Guests: Bill Press, Ray McGovern
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: The former director of the CIA pierced the cone of silence surrounding the Bush administration‘s run-up to the war in Iraq on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night, and once again Monday morning in an interview with Tom Brokaw.
George Tenet pointed fingers in every direction but his own for the faulty intelligence on which this administration based its invasion of Iraq. Among the headlines from Tenet‘s book tour are claims the Bush administration did not properly heed his pre-9/11 warnings about al Qaeda, that the administration did not have an honest debate about the risks of going to war in Iraq.
Tenet spoke this morning with Tom Brokaw of NBC. Here is some of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE TENET, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I chose to do my job in a way where you stay inside the system. You do your best. You push—you push your objective analysis; you make people aware of what you believe to be true.
While, people think, “Well, why are you talking now? Why have you been silent so long?” I certainly wasn‘t silent within the purview of my job and in the councils of the administration in terms of what we said and how we said it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: A memo from the State Department this morning took apart Tenet‘s accusations one by one.
And, while the administration, predictably, defended itself, some of his former colleagues have criticized Tenet for coming forward after the fact. Where was Tenet when it mattered?
Among those to question Tenet‘s actions, Ray McGovern, a longtime CIA employee. McGovern chaired the national intelligence estimates and prepared the president‘s daily security briefing for many years. He is also the co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity and a guest contributor to truthout.com.
And he joins me now.
Mr. McGovern, thanks for coming on.
RAY MCGOVERN, FORMER CIA ANALYST: You‘re welcome.
CARLSON: This is all about, it seems to me—or at least by Mr. Tenet‘s account—about the bad reputation he has gotten from using the phrase “slam dunk” the describe the intelligence leading up to war in Iraq.
I‘m not exactly sure. What did he—what does he—what did he mean by that? What is he saying he meant by that? Will you explain that?
MCGOVERN: He‘s rather a pathetic figure, actually.
What he is trying to do is justify himself for unjustifiable activity. Now, everyone thought he meant “slam dunk” to mean, we have slam-dunk information, intelligence...
MCGOVERN: ... that proves there are weapons of mass destruction there.
Now, he is saying: No, I didn‘t mean that. I didn‘t mean that at all. What I meant was that, if you want to make a public case, Mr. President, we can make a slam-dunk case out of this for you to present to the American people and the Congress.
Now, that‘s better? That‘s a better thing?
CARLSON: Is that his job? I mean, is that the director of central intelligence‘s job to explain public relations to the president?
MCGOVERN: It is not in his job description. As a matter of fact, it is the antithesis of his job.
The director of central intelligence is supposed to tell it like it is. He is not supposed to help prepare the president to start an unnecessary war, a war of aggression in the Nuremberg tribunal terms.
It doesn‘t get any worse than that. That‘s why he is trying to sort of make amends here and trying to rehabilitate his—his reputation.
CARLSON: But is his job to make a case, or is it just to present the facts as they are known by the CIA to the president? I mean, is he supposed to...
CARLSON: ... collect them in such a way that it—they have a thesis?
MCGOVERN: Everyone is entitled to their own facts—or their own opinions, but not their own facts.
George Tenet has his own little set of facts. He has been very disingenuous in how he has presented this. For example, he claims that the intelligence was not really massaged or corrupted by him. He claims that he really believed there were weapons of mass destruction.
But we know, from documentary evidence, namely, his discussions with the British counterpart, Sir Richard Dearlove, on the 20th of July, 2002, mind you, eight months before the war, we know that he told Dearlove that the intelligence was being fixed around the policy. There is no gainsaying that. We have the minutes...
CARLSON: But what would the motive? What would be his motive in that?
I mean, if, in other words, he knew that the war was unjustified and it was a mistake going back four or five years ago, why would he endorse the war, knowing that the error would come to light and destroy his reputation?
MCGOVERN: Well, you know, it wasn‘t clear it would destroy anybody‘s reputation.
He may have been one of those who was convinced that Dick Cheney was right, that the people in Iraq would greet us with open arms and cut flowers.
And then, with us sitting on top of all that oil, with permanent military bases, making that part of the world even more secure for Israel, who is going to come around? Who is going to come around then and say, yes, but you did it on the basis of forgeries, on convoluted evidence? Nobody is going to say—there‘s—nobody is going to...
CARLSON: But isn‘t it—isn‘t it putting too fine a point on it, though, just to say it was Tenet‘s fault? I mean, thousands of people work at CIA. They are the ones who gather the intelligence. Why did nobody say anything in public?
MCGOVERN: Well, this is a very good question, Tucker.
And it saddens me greatly that no one quit. The answer is found in the fact that Tenet was the—I don‘t know if beneficiary is the right word, but he was the beneficiary of a whole generation of the politicization, the corruption of the intelligence analysis.
Started with Bill Casey under Ronald Reagan. And, by the time that Tenet comes and takes office, he has got a whole coterie of malleable managers, who will say, yes, sir. Dick Cheney says they have nuclear capability, we can write that.
And therein lies the question. When he came back and said, fellows, we can‘t avoid doing a national intelligence estimate anymore, because Congress won‘t vote for this war until we do one, then he said, and we have to do it to the terms of reference of Dick Cheney‘s speech of August 26, 2002, where Dick Cheney said for the first time Saddam Hussein could have a nuclear weapon in a year; he has got all kinds of chemicals; he has got all kinds of biological weapons.
That‘s totally dishonest. And they did it.
CARLSON: But how much time is the CIA spending right now trying to figure out where this bad intelligence came from?
For instance, you made reference to the forgery. There may have been more than one. But the most famous, of course, was the memo...
CARLSON: ... apparently from an Italian embassy abroad, that suggested that Niger was supplying nuclear material to Iraq.
It seems to me we don‘t know who forged that. Is someone trying to find out?
MCGOVERN: Well, that‘s interesting, because Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tried manfully to get that investigated. Senator Pat Roberts said, no, that would be inappropriate. Inappropriate. And, so...
CARLSON: Well, CIA doesn‘t need to wait for the Senate to start an investigation, do they?
MCGOVERN: It‘s FBI‘s job here in this country. CIA has no such authorities in this country.
CARLSON: But that memo came from abroad. I mean...
MCGOVERN: Some of it came from abroad.
But, you know, if you trace the memo back, and see the characters that are involved, it‘s my appreciation that the memo leads right back to the doorstep of the vice president of the United States.
CARLSON: So, the vice president, you believe, forged—now, if the vice president was behind that forgery, wouldn‘t he have done a better job?
MCGOVERN: I don‘t think he and Lynne sat down and did it.
MCGOVERN: I think they farmed it out to a cottage industry of former intelligence agents, that did a rather amateurish job.
CARLSON: Who specifically?
MCGOVERN: Well, you know, they‘re people who work with Cheney who are in touch, very close touch, with the Italians, who actually have worked for the Italians...
CARLSON: Do you have any evidence? That‘s a—that‘s a huge deal.
CARLSON: Presumably a felony, certainly an impeachable defense, immoral as hell.
MCGOVERN: Mm-hmm. Yes.
CARLSON: So, who—who did it?
MCGOVERN: Well, these are like the plumbers, you know?
CARLSON: Right. But, I mean, can you be a lot more specific, since you‘re alleging this crime?
MCGOVERN: No. I won‘t—I won‘t be any more specific right here, but the names have been in the public domain, the people who traveled to Rome and to other countries in Europe to set up this kind of thing, to work with—work with the Italians to get this stuff manufactured.
CARLSON: So, you have no evidence at all that that‘s true that you‘re willing to share publicly?
MCGOVERN: Yes. I have some evidence, but I‘m not willing to share it right here and now.
CARLSON: All right.
Ray McGovern, thanks very much.
CARLSON: I appreciate it.
Coming up: Jack Murtha uses a national TV platform to suggest that Congress might impeach President Bush to achieve its goals for the Iraq war. Is Murtha serious? Is he realistic? Or is impeachment talk so much political hot air? We will tell you.
And all of Washington holds its breath as the so-called D.C. madam prepares to name names. Who paid for what? Where does he work? And should we even know that information?
This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Former CIA Chief George Tenet tells all in his new memoir, but is it all to be believed, or he is just trying to clear his own name from 9/11 missteps and the war in Iraq?
We will be right back.
CARLSON: Former CIA Director George Tenet has clear motives for his ex post facto critique of the Bush administration. First, most obviously, he has got a book to sell. Second, he surely wants to shed the yoke of blame for the war in Iraq.
So, how much credibility does he have? And how will his book and attendant book tour affect American politics and policy from here on out?
Here to tell us, along with the rest of the day‘s news, we welcome MSNBC political analyst, former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, and national syndicated radio show host and author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion,” Bill Press.
Welcome to you both.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, Tucker.
CARLSON: Pat, if you really think about it, this is pretty outrageous, actually, for George Tenet, who was with the president, as I understand, every day, briefing him on the current state of intelligence, to come out and say: You know what? We blew it. I have known that for a long time.
He never mentioned this to President Bush?
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think he—well, what he said—and we saw him the other night—is that, look, he—he fought his battles inside the administration. He made his points. He made his case.
And, then, basically, he is an administration man, and he went along with the program. So, I mean, that‘s his defense. He has got himself a Medal of Freedom. And—and...
CARLSON: Shouldn‘t he give that back?
BUCHANAN: Well, this is what McGovern and these other fellows, who are very gutsy guys, sent that letter to him, say he ought to give it back. He clearly doesn‘t believe he should. He clearly doesn‘t believe that he did anything wrong. I think he thinks he made a mistake.
And I think he thinks he should have fought harder, et cetera, to change policy. And he didn‘t succeed, but that—that‘s that.
PRESS: You know what? I have got to tell you something.
Here is what I believe about George Tenet. If this war were a huge success right now, George Tenet would have written a different book, and he would be taking credit for the war.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
PRESS: I think he has zero credibility. He was nothing but an enabler for George W. Bush.
If what he says is true—and I‘m willing to believe that they decided to go to Iraq before 9/11...
CARLSON: Which itself is not a sin, by the way.
PRESS: ... that they fabricated intelligence—if...
PRESS: But, no, but if he‘s—if what he says is true, then, he had a duty, I think, a moral duty, to stand up and tell the truth at that time.
CARLSON: Well, especially if he disagreed with it, as his book suggests he did.
PRESS: Well, he says he did.
BUCHANAN: Look, we—at least I knew, or anybody knew that could take one look at George Bush, knew he was going after Iraq, after Afghanistan went down. I mean, it was right in his eyes. Everything he was doing pointed in that direction.
And I guess is—my guess is that Tenet said: This isn‘t a bad idea. I‘m not that deeply opposed to it. And these guys are pushing us for the intelligence that tends to confirm their case, the prosecutor‘s case, and they are providing all this material.
And he really didn‘t disagree with the policy...
CARLSON: Well, here‘s what—here‘s what Condi Rice said yesterday.
CARLSON: And I think she really makes a good point.
CARLSON: I‘m not a huge Condi Rice defender.
She said this—quote—“When Tenet said slam dunk, everyone understood that he believed the intelligence was strong. We all believed the intelligence was strong.”
I think they did believe it. And I think they believed it partly because George Tenet told them so.
PRESS: Exactly. That‘s what I believe as well.
Now he is saying, when I say slam dunk, I meant, yes, Mr. President, I can make a case where you can sell this soap to the American people. As Ray McGovern just said, that‘s not the director of central intelligence‘s job.
PRESS: His job, again, is to tell the president the truth, not to be a cheerleader.
BUCHANAN: The key question is...
BUCHANAN: The selling was done by the secretary of state, Colin Powell. He went up there. And, frankly, I found his case enormously persuasive.
And the question is, was that case a pack of lies or was it merely cherry-picking the intelligence that pointed to Iraq being a danger, whereas you have got some contradictory evidence?
These fellows, in their letter, McGovern and the others, they do say, he hypes all the stuff that points to the fact that Iraq may have these weapons.
BUCHANAN: And the stuff that contradicts it, they tend to downplay.
CARLSON: Well, I think...
PRESS: That was based on Curveball alone, and George Tenet knew it.
And, Pat, I think...
CARLSON: Well, wait. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.
We don‘t know what it was based on alone. And that‘s part of the problem, don‘t you think, is, we don‘t actually know where all this intelligence came from. We will never know. But we do know this.
We had almost no human intelligence in the actual region in Iraq. We were getting almost all of our intelligence...
CARLSON: ... from—from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. That‘s where we got our human intelligence.
BUCHANAN: And exiles.
CARLSON: And isn‘t—and exiles.
CARLSON: Isn‘t this the one good thing to come out of the war, Bill, is that we actually are getting human intelligence on the ground in Iraq?
CARLSON: As much as you hate the war, you will concede that our intelligence is better now than it was.
PRESS: By the way, human, as they call it...
PRESS: ... absolutely, we didn‘t have any then. And, if we have more now, that‘s a great, great plus.
But we did have this one guy who was Chalabi‘s buddy...
PRESS: And that‘s the guy that Tenet leaned on.
And what I think—the smartest thing that Colin Powell did, Pat, if you recall, when he was giving that presentation, who was sitting right here over his shoulder? George Tenet, because Colin Powell wanted everybody to know that was the director of the CIA who fed them all of that...
CARLSON: Can I just make one other point? I just want to put up—this is George Tenet talking about the human cost of gathering intelligence, what it feels like to be running the world‘s largest intelligence-gathering operation. George Tenet has gone Oprah. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “60 MINUTES”)
TENET: People don‘t understand us, you know? They think we‘re a bunch of faceless bureaucrats with no feelings, no families, no sense of what it‘s like to be passionate about running these bastards down. There was nobody else in this government that felt what we felt before or after 9/11.
Of course, after 9/11, everybody had that feeling. Nobody felt like we felt on that day. This was personal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Because, you know, Pat, directors of central intelligence have feelings, too.
CARLSON: And we really need—I mean, it‘s like, who cares how...
BUCHANAN: Yes. You‘re right. You‘re right.
CARLSON: That is, like, so not relevant. You screwed up. Admit it.
Well, let me—look, let‘s take Tenet out of the picture. There are guys at the CIA who were pushing the idea that al Qaeda is coming for us; they are going to hit us.
BUCHANAN: What would you think if you kept pushing the case, and you hadn‘t pushed it quite hard enough, and then you‘re looking at those TV sets, and these two buildings are coming down, with 3,000 dead?
CARLSON: No, I—I agree. It‘s just...
CARLSON: I‘m just galled by the brass...
BUCHANAN: Yes. Yes.
CARLSON: ... it requires...
CARLSON: ... to help convince the president to do this thing that turned out to be wrong, and then turn around and blame everyone else for it.
PRESS: This whole interview last night was just whiny, whiny, self-serving, you know, love me, please love me again, I want to be loved again.
You know what? Forget it.
CARLSON: Sorry, Sally Field.
PRESS: It‘ too late. Too late.
CARLSON: Too late.
Is Jack Murtha serious about his efforts to impeach President Bush? Is he making an effort to impeach President Bush, or is he just trying to grab headlines? And what do his sober colleagues think about his latest departure from the reservation?
Plus, the presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani gets a notch or two more curious. And that is saying a lot. He has already said he will have his wife in the Cabinet meetings. You won‘t believe what other role Mrs. Giuliani will play, if Rudy is elected.
You are watching MSNBC, America‘s most impressive cable news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Mr. President, the public has spoken. There are three ways—four ways to influence the president. One is popular opinion in the election. Third is impeachment. Fourth is—and fourth is the purse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you seriously talking about contemplating an impeachment of this president, Congressman?
MURTHA: What I‘m saying, there is four ways to influence a president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s an option that is on the table?
MURTHA: I‘m just saying, that‘s one way to influence a president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Empty talk or an actual possibility? Jack Murtha joined fellow anti-war veteran Chuck Hagel, suggesting that Congress might seek impeachment proceedings against President Bush because of his Iraq war policy. But are a failing war policy and executive stubbornness actually legitimate grounds for impeachment? Does Congressman Murtha have some other kind of evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors by the president? Or is all this pure talk show politics?
To answer that question again, we welcome MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press. Come on, Bill, let‘s get real. You‘re not responsible for what Jack Murtha says, but, I mean, all the normal people in Congress—I kind of like Jack Murtha as a person. I can‘t help it. He reminds me of my dad. OK? But this is pathetic.
PRESS: I know your dad. Your dad is better looking than Jack Murtha.
CARLSON: You know what I mean.
PRESS: Look, there is one person who has introduced articles of impeachment, OK? Dennis Kucinich. Not for Bush, but for Cheney. It‘s the bumper sticker, “Impeach Cheney First.” I think what Jack Murtha was saying is civics 101. There are four ways to influence a president: public opinions, elections, impeachment—It‘s in the constitution. It‘s not the h word. You‘re allowed to say it, or the purse.
CARLSON: Or violence, I suppose. What does that mean? Look, treason, bribery, other high crimes and misdemeanors.
PRESS: Tucker, nobody is suggesting impeachment, other than Dennis Kucinich.
CARLSON: Of course he is.
BUCHANAN: I agree with you, Tucker. This is foolish. He hurts the Democrats when he does that. This is a huge, serious battle going on, whether we ought to defund this war and get out of there. And then to bring up the impeachment word is a mistake for Murtha, because it makes the opposition look ridiculous. You‘re right, high crimes, misdemeanors, types of things that Nixon is alleged to have done, and Clinton is alleged to have done. Those are what you remove a president for. Why introduce—
CARLSON: I wish he would just be straightforward. I mean, the guy‘s this kind of big veteran guy. This is like, maybe if you come back to my room. No, I didn‘t say that. You know what I mean? He is leading us on. This is a pander to the nut job wacko blogger community, who wants to hear this. But then in polite society he says I‘m not saying I would go through with it. It‘s just one of the mechanisms.
PRESS: I think it would have been more honest, frankly, after he throws a word out—and Schieffer comes back and says, are you saying you want to impeach the president? He said, no, what we‘re doing is we‘re trying to use the power of the purse to bring about a change of politics. That would have been more honest.
CARLSON: In the end, I always say this; I always think it, just as impeachment, in the end, helped destroy the Republican party, and I think it did, impeaching Clinton did and obsessing over Clinton, the man. The Democrats are in a great position right now. They can only screw it up by letting people like this control their party.
PRESS: To Nancy Pelosi‘s credit, you know, she told John Conyers, if you want to be share of Judiciary, knock it off. No more word about impeachment. We haven‘t heard any of it until Murtha.
CARLSON: But he published a book on it actually, a couple of months ago.
PRESS: But he‘s not pursuing. Nobody is pursuing it, nobody.
BUCHANAN: It makes him look ridiculous. It is extraneous. Everybody‘s attention goes to impeachment and away from the real issues, which is what they could do, which is cut off a war.
PRESS: Only talk show hosts talk about it.
CARLSON: And Jack Murtha, that‘s the thing. The other point is—I mean, there is a war going on. However much you hate it, you have to recognize how serious it is and how serious a failure would be. Even if you think it‘s imminent, you have to hate the possibility of it. An impeachment would totally paralyze the whole federal government.
PRESS: Relax. It‘s not going to happen.
CARLSON: I tell you why it bothers me, because I disagree so much with this administration‘s foreign policy. I want responsible people in control. What we have learned since November is the Democrats aren‘t them. They are not responsible. They are stupid. They haven‘t spent time thinking through the issues that matter, and they are reckless.
PRESS: Tucker, they have adopted a policy. They are pursuing a policy. If the president vetoed it, then they will come back with another policy. Jack Murtha is not in the leadership. I remind you. He tried, he failed. He is a great man, I think , a great American, served his country well.
CARLSON: He would be a leadership if it weren‘t for that tape of him during Abscam. If he was not dinged—he would have had a leadership position if it weren‘t for that.
PRESS: He is not in the leadership because Steny Hoyer beat him.
BUCHANAN: He is also a problem with this. He is frustrated because I think he knows that the Democrats ultimately are going to have to fund this war. They are not going to get deadlines in that. That is going to rip their coalition apart. As you mentioned, the left wing of it wants raw meat; it wants blood. So he throws out impeachment for them. Because I think they are going to give him the 100 billion dollars.
PRESS: Not without some timetable, Pat.
BUCHANAN: There will be no timetable, you watch. Bush will veto the timetable. Your guys do not have the guts to drive it through and defund the war.
PRESS: He is not going to get a blank check. I don‘t care what you say.
BUCHANAN: They are going to have loose deadlines in there.
CARLSON: I think it would be kind of cool if they impeached Bush, and Cheney became president, and he drafted Halliburton as his V.P. and just created the kind of country most of us would like to see.
Barack Obama has presented himself as a different sort of politician; a blast of fresh air in a stale political climate. Coming up, a look at the possibility that, in fact, Obama has significant political baggage to check through the primary process, including a spiritual advisor who might be a bigot.
And who‘s peccadilloes will come to light when the D.C. Madam spills the salacious beans. Hookers, politicians and the scandal that threatens to wreck lives and careers in Washington. All of it on MSNBC.
CARLSON: There are a lot of good reasons not to pay for sex. Too many to list, frankly. Among them, the possibility that the person you pay might not be discreet and your behavior might come to light and you might be embarrassed. So it will be for some of the clients of D.C. Madam Deborah Jean Palfrey. Miss Palfrey ran what she called a sexual but legal erotic fantasy service. Sounds like a whore house. She says it‘s not. And she is accused of laundering money from that operation.
She reportedly turned over 46 pounds of phone records to ABC News, whose staff presumably will be working through the night to turn phone numbers into names. Who is sweating the hardest in Washington these days and what effect will the D.C. Madam‘s client list have on business right here in the nation‘s Capitol? Here to tell us, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press, who is for the record red in the face.
This is pretty outrageous, actually. I‘m not sure that prostitution should be punished very harshly.
BUCHANAN: Somebody stole his visa card and driver‘s license.
CARLSON: Here you have a woman who is going to name names. I hope she gets life without parole. That‘s so outrageous. That‘s such a violation of the deal that it‘s just wrong.
PRESS: Let me just first of all say I am not afraid that I—I know my name will not appear on that list.
CARLSON: Are you certain? You always use an alias.
PRESS: I use a pay phone. Tucker, if the women can get nailed for this, then the Johns can get nailed for this. And so basically, they know the risks they are taking. They should know the risks they are taking when they pay for this. Here is what I find delicious about this. This guy, Mr. Tobias, US AID for the HIV-AIDS program for Africa. The policies are, number one, abstinence. Obviously, he is not practicing what he preaches. Secondly, you have to sign a pledge saying you‘re against prostitution. So he violated his own two cardinal rules, it sounds like, and he got caught.
CARLSON: For the record, he says he was merely hiring the prostitutes for massages.
PRESS: That‘s what Ted Haggard said about the male prostitute in Colorado Springs. If you believe Ted Haggard, you can believe Mr. Tobias. I don‘t believe either one.
CARLSON: Don‘t you think it‘s pretty outrageous that this woman is naming names?
BUCHANAN: I don‘t know why I don‘t feel outraged. I think a lot of people are going to get in front of the TV with ABC. It‘s sweeps month. They get the dip and the white wine out and listen to this thing. There‘s got to be—look, 48 pounds, did you say, of records? They are in business 10 years? There are people sweating all over town, I think.
CARLSON: Isn‘t this Europe now? Didn‘t we agree after Clinton that the private lives of public people are off-limits.
BUCHANAN: My guess is you have the “Washington Post”—
PRESS: They were paying for sex.
BUCHANAN: ABC probably has probably got an enormous number of names. And I‘ll tell you this, they are probably going through the tortures of the damned, saying, look, we know this guy. He is not a bad guy. You put this out, you will destroy his career. You will ruin his life. You will ruin his marriage. Should we do this? Sure, he shouldn‘t have done this. I‘m sure they are going through that.
CARLSON: Do you think ABC would actually name the names of her clients? That hadn‘t occurred to me.
BUCHANAN: This guy is a pretty big guy. I didn‘t know him, but you have a big name in there, my guess is this will come out, Tucker.
PRESS: This came out, Brian Ross, who I think is the best investigative reporter in the country, went to Randall Tobias and said, isn‘t this your name, your address, your telephone number? And he had to fess up. Yes, it was. Tucker—
CARLSON: As far as I know, ABC—Brian Ross, no one at ABC brought that name to the public. Tobias went to his superiors and said I‘m leaving. I may have that wrong.
BUCHANAN: Somebody had to go to Tobias first before he went to his superiors.
PRESS: Do you think a news organization—it hadn‘t even occurred to me that ABC would actually name these people. Do you think ABC would do that?
BUCHANAN: If they have some really big name, it would not surprise me.
PRESS: You bet they will. But Tucker, you‘re forgetting something.
There is the law involved here. Right?
BUCHANAN: Why don‘t they have a show on if they are going to say we all know that she ran an escort service. What are they going to have on ABC?
CARLSON: Let me be absolutely clear. I‘m not defending prostitution. I‘m against prostitution. I am. I‘m happily married. I think the idea that you would violate someone else‘s privacy in that way is so outrageous that I am morally offended by it.
BUCHANAN: If I were a journalist and I had it, I would not use it.
But look, Drew Pierson (ph) used that stuff.
CARLSON: Do you know how many people I know that are committing acts of adultery? Let‘s be real. Do you know how many people, like in day to day life, are doing bad things, you don‘t announce it on TV. Of course not.
PRESS: I think there is something else going on here, which is the last time I checked, it‘s against the law to sell your body for a dollar.
PRESS: OK, hold on. By that standard, all the people you know who smoke marijuana, do you want to announce names on television? No, of course, you never would, because that‘s immoral to do that.
PRESS: All I‘m saying, if you go after the women, which the police do all the time, and they chase these women down, the men have always gotten off for free. Now the men are going to have to pay the price.
CARLSON: I don‘t see destroying people‘s lives—if abortion can be a feminist issue, so can outing Johns.
BUCHANAN: The “National Star,” “National Enquirer,” these magazines, if they get hold of these names, they would they use it. They get big names, sure they would use it. That‘s the way they make their money.
PRESS: In a heartbeat they would.
CARLSON: Speaking of amazed, just frankly amazed, the “New York Post” yesterday, in its Sunday edition, not sure how well-read that edition is, but I read it. In it was a very small story that said Rudy Giuliani had given an interview to an online interviewer of some kind, a free lancer who interviews famous people. And they have gotten their hands on a video of him with his wife, Judy Nathan Giuliani, talking about her role in his personal life. We have a copy of this thanks to the “New York Post.” Here it is. This is fascinating.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She was enormously helpful on September 11 and afterwards about the biological agents that could attack us, the chemical agents, how to deal with it, how to organize it. That‘s a lot of what our business does. So she gives us a lot of advice, a lot of help in an area where she has a tremendous amount of expertise, biological, chemical. And since we do security work, that‘s an area of great concern, another anthrax attack, another—a smallpox attack, chemical agents. She knows all of that.
We do a lot of work with the pharmaceutical industry. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry for years. So she is—she is an expert that we rely on. Of course, I also love her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: She seems like a nice person, and I think he loves her. I‘m sure she was a great pharmaceutical saleswoman. She is now an expert on smallpox and bioterror?
BUCHANAN: I think Chertoff has to move over if Giuliani wins.
CARLSON: I‘m not trying to be mean. I‘m not attacking her in any way. She didn‘t say anything objectionable there. I‘m not in any way attacking Mrs. Giuliani. I‘m merely wondering aloud if she is, in fact, one of the world‘s experts on smallpox and bioterror. Is she?
PRESS: I thought we might get to this today. I did a little Google search. This is her background. She did study as a nurse. Her first husband was a medical supply salesman. Her second husband was a wallpaper salesman. When she moved to New York, she became a salesperson for pharmaceutical/surgical supplies. This is a person that Rudy Giuliani is going to depend on for chemical and biological weapons expertise? God help America.
CARLSON: The one thing you can say is he loves his wife. I‘m totally impressed by that. I think that‘s great. I love my wife. But you have to wonder if this doesn‘t get to I think the key question with Giuliani, which is not his personal life, how many times he was married or did he wear girls‘ clothes, who cares? The question is he has this reputation as a national security expert that comes from I‘m not sure what?
BUCHANAN: It comes from how he handled 9/11 in all those hours we saw him.
CARLSON: OK, yes, he‘s a great leader in that way, no doubt.
BUCHANAN: You‘re right. This undercuts the idea that this is a guy that really ought to be in charge of national security, if he thinks his wife, because she sold pharmaceuticals, is an expert on terrorism and biological warfare.
PRESS: And lest we forget, this is of a piece with Bernard Kerik. So I think it gets to judgment, massive lack of judgment on his part, on who ought to be in the most sensitive jobs in this country.
CARLSON: Bernard Kerik, I think, you could make a pretty good case that Bernard Kerik had some personal problems and some flaws. I don‘t know if he was a criminal. Clearly, there is no doubt that he was unethical in certain ways. But he was a law enforcement expert.
BUCHANAN: I thought it was a great appointment when I first heard it.
CARLSON: You couldn‘t say he didn‘t have the experience. That would be like saying, you know what, Bernard Kerik was one of the great toll takers on the whole New York Thruway, therefore he‘s going to be a great chief of police of the city of New York.
PRESS: I didn‘t mean to say he didn‘t have experience, but he certainly was tainted. And he had those corruption ties. And yet Giuliani sold him to George W. Bush—first of all, hired him himself, then sold him to George W. Bush. That showed a lack of judgment, which I think this does, too.
BUCHANAN: Who is putting—this is what gets me, The New York Post has been coming up with one of these stories after another after another. Who is dropping the dime on Rudy? All this stuff? It all comes out. This is—not only the personal stuff, but it is...
CARLSON: . deafening Barack. But I actually have found just the opposite. That, in fact, there have been relatively few stories about Giuliani‘s business, about Giuliani‘s dealings as mayor. I know there have been a couple of books written on it by Wayne Barrett. But actually you haven‘t heard very much. We‘re still in the honeymoon period.
PRESS: This is what—I am convinced that there are legions of people lying in wait in New York City for Rudy Giuliani to become the nominee. And they are going to drop the hammer on him.
BUCHANAN: I do, too. And I don‘t think The New York Post is picking up these stories by just going out and investigating anything. Somebody is dropping this stuff on Rudy.
CARLSON: It is unbelievable. Which leads to the question, if not Rudy, who will be the Republican nominee? Now there is someone we haven‘t talked about in some time. Chuck Hagel, he came out on March 12th and gave this kind of bizarro non-announcement announcement that annoyed all of us.
BUCHANAN: Highly disappointed, yes.
CARLSON: But he did give a pretty interesting interview to Bob Novak today.
BUCHANAN: It was excellent.
CARLSON: I thought it was. Here is part of what he said. He said:
“This thing in Iraq,” he just got back from Iraq, “is coming undone quickly. Maliki‘s government is weaker by the day. The police are corrupt top to bottom. The oil problem is a huge problem. They can‘t get anything through the parliament.” This, that, the other thing. Basically it‘s a disaster.
BUCHANAN: But the politics of it, he is exactly right. Inside the Republican party, Tucker, if you say this—we‘re losing this war, we have got to get out. I mean, Republicans, you just heard Wayne Gilchrest, this guy on the Eastern Shore who is a good guy, a vet, he is being hammered.
And it is very, very tough for me to see how he gets in there, Hagel, and starts saying this war was a disastrous mistake from the beginning and we have got to get out and Iraq may be gone. I don‘t know how you win a nomination saying that. It may well be the truth. It may well need to be said.
But you know the Republicans, how they are like. And this is something, a message that just won‘t go over.
CARLSON: But they see it as disloyal, Republicans.
PRESS: But I would suggest that there is a crying need in the Republican Party for somebody to take Chuck Hagel—like Chuck Hagel, to take that position and run with it. Because, Pat, in a crowded primary, if he can get 25 or 30 percent of Republicans—and you know he is not the only one that feels this way, to say at least one Republican willing to stand up as a true patriot and oppose this war from the right, I think he would find a large following.
CARLSON: I don‘t think that is—you may be right, but I don‘t think that‘s how Republicans think. I think they really want to get behind one guy. They are not like the Democrats where you could have somebody getting that small a percentage who could in the end win because of it. I think at the very end they will come behind one of the candidates.
BUCHANAN: And they feel the war is a mistake, but they do not want to lose it. They don‘t want to lose this war. They don‘t want America to lose.
CARLSON: That‘s just how I feel.
BUCHANAN: . a second war in their lifetime like Vietnam, and they don‘t want the disaster. And so they say we have got to stick with the president.
PRESS: Well, that‘s what John McCain is saying. And it is certainly not helping him.
CARLSON: All right. This is interesting. So we‘re going to be back with.
BUCHANAN: Well, they are all pro-war.
CARLSON: Barack Obama‘s relationship with a controversial clergyman that may leave that candidate with some serious explaining to do. Up next, a look at that clergyman, the controversy surrounding him and the cost of Obama‘s association with him.
Plus, Al Gore targets the most sensitive people on Earth. Those, of course, the Canadians. What did Mr. Global Warming say about our neighbors to the north and how are they taking it in the land of the dogsled? Details coming up. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Barack Obama found religion because of a certain pastor, but that certain pastor is now stirring up some controversy. Could Obama‘s church connections hurt his chances of becoming the president? We‘ll tell you. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Barack Obama‘s smooth flight through the earliest stages of the presidential campaign is encountering the first signs of political turbulence. Among the questions now being raised about his candidacy centers on his relationship with the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright Jr. of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Obama credits the church and Dr. Wright with, as The International Herald Tribune put it, “turning him from a skeptic to a self-described Christian.”
But Jeremiah Wright is at least a mixed bag politically. His work to improve conditions in impoverished black neighborhoods may be laudable, but his rhetoric includes attacks against white people and against Israel. Should Obama distance himself from Dr. Wright and if so can he effectively do that?
We welcome back to discuss that, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press. Now I have kind of liked Barack Obama from the very beginning. He seems moderate in tone. I spent all morning reading Jeremiah Wright online. All the church newsletters are available. The guy is a full-blown hater, actually. This is just pulled at random.
Here is his attack on Natalee Holloway as a slut. “Black women are being raped daily from Africa, one white girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country and that stays in the news for months.” In other words, she is a slut.
9/11, he says: “White America got their wake-up call after 9/11. White America and the Western world came to realize people of color had not gone away, faded in the woodwork or just disappeared as the great white West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.” So 9/11 was payback for white racism. I mean, it goes on, and I will read more. But your first thoughts on this, Bill.
PRESS: My first thought is.
CARLSON: It‘s not mainstream, is it?
PRESS: . I think it‘s curious that not so long ago we were—people were criticizing Barack Obama for being too radical a Muslim. And now he seems to be maybe being criticized for being too radical a Christian, number one. And my second thought is.
CARLSON: There is nothing Christian about this stuff.
PRESS: . that—but he is a Christian, I‘m saying. But second thought is, Jeremiah Wright is not running for president. Barack Obama is. I‘m sure if he were sitting here and you read those quotes to Barack Obama, he would say—he would denounce every one of them as he has many things that Reverend Wright has said.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
PRESS: So I would say judge Barack Obama by what he says, what he stands for.
CARLSON: I think that‘s—you‘re absolutely right. And I have defended many people over the years who have friendships with unsavory people. But this is not just a friendship. This guy baptized his two kids, brought him into the church, turned him, by Obama‘s own admission, into Christian, blessed his house recently.
If there was a Republican presidential candidate who had a friend who was a member of the Klan or some a skinhead group who was attacking black people, you would say it‘s a problem, no?
BUCHANAN: He has got to renounce him, sure. They would have to. And I don‘t know whether Barack Obama, there is a double standard here, but it sounds to me like this fellow, as you mention, Tucker, seemed to be so close to him, it‘s somebody he sort of takes ideas and thoughts from him, and a religious conversion, all of the rest of it.
If you‘re that close to someone and his ideas and philosophy, it seems to me you have either got to denounce him or explain him. And where did you get all of these ideas? As for the Israeli thing, Barack Obama already has a problem because he made that statement, the Palestinians are the most persecuted people or something like that in the Middle East, and he failed to mention Israel when he asked about what other great allies in the United States.
CARLSON: Here is the Israeli thing, we were talking about this at the commercial break. This is quoting now the Reverend Wright: “The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community and wake up Americans concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.”
He compares Israel to South Africa repeatedly. He attacks Israel as a racist state.
BUCHANAN: This is the Jimmy Carter—that Israel is Apartheid, and the disinvestment is this whole idea that is going around the campuses to cut off any university investments in Israel. I think Barack Obama is going to have to explain that.
PRESS: I was just going to say, let‘s be clear that that is Reverend Wright talking, not Barack Obama.
CARLSON: Absolutely. None of this is Barack Obama. Though he has defended this guy. I criticized him on the air a couple of months ago. Got all this hate mail calling me a racist for criticizing this guy. And Barack Obama defended him. I don‘t see how he can defend this guy.
PRESS: I think you raise a legitimate question about his relationship and what part of this guy he agrees with and what part he doesn‘t agree with. And that‘s for Barack Obama to answer. But I wouldn‘t automatically say that any piece of hate that you find spewing out of Jeremiah Wright‘s mouth is necessarily the point of view of Barack Obama. He has to explain it.
BUCHANAN: As a former candidate, they take these guys, they say, here is Buchanan, here is his friend, and here is what his friend said. And then you have got to spend the rest of the day or the week trying to explain it or defend it or renounce it.
CARLSON: That‘s right. I want Barack Obama to be as reasonable as he seems. I really do. I have nothing against Barack Obama at all. I like him. And I just want him to distance himself from this stuff because it is so...
BUCHANAN: It‘s going to be tough to distance himself from somebody.
PRESS: And you also said, very quickly, that this preacher has done a lot of good in Chicago for a lot of...
CARLSON: I don‘t know that he has. I‘m just being nice. He sounds like a total hater to me.
PRESS: No, he has. And that‘s where he met Barack Obama.
CARLSON: Well, I mean, I don‘t know.
BUCHANAN: The Panthers had breakfast for kids.
CARLSON: Exactly, who cares? That‘s my point.
CARLSON: All right. Those of us—exactly, thanks, gentlemen. Al girl—Al Gore, rather, hurls some fighting words at Canada over the weekend. The question is, who would you root for in that fight, Gore or Canada? Canadian relations correspondent Willie Geist tells us what Gore said that has those feisty Canucks so worked up they can hardly curl. You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. You know, the only thing that could make this day better, frankly, at this point, Willie Geist. We are proud to introduce him now. From headquarters, here he is.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER: The sincerity is just oozing, coming through the screen. I appreciate it so much, Tucker.
CARLSON: We have been talking about hookers, Willie, sorry.
GEIST: I noticed that actually. Yes. It‘s an exciting segment. I took some allergy medicine today, Tucker, so Rudy Giuliani has named me to his bioterror staff.
GEIST: It‘s the strong kind. So it‘s a proud time for me. I feel good about it. You know, Tucker, I went away for a couple of days, I don‘t know if you even noticed, and the world suddenly turned upside-down. While I was gone, Rosie O‘Donnell announced that she is leaving “The View” after less than a year of dedicated service there.
That frees up a chair at “America‘s breakfast table,” as I like to call it. One of the ladies whose name is floating around as a replacement, perhaps the only woman more vulgar than Rosie, Roseanne Barr. The New York Post, which is often correct, cites a source who says Roseanne is the leading contender to take Rosie‘s spot in June. Other names that have come up are Joan Rivers, Whoopi Goldberg, and of course, Kathy Lee Gifford.
Now, Tucker, while I was gone, first they took Sanjaya from me. Now they have taken Rosie O‘Donnell from me. What is it that you would like for me to talk about every day?
CARLSON: I don‘t—honestly, I‘m begging for Roseanne Barr.
GEIST: I have nothing.
CARLSON: No, truly. I mean, that actually would be the answer to our prayers.
GEIST: She is actually funny. She is disgusting but she is actually funny, which separates her from Rosie, in my opinion.
Also Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the young one as they call her on the show, announced on the air today that she is pregnant again. So that actually frees up two spots. So two new faces on “The View.” And boy, we‘re spending a lot of time talking about “The View.”
CARLSON: Put your name in there, Willie.
GEIST: I will. I will. Well, Tucker, Boy George‘s chances of taking Rosie‘s spot on “The View” took a mighty hit on Saturday when he was arrested for allegedly chaining a male escort to a wall in his home against the man‘s will. The 28-year-old man called London police after he says he escaped from Boy George‘s home after being handcuffed to a hook on a wall.
The man says he was hired only to model for photographs but things got ugly when George whipped out the handcuffs. The man told the British newspaper, quote: “I was convinced I was going to die.” Boy George is accused of assault and false imprisonment.
Again, Tucker, I guess eccentricity is a crime. He has really struggled to find himself over the last 20 years, Boy George. And I want to know where is he getting the money for the 25 years of drugs and male escorts? There is nothing coming in on this side, but it is going out like you wouldn‘t believe the other way.
CARLSON: I think you are right. I think it‘s all Culture Club royalties, probably.
GEIST: It is. God, he is doing a lot better than I thought. Well, Tucker, another hero of ours, Joey Buttafuoco, released from L.A. County jail on Saturday just in time for prom season. The 50-year-old served three months for illegal possession of ammunition. He was on probation for insurance fraud when police found the ammo in his home a couple of years ago.
Buttafuoco is, of course, the man who had an affair with a 17-year-old high school student named Amy Fisher on New York‘s Long Island in the early ‘90s. Fisher shot Joey‘s wife Mary Jo in the face in 1992 and served seven years in prison herself.
Now, Tucker, your “Free Joey Buttafuoco” campaign has finally yielded some results. Congratulations.
CARLSON: I have been working on it. Aren‘t they getting back together, he and Amy Fisher?
GEIST: No. I hope not. I hope not. I can‘t see that again.
CARLSON: They were made for each other.
GEIST: He has been persecuted long enough, leave him alone, let him repair the cars, and get off of his back.
Finally, Tucker, the United States took the first step on Saturday toward a long overdue war with Canada when former Vice President Al Gore publicly called Canada‘s new environmental policy quote: “a complete and total fraud.” Gore says the Canadian government is intentionally misleading its people with a bogus plan to deal with greenhouse gases.
The Canadian government minister fired back, saying, quote: “The fact is that the plan is vastly tougher than any measures introduced by the administration of which the former vice president was a member,” end quote.
It would appear, Tucker, that war with Canada is now imminent. These, not your two favorite groups, the Gore group and Canadian group, who would you side with?
CARLSON: Oh, I‘m an American. In the end, I would side with Gore. I think also we need the satellite parking and cheap domestic help. You know, so I‘m all for—as I have noted many times on this and other shows...
GEIST: You have, I noticed that.
CARLSON: . I‘m all for baiting Canada. Yes I am.
GEIST: Yes. I think we should invade at once. It‘s not nice of Gore to pick on Canada, though, I don‘t think.
CARLSON: I‘m still on his side though.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: Viva America. Willie Geist. Thanks, Willie. Glad you‘re back. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris. We‘re back tomorrow. Have a great night.
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