updated 10/13/2004 10:23:31 AM ET 2004-10-13T14:23:31

Guest: Anne Kornblut, Ben Ginsberg, Craig Crawford, Tad Devine

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  We‘re into the last three weeks of the presidential campaign and it‘s a race.  A new Reuters/Zogby poll has it tied at 45 percent.  A CBS poll has President Bush 47, Kerry 46 and a “USA Today”/Gallup has it Kerry 49, Bush 48.  On the eve of the last presidential debate we‘re live from the campus of Arizona State University.  Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to a special predebate edition of HARDBALL.  We‘re live from Arizona State University, joined by students, faculty, neighbors and political activists on the night before the last presidential debate. 

Joining me tonight for a debate prep, my panel of political pros.  Anne Kornblut who covers Kerry for the “Boston Globe.”  MSNBC‘s political analyst Ron Reagan, Republican election attorney Ben Ginsberg, and Craig Crawford, of the “Congressional Quarterly.” 

I have to ask you right now.  Your newspaper has been covering Kerry for years now, for 20-something years.  What has he got to do tomorrow night to win this debate and win this election? 

ANNE KORNBLUT, “THE BOSTON GLOBE”:  This may shock you.  I have not personally been covering Kerry for 20 something years but the consensus is he has to do what he‘s been doing.  He came across as presidential in the first debate.  I know you think he needs to come across as personable.  I would say at this point if he can get under the president‘s skin as he seems to have done and make the president scowl, that will be a victory for Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  A cold calculating attack will do it.

KORNBLUT:  That, too. 

MATTHEWS:  Ron Reagan.

RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  If he can repeat his performance in the first debate, and this format will be similar, if not exactly the same I think he‘s on the right track.  He was in the groove there.  This talk about who is the most personable guy, frankly, in the last two presidential debates, Kerry has come off as the more personable guy. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you make of this rumor about the IFB (ph).  I have one in my ear, you‘ve got one in your ear.  We all do.  This thing keeps running around the channels.  It runs around everywhere in the papers that it was even in the “Washington Post” on Saturday, that President Bush had some help to his ears. 

REAGAN:  I‘ll tell you, if he had an IFB in, they were doing a damn poor job of coaching him. 

MATTHEWS:  Ben Ginsberg, what does that—let‘s start with the Democrat not that you‘re rooting for him.  What does Kerry have to do to replicate the success of the past or add to it with some humanity?

BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN ELECTION ATTORNEY:  Well, he has to basically continue to run from his 20-year voting record in the Senate. 

MATTHEWS:  Run from it? 

GINSBERG:  Run from it because if he wants to talk about being strong enough in Iraq, if he wants to talk about tax cuts for the middle class, he‘s got to explain why that is not what he has voted for in the last 20 years. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Craig Crawford, “Congressional Quarterly?” 

That was an important bit of advice.  I wouldn‘t want this guy in my corner if I was planning a fight.  Go ahead.

CRAIG CRAWFORD, “CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY”:  I would if I had an election problem and needed a lawyer.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s Kerry got to do to win tomorrow?  Because he has a lot riding on it.  He‘s still a bit behind in the polls.  He still got to win in those states that have a hard time for a liberal to win in.  And he is a liberal.  How does he win in Missouri, West Virginia, how does he win in Arkansas or Tennessee?  How does he get West Virginia if he stays on the course he‘s on, the administration is putting him on because I think Ben made a point there.  He has a record. 

CRAWFORD:  John Kerry does have to get personable.  I do think that‘s an issue.  Presidential campaigns are a popularity contest and I don‘t think—I disagree you with you, Ron, I don‘t think Kerry was the more personable of the two.  Although Bush had his problems, I think did he come across as more the kitchen table candidate.  And that‘s a problem for Kerry. 

REAGAN:  I always disagree with you though.  Public polls...

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me go round.  Let‘s go round and try to keep it even Steven. 

Ben, let‘s start off the game with you.  What does the president have to do to win this thing convincingly tomorrow, just edge him out, whatever. 

GINSBERG:  The president, I think, will welcome a discussion on domestic issues.  The truth is he‘s thought of as a war time president.  He has a great domestic record to run on.  Tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, the Medicare reforms, the healthcare reforms and I think he needs to point out that he‘s achieved what his goal has been where John Kerry really does have to run from that 20 years in the Senate. 

MATTHEWS:  The president‘s goal tomorrow night.

KORNBLUT:  Chris, I think what the president has to do, and he started to do a little bit more in the last debate we saw is actually debate.  Respond to what Kerry is saying.  Talk about Kerry‘s record.  Remember when to jump in.  He did a little more on the second debate.  I know his advisers have been talking to him about doing it more in the third debate.  I would expect him to talk a lot more about what Kerry is actually saying rather than just repeating his stump line.

MATTHEWS:  Well, get into it, Ron?

REAGAN:  More factual.  Less of the sort of the applause lines he gets in front of the hand-selected audiences and all.

MATTHEWS:  Why was he so much better in the second debate?  I can understand why these weird rumors get started because there was almost a miraculous difference between the uncertain, hesitant kind of awkward, and all of a sudden, he was walking around that room yesterday like he was a televangelist.  He was spewing it out.  It was one word after another.  No hesitance at all.

REAGAN:  He was marginally better. 

MATTHEWS:  Marginally better?

REAGAN:  Marginally better in the polls.  Let me finish.  This isn‘t about issues for people anymore who are watching these debates.  The people who decide this thing on the issues have already decided.  Now the people that are undecided are looking at these two men.  And in each of the debates, we saw the first debate, we saw Bush the peevish Bush, the peevish, blinky kind of Bush.  Then the second debate, we saw him as the angry, shouting Bush.  Why was he shouting at the audience? 

GINSBERG:  No, Ron, Ron.  That‘s conviction.  That‘s conviction.  The problem is John Kerry doesn‘t know how to show conviction without looking angry.  George Bush looks like a real guy. 

REAGAN:  No, he doesn‘t. 

GINSBERG:  He does.

MATTHEWS:  Craig, can you break this tie?

Let me ask this question.  Was there a dramatic difference between the president‘s performance in the first and second debates? 

CRAWFORD:  I didn‘t think there was that much difference.  There‘s not that much difference in who Bush really is.  I‘m not sure I understand why people have reacted so poorly to Bush‘s performance...

MATTHEWS:  You always see the same Bush. 

CRAWFORD:  It‘s the same Bush I‘ve seen for four years. 

MATTHEWS:  What‘s missing in this debate—I will admit, you‘re right.  You nailed him. 

Watching it I do miss the presence of sentiment.  Maybe sentiment is overplayed.  But here we have a case of the presidential candidate John Kerry getting a phone call on his phone.  I guess his cell phone.  A recorded voice of Chris Reeve before he died this weekend talking about how glad that the candidate pushed the issue of stem cell and research.  Do you think that will come up tomorrow night?  Is John Kerry going to talk about the phone message he got from Chris Reeve before he died?

KORNBLUT:  I wouldn‘t be surprised.  Especially given that he brought Chris Reeve up on Friday night in the last debate.  It is a little bit of a delicate line to bring up somebody who‘s passed away.  It‘s obviously a very sensitive subject but like you said he did get this phone call from Chris Reeve encouraging him to keep stem cells at the forefront of the debate.  So I wouldn‘t be surprised to hear it come out. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I think at some point he‘s going to have to play that message for us because somebody will come along and say I don‘t think he got a message like that at all, Ron.  We live in a skeptical society. 

REAGAN:  That‘s true.  They may say it.  But if you have a recording, you know, you‘re going to have to play that recording and let people hear it. 

MATTHEWS:  Suppose he sends it through that thing in the president‘s ear.

REAGAN:  Right in the middle of the debate.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That would be a way of screwing him up.  No, I don‘t mean (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I mean electronics.  Ben, have we given your president a chance?  Tell me what you think he has to do again.  I want to hear it again before we get a break.

GINSBERG:  Again, he really wants—he needs to be able to draw the distinctions between him as a leader who has achieved things and John Kerry who has a 20-year Senate record...

CRAWFORD:  I don‘t (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a Senate record works with swing voters.  I think all the president is doing with that is just goosing up turn-out among his own voters which may be a good thing. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Am I right, Ben.  You see that word liberal in Missouri or West Virginia and it spells...

GINSBERG:  It absolutely works. 

And the problem is, Kerry is flip-flopping.  He is flip flopping from where he is in the presidential...

CRAWFORD:  But those are already Bush voters. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Hedging I think is a fair medium. 

Coming up, we‘ll get a preview of tomorrow night‘s debate from Kerry campaign adviser Tad Devine.  He‘s coming right here when we return.  You‘re watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage from ASU, Arizona State University on the eve of the final presidential debate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Coming up, a debate preview from Kerry advisor Tad Divine when HARDBALL returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back.  I‘m going to wait for this to subside a little bit.  I‘m waiting—if there‘s anybody who thinks there‘s not a lot of interest in this campaign hasn‘t come out to ASU.  This campus is coming alive here.  It was probably alive before I got here.  I think a lot of people are voting. 

You know, I heard it say the other day, Tad Devine, and you‘re with the Kerry campaign, that we might have almost 120 million people voting in this campaign.  What is your guesstimate right now. 

TAD DEVINE, KERRY CAMPAIGN:  I‘d 118, Chris.  I think it‘s going to be a huge turn out, because you can see it in all the polls, people are enthusiastic.  You can see it in the number of people watching these debates.  People want change and that‘s what this election is about. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s 14 million more people than last time. 

DEVINE:  Yes, I think it‘s going to be a substantial turnout.  People have been registered.  There‘s massive grass roots efforts.  But most importantly, people really are interested.  They‘re big issues on the table. 

MATTHEWS:  I think it is the most exciting campaign since 1960, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Nixon.  Let me ask you, are all those new voters are they going to be largely Kerry people? 

DEVINE:  I think a lot of them are.  I think a lot of them are. 

There‘s been tremendous effort registering voters all across this country.  I think people want change.  That‘s why they‘re coming to the poll.  I think the Republicans voted all the time.  Now we‘re going to have new people voting, this time their going to vote for Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘ve heard it said that President Clinton who just had the heart operation will be able to make a couple appearances for you.  Is anything been said, yet? 

DEVINE:  I‘m not aware of it.  But hear he will.  And we‘re looking forward to him.  We need him on the campaign trail. 

MATTHEWS:  Where would you send the former president to campaign for the Kerry ticket?  Florida, North Philly, where you going to send him?  Cleveland? 

DEVINE:  I think, all those places and more.  He‘s someone who has incredible excitement over our base.  Someone who has a record and a tremendous contrast with George Bush‘s record.  Twenty-three million jobs when Bill Clinton was president, down one million under George Bush.  What a contrast. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about Chris Reeve, who of course, we all know, sent a message—left message on the phone for John Kerry this Saturday before he passed away.  I can‘t think of anything more dramatic in American politics.  Will your campaign release that tape-recording so that we know what he said? 

DEVINE:  I don‘t know about that, Chris.  Obviously, Senator Kerry was a friend of Chris Reeve‘s and his death was sudden and, you know, there was tremendous sorrow and tragedy associated with it.  So in term of that message, I just don‘t know. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re told by John Kerry, your candidate, that Chris Reeve, said keep it going.  I‘m with you.  I believe in the cause.  We have to fight together for stem cell and the other kinds of research.  Is that the message he left? 

DEVINE:  It is.  And I know it is an inspirational message, and I know it‘s something John Kerry cares deeply about.  It is a cause he wants to fight for.  We talked about it in the debate.  He talked about it with Michael J. Fox earlier in this campaign.  He‘s going to talk about it every day because, we need a president who believes in science when it comes to stem cell research.  Not someone who‘s boxed in by powerful interests on his side. 

MATTHEWS:  Speaking of science, there‘s a lot of blog action out there about whether the president of the United States was given some—some IFB help over the weekend during debate.  Do you think there‘s any truth to the fact that he had electronic voices speaking to him and helping him in the debate or is this nonsense? 

Call it nonsense if it is nonsense. 

DEVINE:  I suppose it is nonsense.  But—you know, Kerry may have to pat him down before the next one.  I don‘t know.

MATTHEWS:  Will we demand a full body frisk for these candidates to make sure they‘re not wired?  Is this Luca Brasi time? 

DEVINE:  It may come down to that. 

MATTHEWS:  I said say Johnny Brasco.  Let me ask you about your candidate, do you think he‘ll talk about Chris Reeve tomorrow night in the debate? 

DEVINE:  Well, I think if he‘s asked about stem cell research, he may.  But, obviously, he invoked Chris Reeve in the last debate.  I mean, this is a big issue.  It‘s a big issue, with a big difference between these candidates.  I mean, John Kerry believes, that if we invest in stem cell research, if we allow science to lead the way, we can find cures for these tragic diseases that people are suffering from.  The president doesn‘t want to go there.  And I think it reflects the fact that John Kerry believes in America and the American spirit of ingenuity.  That, if we just take the boundaries—if that there are no boundaries to the American spirit, if we let these scientists do everything in their power.  So, it‘s a big difference in this campaign.  I bet he‘ll talk about it. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘m surprised that your candidate, who has raised the issue

of the economy, and certainly over the weekend has raised the issue of the

·         or the weaker unemployment numbers coming out in the report Friday, has not brought a human face to the economy issue.  I mean, people working two jobs.  A husband trying provide for his family may pay for a few extra thing by working a second job, $7 bucks an hour. 

How come he doesn‘t talk about a human (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  I‘ve never heard Kerry bring the economic issue home to real people.  Why is he so theoretical about it?

DEVINE:  Well, because he does.  I mean, he does it a lot in town hall meetings.  I heard in places like Ohio.  I was with him one day in Canton, Ohio a few weeks back where he talked about people have been laid off in that area.  So, he does.  We don‘t get to see him every minute of the day, but I know he feels it.  And John Kerry‘s cause is to fight for the middle class.  To stand up for people who don‘t have a champion in the White House.  That‘s what this campaign is about.

MATTHEWS:  Are you afraid of an October surprise where by your candidate is slimed, basically, as an ultra liberal on issues like gay marriage, stem cell and abortion rights in states like Missouri, West Virginia, and such, where you really are fighting up against a cultural wall of number that hasn‘t quite moved yet? 

DEVINE:  Chris, they‘ve been using that slime since January, OK, nevermind October.  I mean, that‘s the campaign that they‘ve been running.  It‘s a fully negative campaign.  And the reason they‘re doing is it simple.  The president cannot defend his indefensible record.  He can‘t talk about jobs, he can‘t talk about healthcare.  Energy and dependence, try filling up your gas tank.  OK, the president‘s policies are a failure. 

MATTHEWS:  I want you to say one thing right now, Tad.  You‘re a good guy.  You‘ve always come on the show.  What‘s the best thing that will happen if your candidate wins?  And I want one thing, and the worst thing that will happen if he doesn‘t. 

DEVINE:  I think the best thing that will happen is every child in America will have healthcare.  And that‘s a remarkable achievement.  And the worst thing that will happen is we‘ll have more of the same.  Four more years of failure. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Tad Devine for the Kerry Campaign, thank you very much for coming on the show.  We‘re going to hear from both sides throughout the evening.  It‘s the big pre-day—it‘s the pre-night.  It‘s the Halloween (ph) of the debate tomorrow night.  We‘ll be back with some more HARDBALL in just a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re out here at the campus of ASU, Arizona State University, which is one of the most celebrated campuses in the world, because who wants to not go here?  Everybody wants to go to this school. 

Well, we have somebody here who has had a special interest in this presidential campaign.  I think everybody ought to be interested in it, myself. 

But let me talk to Samantha. 

Tell me about why you‘re out here today.

SAMANTHA WERSHOW, SISTER OF KILLED U.S. SOLDIER:  I‘m here for my brother, who died last year after the conflict was over. 

MATTHEWS:    And he was killed in Iraq? 

WERSHOW:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  What unit was he in?

WERSHOW:  The 4th Division. 

MATTHEWS:    Army. 

WERSHOW:  Army, yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:    What is your reaction to that war and given all that you‘ve been through here as a family? 

WERSHOW:  It‘s just so hard for me.  I just wish it was over for everyone and for all the families that are involved.  It is just terrible for Iraqis and for people here.  It is terrible. 

MATTHEWS:    Are you going to vote in this election? 

WERSHOW:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:    How are you going to vote?  Do you know yet?

WERSHOW:  Yes.  I‘m voting for Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:    OK.  Why? 

WERSHOW:  In honor of my brother and just to get—I don‘t know—justice or to have Bush not in office anymore. 

MATTHEWS:    Well, what is your brother‘s name? 

WERSHOW:  Jeffrey Wershow. 

MATTHEWS:  Jeffrey Wershow. 

Thank you. 

(CROSSTALK)

WERSHOW:  Thank you very much. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Samantha, thank you very much, Samantha Wershow. 

WERSHOW:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much.

Let‘s go down list of people. 

I want to ask everybody, who are you for?  Let‘s run down the list.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  One person at a time please. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George Bush

MATTHEWS:  Three to three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bush-Cheney is taking it. 

MATTHEWS:  Four to three.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  George W. 

MATTHEWS:  Five to three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Good old W. 

MATTHEWS:  Seven to three. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Eight to three. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Our hero, Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Nine to three. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Myself. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  George W. 

MATTHEWS:  Ten to three. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George W. Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Eleven to three. 

MATTHEWS:  What happened here with all these Kerry sings here? 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George Bush.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s 12-3.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  John Kerry.  John Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  Twelve to four.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  John Kerry!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George W. Bush.  George W. Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Thirteen to four. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  John Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  Thirteen to five. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  John Kerry. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  John Kerry.

MATTHEWS:  Thirteen to six.  Thirteen to seven. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  John Kerry.

MATTHEWS:  Thirteen to eight. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bush and Cheney. 

MATTHEWS:  Fourteen to eight. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Fourteen to nine. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  John Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  Fourteen to 10. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George W. Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Fifteen to 10. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  John Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  Fifteen to 11. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Sixteen to 11. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George W.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Seventeen to 11. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George W. Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Eighteen to 11. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George W. Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  George W. Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George W. Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  George W. Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  It‘s about 2-1.

I was right.  It‘s 2-1.

Let me now go back to the list and say what is the most—let‘s go here. 

Come on.  I‘m sorry. 

Let me go here.  I don‘t want you to tell me who you‘re for.  I want you to tell me what is the most important issue in one word in this campaign. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  No, one word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Terror.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Leadership.

MATTHEWS:  Who can do one word?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Abortion. 

MATTHEWS:  Abortion.  Are you for or

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Pro-choice. 

MATTHEWS:  Pro-choice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Terrorism. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The war in Iraq and pro-life. 

MATTHEWS:  One word.  One word. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Iraq. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Terrorism. 

MATTHEWS:  One word? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m undecided. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The greatest president, George W. Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  No.  One word.  One word.  What‘s the most important...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Integrity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What? 

MATTHEWS:  Pardon me? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What was the question?  We didn‘t hear over here.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s the most important issue in this campaign for you personally?  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For me, the economy. 

MATTHEWS:  The economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Outsourcing. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Intelligence of the president. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Terrorism.  George Bush is the man. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Abortion. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Stem cells. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you pro-abortion rights or against them? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Against. 

MATTHEWS:  You don‘t think you should be allowed to have abortion in this country? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

MATTHEWS:  What should we do to the woman who has an abortion?  Should she be punished?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, not punished.  I respect a woman‘s right, but I don‘t think it‘s right to murder.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  No, wait a minute.  You respect a woman‘s—so you think it‘s all right for a woman to have an abortion if she wants to.  That‘s called the pro-choice position. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Circumstances.  Circumstances.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s called the pro-choice position.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Are you pro-choice? 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, what are you, pro-choice or pro-life?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She‘s pro-life. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Pro-life.

MATTHEWS:  But you‘re against a woman‘s right to have an abortion? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  So it should be outlawed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Should the woman be punished?  Should she go to jail? 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Why not?  Then it‘s not a crime. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If it‘s illegal.

MATTHEWS:  Well, wait a minute.  Should the woman go to jail? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If it is illegal to have an abortion.

MATTHEWS:  Should a woman go to jail if she has an abortion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If it is illegal, yes. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

How many people think a woman should go to jail if she has an abortion? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Never!

(BOOING)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘re for Kerry!

MATTHEWS:  What‘s your No. 1 issue in the campaign?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My No. 1 issue is

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We love you, Kerry!

MATTHEWS:  What‘s your No. 1 issue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Definitely terrorism. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Women‘s rights. 

We love you

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Women‘s rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Women‘s rights. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No Child Left Behind. 

MATTHEWS:  What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No Child Left Behind. 

MATTHEWS:  Education. 

No. 1 issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Economics. 

MATTHEWS:  What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Economics. 

MATTHEWS:  God, you got a lot of piercings going on in there. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The environment and economics. 

MATTHEWS:  How did you get through the metal detector?  Just kidding.

What‘s the issue?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The environment and economics. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  War in Iraq.  Terrorism. 

MATTHEWS:  Who is going to win the debate tomorrow shouting?  I want to go back there.

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Who is going to win the debate?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Who won the debate Friday? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Who won the debate Friday? 

MATTHEWS:  Who won the debate? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  Kerry won.  OK.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It could have been Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

Who won the debate Friday? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bush did. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bush did. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bush did. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  George W. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Tomorrow night, when the big debate is held, this is the final debate.  There will be 50 million people watching.  I want you all to think—don‘t yell—think.  What would be the issue you want your candidate to bring up, the issue you want them to bring up tomorrow night in this debate?

That‘s right.  Who said education? 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I did. 

MATTHEWS:  Who is your candidate? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  John Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

OK.  Education. 

Who is your candidate?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  John Kerry is my candidate. 

MATTHEWS:  And what is the issue you want him to bring up? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Education as well. 

MATTHEWS:  You.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  War.  Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re for Bush and war? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re for war? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  We need to protect our country. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Tribal sovereignty. 

MATTHEWS:  Tribal sovereignty. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry.  I want him...

MATTHEWS:  What tribe are you? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE) Apache Tribe. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, Apache. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kerry.  I want him to bring up No Child Left Behind. 

MATTHEWS:  Education. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The right way to win the war on terror. 

MATTHEWS:  The right way, what is that?  Who are you go with? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kerry.

MATTHEWS:  And what is the right way to win the war on terror? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The right way is to not lie to the American people and also to build a coalition, so that we can be really strong, so that we can take on the terrorists. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Who lied to the American people? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Who lied?  Well, not being completely honest, not being forthright. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re becoming a gentleman, sir. 

Anyway, what‘s this?  Hi, mom.  That‘s...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I love my mom. 

MATTHEWS:  There he is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hi, mom! 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, mom!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That was cheating.  Anybody can do that. 

Every love their mom?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Every love their mom?

I love my mom, too. 

Let me ask you. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I want to ask you a question.  I want to ask something.  I think it‘s really important.  I have noted, I have noted that, without a doubt, the clean-shaven men here tend to be Republicans and the guys with beards, with a few exceptions, tend to be Democrats. 

Is that true?  No, it‘s not true.  It‘s not true with you.  Not true with you.  It‘s true with you.  I‘ll stick to my theory.  The beards are for Kerry.  The beards are for Kerry, with some exceptions. 

We‘ll be right back after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s live coverage from Arizona State University. 

The Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation, which is owned by supporters of President Bush, is ordering the campaigns, the company‘s, rather, 62 television stations, including many ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates to run an anti-Kerry documentary. 

HARDBALL election correspondent David Shuster joins us now from Washington with more—David.

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC ELECTION CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Chris, here on the East Coast, where the sun has gone down, the Democratic Party and 18 senators have sent letters of complaint to the Federal Election Commission, even though everybody acknowledges it is unlikely the FEC would take any action between the film airs or even before the election. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER (voice-over):  It‘s called “Stolen Honor,” a film attacking John Kerry for his anti-war activities after he returned home from Vietnam. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “STOLEN HONOR”)

LEO THORSNESS, FORMER U.S. SOLDIER:  When John Kerry talked about the atrocities, the war crimes, that was so contrary to the war that I knew. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  The Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation has ordered its 62 television stations, including 35 affiliated with Fox, ABC, CBS or NBC, to preempt regular programming and show the film as early as this weekend. 

Mark Hyman, a spokesman for Sinclair, says, “The documentary is just a part of a special news event that we‘re putting together.”

But it‘s not a news event.  The film, funded by a group of Vietnam vets from Pennsylvania, was actually released at a press conference five weeks ago.  Democrats charge Sinclair Broadcasting is now simply trying to help President Bush.  Over the last four years, the company‘s owners have given nearly $270,000 in political contributions, 97 percent to Republicans. 

Last spring, Sinclair refused to allow its ABC stations to broadcast “Nightline” when Ted Koppel read the names of all U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “NIGHTLINE”)

TED KOPPEL, HOST:  Lori Ann Piestewa, Frederick Pokorney Jr.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  And the vice president at Sinclair has repeatedly called John Kerry a liar. 

As far as the documentary is concerned...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “STOLEN HONOR”)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So those people who participated in that anti-war movement, they delayed the war. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Historians point to problems.  Kerry‘s testimony from 30 years ago is edited, making it seem he claimed to have witnessed heads and arms being cut off by U.S. soldiers when in fact he always attributed those dramatic allegations to others.  The film also features inflammatory statements from former U.S. POWs. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “STOLEN HONOR”)

JACK FELLOWS, FORMER POW:  We stayed two more years because of him.  John Kerry, Jane Fonda and all that crowd, the anti-war movement, I figure they owe us two years. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  But the fact is, the war stopped in 1973 when the Nixon administration negotiated an end.  History shows it was the lack of a settlement before then, not the protests, that kept the North Vietnamese fighting. 

And as HARDBALL demonstrated last month, while there are some POWs who say John Kerry‘s name was invoked by Vietnamese guards...

JAMES WARNER, FORMER POW:  They kept pounding on the table and pointing at this, saying this officer, your own naval officer proves that you deserve to be punished. 

SHUSTER:  There are other former POWs who say...

PHIL BUTLER, FORMER POW:  We absolutely never heard of John Kerry.  And if John Kerry‘s name was used or mentioned in other camps, I can assure you that, certainly, in my opinion, John Kerry has absolutely no connection whatsoever either with any—anybody being tortured or with prolonging the war in any way, shape or form. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHUSTER:  Sinclair officials point out that “Stolen Honor” is not the first documentary in this election.  The anti-Bush film “Fahrenheit 9/11” played in theater nationwide this summer.  But political strategists point out there is a huge difference between forcing voters to buy a ticket to watch a partisan film in the theater and showing a partisan film on television, which is free—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David Shuster.

We invited reporters, by the way, from the Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation to join us.  But they declined to interact with our panel. 

That‘s not surprising for

(CROSSTALK)  

REAGAN:  It‘s not surprising, no.

MATTHEWS:  Ben, let me ask you, you know this field; 62 stations, a lot of NBC affiliates, etcetera, being told by their owner, run this documentary, what does it mean politically and legally, I should say? 

GINSBERG:  Well, as a legal matter, I don‘t think there‘s anything wrong with it at all. 

This is actually a delicious issue in so many ways.  Conservatives and

Republicans are certain that news executives of all the networks are

basically liberals and against them.  All of a sudden, you have a chain of

owners that are conservative and say, we think this is news.  So this is

the guys who own the stations‘ definitions of news.  They put it on.  It is

a wonderful reaction

(CROSSTALK) 

MATTHEWS:  Suppose one of the news corporations decided—who owns a lot of affiliates like this, said we‘re all going to watch Michael Moore‘s movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” together tomorrow night at 7:00, instead of “Wheel of Fortune.”  Would that be fair game, do you think? 

GINSBERG:  Well, in essence, that‘s almost what happened.  But, yes, it would be fair game. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re smiling. 

GINSBERG:  I am smiling. 

MATTHEWS:  Because you know that‘s not likely to happen. 

GINSBERG:  Well, that‘s because I guess this is a much better film.  I don‘t know. 

MATTHEWS:  Anne Kornblut, what do you think of this?  This seems like the new face of American politics, 527s, the Catholic Church telling people how to vote in many cases, the evangelical ministers coming and telling people how to vote.  The old rules of church and state, of corporate fair play and fairness and media fairness, everything seems to be off the board this year.  Everybody is in to the game.

KORNBLUT:  Chris, I would think you would love this.  Everybody has a voice.  It is democracy at work here. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, if it were one man or one person, one vote, it might be a different form of democracy. 

(CROSSTALK)

KORNBLUT:  Well, the Sinclair Group did apparently invite Kerry on to do a roundtable discussion after they aired this movie.  He obviously declined.  It is not really a fair fight. 

I think what is interesting is how much free media the event itself has gotten.  And I know that that delights the Bush campaign, because before anyone has even seen this movie and before anyone, even people who might not turn in, have now heard about it.  And that does wonders for their base. 

REAGAN:  The problem here, and I think it destroys the credibility of Sinclair Broadcasting, is to call this a news event. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

REAGAN:  This isn‘t a news event.  This is a 5-week old documentary with a point of view that they‘re going to air without commercials in prime time. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  ... the people already voting against—I mean, for Bush are—I mean, it‘s not going to reach any new voters for Bush. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  But is this guy an eccentric or what?  Is this guy who—he‘s also—I don‘t mind him.  He said he didn‘t want to hear Ted Koppel listing the people who were killed in Vietnam.  That‘s his call. 

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  Iraq.

KORNBLUT:  Iraq.

MATTHEWS:  Iraq.

He doesn‘t think it‘s something that is a news story.  You could argue that Ted Koppel‘s report, which simply listed the people who have died over there, is not a news event.  It was an editorial, you could argue, clearly, right?  Do we agree?

CRAWFORD:  Sure.

I mean, I don‘t really see the media issue as much as I do the political issue of, what is the impact on the race?  And I don‘t see this making a difference. 

MATTHEWS:  Because—let me tell you.  Did you go see “9/11”? 

CRAWFORD:  Sure. 

MATTHEWS:  When you walk out of the room, there are people that are saying, I can‘t take this guy Bush anymore.  That had a strong emotional punch, didn‘t it?

CRAWFORD:  Yes.  But I think there was a lot of new information that people didn‘t know in that movie that this movie doesn‘t provide. 

(CROSSTALK)

GINSBERG:  Oh, I disagree. 

(CROSSTALK)

GINSBERG:  This whole issue is one that has not received a lot of attention. 

(CROSSTALK)

GINSBERG:  But the depth—the depth—the depth of the people who have served with John Kerry...

CRAWFORD:  Do you mean Kerry‘s anti-war activities? 

GINSBERG:  No, no, no, the depth, the character issues that have been brought out by this group and the Swift Boat Veterans and people who served in the military and affected by Kerry‘s actions is something that‘s not been talked about. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  But that‘s gotten a thorough airing.

(CROSSTALK)

GINSBERG:  Oh, nonsense, it has.

MATTHEWS:  I want to thank the panel, Anne Kornblut of “The Boston Globe,” Ron Reagan, our own, Ben Ginsberg, now our own, and, of course, Craig Crawford. 

When we come back, we‘re going to talk to the crowd here at Arizona State University.  They‘re hopped up for tomorrow night, live coverage now on the eve of the final presidential debate on MSNBC.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with the students of ASU on the night before the last presidential debate between the president and Senator John Kerry. 

And I have a question which I know is at the heart of a lot of people‘s thinking about this election, based on all the polling.  I want start, run down the line here and ask everybody.  I want a one-word answer.  I know it‘s hard.  It‘s a yes-or-no question, all right?  Was the United States smart to go in to Iraq? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, it was. 

MATTHEWS:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  The question is, was the United States smart to go in to Iraq?  It‘s about 2-1 against.

Yes or no? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  W.‘s wrong war.  Read about it, mother and son‘s ashes laid side by side in a veteran‘s cemetery in Arizona just Saturday. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This mother and son were buried in Sierra Vista on Saturday. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  From the Iraq war?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She collapsed at viewing her son‘s body and a weak lady died.  It has to stop. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you.  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We can stop missiles, but we can‘t stop beheadings.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And our government, our military might cannot dictate democracy, government or culture.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you. 

Were we right to go in to war?  Were we right to go in to Iraq? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Absolutely. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Yes or no?  Just say yes.  Just say yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Absolutely. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sixty million liberated.  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of course. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ve got to say...

MATTHEWS:  No, no.  No speeches. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Two hundred fifty million were liberated.  Two hundred fifty million liberated.  We love you, President Bush.  Middle Eastern people love you. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, I agree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Without a doubt.

MATTHEWS:  We were right to go in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, we were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No more war.  No more soldiers dying.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Were we right to go in to the war in Iraq? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The war was wrong. 

MATTHEWS:  The war was wrong. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It might have been right if we had the coalition we were promised. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Should we have gone to war in Iraq?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  Yes.  We saved lives. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

MATTHEWS:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Absolutely.  We can‘t back down to the terrorists. 

MATTHEWS:  Should we have gone to war with Iraq, yes or no? 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.  Absolutely not. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  Cheerleaders for Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I like the book. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  Yes.  Definitely. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Definitely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Not without the world‘s support. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes or no. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.  We can‘t be all

(CROSSTALK) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... yes or no?

MATTHEWS:  Yes or no? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

Oh, we‘ve got to keep going here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Pakistan, yes.  Iraq, no.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I‘m in the dark here camera-wise.

Back there, yes or no?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  We‘re right back here. 

Well, I will tell you one thing.  I want to ask everybody right now to answer the political question of the night.  How many here are voting for Bush? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  How many here are voting for Kerry? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  I can tell you one thing.  The people for Kerry are making a lot of noise, but I still think it‘s for Bush.

We‘re going to come right back after this from Arizona State University.  It‘s getting quite loud out here.

Back with HARDBALL in minute.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media Inc. (f/k/a/ Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,