MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: In just nine days, the Pennsylvania primary. Then, on May 6th, showdowns in Indiana and North Carolina. Obama and Clinton, another heated exchange.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY): Senator Obama's remarks are elitist, and they're out of touch. They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): And she says I'm out of touch? No, I'm in touch. I know exactly what's going on.
MR. RUSSERT: All the while, John McCain is thinking running mate and plotting a general election strategy.
With us: he helped put Bill and Hillary Clinton in the White House in 1992--Democrat James Carville; she worked for Bush 41, Bush 43 and Dick Cheney--Republican Mary Matalin; he worked for John McCain on his 2000 presidential campaign--Republican Mike Murphy; and he worked for Kerry, Gore and Barack Obama's key supporter Ted Kennedy--Democrat Bob Shrum. The race for the White House through the eyes of Carville, Matalin, Murphy and Shrum, only on MEET THE PRESS.
Welcome, all. That--what a week in politics. The very latest delegate count, polls, strategies, issues.
Here's the latest delegate count: Obama, 1416; Clinton, 1252. That's 164 lead for Obama. Superdelegates: 230, Obama; 259, Clinton. Add them all up, 1646 to 1511, a lead of 135 for Obama. Contests won: 28-14, Obama over Clinton. Total votes: 13.4 million, 12.7 million--that's 49-to-47, that's a cumulative vote.
Next stop is Pennsylvania a week from Tuesday. Latest Time magazine poll: Clinton, 44, Obama, 38. Two weeks later it'd be Indiana. Look at this race: 49-46, Clinton-Obama. And in North Carolina the same day, May 6th: Obama, 35; Clinton, 26; undecided, 39 percent.
But latest development: last Sunday Barack Obama went to a fundraiser in San Francisco, made some comments. They became public late on Friday afternoon. He was asked, according to his campaign, could he appeal to blue collar voters? And this was his answer: Everyone "just" describes "it to `white working-class don't wanna work--don't wanna vote for the black guy.' ...
"Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government that when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by--it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism. ... You go into some of" those "small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in" "Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years, nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Hillary Clinton responded this way:
SEN. CLINTON: Now, like some of you may have been, I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small town America. Senator Obama's remarks are elitist, and they're out of touch. They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Obama, in Indiana, sought to clarify his comments this way:
SEN. OBAMA: So I made the statement--so here, here's what's rich. Senator Clinton says, "Well, I don't think people are bitter in Pennsylvania, you know. I think Barack's being condescending." John McCain says, "Oh, how could he say that? How could he say that people are bitter? You know, he obviously is out of touch with people." Out of touch? Out of touch? I mean, here--John McCain, it took him three tries to finally figure out that the home foreclosure crisis was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he's saying I'm out of touch? Senator, Senator Clinton voted for a credit card-sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt after taking money from the financial services companies, and she says I'm out of touch?
No, I'm in touch. I know exactly what's going on. I know what's going on in Pennsylvania, I know what's going on in Indiana, I know what's going on in Illinois. People are fed up. They're angry and they're frustrated and they're bitter, and they want to see a change in Washington. And that's why I'm running for president of the United States.
MR. RUSSERT: But by yesterday Senator Obama was making this admission.
SEN. OBAMA (Muncie, Indiana, Saturday): I didn't say it as well as I should have because, you know, the truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation, those are important. That's what sustains us. But what is absolutely true is that people don't feel like they're being listened to.
MR. RUSSERT: James Carville, is this a real issue?
MR. CARVILLE: Yeah, I think it is at issue, and, and the other thing is just some slight historical inaccuracies in here. Jobs in Pennsylvania went up substantially under Bill Clinton. Most of these jobs were lost in, in the early '80s in fact. The gun culture has been part of Pennsylvania forever, for a long, long time. I remember "The Deer Hunter," which is one of the really great movies in 1978. I don't think that Senator Obama really understands the relationship of Pennsylvanians or Midwesterners or Southerners and, and their guns. I mean, I, I have eight guns myself. I'm hardly bitter about things.
And also that the, the people have been going to church in Pennsylvania for a long time, a really long time. I can take you to Catholic churches in Scranton where my--Governor Casey was both before and after the Quecreek coal mines flooded. But I don't know if it's devastating. I think it was a poor choice of words. I think the forum in San Francisco, like he was explaining, these people or somebody else, it was, was unfortunate and he's, he's going to have to do some more explaining about this. But his cultural history is way, way off, way off.
MR. RUSSERT: Bob Shrum.
MR. SHRUM: Well, he's not running for sociologist in chief, he's running for president. So I think he wishes he hadn't said it quite this way. I think he wishes he'd said it the same way he did the second day around.
Now, the truth is, James and I, starting 25 years ago in focus groups in Pennsylvania and polling etc., heard a lot of anger, a lot of frustration. Jobs did go up in Pennsylvania when Clinton was president, but not in places like I was born in--Connellsville, Uniontown, those small towns that have been abandoned. So there's an element of truth in what he said. But the underlying question here is whether McCain and Clinton can tag him with the term elitist, which is what they want. I mean, here's a guy who just finished paying his student loans, who was raised by a single mother and his grandparents, who doesn't know what it's like to have $100 million. So I think Senator Clinton has to be a little careful in pushing this because, frankly, she hasn't lived in the real world for 25 years; she's lived in a bubble. At a certain point I think it'll come back on her, but right now it's a blessing because it got the whole attention of the press off Bill Clinton's rewinding and replaying the tale of Tuzla, the tape that came back out of the network vaults about Mrs. Clinton's visit to Bosnia.
MR. RUSSERT: Mary Matalin.
MS. MATALIN: Well, the damage here is that what he said accurately reflects the current Democratic Party. It's more affluent. It's more liberal. That's the way it's moving. He was saying it to San Francisco Democrats, rich San Francisco Democrats, and it reflects the kind of Democrat that loses at the presidential level. In the last half century--greater than the last half century--Democrats have not won at the presidential level unless they have a centrist southern--a centrist Southerner. This is in the, in the, of the ilk of endives, Belgian endives, remember that...
MR. SHRUM: Right.
MS. MATALIN: ...in the '88 campaign? We didn't know what endives were, let alone Belgian endives. Now he's talking about arugula from Whole Foods or, with respect, the Wind Surfer, the Wind Surfer and Speedo. Those are not the kind of Democrats that Americans are going to elect. And that's what this is in the, in the tradition of. This is not--and he may be lulled into a false sense of "We can get past this," because the people he's talking to, as was the case with the Wright incident, will not react to this. But this is a general election nightmare for that candidate.
MR. MURPHY: Yeah, from the Republican point of view this is beyond beautiful because it works on so many levels. On one level, you've got the Hillary Clinton campaign out of money, out of gas and big trouble. This is like all of a sudden a huge shot of steroids to them. It gives them a reason to go, it'll give them a bounce in Pennsylvania where I think they were in danger of being upset. So now Hillary Clinton is still in business, the fight goes on. I think Barack probably still prevails, but in the primary it means more trouble between the Democrats, more ammunition for her, good for Republicans. But in the general election, though, this is a window into the wheelhouse of the Democratic Party. I agree with Mary. The--one of the big vexing things for Democratic elite is how to hell do working-class whites ever vote Republican? We give them all the class warfare stuff, but they still seem to do it. Well, they do it on culture. And the Democrats, many of them, look at this like some sociological disease to be explained away. And Barack, sitting in some $10 million backyard had to explain it like a sociologist...
MR. SHRUM: I guess I...
MR. MURPHY: ...to quote Shrum. Let me finish here, Bob, and then you can, you can defend him.
MR. SHRUM: All right.
MR. MURPHY: And now it becomes the defining point that hurts Barack among the very votes he's going to need in the general election to beat John McCain. This thing is going to stick because it's part of the way the, the Democrat Party of today is, is disconnected, I think, from the swing voters who are going to decide this election.
MR. RUSSERT: Bob Shrum, the, the words "cling to guns," "cling to religion," you're going to hear those over and over again...
MR. SHRUM: Yeah.
MR. RUSSERT: ...a suggestion of condescending talk.
MR. SHRUM: Yeah, I think he confused the comfort of the familiar with the fear of the unknown when he sort of lumped church and guns with immigration. I don't agree with any of this, and I guess I'll just dissent.
MR. MURPHY: You elitist.
MR. SHRUM: Yeah, right, you--listen, let me tell you, no one's sitting at this table that has it tough the way people in Pennsylvania have it tough.
MR. MURPHY: Uh-huh.
MR. SHRUM: And I think he was explaining what was going on with a lot of those folks. Now, should he have said it that way? No. I think it does give him the chance, by the way, to go back into these small towns and talk about what he really meant. More than that, I think this will be settled by the debate on Wednesday night. I think this will be a big issue in the debate. The way he handles it will, will establish whether he can create resonance with these folks he was talking about.
MR. MURPHY: But the question is, is what--the argument he made--forget about cling, an unfortunate word that he, of course, says he regrets--is the argument he makes true? Do people resonate to issues like the Second Amendment and, and the other things he mentioned--guns and trade and everything else...
MR. SHRUM: But I...
MR. MURPHY: ...because of economic distress, or is it legitimate to be a cultural conservative? That is the question he brought up.
MR. SHRUM: People go with sociology, and he shouldn't be a sociologist.
MR. MURPHY: So he's wrong.
MR. SHRUM: People--sociology says that when people are in distress, when they're economically deprived, they, they hold onto the things in their lives that give them some sense of security and identity. That's faith, that can be hunting, that can be all of those things.
MR. MURPHY: But he implies it's a illegitimate.
MR. SHRUM: Should he have said it? No.
MR. MURPHY: He implies it's a construction of economic...(unintelligible).
MR. SHRUM: No, he does not imply it. No, he does not.
MR. CARVILLE: (Unintelligible). There are a substantial number of people in this country that hunt for pleasure, or they have guns and they shoot for pleasure. It--they, they...(unintelligible). They're people that go to church. And, Bob, you and I know this, that people that go to church because they're people of faith. There are people that go to church because it's a joyous experience.
MR. SHRUM: You mean like Robert...(unintelligible)...goes to church.
MR. CARVILLE: Yeah, whatever. I'm just, I'm just saying that in--culturally, he, he, he, he--I know he's not sociologist in charge, but that he didn't have his kind of history right. He needs to have a better history and a better understanding. I think--and I think Bob is right, he's going to have a chance in the debate, and he's going to have a chance to, to, to kind of re-explain himself here. But this statement was really off in terms of his--its, its, its accuracy and understanding who "these people are." They're--they'll--there's a large segment of the Democratic Party that would like to win an election without these kind of white, working-class voters, and we need a substantial...
MR. SHRUM: Well, I come, I, I, I come from these folks.
MR. CARVILLE: I know you don't. Bob, I've worked...
MR. SHRUM: I come from those folks, and I want to win with those folks.
MR. CARVILLE: I--right, I--but...
MR. SHRUM: But let, let, let me say, I, I think we're being unfair to the guy. I thought two weeks ago everybody was being unfair to Hillary Clinton saying she ought to get out of the race.
MR. CARVILLE: Right.
MR. SHRUM: And I wrote an op-ed piece saying she ought to stay in and she ought to fight this thing until it's decided. But I think we're being unfair to him. I understand why these guys are. The truth of the matter is, he's describing a, a condition that exists in a lot of these towns that have been abandoned. I was born in one of them. The population is half of what it used to be.
MR. MURPHY: Right.
MR. CARVILLE: And I think you're right, he's going to have a chance to explain it.
MR. MURPHY: Yeah.
MS. MATALIN: It's called, it's called--excuse me, it's called a dynamic global economy. You cannot...
MR. SHRUM: I hope you guys go into Pennsylvania and explain it that way.
MS. MATALIN: Let, let me, can I say something more practical about this, getting out of the anthropological study of it? He's not the candidate that he's promised to be. This is a very important point. We know he's not been vetted properly because every week something comes out. He's--hasn't been tested properly. He's never run a tough race like this. The reason it's important that he said it so poorly is because he holds out the promise of being the "great articulator," the "great communicator" of the new Democratic Party. And when he's under--he, the, the longer he goes, the more he's exposed, and this is not an isolated incident, to be a not particularly overwhelming candidate. And that's when there's really no issues. You're not fighting over issues. Wait till he gets up against John McCain where there are real issue differences.
MR. SHRUM: Mary, if I were supporting the candidate who can't tell Sunnis from Shias, I'm not sure how fine a point I'd make about the exactitude of vocabulary.
MR. MURPHY: Oh, unfair, Bob. (Unintelligible).
MS. MATALIN: Whoa.
MR. CARVILLE: This is a defining--yeah.
MS. MATALIN: You're going to defend Barack Obama with that old-timey politics?
MR. SHRUM: No, no, you just, you just said they used, he--you can't do it because his vocabulary is inexact.
MS. MATALIN: Bob, it...
MR. MURPHY: No, this is part of what...
MR. SHRUM: I think he--I said, I think he made a mistake. He said it the wrong way.
MR. MURPHY: Yeah.
MR. SHRUM: OK?
MR. MURPHY: Yeah, but you essentially agree with the constructivist argument. I don't think the country does. We're going to test it in the election. The question is, will this start to define him in the general election? Should he be the nominee in a bad way? And I think it will because cultural issues are where the Democratic Party always fumbles, and he is well on his way to fumbling. He's turning into Mike Dukakis, that kind of Democrat.
MS. MATALIN: Yes.
MR. MURPHY: If that sticks, he loses.
MR. CARVILLE: Let me, let me, let me--first of all, and I don't think Bob is right. I think, I think this is, is something that he's going to have to explain. You think that, that John McCain is not going to have to explain the fact that he said the economy was fundamentally sound? Or John McCain is not going to have to explain the fact that he says that people's economic struggles are psychological? Oh, yeah. Can I tell you something? It's going to come again and again and again. And, and, and Barack Obama can get up to speed a lot faster on some of the sort of history--cultural history of this country than John McCain can get up on economics, I promise you that.
MR. RUSSERT: All right, Mr. Carville. Speaking of explaining, your former boss was in Booneville, Indiana, the other day, and this is what he had to say about his wife.
FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON: There was a lot of fulminating because Hillary one time late at night when she was exhausted misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995. Did y'all see all that? Oh, they blew it up.
And you would have thought, you know, that she'd robbed a bank the way they all carried on about this. And some of them, when they're 60, they'll forget something when they're tired at 11:00 at night.
MR. RUSSERT: All right. First of all, it was 1996 rather than '95, which--much different time frame in Bosnia. There was no immediate explanation or apology; it took at least a week. And it didn't happen late at night just once. In fact, the first time we can find was back in December. Let's watch.
(Videotape, December 29, 2007)
SEN. CLINTON: We used to say in the White House that if a place was too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the first lady. So, you know, we landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire.
MR. RUSSERT: And then two months later at 3:00 in the afternoon.
(Videotape, February 29, 2008)
SEN. CLINTON: I remember particularly a trip to Bosnia where the welcoming ceremony had to be moved inside because of sniper fire.
MR. RUSSERT: And then three weeks later, bright and early in the morning.
(Videotape, March 17, 2008)
SEN. CLINTON: I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.
MR. RUSSERT: Then later that same day:
(Videotape, March 17, 2008)
SEN. CLINTON: There was no greeting ceremony, and we basically were told to run to our cars. Now, that is what happened.
MR. RUSSERT: What actually happened was leaving the plane and strolling over to a rather extended greeting ceremony, just contrary to the way Senator Clinton had explained it.
MR. CARVILLE: Look, I love the man, OK? And, and he taught me the lesson--every time I teach a, a, a class on political consulting--he taught me a lesson. And he said, "You know, every time that we make it about us, it hurts us. Every time we make it about them, it helps us." And President Clinton broke his first fundamental rule of politics, is the voters want an election about them, not us. And I think his wife's advice to him, as I understand it, she told him to shut up on this subject, which probably is some pretty good advice. I--but I think that he understands that and, and I hope, you know--and I think that, that Senator Clinton's campaign and President Clinton are going to spend the rest of the time talking about voters and their problems and not talking about--you know, any, any time that the, the, the history of the Clintons is when it, when it make the election about themselves, they don't do as well. When they make the elections about the voters, they do better.
MR. RUSSERT: What about that 3 AM phone call, if she's exhausted at 11 PM?
MR. CARVILLE: You know what? He's--I, I love, I love that man so much, and he, and, and he gets out there and he defends his wife maybe too much. He just, you know...
MR. SHRUM: He's kind of an unguided missile in this campaign.
MR. CARVILLE: Sometimes. Sometimes.
MR. SHRUM: And he's hit her rather than...
MR. CARVILLE: Right.
MR. SHRUM: ...the opponent.
MR. CARVILLE: Well, and I had to look at this again today.
MR. SHRUM: And, and, look, look...
MR. MURPHY: You know, it's funny, but he's become a bit of a self-parody. That's why we're all laughing, and that's the Clinton problem. And they're so casual with the truth, an admittedly small thing, I don't understand how her mind works to think about it. I--when you're going to a combat zone, you bring Sinbad the comedian in case things get rough? I, I, I--you know, it's funny, but it's also the Clinton problem and the Clinton fatigue issue.
MR. RUSSERT: But a bigger issue, perhaps in terms of substantive issues, was--is trade. And I want to go back to Ohio when there were revelations that Barack Obama's economic adviser had met with the Canadians and had talked about the North American Free Trade Agreement. It became a very serious issue, widely discussed throughout the campaign. And this is what Senator Clinton said then.
(Videotape, March 3, 2008)
SEN. CLINTON: I would ask you to look at this story, substitute my name for Senator Obama's name and see what you would do with this story. That's what I would ask you to do.
Just ask yourself, if some of my advisers had been having private meetings with foreign governments, basically saying "Ignore what I'm saying because it's only political rhetoric," I think it, I think it raises serious questions.
MR. RUSSERT: In fact that is now what has happened. This was some of the stories: "Bill Clinton voiced `support' for a controversial Colombia free-trade pact that his wife has fiercely opposed--and he accepted $800,000 in speaking fees from a group boosting the agreement. ...
"The news came just two days after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed her chief strategist, Mark Penn, from his post after he embarrassed the campaign by consulting with Colombia government officials over the trade deal." His company was paid some $300,000.
Bob Shrum, does this affect the campaign?
MR. SHRUM: It affects it some, and it raises questions about how strongly she actually feels on the trade issue. But look, Mark Penn's problem was not that he met with the Colombians. I, I think James may have had the same experience I've had. I mean, when we went in the Gore campaign, the Kerry campaign we gave up the commercial clients because there was a potential conflict of interest. But his real problem, the original sin, was coming up with a strategy--or no strategy, as James sometimes puts it--that left her as the establishment candidate in a year of change. And what they did was convert her inevitability into improbability. They didn't understand Democratic primaries. I don't think Mark has, has much experience running winning Democratic primaries for Senate, governor or president. That's why he should have gone.
MR. MURPHY: Well, yeah. I--James is closer to her than I--it's been a flawed campaign strategically from the beginning, and fundamentally, in a change election, she--all this stuff is assembled for the same old politics. And they habitually, by just their, their method of politics, make it worse. Their activity, their style, whether it's witting or unwitting, is part of their message and it's part of their problem. It's why Barack, even with all these problems, I think will still be the nominee.
MR. CARVILLE: Yeah. Look, if you're going to insist that you be called the chief strategist, as Mr. Penn did, the least you could do is come up with a strategy, I mean. But, but having said that, he is no longer the chief strategist, and that's why he's gone. Look, I want to say this very clearly. Senator Clinton was never very much for a free trade agreement. During the campaign, I remember, as does everybody in that campaign remember, she was very cool on the idea of NAFTA. I--President Clinton is more--has always been much more of a free trader than she is. In the White House, everybody that works there, David Gergen included, says that she was always pretty cool on this stuff. He's always been--he, he pushed for NAFTA. He's been much more of a free trader than she is. That, that is a difference there. And I remember very clearly from the campaign, because it was maybe the only time that I ever was kind of in a different place on an issue than she was. So that, that--there is a--and, and anybody there will attest to that fact over a period of time. He's much more of a free trader than she is.
MR. RUSSERT: Mary.
MS. MATALIN: But that's not what she said in her book, so this is the worst political pandering. Bill Clinton is right. Mark Penn has not been fired, but he was right. This Colombia FTA that they're politically pandering on, and NAFTA before that, trade is 40 percent of our growth, 40 percent of our GDP right now. Colombia has renegotiated this thing 506 days ago. It's the--it is--we cannot be prosperous in a global economy unless we're engaged in trade. I don't--how--this is--they're going backwards. They're going--before Bill Clinton--Bill Clinton did move your party to the center on these future issues. Trade in a global economy is the only way to have prosperity.
MR. SHRUM: But there are two, two problems here, Mary. The first is whether there's a Republican president or a Democratic president, you're not going to get these trade agreements approved until there's some kind of labor and environmental protections.
MS. MATALIN: Bob...
MR. SHRUM: That's the reality.
MS. MATALIN: ...know your reality. They...
MR. SHRUM: Mary, let me finish. A lot of Republicans are...
MS. MATALIN: Bush put it...
MR. SHRUM: ...going to vote against them.
MS. MATALIN: No.
MR. SHRUM: A lot of Republicans from these states are going to vote against them.
MS. MATALIN: No.
MR. SHRUM: Secondly, I think Hillary Clinton's problem on this is that she was a good soldier in the Clinton administration. Whatever she thought privately, she had people in, she pushed for NAFTA, all of that. I take James' word that she was skeptical about it during the campaign.
MR. RUSSERT: Mike Murphy, is John McCain going to go to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and say, "I'm a free trader. We got to push these trade deals"?
MR. MURPHY: He's going to be to the right on trade of the Democrats, which he's already paid a political price for. He went...
MR. CARVILLE: What is right...
MR. MURPHY: Let me finish.
MR. CARVILLE: What is right on trade?
MR. MURPHY: Let, let me finish. John McCain, unlike any time in the Clinton history other than Bill Clinton on trade, where I'll give him some credit, went to Michigan, told a bunch of Michigan autoworkers the truth about that industry and lost the primary. So you can't question McCain's political courage on these issues. The Republican Party is the free trade party, even though it's unpopular at times because it's easy to scapegoat trade. But I think McCain will be courageous on this. He will run on a free trade platform. There is some fairness and equity issues in trade; he'll address that. And I don't speak for the campaign, but I know him well. But I--you know, and they're going to pander to, to the Luddites who say, "Yeah, let's run a protectionist country," and then we're really going to make a lot of people bitter in small town America.
MR. CARVILLE: Let me tell you something. When you tell people that their economic problems are psychological, you're a courageous guy. You, you got a courageous guy to go tell people that. What--"What the hell, it's all psychological."
MR. MURPHY: Well, you know there's more to what he said than that.
MR. SHRUM: I'd rather he said what Obama said that than.
MR. CARVILLE: Yeah. That's a--that takes a lot of political courage.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me tie all this up before we take a break. It is remarkable, here we are in April 2008, and Hillary Clinton's campaign for the nomination could be in trouble. There's no doubt about it. By every...
MR. CARVILLE: Absolutely. And I agree. This is--I think Senator Obama yesterday said something that I can, I can definitely agree on. He says, "Indiana's going to be the tie-breaker." And this thing, if she wins Pennsylvania, he wins North Carolina, I--who would have thought, when this entire process started, that Indiana was going to be the absolute crucial state here. And that's, and that's by Senator Obama's own definition himself, and I think that he's right. I think that Indiana is going, going to pretty much tell us a lot about which way this is going to go.
MR. SHRUM: James, you're clinging to Indiana like a life preserver. You worried about North Carolina?
MR. CARVILLE: I'm asking--I'm going with what Senator Obama said.
MR. SHRUM: No, no, look...
MR. CARVILLE: I'm agreeing with his statement.
MR. SHRUM: The fact is, she has to win Pennsylvania by a big margin, she has to win most of the rest of the states by a big margin, she has to break the mold by either winning or coming very close to North Carolina. Otherwise, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, numbers are stubborn things, and he'll end up being the nominee.
MR. MURPHY: But it's even, it's even more than that. Unless he keeps channeling Mike Dukakis every day and totally implodes, which is now possible, I think, the--there is--he can--she can lose the nomination, and the Democratic Party can, can go on and be formidable. To take the nomination away from Barack now requires a big superdelegate U-turn that's going to look like a smoke-filled deal and rip the Democratic Party in half. You cannot put that Barack toothpaste back in the tube unless Barack totally implodes. And he has not done that.
MR. RUSSERT: She was such the overwhelming favorite. If you go back and read anything in 2006, 2007 Politico, Jim VandeHei and, and David Paul Kuhn wrote this the other day: "Hillary Rodham Clinton wants voters to decide the nomination based on who can coolly and competently run the country. She had better hope they don't study her recent campaign too closely for the answer.
"Clinton has overseen two major staff shake-ups in two months. She has left a trail of unpaid bills and unhappy vendors and had to loan her own campaign $5 million to keep it afloat in January. Her campaign badly underestimated her main adversary, Barack Obama, miscalculated the importance of organizing caucus states, and was caught flat-footed after failing to lock up the nomination on Super Tuesday.
"It would be easy to dismiss all of this as fairly conventional political stumbling if she hadn't made her supreme readiness and managerial competence the central issue of her presidential campaign."
Is that fair, Mary?
MS. MATALIN: Yes, it's fair. I mean, what's--of course it is.
MR. RUSSERT: Is that fair, James?
MR. CARVILLE: No. I--it's fair to say that her campaign didn't have a strategy. It's also fair to say this is probably the best, most courageous toughest presidential candidate that we're ever seen anywhere, anyplace in our lifetimes, OK?
MR. SHRUM: You sound like Jack Valenti. I mean, that's a little over the top.
MR. CARVILLE: She is--she is--her personal performance in this campaign, her personal tenacity has been awesome. Her campaign is--I can't defend it. Look, Bush ran a very good campaign in 2000. Look what that got us.
MR. SHRUM: Can I, can I, can I defend her without suggesting that she's the finest, most courageous candidate ever? Ronald Reagan had a big staff shake-up and went on to have an effective presidency.
MR. CARVILLE: Sure did.
Mr. SHRUM: Bill Clinton, although it was quieter, had a big staff shake-up in which James was put in charge in 1992 and went on to have an effective presidency. So I don't think that's the standard by which she would--should be judged. The flaw in the Clinton campaign, as Mike said, as I've said, as--we all say it--was they misread the year. The people advising her misread the year, she took bad advice. They went out and ran her as a semi-incumbent. They almost aped Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign.
MR. MURPHY: Well, yeah, but I, I, I can't buy into that because--I agree it's been an awful campaign, but I--it's been the, you know, gold standard in awful campaigns. But Hillary Clinton, it's a little different for her because the campaign is a bigger part of her managerial biography. She was not elected governor of Arkansas. She was not elected president of the United States. This was the first big important enterprise, other than the health care reform, that she's had direct managerial responsibility for, and it has been a disaster. I salute her tenacity, I agree with that. But it has not been a smart campaign, an insightful campaign, or a well-run campaign, and that is a metric by which to judge her presidency.
MR. RUSSERT: One last point on Senator Obama. Elitist, condescending, words that are being used to describe him in light of his comments about small-town America. Also at that same fundraiser in San Francisco this has been written:
"At a fundraiser in San Francisco last weekend, Obama was answering a question about what he" could--"would look for in a running mate if he wins the nomination. `I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I'm not as expert on,' he replied. `I think a lot of people assume that might be some kind of military thing to make me look more commander-in-chief-like. Ironically, this is an area--foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain.'"
MR. CARVILLE: Well, I, I mean, he's--I guess...
MS. MATALIN: Based on what?
MR. CARVILLE: Yeah, I agree.
MR. SHRUM: You know how that'll be judged in the end? That'll be judged if he's the nominee by how they perform in the debates. It's very much like John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in '60. Nixon said experience counts; Kennedy went in to the debates. People looked at the debates, they said Kennedy can do the job. That's how that issue's going to be decided.
MR. CARVILLE: I, I, I would expect anybody who runs for president would think that they're better than, than, than the other person, but I don't exactly--I mean, to be honest with you, I was a little bit--what is he looking for in a running mate? Maybe somebody more economically grounded? I, I'm not sure what the comment meant, but I admire, I admire his, his kind of thinking that, "Look, I know this."
MR. MURPHY: I, I think one of the political rules of running-mate picking is to be sure not to choose somebody who looks like a signal by your weaknesses. You know, where you choose what you're not to remind everybody what you're not, because generally the VP doesn't do a lot for you. I think he needs a small town, gun owning pro-Christian now--so I nominate Carville--who's also valuable.
MR. CARVILLE: (Unintelligible). Does that count? I could shoot a gun before I could ride a bike.
MR. RUSSERT: So then John McCain shouldn't pick someone young?
MR. MURPHY: If, if John McCain picks a young guy in a jogging suit, it's a incredibly stupid move because it's like the casting rule. You know, if you're Robert Redford's agent, and they want Brad Pitt to be the co-star, and you're like, "No, we want Ernest Borgnine." You know, it's a balancing act. So, no, I don't, I don't, you can be too clever by half.
MR. SHRUM: Look, you know the political, you know the political rule that this whole Obama thing illustrates? There's no such thing as a closed fundraiser. In the era of the cell phones...
MR. MURPHY: Yeah.
MR. SHRUM: ...where anybody can record anything...
MR. CARVILLE: Right.
MR. SHRUM: ...you're on camera or on the air all the time.
MR. CARVILLE: It does.
MS. MATALIN: I go back to this point: He's not as good a candidate as he professes to be, and all the superdelegates...
MR. SHRUM: You, I know you hope this, Mary. I know you hope this.
MS. MATALIN: I have no dog in this fight.
MR. MURPHY: But it's the...(unintelligible)...the issue.
MR. SHRUM: The only thing that, the only thing I like, Mary, is that you consistently defend Senator Clinton, and I look forward, a few months from now, if she's the nominee, to seeing what you say when you come on this show.
MS. MATALIN: Did I defend her? I have--I am not for them. I'm for John McCain. He's not a good candidate. You superdelegates are supposed to be there for a purpose, not to follow the will of the people, but get somebody who can win in...
MR. CARVILLE: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Murphy, you also worked for Mitt Romney.
MR. MURPHY: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you think he'd be a good running mate?
MR. MURPHY: Well, of all the hardball questions, Tim, I've ever--yeah, I actually think he would be a very good running mate.
MR. RUSSERT: Oh, I knew I'd get him on that one!
MR. MURPHY: McCain--ah, you got me on it! No, no, but look. Three reasons: I don't--you know, the first reasons are: good person, but there are a lot of people like that the, in the top list. But what I like about Romney is, the right states. He's kind of a prime minister type who can talk very good about the economy, and I think his fundraising energy is something the Republican Party's going to need against the Barack Obama money machine.
MR. CARVILLE: Why're we having this conversation? Everybody knows who John McCain's needs to pick: Colin Powell. The man has no other...
MR. SHRUM: Oh...
MR. CARVILLE: Yes, if he picks Powell...
MS. MATALIN: What sense is--oh, James.
MR. CARVILLE: If he picks Powell, OK, what, what--the person that somebody ought to pick is the one that makes...
MR. MURPHY: Talk about a...(unintelligible)...from the Democrats. Powell's great, but then it's a debate on...(unintelligible).
MR. SHRUM: I don't think Powell would do it.
MR. SHRUM: I think, I think...(unintelligible).
MR. CARVILLE: What--I think that would be the strongest candidate. That'd be the strongest candidate, by far!
MR. RUSSERT: All right, but Colin, Colin Powell's spoken about this. So we're going to take a quick break, come back and talk about Colin Powell's advice to McCain, Clinton and Obama about Iraq. Be right back with these four extraordinary political strategists after this.
MR. RUSSERT: More on this historic race for the White House after this brief station break.
MR. RUSSERT: And we are back.
Mr. Carville, this rolled out on the table, Colin Powell as VP for John McCain. He was on television after General Petraeus testified before Congress, was talking about Iraq and what the next president of the United States--be it Republican or Democrat--would have to do. Let's listen.
MR. COLIN POWELL: I'll tell you what they're all going to face, whichever one of them becomes president on January 21st of 2009. They will face a military force--a United States military force that cannot sustain--continually sustain 140,000 people deployed in Iraq and the 20-odd or 25,000 people we have deployed in Afghanistan and our other deployments. They will have to continue to draw down at some pace. None of them are going to have the flexibility of just saying, "We're out of here. Turn off the switch, turn off the lights, we're leaving."
MR. RUSSERT: Mary Matalin, basically he's saying to John McCain, "Don't say we're staying for a long time, because we can't," and saying to Clinton and to Obama, "Don't say you're getting out quickly, because it's going to take a little time."
MS. MATALIN: Right. So--but, but what he's essentially saying, and the argument that's going to be before the electorate and why the Democrats are going to lose this argument is are we at war? If you think this is a situation to be managed, then you have a set of criteria for going forward. If you think it's a war, if you think they are at war with us and we need to, to defend ourselves, then we have to figure out a way to deploy what we have that ensures our security. And it's, it's going to look different--we've been saying the same thing for five years--than it's--than any previous war's ever looked at. And what the Democrats are trying to do, because they cannot win this argument that we're not at war, now they want to talk about the cost. So their, their, their subargument is then the cost of defeat is less than the cost of victory. So...
MR. SHRUM: That's not my argument. My, my argument is that no one was at war with us in Iraq until we went to war with Iraq, number one. Number two, a reasonable period of time to get out, 16 months, 18 months, two years. That is a reasonable period of time to get out. Number three, John McCain benefited from the surge during primaries. He has now made himself a hostage to events in Iraq, and, as we saw in Basra in the last couple of weeks, as we can read in David Broder's column in The Washington Post this morning where he said there's been no political progress at all, I don't think John McCain's going to win the argument on the war. I think he's going to be hurt badly in the next few months by being all-out for the war.
MR. MURPHY: That's the Democratic primary argument.
MS. MATALIN: Right.
MR. MURPHY: In the general election, this has yet to really be fought out.
MR. SHRUM: Why do you guys keep saying that?
MR. MURPHY: Because it is.
MR. SHRUM: Sixty-five percent of people...
MS. MATALIN: Because.
MR. SHRUM: ...oppose the war.
MS. MATALIN: They're for it when you, when you--this is why you resist talking about progress.
MR. SHRUM: I don't know why you keep saying it. This is not 2004.
MR. MURPHY: No, that's...
MS. MATALIN: Because they're for it and they think it's worth it when they understand that progress is being made. That's why you keep denying that progress is being made. Do you know what political progress is? People telling our soldiers where these roadside bombs are being buried. That's a political progress.
MR. CARVILLE: But...
MR. SHRUM: Mary, did you see all of the soldiers who were interviewed from that piece last week, and they all said they were for Obama and they wanted to get the war--out of the war as quickly as possible?
MR. MURPHY: We're going to, we're going to, we're going to fight this out. The Democrats are going to try to redo the congressional elections. They talk about managing outcomes. John McCain is going to talk about fighting for victory. And the country's going to decide. Let's see what happens. I don't agree that we're going to have--be...
MR. CARVILLE: OK, I'll tell you a general election argument, is a d--somebody's going to get up and say, "We got a three and a half--we paying for a $3 1/2 trillion war and $3.50 for a gallon of gas, and something's got to change here and change fast."
MR. SHRUM: Right.
MR. CARVILLE: And, and, and our, our military is overstretched. And what Colin Powell said, I think a lot of people agree with. We got to figure out a way to start getting people out of there and rebuilding our own forces at a point. And I think they agree with that.
MR. SHRUM: McCain's...
MR. RUSSERT: If the voters are concerned, concerned about the economy, and they are, concerned about the war, and they are, and all the issues they say, "We prefer the Democratic Party," on a generic test, they prefer the Democrat over the Republican by 12 points, and then you match McCain-Clinton, McCain-Obama, it's dead even. In fact, in one poll, Marist College in New York state, a ticket of John McCain and Condoleezza Rice beat Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, no matter who's on top of that ticket. What's going on?
MR. CARVILLE: In, in 1992 in June, Bill Clinton was running third to George H.W. Bush and to Ross Perot. In 2004, in the Gallup poll in March, that Kerry was running like, I think, 14 points ahead of Bush, something like that. It was huge.
MR. SHRUM: It wasn't 14, but you know how to hurt a guy, James.
MR. CARVILLE: OK, all right. And you know what? It may be a very close general election. I don't take anything for granted, but I do think when people are confronted with the choice, and, and, and the Democratic slogan is going to be, on McCain, "If you like the last eight, you're going to love the next four."
MR. MURPHY: But the signals fit...
MR. CARVILLE: And that is going to be, that's going to be the--it fits completely, look at his economic plan.
MR. MURPHY: This is the--if that's the Democratic frame of the race, and I actually with James...
MR. CARVILLE: It's a Democratic thing, yeah.
MR. MURPHY: ...about, about the, the polls being that--not that reliable. I believe polls after the two convention speeches in a general election, just like I always say about the primary, after the first contest. But the Democrats want to say "Bush third term," that's their whole campaign. You're going to hear it a million times. The question is, is that really McCain? And as somebody who was there in the epic battle between McCain and Bush for control of the Republican Party, I can guarantee you, for all the great things about President Bush, McCain is his own guy, he is totally different, he's different on a lot of important issues, which is why he's special and he's holding up in the polling data now in a time of horrible Republican environment. And it's why he's so formidable. They're going to run the most liberal guy they've had since McGovern if it's Obama.
MR. SHRUM: Oh...
MS. MATALIN: Yeah.
MR. MURPHY: That is true. Ask the National Journal.
MR. SHRUM: Labels, labels, labels. You know, the National Journal...
MR. MURPHY: Ask the National Journal. Oh, yeah, that's a right wing magazine, Bob? You're right...
MR. SHRUM: If you don't show, if you don't show up...
MS. MATALIN: Bob.
MR. SHRUM: If you don't show up, the only votes they count are the votes that are close. You show up only for those.
MR. MURPHY: McCain has the credibility on political reform...
MR. SHRUM: Can we, can we finish this?
MR. MURPHY: ...on, on, on climate issues and on the war that is different than any other Republicans. It makes him a great general election candidate, and it's why he's doing well.
MR. SHRUM: Look, the, this is, McCain...
MR. MURPHY: And I think, remarkably, he's going to prevail.
MR. SHRUM: Can I be...
MR. RUSSERT: Have Republicans lucked out with McCain?
MR. MURPHY: Yeah, there's tremendous luck involved. I'll admit it. It's the truth.
MR. SHRUM: Yeah, yeah.
MR. MURPHY: You know, they're--the--I kind of want--I'd love to be in the bar with a couple of these superdelegates now on the Democratic side who are thinking, you know, old political pros saying, you know, "On one hand, we got, we got either blow up the world and nominate a candidate who, unfortunately, half the country think flies around on a broom, or we got this guy who's channeling Dukakis. We've got these--in a great year, we've got two candidates in a general election who are trouble. How did this happen to us?"
MR. SHRUM: I think the characterizations, characterizations of both Democrats are wrong, but I want to stay on McCain for a minute, be analytical.
MR. MURPHY: Wait and see.
MR. RUSSERT: Yeah.
MR. SHRUM: What's happening here is a competition between biography and policy. John McCain, as biography, is not George Bush, doesn't look like George Bush. He's a maverick, people think he's different from George Bush. On the great issues before the country--Iraq, Iran, where he said, "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran"--he is very close to George Bush, in fact maybe more extreme.
MR. MURPHY: No, he isn't.
MR. SHRUM: And on the economy, this is someone who says the economic problems are psychological, who is obviously incompetent when he talks about the economy, but more than that, doesn't seem to care about it. Remember that moment in 1992 when Bush looked at his watch in the debate? When John McCain starts talking about the economy, it's almost like he's looking at his watch all the time.
MR. MURPHY: Oh, that is such a stretch a Bob.
MR. RUSSERT: All that, all that being said, while Senator Obama and Senator Clinton are going after each other, John McCain is going to the inner cities, going to Appalachia, going out...
MR. MURPHY: Right. Right.
MR. RUSSERT: ...reaching out to people, positioning himself, defining himself, framing himself. Is this a problem for the Democrats?
MR. CARVILLE: Well, first of all, first of all, he's going to, to Iraq and completely confusing everything about it, it's a...
MR. RUSSERT: But, James, is it a problem for the Democrats that they're still fighting...
MR. CARVILLE: You know, it is--you know...
MR. RUSSERT: ...while the Republicans are united?
MR. CARVILLE: ...to, to, to one extent it is, to another extent, that registration in a, in a, in these primaries have gone way up. Look, it, you know, but, when people focus on this, in the general election, I am, I am--and once they focus on like, you know, John McCain saying these problems are psychological or saying the economic fundamentals in this country are strong, I think they're going to vote for change. And I do think that John McCain, if anything, represents really more of the same in foreign policy, economic policy and Iraq policy.
MR. MURPHY: But see, that's the problem.
MR. CARVILLE: And that, and that is what--that--he--his Iraq policy's the same as Bush, his economic policy's calling--by the way, he's calling for, for cuts in the corporate tax rates. You know what corporate profits did in the last seven years? They soared. And that...
MR. MURPHY: Well, the reason McCain gives my Democratic pals here such conniption fits is he is the one Republican who is change. He's been a reformer his whole career. He's not the Bush third term, and he's got his own independent credibility, and the country knows it, which is why he's so formidable.
Now, the mistake the McCain folks could make is to run the Republican base campaign that we've proven now, after a couple of midterm elections, doesn't work. He's got to--McCain has to be McCain, which has some risk to it. The base won't always like it. But that's a very...
MR. RUSSERT: And may stay home.
MR. MURPHY: Could, but I think that's a safe bet for McCain to make because that's the winning campaign for McCain. And he's moving--big economic speech next week, this tour. He's moving in that direction while the Clinton-Obama contest continues and gets even nastier with Clinton brought back to life by this new gaffe over small town America.
MR. RUSSERT: Mary Matalin, if John McCain distances himself from George W. Bush and the Republican base, emphasizes things like climate change, like political reform, what does that do to the Republican turnout?
MS. MATALIN: He's--he is wearing very well. He is, he is speaking the language of base conservatives while not running a base campaign. Right now he's getting five times more crossovers, Democrats, than either of those--the Democrats are getting Republicans. He's getting twice as many independents as they are getting, and he's winning on all the issues. He's laid out a growth economic plan, he's laid out a practical housing crisis plan, and people are not going to listen to this old-timey polemics--or palaver of...
MR. SHRUM: The one, the one thing that's untrue...
MS. MATALIN: ...you people...
MR. SHRUM: ...Mary, is he's not winning on all the issues.
MS. MATALIN: Yes, he is.
MR. SHRUM: In fact, as Tim pointed out, what's remarkable is that he's running the race he is while he's losing on those issues. I ultimately think those issues reassert themselves. But let's be honest about this. Tim's right, McCain was the strongest Republican candidate. He is, while the Democrats continue to fight, reaching out, trying to do his best. He's got to give an economic speech next week where it sounds like he actually isn't bored by reading his own words, but...
MS. MATALIN: Why do you keep saying clownish things like that?
MR. SHRUM: ...listen, I wish they had nominated someone else, because I think John McCain is the strongest Republican.
MS. MATALIN: Look, John...
MR. RUSSERT: You also, Bob Shrum, urged the Democrats to lower the rhetoric a little bit.
MR. SHRUM: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: On both sides.
MR. SHRUM: Yes. I think, I think that the constant temptation to attack--I mean, the suggestion that Barack Obama, coming from Senator Clinton, was not--or at least the omission that he's capable of being commander in chief, the--some of the attacks back at her, they defend them as counterattacks--I think this process can go on--will go on at least through Indiana and North Carolina. But people ought to be out there selling their own message. I actually think Hillary Clinton has a message now. She's talking about the economy...
MS. MATALIN: (Unintelligible).
MR. SHRUM: ...it's a much more populist message. That's what she ought to be doing, not attacking him.
MR. CARVILLE: Right.
MR. SHRUM: And at the end of the process, when it's clear that one of them is going to win--and I don't think she has much more than a 10 percent chance of winning. But when it's clear who has won, we should stop.
MR. RUSSERT: James Carville, since you were last on you made a little news.
MR. CARVILLE: I did.
MR. RUSSERT: When Bill Richardson endorsed Barack Obama, you offered this comment: "An act of betrayal. ... Mr. Richardson's endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing [Holy Week] is appropriate, if ironic."
Bill Richardson has now responded. "Carville and others say that I owe President Clinton's wife my endorsement because he gave me two jobs. Would someone who worked for Carville then owe his wife, Mary Matalin, similar loyalty in her professional pursuits? ... And while I was truly torn for weeks about this decision and seriously contemplated endorsing Senator Clinton, I never told anyone, including President Clinton, that I would do so. Those who say I did are misinformed or worse."
MR. CARVILLE: Well, first of all, I, I, I did say that and the reporter had--I was a little disappointed, it was like "graph 7." I was expecting it to be a little higher in the story.
MR. RUSSERT: You were quoted accurately?
MR. CARVILLE: Yes, sir. In...
MR. RUSSERT: And in context?
MR. CARVILLE: In context and, and, and, and also, I'm very happy that I said it. And--but I, I could say any number of things. I know what happened, I know what representations were made to President Clinton when Governor Richardson begged him to go watch the Super Bowl to him. I gave names of fundraisers that he told things to. I'll, I'll let this go. I'm glad I said it. Governor Richardson knows that know the truth. He knows the truth in all of this, and he's made his decision. By the way, I have never criticized a Senator Obama supporter. Bobby Casey, who I campaigned for six times, who, who I revered his father, that's his business. I said he was an honorable man. He made a decision he thought was in the best interest of this country. Senator, Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, Senator Daschle, Rosa DeLauro, all these people. I thought this was a special case that merited special attention. I gave it special attention, and I'm glad I did.
MR. RUSSERT: All right. Before we go, you say McCain-Colin Powell.
MR. CARVILLE: I...
MR. RUSSERT: On the Democratic side, Obama-who, Clinton-who?
MR. CARVILLE: I, I, I think that on the Democratic side, and I think it--Obama's thinking out loud at these fundraisers is something that he's going to have to learn to stop doing, OK?
MR. SHRUM: Oh, I think he learned.
MR. CARVILLE: Yeah, I think...
MR. RUSSERT: Particularly in San Francisco.
MR. CARVILLE: I, I, I, I think it is very important, Demo--to understand, the nature of a Democrat is, is this thing is going to be--if, if, if, he wins, and I--it's a--he should have a little better chance than 10 percent, but he's got a better chance right now, I would--I will agree with that, and I think Indiana's pivotal, how the winner treats the loser is going to be very important. Democrats, if they, if, if, if they don't show respect, and I think it's less important that he pick Senator Clinton if he wins, or Senator Clinton wins picks Senator Obama, but they have to show a lot of respect because this thing has been a really hard fight, both of these candidates have been it for a long time, and that's what Democrats want.
MR. RUSSERT: But you could see them running together.
MR. CARVILLE: I could see it. I think the chances are, are, are not 50/50, but it's very possible. There's a big history of that happening.
MR. RUSSERT: Who are the tickets, Mary? McCain?
MS. MATALIN: Boy, that would be--that would be a dream ticket for us if they ran together.
MR. RUSSERT: All right, who are the tickets. McCain, who?
MS. MATALIN: McCain and somebody that is--can govern, that is a credible governor. The notion that he has to pick somebody that's fairly already know, it's somebody that can get known, but they have to have good cred on having experience across the board. Dick Cheney has changed the nature of that office. He--this, this brilliant man has made that office completely...
MR. RUSSERT: Is Condi Rice relevant?
MS. MATALIN: Con--you know, what people don't know about Dr. Rice is that she weighed in on every domestic issue before the president when...
MR. RUSSERT: But wouldn't that be third-term Bush?
MR. SHRUM: Yeah.
MR. MURPHY: Yeah.
MS. MATALIN: You know, people are not--people are sick of this Bush bashing stuff.
MR. CARVILLE: Condi--Condi who?
MR. RUSSERT: Come on, Murphy. Come on, Murphy, give us the tickets.
MR. MURPHY: The candidates could be anybody, but I think it'll be a governor. Either Pawlenty, Ridge or Romney. That would be my best prediction.
MR. RUSSERT: On the Democrat side?
MR. MURPHY: You know, I think Obama might try the--either the anti-war general, which is great on paper, really hard to do. Or maybe a reform male--Bloomberg, a Tom Kean, some Republican to do the bipartisan thing. I don't know, but it will be awful clever.
MR. RUSSERT: McCain with Romney or...
MR. SHRUM: Rob Portman, the former congressman from Ohio. I think you have to bet that Obama's going to be the nominee, and I think under those circumstances he'll pick someone with a military background despite what he said, and I think Wes Clark might be it.
MR. CARVILLE: By a long-shot and I don't know if it's even a Democrat, but I think General James Jones. General Zinni, maybe a four-star Marine general, NATO commander. I mean it might not even be, but somebody like that would be--I'm a former Marine. Let's get somebody from the corps there.
MR. RUSSERT: To be continued. To be continued.
Mary Matalin, James Carville, Mike Murphy, Bob Shrum. We'll be right back. What a morning of politics.
MR. RUSSERT: Start your day tomorrow on "Today" with Matt and Meredith and the "NBC Nightly News" with Brian Williams.
That's all for today. We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's MEET THE PRESS.
Congratulations to the Boston College Eagles, NCAA champions in hockey. Bring it home.