorker myself.  I might live in L.A. now, but I‘m always a New Yorker, and you can definitely tell the out-of-towners.

But again, at a lot of these parties - I mean....

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about the parties you‘ve been to tonight.  Now... 

(CROSSTALK)

SERAFIN:  I even brought props.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Actually, you understand about parties—political parties in New York because while you were attending NYC, you worked as the deputy press secretary for Rudy Giuliani?

SERAFIN:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s talk about the type of parties he throws, and the type of parties you‘ve been to tonight.

SERAFIN:  I actually—speaking of Rudy Giuliani  -- just came from a Rudy Giuliani event at the Grand Havana Room. This was the invite to that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Was he dancing on the table in New York style?

SERAFIN:  No. No.  Mayor Giuliani wasn‘t dancing on the table.  But he gave a great speech this evening, so there were a lot of reasons to celebrate, I think, at that party.

(CROSSTALK)

SERAFIN:  There was a “Newsweek” party. I mean, and this was the kind of party where you saw everyone from George Pataki to Al Franken with a camera.

REAGAN:  And our own Howard Fineman.

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

SERAFIN: There was, again, the Susan G. Komen breast cancer event. David Drier, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  There‘s also - you know, they‘ve got this NYC2000 program. So it‘s—NYC2004, excuse me.

So it‘s—other people, not just delegates, not just people who are connected like those of us here, can actually go and appreciate some of the great things here at New York City.

REAGAN:  So these are all pass (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

SERAFIN:  No, this one is not. This one is for the general public. Come early, stay late. You can take advantage.

REAGAN:  I didn‘t see you at the Creative Coalition Book Launch...

SERAFIN:  I was actually there...

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  Were you?  Were you?

SERAFIN:  I was there.  I was there talking to Robin Bronk (ph).  You saw her over at the - over at the convention hall. And there are 450 parties that are announced right now on the calendar. There are about 1,000 parties going on this week.

SCARBOROUGH:  One of the parties I went to last night—you all being West Coast types. You can David Dreier. Interesting guy, known as a conservative guy.  I gather it‘s—David Drier‘s bowling party. And you walk in, and there are these women swinging from the ceilings.

The Republicans once in a while kind of break out and surprise...

REAGAN:  With bowling balls?  Or...

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no. The bowling balls were going on underneath. But they were swinging from, like, the ceilings.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Yes.  Exactly.  So you see...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ...some very strange things at these conventions, don‘t you?

SERAFIN:  You do see some strange things.

But I think that everyone is just getting into the spirit of it. And I think here in New York, you have the ability to be maybe a little bit more outrageous than you would normally be at home. You know—what is it? What stays in Vegas—what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. I think we can say the same about New York. 

So all you delegates out there, you can - you can tear it up a little bit and it won‘t get back to your...

(CROSSTALK)

SERAFIN:  ...your mom at home, right.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  What are you up to? (UNINTELLIGIBLE)  I didn‘t mean to frighten you.

(CROSSTALK)

SILVER:  You‘re sitting here in the middle of Herald Square (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

REAGAN:  It‘s only 2:00 in the morning when we leave here...

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  If you weren‘t here, Ron, where would you - what parties would you be at?

SILVER:  Probably at Rudy‘s party.

SERAFIN:  It was a very nice party.

SILVER:  It‘s over?

SERAFIN:  No, it‘s still going on.  I‘m going back after this.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now Ron, you sort of had - had sort of your own festive moment earlier tonight. You brought the crowd to their feet.

I want you to listen to what—you said this earlier tonight about how Hollywood doesn‘t totally understand liberty in America. Let‘s take a look at what you said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SILVER:  History shows that we are not imperialists. But we are fighters for freedom and democracy.

Even though I‘m a well-recognized liberal on many issues confronting our society today, I find it ironic that many human-rights advocates and outspoken members of my own entertainment community are often on the front lines to protest repression, for which I applaud them. But they‘re usually the first ones to oppose any use of force to take care of these horrors that they catalogue repeatedly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Ron, let‘s not focus so much on Hollywood activists. Let‘s just focus on the bigger point that you were making.

Do you think there‘s a double standard here?

SILVER:  Yes.  Yes, I do.

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about it.

SILVER:  Look, I—in previous years, I‘ve been members of Amnesty International, et cetera. I belong to a lot of human-rights groups.

And what happens is they do catalogue all these horrors going on. But then they resent the use of force to take care of the problem. And to me, it presents a bit of a dilemma. It seems that humanitarian interventions in this country in the 1990‘s, during the Clinton years, was OK if it was for humanitarian reasons.

But when we project force to project—to protect our own national interest or what we perceive to be our interests, then it seems to be almost a knee-jerk opposition to it. It‘s OK if you want to bomb Kosovo. It‘s OK—we should have gone into Rwanda. There‘s—we should go into Sudan. Use our army, use our military, use our might, use this, do good. But if we perceive our national interest at stake, there‘s almost a knee-jerk reaction about using force to protect ourselves.

SCARBOROUGH:  And why is it that way in the Hollywood community?

SILVER:  What?

SCARBOROUGH:  Why do you feel it‘s that way in the Hollywood community?

SILVER:  Because I—I also think there‘s a kind of anti-authoritarian, anti—I don‘t want to say patriotic, but an anti-rah-rah spirit about this country and what this country is about. And I don‘t know why. I‘m not a good enough psychologist. I‘m not the tribune of the Hollywood community. I don‘t speak for them, or—I don‘t want to speak against them. I have very many members that are dear friends, but...

TRIPPI:  I think it‘s - I think there‘s a—something against trying to do it ourselves, go it alone that I think Americans—a lot of Americans are against. They would rather see an internationalized—like the first Gulf War—with an international coalition going in. The president - the first President Bush did an incredible job at putting that coalition together, and I think people expected that of Bush - of this President Bush, and it didn‘t happen.

I think that—I‘m not saying—I don‘t necessarily agree about a knee-jerk. I think there was really reticence to not follow through on the U.N. inspections and do some other things that a lot of people across the ideological spectrum wanted to see happen before we went in.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. Thanks a lot.

Tell you what, we‘re going to be right back with AFTER HOURS live from the heart of New York City.

But first, let‘s go to break with the soothing sounds (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. NEW YORK MAYOR:  There is the first Republican convention ever held here in New York City.  In fact...

(APPLAUSE)

GIULIANI:  I‘ve never seen so many republicans in New York City.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REAGAN: We‘re back with our panel analyzing night one of the Republican National Convention. Actor Ron Silver, MSNBC analyst Jim Trippi and Kim Serafin, the partygoer.

SERAFIN:  Yes.  That‘s my job, apparently.  I don‘t know who I‘m voting for, but I do know which parties I‘m going to.  So there you go.

REAGAN:  Joe, is the Republican Party as united as they like to pretend?

I was listening today on television to some of the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay Republican group, who - at which --  the words can barely come out of my mouth. Gay Republican. Such an oxymoron. They‘ve released a statement saying that they believe that their party has been hijacked by the religious right and they‘re very upset about some of the platform language.

And, of course, we‘ve got the fiscal conservatives too, who are upset about the spending.

Is this a party that‘s ready to splinter at the first opportunity?

TRIPPI:  Yes.  I actually - I think both parties are, but I think the Republican is as well for the same reasons you‘re talking about. 

I was on a train up to New York from Washington with a bunch of delegates, and they were talking about how much they disagreed with the party‘s platform on stem cell research. And how one of them one was saying, this is the last one I‘m going to be allowed to come to because I‘m going to raise a (AUDIO GAP).

There really is, I think, below - just below—beneath the surface of both parties, some real angst with different factions. And I think, you know, the Democratic Party did a great job of coming out of that unified. I think the Republicans are doing the same thing here.

But I think the party that loses this time is—whichever party that‘s going to be - is going to be in for some hurt in terms of the fights that go on internally after it‘s all over.

SCARBOROUGH:  There will be recriminations.

And, of course,  talking about uniting parties, Rudy Giuliani tonight united the Republican Party by actually poking fun at John Kerry‘s flip-flopping. Let‘s take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI:  My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words, not mine. I quote John Kerry. “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”

(APPLAUSE) 

GIULIANI:  Maybe this explains John Edwards‘ need for two Americas.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

GIULIANI:  One...

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

GIULIANI:  One - one when John Kerry can vote for something, and another one where he can vote against exactly the same thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Kim Serafin, you work for him. I was absolutely taken by the fact—forget the content of the speech, forget what party the guy was in.

I was taken by the fact that this guy was so relaxed. You see so many speakers getting on the platform, starting to yell, trying to fill up the room. This guy, again, looked like he could have been talking to a rotary group of 50 or a Boy Scout - I mean, he was just so at ease.

SILVER:  Do you know how many times Rudy has been to the Garden?  It‘s like...

SCARBOROUGH:  So it is like the rotary speech.

SERAFIN:  But that‘s how he is in every context.  Look, tonight is the ticket I wish I was voting for, Giuliani-McCain.

But I think what you see about Rudy is - what you see him say on TV is the same thing he says when you get back in the car, when you go back in his office, with the same passion, the same words.  What he says to his advisors and to his close friend is the same thing he says to the general public and to America and to the world. And that‘s why so many people love Rudy Giuliani. I was in the auditorium when he was speaking; I was in the Garden.  There was just a lot of electricity. He is a great speaker. He is such a motivational speaker. And I think he really made a great case.

TRIPPI:  Four years ago, I was doing a mayoral race in Los Angeles.  And we had focus groups and we asked people, who would you like to see as mayor of Los Angeles? And uniformly, in every focus group, it was unanimous: Rudy Giuliani. I mean, this is how much of an appeal this guy really does have. And I think he did do it.

I mean, I‘m not a - you know, I‘m a Kerry supporter. I wear that on my sleeve. But he did a great job tonight.  You can‘t take that away from him.

REAGAN:  Was he being fair there with that $87 million (sic)? They bring that up over and over again.

TRIPPI:  No, I mean it‘s a - you know, it‘s a procedural  -- Joe knows this better than anybody. There was procedural votes on those votes, and you try to get something in there that you want. You vote against it. You vote for it. I mean, it‘s the way the Senate works, which is one of he reasons we don‘t elect Senators. I mean, this country—we elect generals, vice presidents and governors.

One or two - John F. Kennedy, I think, was the last senator we‘ve elected.

SCARBOROUGH:  There was two Senators...

TRIPPI:  We get caught in these...

SCARBOROUGH:  ..one Representative. 

You know what?  You know what was the killer here?  And it‘s always the killer, just like it was a killer for Howard Dean, when he spoke to the crowd, trying to rev them up in Iowa—it was that it was caught on film. And all you need is for something to be caught on tape and all of a sudden, it becomes a defining moment. I‘m not so sure we‘re not going to be looking back in November, December afterwards and saying that that may be one of the defining moments of John Kerry‘s campaign.

Because they‘re trying to paint him as a flip-flopper. Kim, you were going to say something.

SERAFIN:  I was going to say that I think one of the other things that Rudy Giuliani said—something about - I‘m paraphrasing. You know, Democrats are not wrong all the time. Republicans are not right all the time. And I think that‘s something that people want to hear, because there is so much bipartisan anger and venom this time around. And I think when you have someone like Rudy, who is known to reach out to other parties, who‘s known to also not play so much party politics—even though, of course, he is supporting Bush this time around.

It‘s refreshing to hear that, rather than just the anger, just the talking points.

SCARBOROUGH:  And McCain said the same thing.

SERAFIN:  Yes.  Exactly.

TRIPPI:  Yes, but we‘re not voting for the McCain-Giuliani ticket. I mean, these guys --  I mean, that‘s not George Bush‘s and Dick Cheney‘s view of the world. I mean, that‘s not what they project.   I mean, this is—that‘s what‘s interesting about this convention so far, is - yes, I‘m with you. If they were going to have this ticket go - you know, it wouldn‘t be my favorite ticket, but I think as Republicans, it would be respectful.

These guys—the problem with Bush-Cheney is they stick to their guns no matter what the facts are. If the facts change, they don‘t change. Kerry does as the facts change. And I actually think that‘s not a bad thing to have in leadership (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Many republicans would say, John Kerry is quite malleable. So...

REAGAN:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s - again, and I know Ron will talk about this when we come back. The question is, is that the type of leader you want in a time of war? You know what?  Both sides can make a very good argument that their guy fits in in this troubled time. If you need somebody that‘s flexible. Other side, Republicans say you need somebody with a backbone that‘s going to stand up and fight.

But we‘ll talk about that when we come back, won‘t we.

REAGAN:  That‘s right.

Hey, we‘re not done yet. When we come back, we‘ll take some phone calls.  That number one last time is 888-MSNBC-USA.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And welcome back. We are back. AFTER HOURS ON MB—MSNBC.

And you know what?  We‘re listening to Shulman System (ph) right here. These guys, absolutely great. We appreciate you coming along, making the mood much more festive.

REAGAN:  For jazz guys, they rock.

SCARBOROUGH:  They do rock. For jazz guys, they rock. 

REAGAN:  We‘ve still got a lot of people here.

And you pointed out a young woman over here who is nine months pregnant. And of course, the inevitable question is, what in God‘s name are you doing down here at this hour of the morning?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I am just so excited to be in New York supporting President Bush. I can‘t think of a better man to be the next president and continue being the president of our country.

REAGAN:  But nine months pregnant, you must be excited for other reasons too.  And let‘s not - let‘s not - yes.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  And what are you doing in New York besides supporting W?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m a delegate from the great state of Maryland.

REAGAN:  But are you getting out and about and doing anything with your nine-month pregnant self?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, you know, I figured we have to do it now before the baby comes. Because once the baby is here, I‘ll be a little busy with that.  So...

REAGAN:  That‘s right.  It will be a few years before you get back to the Big Apple and party here with the baby here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Indeed. So...

REAGAN:  Well, anything else you want to tell us?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.

Tonight was such an exciting time here. We had—it was so wonderful to hear Rudy Giuliani, this fabulous leader in New York, and to be here in New York hear about and tell us about his wonderful experiences. And most of all, to hear about him talking about George W. Bush.

REAGAN:  And how about Ron Silver, huh? What a fiery speech that was, huh?  How about Ron Silver?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And why don‘t we do this? Why don‘t we go to the phones right now?

We‘ve got Susan from Lusk, Wyoming. A phone call from Cheney country. Welcome to AFTER HOURS. What you got to say?

CALLER:  Well, even though he may not be as glib or eloquent a speaker as his predecessors, I support George Bush because he‘s steadfast and stalwart and strong in his beliefs.

And I have a nephew who‘s serving in Iraq right now. And I believe we need to be there because he believes we need to be there.

SCARBOROUGH:  And now we have David from Poplar Bluffs, Missouri. David, you‘re up all night with AFTER HOURS. What you got to say?

CALLER:  Yes, I‘m calling to—first of all, I support President Bush. And I‘m curious as to why we don‘t hear the Kerry campaign come out against the MoveOn.org ads or the Michael Moore movie, but yet they call on President Bush to do so with the Swift Boat ads.

REAGAN:  Well, I think it had something to do with the Swift Boat guys being liars.  I think that was...

SCARBOROUGH:  (LAUGHTER):

REAGAN:  I think that was a big part of it.  Oh, you know they are.

SCARBOROUGH:  Whereas as the men and women from MoveOn.org are choir angels.

REAGAN:  I don‘t know that they‘re....

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now - OK, OK, list.  If you put this down—you have been aggressively pushing the “Mission Mot Accomplished” sign for some time. Message received. Tell me why you‘re here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Because mission is not accomplished. That‘s why.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK. A very ultimate statement. She restated the sign very well.

What about you?  What‘s your point?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My point?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kerry, all the way, baby.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  What do you like - what do you like about John Kerry? Why do you think John Kerry will be in a better position to lead America over the next four years than George Bush?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Because we‘re not supposed to be in Iraq, period.

(BOOS)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Very good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And stem cells!

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you say - what do you say about John Kerry still saying that he would have voted for the Iraq war even if he knew everything then that he knows now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, Bush pulled the wool over all our eyes.  So, he fooled us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) agrees with him, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, he fooled all of us.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. Very good.

Well, listen: we want to thank you all of you for being with us tonight. Come back tomorrow night. Don‘t have the baby yet.

Night one of the Republican National Convention is over. We‘re going be back tomorrow night with much more unconventional coverage.

I want to say thanks to our panel for staying up late with us in the city that never sleeps: Ron Silver, Joe Trippi, John Avalon and, of course, Miss Serafin, thank you.

REAGAN:  Amazing band tonight. Matt Shulman and the Shulman System (ph) Trio. Talent tonight was provided by Gordon Polatnick Big Apple Jazz Tours.  Visit them at bigapplejazz.com.

We‘ll be back tomorrow night.  See you then.

END   

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