updated 6/30/2005 8:36:05 AM ET 2005-06-30T12:36:05

Guest: Margaret Carlson, Marty Meehan, Tony Blankley, Howard Dean

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Well, I‘m Chris Matthews reporting now from Washington.

There‘s been an evacuation of the U.S. Capitol, not of the White House, because of an intrusion into D.C. airspace.  This is the second time this has happened.  The members of Congress and the United States Senate had to go into recess, if only for a few moments tonight.

The aircraft has been escorted beyond the White House—the Washington, D.C. airspace, into Winchester, Virginia.  So, any danger there was is removed right now.

It looks like the plane was en route to Ohio when it entered the airspace around Washington, D.C.  And I assume that under procedures of the United States Air Force and the other military forces in this country, guided by the Pentagon, that, any time a plane enters Washington, D.C., airspace, there‘s an immediate drill to get people out of the U.S. Capitol for the obvious reason that many believe that the U.S. Capitol was targeted on 9/11. 

The incident began at 6:18 tonight, Eastern Standard Time, or Eastern Daylight Time, rather.

Let‘s go right now to White House—to congressional correspondent Chip Reid. 

Chip...

CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  It looks like the danger is over. 

REID:  Yes.  It definitely is over.  Pretty much everybody is back in now. 

You know, this is actually the third time this has happened, because there was that one, remember, way back a day or two before the Reagan funeral.  And everybody was paying attention to that.  And, all of a sudden, they had that absolutely chaotic evacuation here when a plane that was on the way to the funeral strayed into the airspace. 

Then they had that other one.  I‘m sorry.  I don‘t remember exactly how long ago it was, but just a number of weeks ago, where it was far less chaotic, far more orderly.  And this one was even more orderly.  And I have got to tell you, Chris, it was even orderly to the point where people were kind of rolling their eyes, oh, another false alarm. 

I saw senators actually smiling and laughing as they were leaving the building, not most of them.  There certainly was a sense that we have got to take this seriously.  But each time this happens, it is more orderly.  And, hopefully, it will not get to the point where people become complacent about it. 

But there were a few people here today who were, mostly the press corps, of course, because the press corps is a little jaded about—about these things sometimes.  But some people in the press actually needed some prompting to get out of the building, because they assumed right away that it was a false alarm.  But there‘s always something in the back of your head that says, well, this could be real.  Let‘s go. 

And everybody did get out of the building.  And it was very orderly.  And now the big question is, if the Capitol was evacuated and the White House wasn‘t, why? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s an interesting point.

And the other question and I think the larger question is if Washington, D.C., is under attack because of a plane entering the D.C.  airspace, against any kind of air traffic guidance, why isn‘t the whole city alerted?  Why is only the Capitol alerted to evacuate the building? 

REID:  That‘s a very good point.  Certainly, there could be a lot of either unintended or—unintended targets. 

But I guess the assumption is that either the Capitol or the White House or the Pentagon would be the likely targets if it was some kind of terrorist attack.  But, you know, there may be other private sector systems for evacuating buildings.  I don‘t know.  It hard to say. 

I mean, if you‘re in a building downtown, are you safer in the building or getting out on the streets?  I don‘t know.  If you‘re in the Capitol Building, you know you‘re safer getting out of that building.  Or I think it is a pretty good assumption. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, it is interesting tonight.  I guess this is the one good possible attribute of this whole news story.  It‘s a small news story, obviously, because the pictures we‘re looking at right now were taken several minutes ago. 

Most of the people are back into the building now in the Capitol Building in the places where the senators have their offices on the Senate side of the Capitol, and the members of Congress on the other side.  I think it shows how late people work in Washington. 

REID:  Well, the Senate was actually in the middle of a vote.  I think it was happening, what about, 6:20, 6:25, something like that.  And the Senate was in a series of three role call votes in a row.  And they were just finishing up the third one.  They had just passed something actually quite important.  They had just added an amendment to an appropriations bill, adding a significant amount of money for veterans‘ health benefits, after discovering recently that the administration had miscalculated how much money would be needed for veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

So, it was really something very important.  They were just finishing up.  But it is not unusual for them to be in here voting at 6:00, 7:00, even later than that some nights, especially in the week before they go away for a recess.  And next week, of course, they‘re off for Fourth of July. 

MATTHEWS:  Chip, why don‘t you hold there?  Chip Reid, White House—or congressional correspondent.  Why don‘t you hold on there?

We‘re going to bring in U.S. Congressman Gary Ackerman, Democrat from New York, who is on his cell phone right now.

Congressman Ackerman, has this become routine? 

REP. GARY ACKERMAN (D), NEW YORK:  Certainly not routine. 

We were in the middle of the first of a series of five votes, Chris.  You may hear the bells going off in the background.  I‘m standing right in front of the Capitol steps below of the dome of the Capitol right now.  And they may be calling the House back into session. 

What happened in the House chamber, as we were voting on this first of five votes—we were scheduled to go to at least 10:00, possibly—maybe to midnight tonight—is that we heard people yelling in the back of the chamber.  And we thought maybe it was some kind of protest or something in the gallery. 

But we quickly realized within fractions of a second that the Capitol Police, who are heavily armed with the finest, largest automatic weapons you‘ve ever seen—and you‘ve seen them, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

ACKERMAN:  ... burst into the chamber and started yelling, everybody out, everybody out.  It didn‘t take a lot of prompting.  Some people looked in disbelief. 

And people starting making to the door.  And they were yelling, quickly, quickly, quickly, get away from the building, get away from the building, get out the door. 

And, as they—their decibel level went up, they weren‘t asking politely.  You knew that it was a problem or at least everybody perceived that it was a problem.  Nobody knew exactly what it was.  Our beepers, our BlackBerrys hadn‘t gone off.  The news media hadn‘t heard anything yet. 

And, as we got out the front door, that revolving door at the top of the steps, which they broke open, so everybody could get out as quickly as possible, the police were yelling, get out the stairs and then run from the building as quick as you can, as far and quick as you can.  Go south. 

Nobody was hurt.  Nobody fell down.  Nobody was trampled.  Nobody was panicked, which was the most impressive of these things.  It‘s not quite become routine.  And every time this happens, when it is not a drill, I think there‘s a great deal of concern.  When you‘re outside of the building, you realize that you have just left the number one target in the world for a terrorist attack. 

And if they‘re talking about an incoming airplane and it is 50 miles away, you‘re talking about a matter of a couple of minutes. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  And the Congress people like yourself still believe, don‘t you, that you were the target on 9/11 at the Capitol Building?

ACKERMAN:  Yes. 

We believe that.  It certainly could have been us or the White House.  And that remains so.  And you never know, you know, whether or not the terrorists, if that‘s their intent, is going to shift (INAUDIBLE) from one building or another and make one the target or another.  But, certainly, if you‘re looking to do chaos to America, you have all the senators and all the congressmen were in that building in different ends of the building at the same time. 

Every district, every state in the country would have experienced some loss, their—their elected representative. 

MATTHEWS:  Sure.

ACKERMAN:  It would have disrupted the government completely.  And that has to be a major target, as well, of course, as the White House. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  U.S. Congressman Gary Ackerman, thank you for joining us on your cell phone from the Capitol grounds, and also Chip Reid, the congressional correspondent for NBC News. 

It is—the incident is over.  There was a warning.  People were urged to leave the Capitol Building, in fact, dramatically urged to leave the Capitol Building because a plane entered into Washington, D.C., airspace.  The plane has been escorted to Winchester, Virginia.  The plane was en route to Ohio.  We‘ll know more as the evening goes on. 

We‘re going to continue right now to follow this story as it develops and bring you the news as it happens. 

Right now, my exclusive interview with Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean. 

I began by asking the chairman about his opposition to the war in Iraq. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWARD DEAN, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE:  Well, unfortunately, I probably have been, although Barry Goldwater once said, “I‘d rather be right than president.”  I can‘t tell you how much I disagree with that Barry Goldwater.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, let me ask you.  You thought the war was a bad idea; it wasn‘t related to the war on terrorism.  Most of the American people now, 53 percent in the latest poll, say that the war was a mistake. 

Why don‘t your leaders start saying that?  Why don‘t we hear anything like that from the Clintons, from John Kerry, from Joe Biden?   They‘re all hedging their bets.  Why don‘t they come out and say it was a mistake and get the kind of credibility you got as a war critic?

DEAN:  Well, I can‘t speak for the other folks, and I‘m not going to speak to them. 

I think the—one of the things I think we all have in common is, we want to support the troops.  The troops that are over there, they‘re doing the best they can.  They didn‘t send themselves there.  Unlike—unlike the Vietnam War, where there was real bitter division, I think everybody in America supports the troops.  And that‘s a good thing.

You know, I—I think that the president made a mistake last night.  It was a well-delivered speech, but the idea of doing what he did in the presidential campaign, which is to attach 9/11 to Iraq, was a mistake, because it raises the specter of really is happening in Iraq, which is, the president has caused a situation that is a danger to—dangerous to America, where one did not exist before.

You know, I supported the Afghan war, and I think most Democrats did, and we probably need more troops in Afghanistan and probably shouldn‘t be in Iraq at all.

MATTHEWS:  Right now, let me ask you about the question on the president‘s speech last night.  He did conflate the war on terrorism generally and the war on terrorism in Iraq.  Is that a dishonest thing to do?

DEAN:  Well—well, it is, I have to say, because 9/11 had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein.  Saddam Hussein was never a threat to the United States.  He‘s a terrible person, but I don‘t think we in America go about the business of kicking every terrible person out of office.

We have some defense issues in that part of the world.  They are Iran.  They were Afghanistan and still are.  And they were North Korea.  The president has left the two most serious problems, after Afghanistan, for either his successor or who knows what.  And the spectacle of a president who says he‘s tough on defense letting Iran and North Korea become nuclear powers on his watch is just unbelievable.

The idea that Republicans are going to defend the country and Democrats won‘t is exactly the wrong idea.  This president has really not done a terribly good job defending America.  With the exception of the war in Afghanistan, which I think we all supported, he squandered our military strength, put it in the wrong place and is allowing enemies of the United States to become nuclear powers.  That is not a prescription for a strong defense of America.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s stick to Iraq here, Governor.  A lot of people have kids over there now and loved ones.  We had a bunch of them on last night, a lot of women with husbands over there fighting.  I want to talk about what the president said last night.

Last night, he said the war in Iraq is part of the war on terrorism. 

Let‘s take a look at the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war.  Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania.  There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  What did you make of that, Governor?

DEAN:  Well, I certainly agree with the last sentence.  We want to defeat the terrorists abroad before we attacked them at home. 

The rest of it was only partly true.  There are terrible foreign terrorists over there.  They have been drawn to Iraq, where they were not there before because we put our troops there.  So, you could debate the wisdom of that.

The other people that are creating the mayhem on the streets of Baghdad are people who are fighting for their country.  There are local people who disagree with their occupation.

Look, I make no excuse for terrorism.  People who blow up women and children ought to have the full wrath of the United States down upon them.  But I make—what I have a problem with is the bad judgment of this president and his administration in deciding how you can best fight terrorism.

You send troops over there.  They don‘t have adequate body armor. 

They‘re still taking up collections to make sure they do have body armor.  When the secretary of defense goes over there, he gets his Humvee flown in, and the guys over there don‘t have adequate protection on the bottom of their Humvees.  This is not the way to run a war, and it‘s not the way to treat our soldiers.

MATTHEWS:  Governor, back in buildup to the war in Iraq, a lot of Americans got the wrong information.  They were telling us in polling that they thought it was Iraq that attacked us on 9/11 and did so much harm to this country, in Pennsylvania, as well as in New York and in the Pentagon.

And more recently—I want to ask you this.  Do you believe the president is still trying to perpetrate the—the notion that it was Iraq that attacked us on 9/11?

DEAN:  Sure.  I think the president—the president made a terrible, terrible mistake in getting us into Iraq.  And now we really have a big problem on our hands.  We have a security problem that we didn‘t have before.

Now the president is trying to make this into a war on terrorism.  It is a war on terrorism, in the sense that there are certainly international terrorists in Iraq.  The point is, there weren‘t any to speak of before we got there.  The president made a big error in judgment, and he‘s now trying to combine what‘s going on in Iraq with the war on terrorism.

There‘s a war on terrorism going on in this world, and we are a part of it, and I agree that we need to fight them over there before they get here.  But the problem is, the places we need to fight those people are in Afghanistan, hiding over the border in Pakistan, the Iranians, who sponsor state terrorism.  These are our enemies.  And these are folks that are not being paid the kind of attention to that need to be paid attention to, while 138,000 brave American men and women are pinned down in Iraq because of a gross error in judgment by this administration.

MATTHEWS:  Last night was a policy speech.  Some could argue it was a political speech, because the president‘s poll numbers are down.  But it certainly was a policy speech.  Was the president right to use the military people at Fort Bragg, those soldiers, in camouflage and berets, as backdrop?

DEAN:  Well, I don‘t have a big problem with that.  I‘m pretty sure the soldiers were pleased to see the president. 

And I—you know, it is—it‘s exciting for any group of Americans, especially a group of soldiers, to see the president of the United States.  So, I don‘t have a problem with that. 

I thought the president looked foolish on the aircraft carrier.  And that was obviously a big mistake on his part, and they know that.  But I certainly take no quarrel with having the president of the United States go to a military base and give a speech in front of a group of soldiers, who I think were very pleased to see the president, as anybody would to see their commander in chief.          

MATTHEWS:  What‘s changed with you, Governor, about the war?  I think you inspired a lot of young people when you were campaigning for the nomination for president of the Democratic Party, because you were a clear voice of saying, and, in the wilderness, I must say, the war was wrong.  It was bad policy.  It wasn‘t based upon the facts.  In fact, we were getting wrong facts.

And now, as party chairman, you seem to be in that muddy middle right now, with Hillary and Bill and John Kerry and the rest of them.  You seem to be saying, well, we‘re not fighting the war the right way.  Do you still think you have the strength of voice you had as a candidate, when you were clearly against this, this expedition to Iraq?

DEAN:  Well, I—I think I‘ve—I‘ve made it pretty clear that I thought it was a terrible error in judgment on the part of the president to send us to Iraq. 

I also said during the campaign, now that we‘re there, it‘s going to be very hard to get out.  I do not—I‘m not one of those people who thinks we can just pull our troops out tomorrow.

We have created—this is a terrible thing that the president‘s done to the country and to the defense of a country.  He‘s created a problem that we didn‘t have before.  He‘s essentially pinned our troops in Iraq.  Now Zarqawi is in Iraq.  Now there are foreign terrorists in Iraq. 

Now there really is a danger, as the president said last night, that the Iraq—an Iraq that‘s weak because we‘re not there could become the next Afghanistan.

The president created those conditions, and now we‘re stuck with it.  So, we have to—you know, we can be angry at the president for sticking us into a terrible position, but we‘re there.  And the next president, who I intend to have be a Democrat, is going to have to deal with this fact, if we‘re not out by 2009, January 20, when the next president, a Democrat, takes the oath of office.

MATTHEWS:  Do you trust the people...

DEAN:  That‘s a serious problem that we have to deal with.

MATTHEWS:  ... that talked us into the war in Iraq and the WMD problem as manifest?, but also the connection to 9/11, which continues to be made, and all those areas where you say we weren‘t getting honest statements from this administration?  Can you trust them the next three years to give us honest, straight statements about getting out of Iraq?

DEAN:  No, I do trust the—and I‘m sure I depart with some of my supporters, but I do trust our military in this country.

MATTHEWS:  No, the leaders, the president of the United States, the secretary of defense.  The secretary of defense says we may be in there 12 years.  On the other hand, the vice president of the United States, who‘s the former secretary of defense and many people think may be one of the top people in this administration on security, says, the enemy‘s in its last throes over there. 

There‘s a big difference, isn‘t there, Governor, between somebody at the vice presidential level saying last throes, and the other guy saying they‘ve got 12 more years of fight in them?

DEAN:  Well, I think—I think...

MATTHEWS:  Who‘s right?

DEAN:  Chris, I think the Downing Street memos and other pieces of evidence, including the 9/11 Commission, have indicated that the administration was not truthful with the American people about how we got to Iraq.  I think that‘s a fact. 

The administration would like it not to be a fact, but it is a fact.  It has been confirmed by many mainstream organizations, including a commission lead by a Republican and a Democrat, a well-respected Republican and Democrat. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

DEAN:  So, the answer is, do I believe the president is doing the right thing?  No, I don‘t.  Do I believe that he has made gross errors in judgment?  Yes, I do.  Do I believe he is doing a good job defending the United States of America?  No, I don‘t. 

Not because he doesn‘t want to defend the United States, but because we simply don‘t have the vision or the judgment in this administration to adequately defend the United States, because there‘s no thought given to what the consequences of our actions are.

Colin Powell, who happens to be somebody I have an enormous amount of respect for, who was not listened to when we went into Iraq, always used to say, if you‘re going to go into a place, you have to use massive force and you have to have an exit strategy.  There was no thought given to what was going to happen once we got 150,000 troops on the ground. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

DEAN:  And that is wrong.  It‘s wrong for America, and it‘s wrong for the 150,000 brave American men and women who are serving America in Iraq.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  More with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean in just a moment.  I‘ll ask him whether the president‘s speech last night changed any minds.  Let‘s look at the polls, by the way, on that one in the days ahead.

And later on this show, “TIME” magazine‘s Margaret Carlson and Tony Blankley of “The Washington Times” will debate last night‘s address by the president and, also, the Supreme Court‘s refusal to hear the case of two fellow journalists, Judy Miller and Matt Cooper, the reporters who were ordered to reveal their sources or go to jail.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  And I‘m back with the Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean.

Karl Rove, Governor, singled you out by name in a fund-raiser last week when he criticized what he called liberals‘ response to 9/11.  Let‘s listen up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BUSH:  I don‘t know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the Twin Towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble. 

MoveOn.org and Michael Moore and Howard Dean may dominate the Democratic Party and liberalism, but their moderation and restraint is not what America felt needed to be done, and moderation and restraint is not what was called for and acted upon.  It was a time to summon our national will and to brandish steel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, Governor, what do you make of that?  That‘s personal.

DEAN:  Well, sure it is.  And it would be—it would give me great pleasure to call him names on your show, but I‘m not going to do that.  This is an example of the bad judgment that these folks have. 

As a matter of fact, I, along with almost everybody in the Democratic Party, supported the war in Afghanistan, because that‘s where the terrorist threat was.  And I was delighted that the president went into Afghanistan and he did it quickly.

The problem with the kind of name-calling that you see on the right wing is, it‘s polarizing.  And, frankly, it doesn‘t serve our country well.  These folks have exhibited bad judgment.  The judgment is that the response in Afghanistan should then be followed up by additional responses in other places which were not threats to the United States. 

The problem is not that the Bush administration lacks resolve.  The problem is, they don‘t think about what it is they‘re doing and what the consequences of what they‘re doing are.  And they have trouble differentiating between those things that are dangerous to the United States and those things that are not dangers, but would be nice to get rid of.

The president has invested 150,000 American lives and billions of dollars, created the largest deficit in the history of the United States of America through his reckless fiscal policies and picked the wrong enemies half the time.  That is why we can‘t afford to have the president and certainly ought not to be affording the taxpayer-funded Karl Rove, who‘s being paid for by taxpayers‘ money. 

So, that‘s all I really have to say.  I‘m not going to get in to attacking Karl Rove personally.  He can say what he wants.  What I‘m interested in is a new administration that will have a long-term vision for the future of this country.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s try to sharpen the debate here, make it clear to people.  When the president stood on the rubble of 9/11 that Friday and gave probably the best speech of any presidencies, when he said, we‘re going to get the people that knocked down these buildings.  They‘re going to hear from us, did he lose track of who he was after by going to Iraq, rather than pursuing with all his strength the capture of Saddam Hussein?

MATTHEWS:  Of Osama bin Laden?

DEAN:  When we—when the president stood at the—at the World Trade Center, I think every American, and certainly including me and every Democrat that I know, was with the president. 

Where the president went wrong was somehow broadening his mission and not including real dangers.  The idea that Iran and North Korea were going to be able to become nuclear powers on this president who talks so tough‘s watch is an idea that is just mind-boggling.  To talk tough is not the same as to defend the country.  And the president has confused the two and so have his advisers.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let me bring you back to the speech last night. 

And thank you for coming on here to give your first big TV reaction to this thing.

The president was moved, everyone knows, by the poll numbers, which showed a deteriorating support for the war in Iraq, exemplified by the number that said that a majority of the people now say it was a mistake to get into that war.  Do you believe his speech last night will move those numbers in another direction?

DEAN:  You know, I don‘t know the answer to that, and you may, because you may already have poll numbers that I haven‘t seen yet.

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t.  That‘s why I‘m asking you.  I don‘t have them yet.  They‘re not out yet.

DEAN:  I‘ve heard some preliminary poll numbers, but they indicate that the audience was mostly Republican.  So, of course, that doesn‘t help the poll numbers very much. 

I think the tendency is to rally around the chief—the chief executive when they make a speech like this.  The problem is, this is not a short-term problem anymore.  It‘s a long-term problem.  So the president can give a speech.  He may have gotten a bounce from it.  And often presidents will.  Certainly, President Clinton did when he would give a speech like this. 

But in the long—it matters—what happens matters the most.  What happens in Iraq matters the most.  And as long as the situation is out of control, or as one of the commenters on NBC said last night, as long as the situation continues to be a mess, as one of the military folks put it, the president‘s not going to get any kind of long-term credit for this.  This was a mistake.  The president made a huge blunder in defending the United States.

And I think, ultimately, the American people have figured that out, and he‘s going to be accountable for that.

MATTHEWS:  If the war in Iraq was a blunder, why don‘t the top Democrats join you in saying so?

DEAN:  Well, I don‘t know.  I mean, many of them have said that they thought the president was mishandling this.

MATTHEWS:  No.  Name one who has.

DEAN:  Well, I—I know that a number of people have said that the president is mishandling this situation.

MATTHEWS:  No, that is—that is, you know, working around the edges of policy.  That‘s micromanaging a war.  I‘m asking you, why don‘t they agree with you on policy and say so?  Blunder is a big word.  I think it‘s the first time I heard somebody say it. 

Why don‘t the top names, the name brands, of the Democratic Party use the word blunder when they talk about the war?

MATTHEWS:  Bill Clinton still stands with the president.  Hillary Clinton stands with the president.  Joe Lieberman stands with the president.  God, they all do.  Joe Biden, the ranking Democrat, stands with the president.  You‘re out there alone still saying it‘s a blunder.

DEAN:  Well, I thought it was at the time.  I mean, I...

MATTHEWS:  You still do.  You just said so.

DEAN:  Well, I do.  I mean, I thought it was at the...

MATTHEWS:  Why don‘t they?

DEAN:  Well, I don‘t know.  You could have them on the show and ask them yourself.

MATTHEWS:  I guess I‘m asking a political question.

Let‘s talk about what the vice president said about you, Governor—quote—“I think Howard Dean‘s over the top.  Maybe his mother loved him, but I‘ve never met anybody who does.” 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I know people that love you. 

“He‘s never won anything.”  I guess he doesn‘t think governor counts.  “He ran for president and lost all the primaries.  And now the Democrats have seen fit to make him their national chairman.  I think he‘s probably helped us more than he has them.  That‘s not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party.”

Your response?

DEAN:  You know, I generally try to avoid getting into telling who the Republicans should run their party.  And if the vice president wants to give us advice, we‘re very happy to put it where we take most advice from this administration.

This administration has failed America.  They can‘t manage the budget.  They can‘t manage the defense.  If you can‘t manage the budget and you can‘t manage defense, then you probably shouldn‘t be president.  And these guys have not been able to do the job that‘s required of them to be president of the United States and to be in the administration of the United States.

They control the House, the Senate, the courts, the presidency.  The result is, we have the biggest deficits in the history of America; the highest number of people with no health insurance since health insurance came in; a war that doesn‘t appear to have an end; a constant threat from terrorists; a homeland that is not as secure.  We have a big problem on our hands, and I think Dick Cheney has a lot more to worry about than me.

MATTHEWS:  You know, I think it was on a Philadelphia subway, where you are right now, in Philadelphia, my hometown, the last time somebody brought up my mother in trying to attack me.  Do you find that a little discourteous of a political leader like the vice president to go after your mother in a conversation?

DEAN:  Well, you know, I...

MATTHEWS:  It seems odd to me.  It seems almost, I don‘t know, unbalanced.  How do you describe that comment by the vice president?

DEAN:  I actually am—I take it as a complement.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

DEAN:  Because for the first—for the first time, these guys have noticed that the Democrats are going to fight back. 

I am in this job because we are not going to take this nonsense from the Republicans anymore.  We‘re not going to take what they have done to this country.  This country is going to be a Democratic country come January 20, 2009.  And we will balance the budget.  We will finally bring health insurance to every single American, as Harry Truman promised to do in 1948. 

We‘re going to restore jobs all over America.  We‘re going to take—make sure that people in rural America have job opportunities, not just people in the suburbs and in the cities.  We‘re going to have a different kind of America, a new America.  We‘re going to have honesty in government. 

We are—I want this Congress, as soon as we get to be Democrats again, controlled by the Democrats again, to outlaw these trips that are being paid for by lobbyists.  I want to stop the corporate corruption that‘s going on.  And I think the Democrats are willing to do that.

Now, you know, people are cynical about government.  But I‘m going to tell you right now—you know how blunt and outspoken I am—I‘m going to do everything I can to make sure Democrats control the Congress and the House again.  And when they do, I‘m going to do my best to hold them accountable for the things that Republicans should be doing now, so that people can trust their government again.

MATTHEWS:  Yes or no, Governor, can your party beat Dick Cheney if he runs next time for president?

DEAN:  I think we can win, whoever runs.

MATTHEWS:  Can you beat Cheney?

DEAN:  Sure, I think so.  I mean...

MATTHEWS:  You think so?  OK.

DEAN:  Well, you know, the voters generally decide. 

You know, I‘m not big on propaganda.  I leave that to the Republicans.  I—you know, we‘re going to work as hard as we possibly can.  Can I promise your or guarantee a victory?  The only person I know that did that successfully was Muhammad Ali.  And, you know, I don‘t float like a butterfly and sting like a bee as much as he did.

MATTHEWS:  OK, we‘ll be right back with DNC Chairman Howard Dean. 

I want to talk about these new Democrat Democracy Bonds. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back on—with HARDBALL with the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Governor Howard Dean.

Governor Dean, democracy bonds.  Here‘s your chance to sell some.

DEAN:  Democrats.org, we want everybody to go there. 

We put up a new Web site.  We‘re basically redesigning the Democratic Party.  And the way we want to finance the Democratic Party, in addition to the usual folks who have been so good to us over all the years, is we want to—we‘re starting a program which is up on the Web now.  We have a brand-new Web site, Democrats.org. 

And the purpose, which I signed up for myself, as well as a bunch of other folks, is to give $20 a month from your credit card, automatic deduction.  Our goal is to get a million people by the end of four years.  If we do that, we‘re going to be able to raise the money that we need to do to do what we‘re doing now. 

We‘re putting organizers in every state in the country.  We‘re not

going to contest—we‘re going to contest 50 states, not 18 states.  We‘re

re-messaging, because I don‘t think we have a national message, and we have

to have one.  And we‘re going to be, as I said, in all 50 states with a communications device, which will, like the Republicans, allow us to go on every talk show in America with a single message in a single day. 

We have to build this apparatus.  The Republicans are 30 years ahead of our political apparatus.  If we‘re going to beat them, we‘ve got to catch them.  And I think we can. 

We can only do it with grassroots, ordinary Americans giving us the support that we need, 20 bucks at a time.  It‘s how we ran the presidential campaign, and that‘s how we‘re going to run the Democratic Party.

MATTHEWS:  Well, about half the people watching this show may be Democrats, but I bet the other half are Republicans.  And they‘ve come home from a day at work, and it‘s about 7:00 on the East Coast, and I just want to know if you want to revise your remarks, because I do believe that when people watch this program in the early evening, they have put in a hard day‘s work.  And that includes all the Republicans.

Do you want to revise your remarks about how Republicans have never spent a—spent an honest day‘s work?

DEAN:  Well, you know, you never believe what you read in the print press. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, give me the corrected version.

DEAN:  The corrected version is that—I was talking in context of the Republican leadership, who designed the poll situation in Ohio, so people had to wait eight hours in a row to work—to vote. 

The Republican leadership does not care about working people.  They don‘t make it easier for working people.  They haven‘t done anything to help their job situation or their health care situation.  And I don‘t think the Republican Party does care about ordinary American working people.  That is the essence of what I said.  I made it very clear, I was not talking about Republican voters.  I was talking about the Republican leadership.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  And they‘ve never spent an honest day‘s work.

DEAN:  And we want hardworking—we know there are a lot of hardworking Republicans out there...

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

DEAN:  ... who are rank-and-file working people.  We want them.

MATTHEWS:  I grew up in that—I grew up in a Republican family, and I got to tell you, my father and mother worked very hard up there in Philadelphia, where you are right now.  And they want a little respect, OK?

DEAN:  Well, they‘re going to—they have my respect. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

DEAN:  We just want them to vote Democrat from now on.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you, Governor Dean. 

Thanks for coming on and giving us that first response to the president‘s remarks last night on this very difficult war in Iraq.

Up next, Tony Blankley from “The Washington Times” and “TIME” magazine‘s Margaret Carlson on whether President Bush accomplished what he sought out to do last night in that big speech on Iraq.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Top Democrat Howard Dean tonight called the American war in Iraq a blunder.  That‘s a powerful statement.  And how will the White House react to it? 

Tony Blankley is the editorial page editor of “The Washington Times” and Margaret Carlson is a contributing editor with “TIME” magazine and editor at large with the magazine “This Week.”

Tony, what will the White House say to the word blunder?  I‘ve been waiting to hear this word.  We heard it tonight from Howard Dean. 

TONY BLANKLEY, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, “THE WASHINGTON TIMES”:  I have no idea what the White House is going to say. 

Obviously, they‘re going to disagree with it.  But I think there‘s a more interesting topic, to focus a little bit on the president‘s speech last night. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

BLANKLEY:  Because I think that he has largely lost the narrative of the Iraq war and the larger war on terror, because he only speaks about it once or twice a year. 

It‘s not what he said or didn‘t say last night.  He needs to start speaking on sort of a monthly basis, discussing how the war is going, positive and negative.  And if I could suggest a model for it, it would be Churchill‘s speeches from ‘39 to ‘43, not for the high oratory—no one is going to match Churchillian prose—but for the kind of detail that Churchill felt he needed to provide his people as a wartime democratic leader. 

Just one example.  In the Dunkirk speech, famous speech, he actually dealt with the nasty rumor that the Royal Air Force hadn‘t given air cover to the army during their evacuation.  And he said, people are talking about the fact, where was the Air Force?  I‘ve heard such words.  And then he went and dealt with it. 

I think that what the president needs to do, and has a very strong ability to do, because about 60 percent of the public has an open mind to this president—about 30, 35 percent have closed their minds—to regularly talk in pretty good detail about where, how he sees the two war efforts. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

But that—that requires, Margaret...

MARGARET CARLSON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, “TIME”:  Chris... 

MATTHEWS:  ... an honest exposition from the White House of every bad story, as well as good story. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  Right?

CARLSON:  The problem with Tony‘s suggestion is that the narrative is not good.  It doesn‘t favor the president‘s war. 

Does he want to admit—and, first of all, for his own credibility, he needs to say, listen there‘s no—there was not a connection between 9/11, al Qaeda, and Saddam Hussein, and that the planning for the war was so bad that we now face this catastrophic situation in Iraq that is not getting any better. 

We were not greeted as liberators.  We can‘t get enough recruits fast enough to continue to fight the war in numbers that John McCain says we need there in order to get out eventually. 

BLANKLEY:  Let me suggest...

CARLSON:  I mean, that‘s part of the huge problem, which is, you can‘t win the insurgency with the numbers we have there.  

CARLSON:  There aren‘t enough.  American don‘t want to send more. 

BLANKLEY:  Well, no, 14 percent actually do want to send more.  And 60 percent overall want to keep the levels the same or more.  So, the president is getting good support at the operational level from a very mature public, even though they don‘t like what‘s going on. 

But the problem with saying keep out of narrative is that, with the Internet, with cell phones that have cameras in them, with satellite uplinks, with Al-Jazeera, there is a narrative going on around the planet about war every day.  Either the president and the administration are in the—in there sharing their view or what has happened, sitting back passively, responding only when there‘s a negative story. 

They—they don‘t have a strong voice in that narrative.  I think they have got a very strong case to make. 

MATTHEWS:  Do we have a problem—excuse me—do we have a problem with the president not being in control of the language, the lips of his own people?  The vice president says the insurgency is in its last throes.  The secretary of defense says we have got 12 years of a war to fight here. 

BLANKLEY:  You know...

MATTHEWS:  Doesn‘t the president have to keep those guys corralled? 

BLANKLEY:  My hunch—my hunch is—I don‘t know this—my hunch is that probably the vice president would take back the word last throes.  We all say things in a conversation. 

This is picking on a word here or there.  The very point is, if the president is maintaining an ongoing narrative, then the odd statement here or there doesn‘t make any difference.  If he‘s not, then the odd statement leaps up and everybody looks at that one little statement.  So, I think there‘s a tremendous opportunity.

CARLSON:  The larger worry is what General Abizaid is saying, which is, it is going to go on for a long time.  The—we need more troops.  The insurgency is not in its last throes.  It is alive and thriving. 

And, at Fort Bragg last night, I think the soldiers knew that.  Had that speech been given before Congress, there would have been 10 standing ovations. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, Tony, have you seen the latest “U.S. News” study—“USA Today,” rather?

It shows that the group of American who are turning against the war, who haven‘t turned against it before, are young men, male conservatives.  They‘re the ones that are moving most against the war.

MATTHEWS:  They would be recruits, of course, in the military. 

BLANKLEY:  Look, look, look, I mean, we‘ve a national interest in making the right decisions on this policy.  The polls are going to be wherever they are. 

If the president is making his best case on a steady basis, he has got the best chance of—of—of bringing people around. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the facts are on his side? 

BLANKLEY:  I think the large strategic facts are on his side.  And—and he has much more of an advantage in discussing, we made a mistake here.  We need to recalibrate that. 

BLANKLEY:  But let me make one other quick point.

MATTHEWS:  But you‘re optimistic that the facts will lead us to support the war?  

BLANKLEY:  I don‘t know.  We don‘t know where the public is going to go on this.

But—but “The New York Times” had a wonderful editorial this morning.  I rarely complement “The New York Times,” because they told the left to stop—get over their hate and anger at Bush‘s blunder and start joining the debate about how we work from here.  I think the biggest problem the Democrats have is, they‘re living—this is Howard Dean.  His most—almost every comment was, we shouldn‘t have got into the war. 

OK. 

BLANKLEY:  Some people think that.  Some people don‘t.  But we‘re here.  We need an honest, intelligent, forward-looking debate. 

MATTHEWS:  Can I put to you the possibility that their argument is, why trust the people who got us into this war on facts that turned out not to be true to get us out of the war on the facts they present to us? 

BLANKLEY:  They can do that for the next three-and-a-half years.  I don‘t think it‘s very constructive for the country. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘ll be right back with Tony Blankley and Margaret Carlson to talk about the case of “TIME” magazine‘s Matt Cooper and Judy Miller of “The New York Times,” both facing jail time.  It looks like there‘s been a break in the case.

We‘re going to give it to you when we come back.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘ll get an update on the evacuation of the Capitol tonight.

HARDBALL returns after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

This week, MSNBC is taking a closer look at the right and wrong of the stories we‘re recovering, what they‘re calling and we‘re all calling “The Ethical Edge.”

We‘re back with Tony Blankley from “The Washington Times” and Margaret Carlson of “TIME” magazine. 

By the way, talking about journalists, Judy Miller and Matt Cooper, who lost their appeal on Monday before the Supreme Court, because they never took it up, and now face jail time for not revealing sources, well, at a hearing today, a federal judge gave the two reporters until this Friday to file any additional arguments. 

The judge says he‘ll make a final ruling next week on July 6. 

Here‘s what “TIME”‘s Matt Cooper had to say about today‘s hearing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT COOPER, “TIME”:  I want to say “TIME” has backed me repeatedly to the hilt in a very expensive long, lengthy legal case that went all the way to the Supreme Court.  On balance, I think I would prefer they not turn over the documents.  But “TIME” is—can make that decision for itself.  And I think it is—it is an honorable one, whatever they decide. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, we‘re talking serious business here, not just lawyers‘ rights—I mean journalists‘ rights. 

You know, one of the big reasons a lot of people supported the war Iraq was, we thought they might have nuclear weapons or a nuclear program.  And, of course, the issue involved here is whether reporters who got sourced about the identity of a CIA agent, an undercover agent, in apparent retribution for her husband‘s outing the administration on the issue of whether there really was any nuclear program going on in Iraq, the question is, Tony, can “TIME” magazine simply say a reporter won‘t give away the source; we will?

BLANKLEY:  Well, they can.  And it will have some effect. 

I‘m sort of a contrarian.  I don‘t think that reporters are going to lose their credibility because once every five or seven years, in a case involving a national security crime, they obey the law.  The fact is, we do business in this town every day on background.  You couldn‘t do political business in this town.  And I‘m sure every source I talk to, every source you talk to, would continue to talk with you and me on a daily basis, because they know that there‘s an infinitesimal chance that that one conversation is going to be part of what is going to be a national...

MATTHEWS:  A criminal investigation.

BLANKLEY:  A criminal investigation. 

Because most of our talk is not criminal.  It is about policy and personalities.  So, yes, I appreciate the value of the privilege.  It doesn‘t exist under federal law.  I don‘t think “TIME” or the reporters are going to lose a lot of credibility for doing that.  

MATTHEWS:  What happens if “TIME” magazine makes it looks like the soft—the softer wall to break through is the corporation who doesn‘t want to spend any more money and the journalist, who has the ethical issue of whether to break a trust?

CARLSON:  Right.  As Matt said...

MATTHEWS:  You just go to the corporation every time. 

CARLSON:  As Matt said later in that interview, corporations have different obligations than the reporter, because you don‘t want to be that one reporter who breaks the promise.  And if the corporation does it, and it can—I mean, they have the information in this instance.  “The New York Times” doesn‘t.  But “TIME” magazine does.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s probably on e-mail or notes.

CARLSON:  It‘s on e-mail and the editing and whatever, because there was a story. 

CARLSON:  Then it makes it moot for Matt Cooper.  And there‘s no source left to protect. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, here‘s how serious this is.  If “TIME” magazine, as the buzz seems to be going, based upon what Matt just said there, Matt Cooper, that the corporation will turn over the records which expose somebody for having committed maybe perjury for having denied doing this, maybe broken the federal law, which has never really been tested yet about giving away the identity of an agent, somebody is going to jail for a couple of years over this.

CARLSON:  Right.  Well...

MATTHEWS:  Because “TIME” magazine has said, we are not going to protect this source.  That‘s serious business. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

Well, remember when the president said, we want everything out?  Well, everything might get out. 

MATTHEWS:  Well...

CARLSON:  And there‘s somebody sitting in that administration, if not in the White House, who is willing to watch Matt Cooper and Judy Miller go to jail. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, so far, they have. 

CARLSON:  And—so far, they have.

And if they end up serving time, I think that‘s the way justice is done on Earth. 

MATTHEWS:  Wow.  What do you think? 

BLANKLEY:  I think that people who commit a crime shouldn‘t have any moral claim on—on anonymity. 

And if they get revealed and if they‘ve committed a crime, then so be it.  I don‘t...

CARLSON:  They should have come forward.

BLANKLEY:  I mean, that‘s not the average...

BLANKLEY:  The average source is not committing a crime when they give confidential information.  And if you‘ve committed a crime, then privilege generally shouldn‘t—shouldn‘t protect them.  So, I don‘t have a problem with that.

CARLSON:  But I would add that, in this case, that person should have come forward, rather than let this get to this point. 

MATTHEWS:  And go to jail. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  They would go to jail first.

CARLSON:  Watching innocent—two innocent people go to jail and go through this huge, long process. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think it‘s possible that a person ruthless enough to give away the identity of an American agent, their undercover identity with the CIA...

CARLSON:  Has a conscience? 

MATTHEWS:  ... would have any problem throwing a reporter to the wolves?

CARLSON:  Has a conscience? 

No, no.

MATTHEWS:  So, we‘re really—we‘re being rhetorical here, aren‘t we?

CARLSON:  Obviously, that person does not have a conscience. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

Thank you, Margaret Carlson.  Thank you, Tony Blankley.

When we return, the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol is over.  But we‘ll have the very latest on what happened tonight from NBC‘s Chip Reid. 

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back now on HARDBALL.

And, again, the story we‘ve covering tonight, the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol and the White House after a small plane violated protected airspace around Washington, D.C.  That plane is now on the ground.  The evacuation is over.  But the White House says President Bush was relocated for a very brief period. 

NBC‘s Chip Reid rejoins us on the phone.  He is back inside the Capitol Building itself. 

Chip, it is getting to be like those Cold War air drills, isn‘t it? 

REID:  It is a little bit, Chris.

I‘ll tell you, there was a moment of, you know, a lump in your throat at the beginning.  We were all watching the Senate vote on some legislation.  And, suddenly, all the senators just froze on the floor when a—some kind of announcement came over a loudspeaker system.  And after about three seconds of just standing there frozen, they all headed for the doors off the Senate floor. 

And we, of course, all realized that we better get going, too.  And by the time we got outside, it was very, very orderly.  But there were some people—I‘m not kidding.  There were some people actually smiling and joking.  Gosh, here we go again, another false alarm. 

Now, they were also moving away from the Capitol at the time, because everybody is thinking in the back of their minds that this could be it.  But, at the same time, I think when you‘ve been through this now for the third time—the first time was sheer panic.  The second time was quite orderly, but very nervous.  This time, it was very, very orderly.  And it is getting to the point where a small number of people are even getting a bit complacent. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Chip Reid, NBC‘s congressional correspondent. 

U.S. Congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts is with us as well.  He was at the Capitol when the evacuation began. 

Congressman Meehan, the thought, the image I got in my head of people with automatic weapon storming into the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, what was it like? 

REP. MARTY MEEHAN (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  Well, actually, Chris, I was just walking out the steps of the Capitol.  And there were three or four Capitol Police officers with machine guns coming down the steps, running down the, step saying, code orange.  Out, out, everybody out. 

And so, I was with Neil Abercrombie, congressman from Hawaii, John Tanner from Tennessee.  We went to Neil‘s car and we waited around.  And people didn‘t seem to be leaving.  Then they switched it to a code red.  And people started flowing out of the Capitol and out of all of the buildings. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, thank you very much for sticking with us, Congressman Meehan.  Is this getting to be routine? 

MEEHAN:  It is.  I mean, it was much more orderly this time than previous times.  And I think that people are certainly getting used to it. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you very much, Congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts. 

MEEHAN:  Thanks, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Stay with MSNBC all night for more on the evacuation story at the Capitol and at the White House.

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

END

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