updated 6/9/2005 2:31:52 PM ET 2005-06-09T18:31:52

Guest: Russell Simmons 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Tonight, the man leading the polls for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, New York‘s 9/11 mayor, Rudy Giuliani. 

Let‘s play HARDBALL. 


Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  I‘m here in Los Angeles to appear tonight with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show.” 

Was the intel on terrorism and WMDs manipulated to justify an American war on Iraq?  President Bush denies the charge today.  British intelligence says it‘s true.  We‘ll get the political heat on that from “Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman and MSNBC‘s Norah O‘Donnell. 

But, first, my interview with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 


CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Mr. Mayor, do you think this country‘s getting more politically moderate than it was a few year‘s back?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR:  Well, actually, I think the country is politically moderate.  I mean, I think that represents where a majority of Americans are most of the time.

Sometimes, an issue kind of pushes it to the right or to the left.  But, by and large, I think most people who are not heavily involved in politics, I think, essentially, they are reasonable people; they want reasonable solutions; they want things to work; they want politicians to work together to accomplish things instead of serving maybe some—some ideo—just, in particular, some extreme ideology.

I think that, roughly, has been the condition of the country most of the time.

MATTHEWS:  What about pure partisanship?  Howard Dean, the new Democratic Party chair, the other day said that your party, the Republican Party, doesn‘t have anybody in it who has ever earned an honest living. 



MATTHEWS:  Would you call that a moderate, bipartisan statement?               

GIULIANI:  No, that‘s the kind of—that‘s the kind of partisan statement that I think turns people off, because it‘s so over the top.

I think people respect partisanship.  You know, you have—you have a set of beliefs.  You may be a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative on certain issues, but I think what they expect is respect for the other side.

So, my—my position on the war was that I was in favor of the war in Iraq, but I didn‘t disrespect people who had the other view.  You‘re entitled to the other view.  War is a serious thing.  People can have different views about it. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think you might be wrong about that?

GIULIANI:  Do I think I‘ve been wrong about... 

MATTHEWS:  Is there a chance you might be wrong about the war?

GIULIANI:  Do I—no, I... 


MATTHEWS:  That it may turn out to be bad for the United States?

GIULIANI:  Oh, you never know.  History proves us sometimes right and sometimes wrong.  So, my view was that it was an important thing to do to get Saddam Hussein out and to give us a chance to create an accountable government in Iraq. 

But other people have other views, and same thing on taxes.  I generally believe in lowering taxes.  I had a city council that was mainly Democratic.  I had some people that agreed with me on that, some people who disagreed.  But, you know, decent people can disagree about whether or not taxes should be higher or lower. 

That‘s—respect for each other, I think, is what the American people very much want.  They—they—they certainly want political disagreement.  That‘s what democracy‘s about.  But I think what‘s lacking is respect for each other‘s position.  I mean, these are reasonable positions that people can disagree about and still end up respecting each other. 

MATTHEWS:  You pointed out Howard Dean‘s not a good example, a good paradigm of getting along across the aisle politically.  But what about this group of 14 senators, the seven Democrats, the seven Republicans?  We had a—a big sampler of them on this week earlier.  Do you think that‘s a future for the two parties, to maybe break away from the leaderships of both sides and try to find what Jesse Jackson liked to always call common ground?

GIULIANI:  Sure, absolutely.  That‘s a good example. 

The difference is that Howard Dean is a party chairman.  If anybody‘s going to be excessively partisan, it‘s going to be a party chairman on either side, Republican or Democrat.  The senators have to get things done.  I mean, they have to accomplish things. 

And the way you accomplish things is often by compromise.  I mean, my

·         one of my political heroes is Ronald Reagan.  And Ronald Reagan, among the many other things that he used to say was, that if you were willing to take 70 or 80 percent and not insist on your entire position, you could accomplish a lot more. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s talk about judgeships, because I know you‘re pro-choice, and you‘re for gay rights, and you‘re a little bit off the center mark of the Republican Party.  Maybe you‘re in the center of the country. 

But we‘ve got all this Supreme Court actions coming up this summer.  It could well be—I hate to be ghoulish about it, but we may have a resignation, a retirement from the chief justice.  Do you think Scalia would be a good choice to move up from associate justice to chief justice?

GIULIANI:  Well, I mean, I—he‘s somebody I‘ve known for many, many years.  I worked with him in the Justice Department during the Ford administration.  I have tremendous admiration for him.  And he‘d be a—I mean, he‘s a terrific justice.  He‘d be a terrific chief justice. 

I mean, obviously, the president has a lot of people to consider in—

I don‘t know.  And he probably doesn‘t know at this point what he‘s going to do.  But, I mean, you know, Scalia is a terrific judge.  I mean...


MATTHEWS:  Well, he‘s a popular guy in this town.   I just wonder whether you think he fits in that category of not being extraordinary, in other words, not being a reason for a Democratic filibuster?

GIULIANI:  I don‘t think he would cause a Democratic filibuster.  I mean, there are people who disagree with him.  Probably somebody disagrees about everything.  But I think that he would—I think he would move—move through. 

I think that what—when you think about it, you know, he doesn‘t really add anything to the political calculus of the court or the ideological calculus of the court, because he is already—he is where he is, and he‘s on the court. 

It‘s going to be whoever gets appointed to, let‘s say, if Justice Scalia is elevated, whoever gets appointed to replace Justice Scalia will probably be the one that gets the most—you know, the scrutiny. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, the big fight is whether the—you know, the courts—you know this.  You‘re an attorney and formerly a prosecutor.  You know that the big issue is whether to change the balance on the court with regard to abortion rights.  Right now, it‘s about 6-3 for abortion rights, counting, counting O‘Connor and the conservatives and also Kennedy. 

Do you think that, if you were president, would you stick with that balance, and would you try to maintain it, or would you go with a pro-choice selection?

GIULIANI:  I wouldn‘t select—I mean, I selected 100 judges or so when I was the mayor of New York City.  And I participated in the selection of judges when I was in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration. 

I never looked it at that way.  I wouldn‘t pick a judge based on whether I knew or didn‘t know their position on choice.  I‘d pick a judge based on their overall record.  How intellectually powerful are they?  How accomplished are they?  Are they going to be far?

In my case, I selected, you know, judges for municipal courts, so they were largely going to handle criminal cases.  And I wanted judges, frankly, that were tough.  And I wanted judges who were going to be a little tougher on bail and on letting people out, and—but not necessarily excessive on that. 

So, the idea of selecting a judge, you know, the litmus test, I don‘t think practically works.  I‘ve seen the selection of Supreme Court justices.  When Justice O‘Connor was selected by Ronald Reagan, I was in the Justice Department.  And you look at somebody‘s entire record.  And you don‘t actually know what they‘re going to decide about these things. 


But, you know, the day—the good old days, when FDR could pick Felix Frankfurter and discover he‘s a conservative, or Ike could pick Warren and find out he‘s a liberal, so to speak, or Souter can get picked by George Bush, Sr., aren‘t the days over where you can actually pick a guy and not know which way he‘s going to go?


GIULIANI:  No.  I don‘t think so. 

MATTHEWS:  Well...

GIULIANI:  It‘s too complex.  It‘s too complex.  It‘s too...

MATTHEWS:  Well, what about the interest groups?  Like, you‘ve got

Ralph Neas and the People For the American Way, with Norman Lear behind

him.  And you‘ve these guys like James Dobson and Focus on the Family on

the right side of things.  Do you think those crowds will ever let you get

by with picking somebody that they don‘t know about?

GIULIANI:  Yes.  I think they have to, because, in many cases—I mean, first of all, you might—you might select somebody who hasn‘t really taken a position on any of these issues before. 

MATTHEWS:  Can you get them passed, if they have no paper trail?

GIULIANI:  I think so, depending on how powerful their credentials are. 

MATTHEWS:  Really?

GIULIANI:  You know, are they—are they very accomplished lawyers, very accomplished judges?  Do they have the intellectual capacity and the integrity for the job?  If they‘re very powerful candidates, I think—I think there isn‘t going to be as much focus on one individual position. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s put together a Giuliani slate for the court next summer.  Suppose you put Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia up for Rehnquist‘s seat.  Then you move up Attorney General Alberto Gonzales up for associate justice.  Would you like that ticket?

GIULIANI:  I don‘t think—I think, beyond talking about Nino, who‘s on the court, you shouldn‘t talk about other selections for the court. 

I mean, the attorney general is a terrific lawyer and really doesn‘t have—although he was on the Texas court, he doesn‘t have a whole record as a federal judge.  So, it‘s hard to know how he‘s going to decide. 

MATTHEWS:  So, he‘d be perfect by your standards?  You could actually pick a guy without nailing down his position on Roe v. Wade. 

GIULIANI:  Well, I don‘t know that you want to pick somebody just for that reason, but I think you want to pick somebody who‘s going to be a very good judge, a very solid judge, a somebody who has—I mean, the Supreme Court requires tremendous intellectual capacity to be a contributing justice.  And I—someone like the attorney would certainly fit that category very, very well. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you available?

GIULIANI:  No, I‘m not available. 


MATTHEWS:  Why not?  You just described yourself, high intellectual caliber, hard to figure politically, no paper trail on Roe v. Wade. 


GIULIANI:  And somebody—somebody that‘s a little bit harder to figure on some of these issues probably has a better chance of getting confirmed.  But, no, I‘m not a candidate. 


We‘ll be right back with former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani, right.  More HARDBALL coming back. 


MATTHEWS:  Coming up, Rudy Giuliani on Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean and the rough partisanship in Washington—when the eighth anniversary of HARDBALL returns.





HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  The idea that you have to wait on line for eight hours to cast your ballot in Florida, there‘s something the matter with that.  You think people can work all day, and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever, and get home, and then still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote?   Well, Republicans, I guess, can do that, because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.


MATTHEWS:  Well, here‘s how a fellow Democrat response to that comment.


SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE:  He doesn‘t speak for me, with that kind of rhetoric.  And I don‘t think he speaks for the majority of Democrats.  And—but I—I wish that rhetoric would change.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s interesting, Mayor Giuliani, because there‘s Joe Biden, who represents a very mixed state politically, Delaware.  He has to deal with Republicans as friends and as voters.  He can‘t afford to trash them on the way to partisan leadership.


MATTHEWS:  What do you—what do you make of that?  Is this part of this move we were talking about in the earlier segment about that most Democrats who see a future in leadership are moderates, want to be moderates?


It also—you know, Joe has been in the Senate for a long time.  He‘s one of the leaders in the Senate.  And he understands that, to get things done, you‘ve got to work with each other.  And these personal attacks make it impossible to do it, or these excessive—these excessive statements that most people that aren‘t involved in these battles consider to be—to be wrong, you know, to be way out of—way out of line.

MATTHEWS:  You have to wonder what he meant by “haven‘t made an honest day‘s living in their lives.”  What exactly does that mean?


GIULIANI:  I think only Howard knows the answer to that.  

MATTHEWS:  You know...

GIULIANI:  We‘ll have to—you‘ll have to ask him sometime what—you‘ll have to parse it and find out exactly what he meant by it.

And, you know, the only thing, as I said before, I‘d say in his defense is, he is a party leader.  And they can sometimes go over the top.  And the other thing that we do a lot, too, is we overreact when people make wrong statements.  It seems to me everybody does.  This is one that indicates that he went over the line, and now maybe he should get himself in a more reasonable frame of mind.

MATTHEWS:  Well, about four out of five people, according to the latest Lou Harris poll, say that they‘d like to see moderates in politics and they‘d like to see their politicians be more independent of their party positions.  That may explain why you and John McCain are leading in the latest Marist poll for the Republican nomination next time.

GIULIANI:  Well, I think what people want to see are to get things done.  And I think they realize that, if you‘re too—if you‘re too excessively tied to one position, there‘s no room, then, to get anything done, because you‘ve got to do some compromising, sensible compromising.

You know, that was the core of Ronald Reagan‘s success, very strong positions, understand what they are, fight for what you believe in.  I did that when I was the mayor.  I wanted to do major tax reductions.  I did, but I never was able to do them at quite the level I wanted to do them, because I had to compromise them in order to get them done.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think we can find a compromise on some tricky new issues—and these issues keep emerging over the horizon—like stem cell, federal funding of stem cells?  The president is adamant.  He doesn‘t believe we should use any of these fertilized eggs which are available in all these fertility clinics.

Where do you stand on that, in terms of federal funding?

GIULIANI:  I hope so.  I hope—I hope we find solutions to it.  I think that there have to be restrictions on it.  You have got to be careful about human cloning.  You have to be careful about not in any way creating any—any—any encouragement for—for not being respectful of human life.

However, you don‘t want to stand in the way of science, either.  And it seems to me that there‘s a lot that can be accomplished here.  I think what Arnold Schwarzenegger accomplished in California was right.  I supported that.  I think that we‘re going to see a lot of that research move to places like California, not be available all over the country, the way it should be, maybe even some of it move to Europe and Asia, where you could make some significant advances, where we would be behind.

So, I think you can‘t fight science.  You‘ve got to be reasonable; you‘ve got to be intelligent about it; you have to be careful that you don‘t let it get too far.  But you‘ve got to encourage this research.  It‘s vitally important, I think, to saving lives.

MATTHEWS:  Well, the Republican-dominated House has already passed a bill to federally fund research with regard to these fertilized eggs, these embryos, which are available because they‘re sitting on the shelves or they‘re in freezers right now, because people have tried to have babies.  And when they have succeeded having a baby, there are extra fertilized eggs available.  Do you think they should be used for experimentation?

GIULIANI:  I—I agree with that bill.  I think this is one of those places where both sides have to respect each other, as both having a high regard and respect for human life.

I mean, one—one way to look at is that the way the president is talking about it.  The other way to look at is that this offers the opportunity to save human life, and to preserve human life and to increase the quality of human life.  And you don‘t want to stand in the way of that.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the president should sign the bill?

GIULIANI:  Well, I would.  And I think it‘s a good bill.  Everything I know about it is.  I support—I supported it, so, unless there is something I‘m missing about it, I think it‘s a bill that should—should go into law.

MATTHEWS:  You know, I said before, looking at the poll data, that you

·         I know you‘re not announcing for president any day soon—but the poll data shows that people are looking for moderates like yourself or John McCain, who is ever ready to go and looks good at the time, I suppose, the way—who is ever winning the primaries, I guess.

Hillary Clinton is moving to the center in a way that it seems to be impressing some people.  She‘s on Armed Services.  She authorized the president to go to war as a senator.  She seems to be talking tough.  She seems to be talking openly about some sort of—oh, I don‘t know—colloquy or national conversation about abortion rights in a way that liberals of the past haven‘t, more pro-life militants have not.

Do you think that she‘s a credible moderate?

GIULIANI:  Well, I think that‘s what she‘s trying to prove.  And she has a few years to do it.

MATTHEWS:  Do you buy the act?

GIULIANI:  Do I buy the act?


GIULIANI:  Well, I have to see how it all ends up. 

If this—if this represents her position, if that‘s the way she‘s going to conduct herself in the Senate over the next year, assume she gets reelected, two years, she has an opportunity to do that.  She has an opportunity to define her position.  Everybody does.  And you have to see...

MATTHEWS:  Well, Ronald Reagan, when he ran—you know how effectively he ran that brilliant ‘80 campaign, where he was able to take some of his sharper ideological positions and sort of pull them back.  I think people like Bill Casey and Donovan and the others got him to do it, and Deaver.


MATTHEWS:  And he really ran a very successful campaign, based on, he could get the economy moving faster.  He almost ran a John Kennedy kind of campaign.  “I‘m going to cut taxes.  I‘m going to get the economy rolling, get the country moving again.” 

And he was able to discipline himself politically, so that his best suit was showing and his more troublesome ideology, ideological pieces weren‘t.

Is Hillary trying to do that, or is she trying to do a larger move than simply, oh, presenting a more cosmetic front?

GIULIANI:  I don‘t know that Hillary—and you know, it‘s hard to speak for her.  I don‘t know that she‘s as ideologically rooted as Ronald Reagan was. 

Ronald Reagan was probably the most ideologically rooted president that we had, until, possibly, you know, President Bush, George Bush, the present President Bush, 43.

So I don‘t know.  I don‘t know about Hillary, if this is much of a switch for her.  But I also think the election in ‘80 turned a lot on leadership.  I think that none of it would have worked if it wasn‘t against the backdrop of a country in which they had lost some confidence in the leadership of the country.


GIULIANI:  And people were willing to sacrifice maybe even their desire for moderation for a man they thought was a strong, principled leader.  I think they were correct.  He was the right choice.


GIULIANI:  But I think that had a lot to do with it, too.

MATTHEWS:  I agree.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think Hillary‘s less of an ideologue than maybe I thought she was?  Do you think she‘s more pragmatic?

GIULIANI:  I think she is pragmatic.  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know how much of an ideologue she is, or how much she‘s going to be in this campaign.  But I think she‘s—I do think she‘s pragmatic.  I think she‘s tried to get things done in the Senate.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think she‘d have a problem of what to do with her husband if she ran for president or were elected?


MATTHEWS:  I mean, what would you do with a former president in the White House?  What would he do?  Would he do the parties and organize the table settings and the diplomatic stuff?  Or what would he do all day?


GIULIANI:  It would be very, very interesting.  I think they‘re going to kind of—isn‘t there going to be a show coming on television about a woman president?  We‘ll find out whoever...

MATTHEWS:  That would be a great idea.

GIULIANI:  If it‘s Bill Clinton or someone else that ever has to be the first—what would you call it, the first man?

MATTHEWS:  Yes, he‘s sitting over there saying, “Who‘s she meeting with now?”

GIULIANI:  The first gentleman.

MATTHEWS:  And he‘d be saying things like, “Hey, I know Putin,” and the staff would say, she said not to come over. 


MATTHEWS:  I mean, what kind of situation would that be?


GIULIANI:  I think the proper title would be first gentleman.

MATTHEWS:  That would be great.  It sounds good to me.  He‘d have to be a gentleman, too.  Mark that.


MATTHEWS:  When we return, Rudy Giuliani on whether to rebuild the World Trade Center.

And tomorrow on HARDBALL, an exclusive look inside the powerful Roman Catholic group Opus Dei.  We‘re going to talk to members of the group about how it has changed their lives and some former members who say Opus Dei was like a cult.

Then, on Thursday, Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe joins us to talk about his new movie “Cinderella Man‘” and the growing prominence of tough guy Australians like him in American movies.

Also Thursday, journalist Bill Moyers and Darrell Hammond, who plays me on “Saturday Night Live.”

And next Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be my guest.

You‘re watching the eighth anniversary of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to the eighth anniversary of HARDBALL. 

And more now from New York‘s 9/11 mayor, Rudolph Giuliani.


MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about—about the World Trade Center.  Where do you—are you on rebuild the World Trade Center, a la Trump, go with the Libeskind model, the Freedom Tower, or something else?  Where are you on this?

GIULIANI:  Something—something else. 

I—I understand the emotions for rebuilding the entire thing and making it bigger than it was before.  Some of my—some of my colleagues that lived through the event with me and have as strong an emotional investment as I do, you know, feel from the very beginning, they felt, you‘ve got to rebuild it.  You‘ve got to rebuild it exactly the way it was before, and you‘ve got to show the terrorists that they can‘t—they can‘t take this away from us.

I don‘t—I don‘t agree with that.  My view is, the emphasis should be on the memorial part of it, not the size of it, necessarily, not trying to replace all of the office space, because I think that it‘s going to be a mistake to do that.


GIULIANI:  I think that what we should be striving for is a beautiful, grand memorial that will allow people to come there, relive what happened, understand what happened.  And then do some office space, and maybe some performing arts centers, and things that uplift the spirit, but think about it a little bit differently than just replacing office space.


MATTHEWS:  You know, when I fly by, like everybody does who flies into New York a lot, you see this, almost like an amputated part of the city at the bottom, at the Battery.  And it just—it jumps...


GIULIANI:  Well, you want to build something—you want to build something...

MATTHEWS:  You want to fill that in, or would it be better to just have that cavity there to sort of remind us what happened?

GIULIANI:  I think you want to build something beautiful there.  But I think there has to be space left to recapture what you‘re talking about.  And I‘m not—you know, I‘m not an artist.  And it‘s hard for me to really convey this correctly.  But the enormity of the space that is there artistically and emotionally conveys something to people.

I remember from the first days and taking the first group of people, and including President Bush, their first reaction is, “Oh, my God,” you know, “how horrible and how extensive this is.”  The damage was worse than I think they even imagined or saw on television.

And there‘s something about seeing that space that conveys how enormous this was.  And if you can recapture that by not filling it in completely, I think that would be—that would probably be the best way to memorialize it and even the best way to create development.

I mean, the two Twin Towers, when they were—when they were fully operational before September 11, always had a hard time filling up the office space.  That‘s just the reality.  And it had to be significantly subsidized by the city by not charging the full property tax.

So, I‘m not—I‘m not in favor of rebuilding all of that office space, because I don‘t think you‘ll be able to fill it.  And many people will believe that you‘re not able to fill it because people are afraid of a terrorist attack.  The reason you won‘t be able to fill it is, they weren‘t able to fill it in the first place.  There should be somewhat less office space and more emphasis on performing arts, beautiful memorial, getting a sense of the enormity of the space, and not filling it in with just office.

MATTHEWS:  I want to come back and talk to Mayor Giuliani about two men, Dick Cheney and his political future—Bob Woodward says he‘s running for president—and Bill Clinton.  And a lot of people think he‘s running for secretary-general of the U.N.


MATTHEWS:  We‘ll be right back.





MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York.

Mayor Giuliani, I know you have an interest in the United Nations.  John Harris, who has written this big new book on former President Bill Clinton called “The Survivor,” reports that Bill Clinton would like to be named as secretary-general of the United Nations.  What do you make of the prospects?

GIULIANI:  Well, I mean, if we hadn‘t just talked about the fact that Hillary Clinton wants to run for president, I would say that‘s something worth considering, having an American, having an American with the kind of experience that Bill Clinton has. 

You know, I disagree with Bill Clinton on political positions, but I worked with him when he was president and think it‘s probably something he could do well.

But I think it would be a major issue for her if she ran for president, that he was the secretary-general of the United Nations.   So, I don‘t know how you work...


MATTHEWS:  Would that be a conflict of interest for a member nation to have the president of the organization, of the head of the organization, the spouse?

GIULIANI:  I don‘t know if it would be a legal—I don‘t think it would be a legal conflict of interest, you know.  But I think it feels like a conflict of interest, doesn‘t it?  You know, and also...

MATTHEWS:  It might feel that way to some of our adversaries in the world, yes.


GIULIANI:  And it might feel that way here. 


GIULIANI:  And you‘d also have to change—just think about it politically for a minute.  You‘d have to change the image of the United Nations in the United States for it to be a political plus, because the United Nations internally, in the United States, is not very popular.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s true.

GIULIANI:  I mean, it‘s a—I know I give a lot of speeches and a lot of talks, political, business, other kinds.

And there‘s a very, very strong reaction right now against the United Nations, not just about the Iraq war, but the scandal and the fact that it seems to be irrelevant to so many of the disputes that we‘re dealing with, whether it‘s the Middle East or it‘s North Korea or Iran.

MATTHEWS:  And all those unpaid parking tickets.

GIULIANI:  Well, that used to drive me nuts when I was the mayor. 



Let me ask you about a tough one, because you never know with this fellow.  He‘s a serious guy, and you know him well and like him, probably.  Dick Cheney, the vice president of the United States.  You know, he was heading up the selection committee for vice president.  Lo and behold, he became president—vice president.  


MATTHEWS:  You know, he won that selection.

Lots of talk.  Bob Woodward, who has gotten a lot of credit lately for, you know, having Deep Throat and being the hero of Watergate, he has predicted, in my hearing, that Dick Cheney may well—in fact, he predicts he‘ll end up the nomination—the nomination for president in 2008 of your party.

GIULIANI:  Not totally—not totally out of the question.   I know what—I know what the vice president has said in the past, but you have a right to revisit those things. 

And I think a lot of—a lot of what he said in the past has to do with his health and health issues.  And if he‘s comfortable that those aren‘t issues, vice president...

MATTHEWS:  Can you take him?

GIULIANI:  Vice...

MATTHEWS:  Can you take him, Mr. Mayor?

GIULIANI:  Oh, you mean if I ran?

MATTHEWS:  This is HARDBALL here.  Can you take him?  Yes. 

GIULIANI:  Who knows.

MATTHEWS:  Can you take him?

GIULIANI:  Who—who has any idea at this point? 

But if you‘re asking me, is Dick Cheney somebody who has a right to consider running for president, gosh, there are very few people who have more of a right to consider it.  He‘s done...

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very...

GIULIANI:  Of all the people that we‘ve mentioned, he‘s probably done more than anyone else.

MATTHEWS:  Great.  Thank you very much.

GIULIANI:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  Mayor—former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. 

Thanks for coming on.

GIULIANI:  And congratulations on eight years.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

GIULIANI:  They‘ve been terrific.

Not everybody—not everybody honors the eighth year, but you did. 

And thank you very much.

GIULIANI:  Well, they‘ve been terrific, very, very interesting, very entertaining, and very good.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor.

GIULIANI:  Thank you.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re coming right back with “Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman and MSNBC‘s Norah O‘Donnell on today‘s meeting between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

And, later tonight, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons will join us. 

And tomorrow on HARDBALL, a look inside the strict, some say secret Catholic group Opus Dei.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This (INAUDIBLE) place, which is—it‘s a complex, you could say.  It‘s actually five centers on one site.  In this center, we have the national headquarters, the offices that run Opus Dei in this country.  And then we also have spiritual activities which are offered for people who want to take advantage of them.


MATTHEWS:  And later in the week, here are some of the guests coming to HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  Join me for an exclusive look inside the strict and some say secret Catholic organization Opus Dei tomorrow on a special edition of HARDBALL at 7:00 Eastern. 



MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Today, President Bush held a brief joint press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.  And tops on the agenda, a British intelligence report that the United States went to war in Iraq on the basis of manipulated intelligence on terrorism and WMD.

I‘m with “Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman and MSNBC chief Washington correspondent Norah O‘Donnell. 

Norah, the question was hot again.  It is an old question, why we went to war with Iraq based upon a new report from MI6, British intelligence, that the president decided to go to war earlier in 2002, way ahead of congressional authorization, way ahead of those inspections in Iraq, and he went to war based on what the British report says is fixed intelligence, in other words, manipulated intelligence on the connection between Iraq and the attack on 9/11, the connection between Iraq and WMD.

NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  It‘s been a question that has not been directed to the two men in the joint press conference before, a question about the so-called Downing Street memo, whether the intelligence was fixed, as suggested in this memo, eight months before the invasion of Iraq. 

And we heard both the president and Blair sort of brush that off, suggesting, as President Bush said, that they had, from the very beginning, wanted to reach a peaceful, a diplomatic solution.  And what the president ended up saying is, bottom line, the world is better off with Saddam Hussein out of office. 

But it doesn‘t answer the question about the discussions that were going on before the invasion about just how much the U.S. knew and how much they wanted to sell this war in order to not only make the case to the United Nations, but also to the world. 

MATTHEWS:  Howard, I know this is a—this requires a little conjecture and perhaps some opinionating.  But isn‘t the larger question for Americans, are we better off for having gone to war in Iraq, not is Saddam better off or worse off? 

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, that‘s the question.  That‘s the deep question.  That‘s the political question. 

Chris, I think it is the question that is going to frame the next election and the one after that, meaning the midterms, and certainly the next presidential election, because it isn‘t clear we‘re safer as a country.  And the question that Donald Rumsfeld asked a couple years ago, which—in a private memo, which was, we have no metric for knowing whether we‘re killing more terrorists than we‘re creating, is still the operative question. 

He asked it himself, Rumsfeld did, and that‘s still the question today.  And, by the way, at this non-press conference here, where there were only a few questions—you know, these guys couldn‘t wait to get through it and get out of there—there was no chance for follow-up.

But, as Norah pointed out, they didn‘t really answer the question at the heart of the Downing Street memo, which is, was the intelligence fixed?  Was it manipulated?  And were we headed to war all along? 

O‘DONNELL:  But, Chris, in many ways...

MATTHEWS:  And, Norah...

O‘DONNELL:  Chris, in many ways, the question really for many American is not why we went to war in Iraq now, but why and how are we going to get out of Iraq? 

FINEMAN:  Right. 

O‘DONNELL:  And that‘s the central question with more than 1,600 American soldiers dead, with the price tag approaching $400 billion a year, and with this administration admitting to some degree and—that they‘re not doing what they thought in terms of training these Iraqi security forces, and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden, coming back from Iraq and saying, listen, we‘re not getting the whole story on whether or not these Iraqi security forces are ready to tackle the job on their own. 

The commitment for U.S. troops remains a very tough one and a very long one still for years ahead. 


FINEMAN:  By the way...


FINEMAN:  I thought that Tony Blair was helping Bush here.  Everybody was looking for Bush to help Blair.  Blair helped Bush by giving another strong statement of support for the war. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, here‘s the disconnect I keep seeing here.

The president said, we wanted to do this peacefully.  We wanted to accomplish this peacefully.  Well, what was the this?  If Iraq didn‘t have weapons of mass destruction, if they weren‘t connected to 9/11, what was the this?  And what is that this now?  It seems like the this now is nation-building.  Back then, it was fighting what the president said were the dangers of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. 

But it seems to me that the British intelligence report, which is the heart of the news story here, says that those—those facts were manipulated to justify a war for other purposes.  Was that war fought for the purposes that the president now espouses, Howard?

FINEMAN:  I don‘t know the answer to that. 

I know—I know that their answer today was, Blair and Bush‘s answer today was, well, look, that report was written, the Downing Street report was written and was about events that preceded the United States and Britain going to the United Nations, seeking ostensibly a peaceful resolution to the thing. 

I think, all along, what we were doing as a country and what Britain was doing was double-tracking this, that we had two things going on.  We had the U.N. going on and we had the plans for war going on.  That was widely known in Washington at the time.  What these guys still haven‘t figured out is how to retroactively explain what the justification was.  They still haven‘t done it.  And they didn‘t do it today.  That‘s for sure. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

Short question.  Norah, what is Hillary Clinton up to?  She is getting pretty tough out there in that speech last night. 

O‘DONNELL:  Oh, that‘s right. 

Hillary Clinton, in a—in a speech, in a fund-raiser to supporters, women supporters, to raise money, said that the Republicans were mad with power, self-righteous, that the news media was timid in questioning this administration.  And she said Republicans have a God complex.  This is clearly one of the toughest that Hillary has been and certainly in recent years, when she‘s been trying to project this image as someone who works across the aisle with Republicans, as someone who has made comments, anti-abortion comments, who has made very pro-military comments, as someone on the Armed Services Committee, looks to be looking toward the 2008 Democratic nomination. 

It is clear she is ready to raise money, but, also, was trying to trying to step in as the spokesperson for the Democratic Party at a time when Howard Dean is taking a great deal of flak. 

MATTHEWS:  Right.  Yes, she is playing dueling banjos with Howard Dean. 

Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman and Norah O‘Donnell.

FINEMAN:  Happy anniversary, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  When the—thank you. 

And when the eighth anniversary of HARDBALL returns, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons will be with us. 

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to the eighth anniversary of HARDBALL. 

Looking back at the 2004 election, the much-hyped youth vote didn‘t have the impact predicted by the music and movie stars trying to drive young people to the polls. 

Yesterday, at the Library of Congress, I had a chance to talk with hip-hop entrepreneur and political activist Russell Simmons about why the youth vote failed. 


RUSSELL SIMMONS, HIP-HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK:  The minority youth vote came out strong, up 20 percent, 25 percent.  That was a huge increase. 

I think they came out.  See, what—the hip-hop community is a great brand-building community.  They decide the Phantom Rolls-Royce is good, it becomes the hottest car in the luxury market.  They don‘t buy all the cars.  They make the idea cool.  So, they did an excellent job, the same way they built Versace or built some of these luxury brands.  They don‘t buy all the clothes.  They just make the clothes cool.  So, they made America vote.  And I think that was good.

MATTHEWS:  The numbers show that the youth vote wasn‘t up to snuff. 

It wasn‘t up...


SIMMONS:  But, no, but the African-American and minority youth vote, most of the hip-hop community...


MATTHEWS:  But you were talking to a bigger group.  You were talking to a bigger group.


SIMMONS:  The core community...


SIMMONS:  ... that builds the brand came out in dramatic—in rare—they were in great form. 

MATTHEWS:  For Democrat? 



MATTHEWS:  For Kerry?

SIMMONS:  Well, they came out for Kerry.  But that wasn‘t the point. 

The point was to get young people to express themselves. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about this.  You‘re a politician, somebody who is running for the presidency next time, whether it‘s Giuliani, or it‘s Hillary, whoever it is, McCain.  What should they say to people in their late teens and early 20s? 

SIMMONS:  Well, they should talk about issue that matters to them.  And, obviously, Social Security is an issue for young people, different than it is from adults, I guess, I mean, depending on how you look at it. 

But they should be able to address their needs, education.  I mean, the war on poverty and ignorance is a war that was not addressed properly.  I had a meeting with, not Gillespie, the new head of the Republican Party. 

MATTHEWS:  Ken Mehlman.

SIMMONS:  Yes.  I had a great meeting with him today.  I was on my way over to see Howard Dean.  But I had so much fun with Ken that I never even got to meet Howard today. 

But that was in Washington today.  I sat with him.  And I felt there needs to be an effort on one of the parties to reach out and speak to the young people and to all the people who are struggling, especially because young people, as you know, are more likely to be compassionate and concerned with people who are struggling. 

MATTHEWS:  The greatest poverty fighter ever was Social Security.  It meant that people, poor people, when they were 65, are getting at least something every month. 

SIMMONS:  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  What about—do you think it is a little strong for the Republicans on behalf of the president to go into inner-city black neighborhoods and say, Social Security is a bad deal for you folks because you die young? 

SIMMONS:  Well, I don‘t think that‘s the way you want to put it.  I don‘t think you want to frame it that way.


MATTHEWS:  The president put it that way, didn‘t he?

SIMMONS:  You don‘t have to frame it that way. 

But I think that they may need some help framing their message.  A lot of their messages—or their intention may to be help poor people.  I liked, for instance, what Governor Erhlich did here, did what he promised. 


SIMMONS:  Made criminal justice issues and very big issues for the urban community as well, the African-American, Latino communities.  It seems like they‘re the only ones who get stuck with these unjust laws. 

And so, maybe if the Republicans have the guts—in fact, Governor Pataki addressed it for us in New York state as well, these kind of drug laws. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, where crack pays a higher—you have a bigger penalty for crack than you do for powder cocaine? 

SIMMONS:  Well, I just thought it was horrible that people get arrested with little bits of drugs in their pocket and go to jail for much longer than rapists and murderers. 


SIMMONS:  I think the whole country, if they were aware of how these laws work, that they only go after poor people, no one is going to get...


MATTHEWS:  Do you go in for a long term for use and possession?  I thought you went in for a long term for carrying enough that you could sell. 


SIMMONS:  What do you mean by, you can sell? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, an amount that sounds like you‘re buying for more than one person. 

SIMMONS:  Well, more than one person for how long a period of time? 

SIMMONS:  If you were a Kennedy, for instance, and you‘re buying some drugs, you would buy enough drugs to take home, wouldn‘t you?


MATTHEWS:  That‘s what you‘re saying.  I don‘t know...


SIMMONS:  I‘m just taking an example.  I mean, privileged people buy lots of drugs. 

And the fact is, is, whites and blacks use drugs at the same rate.  Why are 94.5 percent of the people locked up in jail in New York state for Rockefeller drugs, 94.5 percent of the people are black or brown?  Because those are the only people who actually get charged.  Everybody else gets some kind of a different charge. 


MATTHEWS:  Because they get off as just users? 

SIMMONS:  Anybody with any money.

MATTHEWS:  Gets off as accuser? 


SIMMONS:  Anybody with any money isn‘t going to jail under Rockefeller... 


MATTHEWS:  Is that right? 

SIMMONS:  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  So, how do you change the laws?  Is it enforcement or the law? 

SIMMONS:  Well, they made some changes in the state of Maryland.  They made some changes in New York state. 

Hopefully, Texas and some of the other laws, some of the places where they have these horrible laws will work on the side of—see, what you don‘t want to do is send someone to jail for a long period of time, maybe even if it‘s only seven or eight years, and teach them to be criminals. 

MATTHEWS:  I get...


SIMMONS:  They‘re drug users.  The next day, they‘re criminals.


MATTHEWS:  In other words, you are sending them to school.  You are sending them to school on crime. 

SIMMONS:  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  Crime school. 

SIMMONS:  Send them to school to become prisoners.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about money, investing, saving money.  Suze Orman and you, interesting combo. 


MATTHEWS:  What are you going to do together, you two?  Well, as everybody knows, she‘s a financial adviser.



Well, we‘ve been traveling around the country with these hip-hop summits.  Last time I spoke to you, we had an average of 8,000 people come out each city.  And the rappers would host them.  And we would be talking about voting and personal upliftment and personal empowerment.  We‘re back again on the personal empowerment tour, but this one is called Get Your Money Right. 

And the idea—I think, if you talk about civil rights, the last step of that civil rights movement is to get some money. 

MATTHEWS:  Capital. 


SIMMONS:  Capital, right, you know, economic empowerment, right?

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

SIMMONS:  So, that‘s what we want, people to learn to manage their money and to use the resources that are available everywhere properly. 

MATTHEWS:  What advice do you give to somebody who is 18 years old, and they have got their first job and they‘re working at college, working their way through college?  What is a financial plan? 


SIMMONS:  There are unbreakable laws to success in this country. 

And I always talk about the spiritual ones.  Put your head down and do the work.  That‘s what you see people from out this country, they come in this country.  They put their heads down and they give us.  They wake up in the morning deciding on what of their many gifts they‘re going to give and they go to work on it.  And that‘s the first thing.  That‘s what all the rappers teach.

When Eminem hosted the summit two weeks ago, he and Cam‘ron and Lil‘ John, and Fantasia, you know, from “American Idol,” they all came out.  Master P.  They came out and they spoke to the audience in Detroit about the hardworking dedication it took for them to be a success story. 

Suze Orman talked about their FICO scores, you know, which is the financial score, how they do your credit, you know?

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I know...


SIMMONS:  The details, but the hard work thing, you know, the thing that kids overlook.  They look at those stars who are more important to them than the profits were, right?  These are the important people.  They tell them what everybody tells them.  And all the scripture, all of it tells you.  Go to work.  Give.  So, they talk about giving.  That‘s an important part.  Getting is giving inside out, isn‘t it?

MATTHEWS:  Yes, teaching them to be the managers.



MATTHEWS:  ... be different. 

Thank you, Mr. Simmons. 

SIMMONS:  Thank you.  It‘s always a pleasure to see you.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you for meeting me here at the great Library of Congress. 


MATTHEWS:  Tomorrow, HARDBALL‘s eighth anniversary continues with an exclusive look inside the doctrinaire Catholic group Opus Dei.  And later in the week, on Thursday, Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe comes to HARDBALL, plus journalist Bill Moyers and “Saturday Night Live”‘s Darrell Hammond, on Friday, Bill Maher, and, next Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  That‘s the eighth anniversary of HARDBALL all week long. 

And, tonight, catch me on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

Right now, it‘s time for “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.



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