updated 6/20/2005 8:09:20 AM ET 2005-06-20T12:09:20

Guest: Condoleezza Rice, Darrell Hammond, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Tonight, HARDBALL‘s 8th-anniversary special. 

Here‘s the best of the best.  Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  We‘ve had some amazing guests during this 8th anniversary of HARDBALL.  In the next hour, we‘ll present the best moments from our anniversary shows, including an in depth interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Iraq, North Korea, and that Downing Street memo; actor Russell Crowe, currently starring in “Cinderella Man,” who spoke with me first after that trouble he had in New York; and we‘ll hear from some political superstars, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and a surprise visit from New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.  We‘ll also have a look inside that Catholic organization, Opus Dei, that was villainized in the best-selling “Da Vinci Code,” and “Saturday Night Live‘s” Darrell Hammond rounds things out with his best impersonation of me.

But first, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made headlines on HARDBALL this week when I asked her if she thought North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was sane.


Do you think Kim Jong Il is a sane man?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE:  I don‘t know.  I‘ve never met the man.

MATTHEWS:  Is he a responsible leader?

RICE:  I have to say that anyone has to say that the people of North Korea have not prospered under this regime.  They‘ve suffered under this regime.  We‘re talking about malnutrition rates that have led to literal height and weight differentials that are dramatic between the South Korean population, which is well nourished, and the North Korean population that is not.  The sad thing is that while the North Korean regime seeks nuclear weapons, its population is still totally dependent on food aid to try and deal with its malnutrition.

The good thing is that if the North Koreans chose to come back the six-party talks, they could significantly improve the well-being of their people because there are all of the states of the six-party talks willing and ready to help them on this score.  Even without that, the United States has been a huge provider of food assistance to North Korea.

So there are ways for North Korea to take advantage of what is being offered.  They just have to give up their nuclear weapons program.

Madam Secretary, there‘s a lot of concern in this country, as you know, about the strength and the violence of the insurgency.  We just got these two memos in the last couple of weeks—they‘re called the Downing Street memos.  One of them is a memo from now British ambassador to the United States David Manning, in his capacity as adviser to British Prime Minister Blair, where he said in March of 2002, he met with you, and among the big questions that were still out there in your mind was having to do with what‘s it going to be like in Iraq the morning after?  Do you recall those meetings?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE:  Well, of course.  David Manning is a fine public servant and an extraordinary foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Blair.  And we had a number of conversations.  I don‘t remember this one in particular.  But I would just note, Chris, that that was a year before the actual invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein‘s regime.  We had not yet gone to the United Nations to try and resolve the issue through diplomatic means.  But a lot of planning went on between March of 2002 and March of 2003.

MATTHEWS:  When the president made the decision or began to make the decision to topple Saddam Hussein, whatever it took, whatever it means, whether it be multilateral or basically with coalition forces, was he calculating then the strength and violence of the current insurgency?  Did you have a fix then on the size of this opposition we‘d face at this point?

RICE:  I think it‘s fair to say that we knew that there were a lot of unknowables about Iraq.  The strength of the institutions—we were concerned, for instance, that—whether or not the ministries would be strong enough to stand up once you had taken away the kind of Ba‘athist leadership that was supporting Saddam Hussein.  We were certainly concerned about what to do about the armed forces.

But it was our view—we thought at the time that the army would stand and fight.  You could then demobilize that part of the army that was associated with Saddam Hussein, and the remainder of the army could be brought for a transitional government in Iraq.  But we were looking at all of these imponderables, all of these unknowns, in that period of time.

I think we had, when we went to war—having tried everything diplomatically to avoid war, I think when we went to war, we had a plan for how to deal with the aftermath.  There were a number of things that surprised us, including the fact that the army, in a sense, kind of melted away in those last days after Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

MATTHEWS:  Were you surprised that the army was able to slink away into the cities of Iraq and still maintain the power of its ordinance and its fighting ability?

RICE:  Well, it‘s not clear to this day the degree to which this is the structure of the old army.  There are clearly a number of old Ba‘athists, people who want to return the Saddam Hussein-like forces to power.  There‘s also a significant of people—there are also a significant number of people who‘ve come in as foreign terrorists, who recognize the importance of Iraq to the war on terrorism, and are therefore fighting as if this is, in a sense, their last stand, to make certain that democracy can‘t take hold in the Middle East.

So I would never claim that the exact nature of this insurgency was understood at the time that we went to war.  But that there might be forces after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, yes, that was understood.

MATTHEWS:  Before we go on, that second memorandum that has been talked about, the one that was originally dubbed the Downing Street memo, said that the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.

What do you make of that word, “fixed?”  Is that an assertion that we were fixing the argument, making a case for intel that said there was a connection with al Qaeda, a connection with the WMD, just to get the war started?

RICE:  Well, I don‘t understand—I can‘t go back and judge what was said.

MATTHEWS:  But the word “fixed,” which is like fixed the way you fix the World Series...

RICE: Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... or is it British sense, which means just put things together.

RICE:  Put things together.  And I know the people who were involved in this, and someone like the head at that time of the British intelligence services was very much involved in the discussions we were having on intelligence.  A lot of the intelligence was from Great Britain, from British sources.  And the entire world thought that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

I think if the world had not thought that he had weapons of mass destruction, we wouldn‘t have had him under sanctions for 12 years, trying to deal with these weapons of mass destruction.  And there‘s good reason to have thought that he did, given that he‘d used them before, that in 1991, he‘d been much closer to a nuclear weapon than anyone thought.

The important thing is that I think we‘ve all taken a look at the intelligence problems of the time.  We‘ve made steps to try and improve the capability of the United States—and I think the British have, too—for intelligence on weapons of mass destruction.  It‘s always going to be hard when you‘re dealing with very secretive regimes, when you‘re dealing with the dual-use capabilities that are usually involved in weapons of mass destruction.

You know, Chris, the same chlorine that can be used in a swimming pool can be used in chemical-weapons development.  And so it‘s not easy.

But the improvements that we‘ve made to intelligence, the creation of a new director of national intelligence, the sharing of information, the changes in the way that sourcing is reported to policy makers—I think those are all things that will—we‘ve learned those lessons from the Iraq experience.

MATTHEWS:  The interesting contradiction you just pointed to is the

fact that the president, in his State of the Union in 2003, used that

reference to British intelligence about the African—turned out not to be

the case, apparently, although that‘s still murky—the purchase of the uranium from Niger, right?

RICE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  At the same time, British intelligence was saying, Well, we don‘t have our act together, and yet we‘re trusting them.

RICE:  Well, in fact, the British intelligence services are fine services.  I don‘t think there‘s anyone in the world who would say that they aren‘t one of the best services in the world.

But the nature of the intelligence around Iraq was always hard.  We were focused on a long pattern of engagement with weapons of destruction of Saddam Hussein.

And it‘s interesting.  The report that Charles Duelfer did at the end when the Iraq Survey Group reported, showed that this was somebody who was never going to lose his connection to weapons of mass destruction, who continued to harbor ambitions, continued to try to keep certain capabilities in place.

Sooner or later, it was going to be necessary to deal with the unique circumstances of Iraq, a state that was linked to weapons of mass destruction, so linked that there had been 17 Security Council resolutions against him, who had used weapons of mass destruction before, who had invaded his neighbors twice, who had caused massive deaths of his own people, somewhere in the nature of 300,000 or more people found in mass graves, and who was, by the way, still in a state of suspended war with the United States and with Great Britain, as we tried to fly these no-fly zones to try to keep his forces under control, was shooting at us.

So this is a pretty unique set of circumstances that led to war against Iraq, and that we had to sooner or later deal with this terrible tyrant in the middle of the Middle East.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Madam Secretary.

Still to come: He‘s one of the big stars in the Republican Party, New York‘s 9/11 mayor, Rudy Giuliani.  And coming up: “Saturday Night Live‘s” Darrell Hammond with a dead-on impersonation of me and why political humor is so popular.  You‘re watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.



Happy anniversary on eight years of HARDBALL.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS:  Happy 8th anniversary, Chris.  We love you!

CLINT EASTWOOD, DIRECTOR:  Happy Saint Valentine‘s Day.  Happy Saint Patrick‘s Day.  Whatever it is, have a happy one.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL, as we continue with the best moment of our 8th anniversary celebration.  And since you can‘t have a celebration without some ribbing, here‘s a conversation that I had with “Saturday Night Live‘s” Darrell Hammond, a master impressionist, as we all know, who sometimes does me better than do I me.  Ha!


Well, it‘s the 8th anniversary of HARDBALL, and it wouldn‘t be complete, any anniversary show, without the presence of this man in front of me, Mr. Darrell Hammond of “Saturday Night Live.”  You know him as me.  So look, let‘s talk about somebody more important that you‘ve covered.


MATTHEWS:  Bill Clinton.  I believe that when you do Bill Clinton, that you are Bill Clinton.


HAMMOND:  I am bulletproof.


MATTHEWS:  What is the soul of Bill that you go for when you imitate him?

HAMMOND:  I think he‘s delighted to be himself.  I think he‘s delighted with life.  I think he‘s super, super curious.  And for the most part, I think he—he probably looks for all the positives and tries to agree with people as much as possible and probably only disagrees when he has to.

MATTHEWS:  What made you decide that Sean Connery was really this dirty old man that couldn‘t wait to get on “Jeopardy” to make these double entendres?

HAMMOND:  You know, I don‘t think—I expected—it made no sense to me to have Sean Connery yelling at Alex Trebec, you know, and it still doesn‘t.  It doesn‘t make sense to anyone, and yet people...

MATTHEWS:  I was with your mother last night!  She had no complaints!


HAMMOND:  Not a fan of the ladies, are you, Trebec!


It‘s the most popular thing I‘ve done when I play clubs around the country, you know?

MATTHEWS:  Sean Connery?

HAMMOND:  Oh, absolutely.  I mean, more than Clinton, more than Gore, more than Cheney.

MATTHEWS:  What about me?


HAMMOND:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  I‘m Chris Matthews.


HAMMOND:  You‘re up there.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s it like?

HAMMOND:  You‘re up there.  I‘m you‘re up there to the extent that people are going to yell your name out if I go too long without, you know, doing something about you.

MATTHEWS:  So what do you do when you do me?

HAMMOND:  I do you being uncomfortable, slowly being driven mad by the events of the world around you.

MATTHEWS:  I like it when you do me when I‘m really happy, when I‘m doing HARDBALL, and I got somebody on the show that says something really ridiculously over the top, wrong, but so wrong, it‘s comical.

HAMMOND:  We‘ve started having you smile over the years.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s right.  And I just smile because it‘s almost sublime...


MATTHEWS:  ... that somebody is that crazy and I‘m getting to witness it.

HAMMOND:  Yes.  Yes, it‘s...

MATTHEWS:  Not that I should encourage that kind of behavior on the show.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s classic.  You know, you play the guy as—he‘s us.  You‘re us.  And you‘re being—sitting there, being slowly—being driven mad by events around you.  And we can all identify with that.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Darrell Hammond of “Saturday Night Live.”

And still ahead, my visit with Jay Leno on NBC‘s “Tonight” show, and New York Senator Hillary Clinton helps us celebrate our 8th anniversary with her personal list of the top reasons—the eight reasons to watch HARDBALL.  And later, actor Russell Crowe and his great performance in “Cinderella Man” and his explanation for that trouble in New York.

This is HARDBALL‘s 8th-anniversary special, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with more of the best moments from HARDBALL‘s 8th anniversary.  Here‘s Jay Leno, who helped us celebrate during my appearance with him on the “Tonight” show.


JAY LENO, HOST:  Let‘s talk about presidential candidates 2008.  Has Hillary Clinton got it sewn up for the Democrats?  Anybody else even close?

MATTHEWS:  Hillary is—is probably going to win the nomination.


MATTHEWS:  I mean, she has got it.  She‘s moved to the center.  She‘s on Armed Services.  She backed the war.  She—she‘s been moderate.  Until yesterday, and all of a sudden, she flared up and started going after the Republicans, saying that they‘re...

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... that they‘re shameless and they don‘t get it and—but I think she‘s running, and I think she‘s going to win.

LENO:  What would that make Bill?  Would he then be first ladies‘ man?


MATTHEWS:  That is the trickiest question!  Jay, you are onto the greatest sitcom in history!

LENO:  Yes?

MATTHEWS:  This is the greatest—here‘s—here‘s—here‘s Bill Clinton, first gentleman, with nothing to do.  And if he was trouble when he had a job, imagine him when he‘s got nothing to do!


MATTHEWS:  And he‘s sitting around and he‘s probably hanging around the refrigerator, you know, and he‘s going to—and he‘s killing time and he‘s...

LENO:  Waiting for girls to come to the refrigerator.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, then he‘s says...

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  And then he says, So what—who‘s she meeting with today?  Am I going to see—oh, she‘s meeting with Putin today.  Clinton goes crazy.  I know Putin!  I should be over there!  She says not to come over.  You know?

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  And I can see this.  You‘re not to come over!  And then—and then she‘s calling over to the—to the East Wing, saying, Who‘s he with now?  You know?  I knew it was her!  You know?  And I could—it‘d be a great sitcom between the two of them because a president who was president but isn‘t president anymore...

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... has got nothing to do except to decide whether we put this person next to that person at the next dinner for the Italian president or whatever.

LENO:  Right.  Right.

MATTHEWS:  And meanwhile, Hillary‘s making all the calls.

LENO:  Well, who...

MATTHEWS:  She‘s going to have to decide in the campaign if she‘s going to officially say, If we‘re faced with a big crisis—Cuban missile crisis, a big issue—am I going to bring Bill over and have him stand over my shoulder when I make these big decisions or not?  Or am I going to keep him out of it?  And I think she‘s going to have to say, I bring him into it, which makes it two for the price of one, which means he‘s really running for co-president.

LENO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s really different.  We‘ve never...

LENO:  It‘d be really interesting...

MATTHEWS:  ... been through this...

LENO:  ... like, because she would have his old job.  That‘s so weird.

MATTHEWS:  She would have his old job...

LENO:  I never thought about it like that.

MATTHEWS:  ... and he may want it back.

LENO:  Yes.


MATTHEWS:  I‘ve been here, dear!

LENO:  Who would run—who would run against Hillary?  Who‘s the best?

MATTHEWS:  I‘ll tell you the guy that could beat her.

LENO:  Yes?



LENO:  McCain, OK.

MATTHEWS:  I think so.

LENO:  Now, if McCain ran...

MATTHEWS:  See?  And McCain is a moderate.  The latest poll out—I looked at a Harris poll this week.  It said that four out of five people in this country want a moderate in politics.  They don‘t want any more left or right.  They want down the middle.  They want people who are independent of their parties.  McCain fits the bill.  And the press loves McCain.  You know, you can see that every time he comes on.

LENO:  And he would be older than Reagan when Reagan...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  But you know, we‘re all getting older.

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  You know?

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s 71, but I‘ll tell you, he looks—he looks—you know, he looks great.

LENO:  Oh, no, I...

MATTHEWS:  And the other thing is, he went to—he went to war, and he spent those five-and-a-half years in the Hanoi Hilton.  And he‘s paid his price.

LENO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  And a lot of people, especially in the press, who didn‘t, feel a lot of responsibility toward this guy.  He‘s a very popular guy in D.C.  And I think he or Rudy Giuliani—don‘t underestimate Giuliani!

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  You know, he‘s a—he‘s the best speaker in the country.

LENO:  Would Giuliani take vice president?

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes.

LENO:  Yes?

MATTHEWS:  I mean, it‘d be interesting.  McCain-Giuliani might be too liberal on some of the issues.

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  But I think, in the country—for years, the best speaker in the country was Jesse Jackson.

LENO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  There‘s no doubt about it, the best speaker.  And now I think it‘s—I think it‘s Giuliani.  And they can‘t even spell his name in the South.

LENO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  But you know...


MATTHEWS:  But they call him—somebody told me they‘re going to call him Rudy.  That‘ll be enough.

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS: “I‘m for Rudy.”

LENO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  You know.  So he could—Giuliani!  It sounds great!

LENO:  Now, how about—now, Howard Dean.  What seems to be happening there?  It seems to be—the Democrats seem to be turning on him.  He‘s head of the Democratic National Committee...


LENO:  ... and...

MATTHEWS:  Somebody should tell him!


MATTHEWS:  He needs a tuning fork, doesn‘t he?

LENO:  Yes.  Well...

MATTHEWS:  He‘s a little off-kilter.

LENO:  Well, I have some of the quotes...

MATTHEWS:  He‘s calling everybody pretty bad names lately.

LENO:  He said, “I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for.”  Which—well, at least you know where he stands, but...

MATTHEWS:  But then he‘s going after individual people who happen...

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... to vote Republican.

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Which is strange.  He says things like they never had an honest day‘s work in their life.  He‘s talking about half the country!

LENO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  You know, that‘s kind of strange.  And then—who‘s the other guy, Harry Reid, this Mormon guy from Nevada, a regular, soft-spoken guy.  He calls...


MATTHEWS:  Are you one of them?


MATTHEWS:  He‘s calling them—he was calling the president a loser the other day...

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... and calling the head of the—the central bank, Greenspan...

LENO:  Well, quick question.  Can they change...

MATTHEWS:  ... a hack.

LENO:  Can they get rid of him before the convention?

MATTHEWS:  I think he‘s testing that right now.

LENO:  Really?  OK.

MATTHEWS:  I think Howard Dean‘s got a problem with—I think the public does not like the name-calling.  They don‘t like the filibuster that slows things down.  They don‘t like the gamesmanship of shutting down the government.  They want people that are effective.  And that‘s why McCain looked good two weeks ago...

LENO:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... when he cut the deal with the 4 guys...

LENO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... the 14 guys in the middle, because he could get something done.  The public wants things done on Social Security that fixes the system for the young people.  They want this war cooled off and us out of there.

LENO:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  They want these things done, and they don‘t want to see a bunch of politicians pointing fingers at each other, I don‘t think.

LENO:  All right.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s my view.

LENO:  Chris, always a pleasure, my friend!

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

LENO:  Chris Matthews, middle-aged heartthrob!


MATTHEWS:  Thanks, Jay.

Back in Washington, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had some thoughts of her own about our 8th anniversary.  Here now are Senator Hillary Clinton‘s top eight reasons to watch HARDBALL.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  Number eight: Jay Leno and I both think you‘re a middle-aged heartthrob.  Number seven: You brought dueling back to politics, where it belongs.  Number six: No steroids in your version of HARDBALL.  Number five: HARDBALL, where the nuclear option is used every night.  Number four: Bill and I watch you for your calming and soothing effect.  Number three: MSNBC should stand for Must See Nothing But Chris.  Number two: Desperate House members are always more interesting than “Desperate Housewives.”

And the number one reason to watch HARDBALL?  HARDBALL has only been on the air for eight years.  It feels like 100.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Senator Clinton, for being part of HARDBALL‘S 8th anniversary week.

In a moment, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani plays HARDBALL right here on MSNBC.



Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who polls show is the Republican frontrunner for 2008, stopped by to help us celebrate.  I began the conversation with Rudy by asking him about DNC Chair Howard Dean‘s comment that most Republicans have never earned an honest living. 


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR:  No, 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 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 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 might be wrong? 

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

GIULIANI:  Do I—no...

MATTHEWS:  That it might 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 have disagreed.  But you know, decent people can disagree about whether or not taxes should be higher or lower. 

Respect for each other, I think, is what the American people very much want.  They certainly want political disagreement.  That‘s what democracy is 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:  Do you think we can find a compromise on some tricky new issues, and these issues keep emerging over the horizon, like stem cells, federal funding of stem cells.  The president is adamant.  He doesn‘t believe we should use any of these fertilized eggs which were available in all these fertility clinics.  Where do you stand on that, in terms of federal funding? 

GIULIANI:  I hope so.  I hope we find a 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 encouragement 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 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 will 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 have 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 have got to encourage this research.  It‘s vitally important, I think, to saving lives. 

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, whoever is ready to go and looks at the time, I suppose, the way—whoever is 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 mean, 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 represents her position, if that‘s the way she‘s going to conduct herself in the Senate over the next year, assuming she gets reelected in two years, she has an opportunity to do.  She has an opportunity to find 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 (ph) and the others got him to do it, and Deaver. 

And he really ran a very successful campaign based on he could get economy moving faster.  He almost ran a John Kennedy kind of campaign.  “I‘m going to cut taxes.  I‘ll 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—you know, hard to speak for her—I don‘t know that she is 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. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask 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 else.  I understand the emotion for rebuilding the entire thing and making it bigger than it was before.  Some of my colleagues that lived through the event with me and have a strong an emotional investment as I do, feel—from the very beginning, they‘ve 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 take this away from us.” 

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 be a mistake to do that. 

I think 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:  Dick Cheney, the vice president of the United States, you know, he was heading up the selection committee for vice president.  Low and behold, he became president—vice president.  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 for president, 2008, of your party. 

GIULIANI:  Not totally out of the question.  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 it, you know, a lot of what he said in the past has to do with his health and health issues.  And if he is comfortable that those aren‘t issues...

MATTHEWS:  Can you take him?  Can you take him, Mr. Mayor?  This is HARDBALL.  Can you take him? 

GIULIANI:  Oh, you mean if I ran?  Who knows?  Who knows?  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—of all the people that we‘ve mentioned, he‘s probably done more than anyone else. 

MATTHEWS:  Great.  Thank you very much, Mayor—former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

GIULIANI:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thanks for coming on.

GIULIANI:  And congratulations on eight years. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  Not everybody honors the eighth year, but you did. 

GIULIANI:  Well, it‘s been terrific.  Very, very interesting, very entertaining, and very good. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor.

GIULIANI:  Thank you.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Mayor Giuliani. 

When we return, an inside look at the Catholic organization Opus Dei through the eyes of one of its members, as the best of HARDBALL‘s eight anniversary continues, only on MSNBC.


DONALD TRUMP, “THE APPRENTICE”:  I love HARDBALL.  Chris Matthews, there‘s nobody better than you.  Happy eighth anniversary. 


You‘re the best. 

JANE FONDA, ACTRESS:  Happy eighth anniversary, HARDBALL.



MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  MSNBC keeps you up-to-the-minute every 15 minutes.  I‘m Milissa Rehberger.  Here‘s the latest. 

About a thousand U.S. and Iraqi troops supported by air strikes launched a new offensive against insurgents in western Iraq.  It‘s the second such offensive in the past two months. 

Iranian voters streamed to the polls to pick a new president today.  None of the seven candidates is expected to get the 50 percent support needed to win outright, meaning the two top candidates would mean in a run-off.  Former President Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani is considered to be the frontrunner.  Results are expected tomorrow. 

And MasterCard reports a massive security breach resulting in the theft of 40 million credit card numbers.  The company says the theft effects all brands of credit cards.

That‘s all for now.  Back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL, as we present the best moments from our eight days of eight anniversary shows. 

Opus Dei, literally meaning “God‘s Work,” is a small group in the Roman Catholic church, depicted as a secretive and sinister organization in the best-selling “Da Vinci Code.” 

We begin our Special Report, “Inside Opus Dei,” with Patty Lechner in Chicago who starts her day of prayer at the local Y on what can fittingly be called a Stairmaster to heaven. 


MATTHEWS (voice-over):  It‘s a little after 5:00 a.m. on a Friday morning.   Patti Lechner, like many of today‘s busy moms, is starting her day sweating with a good cardio workout.  But in Patti‘s case, things are a bit different. 

In her right hand, a rosary ring is also getting a steady workout.  Patti is a devout Catholic and a member of Opus Dei.  And while she is exercising her body, she is cleansing her soul, praying the rosary as well.  This is a morning ritual Patti won‘t live without.  As a supernumerary within Opus Dei, and a mother of six kids, she prays every chance she gets.

PATTI LECHNER, OPUS DEI MEMBER:  A supernumerary in Opus Dei, which would be me, a female supernumerary, is somebody who is married, a married vocation in Opus Dei.  So you try to live sanctity in your life and consistent with the Gospel in a married state, as opposed to a celibate state. 

MATTHEWS:  Opus Dei, “the work” in Latin, is an Orthodox division of the Catholic Church that reports directly to the pope.  Their mission is to strive to grow closer to God through everyday work.  There are roughly 85,000 members worldwide, about 3,000 in the U.S.

FATHER HILARY MAHANEY, OPUS DEI PRIEST:  Everyone is called to do God‘s will, to be a saint in the middle of the world, through their ordinary work and ordinary situations in each day.  That‘s the key message. 

MATTHEWS:  It was founded in 1928 by Jose Maria Escriva, a monsignor in Spain who the church says received a vision that the ordinary work of laypersons is just as important in the eyes of God as that of a priest.  Pope John Paul II embraced the work of Opus Dei and canonized Jose Maria Escriva in 2002. 

MAHANEY:  And the biggest thing that I remember from him was that he was a lot of fun to be with.  He was very cheerful, very gregarious.  I didn‘t know much Spanish at that time and he didn‘t know English.  So he would joke with me and encourage me to study Spanish.  And it was very enjoyable.  I was very fortunate to have been with someone who is proclaimed a saint. 

P. LECHNER:  You want a little bagel, honey?

MATTHEWS:  It is 6:30 a.m.  Patti Lechner is back from her workout and is now getting her family, six kids and her husband, ready for the day.  She‘s already spent a great deal of time talking to God.  She‘s done a morning prayer, a rosary at the gym.  And, later, after her family is fed and out the door, she will pray another half-an-hour before the blessed sacrament in church before attending daily mass. 

Her husband, Larry, is also a Catholic, but he is not a member of Opus Dei. 

LARRY LECHNER, HUSBAND OF PATTI LECHNER:  I think in any marriage, there is a little bit of conflict. 


L. LECHNER:  But when it comes to Patti and the raising of the kids, I think she‘s done a fabulous job and Opus Dei has helped tremendously, I think.

P. LECHNER:  My hope for them is that they do what God wants them to do in life.  I always say to the kids, you know what?  Christ has a plan mapped out for you.  And only you can do it and execute it. 

MATTHEWS:  Part of the plan is enrollment in private schools guided by Opus Dei; 12-year-old Liz (ph) and 15-year-old Mary Ellen (ph) attend the all-girls Willows Academy. 


MATTHEWS:  Fourteen-year-old Robert is a student at the Northridge Preparatory School for boys.  Both schools have high academic standards, along with the religious teachings of Opus Dei. 

FATHER FRANK “ROCKY HOFFMAN, OPUS DEI PRIEST:  We don‘t have a class on Opus Dei, per se.  Sometimes, in the chapel talks, I‘ll tell stories about Saint Jose Maria, the father of Opus Dei.  Mostly, Opus Dei has to enter through the eyes.  People have to see what it means to do your work well and finish it perfectly. 

TINA VERHELST, DIRECTOR, WILLOWS ACADEMY:  What we want to do is, we want to do our work well when we should and for the glory of God.  That‘s really the whole intent behind Opus Dei.  And that‘s what we try to promote, we try to teach the girls.  And we want to have our teachers model that.

MATTHEWS:  So if the Lechner family, with their strict religious values, spirituality and love for one another is the public face of Opus Dei, why do so many believe that this Orthodox Catholic group to which Patti belongs is a secretive and some believe a sinister organization? 

Part of that public perception may be fueled by fact and fiction. 

Fact:  One of the most damaging spies in U.S. history, Robert Hanssen, is a devout Catholic and reportedly a member of Opus Dei.  In fiction, the best-selling “The Da Vinci Code” features a murderous albino monk who is identified as a member of Opus Dei.  He practices a Catholic ritual of corporal mortification, inflicting pain on himself to suffer as Christ did. 

While the character in the book is nothing more than a cartoonish villain, it is a fact that certain members of Opus Dei called numeraries, men and women who remain celibate, do practice corporal mortification, using devices like the cilice and discipline, a braided whip.  It has been reported that Opus Dei founder, Saint Jose Maria Escriva, whipped himself until he bled. 

Opus Dei says that 70 percent of their membership, however, are supernumeraries, like Patti Lechner, who do not practice extreme corporal mortification.  They do however incorporate some elements of it into their daily lives. 

P. LECHNER:  The corporal mortification, it‘s really to strengthen the will and to really do it for the love of God.  We all do it in some area of our life without really even realizing it.  Reading these lives of the saints, you think to yourself, gee, some really struggled and suffered for the glory of God.  And I thought, gee, is heaven just easier to get into these days?  Or are we kind of lightweights about things? 


MATTHEWS:  For more information on our special report on Opus Dei, visit our Web site, hardball.msnbc.com. 

Coming up, the star of “Cinderella Man,” Russell Crowe himself.  He speaks out against the war in Iraq.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to our HARDBALL special with notable moments from our eighth anniversary celebration.  Actor Russell Crowe, now starring in “Cinderella Man,” who recently made headlines of his own in New York, Crowe sat down with me for the first interview after his trouble.


MATTHEWS:  So what happened with this incident in the hotel with the phone? 

RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR:  It‘s a little frustration built up over a period of time.  I was in the hotel for a week and the phones were just not reliable.  And when you‘re this far away from your young family, and look, you know, I haven‘t been a husband and a father for that long.  And I‘m just only getting used to the abject loneliness of being on the road.  But you know, the bottom line is, Chris, I‘m sorry for the whole incident. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you throw the phone at the guy or did you throw it to the wall? 

CROWE:  I just threw it, you know?  And where it went, there was no—you know, there was no actual intention about it.

MATTHEWS:  How are you going to plead?

CROWE:  I‘m not necessarily thinking of those things at the moment.  I‘m just thinking of what I‘ve got to keep on my mind when I do the interviews like this and talk about the movie. 

But you know, I understand that—that Nestor‘s family will be getting a lot of unwanted pressure and stuff at the moment, so I‘m really sorry for that as well.


Let me ask you about the movie.  The great thing about the movie, a lot of people think, I think, is the backdrop, the 1930s in America.  Guys that had jobs don‘t have them anymore.  People can‘t provide for their families, especially hard on the American male.  What was that boxer, James Braddock, up against, the guy you play?

CROWE:  He was up against, you know, basically the collapse of the modern utopia, you know?  I think that‘s one of the things that Ron was really attracted to.  He has a long family history with stories of the Depression, both his—his family—his father and mother‘s families lived through it in different degrees.  You know?  But all in a sort of rural setting.

And those dustbowl Okie photographs are one things.  But the photographs that haunted him were the people who were, you know, former bankers dressed in their fine suits, you know, waiting in soup lines.  And around them were gigantic structures, you know, the Brooklyn Bridge and all the skyscrapers.  And here they were in this modern utopia and the whole system had collapsed.

And, you know, for Braddock to go from the type of success he had as a younger man, where he was earning $8,000 a night, to working for 26 cents an hour on the docks, if he could get a job, if he could get some time on the docks, that was a huge shift.  And that to me was the thing that drove me with this.  That was the thing—that change of fortune, the fact that it was real.

MATTHEWS:  You guys have a different vision of the world than we do, but I noticed when you—I always wonder what Australians think when they see this so-called special relationship between us and the Brits. 

You know, the first time we went to war in Iraq, Margaret Thatcher is with Bush Sr.  And she says, “Don‘t go wobbly, George.”  All of the sudden, we‘re at war.  Then the president and our president now, the younger Bush, is in league with his partner Tony Blair.  You wonder who is leading who.

When you look at the Americans and the British going to war in the Middle East again and again, literally, what‘s the Australian‘s view?  Are you for or against this?

CROWE:  Well, obviously we are fully entwined with what you‘re doing, because...

MATTHEWS:  Are you for it personally, the war in Iraq?

CROWE:  No, I am not. 

Our hand is up first every time you guys say, this is what we need to do.  But—and I know this is all going to sound extremely ironic, but, you know, I am quite specifically anti-violence.


MATTHEWS:  Are you anti this war?

CROWE:  What I would like to do is I would like to see—what I would like to see—sorry—is a solution.  What I am anti is taking a kind of colonialization aspect, and, you know, putting roots down there.

It‘s like, OK, there was a specific job to do.  Get the job done, bring everybody home.  Bring them home safe, as quickly as possible.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Russell Crowe.  And finally, we spent a lot of time on the road in the last year.  Here‘s a look at some of the faces and the places we visited, HARDBALL-style. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to Faneuil Hall. 

It‘s getting hot here at the University of Miami.

You did a lot of work, P. Diddy, to get the vote out.  What do you feel about your results?

P. DIDDY, PRODUCER:  I think it‘s been extremely successful.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s great talking to you.  It‘s great being out here.


MATTHEWS:  You‘re undecided. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Completely undecided. 

MATTHEWS:  The world has been looking for you

You have to think some tough questions up here. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s why I love you on HARDBALL.  I just get an education right here, HARDBALL-style, right between the eyes. 

ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR:  You‘re really playing hardball right now.

MATTHEWS:  No, I‘m just asking

What do you say to Warren Beatty? 

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA:  If he promises me not to give me advice in politics, I promise him not to give him advice on acting. 

MATTHEWS:  Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  And welcome to the HARDBALL Heroes Tour. 

Name, duty, rank, what you‘ve done over there. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My name‘s Corporal Brandon Berkeley (ph).  I‘m from Minnesota, the United States Marine Corps. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Corporal (UNINTELLIGIBLE), first Marine Division, Purple Heart recipient.  I love you, Mom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I received a Purple Heart when we hit a couple landmines back in April.

MATTHEWS:  OK, are you all right? 


MATTHEWS:  Good.  Thank you, sir.  Thank you all for your service.  I mean it for everybody here, too. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I do still have a life, thank God.  And I‘m going to do something with it.  I‘m going to move on, and I‘m going to be happy.  And I can truly say that—I mean, I‘m a happy person. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m not trying to sound brainwashed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but I‘m a soldier.  My place to be is—this place of mine—I‘m hired to fight wars for this country. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s a pride thing.  It has to come from in here, which is why—my injuries, I‘m don‘t—I‘m fine.  I don‘t care. 

MATTHEWS:  Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  And welcome to this very special edition of HARDBALL, live from Vatican City in Rome. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I go to school at UW-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.  And if I‘m going to be in Rome for this, I want to be here.  This is an amazing opportunity. 

MATTHEWS:  Getting sent over here by MSNBC has been a privilege of a lifetime.  I came expecting the death of a great Catholic leader.  What I did not expect was the passionate statement by so many million of we, the living. 

Is this something you‘ll remember? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, of course.  I‘m here for school and history chapters being written right in front of our face.  So of course I‘ll remember it. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our eighth anniversary.  Right now, it‘s time for COUNTDOWN with Keith.



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