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Weekend of May 22-23, 2004


Today on THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW, a war president in danger.  Is the worst

ahead?  Plus, is the GOP next to godliness?  Those questions and more on

today's show.

Sink Hole.  The War in Iraq sinks American lives and money into the sands of

Arabia.  Who's calling the shots?  And who can we trust?

Dream Ticket.  John Kerry still hopes for a little help from his friend.

Would a Kerry/McCain ticket unite the country and excite the world?

Get Me to the Church on Time.  Two out of three churchgoers prefer Bush.  Can

John Kerry find his pew?

Plus, part one of my three-part look at Normandy.  This week, the men who

charged Hitler's pillboxes.

All that and more with a gung-ho roundtable on your weekly news show.

Announcer:  From Congress to the West Wing, he's been a Washington insider.

Now he's one of the capital's top journalists:  Chris Matthews.

MATTHEWS:  Hi.  I'm Chris Matthews.  Welcome to the show.  Let's go inside.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Profile: Norah O'Donnell, NBC News; Howard Fineman, Newsweek;

Gloria Borger, US News & World Report; Tucker Carlson, CNN,

discuss the War in Iraq, John Kerry's running mate, and how

religion affects the presidential election


Norah O'Donnell reports for the White House for NBC News.  Howard Fineman is

Newsweek's chief political correspondent.  Gloria Borger is a columnist for US

News & World Report, and Tucker Carlson co-hosts CNN's "Cross Fire."

First up, Sink Hole.  Almost a thousand Americans killed in Iraq, 53 in this

month alone.  Almost 5,000 wounded Americans, many badly.  Billions of

dollars, and now a putrefying prison abuse scandal.  And a discrediting of

Ahmed Chalabi, the man who led us into Iraq in the first place.

Howard, the question.  This president, how is he going to get control of

things again?

Mr. HOWARD FINEMAN (Chief Political Correspondent Newsweek):  Well, the fact

that you have to ask that question shows the political situation he's in.

It's not sure that he's in control of the White House itself.  You have

factions fighting all the time.  In the campaign he had Karl Rove to run

things.  There is no Karl Rove for this war.  He's got Republicans questioning

what he's doing.  He's got conservatives abandoning him.  And he's going to

start giving speeches every week for six weeks, crafted by Karen Hughes, who's

back to try to help resell the whole theory of the war that he thought we all


MATTHEWS:  What does he have to sell that he's not selling?  What do we not

know about?

Mr. FINEMAN:  First of all, first of all, he needs to have better facts on

the ground.  That's the main thing.  That's the problem he's got.  No matter

how good his rhetoric, it doesn't matter how focused Karen Hughes' speeches

are, he needs things to improve in Iraq, and that's not happening, especially

because Americans see those pictures of abuse in those prisons.  And the

phrase "proud to be an American" suddenly has a hollow meaning.

MATTHEWS:  The shame factor gets in there.  We'll talk about the shame factor,

because I feel a little bit of it myself.

Norah O'Donnell, inside the White House, you cover it, who is--is this war

just the war itself, is it being run out of the Defense Department?  Is it

being run out of the White House, including the vice-president's office?

Where's the brain leading us into this battle in Iraq as the future goes on?

Ms. NORAH O'DONNELL (White House Correspondent NBC News):  Well, clearly the

Defense secretary, Rumsfeld, is playing a major role, as he should be.  And

the vice president has a close hand in it as well.  But, I mean, the

president's problem of--politically speaking is how to show that there's a way

forward.  And that's what he's going to be doing over the next six weeks.

They believe the conditions on the ground are horrible and they're going to

get worse.


Ms. O'DONNELL:  They are telling everybody that, but they believe that if

they present a solution to the American people, a way forward, we're turning

over the power June 3rd, we do have an exit strategy, that they can perhaps

stem this bad bit of news and his sinking poll numbers.

Ms. GLORIA BORGER (CNBC):  I think their big issue is President Bush has to

be his own surrogate now.  A lot of his lieutenants, if you will, Donald

Rumsfeld, for example...

MATTHEWS:  He broke his pick.

Ms. BORGER: tarnished by the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.  So Bush has

to go out there and sell this himself, and the people I talk to in the White

House say the big word for us is "resolve." People like the fact that the

president has resolved his leadership numbers, they still say, are in a good

range.  And if he goes out there and shows resolve, that will convince the

American people.

MATTHEWS:  But--but--but, let me ask you a bigger question here.  Resolve is

good, and people love a confident person, male or female, whatever.  But you

have this situation developing.  We went over to liberate and be the good

guys.  We don't feel or look like the good guys.  The shame factor just sits

there.  The other thing is this question, what about what we're doing.  We

were led into that country by intel.  The intel was WMD, that people would

welcome us, the oil would pay for this, all this cakewalk stuff.  Ahmed

Chalabi, we practically arrested the guy the other day.  Who do we believe

over there now?

Mr. TUCKER CARLSON (CNN):  Here's the problem.  Here's what Bush needs to

explain:  why we went in the first place.  I don't think it's a dumb idea for

him to give six speeches restating that, because once WMD were not found,

people were left with the question, `Why is this war good for America?' If

they believe it is good for America I think they'll put up with anything.  I

know leaving is bad for America, but that's not enough.  I don't think Bush

did a good job at the outset explaining why this is in our national interest.

Ms. O'DONNELL:  But...


Ms. O'DONNELL:  But the problem is one of the reasons was because there was a

connection with 9/11.  There isn't.  One of the reasons was the weapons of

mass destruction, there isn't.  The finally reason was that we could promote

democracy and be a leader, a shining example in the Middle East, and that's

why this Abu Ghraib prison is such a problem.

Mr. CARLSON:  If that's all there is--if that's all there is, it's over for

Bush.  If he cannot explain why being there right now is in our national

interest, he's going to lose.

Mr. FINEMAN:  He's going to have to do that, because the other reasons have

fallen away.  This is going to require him to carry out the teaching function

of the presidency, the public educative function.


Mr. FINEMAN:  He says that he admires Winston Churchill.

MATTHEWS:  Was a great explainer.

Mr. FINEMAN:  Winston Churchill during the war was doing it day after day

after day and in the well of the house, not in a semi-annual visit to Capitol


Ms. BORGER:  Well, he's going to have to do that.  At the same time you saw

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz this week admit for the very first

time that perhaps we underestimated what we were going to be met with...


Ms. BORGER:  ...when we went into Iraq.  So you see, that coming, so they

don't show that huge arrogance that people...


Ms. BORGER:  ...accused them of having.

MATTHEWS:  But that was the central claim, that they would welcome us as


Ms. BORGER:  That's right.

MATTHEWS:  ...and they haven't.

Ms. BORGER:  And they're backtracking a little.

Mr. FINEMAN:  The problem also is that they don't want to admit any error or

mistake.  They used to be haunted by the memory of George H.W. Bush.


Mr. FINEMAN:  Now they're haunted by the memory of Jimmy Carter.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  Malaysia.

Mr. FINEMAN:  Oh, no Malaysia.  We're not going the Carter direction...


Mr. FINEMAN:  ...there's only one way forward here.

Ms. BORGER:  Right.

Mr. CARLSON:  But wouldn't it be nice to have some sort of strategy that

people understood.  For instance, Chalabi almost arrested, as you put it,

yesterday or just the other day.  What--why hasn't the--why haven't soldiers

done the same thing to, I don't know, al-Sadr.


Mr. CARLSON:  An open enemy of the United States.  Chalabi, for all his

faults, is the most pro-American guy in the country.  What is our strategy?

MATTHEWS:  Tucker--Tucker and Gloria.  Gloria, you worked on the Hill for so

many years covering it.  The fight we're having right now, trying to figure

this thing out, is exactly what's going on in the Republican Caucus today.

The speaker of the House attacks McCain for encouraging questions on how the

prisoners were treated.  He says our--he's not even a Republican.

Ms. BORGER:  I know.

MATTHEWS:  And then he comes back and makes fun of them.  He makes fun of the

president.  The president goes to the Hill yesterday, this--this week, and

says, `Here's how it's all working out over there.' John McCain walks out of

the room and says, `I was really moved by that' sarcastically.

Mr. FINEMAN:  The trouble is the president didn't take a single question.  It

was like the pep rally at Andover, you know, when he's 16 with the megaphone.

No questions.  No talk to all the people there.

Ms. BORGER:  You know, the only people who can drive John McCain into the

Democrats' arms are George W. Bush and those Republicans like Denny Hastert.


Ms. BORGER:  I mean, it was, people thought it was...

Mr. CARLSON:  And they know that.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you...

Ms. BORGER:  And by the way, as I was saying before, the president doesn't

have a lot of surrogates to talk about the reason we are in Iraq.


Ms. BORGER:  Who's one of the best surrogates he has?  John McCain.

Mr. CARLSON:  I talked to someone today who's in part of the Bush reelection

effort who said, quote, "We talk to McCain all the time."

Ms. BORGER:  Mm-hmm.

Mr. CARLSON:  And I said, `All the time?' And he said, `Well, not all the

time, but fairly frequently, because we know that if we don't, he can Jim

Jeffords us.'

Ms. BORGER:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Can we talk to the Republicans watching the show right now.

Not the official professional types here in Washington, regular Republican

people.  Where I grew up, the suburbs, my family especially, I spent a lot of

time with them this weekend, up in the Philadelphia suburbs, which is classic

target zone for the Republicans.  Montgomery County.  They're disappointed, a

lot of them.  They're--they don't dislike Bush.  They're disappointed in the

war.  They don't see what they get out of it.  You know?  You tell the

Republicans to vote Republican so you have less taxes and less government on

your back, and then you throw this thing at them.

Mr. CARLSON:  Well, it was never a conservative war.  One of the central

tenets of conservatism is that change takes place slowly, incrementally, you


MATTHEWS:  It doesn't feel like a Republican war.

Mr. CARLSON:  That it's much easier to destroy things than it is to build

them.  And yet, this war was predicated on the notion, we're going to go in,

destroy it, very quickly build something worthwhile in its place.  It was

never conservative.

MATTHEWS:  This war feels like Kosovo and Madeleine Albright's running it.  It

doesn't feel like a Republican war.  It doesn't seem that way.

Mr. FINEMAN:  The problem here--Chris, the problem here is one problem piling

up on another--the prisons, the fact that there's chaos in the streets.

MATTHEWS:  It smells.

Mr. FINEMAN:  The question of the president's competence...


Mr. FINEMAN: one the Democrats can raise in a nonideological way to

try to go after.

Ms. BORGER:  I also think it's the moral authority.  You know, Bush likes to

say that he speaks with a certain moral authority.


Ms. BORGER:  He sees the world in monarchy in good vs. evil.


Ms. BORGER:  And Abu Ghraib took away that moral authority.

Mr. CARLSON:  Don't you think it's been a little--don't you think it's been

overdone a little bit.  If you look at the papers this week...


Mr. CARLSON:  ...all the news about Iraq crowded out by the prison scandal.

There's more going on there than just that.

MATTHEWS:  In some way the pictures keep coming.

Mr. FINEMAN:  True.

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, no surprise again this week with the Matthews Meter based

upon what we've been saying.  We asked 12 of our regulars, who won the week?

Again, a slam-dunk for Kerry by forfeit, I have to say again.  He was the

winner because the other guy lost so bad.

Howard, McCain keeps duking it out with the other Republicans.  They're being

sarcastic as hell back and forth about the war.  Any chance he's going to join

the other side?

Mr. FINEMAN:  John Kerry still hopes so.  I was told by one of his best

friends that Kerry hasn't given up on the fantasy of it.  Whether it'll ever


MATTHEWS:  Is it fantasy?

Mr. FINEMAN:  Oh, 99 percent.  But I'll tell you, the Republicans are making

life uncomfortable for--for McCain, and since he's up in the Senate in Arizona

and he's a sure winner, if he really gets mad he might be able to cost the

Republicans both a presidency and the Senate at the same time.

MATTHEWS:  But the appeal of him running, if I were McCain, and I think I know

him pretty well, I met him--I had him on the show so many times, he seems

like he'd love it.


Ms. BORGER:  Well, you know, I think he would love to be asked.  W--do I

think he would do it?  You know, absolutely not.  This is a guy who voted for

Robert Bork, Judge Bork.

MATTHEWS:  You know, you know, you're being so intellectual here.

Ms. BORGER:  The Supreme Court, no.

MATTHEWS:  This guy is in the middle of a war right...

Tucker, would it be a tough ticket to beat?

Mr. CARLSON:  Look, if there's one sacred issue in the Democratic catechism,

it's abortion, and he's against it.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you this...

Mr. CARLSON:  I just think it's a lot to swallow.

MATTHEWS:  ...can I ask you the tough question?  Who wins if it's Kerry/McCain

against Bush/Cheney.

Mr. CARLSON:  You're being serious?  Come on.

MATTHEWS:  I'm being serious, who wins?

Mr. CARLSON:  Kerry/McCain, of course.

Ms. BORGER:  Totally, yup.

Mr. FINEMAN:  Yup.

Ms. O'DONNELL:  McCain/Kerry.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you this...

Ms. BORGER:  That's a sure sweetener.

MATTHEWS:  ...isn't he doing all the right things, Howard, to get the

nomination for vice president?  He's out fighting the other Republicans, he's

looking like a victim, like they're attacking him.

Mr. FINEMAN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  He's perfectly positioned to get himself to do this.

Mr. FINEMAN:  He's drawing all the fire.  He's drawing all the fire for them.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you...

Mr. FINEMAN:  He's already--he's already in effect Kerry's veep.

MATTHEWS:  Do you mind if I ask you a difficult question?

Mr. FINEMAN:  Even if he never does it.

MATTHEWS:  If he doesn't want the vice presidency, all he has to do is get on

the phone or get up on the Senate floor with John Kerry, call him aside and

say, `John, I don't want you to hurt yourself.  There's no way in hell I'm

taking this nomination, so don't play these games any longer.' Why doesn't he

do that?

Mr. FINEMAN:  Well, he may have done that but Kerry's playing it anyway.

Ms. BORGER:  Well, I'm told aides have done channel.

MATTHEWS:  You know why he's not?  A big cost here.  If Kerry doesn't get him

as his V.P., anybody else will look boring.

Mr. FINEMAN:  That's right.

MATTHEWS:  That's why he's paying a high price.

Ms. BORGER:  But what if Kerry said, `I'll make him my secretary of Defense or

I'll make him my secretary of State.' He could do that, too.

MATTHEWS:  That may be a job he wants.

Before we go to break, John Kerry's been campaigning with Howard Dean lately.

They've had plenty of time on the trail to play some cards and to bond with

each other.  But let's take a look at the political joker in this custom-made

deck that the Kerry staff had specially printed.  It's got Howard Dean's

screaming face on the Jack of Hearts, and we're not making this up.

I'll be right back with a big Democratic challenge: churchgoers.  Plus some

personal thoughts on the men who faced the guns at Normandy.  Stick around.

Announcer:  Today's show is brought to you by...


MATTHEWS:  Bush and Kerry coming to a church near you.  Plus the men who

crashed through Hitler's Atlantic wall.  Stick with me.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back.  Here's some stunning information about churchgoers.

Peter Hart, who does the Wall Street Journal poll, tells me that people who go

to religious services at least once a week back president Bush two to one.


The Regular Churchgoer Vote

Bush     59%

Kerry    30%

MATTHEWS:  That is an amazing, Tucker, and what's it about?

Mr. CARLSON:  I don't think it's about the president's perceived piety or

real piety.  I think it's because people perceive that the Democratic base is

very hostile, openly hostile to traditional religion; that the attacks on the

Christian right, for instance, are really attacks on Christianity, traditional

Christianity itself.  And I think it's true.  I think people perceive that.

People who run the Democratic Party, its activist wing, have contempt for

churchgoers, and my experience is they absolutely do have contempt for


MATTHEWS:  Gloria:

Ms. BORGER:  I think they see President Bush as a man of faith, and, I think,

he talked about his faith all the time, and I think that they like that, and

they believe that therefore he will tell them the truth.  You disagree with


MATTHEWS:  It's bigger, it's bigger.  I think it's partisan.

Mr. FINEMAN:  I think...

MATTHEWS:  I think this has taken a long time to develop.  I think the

Republican Party has begun to evolve among regular churchgoing,

Synagogue-going people, regular people, their habits, their sort of

traditional values.  It's very deep.  And Democrats are a little showbusiness,

I think.  There's something about the Democrats that seem that way.

Mr. FINEMAN:  There's a long-running battle between the church and the state

for the allegiance for the human soul.


Mr. FINEMAN:  And Democrats have represented, since the New Deal, the role of

the state in making life better and provided a way of comfort and life, and

the Republicans and the Conservatives have had other answers...


Mr. FINEMAN:  ...including faith.


Mr. FINEMAN:  That's the essential dividing line.

Mr. CARLSON:  It's exactly right, exactly right.

Ms. BORGER:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  And they always take the position...

Mr. FINEMAN:  The Democrats are not against religion.

MATTHEWS:  Right, right.

Mr. FINEMAN:  I would take issue with Carter on that--with Tucker on that.

MATTHEWS:  But in all the fights--church in school, vouchers, public vs.

private--all the time there's a fight, can you have a Jesus statue somewhere

in a City Hall building.  It always seems to be the Democrats say no.

Mr. FINEMAN:  Faith or the state.  Faith of the state.  That's the argument.

MATTHEWS:  Norah, why do the Republicans own the religious people?  Why do

people who go to church tend to be Republican?  It's two to one.

Ms. O'DONNELL:  Well, I think partly because the Republican Party speaks to

that and the president, too.  But I think it's also important to point out,

too, that this is not just a Republican question.  I mean, this is an issue

that Kerry is dealing with, because there are a lot of Democrats who are very

religious, too, and faithful people.  And Kerry has not really expressed that.

He started showing up more at church.  He's had problems of his own with the

Catholic Church, and it's a big issue for him because a majority of this

country is religious.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  And it is a big fight.  You're right.  That side fight that

we both know about pretty well, which is the fact that some of the bishops,

three or four out of hundreds of bishops, some of the bishops have made a lot

of noise saying they're going to reserve or keep Communion from any public

official who advocates the legality of--of abortion.

Mr. CARLSON:  But that's not--no, they're suggesting to Catholics--as an

Episcopalian I can see this very clearly, as an outsider--they're suggesting

to people who are for legalized abortion that they not take Communion.  They

are not withholding communion from anybody...

MATTHEWS:  No, they're getting there.

Ms. BORGER:  But they...

Mr. CARLSON:  ...they're saying, `You look...'

Mr. FINEMAN:  There's one priest in Colorado Springs who's saying just that.

Mr. CARLSON:  No, he's not saying that.  No, he's not.

Ms. BORGER:  He's right.

MATTHEWS:  Let me tell you this.  As a Roman Catholic, let me tell you,

there's no way a priest can advise you not to go to Communion.  That's not

between you.

Ms. BORGER:  But there's a danger here.

MATTHEWS:  There's no way that can be done.

Ms. BORGER:  You can alienate those swing voters.

Ms. O'DONNELL:  Right.

Ms. BORGER:  Because those swing voters may say, `Look, I have my faith, but

I don't believe that I should deny a politician, or anyone who votes for a

politician who's pro-abortion rights, Communion.'

MATTHEWS:  Another religious group here Bush and Kerry have both been spending

time with: Jewish groups in the last few weeks.  Let's check in with the

Matthews Meter on that question.  The question was, that we asked our group,

whether Bush would win enough Jewish votes to tip the scales in key states.

Three of our Meter-ites said yes, Bush stands to make enough inroads to make

the difference in Florida.


Can Jewish Vote Deliver

  Key States To Bush?

Yes   3

No    9

MATTHEWS:  Howard, the numbers are amazing.  If you take a 50,000 votes from

one community, the Jewish community, who are usually Democrats, switch it over

to the Republicans, in that kind of a state it makes a difference.

Mr. FINEMAN:  In Florida.

MATTHEWS:  In Florida.

Mr. FINEMAN:  Which is why I was one of the three who voted yes, because I

spoke to no less of an authority on Jewish matters than Ralph Reed, the

evangelical Christian, who is in charge of the Southern--the Southeaster

States for Bush/Cheney '04.  So he's got the Bible Belt and what used to be

called the Borscht Belt.


Mr. FINEMAN:  It's now moved down to Florida.


Mr. FINEMAN:  And he said, `We're going to get those votes, and we're going to

get them on support for Israel and conservative cultural issues as well.'


Mr. FINEMAN:  Because that's a big part of it.

MATTHEWS:  That's a big chunk.

Mr. FINEMAN:  A big part of...

MATTHEWS:  I talked to the head of the Jewish--Matt Brooks, who's organizing

this effort on the Republican side.  He's talking about a 43 percent vote on

the Jewish vote in Florida for the Republican candidate, Bush.  That could tip

the scales.

Ms. BORGER:  Well, let me mention two words here...

MATTHEWS:  It could.

Ms. BORGER:  ...talking about the Jewish vote in Florida: Social Security.


Ms. BORGER:  Two very important words to voters like my mother.


Ms. BORGER:  OK?  And George W. Bush better be on the right side of that

issue.  It doesn't matter what's going on in the Middle East.

Mr. CARLSON:  I hope they get something out of it, because there's nothing

Sharon has done for the past couple of years, no matter how appalling and

controversial it has been...


Mr. CARLSON:  ...Bush has managed to disagree or even criticize.  So you

still hope there's some political payoff for him.

MATTHEWS:  Well, that's the goal.

Norah O'Donnell, tell me something that I don't know.

Ms. O'DONNELL:  Ah, predictions, right

MATTHEWS:  Yes, that's exactly.  How can I say it differently?

Ms. O'DONNELL:  The president's daughters, the Bush twins, who've been very

private, are about to take on a very public role, and in fact they have posed

for a photo spread in August issue of Vogue magazine at the same time that

they will have a very public role in the Republican National Convention.

Mr. FINEMAN:  She said...

MATTHEWS:  I don't think that's exactly part of their regular guy's effort,

Vogue magazine.

But go ahead, Howard, go ahead.

Mr. FINEMAN:  Tucker and I were listening when she said `posed for a--they

posed for a photo spread,' and we were severely disa...

MATTHEWS:  More trouble in River City.

Mr. FINEMAN:  ...severely disappointed.


Mr. FINEMAN:  Up in Boston, John Kerry's campaign will be talking ad nauseam

about the Minutemen, the Revolutionary War, anything having to do with guns

and the revolution.  That's a war to talk about security and strength and also

not talk about Teddy Kennedy.

MATTHEWS:  I thought it was talk about the NRA.


Ms. BORGER:  The Republicans on Capitol Hill have decided not to put a

constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to a vote on Capital Hill,

because they would lose and it would be embarrassing.

MATTHEWS:  You know, if I had a big bell I would ring it now, because that

really is news.  That really is going to make some difference.  Remember three

months ago sitting here...

Ms. BORGER:  Yup.

MATTHEWS:  ...everyone said that's going to be the biggest issues of the year.

Gay marriage.  Nothing.

Ms. BORGER:  They're going to lose.

Mr. CARLSON:  Disappear.  Ralph Nader will be a big issue.  Democrats are

getting increasingly worried about Ralph Nader and irritated with the Kerry

campaign, which sought to neutralize Nader this week by meeting with him.

Instead they kicked him into a second-day story by essentially calling Nader

a liar when he said they talked about Iraq.  Kerry said they didn't talk about

Iraq.  The ineptitude of the Kerry campaign kept the Nader story in the news,

and you're going to hear a lot more about him.  Amen, he's a man of principle.

Vote for him if you're a Democrat.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, thank you.  What a troublemaker you are.  You're fishing in

troubled water.  Thanks for a great roundtable, Norah O'Donnell, Howard

Fineman, Gloria Borger, Tucker Carlson.  I'll be right back with some thoughts

about the real heroes of D-Day.

But before we go to break, who's the real boss?  President Bush or Bruce

Springsteen?  The man who was "Born to Run" said this week that he wants to

stage a blow-out concert in New York City to drown out the Republican

Convention this year.  If Springsteen has his way, viewers will turn the

channel to something like this.

(Clip of Bruce Springsteen performing courtesy Columbia Music)


MATTHEWS:  It's great getting your e-mails, keep them coming.



Great advice for college graduates

last week. I plan to share it with

my son. Thanks.


  New York City


Announcer:  Closed captioning provided by...


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Commentary: Heroism of the soldiers who invaded Normandy


We're about to honor the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, the day American, British

and Canadian soldiers, 156,000 of them, charged the beaches of Normandy.  The

commanders knew what they faced: the Atlantic Wall, a wall built of concrete

and Nazi ferocity.

General DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER:  (From June 6, 1944) Your enemy is well

trained, well equipped and battle hardened.  He will fight savagely.

MATTHEWS:  General Eisenhower and his command knew the risks.  On the hospital

ships offshore waited 8,000 doctors and 600,000 doses of penicillin, 800,000

pints of blood.  `It's very hard to look a soldier in the eye when you fear

that you're sending him to his death.' But Ike did, and when he saw the boys

off, especially the paratroopers dropped at the very edge of the enemy lines,

he knew the hell they'd be facing, and it came, each hour.  David Eisenhower,

the supreme commander's historian grandson, wrote that, `the noise from Omaha

Beach that morning that most could simply not think.  Pinned down under enemy

fire, surrounded by flaming vehicles, the dead and the wounded.  All they had

was their instinct to run and hide from a wall of bullets hitting them from

above.' But a handful of men under makeshift leaders refused to stay on the

beaches.  In countless acts of courage, they charged the pillboxes, racing

under the guns of the enemy.  Their example would lead others to move forward,

inch by inch, upward towards the bluffs.  By the night of June 6, the Atlantic

Wall had been breached on a 50-mile front.  The soldiers, sailors and airmen

of D-Day could now free Europe from the stain and tyranny of Adolph Hitler.

Next week, part two.  What made Dwight Eisenhower rise to the challenge at the

most critical hour?

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Sign-off: The Chris Matthews Show


That's the show.  Thanks for watching.  Next week will be at special early

times in most cities due to sports coverage.  Check local listings for those

special times.  See you back here.