Guest: Willie Brown, Dee Dee Myers
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: On election eve, live from Democracy Plaza in New York‘s Rockefeller Center. Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews and welcome to a special election eve edition of HARDBALL. That‘s the USO Troop of Metropolitan New York, just part of the celebration going on here at Democracy Plaza in Rockefeller Center. The night before as switched-on America goes to vote. We‘re broadcasting live surrounded by people who are enjoying the exhibits from an original version of the Declaration of Independence, to mock-ups of the Oval Office, and Air Force One. Americans young and old are visiting Democracy Plaza. So make sure, if you‘re in New York, to stop by.
My panel tonight, MSNBC‘s political analyst Patrick J. Buchanan, former press secretary to president Bill Clinton Dee Dee Myers, Willie Brown, his honor, former mayor of San Francisco. And “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman who is NBC News‘ political analyst and he‘s also with “Newsweek” magazine.
Let me go to the questions that are moving this country the last 24 hours. We‘ve all seen good data. I‘ve seen some good data from NBC. I‘ve looked at some good data from ABC. Dee Dee Myers, what have you seen lately today that tells what the factors are that are going to shape this election tomorrow?
DEE DEE MYERS, MSNBC DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: Well, the people I‘m talking to around the country are overwhelmed by the amount of energy on the ground, by the number of people turning out to vote, to volunteer, by the enthusiasm that they have, by the way people are waiting in line, long periods of time to cast their votes ahead of time, to make sure their votes are counted. So I think the one thing we‘ll see is higher than usual turnout. Whether it is high enough to really help John Kerry, we won‘t know for 24 hours.
MATTHEWS: What does it take in number to help John Kerry, in your calculations?
MYERS: 10 percent would be—if there‘s a 10 percent increase over the 105 million that voted in 2000...
MATTHEWS: That‘s 118 million.
MYERS: 115 million, yes.
MATTHEWS: That‘s enough?
MYERS: I think so.
MATTHEWS: Pat Buchanan, is that the number enough to scare the incumbent party?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I don‘t even think he needs that much, Chris, because look, there‘s no reason to come out and vote in California, New York, Illinois or Texas. They‘re decided. If you get a turnout like that, it means heavy, heavy, maybe 20 or 15 percent in battleground states. That‘s very nerve-racking. But Chris, you‘ve still got to go to the math. And you‘ve got to go to the map. There are only three red states in peril. That is Florida, Ohio, and New Hampshire. There are seven blue states in peril. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico, maybe Guam and Hawaii. Kerry and Edwards have not visited Colorado or New Mexico or Nevada. It‘s coming down to what we talked about ever since. He has to win Ohio or Florida. And then he really has to roll up the rest or this thing is over.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, since you‘re getting very precise here in
looking at it all the evening, tomorrow night, if John Kerry, the
Democratic challenger, wins Florida, if he wins Ohio, he holds Pennsylvania
· has he won the election or is it still in doubt?
BUCHANAN: I think he has pretty much won the election even if Bush rolls the upper Midwest which I don‘t think he‘ll do if Kerry does that well in Florida and Ohio.
MATTHEWS: That will be an indicator of where we‘re headed. Mayor?
WILLIE BROWN, FMR. SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: I think the numbers are such that Kerry is going to win Florida. 25 percent of all the people who will vote have already voted. That‘s part of what has happened with these long lines you‘ve been seeing in Florida. And when the testing is done about those persons who exited those polling places, the numbers are seven to 10 points for Kerry over Bush.
MATTHEWS: What is driving that? Everyone thought—the punditocracy thought that Jeb Bush‘s popularity, coming out of his recovery work with regard to the hurricanes, was going to help his brother out down there.
BROWN: I don‘t think that has had any reference on this election. It has virtually no impact. What has an impact is the increased number of new voters. And unfortunately for Mr. Bush, Mel Martinez‘s candidacy for the U.S. Senate did not help as much as I think he thought it would help.
MATTHEWS: And he thought it would help with all kinds of Hispanic people, not just Cuban Americans.
MATTHEWS: He thought it would help with Puerto Ricans, he thought it would help with Dominicans, et cetera, et cetera.
BROWN: And I think he also thought he could further erode the black vote in Florida more toward his guy on the basis of the so-called family values. But I don‘t think that‘s happening.
MATTHEWS: But nationwide, what do you make of the argument that among more conservative churchgoers in the African-American community, they are turned off by the idea of gay marriage.
BROWN: They certainly are. But let me tell you when they walk into that ballot box and they start to cast it, they‘re going to think jobs, they‘re going to think healthcare. They are going to think those solid things that have always been the staple of the Democratic party for the black vote.
MATTHEW: OK, Howard, give or take some time here. Tell us everything you know. I‘m looking at what you always know. You always come in here with a notebook. I‘m looking at it and I want to know what is in that baby.
HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”: What‘s in the baby is Ohio and Pennsylvania, where I spent a lot of time in the triage of the last two weeks, I can‘t take the time to go down to Florida. But Ohio and Pennsylvania, I‘ve spent a lot of time there. I‘ve been in the business a long time and I can hear in the voices of the staff people and the insiders that I talk to, certain emotions. The Kerry people, the Democrats have been upbeat. They‘re practically on the ceiling the last 10 or 12 days. When I talk to the Bush crowd, it is a little different story. Talking to people today, I got the sense that Bush-Cheney do not think they‘ll win Pennsylvania. Why is that significant? George Bush spent more time in Pennsylvania than in any other state. 44 visits to Pennsylvania since he‘s been the president. 22 visits during this campaign. Similarly, I don‘t think they feel they‘ll win Wisconsin.
MATTHEWS: Really? That is devastating.
FINEMAN: This is my sense. Let me say why this is significant. Because George Bush has targeted Catholic American voters. He‘s based a lot of his strategy on winning the majority of white Catholics. I‘m not sure he‘s going to do it. It‘s a mixed blessing to have the bishops essentially coming out to endorse your candidacy, which is what a lot of them did for George Bush.
MATTHEWS: Why is it mixed?
FINEMAN: It is mixed blessing because John Kerry is a Catholic, for one. Which is a fact that people have only gotten to realize recently.
MATTHEWS: And the oddity is that they have advertised his religious connection by going after him.
FINEMAN: They have told everybody that he‘s Catholic. And the one other thing I would mention...
BUCHANAN: ...The All Saints Day, November 1, holy day of obligation.
MATTHEWS: It is not a holy day of obligation.
BUCHANAN: Well, in some cases, it still is.
BUCHANAN: You still have not beaten Bush. I don‘t care if he loses Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. They lost him last time. He has to take Ohio or Florida.
FINEMAN: The Flohpa, they call it. Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania. He has to win two out of the three in Flohpa.
MYERS: If he loses Florida, he‘s in deep trouble. Because that‘s a very high water mark.
BUCHANAN: It‘s 27 electoral votes you‘re down.
MYERS: Let me tell you something. They, I think the Republicans from the day after Bush was announced the winner by the Supreme Court, have underestimated the rage in Florida among regular Democrats. Not just among African-American voters but among regular Democrats. That‘s why the hurricane help from Jeb Bush hasn‘t helped this much. That‘s why all the visits down there by the president haven‘t helped as much. That‘s why this is a dead heat. People are angry and turning out.
FINEMAN: One other factor about Ohio. For the last week, the Republicans have been saying they‘re going to have challengers in every precinct in Ohio. On local television throughout Ohio, Republicans are have been out there saying we‘re going to challenge everybody up, down and across. They‘ve advertised their antagonisms on the turnout question. I think they‘ve been too smart by half on that.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a technical question, Mr. Mayor. You‘ve been in politics. Will the young voter, the 18 to 29-year-old voter who says, I think I‘ll vote this year. I care about the potential draft or I care about this war, whatever, jobs. Will they go out and stand in the rain for two or three hours?
BROWN: Absolutely. Let me tell you, this time around, it is a major mistake for the major parties to underestimate the level of enthusiasm by young people. What Sean has done when he‘s—Combs has done when he‘s gone throughout, with all of that activity surrounding people who are only cell phone voters, I‘m telling you, the young people are looking forward to being identified as those who have decided this election.
MATTHEWS: Can you tell that, Howard, looking around?
FINEMAN: I can tell looking around and looking at some of the polling that‘s focused on who the first-time voters are, who the early voters are. They‘re skewing young and they‘re skewing Democrat. Normally early voters and absentee voters tend to be Republican. That‘s not true this time around.
MATTHEWS: I read the ABC poll, it is interesting tonight, because it corresponds a lot with the NBC poll I heard about this morning. And they say if the young voter doesn‘t show up, it is bad news for Kerry. If the person does show up, it is obviously, perhaps, definitive.
MYERS: Right, because...
MATTHEWS: That‘s the way you see it.
MYERS: That‘s the way I see it. The repeat voter, the people who voted before tend to favor the president. He‘s five or six points up in that group. Kerry needs to drive turn-up up among young people. And polling is showing that young people are favoring Kerry overwhelmingly, disproportionately.
BUCHANAN: Chris, let‘s take out of the equation and let‘s say the polls are even, Kerry and Bush. Take out of the equation all the voters of New York, all the voters of California, all the voters of Illinois, all the voters of Texas. OK. You take far more Kerry votes out than Bush votes out. Four of the five top states are out of play. That leaves Bush with a margin, I would guess, of something like five points going in to the whole country. That is Bush‘s advantage.
MATTHEWS: Doesn‘t that contradict what you just said before?
BUCHANAN: No. Look, when you talk about voters, suppose they‘re dead even. If you take all the voters out of New York, that‘s a Kerry state. He‘s going to win it, say, 60-40.
FINEMAN: It doesn‘t work that way, Pat, because if you take them out of the margins that Bush has in the red states, if you look at the polling in the battleground states, it is just as even...
MATTHEWS: ... break, big question, will we have a split between electoral and popular vote tomorrow night?
BUCHANAN: I think you could have—I think you could have Bush winning the popular vote and losing the electoral vote.
MATTHEWS: Anybody see a different pattern?
BROWN: I agree wholeheartedly. And I think...
MATTHEWS: In other words, you think the Democrat candidate has the best shot at the electoral vote?
BROWN: I think the Democratic candidate will win the electoral vote.
BUCHANAN: It‘s the only shot he‘s got, I think.
BROWN: No, it‘s not the only shot. I think, frankly, you‘ve underestimated what is occurring in Ohio and what is occurring in Pennsylvania. All that dissuading the voters from going to the polls that Howard talked about isn‘t happening. The courts have now ruled in Ohio in two separate cases over the last 48 hours.
MATTHEWS: Who wins the electoral, who wins the popular?
FINEMAN: Don‘t forget, George Bush gets 14 electoral votes to start with, just because of geographic changes in the country. You rerun the 2000 election, he wins by 18 and not by four.
MYERS: I think it will be the same winner. It‘s definitely possible that Bush could win popular vote and Kerry wins electoral, but I think it‘s going to move one way or the other.
MATTHEWS: OK. One thing we learned tonight, no one can say the debates don‘t matter. Because if it weren‘t for those debates, we wouldn‘t be going through this precision here tonight.
BUCHANAN: That‘s true.
MATTHEWS: All right, coming up, up next, HARDBALL‘s David Shuster on the early voter turnout in Florida and the emotions people are feeling about this election. And tomorrow, Democracy Plaza is so big that the big man himself will be here, Don Imus. You‘re watching HARDBALL, live from Democracy Plaza, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: HARDBALL is back, from Rockefeller Center at Democracy Plaza. Let‘s go right now to MSNBC HARDBALL‘s elections correspondent David Shuster, who‘s down in Broward County, Florida. David, it‘s great to see you tonight. What is going on? You were down there all day today, watching those very long, almost biblically lengthened lines down there. What‘s going on?
DAVID SHUSTER, HARDBALL ELECTIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, and the lines are still long as we speak right now. More than 4,000 lawyers from out of state are now here in Florida, and the fears of election chaos tomorrow is one of the reasons why people are waiting in line so long. Here in Broward County, the wait has been three hours, and the story has been much the same all across Florida.
In Palm Beach today, voters at that election commission had to wait for four hours. And tonight, state election officials say that nearly two and a half million Floridians have already cast their ballots in this presidential election. And officials do believe that turnout will be higher than it was four years ago, when it was 68 percent.
Across the state, emotions have been running very high, both for younger voters and for older voters. We caught up with Edna Justice, 76 years old. This was the fourth day in a row that she stood on the Palm Beach sidewalk with her walker and her signs. And to her, this election means everything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDNA JUSTICE, KERRY SUPPORTER: It aggravates me, too, for them to say just because you oppose the war, you oppose your boys. There‘s nothing in my body that would ever say anything about those kids that are over there getting killed. I‘m very adamant about that, I‘m sorry. But that‘s the way they talk about it. Like just because you‘re against the war, you‘re against them. And that‘s not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUSTER: 76-year-old Edna Justice, originally from Richmond, Indiana. Chris, she‘s been out there all week long. We‘ve met a lot of people who have been carrying those yard signs at some of the early voting sites all week long.
The big question tonight here in Florida, Chris, is this massive turnout of early voters, the big question is, who are these people? Are they voters that would have shown up tomorrow anyway? Or does this signal that at least in the Sunshine State, there‘s a massive block of new voters who are going to the polls for the first time? Chris.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, David. Let me ask you Ben Ginsberg, a Republican expert, he‘s our expert here, let me ask you about this. Are we ready in this country to absorb this tremendous onslaught of voters?
BEN GINSBERG, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, I think that the mechanisms so far are working pretty well. You have got long lines, but that‘s a sign of good participation. And it seems to me that around the country, election officials are rising to the challenge.
MATTHEWS: Is this setting up an unusually high obstacle for voters to say, do you want to vote in this country? You don‘t have to take a literacy test like in the bad old days, but you have got to stand in line three or four hours.
GINSBERG: A physical fitness test for voters?
MATTHEWS: Yeah, I wonder if that isn‘t an obstacle to voting.
GINSBERG: Well, I think that these people have chosen to vote early.
There are other options as well. You can always vote absentee ballots. You can certainly go on Election Day on off-peak hours. But I think this is more a sign that people want to participate this time.
MATTHEWS: Give me a sense of Florida, then Ohio. Give me both states starting with Florida. Are they ready to handle this properly?
GINSBERG: Well, we hope so. I mean, Florida is a county by county jurisdiction. Certainly as much as they‘ve been able to do on a statewide basis, they‘ve done. We‘ll have to see tomorrow. There has been a push by both parties to get voters there early. You see the lines. Republicans have concentrated on absentee ballots. A tremendous outpouring in turnout there.
MATTHEWS: What about Cuyahoga County? Have they straightened that ballot out? The big city, the big Cleveland election county there?
GINSBERG: Well, I think they‘ve straightened out the ballots, but you have other problems there. Like banning challengers from being able to be at the polling places, and by having the slew of fraudulent registrations. What essentially you‘re setting up, if it‘s a tight election, is a real (UNINTELLIGIBLE) after the ballots are cast.
MATTHEWS: What do you think is the power of these stand-by election ballots, when you cast a ballot and it‘s sort of a contingency ballot? Who has the onus of proof, the person who thinks you‘re not a legitimate voter, or you?
GINSBERG: The people are not on the registration rolls. That‘s why they‘re given a provisional ballot. Election officials will need to go and examine, and each jurisdiction will decide what examine means, to see if those provisional ballots come in or not.
MATTHEWS: How good a bet is it that we‘ll have a clear result by tomorrow night, around 11:00?
GINSBERG: I‘d defer to the polling experts. I don‘t think by 11:00, but I think by 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning.
MATTHEWS: 7:00 or 8:00 the next morning?
GINSBERG: The next morning.
MATTHEWS: A long night here.
GINSBERG: Long night, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Ben Ginsberg will be joining us all night tomorrow. We‘re going to be back with our panel right now. Howard Fineman, Mayor Willie Brown, Pat Buchanan and Dee Dee Myers. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We‘re back with the panel. Of course, I‘ve got Dee Dee Myers to my right and Patrick Buchanan, and former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown to my left and Howard Fineman.
Howard, I look at everybody here, I‘ve looked at all the numbers. I want to start with this. If the president wins tomorrow night, it will be because his party was behind him almost 100 percent. We‘ve never seen such party support for a candidate. 97 percent, I saw the figure. He will win because of the values issue. People are concerned in—lots of the country about gay marriage, about abortion issues, that kind of thing. And because of a general concern about terrorism. We can define it anyway we want.
If John Kerry wins tomorrow night, the big headline will be that he won because of new voters, especially young voters 18-29 and because of the independent voter who hasn‘t gotten much attention in this race, is leaning dramatically toward Kerry and also people who don‘t like this Iraq war. Take it up.
FINEMAN: Well, every war time president has been reelected in war time. But this is a new kind...
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. Truman chose not to run.
FINEMAN: If they ran, they won. The difference here is this is a different kind of war time. It‘s a different war. And there‘s a big dispute in the country about whether Iraq was the right place to go. And I think that Osama bin Laden‘s appearance on TV the other night not only didn‘t help George Bush, I think in the end, we may find that if it did anything, it hurt him a little bit because it reminded people that the focus was not where, perhaps in their view, it should have been.
MATTHEWS: How did you get to this assessment?
FINEMAN: How did I get to the assessment?
FINEMAN: Because since Friday night, the numbers have clearly, if slowly, drifted in Kerry‘s favor. For example, the CBS poll, CBS was the most accurate poll in 2000. They‘ve shown George Bush losing two points in altitude over the last 24 hours. And all the other polls are showing a slight drift in that direction. And I think reminders about Iraq and the question of the policy are the reason why.
MATTHEWS: So bin Laden went out to hurt the president, a lot of us thought he was wrong, and the two or three generations of craziness, it ends up unintentionally hurting him.
MYERS: I think there‘s another theory, that bin Laden went out to prove to people, to his supporters that he was a player in the world by affecting the election, the incoming part of the dialogue more than to help or hurt a particular candidate. But to go back to Howard‘s historical analogy, the last two war time presidents, Harry Truman in ‘52 and Lyndon Johnson in ‘68 chose not to run and in both those cases, the challengers—the White House changed parties. In both cases, the challenger of the other party said I‘ve got a plan to end the war.
BUCHANAN: The hawk candidate or the incumbent president has never lost in war time. This would be an all-time first. Eisenhower was more...
MATTHEWS: Harry Truman had to quit.
BUCHANAN: Who was more hawkish, Eisenhower or Adlai Stevenson? Who was more hawkish, Humphrey or Nixon? Here‘s one thing, Chris, about the polls, Chris, we were just talking. If this intensity factor is out there, the youth and the cell phones, why have not the pollsters been able to pick it up when for every single one of them, their credibility depends on it.
BROWN: Let me tell you, I think the thing has changed so dramatically that we‘re all the insiders, we‘re all the people who have been looking at it from a historical standpoint. This election cannot be looked at from a historical standpoint. It is a state by state election. And as a result of that, you‘ve got to add some new factors.
BUCHANAN: But I‘m asking now, are all the pollsters just wrong? Are they all missing the X factor Craig Crawford was talking about, Howard‘s talking about, intensity, Dee Dee is talking about, people coming out, are they all missing that?
FINEMAN: I think the polls are pretty accurate. I think it is close and I will say, if George Bush loses the election, it is for one reason and one word. That word is Iraq. And even Republican insiders—Bush strategists will tell you that if he loses, that‘s the reason.
BROWN: The entire campaign by Mr. Bush has been to stay away from the Iraqi war.
MATTHEWS: His wife, the first lady never mentions it. I thought it
was interesting when he was having the interview with Tom Brokaw the other
day, just the other day, he said, that‘s—what did he say? Monday
morning quarterbacking. But wait a minute, we weren‘t supposed to talk
about this during the war. We were supposed to be embedded and support the
war. We weren‘t supposed to talk about it afterwards because that would be
· when are the American people allowed to vote on the war? I think they‘ll vote on it Tuesday.
MYERS: They‘re only allowed to talk about it when it is part of the war on terror. We can only look at Iraq in the Bush administration‘s view as a battle in the war on terror. As soon as you separate those two issues...
FINEMAN: The reason for it is because the Republicans say that when the Iraq numbers go down, Bush‘s right track runs (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BUCHANAN: There‘s another reason. That is when you mention the war on terror, Bush‘s numbers go up. Which would you run on?
MATTHEWS: Every number I saw today supports this discussion right now. This is where the country‘s head is. Not just here at Rockefeller Center. When we come back, an update from NBC‘s Brian Williams on what to expect from tomorrow night‘s exit polling. You‘re watching HARDBALL live from Democracy Plaza on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
NBC‘s Brian Williams is at the tracking center in Democracy Plaza, where he‘ll be monitoring the exit polls tomorrow night.
Brian, great to have you.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR: Good to see you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, tell us about what we‘re going to learn early in the evening tomorrow night, thanks to your reporting on the exit polling.
WILLIAMS: Well, you‘ve seen what we call the first wave, second wave of the early raw data.
And we can‘t say this enough. There will be no calls or projections, of course, because of what we learn. But we will learn some attitudes, if people walking into the polls to cast their vote, or upon exiting, more literally, as the poll is called, feel good or bad about the country, right direction, wrong track. How do they feel viscerally about George W. Bush, whether they voted for him or not?
And, at the risk of repetition, you know what the stakes are tomorrow night in terms of overall turnout. We‘re going to be watching the turnout of Americans 30 years of age and younger like a hawk. You saw the Kerry outdoor rally today in Wisconsin, very little ruffles and flourishes. They admitted, their rally crowd-building staff had the day off. They‘ve switched them all to get out the vote. They‘ve decided the amount of people who haven‘t made up their mind is so minuscule.
So everyone will come into the polls tomorrow with some hard, set attitudes. The number that was most fascinating, the internal numbers in our last NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll, the people who say, I would be OK with either guy, 4 percent.
WILLIAMS: That‘s the lowest number in the history of modern polling.
WILLIAMS: You don‘t need to know any other number to tell you that this is the deepest chasm, the deepest split between candidates certainly in our lifetimes—Chris.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about some questions we‘ve been talking about here, Brian. I want to know if we‘ll know those answers early in the evening.
You mentioned we‘ll know. Will we know the cut, the division among voters under 30? We will know that early in the evening and we can release that information?
WILLIAMS: We will have an idea in what numbers they are coming out. Also important to note to everyone that one in five votes nationwide is already in, already done.
WILLIAMS: So we will know some rates by tomorrow night. Where we‘re going to get very spooked by our own data is if releasing anything speaks to either candidate. It has always been thus. It is going to be even more thus with a preponderance of caution that we‘ll be using in our broadcast this year.
MATTHEWS: That said, let me ask you about the late-deciders. And, of course, that‘s very indicative of who might be winning, given the closeness in the polls.
Will we be able to properly release—they‘re called the movable voter. I‘ve seen that new term this time. Will we be able to say who decided the last couple days?
WILLIAMS: We will be, but that will be—I think that will be a late stat, after we have a pretty good body of data. And I‘m not a professional pollster. And we have a good many of them working for us with names like McInturf (ph) and Hart (ph) and our own Sheldon Gawiser, director of elections.
WILLIAMS: But I think that there be among the later stats that we give out, because that I think depends for its very life on a larger sample.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much, Brian Williams.
Well, we look forward to our reports tomorrow night. We‘re going to look forward to his certainly.
And when we come back, our panel will rejoin us to preview this election. By the way, the conversation here is right in line with all the numbers and the way they‘re moving. The question is about new voters, young voters, voters who are voting on values, Catholics. These are the issues that are right in the numbers and will decide who wins the presidential election tomorrow night.
Anyway, we‘re going to be here tomorrow morning. Of course, Don Imus, one of the great men of broadcasting, if not the greatest, is going to be here broadcasting as well. I‘ll be on his show tomorrow morning at I think 7:29. It is always precise with Don. That‘s tomorrow morning, Election Day, and Wednesday beginning at 6:00 a.m. He‘s going to be here both days at Democracy Plaza.
This is really like the World‘s Fair here. If you were here, you would feel it.
We‘ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL live from Democracy Plaza.
I‘m here with our panel, and, of course, Dee Dee Myers and Pat Buchanan and former Mayor Willie Brown.
Are you going to run again somewhere?
BROWN: No, never.
MATTHEWS: OK. You‘ve never lost a race, have you?
BROWN: No. You know, I‘m working for KRON as an analyst there, a local station. We do stuff like this.
MATTHEWS: That‘s not as interesting as what we‘re doing here.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this.
BROWN: Oh, I knew you would take that shot.
MATTHEWS: Everybody knows that this election tomorrow night in the United States is going to be watched around the world. And I don‘t care what your politics are. You know there‘s a world out there, three billion people or whatever. And they‘re watching our results.
Pat, your eyes are glistening. Let me ask you the question.
MATTHEWS: If George Bush wins reelection, will the message to the world be, the American people back the foreign policy of President Bush?
BUCHANAN: Yes, I think it will be.
And around the world, there are some presidents, Koizumi, and others, who want to see George Bush win this election. Ariel Sharon wants to see him win this election. I think Mr. Putin likes George Bush. He‘s got a good...
MATTHEWS: Tony Blair.
BUCHANAN: Tony Blair --- I‘m not sure about Tony Blair. My guess would be, yes, he wants to see—because they are joined at the hip now.
MATTHEWS: What about the people in the streets of the world, the Arab people, the Third World people, the European people?
BUCHANAN: Well, Bin Laden‘s tape is a bid for the leadership of the Arab and Islamic world, because just as here in America, it became bin Laden vs. Bush, over there, it is bin Laden vs. Bush. And that is to the benefit of bin Laden.
There‘s no doubt about it. If you are talking about Western Europe or the Arab and Islamic world, the people at the grassroots do not like George Bush. He represents U.S. foreign policy. And they don‘t like American foreign policy.
MATTHEWS: What about the people in the world who do like the United States? There‘s a number of people in the world who instinctively like Americans. And anybody who has been lucky enough to travel knows it.
MATTHEWS: For some weird reason, the Danish people, for example, really love—they have Fourth of July celebrations over there. The Australians love us. A lot of people in the Third World love us. I was in the Peace Corps. They really like us. Are they going to like the results if the president gets turned out or not like it?
BROWN: I think that the world will be pleased if George Bush gets turned out.
Let me tell you, the polling that you‘ve done and that you‘ve read about internationally all indicates that there‘s a decided disagreement and a decided displeasure with Mr. Bush. Some do not think he is qualified to do foreign affairs. They don‘t think he is equal to the kinds of leaders that we have in this country.
MATTHEWS: Is that European snottiness?
BROWN: No, I don‘t think that‘s European snottiness.
I think that is demonstrations of—I think that‘s a conclusion based upon his own conduct and the kinds of things that he has done. When he went to the U.N. and said, I don‘t care what you do, we‘re going with or without you, we‘re going—no reasoning, no...
MATTHEWS: Well, he actually said, why don‘t you join us, to be honest with you.
BROWN: Well, he did. He invited them to join us.
MYERS: But he followed it with, with or without you.
BROWN: But with or without...
MATTHEWS: Dee Dee, what is your sense about this, the world out there? It does matter. The United States is the greatest country in the world in every measure. We‘re going to lead the world in either of two directions, the Bush direction, as we have, or not lead it, or we‘re going to lead in the Kerry direction or not lead it. But this is high stakes for the world.
MYERS: Right. Right.
And the world very much feels that there‘s a lot of—as you said, a tremendous amount of interest in this election around the world. And people—you know, George Bush ran saying he was going to bring a humble foreign policy. It‘s been anything but.
MYERS: And people do like us. They like our values. They like our spirit. They like what we‘ve been able to accomplish. They like how much we‘ve helped the rest of the world. And they really want to see the American people turn George Bush out to reaffirm their faith.
MATTHEWS: OK, that‘s your view.
Howard, let‘s get an analyst here.
MATTHEWS: I want to ask you a question, simple question. Agence France-Presse, Reuters, all the news agencies of the world will be moving copy tomorrow night by midnight to Rangoon, to Rio de Janeiro, to China, to every part of the world. What is the headline going to be if Bush wins?
FINEMAN: If Bush wins, it is going to be his foreign policy, his assertive military view of things.
MATTHEWS: Was supported by the American people.
FINEMAN: Was supported by the American people.
And I will say a couple things. First of all, if we had found weapons of mass destruction, if we had found biological weapons, if we had found chemical weapons, if we had found the makings of nuclear weapons, the world might reluctantly have a somewhat different view. But we didn‘t. George Bush didn‘t.
And, thus, his willingness to go pretty much alone with a small coalition of the willing didn‘t sell in the world. But the other thing at stake here is the view of American democracy in the world. We‘re trying to sell the world on the idea of our type of freedom. We‘re in the midst of exercising it right now. I‘m proud as an American to watch the way this campaign has been so intense, that people are so strong and so committed. That‘s why we do things the way we do. So whatever they say on Agence France-Presse and Reuters, I‘m glad. I‘m glad...
BUCHANAN: Simply because—simply because a lot of foreigners don‘t agree with us does not make the president of the United States wrong.
FINEMAN: Absolutely. I agree with that.
BUCHANAN: And I think he, when he went up to the U.N. and said, you all are irrelevant if you don‘t act, now, a lot of people at the U.N. might have said he‘s calling us names. A lot of Americans said that‘s exactly right.
If our vital interests are imperiled, we would like your support, but if we don‘t get it, we‘re going. That appeals to the American people.
BROWN: Pat, the world has changed. The world has changed dramatically.
We are the most powerful nation in the world. We‘ve been perceived as being maybe the most generous nation in the world.
BROWN: But in that process, we‘ve got to be able to have someone who is persuasive enough to bring people along, not force them to simply react.
BUCHANAN: Suppose we‘re right, Willie, and they‘re wrong. What do you do?
BROWN: Well, how do you determine who is right or wrong?
BUCHANAN: Well, you‘ve got a president of the United States who has got to make up his mind.
Now, I may not agree with it, but the American people agreed we ought to go to Iraq. It was something like 75 or 80 percent, I‘ll bet, when Tommy Franks went up to Baghdad were behind this war.
BROWN: But the foundation...
MYERS: Well, the American people rally behind the commander in chief in a time of war. That‘s right.
BROWN: The foundation of making that decision proved to be totally wrong and totally inaccurate. I felt sorry for Colin Powell, for one example. That charade that he put on before the U.N...
BUCHANAN: Willie, why did your man, John Kerry, give the president a blank check to go to war, then?
BROWN: I don‘t think he gave him a blank check. I think he did exactly what any quality U.S. senator would have done and said, this is an opportunity for our president to really make an impression on how strong and how committed we really are.
And if Mr. Saddam is as bad as they thought he was supposed to have been, if he had all those terrible things...
BUCHANAN: That‘s a blank check. Why didn‘t he find out—the Congress find out whether they had them before they gave him the blank check?
BROWN: The way this democracy is organized, for the same reason the American people can‘t vote on whether or not we ought to go to Iraq, U.S. senators and representatives...
BUCHANAN: They‘re the ones who vote.
BROWN: ... in the Congress are equally as tied.
MATTHEWS: Well, we have to admit the fact that this is the first election, the first general election in the United States since the war began in Iraq. This is the first opportunity for the American people to vote on this war.
MATTHEWS: And they certainly have a right to vote on this war. Don‘t we agree on that?
BUCHANAN: Right. They were—the country was behind the war.
But there‘s no doubt about it, Chris. The country has—things have developed, from Abu Ghraib to no WMD. The country has come to believe, a majority, I think, it was not worth it.
BUCHANAN: I believe that.
But they still have not—that doesn‘t mean we therefore want John Kerry president of the United States.
BROWN: Pat, but also keep in mind...
MATTHEWS: And that is the conundrum of the voter, the voter, to express himself...
BUCHANAN: Exactly. I disagree with the war, and I‘m going to vote for Mr. Bush.
MATTHEWS: A lot of Republicans, it‘s fair to say, not just people who are Neanderthal Republicans, like yourself, have a problem with this war, but they‘re going to vote for the president.
BUCHANAN: Ninety-seven percent. You gave the number.
MATTHEWS: It is a statistical reality that modern Republicans support the president even if they may have problems with this war.
FINEMAN: Can I also say that it is not clear that, if John Kerry wins, exactly how his approach to Iraq is really different.
MATTHEWS: That‘s the question.
FINEMAN: It‘s not really that different, not that different.
MATTHEWS: Remember when John Kennedy came in after Eisenhower and kept the Cold War policies of Eisenhower and didn‘t change them?
FINEMAN: If I were—if I were John...
BUCHANAN: Chris, you talk about differences. But let me say this. Ideologically, the differences between Kerry and Bush are nothing compared to LBJ and Goldwater or Nixon and McGovern or Reagan and Carter.
MATTHEWS: Right. How do you know that?
BUCHANAN: Well, because the differences were dramatic in those days.
MATTHEWS: Reagan was a dramatic conservative. I don‘t think—on Iraq, does anybody know the difference what Kerry is going to do from Bush?
FINEMAN: He is going to bring everybody to the table.
BUCHANAN: And they‘re going to sit down and what‘s going to happen?
MYERS: Talk about moderate Republicans, though, staying with the president. And that‘s clearly reflected in the poll.
But as I go around and talk to a lot of my moderate Republican friends and ask them, what do you think George Bush being reelected will mean for George Bush, and to a person they say, he will see that as an unabashed endorsement of his policies and a green light to continue pursuing exactly the same policies. That makes them nervous.
MATTHEWS: Let me—I‘m going to come back later tonight, because I think we‘re looking at a third option, the president wins, the president loses.
We have a very difficult election season the last two or three weeks, which will bad for us in the world, I think. The other possibility is the president will win a clean reelection, but very narrowly. And I‘m not sure how he‘ll going to read that. People who have tried to read George Bush don‘t know whether—like David Gergen has said, he is hard to read.
Pat, do you think he‘ll read it as a mandate or as a course correction?
BUCHANAN: I believe the president has looked at this and says...
BUCHANAN: Said to himself, somebody misled me here about what would happen. This hasn‘t gone the way it should have. He defends it, but I would not be surprised to see real reflection on his part about how we get out of there if he is reelected.
MATTHEWS: I think the country would be very happy if he—well, they would be happy with a lot of options.
MYERS: They would be happy if he had done a little of that before.
MATTHEWS: If he won reelection and he made a course correction and brought in somebody to balance the ticket out, you never know.
By the way, he is a political expert, the president. I‘ve watched him. He‘s watching every state in this Union tonight. And I‘ve watched him. He knows his politics. He may read a lot out of this result.
Anyway, thank you very much, Dee Dee Myers. Thank you, Willie Brown, Mayor Willie Brown, and Howard Fineman, of course, after this back-and-forth, and this Neanderthal fellow here, my friend, Pat Buchanan.
MATTHEWS: I think that was a salute, actually. We‘ll see you all tomorrow night.
And when we return, we‘ll talk to the crowd here at Democracy Plaza and we‘ll joined by six members of the press who can‘t yet vote. They‘re young people.
And don‘t forget, follow all the action on election night on Hardblogger, our election blog Web site. Just go to HARDBALL.MSNBC.com.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: It‘s an interesting group of people I have here.
Let‘s take a look at these young people here. They‘re called the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. And it‘s fascinating.
And I‘m going to interview you guys, even though you interview other people, right.
Anybody here 18 yet?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
MATTHEWS: Oh, so you can‘t vote.
OK, let me ask you to start—and tell me your name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Natasha Razahn (ph). I‘m from (OFF-MIKE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m Michael Cutta (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Evelyn Balaz (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lauren Tintilli (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m David Rush (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheyenne Lazardi (ph).
Let‘s start right now with Natasha.
You interviewed John Kerry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I did.
MATTHEWS: What did you get out of him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I actually interviewed him during primary season, before he had the Democratic nomination. And I asked him if he would consider choosing Edwards as a running mate. And he said that...
MATTHEWS: Do you think that was a good idea, looking back? I mean, we call it Monday-morning quarterbacking. That‘s what the president calls it. Do you think that‘s a good idea, to pick John Edwards?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was because a lot of the—I think John Edwards attracts a different group of people, because he has...
MATTHEWS: What states will he bring to the ticket?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think...
MATTHEWS: Name one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ohio.
MATTHEWS: Well, you‘re ahead of me. That‘s good.
If he does bring—in other words, you would give credit to him if Ohio goes for Kerry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Good. You‘re smart. You‘re ahead of me.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s to go Michael.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: You got a picture here you want to show me here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I have got a picture of the Bush twins.
They came to my hometown.
MATTHEWS: OK. Here‘s the big question.
MATTHEWS: The Bush twins showed up at—look, these girls, what are their names?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jenna and Barbara.
MATTHEWS: Now, what do you think of them sort of in terms of boy-girl stuff?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I...
MATTHEWS: Would you put them high on the girl ticket if you were a boy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They‘re...
MATTHEWS: You don‘t to have look at them again. Make up their mind.
MATTHEWS: You‘re like looking at them again to see if they‘re fine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They‘re going to help go to—they‘re going to help Ohio...
MATTHEWS: OK. Are they a credit to their age group or are they a little giddy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think so. I think they represent their demographic really well.
MATTHEWS: Boy, you‘re an intellectual.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Are you a sociologist? Their demographic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I‘m a journalist.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. Do you think their performance at the convention was mature?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t think so. I think it represented them well in their personality and their personality of their peers.
MATTHEWS: OK, you‘re from Florida, Evelyn, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Who is going to get Florida?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Personally...
MATTHEWS: You‘re on the ground down there. You‘re covering this thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have got a feeling Bush is going to take Florida, because the way it is split, it is just like practically even. But I think it‘s going to be in Bush‘s favor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately.
MATTHEWS: Well, he‘s not going to take—the president is not going to take Rockefeller Plaza. That‘s what I think.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely not.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s go to—Rockefeller Plaza is not a voting district, by the way.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s to go Lauren now. You‘re from Detroit, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
OK, Michigan, what do you know about—you‘re from the Michigan suburbs, beyond the eight-mile line, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Are you from Macomb County?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am.
MATTHEWS: Tell me about Macomb County. It is a great leading indicator of the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Macomb County is really split in half this year. I know that, like, it usually will go Republican, but I‘m not sure this year, because it is really, really split.
MATTHEWS: Is that where the NASCAR guys are? No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no idea.
MATTHEWS: OK, let‘s to go David Rush.
Has Tim Russert—OK, let‘s see your Tim Russert wanna-be stuff here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: OK, what can you tell us from that board?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well...
MATTHEWS: No, just show it to the camera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just has a few of my predictions based on what I have learned from Tim about the election.
MATTHEWS: OK, what have you learned from Tim?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he told me that there‘s also the possibility that there could be a Bush-Edwards administration this year.
MATTHEWS: How would that happen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if each candidate got 269 electoral votes each.
MATTHEWS: Which is one vote shy of the necessary 270.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Then the president presidential election would go to the House.
MATTHEWS: And who be picked then based upon the current...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then George W. Bush would be picked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if the Democrats could take over the Senate, the Senate picks the vice president and they might elect John Edwards to be vice president.
MATTHEWS: Do you think Tim is just making trouble here, because what are the odds on the Senate going Democrat right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never know. You never know. It‘s really tight.
MATTHEWS: What would you really say? Come on. How many Republicans senators are there right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifty-one.
MATTHEWS: And what are the chances they‘re going to lose all those Southern states, North Carolina, South Carolina? Do you think they‘re going to lose the sweep or they‘re going to win the ACC in basketball or what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don‘t know. But...
MATTHEWS: Come on. Make your pick. Fix the—stop talking about Tim‘s board. Where is your board?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t think its it‘s likely that the Democrats will take over the Senate, but it is a distinct possibility.
MATTHEWS: You are so—you‘re going to be a Rhodes Scholar, I think.
MATTHEWS: Let me go—let me go right now to Cheyenne Lazardi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you?
MATTHEWS: Sir, you‘re a New Yorker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you to—the World Trade Center. You go to school downtown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: What is it like to go to school near ground zero?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, since the Twin Towers, it‘s been a very eerie effect.
I know for a fact that New York has not been the same since then. I‘ve seen it start to finish through my classroom window. And I look at going to school at a totally different perspective, because you never know what is going to happen now in New York City.
MATTHEWS: Cheyenne, were you there when it happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in my classroom. I saw it from start to finish through the window.
MATTHEWS: Unbelievable. What was it like? How did it hit you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first of all, the building shook when...
MATTHEWS: Your building did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vibrations went straight to my building and we saw start it to finish. I began crying. As soon as the building went down, I was...
MATTHEWS: The president‘s first reaction was, that was one crazy pilot. What was your reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My reaction was, what are we going to do about it?
MATTHEWS: You knew it was terrorism right away?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right away.
MATTHEWS: Right away?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn‘t know it was a plane crash.
MATTHEWS: You should be head of the National Security Council.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, everybody here, everybody here, you‘re all independent, nonpartisan—are you all nonpartisan or do you have favorites in this race?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we have got favorites.
MATTHEWS: Oh, you‘ve got a favorite?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nonpartisan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Favorites? Can‘t say.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nonpartisan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Completely objective.
MATTHEWS: I don‘t believe you. You wouldn‘t get past my jury voir dire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This may be HARDBALL, but I‘m nonpartisan.
MATTHEWS: You‘re nonpartisan. So we have three nonpartisans.
Tell me who is partisan. How can you stay nonpartisan in your reporting if you‘re partisan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you just have to listen to both sides and present that equally in my story. So...
MATTHEWS: I like that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Well, this is the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. I bet you we are going to see these faces a bit older. In 10 years, they‘re going to be running this place.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, we‘ll be back with more HARDBALL at 9:00.
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