Guests: Fred Smith, Dan Gerstein, Bill Press
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show, joining you from Los Angeles.
Provocative language leads the news today. The Washington stalemate over the Iraq war dragged on, as President Bush and Senators Reid and Obama lobbed more contentious words at one another.
Karl Rove and Sheryl Crow exchanged their own bitter jabs on Saturday night over global warming.
And the independent nation of San Francisco declared itself a sanctuary for illegal aliens.
We will have our own words on all those words in just this hour.
But we began with Hillary Clinton‘s explanation of her husband‘s potential role in her potential presidential administration. Speaking over the weekend, Mrs. Clinton said she would consider former President Clinton a roaming ambassador to the world—whatever that is—in order to repair America‘s image abroad—quote—“I can‘t think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton. Can you? He has said he would do anything I asked him to do. I would put him to work.”
Well, is Ambassador Bill what America needs? And, now that Mrs. Clinton is on the record that she intends a prominent role for her husband, will that prospect help or hurt her own run for the White House?
Here to tell us about the Clintons‘ campaign and the rest of the day‘s news, Democratic strategist, former senior adviser to the Lieberman campaign and founder of the political blog Dangerous Thoughts, Dan Gerstein, also national syndicated radio show host and author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion,” Bill Press.
Welcome to you both.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, Tucker.
DAN GERSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Hi, Tucker.
CARLSON: Now, Bill, as a purely political matter, it seems to me, Hillary Clinton has some appeal to her. She‘s smart. She understands politics pretty well, understands policy pretty well. She‘s a hard worker.
On the downside, in the negative column is this psychodrama that she has carried on in public with her husband for the past, say, 25 years or so. Does it really help her campaign if voters think they‘re going to get sucked into that psychodrama once again if she‘s elected?
PRESS: Look, Tucker, you—first of all, the big—the question everybody is, if she is president, what is Bill going to do? Is he just going to play golf?
PRESS: Is he going to first man? Everywhere she goes, she gets that question.
I think she handled it brilliantly. Look, Bill Clinton is a tremendous asset. If Al Gore had used Bill Clinton more, in my judgment, he would be president of the United States today. And Bill Clinton is the most popular politician on the planet.
He‘s a great salesperson for the United States. So, I would say, yes, that‘s a great idea for him. Don‘t give him a post like secretary of state or whatever. Put him out on the road and just selling good—or giving away goodwill, if you will, on the part of the United States. I think it would be a great idea.
CARLSON: Well, Bill Clinton himself think it‘s a great idea, Dan. He was on “Larry King,” last week. And he said this.
He said: “All presidents need help. They need all the help they can get.”
“Would you do it?” he was asked.
His one-word reply: “Absolutely.”
CARLSON: Here is a man who is desperate to be once again relevant.
And I—again, I wonder, leaving aside—look, the guy is very popular around the world. There is no question about that. But do American voters, in this country, really want to be sucked in to the endless drama of the Bill and Hillary show?
GERSTEIN: Well, I think, Tucker, most people who are obsessed with the psychodrama that you described live inside the beltway.
I think most average voters would—hearken back to the Clinton years
of peace and prosperity with a lot of warmth and acceptance. And I think -
I totally agree with Bill‘s assessment. There is no bigger problem the United States has globally, other than the threat of global terrorism, than the damage that George W. Bush has done to our credibility and our standing in the world.
And there is no better political leader than Bill Clinton positioned to repair that damage. And I can‘t—I mean, it‘s the perfect role for him to be the global repairman for the next president, whoever it is. And the fact that it‘s Hillary Clinton makes it all the more likely that he‘s willing to do the job.
CARLSON: Well, Bill, I know we‘re not supposed to say this out loud.
It‘s considered impolite in mixed company.
CARLSON: And I run some risk even bringing it up.
PRESS: Yes, Tucker?
CARLSON: But was Bill Clinton such a success in the foreign policy realm? I mean, this is a man who turned down the opportunity a couple of times to arrest Osama bin Laden, on whose watch the 9/11 plot was hatched and carried almost to fruition.
This is a guy who actually didn‘t manage the rest of the world very well. And the results were obvious and tragic. I know we‘re not supposed to say that, but it‘s factually true. So, what leads us believe he would be such a great manager of the rest of the world?
PRESS: No, no, no.
First of all, he is not managing the world. That‘s not what Hillary is talking about at all, number one. Number two, it is not factually true, Tucker. You‘re not supposed to say it because it‘s not true. Peace and prosperity. Think about Northern Ireland. Who did it? Clinton.
PRESS: Think about the peace in the Middle East. Who did it?
CARLSON: Northern Ireland, I mean, come on.
CARLSON: There is no peace.
CARLSON: What are you talking about?
PRESS: Listen, I just got back from there.
PRESS: It is absolutely peaceful today. Bill Clinton delivered.
Think of the Middle East. I mean, Yasser Arafat turned him down at the very end, but he got us 97 percent toward peace in the Middle East.
And you can‘t blame him for, without our knowledge, there was a group that we knew nothing about that was planning an attack from the United States.
CARLSON: Hold on. Hold on. Just—let‘s just get the facts straight. I am not blaming Bill Clinton for 9/11, all right?
CARLSON: I am saying, however, that the 9/11 plot happened on his watch, that the Clinton administration was negligent, I think, in recognizing and dealing with that risk.
And I‘m telling you the fact, which is, the Clinton administration turned down the opportunity to arrest Osama bin Laden. That‘s not one right-winger‘s opinion. That‘s the truth.
PRESS: Look, we have been over that ground before.
Clinton gave an edict to the CIA to find Osama bin Laden, to hunt him down, and to kill him, to assassinate him.
PRESS: The fact they did not succeed is not Clinton‘s fault.
He tried to get this guy after 1993.
CARLSON: All right.
CARLSON: I fear we‘re going to get caught up in the minutia. But I‘m just saying...
PRESS: Facts. Facts.
CARLSON: ... for a statement of fact, which you can look up—it exists—it was on the front page of “The Washington Post”—a third country offered over Osama bin Laden. The White House didn‘t feel they had a case against him. They turned it down.
I‘m sorry, Dan, I interrupted you. Go ahead.
GERSTEIN: No. I was just going to say, you know, we could spend all day debating the Clinton foreign policy.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
GERSTEIN: But that is not what is at issue here.
And Bill is exactly right. The key point is that Bill Clinton is incredibly—you know, you talk about something that is not debatable is, Bill Clinton is incredibly popular across the globe.
CARLSON: Yes, he is. That‘s right.
GERSTEIN: He—people in other countries have pictures of him up on their wall, the way they used to have with John F. Kennedy.
And I think, to not to take advantage of that store of goodwill to begin rebuilding the bonds of trust and strengthening our diplomatic relations with our allies and with countries that we need to have on our side in the war on terror would be a huge squandered opportunity. So...
CARLSON: OK. You may be on to something. But let me just—let me just suggest the following, Dan.
Don‘t you think that pundits overplay the role of personality in foreign affairs? The United States is unpopular partly because Bush is unpopular. They just don‘t like his style. He‘s from Texas. He swaggers, whatever. They don‘t like him.
But it‘s so much deeper than that. The United States is the sole superpower in the world, intimidates the hell out of a lot of people. They resent it, right? There is China, an emerging superpower. There is Russia. There are all of these different poles around the world that have interests contrary to ours. That‘s the problem a lot of the time.
GERSTEIN: Oh, there‘s no question. That is a huge problem. And no single political leader is going to solve some of those very thorny relationships.
I guess my point is, at minimum, we need to rebuild some trust and some credibility. And Bill Clinton has that ability. And then the policies are going to be very important. And I agree with you. It is not just George Bush personally. It is his policies.
It is pulling out of the Kyoto climate talks. It‘s rejecting the International Criminal Court, a whole bunch of things that have basically thumbed—have the United States thumb their nose at the rest of the world. And I think we have to reverse that.
Then, very quickly, Bill, let me just ask you a concrete question here.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton says she wants her husband to be ambassador to the world, global ambassador. That‘s a new post in human history, by the way.
CARLSON: Where does that leave the secretary of state? Like, what exactly is that job?
PRESS: No, listen, Clinton goes everywhere. He talks to everybody. He represents the United States. The secretary of state does the deals, does the treaties.
I think there is a clear delineation. And the secretary of state is not going to be scared away by the fact that Bill Clinton is also providing some assistance.
CARLSON: I am sure the secretary will love that. Wouldn‘t you?
CARLSON: Can you imagine?
PRESS: Hey, we are the only superpower. I think the key issue is...
PRESS: ... how do you deal with other countries? Are you willing to listen to them? Are you willing to work together them? George Bush is not. That is why they hate us today.
CARLSON: Yes. I think it‘s a little more complicated.
But we are going to take a break right now.
And I should just say, for the record, that it is illegal for a president to hire a member of his or her family to work for the federal government in that kind of position. So, this would have to be an unpaid role, if Clinton took it.
Next up: The celebrity crusade for climate change, it came to Washington and got heated. The Sheryl Crow-Karl Rove showdown was the talk of the town. But who won in the end, the rock star or the president‘s brain?
And the conflict between Bush and Democratic Senator Harry Reid went another fruitless round today. We have got the latest salvos in Washington‘s political trench warfare.
This is MSNBC, America‘s most impressive news network.
CARLSON: Singer Sheryl Crow was hoping to change Karl Rove‘s mind on global warming, but their exchange on climate change got a little heated. Should we even care what celebrities think about science?
We will tell you when we come back.
CARLSON: Saturday night, the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, where famous people of every stripe elbow one another out of the way to get close to other famous people—the most talked about such meeting was between Sheryl Crow, activist and wife of Larry David, Laurie David, and White House political adviser Karl Rove.
Now, depending on whose account you trust, it went something like this. Ms. David approached Mr. Rove to express concern about the administration‘s record on global warming. Mr. Rove defended the administration in terms that Mrs. David did not like. So, Ms. Crow stepped in.
When Rove asserted his right not to listen to them, Crow reportedly said, “You work for me.”
Rove allegedly responded, “I would for the American people,” to which Crow may or may not have said, “I am the American people.”
Hot stuff, at least for a correspondents dinner in Washington.
Here to talk about that incident and the political might and right of celebrity crusaders, we welcome Fred Smith, president and founder of the Competitive Enterprise Institute...
CARLSON: ... a free market public policy group.
Fred, thanks for coming on.
FRED SMITH, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE:
Sounds like a very warm evening last night.
CARLSON: Yes, it does. I‘m sorry I missed it.
CARLSON: I was out in L.A.
Look, I‘m not here to deny the existence of global warming. Temperatures appear to be rising. We can leave that debate for another time.
Here is what I‘m interested in. There seems to be a religious equality to the nature of the discussion, a kind of zealotry that sneaks into the rhetoric of global warming advocates.
Why is that?
SMITH: Well, it is partly the traditional approach of elites everywhere to tell we others how to live our lives.
The peers have always wanted to tell the peasants how to live a better life. When the railroad was involved, the duke of Wellington (INAUDIBLE) at the time said, these railroads, they will only allow to poor to aimlessly travel around the countryside. And, of course, that is true for automobiles and airlines and so on.
Actually, Tucker, I don‘t know if you noticed it, but there is sort of a green Battle of the Bulge going on, a hopeless cause. It‘s pushing dramatically to win while they‘re slightly ahead.
This week‘s edition of “Vogue” magazine has great discussions about how, as Sheryl Crow tells us, if we use toilet paper, we‘re chopping down forests throughout the tropics. Well, we will be doing something worse if didn‘t use toilet paper.
CARLSON: Could we be a lot more specific about that? Some of our viewers may not be aware of the actual policy position Sheryl Crow is taking on the question of toilet paper—quote—“Only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two or three could be required.”
CARLSON: She wants a federal law, apparently, on toilet paper use.
She is also against paper napkins.
Why the—if you are going to fight global warming, would you start with toilet paper use?
SMITH: Well, actually, that‘s, of course, the attempt, is to make it appear that trivial changes in our lifestyle could somehow make it easy for us to change—to make a dramatic, wrenching transformation of civilization. That is Al Gore‘s terminology.
If the global warming alarmists were serious, they would be proposing, what, European-style gasoline taxes, $5 a gallon? Now, nowhere near enough. Europe, with those kind of tax policies, is producing an increasing amount of CO2, the greenhouse gas fearful to these people, and they are producing it despite vastly higher energy prices, vastly higher energy taxes, regulations out the kazoo. I don‘t know whether they have gotten to toilet paper or not, but I am sure Sheryl is working on them, too.
CARLSON: Well, wait a second. If you were really serious about it, wouldn‘t you consider bombing industry in China? I mean, you have factories in China that—you know, coal-fired factories with no filter on their emissions at all that really are pumping a lot of garbage into the sky. I mean, wouldn‘t you be serious about the foreign policy component of this?
SMITH: Don‘t you realize that it is critical that, in the world today, we preserve the indigenous way of life in the Third World?
That indigenous way of life, of course, is poverty. And, therefore, it is critical that we preserve eco-tourism sites, so we elites can fly down to the rain forest, sit in our air-conditioned chalets, and look at the poor living in squalor and poverty below.
The world is energy-poor. It is critical that we recognize that. For America to exercise moral leadership in this area, we cannot go around telling the energy poor of the world to stay poor.
India and China are dramatically improving their situations. And, if you think it is critical, worrisome that they are using energy, imagine what happens is they are shown the promised land and then denied access to it; 2.3 billion people with nuclear weapons is not the kind of national security issue that I want the global alarmists, the global warming alarmists, to create for the world, for the America people.
CARLSON: And, very quickly, Fred, Why the obsession with toilets? There is, of course, now a law that limits the amount of water you can use in your toilet. Prince Charles, a number of years ago, presented his whole theory on toilet use to save the environment—Sheryl Crow obsessed with toilet paper.
Where is the nexus between saving the Earth and toilets? Why toilets?
SMITH: You haven‘t understood that a moral society would be Victorian. There would be no toilets. There would be no need for toilets. We would recycle everything. Don‘t you understand that a world of morality would have no waste, no residuals? We would all be working like angels in this world in the sky.
The elites of the world have got to recognize that there are normal people in the world. We use toilet paper. We use water. We use energy. We use it more and more intelligently. And the challenge for us, the challenge for the world is to find ever more creative ways of extending our virtues to the rest of the world, not to try to perpetuate the horrible lifestyles that have dominated the Earth for the last 10,000 years.
SMITH: We have a chance to have a richer world. And a richer world is a cleaner world. They want a poorer world, where their elite lifestyles can basically allow them to live well.
Leonardo DiCaprio is scarcely a model of ecological lifestyles. He‘s an indulgent individual living an indulgent lifestyle.
CARLSON: All right.
SMITH: And his solution is to let other people pay for his indulgences.
CARLSON: As long as he stays away from my john, he‘s fine with me.
Thanks a lot, Fred. I appreciate it.
SMITH: That‘s good. Take care. Bye, Tucker.
CARLSON: If talk is cheap, then the fight over the war in Iraq is the deal of the century. It‘s President Bush vs. Congress on the war in Iraq. The words are heated, but America is still waiting for action? Will we ever get any? What would it be, if we did?
And the city of San Francisco will not participate in immigration raids, after its mayor declared his town a sanctuary for immigrants. Has the city by the bay declared its independence from the rest of the nation? We will tell you.
You‘re watching MSNBC, America‘s most impressive cable network.
CARLSON: The Sheryl Crow-Karl Rove confrontation was on Saturday night just the latest example of global warming‘s emergence as a central political issue in America. Now on Monday afternoon, we have a new latest example. Senator John McCain, conservative Republican, gave a speech on climate change. He took the tack that the problem is not just environmental, though it is, but also geopolitical.
McCain says a central motive for America‘s response to climate change ought to be the country‘s dependence on foreign oil from the Middle East. Will McCain and the Republicans be able to seize this issue, or at least prevent Democrats from winning on it in 2008? Here to tell us, we welcome back our Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein, nationally syndicated radio host Bill Press.
Bill, first just let me ask you about the Crow position on global warming. That‘s, of course, Sheryl Crow. Do you think it is possible this whole toilet paper rationing idea could be adopted into the Democratic platform, and taken up by whoever the nominee is? A cop in every men‘s room, or whatever the slogan would be, but limiting us to just one square of toilet paper. What do you think of that?
PRESS: I expect Dennis Kucinich to announce it tomorrow as his principle platform in his presidential campaign. Tucker, for the record, I don‘t think you‘ll find any of the Democratic presidential candidates endorsing this issue. And for the record, I want to go on record as I am for unlimited use of toilet paper.
CARLSON: Good, you know what you are? You are just a despoiler of god‘s creation, Bill.
PRESS: I‘ll save it in other ways, thank you.
GERSTEIN: Bill, I love that kind of principled stand you‘re taking.
CARLSON: The reason I bring this up is not just to make fun of Sheryl Crow, though obviously I enjoy that deeply. But also to make the point that I think global warming real. I am not denying its existence. But some of the people who take it up as their reason for being are crazy. Let us just call it what it is. They‘re bonkers. They‘re obsessed. They‘re religious nuts. They‘re Hare Krishnas. I mean, they‘re nuts. I wonder if that wouldn‘t scare ordinary people at a certain point away from the Democratic position, Dan.
GERSTEIN: Well, I‘ve got to tell you, that has been a concern of mine for some time, in terms of the Democrats over-reliance on celebrity spokespeople. I mean, listen, I think the fact Laurie David and Sheryl Crow want to get involved and area passionate about this is great. But they‘re not experts on this subject. And when they kind of take some of these more eccentric positions, it just give credence to the other side‘s caricatures of Democrats being out of touch or enthralled with elitists in Hollywood.
I think we would all be a lot better off if we limit these debates about complex issues to people who really knows something about it and have legitimate policy ideas.
CARLSON: That would be less fun, but possibly more instructive. Bill, I want you to listen to what John McCain said, part of what he said today on this issue. Here is John McCain in his energy speech from today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: National security depends on energy security, which we cannot achieve if we remain dependent on imported oil from Middle Eastern governments, who support or foment, by their intentional inequities, the rise of terrorists, our unswaggering demagogues and would be dictators in our hemisphere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: In other words, nobody would have heard of Hugo Chavez or Osama bin Laden, for that matter, if we were not dependent on foreign oil. I think that is a really serious point, and I think that is the direction this debate ought to take, don‘t you?
PRESS: No, I totally agree. Energy conservation is national security. Energy independence is national security. Tucker, you are right. There are some people on the fringe of every issue, but this should not be—I don‘t think this should be a partisan issue. I‘ve got to say, when I went to California, the first person I worked for, strongest environmentalist in California, Republican State Senator Peter Behr.
You look at the movement to save the bay, save Tahoe, save the coast; they were all lead by Republicans. The two presidents who have done the most for the environment in this country are Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, Republicans. This used to be—You know, conservation is a conservative issue. And I think Republicans let this issue get away from them. I think John McCain is very smart to try to bring it back. You know, saving the planet should be something that everybody ought to come together on.
CARLSON: I agree. I just wish, Dan, very quickly, will Democrats or Republicans, for that matter, tell the truth about emissions, that is going to be really expensive, not just for rich corporations, but for you, pal, every single American, if we really try to limit these emissions? It‘s going to make everything a lot more expensive. Who‘s going to say that out loud first?
GERSTEIN: Well, John McCain will and I think that is one of the reasons why it was so smart of him to give this speech now, and to do two things. One is to sort of reestablish his brand as sort of an independent thinker, a straight talker and a national interest leader.
I think the second thing is he is going to tell the truth. He is going to say what George Bush wouldn‘t say about this war, which is it requires a lot of sacrifice, and it is going to require the country coming together to make some investments, to make some sacrifices, to have a national strategy. Otherwise, we are just going to be chipping around on the margins. And I think Tom Friedman has really awakened a lot of people‘s eyes with his focus on this geo-greening of international politics and the fact that there is both a challenge here and an opportunity.
If America acts now and assumes some leadership, we have the chance to really take economic competitive advantage on these innovative technologies that are necessary to wean ourselves off foreign oil.
Let‘s hope that is right. All right. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama gave it their best political shots in front of Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network. So who came out ahead with the Rev? It matters.
And opponents of President Bush‘s war policy hope to see compromises from the White House. They got another taste of disappointment today. We have the president‘s latest defiant words on the war, the wall and the funding bill. This is, of course, MSNBC.
CARLSON: President Bush met with Iraq military overseer General David Petraeus in Washington today. Then he met with the press with his comments afterwards. Senator Harry Reid spoke on the floor of that chamber a couple of hours later. And guess what? President Bush decried any timetable for troop withdrawal. Senator Reid decried President Bush‘s policy. We‘ve reached a I know you are, but what am I level weeks ago.
Where, when, and how does it all end? Here to analyze that, maybe even predict Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein, nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press. Welcome back to you both.
Bill, Dan, the most interesting thing I heard all day on the subject of Iraq came not from President Bush, nor the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, but from Chuck Schumer, one of the smartest members of the Senate. Maybe not the most personally popular, but definitely a smart guy. And he said this—Remember Harry Reid, last week, said the war is lost.
Chuck Schumer said “The war is not lost. And Harry Reid believe that. He knows the war is not lost.” You know exactly, as someone who spent a long time in politics, what has happened here. They focus grouped that. The war is lost idea tests very poorly with the public. They don‘t want to hear anybody say that, so Democrats have decided, oh god, don‘t tell the truth about how we feel about the war. We don‘t believe the war is lost. But they do believe the war is lost, don‘t the Dan?
GERSTEIN: Well they do, and I think it‘s very significant that Chuck Schumer went on national television to essentially walk balk his leader‘s comments, and to say, well that‘s not really what he meant. But, I‘ve got to tell you Tucker, this back and forth between Bush and Reid just, to me, epitomizes what‘s wrong with the debate over Iraq, and our politics more broadly.
On the one hand, you have the president who has been so dug in and rigid and divisive and dismissive of public opinion, to the point of being arrogant. And then, on the other hand, you have the Democrats, who are so captivated by the anti-war wing of the party that just wants to get out of Iraq at all costs, with no consideration of the consequence. You have these two poles of the debate that don‘t really reflect where the mainstream and middle of the American people are.
And rather than trying to come together and find a solution, they are just throwing stones at each other.
CARLSON: I think that is a nice summation. Bill, in this battle—I am certainly not taking the president‘s side on this. The war is his fault and I blame him for that, as I think most people do. On the other hand, I think he makes a very good point that Congress does not have a plan to get us out with honor and with peace in the larger region, that Congress really is taking a reckless course here. And I think, in the end, even if you hate the war, as I do, you are going to find yourself sympathizing with David Petraeus over Harry Reid. Aren‘t you?
PRESS: No, I totally disagree with that, Tucker. First of all, I‘m not upset by this at all. I think this is the way government is supposed to work. You know, we don‘t have a monarchy. No president has the right to take us into a war unilaterally and keep us there basically forever, or certainly indefinitely.
So you‘ve got the president with his position, the Congress with its position. I don‘t think the position of Congress is irresponsible at all. It does not cut off funding. It provides every dime of the funding that the president wants. But it says, I think reasonably, we ought to know—have some idea of what the mission is going to be and how long the troops are going to stay there.
Now look, here is what is going to happen, if you want to predict. The president is going to veto this legislation. He will do it before the end of the week. And then they are going to have to come together in some way to fund the troops and yet set some idea for the American people of when the hell we are going to get out of there. That‘s the way it ought to work.
CARLSON: Dan, I want to get to maybe favorite story, not just of the week, but possibly of the millennia. I‘ll be just totally honest. This is my favorite story.
PRESS: Better than toilet paper?
CARLSON: Really, it‘s better than toilet paper. This is a great story. It‘s called the Sharpton Primary. And it‘s the endless procession of Democratic would be presidents tromping over to the National Action Network to kiss up to Al Sharpton, a person friend of mine. But still, it is an amazing spectacle.
Here is a clip of Barack Obama at the National Action Network speaking with Al Sharpton. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: Now, after three years, I went back to law school, got my law degree, and there is something humming down here. O that is somebody‘s Blackberry. That is Sharpton‘s Blackberry. Is that Hillary calling?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, the truth is Dan, it might have been Hillary calling. See that‘s the amazing thing. I asked this the other day; I can‘t ask this question enough: Al Sharpton, whom I love, partly because an outlaw—he‘s not part of the establishment. He is the give the finger to the man candidate in any race. He is all of a sudden the Democratic establishment, isn‘t he?
GERSTEIN: Yes, it‘s a rather remarkable turn around. But I will say this. I mean, Al Sharpton puts the vain in weather vain. I mean this guy wants to be in the middle of everything. And you know which way the wind is blowing by which way Al Sharpton is going. And, you know, a while back he was very dismissive of Barack Obama, viewed him as a threat to Al Sharpton‘s position as a leader in the civil rights and African American community.
But now that Obama is rising, he is palling around with him. He is making nice with him. And I think that is a bad sign for Senator Clinton.
CARLSON: Yes, I think it is too. You don‘t think that Barack Obama can actually win the support of Al Sharpton? Do you Bill?
PRESS: You know what—first of all, I‘ve got to say, there are going to be 250, at least, of these forums between now and the primaries. This is just going to be one of them. But I think the significant thing is that Hillary was calling. I think you‘re right, Tucker. She was saying to Al Sharpton, what the hell are you doing with Barack Obama at that podium, because I was there yesterday.
You know what, Barack Obama can win this with Al Sharpton or without Al Sharpton. I think that‘s the truth.
CARLSON: I agree with that. No, I think, a far more important constituency in the Democratic primaries, bigger than Sharpton‘s constituency, that‘s for certain, the National Action Network, are gay voters. That actually matters in the Democratic primary. Hillary Clinton has a problem with a lot of gay voters. And I‘m not sure this is even at the public consciousness yet.
Don‘t ask don‘t tell, the Clinton administration policy on removing gays who are openly gay from the U.S. military has really hurt, I believe, Hillary Clinton among gay voters, again a key constituency. Well she has gone back and changed her mind.
Here‘s what she says now, and I am quoting; this is from Hillary Clinton: “Right now, we are discharging soldiers, at a time when we don‘t have enough people to do the missions we need around the world, because they‘re gay. Not because they have done anything, but just because they‘re gay.”
Now, Dan, this is the wife of the guy who came up with this policy. This is the living embodiment of this policy. Can she really convince hay voters she is against it now at the 11th hour?
GERSTEIN: Absolutely, Tucker. And, again, I think you‘re doing something that‘s really unfair to her, which is projecting her husbands policies onto her, without taking into consideration her full record.
CARLSON: You‘ve got to be kidding. She got up at the beginning of our show and basically said, the peace and prosperity of the Clinton years, hey, that‘s me too. She takes credit for her husband‘s administration and its policies. She can not all of a sudden disown it when it is not helpful to her.
GERSTEIN: No, but she has her own point of view. I mean, she is entitled. She is not just the first lady. She is a senator from New York. She has her own positions, her own priorities. And look, look at her whole record. She has a great record on civil rights. She has a great record on equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. And she is coming out, as a matter of principle, which could be risky to her in a general election, saying, look, this is wrong, it is hurting our military, more importantly, and I‘m against it.
I do not think—I do not know how you can criticize her for that.
CARLSON: Well, here is what you can say. And I intend to say this later this week. I‘m actually speaking to the Human Rights Campaign at the end of this week. And here is what I plan to say, Bill.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton is clearly the favorite candidate for the—
I think, the gay establishment—political establishment in this country. She is against gay marriage, as is every other major Democrat—candidate on the Democratic side for president. How the hell can they get the support, any support from gay voters if they are against gay marriage? And why are they against gay marriage, exactly? What is the reason? I don‘t get it.
PRESS: Well, first of all, on the don‘t ask-don‘t tell thing, it is a bad policy, it has always been a bad policy. Hillary is right to oppose it. I don‘t care what Bill thinks. But if Bill really wants to help Hillary, he would come out and say, I made a mistake putting that policy in place.
Look, as far as gay marriage, Tucker, is, I will come flat out and tell you I think if two people love each other, they ought to be able to get married. And I don‘t care whether they are gay or straight or two men or two women.
CARLSON: No, but—yes, but wait a second, how can.
PRESS: It is a third.
CARLSON: . the Democratic candidates get the support of gay voters if they look right into the camera, as they do, and say, I‘m against gay marriage? If you are a gay voter, why the heck would you support Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or anyone—any of these guys? They are against your most important issue. I don‘t get it.
PRESS: No, no, no. The reason—first of all, that is not the most important issue for a lot of gays. Civil unions, a lot of gays are happy with civil unions. But let me tell you, when you compare the record of the Democratic Party with the Republican Party on gay rights, it is just that any Democrat is miles ahead of any Republican on this issue.
Look at Mitt Romney who used to be for gay rights. He has flipped 180 because he knows he can‘t win the Republican primary if he has that position.
CARLSON: Well, he wasn‘t just for gay rights, he was more for gay rights than Ted Kennedy. He was basically gay. I mean, that is basically what he is saying. I just want to make one final point before we go, Dan.
Hillary Clinton, a lot of people have said, you know, she is from Chicago, she represents New York, she can‘t win the South. We now have evidence not only can she can win the South, she is from the South. She is southern. This is Hillary Clinton revealing her southern roots on camera.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I walk into the Oval Office in January 2009, I am afraid I‘m going to lift up the rug and I‘m going to see some much stuff under there.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: You know, what is it about us always having to clean up after people?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, hot damn, Dan. What part of Alabama did she grow up in? Do you know?
GERSTEIN: I don‘t. I have got to say, Tucker, this fascination with everything that comes out of her mouth just.
CARLSON: What do you mean? Why wouldn‘t we be fascinated, she is running for president? She wants to be our leader. We should listen, don‘t you think?
GERSTEIN: Well, I would think—I think it is a lot more important to examine her qualifications, her leadership ability, and her positions on the issues than whether she slips into, you know, some different cadences every once in a while.
CARLSON: It is so embarrassing. All right. We will be watching.
PRESS: And, Tucker, I want to hear more of Hillary like that. That down home Hillary, I love it.
CARLSON: It was so horrifying. Meet me at Cracker Barrel. We will be right back.
San Francisco goes it alone on immigration policy. What does the people‘s republic hope to achieve with its permissive stance? And what effect will the city‘s new immigration policy have in the rest of the country?
Plus, just about every famous person in Washington and the press corps gets together in the same room on Saturday night, and who was the star attraction? If you guessed the president, you haven‘t been watching enough television. Sanjaya‘s moment of glory is just ahead on MSNBC.
CARLSON: Some towns are trying to keep illegal aliens out, but not San Francisco, the mayor there wants them in and will try to protect them from federal authorities. Will San Francisco be the only sanctuary city or will other cities follow suit? That is next.
CARLSON: Well, here is one you won‘t believe. The City of San Francisco unilaterally declared itself a sanctuary city for immigrants way back in 1989. And yesterday Mayor Gavin Newsom restated that distinction in an almost combative way.
The mayor declared that he would, quote: “Not allow any of my department heads or anyone associated with this city to cooperate in any way, shape, or form with immigration raids. We are a sanctuary city, make no mistake about it.”
There is no mistaking San Francisco for anything it isn‘t, but is Mayor Newsom making a mistake? Back again, Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein and nationally syndicated radio host Bill Press.
Dan, this is kind of a Fort Sumter moment in a way. Here you have a renegade city essentially declaring war on the federal government. Should we take military action?
GERSTEIN: No. We should not take military action, but I think Democratic leaders across the country, and particularly at the DNC and the Congressional and Senate Campaign Committees should be taking a lot of note about this trend on the far left which is to basically excuse illegal immigration and dismiss the really heavy and deep-seated concerns of a lot of independent voters across the country, which really could be the explosive, you know, unwritten story of the next—of the 2008 election.
These are Perot voters who are not happy about the laxity of the enforcement of our immigration laws, about jobs being taken away. I think a lot of this is perception. I think a lot of it is unfair. And I think the Democrats have the right position.
But if we are not careful in explaining ourselves on this issue and taking pains to show that we support enforcement, particularly when it comes to businesses, hiring illegal immigrants, we are going to pay a heavy price.
CARLSON: I agree with that. Now, Bill—Bill Press, as a longtime resident of the Bay Area, tell me this. When rich yuppies like Gavin Newsom think immigration, they think, oh cheap nannies, more gardeners, so they can declare the city a sanctuary city.
If you had, let‘s say, I don‘t know, 150,000 or 2 million people from Nigeria or Congo, or you know, pick your nation in Central Africa. Show up and start cooking fires in trench latrines in Golden Gate Park. They would cease to be a sanctuary city in about 15 minutes, don‘t you think?
PRESS: Well, Tucker, I do not think that is fair. Let‘s deal with reality. First of all, I would like to point out.
CARLSON: Oh, why not?
PRESS: . Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has said the very same thing; that the Catholic Church in the Western United States will also not cooperate with the federal government.
CARLSON: And they should have yanked their tax exemption that day. They should have said, I‘m sorry, Mr. Catholic Church guy, you are no longer tax exempt.
PRESS: Well, I‘m just pointing out that Gavin Newsom is not alone. And back to what Dan said. You know, Gavin Newsom does not speak for the Democratic Party. Dan didn‘t mean that, I‘m sure. But Gavin Newsom, I think, was ahead of his time on gay marriages, a topic you just talked about. And I think he is ahead of his time on this. And he will be seen as that some day. For now, he is not going to get a lot of support from mainstream Democrats.
CARLSON: Wait, wait, wait, hold on, but—OK, no, no, he is not, but hold on.
PRESS: . but he should.
CARLSON: But if I—you know, if I was some of billionaire who had made a ton money in the tech boom, I would say, you know what, I am going to set aside $15 million and I‘m going to advertise and say, Burkina Faso, in Ouagadougou, the capital of that impoverished nation, and I‘m going to pay a one-way airfare to anybody who wants it, directly to San Francisco and say, you know what, camp out in the park and see if the welcoming people of San Francisco are all that psyched to see you.
Because, you know, they wouldn‘t be, in the end, at all. And you know it.
PRESS: Tucker, you are just making this up. What Gavin Newsom is.
CARLSON: I‘m not making—I‘m serious. He doesn‘t mean it.
PRESS: You are making it up. What—Tucker, what Gavin Newsom is saying is this. He is saying that my city departments and my city police have more important things to do than to chase undocumented workers are around the streets of San Francisco.
And I think he is right. And I think most mayors believe that. He is the only one with the gonads to say it.
CARLSON: No, no. What he is saying is the rich people and my city want to keep cheap labor cheap. They want their waiters and bus boys to be cheap. They want their nannies to be cheap. They want cheap labor. That is what they want. They don‘t actually want a bunch of.
CARLSON: . poor people.
PRESS: . it is not the rich people in San Francisco.
COSBY: . who have never seen wash toilets living in their city.
PRESS: It is not the rich people in San Francisco, all Americans depend on the work of undocumented workers. I don‘t care whether you are rich or poor, you go to a restaurant, you go into car washes, you are going to gas stations, you know, you are eating crops picked in the fields. It is an important part of this economy. Let‘s face it.
CARLSON: All right. Well, next time I go to the Third World I am going to invite every person I meet to San Francisco, have a great time. Dan Gerstein, Bill Press, you were great, thank you.
GERSTEIN: Thanks, Tucker.
PRESS: OK, Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, what is it with Karl Rove and the correspondents dinners lately? If he is not rapping and dancing, he is fighting with celebrities about global warming. The great Willie Geist joins us with a recap of the night that included Rove‘s showdown with a rock star and Sanjaya‘s D.C. debut. You are, of course, watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. If there‘s one rule in television everyone knows, understands and obeys, it is when you come to Los Angeles, bring Willie Geist. Unfortunately, we weren‘t able to do that this time. Willie stayed behind for the White House Correspondents Dinner. Joining us now, Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER: Tucker, how come when I go to L.A., where I was last week, they put me in the basement somewhere and you are out with palm trees behind you and the wind blowing through your hair?
CARLSON: Yes. I‘m actually sitting in a hot tub.
GEIST: I take it personal offense to that—I bet you are.
CARLSON: I am.
GEIST: Tucker, we got preempted on Friday for breaking news and I couldn‘t pass up the chance to show our viewers again this chilling remind of just how violent Buddhist monks really can be. The no-holds-barred monk throw-down took place during a protest in Cambodia on Friday. We don‘t know why the two groups of supposedly peaceful, meditative monks came to blows, but we are sure glad they did anyway. We couldn‘t pass up showing that again, Tucker.
CARLSON: That is so great.
GEIST: Well, you know, you are—neither of us were at the correspondent‘s dinner. You, by choice. Me, by lack of invitation. But here it goes anyway. President Bush, he may be the leader of the free world, but these days he is, frankly, no Sanjaya. The president was reminded of that as the “American Idol” castoff stole the spotlight at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night.
Sanjaya spent much of the night signing autographs, including one for a giddy New York governor, Eliot Spitzer. Not really sure what to make of that. Sanjaya was a guest of the dinner, of People magazine, as you might have imagined.
Now as you mentioned earlier in the show, Tucker, people stopped gawking at Sanjaya for just a moment when Sheryl Crow and Laurie David, the wife of one of the funniest humans on the planet, Larry David, gave Karl Rove an earful about global warming.
Each side says the other was guilty of bad behavior. David said, I have never had anyone be so rude. Rove said, she came over to insult me and she succeeded. That is no way to act on Earth Day eve, is it, Tucker?
CARLSON: It is funny, I get to L.A., and the second I arrive all of the crazy people go East to Washington.
GEIST: That is right. You changed on the way. You passed each other in the air. Now, this whole toilet paper thing just fascinates me. Sheryl Crow, you pointed it out earlier, wants us to each use one square of toilet paper every time we use the bathroom. Does that mean if you have two-ply or like Quilted Northern, do you have to peel the plies apart to use it or what are the.
GEIST: We need to get into specifics with that.
CARLSON: It is like being in a Soviet prison. It is like the gulag idea. By the way, can I just say that Sheryl Crow also recommended that people stop using napkins, paper and otherwise, and instead, use their sleeves. She has designed a shirt with removable sleeves so you can wipe your mouth on your sleeves medieval style.
GEIST: Right, she wants a disposable sleeve where you just wipe across, peel it back, and then you just go about your business. I‘m willing to compromise. I will separate the plastics from the bottles and all of that. I‘m willing to go along with this thing if we are really going to do it, but can we go a little bit slower? The one-ply toilet paper thing is just a little too fast for me.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
GEIST: Don‘t you think?
CARLSON: Progress, thy name is toilet paper.
GEIST: Yes, exactly. Let‘s just slow it down a little bit. Slow it down. Well, Tucker, a little warning here to anyone thinking about stealing from Miss America 1944, Venus Ramey. She will bust a cap and not think twice about it. The 82-year-old Ramey says a group of men tried to steal equipment from her Kentucky farm last week. They attempted to leave when she confronted them, so she pulled out her snub-nose.38 revolver, balanced herself on her walker and, yes, shot out the tires on their truck.
Ramey then held the men at gunpoint, 82 years old, until police arrived. One of the men was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing. They didn‘t get away with any of the stuff.
Now, Tucker, you thought Miss USA was dangerous because of her nightlife? This is real danger.
CARLSON: It is—when people ask me, why are you a life member of the NRA? Venus Ramey.
GEIST: And may I just suggest, Miss America is losing a little ground to Miss USA thanks to Donald J. Trump these days. How about a little marksmanship in bikinis.
CARLSON: I totally agree.
GEIST: Bikini-clad marksmanship on Miss America.
CARLSON: Now that is hot, honestly, yes.
GEIST: Just a thought. Tucker, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin died today at the age of 76. Yeltsin was Russia‘s first freely-elected leader and one of the great political characters of our time.
The man liked drinking, dancing and democracy, probably in that order, and we could not resist paying tribute to Yeltsin today by showing this legendary dance-off. That man is a YouTube clip before there even was a YouTube. Look at him go.
We could have done some sappy obituary for him. But I think this is kind of the way he would like to be remembered. That is a guy right there, Tucker, who loves life. Look at him go.
CARLSON: He was a Russian Edward Edwards, and I mean that as a high compliment.
GEIST: He was. You know what I like? I like a man who doesn‘t try to hide his sanity. In fact, he drinks a fifth of Stoli and puts it on display on the stage, you know? That is a fun guy right there.
CARLSON: We need one of them, Willie. Willie Geist from headquarters. Thanks a lot.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching, as always. Up next, “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS.” Stay tuned, we will be back tomorrow from Los Angeles. Have a great night.
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