updated 9/2/2004 12:09:45 AM ET 2004-09-02T04:09:45

Guest: Laura Ingraham, Butch Davis, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rev. Pat Robertson


LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY:  No American president ever wants to go to war.  And my husband didn‘t want to go to war, but he knew the safety and security of America and the world depended on it.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews, and welcome to MSNBC‘s coverage of the Republican convention in New York.  Tonight, two seasoned political fighters come out swinging against the Democrats in the Garden and one ring (ph).  Democratic senator Zell Miller delivers the keynote address, and the main event, Vice President Dick Cheney, and he‘ll be tough, too.  We‘ll have reports from NBC‘s Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert from NBC News, and our reporters on the floor.

Joining me from the Herald Square set-up we‘re at right now on 34th street, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.  She‘s the female.


MATTHEWS:  MSNBC contributor Ron Reagan, “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, and MSNBC political contributor Pat Buchanan.

I want to start with Pat because you are one tough customer.  What do you think of people that come to the other party‘s convention and endorse the nominee?


MATTHEWS:  Zell Miller.

BUCHANAN:  I think Zell Miller is one of the great assets of the Republican Party.  This is a Southern conservative Democrat who is loyal to his principles.  He‘s just like Ronald Reagan coming to the Republican convention in 1980, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  You don‘t have any problem with people—you don‘t have any problem with party disloyalty?  That‘s not an issue with you?

BUCHANAN:  Jack Kennedy said sometimes party loyalty asks too much.  And I think Zell Miller is a traditional Southern conservative, Chris.  The Democrats got to ask themselves why guys like Zell Miller can‘t find a home in the Democratic Party, like that great governor of Pennsylvania, they wouldn‘t let him up on the podium simply because he happened to be pro-life.  They are driving these folks out of their party.  Chris, when I was growing up, the Democratic Party was a phenomenal party.  You had Daley.  You had Southern—you know, those Southern bourbons, all these characters.  And a lot of the best elements of that party have been driven out, frankly, by its drive to the ideological left and its intolerance.

MATTHEWS:  No, that‘s not true.  What killed the Democrats in the South was support for Civil Rights, which killed them among the conservative whites.

BUCHANAN:  Well, no...

MATTHEWS:  Everybody knows that, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Well, listen, I‘ll tell you, Nixon didn‘t take the South on the Civil Rights issue, he took it on the patriotism issue, the judges issues, the big government issue, the war issue, all of those issues, cultural issues.  That‘s what he took the South away from the Democrats on, and McGovern lost it.

MATTHEWS:  Ron Reagan?

RON REAGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Pat raises an interesting question of why can‘t the Democratic Party find a place for people like Zell Miller?  Now, I don‘t know Zell Miller that well.  I‘m aware of him, and I‘ve always thought of him as sort of this weird, you know, “Republicrat” kind of guy.  But you‘ve been around a lot longer than I have in Washington.  Tell me a little bit about Zell Miller and why Zell Miller might not find a place in the Democratic Party.

MATTHEWS:  Chief of staff of Lester Maddox.  Lester Maddox is an axe-handle-wielding segregationist.

REAGAN:  OK, so one...

MATTHEWS:  He opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  He opposed the Voting Rights Act that came later.  He is an old-time seggy who has changed, like most people.  I‘m not going to hold that against him, except to say that‘s where his roots are.  And it wasn‘t hard for him to oppose the current nominee.  He has a perfect right to.

My question is why he‘s had this epiphany now?  He grew up in a country, in a party in which Franklin Roosevelt was the hero of the South, probably the most liberal Democratic president—liberal president in history, what John Kennedy did quite well, or Hubert Humphrey ran as the nominee of the party, and Mondale and Jimmy Carter.  And to say now, I can‘t believe there‘s gambling going on in this party, is a little bit hard to believe.

INGRAHAM:  Chris, I—I don‘t remember, Chris, this breathless curiosity when Jim Jeffords jumped and became an Democrat—or an independent...


INGRAHAM:  No, let me finish.  Let me finish.  November of 2000 --

November of 2000, when he was elected as a Republican in May of 2001, he decided the Republican Party was suddenly this place that he didn‘t have—he didn‘t feel like he was at home or welcome.  The media toasted him, including HARDBALL, as I recall, as a maverick...

MATTHEWS:  Hold on for a second.

INGRAHAM:  ... as an independent...

MATTHEWS:  Hold on.  I just went through that whole history two minutes ago.

INGRAHAM:  Right.  What—what was...

MATTHEWS:  I explained with great detail the quandary of the Democrats in questioning this action of disloyalty against their own exploitation of disloyalty so recently.  So I have made this point.

INGRAHAM:  But “The New York”...

MATTHEWS:  I will continue to make it.

INGRAHAM:  Yes, well, “The New York”...

MATTHEWS:  And tonight, the question is, Is Zell Miller a credible man when he says he is surprised at the change in the Democratic Party, when he has lived under liberal rule in the Democratic Party since he was born?

INGRAHAM:  Well, he‘s also retiring from the U.S. Senate, and he can do whatever he wants.

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  That‘s a very good point.  He‘s not part of the national Democratic Party anymore, which runs the Congress on the Democratic side.  But you know what?  Zell Miller wasn‘t really quite a Democrat when he was with Jimmy Carter—I mean, when he was with Bill Clinton in 1992.  He was lured into supporting Clinton by James Carville, who had worked for Zell Miller.  There was a strong personal bond there.


FINEMAN:  They convinced Zell Miller, Don‘t worry, Clinton is one of us.

INGRAHAM:  Yes!  Exactly!

FINEMAN:  Bill Clinton is one of us.

INGRAHAM:  Thank you!

FINEMAN:  And that‘s why they trotted Zell Miller out then.


FINEMAN:  Now they‘re trotting him out on the other side.  He hasn‘t belonged to either party.  He is a Southern conservative rural white guy...


BUCHANAN:  ... Southern conservative white guys?  Is there something wrong with them?


FINEMAN:  I didn‘t say there was anything wrong.

BUCHANAN:  ... you‘re the problem, calling them all those names, Ron.

REAGAN:  I just say only when they are racist.

BUCHANAN:  Look, they grew up in a segregated situation.  That‘s the way they were raised.  Sam Ervin voted against the Civil Rights bill.  So did J. William Fulbright and all of them.  Why drive these guys out of your party?


REAGAN:  Just a word on Ronald Reagan...

MATTHEWS:  Are issues of human rights fundamental, Pat, or are they negotiable?  In other words, is the Civil Rights bill something you can...

BUCHANAN:  Do I think...

MATTHEWS:  ... disagree with if you‘re a Southerner?

BUCHANAN:  Look...


BUCHANAN:  Do I think you can vote against the Civil Rights Act and be a good candidate?  Yes.  Barry Goldwater, my candidate, did.

MATTHEWS:  We‘re sitting here in the year 2004.


MATTHEWS:  Do you believe that someone can disagree about Civil Rights today and still be a good Democrat or Republican?

BUCHANAN:  I disagree.  I don‘t think Affirmative Action is right. 

I‘m against quotas...

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the Civil Rights Act should have been—no, let me stay with Civil Rights here.  Do you think the Civil Rights Act should have been passed in ‘64?

BUCHANAN:  I think the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in retrospect, yes, should have been passed.

MATTHEWS:  How about the Voting Rights Act?

BUCHANAN:  Yes, I think that should have been passed, but I think it all should have been allowed to lapse and the South should be allowed out of the penalty box, Chris.  I don‘t believe in holding people‘s head under water when they‘ve done the right thing and changed.

INGRAHAM:  And let‘s not forget Zell Miller is extremely popular among young people in Georgia.  Young people love Zell Miller!  So while it‘s interesting to talk about old votes, we know the old Democratic ghosts have those voting problems, too.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go right now—we‘ve got an exciting prospect here, the meeting, perhaps, of Tom DeLay of Texas.  NBC‘s Campbell Brown is on the convention floor.  Campbell, how goes the hunt?

CAMPBELL BROWN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Chris, I‘m in the Texas delegation right now, and with me is Butch Davis, who‘s a member of the delegation.  And one of the things we have been talking about, much like you have, is the strategy of the Republican Party in terms of who is visible on the podium this week.  And we haven‘t seen Tom DeLay, in terms of a visible presence down here on the floor, although I‘m told supposedly that he‘s watching the convention from the skybox tonight.

Why do you think he is not out here in the forefront?

BUTCH DAVIS, TEXAS DELEGATE:  I think the main reason is Tom DeLay is obviously more than just a Texas congressman.  Being the position that he is in the House of Representatives, he has national implications, and he‘s going to be involved in national strategy.  So we just basically—we have to share him with the nation.  We‘d love to have him down here.  He‘d love to be here.  He had a get-together yesterday, a very friendly fellow.  He has to take care of business up there right now.

BROWN:  But that‘s what I mean.  Given his role in the national strategy, why don‘t you think he is being highlighted on that stage, as some of the other national figures are with much more moderate positions?

DAVIS:  I think because—primarily because individuals that—the party does have different views.  Tom DeLay everybody knows is the leader.  The Republican Party is a conservative party.  There‘s no doubt about it.  There‘s no need to have a Tom DeLay come out to prove it and show it.  Our beliefs are the nation‘s beliefs, and there‘s just really no reason to have Tom DeLay just come out to show it.

BROWN:  What are you expecting to hear, or what are you looking forward to hearing tonight from Vice President Cheney and from the Democrat who is keynoting tonight, Zell Miller?

DAVIS:  I think, particularly with the Democrat, it‘s going to show that people like him, they didn‘t leave the Democrat Party, it left them.  Their liberal views are not the nation‘s views.  And the nation‘s (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Texas and nationwide, our conservative views are hand in glove with the national views.  We think gay marriage is not good.  We think the Boy Scouts are.  The Democrats have that backwards.  I think, basically, Zell Miller‘s going to bring that home to the people.

BROWN:  Thanks for your time, Butch Davis, a view that‘s different from many people who‘ve taken the podium this week.  Chris, let‘s go back to you.

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you, Campbell Brown.  I guess we‘re going to have a convention here without DeLay.


MATTHEWS:  Good luck in the hunt, by the way, for Tom DeLay.  He‘s probably the most influential legislator in the country today, I think, it‘s fair to say, a very smart guy, a brilliant strategist.  It is interesting they can‘t give him 5 or 10 minutes to say what he believes in.

We‘ll be right back.  Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison joins us here at Herald Square.  You‘re watching HARDBALL‘s very live coverage of the Republican national convention on MSNBC.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kerry!  Kerry!  Kerry!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry!  Kerry!  Kerry!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kerry!  Kerry!  Kerry!


BUCHANAN:  George Bush is a defender of right to life and a champion of the Judeo-Christian values and beliefs upon which American was founded!


ANNOUNCER:  Pat Buchanan‘s powerful address to the 1992 Republican convention electrified conservatives across the country, but his pugnacious attacks on the Democratic Party turned off swing voters.


TOM BROKAW, ANCHOR, “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS”:  If George Bush comes from a cold martini and daiquiri kind of background, Pat Buchanan is a shot and a glass of beer.



MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL‘S live coverage of the Republican convention.  We‘re at Herald Square at 34th and Broadway, and we‘re joined right now by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.


I get it.  Thank you.

Senator Bailey Hutchison, or Kay Bailey Hutchison, Kay, my friend, what do you feel about Zell Miller crossing the aisle to—what do you make of Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, after he‘s already been nominated by his party as many times as he wanted, to now, after he‘s been nominated as a Democrat, to come over and endorse a presidential candidate of the other party?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON ®, TEXAS:  Well, I think Zell Miller is a wonderful, independent person who really is trying to get the Democratic Party back on track.  He has said, Look, I would like to pull the Democratic Party back to the middle because I want to win and I want to be in mainstream America.  So I think he is very gutsy, very independent, and I admire him very much.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think it might be more noble for a person to resign after being nominated by one political party and elected with the votes of all the Democrats of one party, rather than use the platform you‘re given by one party to knock it and to endorse the other party?  Isn‘t it more noble to simply say, I can no longer support the Democratic Party, I will no longer take a paycheck from the United States Senate, from an office that I don‘t want to serve anymore, I want to move on and have a different, independent mind?  Is it character on display when you take the endorsement and the job of one party and speak for the other?

HUTCHISON:  I think if he decided to switch parties that the noble thing would be for him to resign and run again under the other party label.  But as long as Zell Miller says, The party has left me and I want to try to bring it back, and I‘m going to do everything I can to bring it back, including writing a book saying what‘s wrong, going to the other party convention and endorsing the president—I don‘t think Zell Miller‘s going to be a Republican tonight.  He‘s going to endorse President Bush because he thinks he‘s right for America.  And Zell Miller is an American before he is a Democrat, and I applaud him.

MATTHEWS:  If you had a Republican senator from Texas who was elected

by the Republican voters of Texas, who went out and went to—rang

doorbells and handed out literature and gave all of themselves to get this

person to speak for them, and then after all that, all that support, they

just decide to switch and say, Well, I‘ll endorse the other party candidate

·         would you like that?

HUTCHISON:  Well, I think...

MATTHEWS:  Would you like that?

HUTCHISON:  ... the voters will have the last say.

MATTHEWS:  No, they won‘t because he‘s already gone past this last election.

HUTCHISON:  And he is putting America ahead of his party, and I think it is wonderful!

MATTHEWS:  He‘s not putting himself ahead of his party?

HUTCHISON:  Not at all.  That man is not—he doesn‘t have a big ego. 

He is a wonderful person.  He is independent.  And it‘s hard to be independent in the United States Senate.  You know that.  But he is.  And he has written a book, and he is coming here and he‘s saying, I am endorsing the man who is right for America.  He is not the man of my party.  I wish my party was different.  It isn‘t.  And I admire him for that.  He is putting America first.  And he‘s not a Democrat first, he‘s an American first.

MATTHEWS:  Why would he think that a man like Bill Clinton had a superior character to a man like John Kerry?  What—he endorsed and came the gave the keynote address for Bill Clinton.  Now, having done that, he has a problem endorsing or even standing silent while the nominee of the Democratic Party goes on and tries to win an election?  Why would he say Bill Clinton was OK to endorse but not John Kerry?  I don‘t get it.

HUTCHISON:  Because Bill Clinton had a different campaign rhetoric than the way he governed.  He ran as a moderate and a person who would bring the party back together, and Zell Miller thought that‘s what Bill Clinton would be and he endorsed him and he was enthusiastic.  He has said that he was disappointed in the way Clinton governed.  And now he is saying that, I‘ve watched John Kerry in the Senate.  He is a nice man, but I can‘t support someone who votes the way he does and who is wishy-washy on issues like the war on terrorism.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the vice president tonight.  What is his secret?

HUTCHISON:  His secret?

MATTHEWS:  Well, because he‘s so controversial in the polls, and we all live by the polls.  We look at them.  He doesn‘t do well in the polls, but he enjoys an enormous stature in the Republican Party.

HUTCHISON:  Because he has been a steady hand at the wheel.  Everyone has seen him throughout his career be a leader, from the time he was in Congress, when he was secretary of defense, when he was chief of staff at the White House.  He knows what government ought to be doing, and people respect him.  He‘s not flashy.  He‘s not a person that is touting himself.  He‘s never been a person who puts himself out front and tries to do all the press releases to get all the credit.  He‘s a person who wants America to run right, and he‘s a person who‘s qualified to be president.

MATTHEWS:  Any chance he may run for president next time around, Dick Cheney?

HUTCHISON:  I don‘t think so.  He has never acted like he would, and he‘s never even indicated that.  I don‘t think he would.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s hear it for Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas!


OK, we‘re joined right now by—we‘re joined right now by the former Republican candidate for president himself, Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network.  Where is Pat Robertson?  Where are you, sir?

REV. PAT ROBERTSON, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK:  I‘m at our studios, the CBN studios in Virginia Beach, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, there you are.  You‘re on a remote.  Thank you very much...

ROBERTSON:  I‘m on a remote, yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... Reverent Robertson.  Let me ask you about tonight‘s events here.  Let‘s start with the one I‘ve been pushing, the issue of Zell Miller.  Are you comfortable with a member of one party endorsing the other party‘s candidate?

ROBERTSON:  Chris, you know, I was at the Democratic convention in 1952 in Chicago that nominated Adlai Stevenson.  And I remember Jimmy Burns (ph) standing up on the platform, using that same line that said, I haven‘t left you, you‘ve left me.  And he left the party.  He was one of the key players in the Truman administration.  So Zell‘s picking up from Jimmy Burns, you know, 50 years ago.

MATTHEWS:  But back then, a candidate, to get reelected in the South, as you know, Reverend Robertson, had to be a segregationist.  So there‘s a reason why a respected guy like Jimmy Burns would not be comfortable with a ticket that looked like it might be too liberal on the issue of Civil Rights, coming out of the ‘48 and ‘52 convention.

You‘re acting like these are the same times.  Clearly, the reason that people like Jimmy Burns switched parties is Civil Rights.  Why—give me the reason why Zell Miller is switching his endorsement from Bill Clinton in ‘92, when he gave the endorsement and the keynote, to giving the keynote now for the other party.

ROBERTSON:  You know, my father was a, you know, 50-year veteran.  He served in the Congress for 34 years, a Democrat leader.  And in the old days, the Southern Democrats pretty much dominated the Democratic Party.  And the Democratic Party has gotten so liberal since then, it‘s embraced all of these environmental crazies, the feminists, every, you know, extreme group in the world on the left, and they seem to dominate the party.  And I think Zell didn‘t feel comfortable with it anymore.  I don‘t know how you do it, whether you resign from the Senate.  He‘s going to get out this time anyhow, but—perhaps it‘d be time to resign and say, All right, I‘m going to—I‘m now free.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, it just seems to me that party politicians

·         and it‘s always a politician we‘re talking about, a political—they always shift toward the party that‘s more popular in their state.  They go with the flow.  I just don‘t see the character-building aspect of it, do you, Reverend Robertson?


MATTHEWS:  I mean, you‘re a man of the cloth.  Do you find character in a guy who goes where the action is?

ROBERTSON:  I‘m not going to malign Zell Miller.  I think Zell is a great American.

MATTHEWS:  OK, name me one...

ROBERTSON:  I really do.

MATTHEWS:  Reverend Robertson, name me one politician of either party who has switched to the party that was less popular in their state, ever.

ROBERTSON:  Well, I know Harry Byrd in the old days in Virginia, he never supported the national ticket.  He always supported the Republican, and he was a lifelong Democrat but he...


ROBERTSON:  You know how it was.  That‘s the way they did it.  And he...

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I‘m not getting anywhere.  Let me...

ROBERTSON:  No, you‘re not.


MATTHEWS:  I‘m not.  I‘m just not getting anywhere with you folks tonight.  Everybody says, Whatever will work is OK.  I was just thinking of the old values of loyalty, you know, things like that.  But let‘s move on.  Let‘s talk about the vice president.


MATTHEWS:  Have you ever in your life seen a vice president of such enormous prestige?

ROBERTSON:  He—it‘s amazing.  Well, of course, he‘s got the standing, I mean, having been chief of staff, having been secretary of defense, having done all the things that he‘s done, and a distinguished congressional leader.  He‘s got quite a bio, and I think it plays very well.  People respect him in Washington as a very thoughtful man.  That‘ll come up in the debate.  I think when he debated the last time around, he really scored some big points.  His speech in the last convention in Philadelphia was a masterpiece, and I think he‘ll do the same thing tonight.  AT least, I hope so.

MATTHEWS:  How do you—Republican—you are a reverend and you are a politician, sir.  I hope you don‘t mind me saying that.

ROBERTSON:  I‘m not a politician.


MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes, you are.  You went to Yale law.  You ran for president.  You‘re just like all these Yalies.  You all run for president.  You‘re just like Kerry or Clinton or Mrs. Clinton or George W. or his father.  You guys all run—something in the water up at Yale.  What do you think it is?

ROBERTSON:  I don‘t know what it is.  I think we drink heady things up there in New Haven.

MATTHEWS:  Heady is the right word for it!  Let me...

ROBERTSON:  Well, it‘s the pizza.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about something that‘s really tricky because I know you like the vice president.  You just said so.


MATTHEWS:  What do you think about the way he handled the issue?  He openly stated a week or so ago for the first time, really, that his daughter is a lesbian, and he said that that made him, or he suggested that that made him believe that, really, this should be a state‘s issue.  We shouldn‘t really be moving it to the national level to limit marriage to a man and a woman.  Where are you on that?

ROBERTSON:  Chris, I‘m an old state‘s right-er.  I believe that abortion should be a state matter, as part of the state police power.  I think marriage should be a state issue.  It shouldn‘t be federalized.  But the trouble is, it‘s being federalized by a tiny minority of judges.  They‘ve pulled abortion, they‘ve pulled homosexuality into the United States Constitution.  It was never there.  So the judges have federalized it.  I don‘t want it federalized.  It should be states.  It should be in the states.  Cheney was right on that one.

MATTHEWS:  What about Cheney?  Do you think Cheney is right to basically say the president is wrong...


MATTHEWS:  ... that the president is wrong in saying we should be moving for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage?

ROBERTSON:  How do you block the judges?  You know, they‘ve got the “full faith and credit” clause of the Constitution.  So four judges in Massachusetts say homosexual marriage is OK.  The vast majority of the American people are against that.  So what happens if somebody gets married in Massachusetts and he moves to Nebraska?

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s—just to shorthand this...


MATTHEWS:  ... Reverend, you support a ban to end, constitutionally, the possibility that any state would enact a law to permit a gay marriage.  Isn‘t that your position?  That‘s the president‘s position.  That‘s your party‘s position.  It‘s in the platform.  Are you with them...

ROBERTSON:  No, no.  I‘m...

MATTHEWS:  ... or are you with the vice president?

ROBERTSON:  I‘m with them on that, but I am more than—I‘ve just got a book coming out, Chris, it‘s called “Courting Disaster.”  I‘ve got 167 citations of Supreme Court decisions of how they‘ve hijacked the Constitution.  We‘re dealing with a bunch of judges who have run amok.  And those four in Massachusetts are just examples of it.  I mean, they‘re forcing us into untenable positions.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  OK.  Let me give you an untenable position, Reverend. 

Are you with Bush or are you with Cheney on this?

ROBERTSON:  You know I‘m with Bush.  Are you kidding?

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let me ask you, what do you make of Alan Keyes as your party nominee for United States senator in Illinois, a state he recently visited?  I‘m just kidding, but he did just get there.  He‘s thinking of buying a house there.  Let me ask you, do you think he‘s right in calling people who lesbians “selfish hedonists,” and then including in that category, when asked, the vice president‘s daughter?

ROBERTSON:  You know, I had a leading sociologist who herself was a lesbian on my television program who used almost those same words, who said that that‘s what we‘re dealing with in the homosexuals.  They aren‘t content to merely practice their sexual preference...


ROBERTSON:  ... they want to impose their values on everybody else and really hijack marriage.  So this is, you know, not just Alan Keyes that thought this one up.

MATTHEWS:  Well, do you go along with that characterization of lesbians as selfish hedonists?

ROBERTSON:  Isn‘t that kind of sexual permissiveness?  Isn‘t that—isn‘t that hedonism?  Isn‘t that what the definition of hedonism is?

MATTHEWS:  Are we better off with closet cases like McGreevey?ROBERTSON:  I don‘t think we‘re better off with any of it!

MATTHEWS:  I‘m just trying to find out what world you want to live in, Reverend.  You want to live in a world where people openly—are open in their relationships or a world in which they deny those relationships publicly and carry on these other affairs, whatever they are, on the side?

ROBERTSON:  I want to live in a world where we honor heterosexual marriage, and the institution of marriage, father, mother and children, is exalted in our land and protected.  That‘s the kind of land I want.

MATTHEWS:  Is that the land we live in?

ROBERTSON:  One percent of the population is lesbian.  Two percent is homosexuals.  And boy, they sure have pushed their agenda on all of us.  Don‘t you think so?  They‘re trying to...

MATTHEWS:  Well, they would argue they‘ve had the agenda pushed on them...

ROBERTSON:  I‘m not—I...

MATTHEWS:  ... because that‘s the way they were born.


MATTHEWS:  OK, I‘m just trying to be nice here, Reverend Robertson.  And you are a politician, so I think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) But I know—I thought you were very gutsy tonight.  You took the president‘s position, not the vice president‘s position.  And I‘m going to tell him personally you did that.  Anyway, just kidding.

ROBERTSON:  You‘re very kind!


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Reverend Pat Robertson, graduate of Yale law school, like the rest of these politicians.


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, still to come, NBC‘s Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert.  Plus, we‘ll be down at the podium and hear from Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.  And later, the big speeches tonight from Senator Zell Miller and the vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney.

You‘re watching HARDBALL‘S live coverage of the Republican national convention on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s live coverage—there we are on the Jumbotron.


MATTHEWS:  Of the Republican National Convention here in New York.

Let‘s go up to the sky box and the anchor of “NBC News Nightly News,” Tom Brokaw, and NBC News Washington bureau chief and moderator of “Meet the Press,” Tim Russert. 

Tom and Tim, tell me, if you can—because it‘s a big question, the importance of the Reagan legacy.  We‘re about to see an eight-minute I imagine a very dramatic legacy portrait of Ronald Reagan.  How important is he for this election, his legacy?

TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR:  Well, his legacy really is seen on the floor of this convention.

I‘m sure that a vast majority of these delegates are what I would call the political children of Ronald Reagan.  He was the founding father of the modern conservative movement and he really changed American politics by making conservatism not only successful at the polling place, but also acceptable to young people and all manner of people to get involved in the political process. 

So I think, as we saw during the course of that memorable funeral week for Ronald Reagan, he still has a great hold on the American public.  And they‘ll maximize that tonight as they pay tribute to him in a film that will be introduced by his son Michael Reagan.  And then a message will be read from Nancy Reagan from the floor of the convention. 

TIM RUSSERT, NBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  Tom, George Bush I think very successfully has been able to tap into the Reagan legacy, casting himself as someone who is a true believer in the conservative cause, someone who stands up for principle and wants to be a successful two-term president. 

But I don‘t think it carries over into the independent-minded voters. 

It helps you lock up your base.

BROKAW:  Right. 

RUSSERT:  But just as Democrats who like Bill Clinton or independents who voted for Bill Clinton are going to necessarily embrace John Kerry.  It‘s nice for the convention hall.  It was a very fitting memorial for Ronald Reagan when he was buried.  I don‘t think it is going to play much of a role this November. 

BROKAW:  That‘s right. 

I think that George W. Bush is going to have to win this one on his own.  But, nonetheless, it‘s the kind of moment that will inspire the people who are here and people around the country to stay involved in their party—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Tom, it seems like Dick Cheney is an old-style politician, someone in the back room, almost, a man you imagine from an Adolf Langueux (ph) character in an old movie, rather than a popular figure.  How does he manage to maintain such high prestige without the poll numbers to go with it? 

BROKAW:  Well, he‘s a great operator in Washington.  He‘s former defense secretary, five terms in the United States Congress, where he was a very influential member on the Republican side.  He was chief of staff, the youngest in the nation‘s history, during Gerald Ford‘s presidency.

So he knows his way around Washington.  And as defense secretary especially during a time of terror, relying on the experience that he had then, he‘s been a very big voice in the councils of war and how they—and how we should be conducting ourselves in the war on terror.  And obviously we know in the first few months that George W. Bush relied on him a lot. 

The people will tell you in the Dick Cheney operation that you shouldn‘t overstate that, that the president had his own strong ideas, but it was comforting for the president to have Dick Cheney at his side, Tim. 

RUSSERT:  Even when Dick Cheney‘s polls were weakening, Chris, the one thing a White House Republican said to me is, he had a constituency of one. 

BROKAW:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

RUSSERT:  George W. Bush likes him and trusts him.  End of story. 

He‘s on the ticket.

MATTHEWS:  Speaking of constituencies, Tom and Tim, Zell Miller.  Who is his constituency now, as a Democrat elected official, nominated and elected to both the governorship and the U.S. Senate from the state of Georgia?  Now he finds himself at the podium tonight speaking against the Democratic Party and for the Republican president to be reelected.  Who is his constituency?

BROKAW:  Well, I think it‘s still white males across the South who are probably Democrats and independents as well.  They say, if it‘s good enough for old Zell, it is probably good enough for me. 

I don‘t think you‘re going to find a lot of those rushing over to the John Kerry ticket anyway, the kind of people that he would be addressing.  Georgia we all think is very safe in the Bush column at this time.  It‘s a state that they want to hang on to.  And as Tim and I were talking earlier, he is a guy who can be unleashed because he‘s a Democrat. 

And, therefore, they can say, hey, it‘s not our family.  It‘s their family.  And the feud belongs over there.  And so they‘re going to give him this great opportunity here tonight to do just that, Tim. 

RUSSERT:  Just think, in 1992, Chris, he spoke at the Democratic Convention, a speech crafted by James Carville and Paul Begala.


RUSSERT:  And tonight, he‘s just going to whip John Kerry in a way that is going to be very, very personal, very, very political, a humdinger in the words of one Republican.  But as Tom says, they‘re going to say, hey, that‘s a Democrat going after a Democrat.  Don‘t blame us for that harsh tone. 


MATTHEWS:  It‘s like the guy that is the teacher that said, I can teach it round or I can teach it flat.  I guess tonight we‘re going to get it flat. 

BROKAW:  You know, there are Democrats who have known him a long time in the state of Georgia who are just mystified by all this, because he‘s been all over the map politically.  He was real liberal for a while. 

He worked for Lester Maddox as an executive assistant.  And now, in the last couple of years, he‘s been very tough on the Democrats, saying that the party left him.  And friends of his who share his view of the world are not exactly sure what the motivation is here. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you very much, Tom and Tim.  We‘ll be back to you later. 

Let‘s go back to the panel.

Pat, you just love this fight.  You are—what are you, a son of the loyal Confederacy or something? 


BUCHANAN:  No, I‘m a member of the Sons of the Confederacy and I‘m a member of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, because one of my ancestors was an officer in the Confederate Army who was killed.  And the other was put in prison in Illinois, captured at Atlanta. 

MATTHEWS:  Is this the old Scotch Irish legacy? 

OK, let‘s go right...

BUCHANAN:  Scotch-Irish Mississippi, that‘s right.

MATTHEWS:  Just like Stonewall himself. 

Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is at the podium, talking about welfare reform. 


SEN. RICK SANTORUM ®, PENNSYLVANIA:  Let me first say that Pennsylvania put the president over the top last night, and Pennsylvania will put the president over the top in November.


In America, every generation has but a moment to carry the torch that defines who we are and what we will be.

Will our torch shine brighter or will it diminish?  Our best hope will not be found in the laws of men, but in love of others, as President Bush defines it, compassion.  Remember, “The greatest of these is love.”  Through love and compassion, we can shape our moment in American history for great good, as many did before us.

My father came to a coal mining company town outside of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, when he was 7 years old, from a small village in Italy.  It was 1930.  And, like most immigrants, he was poor.  But like so many of our parents from that time, he passed on a wealth of truths to guide us in life:  to love God, to love your neighbor as yourself, and to care for those less fortunate than you.

SANTORUM:  Today, too many of our children are surrounded by an impoverished culture, causing an emptiness not only of the stomach, but of the heart.  And it is doing to our children what the Great Depression did to our economy.

When I was in the House, I helped author the landmark welfare reform bill.  And when I was elected to the Senate, I didn‘t just want to make it possible for poor women to work; I wanted to give them a job.

So I hired eight welfare recipients to work in my office.

One, Michelle Turner, came from the People‘s Emergency Center in West Philadelphia.  She went from receptionist to caseworker to supervisor.

As Michelle says, “Under the old welfare system, I was forgotten, a nobody.  Today my family has a future.”

Welfare reform cut the rolls and reduced poverty, but helping millions like Michelle find a job is only part of the answer.

My Italian grandfather taught me the rest in one word:  family.

The key to a richer culture is a strong family, and the key to a strong family are strong marriages.

SANTORUM:  That means mothers and fathers doing what they have been doing so well for over the centuries, giving love and hope to their children.

Karen, my wonderful wife and mother of our six great children, always says, “Rick, the best gift we can give our kids is a great marriage.  It gives them the security they want and the example they need.”

Yet, in many poor communities, the torch of marriage is dying out. While eight out of 10 mothers applying for welfare are in a relationship with the father of their children and both want to marry, often, no one helps them.  And, within a year, almost all have parted ways.

President Bush is changing that.  We now ask:  Would you like some help in building that relationship?  And the mother and father says, yes, we pay for marriage counseling with a family therapist or a pastor, rabbi, imam or priest.

John Kerry‘s response, he joined Senate Democrats in blocking the President‘s welfare reform bill and faith-based initiatives.

SANTORUM:  He says he is concerned about the separation of church and state.  Senator Kerry should worry more about the separation of children from their fathers.


Now we all agree, religion in America must never be established, but it also must never be exiled.


George Bush has shown his compassion by advancing his faith-based initiatives, strengthening marriage, and fighting to let the American people define marriage, not left-wing judges.


Sometimes I think our grandparents wouldn‘t recognize the torch they passed on.  But I know they would counsel us to remember why they came, and why others continue to come:  For our economy, yes, for our security, sure, but it is the generosity of spirit and the strength of our character molded by the light of faith that makes us that shining city on the hill.  “For the greatest of these is love.”

Thank you.  God bless you, and God bless America.


MATTHEWS:  Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour.

Haley, Mr. Governor.  Governor Barbour, can you hear me? 

GOV. HALEY BARBOUR ®, MISSISSIPPI:  Yes, I hear you fine, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it‘s great to hear you.  Thank you. 

How do you think this party is shaping up?  A lot of interesting figures out there on the floor, wonderful barn-burners by Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain and even by Ron Silver.  What a political party.  Would it sell in Jackson, Mississippi, that party, or in Yazoo City, even? 

BARBOUR:  Well, of course it will. 

Rudy Giuliani came back and campaigned for me for governor.  And I would have loved for Arnold Schwarzenegger to come out and campaign for me for governor. 

But, you know, Chris, in a party with 50 million members and a two-party system, where both parties are coalitions, people are not going to agree on everything.  But this party is more united than I can ever remember.  I think George Bush will get as high a percentage of the Republican vote in November as Ronald Reagan got in 1984. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you have to be a Democratic to be a Southerner to get on the podium? 


BARBOUR:  I‘ll tell you what.  It‘s a lot...

MATTHEWS:  The only guy you‘re putting up there with a good Southern accent is Zell Miller, Democrat, Georgia. 

BARBOUR:  Well, I think it‘s great that Zell Miller is up there.  It makes a powerful statement that Democrats understand that they don‘t want to have the most liberal senator in the United States, John Kerry, as president. 

You know, Chris, we‘ve been friends a long time.  I never thought you and I would be talking about Teddy Kennedy as the more conservative senator from Massachusetts. 


MATTHEWS:  You are so tough. 

Let me ask you this about Ronald Reagan.  We‘re going to be talking about him tonight a lot.  I‘m sitting here with Ron Reagan.  Let me ask you about that movie tonight we are all going to see, eight minutes, a technicolor look at the most popular Republican in the 20th century, probably.  What role did he play in building the Southern Republican base? 

BARBOUR:  Well, Ronald Reagan was indispensable to the South moving from the solid Democrat South to today, where it‘s very, very hard for Democrats to win any states in the South for president. 

Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky all have Republican governors.  and without Ronald Reagan, this would have taken much, much longer.  Realignment is evolutionary, but Ronald Reagan really, really accelerated the pace. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think John Kerry has an outside chance in any Confederate state? 

BARBOUR:  A lot of you all seem to think that John Edwards is going to help John Kerry carry North Carolina. 

Well, you know, John Edwards has got a North Carolina accent and a Massachusetts voting record.  And I don‘t think there is any state in the South that the Democrats will win or really have a serious chance to win, except maybe Florida, which, of course, is the least Southern of all the Southern states.  Some of the races will be competitive.  And we don‘t take anything for granted. 

But I think it‘s unlikely that John Kerry will really, really be able to make a true race out of it anywhere but Florida. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think about Florida this time? 

BARBOUR:  I think Bush is going to win Florida.  But Florida is going to be close.  I think the election is going to be close.  Well, I know people have their ideas about Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. 

I would advise you to look at the Mississippi River.  I think this election may be decided on the Mississippi River.  Can we keep Kentucky—

Missouri, Kentucky?  Can we win Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota?  Mississippi is going to be all right, though.  I‘ll tell you that.


MATTHEWS:  Old man river is going to decide the election.  I‘m thinking about it.  It sounds right to me.  Missouri, tough one for the Democrats.  Kentucky, tough one for the Democrats.  Wisconsin and Iowa, tough one for your party. 

Anyway, thank you, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi. 

President Bush has just touched down at New York‘s Kennedy International Airport.  He‘s expected to go on to events in Queens, New York.  And then he‘ll watch tonight‘s speeches by Zell Miller and Vice President Dick Cheney from this hotel. 

NBC‘s Campbell Brown is on the convention floor—Campbell. 


I‘m on the floor right now with Tom Foley, who is a member of the Connecticut delegation, who was with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, in charge of private sector development there.  And he‘s with me now. 

And Iraq has been talked about in terms of the overall war on terrorism.  We‘re probably going to hear Vice President Cheney address the issue tonight.  What do you—what case on the war in Iraq do you think the vice president needs to make tonight? 

TOM FOLEY, CONNECTICUT DELEGATE:  Well, I think he needs to point out that the intervention in Iraq was an important part of the war on terrorism and has largely succeeded already in taking the war over to the Middle East, rather than having it on the shores of the U.S., which is a very important factor many don‘t understand, also, that things are going better in Iraq than it appears to most people whose primary source of information is the media. 

BROWN:  Why do you think the media is not covering what is happening there fairly, as somebody who spent time on the ground?  How can you ignore the security situation, when the kidnappings and the bombings and the attacks are still occurring every day? 

FOLEY:  Well, those obviously are part of the situation over there.  But I don‘t think it‘s a question of fairness.  I think the media tends to focus on things that are interesting and exciting and things that are going wrong.

And death and destruction tend to capture people‘s attention.  But it‘s really only a small part of the story.  There are many other things there that are going quite well. 

BROWN:  Tom Foley, I want to thank you for your time and sticking around. 

Let‘s head back to you, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  And let‘s—thank you, Campbell.

Let‘s go right now to Norah O‘Donnell, who is with the president as he lands.  She‘s on the phone, Norah is.  And you can see Air Force One there grandly before us. 


MATTHEWS:  Norah, tell us about the arrival. 

O‘DONNELL:  That‘s right, Chris, President Bush landing at JFK International Airport, arriving in New York City for his final convention. 

The president will be heading to Queens, where he‘ll be meeting with some firefighters.  The campaign believes this will be sort of a different setting.  They believe a lot of 9/11 families that have been critical of this administration have got a lot of play in the media.  They want to showcase some firefighters and other (INAUDIBLE) so the president will meet with them.

And then he‘s going to go directly to his hotel to watch his vice president, Dick Cheney, deliver his remarks.  You know, President Bush has been practicing his own speech today.  He held a session for two hours in the White House before he left on a trip to Ohio and then, of course, to New York.  I‘m told by advisers that his speech is about 40 minutes long.  They‘re on the 30th draft—that‘s right, the 30th draft. 

Of course, it‘s the most important speech that he may give as he tries to convince voters to reelect him to a second term.  It will be interesting, I think, the president‘s speech judged on a number of things.  They have billed this as him laying out a very robust second-term agenda. 

But we hear them sort of dialing back on that sort of today, saying that a

lot of the ideas in the speech will be more evolutionary than revolutionary

·         Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, Norah, about the choreography to expect tomorrow night.  Theater in the round, is that right? 

O‘DONNELL:  Theater in the round. 

They have seen that the president, when he speaks behind a podium, is more—not as natural as he has been out here on the campaign trail.  He does these events called “Ask President Bush,” where he does it sort of Oprah-style, if you will, holding a microphone, taking questions.  They think it shows off the president‘s strengths, that he‘s comfortable in his own skin.  Remember that phrase. 

And so they will have the president in the round tomorrow night.  They‘re closing down Madison Square Garden tonight and through tomorrow morning in order to build this new stage for the president that will showcase him in a way they believe is also going to convey a sense of inclusiveness, a sense of warmth, and show sort of a different style that the president has used out here on the campaign trail very effectively—


MATTHEWS:  It‘s hard to replicate what it‘s like.  And people like Pat Buchanan, who have spoken in very large rooms, know.

There was talk of the president rehearsing the speech he will give tomorrow night in Madison Square Garden out at Andrews Air Force Base in one of the big hangers.  Was that a real idea or was that changed?  Or what happened there? 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, I think things changed.  I think what the campaign thought would be most effective for them would be for him to hit all these battleground states. 

We‘ve hit eight big battleground states in the past week.  He‘s been hitting them, getting great local media coverage that they believe is particularly important.  And then, of course, coming in there and meeting with some 9/11 families, 9/11 victims, firefighters particularly.  He got a big endorsement by a firefighters union that‘s significant.  And they thought that was really sort of the best strategy. 

But it has been very carefully orchestrated, all of the events, certainly, and culminating tomorrow.  And one more just—point.  The campaign pointed out, the Bush campaign pointed out, they think that John Kerry lost his convention bounce, that they failed to capitalize on it.  That‘s going to be something very different that Bush campaign tries not to do.  We‘ll see the president immediately leave from New York to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to campaign.  That‘s exactly the same place that John Kerry went after his convention—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  You know, Norah, we were watching the president and the first lady arrive at the airport.  That‘s John F. Kennedy International Airport here in New York.  He will be coming, as you say, to the firefighters, to meet with them in Queens. 

I‘m struck by the fact that he‘s not just going to Pennsylvania tomorrow night after the speech, but he‘s going to what I‘ve always thought of as a real Democratic stronghold, sort of an Irish Democratic stronghold in the city of Scranton.  Is there sort of a logic to the idea of going into a classic Democratic stronghold to start the campaign? 

O‘DONNELL:  Yes.  Important, Chris. 

As you know, for the past several months, the president has been courting his base.  They believe that they—and visiting cities where they won by a 2-1 margin.  This year, they want to win it by a 2.5-1 margin, turning (INAUDIBLE) degree.  That‘s how they think they can win this race in 2000. 

Now we‘re going to see the president shifting just a little bit, heading to more Democratic areas, so they can reach out to swing voters.  That‘s of course been the message of this whole convention, projecting a more moderate face, perhaps a new Republican Party as softer, more compassionate. 

And, quite frankly, we‘ve heard the president change his rhetoric out here on the campaign trail, too.  He‘s speaking more about sort of—and returning to compassionate conservatism.

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

O‘DONNELL:  Those sort of things. 

MATTHEWS:  People say, Norah, that the president is going to come out of this convention going to states like Pennsylvania, especially, with a cultural message.  He‘s not going to try to convince them that the economy is better than they think.  He‘s going to try to convince them that he‘s one of them, that he‘s pro-life on abortion, that he has questions about the use of stem cells. 

He‘s going to appeal to the people, the Irish Catholic, many of them pro-lifers in Pennsylvania, swing them into the Republican column not on economic issues, but values issues.  Is that what you‘re hearing? 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, that‘s right. 

And it‘s very interesting.  This is of course a very religious president, but he hasn‘t been actually talking very religiously, if you will, in the past couple of weeks.  I have (INAUDIBLE) him change a little bit his rhetoric. 

And the other day, we were out on the campaign trail in (INAUDIBLE) which battleground state we were in.  But the president said, to—much is given, much is expected, of course, referring to Luke in the Bible.  And that‘s a phrase that I think we‘re going to hear more from the president on Thursday and in the coming days sort of as they try to develop some new themes, focusing around this sort of compassionate theme. 

The whole convention the first couple of days was about strength and security and resoluteness. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

O‘DONNELL:  Now they‘re trying to of course soften the edges.  And that began last night with Laura Bush, as you know.

MATTHEWS:  Great report, Norah.  Thank you very much, Norah O‘Donnell, on the telephone from John F. Kennedy Airport with the president as he arrives and he comes and makes his way into the city here into the outer boroughs—actually, one of the five boroughs of New York.  He‘s going to Queens.  Well, there‘s a lot of Irish there, too.

Let‘s go back to the panel.

Howard, I love this stuff. 


MATTHEWS:  And that‘s why I focus on it.  And you chuckle because you do, too. 

FINEMAN:  I do, too, yes.

MATTHEWS:  Winding your way into Pennsylvania tomorrow night, not on economic issues, but going where the big Irish Catholics are.  They are all, a lot of them, even the younger people, are pro-life.  They‘re very traditional in their values.  They grew up in Scranton.  They may go to New York, but they come home.

FINEMAN:  Right. 

Well, Scranton is—Scranton, in a way, is the ultimate Catholic town in Pennsylvania. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

FINEMAN:  Because, in both Pittsburgh and Philly, you have got a more diverse thing.  That‘s like going to the holy city in Pennsylvania.  And that is definitely what—what—what Bush‘s focus is. 

And with Rick Santorum in western Pennsylvania, their hope is to take the Irish Catholics and other Catholics who grew up in Pittsburgh, but who have since moved out to the suburbs and become more Republicans anyway, to convince them on the cultural issues and on the war—and on the war—to go with George Bush, to ignore their economic concerns, to ignore their traditional Democratic thinking on economics, and to go on culture. 

And this campaign has visited western Pennsylvania more than any other place in the country. 

MATTHEWS:  Which is


FINEMAN:  He‘s going for sheriff of Allegheny County. 

MATTHEWS:  It‘s also the most patient part of the country.  And you reflect it very well, Howard.



INGRAHAM:  Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger didn‘t say one thing.  They didn‘t refer to left-wing judges.  Well, Rick Santorum did, six kids in his family, very devout Catholic.

Another they are doing, which hasn‘t been talked about, Chris, is they have a massive direct-mail, very targeted direct-mail campaign going on right now in the Bush campaign.

MATTHEWS:  To whom?

INGRAHAM:  Targeting cultural conservatives, devout Catholics and Christian conservatives, an enormous amount of direct mail, which hasn‘t been talked about.

MATTHEWS:  I think that can be done in two months.

Pat, we‘ll get back to you.  Laura Ingraham, thank you.  Ron Reagan, Howard Fineman, as always, Patrick Buchanan. 

Coming up in the next hour, we‘re going to go back down to the floor.  And later tonight, Senator Zell Miller, the Democrat, and Vice President Dick Cheney, the Republican.

HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Republican Convention continues right after this. 



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