Guests: Jacob Weisberg, Karen Hanretty, Mike Allen, David Kuo
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: For all the hubbub about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in battle for the love and the money of show business, the winner appears to be Al Gore. Hollywood’s big night gave him the kind of acceptance from the in crowd he hadn’t seen since Tommy Lee Jones agreed to be his Harvard roommate.
Welcome to the Monday edition of the show coming to you from San Francisco.
The question today: Will Al Gore run? Would he win if he did? More on that in a little bit.
But first, we are joined by Republican strategist and former spokeswoman for Arnold Schwarzenegger here in California, Karen Hanretty, and the editor of “Slate” magazine, Jason Weisberg.
Welcome to you both.
KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thanks.
JACOB WEISBERG, EDITOR, “SLATE”: Thank you.
CARLSON: Jacob, you want to see an amazing poll? I’ want to put this up on the screen. This is a “USA Today” poll concerning the president and his approval rating, which is still very low -- 37 percent. But if you break it out and ask individuals based on party ID how they feel about Bush, the numbers are very different.
Seventy-six percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents support President Bush’s job. They think he’s doing a good job.
It seems to me that—first of all, it’s surprising. I had no idea. Second, this says a lot about who’s going to be chosen for the Republican nominee, doesn’t it? Anti-war Republicans like Chuck Hagel have no shot at being nominated by a party that supports Bush 76 percent, do they?
WEISBERG: Well, Republicans are pretty loyal, Tucker. I’m not sure that Nixon got down to 50 percent the day before he resigned.
CARLSON: I think that’s right.
WEISBERG: But—but there is a point there, which is I think we in the press sometimes assume that Bush is even more unpopular than he is. And he’s pretty unpopular.
For one, he has had a little bit of a bounce back since the surge. There’s not a lot of optimism about it working, but at least it’s a policy, at least they’re trying something. They don’t seem to be floundering. And he has—he has loyal supporters. And it’s not entirely impossible that he’ll turn things around. And I think even if he doesn’t, you know, you are unlikely to see wholesale abandonment of Bush by his allies.
CARLSON: Boy, every Republican I know is very, very angry at Bush. I guess I know the wrong Republicans.
Karen, here’s another set of numbers that surprised me. Sixty-eight percent—this is according to AP-Ipsos poll -- 68 percent, they oppose Congress cutting all funding for the war, 60 percent axing money for the troop surge that the president has proposed. And yet, 64 percent say that surge will accomplish nothing.
So, you have the very same people saying Congress should fund a surge that won’t work. The public doesn’t seem to really know what it thinks about Iraq, at least based on these numbers.
HANRETTY: You know, I think it would be interesting to get a little deeper into the numbers. To some way, you know, cross-reference these numbers and see if there’s some sort of correlation between, you know, the more Democrats like Murtha go out there and say we need to pull funding for the troops.
I wonder if that has any sort of affect on President Bush’s approval rating among Republicans, because the Republicans I talked as well are not real happy with this president. And I wonder where that number comes from, and I wonder if some of this polling out there isn’t a matter of, you know what, he’s ours, and the more you criticize him—we can criticize him, but the more you do it, the more we’re going to go out there and support him.
CARLSON: I think that’s actually probably a valid point.
Jacob, this is the last poll number I’m going to throw out here, because there’s a limit to what polls tell us. But the approval rating for Congress’s handling of the war, according to AP, dropped six points over the last month. And there does seem to be a sense in which the president obviously is responsible for this war, and the war is being lost, but he does appear to be slowly gaining ground in the debate over the war.
Could he lose the war and win the debate?
WEISBERG: Well, say what you will about Bush’s policy, he does have a policy now, and he is attempting to implement it. Congress is opposing the policy, but without having the courage of its convictions. It’s very afraid to do anything that can be used as an argument that it is undermining the troops, they’re not funding the troops. And essentially, I think Democrats in Congress are afraid to take responsibility for their anti-war view.
They’re not going to—they could probably, although there’s a constitutional question—they could probably do a lot of things without cutting off funding to de-escalate the war, and they are not willing to do them because they’re afraid of the political consequences. And that’s not a very appealing stance, whether you agree with them or not.
CARLSON: No, I think that is true. And on the flip side of unappealing here, Karen, there was for a long time an official moratorium on Hitler analogies, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appears to have broken that by going on FOX this weekend and saying that this situation...
CARLSON: ... we find ourselves in now is very much like where we found ourselves in the post-war period in Europe. And would it have made sense after defeating Hitler to, you know, pass a resolution in the Congress that prevents the United States from rebuilding Europe?
I mean, that—that’s just not a fair analogy no matter whose side your on.
HANRETTY: Yes. Well, I think comparing this—you know, everyone wants to compare this to Vietnam. Or someone the other day compared it to Korea. And now it’s World—everyone wants to make a comparison.
This is a very unique war, and, you know, you’re not seeing—to keep in mind about these polls, is that—you know, polls seem to really oversimplify the American public’s opinion about something. For instance, that poll said that overwhelmingly, Americans think that this is a lost cause. Now, my question would be, do they think that then because of democracy in the Middle East is a lost cause? And probably they would say yes, but that doesn’t mean at the same time that they don’t think it’s worth trying to secure that place, get out and bring it to some sort of stability where that—that violence doesn’t follow us back home.
HANRETTY: But those are very complicated distinctions that I don’t think a poll can really encompass.
CARLSON: Well, it is complicated. But on one point you just made I think the evidence is really clear. The public has given up on installing a democracy in Iraq.
CARLSON: Or even in believing...
CARLSON: That’s right.
Jacob Weisberg, when was the last time you heard anybody, apart from maybe the last time you had dinner with Richard Perle, talk about the transformative effects of democracy in the Middle East and why, you know, Egypt or Saudi Arabia ought to be democratic rather than autocratic?
WEISBERG: Well, the turn and the turn back has been amazing. I mean, Bush, in his second inaugural, really committed his presidency to reorientation around the idea of democracy promotion, and that was an extraordinary idea in 2005. I mean, I think it was a retrospective justification for a war in Iraq where the original justifications hadn’t borne out.
But the speed with which they adopted it has only been exceeded by the speed with which—which had dropped it. I mean, it’s—you know, after canceling a trip to Egypt because of a political prisoner, Condi Rice has now been back to Egypt, no mention of the political prisoners. It’s—you know, it’s really extraordinary how quickly the emphasis on democracy has come and basically gone.
CARLSON: Good. I’m glad. I couldn’t—I mean, Egypt is our ally and Egypt is a (INAUDIBLE) country. But Egypt as a democracy would be a wildly anti-American, anti-Israel country, and that would be worse.
Finally, do you—you mentioned a second, Jacob, the pressure that Democrats are feeling from Republicans not to appear anti-troops, et cetera. What about the pressure they’re feeling from the left?
There was this, I thought, a fascinating quote from Tom Andrews, former congressman from Maine, head of the Win Without War coalition, and he said this—he said, “The issue to me, what is the state of the backbone of the Democratic Party? How will they respond to this counterattack? Republicans are throwing touchdown passes on the question of the war because Democrats aren’t even on the field.”
I mean, there are—outside of Washington and New York and Los Angeles, the Democratic base, the online—you know, the net roots, they are pushing hard for the Democrats to de-fund this war. The Democrats can’t ignore them, can they?
WEISBERG: I think they probably will ignore them. And I think they probably should politically. I mean, there’s a bit of a paradox that 2006 Iraq was the big issue.
On the other hand, the Democrats who won, the places Democrats made gains, it wasn’t really because of Iraq.
It was economic populists running with a very hard line on trade. It was, you know, people like Jim Webb, who in some cases had—you know, were very, very anti-Iraq. But I don’t think it reflected any kind of groundswell, you know, outside the net roots in the party, as you say, for aggressive—action on Iraq so aggressive as de-funding the troops.
I think Democrats do see that as the third rail. I think they’re probably right to see it as the third rail.
I don’t think anything anybody does on the Web is going to force them or make it more likely that they’re going to cut off funding to the troops. They know—whatever else they don’t know, they know that would be a disaster.
CARLSON: It’s nice to know there is a limit to the influence of blogs. A very heartening fact, as far as I’m concerned.
WEISBERG: Well, you may not perceive it on MSNBC from day to day, but there—yes, they don’t run the country yet.
CARLSON: Oh, thank god.
Coming up, how big a night did Al Gore have at the Oscars? Consider this: the best song was from his documentary and not from “Dreamgirls”. “Dreamgirls” is a musical.
You think Hillary Clinton could have pulled that off? I don’t think so.
Plus, Oscar loves liberal politics. Are Arnold Schwarzenegger’s politics trending more popular among Hollywood people? He was installed by conservatives. Stay tuned for news on the governor’s shift to the left.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ACTOR: Tonight we’re proud to announce that for the first time in the history of the Oscar, this show has officially gone green.
AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Which means that environmentally intelligent practices have been integrated fully into every aspect of the planning and production of these Academy Awards.
DICAPRIO: I just want to say I’m very proud to be standing next to such an inspirational leader in the fight against global warming.
DICAPRIO: You are a true champion for the cause, Mr. Gore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Talk about endorsements. How about Al Gore Sunday night in front of hundreds of millions of television viewers. There was the fawning applause during the opening monologue, then the self-satisfied on-stage proclamation that the Oscars had “gone green.”
Then the actual winning of the statute, an accompanying slobbering tribute. Then there was the best song nod and the fawning that came with that.
So how can Al Gore not run for president after all of this?
Here with his view, we are proud to be joined by Mike Allen of “The Politico.”
MIKE ALLEN, “THE POLITICO”: Hey, Tucker.
CARLSON: Mike, I mean, Hollywood committed a sex act on Al Gore that is illegal in the state of Louisiana, even to this day, I think. I mean, it was just so completely over the top.
ALLEN: Well, Tucker, I know you felt very proud at that moment, too, when they were giving that—giving that sound bite. But I know you were also...
CARLSON: The idea that they’ve gone green, after watching all these limousines pull up and everyone jetting in on their private jets, their idea of going green—and I’m quoting now—“Meals for the crew and cast members were served on reusable plates.”
I wonder—on paper plates—I wonder if, you know, if the stars drank out of paper cups at the after—I mean, there’s a certain phoniness that bothered me. But back to the politics...
ALLEN: Well, of course—and Tucker, don’t forget the recycled ballots. That’s very important, too.
Of course, the vice president’s used to close encounters with ballots. But they actually admitted that they talked about having Priuses, but they ran out of time. So I don’t know how long it takes to get a Prius, but it’s more time than they had.
CARLSON: Well, when Leonardo DiCaprio takes the bus to the Oscars, then I will know he is serious and he can lecture me about my SUV.
CARLSON: But does this—I mean, Al Gore joked about it—it’s the oldest bit in the world, and it was used last night—are you going to run, are you not going to run? But at a certain point people start to believe their own press, and maybe he has cause to.
Do you think there’s any possibility Gore runs after this?
ALLEN: I think there is. I think if Senator Clinton and Senator Obama eat each other up, if for some reason there’s a vacancy, a vacuum, an opening when it comes to the fall, voters are sick of the fantastic choices that they have on either side, I can definitely imagine the vice president making this move.
But Tucker, I think you’ll agree that the many great things that happened last night—and I know it was a red letter night for you—Vice President Gore is now a certified non-loser. He’s now a winner. And whether or not he eventually runs, he’s going to sell a lot of books, sell a lot of movie tickets.
As you know, he has something else that’s on your calendar. Coming up in July, they used to have the Live Aid concerts. On July 7th they’re going to have the Live Earth contests on all seven continents starring the vice president. March 21st, he’s going to testify at the House and Senate. And if that’s not enough, in May you’ll have another opportunity to buy another book by the former vice president.
So he has—while the Democratic candidates are roaming around in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s going to be able to stay out. And his strategists tell me he can enter as late as September or October, which is the old-fashioned way, the way it used to be done, right? The way then-Governor Clinton did it, and still get the Democratic nomination.
CARLSON: It just—you know, in some sense, the presidency almost seems to small for Al Gore at this point. A former Divinity student, he’s always cast almost every political battle of significance in his life in moral terms. He said last night global warming’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue.
I mean, you almost see him as a man who sees himself as larger than politics, who has come as a modern-day prophet to get the world to repent.
ALLEN: Well, there’s a lot of stories that are talking about him as larger than life. And I think that there may be a little bit of a double meaning there.
The vice president definitely was packing his freshman 15 last night, but I don’t know whether it’s cause or effect. But Tucker, you’ve got to acknowledge the vice president was ahead of the curve on...
CARLSON: Yes, he was.
ALLEN: ... an issue that this president now discusses. He calls it climate change, can’t quite bring himself to call it global warming.
As you know, even the energy companies are trying to deal with it. I think any president we get next year, Republican or Democrat, will have something to do with climate change.
CARLSON: You’re right.
ALLEN: And so the vice president started talking about this when it was a lonely issue, and now it’s a hot issue. Who would think that we would be talking about the vice president as cool or hot, or whatever he is, but there you are.
CARLSON: Well, he also got an inside deal on Google stock before anybody else. So he is—he is definitely a prescient man by many measures.
Mike Allen, thanks a lot.
ALLEN: Have a great week, Tucker.
CARLSON: You too.
Coming up, Al Gore is bigger in Hollywood than Arnold Schwarzenegger is, but is Schwarzenegger bigger in Washington than Gore is? The world turns upside down as the California governor turns liberal.
We’ve got the latest on that and we’ll give it to you.
Plus, what’s Hillary Clinton going to do about her husband? She wants you to remember the peace and the prosperity, but what about the part when he—well, you remember. Bill may giveth, but won’t he also taketh away?
The inconvenient truth for Hillary Clinton when we come back.
CARLSON: His political base is convinced he was robbed of the presidency seven years ago. He didn’t vote for the war in Iraq. And very few people fundamentally disagree with him about global warming—or at least the existence of global warming.
Al Gore had the night of a political lifetime last night at the Oscars, so why wouldn’t he run for president?
Here to tell us, Republican strategist and former spokeswoman for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Karen Hanretty, and the editor of “Slate” magazine, Jacob Weisberg.
Jacob, do you get the impression sometimes that—everyone pays lip service—and to some extent, correctly—that Gore’s been prescient on a number of issues. But do you get the impression that Democrats feel safe talking about Gore because they don’t think he’s going to run? Do you think anybody really thinks he’s going to run? And if he did, would they support him?
WEISBERG: I don’t know. I certainly don’t think he’s going to run. I think if the presidency were an appointed office, he would love to be president.
WEISBERG: But I don’t think he has the stomach for another run. I think he’s really scarred by what happened in 2000.
I mean, you just look at him with all that extra weight on him. And he had the beard for a while. I think he’s a guy who really hasn’t come to grips with that experience and is not ready to take it on again.
But beyond that, it’s an interesting point. I mean, Gore is considered by a lot of people to be the frontrunner for the Nobel Peace Prize. I hope that doesn’t upset you too much, Tucker, but that could happen. And...
CARLSON: Rigoberto Menchu got—I mean, Yasser Arafat got it.
CARLSON: I mean, you know what I mean? At this point, why not Al Gore?
WEISBERG: Well, it’s not thoroughly discredited despite a few dubious choices, including Henry Kissinger. But if he gets it, it will be a bigger deal than the Oscar. However, I think it will underscore an interesting point, which is that Gore has accomplished much more in the crusade of his lifetime against global warming not being in the White House than he ever did when he was in the White House as vice president. And I think, arguably, than he would have if he had been in for the last several years.
CARLSON: Karen, do you think Republicans take the possibility of a Gore run seriously? I mean, that would be amazing—Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore. I mean, I don’t know.
HANRETTY: It would be fun watching the cat fight between Hillary and Al. I mean, that would just be too delicious for words. But I don’t know why Al Gore would do it either.
I mean, he’s much—a much bigger legend if he doesn’t run. And, you know, if he ran for office, yes, he could really push this global issue, I guess through the bully pulpit of the presidency. But I don’t think—he doesn’t need that—he’s got a huge bully pulpit right now.
And he’s got people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who are out there cutting deals, you know, with Tony Blair and Michael Bloomberg and the prime minister of Canada, whoever he is, on the issue of global warming. And He’s got this entire following of people that he wouldn’t have if he was president. And, if he was president, he’d have to deal with boring issues, you know, like terrorism.
So, it seems...
WEISBERG: Well, he likes that.
HANRETTY: ... like it’s much more in his interest to be...
WEISBERG: His record on that stuff is pretty good, Karen. But, you know, I think another reason he won’t run is that remember, he was vice president, which is both a job and a psychological condition. And the one call he never wants to get is the call from Bill Clinton, saying, “What do you mean you’re running against Hillary?”
CARLSON: That’s right. But wait a second. I mean, just back to his signature issue, the issue at the moment, anyway, that of global warming, why is it, Jacob, you think that when people like Al Gore talk about global warming and what we can do to stop it or slow it down, it’s always things like use paper plates at the Oscars and never really a mention of stopping the use of dirty coal in China, or getting a handle on development in India.
WEISBERG: That’s not fair to Gore at all, Tucker.
CARLSON: You don’t think?
WEISBERG: I think he’s very focused on those issues. And I think anybody who is serious about the issue is. But...
CARLSON: Well, that’s for certain. I get the sense that a lot of people aren’t, though. That it is a tool to beat up on the West.
I mean, I know that’s not fair in some cases, but in others it is fair.
WEISBERG: I think, you know, behavioral change has got to be part of the solution. I mean, much as people start littering and pollution sort of entered everybody’s consciousness in the 1970s, you know, the idea of carbon emissions is still starting to be something people talk about.
And, you know, I think it was probably—you know, don’t litter was a bit of a joke in 1971. But after a certain amount of time, it penetrates everybody’s consciousness. And it’s not—not littering didn’t clean up the environment, but kind of changing the way you think about it to the extent that people don’t routinely litter was a big part of the change.
HANRETTY: But how about...
CARLSON: But they don’t litter here. See, that’s—Karen, see, that’s my point. I’m totally opposed to littering and I don’t want global warming either. But it is a global problem—this is a bumper sticker, but it’s true—that actually by definition requires a global solution. And I wonder why there is so little emphasis on the developing world when we start talking about global warming.
All the emphasis seems to be on us.
HANRETTY: OK. Well, first...
WEISBERG: I just don’t agree with you. I think there’s a lot of emphasis on it. I think we’re not quite sure what to do about it because China and India are taking the position which is not entirely unreasonable that we’ve just gotten here and now you want to change the rules on the game.
WEISBERG: And why shouldn’t it be per capita versus per country?
HANRETTY: ... I think—I think that India will be a bigger issue later this year because Arnold Schwarzenegger is planning a trip to India. Global warming is one of his big legacy issues for California.
He is out there cutting deals with foreign leaders. And I wouldn’t be surprised if either Bill Clinton or Al Gore somehow winds up in India with Arnold Schwarzenegger and they’re talking about some sort of Kyoto-like agreement.
But the other thing is, you know, while we’re out there talking about carbon emissions, did Al Gore fly in a private jet to attend the Oscar awards? And how many other people flew in their private jets and don’t bother finding other cleaner forms of transportation? Or is it really just more of an “us versus them,” whereas us, we can take commercial flights or we can take public transportation, but them, who are, you know, making the world a better place, it’s OK for them to fly in these private aircraft and burn all sorts of fossil fuel.
CARLSON: Well, it’s a fair question. If you’re going to make the personal political—and some people want to—then I think it’s a fair question to ask.
HANRETTY: And where’s the sacrifice? Where’s the sacrifice that Al Gore personally makes, aside from, you know, he uses disposable paper plates, or whatever?
CARLSON: We will get to that when we come back. We have to take a quick break.
Coming up, as with most people, Hillary Clinton’s greatest strength is also her greatest weakness. The difference is that she’s married to hers. How Hillary manages Bill on her road to the White House, how will she do it?
We’ll tell you when we come back.
Plus, a new documentary suggests the 2,000-year-old story of Jesus is not entirely accurate. Is there evidence that pokes holes in Christianity, or is this story a bunch of nonsense designed to sell movie tickets, or both?
We’ll get to the bottom of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton certainly has experience with her husband, both good and bad, and that is the subject of front page chatter in Washington. Mrs. Clinton wants to brag about the successes of her husband’s presidency. Doesn’t that make his famous problems fair game as well? Here to tell us, we are joined by Republican strategist, and former spokeswoman for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Karen Hanretty, and editor of “Slate Magazine,” Jacob Weisberg.
Welcome to you both. Karen, obviously, it seems fair, as a Democratic strategist told the “Washington Post,” quote, she’s using him in this campaign, so why can’t somebody else use him to. Good point. The counter point, though, is every time Republicans attack Bill Clinton, it seems to help Hillary. So maybe it’s not a wise political tack.
HANRETTY: Yes, but Republicans do not need to attack Hillary Clinton over that issue, because you have people like David Geffen who are out there, reminding everybody everyone, including Democrats, what it is that they don’t like about the Clintons.
You know that clip you just played of Hillary, when I heard that clip, the first person who came to my mind was not, in fact, Bill Clinton. It was Ken Starr. I assumed she was talking about Ken Starr. And if she was, then that has just impeachment written all over it. So she is going to have to be careful about how much she makes herself a victim, because every time she makes herself a victim, it brings up the impeachment and everything that surrounds the Clintons that drives people crazy.
CARLSON: Boy, Jacob, I think Hillary as victim is her most successful posture. I mean, as Margaret Carlson once said, nobody has ever benefited more from sexual favors she herself did not dispense than Hillary Clinton. When her husband cheated on her, her numbers—this is provable—went straight up. Why wouldn’t she want to talk about the pain she suffered as a cuckold, basically, someone who’s spouse cheated on her?
WEISBERG: Well, that’s certainly not her political style, and it’s hard to see that as a winning political strategy, but I think she’s making a mistake here and I think Democrats would be making a big mistake to listen to her. Because whatever they take off the table in the primary is going to be in a land mine waiting for her if she gets the nomination, and that includes whatever we find out about Bill’s extracurricular activities. that includes talk of impeachment, just dealing with the whole issue of him being back in the White House.
As a political matter, I would say the Democrats would be much better off, and Hillary would probably be better off, lancing the boil. She is going to have to deal with this sooner or later, so better to deal with it sooner.
HANRETTY: And it is not Republicans, necessarily, who have to go after her in general, if in fact she wins the primary. She can be Swift Boated. 527s can go attack her and Republicans can keep their hands clean of it. So, one way or another, this will come up. But David Geffen really, I think, signified the frustration that Democrats have with the recklessness of her husband, and there is plenty of time for him to be caught with his pants down between now and the primary election next year.
CARLSON: What exactly are the issues? Jacob, you just referred to issues—and I thought smartly—pointed out that she needs a tough primary in order to get her in shape for the general election, which strikes me as right. But what exactly are the issues she needs to confront between now and the general?
WEISBERG: The whole question of what it would be like having Bill Clinton as first husband, being in the White House, whether his behavior has changed, whether he’s going to embarrass her, whether he’s going to embarrass the country. We may not know the answers to all those questions, but they might as well get them questions out there.
I disagree with what Karen said a minute ago. I do not think Democrats are frustrated with the Clintons or with Bill Clinton, certainly. Democrats love the Bill Clinton. He remains a hero to them, and most of them are willing to overlook all sorts of things. The problem is not with Democrats. The problem is with swing voters, voters in the center. What you hear from Democrats is concern about her electability and nothing more.
Democrats are worried about nominating another Al Gore, another John Kerry, someone who can’t get those few percentage points in the center, loses an election that should be won by the Democrats. That’s all they’re concerned about. Most of them love Bill Clinton, and some of them don’t like her as much, but there’s no antagonism towards her. It’s just an electability issue.
CARLSON: Karen, since you’re in California—you’re from California, I want to get your take on something Arnold Schwarzenegger said this weekend on “Face the Nation,” on CBS. He is in Washington to give a speech, positioning himself was a much more liberal candidate, at least more liberal than he was when he was elected. Here is what he said on “Face the Nation.” Tell me what you think of this.
I’m going to read it. He said, essentially, that he is now in his post-partisan phase. I was doing the wrong thing at first. I was contributing to that polarization. And I went after the election to say, look, the ideas were right and the approach of being pushy, being too aggressive, and trying to go to legislators and saying that if you don’t go with me in the next two years, that you’re essentially going against me.
Schwarzenegger basically is saying, you know, I am above partisanship. It seems to me there probably is no phonier position you can take in politics. It’s a pretty strait forward move to the left, because he is representing a state that has moved to the left. Is there something more going on that I am missing?
HANRETTY: You are not missing anything. He is giving a speech, I think right now, as we speak, in fact, in Washington, where he tells the audience, look, I’m no Gandhi. He compares himself to Edmund Burke. And it’s just this really bizarre speech he gives, with this post-partisanship, which really belies the fact, I think, that he does not understand that people have—they actually hold philosophies. And I think part of it is just in their DNA.
You know, Republicans actually believe something. Democrats actually believe something. For all the fighting that goes on, there really are hard held philosophies. For instance, I thought it used to be his philosophy that, you know, government that gets out of control, and spends too much money, and taxes businesses, that then have to flee the state, is a bad thing. In fact, he won the election overwhelmingly, re-election, with something like 90 percent of Republican voters, because he convinced them that if they voted for his opponent, his opponent, a Democrat, would raise taxes by 18 billions dollars.
And then, within 72 hours of being sworn into office, Arnold Schwarzenegger puts on the table a health care proposal that costs 12 billion dollars, and it taxes hospitals, doctors and small businesses with as few as 10 employees. Where is the philosophy. If that is post-partisanship, no thanks, because it says, you know, I do not believe in anything, and I will say anything in order to be likable.
CARLSON: It’s pretty straight forward liberal. Jacob, I wonder, just to take a screeching turn, topic wise, I am sure you saw the piece today in “Haaretz,” the Israeli paper, biggest paper --
WEISBERG: Yes, of course I read it in the original Hebrew.
CARLSON: Well, probably the English language version of it, that says that Israel says it has secured permission from three Gulf states, UAE, Qatar, Oman, I believe, to use their air space in getting to Tehran, or to Iran, to bomb nuclear facilities in that country. Is this true, do you know? And is the United States attempting to keep Israel from acting in preemptive self-defense in bombing Ira? Are we just standing back and watching this unfold, do you know?
WEISBERG: Boy, this is very hard to read in two respects. One is how much of this is intimidation and deterrence. I mean, you know, if a story comes out saying that the administration is preparing to attack Iran, are they preparing to attack Iran, or do they want people to think they’re preparing to attack Iran, because that’s what they want Iran to think.
It’s very hard to know what’s smoke and what’s the reality, both on the
It is very hard to know what is smoke and what is reality, both on the American and Israeli side. And also, in terms of the relationship, the Israelis would love the Americans to do it and the Americans might prefer the Israelis to do it. And the same people all hope that nobody has to do it.
So, you know, I think there are a lot of signs and signals. I think Israel takes this threat extremely seriously, and the one things you can say is that I think there is a consensus, almost across the political spectrum in Israel, that a nuclear Iran is on untenable, that they cannot live next to a nuclear armed Iran. Now what they do about that is much more open to debate.
CARLSON: You can certainly see why the Israelis feel that way. Karen, really quickly, if Israel were to bomb nuclear sites in Iran, could this stridently, at this point, anti-war Congress, would they say boo about that? It seems to me they would probably endorse it? Wouldn’t they?
HANRETTY: They would have to endorse it. How could they not endorse it? Take away the war in Iraq. Either we’re going to stand firm with a Democratic ally, the only real Democratic ally in the Middle East, or we are not. And I think, push comes to shove, America will always stand firm next to Israel. And the day that we don’t is the day that we have taken a 180 shift in our foreign policy and have absolutely betrayed any ideals of democracy.
This isn’t about nation building. This isn’t about creating democracy in Israel. It exists. It exists partly because we helped create it, and so we have to stand by them. It is horrifying the thought that would happen.
CARLSON: Well, it is horrifying, and you can certainly see the calculations going on Israel though. If Iran were a missile strike away, you would be concerned too. I would be anyway. Karen, thanks a lot. Jacob Weisberg, thank you.
Coming up, James Cameron is responsible for the Terminator movies, as well “Titanic,” and many other things. His new target, Jesus Christ himself. Is a new documentary about the real life of Jesus legitimate, or is it all a Hollywood trap designed to sell more movie tickets. We’ve got the story on that.
Plus, if you want verifiable Hollywood crap trap—clap trap rather, stay tuned for MSNBC’s chief clap trap correspondent Willie Geist, and his breakdown of the four-hour marathon that was last night’s Oscars. He watched to the bitter end so you wouldn’t have to. Stick around.
CARLSON: James Cameron was not involved in Sunday night’s Oscars, but today he is neck and neck with Al Gore for post Oscar buzz worthiness. Cameron is touting a new documentary, in which he claims to have discovered the tomb of Jesus Christ. We’ll discuss Cameron’s stunning claims in a minute, but first, Meredith Vieira tells the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Witness the biggest cover up in human history.
MEREDITH VIEIRA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the central controversial claim of the Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,”—
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife.
VIEIRA: That Jesus and Mary Magdalene married, and started a royal blood line that continues today. Brown’s story was fiction. But now a new documentary and book announce a startling real life discovery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s unbelievable. This is it. It’s the real thing.
VIEIRA: Journalist Simpya Yacabovitch (ph) says this tomb, discovered underneath what is now an apartment complex near Jerusalem, may be the final resting place of Jesus Christ. And this limestone box, called ossuary, could have held his actual bones.
This ossuary may have held Maria’s or the Virgin Mary’s. This one is labeled with Mary Omne, which Christian scripture says was Mary Magdalene’s real name. And perhaps most shocking of all, the writing on this box translates to Juda, son of Jesus. If true, the consequences are impossible to measure.
FATHER THOMAS WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANALYST: Well, Christianity really stands or falls with the fact of Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead. And then he physically ascended into heaven.
VIEIRA: Father Thomas Williams is an NBC News analyst.
WILLIAMS: Where was this supposed son? If he had one, he would have been a prominent member of this new church, and he wasn’t.
VIEIRA: The church is not alone in arguing this tomb may have nothing to do with the Jesus Christ millions now worship. The site was first examined 27 years ago, and archaeologists then came to a very different conclusion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are some of the most common names among Jews in the first-century, common era.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suggesting that this tomb was the tomb of the family of Jesus is far fetched.
Yacabovitch says experts in statistics, DNA and testing back up the conclusion that this could be the biggest archaeological find ever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found it.
CARLSON: Joining me with his take on this discovery is the Washington editor of BeliefNet.com, David Kuo. David, thanks for joining us.
DAVID KUO, BELIEFNET.com: Tucker, it’s good to be with you.
CARLSON: So, it’s kind of over for conventional Christianity, if this true, isn’t it?
KUO: Yes, no, I mean, James Cameron has clearly shown that Jesus’ body is there. Listen, this is one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen. It has all the feel of James Cameron getting together with this documentarian and saying, OK, we need some sexy new project. How about, you know, “Titanic” meets “Da Vinci Code,” meets Jesus’ tomb. And they said, oh yes, listen, there was a documentary 10 years ago on the BBC, that nobody paid attention to, and let’s just copy that. Because that’s all this really is.
This is a tomb that was found in 1980. BBC did a sensational documentary on it on Easter Sunday in 1996, that was thoroughly discredited by everybody, and now it is being rehashed with all this new language, DNA evidence, forensic evidence. You know, it sort of sounds like CSI meets Jesus’ tomb.
CARLSON: Well, what exactly would the DNA evidence prove, since there are no, that we know of, descendants of Jesus? So, what would the DNA be compared to?
KUO: Right, exactly, it proves absolutely nothing. It is funny, right, because in this season, if this is all the critics of Jesus are left with, then I think that people are forced to conclude that the historical evidence about the true Jesus, the one found in the gospels, is overwhelming, because this is what people are left to. It’s silly, and it is sad.
CARLSON: What have these boxes been doing for the last 27 years.
Where have they been? Why haven’t we heard about this since 1980?
KUO: Actually, they’ve been on public display before. The Israeli Antiquity Authority has kept them, and just lent them out to James Cameron and to this press conference, frankly not knowing what it was about. And, again, this is one of these things where so many of the main stream media are picking up on this, like it’s some great revelation, when, in fact, there is absolutely nothing new here. And the only that’s extraordinary is that this is really getting the kind of attention that it’s getting.
CARLSON: So, just in one sentence, make sure I understand this, the evidence we have that links these series of boxes with bones in them to Jesus is all of the names in this one tomb are names that we know from the Bible. Is there any more evidence than that?
KUO: They’re names that we know from the Bible. They are names that are extraordinarily common in first century Palestine, which is where this tomb dates from. It’s funny, because Cameron sort of got so much fame with “King of the World,” “Titanic,” but you know what, guess what, the king of kings trumps the king of the world. He’s trying to make a big to do about this, but there’s no there there.
CARLSON: David Kuo from BeliefNet. Thanks a lot David. I appreciate it.
KUO: Thanks Tucker.
CARLSON: Al Gore’s eco-friendly Oscar win was not the only story at last night’s incredibly long Academy Awards. Willie Geist joins us with his expert analysis on the entire bizarro evening, including the Anna Nicole Smith Oscar connection. Yes there is one. We’ll tell you. We’ll be right back.
CARLSON: You saw him last night on the red carpet in Hollywood, looking ravishing in his scoop neck Dior. He joins us now, amazingly, from our studios in --
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I’m everywhere. How was your Oscar party Tucker? You and the guys sitting around betting on best costume design as usual?
CARLSON: As always—
GEIST: You know, I have to say Tucker, there is something heart-breaking about watching the man who as nearly the leader of the free world’s answer to Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet of an awards show. But there he was, Al Gore, looking resplendent in Men’s Warehouse, and hob nobbing with the biggest stars in the world at last night’s Academy Awards.
As you discussed earlier in the show, Gore won an award for his global warming documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” And declared the Oscars forever green. That claim was confirmed when Melissa Etheridge won somehow won her song in Gore’s film, and when “Happy Feet,” a save the environment kids movie, won best animated feature.
Now, I know you don’t like Gore, Tucker, but he was not the problem with the show. The problem was that it was nearly four hours long, four hours. I mean, I know we want to get to best sound mixing, but they have to do that on their own time. You can consolidate this thing into an hour, best picture, best actor, best actress, best director, supporting actor, supporting actress. It’s just too much. it is too long.
CARLSON: Well, the irony, of course, is that it is put together by some of the best story tellers in the world, people who are paid millions for their sense of timing, and who are really good at it. They are not self aware enough. The second they start talking about themselves, they lose all sense of perspective and they becoming boring.
GEIST: That’s right. There’s a lot of fat to trim in there. A couple of things that I did like, that I saw. First of all, bizarro moment of the entire show, it was a recurring theme, this dance troupe, Polobolis (ph) I think they’re called. They’re a modern dance troop. You see them rolling in here. They would make a shape to represent each nominee for best picture. That is just the Oscar itself, but it went through all of the different pictures.
It was sort of odd. It was one of those things where you said, this is ridiculous and stupid, and then you said, wait a minute, that’s kind of cool. So, I don’t know. It was a little strange.
CARLSON: I love modern dance. Anytime you can give modern dance, I psyched.
GEIST: I have seen you in those weekend classes. You’re excellent. Well, also, another observation Tucker, just when you thought the award show spectacle could not get any more absurd, the “E Entertainment Channel” came along and ups the ante. During it’s live from the red carpet pre-show last night, E debuted the glamo-straightor (ph). (INAUDIBLE) reminds you just a little bit of John Madden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we could freeze it right there. Look how much is going on right here with this beautiful dress. I feel like if we could have scribbled out this necklace—and the chain is way too thin. I think she didn’t need the jewelry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You’re right, because tonight we’ve been seeing a lot of the strapless dresses with a bare chest, which is beautiful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, so she kind of went against the grain on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: OK, now I am not out here curing cancer every day. I accept that. But if you get to the point where you are tele-strating people’s dresses on the red carpet, it’s time to—I don’t want to say it—just reconsider what you are doing with your life. Join the Peace Corps.
CARLSON: And yet, let me just put in a word of defense for E. This is a channel that spends about 1.95 on its programming, and actually comes up with stuff that’s more compelling than some of the network prime time.
GEIST: Oh, it was great. No, I was watching the whole thing, but I have to draw the line at the glamo-straighter. It’s just a little too much.
Finally, here is the Anna Nicole Smith connection. The montage of all the people who have passed away did not include Anna Nicole Smith. Now, you might laugh at that, but she was in “Naked Gun 33 ½,” part three in the Naked Gun series, and her latest film, “Illegal Aliens,” with professional wrestler China. So, there’s actually a little bit of Internet squirming, wondering why Anna Nicole Smith was not included in that montage. They say they closed edit on February 1st, and just didn’t have time to get her in.
CARLSON: But Willie, can I also point out, and I just got this from our producer, Bill Wolf, who said it in my ear, but she didn’t die in 2006. Indeed, she died in 2007.
GEIST: That’s an excellent point.
CARLSON: We’ve got an entire year to wait for the tribute.
GEIST: Right, I’m sure it will be a long one. Actually, knowing how long the ceremony was, it will probably be an hour long.
Well there is some other news. We all knew it was coming, we just didn’t know it would be this soon. Judge Larry reportedly has been offered his TV gig.
GEIST: The Oscar worthy weeping performance at last week’s Anna Nicole Smith hearing apparently good enough to convince the CBS “Early Show” to make the first move. A south Florida newspaper got a copy of a letter from one of the show’s producers to Judge Larry Seidlin that floats the idea of a segment in which Seidlin will resolve people’s ethical and legal questions.
If you want my advice, Judge Larry, hold out for syndication. Don’t you think, Tucker?
CARLSON: I just think it’s wrong. I have got a lot of friends that work on that show, and I intend to call them the second I get off the air, and just ask them not to do this.
GEIST: Well, he’s not confirming he’s going to do it. He says it is inappropriate to talk now. He is just focussed on the case.
CARLSON: Sorry, decorum, I totally forgot.
GEIST: Right, of course, now one more thing to get to, Angelina Jolie is joining the Council on Foreign Relations. Believe it or not, the 32 year old actress was asked to join. She gets a five year term. She is going to join the likes of Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger and Alan Greenspan. And, of course, that sets up this fantastic love triangle. Here it comes “US Weekly,” Angelina, Brad and Jen, yesterday’s news. Henry, Angelina, and Alan. It’s going to be good Tucker.
CARLSON: Unbelievable. Willie Geist, best part of the show. Great to see you Willie.
GEIST: All right.
CARLSON: We will be back tomorrow from San Francisco. Until then, have a great night.
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