Guests: Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: President Bush is suddenly not among the world‘s 100 most influential people. Hillary Clinton wants to undo her Iraq war vote. Don‘t we all? And David Hasselhoff wants to see himself drunk.
Even with all that, everyone is still talking about last night‘s Republican presidential debate, believe it or not, where 10 potential presidents shared the same stage in California. There was a fair share of question-dodging, one-word answering, and, needless to say, pandering. So, who won? And by how much? And who, if anyone, fell flat on his face?
Joining us now with answers, we welcome Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War and the former Democratic congressman from the state of Maine, and Ken Walsh, chief White House correspondent for “U.S. News & World Report.”
Ken funny how a consensus builds as the day goes on.
KEN WALSH, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD
CARLSON: And the consensus, at least on the U.S. Air shuttle from New York to Washington this afternoon, was that Rudy Giuliani hurt himself by his inability to explain his position on abortion.
I want to show you and our viewers part of what he said last night about that subject.
Here is Rudy Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: In my case, I hate abortion. I would encourage someone to not take that option. When I was mayor of New York City, I encouraged adoptions. Adoptions went up 65, 70 percent. Abortions went down 16 percent.
But, ultimately, since it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman‘s right to make a different choice.
I support the ban on partial-birth abortion. I support the Hyde amendment. But, ultimately, I think when you come down to that choice, you have to respect a woman‘s right to make that choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, so, if you hate abortion, presumably, you think that it is killing. And, if you think it is killing, why would you want killing to be legal, A?
B, you support the Hyde amendment, meaning a ban on federal funding for abortion, but you support the states funding abortion? That is nonsensical.
I think—you know, on the abortion issue, for one thing, it is very strange that he handled it in this equivocating way, given that everyone knew this was going to be a big issue for him.
CARLSON: Right. That‘s right.
WALSH: And he had so much time to prepare for this. And, yet, it came out as equivocation. I think that is what is sort of sinking into people.
All these concerns that we have talked about many times about Giuliani and the social issues are coming home now...
WALSH: ... because he has to address them. And I think, especially on abortion, which, as he says, is a moral issue, it‘s not the kind of thing you equivocate on.
WALSH: And I that is what drives a lot of people crazy about this.
CARLSON: Right. There are two levels here, Tom. One is the level of policy. Does what he said make sense? Does it actually add up to a coherent world view?
TOM ANDREWS, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, WIN WITHOUT WAR COALITION: Right.
CARLSON: And the second is the political, as Ken pointed out.
If you woke Hillary Clinton up from a dead sleep, which, presumably, you would never be in a position to do.
CARLSON: But let‘s say you did, and fired a difficult question at her, boom, she would have it, because she has been in the game a long time and she is used to it.
I‘m not sure Rudy Giuliani, at least at this stage, is prepared enough. I‘m kind of surprised that he wasn‘t ready for this.
ANDREWS: Well, you know, plus, he is making a mistake.
There‘s no one in that Republican base that is—has abortion as their number-one issue who is going to vote for Rudy Giuliani. There just isn‘t. So, there is the rest of the field...
ANDREWS: ... that he could have talked to last night and explained why he feels the way he does. Don‘t equivocate. Make the forceful answer for it. And, A, you will get all those people in the Republican Party who may not be in that camp of anti- -- virulent anti-abortion. And, B, you will be talking to the American public, most of whom believe that Roe v. Wade should stand.
CARLSON: No, that is an interesting—it‘s like guns. The people who are for the Second Amendment and mean it are the ones who votes on gun. People who are for gun control may think that you shouldn‘t have guns, but they don‘t vote on it.
So, all the votes, it seems to—do you that is right?
WALSH: Yes, I think so.
And I think the other thing odd is this—using the court as sort of an escape hatch.
WALSH: I think, for a while, it looked like it was an effective answer, that he has been saying, I support the conservative strict construction justices on the Supreme Court, like Roberts and Alito.
But it sort of got bollixed up last night, when he says, well, it is OK if they overturn Roe v. Wade, but it‘s also OK if they uphold it. I mean, it seemed like he was just cutting the issue too closely.
CARLSON: Like, I don‘t care...
WALSH: Yes. Right.
CARLSON: ... which is not the sentiment you want to express in a primary.
It is interesting to me this is all a debate, on some level, about the future of the Republican Party, what it means to be a Republican, what it means to be conservative. Almost everybody in the field last night tried to lay claim to the conservative mantle.
Here is a little quick montage of their claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES GILMORE ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I‘m a consistent conservative that keeps his word.
TOMMY THOMPSON ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I‘m the reliable conservative. I vetoed 1,900 things.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe in the Ronald Reagan principle, that somebody that‘s with you 80 percent of the time is not your enemy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Tom, you‘re not—I think it is fair to say you are not a conservative.
ANDREWS: That is fair. That‘s very fair.
CARLSON: You‘re not a conservative. OK.
ANDREWS: You‘re always fair, Tucker.
CARLSON: I try.
So, from your point of view—I‘m just interested—what does it mean to be conservative? If you could—three lines, what does a conservative believe?
ANDREWS: I don‘t know anymore.
I mean, they are all over the map. I mean, George W. Bush claims he‘s a conservative. The Republican support in the Congress claim they are conservative.
Look what has happened to our deficit. Listen, my father was a fiscal conservative. He was a Republican, OK? I will say this publicly. He was a Republican. Now, his brand of conservatism is, you don‘t spend more money than you have. You conserve. You are careful, particularly if it is other people‘s money you are dealing with.
These guys are spending like drunken sailors there. And the deficit goes up, without—pork-barrel spending—hey, listen, people accused Democrats when I was in Congress of pork-barrel spending. You know, we didn‘t even know what we were doing, relative to what the Republicans did when they got in office. I mean, pork-barrel spending went up by 10 times.
So, is that a conservative?
CARLSON: No, I think you guys did a pretty good job of wasting money.
ANDREWS: Well, we...
CARLSON: No, truly. Really, Democrats...
CARLSON: Let‘s be fair here.
ANDREWS: Here‘s the competition now. Who wasted more money?
CARLSON: Don‘t sell yourself short, Tom. You guys were spendthrifts.
ANDREWS: Right, but we weren‘t conservative. I didn‘t claim I was a conservative.
CARLSON: No, you‘re right. You‘re absolutely right.
ANDREWS: Right? They are conservative. They spend like drunken sailors, and then they get out and say, I‘m more conservative than you are.
CARLSON: At least they don‘t claim to be in rehab.
CARLSON: Or at least you guys don‘t claim to be in rehab.
CARLSON: I wonder—Mitt Romney, now, everybody—I am just say it point-blank—and I don‘t agree with this. I think it is wrong. But most people I know in and around politics believe Romney can‘t get elected and can‘t win the primary because of his religion. They think that people in the Democratic—in the Republican primary will discriminate against a Mormon. I hope that is not true, but people believe that.
Do you think, after last night‘s performance, Ken, that perception is going to change?
WALSH: Yes, I think that Romney actually did himself quite a bit of good in this debate.
I think that he was—this idea of the smooth-talking Mitt Romney, which the Democratic National Committee likes to put out in their talking points, criticizing him...
WALSH: ... that he is too slick. I don‘t think he was too slick last night. I think he did himself good.
I think he addressed the questions well. I think—and look how he handled the abortion issue. He admitted that he changed his mind.
WALSH: He tried to tie it into Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush changing their mind. I thought the was a pretty effective answer.
But I think, as far as the Mormon issue goes, I just don‘t know how that is going to turn out. I think, if you look at the polls, there is a real solid prejudice against Mormons out there.
CARLSON: Yes, there is.
WALSH: And you can‘t say it any other way.
Now, we all compare it to John F. Kennedy and Catholicism, when there was a real strong prejudice against Catholics in 1960. He addressed it, and he won a close race. But there still was prejudice there. I don‘t know how Romney is going to deal with it. Some of his people want him to do a speech like Kennedy made to the Southern Baptist Convention, addressing the religion issue.
WALSH: He is not ready to do that.
CARLSON: No, I think what he needs to do is do a Kennedy, get dead people in Chicago to vote. I mean, that could be—you know what I mean? That‘s the...
ANDREWS: Like a real American.
CARLSON: Like a real American.
ANDREWS: Can I be blasphemous here for a minute?
ANDREWS: OK. Let‘s get a life. Why are we watching a presidential debate? It is not—it is hardly May. It‘s 2007. We are not going to cast our first vote until the dead of winter of 2008.
Listen, I—when I found out we were going to talk about the debate tonight...
ANDREWS: .. I was busy getting my TiVo ready, so I could watch this thing last—I was doing what any red-blooded American was doing, at least any Red Sox fan. I was watching Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch against Ichiro last night while this debate was going on.
CARLSON: Do you think he was worth what they paid for him?
ANDREWS: Oh, man. Five runs. They scored five runs on him in the first inning.
ANDREWS: It was so bad, I almost turned to the debate. It was rough.
CARLSON: I couldn‘t agree more.
CARLSON: Speaking of depressing, Hillary Clinton has always defended her vote to authorize the war in Iraq. So, why does she want the chance to vote again? Do senators really get do-overs?
Plus, nearly nine months before the first presidential primary, Barack Obama is now under the protection of the Secret Service. Is it a necessary precaution is it way too soon?
We will be right back.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton still won‘t admit that her vote authorizing the war in Iraq was a mistake, but now she wants to vote on the war all over again. Since when do politicians get do-over votes? Since now, apparently.
We will be right back.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton says she now wants to undo something she very much helped do, authorize the war in Iraq. She is proposing that Congress take back the authority it gave to President Bush in 2002 to invade Iraq.
Clinton and Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia are calling for a vote to strip the president of his authority on October 11. That would be five years to the day after that authority was initially granted. It would thereby require the president to start the process all over again and ask Congress for re-approval, not a likely scenario.
Back with us, Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War and former Democratic congressman from Maine, and Ken Walsh, chief White House correspondent for “U.S. News & World Report.”
Don‘t you think, Tom, she should go ahead and concede that her first vote was wrong before calling for a new vote?
ANDREWS: listen, I mean, this call for her—this call of hers, I think, was really: Let‘s get this thing revoted and get off my back about the apology as far as my first vote is concerned.
CARLSON: But you can‘t regain your virginity. I mean, she...
ANDREWS: No, exactly.
Wherever she goes—I mean, this is the problem. She wanted this—she wants this vote to go away, obviously. And she doesn‘t want to apologize—she has taken the position: I‘m not going to apologize for it, so let‘s move on.
The reality is, is that, as you go around New Hampshire, around Iowa, and now around California, people just keep bringing it up and bringing it up. And I think the strategy here is, is the best defense is a good offense.
ANDREWS: That‘s kind of like, let‘s elbow people out people by even being so against the war, we are going to have a new tack and try to de-authorize the war...
ANDREWS: ... and get kind of a double benefit.
Still, you know, I think people are still waiting to hear her say: I was wrong. I shouldn‘t have done it. I apologize.
CARLSON: I think it is significant, because, Ken, it‘s not just like she—you know, they are trying to say this is revisiting ancient history. It happened four-and-a-half years ago. And come on. Lighten up.
But it‘s more than that. She was out there defending the war, saying dumb things about the war, way long after I, certified dyed-in-the-wool right-winger, thought the war was a complete disaster. I mean, she was one of the late cheerleaders for this war.
Well, I mean, even to the day, her argument is, she did not authorize Bush—vote for Bush to go to the war; she authorized him to make the decision. And she disagreed...
CARLSON: Does she still say that?
WALSH: So, there‘s a lot of textured nuance here.
WALSH: But, having covered the Clinton White House, it is not surprising, because she has a very methodical, sort of machinelike mind.
WALSH: You vote for something. And, then, if it didn‘t work out, you vote in another way to end the chapter.
WALSH: So, this makes perfect sense to Hillary, because she believes in this sort of methodical sense of politics and government and policy.
And, so, in addition to the policy, the political side, which is, as you say, put this behind me with another vote, it makes perfect sense in her way of governing, because she feels like, you vote on something, and then you undo it with another vote. And what happens in the middle is sort of clarified by the second vote.
But even that is funny, Tom, because, in the end—so, she is saying, in this context and in others lately: This president won‘t end this war. I will.
CARLSON: There are two problems. One, you can‘t end somebody else‘s civil war. That is the lesson that we are learning now.
ANDREWS: No, that‘s true.
CARLSON: Right? So, she is not going to end the war. Nobody is, other than the Iraqis themselves.
CARLSON: B, she is already on the record—her campaign confirmed it yesterday—as wanting to leave some unknown, but obviously large number of troops within Iraq to protect the Kurds, protect the oil supply, to keep the country from falling into chaos and genocide.
This is a big problem. And we need to get clarification, really, from all the candidates. One of the things that was most problematic about the Iraq Study Group—and many people on the Democratic side will quote the Iraq Study Group—many good things about it—but one of the problematic things was that it said, look, we should leave our troops in the middle of a civil war, embedded in Iraqi units, to train them.
I don‘t want my kid embedded in an Iraqi unit...
CARLSON: Boy, I wouldn‘t want to be that guy.
ANDREWS: ... in the middle of a civil war.
CARLSON: No way.
ANDREWS: And we have no business doing that.
But I think we have to get this clarified. Do people want or do they not want our kids in the middle of civil war? Let‘s get them out or not. Let‘s not try to have it both ways and say, we‘re going to have trainers in there and get combat troops out. It just—it doesn‘t wash.
CARLSON: Well, how would you like to be that guy? I mean, Iraq is—
I have been to Iraq. Iraq is a scary place. How would you like to be the guy embedded with Iraqi troops, I mean, seriously, alone up in some faraway province? No thanks.
ANDREWS: We have no business doing that.
WALSH: Well, you know, the other—just as a contextual point here, I have done a piece for “U.S. News” looking at the Vietnam analogy.
In 1966, J. William Fulbright started anti-war, in effect, hearings on Vietnam. And, of course, there wasn‘t a pullout until 1973.
WALSH: So, if you look at this pattern, Congress takes...
CARLSON: Or, really, until ‘75, I mean, didn‘t really...
WALSH: Right. Exactly.
Well, our combat troops were moving out in ‘73.
WALSH: But, in the meantime, we had an enormous backing-and-forthing in Congress for years. They would make a run at limiting the money, and they couldn‘t do it. Then it got more successful. Then they limited for Laos, Cambodia.
But the point is that it takes a long time for Congress to get this stuff right. So, people who think that s last midterm election was going to put some kind of a closure on this are completely wrong. Congress takes a long time to make this stuff happen. So, the more it looks to me, looking at this thing, we are a long way from getting this settled.
CARLSON: I agree.
ANDREWS: And the key was the pressure out there...
ANDREWS: ... the pressure on the ground, the pressure from the grassroots...
CARLSON: Right. Exactly.
ANDREWS: ... pressure from citizens. That is going to be the key.
It was the key in Vietnam. It‘s going to be the key in Iraq.
CARLSON: I think they oversold it, the Democrats. I just think any -
no Congress can control American foreign policy with any precision. They just can‘t. Structurally, it is just impossible. I think they blew it in the sales job.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, meanwhile, just became the earliest candidate ever to receive Secret Service protection. What does this mean for his campaign? How will it affect the race to the White House? We will tell you in a minute.
Plus: It has never been hard to make David Hasselhoff jokes, but, somehow, he just keeps making it easier. Our resident “Baywatch” expert, Willie Geist, will let us know why everything is talking about Hasselhoff today—or most people, anyway.
This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Time now to check in with our “Obameter.” The latest? The senator from Illinois and Democratic presidential hopeful is now under the watchful eye of the Secret Service. That‘s the earliest ever for a presidential candidate. It‘s not because of threats he‘s received, apparently; it has more to do with the large crowds he draws everywhere he goes. The only other candidate assigned to Secret Service detail at this point is Senator Hillary Clinton, and that, of course, because she‘s a former first lady.
Back again, Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War and former Democratic congressman from Maine. And Ken Walsh, chief White House correspondent for “U.S. News and World Report.”
Ken, there may be more to this story than we know now, but at this point, the Obama campaign is saying the issue is his popularity. He‘s such a rock star. He‘s Mick Jagger, basically, and so he‘s got to have security.
KEN WALSH, “U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT”: Well, I mean, that doesn‘t make sense, because when you get Secret Service protection, they do a lot of sort of clearing paths and keeping people at bay, and they do a lot of shortcuts for a candidate. So, you know, when the president goes anywhere, the Secret Service does a lot of work in making it easier...
CARLSON: Wrecks other people‘s commutes.
WALSH: Right, or keeps us in the media at bay, so that the staff doesn‘t have to say, “We‘re doing it.” The Secret Service does it so. So they do a lot of the dirty work, in the sense of getting people out of the way and so on. So it helps.
WALSH: So that helps. But I‘ve got think that there‘s also another dimension to this, because, as the first African-American candidate, you know, every candidate gets death threats and other threats. And I‘ve got to think that there‘s part of that, too. I‘m sure the campaign doesn‘t want to talk about it and encourage that sort of thing, but I think that that‘s got to be part of it.
CARLSON: Well, if it‘s true, then poor guy. But I do hate to see a candidate, someone who‘s only a senator—I mean, it‘s impressive and everything—but push other people to the side of the road so he can get from A to B faster. I have been, as you have spent your life doing, with candidates who aren‘t really elected to anything, who block off entire cities just to get to a fundraiser. There‘s something anti-democratic about that. I think it‘s wrong.
TOM ANDREWS, “WIN WITHOUT WAR” NATIONAL DIRECTOR: Well, you err on the side of caution, obviously, and if there‘s any kind of a threat that they think that might be there, obviously you want to protect him. But, you know, I think it‘s unfortunate, too, because particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire. I mean, these are the places where you do retail politics, sit down in a parlor, sit down and have coffee, and, you know, talk reality. And we see what happened when a president—President George Bush has gotten isolated, where we‘ve all headed. You know, I think it‘s dangerous sign when any of our, particularly this early in the...
WALSH: ... something that the candidates don‘t want. They want to be with the public...
ANDREWS: Of course.
WALSH: ... and they feel like they‘re limited by the Secret Service.
CARLSON: McCain never wanted Secret Service protection. Now, the “Chicago Tribune” reports something that we sort of knew. They reported in detail today that, on a couple of occasions when he was in the Illinois legislature, Barack Obama, on controversial bills, rather than vote yes or no, voted present, in effect, “I take a pass on that.” One of them—at least one concerned partial-birth abortion. That does seem like an audacious thing to do, to me.
ANDREWS: Audacious does not come to mind.
CARLSON: No, audacious is not—there‘s no audacity in taking a pass. What do you make of that? You served.
ANDREWS: Tucker, I don‘t know. You know, I was in office for 12 years and, frankly, I never voted present. I mean, present is what you say the first day at school and the teacher calls out his name and what you hope you get on your birthday or something. You know, present, I don‘t get it. I don‘t know why he did it.
I mean, we don‘t send people to public office to vote present. We ask them to take stands and defend those stands. We‘ll have to ask him.
CARLSON: It‘s pretty darn lame, but it has not deterred Oprah. Oprah doesn‘t care. I don‘t know Oprah has seen today‘s “Chicago Tribune.” I‘m sure many will give her the clipping, but she is still firmly on Barack Obama‘s side. Here she is explaining her endorsement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: On this program, you endorsed Barack Obama for the president. That still sticks, right?
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, of course.
KING: Can a black man be elected president of the United States?
WINFREY: I believe he can. I believe a black man can, and I believe he can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, I mean, why can—I mean, do we need an election at this point or just go ahead and anoint him?
WALSH: Why? Why do we need it? It‘s done now.
CARLSON: Does this actually move votes?
WALSH: The impact is on women, essentially. And, I mean, this helps in that way. This is sort of a clearinghouse, sort of a filtering mechanism. And Oprah likes him, and she has a huge audience with women. And that‘s, I think, a big deal.
ANDREWS: Wait a minute. I like Oprah.
CARLSON: Of course you do. You‘re a sensitive, new-age guy.
CARLSON: I know that—very quickly—the Hillary campaign is actually worried about—it‘s doing very well among women, but there are so many women who have a visceral response, a negative one, to Hillary Clinton. Are they worried that Barack Obama could actually, I don‘t know, take 45 percent of the female vote in the primaries?
ANDREWS: Well, you know, it‘s possible. And all kidding aside, you know, Oprah really is very influential with women, and that endorsement means an awful lot. Listen, this thing is way, way up for grabs, I think, from any group. I mean, no one is locked in. It is so early, and anything can happen, and probably will. But if I were Senator Clinton, I‘d be worried.
CARLSON: Good, I hope so. We‘re going to take a quick break.
“Time” magazine just released its list of the 100 most influential people in the entire world. Borat made the cut. Guess who didn‘t? Well, it wasn‘t the so-called D.C. madam, but she certainly could be on the list. She‘s got 46 pounds of phone records. She‘s influenced two of her clients to come forward. Will she influence more? We‘ll tell you in mere moments. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Borat, Osama bin Laden, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, Senator Hillary Clinton, all are names on “Time” magazine‘s list of the 100 most influential people in the whole world. Who‘s not on the list? The very leader of the world, the free world anyway, President Bush. And, yes, he is making history, sort of, because this is the first time in the four years that magazine has been putting out the list that President Bush has fallen short and not made the cut.
Back with our thoughts on that, Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War, and former Democratic congressman from Maine, and Ken Walsh, chief White House correspondent for “U.S. News and World Report.”
Ken, you spent many, many years covering the White House. You covered this president. Are you surprised to find that the only person in the United States who can launch nuclear weapons is actually not more influential than Tina Fey?
WALSH: Well, you know, I mean, this is—you know, we have an idea of what standard is used and all. I think this is basically a small group of editors at “Time” decided that this is a way to get a pop out of the project.
I mean, if you look at on the merits, of course, President Bush is one of the most influential people in the world. It‘s very clear. But I think it‘s also a statement on his—the perception of his presidency that the declining influence, all the problems he‘s had. And I think, at this time, I think they‘re making a statement that the president, this lame-duck idea is here.
ANDREWS: It‘s bogus. It‘s bogus.
CARLSON: No, but just the opposite...
ANDREWS: I‘m not on the list, Tucker.
CARLSON: I know. Damn. But, seriously, whether you like him or not is not the point. Bush, I don‘t think, I think his popularity is very low. He‘s very unpopular. He‘s hardly a lame duck. In fact, he‘s just the opposite. He is flexing his muscles. He‘s more powerful than he‘s been in a long time. He is prosecuting a war that‘s very unpopular. You know, many people are arrayed against him, and he‘s doing it anyway. That‘s the real measure of power: Can you do what you want to do in the face of opposition? And he can.
ANDREWS: Well, exactly right. And, you know, if there‘s 150,000 troops sitting in a desert in Iraq who wishes that he were much less influential than he is, I mean, yes—I mean, he‘s defying all the odds. He‘s defying the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommendations. He‘s defying the will of Congress. He‘s defying the will of many in his party and the American public.
And, boom, he‘s pushing forward, and he‘s forcing Republicans, particularly those who are facing, you know, tough elections in 2008, to make the decision, either we‘re going to stick with the president or we‘re going to jump off the cliff with him.
Listen, they only lost two Republicans in the Senate, two Republicans in the House on that vote on the supplemental appropriation for the Iraq war. I mean, that was extraordinary. That shows you just how much influence this White House has...
CARLSON: I couldn‘t agree more. It is amazing. This is not an endorsement of Bush or an endorsement of anybody. It‘s just an observation. The guy is remarkably powerful.
The A.P. did one of these kind of dumb questionnaires that they do, and I‘m glad they do, because they‘re pretty revealing, and they ask many of the major presidential candidates, “If you‘re on a desert island, and you can only bring one thing with you, what would it be?”
And most of them were conventional. Joe Biden would bring his wife. John Edwards would bring a book. Dennis Kucinich would, of course, bring his wife, Elizabeth.
A couple of them were pretty interesting. Bill Richardson said he‘s bring his BlackBerry and a Davidoff cigar. Good for him. Listen to Barack Obama. Most of the candidates gave one-or two-word answers. His answer is, quote, “Other than my wife and my kids, an inanimate object I would have to have would probably be a good book.” Now, he‘s expressed a sentiment that takes one word for John McCain to express “books,” in 13 words. He‘s a wordy dude, isn‘t he?
WALSH: Well, yes. And, also, but he‘s getting—he had like three answers, wife, kids and books, so there‘s another part to that. I‘m glad no one mentioned the wife of someone else.
CARLSON: That‘s a good point.
WALSH: That would have been more interesting.
CARLSON: But listen to what the Republicans did to the Democrat here. Sam Brownback, senator from Texas, one word, “tarp.” Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, “boat.”
ANDREWS: They win.
CARLSON: They win! They totally win.
ANDREWS: Are you kidding, a satellite TV? Are you kidding? No kidding. They win.
ANDREWS: How about a fishing rod, you know?
CARLSON: These are some pragmatic guys.
Now, Oliver Stone is at it again. Oliver Stone has made a new ad that is designed to sway public opinion against the war in Iraq, as if that‘s needed. And it‘s a pretty interesting ad, in its way. Here it is. Let‘s show the new Oliver Stone anti-Iraq ad. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER SGT. JOHN BRUHNS, U.S. ARMY: One day there was a riot in the Abu Ghraib market area. We had 2,000 people from the community protest our presence in their country. These were not terrorists. We were told that we were there to liberate these people. They were shooting at us.
To keep American soldiers in Iraq for an indefinite period of time, being attacked by an unidentifiable energy is wrong, immoral and irresponsible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Support our troops. Bring them home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, Tom, I think there are a lot of good reasons to oppose the war in Iraq, mostly because it hurts America, makes us weaker abroad. That‘s a real reason. But the idea that the Iraqis don‘t like us and they‘re mad about our presence seems to me the weakest of all possible arguments. Who cares? They‘re killing our soldiers.
ANDREWS: And this is the...
CARLSON: Public opinion in Iraq? I mean, so?
ANDREWS: But see, it matters, Tucker, because, first of all, we have our kids in the middle of a civil war that we can‘t win, OK?
ANDREWS: You have 80 percent of the population—they‘re surrounding you—A, think that it‘s your presence that‘s making things worse, not better; b, 72 percent want our troops out within a date certain within a year; and 62 percent think it‘s perfectly justified to be shooting at our soldiers.
Now, I don‘t think it‘s reasonable for us to be putting our kids in the middle of a civil war and then to force them to go into a situation in which two-thirds of the population want to kill you. I mean, that‘s impossible.
CARLSON: OK, and you‘re making a pragmatic argument, which I think is sensible. I mean, I think you‘ve made some good points. I think what Oliver Stone is saying, what I hear many anti-war liberals saying, is somehow it‘s mean of us, that we have offended the sensibilities of Iraqis. And I suppose my argument would be, “Well, a lot of Iraqis are—they‘re very different than we are. Some of them are fundamentally unreasonable. That‘s not our fault. They were before we arrived; they‘ll be so after we leave.”
Do you know what I mean? Like, our presence is not wholly responsible for their crummy attitudes.
WALSH: See, I think that what I take from this, though, is more the troops are turning against the fighting. I mean, we‘re—and that, you know, compared to Vietnam, where our troops were often spat upon, that whole notion is gone. Our troops are now heroes.
CARLSON: Of course.
WALSH: So the more you focus on this notion that the troops think there‘s something wrong there, I think that‘s pretty effective. And a lot of the troops are saying to reporters over there, for instance, on all these explosive devices, well, “Why don‘t the Iraqis help us? Why don‘t they tell us, you know, give us more information about where they are?”
CARLSON: Well, that‘s a great point.
WALSH: But so what I think, when they‘re turning this to the troops, the troops saying, “This is wrong. We‘re in the wrong place. You know, they‘re not helping us, and so on,” I think that‘s pretty affective.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
ANDREWS: Well, and the fact is, if you‘re in that situation, I mean, what else do you need to know for us to start pulling these soldiers out of Iraq? I mean, the fact that 80 percent of the population thinks that we‘re making things worse and two-thirds of them want to kill us. I mean, what more do you need to know? I mean, if this is all about democracy, establishing a beachhead for the democracy in the Middle East, for crying out loud, let‘s listen to these people.
CARLSON: That was the dumbest—I think that was the dumbest argument ever made by a modern administration on behalf of its foreign policy, really. I mean, democracy, please.
I do think the other thing you need to know is, though, what will happen when we do leave. We are leaving, of course, you know, sooner rather than later. I mean, we are leaving. What will happen? That‘s what you need to know. That doesn‘t matter? Of course it matters.
ANDREWS: Well, of course it matters. And the fact is, no one knows what‘s going to happen, if they‘re going to be honest with you.
But the fact is, is that—again, the Iraqi Study Group is saying, “This is an untenable situation. We can‘t win it. We‘re making things worse by being there.” There is no military solution here, only a political solution, and it‘s getting the presence of our soldiers out of there is going to push the envelope, push the issue so that you‘re going to have to have the accommodation and the compromise necessary to create a political solution.
CARLSON: I just think that the people of the region have shown themselves to be so unreasonable by their actions that it‘s asking us to have a lot of faith to suggest that, once we leave, they‘re going to work it all out.
ANDREWS: But it‘s their country. It‘s their country.
CARLSON: It may be, but they...
ANDREWS: You know, we had a brutal civil war ourselves, and somehow we made it through.
CARLSON: They have the capacity to affect our lives in the future. I want to ask you, Ken, as someone who‘s been a member of the working press for a while, ABC is apparently planning tonight to release some of the names they got from the phone records of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. madam. Massive stack of phone records. They‘ve done a reverse directory and found out who some of these guys are who called the bordello. Can they really, for no reason other than salacious reasons, release the names of people who called a whorehouse?
WALSH: Well, this is the so-called character-privacy issue that we grapple with in newsrooms all of the time. And I think every reporter needs to have his or her standard for this. And mine are, is it true? Is it relevant? And do people care?
WALSH: I have problems with this on all three scores.
WALSH: Is it true? Is it relevant? Do people care? I mean, people care, sure. They‘re interested in it.
CARLSON: They will determine whether it‘s true before they air it. I mean, we can be certain. They don‘t want to get sued.
WALSH: We would hope that. But I mean, I think you need those three.
CARLSON: What about the second one, is it relevant? How do you know
how is it relevant?
CARLSON: If—I mean, day after day I have been defending johns, and I don‘t mean to, I am not defending prostitution or people who go to prostitutes. But I just think it is hard to see how it is relevant.
WALSH: Yes. I mean, I tend, as a reporter and as a journalist to lean toward disclosure. I think that is the business I am in. And so—but I can be persuaded that something should be not be disclosed. National security issues and so on.
This is a case to me, I mean, I have to see the details and I don‘t know the details, but it is the relevance question that I think is the real problem here.
CARLSON: Well, The Washington Post has announced that one of the people whose name has come to light, that ABC has, is the president of a conservative think-tank in Washington. I just—I happen to know a couple of presidents of conservative think-tanks, as you might imagine, living here. And I got an e-mail from one a minute ago who said, I am upset.
He said, there are not many conservative think-tanks in town and this casts a shadow over each of us. He said, a number of people have e-mailed me, is it you? No, it is not me, he says. I don‘t know, it just seems like the lives of these people may be wrecked and that is something you really should consider before you print something.
ANDREWS: No, absolutely. And you know, the only time there is any kind of justification for any of this in terms of relevancy is when there is hypocrisy. You know, when someone is going off and preaching one thing and actually doing something else.
I think we know when you had some of those scandals with some of the -
you know, the evangelical leaders of the country, you know, obviously doing exactly the opposite of what they were preaching. OK. That is hypocrisy. Maybe that is relevant to the people who are following that particular leader. And that particular leader shouldn‘t be a leader. But, come on, I mean, you know, this—I am with you.
We will see what the ratings are going to be. I‘m sure no one is going to watch that show.
CARLSON: Well, actually, I am going to watch. So.
CARLSON: Very quickly, Ken, Hagel-Bloomberg. Apparently, Chuck Hagel, the senator from Nebraska, a Republican, Michael Bloomberg, Republican in name, mayor of New York, seen eating together. Do up see the potential for a Hagel-Bloomberg ticket? I mean, is this.
WALSH: Oh, well, you know, I mean, this is—I mean, of course, that is a (INAUDIBLE) dream, you know, that outside third party force. Yes, eating together, I mean, you know, who is at the top of the ticket, who is not. There are a lot of questions here.
I think that there is the potential for a—something like that, but we don‘t know right now if it would work. I think they would have to be a lot more dissatisfaction with the major parties than we see now. A lot more anger in the electorate than we see now. So right now I don‘t see it. But it is—you know, I hope they had a good meal.
CARLSON: God, it will be a great story.
ANDREWS: . Chuck was asking for a loan or something.
CARLSON: Yes, right.
CARLSON: He is going to the right man. Tom and Ken, thank you both very much.
WALSH: Thank you, Tucker.
ANDREWS: Thank you.
CARLSON: Think the Bloomberg-Hagel dinner meeting can‘t be topped? Well, we have got another pairing for you that has Washington abuzz. It might be time for Paris Hilton to call the dog-walker. The hard-partying, law-breaking socialite might be headed to jail. We will tell you why when we come back. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Guess which two Democratic senators were spotted having lunch together at a very public restaurant in Washington? Could they be plotting for the 2008 presidential election? Of course. We will get the scoop from “The Reliable Source” next.
CARLSON: Well it is Friday, a day we never thought would come just five days ago. Let me guess, you were up late last night watching MSNBC‘s coverage of the Republican debates and now you are exhausted? Well, sit back and relax, because it is that time of the week when we bring you the most salacious and sought-after scoops in Washington from two people who know it best, Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, the ladies of The Washington Post‘s universally-read gossip column “The Reliable Source.”
CAVUTO: Now I know that when you are not in the office, in the newsroom at The Washington Post, you spend your time snooping around area restaurants. Tell me what you have seen?
AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE RELIABLE SOURCE,” THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, it is interesting. We heard you just talking about the sighting of Chuck Hagel and Mike Bloomberg dining out. And that was preceded the night before by a very interesting dinner pairing which was Barack Obama and John Kerry having dinner at The Four Seasons in Washington. A three-hour long dinner.
ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE RELIABLE SOURCE,” THE WASHINGTON POST: Lots of laughter.
ARGETSINGER: Lots of laughter.
ROBERTS: Michael and Chuck were very, very serious for their two hours.
ARGETSINGER: Merlot and steak, right?
ROBERTS: No—well, Kerry and Obama apparently had a great time, lots of laughter, right?
ARGETSINGER: Lots of laughter, yes.
ROBERTS: Lots of fun.
ARGETSINGER: Gales of laughter, yes.
ROBERTS: Hagel and Bloomberg, totally serious for two hours straight.
ARGETSINGER: But the point is, these are very strategic dining decisions. These are the two most visible places in D.C. It is like, you go there to eat—if these guys wanted to have a private dinner conversation, they could have ordered Chinese, you know? But instead, they go to The Palm—Bloomberg and Hagel did. They go to The Palm where everyone will see them.
Kerry and Obama, I guarantee you, they wanted to be seen or they would not have gone to The Four Seasons. So they are sending a signal to someone with this.
CARLSON: Well, you don‘t think Obama is taking campaign advice from John Kerry, do you?
ROBERTS: We hope not.
CARLSON: I like him too much for that. Now what is going on with the Edwards‘ campaign—or the Edwards family?
ROBERTS: Oh, I love this story, because if you know NPR‘s Nina
Totenberg, you know that the following story could be entirely true. Last
fall she is going through hundreds of applications to be her summer intern
this summer. And she narrows it down to about a dozen really impressive candidates.
She calls them up on the phone. She talks to this one young woman from Harvard Law School that she loves by the name of Catharine Edwards. And she decides that that is the one she wants. And all of a sudden it dawns on her that Catharine Edwards is in fact Cate Edwards.
ARGETSINGER: Daughter of John Edwards.
ROBERTS: Before he was even running. So she had to get permission from her bosses to see if she could hire her for the summer.
ARGETSINGER: Says she had no idea this was John Edwards‘ daughter...
ROBERT: I know Nina, I believe her.
CARLSON: It is just so perfect. It is like right out of a conservative conspiracy theory where the daughter of John Edwards winds up at NPR, of all places. It is like all of the cliches are true.
ROBERTS: Well, the bosses said that she could hire her this year because the election is still 18 months out. But she would not have been able to do it next year. This.
ARGETSINGER: So it is all above board.
ROBERTS: Yes. This begs the question how much time Cate is going to be on the campaign trail this summer because the kids are supposedly going out with them during the summer break.
ARGETSINGER: Cate is a student at Harvard Law, right?
ROBERTS: I think an A student, yes.
CARLSON: Amazing. Now do you all know—are you taking bets on who will be revealed as a client of the D.C. madam tonight on ABC? Do you have any guesses? And are you willing to risk libel by sharing them?
ARGETSINGER: Well, Roxanne and I have both been pretty solidly in the skeptic camp, as in, we don‘t think there are going to be any names that blow the lid off of this town. It would be great if we are proven wrong, but...
ROBERTS: Yes. We think it is going to be a lot of, you know, unhappy husbands with now-unhappy wives but not names that are going to go oh, my God. Because this town, even the fact this is not the most discreet madam in the world, I think if there were any huge names we would have discovered that.
ARGETSINGER: We would know by now.
CARLSON: Right. So.
ARGETSINGER: But hey, prove us wrong. We would love to see it.
CARLSON: But I mean, is it—I mean, have you heard that they are actually going to release names tonight?
ROBERTS: Two names, two names.
ARGETSINGER: Maybe—the rumor is that it is not going to be a lot of new names. But we will see. We will see. I mean.
ROBERTS: Well, one of the dilemmas of course is—that ABC is struggling with, is that since most of the people are not big names, there are privacy issues. Like, do we really need to.
ARGETSINGER: Yes. Is it relevant to put some of these names out.
ROBERTS: Of people you have never heard of before.
ARGETSINGER: . just some, you know, random government lawyer.
CARLSON: Boy, well, I am going to be washing avidly. I will admit it. I‘m buying popcorn.
ROBERTS: I‘m so tense about it, I need a massage.
CARLSON: Amy and Roxanne, thank you both very much. Well, Vice President Dick Cheney spent the afternoon with Queen Elizabeth in Jamestown, Virginia, today. Wait until you see the part where they dress up and reenact the settlers landing there. British-American relations correspondent Willie Geist has that awfully weird story when we come back. You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: If you‘re like a lot of people, I know you spent the day wondering, I wonder what Paris Hilton is up to? I know it is question that has been agitating me since breakfast, like a mosquito bite under my bathing suit. Well, itch no more. Willie Geist is here with the answer—
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER: Tucker, we have got important details. By the way, haven‘t I seen you before somewhere today? Did you teleport to Washington or something?
CARLSON: Yes, I did. US Airways.
GEIST: Are you sweating, by the way, the “20/20” broadcast tonight? Do you have any reason to be nervous? Are you going to take your wife out to dinner at about 9:00 tonight?
CARLSON: My life is so sedate and boring, I have no fear, trust me.
GEIST: I know. I only wish I had scandal like that surrounding me. Sadly, I don‘t. Well, Tucker, you mentioned it. National treasure Paris Hilton was in a Los Angeles County courtroom today facing 45 days in jail for violating her probation.
She arrived 18 minutes, fashionably late, of course. Paris was on probation for an alcohol-related reckless driving arrest last year. Since then, she has been pulled over twice, once while driving with a suspended license, another time for driving without her headlights on. I hate when that happens.
Prosecutors say the average citizen would be locked up for at least 45 days for those violations and so Paris ought to be, too. They also want her to wear an ankle bracelet for 90 days that will monitor whether or not she is drinking, Tucker.
So part of the punishment they are seeking is that she not be able to touch booze for 90 days. And they can actually measure this with an ankle device that they want Paris Hilton to wear around Los Angeles.
I don‘t know if that‘s feasible or not. But I don‘t know if you are familiar with Jacob the Jeweler. He is jewelry to the stars? You had better believe he has already begun designing a blinged-out, iced-out ankle bracelet for Paris Hilton, I promise.
CARLSON: I get all my medallions made by Jacob the Jeweler. Come on, of course I‘m familiar.
GEIST: And if he wanted to throw me a little something for mentioning him on the air, whatever, you know? We‘ll see, we can work from there.
By the way, the L.A. County Jail is kind of no joke. It would be pretty interesting if she went for 45 days, wouldn‘t it be?
CARLSON: That‘s for sure. Yes, come on. I‘m not a Paris Hilton fan. I don‘t even know why she is famous, but you hate to see people, you know, punished just because they are famous.
GEIST: Well, our chief legal analyst, Susan Filan, was on the air today saying, anybody else, you do this twice, you would go to jail for 90 days, forget 45 days.
CARLSON: Oh, well, good, then send her away for a year, then.
GEIST: So she actually should go for 45 days.
CARLSON: Oh, good for her.
GEIST: I‘m not saying she should, but she might. Let‘s move on, Tucker, before you get too worked up about Paris. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it turns out the Hoff is human after all. Our friends at “Extra” got their hands on a videotape that shows David Hasselhoff shirtless and drunk in a Las Vegas hotel room, doing battle with a monster-sized cheeseburger.
The tape was shot by Hasselhoff‘s 16-year-old daughter who wanted to document for her father what he looks like and acts like when he gets drunk. Here‘s a portion of that tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me you‘re going to stop.
DAVID HASSELHOFF, ACTOR: I‘m going to stop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Promise?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes?
This is a mess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: Gone. That was a nasty burger, a big burger, a nasty burger. You know, we watched this earlier this morning sort of without the audio, Tucker. But when you add the daughter on it, it gets a little more poignant and less his hysterical.
CARLSON: It‘s so depressing, actually. I can‘t believe that. I have instant sympathy for David Hasselhoff just to see the worst moment of his entire life out there on tape. I‘m too much of a pushover for people with serious personal problems, I guess. Because I really feel sorry for the guy.
GEIST: He—in a statement today, he said—you know, he said it was terrible, that‘s him, he has kicked the problem. He‘s back on his game. And he also says it‘s probably his wife with whom he is in a divorce and bitter custody battle with who leaked this tape out. He accuses her of that, anyway.
CARLSON: Yes. I would say she would be—she would be a prime suspect, I would say, yes.
GEIST: Yes. A little Kim Basinger/Baldwin action there. Well, speaking of mysterious hairy beasts, Bigfoot could soon have endangered species protection in Canada. Well, probably not, but one member of Canadian parliament would like to see it.
MP Mike Lake has presented a petition to the House of Commons that asks the government to, quote, establish immediate comprehensive legislation to effect immediate protection of Bigfoot, seen here. The Bigfoot researcher in Lake‘s district who is behind the petition says he has reason to believe that Sasquatch‘s life may be in danger, Tucker.
Now, I have my questions about the existence of Bigfoot, just because I haven‘t seen him yet, but it seems to me the government is keeping this species off the list because they don‘t want to acknowledge its existence, because they‘re scared of the truth.
CARLSON: No. I think the truth is that spring has not yet come to the colder regions of Canada. And once it warms up there, and the blood flow resumes to the brain, they will come to their senses and cancel this legislation, just a guess.
GEIST: Yes, yes. I don‘t think that one is going to pass, somehow. Finally, Tucker, Queen Elizabeth continued her American tour today, spending the afternoon with Vice President Dick Cheney in historic Jamestown, Virginia.
Yes, they have Cheney giving guided tours these days. While the queen politely toured the grounds and greeted the crowd, it was clear from her hat that she‘s looking ahead to her day at the Kentucky Derby tomorrow where she will presumably get boozed up and lay some of the royal purse on a long shot at Churchill Downs.
Now, Tucker, I know she‘s going to—at Churchill tomorrow, which is a lot of fun, she‘s going to find herself up in one of those a hoity-toity boxes up in the suites with the fancy people, but if she really wants to impress the American people and leave an impression, she will go to the infield with the real people, drink some Budweiser and do some mudslides through the infield.
CARLSON: Oh, but, Willie, she doesn‘t really want to impress the American people.
GEIST: Oh, that‘s right.
CARLSON: That‘s why she‘s the queen.
GEIST: Good point.
CARLSON: . and not the president. Willie Geist, from headquarters, thanks a lot, Willie.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris. We‘ll see you Monday. Have a great weekend.
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