updated 7/11/2007 10:39:31 AM ET 2007-07-11T14:39:31

Guests:  Mike Viqueira, A.B. Stoddard, Tom Andrews

TUCKER:  Welcome to the show.  We deem this another super Tuesday. 

All day on MSNBC, President Bush, presidential candidate John McCain, and Louisiana Senator David Vitter probably used less enthusiastic adjectives to describe it. 

The president, who hasn‘t had a truly super Tuesday since November 2, 2004, awoke this morning to a new “USA Today” poll that puts his approval rating below 30 percent.  Anonymous leaks that the Iraqi government has failed to meet any of its developmental benchmarks, Mr. Bush tried to sell as much reviled Iraq war policy at a town hall in Cleveland.  We will tell you if he succeed. 

Presenter John McCain, Tuesday, saw full-scale implosion of his campaign apparatus.  His Campaign Manager, Terry Nelson, and Chief Strategist, John Weaver, stepped down this morning, probably because they were pushed.  McCain‘s version of straight talk today was that he was, quote, “pleased with the direction of his campaign.”  We will bring you details of President Bush and Senator McCain‘s bad days later. 

But both pale in comparison to the day that Louisiana Senator David Vitter had.  It was a bad day.  Late last night, Vitter revealed that he was among the clients of Deborah Jean Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam. 

Palfrey, who faces racketeering charges and conspiracy charges in connection to her Washington escort service, posted the phone numbers of hundreds of her alleged clients between 1993 and 2006. 

Well, the contrite Senator Vitter told the Associated Press, quote, “this was a very serious sin in my past, for which I am, of course, completely responsible.  Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife.” 

Well, Vitter is certainly surely not the only public figure whose indiscretions will exposed by the D.C. Madam.  But he is the first elected official.  His political opponents will doubtless attack him on counts of immorality and hypocrisy, but no one can accuse him of hiding from the embarrassing truth.  He faced up to it like a man. 

So how did his Congressional colleagues react to this disclosure?  How many more will be exposed for the same behavior?  And what, beside humiliation, will be the fallout? 

Well, for the latest from Capital Hill we welcome MSNBC and NBC New‘s own Capital Hill Correspondent, Mike Viqueira.  Mike, welcome.  What is the fallout?


Well, most people are taking this tactic, saying look, this is a personal issue and in fact, echoing what David Vitter has said by himself.  That he has sinned in the past and asked for forgiveness from his wife and his God in both marriage counseling and in confession. 

You know, Vitter happens to be the southern coordinator for Rudy Giuliani who has run into some problems with scandals on some of the people he has appointed to help in his campaign.  Vitter incidentally, was elected to the Senate after serving five years in the House.  He was elected in 2004.  And most of these indiscretions are presumably—happened around that time.  While he was getting a 100 percent rating from the Christian Coalition that he had supported. 

Another socially conservative group, here, the issues important to them, Concerned Women for America, 100 percent of the time.  Now the providence of this last night, all very mysterious, Tucker of course.  Those phone numbers finally spilled out onto the web after being held and then sealed by a judge here in Washington, D.C.  She finally relinquished her hold on those, they were spilled out onto the web.  Unclear how it became clear that Vitter—on of Vitter‘s numbers—an old number, it was reported.  Was revealed to be that of the Senator himself.  But now, there are people all over town trying to figure out, as you mentioned, who else might be on that list. 

I was e-mailed a search engine, sort of a make shift search engine that people are trying to work out, some mysterious folks on the Hill.  What you do you type in the a phone number of a member of Congress or a public official.  You might happen to know—you might not have any suspicion whatsoever, that these folks might be Deborah Jean Palfrey, the D.C. Madam‘s, phone list.  And then it would kick back to you whether or not that number was on the list or not.  So the hunt is on here, Tucker.  And it certainly not going to abate until more people are exposed.  That would seem to be probability at this point, as you mentioned. 

TUCKER:  Mike, you had said that the province of this information is in doubt.  Larry Flint, the pornographer and the Democratic party booster and financier has issued a press release saying I did it.  I‘m responsible.   The Larry Flint Hustler investigative team is behind this. 

VIQUEIRA:  Which would be a whole other irony.  Because it was Vitter when it came to the House of Representatives, who replaced Bob Livingston. 

TUCKER:  Right.

VIQUEIRA:  Of course, he was going to be Speaker of the House, back—was it—in 1998. 


VIQUEIRA:  Late 1998.  I will never forget the day, it was December 19, a Saturday we were here. 

TUCKER:  I was there!

VIQUEIRA:  Larry Flint had put out his challenge, of course, nationwide, anybody who wanted to come forward and tell of indiscretions, infidelities on the part of any of these members of Congress who were putting the President, President Clinton on trial for impeachment they were welcome to come forward.  Apparently some did in the case of Livingston, and he very dramatically resigned that day ...


VIQUEIRA:  December 19th, on the floor of the House.  And it was Vitter who was elected, in a special election, if I recall, to take Livingston‘s place there in Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans.  And I‘m surprised you have not mentioned the statement from Mrs. Vitter at the time.  She was asked by the “New Orleans Times Picayune” what she would do if her husband committed the kind of infidelities that the president and Bob Livingston did.  And she said, “if he does something like that, and walking away with one thing, and it is not alimony.  Trust me.”  Saying that she was more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary Clinton, Tucker.

TUCKER:  Oh, this is bitter.  All right, Mike Viqueira, thanks.  And if we could establish that Larry Flint is a pig.  We could just make that, sort of—like an understanding.  That is kind of the baseline for all conversations on this topic, going forward.  Thanks a lot Mike, I appreciate it.

VIQUEIRA:  Certainly.

TUCKER:  Well joining us now, A.B. Stoddard, she‘s Associate Editor of the “Hill” and Tom Andrews, National Director of “Win Without War” and a former Democratic Congressman from the great state of Maine.

Welcome to you both. 


TUCKER:  Now do—people who are conservative are not allowed to do things like this?  Or what? 

I mean, the hypocrisy seems to me, in the holier than thou-ness actually makes me want to vomit.  Is it anybody‘s business who David Vitter sleeps with? 

ANDREWS:  I do not think so. 


ANDREWS:  And I, when you ask what about what the fallout of this is going to be, the political fallout.  I would hope that the political fallout behind his unquestioning support of the Iraq war and the Bush administration in this debacle, would be greater than this. 

TUCKER:  Right.

ANDREWS:  And, you know, the “Washington Post” had this story on page three, as opposed to the top half of page one.  So maybe we are making some political progress here. 

TUCKER:  Well, here is what the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Baveno Blanco (ph), a drooling moron herself, is not running for reelection because she has been such a bad governor, said ...

ANDREWS:  Tell me what you really think.

TUCKER:  No, I‘m actually offended.  I am offended.  Poor David Vitter, you know what I mean.  It is like, nobody‘s business, we went through all this garbage in the 1990‘s, and the consensus we came to was, you know, as long as it is not in my face, I‘m not going to get in your face about your personal behavior.  And yet, she has the brass to issue the following statement, quote, “I‘m very disappointed at this news.  And I hope and pray this does not hurt our efforts to secure federal funding that we need in Louisiana.”

As is if David Vitter‘s going to a hooker is the problem they have in Louisiana?  How about the fact that everybody is corrupt?  Do you know what I mean?  Like, she should just be quiet, don‘t you think?

ANDREWS:  Yes, I think that would probably be a good idea.


ANDREWS:  I have a friend in England when all this—when the Clinton scandal was raging.  You know, she called me and said, you know, what are you folks over there?   Are you electing a president or a Pope?  I mean, get over it.

TUCKER:  Yes.  Well, I‘m not defending Clinton but I have to say, I did sympathize with Clinton then.  I think it is fair to lie under oath if you are asked about infidelities.  Most men would do it, I certainly would do it.  And, I don‘t know.  I just think think that—all of a sudden, everyone is a preacher as soon as this happens.  And I will say, Rudy Giuliani is in that category, too.  He was asked today and he said, and I‘m quoting now, “some people disappoint you.”  Vitter was an early supporter of his.   Can Rudy Giuliani credibly look into the camera and say this?  That he‘s disappointed by this, of all people?  I mean, the brass of that! 

A.B. STODDARD, THE “HILL”:  This is only a story because he is the southern regional chairman for Rudy Giuliani.  And that is why it has legs.  This is the least riveting person for us to find in the Madam‘s address book.  Believe me.  In all of Washington.  He is not the majority leader.  He is not the vice president.  He is not Karl Rove.  It is beyond boring. 

But the fact that he is a prominent endorser and an important South Carolina—sorry, you know, southern regional leader for the Giuliani movement is really a blow to Giuliani.  Particularly because it comes after this string of embarrassing casualty‘s of the campaign where people are picked off here and there.  They‘ve molested students or on cocaine charges they—unfortunately one just died.  But he has a lot of problems, and he does not gut people at all, Rudy Giuliani.  It draws attention, of course, to Rudy Giuliani‘s many marriages and his own infidelities.  So.

TUCKER:  To say some people disappoint you is pretty outrageous.  And I have to say, can we all agree that Larry Flint is not a legitimate public persona and you should not take money from Larry Flint?  I mean, can you imagine a more corrosive sort of job, to go out and out people because they had marriage problems?  I mean, how can people take money from Larry Flint when he sends a campaign contribution, shouldn‘t you just send it back? 

ANDREWS:  Yes, well, I think, you know, I think this is the kind of politics that make everyone in this country just ...

TUCKER:  So is Barak Obama going to issue a statement today decrying this?  Because he is against politics personal destruction, isn‘t he?

ANDREWS:  Well, we will see.  I don‘t know. 

TUCKER:  I hope he does.

ANDREWS:  It‘s ...

TUCKER:  I‘m not defending what David Vitter did or infidelity, which is immoral and wrong and I‘m against it.  However, I‘m every bit against this kind of garbage.  Anyway.  Wow.

The polls say Americans think the war in Iraq was a mistake.  Is the president listening?  Does he care?  And what does it all mean for the next occupant of the White House, what is he or she going to have to deal with when he or she gets there? 

And a little later, the McCain meltdown continues as two top campaign aides leave the campaign.  Is this the beginning of the end for John McCain?  Or perhaps the start of a recovery? 

We will be right back.


TUCKER:  His own poll numbers are approaching Jimmy Carter like levels but thank God his performance isn‘t.  Public support for the war is quickly evaporating.  But, today the president once again, asked Americans to be patient and wait for his surge strategy to work.  Here he is. 


GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT:  I welcome a good, honest debate about the consequences of failure, the consequences of success in this war. 

But I believe that it is in this nation‘s interests to give the commander a chance to fully implement his operations.  And I believe Congress ought to wait for General Petraeus to come back and give his assessment of the strategy that he is putting in place before they make any decisions.  That is what the American people expect.  They expect for military people to come back and tell us how the military operations are going. 


TUCKER:  It is a plea we have heard from President Bush before, and it is beginning to sound a little desperate.  As one Republican senator after another scampers away from his Iraq strategy.  Is the president running out the clock or will historians ultimately conclude that he was right to stay the course in Iraq?  Back with us, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of the “Hill”.  And Tom Andrews, National Director of Win Without War.  

Welcome back.  I would like to hear, Tom, an honest debate about the consequences of failure.  Bush, you know, you blame him for the war, I blame him for the war.  And that is legitimate.  But he is making it a point the Democrats have not refuted or even engaged.  What are the consequences of failure? 

ANREWS:  Well, first of all, an honest debate would be nice.  But we have heard very little honesty from this White House. 


ANDREWS:  As far as what is happening, what will happen, why it is happening.

TUCKER:  I agree.

ANDREWS:  And as far as the generals are concerned, listen.  If you listen to what General Abizad (ph) said, what General Casey (ph) said to the Armed Services Committee of the Senate, just before—as they were leaving Iraq, they said, look, this is not going to work.  It is going to make a political settlement, which is the key to all of this, much less possible than if we do not have the surge. 

And it is going to undermine our capacity, overall to be successful in the Middle East. 


ANDREWS:  It is going to shift the violence from a few pockets, where we are in Baghdad, and shift them all over the country. 


ANDREWS:  That‘s exactly what is happening.

TUCKER:  But nobody who is calling for an immediate withdrawal, who I‘ve heard anyway, and maybe this debate is taking place in secret somewhere, has publicly addressed the consequences of an immediate withdrawal.  What does happen?  I bring this up every day on the show, and nobody ever looks right in the camera and says, actually here is what is going to happen.  Shouldn‘t you have thought that through?  Not you, but one, if you are calling for withdrawal?

ANDREWS:  The fact is, Tucker, no one knows exactly what will happen. 

TUCKER:  I don‘t know, let‘s guess.

ANDREWS:  No one knows. 

TUCKER:  I don‘t know.  Let‘s—we don‘t know a lot of things, but conjecture, that‘s kind of what we do.

ANDREWS:  What we do know, is that if we stay the course, as we have been staying, that this thing is going to get worse and worse and worse.  And more Americans are going to die. 

So we know that is a fact.  We do not know what will happen if the United States says, look,  we are not going to have permanent bases, we are no longer have a permanent military operation by the United States.  We are going to ask all the players in the region that have a direct stake in that country, including those that have a lot at stake if that becomes a human for terrorists.  Or if all of those refugees start pouring over the borders or if the region explodes.  There are a lot of interests, all over the world in that region, that have a lot at stake.  I would say let‘s bring those to the table ...  

TUCKER:  OK.  Then let other people deal with it.  I‘m not against that.  I just want to know how it is going to work.  But we are still proceeding, it seems to me, now you cover the Hill, tell me if I‘m wrong, but it seems like we are moving inexorably toward a withdrawal. 

Today, Senators Reid and Levin (ph) introduced legislation that would order Bush to begin pulling out troops 120 days and end combat by next April.  This is, I mean, some of this is going to pass at some point soon, is my guess. 

STODDARD:  I‘m not sure.  The Democrats are the party of withdrawal.

TUCKER:  Right.

STODDARD:  And they have made that clear.  And the Republicans are defecting away from the president‘s current course in Iraq are not asking for withdrawal.   They‘re asking him for a third option.  They‘re asking not to wait until September to look at some kind of landscape that involves redeployment of many different kinds, I imagine.  A different way, not end the war, not Reid/Pelosi withdraw.  Let‘s find another way, because the surge is not working. 

TUCKER:  Right.

STODDARD:  And it‘s interesting that President Bush no he really is not hearing anything.  Because he has this report landing this Friday or Sunday.  People say different things about the dates.  That will say, the Iraqi government will not meet the benchmarks, haven‘t, and they cannot do so in the future.  They won‘t at all.  And he has these defections, which apparently took him by surprise, and the White House is in a meltdown. 

TUCKER:  Right.

STODDARD:  And he still gets up today and says, let General Petraeus report in September.  General Petraeus has already told us, that in September he is not going to be able to on progress.  He needs more troops,  more time, more miracles.  So, the thing that‘s interesting is, there is an opportunity for President Bush here.  There absolutely is and there is one for John McCain, and that is, to try to come up with something that is not withdraw, that does not leave Turkey and Iran to invade Iraq.  Make a case for how calamitous it is for us to leave.  And that is in the Republicans‘ hands right now, and they are going to blow it or they are not.  But it is for President Bush, the whole party, and particularly for John McCain.  And we are going to see if they run ...

TUCKER:  Jeez.  I think they are blowing it.

STODDARD:  There is a choice beyond withdrawal.  The Democrats are the withdrawal party, and the Republicans have some consensus on redeployment, but the president is not listening. 

TUCKER:  Unfortunately, Tom, we are almost out of time, but really quickly, do you imagine a scenario where a lot of Democrats join with Republicans to come up with a solution that does not mean everybody out—all Americans out Iraq.  But some sort of middle strategy? 

ANDREWS:  Republicans, I think you are right in the sense that, Republicans are looking for a political exit from all the heat that they are taking. 

TUCKER:  Definitely. 

ANDREWS:  I was in New Hampshire two weeks ago, 66 percent want to John Sununu (ph) to start voting to get these troops out. 


ANDREWS:  I mean, that is clear.  And you can already see what is happening.  They are saying look, let‘s not call them combat troops anymore.  Let‘s call them training troops.  And the White House administration officials said today, that between 60 and 100 thousand troops will be needed, if what the Republicans are starting to talk about on Capitol Hill.  Let‘s doing training as opposed to combat.  If that were to take place.  The Pentagon said last year that it would take 120,000 troops to do what some of the Republicans are saying.  So listen, I don‘t buy the fact that there is a third way.  I think you have got to take—look this thing square in the eye and do the right thing. 

TUCKER:  I hope.

ANDREWS:  And if you try to crossing things between the middle, you still have 100,000 troops on the ground. 

TUCKER:  Coming up, are we watching a McCain campaign meltdown?  Two top aides resigned today but McCain repeated that he is staying in the race and he appears to be staying in the race. 

Plus, a new national poll shows Hillary Clinton holding a strong lead over Barack Obama.  Who would be her ideal running mate if, shudder, shiver, she gets the nomination? 

You are watching MSNBC, the place for politics.


TUCKER:  Bad news keeps coming for Senator John McCain of Arizona.  His campaign is burning through its war chest.  He is lagging in the polls, and now his campaign manager and his chief strategist have left.  The media, sensing blood, pounced on Senator McCain today on Capitol Hill.  But he held his ground, saying quote, “he is very happy with the campaign.” 

He denied that any shake-up is going on.  Earlier I spoke with McCain backer, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, and he had this to say. 


FRANK KEATING, FMR. OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR:  In a two-year campaign, and this is unprecedented in the history of the United States.  In a two-year campaign, you‘ll have fits and starts and stalls and stops.  In John‘s case, he has had very good fund raising quarter for the first quarter. 

Good fund raising quarter for the second quarter.  But he spent a lot of money.  He needed to consolidate, he needed to have one person placed in charge, instead of a committee of people, and I think it will make him a much stronger candidate and a much better candidate. 


TUCKER:  Do you buy it?  Is this really going to make McCain a better candidate that he has been?  Back to answer that question, we welcome A.B.  Stoddard, of the “Hill.”  And Tom Andrews, National Director of Win Without War.   Welcome back.

Do you buy that? 

STODDARD:  I think, there is a possibility that this makes him stronger in that, what I was talking about before.  He either changes a little bit on Iraq and takes the lead on that issue, now that immigration is out of the way, which was a huge problem for him.  Now that that is off the table, he either becomes a leader on the Iraq issue or that is it.  He does not need as much money as the other candidates, but I think that without changing, and the window is closing on Iraq, I don‘t think he ...

TUCKER:  But I mean, isn‘t it—look.  Part of the problem has been a structural one.  The campaign is inefficient, it was not working well.  They had this guy, John Weaver running it, who was not doing a good job,  to put it mildly. 

Alienating people and giving bad advice.  And he was also a screaming liberal, which was a little bit weird for a guy running as a conservative.  Could it be that now the splinter is out and the wound can heal? 

STODDARD:  Well, if you talk to the people who have endorsed McCain and support McCain, they—a few weeks ago, they were very upset because of immigration.  It was really a problem. 


STODDARD:  He could not go anywhere without getting beaten up over it.  And now that that is out of the picture, they are feeling a little better, but this is—the money thing is an indication of support. 

Even though he has great name ID and probably does not need the money that other people do, they are very concerned that he might have missed—that he has lost his front-runner status and it might be too late.  There is a scenario that we all talk about where John McCain is the last man standing and he becomes the nominee. 

TUCKER:  Right.  I think that‘s still ...

STODDARD:  It is just becoming harder and harder, particularly on Iraq. 

TUCKER:  It is, but don‘t you respect.  Look, I know, Tom, obviously, you are a passionate anti-war advocate, and you spend a lot of time working on that.  But as you look across the Republican field, don‘t you kind of respect McCain the most.  Because at least he is taking a principled stand in favor of the war.  He is not a worm on this subject. 

STODDARD:  They all—they have all taken the same position on the war.

ANDREWS:  I do have respect for him.  Obviously, it helps if you have the majority of the Republicans that you are running to get their support up.  If they all support the war and support George Bush. 

TUCKER:  Right.

ANDREWS:  Of course that has something to do with it.  But listen, John McCain, the last thing he needed was more blood in the water.  He has less money on hand than Congressman Ron Paul, 2.4 million versus two million.  This is a real problem for him because you have to have viability if you are going to raise money.  If you are going to continue to go out and ask for supporters to dig deep. 

TUCKER:  What‘s your pitch?  If you are McCain, what you say?  You call donors and what do you say?

ANDREWS:  Listen, we have made some significant changes, we‘ve addressed the problems that we were facing.  Remember John Kerry, way back when?  He had the same problem, he adjusted in the same way, he won the nomination.  So there is lots of spin that you could use.  I would not go as far as saying this is going to help and strengthen the campaign.  I think he is in serious trouble.  He will have a lot of explaining to do to his supporters. 

TUCKER:  I think McCain secretly, maybe I spent too much time writing about McCain, but I do think that secretly, he likes being in this position.  He likes fighting off his back.  He likes being the underdog.  He does not like being in front. 

STODDARD:  That might be true. 

ANDREWS:  But the problem is he has got Iraq on his back. 

TUCKER:  I agree.

ANDREWS:  And he has all this week and all next week, and it‘s just going to keep pounding.  He has the worst position. 

TUCKER:  And conservatives do not like him.  That is just the truth. 

I‘ve never met one who does. 

He is raising a boat load of cash of these days, but she is still on top in the polls.  Is that why Barack Obama is taking shots at Hillary Clinton?  Finally, and not a moment too soon. 

And speaking of money, Al Franken is raising eyebrows with the money he has raised over the past few months.   We‘ve got details on that next.




SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS:  I believe then and I still believe that being a leader means that you had better do what is right and leave the politics aside, because there are no do overs on an issue as important as war. 


CARLSON:  Well, that was part of Barack Obama‘s speech in Des Moines, Iowa today.  Despite his clear advantage over Hillary Clinton on the Iraq war and despite having raised a lot more money from more individual contributors than Senator Clinton has, he can‘t seem to make a dent in her hefty lead in most presidential polls, national ones anyway.  Is the nice rhetoric he puts forth in Des Moines stunting his political growth?  Should Barack Obama get tougher with Hillary Clinton about the war and everything else? 

Joining us once again, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of “The Hill,” and Tom Andrews, former Congressman from Maine, and now national director of Win Without War. 

Don‘t you think—I mean, Barack Obama is the hope of every good government liberal, right, of every Democrat under 35, people who still have high hopes and dreams for this country, Tom.  But the guy is a lousy campaigner because he is caught up in his own rhetoric, don‘t you think? 

ANDREWS:  What do you mean? 


CARLSON:  He gets up there and says we‘re waging a war against cynicism, that is too abstract.  It has nothing to do with the concerns of ordinary people, and it is also, frankly, kind of wimpy.  

ANDREWS:  Look at the crowds he is generating.  Look at the support he is building.  Of course, right now, polls, polls.  The Red Sox are up by 10 games—

CARLSON:  And they‘re going to stay there.

ANDREWS:  My god, I hope so.  But I‘m terrified of that.  Polling numbers here mean very little, except for the insiders, obviously, people giving money because they want to go with the winner.  But what matters right now is building a strong organization and taking that base and energizing it and expanding it and increasing its capacity to move. 

And Obama—that is exactly what he‘s doing what he makes these kind of statements.  He is focusing on the grass roots base that you need in a state like Iowa to bring those people to the caucus.  You don‘t need many votes in Iowa because it is so difficult to go to a caucus.  It is not like casting your vote at any time between 8:00 in the morning and 8:00 at night. 

It is a huge grassroots organization challenge, and you need a strong invigorated base, and that is exactly what Barack Obama is building. 

CARLSON:  You know what I‘m amazed by, A.B., if you look at the new “USA Today” poll on a lot of different things, the president, the different candidates, the president is just in the John.  His numbers are terrible. 

STODDARD:  What else is new?

CARLSON:  I know.  That‘s right, but they‘re worse than ever, below 30 percent.  I‘m amazed that Hillary Clinton, approval-disapproval is still 48, 48.  Her disapproval numbers very, very high.  Her approvals are not bad.  But the bottom line is she has not really been the beneficiary.  Bush‘s low popularity has not made her any more popular.  Why is that? 

STODDARD:  No, because she is the most famous woman in the world and there‘s only three percent undecided when she got in the race.  It‘s really not going to change.  The key for her is to fire up the passionate base voters who will decide the primary and overcome the Obama excitement and the machine he is trying to build. 

I still think, with the endorsements she is racking up and the strength of the Clinton machine, that I‘m going to read the polls and despite his money advantage, I believe to this day she is the front runner and there is no evidence to the contrary.  I don‘t know if Obama can build the kind of organization and overtake her in a primary. 

CARLSON:  Where does he pull ahead?  If this were a horse race, and it is kind of, where does he really start using the crop? 

ANDREWS:  We‘re not even out of the gate in this horse race.  Remember in the fall before the election year, we were trying to figure out how to say President Dean.  I mean, everyone—front of “Time Magazine.”  Everybody was saying this lead is so strong, it is insurmountable.  Listen, this is—my god, you know, it is the all-star break. 

We have a long way to go, and I think what you have to do—you agree

with Hillary and Barack, you have to focus and build your base.  And that‘s what they‘re both doing.

STODDARD:  There is a scenario where the Clintons just really, in real Clintonian fashion, mess up and she really trips over herself.  So far, she‘s pretty controlled and pretty disciplined.  She does not really trip up that much.  But if she does at the right time, there is a case for that let‘s get off the Clinton/Bush era, ding dong, it‘s over and Barack has the opening.  It would just have to be perfect timing.

CARLSON:  And we prayed that it happens.  Global warming, Tom,

everybody—Speaking of religions, I have not seen a more fervent religion

and I‘m including Scientology in this, the Harry Krishnas (ph), everybody—than the anti-global warming people.  They are really worshiping at the altar of something.  It leads them sometimes to say things like Robert F. Kennedy said this week—Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said at these global warming concerts held on the country. 

I think we have it on tape.  This is RFK Jr. explaining what it means to be against what he is for. 


ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., SON OF ROBERT KENNEDY:  Get rid of all these rotten politicians that we have in Washington, D.C.  This is treason, and we need to start treating them now as traitors. 


CARLSON:  This is treason and we need to start treating them now as traitors.  It seems to me that this is kind of what authoritarianism looks like in its early stages.  You know, if you disagree with me, that‘s not legitimate, you‘re a traitor.  You‘re sub-human.

ANDREWS:  Let‘s put this in context.  Let‘s look at what the person that the Republicans have put in control in the Senate of the environment, Jim Imhoffe of Oklahoma.  He says that global warming is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of the United States. 


ANDREWS:  That, to me, doesn‘t seem to be the kind of reasoned, lets sit down and have a rational discussion of public policy.

CARLSON:  You have to evaluate what he says on its own terms.  What RFK is doing and what so many do, including former Vice President Al Gore, is they right off anybody who disagrees with them from day one as a corporate toady, to use RFK‘s words.  They do not take seriously people who disagree with them. 

ANDREWS:  And the Republicans have never done that? 

CARLSON:  They do it, and it is wrong.  I‘m just giving you an example where the rhetoric is getting insane on global warming.  It‘s crazy.  It‘s like nothing is too much.  Nowhere is too far.  They‘re traitors.  Kill them.

STODDARD:  What he says does not make sense, so I do not think it really has to do with credibility of the people on this side or that side.  It is a little strange.  I don‘t know how many cheeseburgers he had before he said.  It sounds a little weird to me. 

CARLSON:  It does.

ANDREWS:  But the idea that politicians are selling out to special interests and it is costing the environment, that is true.  That rings true because it is true.  We are in Washington, D.C.  It happens all the time.  That is exactly why we don‘t have the energy standards we should have.  It is why we don‘t have the mileage standards that we have.  It‘s why we kowtow to the oil companies.  Money talks; everybody understands that. 

So, when someone like that says that, yes, strong language, but his point is absolutely correct. 

CARLSON:  You don‘t think it is a little more complicated than that? 

ANDREWS:  It is obviously complicated, Tucker, but the fact of the matter is these are very, very powerful interests with a lot of money at stake.  And they are using their money on Capital Hill and that‘s why we are in the trouble that we are. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I have never taken a dollar from the oil companies.  I don‘t really know anything about the oil companies.  I‘m not so interested in the oil companies.  I think there is good reason to take a deep breath and say, wait a second, before we dismantle our economy, shouldn‘t we determine—I‘m serious—whether or not this works?  Whether we can reverse global warming?

I don‘t know.  I think it is fair to take a deep breath without being denounced by some sort of lunatic zealot like this or Al Gore.  No?

STODDARD:  Well, I think Tom is right.  You look at what is even going on in the Congress right now amongst the Democrats.  You know, John Dingle is from Michigan and he represents the auto interests.  There is a stranglehold, to an extent, over the system that can‘t be broken.  And it is the way that we have structured our society.  It is the way we live.  There‘s a lot of reasons. 

There is financial stakes.  And there is a corporate lock on a lot of this stuff.  But I think that again, I‘m going to come back to Mr.  Kennedy‘s remarks.  I think they‘re not really—I just don‘t think that he is a credible—

ANDREWS:  You don‘t go to a rock concert to have a debate on environmental political --  

CARLSON:  His words are consistent in their essence with a lot of things I hear from Al Gore.  I watched Al Gore on TV the other night.  He dismissed anyone who disagreed with him as a corporate toady.  That is just so unfair and stupid. 

ANDREWS:  Really? 

CARLSON:  Let me just ask you really quickly, let‘s say Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee of the Democratic party.  OK, cross myself here. 


CARLSON:  Roger Simon of the Politico has a really interesting piece today in which he says she will never pick Barack Obama because he would overshadow her, and she cannot pick Governor Richardson, because he is too close to Bill Clinton.  He was the one Bill Clinton went to to get Monica Lewinsky a job.  Who should she pick if she becomes the nominee?

ANDREWS:  I‘m saying it right now, I‘m taking myself out of consideration.  Who are the Red Sox going to play in the World Series? My God, it‘s early, Tucker, for crying out loud. 

STODDARD:  She‘s going to pick Vilsak or Dodd. 

CARLSON:  Really? 

STODDARD:  Yes, because it‘s just like Roger Simon lays out.  It can‘t be Barack Obama.  It can‘t be John Edwards.  This Bill Richardson thing is a little bit strange.  He is a very appealing vice presidential candidate.  It would be hard—

CARLSON:  Why didn‘t Kerry pick him last time? 

STODDARD:  I do not know. 

CARLSON:  It might be worth looking into, just suggesting.  I don‘t know.  I‘m just saying, it is kind of interesting Kerry did not pick him. 

The Democrats running for president all agree on one thing; it is time to bring most of the troops home.  But anti-war hero George McGovern has an interesting warning for them. 

And, as we told you, Senator David Vitter‘s name popped up in the D.C.  Madame‘s little black book.  Will he now have to dodge a knife wielding Mrs. Vitter?  Echoes of Lorena Bobbitt when we come back. 



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The situation isn‘t improving.  But instead of doing the right thing, Senator McConnell just gives us more of the same.  Four times this year McConnell voted to continue George Bush‘s open ended commitment in Iraq and against bringing our troops home.  Now he has another chance.  Call McConnell.  Tell him it‘s time to do the right thing.  It‘s time to start bringing our troops home.  

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this ad.


CARLSON:  That new spot is part of the Democrats push to defeat vulnerable Republican senators in 2008.  But as the Democratic party looks ahead and tries to energize its anti-war base, could that strategy backfire?  Could the Democrats run as both hawks and doves at the same time.  Will Republicans hold on to the White House once again because of their long time perceived strength of national defense? 

Back to tell us the real answer, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of “The Hill,” and Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War.  You know, George McGovern was interviewed in “The Politico.”  Of course, he ran famously in 1972.  I think he won the District of Columbia that year.

ANDREWS:  I think that is right.

CARLSON:  And maybe his home state.  Exactly.  He said this—he said, I‘m not sure an anti-war Democrat can win.  Some people point to the fact that the war in Vietnam was dreadfully unpopular, but when I came out for immediately withdrawal, it helped me win the nomination, but not the general election.  That is a pretty good point.  Is the party even worried about this? 

ANDREWS:  First of all, he is wrong.  Who is the strongest pro-Iraq war candidate in this field?  It‘s John McCain, right.  How is he doing?  The fact is that 66 percent of the American people know this is a disaster, want the president to start pulling out troops out, want them out a year from now.  Everybody know that. 

The candidate who stands up and says that clearly and resolutely and pushes for that to happen I think is going to be respected by the American people, and they will support him. 

CARLSON:  There is a difference between wanting something and getting what you want.  Once the ink is dry on the legislation that says we are withdrawing the troops ASAP, people are going to say maybe I was for that then, but this is kind of terrifying.  And maybe I‘m sort of mad at the people who are pushing that idea. 

STODDARD:  And maybe we are going to have a terrorist incident and it is going to be a bigger mess in the Middle East than it is today.  I cannot imagine—Hillary Clinton has already said that she is going to have troops in Iraq for 10 years if she‘s president.  She doesn‘t say it a lot.  She doesn‘t say it at debates, but she has said it.  I cannot imagine that she is not going to come out, after winning that nomination as the biggest hawk. 

She is going to be tough and she is going to be macho.  I really cannot imagine a scenario—seriously, the Republicans are going to—they have a traditional strength of national defense—I mean, security, national security and defense issues.  They retain that strength to this day, despite the fact that the Democratic party is popular on every other issue.  I can‘t imagine as we go, whether there is a terrorist incident or not, into the next election, and the Republicans paint the Democrats as the party of retreat and withdrawal, I can not imagine that she won‘t be running to the right. 

ANDREWS:  We have retreated and we have withdrawn from the fight against terrorism.  The fact that we have diverted our attention away from that fight, the fact that we have squandered our resources, the fact that al Qaeda has never been stronger as a result of what we‘re doing is exactly the kind of platform that a Democrat could use in the race. 

CARLSON:  I agree.  And yet, the Republicans says, look, of course it is all Bush‘s fault.  Of course he screwed up.  Of course he‘s an idiot.  But he is gone.  The fact now is we have al Qaeda in Iraq in numbers we have never seen anywhere in the world.  Are you really going to withdraw from that?  What is the response.  I do not know what the response could be to that point. 

ANDREWS:  First of all, you are going to take what every sober person that‘s been looking at this—perhaps only Dick Cheney and George Bush think that we can win militarily in Iraq.  So if you are able to actually take and put the pieces together that are going to allow some kind of semblance of sanity to approach our policy with respect to Iraq, things are going to have to start moving in a different direction from what they‘re doing right now.  And things could not possibly be worse than that are right now.  The fact is—

CARLSON:  They could be worse.  We could get attacked here.  That is worse. 

ANDREWS:  The worse thing is—you‘re exactly right.  What is the role of Iraq with respect to terrorism?  It is actually making things worse.  As you listen to some of the generals and you listen to some of the CIA officials, even the Iraq Study Group, and they start to tell you that precisely because—Porter Goss, when he was CIA director, testifying before Congress—it is precisely because of this policy that we are losing the battle against terrorism.

CARLSON:  But for the average person, things are pretty good.  The economy, I don‘t care what the rhetoric is.  It‘s a crock.  It‘s actually pretty good.  We have not been attacked again since 9/11.  One of the reasons that people are not engaged in what is going on in Iraq is because they do not need to be.  Things are going well.  If there is a terror attack here, and there may be, boy that changes everything. 

ANDREWS:  Obviously it change everything.  People listen, Iraq is on everyone‘s mind.  It is driving people. 

CARLSON:  All right, thank you both very much.  I think we solved that or came really close.  Rudy Giuliani may be leading in most of the polls, but can he really afford to alienate an entire voting bloc?  He did today.  Willie Geist tells us who won‘t be taking a break from their bong hits to vote for Rudy.  You‘re watching Super Tuesday on MSNBC.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Joining us now, MSNBC‘s celebrity, political, horticultural analyst, all wrapped in one, Willie Geist.  

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘ve got it all Tucker.  Before I get started, I‘ve got a news bulletin across my desk here.  I try not to pick on the state of Florida, but I don‘t make these things up.  Fort Myers, Florida; a woman was arrested for criminal negligence because she left her 11 month old baby in a hot car while she was in the grocery store for an hour.  She told the police she only intended to go into the grocery store for a few minutes but there were too many good sales to pass up.  True story.

So, human civilization is declining quicker than we even know. 

Well, Tucker, it‘s the celebrity wedding event of the year.  Yes, the paparazzi has swarmed to Mongolia, where the world‘s tallest man, 7‘9 herdsman Bau Zi Shun (ph), will tie the knot on Thursday.  He and his bride to be went through a full rehearsal today.  56-year old Bau is twice the age of his fiancee and more than two feet taller than she is. 

He says, quote, everything is ready for my wedding except for a bed capable of fitting me at our new home, end quote.  Put it on your registry, big fella.  Pottery Barn is doing some nice things with slay beds.  There‘s all kinds of opportunities.  Crate and Barrel I am sure has something you could find.  

CARLSON:  As soon as you brought the bed part, it makes you confront the lingering question. 

GEIST:  And they‘re going to have to confront that themselves on that fateful evening, Thursday night.  You know, I actually read the story, as much as we nice to laugh.  It‘s a nice story.  He‘s 56.  He found a woman who loves him. 

CARLSON:  Good for him.  I just feel a sorry for her a little bit. 

GEIST:  I do too.  Well, Tucker, if you find Shakespeare in the park a little too pretentious for your taste, perhaps Shakespeare in the prison yard would be more your speed.  No, this is not a riot that you are about to see.  It is, in fact, art. 

There it is; a theatrical troupe made up of convicted murderers and thieves puts on shows all summer long inside the walls of Europe‘s biggest prison in Berlin.  Sold out audiences of outsiders come to the jail to see the plays.  One inmate says performing makes him feel more like an actor than a prisoner, until, of course, he‘s led by guards in riot gear back to his 11 by eight foot cell. 

Now, I am glad they have an outlet here, Tucker, but are simulated riots really the best idea for the prison troupe there?  Maybe something a little more introspective.  I don‘t know.

CARLSON:  I have the feeling that going to a European prison is like being in a spa.  I don‘t think it‘s so tough to be in a European prison at all. 

GEIST:  I know.  That didn‘t look so bad, the people just parading through, wanting to visit prison.  Good for them.  Well, Tucker, that “USA Today” poll you talked about earlier appears to be going straight to Rudy Giuliani‘s head.  His growing lead on the rest of the Republican field apparently gave him the confidence today to completely write off the stoner vote. 

As you know, Tucker, when weed smokers dig deep and find the motivation to get off the couch on election day, they form a very powerful voting bloc.  Here‘s how Giuliani ran them off while speaking in New Hampshire.  


RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I am very opposed to any form of legalizing marijuana.  I think it is a mistake.  I know a lot about this particular area for a lot of reasons. 


GEIST:  What?  What did he just say?  I know a lot about this particular area for many reasons, wink wink.  What does that mean exactly? 

CARLSON:  I think you know what it means. 

GEIST:  Yes, Rudy Giuliani‘s a—no, he went on to explain—fairness, before we creatively cut him out of the sound byte—that because he was a prosecutor, he confronted these terrible pot smoking criminals day in day out in the burrough of Manhatten. 

CARLSON:  The marijuana users.

GEIST:  Yes, the gateway group.  You know, it‘s so funny too; you have

in this—you have this forum to talk to Rudy Giuliani, and the question this guys stands up and asks is, dude, can we legalize weed or what?  What‘s going on?   

CARLSON:  You know what, I have been to more candidate forums—I mean, more than I—hundreds.  And at every single one there‘s a guy from Normal saying, yes, but can we—I love those guys.  They are nice people.  They are very sweet. 

GEIST:  It is important for making rope. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not coming out for marijuana, but I will say that the one thing that actually is true, a stoner never hurt anyone.  I mean, they really are kind of—They‘re not like your average drunk.  It‘s true.

GEIST:  Very harmless group and Rudy Giuliani should go easy on them.  Don‘t forget them.  Finally, Tucker, in your outrage over the sanctimony and hypocrisy surrounding the admission by Senator David Vitter that he was, in fact, involved in the D.C. Madam scandal, you kind of glossed over the headline.  It is worth repeating that the D.C. Madam and Larry Flint should be the least of Senator Vitter‘s concerns tonight. 

In an interview with the “New Orleans Times Picayune” in 2000, Vitter‘s wife said, quote, “I‘m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary.  If my husband does something like that, I‘m waling away with one thing, and it‘s not alimony, trust me.”   

I need not remind you, Tucker, of what Lorena Bobbitt did to her husband John Wayne?  How concerned should the senator from Louisiana be? 

CARLSON:  I think his wife sounds cool.  And it‘s not alimony, trust me.  I mean, that‘s a great line.  You know with that line, that was not written by some Congressional staffer.  She came up with that on her own. 

GEIST:  Did you notice how quickly he jumped out to get ahead of the story?  The only guy mentioning it.  I apologize to my wife, and god too, I think.  Just please go easy on her, Mrs. Vitter.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist at headquarters.  Thanks Willie.  For more on Willie, check out Zeit Geist at Tucker.MSNBC.com.  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  We‘ll see you tomorrow at 6:00 Eastern with presidential hopeful Ron Paul.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris.



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