updated 3/14/2008 1:13:08 PM ET 2008-03-14T17:13:08

Guests: Gregory Meeks, Bill Press, Jonathan Martin, Jim Moran>

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Hillary Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro won‘t even sort of apologize for her comments about Barack Obama‘s candidacy.  But Hillary Clinton herself did apologize to a group of black newspaper publishers for comments that Bill Clinton made after the South Carolina primary. 

Welcome to the show. 

Before members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a group of more than 200 black community newspapers, Mrs. Clinton was asked about her husband‘s remark that Obama may have won South Carolina but Jesse Jackson did, too.  “I want to put that in context,” Mrs. Clinton responded but then didn‘t.  She did say she was, quote, “sorry if anyone was offended.”  Mrs. Clinton also told the audience that she repudiates and regrets deeply Geraldine Ferraro‘s claim that Obama‘s race is key to his political success. 

Why exactly is Mrs. Clinton apologetic and what is she apologizing for?  Clinton supporter Representative Gregory Meeks joins us in a moment. 

Also the new NBC News-“Wall Street Journal” poll reveals what most Americans already knew on the issues Hillary Clinton is favored by more Americans than Barack Obama.  But on that intangible quality called electability, Obama has the edge.  The survey results didn‘t stop Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn from telling reporters that Obama is simply not electable in the fall. 

Does the Clinton camp make a fair point or are Mark Penn‘s claims the most cynical kind of politics?  More on that in a minute. 

And as the Democratic candidates run strong against extending the war in Iraq, a new Pew poll suggest a shift in public opinion on that subject.  A majority of Americans, 53 percent now believe the U.S. ultimately will succeed in achieving its goals in the war.  And the number of Americans who think the war is either going very well or fairly well is up from 30 percent to 48 percent in the last year. 

Does this mean the war will go on?  And does the new Pew Research indicate that McCain may have an advantage in the fall? 

We begin tonight with Senator Hillary Clinton and her remarkable new apology.  Joining us now is Clinton campaign supporter, congressman from New York, Gregory Meeks. 

Congressman, thanks for coming on.  What exactly is Mrs. Clinton apologizing for? 

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY), CLINTON CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER:  Well, I think that what she wants to do is to get back to the issues.  Clearly the statements that Geraldine Ferraro made is a distraction and should not have been made.  They are inaccurate.  She realizes that she‘s got a very focused man who is her opponent who‘s earned his way there not because of the color of his skin, just as she hasn‘t gotten there because of her gender, and that they want to get back to focusing on the issues.  And so. 

CARLSON:  Oh but that‘s not. 

MEEKS:  She just wants to move on. 

CARLSON:  OK.  So—I mean two points.  One, are you suggesting that race is not an issue that matters to Americans? 

MEEKS:  Well, no.  You‘re asking me what is she apologizing for. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Well, I. 

MEEKS:  An individual that‘s in her campaign made a statement that she has repudiated. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

MEEKS:  And because that person was affiliated with her, that‘s the reason there. 

CARLSON:  Right.  I‘m just—it‘s a little bit confusing because here you have a Democratic Party that espouses using race as an important criterion in advancement—affirmative action.  And at the same time making a claim that it‘s wrong to say that race is an important criterion in the advancement of Barack Obama.  Why would that be something anyone would think as controversial? 

MEEKS:  It‘s wrong to say that Barack Obama is where he is as the—one of the leading nominees for the presidency of the United States because he is a black man.  That is wrong to say.  He is there because he has worked hard.  He‘s ran a great campaign. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MEEKS:  I believe Hillary Clinton is going to be and is the best person to be the next president of the United States.  But we don‘t want—but to say inaccuracy is not to let it to go—it should not be allowed to continue.  So she was wrong to say that.  The senator said that she repudiates that remark.  She does not agree with it.  And the senator—

Senator Clinton would like to move on to the issues that divide the two candidates. 

CARLSON:  Does this—but just a minute.  I think it‘s been an interesting controversy.  I wonder if it‘s made you consider just how demeaning affirmative action, racial preferences are.  They suggest that people get where they are because of the color of their skin and does this give us a sense of how destructive that is? 

MEEKS:  No.  I think affirmative action when it initiated is to talk about individuals who had, through the system, been denied access for generations.  And so therefore, there has to be a period in which the individual is given an opportunity.  But here in this—and when you look at African-Americans, they complete compete with everyone at every level, not simply because they are black, not simply because of affirmative action because they happen to have talent and they happen to have skills.  And I think that‘s important. 

CARLSON:  Well, of course.  But I guess—here‘s the tragedy as far as I‘m concerned.  I think Barack Obama is the most talented politician I‘ve ever been around, ever watched, ever covered.  And it seems clear to me that, you know, he‘s doing well because he‘s an incredibly talented guy.  But when you live in a society in which people do get extra points because of the color of their skin, you can understand why it is such a demeaning process, because people start to say. 

MEEKS:  Listen. 

CARLSON:  .well, you got where you are because of the color of your skin.  You don‘t think this is a real problem? 

MEEKS:  One of the reasons why I‘m a proud Democrat today is, here we are in 2008 and the Democratic Party nominee is going to be either an African-American man or a woman.  Never before has that ever happened.  And that shows that this country has made some progress, made a lot of progress.  And I‘m proud that my party‘s two nominees or possible nominees are those individuals.  It showed that you can go back. 

CARLSON: OK. 

MEEKS:  .when women didn‘t have the right to vote in order to. 

CARLSON:  Right.  You‘re not answering the question.  I guess it‘s. 

MEEKS:  The possibility of one being the president of the United States. 

CARLSON:  .it‘s too painful to answer that question.  I‘m not going to ask it to you again. 

MEEKS:  No. 

CARLSON:  Let me ask you this question.  Why did Mark Penn say today on the Clinton conference call that Obama does not have a chance of being elected in the fall when every poll, or the most recent Pew poll, for example, shows he‘s got a better chance of beating John McCain than Hillary Clinton?  Why would Mark Penn say that?  What does that mean? 

MEEKS:  Well, I‘ll tell you why, because if you take the electoral map and you look at the states that Hillary Clinton is winning and the states that are very important for Democrats to win in November, those are the states that Hillary is doing well in.  And those are the states that Senator Obama is not.  And so we—it doesn‘t take a rocket scientist, we learned in 2000 that it‘s all about the electoral college.  It‘s not even about the popular vote when we get into November.  It‘s about who can win those key states. 

And if you put up these victories, Ohio, Florida, Michigan—well, Pennsylvania is coming up, California, New York.  Those are key in winning the Democratic nomination.  And so when you look at that, that means that Hillary Clinton is the best person to beat John McCain. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second. 

MEEKS:  She will win. 

CARLSON:  But, I mean, if you want—very quickly going to talk math, Hillary Clinton is winning the bluer states, the more liberal states.  Barack Obama is winning the more conservative states.  Presumably he‘ll win all Democrats in the fall if he‘s the nominee, and some moderates, maybe even some liberal Republican.  He‘s enlarging the pie, you know that she can‘t.  Isn‘t he more electable? 

MEEKS:  No, because the states that you‘re talking about, Mississippi, Kansas, we‘re not going to win those.  But Ohio, West—Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia—I mean, Michigan, those are the states.  You know, in 2000 we heard it‘s all about Florida, Florida, Florida.  In 2004 all we heard about was Ohio, Ohio, Ohio.  And so we‘ve learned and should have learned, as Democrats, those states that are key, because had any one of our nominees. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MEEKS:  .won one of those states, they would be the president of the United States of America.  So that should be the model of which we work with when we decide who would be the best candidate to win in November because we know from the last two that we lost, that‘s why we lost. 

CARLSON:  All right. 

MEEKS:  And so, you know, when you take a test, you learn from your mistakes.  The mistakes that we made previously is that we did not win Ohio.  We did not win Florida. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MEEKS:  Had we won those, we would have had a Democratic president and not the Bush mess that we‘re in now. 

CARLSON:  I‘m all for the learning process. 

Thanks, Congressman.  I appreciate you coming on. 

MEEKS:  My pleasure. 

CARLSON:  Geraldine Ferraro stepped down from Hillary‘s campaign because of recent comments about Barack Obama.  But she‘s refusing to apologize in any way for making these comments.  Should she? 

Plus Hillary Clinton says the Michigan primary was fair even though Barack Obama‘s name wasn‘t even on the ballot.  She says the results ought to be honored.  Keep in mind, she was running as Democrat heavyweights like Dennis Kucinich and Mike Ravel, and uncommitted.  That‘s her claim.  We‘ll tell you more, coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ABC‘S GOOD MORNING AMERICA)

GERALDINE FERRARO, FMR. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  In 1984, if my name were Gerald Ferraro instead of Geraldine Ferraro, I would never had been chosen as the vice president. 

DIANE SAWYER, HOST, GOOD MORNING AMERICA:  Yes, but there are people. 

FERRARO:  I started that.  It had nothing to do with my qualifications. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Geraldine Ferraro is tough.  You may not agree with her but you can‘t push her around.  Unabashedly, unapologetic, as you just heard her say, she understands Barrack Obama‘s situation because it was similar to her situation way back in 1984. 

Should Geraldine Ferraro be silenced? 

Joining us now MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press. 

Bill, maybe you can answer the question that I threw to Mr. Meeks.  Nice guy, didn‘t want to answer this question.  Why is it that a party that espouses affirmative action awarding points on the basis of skin color so outraged when someone suggest that‘s happened. 

BILL PRESS, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST:  First of all, I just got to say, in response to your question, should Geraldine Ferraro be silenced, try. 

CARLSON:  Yes, no, well, that‘s right. 

PRESS:  Obviously, you cannot silence Geraldine Ferraro. 

CARLSON:  Not possible. 

PRESS:  And nobody should.  She‘s great and she spoke. 

CARLSON:  But why is she outraged when she saying that—she‘s basically referring to the official policy of the Democratic Party.  And all of the sudden, Democrats are saying, that‘s disgusting, that (INAUDIBLE), wait, you call for that in your platform. 

PRESS:  Well, I think the—look, there‘s a campaign going on.  And I think what‘s happening is people are taking, and I think it‘s gone much too far right now, people are taking any comment made by anybody in any way related to either of the candidates blowing it up and making that the issue of the day.  And I think that‘s what‘s going on.  It‘s not a repudiation of affirmative action. 

I think Geraldine Ferraro could not have spoken more clumsily, but what she said certainly—what she meant to say at least you cannot disagree with.  She admits, she - look, women have a long way to go but she benefited from the fact that she was a woman in 1984. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

PRESS:  And what‘s she‘s saying is blacks have a long way to go.  But certainly Barack Obama has benefited in some ways from being African-American.  He didn‘t get 91 percent of the vote among African-Americans in Mississippi because he‘s a white man. 

CARLSON:  Look, I think the Clinton campaign has injected race into the race and I think it‘s offensive.  I don‘t think this is an example of that.  I think what she said—I don‘t she meant it in a mean-spirited way.  I know her and I don‘t believe that she‘s a bigot. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think the Obama campaign is playing the race card here.  I‘ll tell you why.  You know, they‘re saying she injected race into the campaign.  You don‘t go to “The Daily Breeze” in Torrance, California in an interview to inject some national issue. 

CARLSON:  No, that goes right into the bloodstream of the media there. 

BUCHANAN:  Look. 

CARLSON:  “The Daily Breeze.” 

BUCHANAN:  But she—she went out and made her statements perfectly accurate.  She didn‘t say this is the only reason why.  She was saying if he weren‘t an African-American I don‘t think he‘d be where he is now.  He would not have been the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention that launched this, he wouldn‘t had this huge media following, quite frankly, he would had the press so ga-ga, that “Saturday Night Live” is spoofing the press for how much it‘s in the tank for him. 

So I mean, she‘s got a very valid point.  It‘s a valid statement.  It was unartful, it was ill timed, but the treatment of her is appalling.  Frankly, I‘m ashamed of Hillary Clinton for throwing her under the bus. 

CARLSON:  I agree.  And if there‘s one promise that—you know, there‘s a lot about Barack Obama that I like and admire.  And if there‘s one promise that his candidacy holds, I think, for the country at large is that maybe we can finally have an honest but gentle and gentlemanly and non-hurtful, but still honest conversation about race and its role in the country.  I mean should we be able to?  We‘re not getting off to a very good start. 

PRESS:  We‘re not getting off to a very good start.  And I think where Gerri made the mistake was in saying that the—or saying that he—the only reason. 

BUCHANAN:  She didn‘t say only.  I was listening. 

PRESS:  She didn‘t say only, but it sounded like the only reason that he‘s there is because he‘s black, which is simply not true.  He‘s a very talented guy and, obviously, he would have been ahead no matter what the color of his skin. 

CARLSON:  But how would you feel if you were. 

PRESS:  But you‘re right. 

CARLSON:  If you were any accomplished black figure about whom people said Clarence Thomas, they say it about him, too, he‘s the beneficiary of affirmative action.  Maybe that‘s why affirmative action is poisonous and immoral. 

BUCHANAN:  It is. 

CARLSON:  Because like all discrimination and racism, it hurts people. 

It makes people insecure. 

BUCHANAN:  You know, it raises—questions in people‘s minds.  Now we know he was on Harvard Law Review.  And he got all this—ask yourself, did he get affirmative action scholarships and things? 

CARLSON:  It gets awful. 

BUCHANAN:  Every time, except in sports, that African-Americans succeed in the mind of people is, did they get a break that we didn‘t get because of affirmative action?  It‘s poisonous. 

PRESS:  I‘m still on the (INAUDIBLE) of affirmative action. 

CARLSON:  It is especially since Barack Obama is the most talented politician I‘ve ever seen having nothing to do with the race. 

PRESS:  I believe affirmative action is important, and I defend it and we can have that discussion sometime.  But I think what‘s happening is this. 

CARLSON:  You now admit there‘s a downside? 

PRESS:  No.  There‘s national conversation.  We‘ve got the first woman with a serious chance of being president and the first African-American with a serious chance of being president and we‘re all walking on thin ice, because if you criticize Hillary you‘re considered a sexist.  If you criticize Barack Obama about anything you get the race card thrown at you.  So people are goosey and nervous about this whole thing. 

BUCHANAN:  It was a golden opportunity for Obama to do what he did with Biden.  Remember Biden came out and look, it‘s a storybook, you got a clean, articulate, bright black guy. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  Just—it is basically a true statement, it was unartful as could be.  And Obama stepped in and said, look, Joe Biden doesn‘t have a racist bone in his body.  He‘s a good guy.  I‘ve worked with him.  Why didn‘t Obama do that with Geraldine Ferraro? 

CARLSON:  Well, Obama did. 

BUCHANAN:  They held her head under water. 

PRESS:  Actually. 

CARLSON:  Well, he—his campaign did. 

PRESS:  Yes, right. 

CARLSON:  Obama himself, though, and you‘re right, I mean it was clearly a strategy to use this for advancement.  But Obama himself. 

PRESS:  I thought Obama (INAUDIBLE) the high road. 

CARLSON:  He did and he came out and said something nice, which is, I resist, every time I can, and I go to great lengths to resist, using the word racist or impugning other people‘s motives. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

PRESS:  Right. 

CARLSON:  I think it‘s good for him.  But his spokesmen were out there doing just that. 

BUCHANAN:  Geraldine Ferraro is a liberal—good liberal Democrat.  Worse, I mean, more than that, she is an icon to a lot of women in the Democratic Party.  This has hurt, certainly it‘s hurt Hillary, but I think it‘s also hurt Obama.  When you throw somebody like that under the bus suggesting she may be racist, that‘s why she‘s got to go and you‘re talking about someone who‘s the first woman vice-presidential candidate?  It‘s like. 

CARLSON:  But she would take. 

PRESS:  The fact is. 

CARLSON:  Everybody else comes out and apologizes and does this Imus thing. 

PRESS:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  Good for her. 

CARLSON:  .and grovels and humiliates himself but she wouldn‘t.  Good for her. 

PRESS:  Yes.  Absolutely.  She is a fighter, she‘s a trailblazer the same way that Barack Obama is a trailblazer. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

Don Imus, you are no Gerri Ferraro. 

John McCain just beginning the long process of rustling up a running mate.  We don‘t know exactly what he‘s not looking for so far we do know what he‘s not looking for or he doesn‘t care about.  He‘s told us and we‘ll tell you. 

Plus it‘s been called a dream ticket for Democrats.  Clinton-Obama, Obama-Clinton, but today the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, crushed the dreams of the Clinton administration.  She said it won‘t happen.  I know that based on a lifetime of being in politics.  More on that in a minute. 

This is MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I‘m optimistic about this year because I know John McCain.  I‘ve known him for many years.  I‘ve seen his character and his leadership up close.  I‘ve campaigned with him and I‘ve campaigned against him, and I can tell you this, he‘s a tough competitor.  And on inauguration day, I‘ll be proud to say to John McCain, congratulations, Mr. President. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Endorsement from his former rival George W. Bush. 

John McCain trying now to find the perfect candidate to round out the Republican ticket this fall.  We know one thing you don‘t need to be to be McCain‘s choice, a close personal friend.  McCain told reporters he doesn‘t think he would need to be all that friendly with the person he chooses as his vice president.  And who might that number two be? 

Well, Mitt Romney says he‘d be honored to be a heartbeat away.  McCain insists he hasn‘t even begun to search. 

Joining us with the truth, “Politico,” senior “Politico” reporter Jonathan Martin, really one of the great shoe leather men in all Washington.  Great to have you, Jonathan.

JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I just want to play—this is Mitt Romney on FOX the other night explaining, you know, would he take it? 

MARTIN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Watch this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  You know, I think any Republican leader in this country would be honored to be asked to serve as the vice president‘s nominee, myself included.  Of course, this is a nation which needs strong leadership.  And if the nominee of our party asked you to serve with him, anybody would be honored to receive that call and to accept it, of course. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  But that‘s breaking the rules, Jonathan.  You‘re supposed to

look, let me just tell you the rules.  When someone says, would you accept the nomination as vice president, you say I‘m so busy doing important things, I can‘t even discuss it now, he just came out and said, yes, I would take it. 

MARTIN:  Well, he‘s not very busy right now. 

CARLSON:  Very good point. 

MARTIN:   So he doesn‘t have a day job right now and he is, I mean, obviously, very, very politically ambitious.  No, but look, I think he‘s being candid there and saying that there‘s no real honest politician in America who would say that they wouldn‘t take the number two spot.  It‘s the natural reward to running for president and potentially being president.  Of course, you would consider and probably take it. 

CARLSON:  Well, people are saying, well, they. 

MARTIN:  He‘s being honest. 

CARLSON:  Well, good for him, which is, of course, the definition of a gaff in Washington. 

MARTIN:  That‘s exactly right. 

CARLSON:  People are saying oh, they despise each other so much, and I know the McCain people fervently loathe Mitt Romney. 

MARTIN:  Right.  Yes, they do. 

CARLSON:  But I remember when the McCain people and McCain himself loathed George W. Bush and now they‘re practically making out on stage.

So I mean, are the Romney people lobbying for this? 

MARTIN:  There‘s no question that there‘s no love lost.  But look, as you mentioned, the fifth president, Kennedy and Johnson in ‘60, Reagan and Bush (INAUDIBLE) in ‘80, there was no love between—those camps in those years.  And they eventually did what they felt was best for the party.  And the question for McCain is, does this help his cause?  Will this get him a state, will this help him with the party base, you know, will this sort of advance the ball? 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MARTIN:  And there‘s an argument to be made that it could.  But for John McCain he can say what he wants about it‘s not important to have a friend.  But he is somebody that would want to have full trust in that number two. 

CARLSON:  Of course. 

MARTIN:  And he‘s going to have to have some kind of close relationship with that person.  And I just am skeptical that would ever be Mitt Romney, and especially given the fact that there are folks that endorsed McCain very, very early in the process that McCain is fond of that would themselves, Tucker, very, very gladly take that slot. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I think that would include just about everyone.  I mean Romney is right there.  And McCain, I think, was trying to give the adult answer and that‘s admirable.  But I think McCain is a kind of guy who does take things personal. 

MARTIN:  Personally. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

MARTIN:  All personal. 

CARLSON:  That certainly is.  You‘ve got a piece on today‘s “Politico” about McCain‘s strategy going forward. 

MARTIN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  What is it? 

MARTIN:  Well, that McCain in some ways was the best that could happen to Republicans in the sense that in a tough year when their brand is really down and out he can perhaps appeal to some independents, some perhaps wayward Republicans, because he is not typically associated with the sort of Bush-Republican brand.  Now Democrats are going to try hard to change that.  But he could play in some blue states, places like New Hampshire where he spent a lot of time. 

The kind of states, Tucker, that reward independent types, maverick types, Maine perhaps. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MARTIN:  Minnesota, Wisconsin, even Oregon or Washington state were sort of his image where persona trumps policy, if you will.  And folks who don‘t agree with him on the war, for example, still might go with him because they just like John McCain and admire him for who he is. 

CARLSON:  Right.  And those war numbers are changing.  That‘s our next segment. 

Jonathan Martin of the “Politico,” thank you very much. 

MARTIN:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  It‘s great to have you.  Appreciate it. 

Bill Clinton was admired by many as president.  Now that he‘s a surrogate for his wife he‘s not nearly as popular.  Are you surprised?  We‘ve got the numbers. 

Plus Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama on most of the issues, health care, economy, Iraq, but Obama blows her away on one other thing, electability, not to mention trustworthiness.  Which wins, style or substance? 

You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 

Let‘s look at the difference between this decade and the 1990s, when I had the honor of serving. 

Then—then—what did you say?  And you‘ll go what?  Yes, what about it? 

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.  Whoa, wait a minute.  Wait a minute. 

Wait. 

Look, this is the deal, folks: all these people that are paranoid about the world come and scream at me everywhere.  America did a lot better when I was president than they have in this decade and that‘s the truth. 

Now, good-bye.  Thank you. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Me, me, me, I, I, I.  I was a great president.  I, me, the subtext of everything the former president says.  He‘s not as popular as he used to be, despite all that.  While his wife runs for his old job, it turns out the more voters see of former President Bill Clinton, the less they like him.  Mr. Clinton‘s negative ratings are now higher than his positives and one of the reasons the man considered by many to be the first black president has lost the support of many black supporters. 

Joining us now, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press.  Pat, as Bill Clinton himself said to the friend of someone I know in New Hampshire, he said a vote for Hillary is a vote for me.  The subtext there has been obvious from day one.  He sees this as his third term. 

How galling must it be, in light of that, to see these new poll numbers that show that his legacy has really been tarnished by his efforts to get his wife elected. 

BUCHANAN:  I think it‘s got to be very galling to him.  I think the real reason, quite frankly, is the perception of Bill Clinton in the African American community after that Jesse Jackson comment in South Carolina.  The negatives on Hillary in the African-American community and folks who will not vote for her if she‘s nominated, they have soared.  He‘s been very, very controversial.  I think he probably did her some good in a number of places, but he‘s not doing her much good anymore. 

CARLSON:  The irony of this, Bill, the other Bill, waking up every morning to get himself elected by proxy, and destroying his legacy in the process. 

PRESS:  It‘s sad to see in a way. 

CARLSON:  It‘s not that sad.  He‘s getting punished for race-baiting. 

PRESS:  I am a big Bill Clinton fan, number one.  He was a good president.  And we did a hell of a lot better off under him than we‘ve done, certainly with the economy, under George W. Bush.  But look, he‘s been out there. It hasn‘t been that artful.  He‘s taken his hits.  His numbers have plummeted, and he‘s paid the price. 

When we started out I said, many times on this set, he would be her single greatest asset when she‘s running for president.  I think I was wrong. 

CARLSON:  I think he is her single greatest asset.  He‘s also her single greatest liability.  Exactly, that‘s a double edged sword with very sharp edges on both sides. 

We throw around the term Orwellian.  Everything is Orwellian.  We always pretend it‘s Orwellian.  But rarely do you really hear a statement that is, in fact, Orwellian, that actually reaches the threshold of war is peace, hate is love.  It‘s this right here, Hillary Clinton talking about the Potempkin primaries in Michigan and Florida, and saying this: quote, “if you‘re a voter from Florida or Michigan, you know that we should count your votes.  The results of those primaries were fair and should be honored.” 

They were fair in Michigan.  Barack Obama was not on the ballot. 

PRESS:  He took his name off the ballot. 

CARLSON:  He took his name off because the Democratic party said it wasn‘t a primary. 

BUCHANAN:  A real victory over uncommitted. 

PRESS:  Uncommitted got 40 percent of the vote.  The bottom line here is there‘s got to be some way.  The Democrats are not going to go to Denver without finding a way to count Florida and Michigan.  Both state delegations will be counted.  Both should be.  The Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign are going to have to figure out and agree on how to do it. 

CARLSON:  You know who‘s going to win?  Hillary, because only she would say this with a straight hand. 

BUCHANAN:  She‘s got a tough hand in Florida, because Wexler and someone else say—they are all saying, you‘ve got to send these delegates.  They were all elected, 1.75 million voters.  Hillary says, I‘ll take the election as it was.  Barack and I ran even there, or I‘ll take a new election.  Let‘s go.  I think Barack is looking weak, I think, in Florida, you know.  We can‘t do this, we can‘t do the mail-outs.  I think she‘s looking positive there. 

CARLSON:  He doesn‘t have a real argument. 

BUCHANAN:  I agree with you, Tucker, on Michigan. 

CARLSON:  It‘s unbelievable.  Not to play shrink but for 30 seconds, think about what it takes in order to say something like that with a straight face, without a hint of a smile, into a camera with no irony of any kind.  The election in Michigan was fair.  Imagine being able to say that.  What kind of person could do that? 

PRESS:  It takes someone—

CARLSON:  Pat, just for the record—Pat is a longtime employee of Richard Nixon. 

PRESS:  I was going to say, it takes someone with balls of brass. 

CARLSON:  OK, well your characterization, not mine. 

BUCHANAN:  Sexist comment. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not piling on.  One of the reasons I‘m so glad Hillary Clinton is staying in—first, I do admire her toughness.  I say that with all sincerity.  But also, there‘s so much good stuff that comes out of her campaign.  Here is Hillary Clinton on NPR defending her foreign policy record.  Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  I represented our government and our country in more than 80 countries, and I know the people are nit-picking and raising questions.  That‘s fair.  That‘s a campaign.  Compare my experience even after the nit-picking with Senator Obama‘s.  Let‘s look at this objectively here.  And I think my experience, you know, is much more preparatory for the job that awaits. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  So it‘s nit-picking.  This is the nit-picking to which she refers.  I represented our government and our country in more than 80 countries.  As secretary of state, as ambassador; were you in the Foreign Service?  What exactly were you doing when you, quote, represented our country and our government.  That would be, according to Mrs. Clinton, nit-picking, asking that question. 

BUCHANAN:  It‘s a goodwill tour.  She‘s got a little bit of a point. 

I understand Barack Obama has visited one NATO country in his entire life. 

Is that right? 

PRESS:  That‘s right. 

BUCHANAN:  That‘s remarkable. 

CARLSON:  Barack Obama has virtually no relevant experience to be president.  There‘s no way around that.  His argument is he has better judgment.  She is running a campaign based on her so-called experience about which we know nothing.  We don‘t have her records from her years as first lady.  We don‘t know what she did.  She‘s refused to tell us. 

PRESS:  We know where she was.  One of the differences—I believe that Barack Obama has sufficient experience and is ready to be president of the United States on day one.  I‘m not putting him down.  One of the big issues in this campaign is who is ready to govern on day one.  Hillary makes a credible point that after being—she wasn‘t secretary of state and she wasn‘t president, but she was involved in some of those negotiations.  She traveled—

CARLSON:  How was she involved? 

PRESS:  She traveled around the world on her own, sometimes representing the United States.  She was involved in talks in northern Ireland.  She was involved in talks in Macedonia.  And let me finish.  She was United States senator for six years, compared to his one.  On the foreign policy—she‘s racked up a certain amount of experience. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not saying she‘s unqualified to be president.  I‘m merely saying, if you‘re going to claim experience representing the United States of America in 80 countries, you should give me one example with details of what you did and she hasn‘t.  Therefore, I think this is dishonest. 

PRESS:  I think she has. 

CARLSON:  I follow this for a living.  I‘ve never seen one.

PRESS:  She was involved in northern Ireland in her own way. 

CARLSON:  How? 

BUCHANAN:  What did she do? 

CARLSON:  She never says.  She just says, I was there and my presence

people touched the hem of her garment and were healed. 

PRESS:  I‘m not part of her campaign but in our show research it outlined about ten things she had done as first lady in the foreign policy experience.  I mentioned one and you‘re not listening. 

CARLSON:  OK, we‘re sort of dancing around a very obvious point, which is the speaker of the House, the single most powerful Democrat in Congress, the leader of Congressional Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, is totally in the tank for Barack Obama.  She‘s not saying that out loud, but it‘s obvious in the things she says, including this.  Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Let me just say that I do think we will have a dream team, it just won‘t be those two names.  I don‘t think it‘s politically feasible. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why? 

PELOSI:  Take it from me, that won‘t be the ticket. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Pat, only one campaign has a vested interest in holding out the possibility of a dream team, and that‘s Hillary‘s, because she‘s behind.  This is about the fifth comment I‘ve seen from Speaker Pelosi that undermines Hillary‘s case in public.  She‘s anti-Hillary. 

BUCHANAN:  She‘s hauling water for Obama.  Obama‘s saying, it‘s not good for me to say, I don‘t want to be on the ticket.  You go out and say, I wouldn‘t want to be on the ticket, because Hillary is trying to win votes by saying we can have us both.  He‘s putting Pelosi up to it. 

Let me tell you this, when you see the numbers we‘ve put out there, Tucker, if Hillary Clinton wins this thing, she‘s got to offer that vice presidency to Obama.  When you see the numbers of the disillusionment among African Americans with her.  I don‘t see how she can not offer it to him. 

PRESS:  I disagree to this extent; I don‘t believe that Nancy Pelosi is hauling water for Barack Obama.  Look, she‘s a fairly smart politician, former Democratic state chair of California, like I was.  She‘s saying what she believes that they are not going to get together.  I think she‘s wrong.  I agree with you that if Hillary is the nominee, she has to offer it to Barack Obama. 

BUCHANAN:  Why would she push this again and again?  She‘s pushing the line. 

CARLSON:  She also pushes the Obama line, though—more than twice is not a coincidence, it‘s a strategy.  She pushed also the Obama line, which is super delegates ought to, must, should be obligated to vote the will of the states they represent, the people‘s will.  That‘s Obama‘s argument.  Hillary‘s is every super delegate ought to have free will. 

BUCHANAN:  That simply makes them bonus delegates, takes away their independence. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.

PRESS:  Which is not their role. 

CARLSON:  Their role is to be—

BUCHANAN:  Their role is what Barack Obama would like. 

CARLSON:  The Democratic party doesn‘t believe in true democracy.  There‘s aristocratic system where the wise men, elders step in and get to take control in the end.  Right?

BUCHANAN:  Hillary lost a super delegate up in New York yesterday. 

CARLSON:  Yes, so there‘s a house of horns in the Democratic party.

PRESS:  I believe democracy is all about voting the way you want to vote for whatever reason you want to vote that way.  That is true democracy.  There‘s Nobody with a gun to your head.  You can vote however you want.  That‘s what the super delegates can do. 

CARLSON:  And then your legitimate votes become irrelevant, because some party pooh-bah who is in an unelected position decides they don‘t count.  And they made a better deal. 

PRESS:  I never heard anybody suggesting that Ted Kennedy is forced now to change his vote because Massachusetts went for Hillary Clinton. 

CARLSON:  Honestly, Bill, all the members, all the super delegates who are not really elected, they‘re Democratic National Committee members.  You know what I mean?  They all of a sudden have much more power—

BUCHANAN:  State chairman. 

CARLSON:  Exactly, they have got more power than thousands of ordinary voters, working men and women. 

BUCHANAN:  Super delegate.  Chairman of California, can you believe that? 

PRESS:  You don‘t have to tell me about these party hacks.  I used to be one of them.  All I‘m saying is that‘s what the rules are and they can vote however they want. 

CARLSON:  And you would trust them with that? 

PRESS:  Absolutely, yes. 

CARLSON:  I‘m glad they are there, because it makes this a much more interesting election.  Gentlemen—

PRESS:  Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

PRESS:  Style and substance, we were going to talk about that.  I just want to say, style and substance, you‘ve got it both.  You did a great job on this show.  We‘re going to miss you. 

CARLSON:  I‘m going to miss having you guys on.  Thank you very much.  When I get a gig on the Food Network, on the Souffle Show, I‘m having you on to whip something up in the kitchen with me. 

PRESS:  I make a hell of an omelet.

CARLSON:  Bill Press, Pat Buchanan, thank you very much. 

BUCHANAN:  Take it easy, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  A new poll is out with surprising numbers about the support for the war in Iraq.  Virginia Congressman Jim Moran joins us in a minute. 

And an off beat headline for an off beat jam session with the Royals.  What Prince Charles and Camilla were up to in Jamaica today.  That‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Some surprising new poll numbers to bring to you tonight.  Public support for the war in Iraq, according to the Pew Poll, is the highest it‘s been since 2006; 53 percent, a majority of Americans, now believe the United States, quote, will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals in Iraq.  Is this the Iraq game change John McCain may need to win the presidency? 

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman from Virginia and a long time foe of the war, in fact, a member of the out of Iraq caucus, Jim Moran.  Congressman, thanks for coming on.  It looks like you may have lost the American people on this question. 

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  The American people happen to be wrong on this and it‘s because they haven‘t been focusing.  There is no military victory possible in Iraq.  As Admiral Fallon made is clear, we are not achieving the kind of political reconciliation, which is the only justification for loss of life, let alone the hundreds of billions of dollars that we‘ve invested in this fiasco. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not taking—I think part of what you said is a smart point and I‘m not taking issue with it.  Since you‘ve been on this show so many times over the last three years, making the case that this war is not only wrong but unjustified and unjustifiable because the majority of Americans don‘t support it—you‘ve made that case explicitly—this has to give you pause.  If the people want it, isn‘t it justified. 

MORAN:  Well, my thoughtful friend, I think it was Plato, wasn‘t it, who said the minority are oftentimes wrong, but the majority always are. 

CARLSON:  That‘s my position.  You‘re a member of Congress.  You‘re a man of the people.  You can‘t attack the people.  You have to pretend to follow their will. 

MORAN:  I think my constituency is right on this.  The problem, Tucker, as you know as well, is that this war has become an abstraction to most of the American people.  Unless you‘re in the military or a military family or the family of a defense contractor, this war is largely an abstraction.  The president has never asked you to sacrifice for anything. 

Now we can move onto the next new thing, which is the presidential campaign, and the fact that the economy is going through the floor.  That affects peoples‘ lives.  The war doesn‘t affect most people‘s lives and I think they can afford to be somewhat complacent about it. 

CARLSON:  So people are overfed, shallow, and complacent.  Answer this question.  Hold on—why are people continuing to join the military in the absolute knowledge they will be sent to Iraq? 

MORAN:  They want to serve their country. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

MORAN:  They want this war to be over with.  This is a very patriotic country.  You know, during the Vietnam War, we had any number of people joining the military even before the draft.  But I‘ll tell you if there was a draft, we would not be in Iraq today. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  I do agree with that.  I wonder if the American people aren‘t tuned in and are oblivious to certain facts on the ground, I wonder if some of the opponents of the war are also oblivious to certain facts on the ground.  I‘ve been struck by opponents of the war have not even acknowledged that it is physically safer in Baghdad.  That‘s an important development.

I‘ve been against the war for a long time.  I‘m willing to recognize that‘s a really good thing and we did it.  Most opponents of the war are so rigid they won‘t recognize it.  Don‘t you think they should? 

MORAN:  Well, but you also know the reason is because most of the Sunnis have been cleared out of Baghdad.  Some would call it ethnic cleansing.  It‘s primarily a Shia area now, where it used to be mixed.  Similarly, in other parts of Iraq, the north, for example, there‘s been ethnic cleansing of the Shia there. 

The reality is that political reconciliation is no closer today than it was years ago.  That‘s the only thing that can justify this.  We‘re not achieving that. 

Our soldiers are wonderful.  They are doing everything they have been asked to do.  They haven‘t been given a road map to achieve peace and reconciliation.  Now the presidential council just vetoed the Iraq parliament‘s efforts to send more power down to the provincial councils.  You‘ve have Ahmadinejad over there with Maliki nodding his head by his side, saying Iraqis hate Americans.  The Americans ought to realize that.  We‘re their neighbors and they like that. 

Well, I‘m afraid Ahmadinejad gets it better than some of our leadership. 

CARLSON:  Yes, you know, I wouldn‘t—I wish I had more time.  I don‘t think I would go that far.  But I appreciate you coming on.  Thanks a lot Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia.  Coming up, the King of Pop strikes a deal, not a pose, to save his Neverland Ranch in California.  But even still, word is Michael Jackson may not get to keep that infamous abode.  We have all the details.  Of course we do.  You‘ll want to stay tuned. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  For more than a year now, we‘ve been privileged to cap off this show, to end it like a glass of Amaretto with the great Bill Wolff, the head of prime time here at MSNBC.  Tonight is his last appearance on the show.  It‘s a poignant moment.  I throw it to you, Bill. 

BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT:  IT is a poignant moment for me, friend, and the privilege, in all sincerity, has been mine.  You are a mensch.  That is the great story of you.  You are a mensch.  It‘s true.  I‘m just telling you, folks, if you ever meet me, that‘s what I‘m going to tell you. 

There was today, Tucker, a rare confluence of comedy and pure evil in Florida, as legendary comedy guy Billy Crystal suited up as an actual exhibition New York Yankee.  There he is.  Crystal signed a one day contract and led off for the Yanks against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a spring game.  First thing he did was foul one down the right-field line.  There he goes. 

Then he worked the count to three balls and one strike, as Robin Williams looked on.  Then Billy Crystal did what I would do, swung and missed and struck out on a fastball.  He grabbed some bench, thereby ending his Yankee career.  For Yankee fans, it was a humorous, good natured stunt, combining celebrity good feeling and tradition.  For everybody else, Tucker, it was sickening. 

CARLSON:  Because it was done in the service of the Evil Empire, is that what you‘re saying? 

WOLFF:  I don‘t know.  I just can‘t stand celebrities who endorse empires like the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Lakers, any of the teams.  On this show, we love the have-nots, not the haves.  When celebrities make a big deal about haves.  If he‘d be doing this with, you know, the Kansas City Royals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that needs some love, I would have endorsed it.  The Yankees don‘t need love. 

CARLSON:  You don‘t want to see a man‘s dream come true.  Do you, Bill?

WOLFF:  Not that man, not that dream. 

CARLSON:  Good. 

WOLFF:  The island nation of Jamaica welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors in a near constant stream every year, Tucker.  Most come for the beaches and the Red Stripe Beer, of course.  But Prince Charles and his wife Camilla came to jam.  They visited the former home of reggae hero Bob Marley.  There they are doing their best on the bongos, getting extra mellow with a group of local musicians. 

Oh, the many jokes we won‘t tell.  After this session, Charles said, quote, I‘m afraid we rather ruined that one, end quote.  In Jamaica, as you know, Tucker, it‘s no problem, man.  It‘s all good in Jamaica. 

CARLSON:  Was he talking about the song or the country? 

WOLFF:  Well, that‘s a fair question. 

CARLSON:  The former British colony. 

WOLFF:  You do have a fair point there.  I reckoned, knowing what I know about him—he‘s a great statesman—he was speaking of the song.  However, it could be argued—actually, I‘ve been to Jamaica, no one has ruined Jamaica.  It is most excellent.  I got engaged in Jamaica, as a matter of fact. 

The primaries got more serious with the elimination of one more candidate.  I spoke, of course, about “American Idol,” your favorite—well, among your favorite reality shows.  The field was down to 12 finalists, all of whom mangled Beatles tunes on Tuesday.  You probably did not watch that.  They all sang Beatles tunes.  That just isn‘t right.  It came down to country girl Christie Lee Cook, who on Tuesday night put “Eight Days a Week” into the deep fryer and covered it with Ranch dressing and a guy called David Hernandez, who delivered an apparently uninspired version of “I Saw Her Standing There.”

In the end, it was the guy on the left, Hernandez, who got the boot.  He‘s the subject of this year‘s tepid “American Idol” controversy when it was discovered that he paid his bills for a while working as a stripper, Tucker.  But he expressed belief afterwards that his fate was sealed by his singing and not by his dancing. 

Who knows.  There are no exit polls on “American Idol.”

CARLSON:  I could have told you who was going to win with the sound down? 

WOLFF:  Really? 

CARLSON:  Yes.

WOLFF:  I think I get your meaning.  She was really bad.  She did some kind of country fried version of “Eight Days a Week.”  It was like bad Dolly Parton.  

CARLSON:  There is not a good version of that song.  They‘re all the same.  

WOLFF:  “Eight Days a Week,” I love you?  You‘re tough. 

Finally, Tucker, some news from the housing market, or specifically the ranch market.  If you were planning on buying Michael Jackson‘s Neverland Ranch and loading up the truck and moving out, you‘re out of luck.  The former pop star‘s lawyer told the Associated Press that Jacko has arranged financing to retain the deed on the property.  It was to have been auctioned off later this month because Jackson reportedly owed 24.5 million dollars on the house, the petting zoo, the roller coaster and whatever the hell else there is on that property.  There‘s a lot. 

He does not live there anymore, but he still owns it.  Ownership is everything.  But a source says it‘s not clear whether Jackson will wind up still owning the Neverland Ranch.  And so, as this show began, you will recall, on June 13th, 2005, a Monday night, Michael Jackson was acquitted that night. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

WOLFF:  I roll out my performance with a little more Jacko news for you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Full circle it comes.  Bill Wolff—

WOLFF:  You‘re a man.

CARLSON:  That‘s it, our penultimate show.  We‘ll be back tomorrow for the grand finale.  Join us then, if you would.  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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