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MSNBC Hardball - Transcript

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February 3, 2004 Tuesday

HEADLINE: HARDBALL 2100 Hour for 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: NBC News is projecting that John Kerry has won the North Dakota caucuses. He's also won in Missouri, Delaware and Arizona. Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona joins us right now. Governor, Arizona is a swing state. Is that not true?

GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO (D), ARIZONA: Yes, it's a swing state. It will be a real battleground this fall.

MATTHEWS: What's going to decide it?

NAPOLITANO: You know, Arizonans are waiting to hear both from who the Democratic nominee is and from the president, not only about the economy and jobs and health care and what we're going to do about education, but we want to hear about immigration. We want to hear about trade. We want to hear about the environment.

MATTHEWS: Is putting Richardson, Bill Richardson of New Mexico on the ticket, would that deliver Arizona?

NAPOLITANO: Well, Bill's a great and wonderful charismatic and very qualified leader, so I'm sure he'd been on anybody's short list.

MATTHEWS: Would he be on yours?

NAPOLITANO: He would be on mine. I won't get to pick, however.

MATTHEWS: Would you like to see him on the ticket?

NAPOLITANO: You know I think Bill would be among many Democrats qualified to be on the ticket. The things is, is that this presidential election is going to be fought out very hard in the West. These states, Arizona, for example, which used to be automatically included as a Republican state are no longer so. They're changing too rapidly and both candidates better realize it.

MATTHEWS: I remember talking to John McCain, a Republican senator from your state, who said that one of the big issues was the vote in California that punish basically the sons and daughters of immigrants, people are here illegally, their children would be punished in terms of health care and education. He said that really hurt with the Hispanic vote and the Latino vote in Arizona for his party. Is that the kind of ticklish issue that could turn an election?

NAPOLITANO: That's right. And immigration is a difficult issue. It doesn't permit slogans, if you're really dealing with the public policy of it and what is the right thing to do. And the immigration debate, I think, is something that will be very important in Arizona, in California, New Mexico and the other Western states.

MATTHEWS: Hasn't President Bush grabbed that issue with his immigration reform proposal?

NAPOLITANO: Not at all. He's got people in his party who don't like it, and he's got a lot of people in our party who don't like it. In part because it's not spelled out exactly what happens and how one becomes a permanent citizen lawfully legally. We want people to obey our immigration laws. So...

MATTHEWS: Do you want it to be more liberal...

NAPOLITANO: ... this is an open issue.

MATTHEWS: ... or less liberal? Do the Democrats...

NAPOLITANO: Pardon me.

MATTHEWS: ... do the Democrats want it to be more liberal or less liberal for immigrants?

NAPOLITANO: You know I think the Democrats want the law to be an enforceable law and they want it to be fully and strongly enforced. They want the federal government to do its fair share along the border, which, after all, is a federal responsibility.

MATTHEWS: Watching the election tonight and watching the returns and watching who won and lost tonight, especially between Kerry and Edwards, Kerry won, of course, a lot of delegates tonight, Missouri, Delaware, Arizona, your state. John Edwards won his own South Carolina where he was born and has a good shot at Oklahoma tonight. Who's the winner tonight?

NAPOLITANO: Oh, I actually think the Democratic Party is a winner, because we have now -- we've whittled the field a little. I just saw Senator Lieberman, who is a class act all the way, has withdrawn. Now we're down to three or four candidates and everybody is honing their message and that dialogue...


MATTHEWS: Governor, you're being very diplomatic and political. List the candidates, you said three or four, who can still win the Democratic nomination for president this year.

NAPOLITANO: Well I think practically speaking, after tonight we're looking at Kerry, Clark and Edwards, perhaps Howard Dean, if he's able to pull it out in Michigan.

MATTHEWS: What about Clark? If he can't win tonight, can he win it all?

NAPOLITANO: I think perhaps. I think the one thing we've learned is that, "A", the polls haven't been so accurate in this thing, and "B", the Democrats are really paying attention and voting where they believe their best candidate is, and it's a little fluid right now.

MATTHEWS: Why does everybody say the polls haven't been accurate? They've been incredibly accurate. They've predicted every one of these primers? What are you talking about Governor?

NAPOLITANO: What I'm talking about is they certainly didn't call Iowa. They certainly underestimated New Hampshire and really, until the last couple of days, you didn't see Kerry winning Arizona by near the margin that it looks like he's going to carry this evening.

MATTHEWS: Would he be a good nominee if he wins?

NAPOLITANO: Excuse me.

MATTHEWS: Would he be a good candidate in the fall?

NAPOLITANO: Yes, I think so and I think again that Arizona is going to be a hard fought state. That's why President Bush has been in and out of here repeatedly over the past year and I think you'll see the Democratic candidate here a lot as well.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much. Great having you on here tonight, Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona.

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