CHRIS MATTHEWS, host:
What they're trying to say publicly compared to what we're all trying to find
out is really going on is the fascinating thing in watching the story.
Allies! Once again, the nations that beat the Axis rejoin at Normandy. Can
they unite again? And whose win is George Tenet's loss?
John-John? Will John Kerry make John Edwards his running-mate?
My boyfriend's back! Bill Clinton is back and coming on strong with tales of
Monica, Mark Rich and other good stuff. Will the man called Elvis take the
Plus the finale of my three-part look at Normandy. This week: the peaceful
legacy of that great day.
All that and more with a buzzing 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: Andrea Mitchell, NBC News; Howard Fineman, Newsweek;
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian; and Joshua Green,
Atlantic Monthly, discuss President Bush going to Europe, George
Tenet leaving the CIA, John Edwards, John Kerry and Bill Clinton
CHRIS MATTHEWS, host:
Andrea Mitchell is NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent. Howard Fineman
is the chief political correspondent for Newsweek. Presidential Historian
Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote "No Ordinary Time" about World War II. And Josh
Green is senior editor of the Atlantic Monthly.
First up, Allies! This weekend, President Bush flew to Europe to make
history and to mend fences. Here he is.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: (From Wednesday) Like the Second World War, our
present conflict began with a ruthless surprise attack on the United States.
We will not forget that treachery, and we will accept nothing less than
victory over the enemy.
MATTHEWS: Like World War II, Iraq?
Ms. ANDREA MITCHELL (Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent NBC News): Iraq?
No. Perhaps the War on Terror, but not Iraq. The invasion of that country is
not a suitable analogy, and not to this group of allies, this group of allies
still angry over last year. They're still angry over the U.N., the misleading
intelligence. and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal makes it even worse. So,
they'll go along with the U.N. resolution, but they're going to make us squirm
MATTHEWS: Let's go to that point. What's the difference? In World War II we
all agreed. Of course, we didn't agree with the Germans, we were fighting
them and the Italians for a while. What is the fundamental difference between
the president and the men he's meeting there in Normandy about Iraq?
What--how do they see it differently?
Ms. MITCHELL: They see Iraq as an invasion that was preempted without cause.
MATTHEWS: Our invasion. So we're the bad guys.
Ms. MITCHELL: We are the bad guys to them, whether you disagree with that or
not. They see it as us going in without the right pretext. There was no
imminent danger and this was not the most evil empire, that this was not a
threat to the rest of the free world.
MATTHEWS: Let's talk imagery. Back 20 years ago, Ronald Reagan scored one of
his biggest hits, I think--somewhat with the help of Peggy Noonan, who shows
up on this show once in a while, his speechwriter--but clearly he paid tribute
to the heroes, the boys of Pointe Du Hoc, the heroes there. This president's
more or less saying, `My fellow world leaders: Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin,
de Gaulle.' Is that dangerous to say he's on that level?
Ms. DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN (Presidential Historian): Well, I think what he's
going to get out of this trip, or what he hopes to get, is by being with these
other world leaders, he's going to look like they're friendly again. One of
the biggest potent things that the Democrats had going for them was the idea
of frayed alliances.
Ms. GOODWIN: And all you need is the American public to see him shaking
hands with Chirac, being with the Italians, being with these guys.
MATTHEWS: And that kills the John Kerry argument.
Ms. GOODWIN: Yeah. I think it hurts the John--now, substantively, he may not
get out anything he needs to, but image-wise, which is the campaign, he's got
MATTHEWS: Substantively, what is the president get out of this that's good
for America. Think about the parents of kids over there fighting, 138,000,
that means a couple hundred thousand, three or four hundred relatives, close
relatives, are our kids going to get back safe? Is this going to help our
troops be safer over there, this trip, in any way?
Mr. HOWARD FINEMAN (Chief Political Correspondent, Newsweek): Well, he's
going to get the acquiescence. Not the active cooperation of the Europeans.
Not more boots on the ground, but he's going to get them to sit still for a
United Nations resolution that will sanctify our presence there for another
year. And to the extent that it calms world opinion in its antagonism toward
the United States for going to Iraq in the first place, I suppose you could
argue that it's helpful to us. What's fascinating to me is what Jacques
Chirac gets out of this. He's invited the president to a private dinner, just
the four of them, you know, the wives and the principals there. Why is he
cozying up to this president? It's because the Europeans are concerned that
he might get reelected and they know that they might have to do business with
him for another four years.
Ms. MITCHELL: Absolutely. And French fries will be freedom fries again.
Mr. FINEMAN: Yeah, that's right. Yeah.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Josh Green. You're the new guy here tonight. Let me
ask you, I want some new ideas here about this question. Do the American
people feel isolated in this war? One of the big cases against the war is we
seem to be there all alone. Why are we the world policemen again? Will
anything that happens in Europe this week relieve us of that terrible burden
of being the only cop on the beat?
Mr. JOSHUA GREEN (Atlantic Weekly): Well, in terms of soldiers, I don't
think it will, but I think the real audience in the near term is the audience
here at home. And Bush being seen with these world leaders, he's got the
perfect symbolic backdrop as far as Normandy goes. What he needs to do right
away is reassure people that he's got the support of these folks and he can
lead us out of a really messy situation in Iraq.
MATTHEWS: When you're sitting there talking to these people, White House
people around the NAC, the State Department, the vice-president's office, the
Defense department, does anybody have, right now, a light at the end of the
tunnel that says, you know, `Next January we're going to get an elected
government over there. Next March we're going to start pulling the troops
out. By a year from now even, we'll begin to see some real positive feeling
in the world for the role we played here.'
Ms. MITCHELL: They do, and they think that in particular the creation of this
new interim is a big step. It wasn't exactly the way they predicted...
MATTHEWS: You mean this former CIA guy we put in there?
Ms. MITCHELL: Exactly. That guy.
MATTHEWS: I mean, who's buying that act? Who's saying, I know...
Ms. MITCHELL: That was our guy.
Mr. FINEMAN: The other guy was former CIA.
MATTHEWS: ...I don't want to be completely suspicious here, but if I was over
in France or over in Germany or Russia or I was over in Hong Kong, I would
say, `Now, wait a minute. The Americans got a guy over there who used to work
in the CIA. Now he's head of this little puppet government over there.' Are
they saying that?
Ms. MITCHELL: Sure. And I don't want to understate the risks, the security
problems and the militias that we're now going to tolerate rather than
Ms. MITCHELL: But they do have a political process, and as I say, it's not
what Brahimi was certainly--kidnapped or hijacked Brahimi, the U.N. ended up
validating it reluctantly, but we have our guy in there and it is diverse, and
the actual cabinet officers are fairly experienced and perhaps they can hold
Ms. GOODWIN: It may allow us to declare victory and go home. That's what
Senator Aiken said.
Mr. FINEMAN: I think that's what the Europeans are...
Ms. GOODWIN: Remember that guy in Vermont--Vietnam? Declare victory.
That's what I think they're doing.
MATTHEWS: I know. Let's do more at home here. The president's fighting, as
always, a two-front war, foreign abroad and back here. And it seems to me
that this resignation of George Tenet, who's been his close compadre and
advisor--is now gone. I want to know by comparisons here what happened this
week. I will now ask the people to connect the dots, the Washington experts
and the Boston expert. Number one, is there a connection between the fact
that George Tenet, who wanted to leave apparently for months, left this week;
and the fact that the president hired a lawyer in the leak case, which is
somewhat involved with the CIA? Let's start with that one. Howard:
Mr. FINEMAN: I think that's number one. Number one is clearly the fact that
the Senate Intelligence Committee is about to come out with a report saying
that the CIA completely bungled the pre-Iraq War intelligence. George Tenet
was going to have to go up this week and testify behind closed doors about
that report. I think that was the proximate cause.
MATTHEWS: That was not going to be a slam-dunk.
Mr. FINEMAN: That we will, and that he will never live down.
MATTHEWS: That's what he said the WMD case was.
Ms. MITCHELL: Gentle slam.
Mr. FINEMAN: That'll be, unfortunately for the poor guy, that'll be on his
political gravestone, `Slam Dunk.' But the other thing you raised is important
too, because the CIA may get caught up in the leak investigation about that
Mr. FINEMAN: Because the CIA was actually trying to fan the flames of that
to get the White House in trouble.
MATTHEWS: They were churning it, you think.
Mr. FINEMAN: They were churning it, I think.
Ms. MITCHELL: The White House is not happy with the CIA. I think it's
striking to see how terse the president's farewell statement was to his
longtime, you know, top aide and advisor, the guy he saw first thing
every--every morning. So, there's not a whole lot of chumminess there. They
didn't try to talk him out of it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you a question. Chalabi, the guy that sold us on
the war in terms of WMD, this guy with the yellow suit that's over there
doing whatever he's doing. I don't know what he's up to with the Iranians.
We find out that he's double-dealing with the Iranians on intel. But he's the
guy who said, `Go to war, they've got plenty of weapons of mass destruction.
In fact, they got lots of witnesses to tell you about all the weapons of mass
destruction.' He turns out to be untrue about everything. He's the guy who
also said, `When we go in there, they're going to love me. I'm going to be
the Babe Ruth, the George Washington, the Santa Claus of Iraq.' They don't
even like him. It was like tissue rejection. Get out of town. There's the
guy who gets roughed up by the CIA last week. All of a sudden this week the
head of the CIA is knocked off, from their point of view. Howard, you know
how I think.
Mr. FINEMAN: I know how you think.
MATTHEWS: Is the answer between Chalabi and...
Mr. FINEMAN: The answer is no.
Ms. MITCHELL: No.
Mr. FINEMAN: I--I...
Ms. GOODWIN: It's a good story.
Mr. FINEMAN: The neo-cons--to answer your question, the neo-cons are not the
people who got George Tenet.
Mr. FINEMAN: It was, if anybody, it was Colin Powell. Colin Powell was very
upset at being led down the garden path to that U.N. speech that Powell gave.
MATTHEWS: Which was untrue.
Mr. FINEMAN: Which was largely on testimony that was given to him by the
CIA. Mess with Bush's reputation, don't mess with Colin Powell's.
Mr. GREEN: But Ahmed Chalabi sure does not mind seeing George Tenet go,
because here's a guy who may be an Iranian spy. He has a terrible week and
suddenly he can point the finger at someone else and say, `Look, there's a
story over there. Why don't you leave me alone for a little while.'
Ms. MITCHELL: We shouldn't let this pass without pointing out that if these
charges do prove to be true, what Chalabi did was extraordinary. You do not
give away the crown jewels of American intelligence, which is that we were
listening in for years on Iranian secret code.
Mr. FINEMAN: Of course, the bigger question is who gave him the secrets that
he then gave to Iran.
Ms. MITCHELL: Well, that's what they're...
MATTHEWS: That's what they're taking lie detector tests on.
Mr. FINEMAN: That's right, over at the Pentagon.
MATTHEWS: Doesn't it stun you all, here we are in the United States, and
apparently the highest-level people, I assume, at the department of Defense
defending this country are being forced to take lie detector tests to see who
gave away the crown jewels?
Ms. MITCHELL: This could turn out to be the most important investigation of
MATTHEWS: Has there ever been a time in our history when there's been so many
probes and investigations and commissions at work right now--on 9/11, on WMD,
Mr. FINEMAN: The only thing that's comparable in terms of the attitude
around here was the Watergate, the end of the Nixon administration and the
MATTHEWS: That's a charming reference.
Ms. GOODWIN: But you know, there were like--there were actually five or six
investigations after Pearl Harbor. And the interesting thing, when they
finally ended up that they figured out that the whole system was screwed up.
The CIA was finally created as a result of the Pearl Harbor investigation.
MATTHEWS: Well, that's one comparison that's appropriate between the
president and FDR. Your guy.
Ms. GOODWIN: My guy.
MATTHEWS: A lot of commissions.
Anyway, it's time now to check in with the Matthews Meter. We asked our group
of regulars who won this week? President Bush of John Kerry, the presumed
Democratic nominee? Finally, after four weeks for Kerry, our specialists have
agreed that George Bush has pulled out a narrow win. There he is coming up.
Howard, do you agree? In fact, you did agree. You're one of the votes.
Mr. FINEMAN: I even agree with myself, yeah.
Ms. GOODWIN: That's a surprise.
Mr. FINEMAN: That's a surprise, and the reason is the trip to Europe, and not
only for what Josh mentioned, but with the photo op with the pope; however
difficult it was to watch the pope there, who's very, very frail.
Mr. FINEMAN: George Bush has targeted Mass-attending Catholics in 2004.
MATTHEWS: The pope's not infallible, politically.
Anyway, before we go to break, an old-fashioned subway series. This week,
former New York governor Mario Cuomo said that former New York mayor Rudy
Giuliani might soak up the limelight at the Republican Convention this August
sparking a Rudy for V.P. buzz. It'll be very, very good for Rudy, he said.
But was Mario merely setting the bar high for his cross-town rival? In fact,
Mr. MARIO CUOMO: (From July 16, 1984) Like many of you, I watched a small
man with thick calluses on both his hands work 15 and 16 hours a day. I saw
him once literally bleed from the bottoms of feet. A man who came here
uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to
know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example. I
learned about our kind of democracy from my father. And I learned about our
obligation to each other from him and my mother. They asked only for a chance
to work and to make the world better for their children.
MATTHEWS: I'll be right back with a wonder-boy out there campaigning for
Kerry, John Edwards. Is he the one? Plus, Bill Clinton's back in the saddle.
And the finale of my three-part look at D-Day. Stick around.
Announcer: THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW is brought to you by...
MATTHEWS: Handsome John Edwards and Bill Clinton, a man called Elvis, and why
we can't forget D-Day. Stick with me.
Mr. JOHN EDWARDS: (From April 20) This is a man that all of us, my children,
my grandchildren, will be proud to call president of the United States. The
man who's going to lead us out of the wilderness, back to hope. Back to a
belief that in our America, everything is possible and build one America that
can work for everybody. Ladies and gentlemen, the next president of the
United States, Senator John Kerry!
MATTHEWS: No. He doesn't want to be vice-president. That was John Edwards
telling us what's so great about John Kerry, and that was John Edwards also
telling us about--I mean John Kerry telling us what's so great about John
Doris, this guy's running, right?
Ms. GOODWIN: No question. I think it's a slam-dunk that he's the
vice-president. People worry...
MATTHEWS: Dangerous word.
Ms. GOODWIN: I know, I know.
MATTHEWS: George Tenet said that about WMD, OK? Go ahead. You say he's got
Ms. GOODWIN: Now, listen, people--well, he--he represents the future, he's
inspiring, but people worry he'll outshine Kerry. That's ridiculous. Kerry's
the one that'll be hail to chief, so he's not going to have to worry about his
MATTHEWS: Howard, speaking of sports, here's a guy--I mean, speaking of
sports, because Cosell used to say that. This guy said one billion times, `I
will not take the vice-presidency,' and here he is auditioning.
Mr. FINEMAN: Yes, but that was all during the primaries...
Mr. FINEMAN: ...when he was running against John Kerry.
MATTHEWS: I got you.
Mr. FINEMAN: You can't say that. You can't say, `I'll take number two.'
MATTHEWS: Erase all that.
Mr. FINEMAN: Edwards is the obvious choice, except it's not clear that Kerry
himself will be comfortable with him. Kerry could flinch and go back to
Di--Dick Gephardt because he's safe.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, you're out there cam--you're covering this
Mr. GREEN: Yes.
MATTHEWS: What do you smell inside the campaign? Are they ready to bite and
say, `This is the best bet, we're going to take him whether we like him or
Mr. GREEN: It's hard to get a signal from inside the campaign. Outside the
campaign, everyone wants Edwards. He brings optimism...
MATTHEWS: Well, what's going on inside?
Mr. GREEN: ...he brings appeal.
MATTHEWS: Josh, get in there! What are they saying inside? Aren't they
letting anything out?
Mr. GREEN: They're certainly considering Edwards, but nobody's dropping any
hints that he's definitely going to be the guy; although they're not dropping
any hints about anybody else definitely is. So I think Edwards has to be the
Mr. FINEMAN: The only thing that's happening inside the campaign that I know
of is that Jim Johnson, the very secretive guy who's been betting all the
candidates, started this week to talk to the campaign staff people again,
which means he's kind of surfaced with his dossiers.
Mr. FINEMAN: And they're beginning to look closely.
MATTHEWS: They're testing it inside.
Mr. FINEMAN: They're testing it inside.
MATTHEWS: OK, let's take how we test it here. On the Matthews Meter, we
asked 12 of our regulars, is John Edwards the Democratic running-mate that
gives John Kerry the best chance of winning the presidency this November? An
impressive half dozen says Edwards does do it. So this group, our larger
group here, thinks, I think the guy is moving towards it, too. I sense it, I
smell it. Also because I've been reading your stuff in Newsweek.
Mr. FINEMAN: That's the obvious--that's the obvious pick, you know?
Ms. MITCHELL: I still think--I still he's got to think about the Midwest.
He's got to think about those other states.
MATTHEWS: But those states, the Midwest are hard--are hard-core--I mean,
they're difficult. They're hard scrapple. His father lost his job because of
trade. He goes into Ohio, Iowa, Michigan with that kind of message.
Ms. MITCHELL: It's a good message for those states, but I still think that
fundamentally John Kerry is still going to have to be comfortable with John
MATTHEWS: Oh, yeah. That's true.
Ms. MITCHELL: And there's a lot of bad blood there.
MATTHEWS: That's the geography that matters.
Ms. GOODWIN: The only--the only reason I would disagree with that is that I
think what's much more important to him is who gets into the White House. If
he thinks that this guy can help him get into the presidency, he's not going
to care about comfort.
Ms. MITCHELL: JFK/LBJ.
Ms. GOODWIN: That's right. Do you think he loved LBJ? But he got into the
MATTHEWS: Next up, Bill Clinton was back this week. You can expect him again
next week and the week after and the week after that. Here he is at the first
event. Big event for his big new book that's coming out.
Mr. BILL CLINTON: (From Thursday) You'll see why Kenneth Starr really
believed it was OK to apply a different set of rules to me and all the people
that knew me and all the people in Arkansas than he applied to anyone else.
And why the Congress thought it was all right to apply a different set of
rules to me than they applied to Newt Gingrich.
MATTHEWS: He's not still mad, is he?
Ms. MITCHELL: Still mad and finally getting even.
MATTHEWS: Is this a get-even book?
Ms. MITCHELL: Absolutely, 975 pages of it, except that there's a whole lot
on his childhood. I mean, there is an American narrative here. That's the
part that he's proudest of.
MATTHEWS: From barefoot to bitter.
Ms. MITCHELL: Oh.
Mr. FINEMAN: What I like about this is this is going to be an event. It's a
political and media event.
MATTHEWS: It's bigger than the Democratic Convention, isn't it?
Mr. FINEMAN: There's going to be parties at bookstores all across the
country. On midnight on June 21st, the summer solstice, almost like a druid
convention. Literally, people are going to be lining up around the block to
get this book.
MATTHEWS: How does John Kerry compete?
Mr. FINEMAN: John Kerry's not going to get a word in edgewise.
MATTHEWS: This is big. This is amazing. This guy has enemies. He has
friends. But the friends will be buying the book.
Ms. GOODWIN: Oh, without question. It'll be a huge seller. And I think
that it's hard for Kerry. I mean, the oxygen's going to be taken out of the
air every time this guy walks in, he takes it out. But on the other hand,
John Kerry will be the nominee, and this guy's going to go back to
Ms. MITCHELL: This is the biggest roll-out of a book ever. This is going to
be an enormous publishing event.
Ms. GOODWIN: Oh, huge.
MATTHEWS: What if the president...
Mr. FINEMAN: Operation overload.
MATTHEWS: ...decides to be nice to Bush to sell the book at Kerry's expense.
I sensed it last--the other night. What do you think, Josh?
Mr. GREEN: I don't think that's happened.
MATTHEWS: In other words, bipartisans sell the books to Republicans?
Mr. GREEN: No, they moved back the date of the book.
Mr. GREEN: They wanted to get all this done, all this hoopla out of the way,
to give Kerry a chance to go back and win the election.
MATTHEWS: Bill Clinton cares. Message: `I care.'
OK. Andrea, tell me something I don't know.
Ms. MITCHELL: Ahmed Chalabi, the guy that you love to hate, he is--he's said
he's not running, not a candidate in the upcoming election.
MATTHEWS: Just like Edwards said.
Ms. MITCHELL: But he is a candidate. He's running, and when he was in Najaf
last week, he was not negotiating the treese so much--truce so much as
starting his presidential campaign.
MATTHEWS: He's going to be oil minister next year. Go ahead.
Ms. MITCHELL: Higher than that.
Mr. FINEMAN: George--George Tenet is gone. Donald Rumsfeld will not be
next, but I think some people under him at the Pentagon, in part because of
this investigation leak, are going to be out before November.
Ms. MITCHELL: They might be out like this.
Ms. GOODWIN: I would predict--I would predict that if Kerry's ahead at the
time of the Republican Convention, he picks a different vice-president and
Cheney has a convenient health problem.
MATTHEWS: Who will it be? Ridge?
Ms. GOODWIN: No. I don't think Ridge will do it for him.
Mr. FINEMAN: Got to have somebody, though.
Ms. GOODWIN: Got to have somebody if it's not something. What about
MATTHEWS: Josh, what do you got?
Mr. GREEN: Win or lose, Tom Daschle will not stay on as Majority Leader.
There's a rumor going around the Hill that if he wins he'll cut a deal, step
down, become appropriations chairman, and Chris Dodd, Harry Reid or maybe even
Hillary Clinton will step in.
MATTHEWS: Well, you're betting that he'll get re-elected, right?
Mr. GREEN: Well...
Well, thanks for a great roundtable. Andrea Mitchell, Howard Fineman, Doris
Kearns Goodwin, and the new kid, Josh Green, taking a shot. I'll be right
back with the finale of my three-part look at Normandy, how the big war led
to a long peace. Don't miss it. Stick around.
MATTHEWS: It's great getting your e-mails. Keep them coming!
Last week you discussed what was
special about Ike.
It all still rings true today.
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Announcer: Closed captioning provided by...
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Commentary: Remembering D-Day and the peace it created
CHRIS MATTHEWS, host:
Remember in "The Longest Day" when that paratrooper gets caught in the church
steeple the night before D-Day?
(Clip from "The Longest Day")
MATTHEWS: When my family and I visited that little French town of Ste.
Mere-Eglise several years ago, we spotted the towers of that church steeple
through the trees. Hanging from the belfry was a life-size effigy of that
American G.I. still held aloft by the harness of his parachute. Nearby we
found a little tavern with the un-French name of L'Hotel John Steele. The
innkeeper showed us a big photo album she kept over the years that had
pictures of men, women and children enjoying what looked like a series of
class reunions. A recurring face was a glad-to-be-alive guy she said was John
Steele, the paratrooper caught in the church steeple, the guy Red Buttons got
to play in the movie. He died in 1964, she said. He came back many times.
Deeper in the album was a local newspaper interview with the German soldier
who had captured John Steele that night. I asked the hostess why a German
soldier who had helped keep this country prisoner for four years would dare
even want to return. His brother was an aviator, she explained. He's at the
So here we are 60 years later. My hero, Winston Churchill, said that the key
to ending the war that plagued Europe for centuries was a solid friendship
between Germany and France. As usual, he's right. That friendship and the
peace that it guarantees in Europe is the great victory of civilization over
barbarity. And this week, thanks to the French, the leader of Germany will
join with President Bush and the leaders of the allied countries in marking
that great battle of 60 years ago that was the beginning of the end of the
last great European war.
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Sign-off: The Chris Matthews Show
CHRIS MATTHEWS, host:
That's the show. Thanks for watching. Next week, a special show direct from
Chicago. See you right here.