Guests Randall Bennett, A.B. Stoddard, Rosa Brooks, Tony Perkins
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show. Rudy Giuliani announces his 12 commitments to the American people as conservative voices in his own party announce they won‘t support Giuliani if he wins the Republican nomination.
The former New York mayor unveiled his list of commitments during a speech in New Hampshire. They range from the expected fighting terrorism and cutting taxes. To the probably impossible, ending illegal immigration. To the politically provocative, two of his 12 amendments address the issue of abortion, albeit indirectly. Number eight is to increase adoptions and decrease abortions. The ninth is to appoint strict constructionist judges.
Well, a brand-new “Los Angeles Times” poll meanwhile, shows Fred Thompson pulling ever closer to Rudy Giuliani in the GOP race. Surely another measure of conservatives rejection. Joining us now, maybe one of those conservatives, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins, thanks for coming on.
TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Good to be with you, Tucker.
CARLSON: You‘re in the Politico as saying I would not vote for the guy. Rudy Giuliani.
PERKINS: Personally, no, I would not. As an individual, I couldn‘t vote for him. When you think, personally—what brought me to politics 20 years ago, issues such as the preservation of human life. How could I vote for someone not only who disagrees with me on that issue but wants to take money from me to fund it.
CARLSON: Here‘s what he says. He—one of his 12 points, kind of the 12 commandments, according to Rudy Giuliani, he will reduce abortions. Isn‘t that, to play devil‘s advocate here, I actually agree with you, isn‘t that better really? I mean, can George W. Bush say I decreased abortion? Probably not.
PERKINS: Well, first I would say, for value voters, for most social conservatives, the 10 commandments will take precedence over the 12 commitments of Rudy Giuliani.
I think that sounds so much like what we heard during the Clinton
administration. Abortions should be rare and they should be safe, I mean -
if you look at his record and what he is saying on these issues. This is a major break with social conservatives and the Republican party which has had on its platform for over 20 years, a platform—a plank in the platform on life. He is ready to rip the nails out of that and discard that plank. I think that should be very concerning to the Republican party.
CARLSON: But at this point, we are looking at Rudy Giuliani relative to the other Republican candidates. But if it comes down to Rudy Giuliani versus Hillary Clinton, here is what Pat Mahoney, he‘s the head of the Christian Defense Coalition, doubtless some of you know, tells the Politico, quote, “where Giuliani is today, I absolutely could not support him. However, I would not completely rule it out. There are two words that changed the whole dynamics and those words are Hillary Clinton.”
Is that a fair position?
PERKINS: Well, let me give you one word, November. This past November. Look what happened to the Republicans in Congress because of the scandals and in large part because of Mark Foley, the spending issues, the Republicans voted. Social conservatives voted. Exit polling shows that they voted but what they did not do is they did not work for Republican candidates. They were not excited.
Will social conservatives go and vote for Giuliani? Yes, some will. I would say not a whole lot, but some will. But they will not work—they will not get excited for him and in closely decided elections, and the last two presidential elections have been very close, every vote counts. And there will be a lot of voters that won‘t show up.
CARLSON: But the election will not likely be a close between Giuliani, Hillary and James Dobson. It is going to be a choice between two people. Only one is going to be president. And if it is a choice between Mrs. Clinton, who takes a lot of money from the abortion lobby, from people who actually commit abortion. And Rudy Giuliani who is pro-choice but says he wants to reduce the number of abortions. That‘s not a clear choice?
PERKINS: It‘s a degree and I think what you have is you have people that may vote for him but they will not work for him. That‘s going to have impact.
CARLSON: So it is worth losing on principle is what you are saying.
PERKINS: I am saying it is just a fact. It is a reality you cannot excite people—how are you going to excite people who come to politics not because they are partisan, they come because of the issues they are passionate about.
PERKINS: How are they going to get excited about a candidate who is anathema to them?
PERKINS: I absolutely agree with you. You are arguing the politics of it, I am asking though, a question about ethics. What is the right decision to make? If you are morally opposed to abortion, you never supported a pro-choice candidate, but it is a choice between a pro-choice candidate, Giuliani, who says he work to reduce abortions and Hillary Clinton who takes money from people who commit them, what do you do?
PERKINS: Well, I also think you have to look at politics as a marketplace, too. And we are still a ways out from the actual election. A third party candidate could emerge because there will be an opening in the political marketplace for a true pro-life conservative. Now, will they be a success? Well, I mean ...
CARLSON: Is that Fred Thompson? A lot of people are hoping it is. The “L.A. Times”/Bloomberg poll has him pretty much almost even with Giuliani.
PERKINS: He is not even in the race yet.
CARLSON: He is not in the race but he is getting in the race. He is hiring people. It is about to be announced that Liz Cheney, the vice president‘s daughter, is going to work for him along with a lot of other pretty solid conservatives. Here is what he said in 1996 Christian Coalition survey. He was as asked where are you on abortion? He said, quote, “I do not believe abortion should be criminalized. This battle will be won in the hearts and souls of the American people.” That sounds in effect, like a pro choice position to me.
PERKINS: It does when you look at it. But then when you combine that with his record and he has a solid pro-life record from the United States Senate. He has stated pro-life positions. He is not in the race yet. He has to undergo the scrutiny.
I think in part, what you see happening in the Republican makeup, 60 percent of Republican voters undecided because they‘re saying we want another candidate. There is excitement around Fred Thompson because he might be that candidate. We don‘t know yet. He has go to get in that arena. The stage is set for Fred Thompson. The question is can he hit the high notes? Can he perform the way people are anticipating and expecting him?
CARLSON: So if the—finally, if the Republican party is the party of family values, the pro-life party, the party that has conservative social values. Why is it supporting Giuliani? I mean, it‘s completely not that party.
PERKINS: Well, actually, what you just said would be the outcome of a Giuliani nomination and if he were to get nominated, I don‘t think he could win. I think he would be the ticket for Hillary Clinton.
CARLSON: But they are supporting him now. I mean, they tell pollster‘s they would give him money, I mean he draws huge crowds, it is obvious he has got a lot of support from people who claim to be socially conservative.
PERKINS: Tucker, you know, there are three distinct elements of the Republican party. You have the fiscal conservatives, you have the military hawks, you‘ve got the defense folks, focused on that. And then you have the social conservatives. Three legs to a stool, independent, if you will.
They need each other. Reagan brought those together, that‘s why the Republicans have been successful when they‘ve been successful. But many in the party now, the fiscal conservatives, look upon social conservatives as if they are co-dependent. They can be treated any way they want and they are still going to be there. And the truth, I think—that is not going to happen.
CARLSON: You don‘t think they are going to keep coming back. Keep forgiving the party.
PERKINS: We see what—look what happened in November. You see a move away from Republican candidates even to the point of supporting pro-life and pro-family Democratic candidates who were elected in this last fall‘s election and I think the Democrats see that. They are appealing to that group of people and if the Republicans continue playing this direction, they are going to give enough room for the Democrats to pick up those ...
CARLSON: I hope you are right. I would vote for Heath Shuler. I would vote for Bob Casey. I mean, why not? Just because they are Democrats, they are right on the issues.
PERKINS: They have stuck to those issues since they have been in Congress.
CARLSON: Well, good for them. Tony Perkins, Family Research Council.
Thanks very much.
PERKINS: Good to be with you.
CARLSON: She is staying on top of the polls but who is keeping her there? Some insight into who exactly is supporting Hillary Clinton? You may not know anyone who is, but it turns out a lot of people are.
Plus, John McCain‘s campaign seems to be struggling. But has the Arizona senator already turned to the last resort in order to stay in the race? How desperate is he? That is ahead.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton has enjoyed an almost uninterrupted perch atop at national polls for the Democratic nomination since the unofficial start of the ‘08 campaign some months ago. Today‘s “Washington Post,” ABC news poll examines just whose support continues to separate her from everyone else.
The answer is so predictable, it‘s almost unexpected: women. Clinton leads Barack Obama by two to one among women, and her support is particularly intense among lower income, less educated women. That‘s a voting block her campaign calls, and we‘re not making this up, “Women with Needs.” Should any of this surprise us?
Here to discuss it, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, and “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa Brooks. Welcome to you both.
“Women with Needs” says her campaign.
BROOKS: Women with needs.
CARLSON: Now—why do women with needs like Hillary so much? And what are those needs, Rosa?
BROOKS: That‘s a really good question.
CARLSON: Yes, it is.
BROOKS: It is really demeaning and unfortunate, I seem to call this women because makes it sounds like a combination of children with special needs, you know, like autistic or learning disabled children.
CARLSON: I think there‘s a kind of pornographic quality to it.
BROOKS: And the pornographic quality, like what kind of needs are going to be fulfilled by Hillary. I think it‘s really creepy, and I think that, you know, in the case of Hillary Clinton, a lot of these women may just not know the field very well yet. In case of Hillary, to know her better is not to love her, it‘s to see her as an android.
CARLSON: So, it‘s dumb people for Hillary, is basically what you‘re saying?
BROOKS: No, it‘s not dumb people, I mean ...
CARLSON: No, it‘s OK, I don‘t—look, you can ...
BROOKS: ...less educated, they‘re ...
It‘s early in the season, there‘s less information out there.
STODDARD: But they‘re also less educated than the women who are
supporting Obama, and it‘s an interesting thing that if the polls show that
if you look at women who are more educated, they support him.
CARLSON: Well, let‘s throw those polls up, since you mentioned them.
STODDARD: He gets (ph) stronger numbers than the support that she has from the ...
BROOKS: This is not going to work for Hillary Clinton, by the way, to say women with special needs, you should come to flock to me.
CARLSON: I don‘t think it‘s just dyslexia, I think it‘s deeper than that, but here are the actual numbers. This is Hillary‘s lead among women voters over Obama, according to the “Washington Post,” ABC News. Hillary, 51, Barack Obama 24 percent, amazing.
Now, let‘s break it down. Support among women without college degrees is literally overwhelming. Hillary, 61 percent, Barack Obama 18. That‘s shocking. Flip it around, women with college degrees, it‘s almost even, 38 to 34.
And here are the most interesting questions of them all, and the most dramatic. Asked who is the most honest candidate, this is women without college degrees, they say Hillary Clinton, 42 percent believe she‘s more honest, Barack Obama 16. They asked women with college degrees, and it is almost exactly the reverse, Hillary Clinton 19 percent, Barack Obama 50 percent, 31 point sprint.
What is that about? This is a class divide here, isn‘t it Rosa?
BROOKS: I don‘t even think—it‘s a class divide in the sense that A.B. already talked about. It‘s a class divide in that the people who are following this more closely, I think, are moving away from Hillary. I think that women with needs, precisely because they have needs such as having two or three full-time jobs, et cetera, et cetera, have other things to do then follow this obsessively. But, as more information starts to get through, you know, as the saturation will increase, as we get closer to ...
CARLSON: So, this is name ID, basically is what you‘re saying.
BROOKS: Yes, it‘s name ID, it‘s name ID, absolutely.
STODDARD: But, I also think that people are making the decision, it‘s the inevitability factor that she—it‘s been her strength, and I think will be finally what carries her over the finishing line because there are people that believe that she is not inspiring, that she is not honest, that she. But that experience only is all they‘re asking of her. Experience in government, and that she is the best qualified, and that they will support her for that reason.
CARLSON: Well, they aren‘t asking much. What‘s—I guess striking most to me is this kind of turns on its head, the conventional convention about the role of race in politics. Here, the black candidate is getting creamed among black women by the white candidates. I‘m not—that‘s actually good news as far as I‘m concerned.
BROOKS: Well, I think it‘s just too early. I think you‘re taking too much of this. And one of the things that I think is really interesting and slightly depressing and alarming from the Democratic perspective here, is that although Hillary is still well ahead in the polls of likely Democratic voters. For their primary vote, that she loses head-to-head in almost any general election face-off whether it is against Giuliani, whether it‘s against McCain, where as Obama wins most of them. And this is all hypothetical, it‘s all early.
My fear is that if the inevitability factor for Hillary does carry her through as the party‘s nominee, she is far less likely to win the general election than Obama. One big question is as people begin to understand that, again, as more coverage gets out there, are people going to say boy, why on earth would we want to have a party get behind somebody who loses?
CARLSON: Well, and why are her negatives out of tune (ph), they are so still very high, they‘re still in the ‘40‘s. They‘re almost ...
STODDARD: Because she is the most famous woman in the world.
CARLSON: Princess Diana, who had all sorts of unattractive things revealed about her is still far more popular than Hillary Clinton.
BROOKS: She is also dead.
CARLSON: She‘s dead—look, it‘s a stupid comparison, but it just tells you because you‘re a popular woman doesn‘t mean—famous, doesn‘t mean you‘re necessarily unpopular. If she can‘t get these negative numbers down now, how is she going to be doing you know, come a year from now?
STODDARD: I think that—well, that‘s an interesting question. I think it‘s pretty amazing that these polls show, as Rosa said, that Edwards could beat Giuliani but Hillary Clinton couldn‘t. I mean, it‘s really bizarre but—look, I mean, that is—it‘s a long way off, what happens in a general election scenario. If there‘s another terrorist incident, if the Republican nominee stumbles, I mean there are a lot of things. In the end, this will be a choice between the lesser of two evils.
CARLSON: You know, but you know as well as I that younger, well-educated women have a visceral—ew—reaction to Hillary Clinton. You have seen it, I have seen it, it‘s real.
STODDARD: When I focus group, every Democratic strategist advocate, consultant, lawmaker that I know in this town, they always say, oh my wife just can‘t stand her. This is something that we have discussed a lot.
CARLSON: I work in TV, the one thing I know are under 35-year-old college-educated women, that‘s who works in TV, I mean, and I know a lot of them. I don‘t know a single one of them who prefers Hillary over Obama. They all like Obama.
STODDARD: They are not women with needs.
CARLSON: They‘re not women with needs, not the kind Hillary is looking to meet.
BROOKS: Somebody gave me a very cute T-shirt, says “My mama‘s for Obama, and it‘s sized for a two or three-year-old. And this is going to be Obama‘s biggest strength. You have a name that rhymes with mama.
CARLSON: Yes, that‘s right. And those women—I bet you, married women with college degrees, living in cities with children, overwhelming for Obama. Unmarried, older women with master‘s degrees, who teaches at women‘s studies departments at low-grade community colleges, they are all for Hillary. Just my view.
We all know the CIA is hunting al Qaeda all over the world. But there‘s a different arm of your government tracking down terrorists. We‘ll talk to someone deeply involved in that hunt just ahead.
First, President Bush climbed Capitol Hill today. He wanted to try to give a kick start to the immigration bill. Was he successful in doing that? What does it mean for his presidency? Does he have any power at all left? Coming up.
CARLSON: Welcome back. A remarkable story in today‘s “Wall Street Journal” calls into question the relationship between the left wing and the political spectrum here in the United States and the war on terror. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU has filed suit against an American company called Jeppersen Data Plan, Inc. The crime? Apparently that company worked with the CIA in order to bring terror suspects to third countries.
American allies like Pakistan, Egypt and Morocco. Well, those suspects are now plaintiffs in a court case that accuses the governments of those countries of torturing them, hurting them. The ACLU says that Jefferson Data Plan, is liable.
So whose side is the ACLU on? And was in the end, Rudy Giuliani right with that America would be safer with a Republican in office? Joining us once again, we are proud to welcome the Associate Editor of “The Hill” newspaper, A.B. Stoddard, and “L.A. Times” columnist, Rosa Brooks.
Rosa, the ACLU is suing a company for working in a perfectly legitimate business? That the American government is conducting?
BROOKS: Well, Tucker, first of all, you are assuming that it is legitimate as opposed to—there‘s a good deal of evidence that this was illegal acts on the part of the government and illegal acts on the part of the contractors. But you know, just three quick points here.
CARLSON: Yes, I knew this would get you going.
BROOKS: Your framing the question of, you know, can the left keep us safe? Is the ACLU against us ...
CARLSON: That‘s a fair question at this point.
BROOKS: That‘s completely unworthy of you. The ACLU is not part of the government. The ACLU is not part of the national security. The ACLU is an organization of private individuals asking whether they can keep us safe is like asking if the PTA can keep us safe. It‘s not their job.
CARLSON: They can keep us less safe, I don‘t think there‘s any question they can make us less safe. They may have.
BROOKS: Nonsense. The ACLU‘s job is to try to defend the Constitution of the United States. They‘ve been doing a good job.
CARLSON: It‘s actually to carry water for the Democratic party.
BROOKS: Nonsense. They often take positions that the Democratic party doesn‘t like.
CARLSON: I haven‘t noticed that.
BROOKS: But the reason that Rivkin and Casey don‘t like the
litigation they‘ve been bringing is that, frankly, is that the Bush
administration has been losing a lot of it. Because it‘s been doing a lot
of things that are illegal, violate U.S. laws and constitutional principles
and international law. And they should be bringing this litigation because
CARLSON: Well, wait a second!
BROOKS: Because the final point is that what the U.S. government has been doing, in the war on terror, unlawful renditions of places where people to be tortured is damaging our national security interest, frankly, drawing attention to that is good for our national security.
CARLSON: How exactly does it hurt our national security and deliver them to the country from which he came or to a third country ally like, Morocco?
BROOKS: There is no question in my mind that the U.S. willingness to abandon our basic commitments to principles such as do not torture people. Do not have private contracts in other countries do our dirty work by doing things that are illegal, and violate our principals. That has hurt us in global public opinion. It is damaged our opinion to get useful intelligence from moderate Muslims around the world.
CARLSON: I don‘t know that is true or provable. I‘m sure it has damaged our opinion in Luxembourg but the question is ...
BROOKS: I think it is eminently provable.
CARLSON: ... if you were, let‘s say you were a skillful intelligent Republican and I am assuming there is one left. I‘m not sure I haven‘t seen one but let‘s just say one existed. You would take this and make a 30 second ad out of it. You would say, this candidate supports the ACLU, the ACLU is suing to stop the U.S. government from exercising its sworn duties on behalf of it‘s citizens on the war on terror. That‘s what you would do.
STODDARD: I think that—first of all, it is unknowable because the Democrats have not governed since September 11th of 2001. They are not—we are not in a position yet to know how whether or not they would keep us safe or not able to keep us safe.
STODDARD: So it‘s not—I mean, that‘s in the eye of the beholder.
As long as Republicans hold the White House, they can keep threatening that
the Democrats are going to be the end of all of us. But, I think that we -
Democrats from the way that they sound, are going to actually if they take the White House in ‘08, be very tough on the war on terror and that these challenges will continue ...
CARLSON: I tend—actually I do tend to agree with that. I think they will be too afraid to take ACLU position on this. I just think, very quickly, do you think it is fair to ask a question? Does this make us safer, does this imperil us? Why does no one seem to ask that question?
BROOKS: I think this particular practice—first of all, I think that the Clinton administration did use renditions. But what the Clinton administration did not do was use renditions to take people out of the legal process in order to torture them, etc. The Clinton administration used renditions to put people into the legal process.
CARLSON: Torture doesn‘t work. Everyone‘s always telling us that torture doesn‘t work. So why do we use it?
BROOKS: Because we are dumb.
CARLSON: Oh! We‘re dumb! OK, we‘re dumb. OK, right, that doesn‘t work.
BROOKS: No, but Tucker, frankly ...
CARLSON: Of course it works! Then why do people ...
BROOKS: You‘ve got to—you are accepting a few too many of their premises. That‘s the problem.
CARLSON: I don‘t know.
BROOKS: They are assuming that this stuff is helping us. I think there is substantial evidence that this is deeply undermining our ability to fight terrorism.
CARLSON: I am not endorsing torture. I am actually opposed to torture. But is just too glib, I always hear people say well, it doesn‘t work anyway. BS.
BROOKS: Well, we could ...
CARLSON: That is what every intelligence service around the world except us uses it because it doesn‘t work? OK.
BROOKS: We can talk about torture. We can talk about when it works or when it doesn‘t. But that is not at issue here.
CARLSON: This may be torture but I am told that we are out of time. We will be right back. Just 18 months left before President Bush passes the reigns to a new chief executive. Can he get his immigration bill through Congress in the meantime. Or is he already in a lame duck mode? Quack. And later, he was killed while covering the war on terror, but the story behind the search for Danny Pearl‘s killers reveals a part of that global war you probably haven‘t heard much about. That will change in a minute.
CARLSON: In a day and a half, President Bush went from the proverbial sauna to the ice house. After receiving a reception in Albania that rivaled the Beatles arrival at JFK in 1964, Mr. Bush returned to Capitol Hill today from the first time in five years. He was there to try muster support from his own party for his near dead immigration bill. Will it work?
Joining us once again, associate editor of “The Hill” A.B. Stoddard and “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa s. Alexandra, here is what Bush said after his meeting on the Hill, a bellicose Bush; here‘s his statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of effort. We have to convince the American people that this bill is the best way to enforce our border. I believe without the bill it is going to be harder to enforce the border. The status quo is unacceptable. I want to thank those senators on both side of the aisle who understand the time is now to move a comprehensive piece of legislation. The White House will stay engaged.
(END VIDEO CLIP
CARLSON: So, the president is selling his bill not as a way to be compassionate to our friends south of the border, but as a way to protect our border from terrorism presumably. It‘s pretty smart. Why didn‘t he do this last month?
STODDARD: Well, I am told of the meeting today that there was absolutely no rancor, that it was very business-like, and that he spoke passionately about immigration reform. He was very engaged, and he was moving. He spoke very directly. No minds were changed, but it was nice and he was at his absolute best.
It‘s interesting, because he‘s obviously been away, but the way—it‘s an unfortunate set of circumstances him with this bill. The way that the coalition was formed, the way the bill was hobbled together in secret, not through the committee process, et cetera. It was a fragile coalition to begin with. And the fact that he wasn‘t engaged like was today really does not bode well for this happening at all.
The talk is you could probably get to 57 votes in the Senate, but not to 60, that it‘s a little bit too late. The problem now, of course, is Iraq. If this had been the hot topic in February and March, you know, sort of post-surge, before we knew that things weren‘t failing—But now what‘s happened is the floodgates are open and the Republican party has told him, we have to save our own skin. Your on your own. And in September we are leaving you.
So because this is so out in the open now, and because this opposition to this bill—it was not lobbyist that wrote this bill and this is corrupt Washington, there was a grass-roots response to this bill. It seems at this point with bipartisan opposition and American voters up in arms, and him coming to the table too late—
CARLSON: No way. And anytime you have a coalition that consists of Jon Kyl and Ted Kennedy, it‘s going to be hard to get the band back together again once it breaks up, it seems to me. Rosa, I wonder, after spending all these years deriding Bush as a right wing maniac, what it feels like to watch him spend all his political capital on behalf of a left-wing amnesty bill? Does it feel good or bad?
BROOKS: I wouldn‘t call it a left-wing amnesty bill. But it is sort of a shame. I mean, I think he has so damaged his credibility, because he‘s been a right wing maniac, as you so nicely put it, that even when he is trying to do something decent, for once, no one will give him the time of the day. He has not political capital. He is not just a lame duck. He is a limping duck, a doormat duck, a dead duck.
CARLSON: OK, but why wouldn‘t Democrats, who presumably want to see as many illegal aliens in this country as they can—
CARLSON: Hold on here. They want amnesty too. They want what Bush wants. Why aren‘t they helping him achieve it?
STODDARD: They don‘t want this bill as much as they have to pretend that they do. They just don‘t. And we know why. Politically, it is just the last thing they should do to themselves. And it really is, at this point, up to him. If he is the chief advocate for this bill, and this is his last great domestic achievement, and it‘s Republicans that need to get him to 60 votes, it really is up to him. Luckily for the Democrats, they can say it is your job. In this situation, their back is not against the wall.
CARLSON: It almost sounds they are being disingenuous.
CARLSON: Call me accusatory. Rosa, speaking of accusatory, we learned today that the director of the FBI, Mr. Mueller, has been using a gulf stream jet. And this is the only jet that the FBI possesses that can fly internationally at a moment‘s notice. And he‘s been using it to give speeches.
BROOKS: This is an administration that is a little hampered in the ethics area. I think this is one—this is just the latest in a whole series of scandals like this. On one hand, do I think this is the most important scandal in the world? Frankly, no. It doesn‘t bother me that much. He‘s got to use some kind of plane. Why not this one.
CARLSON: Why not Jet Blue?
BROOKS: On the other hand, they could do it a lot more cheaply.
There certainly is a boundary issue—
CARLSON: So why doesn‘t Nancy Pelosi fly commercial? She‘s not—
BROOKS: Nancy Pelosi is a little bit different. Because you will remember that Nancy Pelosi was perfectly happy to fly commercial. But the security people said to her, you cannot do it the way you want to do it. You have to do it this way for your own security. And at that point—
CARLSON: This is what Bush said after 9/11: the security people made me do it. They made me run to some Air Force base and hide inside of a mountain, rather than—
CARLSON: You can do whatever you want. They don‘t have jurisdiction over your life. You can say, hey security guy, back off, which is what normal people do. So they force me to fly in a private jet. It happens to me all the time.
STODDARD: Listen, in 2004, Bush gave Mueller this designation that he was required to use it for business and personal use. And look, this is something like—what, it accounts for a quarter of the time the plane is used. He‘s flown all over the world. They are always operation missions. I mean, this really—I mean, Bob Mueller is not the problem. He did not steal radios from targets. This nothing.
CARLSON: It bothers me when elected officials or appointed officials act like kings. And I just feel like everybody else has to schlep through these horrifying security procedures at the airport, and people that run our government ought to do the same day thing. I don‘t care. He is not God. I have nothing against the guy personally, but the government should not—you know what I mean?
STODDARD: No one ever likes to find out how the government spends their money.
BROOKS: I mean, what is at root here? I am not that bothered by this. It seems like, in the scheme of things, not that big of a deal. But I think that what is at issue here is, again, something that the Bush administration has a big problem with, which is the dividing line between partisan goals and public goods. This is the Justice Department scandal, hiring and firing for political reasons, et cetera.
CARLSON: Yes, but it‘s powerful people taking advantage of the perks they are offered. And it bothers me that we, as citizens, do not care. And we assume that someone who is powerful and famous and in the government deserves to bypass all of the normal garbage we have to go through and get on a plane at our expense. And that is OK? It‘s not OK with me.
BROOKS: You want to render him to a foreign country in that plane.
CARLSON: That would make me feel a lot better. Someone who is against, I think, rendering anybody to anywhere, John McCain, taking a strong stand against torture, Alexandra. He is written up in a very interesting Mike Allen piece in today‘s “Politico,” which says basically the campaign is flailing about. Everyone knows that.
The McCain campaign is not doing as well as it wanted to do. And they are going to make a series of radical adjustments that include cutting the staff, spending money more efficiently. Nowhere in the piece do the McCain people mention changing their point of view. He has being hurt by this immigration bill and they did not seem aware of it. do you think they are aware of it?
STODDARD: I think they are. I mean, they know that he didn‘t raise enough money in the last cycle; that the surge is failing; that the immigration reform is wildly unpopular; and Fred Thompson is entering the race. No, it is a little bit of a perfect storm of a lot of factors, I think. But John McCain is not going to change his principles. That is not going to happen.
BROOKS: And that‘s a good thing.
STODDARD: That‘s right. I think if politics drives him out of the running, that‘s John McCain.
CARLSON: And that is admirable, but I wish there were some acknowledgment that the vast majority, or the broad majority, or a large number of Republicans, who are, after all, the people who choose the Republican nominee, are really dissatisfied with the policies of the Bush administration and of John McCain—that John McCain has espoused.
BROOKS: McCain has some of the same problems that the Democrats have, which is that I think he actually has more appeal with independents and Democrats than he has with the Republican base. We‘ve got a system that is set up so it becomes—so ironically, the people to the extremes are the ones who end up coming forward as the two (INAUDIBLE).
We are all disserved by this. I think he is aware. Of course he is aware of this. He has been going out there saying things like, you know, I know a lot of people do not like what I‘m saying about Iraq, but this is what I believe. And, you know, I disagree with him, but I am glad there is a candidate who is saying that. Even if he does not make it as the nominee, which he pretty clear won‘t at this point, I think it helps keep the other candidates a little more honest. It forces them explain their various flip-flops, and we‘ve been seeing a lot of that in the other—
CARLSON: That‘s a thoughtful point coming from someone who is—Am I fair to say you‘re not going to vote for John McCain, most likely.
BROOKS: I‘m not going to vote for John McCain. That is probably accurate. You never know though.
CARLSON: Rosa Brooks, A.B. Stoddard, thank you both very much. The story around the brutal murder of Danny Pearl has been turned into a Hollywood movie starring Angelina Jolie. We have a real player involved in the hunt for Pearl‘s killers next.
Plus, if you‘re wondering what O.J. thinks of the Paris Hilton circus, wonder no more. Were you wondering that? Probably not. But in any case, our MSNBC senior Paris Hilton analyst, Willie Geist, has the Juices wise words next.
CARLSON: Daniel Pearl‘s kidnapping and execution will soon be a feature film. It is among the most horrible, infamous stories of this age of terror. Pearl was investigating the story of shoe bomber Richard Reid for the “Wall Street Journal” in Pakistan when he was abducted and murdered. The militant terrorist perpetrators drew attention to their cause when they posted their crime on Internet video. But they did not get away with it.
Incredibly, like needles in a terrifying hay stack, the killers were caught. And one of the investigators in that case joins us now to explain how. He is diplomatic security Special Agent Randall Bennett. Agent Bennett, thanks a lot for coming on.
RANDALL BENNETT, HELPED CATCH DANIEL PEARL‘S KILLERS: Thank you.
It‘s a pleasure to be here.
CARLSON: So how—I mean, Pakistan is a vast country with a lot of people who sympathize with terrorists. How did you catch the guys who did this?
BENNETT: Well, actually it was a team of people working. There was a senior superintendent of police, an intel specialists and myself. And we were a three man team with an assault squad, who conducted the investigation, identified leads and then pursued them.
CARLSON: There has been a lot of debate over how cooperative the government of Pakistan has been in the war on terror. Were they cooperative with you?
CARLSON: So you got the impression that the intelligence service there, the ISI and the government, wanted to catch the people who killed Daniel Pearl?
BENNETT: That was my impression. In addition though, the people who worked with me on the team were people that I had established a rapport with over a number of years. And so, besides being friends, we were also working associates and the cooperation was excellent.
CARLSON: Why Daniel Pearl? Why of all the Americans in Pakistan—why was he abducted and murdered?
BENNETT: It‘s a good question and I think there are several reasons. Obviously one of them was opportunity. He was available. They happened to meet him and that was the first door that opened. In addition to that, they realized that he was a journalist, an American and they discovered that he was Jewish. And perhaps all of those things together became the reason.
CARLSON: How dangerous is Pakistan specifically? As I said, a lot of Americans do business there. A lot of people go back and forth. Is it safe to wander around the streets of Karachi, where Daniel Pearl was abducted?
BENNETT: No, it is not safe to wander the streets. It is a dangerous city and will continue to be that way for some time.
CARLSON: What about the rest of the country?
BENNETT: There are some areas that are safer than others, but, for the most part, we would tell anybody who wants to go there to exercise extreme caution.
CARLSON: You have been doing this for some time, security for the State Department. How much more dangerous is it for Americans abroad than it was five years ago?
BENNETT: Again, it depends on where the person goes to. But in the areas that perhaps used to be safer five or ten years ago things have changed. And certainly that region of the world is one of those were people just have to exercise much greater caution.
CARLSON: What about Europe? Hundreds of thousands of Americans head to Europe over the summer months. Is there any reason to be concerned about terrorism if you are an American traveling in Europe?
BENNETT: I don‘t think so. Europe has very good police control, good intelligence agencies that are over watching this. It should be fine.
CARLSON: Were the people who killed Daniel Pearl acting out of an ideology? Was it out of religious belief? What exactly was—What animated these people? What got them to drop everything else they were doing and spend their time killing an American reporter?
BENNETT: Well, these people are professionals at doing exactly that. It is the nature of their work. They search for opportunities to take advantage of, and that just happened to be the one that they focused on.
CARLSON: But do you have any sense of why? It‘s a life commitment on their part, and not something most people choose, not something most Muslims choose or most Pakistanis. What exactly motivated these people? Do we know that, or are we just guessing as to what their motive was?
BENNETT: I am pretty sure that it was ideology. They believe that they are supposed to do that work. That‘s what they do. They are terrorists and they practice terror.
CARLSON: Diplomatic Security Service, for which you work; what exactly does it do? I don‘t think most people have heard of it.
BENNETT: The Diplomatic Security Service is the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Department of State. We have offices in 25 states in the United States, and we are in 159 countries around the world. Domestically, we provide services on protection for dignitaries. We also conduct investigations that are criminal in nature, anti-terrorist in nature and passport and visa fraud.
Overseas, it is more a 360 degree complete security package for embassies, for the Americans that work at the embassies, and even reaching out to the American business community to offer them advice and guidance, and the general American community that is represented in that country.
CARLSON: How many Americans get in trouble with terrorism abroad every year? Do you have any idea?
BENNETT: That is a hard question to answer. I really do not know the number. Obviously, there are some. But we try to minimize its. If people seek proper guidance before going to the countries, for example, referencing the State Department‘s travel section, then they should be fine.
CARLSON: And finally, Mr. Bennett, Iran; there have been in the news recently stories about American citizens held by the Iranian government, an American citizen who disappeared in Iran. Is that a dangerous country to visit right now?
BENNETT: I would think that is probably a place people would want to avoid at this moment.
CARLSON: You are a diplomat, fitting for an employee of the State Department. Mr. Bennett, thanks for joining us.
BENNETT: It‘s my pleasure. Thank you very much.
CARLSON: President Bush entered a crowd of adoring Albanians with a watch on his wrist. When he left the crowd, the watch had disappeared. Was the of the United States mugged? Investigative reporter Willie Geist has frame by frame analysis worthy of the Zapruder tape.
CARLSON: While you have been sleeping or at work or a visiting with your family or living your life, there have been, meanwhile, developments in the Paris Hilton case. And here to bring them to us, we welcome—
We‘re honored to welcome Willie Geist from headquarters.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, I am sorry to bring up the Paris Hilton story again today. I did not do it. O.J. did. Let me tell you what I mean. That circus-like atmosphere outside Paris Hilton‘s house last Friday, and the ensuing police caravan that was chased by news helicopters reminded many people in Los Angeles of the O.J. Simpson slow-speed chase, you know, minus the double homicide.
Well, now, O.J. himself is weighing in on the media‘s treatment of the Paris Hilton story. He spoke at length to “Editor and Publisher Magazine” and wagged his finger at us in the press, saying, quote, “When Paris Hilton was going to jail last week, more people knew about that than knew that we were sending people into space that day. It has replaced what is real news.”
He continues, “In this day and age, when someone not serving me in Kentucky, with no argument, is a story, and we don‘t know that someone is going up in space, and we know more about Paris Hilton going to jail, something is wrong,” end quote.
O.J. talking, of course, about how he was thrown out of a steak house in Louisville during the Kentucky Derby. Now, Tucker, there very well may be some kernels of truth in what O.J. said, but I just cannot stand an ethics lecture from O.J. Simpson. I‘m sorry.
CARLSON: Yes. When you kill two people with a knife, you kind of forfeit your place as a moral leader.
GEIST: I do not think you‘re allowed to be outraged.
CARLSON: No, I really think you‘re kind of beyond that. Did you notice that he phoned in from a cell phone on his way back from a game of golf? How is it that O.J. Simpson gets to spend every day in the sun playing golf?
GEIST: And Paris Hilton is in solitary confinement.
CARLSON: It really does not seem fair.
GEIST: Not sure how that adds up. Well, Tucker, they went to trial today in that 54 million dollar dry cleaning lawsuit we have been following for you closely. Roy Pearson, a Washington, D.C. area judge, sued a mom-and-pop dry cleaner for that amount after he says they lost a pair of his favorite pants.
He originally wanted 67 million dollars, but he found it in the goodness of his heart to knock the figure down to 54 million. A late report from the courtroom today says that Pearson took the stand and actually broke down in tears before asking the judge for a break. This is all true.
After a five minute recess, Pearson tried to resume, but he broke down again as he described losing his pants. He then asked to submit his testimony in writing. He was denied. I‘m not kidding about any of that. Tucker, the “Washington Post” has been live blogging this thing. It is a great read if you want to go check it out. It is the off beat column.
CARLSON: Is he really a judge? Is he currently a judge?
GEIST: Yes, he‘s an administrative judge. His term just came up and apparently he may or may not be renewed. But if you read this blog, Tucker, he came to the stand. His son came to the stand. He talked through tears about his weight gain in middle age, his divorce, his financial woes.
And then he rolled out—this is true—an 89-year-old World War II veteran in a wheelchair—this is all true—who had been wronged at that very dry cleaner. The person in the wheel chair went on to compare the dry cleaner—get this—to the Nazis. I‘m not making any of this up. You can read it on the “Washington Post” live blog. This is quickly becoming the greatest trial of all-time.
CARLSON: Shouldn‘t he be impeached or thrown into prison or rendered to Pakistan to be tortured or something? I mean, can he be a judge if he is doing something like this?
GEIST: Probably not. We‘ll have to ask Susan Filan about that. But it seems to me that he loses a little bit of credibility on the bench with a lawsuit like this. But he‘s going through with it. This is only day one. He‘s got tons more witnesses we are going to hear from.
CARLSON: He is off my Christmas card list.
GEIST: Yes, I think so. And apparently the judge, as the blog says, was fighting through laughter most of the day. So not everyone is taking this quite as seriously as the man who brought up the suit.
Finally, Tucker, at first glance it looked like a much needed love fest for President Bush in Albania on Sunday. But Internet conspiracy theorists are now saying it was nothing more than a garden variety mugging. President Bush began working the crowd with a watch on his left wrist.
Now, by the time he emerged from that mob scene, the watch was gone.
Look closer. Here‘s the president as he starts to shake hands with good people. There is the watch on his left wrist. Now, here he is moments later, the watch—just a sneaky hand reaching in to snatch that time piece. Or maybe not.
White House Spokesman Tony Snow says the president took off his own watch and slipped it into his pocket during the rousing meet and greet. Now I love a good conspiracy, but it looks like the camera angle that they just showed right there proves Tony Snow correct. So it looks like President Bush was not mugged Albania.
He took the watch off himself, fearing he was going to be mugged, and slipped it into his pocket. So, it looked like we might have a justification for war there for a minute Tucker, but I guess we have to back off.
CARLSON: Well, the real new headline here is that George W. Bush, president of the most powerful nation in the history of the world, wears a 50 dollar Timex.
GEIST: He is a man of the people, Tucker. He is the president you most want to have a beer with.
CARLSON: I‘m impressed.
GEIST: He is not some fancy Georgetown cocktail party politician. He is a man of the people. He‘s a cowboy.
CARLSON: I had more faith in the people of Albania than that. I‘m glad they are vindicated. Willie Geist.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks Willie. Well for more of Willie Geist news you can‘t use, but want to see anyway, check out ZeitGeist. It‘s at Tucker.MSNBC.com. And it is excellent. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. We‘re back tomorrow. In the meantime, have a great night.
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