updated 10/5/2007 11:18:14 AM ET 2007-10-05T15:18:14

Guests: Bill Press, Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, Tom Price, John Hagee

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Remember when Republicans used to say they wanted to run against Hillary Clinton for president?

Welcome to the show.

With Mrs. Clinton‘s rivals for the Democratic nomination fading in her rearview mirror and Republicans gearing up to run against her next year, almost nobody says that anymore.  Instead, the attacks have begun in earnest. 

Rudy Giuliani, whom Republican voters say they believe has the best chance to beat Hillary in the general election, mocked her plan to give $5,000 to every child born in America, calling it a rip-off of the ill-fated George McGovern campaign of 1972.  And from her own party the attacks get even more direct.

The John Edwards campaign has chosen the economy, specifically NAFTA, as its target.  In New Hampshire, Edwards‘ adviser Mudcat Saunders told one crowd that it was the Clintons who “screwed America” with their free trade agreement.  Mudcat Saunders joins us in a minute to expand on that thought.

Also today, “The New York Times,” rarely accused of being in touch with America west of the Hudson, south of Battery Park.  But Fred Thompson might hope tonight that the paper is, in fact, that far off base. 

A front-page article in today‘s paper describes Thompson, a campaign so inept, it is cringe-provoking even in print.  Is Thompson to ‘08 what Wesley Clark was to ‘04?

We‘ll get an update from the trail. 

And the end is nearer for Larry Craig‘s political career after a Minneapolis judge ruled today that the Idaho senator cannot withdraw his guilty plea, the one he entered in the wake of that airport men‘s room incident last June.  But the end is not here yet. 

Craig says he will not seek reelection.  But he will also not resign. 

We‘ll have full analysis on that situation. 

But we begin with the campaign to stop Senator Hillary Clinton‘s unfettered run toward the White House. 

Joining me now is nationally syndicated radio talk show host and all around great guy, Bill Press—Bill. 

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  All right, Tucker.  Hi. 

CARLSON:  There does seem to have been this consensus forming in the last couple of weeks that essentially the race for the Democratic nomination is all but over.  The numbers out yesterday from “The Washington Post” have Hillary Clinton 33 points over Barack Obama.  I‘ve wanted a race as desperately as anybody outside the Obama campaign, but is there really a race left on the Democratic side? 

PRESS:  You know, it‘s beginning to look less and less like it, Tucker.  I—you know, we talked about this just last week.  And I wouldn‘t have said two, three weeks ago that it was over. 

I keep saying that Hillary could be like the Mets.  You know, they were seven games ahead and they had 17 games to go.  And then they blew it.  But now, I mean, her campaign just gets stronger and stronger and stronger. 

I don‘t know what polls she‘s not leading in when you look at—people trust her—not only does she have that big lead you mentioned over Barack Obama.  They trust her over John Edwards, way over John Edwards, to do health care, to take care of the economy, to take care of Iraq. 

I mean, she is just leading in every category.  And then today‘s “Washington Post” shows that she‘s even leading Rudy Giuliani in a head-to-head by eight points. 

So she‘s got the—as you say, looking in the rearview mirror at her Democratic opponents.  Pretty soon she may be looking in the rearview mirror at all of the Republican opponents. 

CARLSON:  Well, the strength of the Hillary campaign, the perceived strength, is to the point where she appears—Mrs. Clinton appears at this point to be taking direct aim at the frontrunner, or apparently the frontrunner on the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani, on his greatest perceived strength, his behavior after 9/11. 

She has a brand new ad out that I want to show you here and get your reaction to it. 

PRESS:  Yes.

CARLSON:  It shows here—we‘re going to put it up in just a second.  But as you watch it, notice the moment with Hillary in the dust mask.  It‘s really remarkable.  Here‘s the ad. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  Hillary stood up for universal health care when almost no one else would and kept standing until six million kids had had coverage.  She stood by Ground Zero workers who sacrificed their health after so many sacrificed their lives and kept standing until this administration took action.  She stood by our National Guard and Reserve and kept standing until they received health care they deserved. 

So now that almost every candidate is standing up for health care for all, which one do you think will never back down? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now, that‘s an ad about health care, but it‘s not really an ad about health care.  It‘s an ad about toughness, Hillary‘s toughness.

PRESS:  Right.

CARLSON:  That she‘s strong enough to stand up to her opponents, to America‘s enemies.  And to Rudy Giuliani in particular.  That‘s how I read it. 

PRESS:  Yes.  Tucker, she—listen.  First of all, I think the concept of “I‘m going to fight for you, I‘m going to stand up for you,” it works in politics.  It worked for Ronald Reagan.  It will work for Hillary Clinton. 

By the way, but she stole that image, if you ask me, from Rudy Giuliani, which was brilliant.  You know, we remember him, 9/11, down there, outside the world towers with that mask over his face, right?  Walking around.  That mask or that handkerchief over his face.  And you see that shot of Hillary Clinton, and it‘s like now she‘s Ms. September 11th if he was Mr. September 11th

CARLSON:  Yes.

PRESS:  She‘s going right after him.  By the way, he‘s going right after him (sic), which I think is smart—right after her, which I think is smart on his part as well. 

CARLSON:  Yes, what do you make, finally, of the brand new poll out again, a “Washington Post” poll indicating in a theoretical head-to-head match-up—and let‘s just off the bat discount these polls as not predictive, maybe not even terribly significant, but I still think interesting—beating by close to 10 points Rudy Giuliani in the general election?  I‘m amazed by that. 

PRESS:  I am, too, at this point.  I‘m further amazed that in that same poll, all four of the top Republican candidates come out with pretty serious ratings. 

You know, 44 percent said they wouldn‘t vote for Rudy Giuliani.  No way, no how.  Forty-five percent of Americans said they won‘t vote for John McCain, 57 percent say they won‘t vote for Mitt Romney. 

So the best they‘ve got at this point is Rudy Giuliani and he—she‘s beating him by eight points this early.  Look, Tucker, it looks like it‘s Hillary all the way.  I know you hate to hear that. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not that I hate to hear that.  It‘s just, it raises the obvious question, when is America going to wake up and come to its senses?  But that‘s our next segment. 

We‘ll be back in a second.

Bill Press, see you in a second.

CARLSON:  Up next, a key Edwards advisor says Hillary Clinton has screwed America, she and her husband, with their free trade plans.  We‘ll take to that advisor in a minute, Mudcat Saunders. 

Plus, Senator Larry Craig‘s request to withdraw his guilty plea from an airport sex sting case was denied today by a judge.  Does that mean Craig is going to resign from the Senate?  His fellow Republicans may hope so.    

We‘ll give you the latest in a second.

You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

If you‘re following the presidential campaign on cable news or by reading newspapers, you know the consensus is Hillary Clinton has it in the bag.  She‘s the Democratic nominee, possibly, maybe probably, the next president of the United States.  But it turns out not everybody buys that analysis.  More specifically, the Edwards campaign. 

Joining us now to discuss his campaign strategy to slow the progress of Hillary Clinton, Mr. Mudcat Saunders, John Edwards‘ senior campaign advisor. 

He joins us now from Roanoke. 

Mudcat, welcome. 

DAVE MUDCAT SAUNDERS, JOHN EDWARDS‘ SR. CAMPAIGN ADVISOR:  How are you doing, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  I‘m great.  And I want you to reassure the rest of us that though “The Washington Post” has her 33 points ahead of her closest competitor, she‘s not going to be the nominee. 

SAUNDERS:  Well, you know, if she is the nominee, you and I have talked about this many times, Tucker.  Just another case of the Democrats not being able to count. 

I mean, here we are.  We‘ve got, you know, the plate (ph) laid out for us, you know, ready to roll. 

You know, “The Washington Post” poll that was leaked or whatever a couple of weeks ago said that, you know, the 31 targeted seats, you know—a generic Democratic candidate would win by 11.  If Hillary‘s on there against Giuliani, she loses by 10. 

I mean, the toxic coattails of Hillary Clinton, you know, could not only cost us, you know, an absolute certainty at the White House, but it also could cost us the U.S. House of Representatives. 

CARLSON:  Well, how does that work, and where do you think Hillary, if she becomes the nominee, would hurt Democrats most? 

SAUNDERS:  Well, you know, I‘ve never asked you a question on this show, Tucker.  I‘m going to ask you one.  If you were in a red state and you were a Democrat, would you want Hillary at the top of the ticket? 

CARLSON:  No, I guess I wouldn‘t. 

SAUNDERS:  And, you know, what really is frustrating to me is, you know, I still, you know, have a few friends in Washington and I go up there.  And, you know, it‘s whispered throughout the Capitol, Tucker, that the collateral damage, you know, of Hillary Clinton on the down ticket, they whisper it, but nobody is willing really to shout it out.  And I think it‘s a shame.  I really do. 

Here‘s good people out here, you know, who have worked hard, you know, to get back control of the Congress.  And not only, like I say, again, do we lose the White House, but the collateral damage, you know, from Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket could cost this Congress. 

CARLSON:  But, I mean, why are people so afraid to say that, Mudcat?  I mean, is she that scary?  She can‘t be more than 5‘7“.  I mean, she‘s not this terrifying—she‘s not going to beat you up if you say that. 

Why won‘t more Democrats say that out loud? 

SAUNDERS:  Well, you know, the AP did a story on it, and 39 elected Democrats in red states said that if Hillary Clinton was at the top of the ticket, it would drag them down.  Not a single one of the 39 would go on the record as saying it because of fear of reprisals from the Clintons. 

I‘m with you.  I‘m not afraid of reprisals from the Clintons.  What I want us to do is to win this election. 

And, you know, if you look at any of the—the polls that have come out, if you look at the one done in Oklahoma by Survey USA, Hillary beats Mitt Romney and loses to Giuliani and Thompson.  Obama loses to all three of them, while, you know, my boy, John Edwards, beats all of them. 

CARLSON:  Why haven‘t voters figured that out? 

SAUNDERS:  Well, you‘re looking at, you know, a situation where nobody wants to talk about it.  You know, this idea of party unity. 

You know, you get into these nominating battles, and I know of no another analogy, Tucker, than these nominating battles are like, you know, fighting Indians.  In November of ‘08, we‘re going to be fighting (INAUDIBLE).  Then it will come out. 

And, you know, we need to step up.  We need to look at the numbers and realize that we‘ve got to nominate somebody who can win and also not drag down the rest of the ticket. 

CARLSON:  But what—here‘s what—here‘s what I don‘t understand.  Hillary Clinton is, by some measures, the most conservative of the Democratic candidates.  Why is she specifically more toxic than Obama or, as you said, your boy John Edwards? 

SAUNDERS:  It‘s numbers.  It‘s what it is.  And, you know, I will agree that, you know, I mean her picture was on the front of “Fortune” magazine as Wall Street‘s choice. 

And if you look at across, you know, small town and rural America, 38 percent of the voters say that lack of economic fairness is at the top, you know, of their—of their list.  And Hillary Clinton, you know, how do I say it other than the truth?  Everybody inside the beltway knows, Tucker, that if the Clintons would have gone to bat for universal health care like they did for these trade treaties, out here where I live we‘d have health care and still have our jobs. 

CARLSON:  So do you—I mean, why is it that the entire Democratic Party went along with Bill Clinton at that time?  I mean, it‘s not just the Clintons.  It was everybody in the party. 

And by the way, Republicans, of course, signed on to those, too.  But that‘s a different—that‘s a different conversation.  But nobody really said anything, as I remember, at the time about NAFTA being a bad idea for American workers. 

SAUNDERS:  Well, I remember one guy who said it was a bad idea—Ross Perot.  He talked about the (INAUDIBLE).

Now that it‘s over, I mean, it was common sense that it was going to take jobs away from small town and rural America.  You know, the Clintons - - you know, and Hillary has talked about the unintended consequences of NAFTA. 

I mean, I was born at night, but I wasn‘t born last night.  This was not unintended.  This was unconsidered. 

CARLSON:  Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, senior advisor to the John Edwards for president campaign, speaking from his home in Roanoke. 

Thanks a lot, Mudcat. 

SAUNDERS:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Barack Obama wants to become the first black president of the United States.  Hillary Clinton‘s husband claims to be the first honorary one.  Who will get more support from actual black voters? 

Plus, you think it‘s OK to smoke in your own apartment or condominium.  You may be wrong if you live in California, anyway.  In fact, you could even been evicted for lighting up. 

We‘ve got details in a minute. 

This is MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER:  Welcome back. 

Yesterday, President Bush used his veto for only the fourth time ever to kill an expansion of health care benefits for children, saying it represented a step towards socialized medicine.  Democrats responded immediately and vigorously.  Some called Bush heartless. 

Caught up in the moment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the body in which she serves as “the children‘s Congress”.  Some Republicans apparently agreed, criticizing Bush‘s veto. 

Well, joining me now is a member of Congress who supports Bush‘s opposition to that bill.  He is Republican Tom Price of Georgia. 

Congressman, thanks for joining me. 

REP. TOM PRICE ®, GEORGIA:  Absolutely, Tucker.  Great to be with you tonight. 

CARLSON:  So why—let me ask the demagogic question first.  Why is it bad to give kids health care?  Why are you so mean? 

PRICE:  Well, as a physician, I understand the importance of making certain that all kids, all Americans, have health insurance.  And I believe strongly in a bill that would provide health insurance assistance for low-income kids.  The problem is that‘s not what this bill does.  In fact, this bill is a prescription for fraud in the health care system. 

CARLSON:  Well, how—how does it not do that?  I mean, the idea is that people who are not poor are covered?  And, if so, why are people who don‘t need the coverage be covered? 

PRICE:  Well, in fact, what it does is that it absolutely provides for coverage for higher-income folks before lower-income folks, which I think is a shell game on the American people.  It provides for allowing coverage for adults. 

In fact, in Minnesota, under the current SCHIP program, 87 percent, almost nine out of 10 people on the state children‘s health insurance program, are adults.  That doesn‘t make any sense.  The program that the bill—the bill that was adopted by this Democrat leadership and others provides for funding in a way that makes it so that 22 million people need to start smoking today if we‘re going to cover the funding, which is through a tobacco tax. 

CARLSON:  Well, yes, that‘s my second question.  I mean, we‘re all against smoking, and smokers are immoral and evil, and we want to make sure people don‘t smoke.  And yet we‘re using smokers‘ addiction to fund this bill. 

If people stop smoking, how is the bill funded? 

PRICE:  Well, that‘s a great question.  And that‘s a question that the other side didn‘t answer. 

I strongly, again, believe that health insurance provided for low-income kids is exactly what the program ought to do.  It‘s what the American people think we ought to do.  It‘s what we did for 10 years in a bipartisan way. 

But this Democrat leadership has decided that they want to politicize this, that they want it to be just all politics all the time.  And they‘ve proven that because the president vetoed the bill yesterday. 

We could have voted on a very positive piece of legislation today, but instead what did they do?  They postponed it for two weeks so that they could get their talking points and rally up their troops on radio and television in districts that they think they want to target come November of 2008. 

CARLSON:  They‘re pretty good talking points, though.  I mean, as talking points go.  I‘m not saying they‘re true. 

PRICE:  Sure. 

CARLSON:  But the idea that the president, who is pretty unpopular, as you know, doesn‘t care about children, that‘s not an effective talking point?  It sounds like it would work to me. 

PRICE:  Well, it would, but it is demagogic, as you mentioned, and it‘s just preposterous. 

All of us care about kids.  All of us care about low-income kids.  And all of us want to make certain that low-income children have access to some type of health insurance.  And through the state children‘s health insurance program, that‘s a reasonable vehicle to—to use. 

However, what we don‘t want is to have kids in income—in families where there are higher incomes be able to get that insurance before low-income kids.  We don‘t think and I don‘t think the American people think that adults ought to be able to get health insurance in the state children‘s health insurance program. 

PRICE:  Right. 

PRICE:  We don‘t think that you ought to pay for it through a tobacco tax.  That doesn‘t make any sense at all.  And we believe that it ought to be legal citizens that get these benefits and not illegal citizens. 

All of the things that I mentioned would be possible through the bill that was adopted by the House. 

CARLSON:  Well, I mean, all of this is sort of moot anyway, isn‘t it?  Because a Democrat is going to be elected president.  Democrats are absolutely going to hold the Senate for a long, long time.  And they‘re going to pass some version of socialized medicine, universal health care, whatever you want to call it, where the government controls everybody‘s health care. 

Isn‘t that going to happen anyway? 

PRICE:  I don‘t think so, because I don‘t think that‘s what the American people want to have happen.  I believe, again, as a physician, that we need to have patient-centered health care.  And patient-centered health care to me means not the government running things, but patients and their doctors being able to make decisions. 

There are a number of bills that will do that.  I have one, HR2626.  It‘s exactly the bill that I think ought to be adopted by the House and the Senate. 

Move forward to make it so that patients and their doctors can control the health care.  I think that‘s what the American people want.  I know that that‘s what we want in the House of Representatives on the Republican side. 

CARLSON:  Will this veto we be overridden, do you believe?   

PRICE:  Absolutely.  We will override the veto, and we should have done that today, but, again, the Democratic leadership didn‘t want that to happen now.  They want this two-week window where they can demagogue the issue.  I hope once we do override the—once we sustain the veto...

CARLSON:  Sustain it, right. 

PRICE:  Excuse me.  Once we sustain the veto, then I hope that what will happen is that we‘ll sit down productively and positively together and come up with a bill that the president can sign, that we all can support, that makes certain that we cover low-income kids with health insurance. 

CARLSON:  Well, then, and very quickly, why is it that some Republicans are apparently in disagreement with the president strongly for this, mad about the veto?  Orrin Hatch, senator from Utah, Republican, complained about it today in “The Washington Post”.

What is their motive? 

PRICE:  Well, I think you identified it.  I think you said that this is an easy issue to demagogue. 

And if you‘re not—if you don‘t have a health care background, if it you don‘t know the real danger of having the state involved in health care in very intimate ways, as I do and as I believe is inappropriate, then it‘s tough to talk about.  People don‘t want to have to defend a vote against a state children‘s health insurance program. 

I believe what I‘m defending, though, is a vote for a responsible, reasonable program that the American people can support. 

CARLSON:  Mr. Price, I appreciate your coming on. 

Thank you. 

PRICE:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Well, as a judge denies Senator Larry Craig‘s request to withdraw his guilty plea in that men‘s room sex case, Craig says he plans to stay in Congress. 

How are his fellow Republicans responding to that? 

Plus, Fred Thompson was supposed to swoop in and save the Republican Party from itself.  So why is he having to ask audiences to applaud him? 

We‘ll tell you in a minute.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, despite another setback for Senator Larry Craig, he says he is staying put. 

Plus, Fred Thompson‘s troubles on the trail and the rapidly shrinking Obama campaign.  When will it disappear?

That and more in just a minute.  But first, here‘s a look at your headlines. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Well, the latest chapter of Idaho Senator Larry Craig‘s political career took another turn today and, as you might have expected, it was unusual.  A Minnesota judge refused to allow the Idaho senator to withdraw the guilty plea he‘d entered in June after his now-famous behavior in an airport bathroom.  Following the ruling, Senator Craig announced that he will not seek reelection when his current term ends.  He did not, however, resign. 

Here to assess his decision, the political affect and the likely reaction on Capital Hill, we welcome Associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B.  Stoddard, and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press. 

Welcome to you both.  A.B., Republicans who dropped this guy like a canker (ph) -- I mean, they really couldn‘t run fast enough away from Larry Craig.  How are they reacting to the news—the realization that he‘s going to be there until the end of this term? 

STODDARD:  They do what they did last week when there—they just continue to be kind of quiet and say, we stand by our original statements.  But behind closed doors, they‘re obviously eager for an Ethics Committee investigation to further embarrass Larry Craig and get him to leave. 

CARLSON:  I just think—you know, Bill, where are Democrats on this?  Are they against gay sex now?  I‘m serious.  I mean, we‘re all like big moralizers right now, and finger waggers now.  But can Democrats, with a straight face, really say, Larry Craig, what you did was wrong.  Really? 

PRESS:  Larry Craig didn‘t do anything wrong.  He did not commit a sexual act.  He may have wanted to, but he didn‘t.  I think you can make a case that the guy was railroaded.  That‘s what the case that Stan Brand made.

STODDARD:  No. 

PRESS:  I think Democrats now, Tucker, admire the fact that the Republican party has proven it‘s a big tent party.  It has room for a cowboy with a wide stance. 

STODDARD:  No. 

CARLSON:  Come on.  Democrats have been the weirdo party proudly for a long time, and I admire them from that.  No, let your freak flag fly.  That‘s totally fine.  It‘s amazing to me how everyone‘s liberal principles kind of go out the window when it comes to real life.  We‘re all for compassion for drug users, but Rush Limbaugh is a creep for being addicted to pills.  We‘re all for leaving your own wife, but Larry Craig, that‘s outrageous!

PRESS:  Tucker, I‘ve not heard any Democrats call for Larry Craig‘s ouster.  It‘s all been a—

CARLSON:  No, that‘s true.  You‘re right. 

STODDARD:  Now, the Democrats don‘t have to.  They‘re standing back.  They know that all Republicans have left at this point is their base, their base voters who don‘t tolerate this type of thing.  If they‘re not true to their base right now, there‘s nothing left.  They‘re in a free fall.  The party is in a state of catastrophe right now, politically. 

CARLSON:  A.B., let me ask you, so Mitt Romney was endorsed famously by Larry Craig.  Larry Craig, I believe, was the only non-Mormon in the Senate to endorse Mitt Romney, a significant endorsement.  The second Romney hears about this, he says not I have compassion for the guy or his family, but that‘s disgusting.  Has there been any fall-out from that?  Do people on the Hill look at Mitt Romney and say that‘s just too disloyal, even by our standards?  Or is that just kind of—

STODDARD:  No, because I think people saw that—Mitt Romney had a great day that day.  It was a way for him to bring up Bill Clinton.  And, you know, I think he scored points with his own.  I really do. 

CARLSON:  Speaking of scoring points, in an unusual way, Fred Thompson, the subject of a front page “New York Times” semi profile this morning, that described him as maybe the worst campaigner since Wes Clark.  That‘s the intent of the piece.  It has Thompson quoted speaking to an audience, sort of staring back in this bovine way, expressionless, and he says, essentially, please applaud for me.  You know, you can clap now. 

I mean, it‘s—it‘s kind of appealing in a way.  Do you think, Bill, he meant this in an ironic way or was it real? 

PRESS:  I read that article and I really felt sorry for Fred Thompson.  Adam Nagourney is a good reporter.  He covered this event out in Nevada, Iowa or some weird place like that and Fred finishes and everybody just sits there, and Fred says, can I please have a little applause.  And then they laugh and some of them applaud.  Someone else—Tucker, you probably saw this week, compared hearing Fred Thompson speak to watching Bob Dole without Viagra. 

CARLSON:  But asking people to applaud for you is like asking someone to fake an orgasm.  It‘s like pretend.  You know what I mean? 

STODDARD:  This is not fair.  This is not fair.  I think that Fred Thompson speaks with a sort of unenergetic, low, you know, monotone drawl, and maybe people didn‘t know that he‘d actually finished his speech. 

CARLSON:  I like Fred.  I‘m not beating up on Fred Thompson.  I just thought it‘s kind of an amazing statement to make.  Please applaud for me.  It‘s kind of endearing in its way.  I don‘t know. 

PRESS:  As we‘ve said before, he‘s just not set the world on fire.  You have to wonder what is the purpose of his candidacy, other than, well, people don‘t seem to like the other guys.  Maybe I‘ll just jump in. 

CARLSON:  Because there has to be a place in American life for the guy who doesn‘t set people on fire.  You know what I mean? 

CARLSON:  I tell you what, he represents them, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Yes, he does, good.  That‘s fine.  I feel like I do too.  Bill, you have been, I think, since day one at least predisposed to the Obama campaign.  There is still question, as of today, the latest poll numbers out, whether Obama can get a majority of black voters to support him.  There are a lot of ways to read that fact.  Is it a sign that we‘ve moved beyond racial identity politic, I hope, or is it a sign that he‘s running an incredibly lame campaign?

PRESS:  I‘ll come back to what Mudcat Saunders said at the top, I think it‘s a matter of numbers, Tucker.  When I saw that poll, basically Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama split the black votes.  Split the African-American votes.  That‘s not good enough for Barack Obama.  He‘s got to win that African-American vote.  And that just shows a residual of good feeling, I think, toward Bill Clinton that Hillary Clinton is taking advantage of. 

CARLSON:  You‘re absolutely right.  A.B., I mean, that‘s my—every person I talk to supports—not every—most people outside of Washington who support Hillary Clinton point to her husband as a way of saying, I really liked 1992 to 2000 and I‘d sort of like a reprise of that.  I want Bill Clinton back.  That has a lot to do with her appeal, does it not? 

STODDARD:  Oh, yes, with every type of voter, with men, with women, with blacks, with whites, with older voters, younger voters.  Bill Clinton‘s approval rating is high again.  And he‘s a huge asset to her.  There was some question about whether or not it would be a really, sort of a high-wire act to incorporate him into the campaign and try to—that maybe he‘d be a hindrance in some ways. 

But it‘s no longer true.  He‘s the rock star.  And Barack Obama has to go up against her and Bill Clinton.  But on the subject of Barack Obama with black voters, Bill is right.  That—half of them is not good enough.  Barack Obama really missed an opportunity here.  He was—he needed to go into that community early and he needed to ask for their vote and do so energetically and enthusiastically, and he did not. 

CARLSON:  That was on purpose.  He didn‘t want to scare white people by seeming radical. 

STODDARD:  I understand.  You know what, I‘m sure that‘s a very hard balance to strike.  But that was his only chance up against the Clintons.  Was to get the black vote. 

PRESS:  And, Tucker, in that same poll, they asked black women, right;

OK, you have a choice.  Do you want the first black or the first woman president?  And there, Barack Obama is a little ahead, but not much ahead of Hillary Clinton.  Black women vote in greater numbers.  And a significant number of them, almost half, say they would just as well have the first woman as the first black president. 

CARLSON:  Yes, a man who‘s not polling huge numbers in the black community, but big in the libertarian community, Ron Paul, A.B., raised five million dollars, about five million dollars.  Significantly, he has 5.2 million cash on hand.  He‘s spent nothing at all because he doesn‘t believe in profligate spending. 

The Politico today points out—you know, obviously he‘s not going to win the nomination, unfortunately.  But he could be a spoiler.  He could hurt other candidates, namely Huckabee.  Is Ron Paul‘s support going to get to the point where it is significant for other candidates? 

STODDARD:  I mean, I think that—first of all, it‘s always fun when the guy gets ahead who has no intention of winning and isn‘t really trying.  So I think—and obviously Ron Paul is—is charming and I want to note, as a Congressional—long-time Congressional reporter, Ron Paul returns unused portions of his office budget at the end of his—every two years, at the end of his cycle. 

Ron Paul, I think, could mess up Iowa a bit.  It is a problem for Huckabee.  It could be a problem because the field is so divided.  I think if you look on the Democratic side, you know, there are certain outcomes for Iowa that will predict what happens on February five.  If you look at the Republican side, we don‘t really know what‘s going to happen if Ron Paul messes up Iowa.  And he really could. 

CARLSON:  We don‘t know what‘s going to happen to that party in general.  Bill?

PRESS:  I just want to say about Ron Paul, the idea that he‘s a spoiler, spoiler for whom?  I think the message is here that Ron Paul has a message.  And people ought to start—instead of trying to throw him off the stage, they ought to listening to him, because he‘s talking about a non-interventionist foreign policy and fiscal responsibility, which are two basic conservative ideas. 

CARLSON:  But it‘s not just fiscal responsibility, he‘s talking about rolling back socialism, which is rapidly advancing on the country.  Everybody else agrees that this should be a socialist country, that the government has a responsibility to take care of your children.  You‘re not good enough to raise them.  Mrs. Clinton and her minions must raise them for you.  We all agree on that. 

Except Ron Paul doesn‘t agree.  And everybody pays lip service to him, oh, no, he‘s an impressive guy.  If Ron Paul actually took power, the Libertarians took power, people would try to kill him, because nobody agrees with Ron Paul in real life.  I don‘t know why they‘re pretending they do.  I do. 

PRESS:  He‘s the real thing. 

CARLSON:  He is the real thing.  Oh, my gosh.  He‘s a little cooky on some things, but I admire that guy. 

A.B. Stoddard, in California, two different communities on—

STODDARD:  Speaking of which. 

CARLSON:  -- on the cusp of banning smoking in private residences, condominiums and apartments, some rented, but some privately owned.  Not smoking that bothers other people, but just smoking.  This is an important line we‘re about to cross into government regulating personal behavior, isn‘t it? 

STODDARD:  Ron Paul needs to get right on this issue, actually.

CARLSON:  Yes, he does. 

STODDARD:  This is the thing, Tucker, I‘m not running for office, so I actually don‘t have to pick a side here.  I would like to say that on the one hand if I was—if I was a landlord and I was renting, I mean, maybe I didn‘t want people—maybe smokers light more fires and maybe I didn‘t want my places to stink.  And maybe I could say you can‘t smoke because the airlines have told you and the office buildings have told you that you can‘t smoke. 

On the other hand, I think the people should be able to do what they want to do in their own homes.  Maybe they need to hit the Nicorette gum.

CARLSON:  And I‘m here to tell you, Nicorette works.  But let me just say, just to be totally clear, Bill, this is not a question of whether or not landlords have the right to curtail smoking, which they do, and they ought to.  It‘s their property.  They ought to be able to determine what happens there. It‘s a question of government coming in and saying, we‘re going to punish you if you smoke in a private residence that we do not own.  That strikes me as terrifying. 

PRESS:  You know, I‘m a non-smoker, Tucker.  But my question is, if you can‘t smoke in your own home, where the hell can you smoke?  I mean, I think—I think this is crazy.  And I agree.  If you are a landlord and you have six apartments, right, and you don‘t want people smoking in your apartments, that‘s your deal. 

CARLSON:  No problem. 

PRESS:  And if your Condo Association votes, I would even say, votes, you know, in this condo building, we don‘t want smoking, then that‘s OK. 

CARLSON:  I agree. 

PRESS:  But for the city to come down and say, no smoking in any apartment or any condo, I think is big brother in the extreme. 

CARLSON:  Ladies and gentlemen, you have just heard the last liberal for freedom in America.  Bill Press, thank you for that.  A.B. Stoddard, thank you as always. 

Up next, Rudy Giuliani loves Israel.  So do a lot of evangelical voters.  But will Evangelicals learn to love Rudy?  We‘ll tell you in a minute. 

Plus, what happens when you take a member of the “Partridge Family” and pit him against a “Survivor.”  Willie Geist investigates the Bonaduce body slam.  We‘ve got the tape, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  When you think of issues that Evangelical voters care about, you probably think of abortion and gay marriage.  And you‘re right.  But there‘s a lesser-known issue that matters a great deal to many Christian conservatives, support for Israel.  And it‘s on that issue that Rudy Giuliani, famously liberal on social issues himself, hopes to make some headway with one of the Republican party‘s most important constituencies. 

Will it work for him?  John Hagee might be the man to ask.  Pastor of one of the biggest congregations in America, Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, he‘s also the author of a new book about Israel, “Jerusalem Countdown.”  Joining us now from Washington, Pastor John Hagee.  Pastor, thanks for coming on.

PASTOR JOHN HAGEE, CHRISTIANS UNITED FOR ISRAEL:  It‘s a pleasure to be with you today.  Thank you, sir. 

CARLSON:  Your new book suggests that support for Israel might rank up there with opposition to abortion as an issue of concern to Evangelicals in this presidential race.  Is that an accurate reading? 

HAGEE:  We‘re not writing the book that has anything to do with abortion.  I‘m writing a book in defense of Israel to be a wake-up call to the people in America to stand up and speak up with the Jewish people and the Israel state, because the state of Israel is in great danger.  We have a common enemy in Ahamadinejad of Iran. 

We are living—reliving history, if you will.  It‘s 1938 all over again.  And Iran is the new Germany.  And Ahamadinejad is the new Hitler.  Whenever Hitler was talking about killing the Jewish people, not very many people were listening.  We have a new Hitler in the Middle East working to put together nuclear power for the purpose of attacking Israel and using those weapons on the United States of America. 

CARLSON:  OK, in your book you say this; you say, every Christian in America has a biblical mandate to stand in absolute solidarity with Israel and demand that our leaders in Washington stop recommending Israel‘s withdrawal as the solution to every conflict that arises in the Middle East. 

That means in order to be a good Christian, you have to support the occupation of the territories? 

HAGEE:  As a good Christian, we support the bible and the bible is filled with scriptures about being supportive of the state of Israel. 

CARLSON:  OK, I mean, I support the state of Israel fairly passionately.  But there is great debate among supporters of Israel about what it means to support Israel and what is best for Israel.  This suggests that there is a kind of doctrinaire line that you have to follow in order to be a good Christian.  And that‘s a suggestion I hadn‘t heard before. 

HAGEE:  To be a Christian, you obey the bible and the bible is very clear about supporting the state of Israel, beginning in Genesis 12, Psalms 122, Romans 1526 and following.  There is a plethora of scripture where Christians are mandated to be supportive of the state of Israel. 

CARLSON:  OK, do you think that support might require Christians to support a strike on Iran and Ahamadinejad‘s government? 

HAGEE:  Right at this present time, we‘re trying to get the states in the United States to de-invest from Iran.  It‘s something that‘s practical, that we can do.  If we can take away America‘s dollars from the hands of Iranians who are putting together weapons that are killing America‘s soldiers on the battlefield in Iraq, that would be of great benefit and practical service to our nation right now. 

What we might do in the future will be entirely dependent upon what Iran chooses to do, with regard to its response to the international community and those with whom they are negotiating. 

CARLSON:  So what does this mean for your support and the support of Evangelicals, like-minded Evangelicals, in this presidential race?  Rudy Giuliani, very liberal on the social issues, for legal abortion, for civil unions between gay couples.  Could you support him anyway, because he supports Israel so passionately? 

HAGEE:  Let me speak for myself.  I certainly do not speak for all Evangelicals.  But as a group, we are not comfortable with Rudy Giuliani.  We would prefer some other candidate. 

CARLSON:  But could you support him if he became the nominee? 

HAGEE:  If he became the nominee against Hillary Clinton, yes. 

CARLSON:  Yes, and on what grounds would you support him, since they have almost identical positions on the social issues? 

HAGEE:  We would be supportive of him because of his support for the state of Israel. 

CARLSON:  And do you believe Hillary Clinton supports Israel as aggressively as Rudy Giuliani does? 

HAGEE:  I‘ve never heard her say that.  I‘ve heard Rudy Giuliani be very supportive of the state of Israel. 

CARLSON:  What about the other Republican candidates?  Are they sufficiently pro-Israel, in your view? 

HAGEE:  I‘ve heard John McCain.  John McCain has been very strong in his support for Israel. 

CARLSON:  What about Mitt Romney?  Are you familiar with his views? 

HAGEE:  I haven‘t heard him make any response concerning his support of the state of Israel. 

CARLSON:  I mean, I never hear anybody say anything against Israel really in the United States.  Do you think there are mainstream politicians, at least among those running for president, who aren‘t pro-Israel? 

HAGEE:  I don‘t know that they‘re not pro-Israel.  I believe that recognizing the fact that there are 45 to 50 million Evangelicals in America who have a bible basis of supporting Israel, that if I were running for the president of the United States, I would be continuously vocal about that position, because it is certainly an issue that‘s very near and dear to many millions of us. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Pastor Hagee, the book, “Jerusalem Countdown,” just out, I appreciate you coming on.  Thank you.

HAGEE:  Thank you, sir.

CARLSON:  Rudy Giuliani is still talking about that strange phone call he took from his wife during a speech to the NRA.  And if Rudy is talking, you know he‘s talking about 9/11.  Willie Geist has Rudy‘s latest creative way of working September 11th into the conversation.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Before the break, I introduced him as Rudy Geist.  Well, here to explain the differences between himself and the former New York mayor is Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I single handedly guided this nation through September 11th

CARLSON:  Good work, Willie. 

GEIST:  That‘s the one thing we have in common.  I do have breaking news to bring you.  Dateline, Uncusville (ph), Connecticut, and the Mohegan Sun Casino.  Look at these pictures of Jennifer Lopez.  We‘re not saying anything, but are those broad wasted maternity slacks you‘re wearing?  I don‘t know.  She hasn‘t said publicly that she‘s pregnant.  But this is a performance last night at a casino and she looks like she‘s got a bump to me, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I‘d say there‘s no question.  Even for a casino. 

GEIST:  That‘s right.  The sad part of that story, she‘s playing at a Mohegan Sun Casino.  Tucker, most of our viewers will remember Danny Bonaduce as the young red headed star of the “Partridge Family.”  As we‘ve learned over the years, child stardom has its price.  Inevitably, you end up on stage at the Reality TV Awards body slamming a contestant from “Survivor.” 

That‘s exactly where Bonaduce ended up a couple nights ago.  Watch this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANNY BONADUCE, “THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY”:  They‘re booing because they hate you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s a good thing, right? 

Danny, Danny!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  So, Tucker, that guy was from “Survivor.”  Johnny Fairplay, I think he calls himself.  He broke his teeth, lost a few of them, and he‘s now presses charges against the great Danny Bonaduce. 

CARLSON:  Count me among those millions of Americans whole-heartedly on Danny Bonaduce‘s side.  You can mock Danny Bonaduce.  Did you ever listen to Danny Bonaduce?  He‘s actually a really smart, talented guy.  I have to say. 

GEIST:  He is.  He co-hosts a radio show out in L.A.

CARLSON:  He‘s good.  He‘s definitely good.  And that guy jumped him. 

I don‘t know.  I‘m on his side. 

GEIST:  Don‘t jump in the Duce‘s arm; that‘s a lesson right there.  Well, Tucker, it‘s not enough to just play poker anymore.  The real gamblers nowadays play extreme poker.  Six such gamblers pulled up a chair around a poker table suspended over a 300-foot cliff in Sydney, Australia, today.  Yikes. 

The winner advanced to the extreme poker under water finals in the Caribbean later this year.  The extreme poker series has also held games in the Arctic Circle and also flying at 3,000 feet over a Nevada desert.  Tucker, it seems like they attach the word extreme to anything these days.  There is extreme ironing.  There really is an extreme ironing competition in London, where people climb trees and quickly iron.  They go river rafting and quickly iron. 

Extreme?  I don‘t know.  At what point does it not become extreme anymore? 

CARLSON:  I know that when al Qaeda accuses western civilization of being decadent and pursuing pointless, trivial things at the expense of what really matters, I don‘t know what they‘re talking about. 

GEIST:  Yes.  Danny Bonaduce, we have Reality TV Awards and people are gambling at 3,000 feet. 

CARLSON:  We‘re going to first to go when they take over. 

GEIST:  It‘s so true.  Well, Tucker, I don‘t know how closely you‘ve been following the Republican race, but it turns out Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York during the attacks of September 11.  A little nugget from the campaign trail for you.  Last week Giuliani went back to the 9/11 well to explain that now-infamous phone call he took from his wife during a speech to the NRA.  He said that since 9/11, the two call each other before each and every flight. 

Well now Rudy would like to drop the subject.  No, not 9/11.  The phone call.  He told reporters of that bizarre communication, if I had chased all of these frivolous issues, I never would have turned around the deficit in New York City.  I never would have reduced crime, welfare.  And, here it comes, I wouldn‘t have been able to handle September 11th

So if he‘d chased issues like answering phone calls from his wife, he never would have been able to handle September 11th

CARLSON:  It‘s good point.  9/11, excuse me, sorry.   

GEIST:  Remarkable that he weaves it into almost every sentence he makes now. 

CARLSON:  Unbelievable.  He‘s the one who did it in the first place. 

GEIST:  It‘s like becoming a parody of itself.  It‘s this narrative that he‘s just going with at this point.  It‘s too late, I guess. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  Finally, Tucker, we know that George Clooney is backing Barack Obama in this presidential campaign, but who is his “Ocean‘s 11” buddy Brad Pitt supporting?  Well, Pitt says he wants Clooney to run.  The man who makes up one half of Brangelina tells “Parade Magazine” that Clooney would be a good president.  He also says he wouldn‘t mind seeing Ben Affleck take a shot at the White House.  Maybe a Clooney/Affleck ticket, if you listen to Brad Pitt.

Do you think they could make a run at it, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  Hollywood bubble heads, maybe.  But I‘ve met both those guys and I can tell you this, I would vote for them much quicker than I‘d vote for Hillary Clinton. 

GEIST:  Well, that‘s not saying much. 

CARLSON:  You say that‘s crazy, Ben Affleck for president.  Hillary Clinton is going to win otherwise, so I‘m for it. 

CARLSON:  And also, Clooney gets the female vote and he kind of has the man crush vote too, so he might be good. 

CARLSON:  Speaking of man crushes, Willie, you‘re mine.  Willie Geist, thanks Willie.  That does it for us today.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, Chris on “HARDBALL.”  We‘ll be back tomorrow.  See you then.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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