updated 3/12/2008 11:04:37 AM ET 2008-03-12T15:04:37

Guests: Ed Schultz, A.B. Stoddard, Ryan Lizza, Dennis Hof, Caressa Kisses

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  The vultures circle around New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as the state‘s Republican Party threatens to impeach him if he doesn‘t resign from office in the next 48 hours. 

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama throw their own respective kitchen sinks at one another on the day of the Mississippi primary. 

Welcome to the show. 

Spitzer or Eliot Ness, as he is now known by tabloid writers, has been the subject to all-day rumors.  Meanwhile, details of his reported (INAUDIBLE) have leaked out.  The now famous February 13th encounter appears to have involved, at least, providing a train ticket from Manhattan to Washington, cab fare, hotel, room service and mini bar charges.  And a client known as “Number 9” told the professional‘s boss, quote, “same as in the past.  No question about it.” 

So prostitution is a crime, Eliot Spitzer appears to have been a recidivist.  In a moment, Dan Abrams joins us with a legal analysis of Spitzer situation.  And later, we‘ll look at the political fallout of all this, including Spitzer‘s role as a superdelegate committed to Hillary Clinton. 

In the ‘08 trail tonight, we‘ll look out early exit polling numbers from Mississippi, whose primary today has been predicted to go Barack Obama‘s way.  If this season has taught us nothing else, it‘s we never know for certain despite what we claim. 

Meanwhile the increasingly bitter rhetoric of the campaign continues.  Hillary Clinton delivered a speech attacking Barack Obama as a mere speech giver with an inconsistent record and limited results.  One of her supporters, former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro found herself at the center of a brush fire after she told a California newspaper that Obama wouldn‘t be in the presidential race if he weren‘t a black man and that he‘s benefited from the sexist press corps. 

The Obama campaign called for Senator Clinton to denounce the statement and Clinton‘s spokesman Howard Wolfson said the campaign disagrees with Ferraro‘s comments. 

But what would happen hadn‘t an Obama supporter said the equivalent thing about Hillary Clinton?  What do you think? 

We begin tonight with the siege of Fort Spitzer.  Joining us now is NBC News chief legal correspondent and the host of “Live with Dan Abrams,” Dan Abrams, also the subject of a “New York Times” piece today, quite flattering. 

Dan, welcome.  Can he hold on? 

DAN ABRAMS, NBC NEWS CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT:  I think it‘s going to be very hard.  You know—and here, this is one of these times, Tucker, as you know, where the legal and the political are not separate avenues.  I mean, if this were just a legal case, a lawyer would say to him, be quiet, don‘t say anything, and then let‘s figure out where we go from here. 

A lawyer can‘t do that in this particular case.  There‘s got to be discussions because he‘s probably trying to save, if there‘s any way to save it, his political life while also trying to avoid getting indicted.  And what‘s interesting is the lawyers may try to use the political to avoid the legal.  And that is to say if he resigns, will you promise not to indict him? 

CARLSON:  See, here—we‘ve learned a bunch of different things, I have anyway, in the last 48, 24 hours.  One, I had no idea the federal government still carried on stings of high-dollar prostitution rings in the middle of the war on terror.  There‘s the surprise. 

And two, I didn‘t realize that people who frequent said establishments, illegal though they are, are potentially liable for serious charges.  Is this new? 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  I mean, look, it‘s not new.  But this gets into one of those questions of prosecutorial discretion, and that is, what cases do you actually prosecute?  Similar questions came up in the Martha Stewart case about lying.  Are we really going to—you know, she may have lied, and therefore she‘s going to go to prison for X number of years was the possibility in that case.  And people said she never would have been prosecuted had she not been Martha Stewart. 

Same thing applies here.  No question about it that the rest of the Johns on that list, clients one through eight, are not happy about who is number nine. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

ABRAMS:  Because they could have all sorts of trouble now as a result of the fact that the governor was number nine.  Trouble they wouldn‘t have had without it.  So yes, these cases are sometimes still prosecuted.  Generally, though, it‘s—you are prosecuting the organization.  You‘re not prosecuting individuals. 

And look, there are a lot of women‘s rights groups that are very upset that these, quote, “Johns don‘t get prosecuted more while the prostitutes sometimes do.” 

CARLSON:  So, I mean, look, you‘re from New York.  You know a lot of people involved, and these are not the prostitutes, but you know, you know a lot of people in New York. 

ABRAMS:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Is this—how shocking is this?  And what does this say about Eliot Spitzer?  I‘m just going to concede I don‘t—I strongly disapprove of Spitzer‘s public career vehemently.  But it makes me uncomfortable to talk about his personal life.  Is this something that comes out of nowhere? 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  I mean it comes out of nowhere because of what it is.  I mean many have accused Spitzer of having a screw loose, of having a temper that was often disproportionate to what the situation was, going after people in a way that was personal beyond just the professional.  And they‘ve said that they think that he‘s angry, but nothing like this. 

But you know, look, you can say if I were a psychologist, I—you might say, well, look, you know, one thing leads to the other, if he‘s got a screw loose to some degree, maybe that‘s why he does it.  I say that not because he‘s frequenting prostitutes, but because he‘s the governor of New York, who‘s known as the guy who brings down the bad guys.  When you do that, you have to know the standard is going to be higher for you than for anybody else. 

CARLSON:  Well, also, I mean, this is a guy who oversees a very large budget, who‘s spending upwards of four grand for a couple of hours with a prostitute.  This is not a person who‘s living out the principles of fiscal discipline. 

ABRAMS:  Well, look, he‘s got a lot of money.  I mean. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but four grand?  I mean, come on. 

ABRAMS:  I‘m not going to make judgment on whether he overpaid.  But the truth is, you know, someone asked me, said, look, he worked as a public servant most of his life.  He worked at a law firm for a couple of years.  Why he have all his money?  He‘s got a lot of family money.  So he‘s got enough expendable income. 

But what‘s really interesting, Tucker, is how did this all start?  It‘s a question you asked at the beginning of the segment.  You know, where did they start this investigation?  They started because someone in the IRS seized some sort of transaction that they think he may be hiding with something like $10,000.  I mean you‘re talking about very small amounts from a very wealthy guy, and so it is a little bit odd.  You have to wonder who tagged him.  Who said, you know what, that‘s the governor who is making those transactions.  Let‘s look into that some more.  I mean that, I think, is a very interesting question. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s totally—in fact, it‘s more than interesting.  I think it‘s a vital question, it‘s totally Orwellian.  I don‘t like Eliot Spitzer.  I don‘t think he should be governor of anything, I don‘t think he should PTA president.  But some bank ratted him out to the government, and they got in his business.  I‘m sorry I‘m not defending the guy‘s personal behavior but I am defending the right of people to have weird personal lives without being bothered by the federal government.  It‘s disgusting. 

ABRAMS:  But the problem is when you are not just the governor of New York, but Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York. 

CARLSON:  Oh I—yes. 

ABRAMS:  The standard is higher.  I mean you got to know, you got to assume I have to do everything by the book, because I‘m Eliot Spitzer, because I have so many enemies, because I‘ve gone after all these companies, because I‘m known as the great crime fighter. 

You have to play by the rule book, by the exact language of those rules more than just an ordinary person. 

CARLSON:  It‘s—well, maybe this—you know, maybe this will wake people up to how terrifying the federal government can be. 

ABRAMS:  Or how expensive prostitutes can be. 

CARLSON:  Yes, exactly. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Four grand, how outrageous. 

Dan, thanks a lot. 

ABRAMS:  All right. 

CARLSON:  When we come back, we‘ll take a look at the long-term fallout, what it might be for Eliot Spitzer.  Can his political career be salvaged?  Probably not.  What next for him? 

And this picture just won‘t go away.  Barack Obama says it‘s a case of dirty politics.  Is the implication that there‘s something wrong with being a Muslim?  Is that the Obama campaign‘s official view on the matter?  We‘ll tell you coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  New York governor Eliot Spitzer is pressured to resign tonight for allegedly spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on prostitutes.  Republicans says they‘ll impeach him if he doesn‘t leave in 48 hours.  Another report says he‘s not going anywhere.  We‘ll tell you what‘s likely to happen, coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  New York governor Elliott Spitzer seemed to be at the height of his career just a few days ago, but now we know he spent thousands on prostitutes and nobody likes him anymore. 

Here‘s the irony.  A man who made his career crushing people with the power of the state for political gain is now being crushed by that very same state.  Oh, the irony.  But is it fair?  Should we be delving into people‘s personal lives, even if they‘re Eliot Spitzer? 

Here to answer that question, we are proud to have the associate editor of “The Hill” A.B.  Stoddard and the host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz himself in Washington for a rare appearance. 

Ed, we are grateful to have you. 

ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW”:  Good to be here. 

CARLSON:  Thank you. 

So I mean do you see the case here that I‘m making, which is a little nuance and maybe slightly crazy but I think I‘m sort of consistent, which is this guy is dying by the sword he forged.  But nobody should have their personal lives—and that‘s fine, but nobody should have their personal lives examined by the federal government. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, the bottom line here is that he‘s a guy that was in a position.  He broke the law.  You know, if he wasn‘t breaking the law and went out and had an affair or had been involved with other people, and he probably would have been able to save his position as governor of New York.  But when you break the law everything changes. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

SCHULTZ:  And the problem with Eliot Spitzer right now is that, as far as the party is concerned, he was kind of the go-to guy when it came to law enforcement.  He was the golden boy.  There is going to be some fallout for this.  He was the poster child for this is how Democrats are going to enforce the law.  This is how tough we‘re going to be. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  And now what do you have?  And he was kind of the bench, a lot of talk about his future, a lot of talk about his potential as a national candidate.  That‘s all gone.  This is (INAUDIBLE). 

CARLSON:  No, (INAUDIBLE).  No, I completely agree with you.  I guess here‘s what bothers me, Alexandra.  People who paid any attention would have known for years that this guy‘s completely out of control.  Dick Grasso, head of the New York Stock Exchange, had his sex life investigated by Eliot Spitzer for no reason other than to humiliate him. 

Nobody said anything, his lap dogs, his little butt boys, “The New York Times,” always people—you know, totally doing his bidding, talking him up as future president, they never said anything until he gets busted with a hooker.  Come on. 

A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”:  I—you know what?  Eliot Spitzer has gotten some bad press in his day.  I mean it‘s. 

CARLSON:  Not enough. 

STODDARD:  It wasn‘t a secret that he had all these enemies.  You have to work very, very, very hard to have as many enemies as he does.  And I think the moral of the story is, before you totally destroy your life, you need to have a few more friends, at least like 10 people call you before it happens, unfortunately. 

But I do think that Ed is right.  If you‘re a plumber and you break the law, it‘s one thing.  If you‘re whole career is based on—well, if you‘re a governor or prosecutor you can‘t do it. 

CARLSON:  No, you‘re right.  And I‘m not defending him, I‘m not defending his law breaking, it just bothers me that his real crimes are going unexamined while we‘re worrying about whether he paid for some hookers in mini bar bill.  It‘s just we‘re missing the point. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, now, the real crimes are—I mean his career is over as a public official.  Who is going to vote for a guy that such—leading a double life for six years? 

CARLSON:  Will Democrats stand by him?  Do you think. 

SCHULTZ:  No. 

STODDARD:  No. 

SCHULTZ:  And Democrats, this is the whole key.  Democrats should not stand by him.  This is—you know, it‘s interesting that this campaign with Hillary and Obama, it‘s all about change, it‘s all about character, it‘s all about who‘s ready, who can make decisions, who‘s got judgments.  What kind of judgment is this? 

CARLSON:  Not good.  Not good. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  It‘s horrific.  But you know what?  It‘s a good stimulus package.  Market up 400 points today. 

CARLSON:  So to speak.  I think that was the whole idea.  This was the stimulus package. 

SCHULTZ:  Right. 

CARLSON:  I mean. 

SCHULTZ:  Then he‘s going to resign and it will go up another 400. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Up, up, up, away, 4300 bucks.  What‘s wrong with men, Alexandra?  You know them.  You‘ve lived around them your entire life. 

STODDARD:  I think the only thing I—this is sort of a snore nationally.  I don‘t think it has a big implication.  He‘s not going to be. 

CARLSON:  But what does this say about men?  You‘ve got everything. 

STODDARD:  I think that—I think Congress needs to pass a law now after the Larry Craig and David Vitter, another episodes, where even if a wife is in a comatose state and wants to go to the press conference, it‘s a federal crime to bring her. 

CARLSON:  I totally—I completely agree with that. 

STODDARD:  It‘s against the law. 

CARLSON:  What is that about? 

STODDARD:  I don‘t think women can really render the proper judgment in those moments.  It‘s up to the man to say, I‘m going to go out there and take it by myself.  You‘re not coming even if you want to. 

CARLSON:  Well, any man who would—I think. 

STODDARD:  But they‘re always there. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t like to judge other people‘s family lives because you can never really know.  But I do know this and I‘m happy to judge it.  You drag your wife out there, and you‘re a pig. 

STODDARD:  Yes. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, yes.  And he‘s also kind of a pig.  There was no remorsefulness whatsoever.  This guy is the ice man.  He just said his family.  He didn‘t say a good word about his wife while he was at the podium, honey, I‘m sorry, or whatever.  There was no remorse (INAUDIBLE) whatsoever. 

CARLSON:  But at this point—I don‘t know this for certain, this is total conjecture.  I‘m not accusing anybody of anything but I think typically in these situations, the guy in trouble is so high on Xanax that he‘s not even aware that there‘s an audience in the room. 

STODDARD:  Well, he is—it‘s still a crime to bring the wife to the podium. 

CARLSON:  So I agree.  So why didn‘t Hillary Clinton weigh on this? 

She said so far, let‘s wait and see what comes out the next few days. 

Right now, I don‘t have any comment. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s the safe play. 

STODDARD:  It must be. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

STODDARD:  There‘s caution in there and I can‘t figure out why she doesn‘t hang him out to dry. 

CARLSON:  But what would be the downside. 

STODDARD:  Right. 

CARLSON:  .of saying this, of saying, you know, I‘m kind of against. 

STODDARD:  There‘s always more under the surface.  And. 

CARLSON:  There‘s always more going on? 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I thought Hillary had a very compassionate comment.  She says, you know, she feels for the family and she‘s is thinking about them. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

STODDARD:  Everybody—yes. 

SCHULTZ:  And someone who‘s been through some pretty public controversies, I mean, she understands that as well as anybody.  And so I thought that she was, you know, very heartfelt, very human about that. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s fair because I feel the same way. 

SCHULTZ:  Politically, as a superdelegate, they do kind of head up, that it‘s not, you know, good for her campaign.  It‘s something that she has to distance herself from. 

CARLSON:  You think this is typical of Hillary‘s superdelegates?  Or is that. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I‘m just asking. 

SCHULTZ:  They are not all law breakers.  Don‘t get me in the same (INAUDIBLE) 

CARLSON:  I‘m just wondering.  OK.  We‘ll be right back. 

Hillary Clinton says Barack Obama doesn‘t have the experience to be president.  She claims she‘s the only Democrat fit for that job.  Could it be that neither of them really have the experience?  They haven‘t done the job before.  So is there a test they could take to see who would be qualified on day one?  If so, what is it?  And do you need a number two pencil? 

Plus Mississippi voters head to the polls today.  Thirty-three delegates up for grabs and it will not decide the nomination either way.  Does it matter?  We‘ll tell you coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  I won twice as many states as Senator Clinton.  I‘ve won more of the popular vote than Senator Clinton.  I have more delegates than Senator Clinton.  So I don‘t know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who‘s in first place. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Very good point from logic major Barack Obama.  Hillary Clinton says, though, that she‘s the one who‘s ready to be commander in chief on day one and that Barack Obama, by contrast, hasn‘t passed the commander in chief test. 

Well, Obama‘s campaign said on this show that neither candidate will be ready on day one, not having been there before, neither has held the position of the president. 

So how does one pass the commander in chief test?  What does it look like and where can you pick one up? 

Back with us associate editor of “The Hill” A.B. Stoddard and host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz. 

A.B, it strikes me that even to have this as a loser for Obama. 

STODDARD:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  .is so stupid that he‘s being roped into her strategy.  It‘s like when McCain gets them to talk about national security, he wins.  When Hillary Clinton gets him to talk, well, I‘m going to be strong enough on day—oh buzz off, Hillary, he should say.

STODDARD:  He—when you have—he feels like he has to assure his

reporters that he‘s not running for the second slot and never has, and he‘s

as he pointed outnumber one in all these counts, but you dignify it with a response and you fall right into the trap.  And she‘s—it speaks to the larger issue here which is can she—she wants the superdelegates to marvel at her might.  And they just might. 

I mean can she persuade remaining voters in these states?  Can she persuade superdelegates by saying, I‘m going to win.  I don‘t care what it takes, I‘m going to talk him out of this race.  And that‘s the big question about whether or not he knows how to answer her. 

CARLSON:  Have you ever seen a professional hypnotist at work, Ed?  Mass hypnotism, because that‘s what she‘s attempting to practice now.  I am the most powerful candidate.  You will obey me.  And I think it‘s working with the superdelegates. 

SCHULTZ:  No.  I don‘t—I think there‘s going to be a lot of focus on the superdelegates once we get a week out to the end of this.  And then they‘re going to have to do a real conscience check.  And I think they‘re going to go with the people.  So, yes, Mississippi counts.  And yes, these ridiculous questions, in my opinion, as to whether they could be commander in chief.  How did Bush work out for us?  How did Lyndon Johnson work out for us?  One of the greatest legislators ever in the Senate, OK?  A very powerful man from big state Texas. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  .couldn‘t stop the Vietnam War.  Who—how do you know who is ready to be commander in chief? 

CARLSON:  But I think. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s all about judgment.  It‘s all about character.  And it‘s all about past insights to be judged by the people. 

CARLSON:  I think you‘re absolutely right strictly speaking.  I—here‘s the thing that blows my mind, though, is that Bush has taken so much grief from Democrats, some of it deserved, some of it not, about being inexperienced and curious and having no, you know, tactile experience of the rest of the world. 

He‘s never been abroad, he doesn‘t have a passport.  Remember they would at least say that.  And now—and that‘s been a disaster they claimed.  Now they‘re seriously considering a guy who, like, hasn‘t really done anything outside Chicago.  He‘s an impressive. 

STODDARD:  You know what?  You know what? 

CARLSON:  I think Barack Obama really impressive but let‘s be real, a community organizer?  What does that mean? 

STODDARD:  He‘s a real smart guy just like Bill Clinton was. 

CARLSON:  He is (INAUDIBLE) a smart guy. 

STODDARD:  And he was from Arkansas. 

CARLSON:  But Bill Clinton had been governor for five terms, I mean. 

STODDARD:  Well, I don‘t know that he had bombed Iraq before?  I don‘t know—I mean I don‘t how you get experience until you‘re there. 

SCHULTZ:  Being on foreign relations, does that count for anything? 

CARLSON:  No, I don‘t—look, I don‘t think it does.  I‘m not attacking Obama.  I‘m merely saying, if you‘re making the claim, as Democrats have with Bush, that you really need to have experienced the world in order to lead the world, by that test, Obama is a joke. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think Hillary Clinton, her experience on the Senate Armed Services Committee really positions her better than Bush was positioned when he came in to be commander in chief.  I think Barack Obama‘s experience on foreign relations, his academic prowess, his insight, and the way his judgments that he‘s made qualify him. 

This is something that Americans are going to have to view as, well, it takes 15 years of being in the military to be ready to be commander in chief.  That‘s not the benchmark anymore. 

CARLSON:  Oh I agree, I agree. 

STODDARD:  Let‘s talk about this.  When she made this ad, the 3:00 a.m. phone call ad two weeks ago, reporters asked her staff what qualifies her to answer that phone call. 

SCHULTZ:  She didn‘t answer. 

STODDARD:  .and they were silent. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

STODDARD:  Now they ask. 

CARLSON:  Oh, that‘s not true.  They were not silent.  On this show Jamie Rubin pointed out that she had, quote, “threaded the needle at the 1995 Beijing women‘s conference.” 

STODDARD:  I know.  And I listened. 

CARLSON:  And you know what?  There are over a billion people in China, Alexandra, so the next time you bring up China, do it with awe and reverence. 

STODDARD:  Well, her own staff actually weren‘t or Jamie wasn‘t on that call.  And they weren‘t prepared to answer that question and now they won‘t tell us what the secret has been. 

CARLSON:  Well, was that ad racist?  Orlando Paterson has a piece in the “New York Times” today, which seems a little bit bonkers to me but maybe it‘s not, saying because there are white kids in that ad, it makes Obama look like a black guy who broke into your house in the middle of the night essentially. 

STODDARD:  I—my opinion is that ad is not racist.  But I think that the Obama campaign is making the case now that Hillary Clinton‘s refusal to adamantly—to deny that he is a Muslim on “60 Minutes,” that Geraldine Ferraro‘s comments from yesterday, that Billy Sheehan‘s comments. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

STODDARD:  That there‘s a mountain now piling of stuff coming from the Clinton campaign that has never really totally disavowed, that is racist. 

SCHULTZ:  And they didn‘t completely win Texas. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  He won the caucus and he took out more delegates.  And they‘re running around saying, well, she won that big-state of Texas.  Well, she won the popular vote in Texas but not by a very much.  So I think that they are really pushing the envelope about how victorious they‘ve been. 

CARLSON:  Well, in that case—you know, in fact, this could be a foreshadowing of her final claim in this race that she somehow, well, she won the popular vote even though he has more delegates. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, Pennsylvania, he was down by 12 and he‘s cut it to six. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘re six weeks away.  This is a. 

CARLSON:  The polls they close in Mississippi just about an hour from now, an hour and a half from now, but we‘re already getting a look at what voters are saying there and why they say they voted the way they did.  We‘ll give you a first look at the exit polls coming up. 

Plus Barack Obama‘s campaign response to Geraldine Ferraro‘s controversial comments.  They say Hillary Clinton ought to remove Ferraro from her finance committee and scold her.  Do you agree?  We‘ll tell you if we do coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Major contra-temp on the campaign trail over the last 24 hours.  Geraldine Ferraro, you remember her name—she ran for vice president with Walter Mondale in 1984, and went to report and host “Crossfire” on CNN, very controversial comments, which we will read to you in just a minute, and follow-up comments that even more belligerent and intense.  Is she right?  We‘ll ask that question. 

First, we‘re going to check in with the exit polls.  Polls close in Mississippi in about an hour and a half.  We don‘t have the vote count, of course, until that time, but we do have the results of the exit polls.  For that, we turn to MSNBC Mika Brzezinski.  Mika?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Tucker, good evening.  Candidate qualities have been so very important in this race.  Barack Obama has built his candidacy around the theme of change.  Hillary Clinton engineered her comeback primary victories last week by touting her experience.  So how are these qualities playing out for voters in Mississippi tonight? 

As we‘ve seen in Democratic primaries up to this point, change is a quality that comes out on top, mentioned by 53 percent of the voters.  Experience is second at 19 percent.  Having a candidate who cares about me comes in third with 16 percent of the vote.  Comparing these results with the views of Democratic primary voters in Texas last week, we see a greater desire for change today and less interest in experience. 

Now, we asked voters about how the candidates measure up on other characteristics like the ability to inspire.  Two-thirds of the voters, 67 percent, think Obama is inspirational, but only about half, 48 percent, think this is true of Hillary Clinton. 

And where do the voters stand on the candidates‘ nuts and bolts plans for moving the country forward?  Sixty one percent think Barack Obama has a clear plan for solving the most important problems this country faces, and 55 percent think Clinton has a clear plan. 

Now, remember It‘s been Hillary Clinton all along who has been attacking Barack Obama, Tucker, for not offering specifics and for being all talk and no substance.  Back to you. 

CARLSON:  And no substance; a refrain we‘ve heard a lot recently. 

Mika, thank you.  That was really interesting. 

Well, joining us again, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard and host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz.  OK, Gerry Ferraro, the former vice presidential candidate, who I know personally.  I should say in the full disclosure, I like her.  I worked with her at CNN.  Nice person. 

In hot water for the following comments—she said of Barack Obama, and I‘m quoting now, “if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.  If he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position.  He happens to be very lucky to be who he is.” 

Now the Obama campaign has hit back with both feet, saying this outrageous, part of a pattern of racially insensitive behavior from the Clintons. 

Geraldine Ferraro was asked again about this and here is what she said; “any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign,” meaning the Obama campaign, “down and says let‘s address reality and the problems we‘re facing in this world, you‘re accused of being racist.  So you have to shut up.  Racism works in two different directions.  I really think they are attacking me because I‘m white.  How is that?” 

How is that, Alexandra B. Stoddard?   

STODDARD:  It will be interesting to see what the Clinton campaign does with those comments.  I don‘t know, at this point, with this vice-presidential dance, if it‘s going to turn out that that is a surrogate speaking for the Clintons about how it‘s hard to attack Obama or if it‘s Geraldine Ferraro really saying something that is out-of-bounds. 

If you look at the pattern I mentioned previously about all the people in the Hillary Clinton camp, Billy Shaheen, the different people making comments that have been accused of being racist in some way, they don‘t come down that strongly on them.  It will be interesting to see if Gerry Ferraro is someone that they come down on and actually step back from her comments, ask her to leave the finance team. 

CARLSON:  It‘s unbelievable, if you think about it, that the P.C.  police have turned their guns on one another.  Here are people aggressively support affirmative action, lowering standards, favoring some colors over others, basically racism.  Not basically, it is racism.  All of a sudden, they are turning on Obama and saying, you‘re unqualified because you‘re the beneficiary of the program we fight for, affirmative action.  It‘s unbelievable. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s a good question for Geraldine Ferraro for sure.  I think that she needs to clarify exactly what she means by that.  The Clinton camp needs to distance themselves from Geraldine Ferraro and these comments.  Senator Clinton is going to have to take the high road on this, distance herself.  We were talking a fully vetted candidate who is on the ticket of yester-year. 

She‘s an older white woman.  That is a strong demographic for senator Clinton and they are angry.  Her comments, I think, are a microcosm of how a lot of older white women in this country feel and the way Hillary has been treated by the media, allegedly, or whatever your take is on that.  I think she‘s angry.  And I think that she doesn‘t understand this wave of support that Obama has gotten. 

And I don‘t think there‘s really been enough investigation on exactly how both these camps have been run so differently.  The Facebook, the Internet, the social networking, all of the things, the new age things that the Obama camp has done.  They are not getting any credit for.  I mean, the Clintons have run an old style type campaign, tarmac to tarmac, 30 second ad, float this out there, whether you‘re going to be VP, can‘t take a call at 3:00 in the morning. 

It is so old and tired.  That‘s why the next six weeks are going to be crucial for the Clinton camp. 

CARLSON:  What‘s interesting is we have these little contra-temps about somebody said this.  It‘s outrageous, and you have to retract your statement, be fired and go through the ritual of public humiliations that we sanction in this country.  Nobody in the press, which is totally stupid and negligent on these questions, never asks the basic question, which should be the first question, which: is it true?  Is the claim this crazy person made accurate? 

I actually think that a lot of what Geraldine Ferraro says may be true.  It‘s a net plus that Obama is black.  I don‘t think that‘s bad.  I think a lot of people think that‘s a sign of progress in this country.  I don‘t think it‘s an attack on Barack Obama necessarily to say that.  I certainly don‘t think it‘s bigoted to say that.  There may be a way of finding out through polling whether that‘s true or not.  Is being black a net plus or a net negative for Obama?  That‘s not a legitimate question?  Of course it is. 

STODDARD:  I think that Geraldine Ferraro‘s comments, whether they are legitimate or not, don‘t come at a good time for Hillary Clinton. 

CARLSON:  No.

STODDARD:  Whatever they are thinking, they need to keep it inside, because a lot of this stuff—it‘s the wrong time for any kind of controversy like this.  When she had this dustup with the driver‘s license question, which was sort of the beginning of her trouble back in early November, late October, and then the question of whether or not she was beaten up in the debate, Geraldine Ferraro also strongly played the woman card.  I don‘t know if you recall. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

STODDARD:  They were beating up on her because she‘s a woman.  This is unbelievable. 

CARLSON:  It‘s the battle of the oppressed minorities here.  It‘s unbelievable.  No, you‘re being mean.  No, you‘re being mean. 

STODDARD:  It should be noted that they think she‘s the aggrieved party.  It‘s really—but this is the time for everyone in their anger to not say those things, because—

CARLSON:  We could have an interesting national conversation if we all weren‘t so uptight. 

STODDARD:  Six months ago or six weeks ago. 

CARLSON:  Everyone is so up tight.  It‘s like, you‘re not allowed to say that.  Even in the press, we constantly say, you‘re not allowed to say that.  Aren‘t we to be the guardians of free speech?   

STODDARD:  It‘s different to say, our party is excited because we have the first African-American candidate; our party is excited because we have the first woman.  Both of them really could be president.  That‘s different than saying, you know what, he‘d never get away with this if he wasn‘t black.  It is different. 

CARLSON:  You‘re right.  It is.  It was a nasty thing to say.  But I also think it‘s fair to at least ask to what extent is it true.  We should be committed to what the truth is, period. 

SCHULTZ:  OK, the truth is Evangelicals voted for Bush, Catholics voted for Kennedy 50 years ago, 40 years ago.  So black folks are going to vote for Barack Obama.  He‘s their guy. 

CARLSON:  What‘s interesting to me, Nancy Pelosi is obviously a woman, first female speaker—she‘s clearly on Obama‘s side.  She‘s not even bothering to hide it.  She said this—the other day, she was asked by a reporter—I think today, actually, by New England Cable News reporter, do you think that they should run together, Obama and Mrs. Clinton, as the Clinton campaign has been suggesting?  “I think that ticket either way is impossible.  I think the Clinton administration has fairly ruled that out by proclaiming Senator McCain would be a better commander in chief than Obama.” 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s dangerous territory. 

CARLSON:  She‘s going after Hillary Clinton.  The speaker of the House is attacking Senator Clinton. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, Senator Clinton a few times has thrown in John McCain‘s name about experience and that‘s just throwing fodder to the right, if it is going to be Barack Obama.  That‘s damaging to the party, I think. 

CARLSON:  You‘re right. 

STODDARD:  This is an interesting thing.  We all wonder what the super delegates are thinking.  It matters the most what they are thinking.  We don‘t know—we may in a few weeks.  As a super delegate, that‘s interesting.  She‘s privy to the conversations and whether or not there‘s a level of outrageous about sullying who might finally be your nominee and ruining him, telling voters John McCain is going to protect you much better than him. 

CARLSON:  I totally agree.

STODDARD:  That‘s an indicator.  I don‘t know if it‘s an attack, so much as a frustration. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but you know she‘s showing her cards.  We‘re out of time.  You‘re excellent.  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  You know that deep voice.  Even his own party says he can‘t

--

CARLSON:  I‘ve already written the ad-in my head.  Oh my gosh.  Thank you both very much. 

Hillary Clinton rises from the political ashes.  What many had called a dead campaign; how did she do it?  By force of will, probably.  Where does that will come from?  We‘ll talk to someone who has just written a fantastic piece on that exact question. 

Speaking of strategy, what does a high priced prostitute do to earn more than five grand per session?  Details of that successful business plan ahead from the owner of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, Dennis Hof, coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  How many times have you written off Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign?  If you‘re like me, many.  Before New Hampshire, then she won.  Then a month later, once again, she won.  Voila, she won in Texas and Ohio.  She just won‘t quit.  Or as Ryan Lizza of the “New Yorker” writes, she‘s more like Jason or Freddie Kruger, who won‘t die. 

Joining us now is Ryan Lizza of the “New Yorker,” whose just got a great piece on Hillary in this week‘s issue.  Is she as tough as she looks? 

RYAN LIZZA, “THE NEW YORKER”:  I think she is.  I think you see it when you go out on the trail with her.  There‘s just this relentlessness about her, this willingness to ignore all of us, to not quit.  When she‘s down in the dumps, come up with a plan that gets her another round of press, and news weekly covers, and gets people like us thinking, well, this thing isn‘t over.  There‘s still a chance she might win. 

CARLSON:  It almost seems like design.  She almost seems like an adrenaline junkie.  I know people like this.  I think some of us are like this just by nature.  You bring it all the way to the edge just because you want to feel the surge, the rush of almost dying, like auto-erotic asphyxiation.  Do you know what I mean? 

LIZZA:  Probably the first time that phrase raise has been said on this show. 

CARLSON:  Not the last, if I have anything to do with it.

LIZZA:  I think Bill was like that for sure, I mean the recklessness that he brought to politics suggested someone who liked pushing things.  I don‘t think she likes to push things and come back.  I do think she believes she would be a better president.  I do think that she is almost entitled to this thing. 

I do think that she does not understand why voters are voting for Barack Obama.  I don‘t think she understands the dynamic that‘s happened to her. 

CARLSON:  Really?  Does she gets how many sort of good government type liberals really hate her now? 

LIZZA:  I don‘t know.  After South Carolina, you could just—you saw it in the e-mails and the blogs and the conversations in this town, liberals turned on the Clintons in a way that they never did.  All my liberal friends said to all my conservative friends, you guys were right about the Clintons on some of these things.  It reminded me of a lot conservatives, nearing the end of the Bush administration, who said to a lot liberals, you guys were right about Bush on a lot of these things. 

The lesson is pay attention to what your enemies say. 

CARLSON:  Do they get that?  Is that wounding?  I look at Hillary Clinton and I think a lot of things.  I think this is someone I would never vote for, who I think would not be a good president.  However, I do think she‘s taken so much crap over the years.  I don‘t think anybody in American life has taken more abuse than her.  Why is she still in it? 

LIZZA:  I think there‘s a certain amount of respect that people have because of that.  Look, that‘s one of her campaign‘s main talking points.  They have tried to turn her greatest weakness into her greatest strength, the fact that she‘s been pummeled, and she‘s been investigated, and, as she says, vetted.  They tried to turn that into a strength.  There‘s nothing that the Republicans have on me in a general election, unlike this guy Barack Obama.  We don‘t know what he‘s all about yet. 

That‘s the argument of the campaign right now.  As she tries to flip these super delegates, going forward, that‘s going to be the main electability argument. 

CARLSON:  Sure, I mean I think argument is going to be, of course I‘m savage and mean and waging total war.  Those are my qualifications for president. 

LIZZA:  That‘s what you need to take on the Republican attack machine, right?  That‘s—she‘s running on that and she‘s been doing it since day one.  I think at the end I say, you know, I think people should take a deep breath.  There‘s no reason she should get out of this race.  It‘s totally fair and legitimate that she carries this thing to the end, right? 

I think the pundits are wrong to sort of want to kick her to the curb and get her out.  At the end of the day, if Obama still makes it through after this sort of beating that he‘s going to take in the next few weeks, he‘ll be a stronger candidate.  He‘ll be a better candidate against John McCain and he‘ll thank her afterwards.  

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  There‘s been throughout her campaign an under current of gender politics.  You‘ve got this amazing quote in your piece from a volunteer working for Hillary Clinton the night of the Ohio primary.  She‘s declared the winner by MSNBC, and this volunteer yells, “hell yes, baby eat it Barack.  This is a woman‘s world.”  Is that what it‘s like in Hillary world? 

LIZZA:  She was there with about five or six women, literally jumping up and down, absolutely literally screaming.  I‘ll tell you, one of the things that I experienced in the last two weeks covering Hillary was a fascinating dynamic that I‘ve only seen covering Republicans.  You go to events and people in the stands would come up to the press and yell at the reporters and the media, and say, you guys are wrong to say that Obama has won this thing; why are you guys counting Hillary out. 

There was an anger and intensity to her supporters.  I think what this woman was expressing was, you know, it‘s not over.  We did it.  We set a goal and we accomplished it.  There was a sort of we told you so quality of her supporters to the media. 

CARLSON:  I got yelled out by a Hillary supporter at my polling place in D.C. on election day, not because of anything I said, but because I was in the media.  Unbelievable.  Ryan Lizza, piece in the “New Yorker” this week.  Read it.  It‘s excellent. 

LIZZA:  Thanks for having me on, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Governor Eliot Spitzer reportedly paid thousands of dollars for his exploits with a call girl.  What exactly does five grand get you?  We‘ll ask Dennis Hof, owner of the world famous Moonlight Bunny Ranch.  He joins us next.   

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  New York Governor Eliot Spitzer made headlines no politicians want and only a select few can survive.  A self-righteous crime fighter who always seemed to personalize his targeting of high profile targets appears to have a taste for prostitutes, reportedly spent thousands in their pursuit, and may have transported them across state lines as recently as a month ago.  For a view into the world he occupied, we welcome Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch in Carson City, Nevada.  He‘s joined by his friend, Caressa Kisses. 

Welcome Dennis, Caressa.  Thanks for coming on.  So, you are in legal prostitution, which is a world away from whatever Governor Spitzer appears to have been involved in.  Give us some reference points for the money involved here.  Five grand for a call girl?  What are you getting for five grand? 

DENNIS HOF, MOONLIGHT BUNNY RANCH OWNER:  Well, I think the tapes from the FBI said it all.  The booker told the girl, be careful, there may be some unsafe things here.  The fact that she took a train to Washington, D.C., which was the Mann Act, white slavery, taking a girl across state line, I think she probably had things with her like restraints, hand cuffs, ball gags, things like that.  That would cause the unsafe issue right there. 

Either that or she was transporting drugs, which you‘re not going to get on an airplane anymore. 

CARLSON:  Right.  That‘s a good point.  You‘re saying that if you‘re spending some large number of thousands of dollars for a session, you‘re getting pretty freaky. 

HOF:  It could be.  There are—like Caressa has customers that spend a lot of money.  Some of them just want to have that intimate experience with her in long-term periods of time, over night parties, things like that.  But in this case, I don‘t think it‘s that way.  The comment he made also was that, remind me what she looks like. 

Tucker, if you can‘t remember the last hooker you slept with, you‘ve got trouble.  You‘ve been with a lot of girls, a lot of girls.  That‘s what he said on the tape. 

CARLSON:  So this is not—judging from many years of dealing with people who come to your establishment, you don‘t think this is his first rodeo, then? 

HOF:  Not at all.  That was the clue.  Remind me what she looked like.  He‘s been with a lot of girls.  He‘s had a fascination about this business for a long time.  When he was arresting everybody in New York City for prostitution, he had this fascination.  He was probably going to girls at that time.  This didn‘t just happen overnight.  This guy wins the Bunny Ranch  hypocrite creep of the month award. 

CARLSON:  Do you have a lot of federal prosecutors come to the Bunny Ranch. 

HOF:  Not federal prosecutors.  I cannot confirm or deny that we have politicians that come there, but, of course, they do.  They are discreet about it.  It‘s not the problem.  The prostitution isn‘t the problem.  It‘s the hypocrisy of where this guy‘s head is at.  He‘s prosecuting working girls and then wanting their services on the side.  That‘s what people don‘t like is the hypocrisy. 

CARLSON:  That‘s absolutely right.  Are you aware that there are a lot of federal investigations—I don‘t know the answer to this—into prostitution rings?  I was not aware that was a federal concern? 

HOF:  Absolutely.  There‘s a lot of them in the Bush administration.  There‘s a whole lot of them going on.  They busted lot of these online things.  When you go online shopping, except at the Bunny Ranch, you‘re liable to get a federal agent that picks you up when you get to the hotel room.  It‘s happening all over the country. 

Some of these venues are being successful when they prosecute them for being a client or working girl putting a sex offender handle on them, too, so they can‘t go to a McDonald‘s for the rest of their life.  There‘s a big push by the Bush administration for prostitution and pornography. 

CARLSON:  Caressa, may I just ask you quickly one question.  If you got a call from somebody saying, I‘m willing to pay you $5,000, but it‘s not exactly safe, what would you say? 

CARESSA KISSES, MOONLIGHT BUNNY RANCH:  You‘re calling the wrong girl.  I‘d go out of my way to provide very discreet, clean, safe fun.  That‘s why I‘m at the Bunny Ranch. 

HOF:  Does this guy not know how to spell Bunny Ranch?  He‘d have to be living under a rock to not have heard about the Bunny Ranch.  He would have cam to Nevada and visited, we would have picked him up in an unmarked blackened out car, took him into a private garage, took him in the back, put him in a room where all the girls could come to him, rather than him being there in the public area. 

CARLSON:  I bet you he‘s sitting at home watching this.  He‘s probably hitting himself repeatedly in the forehead hearing you say that. 

HOF:  One last thing.  If I get one more politician that comes on there and brings his poor wife on camera with him, I want to slap him myself.  Totally unfair. 

CARLSON:  I agree.  I totally agree.  Thanks a lot.  I really appreciate it.  That does it for us tonight.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, HARDBALL with Chris.  See you tomorrow.

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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