Guests: Francisco Hernandez, Bill Press
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show. President Bush defends his immigration plan against criticism from the right. But the most piercing voice in this debate comes from across the border.
Mr. Bush campaigned for his amnesty bill on Tuesday and had strong words for conservatives who oppose it. Here is part of what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there are some people out there hollering and saying, kick them out. That is simply unrealistic. It won‘t work. If you want to scare the American people, what you say is, the bill is an amnesty bill. It‘s not an amnesty bill. That‘s empty political rhetoric trying to frighten our fellow citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Maybe, but it‘s also true. But the real truth of immigration may be on display in the place where most illegal immigrants to the U.S. begin their journey, in Mexico. On Monday night, at the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City, the studio audience booed Miss USA as she was interviewed on stage.
On one level it was a laughing matter, a beauty queen who fell on her behind, jeered for wanting to save the world. But on the other hand, it was deeply revealing. Many Mexicans hate the United States and hate us enough to bring politics into the benign world of baton twirling and evening gown competition.
Want more evidence? All right. Soccer fans at a USA-Mexico match in Mexico two years ago chanted Osama at the American visitors. You have got the right to hate the U.S. of course if you want to, but we in the U.S. also have the right to prevent you from coming here if you hate us. Don‘t we have that right? That‘s the question.
For the answer, we welcome, from Fort Worth, Texas, immigration law attorney, Francisco Hernandez.
Mr. Hernandez, thanks for coming on.
FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ, IMMIGRATION LAW ATTORNEY: Mr. Carlson, thank you.
CARLSON: I don‘t think there‘s really much debate that we are hated in Mexico. According to the latest Zogby poll, the majority of Mexicans don‘t like the United States. Compare this to America where only 10 percent of the population has an unfavorable view of Mexicans.
The majority of Mexicans don‘t like us. Why exactly would we want to welcome with open arms people who hate us?
HERNANDEZ: Well, first of all, you have to differentiate—I would take issue, first of all, that Mexico hates us. I have a lot of family in Mexico and they all want to come to the United States, or at least my family does.
But what you really have to understand, there‘s a difference between folks who came here years ago to work, to be a productive member of this society, and they are the ones who quite frankly are wearing the United States jerseys at the Mexico-U.S. games.
So you have to separate it. On the other hand, the issue for Mexico is a political issue, is a political way of demonstrating their frustration with the way we have treated Mexico by wanting, first of all, to put up a wall. How would you think your neighbor would feel if you are trying to put up a 20-foot wall between his and your house?
CARLSON: The way we have treated Mexico. OK. So the single largest source of foreign capital in Mexico comes from remittances sent from Mexicans living in the United States. The Mexican economy would collapse in about 30 seconds were Mexicans not sending money back to their home country. How exactly have we mistreated Mexico? We keep the place afloat.
HERNANDEZ: The U.S. economy would crash if you deport all the undocumented workers in the United States. So it‘s the same thing. But if you talk about the remittances.
CARLSON: Maybe, maybe not, but we know for certain that the Mexican kleptocracy could no longer function were it not for the United States economy. So it seems to me you‘ve got one country that‘s entirely dependent upon the other. Why do they hate us? It‘s not clear what America has done to earn the hatred of Mexicans and the Mexican government. What do you suppose it is?
HERNANDEZ: Mexico does not hate the United States.
HERNANDEZ: . but if you are going to talk about the remittances, you have to be fair and talk about the sucking sound of the money of the pesos that comes from Wal-Mart and Citi Financial, they‘re sucking pesos out of Mexico. So it‘s a balance. We are neighbors. We have a co-existence when Mexico—when U.S. catches a cold, Mexico does sneeze.
We have an interrelated relationship. We are brothers. We are neighbors. And we have to learn to get long. I‘m not saying it‘s right for Mexicans to cheer Osama, but it‘s certainly just as bad or worse for Americans to want to build a 20-foot wall between our two homes.
CARLSON: You have got to be kidding. It‘s as immoral for the United States to preserve its own territorial integrity—states have a right to preserve their borders. Mexico does, Mexico doesn‘t welcome Guatemalans or Salvadorans or Nicaraguans into its country. It puts them in jail, as you know.
So it‘s as immoral for the U.S. to do what every other country does, preserve its—the integrity of its borders, as it is to chant Osama? I mean, come on. That‘s a ludicrous comparison.
HERNANDEZ: A wall does not preserve the integrity of any border. All you‘re going to have is 14-foot ladders on a 13-foot fence.
CARLSON: OK. But—well, hold on. You‘re dodging the point.
HERNANDEZ: The fact of the matter is the jobs here are attracting the people—go ahead. I‘m sorry, I interrupted you. I apologize.
CARLSON: So it‘s America—let‘s just get back to the root question here. And it is, why do they dislike us so much? Let me just read you a couple of numbers. These are not things I made up. This is from Zogby. It says two-thirds of Mexicans view the U.S. government unfavorably.
Mexicans see the U.S. wealth, as a result of the country exploiting.
HERNANDEZ: I think that‘s true.
CARLSON: . exploiting others.
HERNANDEZ: If you see the debate just on immigration issues, on trade issues, the United States is not treating Mexico fairly. I agree with that.
CARLSON: Wait a second. The president of the United States gets up in public all week and says not only do we need to let more Mexicans into the country, we need to make citizens out of those who are here illegally, breaking our laws. And if you disagree with.
HERNANDEZ: That is absolutely not his proposal.
CARLSON: How exactly are we mistreating Mexico?
HERNANDEZ: That‘s absolutely not his proposal, it is not an amnesty and it‘s not a citizenship. They are trying to at least have something fair for these folks who have been here paying taxes. They are paying taxes and contributing to the American economy, every single economist.
CARLSON: Whose side are you on here, Mr. Hernandez?
HERNANDEZ: I‘m sorry?
CARLSON: Wait a second. Let me just read you some more—I‘m just -
I honestly want to know the answer. I don‘t know the answer. Here, more from Zogby, 22 percent of Americans see—Mexicans see Americans as honest, just 22 percent, while 42 percent of Americans see Mexicans as honest.
Three-fourths of Mexicans see Americans as racist. Only 17 percent see Americans as tolerant. Mexicans, by and large, not all, but the majority, according to these numbers, don‘t like the United States. And I am wondering, apart from talking about building a wall, what we have done to earn their contempt?
HERNANDEZ: I would disagree with you. If they didn‘t like the United States, why would anybody want to come here? But the fact is we‘re welcoming them.
CARLSON: Because we‘re rich and they‘re poor, that‘s why.
HERNANDEZ: . and we‘re giving them jobs. We‘re employing them. Tell me the unemployment rate of undocumented aliens? Zero. Zero. Who rebuilt New Orleans? Who rebuilt New Orleans after the flood? Undocumented workers.
CARLSON: You‘re responding to a question I didn‘t ask. I‘m asking a very simple question which is.
HERNANDEZ: You‘re telling me that they don‘t like the United States.
CARLSON: . given all the United States has done for Mexico, why do these numbers suggest, and the behavior of Mexicans at the Miss USA Pageant, the soccer games suggest they don‘t like us? And I think it‘s unfair, and I‘m looking for an explanation and I‘m wondering if you have one.
HERNANDEZ: I think it‘s unfair to the young lady who fell and got jeered and got jeered because she represents us, because she represents the United States. It‘s unfair to her. It‘s a manner of whoever was jeering to express their displeasure at the way we are treating Mexico with this immigration bill.
And if you look at the debate, if you hear some of the things that are being said by our senators and by our congressman, and go back and look at the tapes of anti-immigration congressman during the World War II, trying to keep the Jews from coming to this country, it is exactly the same.
CARLSON: What the hell are you talking about? I‘m sorry, Mr.
HERNANDEZ: And it‘s racist rhetoric. Let‘s just call it what it is.
CARLSON: OK. Right. So the United States is racist because of the way we behaved towards Jews in World War II.
HERNANDEZ: No, no, no, no. I‘m saying that anti-immigrant voices, who are trying.
HERNANDEZ: It‘s not amnesty.
CARLSON: . I suppose to Mexico‘s heroic efforts during that war. All right. Mr. Hernandez, I appreciate your coming on. Thank you very much.
HERNANDEZ: Thank you very much.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton picks up a key political endorsement in California as she visits Hollywood to party with the stars. What about Hillary makes her the belle of the Los Angeles ball? We‘ve got some explanations for you.
Plus, if Fred Thompson dipped his toe any further into the ‘08 water, he would be swimming. We‘ll sort out the various reports of his impending announcements and get as close to the truth as the law allows. This is MSNBC, the place for politics.
CARLSON: It turns out there‘s enough hatred of the U.S. in Mexico that the audience of Monday night‘s Miss Universe Pageant felt compelled to boo Miss USA, whose only known sin was falling on her butt in an evening gown.
Despite the anti-American rhetoric among some Mexican citizens and many of that country‘s politicians, President Bush and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators have proposed a bill that would fast track millions of illegal immigrants from Mexico towards citizenship in this country.
In other words, there doesn‘t seem to be any penalty for tugging on Superman‘s cape. Here to explain why, we welcome MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan; as well as author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion” and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press.
Bill, I‘m a little bit confused. The numbers are unequivocal in this, very clear. We‘re disliked by the average Mexican. We are attacked, this country—not just the government, but the country is attacked by Mexican politicians.
Why exactly are we doing all we can to prop up the corrupt government of Mexico when they hate us?
BILL PRESS, RADIO SHOW HOST: Tucker, I sort of feel it‘s my job to maybe calm things down here a little bit. I watched your first interview. Look, number one, I think this immigration issue is very complex. There are strong arguments on both sides.
It‘s not like “American Idol.” It shouldn‘t be decided because somebody boos Miss Universe when she falls on her butt—or our nominee for Miss Universe, when she falls on her butt.
I think you ought to look at it as just what‘s best for the United States and what‘s the most realistic solution to it. I happen to think, by the way, that President Bush—I don‘t like the whole bill, but it‘s on the right track.
But then yesterday he comes out and says, if you don‘t agree with me, you‘re a coward. And he says that to members of his own party.
CARLSON: A coward and probably (INAUDIBLE) -- but hold on, very quickly, there are parts of the world that like us, Eastern Europe, for instance, Israel, I mean, there are countries in this world who have a high opinion of the United States. Why aren‘t we targeting them for immigration?
PRESS: Tucker, I think your immigration attorney made a good point. I think you‘ve got to distinguish. You know, people who came here have nothing to do with the politics of Mexico or nothing to do with politics of the United States. They came here to help themselves and to help their own families.
And they‘re the people, that is, the 12 million who are here have been
some of them have been here a long time. I don‘t think you can put the burden of the idiots in Mexico right who would express themselves that way on those people here.
CARLSON: I think that‘s an entirely fair point. But you made the point, and that is they came here to help themselves and their family, not necessarily to help our country become a better country. I think an economic motive is different from a patriotic motive.
PRESS: I would argue in doing so they have helped this country.
CARLSON: But what about—Pat, what—maybe. Pat, what about President Bush? He said yesterday on the immigration debate, “I‘m deeply concerned about America losing its soul.” People who are against this immigration amnesty bill are somehow against America‘s soul? I mean, he seems to have gone crazy.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it‘s a bit of moral arrogance on the president‘s part that he‘s superior morally to everybody else because he wants to make all these folks—give them amnesty and make them citizens.
Look, Tucker, it‘s not simply this gal falling on her butt. Back in the late 1990s, America played Mexico in the Los Angeles Coliseum, 90,000 Mexicans booed the American team, threw trash on the American supporters, pulled down the American flag, and then threw garbage on the Americans as they left the stadium. This is in the United States of America.
As you pointed out, 72 percent of them think Americans are racist. They don‘t like us. That‘s fine. Why in heaven‘s name would you take 12 million of these folks and say, OK, we‘re going to give you citizenship of the United States of America, which is one of the great things on this Earth to have.
CARLSON: Look, let me just say, I grew up next to Mexico and I have liked I think every Mexican I‘ve ever met. And I actually like the country. However, don‘t you think it‘s a little bit unfair and so typically American, they hate us but we‘re so dumb and sort of out of it and unaware that we really like them. Only 10 percent of Americans have a negative view of Mexico.
PRESS: I think it‘s unfair, honestly, for both of you, or anybody else, to take the unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of these Mexicans, which nobody will dispute, and then lay that burden on these people who here working, trying to support their families, educate their kids and get a better life.
CARLSON: No, no, wait, wait, I‘m reading off a Zogby poll! Not some Miss Universe contest.
BUCHANAN: Look, there‘s no doubt—look they‘re nice people. A lot of them work very hard. Everybody I know says they work hard, they put in long hours, why would you give them citizenship? These are Mexican folks. They love their country, they‘re not Americans.
PRESS: Pat, because they‘re here, they are contributing to this country, and, Pat, you‘re not going to round all 12 million of them up, put them on buses and send them back to Mexico. Get real, Pat.
BUCHANAN: If they love Mexico, why would you give them American citizenship?
PRESS: You know what? They love America, Pat, that‘s why they‘re here. They love this country. They want to be part of this country the same way your immigrant ancestors were here as well.
CARLSON: Bill, let me just ask you a question.
PRESS: Now that‘s wrong, Pat.
CARLSON: I don‘t think you need to be any kind of super-patriot or jingoist to be bothered by these. These are not opinions, these are facts as determined by the Zogby polling company. Bothered by the fact that Mexicans by and large don‘t like us. Why do you suppose that is? Is it something we did? How did we deserve that exactly?
PRESS: Look, I have been throughout Latin America, so have you, Tucker. There is a lot of anti-American feeling throughout Latin America.
CARLSON: But the liberal is, it‘s our fault. Do you think it is our fault?
PRESS: Some of it is Iraq, some of it is the history of the United States which has always either ignored Latin America or treated those countries down there like colonies. It‘s a very complex issue. All I‘m saying is you don‘t take.
CARLSON: So it‘s our fault.
PRESS: No, I‘m not saying—it‘s complex, it‘s complicated is what I‘m saying. You don‘t take all of that history which you can find, by the way, almost anywhere in the world, right, and hold that over the head of these people when we‘re trying to solve this immigration issue.
CARLSON: No, no, I‘m just saying of all the world‘s people, you would think of all the Africans who want to come here, who believe in the ideals of the United States, and they are getting at the back of the line, whereas people who happen to live next door who don‘t like us get to the front of the line, I submit to you that is just unfair.
BUCHANAN: They don‘t like us because that is failure doesn‘t like success. Look, Mexico is a horrific—the government is a failure, but let me say on behalf of those people, they work hard down there, they work hard here. Why aren‘t they succeeding now? They have got a rotten corrupt government which loots that place and they also imbue in these people a detestation, blame it on yanquis, blame it on the Americans.
CARLSON: And we prop up that government. Do we not prop up that government by our immigration policies?
PRESS: Of course we do. Of course we do. But here‘s what I think you‘re ignoring, right, is that there are 12 million people here. You have to deal with that issue. You don‘t deal with that issue by dumping on the people that booed Miss Universe.
CARLSON: All right. All right. But I still think it‘s something that we should face directly. They are not all our friends and I think we ought to be real about that.
PRESS: Thank you, George Bush.
CARLSON: It‘s not George Bush‘s fault. That‘s crap and you know it.
PRESS: No, it‘s not.
CARLSON: George Bush has sucked up to the government of Mexico more assiduously than any president in American history.
PRESS: Yes, and they hate us, so that is what shows his incompetence in foreign policy.
CARLSON: Oh God, that guy can‘t—you know, he can‘t get a break one way or the other! He does the bidding of Mexico and you‘re attacking him, blaming him for the fact that—we have got to take a break. I‘m sorry.
BUCHANAN: Tucker, we need General Pershing, Tucker. General Pershing.
CARLSON: I agree with that. Blackjack to the rescue.
One of Southern California‘s most prominent Mexican-American politicians endorses Hillary Clinton for president, just as Steven Spielberg prepares to party with her like it‘s 1992. Time for a reality check, ladies and gentleman. Here is the question. Is there any stopping Hillary Clinton from becoming the Democratic nominee?
Plus, Fred Thompson makes a hell of a shadow candidate. He is beating half the field without even entering the race. When he will throw his hat in the ring and when that happens, will his poll numbers go up or down? This is MSNBC, the place for politics.
CARLSON: If you‘re not sitting down at the moment, we‘re going to give you a second so you can. We appear to have actual news about Fred Thompson‘s presidential candidacy. According to The Politico, Thompson will announce his run for the White House on the Fourth of July. Joining us now with details is the man who wrote that story, Mike Allen, of The Politico.
Mike, thanks for coming on.
MIKE ALLEN, THE POLITICO: Good afternoon, Tucker.
CARLSON: So there have been conflicting reports on this today. We‘re pretty certain—you were pretty certain that the Fourth of July, Fred Thompson will officially announce he‘s in?
ALLEN: Yes, what they‘ve told us is that the first week in July, some time around the Fourth of the July holiday. They told us July 5th, but it might change. The point is, even though it has been going on behind the scenes, very well-planned out campaign.
Monday they announce a committee so they can start collecting checks. A week or so later, after they get a little seed, some people are going to go on staff. They‘re going to have staff that includes names from the Reagan administration, Bush 41, Bush 43 and then sometime early in July, probably, Senator Thompson will break out the red truck and in Nashville he will make it official.
CARLSON: So endorsements, people argue about whether they matter. But in a campaign starting late as his would be, were he to get in, it seems to me they‘re kind of significant. So are there big names, do you think, who are going to come out and endorse him?
ALLEN: Yes, well, Tucker that‘s the sweet spot they were waiting for is they recognize the advantages of being a non-candidate candidate. And yet they knew that they were coming up on some deadlines for raising money, for getting activists in states to turn the—online activists, the “Fredheads” as they call them, into people who actually do work for you in states that matter.
And so they were sort of bumping up against that. So that—they decided that about now is when he needs to go. In August they are thinking he may not participate in the Iowa straw poll because they have decided that Governor Romney is going to win and they don‘t want to get their clock cleaned on purpose.
But he‘s going to spend a lot of time there, he‘s going to be there. The state fair is going on 30 miles away at the same time. And they‘re going to put Senator Thompson there. It seems great at a state fair, watch him with groups of people as the district attorney on “Law & Order,” Arthur Branch, he sometimes says, it‘s better than dousing yourself with rum and lighting up a Cohiba. And so he‘s going to find out if that‘s really better than campaigning for president.
CARLSON: So who is he? So you‘ve got Romney.
ALLEN: . not Romney, Giuliani, McCain.
CARLSON: So who is he? Is he the true conservative? Is he the—he can‘t—he‘s not the realist, he‘s not the.
ALLEN: Tucker, he thinks his opening is that conservatives cannot trust the frontrunners, and so he‘s going to offer him as a consistent conservative. Somebody that‘s safe to vote for. His theory is that conservatives are somehow getting the creeps from deciding that they need to pick among the lesser of three evils. And that is what he thinks his opening is.
It‘s not clear—as you well know, oftentimes somebody looks better when they‘re on the sidelines. When he gets in the game, will the halo go away? It well could. That is what his advisers don‘t know for sure. They can‘t find out until they try.
He‘s getting good enough response. He‘s like, what the heck, if he looks at that field and says, why not?
CARLSON: Who does this hurt among the announced candidates?
ALLEN: You know, Tucker, this is great. Today, you‘ll love this, very respected journalists have made the case that it hurts Romney most, that it hurts Giuliani most, and it hurts McCain most. So you can make any of those cases. But what‘s interesting is it shows how unsettled this field is. Because every one of those.
CARLSON: Well, who is he closest to? I mean, it seems to me you could answer the question that way. He‘s going to hurt the guy to whom he‘s closest. Who does he most resemble?
ALLEN: Well, what they see as their initial opponent is Governor Romney. Who‘s going to be the real conservative? Who‘s going to get the heart of conservatives? Their theory of this is that there‘s a conservative primary between Romney and Thompson. At the same time separately, there‘s a moderate primary between McCain and Giuliani and Thompson will face the winner of that.
So that‘s sort of how they have gamed this out. Could well look different when you get on the battlefield. But that‘s what they‘re thinking at this moment. So they‘re watching Governor Romney closely.
CARLSON: God, that party is so screwed up, it almost kind of blows your mind just listening to that.
ALLEN: Well, as somebody was telling me, you know, 10 candidates, do we really need one more? They told me it‘s the political equivalent of 100 channels and nothing on.
CARLSON: Yes. Maybe we do. Now that Ron Paul—some people are saying Ron Paul might not get the nomination, so...
CARLSON: I‘m not among the doubters! But I have heard that said.
Mike Allen of thepolitico.com, thanks a lot, Mike.
ALLEN: Have a great week, Tucker.
CARLSON: You too. What to do about Iran? The U.S. sat down with Iranian officials on Monday to talk about Iraq. But a new piece in The Wall Street Journal today argues that we shouldn‘t talk at all, we ought to carry a big, big stick. Should we bomb Iran sooner rather than later?
Plus, the Hillary Clinton train keeps rolling. It pulls into Hollywood tonight, where Lindsay Lohan is not expected to attend either fabulous Hillary party. Everyone else in town will probably be there though. Is the Clinton nomination a fait accompli? News and analysis ahead. This is MSNBC, America‘s most impressive cable news.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton picked up a key California endorsement when L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced he is backing her bid for president. In his announcement, the mayor said Mrs. Clinton spoke to his heart. He said it as Hillary spoke in New Hampshire of her broad economic vision for the country. Mrs. Clinton says she sees an America that supplants the culture of on your own with a society based on shared responsibility and prosperity, a little bit like socialism, but with a happy face.
Is that what it is? To answer that question and many others about it, we welcome once again MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press.
Before we get to that, very quickly, Fred Thompson, this is real. So many things are politics you look and you think that‘s not really going to happen. Then it really does. Hillary really is running. Fred Thompson looks like he will be too. Is he the real thing?
PRESS: You know, you asked the question, Tucker, who is he? What does he stand for? We don‘t really know.
CARLSON: I don‘t either.
PRESS: But to the extent that I can see so far, I think he is running is kind of Bush light and I think Newt Gingrich in the “New Yorker” this week is correct when he said that the real opening for somebody in the Republican primary is for someone who will run against the policies of George Bush, against the immigration thing, against the spending, against the Iraq war.
CARLSON: I would certainly like to see that. That‘s where my heart is, to quote Antonio Villaraigosa, but I think it‘s wishful thinking. Primary voters love Bush. What do you think, is he real, Thompson?
BUCHANAN: I think Thompson is real. I‘ve known Fred a long time since the Watergate hearings. He is a very likable guy, but no one has seen a sharp edge or the fire in the belly. And I don‘t think he‘s a conviction politician. He is an outstanding politician, a successful one, and I wonder if he can drive through and win this by just saying I‘m not those guys.
I‘m not sure you can. I mean, he‘s up there at 12 percent, something like that now. I think he gets a good boost. But I‘ll tell you, I think Romney is looking—I was surprised that Mike Allen said Romney is going to win Iowa straw poll. What a blow that would be to McCain and frankly, it makes you wonder is Rudy going to go into the Iowa straw poll. Thompson‘s obviously ducking it. This could be very big news August 11th, Tucker.
CARLSON: Yes, could be huge. Now back to Hillary, Bill, she explained in broad strokes her economic policy, which sounds, frankly, a little bit Soviet. Here he is, in the most general way, what she believes about economics. Here is Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: It‘s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few, time to reject the idea of an on your own society, and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity. I prefer a we are all in it together society.
Now, there‘s no greater force for economic growth than free markets, but markets work best with rules that promote our values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Huh, so the idea is if you don‘t have enough gum for the entire class, you don‘t get to chew it. What does that mean, we‘re an all together society and do you believe that capitalism works best when it‘s managed?
PRESS: I think what she is saying, Tucker, it‘s not for us in America. It‘s not all about me, me, me.
PRESS: We really went from JFK, my inspiration in politics, what can you do for your country, to Ronald Reagan, are you better off. I think she is saying let‘s get back to recognizing that there is this growing gap in this country between the rich and poor. And that‘s something that we should do something about.
CARLSON: Do you think Hillary Clinton, not an economist—do you think she would be better at managing the market than the market is better at managing itself?
PRESS: No, of course no. That‘s not what she is saying. This is kind of a vision that you hear in an inaugural, on the steps of that building across the way. What I want to see are what are the programs that Hillary is going to propose to do something about that. Those we can debate. We haven‘t seen any of those yet.
CARLSON: She has some big plans for us, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Let me dissent from you. I think she is really touching on a theme here. And the theme is a lot of Americans think it‘s utter total individualism, let me get mine and get all I can. And she is talking about being more of a community, more of a country, working together. I think that‘s going to touch an awful lot of people.
An awful lot of feel, you know, you have your CEOs making 500 times what their workers are making, that we all ought to be in this together. And I think that‘s touching on a communitarian theme that is very strong with an awful lot of Americans.
CARLSON: I agree with you, but here‘s the distinction. I actually agree with that, personally agree with that. I think CEO pay, for instance, is a resident issue with me. But the only thing that‘s scarier than unbridled selfishness is government control over peoples‘ lives. She is not advocating a can‘t we all just get along society. She is saying the government should take steps, backed by force, backed by guns, because where the government gets its power, to make us share the wealth.
BUCHANAN: Tucker, I have a real problem with that. The point she says, we really ought to all be in it together, I think that is touching a theme. I think it is going to appeal to people right now. I really do.
PRESS: She‘s not saying send the guns into the factories and make sure the CEO is paid --
CARLSON: No, she‘s saying use the power of the government to make people behave in a way approve of.
PRESS: Pay attention to government policies. John Edwards has been very much saying the same thing, to make sure that the rising tide does lift all boats, and not just help those people who already have. I think Pat is right. I think Americans are a very generous people. They respond to that. We are a community and I think people feel it.
CARLSON: OK, well on that happy note, I want to put up on the screen probably the most cynical thing I have seen this year. I live in Washington, so that is saying quite a bit. Bob Shrum, a frequent guest on MSNBC, and a long time political consultant on the Democratic side, says in his book, that Bill Clinton advocated a ban on gay marriage in a conversation with John Kerry before the last election.
Here‘s what he says—let‘s put this up, quote, “Clinton, Kerry reported at the time, did suggest blunting Bush‘s appeal to cultural conservatives with a reprise of Clinton‘s sister Souljah moment in 1992 when he denounced her call for violence against whites, and done it as conspicuously as possible, in front of the Rainbow Coalition. Kerry, Clinton ventured, should consider defying Democratic interest groups by endorsing the Bush proposal for a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.”
Clinton, in other words, told Kerry come out against gay marriage, ban it on the federal level, and you will blunt Bush‘s attacks. Is there anything you have ever heard that‘s more cynical than that, Bill?
PRESS: First of all, we don‘t really know the truth. But I‘ve known Bob Shrum a long time, and I trust him. OK, so—
CARLSON: And he would know, honestly.
PRESS: He‘s a straight shooter, very, very cynical and absolutely the wrong policy. But I‘ve got to point out, Tucker, this is a president who signed the Defense of Marriage Act as a Democrat. Bill Clinton, I think it was a mistake. This is a president who single handedly put in place the don‘t ask, don‘t tell policy.
We fired 58 Arab linguists only because they‘re gay from the military, only because they‘re gay. It‘s a bad policy. And so, on this again, I would say Bill Clinton is dead wrong and I admire John Kerry for saying no way, no how.
CARLSON: Well, Bill—
BUCHANAN: It was good advice.
PRESS: It was not.
BUCHANAN: Sure, to come out against—to come out for the constitutional amendment banning marriage, marriage between homosexuals. A, I have no problem with that. I would support that. And B, the question is, does—if Kerry doesn‘t believe it, he shouldn‘t do it. But if he is uncertain on it, or if he maybe believes it, why not do that, rather than yield that one to Bush?
CARLSON: Here‘s the deeper question: why do the Clintons continue to get gay support across the country, a lot of money, a lot of support? All of us know people who are essentially gay activists voting for the Clintons, when they have a record of aggressively coming out against the priorities of the gay rights movement. Why is that?
PRESS: Because compared to the Republicans, they are angels on the side of the gay community.
CARLSON: No, that‘s where you‘re wrong. There are many Democrats—
CARLSON: I‘m saying, choosing among the—I‘m not saying why don‘t they vote Republican, I get that. I‘m saying, of all the Democrats that gay rights activists could support, why the hell would you support the Clintons?
PRESS: Because even among elected Democrats, Bill Clinton did more for the gay community than any other person in the White House. That‘s why.
PRESS: Gay marriage, some gays are willing to give up on the issue of gay marriage in order to get job protection and other rights.
BUCHANAN: But isn‘t it like Lincoln? What did Lincoln do? He didn‘t come out and say we are going to abolish slavery. He said we are not going to extend it to the territories. In other words, we‘re not going to go that far, and over time we‘re going to prevail on this. I can understand sort of an improvement slowly—
CARLSON: But this is like Lincoln taking Stephen Douglas‘s side, you know what, I actually am kind of pro-slavery.
BUCHANAN: He denounced slavery, but did you see some of those statements he said in those Lincoln debates?
CARLSON: Really quickly, Joe Biden came out yesterday and attacked Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for voting against the supplemental and essentially voting against funding for the troops, he said, quote, “As long as there are troops who are in a position where if we don‘t fund them they‘re going to get hurt, I‘m not going to cut off funding. That‘s what the other candidates said too, but they changed their mind. I don‘t have any doubt about the right political vote, but some things are worth losing elections over.” Wow.
BUCHANAN: This is—and he also mentioned some kind of armored vehicles are going to be denied the troops. This is be taken and it will be used against Obama and against Hillary in the general election, quoting Biden, saying you denied the troops these armored vehicles and you voted to do it. And I think it‘s a very powerful point.
PRESS: I think Jose Biden swallowed the Bush poison pill. It was a big mistake. He had the moral edge on this issue, and he gave it away.
CARLSON: You‘ve got to admit, he knows more about Iraq and the region than any other Democrat.
PRESS: Right, and he was great on this issue until this vote and he went south.
CARLSON: You‘re going to see this quote again. I agree with Pat.
BUCHANAN: Most Democrats voted with Bush.
PRESS: I don‘t care. They were wrong.
CARLSON: All right, Iran rattles its sabers like few other countries on Earth. but the U.S. military is busy in Iraq. An editorial in today‘s “Wall Street Journal” suggests now is the time to bomb Ahmadinejad and his government back into compliance with international demands. Right or wrong?
Plus, American‘s elected angelic Jordan Sparks to be their idol last week. But that was before today‘s campaign scandal made the rounds on the Internet. Chief reality show correspondent Willie Geist has the outrage that‘s only on MSNBC.
CARLSON: In the face of Iran‘s unabated work toward a nuclear weapon and its rhetoric of the annihilation of the Western world, the U.S. has gone only so far as to talk tough and play Naval war games in the Persian Gulf. In the today‘s “Wall Street Journal,” Norman Podhoretz argues that the post 9/11 world is in fact World War IV, World War III having been the cold war.
In a compelling editorial, Podhoretz argues that President Bush should bomb Iran before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acquires a nuclear weapon. Here to discuss that point of view, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press.
Leaving aside whether we are going to or not, do you think this is a good idea?
BUCHANAN: No, I don‘t think it‘s a good idea. I don‘t think Iran is a threat to the United States. It doesn‘t have—
CARLSON: You don‘t think it‘s a threat to the United States?
BUCHANAN: No, it doesn‘t have an Air Force or Navy. It would last 12 hours against us. It‘s got no atomic bombs. It‘s got no missile that can hit us. I don‘t think it‘s a threat to the United States.
CARLSON: Iran is the one—this is why I was confused by the invasion of Iraq—Iran is the one country—is a country we know for certain has been behind terror attacks, the barracks bombing in 1983 in Beirut. We believe Iran was behind it.
BUCHANAN: I think the Amal Militia was behind that, frankly. I don‘t know whether Iran was behind that. But look, after that Libya blew up the airliner over Lockerbee and we got along with them. Look, I think we ought to negotiate this thing out. Let me say about Podhoretz, I read the whole piece and commentary; he says we ought to do it, Bush ought to do it because of Israel and because of the United States.
Israel has 300 atomic bombs. Look, there‘s another point here, Tucker, we don‘t have—President Bush doesn‘t have the authority to launch a war on Iran. You have to go up to the Congress of the United States and get that authority. What is going on in this country when we are sitting around arguing about whether we ought to bomb some country without the constitutional authorization of Congress?
CARLSON: Here‘s one—I think it‘s unlikely that we would go to war with Iran, but here‘s the case that he makes—and you‘re right, I will say, having read the piece, he does argue that we ought to take out the weapons installations because Iran is poised to attack Israel. That is part of his justification for it.
On the other hand, if Iran did acquire a nuclear weapon, kind of a big deal, kind of a problem. The regime does seems unhinged. They do hate us. They have shown evidence they are willing to use force against our interests. Why are we sitting back and allowing this to happen?
PRESS: Well first of all, I‘ve got to say, Pat and I sat on this set for two years and argued against going to war in Iraq. And here we sit today making the same argument against bombing Iran. I can‘t believe we‘ve come to that point.
CARLSON: But Iran is a bigger deal. You must concede. Iraq; they had to explain why Iraq was a threat, but Iran is pretty obvious.
PRESS: No, no, no, Iran is a bigger deal. That‘s an important thing to keep in mind. Iran is not Iraq. Iran—you‘re right, it doesn‘t have the Air Force and the army and the Navy to get here, but it has a much bigger military than Iraq ever had and it is not going to be over in a few hours, the way it was when we went in to Baghdad.
Look, Tucker, I think you‘re seeing the neo-cons again at their old game, and they did so well in Iraq. Why should we trust them in Iran.
CARLSON: But it‘s not just the neo-cons, it‘s also Democrats.
BUCHANAN: When was the last time Iran attacked anybody? They‘ve been in power for 128,29, 30 years. They haven‘t waged their first war yet. They were attacked. We supported their attackers. You go back in the history of Iran; they attack anybody. Their country is vulnerable. Half of its Persian. They‘ve got Azaris, Baluchis, Arabs. It could come apart. They don‘t want a war with the United States.
CARLSON: They don‘t want a conventional war, of course. I don‘t think anybody wants a conventional war with the United States, but the proliferation question is the question. So if they get nuclear weapons technology, they can disseminate that. They can hand it to terrorists groups. That‘s a problem.
BUCHANAN: It‘s a hellish problem. They hand it to a terrorist group and what happens to Iran the next day after the bomb goes off?
CARLSON: You are assuming it‘s traceable, that we can prove it came from Iran rather than Pakistan.
BUCHANAN: We didn‘t trace anything to Iraq and we bombed the hell out of them, didn‘t we?
CARLSON: But we‘ll never do that again.
BUCHANAN: Listen, they drop a nuclear weapon in Washington, D.C., good-bye Iran.
PRESS: No, that‘s exactly—Also, Tucker, you have to realize, even inside of Iran, Ahmadinejad is on shaky ground. You‘ve got reformists elements inside of Iran. I mean, and we‘re talking with other nations there. I think, for once, Condi Rice, maybe give her credit, has brought this administration down from that war-like posture.
They‘re talking with Iran. She is meeting with the other nations, trying to get Iran involved in giving up their nuclear program. That‘s the way—
CARLSON: But finally point, 30 seconds, Pat, are you surprised by how few Democrats—there are some far lefty, whatever, the crazy caucus—but mainstream Democrats aren‘t out there arguing against bombing Iran? There are Democrats who are sympathetic to this idea.
BUCHANAN: Look, Nancy Pelosi was other there. She was going to put in that resolution saying Bush has no authority. The Israeli lobby grabbed her. She pulled it down. They are all saying all options are on the table, because that‘s what the Israeli lobby says. That‘s what Israel says. If they come out against bombing Iran, they are finished.
Have you Obama, he won‘t do it? Hillary won‘t do it? None of them will do it. That‘s the hidden factor.
PRESS: It doesn‘t mean they are for it, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Why don‘t they stand up for it.
PRESS: They should. No, I think they should.
CARLSON: We are out of time. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Pat, Bill, I appreciate it as always. Did Jordan Sparks cheat us out of an honest “American Idol” competition that we so deserved? Willie Geist has the appalling details of the lie that could put a mark on Jordan‘s title. Prepare to feel betrayed, used, thrown away like used Kleenex. You‘re watching MSNBC, the most emotional name in news.
CARLSON: You woke up with him the morning. I bet you wish you could go to bed with him tonight. But you can‘t. You can watch him now. Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It seems like a life time ago, Tucker, I have to admit. I guess it‘s the same day. Tucker, you remember those damn whales that have been swimming around for two weeks?
CARLSON: Yes. We have been following this story, Willie.
GEIST: God, OK, well apparently they have maybe swum out to sea, because nobody has seen them for the last—There they are, Betsy and Bertha, or something. What are their names, anyone?
CARLSON: I have no idea.
GEIST: Brooks and Dunn, I don‘t know. A couple of humpback whales. They have apparently gone out to see. There are people standing on the Golden Gate Bridge waiting for a glimpse of them that. They are called bubble necks, the people who watch. That‘s a true story. And they have been disappointed because they didn‘t see them today. But hopefully the damn whales have swum out to sea. So that‘s god news for everybody, Tucker.
CARLSON: I‘m not anti-whale, but I have never seen the appeal of a whale over say a Golden Retriever or a Cocker Spaniel. I never got the whale fever.
GEIST: Especially on cable news loop for two weeks. Well, Tucker, I really hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but everything you believe to be true and real and good about “American Idol” may just have been a devastating pack of lies. Seventeen year old Jordan Sparks had us sold on the wide eyed innocent girl routine, but reports say it was a bill of goods, dog gone it.
Despite Jordan‘s claims to the contrary, “Star Magazine” reports that the Idol champion did, in fact, have previous formal vocal training. A voice coach told “Star” that she worked with Sparks for nine months when Sparks was 14 years old. The woman says she was hurt when Jordan claimed on the show that she had never received any training.
Man, you are not the only one. Tucker, you need a minute on this thing or do you want to talk through it now? How you doing?
CARLSON: It‘s hard Willie, but I‘m going to work through it. You know what I‘m going to do, I‘m going to repress it, as I do most things that are unpleasant in my life.
GEIST: Remember that moment you found out there was no Santa Claus, I‘m reliving that right now. It hurts. Is anything real? Does my mom love me?
CARLSON: My kids are watching.
GEIST: No, Santa Claus is real for all our young viewers. Well, it is written, Tucker, somewhere in the first chapter of the professional athlete handbook that when you are one of the biggest and most recognizable stars in the world, when you play for the New York Yankees and make 25 million dollars a year and when you‘re married with a kid, you don‘t parade your girlfriend in front of photographers while walking into your hotel on the road. That‘s an easy one.
Alex Rodriguez broke that rule in Toronto the other night. The “New York Post” put A-Rod and a woman who was not his wife on the cover of today‘s edition, with the headline “Stray Rod.” Although Rodriguez isn‘t doing anything untoward in the pictures, the paper says he was out dinner and also at a strip joint with the woman, before he brought her back to the Four Seasons Hotel.
Now, Tucker, I admire the “New York Post” as America‘s most entertaining newspaper. But I‘m not really into this move, outing the guy on the cover of the Post.
CARLSON: Yes, spoken like a true Yankees fan. This is kind of consistent with their performance this season. Wouldn‘t you say?
GEIST: Wow, who fed you that line?
CARLSON: It‘s true.
GEIST: Also, I think he needs to pick a little bit luckier Toronto girl, because he‘s one for seven in the last two games and they have lost to the Blue Jays and they‘ve lost five in a row.
CARLSON: Pretty pathetic whey you get spanked by Canadians? I‘m surprised he‘s showing his face in public.
GEIST: Let‘s get a new girl up in Toronto, OK A-Rod? Bad news, Tucker, Norway beat us out for the top spot on the global peace index. It ranks the world‘s most peaceful countries. But then so did 94 other countries. The United States was ranked 96 most peaceful of 121 countries studied by “The Economist.”
The index took into account military expenditure and respect for human rights, among other things. Here‘s the good news, we beat Iran, by one spot. The Iranians finished 97th. Last on the list, by the way, was Iraq and I have a feeling we had something to do with them getting that spot.
CARLSON: My favorite is we spend all this money to keep the rest of the world peaceful and we‘re attacked for it. They live in peace because our soldiers die and we get the blame.
GEIST: Well, 96th. There‘s always next year I guess. I just want to reiterate, I was kidding about the Santa Claus thing. Everybody knows there‘s a Santa Claus. That goes without saying. You can see him at the mall any time you want.
CARLSON: Thank you Willie. That was an obscene remark and I‘m glad that you‘re contrite.
GEIST: I retract that statement.
CARLSON: Willie Geist, from headquarters, thanks a lot Willie. As always, we will see you very early tomorrow morning. I look forward to that. That does it for us today. Thanks for watching. As always, up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. We‘ll be become here tomorrow same time. Hope you will be too. In the meantime, have a great night.
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