'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for July 28 1 am

Guest: Joe Trippi, Will Durst, Art Alexakis, Carl Bernstein, Pat Buchanan

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  At the National Convention tonight, John Edwards stormed the stage, setting an optimistic tone for the democratic ticket. 


SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  We choose hope over despair, possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.  We choose to do what‘s right, even when those around us say you can‘t do that. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m Joe Scarborough, we‘re coming to you live from than Faneuil Hall where behind his people are screaming, and I swear to god, I never though I would hear this, “Joe Trippi rocks.”  Joe Trippi.


RON REAGAN JR, CO-HOST:  Yeah.  There you go.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s not that I don‘t love you, Joe but I think—you know what?  These people may be a little bit inside baseball, but it‘s Boston after all. 

REAGAN:  And we‘re here all week keeping you company AFTER HOURS, still to come in this hour:  Your phone calls, just give us a ring at 888-MSNBC-USA.  We‘d love to hear from you. 

Plus, we‘ve got comedian Will Durst, Everclear‘s Art Alexakis, here with her unique take on the democratic convention. 

I hope I pronounced that right.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know—you know what I can‘t—my kids...

REAGAN:  Alexakis...

SCARBOROUGH:   I‘ve got to call my kids because my kids, because my kids are like the biggest Everclear fans. 

REAGAN:  Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re going to actually—they will actually talk to me when I get back home now.

They might briefly think you‘re cool.


But they‘ll get over it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Very briefly. 

I‘m want to go to Pat Buchanan.  Pat, um, I‘m going to go to four—is this right?  Yeah, there we go.  Pat Buchanan, do we have some talk tonight, again—you walk throughout the hall, people are constantly trying to make the Vietnam-Iraq comparison with the Democratic Party.  Do you buy that and do you think the American people are going to buy that going into the fall? 

PAT BUCHANAN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, you know, when I said Vietnam, it‘s certainly on the same level.  We lost 58,000 guys in Vietnam, we‘ve lot 900 here, so this isn‘t a war on that scale.  What I am saying is this—Joe, there‘s an awful lot of dishonesty in both parties, here.  This Democratic Party, this convention is anti-war.  Half the country is anti-war, it wants that message delivered and you got two, basically, prowar, stay the course guys and as, I think it was, Hillary said, or someone said, you go to the republican convention, you got Pataki up there, you got Giuliani, these guys couldn‘t win a republican primary for the presidency, but they‘re putting them out front. 

There‘s a real, if you will, sort of a problem in American politics, the two parties are very, very close, you know, and you take issues like trade, you take immigration, you take the war.  There are tremendous constituencies out there on the on the other side of both parties that are utterly unrepresented.  And I‘ll tell you, I‘m part of it, and we feel like spectators in which we got nobody in the Super Bowl. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Carl, comparison between Iraq and Vietnam, are the democrats going to try to use that through the fall and is it going to sell in middle America? 

CARL BERNSTEIN, “VANITY FAIR”:  Well, I think first of all, that people know that the democrats think that this war is being—the war on terrorism is being fought in the wrong place.  I think that‘s the real distinction. 

I‘m kind of a contrarian about this convention.  I think there is news out of this convention.  And the real news is—is that Democratic Party is doing pretty well at presenting itself as a mainstream, centrist party, and pushing the image of the Republican Party into an extremist place, and painting a picture of our president as an extremist radical president. 

SCARBOROUGH:  On what issues? 

BERNSTEIN:  On almost every issue.  And I think that also he‘s a divisive president.  I think that that message has been hammered home very effectively here, and that this is a party that claims that it can unify the country.  I think that that focus group is real interesting. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is.  It is...

BERNSTEIN:  But, as those folks—those folks are saying, look, we don‘t believe in this guy we voted for the last time.  And I think it‘s Bush against Bush, that that‘s the key to this election.

REAGAN:  John Kerry‘s role in Vietnam was the topic of John Edwards‘ speech tonight.  Let‘s give a listen:


EDWARDS:  I want to talk about our next president.  For those who want to know what kind of leader he‘ll be I want to take you back about 30 years.

When John Kerry graduated from college he volunteered for military service; volunteered to go to Vietnam; volunteered to captain a swiftboat, one of the most dangerous duties in Vietnam you could have.  As a result he was wounded, honored for his valor.  If you have any question about what he‘s made of, just spend three minutes with the men who served with him then and who stand with him now.  They saw up close what he‘s made of.  They saw him reach into the river and pull one of his men to safety and saved his life.  They saw him in the heat of battle, make a decision in a split second to turn his boat around, drive it through an enemy position, and chase down the enemy to save his crew.  Decisive, strong—is this not what we need in a commander-in-chief? 



REAGAN:  You know what, John Edwards is talking about there, seems like such a clear win for John Kerry, but it seems like it‘s not quite getting traction.  Is there something that‘s neutralizing that great biography that Kerry has?  The Vietnam experience?  The heroism?

BERNSTEIN:  I think it‘s very early.  Kerry hasn‘t gotten out there yet and shown people who he is and that‘s going to be the big test.  But, I think this war question is a really great one.  First of all, Pat is right, we haven‘t lost nearly as many people in Iraq as we did in Vietnam, and at the same time, in terms of a long-term danger to this country, the war on terror and terrorism is an even greater threat than the war in Vietnam was.  And the question of how well this president has fought the war. 

What Kerry is good at is presenting himself as a guy with some wisdom, and we keep hearing that word in the convention, “wisdom.”  And they‘re drawing a contrast with George Bush.  They‘re saying, this guy is not really that competent; they‘re questioning whether he‘s lazy; whether he‘s intellectually up to the job in terms of how you fight, what is going to be a battle longer than the Cold War, probably.  And I think that they‘re going to draw a great distinction in this campaign, between—even though Kerry voted for the war, he‘s got plenty of room, if he does it smart, and I suspect he will—does it smartly, to distinguish himself from Bush and say, look, this guy has taken the war on terror and we‘re in danger of blowing it, and our national security is much less guaranteed today than it was four years ago. 

REAGAN:  You know, Joe, I saw a quote from Dick Cheney today, and he was talking about the war on terror or terrorism, if you prefer, and he said something to the effect of we are facing an enemy which blah, blah, blah.  It seemed to me he‘s making a fundamental intellectual, if not political error there.  Terror is not “an” enemy, terrorism is a concept in a way, it‘s like a phenomenon, it‘s like—it‘s like the war on obesity.  It‘s not an individual thing.  Terrorism is not “an” enemy, it is a worldwide phenomenon, now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is a worldwide phenomenon, and of course there is a big division even among neocons, conservatives, so and whether it is a war, in fact a war on terror or whether it‘s the battle against an ite logical foe and not a war.  I know John Kerry talked about it a police action, quickly backtracked, but Dee Dee Myers, talking about the war on terror, there‘s obviously, as everybody knows, a new “Washington Post” poll that came out this week.  It showed even after the 9/11 Commission report, even after the bad news George W. Bush‘s has had over the past six months to year on the war on terror, that actually Americans have more confidence in George W. Bush—something like 52 to 38 percent.  I was shocked by the numbers. 

My question to you as somebody that saw the numbers go Bill Clinton‘s way in 1992 after the convention, what does John Kerry have to do to say, listen, right now you trust George Bush a lot more than me on the war on terror, but this is why I should be president of the United States in these perilous times.  What‘s he do? 

DEE DEE MYERS, FMR. CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY:  Well he—this whole convention is driving toward creating the impression among not only the delegates at the convention, but the country that he‘s ready to be the commander-in-chief.  And that‘s why there‘s a lot of emphasis on his biography, on his service in Vietnam, on those kind of—that split-second decision when Kerry turned his boat, saved the life of a crewmember, and took down an enemy, and saved a—the rest of his crew.  And I think—you know, contrasting that against the image of the president who is—you know, he got tremendously high marks for the wake of 9-1-1 and the country still gives him tremendous credit for that, so...

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you think that may—do you think that, sort of, there‘s still that  credit that he‘s been giving?  Because I know if I were working in the Kerry camp, I‘d be calling this guy the “Teflon president” because again he‘s got, what -- 13, 14-point lead over John Kerry, but the war on terror, again...

MYERS:  But that‘s down...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... a couple of days, a couple of days after the 9/11 report‘s out, that may be down a little bit, but his approval ratings up to 50 percent. 

MYERS:  Right.  And you know, that‘s going to bounce around a lot, and what we‘ve seen is that—that‘s sort of the high water mark in the last couple of months for the president. 


MYERS:  He‘s been down in the, sort of, low to mid 40s, so that seems to be where he actually is, although it‘s going to bounce up and down around that, that‘s a dangerous zone for the president.  And his marks on every other issue, besides terrorism, there isn‘t an issue, including taxes and the war on Iraq that you can point to where Bush‘s numbers haven‘t come way down.  So, terror is one place that‘s, sort of, keeping the ship afloat. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But Joe—but Joe, where are they going up?  Because you look at the “Post” poll, all of those numbers seem to be going up.

JOE TRIPPI, FMR. CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR HOWARD DEAN:  Because—first of all, I agree with Carl, it‘s way early, still.  I mean, right now, it‘s hard for all those junkies to realize that not everybody out there knows John Kerry was in Vietnam, let alone about the swiftboat, about the medals, and saving a crew crewmember‘s life, and taking that decisive action. 

Right now, the convention is the place were the first time, a lot of Americans who were tuned out, start paying attention.  That‘s why you get that bump, they weren‘t paying attention, they learned something new and they start rethinking the race.  So I think we won‘t know for a few—for a while, until after the convention‘s over whether they—whether he‘s broken through on that. 

The one thing I caution people about though is if you look at Iowa and what happened there.  Iowa was fervent anti-war territory, both of these guys were able to talk about the war, about their support for the troops, their support for how we‘re going to have to get out, by putting more troops in, and beat the strongest anti-war candidate, Howard Dean, which means that both of them have proven the ability, in probably the worst of circumstances for their position, that they can communicate what they want to do about this war, why they have the position they have. 

I think Bush and the Bush administration is thinking big mistake by pressing on this.  These guys know how to talk about it.  I think the country is starting to see that. 

REAGAN:  I didn‘t mean to be a bore about this point, but terror did not knock down the trade centers.  People affiliated with al Qaeda and Osama bin laden did and if we‘re going to fight a war, we ought to fight a war with them.  There I said it.  Next...

SCARBOROUGH:  But a lot American‘s, though, if look at the polls, a lot of Americans still have linkages.  Driving democrats crazy, but Americans are still tying 9/11 with Iraq and a bigger concept...

MYERS:  They shouldn‘t.

BERNSTEIN:  Well, there is a bigger...

REAGAN:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  I got to do a thing.  Hold that thought.

REAGAN:  Go do the thing. 

Next, he says his politics are less radical than his appearance.  We‘ll be joined by Art Alexakis I got it right.  No, no, Alexakis the lead singer in the rock band Everclear.  And also, Comedian Will Durst, will give for his take on the convention.  You won‘t want to miss it.  Stay right here.  We‘ll be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back.  We‘re joined now by political comedian, Will Durst and musician Art Alexakis.

I‘ve been saying art Alexis for the past like four or five years.  Art, I apologize to you, now. 

ART ALEXAKIS, EVERCLEAR:  That‘s all right.

REAGAN:  Of course lead singer of Everclear.  Gentlemen, why are you in Boston? 

WILL DURST, POLITICAL COMEDIAN:  I‘m here to mock and scoff and taunt.  I‘ll be in New York to do the same damn thing.  It‘s a—it‘s my milieu.  I‘m like a—political comedians are kind of like Olympic athletes, we have a career every (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you know?

SCARBOROUGH:  And who‘s easier to mock and taunt? 

DURST:  Um, I didn‘t vote for Bush last time, but I might this time, because for pure...

SCARBOROUGH:  Great material.

DURST:  ...satiric purposes.  Oh, he‘s the mother load! He‘s an embarrassment of riches, it‘s a cornucopia of delights.  You know, I‘m going to go in there I‘m going to be republican I think, oh, the country or myself, you know? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Art, why are you here? 

ALEXAKIS:  I‘m here basically to do something that doesn‘t happen to me very much, I‘m trying to lose myself in the crowd.  I‘m trying to lose myself in a team with people that believe in the same things that I do and get off my butt and do something I believe in. 


ALEXAKIS:  And put my time, put my talent, put my energy where my mouth is and do something with it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Then you say (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to do that for something you believe in—what do you believe in Boston, what drew you to Boston?

ALEXAKIS:  Change.  Change in the direction of this country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is it more about getting George Bush out of the White House? 

ALEXAKIS:  Good question.

SCARBOROUGH:  Or putting John Kerry into the White House?  And I ask you that question because I‘ve yet to talk to a delegate, and say “Why you here?”  “We‘ve go to change.”  I‘ve yet to talk to a delegate that got really excited and said, “Man, I‘m here because I want John Kerry to be president of the United States.”  Of course Hillary Rosen—what did she say?  “I‘m sucking it up.”

REAGAN:  Sucking it up. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is it that bad?  Or is...


SCARBOROUGH:  Give me John Kerry‘s best quality. 

ALEXAKIS:  OK.  Let me say one thing first.  I worked for John Edwards in February.  I stumped for him in South Carolina.  I like John Edwards a lot.  I don‘t think he‘s ready to do it, I think he‘ll be a fine vice president, but he needs to—he needs to go into the iron skillet and get seasoned a little bit, to be honest with you.  But I like John Kerry, I‘ve always kind of liked him.  And he was, for me, admittedly, the man who was not Bush for a while.  I‘ll admit that.  But after spending time with him, I‘ve done rallies with him, I like him a lot.  I think he‘s got steel and I think he‘s got compassion.  I think he‘s going to make a great president. 

REAGAN:  Will, you know, people say that John Kerry doesn‘t seem to have a sense of humor.  What‘s the funniest thing about John Kerry? 

DURST:  I think his voice, because he‘s got a—he‘s got that centurion voice.  My line about Kerry is, everybody says he‘s not presidential—I think he‘s too presidential.  Every time I see him I worry that the Lincoln animatron escaped from the Disney...


DURST:  I mean, even his voice should come from a wax—“I say to the people of the confederacy,” so, you know.  It‘s—I think—because we don‘t know enough about him.  But the great thing about being in my job is that we learn so much because of MSN—because of 24 hour, we learn so much about everybody, even Gore would have been a good target.  And that‘s—you know, that‘s going to the end, right there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Al Gore, of course, helped you out a lot, by licking his wife‘s face in primetime in 2000 in L.A. 

ALEXAKIS:  I‘m surprised there was tongue.  I saw no tongue. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I saw tongue all over Tipper‘s face. 

BERNSTEIN:  Al Gore was a sitting duck!

SCARBOROUGH:  He is.  I would think Al Gore would be one of the easier guys to go after. 


BERNSTEIN:  ..that‘s tongue, that‘s not any work.

DURST:  Yeah, but it‘s—it‘s one joke.  I mean, how many times can you say that he‘s the first living example of reverse taxidermy.  You know?  And that‘s the joke.  It‘s...

ALEXAKIS:  You don‘t think Al Gore showed a little bit more...

DURST:  Passion? 

ALEXAKIS:  Passion?  I‘m trying to find better words than what I‘d usually us—because I‘m a musician, I‘m not on TV a lot.  Passion, verve, just kind of, fire inside. 

DURST:  After?

ALEXAKIS:  No, the other day when he was talking...

DURST:  Not when he was...


ALEXAKIS:  But see, that‘s my point...

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s right—that‘s what presidential candidates—I remember Bob Dole was so stiff throughout the ‘96 campaign.  The second he lost...


SCARBOROUGH:  ...he became the Bob Dole that everybody remembered.  Why?

REAGAN:  As soon as they know they‘re gone...

BERNSTEIN:  If started with the Viagra ads then he‘d be president.


SCARBOROUGH:  I think Carl, maybe that‘s why he the...


DURST:  Four years behind Pfizer, you know? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pfizer (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the whole time.

REAGAN:  You think so?

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s why we call it AFTER HOURS, thank you, because you can say that. 

ALEXAKIS:  Oh, good.  But what I was going to say is I look at Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter looked like the great idea of a president in 1976.  He wasn‘t that great of a president. 

DURST:  He wasn‘t that bad of a president. 

ALEXAKIS:  No, he wasn‘t that bad, but a great ex-president.  He really is.  He‘s done some great things, he‘s a very—he‘s more presidential.  I think...

DURST:  But what a legacy.  Art, what a legacy—best ex-president ever. 

ALEXAKIS:  Well, you‘ve got to be best at something.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what? You‘re going to take what you can get. 

Carl, I want to go back to a point I was talking about, I was asking Art the question that I‘ve asked so many delegates, and again, almost no person, nobody‘s talking about John Kerry, they‘re talking about George W. Bush.  Looking back all the years that you‘ve been covering politics can you name a president that got elected, simply because the base of the other party, despised the occupant of the oval office? 

BERNSTEIN:  I don‘t think so.  I think there‘s a reason.  I think that George Bush probably is the most divisive president, certainly of my lifetime. 

SCARBOROUGH:  More than bill Clinton? 

BERNSTEIN:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  And I...

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, you can put the republicans...


BERNSTEIN:  No, that‘s true, but absolutely more than Clinton.  I think Clinton aroused all kinds of passion in the republican base.  But remember, he also won the presidency twice.  And, and...

SCARBOROUGH:  But people, though, in ‘92, people going to that convention were excited to vote for Bill Clinton.  What I‘m saying is, I‘ve yet to talk to anybody who‘s excited about voting for John Kerry. 

BERNSTEIN:  It‘s very early.  But again, I said a minute ago, I think so far it‘s Bush versus Bush.  But you know, this is like the starting gate, this event.  And Kerry is going to define himself and I don‘t think all these polls means that much incidentally, except that he‘s really in the running.  The country is divided, and there are a lot of people that are very unhappy with this administration.  But you want to get to the debates.  That‘s what this candidate really has to do, and he is a terrific debater, Kerry.  From everything I‘ve heard, some people say he‘s the best debater out of Yale since William F.  Buckley.  We‘ll see.  But, but...


SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Pat Buchanan.  What‘s your take? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, my take is the—going back to a point Carl and others were talking about, the advantage Bush and Cheney have, despite the fact that a lot of people think they did the wrong thing in this war, is they have certitude.  It‘s clear they believe in this cause, they believe they did the right thing, they think the country is safer, they think the world is better off and they will say so.  Kerry leads a party, most of whose people think it was a blunder, it was unnecessary, if not immoral and they were deceived into it.  And, but Kerry is a portrait, excuse me, in mush on whether it was right to go to war or what exactly are you‘re going to do now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, he still is, isn‘t he?  That‘s the amazing thing.

BUCHANAN:  He still is.  This is why I think if you go into the fall, and people say George Bush, whether you agree with him or not, here is a man who stands up and says what he means and means what he says.  There are any doubt about it, if I—if you ask me in my heart what I believe about Kerry, my guess would be is Kerry was as skeptical on the war when he voted to give a blank check and now thinks it was a bad mistake to do it but he can‘t say so, and if he believes that and he‘s out there, people will sense that, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Ron, your father, a lot of people said that about your father.  He knew what he believed in.  I know when I ran for Congress, the first republican elected to my district since like 1872, and I always had people coming up to me and saying you know what Scarborough?  You‘re crazy as hell, but you say what you believe.  I know I can trust you, when you go up there that you‘re going to vote—you‘re not going to be voting to please anybody.  But you‘re going to do the right thing. 

What about John Kerry?  How does he get around this?  I mean, the republicans have spent $80 million, they paint him as a flip-flopper, he‘s giving them good material.  What‘s he got to do to get around that?  To be seen more like you father then like John Kerry? 

REAGAN:  I think Kerry and Edwards have painted themselves into a corner, frankly, with the war.  They would have been much smarter to, early on, when it became apparent that the—you know, no WMD, et cetera, to just say, you know what?  We were misled.  You know?  We thought that this president was telling us the truth and giving us the straight dope on this thing.  He was not.  And just like all of you, we were fooled.  We made a mistake, we were wrong, and now we‘re against the war. 

SCARBOROUGH:  To say I‘m sorry.  Does that—does that—does that hurt Kerry‘s supporting, the energy in the Hollywood community, that—that—that he voted for the war? 

ALEXAKIS:  I don‘t think so.  I think when it comes to entertainers, when it comes to liberals, especially people that don‘t really work for a living, like entertainers, basically...

REAGAN:  Oh, you work, come on.  Don‘t sell yourself short. 

ALEXAKIS:  I‘ve worked harder in the last few days than I have a long, long time.  I work harder when I have to deal with my daughter.  Yeah, I‘m sorry, I‘m pulling back the curtain, there, I‘m showing what‘s going on.


ALEXAKIS:  No, to be honest with you, I don‘t even think they take it that far and from what Pat was saying, to be honest with you, Joe, I don‘t think anyone‘s going to cross lines because George W. Bush and Dick Cheney feel they are crazy as hell, and even though they disagree with them, that they‘re firm in their belief.  And I agree with what he was saying, I think it‘s going to solidify the troops.  I think the Republican Party, in mass, is going to vote for them, I don‘t think they‘re swing anybody.  I‘d like to see it.

BERNSTEIN:  I think—I think they are being too careful on this question, and not principled enough.  And I think, and actually, and I think it‘s showing.  At the same time, I think there‘s so much room to define themselves, because what the Bush presidency did and what Bush did was so egrieges, in terms of basic honesty, and the way we went into this war...

SCARBOROUGH:  On what issue?

BERNSTEIN:  I think on WMDs... 

SCARBOROUGH:  He, let stop you, and ask you a question. 

BERNSTEIN:  I know, we‘ve been though this before.

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, but I knew you were going say WMDs, but throughout the poll campaign, every time John Kerry says, “the president lied to get us into war,” they‘re going to roll out a clip of him, from not only 2003, John Kerry said that Saddam Hussein had weapons in 1998, was a danger, we needed to go in there.  Edwards said “an imminent threat,” used directly that George W. Bush never did.  So if Bush was misleading America, then so too were Kerry and Edwards weren‘t they? 

BERNSTEIN:  The point was that there was time to wait, and I think, you know, there was time to wait in the U.N., there was time to find...

SCARBOROUGH:  That imminent question. 

BERNSTEIN:  There was time to find out.  There‘s a whole—you know, there‘s a raft of questions, all of which come up cloudy when you look at what Cheney and Bush were saying and what the facts were.  And it‘s continued sense.  I think the issue of credibility, integrity, basic kind of honesty is a problem for this White House.  The Clinton White House had it in terms of their personal lives.  This White House has it in terms of policy, big time. 

REAGAN:  There‘s a thing we do here on AFTER HOURS and we‘re about to do it now, let‘s take a couple of phone calls.  Ian from Kansas City...


BERNSTEIN:  Oh, I was worried for a second, OK.

REAGAN:  What did you think about Edwards‘ speech tonight?  How do you think he stacks up against Vice President Cheney? 

NITA, MUNCIE, INDIANA:  Well, I think that he just said just said exactly what he needed to say.  He got his point across, he sounded strong.  He basically laid out a plan of action for what America is going towards, and it really just sets the stage for Kerry tomorrow.  A strong platform and a plan of action, that‘s exactly what we needed. 

REAGAN:  I think I misidentified you.  You‘re Nita from Muncie, is that right? 

NITA:  Yes.  Yes.

REAGAN:  Oh, I‘m sorry.  I thought you were a whole different person.

BERNSTEIN:  Didn‘t sound like Steve from Idaho falls. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, it didn‘t sound like Steve...

REAGAN:  It didn‘t sound like Idaho Falls, that was the thing.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, there‘s going to obviously saying positive things about John Edwards, some saying that he wasn‘t up to the task.  What do you think John Edwards needs to do throughout the campaign?  How can he best help John Kerry?  Being an attack dog or being a cheerleader? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, first off, I think Edwards has already done the greatest amount of benefit he can do to the ticket.  The choice was tremendously well-received by the press; well-received by the public; he‘s young, he‘s energetic, he‘s given some lip to the ticket, he‘s made it fresh; made it somewhat exciting.  And tonight—I mean I disagree.  I don‘t think he had a great speech; he was too glib, too fast for me, and a lot of cliches.  But I think he has made his contribution.  You get the benefit of John Edwards up front.  Going down the road, you know, Edwards hit a single tonight, but you got men out there on base, and Kerry is the only guy that can bring them around.  And I can‘t emphasize the importance of this thing tomorrow night, Joe. 

REAGAN:  All right, up next more phone calls.  The number is 888-MSNBC-USA, we‘d love to hear from you.  Don‘t go away.

JAY LENO, THE TONIGHT SHOW:  Teresa Heinz told a reporter to “go shove it” the other day, she just got very mad.  And it‘s interesting how people reacted.  You know, when Hillary heard about this.  What‘d Hillary say?  She said, “You go girl.”  That‘s what Hillary said. 


LENO:  No.  She said “You go girl.”

John Kerry said she acted appropriately.

And Bill Clinton said he likes it when girls talk dirty.


SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, we‘re going to get the lowdown from Joe Trippi about the growing influence of bloggers. 

But first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC news desk.

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

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

At least 68 Iraqis are dead after a massive car bomb exploded on a busy downtown boulevard in Ba‘qubah.  The explosion targeted Iraqis lined up outside a police recruiting station.  It also ripped through a commuter bus and a busy marketplace. 

And Secretary of State Colin Powell and top Saudi officials discussed the possibility of deploying a Muslim force in Iraq.  A senior Saudi official tells NBC News the Saudi government is also talking with the U.N. and other Muslim nations, whose forces would gradually replace coalition troops in Iraq.  The official says the Muslim nations bordering Iraq would not participate in that force. 

Now back to the Democratic convention AFTER HOURS. 


REV. AL SHARPTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously is our right to vote wasn‘t gained because of our age, our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham.  This vote is sacred to us.  This vote can‘t be bargained away.  This vote can‘t be given away. 

Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips—our vote is not for sale. 


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Ron, I‘ll be honest with you, I‘m an honest kind of guy. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I did not believe that the Democratic Party would give the microphone to a man whose public life began the way it did.  I can‘t believe mainstream media has embraced a man that made anti-Semitic remarks, who‘s responsible, I believe, for provoking a riot that killed people.  I, you know, I just wish Al Sharpton would say you know what, I screwed up.  I made some horrible mistakes. 

Tim Russert gave him the chance.  He still refuses to do it.  That‘s why I can‘t listen to him.  He‘s the past and he needs to just go away unless he‘s going to say I really, really showed a lack of character.  I played into anti-Semitism because it helped me build my base. 

REAGAN:  Yes, Al Sharpton has been very entertaining in the debates and all, but we have to remember, he was not running for president.  He was running for Al Sharpton.  You know, it was all about him.  It wasn‘t about him, you know, ever achieving high office or doing anything. 

You‘ve got a little fly in there. 

MYERS:  Oh, thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what, it‘s like the ring. 

MYERS:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean flies on the TV sets. 

MYERS:  But you‘re right, it‘s because he‘s entertaining. 

REAGAN:  Did his speech matter at all, though?  I mean does anybody care outside of the room? 

MYERS:  He doesn‘t really have a constituency. 


MYERS:  He does in New York, but I don‘t think it‘s a very big one. 

CARL BERNSTEIN, “VANITY FAIR”:  I think it was a hell of a speech. 


BERNSTEIN:  And I think it had some importance.  Like you, I think that it‘s long past time for the Reverend Al to apologize or say look, I was wrong about the Tawana Brawley case and I demagogued. 

REAGAN:  Right.

BERNSTEIN:  And at the same time...

SCARBOROUGH:  And the anti-Semitism, also.

BERNSTEIN:  At the same time I genuinely believe he‘s a man who‘s moved on.  But I wish he would do that, like you.

But I think something else interesting happened at this convention, and that is the talk about the Florida vote and the references to it.  And I think that it is a salient issue that is going to play in this election.  I think there are...

SCARBOROUGH:  I disagree with you.

BERNSTEIN:  Well, I...

SCARBOROUGH:  I think that‘s the past.  I mean you have Al Sharpton talking about the past tonight.  I thought, though, Senator Obama—I‘ve got to learn how to say it.  It‘s Obama, right? 

MYERS:  It‘s Obama. 

REAGAN:  Yes.  Barack Obama. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That guy is the future.

BERNSTEIN:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He wasn‘t talking about 2000.

BERNSTEIN:  But it‘s about disenfranchisement. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He wasn‘t talking about that.  He was talking...



MYERS:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He was talking about where to take the country now. 

MYERS:  You‘re right that shpt is past...

BERNSTEIN:  It‘s about disenfranchisement. 

MYERS:  You‘re wrong that people, that there isn‘t more to the Florida debacle than meets the eye.  There‘s something resonating there.

BERNSTEIN:  There really is. 

MYERS:  People are much more angry about it now...

BERNSTEIN:  And not just Democrats. 

SCARBOROUGH:  With the Democratic base.

BERNSTEIN:  No, not just Democrats.

MYERS:  In (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the Democratic base...

BERNSTEIN:  That‘s what‘s happening.


SCARBOROUGH:  Joe Trippi, if you were talking to John Kerry, if you were talking to the campaign, how would you handle the 2000 debacle in Florida?  Would you try to bring it up to anger your base, get them to the polls, or would you move beyond it? 

TRIPPI:  I don‘t think there‘s any reason for John Kerry or John Edwards to raise it.  There are plenty of people in the party that will do that for them.  And I think it is a salient issue.  I think particularly with disenfranchised voters, the kind of people that Al Sharpton speaks to, this kind of—a lot of the people that Dean spoke to...


TRIPPI:  The one thing I want to say about...

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘ll turn black voters out. 

TRIPPI:  The one thing I want to say about Sharpton, and I think, you know, is he represents something to a lot of people out there.  I mean people—he didn‘t start off, he wasn‘t, you know, born into favor or anything.  He had a really tough childhood.  And he, this guy, you know, has made mistakes like a lot of people have, and I agree it would be good for him to...

SCARBOROUGH:  Ruined a lot of people‘s lives. 

TRIPPI:  No, but I‘m saying that I—that there are a lot of people out there who identify with him, that think it‘s amazing that he was standing at that convention and giving a speech.  And I think, you know, we talked about this last night, about how a speech can change people‘s lives or get them to focus.  And I think Sharpton did that tonight for a lot of people.  Maybe not folks that, you know, that have voted before or understand how important their vote is.  But I think he made that clear tonight.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, you know what?  Joe Trippi‘s got a great point.  Al Sharpton spoke to a lot of delegates. 

I would ask the question, though, what does it say about a party that somebody like Al Sharpton, with the baggage, with the background of making anti-Semitic remarks, of the background of slandering police officers in New York, if that‘s the guy they have to deliver this message to the Democratic Party? 

PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You know, I agree with a lot of what‘s been said.  What was done to Pagones and those folks up there in—on the Tawana Brawley case and at Freddy‘s store, people burned to death in that fire that he demagogued and caused there.  And the man has been a demagogue and he ought to apologize. 

But I agree with Carl Bernstein.  I think he‘s a good speaker.  He speaks, obviously, in a rhetoric that appeals to very poor people, working people.  He speaks in anecdotes.  And the truth is, Joe, he‘s one of the few speakers that really got this convention up and going.  All those folks out there, they agreed with a lot of what he had to say.  He really moved them and he inspired them.  And I think as a speaker he‘s quite funny.  He‘s entertaining.  He deals in concrete images rather than these abstractions that so many people do. 

But you‘re right, the Republican Party, given his record, there‘s no way that guy could ever get near a podium at a Republican convention. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And if somebody like that, I mean, you know what?  I hear everybody‘s saying yes, you know, he‘s a great speaker.  But, you know, I can tell you what a lot of people are saying, a lot of Republicans are saying right now hearing this.  They‘re saying yes, so was David Duke. 

REAGAN:  Well, yes. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, they‘re saying that‘s why—that‘s why I‘m not a Democrat.

BERNSTEIN:  He‘s not going to win hard core Republican votes, but he might win some swing votes and he might help get out some black votes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Al Sharpton?

BERNSTEIN:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Al Sharpton is the swing...

BERNSTEIN:  I want to ask...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It could happen. 


BERNSTEIN:  Can I ask Pat a question? 


BERNSTEIN:  Patrick, do you think...

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s AFTER HOURS.  You can do whatever the hell you want. 

MYERS:  Take it away. 

REAGAN:  It‘s way after hours.

BERNSTEIN:  All right.  Do you think that if Bush were to lose this election that the Republican Party might move toward being a real centrist party and might move even away from the right in a major way? 

BUCHANAN:  No.  I‘ll tell you what‘s going to happen.  There‘s a civil war going to break out in the Republican Party and after this election, whether Bush wins or loses.  There‘s a huge constituency, Carl, which thinks—when you talk about outsourcing, there are a lot of populists that are outraged on that.  You talk about Bush‘s amnesty on immigration, people are outraged on that.  A lot of them don‘t like the neo-conservatives.  They don‘t like this imperial foreign policy.  They are ready to go to war. 

We‘re going to have a battle in the Republican Party along the trench lines of the Goldwater-Rockefeller fight.  Now, there‘s no doubt the Rockefeller forces or the Bush Republicans are stronger than they were in ‘64.  But I think a real battle royal is coming up. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Pat...


BERNSTEIN:  Have a blast. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Carl, you know, also, you know what?  You know what?  I haven‘t been...

BUCHANAN:  Carl, you...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... talking about Rockefeller and Goldwater in ‘64.  What I‘ve been saying, and the “Wall Street Journal” is saying the same thing, that there is a war that‘s going to break out.  And I‘ll tell you why the war is going to break out for people like me.  It‘s because of the big spending. 

BUCHANAN:  Oh, yes, that‘s another one. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Because of the $7 trillion debt. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Because of the $500 billion deficit.  But—and I actually say it‘s more like 1976 when Ronald Reagan, after years of moderation by Richard Nixon on domestic policy, and then Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, 1976 said you know what?  We‘re taking our party back. 

TRIPPI:  But, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  But I don‘t think they‘re going to be become more moderate.  I think they‘re going to become more conservative on spending issues. 

TRIPPI:  But, Joe, listen to what you guys are all saying.  I mean we‘re sitting here, the most unified Democratic Party in this convention that I can think of in our memory.  And you guys are talking about a war about to break out in the Republican Party, which means those fractures are there.  There are a lot of Republicans who are upset about this deficit. 

I mean I think there are a lot of Republicans who are upset about the policy overseas.  So I think you‘re actually pointing to exactly why Kerry can win this election.  There‘s a unified Democratic Party and beneath the surface in the Republican Party there really are some cracks that are beginning to show. 

BUCHANAN:  You know, Joe...



BUCHANAN:  Joe, let me say that, back—I‘ve just been rereading the Goldwater speech.  He refused to nominate Nixon at that convention because of the PAC to 5th Avenue.  He was bitter.  The conservatives were yelling at that convention.  Goldwater had to get up there and he said listen, let‘s grow up conservatives.  This is our home.  We can take this party back.  But, in effect, now we‘ve all got to get behind Nixon.  It‘s his turn.  But after this is over, friends, it is starting. 

I sense that same thing going on inside the Republican Party right now.  I think they‘re going to come home to Bush, but after that, Katy, bar the door. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I, you know what, that‘s the question—are they going to be able to hold it together until after the election?  But I‘ll guarantee you, whether George W. Bush is reelected president or whether John Kerry is elected president, in January when the next Congress convenes, there‘s going to be some infighting in the Republican Party like we haven‘t seen since some troublemakers ran Newt Gingrich out of town. 

Now coming up...


SCARBOROUGH:  That was...

REAGAN:  We now know what Pat Buchanan‘s beach reading is, though.  Old Goldwater speeches. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Old Goldwater speeches.  How exciting, Pat.  We knew you were a rocket.  We knew Allie G. (ph) went to the right source for entertainment. 

Now, coming up, we have more on unconventional convention coverage live from Faneuil Hall in Boston. 

So stick around.

We‘ll be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  I heard, yes, you know what?  I love this crowd.  They‘re always a little slow.  You should hear, they‘re quiet, we go to break, the second the commercial hits, everybody erupts. 

We‘ve got a lot of people here, still hardy souls.  1:45 in Boston outside of Faneuil Hall.  And we‘ve actually got—we have a couple of guys, actually, that just got back from Iraq in the Air Force.  It‘s great to have them here. 

We also have gotten a look this week at how the convention is playing in battleground states.  But if you want to know how it‘s playing everywhere else, you need to check out the blogs. 

Joe Trippi, of course, that‘s the word on the Web.  Talk about what‘s happening. 

TRIPPI:  Well, tonight there was a blogger bash in town.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee threw a bash for all the bloggers that were covering the convention during the Edwards speech.  And I was there and they all watched the Edwards speech, trust me. 

But the interesting thing about it is how much effect they‘re having in terms of getting messages out there and changing things.  I mean people don‘t realize it, but the Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond fiasco that happened which ended with Trent Lott resigning or stepping down happened because of blogs. 

They reported the story first...

SCARBOROUGH:  So you mean that the Republican Party was better at blogging than when Chris Dodd went out and said that Bob Byrd would have been a great senator at any time of his life, even when he was in the Klan, then Byrd would have been out of the Senate? 

TRIPPI:  Well, but, you know, the media picked that one up and the blogs didn‘t.  This one happened on the blogs and it got picked up by the media and ended up going away. 

The interesting thing was—that happened tonight, Atrios, which is one of my favorite blogs, and people should go check it out at atrios.com...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How do you spell it? 

TRIPPI:  Yes.  Well, we‘ll figure—it‘s on our Web site. 


TRIPPI:  It‘s on the “HARDBALL” Web site.  You can go to it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Which, of course, is your favorite Web site. 

TRIPPI:  But he‘s gone to great lengths to not—no one knows who he is.  I got a picture with him tonight and it‘s going to be up on the dccc.org blog and we‘ll have it up on MSNBC

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what‘s so revolutionary about this...

TRIPPI:  And if you‘re out in the blogosphere and you want to know who Atrios is...



TRIPPI:  You‘ll find out tomorrow. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s so revolutionary about this?  There‘s like this 18, 19, 20-year-old kid who is a student at a college and he starts something called cablenewser.com. 


SCARBOROUGH:  It ends up all, and all he does is he talks about what‘s on cable news.  He does it in, you know, in his apartment or whatever.  And you‘ve actually got the heads of all the major networks reading this teenager‘s blog.  I mean that‘s pretty revolutionary as far as publishing goes, isn‘t it?

BERNSTEIN:  Look what Drudge did. 


BERNSTEIN:  You know, I mean it really, you know, Drudge really is the same equation...

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s media.

BERNSTEIN:  ... from the beginning.  Look at Romanesco. 

MYERS:  Right.

BERNSTEIN:  All these sites that are about media.  And that‘s another thing we haven‘t really talked about, and that is what the media is going to do in this campaign.  That‘s a real unknown factor.  Because the one great advantage, I think, that the Republicans have is talk radio, right-wing radio and 24 hour cable news.  Because I think that even though their base are the people who, say, listen to Rush Limbaugh—you know, the centrist people, liberals, the left people, they don‘t listen to Rush Limbaugh.  The effect of Limbaugh is felt at the water cooler the next day when people who have listened to Limbaugh go up and say...

SCARBOROUGH:  Can you believe that so and so said...

BERNSTEIN:  Can you believe the flip-flops that Kerry did? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly.

BERNSTEIN:  It‘s very effective.  It‘s hard to fight.  And I think it‘s the biggest...

SCARBOROUGH:  But think about this...

BERNSTEIN:  ... the biggest advantage...

SCARBOROUGH:  Think about this...

BERNSTEIN:  ... the Republicans have in this campaign.  And, also, the shouting fests on these channels, I think, serve the Republicans well.  And I think the more calm that we‘re able to induce on these 24 hour channels in the next few months, the better we serve the country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Carl, we‘re very calm here, of course. 

But think about Limbaugh.  On this Limbaugh point—and, again, the Clintons understood this -- 20 million people listen to Limbaugh a week.  They go to the water cooler.  They tell two or three more people.  All of a sudden you‘ve 60, 70, 80 million people...


SCARBOROUGH:  ... that are repeating Rush‘s message.  That is a very powerful voice.

MYERS:  Right. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sixty million people who think that...

MYERS:  And doesn‘t really have a commitment to make sure that what he says is true or accurate. 


MYERS:  So that makes it a dangerous voice.

BERNSTEIN:  True or accurate?  The guy was flying. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But you know what...


SCARBOROUGH:  Now, listen to you all.  If Limbaugh was a lefty, you all would have like portraits of him up.

BERNSTEIN:  What?  What?  No. 


TRIPPI:  What we‘re talking about is this is exactly what the blogs are doing, what the Web blogs are doing.  What‘s going on is they‘re putting stuff out there and people are talking to each other through e-mail.  Did you hear what this—what Atrios or Daily Cause said yesterday about this? 

And so in a whole new way, the Rush Limbaugh effect on radio is happening today over the Net because of the blogs.  You just don‘t see it. 


TRIPPI:  I don‘t know how many blogs...


TRIPPI:  I mean, so it‘s a very similar thing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s an exciting dynamic.  It‘s unbelievable. 

REAGAN:  We‘ve got to take a break...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How much misinformation? 

REAGAN:  We‘ll be right back with more convention AFTER HOURS in just a moment. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s go to the phones. 

Ian from Kansas City, Missouri, I understand you‘ve been standing by for a whole long time and I‘m sorry we kept you waiting. 

IAN:  Years and years. 

REAGAN:  Well, what do you have to say to us, Ian? 

IAN:  Well, actually, I have a question. 

REAGAN:  Sure. 

IAN:  And it‘s about the experience that was between Edwards and Cheney.  And when making decisions at the vice presidential level, all issues are kind of addressed by cabinet members, personal staff and shaped by public opinion.  So what, then, is the difference between six years or 20 years when the decision-making seems to be a cooperative collaboration rather than one man‘s burden? 

REAGAN:  That‘s a very good question. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, why don‘t you answer that? 

REAGAN:  Yes, that‘s a good one for Pat. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s the difference between Dick Cheney as vice president and John Edwards as vice president? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, Dick Cheney was secretary of defense.  He was a real leader in the Congress.  He‘s a former chief of staff to a president.  He came into that office, Joe, he sat down, he goes over to the CIA, he‘s over at the Pentagon.  There‘s people all over the place.  He is a power and a force and an influence.  He‘s got a president of the United States who leans on him, clearly, and picked him because he wanted Cheney sitting beside him.

I don‘t think Edwards comes in with anything like that.  I think he was picked by Kerry and semi forced on Kerry because Democrats said look, this is the only guy who can give you the energy and spirit and youth to get some life into this ticket so that you can win this.

So I think he comes in with a lot, lot less than Cheney, who is the most influential vice president in history. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Pat, we only have a few seconds left.  But what do you think Edwards needs to do tomorrow night? 

BUCHANAN:  You mean Kerry tomorrow night?  SCARBOROUGH: 

SCARBOROUGH:  Kerry.  Yes, I‘m sorry, Kerry. 

BUCHANAN:  He‘s got to put it off the top of the wall.  And the country is going to be looking at him to see—I mean Clinton is a terrific speaker and Edwards did fine tonight for himself.  But Kerry has really got to make the sale to the country that I am the guy, now that you really don‘t want Bush, I am the guy to put in the presidency of the United States.  I‘m the guy that should represent and personify America abroad.  I‘ve got the toughness and strength and personality to really lead this country.

He has not done this in six months, Joe. 

MYERS:  But, you know, can I say—I don‘t think he needs to rock the Kasbah to do that.  He‘s a formal man.  He‘s not an energizing and electrifying speaker.  I don‘t think that‘s his mission.  He doesn‘t—the delegates are going to love him no matter what happens, so. 

REAGAN:  Yes.  Thanks to all our panel...

BUCHANAN:  Well, the delegates will, but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) isn‘t the delegates. 

REAGAN:  Sorry, Pat, I‘ve got to cut you off. 

We‘ve got to go.  We‘re out of time.

Thanks to all our panelists. 

Make sure you tune in tomorrow night for my interview with hip-hop mogul P. Diddy. 


REAGAN:  We‘ll get his take on the battle for the White House. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And tomorrow night, John Kerry officially accepts the Democratic nomination for president.  It is going to be big. 

Also tomorrow night, former Georgia Senator veteran Max Cleland is also going to be speaking. 

Be back tomorrow night AFTER HOURS. 

We‘re going to be breaking down John Kerry‘s speech. 





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