Guests: Charles Rangel, Bill Press, Doug Bailey
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: In Washington‘s cold war over the hot war in Iraq, the Democratic leadership of Congress breaks out a new political weapon against the president: public condescension.
A day after the Senate voted to set a deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal, President Bush says that Congress is responsible for jeopardizing essential funding for American soldiers in combat.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded with some remarkably informal advice for the commander in chief of the world‘s biggest military.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I just wish the president would take a deep breath, recognize, again, that we each have our constitutional role, and we should respect that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: America has seen generations passed since the last time its president and Congress have exhibited such open hostility toward each other.
What does it mean for the president‘s ability to lead this country in the most perilous of times? And, more pressingly, what does it mean for the more than 100,000 Americans still living in the middle of Iraq‘s civil war?
Well, joining us now, national syndicated radio show host and the author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion,” Bill Press, and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.
Welcome to you both.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Here we are.
CARLSON: You heard what...
PRESS: The team‘s back together.
CARLSON: It‘s amazing!
CARLSON: You just heard Nancy Pelosi really sort of give the president the back of her hand.
Here is what the president said, not directly to her, but to all Democrats in response.
Essentially, the bottom line, he says: I will veto this bill if it comes to my desk. It‘s filled with pork, and it sets an artificial deadline.
I don‘t see any, Pat, room for maneuvering or compromise in either of these positions. Do you?
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I don‘t think so. If the president stays true to his word, I think the president is going to win this one.
And I will tell you why. You have got these deadlines. One is sort of unbinding in the Senate, and the other is binding in the House. It‘s got to go to conference. I don‘t know what is going to come out there.
But, if it goes to the president, he knocks it dead, his veto will be sustained. And, then, he says, OK, you have given your little ideology a run in the yard. Now get that money over there for those troops. I want the $100 billion.
And, at that point, the Democrats are going to have to give him the $100 billion, or, in effect, defund the war, which they‘re not going to do.
So, I think the—the Democrats, what they have done here, is, they have grabbed a rook and a big public victory. And I think the president is going to win this battle hands down.
CARLSON: It does—it‘s hard—no matter how you—where you stand on the war, Republican, Democrat, as a matter of pure political analysis, it is kind of hard to disagree with what Pat just said. I mean, you have to fund the U.S. military. And that is what this bill does.
How can—how can the Democrats beat Bush?
PRESS: With the help of more and more Republicans.
See, I disagree with Pat‘s analysis, to this extent. I mean, certainly, the president is going to veto this bill. That‘s correct. We know that. But I think, every time this bill comes up, or a similar bill like that, there are more and more Republicans who will be compelled to vote for it, because their political survival is at stake in 2008.
And, the closer we get to either the presidential primary or any of these guys running for reelection in the...
PRESS: ... Senate, Tucker, he vetoes that bill, that means it comes back, and they have got to vote on it again, which means Republicans have to stand up again and say, we support George Bush; we support this war.
That is suicide for them.
CARLSON: No, they don‘t, necessarily, because, of course, they lost this last vote. In fact, they can just let it keep going. The vote could stay at the—along the same lines it was. And, in the end, don‘t you think the party that is seen as grinding the government to a halt loses? The Republicans lost the government shutdown stand...
PRESS: Wait a minute. Who is grinding the government to a halt? This is government working the way it is supposed to do. The president has put his policy out. Congress, reflecting the will—clearly, the will of the American people, has put its policy out there.
BUCHANAN: Let me tell you...
PRESS: And, so, you have got a clash between the two. That is the way government is supposed to work.
BUCHANAN: Let—let me tell you...
PRESS: It‘s not supposed to be rubber-stamp.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me tell you what it is going to be, Bill.
It‘s—when—the president‘s veto is going to be sustained in both houses, easily. And then the Democrats are going to have to vote $100 billion for the war. And this is going to drive the left wing of the Democratic Party in the House up the wall, that it has got to fund the war without any deadline.
What it will do is, it will vote no for the funding. And the Democratic Party will be split. And it will give the president the decisive votes for funding the war.
BUCHANAN: And you will have a split right down the center of the Democratic House.
CARLSON: But, see, here‘s...
CARLSON: Here‘s the problem, Bill.
CARLSON: You may, in the end, be right in your prediction that, ultimately, enough Republicans will join Democrats to override the veto.
PRESS: They are going to have to. They are going to have to.
CARLSON: The—the political effect of that, however, will be to give Democrats some of ownership of this war, which is what they don‘t want. It‘s Bush‘s war.
CARLSON: He started it, right?
But, at that point...
CARLSON: ... if you actually force the U.S. military to withdraw from Iraq on September 1, 2008, next year, then you are kind of responsible, to some extent, for the aftermath, for what happens after that happens.
CARLSON: ... Democrats don‘t want to be responsible for that.
PRESS: Tucker, you know, we have been through this so many times.
PRESS: ... I remember your making the argument that the Democrats are wasting their time with this nonbinding resolution. You kept saying...
PRESS: ... right on this show...
CARLSON: Vote your conscience.
PRESS: ... do something.
Well, guess what? They have done something now, Tucker.
PRESS: They have done something.
CARLSON: And my question to you, is, can they—can they actually—can—I mean, let‘s be fully real.
CARLSON: Can they take it to the—to the—to its logical extent?
Can they do that?
BUCHANAN: They won‘t do that.
PRESS: It depends—it depends if they get enough Republicans‘ votes.
BUCHANAN: You can‘t.
PRESS: But I will tell you...
PRESS: Let me just finish.
BUCHANAN: Bill, you cannot defund the war.
PRESS: No, no.
BUCHANAN: You‘re not going to do—you don‘t have the votes.
PRESS: They will not defund the war. But every time there is a vote, there will be more and more Republicans join the Democrats...
BUCHANAN: Bill, your problem is...
PRESS: ... to the point, I think, where George Bush...
BUCHANAN: This is $100 billion. This funds it for the next year. And Democrats—half the Democrats up there in the Senate and House are going to vote to fund the war with no deadline for getting out. That is the endgame politically.
CARLSON: I want to—I want to get—we...
PRESS: No. That is not—that is not true, Pat.
CARLSON: I want to rise above politics very quickly, and get to something I heard today that struck me. I‘m not sure what to make of it. This is John McCain yesterday explaining in public that, in fact, the troop surge is working, that we are actually making progress in Iraq...
CARLSON: ... that is real.
Here‘s John McCain. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: Conditions have changed in Iraq. The Baghdad security plan, the surge, is working far better than even the most optimistic supporter had predicted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Simple question: Is that true, Pat?
BUCHANAN: Yes. There is—I mean, there are reports that, first, the Shia militia has apparently gone to earth.
BUCHANAN: Muqtada al-Sadr is nowhere to be found. He is allowing some of his people to be taken down. And the Americans are focusing on the Sunni.
There are still an awful lot of people being killed, but there is no doubt the perception is, in a number of places, the surge is working. You put 20,000 fresh American troops—if you put 20,000 more cops into L.A., there is going to be more violence—less violence.
CARLSON: We‘re almost out of time. Let me just the point.
CARLSON: Everybody sitting at this set opposes the war, just...
CARLSON: ... just to make that totally clear.
But what if it is working, very quickly? I mean...
PRESS: Let me tell you something.
John McCain was followed on CNN yesterday by Michael Ware. He has been there four years.
PRESS: He interviewed soldiers yesterday about McCain‘s comment, and they were all laughing out loud at John McCain, and said, if he thinks Baghdad is working, if he thinks it is safe, let him come over here and tell us what neighborhood we can walk through.
John McCain is way off course on this war. He is wrong. And that is why he is no longer the leading Republican candidate for president.
CARLSON: We will see. Pretty—pretty brave, in any case, right or wrong, to say.
PRESS: He was wrong.
CARLSON: I mean, that‘s—that‘s an unpopular statement, if you‘re looking—if you‘re looking for a maverick position. It is working? Boy, that is pretty far out there.
PRESS: But it is not true.
CARLSON: Well, it may not be.
Both chambers of Congress voted on a timetable to withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq. President Bush says it‘s not happening. Who will blink first in the standoff between Congress and the White House?
And Britain continues to stand firm against Iran. The government says the video released of the 15 sailors being held captive in completely unacceptable circumstances, and they will do nothing to help their standing with the rest of the world. So, what is Iran trying to prove? We will tell you.
You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Among the many people who stand between President Bush and his own foreign policy agenda is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the keeper of the nation‘s purse strings, and a figure central to the immediate debate in Washington about how to fund the war and for how long.
He is the Democratic congressman from New York City, Congressman Charlie Rangel. And he joins us now.
Mr. Chairman, thanks for coming on.
Mr. Rangel, can Democrats hold out? Can they continue to press this game of chicken with the president, even if it means not funding the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan? How long can this go on?
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY), HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:
You know, when I answer your questions, I hope you don‘t think I am adopting the language that you have used.
Quite frankly, the American people have spoken that they are not satisfied with the way the president is waging this war. We have been in this war longer then we have been in World War II.
They have already said that cannot have a military victory. It has been declared by everybody, even conservative reporters, that we are involved in a civil war. This is not the reason that some people who have given the president the authority thought that we should be involved in.
So, the question is, how do you get out? And the members of the Congress, in trying to come together with the Senate, has said, one way that you get out is order the Americans out, protect the troops during the period of transition.
Now, the president says he doesn‘t care what the Congress wants to do, that he is the commander in chief, and, as such, believes that he has a constitutional responsibility to conduct this war any way he wants.
We think he is wrong.
CARLSON: Right. But, Mr. Chairman—Mr...
RANGEL: And, so, this is not a game of chicken.
CARLSON: OK. But...
RANGEL: It‘s not a game. And you are dealing...
RANGEL: ... with serious people...
CARLSON: You are dealing serious people, each with...
RANGEL: ... on both sides of the issue.
CARLSON: That‘s right, each with serious and legitimate and immovable positions.
The president says he will not accept any deadline for troop withdrawal. Democrats say they‘re demanding such a deadline in this legislation. So, at some point, this is going to continue to go back and forth, while the military doesn‘t get the money it says it needs.
RANGEL: First of all, the military...
CARLSON: It is a game of chicken, I mean, in that sense.
RANGEL: ... is going to get all—the military is going to get all of the money that it needs for its safety, period.
And, two, it is the Congress that has the power to support or not support the war. And, when the American people says that they are fed up with it, no president, Republican or Democrat, can survive. This is not a question of chicken. This is a question of the United States Constitution.
That‘s what it is. And, believe me, the problem is that we have so many people on one side that believe that we are not going far enough, other people that believe that we are going too far. But, if you look at the overall percentage of people in the House, which represents the American people, overwhelmingly, over 80 percent believe we should get out of Iraq. You know it and I know it.
It is not a question of chicken. If anything, the president has some very, very poor domestic and foreign...
RANGEL: ... advisers.
CARLSON: I want to get to something that you are working on specifically.
You and Senator Levin have unveiled what you call a new trade agenda for the United States. And it includes the following requirement. It would—I‘m quoting your press release—“require other countries to adopt and maintain and enforce basic international labor standards in their domestic laws and practices, not merely enforce their own laws”—in other words, impose our standards on other, in almost every case, poorer countries.
If that hasn‘t worked in Iraq, coming in with our notions about how people ought to live and imposing them on another culture, why will it work when it is imposed by your trade bills?
RANGEL: Tucker, you know, I really think that you have a reading impediment, but I hope that it is correctable...
RANGEL: ... because—because, quite frankly...
CARLSON: I suspect it is, with treatment, yes.
But I think you see my point.
RANGEL: I mean, we...
CARLSON: And I think it‘s a fair question.
RANGEL: We could—we could never—there is nothing that you have read or can hardly make up that would suggest that we are trying to impose our standards, our very high standards, on developing countries.
That would be wrong, morally wrong, and, in my opinion, to be stupid. What it does say is that we are trying to make certain that the basic minimum international standards, which deals with child labor, which deals with the inability of people to organize, which deals with slave labor, the things that any decent people have said that, at the minimum, these things should be protected—we have got cases right now where children are being used—using pesticides and dangerous chemicals, don‘t go to school.
RANGEL: These are things that you protest.
And we are just saying, for God‘s sake, if you do have laws, yes, enforce them.
CARLSON: All right.
RANGEL: But don‘t say enforce your own laws if you don‘t have them.
You should be pleased to know that the Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee have agreed to what we believe is the policy, because, constitutionally—what?
RANGEL: Constitutionally, the Congress has the—the authority to deal with trade and commerce.
CARLSON: Right. No. I—and I...
RANGEL: Effectively, we can‘t do it. So, we transfer that to the president.
And all we have done, as the majority, is to establish a policy which the Republicans have endorsed.
RANGEL: So, we have done our constitutional responsibility.
RANGEL: Don‘t pick it apart. The president may have to adopt it.
CARLSON: I wasn‘t. Questioning its wisdom is not the same as picking it apart.
But I—I appreciate it. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, thanks for joining us.
RANGEL: Good to be back, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thank you.
Iran plays a high-stakes game of chicken, speaking of, and Great Britain and its allies, with the detention of English sailors and marines. What does the unfolding drama indicate about who is winning? We will have the latest on that.
Plus, the drama at the Justice Department is about to get heavy once again. After a couple of days of relief, the administration begins to sweat the sworn testimony of the man who wrote some of the scandal‘s most outrageous e-mails. He‘s also the man they fired—big trouble in little D.C.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There was no justification, whatever, therefore, for their detention. It was completely unacceptable, wrong and illegal. We had hoped to see their immediate release. This has not happened. It is now time to ratchet up the diplomatic and international pressure, in order to make sure that the Iranian government understands their total isolation on this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Iran‘s capture and detention of British sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf saw dramatic developments today. Tony Blair toughened his rhetoric with Tehran, and offered evidence, he says, proves that the prisoners in Iraqi, not Iranian, waters upon their capture. The British government froze all other activities between those two countries.
Iranian TV, meanwhile, showed the first pictures of the captured Brits. And Iran‘s foreign minister said that the female English marine would be released in the next day. President Bush pledged his support to Great Britain, but it is hard to imagine Mr. Bush sitting on his military hands had the captured troops been American, of course.
Here to talk about what has happened, and what‘s to come in this crisis, we welcome back the author of “How the Republican Stole Religion,” and syndicated radio show host, Bill Press, and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan.
Here is Faye Turney. She is one of the British marines being held.
This is kind of a poignant moment. This is her statement to the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAYE TURNEY, CAPTURED BRITISH MARINE: Obviously we trespassed into their waters. They were very friendly, very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people. They explained to us why we had been arrested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Very thoughtful, hospital, nice people. Boy, there is just nothing more wrenching than watching Stockholm Syndrome, or brain washing, or statements under duress, as this clearly is. It is awful. Is Great Britain responding in the vigorous way you would expect them to respond?
PRESS: You know, the only thing about that video is you don‘t see the gun off camera that is probably pointed out her head. You know, I don‘t know Tucker. I don‘t think we know all the facts in this case. I think it‘s despicable that they‘ve been seized, despicable they‘ve been held this long. There have been other hostages in Iran, back in ‘79 and ‘80.
There were eight Brits that were seized by the Iranians in 2004. They were held for three days. It looked like they were going to go to war at the time. Coolers heads prevailed. They were released. And I would hope this time, too, that people would just attempt all of the possible diplomatic relations, and put any kind of pressure you could on Iran, short of going to war. I don‘t think there should be another Gulf of Tonkin—used as another Gulf of Tonkin.
CARLSON: Right, except in this case where there was debate over whether or not the Gulf of Tonkin actually happened. In this case there‘s no debate.
PRESS: Well, we don‘t know for sure. We really do not know sitting here that they were really in Iraqi waters.
CARLSON: We do know that there are being—they‘ve essentially been arrested, and they‘re being detained. Iran was so hurt in the international world, in every way, by the hostage crisis 27 years ago. This is so foolish of them to do this. It makes you think --
BUCHANAN: I don‘t know that they were hurt that much back in 1980. They rubbed the nose of the United States of America in the dirt for 444 days and they drove Jimmy Carter from office. They did effectively elect Ronald Reagan. If it hadn‘t been for that hostage crisis—
CARLSON: Yes, they did.
BUCHANAN: Tucker, this is—look, that global positioning satellite
The Iranians came into Iraqi waters. And therefore, they picked these guys up deliberately. This is premeditated. It is an abduction. It is a kidnapping of these guys. It is a taking of hostages to rub Britain‘s nose in the dirt. Why they did it, I don‘t know. They have had some problems on their side, but right now they are winning a confrontation with the old empire.
Tony Blair looks very with wimpish, very weak. We certainly don‘t want a war, but they did this for a purpose. And I think that there is no question, but most of the top people around the world, they go with a winner. In this case, the Iranians are the winner. Fifteen people. What did we do in the Mayaguez, Bill?
PRESS: They did it for a purpose, but what they did—maybe they did it for the purpose that the Americans are now holding five Iranians inside of U.S. I do not see any connection between the two.
CARLSON: I don‘t either.
PRESS: I do not think we should allow any connection between the two. Who knows what they‘re up to. All I‘m saying is: I do not think this should be a pretext for military action by the U.S. or by the U.K.
CARLSON: I think most people agree. However, I am struck by how many people see Iran as the biggest threat to United States. Here is the latest Zogby poll on that exact question; Afghanistan four percent, Iraq four percent, North Korea 14 percent, Iran, 41 percent say Iran is the biggest threat. I don‘t think it‘s too much—I mean, you have a couple more of these incidents, they grab Americans, I don‘t know. You could see a rationale for war.
PRESS: I think Iran was a much bigger threat than Iraq four years ago, and so was North Korea. Maybe it would be less of a threat today if we paid more attention to Iran, instead of Iraq.
CARLSON: You have argued, Pat, that this administration has been, essentially, looking for excuses to attack Iran for a long time. Do you still believe that?
BUCHANAN: Look, I don‘t think—you don‘t see the eye of the tiger in Bush on this one the way you did on Iraq. But I do believe he is putting pressure on them. He‘s got those forces out there. I think it is to convince them to cave on the nuclear stuff. I don‘t know that Bush wants to go to war, but I will say this: Bush is looking at a legacy. He ain‘t got one now, and he could have as a legacy—I‘m sure some guys there are thinking of, he‘s the guy that stopped the second holocaust by destroying the nuclear installations of Iran that threatened Israel.
I think that Democrats, if he went ahead—let me tell you this. If he smashed their nuclear installations, how many Democrats do you think would stand up and say, this is a stinking outrage; we ought to impeach him?
CARLSON: I think Barbara Lee of Berkeley, who opposed the war in Afghanistan, would be very upset. But I agree with you. For all the—you hear talk from Democrats—Bill this is true. They are very worried that the Bush administration is looking for a pretext to go to war in Iran, but they wouldn‘t oppose it if he did, would they?
PRESS: I do not think the American people are ready for a third Bush war.
CARLSON: You may be right. You may be absolutely right.
PRESS: So whatever excuse you use, or whatever he would do, the American people are not going to support a war in Afghanistan, which is not over, war in Iraq, which is not over, and a war in Iran.
CARLSON: I am not endorsing it.
BUCHANAN: Did you see what Pelosi did? She pulled from the 100 million dollar funding a resolution that denied the president authority to attack Iran unless he came to Congress. She pulled it out. In other words, you have got a free ride, George.
PRESS: That issue is not dead. He does not have a free ride.
BUCHANAN: Why did she pull it out?
PRESS: She‘ll come back another time—
CARLSON: All right, gentlemen, we have to go to commercial break. Stormy political weather is in the forecast for the Capital Hill on Thursday. That‘s tomorrow. The cold front is the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. The warm front, getting hot, is the Democratic investigation of the Bush administration‘s conduct. The expected thunder and lightning, the testimony of fired Justice Department aide Kyle Sampson. Forecast ahead. Weather metaphors will be here.
Plus, the meteoric rise of Barack Obama appears to be cresting. New polls take some of the luster out of last months golden candidate. But he is out on the road trying to recapture the rapture. His strategy and his chances up next on MSNBC.
CARLSON: If you have a stake in the fate of the Justice Department, and you do, then tomorrow could be a pretty big deal. Alberto Gonzales‘s recently fired chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, is going to testify under oath, before Congress, about the controversial firings of those eight U.S. attorneys, firings that have Mr. Sampson looking for a job, and Mr. Gonzales hanging onto his by a thread.
But will Sampson expose a Justice Department corrupt with politics and cronyism, or will he downplay whatever misdeeds may have taken place on his watch?
To assess it, we welcome nationally syndicated radio host Bill Press, and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. Bill, Kyle Sampson—I don‘t know Kyle Sampson. I don‘t too much about him beyond his e-mails. Just to refresh the memory of our viewers let‘s put up on the screen one of Kyle Sampson‘s e-mails, sent to a deputy White House counsel on January 9, 2005 about these U.S. attorneys. Quote, “as an operational matter, we would like to replace 15 to 20 percent of the current U.S. attorneys, the under-performing ones. This is a rough guess. We might want to consider doing performance evaluations after Gonzales comes aboard. The vast of U.S. attorneys, 80 to 85 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, et cetera, et cetera.
Now, if you write that in an e-mail, you may or may not be corrupt, but you are without question and moron. You are dumb if you write that down. What do think this guy is going to say tomorrow? I would be nervous if I were them.
PRESS: If were Alberto Gonzales, I would be very nervous. Let me tell you something, stick a fork in Gonzo, right. He is done, absolutely done. Kyle Sampson, whatever he is going to say tomorrow, I don‘t think—he is out of a job, and he is not going to take the fall for Alberto Gonzales. He is going to be under oath, good for him. He is willing to testify.
And he is going to have to say, I believe, that Alberto Gonzales was in that meeting on November 27th, knew what they were talking about ahead of time, and then discussed who‘s going to get fired and who‘s not and why. And Alberto Gonzales was in on it from the beginning. Once he says that, Gonzales is out.
CARLSON: Pat, I still want to know why these guys were fired. I am willing to believe there was nothing untoward about their firings, but I would like an explanation. Meanwhile, “National Review” today comes out with an editorial saying Gonzales must go. Who exactly supports Alberto Gonzales?
BUCHANAN: There is one guy, and he is fairly important.
CARLSON: I guess that‘s right.
BUCHANAN: He‘s the only one. Right, there‘s one string holding him. It‘s very strong. You‘ve got a tough situation. The problem with this thing is I do not see a single thing that is corrupt, in other words interfering with the investigation in California, but there is obviously prevarications all over the lot. Everyone is contradicting everyone. You know you have a problem when one of your top aides, Monica Goodling, says, even before they invite her up, I‘m taking the fifth amendment, because there‘s so many contradictions.
This is perjury trap that is being set by Schumer and Leahy. These guys are all going to come up there. They‘re all going to contradict each other. They‘re going to take it up, bundle it and say, we want a special prosecutor.
CARLSON: Yes, I think the smartest thing Kyle Sampson can do is to disavow the Bush administration, just get up there and say, you know, Hillary 2008, and thereby protect himself from prosecution.
PRESS: I just he ought to go up there and tell the truth. You know, that Kyle Sampson—
CARLSON: Because that protects you, really, telling the truth?
PRESS: Yes, it does. It does.
CARLSON: No, it doesn‘t.
PRESS: Ask Scooter Libby.
CARLSON: That‘s absurd. You make a mistake under oath, you can go to prison.
PRESS: You know as well as I do, all three of us know, that Kyle Sampson did not act alone. He was sending e-mails back and forth between the White House. He was talking to his boss. But Alberto Gonzales says, I was not involved. We will find out once we hear Kyle Sampson.
CARLSON: When you fired eight U.S. attorneys, kind of a big deal, and you are attorney general, and you claim you don‘t know? I mean, that‘s grounds right there as far as I‘m concerned.
BUCHANAN: They said he was on top of it from 30,000 feet.
CARLSON: Speaking of guilty, guilty, guilty, Hillary Clinton. A new Harris Interactive Poll asked the very generic and yet very interesting question, would you vote for Hillary Clinton? The answers, put them up on the screen, 36 percent say yes, I would theoretically do that; 50 percent, half the country, says no, just no across the board. I‘m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton on principal. I‘d rather eat broken glass.
BUCHANAN: Let me say look, that‘s, obviously, when you have a candidate like that, a consultant says, don‘t run. But let me say this, Hillary is out front. And if it doesn‘t hurt her for the nomination—
When Nixon was running in 1968, everybody said we do not want Nixon. He‘s going to lose. What we said is look, if we get the nomination, there‘s only two of us. The argument falls away. You‘re going to vote him down. So that argument fill, Nixon‘s a loser fell.
I think this argument will fall. If she is the nominee and say it is McCain, people will say, look, you‘re going with her or you‘re going with McCain.
CARLSON: I don‘t think there‘s any question you‘re right. In fact, when you do actual match ups—let‘s put up the “USA Today”/Gallup poll here. This asked a much more relevant question, which is a relative question, who do you prefer on the Democratic side? Hillary Clinton up a point from earlier in the month. She‘s at 35. Barack Obama remaining steady at 22; Al Gore dropped a point at 17; John Edwards up five points at 14. But she‘s still knocking the tar out of the other three.
PRESS: Let me tell you something, people always underestimate Hillary‘s skills as a candidate. When she gets out there in front of a crowd, she is a rock star. And she can turn people around. I would agree with Pat that whatever that says today, it proves she has a lot of work to do. But do not count her out. That would be a big mistake.
CARLSON: Plus, she got the endorsement from the National Organization for Women today. Which really says it all. I mean, decade are we living in?
BUCHANAN: If she hadn‘t got it, Tucker, you should have led with it.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right. Listen to this, there‘s a huge gender gap. I think this is what hurts Hillary, is not the fact that she is a woman, but the fact that she is a feminist. She is a 70s hold over. Over half of men and married women say they would not vote for her for president. Those are the people who don‘t like—Single women in their 20s are open to Hillary. Although, I think they prefer a Obama, in my experience. But married women and men, the dudes, do not like Hillary. It‘s a problem. There are still a lot of men in this country.
PRESS: Yes, there are a lot of men in this country. There are more women voters than men. Women like Hillary, and enough men will like Hillary to make her the nominee and, I believe, the next president.
BUCHANAN: But you hit it Tucker. It is the feminist thing that is the problem. It‘s not that she‘s a woman. You get a lot of women out there, men would be very attractive, ready to vote for her, but when that voice of hers goes up, brother, and hits the high pitches, you know, every husband in America has heard that, Bill, and everyone one of them takes off.
PRESS: That is a sexist remark.
BUCHANAN: Have you heard her at the top level?
CARLSON: It may be, but it‘s also entirely, undebatably true.
PRESS: She is no flaming feminist. I mean, so she supports choice, she supports equal rights for women, she supports equality in pay in the work place, but that does not make you a flaming feminist.
CARLSON: She just got the endorsement of NOW. I think that—
BUCHANAN: Why are they hiding that speech up there at Wellesley?
CARLSON: Just as a theoretical—
BUCHANAN: That‘s buried, Bill.
CARLSON: Who is a flaming feminist?
BUCHANAN: Name one.
BUCHANAN: Name one.
CARLSON: Name one and.
PRESS: I don‘t even know whether there are any left, to tell the truth.
CARLSON: OK. There you go. Now.
PRESS: I mean, where are they? I don‘t see any flaming feminists.
BUCHANAN: His problem is he can‘t see.
PRESS: All right. If you want one, Eleanor Smeal. I love her. But she is out there leading the feminist movement. All right?
CARLSON: And she just endorsed Hillary Clinton. So that tells you everything.
BUCHANAN: Who is she for?
CARLSON: Exactly right. OK. So I think this—the following quote tells you a lot about why Hillary is losing in these match-ups to Barack Obama among Democrats. And I‘m not—you know, it makes me sad.
“Obama yesterday, in a speech before a union, accused the president of social Darwinism.” Now it seems to me.
CARLSON: . this is the kind of insult.
BUCHANAN: The biggest spender in history.
CARLSON: Intellectuals throw at each other. Well, you are—you know, you are a social Darwinist. I mean, how many union members know what the hell a social Darwinist is and how many more still care?
PRESS: How many know who Darwin was?
CARLSON: That‘s right.
PRESS: And what the hell it means. No, when I saw that, I thought to myself, hey.
BUCHANAN: That is Saul Alinsky. That is Saul Alinsky.
CARLSON: Well, that is right.
PRESS: I‘m not even sure. Saul Alinsky was a lot more practical. I don‘t think he went around talking about social Darwinism. When I saw that quote, I said to myself, Barack Obama, you had better, you know, hire a good coach to tell you how to street talk when you are campaigning.
PRESS: Particularly if you are campaigning in front of.
BUCHANAN: He needs to major in street talk.
PRESS: . union members.
CARLSON: That is right. You are a deconstructionist.
PRESS: I will tell you one thing.
BUCHANAN: Talk to Al Sharpton, he doesn‘t use social Darwinism.
CARLSON: You don‘t you would ever—you can‘t imagine Sharpton, you are a social Darwinist.
PRESS: I will bet you $1,000 that Hillary Rodham Clinton will never accuse anybody of social Darwinism.
CARLSON: What do you think, very quickly, I mean, does anybody have a shot at getting union support after John Edwards? John Edwards just seems like he has sewn up the union vote. He gets out there and he says, I marched in the picket lines, I have registered union members and all of that. It is like, why—it doesn‘t even matter getting the unions.
BUCHANAN: Well, their big—a lot of their big issue right now is this trade issue. And the one you were talking to Charlie about, my guess is Edwards will lead the battle on that. But if Hillary will get on the fast track and the trade stuff, you can get those guys on that one.
PRESS: Yes, and let me tell you, the labor vote.
CARLSON: Do you think it still matters?
PRESS: The labor—oh yes. I was just going to say, the labor vote is very, very important. They played a major role in 2006. The unions are back with a vengeance. They may not have as many members, but they are spending the money and they are turning their people out.
And they feel they made a mistake in 2004 by coming on-board with John Kerry to early. So this time they have decided they are going to watch them all. They are going to listen to them all. They are going to bide their time and get as much out of anyone as they can before they endorse.
So I think, you know, Edwards—you saw it today at the
Communications Workers, Obama and John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were all there fighting for that endorsement.
CARLSON: That is right.
PRESS: . plus some of the other second-level candidates.
CARLSON: It is sort of natural. You could kind of see John Kerry, why he would get the union nod. I mean, he is kind of that union member guy, with the (INAUDIBLE), the kite-surfing and.
BUCHANAN: A lot of them now, government workers, service workers and things like that, they are the great big unions right now though. Teamsters are still big.
CARLSON: Pat Buchanan, Bill Press, thank you both.
PRESS: All right. Good to see you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Chuck Hagel may be the best presidential candidate who is not actually running. Maybe he does not want to run. Maybe he does not have enough money. Maybe his anti-war stance means he doesn‘t have a party, at least on the Republican side. A man was solutions to these kinds of problems joins us next.
And Hillary Clinton is clear of Chuck Hagel‘s kind of problems. As a matter of fact, she just got another celebrity endorsement. Who is it? How much will it matter, if at all? You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: If you are struggling to choose which party most suits you in the 2008 presidential election, one group thinks it may be able to offer a solution. The founders of Unity ‘08 are aiming to eliminate the polarization between the two parties by having both a Republican and a Democrat on the same ticket. Is it a win-win idea or could it be the Ralph Nader of the next election? Joining me now to discuss that prospect is the founder and CEO of Unity ‘08, also the founder of the Hotline, Doug Bailey.
Doug, thanks for coming on.
DOUG BAILEY, UNITY ‘08: Thanks, Tucker, for having me.
CARLSON: What does Unity ‘08 stand for? What are its ideas?
BAILEY: Its ideas are to end the polarization and the paralysis of Washington at 2 and the paralysis of Washington by bringing back what Washington seems to have lost, a little bit of civility, a little bit of discussion between the two parties, a little bit of finding common ground so that the city and the government can attack the crucial issues confronting the country, whether it be terrorism or schools or health care or the corruption of the city.
CARLSON: Could you actually run the federal government if you are not a member of either party? The president uses his party and he uses the other—to work against the other party. I mean, of course, Washington is based on a party system. Could you actually do it if you are neither a Republican nor a Democrat?
BAILEY: Washington is based on a system of cooperation, Tucker. You can‘t name a single serious policy or initiative and change that has happened in this country in the last 200 years that has not flowed, at least in part, from some degree of finding common ground between the two parties.
BAILEY: And what has happened is that the two parties that used to fight over the middle in the elections, and when they were fighting over the middle, really were talking—were finding common ground because there were talking about the same issues and to the same people. They have now polarized so much and gone for their base that they do not even talk to each other when they get in Washington.
And there is an argument that could be made over the last six to eight years that while we have two parties in Washington, they don‘t talk to each other, they do not cooperate and nothing gets done.
CARLSON: What do you think about Chuck Hagel? I mean, here is a guy who I think you could argue would be a pretty good president, but he is probably not going to get the Republican nomination because he is so aggressively anti-war—anti-Bush‘s war.
Is he the kind of guy you think would be a good front man?
BAILEY: I think there are any number of people in politics and out of politics, in Washington and out of Washington who could in fact be exceptional presidents of the United States. And what we are trying to do is to create, through an online convention in June of 2008, an opportunity for every registered voter in this country to go to unity08.com and sign up as a delegate today so that there will be a convention of 10 million or more delegates that picks a third ticket, one Republican, one Democrat in whatever order to put onto the ballot in November of 2008.
CARLSON: You can nominate anyone you want?
CARLSON: Who is going to pay for this? It seems to me that most people give money to politicians and to parties because they are angry. So if you have a party of calm, sensible polite centrists, that is great, but they‘re not going to raise any money, are they?
BAILEY: Well, the fact is, our experience has been that those who have come to support this effort are willing—not all of them, but many of them, are willing to contribute small amounts.
And the Dean phenomenon of raising a lot of money online.
BAILEY: . in small dollar amounts, was not a fluke. It happens. So imagine, Tucker, if there are 10 million people at a convention that nominates a ticket, whatever that ticket is. And at the last step of that convention, they are asked by the ticket they just nominated to contribute $100 each.
Let‘s say 20 percent of them do that. That is $200 million from July 1st, 2008, forward, to fund the campaign. So the answer is yes, the money can be had and it comes in small dollar amounts. That is good.
CARLSON: And really quickly, if I somehow got nominated on this—at the online convention, would I or anyone else nominated be required—I mean, would you be drafted essentially? Would you have to.
BAILEY: You can be drafted. And if somebody wants to draft you, Tucker, they—what they need to do is to go to unity08.com, sign up as a delegate and start a draft Tucker Carlson movement.
CARLSON: I may do that.
BAILEY: Now in the end, in the end, before the balloting begins at the convention.
BAILEY: . you are going to have to do two things, you are going to have to agree to accept the nomination if you are nominated by the convention.
BAILEY: And secondly, you are going to have to nominate your vice presidential candidate and it has to be from a party that you are not in.
CARLSON: OK. Good. I think you are selling me. Doug Bailey, thank you very much. Unity ‘08, I appreciate it.
BAILEY: Unity08.com, sign up as a delegate, Tucker, do it today.
CARLSON: I may.
Sanjaya‘s hair once again stole the show on “American Idol.” Will the wimpiest mohawk in the history of hair be enough to keep the no-talent teenager around for another week? Willie Geist is back from jury duty and here to discuss that question and more when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. In the wake of the U.S. attorney scandal, we have been trying these last couple of weeks to explain in the clearest possible terms how the justice system—how your just system actually works. Today‘s lesson is short, simple, and poignant. Willie Geist, he joins us now, has been the foreman of a jury...
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER: I have been. I have been.
CARLSON: . for the last two weeks.
GEIST: And I have delivered justice. I‘m over, I‘m back for real this time, Tucker. This time I mean it. Justice takes time, as you know. We had to meditate on the verdict. And we delivered a fair one.
CARLSON: Is it true that if it—that if the glove doesn‘t fit, you have to acquit?
GEIST: You must acquit.
CARLSON: You must acquit.
GEIST: You must acquit. We followed that, it is its own piece of legal advice I followed throughout the deliberations.
GEIST: Tucker, the big news, let‘s get to it. We will learn tonight whether there is in fact a God in heaven. If so, Sanjaya will be voted off “American Idol” once and for all. Last night the 17-year-old again used his hair to distract us from his sub-karaoke level musical talent.
This week‘s ‘do was a mohawk that contained seven mini-pony tails. Look at that, isn‘t that adorable? Sanjaya has escaped the guillotine the last couple of weeks thanks to voters who presumably take perverse pleasure in watching him embarrass himself.
Sanjaya‘s success has caused many to ask without irony in their voices whether “American Idol” is losing its credibility, Tucker. I hope that is not.
CARLSON: Do you think it is, Willie?
GEIST: No. I hope that is not true. I really hope that is not true.
I would hate to see the process be ruined, much like.
CARLSON: Let‘s be totally honest here, I‘m not a regular viewer, how bad is he? Is he really bad or is that just the fashionable thing to say?
GEIST: No, he is atrocious. He is atrocious. You have to mute it and just watch him dance around in his hair. And he is not going to have to apologize in the end to people like me for that mohawk, you know who he will have to apologize to?
GEIST: Guys like Mr. T, guys like this who are going to be coming at you right now in just a second. There he is. Mr. T, that is the guy who you have to answer to when you walk around with a mohawk like that.
CARLSON: I think Mr. T is like 75 at this point. Probably a little less threatening than he used to be.
GEIST: He still kicks butt. He has still got the gold chains. Well, there is some other reality TV news, Tucker, that hits a little bit closer to home. the first contestant of the new season was booted of “Dancing with the Stars” last night.
One-time supermodel Paulina Porizkova was the first to go this time around. You may remember that television personality Tucker Carlson was the first to go last season. Porizkova joins Tucker, Trista Sutter from “The Bachelor,” and ESPN‘s Kenny Mayne in the exclusive first-to-go club.
Tucker made a cameo on “Dancing with the Stars” last night to discuss the life-changing shame that comes with being sent home first.
CARLSON: I do not remember the dance at all. I remember sitting in the chair, I remember getting barked at by the judges, and that is all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM “DANCING WITH THE STARS”)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the problems started as soon as you stood up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I mean, there was a kind of dramatic narrative to the dance. I mean, it all got lost because it did not look like I was at a bachelor party in Vegas.
GEIST: They love you, Tucker. They keep dragging you back.
CARLSON: I love them. Right, because I am immune from humiliation at this point.
GEIST: You know, I was there when you got kicked off.
CARLSON: Yes, you were. You were in the front row.
GEIST: . and somehow I was actually crushed. I was surprised. The people we were with were surprised.
CARLSON: We had a maudlin dinner after...
GEIST: It was. It was very depressing. And by the way, your dancer, Elena was stuck with, again, sort of a suspect dancer, Clyde Drexler.
GEIST: I think they are punishing her.
CARLSON: Or maybe her fault, actually.
CARLSON: . great choreography.
GEIST: There it is. She had you sitting in the chair. That wasn‘t so good, I know that.
Well, there is other news, Tucker. If you are still siding with cats in the age-old cats versus dogs debate, listen and let me know if your cat has ever done this.
A Maryland woman says her golden retriever saved her life by performing a modified version of the Heimlich maneuver on her while she was choking. Debbie Parkhurst says a piece of an apple got stuck in her throat, she began to beat on her chest frantically. That is when the woman‘s 2-year-old dog pushed her down and then jumped up and down on her chest until the apple was dislodged. Parker says she now has paw-shaped bruises on her chest and will be suing for $7 million.
GEIST: But she has—she has got bruises. And she even says the dog licked her face to make sure she did not pass out. If this story is true, which it probably isn‘t, it is amazing.
CARLSON: That is—I love it. I‘m willing to believe any good thing about dogs. So I hereby call this truth.
GEIST: Yes, you are a dog man. We are advocates for dogs. One other one for you, Tucker, the wait is over. We finally know who Billy Jean King is endorsing for president. The 2008 race for the White House began in earnest today when the tennis great announced that she will throw her support behind Senator Hillary Clinton.
Funny, I had her pegged as a (INAUDIBLE)-cradle gal myself. The apparent symbolism is that Hillary‘s attempting to make history as the first woman to be president just as Billie Jean King made history by defeating Bobby Riggs in the famous 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. Riggs was, by the way, 30 years past his prime...
CARLSON: I am glad to hear someone stick up for Bobby Riggs.
GEIST: Exactly. Somebody ought to.
CARLSON: He was wearing a sugar daddy coat that game.
GEIST: He was.
GEIST: Do you think Barack Obama is disappointed he didn‘t get this?
CARLSON: Barack Obama is more live (ph) than...
GEIST: Martina Navratilova is still out there. That is the good news.
CARLSON: Willie Geist, welcome back.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. “HARDBALL” is next. See you tomorrow.
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