Guest: Willie Brown, Douglas Brinkley, Barbara Haper, Richard Holbrooke, Kati Marton
WILLIE BROWN, FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: Howard, I got to tell you something. The public is ready for a breath of fresh air and believe me she brings a breath of fresh air and the other two people as well and I think we better get with it. But let me also tell you...
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC ANALYST: It‘s definitely fresh, maybe a little too fresh.
BROWN: No, let me tell you what, no, let me tell you also.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: I think so.
BROWN: I think the issue, the decisive vote in this election is going to be who can motivate the women and believe me she just gave—she just gave them the edge.
FINEMAN: But what I‘m telling you is the middle class working women will see, those are the majority of the undecided votes. I know in her hometown of Pittsburgh those women love her. My question is whether between now and November those swing voters in Missouri and Wisconsin are going to get know her...
SCARBOROUGH: Mr. Mayor, I know you want to win, OK, buddy but I‘m telling you something. I‘m just telling you.
BROWN: I‘m going to get you good ratings. If you keep going the way you‘re going...
SCARBOROUGH: She‘s not going to play well as somebody worth $500 million with her story. I don‘t think it‘s going to...
BROWN: She worth $1 billion not $500 million.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, I‘m sorry, $1 billion. It‘s not going to play well (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: I‘m going to come back and drop a bomb with this group because I‘ve got a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about tonight. Anyway, NBC‘s Brian Williams joins us right now and he‘s up on the podium—Brian.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC: Chris, an interesting perspective from up here on this platform where we see all the speakers enter and come and go and leave the podium. Tonight was really, and you‘ve all covered this, about old friends of the Democratic Party in the case of Senator Kennedy, Howard Dean challenger for the nomination.
But so much talk about what the modern day political convention has become, what it‘s all about. Clearly it is about tonight, at least, introductions, reminding the American people if you listen to the organizers of this convention there are no African Americans in the U.S. Senate right now and they had better get used to the idea of this young state Senator from Illinois.
And, as was also made clear to me tonight by a party aide, reminding the American people, Hillary Rodham Clinton was considered a revolutionary idea as a first lady, Ivy League educated couple they were, an attorney. Lou Hoover, the wife of President Herbert Hoover, her husband‘s partner in every way was a revolution in her time.
So, to listen to organizers tonight was about introductions, getting people used to the thought of seeing the faces we have seen tonight as every day figures perhaps in the history of the Democratic Party, if not the United States. With that down to Carl Quintanilla on the convention floor—Carl.
CARL QUINTANILLA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Brian we‘re here with the first lady of Iowa, Christie Vilsack. We can get a lot of opinions in this room on Teresa‘s speech but only a few from first ladies. What did you think?
CHRISTIE VILSACK, WIFE OF IOWA GOVERNOR: Well, I think she aced it. I know it‘s hard to stand up in front of a crowd and deliver a speech like this because I did it a little earlier, but Teresa is a very thoughtful person and she has to know the message because she‘s got to go out on her own all over this country and deliver the message that her husband is delivering and she did a great job tonight.
And I, you know, I heard Alana Wexler (ph), the little 12-year-old and I hope every Alana Wexler in this country has the opportunity to hear Teresa Heinz Kerry talk about limitless opportunities, amazing opportunities because she will be a very strong voice for young women like Alana.
QUINTANILLA: She even poked fun at her own controversy this week of the fact that she‘s known as a loose cannon. Which rings out the controversy itself or the fact that she‘s willing to admit it?
VILSACK: I think she‘s known as outspoken and that‘s how she would—and she‘s a strong minded women and I think that‘s how she thinks of herself and that‘s how most of us who admire her think of her.
QUINTANILLA: Thank you very much first lady Christie Vilsack of Iowa
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Carl Quintanilla, who‘s down on the floor.
Let‘s go right now to NBC‘s Tom Brokaw. He sat down with Ron Reagan, our colleague, after his speech to the convention. Let‘s go now to that.
TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR: Ron Reagan is with us now after appearing before a Democratic National Convention to make a very eloquent appeal for additional stem cell research to lift it out of the political arena and put it into the scientific arena. Did a lot of your father‘s old friends try to discourage you from coming here?
RON REAGAN: No, no they didn‘t. I didn‘t get any calls from people like that. There were some broadsides in the media, of course, taking a few shots but my feeling was that as long as they spelled embryonic stem cell correctly that was OK by me.
BROKAW: Your mother spoke out on the same subject not too long ago.
BROKAW: Did she talk to you before you came here?
REAGAN: Oh, I spoke with her and, you know, we talked about doing this. We were aware that there were, you know, some drawbacks to doing this. I‘d be open to a charge that I was somehow politicizing this or being used by the Democrats but my feeling is I‘m using them and I just couldn‘t pass up an opportunity to get the word out and, you know, I hope it worked.
BROKAW: The evidence so far is that stem cell research at the moment, at this stage of the research would have no effect on Alzheimer‘s but was it your father‘s illness that got you interested in this?
REAGAN: I was actually interested in it before that or separately from his, from his disease. I just found it fascinating scientifically and listen the potential to revolutionize medicine is just astonishing with this stuff.
I mean this is going to change everything, bigger than antibiotics, bigger than germ theory. It‘s going to be a whole new world here. Obviously, when my father was sick and my mother became involved that heightened the interest and focused it but, no, I‘ve been interested all along really.
BROKAW: The Republican National Committee has put out a page and a half, single-spaced, defending the president‘s position on all of this. At the heart of it is the principle that human embryos merit respect as a form of human life and that the federal government should not encourage their destruction, has been accepted on a bipartisan basis for a number of years.
REAGAN: Yes. I haven‘t been able to read the whole thing line by line. I understand that people have ethical considerations involving this. Some of them are religiously based. But, you know, you got to be consistent if you‘re going to make a moral argument.
And, if you‘re going to say that destroying cells in a tissue culture is murder then you‘ve certainly got to be against in vitro fertilization where embryos are discarded by the thousands every year and I don‘t hear anybody campaigning against IDF clinics.
And, again, if you‘re going to make a moral point then you need to be consistent and, if you‘re not consistent, then maybe you‘re a little morally ethically shaky there.
BROKAW: And they are allowing some research and have provided some money for it at this point.
REAGAN: Well, just the idea of, you know, 64 stem cell lines or cell lines being used in private research, if you think this is murder then you have to be against all of it across the board. Otherwise, you‘re in a morally untenable position.
BROKAW: It‘s not possible, they also say, for any researcher to say with certainty whether additional lines will produce the effects that everyone is promoting.
REAGAN: That‘s exactly why we need to do more research. That‘s exactly why we need federal money to fund this basic research because private companies are looking at a shorter time frame, two, three years out for pharmaceutical companies and this is probably about five years out or so we need that push.
BROKAW: Why not with all the money that‘s available in this country not be able to do it with just private funding? There are companies that are already set up prepared to do that.
REAGAN: Yes. Well, eventually we would with private funding but it will delay things. You know, federal funding brings private money and it just speeds up the process and that‘s what we need to have. Many people are suffering out there. There are children with juvenile diabetes or people with multiple sclerosis. What are we waiting for?
There should be a, you know, a Manhattan, you know, project level funding here to push this over the top. I talk to scientists. They can‘t believe we‘re still having this discussion. This is, you know, it‘s crazy in a way.
BROKAW: You‘re obviously very well informed on this. You‘re very passionate about it. Is it going to become for you the public issue that you‘ll be identified with and you‘ll continue to promote it in Democratic as well as Republican arenas?
REAGAN: Well, you know, I suppose if any Republicans ask me to come and talk to them about stem cell research I would. It will be a passion of mine and something I‘m involved in as long as I‘m needed and we need to keep pushing this. I hope that‘s not very long.
BROKAW: Let me ask you about some of the arguments that have been raised, not just by the Republican National Committee but other opponents as well. They say there are other sources for all this. You can get it from cord blood, for example, or from placentas. There are other places to get stem cells.
REAGAN: Well, if you listen to the speech I gave and I went through the science and it wasn‘t a lot of science, I‘m not a scientist, but I went through that with Dr. Lenzanne (ph) at Harvard University line by line to make sure that this was absolutely accurate so I couldn‘t be picked apart after the speech.
And, what he told me was in the case of Parkinson‘s disease, we‘re talking about taking a couple of stem cells from your arm and turning those into embryonic stem cells, which will then become neural cells re-injected into your brain, cure Parkinson‘s, so we‘re talking your own skin cells.
BROKAW: Do you think that the biggest misconception is that when you talk about embryonic stem cells people believe that embryos are abused, mutilated in some fashion?
REAGAN: They confuse embryo with fetus. We‘re talking about something at the cellular level. We‘re talking about a, well a technical term is a blastocyst initially with cells within it but it never extends beyond the cellular level.
And I don‘t think that you can argue that cells, undifferentiated cells, are human beings. They simply are not. They don‘t have feelings. They don‘t feel pain. They‘re not children and parents, as I said. It‘s just there‘s a difference and we can make those distinctions. We‘re rational, reasonable people.
BROKAW: On another subject all together how‘s your mother doing?
REAGAN: She‘s doing OK. I saw her, I wasn‘t actually at the ship christening or whatever it was down there in San Diego, but I saw the pictures.
BROKAW: The return of the...
REAGAN: The return of the—yes, that‘s what it was. But I saw pictures. She looked very good, in her natty little white sailor suit.
BROKAW: But did you have any idea when the family first began to get involved in that week-long farewell to your father that it would take on the proportions that it did?
REAGAN: No, no, we were astonished when we brought him to the funeral home the first day, there were a couple of hundred people outside there. And we were kind of blown away by that. Look at that, couple of hundred of people there.
Then we started driving up to the library, and every overpass lined with people, fire trucks saluting, you know, the flags, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from the flags hanging from there. It was astonishing, and it was helpful too. It helped take us out of ourselves. We had to do this public thing. And it‘s—you don‘t want to just be a weeping mess the whole week, you know, so it helped take us out of ourselves, and it was good.
BROKAW: Ron Reagan, I think the first time I ever saw you, you were about 8 years old, living in the Pacific Palisades. Thanks very much for being with us.
REAGAN: You bet. Thanks for having me.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, our panel, which is overexpanding and evolving. We‘ll be back with us. Reaction from them to the two big speeches—actually, all the big speeches tonight. Ron Reagan is coming back to become—to metamorphosize (ph) into a pundit again with us. Teresa Heinz Kerry, Barack Obama—we‘re going to talk about all of them tonight, for our big, exciting conclusion in the next hour. You‘re watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Democratic Convention on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s coverage of Democratic convention, and it‘s quite distinctive, as you have seen already. Live from Faneuil Hall. By the way, in 1960, the night before the presidential election of 1960, Jack Kennedy spoke right across the street there. Also, we‘re with “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell, and Kerry—John Kerry biographer Douglas Brinkley.
I am going to propose something now. We all know this, no matter how well we have been involved in news and politics. These parties, the Democrat and Republican Party, have different souls. If you are in trouble in the country and you want to fight an enemy, Republicans are pretty good, they are tough on law and order, they are tough on foreign enemies, they are very practical when it comes to business.
The Democratic Party, if it has a strength, it‘s its heart. It is much more of a feminine party in that sense, it‘s a caring party. Tonight, you saw a lot of that heart.
I am not saying it‘s going to win the election, because it oftentimes doesn‘t of late, because we have faced tough enemies.
Ted Kennedy was all about history and nostalgia, my brothers, and you kept reminding yourself all through the night, his brothers all got killed. Two of them in politics, one in war.
Obama, what a story this guy is. He‘s an immigrant, he‘s an African-American. His mother‘s wife in Kansas—father‘s a Kenyan. I was just over in Kenya. They live in huts over there. His grandmother is living in a hut. He is an American with a Harvard law degree. He‘s president of the “Harvard Law Review.” That doesn‘t help in other countries.
Let‘s take a look at the line—one of the best lines of the night from Barack Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can‘t teach our kids to learn. They know that parents have to teach. That children can‘t achieve unless we raise their expectations. And turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, that‘s a hell of a line. I just want to say, this was about heart and hope tonight. Immigrant family, African-American, you‘ve got her from Mozambique, which she talked about the Peace Corps, she is talking about me, I was in the Peace Corps in the country she was in right next door all those years. She‘s talking about hope and Kennedy and all that good stuff, it‘s heart. It may not be logic, but it has a compelling nature.
FINEMAN: It‘s not only that, but it‘s about the future. When Ron Reagan talked about research and science, he was arguing for the future in terms of science. Teresa Heinz Kerry is the embodiment of a global world that we are all living in now. She‘s 65, but I think...
MATTHEWS: She‘s (UNINTELLIGIBLE) immigrant from Africa.
FINEMAN: But she appeals to young people. And Barack Obama‘s story is that this is the new Democratic Party. A new Democratic Party.
MATHEWS: And your thoughts tonight?
BROWN: Well, as I said to Howard, it is the new Democratic Party, although Ronald Reagan may not be a part of that Democratic Party formally, although Teresa may never run for public office.
MATTHEWS: She just joined the party two years ago.
BROWN: And let me tell you, one telling line from her son Chris, he said, just a few years ago, some influential Republicans were trying to convince my mother to run for the Senate seat. I am telling you, a combination of all those factors gives great legitimacy to tonight‘s great performance.
MATTHEWS: Are we seeing a realignment again? You‘ve got Zell Miller, a fairly conservative Democrat in Georgia, basically going to the Republican Convention this year in New York. He is going to make a pretty compelling case against the Democratic Party of today and say, I loved the old party.
BROWN: Zell Miller hasn‘t been a Democrat for years.
MATTHEWS: Well, he got elected as one.
BROWN: I know that, but....
FINEMAN: Teresa Heinz hasn‘t been a Republican for years.
BROWN: No, no, I disagree with you. I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Republican. I don‘t happen to think that Democrats have the license to be the only people with hearts. I think there‘s some Republicans with hearts.
MITCHELL: For all of those people who say that John Kerry is too cold and too aloof, Teresa Heinz Kerry was an attempt to also validate the nurturing, kinder, gentler side of John Kerry. At the same time, she spoke to something that women are very interested in, very concerned about, which is the war, and the number of people, the number of young men and women who are at risk over there. And the whole context between people being strong but also not being too stubborn. That is the dichotomy that the Republicans have been trying to fight, that the Democrats have been trying to lay out all day today.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s bring in Doug Brinkley, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) context here. You wrote the book on John Kerry, especially his military career. This is another argument tonight. This isn‘t about military life. This is a part—what I think what the Democrats are up to, is selling an ensemble this year. They don‘t really have a grand personality to sell. John Kerry is never going to win any cultural beauty contests for great personality, he‘s no Soupy Sales, that‘s for sure. But clearly, they can sell Teresa to some women who are working out there, professional women, they can sell Barack Obama to just about anybody. They can sell Ted Kennedy to the old Democratic—they‘re trying to get...
MATTHEWS: ... people down in Florida to vote Democratic...
FINEMAN: And the brothers to the veterans.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, HISTORIAN: Because, Chris, they are united behind defeating George W. Bush.
MATTHEWS: But not united by John Kerry.
BRINKLEY: It‘s more against Bush. And I think there is no—you know, you go to 1968, where you have a Eugene McCarthy faction screaming at the Hubert Humphrey faction. There is none of that. Everybody...
MATTHEWS: Everyone is united.
BRINKLEY: They are united; they are totally united right now. And John Kerry...
MATTHEWS: Why are they united?
BRINKLEY: Because I think of the war in Iraq, I think because of the
· that‘s been the main thing. I also think that Kerry in his own shrewd way, he is a rope-a-dope person. He stands back, he brings people in quietly, and as much as Obama was brilliant tonight, I have seen Harold Ford (UNINTELLIGIBLE), as he‘s on your show a lot, Chris, and he‘s another great star, African-American star in the future.
FINEMAN: I was trying to watch this tonight through Karl Rove‘s eyes, the Republican strategist.
MATTHEWS: Read the defense. Read the offense.
FINEMAN: I am in the sky box, not on the field. And what I saw, Rove, his heart sank, when Obama said, the government can‘t teach your kids. In other words, that soundbite that you played could easily have been uttered at a Republican convention.
FINEMAN: Wait a minute. And that‘s what is interesting about the new Democratic Party, if there is one, it‘s not just the next big government program. It‘s what we are as a people. It‘s saying, we are multicultural, we are global. We are multilingual, we are the future.
MATTHEWS: Can the Democrats we saw tonight win a war? Can the Democrats we saw tonight balance a budget?
BRINKLEY: You will see the war, when John Kerry speaks, when Max Cleland comes on Thursday, in a wheelchair, triple amputee, and all of these crewmates hit the stage, Max Cleland is going to get an ovation that is three times louder than Howard Dean got when he came out.
MITCHELL: Strategy (ph) today, all day, I was in the spin room, and talking to all of their people, was to communicate that you could be strong but also be wise. It was the line from the Clinton speech last night.
MATTHEWS: People believe that because they want to—they want a strong man like George W. Bush, and they don‘t want to hear all of this sort of feminine niceness?
MITCHELL: What they are trying—but people are not happy about the war. We can see that in all the polling, so there is a lot of anxiety out there in America. The Democrats are trying to tap into that. What they have to do is persuade people that John Kerry is strong.
MATTHEWS: Everybody, one in a row, real fast. You are sitting in a diner somewhere in the suburbs of Chicago, not right wing suburbs, middle of the road suburbs, somewhat ethnically diverse, somewhat, and they‘re talking. Maybe the Busy Bee (ph) in the northwest side, Rusty‘s (ph) old neighborhood.
MITCHELL: Where Hillary Clinton made her big, great entry.
MATTHEWS: Are they saying—I like the cut of that woman‘s (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They are saying she seems a little too spicy for me, a little too different.
BROWN: No, they won‘t say that. Believe me, if they were watching, and you have got to remember, these are probably people with not great attention spans, they would only go when the catchy phrases were there. When she said what she said about being smart and opinionated, I tell you, that got them. And they won‘t kid about that.
FINEMAN: It depends on how old the people are at the Busy Bee. I think the younger people will respond more, paradoxically, than (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
MATTHEWS: How well—the paralegal, who‘s working, she is 28 years old, she...
FINEMAN: She is going to respond better than the older one.
FINEMAN: She‘s going to respond better than the older one. Also, Teresa‘s story is better than her speech was tonight.
MITCHELL: I don‘t know how—I think the real breakout tonight was Obama. I mean, Teresa is a fascinating story. But Obama is a rock star.
MATTHEWS: Who gets the front—top of the fold of all the major newspapers across the country tomorrow?
MATTHEWS: Is it Obama or is it Heinz?
BROWN: Obama walks away with it.
BRINKLEY: Obama trumped Bill Clinton. Clinton gave a good speech yesterday. Obama was better. That‘s hard to do in American politics.
FINEMAN: He had the ease up there—he had the ease up there of a young Bill Clinton. He had—I was astonished.
MATTHEWS: Maybe I am a romantic, and I was rooting for Colin Powell, he turned out to be a little less important politically than I thought he might be in his career, more of a soldier in the last situation we all know about, but I have seen the first black president there. And the reason I say that is because I think the immigrant experience combined with the African background, combined with the incredible education, combined with his beautiful speech, not every politician gets help with the speech, but that speech was a piece of work.
BROWN: Chris, also you notice, there was absolutely no evidence of ego, no evidence of arrogance. It was only self-confidence.
MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that? That‘s amazing.
BROWN: That I would observe that?
MATTHEWS: Let‘s go right now to MSNBC‘s Chris Jansing, who is on the floor—Chris.
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I am here with a 30-year friend, Chris, of Teresa Heinz Kerry. Her name is Barbara, and Barbara Haper, you have been to four conventions, but three as a Republican. You are the elected Republican state treasurer of Pennsylvania. What are you doing at the Democratic Convention?
BARBARA HAPER, PENNSYLVANIA TREASURER: Well, I switched last year, following Teresa‘s lead, but also Governor Rendell. I endorsed Governor Rendell and worked for his election. So I was not going to be a Republican for much longer after that, but I am glad to be here. This is very exciting, it‘s a wonderful place, wonderful venue.
JANSING: Your friend Teresa has been taking a lot of heat lately for being so outspoken, as she called it tonight. What do you think of that?
HAPER: I think that she turned it around. She is who she is. We in Western Pennsylvania—I am from Pittsburgh—know her and love her. She is very consistent. The 30 years I have known her, she has talked about health care, children‘s rights, children‘s health, conservation. She is very, very consistent. People will see that she speaks her mind, and occasionally, she is going to say something that someone doesn‘t like, and they will probably take umbrage at that, but she will turn it around and she is very open about it.
JANSING: The American people are just getting to know her. You have known her for more than three decades. What would you tell them about Teresa Heinz Kerry?
HAPER: Just watch her. She is a dynamo.
JANSING: Is she going to help the ticket?
HAPER: She is going to help the ticket tremendously. What she said today is from the heart. She puts her endowment money where her mouth is, and we have been in Pennsylvania very fortunate that she has endowed many, many things that she talked about tonight. She is an asset to this ticket. They are not going to shake her. She is very, very good, she is very deep, she‘s very funny, and she has—the public will love her.
JANSING: You have also been in politics since the ‘70s. Did we see the future of American politics in Barack Obama tonight?
HAPER: Oh, absolutely, and I think Chris Heinz. We are expecting him to come back and be very active.
JANSING: What is he going to run for (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
HAPER: I think he will run for Congress, his father‘s seat. I think that we will see him in two years coming back, and I predict that he will win.
JANSING: Barbara Haper, delegate from Pennsylvania, and state treasurer. Thanks so much for being with us. Chris, back to you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Chris. Thank you very much. Much more still to come from Faneuil Hall. Our panel will be back, and they are getting lively. We‘ll be joined by Kerry foreign policy adviser, and future secretary of state, I think, Richard Holbrooke, and his wife Kati Marton. You‘re watching HARDBALL, live, and is it, coverage of the Democratic Convention on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America. There is the United States of America.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s coverage of the Democratic Convention.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: We‘re joined right now by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke, and Kati Marton, author of “Hidden Power:
Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History.”
Will she play in Peoria?
KATI MARTON, AUTHOR, “HIDDEN POWER”: I think so, yes. She is
different and she‘s authentic. And she‘s going over extremely well. I
think people can tell when you are unscripted, and she is unscripted, and
it‘s a breath of fresh air. And it‘s
MATTHEWS: Where do you see in American culture, on television, in the movies, anywhere else, this openness to the foreign, to somebody who has a different accent, to someone who comes from a different country? Where do you see this positive response?
MARTON: Chris, we all come from a different country. I was born in Hungary. She was born in Mozambique.
MATTHEWS: Well, that may be your personal situation.
But you turn on American television, five nights a week, seven nights a week, where do you see this spicy interest in different cultures? Are there any sitcoms that focus on diverse families, or is it basically the most familiar, the least common denominator? And isn‘t that what she is up against?
MARTON: I think everybody has
MATTHEWS: Laura Bush is more acceptable than Teresa Heinz. Don‘t you agree?
MARTON: I don‘t think so. I think Laura Bush is terrific, but I think Teresa is.
MATTHEWS: She‘s not an easier sell in Peoria?
MARTON: I think that the nation is ready for a woman who has a different background.
MATTHEWS: Are they interested in having a woman with her background be first lady?
MARTON: Absolutely. It‘s going to be—it‘s going to be a whole new ball game. She is not Hillary. She is not Laura. She is Teresa.
And, look, she reaches so many ethnic groups. She speaks so many languages. At a time when I think the nation is interested in connecting to the rest of the world, i think she is the right voice.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Richard Holbrooke.
You have dealt with a lot of different cultures in the world. You know our own. Do you think the American people have an appetite for a spicy woman of a Latin background from Africa?
RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Teresa Heinz is unusual. Teresa Heinz Kerry is a bit exotic, but she‘s authentic. America has shown openness to immigrants. My wife is from Hungary. You have accepted her.
Teresa has a slight accent, which makes her more interesting. And I
think that a lot of the Washington, inside-the-beltway anticipation that
she would have difficulty was just that, Chris. It was Washington inside-
the-beltway garbage. America
MATTHEWS: What was the garbage? I‘m sorry.
HOLBROOKE: There was a lot of early talk about difficulty she was going to have. It was all coming from inside the beltway in Washington. It just wasn‘t true.
She has had a phenomenal reception all over the country. And you are smiling because?
MATTHEWS: I‘m smiling because you are mocking my weltanschauung, my world view.
HOLBROOKE: Oh, oh, you‘re using a foreign language there.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s go. Let‘s take a look at Teresa Heinz Kerry speaking tonight to the nation, and speaking her mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE OF SENATOR JOHN KERRY: My right to speak my mind, to have a voice, to be what some have called opinionated...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
HEINZ KERRY: ... is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish. And my only hope is that, one day soon, women, who have all earned their right to their opinions...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
HEINZ KERRY: ... instead of being called opinionated will be called smart and well-informed, just like men.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I have to tell you, I personally—of course, I don‘t mind saying it. I find her very attractive. She‘s a European film star in the Jeanne Moreau mode or Anouk Aimee.
But I don‘t think everybody likes foreign movies like I love do. I
love the fact she paid tribute to the Peace Corps, especially where I was
in the Peace Corps right next to her country while she was still there in
MATTHEWS: ... and right next to Mozambique. I love the fact she went to Witwatersrand, a liberal university, and fought against apartheid. It‘s all great stuff.
But coffee—you remember your first cup of coffee, how it was bitter. And then after a couple months, you go, I really can‘t live without this stuff. Is she an acquired taste?
MATTHEWS: Well, then, can you acquire her by November 2? That‘s what I want to know.
MARTON: I absolutely think so.
MATTHEWS: Do you really think we will acquire a taste for her?
MARTON: We don‘t elect people president based on who they are married to.
MATTHEWS: Oh, we don‘t?
MARTON: No, we don‘t.
MATTHEWS: But it is one way to measure somebody, on how they choose their mate.
MATTHEWS: Oh, I agree with that.
MARTON: Which is one of the most important things any of us does.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
MARTON: He chose a woman who is older and who is, as she said, opinionated, who disagrees with him. And he seems to be OK with that. That, I think, as a woman, I can say that speaks very well of John Kerry.
MATTHEWS: You think, Richard, Mr. Ambassador, that the Republicans, if they like—if they see her going up in public esteem, may begin to take some shots at her?
HOLBROOKE: That‘s tough.
Her first husband was one of the most cherished Republican senators. He died in a tragic helicopter crash. I knew Jack Heinz, wonderful senator. You knew him. She was a Republican. She has many Republican friends. She is enormously popular, particularly in western Pennsylvania, which is part of the critical area of the swing state.
MARTON: They can‘t beat up on her for being rich. Republicans can‘t beat up on her for being rich.
MATTHEWS: Well, there are other things. They are other things besides rich.
MATTHEWS: I remember going to Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown years ago and seeing Jack Heinz going to mass with her every Sunday, even though he wasn‘t Catholic. He was obliging. He was a supportive husband. And she is very Catholic. And that‘s a nice thing to see.
My father was Protestant when he married my mother. I like to see men or spouses who respect their spouse‘s religious background and beliefs. I think it‘s a nice thing.
MATTHEWS: So I am very big on these people. I am just wondering, as a political analyst—well, I am the political analyst, I suppose. Do you think that the American people out in the country, where they are used to people of similar accent and people in the neighborhoods, who are all Baptists, basically, will say, who is this person?
MARTON: I think we are in the habit of underestimating the American people.
I think the American people are an awful lot smarter than we often give them credit for and a lot more tolerant and open-minded. And there isn‘t anybody in the country who doesn‘t have an aunt or an in-law who is from a different place. That‘s what we‘re about.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Mr. Ambassador, Richard, about the country and the world. One of the great choices being made in the world is being made every day in the world by Islamic young men and women.
They‘re in their 20s. They‘re trying to decide whether to come here to go to Michigan State, get an engineering degree. I am talking about the creme de la creme. Those are the people who are going to rule the world in 20 years. And it seems to me that maybe this guy, Obama, Barack Obama, the man who comes here from—his father from Kenyan. It‘s astounding, Harvard Law, president of Law Review, probably the next United States senator. It is a stunning story. This stuff doesn‘t happen in Russia. It doesn‘t happen England or in France or in Argentina or in Nigeria.
MARTON: It‘s why we are all here.
MATTHEWS: Or Nigeria or certainly not in Japan.
HOLBROOKE: Kati came from Europe. My parents from Russia and Hitler‘s Germany.
MARTON: With nothing.
MATTHEWS: Your actual parents, not your grandparents?
HOLBROOKE: No, no, my parents. My father was a refugee from communism, my mother from Hitler.
MATTHEWS: I thought you were kind of a Waspy guy. I didn‘t know this.
MARTON: Fooled another one.
HOLBROOKE: I thought you were Hungarian. Listen, Chris, let me make a...
MATTHEWS: Nothing wrong with that.
HOLBROOKE: Let me make a serious point about this.
MATTHEWS: He fought the communists first.
HOLBROOKE: Let me make a serious point about this.
HOLBROOKE: Forty-four years ago, we would have been sitting on the stage having the most ferocious screaming match about whether an Irish Catholic could be president of the United States. That was the issue.
And his grandparents had come over from Ireland. And Ireland in those days, Irish in America in those early days were considered lower than any minority.
MATTHEWS: Well, not by 1960.
HOLBROOKE: No, not by 1960, but earlier.
HOLBROOKE: Barack Obama, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Kati, you and me one generation removed, are all part of this great procession. Americans like that story. By the way, you have seen the percentage of Americans who are foreign-born. It‘s much higher today than it was 40 years ago.
MATTHEWS: If they vote, it matters.
MATTHEWS: If they vote, it matters.
HOLBROOKE: And Teresa Heinz can relate to Latinos.
OLBERMANN: Let me just ask you the obvious question, because people at home want to know the political assessment here. They had a choice tonight, the Democratic Party. They could have hidden her in the attic and brought her out and done a couple nice smiles and handshakes and kissed her husband, like Tipper or somebody.
They said, we are going to put her on television. We‘re going to give her a half-hour.
MARTON: She‘s an asset.
MATTHEWS: We‘re going to build it up. Was that smart?
They are not trying to stifle her. And it starts from her husband, John Kerry, who obviously gets a kick out of her. Nobody is trying to manage her. They are just letting Teresa be Teresa. And I think it‘s working. People know the—people know the real deal.
MATTHEWS: But when Geraldine Ferraro got the nomination for V.P., did you think that was going to work? I knew a lot of Democrats that thought she was the silver bullet, that they would win. And it went nowhere.
HOLBROOKE: But that was a different issue. She was running for vice president, and immediately she got into financial questions. I have known Teresa Heinz Kerry for a long time. She is an extraordinary person. Americans, as they get to know her, are going to learn how extraordinary she is.
MATTHEWS: I‘m with you.
And I think, if they win and there‘s a change in party in Washington, and I wouldn‘t bet either way on this election right now, but I think that if she were elected, became first lady, I should say, the country would get a kick out of a first lady who could speak all these languages, because we Americans don‘t speak anything, nobody here.
I am terrible here at German or Zulu, the only language that I have even a piece of. I took Russia a little. But most of us are illiterate in other languages. And I think we are thrilled that any—look at the president when he speaks in Spanish. I‘m kind of impressed with that.
HOLBROOKE: But Senator Kerry has also got linguistic ability. He was educated...
MATTHEWS: We need for him to show it. Come on. You know that.
HOLBROOKE: He grew up in Berlin during the Cold War. His father was a diplomatic.
HOLBROOKE: He‘s at home in foreign countries. He has Vietnam. He‘s been on the Foreign Relations Committee. He is a serious man prepared for the national security issues and strengthened by...
HOLBROOKE: My wife is not going to let me finish this sentence.
MARTON: I never do.
HOLBROOKE: And prepared for the presidency like very few presidents have been in the last century.
MATTHEWS: One thing that struck me the last couple nights here—and we have two more big nights to go—maybe we‘ll see this resonate—the reaction of both the people in the podium speaking and the people in the crowd to the fact that they recognize America.
And this is a tough one for most people. We are not as liked in the world as we used to be. I think Americans are different than Brits or Germans. They want to be respected. We like to hand out candy bars and nylons and have the women gush over us and men, the kids come up to us and cheer us.
MATTHEWS: I loved it when I hitchhiked around the world 30 years ago and the Arab kids loved me.
HOLBROOKE: Well, Chris, Chris, what is the theme of this convention?
MATTHEWS: What is it, the heart?
HOLBROOKE: Strong economy at home, respected at home.
MATTHEWS: Is that the theme? I think it‘s the heart of the Democratic Party so far.
HOLBROOKE: Yes, I understand.
But the decided theme of the campaign is respected abroad—that‘s half of it—because we are not as respected as we used to be, and we can‘t lead the world, we can‘t defend our own national security unless our leadership is built on respect.
MATTHEWS: For a country worried about being hit again like September 2001, did you hear anything tonight or last tonight that said, damn it, these Democrats are better at defending the country? I didn‘t hear that yet. Did you?
HOLBROOKE: Well, I think you heard it from some of the speakers last night, and you are going to hear a very strong theme over the next 99 days that the Bush administration has not made the country safer than it was before September 11. That is going to be a central issue, who will make us safer over the next four years?
MATTHEWS: Will Teresa be a second Jackie Kennedy?
MARTON: I was about to say, the country went crazy for Jackie
Kennedy, because she could speak to President Charles de Gaulle in French
and act as a go-between between her husband and
MATTHEWS: ... don‘t know. Everybody thinks she was Franco-American, half-Irish.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you very much, Richard Holbrooke, former ambassador to the United States, and Kati Marton, a great author, in fact, historian of first ladies.
When we come back, Ron Reagan will join us after his—boy, he is going to be a hero coming back here.
You are watching HARDBALL‘s coverage of the 2004 Democratic Convention on MSNBC.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s unique coverage of the Democratic Convention. One of the things that makes us unique is the man sitting to my left, Ron Reagan, who actually is on the clock right now.
REAGAN: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: You‘re on the payroll again. No more of these public planes, no more of these speeches. You‘re back at work.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you, because you have been where many—very few people have been before. It‘s like—not “Star Wars.” It‘s like “Star Trek.” You‘ve gone where no one has gone before, an independent.
REAGAN: Yes, that‘s true.
MATTHEWS: As you are, speaking at the Democratic Convention.
What was it like? Give us a day in the excellent adventure of Ron Reagan today.
REAGAN: Well, it was kind of fun, actually. They took us back for a rehearsal. And one of the funniest things is, they play you a videotape of what not to do.
REAGAN: Yes, bloopers, Alfonse D‘Amato yelling and screaming. This is some footage we‘re looking at here, just going out to see the podium.
They like you to see the room and
MATTHEWS: When you‘re looking at that audience from that—there is Jim King, one of the great advance men of all time, a Kennedy guy.
REAGAN: Fabulous guy, fabulous guy.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, what do you feel? Do you get nervous just walking out there?
REAGAN: Well, you‘re going to feel a little bit nervous. You know that it‘s a fairly big moment and you want to do right by yourself and all that—but not too nervous, no. I think it helps when you write your own speech.
MATTHEWS: How did you learn timing?
REAGAN: I don‘t know.
MATTHEWS: Because, sometimes, people go out there and they yell.
Now, you were told not to yell.
Well, they show you this tape to show you that there‘s a directional mike there. And the room is very loud when you go out there. There‘s 20,000 people, or whatever it is. And they make a lot of noise. And the tendency, of course, is to shout over the crowd. But that‘s the wrong thing to do. You have a microphone. You are really speaking to television.
MATTHEWS: In other words, don‘t be Howard Dean.
REAGAN: Don‘t be Howard Dean. Don‘t be Alfonse D‘Amato, whoever it might be.
And speak in a more conversational voice. So that‘s good advice.
MATTHEWS: When we talked earlier this afternoon, you said that you were going to stick with what you had to say, even if they tried to stop you. Did you stick with what you had to say?
REAGAN: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: No changes?
REAGAN: No, no changes.
MATTHEWS: How hard did they try?
REAGAN: Fairly hard. They were concerned.
REAGAN: Any names you can give us right now of people who pressed your thumbs or twisted your fingernails or anything?
REAGAN: No. Actually, I don‘t even know their names. I just know the speechwriting crowd and I guess the campaign was a little nervous that there was too much science in the speech, which, there were like half-a-dozen sentences that dealt with science.
MATTHEWS: I think you‘re very articulate. You‘re very explanatory, very expository.
MATTHEWS: Did they worry that you might give a partisan aspect? I didn‘t hear any partisanship, per se.
MATTHEWS: They didn‘t warn you about that? They wouldn‘t have minded if you had said something partisan?
REAGAN: They didn‘t warn me about that, but I told them at the start that I would not do a campaign speech, that I would not be partisan, and, if they wanted me to, that they were barking up the wrong tree.
MATTHEWS: What were the various pitfalls besides that they told you not to yell? What else did they tell you?
REAGAN: Well, people applaud. There‘s noise and they are cheering. And the tendency there is to wait until everything dies down and becomes quiet. Well, that will never happen in a room that size.
They showed me a tape there of Jack Kemp, who—this is nothing against Jack Kemp. It‘s just a difficult thing to do. And there were these long sort of dead pauses where he was waiting for the applause to subside. But, on television, you can‘t hear the applause, so it‘s just a guy standing at a lectern staring into space. So you‘ve got to keep rolling.
MATTHEWS: So, more or less, you have to ignore the usual human impulses.
REAGAN: Yes, that‘s true.
MATTHEWS: So did you feel when you were up there that you were on cloud nine, away from everyone else?
REAGAN: Oh, no. I felt that I was in front of a lot of people, not
MATTHEWS: Did your mom call yet?
REAGAN: No, I haven‘t had a chance to talk to her or my wife.
MATTHEWS: Oh, I‘ve got to hear the reviews, because she is an expert.
REAGAN: Yes, she is.
MATTHEWS: Did you learn anything in terms of the stagecraft? Your dad used to—I remember before State of the Union addresses, he used to drink things to get his voice very nice and mellow and all that sort of thing.
REAGAN: Yes. Well, I had a little hot tea.
MATTHEWS: Hot tea? That‘s what he did.
REAGAN: Yes. Well, hot tea is a good thing. It kind of relaxes the vocal cords and all that.
MATTHEWS: But you were downright mellifluous up there. I thought I was listening to Chuck Percy or somebody, one of these great mellifluous voices.
REAGAN: Well, thank you.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, as you were giving the speech and you were talking about these diseases, were you thinking that you were telling the public that this might just work in their lifetime?
REAGAN: Oh, definitely in their lifetime. As far as Parkinson‘s disease goes, that may be one of the first things that could be fixed with stem cell therapy. We are talking maybe five years out if we can get federal funding, if we can really move the basic research forward here. A fellow I talked to at Harvard says maybe five years.
MATTHEWS: Did you ever think that when you were talking to a couple of million tonight, maybe 10 million people, that you were talking to caregivers sitting next to victims and how amazingly ghastly that can be?
REAGAN: You bet. You bet, yes.
No, that was on my mind the whole time. And I‘ll tell you, the hardest thing about this whole thing for me, in that sense and in also talking about my 13-year-old friend who has juvenile diabetes is, everybody in my family cries reading the phone book. And it was just—I just hoped I wouldn‘t choke up.
MATTHEWS: You didn‘t. But you controlled that.
MATTHEWS: What good do you think you got done tonight?
REAGAN: Well, if anything good came of it, it‘s that more people are
aware of this, they‘re more aware of what this is and what it isn‘t, the
good that it can do, and the fact that we are not talking about aborted
fetuses or any fetuses, really. We are not talking about fetal tissue. We
are not killing babies here. We are talking about cells, cells that can
come from your own body. That‘s why I wanted to talk about the Parkinson‘s
disease or even take stuff from your own
MATTHEWS: Let‘s take a look at some of your speech tonight.
Here‘s Ron Reagan tonight at the Democratic Convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAGAN: In a few months, we will face a choice, yes, between two candidates and two parties, but more than that. We have a chance to take a giant stride forward for the good of all humanity. We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology. This...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
REAGAN: This is our moment and we must not falter. Whatever else you do, come November 2, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I am surprised you haven‘t called Nancy yet, because I can‘t believe she hasn‘t talked to you. She must be so proud of you tonight.
REAGAN: It‘s because I don‘t have a cell phone.
MATTHEWS: You are so independent-minded.
You know, I want to ask you about the other speeches tonight, watching tonight as an independent. I know you are a fairly liberal guy, but you‘re an independent. I thought tonight was the surprise night of the convention. And not all the networks were covering it, of course. It wasn‘t deemed to be, I think don‘t even think by the Democrats, to be their hot night.
Ted Kennedy gave an old barn-burner, nostalgic...
REAGAN: He did, yes.
MATTHEWS: ... speech about his brothers and their sacrifice.
And Howard Dean razzed up the troops again, the old left, anti-war left, of course. And Barack Obama gave a barn burner of a keynote.
MATTHEWS: You did. And Teresa gave this very unusual international sort of approach to an American speech. What did you make of her?
REAGAN: Well, tell me what you think of it, because, unfortunately, I was racing back here when she was speaking. I didn‘t get to hear her talk.
MATTHEWS: I thought it was too long.
MATTHEWS: I thought she made her points very effectively about the rights of women to be taken seriously and not to be considered outspoken because they are like me.
MATTHEWS: And I am not called outspoken, and you are not. That‘s a word that seems to be reserved for women, you know?
REAGAN: Yes, that‘s true.
MATTHEWS: And she said we should be seen as well-spoken and well-educated.
REAGAN: And forceful.
MATTHEWS: And certainly well-informed and smart.
I thought also that she talked about a kind of a new frontier world of
· you remember Alliance For Progress and the Peace Corps and all those efforts by the United States to join the world positively back in the ‘60s. And I think she tried to claim some of that territory, as a person who was at the other end of the Peace Corps, on the receiving end.
REAGAN: I think it‘s very interesting what has been happening with her, the whole “shove it” incident and all that. Well, you know, maybe that was an unfortunate choice of words on her part.
But I listened to somebody on one of the inferior rival networks, one of these sort of right-wing bloviators who was on there. And he was using words like scary, train wreck, out of control. And I thought, when did we start talking about people‘s wives like that?
REAGAN: You know, somebody talks about my wife like that, we are going to have a problem. I don‘t know what it is with these people.
MATTHEWS: Well, it‘s funny how the issues—and I think the Republicans are going to be just as strong coming back in New York.
But when you realize a person in a modern economy and in the world has to go get a second job and work for seven bucks an hour, compete with their own kids for the salary, and have to work ‘round the clock—I know a lot of guys who work ‘round the clock now.
MATTHEWS: And you look at people who go and get killed in a war, and there‘s 12,000 Iraqis dead and almost 1,000 Americans now. It‘s a real war.
REAGAN: It‘s a real war.
MATTHEWS: And so maybe we shouldn‘t be worrying about little things.
But I do know this country. Do you think, having campaigned around and seen your father campaign, and you know this country well, that a woman from Mozambique with a bit of accent who speaks other languages perhaps better than she speaks English, do you believe that she will sell in rural America?
REAGAN: I think it‘s going to be a tough sell, to be honest with you. I wish I didn‘t have to say that or think, but I think it is. There is a strain in this country of anti-intellectualism and anti-science.
MATTHEWS: How about anti-foreign?
REAGAN: Yes, anti-foreign.
MATTHEWS: All this french fries to freedom fries, all this attack on the French, the constant mockery of Europeans, old Europe.
MATTHEWS: Has been stirred up so well during the course of defending ourselves that some people identify I think now national defense with xenophobia, with an opposition to foreigners. It‘s been tied together, unfortunately.
REAGAN: It‘s true. It‘s a celebration of ignorance, really. And it‘s very unfortunate.
MATTHEWS: Well, it‘s a better sell.
REAGAN: We are a nation made up of people from all over the world.
REAGAN: We should be reaching out to the world at the same time, but,
too often, we
MATTHEWS: OK, let me repeat a question that was put to you tonight by Tom Brokaw.
MATTHEWS: If asked by the Republicans to come and give a speech on stem cell, would you go?
REAGAN: Well, I suppose, to be nonhypocritical, I would have to go, because anything I can do to promote this, I will do.
MATTHEWS: Any chance your mom has made up her mind about whether to go to the Republican Convention?
REAGAN: I don‘t know that for sure. I believe that she was asked and declined, but you would have to check with her to be sure.
MATTHEWS: I think we‘ll hear from her.
MATTHEWS: We‘ll hear publicly from her.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, buddy. It‘s great to have you here on a night of, I think, one of the great performances here.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Ron Reagan.
Ron and Joe Scarborough, by the way, are taking over completely right now with the coverage here on MSNBC for—I love the name of this show—
“After Hours,” a wrapup of everything that went on here in Boston today, plus, your phone calls. They‘re going to take calls. You get to make them.
We‘ll be right back tomorrow at 6:00 Eastern. We‘ll see you then.
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