Hardball with Chris Matthews for Jan. 26

Guests: Howard Dean and Judy Dean (Jacques DeGraff, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Don Imus omitted here)

Originally on: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/Default.aspx?id=4068638&p1=0

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CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Tonight on HARDBALL, the four most interesting people in New Hampshire: an exclusive interview with Dr. Howard Dean and Dr. Judy Dean. Are they healing the campaign?

Plus, the wife of the frontrunner, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and radio talk jock and cable cowboy Don Imus.

Live from New Hampshire, let's play HARDBALL.

Tonight with one day to go, Howard Dean is closing the gap in New Hampshire. And we‘re at the epicenter of this potential political earthquake, at the McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester, New Hampshire.

A few hours ago, I spoke with the former governor of Vermont and his wife, Dr. Judy Dean. Let‘s take a look.


MATTHEWS: We‘re here with Doctor and Doctor Dean. I want to ask you-- a hero of mine, Ed Muskie, once said the only reason to be in politics is to be out there all alone and then be proven right.

Where do you stand on that right now? You‘re all alone. Can you be proven right?

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think so. I think I was right on the Iraq war when nobody else would join me. I was right on No Child Left Behind as a federal takeover of the school system was big mistake.

I‘m a guy who stands up for what they believe in. And that‘s a rare commodity in America politics. And I think New Hampshire voters are going to like it.

MATTHEWS: Can you sharpen these issues up here? These sets of issues that you‘ve got. So the voters go into that booth tomorrow, and they decide on the issues rather than just on who seems cooler this week or who‘s hotter this week?

H. DEAN: Sure. The biggest advantage I have is I‘ve been a governor. So people are going to want to balance the budget and they want health insurance. I‘ve done that. Everybody in my state has health insurance under 18. A third of our seniors have prescription benefits. We‘ve balanced budgets.

We desperately need balanced budgets in this country. And everybody from George Bush to all the Democrats are promising tax cuts, health insurance, college tuitions. It‘s not going to happen. You‘re going to have a choice of tax cuts or help with college tuition and health insurance and so forth. You‘re not going to have both.

MATTHEWS: The other candidates, you probably believe, are pandering on every issue.

They‘re pandering on taxes if they‘re going to promise a repeal of the Bush tax cuts but not for them.

They‘re promising no real change or choices in the Middle East.

They‘re promising no real decisions. They have—to make.

You‘re offering a tough choice. Why should voters choose pain if they have an opportunity to choose easy pleasure?

H. DEAN: Because voters are a lot smarter than politicians. That‘s basically how the country works. And I got reelected as often as I did in Vermont, which is a very similar demographics in New Hampshire, because I said what I thought. And people in New England value that.

MATTHEWS: Are you a maverick?

H. DEAN: I don‘t know. I say what I think. Is that a maverick? I guess I am.

MATTHEWS: What‘s it like being married to a maverick? Because he is one.

JUDY DEAN, HOWARD DEAN‘S WIFE: I don‘t know if he‘s a maverick, but it‘s great being married to him. He‘s a really good guy, caring person, honest person. And...

MATTHEWS: Do you ever say to him, “Why are you so gutsy? Why don‘t you just go with the crowd on some of these things?”

J. DEAN: Absolutely not. I mean, he usually is. He‘s really, really honest. I guess you‘d say gutsy; I‘d call it honest. I just think he says what he thinks, and—and it‘s...

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the issue, which you‘ve talked so much about back in 2003, especially, when no one else did. This whole new doctrine—I guess it‘s the Bush doctrine—of preemptive, some would say it‘s preventive. It‘s even more aggressive. Where do you stand?

H. DEAN: We‘ve always had a doctrine of preemption. We just never announced it and put it in everybody‘s face. If we had known Osama bin Laden was going to run planes into the World Trade Center 10 days ahead of time, of course we would have done something about it.

But to come out in everybody‘s face and say, “Our doctrine is preemption, and we‘re going to go in if we even think you‘re looking at us crosswise—cross-eyed” is a huge problem.

We used to be the moral leader of the free world. Under George Bush, we‘re not any more. Everybody everywhere in the world, you can‘t find a majority of people who respect us anymore.


H. DEAN: Respecting America is start of the defense of America. It‘s not just having a strong military. And that‘s what‘s missing in this president.

MATTHEWS: Did this president tell us a lie to get us into this war?

H. DEAN: The president told us...

MATTHEWS: Did the vice president?

H. DEAN: The vice president told us that they were about to get nuclear weapons. That was not true.

MATTHEWS: Did he know it wasn‘t true?

H. DEAN: I can‘t tell that.

MATTHEWS: Did he practice the policy of not wanting to know what he didn‘t want to know?

H. DEAN: I don‘t know what happened, Chris, but I know that even the president of the United States allowed us to believe and hinted broadly that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.

A lot of people in this country believe it. It wasn‘t true. He admitted it. Secretary Powell admitted it. I want to know why we‘ve lost over 500 troops, including one from New Hampshire today, because we went into Iraq without knowing why.

MATTHEWS: Does this administration deserve our trust for matters of security after what they did with the regard to the run-up to this war?

DEAN: No. The president chose tax cuts, $3 trillion worth to Ken Lay and the boys, instead of finding the—inspecting the cargo containers, instead of buying the uranium stocks from the former Soviet Union, their cooperative threat reduction agreement.

This president has made us less safe, not more safe.

MATTHEWS: Part of the arguments made for the war, the WMD argument, which is now very much called into question by David Kay‘s statements of the last couple days. Do you believe that you as president would ever be called upon to use nuclear weapons?

H. DEAN: I might be, and I‘m prepared to do that if I have to.

MATTHEWS: Give me the circumstances.

H. DEAN: If a nuclear power would attack us. That would certainly be one of them. There may be others, as well.

I mean, it‘s hard to—I want to be very careful. Any president has to be very careful in making sure that you never take an option off the table, because that‘s always the ultimate in terms of making sure we can negotiate. There are circumstances under which an American president would have to use nuclear weapons.

MATTHEWS: When you hear the phrase, axis of evil, is that a convincing phrase, a useful phrase, or a dangerous phrase? How do you hear it?

H. DEAN: I think it‘s a foolish phrase. The truth is that some of North Korea‘s behavior is undoubtedly stimulated by the president‘s labeling them as axis of evil.

No one would vouch for or advocate for the president of North Korea. The truth, is I think the president, the North Korean‘s president‘s policy is a disaster. We ought to be in bilateral negotiations with him.

We should have been a long time ago. The reason we‘re not is because the hard-liners of the administration have convinced the president the collapse of North Korea is inevitable. And it‘s not necessarily true.

And the risk is that they will either already have or will develop nuclear weapons, which will then be sold to a terrorist group or a rogue nation.

The Chinese would help us in the moment if we gave them a clear indication that we wanted them to make the deal. And the reason that we‘re not getting the help of the Chinese is because we‘re not giving them a clear signal that we want their help.

MATTHEWS: What‘s in the brain soup—I‘d like you both to answer this—what‘s in the brain soup of this man here that‘s so different than brain soup, sort of the basic psychic condition, of the president‘s people, who seem to relish the idea of confrontation?

And you seem to relish the idea of some kind of deal, of avoidance of a war. What‘s different about you from the administration hawks?

H. DEAN: I believe in facts. They don‘t. They have a theory that says if you send enough troops around, you can overturn the world and change the way it is.

I‘d love to change the way some of the world is, but I‘m a doctor. I pay attention to facts.

But one of the most interesting things here is, and I don‘t want to pick on John Kerry. That‘s not my intention.

But in 1991, I supported President Bush‘s Gulf War. John Kerry voted against it. There were troops on the ground in—Iraqi troops on the ground in Kuwait. Oil wells were on fire. I thought American intervention was justified. Kerry voted no.

This time, the president tells a whole bunch of things that turn out not to be true. Intimates that weapons of mass destruction are present, that aren‘t present. John Kerry votes to send us to war, I say no.

I keep getting criticized by John Kerry and others on my foreign policy expertise. It seems to me we‘re all getting our information from the same sources. What is really the matter in the White House, what really matters in the White House is having patience and judgment and an ability to sort out the facts, independent of political considerations.

MATTHEWS: Well, could it be that he‘s right? Could John Kerry be right? Because he said that back, the last time we had weapons inspections, it turned out they weren‘t accurate enough, that the guy, Saddam Hussein, was much more dangerous than the weapons inspectors said so? So this time, he said, “Let‘s not give him margin of error. Let‘s act on the worst-case scenario.”

How is that not being a good leader?

H. DEAN: Here‘s why I came to my conclusions—why I came to the conclusions I did on the war.

First, I knew that Saddam was a survivor type of leader, not a statesman. A survivor leadership will sacrifice their own people in order to stay in power, which means they will never tolerate a second source of - - second center of power in the country. That immediately eliminates the possibility they‘ll do any business with al Qaeda.

Second, Al Qaeda is a fundamentalist Islamic organization. Saddam Hussein was a secularist. They hated each other.

Third, there were British intelligence reports that have been made public on the front page of the “New York Times” that indicated there was no possibility that Saddam would develop atomic weapons for five years.

The facts the president were telling us were not so. And why the other folks all voted to go to war a month before the election, I do not know. But the facts were very clear that the war was not justified at that time.

MATTHEWS: You read all the clips. I‘ve heard that from your people. People work around you. You know what everybody else is saying in this campaign.

Does it bother you, as a guy who‘s done this much homework about Islam, to have John Edwards come on the other night during your debate and say, “Well, actually, I‘m not an expert on Islam.” Well, he‘s an expert on terrorism. Everybody claims to be today.

Doesn‘t that bother you, that this man can get away with a throwaway line like “Well, I‘m not an expert on terrorism.” I‘m sorry. He said, “I‘m not an expert on Islam”?

H. DEAN: That didn‘t bother me a bit. I mean, I do have...

MATTHEWS: It didn‘t bother you.

H. DEAN: It didn‘t bother me. I mean, people say all kinds of things at the debates. I was kind of interested...

MATTHEWS: But aren‘t you like the kid who did his homework, and the other kid didn‘t do his homework and he gets the same grade, like it‘s a pass-fail?

H. DEAN: No. This is not...

MATTHEWS: Doesn‘t it bother you?

H. DEAN: No. It doesn‘t bother me a bit. Look, Chris, the longer I stay in this game at this level, the more I realize that you‘re going to get a lot of high hard ones under the chin and a couple of them are going to hit you in the head. That‘s just the way politics is.

MATTHEWS: If you can‘t make it to the presidency, what do you want to say to the kids out in the cold here in Manchester, New Hampshire, when it‘s zero degrees chill factor? They‘re out there waving placards, and you got them into this, saying that you, an outsider, a maverick could make it? What do you say to them if you don‘t make it?

H. DEAN: Well, I think we are going to make it. It‘s going to be long and tough, and tomorrow‘s going to be close...

MATTHEWS: Can you win it here?

H. DEAN: I think we can win it here. It‘s very close, as you know.

MATTHEWS: It‘s within the margin.

H. DEAN: It‘s within the margin. We‘re surging. I think one more day is enough. I think we will, but I can‘t be sure. It‘s going to be very close. It depends whether New Hampshire voters want to send a real—somebody who‘s going to really change Washington to Washington.

MATTHEWS: Doctor, you‘re with your patients during the week, and you‘re thinking between patients, and maybe during patients, you‘re thinking about what‘s happening to your husband.

Do you ever sense that he‘s being treated like a transfer student by the establishment? Like going to a new high school, and everyone says, “Who‘s this kid?” They beat him up a little bit? That‘s the way I see it. What do you think? Is he a transfer student into politics?

J. DEAN: I don‘t know. I think he is a little bit of an outsider. But I think, you know, with him, he‘s very smart. And he‘s saying what he thinks. People will hear what he has to say. And I guess...

MATTHEWS: Do you ever say when you‘re going to bed at night, “Cool it on that one”?

H. DEAN: She‘s being modest. I‘ll tell you a quick story. I gave a speech about 25 years ago on a subject I didn‘t know very much about, which was at that time not uncommon. Someone accused me of it not being uncommon today.

So I gave this speech, and it was about the Soviet Union. And Judy and I walked out of the speech. We were walking home, and I said, “Well, how did you like the speech, dear?”

And she said, “Fair to poor with the emphasis on poor.”

MATTHEWS: She‘s not exactly Nancy Reagan material. Do you ever do the gaze? On purpose? Do you ever find yourself—I know I‘m supposed to do this, like Stepford Wife here. Do you ever do that?

J. DEAN: I don‘t think so.

MATTHEWS: OK. We‘ll be right back to talk about the more serious stuff. Your family, your kids and your husband.

Back with more with Doctor and Doctor Dean.

ANNOUNCER: Still to come on HARDBALL with Chris Matthews, behind the scenes with John Kerry‘s campaign. Chris sits down with the senator‘s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Plus, Chris goes one-on-one with radio legend Don Imus in a HARDBALL exclusive.

And our political panel predicts where this race is heading. “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, NBC‘s Campbell Brown, Democratic strategist Jacques DeGraff and Joe Scarborough.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, live in New Hampshire on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS: HARDBALL‘s live in New Hampshire. And still to come, John Kerry‘s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. But first, more with Howard Dean and his wife, Judy Dean. You‘re watching HARDBALL. It‘s live coverage from New Hampshire primary on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS: We‘re back with the two Dr. Deans. One‘s Howard, former governor, running for president.

Thank you.

I want to address some of these questions to you. Do you feel like, you know those old stories of the Saint Bernard coming to the rescue of the guy in the snow? Do you feel like you‘re a Saint Bernard, coming to rescue this poor guy, lying in the snow with a brandy bottle under your chin?

J. DEAN: I definitely do not. Howard—When Howard first started to run, we thought that I would have to do some interviews but mostly from Burlington, because that‘s where I have my medical practice.

And—But a week or so, he called me from Iowa, and said that Mrs. Harkin suggested I come out. It was a Saturday. And I could come out on Sunday. I came out, and it started from there.

MATTHEWS: Did any of your patients ever say what are you doing with me? Get out there with your husband?

J. DEAN: Actually, yes. I canceled my Monday patients, because I‘m here today. On Saturday, I called them and canceled them. And one of them actually called me the week before, who had been a patient of Howard‘s and said, “Now, you know, I can cancel Monday, because you should really be in New Hampshire.”

And then sure enough, Saturday, I called her and said, “Well, guess what? I am going to be in New Hampshire.” So...

MATTHEWS: Let me ask about the East Wing. Are you comfortable—You know how it works in the White House. You‘ve seen “The West Wing,” and you‘ve seen the Clintons operate.

There‘s the Bushes that don‘t—the president runs the West Wing, which is the business of the government. And the first spouse, usually a woman, runs the state dinners. A lot of the travel of foreign dignitaries, a lot of the protocol. A lot of business. They have—The first lady has a big staff.

Are you open to playing that role? Are you happy about it?

J. DEAN: Well, we haven‘t really thought specifically about what role I‘d play. But I‘d have to do some of the ceremonial duties, and I think I‘d probably get a lot of help.

MATTHEWS: You‘d have to decide things like whether they have the dinner outside with the bigger tent or they have it in the East Room, where to put the king or the queen.

H. DEAN: That‘s nonsense, that stuff (ph).

MATTHEWS: Doesn‘t she have to do that?

H. DEAN: No.

J. DEAN: I think I can actually get help with that.

H. DEAN: She has to show up, but she‘s going to practice medicine most of the time. She is going to do some state dinners. But you know, there are people you pay to do that stuff. I mean, you know, social hostesses and all that kind of thing.

J. DEAN: OK. We‘ll look into that later.

Let me ask you, on a scale of...

H. DEAN: Well, you can do what you want.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about types of first ladies you can imagine yourself being. Let‘s give Laura Bush somewhere over, put her over, like, with Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower. Let‘s give her a 1 in terms of involvement in public policy.


MATTHEWS: And HRC, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a 10. So you‘ve got Laura Bush 1 and Hillary Clinton, 10. One does the entire health care program of America. And the other one does some reading programs. OK.

Where would you be on a scale of one to 10 as a first lady, as an activist?

J. DEAN: I think I‘d just have a totally different role. I hope to continue practicing medicine. So I don‘t know where that fits in there.

MATTHEWS: Closer to 1?

J. DEAN: Well, I think practicing medicine is a role in itself. It may not be a traditional role, but I think it‘s a role in itself.

MATTHEWS: Can you establish a Washington, D.C., practice?

J. DEAN: I hope so.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about your kids. How do they feel about your—this whole incredible—you‘ve been on the road constantly. You‘ve been like an airplane pilot. You‘ve been everywhere. You‘re been constantly working 20 hours a day.

Paul and Ann, how do they respond to this?

J. DEAN: Ann‘s in college. She‘s not home, so she hasn‘t, you know, hasn‘t missed him that much.

Paul has seen him less. But he‘s a senior in high school, and he‘s out and about himself. Howard calls every night, tries to get to as many of Paul‘s hockey games as he can, which he does.

And I think they‘re just really proud of him.

MATTHEWS: OK. All thing being equal, are you glad you‘re both here together, rather than you here alone?

H. DEAN: Yes. I‘m always glad to see her.

MATTHEWS: I mean, even though it was tough getting to this point.

H. DEAN: No.

MATTHEWS: But you‘re glad. Look, you‘re holding hands. I mean, you‘re lovey-dovey here, you know. Do you think this is good? The way they‘re setting up the husband and wife end up campaigning in the finish together?

H. DEAN: Yes, but I really don‘t—I mean, I would never ask Judy to give up her medical practice. She‘s really good at it.

MATTHEWS: But do you mind the fact that you were sort of—there‘s a lot of attention to this question, whether you‘d come out and campaign? And the fact that you have, is it more fun than doing it alone?

H. DEAN: It‘s much more fun for me, because I get to see her.

MATTHEWS: Is it fun for you to be out here, the hell with your patients?

J. DEAN: It is fun.

MATTHEWS: Are they going to understand?

J. DEAN: They will definitely understand.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, should my daughter become a doctor?

J. DEAN: I think it‘s a great profession.

MATTHEWS: Is it still a great profession? With all the paperwork?

J. DEAN: It is more paperwork, and there‘s more rules and regulations. But I love it. I think it‘s a great profession.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you. Thank you very much.

H. DEAN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Dr. Dean and Dr. Dean.


(remaining portions of the Hardball episode omitted)


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