Guests: Neil Giuliano, Linda Douglas, Joshua Green, Darlene Mealy
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to the show. Hillary Clinton and her rivals for the Democratic nomination make a pitch to a traditional pillar of their party‘s voters—gay voters. Democrats addressed the human rights campaign in Los Angeles tonight for a discussion of gay America‘s political concerns. It takes a day after Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani said the Democrats moved significantly to the left this season. That‘s a move Giuliani implied would help the Republican nominee, whoever he is.
The Democrat‘s discussion of gay issues coincides with a new politico.com report that indicates the endorsement of a major gay organization might work against a candidate. A poll with voters in the key states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania showing that most voters don‘t care one way or another whether a candidate has been endorsed by a gay group. But of those who do care, a strong majority says they would be more likely to vote against an endorsed candidate.
Will the Democrats be hurting themselves as they go before the human rights campaign tonight in L.A.? And what exactly are gay Americans‘ key political issues?
Joining us now is Neil Giuliano, he‘s the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLAAD.
Neil, thanks for coming up.
NEIL GIULIANO, PRESIDENT, GLAAD: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Only two candidates coming before you—Democrats running for president, both not likely to win—Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel have said they are for gay marriage. How can they get away with it, the other candidates, being against gay marriage?
GIULIANO: What‘s happening is a national conversation. And the conversation that is going to take place tonight is not unlike the conversation taking place across the country in living rooms and board rooms and across the kitchen table. What more and more polls are showing that the majority of Americans are more and more comfortable with gay and lesbian Americans being afforded equal rights and equality?
There is a disconnect there, but the good news is the former mayor of New York is wrong because the parties are not necessarily moving to be more...
CARLSON: Hold on. Before we get into where the party is going, I‘m not sure what polls have to do with it. Gay rights organizations have presented gay marriage not as something the public needs to approve of, but a fundamental right. I don‘t know why you are referring to the public‘s view.
GIULIANO: Correct. Because we know that our elected leaders follow the public. It‘s not often that our elected leaders are setting policy ahead of the American people. That‘s just the way it is.
CARLSON: It seems to me that you all are doing a lousy job of explaining why gay marriage is a good idea. Your arguments are all revolving around the question of rights. It‘s a right. Most people hear the word rights and they turn off. That‘s a 1960s argument and they are sick of it. How about saying if you are in favor of the family and in favor of lifelong commitments, most conservatives are, you will support gay marriage. Maybe the problem with gay America is there isn‘t marriage and people are unhappy because they don‘t have lifelong commitments approved of by society at large. Why don‘t you try that argument out? That might work.
GIULIANO: That‘s an argument that works with some and perhaps works with you, which would be terrific.
CARLSON: It does work with me. I think it‘s weird that I‘m more for gay marriage than Hillary Clinton. I would think you‘d be mad about that. But you don‘t seem to be.
CARLSON: There fundamental federal rights that come with being able to be married. Marriage equality is something that has to be talked about in the framework of what comes with that. That‘s a lot of rights that other Americans have that people who are gay and lesbian don‘t have today.
CARLSON: Here‘s the point. They are selling you out, the Democratic candidates. Only Gravel and Kucinich, who have got no change, they are true believers out to make a point, are brave enough to support what‘s got to be the most important issue for you. I would imagine gay marriage. You‘re giving them a pass because they‘re Democrats and you agree with them on other issues. And that seems, to me, wrong.
GIULIANO: I think all the issues are important. I would not say that the entire gay and bisexual transgender community has focused entirely on marriage. What you will hear tonight at the forum taking place in Los Angeles is a broad range of issues that gay and lesbian Americans care about.
CARLSON: One is hate crimes and the idea that someone who is gay is somehow worth more as a citizen than someone who is not. You‘re gay and I‘m not. Under this bill, if you are attacked for being gay, the person who attacks you is punished more severely than the person who attacks me. May I‘m attacked by someone for being straight. Why are you worth more as a citizen than I am?
GIULINAO: It‘s not who is worth more.
CARLSON: Of course it is.
GIULIANO: What is it with regard to a value with a crime based on hate? Now we know it‘s 68 percent of the American population believes that sexual orientation should be included in hate crimes list.
CARLSON: Hold on. Again, we are not making reference to the polls.
GIULIANO: But it is important in principle...
CARLSON: No, no. Hold on.
GIULIANO: Because our politicians tend to follow the electorate.
CARLSON: But we‘re are not politicians, and I‘m talking about principal here and these laws, whether they give special rights to gays of any other groups, suggests that certain groups are more important, are more valued than other groups and I would suggest that‘s offensive.
GIULIANO: I would suggest they are not special rights at all. It‘s a matter of equality.
CARLSON: Of course they are. What do you mean equality? If this law passes and I‘m attacked for being straight and you are attacked for being gay, the person who attacks you will be more harshly punished than the person who attacked me. You‘ve got a special right. Why don‘t I deserve that and why don‘t I?
GIULIANO: If it‘s based upon hate, people of a different sexual orientation who are singled out for that crime because of their sexual orientation that‘s when that law would come into play.
CARLSON: Wait a second. People are singled out all the time for categories that aren‘t covered by the law, but they don‘t have effective lobby groups like you do, so they are not considered as valuable under the eyes of the law. Do you see there is a value judgment attached here and that some people are getting it and others aren‘t, and that‘s wrong?
GIULIANO: I don‘t think the value judgment is wrong. I think the value judgment is important that when a group of people or an individual are singled out because of a character with regard to their sexual orientation, then that is wrong. It‘s not improper to say we want an attachment or a special crime or special penalty with regard to those crimes.
CARLSON: The bottom line is—no offense—you are not more important nor I more important than you am. We‘re both Americans.
GIULIANO: It‘s not about you or I. It‘s about...
CARLSON: Of course it is.
GIULIANO: It‘s about the intent of the crime.
CARLSON: It‘s about protecting some people more than others.
GIULIANO: If the intent of the crimes is rooted in hate because of sexual orientation then there is a defense.
CARLSON: All crimes are rooted in hate. So this is why you lose people when you get off to ludicrous stuff like this. If you‘d come out and make reasonable pro-family arguments in favor of gay marriage, people would be for you. I would be for you. But you get into this special rights business and people don‘t like it.
GIULIANO: I don‘t think they are special rights. And I think there is a broad array of people who out there that have to be communicated with. The way an argument may have to be made you to win you over for marriage equality is going to be different than an argument that may have to be communicated to other people in the country.
What we‘re simply saying is the conversations that are taking place around the country with our issues, our community has never has been more visible. You can‘t open a newspaper or go on the news, even your show, where issues affecting gay, lesbian and bisexual and transgender Americans are not being talked about. It‘s great to have the opportunity for people who want to be president of the United States and lead all of Americans to sit down and talk about the issues.
CARLSON: I hope you demand more from them than you have. Well, I appreciate it.
GIULIANO: I think that time is going to come. But it‘s important to have the conversation.
CARLSON: Well, stand on principal, Neil. That‘s all I‘m asking.
Thanks a lot. I appreciate your coming on.
GIULIANO: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: A few hours from now, the Democratic candidates will explain how fervently they support gay rights. So how come almost none of them support gay marriage? We‘ll ask that question again, hoping for an answer.
Plus, Mitt Romney redefines patriotism and public service. You may be surprised what serving your country in 2007 means to Mitt Romney. That‘s coming up.
CARLSON: Democratic front-runners are out in full force courting the gay vote today. They are appearing in Los Angels at a forum sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. Democrats can bank on support from the voting block 2008. Only two of them—long shots Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel -- actually support the central issue in that debate, gay marriage. Why is that? And why isn‘t someone called out on it.
Joining us now, contributing editor at the National Journal, Linda Douglas, and senior editor of the Atlantic magazine, Joshua Green. Welcome to you both.
Linda, you have a piece on this question out today. Why doesn‘t someone call out on this? Do you find it odd that people who are committed to gay rights, like these candidates, aren‘t for gay marriage?
LINDA DOUGLAS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NATIONAL JOURNAL: They have embraced a number of issues important to the gay and lesbian community, such as saying that don‘t ask, don‘t tell that prohibits an openly gay person from serving in the military, should be repealed. They embraced a lot of positions. But this seems to be, the public perception and it is, it‘s the heart and soul of the gay rights movement. I think these candidates have seen, number one, what happened to any candidate who said they were for gay and same-sex marriage before.
Number two, the Democrats are running this time as religiously faithful candidates. The Democrats are talking more about religion this time than the Republicans are. This is, in the view of those candidates, inconsistent with a lot of things they have been taught to believe in their religion. Not that it‘s a sin, but that marriage is a church-sanctioned—marriage between a man and a woman is a church-sanctioned event.
CARLSON: I think this is the center of what the agenda should be. I think the rest of the agenda points of the gay movement are ridiculous and crap. Gay marriage matters. I think there should be gay marriage.
Here‘s what Barack Obama said. “I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations. And I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman. If I was president, however, I would oppose any effort to stifle the state‘s ability to decide this question on its own.”
For one thing, he never explains why he is against gay marriage. Because I said so? What is the argument against gay marriage if you‘re Barack Obama?
JOSHUA GREEN, SENIOR EDITOR, ATLANTIC MAGAZINE: I don‘t think there is one. I think there is a political argument for all the candidates except for the two for it, that say this is the line in the sane, we are willing to go this far. I think it‘s notable how far that line has moved since 2004. Remember, Democrats wouldn‘t go anywhere near the issue of gay rights, most of them. So I think there has been a detent between the gay community and Democratic presidential candidates.
Democrats, all of them, much more willing to talk about the gay issues, to support some of the things Linda talk about in her piece. And in response, I think the gay community, which was very emphatic on fighting for the right to gay marriage in 2004 and saw where that got them, realized we have to be more pragmatic and we can‘t blow it this time around, and aren‘t holding Democratic candidates to the same standard they did even three years ago.
DOUGLAS: What they are saying is, they are all saying, there are for civil unions and for giving same-sex couples the same rights—health benefits, survivor benefits, insurance benefits, social security benefits, family entitlement of family leave under the federal law—all the benefits of male and female couples, except the religious right of marriage. That‘s where they are saying they draw the line.
CARLSON: But it‘s a distinction without a difference.
DOUGLAS: One could certainly say that.
CARLSON: It seems to me the whole point of marriage is not the benefits. People don‘t get married for the benefits. They get marriage because the community sanctions their union. The whole point is to have the community say, yes, we recognize you are together forever. That‘s the value of marriage. This economic stuff is secondary.
DOUGLAS: Certainly, the gay and lesbian community makes the argument that if you are married at least in your own eyes, whether the state recognizes it or not, you can‘t get health insurance and survivor benefits. There is a story about a couple where the one was dying in the hospital. The other was not allowed to come into the room because they only allowed members of the family. This wasn‘t considered your family. Those are the kinds of arguments they are making that these candidates say domestic unions would solve.
CARLSON: Conservatives are uncomfortable with gay people sometimes because they object to gay male promiscuity. Let‘s be totally blunt about it. That‘s what they don‘t like about it, is the sense that gay men are very promiscuous.
It seems to me, if you are conservative, you would be—gay people are not going to go away, so it seems like you would encourage life-long monogamy. You see what I‘m saying?
GREEN: Yes. Nobody in the presidential field feels the same way because they won‘t go near the issue with a 10-foot pole.
DOUGLAS: Except for Rudy Giuliani, who, as mayor of New York, was there with the Domestic Partnership Law in the city of New York.
GREEN: But he‘s scrambling to get away from that now that he is trying to win over socially conservative Republican primary voters.
DOUGLAS: Now, he certainly says he‘s not for, again, what they call same-sex marriage. But the domestic partnership position is the same position that the Democrats are holding.
CARLSON: It seems to me, for instance, NDA, the nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, would require, by my reading, employees to provide specific bathrooms for transgendered people. You don‘t have to be Karl Rove or Lee Atwater to make that into a campaign ad. I don‘t think that‘s going to matter.
DOUGLAS: That‘s a very interesting question. Most of the job discrimination laws have to do with whether you can‘t get a job or can‘t get a promotion because you are black or brown or handicapped or whatever...
CARLSON: This says, as least as I read this, and I could be wrong. But my understanding is it requires employers to make accommodations, including men‘s restrooms and locker rooms—reasonable accommodations for people who have gender identity questions. They used to be called transvestites.
DOUGLAS: That‘s an interesting interpretation. The interpretation, again, these Democrat, who support this law, say it would prohibit the employer for firing or not promoting you if it was discovered you were gay or openly gay or if you were a transgender person as you were saying.
CARLSON: Geez. I don‘t know. I think the Democrats are approaching gay rights from completely the wrong end.
DOUGLAS: But they are approaching it in an open way and that is what is so interesting about this campaign year.
CARLSON: But shouldn‘t they have to explain? Tonight, I hope someone
I hope its Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg, who is one of the questioners, pins Hillary Clinton down and says I will give you 30 seconds, explain why you are against gay marriage if you‘re for civil unions. And I bet you she can‘t explain it. There is no sensible answer. It makes me made.
Here‘s an idea. Let‘s let a small intense audiological inflexible totally unrepresentative group of activists in a small Midwestern state choose our next president. Sound deranged? Yes, it is. But thanks to the changing primary schedule, that may be what happens this year in the state of Iowa. We have details in a minute.
And imagine you are lying on your back in a hospital bed, unable to move, when who should walk in the door with a needle or a catheter in her hand, but—drum roll please—Nurse Hillary Clinton. If you are sick in Vegas, it could happen to you. Be warned. We‘ll explain.
CARLSON: Do we really want a small group of Iowa caucus goers deciding who will be our next president? That is a real question as states jostle over when to hold their presidential nominating contests.
South Carolina Republicans today official moved their primary to January 19. That sparked rumors that New Hampshire might its primary even earlier, maybe on January 12. That chain reaction could move the Iowa caucuses to December of this year, 2007.
These are bigger developments than you might think. Here to discuss why, we welcome contributing editor of the National Journal, Linda Douglas, and senior editor of the Atlantic, Joshua Green.
Joshua, this is one of those process stories that actually seems boring, but it strikes me that the net effect of it will be to increase even more the importance of the early states, particularly Iowa. Is that how you read it?
GREEN: You make a case either way. You can increase the importance of Iowa or if they leap-frog backwards too soon, you have Iowa right before Christmas, everybody forgets over the holidays who won, and you wind up almost invalidating your own caucus. The other way to look at it is if you have all the states happening early, you stretch out the nomination process. And if you stumble in Iowa, if you don‘t do that well, you have to recover and catch up.
CARLSON: Well, that would be a welcome development it seems to me what you don‘t want is contests that are so close that the person that wins the first or the second is swept along by momentum into the nomination without giving voters is a time to ruminate on this and think, do we want Mike Gravel as the next president.
DOUGLAS: I‘m thinking that‘s not going to happen. Having them too close would have that effect. I think the voters of Iowa and the voters of New Hampshire do an amazing job. Somehow these two little states, they are not like the rest of America in so many ways. They don‘t have big cities and a lot of diversity. Their economic base is different, Iowa is a farm community. But they spend a lot of time that the rest of us don‘t spend listening to these people. It has been interesting it see how well they have done, especially New Hampshire, in figuring out who is going to be liked by the rest of us.
CARLSON: Iowa makes me more nervous than New Hampshire simply because of the effort it requires to caucus. It‘s not going into a booth and punching a ticket. It‘s getting together in the basement of a church or community center or somebody‘s house and sitting and debating with all your neighbors. It seems to me the effort required filters out anybody who is not a wild-eyed ideologue and kind of rabid. I‘m wondering if that‘s the group, prairie extremists, you want choosing your next president.
I know it‘s illegal to attack the voters of Iowa.
GREEN: I don‘t think—well I‘m not running for anything. I don‘t think that‘s right. If you look at Howard Dean in 2004, there‘s a candidate that should have appealed to the prairie extremists and fell flat on his face and the campaign was over.
CARLSON: That‘s a good point.
GREEN: Well, thank you. I think Iowa voters are smart and discerning. They take the job seriously and do a thorough job vetting candidates. What‘s more, if you look right now on the Democratic side, all three of the top-tier Democratic candidates are basically tied in Iowa. Iowa is sticking around as the state that may or may not choose a nominee.
I don‘t think it‘s such a bad thing.
DOUGLAS: It‘s different with the Democrats and the Republicans in Iowa. The Republicans do tend to tilt towards the religious conservatism, the social conservatives. Iowa didn‘t—Pat Robertson won the caucus in Iowa, did he not?
GREEN: Yes, he did in ‘88.
DOUGLAS: I thought that was right. That becomes a disproportionately important set of issues for the Republican candidates going through the rest of the primary. It‘s not clear that those issues this election around are going to be the main issues. Yet, all of the candidates get pushed to take a religiously conservative position in order to win the caucus in Iowa.
CARLSON: They certainly have been emphasized on the Republican side.
We will see how that plays out.
This weekend is the Iowa straw poll. You‘re going to be there. Mitt Romney, is he going to win? And what happens if he doesn‘t?
GREEN: If he doesn‘t win, he has a real problem on his hands. Expectations have been built to the extent that some people say not only does Romney need to win, but he needs to win by a decent margin. Giuliani is not participating, McCain isn‘t. Romney is expected, by the Press Corps, to win one-handedly. And if he doesn‘t—if you take a look at what he has done, there have been a couple of stumbles. The comment about his sons today. All of that would play into a bad period for Romney.
That said, all the indications are that he is probably going to win.
CARLSON: We will explain the son‘s comment in a minute. That was interesting. Stay tuned for that.
Meanwhile, critics accused Barack Obama of sucking up to the very special interest he claims to be running against. And worse, doing it secretly. Are they right to be outrage or is business as usual not so bad, at least in this case?
And Mitt Romney goes after Rudy Giuliani for caudling illegal aliens in New York City like they were his own children. Details in a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: I do not have federal registered lobbyists bundling for me, just like I don‘t take PAC money. The reason that‘s important is because the people in this stadium need to know who we are going to fight for. I want to be absolutely clear that the reason I‘m in public life, the reason I came to Chicago, the reason I started working with unions. the reason I march on picket lines, the reason that I am running for president is because of you. Not because of folks who are writing big checks. That‘s a clear message that has to be sent by every candidate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Part of Barack Obama‘s appeal is his image as a breath of fresh political air. He is different. He doesn‘t take the big money donations that might corrupt his approach to governing. It‘s a compelling profile. However, the “San Francisco Chronicle” reports that Obama supporters have formed a so-called 527 group. That is an unregulated—or not very much regulated money raising organization called Vote Hope 2008.
Free from most restrictions, the group has already accepted checks of 90,000 and 50,000. The group is independent of the Obama campaign, at least technically. Its stated goal is to raise three million dollars to mobilize absentee voters to mail in for Obama. Is Barack Obama having it both ways with fund raisers? Is there anything wrong with any of this?
Here to tell us, contributing editor at the “National Journal”, Linda Douglas, and senior editor of “The Atlantic,” Joshua Green. Linda, obviously this is—by the way, I should also point out that Obama—when he was in the Illinois State Senate—accepted a lot of money from PACs. So it‘s not like he has been free from the scourge of PACs for his political life.
I find myself not caring at all. I think people have a right to express their political views and pay money to disseminate their views. Should he just get off this phony, I‘m not in the pocket of big business stuff, and just say, you know, if you support me, give me money.
DOUGLASS: He clearly has a record at least in the state Senate and the U.S. Senate of pushing through laws that actually do change the political contribution process, the one he was just talking about. You now have to, if you are a lobbyist, disclose that you have rounded up contributions for the candidate. The candidate has got to disclose that this lobbyist rounded up contributions. And flying on airplanes is going to be—flying on private planes; you have to pay for that. And you won‘t be able to take big lunches.
He has pushed a lot of these kinds of laws through. But he also is living in something of a glass house, because, in order to say that he is the purist, he is expected to have something of a pure record or he is going to be accused of hypocrisy. Certainly this story that you have raised brings that up.
His campaign will say that Obama is willing to admit he engaged in original sin, that all politicians have the original sin of taking the money from the lobbyists in the first place, and now he has moved on to a different level.
CARLSON: See, I know that the graduate students and the rights and the good government dorks love this stuff, because they are convinced the government is totally corrupt because of lobbying. But the truth is it‘s not. Most people kind of vote the way they think is right. People aren‘t bought and paid for. Can‘t you just knock it off and just say, again, if you support me, send me money. What‘s wrong with that?
GREEN: It‘s political short hand for I‘m not part of this corrupt culture that we have seen in Congress. We have seen it take down basically a Republican Congress. He may have taken the money earlier in his career. I think his campaign would hope that it makes a statement that he has decided he is not going to take it anymore. He has recognized it as a problem. He is doing something about it and in so doing is trying to differentiate himself from candidates like Hillary Clinton, who take money from lobbyists and have a little trouble talking about that.
It may set up a situation where it distinguishes him from the Bill Clinton presidency. We had sleep overs in the White House and that sort of thing. He is trying to create a divide between himself and Hillary Clinton. Whether or not you can pull it off with stories like this one is a lot tougher.
CARLSON: Bill Bradley tried this and Paul Tsongas and Adelai Stevenson, all these process candidates, good government candidates, and none of them got elected. Meanwhile, people like Hillary Clinton do get elected.
She has attacked Obama on a number of fronts, including on the idea that he is weak because he has taken nuclear weapons off the table in dealing with al Qaeda. Beth Fooey (ph) of the Associated Press helpfully has a story out a couple of hours ago that said wait a second, in 2006 -- which I believe was last year --
DOUGLASS: I think it was.
CARLSON: I think it was. Hillary Clinton is quoted on television as saying, quote, I would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table. She is talking about using them in the war on terror.
DOUGLASS: She was talking about—she was criticizing the administration in its muscular approach to Iran at the time. She is vulnerable to that kind of criticism because she did say that. I guess the question is, she is saying that Obama shouldn‘t be telegraphing to other countries what he would do as president. The real question is whether—it‘s one thing to telegraph another country if you are president. It‘s another to say what you might do when you are running as a presidential candidate.
Does that really destabilize the United States in any way? Does that really tip the United States‘ hand if you are one of the many people who is running for president and you are simply saying this is my view of this at the moment. So she made the same argument back then, that she was not a presidential candidate. She was not a president. But she was saying what she thought. What‘s the difference?
CARLSON: First of all, it has a demonstrable, measurable effect on world affairs if you are somebody who could be president. Your views matter. Ronald Reagan in 1979 and 1980 said if I am elected, I am not going to put up with this hostage nonsense. The second he was elected and inaugurated, the hostages were set free because Iran was scared of him. It does matter.
GREEN: It does. I think, also, if you look at the political context this is happening in, this is self serving for Hillary Clinton in two ways. One, it fits into her campaign‘s attack on Obama as someone who is inexperienced, over his head.
Number two, think about the precedent she is trying to set. I‘m not going to tell you anything about my plan, because presidential candidates aren‘t supposed to do that. How convenient is that? It‘s almost a Nixon in 1968 strategy. I will get us out of Iraq. I‘m not going to tell you how to do it, but trust me. I will.
CARLSON: It‘s a secret. Hillary Clinton is going to take a break from lecturing the rest of us and Barack Obama on the way things ought to be to become a nurse for a day. She signed up for one of these programs. I think we have a picture, actually, of Hillary Clinton in a nursing outfit we‘re going to put up on the screen in a second.
There she is right there.
GREEN: Nurse Ratchett?
CARLSON: I‘m sorry. That‘s Nurse Ratchet from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest.” I‘m sorry. It must have gotten confused in the files. How would you feel, Linda, if you are lying in a hospital room in Vegas and Hillary Clinton walks in with a foot long horse syringe. What would you do?
DOUGLASS: That sounds like a really frightening prospect. I‘m imagining that she probably won‘t doing a number of medical procedures on people, putting in IVs and catheters and so forth. But all the candidates in the Democratic party are doing this. They‘re all—Barack Obama was working as a home health care worker, and John Edwards did the same thing.
They are trying to get every single labor union vote, every single working profession vote that they can possibly get. And let‘s hope that she doesn‘t try to do anything too complicated.
CARLSON: Boy, there is something scary about this. Mitt Romney was asked a question that I actually think is an unfair question, which is often asked to people who support the war. Why aren‘t your sons fighting the war, as if you can force your kids to go to war. I think the question is out of bounds. But Romney‘s response, I thought, was bizarre. Here‘s his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My sons are all adults and they made their decisions about their careers. And they have chosen not to serve in the military in active duty. I respect their decision in that regard.
It‘s remarkable how we can show support for our nation. One of the ways my sons are showing support for the nation is helping to get me elected, because they think I would be a great president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So you can fight al-Qaeda in al Anbar Province or you can support Mitt Romney for president. They are kind of co-equal expressions of patriotism. Do you think?
GREEN: No and I think if Romney could take that back, he would do so. I have to disagree with the idea that that‘s an unfair question. If you are a hawk on the war, if you support the surge, you ought to have to answer questions like that. To his credit, one of Romney‘s sons came out after this quote and said, you know, there no unfair questions in politics. That was a fair question.
CARLSON: For implies that A, you are responsible for your kids‘s behavior when they are adults. And, B, you can do anything about it. It‘s not medieval England. You can‘t sign other people up for the military. You can‘t force your children to join. You know what I mean? Are you saying—if a candidate, let‘s say, had drunk brothers, you don‘t hold that candidate responsible for them.
GREEN: -- ask them and have a lot of fun with it.
DOUGLASS: John McCain‘s son is going off to Iraq and you know very well that John McCain would have expected his son to go for military service. That would have been something that went on in that household.
CARLSON: That‘s true.
GREEN: James Webb.
DOUGLASS: Exactly, James Webb, and Duncan Hunter, the presidential candidate who is the chairman of the Armed Forces Committee and his son is going for a second tour of duty. That would be something that would be discussed in the household. I was actually wondering, because Romney struggled with this answer. He said more than we saw on the screen. He tried to praise the troops and then he went on to embrace this issue about whether his sons were doing their duty trying to help him get elected.
But I was wondering if he was thinking in his own mind, look, my sons did their Mormon missionary work, where they did go out and serve, at least in a certain way. He is thinking that in his own mind, but didn‘t want to say that, because his mormonism is such an issue in the campaign. That just occurred to me.
CARLSON: Serving the nation and serving the Mormon church—
DOUGLASS: They do serve.
CARLSON: They do. Mitt Romney made a claim about Rudy Giuliani that I believe we have on tape. This is Mitt Romney attacking the former mayor of New York on his immigration policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: When Mayor Giuliani was mayor, he said this was going to be a city with protection. They would provide protection for illegals. They would have a zone of protection. And he actually said those who—I think his quote was, those happen to be undocumented aliens are welcome to come to New York. He instructed city workers not to provide information to the federal government that would allow them to enforce the law. New York City was the poster child for sanctuary cities in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, the Giuliani campaign has responded to this by saying he is a flip flopper. We are not going to weigh in because he is such a loser. I‘m going to put up on the screen a direct quote from then mayor Giuliani, just to make the point that whatever you think of Mitt Romney, this is actually true. This is Giuliani in 1994, quote, “some of the hardest working and most productive people in this city are undocumented aliens. If you come here and worked hard and you happen to have undocumented status, then you are one of the people we want in the city. Your somebody that we want to protect and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being a fugitive, which is really unfair.”
It‘s unfair to enforce immigration law. Shouldn‘t Giuliani explain that?
DOUGLASS: This is a very tough issue for Giuliani. It‘s one of the many issues where this such an issue of the heart, such an issue of passion for conservative Republican voters, along with his views on abortion rights and domestic partnerships and so forth. He has this record. It was a sanctuary city, although it was originally claimed by Ed Koch and it was a policy that Giuliani continued.
Giuliani is countering now—his campaign is countering that there were also sanctuary cities in Massachusetts, that, for example, Cambridge was considered a sanctuary city. There‘s a Pew study that shows that Massachusetts was a magnet for illegal immigrants. So they are countering that Romney didn‘t do anything that different when he was governor.
It‘s a tough issue for Giuliani. Those words will haunt him with those voters.
CARLSON: You are an illegal alien. You‘re someone we want to protect. We want to get out from under what‘s often like being a fugitive, which is really unfair. I don‘t understand how you could explain a sentence like that.
GREEN: You can‘t. This is why so many people in the Washington press corps thought months ago, when Giuliani was leading in the polls, that it wasn‘t going to last forever, because of things like this. So he is bad on abortion. He‘s bad on immigration. He has dressed in drag more times than people can count. I think people are waiting for his political reputation to come down.
As things become more serious in the race, and as this stuff leaks out in his press by his opponents, these are things he is going to have to answer for. He‘s going to have a tough time doing it.
CARLSON: The cross-dressing has not hurt him among Republican primary voters. They are zanier.
DOUGLASS: Do you think it‘s well-known. There is a lot about Rudy Giuliani that we all read about, know about here in Washington, people who cover politics. I think a lot of the things that will be used against Giuliani by his opponents have not even begun to surface yet.
CARLSON: I think a lot of Republicans kind of like it. That‘s just completely a theory. Rudy Giuliani cleaned up the smut from Times Square. Now a councilwoman is hoping to clean up your potty mouth. Will talk become G-rated on the streets of New York.
Plus, Bau must bow to the world‘s tallest man. It‘s not him anymore. Meet someone who is even taller. Our Guinness Book of World Records correspondent Willie Geist has the details of this tall tale. More puns ahead.
CARLSON: New Yorkers may have to clean up their act or at least their language. That‘s because a New York City councilwoman wants to create a list of banned words. The nasty words in question, two words she calls degrading terms for women. This new law would be symbolic and virtually unenforceable. What about the right of free speech, degradable or not.
Let‘s talk to the woman pushing this ban, New York City Councilwoman, Democrat Darlene Mealy. Councilwoman Mealy, thanks for joining us.
DARLENE MEALY, NYC COUNCILWOMAN: Thank you for having me.
CARLSON: How can you ban a word?
MEALY: It‘s not banning a word. We are just telling America to wake up. Let‘s start speaking to one another in a better tone and not using offensive language towards one another. That‘s all we are saying. It‘s symbolic. It‘s a resolution that is just stating that women are queens. We are not four-legged dogs. If we can stand up to our young men and let them know that to talk to us better, I feel I will take this charge.
CARLSON: OK, well, I mean, I think that‘s a great goal. I‘m all for politeness and treating people in a gentlemanly and not degrading people with slurs. I support all of that. But isn‘t that the place of a church or a guidance counselor or your mom, and not the city government of New York?
MEALY: Yes. To me, I have been advocating for this since I was 19 or younger. Now that I‘m a public official, why not take it nationally to let people know how I feel? Being in a position also holds a responsibility. If you feel something is right, I can bring it to the forefront. That‘s what I have done with this resolution.
CARLSON: I don‘t know. Hold on. Isn‘t part of—Not to get too deep or philosophical here—
MEALY: Why not?
CARLSON: Yes, why not. Isn‘t part of being an elected official showing a little bit of restraint. I mean, you probably don‘t like people with bad breath either or crummy table manners, but we don‘t try to make those illegal.
MEALY: No, we would try to get them training. No, just letting you know. No, it‘s not that, per se. It‘s just our young—with the rate of our young people that we are losing, in regards to the music industry, what they are listening to and what they are portraying. Once they listen to certain lyrics, some of them try to act out on these lyrics. And that‘s not helpful to a community that is somewhat desperately—well, in my district, the 41st district, we have some impoverished areas that our youth will listen to music and then do exactly what the lyrics tell you to do and wind up in jail.
That‘s a part that I can‘t stomach any longer. If I can stop them at a young age and let them know that women are queens and the N word is bad to say. And if you can‘t say anything good about someone, say nothing at all. That‘s what this resolution is saying. Not trying to infringe on no one‘s freedom of speech. Freedom of speech also comes with the responsibility that we all have to deal with.
CARLSON: Right. I got to say, I kind of agree with what you are saying. I‘m sort of surprised. I thought you were going to—I don‘t know. I thought I was going to more profoundly disagree with you, but you are being kind of reasonable. I appreciate you coming on. Thank you.
MEALY: Thank you. I‘m happy to be here.
CARLSON: The guy who caught Barry Bonds‘ record breaking home run is kicking himself over a deal he made with a friend before the game. But he‘s not kicking himself half as hard as one San Francisco cab driver. Willie Geist has all the performance-enhancing details when we come back.
You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Like a cool glass of water on a hot summer day, Willie Geist is here to make it all right.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Tucker. It is a hot summer day out there. I can tell you. I just shook the hand of the woman who was sitting in this seat a moment ago, Councilwoman Mealy, who you rolled over for.
CARLSON: I like her.
GEIST: I told her, it‘s been two and half years and I couldn‘t get you to side with me.
CARLSON: If people refer to women as bitches and hoes in my
neighborhood, I would be very upset about it. I would hate that. I felt -
I am on her side. I admit it.
GEIST: I will get in all my B‘s and H‘s while I can. I‘m going to run out on the streets and just start yelling at people, because it is going to be against the law pretty soon. Tucker, we have big news from one of our friends here on the show, Mongolian herdsman and now former tallest man in the world Bau Xi Shun, gave us so many memories.
There was the time the 7 foot, nine inch gentle giant was called into an aquarium to use his freakishly long arm to reach into the mouth of a dolphin and pull a piece of plastic from its stomach. He saved the animal‘s life. And just last month, seen here, we beamed with pride as Bau walked down the aisle with his now wife.
Today, we were reminded that all good things must come to an end. The Guinness Book of World Records has certified a new tallest man in the world. He is a Ukrainian man who stands eight feet, five inches tall. That is a full eight inches taller than Bau. Leonid Stadnich (ph) is a 37-year-old former veterinarian, who now works at home taking care of his family‘s farm.
Stadnich had a big growth spurt at the age of 14, after a brain operation stimulated his pituitary gland. Boy, I guess it did. Tucker, it is kind of a sad day to say goodbye to Bau. He gave us so many moments on this show. But we welcome the new guy. If you are eight-five, it is hard to argue with that.
CARLSON: Frankly, I‘m glad it went to a Ukrainian. They are a majestic people.
GEIST: They are. One of our producers is one of them. That‘s why we like them so much. From the tallest man in the world, we go to the smallest minded man in the world. Any armed robber worth his salt knows you do not need your weapon unattended during a robbery. This moron was holding up a convenience store in Albany, New York the other night, when he put down his loaded shotgun on the counter so he could pocket the money he just stole.
Come on. The clerk snatched the gun from him and turned it on him. There was a brief for the gun, but the robber eventually took off. He was arrested later at his own apartment. No one was hurt. Now, young armed robbers, if you‘re watching out there, that is an example of what not to do. Keep the weapon in your hands at all times. Couldn‘t he have waited until he got outside to pocket the money? Come on.
CARLSON: What a mouth breather that guy is.
GEIST: He wanted to make sure he got the money in his pocket first. Just poor armed robbery, folks. Well, we are now less than a year away from the Beijing Summer Olympics, which will, of course, be broadcast on the NBC Universal family of networks. A celebration was held in Tiananmen Square yesterday to mark one year until the opening ceremony on August 8th, 2008.
Tanks wisely were not incorporated into the festivities. But there was also a taste of the Olympic spirit closer to home, Tucker. The Texas Red Neck Games were held just outside Dallas. Some of the area‘s finest athletes assembled to compete in events like the mud pit belly flop, the mattress toss—that‘s a good one—and, of course, the grand daddy of them all, the butt crack contest.
Sadly, the ugly specter of doping followed the Red Neck Games. Fifty four competitors were arrested, most of them for public intoxication. You just hate to see the majesty and the dignity of the Red Neck Games brought down by such ugliness. Fifty four arrests. That‘s sad.
CARLSON: Which, incidentally, are sponsored by Schlitz Malt Liquor and Old English 800.
GEIST: And these are actually a rip off of the Georgia Red Neck Games, where they have the toilet toss as the marquis event in that one. It is a good event.
Finally, Tucker, Matt Murphy, the 21-year-old New Yorker who caught Barry Bonds‘ record breaking home run ball in San Francisco on Tuesday night might be regretting a deal he made with his buddy before the game. Murphy and his friend agreed that if one of them caught the historic ball, that person would keep 51 percent of the proceeds from a potential sale and the other would get 49 percent.
He‘s also going to pay some heavy taxes on that thing, whether he sells it or not. Now, Murphy and his friends were on “The Today Show” this morning. Murphy told Matt Lauer about a conversation he had with a San Francisco cab drive the day before the game, where he tried to get out of the 55 dollar airport fair by offering to share the money from a Bonds home run ball on the wild off chance he should catch it. It sounded like a joke at the time, but it wasn‘t.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT MURPHY, CAUGHT RECORD BREAKING HOME RUN BALL: We asked him if he thinks Barry is going do it. We told him we had tickets. And we made him a deal, you know, we don‘t pay for this cab, and we give you a couple thousand dollars if we catch it.
MATT LAUER, “THE TODAY SHOW”: He turned the deal down?
MURPHY: He turned me down, man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: Turned him down. It is hard to predict if you‘re that cab driver that maybe that would be the guy who was going to get the ball. It is hard to blame him for not backing out of the 55 dollar fair. But it has got to sting a little bit, sharing the proceeds from the ball, that 49 percent. It‘s like when all those people go in on Lottery tickets, like 30 people in the office. You win a million bucks and you walk away with like eight grand. Come on.
CARLSON: When everybody at Radio Shack takes a cut, it is sad. Willie Geist from headquarters, thanks Willie. That‘s it for us. I‘ll see you tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. on the morning show. In the meantime, have a great night. Up next, “HARDBALL.”
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