Guest: Nick Foley, Lisa Moretti, Mike Barnicle, Dee Dee Myers, Joe Trippi, Pat Buchanan, Frank Luntz, Lloyd Grove
JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST: Hey, welcome back to MSNBC‘s Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS. I‘m Joe Scarborough, outside of Faneuil Hall in Boston. It was quite a night. Never a dull moment, of course, when Bill Clinton is back in the spotlight.
RON REAGAN JR. CO-HOST: And I‘m Ron Reagan. Of course, we‘ll be talking all about it, whatever it may be, from the latest polls to the Clinton factor.
But in the next hour, we‘ll also have a real treat, the stars of World Wrestling Entertainment. They‘re out on the road with their “Smackdown Your Vote!” campaign.
Joining us are Mick Foley, who‘s known as Cactus Jack, and the female wrestler known as Ivory, will hot oil wrestle with Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, boy, I can‘t wait for that. In the political area, of course, how did Bill and Hillary Clinton play tonight? They wowed the partisan crowd and promised to make John Kerry our next president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And now this state, who gave us in other times of challenge, John Adams and John Kennedy, has given us John Kerry, a good man, a great senator, a visionary leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REAGAN: and I‘ll have a special interview with John Kerry‘s daughter, Alexandra, who talked about something I can relate to, being the child of a president.
SCARBOROUGH: Plus, it‘s your chance to sound off. We‘re going to be taking your phone calls during the next hour, as MSNBC‘s Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS coverage continues.
Now, of course, the Clintons take to the podium in prime time and the former president was back in top form. How will the Clinton factor impact the election?
With us again, former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, Democratic analyst Joe Trippi, who‘s also an MSNBC political analyst, Boston Herald columnist Mike Barnicle, and former presidential candidate and MSNBC analyst, Pat Buchanan.
SCARBOROUGH: Ask a question of anybody.
REAGAN: I should add that Joe Trippi is also the author of “The Revolution Won‘t Be Televised.”
SCARBOROUGH: “Will Not Be Televised.”
REAGAN: ... “Will Not Be Televised,” sorry. I was just saving time there by...
JOE TRIPPI, FORMER DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you.
REAGAN: Well, what --- Dee Dee, you know Bill Clinton better than anybody else here. Is he going to have an impact on the campaign overall, in the long, long run?
DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yes, absolutely. I think he will absolutely have a positive impact.
I think, unlike four years ago, where the Gore people were a little skeptical about the effects of his presence, the Kerry people not only are less skeptical, they think he‘ll be a positive presence and they have great plans for him.
In addition to this speech tonight, they think he can go out and work with some of the core constituency groups, help build the base, help turn out the voters, and that will be critical in some of the swing states.
REAGAN: If you‘re John Kerry, do you let Bill Clinton introduce you? Do you actually share the stage with him or do you dispatch him to various states and, you know, kind of keep your distance, because the comparison might not be entirely flattering?
TRIPPI: Well, I don‘t think—yes. I don‘t think it‘s about the comparison being entirely flattering. It‘s just they have two totally different styles. But I think—so I think it would be better to have the president out on his own.
And it doesn‘t do you any good to have two of them at the same time. I mean, you know, you don‘t get a media hit in Arkansas and a media hit in California by being in the same place. So I think, you know, it‘s a great surrogate to have out there, and, you know, I think you‘ll probably see it more separate.
I‘m sure they‘ll be together occasionally, but it makes more sense to keep them separate.
SCARBOROUGH: And you know, Joe, they really have two different styles. Bill Clinton is very good. John Kerry, he‘ll get there by the end of the election. Now let‘s...
TRIPPI: Don‘t underestimate John Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: I know. Boy, you learned that, didn‘t you?
SCARBOROUGH: And I think the Bush white house may ultimately...
TRIPPI: And now look what...
SCARBOROUGH: You‘ve come to a better place.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, let‘s listen to some of what former president Bill Clinton said earlier tonight about John Kerry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: 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, has given us John Kerry. A good man, a great senator, a visionary leader, and we are all here to do what we can to make him the next president of the United States.
My friends, we are constantly being told that America is deeply divided. But all Americans value freedom, and faith, and family. We all honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout the world.
We all want good jobs, good schools, health care, safe streets, a clean environment. We all want our children to grow up in a secure America, leading the world toward a peaceful and prosperous future. Our differences are in how we can best achieve these things in a time of unprecedented change.
Therefore, we Democrats will bring to the American people this year a positive campaign, arguing not who‘s a good or a bad person, but what is the best way to build a safe and prosperous world our children deserve.
The 21st century is marked by serious security threats, serious economic challenges, and serious problems from age to global warming, to the continuing turmoil in the Middle East. But it is also full of amazing opportunities, to create millions of new jobs, and clean energy, and biotechnology, to restore our manufacturing base and reap the benefits of the global economy through our diversity and our commitment to decent labor and environmental standards for people all across the world.
And to create a world where we can celebrate our religious, our racial, our ethnic, our tribal differences, because our common humanity matters most of all.
To build that kind of world, we must make the right choices. And we must have a president who will lead the way. Democrats and Republicans have very different and deeply-felt ideas about what choices we should make. They‘re rooted in fundamentally different views of how we should meet our common challenges at home and how we should play our role in the world.
We Democrats want to build a world and an America of shared responsibilities and shared benefits. We want a world with more global cooperation, where we act alone only when we absolutely have to. We think the role of government should give—should be to give people the tools and to create the conditions to make the most of their own lives. And we think everybody should have that chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Pat Buchanan, back in the 2000 election, we heard a lot of stories about how the Gore family felt betrayed by Bill Clinton with impeachment. They always sort of kept him at an arm‘s length. They could not figure out how to use him.
If you‘re running John Kerry‘s campaign in 2004, do you embrace him like Al Gore never seemed to be able to in 2000?
PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER REFORM PARTY U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you do what Joe Trippi said. I think you send Clinton and you use him strongly in the blue states to build and get the base energized. I would certainly use him in Arkansas. I would not have him campaign with Kerry.
But let me just make one point here that Frank Luntz made and it‘s been passed over. He said the most important things are personal qualities and the most important personal quality is the man means what he says and says what he means.
This is the killer issue for Kerry. Now, I disagreed with President Bush, but I have no doubt he meant it, he felt Saddam Hussein is a killer. We had to take him out. He still believes it.
Kerry, I think, was skeptical of this war from the beginning and I think he believes now it was a mistake, but he can‘t say so. And I think that‘s one of the problems Kerry has got, is it‘s this perception that he is someone who wants to find out exactly where the center of gravity is and then move there.
REAGAN: Mike, is there any danger that the Republican—or the Democrats are going to spend so much time looking back at Clinton in the years to come, because he‘s so talented, that they‘ll just—that they‘ll fail to develop new talent. A little like the Republicans, they‘re always hearkening back to somebody named Reagan.
MIKE BARNICLE, COLUMNIST, “BOSTON GLOBE”: Yes. You can understand, you know, the danger that exists there when you see the former president tonight on the stage. But I don‘t think so. I think because the issue has been so drawn in this country over the last 10 or 12 months over Iraq.
I just sense there‘s a great—if you walk around, there‘s a huge, huge, deep anxiety about the war in Iraq. And it sort of supercedes the personalities of the two fellows, Kerry and Clinton.
And to your point, Joe, that you asked earlier, you asked Joe Trippi, you know, President Clinton introducing John Kerry. What about a guy introducing John Kerry Thursday night, a guy who perhaps he saved his life in Vietnam?
And Kerry—you know, this man saved my life. And now he‘s trying to save this country. And that‘s pretty powerful stuff. And I think people are going to be looking, off of Pat‘s point, I think a lot of people really believe that George Bush means what he says and is going to do what he means what he says.
John Kerry has to fill that void. He has to make people feel secure in the knowledge that he will protect this country. That‘s the overriding issue for him, in addition to introducing himself to the country and getting away on his own.
MYERS: But it‘s exactly that moment that won Iowa, in a way, right? When Jim Rasmussen...
BARNICLE: Jim Rasmussen, yes.
MYERS: ... appeared out of nowhere and said exactly that, “I haven‘t seen him since that day, and nobody called me from the campaign. I just showed up because I wanted to tell you this man saved my life, after risking, again, his own life.” So I think it‘s a really powerful, potentially, potential moment.
TRIPPI: It really changed Iowa. I mean, it really had an effect on the state when that happened. And I think it‘s going to have a big effect on the country when they see it on Thursday.
REAGAN: I‘m always doing this to you, Joe, but I‘m cutting you off again...
TRIPPI: You‘re going to yank me off.
REAGAN: We‘ll have my interview with Alexandra Kerry when AFTER HOURS continues. Sorry.
SCARBOROUGH: You know it‘s AFTER HOURS at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. I‘m Joe Scarborough, and we‘ve got a little crowd here outside of Faneuil Hall. Do we have any John Kerry supporters here?
Now, I understand that you‘re actually a big Ralph Nader fan. Are you going to vote for Nader again in 2004? Because that worked out so well for the Democratic Party in 2000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m going to vote for John Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: You‘re going to vote for John Kerry? Alright, thank you very much.
You were talking about Bill Clinton during the break. Tell me about Bill Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Bill Clinton is an absolutely talented, strong leader. And there‘s part of me that wishes we could change the constitution and get him in there for four more years. Because I think—forget, you know, I mean, Kerry, great guy, smart guy. But you get Bill Clinton next to George W. Bush. I don‘t know anyone who would vote for George W. Bush anymore.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I know a few. I certainly know a few. Yes, and probably about, you know, 45 percent of the county so.
I know, Kate (ph), I understand you‘re big into politics, is that right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sort of.
SCARBOROUGH: Sort of. Who are you supporting, Kerry or Bush?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, why is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I‘m a Democrat. And I‘m a Massachusetts native, so I can‘t go wrong with Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Very good, very good. Do we have any Bush supporters out here tonight? We‘ve got one Bush supporter, appropriately enough, in a white starched shirt. Why are you supporting George Bush?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think he‘s a strong leader for the country. We think he‘s done the right thing on terrorism. We think he‘s got the right values for the future of the country.
SCARBOROUGH: Where are you from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Buffalo, New York.
SCARBOROUGH: Buffalo, New York. All right. Thanks a lot.
Who are you supporting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I haven‘t decided who to vote for, and maybe it will make the difference. We‘re the independent, basically. We haven‘t decided to vote for Kerry or for Bush. We don‘t know.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Very good. And, of course, that‘s what the Democrats are trying to do right now. They are trying to persuade independent voters, and we‘ll see whether they can do that.
Let me pass it over now to Ron Reagan, who had an interview earlier today with a member of the Kerry family.
REAGAN: Thank you, Joe. Earlier today, I did have the opportunity to talk with John Kerry‘s daughter, Alexandra.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAGAN: You and I might have something in common, shortly, in a few months.
KERRY: I know. I know.
REAGAN: Are you ready for how—if your father wins, how much your life is going to change?
KERRY: Well, as I said to you before, when you asked me the question off camera, when other people have asked me that, I‘ve had a very confident point of view that it won‘t change. But when you ask it to me, I think it takes on another meaning.
Because, of course, you don‘t know. And as I tell other people what I really believe is that, you know, you focus, sort of, on a day-to-day process, and I haven‘t focused on what could happen then. Because, well, everybody believes that of course he will win. You just don‘t know what will happen.
REAGAN: Well, I can tell you what will happen. A bunch of guys in suits with earplugs are going to show up where you live.
KERRY: I‘m told that that‘s not—that I will—well we can talk about it. I was told that I had a choice in that matter.
REAGAN: You do have a choice. And I had a choice. I got rid of mine after 18 months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REAGAN: She‘s a lovely woman.
Now, let‘s go to the phones. We have Joan (ph) from Florida on the line. Joan, you voted for Nader in 2000, a lot of people are probably upset with you. Are you voting for Kerry this time around?
CALLER: Not anymore upset than I was with myself afterwards, believe me. But who knows? Maybe I voted for Pat Buchanan for all I know.
REAGAN: For all you know. You don‘t remember?
CALLER: No, no, no, I‘m talking about the way the votes went in Florida.
REAGAN: Ah, I see.
CALLER: Oh, no, no. I know who I thought I voted for, OK? But it‘s going to be different this time, believe me.
CALLER: Anyway, I think you guys, you‘re doing a terrific job, this whole panel. It‘s a good thing you‘re not doing it every night. I wouldn‘t get any sleep. And Joe Scarborough...
CALLER: There‘s hope for you, yet.
SCARBOROUGH: I know. You know what? I‘m a uniter, not a divider. And you know? We can all grow. I mean, you can move away from Nader.
CALLER: I moved away from Nader. I‘m a Kerry supporter.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, Kerry. I thought you might jump up to the Bush campaign.
CALLER: No, no, no. I was talking about four years ago.
SCARBOROUGH: I know you did.
CALLER: Oh no, no. I‘ve been for Kerry even before Iowa.
REAGAN: All right. Joe‘s moving in the same direction.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, I am. You know, it‘s just a matter of years.
Let‘s move on now to John in Colorado. John was another Ralph Nader voter.
John, what happened tonight in the festivities? Anything move you towards John Kerry? Anything move you towards your telephone? Probably not.
Now, let‘s go to Steve (ph) from Seattle. I moved him away.
SCARBOROUGH: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I was going to talk to the Reagan guy.
Now, let‘s go to Seattle. We‘ve got a Democrat who‘s actually voting for George Bush. Why are you doing that, Steve?
REAGAN: Steve? Steve in Seattle?
SCARBOROUGH: You know what?
REAGAN: Steve in Seattle?
SCARBOROUGH: Steve‘s “Sleepless in Seattle.”
SCARBOROUGH: You are know what they‘re telling me? They‘re yelling in my ear, “Talk to panel.” What if I just want to talk to the camera? Because, after all...
BARNICLE: We could arm wrestle.
SCARBOROUGH: ... it‘s AFTER HOURS.
Mike Barnicle, the Nader vote, obviously very important in 2000 in a lot of swing states. Do you think Ralph Nader is a thing of the past?
BARNICLE: I wouldn‘t be surprised if Ralph Nader ended up endorsing John Kerry.
BARNICLE: Yes. That would not surprise me, you know, around Labor Day, early in September, wouldn‘t surprise me at all.
SCARBOROUGH: Have you talked to Ralph Nader?
BARNICLE: No. Why would you want to talk to Ralph Nader? He‘s history.
SCARBOROUGH: I thought you might be getting a source—you said it with such authority...
SCARBOROUGH: ... a story that we could break on MSNBC‘s AFTER HOURS.
BARNICLE: I just have a sense of it from talking to people within the Kerry campaign. Kerry can be very convincing. He, on his part, on his behalf, has what appears to be a very convincing argument based upon what happened in 2000.
MYERS: I think that‘s wishful thinking, though. Because everything that Nader actually says...
MYERS: I mean, he‘s just—he‘s got his rationale. He‘s not behind anybody else‘s.
BARNICLE: The question is, and I have never talked to him, but let me ask all of you. I mean, you‘ve spoken to him. Is he that much of an ego maniac that he would continue this charade? That‘s what his candidacy is. It‘s a bogus charade? Would he continue it even with his history?
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan? Pat, do you want to answer that? Go ahead.
BUCHANAN: Yes, I‘ve talked to him. I think Ralph is a true believer in the causes he‘s fighting for. And he‘s really—he‘s lost it with the Democratic Party in a lot of ways.
But I will say this: What people are not focusing on, and they ought to, is, at this point, we were in the Reform Party. I was on the ballot in 50 states. When he didn‘t get the Green Party nomination, he lost 22 states.
I don‘t know how many ballots Ralph is on, and you could—if he comes down in the fall, Mike Barnicle might have a point. If you‘re not on the ballot in enough states to even be credible, and there‘s a real possibility, I think, that Ralph would take a look at his hold card and see whether he wants to continue with it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, he certainly knew that he couldn‘t win in 2000, Pat, and he had to know that he was going to cost Al Gore critical votes.
BUCHANAN: But he was on—he was on 45 or 46 states then. He‘s not on anything like that, Joe, at this point. And it‘s August 1.
BARNICLE: To pat‘s point, for some reason, my impression is something I read within the last couple of weeks, that he‘s only on the ballot now in about 12 to 15 states, no more than that. So, I mean, that‘s...
MYERS: He only needed to be on the ballot in one state in 2000.
SCARBOROUGH: I was just going to say, 12 states in 2004. If he stays in the race, again, only one state could decide this election.
REAGAN: Yes, but, if Ralph Nader doesn‘t run for president, doesn‘t he just sort of disappear?
TRIPPI: No. I mean, I think what‘s going on—I mean, look, you‘ve got—in the states he‘s qualified, and the Republicans are helping to qualify him, and you‘ve got pioneers and rangers from the Bush campaign now giving contributions to Nader.
So it‘s starting to become clear to more and more people that whether Nader believes—I agree with Pat. Nader is a true believer. The problem is he‘s being used now. And I think as more people understand that, and, you know, in the Democratic Party right now, people—they went through 2000. They know how close this thing was, and I don‘t think they‘re going to make the same mistake.
BUCHANAN: There‘s another problem Ralph has. What we found out in 2000 is all the people that supported me, three million of them in ‘92 and ‘96, every time you ran into them, they say, “We love you. We‘ve got to get rid of Clinton and Gore.”
Now the real drive in this country, frankly, the energy and fire is we‘ve got to get rid of Bush. And Ralph is running into that same kind...
BUCHANAN: ... of emotional momentum, which is anti-Bush now, whereas it was anti-Clinton-Gore in 2000.
SCARBOROUGH: Mike, last word.
BARNICLE: Can I ask both you, Pat and Joe, what is he a leader of now? What is he a leader of?
SCARBOROUGH: Ralph Nader country. Kind of like “Scarborough Country.” It‘s a state of mind.
BUCHANAN: I think he‘s a leading anti-war guy, and the—I mean, he‘s anti-war. And this one thing that appeals to a lot of young people. They think Kerry‘s against this war and won‘t say so, and Ralph says we‘ll get out in six months. That‘s quite an issue.
SCARBOROUGH: That is different, obviously, from what the Democratic Party has in its platform or the Republican party.
Well, anyway, coming up, we‘re going to smackdown the vote. Trust me, you‘re not going to want to miss this. Ron Reagan and I going in a blood feud for five—no, actually “Smackdown the Vote,” a new youth group. And I‘m very excited about it.
REAGAN: We‘re going to grapple. We‘re going to grapple.
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly, when AFTER HOURS on MSNBC returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Here, walk back in front of the camera. It looks better that way.
Anyway, we‘re going to be talking about smacking down the vote, getting out youth voters. And that is AFTER HOURS on MSNBC continues. But first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC news desk.
BILL FITZGERALD, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hello, I‘m Bill Fitzgerald with the headlines.
Developments in the case of the missing pregnant woman, Lori Hacking. Family members say her husband has hired a criminal attorney, even though he‘s not 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. Coworkers say she left work in tears after taking a phone call apparently from that medical school.
In Iraq, a high-ranking Egyptian diplomat kidnapped Friday has been released unharmed. In the meantime, another official in Iraq‘s new interim government was assassinated, a gunman shot and killed a senior member of Iraq‘s interior ministry as he left his house in Baghdad.
And the White House says President Bush held a video conference from his Texas ranch with his task force reviewing the recommendations by the 9/11 commission. The White House says there could be action on some of those items within days. Now back to the Democratic convention AFTER HOURS.
REAGAN: With the broadcast networks continuing to scale back their convention coverage, one the more unlikely outfits prowling the convention floor this week, one known more for its brawn than its brains, is World Wrestling Entertainment.
They‘re here as part of their nonpartisan “Smackdown Your Vote” campaign, in an effort to get more 18 to 30-year-olds registered and to the polls in November.
We‘re joined now by Mick Foley, who is Cactus Jack in the ring. Also joining us is Lisa Moretti, who is known as Ivory to her fans.
Which one of you would like to body slam Joe first?
NICK “CACTUS JACK” FOLEY, PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER: Well, Joe, he hasn‘t given me any reason yet. So I‘ll keep on listening. If he does, we may have to take some action.
REAGAN: Lisa, maybe a little hot oil action with Joe?
LISA “IVORY” MORETTI, PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER: I heard you wanted to wrestle with me. Come on, Ron. Let‘s go.
REAGAN: No, no, no. What, are you kidding? No, I‘m way too old.
Joe is younger and, you know...
MORETTI: And I want you to know that I‘ve got the brawn, he‘s got the brains.
REAGAN: Is that the way it works?
MORETTI: That‘s how it works.
FOLEY: Well, I have to say, I saw that Scarborough was sporting a pair of classic white Chuck Taylor sneakers, the sign of a true athlete. So I may do best not to mess with him.
REAGAN: Yes, that‘s right. Well, tell us about “Smackdown the Vote.” What is this all about?
FOLEY: Well, yes, it is a bipartisan effort to get the youth vote out there. I think our feeling is that voters between the age of 18 and 30 oftentimes think that the political process does not include them. And we‘re trying to get two million more in 2004, which would be an increase of 10 percent of that age group from the last election.
And if they get that vote out there and let their voices be heard, then the candidates will have no other choice but to acknowledge them and, you know, deal with issues that are important to young people.
MORETTI: Do you know how restless these are? These are people that like to be heard. They‘re the young people. OK?
And the thing is, it‘s just like women. At one time, nobody listened to us, either. OK, well, now we‘ve got a stand on lots of issues. The young people, there‘s lots of issues that really concern young people, like good jobs, great quality education. They want to know what‘s happening in Iraq, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. What‘s going on?
MORETTI: Yes, what‘s going on, is right, see?
And they also want to know the people that they‘re voting for. So first, we encourage anyone 18 to 30 years old that has not registered vote to get out and register, and then start talking to your friends, put your antennas up and listen to about what the candidates are saying, so that you can elect somebody that you believe in into the office.
REAGAN: Well, how are you doing this? How are you getting people to vote? Are you doing, like, lecture demos where you talk and then you, maybe, get them into a half nelson and march them to the polls? How does that work?
FOLEY: You know, a lot of it has to do with just talking about in on our shows, the wrestling shows, “Smackdown” on Thursday nights and “Raw” on Monday nights, and letting the people who watch our shows, which is millions of young people -- that hey, the guys you watch on TV care enough about the political process to get involved and so should you.
REAGAN: How about it, you guys, what do you think? If Ivory and Cactus Jack came to you and said you‘re going to vote, would you go for it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it‘s OK.
REAGAN: Do you think this is pretty convincing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let‘s hear it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyone that asks you to vote, you should question their reasons why and decide what you want to vote for and get out there and vote.
REAGAN: That‘s a poli science major talking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is.
FOLEY: I figure they‘re out here at 1:30 in the morning, we‘re kind of preaching to the choir.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
FOLEY: These people probably are voting and we‘re trying to reach other people who have not yet done so.
REAGAN: How many of you people have voted in the last election?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did.
REAGAN: Two of you. OK, you three are. How many were old enough to vote in the last election and didn‘t?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
REAGAN: One, two, three. Silent. Nobody‘s cheering. Nobody‘s really bragging about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first election...
REAGAN: What do you think it is about...
MORETTI: The thing, though, too, Ron, it‘s not an easy thing to go in and cast an important vote. I mean, you know, I consider myself somebody that‘s very educated, but golly sakes, when you go to, you know, you‘re reading the newspapers, you have to really become a student to know what to believe from who so that you can really make kind of a judgment on this.
MORETTI: So it‘s—it does involve getting out there and listening and learning from your friends. I always say the best people to learn from are other people. So chat a lot about it, people, and go out there and make a smart choice and stay interested and educated.
REAGAN: Ivory, Cactus Jack, Mick and Lisa, thank you very much for joining us here.
MORETTI: Thank you.
REAGAN: You can find out more about the WWE Smack Down Your Vote campaign by going to their Web site at smackdownyourvote.com over to you, Joe.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, ANCHOR: All right, thanks a lot now...
REAGAN: Thank you very much.
SCARBOROUGH: The first night of the 44th Democratic National Convention turned up a stirring lovefest as two former presidents and a man who almost became president took to the podium in support of John Kerry‘s presidential bids. The speeches signaling the themes of the Democratic upcoming campaign to unseat President Bush.
But how to keep the momentum going and what needs to happen next over the next three days to ensure the Democrats get their biggest bang for the buck is the question that we‘re going to be asking our panel.
We‘re going to bring in Republican pollster Frank Luntz right now.
Frank, Al Gore took to the stage first.
I want to play you a quick clip of what the former vice president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Let‘s face it—our country faces deep challenges. These challenges we now confront are not Democratic or Republican challenges, they are American challenges, that we all must overcome together as one people, one nation. And it is in that spirit that I sincerely ask those watching at home tonight who supported President Bush four years ago: did you really get what you expected from the candidate you voted for?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Frank Luntz, how is that going to resonate in Ohio, in West Virginia, in crossover states?
FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Did you get what you expected from the candidate you voted for? And then it follows up with is our country more united today or more divided? And, finally, has the promise of compassionate conservatism been fulfilled?
Number one, he asks rhetorical questions, which is a perfect way to communicate.
Number two, he‘s not assertive, he‘s letting you decide on your own whether or not you agree or disagree with it.
And number three, the tone, unlike 2000, is almost pleading. There‘s no anger, there‘s no screaming that you‘ve heard of the old Al Gore or the Al Gore as recently as one week ago.
I‘m a language guy and I follow what these candidates say and how they say it. That is the kind of language that reaches out to a swing voter, that person who has not yet decided who they‘re going to vote for. And that kind of language, that kind of tone and those questions are exactly what they‘re asking themselves.
Al Gore could not have done better than he did tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Dee Dee Myers, as a former, obviously, Democratic staffer, were you pleased with the tone tonight? I know a lot of times, you know, we see—Republicans and Democrats alike—we see members of our own party go out there, we sort of cringe, going god, I wish they wouldn‘t have projected that face to America.
What about tonight, with Al Gore being fairly positive, as Frank said?
MYERS: I think, yes. I was really satisfied. I thought it was a great way to sort of tee up the week. And I think one of the things we saw tonight was one of the things that particularly Bill Clinton does masterfully, which is to talk in positive language. He was looking—he always looked for ways in his language to talk about things that unite the country, ideas and issues and things where people agree more than they disagree, and also to talk about how, you know, good people can disagree.
And he kept saying there are two people running for president who both love the country, you know, but they have vastly different visions about how we should do this and we should do that. And I think that that‘s a really appealing way to do it and I think that was always part of Clinton‘s genius was that he could talk about what people had in common and then paint the other guys as the ones who want to divide.
SCARBOROUGH: And, you know, that appealed to me, again, as a guy that served as a Republican in Congress. It was so nice just to hear somebody say you know what, Democrats love the country, Republicans love the country...
SCARBOROUGH: ... we just have different visions of where we want to go.
TRIPPI: You know, what was interesting tonight is the only guy who said anything along the lines of misleading or any of those kind of things...
TRIPPI: ... was President Carter.
SCARBOROUGH: Was that surprising to you, because...
TRIPPI: No. See, I don‘t think it was a coincidence at all. Because here‘s a president, a former president that everybody believes, regardless of what else they believe, they believe is honest, a man of character, a god fearing man. I mean that is who Carter is. And so for him to be the only one who used that kind of rhetoric at all, or even alluded to it, I don‘t think was a coincidence. The same reason Gore was, I think, went out and made the case of the last election and pushed toward Nader.
I mean every piece of this was really clearly orchestrated perfectly, you know, up to Clinton.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan...
TRIPPI: I thought it was good.
SCARBOROUGH: ... do you agree with that?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, let me say, I thought Gore—I mean Gore is—but Gore had a problem coming in here, and this is he‘s appeared extraordinarily strident with that we were betrayed or he betrayed us. And so he handled it—Frank Luntz is right, he handled it with those questions. But one of his most effective lines, I thought, both for his base and for an issue in the campaign was when he said look, the—we don‘t want the Supreme Court picking this president and we don‘t want this president picking the next Supreme Court.
Now, the next president is going to pick maybe the chief justice and three associate justices. That is a huge hidden issue and he hit that right in there with the base. I thought Al Gore did himself a lot of good tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Trippi?
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s listen to some of what Al Gore said tonight earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: I love this country deeply. Wasn‘t Bee Bee Winans great? I believe that‘s the best national anthem I‘ve ever heard sung. I love this country deeply. And even though I always look to the future with optimism and hope, I do think it is worth pausing for just a moment as we begin this year‘s convention to take note of two very important lessons from four years ago.
The first lesson is this: take it from me, every vote counts. In our democracy, every vote has power. And never forget that power is yours. Don‘t let anyone take it away from you or talk you into throwing it away. And let‘s make sure that this time every vote is counted. Let‘s make sure that the Supreme Court does not pick the next president and that this president is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court.
The second lesson from 2000 is this: what happens in a presidential election matters a lot. The outcome profoundly affects the lives of all 293 million Americans, and people in the rest of the world, too. The choice of who is president affects your life and your family‘s future. And never has that been more true than in 2004, because let‘s face it, our country faces deep challenges. These challenges we now confront are not Democratic or Republican challenges, they are American challenges that we all must overcome together as one people, as one nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Frank Luntz, Al Gore obviously spoke to the audience tonight. What do the Democrats need to do in the next few nights, again, not to energize their base, but to energize voters in swing states like Ohio, where you‘re going next?
LUNTZ: Well, there‘s certain things that they want to talk about. They still have not sufficiently made the case for national security. They‘ve got to go further. And it was fascinating to me to read Hillary Clinton‘s exact words about “we need to take of our men and women in uniform, these brave Americans deserve better,” increase troop strength, raise their pay, provide veterans benefits, National Guard. This is a page that the Republicans used to do to the Democrats, which is take their language.
Now I‘m watching Hillary Clinton and it sounds like a Republican speech. That‘s smart. It kind of blurred the distinction on national defense.
They also need to put forward a platform so not only are Americans willing to vote for John Kerry, they have to accept that the Democrats will be in control for the next four years. And that‘s a tremendous challenge. You can want to see a change, but not want to give the Democrats the ability to make that change, which was why I thought Clinton‘s words “send John Kerry,” what an interesting way to say that.
When Pat Buchanan ran for president in 1992 -- you may want to ask him about this—a lot of his campaign was send George Bush a message. They‘re doing the same thing here. They‘re not asking you to vote for John Kerry, they‘re asking you to send John Kerry. Again, a very interesting play on words and, I think, very effective.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? You‘re exactly right about them starting to usurp the language on defense issues. Of course, in 1996, Bill Clinton was masterful on the domestic agenda, talking about the balanced budget being his top priority in his next term, talking about welfare reform. But Bill Clinton really didn‘t have what it took to be able to embrace national security the way John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, is able to do.
I think you‘re right, if they do that this campaign, this convention and this campaign, it‘s going to be tough for the Democratic Party.
Now, up next, the party just is getting started for some of us here in Boston. We‘re going to tell you how wild things are for the Democrats in Beantown tonight. That‘s coming up.
And I‘ll tell you what, nowhere is it more exciting than at Faneuil Hall. All right.
REAGAN: We are back with CONVENTION AFTER HOURS here on MSNBC.
And, Joe, I want to ask you a question, because this is something I know very little about that you know all about. You‘ve been spending time in blog world, haven‘t you?
TRIPPI: Yes, we have. Yes.
REAGAN: What is up with the blogging?
TRIPPI: Well, we‘ve got hard blogger going on the msnbc.com site and...
REAGAN: That‘s hardball.msnbc.com?
TRIPPI: Yes, right.
REAGAN: Oh, gee, I‘m not that complete, you know, cyber illiterate.
TRIPPI: No, and what‘s cool is like David Schuster today had a great blog about the hip-hop summit and all that went on there. And the other thing is, for those folks who don‘t what a blog is, we‘ve listed all the credentialed blogs here at the DNC convention, the Democratic National Convention. You can go to the site and go visit some of those blogs that are accredited here and reporting on the convention and see what a blog is. So that‘s pretty cool.
And, you know, I‘ve been blogging away and so has just about everybody.
MYERS: I‘ve blogged.
TRIPPI: You blogged. Yes, there‘s.
SCARBOROUGH: A Republican blog?
TRIPPI: Yes, Joe blogged.
TRIPPI: And I think, you know, it‘s a really cool way to get some insights that just aren‘t going to make it to air but, you know, on the shows, but that are really going on behind the scenes.
MYERS: Who‘s on the other end of the blog? I mean who are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you‘re blogging?
TRIPPI: Well, we had a million hits. I put a column up about the Edwards campaign a day or so ago. A million hits, a million folks hit that site and read that and went to that site and looked at the column. So, and a lot of people are visiting it. And, again, I think, you know, one of the things we‘re doing is letting people get a look at the other blogs. I mean what is this?
The only way to experience—I think, to explain it is go take a look. Go to the site...
SCARBOROUGH: And that is—just for people that don‘t know what a blog is, it is, is it not, sort of a diary on the Internet?
TRIPPI: Yes, well, it‘s a journal. It‘s kind of online publishing, personal publishing. And there are—we‘ve got like, something like 150 bloggers, personal publishers from around the country who have been accredited here at the convention and they‘re reporting—I mean some of them are cool. They‘ve got pictures up of things that are happening on the floor. And, again, you know, sort of—at hardblogger you can read our blog and then you can go sort of sample what‘s going on and understand what a blog is.
And, you know, in the Dean campaign, the blog really was...
SCARBOROUGH: The blog was big.
TRIPPI: Big, yes.
SCARBOROUGH: The blog was really big.
TRIPPI: Yes. I mean it was huge. I mean we had hundreds of thousands of people hitting that in...
MYERS: And did it affect your decision-making as the campaign moved along?
TRIPPI: It made us so much smarter. I mean what you realized was that me and the other folks in Burlington, 50 folks, weren‘t as smart as 650,000 brains out there sort of looking at what we were doing and making suggestions. It‘s pretty cool.
SCARBOROUGH: Lloyd Grove talking about hot.
Tell us what‘s happening right now across Boston. I know you‘ve feverishly been on the phone trying to figure out what‘s the latest gossip from Beantown.
Tell us, what is it?
LLOYD GROVE, “NEW YORK DAILY NEWS”: Well, at the moment nothing is happening in Boston. But I interviewed today the fellow who elicited from Teresa Heinz the perfect, I guess, keynote address for any convention, “shove it.” It‘s brief and it‘s very communicative. So, which is the perfect speech.
SCARBOROUGH: What did he tell you about that interaction, which we‘re looking at right now? She doesn‘t look really happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, she is. Well, you know...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s not looking very happy.
SCARBOROUGH: Lloyd, what did he say?
GROVE: Well, he said that, you know, he was just curios as a journalist—and he does work for a very conservative newspaper, “The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.” But he used to work for the A.P. and UPI, sort of a straight reporter. Now he‘s the editorial page editor of this other paper. But he was just curios, why did she use the word un-American, un-American traits creeping into politics. What did she mean by that?
So he sort of tried to draw her out on that and find out what she meant. And she got very upset by this, so much so that at first she ignored his question and walked away and then apparently Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, said, oh, that‘s the guy from the Richard Mellon Scaithe newspaper—Scaithe being the reclusive right-wing billionaire. And she sort of got very angry, pushed her way through the entourage past the Secret Service and then had the money shot, the money encounter.
SCARBOROUGH: What‘s the big party tomorrow?
GROVE: The big party tomorrow? Oh, my god. You would ask me that.
SCARBOROUGH: Doesn‘t Ben Affleck—has Ben‘s pool party already come and gone? Or is that coming up in the next couple of days?
GROVE: Well, I heard that there was Ben Affleck bowling tomorrow. He‘s been—tomorrow morning he‘s doing some state delegations. Now, I‘m looking at my schedule here. We have Rock The Vote at The Avalon. I don‘t know who‘s playing, don‘t ask me. And possibly an...
REAGAN: A cash bar, by the way.
GROVE: And John Breaux, the Edison Electric Institute, who have great affection for John Breaux...
REAGAN: That‘s going to...
GROVE: ... are throwing a party for him at the New England Aquarium.
TRIPPI: He‘s got tickets to the Affleck party.
REAGAN: That‘s bad.
MYERS: Right there.
REAGAN: Right now we‘re going to try these phone calls again.
Ooh, this is impressive.
Let‘s go to Steve in Seattle.
GROVE: I want those tickets back.
REAGAN: He‘s a Democrat who‘s voting for Bush.
Steve, you‘re somebody who shares my hometown.
Why are you doing that, Steve?
STEVE: We are at war. And the delegates and the activist Democrats I know are against the war. They say that Kerry is the best one to win the war, but I don‘t want someone who‘s going to convince me that they‘re the best to protect and usurp defense language. I want someone who will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. I want someone who will confront North Korea. I don‘t want someone who will make believe and persuade me that they‘re good at protecting the country.
REAGAN: Steve, you said you wanted somebody who will protect us from Iran getting nuclear weapons.
We‘re kind of tied down in Iraq right now. I don‘t think we have any people left over to do anything about Iran.
STEVE: I don‘t think we‘re tied—Ron, I don‘t think we‘re tied down in Iraq.
REAGAN: You don‘t?
STEVE: I think we‘re winning. I think our enemy is tied down in Iraq, the same enemy that Michael Moore compares to the Boston Minutemen of 1776. And the delegates love Michael Moore. And the delegates are against the war, which is their right. But then they should not make believe that they‘re in favor of the war. They are—the anti-war people are entitled to their opinion, but they are not the best people to win the war.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, we‘re going to leave it there.
Thanks a lot for your phone call.
Keep calling us at 1-800-CALL-MSNBC?
SCARBOROUGH: And we‘ll be right back at MSNBC‘s AFTER HOURS AT THE CONVENTION.
REAGAN: Things are winding down here in Faneuil Hall and so are we. But there‘s time for just a quick round of questions.
Pat, are you still with us?
BUCHANAN: I‘m still here, Ron. I tried to step out and somebody dragged me back.
SCARBOROUGH: Ask him about his Ali G interview.
REAGAN: Oh,, yes. Are you doing an interview with Ali G, or did you do one with Ali G?
BUCHANAN: We did one. We did—we hit it off great.
BUCHANAN: And he was with me all the way. He was a Buchanan brigadier by the end of it.
REAGAN: Quick, very quick, Pat, what was the most significant moment tonight, in your mind, the blind or the moment, whatever? What stood out for you?
BUCHANAN: Clinton gave an excellent speech and he set this convention off and it is now up to John Kerry.
REAGAN: Same to you, Dee Dee. What was the stellar moment or at least significant moment?
MYERS: Yes, I think it was when Bill Clinton drew distinctions between John Kerry and President Bush in a positive way. We heard all day long how, oh, you know, they‘re not going to be allowed to say anything bad about Bush. I think Bill Clinton made his case very effectively without bashing Bush. But it was every bit as effective as if he had.
REAGAN: What do you think, Joe?
TRIPPI: You know, I agree with all that. But I also think it was something to see Al Gore come into that convention. It was like coming home, I thought. I mean there was a, you know, a guy who had won the popular vote last time. And most times a loser doesn‘t get invited back or doesn‘t get that kind of reception. And I think he really deserved it. And I thought it was a cool thing to have happen.
REAGAN: And Lloyd Grove, in 15 seconds or less, what was the most significant moment for you today?
GROVE: Well, a lot of exchanging business cards. I saw a lot of clients being lured, money being potentially made on the floor of the convention. So that was nice to see.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m sure you enjoyed it. And what a wonderful way to end AFTER HOURS and MSNBC‘s convention coverage.
Thanks a lot to everybody.
We appreciate all of our panelists.
I‘m going to look in this camera.
We appreciate you staying with us tonight—Dee Dee Myers, Joe Trippi, Mike Barnacle, Pat Buchanan, Frank Luntz, and, of course, Lloyd Grove.
REAGAN: And coming up tomorrow, MSNBC will have complete coverage of all the day‘s convention speakers, including Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Illinois State Senator Barack Obama and this other guy that‘s going to have a little speech here. Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Ron Reagan, so tell me, are you excited about tomorrow night?
SCARBOROUGH: A little nervous?
REAGAN: Not too much. I wrote my speech. I feel pretty good about it and, you know, the rest is reading the Teleprompter. I mean we do that for a living.
SCARBOROUGH: Have you ever read the teleprompter before?
REAGAN: A couple of times.
SCARBOROUGH: I keep trying to get MSNBC to buy us some Teleprompters but they make us memorize everything.
REAGAN: Yes, we memorize the whole deal.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night, AFTER HOURS CONVENTION COVERAGE, same time, same place.
I‘m Joe Scarborough.
Same time, same place.
Have a great night.
We‘ll see you tomorrow in Beantown.
Lloyd, you did a great job, buddy.
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