updated 1/18/2008 2:49:43 PM ET 2008-01-18T19:49:43

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR:  As Mike Huckabee and John McCain cram for Saturday‘s primary exam in South Carolina, the campaign tricks are getting dirtier and the polls are getting tighter. 

Welcome to the show. 

Two days from the first southern primary of the campaigns, South Carolina looks like the rest of the country on the Republican side—deeply uncertain.  And the McCain campaign, which was submarined in part by brutal politics in the 2000 South Carolina primary eight years ago, once again encounters the nastiest sort of attacks when affiliated groups question the senator‘s conduct while he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.  McCain‘s own truth squad is set about defending him but that squad can‘t fight the appeal of Mike Huckabee to South Carolina‘s voters, particularly its evangelicals. 

In a moment the Republican governor of that state, Mark Sanford, who has not endorsed anybody, joins us with his view of Saturday‘s South Carolina contest. 

Meanwhile the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continued both rhetorically and in a courtroom today as Mrs. Clinton published her theme of uber confident technocrat Obama invoked the name of a legendary delegator of responsibility, Ronald Reagan. 

Meanwhile a court ruled that Las Vegas‘s hotels and casino workers whose union picked Obama can, in fact, caucus inside of the big hotels on the strip.  That court case, which was brought by the teachers union that supports Hillary Clinton, would seem to favor Obama‘s chances in Nevada on Saturday. 

So what are today‘s development lead in the Democratic race? 

Pat Buchanan and Bill Press are here to weigh in. 

We begin with the Republicans in South Carolina where John McCain and Mike Huckabee run very close ahead of the field with about 49 hours left before polls close there. 

Joining me now is the governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford. 

Governor, thanks for coming on. 

GOV. MARK SANFORD ®, SOUTH CAROLINA:  Pleasure. 

CARLSON:  So you, as I remember very well, were a big John McCain man eight years ago.  You traveled with him all through the state and I think other states as I remember.  You seem to be a friend of John McCain‘s.  Why haven‘t you endorsed him this time? 

SANFORD:  Well, you‘ve got to be where you are in life.  And when all this began more than a year ago and you begin to have talks with different candidates, different friends, what I had to look at was: could I put a piece of the next year of my life into a presidential campaign when I had an awfully full plate here in South Carolina, both with the job at hand and four boys at the house and everything else? 

I elected to stay out because to have done so would have meant I‘d had to take something else off the plate.  And I‘m watching like everybody else here in South Carolina.  It‘s indeed going to be a race right down to the finish. 

CARLSON:  Well, you could, presumably, just you‘re a popular governor, you could just say, “You know what? I liked John McCain then, I like him now, I‘m personally going to vote for him.” 

Has McCain changed in any way, do you think, in the last eight years that has turned you off? 

SANFORD:  No, no, no.  This isn‘t about John.  It‘s been about, again, a very full plate in life.  And literally do you take something off to put that on?  That‘s where I was a year ago.  And then the question becomes now when you get in the last couple of hours of a race is, given the number of people that I have talked to over this last year, and I‘ve said saying I‘m staying out of this race, I‘ve got to honor that commitment. 

And so I got to be where I am, I got to stay where I am.  But what I would say about this race, in fairness to John and frankly a number of the other candidates in it here as we go into the final hour, is that what is important, and I beg of this of South Carolinians, is not to fall prey to a lot of these really lousy tactics that are employed at the end stages of the campaign. 

I‘ve been subject to them in my own campaigns.  And one of the horrible vestiges of Lee Atwater who sort of began this notion of—I guess it‘s been around as long as politics have been around, but to begin this notion of ends justifying the means is to, you know, have (INAUDIBLE) Vietnam group that appears in the last week of a campaign saying, “I don‘t know about what this guy did when he‘s a POW,” I think that crosses a line is (INAUDIBLE) all right. 

CARLSON:  So you think there‘s something about South Carolina politics that‘s tougher than other states.  You just mentioned South Carolina native Lee Atwater. 

SANFORD:  Yes.  I mean I look in terms of the (INAUDIBLE) to begin that process, employed it very, very successfully in a number of national races around the country and more local races.  You know, on his deathbed, though, because he ultimately—unfortunately got a terminal (INAUDIBLE) then dead, he ended up going back to some of those folks and saying, “I‘m sorry for what I did.” 

The point is not him, the point is not his legacy, the point is (INAUDIBLE) tomorrow and come Saturday, it‘s important that people here in South Carolina. 

CARLSON:  All right. 

SANFORD:  .and for that (INAUDIBLE) the country (INAUDIBLE). 

CARLSON:  Governor, I‘m afraid the satellite has gone down and we‘ve lost contact with you.  I want to thank, though, the governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford who‘s just joining us from that state. 

We want to welcome now Bill Press and Pat Buchanan who‘ve been sitting here listening along. 

Mark Sanford had a really, and I was about to ask him this before the satellite went down, had a really interesting piece in the state, which is one of the big papers in South Carolina, and it was about, of all people, Barack Obama. 

I want to put up a quote from what the governor—Republican governor of South Carolina wrote about Obama, quote, “Within many of our lifetimes a man who looked like Barack Obama had a difficult time even using the public rest rooms in our state.  What is happening may well say a lot about America and I do think as an early primary state we should earnestly shoulder our responsibility in determining how this part of history is ultimately written.” 

Now, that‘s an endorsement it sounds to me.  He‘s saying to Democrats, vote for Barack Obama because it‘s good. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes.  This is a fellow with national ambitions, I think, Sanford is.  I think one of the reasons he didn‘t endorse is he might be considered a good vice presidential candidate by a lot of people.  And the idea that he‘s speaking highly of Barack Obama, first it is—frankly it is a historic moment and he‘s speaking the truth just like Barack Obama spoke the truth today when he said Ronald Reagan changed American history, changed the trajectory of American history. 

I think when you speak the truth across party lines, about whether we‘re talking about FDR, whether you agreed with him or not, or this or what he said about Barack Obama, I think it helps a political leader and this helps Sanford. 

CARLSON:  I absolutely agree with that.  I am struck again—I‘m struck every day by the same fact, Bill, and that is all this nice talk about Barack Obama, who on paper screaming liberal.  He‘s a real liberal.  Not a kind of liberal, he‘s a liberal. 

All these conservatives say nice things say nice things about Barack Obama. 

BILL PRESS, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST:  He‘s inspirational candidate.  He‘s a transformational candidate.  I agree with Pat.  And we were going to talk about this later, his comments about Ronald Reagan.  And I think Mark Sanford is—genuinely admires the job that Barack Obama is doing, the message that he‘s putting out there, and I think he‘s also thinking about his population of South Carolina, obviously, with a heavy black population and he‘s saying nice things about them because he‘s looking at his own political future. 

CARLSON:  Interesting.  I suspect Mark Sanford is not getting a lot of those votes within his own state. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.  Right. 

CARLSON:  But if he. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I‘ve always thought, by the way, Mark Sanford—you know, why not Mark?  Why doesn‘t Mark Sanford ran for president? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, he‘s in competition with Lindsey Graham. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  And he was cheered at a state convention where Lindsey Graham was booed after he came out with that McCain amnesty bill, that McCain assures us is not amnesty, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, I disagree with McCain and Lindsey Graham.  But it‘s a shame because Lindsey Graham and Mark Sanford are two of the smartest. 

BUCHANAN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  .wittiest, most personable Republicans and both, I think, real conservatives on most issues anyway. 

Well, it‘s a wide open race for the Republican nomination.  John McCain has a win, so does Mitt Romney, so does Mike Huckabee.  Rudy Giuliani is hoping for his in Florida.  Could the nominee be determined at the Republican convention?  Will we wait that long? 

Plus all the Republicans have tried to compare themselves to Ronald Reagan, but they are not alone.  As you just heard Democrat Barack Obama recently did the very same thing.  We‘ll tell you why he did that. 

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The Republicans have done it before, and now a Democrat, Barack Obama, is doing it, comparing himself to President Ronald Reagan. 

What‘s the story there?  We‘ve got details coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  I don‘t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure.  I think, well, part of what‘s different are the times.  I do think that, for example, the 1980 election was different.  I mean, I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not, and in a way Bill Clinton did not. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s one thing to see Republican candidates lionize Ronald Reagan.  That‘s almost required behavior in that party.  But to hear Barack Obama invoke Reagan while describing his own campaign, well, he may have just ventured a new dimension in presidential politics. 

Joining us now to explain what‘s happening, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press. 

You know, Bill, what struck me most—well, one of the things that struck me was the very first line.  “I don‘t mean to present myself as a singular figure.”  Every candidate, by definition, presents him as a singular figure.  To say something like that struck me as a sign of emotional health that you don‘t typically see in a candidate, I mean, of security and understatement that I like. 

PRESS:  Or extreme arrogance. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

PRESS:  I think. 

CARLSON:  Oh, well, that‘s a good point. 

PRESS:  But no, what struck me right away is, “I‘m not a singular candidate,” what he‘s saying is, “I‘m part of a great movement,” you know, that‘s going to sweep across this country.  To me that statement was the boldest thing I‘ve ever heard any politician say. 

For him to make himself part of a movement and compare himself to Ronald Reagan, I mean, it is sort of like astounding.  But you know what?  I think he‘s right.  I mean Reagan certainly was a transformational candidate, and person and leader.  And Barack Obama, I think, has the potential to be.  And if Obama can bring and create a class, if you will, a whole division of Obama Republicans. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

PRESS:  .the way Reagan did, Reagan Democrats, I mean, he‘s going to transform—the country is going to transform the party. 

I guess my only hesitation would be, I think you should let others say that about you, not yourself.  And it‘s probably something that‘s best said after you win, not before you win. 

CARLSON:  Or in your obit or something like it. 

Well, you worked for Reagan, what do you think of this? 

BUCHANAN:  I think that the—what Barack—it is a statement of extraordinary self-confidence.  In fact, he says, you know, “In fact, I‘m not talking about myself.”  He is. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  What he‘s saying is, “I‘m modeling, my campaign is modeled much like Ronald Reagan who transformed America and put America on a new trajectory.  And people can certainly say that about FDR.  And he‘s saying, “That‘s the kind of presidency I want.”  And he also got the “and I‘m going to be, that‘s the kind of figure I am.”  And he also got in the shot at Clinton.  Clinton was not one of these transformational figures. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

BUCHANAN:  However, Tucker, the problem with Obama is what you said off camera.  Obama is a down the line, 100 percent, you know, a—whatever it is, liberal.  (INAUDIBLE) liberal.  He votes 100 percent liberal and he‘s going to come—and how is he going to get conservative Republicans?  He talks in grand terms, in terms of intangibles, you know, but when you come down to hard decisions. 

CARLSON:  You‘re right. 

BUCHANAN:   .universal health insurance, he‘s going to go out there, you‘re going to have to fight (INAUDIBLE). 

CARLSON:  I personally think that people—well, you would know since you‘ve run for president, but people change during campaigns.  They do.  The act of describing what you believe every day changes, in fact, what you believe.  Your actions come to match your rhetoric over time. 

BUCHANAN:  He‘s coming to see himself as a transformational (INAUDIBLE). 

CARLSON:  He is.  No.  And not just—listen, this is so interesting.  David Kuhn, very smart guy at “The Politico,” had an interview in July, which I think nobody noticed with Cornell Belcher, who‘s Obama‘s pollster and who said this, quote, “Now it‘s blasphemy for Democrats but the hope and optimism that was Ronald Reagan allowed him to transcend ideological divisions within his own party and that‘s the promise of the Obama campaign.” 

They‘ve been thinking about this, the comparison between their candidate and Ronald Reagan for a long time. 

By the way, very quickly, John Edwards. 

PRESS:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  .came out today, who really is turning out to be the dumb candidate, I believe, in the most mindless partisan way, attacked Obama for even bringing up Reagan‘s name without an epithet attached, like, “How dare you mention Ronald Reagan in a nice way?” 

PRESS:  Well, I would say that that‘s just John Edwards trying to stay part of the conversation. 

But Pat, here‘s what I think I differ with what you said is that I think this could work for Obama, even despite his liberal voting record.  I think people are drawn along with the hope and the inspiration and they‘re not looking at where he stands on the issues. 

BUCHANAN:  You‘re talking politically. 

PRESS:  That‘s the whole point of the campaign. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, you‘re talking politically.  You‘re talking politically. 

PRESS:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  I agree 100 percent.  When he says something, look. 

PRESS:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  .the people that despise Reagan on the left wing aren‘t going to say goodbye Barack Obama.  That was a serious analysis, and a correct one, by Obama.  But my problem, what I‘m saying is, if Obama were elected, this could help him get elected, but if he were elected, I really don‘t see how he could be sort of a Reagan figure, because the country is not where he is at.  He is very, very far on the left.  And that would be revealed and it will be if he gets that nomination. 

CARLSON:  But if he—I mean I absolutely agree with you.  His positions as they have been expressed in voting are not only liberal but more liberal than Hillary Clinton.  But you don‘t think it‘s significant that he‘s at least talking in this kind of bipartisan, open-minded way?  What does that mean?  If he was, like, such a left-wing crazy, would he be able to talk to that way? 

BUCHANAN:  No.  I think that will help him, as I say, in a general election. 

CARLSON:  But voters are reflective of what he believes. 

BUCHANAN:  But here, I mean, look, I‘m a Reaganite, I hear this, and I see the guy is exactly right.  These were transformational figures and he would like to be one of those.  I understand that. 

PRESS:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  It‘s real self-confidence and he said it very smoothly.  And I think it‘s going to help him in an election.  All I‘m saying is, after an election is over, I don‘t think you can build a left coalition that far—beginning that far left. 

CARLSON:  Well, you made (INAUDIBLE) right. 

PRESS:  Just one quickly. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

PRESS:  I hate to rain on his parade, but I still think this is a better general election argument than a primary argument.  It‘s going to piss off some Democrats to hear him. 

CARLSON:  You‘re right. 

PRESS:  .invoke Ronald Reagan.  Again secondly, again, I don‘t think you compare yourself to Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan until you‘re elected.  I think you got to be careful about that. 

CARLSON:  Well, you‘re not—look, if you were in the Illinois state Senate 20 minutes ago and he woke up one the morning and decided, “I‘m more qualified than the other 300 million Americans,” you, obviously, have some awesome self-confidence in the first place. 

PRESS:  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  I mean that says something about how you feel about yourself, I think.  You don‘t have a self-esteem problem at that point. 

Bill Clinton is back on the campaign trail, he‘s back to his old self.  We‘ll show you what happened when a reporter asked a question he didn‘t like. 

Plus Barack Obama‘s spiritual advisor weighs in on the presidential race and in the process refers to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.  We‘ll explain. 

This is MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?  Think again.  That‘s something to remember, by the way, for real. 

Well, today a Nevada judge brushed aside a lawsuit by pro-Hillary forces and ruled that casino workers can, in fact, participate in Saturday‘s caucuses while they‘re on the job.  General consensus is this will help Barack Obama. 

How does former President Bill Clinton feel about that?  We‘ve got the tape. 

But first we welcome back MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press. 

Before we go a moment further, I just want to show you this tape.  This is Bill Clinton at some sort of event, I believe, in California cornered by a local television reporter who asked him about this lawsuit, which the Clinton people said they weren‘t behind, but the supporters were, to stop this voting on the strip in Las Vegas.  Here‘s what Clinton said in response. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:  You asked the question in a accusatory way, so I‘ll ask you about it.  Do you really believe that all the Democrats understood that they had agreed to give everybody that voted at the casino a vote worth five times as much as people who voted in their own precinct?  Did you know that?  Their votes will be counted five times more powerfully in terms of delegates at the state convention than the delegates at the national convention. 

What happens is nobody understood what had happened, they uncovered it.  And now everybody is saying oh, they don‘t want us to vote. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  He goes on to say that, “If you ask that question, it means that you don‘t care about the subprime mortgage meltdown.”  He literally says that, “Because you‘re wasting your time on this frivolous non-sense.” 

I think Clinton—there is a fair point that he‘s attempting to make.  He doesn‘t pull it off.  But this is a complicated process.  There are problems with allowing people to vote at the place of work on the strip on Saturday. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  However, in the end, if you‘re Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton you want to make the case that more people should have the opportunity to weigh in.  It‘s hard to do that and support a lawsuit that prevents people from caucusing at work. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, it sure is.  But the culinary workers, all these other folks, and the working class, Hispanic folks and all the others out there in Vegas are probably a lot of them working in those casinos, and they think you can get sort of bullet voting as you used to be able to get at universities, you know, where a huge comes in and they overwhelm basically the folks outside. 

I think this is what they‘re afraid of, and understandably afraid of.  However, they don‘t want to be, as you suggest, to be seen as on the side sort of an old Republican tactic. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  .who‘s cut down the minority vote. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

PRESS:  You know. 

CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton‘s campaign had a conference call last Friday with casino executives, check this out, to attack Obama for opposing expanding casino gambling in Illinois.  Attacking Obama for being against gambling.  The idea is that‘s going to hurt him in Nevada. 

PRESS:  Look, you know. 

CARLSON:  These people are just—they are, I mean, you can‘t elect him president.  We‘ll have years of this.  Come on. 

PRESS:  Hey, what‘s wrong with you is that every arsenal in your—or every weapon in your arsenal to try to win any state.  I don‘t. 

CARLSON:  That‘s just so sleazy, I get—so Hillary Clinton is the candidate of. 

PRESS:  Come on.  Come on, this is politics.  This is not, you know, the Vatican.  Look, you know, back to this—the Clinton thing.  First of all, guys, I think there are two issues here.  For one, he‘s president of the United States, he should not allow himself to get in a little, you know, tiff. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

PRESS:  .with a local reporter.  I mean I think that‘s pretty clear.  But the whole story of these caucuses is it is complicated.  First of all, I think caucuses are inherently un-Democratic because they disenfranchise so many people, you know, if you‘re serving Iraq, as everybody has said and you‘re from Nevada, you can‘t be vote.  You got to be there. 

CARLSON:  And if you‘re caucusing in your place of work, and your employer has or your, you know, union shop steward has endorsed a certain candidate. 

PRESS:  Right. 

CARLSON:  .are you going to in his face. 

PRESS:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  ..say, “I‘m not caucusing for that person?” 

PRESS:  Plus. 

BUCHANAN:  In caucus you stand up and vote publicly. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

PRESS:  Publicly.  And, by the way, these—special caucuses were set up only in the strip casinos, nine of them.  Not in Reno or Carson City or anywhere else. 

CARLSON:  Only in the casinos that are organized by that union actually. 

PRESS:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  Not in other casinos.  It‘s not. 

PRESS:  And they are weighted so you get more delegates per vote in the casino caucuses than you do if you voted in your precinct out in some suburb. 

CARLSON:  But if the Culinary Workers Union had endorsed Hillary Clinton that—this lawsuit never wouldn‘t have been brought.  It‘s not about principal.  It‘s about pure power politics. 

PRESS:  No.  I think you‘re right.  All I‘m saying is there is a point that the caucuses are inherently, I think, un-Democratic.  And—but the judge said they are going to go forward and Barack Obama is going to benefit because the culinary endorsed Barack Obama. 

CARLSON:  But Pat, Hillary has said that a number of times.  She said that after she left to Iowa, well, the caucuses are not democratic anyway.  They‘re ludicrous and in fact Iowa is kind of an unattractive state and, you know, up there. 

I mean is it wise for a candidate or her campaign to attack the process and attack the state party? 

BUCHANAN:  You probably should do that after the caucuses, not 48 hours ahead of time. 

CARLSON:  You are—you know what?  You ought to be a consultant because that is very wise. 

PRESS:  Have a primary vote in every state where everybody can vote. 

That‘s the (INAUDIBLE). 

CARLSON:  I tend to agree with that. 

Well, John McCain lost South Carolina, speaking of primaries, eight years ago.  New polls show he‘s doing better this time.  The question is: can he hold on to his lead for the next 48 hours? 

Plus Barack Obama could become the first black candidate to represent his party in a presidential election.  And yet most of the black lawmakers on Capitol Hill are not supporting him.  Is that a sign of progress? 

You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come less than 300 days to election day.  Could Mitt Romney be ready to drop out of South Carolina?  John McCain puts his troops on truth patrol on the congressional black caucuses divided over Barack Obama.  We‘ll tell you more about all of it in just a minute.  But first here‘s a look at your headlines. 

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You look out from the right, you‘ll see an America‘s battle with tax cuts for the wealthiest and a war without end.  If you look out to the left, you‘ll see an America with a strong middle class at home and a strong reputation in the world. 

Once we‘ve reached cruising altitude, we‘ll be offering in-flight entertainment, my stump speech in its many variations.  Once again, thank you for joining us on Hill Force One.  We know you have choices when you fly, so we are grateful that you chose the plane with the most experienced candidate. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Looks like a lot of fun.  That was the new Hillary Clinton playing a flight attendant aboard her own plane to a very, very captive audience.  Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic field have raised astounding amounts of money and attracted enormous voter turnout in both Iowa and New Hampshire.  The Republican field may be suffering what the “Politico” is calling the “sofa affect,” that is Republican donors are giving much less enthusiastically.  Republican voters appear to be choosing the sofa over the polling place on election day. 

Can the GOP combat voter ambivalence in time to win in November?  Back with us, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, and nationally syndicated radio talk show host and all around great guy, Bill Press. 

Bill, this piece by John Harrison and Jim Vandehei in the “Politico” today is really, really sobering and probably joy-inducing to you.  Here are a couple of numbers from it; in 2000, 1.6 million Republicans voted in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan.  This year it was 1.2.  Democrat have brought in 60 million more than Republicans in the first nine months of the year, many thousands more donors. 

Here is an interesting poll from Pew, 74 percent of Democrats are looking forward to the primaries, only 49 percent of Republicans are.  Could it be the point where they just don‘t show up because they are so depressed about the state? 

PRESS:  I‘ve got to tell you, as a Democrat, I am so used to being out-spent and out-gunned by the Republicans that I hardly know how to respond to this new phenomenon, but I want you to know, I‘m enjoying it immensely. 

CARLSON:  As a Democrat, you know your party could screw up anyway. 

PRESS:  Of course.  But I think what‘s happening is the party is so dispirited and in such disarray; they look at the economy, the war.  They don‘t see any good signs.  Look at the number of members of Congress, House or Senate, who are resigning rather than run for reelection, across the board.  They know they are in a deep hole and they don‘t see a way out. 

CARLSON:  You mention Congress and you‘re absolutely right.  Pat, check out this statistic; only 22 percent of the 229 Democratic members of Congress had drawn challengers as of September 30th, according to the Campaign Finance Institute.  Nearly 40 percent of Republicans attracted Democratic opponents.  Ouch. 

BUCHANAN:  I think year 2000, the energy on the Republican side was we‘ve got to get rid of Clinton and Gore.  Now the energy is we‘ve got to get rid of Bush-Cheney and get them out of here.  I think that‘s what‘s driving the Democrats.  Of course, Bush‘s unpopularity here, all the candidates out there, the war and now the economy; but I still do believe, when you get down to Hillary or Obama versus Romney or McCain, Republicans still have a shot at holding this White House, because that will bring the conservatives and the Republicans together.  Obama‘s record will do it.  Hillary Rodham Clinton does it naturally.  She bumps her head. 

What do we see up there in Michigan, 50 percent of Democrats voted uncommitted and her name is right there.  

CARLSON:  On black Democrats, I believe it was, 70 percent bothered to go to the polls, even though she was the only person there.  They actually went to the polls, took their time to go to vote against her. 

BUCHANAN:  This is the great hope of the GOP is that you‘ll get one of these two polarizing figures, who can be made polarizing figures.  And if you get somebody up there on the Republican side and say, here is an alternative.  He‘s OK, isn‘t he? 

CARLSON:  You don‘t think there‘s any comparison between Hillary and Obama, do you, in the ability to polarize, or is there? 

BUCHANAN:  Hillary automatically polarizes.  Obama, let me tell you, by the time—he‘s not going to be able to get away with all this mush that he‘s been talking, bringing us together. 

(CROSS TALK) 

PRESS:  Slow down.  I just want to point out that earlier in the broadcast pat called Obama a transformational candidate.  Now he says he‘s a polarizing figure.  Pat, this is a fairy tale. 

Look, the energy is on the Democratic side because the American people want change.  You‘re not going to get change by putting a Republican in the White House. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you, you get Hillary Clinton there, and let‘s say, you‘ve got Mitt Romney.  Who represents change? 

PRESS:  Hillary Clinton represents change. 

BUCHANAN:  You‘ve got to be kidding? 

PRESS:  Because Romney is running on the policies of George W. Bush. 

Don‘t kid yourself. 

BUCHANAN:  Listen, Bush policies will be gone by September, October.  If the Republicans are smart, they will start moving away.  Frankly, their problem is what they are going to do about it. 

(CROSS TALK)

BUCHANAN:  On immigration they can cream the Democrats on it.  McCain can‘t. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  Hold on.  Wait, Bill.  Come on, Hillary Clinton, who has

been forced by her actual lack of experience—you know what a candidate‘s

weakness is by the strengths he or she trumpets.  Right?  She‘s out there -

you heard her do it in that plane interview; I‘m the candidate of experience, 35 years.  In order to sell that lie, she has to tie herself completely to her husband‘s administration.  Therefore, by definition, she‘s not the candidate of change.  She‘s the retro candidate, the candidate of backward looking policy. 

PRESS:  Tucker, I totally disagree.  Hillary is running on where she says she will take the country in terms of the economy, in terms of ending the war.  But the point I‘m making is that the American people are so tired of the policies of this administration -- 

CARLSON:  That‘s true. 

PRESS:  They see the economy going south.  They see the war going south.  Romney is just more of the same.  He‘s more of the policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you, Bill, if you had a company that was going bankrupt and you wanted someone to bring it back to health, would you go out and get Hillary Rodham Clinton to manage the company or Mitt Romney? 

PRESS:  Let me tell you something, I‘d get somebody I know where they stand on something.  You can‘t believe a word Mitt Romney says, because he stands today the exact opposite of where he stood yesterday.  You don‘t know what he stands for he.  He has no believability and no credibility. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you what way he‘s changing.  He goes out and listens to the voters.  He‘s a Massachusetts Republican.  He listens to them respond.  His immigration position is outstanding.  All of a sudden, he starts connecting on the economy in Michigan.  All of a sudden, he says, wait a minute, McCain is gloom and doom; he‘s a Washington insider.  We need an outsider and we need change.  In other words, he picks up the message. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  Hold on, as John McCain said, he is the candidate of change. 

PRESS:  Exactly. 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.

CARLSON:  He is.  Now, I want to get that—speaking of yesterday, if it‘s a question of change and more of the same, let‘s just stop briefly on more of the same.  The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who is think it‘s fair to say is Barack Obama‘s—or was—spiritual advisor, got in a fair amount of trouble again—some of us knew he was going to be a problem for a long time—because his church gave an award to Minister Lewis Farrakhan, the noted anti-semite and bigot. 

Barack Obama came out today and said he disavowed that award, and he is not impressed by Farrakhan.  Here‘s really an amazing moment.  Jeremiah Wright gets out there and gives a sermon endorsing Barack Obama in which he says this, quote, Bill Clinton did the same thing to us that he did to Monica Lewinsky. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you, that pastor, if Obama gets the nomination, will be better known than Benedict the 16th.  The Republicans will have everything he said.  Obama at every stop he goes to, do you agree or disagree with this?  They will lay it right on him.  Hillary won‘t do it. 

PRESS:  What gets me about this is this pastor and his message is so un-Obama.  He calls the church unashamedly black.  That‘s his message.  It‘s the Farrakhan message and that‘s not who Barack Obama is. 

BUCHANAN:  Barack Obama endorsed this guy, embraced this guy and goes to his church. 

PRESS:  He‘s repudiated him.  But I think Barack Obama should cut his ties with this church.  There‘s lots of black churches out there.  There are lots of churches out there.  Barack Obama ought to find a new spiritual advisor. 

CARLSON:  I agree with you completely.  I like Barack Obama.  I like who he appears to be, at least.  I see this guy out there—clearly—I said this before and took a lot of heat for it—go to the church‘s website.  It‘s bigoted.  I‘m sorry, it is.  How can Obama be associated with this guy? 

Obama came out today and said, as I‘ve told the Reverend Wright, personal attacks have no place in this campaign, whether they‘re offered from a platform at a rally or pulpit of a church.  I don‘t think of the pastor of my church in political terms.  I think of him as a member of my own family.

Then he goes on to point out that this character is about to retire.  But it does say something weird about Obama that he would be attracted to a guy like this. 

PRESS:  The problem is the preacher is making political statements and personal political attacks.  You can‘t say he‘s just a member of the family. 

CARLSON:  He ought to lose his tax exemption. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, this is an explicitly racial church.  If you had a Republican going to a church where they said, we are a white church, and that‘s what we are, that would be the end of that guy, unless he denounced him and cut lose.  I‘ll tell you, there won‘t be a double standard when they get into the general election, because Republicans are desperate from your numbers and they will go right after this guy. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s completely fair.  Again, what Bill said, which is this is exactly who Obama seems not to be.  This is exactly the man he is not running as.  He‘s not Jesse Jackson.  This guy is.  I agree.  I think it‘s very weird. 

BUCHANAN:  Endorse this guy, been going to his church, praising him to the sky. 

PRESS:  It‘s going to get worse and worse.  He ought to cut it. 

CARLSON:  Do you want to hear, just very quickly, one heartening number when it comes to the Congressional Black Caucus, I believe about half of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which is itself a racial organization that refuses to admit white people, refuses to admit non-blacks—I think it‘s by definition racist, that organization. 

BUCHANAN:  They ought to throw them out of the Congress.  

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree.  It‘s disgusting.  One good thing about the CBC, which is they are pretty much split.  They haven‘t all endorsed Barack Obama because he‘s black.  A lot have endorsed Hillary.  I‘m not into endorsing, but I do think that‘s a sign of progress.  There it is right there, 17 for Obama, 16 for Hillary, two somehow got sucked into John Edwards world, seven uncommitted.   

BUCHANAN:  I have a different take. 

CARLSON:  You do?

BUCHANAN:  First, a lot them think Hillary will win and they want to be there.  Secondly, if Obama wins, they are out.  Obama is the main man.  He‘s the big man.  You don‘t go to the black caucus.  You go to the White House to see the man. 

CARLSON:  That is a deep point right there.  Obama is a threat to the corrupt, sclerotic, so called civil rights establishment. 

BUCHANAN:  It‘s the end for them.

PRESS:  First of all, the Black Caucus has every right to exist the same way the Women‘s Caucus and the Latino Caucus exist. 

CARLSON:  To exclude people based on race, do they have that right?

PRESS:  Absolutely, they have a right to caucus. 

CARLSON:  Of course they do, right.  Should country clubs be able to exclude people on the basis of race, too? 

PRESS:  I do agree with your point that to expect all the members of the Black Caucus to endorse Barack Obama because he‘s black is about the most racist thing that anybody could come up with. 

CARLSON:  I‘m glad they haven‘t.  You‘re defending the fact they won‘t let people in who aren‘t black and they let white people in?  A white Democratic member from Tennessee tried to join last year and they said, Whitey, get out. 

BUCHANAN:  Congressman Biggum (ph) tried for years to get in, because he had black—

(CROSS TALK)  

PRESS:  Women can have their clubs.  Blacks can have their clubs. 

CARLSON:  No they can‘t.

BUCHANAN:  Can whites have their clubs?

PRESS:  Of course, whites can have their clubs.

CARLSON:  You get the Justice Department Civil Rights Division.

BUCHANAN:  You guys are shutting them down all over America. 

PRESS:  Believe me, white people are not discriminated against in this country, Pat.  Get over it.  I want to get back—

CARLSON:  I love it. 

BUCHANAN:  We want equality. 

PRESS:  Pat, you want supremacy and you have it, the white supremacist you‘ve always been. 

CARLSON:  Oh my god.  We‘ve completely lost.  A hurt dog barks, as they say.  Thank you guys, very much, Pat Buchanan and Bill Press. 

Office romancers, southpaws, who are these groups and what role are they going to have in picking our next president?  Microtrends, we‘ll tell you what it means. 

Yesterday we heard Zsa Zsa Gabor‘s not so better half ripping on the Spears/Federline custody dustup.  He‘s not finished.  Wait until you here who he is dissing now.  MSNBC, we‘ve got that information.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  How can something known as a microtrend, which by definition is small, become a phenomenon.  Does the term soccer mom ring a bell?  It started as a virtually unknown idea back in 1996 and it grew, at least reportedly, into a force big enough to help reelect President Bill Clinton.  Which microtrends are brewing now, and which are likely to become news in ‘08?  Which are likely to help elect the next president? 

Joining me now is the co-author of “Microtrends, The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow‘s Big Changes,” Kinney Zelesne.  Kinney, thanks for coming on.  I appreciate it.  

KINNEY ZALESNE, AUTHOR, “MICROTRENDS”:  It‘s my pleasure. 

CARLSON:  Some of these.  I should point out that you wrote this book with Mark Penn, who is now otherwise occupied running the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign.  So presumably some of these trends are applicable not just in that campaign but throughout politics.  Politicians are looking at these in order to determine who to appeal to and how?  Right?

ZALESNE:  And not just politicians, businesses, marketers, everybody who wants to get a clearer look at how Americans really are and how society is really changing should take a look at these smaller trends, not just look for the big ones. 

CARLSON:  Some of these are remarkable.  I‘ll just run through.  We can talk about specifically in a minute.  Sun haters; sun bathing used to be sort of the ideal.  Now people realize, not so good.  Office romancers, people get together in the workplace.  People don‘t sleep as much.  They‘re more left handers.  There are more Protestants, Hispanics. 

Let‘s go through one by one.  You suggest in the future we‘ll see more litigation, regulation and legislation based on too much sun. 

ZALESNE:  Sun bathing is still wildly popular in America.  There are three times as many tanning salons as there are Starbucks.  But against that major trend, there‘s this small group of dissidents who are saying, the sun is so dangerous and we‘re not paying attention.  They are starting to push for legislation, for reform, the same way that the early opponents of tobacco did. 

CARLSON:  To block out the sun. 

ZALESNE:  Not literally. 

CARLSON:  How would you do that? 

ZALESNE:  So far some state attorney generals have started going after tanning salons who market to children, same way the anti-tobacco people first went after those who would rope in the kids.  So they are trying to say, this is much more dangerous than we realize and we‘ve got to keep our kids safe from it and we‘ve got to keep society safe from this danger. 

CARLSON:  Interesting, annoying, too.  (inaudible), you say that people get—I didn‘t know this—the average American sleeps less than seven hours a night. 

ZALESNE:  That‘s a 20 percent drop from 100 years ago. 

CARLSON:  What are the affects of that or some of the affects of that? 

ZALESNE:  Productivity goes way down at work, accidents go way up on the road, kids are starting to get into it because their parents are so intense and working 24-7.  And kids aren‘t sleeping enough these days.  So it has big implications for our health, for our productivity. 

CARLSON:  Is that part of this spike in diabetes from that? 

ZALESNE:  There‘s huge relationships to health risks.  The less sleep, the more obese we get.  Yes, then it‘s connected to diabetes. 

CARLSON:  Protestant Hispanics; you point out that 25 percent of Hispanics in this country are Protestant, or Pentecostal, Evangelical Protestants. 

ZALESNE:  That‘s right.  We think in general of Latinos as being Catholic, and most of them are. 

CARLSON:  Definitely. 

ZALESNE:  But something like 10 million Latinos are Protestant. 

That‘s more than the number of Episcopalians, or Jews, or Muslims. 

CARLSON:  A lot more. 

ZALESNE:  A lot more.  It‘s a very serious group.  It made a huge difference in the 2004 election.  There was a big shift in Hispanic support from 2000 and 2004 for George Bush.  But it turns out that the whole shift was among Protestant Hispanics.  The Catholic Hispanics stayed the same. 

CARLSON:  That is genuinely fascinating.  Finally, quickly, left handers.  It‘s a really impressive group.  Left handers tend to be smarter, more appealing as a people, as you know.  Why are there more? 

ZALESNE:  Because parents are no longer discouraging their kids from being left handed.  We used to think left handedness happened about one in every ten people, but it‘s really closer to one in six.  We‘re finding now that instead, when a parent sees this kid might be left handed, instead of discouraging it, they are saying, maybe that‘s something special.  Maybe my kid is going to be a great tennis player, give him an advantage. 

So kids are being encouraged to grow up in a more natural way, more individualist than conformists.  And we‘re getting all these left handers. 

CARLSON:  Not all trends are bad.  That‘s great.  That just makes the country more creative and smart.  Thank you for bringing us that.  Kinney, I appreciate that. 

ZALESNE:  Thanks for having me, Tucker.

CARLSON:  “Microtrends,” the book.  Interesting as hell. 

If the politics thing doesn‘t work out for Hillary Clinton, no problem.  The senator and presidential hopeful has a new career pending.  We‘ll tell you what it is.  It‘s going to be hard to believe but we think you‘ll be impressed.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  It‘s not all Mitt Romney commercials.  There are other things going on in the world.  For a preview of those things, we go to Bill Wolff at headquarters. 

BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT:  It‘s mainly Mitt Romney commercials. 

CARLSON:  OK.

WOLFF:  We‘ll take a break for a moment, Tucker, to discuss other pressing issues of the day.  After an interminable wait, the campaign has finally begun.  At this point, it is way too early to call. 

Yes, Tucker, “American Idol” returned to television over the last two glorious time wasting nights.  Among the highlights from last night‘s show, which I did see, were the usual assortment of the pitifully unqualified, some heart-warming underdogs from the middle of nowhere who appear to have staked their lives on their auditions and a couple of ringers who will probably wind up famous for a month or two. 

Now, artistically, a brief survey of MSNBC staffers who watched Idol, suggests a great start.  Commercially, however, the news is different.  Ratings for night one were down 10 percent from last year‘s premier, meaning a mere 33 million people tuned in.  Whatever will they do with just 33 million people. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly.  It‘s like saying the U.S. military is in tough shape.  Yes, but we could turn any country in the world into a parking lot in about 20 minutes.  It‘s relative.  It‘s a big show. 

WOLFF:  Bill Gates just lost two billion.  He‘s still getting a large Coke when he drives through at McDonald‘s.  I guarantee it.  Yesterday in this space, Tucker, we brought you the comments of Prince Von Anhult, the ninth husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor, of course, the false claimer of paternity to Anna Nicole Smith‘s baby.  He spoke yesterday about Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. 

Today our special series continues.  This time the prince offers his analysis on the comparative social values of Miss Spears and Miss Paris Hilton. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE VON ANHULT, ZSA ZSA GABOR‘S NINTH HUSBAND:  Britney Spears is a huge artists.  She‘s a big artist.  She entertains the whole world.  Don‘t ever compare her with girls like Paris Hilton who shake their—to make some bucks. 

She doesn‘t look like a guy anyhow, so maybe that‘s why she likes girls. 

Furthermore, Paris Hilton has feet like a guy.  I would never take a woman in bed with such big feet like Paris Hilton has. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFF:  The big question now, Tucker, is whether or not the prince will comment on the South Carolina primary before the polls open on Saturday morning. 

CARLSON:  Why is the prince driving his own car, Bill. 

WOLFF:  Why is he driving his own car?  Why is he talking about Paris Hilton?  Why are we listening to him?  There are so many questions left unanswered.  Stay tuned to MSNBC for the latest prince updates.  We‘ll have them for you as they become available. 

CARLSON:  We‘re your network. 

WOLFF:  You‘ve got it, the place for Prince Von Anhult.  Britney Spears clearly, Tucker, has an ardent defender in Prince What‘s His Face.  A couple of weeks back, her problem elicited the selfless intervention of famed TV life advisor Dr. Phil.  You‘ll recall Dr. Phil raced to Cedar Sinai Hospital in LA after Britney was extracted from her home and admitted there because of her erratic behavior. 

Today, “Access Hollywood” reports that a complaint has been filed with the California Board of Psychology.  It claims Dr. Phil was in that case of Britney Spears practicing without a license.  In fact, he is not licensed to practice in California and reportedly retired his license to practice in Texas in 2006.  Now, it‘s not clear who filed the complaint.  But it seems Dr. Phil is learning one of the oldest lesson in the book, the road to hell is paved with self-serving grabs for publicity. 

CARLSON:  A license to practice what?  It‘s not like he‘s taking people‘s appendixes out. 

WOLFF:  You have to be a board certified psychologist, as I understand it, Tucker.  I have very limited experience in the area.  It‘s hard to muster too much sympathy for young Dr. Phil in his crass play to be even more famous. 

Finally, Tucker, we go back to the campaign trail and one of the pressing questions of this year‘s national political the contest; Senator Hillary Clinton appeared on the Tyra Banks day time talk show and Miss Banks bravely asked Mrs. Clinton straight up, of the reality shows, which one would you want to appear on.  Now, with everything on the line, cameras rolling, Mrs. Clinton came clean.  Quote, in my dreams, I would be on “America‘s Next Top Model.”  But in reality, I‘d have to choose my limited talents, and of them, dancing is better than singing. 

Yes, she chose, Tucker, your old haunt, “Dancing With the Stars.”  It seems odd to me she didn‘t choose “The Amazing Race” or “Survivor.”  maybe she‘s just not watching enough TV. 

CARLSON:  It is a shame.  She is tough enough to win “Survivor” hands down. 

WOLFF:  She‘s in the middle of an amazing race. 

CARLSON:  She is.  I‘d like to see her on “Dancing With the Stars” and see how she does.

WOLFF:  Everybody thinks it‘s so easy, don‘t they? 

CARLSON:  Yes, that‘s right, Bill, they do. 

WOLFF:  Not that easy, is it, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  How would I know?  I was only there about 30 seconds.  Bill Wolff from headquarters, thanks Bill.  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching as always.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris.  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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