Guests: Jonathan Alter, Pat Buchanan, Roger Stone, Steve McMahon
SEN. GEORGE ALLEN ®, VIRGINIA: The people of Virginia, the owners
of the government have spoken.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a thumpin‘.
ANNOUNCER: Republicans concede defeat to the rulers of Congress.
BUSH: The American people expect us to rise above partisan
differences, and my administration will do its part.
ANNOUNCER: But are Democrats prepared to accept the president‘s olive
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: We have our differences, and
we will debate them.
ANNOUNCER: And can this historic transfer of power resolve one of the
biggest crises now facing our nation?
PELOSI: Nowhere was the call for a new direction more clear from the
American people than in the war in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t know what to expect in, you know, the
months to come, or whatever.
ANNOUNCER: Now, from Washington, Tucker Carlson.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show, coming to you from
Washington, D.C., where the changing of the guard in Congress is under way
as we speak. The last remaining Senate race, Webb versus Allen in
Virginia, was decided just a moment ago when the incumbent, Republican
George Allen, conceded in a close race, with candidates just one percentage
Here‘s what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: I‘m aware this contest is so close that I have the legal right
to ask for a recount at the taxpayers‘ expense. I also recognize that a
recount could drag on all the way until Christmas. It is with deep respect
for the people of Virginia and to bind factions together for a positive
purpose that I do not wish to cause more rancor by protracted litigation
which would in my judgment not alter the results.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Here now with the latest on one of this season‘s strangest
and most toughly fought races, NBC News‘ Kevin Corke. He‘s in Arlington,
KEVIN CORKE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, good evening to you.
Just a few minutes from now we expect to hear from the senator-elect,
Jim Webb, at a press conference that he‘ll be having. It‘s a combination
news conference and rally over at the courthouse here in Arlington.
Indeed, strange, to say the least, when you consider how far back in
the polls Webb was just eight months ago, six months ago, even. But that
dramatic turn of events, the “Macaca” comment by Allen, a number of
missteps along the way, and, of course, on election night 2.3 million
ballots cast here in the commonwealth, the two gentlemen separated by less
than 8,000 votes at the time. We now know after checking provisional
ballots and doing a canvassing around the commonwealth that margin is now
up to about 9,000 votes.
Obviously George Allen making the right decision, deciding that
civility should win out over rancor. And today he conceded.
As I pointed out, we‘ll expect to hear from Jim Webb in just a few
moments. His opportunity to not only thank his supporters after this
dramatic victory, come from behind, to say the least, and now his
opportunity to serve the country as a United States senator—Tucker.
CARLSON: Kevin Corke in Arlington. Amazing.
Well, yesterday, President Bush described the election results as “a
thumping,” but today the president put a happy face for a makeup lunch with
the incoming speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The elections are now behind us, and the congresswoman‘s party
won. But the challenges still remain. And therefore, we‘re going to work
together to address those challenges in a constructive way.
PELOSI: I look forward to work in a confidence-building way with the
president, recognizing that we have our differences and we will debate
them. And that is what our founders intended. But we will do so in a way
that gets results for the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Will today‘s White House lunch be the beginning of a
beautiful friendship, or is gridlock on the menu in Washington?
Here with the latest, NBC‘s Jeannie Ohm at the White House.
Jeannie, it seems like just the other day that Nancy Pelosi was
calling the president dangerous. Now they‘re eating together. How did it
JEANNIE OHM, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I guess the question everyone
wants to know, Tucker, is how long will this honeymoon phase last? It will
last probably until they start dealing with specific legislation and start
coming across the issues that the president talked about, where neither
side will abandon their principles.
But in the meantime, the two, as you see there, future Speaker of the
House Nancy Pelosi and President Bush, they did pledge this new spirit of
cooperation and working together in a constructive way. It is remarkable,
the scene in the Oval Office today, considering, as you point out, just a
few days ago they were trading some harsh words on the campaign trail. But
both talked about that was then, this is now.
And they talked briefly to reporters afterwards, and in just very
broad terms talked about the challenges ahead. But no one in the room
specifically mentioned Iraq. That, of course, will be the biggest
challenge between whether this White House can work with a democratically-
controlled Congress in terms of changing things around in Iraq—Tucker.
CARLSON: NBC‘s Jeannie Ohm at the White House, on the lawn.
Thanks a lot, Jeannie.
Over the last two days, the president‘s party has lost control of
Congress and his secretary of defense has been fired. Not what you‘d call
good news. But in a column entitled “Election Legacy: Why the GOP‘s Losses
May be a Blessing in Disguise for Bush,” my next guest says, “After the
sting is gone, Bush may begin to understand that the ‘thumping‘ was a
blessing in disguise, a way for him to yet salvage something of his
presidency both at home and abroad.”
Joining me now, Jonathan Alter, “Newsweek‘s” senior editor.
Jonathan Alter, how in any sense can this be good news for President
Bush? He just got shellacked.
JONATHAN ALTER, “NEWSWEEK”: Yes, obviously it hurts right now. I‘m
trying to take the long view of history, Tucker. But if you look at
something like Bill Clinton‘s presidency with welfare reform, he‘s
practically got a wing about it at his museum in Little Rock, and yet that
was pretty much forced on him by the Republican Congress.
The same thing—Ronald Reagan, he had a big tax bill in 1986 pushed
on him by the Republican Congress. Americans with Disabilities Act and
other things, George H. W. Bush‘s presidency were forced on him through
So, you can—if you look at the actual record of presidential
achievements, especially on the domestic side, they often are the product
of what‘s derided as gridlock.
CARLSON: Interesting. So you‘re saying that when the other party
gets control of something, it forces the president to move against his own
base and therefore find compromise?
ALTER: That‘s right. And they find common ground, which is what
politics is about. You know?
So, the question here is, you know, is Bush flexible enough, supple
enough, to do this?
I have had a bunch of liberals who have e-mailed me about this column
and said, no, he‘ll never do it, his feet are set in concrete. The only
problem with that argument is he worked well with Democrats in Texas.
ALTER: He worked well with Ted Kennedy on education in 2001. He is
capable of working with Democrats.
I think he indicated yesterday he was going to sign a minimum wage
increase. You know, so I do think you‘re going to see him putting some
points on the board in terms of accomplishment by meeting the Democrats
CARLSON: I think I would argue that he‘s more than capable of working
with Democrats. He enjoys it. And, in fact, Bush is far more liberal than
people have perceived, mostly because this Republican Congress has been in
• in the way, has stood between him and the far more liberal agenda he
would be pushing if the Republicans hadn‘t been in charge.
ALTER: Right. And actually, if you take—you know, the key issue
of course would be something like taxes. And everybody assumes, well, you
know, that‘s bedrock Republican principles. But if you read Bob Woodward‘s
first book about Bush, you know, he quotes Bush saying, “Well, why are we
giving all this money to rich people?” through these tax cuts for the rich.
He only put through that particular tax bill as a response to Steve
Forbes in the 2000 Republican primaries. So I think he would be open to
Democratic ideas of taking not the tax cuts for the rich and using them for
spending, but using them for the alternative minimum tax, for instance, or
to reduce taxes in other ways on the middle class. So, shift it around,
then call it a big victory for him that he gave tax relief to the middle
You know, he‘ll have a wing in his library about that.
So there‘s a lot of opportunity for him, you know, to do some creative
policymaking, steal some of the ideas from the Democrats, as Bill Clinton
did on welfare reform, claim them as his own.
CARLSON: Boy, I guess the difference, though, is the Republican Party
in 1994, 1996 really was a party, in contrast to the Republican Party
today, that was brimming with new ideas. They had all sorts of theories
about how the world ought to work and they were anxious to make them into
I don‘t see a similar situation on the left right now.
ALTER: Well, no. I just don‘t agree with you.
I mean, there‘s a whole list of different creative things. I mean,
there‘s one that, you know, Pelosi—and when I saw Harry Reid today, he
also mentioned it. It has to do with the interest that you pay on college
I mean, this is something where the American people want college to be
for affordable. The Democrats have been talking about this as an idea.
There‘s no reason Bush shouldn‘t just steal the idea. He likes being the
education president, and if he has, you know, any political brains at all,
and I think he does, he will just pilfer a lot of the Democratic agenda
that is, you know, not nearly as left wing as he and his surrogates have
been making it out to be.
CARLSON: Right. Interesting. Intellectual theft being at the very
heart of presidential achievement most of the time.
CARLSON: But is Iraq, though, the stumbling block? I mean, can—
can the president ever get beyond Iraq no matter what he does? Or will he
always be remembered for this war that‘s become a debacle?
ALTER: He will always be remembered for it. He can‘t get those
horrible mistakes involving the disbanding of the Iraq army and the other
things, he can‘t get those back. So the idea of him looking great on Iraq
is not going to happen. But there‘s already a path to a different exit
from Iraq, you know, through the Iraq strategy group.
They may—I think where they‘re going to end up is with something
that‘s not that different from what Joe Biden has been proposing. And
especially if they re-deploy troops within Iraq, move them up to Kurdistan,
for instance. Then Bush can go to the country and say, look, I‘m not
pulling the troops out of Iraq...
ALTER: ... I‘m just re-deploying them out of harm‘s way into a
different place. And, you know, he—you know, a couple of years pass,
the place stabilizes a little bit, and, you know, he‘s not so bad off on
it. So as long as he‘s flexible there—yesterday he indicated he will be
• I think you can see him salvaging at least part of that policy.
CARLSON: Yes. I mean, to paraphrase a slogan from the Vietnam era,
you know, an exit with honor. That‘s what everyone I think is looking for.
Finally, the news today, the Senate is now officially in Democratic
hands, at will be come January, with the victory of Jim Webb in Virginia.
Jim Webb is a conservative. Culturally, he‘s a streaming right-winger.
Do Democrats realize that?
ALTER: I think they‘re going to start to realize it more and more.
Harry Reid today described him as impish. And he said, “I don‘t know
quite what that word impish means.” And I said, “Senator, you‘re about to
ALTER: You know, the thing about a lot of these more moderate or
conservative Democrats being elected is it means that the Democratic
leadership is not going to go, you know, off the cliff on the—on the
ALTER: It will perform a check on them, and they‘ve been very careful
to say, you know, they are not over-reading this as a mandate for a lot of,
you know, McGovernite policies. They‘re going to move pretty cautiously,
find common ground.
Sure, there‘s going to be the normal head-slapping at the line of
scrimmage. Sure, Bush will veto some bills.
ALTER: But I think you‘re going to see them all working together in
the center, because the mandate of this election is, work together, be in
the center, neither San Francisco liberals nor Rush Limbaugh is where the
CARLSON: Boy. If the Democratic Party can keep the moveon.org caucus
still and silent, I‘ll be genuinely impressed, and happy, for that matter.
ALTER: They won‘t be able to do that. They won‘t be able to do that,
But, I just want to a MoveOn, you know, press conference today. And
they can pick and choose. And that blogosphere, we don‘t have Senator Ned
Lamont now. OK?
ALTER: They did not deliver this election for the Democrats. And I
think most Democrats recognize that.
They contributed. MoveOn had a lot of people out there in the field,
they made their contribution. They are also not as left wing as you
imagine. A lot of these folks in the blogosphere, they just wanted to win.
They do not have this, you know, far left agenda.
CARLSON: Oh, OK.
ALTER: Now, do they have some differences? Yes. But...
CARLSON: You‘ll—we‘re going to have to end there, but you will
never convince me. I‘m sorry we‘re out of time because I‘d love to debate
that with you.
Jonathan Alter of “Newsweek”.
ALTER: Great talking to you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Still to come, the president and the speaker make nice at
the White House. But when Nancy Pelosi takes the gavel, will the gloves
come off? Or will Congress and the White House be able to work together?
We‘re all watching and waiting.
And the Rumsfeld fallout. Will there be a new direction in Iraq with
a new secretary of defense? Will he stay the course? That story when we
CARLSON: Immigration reform ranks among those bitterly contested
issues this new Congress is likely to take up. With Democrats now in
charge, is amnesty for illegal aliens a sure thing?
My next guest is the author of “State of Emergency: The Third World
Invasion and Conquest of America”.
Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Pat, thanks for coming on.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Delighted, Tucker.
CARLSON: As you pointed out many times, this president has been
anxious from day one to declare amnesty for illegal aliens. The Democrats
agree with him.
Are they going to do it?
BUCHANAN: They might, Tucker. I mean, my patience with this
(INAUDIBLE) between the president and Ms. Pelosi has already been
CARLSON: Well, that was fast. What, it took about an hour?
BUCHANAN: But let me say this: I think that‘s right. But what we‘ve
got to realize, first, Ms. Pelosi did not win a mandate in this election.
She‘s a San Francisco Democrat. And the president did not win any mandate
In every single contested campaign, both Democrats and Republicans
were for border security, a fence on the border, against amnesty, and
against a guest worker program. To get his idea through, which I think the
president believes in, and he may get through, he‘s got to cut a deal. Not
with the boll weevil or the blue dogs. He‘s got to cut a deal with Nancy
Pelosi and the left wing of the Democratic Party, and with the Kennedy-
McCain Republicans—the Kennedy-McCain coalition in the Senate.
I think that would be a complete betrayal of the conservative
Republicans. I think it would be a sellout of what the voters were saying
in this election.
CARLSON: Yes. I agree with you.
BUCHANAN: They were saying border security, no amnesty. For now, for
• and you get a lot of media saying, wouldn‘t it wonderful if they could
get together on a comprehensive package on immigration, a comprehensive
bill? That‘s what the American people were voting against.
CARLSON: But wait a second. I mean, I agree with you completely, but
you‘re describing an alliance between the president, big-business
Republicans, and the Democratic left. That‘s basically everybody. I mean,
who is going to stop it?
BUCHANAN: Well, look, I mean, take a fellow like Heath Shuler.
BUCHANAN: He didn‘t run on—I mean, who‘s going to stop it? Here‘s
who‘s going to stop it, is—you‘ve got...
CARLSON: Heath Shuler, by the way, for our viewers who aren‘t
following this, is a North Carolina Democrat elected two days ago, quite
conservative on some issues, including immigration.
BUCHANAN: Exactly right. And here—look, who‘s going to stop it?
I saw Tom Tancredo today in the paper. He said, “We‘ll fight it but we
can‘t stop it in the House. It will go through the Senate, and the
president will sign it.”
I think the only way to stop it is a same kind of national firestorm
that we had last year. These things dissipate. And to really raise cane
and force the Republicans who talked about this issue to stand up against
it and go after these Democrats who came to office.
I mean, the country did not vote for this, Tucker.
CARLSON: No. Just—in fact, just the opposite.
And here‘s what I don‘t get. If you look at a state like Arizona,
that had a number of ballot propositions that concern illegal immigration,
one that would deny bail to illegal immigrants, another that made the
English language the official language of the state of Arizona, these
things passed literally overwhelmingly. It tells you a lot about where the
population is, where the electorate is.
Why aren‘t Republicans recognizing, big-business Republicans
recognizing this issue is part of the key to taking Congress back? Why
don‘t they get that?
BUCHANAN: Because the big-business Republicans want illegal
immigration. They want to be able to send their factories abroad. They
want to be able to bring in bright, young kids from South Asia to take jobs
of American workers.
Big business has gone global. I understand that.
In the Senate bill, Tucker, big business has a complete pardon from
all civil and criminal liabilities for having hired illegal aliens. They
are off the hook.
It‘s like Carter‘s pardon of the draft dodgers. This is a pardon of
all these businesses.
I‘ll tell you, if the president goes down this road, I think this
whole community—and it is huge now, and it is national, and it includes
everybody radio talk show host who is a conservative—ought to go right
at the president of the United States.
CARLSON: And I hope that happens. Though I heard someone make an
interesting argument the other day, a pro-illegal immigration argument, and
it was this: He said, “Look, if the Republicans come out against illegal
immigration, then the huge and growing Hispanic community in this country
will not vote Republican now or ever, thereby dooming Republicans to
permanent minority status.”
It seems to be one of those self-fulfilling arguments. The longer
illegal immigration goes unchecked, the larger that community that supports
illegal immigration becomes. And if you see what I mean, it kind of
supports itself after a while.
BUCHANAN: Well, you‘re right. If you don‘t—look, right now, you
know, the numbers from my book are, the Hispanic vote in the—the
Hispanic population‘s 14.4 percent. The vote, however, in 2004 was six
percent. The vote of non-Hispanic whites was 82 percent.
What that tells you is, by 13-1, non-Hispanic whites outnumber
Hispanic voters. That means that if you gain just two points among white
voters, Tucker, that is equal to taking your Hispanic vote from 35 percent
to 60 percent.
Now, you tell me what‘s tougher to do.
However, if you‘ve got 100 million Hispanics in the country by mid
century, which is anticipated, no one will be able to close the border then
because enough of them will say, you lose Arizona, New Mexico, Texas,
California, Nevada, Colorado if you stand up for a border fence. It is
CARLSON: Are we going to—finally, Pat, are we going to see a
border fence? I mean, I know that some version of a border fence, the idea
has become law. Does that mean one is actually going to be built?
BUCHANAN: No. There are all kinds of stipulations in the law.
You‘ve got to ask the Indian tribe if they want it on their land.
You‘ve got to ask the county. You‘ve got to ask the state. You‘ve got to
ask the community.
Mr. Chertoff has various rights and powers. Maybe a virtual fence
would be better.
So you have not got it really locked in that they‘re going to have to
build this. But again, the president‘s feet got to be held to the fire
because he is a recidivist on this issue.
CARLSON: That‘s for sure.
Pat Buchanan—thank you, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Thank you, Tucker.
Still to come, Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama. Who‘s the
Democratic frontrunner in the race for the White House?
That story when we come back.
CARLSON: Virginia‘s new senator-elect, Jim Webb, is due to make his
first public statement since his official win in just a moment.
Back now to talk about this scandal-plagued race that decided control
of the Senate, MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan.
BUCHANAN: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Describe for me, if you would as a lifelong observer of
political philosophy, what exactly does Jim Webb believe? And where would
you place him on the spectrum of the Democratic Party?
BUCHANAN: Jim Webb—let me say very simply, Jim Webb is a warrior.
I‘ve read two books about Jim Webb. I didn‘t read “Fields of Fire.” But
I‘ve got a book called “Born Fighting”.
Jim Webb is someone who is a deeply rooted individual. He comes from
a clan, Scotch-Irish warrior clan, in effect. He is enormously proud of
the battles in which his ancestors fought. And the book goes all the way
back into this Scotch-Irish history.
And I‘m part Scotch-Irish myself. My father was half Scotch-Irish.
And so—and I took that book of his after I read it—and it talks about
the role of the Scotch-Irish in American music and its battles and its
history, all the way back to—all the way back to Scotland.
BUCHANAN: And I bought it and I gave it to members of my family.
It‘s a terrific book.
BUCHANAN: The second book to understand him is “The Nightingale‘s
Song” by Bob Timberg. Have you read that, Tucker?
CARLSON: Great—oh, twice. Great book. One of the great...
BUCHANAN: And that‘s about those five fellows, McCain and Webb and
CARLSON: Ollie North.
BUCHANAN: And it talks about the historic—historic—I guess it
is now—but the boxing match between Webb and Ollie North at the Naval
Academy that Ollie apparently won because Webb pulled back because Ollie
had been in some kind of accident and he didn‘t—you know, he was
concerned about him.
It is a terrific book and it tells you a great deal about him.
BUCHANAN: Yes. I‘ve interviewed—I interviewed Webb one of the
first times right over here at WRC on that famous article he did in “The
Washingtonian” because I read it and I was tremendously impressed with it.
And he was talking about women in combat and his experience in combat.
And he was someone who came back from Vietnam as a real hero, and as a
hero he came back and he got mocked and ridiculed by these idiots and jerks
in the antiwar movement and at Georgetown and in places like that. That
has affected him.
He‘s a guy of great talent. And if he goes out—he can write novels
• he goes out and works in Hollywood to write.
He is tremendously independent, he‘s curmudgeonly. He‘s tough to get
He‘s independent. I think he resigned from—I worked with him. He
was in the Navy‘s secretary‘s office when I was in Reagan‘s White House,
and I think he left in a dispute of some kind.
CARLSON: He did.
BUCHANAN: And Reagan liked him a great deal.
CARLSON: He is not your average Jane Fonda Democrat I guess is what
you‘re saying, Pat.
BUCHANAN: He‘s not a student council...
CARLSON: No, he really isn‘t. He‘s an interesting character.
BUCHANAN: A tremendously interesting guy.
BUCHANAN: They‘re going to have a tough time with him and that
CARLSON: They certainly are, I can‘t wait to find out the waves he
makes. Pat Buchanan, thank you.
We will be back in a second, as I said, we‘re awaiting that news
conference by newly elected Senator, Senator-Elect Jim Webb in Virginia.
We‘ll bring it to you when it comes. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Still to come, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the
shining stars of their party, but can either one of them win the White
House? And did the Republicans get a thumping in the midterms because they
betrayed their conservative base? All that in just a minute, but right now
here‘s a look at your headlines.
REBECCA JARVIS, CNBC ANCHOR: I‘m Rebecca Jarvis with your CNBC market
wrap. Health care shares bringing down the Dow on worries over the
Democrats‘ Medicare agenda. The Dow finishing down 73, the S&P 500 down 7,
and the NASDAQ down almost 9. Oil Company BP has settled a civil suit
stemming from a deadly 2005 explosion at a Galveston, Texas refinery.
The agreement comes on the eve of a potentially embarrassing trial.
The settlement amount undisclosed but BP will donate $38 million to schools
and medical facilities. And the FDA is recalling 11 million bottles of
acetaminophen made by the Perrigo Company. Bits of metal were apparently
found in some of the bottles.
The U.S. trade deficit fell 6.8 percent to $64 billion in September,
lower oil prices keeping imports down. And Wal-Mart is putting the word
Christmas back into its holiday displays and greetings after downplaying it
last year. From CNBC first in business worldwide, now back to MSNBC‘s
special election coverage and Tucker Carlson.
CARLSON: We are still awaiting a press conference by Senator-Elect
Jim Webb, you‘re looking at a live picture there from Arlington, Virginia
where he is expected to take the stage any moment. In the center of your
screen you see Democrat Jim Moran, congressman from northern Virginia, who
has done a lot I think to help the senator-elect become a better
campaigner. In the meantime, we want to bring our Democratic strategist
Steve McMahon, he joins us from Tampa, Florida and Republican strategist
Roger Stone who‘s in Miami. Welcome to you both.
Roger, I don‘t know if you heard what Pat Buchanan said a minute ago,
I asked him to describe Jim Webb. Jim Webb obviously is a Democrat, his
election puts the Senate in favor of the Democrats. And yet Pat Buchanan
hardly a liberal, heaved praise upon him. And didn‘t stop, three minutes
of praise. Do you think a lot of Republicans feel that way about Jim Webb?
ROGER STONE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well I think it explains why Jim
Webb was able to win in a Republican state. The man is a patriot, at a
minimum he is a centrist and a moderate, I think he has some conservative
beliefs. He certainly believes in strong and muscular national defense.
What was interesting, when Webb won the Democratic primary over a more
liberal candidate, which rarely happens in America today, it became clear
to me that Allen could be in for a race. And of course then George Allen
proceeded to defeat George Allen. I think Webb is a good man, I think he‘s
going to be a good U.S. Senator.
CARLSON: Steve, my favorite Jim Webb quote, possibly of all time, and
I‘m quoting now, “I wouldn‘t cross the street to watch Jane Fonda slash her
wrists.” Now, I‘m just wondering, a man who would say something like that,
finding himself in the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate, a group filled
with real liberals, legendary liberals—Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, people
who think Jane Fonda is a serious person. Is he going to get along with
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: He‘s going to get along fine
with them. And you know he‘s a Vietnam veteran who I‘m sure had some
strong views about what was going on in the country while there were people
over fighting the war. But at the end of the day, Roger‘s analysis is
exactly right, he‘s a patriot, he‘s a moderate, he‘s a centrist, he matches
Virginia beautifully, and he‘s going to be a great U.S. Senator. I see
he‘s about to come on now.
CARLSON: Do you see him moving left on anything?
MCMAHON: I think he represents—the Democratic Party is a big tent
Tucker as you well know. And he didn‘t need to move left on anything, he
reflects the values and the beliefs of Virginians and that‘s why he beat
George Allen. I mean George Allen was a pretty formidable politician.
He ran a bone-headed campaign and he made every mistake you can
imagine, but he was quite a gifted politician. Many Republicans felt that
he might be the Republican nominee and perhaps the president, so Jim Webb
didn‘t beat anybody who wasn‘t tough and wasn‘t capable.
CARLSON: And not only was he a talented senator, he was an enormously
popular governor, which is harder.
MCMAHON: Yes he was.
CARLSON: It‘s not easy to be a popular governor, particularly in a
state like Virginia, where the northern suburbs around Washington tend to
be affluent, liberal to moderate. The rest of the state is the south and
it‘s not liberal at all. And to be the man who is popular throughout the
state and George Allen was, is not easy. I mean he was not at all a
buffoon, contrary to how he has been perceived I think over the last six
months ago. Roger, were you surprised when Webb won?
STONE: No, I really wasn‘t. I think that George Allen, you know, had
some success as governor but I never quite understood how a guy born in
Newport Beach, California grew up in southern California, 60‘s and 70‘s,
could have this southern drawl, these cowboy boots and these confederate
flags. I think that for some voters that began to wear thin, began to look
like an affectation.
But I will say this about Jim Webb, if he does move left, there‘ll be
a new senator in Virginia. This is still fundamentally a slightly right of
center state. If Jim Webb stays in the middle, he‘ll get reelected and I
think he‘ll provide fine service. If he moves left, this is still
CARLSON: We‘re looking now at pictures. You can see Chuck Schumer,
the Democrat Senator from New York who managed the Democrats‘ successful
takeover of the Senate this year. You see Democratic Governor of Virginia,
Tim Kaine, and there of course clapping his hands in a tweed coat, Jim
Webb. Really kind of famous among Democratic political consultants for
being not a very talented campaigner, a guy who hated to raise money so
much he actually refused in some cases to dial donors for money.
He raised a lot of frustration among fellow Democrats for his
unwillingness to talk about the fact that his son is now serving in Iraq.
A kind of obvious campaign point. He was a neophyte and it showed. He was
defiantly uninterested in the retail part of the campaign. I have heard
that he‘s become a better speaker over the past couple of weeks. We‘re
about to find out if that‘s true. Let‘s just go to it right now, here‘s
Chuck Schumer from New York.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: ... his integrity and his
steadfastness in the United States Senate of America. Thank you.
GOV. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: By now, you all know the news, and the
world knows the news. About an hour-and-a-half ago Senator Allen conceded
that Jim Webb had now won this long and challenging effort that you have
played such a critical role in has come to pass, and it is Virginia that
turned the Senate blue, folks. It‘s Virginia.
And so now, to introduce not just the man of the hour but the family
of the hour because they‘ve been through this together these last grueling
months, fighting hard, being gracious all the way. We‘re so proud of the
positive example they set for all of us. Give the biggest welcome you have
ever given to Jim and Hong Le Webb. Jim Webb, our new senator.
JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA SENATOR-ELECT: The campaign is over. I want
to thank all of you for being here, and the first thing I‘d like to say is
that tomorrow is the most special day for the United States Marine Corps.
They celebrate their birthday. You almost have to be a Marine to
understand that. But I want to say happy birthday to all our Marines.
There are a lot of them in harm‘s way today. We‘re going to remember them
WEBB: And the day after that is Veterans Day. And we remember all of
those who have served our country and who are serving it, wherever they
are. We all have them in our hearts and in our prayers.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: I did receive a telephone call from George Allen a few hours
ago. We had a good discussion. I want to report to you that he was very
gracious, and that he offered to assist us in this transition period.
I thanked him for his many years of service to the people of Virginia.
And we actually have agreed that we‘re going to sit down and have lunch
WEBB: And I also asked him to help me with something I think is very
important, ladies and gentlemen. And that is that, as we move forward with
all of these issues that concern us as Americans, I think it‘s really vital
that we all do our best to stop the politics of divisiveness, character
WEBB: In fact, we know that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has decided
to move on.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: But I would like to also, today, call on our president to
publicly denounce the campaign tactics that have divided us, rather than
brought us together.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: This was a brutal campaign, and, in many ways, an unnecessarily
brutal campaign. And I think it‘s hurting the country.
And, as you know, I made two promises to myself when I started this
campaign. The first was that I was not going to trade anything I believed
in order to get a vote and a dollar. And we did that.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: I‘m walking into the United States Senate with the independence
to represent the people who have no voice in the corridors of power. And I
intend to do that.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: The second promise that I made was that, as much as humanly
possible, we were not going to run a negative campaign.
And I thank all of you for helping me to make sure that we did that.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: There were a lot of misperceptions about why I got into this
I was watching, on election night, some of the analysts. And—and
one of the frequent things that was being said about this campaign was that
I came to the Democratic Party purely on issues regarding the Iraq war.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I think I, and a lot of people like me, had aligned themselves with
the Republican Party on national security issues, but were always concerned
about issues of economic fairness and social justice.
So, it was a natural...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: This was a very natural fit for not only myself, but for a lot
of people who came forward and supported this campaign who, in the past,
may not have been inclined to.
We have a much, much stronger Democratic Party as a result of this.
We have a situation in Virginia where Mark Warner began a journey. Tim
Kaine has added onto it. We are going to add onto it even more.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: We‘re going to work hard to bring a sense of responsibility in
our foreign policy that will, in my view, result soon in a diplomatic
solution in Iraq.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: We‘re going to work very hard on issues of economic fairness in
a country that has become divided too much by class in the age of the
internationalization of corporate America, where we have a situation where
corporate profits in this country are at an all-time high, while wages and
salaries are at an all-time low.
And I, for one, look forward to joining Senator Schumer in voting very
soon to increase the minimum wage.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: And finally, we‘ve had a situation where, as a result of this
administration‘s policies post-9/11, we‘ve had far too much power gravitate
towards the presidency at the expense of the power of the legislature, and
I—a few nights ago, Tim Kaine, Senator Schumer and others were standing
on the stage with me, and I said, you know, I have a feeling.
I have a feeling that on Wednesday morning, the people in the White
House and they‘re going to go look at a Democratically-controlled House of
Representatives, and with your help, a Democratically-controlled Senate.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WEBB: And we will begin the process of putting this country back on
the track where it needs to be. There are many, many people—many people
out here that I see who started...
CARLSON: Jim Webb, the senator-elect from the state of Virginia, a
Democrat who beat George Allen in the most closely fought, most bitterly
fought, narrowest race in the nation this year giving his victory speech in
Joining us now, Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, he joins us from
Tampa, Florida and Republican strategist Roger Stone, joining us from
Miami. Steve, in his press conference today, his victory press conference,
Jim Webb made a remark about how the United States, he was certain was
going to be getting out of Iraq sooner rather than later. Is this going to
be the focus do you think of the democratically held Congress over the next
year, getting us out of Iraq?
MCMAHON: I do think it‘s going to be a focus of the democratically
held Congress and it‘s one of the reasons that so many people across
America, many of whom hadn‘t voted for a Democrat for a long time, chose
the Democratic Party. They are extremely frustrated by what‘s going on in
Iraq, they‘re extremely disappointed by the president‘s lack of a clear
strategy and plan.
And I think, you know, Americans are about ready to start bringing the
troops home. They obviously want to have success in Iraq but they want to
bring the troops home. And they look at what‘s going on over there, they
see an endless occupation, a civil war, and that‘s not what our troops
ought to be doing.
CARLSON: I mean of course, everyone is unhappy about Iraq, I can‘t
imagine there‘s anybody in the United States who‘s not frustrated by what‘s
going on there. But bringing the troops home and achieving victory may be
mutually exclusive right now. Democrats are going to come up with a plan
that achieves both?
MCMAHON: Well I think Democrats are going to push for diplomacy. The
president has basically said this is a problem for the next president.
Dick Cheney came out over the weekend last weekend and said, you know what,
it‘s nice that we‘re having an election but we‘re going to do exactly what
we intend to do from the beginning in Iraq, we‘re going to stay there,
we‘re going to stay the course.
This administration has a tin ear when it comes to Iraq and I think
this Democratic Congress is going to demand that they listen to the
American people and they listen to the United States Congress. There‘s
going to be some oversight, there‘s going to be some accountability and
ultimately there‘s going to be a plan to bring the troops home and achieve
the mission over there.
I mean, Tucker, when they first went, they were told that they were
going to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction, which of course,
there weren‘t any. And they were going to get rid of Saddam Hussein.
They‘ve accomplished both of those things, it‘s time now for us to figure
out a way out.
CARLSON: It seems to me, Roger, that there is nobody who doesn‘t
acknowledge that the president screwed up, there are some who don‘t
acknowledge, most people acknowledge this war was a mistake. But now that
we‘re there, it does strike, I think the average person as incredibly
complex a solution elusive, does this take some pressure off the White
House having a Democratic Congress? Can‘t the White House say, you know,
OK, got a better idea?
STONE: No I don‘t think so actually. The real fundamental message of
this election is, is that the voters realize we are losing the war in Iraq,
they‘re not buying the idea that we‘re there to promote democracy. Because
I think there‘s widespread feeling that with the withdrawal of our troops,
whether its tomorrow or a year from now, the country is going to go back to
its tribal warfare and everybody will stop trying to kill us and resume
trying to kill each other.
So the American people are fed up with this war and the Congress is
going to do what they did to President Nixon and later President Ford.
They are going to pressure us out of Iraq and you‘ll have about the same
result we had in my opinion in Vietnam, which is it will go back to the
natural order of things and unfortunately a lot of Americans will have died
and the American people are not convinced that we are there for a good
CARLSON: But Vietnam, of course, once it was reunified under a
communist government, many, many thousands were murdered, but the country
was not a threat to us. And I think the fear is that Iraq will become, as
the president often says, home base for al Qaeda. And as much as I
personally think the war was a tragic mistake, I buy that. I mean that
sounds likely to me.
STONE: I don‘t disagree with that but I think most Americans would
rather be using our resources on the intelligence necessary to root out and
kill those in al Qaeda, including if they‘re in Iraq by the way. And focus
solely on the terrorism threat as opposed to buying time with American
lives to prop up a government. If we‘re so concerned about democracy in
the Middle East, when are the Saudi Arabian elections, how did I miss that?
CARLSON: I mean democracy obviously is not our friend in the Middle
East. You don‘t want democracy in Egypt and you definitely don‘t want it
in Saudi Arabia, of course not. And I hope that rhetoric has ended. To
the presidential race Steve, I know you‘re going to say, oh, it‘s too
early, but you know if you and I were sitting in a restaurant you wouldn‘t
say that, you‘d acknowledge it‘s begun, it began yesterday.
Barack Obama, I‘m reading one of his books right now, I plan to read
both because I think we‘re going to be spending a lot of time talking about
him over the next couple of years, he really is running for president,
isn‘t he? And is he raising money?
MCMAHON: It certainly looks like he is and I don‘t think he‘s raising
money yet, but it‘s not going to take him very long, all he has to do is
say, it‘s time and the money will start to pour in. So yes, I think you‘re
right Tucker, I think it does look like he‘s running for president. He was
against the war.
He has pointed out that he wasn‘t in a position to have to take a
vote, but he said that he was against the war and it‘s going to be
interesting to see how if he does run how that stance plays. I think it‘s
going to play very, very well. He‘s a fresh face, he was right on Iraq and
he‘s articulate, he‘s passionate and I think he‘s going to be a very
formidable candidate should he decide to run.
CARLSON: It just seems to me unless you‘re a professional feminist,
and someone came to you with two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack
Obama, whether you‘re liberal, moderate, even conservative, you‘re going to
feel better about yourself voting for Barack Obama. Can you both tell me,
first starting with you Steve, do you agree with that?
MCMAHON: Well I think you‘re going to feel good about yourself voting
for Barack Obama, but I don‘t discount Hillary Clinton‘s ability if she
decides to run for president, both to run a strong campaign, be the nominee
and win the presidency.
CARLSON: No, but you would hate yourself if you actually voted for
her. I think most normal people would. Barack Obama, though, you could—
MCMAHON: Absolutely false.
CARLSON: Don‘t you think Roger, you could say to yourself if you were
• moderate whites, obviously the key to any election. If you were a sort
of white swing voter, you vote for Barack Obama, you‘ll feel good about
yourself doing that. You think it says something good about you.
STONE: First of all, I think the country is certainly ready to elect
an African-American president but they‘re not going to elect a president
with one term in the United States Senate under his belt at a time that the
country has these deep foreign policy problems, which is why former vice
president Al Gore is the only candidate who can give Hillary Clinton a run
for this nomination. Eight years as vice president at a time of peace and
prosperity, someone who was never for the war, who‘s been an articulate
critic of the war, someone with national name ID. Gore is the one, it‘s
the new Gore.
MCMAHON: You know Tucker, I‘m going to do something—
CARLSON: You‘re a trouble maker Roger.
MCMAHON: I agree with everything that Roger has said so far today.
So I‘d like to just yield my time to Roger.
CARLSON: Wait, but hold up. Al Gore—I mean I‘ve been asking
around recently and you know I don‘t have any sort of deep insight into his
thinking but as far as I can tell, he hasn‘t decided one way or the other,
but there are people who do think that would be a good idea, since he is
famously right on everything and he called the war, he called global
warming. Whether or not that‘s—
STONE: He can afford to wait because in fact, you don‘t want to get
chewed up too early in the process.
MCMAHON: He also can afford to wait—I‘m sorry.
STONE: In other words, because he is nationally known and because he
is little thread worn, he‘s been around this track three times before in
essence, been on the national ticket running for president in 1988, he can
afford to wait. The later he waits the better it is for him. All he has
to do is go to the Iowa caucuses, beat Hillary on the war and her candidacy
CARLSON: Do you take that seriously Steve?
CARLSON: Do you think that could happen and is that your nightmare?
MCMAHON: Well it‘s not my nightmare, I‘m not supporting any candidate
right now. I think it would be great for the Democratic Party, but I
absolutely agree. He can afford to wait for all the reasons that Roger
just mentioned. And he can afford to wait for one more reason. I
understand that Vice President Gore who joined the board of Google shortly
after the 2000 race, has enough of his own personal resources to come in at
any time and to be a formidable candidate.
He certainly has all the credentials that Roger just outlined and he
was against the war, he‘s called the global warming thing from the
beginning. He would be an absolutely formidable candidate and I think he
would win the White House if he ran.
CARLSON: Yes, just another rich liberal who lectures the rest of us
about driving Prius‘ as he jets around on a private plane. Just an
observation. Roger, what do you think of the firing of Rumsfeld? Why a
day after the midterm? If you were in charge, you were a political director
of the White House, was that smart or not?
STONE: Extraordinary. First of all, the president makes all of his
candidates walk the plank, makes them go through an entire congressional
campaign defending Rumsfeld, cost us seats in the House without question,
probably less impact in the Senate.
And then sacks the guy after the election. This is a total disregard
for the Republican Party. It‘s a selfish act. The president, if he was
going to get rid of Rumsfeld, he should have done it three months ago and
let the Republican candidates for the House run with a clean slate. It‘s
CARLSON: Do you think that would have made a difference?
STONE: I think it would have taken it off of the table. A lot of
people‘s objection to the president is they don‘t feel he‘s able to
acknowledge mistakes. That he‘s not willing to say, well perhaps I made a
mistake here and it‘s time for a change of course.
Firing Rumsfeld would have demonstrated that there was a change of
course and a change of thinking. The Baker commission I think follows
right along with that. But to do so after the election, after you have
cost your party and forced them to defend the Rumsfeld tenure at defense
and conduct of the war, is just incredibly selfish.
CARLSON: But what about Steve—you may be absolutely right. I
think the political calculation on their part Steve was firing Rumsfeld
would be seen as weakness and you never want to display weakness in the
face of an enemy.
MCMAHON: Well what they were doing—the strategy that they embarked
upon which was one that most Americans objected to because of its rigidity,
was a failing and failed strategy from the beginning.
If they had 45 days ago—had Don Rumsfeld step down and said we
recognize that there are challenges in Iraq that we haven‘t adequately
prepared for and we need to be a better job of planning, I think that
people around the country would have breathed a sigh of relief and they
would have come to the conclusion that the administration finally is
beginning to recognize reality and is reacting to it.
I think Roger‘s absolutely right about the selfishness and the
stupidity of waiting until after a congressional election and making these
candidates around the country defend this guy for the last three or four
months. It cost them a lot of seats, it was a dumb thing to do.
CARLSON: Wait a second, I think clearly the war itself was the
deciding factor in this election, I don‘t care what the exit polling says,
the war is ...
MCMAHON: It‘s the way they‘re handling the war Tucker.
CARLSON: But hold on a second ...
STONE: Rumsfeld symbolizes the war.
MCMAHON: That‘s right.
CARLSON: If they had done that, if they had canned Rumsfeld 45 days
ago as you suggested, wouldn‘t voters have said, see they really don‘t know
what they‘re doing.
MCMAHON: No, no, I think what voters would have said is, see, they
finally are recognizing reality. Voters are way ahead of politicians on
this. And the voters are ready for a new plan, they‘re ready for a new
team, they‘re ready to do whatever it takes to achieve success in Iraq,
however that‘s defined now, and to get the troops home. And the
administration basically has said, look, democracy is fine.
We are going to have these elections but we‘re not going to respect
the will of the people, we‘re going to do whatever we want. I think they
stuck a stick in voter‘s eyes last weekend by sending Vice President Cheney
out to deliver that message. And I think it cost them. It probably cost
them the race in Virginia, for one. But it certainly cost them a number of
CARLSON: Roger, in 30 seconds, is Bob Gates, the new secretary of
defense going to change our policy in ways that we‘ll notice?
STONE: I think there‘s no doubt about it. Look, President Bush, the
senior and his foreign policy advisors, Bush being no friend of Rumsfeld‘s
historically, had been pushing for a change here. Jim Baker, Mr. Fix It is
on the scene. I think you‘re going to have to see a change of policy
because the policies now are not politically supportable.
CARLSON: I think you‘re absolutely right. Steve McMahon, Roger
Stone, thank you both.
MCMAHON: Thank you. Hey, I like the tie Tucker.
STONE: Thanks. I don‘t.
CARLSON: Thank you. Well that‘s our show, thanks for watching. Our
coverage continues now with Chris Matthews and “HARDBALL,” we‘ll see you
back here at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.
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