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updated 6/3/2007 1:42:27 PM ET 2007-06-03T17:42:27

MR. TIM RUSSERT:  Our issues this Sunday:  Fred Thompson gears up for a presidential run.  What does this mean for Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and the Republican field?  Publishers rush to print two new books about Hillary Clinton.  How will this affect her race with John Edwards, Barack Obama and the Democratic field?  With us, he help put Bill and Hillary Clinton in the White House in 1992, Democrat James Carville.  She worked for Bush 41 and Bush 43, Republican Mary Matalin.  He’s worked for both John McCain and Mitt Romney, Republican Mike Murphy.  And he’s worked for John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore and many more, chronicled in his new book “No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner,” Democrat Bob Shrum.  The race for the White House through the eyes of Carville, Matalin, Murphy and Shrum only on MEET THE PRESS.

Welcome all.  This is it.  It’s only June of ‘07, but this race is on full throttle.  Let’s frame a discussion with the very latest polls.  The Washington Post national poll out this morning says Democrats:  Hillary Clinton, 42; Barack Obama, 27; John Edwards, 11.  However, in Iowa, the first caucus state, Des Moines Register said it’s Edwards, 29; Obama, 23; Clinton, 21; Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, 10.  Republicans, national poll: Rudy Giuliani, 34; John McCain, 20; Fred Thompson, just exploring the race now, is already at 13; Mitt Romney at 10.  However, Iowa, Mitt Romney at 30; John McCain, 18; Rudy Giuliani at 17.

Last night Fred Thompson was in Richmond, Virginia, speaking to the party faithful.  NBC News caught up with him and asked him about the analysis of some experts that he was getting in the race too late.  Here’s his answer.

(Videotape)

FMR. SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R-TN):  Well, they decided some time ago that you had to start running maybe a couple of years ago and building your organization.  I’m very curious as to whether they’re right.  I don’t think they are.  I don’t know who made those rules.  I don’t know who the experts are.  I’m too late to follow the rules even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to.  So, you know, best I can tell, here I am, not having spent a dime, in the middle of the pack.  So we’ll see who’s right, me or the experts.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT:  Tony Fabrizio, the Republican pollster, weighed in with this: “If you’re not going to get in this race” in “double-time on work, effort and commitment, how do you expect to win?  You need to send signals that say, ‘I’m here and I’m going to win.’” Urging Thompson just to get in straight out and run.

Mary Matalin, has Fred Thompson waited too long?

MS. MARY MATALIN:  No, he’s not waited too long.  And this organization is just building around him.  Last night at that event, just in passing, a young person came up to him and said, “Well, we have captains in every county in this state for you.  We have volunteers all over this state.” Everywhere we go there are “Fred-heads.” It’s—there’s a groundswell out there.  I hate to use those words.  I’m loathe to use those words.  But he’s right.  These rules were made by all of us, and some of them are going to apply.  But they’re not—they’re not connected to a rationale for candidacy, which, clearly, no one has connected to a rationale that is buoying everybody up yet, and it doesn’t matter how much organization or how much money you have.

MR. RUSSERT:  He was asked last night what would he do as president.  He said, “Well, I’d do lots of things.” And asked, what if—“Are you prepared to talk about those?” He said, “No.” Obviously wanting to give time to frame his issues.  You remember the 1994 Senate campaign when he ran for the Senate in Tennessee.  Here he is with the famous red pickup truck.  Is this going to be a, a campaign of a lot of style, a Hollywood actor saying, “I’m a good ol’ boy”?

MS. MATALIN:  You know what that truck is?  It’s a symbol of, and it will symbolize again in this campaign, is where he took off in that race and why he took off in that race.  He was double digits behind, and when he said, as he said in that earlier clip, “I’m going to do this my way.  I can’t do it by all your rules.  I don’t want to do it by all your rules.  I know why I’m a conservative.  I know what my values are.  I know the policies I believe in.” So the truck was a disputation of his handlers and “I’m going to do it my way,” and that’s what he’s doing now.

MR. RUSSERT:  But we’ll see the truck in Iowa and New Hampshire.

MS. MATALIN:  I—no, I—we will understand the truck is a symbol.  We haven’t—I mean...

MR. ROBERT SHRUM:  Yeah, we’ll see the truck in Iowa.

MR. MIKE MURPHY:  I have a feeling there’s a handler right now buying a truck.

MR. RUSSERT:  Polishing...

MR. SHRUM:  Did you pick the truck, Mike?

MR. MURPHY:  No, I was—I didn’t work on that campaign, though I’m a fan of Fred, I think he’s a good guy, make a good president.

MR. RUSSERT:  Mr. Murphy...

MR. MURPHY:  Yes, sir.

MR. RUSSERT:  ...you’ve worked for John McCain and Mitt Romney.

MR. MURPHY:  Right.

MR. RUSSERT:  Only one at the table who can claim that.  Fred Thompson...

MR. MURPHY:  Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT:  ...used to campaign and help John McCain.

MR. MURPHY:  Yep, mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT:  He was raising for him as recently as a few months ago.

MR. MURPHY:  He was a McCain supporter, absolutely.

MR. RUSSERT:  This is what Fred Thompson said about John McCain.  Let’s watch.

(Videotape, August 18, 1999)

FMR. SEN. THOMPSON:  When it comes to reform and the way Washington does business, John McCain is the leader.  When it comes to military matters, matters of foreign affairs, John McCain has become the leader.  And when it comes to personal courage and integrity and the courage to do what he thinks is right, regardless of whether or not it’s particularly popular at the moment, John McCain has shown the characteristics of leadership like no one else that I’ve ever seen.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT:  Sounds like a pretty strong endorsement.

MR. MURPHY:  Yeah.  Yeah.  Hits the spot.  No, look, I—we’ll see what Fred does.  Looks like he’s going to run.  I think the big three will turn into the big four.  It’s a relatively open Republican race.  In our party, we’re used to kind of having one invincible front-runner and a lot of people trying to break that up.  And, and we’ll see what happens.  I think right now I, I agree with the—Mary’s point.  It’s not too early.  In fact, if I were Fred, I’d wait even later.  Because what’s going to happen to Fred is right now the potential of a Fred candidacy has a lot of people excited.  When he becomes a candidate, he’ll go through what these other three guys have gone through. The initial boomlet, and then the second examination.  So it’ll be up and down—Fred will be in front of the polls for a while, and then it’ll settle down.  And then the real race, not kind of the pre-primary and side race, will begin at the end of the year for voters.

MR. RUSSERT:  Who does Thompson’s entry hurt the most?

MR. MURPHY:  You know, I’m not sure.  I, I think it—you can argue it hurts any of them.  You can argue if he’s going to run as a super strong conservative, it could hurt Romney, who’s grabbing that space.  You could argue it hurts McCain a little bit.  I would actually argue McCain probably is hurt the least just because, with McCain and primary voters, you like him or don’t like him.  And the entry other candidates, I don’t think will lose that.

MR. RUSSERT:  Bob Shrum, “No Excuses:  Concessions of a Serial Campaigner,” I don’t see any Republican signs on that board.  There aren’t any.

MR. SHRUM:  Murphy wouldn’t loan me any.

MR. RUSSERT:  But be counterintuitive.  How do you see the Republican race right now?

MR. SHRUM:  I think what happened was that George Allen, who was the conservative favorite, “macacaed” himself out of the race.  I think people are uneasy, conservatives of McCain, despite his attempt to remake himself.  I worked in the only two campaigns—I believe—on the other side that both Giuliani and Romney have lost.  I don’t think Giuliani can be the Republican nominee.  He’s just to far to the left on these social issues.  And Romney is like a zip drive into which you can put different discs.  I mean, this is the guy who, in 1994, said he was pro-choice.  Senator Kennedy replied in the debate, you’re multiple choice, said he was to the right of—or to the left of Kennedy on gay rights, said he was moderate in immigration.  I just don’t know if he’s going to come across as authentic, and I think there’s a vacuum there, and Thompson has moved into that vacuum.

MR. RUSSERT:  Mr. Carville.

MR. CARVILLE:  Well, I think Fred Thompson is now, to use a sports metaphor, the “great white hope” of the Republican Party.  But, of course, in the Republican Party, hope comes in one color, and that would be white.  And one gender, that would be male.  You know, they have—they have a lot...

MS. MATALIN:  One giant idea that’s been beating your no ideas for 50 years.

MR. CARVILLE:  Gender.  They have a...

MR. RUSSERT:  Well, not 50 years, Mary, come on.

MR. CARVILLE:  They have a—they have a lot of problems, and, and their, their party’s at an all-time low in the NBC-Wall Street Journal polls, since they’ve been polling.  There’s a lot of dissatisfaction with the field. Thompson’s obviously a talented person.  I think a lot of people are saying, “Gee, you know, maybe he can do it.” He’s been in Washington longer than you, Bob, because he came here in ‘72.  But if he—if he’s got the political skill to run as an outsider, who knows?  I mean, he’s obviously a, a talented guy, and we’ll see.

MR. RUSSERT:  Mitt Romney.  You heard Mr. Shrum’s analysis of Mitt Romney, you worked for him.

MR. MURPHY:  Right, I—super impressive guy.  I think in many ways he’s got the energy in the primary right now.  But his problem is he’s getting typecast at this early season as, as this flip-flop thing, which I think it’s now incumbent on his campaign to beat that.  The truth is, everybody in American politics has evolved.  The last two Republican presidents, they’re—excuse me, Reagan and Bush one—both changed on abortion.  Every Democrat has flip-flopped all over the place on the war.  Changing in politics I don’t think is that bad.  If we didn’t—if you wanted somebody locked in at 23 years holding their beliefs, you’d train a chimp to be president.  I think change and evolution is good.  The problem is, with Romney, if it becomes the only dimension, because there’s too much nuance and there’s too much shifting around—I think he’s made a mistake on immigration, where they got out tactically to score at the Republican primary better so quickly, that they didn’t have time to reconcile a broader view.  They pigeonholed Romney in a place that I think demeans him a little bit.  So he’s got plenty of time to fix that, but if it becomes the total thing he’s identified with, it’ll be a bit unfair, but it’ll hurt him a lot.

MR. RUSSERT:  What about John McCain, your other former client?

MR. MURPHY:  Well, McCain’s problem is he is on the wrong side of some issues a lot of people in the Republican primary care about.  Where—what I think he has to do is make soup out of that and say it’s about character.  I’m the one guy who’s going to stand up and tell you something you don’t want to hear once in a while because we’re running for the big job here.” And I think, actually, McCain can maybe make it an advantage, but there’s no question McCain a year ago was kind of the institutional perceptional front-runner.  That’s not true anymore.  He’s in some trouble, but it is early.  I have to invoke the...(unintelligible)...rule, the great McGovern strategist, nothing really matters till after that first caucus vote.  Plenty of time for stuff to happen if people have money and a message, which is what this is really all about.

MR. RUSSERT:  Mary Matalin, is Rudy Giuliani too liberal on gay rights, gun control, abortion rights, to be nominated?

MS. MATALIN:  I think we’re all missing the point in these primaries. We talk about them about them as if the measure of success is only going to be about where people are on issues.  We define conservativism—or liberalism, whatever it is today—by positions on issues.  What the disconnect is in the, in the Republican Party and in the country at large is the disconnect from what is the role of government?  And we have to go back to first principles. Not the definition of conservatism as it’s come from the opposition.  We’re not really running on our side to be the biggest Republican.  James is right. The last election was a repudiation of Republicanism, but it was not a repudiation or even a diminution of conservativism.  So what Fred Thompson connects to and the country connects to is our heritage of limited government. To us that means something.  It means unlimited possibilities in this country and the principles of the founders.  And, you know, that’s not big—good chatter for Sunday morning TV, but that’s what’s missing in the field, and that’s what’s missing with the country.  So where people are on issues, everybody understands that changes, that does evolve, there’re going to be different issues in the next four years that this president is going to have to deal with.

MR. RUSSERT:  But back to Rudy Giuliani, he is talking about a big idea: terrorism.  And yet, when he is forced to discuss abortion rights, gay rights, gun control, it causes a lot of discomfort with conservative Republicans. Otherwise Thompson wouldn’t enter the race saying, “I’m a consistent conservative.  You can trust me.”

MS. MATALIN:  That’s not what—I mean, we’re trying to put a frame on the message.  What Thompson is saying is, “I’m on the continuum of the big, long, deep heritage of conservatism in this country.”

MR. RUSSERT:  But he does disagree with Giuliani on abortion rights, gay rights and gun control.

MS. MATALIN:  But that’s not the definition of our party, and I would say about Rudy that half, 44 percent, near to half of this social conservatives, the religious conservatives, are for Rudy.  This is just not a campaign where the dispositive issues or the cycle where the dispositive issues are going to be abortion and gay rights.  It is about terrorism.  It is about security. It’s also about economic insecurity in the world.  So I wouldn’t write Rudy off either.  He’s—all these guys make each other stronger.

MR. MURPHY:  Yeah, but I think the big problem we’ve got in the Republican Party, or the big challenge, is if the election were held today, we’d get creamed.  It’s going to be a change election, and we’re not exactly change. So our nomination process, I think, will be very rocky because there’s a lot of tension in the party about that.  How do we handle a change election? And—but, you know, politics is not static, it’s dynamic, it’s always changing.  We don’t really know what the world’s going to be like in 18 months.  But we definitely have to—there’s going to be a lot of tension in this primary because big things have to be decided to reorient us to be able to win.

MR. RUSSERT:  Let me go to the Democrats a little bit here.  This was the conservative Weekly Standard magazine:  “Days of Their Lives:  The Hillary and Bill Show:  America’s Longest-Running Soap Opera,” referring to the release of two new books about Senator Clinton.  The Washington Post broke the story.

“Two new books on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York offer fresh and often critical portraits of the Democratic presidential candidate that depict a tortured relationship with her husband and her past and” that “challenge the image she has presented on the campaign trail.

“The Hillary Clinton who emerges from” “pages of the books comes across as a complicated, sometimes compromised figure who tolerated Bill Clinton’s brazen infidelity, pursued her policy and political goals with methodical drive, and occasionally skirted along the edge of the truth along the way.  The books portray her as alternately brilliant and controlling, ambitious and victimized.

“The Clinton camp hopes to brush off the books as mainly rehashing old news. ‘Is it possible to be quoted yawning?’ asked Philippe Reines, her Senate spokesman.”

Mr. Carville, what will these books mean to Hillary camp, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the rest of the field?

MR. CARVILLE:  By a factor of more than five—and I think we can all agree with this—Hillary Clinton’s been subjected to more anti-Hillary books and investigations, Ken Starr, $70 million.  I find interesting that she’s the first woman to run for president and the most attacked human being to ever run for president.  Now, I’m not saying it’s all sexism, but I’m not saying it’s not.  And if you stack up all of the, all of the stuff, and, and, and everything becomes regurgitated, I, unlike other people, I happen to know Senator Clinton.  I am a huge admirer.  I think she’s a remarkable warm person.  But do I think she’s taken a compromised position in politics?  Well, sure.  Do I think she’s ambitious?  Thank God.  I mean, I, I, I—most people in politics are.  But I don’t think that these books are going to be particularly damaging to her.  I, I, I—but I do think she’s got a, she’s got a tough fight.  I think Obama is a, is a very skilled guy who’s got a lot of enthusiasm, and I think her people are much more focused on what’s going on in Iowa and New Hampshire than these books right now.  I really believe that.

MR. RUSSERT:  But a lot of Democrats are concerned about can she win a general election because of her high negatives.

MR. CARVILLE:  Right.

MR. RUSSERT:  Let me quote Bob Shrum’s “No Excuses.” This was after John Kerry was nominated.  “A quiet round of polling helped guide the search for Kerry’s VP pick.  Hillary Clinton had high negatives and would hurt the ticket.” And then you write, Bob Shrum, “A year later after the 2004 campaign, I met Kerry for a drink.  He confessed he did not want—he did want to run again and said he just didn’t see how Hillary could win.  What states was she going to carry that he and Gore hadn’t?”

MR. SHRUM:  Well, first of all, I think that was 2005, and I think that Bush has been kind of a circuit breaker on all of this.  I think there’s a whole Democratic opportunity that Mike just referred to in 2008.  I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton can win this election.  If the election were held today, the 2004 election could be reheld today, John Kerry would win by a big margin. I just think the landscape has changed in a fundamental way.

I also think that Hillary’s real problem is not these books, it’s the fact that she performs so well in these national polls and yet performs at a much lower level in the Iowa poll, the New Hampshire poll, and I think these national polls ought to be thrown out.  I mean, I write in the book about how in, you know, three or four days before Iowa in 2004, Howard Dean was running away with the Democrats in the national polls.  Three or four days after Iowa and Kerry’s victory there, he was gone from the national polls.

MR. RUSSERT:  Mike Murphy, you weigh in on this issue with this quote. “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s deadly problem is that while she’s running in a change election, most of her identity is about the past, which is a very bad position to be in.” Explain.

MR. MURPHY:  Yes.  Presidential elections are about change and the future, particularly this one I believe.  And Hillary’s problem is that her whole story, the whole debate about her, all these books, all this noise, all everything, is debating the past.  And that’s kind of out of line with being a forward president.  And I think you start to see that now, and I agree with Bob, it’s still very open.  She has a lot of, lot of power in the primary. But in these early states where people not only know her but know other candidates because they’ve been harassing voters now or even running television already, Hillary doesn’t do that well even though everybody knows her.  I’m reminded of the old marketing joke about the new brand of cereal or dog food.  You know, it’s got the best label, the best trucks, the best recipe, endorsed by Lassie, it’s got a great song.  Crack open a can, the schnauzer takes a look at it, doesn’t buy it.  And I think Hillary may have all the assets and all the everything except the voters.  I’m short Hillary, I think it’ll be Obama or Edwards.

MR. CARVILLE:  I, I think that’s a very valid point, and I think that, that, that she is very aware of this.  I think the campaign is very aware of this. And to some extent they’re going to—and, and, and I think that she, she’s starting to do this in her appearances.  That’s why she’s doing a lot of her appearances working hard.  I think they’re very cognizant of that.  But, but, but the difficulty for Senator Clinton, who, by the way, I, I wish her nothing but well, I’m a contributor and a, and a, and a, and a voter for her, but that is going to—that’s the strategic trick of her campaign.  It’s not dealing with these book, it’s not anything—it’s not that people are going to view this.  It’s just—and I think she has—she’s got to show people that she’s really about the future.  There’s something different that she wants to bring about.  And that’s a very, very fair observation.  And I think she’s very, very aware of it.

MS. MATALIN:  And what the conservatives have to caution themselves to do is to not repeat the same mistakes of ‘92 and ‘98 and pick up these books and wave them around.  Our problem with Hillary and our debate with Hillary is that she is a liberal and that, that if we do what we did before and go back and attack her on these issues, we will not do very well.

MR. SHRUM:  Mary, Mary, would, would you be willing to go out to Iowa and keep testifying to people that she’s a liberal because it would help her in the caucuses there.

MR. MURPHY:  She’s right.  We get caught in the same problem, now we’re debating backwards, too.  But if you win the future, you’re going to win this election.

MR. RUSSERT:  You know, in answer to Bob Shrum’s conversation with John Kerry in terms of winning the states, if you look at the electoral college map in 2008, a Democrat could lose Ohio and Florida...

MR. MURPHY:  Uh-huh.

MR. RUSSERT:  ...the way they did in ‘04 and 2000.  But New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona, I think are very much in play.  And if you win three of those four states, you’re the next president of the United States, as long as you win every other state that Kerry and Gore won.

MS. MATALIN:  But this is—here’s how we think, OK, my husband rightly always says about me, “I think like I think.” We think in red and blue.  The country’s not red and blue.  The country really is purple and who makes the difference are purple people, if you will.  And there—there’s a disconnect...

MR. RUSSERT:  So Hillary Clinton could win Utah?

MS. MATALIN:  Well, OK there is...

MR. SHRUM:  There are no purple people in Utah.

MS. MATALIN:  What makes the difference are the purple people, you’re right. That, that is...

MR. RUSSERT:  All right.  Let me turn to another candidate.  Will there be another late entry?  This was former Vice President Al Gore talking to Keith Olbermann on “Countdown” the other night.

(Videotape)

FMR. VICE PRES.  AL GORE:  I’m not thinking about running.  I don’t expect to run.  Yes, I haven’t ruled out the possibility at some point in the future, but I’m not keeping that exception alive to be coy.  I really don’t expect to be a candidate again.  But here we are, 500 days or so before the next election.  I don’t see why, you know, everybody has to close the doors and say, ‘OK, let’s narrow the field and make your bets.’ I’m an American citizen. I’m going to continue speaking out on my views forcefully and as best I can.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT:  Five hundred days to go, why close the door?

MR. CARVILLE:  Why?  I, I—again, I’ve said it publicly, said if he runs for president, it’s like having sex.  You don’t do it once and forget about it. Gore’s run twice.  He’s—anybody that has ever wanted to be president still wants to be president.  Bob Dole would like to run again, all right?  Probably factors are not just lined up right for him, and I suspect if he thinks that the conditions are, are anything close to favorable for him that he would get in.  And, and, favorable for him would mean that Obama stumbles or fails to ignite or falls behind.  But I, I—and I don’t—and I admire the vice president for that.  There’s nothing wrong with somebody spending a life in politics and wanting to be president of the United States.  It’s not, it’s not—you can produce all the movies you want.  You can do anything you want. There’s nothing that is even close to being president of the United States.

MR. RUSSERT:  But James Carville, Al Gore is at a pretty good place right now.  In 2000, a heartbreaking loss, you win the popular vote, lose the electoral college.  You’re wake—you work your way out of that.  You win an Academy Award, you’re nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, best-selling movie, best-selling book.  Do you want to risk all that by running against Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary and risk losing to her, which I think would be quite troubling....

MR. CARVILLE:  Right.  It would.

MR. RUSSERT:  ...psychologically to a...

MR. CARVILLE:  Right.  It would.

MR. RUSSERT:  ...vice president in the Clinton administration.

MR. CARVILLE:  And I, I, I—it would.  It’s a risk.  But when, once you want to be president, the, winning an Academy Award, it’s not what—that’s it.  It won’t go away.

MR. SHRUM:  I think it’s even tougher because he thinks he was elected president.

MR. CARVILLE:  Yeah.

MR. SHRUM:  I do, too.  But he has a sense of perspective about this.  I write in the book about the day before the 2004 election when Gore’s on the phone with David Morehouse, who worked for both Gore and Kerry, and Morehouse is going through the polling, he’s saying, “We’re going to win this state, going to win this state.  We’re going to win Florida by three or four points,” and Gore pauses and says, “Well, you know, that’d be good.  That’d be good. But you know what would be even better?  If it was close and they caught Bush trying to cheat and they put him in jail.” And then he laughed.  I mean, he’s got a sense of perspective about this.  I think he knows that he’s gone from being a politician to being a prophet, and he’s having more impact on the world than a lot of presidents have had.  That’s one place where I disagree with James.  I think if he sees an opening, he’ll be tempted.  And if he runs, he’ll run, I predict, in a very unorthodox way without taking polls and every spot will just be him talking to cameras.

MR. RUSSERT:  Without consultants?

MR. SHRUM:  Yeah, probably.  Yep.

MR. MURPHY:  Oh, we’ve got to do something about that.

MR. SHRUM:  I, I don’t mind, I’m retired.

MR. CARVILLE:  He should run.

MR. RUSSERT:  But let me go back, let me go back to that, it’s an important point, Bob.  Because in your book, Bob Shrum, you have a scene involving Al Gore and consultants and advice.  And here it is:  “Gore was determined to give a blunt speech on global warming and to do it in Michigan.  Just before a rally, Gore told me” “we all were against it.  He was right.  Gore announced to me that he didn’t care, he was going to say his piece anyway.  He ordered me to confer with his chief environmental adviser.  When I reached her on the cell phone, she said was Al out of his mind?  This was the nuttiest thing she’d ever heard; he’d lose Michigan.  She’d rather have a president that did something about global warming than a defeated candidate who’d given some” GD damned “‘noble speech’ about it.  When I reported her verdict to a disbelieving candidate, he phoned her, listened for a couple of minutes, and then he did budge.  He said to me with resignation, ‘Well, I guess that’s that.’”

That was Al Gore in 2000.  His signature issue of global warming, he decided not to give that speech because, politically, he was advised it would hurt him in Michigan.  In 2008, what would he do?

MR. SHRUM:  Oh, he’d talk about global warming all the time.  Look, what really happened in 2000 was he wanted to give that speech very early.  And it is true that people kept pushing back against it because the issue wasn’t the same as it is today, and there was a fear that we would lose Michigan.  But when he announced, I think, sort of to tell us, send us a message that he was very frustrated by what we’d done, that he was going to give that speech and he was going to give that speech in Michigan.  It wasn’t just his environmental adviser.  I mean, Chuck Campion, the Boston pol we’d sent in to help save Michigan, called me and said, “I might as well get back on the plane.  I did want to win the election.  I confess to that.”

MR. RUSSERT:  But you think in 2008 it’d be...

MR. SHRUM:  The speech would be given early.  You’d never even get to...

MR. RUSSERT:  In Michigan?

MR. SHRUM:  Well, no, he’d be going—actually, that speech could be given today in Michigan.

MR. MURPHY:  And he ought to do that if he runs.  And he ought to run.  Why not?  President of the United States.  Because the new unplugged Gore, while it might be wild and crazy and totally blow up on the pad, would be interesting and authentic, and this could be a year where authenticity is very, very important.  That would be nice in American politics.

MR. RUSSERT:  You raise Barack Obama and John Edwards, you thought having an advantage over Hillary Clinton.

MR. MURPHY:  Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT:  I want to bring up a quote that Senator Obama has made to New York magazine, also wrote about it in his book, when he talks about the new kind of politics.  And this is what he says:  “When you watch Clinton vs. Gingrich or Gore vs. Bush or Kerry vs. Bush, you feel like these are fights that were taking place back in dorm rooms in the sixties.  Vietnam, civil rights,” “sexual revolution, the role of government—all that stuff has just been playing itself out, and I think people sort of feel like, OK, let’s not re-litigate the sixties 40 years later.” Is that a way for Obama to lump Hillary Clinton and George Bush together, saying...

MR. MURPHY:  Well, that’s what he’s trying to do, absolutely.

MR. RUSSERT:  ...every election since 1980, there’s been a Bush or Clinton on the ticket.

MR. MURPHY:  Right.

MR. RUSSERT:  Let’s move beyond that.

MR. MURPHY:  He’s totally running change, new kind of politics, which is both the strength and the weakness of his campaign.  The strength of it is, in a wrong-track election like we have, change is very attractive.  And in these change elections, what candidates love to talk about the most is process, you know, how we’re going to fix the broken system in Washington—whether it’s Wallace talking about the pointy-headed bureaucrats, or Obama, the new generational politics.  It’s all the same stew.  The problem is eventually you get down to meat and potatoes, Democratic primary politics, and when you get closer in January to when this will be decided, and people want to know where, where are you on the issues, where’s my grease for my interest group, I’m with the teacher’s union.  That space ship stuff about the future’s great, but what about our members?  And that’s where a candidacy like Obama’s has got to have a second act, and sometimes—Paul Tsongas, for example—they fall apart.  And that, that’ll be the test.

MR. SHRUM:  Tim, can I, can I add one thing...

MR. RUSSERT:  Please.

MR. SHRUM:  ...on behalf of Hillary Clinton?  And I think Obama actually said this in Selma, and on reflection—I like him very much, I admire and respect him, think he very well may be the nominee—it’s a good thing we litigated the ‘60s or he wouldn’t be running for president today.

MR. RUSSERT:  James Carville, when you look at this, however, does—is there a point to this, that there’s a fatigue for both the Bushes and the Clintons and let’s try something different?

MR. CARVILLE:  Yes.  And, and I think that—and, and I think that the Clintons are very aware of that.  And I think Senator Obama’s very aware of that.  And you have a—just a classic confrontation that’s getting ready to take place in the Democratic Party.  This is all inspiration and all perspiration.  This is, this is to set a Protestant work ethic against somebody that’s coming in with, with, with something new.  I think that if—I think that Senator Clinton is going to have to, as Mike said, address the future.  I think she’s starting to do that.  They, they—but, but, but she does things in a very methodical, thought out way.  That’s her nature.  She’s a, she’s a very precise person.  Her campaign is, is a reflection of that.  I think they got to be happy with where they are so far.  But Obama keeps pushing the envelope.  And I think when the second quarter fund-raising number comes out, it’s going—Obama’s number’s going to shock people.  It’s going to be something that we’ve never seen before in American politics, if what I’m told by, by, by all sides is true.

MR. RUSSERT:  And the crowds he’s generating.

MR. CARVILLE:  And the crowds he’s generating.  However, there is going to be a lingering—always, as I, as I reduce everything to, to, to Louisiana cooking, is—I say Mama needs more spice, Obama needs more seasoning.  And if there’s any sense that Obama is inspirational, but not, not has, has the depth of the context to do this job, it will be the end of his campaign.

MR. RUSSERT:  Mary, and, look, you know, please, try to be counterintuitive and objective here, if you can, on the Democrats.  I know you can do it. Obama, Clinton...

MS. MATALIN:  If you don’t do it, and I say this to conservatives, if we’re not objective...

MR. RUSSERT:  Yeah.

MS. MATALIN:  ...we will lose.  We have to understand who the enemy is.  And it is them.

MR. RUSSERT:  When you, when you see Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, who would you most fear running against?

MS. MATALIN:  I, I—my party largely disagrees with me.  I think running against Hillary would be difficult.  This is a turn the page election, and if she can turn the page, and they let her be her—they keep trying to compare her—they, the Democratic vapors—she’s not Bill, she’s not Bill.  That’s right, she’s not Bill.  Bill was built for speed, she’s built for the long haul.  Let her be ambitious.  You go, girl.  Women make a difference in elections, and they decide later, and she is—this is a—one thing we all don’t know, we keep speaking in terms like we know where this thing is going. This is a process like none we’ve ever seen.  We’ve not had all these big states move right up into the, into the early states.  So, in that case, I think the Edwards strategy is Bush ‘80, it’s the “big mo.” Win Iowa and jump on.  Hers is the long haul, and no—Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey, everybody coming forward puts this race more properly in the hands of those who are there for the long haul, and I think she’s tough to run against.  And if she doesn’t—if you can’t push her over, and she won’t, then she’s—the easy thing about her is she’s going to have to defend a government philosophy the likes of which she portrayed last week, of the government providing for the whole world.  That’s not where we are.

MR. MURPHY:  I think there’s a lesson for Republicans in Obama, too.  Our two strongest guys I think are McCain and Romney, obviously.  Obama’s rhetoric of change is going to be important for either party, and McCain is the guy who’s been in Washington fighting all these things, and Romney is a super-innovative guy, like Giuliani, too, from outside.  And I think we have to look at how we’re going to argue we’re going to change government with our free enterprise thing on top of it, or we’re going to run out of gas running backwards, too. So Obama has a lesson for everybody, I think.

MR. CARVILLE:  Everything—if you look at the polls, you look at the fund-raising numbers, you look at the support that’s being generated, everything in the Democrat Party tells you that somebody’s going to, if, everybody’s going to lose a primary along the way.  Everybody is going to go down.  Everybody is going to taste defeat.  And I think that, that, that the determining factor of who wins this is how each of these candidates handle that bad, or more than one bad election night...

MR. MURPHY:  But by the way, that’s...

MR. CARVILLE:  ...because the narrative does not revolve around itself until somebody loses.  And it’s completely likely to happen.

MR. MURPHY:  It’s super-compressed.  I mean, this is the most bouncy compressed campaign.

MR. CARVILLE:  Right, right.

MR. SHRUM:  But that’s always true.  No one gets to the nomination without going through the valley.

MR. MURPHY:  Right.

MR. SHRUM:  Bill Clinton went through the valley.  You led him during that thing.

MR. CARVILLE:  Right.

MR. SHRUM:  And John Kerry went through the valley.  You just don’t get there—and in fact, I think we may not get an early nomination.  I think you could see a number of people doing pretty well in the early primaries go into this big event, where you have—it’s what, 60 percent of the delegation?

MR. RUSSERT:  Tsunami Tuesday.

MR. SHRUM:  Tsunami Tuesday.

MS. MATALIN:  Right.

MR. SHRUM:  And, and three people get pretty high percentages.

MR. CARVILLE:  Yep.

MR. SHRUM:  And under proportional representation, you won’t get an early nominee.

MR. MURPHY:  I’m going to be the contrarian.  I think it’s going to bounce like crazy.  I think there’ll be a valley, but it may be three days long.

MR. CARVILLE:  Well, I mean, I think if Hillary wins Iowa, then—but that’s a, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a difficult proposition.

MR. MURPHY:  Yeah, yeah.  Right.  No.

MR. CARVILLE:  And Obama is funded to go way beyond anything else.  I just think that, I think there’s going to be redemption in this, and by, on, on all sides.

MR. RUSSERT:  Before we take a break and come back and talk about the Bush administration, some of the challenges confronting them and how it’ll play out in 2008, Bob Shrum, in your book “No Excuses,” you say some things about Senator John Edwards that’ve created some discussion, and the Edwards campaign has, has weighed in.  I want to talk about one specific instance, and that was his vote on the Iraq war.

MR. SHRUM:  Right.

MR. RUSSERT:  And this is what you write:  “That fall of 2002, as a vote loomed on the resolution giving Bush authority to go to war in Iraq, Edwards convened a circle of advisers in his family room in Washington to discuss his decision.  He was skeptical, even exercised about the idea of voting yes.  His wife Elizabeth was a forceful no.  She didn’t trust anything the Bush administration was saying.

“But the consensus view from both the foreign policy experts and the political operatives was that he was” just “too junior in the Senate; he didn’t have the credibility to vote against the resolution.  To my continuing regret, I said he had to be for it.

“As I listened to this, I watched Edwards’ face; he didn’t like where he was being pushed to go.  The meeting did him a disservice; of course, he was the candidate and if he really was against the war, it was up to him to stand his ground.” And “he didn’t.”

Senator Edwards is now the first candidate who voted for the war to acknowledge it was a mistake.

MR. SHRUM:  Right.

MR. RUSSERT:  When his campaign learned you were on the program, they sent this statement:  “Bob Shrum’s thoughts about Iraq had zero influence on Senator Edwards’ vote.  The meeting Shrum describes in his book was a meeting about domestic political issues” to which—“in which several people offered their opinions about Iraq to Senator Edwards.  Unfortunately, in Bob Shrum’s worldview, the only conversations that matter are the ones he’s personally involved in.  That’s not the truth, of course—but Bob and the truth have a, had a rocky relationship for a long time and this book is no exception.” What’s going on?

MS. MATALIN:  Rarrr!

MR. MURPHY:  Rarrr!  Rarrr!

MR. SHRUM:  I guess, I guess they don’t like the book, and I’m not going to respond in kind.  Look, that meeting happened.  That meeting was about the Iraq war.  I’m not suggesting that John Edwards or John Kerry or anybody else went out and voted for that war on purely political grounds.  I’m suggesting that the politics they talked about may have shaped and influenced the lens through which they saw and weighed the issue.  People have cherry-picked that book about John Edwards.  I talk in that book about meeting him in 1997, calling my partners and saying, “I just think I met a future president of the United States.” I think that may still be true.  He’s the man who put poverty back on the Democratic Party agenda and the national agenda.  I’m sorry they kind of overreact that way, but Kerry, but, but John Edwards himself confirmed the fundamentals of what I said in one of these early debates when he said, “What I learned from the whole experience was to put more faith in my own judgment.” Well, what was his own judgment?  I think it was an inclination to be against the war.

MR. RUSSERT:  When—in 2004, you had to make a decision to work for John Kerry or John Edwards.  You opted for John Kerry.

MR. SHRUM:  Yes.  I think it was the right decision.

MR. RUSSERT:  Why?

MR. SHRUM:  I think John Kerry was the best prepared person to be president, I think he was the person who had the best chance to beat George Bush, and although we always forget it and we administer a ritual beating to our defeated Democratic nominees, unlike the Republicans who kind of rehab candidates over and over again, John Kerry came very, very close to being the first person to defeat an incumbent president renominated by his own party in time of war.

MR. RUSSERT:  Why isn’t he running?

MR. SHRUM:  He’s not running because he told a joke he shouldn’t have told last November, and he got beaten up very, very badly about it.  I don’t know that he would’ve run, but that precluded him from running.

MR. RUSSERT:  We’re going to take a quick break, come back and talk about the decision of 2008 and the Bush administration.  How will the Bush administration, the eight years of George W. Bush influence, affect this campaign?  We’ll be right back.

(Announcements)

MR. RUSSERT:  The race for the decision 2008.  Top political strategists, Democrats and Republicans assess the Bush administration and its impact on this campaign.  We’ll be right back.

(Announcements)

MR. RUSSERT:  And we are back.  George W. Bush.  Mary Matalin, The New Yorker, Jeff Goldberg wrote the following:  “Disillusionment with the administration has become widespread among the conservatives who once were Bush’s strongest supporters.  Mickey Edwards, former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, said recently, ‘The Republican Administration has shown itself to be completely incompetent to the point that, of Republicans in Iowa, 52 percent thought we should be out of Iraq in six months.  President Bush thinks he’s a monarch, and that’s scary as hell.’” You see real erosion amongst the conservative base towards George W. Bush?

MS. MATALIN:  The—seven out of 10 conservatives, or Republicans, support George W. Bush.  There is great affection for Bush amongst the people who are going to make the decision in this primary.  And further, for conservatives not to remember or to just blow past what George Bush brought to conservatism, including the longest-lasting impact which will be on the Supreme Court, Roberts and Alito, transforming the military, peace—I’m not going to go through this whole thing.  But I would refer people who are in this myopic mind-set, conservatives and independents alike, to read the new Beschloss book on presidential leadership.  Truman elected 22 percent; Washington was almost impeached.  If we looked at sort of contemporary public opinion we would be a slave-holding British colony today.  We wouldn’t—and we’d probably be speaking German and the rule would be totalitarian.  So, you cannot measure—we only have one template for a real measurement of a tenure of any presidency and that’s history.  And, and we...

MR. RUSSERT:  But in terms of the ‘08 election, and Newt Gingrich said that George Bush’s favorable rating is 28, 30 percent and the only way for a Republican to be elected is, in essence, nominate someone who will run against Bush.

MS. MATALIN:  Newt, who is capable of bursts of genius is also capable of just outbursts.  And I, I don’t know where that came from or why it’s so, and it’s certainly not strategically—it makes no strategic sense.  I will say again, the primary voters, if he’s running, he should remember are—seven out of 10--are favorable for Bush.  This is—you run against Bush, when we run against the president—we have seen this in how many cycles—you’re just—you, you divide yourselves and you’re going to hang separately.

MR. RUSSERT:  But take the issue of immigration.  Rush Limbaugh, other leading conservative spokespeople, Mike Murphy, have said, “Wait a minute. Mr. President, we’ve been with you through thick and thin on the war and a lot of other issues and now you’re chastising us on the issue of immigration?” And you could really upset the—and divide the conservative base.

MR. MURPHY:  No, it’s a huge crack-up issue right now, and I’m very proud of the president.  I think he’s completely right on it, and I’ve been a critic for a long time, in some ways, of, of the way they run their politics.  But he’s right.  It’s the future of the Republican Party at stake and it’s what America means.  We ought to have a big nasty fight on it in the primary to figure out who we are, and I give the president credit for that issue.

But the problem we’ve got is—I disagree with Newt.  You don’t run against the president, but it’s almost crueler than that.  Ultimately, you’re going to have to run beyond him.  The president’s going to be more irrelevant than presidents like to be a year from now unless there’s some global change in fortunes.  And the burden on the next Republican nominee will be how to paint a picture going beyond the president and the burden will come quick, because I think this compressed nomination will put somebody in mid-February as the nominee and the press will go berserk saying, “What are you going to do about Iraq now.” And at that moment, the torch is going to move and, and policy to this presumptive nominee and, at that point on, I think the president’s going to be less relevant than he would want to be.

MR. RUSSERT:  Is confidence...

MR. MURPHY:  But that’s the hard reality of it.

MR. RUSSERT:  ...is confidence going to be an issue in 2008?

MR. SHRUM:  Yes.

MR. MURPHY:  No.

MR. CARVILLE:  Of course it is.  I mean, but that fight over the attorney general, I mean, every time that he’s sitting there people are looking and saying, “Oh, come on.” And, and, and it’s, everybody acknowledges that.  Look, the approval about the president is this.  Tonight is the Democratic debate. See how many times the Democrats mention George Bush’s name.  It’ll be a lot. Tuesday night is the Republican debate.  See how many times the Republicans mention George Bush’s name.  It’ll be doggone few.  It’s like one a debate his name crops up.  So, and, of course, he—they know that he is a big problem. They know that the Democrats are going to run against eight years of Republican missteps and mishandling everything they can.  And it’s going to be something they’re going to have to deal with, and that’s why the, that’s why the party is at its lowest point in the history of the NBC/Journal—NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

MR. RUSSERT:  But is it enough for the Democrats simply to say, “We’re not George W. Bush, vote for us?”

MR. CARVILLE:  It’s a—it’s a start.

MR. MURPHY:  No.

MR. SHRUM:  No.

MR. CARVILLE:  No, but I’ll tell you what...

MS. MATALIN:  That’s the only part you’ll ever get.  You never get past.  How about ‘06 and ‘06 is now zero and ‘07.  You have no other unifying principle than “We’re not Bush, we hate Bush.”

MR. CARVILLE:  No, that’s...

MS. MATALIN:  You cannot get past that.

MR. CARVILLE:  Oh no, no, that’s not fair.  This Democratic field, all of them have very nuanced, very thought out proposals on health care, all of them have—going—have very, very nuanced, a lot of foreign policy speeches. You’re going to see more substance come from this field than any field of any party that’s ever run for president.

MR. RUSSERT:  Bob Shrum, you offer the Democrats some advice in “No Excuses.” “If Democrats are afraid to say what we are about, if the party doesn’t stand for something more than a set of poll-tested programs and a carefully engineered set of tactics to win office, we are likely to lose unless the Republicans hand us victory on a platter of indisputable failure or perceived economic crisis.”

MR. RUSSERT:  What should Democrats say, and is there a Democrat who’s saying anything that is unpopular right now, against the grain because they truly believe in it?

MR. SHRUM:  I think people are taking up some really tough issues, as James suggests, like health care, and I think you’re going to see more and more pressure to do that.  I think that health care’s going to be a central domestic issue this time.  And I think when we elect a president, we’re going to have to stay with the issue and stay with the issue and stay with the issue until we get it done.

You know, I write in the book that one of the secrets of the Republican Party is that it survived Goldwater, it survived Nixon, it reached the Reagan era because it continually kept talking about, with more and more confidence, its conservative beliefs.  I think Democrats have to talk about our beliefs, about economic and social justice.  You know, I was born, like you were, in a working class family.  I got to a great university.  I got a few lucky breaks, and I got to be at the center of American politics.  I know some people wish I hadn’t been, but I’m glad I was, and, and I hope I made some difference for good.  I want other people to have that chance, and I think we Democrats ought to talk about that, and I think we are doing that in this campaign.  That’s what James is talking about when he says Obama offers inspiration to people. That’s what Hillary Clinton is doing when she’s going out there and talking about education.  That’s what John Edwards is doing when he talks about poverty.

MS. MATALIN:  When...

MR. RUSSERT:  Mike Murphy, when a Democratic candidate says, “All right, we need to have health care for the 40 million people who don’t have it, we got to work on that aggressively, and it may mean rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the rich in order to pay for it”...

MR. MURPHY:  Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT:  ...will that sell with the American people?  Or will the Republicans pounce on it, saying, “Tax, tax, tax, that’s all they want to do?”

MR. MURPHY:  Well, let me think...

MR. RUSSERT:  Or will health care, will health care...

MR. MURPHY:  Pounce, pounce.  I think Shrum’s wrong, by the way.  That was the kickoff speech.  Pounce, pounce, pounce, attack, attack, attack.  And we’ll have a Romney-like free enterprise plan that we think we can compete with.  The minute this race gets beyond the primaries, when the Democrats get out of the cheap applause on Bush business, then the big wheel’s going to turn to “What are they for?” And then we Republicans, if we nominate a good candidate, we’re back in the race.

MR. RUSSERT:  Has the war in Iraq hampered, hindered, hurt the Republicans’ image on national security issues?

MR. MURPHY:  Yes.  Absolutely.  Nixon’s spinning in his grave.  We used to be the very competent guys that run wars.  Now I—my view is, our magnificent military and the Bush administration won the war, the Iraqi people have lost the politics and the peace, and now we’ve got to figure out a way to protect American interests and move on.  Very big...

MR. RUSSERT:  You’re blaming the Iraqi people?

MR. MURPHY:  Yeah!  I think it’s the truth.

MR. SHRUM:  I mean, they don’t keep the troops there.

MR. MURPHY:  No, but the troops are there for security so they can grow up and have a democracy, and that’s what they’re horrible at.

MR. CARVILLE:  Are we—but, Mike, are we surprised that we found Iraqis when we went there?

MR. MURPHY:  The war is...(unintelligible)...they light up.

MR. CARVILLE:  Were we shocked when we found Iraqis when we went to Iraq?  We didn’t know there were going to be Iraqi people there?

MR. MURPHY:  No, no.

MR. SHRUM:  Some of them don’t like us occupying their country.

MR. CARVILLE:  They’re intelligent.

MR. MURPHY:  Well, yeah, but we didn’t feed them the democracy, and that they’re having trouble.

MS. MATALIN:  Well, what all Americans do not like is Democrats saying or anybody in this country saying, even those who are anti-war, do not like when Democratic leaders say, “This war is lost.” We are determined people.  We cannot believe that this enemy that stones women and sends 12-year-olds out to behead innocents are people that are better than us.

MR. SHRUM:  Mary, we’re going to stay and stay and stay and stay.

MR. CARVILLE:  Correct.

MR. SHRUM:  And when is it going to, when is it...

MS. MATALIN:  You’re going to stay on Iraq.

MR. SHRUM:  Give me some indication...

MS. MATALIN:  What is your...

MR. SHRUM:  Give me some indication of when persisting in a failed policy is going to yield success.

MS. MATALIN:  Give me some indication of what your foreign policy positions against this 21st century enemy, what is the Democratic plan?

MR. SHRUM:  Mine would be, mine would be a lot closer to the current secretary of defense who said we got to draw down the troops next year...

MR. CARVILLE:  Right.

MR. SHRUM:  ...to send a very clear message to the Iraqis that they have to get their act together, they have to make the government work.

MS. MATALIN:  That is the bottom rock!

MR. SHRUM:  I’d go one step further and I’d withdraw.

MR. MURPHY:  That’s going to happen, so then what do you guys run on?  You got nothing left.  It’s back to our national security system.

MR. SHRUM:  I don’t think it is going to happen.  I think keeping 100,000 troops there is not going to make Americans happy.

MR. RUSSERT:  1968, both Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate, Richard Nixon, the Republican candidate, had plans to end the war in Vietnam.  Will we see that in 2008?

MS. MATALIN:  This—I know we all politically want to make this about Iraq, and it is important and it is an overlay and it did play into the ‘06 defeat. Although we were—lost because of corruption and spending.  But we, I want to go—the country wants to go—if we won Iraq tomorrow or we lost Iraq tomorrow, if we pulled out of—whatever the plan is, then what?  What is the day after? What is the day after for the region?  What is the day after for Eurabia? What is the day after for these al-Qaeda ideologies, and they’re acting on, and this extremism is present in every continent on the globe.  What happens the day after?  They want to stay in Iraq because they think it’s a winner for them.  The country wants to talk about the day after.

MR. SHRUM:  No, I want to leave Iraq.  Let me just make it clear.  I’d be happy to have this election in 2008 on health care and a whole set of other issues.

MR. RUSSERT:  We’re not going to settle Iraq this morning, but I think there’s one thing in Mr. Shrum’s book you all agree on as strategists, consultants, advisers.  And here it is:  If victory has 100 fathers, it also brings forth 100 advisers.

Thank you, Chairman Shrum.  Quotations from Chairman—any disagreement on that?

MR. MURPHY:  Absolutely not.  That is true.

MR. CARVILLE:  No, no, no.

MR. RUSSERT:  One, one more, one more observation.  Mary Matalin, you can help me on this.  This is Mr. Shrum.  In 1984, he says, “On a trip to Austin, Texas, I met the [Lloyd] Doggett campaign manager, who looked and sounded like a Gothic character out of the pages of ‘All the King’s Men.’ His swagger, his shaved head, his stories and aphorisms spilling out in hyperkinetic, sometimes profane geyser of heavily accented phrases and half-sentences.  I had never encountered anyone in politics like this.” This is...

MS. MATALIN:  That’s my man.  That’s my man.

MR. SHRUM:  And my friend.

MR. RUSSERT:  You’re talking about Mr. Carville?

MR. SHRUM:  Yes, yeah.

MR. RUSSERT:  Now, Mr. Carville, in the book it says that you gave Mr. Shrum some advice, that you were a bachelor, and that you shared this maxim for finding a date in a bar.  “Go ugly early.”

MR. CARVILLE:  Well, I don’t deny I said that, but you know what, I did pretty good later.  I, I, I didn’t, I didn’t do too bad.

MR. MURPHY:  That’s what I was going to say, you did very well later.

MR. CARVILLE:  Yeah, I did very well later.  But I, I was, I was, I was 49 before I got married.

MR. RUSSERT:  Well, explain it.  What does it mean?

MS. MATALIN:  Yeah, what does that mean?

MR. CARVILLE:  If you can’t understand—it’s one of those things if you can’t understand it, I can’t explain it either.  But it was a, it was—but I was—I did, I did pretty well...

MS. MATALIN:  Necessity is the mother of invention for this one.

MR. RUSSERT:  In the interest of full disclosure, our viewers should know that Mr. Carville debates my son on a sports show on XM radio, but it does not stop me from asking him questions on a morning like this.  So James Carville, Mary Matalin, Mike Murphy, Bob Shrum, thank you all.

MR. SHRUM:  Thank you.

MR. RUSSERT:  And we’re going to talk more to Bob Shrum about James Carville’s early life in our next session on the Internet.  You can see our MEET THE PRESS Take Two Web extra on our Web site this afternoon, mtp.msnbc.com.  Mike Murphy, Mary Matalin will join it as well.  Thanks very much, we’ll be right back.

(Announcements)

MR. RUSSERT:  That’s all for today.  We’ll be back next week at a special early time, 8 AM Eastern, before the French Open.  Our special guest, former Secretary of State Colin Powell.  An exclusive interview right here, next Sunday, 8 AM with former general and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

If it’s Sunday, it’s MEET THE PRESS.

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  1. Matt York / AP

    Mansion or shack? That's the million-dollar question

    8/1/2014 6:47:36 PM +00:00 2014-08-01T18:47:36