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Hardball— Battle for the White House: Carol Moseley Braun

Can a black woman break out from an otherwise all-male pack and become the Democratic candidate? Hardball: Battle for the White House, 7 p.m. ET. Nov. 17, 7 p.m. ET
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Carol Moseley Braun says she doesn’t really need much cash to campaign for president — just a cell phone and a plane ticket. In the third quarter, her campaign only spent $118,000 as Braun maintained herself in the middle of the pack. But why is Carol Moseley Braun running? Does she really think she can win and become the first female president of the U.S.? ‘Hardball: Battle for the White House,’ aired Nov. 17, Monday, 7 p.m. ET.

CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN’S foray into politics occurred while she was a homemaker. She volunteered her time for an environmental issue—saving small birds called bobolinks from being forced out by a golf course development. The golf development moved in, the bobolinks moved out. But because of her dedication and energy, her neighbors encouraged her to run for office.

In 1978, Braun was elected to the Illinois state legislature. Her campaign for the Illinois state legislature would become the theme of many campaigns to come:

“When I first ran for office they told me, the blacks won’t vote for you because you are not apart of the Chicago Machine,” she said. “The whites won’t vote for you because you are black. And no one will vote for you because you are woman.”

In 25 years, Braun has lost only one election, her re-election to the U.S. Senate. Now, she is saying, “It is time to take the ‘Men only’ sign off the White House door.”

Watch Moseley Braun talk about her plans for universal comprehensive health care insurance, her theories about conspiracies against her, as well as her bid for the presidency. Can a black woman break out from an otherwise all-male pack and become the Democratic candidate? Hardball with Chris Matthews, 7 p.m. ET.


The Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government hosts the ‘Battle for the White House’ series. The audience, which will be comprised mostly of local college students, will also ask questions of the candidates. Admittance to these forums will require a ticket. While most tickets will be distributed to Harvard and other local college students, some tickets will be reserved for the general public. Instructions for obtaining tickets will be available on the IOP Web site.


Moseley Braun campaign Web site

Campaign embed updates


ANNOUNCER: Live, from the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University, HARDBALL’s “Battle fro the White House.” Tonight, our series of interviews with the Democratic candidates for president continues. Here’s Chris Matthews.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: This hour, she made history in 1992, being elected to the United States Senate as the first African-American woman to win that position. Then she became ambassador to New Zealand. Now, she is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Carol Moseley Braun, our guest for the next hour. Let’s play HARDBALL.


CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.


Wow, what an audience. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Thank you.


Thank you. Thank you very much. What an audience. What an audience.

MATTHEWS: Senator?

BRAUN: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: Madam Ambassador?


MATTHEWS: Tomorrow morning you wake up, you’re the president of the United States. What would you do in Iraq?

BRAUN: What would I do in Iraq? I would call the United Nations and I would call our allies around the world and offer them all Krispy Kreme’s and make up and engage them in helping to-helping us to come out with honor.

MATTHEWS: Suppose-why has the president failed in this regard?

BRAUN: I think because they started off with a flawed concept, they didn’t have an exit strategy. They didn’t have a plan. They just went in there like desperadoes and blew the place up and thumbed their nose at the international community.

MATTHEWS: Would you have had an entrance strategy? Would you have gone in in the first place?

BRAUN: You know something? Chris, I would have made certain that we stayed focused on finding bin Laden and fighting a real war on terrorism. That’s the first thing.


MATTHEWS: There’s a new Gallup poll out about Iraq. It says 62 percent of people say they’re glad Saddam is gone. Doesn’t that mean that there’s a good case to be made for this war?

BRAUN: I’m sure-I’m sure-I’m surprised that it’s not 80, 90 percent of the people glad that Saddam is gone. That’s not the point. We were starting off, sent them out to go and handle a war on terrorism, get the people who violated us on September 11. Bring them to justice. Break up the terrorist cells around the world.

And instead of doing that, they changed the subject and went in to take out Saddam Hussein, looking for weapons of mass destruction which we have never found.

MATTHEWS: Why did we go to war with Iraq?

BRAUN: You’d have to ask George Bush that.

MATTHEWS: Well, what do you think? You’re a student of history. You’re a United States senator, former ambassador. You’re running for president. Why did these people around the president and the president invade Iraq and occupy Iraq? What was their motive to do this?

BRAUN: I think that they-I don’t know what their motive was. One can only speculate.


BRAUN: Oh, there’s all kinds of speculation.

MATTHEWS: Give me the best.

BRAUN: Can I tell you a quick story?

MATTHEWS: No, I want to know why you think these guys you’re running against-because if you don’t understand why you’re running-why they did what they did...

BRAUN: Why do I think-OK, I can tell you what’s wrong with them.


BRAUN: I think that because they have a view of the world that doesn’t comport with any reality I understand.


They thought-they thought that they could fight a mechanized, computerized war, push some buttons, blow stuff up, and then be welcomed as liberators, getting rid-with Saddam having been killed either by the bombs we sent over there remotely or by his own people killing him. And then we could come in and be hailed as the conquering heroes in this modern post-Roman kind of empire-building kind of stuff, and that that would be the end of it, and we would have established democracy and peace and freedom in the Middle East, and we would be heroes.

Well, you know, that might work for Packman or Xbox or something, but it doesn’t work in the real world. And the problem is that they went in without thinking through what they were doing, what relationship it had toward the domestic security of the American people.

My first priority is the domestic security of the American people. Making certain that we are safe here at home, that our first responders have the support they need. Whether it’s hospitals or police or fire. Making certain the communities feel safe and protected. This war in Iraq had nothing to do with any of that.

MATTHEWS: And if you were in Iraq and you saw the American soldiers coming, would you have fought?

BRAUN: Have fought?

MATTHEWS: Us. If you were an Iraqi. Would you have fought for this country against us?

BRAUN: Well, you know, you know what? I’ll tell you, again, I can’t put myself in the shoes of the Iraqis, but I can tell you this, 10,000 Iraqi civilians have died in this effort to get Saddam Hussein deposed.

MATTHEWS: Whose fault is that?

BRAUN: He was deposed-well, I’m sure it is the chaos over there. It’s a failed state at this point, isn’t it? I mean, the fact is that, you know, he’s Lord only knows where. Possibly sending orders back for a counter insurgency. And it’s just chaos over there.

MATTHEWS: You once said, I read a lot of your clips today, that George Bush was not popularly elected, therefore he had no right to take us into war. Do you think it matters whether he had the most popular vote or not, whether he should be allowed to take us into war? Why is that a constitutional issue for you?

BRAUN: First, it is a constitutional issue. Article I section 8 of the Constitution calls on Congress to issue declarations of war. That did not happen.


MATTHEWS: But Dick Gephardt was the co-sponsor of the resolution-

I’m sorry, Lieberman was. Gephardt was down there. Even John Kerry from this state was signed onto this thing. Edwards signed on to it. They all had a choice, yea or nay and they all said yea.

BRAUN: Bob Graham didn’t.

MATTHEWS: But the ones that did...

BRAUN: Robert Byrd didn’t.

MATTHEWS: ... you think they didn’t know what they were doing?

BRAUN: The ones that...

MATTHEWS: Why did so many Democratic candidates for president go down for the president?

BRAUN: Well, that’s why I’m running.


MATTHEWS: We’re going to take some questions just a minute. I want to talk about your campaign. Now the hardball starts. OK?

BRAUN: OK. Oh, that wasn’t?

MATTHEWS: And by the way, I thought that was brilliant conversation between us.

Now the hard part is-how much does it cost to run for president today?

BRAUN: More money than anybody would ever want to imagine.

MATTHEWS: How much did it cost to you keep in the race so far?

BRAUN: So far we spent, oh, about, oh, I think half a million dollars.

MATTHEWS: When you ran for the Senate, you spent almost 10 times that amount, right?

BRAUN: Yes. But not in the primary. Not in the primary.


BRAUN: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: How do you compete against guys like Dean who can raise $25 million?

BRAUN: You just keep going. And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to keep going. I have a brand new campaign manager and a camp deputy manager.

MATTHEWS: Is that the person there?

BRAUN: That’s it, her.

MATTHEWS: And you’ve identified Patricia Ireland, former president of


BRAUN: Patricia Ireland from the National Organization of Women and Paula Xanthopoulou, who from the National Women’s Political Caucus is on as deputy. So we’re putting this together.

MATTHEWS: What’s the statement you’re making in picking a person-a good friend of ours, mine especially, formerly head of the National Organization for Women. Why did you pick this person to run your campaign? Is it a woman’s campaign, is it a feminist thing?

BRAUN: It’s-oh, stop!

MATTHEWS: I’m asking. I mean, if I named the head of the National Rifle Association to run my campaign it would mean something.

BRAUN: It would be a gun thing.

MATTHEWS: It would be a gun thing, you got it.

BRAUN: Patricia Ireland is immensely talented and brings to this campaign the kind of skill that we need, with her contacts, resources. The people all over this country that she can reach out to. I am just thrilled that she’s on board.

MATTHEWS: Patricia, would you explain what your strategy is to win this election? Because everybody has a strategy. When will you win your first caucus or primary state to get the ball rolling? When will it be? Is it going to be Iowa? Do you have a chance in Iowa?

BRAUN: I think I have a chance all over the country.

MATTHEWS: Do you have a chance in New Hampshire?

BRAUN: I believe I have a chance all over the country.

MATTHEWS: To win? To win?

BRAUN: We’re going to try to win-we’re in it to win it, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Will you stay in this race if you don’t win a single primary right until the end?

BRAUN: We’re going to stay in through the convention.

MATTHEWS: Even if you don’t win a single one?

BRAUN: But I don’t think that is going to be the case. I think we’re going to win some of these primaries. I think we’re going to win some of these elections or do well enough to have the delegates necessary to go to the convention.

MATTHEWS: Let’s give audience a chance. Go ahead. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Young people tend to be underrepresented in political involvement. What issues in your campaign specifically target young women?

BRAUN: Oh, specifically for young women, issues of equal pay for equal work. What a concept, huh? Women-young women make-women make...


Women make 67 cents on the dollar. African-American women make 54 cents on the dollar. Hispanic women, Latinos, I’m sorry, make 54 cents on the dollar for every dollar that a man makes. That’s just not right. And in addition to the pay disparity, there’s disparity that carries over into pensions. Seventy-six percent of the elderly poor in this country are women. And there’s a reason for it, because our work is not valued.

In addition to the issues of economics, though, there are the issues of violence against women. We are-sad-I mean, one in four of the Air Force Academy cadets who are female have been victimized by sexual assault. That’s an outrage. And yet-but it’s been kind of hushed up and dealt with quietly. Well, I’m not suggesting that we try to scandalize the Air Force Academy or any of the academies. They’re very important and there are honorable people there. But we need to make certain that young women are not denied opportunity because of violence or because of discrimination.


MATTHEWS: Madam Ambassador, we’ll be right back. I want to talk about right now, tonight at 9:00, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) MSNBC. Hang on to the dial right now. At this time, at this station, at 9:00, for an hour we’re going to have “JFK: The Day That Changed the World.” That changed America, certainly. It is about the Kennedy assassination. You will never see a documentary like this. It’s people with their firsthand experience of learning when John F. Kennedy was killed. And it’s an amazing story.

Let’s look at what Jack Kemp went through himself. He is an example.


JACK KEMP: We were having a quarterback meeting in the old stadium in Buffalo. And coach Hayden (ph) got ashen faced when he answered the phone and he said, Jack, John F. Kennedy, President Kennedy has been shot. And we just stopped talking. That was it. So the AFL called off its games, the NFL went ahead and for many years people still were criticized for playing the NFL games when the AFL called off our games. Many years later, when I was in negotiations with Commissioner Rozelle, I said, tell me, Commissioner Rozelle, why didn’t you call off the games after Kennedy was shot? He said, Jack, don’t tell anybody, but Peter Sallinger (ph) called me on behalf of the family. The Kennedy family wanted the NFL to play. Pete never got, in my opinion, got the respect he deserved for keeping that quiet all those many years. In fact, he went to his death bed with that secret.



MATTHEWS: We’re back with Carol Moseley Braun, former United States senator, former ambassador for New Zealand.

You danced with Howard Dean the other night, how is he?

BRAUN: He’s a pretty good stepper.

MATTHEWS: Is he really?

What do you think is the thing that made his campaign sort of spark?

He come from nowhere in Vermont. Vermont is not nowhere but it is small. He is making all the noise on the campaign trail. What do you think he’s got, well not all of you don’t have but what he’s got?

BRAUN: Well, I make it a point not to really do commentary on other people’s campaigns.

MATTHEWS: Come on!

BRAUN: Well, I mean, come one. Why should?

MATTHEWS: I like this a little gossip. Why is the guy doing it? Why do people like Howard Dean. And the other guy-a lot of the other campaigns with the big name behind it, lots of credentials, haven’t quite clicked.

Why do you think he is clicking?

BRAUN: I have to tell you. You know, everybody’s campaign stands on its own. And it is a long time before the voting starts, Chris. I just think that it is a matter of, I’m getting my message out there. I am going to do the best I can. I am going talk about what I want to talk about. If one guy is ahead of the other one...

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. When Sharpton is on the bus or hanging around the green room, is he as funny as he is on the stage or what?

Does has he got any extra material back there that’s dirty or bluer?

BRAUN: Well, no. He doesn’t share it with me.

MATTHEWS: No blue stuff.

BRAUN: No blue stuff.

MATTHEWS: What about if Hillary Rodham Clinton gets in this race?

BRAUN: I don’t think it’s going to happen.

MATTHEWS: Would you split if she came in?

BRAUN: No, why would I?

MATTHEWS: I’m just asking.

You would campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton? What would be your issue against her? What would be your issue against her?

BRAUN: This is for a Democratic primary.

MATTHEWS: For the nomination.

BRAUN: Yes, for the nomination.

MATTHEWS: If Hillary got in, wouldn’t you feel fulfilled by her nomination or would you fill you still had...

BRAUN: Is that like being pregnant?

No, you tell me. No, I’ve been running for the nomination, and I’m going to stay in it. We’re in it to win it. I think Senator Clinton has said she won’t run for president in 2004. And I take her at her word.

MATTHEWS: If she gets in, then she is breaking her word.

BRAUN: Well, you can say that.

MATTHEWS: No, you said that.

BRAUN: I couldn’t possibly comment.

MATTHEWS: You mean, it is a matter of honor for her to not run.

BRAUN: No, I’m saying that’s what she said.

MATTHEWS: If she is an honorable question she won’t run. That’s what you said.

A young man in a leather jacket. Look out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your campaign Web site, I noticed that you support all kind of affirmative action, Specifically that the policies of the University of Michigan. I was wondering how you can support this when in fact in many ways, it is simply putting non-minority groups at a disadvantage and raising up the opportunity for minority groups at the expense of those non-minorities?

BRAUN: See, I don’t think it does that. And let me say, I think diversity as the Supreme Count found in it’s decision diversely serves the entire community. Why, it gives you the benefit of having the experiences of people from all over the world as reflected in this room. And so because...


BRAUN: But, let me address specifically the other part of your statement. In my opinion, every young person with two brain cell working who wants to get a college education ought to be able to have that. It shouldn’t an competition based on the fact that, you know, white guys can’t get in because there’s room being taken up by somebody else. Indeed, if anything, we should expand opportunity to everybody so that everybody has a chance. An equal chance to get in. Affirmative action serves a very powerful and positive set of values for our community, for our country. I think we have to protect it.

MATTHEWS: We’ll have to go back with more.

Carol Moseley Braun at the Institute of Politics at Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government. You’re watching it. HARDBALL’s battle for the White House.

ANNOUNCER: Carol Moseley Braun, is the first female to become senator for Illinois. So far 33 women have served in the U.S. senate. We’re coming back with more from Senator Carol Moseley Braun on HARDBALL’s battle for the White House.



MATTHEWS: We’re going to get to you in one second. Senator, you said something right before the break that everybody here applauded. Right? You said diversity is good, affirmative action is good and you said everybody should go to a quality school. But all these kids are here. They won. They got in this system. They’re all at Harvard right now. What about the last white kid that doesn’t get in because a kid who is-a person of color comes in instead of that person. What do you say to that kid? The kid who doesn’t get into Harvard because of affirmative action? He’s not here. She’s not here.

BRAUN: I don’t think it has ever been shown that affirmative action shuts people out.

MATTHEWS: It doesn’t? By definition it does.

BRAUN: It makes Harvard a better place.

MATTHEWS: That’s an argument for the people here, but it doesn’t make it a better place for the kid who is not here. The kid who has been shut out isn’t better for him or her.

BRAUN: But then the kid who’s not here can to go my alma matter. I went to the University of Illinois. I got a pretty good education.

MATTHEWS: First question. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. My name is Sam Juwin (ph), and I am a sophomore at Harvard College. And my question is, if you do not get the Democratic nomination, what issue on the Democratic platform do you think is the most important to further?

BRAUN: Well, that’s two assumptions. First, I’m in it to win and I’m looking to win the nomination. Let’s start with that. But I think that-

I think that making certain that our economy works in ways to serve the entire American population, so that we don’t keep spinning toward embedded wealth and entrenched poverty and a shrinking middle class.


MATTHEWS: Would you repeal the Bush tax cut?

BRAUN: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a former ambassador, why did you say you would you support the $20 billion for Iraq aid, even though third world countries usually are-economies are corrupt and they usually squander a lot of the money we send over?

BRAUN: Well, OK. I think you’re kind of mixing two things here. The fact is for Iraq, I think it is important that we not cut and run. I opposed the war, as you may know, from the beginning on a variety of grounds, not the least of which were constitutional grounds. But now that we’re there, we can’t cut and run. We’ve blown the place up. We have a responsibility to leave it no worse than we found it.


And so it is going to take money. I mean, the American taxpayer is going to be called on probably to come up with half, at least half a trillion dollars for starters, because of this misadventure in Iraq. I mean, it’s hideous, but you know, that’s the price that our leadership has demanded of us, and I think it’s appropriate to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MATTHEWS: The president has said he would spend $15 billion to fight AIDS in Africa, where more people are going to die than died in World War II. Not one penny has moved through the pipeline.

BRAUN: That’s right.

MATTHEWS: Why do you want money to go to Iraq before it goes to fighting AIDS in Africa?

BRAUN: It’s not a matter of going to Iraq. It’s a matter...

MATTHEWS: It is not going to Africa at all.

BRAUN: Well, OK.


BRAUN: And they haven’t funded the global fund as they promised, the money for HIV and AIDS efforts. There’s no question that there are many priorities, but among the priorities I think we have a responsibility to see to it that we don’t leave Iraq blown up. I mean, that’s what these guys did. They blew it up. Now they have a responsibility, unfortunately, to pay for it.

MATTHEWS: How can the Black Caucus just shut the place down on an issue like AIDS in Africa? Why don’t they go to the ramparts and fight these issues? I haven’t heard one person squawking about this in weeks or months now, about the $15 billion that’s not been spent.

BRAUN: Yeah, it’s bad.

MATTHEWS: Doesn’t it amaze you? Nobody said a peep.

BRAUN: Well, listen, at this point, this administration, they amaze me so much that I’ve just gotten beyond...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a self-described fighter for human rights, can you provide one instance in which you fought for human rights?

BRAUN: Oh, absolutely. I don’t know, you probably were a little one at that point, but in 1984, I filed the first moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois, as a state legislator.


In 1986, I started the movement to divest pension funds from South Africa.


When I got to the United States Senate, I fought for a ban on child labor in the NAFTA and the trade bills that we had as a member of the Finance Committee. And I’ve been a consistent fighter for democracy and human rights around the world in all of my public career, in 20 years of public record.

MATTHEWS: Next question, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ambassador Braun, it would be inappropriate for a male candidate to use his gender as a reason for people to vote for him. Why is it appropriate for you to use your gender as a reason for people to vote for you?

BRAUN: Well, for starters, we’ve never had a male-we’ve never had a female president. And making-speaking the obvious, it seems to me, is not inappropriate. My little niece who is 8 years old, came in the other day with her social studies book and said, Auntie Carol, all the presidents are boys. She was shocked by this.

So making the point that we can enlarge our democracy to tap the talents of all people, male and female, black and white and brown, is a good thing, I think, for the society as a whole.

MATTHEWS: Is the 43rd president a legitimate president? George W.

Bush. You’ve said he wasn’t popularly elected. Do you think he’s...

BRAUN: He wasn’t popularly, that’s bad.

MATTHEWS: Is he a legitimate president?

BRAUN: Yes, he is.

MATTHEWS: Oh, that’s a quick answer. But you said he can’t declare war because he’s not...

BRAUN: No, what I meant by that, and what I said was he did not have a mandate to go and...

MATTHEWS: Popular mandate. OK. We’ll be right back with more for another half-hour with Carol Moseley Braun. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


MATTHEWS: Braun starts on the chances of an African American women being the next president of the United States. More on HARDBALL’s battle for the White House. But first the latest headlines right now.


MATTHEWS: You know, I’m going to drive some people crazy with this conversation, but this country, let’s talk about our country. Because, you’re one of the few African-American people to run for president in history. There’s only in-I think we went back to reconstruction, there’s only been two black senators, Ed Brook and you. That were elected post reconstruction. What does it say about this country? A country that got 20, less than 20 percent, lets say 15 percent African-American, no U.S. senators.

I watched Jesse Jackson one time looking down from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I could tell he was thinking, why aim not here?

Is it just prejudice, simple as that?

BRAUN: We have from the beginning struggled with the issue of race in this country. And I’d like to think that keeping the progress going in the direction of expanding the democracy, creating a more inclusive society, benefits of every American. This is the greatest country in the world, and African-Americans have participated in the very beginning in building this country, as women have participated in building this country. But the notion of African-American or women in leadership is still something that we’re just kind of grappling with. I think as we move in the direction of expanding and including the talents of all Americans, we build a stronger country. And we lift up the values that there country was founded on.

MATTHEWS: We have Afro-American heroes in this country. I’m not just talking music or show business king. People like, a wonderful person like Oprah Winfrey from Chicago, who people all look up to. Hugely popular, hugely wealthy successful in this country. You have people like Bill Cosby. You have people like, we’ve had people like Jordan, of course, all the super stars. The golfer, whatever his name is. This whole thing right. You know, so it is successes. It is a country where it doesn’t close all the doors.

But why politics?

Why is it that Carl McCall gets blown away in New York?

Why is it you lost the seat after one term. Why did Brook after two term?

How come in Texas we have a black nominee in the party. It never happens. Is it just a hump you can win a congressional seats which are largely black, but you can’t go statewide.

Doesn’t it drive you crazy?

Why aren’t people really complaining about prejudicial voting, where whites won’t vote for blacks.

BRAUN: Well, but they do. I mean, Illinois...

MATTHEWS: They do?

BRAUN: Well, Illinois has only a 10 percent African-American population, and I got elected with 55 percent of the vote. I think that’s something to celebrate.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

You’ve had senator of every white ethnic group got elected. You have 10 or so Jewish member, they’re not a majority. They’re a small percentage. But they manage to get elected. It seem like the black/white thing is still sit their in politics.

BRAUN: Well, it’s also a money thing. And you know, politics is largely driven by money. The ability to fund raise, to raise money to be competitive is a hurdle that African-Americans have a difficult time doing. And frankly, as I campaigned in my Senate campaign and now the presidential, I’m struggling with trying to fund raise. But we’re going to do it and we are going to have this effort because so many people want to see it happening. We have the voluntaries coming forward. We have people coming forward, making-show in the poll like I have.

MATTHEWS: Besides the money, Senator, Ambassador, have you been treated with respect by the other candidates?

BRAUN: Yes, I think I have.

MATTHEWS: No problem. No problem with equality, acceptance the whole routine?

BRAUN: Well, except some of them talk longer than do I.

MATTHEWS: That’s no problem for us. Go ahead. By the way this is Ambassador Swanee Hunt. She is director of Women and Public Policy Program here at the Kennedy School. And she was an ambassador to Austria. Welcome.


Madam ambassador, looking explicitly through the gender lenses at the electoral politics, do you think if we had not only a woman president, but also half the cabinet were women and half the Congress were women, would you predict a difference in the policies and practices of our government?

BRAUN: I do.

HUNT: Can you say more?

BRAUN: I do.

MATTHEWS: Less wars?

BRAUN: Well, I don’t know about just less wars, but I think the priorities and focus on domestic issues would be different. You know, a lot of lip service is given to education. The children are our future, etc., and yet the funding is never really there. So education would have a different set of decisions made about education and education funding. Childcare issue, what that to children?

I think women tend to focus in on making certain the next generation is protected a little more. I think problem solving, practical solutions to long standing problems, whether it’s healthcare or getting the economy going, I think it would make a difference to have women-more women in government. In large part because of the prospective that’s...

MATTHEWS: Why most women vote Democrat?

BRAUN: Probably because they see them with their interested in mind.

MATTHEWS: Why do most men vote Republican?

BRAUN: I don’t know.

MATTHEWS: They do. Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Madam Ambassador, as you’re aware, last week Senator Republican’s held their marathon debate regarding judicial nominations not getting the right to an up or down vote. If elected as president, what kind of judicial nominations would you send to the Senate and if so would you expect them to be treated with the right to an up or download?

BRAUN: Let me say from the outset. What is going on right now in my opinion is nothing short of an attempt trying to pack the court with far right wing ideologue. That...


BRAUN: So, I congratulate the member of the Senate who are holding up their responsibility and stopping the nomination. Now having said that, the question is whether or not the administration respects the judiciary, the bench, and the rule of law enough, to understand that you just don’t keep sending people who don’t seem to demonstrate the judicial temperament and balance and themselves a set of views that don’t move to the extreme of political thought in this country. Every administration, I think, has a responsibility to pick those people who are moderate enough to give the citizenry, this not about the individual’ nominee. But citizens have to have respect for the law. The only way is if they believe the judges will be fair. And you can’t have judges giving speech about how they hate this, hate that and don’t think a previous decision was made any sense and have any respect for the law.

MATTHEWS: Do you think Clarence Thomas was treated with respect when he went to the Supreme Court? Was he treated with respect as a man.

BRAUN: I think so. Based on what I saw. I was not in the room.

From the hearings I saw, yes he was.

MATTHEWS: The kind of questions he was asked...


MATTHEWS: Was that’s fair the way he was treated. He said it was a high-tech lynching, as a African-American man up for the Supreme Court. Do you think he was treated dignity? Do you think a white candidate would be treated like...

BRAUN: Ask Bob Packwood that question. Well, they were both-the issues were the same. It was both sexual harassment and whether or not that conduct had disqualified an individual. In Packwood’s case it was Senate seat. In Thomas’s case, it was whether or not he would be confirmed for the highest court in the last.


MATTHEWS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) quota on the number of African-American’s in the court we have one. We have Thurgood Marshall now we have-do you think that the space shouldn’t have been taken by a conservative, and there should still be opportunity for blacks to be in the Supreme Court.

BRAUN: Look, the most important thing in picking a judge is find a person who respects the law, who knows the law and has the heart and the head to make fair decisions that the people will regard as the final word.

MATTHEWS: Does Clarence Thomas pass that test?

BRAUN: Well, you know...


BRAUN: Without personalizing the debate, I think it is incumbent on the administration to send forward nominees that neat test of a good head, a good heart, and balance and fairness in their views.

MATTHEWS: We’ll be right back. More we are going to talk more about the personal stuff. I love this part. When we get back all kinds of interesting personal questions of Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun.


BRAUN: All that we are saying is give a women a chance to lead. For ever detractor who would say-would call my campaign silly and hopeless there are many more who see it as bold and courageous and the silver bullet to send Bush back to the ranch.




MATTHEWS: Let’s go up here. The first question (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Ambassador. As a human right activist, can you please explain the reasons behind your vocal support of the 1990s Nigerian military dictatorship.

BRAUN: I never voted to support the Nigerian...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vocal support, I said.

BRAUN: No, I never-listen, Karl Rove made $800,000 muddying me up

for going to a funeral for a deceased friend who was assassinated in

Nigeria. It had nothing-I have a very clear record of support for human

rights. I support human rights in Africa, in Nigeria as well. A lot of

people don’t know that Nigeria is just one of the countries in Africa. But

” but, seriously, you know, I mean, I supported human rights in Africa and in Burma and around the world, and I have a record of 20 years. And to have one visit to a funeral converted into what you just said, which isn’t true, but that was the popular understanding, was the function of a huge smear campaign.

MATTHEWS: How many times did you visit Nigeria when you were a senator?

BRAUN: Twice.

MATTHEWS: Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You mentioned the economic disparities between men’s and women’s wages, but there’s a greater disparity between the wages of mothers and non-mothers. And I was just wondering what you would do to rectify this problem.

MATTHEWS: Who gets paid less?


BRAUN: Well, I just think that providing for women in the workforce is a challenge for our generation. This is really new. When my mother worked outside the home, very few women did. And so we have a lot of work to do to make certain that salary disparities are resolved, that discrimination is ended and that adequate care is made for the children. Because what’s happening very often, children wind up being the last people thought about in the whole-in the decision making that goes into employment. And so whether it is child care or afterschool care or opportunities for people to carry their pensions over, there are a variety of issues that go to leveling the playing field for men and women in the workforce.

MATTHEWS: Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. At the end of your presidential term, what would you like to leave as your legacy on national service? And by national service, I mean programs like Americorps?

BRAUN: You know, I think it is important that we inspire people, young people particularly but all people, to give back to their country. This is the greatest country in the world. And to the extent that each of us can take ownership of keeping it strong, keeping it great, keeping it a beacon of light and hope for the world, raising up the higher values for the world, democracy and human rights and individual liberty. If we can, all of us, engage to keep those values lifted up, we will have done our bit to make certain, our part to make certain that we’ve passed on to the next generation no less than we inherited from the last one.

MATTHEWS: Did you ever think of joining the Peace Corps?


MATTHEWS: Why not?

BRAUN: Oh, I had to work. I had to work.

MATTHEWS: Well, the Peace Corps-you had to work...

BRAUN: Well, no, but in my time, I had too many-my family was stressed and I had to work. I got my first job at 15. I was a checker in a grocery store. And I worked all the way through college and all the way through law school.

MATTHEWS: Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The war on terror is more than about soldiers. Sometime things happen to individuals. If something happens to an individual, as president, how would you help that individual and/or their family?

BRAUN: In war?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They’re abroad and something happens to them.

It’s a terrorist act of some sort.

BRAUN: Well, I think in the first place, a lot of things have happened to a lot of individuals. Start with our veterans. Let’s start with that. These are the people who have come home who have been injured in war. I would make certain that our veterans were attended to, that they had adequate support when they came home, that they had adequate health care, that they didn’t to have wait for care or stand in line and wait for treatment, which we have right now.

So I would give greater support to our veterans.

I would give greater support to our men and women in the armed forces so that they didn’t have to live on food stamps, as some of them do, presently, so they had adequate incomes and they lived in decent housing.

I would give greater support to young men and women who might just get caught up in these conflicts and provide the kind of support from the State Department so that people’s individual needs could be attended to.

I have to give credit, frankly, to our diplomatic corps around the world, because quite frankly, they are the point of last resort. If something happens to you and you’re abroad, you can go into an embassy, generally, and get help for whatever that problem is. And so I think supporting those kinds of efforts, you know, is the best thing that an administration can do to protect the security of the American people abroad.

MATTHEWS: What’s your favorite movie? What’s your favorite movie?

BRAUN: My favorite movie...

MATTHEWS: All-time favorite movie?

BRAUN: All time. Well, you know, last night I just happened to pick up “The Wizard of Oz,” and that’s a classic.

MATTHEWS: We’ll be right back. What’s your favorite book, all time?

BRAUN: My all time favorite book...

MATTHEWS: All time favorite book.

BRAUN: ... “Lives of a Cell” by Lewis Thomas.

MATTHEWS: Oh, that’s a sales pitch. Thank you. We’ll be right back to find out who your favorite philosopher is. We’re with former Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun. When we come back with more HARDBALL, “Battle for the White House.”


BRAUN: I am a candidate because I am not prepared to stand idly by and watch that promise of America slip away from us. I am going to do everything I can to see to it that we expand the promise of democracy and we keep our country strong.



MATTHEWS: We’re back with Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun. Ambassador, you stuck your neck out and came out with that avant guard film. What was that called? Your favorite movie?

BRAUN: The last one?


BRAUN: “Wizard of Oz,” yes.

MATTHEWS: That was risky business. Let’s to go your favorite philosopher.

BRAUN: Descartes.

MATTHEWS: OK. Favorite musician.

BRAUN: OK. A tie. Keith Jarrett and John Coltrane.

MATTHEWS: OK. You had-you wanted to make some kind of announcement. Go ahead, make it.

BRAUN: Just an announcement to invite everybody to our Web site, Love to have you come visit.

MATTHEWS: OK. We’re going to take some more-we have some more questions. Go ahead, sir.

BRAUN: Tell us what you think.

MATTHEWS: You’re up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ambassador, in 1992 when you were elected to the U.S. Senate, about seven other women were elected as well. It was heralded as the year of the woman. My question is, what happened?

BRAUN: To the year of the woman? Well, I think every year should be the year of the woman. I think, I think, again, I think keeping the progress going forward, opening up our society, including the talents of everybody. You know, it is almost mathematical if you think about it. If you can tap the talents of 100 percent of the people, you have a better chance of a better outcome than if you can just tap the talent of half of the people.

And that is the challenge to all of us, in whatever area we work in, whether it’s in politics or in business or in community development, whatever it is, if we can expand the participation, we will have a healthier society that works better for everybody.

MATTHEWS: Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ambassador, do you seek the vice presidency, if you were offered a place in the ticket?

BRAUN: I’m in it to win the nomination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if you were offered a place on the ticket, would you accept it?

BRAUN: You’re saying always a bride’s maid, never a bride? Is that what you’re telling me?

MATTHEWS: Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’m interested in your thoughts on public education. And in particular, how you feel about “No Child Left Behind.”

BRAUN: Yes. Also known as no child left untested or no behind left, or-it would be the biggest unfunded mandate and require property tax increases such as you have never seen. It represents a stick and not a carrot in terms of education. The national government ought to be supporting teachers and parents and communities to provide quality education to children across this country, and instead of just punishing them for their inability to make the grade on some set of facts.

MATTHEWS: But what’s wrong with testing?


BRAUN: The problem is not just testing. Because the Europeans have been using tests, standard tests for a long time. The problem is not just that. The question is whether or not the national government, that is contributing only 6 percent of the cost of education, has the right to mandate these kinds of tests to state and local governments without sending any money for-for it to happen. It’s an unfunded mandate that is going to give rise to property tax increases, and essentially destroy the abilities of many communities that are trying to create good public schools.

MATTHEWS: But don’t we want to know that every kid who graduates from high school is qualified to graduate from high school and is not being promoted socially?

BRAUN: Yeah, but this crowd is about to shut down high school. That’s the problem. This approach, this is, quote, “no child left behind” is not calculated to build schools and to provide opportunities for education. What it is calculated to do is put schools on the failing list. And so that they won’t be able to provide the opportunity to education that these kids need. And that’s what’s wrong with it. It is the wrong approach.


I feel strongly. Education is a public benefit, as well as a private good. It is something that the public has an interest in seeing that every child gets a quality education. And the only way we’re going to be able to do that is develop greater collaboration between the national, state and local governments. At 6 percent, if we just expanded the national contribution to education to 10 percent, that would relieve some of the property tax burden, that would let local districts to do a better job of providing quality education. Whether it was bilingual education in one community or art and music in another. It would give people some support and some help.

That’s what we need to think about doing. How do we support efforts to provide quality education, not just punitively punishing people for their inability to do so.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about-let me ask you where you were when Kennedy was killed. Where were you, do you remember?

BRAUN: Yes, I do. I do. I was in high school. I was in high school. And it was devastating. Everybody, the bell rang and everybody, we thought it was a fire drill. You know, I’m from that generation that did duck and cover. Remember during the...


BRAUN: Yeah. So we thought it was something nuclear or something had gone on. And when we found out the president had been shot, it was devastating to everybody.

MATTHEWS: What did you think of Kennedy when you were a kid?

BRAUN: Oh, he was a hero. He was an American icon, an idol. We just

” we thought he was glamorous and wonderful and brilliant, and his wife was beautiful and glamorous and brilliant. And I was really taken by the fact that she spoke French. I thought that was really cool.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. I want to thank everybody. We’ll get to the questions next week for the other candidates. In two weeks, we’re going to have Howard Dean here, the guy you-but you did dance with him.


MATTHEWS: That’s a start.

Anyway, December 1, he is going to be here. Then we’re going to have General Clark here. I noticed something about General Clark. He doesn’t blink, which is very interesting. He will not blink before foreign threats, which I can predict. Anyway, don’t forget at 9:00 tonight, big show tonight. Please go home from here, go back to your TV sets and watch “JFK: The Day the World Changed, the Day That Changed America.” That’s about the Kennedy assassination. Firsthand accounts. You’ll never see this before or again. Right now, it is time for “THE COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann. Thank you very much.

BRAUN: Thank you.


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