Guests: P.J. Crowley, Steve Adubato
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has re-emerged into public life two-and-a-half-year after resigning as secretary of state. In a wide-ranging interview yesterday on “MEET THE PRESS,” Powell defended the invasion of Iraq, but he also criticized the management of the war after the fall of Saddam.
But the most notable exchange involved Powell‘s view of the upcoming presidential race. Powell was, of course, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the first President Bush and he ran the State Department under the current Bush. In other words, he has been a Republican.
Yet Powell says he now has had significant discussions with at least one Democrat running for president. Here is Colin Powell on Barack Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM “MEET THE PRESS”)
COLIN POWELL, FMR. SECY. OF STATE: I met with Senator Obama twice. I have been around this town long time. And I know everybody who is running for office. And I make myself available to talk about foreign policy matters and military matters with whoever wishes to chat with me.
TIM RUSSERT, HOST, “MEET THE PRESS”: Any endorsements?
POWELL: Not yet, it‘s too early.
RUSSERT: But you will support the Republican?
POWELL: It‘s too early.
RUSSERT: Would you support an independent?
POWELL: I am going to support the best person that I can find who will lead this country for the eight years beginning in January 2009.
RUSSERT: Of any party?
POWELL: The best person I can find.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Powell‘s willingness to vote for a Democrat in ‘08 is interesting as well as the obvious rebuke he gave the Bush administration. But consider the opposite angle, though he has escaped the deep public anger absorbed by the president, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, any number of others in this administration, Colin Powell was the chief salesman of the decision to invade and occupy Iraq.
So the question is, why would Barack Obama want his advice in the first place? Joining us now, senior fellow and director of homeland security at the Center for American Progress, P.J. Crowley.
P.J., thanks for coming on.
P.J. CROWLEY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Hello, Tucker.
CARLSON: So here is Colin Powell, I mean, not that I even need to repeat this, but just in case for the eight people who may have forgotten that he is the reason we went to war essentially, this is him at the U.N. in 2003: “The facts and Iraq‘s behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.”
When I heard that, like a lot of Americans, I thought, case closed. If Colin Powell says it, it has got to be true. And it was totally untrue. Why the hell would Barack Obama, of all people, seek out his device?
CROWLEY: Well, two different issues. I mean, first of all, General Powell bears responsibility in part for where we find ourselves today, but from my standpoint, he puts—you put him down the middle of the list, obviously others more strident, to the right of General Powell, you know, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz bear the primary responsibility for how we got here.
You know, that said, look, General Powell is a unique individual. I mean, he has been during his career the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He has been the national security adviser and the secretary of state. And so he is uniquely positioned to look at foreign policy from multiple points of view.
And I think it is—it should not be news in this day and age that, you know, you have a presidential candidate who is reaching out to a moderate on foreign policy. Twenty-five years ago this was not news.
CARLSON: OK. How is he a moderate on foreign policy? It seems to me, yes, Doug Feith and Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz all helped design the plan to invade Iraq, provided the intellectual framework for it. But they were not as credible in the public eye as Colin Powell was. He is the guy who sold it. Without him, no public support for war, I would argue.
So I mean, here is Barack Obama, running an entire presidential campaign on the notion that he is against this war. You know, if you are going to seek out Powell‘s advice, why not ask Cheney what he thinks?
CROWLEY: Well, wait a second. I mean, you know, in the Clinton administration, which I was part of, one evening Bill Clinton had a lengthy conversation with Richard Nixon. We have elders...
CARLSON: But he wasn‘t running against Nixon‘s policies. That is my point.
CROWLEY: And in fact, General Powell even yesterday on “MEET THE PRESS,” his voice is still very powerful. He said, for example, we have to get out of Guantanamo tomorrow. We should listen to him. General Powell said also that it may be time for us to evolve in terms of the don‘t ask-don‘t tell policies.
CARLSON: I am still confused as to why we ought to listen to him. I think every sober person who looks at his record as secretary of state would conclude this is a guy who traveled less I think than any modern secretary of state who actually did not do a good job representing our views abroad, almost by definition.
Not a great success as secretary of state. And the chief salesman behind this disastrous war. So why exactly is his views so sought after?
CROWLEY: Well, look, he was not a successful secretary of state...
CROWLEY: ... but is that because of General Powell or is that because the fact he was frozen out by some of the other hardliners...
CARLSON: We‘re cutting him a lot of breaks we don‘t cut Doug Feith, I notice.
CROWLEY: Look, the man has a lengthy term of distinguished service. It is refreshing that we have a candidate who wants to craft a centrist policy that can reach across party lines. I admire the senator for doing it whether he is successful or not.
CARLSON: OK. But you know two things. One, he is not crafting a centrist policy, Hillary Clinton is actually a lot closer to the center than Barack Obama is. He is for a total withdrawal, as he says.
Second, you can‘t imagine Hillary Clinton soliciting the advice of General Powell, you just can‘t imagine it. Why? Because she does not need it. The fact is that Barack Obama, for all his appeal, has been in the Senate for two years, a little over—you know what I mean? He has no bona fides. He is not a guy with a resume that suggests president. He needs to talk to Powell. I mean, this is a measure of his weakness, isn‘t it?
CROWLEY: I mean, I will leave it to pundits like you.
CARLSON: Can you imagine Hillary talking to Powell?
CROWLEY: I don‘t know. I mean, what is important here is that you have a candidate for president who has reached out across party lines to get a moderate voice. It intrigues me that, for example, a Democrat is reaching out to General Powell and the Republicans are running as far away from the Bush administration and General Powell as they can.
CARLSON: Well, don‘t you—well, General Powell is running away from his own record. Don‘t you think he ought to—before progressing any further, before getting into the advice business, that he ought to apologize, to me and you and every other person who watched him on television, who believed what he said and whose views changed as a result of that belief, shouldn‘t he get up and just say, you know, what, I completely blew it? Why doesn‘t he do what John Edwards was man enough to do?
CROWLEY: Well, I mean, it is a fairly long line there of people that have to do that. I think General Powell has tried to do some of that. But in defense of General Powell, he is the one guy within the administration who actually went to the CIA and tried to dig into the middle of the intelligence to find out exactly what it said and what it didn‘t say.
CARLSON: But he was wrong, shouldn‘t you apologize when you are wrong? I just don‘t understand why Powell gets a pass. I like Powell, I‘m not attacking Powell as a man. I just don‘t understand why every other figure, Paul Wolfowitz has to leave the World Bank because of this, and Colin Powell was still an American hero and he hasn‘t apologized.
CROWLEY: Well, hang on a second. I mean, even today you have countries that are trying to indict Henry Kissinger and yet today we have Henry Kissinger continuing to give the United States advice through the pages of The Washington Post. So I mean, we have distinguished elders in our society. And whoever wants to be president should listen to him.
CARLSON: Well, I believe before there is redemption, there is an ask for—you know, a request for forgiveness.
CROWLEY: I do too. And as far as I know, Colin Powell is not running for something. But he may have a voice yet. You never know.
CARLSON: P.J. Crowley, thanks very much.
CROWLEY: OK, Tucker.
CARLSON: After the warm reception President Bush got in Europe, Washington is going to seem awfully cold when Mr. Bush starts pushing immigration again. Will he actually get his party behind him on a bill Republicans say gives amnesty to illegal immigrants? It is dead, can he revive its? And is there “Joe-mentum” building to bomb Iran? Senator Joe Lieberman drops a bombshell about doing just that. Is that really an option? You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Bush‘s immigration bill was in the same condition as Tony Soprano‘s consigliere Silvio Dante, alive but assumed gone. But Like “Sopranos” fans who hold out hope for another season or maybe a feature film, President Bush says he believes the immigration bill can still become law. He goes to Capitol Hill tomorrow to try to revive the compromise. Can he do it or should he and Democratic allies in Congress just give up?
For answers we‘re joined by two—in fact, our favorite two MSNBC political analysts, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen; and Pat Buchanan; author of “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.” Not, I think it is fair to say, a pro illegal emigration book. Is it? Just judging by the title. Actually, a great book, I have read it.
Interesting, not just...
HILARY ROSEN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Pat will be the president‘s emissary...
CARLSON: Yes! In the Tancredo administration, you and I will both be serving. Here is what John McCain said on ABC this weekend about why this bill died. Here is John McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Senate works in a way that relatively small numbers can block legislation, but I also think that the—particularly the more conservative anti-immigrant—anti-legislation group were very well backed up by a very vocal group of people that were supporting them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, Pat, assuming John McCain is still running for president, not just running a suicide mission to destroy his political hopes for all time, why would you—if you‘re McCain, you‘re trying to convince conservatives you‘re one of them, you‘re really not a scary figure, why would you on television attack them for their principled opposition to this bill? Why would you do that?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think McCain has really got a rough—first, it is an accurate description of what has—partly...
CARLSON: Yes. It is...
BUCHANAN: And you have got conservatives really who are out there doing battle with this, but I do not know why he is doing this. The longer this battle goes on, the more he loses. Tucker, you heard the—I think the focus group that was—when McCain was up there defending his position very well, up there in New Hampshire, but as soon as he started talking about immigration, gosh, he had the—everybody in the focus group was outraged.
He is killing himself with this bill. And, frankly the president revives it, which he may be able to do, then McCain will have to go down through weeks more of this agony and torture which are killing his campaign. You know, he pulled out of the Iowa straw poll, I‘m sure one of the reasons is he gets hammered on immigration everywhere he goes.
CARLSON: Have you noticed, Hilary, that when the proponents of this bill, to whom I give the benefit of the doubt, I think they are principled people too, when they talk about their opponents, the people who do not like this bill, they never cut them the benefit of the doubt, ever. It is always they are anti-immigrant, they are xenophobic, they are close-minded, they haven‘t read the bill, they are stupid, they are demagogues. Why is that?
ROSEN: And that would be an accurate—no...
CARLSON: No! I mean, I just think both sides have a principled...
ROSEN: OK. With regard to John McCain, I just have to say this is the John McCain that Democrats love, the one who beats up on Republicans. But with regard to this bill, I have to say I think that the group of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate who pulled this thing together are to be admired by everybody.
And I think it is—it holds out one of the problems with legislating, is that you just do not ever get everything you want. And so guy who is running for president against non-legislators is always going to be subject to not being as pure or not being as good or not being as perfect. But this bill is about as good as it is going to get if you‘re going to pass something.
BUCHANAN: Well, if that as good as it‘s going to get, kill it. Look, this—the Republicans here sold out principle when they go along with amnesty. Teddy Kennedy doesn‘t sell anything out when he says, OK, a few more border patrolmen and a fence on the border, he is not selling anything out. Republicans...
ROSEN: Well, that is not true because...
BUCHANAN: ... are selling principle...
ROSEN: ... he made amnesty contingent upon the kinds of enforcement and aggressive tactics that Democrats have historically opposed. So they have—everybody has given something.
CARLSON: Well, there is part of the political fallout of this. Really that the fault lines in the Republican Party are wider and more pronounced, I think, than they have ever been. Mel Martinez, who is the senator from Florida, Republican, but also head of the Republican Party, had this to say to Bloomberg.
He said: “I have to say, on this issue, they,” and I think he was speaking specifically of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, Republican presidential candidates, “are falling short. It has been too easy for too many people in the Senate and outside the Senate simply to criticize and find fault. No doubt that this is an imperfect product, but at the end of the day, what is your solution, what is your answer?”
CARLSON: I‘m not sure—I think this is, I‘m not sure, fatal to the Republican Party, but this is a split and it is going to take a long time to heal.
BUCHANAN: Oh, this is a horrible thing. The Republican Party is at war with itself. . You must have 150 House members, Tucker, who will not go with this bill. You have got a lot of the senators who have—you have 10 out of the 11 candidates, the only one—McCain is the only one supporting it.
And the president is going to but the party through this again for another month when it is dead? I think—I agree—I think there is going to be permanent damage done to relationships in the party. Frankly, I think anyone who votes for this bill or supports it, Lindsey Graham, or Kyl, or McCain or anybody else, it is just like the Panama Canal bill, they will never be president of the United States.
ROSEN: Isn‘t it ironic that the unions, traditional Democratic supporters, are somewhat skeptical of this legislation?
CARLSON: I do not think it is ironic at all. It makes total sense.
ROSEN: And it is business, historical Republican allies are desperate for it.
CARLSON: Of course, sure.
ROSEN: And yet we have this...
CARLSON: ... cheap labor! Because it undercuts the working man and helps big business. So why wouldn‘t big business be for it and why wouldn‘t the unions be...
ROSEN: But it is not just big business, it is little business, it is farmers. It is...
CARLSON: Not sure how many little farmers there are still in this country, but...
ROSEN: ... technology innovators. It is Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
BUCHANAN: There is probably 1 million or 2 million businesses that get amnesty the day that this bill passes because the illegals get amnesty...
ROSEN: It is not amnesty, Pat...
BUCHANAN: ... and you no long go after them.
ROSEN: ... there is a path to citizenship. It is not amnesty.
BUCHANAN: But look, there is 1 million or 2 million businesses out there sweating today the fact somebody is going to come in and ask them if they have got an illegal, and they do. This gives amnesty to the businesses.
ROSEN: ... workers, it creates jobs.
CARLSON: We‘re being told that we have to go to our sponsors. We knew he was hawkish, but maybe not this hawkish. Joe Lieberman says we ought to be prepared to attack Iran. Is that a good idea? Are we already at war with Iran inside Iraq?
Plus, Colin Powell drops some pearls of wisdom on presidential candidate Barack Obama. Is there an unlikely alliance forming here between the two of them? More on that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, (I) CT: I think we have got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq and to me that would include a strike over the border into Iran where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Among the great perils of the Iraq invasion is that it would lead to a much dreaded a wider regional conflict and the possibility, and of course, that‘s too scary for most people even to think about.
But not Joe Lieberman. He has thought a lot about it and you just heard him assert that the proxy war against Iran currently being fought within Iraq should give way to the real thing. Should America attack Iran for aiding and abetting our enemies in Iraq? And would that solve the problem of Iranian nuclear weapons?
Here again with their analyses, we welcome MSNBC political analysts Hillary Rosen and Pat Buchanan. Hillary, we checked right before air time, adopted there is a single leading democratic leadership who has ruled out force against Iran. Here you have a leading Democrat Joe Lieberman coming out and just saying, it is time to go to war with Iran. Is this ...
ROSEN: And by the way, you haven‘t had a Republican presidential candidate say we should go to war with Iran, either.
CARLSON: I‘m saying the Democrats haven‘t ruled it out. For all of the talk about how war is bad and the war in Iraq is terrible, you have not had anybody stand up, given that Hillary ...
ROSEN: No one running for president is going to rule out war anywhere.
CARLSON: What do you make of this? Do you think Lieberman has a good point.
ROSEN: I think for a deeply religious man he is turning into a warmonger. I mean, it‘s scary.
CARLSON: But you don‘t think it‘s fair to say, if Iran is in fact waging a proxy war against—waging a war, actually, against Americans in Iraq that we should stop that using military means.
ROSEN: Well, we have not used all of the sanctions possible. I mean, people have consistently said over the last several months that there are economic sanctions, there are international coalitions, there are things that we‘ve not done in Iran.
ROSEN: But Joe Lieberman the small want to take those steps. He wants to drop bombs.
CARLSON: If there was evidence that was beyond dispute, Pat, that the Revolutionary Guards were, for instance, killing Americans in Iraq, that‘s not an act of war, it is?
BUCHANAN: It is an act of war. Frankly, that is why we went into Cambodia. The Vietcong were using that area ...
BUCHANAN: To attack our people.
But this question is, does Lieberman‘s attack on Iran, I think - Ahmadinejad would be enormously strengthened. He would play right into his hands and unite the people behind him and I think payback would come back for the Americans in Iraq. They would stir up the Shia against us. I think they would engage in acts of terror, they would be much more active in there and against our guys in Afghanistan.
So I think that before you do something like this which seems to me to be an act of war, which would not be terribly successful, frankly. Air strikes on a camp rarely are successful. And the consequences would be very, very large for our guys ...
CARLSON: What do you think it would be.
BUCHANAN: I think they would be a lot more dead Americans. You could start building another wing on Walter Reed Hospital.
CARLSON: So you think that would force Iran into an actual ground war with the U.S.?
ROSEN: Well. It would force them to be a closer ally with Iraq than they are now. There are at least tentative and some are traveling across the border.
BUCHANAN: I think they would have to respond kill a lot of Americans. And that‘s a question you‘ve got to ask.
Should we escalate on the basis of this? You say, do we have a right to do it? If they‘re coming in there and sending those enhanced IEDs, sure you have a right to do it, the question is would be wise to do it?
CARLSON: What is the Democratic position on this? I noticed for all the talk about Iraq, we should leave, we never should have been there, they‘re pretty definitive, the Democrats, on the question of Iraq. Not so definitive on the question of Iran. Why is that?
ROSEN: I did not know if there is a Democratic position on this. I‘m not sure there needs to be one. I think both Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid have encouraged the president and encouraged Secretary Rice‘s diplomatic efforts. And ...
CARLSON: I‘m not imagining this. They have given Bush a lot more leeway rhetorically than they have on Iraq.
BUCHANAN: They‘re giving the green light.
ROSEN: Well, sure. We are not at war there. And as Pat said, the stakes are extremely high.
BUCHANAN: The formula is—Look at their formula. They say all options are on the table. They all say it. Hillary, Edwards and all the rest.
ROSEN: Why wouldn‘t they say that, though?
BUCHANAN: They are not on the table because Congress has not authorized a war on Iran. Where does the president get the authority? He would have in terms of hot pursuit or if they‘re attacking us but he‘s got no authority now to bomb Natanz, for example, where they‘ve got their centrifuges.
ROSEN: Why would he seek authority right now? Because there are other things they could do.
CARLSON: Why wouldn‘t the president at least pass a resolution saying that? Because they don‘t think we ought to preemptively bomb Iran.
I don‘t understand why they wouldn‘t do that.
ROSEN: You take the leverage and effectiveness out of your diplomatic efforts.
BUCHANAN: What you are saying is they gave the right thing in giving him a green light to go into Iraq?
BUCHANAN: Why would you give them a green light to go into Iran?
ROSEN: First of all, the premise of this discussion was if there was overwhelming proof that Iran was in part and parcel of an offensive against America.
CARLSON: I think there is.
ROSEN: What we saw with Iraq is there was not overwhelming proof and we finally went there, there wasn‘t, there was not so yes, there was a fluke.
BUCHANAN: Why wouldn‘t the Democrats say before you attack Iran, bring your proof to the Congress of the United States and if you have got it, we will authorize it.
ROSEN: If the president has thoughts to attack Iran I am certain the Democrats would say that. But since he hasn‘t, why should they bother.
BUCHANAN: Why should they say all options are on the table, then?
ROSEN: What they are giving the president and the leeway to do is impose the diplomatic sanctions, the economic sanctions.
BUCHANAN: They‘re giving the leeway?
ROSEN: The leeway to be a chief executive.
CARLSON: The Democrats are more forgiving than I realized.
ROSEN: It‘s not forgiving. Until we see legitimate reasons otherwise, we will conduct our foreign policy as a single party. Until it gets screwed up.
CARLSON: That‘s very sweet. Those Democrats are more thoughtful than I knew.
Well, he is slowly becoming more critical of his former boss. Now it seems it may be helping the other side. But is Colin Powell the right person to be giving advice to Barack Obama or should Barack Obama run, runaway?
Plus, it was an ending without an ending at all. It just stopped. Was all going to block the best way for “The Sopranos” to wrap up their eight year death grip on American television culture? We‘ll tell you. You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: President Bush‘s former secretary of state, Colin Powell, is obviously comfortable taking whacks at the Bush administration in public, rather than in off the record conversations with reports, as has long been his way. Powell sat down with Tim Russert yesterday on “Meet the Press,” and weighed in on Guantanamo Bay, which he said he would close tonight, Don‘t Ask Don‘t Tell, which he essentially disavowed, and his own future in public life.
We also learned that the presidential hopeful Barack Obama has reached out to Powell for foreign policy briefings, two of them. Here‘s the question, why would Obama want tips from a man who sold the administration‘s story on Saddam Hussein, and helped lead this country to war?
Back again are two MSNBC political analysts, Hillary Rosen and Pat Buchanan. Hillary, everybody loves Barack Obama, me included. But why in the world, of all people whose advice he could get, why would he go to the man who sold the war he hates?
ROSEN: I have no idea.
CARLSON: It is a fair question, don‘t you agree?
ROSEN: That is a completely fair question and you would hope that he is at least seeking the advice from somebody whose positions he has agreed with. I mean, essentially Colin Powell—I was kind of shocked at his appearances yesterday. I thought Colin Powell is going on “Meet the Press,” he‘s really going to say something. He‘s actually going to talk about what his real views were and finally say in public what everybody knows he has been saying in private.
And he did not do anything of the sort. So now I do not know what advice he gave to Barack Obama, public advice or private advice, who know.
CARLSON: It shows how weak—and I say this as somebody who would like Barak Obama very much to beat Hillary in the primary—but it just shows how weak Barack Obama‘s campaign is, maybe even the rationale for his presidency, how week that is. If he is seeking Powell‘s advice—you can‘t imagine Hillary during that, can you?
BUCHANAN: I don‘t think so. Of course, Hillary worked at her husband and Powell back there. I don‘t think so. But look at what Powell is doing. He seems to be—a certain sense of bitterness. He seems to be moving away from the administration here and here and here and here. This is a guy who was really on top of the world, had greater prestige than any other member of the administration.
And he had the one guy who had influence, who may have been able to stop the way, and he didn‘t use it. And I think his time has come, Tucker, and basically gone. And I think he senses it.
ROSEN: And trying to get back in. Although, look, in deference to Barack Obama, he might be seeking advice from 30 or 40 world leaders or military experts, but none of them have been invited on “Meet The Press” to talk about this.
BUCHANAN: And Powell does retain a tremendous amount, frankly, with a lot of people, a great amount of prestige.
CARLSON: Gitmo, closing Gitmo, this is also essentially in the Democratic platform. I think almost—certainly the major Democratic candidates have said, I would close Gitmo immediately. It is kind of a sticky question. I mean, if it were so easy to close Gitmo, don‘t you think we would have done so at this pint? What do you do with people who you believe to be active terrorists, whom you can‘t charge with actual federal crimes? Do you just let them go? Do you send them to Belgium? What do you do?
ROSEN: Well, he actually said he would transfer them to federal prison. But then you‘d have to find federal crimes to charge them with.
BUCHANAN: What you do with these guys at Gitmo? You bring them into the United States and all of a sudden, all kinds of laws and rights become operative. If they‘re in the United States—they don‘t get if they‘re in Afghanistan or Gitmo, which is foreign territory. So I don‘t know what you‘re going to do with these guys.
ROSEN: Which he did not respond to this. It sounded almost like a political platform.
CARLSON: But the Democrats are taking the same position. I kind of sympathize with the Democratic position, which is, if they‘re so bad, charge them with a crime. And if we can‘t, let them go. That‘s our system. But the real life answer is that we know—we‘re pretty certain that a lot of them are bad, but we would have to let them go.
That‘s why they‘re there. That‘s why they‘ve been there since day one. Is there the political will to actually let a terrorist go? Who‘s going to be responsible for that? Who would take them? Where would you send them?
ROSEN: I am sure that the Iraqis would be happy to take them back.
BUCHANAN: -- sent the Weekers (ph), Tucker, to Albania. These are the guys in Western China.
CARLSON: It‘s our system and it is un-American. There‘s no doubt about it.
ROSEN: And it‘s exactly the right thing. And so I think there is a sense that the administration is not making dealing with the detainees a priority.
CARLSON: But you think there is a Democrat who, up on being elected president, will face the hard choice and say, you know what, it is against our system to keep these guys without charging them. I‘m going to let them go knowing full well that they will could come back and attack us. I mean, that does seem a little almost masochistic.
ROSEN: Well, that doesn‘t mean you don‘t put resources to figuring out whether or not you have charges. There are other options between letting a terrace go and keeping them there forever without charges. They could actually turn this into a priority and show that we have some commitment to our system.
BUCHANAN: What you do with them?
ROSEN: Well, if they are actually terrorists, if they have demonstrated mistakes, then we charge them and we can actually put them in the system as—and keep them there.
BUCHANAN: But if they‘re foreign terrorists in war—I mean, when you captured all the Nazis, you don‘t bring them to the United States and put them on trial in the United States.
ROSEN: The problem with Guantanamo is not that there are guilty people there. The problem is that we do not know that everybody there is guilty. So guilty—
BUCHANAN: Why would they keep them there if they‘re not guilty?
ROSEN: Well, they have not charge them yet.
BUCHANAN: -- being kept at Guantanamo that they don‘t suspect is a terrorist. I don‘t think they have innocent guys and locking them up.
CARLSON: No, it‘s not. I agree with that and I am made very uncomfortable by the existence of Guantanamo Bay, and by a lot of the tactics this administration uses to fight terror. On the other hand, if you are an adult, you have to concede that it is a more complicated question than just the Bush administration is mean and evil and wants to keep these poor Muslims locked up for no good reason. I mean, they are good reasons. They may not be consistent with our tradition. Do you know what I mean?
ROSEN: No, I think the problem is that they‘re not doing anything about it. They are just leaving them there.
CARLSON: That may be the thing do, to keep them out of circulation.
ROSEN: The thing to do would be to investigate the crimes.
CARLSON: Alberta Gonzales, another man in a gray area—Alberto Gonzales—right, exactly, still in his job, but on a tenuous basis. Here is the president responding—this is President Bush responding to the no-confidence vote that will be held in the U.S. Senate about the attorney general. The president is essentially pretty certain that his attorney general is going to keep his job. Democrats, I think, don‘t even imagine that they‘re going to kick him out of office, but they‘re going to vote on him anyway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is an interesting comment about Congress, isn‘t it? On the one hand, they say that a good general should not be reconfirmed. And on the other hand, they say that my attorney general should not stay. I find it interesting—I guess it reflects the political atmosphere of Washington. They can try to have their votes of no confidence, but is not going to make the determination who serves in my government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I had not seen that sound byte before we played it. Clearly there has been some muscle relaxant for the long flight over Europe, or something. So leaving aside questions of the president‘s cadence and demeanor --
ROSEN: -- the Albanians give him new confidence.
CARLSON: No, I know. That was actually kind of sad.
BUCHANAN: Was he talking about General Peter Pace? I think he was.
CARLSON: He was talking about—
BUCHANAN: But he didn‘t even have the guts to reappoint him.
CARLSON: That‘s a great point.
BUCHANAN: I mean, why would he say Congress won‘t take him when he didn‘t have the nerve—
ROSEN: They asked a few senators and it was going to be a tough renomination fight.
BUCHANAN: Pace is a Marine. You stand by the guy.
ROSEN: If they believed in him.
CARLSON: But it is interesting that he is willing to fight for Alberto Gonzales. I mean, it seems to me, at this point, the president can‘t boot Gonzales out of his job. Democrats know that.
ROSEN: Of course he could.
CARLSON: He could, but he won‘t. It doesn‘t seem at this point—
ROSEN: And he doesn‘t actually have to find a replacement. There are many people who believe the department would be much better managed by putting a career officer in there as a recess appointment.
CARLSON: Well, I‘m all for slimming down the departments, particularly that one. But let me just say, this is another measure of the Democrat‘s impotence, isn‘t it? I mean, they‘re out to get Gonzales, but in the end this supposedly lame duck president prevails and gets to keep his AG.
ROSEN: You know, I had an opposite reaction when I watched this, that this was just an example of the president‘s detached arrogance from what is going on. I mean, nobody in this party believes in Alberto Gonzales as being an effective attorney general. Some people might actually believe—
BUCHANAN: This isn‘t the British parliament, for heavens sakes.
ROSEN: There‘s no question that the vote of no-confidence is meaningless and political theater. But that doesn‘t mean—By the way, it is Monday in the summer, so what else are they going to do?
CARLSON: But it‘s the equivalent of, I am mad at you! I do not like you.
ROSEN: I just think it‘s taking what the Judiciary Committee has done to its ultimate conclusion. But the issue is that George Bush seems to have a backbone for all of the wrong people.
CARLSON: Harriet Myers is the great—and not Scooter Libby. Very quickly, after the “Sopranos” finale last night, Pat, are you canceling HBO?
BUCHANAN: AS I was saying, I was watching it, Tucker. And I was watching it closely. It went—I said, Shelly are you fooling around with that clicker again?
CARLSON: How many American men barked at their wives last night when that happened?
BUCHANAN: Well their wives don‘t know how to work those big sets these days. Mine takes two clickers to work.
CARLSON: Where you infuriated by it?
ROSEN: I thought, actually, HBO allowing that ending was braver than David Chase putting it on.
BUCHANAN: On second thought, it‘s very interesting.
ROSEN: It was week story telling, and I thought, in a cynical sense, well now, I guess, he‘s got his options open for the movie.
CARLSON: You‘ve been around this business. Do you think that‘s what it is?
ROSEN: I actually think that they did not—he didn‘t want to commit to an ending.
BUCHANAN: -- everybody create their own ending. For me, it was those two guys up at the thing, who were coming in, those dark guys with—I thought they were the guys that were going to do it.
CARLSON: So it is commerce cloaked as art.
ROSEN: Commerce cloaked as art.
CARLSON: Amazing, thank you both very much. It was the gasp heard around the world. The gasp undoubtedly let out by every person watching last night‘s “Sopranos” finale. We will have analysis on what exactly happened, which turned out to be nothing at all.
Plus, Paris speaks. Did you really think she‘d wait until after she was released from the can to give her first interview? We‘ll get the scoop on what she said from MSNBC‘s senior Paris Hilton analyst, Willie Geist. That‘s coming up.
CARLSON: If you are like me, and you might be in more ways than you would like to admit, you went to sleep last night bothered by the inconclusive conclusion of the “Sopranos.” If you‘ve got Tivo or DVR, you probably rewound the last moments of the show to make certain your machine hadn‘t cut off the big finish. Well, it hadn‘t.
The series concluded with Tony alive, not in jail, not even indicted. Meadow didn‘t whack anybody. A.J. didn‘t kill himself. Carmella did not have to go into witness protection. All of which is a big letdown, unless you‘re New Jersey resident, MSNBC media analyst, writer for the “New Jersey Star Ledger,” author of “Making the Connection,” Steve Adubato. Steve, you were not let down apparently?
STEVE ADUBATO, “THE STAR LEDGER”: Tucker, come on, it was extraordinary. It was unbelievable. Let me get the point out. I‘m from New Jersey. You can‘t mess with me. But the deal is he laid it all out there. David Chase, in all seriousness, he let us decide, Tucker, how we were going to determine what the outcome was.
Look at the cliche, the guy who he is looking at while they‘re in Holstein‘s (ph), which is a great place, ice cream place. You want to go there, particularly now. He sees the guy coming in, walking into the bathroom, ala Michael Corleon in the “Godfather.” Michael goes in to get the gun to shoot McClusky in “The Godfather.”
We have already seen that scene before. Tucker, you do not want to see the cliches. You don‘t want to see all of the things wrapped up in a neat, clean bow, because that is not the way life is. That is not the way Italian/American families are, and I think he nailed it.
CARLSON: And the whole appeal of the show is that it wasn‘t Hackney, I mean there weren‘t many cliches in it. But this is a question, Steve, of leadership. I want the show to be in control. I want the show to pander to me a little bit, as well. I want my needs met. I want my answers, right, to the questions that have built up over nine years. I want you to finish it for me. My god, don‘t leave me hanging. Isn‘t that their responsibility?
ADUBATO: Tucker, in every television format, including “Dancing With The Stars,” that you know well, there is a beginning, there is a middle, and there is a winner, there‘s an end, there‘s a finale. Even in Dramas we‘re led to believe that, or whether it‘s comedy, like Seinfeld, you know episodes live on their own.
The beauty of this—and maybe it is so hard because the genre is something we‘re not familiar with, Tucker—but we have to decide what the ending was. We have to have decide whether David Chase actually had a different ending, where the whole family gets blown away in the ice cream shop when the guy actually comes out. But then he said, no, I‘m going to cut to black and then you get to decide.
You get to decide whether Uncle Junior really knew who Tony was or not. You get to decide what happens with A.J., this wacky screw ball kid of Tony‘s, and whether he winds up like Christopher or not. I like the idea that we get to decide, other than what happened with Phil Liatardo (ph), which is the all-time most gruesome memorable murder scene that I‘ve ever seen. Not just that they kill him, but then the car goes over him with the kids in the back seat.
Fabulous; great writing, great acting. We get to decided and we‘re not used to that, Tucker. I think that‘s what‘s bothering you.
CARLSON: That is absolutely what is bothering me. The Phil Liatardo death was the release, the catharsis. It was this guy you‘d been focused on, you don‘t like, and he gets it in the most gruesome possible way. That is what the end of the show, in my view, was lacking. Do you think it was a commercial decision? Some have said this is to leave open the possibility of a feature film, of another series. Do you think that is true?
ADUBATO: Anyone who ever says, Tucker, that they can get inside the head of David Chase is nuts, because this is a guy who has lived this thing, not just for the nine years it‘s been on the air, but for a lot longer than that, every time a network rejected him until HBO signed on board.
My point is this, my gut tells me, just my gut, that that is it. It is over. It‘s done. No more wrapping up to neat clean bows. No more telling us what the story lines are. I believe he ended the way he did, frankly—and I know you‘re not going to like this, Tucker—out of respect to the viewers, in saying look, you may not like it, but I respect you too much. You decide how it may end. I‘m not going to wrap it up.
I know I‘m repeating myself. But I believe that is what he did, not for commercial reasons, but for creative reasons that make us very uncomfortable. We‘re just not used its.
CARLSON: I actually—I buy that. That is consistent with the show. Finally, You wrote a really interesting column on this this morning, in which you said—
ADUBATO: On MSNBC.com
CARLSON: Exactly, on MSNBC.com, which I‘m sure you‘re going to take a lot of heat for. You said, essentially, the Soprano family is the archetypal Italian/American family. This is a family you recognize. Do you mean that?
ADUBATO: Yes, in fact, I want to be clear. I recognize it in terms of the sibling rivalry. My sister is not going to like this. I do say at times she reminds me of Janice. But also the money, the bickering, the battling, the absurdity, the mother, the controlling mother, the father who is dead but still lives in many ways.
The fact that this family is so dysfunctional on so many levels, that they‘ve given their kids so much, that Tony is trying to fight against A.J.‘s materialism and then what does he do. He turns around and buys him the car after he blows up the other car, just to keep him out of the Army. That‘s the part that—
By the way, I‘m not sure if it‘s Italian/American exclusively. I relate to it more because the food was familiar to me. The family traditions were. I think this is, for a lot of American families, very familiar. The part that we may not recognize is the organized crime part.
Look, I‘m not going to lie to you. There are people in my family who we often said went away to college, a euphemism for they did time, and then nobody talked to them again. The Italian/American experience in this country is a great one, a proud one. But to say that the Mob is not a small but pervasive part of it, particularly in urban areas where I grew up, is garbage. This was drama, but it reflected part of real life.
CARLSON: Amazing, Steve Adubato, thanks a lot for joining us.
ADUBATO: My pleasure, Tucker.
CARLSON: I appreciate it. Paris Hilton made a collect call to Barbara Walters yesterday to say that she has already changed as a person. Paris says she has found god. She claims she is actually not that dumb. Veteran Paris Hilton analyst Willie Geist will be here to look into both of those points. You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Last night‘s “Sopranos” finale may have left you more confused than ever. Luckily we have the antidote. His name is Willie Geist. He joins us now from headquarters.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, I think Steve Adubato just outed himself as a member of a crime family. Did I read that correctly?
CARLSON: I think he did. I think he‘s going to have the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League on line one, two and three.
GEIST: Steve, the Fed‘s do watch the show. You might want to kind of lay low with that kind of stuff. So, Tucker, basically what you‘re saying is the finale of “The Sopranos” did not meet your simplistic need for closure? You‘re not able to interpret art and figure out for yourself what may have happened?
CARLSON: My point is that the producers of the show did not pander to me sufficiently, as a moronic television viewer. As a passive consumer of entertainment, they were not looking out for my low-IQ needs.
GEIST: I actually was—I had the same reaction everyone had. I looked at my clicker, thought it was broken. And then, as a marinated in it, and thought about it, it actually got better over time. I was mad. I wanted to see some blood on the table. I was pretty sure Meadow might be getting it. It would have been nice. Or maybe A.J., so I could stop watching him mope through another series.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
GEIST: But if you think about it long enough, it‘s actually kind of brilliant. And if you get on the Internet—I don‘t have time to explain all of this—there all of these theories about the people in the diner in the last scene—it‘s not a theory; it‘s true—were characters from old episodes. So it, sort of, rewarded people who had watched the show forever.
So people who had threatened Tony‘s life over nine years popped up in strange corners in the diner.
CARLSON: God, I watched every episode and I didn‘t even notice that. I‘ve got to look on the Internet more often.
GEIST: You should. Use Google. It is a helpful tool, I find. Let‘s get back to Paris Hilton. Enough messing around. She appears, Tucker, to be using the Cliff‘s Notes version of the celebrity fall from grace story that we fools seem to be falling for again. She skipped a couple of chapters when she declared yesterday, after a weekend in jail, that she is already a changed woman.
Paris made a collect call to Barbara Walters on Sunday. She told Barbara, quote, god has released me. Not quite sure what that means. She also let us in on a little secret, she is not really dumb.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, “THE VIEW”: I used to act dumb. It was an act, and that act is no longer cute. Is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who looked up to me. She said I‘m 26 years old now and it is a different time. She said I have become much more spiritual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: What is the upside, Tucker, of acting dumb? Why would you go through life acting dumb? I‘m not quite sure.
CARLSON: I do not know.
GEIST: I am not sure I get that exactly. She talked to her spiritual adviser—and this is a quote from Paris again; she said, quote, my spirit or soul did not like the way I was being seen, and that is why I was sent to jail. God has released me.
CARLSON: When does Jesse Jackson swoop in on this whole drama?
GEIST: You know, it‘s funny you mention. Al Sharpton had a press conference about 15 minutes ago. So he‘s there. He‘s on the scene.
CARLSON: Good man.
GEIST: Some more good stuff. Those of us, Tucker, who have not been incarcerated for an extended period of time can only imagine the horrors of prison, thank goodness. But no MSNBC lockup documentary or Hollywood version of life behind bars could have prepared me for this chilling fact: they did not have moisturizer in jail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: She is not allowed to wear makeup. And she also said—I said, what is it like? She said, well, my face is very dry. There is no cream here. But she said it does not matter. I‘m not that superficial girl. I have not looked in the mirror since I got here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: Hasn‘t looked in the mirror, hasn‘t used cream. I mean, that‘s a changed woman.
CARLSON: In almost 48 hours. Wow.
GEIST: It‘s scary stuff. Before she talked to Barbara yesterday, Tucker, she released this public statement, that said, among other things, she was shocked at the extent of our coverage of her arrest the other day. She put things in perspective for us. She said this, quote, I hope going forward that the public and the media will focus on more important things, like the men and women serving our country in Iraq and other places around the world.
And, I just want to thank here again for grounding us, Tucker. She is bringing us back.
CARLSON: You know, you‘re so right. And she is really the perfect person to do it, really to put us back on the track, hard news. That is Paris Hilton.
GEIST: It took Paris Hilton. I‘ve got to show you one other piece of video. I‘m sure you saw this yesterday; the president in Albania being treated like a rock star. Who says the world hates the United States? Look at this, he is being kissed. He is being grabbed. They have three commemorative stamps named for him, a street they changed the name to President Bush Boulevard.
They love the president in Albania. We‘ll start somewhere. We will take it, Tucker.
CARLSON: If they are literally robbing his head. Must be an Albanian tradition. Willie Geist, thanks Willie. For more Willie Geist news, go to ZeitGeist@Tucker.MSNBC.com. That‘s it for us. Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. Have a great night.
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