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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Friday October 17, 2008

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guest: Michele Bachmann, Stephanie Cutter; Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Lynn Sweet, Jonathan Martin

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  If Barack Obama is the decent man that John McCain says he is, then why all the sneaky phone calls?

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Leading off tonight, the hunt for red November.  If you want to get a look at the state of this presidential race, take a look at where the candidates are today.  John McCain campaigned in Florida today, while his running mate, Sarah Palin, was in Ohio and Indiana.  Barack Obama hit the trail in Virginia, while Joe Biden campaigned out west in New Mexico and Nevada.  What do all these states have in common?  They‘re all red states, states that President Bush won in 2004.  Is John McCain left with no other strategy than to play defense, or can he still hope to pick off a blue state or two? One option may be to keep on the attack.  Here is a taped message—this is what I‘m talking about—being phoned out by the McCain campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hello.  I‘m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge‘s home and killed Americans.


MATTHEWS:  Democrats say the message is being used in 10 battleground states.  With less than three weeks to go, is this the best the McCain campaign can do from here on out?  Also, is there really widespread voter registration fraud in the works, or are Republicans making an oak tree out of an ACORN?  The FBI has begun a limited investigation.  We‘ll take a look into the charges. And could a very big endorsement be in the offing?  Former secretary of state General Colin Powell will be “Meet the Press” this Sunday and could endorse Barack Obama.  We‘ll have more of that in the “Politics Fix.” And last night was the annual Al Smith dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.  I was there, and so were a lot of politicians you may have heard of.  They traded jokes instead of barbs.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  Many of you know that I got my name, Barack, from my father.  What you may not know is Barack is actually Swahili for “that one.”


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  He doesn‘t mind at all.  In fact, he even has a pet name for me, George Bush.



MATTHEWS:  Actually, we‘re going to have much more of those, and the jokes are funnier than those two.  I was there last night.  That was some night last night. But first, Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota joins us right now.  Congresswoman, thank you very much for joining us.  I want you to look at something from David Letterman last night.  It concerned, well, Governor Palin‘s comments about Barack Obama.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “THE LATE SHOW”:  I think she‘s the one who says that Barack Obama pals around with terrorists.  Has she, in fact, said that at rallies and stuff?

MCCAIN:  I don‘t—I don‘t—yes.  And he did.


MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s take a look now, Congresswoman, at the radio—taped message that‘s going in a number of states right now, being put out by Republicans and the John McCain campaign.  It‘s called a robocall.  You just pick up the phone and you hear this recording.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hello.  I‘m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge‘s home and killed Americans.  And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington.  Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country.

This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee.


MATTHEWS:  Well, what do you make of that, Congresswoman, that—what‘s called a robocall, and what Senator McCain said last night on Letterman?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  Well, I think it‘s fun to have a sense of humor right now.  Especially last night, on Letterman, I thought John McCain was extremely funny. As far as the robocalls go, I think that the Obama campaign is very worried because Americans are just now starting to find out about Bill Ayers and about the questionable connection that Obama has with Bill Ayers.  These are legitimate questions, and I think the Obama campaign has the right to be worried because they don‘t want the American people to know about these connections.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me talk to you—what do the connections mean to you?  This connection you‘re talking about between the Democratic candidate for president and his connection back in the ‘90s with Bill Ayers, who was involved with the Weathermen group back in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, when he was 8 years old—what is your concern about that?

BACHMANN:  I think it‘s devastating because this is an unrepentant terrorist who says he wishes he would have bombed more people.  Remember, this is a man who bombed the Pentagon and was happy to be bombing Americans, as well.  This is not a person that the president of the United States would want to be associated with.

Had John McCain been associated with Bill Ayers, it would have been a nightly story.  It would have been everywhere.  But the media‘s been kind of avoiding this story.  And Barack Obama has been avoiding it, too.  He actually did start his state senate campaign in Bill Ayers‘s home, and Obama worked very closely with him on education matters, very liberal leftist agenda of education matters, as well.

I think that it‘s important that the American people know that Barack Obama didn‘t have a mild association with Bill Ayers, he had a very strong association with Bill Ayers.  Bill Ayers is not someone that the average American wants to see their president have an association with.

MATTHEWS:  Why—why—why is it of concern?  What—what is wrong with it?  Tell me what it tells you about Barack Obama.  Does it say—does it say he‘s got a character problem?  Does it say he has a problem with his patriotism?  Just give me a term of sorts so we can put it in a category.  Why do you care enough to bring this up at the end of this campaign?  Why is it an important election-eve issue?

BACHMANN:  I think it‘s important...


MATTHEWS:  ... we‘ve got a lot of problems in this country.  Why is this an important—why is this so important that it‘s being pushed out on telephone calls to all the key states now with two weeks to go?

BACHMANN:  It‘s important because we look at the collection of friends that Barack Obama has had over his life.  And usually, we associate with people who have similar ideas to us.  And it seems that it calls into question what Barack Obama‘s true beliefs and values and thoughts are, his attitudes, values and beliefs with Jeremiah Wright on his view of the United States...


BACHMANN:  ... which is negative, Bill Ayers, his negative view of the United States.  We‘ve seen one friend after another that call into question his judgment.

But also, what is it that Barack Obama really believes?  And we know that he‘s the most liberal senator in the United States Senate.  That‘s just after one year after being there.  He‘s the most liberal.  Joe Biden is the third most liberal.  You‘ve got Harry Reid, who‘s liberal, Nancy Pelosi, who‘s liberal.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  What‘s the—what‘s the connection...

BACHMANN:  You have a troika of the most leftist...


BACHMANN:  ... a leftist...


BACHMANN:  ... administration in the history of our country.

MATTHEWS:  If you have liberal views, does that mean you have anti-American views?  What‘s the connection?  I don‘t get the connection.  What‘s the connection between liberal and leftist and anti-American?


MATTHEWS:  I mean,if you‘re a liberal, are you anti-American?

BACHMANN:  Well, the liberals that are Jeremiah Wright and that are Bill Ayers, they‘re over the top anti-American, and that‘s the question that Americans have.  Remember, it was Michelle Obama who said she‘s only recently proud of her country.  And so these are very anti-American views.


BACHMANN:  That‘s not the way that most Americans feel about our country.  Most Americans, Chris, are wild about America, and they‘re very concerned to have a president who doesn‘t share those values.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s take a look at Governor Palin because she said something very much like what you just said.  Let‘s hear Governor Palin on the very same topic of the connection between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers and what that tells you about his view of America.  Let‘s hear it.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.


MATTHEWS:  So you think that‘s a fair critique of Barack Obama, that his view of America is so—that America is so imperfect that he pals around with terrorists.  You think that‘s a fair comment.

BACHMANN:  It‘s a fair comment because Barack Obama does have a close association with Bill Ayers.  It‘s one that the American people have a right to have some answers to, and Barack Obama still hasn‘t come clean on his relationship with Bill Ayers.  It‘s been under the radar and only recently has it been coming out.  And people need to know.

MATTHEWS:  So this is a character issue.  You believe that Barack Obama may—you‘re suspicious because of this relationship—may have anti-American views.  Otherwise, it‘s probably irrelevant to this discussion.

BACHMANN:  Absolutely.  I absolutely...

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe that...


MATTHEWS:  ... that Barack Obama may have anti-American views.

BACHMANN:  Absolutely.  I‘m very concerned that he may have anti-American views.  That‘s what the American people are concerned about.  That‘s why they want to know what his answers are.  That‘s why Joe the plumber has figured so highly in had the last few days...

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I just want to get off this...

BACHMANN:  ... because Joe the plumber...

MATTHEWS:  I want to say this...

BACHMANN:  ... asked the question that a lot of Americans want to know.

MATTHEWS:  Sarah Palin was around today, talking about pro-American parts of America, and assuming there‘s other non parts of the country that are—what parts of America would you say are anti-American?  What parts of this country?

BACHMANN:  Well, I would say that people who hold anti-American views.  I don‘t think it‘s geography.  I think it‘s people who don‘t like America, who detest America.  And on college campuses, a Ward Churchill, another college campus, a Bill Ayers, you find people who hate America, and unfortunately, some of these people have positions teaching at institutions of higher learning.  But you‘ll find...

MATTHEWS:  How many of them...

BACHMANN:  ... them in all walks of life all throughout America.

MATTHEWS:  What about people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the liberals you were mentioning a moment ago?  Where would you put them?  Would you consider them anti-American, as well?

BACHMANN:  I would consider them...

MATTHEWS:  Are they anti-American?

BACHMANN:  ...  to have far leftist views.  I‘m not going to say if...

MATTHEWS:  The speaker of the House...

BACHMANN:  ... they‘re anti—American or pro-American.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you were putting them together.

BACHMANN:  I will say...


MATTHEWS:  You put three words together, liberal—liberal, leftist and anti-American.  What is—how do they all fit together, those three terms, liberal, leftist, and anti-American?

BACHMANN:  Well, that‘s a good descriptor for Jeremiah Wright.  It‘s a perfect descriptor for Bill Ayers.  And those are friends and people that Obama has pointed to as his mentors.  In his book, Barack Obama had pointed to Jeremiah Wright as one of his mentors and also Father Pfleger as one of his mentors.  Two of the three mentors are Father Pfleger and Jeremiah Wright.  Now, these are very strange anti-American mentors.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  This...

BACHMANN:  If people like that were John McCain‘s mentors, you‘d be all over John McCain.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  Well, let me ask you this.  This country is roughly divided now over the last—our lifetimes between Republicans and Democrats, and liberals and conservatives.  Maybe 30 percent of the country

or 30 to 40 percent is conservative, and self-described.  People tell you what they are.  And 30-some percent maybe (ph) are liberals.  Do you think those 30 percent liberals are anti-American?  The 30 percent of this country that calls itself liberals, are they ant-American?

BACHMANN:  I think—I think the people that Barack Obama has been associating with are anti-American, by and large, the people who are radical leftists.  That‘s the real question about Barack Obama.  Saul Alinsky, one of his teachers, you might say, out of the Chicago area, Tony Rezko, who was an associate also—these are very concerning...

MATTHEWS:  He‘s—I thought he was a business guy.

BACHMANN:  ... figures during Barack Obama‘s past.

MATTHEWS:  I thought Tony Rezko was some business guy.  I didn‘t know he was a leftist, anti-American guy.

BACHMANN:  Yes, that‘s troubling, too.  Well, that‘s troubling, too.  Take a look at these associations, Chris...

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me—I...

BACHMANN:  ... and add them all up, and this is the totality of the package that Barack Obama has been, in Sarah Palin‘s word, palling around with.  These are his friends.  These are his associates.  Very troubling.

MATTHEWS:  How many congresspeople, members of Congress, do you think are in that anti-American crowd you describe?  How many congresspeople you serve with?  I mean, there‘s 435 members of Congress.

BACHMANN:  Right now...

MATTHEWS:  How many are anti-American in the Congress right now that you serve with?

BACHMANN:  You‘d have to ask them, Chris.  I‘m focusing on Barack Obama and the people that he‘s been associating with, and I‘m very worried...

MATTHEWS:  But do you suspect there are a lot of people you serve with...

BACHMANN:  ... about their anti-American nature.

MATTHEWS:  Well, he‘s a United States senator from Illinois.  He‘s one of the people you suspect as being anti-American.  How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American?  You‘ve already suspected Barack Obama.  Is he alone, or are there others?  How man do you suspect of your colleagues...

BACHMANN:  Look, I think that...

MATTHEWS:  ... as being anti-American?

BACHMANN:  What I would say—what I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look.  I wish they would.  I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?  I think people would be—would love to see an expose like that.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you very much, U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Stephanie Cutter is senior adviser with the Obama campaign.  Stephanie, I‘ve just been given a mission here to see how many members of the United States Congress are anti-American.  And that was done in all seriousness.  I‘m not being sarcastic.  That was a direct request, that we in the media start looking at these liberals and leftists in the U.S.  Congress and determining...


MATTHEWS:  ... which of them, including Barack Obama, perhaps, are anti-American.  This sentiment out here in this campaign—I want to play this for you, by the way, again.  I want everybody to hear this on this show, not in their telephone when they pick it up by accident.  This is being directed at undecided voters out there.  And listen to the language. If you‘re a little bit squirrely to begin with and you get a phone call like this, this may put you over the edge.  Listen to this—what they‘re saying about this.  You get the idea that Barack Obama is involved with terrorism.  You get the idea that he‘s a leftist, you know, a revolutionary, ready to take over the government after he commits his terrorism.  Listen to the way this hits you just picking up the phone and hearing this once.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hello.  I‘m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge‘s home and killed Americans.  And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington.  Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country.

This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee.


MATTHEWS:  Stephanie Cutter, I‘m not going to play that again tonight.  I‘ve played it enough.  But I tell you, if I picked up the phone and I heard that quickly, I‘d hear, This guy‘s involved with terrorists, he‘s involved with—when they commit the terrorism, not something that was done when he was 8 years old, that he‘s somehow involved with a leftist agenda once he‘s completed his terrorism.  I‘d say this guy ought to be picked up now.  The FBI ought to go track this guy down.  The way you read -- I mean, it just hits you this way.  This is the strongest stuff I‘ve heard since back in the ‘50s, when they used to call up and say, Hey, you know, this guy is a communist, you know.


MATTHEWS:  Yes?  Well, what do you think?  You‘re on the other side of this.  What are you going to do about it?

CUTTER:  Well, what do you want me to say, Chris?  I mean, you know, sitting here...

MATTHEWS:  I want you to say what you‘re going to do about it.

CUTTER:  ... listening to that interview that you just did—well, what are we going to do about it?  We‘re going to continue doing exactly what we‘re doing.  You know, two thirds of the American people think that John McCain is running a low-road campaign.  And he spent the other night trying to convince the other third.  Calls like this, you know, you think this is going to convince an undecided voter that John McCain is going to put America back on track or there are better days ahead under John McCain?

MATTHEWS:  Well, I think this...

CUTTER:  Absolutely not.

MATTHEWS:  ... is pretty spooky stuff you‘re up against.

CUTTER:  I think the American people—well, it certainly is pretty scary stuff, and the only way they‘re going to win is through scare tactics.  It just shows just how desperate they‘ve become.  You know, I think the American people...

MATTHEWS:  Well, I just heard it...


MATTHEWS:  ... a United States congresswoman, who‘s duly elected—excuse me—duly elected as congresswoman saying that she wants us to investigate as journalists a good portion of the U.S. Congress, starting with all the Democrats who are liberals and leftists...


MATTHEWS:  ... and perhaps anti-American.  This is serious division, I think, going on here in our country that I thought was getting perhaps a little calmer these days, but...

CUTTER:  Well, I‘m not sure that congresswoman really reflects where the American people are.  If she does, I think I‘m getting the next ticket to Canada.  I mean, give me a break. The American people are worried about, you know, how they‘re going to pay their bills, how to send their kids to college, you know, how they‘re going to keep their homes and prevent foreclosure.  You think they‘re worried about some association that Republicans claim Barack Obama has when Barack was 8 years old? Barack Obama has just—just—has said that he does not agree with Bill Ayers‘s views.  He‘s found...

MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE) stuff, yes.

CUTTER:  ... the acts were deplorable.


CUTTER:  They served—they served on a bipartisan board on education funding for public schools.  It was a board funded by a Republican, an ambassador under Ronald Reagan.  You know, these are the facts that Barack Obama actually wanted to have out in the debate last week.  And these are the facts...


CUTTER:  ... that John McCain brought out.  What else do they want us to answer on this?  You know, I think they‘ve got a couple things to answer for.  How are they going to rebuild the middle class?  Why do they leave 101 million Americans out?  You know, why is John McCain lying about his health care plan?  He‘s going to tax employer benefits for the first time and cut Medicare by $800 billion.  These are the things that he isn‘t telling you.  This is what...


CUTTER:  ... the American people should be scared about.

MATTHEWS:  Stephanie Cutter, thanks for calling.  I‘m sorry, thanks for being here.  I‘m thinking of telephones here! Anyway, up next: Will McCain‘s attack help narrow Obama‘s lead?  Pat Buchanan‘s coming here, and also “The Nation” magazine‘s Katrina Vanden Heuvel.  I wonder if she‘s picking up the phone these days.  They‘ll be joining us in a minute. You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

With 18 days to go to Election Day, let‘s gauge the state of play with MSNBC‘s political analyst Pat Buchanan, and the editor of “The Nation” magazine, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.  Katrina, what do you make of what we just heard on this show from Congresswoman Bachmann about the need to investigate, we journalists, the perhaps anti-Americanism of liberal members of Congress, in fact, all the Democrats?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, “THE NATION”:  Chris, I fear for my country. 

I think what we just heard was a congresswoman channeling Joe McCarthy, channeling a politics of fear and loathing and demonization and division and distraction, not a single issue mentioned.  This is a politics, at a moment of extreme economic pain in this country, that is incendiary, that is so debased that I‘m kind of almost having a hard time breathing, because I think it‘s very scary, because this is a country I love.

And this woman had no sense of the history of this nation, which is one of struggle, of trying to fulfill the great ideals of this nation, about movements that have brought about the civilizing advances of this country.  And she doesn‘t even know who Saul Alinsky is, a community organizer who channeled the views of the people from below. 

I think Barack Obama is going to win.  And he‘s going to have a lot of work, because there‘s an extremist—extremism unleashed in this nation, which you just heard on this program, which could lead to violence and hatred and toxicity, and against the backdrop of the Great Depression we‘re living through, is—could lead—and I don‘t use this word lightly—to a kind of American fascism, which is against the great values of this nation and which people like that are fomenting. 

MATTHEWS:  Pat, your thoughts...


MATTHEWS:  ... on everything you have just heard from Katrina, also from the congresswoman.  Her name is Michele Bachmann—Bachmann.  She‘s from Minnesota.  She‘s a Republican.  And she really, seriously identifies liberalism with left-wing politics and with—with anti-Americanism.  They‘re all in a continuum for her.  And she‘s—I let her speak on her own, and that‘s what she believes, and fair enough.   What do you make of it? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think you have got a socialist Bernie Sanders, who is a left-wing individual.  He‘s not anti-American.  You have liberals who are not anti-American. 

But if you are talking about...

MATTHEWS:  Are there anti-American members of Congress, do you believe? 

BUCHANAN:  No.  I don‘t know of any. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  I will say this.  If you‘re talking about Reverend Jeremiah Wright, I think he‘s...


MATTHEWS:  We weren‘t talking about that. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, that‘s who—you asked for my thoughts. 


BUCHANAN:  He is an anti-American, I think, Afro-racist.  I think Father Pfleger is a nut ball and an anti-American.  I think this other fellow Ayers is an individual who, I mean, in the 1960s, he bombed the Capitol, the Pentagon, who says he—he regrets he didn‘t bomb more.  He is exactly like an unrepentant Ku Klux Klan bomber.  And, if I had started one of my campaigns in his home, Chris, I think it would be an issue. 

MATTHEWS:  I think he said, I wished we had done more.  He never said bombed more.  I think you got to be careful there. 

BUCHANAN:  Well...


VANDEN HEUVEL:  Chris is right.


MATTHEWS:  No, he meant in terms of anti-war activism. 

BUCHANAN:  But, look, you‘re being...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m—I‘m not going to defend the guy. 



MATTHEWS:  I hate that kind of activity. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me just say this.  Let me just say this. 

MATTHEWS:  What I‘m saying is, let‘s get the facts straight.  That‘s all.

BUCHANAN:  All right.  All right, let‘s get the facts straight.

Suppose we had a Klan bomber who bombed churches, black churches, in the ‘60s, went unrepentant, and said, I wish I had done more. 

MATTHEWS:  Because one guy was anti-war and the other guy was anti-black. 

BUCHANAN:  All right.  All right.  Hold it.  OK.

MATTHEWS:  There‘s a difference of values there. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, it‘s bombing that has the same thing in mind. 


MATTHEWS:  But he didn‘t say he wished he had bombed more. 

BUCHANAN:  But what I‘m saying, Chris, is, you would not let me get away with that, without ramming that home, saying, what are you doing hanging around with trash like that? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I agree.  I don‘t do it. 

BUCHANAN:  And so—well, that‘s what Obama has done in his association...

MATTHEWS:  No, 30 years later. 

BUCHANAN:  He is hanging around with him now.

MATTHEWS:  Thirty years later.

No, the guy was 8 years old. 


MATTHEWS:  No, I want to...


VANDEN HEUVEL:  The congresswoman...


VANDEN HEUVEL:  ... charges of treason. 


MATTHEWS:  Barack Obama was 8 years old when there were Weathermen.


BUCHANAN:  I know it.


BUCHANAN:  Suppose I was 8 years old when the Klan bombed places, and I had opened my campaign in this guy‘s home, and he did not apologize for bombing black churches? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Could I just say...

BUCHANAN:  It‘s identical...


VANDEN HEUVEL:  First of all, all this talk about anti-Americanism, this is a very dangerous moment in our country.  I say that again.  There is great pain.  And, instead of talking about how do we move people into a position where they feel security, we are playing with fire with this talk of, you are either with us or against us, which that congresswoman did.  The idea that there are people who are un-American, anti-American, terms I hate, in our Congress is ludicrous.  Anyone running for president, John McCain, Ralph Nader, Barack Obama, they love the country.  They want to fix and repair this country. 


BUCHANAN:  Katrina—Katrina...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And, Pat, on Bill Ayers—Bill Ayers—tell me why Mayor Daley vouches for Bill Ayers as a responsible citizen of Chicago today.

And read the “New York Times” letter last Friday by the federal prosecutor...

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ... in the case...

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ... which prosecuted the Weatherman, which says that he hates what the Weathermen did, but also respects that Ayers is now a repentant, responsible member of Chicago society? 

MATTHEWS:  Let him answer that one.  Why does Richard Daley, one of the most conservative people around, believe in this guy?

BUCHANAN:  Well, Katrina, you have got to let me talk. 

Look, you have said it‘s terrible to use the term anti-American. 


BUCHANAN:  Yet, you have been using terms like fascist in your opening remarks.  You‘re terrified of what‘s going to happen.  Who are you terrified of? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I am terrified of the forces in our country which would pit us against each other. 

BUCHANAN:  Who?  Who?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Those who would call Barack Obama a traitor, a terrorist, who would with label...


BUCHANAN:  Nobody called Barack Obama a traitor and a terrorist. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  They did at these crowds, in these crowds.

BUCHANAN:  You mentioned fascists.  Name some fascists. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  But I said—I said—I said, Pat, I hate to use the term.  I hate to use it, because it‘s a very strong term.  I said, I fear for my country, and I fear what we are seeing is the emergence of a kind of American fascism, which we must do—all citizens must work together not to allow happen to—over—the shock troops of deception lead to that. 


BUCHANAN:  Do you think that Republican congressmen—do you think that—do you think that Republican congressman we just heard from, with every one of whose points I agree, except the ones where she said she—we should look for anti-Americanism in the Congress—I don‘t agree with that.  I agree with all of her points. Do you see any incipient fascism in that congresswoman from Minnesota? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I think that she might not understand, but I do think that what...



VANDEN HEUVEL:  ... she is saying is leading to the possibility of hatred, of—of pitting people against each other.  I don‘t know if she feels that way about pitting ethnic groups against each other. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s...


MATTHEWS:  Like—like...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  But she doesn‘t respect an America that you, Pat and I, would like to see the values, where people argue and debate, without calling each other un-American. 

And I don‘t call her fascist.  I don‘t like that term. 


VANDEN HEUVEL:  But I fear for the nation that we could be there. 

Forgive me.  I don‘t mean to do a Giuliani. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, that‘s all right.  Let me—let me go back to what we were talking about here.  We‘re talking about a guy running for president who is now in the lead, Barack Obama, who may well win the presidential election and lead our country in two years—two weeks from now.  You know, the question is, with this guy Bill Ayers, would you or I—you say no—Katrina may yes—I may say yes—if I were in Chicago politics, and I were in Democratic politics, or reform politics, in this case, or bipartisan politics, and I went into a room, and I was told that one person in the room—in fact, he didn‘t really get the notice right away—he found out this later—had been involved in this terrible Weatherman politics and this horrible terrorism back in the—the late ‘60s or ‘70s, 30 years before, and had been told that this guy was one of the bad guys back then, but now he‘s a professor, he‘s working on community efforts, he‘s really working on education, he‘s working, surrounded by Republicans, conservative Democrats on community affairs, am I supposed to walk out of the room when he walks in, if I find out that he‘s a decent, civic-minded person with a terrible past?  I mean, I have been at halfway houses a friend of mine runs down in Tennessee where murderers are serving breakfast, because they‘re 30 years later, OK?

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  They have been rehabilitated, OK?  Now, maybe he, ideologically, isn‘t rehabilitated, but, damn it, I absolutely have to believe he believes bombing was wrong at this point.  If he doesn‘t...

BUCHANAN:  Why do you have to believe that?

MATTHEWS:  Well, if he doesn‘t, we have got a problem dealing with the guy.

BUCHANAN:  Well, this is my point.  This is the basic point. 

If you went into the room, and you had Klansman that blew up the black churches that I‘m talking about...

MATTHEWS:  The motive of the Klansman, again, is racist repression. 

It isn‘t the same as being against a war you think is wrong. 


BUCHANAN:  OK.  If you kill—I‘m sorry.  You can bomb the Pentagon, the Capitol...

MATTHEWS:  Bombing is wrong.  We agree on that. 

BUCHANAN:  Well...


MATTHEWS:  But the question is...


BUCHANAN:  Well, the point is, bombing is what they have in common. 

And your point is—you‘re a man of the left, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Thirty years later. 

I‘m not a man of the—at least not that far left, I can tell you that. 


VANDEN HEUVEL:  Do you believe the people who hired him...


BUCHANAN:  You would walk out of the room with the Klansman.


MATTHEWS:  Here we go.


MATTHEWS:  the labels, that I‘m a man of the left.



BUCHANAN:  If an unrepentant Klansman were there, unrepentant Klansman, you would say, what is that guy doing here? 

I think you would shake hands with him if the guy said: “I‘m sorry for what I did.  it was awful.  It was a rotten time.  And I apologize.” 

I would shake hands with him.  But, if he hadn‘t, I would leave the room, and I think you would, too. 

As for Bill Ayers, I wouldn‘t shake that guy‘s hand, given what he said on 9/11. 


VANDEN HEUVEL:  Pat, you are a man who has a sense of history.  Do you believe in redemption and rehabilitation? 

BUCHANAN:  I certainly do. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And do you believe—do you believe that those who hired Bill Ayers, for example, at the University of Illinois are palling around with terrorists? 

BUCHANAN:  I think....

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Do you believe that a man who sent a letter to “The New York Times” on September 16 calling the attacks of 9/11 a crime against humanity and calling for justice, and—and that he condemned that, that he is a man who should be cut out of Chicago society? 

BUCHANAN:  No.  I believe this.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Do you think Mayor Daley is someone whose views should be disrespected? 

BUCHANAN:  Well...


BUCHANAN:  ... you have got three or four questions.OK.  Here‘s what I think.  I think what Bill Ayers ought do is what some of the people—that went to Hanoi did.  They came back and said, look, I made a mistake.  I shouldn‘t have been in Hanoi.  I was for the so and so.  It turned out horribly.  I made a terrible mistake.  And I want to apologize for what I did. And I do believe—yes, I do believe in redemption.  And if he did that now and said that, I would say fine.  But he‘s not done that.  And I think since, as he hasn‘t done that, you ought to cut him out, just like you ought to cut—just like...

MATTHEWS:  You know, Bill Ayers ain‘t running for president. 



MATTHEWS:  He‘s a professor. 


VANDEN HEUVEL:  You know what? 



BUCHANAN:  ... friend is.


VANDEN HEUVEL:  I regret that we have spent time...

MATTHEWS:  You guys...


VANDEN HEUVEL:  I regret that we have spent time talking about this, because it—Barack Obama has been very clear.  The notion that he‘s close to Bill Ayers is ludicrous.  And...


BUCHANAN:  He‘s got a lot of seedy friends.  I will tell you that.

MATTHEWS:  You guys are—this is guilt by association. 


BUCHANAN:  Of course.  Chris, it‘s...

MATTHEWS:  It‘s not that strong an association. 


BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you, is association with the Klan and the Birch Society...


MATTHEWS:  Why are you bringing the Klan in here?


VANDEN HEUVEL:  ... the Klan.  That‘s not a fair equivalency. 

BUCHANAN:  This is the precise opposite.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  It is not equivalency.  They—it is not.

BUCHANAN:  The Weatherman is not equivalent to the Klan?  Why not? 

Both committed acts of violence. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I‘m not here to condone the Weathermen.  I was 8 or 10 years old.  I think what they did violated what a left at that time was trying to do to end the war, a nonviolent, peaceful left.  And that is what one should strive for.  They undermined the left, but they were against the war.  The Klan is racist.

BUCHANAN:  Chris, would you shake hands with David Duke?

MATTHEWS:  No, I would have a problem.  But that—no, you guys...

BUCHANAN:  He didn‘t do any bombing.

MATTHEWS:  No, you know, you have got two problems with David Duke and two problems with the Klan.  They‘re wrong in their motive and wrong in their means.  Some people are right in their motive and wrong in their means.  You have got a double problem on your side.

BUCHANAN:  No, David Duke did not bomb anything.  He is wrong in his motives and ideas.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  You brought up a case.  I haven‘t given a lot of thought to David Duke.  And thank God I won‘t ever give it another thought again. 

BUCHANAN:  Would you shake hands with Reverend Wright?

MATTHEWS:  No, I would probably not shake hands with his plastic surgeon either. 

Thank you, Pat Buchanan.

Thank you, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  I can be ad hominem, too.

And I‘m not a man of the left.


BUCHANAN:  You should be investigated.




MATTHEWS:  Pat, you have got to be careful.  Your instincts are coming back. 


MATTHEWS:  Up next...


MATTHEWS:  ... of the right.  I will say that. On a much lighter note, it may have been the funniest moment of the campaign, Barack Obama and John McCain last night at the Al Smith Dinner.  It was quite a night.  Here‘s a little bit of it. 


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  Recently, one of John‘s top advisers told “The Daily News” that, if we keep talking about the economy, McCain is going to lose.  So, tonight, I would like to talk about the economy. 


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  We all know that Senator Obama is ready for any contingency, even the possibility of a sudden and dramatic market rebound.  I‘m told that, at the first sign of recovery, he will suspend his campaign and fly immediately to Washington to address this crisis. 




BERTHA COOMBS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Bertha Coombs with your CNBC “Market Wrap.” Stocks closing lower after a late-day sell-off—the Dow Jones industrials finished down 127 points, but, for the week, the Dow was up nearly 5 percent, its best week in more than five years.  It follows its worst week ever.  The S&P 500 fell almost six points today.  The Nasdaq lost six.  Both of them also finished higher for the week. Construction of new homes plunged in September to the slowest pace in 17 years.  Applications for building permits also fell sharply.  Contractors are now on track to build the fewest homes this year since the end of World War II.   Oil prices rose, as OPEC moved up a meeting to consider production cuts next Friday.  Crude climbed $2, closing at $71.85 a barrel.   And President Bush tried again to reassure Americans that the $700 billion will work.  But he told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce it will take time to thaw frozen credit markets.   That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to


MATTHEWS:  Man of the left.

Anyway, back to HARDBALL. 

Tonight, a “Sideshow” we couldn‘t refuse.  I‘m talking about last night‘s Al Smith Dinner up in New York.  I was fortunate to be out there in the balcony of the Waldorf-Astoria as John McCain and Barack Obama competed in comedy. 


OBAMA:  Tonight‘s venue isn‘t really what I‘m used to.  I was originally told we would be able to move this outdoors to Yankee Stadium.


OBAMA:  And can somebody tell me what happened to the Greek columns that I requested? 


MCCAIN:  And this is a very distinguished and influential audience, and as a good as place as any to make a major announcement. 

Events are moving fast in my campaign.  And, yes, it‘s true that, this morning, I have dismissed my entire team of senior advisers.  All of their positions will now be held by a man named Joe the plumber. 


OBAMA:  To name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. 


OBAMA:  Greatest weakness, it‘s possible that I‘m a little too awesome. 


MCCAIN:  ... began so long ago with the heralded arrival of a man known to Oprah Winfrey as “The One.” 


MCCAIN:  Being a friend and colleague of Barack, I just called him “that one.”


MCCAIN:  He...


MCCAIN:  My friends, he doesn‘t mind at all.  In fact, he even has a pet name for me. 


MCCAIN:  George Bush. 



OBAMA:  Many of you know that I got my name, Barack, from my father. 

What you may not know is, Barack is actually Swahili for “that one.”



OBAMA:  And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn‘t think I would ever run for president. 


MCCAIN:  When Larry King asked President Clinton a couple of weeks ago what was the delay and why wasn‘t he out there on the trail for Barack, Bill said his hands were tied, until the end of the Jewish high holidays. 


MCCAIN:  Now, you have got to admire that ecumenical spirit.  I just know Bill would like to be out there now stumping for Barack until the last hour of the last day.  Unfortunately, he is constrained by his respect for any voters who might be observing the Zoroastrian new year. 


OBAMA:  Contrary to the rumors that you have heard, I was not born in a manger. 


OBAMA:  I was—I was actually born on Krypton....


OBAMA:  ... and sent here by my father, Jor-El, to save the planet Earth. 


MCCAIN:  Even in this room full of proud Manhattan Democrats, I can‘t

I can‘t shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me. 



MCCAIN:  I‘m delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary. 



OBAMA:  Here‘s another revelation: John McCain is on to something.  There was a point in my life when I started palling around with a pretty ugly crowd.  I‘ve got to be honest, these guys were serious deadbeats.  They were low-lifes.  They were unrepentant, no-good punks.  That‘s right, I‘ve been a member of the United States Senate.  Come to think of it, John, I swear I saw you at one of our meetings. 


MATTHEWS:  McCain, Senator John McCain, even worked me into his act. 

Here goes. 


MCCAIN:  My old friend and green room pal Chris Matthews.  He used to like me, but he found somebody new, somebody who opened his eyes, somebody who gave him a thrill up his leg.  And we talked about it.  I told him maverick I can do, but messiah is above my pay grade.  It‘s going to be a long, long night at MSNBC if I manage to pull this thing off. 


MATTHEWS:  That was so great.  It was such a wonderful night for America to have these two guys.  I tell you, it felt so good to be there with those guys.  I was way up on the balcony, I must say.  I think he got me with that one.  Of course, some people wish we could see a little more of the McCain we saw last night out there on the trail.  By the way, the entire video of that dinner—trust me it‘s worth watching together—is on our website at  Time now for the big number.  Sarah Palin talks a lot about transparency in the Alaska governor‘s office.  Thing is, if you‘re a member of the press who wants to look at her e-mail, you‘re going to need to pay up some money.  Get this, the Associated Press recently asked for copies of all e-mails from Alaska state officials to Govern Palin‘s husband, Todd Palin.  The cost quoted to the AP for those e-mails, ready for this, 15 million dollars.  That‘s what they have to pay if they want to see these e-mails.  By the way, even if the press could imagine paying that kind of money, most of these e-mails won‘t be made available until weeks after the presidential election.  Fifteen million big ones for e-mails to Governor Palin‘s husband, tonight‘s big number.  Still ahead, the politics fix and the big question here in Washington, will General Colin Powell endorse Barack Obama on “Meet the Press” this Sunday?  He‘s coming on.  A lot of people think he wouldn‘t be coming on right before the election right now if he weren‘t ready to say something big.  You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hello, I‘m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the US Capital.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with the politics fix.  We‘ve got Lynn Sweet from the “Chicago Sun Times,” the Washington bureau chief, I should say, and Jonathan Martin is with the Politico, which is the hot new organization out there.  What did you both make of the conversation that started the show tonight?  I want to review that.  I found it kind of fascinating.  I hadn‘t met her before, but US Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, Republican from Minnesota.  She‘s very suspicious of Barack Obama and what she considers his associations with anti-American forces in this country, with the left.  She also believes some members of Congress need to be—she said the media need to take a look at the liberal members of Congress, the people who are leftists, as she said, some of them, for possible anti-American beliefs if not activities.  What did you make of that?  I found this very reticent of the early ‘50s, I thought. 

LYNN SWEET, “CHICAGO SUN TIMES”:  Bring back the HUAC, that‘s what that sounded like, the House Un-American Activities Committee.  She seemed terribly uninformed, Chris, and it didn‘t help.  The rhetoric is heated enough.  It just didn‘t help.  And she is terribly uninformed. 

MATTHEWS:  It seems to me, Jonathan, that we‘re talking about the very live belief in this country, the very current belief—it‘s not out of date—that there are enemies within here.  And perhaps Barack Obama is one of them.  I‘m deadly serious.  This is the conversation.  It is in the taped telephone message that‘s being sent out right now as we speak.  You pick up your phone in these battleground states and you‘re hearing these words: “Barack Obama has worked closely with terrorist Bill Ayers.”  “The leftist agenda is about to take over.”  If I weren‘t aware of politics, I would hear quickly, my god, the guy is working with terrorists.  Their going to take over the country with a left wing agenda.  This is revolution here.  Dangerous revolution, violent revolution.  What do we make of this?  I‘m not overstating it.  Listen to it.

JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO:  Chris, you know the House very, very well, Chris.  And members of the U.S. House represent all walks of American life.  And they certainly have viewpoints that do tend to be further on the spectrum, left and right, than the U.S. Senate.  And certainly I think that‘s the case with somebody like Michelle Bachman. 

But also, Chris, this reflects my e-mail box and I‘m sure yours and Lynn‘s, too.  It is the season.  The fact is, we‘re getting closer to this electric.  A lot of folks are increasingly concerned about the notion of Obama being president, and they‘re starting to get very, very nervous.  And they‘re talking about things and using language that they might not if it wasn‘t mid-October. 

MATTHEWS:  What about Senator Biden out there today on the campaign

trail taking a shot at his opponent, Sarah Palin, for using references to -referring to the pro-American parts of the country.  There‘s the pro-American parts of the country and the not pro-American parts of the country.  This is tribalism.  It‘s division.  It‘s about nationality and questioning other people‘s patriotism.  Not just their beliefs about how to make it a better country, but whether they‘re for the country or not. 

SWEET:  Right, and the point—Barack Obama probably hoped he would have solved the problem of being accused of not American when he put on the flag pin, because why not?  If that solves the question on it.  It has not stopped this last-minute flurry.  Bill Ayers is the human face of this movement that is starting, overtly and covertly, to try and make Obama something that actually he just isn‘t.  If you don‘t like Senator Obama and you don‘t want to vote with him, don‘t like his policies, they don‘t want to make that argument anymore. 

MATTHEWS:  Pat Buchanan, my colleague here, loves wallowing in this.  He‘ll talk about Bill Ayers for the next three hours because it changes the subject from the economy, from the way things are going in this country, to the normal partisan fight, to this weird, let‘s go talk about this strange situation here. 

SWEET:  What happens is the Ayers/Obama connection is misstated because it is exaggerated and made into something more than it is.  You have the three A‘s today going on, ACORN, Ayers and Alynsky (ph).   

MATTHEWS:  They‘re all Chicago.  We‘ll get back to that.  We‘ll talk about something that might be positive for the Democratic side and perhaps negative for the Republican side coming up.  That‘s a very positive association.  If General Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama this Sunday, which is plausible, that could be big time for this whole campaign.  We‘ll be right back with Lynn Sweet.  I think it help with male voters a lot, especially military voters who may have a question about this campaign.  We‘ll back with Lynn and Jonathan for more politics.  You‘re watching HARDBALL.  We‘re getting close to the end.  It‘s Friday night.  It gets a little strange around here some Friday nights.  It‘s already been that.  You‘re watching MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with Lynn Sweet of the “Chicago Sun Times,” and the Politico‘s Jonathan Martin for more on the politics fix.  Jonathan, you first, will Colin Powell do it?  Will he endorse Barack Obama this Sunday on “Meet the Press?”

MARTIN:  Chris, the way your network teased it this morning, it seems like it is a real distinct possibility.  I think that you‘re right in the sense that this would offer Obama something of an assurance policy, not insurance but assurance, with those middle class, a lot of white voters in this country, especially men.  It would say this guy is safe, meaning Obama.  He is somebody that you can trust.  He is not some kind of a scary threat to the American way of life.  That sounds extreme, but there are a lot of voters that are still undecided because they‘re concerned, at a cultural gut level, about Obama.  And I think someone like Colin Powell could reassure that kind of voter, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  And he is the patriot of our times, General Colin Powell. 

SWEET:  Even if he doesn‘t come out with an explicit endorsement, even if he just says nice things, it goes to the heart of the military crowd that would get and could maybe negate some of McCain‘s military background, and it goes to the issue that has nagged Obama since day one: is he experience enough?  Colin Powell helps fill that resume gap. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘ll tell you, I think he wouldn‘t be coming on without an intention to make some news. 

MARTIN:  I think that‘s right too, Chris. 

SWEET:  How could he not? 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s why you go on “Meet the Press,” to make news.

MARTIN:  Why else would you go on there ten days before the election. 

Also, let‘s be honest too, there is a benefit here for Powell as well.  This could help him rehab his image, that did take a beating during the Bush years. 

MATTHEWS:  You said it.  Thank you very much, Lynn Sweet.  Thank you, Jonathan Martin.  Join us again Monday night at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL.  Right now it is time for RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE with David Gregory.



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