Hardball with Chris Matthews

February 3, 2004

BYLINE: Chris Matthews; Joe Scarborough; Ron Reagan; David Shuster; Ron Allen; Keith Olbermann; Joe Trippi

GUESTS: Howard Fineman; Dee Dee Myers; Howard Dean; Governor Janet Napolitano; Representative Rahm Emanuel; Jacques DeGraff

John Kerry wins big. John Edwards is the winner of the South Carolina primary. Three-way race among Kerry, Edwards, Clark in Oklahoma. Joe Lieberman announces his withdrawal from the race. Interview with presidential candidate Howard Dean. Interview with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. MSNBC election analyst Joe Trippi weighs in on the primaries. Interview with Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel.


MATTHEWS: We're going to go right now to Howard Dean before we hear from him.


MATTHEWS: Governor Dean, thank you for joining us right now. Tonight-what was your plan tonight? What was your hope tonight?

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our hope is to pick up a few delegates in some states and then here we are in Washington State trying to work hard. We think we have a shot at winning here. Michigan, we don't think we have a shot at winning, but we would like to pick up some delegates, and Maine we do have a shot of winning, and that's where we are right now. We're in this for the long haul, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Is the long haul March 17 -- February 17 I should say, in Wisconsin? Is that the long haul?

DEAN: No, the long haul is March 2. Right now we have had 10 percent of the people vote in this-the delegates selected in this country, and we need to go a lot further than this. We-I believe we represent the only real change that anybody is offering this year. I think it's great to beat George Bush. He's clearly the worst president we've had in my lifetime. But I want more than that.

I want health insurance for all Americans. That's not going to happen with somebody from inside the Beltway. I want balanced budgets. I'm the only person that's ever balanced a budget in this race. I think the American people have a right to decide for themselves who they're going to want to represent them in the next-in the White House the next four years.

MATTHEWS: Governor, as you broaden your appeal, as you just did, beyond the war, it seems like the intensity of feeling about the war among Democratic participants in this process is getting stronger. Four out of 10 people in today's exit polls said they believe that the administration lied about weapons of mass destruction. They didn't make a mistake. They lied. They covered up the fact that they had evidence they didn't have, or argued that evidence that didn't exist and they knew it. Aren't you-isn't there an irony here that you've built your campaign in the beginning on this anger about the war and other issues, and now the other candidates are exploiting it?

DEAN: Well, actually, I never did build my campaign on the war. That's what helped us take off. But what I always wanted a domestic program, which centered around balanced budgets and universal health care and some of the extraordinary things that we've done in our state. In Vermont we have universal health care for everybody under 18. A third of our seniors have prescription benefits. Our child abuse rate is down 42 percent because we see every newborn after they've left the hospital and support their families. That's something that can be done in the rest of America, but it's not going to be done picking on a senator who sits on a committee, but doesn't actually produce.

MATTHEWS: Tonight we watched John Edwards give a very dramatic populist speech about what he would do and his concern about a country divided between those who have one health care system and those who have another, those who have one tax system and those who have another, those who have one legal system and the other. You've done some things. He's proposing to do things. Why is he doing so well based on a thinner record than yours?

DEAN: I think he's got a great message. So do I. In fact, I think there's been a little borrowing going on, but I think that's a good thing. I have a solid record. We're going to reach out. John's got some momentum coming in from Iowa. He did very well there. He's going to have some more. But I think it's important to have results, not rhetoric, and that's what I can offer.

The other thing I can offer is standing up for things that aren't popular. I stood up against the war when John Kerry and John Edwards wouldn't do that. I stood up against “No Child Left Behind”, which is crippling our public school systems when John Edwards and John Kerry voted for it. There's some really substantial differences both in our ability to deliver and in what we've stood for.

MATTHEWS: John Edwards made the point tonight because he comes from a more modest background that he's better able to be a Democratic candidate and a better president. Do you buy that?

DEAN: Well, I don't buy that, only because John's a great person. But he never has actually delivered in the Senate. I have delivered health insurance for our kids, prescription benefits for our seniors. I'm the only one that's ever balanced a budget on either side of the aisle, because President Bush certainly never has. The lieutenant governor in Texas runs the budget, not the governor.


DEAN: So I have a real record to offer people and that's what I'm going to offer. The American people get to choose...

MATTHEWS: Governor...

DEAN: ... who their next president is, not the media.

MATTHEWS: I'm being pulled away. Governor Dean, thank you very much. We'll be with you every night...

DEAN: Thank you so much.

MATTHEWS: ... throughout the rest of the campaign through the big Super Tuesday of March 2. Let's go right now to Joe Lieberman.

DEAN: Thanks Chris.

Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.


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