Matthews: No Robot In This Year's Race, Bush Getting Some Bad Advice

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Political pundit and television commentator Chris Matthews predicted that John Edwards seems most likely as Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's running mate, but added a strong caveat that the nod could also go to Missouri's Dick Gephart.

Among his other observations:

Racing The Robot

George W. Bush had a big advantage in the 2000 presidential election because "he was running against a robot. People decided they liked the popular kid in class and not the kid who is always raising his hand.

"Al Gore thought he was smarter than everyone else on the planet, and John Kerry believes he's smarter than Al Gore."

Weapons of Mass Destruction

* "On the issue of weapons of mass destruction (claims by the president), it's a little bit now like (Franklin) Roosevelt saying on Dec. 9, 'Actually, the Japanese didn't bomb us.' But Bush won't say that he was wrong. He won't admit it. I think that is going to be a problem. I think George W. Bush did not lie to us. He may have been misled and he may have lied to himself."

On The Upcoming Election

Matthews said he believes Bush is getting bad advice and that the people around the president are not doing well. "And it doesn't appear that he is in charge of his vice president," he said.

He said the capture of Saddam Hussein killed the presidential campaign of Howard Dean and wounded that of Wesley Clark.

"This is more of a pre-9/11 election than anyone could have imagined. The president has called himself a war president, but that's not working. The Republicans see the vulnerability of John Kerry as what they call his uncertainty. The No. 1 Republican strength is taxes."

Matthews said his analysis of every presidential election since World War II shows that four incumbents were winners (Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Clinton), four were not (Truman, Johnson, Ford, Carter and Bush I), and one was assassinated (Kennedy).

Three of the incumbents lost as the result of becoming bogged down in wars, he noted.

"People will vote for an incumbent if two things are present," said Matthews. "A sense the country is moving in the right direction and is not stuck. Americans are ruthless about this. The second is a sense that this guy cares about people like me. People like George W. Bush, but it seems like he spends a lot of time in Texas and with a lot of ideologues. If the casualties from Iraq keep up, look out. If they catch (Osama) bin Laden Oct. 15th, it's over. They'll probably find him-at Guantanomo."

"What is interesting about this race is that for some reason the president doesn't seem focused. He seems dangerously close to his old man. What got his old man was winning a war and then relaxing."

Hillary Vs. Rudy

Matthews said New York Sen. Hillary Clinton would beat Rudy Giuliani in a race for the Senate, and recommended Giuliani run for the governorship.

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