Guests: Josephine Hearn, Peter Fenn, Joe Scarborough, Bill Wolff
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Just one day before the Democrats debate in the first major event of the 2008 presidential campaign, it was the two Republican front-runners and a talk show host who stole Wednesday‘s headlines.
As Democrats in the House prepare to pass their controversial war funding bill, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Rosie O‘Donnell made the most talkable news.
Rosie‘s ratings-grabbing, cringe-inducing yearlong run on the daytime gab fest “The View” ended this morning with the announcement she will leave that show in mid-June.
Joe Scarborough completed the journalistic circle by talking with Donald Trump about it today. Joe joins us later in the show with details from that conversation.
Meanwhile, Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani tempted the political fates by saying that a Democratic victory in ‘08 would make future mass casualty terror attacks like 9/11 more likely. We will discuss his provocative words in just a moment, also, Barack Obama‘s response to them, and the political peril of using 9/11 to scare voters away from the Democrats. Does it work?
We begin with John McCain. After weeks of erosion in his poll numbers, the Arizona senator made his candidacy official today with an announcement in New Hampshire. Here‘s part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, I announce my candidacy for president of the United States.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MCCAIN: I do so grateful for the privilege this country has already given me, mindful that I must seek this responsibility for reasons greater than my self-interests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: On the positive side, there are flickering signs of life in McCain‘s poll numbers, at least in the state of South Carolina, which does matter.
On the negative side, there is his ardent support of the war in Iraq, which is unpopular, and his association among voters with the Bush administration‘s policies.
Can McCain dig out of his current hole in time to nab the GOP nomination and even the presidency?
Here to tell us, we welcome staff reporter from “The Politico” Josephine Hearn and Democratic strategist who writes for “The Hill” newspaper, Peter Fenn.
Welcome to you both.
Here‘s what I thought was the most interesting thing McCain said today, Josie. I want you to listen to McCain on Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: When Americans confront a catastrophe, natural or manmade, they have a right to expect basic competence from their government. They won‘t accept that firemen and policemen are unable to communicate with each other in an emergency because they don‘t have the same radio frequency.
They won‘t accept government‘s failure to deliver bottled water to dehydrated babies or rescue the infirm from a hospital with no electricity. They won‘t accept substandard care and indifference for our wounded veterans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: There you have it. Rudy Giuliani blew it on 9/11. Bush blew it on veterans‘ care and Katrina.
JOSEPHINE HEARN, STAFF REPORTER, “THE POLITICO”: Exactly. This is kind of a twofer, yes.
CARLSON: I mean, this is an attack on two fellow Republicans, isn‘t it?
HEARN: That‘s right.
Yes. It‘s a veiled attack, yes. But it is. That‘s one of the criticisms of Giuliani, is that he didn‘t have some of the preparations in place for the World Trade Center disaster, that—that they were not prepared for it after—after something happened in ‘93.
And, obviously, Katrina was a terrible turn—it was a turning point for Bush, really...
HEARN: ... in his approval ratings. You started to see them go down after that. So, if he can go back to that, and also start to put some difference between him and the president on another issue, to get off of this war issue that has just so defined his campaign thus far.
CARLSON: I wonder, though Peter, McCain—the stock criticism of McCain is, he is too closely tied to Bush.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right.
CARLSON: But this is a Republican primary. This is not a primary taking place in your neighborhood or Cambridge, Massachusetts.
FENN: Or your neighborhood.
CARLSON: Or my neighborhood. That‘s exactly right.
CARLSON: This is a Republican primary.
Is it smart for McCain, who is already considered a little dicey by conservative Republicans, to be attacking Bush? And he is attacking Bush. Let‘s be honest.
FENN: Oh, absolutely. No question. He sounded like a Democrat there. You took that and read the words, you would have said, geez, did that come from John Kerry? Did that come from any of the Democrats...
CARLSON: But he is the one guy who might actually hurt himself by attacking Bush.
FENN: Well, let me tell you what is going on.
FENN: Well, I think that is absolutely right. I mean, he needs the Bush team. That‘s for sure.
But this is New Hampshire. This is where independents can vote in that primary. He won last time largely because he was able to pull in independents.
His strategy, I think, is going to be to try to get some of those independents back that he has lost. I‘m not clear he is going to be able to do that, because I think Iraq is too big an issue.
But, by talking about the issue of competence, which bothers a lot of the sort of goo-goo independents up in New England—geez, these guys just don‘t know what they‘re doing down here.
FENN: Then he says, look, I know what I‘m doing, and—to those independents.
I also have to say that—just as a parenthetical here—that the sweater thing. The last time I can remember someone doing a sweater thing was Jimmy Carter by the fireside, when he was doing....
CARLSON: I think Al Gore actually tried this.
FENN: Did he try the sweater thing, too?
CARLSON: I think Naomi Wolf talked him into a sweater, as I remember.
FENN: A brown sweater.
CARLSON: Yes, a brown sweater, earth colors.
FENN: Earth colors, yes.
CARLSON: Kind of a commanding color for him.
Josie, the other stock thing one hears about McCain is independents. He need independents. He got 19 -- he beat Bush by 19 points, famously, in 2000, beat him among independents and moderate Democrats 2-1.
You‘re going to have a real race on the Democratic side, though, this year in New Hampshire. Is it realistic to think he is going to get any independents? And does the Republican need any independents this year? Aren‘t they all going to go to Democrats?
HEARN: Well, I think McCain used to—as you said, he used to really appeal to independents.
We remember McCain the maverick. We remember McCain who went against government spending, who was really the driving force behind the Abramoff investigation...
HEARN: ... who was the co-sponsor on campaign finance reform.
All those issues appeal to independents. I don‘t why—I think that he needs to rekindle that old image of himself.
CARLSON: They have options this time, though, don‘t they?
FENN: Yes. They have opposites.
But the interesting thing is, if you had an R after your name in New Hampshire in the last election...
FENN: ... you were out.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
FENN: Even if people didn‘t know who the hell you are, you were gone. You were part of the governor‘s council, you know, for 20 years. Suddenly, you‘re defeated because you were a Republican.
The question—that‘s right. I mean, I think the question is, can he get some of those folks who—who went Democratic last time to come over and vote? But, in a contested Democratic primary in New Hampshire, it will be hard.
FENN: It will be hard.
CARLSON: It‘s going to be conservatives who are voting. And that‘s why—and we can talk about this again when we come back—but much of his speech was kind of stock conservative: Government spends too much.
FENN: Right. Right.
CARLSON: They take too much of your money. He sounded Bob Dole ‘96.
Rudy Giuliani was among the heroes who emerged on 9/11 in 2001. Does that give him the right or the political capital to say that a Democratic administration in ‘08 would make another terror attack more likely?
And what a short, strange trip it was for Rosie O‘Donnell. She took on Donald Trump, the 9/11 Commission, the boundaries of good taste every day on ABC. And now she‘s looking for a new job.
Joe Scarborough has Donald Trump‘s reaction—only on MSNBC.
CARLSON: John McCain makes his presidential bid official today. Voters say he‘s a lot like President Bush. Does that help or hurt his chances in ‘08?
We will tell you. We will be right back.
CARLSON: The results of the latest “Wall Street Journal”/NBC News poll will be released in their entirety tonight on “Nightly News.”
Among those results is public response to this question: Which 2008 presidential candidate is most likely to carry on President Bush‘s policies? Now, the front-runner in that race, Senator John McCain.
Can McCain win the White House if his policies remind people of President Bush?
Back again, staff reporter for “The Political”—“Politico,” Josephine Hearn, and Democratic strategist Peter Fenn.
Peter, here are the actual numbers. Let‘s—let‘s—let‘s put this up on the screen. Question: How closely Well, each candidate follow in President Bush‘s footsteps? Very closely, John McCain, 18 percent. Rudy Giuliani, 12 percent, Fred Thompson, 9 percent, Mitt Romney, 7, which is actually kind of interesting, since Mitt Romney is probably closest to the president.
Again, my theory is, that‘s not all bad for Bush in a Republican primary, because Republicans like Bush...
FENN: Well, actually...
CARLSON: I know you don‘t know any, but trust me.
CARLSON: I have heard.
FENN: I met a few. You know, some of my best friends—no, I‘m not going there.
The—the—I think there‘s one word, Iraq. I mean, I think that his—even though he has been critical of the president early on, in the way the Iraq war is fought, he is viewed now as the guy who is standing with Bush on Iraq. So, I think there‘s that part of it.
The other thing is that he has usurped most of the Bush advisers on the media front...
CARLSON: That‘s right.
FENN: ... the polling front. So, he has got—and a lot of the fund-raising team came out of the big Bush donors, even though he has got a lot of work to do on that front.
CARLSON: Well, especially now that they have just replaced their...
FENN: The lead fund-raiser.
CARLSON: ... their head financial person.
FENN: Right. Right. Right.
HEARN: I agree with Peter on the Iraq issue.
I think, if you look, last night, McCain on “Jon Stewart,” it was a 10-minute interview, and that‘s all he talked about. It was almost as if he was defending the administration, was—you know, that he was on there as an administration official.
It was—he can‘t get on any other topic, and he almost got booed on there. And it was, I think, a bad performance, especially when he says that he wants to appeal to a younger generation. And we know—I‘m not sure how many Republicans watch the show, but, certainly, younger people...
CARLSON: I‘m not sure how many younger people vote, actually, despite
you know, every year, we hear this is going to be the election determined by people under 30 or under 25. And I‘m not saying it would be bad if it were determined by people under 25, but it is never is.
Let‘s take a look at the money, the first—just for those who weren‘t following the first time, the first-quarter fund-raising breakdown was this: Rudy Giuliani, $16 million; Mitt Romney, $21 million; McCain, $13.7 million. He raised the least, but not only that. He had far less cash on hand, $5.2 million, compared, say, to Romney and Rudy‘s $12 million.
Is this an inefficient campaign? Where did that money go, Josie?
HEARN: Well, they certainly seem to think so.
As you mentioned, they have replaced some of their finance people.
And they have also set a new goal. I believe they said that they were going to try and raise $20 million the next—for the next quarter. So—so, I think there is a sense, even internally in the campaign, that things are not going as they would like.
CARLSON: But is it that they are not good at raising money or there isn‘t money to be raised? In other words, is it the donors are saying, I‘m not giving to John McCain?
HEARN: Well, other people—other people are able to raise money.
CARLSON: Right. So, it—so—is it—but is it a problem with McCain‘s reputation among donors? They don‘t want to give him money, or the—that the McCain campaign isn‘t organized enough to actually shake it out of a tree?
FENN: You know, I think there is a problem with some of these insiders, though.
They‘re—a lot of them don‘t like McCain. They don‘t like his campaign from 2000. They think he has got a temper. They don‘t react to him as well personally. I mean, you know, that can be turned around a bit. But, if you‘re going to have trouble getting the money, you darn well better not burn it at the rate that they are burning it.
CARLSON: So, who is going to be the nominee? Let‘s just—I mean, I hate predictions, but let‘s just go to it.
CARLSON: He‘s not an ideal candidate, but he is running against other people who may not be less ideal.
FENN: You know, I—I—I...
HEARN: Fred Thompson?
FENN: Well, exactly.
FENN: I mean, look, I said before I think you got the three stooges on top on the Republican side.
And it‘s a good-news/bad-news for McCain right now. You know, the bad news is, his negatives have doubled. The good news is, Rudy Giuliani peaked the day he announced. You know, the good news for him is that Romney is unable to hold a consistent position on anything, practically, other than his marriage, it appears, which the other ones have a little problem with a consistent position.
But the—the—the—the end of the day, if Thompson doesn‘t light a fire, I think what you‘re going to have is, you are going to have McCain by process of elimination.
FENN: Because I think he‘s the last man standing.
CARLSON: But that‘s often the process, though, isn‘t it?
FENN: Sure. It‘s the last man standing.
CARLSON: So, Josie, among the people you live and work with, all of whom are people who cover campaigns, right, what is...
CARLSON: And I‘m not sure the media primary really matters.
HEARN: Yes, every one.
CARLSON: But I‘m interested anyway.
CARLSON: Is the thought that McCain is actually not going to be the nominee?
HEARN: Well, I will tell you—I don‘t know about that.
But I will tell you what surprises me is the power of celebrity with Fred Thompson. He‘s up at 17 percent in a same poll where Romney was at 12 percent. And all he has to do is kind of intimate that he would like to do it. I mean, that, I think, is incredible.
And I—he‘s—people are looking for somebody new, obviously. All the polls say that, that—that Republicans are not satisfied with the choices they have.
CARLSON: Boy, I‘m just—I‘m getting tempted.
CARLSON: Every day I see these polls, I mean, just—you know what?
I should just quit the cable gig and go right into politics.
FENN: And all the White House press was all over him at the dinner Saturday night.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
FENN: He was the tall guy.
CARLSON: Speaking of tall guys, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton prepare for their first face-to-face showdown tomorrow night at South Carolina State. Should we expect a verbal slugfest, or will the two rivals for the presidency dance around one another in the first round of debate season?
Plus: Rudy Giuliani sounded a lot like the Republican standard-bearer when he warned America of the nightmarish danger of voting a Democrat into the White House. Was Giuliani making a fair point? Was he way out of line? We will tell you.
This is MSNBC, America‘s most impressive cable network.
CARLSON: You can‘t blame Rudy Giuliani for invoking the memory of 9/11 in his bid to gain the presidency. His leadership in New York City on that horrible Tuesday made his run for national office viable in the first place of course.
Last night, speaking in New Hampshire, Giuliani injected 9/11 into an assault on the Democratic Party. Quote, “I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we‘re going on the defense. We‘ll have to wave the white flag on Iraq, we‘ll cut back on the PATRIOT Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation, and we will be back to our pre-9/11 attitude of defense. The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”
Well, Giuliani then added that a Democratic administration would make the war on terror longer, more costly, and more deadly.
Is there any legitimacy to his rhetoric and will the politics work for Giuliani and the Republican Party? Here to discuss it, staff reporter for the politico, Josephine Hearn, and Democratic strategist Peter Fenn.
Now, Peter, I think it‘s wrong to state or imply that if Democrats are elected we will have another 9/11 but it‘s very clear to me that Republicans, Giuliani anyway, whatever his faults, are much more attuned to the threat we face from Islamic terror than the Democrats who can‘t even by and large use the phrase “Islamic terror” because it‘s anti - it‘s not P.C.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Listen, we use Islamic terror, any kind of terror anytime.
CARLSON: You disagree with that?
FENN: Absolutely. I think—look, this attack from Giuliani is horse manure. I mean, this guy is trying to ride this run day into the presidency and if you look, I brought it as a little prop, not to sell books here because it‘s already been sold but Richard Clark laid out in his book exactly what he had done to get these guys to focus on terrorism and the notion that pre-9/11. Did we ever attack, this is a Bush attack or their fault. Look, you have Osama bin Laden walking tall in Southeast Asia. You‘ve got Wolfowitz in his book and meeting.
CARLSON: OK. Wolfowitz—I‘m not defending Wolfowitz.
I‘m just saying he is making the claim, here is the claim he is making. He is saying Democrats are not as obsessed with the threat we face from Muslim radicals around the world. I think that is strictly speaking not only true but totally true.
FENN: I think it‘s totally wrong, Tucker, because I think the one thing that we‘re saying is this isn‘t about Iraq. This is about terrorism and one of the things the Democratic Party and a lot of folks in the Republican Party have been arguing for so long is that we have taken our eye off the ball and that‘s why the terrorist threat has increased.
Not because we haven‘t had an attack in the United States is bogus.
CARLSON: It is bogus.
FENN: Right. The problem is, there are more terrorist out there now than there were before we went into Iraq.
CARLSON: I agree with you but I think you‘re conflating the two issues. Hold on. I‘m not defending the war in Iraq which I think was a distraction from the war on terror. I‘ve said that a thousand times. I do think it‘s relevant we haven‘t been hit again.
But let me get back to Giuliani. This, I think, Josephine, this actually will be a problem, this following sound bite. Now this is Rudy Giuliani at his speech in the 2004 Republican convention. I was there looking right at Giuliani when he spoke and I remember thinking if he runs for president this is going to be an anti-Giuliani campaign ad. This is his description of the first thing he thought as the Twin Towers burned. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Burning. Thank God George Bush is our president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: At the time, blech is what I thought. Are we going to see that in ads?
JOSEPHINE HEARN, WWW.POLITICO.COM: We may. Gosh, how much have things changed since ‘04?
HEARN: I think as far as his comments, that will come up again. As far as the comments about 9/11, I think that for Giuliani right now, he tops the polls because of his 9/11 background.
HEARN: And so he is going to do anything, any sharp edged comment he can do now right now, to keep that as his focus a opposed to his three marriages the several times he was photographed cross dressing. His stances on social issues, which are very much opposed to conservative Republicans. I think he is happy to create a little .
FENN: He is baiting us.
CARLSON: It‘s a little bit unjust here that Rudy Giuliani as far as I know has doctrinaire Bush views on the war in Iraq. I have not heard Giuliani out there saying this was a mistake from the get-go yet it‘s John McCain who gets blamed for being a Bush lackey and a running dog. Why is that?
HEARN: That‘s a good question.
FENN: I think it‘s a really good question, Tucker because if anything, McCain at least has been honest all along about how the war has been waged and has criticized the president. Rudy Giuliani has said nothing about this war.
CARLSON: McCain is making a coherent argument. You can disagree with McCain and I definitely do in a lot of ways when he speaks of foreign policy. But he clearly has thought it through.
This war, we‘ve had a lot of mistakes, but we need to stay the course but if we don‘t here‘s what‘s going to happen. I have not heard Giuliani say anything like that and I am wondering why Republican primary voters don‘t seem to care at all.
FENN: I don‘t either. I think you‘re right. I think—I don‘t think he can take this 9/11 thing all the way to January. I really don‘t. I do think he peaked the day he announced because they are going to look at these other things. And he will have to explain himself. When they get to those Republican debates and I hope you ask him the question. Why is it that you said very little about this war, and what do you really believe?
CARLSON: I can‘t remember seeing John McCain getting up there and saying his first response to 9/11 was, “Thank God George Bush is our president.”
HEARN: Well, one difference is that McCain has been in DC.
CARLSON: That is good point.
HEARN: This entire time he has been a senator. He has voted on those things. Giuliani is a New York guy. He hasn‘t had any official say in national policies.
CARLSON: He also has no, literally no foreign policy experience. I mean, he was the mayor of a city. Unless I am missing something.
HEARN: He does to the extent that New York is an international city.
CARLSON: But it is still a municipal area. Do you know what I mean?
FENN: This is a scary tactic for Giuliani in one way. And that is if they want to have a terrorist attack in this country, it would be easy. If they want to put a bomb on an Amtrak train going from Washington, DC to New York and walk off that train, that‘s not a hard thing to do.
If they want to do something like that, they can do it. The scary part is if I were Giuliani, I wouldn‘t be out there baiting them it. I wouldn‘t be out there pushing it. And also - he looks weird.
CARLSON: You may be right. But hold on, wait. So they‘re going to attack us if we‘re mean to them?
FENN: They are doing real well in Iraq because al Qaeda wasn‘t there before but they sure as heck are there now and they are causing us to spend 6, 700 billions dollars and .
CARLSON: You know what? Actually, I have to say, we have not been hit in this country and that is significant. I don‘t know why but it means something.
FENN: Because they always like to go big. If they—whatever they wanted to do here in terms of a small thing, they could do it.
CARLSON: But they haven‘t done it and I think it does tell us something. I‘m not endorsing the Bush administration‘s stupid foreign policy but I am saying you have to be fair and honest and honesty and fairness compels you to concede it‘s a great thing we haven‘t been hit.
FENN: I agree with that, really, but is it because of the policies of this administration?
CARLSON: We may never know,
Remember, tomorrow, all the major Democratic contenders will face off in the first presidential debate of the season and MSNBC is the only place on television you can see it live from the campus of South Carolina State in Orangeburg.
It will be moderated by NBC‘s Brian Williams. The first Democratic presidential debate live Thursday, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Only on MSNBC, the place for politics. We‘ll be there, by the way.
President Bush‘s critics are throwing the “I” word around, quite a bit lately. No, not “impressive” or “inspirational”, “impeachment.” Does that kind of talk about to anything or is it just an indicator of the president‘s general unpopularity and the Democratic Party‘s slow slide into insanity. We‘ll tell you.
And it looks like Rosie‘s reign of dayside talk may be ending. She announced today she‘s leaving the view in June.
Whose loss it? And did Donald Trump really get the last laugh. We‘ll get one of America‘s leading experts on Rosie O‘Donnell. You‘re watching MSNBC.
(CNBC MARKET WRAP)
CARLSON: When Americans elected a Democratically controlled Congress, they wanted more oversight and scrutiny of the Bush administration. That‘s what they said anyway.
Well, they got it. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted today to issue a subpoena so secretary of state herself, Condoleezza Rice. The committee hopes to compel Rice to explain what she knew and didn‘t know about the intelligence used by this administration to justify the invasion of Iraq.
It‘s a subject the secretary has addressed many times before but Congressman Henry Waxman of California is not satisfied. Will a subpoena provide new information about the Iraq War or is this plain old angry American politics at its worst?
Back to discuss it, staff reporter from “The Politico” Josephine Hearn and Democratic strategist Peter Fenn.
CARLSON: Josie, do Democrats recognize that when you have Henry Waxman out there throwing subpoenas at people, it might make the party look a little overzealous, crazy or scary. Or they don‘t see a downside.
HEARN: I don‘t see that happening yet. It‘s certainly a concern that you can issue too many subpoenas. You can seem to be .
CARLSON: Dan Burton 1998. Remember that?
HEARN: . beating a dead horse which is what they are saying on this latest one, what the Republicans are saying. Is that, hey, we‘ve already gone over this ad nauseam. There have been so many congressional investigations of this African yellowcake stuff and do we really need to go over this again especially with a very high ranking member of the Cabinet? Is it worth it?
So they‘re drawing a line in the sand on this one but I don‘t get a sense from the Democrats that they feel like they have overstepped so far. I think they are very happy with that ...
CARLSON: I think they have overstepped completed in so many ways. Some of these investigations are ridiculous, I think this U.S. attorneys general investigation is stupid. However, I really would like to know why we went to go to war in Iraq. This is the one investigation I personally support.
I want to know who forged that document. The Niger uranium document. We still don‘t know the answer. There‘s a lot I want to know personally as a journalist and an American. I don‘t think anybody cares though, Peter. I don‘t think anybody cares.
FENN: I don‘t think this is on the front burner now with Americans now in their daily lives but I agree with you totally, Tucker, I‘ve had a bug on this for a long time. This Italian intelligence document which supposedly was very definitive. It was clearly forged by somebody. No one has figured this out or they say they haven‘t figured it out but I have sneaking suspicion that folks in that State Department know.
CARLSON: Know what?
FENN: Know who authored the document, and I think that the whole notion here, and this is where I go on this. I do think Libby is the fall guy. I think Rove was obviously very involved, the vice president is very involved. The president went on that trip to Africa with the memo from the State Department going after Libby and the whole thing. I don‘t see any reason why we shouldn‘t get to the bottom of this if this was a leak of a covert action.
CARLSON: We should have gotten involved back in 2003 and 2002 when this all began. If the Democratic Congress had its wits about them, had a little courage, maybe we could have the answers to this.
FENN: They had no power though. They couldn‘t have a hearing on it.
CARLSON: I don‘t know. They went ahead and voted for it. Which they shouldn‘t have done.
FENN: I agree with that.
CARLSON: I‘m not blaming them. The Democrats didn‘t start the war. Bush did, but they were complicit in it. Now, I think there are signs that some Democrats are going a little bonkers.
The calls for impeachment .
FENN: Your guest!
CARLSON: Today, I‘m serious, Dennis Kucinich, we‘re going to have him back. But held a one-man rally. Here is how Dana Milbank‘s piece in the “Washington Post” led this morning.
“‘I do not stand alone,‘ Dennis Kucinich said, as he stood alone in front of a cluster of microphones yesterday evening to announce his plans to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.”
There is a rally in Washington today to support this idea. Josie, the Vermont House called up a resolution today calling for the impeachment. What the hell is going on?
HEARN: I don‘t sense a ground swell of support among mainstream Democrats for this.
CARLSON: The leadership is embarrassed of the wackos is it not?
HEARN: Yes and I think it‘s fair to say a lot of times the leadership will cringe at these kind of announcements often and it‘s not surprising that it comes from Kucinich. He marches to - as we all know he marches to his own drummer. He‘s a vegan.
CARLSON: He‘s an accordion player, actually.
FENN: (inaudible) accordion.
CARLSON: But wait a second. Here is .
HEARN: They hate this stuff because it gets them off message.
CARLSON: But also it reveals - look, it‘s the logical extension of their rhetoric. If you believe as Harry Reid does every bad thing he has ever said about Bush, right, Bush is a liar, Bush has taken the trust of the American people and subverted it, destroyed our country with the war in Iraq, why could you not supportive impeachment? Seriously?
FENN: With Cheney, there are two options. You can impeach him or you can put him on the ticket for ‘08 which is what a lot of us Democrats believe would be a good idea. There is a bumper sticker out, I don‘t know if you‘ve seen it, Satan/Cheney in ‘08, vote the father-son ticket.
Kucinich may have it on his car .
CARLSON: That‘s popular in certain neighborhoods here in Washington, yes.
HEARN: And they have so many other issues, the Democrats do. They can go after the U.S. attorneys. They can go after .
CARLSON: Why not get to the core of it?
HEARN: Why do something that could potentially alienate moderates.
CARLSON: I don‘t know. How about principle?
HEARN: Why do something you can‘t get Republicans onboard with?
For example, today, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Alberto Gonzales saying that they wanted him to provide information on the 60-100 times when he said “I don‘t know” or “I can‘t recall” in his testimony last week. That‘s a great issue for them. They have both the top Republican and Democrat on that committee going and asking the attorney general to ask for why he cannot recall.
CARLSON: This is 1998 all over again but you know what is missing from 1998? I lived here then, I covered all that stuff then, the Whitewater hearings, Monica Lewinsky, all that stuff - sex is missing, but also, there‘s no James Carville on the Republican side.
When Dan Burton started subpoenaing everybody, right, everybody‘s dry cleaner got a subpoena. Carville was out there saying this is outrage and he is out of control and he is a criminal and they had a point man for a counterattack. The Republicans have no such thing right now.
FENN: Then they need to put out Mr. Dick Cheney, who is Mr. Nine Percent in the polls, the worst thing they can do and Monica Crowley - Monica, not Crowley, Monica Goodling - poor Monica Crowley. Monica Goodling, subpoena, 32-6 or whatever the vote was?
The Republicans are in there. They are supporting this. The Republicans are crazy. They should get this attorney general to resign now. This will go on and on.
CARLSON: I believe it‘s a foregone conclusion.
Josie, it was announced that Mark Burnett, who is the reality television producer who really kind of created the genre for CBS with “Survivor” is building a new show called “The Independent” and the idea behind the show is this campaign season, MySpace, the popular Web site will allow people who sign on to nominate a candidate for president. Basically bloggers will decide who their candidate is.
How is this really different in substance from the John Edwards campaign where you let a bunch of barely post pubescent bloggers .
HEARN: The Howard Dean campaign.
CARLSON: Right. The Howard Dean campaign where they were home alone in the boxer shorts eating ice cream in mom‘s basement writing nasty things online control your campaign. That‘s the John Edwards campaign, isn‘t it?
HEARN: I am not going to bite on that one.
CARLSON: You‘re not going to bite? But Peter, you know that‘s true. Your face is read. You know that it happen single most—we talk about labor, the black vote, the gay vote. The single most powerful constituency in the Democratic field right now is the whacko blogger community.
FENN: Hey, we are trying to get the whacko—listen, 100,000 of them gave to Barack Obama‘s campaign. That‘s not too shabby. But here is what we need. We need Sanjaya to get involved in this because, man, as soon as he turns 18, he could be the guy...
CARLSON: He‘s a natural. Where would you put him on the political spectrum?
FENN: Well, it‘s the hair thing, you know. He could do—I have not the slighting frigging idea.
CARLSON: OK. Well, that is going to be the topic.
HEARN: We need some candidate to appear on “American Idol.” That‘s what we need.
FENN: That is what we need. A good candidate. Now who could do that?
HEARN: That alone.
CARLSON: Just getting lower and lower. Josephine Hearn, thank you very much. Peter Fenn, thank you.
Well, Rosie O‘Donnell put herself back on every showbiz entertainment and gossip blog in the universe today by leaving “The View.” Who wins? Rosie, ABC, Donald Trump? Joe Scarborough knows. He joins us next.
Plus, America wanted Sanjaya gone, and that is what America got. So how was the first episode of the rest of “Idol‘s” life? And what did President Bush have to say about it? Find out. Be right back.
CARLSON: Rosie O‘Donnell is out at “The View” after just one year. She says it was all about contract negotiations. Joe Scarborough disagrees. He joins us next.
CARLSON: When Star Jones left “The View” on ABC, producers and executives welcomed the former “Queen of Nice,” Rosie O‘Donnell, into the fold. It quickly became apparent that Rosie had given up the throne of pleasantness sometime ago though when she picked a public brawl with Donald Trump and went on to spew 9/11 conspiracy theories. And finally made a scene at a gathering of media executives Monday in New York City.
Please enjoy the highlights of that, here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O‘DONNELL, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”: I‘ve been dieting for two weeks, ever since Donald Trump said that he found me fat and unattractive. I was shocked and stunned. It has been my goal for many years to give a bald billionaire a (expletive deleted). Look at Barbara looking down. She is looking down.
That comb-over wimp (expletive deleted) goes after her instead of me.
Come here, buddy. (expletive deleted), OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Boy, I‘m sorry we had to bleep that. It was so good. Today, Rosie O‘Donnell announces she is leaving “The View” effective June after she and the show could not come to terms on a new contract. What will the world do without her?
Joining me now is noted Rosie-ologist, Joe Scarborough, host of “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” right here on MSNBC.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: Yes, I am. Yes, I am.
CARLSON: Joe, what does this mean for the world?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I don‘t what it means for the world. It means for Barbara Walters that maybe, just maybe if she stays around for a few more years and interviews the likes of Hugo Chavez, maybe she can buff up her image again.
You know, Rosie said in the middle of that speech that Barbara had her head down. Barbara Walters should have had her head down a very long time ago when she said that Christians were just as dangerous to the world as radical Muslims, that 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government, that basically George Bush blew up buildings at Ground Zero to protect his buddies at Enron.
And on and on and on. And then, of course, this last straw Monday when she is, you know, at the Waldorf Astoria and she talking to the most powerful women in media and they are supposedly raising money. This is supposedly about young women and there are high school girls there and she is making sexual jokes about Donald Trump, saying very graphic things, throwing the F-world around.
You know, this act, it‘s unbelievable that Barbara Walters allowed herself to be associated with this act for as long as he was. I mean, it is American culture on the skids. It is playing to the lowest common denominator. It is disgusting. And Barbara Walters really hurt herself by allowing it to go on so long.
CARLSON: But all of this helped Donald J. Trump, don‘t you think?
You talked to him today. What is his take on this?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, yes. We talked to Donald Trump. And I‘m sure, as you know, Donald Trump was very gracious about this whole thing, said she was a pig, said she was disgusting and said that he...
CARLSON: that‘s gracious?
CARLSON: That is graciousness.
SCARBOROUGH: When Donald Trump is talking about Rosie O‘Donnell, that is gracious. But you know, what he said—his biggest takeaway was that unfortunately, Barbara Walters could not be trusted. That she had lied about Star Jones‘ exist, that she had lied about him earlier this year, she had tried to play both sides of the street, and that now she was sitting there saying, oh, I had absolutely nothing to do with the negotiations between ABC and Rosie O‘Donnell.
Tucker, you and I both know how the 800-pound gorillas in the media world push and pull themselves around during contract negotiations. I mean, that is just not credible at all. So here we have Barbara Walters once again suggesting that she had nothing to do with something that he had her hands all over.
And I would hope that finally Barbara Walters got some shame back and decided that Rosie O‘Donnell was not good for her, not good for ABC News, and not good for ABC.
CARLSON: Wow. That is interesting. Because Rosie O‘Donnell, I‘m certainly not endorsing her, obviously, but I think she was good for “The View.” I mean, she brought in more money, bigger ratings. That‘s typically the thing that keeps you on the air. So ABC is taking a financial hit, don‘t you think, by letting her go?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, but, at what cost? I mean, if you‘re Barbara Walters and you‘re a trailblazer in journalism and you have done things that nobody ever did before you as a female journalist, do you really want to spend the last few years of your life sitting next to somebody that is talking about how the United States government was engaged in a conspiracy to kill Americans, to take down buildings at Ground Zero, the participate in the greatest attack on American soil simply because they wanted to save some guys at Enron?
I mean, this woman is an absolute joke. Like I said, Rosie O‘Donnell always has played to the lowest common denominator. And she gets more shrill and she does it all for shock value. And so, at what price? Is Barbara Walters really—you know, it is the old quote from Wall Street:
How many yachts can you ski behind? How much more in ratings does Barbara Walters need? It is just—again I think she has hurt her brand seriously.
CARLSON: I think that‘s a fair point. Now, does Trump really dislike Rosie O‘Donnell? I mean, how much of this was “WWE Smackdown” and how much of it was an actual brawl?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, I think by talking to him, I think Rosie O‘Donnell genuinely despises Donald Trump. I think Donald Trump couldn‘t really care less. He saw her as a useful tool to promote his pageant. Saw her as a useful tool to promote the new season of “The Apprentice.” And he likes going out, smacking her down because Donald Trump wants to let everybody know that if you come after him, he is going to go back after you and he is going to be very ugly and nasty about it.
And Rosie O‘Donnell was a perfect vehicle for Donald Trump to prove just how tough he was. I would suggest that he went way overboard with the names that he called her. But you know, that is Trump‘s style.
CARLSON: I thought it was a riot. Does she have a future, finally, Rosie O‘Donnell, in broadcast?
SCARBOROUGH: Hell, yes. You just said it yourself. I mean, she
brings in the ratings. Chances are good that people over at 30 Rock right
now are talking to each other, saying, God is there any way we can get her
to do the morning show? I actually don‘t think they will cross that bridge
or burn that bridge.
But no, there are a lot people out there right now that have seen how Rosie O‘Donnell brings big ratings in. Unfortunately, she always self-destructs. We have had people that have worked with her, people like Tom O‘Neal that worked on her magazine.
And he was predicting from the very beginning that this would not last more than a year or so because Rosie O‘Donnell always gets into a situation, always grows tired of it, always turns against the people she works with, and always self-destructs, always burns the bridges.
So sure, there will be other people that will hire her, but you know, they might as well realize that she will have all the staying power of like Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols. It may six months to a year. But you know, it is going to end up ugly at the end, whether somebody is found dead in a London flat of a heroin overdose or not, chances are good Rosie O‘Donnell won‘t be around for the second act.
CARLSON: Boy, I‘m going to miss attacking her. Joe Scarborough, thanks a lot, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks a lot, Tucker.
CARLSON: It turns out, there may be a dancer worse than I am currently living on this planet. President Bush shakes his money-maker in the Rose Garden. We‘ll tell you why he did it. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Our recap of the Donald Trump-Rosie O‘Donnell feud was just a taste, just a little smidgen of what‘s to come now as we welcome Willie Geist from headquarters.
BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I have looked a lot like Willie Geist, I have been compared to him. But unfortunately, Tucker Carlson, I‘m Bill Wolff.
CARLSON: Ha, ha! Bill Wolff! Surprise, surprise.
WOLFF: How are you?
CARLSON: I‘m doing great. Good to see you, Bill.
WOLFF: Well, it‘s great to see you. How have you been? You were great with Joe. Classy gent. He knows a lot about a lot of things, clearly.
CARLSON: Yes, he is a Rosie-ologist. Bill Wolff, MSNBC, great to see you.
WOLFF: Yes he is. Wonderful to see you, Tucker. There is good news tonight. For people who can‘t get enough of themselves—and we know a few in the TV business, it comes from the island nation of Japan. A professor there today unveiled a robot that looks exactly like its inventor.
That guy you see sitting there somewhat stiffly is, in fact, a robot named Geminoid. Or in France, Geminois (ph). Fifty sensors in its face give it actual facial expressions, at least until it gives and tries botox. And it breathes thanks to compressed air bumped into its body.
Its mouth even moves exactly like its human model. Now the proud professor says he hopes that this sort of technology allows people to make appearances at events without actually having to be there themselves.
Finally, Tucker, a breakthrough that helps the most needy among us, people with busy social calendars.
CARLSON: That‘s really disturbing, Bill. That‘s actually one of the creepiest things I think I have ever seen. Why do the Japanese spend so much time, money, and energy doing pointless things like that I wonder?
WOLFF: I can‘t say, but we in the kicker business thank them for doing it. Tucker, it occurs to me, I wouldn‘t want that around. Why have an exact copy that doesn‘t lose its hair, doesn‘t put on weight, doesn‘t get loaded and put a lamp shade on its head? Why do I need a reminder of all of my shortcomings and the fast erosion of all of the qualities I have had all of my life?
CARLSON: Good point.
WOLFF: Devastating news for the self-loathing, Tucker. There is more good news, this for people who laid down a bet yesterday in London that there was extraterrestrial life somewhere out there in the universe. Yesterday the odds were 1,000-1. Today they are down to 100-1 after scientists discovered a planet outside our solar system which resembles our lonely planet more than any ever observed.
The planet is called Gliese 581-C. And it‘s believed to have a temperature between zero and 40 degrees Celsius. Now converting from Canadian, that means somewhere between freezing and about the low 100s. That means, scientists say, that water on Gliese 581-C would be liquid, and that possibility has prompted at least one headline writer, one MSNBC show producer who will remain nameless, to term the newly found planet “Waterworld,” which prompted that same MSNBC producer to suggest that we exile Kevin Costner there.
CARLSON: How far away is this, Bill?
WOLFF: Really, really far. Now that‘s a scientific explanation for you, Tucker. Like millions and millions and millions of miles. It‘s bigger than Earth. I can tell you that. Its radius is 50 percent larger and its mass five times greater. Fascinating.
CARLSON: But not a vacation spot any time soon?
WOLFF: I don‘t know. But it is—early reports are that all of the life forms there will be watching tomorrow night‘s Democratic debate here on MSNBC, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. I‘m not sure what the time zone there on Gliese 581-C is.
Tucker, like America after Nixon‘s resignation, “American Idol” went on last night without Sanjaya. Like our country some 33 years ago, the show embarked into an uncertain period of malaise and stagflation as the six remaining contestants sang to stave off elimination tonight.
To its credit, the show donated portions of its receipts from texted and phoned in votes to a charities worldwide in a program called “Idol Gives Back .” Now perceived as vulnerable in tonight‘s voting, during the two-hour supercalifragilistic spectacular, bald guy crooner Phil, single mom LaKisha, and Justin Timberlake-wannabe Chris. But this is “American Idol,” so you just never know, Tucker. Any prediction?
CARLSON: I‘m going with the bald guy.
WOLFF: You think he‘s gone?
CARLSON: I think he‘s gone.
WOLFF: My prediction, “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN” at 8:00, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” at 9:00.
And, finally, Tucker, some red meat politics. It was Malaria Awareness Day today. And President Bush and first lady hosted an event in the White House Rose Garden. Among their guests, an Africa dance troupe. And the president took the opportunity to show off his moves and take a few rhythmic swats at a drum.
Also present, “American Idol” producers whose charity events, which we just referred, will benefit the global fight against malaria. President Bush finally broke his silence about “American Idol,” and here‘s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘m not so sure I‘m going to watch it tonight. But this show does have a large group of viewers, and I really appreciate the producers for joining us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLFF: Yes, not sure he is going to watch it. When is he going to level with the American people? They are watching it on Gliese 581-C, Tucker. Don‘t lie to me, President Bush.
CARLSON: Bill Wolff, thanks a lot, Bill.
WOLFF: My pleasure.
CARLSON: That‘s it for us today. We are back tomorrow. Chris Matthews next with “HARDBALL.” Have a great night.
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