Guests: Hugh Hewitt, Michael Crowley, Lynn Sweet, Roxanne Roberts, Amy Argetsinger
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: The old saying goes, it is good to be the king. But it wasn‘t so good to be the president or a presidential candidate this week.
Welcome to the show.
President Bush began the week with what appeared to be solid Republican support for the war. A frank conversation with 11 House Republicans on Tuesday had Mr. Bush retreating somewhat by Thursday afternoon.
John Edwards began the week as a private citizen running for president as a populist who had earned money working for a hedge fund. By week‘s end, he is a private citizen running as a populist who says his work for that hedge fund was—quote—“primarily to learn,” whatever that means.
But we begin our discussion with Rudy Giuliani, who began and ended the week as the Republican front-runner for the ‘08 nomination. But Mr. Giuliani twisted himself into a rhetorical pretzel on the question of abortion.
Having done his best at last week‘s debate to portray himself as an opponent of the procedure, Giuliani was confronted with the fact that he had repeatedly given money to Planned Parenthood in the 1990s. By week‘s end, he has taken a new tact. Rudy Giuliani is now campaigning as a pro-choice Republican.
Here to assess the damage suffered, maybe the benefits enjoyed, by the
leading lights in politics this week, we welcome MSNBC contributor and
columnist for “The Boston Globe”—“Boston Herald,” rather, Mike Barnicle
better paper—and senior editor...
CARLSON: ... for “The New Republic,” Michael Crowley.
Welcome to you both.
CARLSON: Mike Barnicle, really, the week began on such an amusing and sour note for Rudy Giuliani, when he went on Laura Ingraham‘s radio show, and tried to explain his contributions to Planned Parenthood.
This clip that we‘re about to play really will go down in history as one of the great moments of pure distilled 200-proof B.S.
Here‘s Rudy Giuliani on “Laura Ingraham.”
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, “THE LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW”)
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Why would you 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: I am so for adoption, I‘m so opposed to abortion...
CARLSON: ... and so in favor of adoption, that I had to give money to Planned Parenthood.
At that people, Mike, there really was no choice but to just say, you know what, I give up. I am pro-choice.
Is that what happened?
MIKE BARNICLE, NBC ANALYST: Either that or adopt, literally, a better position that would make more sense to the delegates that he‘s trying to appeal to.
BARNICLE: You know, Tucker, I don‘t have much of a feel for the Republican delegates that clearly Rudy Giuliani is trying to connect with there.
But, given what we have been talking about all week long, the Giuliani position on abortion, the John Edwards deal with the hedge fund, the Mitt Romney interview where he‘s asked about polygamy and whether he ever had premarital sex with his wife, when you consider the great landscape of life, these issues, while they might appeal to delegates, I don‘t know a whole lot of people that they are hot-button issues for.
In a world—in a dangerous world that we live in, and people are worried about what is going to happen in this country, worried about the war in Iraq, worried about their children, I understand the political nature of deal on abortion with Rudy Giuliani.
But, given the things that we have to cope with and wrestle with in this society, this—the politics of ours, this is just—I don‘t get it.
CARLSON: Well, I mean, it is a matter of life and death, according to the majority of the Republican primary voters. They believe this is the biggest issue there is.
I don‘t—I really don‘t think—no matter what your position is, or my position, or anybody‘s, you cannot overstate the importance of this issue to Republican primary voters. I think it is objectively a big deal.
But it also adds up, Michael Crowley, to this kind of feeling that things aren‘t going well for Giuliani. It was announced almost on the exactly the same day this OxyContin settlement was announced—the makers of OxyContin paying up, because they apparently misled consumers of it, saying it was not addictive—that Giuliani‘s own company had been a paid consultant to the company that makes OxyContin.
I mean, short of getting blamed for poisoning pet food, Giuliani could not have intersected with more bad news in one week, do you think?
MICHAEL CROWLEY, SENIOR EDITOR, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”: No, that‘s right.
And, you know, a lot of people didn‘t think he hit it out of the park in that debate either. So, he has been doing, to me, amazingly well in the national polls for a while now. You know, he raced past McCain, and has been staying up there, you know, with more staying power than I expected.
But, look, I think, on this question of abortion, maybe he‘s going to make—turn lemons into lemonade. I mean, look, this is a guy who dressed up in drag for these, you know, kooky dinners they had in New York City. There is no way he was going to convince social conservatives in Iowa that he was really one of them.
And, so, on the abortion issue, rather than making a fool of himself on radio shows, like Laura Ingraham‘s, and trying to lie to these people—and they can see right through it—why not just put it out there, and say, you know, look, this is how I believe?
And it actually makes him very electable in the general election. I mean, his campaign had already been saying the best argument for him is that they—according to their number-crunching, he is a very electable general election candidate.
And this may be just a way of him saying, you guys desperately want the White House back, so, bite your tongue a little bit on this. I am not going to, you know, ram through new laws. Just try to accept this side of me.
And I think that makes him look a lot better. And, by the way—just a very quick point—I think the press will reward him. Just as we saw the media loved John McCain...
CROWLEY: ... kind of defying the Republican base in 2000...
CROWLEY: ... he will get a little...
CROWLEY: ... turbo thrust out of that.
CARLSON: If there is one consensus in the media—I don‘t think everyone in the media is liberal—but, if there is one consensus, it is that abortion ought to be legal. Everybody, I think, in the press thinks that, except me. But most people do.
CROWLEY: And defying party—you know, being an iconoclast...
CARLSON: Right, well, especially evangelicals in the Republican Party, who are hated, obviously...
BARNICLE: You know what is interesting here as well, Tucker, is what Michael just alluded to.
If you go up to New Hampshire, which is one of the early primary states—it will probably end up having its primary at halftime of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the way things are going—but more and more Republicans who you talk to, even very conservative Republicans, they want to win.
And they sense, in Giuliani—it may or may not be true in the long run, but they sense that he is a winner. So, they are willing to sort of live with his digressions on abortion, and he‘s all over the lot on it, because they to want to win. They sense a winner.
CARLSON: So, you don‘t think that there‘s all of this—the bottom is going to fall out, imminently, for Giuliani?
BARNICLE: I don‘t think it‘s going to fall out on abortion. I think it might fall out with Bernie Kerik...
BARNICLE: ... and his administration of the city of New York in—over the course of his reign as mayor of New York.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
BARNICLE: But I think it‘s more likely it would fall out over that, rather than abortion.
CARLSON: And that is what everybody is waiting for. We will see. I keep predicting it. It hasn‘t happened. I‘m sure I will be wrong in the end, again.
Well, it‘s a big weekend in the media for Mitt Romney, including the cover of “TIME” magazine and a sit-down with Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes.” You will be amazed how far Wallace went in that interview. Stick around.
Plus: Barack Obama‘s wife, Michelle, makes her first splash in the media. How does she compare to the other candidates‘ spouses as a political asset? Is she a political asset? We will tell you.
This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Mitt Romney opens up about his religion. He says he did not have premarital sex. And he says he‘s troubled by polygamy. In fact, he says he can‘t imagine anything more awful than polygamy. Really?
We will be right back.
CARLSON: Mitt Romney raised more money than any of his Republican competitors for the presidency in the first quarter of this year. But, to call his poll numbers today anemic is to cast negative light on anemia. They‘re low.
This weekend, the first all-out Romney media blitz begins with a “TIME” magazine cover and a sit-down interview with Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes.”
Here to talk about what Romney has said and will say on Sunday, where he stands on the issues, and his prospects of being the Republican nominee, we welcome Hugh Hewitt. He‘s a syndicated radio show host and author of “A Mormon in the White House: 10 Things Every American Ought to Know about Mitt Romney.”
Hugh, thanks for coming on.
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Tucker, good to be back. Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: Thank you.
The “60 Minutes” episode has not yet aired. It airs on Sunday. But we have excerpts released by CBS. And I want to put one of them up on the screen.
This is Mitt Romney responding to questions from Mike Wallace about polygamy and his position on it.
Here it is, Mitt Romney on polygamy. He says: “I have a great-great grandfather. They were trying to build a generation out there in the desert, and so he took additional wives, as he was told to do. And I must admit, I can‘t image anything more awful than polygamy.”
Now, if you can‘t imagine anything more awful than polygamy, it seems to me you have got a pretty limited imagination, wouldn‘t you say?
HEWITT: Well, I think that, in the context of the question, he‘s trying to respond to whether or not he thinks polygamy is an acceptable practice.
And I don‘t think that actually is what he means literally. And I think the literalist interpretation to any candidates‘ response—for example, Barack Obama says 10,000 people got killed in Kansas. Well, he makes a mistake. I mean, it doesn‘t say he is not prepared to be a good president or anything like that.
But, Tucker, I think much more important in the “60 Minutes” is that, when we see it in context, it‘s going to complete two...
HEWITT: ... extraordinary weeks for Romney. And I actually think that the Romney camp is pretty pleased with how the interview went, although a lot of people are shocked at some of Mike Wallace‘s questions.
CARLSON: Well, I was—I—before we get to one of his questions which was—I think everyone watching will agree was over the line—let‘s go back to the polygamy and the Mormon question for a second.
What is Romney‘s take going to be? That strikes me as an awfully defensive answer. I mean, polygamy is hardly the worst thing in the world. I have had airplane flights that are worse than polygamy, more horrifying than polygamy.
Why not—why not just say, you know, that was the past; it happened;
I‘m not responsible for it; I have nothing to apologize for?
How will he handle the—explaining the tenets of his faith? Will he do it directly? Will he...
HEWITT: Well, polygamy is not a tenet of—polygamy is not a tenet of the modern LDS...
CARLSON: I‘m fully aware of that. That‘s right. The church has—that‘s exactly right. For 100 years, they have...
HEWITT: And I think what he is trying to do is thread the needle.
I spent a lot of time talking about his faith with him for “A Mormon in the White House?”
HEWITT: And he would go over and over again over the fact that, look, if you want to talk theology, go out to Salt Lake City, engage LDS.org, talk to an apostle of the Church of the First Presidency. I am running for president, not pope or pastor.
However, he will always say—I think we will hear on “60 Minutes” what he told me many months ago, which is, judge me by my family. Look at what my faith has done for my family.
He‘s been married for 38 years. He‘s got five kids, five daughters-in-law, 10 grandchildren. He‘s as square as a right angle, Tucker. That‘s part of the problem the media is going to have, is they have got nothing to do with this guy, except talk about his business extraordinary success, his Salt Lake City—his Olympic success.
And, so, they keep coming back to the Mormon stuff. But, you know,
basically, Mormons—and I hope they are watching, and they are my friends
I‘m not a Mormon—they are just not that interesting when it comes to the high life. I mean, they are pretty square.
CARLSON: Well, I—look, I think one of the reasons people—and I am certainly not attacking Mormonism. I know so many decent, good Mormons.
But the polls show that people are uncomfortable with the idea of a Mormon president, as you‘re fully aware. And I think that is one of the reasons it is a fair question to ask about his religion, because it is an issue in this race.
Back to Mike Wallace‘s question, though, the question that is so cringe-making, especially coming from him: Did you and your wife have premarital sex?
Romney tried to dodge it and say, well, I‘m not going to go there. And then he answered it. And then he said—to your point, it turns out he is pretty straight—he said, no, we did not have sex before we were married.
Does he feel the need to answer every question posed to him? Why would he answer a question like that?
HEWITT: I think that was such a surprise. I spent hours with him for my book, and it never occurred to me to ask him that question.
CARLSON: No, of course not. It‘s bizarre.
HEWITT: So, once a while, something is going to come out of left field, and he‘s going to sit there and he‘s going to blurt out an answer, just like any other candidate.
And then what happens, especially with a guy Mitt Romney, trained in the Harvard Business School way, you input the data. You remember. Next time, you say, now, wait a minute, Mike. We are not going there. We are not going to get into this sort of thing. And you might be curious. There might be prurient interest in all sorts of things, but I would recommend that other journalists not ask me that, and I would recommend that other candidates not answer that.
I think that it is the best way for all of the candidates to react to these intrusive questions.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
And that‘s really, even by the—even by the intrusive standards of media questions during presidential campaigns, that is pretty over the top.
I know that you‘re a Romney fan. You have been saying for a long time
and you may be right—that he is stronger than he appears to be in the poll numbers. He is still polling very low in most polls that I see.
Can you point to polling anywhere in the country, apart from New Hampshire, that shows Romney doing better than we have expected him to do?
In fact, if you look at the ARG polling breakdown from the early states, Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, over the last five months, Romney is up 22 clicks. Rudy has gone down 22 clicks. McCain has stayed about—I think it‘s net one click.
And, so, I think what you see, significantly, in New Hampshire, he has surged. He has surged in Iowa. There‘s a new ARG poll out of Michigan this week which shows he had a great week. And I think you are really going to start to see, after that debate—now, I don‘t think this over. I think Rudy Giuliani had a bad two weeks. So what? He could have a good two weeks and Romney could have a bad tow weeks.
It is a Giuliani-Romney race right now. And, if Thompson gets in, he will be competitive as well. But what I think the last two weeks have shown us, and what we will at Columbia on Tuesday night next week, when they have this big, huge Romney event, the meet-up-for-Mitt thing—
MittRomney.com has got the details—that there are three very solid candidates, that Romney is better financed, and, in a complicated and compacted schedule, he‘s looking pretty good right now, even though the national polls have yet to reflect his name I.D., because, again, he‘s a governor of a blue state.
HEWITT: “TIME” magazine cover helps.
CARLSON: You know what? I have, from the very beginning, kind of counted Romney out. I may have been completely wrong. We will see. I am holding open the possibility you may be absolutely right.
And, if you are, we will bring you back on to congratulate you.
Hugh Hewitt, thanks a lot.
HEWITT: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: Like Mitt Romney, Barack Obama‘s wife is out and about in the press right now. What is she saying? How it is affecting her husband‘s campaign? And how does she compare as a political asset to the spouses of his competitors?
Plus: Hillary Clinton has got the most famous spouse at all. Bill Clinton says he doesn‘t want to make a living if he is first husband. How much is he helping and how much is he hindering his wife‘s run for the White House?
This is MSNBC, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP
MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Then there is the Barack Obama who lives in my house. That guy is not as impressive. He still has trouble putting the bread up and putting his socks actually in the dirty clothes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So behind every great man is a great woman, right? In Barack Obama‘s case she is a succesful executive with the University of Chicago Hospitals, about to take a break from working. Now it seems the woman behind the man is getting the buzz. What is the deal with Michelle Obama?
Joining us now an Obama expert in her own right, someone who has traveled to Africa with the Obama‘s, Lynn Sweet of the “Chicago Sun Times.” Lynn, thanks for coming on.
LYNN SWEET, “CHICAGO SUN TIMES”: Hi Tucker.
CARLSON: So Barack Obama is not all that impressive according to his wife. You don‘t need to be Dr. Freud to see hostility behind what she just said. At least that‘s what I see. What do you see?
SWEET: I see schtick. This is all it is. It‘s there schitck. He is the one on the pedestal, and she is the one who cheerfully knocks him down, just to say he‘s just a regular guy. You know, he doesn‘t pick up the ant traps. He doesn‘t pick up the milk. It is just part of the campaign that she has to make him human in the eyes of people. He is a famous person who you don‘t know very well. That could be said of other candidates in the race, too. But that is what she is trying to do. And that‘s when you see this.
Now, she seems to have a template where she uses this he is thinking a big thought and I bring him down-to-Earth and I tell him to go and fill in the blank, go take a run for some groceries, take the girls to school.
CARLSON: Her new line is that he is not the Messiah, news, I guess, to whoever thought he was the Messiah. I don‘t know anyone who thought that. But apparently some do and she is bringing them back to reality, here, saying he‘s not the Messiah. She also said that there was at one point tension and stress in their marriage. I don‘t know, is she totally on board? I mean, You look at the candidates, and it‘s clear that some spouses, Bill Clinton for instance, is completely invested in his wife being elected. Elizabeth Edwards completely invested in her husband being elected. Is Michelle Obama completely on board with this do you think?
SWEET: I would say she is 110 percent invested. This would not have happened if she wasn‘t. A few weeks ago she cut down her work to half time. Now she cut it down to 20 percent time. It‘s imminent—I don‘t know exactly when, but soon she will take a leave from her job at the University of Chicago Hospitals to be on this trail. And she is perhaps the most important surrogate, Tucker, that the campaign has right now, somebody that has the stature equal to Obama‘s, who you can go out and send to big fund raisers.
She already—just this week she went to Ohio and Kentucky, events that weren‘t on her public schedule, to go talk to donors. So she has been very—it‘s a critical role that she is playing for the campaign. And she is 100 percent invested in this campaign and the success of her husband.
CARLSON: Well, that is absolutely necessary for any candidate to have a spouse who is totally invested. I think that is absolutely key. A remark that she made a couple of weeks ago to Katie Couric has stuck in my mind ever since I heard it. I‘m not sure what it means. I want to put it up on the screen.
She said this to Katie Couric: Couric asked, “are you worried about your husband, his safety?”
And she said, quote, “The reality is that as a black man, Barack could be shot just going to the gas station.”
What does that mean, exactly?
SWEET: Well, this is not new. The Obamas told us at the “Sun Times” back in November that this was a concern of hers. His sister, who I talked to in Africa, said that there is a history in America of African-Americans getting shot. That is why, even before the Secret Service, Tucker, was assigned to protect him last week, he had private security with him. And the crowds, the crush of people around him, would cause anyone to be worried about security. You can‘t be this famous this fast in America, I think no matter what your race, and not have security concerns, because out on the campaign trail—I‘ve seen it—people want to touch you, want to get close to you.
There are tons of people who want books autographed, if nothing else. And so there‘s a lot of personal contact, and I can see why she would be worried.
CARLSON: I would be very concerned if I were Michelle Obama. There are a lot of crazies out there, no doubt about it. This quote struck me though not because it spoke to that, but because it seemed to suggest that America is a country in which black people get killed at the gas station because they are black. Is that what you think she was saying?
SWEET: I think what she says is what she says. In this case, I don‘t think there‘s a lot of parsing that has to be done. And he and his wife are very aware that the security concerns that would be there for any candidate anyway of his magnitude have an extra level and an extra dimension because of a racial factor in it, yes.
CARLSON: What are her politics?
SWEET: Her politics strike me as remarkably like Obama. Actually, when you hear her speaks, she sounds remarkably like him, in terms of cadence and pacing and the way that should puts together the arc of a narrative when she talks, remarkably similar. I guess a lot of couples often talk alike.
I can‘t think of a major issue that I can guess where they might have a disagreement. I think there might be an agreement in execution on stuff. But her role in this is not to talk about policy at this point. Even though she is a Harvard law school-trained attorney, she has had big jobs with Mayor Daley‘s city hall in Chicago. She has chosen right now just to cast herself in the role of the supporting wife, which is interesting in and of itself.
She is not trying to do any sells, you know, buy one, get two on this, even though she is fully capable on her own and very achieved, you know, Princeton under grad, Harvard law school.
CARLSON: Lynn Sweet, one of the world‘s great Barack and Michelle Obama experts. Thanks a lot Lynn.
SWEET: Hey, thank you.
CARLSON: Rudy Giuliani promises his wife would sit in on cabinet meetings to give him pivotal advise. Is Judith Giuliani a political asset? We‘ll compare the spouses and their affect on the races.
And the movie business considers rating movies based on cigarette smoking. Given sex and violence and politics and foul language is there something out of whack with the priorities here? We‘ll talk it over. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: The race for the 2008 presidency features an abundance of interesting and disparate characters. But the drama and the choices among the candidates may be out paced by the quality of their spouses. From Elizabeth Edwards to Judith Giuliani, Michelle Obama to the big man himself, Bill Clinton, the spouses offer a mixed bag of asset and liability.
Here to assess the field of potential first ladies or gentleman, we welcome again MSNBC contributor and columnist for the “Boston Herald,” Mike Barnicle, and senior editor of the “New Republic,” Michael Crowley. Mike Barnicle, I think this matters. I think if a candidate‘s spouse seems not to support the candidacy of his or her spouse, a pretty big problem. When John Kerry‘s wife gave an interview to the “Washington Post” at the beginning of the last presidential cycle and seemed to show contempt for him, it hurt him, I think.
BARNICLE: Well clearly the spouse is huge. People want to like who they vote for and they vote for a couple, more often than not, when people are running for president with their wives along side, or in Hillary Clinton‘s case, her husband along side. I was really struck, Tucker, by the Michelle Obama clip that you showed when you were talking with Lynn a few minutes ago. It struck me that the two of them, they sort of have, in a sense, a Tracy Hepburn thing going in.
They‘re both very elegant, both in their language and their movements, and she especially. And it is almost as if part of the pattern here is in their appearances both or individually—What they are doing is a remake of guess who is coming to the White House, not guess who‘s coming to dinner. She‘s very affective.
If you look at the spouses, again, bottom line, people want to like who they vote for and spouses are an integral part of that partnership.
CARLSON: I agree with that completely. Do you think the public wants an adoring spouse? When Bill Clinton talks about his wife, it‘s not imaginable Bill Clinton saying about Hillary what Michelle Obama said about Barack Obama. Can you imagine Bill Clinton getting up and saying, you know, she is actually not that impressive. She leaves her dirty under shorts somewhere. You know what I mean? She never makes me dinner. You can‘t imagine that. Can you?
CROWLEY: Well, maybe not, but, you know, the context is very different. Every couple has a different dynamic. I think in the case of Obama it is great because I think his biggest danger is he has been inflated into something too big and there is going to be this inevitable come down. So the extent that she can remind people, look, he is just a man. He‘s a flawed guy like everybody else. He‘s not this Messiah.
You know, you may not know anyone personally who thinks he‘s the Messiah, but he has gotten a certain amount of messianic treatment. Yes, I think that‘s useful. With Bill and Hillary, look, sometimes raise the question, is this going to be a problem for her and how does she deal with him. I think he‘s the best thing she has going for her. Democrats love him. He left office with really high poll numbers.
I think the way they are playing it is just fine right now. She says that he is going to be an ambassador to the world. I think people love that. They understand that he was really well-regarded by our allies and by countries all over the place and that‘s exactly what America needs right now. So, you know, they‘re playing it a little differently, but I think the dynamic is different for every couple.
CARLSON: Without Bill Clinton, she would be general counsel of the Children‘s Defense Fund or teaching a Tony Morrison intro course at a community college. Of course he is central.
CROWLEY: We don‘t know that.
CARLSON: No, we don‘t know that. That‘s just my guess.
BARNICLE: You know the other aspect of it, Tucker, off of what Michael said, you know, the Clinton‘s have a unique relationship. We all know that. We have lived through a lot of it. And the thing about political couples is a candidate can go out on the stump and he can fudge on issues, like Rudy Giuliani on abortion. He can even fake it on some issues. But the relationship between a man and a wife; if the public sniffs that it‘s a fake—do you remember in the late 1990‘s, when the Clinton‘s were having—at the height of their difficulty, with the public spectacle of Monica Lewinsky?
When they would come off the helicopter coming back from Martha‘s Vineyard or anywhere holding hands, many people would go oh no, please, that is so fraudulent. Now, hopefully for the sake of both of them, their relationship has been restored. It is a happy relationship. But if people sniff out that it is a fraudulent relationship and they are trying to pass the husband-wife relationship off on the public as a fake, boy that is playing with dynamite.
CARLSON: I don‘t think that is going to be an issue, because I doubt we are going to see them together very often. I think the Hillary campaign understands it is probably not a good idea to have them on the same stage all that much, talking at the same time.
BARNICLE: He is a huge, huge asset for her.
CARLSON: I agree with that. But I think that they don‘t compare well in their speaking styles. So they decided to not have him give speeches at her rallies, with her present.
Let me ask you about Paul Wolfowitz—hold on, Paul Wolfowitz, head of the World Bank. Our European allies, the other key members of the World Bank have told this administration either he steps down or he‘s going to get a no-confidence vote. We‘re not for him. And this isn‘t really about his girlfriend, by the way, obviously. I mean, he helped his girlfriend. I don‘t think anybody thinks that is the worst thing the World Bank does.
This is about the war in Iraq and his role as the architect of that war, of course. Michael Crowley, why would the administration let it all out there, with so much really at stake here? International prestige, etc. Why are they still backing Paul Wolfowitz? Is there an inside story here?
Does he have pictures?
CROWLEY: Well, Tucker, you can substitute that question going back months or a couple years now. Why are they still backing X? Why are they still backing Don Rumsfeld? Why are they still backing Alberto Gonzales. They back people when they are dead men walking. I mean, Bush almost seems to relish it. It‘s this weird dynamic in the administration, the worse things get, the more they dig in.
But, you know, I think the blood is in the water. People probably wanted to get Wolfowitz for a long time. They have got their teeth in him now and it is probably a matter of time. So why are they still backing him? I don‘t know. They don‘t seem to have the best nose for P.R. or substance at this White House right now. So it‘s kind of hard to explain.
CARLSON: It is almost impossible to explain. Colonel Larry Wilkerson was an aid to Colin Powell, Mike Barnicle, and he has now told CNN that he and Colin Powell were lied to during the run up to the war in Iraq by the administration. And he has come out in favor of at least looking into impeachment. Is this, do you think, a reflection of what Colin Powell thinks? So Colin Powell‘s aide is calling for the impeachment of the president? In any other time this would be front-page news. I don‘t know why it isn‘t today.
BARNICLE: I don‘t think it is a reflection of anything that General Powell is thinking, in terms of impeachment. I do think it is a reflection of the fury felt by Colonel Wilkerson, General Powell and many, many others in this administration, who resent being lied to, resent being used as pawns in the build-up to the war, resent the isolation and the arrogance of this administration, as articulated both in their presence and in their words, by people like Wolfowitz, like Don Rumsfeld, like Doug Feith, like the president of the United States, like Dick Cheney, who got carried away again today on an aircraft carrier, another aircraft carrier, this time in the Middle East.
I think it is the simmering tension that has built up over the years as we have gone on this fruitless endeavor in Iraq. And this is what you are hearing when you hear Larry Wilkerson --
CARLSON: But wait a second, without Colin Powell, I don‘t think we have been able to go to war in Iraq. I mean, Colin Powell made the sale to the rest of the country, to the Congress, to the world in his speech before the United Nations. So Colin Powell, maybe more than any other person, apart from the president himself, is responsible for this war. And yet he has been waging this back channel P.R. campaign really since 2004 to distance himself from the war he is partly responsible for. And he is getting away with it.
BARNICLE: Tucker, there is no doubt that you are right. And Colin Powell has to live with the fact that he did not walk into the Oval Office after he left Langley, after one of those bogus nights of misinformation and go with his gut, walked into the Oval Office and said Mr. President, here‘s the deal. I disagree with this policy. Here is my resignation. I‘m going to pull a George Ball on you during the Vietnam war. He never did it.
CROWLEY: I am not sure he is getting away with it. I think his reputation was sterling and now it is rusted and trashed. And I think you see interviews, he seems like a guy who is kind of haunted by it. I don‘t think he did get away with it. I think he ruined one of the best reputations in American public life.
CARLSON: But then don‘t you think he ought to explain what exactly happened? I mean, Colin Powell coming out and saying here is what happened. Here is where I stand. There is this never ending procession of people close to Colin Powell telling reporters on background that the administration screwed up. It all seems so non-straight-forward and kind of weesly. And I respect the guy, but --
CROWLEY: Everyone‘s coming forward now, like George Tenet. It‘s sort of like now you tell us. I mean it almost is beside the point. What is he going to tell us? He is going to pile on and say they lied about the intelligence. We know about all of this. It‘s kind of too late.
CARLSON: Well, here is a number. If you want to know what the net effect of all of this is and what is going to happen in 2008, and it gives me no pleasure to say this, but I just—you know, we have to report the facts as we find them. A new Ipsos poll, Mike Barnicle, has the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, at 45 percent. Now that may sound low, but keep in mind she is a member of Congress. Compared to the president at 28 percent, she is more popular than the president, the vice president, the Congress itself. Nancy Pelosi, which is just an amazing thing to me, 45 percent.
Is this—I mean, the country is changing in its views about Democrats and Republicans.
BARNICLE: Of what?
CARLSON: If Nancy Pelosi is that popular, I think the Republicans are in for some serious trouble in November.
BARNICLE: You would think. You would think. I mean.
CARLSON: Yes, I think so.
BARNICLE: . the bottom line on this, Tucker, is if they can‘t win the White House in 2008, get out of the business. Go sell aluminum siding. If you can‘t win the White House as a Democrat, if you can‘t win both the House and the Senate, as the war is presently constituted, as the dialogue is presently heard in this country, if the Democrats can‘t beat Republicans, win control of the House, the Senate, and the White House this next time out unless something drastic happens, as apparently it nearly happened the other day with the Republicans going to visit George Bush in the White House, then the Democrats ought to just cease and desist in politics, get out of it.
CARLSON: (INAUDIBLE) Nancy Pelosi, who is not—I don‘t think—and I am not attacking her for partisan reasons, but is not a terribly appealing figure. She is not an orator of any note at all. She is a bad speaker, actually.
BARNICLE: But she didn‘t start the war.
CARLSON: Exactly! And she is out of the mainstream on all of these issues that matter to people. And yet, she is creaming the president.
Let me just ask you both very quickly, MPAA deciding or considering adding cigarette smoking to the list of factors they determine when they are going to give a—make a movie R or PG. Is cigarette smoking truly more offensive, scarier than, say, watching someone get beheaded or any other kind of violence?
BARNICLE: Well, as far as I am concerned, Tucker, all I will tell you, as a parent, you know, I would be offended if I left myself—and my wife left ourselves open to having a movie rating tell our kids not to smoke. I will tell them not to smoke.
CARLSON: Well, of course.
CROWLEY: Tucker, I am all for decadence and hedonism. I absolutely hate cigarette smoke, so it seems a little silly to me, but I‘m not going to complain about it. I‘m for society cracking down on smoking and putting the vice on those people, I‘m sorry.
CARLSON: Well, I‘m not—I against smoking too. I mean, I don‘t think anybody who has kids can be for cigarette smoking, obviously. I just think is it more corrosive to watch someone smoke than to watch someone murder someone?
CROWLEY: Sure, because how many people are going to watch a movie and go out and behead someone? Zero—or maybe one out of 100 million. How many people are going to watch a movie and say, my favorite actor looks really cool hanging out in that bar smoking a Marlboro? I think you might actually see a bunch of people doing that. So it could actually have more of an effect on behavior than other things like extreme violence.
CARLSON: Yes. I don‘t know.
BARNICLE: Hey, guys, I will tell you this much. Take a look at some of these music videos and I will take my kids smoking rather than watching some of these music videos.
CARLSON: I agree with that. I think Marlboros are safer than MTV, I agree with that completely. Mike Barnicle, Michael Crowley, thank you both very much.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: The queen came to Washington and threw a big dinner party. And who got invited and who got snubbed? Out super sleuths have the dish, you don‘t want to miss those details. We have the list.
And if you are like me, you admire that guy, Jared, the one who lost a ton of weight eating only sub sandwiches. And you might admire him more depending on your disposition when you learn how made cash in college. We have the details on that. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Didn‘t get an invite to the White House dinner with Queen Elizabeth this week? Join the club. We will tell you who did make the list, though. We will get a scoop from “The Reliable Source,” next.
CARLSON: It may have been tough week for the president and some of those hoping to be president in ‘08. That doesn‘t mean it was all bad news here in Washington. Joining us with a dose of the good, the downright salacious, two people who know it best, Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, the ladies of The Washington Post universally-read gossip column, “The Reliable Source.”
CARLSON: So who got invited to the queen‘s dinner? I know I did not.
ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE RELIABLE SOURCE,” THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I did not. Amy didn‘t.
AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE RELIABLE SOURCE,” THE WASHINGTON POST: No, I didn‘t. I was stuck at home cleaning cinders out the fireplace.
ROBERTS: Oh, poor thing. Poor thing. Well.
ARGETSINGER: Roxanne went to the ball.
ROBERTS: Well—yes. You either had to be—and I stood behind the velvet rope. You either had to be.
ARGETSINGER: Yes, where she belongs.
ROBERTS: . really famous in the sports world, like Arnold Palmer or Peyton Manning.
ARGETSINGER: Peyton Manning, no relation to British Ambassador David Manning.
ROBERTS: That is right. Or, just won the Kentucky Derby, the jockey was...
ARGETSINGER: Calvin Borel?
ROBERTS: Yes, Calvin Borel. Just adorable. Or, more to the point, you had to be really, really rich and have contributed to Bush campaigns or inaugurations. Lots and lots of Texas oil money at this dinner. There T. Boone Pickens, Ray Hunt, the Basses, you know.
ARGETSINGER: There was the lady who owns the ranch where Dick Cheney...
ROBERTS: Anne (ph) Armstrong.
ARGETSINGER: . shot that guy.
ROBERTS: Former ambassador to England, but also...
ARGETSINGER: . to a white tie state dinner.
ROBERTS: Right. The matriarch of the ranch where poor Harry Whittington took it, you know, right in the face for the veep.
CARLSON: So is this—I mean, there are clearly no hard feelings.
So Cheney shot the guy, but.
ROBERTS: You know what, my theory is this.
ARGETSINGER: I think they kind of owe her.
ROBERTS: These guys have so much money and have been around so much
that the president said, if I can ever do anything for you, and they, nah -
well, if the queen comes, you could invite us then.
ARGETSINGER: One other guest they were very excited about though, Barbara Bush, the daughter, the dark-haired twin, as we know her, she brought a date. I mean, it is a big deal to bring any guy home. She brought a date to the state dinner. Everyone has been wondering who she is dating. She has been keeping kind of a low profile. She brought a guy name Jay Blount who is basically her old Yale boyfriend.
We thought they were broken up. It turns out they are, you know, either on-again-off-again who are back on again, or maybe they are just friends, maybe they are friends with white-tie benefits, we don‘t know exactly. But he is back in the picture. And so, good-looking guy.
ROBERTS: Yes. I mean, it is a statement when you bring him not just home, but you bring him to the white-tie state dinner for the queen of England. People tend to notice that sort of thing.
ARGETSINGER: Yes, it is a statement.
CARLSON: No, that is better even than the prom.
CARLSON: What else is going on?
ARGETSINGER: Well, we had a little dust-up on the softball field the other day. I know—this is the season when you have all of the congressional offices, all of the agencies start playing each other in softball down on the mall.
Very ugly episode, or it could have been a very ugly episode. Who would you expect to be subverting softball regulations, but of course, the libertarians. The Cato Institute was playing the Department of Commerce a couple of nights ago and the Department of Commerce got really, really suspicious about the fact that Cato just kept knocking them out of the park.
Just like way, way outside of the bounds of the park. And they began to think that this must be a corked bat or something. When they started to bring this up, the Cato people instantly hid the bat away.
Well, we looked into this. The Cato people insist that not only were they not subverting the regulations, they actually wrote these regulations. That they had their own concerns that maybe this bat was not, you know, Softball Association certified. And so they retired it, and Commerce went on to win the game.
ROBERTS: More government interference, you know? Can you just have a softball game?
CARLSON: I agree. I agree with that completely. Considering the libertarians don‘t even believe the Department of Commerce ought to exist in the first place, I hope they were using a corked bat.
ROBERTS: Yes, exactly. Why should they pay any attention to the rules?
CARLSON: Exactly. Boy, that is news you can use. Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts, thank you.
ARGETSINGER: Thank you.
ROBERTS: You are welcome.
CARLSON: I appreciate it.
Brooke Shields has come a long way from the “Blue Lagoon” all the way to Washington. The girl in the Calvin Kleins poses an impossible challenge to every man in America. Find out what it was. Find out why it is impossible. We will be right back. .
CARLSON: Welcome back. Just when you thought you knew everything that was happening in this country, at this moment we bring you the rest, the icing on the news cake. And for that, Bill Wolff.
BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT: And it is delicious icing, Tucker.
How did you find your way to the MSNBC sailing bureau today?
WOLFF: It is a wonderful thing (INAUDIBLE) hanging out on the marina are you?
CARLSON: As nautical correspondent, this is where the action is.
WOLFF: Sail on, my friend. Well, Jared Fogle is already a national hero to people who want to slim down. He is the guy who lost 200 pounds eating a diet comprised entirely of sandwiches from Subway.
It turns out he was a hero to a whole different set of folks when he was a student at Indiana University, home of the Hoosiers. According to the Web site bestweekever.com, which, I must note, has never been wrong, Jared was a purveyor not of fresh, delicious submarine sandwiches in college, but of good old American and possibly European pornography.
According to bestweekever.com reporting, his collection was, quote, “vast and varied,” and his rates were reasonable, $1 per sample per night. Now a Subway rep said the company is unaware of this story and points out that lots of rumors have circulated about Jared, including one that he was dead, and he is not dead.
So perhaps he did not sell porn as a student in Bloomington, Indiana -
CARLSON: It is just too good. It is just too—he doesn‘t look like a pornographer to me.
WOLFF: Well, what does a pornographer look like? I don‘t know, but I guess I will know when I see one, right?
CARLSON: Yes. Larry Flynt, that is a pornographer.
WOLFF: Yes. You know what, I root for Jared. I think he is a good guy and I don‘t blame him. Just trying to make a buck the good old-fashioned way, by renting DVDs.
Now, Tucker, you can‘t get enough of “American Idol,” I know it. From your admiration of Antonella Barba, to your obsession with Sanjaya, you are a fanatic. Well, get ready to waste even more of your precious life watching television because “American Idol” is planning a version featuring bands tentatively titled, quote, “The Search for the Next Great American Band,” end quote.
Producers have already solicited acts to send in tapes, CDs, and DVDs of themselves. No airdate has been announced. Now, Tucker, TV producers are no fools. If it is good, we do more of it.
In a related story, we are looking for another version of you, we are looking for anyone with libertarian leanings, a wide supply of pocket squares, and a history that includes bow ties, please submit your entries, the working title of the project, “Tucker 2,” what do you think?
CARLSON: Somehow I don‘t see a bright future for that enterprise.
WOLFF: Why not? We will send them down to the nautical bureau, report on all of the sailing, the catamarans, come on.
CARLSON: Yes. Somehow I don‘t think you are going to find anyone with political views as eccentric as mine, not in this country, anyway.
WOLFF: Come to think of it, you are right. We are going for “Joe Scarborough 2,” (INAUDIBLE). As you know, American hero, an international inspiration to all of the world‘s suffering people, Paris Hilton has been sentenced to 45 long, hard days in the Los Angeles County Jail for violating her probation by driving recklessly and without a valid license. It turns out she may spend less than the max behind bars.
No, Governor Schwarzenegger has not pardoned her, yet. Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the L.A. County sheriff‘s office who says that severe overcrowding in the prison system could see Ms. Hilton released in 21 or maybe 23 days because inmates are rewarded for good behavior. Now if good behavior includes mindlessness, conspicuous spending and dancing on tables in slinky dresses, Paris is as good as sprung, Tucker.
CARLSON: Yes. I am so close to getting behind Paris Hilton because I kind of—I‘m almost starting to feel sorry for her, I‘m an easy touch. I don‘t quite yet.
WOLFF: Well, it is hard to feel sorry for someone who did what she did in terms of driving recklessly. However.
CARLSON: No, I agree.
WOLFF: . nobody put a gun to America‘s head to make that girl famous, and now everybody who volunteered to make her a big deal wants to see her go to jail. Boo, America. Boo.
CARLSON: She is pretty exquisitely awful though, let‘s be honest.
WOLFF: Well, not my type. Let‘s close with some red meat politics and famous genes model and mom, Brooke Shields. Brooke was on Capitol Hill this week to talk about post-partum depression. The “Blue Lagoon” star was in Washington to support legislation that would fund research and services for mothers who experience post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis. Joining her at a press conference today were, among others, Senator Mel Martinez and Representative Bobby Rush.
She was asked to respond to those who still dispute post-partum depression and psychosis as treatable diseases. She unleashed this beauty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTOR: Well, my first response is, grow some ovaries and then we‘ll talk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLFF: I don‘t dispute the legitimacy of post-partum mental health issues, Tucker. However, I have tried everything, sit-ups, macrobiotic diet, raw food, tanning booth, yoga, I‘m having real trouble growing ovaries. I don‘t see where that‘s possible.
CARLSON: Boy, you would be one terrifying chick, Bill.
CARLSON: You know, I have to say, I like Brooke Shields a lot when she doesn‘t talk.
WOLFF: Is that right?
WOLFF: I think she has got a legitimate issue, though. At least she is standing up for a cause. I think she went through some hard times after she had a kid and she is trying to help others who get it. I just think the suggestion that men grow ovaries, unrealistic.
CARLSON: Yes. Yes, I‘m not even going to try. Beyond me. Bill Wolff, thank you, Bill.
WOLFF: My pleasure, Tucker. Have a great weekend.
CARLSON: Hope you do. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS.” We are back Monday, hope to see you then. Have a great night.
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