Guests: Carol Moseley-Brawn, Mike Feldman, Joe Watkins, Sam Greenfield, Hulk Hogan Linda Hogan, Nick Hogan, Brooke Hogan
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show. I‘m Tucker Carlson.
A lot to get to today, including why the conventional wisdom says Democrats will come out of the midterms in control of both houses of Congress and why the conventional wisdom could potentially turn out to be wrong.
Also ahead, the anonymous author of the new book “I Hate Ann Coulter”.
But first, our top story of today, Barack Obama for president. Granted, he is not officially in the race. In fact, he had consistently said he had no plans to run. But when Tim Russert asked him on “Meet the Press” yesterday, Obama opened the door for the very first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: After November 7th, I‘ll sit down and ponder it. And if at some point I change my mind, I will make a public announcement, and everybody will be able to go at me.
TIM RUSSERT, HOST, “MEET THE PRESS”: But it‘s fair to say you‘re thinking about running for president in 2008?
OBAMA: It‘s fair, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So it‘s fair to say he‘s thinking about running. That‘s not much to hang a campaign on, but it‘s a measure of the state of Obama-mania that Democrats are salivating.
My first guest knows a lot about what it‘s likely to—like to be in Barack Obama‘s position. Carol Moseley-Braun is a former Illinois U.S. senator who ran for president in 2004. She joins us now from Chicago.
CAROL MOSELEY-BRAUN FMR. U.S. SENATOR: Thank you so much. I‘m delighted. You know, I‘m out of—I‘m not in the political arena anymore. I‘m running an organic food company.
CARLSON: I think that‘s wonderful.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: But I just this it‘s such a good news—this is such a good news story for our country. It says that people, the American people are ready to consider a qualified candidate for president, whether that person is a female or African-American or Hispanic or without transcending race and gender. And I just think that‘s wonderful.
CARLSON: Well, but how qualified is he is the question. I‘ve got nothing against Obama. And I think, for whatever it‘s worth, I think he ought to run. And now is the time I think for him.
CARLSON: But, in what sense is he qualified relative to, say, the other members of the United States Senate? I mean, Joe Biden has been there since 1972. Where—Obama came out of nowhere.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: And I love Joe Biden. I love Joe Biden, and I‘m a great fan of Hillary Clinton‘s.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: And I‘m a great fan of Barack Obama‘s. And I hope they all get in and give Democratic voters a chance to choose through the primary process.
But I can tell you, Tucker, one of the things from my race for the president—for the Democratic nomination in 2004, everywhere I went in the country people said, you know, “We want to hear what you have to say. We‘re not hung up the fact that you‘re a woman or a black woman, for that matter. We want to hear what you have to say.”
And that‘s a sea change I think from where it was when Shirley Chisholm ran or when—when Jesse Jackson ran. I think the country is ready to make a change and a real change in the direction of electing the most qualified person.
CARLSON: I agree with you, and I agree that that‘s a good thing.
That says something good about America, I believe.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Yes. I think it does.
CARLSON: But here are the problems. Now, I want to read you a section from a column I have no doubt you read this morning, Bob Herbert, left-winger, not in any sense a Republican. Here‘s what he—who likes Obama. But here‘s what he says about Barack Obama.
CARLSON: Well, he‘s—I‘m not attacking him, but he‘s a lefty. He‘s not—he is. But here‘s what he says about Obama.
CARLSON: His consideration of running is “disturbing”. “He may be capable of being a great president someday, but one quick look around at the state of the nation and the world tells us that we need to be more careful than we have been in selecting our leaders. There shouldn‘t be anything precipitous about the way we pick our presidents.”
I think that‘s a really solid point. How would you respond to that as a supporter of Obama?
MOSELEY-BRAUN: And again, Barack Obama will, A, make his own decisions, but as much to the point Democratic voters will make a decision about who they think has the qualifications, who has the capacity to lead this great country.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: And that is a decision that‘s going to take into account the views and the positions and the credentials of a variety of candidates. Again, Hillary Clinton may yet decide to get in. Joe Biden may yet decide to get in.
There are—John Kerry may decide to get in. There are a number of qualified Democrats who have a program to lead this country in the right direction. And that‘s what I think should give Democrats the most encouragement.
CARLSON: Sure. But because there are so many very seasoned candidates, people—including a number, as you pointed out, who have run before—John Kerry I think is certainly running, Al Gore may run. I mean, these are people who—in Al Gore‘s case—worked in the White House. In Kerry‘s case—they both ran for president before.
What does it say about the lack of confidence in a pretty—that is a pretty substantial field of candidates already, that all of a sudden this guy from out of nowhere arrives who is obviously capable and smart and all that. But, you know, He hasn‘t been in politics for very long. All of a sudden he is in the top tier.
What does that say about Democrats‘ confidence in the rest of them?
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Oh, no, no, no. I don‘t think—instead of looking at the half empty side of this glass, the half full is that he is seriously being considered.
The fact that Barack Obama is African-American is not considered to be a deal closer in terms of his viability as a candidate for president. The fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman is not a deal closer for her capacity or her ability to run for president.
And so what it says is that the American people are prepared to have a broader view, to look for capacity and look for quality and look for qualifications without regard to those things that traditionally have limited us. When I ran for president...
CARLSON: But even—but hold on. But Jesse Jackson—I mean, Jesse Jackson actually in 1984 ran, and to some extent in ‘88. He ran respectably. I mean, he was—he was a serious candidate, and he was disqualified I think not simply because he was black but because his views were a little bit far out.
I wonder as someone who has actually run for president, if you can tell us, is someone who hasn‘t been in very many campaigns, as Obama has not been, is he ready for the rigors of campaigning day to day? It‘s really hard, as you know better than most.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Again, again, it‘s all going to sort itself out. The good news of this story is that the American people are ready for a run from a Barack Obama or a Hillary Clinton or a Joe Biden or John Kerry or Al Gore. The American people want change.
Our country is headed in the wrong direction. They want a signal not just here at home, but to the world that we are prepared to put this country back on track. And I think that‘s the most important message.
CARLSON: My god, I hope that Democrats are a little bit more deliberative than that. I hope it‘s not just, you know, anybody who is breathing who is not George W. Bush.
Tell me this. Since you‘re—I know you‘re running an organic food company now, but you still are a former senator, you live in Illinois. Is Barack Obama mounting a campaign behind the scenes? Is he asking people, you know, to hold off before they start giving money to other candidates?
Is he putting together a campaign, do you know?
MOSELEY-BRAUN: I‘m not aware of that. I‘m not aware of that at all.
And again, I‘m just holding my—keeping my powder dry.
I‘m not in the political arena. But I can tell you it‘s just very exciting to me that we have qualified candidates to choose from, that the home boy from Illinois is one of those candidates. I‘m delighted. I think he does have certainly the credentials to serve this country in whatever capacity he chooses. And I—and for me...
CARLSON: What‘s your favorite thing about him?
MOSELEY-BRAUN: ... that‘s enough.
CARLSON: As someone who knows Barack Obama—most of our viewers don‘t know much about him—what‘s your favorite thing about him?
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Well, I do know—I know a lot about him, but I don‘t want to—you know, without getting into—into—it‘s not a personal story for Barack Obama. This is not personal.
CARLSON: No, I just want to know—I know. Of course.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: This is about the country.
CARLSON: Since most people don‘t know anything about him and you do know him, I‘m just wondering—I‘m not asking you to criticize him. Just the opposite. What‘s your favorite thing about him?
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Well, if you think about it, he‘s just very competent. He‘s a competent, qualified candidate to serve in the United States Senate, to serve in whatever capacity he chooses. And again, I think the story here, Tucker, is not about Barack Obama. The story here is about America, and that Americans are prepared to choose based on qualifications and based on credentials and not just on the—on the old boy network.
CARLSON: OK. So basically as long as it‘s not a white guy, you don‘t care who the nominee is? Is that what you‘re saying?
MOSELEY-BRAUN: No, it could be a white—Tucker, I‘d vote for you.
CARLSON: Would you really?
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Well, OK...
CARLSON: You‘re giving me—you know what? You‘re inspiring me in ways you don‘t even know.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Well, no, I mean, you know, again, the people will get to choose. But when I first ran for president, my little niece looked at me and said, “Auntie Carol, all the presidents are boys.” She was 10. And she‘s right, all the presidents have been boys.
That‘s not to say we can‘t have a boy for president again, but there is no reason why we couldn‘t have a girl, or why we couldn‘t have an African-American, or why we couldn‘t have an Hispanic or an Asian or a Muslim. And this country has such great diversity.
And the important message I think out of this story is that the American people are embracing that diversity. The American people are ready.
I had people in Iowa come up to me saying, “Why didn‘t you stay in the race? We were prepared to caucus for you.”
Well, I ran out of money, frankly, and couldn‘t do it. But if Barack
Obama could raise the money, and if he has the commitment and ready to work
-- to do all the hard work—because you‘re right, it‘s a lot of hard work
then I say have at it, go for it. And I think that‘s a good thing for America.
CARLSON: All right. It‘s funny, I remember being with you in Iowa.
That was fun.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Yes. Yes.
CARLSON: We will see you again in Iowa I hope.
Former senator Carol Moseley-Braun, now in the organic food business.
Who would have thought? I think that‘s great.
Thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: Thank you. Thank you very much.
CARLSON: Still to come, we all know politics can get ugly, but this is ugly, literally. Did Hillary Clinton‘s Senate opponent accuse her of being ugly and spending millions on plastic surgery?
And election watchers are betting on the Democrats to take control of the House after the midterm elections. So what, if anything, is on speaker Pelosi‘s agenda?
That story when we come back.
CARLSON: Still to come, outraged Republicans blasting CNN for airing what they call a terrorist snuff film. The controversy gets that network a spot on “Beat the Press”.
We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
With just a week to go until the midterm elections, Democrats find themselves in a very unfamiliar position, on the verge of winning something. But with unaccustomed optimism spreading through the party like a virus, some top Democrats are still cautious.
Congressman Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, the man in charge of retaking the House for Democrats, told “The New York Times,” “I know a lot of people are in somersault land. I just don‘t have the liberty and freedom to do that.”
So, are the Democrats poised to take control of the House, the Senate?
And if so, what‘s on their agenda?
Joining me now, Democratic strategist Mike Feldman from the Glover Park Group and hotsoup.com.
MIKE FELDMAN, GLOVER PARK GROUP: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: You saw the quote from Steve Elmendorf, Democratic strategist, in today‘s “New York Times,” who worked for John Kerry. Someone—you know everyone involved in that sentence. And he said, look, on Election Day, 2004, looking at the exit polls, we became convinced that Kerry was going to be president.
I was convinced, by the way, he was going to win, too. And we know what happened.
Are Democrats too optimistic too early?
FELDMAN: No, it‘s a good point. Look, I don‘t want to disagree with Steve Elmendorf. He‘s a wise man. And I would never disagree with Chairman Emanuel.
I think the watchword here is cautious optimism. But, you know, there is still two weeks and a day until—until the Americans have a say in this issue. And Democrats have to remain focused.
A lot of ads are going to be run, a lot of money is going to be spent. And a lot of effort is going to be put in trying to turn out the Republican base. And I think Democrats need to be prepared and run like—run like there is a lot at stake. And there is.
CARLSON: Do you think, though, that there is so much hype basically, the expectations are so high of a Democratic victory, among Democrats and Republicans—I mean, everybody I know in Washington thinks that the Democrats are going to be in charge of both chambers, and certainly the House. Is it good enough for the Democrats to just win, or do they need to win pretty dramatically in order to live up to the expectations here?
FELDMAN: Well, I agree expectations are high. You know, it‘s interesting, you have the Republican Party and their operatives on one hand trying to promote optimism and energize their base because they need people to turn out and work hard on Election Day, and you have Democrats trying to tamp down optimism and try to contain their optimism and focus that energy on actually finishing the job.
So, look, expectations are expectations. At the end of the day, I think Democrats want to try to recapture both houses of Congress and restore some balance of power here. And I think—I think that‘s what everybody is focused on now.
CARLSON: But there is a huge difference sort of in a day-to-day way between winning 15 seats, the Democrats, and winning 30. I mean, you can win back, technically win back the House, and all you guys get the chairmanships and you get your speaker, and, you know, that‘s great, you‘re in charge, but you‘re not really able to do anything because your margin is so thin.
Do you think Democrats will win enough to actually have some ability to move legislation through the Congress?
FELDMAN: Well, look, I take your point. No matter what the outcome is on Election Day, it‘s hard to imagine Democrats with a governing majority in either house of Congress, especially in the Senate. As you know, I mean, they don‘t have—the Republicans don‘t have a governing majority leadership in the Senate right now.
But the most important thing for Democrats is to provide some check, some balance, some oversight, some accountability right now, and certainly taking back the House would help that. If we take back the House and the Senate, we would have even more. And don‘t forget those chairmanships.
CARLSON: Some—some accountability. I mean, you‘re framing this election I think the way it should be framed, which is it‘s a referendum on the White House, on the president and his leadership. But that‘s not exactly an affirmative victory necessarily for Democrats. That‘s a vote against Bush.
So, I mean, are people—do you imagine that people are actually voting for the Democratic agenda? And if they are, what the hell is that agenda? I have no idea.
FELDMAN: Well, look, they are voting for change. And clearly there is an overwhelming majority of the American people who think the country is heading in the wrong direction. Voting for Democrats on Election Day would achieve that.
To you point, as an—I mean, I just point to the latest polls which show that the American people prefer Democrats on issues like the economy, on health care, on the environment, on foreign policy, even on moral values. So to some extent, yes, the electorate is saying we want an alternative here. And I think Democrats—it is going to be up to the Democrats to step up very soon after Election Day, assuming things go well, and demonstrate what that agenda is, and put together a plan and help to implement that plan. But I think right now to some extent we are overtaken by the environment, and that environment is just asking for change.
CARLSON: Yes. I think you‘re right. It does seem, though, that this is really not about voters or issues. It‘s not about, you know, sort of answering the pleas of the American people or living up to anything.
It‘s all about positioning the party, the Democratic Party for 2008. The Democrats want to, you know, stoke the anger against Bush, get some investigations going against him, and sort of pave the way for a Democratic victory in the presidential election two years from now.
Is that your sense?
FELDMAN: It‘s not my sense. I think there is an awful lot of time between now and Election Day and 2008. I mean, we‘re just—we‘re not even to the Election Day in 2006.
And what Democrats and an awful lot of Americans are saying right now is, a lot more damage can take place between now and Election Day in 2008. Let‘s elect Democrats in the House and Senate, help mitigate that damage, try to blunt some of that damage, roll back some of these policies that are overwhelmingly unpopular with the American people. We‘ll worry about 2008 as that gets closer.
CARLSON: OK. You were here in 1998 in Washington, and you saw what happened when the Republicans overreached in their attacks on Bill Clinton, and they are the ones who wound up getting hurt. I mean, they looked like zealots and crazy people.
You‘re about to have John Conyers and John Dingell, two of the oldest and most fiery Democrats in the House of Representatives, choose—achieve chairmanships. And they‘re going to have subpoena power, and they‘re going to start all these investigations.
Are Democrats worried that they are going to become the poster boys for Democratic excesses and hurt your party in 2008?
FELDMAN: No, I don‘t think so. Look, I have been listening very carefully to hopefully what‘s soon to be Speaker Pelosi‘s comments in the last few—in the last few weeks. And what she has been saying is that Democrats are going to come out with a measured, reasoned agenda for change. And I think that‘s what people want to hear, and I think that‘s what people expect from the Congress if they vote for change in a couple of weeks.
So—and I agree, Democrats have to be careful. We do not want to overreach. I don‘t think anybody wants to see a reaction that would limit our effectiveness in providing that oversight and authority that Americans seem to want.
CARLSON: All right. Mike Feldman, Glover Park Group, thanks. I appreciate it, Mike.
FELDMAN: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: Coming up, how low can you go? Did Hillary Clinton‘s Senate opponent accuse her of spending millions on plastic surgery? He says it never happened.
Plus, millions on plastic surgery, is that even possible? We‘ll have the real story in a minute.
And insurgent attacks are an everyday event in Iraq, so why is a television network under fire for covering one of them?
It‘s all on “Beat the Press” when we come back.
CARLSON: Time now for “Beat the Press”.
Today a story that has jumped from the realm of journalism to the world of politics.
Last week, CNN aired video of Iraqi insurgents killing an American soldier. It all started when CNN sent a list of questions to an insurgent group. The group sent back its answers, as well as a videotape showing the sniper attacks. CNN aired that video, not shown here, and got much criticism for it.
California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter responded, for instance, by charging that, “CNN has now served as the publicist for an enemy propaganda film featuring the killing of an American soldier.”
Well, to that, CNN responded this way: “The decision to air the insurgents‘ videotapes was a difficult one, but for a news organization, the right one. Our responsibility is to report the news.”
Well, Republicans suspect that there are people who work at CNN, particularly in its foreign operations, who don‘t like the United States. And I am here to tell you that they are absolutely right. I have met them.
On the other hand, let‘s all take a deep breath and look at the video in question. Anybody—any American, anyway, who watches this video comes away with one thought: this is repulsive. As you hear the man yell, “God is great!” as he murders an American, it makes you less sympathetic to the insurgency, not more sympathetic. So, yes, this is an enemy propaganda film. And CNN, to its credit, says as much in introducing it.
But it‘s a propaganda film that doesn‘t work in this country. It makes you hate the insurgency. So, while I understand the reflexive reaction from conservatives against CNN, which is a pretty liberal network, in this case they are misguided.
CNN has done us all a service. CNN spends a lot of money covering this war in Iraq, unlike a lot of other people. And good for CNN.
In this case, CNN is right.
Next up, Vermont Public Radio. They disinvited this man, Peter Diamondstone, a U.S. Senate candidate representing the Socialist Liberty Union Party, from a debate out of fear that he would start swearing and subject—and thereby subject the station to indecency penalties from the FCC.
Well, the fears didn‘t come out of nowhere. Diamondstone has been arrested before for causing scenes at debates, and he has a history of shouting profanities in public forums.
And then there is this, a more fundamental problem. Take a closer look at the candidate‘s shirt pocket—if you put it up on the screen there. There it is.
His shirt pocket, you will notice, contains a plastic fork, a plastic knife, it looks like a paper napkin, all stolen, it looks like, from the breakfast bar at Shoney‘s. What‘s the point? Here‘s the point:
Diamondstone is trying to make this a question of free speech—if you don‘t invite me to debate, you‘re squelching free speech and the public‘s right to know.
What a crock. No news organization should be required morally or legally to invite the homeless to debates to make a scene jumping up and down screaming. That doesn‘t help voters, it doesn‘t help the news organizations, it doesn‘t help viewers or listeners, it doesn‘t help anybody except the homeless guy with the stolen forks from the Shoney‘s breakfast bar jumping up and down and screaming.
And it‘s not our obligation to help people like that. Sorry.
Well, still to come, Democrats are jumping on the Barack Obama bandwagon, but is the one-term senator ready for the White House?
And Hillary Clinton‘s Senate race is getting ugly, literally. The charges and countercharges that exploded on to the front page.
That story when we come back.
CARLSON: Still to come, the anonymous author of the new book “I Hate Ann Coulter”.
At 6‘7” and 285 pounds, the man who‘s a hero to generations of real Americans, the immortal Hulk Hogan. He‘ll be here in just a minute.
But right now, here‘s a look at your headlines.
CARLSON: Time now for “3 on 3,” where we welcome two of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today‘s most interesting stories.
Joining us from New York City, Sam Greenfield—he‘s the host of the morning show on WWRL Radio—and in, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Reverend Joe Watkins, former aide to the first President Bush, and campaign adviser to the current President Bush. He is also a radio talk show host.
Welcome to you both.
REVEREND JOE WATKINS, FORMER BUSH CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Thanks, Tucker.
SAM GREENFIELD, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: We discussed earlier the possibility of Illinois Senator Barack Obama running for president. Obama originally said he had no plans to make a run for the White House. They all say that.
But, in a “Meet the Press” interview earlier this weekend, he indicated he is leaving the door open.
Here‘s the—here‘s the interesting question, I think.
Sam, let me ask you first.
CARLSON: There was this piece that we talked about a moment ago by Bob Herbert, the op-ed in—in “The New York Times” today.
And he says this about Obama. And, by the way, I—he seems to be a fan of Obama, but, politically, here is what he says. “The giddiness over Obama is crying out for a reality check. The reason so many Republicans are saying nice things about him and urging him to run, they would like nothing more than for Democrats to nominate a candidate in ‘08 who has a very slender resume, very little experience in national politics, hardly any in foreign policy, who also happens to be black. The Republicans may be in deep trouble, but they believe they could pretty easily put together a ticket that would chew up Barack Obama in 2008.”
That‘s an interesting point, and one I think I agree with. This guy, whatever good qualities—and he has many, I think—has no foreign policy experience. Can you run for president in a time of war with no foreign policy experience?
GREENFIELD: Well, if you take away the fact he‘s African-American, that resume sounds like George Walker Bush.
CARLSON: Yes, it does.
GREENFIELD: Exactly like George Walker Bush.
GREENFIELD: I don‘t think he‘s...
CARLSON: It‘s a different time, though.
GREENFIELD: Yes, it is.
I don‘t think—well, yes, it is.
WATKINS: George Walker Bush had already served nearly two terms as governor of a major state.
Barack Obama hasn‘t even had a chance to serve one full term in the U.S. Senate. He‘s a very bright guy, a very attractive candidate. But I think it‘s totally unfair of the Democratic Party to push him out so early on as a...
GREENFIELD: Joe, let me answer the question Tucker asked me. I‘m sorry.
I think that the problem that is that Barack Obama—it‘s not a problem. I think the dynamic is, Barack Obama has written a book. He has been on Oprah pushing the book. He has been on every show pushing the book. He is on “TIME” magazine‘s cover. This is about pushing a book.
I think, about three months from now, when the book runs its course—it will be on the bestseller list—he will then say, yes, I don‘t want to run.
GREENFIELD: I think that‘s what will happen.
CARLSON: I don‘t know.
I mean, Joe—look, Joe, here is what I would say to myself, if I were—and to my wife, for that matter, if I were Barack Obama. I would say: You know, people like me. People have profound doubts about the front-runner, Hillary Clinton. Yes, I have only served two years, fewer than, in the U.S. Senate. Is another four years going to make me a more attractive candidate? Of course not. Now is the time.
I mean, now—I mean, whatever on the merits is right or wrong about his running for president, politically it‘s not stupid, is it?
WATKINS: Well, politically, I mean, obviously, there‘s a lot—there are—there are Democrats people within the party that are pushing him to do this.
And—and, again, I just think it‘s so very unfair. Here is an attractive candidate. He—he—he got a great opportunity early on to give the—the keynote—a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. He was elected in a landslide in 2004.
He just began serving his seat in the U.S. Senate in January of 2005. He doesn‘t have any major legislation that—that—at all attached to his name, because he hasn‘t had a chance to. He has only been there for less than two years.
GREENFIELD: But, on the other hand, Gerald Ford was in the House for 25 years, and the only piece of legislation he ever introduced was to have William O. Douglas impeached because he wrote an article in “Playboy.”
So, intro—so, saying that he has no intro—experience introducing legislation is not a barrier to higher office.
CARLSON: But wait. Wait. Wait. No, but hold on.
CARLSON: Using the criteria that Democrats themselves have set out, after six years of this president, they said, look, this guy, President Bush, didn‘t have enough experience, it turns out, to be president. And he didn‘t really know what he was doing. He wasn‘t, frankly, smart enough. That‘s what Democrats say, and he wasn‘t substantial enough.
Now, they have held out for the last six years. This is kind of the standard. You need a serious guy to run for president and become president. By their own standards, does Barack Obama, money match up?
WATKINS: Tucker, you...
GREENFIELD: You don‘t need a serious guy. You need a substantial guy.
I don‘t care if he—I mean, what does serious mean? Everybody is serious when they want to be president.
CARLSON: I don‘t know. They were always beating up on Bush because he hadn‘t been to Europe enough. I mean, I don‘t know.
GREENFIELD: Well, it‘s not that he hasn‘t been to Europe. It‘s that
that there is a sense that there is incompetence, combined with arrogance.
It seems that, if the war is not going well, then, you should be a little bit humble about it. And he‘s not. If the economy, for a long time, was going badly, you should be a little humble about it, and he‘s not.
It‘s the—it‘s the attitude that goes with the ineptitude that bothers people.
WATKINS: Well, history will be the...
CARLSON: Here‘s—let me—let me—I want to—I want to get, Joe, your take on something that really—really has kind of exploded today. And that is out of the U.S. Senate race in New York, which has gotten ugly, to put it mildly.
CARLSON: A reporter for “The New York Daily News” claims that John Spencer—he‘s the Republican challenger to incumbent Hillary Clinton—told him on an airplane that Senator Clinton used to be—quote—“ugly.”
Spencer supposedly went on to speculate that Clinton got millions of dollars in plastic surgery, whatever that means—quote—“You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew. I don‘t know why Bill married her.”
Well, Spencer has denied making any of these comments, but, of course, it doesn‘t matter. He wasn‘t going to win in the first place, but he has been tarred with these comments, regardless.
Joe, it seems to me, leaving aside, again, whether it‘s fair or unfair, this hurts Republicans everywhere, and it helps Hillary Clinton. It almost seems like a plant from Hillary Clinton, from her campaign...
CARLSON: ... because she is the wronged woman yet again. And that—that‘s how she wins in every case, when people think that she is wronged.
WATKINS: Well, I think Spencer does a lot better when he talks about the fact that Hillary Clinton is running for the presidency already, and that New Yorkers ought to be concerned about whether or not they are going to have a senator for the next six years, and he‘s willing to commit for that.
I think, when you take the—when you take the campaign into other directions, like talking about how somebody looks, which doesn‘t matter worth a hill of beans, that‘s a real—that‘s a real—real mistake.
But let‘s face it, Tucker. Hillary has raised a ton of money. I mean, she has—she has got so much money that she is not even going to spend all the money that she has raised in the Senate race. And Spencer hasn‘t even raised $1 million.
WATKINS: It is going to be awfully hard to unseat somebody like Hillary Rodham Clinton.
CARLSON: No. It‘s...
GREENFIELD: If memory serves...
CARLSON: Sam, it seems to me there‘s a double standard here. So, Hillary Clinton is saying, on the one hand: Treat me like a man. I‘m a man. I mean, I‘m as good as any man.
And, on the other hand, she is saying, as a lot of female candidates do, frankly: No, I‘m a woman, and treat me as a woman.
Remember six years ago, when she was running for Senate...
GREENFIELD: Well, number one—number one...
CARLSON: ... and she—she was—hold on.
She was dissed. I don‘t know if we have the video. There it is right there. There‘s Rick Lazio...
CARLSON: ... and Hillary Clinton. Remember, he marched across the stage and said, here, sign this.
GREENFIELD: Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm.
CARLSON: He was perceived as being rude to a woman...
CARLSON: ... Hillary Clinton, and that somehow he was a cad or, you know, he had bad taste. It was this double standard, of which she was the beneficiary.
GREENFIELD: No, no, no, not at all.
Let me explain something. Rick Lazio is about 6‘1“. Hillary Clinton is about my height, 5‘6“. You use what you have got. He was winning that debate. He was winning that debate—I saw it—until he walked across there...
GREENFIELD: ... took out that fake piece of paper, and went: Sign this.
And she did the smart thing. She flinched. She flinched. And, from that day on, it was down the tubes for him.
But I want to get back to something else about John Spencer.
GREENFIELD: One, he is 35 points behind before this happened.
GREENFIELD: And, two, if memory serves, we have a sitting president who didn‘t finish out his gubernatorial term, if memory serves.
Oh, I—I—hey, I‘m not criticizing Hillary Clinton for wanting to run for president.
GREENFIELD: And, three, he said these things...
CARLSON: Every senator wants to.
GREENFIELD: I‘m sorry.
And, three, he said these things, John Spencer, in front of his wife. Now, if you read the transcript—I‘m not being funny—if you read the transcript, it reads like somebody who is hammered. He starts talking about Jeanine Pirro and her husband: You know, Cuomo is going to win.
Now, today, he denies saying it. He probably had a blackout. It‘s an incredibly stupid thing to say.
CARLSON: Well, and, also, let...
WATKINS: Well, this guy is a straight shooter. This is a guy that just speaks his mind.
CARLSON: ... for the record—hold on, Joe.
For the record, it was not a transcript. It was an account of this reporter who says he was sitting there and had this conversation.
WATKINS: That‘s right.
CARLSON: But it was not on tape, so far as I know.
GREENFIELD: But Spencer denies it; am I correct?
WATKINS: Yes, Spencer denies it.
WATKINS: And he said—of himself, he says that he‘s a straight shooter. He just kind of tells it like it is. He says what he thinks. And he does it in an unfiltered way. And he said that that‘s one of his strengths.
GREENFIELD: Oh, good for him and his 35-point deficit.
CARLSON: That‘s pretty unfiltered.
GREENFIELD: You go, John. Keep telling it like it is.
CARLSON: Even for me, it‘s too much.
GREENFIELD: You will be 70 points behind.
CARLSON: Well, here‘s—here‘s more criticism of the president and the war in Iraq today. There‘s always is, but today it was particularly tough.
Pat Tillman, he, of course, was the former NFL defensive back who was killed in 2004 by friendly fire near the Pak-Afghan border. Tillman‘s brother Kevin, who also served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Ranger, has written a scathing indictment of the war in Iraq, the Bush administration, and American apathy in general.
Meanwhile, 65 active-duty members of the military are asking members of Congress to end U.S. occupation of Iraq, and bring American soldiers home.
Now, neither one of these, obviously, Joe, is a—you know, is a—is a mortal blow to the administration‘s Iraq policy, but both are reminders that they haven‘t come up with a very good rationale for why we should stay, a positive rationale, beyond, things will get worse if we leave.
WATKINS: ... clearly....
CARLSON: Shouldn‘t Bush be out there continuing to convince us, and -
and try and stop this kind of amazing erosion of public confidence in the war?
WATKINS: Well, it‘s -- it‘s not unusual for people to become disenchanted with any kind of a war effort, especially when you read the accounts almost daily of people dying.
And—and I can understand the fact that—that Pat Tillman‘s brother would be upset. He has lost his brother. He and his brother are both heroes, genuine heroes. They signed up themselves to go fight overseas, and they did so. They served their country admirably.
It‘s their right as Americans to be angry. It‘s their right as Americans to disagree with the tactic.
But, at the end of the day, you have to leave it to the commanders on the ground to make those decisions about when we leave and the like. And that‘s what the president is going to continue to do. He is going to trust what his commanders on the ground have to say about this.
GREENFIELD: The president of the United States said today he never used the words stay the course. He said that today. So, he is so deeply in denial, he shouldn‘t be a part of the conversation.
Let‘s stick, if we can, if I may, with Pat Tillman. The picture in our minds of Pat Tillman is his class photo, almost, in the 75th Ranger Regiment. He was, in fact, a long-haired guy, a free spirit. He played football. And, for months and months and months, the United States government used him as a hero, saying he was killed by enemy fire. And they knew otherwise. And they hid it.
And that stinks so bad, someone‘s soul should implode.
CARLSON: Well, wait a second.
CARLSON: Pat Tillman was a hero. Pat Tillman...
GREENFIELD: No, no, no, I‘m not denying his heroism.
GREENFIELD: I‘m just—I‘m talking about the sinful, the sinful exploitation of what happened by denying about friendly fire. They knew it was friendly fire.
CARLSON: OK. But, look...
GREENFIELD: And they milked that cow. Shame on them.
CARLSON: I mean, but let‘s be honest. That‘s a tough thing, I think, for anybody to want to tell the parents of a fallen soldier.
GREENFIELD: To tell the truth?
CARLSON: That‘s right.
GREENFIELD: They did it in Vietnam. They did it to my friend Ernie Chambers (ph) in Vietnam.
CARLSON: Look, let me speak on behalf of anyone who has ever told a lie. Telling the truth is really hard.
GREENFIELD: This isn‘t a lie like...
CARLSON: And looking in the face of parents and saying, actually, your son wasn‘t killed by the Taliban, and he was killed by his fellow soldiers, you know, I must say—I‘m not defending the lie. I‘m merely saying I understand it.
WATKINS: And that doesn‘t diminish the fact that Pat Tillman was a hero. He‘s a real hero.
GREENFIELD: If men on the ground, if the military on the ground have to make life—I‘m sorry. Go ahead.
CARLSON: All right.
WATKINS: No, it doesn‘t diminish at all the fact that Pat Tillman, just like Tucker said, is a real hero.
GREENFIELD: No one is saying he‘s not.
WATKINS: And his brother is one as well. His brother lives, and is a hero, too.
CARLSON: I‘m sorry, gentlemen. We are—we are completely out of time. But I appreciate it.
GREENFIELD: Thank you so much, Tucker.
WATKINS: Thanks so much, Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, a group of authors write a book called “I Hate Ann Coulter,” but they refuse to reveal who they are. What do the Coulter haters have to hide? We will ask one who will be sitting in silhouette to hide his identity. No kidding.
Plus, Hulkamania runs wild. The great Hulk Hogan will be here to talk to Willie Geist about everything, from his new reality show to his role in bringing about the end of the Cold War. It‘s a very special Willie Geist interview—in just a moment.
CARLSON: The authors of the book “I Hate Ann Coulter” claim they are remaining unanimous because they fear the wrath of—quote—“gun-loving, abortion-clinic-bombing wing nuts.”
I will ask one of the authors why he can dish it out, but he can‘t take it. You will meet him—in silhouette.
We‘re back in 60 seconds.
CARLSON: So, why does the left hate Ann Coulter so very much?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”)
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, “THE TODAY SHOW”: “Liberalism is the opposition party to God.”
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, “GODLESS: THE CHURCH OF LIBERALISM”: Yes.
LAUER: How do you think Democrats who believe in God are going to feel about that statement?
COULTER: They probably won‘t like it. They don‘t like a lot of things I say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, there is the understatement of the year.
Her defense of conservatism, and sometimes of the Bush administration, has made Ann Coulter a favorite target of the left, not to mention the subject of three stinging anti-Ann Coulter books.
One of those counteroffensives gets right to the point with its title, “I Hate Ann Coulter.” Well, that book was written by four authors, who prefer to remain unanimous, because they claim to fear—quote—“the gun-toting, abortion-clinic-bombing, self-proclaimed wing nuts who follow Ann Coulter.”
Joining me now from New York City, of course, in silhouette to protect himself, is one of those authors of the “I Hate Ann Coulter” book.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CO-AUTHOR, “I HATE ANN COULTER”: Thank you very much, whoever you are.
CARLSON: You are a contemptible wuss, I mean, to start off by making the obvious point.
CARLSON: You‘re afraid of Ann Coulter? You‘re making me like her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we have other careers, the four of us.
And—and thanks for the compliment. Right back at you, you contemptible wuss.
CARLSON: No. I mean—I mean, seriously. Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is the job security at MSNBC these days?
CARLSON: You tell me.
CARLSON: Look, here‘s—here‘s the point.
Ann Coulter is not going to hurt you. I mean, Ann Coulter may be annoying. She may be infuriating. But, you know, she doesn‘t have a private army. I mean, why not stand up and say: I hate Ann Coulter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the point is, we stood up, and we said, we laugh at Ann Coulter. We‘re just tired of the insults.
You know, we stood up. She crossed a line when she attacked the 9/11 widows, and we did the right thing. We stood up and—and—and protected them. You know, that‘s the right thing to do. And we laughed. We‘re tired of crying over the politics, and so we‘re adding a little laughter.
CARLSON: But you‘re doing it cowering behind a silhouette.
Here is—here‘s—here‘s my question, though. Ann Coulter, in the end, is just a—a writer. She writes for “Human Events,” which, you know, doesn‘t have a circulation of millions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Hitler started out with a book, too.
CARLSON: That‘s my point, though, right there.
When you start comparing Ann Coulter to Hitler and hyperventilating to that extent, it does make you wonder if you don‘t get the joke, actually. Ann Coulter exists to make you mad. You haven‘t figured that out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we—we did, and, so, we fired back with—with laughter and jokes of our own, because, you know, we think laughter is the best solution to the current political situation.
I ask you, Tucker, what happened to the guy who wrote the other book, not—on Ann Coulter, “Blameless”? What happened to him when his book came out? He got fired from his job. Hence the silhouette. Hence the laughter. We just are not taking this as seriously.
CARLSON: You really think—that‘s funny.
so, tell me one funny thing about Ann Coulter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I mean, the—you know, the funny thing is that, when you do compare her to Hitler, their quotes are virtually indistinguishable.
I think the funniest thing is that she managed to write a 400-page book, you know, lionizing Senator Joe McCarthy as an underappreciated American hero. That, to me, was a joke, and talent to carry out that joke for 400 pages.
CARLSON: Boy, that—that sounds funny, in the way divorce or cancer are funny, which is to say not very.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, and that‘s the way we feel about Ann Coulter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do—the—the thing that really disturbs me is that she has fabulous taste in music.
And—and we do point that out in the book. Otherwise, we—we dedicate this book to Ann. This—we—we love Ann the way O.J. loved Nicole.
CARLSON: All right. You—you...
CARLSON: You‘re making me like Ann Coulter.
Mr. Anonymous, I appreciate it. Good luck with the book.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, thanks, Tucker. Thanks for having for us on.
CARLSON: I have a sense it will sell millions.
So, what‘s it like going to Hulk Hogan‘s House to pick up his daughter for a date? I‘m guessing that‘s one girl you want to have home by midnight. You will meet Hulk and his family when we come right—there they are—right back.
CARLSON: Now we have the first in the series of very special Willie Geist interviews. Willie‘s childhood dream to become the next Barbara Walters is realized with this. Watch.
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: Well, today is a special day, Tucker. We are joined by an American icon. Hulk Hogan is the greatest professional wrestler of all time. He‘s a WWE Hall of Famer. He‘s the man who, along with Mikhail Gorbachev, precipitated the end of the Cold War with his displays of American might against the likes of Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik.
And now he is a major reality TV star. The third season of “Hogan Knows Best,” which stars Hulk and his family, premiered on VH-1 last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “HOGAN KNOWS BEST”)
HULK HOGAN, FORMER PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER: What are you doing?
LINDA HOGAN, WIFE OF HULK HOGAN: What do you think we‘re doing? What do you think?
H. HOGAN: I think you‘re heading towards that boat over there.
L. HOGAN: Yes.
H. HOGAN: What did I tell you about “Titanic” and “The Poseidon Adventure”?
L. HOGAN: Try it. You will like it.
H. HOGAN: You know it is hurricane season right now?
L. HOGAN: You are going to be fine.
H. HOGAN: How long is this boat gone for?
L. HOGAN: A week.
H. HOGAN: How far out the ocean does it go?
L. HOGAN: All the way down to Jamaica.
H. HOGAN: What?
L. HOGAN: We go past the Grand Cayman Islands and...
H. HOGAN: We are going that far out in the ocean?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: We are joined now by the stars of “Hogan Knows Best,” Hulk Hogan and his wife, Linda, their children Nick, and Brooke, whose album, “Undiscovered” comes out tomorrow.
GEIST: Welcome to you all.
L. HOGAN: Thank you.
H. HOGAN: Thank you.
GEIST: Hulk, I guess you don‘t like cruise ships? Is that what I should take away from that?
H. HOGAN: No. You know, for like 20 years, Vince McMahon and myself have been talking back and forth that our wives tried to get us go on the ship. And I finally gave in. And I think the whole—the whole Hulk Hogan family will—will not go on a cruise ship again.
H. HOGAN: It was pretty tough to be on a—a cruise ship with all the Hulkamaniacs.
GEIST: Well, full disclosure here, before we really get going here. I was, at one time, a Hulkamaniac. I had the T-shirt, the whole thing. My parents had to strip the shirt off me.
So, if this interview seems a little biased, it is probably because it is.
GEIST: The show is—the show is really good.
And one of my favorite scenes, Hulk, in the show was, Brooke brings home a date, and she‘s upstairs. And you have to sort of, you know, interview him a little.
Brooke, what was that like? What is it like bringing a date home to Hulk Hogan?
BROOKE HOGAN, DAUGHTER OF HULK HOGAN: You know what? Every boy that I bring home is very intimidated. That is why that guy that you saw on that date was the last one that actually came over.
B. HOGAN: So, no boys have been over since. I mean, since I turned 18, I have a lot of older men after me.
H. HOGAN: Hey.
B. HOGAN: But now I am—I‘m very happy, you know, that my dad is here to protect me. So...
GEIST: Hulk, she is never going to get a date if you keep it up like this.
H. HOGAN: Well, no. I think she has got a good head on her shoulders. She is her—her mother‘s daughter. And, so, Linda pretty much taught her the straight and narrow. So, I am not too worried.
GEIST: Linda, what is it like having these cameras in your house all the time? Is it a 24/7 thing? Is it fun?
L. HOGAN: Yes. Actually, it is kind of exciting. I mean, we just moved the whole show down to Miami. And it was a little crazy, you know, because of moving and not having enough furniture, and having seven dogs that were completely displaced, and then, you know, on top of it, having to film a TV show out of the house.
It was very challenging. Let‘s put it that way.
GEIST: Now, Nick, you are kind of becoming a star in your own right through this show. Has there been any thought of going into the family business, doing a little wrestling, using the stardom?
NICK HOGAN, SON OF HULK HOGAN: Oh, yes. We did an episode in the second season about me trying to wrestle. And I tried it out.
And, right now, I am just a little bit underweight and underage right now to be doing that.
N. HOGAN: But I really look forward to it, maybe, when I‘m older.
GEIST: Nick, there‘s a right of passage. Every kid kind of feels that moment where he knows he can take his dad. It‘s about when he turns 16 or 17. Does it frustrate you to know that day will probably never come?
N. HOGAN: Oh, no. I have come to realize that day will never come.
N. HOGAN: So, no, I‘m not frustrated.
GEIST: Now, Brooke, you‘re becoming a pop star. Your album, “Undiscovered,” comes out tomorrow.
And I want to put up on the screen—and, Hulk, maybe you could comment on this—the “FHM” cover you did for this month‘s issue.
Pretty racy stuff, dad. What did you think about that?
H. HOGAN: Well, we talked about it. And we thought, if we did it, you know, the right way, with creative control, and no lingerie, and just did a classy photo shoot with bathing suits—I left Nick home as my eyes and ears to watch the two girls.
And I think Linda and Brooke did a good job. And it‘s definitely a situation where you can‘t go back to Radio Disney now. You have got to move forward.
GEIST: Brooke, were you happy with the way it turned out?
B. HOGAN: I was very happy with how it turned out.
I do know that I have a younger audience that I still have to keep,
and I have to be a role model to a lot young girls. So, you know, it was -
I was kind of torn, because “FHM” called and said, Brooke, we will put on the cover. It‘s coming out the month that your album comes out. It sounded too good to be true.
So, I said the cover would be great, you know, but I just have to do it, you know, kind of my own way. I can‘t be on a bed, posing in lingerie.
B. HOGAN: I mean, I have young little girls that look up to me. So, I figured everybody wears a bathing suit in this world.
B. HOGAN: So, I mean, if I‘m wearing a bathing suit, the only thing that makes it looks more sexy is because my skin has glitter on it and my makeup is done perfect, you know?
GEIST: That‘s right.
Hulk, finally, I just want to ask you, does it make being a dad easier
we see it on the show—when you are the size you are? I know I wouldn‘t talk back to you, for instance.
H. HOGAN: I don‘t know. I have—I have been a pretty good bluffer in and out of the ring.
H. HOGAN: And thank God my son, Nick, who is 16 years old, and my daughter Brooke, who is 18, they have got good heads on their shoulders.
And, you know, Linda is kind of like the leader, with running a tight ship. I have learned a lot from my wife, as far as parenting. So, I think we got have two good kids. And I‘m not worried too much.
GEIST: Well, the show is “Hogan Knows Best,” Sunday nights, 9:00 p.m., on VH-1. And Brooke‘s album is “Undiscovered,” comes out tomorrow.
To all the Hogan family, thank you for joining us today.
L. HOGAN: Thanks.
H. HOGAN: Thank you.
N. HOGAN: Bye.
B. HOGAN: Bye.
GEIST: You know, Tucker, if we are going do this Barbara Walters style, I really need a gauzed lens or something.
GEIST: It‘s just not—I don‘t look important enough in that interview, I don‘t think.
CARLSON: Willie , I‘m not—I‘m not sure what to say. I mean, you have both exceeded and fall short of my expectations...
CARLSON: Let me just say, that was a brilliant interview, honestly.
GEIST: ... if I wasn‘t going to be—growing up, if I wasn‘t going be Barbara Walters, I was going to be Hulk Hogan. I meant what I said. I was in the ranks of the Hulkamaniacs.
CARLSON: Well, that‘s the part where you blew my friend. But, when you got all Freudian with his son, asking about beating up his dad...
GEIST: Isn‘t that right, though? Isn‘t there a moment that comes for each boy when you know you could probably take your dad, when you turn 17 or 18 or 16?
CARLSON: Yes, but that was so unexpectedly deep. I mean, you just turned and got right into analysis for the guy.
GEIST: A little too much depth for the Hogans, you think?
CARLSON: I really—I really liked it.
GEIST: ... will try again next time, Tucker.
CARLSON: Yes, next—your next interview should be with one of her fans, that girl‘s fans.
GEIST: Yes. They are probably scary, actually.
CARLSON: I would like to know who they are.
Willie Geist, America‘s...
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thank you—next Barbara Walters.
That‘s our show for tonight. Thanks for watching.
Be sure to join us tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time for a special edition preview from Charlottesville, Virginia. We will break down the airtight Webb-Allen race there, and talk to the Reverend Al Sharpton and Kinky Friedman of the Texas governor‘s race. Don‘t miss it.
Now “HARDBALL” with Chris.
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