Msnbc Live at 6 p.m. ET, Friday, May 13th, 2011
Read the transcript from the Friday 6 p.m. hour
Guests: Richard Wolffe, Ed Rollins, Jeff Sharlet, Roger Cressey, Vince
Warren, Lee Fang, Ana Kasparian
CENK UYGUR, HOST: Good evening. I‘m Cenk Uygur.
Now the presidential race in the GOP is on like Donkey Kong.
Everything is heated up all of a sudden. And there‘s a lot of drama in the air.
Mike Huckabee is telling supporters he‘ll announce on his Fox show tomorrow night whether he‘ll run for president. In fact, he‘s lined up a kind of Fox ambition tour on the network over the next 24 hours, scheduling appearances on at least five different shows.
Dude, I got it. You‘ve got a big announcement. I hear you.
Now, the conventional wisdom says Huckabee will not run for reasons that we‘ll discuss in a minute, though he‘s keeping his cards pretty close to his vest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE ®, FMR. ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I‘ll be announcing to the Fox viewers what my intentions are. My executive producer does not even know what the decision is. I‘ve not even communicated with members of all my family until this afternoon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Also today, Ron Paul, the man who got punk‘d by “Bruno.”
Remember that? That was fun. He threw his hat into the ring as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON PAUL ®, TEXAS: Our time has come. It‘s been around for a long time, but the momentum is here today. I am very, very pleased that I am once again able to say that I am a candidate for the presidency in the Republican Party primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: And even Newt Gingrich seems to be showing signs that he‘s finally serious this time around. This might not be just to make more money on the speaker‘s circuit for once.
He‘s announced a six-day campaign swing across Iowa next week. He‘s bringing the Newt road show, which should be a lot of fun, to 17 different towns across the state. All those Newt faces are scaring me a little bit.
But of course, now, many Republicans are still not happy with their choices.
By the way, will Palin get in? That‘s an interesting one that‘s coming up, right? OK. We‘re going to have a discussion on that in a second as well.
But the other person they‘re talking about? Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. So, unfortunately, for some of the people in the GOP, Daniels doesn‘t look like he seems that filled with a burning desire to run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MITCH DANIELS ®, INDIANA: And they‘re (ph) constantly telling everybody, not to not look for any great announcements or pronouncements. Some insisted on expecting some. Now, this whole business of running for national office, I‘m not saying I won‘t do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Now, there‘s a slogan that everyone can rally around—I‘m not saying I won‘t do it. Very, very exciting. But, you know, there‘s also drama surrounding his wife and whether that has an effect on his desire to get in.
We‘ll talk about all of that right now.
Joining me right now is MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe. Also with us, Ed Rollins, the campaign manager for Mike Huckabee during his 2008 run.
Guys, great to have you here.
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thank you.
UYGUR: Ed, let me start with you.
Obviously, the big question tonight, is Mike Huckabee going to go in or is he going to stay out? That announcement apparently coming tomorrow.
Do you have any insight into it?
ROLLINS: I don‘t have any insight. You know, I‘ve been helping him put a campaign structure together for four or five months now, and my assumption is the fact that he hasn‘t talked to me about, what are you doing tomorrow night probably means he‘s not going to run.
And I think to a certain extent, my last conversation with him, as I said, “I‘ve done everything I can, when you get ready to make the decision, let me know.” And he certainly has not let me know. So I wait in great anticipation, but I assume the anticipation means that he‘s not going to run.
UYGUR: But, you know, I‘m stunned by that, Ed, because in almost every single poll, he‘s either first or second. The last poll had him at 19 percent, leading the field entirely.
A guy leading the field not entering the race, that seems crazy, doesn‘t it?
ROLLINS: Well, it‘s crazy, and I can tell you, having worked with Mike for several years now—and he‘s an extraordinary human being and a great communicator—there are a lot of people who wanted to be part of his operation. I had a campaign, and I‘ve been in this business for a long, long time. I had as good a team as you could have on the field ready to go.
I had sort of given him assurances of people—we could raise the money, the $50 million we needed. I had political operatives more than willing to basically take key roles. I had a media team all ready to go. I had a press secretary, communications director all ready to go.
And we sort of covered all the bases of the things that he thought he needed. But at the end of the day, if you don‘t get up every day and look in the mirror and say, “There‘s the next president of the United States, I‘m going to do whatever it takes,” you‘re not going to be a very good candidate. And I think Mike just couldn‘t get past that hurdle.
UYGUR: And I‘ve got to stay with you for one more second, because that‘s really interesting.
I mean, what do you think it is? Is it that after a while you get soft? You‘ve got all this money coming in from Fox, apparently he‘s building a new house, people say he‘s putting on weight. Is it just too tiring to run an election and think, hey, why not take it easy?
ROLLINS: I don‘t know. The last time I had dinner with him two weeks ago, as a fat man, I said, “Mike, you‘ve got to lose 30 or 40 pounds if you‘re going to run.” He said, “Well, you‘re fat.” And I said, “Yes, but I didn‘t write a book talking about how I lost 100 pounds.”
That may have been what drove him away. But I think in all honesty, you get into a lifestyle.
And he came right from being a governor. He lost weight. He was a marathon runner. He had a tremendous race.
He had always talked about, after 2008, waiting until 2016. And I think what happened is we had a great election in 2010, and there‘s an opportunity now for a Republican to be a viable candidate. And in his head he wasn‘t quite ready to give up all that he has today, and probably never will.
UYGUR: Wow. That‘s really interesting.
All right. Now, Richard, I hear you‘re talking about Sarah Palin.
What kind of information do you have there?
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, nobody really knows what Sarah Palin‘s decision-making is, even less than they know about Mike Huckabee‘s. But my feeling is that this kind of field, when you see a front-runner like Huckabee, who could have won in Iowa, again could have won in South Carolina, and really sealed that sort of linchpin state there, when you have got a field that is falling apart, that is not really going to catch fire in any meaningful way, there are people on the sidelines who are going to look at that in the fall and say, you know, maybe I feel differently. Maybe I don‘t want to be ignored, because these other candidates who are not catching fire are still getting more media, and maybe the country needs me or the party needs me.
I think the decisions start to look differently. So a lot of the projection about Sarah Palin has been, well, why would she want to give things up? Maybe her numbers aren‘t so good.
I think it‘s going to look very different with this kind of field going into the fall as people start to make those decisions about what their votes are going to look like. Those early states are still going to be in play and could easily have someone like Sarah Palin, who comes in late and says this field needs to be shaken up.
UYGUR: Well, you know, if Huckabee doesn‘t come in, then that also opens it up for Palin a bit. You know, the dominos affect everyone else.
And speaking of those dominos, one guy who was still considering about coming in is Mitch Daniels. Now, I want to play you guys a video about his wife and his response to that, and then come back and talk about that fascinating issue.
Let‘s watch it first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIELS: I would never want you to be any different than you are. I will never ask you to be. I will never ask you to go anywhere you don‘t want to go. You can go anywhere you want, and I hope you‘ll choose to do a lot, but it‘s entirely up to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Now, as I said, that was in reference to his wife.
Richard, what‘s the issue there?
WOLFFE: She has not taken a high-profile role. It is demanding.
You know, you cannot underestimate how tough it is for families, for their privacy issues. This is a couple that has been divorced and remarried.
You‘ve got to play on the social conservative network. And by the way, it‘s not just about the wife here.
I have spoken to people who have worked closely with Mitch Daniels. They say he does not enjoy campaigning, he‘s not a very good campaigner at all. You kind of can hear that in his public comments just now.
So, he‘s a policy wonk, not a candidate. And that‘s his problem right now, not just for his wife and his family, but for him as someone who can read politics very carefully.
UYGUR: Ed, real quick on the wife issue, now, she apparently left him, went to California, got remarried with someone else, then came back to him while he took care of the kids. I‘m not sure that even works against him. That might work for him. That seems like, hey, look, he took care of the four kids while she was gone.
ROLLINS: I‘m very biased towards—Mitch was my deputy in the White House and my handpicked successor in 1985, 1986. He‘s one of the smartest guys I know in politics.
He‘s been a great governor.
He has a very solid marriage. No one knows what happens in a marriage. They separated for a period of time, she remarried, they came back together. They have a wonderful family.
At the end of the day, he‘ll be running on his record, not on his marriage record. And I think, to a certain extent, if he chooses to get into this race, he may not be the best campaigner, but he‘s smart, knows issues better than anybody, and he knows how to run a campaign.
He‘s run his own two campaigns. He used to be chairman of the Senate Campaign Committee, and he knows how to a run a race, and I think would be a very credible candidate.
UYGUR: Right. And look, the issue only comes up because she might be reluctant for him to run because of all the issues that would come up, et cetera. And she even gave a speech about it.
Now, one last thin about Ron Paul.
Now, he‘s officially entered the race, and he‘s saying, look, the party has finally come to where I am. I‘ve been here for 30 years, and they‘ve finally came to the same right-wing place that I‘m at.
Richard, is that right? And could this be a moment where he‘s maybe a second choice or a third choice that has a legitimate shot?
WOLFFE: I‘m going to make a bold prediction. Ron Paul will not be the Republican nominee.
He‘s going to play his gadfly role. He is a thought leader for a part of the party. Obviously for the Tea Party folks.
That‘s not the whole Republican Party. It‘s not enough to get the nomination.
Would he splinter off and try and run some third party? Unlikely. I mean, you‘ve got to raise money, but he‘ll have an impact, his ideas have had an impact. But if you‘ve got a Mitch Daniels in there, his ideas are frankly going to be more credible on this field.
So, as a nominee, as someone who can catch fire, it‘s just not going to happen.
UYGUR: Ed, real quick, credible or not credible, Ron Paul?
ROLLINS: Well, he‘s a credible candidate, but he‘s not going to be the nominee. And I think he had a big following of young people, particularly, but he‘s not the mainstream of the party.
He‘s very isolationist. He believes the Federal Reserve should be abolished. You know, he basically is kind of extreme on a lot of issues. He adds some color, and obviously he‘ll be there until the end.
UYGUR: All right. Great analysis.
MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe and Republican strategist Ed Rollins, thank you both for coming on tonight, and have a great weekend.
ROLLINS: Thank you. You, too.
WOLFFE: You bet. Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: All right.
Now, when we come back, all of John Ensign‘s dirty secrets are out. But what about his buddy Senator Tom Coburn? Why was he helping in the cover-up? And what were they doing covering up all that sex while preaching family values?
We‘ll discuss that.
And we‘ve got a new report today that pornography was fond in the bin Laden compound. Uh-oh. What was he watching on that TV? And what was bin Laden‘s life really like inside there?
And folks, forget Michele Bachmann. The year of the crazy Republicans just got even crazier. This Republicans in New York wants to chain certain pregnant women when they give birth. I‘m not kidding. The story of why a Democrat might just take that seat.
Stay with us.
UYGUR: There‘s new fallout today from the blistering Senate ethics report on former Nevada senator John Ensign. He, of course, had the extramarital affair that got him in so much trouble.
The reports says there‘s substantial credible evidence Ensign violated the law, and it‘s raising new questions about Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and his apparent role in the cover-up. But what‘s amazing is the sheer repellant nature of Ensign‘s behavior.
Remember, Ensign is one of those so-called family values conservatives who called for Bill Clinton to resign over his affair. But here, the married Ensign completely lost himself in a romance with a staffer, a woman named Cindy Hampton, who happened to be married to another Ensign staffer.
The Senate report says Cindy Hampton did not want to have an affair, but she was on Ensign‘s payroll and so was her husband, and she feared for their careers if she didn‘t give in to Ensign. Wow. That makes it so much worse.
Apparently, for secrecy, Ensign listed Cindy Hampton as “Aunt Judy” in his cell phone, which is super-creepy.
Also, in 2007, a day after their spouses first learned about the affair, the couples met at the Ensigns‘ home. The guilty parties apologized and “the families then celebrated Christmas together”—wow—thereby creating the most awkward Christmas party in history. But their affair continued later anyway.
In 2008, John Ensign‘s spiritual advisor, Tim Coe, learned Ensign was at a hotel with Cindy Hampton. Coe called Ensign and said, “I know exactly where you are. I know exactly what you‘re doing. Put your pants on and go home.”
But Ensign said, “I can‘t. I love her.”
By the way, who is Tim Coe? The first question is, is he Robert De Niro? I mean, what is he from “Heat”—“Clean up, go home. Clean up, go home.”
No. It turns out he‘s a minister for the secretive religious organization known as The Family. The Family runs C Street, a boarding house for certain conservative members of Congress. Senator John Ensign lived there, and so does Senator Tom Coburn. And that raises some interesting questions as well because of his role in the affair.
Well, let‘s talk about that now. Jeff Sharlet joins me. He literally wrote the book about C Street and the group that runs it. It‘s called “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.”
Jeff, let‘s start with Coburn. How does he get sucked up into this thing? And why is his behavior so questionable?
JEFF SHARLET, AUTHOR, “THE FAMILY”: Well, Coburn gets involved when Doug Hampton, the cuckold, goes to C Street, The Family, to resolve the problem. And Tim Coe—and I have to correct one thing. You called him a minister. In fact, he‘s not ordained at all. He‘s a spiritual adviser. On what spiritual authority is unclear.
But he at least knows one thing—that it‘s always good to reach up and get more power when you can. So he says we‘re going to go to a higher authority. He does not mean divine. He says, we‘re going to go to a higher authority, someone much bigger than me, and it‘s Tom Coburn, who lives in the C Street house with John Ensign.
This building that was registered at the time was a church was tax exempt, used by The Family to provide subsidized housing for these very wealthy senators, and Tom Coburn says, I‘ll step in here and I‘ll take care of business.
UYGUR: So, no, people are saying that this might have been hush money that he arranged for. So what exactly did he do? And is he just a guy looking out for a fellow Christian and a brother, or is this possibly conspiratorial? I mean that in the sense of, like, could he be in legal trouble?
SHARLET: Well, it‘s important to emphasize not just people are saying that this looks like hush money, but the special counsel to the Senate Ethics Committee recommending that the Justice Department pursue further investigation, saying the idea that this money that was given to the Hamptons were gifts from John Ensign‘s father is absurd, that there‘s no evidence, that there‘s no relationship.
In fact, Coburn seems to be at the crux of that. And so one of the most dramatic moments in the ethics reports—which, you know, it reads like a Joan Didion novel—is when Tom Coburn, Senator Coburn, at the behest of Tim Coe, spiritual advisor Tim Coe, calls Michael Ensign, this very wealthy casino executive who‘s John Ensign‘s father.
And Michael Ensign calls his son, the son calls Tim Coe, says, you weren‘t supposed to bring daddy into this. And Coburn subsequently says he never made the call, despite the fact that Tim Coe says he made the phone call. That John Ensign called Tim Coe and yelled at him for having made this happen, that Michael Ensign at first denied making the call, and then, later, until questioning from special counsel, says, oh, yes, maybe that call did take place. Senator Coburn is sticking to his story he never made the call.
UYGUR: Yes, we have him on tape saying he wasn‘t involved, and now we find out that apparently he was.
Now, one more thing. This C Street house, it‘s amazing.
You had Sanford, who just fell head over heels for his lover on the Appalachian trail, or in Argentina, or wherever he found her. He lived in C Street. Now the same thing happens to Ensign. And we‘ve got Pickering, who was also involved in an affair.
But what I‘m fascinated by is how in love they became with their mistresses. What was in the water on C Street?
SHARLET: Yes. You know, some bloggers sort of jokingly call it the “Pray-boy Mansion.” You know, that it‘s kind of a romantic place.
I should say that Sanford did not actually live in the C Street house. He went for counseling there, and he sent his wife, Jenny Sanford, for counseling there. And she recounts herself the counseling she got from the spiritual advisors at C Street was that she was to let them handle the affairs with her husband, but that she had an important job. She was to keep him sexually satisfied.
And that‘s vulgar. That kind of disdain for women, you see that same thing, that kind of coercive attitude that Senator Ensign had toward his mistress. There is a sense of entitlement that goes along with the idea that you‘re chosen for high office by God, and I guess that extends to which women you feel entitled to.
UYGUR: Yes. How do you like them family values?
All right. Jeff Sharlet, author of “The Family.”
Thanks very much for your time. We appreciate it.
All right. When we come back, new details emerge on President Obama‘s plan to kill bin Laden. His mission started long before he took office. But is it OK for America to purposely kill terrorists in future missions?
One progressive says no, and he joins us ahead.
And Glenn Beck shows how classless he really is. He mocks Meghan McCain‘s body in a new PSA. Now she‘s firing back. Oh, we‘ve got war. You‘ll love it.
Stay with us.
UYGUR: And now for our “Con Job of the Day.”
The GOP hypocrisy on so-called “Mediscare” tactics is going from bad to worse.
Now, we‘ve told you how Republicans are asking President Obama to tone down Democratic rhetoric about Paul Ryan‘s plan to privatize Medicare. They said it wasn‘t right for Democrats to scare voters over Medicare.
Well, that‘s wonderfully ironic coming from the party behind claiming the opposition was going to pull the plug on grandma. But now they have added an extra layer of irony. It‘s a veritable seven-layer irony cake.
They have started to run demagoguing scare ads about Medicare. The National Republican Congressional Committee started running this commercial today against California Democrat Jerry McNerney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR (voice-over): McNerney and President Obama‘s Medicare plan empowers bureaucrats to interfere with doctors, risking seniors‘ access to treatment. Now Obama‘s budget plan lets Medicare go bankrupt. That would mean big cuts to benefits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Yes, that doesn‘t try to exploit people‘s fears about Medicare at all. Right?
Of course the ad‘s claims have been totally debunked by the nonpartisan FactCheck.org, but it gets better. You know whose fault it is that the Republicans ran these attack ads? Well, President Obama, of course.
When asked about the ads, a spokeswoman for Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger said, “Until the president shows that leadership, the political rhetoric over Medicare will unfortunately continue.”
So you see how it was the president‘s fault that the Republicans ran those demagoguing ads that aren‘t even true?
Look, these are the same guys who just cried to the president to stop so-called partisan attacks against them. They‘re like, oh, please, make them stop. OK, let‘s run our own. Come on.
They are unreal.
The Republicans‘ blatant effort to have it both ways on so-called “Mediscare” is our “Con Job of the Day.”
UYGUR: Just two weeks ago today, President Obama authorized the operation that took out Bin Laden. And since his death two days later, the legend of this terror mastermind has been thoroughly demystified. As his video, it showed he lived in squalor in a compound strewn with garbage, in videos he seen as clearly obsessed with his own image, clutching the remote while his watching news reports of himself. Official say, he was interested enough in his image to dye his white beard black for according to followers. They were even videos that look like bluperioules (ph). Bin Laden has seen flubbing his lines while recording propaganda. No truth to the reports that he said, we‘ll do it live.
Now, when you get into his medicine cabinet, it seemed more like a middle-aged family man in the west. It could take several remedies for children‘s ear infections, colds, and coughs, medications for ulcers and acid reflux, even a natural Viagra. As my grandmother would say, whoa. Despite whatever issues he might have had to use that for, apparently he still felt infallible. As part of why it seems to be have no backup plan to destroy any evidence at the compound. And that led us to recover enough evidence to full a small college library, according to one intelligence official.
In fact, according to one senior U.S. official, Bin Laden got lazy and complaisant. I don‘t think he thought he would meet his maker in that house. And he certainly didn‘t make any preparations. And if all that weren‘t enough, the greatest blow comes today. You guessed it—they found porn in the compound, lots of it. Reuters reports that the stash was modern, electronically recorded video, and is fairly extensive. In fact, there was so much porn found investigators are wondering if it‘s a code to communicate to other Al-Qaeda members. As my grandmother would say, whoa.
Joining me now, NBC News Terrorism analyst Roger Cressey. Roger, come on, they‘re not communicating through porn. But are they? Is there any chance that‘s true?
ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Cenk, now we know why the Pentagon didn‘t release the audio track with the video because the audio track was Bin Laden complaining about he couldn‘t find the Cinemax Channel. Dude, where‘s Cinemax after dark? Look, the next thing he‘s going to find out, the SI swimsuit issues is going to be found in his bathroom. I mean, it‘s insane. We do learn one thing from this though. They don‘t really hate our freedoms after all. How about that?
UYGUR: Yes. Absolutely. Now, this isn‘t the first time, right? We are now getting reports that they apparently find porn on a regular basis when they capture Al-Qaeda terrorists?
CRESSEY: Yes. Actually, that‘s true. I mean, there have been plenty of examples where safe houses have been disrupted, and as part of the staff, the cache of information, there‘s been porn. Porn downloaded on computers, porn downloaded in other ways. And so, I mean, it paints a picture of these individuals that kind of runs pretty much counter to the narrative, they‘re paying to themselves, to their followers.
UYGUR: And that‘s why it‘s relevant here. I mean, do you think this discourages their followers? I mean, they‘re supposed to be the guys who are the most, you know, devout and fundamentalist, and obviously this isn‘t the Muslim way to go. The stories of the low leveled guys who are fighting and dying for these guys.
CRESSEY: Well, it runs counter to that most important narrative, Cenk, which is Bin Laden painting himself as a very pious, religious man above the fray if you will, totally in tune with what the fundamental tenants of Islam are and why he wants to create a purer more authentic society. And when you see the way he‘s lived, when you see what we‘re discovering now, as you said in the run-up, it was rather pathetic. And he certainly didn‘t believe that he was in a position where he was going to get caught, because he created an infrastructure over that five year period where he was living a very rather sad, pathetic life, even though he was still trying to remain operationally relevant to Al-Qaeda.
UYGUR: Now, I‘m about to ask you the most awkward question on television, so get ready. But there‘s a reason for it. Now, they said that the porn was modern, electronically recorded, do we know what kind of porn it was? What I mean by that, was it western? Does that make his case even worse?
CRESSEY: Well, let‘s just say, I don‘t know the answer to that, but in the intelligence community, the phrase is on a need to know basis. I‘m not sure I‘ll ever need to know that. Look, this guy, I mean, they‘re guys, all right? They‘re terrorists, but they‘re still guys, is the bottom line here. And for whatever reason, he decided to go this route, I do not think it has any operational relevancy to it. But I do believe though, you know, his cable though was huge because of all the pay-per-view he kept ordering.
UYGUR: Yes, now I hear you Roger, now the thing is, some people are going to ask, hey, look, is this psy-ops on our part? How much can we believe that this happens? Because certainly, it hurts their cause to have this out there. Do we have any idea whether, you know, we can we chalk it up to psy-ops or definitely no that it‘s not psy-ops?
CRESSEY: Well, the government is not going to lie about what it found. Because if it did, inevitably that would get out and then we would look incredibly stupid. So, I do not believe that‘s the case. But the psy-ops component to this is, it is explaining to the world what Bin Laden was like, how he lived, how he operated, and taking him down a few notches in terms of the narrative he was trying to paint for himself in the leadership of Al-Qaeda. You know, there was nothing special about him as a man when it comes down to what we‘ve learned about him. He was a charismatic leader, he was a leader of an organization and very unique in many ways. But when you get right down to what the government is demonstrating with release of all this information is he had some serious fatal flaws. And that really did not separate him from most every other people.
UYGUR: Actually, I want to read you a quote from Major General John Campbell exactly to that point. He said, they‘ve seen videos now of Bin Laden sitting in a small room, referring to other Al-Qaeda finders, looking at a TV, pictures of himself there, kind of alone and desperate, not this, you know, this big leader that they thought he was. Now, of course, we know that were at least, selectively releasing this videos and releasing this information, giving Al-Qaeda knows then, and how effective is this strategy?
CRESSEY: Well, look. Al-Qaeda is going to try and counter what we‘re putting out there. I mean, they are not going to allow us to continue to dictate and dominate the news cycle on what we found in Bin Laden‘s compound. It‘s inevitable they‘re going to come out with their own counter to the counter narrative. So, it‘s important to get that out there, but what we‘ve got to be careful about, as we get really amused by what we‘re hearing, it does not diminish the threat that the Al-Qaeda organization still presents. If anything we‘ve learned that Bin Laden was very operationally relevant as he was trying to push the organization to try and duplicate a mass casualty spectacular attack. His ambitions and his intent had not change. The significant change was the lack of capability. That‘s because we‘ve done such a great job destroying it, but it‘s also because trying to do the type of attack that he wanted to do is not easy. You can‘t duplicate 9/11 over and over again.
UYGUR: Right. That‘s certainly true. All right. NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey, thank you for your time tonight. We really appreciate it.
CRESSEY: You bet, Cenk. Take it easy.
UYGUR: All right. Now, on to us, a little bit more serious concern about the Bin Laden mission, my guess is that 99.9 percent of Americans believe that killing Bin Laden was the right move, of course. But it has raised concerns over the use of kill teams.
Now specifically, since the Obama administration has given the go-ahead to kill an American born radical, Anwar al-Awlaki currently hiding in Yemen.
Joining me to talk about that now is Vince Warren, his executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, his group filed a case last year challenging the CIA‘s secret kill lists. Well, I want to thank you for coming on tonight. And I want to ask you specifically. When we move forward from Bin Laden, what is your concern with kill teams for other terrorists that we identified as such?
VINCE WARREN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Well, thanks for having me on the show, Cenk. Very much appreciated. And I‘m happy to move on from the TMI that we just dealt within the last segment. With respect to kill teams, here is the most important thing. A lot of the coverage has been about Osama Bin Laden, and how we deal with capturing terrorists and how we deal with people who are accused terrorists says more about us than it says about them. The real danger here is that the Obama administration very much like the Bush administration seems to be using kills teams and drone strikes as the primary method for meting out justice, rather than using the justice system that was created. You think about what President Obama said after Osama Bin Laden was killed, they said justice was done, but we actually don‘t know whether justice was done until we have a court of law. Other than that, it becomes vengeance was done. You know, we see here within a very short.
UYGUR: So let me ask you a little bit more specific questions then. Let‘s put Awlaki aside for one second. Let‘s see it‘s a foreign-born terrorist, and we have a shot to take him out with a drone, but we don‘t have a shot to capture. OK. You don‘t think we should not take that shot?
WARREN: Well, there are couples of things here. Number one, as a former CIA person said, if there is a terrorist suspect that‘s in a house with 24 people, 25 people are going to die from that drone strike. So one of the things that we need to be really clear about is how are we targeting these people? And what are the effects on civilians? And that‘s a primary issue that we need to be concern with. Number two, you know, in the situation that you‘re positing, we‘re assuming that there‘s no other way to capture these folks. And that‘s something that we simply cannot assume. If we assume that the government is using only the most narrow means to take these actions, then we don‘t need courts of law, we don‘t need the U.N., we don‘t need any type of oversight over the government. But what we see is that even in the Osama Bin Laden situation, where the facts are far from clear as to whether it was necessary to kill him, the story has changed from he was using shield, he might have been going to for a gun, a whole range of things like that.
UYGUR: I hear you on that. Look, where I stand, I would rather capture, right? And I believe in our justice system. I‘ve talked about that over and over on this show. But what I‘m concerned about is the Awlaki case most of all, of all the concerns that you bring up, right, because he is a U.S. citizen.
UYGUR: Now, who makes the decision to put him on the kill list where we can now kill him without trial or capture?
WARREN: Well, it was a secret kill list until some of that information was made public relatively a short time ago. The CIA, the Special Joints, Special Operations Command apparently have him on a kill list, and that list gives them, according to them, the right to go ahead and take him out in any way that he wants. What complicates that is the law. International law only allows for those types of actions in the narrow of circumstances, and the constitution, because he‘s an American citizen, doesn‘t allow for that at all without any kind of process whatsoever. So, here you have the United States miles away from any battlefield, we‘re not war with Yemen, having people on targeted kill lists, and it‘s an American citizen that if you were in the United States would be going to trial.
UYGUR: All right. Vince Warren, look, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Vince Warren, thank you for joining us. I think it‘s an important voice and thank you for sharing it with us tonight.
WARREN: Thanks very much.
UYGUR: All right. Now, ahead. Could a republican loser congressional seat give hailed nearly the whole time since the civil war? When the Republicans votes for shackling pregnant women at birth, the answer could be yes. And Karl Rove is worried. We‘ll explain all of it.
And Meghan McCain rips into Glenn Beck for his classless and disgraceful attacks on her looks. We‘ll tell you what she said, ahead.
UYGUR: The special congressional election in Upstate New York has been gaining lots of national attention, and that was even before today when we learned a republican favorite in the race voted to require women prisoners to be shackled during childbirth. National media, meet Jane Corwin. That‘s next.
UYGUR: Republicans are worried. They‘re on the verge of losing a district that has been a republican stronghold since the civil war. In a special election for the seat of former Craigslist Congressman Chris Lee, remember him, remember him for his body and mirror facing self postured photography skills, the situation of Upstate New York. The latest polls have Democrat Kathy Hochul pulling neck and neck with Republican Jane Corwin. Now, what‘s hurting Corwin? First, there‘s a support for Paul Ryan‘s Medicare killing bill. Hochul has been running as hammering her on that. Then there‘s also Tea Party candidate Jack Davis splitting the vote. It‘s so bad for the GOP that Karl Rove is getting involved, he‘s committed $650,000 to television ads in the hopes of salvaging the candidacy of Corwin. Not by going after the democrat, by the way, but by attacking the Tea Party candidate who‘s splitting the vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: It‘s spring and millionaire career candidate Jack Davis is trying to buy another office. Jack claimed his for American jobs, but in the past he invested his millions in companies that shipped jobs overseas. You can‘t trust Jack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Yes, shipping jobs abroad, that is a very legitimate concern. The only problem is, that his candidate Jane Corwin is much worse. Think Progress found that Corwin received as much as $3.1 million in dividends and capital gains over the past two years from her direct investments in more than 35 companies that outsource American jobs. And it only gets worst. She was one of only a handful lawmakers who voted and allow prison guards to literally shackled pregnant inmates while they give birth. One woman was shackled at the hospital while they did a C-section on her. This race is just microcosm of the republican promise a whole. They want to kill Medicare, the Tea Party is ripping them apart at the seams, and they believe in radical ideas way outside of the mainstream.
Now, to help me talk about this, we‘re going to bring in blogger for ThinkProgress.org. Lee Fang has been covering this. And Lee, I want to start with Corwin, I mean, that sounds really radical, right? The shackling of women who are giving birth, it‘s not like they were posing a threat, it‘s not like they were going to bolt and make a run for it. They‘re delivering, right?
LEE FANG, THINKPROGRESS.ORG: Sure.
UYGUR: So, how radical is that? How out of the mainstream is that?
Did other Republicans vote against that?
FANG: Yes. A small number of legislators voted against it. But, you know, if you look at the larger issues here. She was endorsed this week by a group that‘s run by corporate lobbyists, and they endorsed her and said, she embodies a freedom agenda because she supports tax cuts for corporations. And you have to ask the question, whose freedom are we talking about? If you look at that vote where she‘s voting to shackle women as they give birth, that‘s not liberty. In fact that‘s actually disgraceful for human dignity. So, if you couple that with her support for ending Medicare, for Medicaid, it illustrates a contempt for the poor.
UYGUR: So, obviously Karl Rove is incredibly concerned not about the democrat but about the Tea Party candidate, he‘s rolling all his adds against that person, what do you think there? Does that send a message to the rest of the Tea Party? That‘s that wind the word between the Tea Party and their republican establishment?
FANG: Sure. You know, Karl Rove uses the Tea Party as a vehicle to get elected. When the Tea Party supports, tax cuts for corporations and big tax payer giveaways to oil companies, then Karl Rove supports them. If the Tea Party in this case opposes the chosen republican candidate, they start running all these vicious attack ads. And, you know, Corwin has a credibility problem here. Not only what she called out this week because in her biography page, she says that she‘s been a successful business woman for the past 36 years. Considering that she is 44, that would make her a successful business woman since she was eight. And she says, she‘s an entrepreneur who‘s credited all these jobs by creating a small business. Well, in fact, she inherited a business form her family, and then sold it for millions of dollars, which then took that money and invested it in companies that ship jobs overseas. So, there‘s a hypocrisy problem and an authenticity problem here.
UYGUR: You know what I‘m trying to figure out is who is the more radical one, the Tea Party candidate or Corwin. Because that shackling stuff is crazy, the outsourcing has worsen the Tea Party guy, I mean, it adds up. Who‘s more radical here?
FANG: Well, Corwin actually signed a pledge last night. So, this is almost breaking news. Promising to another corporate-run conservative group that she will not take away any tax giveaways to powerful corporations, for example, oil companies like BP and Exxon which made $35 billion just the first quarter of this year. So, in terms of economic policy, she‘s far to the right even of the Tea Party, and then considering this shackling issue, which is just bizarre and troubling for everyone, she has problems with social conservatism as well.
UYGUR: Yes, you know, Lee, finally, this race has taken on national implications. Now we find out today that moveon.org is also entering the race, and they‘re going to spend some money trying to back up Hochul the democrat. How much of national implication do you think this does have if the democrat wins, what would be a historic victory here, do you think that has ramifications throughout the country?
FANG: Absolutely. I mean, this has become a referendum on the Paul Ryan budget plan. Republicans are lock step in support of this budget that ends Medicare as we know it. And severely, basically destroys Medicaid. Cuts taxes on the rich, cuts taxes on corporations, and Democrats have successfully nationalized this race. And fortunately, people are talking at the issues. They‘re not talking about myths like death panels, they‘re actually talking about a budget plan that severely hurts the middle class. And this is a good conversation for the country, because we‘re talking about the priorities here. Do we want to strengthen the middle class with health reform and other issues, or do we want to take the path of the Paul Ryan budget plan that severely under cuts seniors and really a taxpayer giveaway to the rich.
UYGUR: All right. Think Progress‘ Lee Fang, great reporting. Thank you for joining us tonight.
FANG: Thanks for having me.
UYGUR: All right. Have a great weekend.
Now, when we come back, the McCain family is in a war with Glenn Beck. And Mike Huckabee makes some goofy animation movies. A lot of movie stories today. Ana Kasparian, my Young Turks co-host is in the house. I think she will have all the gory details, next.
UYGUR: Now it‘s time for some fun stories involves politics, although that Bin Laden porn story was pretty fun, too. But I want to bring in my Young Turks co-host here Ana Kasparian. Ana, how are you doing?
ANA KASPARIAN, HOST, “THE YOUNG TURKS”: How are you, Uygur?
UYGUR: I‘m awesome. All right. What‘s going on today?
KASPARIAN: Great stories for you. I want to start off with Meghan McCain, she starred in PSA for skin cancer for the Style Network and it was a naked add. OK. But don‘t worry, this is safe for work. OK. Let‘s get a little taste of what the ad featured.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEMPEST BLEDSOE, ACTRESS: I played tennis.
JENN PROSKE, ACTRESS: I went on a date. Naked.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Naked.
BRANDY, ACTRESS: Naked.
MEGHAN MCCAIN, AUTHOR: My mother would be so ashamed.
ANNOUNCER: Don‘t be one of 20 people who will die today from skin cancer. If you leave the house without sunscreen, you might as well be naked. So, learn how to protect yourself from this deadly disease, go to MyStyle.com.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: All right. So, we have gratuitous nudity, kind of, OK, but it‘s for a good cause, everybody‘s happy.
KASPARIAN: Of course, it gets attention, hot ladies in the nude, why not?
UYGUR: All right. Rock and Roll, who‘s going to complain about that?
KASPARIAN: Our old favorite, Glenn Beck.
UYGUR: OK. What‘s his beef?
KASPARIAN: So, on his radio show, he wanted to insult Meghan McCain. We have a little tiny snippet of him acting like an 11-year-old. Let‘s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Let me get to the Meghan McCain part.
She‘s naked here.
PROSKE: I went on a date naked.
MCCAIN: Naked, naked. My mother would be so ashamed.
BECK: That‘s weird because—there she was naked. That‘s when you threw up. Watching this Meghan McCain video. Where she‘s naked, in fact - - oh, boy, wow, that‘s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: He is such an ass.
KASPARIAN: No, he‘s so unbearable. And, you know, I could understand him maybe, I don‘t know, talking about some other aspect of the ad that he didn‘t like, but he‘s attacking Meghan McCain just for her looks. It‘s a little weird and a little ironic for Glenn Beck to attack her for looks.
UYGUR: Yes, I hear you on that. And that segment lasted eight minutes, OK?
KASPARIAN: I know.
UYGUR: I mean, what kind of a child are you? I mean, bounce of reason, so now apparently she struck back.
KASPARIAN: She did. And, you know, I think her response was pretty classy, I want to read it to you, she says, “There really is no need to make something like my participation into a skin-cancer PSA into a sexist rant about my weight and physical appearance, as a person who is known for his hot body, you must find it easy to judge the weight fluctuations of others, especially young women.”
UYGUR: The only way it would have been more ironic is if Rush Limbaugh was attacking her. Could you imagine? But all right, so look, let‘s do quick conversation about who‘s the winner and losers here. I mean, Beck is coming off a FOX News Channel, right? So, he‘s starting to become irrelevant. The McCain‘s lost of course, and she‘s in the news—she even wrote about us at one point. But you think Beck comes out a clear loser here?
KASPARIAN: Absolutely. OK. I think that Meghan McCain spent time on this PSA which has a very important message, I think she did it in a fun way, in a young way, and even her response to Glenn Beck, I think came out pretty classy.
UYGUR: Yes. I agree. All right. Speaking of classy. Let‘s go to fun Huckabee movies, what‘s this about?
KASPARIAN: All right. So, you know, our public education system is in a little bit of travel right now. Severe budget cuts, some people are arguing that the youth are not getting the type of education they need. Well, Mike Huckabee, thank God, is going to help them with history by spreading a little propaganda—I mean, you know, his history lessons on what happened in America.
UYGUR: Can‘t wait. Let‘s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Addison, you‘re just in time. I‘m almost done with my latest project.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Are you talking about time travel?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The downturn in the economy is killing us. People are out of work, and some of their morals are just gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Give me your money.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why is everybody so excited?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Because they see hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: God had a plan for America. I see it as a shining city on a hill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Yes, I don‘t know what I love more about that, the creepy Reagan, OK, the guy in the disco shirt, who is the mugger. Who mugs in a disco shirt?
KASPARIAN: I know. I know.
UYGUR: Or the fact that funny enough, the mugger was black.
KASPARIAN: Oh, that‘s interesting. Yes. I did notice that. I wonder if this little history cartoons are going to talk about Bill Clinton‘s surplus or they‘re going to talk about the genocide of the natives, you know, real American history. I doubt it.
UYGUR: I don‘t suspect that Huckabee is going to get into that. And I love the way they rewrite history as if Reagan didn‘t create giant deficits. All right. Anna, thank you so much for joining us. Ana Kasparian of course, can be seen on The Young Turks every day, TheYoungTurks.com, also on YouTube, YouTube.com/TheYoungTurks.
All right. Thanks for watching, everybody. We really appreciate it.
“HARDBALL” starts right now.
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