IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Scarborough Country' for Nov. 3

Guest: Mort Zuckerman, Lisa Caputo


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I want to be your president for four more years to make our country brighter and better for every one of our citizens.  I am proud that our country remains the hope of the oppressed and the greatest force for good on this earth. 


PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST:  Tonight, President Bush wins a second term.  Now what‘s in store for the next four years?  It has been a bitter and grueling campaign.  Both candidates endured more vitriol than any election in modern history.  And while many were certain that John Kerry would come out on top, yesterday, a record 59 million Americans reelected President Bush. 


DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  President Bush ran forthrightly on a clear agenda for this nation‘s future and the nation responded by giving him a mandate. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the president of the United States. 


BUSH:  America has spoken.  And I‘m humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens.  Our people have restored the vigor of this economy and shown resolve and patience in a new kind of war.  Our military has brought justice to the enemy and honor to America. 

God bless you and may God bless America. 



BUCHANAN:  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, coming to you live from NBC‘s election headquarters at Democracy Plaza.  Joe Scarborough has returned securely and safely to the red state of Florida.  And I‘m Pat Buchanan, filling in for Joe. 

Well, it‘s over.  Campaign 2004 is in the history books, and despite the bitterness of the rhetoric, the record amounts of money spent, the record turnout at the polls and despite what many viewed as insurmountable bad news for the president, the most votes in the history of this Republic were cast for about George W. Bush. 

Here to decipher exactly what Election Day tells us about America are some weary but energized political pros, Lawrence Kudlow, host of CNBC‘s “Kudlow & Cramer,” Mort Zuckerman, editor in chief of “U.S. News & World Report,” and Lisa Caputo, former press secretary for Hillary Clinton, plus, MSNBC‘s blogger in chief, Joe Trippi. 

First, Joe Scarborough is on the phone. 

Joe, how are you? 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Well, Pat, I will tell you what.  My back has felt better, but it was a great eight hours, nine hours last night staying up with you. 

I have got to tell you, Pat, there is a political story, obviously.  This is a remarkable political story of a president and Karl Rove and a team putting together one of the most efficient campaigns in American history, the ability—you know, there‘s always been this big lie that Republicans have wanted to depress voter turnout.  Karl Rove four years ago said, we have got to jack up voter turnout. 

He did that.  Nobody believed he could do that.  The Democratic operatives didn‘t believe it.  He has proven to everybody that he‘s the best in the business. 

But, Patrick Buchanan, I want to tell you there‘s a second part of this story that I believe, as far as popular culture goes, is just as big.  And that‘s the media side of this story.  Coming out of the third debate, the only two people in America that I heard in American media that said that George Bush won that third debate and that he could move towards victory were yourself and me. 

Everybody else said John Kerry was the master debater, he was the master statesman, that George Bush got beaten up in that third debate.  I really think that‘s when he began to turn the tide.  And, Pat, if you also remember, over the past 48 hours, leading up, even before these polls started coming out showing John Kerry doing well a couple of hours before the polls closed, there was—I can guarantee you every major media figure I talked to in the mainstream media were confident that John Kerry was going to be elected president of the United States. 

It was sort of the quiet chattering classes.  Even if they didn‘t write it in their columns, they were sitting there talking about how George Bush wasn‘t going to win, John Kerry was going to take this thing to victory.  And I‘ll tell you what.  They were absolutely stunned.  They were absolutely stunned late, late last night and early this morning when things turned against them. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think there‘s no doubt about that, Joe. 

I guess let me bring in some of our panelists. 

Let me start with you, Mort Zuckerman.

What was your take? Why were the media and why were the exit polls so wrong?  I think a lot of us who thought all along Bush was going to win this were shaken by the news that came in, in the exit polls in the afternoon. 

MORT ZUCKERMAN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT”:  Well, the exit polls were Clearly misleading to a lot of people in the press.

And the best explanation I hear is that people tend to exaggerate their rMD-BO_participation in the polls when they‘re asked on exit polls;

75 percent of the people said they had voted in the election and obviously that wasn‘t the case. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  So they clearly were getting wrong information.  It was supposed to be balanced and adjusted.  It had not.  And it actually set the stage for Bush‘s victory and the sense that it was a stunning victory.  I think it really changed the whole perception of what the final result was. 

BUCHANAN:  Is that not true?  I went in here figuring, look, we have been Bush.  We predicted Bush is going to win it.  Exit polls say we‘re down the tubes.  They‘re coming out of the state polls, you hear—I heard from people, Democrats, who had called their friends, saying Florida is in the bag. 


I have to tell you, Pat, we all saw the same exit polls yesterday.  It was a little freaky to me.  I beckoned back to 2000 itself and the exit polls coming out of there.  You were seeing yesterday Kerry up 20 points in Pennsylvania, which I just found implausible, as much as I love Ed Rendell and the ability to turn out the vote.

I think what we saw yesterday was a lot of the exit polls were early likely Kerry voters and women.  One thing that Joe said that I do want to pick up on is, let‘s not lose the fact that the Democrats turned out the vote yesterday.  I think a lot of that credit goes to Harold Ickes, who was very instrumental in the 527 organizations and the ability of the Democrats to turn out young voters and also their base. 


BUCHANAN:  Go ahead.  Go, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Patrick Buchanan, I‘m sorry.  I hate to jump in on a phone line here, but that in itself was the biggest urban myth of this election. 

You know, Pat, you heard me for three nights when the HARDBALL panel said time and again that the young people were going to come out and vote, they were going to make a difference.  There were breathless predictions by anchors from all three networks, “The New York Times,” “The L.A. Times.”  The liberal media said the youth were going to carry John Kerry on their shoulders to victory.  I said it was a lie.  I said there was no way it was going to happen, and for two reasons.

First of all, because the youth votes never counts out votes in the numbers that they‘re predicted and, secondly, because these 527 groups were spawned off of what happened in Iowa.  Now, I love Joe Trippi.  I know he‘s on the set. 


SCARBOROUGH:  But I went out to Iowa.  I went out to Iowa. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I saw all these young college kids.  I was inspired by how much they loved Howard Dean, by how much they loved the political process.  And I saw that all the blogging and all of the youth support did not, in the end, did not interpret to real votes in 2004. 

Now, they may in 2008, but they did not this year.  And John Kerry was left standing at the altar by young voters, by the 527s, by the bloggers, by all these people who were going to revolutionize it.  In the end, it was those evangelical Christians that Karl Rove started looking for four years ago that helped put him over. 


LAWRENCE KUDLOW, CO-HOST, “KUDLOW & CRAMER”:  That‘s right.  That‘s the key.


KUDLOW:  Thank you.  Thank you, Joe.  That‘s the key.

BUCHANAN:  Let me let Joe Trippi.

Now, as I understand it, Joe Trippi, your view is, young voters did increase dramatically.  It was the Democratic base that was not gotten out. 


JOE TRIPPI, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  I agree with almost everything Joe said, particularly about Karl Rove‘s ambitious plan from the very beginning to turn out—he had a targeted plan to turn out his folks.  They did it. 

The fact is, George Bush got nine million more votes last nights than he did in 2000.  The fact is, last night nine million more people turned out than did in 2000.  That pretty much tells you that the Democrats didn‘t do the job of getting out their vote.  There‘s no way you can‘t get around that.  The fact is the young folks went from 17 million, around 17 million in 2000, to well over 19 million in 2000. 

And they delivered 1.78 million more votes to Kerry than they did to Gore.  They weren‘t the problem.  They did their job.  They gave Kerry the money to even be competitive with Bush over the Internet.  The problem was, the Democratic Party, whether it was—and the Kerry campaign failed somehow in the end to turn out in numbers that Rove did.  And that‘s where we lost this thing.


BUCHANAN:  Larry, go ahead.


KUDLOW:  I think, when you look at this thing, there‘s a couple things that jump to mind. 

No. 1, the lying exit polls, but that happens every time.  Somebody‘s got to have a full-scale congressional investigation of this nonsense.  It‘s just utter craziness.  Their sampling is wrong.  Everything is wrong.

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

KUDLOW:  No. 2, GOTV, get out the vote.  The Karl Rove-Ken Mehlman ground operation was phenomenal and kicked Democratic butt everywhere.

And, No. 3, the evangelical vote.  This is what the major media refuses to discuss.  These are values, morals, religion-driven people. 

BUCHANAN:  We‘re going to get into the values people.

KUDLOW:  And they came out to vote in favor of the traditional marriage and banning the gay marriage amendments in Ohio and elsewhere.  And it made a huge difference. 


BUCHANAN:  There was a good line about that, Lisa.  It said—one of the evangelicals said, look, we don‘t need a ride to the polls and a sandwich to vote.  We do it.  You know, they don‘t need that.

CAPUTO:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  They are self-motivated. 

CAPUTO:  They are.

BUCHANAN:  They don‘t need people to take them out in buses in huge numbers.  They come out. 

CAPUTO:  They do. 

But what so interesting about this election was, it was based on a morals values vote.  Now, what does that say about where we are as a country?  This was an election...


BUCHANAN:  We are divided on moral values, divided on beliefs.  We are divided on morality.  There‘s no doubt about i. 

But the people whose values are rooted in traditional Christian beliefs and who are at war with the secular society, they came out to say something. 

CAPUTO:  They did.

But, Pat, don‘t forget, Karl Rove—if we‘re going to deify Karl Rove

·         and I‘m saying he‘s entitled.  He is.

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

CAPUTO:  He spent four years planning this campaign down to the precinct captain.  And we‘ve got to talk about that, because he managed to form a cult in the field, in the rural areas.  They tapped into the rural areas after looking at the analysis after the 2000 election.  And that was a very effective thing to do.


CAPUTO:  Just wait one second.

Joe and Joe, all my point was on the vote is, I totally credit the Republicans for getting out the vote.  But you have to credit the Democrats.  They got the vote out.  They registered new voters.

You‘re right, Joe Scarborough.  They didn‘t deliver for the Democrats.  But, as Joe Trippi says, we had more voters who were new voters and young voters in this election. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, let me just say one thing very quickly, Pat.


BUCHANAN:  Joe Scarborough.  Go ahead, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because it‘s something that the media misses and it‘s why Democrats and people in the blue states are shocked every time. 

Because, when you‘re reporting on Election Day, there are always pictures of Jesse Jackson and his rally of 14 people that are upset.  Are there pictures in urban Cleveland?  What they didn‘t show last night were the 600 people waiting in line in Pensacola, Florida, singing “God Bless America” until midnight.  What they didn‘t see is people waiting in middle America. 

There is such an underrepresentation of the flyover states.  You know what?  And you‘re right.  It‘s just people, men and women of faith who feel like they have been ignored by the blue states, by the John Kerry‘s, by the liberals for too long.  And last night, they got their revenge. 


BUCHANAN:  OK, stand by, everyone.  We‘ll be talking more about how the conventional wisdom missed the mark in this year‘s election when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns live from Democracy Plaza in the heart of Manhattan. 

Don‘t go away. 


BUCHANAN:  The youth vote was supposed to propel Kerry to victory yesterday.  So where did all the children go?  Our panel takes on that question next. 



BUSH:  We must work to move America forward.  I want to be your president for four more years to make our country safer. 




We‘re back with more postgame analysis with Lawrence Kudlow, Mort Zuckerman, Lisa Caputo, former press secretary to Mr. Clinton, MSNBC‘s blogger in chief, Joe Trippi, and Joe Scarborough by phone. 

Many of you, like us, may feel sleep-deprived out there after last night.  But had you been tuned to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY over the last year, you could have gone to bed early.  It turns out Joe did have it right from the beginning of the long race to the White House. 

Let‘s listen. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I think Democrats were scared by the fact that this guy shot from the hip one time too many. 

HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And then we‘re going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House!  Yes!

SCARBOROUGH:  That was perhaps the worst speech I‘ve ever heard. 

The only thing we know for sure is, Dick Gephardt‘s campaign and political career is over tonight. 

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D), MISSOURI:  Today, my pursuit of the presidency has reached its end.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m going to start the show tonight by giving John Kerry some advice on how he can win the presidential debate.  You say, Mr.  President, with all due respect, when it comes to fighting wars, you‘re no Reagan. 

Would Ronald Reagan have backed out in Tora Bora and Afghanistan in December of 2001, when he had Osama bin Laden capture? 

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Osama bin Laden, unfortunately, he escaped in the mountains of Tora Bora.  We had him surrounded.  But we didn‘t use American forces, the best trained in the world, to go kill him.  The president relied on Afghan warlords and he outsourced that job, too. 

SCARBOROUGH:  First prediction of the night, though.  And I‘m going to say it here at about five minutes after 5:00.  I think Dick Cheney is going to do extraordinarily well tonight. 

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  You have missed 33 out of 36 meetings of the Judiciary Committee, almost 70 percent of the meetings of the Intelligence Committee.  You‘ve missed a lot of key votes on tax policy, on energy, on Medicare reform.  Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you Senator Gone. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I have seen image after image after image after image of voters today from Alabama to California all across America.  And I‘ll tell you what.  They look like the same middle-aged voter to me. 

SEAN “P. DIDDY” COMBS, MUSICIAN:  It‘s incredible.  It‘s a historical day, and I‘m especially proud of the youth and minority voter turnout.  That‘s going to really shock this nation.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s not that I am smart.  It was just a reality check. 

Dee Dee will tell you, the youth leave you at the altar every time. 

George W. Bush, it drives people crazy on both the coasts, but George W. Bush plays to the heartland of America.  And it‘s those values that got him elected. 


BUCHANAN:  OK, Joe, you had it right on the urban myth of the youth vote.  They weren‘t there. 

But, of course, Joe Trippi says both Bush and Kerry increased their vote among the youth by equal amounts.  Is that right, Joe? 


TRIPPI:  I think what happened was—I want to get back to this, because it‘s interesting.  You can see what happened.  Joe and I are actually very close on this, except for this youth vote thing, because they were out there.  They increased by a few million folks. 

What happened was Rove did an amazing thing, and Mehlman, all those guys on the Bush campaign did an amazing thing.  Yesterday, nine million people over the age of 45 voted for the first time.  George Bush got nine million more votes yesterday.  Who were those people?  They‘re in that age group.  They‘re married.  They have children.  They‘re in that, this exact cultural thing that Joe talks about, the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  The flyover space.

TRIPPI:  ... that somehow Kerry didn‘t—right.

And I just think that‘s what happened.  The young vote was—the 18- to 29-year-old group was the only age group...

BUCHANAN:  They went 54-44 Kerry over Bush. 

TRIPPI:  This is something Mort was bringing up.


SCARBOROUGH:  At the same time, though, Pat Buchanan, if you look at the NBC tracking polls that Brian Williams showed us, in the year 2000, people 18-29 made up 17 percent of the vote.  The same thing happened this time, 17 percent of the vote. 

I understand what Joe‘s saying, that other demographics also rose, but, again, this was, again, the greater urban myth.  And I‘ll tell you what.  It was not just about this single urban myth.  We conservatives, we people in the red states, we people in flyover space every four years watched the liberal elite media at “The New York Times” and “The L.A.  Times” and at a lot of these broadcast networks scrambling frantically to try to figure out a way to explain why their candidate is going to win and why we dumb conservatives are going to lose.

And they fell flat on their face yesterday.  You know what?  That‘s not me gloating.  That‘s just a reality check. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Mort Zuckerman.

ZUCKERMAN:  The fact is, though, it may be 17 percent, but it was 17 percent of a much larger number. 

CAPUTO:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  So there was an increase in the youth vote.  It was the only age group that Kerry carried.

However, Kerry didn‘t do nearly as well with women as he should have thought he would have.  He didn‘t do nearly as well with Hispanics as he would have thought. 


BUCHANAN:  Why?  Why? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Because I think Kerry, frankly, was a very, very limited candidate.  He did not connect emotionally with his audience at any point. 

Anybody who listened to him speak just felt that about him.  They never connected to him. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  He did not speak to the common—the middle and working classes of America.  The rhetoric was there in language, but the emotion wasn‘t there.  He was no Bill Clinton. 


BUCHANAN:  Lisa...


BUCHANAN:  It‘s your party.  Why do you think—look, he was given a tremendous hand to play.  The president‘s had a tough year.  The economic numbers on jobs are not good.  Iraq was bad news after bad news after bad news.  He had a glorious opportunity.  He had a united party.  He came through the primaries unscathed.  Why could he not turn this into the kind of victory Reagan did? 

CAPUTO:  Well, I think a couple of things.

First, to the women‘s vote.  As Mort points out, he‘s absolutely right.  Kerry didn‘t do as well there.  Why?  I think a couple of factors.  No. 1, the White House has done an extraordinary job in outreach to women.  The RNC, they have an office on women that has just been gangbusters to reach out to women. 

No. 2, Kerry didn‘t really publicly seize the women‘s issues.  He wasn‘t very vocal about it.  And so I think that was at play here.  I think, more broadly, you know, not responding to those swift boat ads really hurt Kerry.  Even though he made up for it in the debates, that stuff went unanswered for three weeks. 


CAPUTO:  ... damage there. 

BUCHANAN:  The swift boaters, I think—everybody denounces them.  I think they‘re authentic.  They‘re credible.  I think they really damaged Kerry, his credibility and character. 

KUDLOW:  I agree.

BUCHANAN:  And then the Republican Convention was just one big beating-up on Kerry, and it was successful. 

KUDLOW:  Well, I basically agree.

But I think that Bush couldn‘t put him away.  And I think Kerry was tougher in the waning weeks of the campaign.  In fact, in the last week of the campaign, Kerry was tough.  But I think the biggest problems that Kerry had, he and the Kerry Democrats are pre-September 11.  And because of that message, they were not able to reach out to the security moms.  And because of that message, they were not able to make a moral issue out of the war, the way Bush made a moral issue out of the war. 

And these things took their toll.  And I think, at the end, on Election Day, you don‘t change horses in midstream during a war.  I still believe that was Bush‘s single most significant factor.  Kerry could not make the case.  He could not close the deal that he would be a better candidate. 

ZUCKERMAN:  I don‘t disagree with that, but the economy it seems to me was the key issue for the Democrats. 


CAPUTO:  I totally agree, Mort.

ZUCKERMAN:  Seventy percent of the American public felt they were being squeezed, the middle- and working-class people.

KUDLOW:  I don‘t agree. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, that‘s what the polls show.


KUDLOW:  I don‘t care.

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, let me just finish, OK?

Wages have not gone up nearly as much in this recovery as they have in

any of the six previous recoveries.  People were being squeezed with

relatively low increases in wages, but higher increases in gasoline taxes -

·         in gasoline prices, rather, health care and education costs.  And John Edwards made that issue. 


KUDLOW:  No, let me respond.  That‘s the Kerry playbook.

But the fact of the matter is...

ZUCKERMAN:  He didn‘t play that book.


CAPUTO:  He didn‘t focus on domestic issues. 


ZUCKERMAN:  Kerry was very effective in bashing Bush about non farm payroll jobs.  And Bush was no effective in coming back.

Look, never in electoral history has an economy growing at 3.7 percent in the quarter in which the election occurred and the incumbent has lost.  Bush had an inherent advantage that a lot of people didn‘t understand, even though Bush didn‘t even make his own case very well, in my opinion. 


CAPUTO:  How do you figure?  We‘re in such an uneven and unstable recovery.

KUDLOW:  I don‘t agree.


KUDLOW:  That‘s not what the real world is thinking. 


BUCHANAN:  We‘re going to come back.

But, before we do, Joe Scarborough, last words.  Why ultimately did Kerry lose? 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what? 

I think he was a Massachusetts liberal, first of all, that was easy to be defined.  But I‘ve got to go back.  And I think the defining moment of the campaign is when the swift vet ads came out.  John Kerry didn‘t respond to them.  I know that you and I have, Pat, have some friends that think that these guys are despicable. 

But you know what?  I represented a lot of them in Congress.  I represented Congressional Medal Award winners that sacrificed everything, left just about everything on the battlefield that were the ones that were condemning John Kerry.  I looked into their eyes and you know what?  I said, they have a very convincing message for America.  And John Kerry, because he listened to Mary Beth Cahill for two weeks, did not respond. 

It‘s almost identical to what Michael Dukakis did in 1998, not responding to George Sr.‘s attack.  And I think, in the end, it defined him at a critical time in the campaign.  And it‘s why we eventually lost. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Joe Scarborough, have a good night, my friend. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you, buddy.

BUCHANAN:  And down there in the red state of Florida, a good state.

And next, the media finally discovered this election‘s real October surprise, the values issue.  Well, we‘ll tell you how SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY values were decisive in this election. 

Stick around. 


BUCHANAN:  We‘re live in Democracy Plaza in the heart of the blue state capital of Manhattan, taking a look back at the election of 2004 and looking forward to what it all means for the next four years.

But first, let‘s check in with the MSNBC News Desk. 



BUSH:  We must work to move America forward.  I want to be your president for four more years to make our country safer. 



BUCHANAN:  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I‘m Pat Buchanan, in for Joe. 

It wasn‘t the economy or the war in Iraq or even the war on terror.  Exit polls tell us moral values were most important in choosing a president.  Of the voters who put moral values first, 78 percent voted for President Bush, 19 percent for Kerry. 

On the issue of same-sex marriage, 11 states voted on that question and 11 states voted to ban it by margins of four and five to one. 

We‘re back with our panel, Larry Kudlow, Mort Zuckerman and Lisa Caputo.  And Joe Trippi is sitting here as well.  He‘s not on prompter, but he is here.


BUCHANAN:  Now, Lisa, I talked to someone last night who made a very good point, said, you know who lost this for Kerry?  Margaret Marshall. 

She is the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, who ordered the governor, the legislature to elevate civil unions to gay marriages and ordered him to do it.  As a consequence, the whole conservative, traditionalist social movement in this country immediately put it on the ballot to denounce it and write it into their constitutions these bans.  And Bush did very well in Michigan for that reason.  I‘m sure in Ohio, it helped him. 

What is this suicidal impulse of liberals to ram their values, if you will, down the throats of the conservative American? 

CAPUTO:  You know, if Joe Trippi and I were working inside the Kerry campaign, I would guarantee we would have not gone down that path.  And, you know, the wedge issues of God, gays and guns, which really came to the forefront of this election, I think hurt John Kerry immensely, immensely. 

And I think, back to what we were talking to earlier, Karl Rove tapped into that. 

BUCHANAN:  Did he exploit them?

CAPUTO:  Sorry?

BUCHANAN:  He exploited them? 

CAPUTO:  He exploited them to get the vote out and win the election. 

Now here‘s the challenge.  If the president is really politically astute and is going to do the right thing and take advantage of his mandate, which he now has controlling both houses of Congress...

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

CAPUTO:  ... he‘ll move to the middle and he won‘t start with his first action appointing a conservative judge to the Supreme Court, going right to the heart of the wedge issue and upsetting people‘s rights, constitutional rights. 


KUDLOW:  In order to please the Clinton Democrats and the Kerry Democrats...


CAPUTO:  The Clinton Democrats are centrists.

KUDLOW:  Yes, I know.  They‘re centrists, but they‘re very scarce in value right now.

Mr. Bush is not going to change his whole campaign pledge.  Look, he worked this in the last 10 or so days of the campaign in Iowa, in Wisconsin, in Ohio.  According to CNN exit polling, heaven forbid, a quarter of the people who voted were born-again evangelicals.  They turned out 3-1 for Mr. Bush.  Those are huge numbers.  That‘s how he picked up Democrats, as well as his own Republican base. 

It was a brilliant strategy.  And, look, Bush doesn‘t have to apologize for his own faith-based credentials.  It is well known and he‘s not going to change.  And he‘s not going to appoint activist judges either. 


BUCHANAN:  Mort, Mort Zuckerman, but I agree with Lisa.  He‘s got to -

·         when you come to the Supreme Court, that was the issue for a lot of my friends who are basically divorced a lot from Bush on the war and other issues. 

They said, look, we cannot have Kerry picks the next four justices of the Supreme Court.  Doesn‘t Bush have to deliver?  He‘s got to deliver people like Thomas or Rehnquist or Scalia or he lets down his base. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, obviously, those nominees would satisfy his base, without question.

But I want to go to the other side.  It‘s not only a question of his base.  It is the fact that Kerry came to symbolize the elitist perception of the Democrats.  The Democrats for the last number of years have come across as a technological elite, an academic elite, a financial elite and a Hollywood elite, an entertainment elite.  And the American public does not quite identify with that group. 

And the Democrats have lost touch with the values of these people.  And he came to symbolize it.  He was a godsend for those people.  Just think of him windsurfing, just as an elitist, but...


KUDLOW:  Snowmobiling. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Snow—everything.

KUDLOW:  And then he opposed snowmobiles in the Midwest. 


ZUCKERMAN:  He said he was windsurfing.  And he said that the plumbers in Nantucket were windsurfing.  I said, yes, but the plumbers make $240,000 a year in Nantucket. 



BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you, does the association—does the

association of Kerry with the kind of ultra, if you will, Hollywood people

·         they‘re so far out from America.  Now, I‘m talking about Dixie Chicks and people that go into these routines. 

Doesn‘t that hurt the Democrats?



BUCHANAN:  It used to be the whole Hollywood Gregory Peck and people like that.  Everybody admired them.  They didn‘t have this sharp edge to them. 

TRIPPI:  That‘s the whole problem with the Kerry campaign is, the Kerry campaign could never decide. 

Let me put it this way.  Karl Rove knew from the beginning this was a turn-out-your-base, turnout election.  The Kerry campaign could never decide whether it was a turn-out-your-base election or go-for-the-swing-vote election.  And so what they kept doing week after week was, for one week, it would be turn out your base.  Then they would go, oh, no, that‘s not working.  It‘s go for the middle. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.  

TRIPPI:  So you‘ve got a guy doing the Dixie Chicks thing the one week.  Then the next week, he‘s got a gun hunting 12 days before the election. 


BUCHANAN:  Killing that poor goose.  And he died for...



TRIPPI:  And that is what destroyed the Kerry campaign.  It‘s absolutely—stick to one and do it.  And they never did that. 


TRIPPI:  And the other thing, Pat, you know what it also did?  What it did was, it played into right what they were painting him to be.  They were saying he‘s a phony.  He‘s indecisive.  He‘ll tell you anything. 


BUCHANAN:  He‘s out there windsurfing off Nantucket.  And next, they got that poor dead goose. 


TRIPPI:  Exactly. 


KUDLOW:  Did he actually kill that goose?

BUCHANAN:  He did.  He says he killed it.


KUDLOW:  Is there any evidence that he killed it? 

BUCHANAN:  They killed four of them. 

CAPUTO:  He‘s a hunter.

BUCHANAN:  They said he got one of them. 


TRIPPI:  No, but even when he was real, it looked phony because of the way they did it.  It‘s amazing.


CAPUTO:  The thing about Kerry—I agree with what Joe‘s saying.

There was never a clear articulation on what John Kerry stood for. 

What was the tag line?  I‘m on your side?  I‘m fighting for you.

BUCHANAN:  Fighting for the middle class.

CAPUTO:  But there wasn‘t a clear communication of that. 

And that really hurt Kerry.  And coupled with the lack of response to swift boats, the huge media spend that the Bush campaign did very early on in the campaign, defined Kerry.  And Kerry had to fight an uphill battle from that point on trying to define himself.  And, strategically, they couldn‘t decide what they wanted to do. 


BUCHANAN:  But I think—after the first debate—I think Kerry was dead in the water before that first debate. 


BUCHANAN:  And people said the president came with 30 minutes of debate material for a 90-minute debate.  And he was awful. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Right.  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  But Kerry was outstanding in that debate.  There‘s no question about it.

ZUCKERMAN:  But how was Kerry outstanding?  He was outstanding in attacking the president. 

And the problem that I felt about Kerry was that he was much better at attacking the president than providing a vision of what he was really all about.

TRIPPI:  Now we‘re getting to the real problem of the Democratic Party today.


ZUCKERMAN:  Right.  You could not find, what was he really for?  You knew what he was against and he did what he was against very well by attacking Bush.  But he never articulated a vision well. 


BUCHANAN:  What is wrong—just say in 15 minutes—with the Democratic Party?

TRIPPI:  No new ideas.

CAPUTO:  No new...


TRIPPI:  We have been defending Social Security, defending Medicare. 

These are all great ideas from eons ago. 

KUDLOW:  No, they‘re bad ideas.


KUDLOW:  He had ideas.  They were just bad ideas.


TRIPPI:  I don‘t really think so.


KUDLOW:  On the war, he was pre-9/11.  And he dragged the Democratic Party with him, even though some people in the Democratic Party have awakened to the new realities.

On taxes.  If you think the economy, as bad as you guys think it is and Kerry thinks it is, you don‘t raise taxes.  And everybody knew that.  They went, huh?  I want tax cuts.


CAPUTO:  So, you simplify the tax code?  You simplify the tax code. 


KUDLOW:  And the third thing is social issues.

Kerry was steadfastly pro-abortion.  And he was against the traditional marriage act, defending traditional marriage.  He was wrong on all these key issues and values. 


BUCHANAN:  I think the social issues and the swift boaters and the convention I think really damaged him.

CAPUTO:  I agree.

BUCHANAN:  And he was never able to overcome it all.  It was just a huge load to carry up the hill. 

OK, coming up, Kerry‘s out.  Daschle‘s out.  Bob Shrum for the eight time failed to boost a presidential candidate to victory. 


BUCHANAN:  Does this spell doom for the Democrats or is this just the darkest hour before a new dawn? 

Stick around. 



BUSH:  We must work to move America forward.  I want to be your president for four more years to make our country safer. 


BUCHANAN:  Welcome back.

There‘s been a lot of talk over the last 24 hours about the death of the Democratic Party as we know it.  Well, a quick history lesson may dispel that notion.  Let‘s go back to 1972.  The entire country is Nixon red, with the exception of George McGovern‘s victory in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.  How‘s that for a map? 

Meanwhile, a glance back to 1984 results in another landslide, with Ronald Reagan blanketing the nation in red, with the exception of Walter Mondale‘s Minnesota and the District of Columbia. 

And President Reagan once told me, Mort Zuckerman, that he thinks he won Minnesota and they stole it from him.


BUCHANAN:  Now we come to today‘s map and there may be a cautionary tale in those red and blue states. 

Now, here‘s my point, Mort Zuckerman.  There‘s no doubt.  I think the Republicans after ‘64 and Nixon, we won in ‘68.  We brought the Wallace folks in from the South and the Rizzo-Daley Democrats.  We created this great coalition, 49 states twice.  Bush Sr. won 40 states against Dukakis. 

Look, they‘re down now to the basis, the old Confederacy, the border states and the mountain states.  And, quite frankly, demographically, Republicans are getting older and dying out, just like the New Deal voters did.  I don‘t see any automatic future for the—or dominance for the Democratic Party at the presidential level there. 

ZUCKERMAN:  You know what they say.  It‘s always darkest before it turns absolutely black. 


ZUCKERMAN:  You know, I do think the Democrats have a serious problem.  They‘re going to have to redo their whole appeal because they have lost contact with the average voter in this country. 

As Joe said, they don‘t have any new ideas.  And, frankly, they don‘t have a leadership that appeals across their normal base.  There‘s nobody who‘s got that kind of appeal, personal appeal.  Never mind intellectual appeal.  And that combination is deadly for them. 


BUCHANAN:  They do need a Bill Clinton.  When they get a Southern fellow like Clinton, who has some charisma, who has some understanding at least of these folks in the Deep South, in the red states, and who can talk to them on the level of, he‘s a Christian, and he understands—he was pro-death penalty and all this—they do well. 

Is there any leader like that who can put this together? 

CAPUTO:  You know, I don‘t really know when you step back and look at it. 

I do think this, that the Democratic Party can‘t win from the left.  We saw, interestingly, last night, the Christian right turned out, and that won the election.  The Democrats do have to move to be more of a centrist, just like Bill Clinton did with the Democratic Leadership Council, the DLC.  Now we see the advent of the new Democratic network, sort of the new wave of new Democrats coming on.

And whether or not we can find a candidate in the Democratic Party or candidates, plural, across the country who are more centrist in their approach, because you can‘t win from the left.  You can‘t.

KUDLOW:  You‘re right, but you‘ve got a big problem.

And that is the George Soros 527 Democrats, which were really dominating this campaign and really dominated Election Day.  On the other hand, having said that, Bush has to deliver.  With 55 senators, with a big majority in the House, with this big reelection, over 50 percent, he‘s got to deliver.  He‘s got to deliver on the war.  He‘s go to deliver on homeland security.  He also have to deliver on her his reform agenda, that is, Social Security reform, tax reform, health care reform, all good ideas, in my opinion, using the consumer and the investor, not the government.

But they‘ve got to do something.  They can‘t stand pat.  Otherwise, the Republicans are going to lose their advantage. 


BUCHANAN:  Right.  Any Republican second term—I was with Nixon and Reagan—wind up scandal and impeachment and all...


KUDLOW:  The first year is the key, isn‘t it?  The first year is the key. 

TRIPPI:  Either party, though, is capable of coming up with that personality that can lead them to a national win for the presidency.  That‘s possible at any moment. 

The real problem now...

BUCHANAN:  Is the ideas.

TRIPPI:  ... is the House—is the ideas and how far the House and the Senate have widened out. 

The House could take—look how long it took the Congress—the Republicans to get the House back. 

CAPUTO:  Years.

BUCHANAN:  It took almost a half a century.

TRIPPI:  And that‘s where we‘re really—that‘s where this sort of not having any real different ideas that engage people, that say—that just aren‘t defending the old good Democratic ideas. 


TRIPPI:  I mean, Social Security was a great idea.  Medicare was a great idea.


KUDLOW:  ... bankrupt.

TRIPPI:  But we got to fix it.  And that‘s where I think...

BUCHANAN:  The Republicans—in the red states, they are eradicating the Democrats.  Charlie Stenholm is no crazed liberal.  He‘s a Boll Weevil. 


BUCHANAN:  And, DeLay, they‘ve got them all in these districts and just cut them down one after another so that they‘re—I agree with Joe.  It‘s really tough how they get back the House.

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, the fact is, though, that whoever was going to be president is going to face two huge long-term issues.  One of them of course is to unify the country behind whatever his strategy his in the war on terror, which has become very controversial.  And that‘s going to be a major issue. 

You don‘t have an elite group, such as we had at the end of World War II, who could lead the country in the Cold War.  You have now a president and a whole pack of media around him that focus essentially on what is wrong in that war.

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And that‘s going to make it very difficult for him to lead the country.

The other—I have to say, I believe we are faced with a huge fiscal crisis that is going to require something to be done.


ZUCKERMAN:  And you‘re either going to raise taxes, cut benefits or have a financial crisis. 


ZUCKERMAN:  And that‘s going to be a very tough issue for any president. 


BUCHANAN:  Hold it down.  Hold it, Lawrence.

If you haven‘t had a chance to check out Democracy Plaza, you still have two days left.  The exhibits here are open until Friday.  Come and get your picture taken in the Oval Office and learn a little more about American democracy. 

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in just a minute.         


SCARBOROUGH:  Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, did President Bush‘s message of faith strike a chord in so-called flyover country and is that what put him over the top?  We‘ll talk to the Christian Coalition‘s Pat Robertson.

More SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.


SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re live from Democracy Plaza. 

OK, it‘s time for final thoughts on the election of 2004. 

You first, Lawrence, and the clock is running.


KUDLOW:  Mort and Lisa want to raise taxes on everybody.  I have a different plan.  You want to get out of the budget deficit, flatten, reduce and simplify tax rates to grow the economy, and then limit government spending. 

BUCHANAN:  Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes, right?

KUDLOW:  And Larry Kudlow. 

BUCHANAN:  Larry Kudlow.

Yes, Lisa, go ahead.

CAPUTO:  Two things.

The biggest thing we learned from this, all politics is local.  The Republicans outsmarted the Democrats.  Hats off to Karl Rove.  Strategically and tactically, they did it.

Going forward, what the president must do is move to the middle.  If he‘s going to unify the country and not divide it, he can‘t start with faith-based initiatives. 

BUCHANAN:  Quickly, Mort.

ZUCKERMAN:  I think this president has to appoint an administration that really inspires confidence on the national security level, which is really something that has been undermined in the last year. 

TRIPPI:  Joe Scarborough and I disagree on this to the end.  Young voters didn‘t let the Democratic Party down.  They were the only people that kept Kerry in the race and gave him the chance to get as close as he did. 

BUCHANAN:  I have disagreed with him, but let me say, I think the president is one hell of a campaigner.


BUCHANAN:  And, frankly, he‘s the best party leader, putting himself on the line for the party, of any guy.  And that includes Richard Nixon, who was out there all the time. 

KUDLOW:  Think about this.  Ten years ago, he ran as an underdog in Texas.  Ten years later, two-term president.  Remarkable political career. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, you are beyond your 20 seconds there.


BUCHANAN:  Lawrence, Mort, Lisa, Joe, thanks very much. 

Thank you for being with me tonight.  From all of us here at Democracy Plaza, good night.  We‘ll see you tomorrow. 



Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc. (f/k/a/ Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.