Guests: Bill Press, A.B. Stoddard, Howard Fineman, Laurie Coskey
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: ‘Tis the season for political missteps by famous people seeking the presidency. Ho, ho, ho. And, today, we have a treasure trove of clumsy language, honest gaffes, and straight-up B.S. to choose from.
We will also bring you the latest from Iraq, where more violence served as a backdrop for Vice President Dick Cheney‘s surprise visit to Baghdad.
It‘s also a controversial day in the ongoing immigration crisis in this country. I will be joined by a proponent of using churches as sanctuaries for illegal aliens.
Plus, we will show you the new campaign ad from the candidate probably most qualified, but pretty unlikely to be our next president.
We begin with presidential politics and the unfortunate, odd, unclear, and purely dumb things said by and of candidates in the last 24 hours.
Joins us to dissect all of it, we welcome the associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, and the author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion” and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press.
CARLSON: We begin, lady and gentleman...
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Here we go, Tucker.
CARLSON: ... with Rudy Giuliani.
Now, Rudy Giuliani, as you will remember in our ongoing soap opera that is the Giuliani campaign, has had problems on the question of abortion. It turned up earlier this week. Jonathan Martin at “The Politico” reported that he had donated $900 to Planned Parenthood, a big abortion provider.
He goes on Laura Ingraham‘s radio show to explain himself to conservatives of America, does his best. And here is the exchange that took place. I‘m not even sure what to make of this.
You be the judge.
PRESS: All right.
CARLSON: Rudy on Laura Ingraham‘s show.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Why would donate to something like Planned Parenthood, that makes hundreds of millions of dollars off the procedure that you say you hate?
RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Because Planned Parenthood makes information available. It‘s consistent with my position. I disagree with it. I think it‘s wrong. I think there should be a choice.
If there is going to be a choice, there are organizations that are going to give people information about that choice. I just as strongly support the idea that a woman should have information about adoption at that time.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, I gave money to Planned Parenthood, the single largest abortion provider in the country, because I support adoption.
Now, I—there may have been a dumber thing uttered in America yesterday. I didn‘t hear it.
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “THE HILL”: You know, the expression, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging...
CARLSON: Yes, stop digging.
STODDARD: He had a good point in the debate when this came up, that he managed to bring abortion down and adoption up when he was mayor of New York.
CARLSON: Right, which he had...
STODDARD: He‘s trying to make that point again, obviously.
CARLSON: He literally had—unless someone can show me, a social scientist can show me the mechanism by which Rudy single-handedly increased the number of adoptions, that‘s a crock.
STODDARD: I don‘t know how that is done.
CARLSON: Yes. How does the mayor do that?
STODDARD: But I think that he can‘t find his voice on this contradiction. He really can‘t.
Again, he could back up his pro-choice views in stronger terms, talking about it‘s a choice that the woman has to make and it‘s not one the government should make for her. But, once it comes to contributing to groups that provide abortions, and he hates abortion, it‘s really—I don‘t know how he gets out of this one.
CARLSON: But donating to Planned Parenthood, it‘s not a pro-choice position. It‘s a pro-abortion position. It is. You‘re not—you can‘t stand back and say, you know what? I abhor it, but it happens. We shouldn‘t prevent it. Government shouldn‘t get involved.
If you are contributing to a company that commits abortion, you are, by definition, in favor of the procedure. How is there any other way to read that?
PRESS: I think it‘s fair to point out that Planned Parenthood provides a whole range of services, including very important family planning and advice on what to do about pregnancy, which is not always abortion.
Having said that...
CARLSON: They‘re the single largest provider of abortions.
PRESS: Fine. That‘s not all they do, is my point.
CARLSON: Yes. OK.
PRESS: Just to be fair.
Having said that, as one who has written many checks to Planned Parenthood myself, I wish to publicly thank Rudy Giuliani for his support, number one, and, number two, to remind him what party nomination he is running for, because I think he sometimes forgets.
This is absolutely impossible for him, I believe, as a Republican, to take that position and get the Republican nomination, on top of last week in the debate, Tucker, saying, Roe v. Wade, it‘s OK with me. If it stays, fine. If it goes, fine.
Where is he coming from?
CARLSON: Well, that made more sense and was less offensive to me.
Look, he‘s a pro-choice guy, OK, and he has always been. That‘s fine.
PRESS: But he‘s trying to have it both ways.
CARLSON: But to say you hate abortion...
STODDARD: And the polls show that he was supported for that up until this story.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
But to say, you hate abortion, I hate—we let politicians, we in the media let them get away with this ludicrous formulation that Clinton thought of, with the help of his pollsters, abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
That‘s crap, right? So, you can‘t hate abortion and fund an organization that provides them. Like, that doesn‘t make any sense, logically.
PRESS: Well, I don‘t think it is crap. I mean, I think it‘s a laudable goal that it be safe, that it be rare, and that it be legal.
But, again, Rudy Giuliani is running in the Republican primary for the Republican nomination for president. What is he thinking? I think we are watching this guy crash and burn in front of our very eyes.
CARLSON: I agree with that completely.
And, yet, A.B. Stoddard and I have been predicting that, I think, for the last 10 years on this show.
CARLSON: And it‘s not come to pass. He‘s still winning Alabama.
PRESS: But it‘s interesting that nationwide, right, Rudy Giuliani leads the polls. In the states where they are really looking at these guys early, in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina—we talked about this last week—John McCain is ahead of Rudy Giuliani, because the people really examining this, they see Rudy for the phony that he is.
CARLSON: Yes. But, in North Carolina and Alabama, two states you would not expect to support someone with a liberal record on social issues, Rudy Giuliani is way out ahead.
PRESS: How many electoral votes do they have?
CARLSON: That‘s a good point. Maybe it‘s just a delayed decision. He was not—a delayed reaction to the news about what he really believes and what he‘s really done.
Barack Obama, a man who is—I mean, I agree with Joe Biden, articulate—true—he is—has stepped in it a couple of times, most recently when he announced that it turns out those tornadoes in Kansas, much worse than you thought.
Here is Barack Obama, explaining what happened after those tornadoes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In case you missed it, this week, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas; 10,000 people died, an entire town destroyed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Ten thousand people died.
Now, his explanation—and I think this is referring to what he just said, though it wasn‘t clear from the account I read -- -- quote—“There are going to be times when I get times. There are going to be times when I get weary. There are going to be times when I make mistakes.”
He‘s not saying that that—so far as I can tell, that specific line was a mistake, just a general observation. This is his M.O., to go from the specific to the general. In general, I may get tired. I may make mistakes.
This is not the first time he has gotten tired and made mistakes. Is he more gaffe-prone than he appears to be? He seems so impressive, but is he the guy who will misspeak?
PRESS: Well, I think that we should collectively agree to give everybody maybe one pass...
CARLSON: I agree.
PRESS: ... or two passes...
CARLSON: Or 10 passes.
PRESS: ... because it‘s possible to misspeak.
PRESS: I think what he meant was a town of 10,000 was wiped out.
CARLSON: Right. I think that‘s right.
PRESS: But this was a gaffe. Joe Biden‘s opening line was a gaffe.
And this not, as you point out, the very first one on Barack Obama‘s part. I think he would start—he better start being a little...
CARLSON: I think people—I misspeak all the time on TV.
CARLSON: And I think—I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt.
But, as Ben Smith from “The Politico” pointed out, he said, it‘s only May. Let this man sleep, because here you have—you had last month, he gets up and compares the killings at Virginia Tech to the Don Imus firing. Was that another example of him being too tired?
In other words, you look at Barack Obama, and you are so impressed, but I just wonder if, in reality, he‘s a more fragile candidate than he appears to be.
STODDARD: Well, he‘s not been at this very long. It‘s not like he‘s run for the Senate 10 times and been through this a lot. He‘s still relatively new to it.
It‘s an intense schedule of way too much speaking, as we all know. I think Bill is right that he probably made an innocent error when he was tired, not comparing two things that aren‘t comparable, but messing up a number.
STODDARD: Was that Governor Kaine nodding in approval? That was probably a mistake on his part.
STODDARD: He could have looked at his shoes at that moment.
PRESS: He could have said, no, you meant to say...
CARLSON: Ten million.
STODDARD: Yes. I think (AUDIO GAP) But there are candidates who do this a lot, who lose their discipline, go off their notes, and there are candidates that don‘t. Biden always does, and Hillary Clinton never will.
CARLSON: There are also candidates who just can‘t explain their own actions.
CARLSON: And one of those is John Edwards. Got to be a most appealing person in the race personally. He‘s a very talented guy. I fear his quest for the presidency is doomed, however, by inconvenient facts about his life, such as the following.
He took off between presidential campaigns to work as an adviser to a hedge fund. He has not said publicly how much he made for that, but he has explained why he took that job. He‘s a man of the people. He‘s against the unequal distribution of wealth.
Here is his explanation—quote—“Taking the job at the hedge fund,” he said, “was primarily to learn. But making money was a good thing, too. I didn‘t feel like I understand—and, to be honest with you, I am still learning right now—sort of the relationship between the world and the way money moves in this country through financial markets.”
So, here is a guy who admits, Bill, that he doesn‘t even understand how financial markets work. And, yet, for some reason, a hedge fund paid him probably some very large amount of money to be an adviser to that hedge fund, which, it strikes me, is itself corrupt, or at least questionable.
Second, what the hell is a man of the people doing working for a hedge fund? What‘s the answer?
PRESS: Well, first of all, I just have to point out, Barack Obama at least didn‘t see say the queen was 300 years old.
CARLSON: No, that‘s true.
PRESS: But, back to John Edwards, I don‘t understand this defensiveness on John Edwards‘s part.
As far as I‘m concerned, there‘s nothing wrong with having money. There‘s nothing wrong with making money. And you can still make a lot of money and still be a real—really committed to helping the poor, which I believe John Edwards is.
But he seems to think he has always got to apologize for the house, for the haircut, which he should apologize for—certainly having the campaign pay for it—and for working for a hedge fund. There‘s nothing wrong from working with a hedge fund.
CARLSON: He said he did it as an educational opportunity.
CARLSON: It was primarily to learn. He did—it was kind of a junior years abroad at a hedge fund just to learn what rich people are like.
PRESS: Richard Nixon went to work for a law firm to make money.
PRESS: Dick Gephardt is working for a law firm to make money.
If John Edwards went there to make money, there‘s nothing wrong with that. Why apologize?
CARLSON: It was an educational opportunity.
All right. Vice President Dick Cheney makes a surprise visit to the Green Zone, educational opportunity for him. He is greeted there by Prime Minister Maliki and by continuing violence. What exactly is Cheney‘s mission in Iraq? And will it make a positive difference there?
And the most powerful forces in American politics this season may be the people who are not officially in American politics. Have we entered the era of the third force? “Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman stops by to say yes.
This is MSNBC, the most impressive name in news.
CARLSON: President Bush says he will veto any legislation that would cut off funding for the war in Iraq in July. So, what can Democrats do to start bringing the troops home from Iraq? How about a lawsuit? Don‘t laugh. Nancy Pelosi is actually considering it.
More in a minute.
CARLSON: The war in Iraq raged on Wednesday, as did the domestic struggle over it.
In Baghdad‘s Green Zone, Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise visit that included a meeting the Prime Minister Maliki. Mr. Cheney delivered a pep talk in which he described the mutual challenges of the U.S. and Iraq.
Not far away, in central Baghdad, a thunderous explosion struck. And, elsewhere in the country, at least 18 more Iraqis died in separate attacks.
At home, the president vowed to veto a new House funding bill that would pay for the war in steps and depend on verifiable progress in Iraq.
And the anti-war group VoteVets.org released a new ad in which two generals who served in the war in Iraq question the president‘s claim that he listens to his military commanders.
Here is that ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, VOTEVETS.ORG AD)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have always said that I will listen to the requests of our commanders on the ground.
GENERAL JOHN BATISTE (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Mr. President, you did not listen. You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps.
I left the Army in protest in order to speak out.
Mr. President, you have placed our nation in peril. Our only hope is that Congress will act now to protect our fighting men and women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Joining us again to talk about VoteVets and the rest of the news of Iraq, we welcome associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, and the author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion,” Bill Press.
Welcome back to you both.
I think General Batiste there—I‘m not certainly a supporter of VoteVets.org, or whatever it‘s called, but I think General Batiste, who is a lifelong Republican who voted for Bush twice, is a problem.
STODDARD: I think it‘s staggering.
CARLSON: It is staggering. It is staggering.
STODDARD: When this ad starts running in these vulnerable Republican districts, I don‘t know what they will say, because it doesn‘t matter what party you‘re in, whether you support or oppose the war, or what your feelings are on when we should leave and how, or not, you never want to hear these non-political military experts say that they were not listened to.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
I think this is—look, the president is at 28 percent. It‘s not like he can get any lower.
It seems to me, Bill, that, at this point, when you have ads like going—like this going on the air—this guy was the head of the 1st Infantry Division. He was not some rear echelon guy. He was a genuine big deal in the U.S. Army and in Iraq. The Democrats don‘t really need to do anything.
But no one has told them that.
CARLSON: And, so, instead, you have Nancy Pelosi out there telling some left-wing group that, in fact, if the president doesn‘t slow down the war in Iraq, she is going to take him to court and sue him.
The fear for them is overreaching, isn‘t it? But they don‘t know that.
PRESS: Well, first of all, I just have to agree with A.B., that this gets to—to me, this ad gets to the core of what the administration‘s position is.
PRESS: Right? That we listen to the military commanders, and Congress should bug out, right?
So, I think where this ad is going to be effective is not with that 28 percent that still support Bush. It‘s with the Republicans in the Congress who have been hiding behind this president....
CARLSON: Of course.
PRESS: ... and supporting him. And this will give them, I think, some backbone to say, you know what? There‘s a legitimate reason, from the military point of view, to disagree with the president‘s policies.
CARLSON: Why are people still joining the military? It is—let‘s just remind ourselves...
CARLSON: Everybody‘s heart goes out to the guys who are killed there and particularly the ones who are maimed. But people are joining voluntarily. And I‘m not sure I understand why. Why is that?
PRESS: There are people, Tucker, who really do believe in this mission. And there are people who really do support this country, right or wrong. And, for some people, this is their way up and out. And they still see that. And maybe they hope they won‘t get sent there.
CARLSON: Is Nancy Pelosi really going to take the president to court?
And shouldn‘t Nancy Pelosi be quiet, for the sake of her own party?
PRESS: Go ahead.
STODDARD: At this point, in terms of the Iraq debate, it really is—and one of them said to me today, we want to keep this the Republican problem, that they think this vote tomorrow is the last vote the Republicans can take.
And she—I understand what they are doing. The signing statements have been characterized as excessive. Even—the use of them. Even by Republicans privately, it‘s not in dispute that Bush has managed to centralize so much power to the executive branch, under Republican rule all those years.
And it—I understand what they‘re doing, but whether or not they can really go to court is another question. And it‘s probably not a good thing to bring up this week, when they‘re trying to shop for Republican votes.
CARLSON: It‘s like Pelosi going to Syria, which maybe you could justify. I have heard people attempt to justify that trip. But it sounds like megalomania.
PRESS: It was the right thing for Condi Rice to talk to the foreign minister of Syria. It was the right thing for Nancy Pelosi to talk to the president and the foreign minister...
CARLSON: But I‘m saying she‘s a congresswoman from San Francisco.
PRESS: No, she‘s not.
CARLSON: Talk about delusions of grandeur.
PRESS: She‘s the speaker of the House of Representatives.
CARLSON: I understand that.
CARLSON: This is a key—let your opponent self-destruct. Should she really be jumping in and saying, we‘re going to sue him? He‘s at 28 percent. Does he need to be sued by Nancy Pelosi?
PRESS: Here‘s the distinction, I think, which is important. She‘s talking about, if there‘s any legislation that goes to the court at all, about these signing statements. She‘s not talking about support for the war.
CARLSON: I‘m aware of that.
PRESS: Yes. And even John McCain has said that the president—it‘s like an imperial presidency, when he signs a bill, and then signs a signing statement, saying, yes, but I signed the bill, but I‘m not going to obey it.
PRESS: I think that is unconstitutional, and it should be challenged.
CARLSON: Yes. I guess I just—from the very beginning, there have been Democrats, many Democrats, some of whom I know pretty well, who are concerned about Nancy Pelosi overreaching. Are they still concerned? Or are they forcefully behind her?
STODDARD: You know what? Actually, so far, so good.
The grade for her is still an A. She‘s managed to keep the troops in line, keep these votes coming, not have to face a lot of defection. And, I mean, frankly,...
PRESS: And keep her caucus together.
STODDARD: And convince—as an anti-war liberal Democrat, convince the Out of Iraq Caucus to fund this war.
CARLSON: It just feels to me—and maybe I will be proved by time to be wrong—it feels like Newt Gingrich circa 1995 to me.
PRESS: Oh, no, Tucker.
STODDARD: Not at this point.
CARLSON: You see, these people always imagine they‘re God after a while.
PRESS: I really do. I think you‘re seeing an example of very effective leadership on her part.
PRESS: And the Republicans are the ones who are going to have to come around.
CARLSON: All right. We will see.
Neither Newt Gingrich, nor Al Gore, nor Fred Thompson, nor Chuck Hagel is running for president yet, but they may hold more sway over the upcoming election than any non-participants we have ever seen.
“Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman is next to analyze the so-called third force in American presidential politics.
Plus, the Mitt Romney-Al Sharpton spat heats up, with one saying the other uses bigoted rhetoric. We will bring you the substance.
You‘re watching MSNBC, the most impressive name in news.
CARLSON: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was a powerful presence at last week‘s Republican debate in California. He entered the debate hall with former first lady Nancy Reagan on his arm. He didn‘t say a word in public, but “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman makes this observation, quote, “If I were a Republican strategist or a Democratic one, I would be worried by Arnold‘s body language. He and other major independent actors on the political scene—New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Vice President Al Gore chief among them—comprise a third force that could upset two-party politics as we know it in the 2008 presidential race.
Are we in the middle of a major change in the way we elect the president? Here to talk about it the man who this week suggested the possibility in print, “Newsweek” chief political correspondent and NBC News political analyst Howard Fineman. Howard, welcome.
HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”: Hi Tucker.
CARLSON: So are you saying any of these guys could actually become president?
FINEMAN: I am not sure I‘m saying that, but what I am saying is there‘s a convergence of things here that are going to make next year very interesting next year for third force candidates and messages in the election, primarily because it looks to me, based on the schedule, as it keeps changing, that we are going to have at least seven months between the time that we know who the major party candidates are and the time that the general election really begins, after Labor Day.
CARLSON: Bloomberg, Gore and Schwarzenegger strikes me as pretty conventional liberals. I‘m not attacking them. They seem like kind of garden variety Democrats, more accomplished and more charismatic definitely, but their ideology doesn‘t seem new, is it?
FINEMAN: No, I don‘t think it is new. I think what their message would be is that the way two-party politics works, the role of campaign contributions, the role of lobbies in Washington is something that they would somehow try to to get around. It would have less to do with traditional left-right ideology, than with a kind of critique of the system. And I‘m certainly not saying that those three are in some kind of firm alliance but I have noticed that they have all been saying very nice things about each other lately. I also note that they are sort of independent forces in politics.
Al Gore doesn‘t need the Democratic party to get his message out now for sure. Mike Bloomberg doesn‘t need it. He‘s worth five billion dollars, in addition to being mayor of New York. And Arnold Schwarzenegger has kind of become a generous character in Sacramento, neither Democrat nor Republican, somehow existing above the fray, which is how he survived there. And there are other characters two.
You mention some of them in the lead in. Everybody from Newt Gingrich to Fred Thompson to Joe Lieberman. These are people who are sort of free atoms floating around the universe of politics. And I think they‘re going to be very influential.
CARLSON: Well, Chuck Hagel, I think, among all those, has the sharpest message, most compelling message. He has narrowed down what he stands for to one sentence, the war is a disaster. Where does he fit? He seems too conservative for the Democratic party and he seems to have alienated Republican primary voters by his attacks on Bush. Is there any place for him?
FINEMAN: Yes, I think there is a place for him. I‘m not saying there‘s just one possibility here in this third-force period of the campaign, which is sure to come after next February. I think Chuck Hagel could easily be a third force candidate of his own, especially if the, as looks likely, the Republicans nominate a pretty down the line supporter of the president‘s policy in Iraq. I didn‘t hear much criticism, except from Ron Paul, last week about that.
Chuck Hagel is a conservative on social issues for the most part, a conservative on fiscal issues, who is against the war. There‘s going to be a real constituency for that message that Chuck Hagel could try to fill. At the same token, let‘s say Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I think there‘s room for an anti-war candidacy on the left as well. I think you‘re going to see—my major point is I don‘t think the entire conversation of American politics is going to be encompassed by whoever the nominees of the major parties are this time, and this time because of the schedule.
There is going to be a seven-month period for those alternative voices to organize and be heard, and even get on ballots if they want to, which, by the way, has become a much easier thing to do over the years.
CARLSON: There will be a Gene McCarthy figure in Hillary‘s future. I bet you. I think you‘re absolutely right, she‘ll be challenged from the left. Howard Fineman, thanks a lot.
FINEMAN: You‘re welcome Tucker.
CARLSON: Has Al Sharpton slung another verbal arrow at a public figure, or did the Rev throw a boomerang in fact? His words, his subjects response and the latest contretemps for the Rev, next. And you are looking at a presidential candidate with a resume to beat all resumes. So what can Bill Richardson do to convince his fellow Americans that he is, in fact, the man for the job? We‘ve got his latest attempt coming up. You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics.
CARLSON: Politics not only makes strange bed fellows, they make strange adversaries some times. The Reverend Al Sharpton is scrambling to amend his comments to about Republican Mitt Romney after he appeared to attack Mr. Romney‘s Mormon faith during an appearance at the New York public library. Sharpton‘s offending words, quote, “as for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in god will defeat him anyway, so don‘t worry about that. That‘s a temporary situation.”
Sharpton‘s damage control? Quote, “what I said was that we would defeat him, meaning as a Republican. A Mormon, by definition, believes in god. They don‘t believe in god the way I do, but by definition they believe in god. Mitt Romney appeared with Joe Scarborough this morning on MSNBC and addressed Sharpton‘s comments directly. Here‘s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can only, hearing that statement, wonder whether there‘s not bigotry that still remains in America. That‘s an extraordinary thing for someone to say, and I can‘t imagine what prompted him to say something of that nature.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Here to discuss the sticks and stones and words that kind of hurt, associate editor of the “Hill” A.B. Stoddard and national syndicated radio show host Bill Press. Bill, Mitt Romney isn‘t wondering if there‘s bigotry still in America, he knows there is, because he employs a pollster. And the pollster is telling him that there is a lot of anti-Mormon bigotry in this country, because there is. So he knows it.
I‘m wondering; this strikes me as a pretty smart thing for him to do, to set up Sharpton as the foil.
PRESS: Well, what I love is welcome to the age of Al Sharpton. It‘s sort of like he‘s an the level with the Pope. He has the Obama thing. I has the Imus thing. Now he‘s got the Romney thing. Suddenly, everybody‘s measured by how they measure up to Al Sharpton.
CARLSON: It is unbelievable. I ran into Sharpton the other day. We met in public, as a friend of mine. I like Sharpton a lot. I said I want my own primary like you have. You have the Sharpton primary. How do I get a primary like that. You know what he said, he just chortled. He was so happy to have his own primary.
STODDARD: He sure does love it. But at the same time, I really think this is sort of Christmas in May for the Romney campaign, to get a little publicity and draw some sympathy among his believers that he‘s getting the Sharpton treatment. Because his people don‘t like Al Sharpton.
CARLSON: But the Mormon thing is, I think—I don‘t think, I know, because I‘ve seen the numbers. It‘s a huge problem for Romney. It‘s obviously unfair to attack Romney.
STODDARD: It‘s interesting that he actually hasn‘t found a way to come out and deal with it.
CARLSON: Exactly! And this is the way. He has not directly addressed it and I‘m not sure if that‘s wise or not. But this gives him a way to address it directly. He can say, these people on the left are attacking me because of my religion. That helps.
PRESS: But the truth of it is the problem for Mitt Romney with his religion—and there should not be a problem—is not from people like Al Sharpton. It‘s from people like Jerry Falwell, who have already said openly and publicly, that we Christians do not accept Mormons as real people of faith. And that‘s the sleeper issue in this primary that he has to deal with. And he hasn‘t yet.
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t think, to be fair to evangelicals, I don‘t think the idea is that they‘re not people of faith. Of course, they are people of faith. They‘re not Christians. That‘s the position of a lot of evangelicals; Mormons are not Christians. I‘m obviously not weighing in on that, but I know that that‘s what they believe.
Speaking of true faith, A.B. Stoddard, the White House is continuing to support Paul Wolfowitz as head of the Word Bank, at some great cost to America‘s image abroad. This is what Tony Snow, whom I like a lot, said aboard Air Force One today. He said, quote, “this is not hanging Paul Wolfowitz out to dry. We still support him fully.”
Now why would any sane, sober person support Paul Wolfowitz, quote, fully when its obvious that doing so would hurt this nation‘s standing internationally? Does he have naked pictures of someone?
STODDARD: It really is beginning to look strange. I don‘t understand
when the president says he has confidence in someone, I always think that he means that I have confidence they are going to see the writing on the wall any minute now. But when they use words like fully support, it‘s very strange. We are now getting to the point where his lawyer is begging for more time. He‘s calling this whole thing unfair, because getting a raise for your girlfriend is fair.
At this point, we are really running the risk, if this comes to a vote, of kind of losing our chance at having the U.S. run the World Bank.
CARLSON: Let me just admit, it may be that Paul Wolfowitz has such an unblemished track record of good judgments, smart decisions, brilliant planning, like what he did in Iraq, that this White House understands he is the most capable possible person they could have in that job. Do you think that‘s what‘s going on?
PRESS: Let me tell you, here‘s what it is, Tucker: First of all, my advice to Paul Wolfowitz on the president‘s backing is, don‘t bank on it.
CARLSON: I hope not.
PRESS: He can‘t take that on. Have you noticed also, Tony Snow—they have passed this off now to the secretary of treasury. Does anybody on this planet know who Henry Paulson is? But they have said that Henry Paulson is going to decide Wolfowitz‘s fate. Do you know what‘s happening, I think, you watch. They are just letting Wolfowitz have enough time to figure out how to resign and they can put Alberto Gonzales in as head of the World Bank.
CARLSON: That would be better. I don‘t know anybody—
STODDARD: He‘s still attorney general. The vigil continues.
CARLSON: This guy was the architect of Iraq, which is hurting this country and will continue to hurt America for generations. It‘s amazing to me he is gainfully employed.
PRESS: Somebody tell me, what good is he doing George Bush in that position or doing America right now in that position?
CARLSON: It‘s also so unfair. I know many decent people who are out of work, people who have played by the rules, smart decisions and gotten a bad hand and they‘re out of work and suffering. Here‘s Paul Wolfowitz getting a tax free salary from the crypto international organization.
PRESS: Tucker, end of the week. He‘ll be out by the end of the week.
CARLSON: I hope. It can‘t come too soon. Sorry. I‘m not pretending
You may not know how I feel about it. I‘ll explain myself. OK, Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, every reporter‘s favorite candidate, because he will actual talk to you, maybe have a beer with you, possibly grope you, whatever. He has a new ad out. I only said that because his lieutenant governor, as you know, accused Richardson of groping her. OK, it‘s fair game. She said it. I didn‘t. This is his new ad. I think it‘s pretty clever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huh. OK, 14 years in Congress, U.N. ambassador, secretary of energy, governor of New Mexico, negotiated with dictators in Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Zaire, Nigeria, Yugoslavia, Kenya, got a cease fire in Darfur, and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times. So, what makes you think you can be president?
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: I‘m Bill Richardson and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That‘s good. You know what?
PRESS: Let me tell you, he does have the best resume, I think, of anybody running. He‘s got the best sense of humor of anybody running. I happen to think he did himself very well in the debate, by the way. I don‘t find many people who agree. But I think he did. He looked real. He‘s an executive. I think of any of those so-called, that we‘ve branded, second tier candidates can bust through, it‘s Bill Richardson, and that proves it.
CARLSON: You think so?
STODDARD: I think it‘s Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd. And every time, you know, we—when I.
CARLSON: Are you just saying that because you like—because everybody likes Chris Dodd, including me.
STODDARD: No, no, no. Everyone likes Bill Richardson and actually all of the top tier candidates know that they are the best qualified to be vice president. I mean, I‘m sorry, when it comes down to it, when one of them wins—one of the top-tier candidates, and I think we are losing Edwards now. It is looking like Obama.
STODDARD: . or Hillary, I think that they are going to look at two people for the vice presidency. And I.
CARLSON: Do you really think Chris Dodd.
STODDARD: Because they have really good experience and really good resumes.
CARLSON: Yes. I guess I remember—and again I say this as someone who has great affection.
STODDARD: And I don‘t think they are going to.
CARLSON: I have great affection for Chris Dodd because he is such a charming guy, right? But if you take a look at what Chris Dodd in the 1980s in Nicaragua, in his tacit support for the communist government that was so over the.
CARLSON: I‘m serious, so over the line and indefensible. I was there. I watched it. It was totally wrong.
PRESS: Tucker, we were supporting a violent dictator in Nicaragua.
CARLSON: He was supporting a violent dictator, Daniel Ortega of the...
PRESS: No he wasn‘t.
CARLSON: . Sandinistas.
PRESS: He wasn‘t supporting the Sandinistas.
CARLSON: Yes, he was. Yes, he was.
STODDARD: OK. Do you think they are going to pick John Edwards?
CARLSON: I don‘t think anybody cares except me, but I remember.
PRESS: But Chris Dodd‘s support for the Sandinistas is not going to determine what happens to him in this race.
CARLSON: Boy, you know, he is off my Christmas card list. Much as I like the guy, I think.
CARLSON: I‘m serious. But what is it.
PRESS: But back to Richardson, keep your eye on Richardson.
CARLSON: The Sanctuary movement, we are going to talk to—in a minute in the next segment, a rabbi from California who is a leader in that movement, and she will explain the details of it.
But as a theoretical matter, Bill, do you think that houses of worship, self-described, ought to be sanctuaries from federal or state law?
PRESS: Well, I don‘t want to address it as a theoretical matter. As a theological matter, the answer is absolutely yes.
CARLSON: So why shouldn‘t the rabbi or the priests go to jail?
PRESS: The state—well, you know what? They would be willing to do so, if forced to do so.
CARLSON: Would they really? No, they would whine. They would.
PRESS: No, no, no. They—no, Tucker, there many, many religious leaders who have gone to jail for their principles in this country. And these people would do the same. Look, the state has it job, the church has its job. And I never want to live in a country where state and the church.
CARLSON: I agree.
PRESS: . march in lockstep. You know, if you go—the man from Galilee, read the Gospels. He didn‘t hang out with the powerful. He hung out with the powerless. They are doing exactly what the Gospels stand for.
CARLSON: Yes. And in the end, in the end, he suffered for it. I just think today‘s religious leaders just scream like (INAUDIBLE) women if they, you know, have to face the consequences. And I.
PRESS: I think that is totally unfair and not based on anything.
CARLSON: Is that true?
PRESS: I don‘t know where you are getting that.
CARLSON: OK. Good, then we will see. We will explore that.
PRESS: . for example. He would go to jail rather than ask somebody, coming up to.
PRESS: . to see their ID before he gives them.
CARLSON: Randall Terry is another perfect example, I think. Someone I know you respect, is that right?
CARLSON: Yes, Randall Terry.
CARLSON: See, OK, good.
PRESS: I don‘t consider him a man of faith.
CARLSON: Oh, you don‘t because he disagrees with you.
PRESS: No, no, no. Not at all. But he is not a religious leader.
He is not.
CARLSON: He is an anti-abortion leader.
CARLSON: All right. Bill Press, A.B. Stoddard, thank you both very much very much.
Well, the question again, should places of worship serve as sanctuaries for illegal aliens? A new initiative begins today to make it so. And one of its proponents explains why coming up.
Plus, Queen Elizabeth has learned a thing or two during her 50 years wearing the crown, how to curtsy, which fork to use while eating foie gras, and how to zing back at the president of the United States. MSNBC‘s chief of protocol, Willie Geist, has that footage. This is MSNBC, the most impressive name in news.
CARLSON: Religious groups across the country are starting a sanctuary movement for immigrants who are facing deportation. Could this help change immigration policy or is it just plain illegal? We will be right back.
CARLSON: Here‘s a question. Should churches, mosques and synagogues be used as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants in the United States? Today is the first day of an initiative called the New Sanctuary movement. It is intended to provide some immigrants with, quote, “spiritual, emotional, and physical sanctuary in places of worship.”
Here to explain exactly how all of that works, which groups can seek the movement‘s aid, how they are going to do it. What the goals are, Rabbi Laurie Coskey. She is executive director of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.
Rabbi, thanks for coming on.
RABBI LAURIE COSKEY, INTERFAITH COMMITTEE FOR WORKER JUSTICE: Hi, there.
CARLSON: Now it seems to me that almost by definition what you are all proposing doing is illegal. Are you ready to face the consequences of committing an illegal act?
COSKEY: Well, the Sanctuary movement, as we have established it today, is in fact not an illegal movement. Most of the families, and today all of the families who are seeking sanction with faith organizations are already well-known to authorities. They are each of them at some stage in the deportation process. And so the activity of sanctuary today is not particularly illegal.
CARLSON: What does that—I‘m not sure particularly illegal is a legal term I am familiar with, that is like not particularly pregnant.
COSKEY: Well, you know, I‘m a faith leader, not a lawyer.
CARLSON: Right. OK. I understand that.
COSKEY: So what I‘m saying to you is today, the act of sanctuary that is taken on by each of these communities, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego today, are not illegal acts because they are working with families, providing supportive to families that at this point are already in the deportation proceedings.
CARLSON: OK. But hold on, that doesn‘t mean—you may be doing the right thing, you may be doing the wrong thing, but that doesn‘t mean you are not doing the illegal thing. You have clearly decided that these people ought to remain in the country. You disagree with immigration law as it currently stands. And you have decided to take a position in favor of disobeying that law.
Why is that different than saying, you know what, I don‘t that believe bank robbery ought to be illegal and I am going to take in bank robbers who are fugitives? Why is it different?
COSKEY: Well, today, actually, in our country, I think the greatest minds are talking about our immigration laws. The Senate is, the House is, the president is, even the judiciary is. And so we would all have to agree that the laws are broken and that the greatest minds are working on creating a humane, comprehensive, and effective immigration policy.
And while they are doing that, we would have to really debate what it is like for human beings, for families who are living here, working here, part of faith communities and trying to get along in a place that they called home.
CARLSON: Well, wait a second, I mean, yes, our laws are broken, there is a bipartisan agreement on that. But our drug laws are broken too. We both know people who smoke pot who aren‘t in jail. But smoking pot is still a crime. So is it OK for you to grow dope in the back of your synagogue? No.
Do you know what I mean? Why should you—simply because you run a house of worship, get to ignore federal, state, or local law?
COSKEY: Well, so far actually there isn‘t any conversation around ignoring federal, state, and local law. Many of us in our communities are working with our authorities who also say try to work with your legislators as faith communities using the prophetic voice, using the voice of the Koran, using the voice of the New Testament, of the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate the humane—the higher call to justice for human beings.
CARLSON: All right. OK. Well, but—OK. Obviously, you are falling a different command, the command you believe of God, but you still have to obey temporal law, human law. Are you willing to go to jail for this?
COSKEY: You know.
CARLSON: And are you really willing, like for real?
COSKEY: You know, I think that is a good question. You know.
CARLSON: If they haul you off in handcuffs, are you going to complain are you going to go as a person of faith and go sit in the country jail for a while with a lot of unwashed people and take it?
COSKEY: Well, I can tell you the story of San Diego. Today in San Diego, the San Diego Friends, who are the Quakers, provided sanctuary for a young man named Marco (ph). And I suspect you have his story. It is an amazing story.
But if you asked me, are the Friends community—the San Diego Friends Community prepared to go the distance with Marco? And it is going to be in a few months, that question will come up within the next three or four months. My guess is that look at the—you can look at the history of the Quaker movement in this country, and I think we all know the answer.
CARLSON: Right. Yes. A lot Quakers—and finally, quickly, we just saw in Fort Dix a number of guys arrested, three of them illegal aliens, for plotting to kill soldiers in New Jersey at Fort Dix. I assume you are doing background checks on the people you offer sanctuary to, right?
COSKEY: Correct. You are absolutely right.
CARLSON: You are hiring, like, retired FBI agents to make certain there are not fugitives who are wanted for serious felonies?
COSKEY: Part of the New Sanctuary movement is working with legal support through the Center for Human Rights. And they are doing really careful checks on people, not only for criminal activities, which is so unusual, but to make sure that people who are courageous and who allow themselves to be sanctuary families and who tell their stories in a public way, even on your show, Tucker, if you would like. Those people are not harmed by their—are not unduly harmed by their participation in the New Sanctuary movement.
CARLSON: Unduly harmed. OK. I hope they are not even duly harmed.
COSKEY: Well, I agree with you. And I would love—and there are families who would like to talk to you, Tucker. You are a great guy to talk to.
CARLSON: I bet. Well, I appreciate that, Rabbi. So are you. Thanks for coming on.
CARLSON: Well, a restaurant owner had to step in and ask O.J. Simpson to put down the knife. What was O.J. doing? And how is the search for the real killers going? As usual, Willie Geist has the answers to those questions. You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Joining us now, the only man I know personally who has his own fan site on facebook.com, the remarkable, the hunky Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER: That is not true, Tucker. That is not true.
CARLSON: Yes, it is true, Willie.
GEIST: Oh, it is? Tucker, let‘s get to some community bulletin board material here. Tomorrow, 4:00 p.m., if you love freedom you will be in Soho in New York for the Free Paris Now rally. That is 4:00, Crosby Street in Soho in Manhattan, the Free Paris Hilton Now rally, to get the petition to get Schwarzenegger to sign it to keep her out of prison and back in nightclubs, dancing on tables where she belongs.
CARLSON: Spring in Paris, or Paris in the spring, either way, I‘m for it.
GEIST: Is it all right if I skip work? It is at 4:00 during our show.
CARLSON: Of course it is.
CARLSON: If you will do a live update from the scene, we would be grateful.
GEIST: Absolutely. Absolutely. I will look into it. Well, Tucker, O.J. Simpson‘s relentless around-the-clock search for the real killer took him to Louisville, Kentucky and the Kentucky Derby last weekend. On Friday night, The Juice, as he‘s known to those of us close to him, went to Jeff Ruby‘s Steakhouse with some friends.
The problem was Jeff Ruby didn‘t want him there. Ruby approached O.J. and asked him to leave. The restaurant owner later said the attention O.J. gets, quote, “makes me sick to my stomach.” Simpson did round up his party and leave. At which point Ruby says he got an ovation from the remaining diners.
Simpson‘s attorney now says he might sue the restaurant, and that Ruby, quote, “messed with the wrong guy.” Now usually that is an idle threat. In this case, there might be something to that.
CARLSON: It is unbelievable—can you imagine, O.J. Simpson walks into your steakhouse and picks up a knife? I think that is threatening enough.
GEIST: Yes. I would be afraid. He had a group of 12 people with him too. And they all had to get up and leave the restaurant.
CARLSON: And very quickly, who are those people? Can you look into that and get their names? I want to know who is having dinner with O.J. Simpson, honestly.
GEIST: They might be like friends from his MySpace page or something like that. Not real people, I don‘t imagine.
Tucker, I know you guys just talked about the Barack Obama miscalculation of death toll at the top of the show. But it‘s so unbelievably incorrect that I really think we should see it again real quick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In case you missed it, this week, this week there was as tragedy in Kansas, 10,000 people died, an entire town destroyed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: What is that? If you are scoring at home, the death toll was 12, by the way. How does that happen? Was he thinking about of the Spanish-American War or something? What is he.
CARLSON: Well, I love the guys behind him, nodding like, that is right, speak!
GEIST: Yes, yes, yes, Senator. It is amazing. And actually, his explanation didn‘t quite make sense to me. I didn‘t understand. I would like to know more about that comment, kind of fascinating.
CARLSON: Yes. Maybe he will explain it.
GEIST: Well, Tucker, after what seemed like six months, Queen Elizabeth finally has left the United States. Beside her mint julep-soaked hard partying with O.J. at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, the queen‘s visit will be best remembered for this chilly moment with President Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial 17 -- in 1976.
BUSH: She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: OK. So you remember that moment a couple of days ago. At a dinner last night, held before the queen skipped town, she got the president back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II OF ENGLAND: Mr. President, I wondered whether I should start this toast saying, when I was here in 17...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: All right. Pretty good one for the queen. I do have to say, I don‘t like the condescending tone of the queen speaking to the president of the United States. You wear a crown and you have robes and stuff. Just settle down a little bit.
CARLSON: I couldn‘t agree—I couldn‘t—especially since we won.
GEIST: Exactly. Why are we being talked down to? I hate that.
Finally, Tucker, you talked earlier also about Vice President Cheney‘s surprise visit to Iraq today. I thought it was a telling sign of the state of affairs there when Cheney got off a military jet wearing in Baghdad wearing the largest flak jacket ever constructed by man. Looks surprisingly with a blazer though.
Now the vest was an obviously homage to Cheney‘s boy, 50 Cent, the man who made Kevlar hip again. Dick Cheney obviously an honorary member of the G-Unit. Many people don‘t know that, Tucker. Did you know?
CARLSON: Actually, I bet you $1,000 that 50 Cent actually does have a perverse kind of respect for Dick Cheney, just a guess.
GEIST: Oh, of course, he does. He is hard.
CARLSON: He shot a man.
GEIST: That is right.
CARLSON: That says it all. Willie Geist.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks, Willie. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS.” We are back tomorrow. See you then. Have a great night.
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