Guests: A.B. Stoddard, Peter King, Kathy Porter
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show. We‘re still basking in the glow of yet another Democratic candidates debate. This one in Charleston, South Carolina last night. CNN and YouTube joined forces and media to challenge the candidates with viewer-submitted video questions. It turned out to be closer to a town hall meeting than an actual debate.
Question one: Who won? Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson all had their moments, and Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel did what they do effectively enough, but predictably, the contest boiled down to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
At this point, Edwards has the least to lose and the most to gain, and if nothing else, the pundits agreed he showed some passion.
But the most notable, almost distracting highlights were not the candidates themselves, but the questions they faced. Those ranged from the serious to the mundane to the simply insane. Here‘s a sample of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mainstream media seems awfully interested in old Al Gore these days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he losing weight, what does it say in his book, is he still worried about (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They interpret all these as signs that he may or may not run. They really want to know if Al Gore is going to run again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. What we want to know is, does that hurt y‘all‘s feelings?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Democratic candidates. I‘ve been growing concerned that global warming, the single most important issue to the snowmen of this country, is being neglected. As president, what will you do to ensure that my son will have a full and happy life?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: There you go. All of which leads to question two: Was last night‘s format worthy of presidential candidates, of the presidency itself? Or was the integration of self-produced citizen videos too undignified? Was there too much democracy in action for a presidential debate? It may be heresy, but it‘s still worth asking.
Here to answer, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.b. Stoddard, and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan. Welcome to you both.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANALYST: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: There was this moment—well, not this moment, the whole thing, where I‘m thinking to myself, you know, I want to see the candidates answer these question. On the other hand, they‘re trying to be president.
There was a moment where Joe Biden, who has no self-control, which is both good and bad, responded to a question this way. I thought this was a very telling moment. Here‘s Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, America. My name is Jerod Townsend (ph) from Cleo (ph), Michigan.
To all the candidates: Tell me your position on gun control, as myself and other Americans really want to know if our babies are safe.
This is my baby, purchased under the 1994 gun ban. Please tell me your views.
COOPER: Senator Biden, are you going to be able to keep his baby safe?
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: I‘ll tell you what, if that‘s his baby, he needs help.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BIDEN: I think he just made an admission against self-interest. I don‘t know that he‘s mentally qualified to own that gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Biden is a pompous gun grabber. On the other hand, you have got to kind of admire the guy for not pandering.
BUCHANAN: It was great. I think he went too far...
CARLSON: He always goes too far. That‘s Joe Biden. He can‘t stop.
BUCHANAN: It was very funny. He said that‘s his baby, the guy has got real problems. I thought it was a very authentic moment. It was a great question.
I do agree with you, Tucker, that stuff that, you know, these little acts they put on beforehand—they could clean that out. But the idea of getting questions like it, even those two women that wanted to get married, came straight out and asked them why they couldn‘t get married. I thought it was very good. It was a little bit of—some of the small d in action I liked, democracy.
CARLSON: Well, that actually was my favorite moment in the whole thing, when those two women asked why can‘t we get married? It is kind of a stumper. Why are the Democrats against gay marriage?
A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: I don‘t have the answer.
CARLSON: It‘s OK. No, but it‘s...
CARLSON: No, I know you don‘t. It‘s just—it is worth...
STODDARD: Only Dennis Kucinich is...
CARLSON: What a bunch of cowards! I actually think—I‘m for marriage. I‘m just for marriage generally. I‘m for people making a lifelong commitment. Do you know what I mean? I‘m not against gay marriage, actually, and I‘m the most right-wing person I know. So why are they against it?
STODDARD: It‘s very awkward for them. And I think John Edwards suffered the most. He was really twisting himself into a pretzel over it. But you know, no one put Hillary Clinton on the spot. She‘s—they‘re all on the same page, except for Kucinich. They are all opposed.
CARLSON: I just think it‘s absolutely the most hypocritical thing ever.
The beauty of this debate—no, it did...
CARLSON: I‘m against gay promiscuity and promiscuity in general. I think it‘s good for people to be committed for life.
BUCHANAN: You don‘t think homosexuals together is promiscuity?
CARLSON: No. I think—I think the problem is, the current state of affairs in America, where people, gay and straight, hook up, then become unhooked—and you know what I mean? There‘s just no stability. I thin, marriage has been a great thing for me, and I think it‘s a really civilizing force, and I think it would be a civilizing force for gay people too.
BUCHANAN: That‘s the Andrew Sullivan position.
CARLSON: Yes. And I don‘t think it‘s a liberal position. But whatever. If I can take that position, why the hell can‘t Hillary Clinton step out there and you know, have some cojones?
BUCHANAN: But if you took it in that Republican down there in South Carolina, I think you‘d be booed off the stage.
CARLSON: (inaudible), I‘m also against women in combat. Right? So I have all kinds...
BUCHANAN: They would cheer you for that.
CARLSON: No, they wouldn‘t. Because you know what, they‘re liberal.
BUCHANAN: Sure they would. South Carolina conservatives...
CARLSON: Maybe, but the nine conservatives left in the Republican Party...
BUCHANAN: That‘s a military state.
CARLSON: There are all sorts of potential pitfalls for these candidates. I thought John Edwards stepped into one when he was asked, when he was asked this—let‘s put it up on the screen.
Well, we don‘t have that tape. So he was asked this, “I would like for each of you to look at the candidate to your left,” said the questioner, “and name one thing you like about this person and one thing you dislike about this person,” which is such a seventh-grade question.
He said, quote, “I admire what Senator Clinton has done for America, what her husband did for America. I‘m not sure about that coat.”
Now, you‘ve been married for many years, Pat. That‘s rule one, you don‘t criticize the coat.
BUCHANAN: You get smacked across the face. No, you don‘t do that. But that, frankly, you know what that shows is—and I didn‘t mind that question too much, because it showed how do these guys on their feet handle sort of an oddball question? And I think Edwards did not handle that very well. Some of the others did. I mean, Biden, what did he say? This is the most ridiculous question I‘ve heard. Other guys had good statements to make. I think even Kucinich praised—said nobody is on my left here. He praised Gravel. And so I thought it was very—it showed what kind of personality, what kind of characters these guys are, and I think it showed Edwards, excuse me, as a bit of a stiff.
CARLSON: I liked the coat.
CARLSON: Did you like the coat?
STODDARD: First of all, I don‘t think it‘s a seventh-grade question. I thought it was a great question. I cannot believe that people can‘t come up with something nice to say about each other. It only makes them look good. It only would have made John Edwards look good to say, Hillary Clinton has taken a lot of heat no matter what she‘s done her whole life, and I admire that she still stands up and continues—whatever. You just make it up even if it‘s B.S.
You never—there is a double standard. You‘re not allowed to pick on what I wear, and I can make fun of whatever you wear and how you wear your hair. That‘s the deal. There is a double standard.
CARLSON: I don‘t have a problem with that.
STODDARD: And you know what? Especially Hillary Clinton. She stays on the side of fashion caution. She never tries to sort of give too much or go too far. You can‘t tease her. It‘s just—it‘s just off limits.
BUCHANAN: He got the oohs when he mentioned the coat. And that‘s not good when you hear that sound, Tucker.
CARLSON: Yes, I think that‘s totally fair, and I think...
STODDARD: But she could have come up with something nice to say about Barack Obama. Everybody wimped out, I mean, except for Gravel and Kucinich. I really wasn‘t impressed with people not being able to say something nice about...
CARLSON: There is kind of an anti-populist strain in a lot of what Joe Biden said last night, now that I think about it, kind of, you know, I don‘t care what public opinion is. Maybe you need to be as tapped as Joe Biden to actually go out and insult the public. Good for Joe Biden!
Well, it‘s about 24 hours later, and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are still arguing over last night‘s debate. Who is more against the Iraq war and who‘s more willing to talk to the enemy if it will help end that war?
Plus, a countless number of jobs in America are being outsourced, but if you are homeless, you can get a job right here in the U.S. Just head over to the nearest picket line. The unions are hiring the homeless and mentally ill. Details in a minute. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama trade jabs over diplomacy with rogue nations. Who‘d meet with Kim Jong Il and who wouldn‘t? It‘s the despot test. We‘ll tell you who passed coming up.
CARLSON: The most substantial development in last night‘s Democratic debate was some long-awaited conflict between the two front runners on the Democratic side, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Obama took a swipe at Clinton‘s war vote during the debate. Clinton scored points in response to a question about engaging our enemies in diplomatic talks right away. Obama said he surely would, while Mrs. Clinton said she would take a more cautious approach.
Well today, Hillary followed up by saying that Obama‘s response was “naive and irresponsible.” Obama threw those words back by saying, what is naive is voting to authorize the invasion of Iraq. Touche! Have we entered a new phase in the race for the Democratic nomination?
Well joining us again, is associate editor of the “Hill,” A.B. Stoddard and MSNBC Political Analyst Pat Buchanan. Welcome back. I thought, I mean, this is—Hillary is running a general election campaign here, which is terrifying to those of us who don‘t think that she ought be president. But I think she is canny and smart and seems more responsible than she probably is, I think she is doing the right thing.
STODDARD: Well, I think—I look at that exchange this way. I really think that if you are an Obama supporter, you look at what Hillary said, and she kind of sounds like President Bush. And you say listen, Obama invoked Reagan, he talked about the need to speak with the enemy and show that kind of leadership that is—to reject the Bush doctrine of not talking to anybody. And that Hillary—if you are a Hillary supporter, you look at that exchange and you say Obama is so inexperienced.
I think for both of them, OK, he tripped up, he should have said first you send in the lower-level diplomatic, you know, staff. Then you do this and that. He tripped up a little bit but I do think that there is a huge part of the primary voting left wing of the Democratic party that actually really wants to talk to Iran and Syria. And really is buying what Obama is selling. I do.
CARLSON: Boy, I strongly prefer Obama to Hillary. I just think on
the merit she is absolutely right. And I can‘t imagine what motivates
people who affirmatively want to deal with Iran and Syria and North Korea
just for the sake of it. I don‘t know, what is the fascination of reaching
STODDARD: I‘m not saying that it‘s right. I‘m saying that if you
CARLSON: No. No, I know. It‘s just a weird impulse to want to ...
STODDARD: I don‘t think it‘s so damaging for him.
BUCHANAN: It‘s the mix and the turner thing, I think. But look, in terms the—of how it played out, I don‘t think Hillary should have hammered him today. I think her people should have hammered him instead of her. She doesn‘t want to get into him. Because that‘s what he wants, he wants to engage and he wants to mix it up. If she stays away from him she‘s winning this final point.
CARLSON: But doesn‘t it make it tougher for her when she picks him as her vice-president?
BUCHANAN: Yes, well if it makes—yes, but I think frankly it would not be a bad choice right now. He‘s got tremendous fire, he could still catch fire, I think. But I clearly think—as I said on another show, look, I mean, he mentioned he‘s going to go see Ahmadinejad. You go up to the Jewish community and you say, here‘s a guy that is going to talk to them directly with this character? And of course, down in Florida, he‘s going to talk with Fidel Castro? I mean, that‘s a real problem for Obama. And they‘re exploiting it and they ought to exploit it, but she shouldn‘t do it herself. She should get a some tough surrogate to do it for her.
CARLSON: Yes. Well, she‘s probably the toughest ...
BUCHANAN: Get Bill.
CARLSON: ... person in the campaign. Right, so I mean.
STODDARD: That‘s right. She‘s really kind of a—she needs to make sure she doesn‘t give him the opening.
STODDARD: Because he‘s trying to be above it all.
BUCHANAN: She did so well that ...
STODDARD: If she gives him an opening, it‘s going to be a problem.
He‘s just waiting for one.
BUCHANAN: She did so well last night when he said, you know, you know, she was right and the Pentagon was wrong. But we should have never - - we should have thought this through before anybody voted to go to war. And she just let it go. It was like letting the pitch go right across the plate, I don‘t want to swing at that one. She didn‘t want to mix it up with Obama and she does not, and that‘s exactly the right position.
CARLSON: I think it‘s absolutely wise. I‘m watching last night, and I‘m thinking, you know, part of this doesn‘t appeal to me, these homemade videos and the talking snowman all this stuff. But, I mean, this is the future. Aren‘t you, the “Hill” where you work. You are in—you are doing something like this, aren‘t you?
STODDARD: Yes. The “Hill” is now the source for online political videos. We‘re the pioneers. This week we are launching Hill Tube and you can watch members of Congress and Washington opinion makers and me. I‘m doing a weekly video Q and A, called Ask A.B. And everyone needs to e-mail their questions to email@example.com.
CARLSON: Is it going to be like the Obama girl thing?
STODDARD: It‘s going to be a little less exciting than that. We are building excitement, but it‘s a work in progress.
CARLSON: So, but if people have suggestions on how to bring to it that level of excitement, they should email ...
STODDARD: Right. I take all suggestions, questions, comments, criticism, punishment, everything.
CARLSON: You think, Pat. I will watch.
I‘m now addicted to YouTube after last night. Pat, you said that Obama will have trouble with supporters of Israel over this. That‘s already an issue for his campaign.
BUCHANAN: Well, it is. And that is a problem for him, a vulnerability. I mean, the Cubans are a Republican constituency by and large. So ...
CARLSON: I think that‘s changing though.
BUCHANAN: It‘s changing but they don‘t play that big of role, but the Jewish community is enormous. Enormously important in terms of fund-raising and all the rest of it. And to go to them and say look, and get your people to go to them and say, this guy is so naive. He thinks if he sits down with Ahmadinejad, and he said so in the debate, he is going to convince him and we are going to get along. You can‘t have somebody like that. You can‘t support a guy like that. I think it‘s a very powerful argument in the Jewish community.
CARLSON: It‘s a powerful argument in the Episcopal community, at least in my house. I think that‘s absolutely right. This idea that under girds a lot of what Obama has to say. And I say this by the way, as someone who prefers him strongly to Hillary, however, the idea that under girds a lot of his ideas is, we just misunderstand each other. If we could sit down and talk it through, we have common interests. We‘re shooting for common goals, that‘s a crock. We don‘t have common interests or goals.
STODDARD: I think that it is a general—what I took away last night was that Barack Obama is actually making a mistake. In—if he‘s running on passion, and running as an agent of change, he needs to start acting like one. He really is acting too cautious. And so if he—if he can‘t sell experience and he‘s trying to fight fire with fire, and she‘s Mrs. Experience, slapping him down like he‘s in second grade. He needs to look the camera in the eye and say let‘s all get along, it‘s just a misunderstanding, or whatever he has to say. But he really needs to muster some fire in the belly.
CARLSON: He‘s not running against the Republicans. I don‘t know if you know that. He‘s running against cynicism, Alexandra. Cynicism.
STODDARD: He‘s running against Hillary Clinton and her machine and her experience.
BUCHANAN: His best card is, you know, it‘s that vote. It‘s the most important vote you ever cast and you did not think it through, because of that 3,600 guys are dying and counting. It was a horrible mistake and it was your major decision. How did you make it.
CARLSON: And why don‘t you apologize for it? She won‘t apologize.
Well, the federal government is asking for your help in reporting suspicious terror activities. But would you make that 911 phone call if there was a chance would you be sued for making it?
Plus a Connecticut town begins handing out legal ID cards for it‘s resident‘s today and that includes illegal aliens. Is New Haven a new haven for illegals? More on that in a minute, you are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Since 9/11, the federal government has asked all American citizens—if you see something, say something. But congressional Democrats apparently don‘t really mean that. The so-called flying imam amendment now pending before Congress would protect citizens who report suspicious activity from being sued. The Democrats are against it, saying the wording of the measure is too broad. It might protect someone who provides a false tip, or who is a bigot.
Will suspicious activity ever be reported if the tipsters aren‘t protected from legal action? Republican congressman from New York, Pete King, is the author of that legislation. He joins us now. Congressman, thanks for coming on.
REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: Tucker, great to be with you.
CARLSON: So tell me where we stand now. If I see something I think is suspicious and I report it, I can be hauled into court?
KING: Right now, you could be. And that‘s what‘s happening to people who were on the flight in Minnesota last November, who saw very suspicious activity by six imams that were on the plane. They reported that activity. Based on that, the imams were removed from the plane, and now those people are being sued by CAIR and the imams themselves. CAIR, of course, is the radical Islamic organization.
So, yes, that—right now, any civilian, any public-spirited citizen who does what we ask them to do, and that is to report suspicious terrorist activity, can be subject to a lawsuit. They could lose their home, lose their life savings. It‘s absolutely disgraceful, and it goes against what we‘ve started telling everybody since September 11th, 2001 -- if you see something, say something. Because we realized that you can have all the FBI agents, all the police, and you couldn‘t have enough people to really keep an eye on what‘s happening. We need the eyes and the ears of tens and tens of millions of good Americans, who would report suspicious activity.
CARLSON: Yes, I mean, this falls under the no-brainer heading, I would say. I mean, I don‘t really understand the argument against your idea. What is the argument? Why are Democrats opposed to giving protection to people who witness suspicious activity?
KING: Well, let me just say that not all Democrats are. Thank God Joe Lieberman is doing a phenomenal job. He‘s part of the conference with me, and Joe Lieberman is standing very strong.
There are certain elements of the Democratic Party, I would say they are in the extreme liberal wing, the MoveOn.org crowd, the CAIR types, the very liberal wing of that party, the liberal base is driving this.
But I‘ll tell you, even just as of about a half-hour ago, I think the negotiations are going our way, because there has been such a public outcry about what they were trying to do, and basically (inaudible)...
CARLSON: If you‘ll pardon me, Congressman, I just want to—I want to be fair and I want to understand, at least I want to understand what the arguments are. I mean, what is their argument? So in as plain language as you can and as impartially as you can, tell us what their argument against this idea is?
KING: They believe—they say they believe that this would lead to racial profiling. That by—that this would allow someone who‘s on a plane who doesn‘t like a person of a particular religion or ethnic group or race, to target them and have them thrown off the plane.
Now, nothing in the amendment would allow that. It specifically says you have to truthfully report it. It has to be done in good faith, which obviously would prevent this.
But they are either saying they believe it, or they genuinely believe it. They have such a distrust, I guess, of the American effort against terrorism that they are—somehow see this as a plot or an attempt or an unknowing attempt to allow racial profiling, to go after people because of their race or religion. It‘s total nonsense, totally false, but that‘s the argument they make.
CARLSON: Is there a lobby pushing against this? Is there a suspicious characters lobby that is giving money to these Democrats?
And who exactly are they? Can you tell us the names of Democrats who have opposed this amendment?
KING: Well, I know that in the conference, which—the conference committee, I know that Congressman Conyers, who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has had real concerns about it. Chairman Benny Thompson of the Homeland Security Committee. But and saying that—and also Pat Leahy in the Senate has been very opposed to it. So they‘ve been the main three.
But as of just about a half-hour ago, it seems like the negotiations are going the right way, and I am hoping this can be resolved in the next few hours.
But as of last Wednesday, we were dead in the water. We got resurrected on Thursday through some very strong efforts by Joe Lieberman, and we‘ve kept it going over the weekend to a large extent by, you know, going on television, radio and print media, and just bringing this out to the American people. Because I would think over 90 percent of the American people would support this amendment. And that‘s why the Democrats who are opposed to it—and again, I think it‘s that, the real left wing of the party, or the real liberal wing of the party.
And, Tucker, it‘s also—there are certain people in this wing who think that if you‘re doing something strong against Islamic terrorism that somehow that‘s pro-George Bush or that‘s pro-Republican, and their instinct is to be against it. But I think it‘s—this has really backfired on them, and that‘s why they are—they are, again, negotiating, and it‘s going right now I think clearly in the right direction. And I‘m hopeful by tonight or tomorrow morning, that this will be over and done with, and the amendment will be in the bill.
CARLSON: Well, I hope so. There aren‘t too many clear-cut issues that come before Congress, but this is one of the rare few. And I hope you succeed. Thanks a lot, Congressman. I appreciate it.
KING: Tucker, thank you. Thanks for all your help. Thank you.
CARLSON: Cindy Sheehan says she‘s had it with anti-war Democrats. So much so that she‘s planning to challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in Congress. Should Pelosi be worried? Should the rest of us be thrilled?
And calls to impeach President Bush gain momentum in cities across America. Has the war in Iraq turned Iraq into Bush‘s Watergate? We‘ll tell you.
We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Sometimes the northeastern corner of this country is unfairly labeled a bastion of liberal crazies and sometimes the northeastern corner of this country earns it. New Haven, Connecticut earned it today by handing out legal government I.D. cards to more than 10,000 illegal aliens in the city.
The cards allow illegals to open bank accounts, use some city services and pay parking meters. This morning‘s “New York Daily News” reports that city councilman Hiram Monserrate will propose legislation Wednesday to do the same thing in New York City. Is this a good idea or total madness?
Back to assess it, we welcome associate editor of the “Hill,” A.B. Stoddard and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. Pat, I know you are for this.
BUCHANAN: All my friends in the south are telling the illegal aliens, head for New Haven, you guys. They‘re nuts. They are enabling the complete wholesale scoff law activity. These people are in the country illegally. They don‘t belong here, and you are enabling them by giving them social welfare benefits. You‘re creating a magnate rather than shutting a magnate down. Everybody is going to head to New Haven.
CARLSON: What if you had a scenario where illegal aliens were tolerated, even welcomed, but not eligible for any kind of social welfare benefits at all?
BUCHANAN: That‘s basically what we had when we had immigration in the old days. The Italians who came here; a lot of them got jobs. Those that didn‘t, they headed on back home. Frankly, if you remove that magnet, the social welfare benefits, except emergency, and that‘s what a proposition in California was and Arizona—if you do that, that eliminates one of the magnets.
If they can‘t get the welfare, the unemployment or the food stamps, all these other things, and they‘re cut off from the state welfare, they don‘t have a job, they‘ll go back home.
CARLSON: Is this a trend where cities kind of don‘t like what the federal government is doing and declare their own policy?
STODDARD: I mean, Prince William County, Virginia right now is cracking down on illegals and they‘re hiding in basements and they‘re terrified. This is the opposite of what we‘re seeing in New Safe Haven Connecticut. It‘s just so interesting. In the absence—
CARLSON: You are telling me that people who break the law are worried about getting caught? Is this a news flash here? They‘re worried.
STODDARD: Any decisions by the federal government and any reform—everyone is going to start doing their own thing. It really is going to become a total disaster. I heard Pat Buchanan earlier on this broadcast say something very wise, which is any Democrat or Republican who could just tap into this, into the fact that the Congress failed to do something about this, that it‘s important—seriously, in either party—will run away with this. It was a mistake for these Democrats. No one mentioned it last night.
CARLSON: You really think so? Because I think that everyone in the press and the opinion makers of this country are so quick to label bigotry, what is I think a completely valid concern about the future of the country. But anybody who stands up and say, you know what? If you are here illegally, you ought to be treated as a law breaker, that person is somehow anti-Hispanic. That‘s the level of dumbness.
BUCHANAN: I said they should tap into the red state Democrats‘ web and the real conservative Republicans who rolled, the president of the United States, McCain, Kennedy, Reid, everybody, the Chamber of Commerce, “Wall Street Journal.” There is a budding coalition. It goes into both parties. If you tap into that and hold the base of your party, I think you could win the presidency, I really do.
A Republican or a Democrat, get rid of the elites and come at a grass roots level. It‘s the only way I think a Republican can win.
CARLSON: To become a non-crazy populist party, yes. I absolutely think that works.
BUCHANAN: Tucker, populism rolled this entire city, but the Democratic party—they couldn‘t roll Bush even though they were elected to do so. But the populists rule both parties.
CARLSON: If you could find a libertarian populist—
BUCHANAN: We have our boy in the Republican side, Ron Paul, but he doesn‘t seem to have the fire.
CARLSON: We are trying. On this show we are trying single handedly to propel that candidacy. It‘s this show and Barry Manilow who give money to Ron Paul. And together, I think we can make something out of this man.
A.B., there was a poignant story in this morning‘s “Washington Post” about the state of the modern labor movement. It revealed that at least one union, the Carpenters Union here in Washington, has pickets around the city every day against construction companies that are not using union labor.
These pickets are composed not of union members who are getting health insurance and benefits and high wages, but of the homeless, some of them mentally ill, some with cans of 40 ounce malt liquor with them, or whatever. But they‘re hired as day laborers to picket. The irony alarm just went off in my head. They are picketing people for not hiring union members, but they‘re not union members.
STODDARD: It is amazing. The lobbyist on Capital Hill have given up waiting in line. They buy, sometimes homeless, line waiters. What are they called, Pat? You are paid to sit and have your Doritos in line in the Dirksen Building. And that makes sense because lobbyists have better things to do with their time.
But when you don‘t have actual picketers and you have to buy people to pose as them, it‘s really bad times.
CARLSON: Shouldn‘t they pay them health insurance, Pat?
STODDARD: They should.
CARLSON: Seriously, if you are a union, you are arguing for the elevation of the working man—
BUCHANAN: They ought to have the right hours. They ought to obey all the laws. They go over to the Mitch Snyder center. Come on out you guys.
CARLSON: Which is about a block and a half from here.
BUCHANAN: Hire them too.
CARLSON: When you ran for president, you had the support of a lot of union guys.
CARLSON: This is a movement almost in eclipse.
BUCHANAN: The private sector unions, the auto workers, steel workers, carpenters; they‘re really dying. The government unions are really exploding. I think unions are about 10 percent of the employees of the country now. It used to be 33 percent when I was an editorial writer in St. Louis.
They are just shrinking and the private unions are going out of business. I don‘t think it‘s a good thing. I think the balance has fallen too far.
CARLSON: You may be absolutely right. But the idea that government workers need even more protections or further disincentives to work hard by joining a union—I‘m completely serious. I‘m a member of a union, involuntarily. I resent it. They take my money. They do nothing for me. It‘s compulsory.
I‘m not going to say it on the air. But yes, I‘m a member of a union.
You know it‘s like. It‘s—I don‘t know. It‘s Soviet, seems to me.
Cindy Sheehan is doing us all a favor and reminding us --
BUCHANAN: They send me checks now.
BUCHANAN: Mclaughlin told me how to get them.
CARLSON: Really? I have to get in on that. They don‘t send me anything. All the mail is going in on direction to that union. Cindy Sheehan is doing a favor, I believe, and is acting out of principle. Cindy Sheehan—whatever Cindy Sheehan‘s personal issues or demons, she‘s reminding the rest of us that the so-called anti-war party hasn‘t done squat to end the war. And to highlight this point, she‘s running against Nancy Pelosi.
Does she have a constituency, do you think?
STODDARD: I cannot imagine. There might be a few people in San Francisco, who vote Nancy Pelosi in with 80 percent, who change their minds and are mad at her because she became the speaker and could not change the course of the war in Iraq. But obviously, it‘s not remotely a threat to Nancy Pelosi‘s hold on her Congressional district. And Cindy Sheehan has lost a lot of credibility, I think, with everybody, including the anti-war part.
CARLSON: I don‘t know. She‘s actually gained credibility with me. Obviously you feel sorry for Cindy Sheehan. She doesn‘t seem to be fully present. Or she is struggling with things, obviously, seems a little bonkers, frankly. However, this is a principled point that she‘s making. She‘s going after Democrats on this.
BUCHANAN: The one that made the principled point last night was Kucinich and it‘s her point as well. He said look, all we have to do is don‘t vote him any more money for the war, and tell him we gave you 100 billion dollars. Use that to bring them home. That‘s exactly what both Houses could do, because they have 50 percent of both Houses. Simply don‘t appropriate any more money for the war.
They could end the war—America‘s involvement in the war like that.
CARLSON: Now, I think that would be a disaster for this country. It would weaken us and send all the wrong messages, et cetera, et cetera. But if you really believe that the war is lost and every day is only an opportunity for more Americans to die, why wouldn‘t you do that?
STODDARD: It‘s a huge problem for Democrats. There‘s a new poll out saying that the approval for Congress is at 14 percent. They are seven months into having power back after 12 years and all the promises and all the rage. And they haven‘t been able to change course in Iraq and they haven‘t passed the other things, the agenda from January.
BUCHANAN: They are a party that wants to be seen barking at the bus, and chasing the bus, but they don‘t want to catch it. They do not want to impose their policy on the president and say, the war, our involvement is over. You‘re going to start bringing them home, because then they are responsible for what happens after and they know what‘s going to happen.
CARLSON: But see, I feel like—
STODDARD: But they also might lose power.
CARLSON: Bush gave a speech today in South Carolina, in Charleston, as it happens, the same location as the debate last night, in which he made the case that Iraq is basically the front line in our war now against al Qaeda. It wasn‘t before, but now it is. I think that‘s a very hard argument for them to respond to. Are they going to say no? It‘s not true? It is true.
STODDARD: I agree with you. We have talked about this before. The Democrats have an al Qaeda problem. So far they are just—
BUCHANAN: Boxer handled it just an hour ago. She said our proposal says that we keep troops in there to fight al Qaeda and to train the Iraqis and we get them out of the sectarian war. Fifteen percent of the attacks are al Qaeda. We can fight that.
STODDARD: That‘s the most effective answer I‘ve heard yet.
CARLSON: Practically, does that make sense? We‘re just going to—how do you tell the is difference? What does that mean?
BUCHANAN: Here‘s who you guys should fight.
CARLSON: We‘re not leaving Iraq. I think that‘s the truth.
STODDARD: But also none of these proposals, transition of mission, deauthorization, redeployment, phased redeployment, whatever it is; there‘s so many ways to describe stop it now.
BUCHANAN: The question is always going to be are they going to appropriate the money?
CARLSON: Yes, they will.
STODDARD: They are.
CARLSON: All right, Pat Buchanan, A.B. Stoddard, thank you both very much. Congress says impeachment is off the table. That doesn‘t matter to a small Maryland town that voted to impeach both the president and the vice-president. What‘s the point of that? We‘ll talk to the mayor of the town in a minute.
Plus, on this Super Tuesday we‘ve been looking at the polls and politics. Now it‘s time for the people, Lindsay Lohan, specifically. Will she be the next celebrity to wear prison orange? Willie Geist, of course, is here with the latest trials and tribulations of the rich and famous in just a minute.
CARLSON: Impeachment is serious business. Just ask former President Clinton or for that matter, any surviving members of the Nixon administration. It is a complicated process. It requires proof of high crimes and misdemeanors. So what does the city of Takoma Park, Maryland thinking? Do its citizens have a case? That suburb of Washington sometimes referred to as the Berkeley of the east.
They have voted to call for the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. It joins almost 80 other municipalities nation wide in that call. Is it the exercise of democracy or this stepping over the line that separates local government from federal government? Kathy Porter is the mayor of Takoma Park, Maryland. She‘s been that for 10 years. She joins us now on set. Thanks a lot for joining us.
KATHY PORTER, MAYOR OF TAKOMA PARK: Glad to be here.
CARLSON: So you have decided to impeach the president and the vice-president. Why would a little place like Takoma Park weigh in on something like this?
PORTER: Well, we have a lot of people in Takoma Park that are very concerned about national issues. And they came to the city council and to the mayor and they said that they wanted to exercise their right to petition the government. And they wanted to do that through a resolution of impeachment that the city council passed. So we have done that.
CARLSON: Are you worried that Takoma Park will become a parody of a liberal town, always weighing in—it‘s a nuclear free zone. You have passed ordinances prohibiting businesses from doing business with businesses that handle nuclear weapons, et cetera. That you are going to become a joke; are you worried about that?
PORTER: No, I think it‘s very serious business. People have very strong opinions about what‘s going on in the country right now and they are expressing those opinions through their local governments, which is what we do in Takoma Park.
CARLSON: Wouldn‘t it be a better idea to, say, write a letter to the “Washington Post” or start a blog? Isn‘t the purpose of a local government to pick up the trash and make sure the streets are clean and all that? Not that you don‘t do that, but isn‘t that what you should be doing.
PORTER: Well, people in Takoma Park do all those things. We have a very activist community. And we do concentrate. Most of our time is spent doing things like overseeing the police and picking up the trash and filling the potholes and keeping the parks clean. That‘s what most of our time is spent doing.
But I also think it‘s important that we as elected representatives of our constituents represent their views in very important issues like this. And I think issues having to do with how our national government is run also affects us at the local government too. So I don‘t think it‘s irrelevant.
CARLSON: Right. I guess it‘s just a question of the function of government. I remember some years ago when you declared yourselves a nuclear free zone. There was some concern that maybe Takoma Park might try to gather an army or a militia and strike out on its own. Is that in the cards?
PORTER: No. What we‘re doing right now is we‘re trying to do deal with the issue of spent nuclear waste, which is transported on the rail lines. There is a rail line on the border of Takoma Park. And this is an issue that a number of people in Takoma Park are very concerned about it. I should say, in D.C. they are also concerned about that.
PORTER: Because those rail lines—
CARLSON: I think that sounds—that‘s a legitimately parochial issue. You don‘t want the waste physically there. But weighing in on matters of national policy, it seems to me, that‘s kind of what the Congress does, right? You all have—A member of Congress represents you and a couple of senators. That‘s not enough?
PORTER: Well, the petition is going to be sent—the resolution is going to be sent to our members of Congress and I hope they represent their constituents on this issue. But, as I said, the people have a right to petition their government. And this is what we‘re doing as representatives of the people in Tacoma Park.
CARLSON: What about the nine people in Takoma Park who aren‘t left wing activists? What do they think? They‘re not really being represented by this. Are they?
PORTER: As we do in every other case, we represent the majority views in our constituency.
CARLSON: Right, but I wonder what—put yourself in the—I know you are very concerned about the rights of minorities. What about the political minorities within Takoma Park who see their tax dollars being spent on partisan grandstanding stunt like this. Don‘t you think that bothers them?
PORTER: I think it‘s an important issue. I don‘t think it‘s grand standing.
CARLSON: It is grand standing in the sense—It‘s partisan because it is partisan, obviously. It is grand standing in the sense that Takoma Park could not actually impeach a president. So what do the people who pay into this—I mean, they must be pretty frustrated, wouldn‘t you think?
PORTER: Well, I think that we do have a right to petition our government for concerns and grievances. That‘s what we have in the first amendment. And people are simply exercising that right. I think that‘s a very American thing to be doing.
CARLSON: Absolutely you‘re right. Let me ask you one quick practical question. If Bush and Cheney were impeached and removed from office, convicted and removed, who would be president?
PORTER: The Speaker of the House.
CARLSON: Do you think that would be fair since this president was, in fact, elected by the majority of the population?
PORTER: Well, that‘s what it says in the constitution. I didn‘t make that decision. It says that if the president and the vice president are unable to serve, the next in line is the speaker of the House.
CARLSON: Kathy Porter, mayor of Takoma Park, I really appreciate your coming on. Thank you.
PORTER: OK, sure.
CARLSON: Time again to play party girl roulette, which (INAUDIBLE) arrested for DUI and drug charges this time. Was it Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton or Britney Spears? You know the answer. Willie Geist has the details. We‘re back in a minute.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Oh, it is all better now. Like a cold drink on a hot day, here with relief is Willie Geist from headquarters.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, enough of this Super Tuesday nonsense. Let us get down to the stories that people really count on me to bring, stories that affect the American people.
CARLSON: I count on you.
GEIST: I have a good one to lead off. Let us all thank god for the 30 day money back guarantee at the Promises rehab center in Malibu, California. Lindsay Lohan spent six weeks there, but it took her less than two weeks after she left to be arrested on suspicion of DUI and cocaine possession. Not a terrible mug shot that you‘re going to see here, but certainly not Paris Hilton quality I wouldn‘t say.
Police say Lohan had a blood alcohol content of .12 when she was stopped in Santa Monica earlier this morning. The bizarre story goes that she was drunk behind the wheel of her truck and chasing another car driven by the mother of the assistant who had just quit on Lohan. Did you get that? Apparently she was intent on getting that assistant back.
The woman called 911 while she was being chased and the cops came to save her from Lindsay Lohan. Police found some cocaine in a pocket of Lindsay‘s pants when they got her to the station. Lindsay was released on bond and is now, you guessed it, back in rehab, because it worked so well the last time.
CARLSON: If you are 21 and you are Lindsay Lohan, shouldn‘t you just give it a decade or so? Wait until you are 30 to go—It is a waste.
GEIST: I know. I can‘t believe she is 21 years old. She has lived the life of a 50 year-old. I don‘t think she‘s going to be around that much longer.
CARLSON: She‘s—at 30 she‘s going to look different than she looks now.
GEIST: I‘m just checking here, Tucker, the axis of evil, as I call them, batting order; so Paris Hilton just got out of jail. Now we have Lohan with this movement. It looks like, Britney Spears, grab a helmet and a bat. You are up in the batting order here. It‘s her turn, so expect something soon from her.
CARLSON: You‘re a cruel man, Willie.
GEIST: I know. You know what I officially decided today? I officially couldn‘t care less. I know it‘s a shocking admission coming from me, but I have no interest any more. They‘ve lost me.
CARLSON: I sort of care.
GEIST: Good, I‘m glad someone does. Well, as if you don‘t have enough to contend with in your commute, check this out. Now you‘ve got to worry about a World War II era plane landing in front of you on the highway. Unbelievable footage here from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. I know a lot of our viewers come from there, so this is a personal story.
This is a scene the other day when a 1946 T-6 Texan aircraft made an emergency landing in between cars on a Wisconsin highway. A man and his son had engine trouble in the vintage plane on the way to an air show. They set the aircraft down safely and no one was hurt. That is just amazing video.
That has got to be disconcerting, I‘m thinking, Tucker, when your evening commute suddenly turns into D-day.
CARLSON: That is just the coolest thing that I have ever seen. I want that pilot flying my next United flight to L.A.. That guy had nerves of steel. He just put it down, excellent.
GEIST: Nailed it, traveling with his 19 year old son too. I have to say, I appreciate the wanting a piece of history, but an antique single engine plane might not be the one for me.
CARLSON: I‘m all for brand new planes.
GEIST: I think so too. Finally, Tucker, I recognize—I‘m just going to say it now—this is a cheap laugh. But it would be irresponsible of me not to show it. I‘m a journalist in the end. This is Australian Prime Minister John Howard walking into a radio studio for an interview and frankly just wiping out.
Howard was not injured and that is why we can run it on a loop here guilt free. It is amazing how quickly an important international leader can be diminished, isn‘t it? Let‘s just look at it one more time. Yes. Now, that is good. But it is probably not in the Gerald Ford Memorial Head of State Wipe out Hall of Fame.
The most recent inductee to that esteemed institution is Fidel Castro. There we go. In 2004 he missed a step while walking back to his seat after a speech and history was made. Castro was, of course, shaken up a bit. But, my goodness, it was most certainly worth it, Tucker. We did not include any of Gerald Ford. I guess they‘re a little too obvious.
John Howard sort of weighing in early. Maybe we‘ll see a little more
of him later
CARLSON: That was totally good. You can‘t root for the wipe out the way you do with Fidel Castro. You can just watch it. It‘s a screen saver for me. I can watch that again and again.
GEIST: I love the cool guy look. I‘m the prime minister. I don‘t have time for you. And then just right face down. He‘s just back. He‘s one of us once again. It‘s great stuff.
CARLSON: I know the hand of god when I see it. Willie Geist from headquarters. Thanks Willie.
GEIST: See you.
CARLSON: For more of Willie Geist, check out Zeit Geist, his video blog, at ZEITGEIST.MSNBC.com. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. See you tomorrow. Have a great night.
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