updated 12/12/2007 4:51:48 PM ET 2007-12-12T21:51:48

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR:  By most of the standard measures—polls, money, press, and perceived trajectory—it is less and less clear that Hillary Clinton is still the Democratic frontrunner and Barack Obama, her challenger.  Where does the race stand today? 

Welcome to the show live from headquarters in New York. 

It was Bill Clinton who perfected the art of celebrity alliances but this weekend it was Barack Obama who went nuclear in the endorsement race.  Oprah Winfrey stumped for him in three key early primary states.  Before 23,000 people on a football stadium in South Carolina, Oprah made Obama‘s case before an adoring crowd.  Here‘s part of it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: You got sense enough to recognize that the amount of time a person spends in Washington doesn‘t mean a thing unless they‘re accountable for the judgments they made with that time.  We need good judgment.  We need Barack Obama. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Facing the Obama publicity card, Mrs. Clinton went down home on the stump introducing her daughter and her 88-year-old mother to the 2008 campaign trail.  And so it was Obama‘s Warren Beatty to Clinton‘s Wilford Brimley over the weekend, and the public is left to speculate about the near-term impact of it all if any. 

Now that we‘ve lived it, Mort Zuckerman and Richard Cohen join us for what it means.  Is Barack Obama rising or is he cresting?  And how will Oprah Winfrey actually affect the balloting just three weeks from now?  And what exactly is Hillary Clinton doing to stem the Obama tide which appears to be growing?  Is her campaign in panic mode?  It sounds so. 

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani met the press on Sunday and his response to at least one direct question was to ignore it.  Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM RUSSERT, HOST, MEET THE PRESS:  Would it be appropriate for the president to provide Secret Service protection for his mistress? 

RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  It would not be appropriate to do it for that reason, Tim.  And that isn‘t the right way to analyze this as I say this.  The reason it‘s done is because somebody threatens to do harm and the people who assess it come to the conclusion that is necessary to do this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Giuliani has both charm and hoots, but two valuable qualities as well is an impressive resume.  But Republican primary voters apparently favor character and morality.  Will the party‘s real decision makers let Giuliani slide on issues of fidelity and propriety?  We‘ll see. 

Or will Republican continue to rise of the anti-Giuliani, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.  On a closer press scrutiny for his role on the early release of a convicted rapist and for his 1992 comments about the AIDS epidemic, Huckabee credits God Almighty for his remarkable ascend in the polls.  Divine or not, will Huckabee‘s campaign withstand the scrutiny of his new record. 

The race for both parties nominations are bursting with intrigue and we begin in a moment with acts from the Democratic side and Obama‘s big weekend. 

But first we want to take you live to Colorado where there is a press conference in progress now. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The question and answer session is done, we are expecting some representatives from New Life Church to also be here as well.  So with that I will turn it over to Chief Richard Myers. 

Thank you all for being here this afternoon.  First off I would like to express the gratitude of the Colorado Springs Police Department to our community for their patience yesterday.  For several hours, we were under what we refer to as tactical alert and literally dozens and dozens of calls for service went unanswered.  We asked the community for their patience and support and they showed that and we appreciate the cooperation of our community. 

We‘d also like to thank our many partners yesterday who participated in managing this event.  First and foremost, with us all the way were our colleagues at the Colorado Springs Fire Department who provided tremendous medical support as well as infinite command wisdom and assistance. 

Sheriff Terry Maketa and his staff from the El Paso County Sheriff‘s Office were very helpful at several levels.  The El Paso County Coroner‘s Office, Dr. Box(ph), was most cooperative and continued into today with the autopsies.  El Paso County District Attorney John Newsome and his staff were on the scene and providing us assistance and expertise. 

We also enjoyed the partnership and assistance from some of our federal colleagues, the FBI and the ATF sent agents both from their Denver office as well as the Colorado Springs office.  I would like to commend the initial responders, police and fire, as well as our dispatchers, who were extremely professional and effective in the initial stages of what, as you can imagine was quite a chaotic scene. 

We also would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Works family and to the entire New Life Church family.  We‘re grateful to Pastor Boyd and his staff for their assistance and corporation throughout the day and into today.  This was a crime scene that was large and complex.  And our first priority was to secure the safety of the public, of the first responders and of our investigators. 

The searches were challenging due to the size of the campus as well as the presence of suspicious canisters which later were determined to be smoke devices.  Now the team of investigators have interviewed hundreds of witnesses and we‘ve taken countless phone calls today as well.  So this has been a very dynamic situation and we appreciate the patience of the media. 

We did push this press conference back because we did have some breaking information that we felt was going to be important to get out to you and to the public.  At this time I‘d like to turn it over to Sergeant Jeff Jensen who has been supervising the investigation of this incident.  Jeff? 

CARLSON:  All right.  That press conference is continuing.  We‘re going to continue to monitor it throughout the evening.  But first we‘re going to tell you more about what happened in Iowa yesterday where Oprah Winfrey mounted the stump for Barack Obama. 

Joining me now, Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of the “U.S. News and World Report,” and chairman and publisher of the “New York Daily News,” and the “Washington Post” columnist, Richard Cohen.  Welcome to you both. 

Mr. Cohen, you were just in Iowa yesterday and saw Obama and Oprah together. 

RICHARD COHEN, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Right. 

CARLSON:  What was your impression? 

COHEN:  Well, I was very impressed.  It was a phenomenal event.  There was 18,500 people in Des Moines coming out on a very cold day with treacherous roads. It was kind of snowy and icy out there.  And it‘s Iowa.  I mean, it was—you know, 18 and a half people and maybe several hundred black people or minorities or whatever it is.  The whitest crowd you can imagine, all of them deeply, deeply coming out to see Oprah, impressed by Oprah, willing to accept Oprah‘s endorsement because they believe in Oprah and Obama is rising. 

The psyche guys, I mean, there‘s no question that his campaign is on fire, that he‘s connecting with the audience.  You could see it in the polls, but you could see it also in the crowd of people that came there.  I thought it was a dynamic event and a real kind of, you know, kind of an explosive lift off to his campaign.  And don‘t forget, this campaign is going to freeze in about a week and a half because of Christmas. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COHEN:  So there isn‘t a month to go, there‘s much less time, and I think this trajectory that he‘s on may carry him across the finish line. 

CARLSON:  You couldn‘t write it better.  I mean, if you were script it into a narrative, you know, when do you peak?  This will be—literally this weekend would be the time.  Sixty-six thousand people, his campaign is saying, went to both those events.  Many of them left their e-mail addresses.  They can be volunteers and donors in the future. 

Is this the crest of the Obama wave or is this the beginning? 

MORT ZUCKERMAN, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT” EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:  No, it‘s not the crest at all and it‘s not just the 66,000 people who attended the events, although that‘s a critical ingredient.  She‘s being in television, local television, state television, national television.  It‘s just a multiplier effect of her appearance there and I think, as Richard points out, correctly in my judgment, he‘s got all the momentum now and he‘s got the wind in his back that comes from her rhetoric and she is a remarkable, a really unique in American public life. 

She has nine million people who watch her virtually every day and they believe what she says and they believe it again when she talks about Barack Obama.  And in addition to that, she was critical implicitly of Hillary Clinton‘s role in the typical, as she would describe, Washington insider crap. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  That. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And that really—that‘s a double barreled effort on her behalf for him.  So. 

CARLSON:  Well, she hit Hillary right where it hurts. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  Well, you mentioned the (INAUDIBLE) I think of Obama and Oprah as kind of post racial figures, I don‘t think the average person (INAUDIBLE) thinks of them as black figures.  They‘re American figures. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  That‘s why I was struck by Oprah‘s remark in South Carolina and Obama‘s.  First, here‘s Oprah Winfrey at the Obama rally in South Carolina.  Tell me if this sounds like we‘re on her show.  Listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINFREY:  There are those who say that it‘s not his time.  That he should wait his turn.  Think about whether where you‘d be in your life if you‘d waited when the people told you to.  I wouldn‘t be where I am if I waited on the people who told me it couldn‘t be. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now that‘s a heavily black crowd and that‘s a racial pitch, I don‘t think there‘s any mistaking what that is. 

COHEN:  Yes.  This is not something she said, as I recall, in Des Moines, Iowa.  It‘s a little bit of different talk and there‘s a little bit of different cadence.  And I think it is a little bit of a racial pitch. 

Look, I mean, the last poll I looked at, the blacks preferred Hillary. 

I mean there is a—and I think that‘s going to start changing. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

COHEN:  As Obama looks more and more like a winner, black people are going to go with the only black candidate that they‘ve ever seen that could be president of the United States. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Right. 

COHEN:  And I heard somebody I know who‘s black said to me, “If that happens there will be fathers and mothers all over this country who will be taking their kids with them to the polling place to say I am voting for a black person for president of the United States.”  It will be a momentous moment and I think it‘ll be—I mean clearly will be historic. 

CARLSON:  Well, then it‘s over.  I mean if Obama is carrying the majority of the black vote, he‘s carrying every single woman—white woman in America with a master‘s degree.  I don‘t think Hillary can win. 

Is it—I mean it‘s interesting that he has waited until this moment, I haven‘t a key—had it quoted, we don‘t have time to play it—but basically likening his own candidacy to the figures in the civil rights movement.  He hasn‘t said things like this up until this point. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, in South Carolina, roughly half the voters. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  .in the Democratic primary are black. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And in a sense, a lot of the black vote was going to Hillary Clinton as a result of the memories of what it was like when Bill Clinton was president.  And so this was a key constituency for him to, in a sense, regain or gain for his candidacy.  And I think without question, Oprah made it possible for him to do that not just in the language and the cadence, because just her very presence there because she symbolizes what can be done by a black person in America.  And I think that is exactly the message that he is trying to convey.  So it‘s just a clean sweep across the buoy so. 

CARLSON:  Absolutely.  The coalition is a young white liberals. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  .and black voters.  He‘s going to be the Democratic nominee if that holds. 

COHEN:  And listen, Tucker, this is nothing terribly new.  I remember being with Hubert Humphrey when he was running for president. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COHEN:  And Humphrey talked one way in Michigan about bussing and another way in the south about bussing.  This is standard operating procedure. 

CARLSON:  That was pre-blog era, I will point out. 

COHEN:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  We were with Woodrow Wilson in his campaign. 

CARLSON:  Look what happened to him.  Coming up, “Mad Money‘s” very own Jim Cramer is here to give us a take on the Bush mortgage bailout and a warning about a possible recession. 

And then, does God himself have free time to help Mike Huckabee‘s presidential campaign?  He may.  Details in a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Worried about the mortgage crisis?  How a recession looming.  Stick around.  “Mad Money‘s” Jim Cramer is here to tell us what‘s going to happen next in the economy.  That‘s coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  No one‘s yet predicting a depression and yet there are signs the economy is headed south and quickly.  Corporate profits are being hammered. The Bush administration is bailing out lenders and some troubled homeowners and voters increasingly are setting economy as their top concern even above Iraq. 

Are we heading for a recession? 

Here‘s to tell us is the host of CNBC‘s “Mad Money” and the author of “Stay Mad for Life:  Get Rich, Stay Rich, Make Your Kids Even Richer,” the legendary Jim Cramer. 

Jim, welcome.  Are we headed for a recession? 

JIM CRAMER, CNBC:  If the Federal Reserve does not cut at least 50 bases points a half point tomorrow, I am confident we will be a recession this time next year. 

CARLSON:  Well, if they do, aren‘t we going to wind up with inflation? 

CRAMER:  No, because we actually have a deflationary spiral going on.  When you‘re house loses value by the month, and you‘re house represents your principal asset, we can only describe that deflationary.  It‘s what we saw go into the Great Depression. 

CARLSON:  So the Fed has that much control.  It all depends on the schedule. 

CRAMER:  Oh, absolutely.  You know, they don‘t want to admit that they have it and I‘m sure Congress wishes it were more powerful.  I think the president wishes he were more powerful.  The Federal Reserve has it within its ability to cut rates dramatically, therefore allow the banks to make a lot of money and then take the heavy charges that they need to make without wiping themselves out. 

CARLSON:  So I look at the White House bailout or attempted bailout, would be bailout of the subprime mortgage mess as saying, “Well, gee, you know, how is that fair?  You borrowed too much on your home, you can‘t pay it back, now the rest of us are left holding the bag.” 

CRAMER:  Well, this is one of those where we need to pay now or pay later.  If the Federal Reserve cut a lot, then that would happen is this wouldn‘t amount to much of a bailout.  And by the way, I know that the administration rejects that term.  I reject it, too, provided things stay where they are.  But if we let things spiral—because we don‘t have this plan, we‘ll be paying—we‘ll probably have to raise 500 billion.  This plan could save a couple of hundred billion.  I do not want a resolution trust again like we had in 1990. 

CARLSON:  But was it—I mean, why would—I mean just give me the Cliff‘s Note version of why the federal government needed to step in at any level?  People borrowed more than they can pay or sign bad loans?

CRAMER:  Oh, what I think is (INAUDIBLE)

CARLSON:  Why does—why do taxpayers have to be involved? 

CRAMER:  Because there are a lot of major financial institutions that are basically insolvent.  That does not mean bankruptcy.  But if we took all the bad loans they have, there‘s no way that the bank examiners would possibly let them pass muster. 

These are major banks including ones that probably you and I bank at and some really big what‘s known as government service enterprises, all these are technically insolvent if we took all the bad loans. 

Now, because of the president‘s plan, the bank examiners don‘t have to be able to go in there and say you need to raise capital.  As it is, there are so many banks that are close to failing.  It‘s a godsend that they do this plan.  We don‘t want to bail out all the banks like we had to do in 1990. 

CARLSON:  And we would have to, you‘re convinced if they didn‘t. 

CRAMER:  Oh, absolutely.  No, no, things are much worse than the Federal Reserve has ever understood it to be.  The Federal Reserve, I try not to be too critical, but in “Mad Money” we called them as we see them, this Federal Reserve has really been well behind the curb.  They‘ve actually been, what I would tell you is initially they were good.  And ever since then they have allowed this to happen. 

Don‘t forget, the Federal Reserve was all behind all these fancy mortgages that are tearing people. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

CRAMER:  I like what the president‘s doing.  He‘s doing the smart thing. 

CARLSON:  Ha.  “Leave Your Kids Even Richer.”  What are the two things you can do right now to leave your kids even richer? 

CRAMER:  OK.  For the holidays, I want you to give each kid one share of stock.  Get them involved now, not like savings bonds that I got which never had any attraction whatsoever.  And, here‘s a little controversial one: save money to pay for them when they go to college.  Don‘t leave them burdened with hundreds of thousands of dollars with a debt.  Let them come out clean so they can start making money from day one. 

CARLSON:  What‘s the easiest way to save money for them for college? 

CRAMER:  The 529 placer is unbelievable. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

CRAMER:  I am a little personal fan in this, Tucker.  There‘s so many ways to save money.  You got to take advantage. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that completely. 

CRAMER:  Thanks. 

CARLSON: Jim Cramer, a wise man.  Thanks a lot. 

CRAMER:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, Republicans are finally taking aim at Hillary Clinton directly in campaign spot.  The question is: will the New York senator hurt her fellow Democrats this season? 

That‘s the idea then.  Did Mike Huckabee really suggested quarantine for AIDS patients.  Details on that ahead. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It has taken a little bit longer than most of us thought it would.  Republicans have started to focus on Senator Hillary Clinton as political enemy in number one in new ads.  Clinton‘s image is beginning to show up in congressional campaign ads with questions like are her values your values? 

As Republicans—paint they Democratic opponents as, quote, “just like Hillary.”  Will it work?  And more to the point, what does it say about Hillary‘s chances in a general election. 

Back with us, editor-in-chief of the “U.S. News” and even more important, chairman of the “New York Daily News,” Mort Zuckerman, and “Washington Post‘ columnist Richard Cohen. 

Mark, it seems to me, this—I‘m not sure but there‘s a special election there in Virginia for congressional seat of Congressman Davis died and so they‘re filling that and his ads are being used on there right now. 

It seems to me, though, these are more likely to spook the Democrats, many of whom like Hillary Clinton but they feared this.  They fear that she will hurt their chances in a ‘08. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, listen, you know, she‘s always had the highest negatives of any one of the Democratic candidates, and the Zogby poll and who would you never vote for as president. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  I mean she came in with 50 percent.  Nobody came close to her.  So this is part of the natural concern of the Democrats that they don‘t want a loser at this stage of the game, and it shouldn‘t be a loser given the fact that if there ever was a natural electoral victory for a Democratic Party, it‘s right now with the Bush elected. 

CARLSON:  If the Democrats lose this, I mean, they need to fold the party and just go do something else.

ZUCKERMAN:  That‘s right. 

CARLSON:  Sell insurance or something.  They can‘t win - seriously, if you can‘t win this presidential election as a Democrat.

COHEN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  You know?  Where does this idea of Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy being inevitable come from? 

COHEN:  Well, it comes from a couple of things.  One is that she‘s got great name recognition and she had the biggest, you know, treasury.  She raised money like, you know, it keeps going out of style.  And she‘s is a terrific—I mean not, not terrific campaign and she‘s very steady campaigner. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

COHEN:  She doesn‘t make mistakes.  And that was always the book on her that she just keeps coming.  She‘s sort of like the little engine that could, and she won in New York twice on that basis, but what people didn‘t notice, I don‘t think, is that when she won in New York State, even the second time around, she ran behind Chuck Schumer, and nobody talks about Chuck Schumer as a presidential candidate. 

CARLSON:  No, no one does. 

COHEN:  And she ran against nobody. 

CARLSON:  Mrs. Schumer does, but other than that. 

COHEN:  Yes.  I mean, she‘d beaten nobody but you knew as a wonk can‘t even say who she beat.  Time‘s up. 

CARLSON:  The former mayor of someplace who was actually sort of a nice guy who. 

COHEN:  Lou Michelle(ph). 

CARLSON:  Lou Michelle, there you go. 

COHEN:  OK.  Right. 

And yet she ran against—she didn‘t run as well as Chuck Schumer, so she‘s not the formidable campaigner everybody makes her out to be.  She‘s just a good steady person.  She‘s got a great staff.  They are seasoned.  They‘re really good at what they do.  So the result was that everybody would think that she‘s the frontrunner and for a long time she was. 

CARLSON:  And now, apparently, that‘s right, Mort, you know, I suspect, all the people—many of the people in the Clinton campaign.  There‘s a report today in Bloomberg on the wire service saying that that campaign has begun to fight with itself and that many advisers in the campaign are mad because the former president, her husband, has not helped.  In fact, he‘s hurt, they believe.  Have you heard about anybody in the Clinton campaign? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Yes, for sure.  And one of the things that I must say I find astounding for a man who has had the reputation deservedly in being one of the shrewdest political operatives of the country, when the President Clinton said that he didn‘t support the Iraq war, it just brought to mind once again all of the inconsistencies and the double—trying to play both ends against the middle of the Clintons. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And this, again, reminds everybody of why people are concerned to have the Clintons back in the White House, so there‘s a lot of controversy.  He is apparently upset with the way her campaign is being run.  I think that‘s a bit unfair.  The fact is that Obama has really caught the momentum and the wind for reasons independent of Hillary, in my judgment, and, yet, what happens under this pressure in a campaign, everybody starts blaming everybody else. 

CARLSON:  But he has hurt her.  It‘s not just about sex.  It‘s—he can‘t control the way he speaks.  That‘s the real problem. 

COHEN:  Well, he has hurt her because—Mort is absolutely right as always, when he said because it raised the spectrum once again of Clinton being too slick.  But the other thing is for those of us who watched the Clinton White House in Washington operate, you wouldn‘t say here we go again, where there are two, three centers of power.  When Clinton was president, there was Clinton, there was Hillary, and there was Al Gore, and the reason Al Gore couldn‘t function well was because of Hillary. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COHEN:  And you don‘t want to do that again.  You don‘t want to say, no, we‘re going to have a President Hillary and a vice president somebody else and then there‘s going to be Bill Clinton, and what is he going to be?  Super president?  Assistant president?  I mean, it doesn‘t work well, it doesn‘t sit well with me.  It‘s organizationally sloppy. 

CARLSON:  That is such a—do you agree with that? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Yes, well, I‘m not sure.  I mean I think inevitably Clinton—Bill Clinton is much more popular within the Democratic Party. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  .than he is in the country at large.  I mean, he still carries with him a lot of that, and the big organization—and she, in addition to that, is not just a recognized name.  She‘s a rock star as a practical matter. 

CARLSON:  But I bet by the end of this campaign a lot of people will be mad, within the Democratic Party, mad, I bet you. 

ZUCKERMAN:  For sure.  For sure.  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  Rudy Giuliani meets the press on Sunday morning for the first time in more than three years.  He faces tough questions about his business practices as well as security for his girlfriend.  How did he do?  We‘ll tell you. 

And then the Clinton campaign reportedly is furious with Bill Clinton.  He may be doing more damage to his wife‘s chances than even Oprah.  We‘ll give you the dynamic next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  I want to take you now live to a press conference under way in Colorado.  We‘re going to hear from a security officer, Jeanne Asam.  Here‘s she is. 

JEANNE ASAM, SHOT COLORADO ATTACKER:  I took cover and I waited for him to get closer, and I came out of cover, identified myself and engaged him and took him down, and that‘s pretty much it. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  He says you‘re a heroine.  Do you agree? 

ASAM:  I give the credit to God, and I mean that—I say that very humbly.  God was with me, and the whole time I was behind cover.  This has got to be God because he‘s—because of the firepower that he had and versus what I had was God, and I did not run away, and I didn‘t think for a minute to run away.  I just knew that I was given the assignment to end this before it got too much worse, and I just prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me.  I just said Holy Spirit, be with me.  My hands weren‘t even shaking. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  What do you say to him when you shot him? 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  And what was his response (INAUDIBLE)? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Those—a lot of the details you‘re going to ask are more police questions.  This is still a matter of investigation, as you can imagine.  Given the scope of the investigation, we‘re not going to answer a lot of specific questions about the incident.  What we want you to catch is the spirit of what happened, and this is why I‘m bringing her in front of you today. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hold on.  One question at a time.  Yes? 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  What‘s your prior experience (INAUDIBLE) and have you slept since last night? 

ASAM:  Have not slept, I‘m sure you can tell.  Didn‘t sleep a wink. 

My prior experience is in law enforcement. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  You say your prior experience.  You‘ve never had to draw your weapon before?  If it‘s true, what went through your mind as you were going down that hall?  Not from an investigative standpoint, just from being a person. 

ASAM:  I have had to draw my weapon countless times before in my career, and I‘ve never had to engage so I have never had to fire actual rounds at somebody before. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Are church guards always armed? 

ASAM:  Some are. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  How long have you had armed guards at the church? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Let me answer that.  We have a team of about 12 people that provide security at New Life Church.  On a normal Sunday, about half of them are armed.  They are all licensed.  They are trained.  They are equipped.  They are screened.  But it—obviously, yesterday, if we had not had an armed person on our campus, 50 to 100 people could have lost their lives yesterday. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Have you always had armed guards, or just—is this a recent development? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, always.  The church is 22 years old, so not always, but in the past few years, because of the stature of the church and because of the prominence of the church, we have felt the need for that.  It was in place when I became pastor four months ago, this policy of allowing licensed security guards on our staff.  They‘re members of our church.  These are people who attend and worship at our church. 

These are not mercenaries that we hire to walk around our campus and provide security.  These are people who worship there, who have a sense of ownership at the church, and who are screened and licensed to carry a weapon under the right circumstances. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Jean, this is a question for you.  (INAUDIBLE) guiding you.  Apart from that, (INAUDIBLE) and the suspect, how do you mean specifically (INAUDIBLE).

ASAM:  I was just asking God, bottom line.  God, this is all—this is you because it was—it was that incredible, and I have been on patrol before and had many calls with weapons, but I‘ve never had a situation where it was so loud and it was inside a large building, and it was scary.  I‘ll tell you.  It was scary, and—but it was God.  God was with me and I asked him to be with me, and he never left my side. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Can you talk about what was it like physically being inside there?  Smoking and all people running down the hall? 

ASAM:  Crazy. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  What were you thinking?  And what was it like? 

ASAM:  Honestly, I was very focused and it was chaotic, and it was so loud.  I‘ll never forget the gunshots.  They were so loud.  And I was just focused and I just knew I was not going to wait for him to do any further damage.  I just knew what I had to do. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Are you married?  Do you have kids? 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  (INAUDIBLE) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right here.  Right here. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Are you married and do you have kids?  And do you feel that like this was your calling at that moment when you heard that it was your sole responsibility to take him down? 

ASAM:  I didn‘t.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are married? 

ASAM:  I‘m not married.  I don‘t have any kids.  I‘m not married yet.  I will be someday.  God is going to find me the perfect man.  I‘m saying that in front of all of you.  I don‘t think it was my—I didn‘t think it was my sole responsibility.  I just thought—I didn‘t think about that.  I just thought this was—it was just—it seemed like it was me, and the gunman, and God. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Can you tell us a little bit more about your background, what agency did you work with and for how long? 

ASAM:  I‘m going to let that go for now with all due respect. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  What do you do for a living now?  What do you do for a living now? 

ASAM:  I work for Messenger International.  It‘s John and Lisa DeBeers Ministry.  I have just been there three months, and I was actually—I had just finished—I was finishing a three-day fast.  Sunday was the last—of the third day of my fast, Sunday the day this happened.  I was praying to God that he direct me and guide me in what he wanted me to do for my life because I want to do his will and not my will.  I love being a police officer, and that was the purpose of my fast.  And so I was weak and where I was weak, God made me strong.  He filled me, and he guided me and protected me and many other people, and I‘m honored that God chose me.  I‘m very honored. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Amazing.  That was live from Colorado. 

On NBC yesterday “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert asked candidate Rudy Giuliani about the former mayor‘s apparent habit of using taxpayer money to chauffeur his then girlfriend Judith Nathan.  Giuliani essentially passed on that question.  Russert then asked about Giuliani about his business relationships.  Here‘s part of that exchange. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MEET THE PRESS”)

RUSSERT:  And people could sign up to—for your company in order to influence you if you became president.  Why not just sever ties and put out a list of all your clients? 

GIULIANI:  Well, first of all, I couldn‘t do that.  I mean, I couldn‘t put out a list of all my clients.  There are confidentiality agreements that surround the relationship that businesses have with law firms, in particular.  In some cases with security firms. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Can Giuliani really make it from here to Election Day without revealing who he works with?  We‘ll see. 

In the meantime, we are joined by the editor of “U.S. News and World Report” and chairman and publisher of “The New York Daily News,” Mark Zuckerman and “Washington Post” columnist Richard Cohen. 

Richard, can he make it from here to Election Day without telling us who he works with? 

COHEN:  I don‘t think so.  And I think the public has a right to know this.  I mean I understand confidentiality agreements. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COHEN:  But what Bloomberg—I‘m sorry—what Giuliani is not saying is that he has gone to these people and asked them if they will surrender their confidentiality and then so he can release who they are.  He is not even doing that.  I mean I think that he is being evasive on this issue and I think he is certainly being evasive on the security he supplied his mistress at the time, Judith, and his now wife. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I am willing to believe that none of his clients are sinister and that he does what a lot of people I know do, and—that has clients, and he is not subverting America or anything like that.  But you still—that‘s the convention.  You run for president.  You got to let people know, don‘t you? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, you know, we have laws and standards for what, in effect, has to be released in the way of financial information. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And what he said was, in fairness to him, that if he is the nominee, he will release all of that information.  And the real question is what in addition will he release?  And at this stage of the game, I can understand why he doesn‘t want to release that information.  Let—he‘s going to say, “Wait, I don‘t know whether I‘m going to be the nominee.  When I‘m the nominee, if I am, I‘ll release the information.”  So I have a less critical view of that scenario. 

CARLSON:  Well, I can see why he wouldn‘t want to release it, absolutely.  But so you think this is a provisional statement he is making? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Absolutely. 

COHEN:  But he doesn‘t earn the—he doesn‘t earn the right to do this, as far as I‘m concerned.  The reason that you have to divulge as the nominee is because the public has to know, ought to know. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COHEN:  .who‘s put up your money, and it‘s the same thing in the primary.  It‘s the something that has the same principle.  We ought to know for the primary election who his clients are and who he‘s worked for.  I mean I think working for Qatar, which has been one of his clients, is permissible.  I understand why he would done it but I also know that the old Giuliani would have been all over somebody who worked for Cutter and said there‘s a right and there‘s a wrong, and Qatar was the country that sheltered one of the 9/11 terrorists, and that‘s wrong.  Nobody should work for him. 

CARLSON:  So Andrew Young, the former ambassador of the United Nations under Jimmy Carter and a pretty controversial guy, speaking charitably, was asked this weekend about Bill Clinton and his wife and about Barack Obama and who had the sympathy of black voters.  Here‘s what he said.  Let me read you what he said.  He said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS:  Hillary Clinton, first of all, has Bill behind him, and Bill is every bit as black as Barack.  He is probably gone with more black women than Barack. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  So, Mort, as you make up your mind about who you are going to support in the Democratic primaries, how does that information factor into your decision making? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Look, I have to say I‘m just astonished by that comment.  I mean, there‘s just no way that anybody can describe it other than being totally bizarre and totally ridiculous if I may say so.  I mean, I—Bill Clinton used to be described as the first black president of the United States. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  He had an empathy for the African-American community, whether it was because he came from the south or what have you, I don‘t really know, but he certainly had it, and he had that religious cadence in the way that he spoke to them. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And if you saw him at the funeral of Coretta Scott King you got a sense of the way he was able to talk to that community.  However, with all due respect, Bill Clinton is not as black as Barack Obama, in the first place. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And in the second place, whether Bill Clinton slept with black women or not, I don‘t know, but to bring it up in this context, even in humor, it‘s so counterproductive that it leaves me aghast. 

CARLSON:  Oh, it‘s beautiful. 

ZUCKERMAN:  I‘m thrilled if he did it because if the writers strike wasn‘t on, the—Jay Leno and David Letterman would take this comment apart and we would never hear the end of it.  So it‘s just absolutely astounding that he did this. 

CARLSON:  It‘s really just the beginning.  That‘s a about it. 

Richard. 

ZUCKERMAN:  (INAUDIBLE) wouldn‘t make it up. 

CARLSON:  Speaking of the writers strike and things that might make it on to late night television were it not for that writers strike, Mike Huckabee was asked recently, “Why you‘re doing so well?”  I mean, his numbers really are remarkable.  It came out of nowhere.  Most people who followed this up didn‘t anticipate it, and he was asked by someone, “To what do you attribute your recent success,” and here‘s what he said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE ®, PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  There‘s only one explanation for it and it‘s not a human one.  It‘s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people, and that‘s the only way that our campaign can be do what it‘s doing.  And I‘m not being facetious nor am I trying to be trite.  There are literally thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  I kind of believe him.  I don‘t see another good explanation for it.  I think God may be on Mike Huckabee‘s side. 

COHEN:  Well, my sources say he is wrong.  God is not on his side.  I think thank God for Bloomberg, what do you say?  I think this kind of language is really out of bounds because you can‘t argue with it, you can‘t talk about it, it‘s not political discourse as we know it.  It‘s about belief.  And questions about belief ought not to be in politics.  I think Huckabee has several times now crossed the boundary and gone into religious matters, and he ought to not do that.  I mean, this is very dangerous stuff. 

We are a country of many religions and many sects and kind of—we believe in together in the American religion which is a civic religion.  This guy believes in a particular religion.  He‘s gone after Romney on his own religion, and in a not too subtle way, and I think he ought to stop it. 

CARLSON:  He is a Baptist preacher, though, and people even—I notice people in the press who have never been to church or aren‘t Christians, they love Mike Huckabee.  I mean, he seems to be popular among liberals despite his religious background. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, I tell you, not to take anything away from him, and every time at least that I have seen him, and I have only seen him on television, I think there was something about him that comes through which is very appealing on the medium of television.  And that is what has worked for him on those television debates. 

There‘s a kind of authenticity, a person who is comfortable in his own skin, and a person with a sense of humor, and he is, after all, a Baptist preacher, and, therefore, he‘s going to speak in terms—I don‘t necessarily agree with, but it is a part of who he is, and he is coming across very comfortably as who he is, and I think that‘s a big part of his appeal. 

It‘s certainly not on the basis of his policy prescriptions since nobody knows what they are, by and large. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  It is really on the basis of his personality and that is what works for him, and that is a big part of who he is.  That is his religion. 

CARLSON:  We‘re about to find out what they are. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  That will be interesting.  Mort, Richard, thank you both very much. 

COHEN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Well, the battle over America‘s borders are shaping up to be an uphill battle for Republicans in the race for the White House.  Can candidates get tough from border security without alienating potential Hispanic voters? 

And Al Gore already had an Academy Award and an Emmy.  Today, he made room for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Willie Geist joins us with more on Gore‘s big year on the red carpet. 

All that and more coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  A recent poll found Hispanic voters favor Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 57-23 percent.  That‘s down dramatically from the last presidential election. 

Are the candidates‘ positions on illegal immigration to blame and is there any way to call for secure borders without alienating Hispanic voters? 

Joining me now is “The New Yorker‘s” Ryan Lizza, who writes about this issue in this week‘s magazine. 

Ryan, thanks for coming on. 

RYAN LIZZA, THE NEW YORKER:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  Is there any way for a Republican who are under pressure from their base, even from people who don‘t necessarily vote Republicans, to tighten the broaders to talk about that without alienating Hispanic voters? 

LIZZA:  Well, I thought maybe McCain had the right language after the comprehensive immigration reform fell apart in the Senate.  John McCain told me, you know, that was the reason his campaign sort of imploded the spring, knocked the fundraising and staff intrigue. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIZZA:  You know, and the lesson McCain learned was. 

CARLSON:  I can‘t believe he admitted that.  He is right, I think. 

LIZZA:  Well, because it‘s McCain.  He is a general, he admits these things, right? 

CARLSON:  Yes, he‘s right. 

LIZZA:  Well—and the lesson he learned was, you know, as a Republican, he is not going to back away from the pathway to citizenship and the sort of—the parts of his plan that were controversial to conservatives, but the way is he going to talk about it is in security first.  You know, when he is out on the stump talking about immigration, he talks about securing the border first before he talks about how you deal with the 12 million. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIZZA:  His opponents are talking about the security only, right? 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIZZA:  That‘s their lesson from that debate.  That you don‘t talk about how to deal with those 12 million at all, or—like Mike Huckabee recently, you say, “Well, we‘re going to give them 120 days to go back to where they came from,” which is everyone that studied this realizes that that‘s not an honest way to actually deal with this.  You have to have some plan to deal with the 12 million illegal immigrants that are here. 

CARLSON:  Right.

IZZA:  So I think a lot of the Republicans are just doing the sort of what a lot of Latinos are interpreting as a sort of anti-immigrant, you know, close-the-borders way of talking about it.  And the polling has shown that this has damaged them.  It‘s erased all the gains that George Bush gained since he came on the scene nationally. 

CARLSON:  But what‘s so interesting to me is the people who fund both parties—I hate use the term elite. 

LIZZA:  Right. 

CARLSON:  .but that‘s what they are.  The unions. 

LIZZA:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  .for instance, on the Democratic side, definitely business on the Republican side.  They‘re all open borders.  They‘re all. 

LIZZA:  The unions have switched on this. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  Even though it hurts them, I think.  I mean I think it‘s. 

LIZZA:  Well, it depends.  It‘s one of those things that it‘s industrials versus the. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Right.  You know, it‘s a very complicated argument, I agree, but the point is Democrats and Republicans at the high level are all for illegal immigration. 

LIZZA:  Absolutely.  Yes. 

CARLSON:  And yet, Hispanic voters, at least in polls, seem to blame exclusively the Republican Party itself because—for its immigration (INAUDIBLE). 

LIZZA:  Well, because most of the rhetoric is coming from the Republican side.  This issue has—we‘ve never had an issue that went from not even being talked about in the 2004 presidential debate. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIZZA:  .to being the dominant issue four years later in a presidential primary.  If you go to Iowa, you go to a certain extent New Hampshire and definitely South Carolina. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIZZA:  .every, you know—you cannot go to a town hall forum on the presidential campaign show on the Republican side and not hear a question about immigration.  It‘s a very hot issue. 

CARLSON:  Where is the biggest?  What state? 

LIZZA:  In Iowa  And I think the reason—McCain talked about this in the piece, he said in Iowa he thinks it‘s a bigger deal because it‘s voters who are encountering immigrants, nonwhite immigrants, for the first time. 

Look, if you are in a border state, you are used to having a lot of

Hispanics.  You‘re used to having lots of Latinos.  You may think that we

have a border problem, but you‘re used to Latino population living close

by. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIZZA:  These states like, Iowa, they‘re not—recent immigrant influx is a new thing.  So it‘s become a hotter issue a lot faster.  The meat packing industry has brought a lot of Hispanics. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIZZA:  So that‘s one reason that it‘s really a big deal on Iowa.  And I think that‘s bending the whole field to the right. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIZZA:  ..on this issue. 

CARLSON:  Ryan Lizza, latest issue of “The New York,” your piece. 

LIZZA:  Thanks a lot, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Thank you. 

Barack Obama tries to pay Oprah a compliment at a campaign stop but it turns into a strange morbid story about his wife trying to harm him.  We‘ve heard this before.  Willie Geist explains in person when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back to inside the MSNBC studio where we‘re honored to have us with us today the noted performer and humanitarian Willy Geist.  Willy? 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CO-HOST, “MORNING JOE”:  Tucker, I sit in these chairs every morning usually with a nice woman sitting next to me. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I am not her. 

GEIST:  This is different than that, isn‘t it?  You‘re not her.  No offense. 

CARLSON:  I can‘t stop moving. 

GEIST:  These are the love connection chairs.  Chuck Woolery loaned them to us. 

CARLSON:  I would have worn better trousers had I known. 

GEIST:  I know.  I got some good stuff for you today. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

GEIST:  You remember my old friend Larry Birkhead, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  Vividly, yes. 

GEIST:  All right.  For those of you who don‘t watch cable news, he‘s the man who fathered the daughter of late Anna Nicole Smith, little Dannielynn.  It turns out Mr. Birkhead, though, finds himself a lot more fascinating than Barbara Walters does. 

As you know, Tucker, Walters revealed her 10 most fascinating people of 2007 in a prime time special last week.  Well, someone at ABC gave Birkhead that the impression that he was on the list.  The “New York Daily News” reports Birkhead gathered his friends for a viewing party Thursday night, but the party turned sour when the show ended with no mention of him whatsoever.  Not even honorable mention. 

The paper says Birkhead even alerted the paparazzi that he‘d be out shopping that day so they‘d have some fresh photographs of him when the news broke.  Boy, is that a poignant and heart breaking story? 

CARLSON:  I know. 

GEIST:  Some of the names that did make the list, J.K. Rowling was number one, the Beckhams—Victoria and David Beckham—Justin Timberlake, Hugo Chavez also on the list.  No mention, though, of Larry Birkhead. 

CARLSON:  If you‘ve woken me this morning and said, “Is there any way, even theoretically, you might feel sorry for Larry Birkhead,” I would have said no. 

Now I know I would have been wrong. 

GEIST:  (INAUDIBLE). 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

GEIST:  You know, I see this a different way.  It‘s kind of like you don‘t make George Bush “Time” man of the year.  It‘s too obvious. 

CARLSON:  Right.  He‘s right.  He‘s too famous. 

GEIST:  Of course, he is that important.  But Larry Birkhead, and of course, he‘s fascinating.  You have to be surprising and unpredictable. 

CARLSON:  No, that‘s exactly.  But you‘re not going to sum up the complexity that is Larry Birkhead in a primetime special.

GEIST:  No.  Right, exactly.  Give him five minutes at the end of the show. 

CARLSON:  Come on, that‘s an insult. 

GEIST:  Thanks, no. 

Tucker, you and your panel talking earlier about Oprah and her whirlwind weekend tour with Barack Obama.  Well, anyone who‘s witnessed the frightening spectacle that is the Oprah‘s favorite things show understands the Kim Jong-il level power she wields over her public. 

During a campaign stop, Senator Obama tried to explain Oprah‘s influence with a strange story that involved murder. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  I remember the first time Michelle and I were on the show.  My communications director and I were standing there and we watched her walk out into her audience, and everybody was, you know, ah! And my communications director turned to me and he said, you know, “If she told our wives to kill us. 

(LAUGHTER)

There‘d be blood running in the streets.  That‘s power.  Love Oprah. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  A strange story.  The audience not quite sure how to react, but what makes it really strange is that there‘s an element of truth to it. 

CARLSON:  That our wives are really “Manchurian Candidates” controlled by Oprah. 

GEIST:  Yes.  Yes.  I believe all women are implanted with a chip at birth.  And whatever Oprah says they do.  It‘s proven.  Look at the results. 

CARLSON:  It does touch on a common theme on the “Oprah” show. 

GEIST:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Men are bad. 

GEIST:  Yes, it does.  I thought that was a little odd. 

Finally, Tucker, Al Gore is spending a lot of time in award ceremonies these days.  All over the world.  I assume he‘s using a hand glider to get there so as not to poison of Mother Earth of jet fuel emissions. 

With an Oscar and an Emmy already in his mantel, Gore received his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway today.  Well, he won the award, of course, for his work on climate change. 

During his acceptance speech, Gore said, quote, “It is time to make peace with the planet.” 

Tucker, and even you have to feel good for Al Gore today after all the heart break of losing the White House.  He has three trophies for his case. 

CARLSON:  I feel great.  I feel great.  He is out there harmlessly adoring the trophies. 

GEIST:  Yes, he does. 

CARLSON:  And I‘m totally for it. 

Willie Geist, it‘s so nice to see you. 

GEIST:  Great to you see, Tucker.  Welcome to the studio. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Willie. 

That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  We‘re back in Washington tomorrow.  Up next “HARDBALL.”  Have a great night. 

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

END   

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