Guest: Dee Dee Myers, Mike Barnicle, Patrick Buchanan, Jerry Brown, Michael Moore, Lloyd Grove, Frank Luntz
JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST: Tonight, Democrats from across America converged on Boston‘s Fleet Center to begin the process they believe will catapult Massachusetts John Kerry to victory in the fall. Tonight the 39th and 42nd president of the United States tried to make the case to Americans why John Kerry should be president number 44.
I‘m Joe Scarborough outside of Faneuil Hall in Boston.
RON REAGAN, JR., CO-HOST: And I‘m Ron Reagan. We‘ll be here all week taking you through the convention‘s AFTER HOURS.
SCARBOROUGH: Bet you love...
REAGAN: We should have dressing gowns.
SCARBOROUGH: We really should. I need a cigarette.
REAGAN: We‘re going to give you the complete rundown of the day‘s events and listen to what you have to say with your phone calls about the convention and the battle for the White House.
SCARBOROUGH: Tonight, the Democrats‘ own Elvis, William Jefferson Clinton, entered the arena to make his best case for Senator John Kerry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: Tonight I come to you as a citizen returning to the role that I have played for most of my life, as a foot soldier in our fight for the future, as we nominate in Boston a true New England patriot for president. Now this state, who gave us in other times of challenge, John Adams and John Kennedy, have given us John Kerry, a good man, a great senator, a visionary leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REAGAN: And, of course, Bill was introduced by Hill, who energized the crowd with a rousing introduction of the former president.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, Bill and Hillary Clinton are such larger than life figures on the national states. Do you think there‘s any concern tonight after their speeches that John Kerry may be overshadowed by their performances ?
REAGAN: Yes, I think it‘s a serious concern actually. But I think they did a smart thing by having Bill talk the first night. So there‘s sort of a two, three-day buffer between him and John Kerry.
You know, if I‘m the Democrat, if I‘m a Democrat, I‘m hoping that John Kerry is inspired by Bill Clinton, though. That was a heck of a speech.
SCARBOROUGH: It was a heck of a speech.
REAGAN: And it reminded you of, you know, just how good he is on the stump and you know, speaking to a large crowd.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, we talked—I talked to you off camera a lot about how I feel like the Democrats are making a lot of mistakes the Republicans made in the 1990s, practicing the politics of hatred, the politics of division. You really didn‘t see that tonight, especially with Bill Clinton. Just absolutely masterful. And he seemed to speak over the heads of the partisans on really both sides of the aisles and go right to the heart of America.
REAGAN: Well, I think they‘re doing a smart thing, which is attacking this administration on the issues, on what they‘re doing, and not who they are. You don‘t hear George Bush‘s name mentioned. You don‘t here Dick Cheney‘s name mentioned, but they talk about the policies. And they talk about - oh well, you know, they‘ll use words like “misleading” and “extremist” and things like that. But they don‘t attach them to a name.
REAGAN: And that‘s probably smart.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re joined now by Carl Quintanilla, who‘s been on the floor of Boston‘s Fleet Center all night.
Carl, let‘s first talk about the highlight of the night for many, former President Bill Clinton.
CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. I mean, that was clearly the gold ticket event of the evening. It was right when he took the stage that these aisle ways began to fill in so heavily, the fire marshals moved in, blocked off some of the—in fact, we were blocked in some of the stands at some point and couldn‘t even move. One person was brought out in a stretcher, having fainted. So clearly that was what everybody came here to see.
We asked Rahm Emmanuel, the congressman from Illinois and a former adviser to President Clinton what he thought of the speech. He said it was not a fair question, obviously, but he also said it probably wasn‘t Clinton‘s best speech ever, but it was what people came here tonight to see.
Aside from that, it was really what the campaign has been calling showing Kerry in an unfiltered light. The Reverend David Alston earlier in the evening talked a lot about Kerry‘s experiences in Vietnam. There was the 9/11 tribute, of course, from Glen Close, who gave a reading on stage. And it really fell to former President Jimmy Carter to talk about security. Perhaps one of the highlights of the evening, Joe, was when he talked about “leaders who mislead,” probably got one of the biggest ovations of the evening.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks a lot, Carl.
Now let‘s introduce the panel we have here tonight. We‘ve got former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers. We have Democratic analyst Joe Trippi, who‘s also an MSNBC political analyst, and “Boston Herald” columnist Mike Barnicle. And of course we‘ve got former presidential candidate and MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan.
I‘d like to welcome everybody. And let‘s go to the hometown boy, Mike Barnicle, the guy they all know at Fenway, the guy they all know at Faneuil Hall.
MIKE BARNICLE: Down here at the end of the piano bar.
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly at the piano bar with that smooth, menthol flavor. You can just hear that with the music going in the background. How was John Kerry served tonight by the speeches of Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton?
MIKE BARNICLE, BOSTON HERALD: Well, I think it was a great setup for John Kerry to reappear in this, his hometown, on Wednesday evening and Thursday giving his speech. I think Carter and Bill Clinton obviously set the scene within that hall.
I am not concerned at all with the point that you raised, Joe, if I were John Kerry, with will Bill Clinton overshadow John Kerry on Thursday. Given this nation‘s attention span, he could appear tomorrow morning and people will say, hey, it‘s John Kerry. Bill Clinton was yesterday.
Of course, Bill Clinton is not yesterday. But what Bill Clinton did this evening, as he does so often and very effectively, is lay out a menu for this fall for John Kerry to follow. Send me.
That‘s what John Kerry has to do to the voters of this country this fall. He has to introduce himself as a fellow who can take care of our national security. I can protect you and your children and our cities more efficiently and more effectively than these guys are doing it right now. I‘ve been shot at before. I‘ve shot at people before. I can do it better than they can.
SCARBOROUGH: But let‘s talk a little bit about something that‘s been -- I found very interesting, not only throughout the day, but also, when I was in Congress. I found that people from the Massachusetts delegation really didn‘t care that much for John Kerry. And walking around Boston today, talking to people who will be voting for John Kerry and will be supporting John Kerry...
SCARBOROUGH: ...and of course last night at Fenway, John Kerry got some boos. I mean, most political figures would anyway.
SCARBOROUGH: But why hasn‘t Boston embraced its hometown boy the same way that it embraced Tip O‘Neill or Joe Moakley, or J.F.K.?
BARNICLE: Well, first of all, that issue, I think is overrated. There‘s not—there is an affection gap, if you will, for John Kerry. But it is an affection gap that‘s measured against a Ted Kennedy or against a Tip O‘Neill, you know, very warm and open figures.
I have a theory of John Kerry. I‘ve known him for 35 years. I know him fairly well, I think. And he‘s a very reserved guy. He‘s a wounded guy, who can talk about what it‘s like being wounded only with other people who have his shared experience. And he‘s got reservations about talking about the most public aspect of his life, his service in Vietnam, that I think gives him a distance from voters.
But that, I think, will close once this campaign begins. He‘s an interesting guy. He‘s a smart guy. To your point about the people of Boston not loving him, no, they don‘t love him. We don‘t love a whole lot of people around here. You know, I mean, this...
SCARBOROUGH: You might want think about Red Sox.
BARNICLE: This a tough elbow-throwing city. It always has been. And I‘ve always said that Boston—New York is about success. Boston is about resentment. And that‘s something that John Kerry has always struggled against here, the resentment against him. He‘s too good-looking. He has too much of a pedigree. He‘s too skillful on the stump. He‘s too successful too early in his political career. And he struggled in the fight against resentment as his name has been on the ballot, but I think he‘s going to be fine.
REAGAN: Are we focusing too much on personality here? I mean, you know, nobody is going to argue that John Kerry is Mr. Toad‘s wild ride or Carnival in Rio.
REAGAN: But you know, come on, is that what you really need in a president? Is this really a distraction?
BARNICLE: Isn‘t that what we do in the media now?
BARNICLE: We focus on arcane issues, on personalities. And if they don‘t beat one another up on cable shows like this, we‘ll beat them up. We‘ll beat them up.
DEE DEE MYERS, FMR. CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: Personality does matter, though.
REAGAN: Well, it matters, but I mean, we create this sort of narrative. And then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You remember what happened to Al Gore last time. Al Gore‘s the guy who you can‘t quite trust and that lets the other guy get away with murder.
MYERS: And there‘s no question that some of that happened in 2000. But Al Gore also, there was a moment in one the debates where he sort of came and hovered over George Bush, where a lot of people actually literally think the election was lost. I mean, there was a moment when the public said, oh, there‘s something about him I‘m not comfortable with.
So I don‘t want to overblow, but it does—people have to be comfortable with who you are and what you believe.
REAGAN: But did the public react that way? Or did the people sitting around tables like this immediately after the debate react that way? And so that the next day the public went, oh, OK, I guess it was bad that he did that?
MYERS: Well no, I think the public reacted. I don‘t think the public listens to us, quite frankly in quite the way we‘d like to think they do. You know, I think people make their own judgments about episodes they witness. And they have a feeling about the people that are involved.
JOE TRIPPI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: One of the things, I‘ll tell you, being against him in the primaries, the Dean campaign, this guy showed me something—I mean in a lot of people. He was dead. I mean, this guy—his face was down in the dirt. I mean, he was breathing dust. And he—no, he was. And he came back, got up, put his entire campaign into Iowa, I mean, took a big, bold risk and came out from nowhere and breathed life into his campaign.
SCARBOROUGH: But Joe Trippi, let me ask you though...
TRIPPI: I think that goes back to his Vietnam experience. I mean, if there‘s something about him that I think—you know, this guy is somebody you know when the chips are on the table and the country‘s at stake, is going to rise up and stand up and take it on.
SCARBOROUGH: And he did that in Vietnam, but Joe Trippi, I‘m curious, were you more scared of John Kerry when he was 10 points ahead of you, or when he was 10 points behind you?
SCARBOROUGH: Because the guy seemed...
TRIPPI: But the lesson was 10 points behind. Yes, he was 10 points behind.
REAGAN: Hold that thought, because I have to say something here. Coming up, we want to hear from you.
SCARBOROUGH: That was such a smooth segue.
REAGAN: Wasn‘t that smooth?
MYERS: Yes, it was.
REAGAN: Coming up, because we want to hear from you. So give us a call at 888-MSNBC-USA. We‘ll be taking your calls a little later. And what really happens after hours at the Democratic Convention. We‘ll get the lowdown from columnist Lloyd Rove. We‘ll be right back with more AFTER HOURS unconventional convention coverage live from Faneuil Hall in Boston. Don‘t go away.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
REAGAN: Welcome back to our AFTER HOURS coverage of the Democratic National Convention. I‘m Ron Reagan.
SCARBOROUGH: And I‘m Joe Scarborough with that smooth jazz music in the background. Now we‘re coming to you live from Boston‘s Faneuil Hall. How are you doing out there?
All right. A lot of Ron Reagan fans out there. And we‘re also joined again by our stellar post game panel. We‘ve got former press secretary Dee Dee Myers. We have Democratic analyst Joe Trippi, who‘s also an MSNBC political analyst. We‘ve got “Boston Herald” columnist Mike Barnicle. We also have former presidential candidate and MSNBC analyst Patrick Buchanan.
Patrick Buchanan, you‘re away from all the fun down there in Washington, but you‘ve been watching this ceremony all night. Obviously, you followed an awful lot of conventions in the past. How do they set the table for John Kerry tonight?
PATRICK BUCHANAN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think the only important speech tonight really was the Bill Clinton speech for the simple reason that‘s the only one, besides Hillary‘s, which was not a good speech. But Clinton‘s was seen by 10, 20, 30 million people.
And let me tell you, Joe, this is the Pavarotti of the political stump speech. He was slow getting into it, but when he got there, and he started moving, he was like playing the piano. All the keys from the left to the center, even over to conservatives. When he started talking about Kerry on that swift boat and how he behaved there, and he started saying, look, I‘ve got a tax cut. I‘m rich. You don‘t deserve it. I‘d like to contribute. A lot of other folks, would, too, feel—on the wealthy side feel they‘d like to sacrifice.
He talked about the trade issue, how the Chinese and the Japanese are now our bankers and we‘re borrowing from them and we can‘t tell them what to do, because they‘re our bankers. He was moving up and down the line from the center to the moderate right and over to the left. I think he did a terrific job for John Kerry tonight.
REAGAN: Pat, how do you think Hillary did? Did—was she sort of caught between a rock and a hard place trying to do two things at once, give her own speech and also introduce her husband?
BUCHANAN: Her problem is this. First, it is very difficult for a woman to give a hard speech. It is very difficult. And Ron, when you got up there, she‘s speaking in the same tone constantly. It was somewhere below shrill for me, but not too far below.
With Clinton you‘ve got points where he‘s laughing, and he‘s speaking softly, and then he‘s putting the message through. And he‘s got humor. You didn‘t see any of that range with Hillary. I just didn‘t think it was a good performance by Hillary, but I think it was—and it was not a good performance by Carter. He was too harsh for a former president. I think Gore did a good job.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Dee Dee Myers, I said the same exact thing off camera. When Hillary Clinton speaks, she speaks up here all the time.
SCARBOROUGH: And we always heard that Bill Clinton went to town on Ronald Reagan, that he studied Ronald Reagan‘s tapes, that his inflection, the way he‘d move up and move down. And tonight I was sitting there listening saying, you know what? Somebody needs to sit Hillary in front of a TV set with the same Ronald Reagan speech.
Because Ronald Reagan never raised his voice, except I‘m sure at his son. But no—when he was speaking, though, publicly, never raised his voice. Just understood that you operate much better down here. Hillary didn‘t do that tonight, did she?
MYERS: Hillary doesn‘t have the same kind of casual speaking style that President Clinton has. I mean, Clinton has always been very conversational. His speech patterns aren‘t very much like Ronald Reagan‘s, I don‘t think. President Reagan was much more formal speaker. He had much more say memorable lines, you know, Gorbachev tear down this wall, kinds of lines that people remember.
There aren‘t that many in President Clinton‘s speech that you remember, lines from past speeches. What you remember from him is a kind of a conversational style of speaking. Hillary‘s style is obviously much different. I think it worked really well in the hall. The delegates there love her. She‘s a rock star in the Democratic base. But it doesn‘t translate as well on TV. And I think that‘s always been true of her.
REAGAN: Does Bill write his own - Bill?
MYERS: I saw it tonight actually. I saw him tonight in - before he gave his speech. And I said how long‘s it going to go? And he said it‘s going to be, you know, 20 minutes. And he goes that‘s nothing after that book. You know, I wrote it very quickly. So I didn‘t press him to see if he had help, but he clearly had written a lot of it himself.
REAGAN: Yes, because my father used to write...
REAGAN: ...in the early days, he‘d write his own speeches.
REAGAN: Particularly when he was in the White House, he would heavily edit the speeches himself.
MYERS: And Clinton is always heavily editing his speeches, too.
MYERS: A lot of handwritten notes in the margins. But sometimes he would write - rips himself. He - I‘ve heard him give the sudden knee rip about John Kerry before. And it‘s gotten better as he‘s honed it. So clearly he‘s made that his own.
MYERS But it‘s a lot of—very much his own speech tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: Now Bill Clinton did get the crowd into the speech, calling on them to help send John Kerry to the White House. Let‘s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I ask you to join me for the next 100 days in telling John Kerry‘s story and promoting his ideas. Let every person in this hall and like-minded people all across our land say to him what he has always said to America. Send me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Joe Trippi?
TRIPPI: I think it was a great speech. I mean, I think he really got out there. I mean, the thing is, people have been wondering, you know, where are the Clintons in this thing? And you know, tonight, they said we‘re with John Kerry and John Edwards. We‘re going to fight out there.
And I think you‘re going to see that. I think it was a great speech.
I think the interesting thing was Gore‘s speech, actually, because Gore, it‘s clear, went out, delivered—raised the specter of Florida in the 2000 vote and then made it clear over and over again, like three or four times to Nader voters. I mean, he said don‘t let anybody talk you into throwing your vote away.
And then he went - and later in the speech, when clearly talked directly and said—made an appeal to people who may have voted for a third party candidate in the last election, not mentioning Nader‘s name again.
TRIPPI: But Clinton didn‘t mention anybody‘s name tonight, but made a strict appeal to them and said don‘t do it this time. And I think, you know—so each one of the speeches tonight had a clear strategy to what it was laying out. I think Gore went out and did a brilliant job at making that appeal to keep those Nader voters from making the mistake that he, you know, talked about and moving forward. And I think you saw this with both Clintons.
SCARBOROUGH: Ron, can you take us behind the scenes for a second? Because you know, I‘m somebody that loves politics. I‘m fascinated by the interactions between these political families.
It‘s like we hear the Clintons and the Kerrys may not like each other. Obviously, Bill Clinton was promoting Wes Clark. Also promoting his wife, while John Kerry was out there struggling.
Of course, we hear, we still hear, that the Reagans and the Bushes didn‘t like each other, that the Bushes and the Fords and the Reagans and the Fords didn‘t like each other. When you get to the convention, despite all of the fights that go on in the primaries, what‘s it like behind closed doors? I mean, do the families—do they always sort of carry the seeds of those grudges? Or do they sort of brush them aside, but the next time something comes up that reminds them, wait a second, you know what? That‘s why I never liked those Kerrys. You know, that‘s why I never liked the Bushes. Does it stay with you? Is it personal?
REAGAN: Well, that would depend on the person. But I think it‘s very difficult to run against somebody in a campaign for months on end. And you know, you‘re competitive. And you get the juices flowing. And there is a little bit of, you know, healthy hatred, you might say, for your opponent.
SCARBOROUGH: Especially ‘76, When Gerald Ford said your father can get America into war.
REAGAN: Yes, that‘s right.
SCARBOROUGH: Did you think that carried over?
REAGAN: Well, I‘m not sure. My father might be an exception, because he couldn‘t dislike anybody. I mean, he‘s biologically incapable of dislike...
REAGAN: ...for anybody. But he did get his revenge. Of course, you‘ll remember at the ‘76 convention, that Ford called him down on to the floor. And my father was actually reluctant to go.
He thought it‘s Ford‘s night. I don‘t want to—but they kept insisting. No, come on down, come on down.
So finally, you know, somewhat reluctantly, he goes down to the floor. Off the top of his head, he gives a speech that essentially blows Ford away. And everybody in that hall went, oh, God.
SCARBOROUGH: Sucks all the oxygen out of the hall.
REAGAN: Yes, yes.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s a remarkable moment.
REAGAN: You could see Ford‘s face just sort of freezing behind him...
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, exactly.
REAGAN: ...I mean what did I do.
SCARBOROUGH: Why didn‘t I just let him stay up in the box?
Mike Barnicle, talk about the Kerrys and the Clintons and that complex relationship.
BARNICLE: Well, I agree with Ron. I think every relationship that‘s borne of politics and borne of electoral combat is complex. You can start off really liking a guy. Joe and I are going to run, we‘re best friends and everything like that. And two weeks into the race, I hate him. I hate him because he‘s five points up.
BARNICLE: And his bumper sticker‘s better colors. And I thought of it first and he‘s doing it.
But the interesting thing to me tonight, off the clip that you showed of the president, what we haven‘t shown yet, the former president, is a marvelous ability at self-inoculation. When he mentioned the lack of service in Vietnam by the president and the existing vice president, and he‘s said and me, too.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Remarkable moment.
BARNICLE: Just an incredible moment of self-inoculation. As I watched it, I wondered more about—and I‘ve been thinking about it a lot, what we do here for a living in these talk shows. Because as you watch that man speak, you can‘t hate him. He‘s enormously likable. He has enormous appeal on television.
So these polls that say that this country is bitterly divided, is it? Or are we divided here on these shows? Do we get these people on and crank them up so they‘ll say something bad in an electoral position against their opponent? Do people in Dubuque say the same thing about Clinton? I don‘t think so.
REAGAN: Hang on to that thought. We‘ll have much more with our panel straight ahead. And we‘ll be taking your phone calls. The number is 888-MSNBC-USA. Plus, my interview with controversial filmmaker Michael Moore is coming up when the Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I‘m honored to be here tonight to nominate my friend, Michael Dukakis for president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The theme from “Chariots of Fire” played as Bill Clinton took the stage in 1988, but his speech was no barnburner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BROKAW: He has written 18 pages of written text. And he‘s gone on well beyond what his scheduled time was here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ignoring a red warning light and a restless crowd, Clinton spoke for 32 minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Well, I ran for president this year for one reason, and one reason only. I wanted to come back to this convention and finish that speech I started four years ago.
REAGAN: Michael Moore has been stirring up controversy with his anti-Bush film, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” but he‘s got a lot of fans at the Democratic Convention. Next first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC news desk.
BILL FITZGERALD: Hello, I‘m Bill Fitzgerald with the headlines. Developments in the case of the missing Utah woman, Lori Hacking. Family members say her husband was hired—has hired an attorney, even though he hasn‘t been charged with anything. Also, three days before she was reported missing last Monday, Lori may have discovered her husband‘s lies about being accepted to medical school in North Carolina. Co-workers say she left work in tears after taking a phone call apparently from that medical school.
Prosecutors promise Monday to put Kobe Bryant on trial on a sexual assault charge, despite a judge‘s decision that allowed details of his accuser‘s sex life to be used against her at the trial. A spokeswoman for prosecutors say they spoke with Bryant‘s accuser Friday after that ruling.
And in Iraq, a high-ranking Egyptian diplomat was freed unharmed by militants who kidnapped him Friday. Meantime, five more kidnappings are reported. Militants say they seized two Jordanians, two Pakistanis and an Iraqi. All work for the U.S. military. Now back to the Democratic Convention AFTER HOURS.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m Joe Scarborough, live from Faneuil Hall. Very mellow music for a rowdy crowd. How are you all doing?
All right, let me ask you. I‘m going to ask you...
That‘s what I‘m talking about. I only sleep with - I‘m not going to read that. Anyway, all right, how many John Kerry supporters do we have here?
SCARBOROUGH: OK, hold on, hold on, hold on. If the teeming masses, hold up, how many Bush supporters here?
SCARBOROUGH: Anyway, how many John Kerry supporters do we have here? OK, hold on, hold on, hold on. If the teeming masses will hold up. How many Bush supporters do we have?
SCARBOROUGH: You know, governor, that‘s about the same 70/30 split that we‘re probably going to see in Massachusetts in the fall for John Kerry. Tell me what - OK, obviously, you were a big hero in the ‘76 Democratic primaries. Also, in 1992, very engaged. You know a little bit about conventions. Tell me, how did it go tonight for an opening kick-off for John Kerry?
MYR. JERRY BROWN, OAKLAND, CA: Very well, Clinton was great. The other speakers were good. I think the foundation is laid for a very powerful speech by John Kerry. So Bush is in trouble, if that‘s your question.
SCARBOROUGH: You are playing to the audience, governor. That‘s fine, that‘s fine.
BROWN: Is Bush in trouble or not?
SCARBOROUGH: Now tell me, did you find yourself, though, listening to Bill Clinton tonight? Just a remarkable public speaker. One the greats, other than Ronald Reagan, probably, since F.D.R. Did you find yourself listening to him and saying you know what? I wish this guy was the guy on the ticket running against George Bush this fall?
BROWN: No. You know what I really thought? I thought that Clinton was good, because he is good. But he was really good, because the case for Kerry and against Bush is even better. So I think it was what he said. He said it well. But there was a lot to say, and that‘s why I think Kerry has got a terrific chance.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s talk to a couple of people in the audience. Despite what they say on “Spinal Tap,” Boston is a college town. Have a lot of college students.
You look like a nice fine young man. Tell me, what‘s your name and where are you from?
CHRIS: I‘m Chris Dilevetto (ph) from Townsend, Massachusetts.
SCARBOROUGH: Townsend, Massachusetts. Why are you here tonight?
CHRIS: I‘m here for the politics.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. And you are supporting who?
CHRIS: John Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: Why are you supporting John Kerry?
CHRIS: We‘ve got to get out of the dangerous situation we‘re in right now in the world. And Bush put us there.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Now tell me, one final question, governor. You know, we‘ve seen over the past several months, we‘re about to see Michael Moore interviewed. We‘ve seen a divisiveness in America. It seems John Kerry is sending a message out to Democrats. We want to talk about what‘s right with the Democratic party, not what‘s wrong with George W. Bush. What do you think? And I know we‘re hearing that George Bush is an idiot here. That sounds about what we‘ve been hearing from Democrats over the past three or four months. What‘s the thing to do for this party?
BROWN: Well, the thing to do is to lay out a case why we need a change. And I think Kerry‘s going to talk about Iraq. He‘s going to talk about the country. He‘s going to talk about the environment. And on each of those three issues, there‘s a big difference between Bush and Kerry.
So you don‘t have to call names or pejorative epithets. Just tell it like it is. And John Kerry is in a very commanding position.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, governor, thanks a lot. Now let‘s go over to Ron Reagan, who spoke earlier to controversial filmmaker Michael Moore—Ron?
REAGAN: Thank you, Joe. Watch yourself out there. There‘s a lot of talk about the divisive tone during this year‘s election. The man at the center of the de bate is Michael Moore, whose documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” just topped $100 million at the box office. I was able to catch up with him earlier today.
REAGAN: So Michael, Mr. $100 million man, congratulations.
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: As if you can tell.
REAGAN: Well now, you‘re sort of a working class hero kind of guy. But now that you‘re in the big money here, is this going to destroy your street credit?
MOORE: I think it‘s all over for me. I‘ve already ordered the yacht. So you know, I‘m up there now, you know, doing “Shrek” numbers. And “Dodgeball” is the next one we‘re going to overtake. Only like $3 million away from “Dodgeball” right now.
REAGAN: Well now, Disney, at the same time that they refused to distribute your film, put out “Around the World in 80 Days,” which cost $110 million to produce, $30 million to promote, and made $22 million. Your movie cost $10 million to make, I‘m not sure...
MOORE: Six million to make.
REAGAN: Six million to make?
REAGAN: And I don‘t know how much to promote.
MOORE: Probably another $10 million.
MOORE: Sixteen million total.
REAGAN: And has made over $1000. What do you think they‘re saying in the Disney offices right now?
REAGAN: I honestly do feel bad for them. I really do. I feel bad for the shareholders of Disney. It‘s actually worldwide this is going to end up making over a couple of hundred million dollars. You know, Mr. Eisner, I don‘t know. It‘s—I‘m still willing to take his call, though. I will still—now that I‘m, you know, in the $100 million league, I won‘t forget the little people, like Mr. Eisner, that gave me the money to make this movie.
MOORE: He did give me the money to make the movie. So...
REAGAN: That‘s true, that‘s true. Credit where credit‘s due.
MOORE: Absolutely, yes.
REAGAN: And $100 million to him is lunch money. So that‘s, you know, really...
MOORE: Right. That‘s probably what he‘s thinking, too. Yes, so he‘s got $100 million, big deal. No, but somebody did tell me here earlier today that this movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, has made more money than any Disney film this year. So...
REAGAN: How embarrassing for them.
MOORE: Yes, yes, but let‘s not rub it in.
REAGAN: No, no, we won‘t rub it in.
REAGAN: We‘ll just - OK, we‘ll get off that subject. What are you doing here at the Democratic National Convention?
MOORE: Was that‘s what‘s going on here?
REAGAN: People think you‘re crashing the convention. I thought, well, he can just show up, can‘t he?
MOORE: Oh, no, no, no, I have been fully credentialed. They provided me with a box tonight.
MOORE: On - you know, looking over the...
MOORE: Yes, a very nice—red carpet treatment all the way here. I‘m a guest of the Congressional Black Caucus. And they‘re giving me an award for my work. And also, we‘re having a screening of the film tomorrow for union members.
MOORE: So I‘m happy to be here.
REAGAN: Now you‘ve taken, of course, you‘ve taken some hits, you know, from doing this movie. And people have been attacking you. Are you the kind of guy who actually revels in that? Is it like the more arrows are slung your way, the happier you are? Or are you really kind of sick of that?
MOORE: No, I need the Republicans to be angry. And the angrier I see them, the more I know what they know, which is that they‘re only in power for a few more months. I‘d be angry, too, if I were them, frankly. I mean, you know, this movie is a small piece of what may undo them. And you know, so they don‘t like that. I don‘t blame them.
REAGAN: Do you think it‘s actually going to have an impact? Do you think...
MOORE: Oh, it already has. You should see the mail.
MOORE: We‘re getting 6,000 e-mails a day. And so many of those letters begin with either I‘ve never voted before, but I‘m voting in this election, or I‘m a Republican, but I‘m not voting for Bush this year.
It‘s really remarkable the impact the film has had on people, on a very personal level.
MOORE: I think when people see the film, they‘re surprised because it‘s been sort of portrayed as this Bush-bashing partisan film.
MOORE: But when they see it, they don‘t respond so much on a political level as they do a personal level, because so much of the film deals with the mother of a soldier who‘s died in Iraq.
MOORE: I turned the camera over to the soldiers, who are there in Iraq. And I let them speak to the camera, whatever they want to say. And you hear from them the truth about what they‘ve witnessed in Iraq, things you haven‘t seen on the network news. And I think people leave the theater visibly shaken by what they‘ve encountered in this film.
REAGAN: Why don‘t we see some of that stuff on the network news?
MOORE: Well, that is an excellent question to ask the people who write your paycheck. You know? I mean, I‘ve asked them, because you see what‘s so important about you, the media, is that you‘re our defense, the people‘s defense. You‘re there to ask the hard questions and demand the evidence, in a way that we can‘t, because we can‘t go where you can go with this camera and with your microphone.
And so we, the people, depend on you to when a president says I‘m going to take the nation to war, your job is to go, whoa, wait a minute here, prove it.
MOORE: And nobody did that. Instead, the press became cheerleaders. And everybody got on board the bus and got all hyped up about the war and everything. And it was like, wait a minute, that‘s not your job.
REAGAN: Yes. Now as successful as your movie is, do you think that that will mean that next election cycle people on both sides, Republican and Democrat, will say we need to hire a Michael Moore, have him do an attack documentary on the other guy and see if that can turn the election? Is that a possibility?
MOORE: It‘s impossible for the right to do that, for the Republicans to do that because they‘re not funny. You see? One thing that—again, they don‘t discuss much about my movie, is that it‘s also a comedy.
MOORE: It‘s not just an attack thing. It‘s also, you know, very funny. And you laugh very hard while watching parts of the movie. And the Republicans have lost their sense of humor. But I know what that‘s like, because for many years we saw liberals on the left lose their sense of humor and become all very serious and very, you know, PC oriented. And now I think our side of the fence is rediscovering its sense of humor. And that‘s a good thing because I think the average American likes to laugh, you know?
If you have a choice between going to a comedy or something that‘s going to make you feel miserable, I think people would rather go see the comedy. So that‘s my advice to the Republicans. You know, lighten up and start laughing a little bit. You‘re going to need to because you‘ll have a lot of time after November.
SCARBOROUGH: Now let‘s go back to our panel. We have, of course, Michael Moore being talked about by the conventioneers.
I want to go to you, Mike Barnicle. I‘ve got to tell you, I saw the movie. I don‘t think it‘s a comedy when you have a guy trotting out conspiracy theories that I believe are very corrosive, much like the Clinton chronicles were in the mid 1990‘s. There have been—some Democratic columnists like Richard Cohen with “The Washington Post” saying that it sends a very bad message.
What do you think about Terry Mcauliffe and others who are now slowly but surely starting to distance themselves from Michael Moore, saying we‘re not the party of Michael Moore?
BARNICLE: I think that‘s rather foolish on their part. I don‘t think people in this country—people who saw the movie, people who haven‘t seen the movie are going to be swayed nearly as much by this documentary, as more than it‘s a movie.
They‘re not going to be swayed as much by the documentary as they are by the daily inundation of headlines about the war in Iraq. That‘s what sways people. What sways people is you‘re grocery shopping on Saturday morning, and you bump into Mrs. Malahi. And her son‘s in the National Guard. And he just got wounded in Baghdad. Or she knows someone who lives across the street and that boy has been killed in Iraq. That‘s what sways people, not a documentary.
SCARBOROUGH: Ron, you know, Michael Moore said to you...
REAGAN: Your favorite filmmaker, by the way.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, my God, I tell you what. He‘s about as—I have about as much contempt for him as I do, for again, for those right wing extremists who humiliated me when they did the Clinton chronicles, and the go around saying that Bill Clinton killed people.
SCARBOROUGH: I think it‘s disgraceful. I think it‘s gutter politics.
REAGAN: I think you‘re right about those people, what they said about you is terrible.
SCARBOROUGH: What about Michael Moore? Do you think that Michael Moore‘s techniques are good for the Democratic party, good for the political discourse in America?
REAGAN: I‘ll tell you one thing about Michael Moore. He‘s very up front about where he‘s coming from. He‘s not disguising any of this. People ask him, well, you know, aren‘t you a liberal? Aren‘t you anti-Bush? And he says well, yes. You know, that‘s what this movie is all about.
He makes no bones about wanting to throw George Bush out of office and use this movie to do it. Nobody has really been able to pick apart the factual elements of this film. You can agree and disagree about the sort of wild or conspiracy speculations that he comes up with, but on the actual hard facts, with one exception of the bin Laden family flying out before the no fly rule was, you know, as rescinded, it‘s pretty rock solid.
And the most devastating parts of this film for people who go to see it and might be on the fence about George W. Bush is watching George Bush, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, et cetera talking in their own words, just speaking to the camera or wherever in a press conference. That‘s what‘s devastating here, watching that.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, though, I think you can do that with any politician. You could have taken shots of your dad while he was—before he went on camera...
REAGAN: No, no, no, no, I‘m not talking about that.
SCARBOROUGH: ...when he‘s at ease, you know.
REAGAN: I tell you the most devastating moment for me in the whole thing was watching Condi Rice and Colin Powell three or four months before 9/11 talking about Saddam Hussein, and telling everybody, Saddam Hussein‘s not a problem. He‘s no threat to Israel, he‘s no threat to us, he‘s got no weapons of mass destruction, he‘s got no nuclear program, we‘ve got him in a box, he‘s contained. Don‘t be concerned about Saddam Hussein. And you‘re thinking to yourself in three or four months, they‘re going to be calling him a Hitler and saying he‘s an imminent threat to the United States based on nothing. Nothing.
SCARBOROUGH: Actually, you know, who the only person was that said he was an imminent threat to the United States?
REAGAN: Besides George W. Bush.
SCARBOROUGH: John Edwards. George W. Bush...
REAGAN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it‘s a grave and gathering threat.
SCARBOROUGH: What about some of these conspiracy theories that he starts the movie with, that he based this entire movie? Saying we didn‘t go into Afghanistan because the Taliban was there. We went into Afghanistan because an oil company wanted a pipeline.
REAGAN: Yes, that‘s the kind of stuff where you kind of go, oh, it‘s Michael Moore. This is—he‘s floating these sort of theories and things. But again, I don‘t think that‘s the kind of stuff people are going to come away from this movie concerned about. They‘ll realize that‘s his speculation, that‘s his opinion.
It‘s the other stuff. It‘s the incontrovertible pictures on camera of George Bush, Ashcroft, Condi Rice, et cetera...
REAGAN: ...speaking in their own words.
SCARBOROUGH: In their own words...
SCARBOROUGH: .With grainy shots, with some very cheap editing detecting. It‘s the Clinton chronicles for the upper west side is what it is.
MYERS: It‘s not the Clinton chronicles.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m going to come back. I‘ll give you a shot. Oh, they are accusing him of more. They‘re accusing him of sending young men to their death because he wants oil. That‘s—they‘re sending young men to Afghanistan to die because they want an oil pipeline that was killed in 1998. He is accusing George Bush of murder over and over again.
And on that high note, AFTER HOURS will be right back. Coming up, I‘m going to give Dee Myers a chance to respond. We‘re also going to have Republican pollster Frank Luntz, I love you guys, telling us why he thinks John Kerry is a positive candidate when MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic Convention AFTER HOURS continues.
SCARBOROUGH: So what qualities are going to define leadership when it‘s time for voters to cast their ballot? We‘ve got Republican pollster Frank Luntz with me now with his list of five keys to a Kerry victory in November. Give it to us, one through five. Mike Barnicle can‘t wait.
FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Well, one, the most important aspect in terms of this presidential campaign, there are character traits, they‘re attributes, they‘re not issues. The candidate who says what he means and means what he says matters more than anything else in this election campaign.
The second thing is, John Kerry presidential? Do you see in him—can you understand in him somebody who could pick up the phone, deal with the Russians, deal with the Iranians? Does he have that kind of characteristic?
Another component is can he handle a crisis? Is he the type of person if something very bad happens, do you feel like you can trust him like he would make the most wise decisions?
And in terms of that presidential, you really can‘t tell tonight whether or not he‘s got what it takes. There are a lot of descriptions about him, a lot of discussions. Nothing that says, yes, this man is absolutely ready to do it. Good background information. Very positive, but still not enough.
SCARBOROUGH: What about when the reverend talks about how John Kerry behaved under fire? Again, a defining moment is like he turns the boat to shore, when he could have run away.
SCARBOROUGH: He turns the boat to shore, risks his life to save the life of a crewman. I mean, that I thought...
LUNTZ: It‘s very powerful.
SCARBOROUGH: ...forget the politicians. That was a moment when I said, you know, what? This guy could be in the Oval Office and I‘d sleep well.
LUNTZ: That is very powerful for his past. But to be presidential, it also has to reflect on the future. And there wasn‘t time tonight because it was only the first night of the convention.
What I thought was most interesting, to me the one quote tonight that stood out more than anything else was a sentence by Jimmy Carter. You can‘t be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next, depending on the latest political polls. That sets George Bush up to be the war president at a time when Americans so desperately want to get away from the war. They want to feel safe. They want to feel secure. That is such a smart line by Jimmy Carter to have said.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s a great line. And Mike Barnicle, you know, the last guy from Massachusetts that ran for governor looked like a fool when he tried to act tough in a tank. But John Kerry seems to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk. The strength, I mean, this is an old-time sort of Boston trait, isn‘t it, of a strong, liberal politician?
BARNICLE: Well, I don‘t know that it‘s a strength of a liberal politician. But in President Clinton‘s speech, he said strength and wisdom aren‘t incompatible, which is, I think, maybe a clearer way of getting to point that Carter made.
What I would like to know is basically most elections, presidential elections, in the past have been one candidate with a job application and the incumbent sitting in the office. This would seem to me as a pivot point in our history, to be more like a battlefield commission. We‘ve got a general in the field. McClelland‘s out there and Lincoln is saying, no, Grant‘s my guy. And so Kerry is basically saying, listen, we‘ve got—this is not a bad guy, but he can‘t get us to the big V, to Victory Day.
REAGAN: I‘ve got to cut you off because I got to do this thing we do, where we say we‘ll be right back with more coverage of the Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS live from Faneuil Hall in Boston.
REAGAN: The speeches are over. The Democrats‘ party animals are just getting going.
With me now, the man who has his finger on the pulse of the party culture, Lloyd Grove, who writes “The Daily Lowdown” column for “The New York News.”
Lloyd, you spent more than two decades in Washington, D.C. doing this. Now you‘re up in New York. How‘s Boston treating you here?
LLOYD GROVE, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pretty well. There‘s a lot of free food and drink. I tried to...
REAGAN: I know you revel in that.
GROVE: I know, but I tried not to drink too much before coming here.
REAGAN: We appreciate that.
GROVE: My pleasure.
REAGAN: So what‘s happening out there? What‘s this been like?
GROVE: Well, the city‘s great. And a lot of major corporations are underwriting a lot of Democrats‘ free food and drink. It used to be that big business and the Democratic party didn‘t mesh. But back in 1996, Tony Coelho brought in big business and say we‘re for you, and we can vote for you. And a lot of money flowed in.
And now, you know, it‘s just party central here. And that‘s the main purpose of this convention, by the way.
REAGAN: Any gossip for us? Any people that, you know, sort of high tone, getting wild at parties and, you know, taking off articles of clothing and cursing, telling people to shove it maybe?
GROVE: Well, pretty tame so far. It‘s only Monday. And of course, the mayor has decreed that nothing past 2:00 a.m. Boston is a 2:00 a.m. curfew town. But...
REAGAN: That‘s why we‘re leaving at 2 a.m., by the way. We won‘t be able to drink here anymore. So...
GROVE: Really? Otherwise, you‘d stay here happily.
REAGAN: Otherwise, yes, we‘d stay till dawn.
GROVE: Yes. But in terms of other things that are happening, you know, Michael Moore is in a big tiff with another cable network, CNN. CNN is demanding he apologize for his behavior this morning on “AMERICAN MORNING” when he refused to relinquish his floor pass to them and said a nasty word to a poor woman who tried to get it back from him.
GROVE: So this is a developing story exclusively in my column, “Low-Down.”
REAGAN: How far do you think it will develop, do you suppose?
GROVE: I think it‘s going to turn into total war. And it is one of the more interesting, newsy things happening at this convention, I think.
REAGAN: Well, all right.
BARNICLE: I think—we should demand that now, too...
REAGAN: Do you think?
BARNICLE: ...that he apologize. Let‘s make that demand of him as well.
GROVE: And I‘d like to apologize to you.
BARNICLE: And I apologize to you in general...
GROVE: Thank you, thank you.
BARNICLE: ...for the rest of the week.
REAGAN: Did you do something to Mike?
REAGAN: No? You‘re just apologizing in advance for what might happen.
GROVE: Yes. It‘s putting apologies in the apology bank. I think that‘s always a good idea.
SCARBOROUGH: Lloyd, what‘s the big party? What is the week that everybody wants to...?
GROVE: Well, we‘re missing one right now. I mean, I would have gone—if I had not been here, I would be at Harold Ford‘s party, you know. He‘s a cool guy, kind of a party animal. And he‘s at the Roxy tonight. And...
MYERS: You don‘t think the Gore party is the big party that you‘re - you don‘t feel like you‘re...
GROVE: Yes. No, that‘s the one, that‘s the one.
MYERS: That‘s where the real action is.
GROVE: That‘s where the real action is. There‘s going to be long kissing.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, that‘s very exciting. That‘s where the real action is, away from Faneuil Hall. But where the action is here is AFTER HOURS. Stay tuned. We‘re going to have much more of MSNBC‘s continuing coverage of the Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS live from Faneuil Hall in Boston. Stick around.
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