updated 10/14/2004 10:43:47 AM ET 2004-10-14T14:43:47

Guest: Caty Borum, Karen Hughes, Bill Frist, Bob Shrum, Jon Meacham

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Well, they‘re saying good night to each other.  But that was a pretty good debate tonight.  I thought it was a great night for America.  I think a lot of people had a lot of answers to their questions tonight. 

There is Michael J. Fox and Teresa Heinz Kerry.  There‘s Bob Schieffer talking to the president.  It‘s ending rather cordially, but it was pretty hot tonight at times. 

There‘s Teresa with her husband.

I don‘t think anybody is congratulating anybody yet. 

There are the two Bush daughters, twins, and Laura, of course. 

Everybody is sort in a mellow mood right now.  I think they have debated themselves out. 


MATTHEWS:  Andrea, Ron, Jon, Pat, any first thoughts here tonight?  I could go through the list of issues, but let‘s get some first thoughts. 


MATTHEWS:  Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT:  I thought a very strong debate for both.  I think that John Kerry was strong on minimum wage, George Bush on taxes.  Kerry made his points about abortion, which is directed to primarily the female audience.  By invoking John Kennedy, I think he cleared up any confusion that might have existed about how he as a Catholic he is dealing with this very complex issue. 

This is the thing that sounds like a style point, but I think it is important.  On at least the version we were watching in the split-screen, for some reason the television director tried to equalize the height of these two candidates. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

MITCHELL:  And it made George Bush dominate the screen by making him larger in comparison to John Kerry.  It was very artificially directed, I have to tell you.  And I think it had an impact. 

MATTHEWS:  So, under the theory of the big-head theory, he was given an advantage there, right?

MITCHELL:  I think there was an unfair advantage, I‘ve got to tell you. 



RON REAGAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  John Kerry may win the day after for one particular reason.  And that is that George Bush made a mistake.  Kerry quoted him accurately, as it turns out, saying he was not really worried about Osama bin Laden.  And Bush came back and said, well, I don‘t recall ever saying anything like that. 

Well, you‘ll see the clip of him saying exactly that tomorrow:  I am truly not worried about Osama bin Laden.  And you will see it contrast with his denial in that.  The same thing happened to Dick Cheney at the vice presidential debate.  It doesn‘t play too well.

MATTHEWS:  I should say, we are here in the desert.  And, of course, tonight, the weather is changing dramatically.  It‘s a windy night in the desert in Arizona here—Jon. 

JON MEACHAM, “NEWSWEEK”:  I thought it was a remarkably civil, substantive debate. 

And since we talked about Catholicism tonight, to paraphrase T.S.  Elliot, we are back to where we began, a very closely divided race.  It is going to be completely I think at this point about turning out the bases on November 2.  We have 19 days from now.  I think it‘s very hard for me to see how undecided voters looking at this debate in particular could see this in anything but fairly Manichean terms.  I don‘t see any shades of gray here. 

MATTHEWS:  Patrick.

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  It was an excellent debate and an interesting debate. 

Kerry was, I thought, very much at the top of his game.  And I thought toward the end, when you saw Kerry, you saw more of the humanity of the man in some of those questions, which was very helpful to him, talking about the daughters and things.  I thought he had some excellent moments.

What the president has that I find interesting is, he is impassioned.  He is energized.  And I thought, toward the end, I thought he was very moving in some of his answers.  He‘s not as basically articulate in a debater‘s way clearly as John Kerry is.

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  But, in a human way, I found him an immensely attractive candidate.  I think, clearly, if you go issue by issue, Chris, this fellow might have one on this one, this might have won on that.

I think in the overall, I wouldn‘t declare a winner.  I do think, as someone said, both sides I think are going to come away from this debate feeling that their guy was at the top of his game and did a wonderful job. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go right now to a senior adviser to Bob—to John Kerry.  That‘s Bob Shrum.

He joins us now from the spin room—Bob.


MATTHEWS:  Let‘s see what you thought about your candidate.  It‘s nice to see you tonight, Bob Shrum.

Let me ask you about your candidate tonight.  How did you like him? 

SHRUM:  I thought he was terrific. 

I thought we are now in a situation where Bush is 0-3 in the debates and the middle class is 0-4 under George Bush.  The president couldn‘t answer basic questions about the economy, about health care, about the minimum wage, about equal pay for women, about conditions in this country.  I think both of them did pretty well on the personal questions.  I think when you get beyond those personal questions, you get to the issues that actually really matter.  To middle-class families who are hurting in this country, it became very clear. 

John Kerry is going to fight for the middle class.  He is going to stand on the side of the middle class and George Bush is going to side with the big drug companies, with the pharmaceutical companies, with the insurance industry and with the top 1 percent in this country. 

MATTHEWS:  What did you make of the issue on gay marriage, where the president told Bob Schieffer that he thought that—he allowed the fact that being gay might be a matter of choice?  I thought that was an interesting way of answering a question. 

SHRUM:  Well, I think the basic reality here is that John Kerry thinks marriage is between a man and woman.  The basic disagreement between the president and John Kerry is that John Kerry says at a time when we have lost 1.6 million jobs, health care costs are up by $3,500 for the average family, $5 million people have lost their health insurance, we are energy-dependent on Saudi oil, the last thing we need to do is turn the Constitution of the United States into a political football, when states have regulated marriage for 100 years and can keep doing it now. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about your candidate‘s position on abortion rights.  He said he would oppose anyone who tried to get rid of the constitutional interpretation that gave us Roe v. Wade.  In other words, his way of putting it was to say, I‘m going to protect the constitutional right of a woman to choose.  What is the position of the president at this point on that issue, court appointments? 

SHRUM:  Well, I think it‘s pretty clear. 

The president is kind of trying to duck, but it‘s absolutely clear from what he said tonight, from what said he in the past, the kind of justice he admires is Justice Scalia.  But what he will do if he has the chance is appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe. v.  Wade. 

And understand what Senator Kerry said.  He said he would appoint justices who upheld fundamental constitutional rights.  Chris, I think you would agree with me that a lot of those fundamental constitutional rights have been developed in court decisions.  No one would appoint, for example, a justice—I hope even President Bush wouldn‘t appoint a justice—and I don‘t think he would—who would overturn Brown v. Board of Education.  And I don‘t think we should have a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, Bob.  I would have thought that since Iraq has welcome such a wound for this country and such a horrible situation we‘re in over there right now, that your candidate, John Kerry, would have raised the issue more than he did tonight.  Why did he not mention Iraq until well into the debate? 

SHRUM:  Well, actually, I think in the very first question, Chris, there was a discussion of Iraq.  I think there was discussion of whether it was the right decision to go into Iraq given what we know now or whether we should have focused on Osama bin Laden when we had him cornered in Tora Bora and we made a deal with Afghan warlords to go after him. 


SHRUM:  What we did was take our eye off what the real focus should have been, which was finding and killing Osama bin Laden and the terrorists who attacked us. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, Bob, about the debating.  This is the last



SHRUM:  Boy, Chris, you‘ve got—you‘ve got—Chris, you‘ve a lot of loud people sitting around. 


MATTHEWS:  I know.  I can‘t control them. 

Let me ask you, Bob, you‘ve got now almost three weeks where your candidate is going to try to stay on an equal footing with the president of the United States without being given an equal stage.  How do you keep up with the president for three weeks that he gets to be president and you get to be a challenger? 

SHRUM:  Oh, I think the country is looking very seriously as John Kerry as a potential president of the United States.  I think people think he is up to the job of being commander in chief.  I think it is clear that he has a foreign policy that would bring allies to our side.  The president doesn‘t. 

And I think on every single one of the issues discussed tonight, those economic issues, those health care issues, it‘s clear that John Kerry will fight for the middle class and George W. Bush is going to continue to side with special interests.  I mean, look at the discussion tonight on prescription drugs.  You could lower prescription drugs by allowing reimportation from Canada.  The president said four years ago he would consider it.  It hasn‘t happened because he sided with the pharmaceutical companies. 

Look at the Medicare bill that he keeps talking about.  Instead of actually lowering prescription drug price for seniors through bulk purchasing, he gave the big drug companies a $139 billion windfall.  I think those are big issues.  I think people really care about them.  You know, unlike some of us, they actually affect in a very profound way people‘s lives. 

Those guys in Ohio who are getting the jobs that pay $9,000 a year less, it really matters to them.  And I think that is going to be the great debate in the next three weeks.

MATTHEWS:   Bob, you are an expert at communication.  I‘ve known you for a long time.  You‘re a friend of mine.  So I‘m going to ask you this.  Honestly, has the debate rules put together by the two candidates, particularly the time limits, the 90-second rule, the 60-second rule, whatever, the 30-second rule, have they helped John Kerry on the stump? 

SHRUM:  Well, I would have to say I am pretty satisfied with the debate rules and the way they worked out. 


MATTHEWS:  But have they helped him in the future?  Has he learned how to be—has he learned how to be succinct? 

SHRUM:  Chris, when was the last time you traveled with him?  MATTHEWS:  Pardon me?

SHRUM:  I think, if you were out there traveling with him—when was the last time you traveled with him? 

I think, if you were out there traveling with him, you would find that he is not only getting huge crowds.  He is talking to them in ways that are communicating with them, that are very direct, that talk to people about the hopes and dreams of their lives, that connect with the middle class and that offers America a plan for the future with hope, real jobs and real health care. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, it‘s great having you on.  Thank you, Bob Shrum, senior adviser to John Kerry. 

Our colleague Joe Scarborough can‘t be with us tonight in Arizona, but he joins us now from his home in Pensacola, Florida. 

Joe, thank you. 

What did you make of the debate tonight? 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  I thought it was a lot like the second debate. 

The things I hear Bob Shrum saying, that George Bush is 0-3 in debates, I‘m sure you are going to be hearing somebody from the Bush campaign saying that Bush is 3-0.  The bottom line is this.  George Bush delivered a miserable debate performance in the first debate, but he did exactly what he needed to do in debate two and in debate three. 

And, listen, I have no doubt that every Ivy League, Yale debate coach in America is going to say that John Kerry won on points, but you talk to those middle-class working guys and women in Ohio, in West Virginia, Wisconsin, they are all going to look at the screen and they‘re going to say, I relate to that George Bush guy more than I relate to this Massachusetts senator. 

The only question is, can I afford to vote for him?  So it‘s like I said before the debate.  What we have now is a game, a political game that‘s gone into the fourth quarter.  There are about five minutes left and the only question is whether coach Karl Rove or whether coach Bob Shrum is going to use the ground game, which is the get-out-the-vote game, better join whether they‘re going to use the air game better. 

I‘ve got a feeling, because of John Kerry‘s 20-year voting record, he is going to get pulverized in TV ads over the next 20 days.  We know now, Chris, like you were saying a year ago, like most of us were saying a year ago, this campaign is going to come down to three, four, five states and it‘s going to come down to the grassroots. 

The most important thing about tonight is, it gave Republicans a reason to be excited about George W. Bush.  It gave Democrats a reason to be excited about John Kerry.  Anybody who wants to step out tonight and say one of these candidates won going away is either an ideologue or a liar or they were watching the Red Sox-Yankees game. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you very much, Joe Scarborough.  Get well down there.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee is a Bush supporter, obviously, and he joins us now from the spin room. 

Senator, what did you think about the issue of taxes tonight?  I‘ve got to ask you about the very tricky issue of taxes.  Do you think your candidate, the president, won on that issue tonight? 

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER:  You know, I do, Chris.  I think he called it exactly what it is.  And it reflected back where Kerry has been, voting 98, 99 times for increased taxes and linking it to the future. 

He has a health care plan that‘s out there that will cost $1.2 to $1.5 trillion.  There‘s no way you can pay for it except increasing taxes by families on by $1,000.  And the president early on in the debate said your government plan is going to cost $7,000 a family, and that‘s $5 trillion.  It‘s clear there is no way you can pay for that, even if you increase taxes or double taxes on everybody.

MATTHEWS:  Are you concerned that Senator Kerry tonight was able to score on the class issue?  He relentlessly went back on the fact that the tax cut passed in 2001 was directed at the top 3 percent. 

FRIST:  Well, you know, we know rhetorically and he knows from focus groups, whenever you talk about rich people and cutting taxes or increasing taxes on them, that it can move people. 

But each time he did that, the president came back and said, look, there is no way you can pay for all these government programs without increasing the taxes on you, the middle class, anybody that is paying taxes today.  And I have cut your taxes.  If you‘re middle class, I have cut your taxes in the past and I will cut your taxes in the future. 

So I think although Kerry kept coming back to, yes, tax cuts for the rich and all of that rhetoric, the president came back and said, I am the one that‘s given you, the American people, essentially the third largest tax cut in history.  And I will be with you to get rid of those heavy taxes which are a burden on you and your small businesses in the future. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe John Kerry when he promises as did he in the last debate not to raise the taxes of people who make below $200,000 a year?  You don‘t believe him?

FRIST:  It‘s absurd.  It‘s absurd.  And the American people know it. 

I‘ll tell you, Kerry said lots of things tonight, things like writing 56 bills in the United States.  He wrote five.  It‘s simply not true.  I am with him on the floor every day for the last 10 years, although he hasn‘t been around for any of the votes this year. 

MATTHEWS:  But he said he only had five passed, didn‘t he?


MATTHEWS:  Oh, I‘m sorry, 56, that‘s right.


MATTHEWS:  But that is over a longer period.  Isn‘t that over 20 years?


FRIST:  I‘ve given him 20 years.  He has been absent.  I can‘t tell you one issue that he has led on in the United States Senate.  Yet he‘s been representing the people of Massachusetts.  He is not a leader. 

He‘s got good style.  He looks good.  He‘s got good debating skills.  He‘s got all that, but he overstates what he‘s done.  I don‘t know one bill that he has led on in the United States Senate.  And I am majority leader.  And I‘m telling you, that is his record.  He can make promises for the future like in Social Security.  He said, I‘ve got a plan.  What is his plan?  Where is it? 

Probably, one of the most daunting challenges we have and he‘s got no plan for Social Security in the future. 


MATTHEWS:  What is the plan?  He said there was no effort to try to pass an assault by continuation.  Where did you stand on that issue, Senator?  Do you think we should have an assault ban? 


FRIST:  No.  I thought it should expire.  And that‘s why I let it expire.  And that is why the president never even had to make that decision.  The ban itself is cosmetic. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, you disagree with the president.  Then you disagree with the president. 

FRIST:  I do.  I do.  I do. 


MATTHEWS:  Why do you think the sportsmen—why shouldn‘t we have a ban on assault weapons? 

FRIST:  Because it‘s cosmetic. 

And if you look at the 10 years we had the ban, the 10 years I was in the Senate, it absolutely did nothing to cut back on felonies whatsoever.  Why in the world do we pass feel-good laws which are cosmetic, have nothing to do with substance?  Machine guns are banned.  Real assault weapons are banned.  They have been banned for 60 years. 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  I understand.  Automatic weapons are illegal.  They‘ve been since the days of Machine Gun Kelly.  I know that.  But why are the police departments of major cities so passionate about the need for a ban on assault weapons? 

FRIST:  Well, I can‘t answer that.  I can just tell you from my standpoint to have a cosmetic law in the book that has been demonstrated to be totally ineffective, that may give people false security, that hasn‘t cut back on the number of felonies committed with any type of weapon is worthless.  It‘s misleading.  It is wrong to be passing that sort of law. 

And as majority leader of the United States Senate, we are going to let those kinds of laws expire.  We are going to cut back on unnecessary regulations on people‘s lives.  We are going to get out of people‘s lives, give them the tools that they need to be successful and to be prosperous and then get out of the way. 

MATTHEWS:  We have had three debates between the president and the senator from Massachusetts.  Give me your win-loss record for the president. 

FRIST:  Oh, listen, it‘s been a good flow.  This last one I think was very good in terms of the contrast on issues that people haven‘t yet addressed. 

But I would say Kerry won the first one.  I think the second one was pretty much stylistically a tie, although I think Bush won on substance.  And I think tonight it was very clear on substance that Bush won, the overstatement of Kerry, the inability to spell out his plans, the ability of the president to spell out plans like his health care.  On substance, a clear win for the president. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, Senator Frist, 2-1 for the president.  Thank you very much, Senator, for joining us tonight.


FRIST:  Great to be with you, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go back to the panel.  I don‘t want to get in—thank you.

Tom Brokaw has suggested that we should be very careful about saying who won tonight.  Does anyone want to break the Brokaw rule? 

Ron Reagan.

REAGAN:  I always...

MATTHEWS:  I know you always go first.  Go ahead.

REAGAN:  I will predict that the polls tomorrow, just as they have in the two previous presidential debates, will say that Kerry won.  I think that‘s what the public...


MATTHEWS:  What will be their big lead in the big papers or the big reviews?  What will they say happened?  The public thought he won, is that it?  Or...




MATTHEWS:  He scored on the jobs issues or...

REAGAN:  It will be one of those neutral sort of headlines.  I don‘t think the papers will call it one way or the other, but the public will. 

MATTHEWS:  Andrea, give me a substantive report on the debate tonight.  What would be a good report if you had to just report it without saying who won? 

MITCHELL:  Well, I don‘t know that anyone will report this, but John Kerry really pandered on Social Security.  By saying that he would not address it in any way, that he would make no changes, he made the kind of promise that candidates make, but presidents have to live with and people will probably regret.

If he gets elected, he will regret he made that kind of promise, because he won‘t be able to leave Congress into any hard choices.  I think Bush scored on global test and terrorism as a nuisance, not on substance, but on the rhetoric of that, and Kerry on minimum wage, on his Social Security promise, because it‘s a popular promise.  It‘s the third rail of politics, has been for decades, and on cuts in after-school programs, things like that.

So Kerry reached his Democratic base.  And I think what Pat said earlier is correct.  It‘s now a ground war. 

MATTHEWS:  Jon Meacham.

MEACHAM:  I think that the lead I would write would be that John Kerry took a populist war straight to the president. 

This was a very traditional debate.  I think that is what is so fascinating.  It‘s almost as though the 1990s didn‘t happen, triangulation didn‘t happen, compassionate conservatism didn‘t happen.  This was a debate about the role of government in people‘s lives, about the values that we talk about on the national stage.  And it‘s really—oh, sorry.


MATTHEWS:  So this could have been Hubert Humphrey against Bob Dole? 

MEACHAM:  Well, it really is. 


MEACHAM:  But if I were Kerry going out of this, I would be thinking about an unpopular war in terms of competitive elections in 1952 and in 1968.  The challenging party won at a time of unpopular war. 


NBC‘s Chris Jansing is in the spin room right now with senior adviser to the Bush-Cheney campaign Karen Hughes.

Chris Jansing, take it away. 

CHRIS JANSING, NBC CORRESPONDENT:   Thanks very much, Chris. 

And, as you know, few people know this president better than Karen Hughes. 

Thanks very much for joining us. 


JANSING:  Yes, once again in the spin room.

Spin it for us this way.  This president, what do you think he did tonight? 

HUGHES:  Well, I think he won a decisive victory.  And we‘re already getting some independent information to that case that we heard from a focus group of undecided voters here in Arizona that thought that the president won decisively the debate and also really connected with people. 

The last thing I said to him tonight before he walked out on that stage was, show us your heart.  And I think he spoke with great passion and optimism about the future of our country, about education and how passionate he is and how it‘s the answer to so many of these concerns about creating more jobs here, about making America more secure. 

On the other hand, what we heard from Senator Kerry, it‘s kind of growing tired at this point after three debates, that long list of complaints.  Somebody turned to me in the room and said, you know, his two minutes sound like two hours sometimes. 

JANSING:  Well, he painted the president as someone who led us into a misguided war, who has put Americans at risk because they don‘t have health insurance, who has lost more jobs than any president. 


HUGHES:  But the America people just know otherwise.

The American people know that we had—the attacks of September 11 were also an attack on our economy.  And it cost us a million jobs in the three months after those attacks alone.  They know that President Bush led us back from those attacks with great strength of leadership and courage and conviction, that he helped rally this nation in a very difficult time and that, for the last 13 months, we have actually been growing jobs at a great pace, 1.9 million new jobs since August ‘03.  We are on the right path. 


HUGHES:  I‘m sorry. 

JANSING:  A net deficit is what the Democrat would say of jobs. 

HUGHES:  A net deficit. 

Well, again, we had the attacks of September 11.  Let‘s compare—you know, it‘s interesting.  Senator Kerry likes to talk about President Hoover, that he has lost more jobs since President Hoover.  President Hoover in 1929 pursued policies of raising taxes and isolationist trade policies.  Who does that sound like?  That‘s John Kerry‘s policies. 

And we ended up with a decade of depression.  What President Bush has done was, he pursued policies of lower taxes, economic expansion, more trade, fair trade across the world to find new markets for American products.  And the result was the shortest recession in American history.  And we are now back to growth and back to creating jobs, 1.9 million. 

And so I think it‘s clear that the president‘s policies are leading us back from what we all know has been a very difficult time.  These have been a difficult four years.  We‘ve been through a lot together.  And President Bush is the one who led us out of that difficult time and whose policies are leading us toward growth and job expansion. 

JANSING:  You talk about George Bush, the president.  Let me ask you

about George Bush, the politician, George Bush, the competitor; 19 days as

of tomorrow left in this race to go, a statistical dead heat.  What‘s his

mind-set?  How he‘s going to do


HUGHES:  Well, I think tonight‘s debate proves that he is the candidate who finishes strong.  He came out on that stage.  He talked about the future.  A presidential race is really a contest for the future.  And that‘s what the president talked about today.


JANSING:  ... that John Kerry looked presidential?

HUGHES:  I thought John Kerry looked angry and defensive and somewhat bitter.  And a lot of the facts that he brought up were just complete misrepresentations. 

For example, one of my personal passions as a mom is child care.  John Kerry made some ridiculous allegation that we have cut children out of child care.  We have increased funding.  It‘s one of my passions.  We have increased funding for child care by 18 percent since President Bush took office.  We have increased funding for education by 49 percent. 

JANSING:  Do you think sometimes people in the audience, with all these facts and figures thrown at them, that they really don‘t know who to believe sometimes? 

HUGHES:  Well, I think it is important that members of the media do that job for them in the next days ahead. 

And I can assure you, I worked on these facts.  President Bush had the facts right tonight.  Senator Kerry continued his misrepresentations of the president‘s record. 

JANSING:  Karen Hughes, always a pleasure.  Thanks for being with us. 

HUGHES:  Thank you so much.

JANSING:  Chris, back to you.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Chris Jansing.

Joining us now is Caty Borum, special projects director for Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan voter registration campaign to get young voters registered to vote. 

Let me ask you Caty right now, how are you doing?  How is it going with young person‘s registration? 

CATY BORUM, SPECIAL PROJECTS DIRECTOR, DECLARE YOURSELF:  Well, I think, first of all, I should say that this is going to be the most exciting election that we‘ve had since 1984 amongst young voters. 

There are 41 million 18-to-29-year-old people registered to vote.  And this is 75 percent of young people are currently registered.  This is the greatest thing to happen to young people voting since 1972.  And I should mention also it‘s especially important for young people to know that you can still register to vote in the final 10 states.  If you go to DeclareYourself.com, you can find out how to register. 


MATTHEWS:  And here are the states, by the way, Caty, to help you out.  Nebraska, California, Kansas, South Dakota, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Vermont, Iowa, Maine and New Hampshire are still open to registration. 

Go ahead and tell me now, Caty, what were the issues that you heard tonight from both candidates or either candidate that might stir younger voters? 

BORUM:  I think that the primary issue that affects young people that they say is the economy and jobs.  That is the primary issue that young people are concerned about.  A close second is Iraq and national security. 

And I think that both of the candidates spoke to these issues tonight and certainly with the issue of Pell Grants.  The one issue that young people speak about most specifically that older people may not is about the cost of college education.  And I think that certainly this group of people here behind me can attest to the fact that it is so important for them to have a quality education and for us to minimize the gap between who can go to college and who cannot because of federal funding. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think Senator Kerry spoke to young people‘s concerns about Social Security effectively tonight? 

BORUM:  I think he did.  I think he could have gone a little bit further.  I think both candidates could have gone a little bit further. 

I think that young people don‘t necessarily understand how Social Security affects their lives, as much as, for example, they do understand that getting a job out of college or out of high school is important.  And how does health care play into that?  Young people need to go to DeclareYourself.com and other Web sites to read about the news that affects their lives and make a decision and go out and vote.  You have to vote.  Bring 10 people with you and make it a party. 

And this is our election.  And we‘ve got to take control and make them be accountable to our issues. 

MATTHEWS:  What is the biggest fear among young people, like the people out here today?  What is their biggest worry, based on your research? 

BORUM:  I think that young people are very worried about whether they are going to get a decent-paying job after college or after high school.  I think young people are also concerned about, will there be a draft?  The average age of an American soldier fighting in Iraq is 21.  People don‘t really know what is going to happen with that.

No matter who wins on November 2, the president is going to inherit this situation and they have to deal with that.  Young people are very concerned.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s great having you.  And you couldn‘t be doing more important work.  Caty, good work later on in getting people to get into those registration booths.  Anyway...

BORUM:  Don‘t forget to vote. 

MATTHEWS:  I love it.

Coming up in the next hour, NBC‘s Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert.  Rudy Giuliani is coming here, Commerce Secretary Don Evans with the Bush administration, and much more with our panel at ASU, Arizona State University.

HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the last—I hate it—the last presidential debate continues after this.





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