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'Convention After Hours' for July 28 Midnight

Guest: Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, Mike Barnicle, Dee Dee Myers, Joe Trippi, Pat Buchanan, Frank Luntz

JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST:  I‘ll tell you what, it‘s AFTER HOURS.  And we are  grooving on the MSNBC set.  I‘m Joe Scarborough.  Not only are we going to hear smooth jazz all night, we‘re also going to be talking about how the table was set tonight for John Kerry.  Is John Edwards and his family trying to place the Democratic ticket in the heart of America?  The Edwards performance—I thought it was a political masterpiece, but now of course all eyes are going to be turning to John Kerry. 

RON REAGAN JR., CO-HOST:  And how much lift will John Edwards‘ speech give the Democratic ticket?  And what does John Kerry have to do tomorrow night to get the kind of bounce he needs to carry him through August?  I‘m Ron Reagan. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m Joe Scarborough.  And we‘re here live from Faneuil Hall in Boston for the Democratic National Convention.  Stay up late to help keep company with you AFTER HOURS.

Now John Kerry has officially got enough votes to be the Democratic nominee for president.  And right now, you‘re looking at a  live picture of the convention hall.  And is that called the FleetCenter  or is that called the Garden?

Well, it‘s the FleetCenter. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Larry O‘Donnell told me last night, he ain‘t calling it the FleetCenter.  True Bostonians call it the Garden. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, pretty soon they‘re going to have to call it Bank of America Garden, because that deal is done. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I tell you what, big wheels keep on turning.


SCARBOROUGH:  Right now, though, let‘s go life to whatever it‘s called with Chris Jansing.  She‘s at the convention hall right now.

Chris, what‘s the latest? 

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks very much.  Well as you, conventions tend to build to a crescendo, but boy, this place was rocking tonight.  They had to actually close the doors because the fire marshal said there were too many people in here.  It was absolutely deafening.

When the vote then took place after John Edwards‘ speech, the state, not surprisingly, that put the ticket over the top was Ohio.  This election you have strategists you ask top Democratic leaders is about Ohio.

I‘m joined by the congresswoman from Cleveland, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones.  Do you think John Edwards did what he needed to do for your state tonight?

REP. STEPHANIE TUBBS-JONES (D), OHIO:  Absolutely.  I think he spoke to every person in Ohio.  He went from the urban area, to the suburban area, to the rural area and talked about making Ohio, making the United States, all of us one.  And talked about the fact that we‘ve lost jobs, people are suffering, seniors are suffering without prescription drug benefits.  So we can have hope again. 

JANSING:  Tough act for John Kerry to follow. 

TUBBS-JONES:  Oh, absolutely a tough act, but the wonderful thing is that John Kerry is the kind of leader that‘s not afraid to follow a tough act. 

JANSING:  John Edwards is preaching to the converted, of course.  How do you take that energy that was felt here tonight and take it to places like Ohio, where it‘s a statistical dead heat?

TUBBS-JONES:  When you put them on the stage together,  their energy flows back and forth.  Here, it‘s like me touching you and  my energy goes to you and his goes to John Kerry.

But you know, they‘ll separate.  But what we have here now is operating the energy.  And we‘ve energized our base.  And our base is going to go out and represent us.  They‘re going to be our spokespersons.  And as we bring surrogates in and Kerry and Edwards in, it‘s going to happen.  I guarantee you.   I bet all the folks out there a dinner that John Kerry and John Edwards will win this election. 

JANSING:  Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, thanks very much.  We appreciate it.  And also, a big star-studded night.  Again, people like Ben Affleck, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon.  So this place was going crazy, both for the politicians and all those stars who support them.  Back to you guys. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks a lot.  Also of course, the Black Eyed Peas.  And thank God there weren‘t too many shots of dorky politicians trying to dance along with their music.

Now sell that kind.  Now let me introduce you to the stellar panel that‘s joining us tonight for AFTER HOURS analysis.  We‘ve got former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers.  We also have Democratic analyst Joe Trippi, who of course is also an MSNBC political analyst.  We‘ve got “Boston Herald” columnist Mike Barnicle and former presidential candidate and MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan.

I‘d like to welcome everybody here.  And Mike Barnicle?MIKE BARNICLE, “BOSTON HERALD”:  Yes, sir?

SCARBOROUGH:  How is it playing in Boston?  How does a Southerner like John Edwards and that message that really, I think in the heart of America, really spoke to me.  How is it speaking to Bostonians and people inside the convention hall?

BARNICLE:  Well, I don‘t think on a night like this Bostonians are any different than people in Columbus, Ohio or Sacramento, California.  Those of them who are listening to John Edwards.

It was interesting to me, Joe, having watched the guy in many  small halls in New Hampshire and Iowa, where he‘s very effective, he lost a bit of his effectiveness on the big stage, I thought, especially in the first five minutes.  But he came back, made a pretty good comeback.

The speech, I thought, was great for Edwards to give because it was about reality, not ideology.  Especially when he stopped and  said you know when you lose your health insurance, if you lose your job, what‘s the first thing you lose?  And people for a split second thought about what‘s the answer.  Is it health insurance?  And he said your dreams.

And people hear things like that because that‘s what you lose  when you lose a job.  And John Edwards knows what heartache is all about.  He alluded to that very briefly.  I thought it was pretty effective.  I don‘t know what a vice president does for the ticket because people are going to vote for a president, but he was pretty effective I thought tonight. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Ron, what do you think?  You know, the—one of the moments actually that stuck out in my mind,  again being a middle America meat and potatoes kind of guy...


SCARBOROUGH: actually when Elizabeth came on and talked about how they‘re going to celebrating their anniversary at  Wendy‘s.  I remember your dad came to visit the University of Alabama in 1984.  They took him to a McDonald‘s.  It was the first time he‘d ever been there.  He goes what do I order here?


SCARBOROUGH:  But here - and I‘d say of a lot of people that run for president the same thing.  But here, these people seem like they really are like born in the heart of America. 

REAGAN:  I thought one of the smartest things they did, and not that they wouldn‘t do it, but was having his parents up there.


REAGAN:  His parents looked like something out of Norman Rockwell.


REAGAN:  His mother, what a great face she has.  You know, and these people that have worked so hard to get him, you know, the opportunities that he had.  And he made the most of them.  And I just thought that was a terrific thing.  And I know a lot of people are  looking at them and thinking, boy, that looks like my folks.  You know, I really...

MYERS:  Absolutely.  And how proud they looked of their son.


MYERS:  It was really quite touching.

REAGAN:  Mother, she was so...

MYERS:  And he gave them credit for the values that he - and then I think, you know, what spoke to me about that was the way that John Edwards brought values.

And to answer Barnicle‘s question, what can a vice presidential speech do, I think it frames the issues.  It defines values for this ticket and for this election in a way that‘s not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for guns.  You know, it‘s about where people live and what their lives are like.  And hope is on the way.


MYERS:  And I thought that was really—it was really effective. 

REAGAN:  Let‘s take a look.  Here‘s John Edwards talking about the tone of the campaigns. 


SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDDIATE:  You know, for the last few months, John‘s been traveling around the country talking about his positive optimistic vision for America, talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction.  But what have we seen?  Relentless negative attacks against John.

So in the weeks ahead, we know what‘s coming, don‘t we? More negative attacks.  Aren‘t you sick of it?  They are doing all they can to take the campaign for the highest office in the land down to the lowest possible road.

But this is where you come in.  Between now and November,  you, the American people, you can reject this tired old hateful negative politics of the past.  And instead, you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what‘s possible because this is America where everything is possible. 


REAGAN:  Yes, I agree with Mike.  For the first five minutes, he was a little tight.  You know, he was rushing a little bit.  The mouth was a little dry.  He had to go to the water at one point, but he loosened up. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘m not kissing up to you, because all my Republican friends said last night, said I was kissing up to you too much.  I‘m going to get more nasty e-mails today.

But let me tell you something.  You know what?  You get on that stage and either you have it or you don‘t.  It seems to me you‘re born with it.  You were up there yesterday.  It was the first time you had ever given that type of speech.

REAGAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  You just had a presence about you.  It really did, it took him about five minutes...


SCARBOROUGH: sort of find his pacing and his presence.


SCARBOROUGH:  And I was sitting there again as a guy that said this is one of the great speakers of the new Democratic party, I was a little surprised. 

REAGAN:  Even a very good speaker, though.  There‘s a lot of pressure on this guy.  You know, he knows that everybody‘s  watching and everybody‘s judging.  And you know, and his parents are there, too.  You know how it is when you, you know, you‘re playing the high school football game and your folks show up for the game the first time.  You have little butterflies - little extra butterflies. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I was curious, Joe Trippi.  I want to ask you and Pat Buchanan this question.  You know, he talked about staying in Iraq.  John Kerry‘s going to talking about staying in Iraq.  We had Madeleine Albright earlier talking about staying in Iraq.  What does it do to all those Deaniacs that really ignited this party a year ago, by starting to set fire to an anti-war campaign, having the Democratic establishment saying basically we‘re going to do the same thing the Bush administration‘s going to do?

JOE TRIPPI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think that at least Dean folks that I talked to here at the convention are 100 percent behind Kerry and Edwards.  I mean...

SCARBOROUGH:  It doesn‘t bother them?

TRIPPI:  No.  I mean, look, they have differences with the position that Kerry and Edwards.  But those differences pale in comparison to their differences with George Bush.

And I think they - you know, you look at this thing.  They went out there and they were committed.  And they got energized.  And they went out and tried to make a difference.  Now their difference is to fight for this ticket.  And I don‘t see any signs out there at all—I mean this is the most unified convention I can think of.  And the big sign is there‘s no news. 

The more unified a party is, the less news there is.

SCARBOROUGH:  The better it is.

Yes, and all the news, of course, one fights on the floor and new - and vice presidential picks.

But Pat Buchanan, isn‘t it time to have an independent candidate out there, other than Ralph Nader, for these disaffected voters?  You‘ve got two, basically pro-Iraq War candidates in here.  What does that do to the 95 percent of the delegates on the floor that actually oppose this war?

PAT BUCHANAN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, and probably half the country now thinks the war was not a good idea.  And this convention has exploded in cheers for Jesse Jackson,  when he said it‘s time to bring the troops home from Iraq.  There is - now there‘s a surface unity here, but the only thing that unites this party, in my judgment, is a desire to get rid of George Bush and to get back in power.

If someone - let me say this.  Lord help us if Kerry and Edwards get in power and the White House—and then they carry  through and they have to send more troops to Iraq because they are going to stay the course.  They will be presiding over a divided party and a divided country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And Pat, I mean, and there is really that danger, isn‘t there?  Because the last thing that the Democratic president wants to do is look weak on defense.

You know, JFK talked about the missile gap, but when he got in there, even though he was a cold warrior, Republicans were attacking him up until the day he died for being soft on Communism. 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.  You can say, you know, less profile,   more courage, Mr. Kennedy.  You know what?  We are in, Joe, I hate to say it, but this is a Vietnam situation where there are serious men in this Democratic party who believe this is a terrible mistake.  Brechinski (ph), they believe we ought to give a date certain and get out, that we are creating more terrorists than we are killing.  And this  belief in this country - all through this country—is not even going to get a serious hearing at the major party level in an election.  It is just like Vietnam. 

REAGAN:  Two separate issues.  It‘s true that the majority of Americans now seem to be deciding - do seem to have decided that the war is a bad idea.  But I think a majority still think that we‘re there now.  We can‘t just bug out.  You know, we owe it to the Iraqis.  We broke it and we bought it. 


REAGAN:  You know.

TRIPPI:  That‘s true.  I do believe that as well.  I do believe that most people, average people think, you know, we can‘t just cut and run and get out of there by Labor Day.

The interesting aspect of this week to me, though, occurred when Governor Dean was introduced.  To my ear, it was by far the biggest round of applause that anyone has gotten at this convention.  And it was almost as if they were sending Governor Dean a thank you note for activating—hitting their hot buttons over the course of the winter.

The other interesting aspect of it is off of what Pat said for—and the Democrats gathered here today.  They sort of remind me of the early 1970 Oakland A‘s.  They were fighting in the clubhouse, but they wanted to win the World Series. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, we got to go back to the convention all right here briefly, where delegates‘ counting has just wrapped up.  Let‘s go back there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ...John Kerry.  And Alaska, thank you for your generous yield earlier this evening.  You have 18 votes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you, madame secretary.  The great state of Alaska, we may be outnumbered by our sister states, but we‘ve got them surrounded.

From the largest state in the nation, our diverse delegation is united in our desire for quality education and health services that serve all Americans.  We‘re united in our demand for a government that is respectful of our right to privacy and our right to choose.  We are united in our wish for a commander in chief who will lead our military honestly and responsibly.  And we will work vigorously to  make sure that...

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what?  I am really glad, I know everybody at this table—there‘s electric excitement.  Sparks flying.

REAGAN:  Hey, I love Alaska. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re so glad we cut in to hear that speech from Alaska.

Mike, we‘re going to go to break, but I want you to finish up what you were saying about the Oakland A‘s, who used to beat the hell out of each other in the locker room, and then go out win World Series.

BARNICLE:  Again, can we go to Alabama?

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s coming up. 



BARNICLE:  But no, the other point that I wanted to raise about, off what Pat said about this is Vietnam, I don‘t think this Vietnam, but I don‘t think anyone who knows John Kerry, you‘d have no doubt that John Kerry would be the kind of president—and John Edwards used the phrase commander in chief to describe him, his aspirations, key phrase.  John Kerry would be the kind of a president  who would have absolutely no hesitation about killing the people who want to come here to kill us.  None. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, yes, I‘ll tell you what.  We‘re going to  have to take a quick break.  But don‘t go away.  Our own David  Shuster and the creative coalition‘s Robin Braun are going to be  showing us how the Democrats kick back and party.

And we‘re going to be taking your phone calls.  Boy, they really do party hardy.  That number is 1-888-MSNBC-USA.  We‘d love to hear from you.  We‘ll be right back from Faneuil Hall, where the people are going crazy I tell you.  Good gracious.



EDWARDS:  We will have one clear, unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these terrorists.  You cannot run.  You cannot hide.  We will destroy you. 


REAGAN:  After a stirring primetime speech by Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, the spotlight at this convention shifts to John Kerry, who later tonight will accept the nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate.  And as MSNBC‘s Felix Schein spent most of Wednesday with Kerry and he joins us now.

Thanks for coming by, Felix.


REAGAN:  So big speech for Kerry tomorrow.  What‘s going on with the speech?

SCHEIN:  Big speech.  The speech is done.  It‘s been done for  about a week.  John Kerry wrote this by himself largely.  He had one speechwriter with him.  That was it.  Unusual for this campaign.  It usually travels... 

REAGAN:  Who was the speechwriter, by the way?

SCHEIN:  And unknown speechwriter.  He used to, however, write for Bill Clinton, which might raise the bar somewhat.  There was some fear, in fact, that Bill Clinton may have raised the bar too high of John Kerry.  I‘ve been assured by the campaign that they are not rewriting, that they have left it the way it is.

It‘s going to be a more visionary speech.  John Edwards laid out what could be said is a laundry list that might endanger nations for us.  John Kerry will not be doing that.  He is stuck on vision.  He wants to try to step up to the plate and maybe lay out a JFK-esque  policy, matching initials there.  That‘s a tall measure, of course.  We‘ll all be able to answer that tomorrow, but... 

REAGAN:  They promised a few surprises, didn‘t they?  Any hint as to what those surprises might be?

SCHEIN:  They did promise surprises.  And there are no hints.  They‘ve been very, very quiet about those.  In part, they‘re playing the expectations game.  They don‘t want to release anything that we might talk about early on.  They don‘t want to put the bar too high for him.

But certainly most of the nation doesn‘t know about John Kerry.   Polls have indicated that.  He has, however, been good on the stump of late.  His speech has gotten far better.  He‘s connecting with people better than he has.  Obviously tomorrow will be a money  opportunity to do just that. 

REAGAN:  What‘s he doing with downtime?  Is he staying loose?  Is he exercising?  Is he...

SCHEIN:  He is exercising.  He‘s been getting a lot of sleep.  He‘s only had an event today.  This afternoon, he was with family and friends at his home here in Boston, practicing a little bit on that   speech.

But for the most part, staying out of the public eye.  This campaign has a big phobia of committing news.  And certainly, we‘ve  been all complaining about this convention in that sense.  And so, John Kerry is doing all he can not to say anything or do anything that may get us to talk about something other than what John Edwards spoke about today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mike - let me - Mike Barnicle, America doesn‘t know John Kerry yet.  You know John Kerry.  We‘ve talked about it.  You like him a great deal.


SCARBOROUGH:  How does he convey the John Kerry that you know, that you‘ve grown to like and respect a great deal, how does he convey that to people in crossover states like Missouri, and Pennsylvania and Florida?

BARNICLE:  Well, I think, you know, I don‘t know whether Felix would agree with this or not, but he needs someone just as he goes up to the podium to tell him to lighten up.  You know...

SCARBOROUGH:  I had somebody that knew him, said he needs to have two or three drinks. 

BARNICLE:  He - well, that might help, too, Joe.  You could hand him the piano bar.  But he has a tendency to get so serious that he loses the sense of the content of what he is  actually saying

For instance, he could well—I hope he doesn‘t do this because I want him to give himself the best introduction possible because he‘s my friend.  I like him.  I‘m not going to make any pretense about that. 

But he has a tendency to say things like, you know, I have really good news for you.  Like that.  You know?  This is really a happy moment for all of us.  You know, well, smile if it‘s a happy  moment.  Get a little loose.  Lighten up.

And, Felix, you‘ve been living with the guy.  And do you think that there is a need for John Kerry, given what you know of him now, maybe an essential need to have someone with him on that plane,  as he starts the campaign in the fall, to sort of keep him light during the course of the campaign?

SCHEIN:  Yes, I do.  In fact, I think people are making a  mistake when they talk about John Kerry now as saying he‘s not a good campaigner, that he can‘t connect with the ordinary man.  He has shown that he can improve.

And he‘s been his toughest critic.  He watches videos of himself on the stump.  He reads incessantly on the campaign plane.  He is setting himself up to be a better campaigner than I think most analysts would have thought he could have become.

Certainly Joe and Howard Dean experienced that firsthand.

The question I think for him, though, is whether or not he‘s able to get out there and step out of that Senate roll.  He has a long Senate history.  Joe, as you know, there‘s a lot of filibustering there.  And John could filibuster his own stump speech. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The House of Lords.  You know what I thought was interesting, and you were on the campaign trail.  I want you to tell us how he did it before and how he‘s going to do it tomorrow night.

I remember watching - it was George Stephanopoulos followed him around for a week in Iowa.  This is when he was in trouble.  And they showed speaking to this very small pall of I think it was union people.  And he went there the day before.  And he was setting up the teleprompters.  You‘re going why the hell is he reading a teleprompter to a small group of people in Iowa?  You don‘t win that way.

And yet, he somehow transformed from that stiff, awkward candidate, to guy that just exploded on to the scene in early January and swept past Dean.  How did he do it then?  How is he going to do it tomorrow?

REAGAN:  You know, I think the mistake that John Kerry makes, and I‘m just imagining this and intuiting it, you cannot speak to the whole country.  You may be speaking to the whole country, but you have to speak to one person, two persons, three people in your head.


REAGAN:  You can‘t speak to a million people.  You‘ve got to personalize it, even if you‘re in front of a crowd of 30,000.  And he seems to be trying to speak to two million people at the same time.  And he gets that sonorous sort of thing.  And it doesn‘t work. 

SCHEIN:  He can be very good at that.  He has events that are smaller, intentionally smaller, where he takes his jacket off.  He has a wireless microphone off.  He walks into the crowd and asks questions back and forth. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is he - and he‘s good at that?

SCHEIN:  And he‘s very good at it.  I think he definitely connects on that level.  But you‘re right, when he gets into a larger  audience, there‘s a feeling that it has to be grand.  Perhaps too grand for him.  It would do him some good to tone it down. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, is that wanting to be Kennedy maybe?

TRIPPI:  Well, No, I think both Edwards and Kerry, I thought, did much better in sort of town hall, smaller groups than they did in the bigger - you know, Howard Dean‘s magic was in the big hall.  And he out - you know, the whole field didn‘t get near him on that stage a lot of times.

But when you‘ve got down to that - those smaller groups, Dean was good.  But these guys were really great, particularly Edwards.  And so I think for Edwards to come out tonight, again, he was sitting there, you know, it had to be the first time he was anywhere near something like this.  He really did - did the first five minutes...


TRIPPI:  He really...

REAGAN:  Yes.  No, he did well, but you‘re right.  He‘s better in a small room, not...

TRIPPI:  Same with Kerry.  I really think Kerry can be really personal and up close. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to ask Mike a question here.  We talked about one person.  You said he needs - Ron said he needs to speak to one person.  You talked about how there needed to be that one person on the plane to lighten him up.

And yet, we hear that it‘s basically he and Teresa Heinz Kerry and a very, very small circle.  Does he have that one person that can sit down with him as he‘s coming to the stage.  Hey, buddy, come on?

BARNICLE:  I‘m sure he does but I don‘t know that that one person is on the plane with him yet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is that you?

BARNICLE:  No, no.


No, no . But I‘m going to say you can bring the beer.  No, I mean, I know he has several people quite close to him who have performed this task in the past in Senate campaigns.

The interesting thing about Kerry‘s personality as a politician,  and we‘ll probably see it evolve the same way this year as it  has happened every time he‘s run for every office, is as Felix just noted and as you alluded to, he becomes a different candidate when he feels in peril for his political life.  I saw it happen in Dover, New Hampshire, Joe.   

SCHEIN:  I saw it happen. 

BARNICLE:  Yes, he gets...

TRIPPI:  That‘s all I have.

BARNICLE:  You know?

SCHEIN:  He‘s right.  Absolutely right. 

REAGAN:  Play psychologist.  What does that tell you about him?

BARNICLE:  Well, that is—I mean, I don‘t want to shrink the guy out.  But I mean, there is some aspect of that.  And it‘s all related, I think, back to the war, his most private feelings about the war, the   fact that he is truly only comfortable sitting in a small circle talking with people who either know something about the war, who served in the war.  He‘s a different person in a conversation like that.

So what he‘s got now is that possibly happening in the future, if it‘s neck and neck, or if he is a few points behind the third week in  October, you know, feeling in fear of his life.  He becomes that new and improved candidate.

But this year is different because the geography of politics on the national stage, you factor against it.  You can‘t do that in 50 states.  You can do it across Massachusetts.  You can do it in New  Hampshire and Iowa.  But you can‘t do it across the United States.  So he‘s got to trigger that thing in early. 

REAGAN:  Hang on an second.  We got to go to a tease here.  Some of the noise you‘re hearing right now is the crowd that‘s been enjoying itself at the Salty Dog behind...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

REAGAN:  Eating and drinking right here in Faneuil hall marketplace.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) check it out next time.  And we‘ll be right back with our continuing coverage of the Democratic convention AFTER HOURS.  Live from Boston, don‘t go away.


REAGN:  Hi.  We‘re having a great time here in Boston.  And so are a lot of other Democrats.  We‘ll take you live to an after-hours party in just a minute, but first let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News desk.

BILL FITZGERALD, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hello, I‘m Bill Fitzgerald with the headlines.   

Al Jazeera TV is reporting that Iraqi militants have killed two Pakistani hostages and released an Iraqi driver.  A group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq announced in a video sent to al Jazeera that it killed a man because their country was talking about sending troops to Iraq.

And at least 68 Iraqis were killed when a powerful car bomb  exploded in Baqouba.  It was one of the deadliest insurgent attacks  since the U.S. invasion.  The explosion targeted Iraqis lined up outside a police recruiting station.

And more evidence in the Kobe Bryant case was mistakenly posted by the court on its Web site.  The posting indicates swabs taken during his hospital exam found DNA from Bryant and the woman accusing him of rape, but none from an unidentified person, who‘s DNA showed up on other evidence.  The accuser‘s name appeared as well.  Confidential information has mistakenly been released at least three times now in that case.

Now back to the Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS.


JAY LENO:  At the time, didn‘t you once say you use Dell  Monte ketchup?. 


LENO:  You don‘t use Dell Monte?

T. KERRY:  I didn‘t say that. 

LENO:  You don‘t use....

T. KERRY:  I did not say that.

LENO:  I‘m just asking...

T. KERRY:  Why did you put those words in my mouth. 

LENO:  Do you think the activities of Dell Monte are un-American?

T. KERRY:  No, I didn‘t say that.  I did not say activity or un-American.

LENO:  Ketchup.

T. KERRY:  I didn‘t say that.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  Shove it. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Nice touch, nice touch.  Hey, welcome back convention AFTER HOURS.  By the way, if you‘d like that clip, we could probably get it with a sound - I really think we really need to see if MSNBC can actually get the sound track for convention AFTER HOURS.  That‘s nice Dad‘s muzak.

BARNICLE:  Endless loop.

SCARBOROUGH:  Endless loop of jazz muzak.

We‘re joined now - would you - OK, here we go.  I‘m going to go to this camera . We‘re joined now - we‘ve got like 12 cameras up  here.  And it‘s really - it‘s like Russian roulette.  You just got to guess which one you go to. 

REAGAN:  All right, let‘s go with three.

SCARBOROUGH:  You want to go with three now?

REAGAN:  Let‘s go with three.  OK, let‘s go to four.  Let‘s go to four.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks, Ron.  I‘m not going to be nice anymore.

We‘re joined now by MSNBC‘s David Shuster.  He has, of course, been covering the party circuit for good reason.  He‘s the most dangerous man at MSNBC tonight.  David, please tell me, what are the beautiful people doing in Boston?

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, first of all, Joe, I‘d like to thank you for playing the Shuster on the prowl music, also known as the late night theme for this coverage.

Well, Joe, we are standing in front of Louis Boston, the chic and trendy fashion store where you were shopping earlier today.  This is the place where this evening, the Creative Coalition, which is this  group of artists who try to have a cause and raise money for their cause, they are having a big bash.  And arrivals tonight included Frank Costanza.  Actually his name is Jerry Stiller.  He‘s the actor from “Seinfeld.”  Wendy Malik, Chris Cooper, Ellen Bursten, Allen Cummings, Rich Shift from “The West Wing.”

It all makes you wonder where was Adam Sorkin tonight?  Well, Adam Sorkin was not here, but Jason Bateman, the star of “Arrested Development,” we did catch up with him.  And we asked him why John Kerry?


JASON BATEMAN, ACTOR, “ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT”:  I‘m supporting John Kerry because the guy can speak full sentences.  And he doesn‘t condescend to me.  And he‘s got great ideas.  And he just seems smart.  And the other guy doesn‘t.


SHUSTER:  Jason Bateman, the man who likes complete sentences and loves run-on sentences himself.  Well, there you had it.  Jason Bateman, one of the stars of the Creative Coalition.

By the way, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing earlier this evening.  They were playing at the precise time that John Edwards was giving a speech.  You couldn‘t hear a damn thing, but they swear that inside the party, they were watching John Edwards on a big screen TV. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Of course they were.  David Shuster, let me ask you...


SCARBOROUGH:  ...did you get any feedback from a lot of the stars going in there, that some stars were scared away from Boston Convention because of the supposed backlash?  I mean, Los Angeles, of course, because it was Los Angeles in 2000 had so many A list stars, but you‘re not seeing quite as many in Boston as you do usually at Democratic conventions. 

SHUSTER:  Well, one of the stars said it was simply a matter of parking, Joe, because Boston is notorious for having no parking in their stretch limos.  We‘re not going to go anywhere.  So they just - no.

I don‘t know.  I have no idea.  I have no idea why the stars didn‘t come this convention.  Maybe it‘s just too far for them.

But I wouldn‘t say that it‘s your A list group of stars, as opposed to whenever John Kerry, John Edwards would head out to Los Angeles for a star studded fundraiser, you probably see a lot more.

I didn‘t recognize half the people that went into this party.  But then again, I don‘t watch half of these movies.  So what can you say?

By the way, I do want to grab one thing for you, to show you what one of the stars left.  We believe that Tony Goldwyn, when we taped an utterly forgetful interview earlier tonight, so forgetful, we decided not to give it to you now.  He did leave this glass of Chardonnay.  This belongs to Tony Goldwyn.

Tony, here‘s looking at you.

SCARBOROUGH:  David, David, David, this could be cable news‘ version of “Jackass.”  You must now drink his old wine. 

SHUSTER:  Oh, David, there‘s no—we don‘t know that‘s wine, David.

REAGAN:  Back to our all-star panel.  Dee Dee Myers...

MYERS:  All right.

REAGAN:  ...Joe Trippi, Mark Barnicle and Pat Buchanan.

Before we ask any more questions, let‘s take a look at both of the candidates‘ wives, Elizabeth Edwards from tonight and Teresa Heinz Kerry from last night. 


ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS:  We deserve leaders who allow their faiths and moral core, our faiths and moral core, to draw us closer together, not drive us farther apart.  We deserve leaders who believe in each of us. 



TERRY HEINZ KERRY, WIFE OF JOHN KERRY:  My only hope is that one day soon women who have all earned their right to their opinions, instead of being called opinionated, will be called smart and well informed just like men. 


REAGAN:  Patrick Buchanan, out of sight, but never out of mind.  We‘ve talked a little bit about the stylistic synergy between Kerry and Edwards, the husbands.  How about the wives?  Do they work together well?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think we saw the most attractive feature tonight I think of John Edwards was his family.  The children are beautiful.  The daughter, the grown-up daughter, is lovely.

And the parents, as you said, are right out of Norman Rockwell.    And that‘s entirely different.   I think the potential First Lady is a very elegant, in my judgment, and attractive woman.  A very accomplished speaker.  And much more of a professional woman.

So I think you really have a complement here.  And John Edwards‘ wife is basically a middle American woman.  And she‘s a very lovely woman.  And I think she‘s a tremendous asset in terms of appearance and energy and family.  It is a 10 plus in that category for the Kerry ticket. 

REAGAN:  Does that really make a  difference?  Is that going to help a lot?

BUCHANAN:  I think it, look, I think what Edwards and his wife and family give is freshness, energy, and newness.  And there‘s no doubt about it that the country has looked at Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld.  They are tough.  They are somewhat old.  They seem somewhat tired and beleaguered.  And Edwards has tremendous  freshness.

But let me say about tonight.  There‘s a certain glibness to him that I think is a problem.  I mean, he was like a Boy Scout when he said, you know, we will destroy you.  He was almost unconvincing to the point of being humorous.  He simply couldn‘t carry that line off the way a much stronger, more experienced man might have done. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why not, Pat?

BUCHANAN:  You know, I just - I don‘t know why, Joe.  I sat there and looked at it.  And it was - frankly, it was like an Eagle Scout  saying it in an elocution contest.  It was - it just was not...


SHUSTER:  You know, you just got a big smile.  Yes.  Dee Dee, do you agree?

MYERS:  You know, I think that he‘s young.  He looks younger than he is.  He doesn‘t have a tremendous amount of foreign policy experience.

I think some people are definitely going to look at him and think he can‘t pull it off that kind of toughness.  But I think the overall effect of the speech was still good.  And I think Pat‘s exactly right.  The kind of family tableau is affecting.  And I think Elizabeth does take some  of the potential slickness, if you will, off of John.

I think when people see them together, they‘ve obviously been together 27 years next week Elizabeth said, they‘re a real family.  You know, you can‘t take that away from them.  So...

SHUSTER:  Yes, absolutely.

MYERS:  ...she‘s a big plus.  She‘s a huge plus.

SCARBOROUGH:  I tell you what?  You know let‘s generalize it and be shallow and simple and say...

MYERS:  Because that‘s who we are.

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  And so I‘m going to do it right now by saying Elizabeth is a red state wife.  Teresa a blue state.

MYERS:  I would have to...

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘ll tell you what I‘m...

MYERS:  I think Elizabeth is a red and blue state.  

SHUSTER:  I am from the middle of red America.  And I can tell you, she is absolutely fantastic candidate‘s wife.  I love her.  Absolutely love her.

TRIPPI:  The Edwards family is right out of Scarborough Country.  Would you - they are. So if you look at - and you know, I was stranded with them in an airport.

SCARBOROUGH:  You were stranded in Scarborough country.  The only time you go there.

SHUSTER:  Yes.  And...

SCARBOROUGH:  Were you nervous?

SHUSTER:  Yes, I actually was.  But no, what happened was it was interesting watching them because both of them went around and talked - were talking to the other families.  This wasn‘t a mistake.  It was coming up.  It was like changing planes.

And they ended up getting to my two kids and talk to them a long time.  And then also one of my kids said, “you know, I‘m Joe Trippi‘s kid.”  And they came over.  These people, they‘re really personal.  I had not really met them before that night.  But generally...

SCARBOROUGH:  What were they talking about?

SHUSTER:  But generally - just how is your family and what are you doing?  What‘s it like when you‘re on the road?  Don‘t you miss your kids?  It‘s great that they‘re on the road with you.  I mean, because my kids happen to be with me that day.

I mean, it was—and here—this by the way was when we were a hit.  Dean was way ahead.  They were - you know, we were the enemy.  I mean, this is...


TRIPPI:  ...the campaigns were at each other‘s throats in a lot of ways . And they really have an incredible interest in - I mean, that‘s what their field‘s going to be, I think.

SCARBOROUGH:  It really is.  And I‘ll tell you what.  I do.  I  absolutely love them.

Now coming up, we‘re going to find out how people in the flyover states, some call Scarborough country, are reacting to John Edwards speech tonight when our coverage of the Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS continues live from Boston‘s Faneuil Hall.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Everything in the hall has come to a stop.  Every face is turned on the ball.  Everybody is cheering.  It‘s a 50 state volleyball game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, that was more entertaining than the delegates and some of what they had said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, it certainly is.



SCARBOROUGH:  You know, while the speeches were going on inside the FleetCenter here in Boston, our own Frank Luntz was in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He was there with group of very interested voters who watched John Edwards give a ringing endorsement for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. 

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER:  Joe, I‘m here with perhaps the 20 most important people in America right now.  These are swing voters from Cincinnati, Ohio.  This is a Republican area of Ohio but this is where George Bush, this is where his biggest nightmare is located because so many of these people voted for President Bush in 2000 and aren‘t --  in fact, a show of hands.  Let‘s get a wide shot.  How many of you voted for George Bush in 2000, raise your hands?    Almost all of you.

Now how many of you plan to vote for George Bush in 2004? Well less than half of you.  That‘s—these people are critical to the Bush campaign because they tend to lean Republican.  What‘s up?  Who here voted for him in 2000 and at least now don‘t plan to vote for him in 2004?

Steve, tell me why. 

STEVE:  Well, primarily because, you know, Bush‘s focus has really not been here in America.  It‘s been, you know, overseas to other countries. 

LUNTZ:  Who else?  Robert?

ROBERT:  The jobs issue.  I think it is obscene in this country that we use - that my government uses my tax dollars to subsidize corporations to outsource American jobs. 

LUNTZ:  Sean, why have you left him?

SEAN:  Money management.  Just spending out of control.  That money‘s not free.  He might give me money back, but am I   paying for it somewhere else?

LUNTZ:  A couple more of you left.  Who else is left?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think he‘s lost the focus on the war on terrorism.  He might be fighting the wrong war in Iraq while al Qaeda and you know—it should be in Afghanistan fighting Osama. 

LUNTZ:  So is John Kerry the answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It remains to be seen.

LUNTZ:  What do you think right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I haven‘t heard from Kerry yet.

LUNTZ:  Is John Kerry the answer, Sean?

SEAN:  I don‘t know.  I‘ll have to see what he has to say first. 

LUNTZ:  Robert, is John Kerry the answer?

ROBERT:  I think he is the answer. 

LUNTZ:  Because?

ROBERT:  I think he‘s the answer because he‘s - now he‘s actually—I have been able to watch George Bush and learn from him over the last several years when this has happened.  So I think he‘s seen some mistakes.  He‘s going to come in with that advantage if you want to refer to it that way.  But I think we can only go forward from here on the war on terror. 

LUNTZ:  Tonight you had a chance to watch John Edwards.  And you‘ve been following the convention so far.  Did tonight‘s performance have a positive or negative impact on the Kerry campaign in your evaluation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It had a negative on me.  It‘s nothing I haven‘t heard before.  Like I say, it‘s like a fantasy voter world.  We can do this.  We can make the rich poor and the poor rich and make everybody happy.  One nation, one world.  I don‘t buy it. 

LUNTZ:  Derek, what was your reaction to John Edwards when he spoke about civil rights?  He was very emphatic. 

DEREK:  Well, I thought that it was kind of inappropriate.  I mean, in this kind of platform, I thought that there was some other  issues, national security issues that he should have been talking about.  Considering back this 1954 when racism and segregation was just a major issue and looking at 2004, I think that he dwelled on issues that were in the past and trying to apply that to 2004.  and I don‘t think it was relevant. 

LUNTZ:  Daniel? 

DANIEL:  I think it brings into question his credibility.  When you see how young he is and the references that he made that seemed  like he was referring to something that he learned of, rather than experienced himself.  And I have a lot of trouble with that. 

LUNTZ:  But he spoke as actually having been there. 

DANIEL:  Right.  But I don‘t believe it.  You know, I just see him as a young man who learned of it in a textbook and is trying pass himself off as being a sympathizer to that particular issue.   And I don‘t  think he understands diversity. 

LUNTZ:  Is youth a positive or negative?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I think in this case maybe a negative because he‘s lacking in experience.  He‘s a first term politician.  And I don‘t know that he has the depth of experience to bring to the office if something were to happen to Kerry. 

LUNTZ:  Gary, positive or negative?

GARY:  Negative, in my opinion. 

LUNTZ:  Jerry? 

JERRY:  I think youth—for example, Kennedy‘s youth was a tremendous positive because he used it with some kind of intrinsic  leadership qualities.  I did not see that at all tonight. 

LUNTZ:  Now there was a segment that I want to show the viewers at home using dials.  You can see a red line and a green line.  The red line represents Bush voters.  The green line represents Gore [sic] voters.  And they all got dials in their hands.  And they use those dials to react on a second-by-second basis.  Let‘s take a look on a segment on terrorism.  They had a very split reaction.


EDWARDS:  And as a medical of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know that we have to do more to fight the war on terrorism and keep the American people safe.  We can do that.  We‘re approaching the third anniversary of September 11th.  And one thick I can tell you when we‘re this office, it won‘t take three years to get the reforms in our intelligence that are necessary to keep the American people safe.  We will do whatever it takes, as long as takes, to make sure this never happens again in our America. 


LUNTZ:  Right when he started to attack, when he used the phrase “three years... 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It won‘t take us three years.  How can he predict that? I don‘t know that he knows that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s very unfair for him... 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It was a cheap shot, very cheap shot. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Very cheap shot.  It‘s a vast oversimplification of what obviously is a very complicated problem of terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That was Pollyanna-ish of him to  assume that it‘s never going to happen again. 

LUNTZ:  So that was a mistake of him here.


LUNTZ:  Let me tell you.  It looks like that was the only mistake in his speech, but how many of you felt that he should not have said it should not have taken three years?  Who thought that was wrong of him?

Well, it was the one mistake in what seemed to be a pretty good speech.  Joe, I can‘t say that this is going to have a positive or negative impact on Kerry.  But clearly his articulation, his language, was perhaps more effective than the overall impact on John Kerry‘s electability.  Back to you. 

REAGAN:  Interesting as always.  Frank, we‘ll be right back with more of convention coverage AFTER HOURS in just a moment.


TIME STAMP:  0053:37

REAGAN:  We‘re joined now by political analyst and CNBC contributor Hillary Rosen.

Hillary, you‘ve been hob knobbing with the celebrities and the movie stars and stuff.  You were at the Creative Coalition party, full disclosure.


REAGAN:  Full disclosure, I‘m on the board of Creative Coalition.

SCARBOROUGH:  I am shocked!


SCARBOROUGH:  Completely shocked.

REAGAN:  So what was going on there?

ROSEN:  It was celebrity heaven.  You know, Ben Affleck and Leo Dicaprio were there.


ROSEN:  And the interesting thing, though, the Red Hot Chili Peppers played a rocking show.  They—about their fourth song, John Edwards went on.  All of the celebrities went in to watch the speech, literally sat down in front of the TV and were mesmerized.  So there was no interest in hobnobbing, or partying, or listening to rock ‘n‘ roll.  They all wanted to hear the speech.

SCARBOROUGH:  Nice spin, Hillary.  I don‘t believe it for a second.  No.  How excited is Hollywood about this ticket?  Obviously, as you know, obviously 1992, 1996, you had we had tons of A-list stars going to the conventions.  They absolutely worshiped Bill  Clinton.  It‘s not the same, though, with John Kerry, is it?

ROSEN:  Well, I think it almost makes the people who are involved this year kind of more important.  What I sort of found was  compared to L.A., where the last convention was, very A-list, very high on, you know, movie stars.

But this year, everybody wants to talk substance.  When - you know, when they come before reporters, they‘re asked dozens of questions.  And they‘re actually answering them.  Ben Affleck is speaking in Spanish on Telemundo and to the Gay and Lesbian  Caucus about civil rights.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s the seventh sign.

ROSEN:  To the Disability Caucus about disability issues.  And Dicaprio‘s going to the enviros and talking about substantive fuel conservation.  It‘s really interesting.  These guys have something to  say.  And this is—Boston is where they come to be serious. 

REAGAN:  But you‘ve been involved in the fight against the gay  marriage amendment...

ROSEN:  Yes.

REAGAN: some people call it.  Are you a little disappointed that the Democratic ticket hasn‘t taken a stronger  stand, pro-gay now—I hate to use the phrase, gay marriage...

ROSEN:  Yes.

REAGAN:  But marriage that would include same-sex couples.

ROSEN:  I think that the gay and lesbian community has done what everybody else in the Democratic party has done, which is suck it up.  You know, it‘s just everybody wants to win.  And everybody‘s agenda isn‘t going to get filled all the way.  And this is...

SCARBOROUGH:  You know...

ROSEN:  ...this is the team player going on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s exactly—you sound just like we sounded in San Diego in 1996.

ROSEN:  Yes, that‘s right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Remember Bob Dole goes on the stage, the banner comes down, three words, suck it up.  Get over it.  Not exactly the thing you want to...

ROSEN:  But you know, the difference here, Joe, is that in New York, you‘re not going to trot out the people who are really for George Bush‘s substantive agenda.  They‘re going to trot out Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani and Pataki and John Mccain, all  people who disagree with George Bush on those social issues, but you know, all of a sudden it‘s going to be a complete new Republican party.  We‘re going to see...

SCARBOROUGH:  And isn‘t it funny how...

ROSEN:  It‘s good that it‘s in New York because theatre is exactly what that is going to be. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and funny how it works.  I always joked when I was at the Republican conventions.  I said, I thought we were the party against affirmative action.  It‘s just like 95 percent of the delegates.  Well I mean, you look at the stats.  You look at the 95 percent of the delegates in the hall tonight against the war.  He sounded very hawkish tonight, too.  So it is a lot of theatre. 

ROSEN:  It is a lot.

BARNICLE:  Oh, with all the generals up on  the stage at the start of the convention this evening?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Listen, we‘ll be right back.  Coming up in the next hour, comedian Will Durst and more of Al Sharpton‘s explosive speech tonight, when the Democratic National Convention AFTER HOURS continues.


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