updated 2/14/2008 1:18:26 PM ET 2008-02-14T18:18:26

Guests: A.B. Stoddard, Joe Mathieu, Kiki McLean, Al Sharpton, Josh Green

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Yes, Virginia, we have a frontrunner, and he is Barack Obama, the Illinois senator just three years into his career here in Washington, put an electoral shellacking on Senator Hillary Clinton in Tuesday night‘s Chesapeake primaries.  What can Senator Clinton do now to stem the clearly rising tide of Barack Obama? 

Welcome to the show. 

The margins of victory in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. defy spin.  In Virginia, Obama won 64 percent of the vote to Clinton‘s 35 percent, a 29 point thumping that included a solid majority among white male voters that contributed to a virtual tie among white voters in the state as a whole.  In Maryland, traditionally a Democratic machine state, Obama earned a 24 point margin, 60 to 36.  And in the District of Columbia, Mrs. Clinton‘s de facto home for the last 15 years, Barack Obama delivered a 51-point ballot box beating, 75-24. 

In nearly every area of voter demographic and on every issue almost, Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton.  Well, the estimate of NBC News political director Chuck Todd Tuesday night gave Barack Obama his first lead over Clinton in the all-important delegate race so far.  In a moment Clinton campaign senior advisor Kiki McLean joins us to explain how Hillary can still win the Democratic nomination in the face of what is all of a sudden a very steep challenge. 

Like Obama, Senator John McCain swept all three contests last night.  And his campaign released an e-mail saying that Mike Huckabee had thereby been mathematically eliminated from earning the nomination through pledged delegates.  Through commitments from Mitt Romney‘s delegates that conceivably put Huckabee over the top and make him the nominee, otherwise the former Arkansas governor has virtually no chance to catch McCain. 

Still, Huckabee carries on in the hope that McCain won‘t clear the delegate bar either, it‘ll create a broker Republican convention.  Will that happen?  What will stop Mike Huckabee?  We‘ll tell you in a minute. 

We begin tonight with the Democrats and the corner in which the Hillary Clinton campaign finds itself tonight. 

Joining us now Kiki McLean, senior advisor to Hillary campaign. 

Kiki, I appreciate you coming on. 

KIKI MCLEAN, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR:  I‘m glad to be here. 

CARLSON:  It‘s not a great day for you, of course.  Let‘s see what the Obama campaign - this is their. 

MCLEAN:  OK. 

CARLSON:  .of course, it‘s your rival.  But they are saying, the campaign manager this morning on a call said, it is, quote, “next to impossible for Clinton to beat Barack Obama among pledged delegates,” quote, “the only way she could do it is by wining most of the rest of the contests by 25 to 30 points.” 

This is an estimate that has been corroborated by independent news organizations looking at the delegate count.  Can she win Ohio and Texas by 25 to 30? 

MCLEAN:  Listen, she‘s going to do what she needs to do in Ohio and Texas.  The reality is there have been good weeks for him, good weeks for us. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MCLEAN:  This is a good week for them.  Hats off to them.  We‘re going to move in to the next wave, where we get into those big states like Texas and Ohio.  Don‘t forget, he won Iowa.  Everybody wrote Hillary Clinton off for New Hampshire.  He was supposed to win big there.  Who won big there?  Hillary Clinton.  We go into South Carolina, he wins big.  We win - excuse me—Nevada.  Then we go into Super Tuesday where she wins big important states. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

MCLEAN:  New Jersey,  Massachusetts, California, Arkansas, Arizona, Tennessee. 

CARLSON:  New York.  

MCLEAN:  .Oklahoma, New York, east to west, north to south, red and blue. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  Everything you said is true. 

MCLEAN:  Those—this is a very tight race for delegates.  It is a race that‘s neck-and-neck.  And so he‘s had a good week and we‘ve got good weeks coming. 

CARLSON:  OK.  When are they coming?  The next two contests, Wisconsin and Hawaii, will she win either one? 

MCLEAN:  We‘re going to go into Wisconsin and we‘re going to go into Hawaii and it‘s a race for delegates and we‘re going to compete for delegates.  And then we‘re going to go into two really big states, Texas and Ohio, that have big populations, big, frankly, numbers of delegates.  And you know what?  She‘s—think about this, last night 12,000 people in El Paso, Texas turned out for her. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MCLEAN:  Today during the work day 4,000 in Corpus Christi show up and another 2,000 people turned away at the door. 

CARLSON:  A lot of people like Hillary Clinton, there‘s no doubt about it.  However. 

MCLEAN:  Well, you know, she‘s got a real—she‘s got a real history in Texas.  Don‘t forget.  (INAUDIBLE) political career there. 

CARLSON:  OK.  I‘m not saying that she‘s been destroyed already, I don‘t think she has been. 

MCLEAN:  No, she hasn‘t. 

CARLSON:  I‘m just looking at the math here.  And Hawaii is his home state, Obama, as he grew up there, went to school there. 

MCLEAN:  Sure.  Sure. 

CARLSON:  Wisconsin is brimming with Starbucks liberals, exactly his base. 

MCLEAN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  So I don‘t think anybody thinks she‘s going to win either of those states. 

MCLEAN:  OK. 

CARLSON:  So that will mean that she would lose 10 states in a row and gone 27 days without a victory.  Can she win Texas and Ohio by 25 points?  Can you contest that math? 

MCLEAN:  In modern political history, Tucker, the people who have gone on to be the nominee of our party have won the majority of delegates not the majority of states.  OK?  So that‘s what you have to really understand.  It‘s a race. 

CARLSON:  No, but. 

MCLEAN:  It‘s a race for delegates, you‘re right.  And in a very tight race, these races that come up in Ohio and Texas and Pennsylvania on into April are quite important, and there‘s no doubt about it.  And that‘s why having real conversations about issues are important.  For instance, today Senator Obama gave an economic speech in Wisconsin.  Senator Clinton rightly pointed out don‘t know what kind of an economic plan you can have when you‘re going to leaving 15 million people uninsured.

You‘re talking about some interesting political process questions.  What voters are talking about are the issues that affect them, like the economy, like health care, like who ‘s gong to get us out of Iraq. 

CARLSON:  Right.  None of which she‘ll be able to affect if she doesn‘t get the nomination and become president.  So I mean. 

MCLEAN:  Well, she‘s addressing that conversation right now. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

MCLEAN:  And that‘s the kind of dialogue she‘s having with voters. 

CARLSON:  I think any honest person looking at the policy positions as outlined by Senators Clinton and Obama would conclude that they are virtually identical with a few differences and one is whether or not you should make buying health insurance mandatory.  She says yes, he says no. 

I‘ll grant it to you, there‘s a difference.  But there aren‘t many others.  I want to know why.  Hillary Clinton last night in El Paso gave a speech - you said it was packed.  She did not congratulate Barack Obama.  We‘d already learned that he‘d won Virginia, which was a big victory for him.  Why not - every candidate says, you know what?  My opponent ran a good race, he won, congratulations. 

MCLEAN:  And you know what? 

CARLSON:  For two election nights in a row, she hasn‘t done that. 

Why? 

MCLEAN:  And you know what?  She was in the middle of a rocking event.  She said it this morning in front of the press corps, she said it from an event this morning.  People are human beings.  There was no mastermind moment behind that. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think so. 

MCLEAN:  That was being in the middle of an event. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think it‘s a mastermind thing.  I think it was an evidence of smallness of character.  Why not congratulate every other candidate. 

MCLEAN:  Oh, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I mean it.  Every candidate. 

MCLEAN:  Do you believe that Hillary Clinton has smallness of character?  Do you believe that? 

CARLSON:  I believe this: I have covered literally dozens and dozens of election night speeches, many of them in the losing candidates‘ ballroom. 

MCLEAN:  Yes.  Yes. 

CARLSON:  I have never seen somebody not congratulate the person who won. 

MCLEAN:  Yes, I tell you what.  She. 

CARLSON:  Not once. 

MCLEAN:  Well, a statement went out from her congratulating him.  She said it this morning and I can‘t believe, Tucker, that you would say that that‘s a demonstration of character because she. 

CARLSON:  I think it‘s in very, very poor taste.  I really do. 

MCLEAN:  You know what? 

CARLSON:  And I think any—I think honestly, that—you‘ve been around campaigns, every time, every year I‘ve been in Washington you‘ve been here involved in campaigns.  And you can‘t tell me that that‘s not a violation of the code, which is be a magnanimous loser. 

MCLEAN:  You know what?  You know what?  And she‘s tipped her hat to him, she‘s congratulated him.  And I think that that‘s what is important.  I also think that what‘s important is the fact that she‘s actually out there talking about the issues.  You know, you talk about the records and I think. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MCLEAN:  You talk about their plans. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MCLEAN:  .and their vision for the future, I happen to think there are differences that are important.  I think 15 million people are - 15 million that are important. 

CARLSON:  Let‘s just be clear that that includes. 

MCLEAN:  Wait, I also want to. 

CARLSON:  That‘s mostly people who will choose not to buy health insurance. 

MCLEAN:  I also want to point something else out here.  And that is, there are records here.  And records are legitimate things that we use to make judgments. 

CARLSON:  Then why can‘t (INAUDIBLE) 

MCLEAN:  And so what I want to talk about in her record is the fact that she has been in the business of solutions, solving problems.  And that‘s what her plans are. 

CARLSON:  OK.  If you‘re touting her record again, I want to see her tax returns.  I want specific tax returns. 

MCLEAN:  Her financial reports go out..

CARLSON:  I can see his.  No, not on financial reports. 

MCLEAN:  Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I want to see specific tax returns. 

MCLEAN:  Tucker. 

CARLSON:  And we always see them.  Why can‘t we see her? 

MCLEAN:  Tucker, her reports go out every year in the Senate. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not the same as a tax return. 

MCLEAN:  But here‘s the thing, I‘ve just told you, I‘ve given you the answer to the question.  You don‘t like the answer to the question.  But here—let me ask you a question. 

CARLSON:  I want to know what her real record is.  I want to see her tax return.  I know what Obama‘s is. 

MCLEAN:  Do your viewers want to talk about issues and policies? 

CARLSON:  That is an issue.  Where‘s her money coming from if she‘s funding her campaign with it? 

MCLEAN:  She‘s told you that.  She‘s a senator.  She files her financial reports every year. 

CARLSON:  Is there a reason she‘s not - we‘re not seeing it? 

MCLEAN:  No, she puts the reports out through the Senate.  This is not an issue. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not the same as a tax return, as you know. 

MCLEAN:  Oh, Tucker, she‘s filed those. 

CARLSON:  If there‘s no distinction, why not release it? 

MCLEAN:  I think she‘ll probably make anything available that needs to be made available when she‘s. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

MCLEAN:  Tucker, that‘s not. 

CARLSON:  OK, I‘m just saying what‘s the big deal if there‘s no difference?  Why just release it? 

MCLEAN:  Well, if there‘s no difference, what‘s the big deal?  Why aren‘t (INAUDIBLE)? 

CARLSON:  Because there is a difference.  And the difference is that a financial disclosure form is very general, a tax return is very specific.  And in order to know where the money is coming from, I think it‘s fair to see her tax return.  That‘s why Obama has released his.  That‘ why every candidate has and she hasn‘t. 

MCLEAN:  Tucker, Tucker, she‘s put the paper out there.  And the question is: do your viewers also want to talk about issues?  And if they do, there‘s a lot of issues to talk about. 

CARLSON:  We talk about them all the time.. 

MCLEAN:  .especially when you talk about places like Ohio and Texas that are suffering. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MCLEAN:  .economically, that are trying to deal with the recession right on the brink, right on the brink of that recession. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MCLEAN:  And I think that‘s what the candidates are going to go and talk about. 

CARLSON:  OK.  We. 

MCLEAN:  I think that‘s why she has a chance to do quite well in those places. 

CARLSON:  We will see.  I—we certainly have been wrong before.  I‘ll tell you that in calling races.  And I know I have been.  So she‘ll - you know? 

MCLEAN:  See, everybody has.  So here is the deal. 

CARLSON:  She‘ll probably be the nominee.  All right. 

MCLEAN:  You should make a pledge on your show not to engage in reviewing the polling that comes in or out.  What about that? 

CARLSON:  And you should make a pledge to release her real record which includes her real tax return.  And let‘s do that real soon. 

MCLEAN:  Then we‘ll both work on that. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Kiki McLean, I appreciate it.  Thank you. 

MCLEAN:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Barack Obama has won eight out of eight contests in Super Tuesday.  He now leads Hillary Clinton in the delegate count.  Will his new frontrunner status bring a lot more scrutiny to his race for president? 

Plus, Rush Limbaugh says the Republican Party will, quote, “be destroyed” if John McCain becomes the Republican nominee.  But could Limbaugh‘s tirades against McCain actually be helping McCain?  That‘s what Limbaugh says.  It‘s a complicated explanation.  And we‘ve got it coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Barack Obama goes undefeated since Super Tuesday winning eight of the presidential contests.  He makes him the indisputable frontrunner for the nomination.  Is it all over for Hillary Clinton?  Or is there anything she can do to revive her campaign or should we stop predicting the outcome because we‘re often wrong? 

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  If it hadn‘t already Barack Obama‘s claim to be the underdog officially evaporated last night with his thunderous sweep of the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. primaries.  He‘s ahead in pledged delegates.  He‘s ahead in the popular vote.  And he‘s ahead in the unquantifiable yet important category of buzz.  Two Z‘s, maybe three. 

How Obama handle the demands as frontrunner and what are the new political danger he now faces in that role?  Joining us to tell us associate editor of “The Hill” A.B. Stoddard and the program director and anchor for “POTUS ‘08” on XM Satellite Radio Joe Mathieu. 

Welcome to you both. 

Hey, just to settle this.  I mean I didn‘t - you know, I don‘t want to be—we‘re not allowed to be mean to Hillary Clinton, you know, and all that.  But I think it is significant that she didn‘t thank or congratulate Barack Obama after her victories, two election nights in a row.  And just by comparison, I‘m not showing (INAUDIBLE), I‘m just being sincere, truly, this is what John McCain said last night about Mike Huckabee, who really is a, you know, pain in his butt, a thorn in his side. 

And he said this, he congratulated Huckabee for his run in Virginia and said, quote, “Huckabee certainly keeps things interesting, a little too interesting at times tonight, I must confess.”  Just joking, magnanimous, you know what I mean?  Acknowledging there are other people in the race and, you know, they‘re working hard, too.  I mean why not do that? 

A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”:  She—if you look a lot of the reporting about last year and the beginning of her campaign, sort of the official beginning, she has ignored the threat of Barack Obama, 12 months ago, nine months ago, six months ago at her peril, obviously.  And now ignoring him on victory nights, on election nights, I think is not useful to her.  I think she runs the risk of people talking about it the next day, of not looking gracious, and I think it‘s a mistake. 

CARLSON:  It‘s awful.  It‘s bad sports womanship. 

JOE MATHIEU, “POTUS ‘08” ANCHOR & PROGRAM DIR.:  Well, it could be argued that it is different. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not just saying that because I‘m a sexist, OK?  Just so you know, it‘s possible to - it‘s possible to critique Hillary‘s behavior without hating all women.  I just want to make that completely clear.  But I mean, do you think she‘s in denial? 

MATHIEU:  Well, I do think it could be argued that it‘s disrespectful.  In denial, I don‘t know.  I think we - as you mentioned, we‘ve seen this over and over again where the Clinton campaign has a loss and decides that well, let‘s handle it by just acting like it didn‘t happen.  We‘ve got a room full of people here who love us, let‘s just push ahead and start talking about Texas and Ohio.  But I do think that there is a possible danger here.  It can be viewed as disrespectful.  And if Senator McCain, as you mentioned, is so willing to congratulate Mike Huckabee on his being a contender, I don‘t know why anybody else can‘t. 

CARLSON:  Of course, you‘ve got to suck it up.  It‘s what you teach your kid.  I‘m sorry you lost.  OK?  You don‘t blame the ref, you don‘t blame your cleats, you stand there in line and shake the guy‘s hands and say good game.  I mean that‘s like what - I mean that‘s what decent people do. 

MATHIEU:  It‘s an opportunity to look good, though, right? 

TODDARD:  Yes, it is. 

MATHIEU:  (INAUDIBLE) 

CARLSON:  Yes.  It‘s just bad—absolutely just bad sportsmanship.  I think—I‘ve already gotten a bunch of e-mails alleging all kinds of creepy stuff about Barack Obama say all, which I‘m sure are totally false.  But the point is, there was already a campaign somewhere to undermine Barack Obama as a candidate.  How - I mean he‘s going to get landed on by the press, or is he, now that he‘s the frontrunner? 

STODDARD:  I thought he was landed on by the press a year ago.  But. 

CARLSON:  I missed that part.  I only saw the slobbering over Barack Obama. 

STODDARD:  I have been reading pieces about Barack Obama steadily for a year.  But maybe you haven‘t.  If the press has been ignoring Barack Obama, then come what may we‘ll see what‘s coming.  But I think that he‘ll be under attack from Hillary‘s supporters.  And I think that‘s fair game.  I imagine they‘ll go after him.  She‘ll drill down on health care, which is a very potent argument for her.  I think that if there‘s a big secret that we don‘t know, I‘m very surprised it hasn‘t come out.  He was a big rock star long before Iowa and in the race with her taking on the Clinton machine.  I‘m surprised people. 

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m not even saying—I don‘t mean to imply that there‘s some secret, anything like that.  I just mean he‘s gotten a pass from Republicans.  You saw him last night say there are these Obamacans out there, Republicans who are voting for him.  I mean do you think that the RNC and John McCain, the presumptive nominee on the Republican side, have the heart to really take it to Barack Obama? 

MATHIEU:  Well, I think they certainly will once we get to general election. 

CARLSON:  You do think that? 

MATHIEU:  .if he‘s the presumptive - if he does become the nominee. 

But Senator McCain is already talking about him as we heard last night.  He‘s talking about hope being rhetoric, talking about platitudes as opposed to real experience and even stole his line, fired up and ready to go.  So I think that these conversations are already happening within the campaign, within the party. 

CARLSON:  I bet they are not a quarter as mean to Obama as they would have been to Hillary. 

MATHIEU:  That‘s a fair statement. 

CARLSON:  John McCain is closer to the Republican nomination with wins in all three contests last night in the Chesapeake primaries. 

And after last night‘s losses Hillary Clinton is looking to Texas where she‘s hoping support from Latino voters will give her the edge over Obama.  The Obama camp says it‘ll fight her for every vote.  Who‘s going to win the battle for Hispanic Democrats?  Indications ahead. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  I don‘t pretend that

that I wouldn‘t like Governor Huckabee not in the race, I mean, but look

but I respect his commitment to do so and his commitment to continue in the race.  Of course, I‘d like for him to withdraw today.  I mean, it would be much easier. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, there‘s an honest assessment.  For better or worse Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is not making John McCain‘s march to the Republican nomination any easier.  Despite losing all three primaries last night, despite the near impossibility of earning the nominations by getting delegates himself, Huckabee was back out on the trail today in Wisconsin pledging to fight on through Texas and Ohio on March 4th

The question today is the same as it was yesterday, maybe even more amplified given the results of last night‘s primaries: what is Mike Huckabee doing and who is he helping? 

Here once again associate editor of “The Hill” A.B. Stoddard and the program director and anchor for “POTUS ‘08” with a voice to match, on XM Satellite Radio, Joe Mathieu. 

Joe, here‘s what Rick Davis, who is sort of the guru in charge. 

MATHIEU:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  .of the John McCain presidential efforts said about Huckabee, and I think he‘s - I think he‘s (INAUDIBLE) because he‘s right, quote, “The results from tonight‘s primary elections in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. make it mathematically impossible for Governor Huckabee to secure the nomination for president.  He now needs 950 delegates to secure the required 1191, but in the remaining contests, there are only 774 delegates available.  He need to win 123% of remaining delegates.” 

Now even with extra credit, that‘s tough. 

MATHIEU:  Well, as Mike Huckabee likes to say, he didn‘t major in math but he majored in miracles. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

MATHIEU:  It certainly would take one. 

CARLSON:  Well, that is a Jesus in love scenario, though, isn‘t it? 

MATHIEU:  Yes.  I mean let‘s be honest.  He‘s not a threat, I think, for the nomination at this point but he serves as a reminder, and this is what makes it tough for Senator McCain, he serves as a reminder that McCain has still not won the hearts and minds of the conservative establishment of the Republican Party despite his better attempts in the speech at CPAC last week, his meeting with leaders on the Hill. 

Mike Huckabee, look at the Virginia numbers, did pretty well in a lot of the areas down state with evangelical voters, with conservative Christians.  It‘s not a threat in terms of numbers that he‘s going to get the nomination, it‘s just a reminder that you know what?  Senator McCain, the party is not in love with you yet. 

CARLSON:  So at what point, A.B., does the McCain campaign go from kind of amused tolerance, oh our little buddy Mike Huckabee who helped us beat Mitt Romney to, you know, grumpiness? 

STODDARD:  Well, I know, it‘s not really a comedy show anymore. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s really not. 

STODDARD:  And now that Mike Huckabee is actually not only making these surprising wins but challenging him on stem cell research and all this sort of stoking the fire.  You can you see Governor Rick Perry, now a McCain endorser, formerly a Rudy Giuliani endorser, tried to, you know, stop Mike Huckabee.  Rick Davis is doing what he can with his memos.  But I think it‘s going to take him getting an offer of his own cable television show. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

STODDARD:  .to get him to actually step out of the race. 

CARLSON:  He would be really, really good.  I just. 

STODDARD:  He has nothing to lose. 

CARLSON:  He‘d be a threat to my job, I think, absolutely no question

there‘s no question about it.  I just saw a McCain advisor this afternoon at lunch who didn‘t say anything about Huckabee but seemed distinctly sour at the prospect of facing Barack Obama in the fall. 

MATHIEU:  He would be. 

CARLSON:  That‘s the headline, I think, for the McCain people, the realization that, you know, Obama really could be—is likely to be the guy.  That‘s bad. 

MTHIEU:  Which is why, I think, McCain is already referring to him in his speeches.  And Obama is referring to McCain in his speeches.  But if you look at the polls that are taken under, well, you know, the general election scenario, Obama beats Senator McCain pretty much every time in most demographics.  You referred to the Obamacans.  I think that‘s a very real scenario. 

CARLSON: Well, my theory about the presidential campaigns is that they‘re always most accurately viewed from a great distance.  So at the beginning of the campaign, you really have a sense of who can win and who can‘t.  Then you get into the weeds. 

STODDARD:  Yes.  And everything seems right. 

CARLSON:  .you convince yourself. 

STODDARD:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  But (INAUDIBLE) like Al Gore.  I looked at Al Gore and I said, I‘m sorry, even after eight years of peace and prosperity, no way, he can‘t win.  You sort of look at the McCain-Obama match-up, and you think, and I‘m not saying McCain can‘t win, he can win, but, boy, I wouldn‘t want to do that. 

STODDARD:  It‘s very tough because I think if McCain was running against Hillary, he could say that she is the past and he is the future.  He‘s worked with Democrats and he‘s fashioned compromises and he‘s produced results and that he‘s a better governor.  And I think that running against Barack Obama who is this fresh face, who Republicans and independents are going to turn away from John McCain for, makes it very, very tough for him message wise, numbers, I mean, in every way, money.  I just can‘t imagine, the excitement is too intense with people that normally in another year would be with McCain. 

CARLSON:  And Hillary, I think Democrats - Democrats aren‘t as dumb as some people give them credit for being.  I think they‘re finally figuring out, wait a second, Hillary is tragically flawed.  I could beat Hillary.  I mean I didn‘t use a southern strategy, I didn‘t compare Barack Obama to Jesse Jackson.  I mean she‘s done some things she ought to be ashamed of and the Democrats are mad about.  I think she‘s weaker than we‘ve been admitting all along. 

MATHIEU:  Well, you made the great point earlier that, you know, the Republicans are salivating to run against her. 

CARLSON:  Of course, they are. 

MATHIEU:  Barack Obama hasn‘t been around to have a paper trail or to have the garbage that they need to dig up to run a fierce campaign against them. 

CARLSON:  See, that ought to be a bumper sticker.  Barack Obama, he never hid the billing records.  Just a thought. 

Reverend Al Sharpton weighs in on the Potomac primary and Barack Obama‘s big sweep.  That‘s coming up. 

Plus the Democratic Party has denied Michigan and Florida delegates at the nomination because they moved their primaries to the front of the calendar.  Are there racial implications to this?  We‘ll ask the Rev in a minute. 

John McCain, meanwhile, says he‘d like Mike Huckabee to get out of the race.  Can he unite Huckabee‘s conservative base around his bid?  Does he even need to? 

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

CARLSON:  He‘s among the most visible black leaders of the past quarter century.  So far he hasn‘t endorsed anybody for president.  He himself ran a stout campaign for Democratic nomination four years ago that included relatively strong showings in Maryland and D.C.  But his presence on the trail this year has been relatively unfelt.  Why?  Here he is.  We‘re going to ask him.  He‘s the Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network.  He joins us now with his reaction to last night‘s primaries. 

Rev, thanks for coming on. 

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK:  Thank you.  Good to talk to you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I think you‘re the only person I know that‘s not jumping on the Obama train.  How come? 

SHARPTON:  Well, I said from the beginning when I decided not to run, I told the board of the National Action Network that I was going to try to focus on civil rights issues and keep them in the forefront, and that‘s what I‘ve done.  Yesterday, I was at the White House, strangely enough, listening to George Bush finally address hangman‘s nooses and the lynch word, words that you and I have argued about on here, that now George Bush has even come out. 

I‘m very comfortable dealing with the civil rights agenda of the National Action Network.  But I‘m watching very closely the campaign. 

CARLSON:  Don‘t you want to kick Hillary when she‘s down?  Everyone else is? 

SHARPTON:  It‘s not about kicking Hillary when she‘s down. 

CARLSON:  Of course it is. 

SHARPTON:  I‘m very concerned is that we don‘t kick the voters.  This whole—in the last 24 hours, this whole discussion of trying to have the DNC seat the Michigan and Florida delegates, to me that speaks of a civil rights issue.  That‘s not about kicking Hillary or kicking anyone.  This is about making sure that the voters are not kicked and not disenfranchised. 

CARLSON:  I agree with you.  I think it‘s admirable that you‘re coming out on this issue.  It‘s an important one.  It hasn‘t gotten enough attention.  When you say that coming out against seating delegates from these two states, which are not by Democratic rules supposed to be in play, is theft, which it is, you‘re coming out directly against Hillary Clinton.  You said this, quote, I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee. 

In other words, she‘s bowing to the will of the people by trying to steal the nomination.  So you are coming out against Hillary. 

SHARPTON:  What I‘m saying is that if it was the other way around, I would have the same position.  As you started, I‘m not speaking on behalf of anyone‘s campaign.  I‘m speaking as one that says that if I went to Florida in 2000, as I did, and questioned what was going on with the Republican recount, we can‘t now sit back in the same state of Florida and in Michigan eight years later and see the Democratic party—and by that mean the Democratic National Committee—change the rules and not raise the question of disenfranchisement. 

You must be consistent.  What was promoted and what was told to the people cannot now be reversed because there‘s some in the party that says oh, no, this is going to be a scenario we don‘t want.  We‘re going to aggressively fight that. 

CARLSON:  I think you are standing on principle in this case, and I appreciate it.  Why do you think Barack Obama won 90 percent of the black vote, nine zero percent of the black vote in some recent contests.  That‘s a profound statement about something.  What does it mean? 

SHARPTON:  I think it‘s a profound statement that a lot of African-Americans see his campaign as a campaign of hope.  But I think it‘s also a statement when he won white male votes, the majority, when he won the youth vote.  He won senior votes. 

I think one of the things that Obama‘s campaign has done is broke out of just a segregated kind of polling.  And I think that he is not a black candidate, a white candidate.  I think he‘s drawing from everywhere now and I think that‘s good for America. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second, ninety percent is actually a segregated number.  That‘s everybody.  That‘s everybody.  This is a race where—

SHARPTON:  Tucker, that would be segregated. 

CARLSON:  I‘m knot not attacking it.  I don‘t think there‘s anything wrong with it.  It‘s more than just they happen to be choosing Barack Obama.  These are candidates whose positions are literally almost identical on everything.  I‘ve never seen any indication, you know, voters like his position on this over her position on that.  Do you think there‘s really—you think that‘s just it, they happen to like him better?  Come on. 

SHARPTON:  No, I think that votes—you and I may define segregation differently.  Segregated would be if he got 90 percent of African-American vote and five percent of other votes.  That‘s not true.  He got the majority of votes in every community.  He may have gotten more in the African-American community because they may have known him better and longer, but he by no means is just getting the majority there. 

He‘s getting the majority across the board.  And I think that is why his campaign has caught the kind of fire of hope that it has.  It‘s not a lopsided victory.  It seems to be evenly across the board. 

CARLSON:  I agree with you.  I guess the point I‘m making, I‘m not being very clear, I think that black voters, in particular, all voters, but black voters in particular are rejecting the Clintons after the loathsome injection of race you saw by their campaign into the South Carolina primary race.  When Bill Clinton came out and compared Barack Obama to Jesse Jackson, I think that was—those are coded words that people are smart enough to understand and they are rejecting the Clintons because of that. 

SHARPTON:  I think—again, I‘m not speaking for Obama.  I‘m not speaking for anybody.  I‘m not in anyone‘s camp.  I would say maybe people are affirming a candidacy that is addressing some of the wants and needs that they have, rather than making a negative, maybe a positive.  I‘m seeing a lot of young people around this country, white and black, and now even seniors, that are more saying to me that they‘re voting in what they believe, rather than protesting something they don‘t believe.  That‘s good. 

CARLSON:  I think the Clintons are being punished for using the race card and I‘m glad to see it.  Rev, I‘m really glad you‘re here.  Thank you very much. 

SHARPTON:  Take care, tucker.  Let‘s keep the voters enfranchised in Florida and Michigan. 

CARLSON:  Amen.  Power to the people.  Thanks, reverend. 

John McCain has been the presumptive Republican nominee since Mitt Romney dropped out last week, only a week.  Amazing.  Three wins last night made him the super presumptive nominee.  Yet there nags in his campaign the lingering doubt that the conservative wing of his party will not support him.  Does he need them to win in November?  Where else would they go if not with McCain? 

Back with us associate editor of the hill, A.B. Stoddard and program director and anchor for POTUS 08 on XM Satellite radio Joe Mathieu.  Alexandra Stoddard, does McCain need the people who really don‘t like him? 

STODDARD:  Yes.  He needs every voter he can scrounge up, as we were saying before.  He‘s going to lose some of his traditional base, which is the John McCain moderate Republican base of the party, to Barack Obama, if Barack Obama is the nominee.  If Hillary Clinton was the nominee, it would be a totally different story.  His party would galvanize against her and he would pick up bitter Obama Democrats who would never vote for Hillary.  So it would be quite a coalition. 

If Barack Obama is the nominee, he needs everyone one on board.  He needs conservatives to be united in some way.  If he can‘t unite them the way another candidate could oh, well.  He needs to work hard for everybody, because otherwise he‘s just going to be the nominee and not the president. 

CARLSON:  Joe, you‘re a radio man, so you may have insight into this, Rush Limbaugh, who I think is a really talented guy, witty guy, lost control of himself a couple of weeks ago on the question of John McCain, got hysterical, hissy on the air; it would destroy the Republican party if McCain‘s the nominee.  Now that McCain essentially is the nominee, here is what Rush Limbaugh is saying, which I don‘t buy for a second; quote, “if I really wanted to torpedo McCain, I would endorse him, because that would send the independents and liberals who are going to vote for him running away faster than anything.  What people don‘t realize is I‘m doing McCain the biggest favor that could be done for him by staying out.  If I endorsed him thoroughly, with passion, that would end the independents and moderates, because they so despise me.  They so hate me.” 

That‘s quite a narcissistic view of the electoral system.  It‘s all about Rush Limbaugh.  But do you think it‘s true? 

MATHIEU:  I actually think there‘s a certain amount of truth to that, especially as A.B. was just saying how important the independent vote will be for Senator McCain in a general election.  However, we need to remember that the conservative wing of the Republican party, the establishment, those same people who Senator McCain is trying to win over right now are among the most passionate and active Republican voters.  If he is going to win in a general election, he will, in fact, need every one of them to be knocking on doors and making phone calls. 

CARLSON:  You have to wonder if Barack Obama is going to galvanize the Republicans at all.  The Hillary campaign, as we heard at the beginning of the show from Kiki McLean, who I thought did a really valiant effort—really, it‘s not easy to defend a campaign that‘s in trouble and that campaign is.  She said the Hillary campaign is going to do well in Texas, really going to do well in Texas.  Of course, that‘s a heavily Hispanic state, particularly on the Democratic side.

Sylvestre Reyes, the Congressman from Texas, predicted Hillary, quote, is going to take Texas by at least 65 percent of the Hispanic vote.  I think they, the Clintons, are looked upon as part of the Hispanic family.  So not only is Bill Clinton officially black, he‘s also officially Hispanic.  It‘s like, they are not black.  They‘re not Hispanic.  They are a white couple.  He‘s from Arkansas.  She‘s from Illinois.  Why not just admit it.  What is this? 

STODDARD:  She said that last night, she‘s said that she‘s part of the family.  She should have left it there.  But she said it‘s going to start tonight or something.  She needs every vote that she can get.  I believe that her grip on the Latino vote is probably quite unshakable.  Barack Obama will eat around the edges. 

CARLSON:  Even though Obama won here. 

STODDARD:  There‘s a real black-brown rift.  It will be exploited and I don‘t know how, but it‘s there.  And when you talk to Latino voters who believe that African-Americans take their jobs and vice versa, it‘s very—it‘s a tension that‘s real that will not be melted away in the next 13 days. 

CARLSON:  You think the Clinton campaign will continue with its southern strategy, will continue this dividing by race? 

STODDARD:  I‘m not saying Clinton will do it.  I‘m saying it‘s there.  I don‘t think it‘s something Barack Obama can overcome in this amount of time.  He‘s on a roll, but you could say he‘s been on since Iowa.  There‘s not a lot of time to overcome historic tensions that exist between different—it‘s not that they are a monolith, but it is there.  I think it plays out. 

It played out in other primaries like in Nevada.  And I think that you‘re going to see her take a very good percentage of that vote.  Now, would that she could just take Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, get over 300 delegates, like in a winner take all system and block this.  No, he‘s going to eat around the edges at the rest of her coalition.  And that is the danger for her, is that she can‘t really lock down everybody.  I think her Latino vote is probably the safest lock for her, but I do think that once you look at senior voters, white women of maybe different income windows, I think Barack Obama is chipping away. 

CARLSON:  Joe, if you‘re like me, every day your e-mail box is clogged with announcements from various campaigns telling you who has endorsed them most recently.  Barack Obama like nine endorsements an hour it seems like.  I got a list of some of the celebrity endorsers from the various campaigns, kind of tells you where these campaigns are going.  Barack Obama, Zach Braff, an actor, Scarlett Johansson, age 23, Beyonce Knowles, Dave Matthews.  These are entertainers who have endorsed Barack Obama. 

On the Hillary side, let‘s look at her list, Barbra Streisand, Maya Angelou, Billy Jean King.   

STODDARD:  Rob Reiner.

CARLSON:  OK, Rob Reiner.  My question to you is, which groups sounds more fun? 

MATHIEU:  I think you know the answer to that.  I have interviewed a couple of these folks who have endorsed the various candidates over the past couple of days.  Ted Danson was over at XM today, very firm in the Clinton camp.  Kal Penn I interviewed the other day.  He was up at the University of Maryland.  He was Kumar in “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.”  He‘s relating with a lot of young people. 

CARLSON:  An Obama man. 

MATHIEU:  He‘s a strong Obama man, absolutely.  Traveling with the campaign, trying to get people on campuses.  Look, I think this is much more for the three of us to talk about here and hash out.  I really do not believe anyone cares about any of this.  

CARLSON:  Really, I was thinking Barbara Streisand would make the difference. 

STODDARD:  Barry Manilow wanted to endorse.  The Clintons are keeping it under wraps. 

CARLSON:  I believe Barry Manilow gave money to Ron Paul, a little-known fact. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  Dennis Hoff (ph) is a Ron Paul man.  Thank you very much. 

Going up, we‘ll go inside the shakeups that are rocking Hillary Clinton‘s campaign.  Did her campaign manager resign or was she canned.  Get the answer you already suspect when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  So to an outsider, it looks like Hillary Clinton‘s campaign is in trouble.  Both its campaign manager and its deputy campaign manager resigned within days of each other.  Then last night Barack Obama swept three more primaries by big margins.  It sounds bad but how bad is it really?  Joining us now, a man who has done a great deal of deep reporting on the actual condition of the Clinton campaign, Josh Green, a senior editor of “The Atlantic.”

Glad to have him.  Josh, thanks for coming on. 

JOSH GREEN, “THE ATLANTIC”:  Good to be with you. 

CARLSON:  This is such a great piece.  Part—I should just say for our viewers, I believe some of this was a piece you had written for another magazine that spiked your piece under pressure from the Clinton campaign, is that correct? 

GREEN:  That‘s correct. 

CARLSON:  It‘s also disgusting that a campaign could exert control over journalists. 

GREEN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  It‘s distressing.  Here‘s one of the most amazing parts of this piece.  We‘re talking about Patty Solis Doyle, the campaign manager.  You say, quote, she was infamous among her colleagues for referring to herself as the queen bee, and for her habit of watching daytime soap operas.  One frequent complaint among donors and outside advisers was she did not return phone calls or demonstrate the attention required in her position.” 

Someone said to me today, watching soap operas in her office so everyone could see her.  That‘s the sort of thing you go to the bathroom and snort in private.  To do it and let everybody know, what does it say? 

GREEN:  It says something about the problems that the Clinton campaign management has had all along.  This is reporting that was done at this point eight, nine months ago.  So this isn‘t something that cropped up recently.  It‘s just something that until recently hasn‘t been published.

These were problems that a lot of people in the campaign were aware of, but because of the who Patty Solis Doyle is, because of the way the Clinton campaign is organized, nothing was done about it until now, eight months later, when she‘s on the verge of losing the campaign. 

CARLSON:  You make the point I thought was really smart—I should say, you‘ve written a lot about Hillary Clinton and they are not hit pieces.  I think you‘ve written a lot of thoughtful, even handed things about Hillary Clinton.  You make the point that her criteria for hiring are not so different from those used by President Bush, and the central one is loyalty. 

GREEN:  Yes, the key point I tried to make in this piece is that if you look at why the Clinton campaign has kind of been managed into a ditch, a lot of it has to do with the fact of who is in charge.  Now, there are two reasons why I think it‘s troublesome and potentially dangerous for the Clinton campaign that someone like Solis Doyle was the campaign manager.  She‘s not a woman without talent.  She went and rescued Hillary‘s Senate campaign in 2006 when the various advisers were leaking and stabbing each other in the back.  She‘s supremely loyal to Hillary Clinton. 

But her talents tend to be more of a loyalist than those of a manager.  She was put in charge of the campaign because she was loyal to Hillary Clinton, because Clinton thought she was going to coast to the nomination.  What she really cared about was not having these leaks.  She didn‘t pay as much attention to putting somebody in place who had the skills to win a presidential campaign. 

The problem you run into now is when people take a look at what happened, they look and see that you put someone in that position out of loyalty, rather than not skill.  If you‘re running your campaign on a notion that you‘re an executive and you‘re a leader and you‘re ready to lead on day one, that doesn‘t reflect very well on you. 

The other problem is, you know, it reminds a lot of people, I think, dangerously so, of the Bush administration, the idea of putting in a Brownie or an Al Gonzalez or someone whose main criterion is loyalty. 

CARLSON:  You‘re putting in your reliable pals.  Quickly, the recriminations must be just out of hand at this point in the campaign.  Is that accurate? 

GREEN:  Your guess is very accurate.  We saw another three people leave yesterday, including Mike Henry, the deputy campaign manager.  There‘s a lot of uncertainty.  She has three must win states in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania.  There‘s a real question about who is going to pull that off if they haven‘t managed to succeed yet.  There are a lot of nervous people in Clinton land. 

CARLSON:  All campaigns do this.  They always blame the staff, the consultants.  Sometimes the candidate isn‘t that good, just my theory.  Josh Green, great piece.  I hope it‘s read by everybody.  Thank you for coming on. 

GREEN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Up next, some high heat for Roger Clemens at Capitol Hill.  Law makers hurl tough questions towards Clemens and his former trainer, who claimed he injected the star with steroids.  More on that after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  While we‘ve been yapping for the last 55 minutes, a lot of stuff has been going on.  Here to tell us what that stuff is, Bill Wolff. 

BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT:  Some of that stuff, Tucker, some of that stuff.  The vast majority of working Americans were doing what we do in our offices and cubicles, drama was unfolding today on Capital Hill from late morning to mid-afternoon as all time the baseball great Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee testified before a congressional committee about McNamee‘s allegations that he provided and administered steroids to Roger Clemens. 

The bottom line, as you listen to this sound, one of these guys is lying through his teeth in the face of a perjury charge.  And, as you see toward the end, politicians never miss a chance to grand stand.  Here is a sample. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN MCNAMEE, FMR TRAINER TO ROGER CLEMENS:  During the time that I worked with Roger Clemens, I injected him on numerous occasions with steroids and Human Growth Hormone.  I also injected Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch with HGH. 

ROGER CLEMENS, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER:  I am saying Brian McNamee‘s statements about me are wrong.  Let me be clear, I‘ve never taken steroids or HGH. 

MCNAMEE:  I never felt good about what I was doing, the fact that it was illegal.  I figured because I‘ve done things before for other people and have got hurt by it, I might as well hold onto these things.  It wasn‘t something I dwelt on. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How many other people did you treat that you kept their gauze pads and needles. 

MCNAMEE:  Possibly one other. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Who was that. 

MCNAMEE:  Chuck Knoblauch.   

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you still have them?

MCNAMEE:  I believe it‘s in the possession of the federal government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why did you not give those to the Mitchell Report Committee immediately when you were contacted by them? 

MCNAMEE:  I felt horrible about being in the position I was in. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want to make sure I got this straight.  Your friend, Roger Clemens, you allegedly gave him these shots.  You kept the pads and the needles for five years and went on and kept working for him, because he was your employer, and then you said you felt bad—you felt bad about proposing and giving these to the Mitchell Committee when you first started talking to them. 

MCNAMEE:  Yes, sir. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Gee whiz, are you kidding me? 

MCNAMEE:  No, sir. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re here as a sworn witness.  You‘re here to tell the truth.  You‘re here under oath.  And yet we have lie after lie after lie after lie, where you have told this committee and the people of this country that Roger Clemens did things.  I don‘t know what to believe.  I know one thing I don‘t believe and that‘s you. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFF:  That was the grandstanding portion of the proceeding.  Representative Dan Burton giving it to Brian McNamee.  Did you watch any of it?

CARLSON:  Let me ask you a macro-question.  Unlike you, I haven‘t spent many years covering sports.  I have been in Washington a while.  Why is Congress getting involved in this?  Why is it their business?  Why do they have any kind of jurisdiction over this?  What do they have to do with Major League Baseball?  Why don‘t they back off? 

WOLFF:  That is the point of a lot people.  A lot of people think we‘re at war; we have an economy at least teetering on a recession, if not in one already, why are they dealing with steroids in baseball?  The argument is that there is a lot of steroid use and a growing amount of steroid use among young kids, among high school athletes who want to be great.  They get their example from these pro athletes and so it‘s very important for Congress to set an example to kids that they not do it.  That‘s the argument in favor of Congress taking time to do it. 

But your argument has—you have a lot of people saying the same thing as you are. 

CARLSON:  If that was a valid argument, they would hall in 25-year-old celebrities who have kids out of wedlock, saying you know what, you‘re inspiring people to do the same thing and it‘s hurting our society.  That doesn‘t make sense. 

WOLFF:  Are you available to testify on Capitol Hill tomorrow? 

CARLSON:  I‘d love to testify. 

WOLFF:  I‘d love to watch it. 

CARLSON:  Bill Wolff, thanks a lot, Bill. 

WOLFF:  You got it.

CARLSON:  Thank you for watching.  We appreciate it.  We‘ll be back right here tomorrow night.  I hope you‘ll join us then.  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   

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

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