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Weekend of May 15-16, 2004

CHRIS MATTHEWS, host:

Today on THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW, blood feud.  Can Americans stomach this war

of horror and humiliation?  Plus, it takes two to tango.  Kerry's search for a

dance partner.  Those shock waves and more on today's show.

Grotesque!  The pictures from Iraq get uglier.  Is this war becoming a battle

of civilizations?

Shake it up, baby!  John Kerry needs a dance partner, so who's it going to be?

Fatal vision.  Elections are won or lost based on TV pictures.  What images

will decide the next president of the United States?

Plus, my gift to the grads.  Some real-life advice for the class of 2004.

All that and more with a wide-awake 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 capitol's top journalists:  Chris Matthews.

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

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

Profile: Christian Science Monitor's Liz Marlantes, NBC's David

Gregory, Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, ABC's Sam Donaldson

discuss Iraq, presidential election, Kerry's possible running

mates, and Bush's poll number

CHRIS MATTHEWS, host:

Liz Marlantes covers politics for the Christian Science Monitor, David

Gregory's an NBC White House correspondent, Peggy Noonan writes a column for

the Wall Street Journal, and the legendary Sam Donaldson is the long-time ABC

correspondent.

First up, grotesque!  Last week it was the cell block from hell, this week

it's hell itself.  Nick Berg, American, killed by al-Qaeda.

Sam, I don't know about you but I'm trying to figure this out.  How do you see

this battle of almost co--civilizations?  You know, our mistreating their

prisoners, trying to humiliate them sexually.  Now one of our American

citizens getting beheaded!

Mr. SAM DONALDSON (ABC):  Well we don't understand each other.  I mean, we

think all the Muslims want to put us to the sword and we can't understand why

they aren't outraged as we are by the beheading of Nick Berg.  And they, on

the other hand, look at us and say, `They're all watching pornography on

television and divorcing their spouses, and we don't understand that.' But

I'll tell you this, Chris, we've got to somehow make them believe that we are

from the US government and we're there to help them, and that is something

they get to decide.  We don't get to decide how they think.

MATTHEWS:  David, are we giving them poster material to put up with this whole

prison mayhem?

Mr. DAVID GREGORY (White House Correspondent, NBC News):  You know...

MATTHEWS:  Isn't it something to recruit more al-Qaeda, more terrorists, more

haters?

Mr. GREGORY:  It is, and for that reason it's a disgrace, and the impact goes

on for years and years.  But I also don't think we should go too far with

that.  Because the likes of the people who beheaded Nick Berg don't

necessarily need any sort of provocation.  They don't need to see what

happened at Abu Ghraib prison to hate Americans and do this.

MATTHEWS:  Why did they put that American, Nick Berg, in a costume that we

usually put our prisoners in?  Why did they match it up like that?

Mr. GREGORY:  Well, I mean, you know, they're doing anything they can,

anything they want to inflame their own cause, to keep people resisting

Americans in the only place where they really can, and that is Iraq.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about this whole question at home here.  Peggy, jump

in here.  It seems to me that this--this battle between the--well, let's stick

to this point for a minute.

Ms. PEGGY NOONAN (Wall Street Journal):  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Why--what do you think is happening?  Is this pressure cooker

getting hotter between East and West?  Are we facing more terrorists now than

we did a couple of years ago?

Ms. NOONAN:  Chris, three things:  One is I think the pictures on both sides

tend to reinforce positions and opinions that already exist.  When you see the

pictures of Nick Berg you get really angry.  When you see the pictures

of--you're on the other team and you see the prison stuff you get angry.

There's a different, however, here between vulgarity and savagery.  America is

sometimes a deeply vulgar country.  It is not a savage country.  Those Nick

Berg...

MATTHEWS:  Well, what about the prisoners that were killed in prison?

Ms. NOONAN:  Those Nick Berg pictures were savage and deliberately so, and

because of that I think they will have--oh they may turn out to have a greater

sobering effect on--on...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

Ms. NOONAN:  ...those who forget there are differences.

MATTHEWS:  I think you're right.  It's a Rorschach test.  We all see the same

pictures, we all react based on our own passions, to be begin with.  East and

West, Americans in this country.

Here's a US senator who voted for the war in Iraq, has supported it all along,

Hillary Clinton of New York, using the current chaos to question the overall

handling of this war.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON:  You have made numerous predictions time and time

again that have turned out to be untrue and were based on faulty assumptions.

MATTHEWS:  That was Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense.  There's

Hillary Clinton, coming out of the bushes.  She's been supporting this war,

now she's using the horror of the prison pictures to say, `My God, what have

you been doing wrong?  You've been telling us all this stuff about WMD,

connections to 9/11, the Iraqis are going to pay for this whole thing with

oil.'

Ms. LIZ MARLANTES (Christian Science Monitor):  Right.  No, that's ex--that's

exactly it.  I mean, I think the reason why this has been so devastating

politically for Bush is because one by one we've seen all the reasons that the

administration has put forward for why we got into this war in the first place

just really undercut.  First it was the WMDs, as you said, but then they

really--they switched and they said this was a humanitarian war.  We did this

to get rid of Saddam Hussein and to open up the torture chambers.

Mr. GREGORY:  But, this is...

Ms. MARLANTES:  And they've lost that argument, too, and I think that that is

the reason that when you see polls now, support for the war is really

dropping.

Mr. GREGORY:  But this is a betrayal.  This is Republicans and Democrats who

said, `Look, we bought into this.  We gave you the blank check to go prosecute

this war.  You were wrong about WMD, you were wrong about how we were going to

be greeted in Iraq, and now you appear to be turning your back on the idea of

the kind of nation-building that we have to do going forward.' So you expect

it from Democrats, but it's happening from Republicans as well.

Mr. DONALDSON:  But--to--to see Hillary Clinton come out.  She's, yes, been

tough on the war, but she's been rather cautious.  When she comes out it

suggests to me that the Democrats think it may have tipped.  They may have

smelled...

MATTHEWS:  Well they're not...

Mr. DONALDSON:  ...polit--political blood in the water.

Ms. MARLANTES:  Well they num--yes.

Mr. GREGORY:  Right.

Mr. DONALDSON:  And it's now OK to go after the commander-in-chief the way

that she did through Wolfowitz.

Mr. GREGORY:  I think that's right.

Ms. MARLANTES:  A very telling number this week.  For the first time a

majority of Americans now say that they think the US should come home,

not--not wait for this--to establish democracy but should--should come home

first.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Peggy, I read conservative writers, you're one of them.  I'm

reading from people like Bill Crystal, one of the biggest hawks in the war,

saying, `Let's have that election sooner.  Let's get the--get out of there,

basically.  Let's have an election in Iraq this September.  Let them focus on

what kind of a country they want, not what they think of us.' Is that the new

tenor of the right on this?

Ms. NOONAN:  That's been the tenor of the past week as everybody tried to get

used to what happened at Abu Ghraib.  People, I think, rocked--rocked a little

bit over those photos and over what they seemed to imply to us.

MATTHEWS:  They should.

Ms. NOONAN:  I got to tell you, I think the Nick Berg pictures is something

of an antidote to those horrible pictures.  I also think that when Myers and

Rumsfeld went to Iraq, talked to the troops there, talked to the people there

and said, `We are really trying to turn this around,' and explained how

they're trying to turn it around...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

Ms. NOONAN:  ...I think it may turn out--these two events may turn out to be

a bookend for all of the negativity of the past...

Mr. DONALDSON:  But--but...

Mr. GREGORY:  But wait, you just said something that's important.

Ms. NOONAN:  ...10 days or so.

Mr. GREGORY:  This con--I want to give you a contrarian view to this idea of

what some have been arguing, which is, `Let's get out of there.  Let's have

elections sooner.  Let's get out of the idea of nation-building.' Here's the

only problem with that.  The country is broken.  There is no security

apparatus, except for the fist of the United States.  There is no reason to

believe that they can secure a polling place in that country...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

Mr. GREGORY:  ...to allow elections to go forward.  That's why they've been

put off, and it's not just the United States.  The United Nations is being put

off.

Ms. NOONAN:  There are areas where voting could ta--there are Kurdish areas

where voting could take place tomorrow.  If you mean...

Mr. DONALDSON:  Kurds are not the problem.

Ms. NOONAN:  ...that this is a not yet stable country that needs probably

more US troops and certainly more stability, of course.

Mr. DONALDSON:  Peggy, the--the--the Berg--the Berg pictures antidote to

what?  Remember, it's those people over there that have got to make a decision

if you turn it over to them, whether it's in September or next January.  Is it

an antidote to the way they feel?

MATTHEWS:  OK.

Ms. NOONAN:  I think the Berg pictures are like the pictures of 9/11

itself...

Mr. DONALDSON:  Just to make us feel horrible.

Ms. NOONAN:  ...with people jumping out of the 104th floor.

Mr. DONALDSON:  For us, but not for them.

MATTHEWS:  Let's...

Ms. NOONAN:  It sobers you up and it reminds you what's at issue and who the

other side is.

MATTHEWS:  Let's come back to that for just a second.

Mr. DONALDSON:  It sobers who up, Peggy?  Sobers you up.

MATTHEWS:  Let's take a look at the Matthews Meter this week.

Mr. DONALDSON:  Not them.

Ms. NOONAN:  (Unintelligible.)

Mr. DONALDSON:  (Unintelligible.)

MATTHEWS:  We asked 12 of our regulars who won the week, Bush or Kerry?  It's

unanimous.  All 12 said that Bush lost.

Sam, no surprise there.

Mr. DONALDSON:  No.  Bush lost because of the things that happened.  Kerry

didn't win, but there's an old axiom--because a lot of people say, `What's

Kerry doing.' Remember Lee Atwater?  When your opponent is in the process of

destroying himself, stay out....

MATTHEWS:  Right.

Mr. DONALDSON:  ...of the way.

MATTHEWS:  David, I want to--I want to suggest a counter view there.  The

president of the United States is sticking to his guns.  He won't fire

Rumsfeld, which took some real nerve.  He is not even connecting that horrible

de--decapitation or beheading of--of an American--he's not even giving them

that as a quid-pro-quo, as--to get back.  He's says, `It's unjustifiable.  I

won't even think about it.' He's a man, he's being a man.  He's saying, `I may

not being perfect but I'm not turning tail, I'm not going to do a 180, I'm not

going to raise taxes like my father did, I'm not going to betray what I ran

on, which is strength, even if I'm wrong.' Is that working?  Is that what he's

doing?

Mr. GREGORY:  There's no question that it's leadership, it's bold leadership.

Now, people watching this program will think one of two things:  either, `This

guy is being a man and he's a real leader,' or `Why won't this guy admit a

mistake and accept some accountability for all this?'

There are two pictures of this president, one kind and one unkind, and it

depends very much on who says it.

MATTHEWS:  Same guy, though.

Mr. GREGORY:  Same guy.

MATTHEWS:  And you know like--you know how men...

Ms. NOONAN:  There's one picture in his office however...

MATTHEWS:  Peggy, can I ask you a man's question here?  How come--how come

women always give men hell for never stopping and asking directions?  The fact

of the matter is women do like men because they don't stop and ask directions.

Ms. NOONAN:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  Women stop and ask directions.  I'm serious about this.  Is there

something about a president who won't do 180s, who won't do cartwheels because

he's criticized?

Ms. MARLANTES:  Yes, absolutely, and that is one of Bush's greatest

strengths.  When you look at how he matches up against Kerry on personal

attributes there's no question that Bush gets much higher ratings on strong

leader, exactly as you said.  However, on other issues they've gotten much

closer this week, and so I do think that, you know, you look at honesty,

trustworthiness, Kerry is actually...

MATTHEWS:  All right, speaking of...

Ms. NOONAN:  It's not a matter of being attractive...

MATTHEWS:  ...picking leaders, we got to go on here.

Mr. DONALDSON:  Hey, hey, hey...

Ms. NOONAN:  ...he thinks he's right.  That matters.

Mr. DONALDSON:  ...are you ready to...(unintelligible.)

MATTHEWS:  We got to move on.  I appreciate your presence and...

Ms. NOONAN:  He thinks he's right.  That's what matters.

MATTHEWS:  Well, OK, we're talking politics here.  Next up...

Mr. DONALDSON:  But a foolish consistency.

MATTHEWS:  ...shake it up, baby.  John Kerry near--nears the most important

choice of his campaign:  who to pick for vice president.  He has two choices,

boring or not boring.  We asked 12 of our regulars to come up with some

exciting names.  Nine say John McCain, but our panel also threw in some other

provocative prospects, here they are.  Hillary Clinton for veep?  Al Gore;

Colin Powell, a Republican; Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton and finally Bush's

Middle East envoy General Anthony Zinni.

I'll tell you what I think.  I think the challenge here for Kerry is not to

pick some geographic partner for the south, but a running mate that'll make

him look better, like we used to sell great looking model cars by putting

great looking models standing next to them.

How do you sell Kerry better, Peggy?  If you wanted to?

Ms. NOONAN:  You--you don't get a lesser guy who makes Kerry look bigger.  A

lot of people have qualms about Kerry.  What you need for vice president for

Kerry is a big guy, a figure of bipartisan respect, a really expansive

individual...

MATTHEWS:  I know one.  McCain.

Ms. NOONAN:  ...but bipartisan and respect would be good.

MATTHEWS:  All right.  Liz:

Ms. NOONAN:  You know who would knock them out?  Powell.  Whoa.

MATTHEWS:  If you could get him in the party.

Ms. NOONAN:  Of course not.  But...

Ms. MARLANTES:  I--I think increasingly, right now, the buzz--you know,

there's buzz every week around a different person--right now the buzz is

around Wes Clark.  Clark came back, he's been a strong surrogate for Kerry...

MATTHEWS:  Did he or did he not spread the rumor about extramarital affairs by

John Kerry?  If he did he's out.

Ms. MARLANTES:  Well, that--that's if--if he did then he is out, I agree.

MATTHEWS:  Did he?

Ms. MARLANTES:  That's probably something that they can't--that they can't...

MATTHEWS:  You're reporting this campaign.  You come up with the tough answer

to that one.

Ms. MARLANTES:  But--but Clark's--Clark's military credentials, particularly

in the wake of this prison scandal, I think are very strong--very strongly

attractive thing and...

MATTHEWS:  Will the women's groups shut up about this and let him pick

somebody who agrees not to talk or play any role in abortion politics while

he's vice president?  Will they agree to that kind of a deal?

Ms. MARLANTES:  I think Clark--Clark had problems during the primary on his

position...

MATTHEWS:  No, I'm talking about McCain.

Ms. MARLANTES:  Oh, McCain.  I don't think there's any--any chance of him

picking McCain.

MATTHEWS:  McCain's an absolute pro-lifer.  Would they accept a pro-lifer on

the Democratic ticket?

Ms. MARLANTES:  I think that would be a problem.  No, I think that would

be...

Ms. NOONAN:  With Democrats?

Mr. DONALDSON:  I don't think there's a chance in the world that McCain will

get into this.

Ms. MARLANTES:  I don't think there's any...

MATTHEWS:  Because everyone I talk to says he would win the election for

Kerry, that's why I keep bringing him up.

Ms. NOONAN:  Would Democrats...

Mr. DONALDSON:  Well he's a Republic--hold on a moment--a foolish...

Ms. NOONAN:  I beg your pardon.

Mr. DONALDSON:  Could I just get in a word edgewise?

Ms. NOONAN:  I beg your pardon.

Mr. DONALDSON:  You're a wonderful woman, but let me just say, a foolish

consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, David.  Going back to what you

were saying about a strong leader.

Now, point number three, and that is John McCain is a Republican conservative

who doesn't believe in freedom of choice.  Go down the litany of Democratic

matters that really count...

MATTHEWS:  But they want to win.

Mr. DONALDSON:  ...they're not going to accept it.  You want to win...

MATTHEWS:  OK, I got...

Mr. DONALDSON:  ...put Bill Clinton--put Bill Clinton on the--put Bill

Clinton on the ticket.

MATTHEWS:  ...I--can I throw a candidate out there?  Max Cleland.  Max

Cleland.  Although he lost in Georgia, in what was seen as a very tough, nasty

campaign he emblemizes the idea of returning volunteers, come back to the

states, to back us back from the abyss of a war we're worried about.  Can he

help the ticket?  You don't think so?

Ms. NOONAN:  No, not a heavy enough resume.  Not national.  This guy should

be famous walking in.

MATTHEWS:  David, your thoughts?

Mr. GREGORY:  I--I...

MATTHEWS:  Should the White House be afraid of a Max Cleland/John Kerry

ticket?

Mr. GREGORY:  ...I think there's no question that it helps bring out the war

credentials that Kerry has.  I think another interesting choice is Evan Bayh,

who would be a serious advisor, may not be quite charismatic enough but he's a

serious guy...

MATTHEWS:  You're being kind.

Mr. GREGORY:  Well he's not...

MATTHEWS:  He's very non-partisan and very conservative for a Democrat.

Mr. GREGORY:  ...but--but he's got--right and very strong credentials on

intelligence matters and war on terror, etc.

Ms. MARLANTES:  But I do think the fact remains that the strongest aspect of

Kerry's resume is still his service in Vietnam and the fact that he's a

veteran.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

Ms. MARLANTES:  And if he has a running mate who can reinforce that and make

that ar--sell him on that point then I think that would put him in very good

shape.

MATTHEWS:  Vietnam veterans against the war.

I'll be right back with a clash of symbols.  I'm talking about the battle of

explosive images that could decide this president election.  Plus, some

lessons I personally learned the hard way.  Stick around.

Announcer:  THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW is brought to you by...

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MATTHEWS:  The searing images of our time, plus some personal wisdom for the

graduates in your family.  Stick around.

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President RONALD REAGAN (June 6, 1984):  (From file footage) These are the

boys of Pointe du Hoc.  These are the men who took the cliffs.  These are the

champions who helped free a continent, and these are the heroes that helped

end a war.

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back.  That was Ronald Reagan at Normandy 20 years ago, an

image that stuck throughout his re-election campaign.  But what about the

pictures of our time?  This race will also be defined by images:  the good...

President GEORGE W. BUSH (September 14, 2001):  (From file footage) I can

hear you, the rest of the world hears you and the people...

Crowd:  (Cheering)

Pres. BUSH:  ...and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all

of us soon.

MATTHEWS:  ...the bad and the ugly.

Let me ask you David, the president's going--President Bush is going to

Normandy again.  This is, of course, another anniversary.  Is this going to

have the same kind of impact?  Are they looking for that kind of impact?

Mr. GREGORY:  They're looking for that kind of impact.  I think they're

looking to--to help people remember World War II and the Normandy invasion and

remember sacrifice, remember long battles, remember that you've got to stay

the course even in a tough time, and that's what we've got in Iraq.  That's

what they'd like people to come away thinking.

MATTHEWS:  Can he pull off a remake of "Beau Geste" here?  Because this was

your speech, you helped the president with this.  President Reagan had a

tremendous impact.  Can this younger president have as much as impact from a

different generation?

Ms. NOONAN:  I'll tell you what, when President Reagan gave that speech there

was an undergirding to it.  It was a serious policy speech about the West

holding together and facing the Soviets just as 40 years before they had faced

the Nazis.  If Bush uses this as a venue in which he can argue that the West

must hold together against what is going on in Iraq I think it could be big

and effective.

Mr. DONALDSON:  But no one can do it like you and President Reagan.

Ms. NOONAN:  I--I...

Mr. DONALDSON:  You wrote it, he delivered it.  It has to be delivered.  I

don't care who writes it.

Ms. NOONAN:  That's not true, that's not true.

MATTHEWS:  What about the past vs. the president?  Is this too far along?

Mr. DONALDSON:  Let me just say that...

MATTHEWS:  Sam, is this too far back for him to reach?  Here's a guy with

nothing to do really with the Vietnam War.  Can he go back and identify with

World War II now up against these terror--these dirtier pictures of today?

Mr. DONALDSON:  Well he--maybe he'll try to and I think he could but I just

don't think he can deliver it.  I was there for that speech which you wrote

and he delivered, and I said to Jim Baker, `There's nothing I can do but pass

this straight through,' no snide comments whatsoever.  It was just so

overpowering.

MATTHEWS:  Liz:

Ms. MARLANTES:  I--I think you also have to, you know, keep in mind that the

context is everything, and if the situation Iraq is still the way it is today

when he goes over there, and if our relationship with Euro--ship with Europe

is still the way it is today I think it could serve to remind people of some

very uncomfortable current realities.  I think, you know, the White House

would like to--to harken back to an earlier time but, of course, the trip

could only, in some ways, reinforce what's going on right now in a way that

actually isn't good for Bush.

MATTHEWS:  What's going to be the picture of the year?

Ms. NOONAN:  All the more reason it's a perfect opportunity.

MATTHEWS:  What's the picture of the year for this election?  What's going to

be the iconic picture this year, like--like that speech at Normandy was for

President Reagan back in '84?

Ms. MARLANTES:  I don't think we know yet.  I think it--I think it totally

depends on by the time we get to November how things in Iraq are going.  If

things in Iraq are bad, it may be the prison images, it...

Mr. GREGORY:  I think--I think it's the--the picture or pictures that follow

this handover.  If those are good pictures it's good for the president.

MATTHEWS:  End of June.

Mr. GREGORY:  If they're ugly in July, in August, then that's the picture

that we'll all be talking about.

MATTHEWS:  Sam, your thought of the best picture?

Mr. DONALDSON:  Well I'm still an economic guy, in the sense that I think the

pictures of a receding unemployment line vs. a longer unemployment line may

be the picture of the year.

MATTHEWS:  If he makes that case he can win.

Let me go--tell me something I don't know.

Ms. MARLANTES:  I'm going to say that all along conventional wisdom about

this election has held that it's going to be really close.  Regardless of who

wins, we've got a red state/blue state polarized thing, and it's going to

be--it's going to be down to the wire all hinging on Ohio.  I actually think

that there's a very good chance that someone's going to win big.  Don't know

if it's Kerry or Bush yet...

MATTHEWS:  Exactly my thinking.  A blowout in either direction.  I don't think

it's going to be tight.  No more chad counting, no more battleground states.

Ms. MARLANTES:  It's...

MATTHEWS:  Up or down for the incumbent.

Ms. MARLANTES:  It's a national election with national issues.

MATTHEWS:  Right, I agree with that, because it's an incumbent race.

Mr. GREGORY:  On the prison scandal I--I think that Rumsfeld will stay.  I do

think there will be a high-up civilian leader, perhaps in the intelligence

area, the military intelligence, who actually goes at the end of the day.

MATTHEWS:  Peggy:

Ms. NOONAN:  The picture of the year will be a wire service picture that will

win a Pulitzer Prize that captures in some interesting way the fact that Bush,

under terrible pressure, has been dogged, and has stood by his guns.

Mr. DONALDSON:  At the moment I ag...

Ms. NOONAN:  It hasn't been taken yet.

MATTHEWS:  Could that be wishful thinking?

Ms. NOONAN:  It's a prediction.  You asked for one, you got it.

MATTHEWS:  I still think that the president has all the cards in terms of

picture-making, because it seems to me that those who support this president

can show a picture of Manhattan before the bombing of 9/11 and show those twin

towers when they were still there.  That is a stirring picture for most of us.

Mr. DONALDSON:  I started to say I agree with David Gregory, at the moment

Rumsfeld stays.  But by this summer after the handover, if Iraq still goes

south, Rumsfeld goes.  In fact, everyone but Cheney goes as they circle

around...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

Mr. DONALDSON:  ...the maximum leader and try to save him.

MATTHEWS:  How about, `One more screw-up and he's going'?

Anyway, before we go, a game show star sits among us.  Let's take a look at

this upset.

(Beginning of video clip from King World Productions "Jeopardy," Monday)

Mr. ALEX TREBEK:  "He's the shadowy Watergate source.  Two words, four

letters and six letters." Peggy:

Ms. NOONAN:  Who is Deep Throat?

Mr. TREBEK:  You are right.  Now let's not pau--wait a minute, we're going to

pause here.  But let's not go away just yet.

Bob, we've been waiting over 30 years for this.  Who is Deep Throat?  Come on,

you can make headlines once again on national television.

Mr. BOB WOODWARD:  How much do I get if I answer?

Mr. TREBEK:  An inconceivable amount of money.

Mr. WOODWARD:  He is an inconceivable person.

Mr. TREBEK:  All right, well done.

(End of clip)

MATTHEWS:  By the way, Tucker Carlson was the big winner.  He'll be here next

week.  Thanks to a great roundtable.  Liz Marlantes, David Gregory, Peggy

Noonan, and Sam Donaldson.

I'll be right back with a graduation gift that might even beat a brand new

car:  my career-making advice for the class of 2004.  Don't miss it.  Stick

around.

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MATTHEWS:  It's great getting you e-mails; keep them coming.

                                    TEXT:

Chris,

Once again, a great show! I especially

appreciated the discussion about race.

-Shea

San Francisco, Ca

(Announcements)

Announcer:  Closed-captioning provided by...

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Commentary: Matthews gives the graduates of 2004 advice

CHRIS MATTHEWS, host:

It's graduation time, so grab a pen, I've got some free advice.  Call it the

politics of life.

Rule one:  Get yourself in the game.  If you want to get into a career, go to

where the action is and take whatever job you can.  Don't wait for an

invitation because it isn't coming.

Rule two:  Ask.  If you want something ask for it.  If nine people say no, ask

10.  It's like dating.  The world isn't checking in with you to see what

skills you picked up, what ideas you've concocted, what dreams you carry in

your heart.

Rule three:  Follow your dream.  If you can't get into the best law school,

get into the best one you can.  That goes for everything else.

Rule four:  Keep your values.  Be true to your ideals and start with the ideal

you hold of yourself.  It's the little, hard choices, not the big, easy ones

that will show your stuff.

Rule five:  Learn how to compete.  You'll spend your life, if you're like me,

coming up against people who want the same thing you want.  Nothing you can do

about it.  The only thing you can do is learn to fight clean and not let it

get personal.

I recall two US congressman going at each other hot and heavy and then when

the debate was over one crossed the aisle that separates the two parties,

asked the other guy what he was doing for the weekend and said to say hello to

his wife for him.  That's the way to compete:  passionately but not

personally.  It's the kind of fighting that makes you feel better about your

rival and much better about yourself.

So congratulations to the class of 2004.  Go make it happen.

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Sign-off: The Chris Matthews Show

CHRIS MATTHEWS, host:

That's the show; thanks for watching.  See you right here next week.