Guest: Tucker Eskew, Ben Stein, Terry McAuliffe, Willie Brown, Jon Meacham
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. And welcome to HARDBALL‘s special election eve coverage on MSNBC.
We‘re live from Democracy Plaza in New York‘s Rockefeller Plaza, world headquarters for NBC News. This area has been transformed into a celebration of democracy. And just one day before the election, thousands of people are here touring the exhibits and learning more about our democracy.
And we want you to get involved. Take part in our live vote—this will be exciting—and tell us who you think will be the next president, not who you like, but who is going to win. Just go to TV.MSNBC.com. Keep in mind—do I have to tell you this? -- this is not a scientific poll.
My panel tonight, former Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown, NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell, managing editor of “Newsweek,” Jon Meacham—that was a big hand for Andrea—I like that—and the host of MSNBC‘s “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY,” the great, inimitable Joe Scarborough.
Let‘s talk tonight. I want everyone here, starting with Joe, the newcomer to our panel tonight, give me what you think is going on among the American mind tonight in picking our next president.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: Well, I‘ll tell you what. I‘ve really been thinking more about what‘s been going on in Karl Rove‘s mind.
MATTHEWS: OK. Do that. The president‘s chief political adviser.
SCARBOROUGH: Because, right now, I think they‘re sitting there wondering how many young voters are going to be coming out tomorrow morning. I think Karl Rove made a calculation four years ago that they were going to win this campaign on the base, on evangelicals. And, right now, they‘re wondering whether that strategy is going to carry them through or not.
MATTHEWS: Do you have any rainmakers in Republican Party that they might be going to in the next few hours?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, no, it‘s a little too...
MATTHEWS: Little rainmakers?
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s a little too late for rainmakers. But I can tell that, at this point, they expected to be more comfortably ahead and are surprised that it‘s—they are getting mixed signals. One poll has them up four in Florida. One poll has them down five in Florida. It‘s just crazy. And it‘s that way in every single state.
MATTHEWS: Jon Meacham, the election is ahead of us. It will be ahead of us through much of the country all the way until 1:00 in the morning Wednesday morning.
JON MEACHAM, “NEWSWEEK”: You‘re being optimistic.
MATTHEWS: People have to vote. They haven‘t voted. No, I‘m being very—no, I‘m saying the people will not have voted by then in places like Hawaii.
MATTHEWS: It all comes down to, according to polling I‘ve looked at, will the young new voter, the young person, the woman, the man in their 20s, primarily, or even younger, will they have stamina and the guts to go out there and stand for two or three hours against perhaps some intimidation in some places and vote?
I think this is going to be an interesting test between the powers of the emotions of anger and fear. I think that anger is driving the new voters, anger at Bush. I call them the Michael Moore voters. They saw the movie. They have gotten irritated with Bush. They went out and registered. They‘re motivated. Or people who are more fearful and believe that President Bush will do a better job ultimately of protecting the country than Senator Kerry.
MATTHEWS: Andrea, the American mind and how it is moving right now.
We are seeing a lot of information that there are in fact late deciders. They are called the movable voter. They are still thinking. They‘re still deciding.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think you have got a lot of new voters.
And what our polling, at least, is suggesting is that they are heavily Kerry voters, these young voters. Whether they are going to go out and vote, as Jon said, is really the question of this election. This is either going to be a fairly routine election, surprisingly, with maybe 110 million people voting, which would be, with population growth, analogous to four years ago, or there are some people suggesting it‘s going to be way off the charts, 122 million people or even higher. And if that‘s the case, Democrats and Republicans agree, it is a John Kerry vote.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Mr. Mayor.
Mr. Mayor, you‘ve been in so many elections. You know that they always say that—especially the Democrats, the young people are going to come out. There are unregistered voters. There‘s a great mass of people out there that haven‘t been heard from. They are going to be heard from this time and it never happens, except, I guess, in the Perot election of ‘92.
WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: Well, Chris, for the first time, I think, in a very long time in this country, everybody on the streets, everybody at every level, whether they‘re going to vote or not, seem to have an opinion about this election.
I‘ve never seen such engagement. As a matter of fact, a candidate for public office, I‘ve never been carried away with this much engagement.
BROWN: You have too many people you have to talk to. You have too many people you have to convince. And I do think they‘re going to show up to prove that they can participate in this democracy. They want to participate. It‘s somewhat akin to the recall that happened in California. I‘m getting the same width and breadth of fresh air.
MATTHEWS: Is this a national phenomenon for everybody here? Because we know that all the focus in the last week or two has been about those nine or 10 states. California is not a battleground state. It‘s expected to go for Kerry. But even out in the streets of San Francisco, you are sensing, Your Honor, that people are aroused.
BROWN: Yesterday, when I went to vote before coming back here to participate, at your invitation, I have got to tell you, I arrived at city hall. And we opened on Sunday for vote purposes at 10:00. I got there about 9:40, figuring that I would be No. 3 in line. I was number 100 in line.
And before I got to vote, which was about 10:20 in the morning, there were more than 300 people lined up. And I looked at them and not one of them looked like anybody who ever voted for me.
SCARBOROUGH: And a couple points, Chris.
My dad still tells me about the four hours he waited to vote for Goldwater in 1964. Secondly, if you‘re going to Vegas and if they had bets and you could bet on whether evangelicals were going to show up or young voters were going to show up, put your money on the evangelicals every time.
The first time I ran for Congress, 29 years old when I started my campaign, I was absolutely shocked how few young voters went out. It‘s happened every year since. And I—so—hear every year, whether it‘s a local official or a state official, they‘re going to say, we‘re having record turnout this year. This is the year they‘re going to blow the doors off. And every year, it‘s the same thing.
SCARBOROUGH: Is John Kerry really the rock star that is going to ignite these...
MATTHEWS: No, that‘s not the question.
MITCHELL: It‘s not pro-Kerry.
MATTHEWS: It‘s been said that issue is negative voting. People are voting out of anger, you said, right?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Bill Clinton, 1996.
I‘m telling you, this is what people don‘t understand, OK? Everybody says, oh, my God, the Democrats hate George Bush. I can promise you, I can promise you, the Democratic base does not dislike George Bush any more than the Republican base disliked Bill Clinton in 1996. Hate does not drive people to polls in record numbers.
MITCHELL: Joe, the difference is, the evangelicals, I believe, will vote. I think Karl Rove is going to hit that four million number. I do think that the potential is there—and I‘m not saying they‘re going to show up—the potential is there for a lot...
SCARBOROUGH: It is.
MITCHELL: Let me finish—a lot more young people, because, when you look at these college campuses—and we went to four campuses and I went to some addition campuses, but four campuses alone on the debates—these kids on diverse campuses, whether it was in Tempe or in Miami or Missouri, at Wash U., these kids are really involved and engaged.
SCARBOROUGH: I hate to sound cynical.
MITCHELL: Joe, I think what you‘re hearing on the get-out-the-vote effort from both sides is that the Republicans have been organizing now for years and the Democrats are combining with these 527s, the traditional Democratic groups, and they have got a much bigger force out in the field.
SCARBOROUGH: You were in Iowa, weren‘t you?
MITCHELL: I was in Iowa.
SCARBOROUGH: Because I remember going in Iowa, and I went to every single—I went to Kerry‘s campaign. I went to Dean‘s campaign. I went to every single campaign and there I was going into Dean‘s campaign.
There were college kids from every college in America. They were swarming all over the place. They were knocking on door after door after door after door. It never materialized.
MITCHELL: And they didn‘t vote.
MEACHAM: But one difference here is that this is a generation which began with 9/11, which has gone through the Iraq war. This is a much more complicated four-, six-year period than we‘ve seen before.
BROWN: And that‘s the factor that I don‘t think Karl Rove understood when he decided he was going to roll the dice with the evangelicals. He never thought there were going to be a number of alleged heathens showing up in such droves. And that is what has occurred. And they have no clue on how to handle it.
SCARBOROUGH: Who are the heathens?
BROWN: Bush only went for his own—well.
SCARBOROUGH: The young kids? The college students?
BROWN: Well, I don‘t use it that descriptive, Joe. I‘m simply telling you...
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m just saying, who are they? Who‘s going to show up?
BROWN: They‘re not in that same category of whom you thought were going to vote. There are a whole lot of people you didn‘t think were going to vote. And, as a result of that, Bush hasn‘t appealed to them.
SCARBOROUGH: Who? Be specific? What group?
BROWN: Well, for openers...
SCARBOROUGH: What group is going to show up?
BROWN: Let‘s say, for openers, the young students, the people who watched Michael Moore‘s film, who have responded, those who say the Iraqi war ought to be voted upon by the people of this nation.
They didn‘t exist before, Joe.
BROWN: And when the decision was made on how to go by Bush, it didn‘t include that collection of voters.
SCARBOROUGH: I hope that I am wrong tomorrow night, and I hope that young voters go out and vote tomorrow for whomever.
But I can tell you this. And I‘ve gotten in trouble for saying reality check before on one of these panels, but I‘m going to give everybody a reality check. Every political candidate I have ever come across that has invested in young voters has always awakened the next morning going, oh, my God, why didn‘t I spend money on senior citizens?
BROWN: Here‘s a successful one.
In 1964, when first a candidate for office, running against an incumbent who had beat me by 1,000 votes the year before, I beat him by 4,000 votes. And I had every person who had gotten arrested in the civil rights demonstrations and the anti-war demonstrations ringing door bells, registering to vote. I have no clue how many of them were totally legal. But the results were dramatic.
BROWN: The numbers turned out greater than ever. And we won.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and nobody‘s going to know how many voters are legal in Ohio tomorrow night either.
BROWN: That‘s not true.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, it is.
BROWN: All those people are running around with these earphones and their—it‘s unbelievable.
BROWN: I was in Ohio.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re joking about it, but there are historical trends on young voters. They just—they have let down political candidates year after year after year. If this year is different...
MATTHEWS: Can we make the point? Clearly, because I don‘t know either and no one knows the future—but one thing we‘ve learned from all the polling today, ABC‘s, NBC‘s—I‘ve gone through it this morning with everyone else at NBC—if the young people do what‘s predicted they will do by all the noise that you question, this is going to be a Kerry victory.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt.
MATTHEWS: It is awesome, the power of this electorate, of the youth. If they do get off their keisters and show up tomorrow in the rain, they will change history. And if they don‘t, they‘ll be part of the passe passivity of the worst kind of a democratic response.
BROWN: And, Chris, it‘s not so much they‘re for Kerry. They don‘t like Bush.
MATTHEWS: Well, they have to vote—you can‘t vote negatively on that machine. You have got to vote for a name.
MATTHEWS: We‘ll be right back with Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe. He‘s going to be joining us.
HARDBALL‘s live coverage, election eve coverage, will return after this.
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MATTHEWS: Fancy real estate. Welcome back to HARDBALL from Democracy Plaza.
Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic national party, joins us now.
Terry, we‘ve been having a little discussion here about the role of the youth voter, 18 to 29. What hard facts can you give us?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, we know that there are six million people, Chris, who have already voted early on the early vote. Nearly 18 percent of those that have voted are young voters between the ages of 18 to 29.
I agree with Andrea. If you go to these college campuses, you are going to see a record vote turnout tomorrow. You‘re going to see it all over the country. We are communicating with 10 million people just via the Internet tomorrow. We‘re going to connect with 48 million people just tomorrow on Election Day. Many of these people are young people who are now trained to help us, which we‘ve never done before as a party.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about another group, the independent voter. We‘ve seen some indications from the NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll that they are beginning or have begun to tip toward Kerry. What do you know, independent voters, those 20 percent in the middle?
MCAULIFFE: Well, I think they‘ve finally made their decision.
They‘ve been waiting.
I‘ve always said, you‘ve got wait until after those three debates are over. And I think, last week, I think, with the missing explosives, the issue of Osama bin Laden still alive and well, I think most of the voters are saying, we‘ve had enough of George Bush. It‘s really time for a fresh start. And I think Kerry, with the record crowds all over the country, are offering people new hope, a fresh start in Iraq and a fresh start here in America.
And you saw the NBC poll; 286 electoral votes, they are now predicting for John Kerry. You have felt the movement. I was in New Hampshire all day. Record crowds of folks showed up. I was in Pittsburgh this morning. I have never seen so many people coming out of headquarters with signs, willing to volunteer to be engaged in this campaign this year.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the values question. Now, you and I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church.
MATTHEWS: We‘re part of that community. We look at places like Pennsylvania, Iowa, strong Roman Catholic vote, strong Protestant communities. Do you think the values question, which the president has been so successful bringing into this campaign, could take the usual Democratic vote down?
MCAULIFFE: I think what goes on the other side of that, Chris, is the values, we call the kitchen table values, job creation, George Bush, the first president in 72 years not to create a single net new job, the issue of 45 million Americans with no health insurance, underfunded education by $27 billion.
What people want to know when they‘re sitting home at night, are their children getting a quality education? Are their parents living in a dignified retirement? Do they have a job with health benefits? And those are the values that they see John Kerry out there fighting for. Other issues, a lot of Americans believe you ought leave those issues between yourself and your God.
You and I, Chris, went Catholic education our entire lives. We go to church. We talk to God about the issues. But they believe that the government ought to be out there helping people on those kitchen table issues, making their lives better at home.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about party solidarity.
There‘s numbers out there. The “Wall Street Journal” poll, I‘ll mention it again, 97 percent support by Republicans for the Republican president. Democratic Party support for the Democratic challenger not quite so high. What‘s that about?
MCAULIFFE: Well, it‘s still—the one poll I saw was at 90 percent.
We are a very big, very broad party, as you know, Chris. And we have been reaching out to people all over the country. But there is strong support for John Kerry. I announced yesterday that the national party had raised over $300 million this year. That‘s $220 million more than we raised in 2000 for Al Gore with federal money.
There are record numbers of people supporting us through the Internet, through direct mail, small donors. Our party for the first time in our history has been able to put, as I say, 250,000 trained volunteers, 6,000 staff.
MCAULIFFE: We have the greatest grassroots operation. And they are there because they support John Kerry. There is enthusiasm for John Kerry across this country. They don‘t like George Bush. And I think we‘re going to shock people tomorrow where 120 million-plus people come out and vote.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much, Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
MCAULIFFE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: We invited, by the way, Terry‘s usual sparring partner, Ed Gillespie, who‘s been on this program so many times. But for whatever reason, he chose not to accept our invitation tonight.
But we do have with us right here at Democracy Plaza a very strong endorser of the Republican ticket, Ben Stein. He‘ll be with us in just a moment.
You‘re watching MSNBC.
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MATTHEWS: We‘re back at Democracy Plaza, which, by the way, is about as nonpartisan as Salt Lake City.
MATTHEWS: By the way, I want to know, how many people here are for Kerry?
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MATTHEWS: Barry Goldwater, Barry Goldwater—OK—Barry Goldwater once said he wished he could slice off New York City from the rest of the country.
MATTHEWS: But I‘m here have Ben Stein.
Ben Stein, you‘ve got...
BEN STEIN, FORMER NIXON SPEECHWRITER: He wanted to slice off the whole East Coast.
MATTHEWS: The whole East Coast.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Ben, about this race. And you‘ve been following the numbers in the last-minute closing. What is it going to close on? What is going to decide it tomorrow night at 7:00 or 8:00, when people finally begin to stop voting?
STEIN: Who can keep America safe. And I think people have a completely wrong idea about Kerry.
Kerry is an impressive, smart guy. But he basically went to war in Vietnam and came back something of a pacifist, something of a multilateralist, doesn‘t really have a good idea that America has the right to defend itself all by itself. He‘s a perfectly fine human being. If he wins, I‘m sure he‘ll be a fine president. I just don‘t feel he‘s as committed to America as the shining city on the hill as Mr. Bush is.
MATTHEWS: What do you think led to his what you call the—a lot of people come back from war, like Churchill, Jack Kennedy, Hemingway, as men who sort of believe in war. Why do you think he had a different reaction?
STEIN: I think he had that reaction before he left.
If you read the speech that he gave when he was, I believe, valedictorian of his class at Yale, as I was at Yale Law School, he was very much anti-war even then. And I think he became even more anti-war seeing the waste of life in war. But what he doesn‘t understand is, this is a war with a serious purpose.
But, you know, he‘s stuck in it, too. No matter what he does, he‘s stuck in it, too. He‘s stuck in the deficit, too. He‘s stuck in the retirement crisis, too.
STEIN: They‘ll all stuck in everything.
MATTHEWS: So, whoever wins is going to have the same kettle of fish to deal with.
STEIN: They‘re going to have the same kettle of fish to deal with.
It‘s just a question of whether they‘re living in a dream world. Kerry is in a dream world. He thinks France and Germany are going to pull us out of the ditch in Iraq. They‘re not going to. We‘ve got to do it by ourselves.
MATTHEWS: You know, back earlier in American history, the two parties were both relatively centrist. And they could find agreement after elections were over.
I just saw an NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll number today.
STEIN: I saw that.
MATTHEWS: You saw it.
STEIN: I saw it on your show.
MATTHEWS: That only 2 percent—only 2 percent of the country likes both these candidates.
STEIN: I have to say, I‘m in that 2 percent, because I believe, if Kerry wins, I think we all have to rally behind him and bring the country together. If Bush wins, we have to rally behind the country and bring it together.
It is so important that we bring this country together. We‘re fighting an incredibly evil, wicked enemy. We will only defeat that enemy if we are united. And we have got to believe we‘re the shining light of humanity, which we are.
MATTHEWS: This is the first presidential election we‘ve had since the war in Iraq began. Isn‘t this an appropriate time for the American people to choose whether it was the right course or not?
STEIN: I think..
MATTHEWS: If not now, when?
STEIN: We can‘t unchoose it, Chris. We‘ve chosen it.
STEIN: We went it looking—we looked at Saddam Hussein and said, here‘s the one guy in the world who we know has used weapons of mass destruction against innocent people. We know he‘s started wars. We know he‘s friendly will al Qaeda, even though we didn‘t think he plotted with them.
He‘s the most dangerous guy in the world in terms of launching wars.
Let‘s take him out. The unthinkable has become the thinkable since 9/11. Let‘s take him out. Maybe it was wrong. Maybe it was right. It was a sound decision at the time. Now the question is, what do we do next?
And what I look at is, that guy who is walking down an alley in Fallujah or Ramadi or Mosul or Kirkuk, he‘s the real star, not Sean Penn, not Susan Sarandon.
MATTHEWS: Right. Sure.
STEIN: What do we do to justify his faith in America and make him feel that his life is not wasted?
MATTHEWS: But if...
STEIN: We‘ve seen Senator Kerry‘s...
MATTHEWS: I find it very hard not to argue with you, but I‘m going to let you argue, because I think there is a question here. If we‘re teaching democracy, don‘t we have to practice it?
STEIN: Of course we have to practice it.
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STEIN: That means Republicans are allowed to talk, too.
STEIN: ... allowed to say...
MATTHEWS: Isn‘t foreign policy the question before the American people?
MATTHEWS: Not a static snapshot question, do you like the war in Iraq, but which direction do you want to go in the future? Isn‘t that the question for the electorate?
STEIN: Everybody in the whole world doesn‘t want to have another Iraq. Nobody wants to be stuck in the quagmire of Iraq again.
The question is, what do we do now? And the point is, we have got a fighting man or woman walking down the street in Anbar Province. How do we make that person feel we‘re behind him or her 100 percent and that we‘re not sawing them off at the knees, the way we did in Vietnam? Let‘s be behind them.
MATTHEWS: Domestic question, the values question in this election.
What are the values questions?
STEIN: The big one, of course, is right to life, which I think you and I differ quite sharply on.
And I think, other than that, there is no big values question. I saw you on a TV show say that you thought that Bush was to blame for people losing jobs.
MATTHEWS: That‘s your accounting of what I said, but go ahead.
STEIN: Bush is not to blame. Bush inherited a downward cycle in economic cycles.
He did brilliantly trying to get us out of it with stimulative fiscal policy.
STEIN: You have on your panel the wife of the best Federal Reserve chairman there‘s ever been. He worked very hard.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me tell you. I don‘t think that—since you‘re getting into my sense of history, I don‘t think that Herbert Hoover was responsible for the Great Depression.
STEIN: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
MATTHEWS: Obviously not.
So it‘s not a question of who‘s responsible. It‘s who‘s on deck when the problem hits.
STEIN: I know.
MATTHEWS: And the American people have to respond to that fact.
STEIN: And you know something? You bring up a brilliant point.
Herbert Hoover was not responsible.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
MATTHEWS: The Democrats pinned it to him.
Mr. Bush is not at all responsible. And he went through a cycle. Now, by the most frequently used measurement, we have more jobs, higher percentage of houses—homes being owned by households. We have extraordinary corporate profits. The economy is strong after many, many blows. We owe that partly to Bush, partly to economic cycles.
But Bush has been a brave leader in an unprecedented crisis. I don‘t think he‘s perfect, Chris. He‘s not George Washington. He‘s George Bush. He is a good man. He married for love. He stayed married. He‘s a good, solid man. I like him.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, my pal Ben Stein.
STEIN: Thank you, Chris.
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MATTHEWS: We‘ll come back with more HARDBALL on MSNBC from Democracy Plaza.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Tucker Eskew is a senior adviser to the Bush campaign.
Tucker, it‘s getting close to the election time for everybody who hasn‘t already started to vote. How do you see the whole movement in the country right now from the Bush perspective?
TUCKER ESKEW, BUSH CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: It feels good, Chris.
Thanks for having me.
If you keep adding late editions of this show, you will keep me up until I go vote tomorrow morning.
ESKEW: We‘ve got momentum. We‘re seeing some very good movement in particularly Florida and Ohio, states we wanted to lock down, we‘ve had a great closing weekend with.
And the president, as you know, was in six states today, five of them states that Al Gore won. We had a million volunteers cranking up the phone calls. We‘re doing that person-to-person contact that‘s going to pay off in a win tomorrow. I think any win‘s a big win, particularly if it‘s clear. That‘s what I want and I believe that is what we‘re going to get.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about the industrial part of the country, the big 10, now including Penn State.
Pennsylvania. I‘m looking at a Zogby poll that came out today, had a five-point advantage for Kerry. Now, I know that contradicts some of the earlier polling, in fact some of the simultaneous polling. What do you make of the Zogby poll showing a five-point edge for Kerry in Pennsylvania?
ESKEW: I saw a five-point edge for us in Quinnipiac. So I‘ve got to go with what our people on the ground say, absolutely unprecedented grassroots.
It‘s clear the Kerry campaign started to see some weakness in Philadelphia. And they trotted out, rolled out, even, a really good surrogate in former President Clinton to try to mend some of those problems they‘ve had. The senator from Massachusetts has not perhaps excited some of the base of that party as much as they‘ve wanted. I know they‘ve got surrogates in South Florida trying to do that tonight.
MATTHEWS: All right, let‘s stay in Pennsylvania, because we both know that state battleground.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about what we know about. And Andrea Mitchell is with me as well.
It seems to me that the old battle is how much do you bring out of the city with you. We talked to the mayor of Philadelphia last night, John Street. I‘ve talked to some other people I know up there. They‘re talking 350,000 to 400,000 majority. Can you withstand that in the T., that big area in the middle between Pittsburgh and Philly?
ESKEW: I think the numbers will be less than that. I don‘t think they‘ve got the excitement. I think we‘re getting the kind of support among traditional Republicans that we need to make it happen and the kind of grassroots operation that will deliver it. So...
MATTHEWS: How about in the collar counties? Do you think you can hold the collar counties that have changed ethnically over the years? It‘s not all Wasp country, like it used to be, a lot of diversity developing in those collar counties. Do you think you can withstand Philadelphia‘s overwhelming pluralities with the suburbs and the country?
ESKEW: We can. Those are new economy counties. And we‘re starting to see that entrepreneurial spirit pay off in that kind of freedom-loving, business-builder, entrepreneurial spirit that helps President Bush a lot.
MATTHEWS: How about Wisconsin and Iowa? I thought, watching the polls, like you have, intently, maybe not as intently as you, Tucker, it seems to me, I thought you guys were going to pull off Wisconsin.
ESKEW: We are.
MATTHEWS: Zogby‘s got you down in Wisconsin by seven points tonight.
That‘s hard to ignore.
ESKEW: Yes, I‘ve seen that number and I‘ve talked to people out there who feel extremely confident.
We‘re concerned across the country about (AUDIO GAP) and vote legally.
And I think Wisconsin is a state we can win and will win.
But what do you make about these different photos on these polls? The big question is whether the young voter is going to vote. I guess Zogby is assuming a lot bigger electorate than the other guys are. Does that bother you, that maybe Zogby is right; there will be a huge turnout tomorrow?
ESKEW: Well, we‘re hoping for an increased turnout. And we hope it‘s big. And we think we benefit from that. So that doesn‘t bother me in the least.
Are there unknowables in this election? Sure, any time you‘ve got one this close. But you look across the last week, Chris, and we steadily have had a lead in the majority of the polls that averages out somewhere around two to three points. I think you add to that an intensity among our voters that exceeds that on the other side.
The other side gets a lot of publicity for their intensity. Our people are just hot as a $2 pistol to get into the voting booth and cast their vote for President Bush.
MATTHEWS: Well, you‘re right about that. Based upon the NBC polling, the Republican Party could not be more united. I‘ve never seen numbers like it; 97 percent of your party, people who identify as Republicans, are going to vote for the president. And that means moderates, conservatives, new conservative, neocons, everybody seems to like him.
But what about the new numbers displaying the fact that perhaps there is a trend now toward Kerry among independents?
ESKEW: Don‘t believe it.
In fact, I‘ll cite another poll that I don‘t always quote a lot. The CBS News/”New York Times” poll shows that among early voters and absentee, we have got a lead and that we have a lead among independents, so—if I remember correctly. So, no, I think it all bodes well for us. There are some tight races out there.
But if you look at the electoral map, which you‘ve been doing, we‘re on offense where Gore won. And they‘re having to play a lot of defense, Chris.
MATTHEWS: OK, it‘s great having you on. Thanks for coming on HARDBALL tonight, coming on MSNBC‘s election eve program, Tucker Eskew of the Bush campaign.
When we come back, we‘ll check in on the youth vote. We‘ve been talking about it all night. Let‘s really focus on young people. I don‘t mean kids. I mean people up to 30 years old and how they‘re going to vote and if they‘re going to vote.
HARDBALL‘s live coverage continues from Democracy Plaza after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERALD FORD, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It‘s perfectly obvious that my voice isn‘t up to par and I shouldn‘t be making very many comments. And I won‘t.
ANNOUNCER: On election night, 1976, Gerald Ford lost the election and his voice, prompting first lady Betty Ford to read his concession speech to the American people.
BETTY FORD, FIRST LADY: It‘s been the greatest honor of my husband‘s life to have served his fellow Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s live coverage from Democracy Plaza. We‘re here with the panel.
I have to tell you, everybody, it‘s so great to be here. I love elections. I‘ve loved them since I was a kid. This guy is smiling, because he is the same way. I can tell. And the mayor of course has been in elections since he was a kid.
And I want to ask you all about your emotions right now, as even reporters or whatever. This is an electric time. And to be here at Rockefeller Center with all these people out here.
MATTHEWS: And it‘s like a theme part out here.
Mr. Mayor, you are a great romantic about politics, also a real-politician.
MATTHEWS: Tell me your feelings as an American facing this amazing choice.
BROWN: I‘m going to need therapy on Wednesday morning.
MATTHEWS: Either way?
BROWN: There‘s no question.
MATTHEWS: Either way.
BROWN: Either way?
BROWN: Because it‘s going to be such a downer. Just think about it, no more panels, no more constant calls between each one of us.
MITCHELL: We could still be sitting here.
MATTHEWS: Well, I remember Andrea from coming in with KYW Radio covering local campaigns there, which I remember so well.
MATTHEWS: Which we won‘t talk about.
And her knowledge of Marvin Mandel. And I‘ve been following her career all these years.
MITCHELL: Oh, you‘re too much fun.
MATTHEWS: And I know I‘m too mean. But the fact is, they were tough customers you had to cover.
Your feelings covering this. This is a different one, isn‘t it?
BROWN: It‘s dramatically different.
MITCHELL: This is different. And you really feel that this country is engaged. Whether or not people actually vote, we‘ll have to wait to see what the turnout is.
But the issues are so big ever since 9/11. We‘re at war. This could not be a bigger choice. And you‘ve got to admit that these candidates could not be more different philosophically.
MATTHEWS: It‘s an easy one. It‘s an easy one.
MITCHELL: And you cannot be undecided.
MATTHEWS: I think so. I mean, I remember Chris Darden in the O.J. trial, saying this is really tough. Well, maybe it is. But this is not tough, is it, Joe? Is it tough for you? Your emotions aren‘t divided.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m excited.
MATTHEWS: I know.
SCARBOROUGH: I know that sounds so ridiculous.
I get so sick and tired of hearing people talking about two Americas. I served in Congress. And I‘m here to tell you, there is one America. I‘m here to tell you—and you know what? I‘ve made people angry this entire campaign, whether it was going after John Kerry‘s speech or George Bush‘s performance in the debate. But I can tell you, regardless of whoever wins Tuesday, America will be strong Wednesday morning.
And both of these guys—anybody that‘s been through this process has to know that both of these gentlemen have been through a brutalizing process. They are heroes. They should be applauded as heroes. Regardless of what happens, we move forward. I do not believe we live in two Americas. I‘m not talking about health care and all that. I‘m just talking about a divided America.
You know, I went to the Democratic Convention and everybody said, gee, you‘re going to get ripped to shreds. I had people coming up, hugging me, saying, I love watching your show. I love hearing you talk about the issues.
This is exciting. This is what America is all about. This is the greatness of America. I don‘t want to read another story about how Wednesday morning, we‘re going to be a divided nation. We‘re not. John Kerry...
MATTHEWS: Well, is that up to—is that up to the leaders to unite us? Or is that just a fact?
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s just a fact of life.
Listen, John Kerry is not going to take us out of Iraq the next day. John Kerry is not going to raise taxes 100 percent. George Bush is not going to move us sharply to the right or the left. Listen, we‘ve had Michael Moore on the right—on the left—and we‘ve had others on the right that have made a lot of money by trying to scare Americans in the middle.
I‘ll tell you, we‘ve got two responsible men running for president of the United States. And this is a celebration. This is why I love America so much. This is why I‘m so excited to be here tonight.
MATTHEWS: OK, Jon, let me—I like that argument, because I think it‘s a good argument.
But I pick up the best-seller list and all I read, it‘s either whack jobs on the left or whack jobs on the right trying to pull us apart.
MEACHAM: Right. Right.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘ve got them outnumbered, though.
MEACHAM: There‘s a wonderful piece E.B. White wrote in the middle of World War II...
MATTHEWS: Can I ask you a question?
MEACHAM: You may.
MATTHEWS: Who is E.B. White?
MATTHEWS: I don‘t mind asking, so I can help the rest of us out.
MEACHAM: The great American essayist and “New Yorker” figure.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
MEACHAM: Wrote “Talk of the Town” for many years. E.B. White...
MATTHEWS: Algonquin set.
MEACHAM: It was a little bit later than that, but that‘s all right.
MATTHEWS: OK. All right.
MEACHAM: But he wrote a piece saying that democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people are right more than half the time. Democracy is the score at the top of the ninth. It‘s the mustard on the hot dog. It‘s the feeling of communion in the libraries and the feeling of privacy in the voting booths.
MITCHELL: That‘s perfect.
MEACHAM: And when FDR heard that, he said, them‘s my sentiments exactly.
MITCHELL: And, you know, and you go outside on this plaza and see people walking through those exhibits and just the vibrancy of it. And it really is very moving.
MATTHEWS: Can I make a—everybody is doing bicentennial moments.
And I want to make one.
The best reason to vote tomorrow is to think of—right now, everybody watching, think of all the people that don‘t want you to vote. They think you are too conservative or they think you are too liberal. They don‘t like your views on war and peace. They don‘t like your attitudes about lifestyle. And the only way you can make those people a little bit less happy, which is a good idea, is to go vote and show them, because they don‘t want you to vote.
MITCHELL: I‘ve got one other reason. All those people who would like to vote in Iraq and are being shot out on the streets because they as yet have not figured out to game a January election that will be safe.
BROWN: You know, Joe—Joe is correct when he says there are not two Americas. There‘s only one America.
And you know the person that knows that best? Those people out there on this plaza, those people driving cabs, those people working every day of the week. The people who think that there are two Americas are the candidates for public office.
SCARBOROUGH: And their staff members.
I remember having a great epiphany. I was in college and I was talking to the head of the history department of the University of Alabama. And I was a huge Ronald Reagan fan, of course. And I said, what do you think of Ronald Reagan? And he stood there and he looked at me and he said, you know what? I think the American republic is strong enough to endure two terms of anybody.
SCARBOROUGH: And I say that just to say, again, I mean, reasonable people can differ.
MATTHEWS: How did you vote on the impeachment of Bill Clinton?
SCARBOROUGH: I voted to impeach him on two articles..
MATTHEWS: So you couldn‘t take two full terms of Bill Clinton.
SCARBOROUGH: On two articles.
SCARBOROUGH: And against on two articles.
But I would rather not explain why. That also angered a lot of Republicans, too.
MEACHAM: One more thing.
MATTHEWS: Pardon me?
SCARBOROUGH: I said, I also angered a lot of Republicans by voting for two and against two.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. I know.
SCARBOROUGH: But I‘m just saying, again, again, people are using division as a marketing tool to sell books, to sell movies, to sell hate speech.
And I can tell you, the people that come up to you in airports and you in airports and you in airports and cafeterias, airports, wherever, they don‘t hate you if you‘re a Republican or a Democrat. They say thanks a lot. It‘s like you were talking about immigrants from Western Africa coming up to you watching your show all the time.
MATTHEWS: I love it. Nothing I like more.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s because, just like Andrea said, tonight, people are getting shot at in Iraq, because they want to do what we do over here.
MEACHAM: And it‘s also about...
MATTHEWS: The reason I like immigrants is not just because they watch programs like ours, but because they come to this country, a lot of them from West Africa—I meet them in Washington—a lot of them cab drivers. You meet them on the streets, in all kinds of circumstances.
They come and they know this is a place you can get it. You can get it. You can figure it out. You can watch this—figure out the idiom, how people talk. They pick up the slang in about 15 minutes. And then they start figuring out the way we think. And then they start figuring out the way we act. And they get it, because they—because they have to.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, they have access.
MATTHEWS: And they love it.
SCARBOROUGH: And they don‘t get shot at if they choose the wrong side.
MEACHAM: The other thing we have to remember is that, five squares miles from here 3 ½ years ago, 3,000 people died because they went to work. because they lived here and they lived under this system. And voting and participating is one way to honor their memory.
MATTHEWS: Well said.
We‘ll be back. I want to thank—by the way, we‘re not going to be back with everybody. I want to thank the mayor.
It‘s great to have you. You give this group a maturity, a maturity, a sense of gravitas, of gravitas, not necessarily a sense of epiphany. I love that word.
MATTHEWS: I thought liberals talked about epiphanies.
Anyway, thank you, Andrea Mitchell. Great. I‘ve known her forever.
Jon Meacham, the great author, here he is again, one of my favorite books, my favorite book of all time, “Franklin and Winston.”
MATTHEWS: Joe Scarborough, it‘s good to have him back. And you don‘t know what he went through to get here.
We‘ll see you all tomorrow night for the election.
When we come back, we‘ll talk to the panel here at Democracy Plaza.
And don‘t forget, you can keep up with the final moves of the presidential race on Hardblogger, our election blog Web site. Just go to HARDBALL.MSNBC.com.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: We are back at Democracy Plaza.
Tomorrow night is going to be one of the great nights in our history of the history.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Please watch us from 6:00 on.
And now we have a special treat, my son Thomas Matthews singing “God Bless America.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS MATTHEWS, SON OF CHRIS MATTHEWS (singing): O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain! America, America, God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.
O beautiful for patriot dream that stands beyond the years. Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears. America, America, God shed his grace on thee, till nobler men keep once again thy whiter jubilee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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