updated 2/5/2008 11:45:25 AM ET 2008-02-05T16:45:25

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  It will be hard for the political contest of super Tuesday to top the football contest of super Sunday.  But if there ever were a year that it‘s possible this is that year.  The overall trend suggests a tightening between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  And good news for John McCain over Mitt Romney. 

Senator Clinton shed another tear on the trail today.  This time at a Connecticut child care center where she worked in the 1970s.  The once commanding lead across the country evaporated to the point that the most informed analyst will not predict a super Tuesday winner on the Democratic side. 

Momentum, though, clearly is with Barack Obama.  This weekend endorsements in California included the state‘s first lady, Maria Shriver, and its largest Spanish language newspaper.  Obama‘s campaign event continue to draw enormous crowds in Idaho, for instance, 14,000 people packed in the arena to hear the Illinois senator speak in a state where only 4,000 people participated in the Democratic caucus four years ago. 

Will Barack Obama‘s ascent carry him to victory either statistically or symbolically tomorrow?  Or will Hillary Clinton‘s long run at the presumptive nominee and all of the advanced absentee voting that came with it make her tomorrow‘s winner? 

Clinton supporter Lanny Davis and Obama supporter Congressman Artur Davis join us to discuss it. 

On the Republican side, John McCain‘s grip on the nomination appears to be tightening.  But some conservatives in the Republican Party are continuing to fight him.  Mitt Romney, their default candidate, has made McCain supposed liberalism the beginning, middle and end of a last ditch effort to salvage his campaign. 

Meanwhile Mike Huckabee will not go away and did not appreciate insinuation that he ought to. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE ®, ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  I highly resent that whole idea that somehow I owe it to step aside.  You know, if anybody ought to step aside, Mitt Romney after spending $100 million to have virtually the same market share as me.  Anybody with a Harvard MBA ought to know that that‘s a business enterprise that‘s not very efficient. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  What are Mitt Romney‘s chances of catching John McCain?  And if he doesn‘t what affect will McCain have in November?  Senator McCain‘s longtime senior advisor Frank Donatelli joins us in just a minute. 

We begin tonight with the drama that is the Democrats.  Joining us now is Clinton campaign supporter and former White House special counsel to President Clinton, Lanny Davis. 

Lanny, thanks for coming on. 

LANNY DAVIS, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  You must be feeling the same thing I am which is this building momentum behind Barack Obama.  I‘ve talked to Democrat after Democrat over the weekend and today who said, you know, I was for Hillary.  In some cases, I worked for Hillary.  But I‘m caught up in this Obama thing and I‘m voting for Obama.  Are you feeling that? 

DAVIS:  I certainly read the polls that she‘s ahead in many states, tied in many states, and the national gap is tightening.  But these are two great candidates and I‘m not surprised.  But I did want to start the show by thanking you, Tucker.  You are about the only show on MSNBC that consistency—consistently allows a Clinton perspective to be expressed.  So thank you. 

CARLSON:  So you‘re telling me that Mrs. Clinton, one of the most powerful people in the whole world, really is a victim?  I know she‘s described herself that way before. 

DAVIS:  Yes.  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Rich, white lady is a victim.  But you think that, too? 

DAVIS:  No, of course not.  She‘s done very well.  I mean after the last several weeks of all of the very impressive endorsements that Senator Obama has, this is still a tight race.  But I still believe she will be the nominee.  She is the candidate ready to be president with the experience to make change actually happen and I think at the end of the day people want to vote for a president and she‘ll win the nomination but I thought the two of them have run a great campaign and I‘m not surprised that it‘s tightened. 

CARLSON:  Well, what—tell me what you think about this.  Susan Kennedy, who‘s Governor Schwarzenegger‘s chief of staff, was asked what she thought of her boss‘s wife, Maria Shriver‘s endorsement or support for Barack Obama. 

Here‘s what Susan Kennedy, who‘s a Hillary supporter and a big Democrat said, quote, “There is a time honored truth that women are our own worst critics.  Women are held to a higher sometimes impossible standard in politics, in business, in media, in life, especially by other women.” 

Do you agree with that? 

DAVIS:  Of course I agree with that.  And there has been evidence of that in the campaign.  But she‘s still substantially is doing well among men.  She‘s doing well among a broad cross section of voters throughout the country because she‘s been a progressive fighting Democrat throughout her entire—as long as I have known her, since law school.  And in the Senate, she‘s worked well with Republicans.  So I think she‘s shown—she is not a victim.  She‘s shown an affirmative program, a universal health care system that everybody has to participate in, and she‘s been a fighting progressive Democrat. 

CARLSON:  Wait.  Wait.  So but this is - this is not. 

DAVIS:  That is why she‘s a good candidate. 

CARLSON:  OK.  That may or may not be true.  But this is not an appeal based on her record or policy.  This is an appeal based on guilt.  This is an appeal that says look, honey, you‘re a woman.  She is a woman.  Vote for her or you‘re self-hating woman.  That‘s what this is. 

DAVIS:  No.  Well, I completely—first of all, she—Senator Clinton has never said that, wouldn‘t say, doesn‘t believe that.  She is running on her record and I believe and she believes that she will be a better president, that Senator Obama is not yet tested, has never really run and won against a Republican in a competitive contest.  And Senator Clinton will from day one be ready to be president, won‘t need on-the-job training.  That‘s our argument. 

Now Senator Obama has an inspirational argument of his own.  They‘re two strong candidates.  The Democrats have never been more united on the issues than these two people has displayed when they debated last Thursday. 

CARLSON:  Right.  That‘s right.  I think you‘re right on that.  They are basically identical on the issues.  The rap against the Clintons is, as you well know, they‘ll do anything to win. 

You essentially confirmed that in a really interesting and smart column you had today in “The Hill” in which you say this, and I‘m quoting, “It is certainly possible that Senator Clinton‘s delegates will favor seating Florida and Michigan.  If Senator Obama is slightly ahead, they‘ll be on the horns of a difficult dilemma.  If he opposes seating Florida in Michigan, he risks alienating voters in two very important states he will need in the general election.” 

Now the DNC, the Democrats as a group decided that the delegates in Florida and Michigan don‘t count.  Those are the rules.  Obama didn‘t campaign in either state because he was following the rules.  Now you‘re suggesting that Hillary Clinton would break the rules and cheat and try to get those delegates seated.  That‘s unfair and you‘re admitting she would do that? 

DAVIS:  No, in fact, the exact words I wrote, I very carefully wrote, first of all, that I was expressing my own opinion and I don‘t speak for the campaign.  I‘m not officially part of the campaign.  Secondly, I said it‘s possible and I stated a reality that there will be a very tough choice that Senator Obama will face if he tries to unseat Florida and Michigan which we need in the general election.  I wasn‘t saying that was right or wrong.  I was just describing a reality that‘s an interesting - difficulty. 

CARLSON:  But, but. 

DAVIS:  If it comes down to the seating of those two delegations, I don‘t know what Senator Clinton would say or do in that situation.  And I don‘t know what Senator Obama, but the Democratic Party will have a hard time unseating people. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

DAVIS:  .from those two important states.  I‘m not really recommending it nor do I approve it but I was stating a reality. 

CARLSON:  There would be a bloodbath. 

DAVIS:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  Finally, the McClatchy Washington Bureau newspaper says a really interesting piece today about Hillary Clinton‘s record.  She said again and again, for 35 years I fought on your behalf, mostly in the non-profit sector fighting for children. 

Their analysis suggests this.  Clinton worked for the Children‘s Defense Fund for less than a year and that‘s the only full-time job in the non-profit sector she‘s ever had.  She also worked briefly as a law professor. 

DAVIS:  That‘s silly. 

CARLSON:  Clinton spent the bulk of her career 15 of 35 years at one of Arkansas‘s most prestigious law firms representing big companies and serving on corporate boards.  That‘s from her own autobiography.  That‘s (INAUDIBLE) of her. 

DAVIS:  Who wrote that? 

CARLSON:  This is Matt Stearns of “McClatchy” newspaper.  But it‘s true.  I mean. 

DAVIS:  He is writing inaccurately.  He does not even mention that she served on the board of directors of the Children‘s Defense Fund, that Marian Wright Edelman who headed the Children‘s Defense Fund will tell you the contribution she made over the years.  That‘s a hatchet job.  That‘s not a reporter if he omitted that fact. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Boy. 

DAVIS:  Now you want to know what I really think. 

CARLSON:  You guys are relentless. 

Lanny Davis, I‘m always happy when you come on.  Thank you for joining us. 

DAVIS:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner.  She said confidently she was going to be the nominee.  Now it looks like she could be losing momentum to Barack Obama.  Could she be the comeback kid yet again? 

Plus, still no endorsement from John Edwards, though we wait day and night.  Is he doing the right thing by staying silent?  Or should he throw his support behind another candidate before super Tuesday?  What‘s his plan?  Guesses ahead. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The New York Giants made history by pulling off the unthinkable against the Patriots last night.  Will Barack Obama be able to do the same thing against Hillary on super Tuesday? 

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA SHRIVER, GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER‘S WIFE:  He‘s not about himself.  He‘s about the power of us and what we can do when we come together.  Remember, that so goes California, so goes the nation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Politician who is not about himself.  It‘s not clear that person actually exists.  But Mr. Schwarzenegger‘s wife may have a point about California‘s central role in deciding in who wins tomorrow.  But Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton‘s campaign would like you to believe their candidates are the scrappy underdog with all the heart and finishing anywhere close in California would mean an enormous victory. 

Who really is the underdog?  And how will the election spin likely come out? 

Joining me now editor in chief of “U.S. News” and chairman and publisher of the “The New York Daily News,” Mort Zuckerman, and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate himself Pat Buchanan. 

Welcome to you both. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So Mort, your paper, “The Daily News,” endorsed Hillary Clinton today.  Is—was that—was that a reflection?  I mean you‘re sort of going in the opposite direction of momentum?  Or do you think the momentum is overstated for Obama? 

MORT ZUCKERMAN, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT” EDITOR IN CHIEF:  No.  I don‘t think the momentum is overstated.  But she‘s being a terrific senator from New York.  She‘s done, I think, a very good job as a senator and I think she has a degree of familiarity with the kind of problems she‘s going to have to grapple with as president that I don‘t think Barack Obama has and I think that is a very serious matter for our country that is facing a very complicated world in terms of foreign policy and one of the most severe financial crises, in fact, the most severe since the great depression. 

These are very serious issues.  And I just think that it‘s very important you have the kind of experience relatively that she brings to the office. 

CARLSON:  Since the great depression.  That‘s a strong statement for a man who knows.. 

BUCHANAN:  Twenty-five percent unemployment, Mort? 

ZUCKERMAN:  No, not a question of unemployment but it is a question that the financial system at this point is virtually frozen.  And we are in the second or third inning of a nine-inning game in terms of the consequences at that.  And that is something that‘s going to require an awful lot of very, very, very serious action on the part of the government. 

CARLSON:  Well, there‘s no question, I think, Pat, that Hillary Clinton is the more serious candidate for good or ill.  I mean, she‘s certainly the one more fluid in details of policy. 

BUCHANAN:  I think she‘s more knowledgeable. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I think that‘s probably right and it‘s not an endorsement by me, of course. 

I wonder if the compressed primary schedule, which was designed, I believe to help her, like Senator McAuliffe, her friend, ends up hurting her. 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t know that that the compressed schedule does.  But what does end up hurting her is this proportional representation in every single state in congressional districts like California.  If you‘ve got a congressional district with four delegates in it, and Hillary gets 59 percent, Barack gets two and she gets two. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  So this makes it go on and on and on.  However, if you gain a pretty good lead, it‘s going to be almost impossible to overcome.  But look, I got to say that Obama is - has put in an awesome performance once he got his groove back.  I mean he got 20,000 people in Caesar Rodney Square in Wilmington.  I mean that‘s a Billy Graham rally after long preparation. 

It is a - he‘s got tremendous momentum.  But I have to say if I had to bet I would still bet on the basic ground strength of Hillary Clinton in so many different states and so many years, so much work put on.  She‘s coming back. 

CARLSON:  If you‘re a Democrat looking to actually win this year, it seems to me—you look at Idaho, 14,000 Democrats, or Obama fans, or people show up anyway to watch Obama in a state that had 4,000 Democrats caucused in 2004.  I mean, that tells you that this is a guy with crossover appeal. 

BUCHANAN:  I do believe this. 

ZUCKERMAN:  He is bringing out a whole different constituency.  You know I spent today‘s luncheon at the Google offices in New York.  And it‘s extraordinary.  I mean I would say the average age there certainly in the age range of 35.  These are people who say we are running the world.  The new world is the world that we are running, that we are more familiar with.  There is no particular regard for another generation.  Obama is of that generation.  And they do not hold against him whatever his limits are in terms of experience or what have you. 

BUCHANAN:  But I think the Republicans will tear him to pieces.  I can see Obama losing 35, 40 states because, Tucker, his voting record, he is the most liberal guy in the U.S. Senate.  That means voted to the left of Teddy Kennedy.  You go down those votes one after another, take things like partial birth abortion, all these things that Republicans can work on to - the flag, lapel pin, all these things.  I think they will go on him and work on him, up for research for seven months, and I think by the time the bloom will really be off the rose. 

CARLSON:  You compare that to, say, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, who has a virtually identical voting records.  And. 

BUCHANAN:  She‘s vetted. 

CARLSON:  She may be vetted.  But her husband spent the last seven years traveling around the world consorting with some pretty bad people.  Only a few we actually know about.  We don‘t care. 

BUCHANAN:  We all know that, Tucker.  We don‘t need - we know all about the Clintons.  I don‘t think there is anything more to learn about them.  I think she is right when she says she is vetted.  And this fellow will be the freshest meat thrown on the table since George McGovern. 

CARLSON:  Well, you know, you‘re right.  But “the New York Times” had this remarkable piece last week about the former president‘s time in Kazakhstan? 

ZUCKERMAN:  (INAUDIBLE).  Right. 

CARLSON:  And nobody cared.  Nobody noticed it.  Nobody even read it. 

ZUCKERMAN:  No, it was read.  I mean the fact that he‘s not running for the presidency.  But you will recall I think one of the key turning points in this campaign between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was the way he handled himself in South Carolina.  I think it enraged a lot of people.  It is one thing for him to be as he would portray it or she would portray it, the attack by a right-wing conspiracy, quote, unquote.  It‘s another thing for him to go against Barack Obama and get into the issue of race which is the original sin of this country. 

CARLSON:  Of course. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And this is a man who sort, quote, unquote, was the first black president.  I think it enraged a lot of people in the Democratic Party. 

CARLSON:  That first black president is such a bunch of crap.  I mean this is a guy who demogogued on the issue of race for his entire presidency, who implied his opponents were racist from day one all the way through.  And then for him to use a southern strategy on his wife‘s behalf is so repulsive. 

BUCHANAN:  It looked like our first black president was going to guarantee there wasn‘t going to be a second. 

CARLSON:  He was trying hard. 

John McCain has the wind at his back heading into tomorrow.  He‘s ahead in the polls.  And every day now more Republicans seem to be rallying around him.  Does he have the momentum he appears to have?  And if so, can he hang into it? 

And back in the ‘80s Ronald Reagan had Reagan Democrats.  Now Barack Obama wants Republicans to join him.  They are called Obama-cans.  How many of them are there? 

This is MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Don‘t think momentum is important?  Just ask Tom Brady and the Patriots about it this morning.  In politics as in sports, momentum, the vibe, can mean the difference between the nomination and the job as a bachelor to Barbados.  It‘s starting to look like John McCain has it close to sewn up. 

Joining us now is senior adviser to McCain and former Reagan White House political director, Frank Donatelli. 

Frank, thanks for coming on. 

FRANK DONATELLI, SENIOR ADVISOR TO JOHN MCCAIN:  Hi, Tucker.  How are you? 

CARLSON:  So—I‘m fine.  I‘m really struck by what appears to be some movement by Mitt Romney in California.  Is that real? 

DONATELLI:  Well, there are a lot of polls out there and California is a big state, of course.  I have seen three or four today.  One has Governor Romney in the lead.  But there‘s a couple of others that have us in the lead.  But I‘ll tell you, I think that the story for tomorrow or for Wednesday really is delegates at this point because we have so many states that are going to be selecting their delegates. 

And I believe that what‘s going to happen is we‘re hopeful that when the dust settles on Wednesday, that Senator McCain is going to have by far the largest number of delegates.  We‘ll win some states, we‘ll probably lose some states, hopefully win more than we lose.  But the story on Wednesday is going to be a delegate race.  And we think Senator McCain will be strongly in the lead at that point. 

CARLSON:  Take a look at this poll which I‘m sure you‘ve seen.  But I think it says something pretty interesting about the state of the Republican side right now.  This is “USA Today”-Gallup Poll, national poll.  John McCain is at 42, Mitt Romney, 24, Mike Huckabee, 18. 

Well, once my math is off, if you add Mitt Romney to Mike Huckabee, you get John McCain, which tells you how important Mike Huckabee is to McCain‘s fortune.  Is that a fair reading? 

DONATELLI:  Well, I think it‘s unfair to say that all of Huckabee‘s voters, Governor Huckabee‘s voters, if he were not in the race, you know, would not go—we wouldn‘t get at least a portion of those.  I think, you know, we would get a fair number of those.  But you know, I mean there were past primaries where, you know, there were candidates in the race we were their second choice. 

Look, you play the hand that—play the hand that‘s dealt you.  And you have three candidates right now, you know, all of whom have won at least one contest and they‘re all entitled to go forward into super Tuesday.  We‘ll just have to see what happens after that. 

CARLSON:  It almost seems, I‘m not being cynical here, but just watching their statements, it almost seems like Mike Huckabee is working in concert with the McCain campaign.  Have there been conversations between the two campaigns in the last week? 

DONATELLI:  Certainly not in the context that you‘re saying.  You know, Senator McCain admires all of his opponents.  He certainly admires. 

CARLSON:  Come on. 

DONATELLI:  He certainly admires. 

CARLSON:  He admires Mitt Romney?  He despises Mitt Romney.  Come on. 

DONATELLI:  He admires and has respect for his potential Democratic opponents also.  Senator Obama and/or Senator Clinton.  He said that.  You know, you can‘t get real personal in politics.  You have to move on.  The focus has got to be on your message.  But look, he and Huckabee have a good relationship.  But I don‘t know why Governor Huckabee isn‘t entitled to go forward in the race.  Looks like he‘s going to do very, very well in his home state of Arkansas tomorrow.  And I see that he‘s running second and very close to us in a couple of the other southern states. 

CARLSON:  It‘s just—I suppose—everything you said is, of course, true.  But it does seem that the tone of his contest with Romney‘s very different from the tone you see him assume when he talks about Mike Huckabee.  In the latter, it‘s completely respectful.  But with Romney, he spits his name out. 

DONATELLI:  Well, we both share something to this extent.  We‘ve both been - we‘ve both been on the other side of a lot of negative commercials, and none of them were launched by us or by Governor Huckabee. 

CARLSON:  Are you surprised by the virulence of the dislike some on the right have for John McCain?  You saw people even today, when it - you know, the conventional wisdom is McCain has got it sewn up, it‘s over, McCain is the nominee.  And yet, even today you‘re seeing well-known conservatives get out there on television and blast McCain in such a strong way, there‘s no way they can come back and support him, it seems to me.  Why is that? 

DONATELLI:  Well, you know, I‘m a Catholic and I believe in redemption up until the last possible time.  So we‘re going to keep the church door open for converts as late as it takes.  I do think that it‘s a relatively small number of people, Tucker.  As you point out we are doing much better in national public surveys.  The leading conservative, Bill Simon in California, Steve Forbes, one of the leading conservatives in New York, the two conservative senators from Georgia, Ted Olson, the conservative legal scholar. 

You know, I can‘t imagine all these people are softies and they come aboard since - just in the last couple of days.  And I think more conservatives will come aboard also. 

CARLSON:  Frank Donatelli from the McCain camp.  Hey, thanks a lot, Frank.  Good luck tomorrow. 

DONATELLI:  OK.  Thanks a lot. 

CARLSON:  Mitt Romney is counting on the Republican Party‘s conservative base to come out and support him tomorrow.  The former Massachusetts governor predicts the Rush Limbaugh wing will be the firewall that stops John McCain. 

The debate last month, meanwhile, Hillary Clinton went after Obama for taking money from a man she described as a slum lord.  (INAUDIBLE)  Was it really wise for Hillary Clinton to cast the first stone?  Marc Rich, Norman Hsu, the list goes on.  And we‘ll read it next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  What I have to do is continue to see what‘s been happening the last few days.  Specifically, that is conservatives across the country are saying, wow, we have to get behind Mitt Romney.  We really can‘t afford John McCain as the nominee of our party. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Mitt Romney‘s plan to revive his campaign is simple, go negative, get tough, don‘t relent.  John McCain is a screaming liberal, he says, echoing the plaintiff wail of talk radio outlets nationwide.  The charge leads to three important questions.  One, is McCain a liberal?  Two, will conservatives derail McCain‘s drive to the nomination?  Three, if McCain does win, will conservatives actually prefer Clinton or Obama to McCain come November? 

Back with us, the editor in chief of “U.S. News” and the chairman and publisher of the “New York Daily News,” Mort Zuckerman, and MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan.  Pat, I was struck by the fact that Ted Stevens, fellow Republican senator, who McCain attacks in public almost every day for his spending, for the bridge to nowhere, et cetera, has came out for McCain; quote, I forgive him for whatever disagreements he‘s had with me.  We can disagree on things, but I have great admiration on for him.” 

If he has won over Ted Stevens, he has won.

BUCHANAN:  He has not won him over.  They will come home, a lot of them.  Conservatives do that.  Republicans do that.  And even though there is a horrible quarrel going on right now, Tucker, you have about eight months.  This isn‘t over yet, in the sense that if Romney could win California tomorrow—he will win a number of other states—then what you have is a chance to go one state at a time before you get to April.  That would be the way, if you want to knock McCain‘s momentum, get one state, get the talk shows going in there, get everybody going in there.  And try to beat him in one state and flip the momentum.   

CARLSON:  The Republicans hate that.  They are the order party. 

Aren‘t they?  They don‘t want a messy nomination, right? 

BUCHANAN:  The conservatives do not want John McCain.  They are unreconciled to the idea now.  I‘m saying they may become reconciled to it, you know, once you get down to the fall and Obama or Hillary are the opposition.  You know? 

ZUCKERMAN:  We endorsed McCain for the Republican primary.

CARLSON:  Are you surprised, Mort, just watching this all happen, that conservatives really—there‘s some Kamikaze Pilots out there, just going right after McCain, right on the eve of what looks like to be an imminent victory? 

ZUCKERMAN:  I think there are some.  I think most of them will get behind him.  It is a natural tradition of the Republican party to coalesce behind somebody and they will coalesce behind McCain.  The party, by and large, does not like or trust Mitt Romney.  There may be some people that do that.  It is a small minority.  Look at the gap that opened up in all the public opinion polls between McCain and Romney. 

I think McCain is going to sweep most of tomorrow and Romney will just be a footnote, and a small footnote, I might add, in Republican political history. 

CARLSON:  I think we are just beginning to understand how the Republican party has changed after seven years of George W. Bush.  Richard Wolffe has this piece in “Newsweek” saying that there are a number of Republican, the grand daughter of President Eisenhower among others, who like Barack Obama.  I notice from picking my kids up at school, there are people that voted Republican for a long time who are now thinking about Barack Obama.  Is that real?  What‘s that about, Pat? 

BUCHANAN:  I think it is—there are a couple of reasons.  First, he is a very nice man.  He is a young man.  He has done well.  Everybody is rooting for him do well.  His campaign now is undefined for most Americans, other than this attractive young African-American who has all the crowds and the young people, and who speaks and reminds people of John F. Kennedy. 

All this pump up is going on.  But I‘ll tell you, if the guy breaks loose and gets the nomination, the opposition research, they will be dumping on him day after day and will bring him down to Earth the way Bill Clinton did in two weeks. 

ZUCKERMAN:  I think what Barack Obama represents is a generational change.  It is not even a question of ideology.  There is such a dismay in this country over what we have been through in the last seven, eight years.  They want to get it behind us.  Everybody wants to get it behind us.  Barack is saying look, I‘m the person.  I was not a part of it.  I‘m the purist person to go forward.  That‘s a generational change.  All those older folks are behind us.  He has attracted an extraordinary audience in that regard.  They are out there.  They are people who really do want to change and he‘s become the personification of that. 

BUCHANAN:  What happens—that‘s exactly right.  What happens after this year of change and hopefulness, when a lot of us, frankly, thought we were going to get something new and different, if we wind up with John McCain, Washington insider, 35 years, Hillary Rodham Clinton, ultimate insider, Washington, D.C., both of them architects of the Iraq policy, or supporting it.  What happens if in a year of change you get Hillary Clinton versus John McCain? 

CARLSON:  Then, the truth is, people don‘t want change. 

ZUCKERMAN:  We call it democracy.

CARLSON:  That‘s the will of the people.  It‘s America.  People don‘t want change.  Change is when you nationalize industries and round people up and put them in camps.  People don‘t want change.  They want a center-right or center-left course.  They don‘t want to even think about politics. 

BUCHANAN:  I agree with you, they want center right or center left. 

They don‘t want the same old.  I don‘t believe that. 

ZUCKERMAN:  I don‘t agree with you.  It‘s not the faces.  It is the fact that both John McCain and Barack Obama are people who are going to reach out across the aisle, as John McCain says, and try to work with the other side.  He has done it.  And this is the whole essence of what Barack Obama is talking about.  He wants to work with Republicans and independents.  And that is the one thing the country wants to have.  We failed. 

BUCHANAN:  -- is selling out to conservatives, when you say McCain is going to reach over and work with Democrats.  That‘s exactly what he has been doing on taxes. 

CARLSON:  You think Democrats will say the same thing about Obama.  If Obama—one of Obama‘s appeals to Republicans is he says I don‘t hate you.  I‘ll listen to your ideas.  Will the left attacks him for that. 

BUCHANAN:  When Obama defines himself by issues rather than rhetoric, he is the most left-wing guy in the United States Senate, Tucker.  When he starts taking—

CARLSON:  Out of 100, that‘s right. 

BUCHANAN:  He‘s going to say, come on, Republicans.  Come on along and lets go with this.  They will say, are you nuts? 

CARLSON:  Why hasn‘t John Edwards weighed in on all of this?  The conventional thinking was his power is expiring quickly.  The clock is running out.  Do you think it‘s possible, Mort, that he‘s holding his endorsement until after Super Tuesday, because it will be more significant then? 

ZUCKERMAN:  I don‘t think his endorsement will be that significant, I have to say.  He had a very narrow hold on a very small constituency.  I don‘t think anybody really accepted him as the way he presented himself.  He has shifted his positions so dramatically in this campaign, compared to his votes in the Senate.  I don‘t think he carries that kind of traction with the American public.  I think the reason why he pulled out is he wouldn‘t have even gotten the minimum you need in order to get delegates in a lot of the—

BUCHANAN:  His endorsements is a wasting asset and he ought to have played that card.  Frankly, so should Bill Richardson have played the card, frankly.  This is the time to play it before Super Tuesday.  I think after that, I think Biden, Dodd, Richardson, I think they tend to fade away.  These two are off to the races. 

CARLSON:  Mort just said that we are in the beginning of an economic crisis that will rival—or is second only to the Great Depression in the last 100 years.  Hillary Clinton has an op-ed today in the “Wall Street Journal,” “My Plan For Shared Prosperity.”  She opens it this way; “I met one man who told me I didn‘t know what I did wrong.  I got my education and I worked hard.  I have been with the same company for 12 years now, but I have just been asked to train my successor because my job is moving to another country.”

Now, I was interested.  That was her lead example of the hardship people are under-going.  It seems to me that‘s a description of almost everybody in the country at almost every time.  This is a new economy.  We don‘t have jobs for life, do we? 

ZUCKERMAN:  No longer.  The whole history of having a lifetime at one company, where that company takes care of your pension and takes care of your health care, that‘s gone.  That period is gone in America. 

CARLSON:  Isn‘t it a bit shallow for her to claim this—that‘s ridiculous.  I wish I had 12 years at one job.  Are you kidding? 

BUCHANAN:  They said, the job is not going from the Frost Belt to the Sun Belt.  It is going to another country.  Her husband and Gingrich and Dole and all of them are architects of these trade deals that are responsible for this; three million manufacturing jobs gone under George Bush.  They are still talking free trade. 

CARLSON:  How can she run against NAFTA?

ZUCKERMAN:  Let me—I don‘t know that she can run against NAFTA, although she will be very careful about how she expresses herself on that, because of the voters who are going to be objecting to international trade.  Look, you can say whatever you want about NAFTA, but the fact is that our economy has an extraordinarily low unemployment rate, despite—Just a minute.  Let me finish.  The reason is we have to have those jobs where we are most competitive.  We are no longer competitive in manufacturing, not domestically and internationally.  But we are competitive in jobs based on education and energy, innovation. 

BUCHANAN:  Explain to me why Mexico exports more cars to the United States than we export to the world.  Are Mexicans more efficient than Americans? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Yes, they are in the sense of cost, because the labor rate

CARLSON:  In other words, you‘re putting Mexicans into labor wage war, with five dollars an hour Mexicans? 

ZUCKERMAN:  We also export more cars from Canada to the United States.  So we are not competitive any long in the automobile industry, as we all know.  In fact, nor—the number of people who have worked in automobiles has gone down from three million to two million.  But the number of people who have worked in a whole other series of industries has exploded. 

BUCHANAN:  Don‘t talk about energy.  Look, every manufacturing plant in the United States that can be moved will be moved if you do this.  What does that do to a country?  Forget the economy and everybody working.  I know they all have jobs.  What does it do to a country if you give away the tremendous industrial empire that won two world wars on both side of the world, with one arm tide behind our back? 

CARLSON:  Hasn‘t it already been given away. 

BUCHANAN:  There‘s still some left, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Where? 

BUCHANAN:  You can bring it back.  How do you think Hamilton—We were 13 colonies.  We didn‘t manufacture a thing, nothing.  Hamilton was stealing technology from Scotland. 

CARLSON:  That was before Sri Lanka.  We are going to take a quick break and be right back.  Coming up, making sense of Hillary Clinton‘s new health care plan.  Everybody gets health insurance.  You better sign up or you will be punished.  Do you hear that, you will be punished? 

And Barack Obama rolls out the big guns in his quest for the Democratic nomination, from Oprah to the Kennedys and California‘s first lady.  How close is he to pulling off an upset against Hillary Clinton?  You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  If you don‘t do what I am saying we do, we will never even attempt to get to universal health care.  The reasons why I think there are a number of mechanisms, you know, going after people‘s wages, automatic enrollment.  When you are at the place of employment, you will be automatically enrolled.  Whatever the mechanism is is not as important as, number one, the fundamental commitment to universal health care. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Hillary-care is mandatory.  That‘s no surprise.  In her quest for universal coverage, Hillary Clinton plans to force you to pay for health insurance, whether you want to or not.  If you refuse, she just said she is not opposed to garnishing your wages.  Good idea?  Smart politics?

Here again, Chairman of the “New York Daily News” and MSNBC‘s political analyst Pat Buchanan.  I don‘t think—I think Barack Obama‘s answer that people don‘t need to be forced to get health care is a wiser one.  But the fact that she just said we are going to go after people‘s wages without hesitating.  That doesn‘t send a chill down your spine?

ZUCKERMAN:  There is a huge instinct in this country to have some form of health care that does not cost or threaten the lifestyle of people.  If you look at people who have declared bankruptcy, they have declared bankruptcy more for—than for any other reason because they had a huge health care problem in that family. 

People want to find some way to get this under control.  It terrifies everybody.  If this is what it takes to make a workable program work, so people do not have to worry about that, it will be accepted politically. 

CARLSON:  Boy, I think I would—

BUCHANAN:  That is a Marxist mindset. 

CARLSON:  If I were running against Hillary Clinton, I would run that right there; we will go after people‘s wages. 

BUCHANAN:  What about some guy that just graduated from college and said, look, I feel fine.  I want to keep all my money.  I‘m going to have a good time.  I‘m going to travel the world.  They say no, we are going to take your money for health care to pay for insurance.  You say, I don‘t want to.  You are going to take it from him? 

CARLSON:  Let me point out that that young man you are talking about, if you look at the tables, i making a rational decision. 

BUCHANAN:  Sure he is.  I didn‘t buy life insurance or any of that stuff until you get a lot older. 

ZUCKERMAN:  You know the famous line, taxes is the price you pay for civilization.  If we want to include as a minimum standard for civilization in this country that people have assured health care, taxes is the way it is going to happen.  You may object to it.  Overwhelming—

BUCHANAN:  The guy takes a risk, let him go to the clinic.  What about freedom?  Isn‘t that what this country is about? 

ZUCKERMAN:  It‘s partly what it‘s about. 

BUCHANAN:  Partly freedom?

ZUCKERMAN:  Yes, it‘s not the only thing that this country is about.  Taking care of your neighbors, OK, and taking care of the community, is also a part -- 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  Mort has a deep insight to the state of the country right now, which is—I think what you are essentially saying is people will choose certainty over the unknown.  They will choose socialism over freedom.  They want both.  They can‘t have both.  They will choose the former.  If it comes down it, they say, you know what, I will give you my freedom.  Make sure everything is OK. 

BUCHANAN:  Some people will.

CARLSON:  I won‘t.  I will fight it until I die. 

ZUCKERMAN:  For the millions of people here who feel they have no health care and it could ruin their entire lives, they would actually support this kind of a program.  There are some people who wouldn‘t.  I grant you that.  They are by far in the minority of this country.  This country is not just about freedom.  There are different kinds of freedom.  Freedom from the worry of your family will be bankrupted by health care --  

BUCHANAN:  Mort, you can take care of that family without taking my freedom. 

ZUCKERMAN:  How? 

BUCHANAN:  Provide a program for some kind of catastrophic form. 

Don‘t take away a guy‘s freedom to say no. 

CARLSON:  Let me ask you a question.  You‘ve been watching American politics for a long time.  I think we can both agree objectively that Mort is right.  According to surveys I have seen, people kind of want socialism.  What was the point in recent American history where that changed, where the majority decided, you know what, I will give up my freedom for the security of knowing someone else will pay for it. 

BUCHANAN:  The 1930s. 

CARLSON:  The 1930s?

BUCHANAN:  Sure.  Before that, it was very much an independent minded America.  The whole new deal, all of that, came in.  They decided, look, we not only—they had the opportunity.  They had 25 percent unemployment.  He says, we‘re going to have it again, so we‘re going to get a lot more socialism. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Exactly what the people said then—and this is a democracy, so the majority rules.  When you have 25 percent unemployment, you‘re going to have federal programs to compensate for that.  When you have so many people terrified of having health care and no other way of finding a way to deal with the problem, they‘re going to say, I‘m perfectly willing to allow some kind of mandatory health program so everybody has health care. 

CARLSON:  Can I just make one point.  This is something that you all know, but I think most people are unaware of, no one ever defends the rich.  Let me actually do that, because they pay for the entire country.  The first one percent of wage earners, 40 percent of taxes.  The top five percent, 60 percent, top 10 percent, 66 percent.  The bottom 50 percent of American wage earners pay three percent of total income tax. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Pat Buchanan is going to become the John Edwards for the wealthy.  I do agree with that. 

(CROSS TALK)

BUCHANAN:  they say tax cuts for the rich.  They are the only guys that really pay taxes.  At the bottom level, that‘s why they give rebates to people that don‘t pay taxes. 

CARLSON:  We have to take a break.  Thank you both very much. 

Getting very deep today, as we should counting down to Super Tuesday.  We‘re just hours away from that.  We want to remind you to stay tuned to MSNBC.  We know you will.  We will be covering all the races and results throughout the day and night.  We will also be welcoming viewers from around the world in southern Africa of Freedom View Television, and throughout Asia on Channel News Asia. 

Barack Obama‘s barn storming the northeast today with the Kennedy star power behind him.  He even managed to convince Patriots fan Ted Kennedy to venture into New York Giants territory.  Can he win come Super Tuesday?  We‘ll talk to a key supporter of Barack Obama coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Barack Obama suddenly has a lot of people endorsing him, Oprah, Robert De Niro.  The list goes on and on.  Can he carry delegate rich California to Super Tuesday victory, once thought to be a slam dunk for Hillary Clinton?  And would a loss in California be the end of the Clinton dynasty?  Joining me now is Obama supporter and Democratic Congressman from Alabama, Artur Davis.  Congressman, thanks a lot for coming on. 

REP. ARTUR DAVIS (D), ALABAMA:  Thanks for having me, Tucker.  Good to talk to you. 

CARLSON:  How do you feel about tomorrow? 

DAVIS:  I feel good about tomorrow.  If I had to pick whose position I want to be in, it would be Barack Obama‘s.  If you look at virtually every state in the tracking polls last 48 hours, there is continued momentum toward Obama.  You mentioned California.  There are several polls now that have Obama taking the lead in California.  I think that this is peaking at just the right time for the Obama campaign. 

CARLSON:  I got an e-mail over the weekend saying Kate Michelman, the former head of NARAL, had endorsed Obama.  This is coming a little over a week after Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama.  I was struck by both how retro those figures are.  They are both out of the ‘80s, Cold War ideological arguments.  They are very old school Democrats, both very left wing Democrats, not the kind of Democrats that can make common cause with Republicans. 

In short, they didn‘t seem like Obama Democrats to me, or have I misread Obama? 

DAVIS:  Well, one of the interesting things, Tucker, is that an Obama Democrat is a very expansive term.  Obama voter is a very expansive term.  The magic of this candidacy is that he‘s reconciling people whom we may typically view as being on the left with a lot of people who are very much in the center, and, frankly, all shades in between. 

When I listen to Pat Buchanan talk about the Republicans support he‘s getting—some of it‘s even on the right, I think.  But that‘s what Democrats have to do to win this election.  The Obama campaign has been saying over and over again, we can‘t fight the same campaign and hope to beat John McCain.  John McCain is an authentic American hero.  We can‘t fight on a playing field where only 15 states are really in play. 

CARLSON:  That‘s why I was struck by the Michelman endorsement.  The bottom line is you are never going to get the support of a lot of decent people if you don‘t give a little on abortion.  She is an extremist on the subject, as is the Democratic platform, defending partial birth abortion.  Most people just are not there, as you know, from looking at the polls.  They find that repulsive.  Will Obama give something on that issue?  Will he back sensible prescriptions of any kind?

DAVIS:  Well, you make a good point.  You make a point that a lot of people are conflicted about abortion.  I think if you talk to Kate Michelman she would tell you—

CARLSON:  Come on. 

DAVIS:  -- people feel very strongly.  Let me tell you why that‘s so.  Even people who feel very strongly about a woman‘s right to choose, they think an abortion is a tragedy.  You find me a voter who thinks it is a good thing that someone is having an abortion.  I heard Obama speak to that.  

CARLSON:  If they think it is a tragedy, what have they done to stop abortion for sex selection?  Anything?

DAVIS:  Because they know that the circumstances that lead a young woman to have an abortion are always a situation that has gotten out of control. 

CARLSON:  For sex selection, you think that‘s valid?

DAVIS:  Obama recognizes that.  Kate Michelman is not on the ballot. 

Barack Obama is on the ballot. 

CARLSON:  What I‘m saying is—

DAVIS:  What I have heard Barack Obama say—this is what I have heard him say, Tucker, we immediate to reduce the number of abortions.  We need to find ways for women to make better choices.  You and I both know why a lot of young women end up getting pregnant.  There is an esteem gap.  A lot of them are not making the right choices in their life because they don‘t have anyplace to go to find a sense of responsibility. 

What Obama is trying to say is yes, we are going to disagree maybe on core questions like Roe v. Wade, but we can agree on reducing the number of abortions.  We can agree on reducing the number of lost young women who are not making good choices in their lives.  We can reduce the HIV rate that is exploding among black women in this country. 

What I think Obama is trying to say is, yes, we are going to disagree on things.  Let‘s try to do something with the areas of agreement.  Frankly, where politics has broken down in the last 20 years is we can‘t even get good public policy around the values that we do share.  Now, if we can‘t build legislation and good public policy around the values we share, that says something about the vacuum that exists in American politics. 

So many people are responding to Obama because they think he can move us towards results on more areas than, frankly, they think Senator Clinton can. 

CARLSON:  I want to know—The Clinton campaign is telegraphing in a lot of different ways—you have 50 seconds here.  They are telegraphing that they plan to, if it comes down to it, seat those delegates and allow those delegates to vote, from Michigan and Florida, two states you guys agreed not to compete and kept your word.  Do you think that‘s cheating if it happens?  Will you do something about it? 

DAVIS:  Tucker, rules are rules. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

DAVIS:  Rules are rules.  Every one of these candidates agreed by the same playing field for Florida and Michigan.  The DNC made a ruling that Florida and Michigan were voting out of turn.  Every single candidate, including Senator Clinton, said, we are not going to campaign.  These states are not going to count. 

I like the Atlanta braves.  The Atlanta Braves don‘t get to say, you know, we don‘t like this three-strike things if we start losing too many games in a row.  Rules are made to apply the whole game, the whole season. 

CARLSON:  You obviously haven‘t campaigned against the Clintons before, congressman.  I appreciate your coming on.  Good luck tomorrow. 

DAVIS:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  That does it for tonight.  Thanks for watching.  We will see you from Phoenix tomorrow night.  We‘ll be traveling with John McCain.  Up next, HARDBALL with Chris.

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

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