Guests: Tom Andrews, Leslie Sanchez, Bill Frelick, Leslie Sanchez, Bill Donohue
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the show.
Last night at the Washington Press Club congressional dinner, the chatter among Republican types was the inevitability of Hillary Clinton‘s nomination for president. She can‘t lose, they said, with a sort of resigned sadness you feel moments before your car hits a tree.
Well, an article in today‘s “Politico” cast a wider net and came to the same conclusion. Hillary‘s enemies think she‘s going to the White House. We‘ll tell you whether they‘re right in just a minute.
But first, global warming.
An international report appeared the other day echoing what Al Gore has said for a long time, global warming is real and civilization probably is causing it. The majority of climate scientists appear to agree with this conclusion. The majority, but not all of them.
George Taylor, Oregon‘s longtime state climatologist, holds a contrary view. Taylor believes global warming is mostly the result of what he calls natural variations, long-term trends that humans can‘t control. Among climatologists this is not considered a crackpot view, but political in Oregon it is hearsay.
The Democratic governor of that state has announced that he will trip George Taylor of his title for daring to question the causes of global warming. Keep in mind that the governor is not a scientist. He hasn‘t cited any dishonesty in Taylor‘s scholarship. He just doesn‘t think he ought to be allowed to disagree with the conventional wisdom on global warming.
But wait. Whatever happened to freedom of speech and the sanctity of the scientific process? The very people you‘d expect to stand up for a scientist‘s right to practice science in the face of politics have been silent in the case of George Taylor. Why? Because his position isn‘t fashionable at the moment, and in the end that‘s all that counts, unfortunately.
Well, here to discuss Hillary Clinton‘s unstoppability and the rest of the day‘s political news, we welcome Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez and former Democratic congressman from the state of Maine and national director of Win Without War, Tom Andrews.
Welcome to you both.
LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thank you.
TOM ANDREWS, FMR. DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN: Thank you. Good to be here.
CARLSON: Amazing—well, look, let me just say that everybody that I talk to in Republican circles is convinced, Leslie, that Hillary Clinton not only is getting the nomination, but is going to win. The “Politico” publication ran an amazing quote I want to put up on the screen from Congressman Steve King, a Republican.
He says this: “We do have to get our act together. At this point, short an inspirational Republican nominee, then I would agree that it‘s going to be very difficult to beat Hillary if she wins the nomination.”
And incidentally, most people think she‘s going to win.
Are you as convinced that it‘s inevitable?
SANCHEZ: No, not at all. I think it‘s a lot of great marketing hype to raise a lot of money. I would argue that.
I don‘t disagree that she‘s a formidable opponent, but I think she has some challenges. And one is—I‘ll tell you, a Democratic operative I talked to said, you know, she‘s got la fria (ph) problem. And in Spanish it means “the iceberg.”
You know, she has a problem of not connecting with voters. A lot of middle America is going to have a problem with that.
But, you know, on the contrary side you‘re right. She has name I.D.
She has money. She has consultants.
CARLSON: Boy, does she have money. Let‘s—I want to put up—“The Wall Street Journal” today had an amazing graphic that shows just how much money she has. This is cash on hand as of the last day of 2006, so a month and five days ago, or whatever.
Hillary Clinton, $11,021,000; Chris Dodd, second on the Democratic side, $5 million, essentially; Joe Biden, $3.5 million; Rudy Giuliani, $2 million; Barack Obama; $500,000; Sam Brownback, “$41,000; John McCain, $20,000.
Eleven million bucks? Holy smokes, Tom.
ANDREWS: Whoa. Pretty soon you‘re talking real money here.
ANDREWS: This—this is the money primary. You know, this is the time when you try to intimidate your opponents out of the race.
CARLSON: I‘m intimidated just by looking at the numbers.
ANDREWS: Exactly. Well, and your donors, your potential donor base, you shrink that donor base because they think you can‘t win with this kind of money.
ANDREWS: So what happens is that all the rest of us have fewer choices in an election.
And Barack Obama, “The Washington Post” today, you know, announced—at least they covered the fact that he was not going to accept this bundling by lobbyists. You know?
ANDREWS: OK. So now he‘s at a distinct disadvantage because last night Senator Clinton had 70 people over to her home for an intimate gathering of people who were going to do just that.
So, you know, if you want to take money out of politics, well, we‘ve got a long way to go.
CARLSON: Yes, we certainly do.
Here‘s how cynical some Republicans are. This is Tom DeLay speaking yesterday. He said, “Hillary Clinton as president may be the best thing that ever happened to the conservative moment and the Republican Party”—as president. “Bill Clinton was president and he was the best thing that ever happened to the Republicans. It was because he was president we gained the majority in 1995.”
It‘s—I‘m sure I‘ve heard stupider and more cynical things uttered in my lifetime, but I can‘t remember when. I mean, Franklin Roosevelt elected four times. Was that good for the Republican Party? No, it was good for the Democratic Party and it ensured a Democratic Congress until 1994.
CARLSON: Her election is bad for Republicans, no?
SANCHEZ: No, it‘s bad for America, Tucker. It‘s not it‘s just Republicans.
CARLSON: But, I mean, certainly as a political matter.
SANCHEZ: It‘s a cynical message that‘s designed to get the base motivated. It‘s designed to get the base to go out and do what they have to do and find leadership.
I mean, if anything, if you look at the spread of candidates—and I would still say the Democratic trilogy is Obama, Edwards and Clinton. But that being said, people are looking for leadership. That‘s why I think the Republican candidates are going to have such strong appeal.
People are going to say that Bill and Hillary Clinton are the ATM, the cash machine for the Democratic Party. But the bottom line is, do—she‘s essentially running against somebody who has the charisma of her husband, meaning Barack Obama.
SANCHEZ: Hillary is going to have her own challenges. And she showed that she spent money, you know, just like a drunken sailor when it came to her last Senate race, money that she could have held back, specifically for this presidential election.
CARLSON: She also gave a lot of it to fellow Democrats, however, to help them and to buy their loyalty.
SANCHEZ: To buy their loyalty, right.
CARLSON: I actually know a lot of Democrats, and I know very few, very few who favor Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. Almost every—I mean, this is obviously a non-scientific sample, but, you know, I work in the media and I live in Washington. I know a lot of liberals.
And they all like Barack Obama. Right—no, it‘s true, though.
Who are all these people who are supporting Hillary? I mean, she‘s killing, killing her nearest rivals in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire...
ANDREWS: Well she has, needless to say, enormous advantages. She has name recognition like no other. She has more money than God. A potential fund-raising capacity that no one else has. And she‘s a good candidate.
She‘s been a great U.S. senator. Talk to people up in New York.
She‘s won by convincing margins.
You know, as people get to know her they like her. But, she has not won this nomination.
You know, the people in the front of the pack have a big bull‘s eye on their back. I remember the “Newsweek” article once, the headline on “Newsweek,” on the cover, “Can Anyone Stop Howard Dean?”
ANDREWS: And we all know what happened.
So, you know, Barack Obama is a fabulous candidate.
And, you know, John Edwards, he‘s running first in Iowa. He‘s running very competitively in New Hampshire. He‘s got a tremendous organization, he‘s got a great message, he‘s got tremendous tenacity.
So this is going to be a great match-up if we can just keep some good candidates in the race.
CARLSON: It‘s an interesting comparison except, as you‘ll remember, my view is, anyway, that Howard Dean stopped himself. And that Howard Dean revealed elements of himself that were not attractive for primary voters.
ANDREWS: Well, you know, remember, you had, you know, Dick Gephardt. You had people, you know, really ganging up on one another. People just behind him ganging up on him and attacking him.
And there was John Kerry sitting back watching this happen. And of course he comes in and...
CARLSON: But I guess my point is, I don‘t see Hillary—I don‘t see Hillary melting down. She seems too self-controlled to me.
CARLSON: I wonder when, Leslie, is someone going to point out the obvious fact, which is an election of Hillary Clinton means a continuation of this dynasty? And this is a country that ought to be run by political dynasties, by families, by the Bushes and the Clintons? I mean...
SANCHEZ: I don‘t know so much if people are looking at the dynasty factor except with any case—with the exception of Bush. I mean, when they say “dynasty,” people think of this family.
But with respect to her, people go back to universal healthcare and a task force that she had that really worked against the mainstream American views on healthcare policy. They talk about—they see—she has so much baggage, and I would agree with you that she is less likely to—you know, to put any more mud on her boots than she already has on there.
The person‘s who most likely to mess up is somebody like a Barack Obama...
CARLSON: Oh, yes.
SANCHEZ: ... who‘s such a neophyte politically on this level. But in terms of being tested—and John Edwards, you could even say, has been tested more than Barack.
CARLSON: Totally. No, it‘s—Barack Obama—I mean, America will not politically look the same way in six months from now. We know that.
ANDREWS: But can you say “Iraq”? that‘s the big problem that Republicans have to face.
CARLSON: Well, you‘re right.
ANDREWS: And, of course, that‘s why people want to get in this Democratic primary, because...
CARLSON: Well, I also think it‘s a problem Hillary has to face.
We‘ll talk more.
Speaking of Iraq, it is a mess of historical portions, of course. Everyone agrees with that. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis want out permanently.
Should the United States welcome them here as citizens? Do we owe them that much? Or should we do what‘s best for us?
Plus, it‘s about time to crank up “The Obameter” again. Barack Obama prepares his official entry in to the presidential race. That comes Saturday, as the American political process takes a much closer look at everything about him, from his church, to his nicotine habit. Will either affect his chances?
Stick around. We‘ll tell you.
CARLSON: As just about everyone now agrees, Iraq is a miserable, violent place to live. Every month an estimated 50,000 Iraqis flee that country, seeking residence elsewhere. It‘s a huge number.
Last year, a few hundred Iraqis were admitted to the U.S. as legal immigrants. That‘s not a huge number. So the State Department Tuesday announced a taskforce to ensure the U.S. was doing “its share” of absorbing displaced Iraqi nationals.
So what are America‘s responsibilities to refugees of the war there?
Here to discuss it, refugee policy director with Human Rights Watch, Bill Frelick.
Bill, thanks for coming on.
BILL FRELICK, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Thank you.
CARLSON: Does the United States have any moral obligation to admit Iraqi refugees? And why, if so?
FRELICK: Unquestionably, it has a moral obligation. These are people, first and foremost, who risked their lives to help the Americans, that worked as interpreters for U.S. troops, that worked as drivers, that worked and support people who were trying to build this stable and democratic Iraq that the United States was really turning to them, relying on them to do. And for that reason, they were targeted and have been persecuted.
CARLSON: But wait. So you‘re—you‘re suggesting that Iraqis have worked for the U.S. government occupation authorities because they love America and the experiment that we‘ve conducted with democracy here or for the money? We pay them a lot. I mean...
FRELICK: I think a lot of Iraqis were very committed to the democratic building of the country.
CARLSON: Of their country.
FRELICK: Of their own country, exactly.
CARLSON: Right. Which was done at U.S. expense. So why exactly do we owe them citizenship? I‘m still missing.
FRELICK: Well, because they were associated—and they‘re persecuted because of their association—with this country. Not simply because they were part of a democratic movement in Iraq, per se, but because this is seen by the insurgency as something that‘s being imposed by the United States.
FRELICK: And they‘re seen as being collaborators with the Americans.
CARLSON: Yes. No, I mean, there‘s no doubt. I feel sorry for them.
They‘re having a terribly rough time. I wouldn‘t want to be anywhere near Iraq, in any capacity.
However, you know, we went in for I think misguided but fundamentally noble reasons. We spent billions and billions trying to make their country better. Haven‘t seen it, but we tried. And we‘ve lost thousands of Americans in the process, killed by Iraqis.
It seems to me they owe us something. Why do we owe them anything?
FRELICK: Well, these are people who we owe because they helped us, if you want to put it...
CARLSON: Well, we helped them, too, or tried to. I mean, again, we screwed it up with their help, but...
FRELICK: And now their lives are in danger.
FRELICK: Now they are at risk of being killed. And, in fact, many have been killed...
FRELICK: ... simply because they speak English, or because they worked even in a peripheral capacity with the Americans.
FRELICK: And the Americans relied on, really, in the time that they were there. And so they fled the country now and are—those who have actually been able to flee. There are still a large number of people that are displaced internally within Iraq.
The numbers is outside two million. The number that we were settled (ph) last year...
CARLSON: Yes, that includes the two million number, 1.8 -- whatever.
That includes Iraqis (INAUDIBLE). Whatever.
There are a lot—there are more than a million Iraqis have left. Not all of those Iraqis—in fact, only a very small percentage—worked directly for the United States.
FRELICK: And we‘re not suggesting that the U.S. would bring two million people here.
FRELICK: What we are suggesting is that there is a cost to the war.
The U.S. is spending about $2 billion a week on the war and has spent virtually nothing on the humanitarian consequences.
CARLSON: So what have our enlightened allies in Europe, the ones who are going to—you know, who have such a great interest in Iraq being a stable country, how many Iraqis have they taken in?
FRELICK: They‘ve taken very, very few, although there are more spontaneous arrivals to Europe that have sought asylum there. But basically...
CARLSON: In other words, Iraqis are just showing up on the doorstep of Europe.
CARLSON: OK. But so are you putting equal pressure, I would hope, on Europe and other—Japan? I mean, there are a lot of rich countries in this world. Why aren‘t they doing their part?
FRELICK: Well, I think the U.S. has a leadership role here. It had a leadership role in bringing the war about in the first place. It has a leadership role in dealing with the consequences of the war.
When the U.N. high commissioner for refugees last year only asked for $29 million for the year, they got virtually no response from any of the other countries. The United States provided about 27 percent of that, which was still a very, very small amount. And I think the attitude of other countries was that this is a U.S. problem.
CARLSON: Well, but that—I mean, the attitude of the other countries is the rest of the world‘s dysfunction is America‘s problem, and yet America is the villain for just being evil. And that...
FRELICK: I think Iraq in particular is looked...
CARLSON: But hold on. I mean, look, OK, will you concede that other countries have—as members of the global community—have a moral responsibility as well? And will you pledge to needle them about it?
FRELICK: The international community has a responsibility on any refugee issue. And the immediate surrounding countries shouldn‘t be left to bear the burden alone in dealing with refugees. So, of course, yes, it‘s in the interest of the international community, it‘s in the interest of stability on a global level.
FRELICK: It‘s in the self-interest of the European governments not to have people spontaneously and regularly arriving in their country. So...
CARLSON: It certainly is. They hate foreigners more than we do.
FRELICK: So they do need to provide humanitarian assistance so that people feel safe and secure where they are in places like Jordan and Syria.
CARLSON: I just wish we‘d blame Brussels as much as we blame Washington. Just my view.
Mr. Frelick, thanks a lot for coming on. Appreciate it.
FRELICK: My pleasure.
CARLSON: Coming up, it‘s easy to run for president before the proverbial microscope focuses on every last detail of your personal life. How is Barack Obama going to handle the inevitable scrutiny that has already begun about his personal life? His cigarette smoking, for instance?
We‘ll tell you.
Plus, it‘s the talk of the country and an all-time gift to snarky headline writers—the astronauts gone wild. So is this story gravely serious or absurdly funny or both?
Back with the latest details on the diaper case next.
CARLSON: Does the U.S. have a moral obligation to welcome Iraqi refugees to our country?
Joining us again to talk about that, Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez and former Democratic congressman from Maine and national director of Win Without War, Tom Andrews.
Welcome to you both.
ANDREWS: Thank you.
CARLSON: I feel sorry for anybody who‘s in Iraq, including the many refugees attempting to leave. However, I‘m struck by the double standard and the double talk on this issue.
The United States shouldn‘t have gone in unilaterally. We should have assembled a coalition. Really, Iraq was the world‘s problem, and our problem was acting like a cowboy going in.
But all of a sudden, when it‘s time to deal with the mess, the refugees, no, it‘s only America‘s responsibility. Europe has no responsibility for these refugees, so say the left-wing human rights groups.
I think it‘s an unfair statement.
ANDREWS: Well, Tucker, wait a minute. You‘re missing a very important step here. We did go in like cowboys.
CARLSON: Yes, we did.
ANDREWS: We did violate international law. We did state—tell the United Nations, forget it, we‘re just going to go in and do this.
So, if you want to build a cooperative relationship with the world and have them share responsibility, then you have an obligation. And we broke that obligation right at the beginning from invading that country unilaterally.
CARLSON: So that absolves—that absolves...
ANDREWS: So we have some responsibility here.
CARLSON: OK. But so that absolves all of western Europe which, by the way, hates...
CARLSON: I mean, why isn‘t Belgium or France or Switzerland or England or Luxembourg or Liechtenstein, why aren‘t they taking in these people? Because they don‘t like them. Because they‘re out and out bigots. That‘s the reason.
ANDREWS: You know, “bigot” is not the first word that comes to mind.
We‘ve got two million people, right, who are displaced?
ANDREWS: You think about Iran, for example. One of the reasons why Iran is going to have such an interest in helping to put Iraq back together, because they‘re looking at a massive refugee problem heading over the border.
That‘s why if we pull out our troops, there‘s going to be some real self-interest in that region to make sure that Iraq does not implode and it is stable. But you know, Tucker, if you—listen, the first Iraq war, remember that invasion...
ANDREWS: ... where we actually did assemble an international coalition? Well, that coalition, they bore most of the financial burden. They bore most of the responsibility.
CARLSON: Like the Saudis and et cetera.
ANDREWS: The whole coalition. So they share the responsibility.
I think the United States has a special obligation, not only morally, but also in terms of our own interests, Tucker, because if...
CARLSON: OK. Well, let me...
ANDREWS: ... we ask someone to help us—for example, the Iraqis...
ANDREWS: ... who‘s going to help us if we abandon...
CARLSON: Well, in fact, we‘re helping them—or attempting to help them. And let me—let me just restate something I said.
I got overheated. I shouldn‘t have called them bigots. I don‘t know if they‘re bigots or not. That‘s an unfair thing to say, and I regret saying it. And I‘m sorry.
And thank you for calling me on it.
But I am—I just am annoyed by the double standard with Europe.
But here‘s the question I think we ought to be asking, Leslie—is it good for us?
CARLSON: Is it good for the United States? Is it going to make this a better country to have tends of thousands of Iraqi refugees come here?
And it seems verboten even. It‘s like you‘re not allowed to ask that question, and I think it should be the first question.
SANCHEZ: I think it—I think it‘s an imperative question. Not only
do they not share a philosophy—we‘re talking about a western philosophy
but, you know, one thing it hearkens back to, a lot of people will say America is a country that, you know, is an open—not necessarily an open door, but has welcomed people who are seeking, you know, economic or political freedom.
OK. We understand that. But with respect to this particular situation, you have a lot of folks who are very concerned not so much about obligation, but the intent of individuals who would be coming here.
There‘s a scrutiny process that any Iraqis are going to have to adhere to after 9/11 that is a reality that a lot of people don‘t want to talk about. And I think a lot of what you hear, especially read about on the blogs, is this particular...
CARLSON: Right. It‘s not the same as letting in 50,000 refugees from South Korea. It just isn‘t.
And let me ask...
ANDREWS: Well, you know...
CARLSON: How about this—we actually have some sense of what might happen because we have the example of Europe, which has let in millions—literally millions of willing workers and refugees from Islamic countries over the past 30 years.
What‘s been the effect? Do you think that‘s made Europe a better, more stable place?
ANDREWS: Listen, we‘re not saying—I don‘t think anyone‘s saying...
CARLSON: No. It‘s made it a much worse place.
ANDREWS: No, no, no. But let‘s talk reality here. We‘re not saying
I‘m not saying—your guest earlier was not saying that we‘re going to accept two million people coming in from Iraq, right? The problem is, this country has been destroyed by a process we instigated.
We did not have to attack Iraq. We did not have to invade Iraq. And we didn‘t have to botch it.
As you said earlier, Tucker, and you‘re absolutely right, we blew it in Iraq. We destroyed the capacity of that government and that country to rebuild itself. So we have some obligation.
CARLSON: I think it‘s telling that you won‘t answer the question. How have the massive influxes of Muslim refugees and workers in to Europe affected Europe? Has it made it a better place or worse place?
And you know, as well as I, and everybody who has been to Europe who knows anything about it, it‘s made it a much worse place. So that is a fair question to ask.
I agree, we have some responsibility. But I think we should at least ask if it‘s good for us or not.
SANCHEZ: No, you can look—you can look at the British example, you can talk a lot about things about whether or not people are, you know, pulling themselves up to society, if they wear their normal headdress.
I mean, they‘re going to do a lot of different things when it comes to Muslim communities that raises a lot of questions. And one particular thing that people aren‘t asking are the individuals—and your last guest talked bout it—the individuals who are, you know, associated with the West are the ones who would want to come here.
These tend to be independent thinkers, contrarians...
SANCHEZ: ... people who, in essence would help stabilize the government. Not necessarily people who are working for the insurgency.
CARLSON: Well, all this—you know, you could have predicted all of this. All this makes me madder and madder and madder at Bush, because you could have foreseen this.
You invade a country, you‘re responsible for its population. Look at immigration patterns throughout the world. The colonial power comes in, stronger economic power. Members of the population of the less strong economic power move to a stronger economic power.
You could have foreseen this.
CARLSON: It‘s reckless.
ANDREWS: You and I talked about this before the invasion. That was one of the point...
CARLSON: I agree.
ANDREWS: ... that was so dismissed by the Bush administration.
CARLSON: It made me mad four and a half years ago just thinking about. Ha!
Sorry. Getting me all worked out.
ANDREWS: You break it, you own it. None of that...
CARLSON: How about, you break it, Belgium owns it. I like that.
Coming up, Barack Obama‘s church outlines a black values system, whatever that is. We‘ll tell you what it is and what it means for his candidacy.
Plus, NASA officially reacts to its astronaut gone wild. What did the space agency say? What‘s going to happen to her? And is it OK to chuckle about an alleged attempted murder?
Of course it is.
That story coming up.
CARLSON: Up next, presidential hopeful Barack Obama is trying to kick his smoking habit.
CARLSON: Time now for the daily check of our Obameter. On Saturday, in Springfield, Illinois, Senator Barack Obama will officially toss his hat into the presidential ring, which will mark open season for his political opponents and others to scrutinize just about every breath he has ever taken, or plans on taking. Before he took those breaths, and what everyone of them implies about him, can he survive the unprecedented scrutiny?
Here to discuss it Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez and former Democratic congressman from Maine and national director of Win Without War, Tom Andrews. Welcome to you both.
So Barack Obama is a member of a church called Trinity United Church of Christ. It‘s a predominantly black church in Chicago, that espouses something called the black values system, which includes calls for congregants to be soldiers for black freedom and a, quote, disavowal of the pursuit of middle classness. Now, it would seem to me, Tom, not to make a broad sweeping statement here, but a racially exclusive theology, a theology that ministers to one group of people, based on race, kind of contradicts the basic tenants of Christianity, and is worth talking about. Wouldn‘t you say?
ANDREWS: Well, let‘s look at what those values actually are. We‘re talking about hard work, self-reliance, belief in god, and if you have made it to the middle class, you have an obligation to those who have not. Now, those sound like pretty good values to me, black, white or whatever, and I think that Barack Obama should not be ashamed of having those values and being part of a church.
CARLSON: Again, those are great values, that I hope I embody. However, it‘s the word before them, black. It‘s making them racially specific. Again, Christianity—this is a subject that I am actually qualified to discuss—is, it seems to me, almost explicitly anti-racial. The idea is that we are all equal in the eyes of god. When you espouse a theology that is racially exclusive, as this appears to be, it‘s hard to call that Christianity. I think it‘s pretty easy to call it wrong.
ANDREWS: Well, I don‘t think it‘s. I don‘t see anything exclusive about it.
CARLSON: Soldiers for black freedom, what about soldiers for freedom for everybody.
ANDREWS: Fine, black, white, whatever, but in this particular case, these are soldiers for black freedom, and belief in god, and hard work, and self-reliance, and helping your brother and sister. There‘s absolutely nothing wrong with it. You know, I‘ll tell you, opposition research is a growth industry. And just fasten your seat belt, Senator Obama, because it‘s coming at you.
CARLSON: I think this is fair, because I think—trust me, I think a lot of opposition research, and I get a lot in my inbox, is crap, and I ignore it, because who cares. But this is interesting because Obama has spoken so forcefully and so often about his own faith, and held up his membership in a Christian denomination as evidence of the pureness of his heart. He said, look, I‘m a Christian, OK, period. So it‘s fair to take a look at his theology. And, you know, I like Barack Obama and I don‘t think he‘s a scary guy, but this stuff sound separatist to me, I have to say.
LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well that‘s the bigger issue. You know, what‘s interesting about it is in the black churches there is a political alignment, in terms of vertical. You have a lot of civil rights leaders who come out of the pulpit, who basically move a message of black empowerment, civil rights empowerment. It hearkens back to the civil right movement. And a lot folks look at this—
You know, Barack Obama is trying to appeal to the masses. And this makes him appear like he really is focusing on one ethnicity and that‘s African American.
CARLSON: Or his church is—
SANCHEZ: Or that his church is, but he basically said, you know
in defense of it, he said, to he who much is given, much is expected.
You know, he was trying to say, no, really, we just have an obligation to look our for our fellow brethren. But what we‘re trying to say is, look, this is a color blind society. Christianity is for everything. And that‘s why, is this something you believe personal, and if so, you need to share it.
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t know if it‘s a color blind society. I think it ought to be. It‘s definitely a color blind religious. There‘s no doubt about that. It‘s not a racially exclusive religion. Now Barack Obama, the only guy running for president, that I know of, who smokes cigarettes.
ANDREWS: But does he inhale.
CARLSON: I think he does. As he said to Jay Leno—he said something to the effect, you know, what‘s the point if you don‘t inhale. This is basically the most transgressive thing you could do. I mean, if you told me Barack Obama dressed as a woman, I would be less shocked than to learn he‘s a cigarette smoker, and now he‘s quitting, and going on Nicorette, which I have to say is a life saving product that I can recommend to anybody who wants to quit smoking. It‘s very tasty as well.
Doesn‘t it kind of disappoint you that Barack Obama is buckling to society‘s pressure and giving up the one truly distinctive think about himself?
ANDREWS: Well, Tucker, I think it‘s a great thing that he‘s quitting smoking. Let him be an example to us all. I‘m trying to imagine him out the back of the Capital, you know, in the parking lot, sneaking a butt. It‘s hard to make that connection.
ANDREWS: Listen, he‘s quitting, good for him. But when I ran for Congress—I remember I had option research going in my hometown, hundreds of miles away, interviewing the wife of my deceased principal to get some dirt on me. They tried to find the student newspaper that I edited in high school. I mean, this is opposition research. Welcome to the world of politics. It‘s an ugly thing.
CARLSON: But, you know, people are so self-righteous about this. Tommy Thompson, a Republican who is running for governor, told this to ABC today. He said when he was secretary of Health and Human Services, we would, quote, take cigarettes out of people‘s mouths and extinguish them when they took cigarette breaks outside the building. What a fascist. I would never vote for someone who rip a cigarette out of a strangers mouth, like that‘s your job. I mean, why are people, of all the things that people accept, abortion, taking human life, smoking cigarettes is like worse than committing abortion. It‘s unbelievable!
SANCHEZ: No, but it‘s two things. One, he was outed. You have to look at the fact that he was outed as a smoker and once he was outed, because he‘s running for president, now he has to remove that vice. But is he going to remove transfats from his diet and do all those other things that liberals really like to see?
CARLSON: Well, I hope he flips the bird to the PC people and says, back off. It‘s my life and I‘m not changing because of you. Hey, I wonder what you think about Nancy Pelosi‘s decision. Let‘s just step back one step. She wants a bigger plane. She wants a government plane, extremely expensive military aircraft, to fly herself, her staff, supporters, family, whatever, from Washington back to San Francisco. She says, and people seem to accept this as true, she needs it for safety reasons.
It‘s not more safe to fly in a government aircraft. In fact, it‘s less safe. Why would safety compel her to take a private plan rather than a commercial plane?
ANDREWS: First of all, she is a very high profile public figure. Except for the vice president, she is next in line to be the president of the United States. You know, these are difficult times, Tucker.
CARLSON: So what is the dangerous part.
ANDREWS: Well, here‘s the thing, it‘s in the Republican play book, right. People don‘t want their member of Congress to be anything other than their representative. They don‘t want to be high and mighty and elite. They want to have them flying in coach. In fact, I would turn down, whenever I was trying to be comped to go up in first class, I would turn it down for that very reason.
But, you know, playbook in the Republican Party. When Dennis Hastert took his government plane --
CARLSON: I would have attacked him, had I known. I didn‘t know, and I would have attacked them, and I think it‘s appalling that he did, and I‘ll tell you that now. But that‘s not the question I‘m asking. Of course Republicans are making a big deal out of this. That‘s what they do. My question is a very simple, why is it safer for her to fly on a 15,000 dollar an hour military aircraft than it would be to fly on Delta? Why is safer? I don‘t get that. She‘s got a massive security retinue. Why can‘t she fly commercial? I just don‘t get it. She doesn‘t want to, that‘s the bottom line.
ANDREWS: Why doesn‘t George Bush fly commercial? Why doesn‘t Dick Cheney fly commercial? We all know why. We all know why. Listen, this is an extraordinary position that she is in, and given the post 9/11 world, you have to think about security, just as Dennis Hastert thought about security. But, you know, listen, fine, she should fly in coach --
SANCHEZ: This is personal gravitas run amuck. I mean, let‘s be clear, a lot of these mistakes that Pelosi is making I used to say were rookie mistakes, but one thing you do hear from Democrats and Republicans is she has bravado the size of this room, and because of that, that plays into it. You can say it‘s a security concern, and that‘s one of the things people are going to say. Oh, well maybe it is. But in reality, she is trying to push the gamut.
CARLSON: Well how about this, she, apparently—this is a news report today, and I don‘t know exactly whether she asked Murtha or not—but apparently Jack Murtha, the guy who‘s in control of the military budget, called over to the White House and said Nancy Pelosi wants a bigger plane. Now it seems to me that‘s skirting the edge of appropriate, having the guy in charge of the military budget demand a military aircraft for one of his closest political allies. Don‘t they have anything better to do? Isn‘t there a war in Iraq they‘re supposed to be ending, and instead he‘s wasting his time trying to get a better plane for Speaker Pelosi. No? I‘m the only one who thinks this is a little weird?
SANCHEZ: I think there‘s a lot of people—you know, it‘s interesting, you talk to people, for example Congressional Research Service, and they‘ll say I think she is misunderstanding her role as speaker of the House. She was elected by a majority of the majority, but she is not elected by the entire country. She wasn‘t elected in all 50 states. Even though she is the third in line, how she sees herself and portrays herself as speaker of the House is very different.
CARLSON: Well, I‘m not even attacking her as a person. I saw her last night. I think she‘s a—
SANCHEZ: It‘s her leadership capability and where she puts her priorities.
CARLSON: Shouldn‘t we with be a little more—and I would think Democrats, who really are the party of the people, of the downtrodden, of the ordinary Joe, of Mr. Lunch Bucket, of the Mill worker, I would think they would be a little more in tune to the signals this sends. I‘ve got to have this massive, massive airplane, 42 business class seats, a fully included state room, entertainment center, private bed, state of the art communication system, a crew of 16. She needs all that for safety reasons, come on.
ANDREWS: No, she doesn‘t need it all for reasons. No question about it. And again, I sat in coach for that very reason. But, you know, listen, this a serious thing. When I was running for office, when I was in Congress, I had some very nutty people call me up and say they‘re going to kill me. I will not see—
CARLSON: I‘m sorry, I was drunk when I did that.
ANDREWS: Yes, yes, right. But, you know, it was very serious. The FBI—I had to wear a flak jacket. I had—You know, these are public figures in very highly volatile times. Does she need that many seats, that large of an aircraft, probably not, but, you know, security, you have to take it very security. When you‘re someone in as high a profile position.
CARLSON: Driving home last night I probably got forced off the road by this stupid motorcade. It was probably the ambassador from Barbados or Nancy Pelosi, or someone else on a power trip, thinking that they can push ordinary people of the way, because they‘re late for dinner. It‘s outrageous. I want to know—Speaking of the federal government and federal employees—how do you think, Leslie, NASA allowed someone mentally ill, who wears diapers in her free time, to sit at the controls of the space shuttle?
SANCHEZ: That is so unfair. You say—I would say, perhaps she cracked after the pressure. Well, you know, we don‘t really know yet, but I think it‘s a sad story. The whole thing is really sad.
CARLSON: You do?
SANCHEZ: Yes, she‘s had a meltdown clearly, in what she‘s done.
CARLSON: So if I leapt off the set and threatened my cameraman over there, wearing diapers, you know, and threatened him with a BB gun, and shot him in the face with pepper spray, would people say, that‘s just sad? They‘d say the guy‘s a nut case. Take him away.
SANCHEZ: Clearly, she has issues. But no, but I think it‘s a sad case. I mean, she‘s a mom. She‘s done everything else. I don‘t believe she was insane, or what you‘re implying, when she was at the controls of the space shuttle.
CARLSON: I hope not.
SANCHEZ: No, I don‘t believe that. You know, what‘s interesting, because if you talk to NASA astronauts, they‘re like, you know, we‘re essentially lab rats. We‘re tested, poked, prodded. They know everything about us, and they are so confined in that space, and you don‘t really know what happens to them afterward, when they come back, you know, back to Earth.
CARLSON: You don‘t imagine they‘ll be attempting murder in a parking lot in Orlando International Airport.
ANDREWS: And MSNBC does a very rigorous psychological profile.
CARLSON: You‘ll never meet a less psychologically stable group than talk show hose, and I mean that sincerely. Oh my gosh. Among the un-incarcerated, they are the least stable. But I wonder if maybe we should recalibrate the tests for astronauts? Don‘t you think? Doesn‘t it make you uncomfortable?
ANDREWS: Well, I certainly—If I were in one of those astronaut programs and going to be sitting in very close quarters, going around the planet, I don‘t know?
SANCHEZ: He was acting that way beforehand. It‘s not like she walks around all the time with diapers in her car.
CARLSON: You don‘t know that. You don‘t know that. Thank you.
ANDREWS: Thank you.
CARLSON: Coming up, John Edwards dips his toe in to the steaming water of the blogosphere and gets scalded. What do you do when the people you hired to promote you slander huge voting blocks, like, say, Catholics? Find out next.
Plus, the astronaut accused of attempted murder is home in Texas tonight. What‘s next for her, for NASA, and for this amazing story. Stay tuned for the latest on that.
CARLSON: We are mere months into the 2008 race for president, and already Democratic hopeful John Edwards is being told to fire two member of his campaign team. They‘re bloggers, who posted anti-Catholic opinions on blogs before they were hired by Edwards earlier this year.
Among the comments in question was one regarding the Catholic church‘s opposition to contraception. It said, quote, “The Catholic Church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics.”
It gets a lot zestier from there. Unfortunately, we cannot read them on the air, because I‘ll get fired if I do. They are pretty rough. Heading up the campaign to get the women fired from the Edwards campaign is Bill Donohue. He‘s president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, and he joins us now.
Bill, as I understand it, these women wrote this stuff before they were hired by Edwards?
BILL DONOHUE, THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE: Yes, that‘s correct. But, you know, what‘s interesting, one of the comments, which I can‘t repeat on the air, is actually up and advertised under this woman‘s greatest hits, and the very first hit is something which is amazing for anybody to read. So their braggadocio about it, and so I want to let everybody know about it.
CARLSON: OK, so you‘re not an employee of MSNBC. You probably have a little more freedom here to describe these comments in greater detail than I do. Just give our audience a sense of what these two bloggers, who were hired, by the way, after they wrote this stuff online, hired by the Edwards campaign, to help whip up the lunatics in cyber space. Describe what these comments were.
DONOHUE: Well, first of all, they are not working on environmental issues or agricultural issues. I‘d still be offended. They are working as communications people. So what exactly do they communicate? You should see the stuff that they said about our blessed mother, about the Virgin Mary, the most vile, disgusting things, dealing with orgasms and sperm and the like, which is absolutely mind boggling that these kind of sick people would ever get a job working with any public official. If you want to disagree with the Catholic Church, go ahead. Do you have to call us fascist, phobia people, speaking in the most disparaging way, the likes of which --
You know, look, I‘m not naive. I‘ve seen what is on the blogosphere. What is shocking to me is that these people were obviously not vetted or, worse, they were taken through a filter, and somebody knew exactly what they were hiring, and decided they have a rightful place in communications in the Edwards campaign. There‘s a big conversation in this country right now about the propriety of the U.S. of the N word. I think that‘s a good conversation.
If they had use the N word, even once in their career, they would have been gone by now. Now, there are unconfirmed reports that they‘ve been fired, but I‘ll wait to find out exactly what‘s happening.
CARLSON: Well, on February 26th one of them, Melissa McHuen (ph) described religious Christians as lousy MFers, et cetera, et cetera. It just goes on and on and on. Has the Edwards campaign responded in any way? What has been their response to your complaints about this?
DONOHUE: I‘m getting reports all day that the Edwards campaign is in a state of disarray. There‘s an unconfirmed report that they were fired. I can tell you this much, it doesn‘t surprise me Tucker. If these were veteran people, they would have taken the fall for the big guy. They would have done the right thing, but these are two little brats, who obviously have been getting away with this for a long time. And they‘re going to go out kicking and screaming. Edwards is probably going to have to wind up firing them, which obviously what the man does not want to do.
I want to make it clear, I have nothing against John Edwards. I think he‘s a decent man, and if he had known what I know now, and what he knows now, about these people, the content of their communications, there‘s no way in the world that he would have hired them. And I don‘t think the man is anti-Catholic. However, he has got a problem on his plate, and he‘s got to deal with these two beauties.
CARLSON: How prevalent do you think anti-Christian, because it strikes me as not just anti-Catholics, but anti-Evangelical, anti-Orthodox Christianity in general, how prevalent is this stuff in the blogosphere?
DONOHUE: If you take a look at some of the stuff on the blogosphere that‘s said about Christians in general, Catholics in particular, it‘s absolutely mind boggling. Muslims are given more respect. Look, I don‘t want Muslims to be disrespected. I‘m simply saying, in a country that‘s 85 percent Christian, that was founded by Christians, you would think that we might at least be able to catch up with Muslims.
I mean, that‘s because there‘s a cultural left in this country, which sees Christianity, because of its sexual reticence, as the enemy and the Catholic Church in particular, and the kind of respect that is afforded eve everybody else is not afforded to us. Just today, Rosie O‘Donnell and Joy Beihar went on, lashing out against the Catholic Church today, on a subject which had nothing to do with Catholicism. They‘re talking about Ted Haggard.
And Barbara Walters sat there, once again. Had they attacked Islam or Judaism, she would have raised all might hell.
CARLSON: Well, they would been fired yesterday.
DONOHUE: That‘s right.
CARLSON: They actually both would have been in rehab for sensitivity issues. It would be some kind of 12 step program to get them back into the PC orthodoxy. No, you‘re absolutely right. I don‘t think any reasonable person, I don‘t care how left wing, right wing, apolitical you are, could disagree with what you just said. It‘s just true.
DONOHUE: Well, (INAUDIBLE) in 2004 worked for the Kerry/Edwards campaign. I found about her background and they had to silence her. Then they got Brenda Bartel Peterson (ph) to quit or be fired because of her background. What I‘m saying is this, these people are somewhat clueless. They are somewhat naive. They need to find out who is working for them.
You know, you‘ve got to vet these people. You need to have a gate keeper. Apparently they don‘t have one.
CARLSON: I have the feeling they‘re going to have one from now on.
DONOHUE: I hope the Republicans and the Democrats are all watching this carefully, because there‘s a lot of Bill Donohues out there which are watching this.
CARLSON: Yes, thanks a lot Bill. I appreciate it.
DONOHUE: Thank you so much.
CARLSON: It wasn‘t your typical NASA press conference today. There was no talk at all of space walks or heat shields, more like BB guns, trench coats, and diapers. In other words, it was a lot more interesting. We‘re talking about the women on that black coat with Aerospace love scandal expert Willie Geist.
CARLSON: Here is a quiz: when there is a sex scandal at NASA, who are you going to call first? Now that Johnny Cochran‘s gone, there is only one man that comes to mind. That‘s Willie Geist. He‘s at headquarters.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Thanks Tucker. There hasn‘t been this much excitement about NASA since we landed on the moon. It is really, really getting good. NASA certainly had its share of difficult news conferences over the years, Tucker, but to our knowledge the agency has never had to answer questions about sensational love scandals involving astronauts‘ obsessions and yes, diapers.
Lisa Nowak returned to Houston on a commercial flight this morning. You will see her under a dark jacket there. She was charged in Florida yesterday with attempted murder, after she drove more than 900 miles to confront a romantic rival. NASA officials shifted in their seats when they were asked today about the scandal that has become a national fascination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHANA DALE, NASA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR: Well, in terms of NASA being the butt of jokes, or Lisa taking the brunt of that, I think that‘s very unfortunate. This was a tragic event, impacting many lives along the way, and I think we need to deal with that with empathy, and a certain level of compassion. In terms of long-term ramifications, I don‘t necessarily see it at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: So Tucker, obviously, the spokesman thinks the jokes are unfortunate and there is definitely an element of tragedy to this, but let‘s just review the facts of this. As long as nobody got seriously hurt, there was some mace involved, you have an astronaut wearing a trench coat, a wig and diapers, driving more than 900 miles to meet a love rival. What‘s not funny about that? That‘s is my question.
CARLSON: It strikes me as this close to a sitcom, and by the way, whenever you hear a spokesman tell you that it‘s immoral to make jokes about her agency, I just want to sit down and write a string of them.
GEIST: That‘s government censorship. I want to check out the mug shot. Almost joined the Nick Nolte club there on the right, if you look at it, Lisa Nowak. Pretty good, huh?
CARLSON: Can I make the least P.C. point of the year, and just say I think she looks better in the mug shot?
CARLSON: Yes, I do. I really do. I think there is a kind of appealing desperation in her eyes.
GEIST: She looks a little rough. Well, next story Tucker. Here is a little one to get your libertarian hackles up, a New York state senator planned to introduce today legislation that would slap a 100 dollar fine on people listening to iPods or using cell phones when crossing city streets. Senator Carl Kruger says so-called iPod oblivion is causing unnecessary traffic accidents and even deaths. He says, quote, if you want to listen to your iPod, sit down and listen to it, end quote.
Once again, Tucker, the government thankfully saving us from ourselves, not even trusting us to walk and chew gum at the same time.
CARLSON: If you are genuinely worried about iPod oblivion, to the point you‘re going to pass a law against it, that means you have solved every other human problem there is.
GEIST: That‘s right, everything else is done.
CARLSON: There is nothing left.
GEIST: No, especially in New York. I think we have a few other problems. Hew about a law against the cab drivers, reminding them that there are no points for hitting pedestrians. This isn‘t Frogger, you know what I mean.
CARLSON: Or you‘re not allowed to relieve yourself in a potted plant. Let‘s just start there.
GEIST: Stop blaming the victim. Finally Tucker, if you ever find yourself doubting the greatness of this country, I want you to remember these pictures. This is an example of the lengths people will go to just to get into the United States of America. U.S. border patrol agents found a 40-year-old man, and an apparent part-time contortionist, stashed inside the dashboard of a Mercury Sable, driven by a U.S. citizen, returning from Mexico. Yes, in the dashboard.
Agents were suspicious of the driver‘s story, so they inspected the car and discovered the man somehow was hiding in the dashboard. Paramedics were called to drag him out of there. Both passenger and driver were arrested. Tucker, we talked before about these exceptional-talent Visas we give people. Cirque Du Soleil, this guy should have his own show in Vegas. Bring him in the country, don‘t arrest him, let him go, send him to Vegas.
CARLSON: I can barely fit in the passenger seat of a Mercury Sable. I agree, welcome to America. That‘s my point.
CARLSON: Willie Geist.
GEIST: All right Tucker.
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris. We‘re back here tomorrow. Tune in then. Have a great night.
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