Guests: Mike Allen, Paul Shipley
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show. The Democratic candidates for president are spending the long dog days of summer performing at political cattle call after political cattle call. Next week they‘ll appear before big labor at the AFL-CIO forum, then they‘ll address questions on gay issues at the Human Rights Campaign. But the first stop is the far left.
The YearlyKos is a four-day convention, two years old, of Liberal bloggers. It‘s sponsored by the DailyKos Website, that‘s a founding pillar of the so-called “Net Roots,” Those are bloggers. They hate Bush. This year, the “DailyKos” is in Chicago and every leading Democratic candidate, but Joe Biden, is making the trip. Biden is in Delaware selling a new book. He says he always prefers Delaware.
Well, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards will all take the stage tomorrow and each will face sticky issue, because this is a devoutly anti-war crowd and all of those candidates are acutely interested in appeasing the left-wing of their party.
Now, opponents of the Bush administration, and of Republicans in general, have long claimed that the GOP‘s affiliation with Christian Conservatives is the real power net party is really the radical right.
And in 1994, Bill Clinton won the White House, largely by moving to the center. Are leading Democrats well-advised to take a position at the end of the left-wing limb? Is this evidence that bloggers are the new religious right, except on the left?
And what exactly goes on at the YearlyKos this weekend? Well, Mike Allen is in Chicago on the scene covering that convention for “The Politico” and he joins me now—Mike.
MIKE ALLEN, THE POLITICO: Well good afternoon, Tucker, from the Windy City.
CARLSON: I‘ve been reading your blogs, I always do, and you point out that Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton, is really star, at least so far, at the convention, is that right?
ALLEN: That‘s absolutely true. When I showed up yesterday to register, they ask you which one of the candidates you want to see in a regular—in a separate session tomorrow after they speak all together. And if you want Senator Obama you get an orange wristband and you‘re out of luck. And so, I got my lemon wrist ban, I get to see Senator Clinton, tomorrow. Senator Edwards‘ wristbands are also already gone. So, he was the second most popular here.
So, in the wristband poll, Senator Obama is rocking. Tucker, as you know, this is the headquarters of Senator Obama‘s cities, so there‘s a lot of excitement, here. Reporters, bloggers from here are going over to Obama headquarters. They‘ve really done a lot of outreach to them. They‘re doing special tours for bloggers, reminding them that these are their people.
CARLSON: So, this—I mean, I‘m not at the YearlyKos, and I didn‘t go last year, but this is, in my mind‘s eye, the image that I have, this is really Obama‘s demographic, these are largely young, largely white, mostly affluent, not a lot of working class people, mostly upper-middle class, well educated people, and that‘s who likes Obama. Is that—do you think that‘s what‘s behind his popularity, there?
ALLEN: Well, part of it. And also it‘s, especially because of the war. A lot of people, as you know, here, wish that Senator Clinton had been more declarative earlier about her changing position about the war.
But one point that people are here eager to make is that there‘s not any one blogmosphere, that as seen by the wristband poll that there are a variety of shapes and stripes of people, here. There are a number of foreign policy panels and then there were a number of little wilder one.
In fact, Tucker, I have a present for you that I got from here. We have the CodePink t-shirt that I got for you in the extra large.
I know that will look good in a Maine. And so, you have all types of people here, including people who say—wear “Annoy the Media” buttons. But, people here have been extremely friendly. I went on and did some of the Liberal blog radio shows. And the point that they might make is that they don‘t want the media to become progress or Liberal, what they call the mainstream media.
And Tucker, I think that term is getting increasingly outmoded, as we start blogging and they start, you know, writing for the “New York Times” and getting paid to write for other sites.
But, what they say is they want the media to be more aggressive, more insistent in confronting the government. We had a panel today where we talked about the fact that I said that increasingly reporters, rather than just putting the two and two out there, will add up and say two and two is four and I think that‘s partly the blog influence. And of course, what they said: now, don‘t forget when the administration is saying two plus two is five, be sure to point that out, too.
CARLSON: But wait a second, I mean, here‘s what I‘m a little confused by. I mean, I—and one of the reasons I like CodePink better than all of the bloggers is CodePink is comprised of ideologues, like they have an idea, it may be wrong...
ALLEN: Women for Peace. Women for Peace.
CARLSON: They cue to that idea, wrong as it may be, and they‘ll attack anybody who disagrees with them. The coast people seem to be more mainstream partisan Democrats. I mean, they took a briefing yesterday—I read about it on “The Politico,” Roger Simon‘s piece—up from two opposition researchers from the Democratic Party and the implication was these are the Democratic faithful. They‘re Democrats above all else. Is that your impression?
ALLEN: Well, that is largely true. And something very fascinating is there‘s one young man who‘s serving in the Army who was here in uniform trying to make the case that not everyone—that trying to show—put a face on the war and the service that so many people here attack.
Now Tucker, as you know, most places that we would go, members of the service aren‘t treated reverentially, as they well should, for their service to the country. Here, people kept shushing this guy as he tried to make his case in the back and it just struck me how different that was from other people. But, definitely people here are feeling their power.
Last year they had 1,000 people, this year there are 2,000. And what‘s fun about this, Tucker, is these people spend all year just writing to each other on-line. They have no idea what they sound like, what they look like. It‘s like the “New Yorker” cartoon on the computer, nobody knows you‘re a dog, right?
CARLSON: My favorite cartoon.
ALLEN: Very much like that—and the great thing is, Tucker, that on their nametags, they put their screen name, because that‘s how they know each other. So, oh, T-Rex, how are you, oh, you know, JavalinaGirl (ph), and that‘s kind of fun, too.
CARLSON: Does everyone have the complexion of a solitary confinement prisoner at Pelican Bay. I mean, does anybody have a tan?
ALLEN: One of the (INAUDIBLE) tans, here.
CARLSON: Here‘s kind of the deeper irony, and again, this is just conjecture, but tell me what you think as someone who is there. The bloggers, left and right, there are a lot of conservative bloggers too, they‘re, by definition, on the outside, they‘re calling the mainstream media to account. You know, they‘re the watchdogs. It does seem, though, that they‘re no longer really out—you can‘t call yourself an outsider, if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards are coming to kowtow before you.
ALLEN: No, I think that that‘s a very good point. And it is amazing how divided it is. One of the things that surprised me when I first started covering and talking to this community is when Liberals say the blogosphere, they mean their blogosphere. And it‘s the same thing on the right side. So, these are two very polarized areas.
But, their people cater to them very intensely. Just last week, the White House did a blogger conference call, a very unusual thing for them, pushing their point about executive privilege wanting the Conservative legal blogs to be making their points, at the same, a lot of the presidential candidates do specific calls for blogging, and not just for staff. A lot of times the candidate himself will get on the phone and talk to bloggers, because they recognize that these points will get pushed around to people who are likely to be sympathetic to them and that bubbles up to the coverage that you see on MSNBC and in “The Politico.”
CARLSON: It does. Finally, Mike, every time I talk to bloggers on the left, they seem energized. I mean, they really feel like they‘re ascendant, now is their time, they‘re about to grasp power, a Democrat is going got be elected. If on the off chance a Democrat was not elected president in 2008, a Republican won, what do you think would happen? Do you think they‘d leave mom‘s basement and take to the streets and there would be some revolution to the bloggers, or what would they do?
ALLEN: Yeah, it‘s a very fascinating question. On the flip side of that, is that just as you and I have talked about, you know, the honest Conservative is going to ask some things of the administration, what if the Clintons did this? It will be very fascinating to see if they are just as aggressive when one of their people, when and if on of their people is in office...
But there‘s no question, they feel like it‘s their time. They feel like these issues, they‘ve been shut out for a long time, they feel like they‘ve been unjustly denied various forums. And world events, definitely look to be going their way this time. And so this is—there‘s a definite air of celebration, here. They‘ve, I think, in the past have been maybe stereotyped as angry. Some of them are plenty angry. But, here, people are having a good time. In fact, Tucker, just a couple blocks from here, from the NBC Tower, this weekend is Lollapalooza, the real Lollapalooza. But, I think maybe we‘re having more fun over at YearlyKos.
CARLSON: Boy, I wish I was there. Mike Allen, thanks a lot.
ALLEN: Well, you‘ve got the t-shirt. Have a great weekend, Tucker.
CARLSON: You too.
Well, the harrowing recovery and grueling mourning continues in Minnesota after Wednesday‘s bridge collapse, there. And somehow politicians have already found time to blame one another for the catastrophe.
Plus, Barack Obama made bold steps on his foreign policy agenda, this week. But, did he step forward or did he step back? A foreign policy professional and a Democratic stalwart, join us later to assess the Obameter (ph) as it stands. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Will the 2008 election has its first hot rivally like Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier, the Hatfield‘s and the McCoy‘s, the Yankees and the Red Sox, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. The battle of can-you-top-this continues between senators Hillary are Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
Did Obama reveal his inexperience and indecisiveness by saying he would never use nuclear weapons and then backtracking from that statement. Is Clinton making a tactical error by playing ball with Obama and making hem appear to be her equal, or is she just hitting back like all candidates do?
Well, joining us now is the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Cliff May.
Good to be with you, Tucker.
CARLSON: So, for our viewers who haven‘t been following this, this is what Mr. Obama said in an interview with the “Associated Press,” yesterday.
He said it would be “a provide mistake to use nuclear weapons in any circumstances.” Then he paused and he said “involving civilians.” You could almost hear his mind working, should I say that. And then he said, “Let me scratch that. There‘s been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That‘s not on the table.” Whatever that means. Presumably that‘s too hypothetical even to discuss now.
This strikes me, unless there‘s a context I‘m missing, as the mark of a real amateur to answer a question that way.
CLIFF MAY, FDN FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Look, let‘s give him credit for trying to deal with substantive issues of foreign policy on this and on a few other occasions. But, let‘s say you add yes in terms of nuclear weapons and their use. He hadn‘t thought it through very well.
He‘s made a few other statements, as you may know. For example, he said that we should probably be going after al Qaeda in Pakistan. And I would also give him credit for wanting to fight al Qaeda in Pakistan, but I give him low marks for wanting to surrender to al Qaeda in Iraq at the same time.
So, however, if you look at the polls, Tucker, you‘ll find that most of what he is saying seems to be playing well with the DailyKos people, with the Net Roots, with the sort of left-wing base of the Democratic Party, better than what Hillary has been saying.
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t know. It depends. Hold on, Cliff. Here‘s an in—it‘s funny you mention polls. I just, right before coming on air, I saw this breakout from a “Washington Post” poll. The question: Who has the best experience to be president? Hillary Clinton 50 percent of respondents; Obama seven percent on the experience question. Seven percent. It seems to me in a time of war, of any kind, war against terror, or whatever, that‘s unacceptable to be at seven percent at on that category.
MAY: Yeah, that—well, it‘s hard for me to argue with that. And his vulnerability, his Achille‘s heel is the fact that he lacks experience, hasn‘t been long in the U.S. Senate, before that served only a short amount of time in the Illinois Senate. No bills that he has authored, probably, in either one that I know of. So, he‘s playing into that.
But I—yes, on that question, you mentioned. But, if you look at a lot of the polls, particularly in the early states, among the Democratic primary voters, what I‘ve seen is that he is very competive, in some places pulling even with her or ahead. But, I think he does himself some damage, should she become the candidate in the general election. Now, as you know, candidates are sometimes are willing to do themselves damage in a general in order to win the primary, because if you don‘t win the primary, it doesn‘t matter what happens in the general.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right. You‘re the distinguished professor of something at the Kennedy School and never heard from again. You‘re Mike Dukakis, basically.
But, I wonder, going back to the speech you referred to a minute ago, his speech he gave on Wednesday about his foreign policy views, in general the war on terror, in general, in which he said two things that struck me. As you pointed out that he would send troops to Pakistan without the authorization of the government, General Musharraf‘s government, there.
And two, that he wanted to see and wanted to encourage, maybe by force, Pakistan to become a Democracy. That sounds, I mean, that‘s like NeoCon orthodoxy, right there. That democracy solves the root problems, causes of terrorism, and that unilateral action is justified under certain circumstances. I mean, isn‘t that kind of what Bush has been pushing?
MAY: I think he would be welcome to speak at the next NeoCon convention in Chicago, saying things like that. And in a way, look, I—it‘s very hard for me to disagree with him entirely. The problem is, of course, that Pakistan is, first of all, an ally, though it‘s not going what it needs to do about the reconstitution of al Qaeda in certain parts of its territory where it has never extended authority. That‘s a really difficult situation.
And it‘s a nuclear country and a lot of people would say it‘s about one bullet away from being a radical Islamic nuclear country, as well, so you have to be careful. Now, what he is doing, I think, is mainly for little effect, buy you do have to worry how it plays internationally.
If he is saying to Musharraf, who is our ally but is very fragile:
Look, I don‘t care what you say, I‘m going to invade your country when I want to. That probably doesn‘t help ally Musharraf very much. But again, he may have his eyes on Iowa and New Hampshire and not be too concerned with that, but that doesn‘t show a whole lot of maturity, I suppose.
CARLSON: Boy, that‘s just—that‘s just—that‘s just more hawkish than a lot of Republicans. Though not more hawkish than Tom Tancredo and we‘ll discuss that in just a minute when we come back. And we will be right back.
John Edwards takes on Rupert Murdoch and FOX NEWS. Rupert tells his fellow Democrats they shouldn‘t take money for Murdock. It turns out that rule applies to everyone by John Edwards. We‘ll explain when we come back. You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. The massive recovery effort after the Minnesota bridge disaster was barely underway when the blame game began. Some said it was the bridge inspectors fault, some said it was the state‘s fault for not fixing the problems in the first place. The governor ought to be held responsible, some said, for cutting the transportation budget. Some blame the Minnesota Twins for getting a new baseball stadium, many blame the president.
But is it a good idea to lay the blame before we even know what happened?
Joining me now to discuss it, the present for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Cliff May, and the host of radio‘s nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz.
Welcome to you both.
You bet, Tuck, good to be with you.
CARLSON: Ed, you saw really the stomach turning spectacle of Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Patty Murray of Washington State, before the bodies had even gone—before people had even gone in the water to take the casualties out of the Mississippi River, they were blaming the president for this. Didn‘t it make you want to throw up?
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW”: No, it doesn‘t, Tucker. And we saw bodies being pulled out of 9/11. In fact, there were television commercials made by the Bush campaign about pulling bodies out of 9/11, so let‘s stop all the sensitivity talk for just a moment and let‘s get right to the issue...
CARLSON: But I thought you were against that.
SCHULTZ: The key is that this is all part of the ideological struggle in this country, that the Conservatives think that you don‘t have to pay for anything. That all of a sudden you can have all kinds of tax cuts we want. Pawlenty can veto the highway bill and transportation bill, three times I might add...
CARLSON: Plus, he‘s a Democrat. What are you talking about?
SCHULTZ: Pawlenty is a Republican.
CARLSON: No, I‘m—look, here‘s the point. Here‘s the point, Ed.
We don‘t know what caused this bridge to fall down. We have no idea, so why the impulse to cast blame immediately? I don‘t really understand that.
SCHULTZ: Tucker, there is a report out there, by Engineers Across America that says that this bridge was unquestionably not fit and it was under question by two different reports. Now, no one came forward and said it should have been shut, but there‘s a percentage of bridges in this country that are not structurally competent.
Now, do you want to travel across a bridge in Washington, D.C. knowing that it‘s structurally incompetent? I mean, I think there‘s no question that we have failed to fund the infrastructure of the country.
CARLSON: OK. I would just—let me just put it this way, Cliff. There seems to me, I mean, obviously, the most obvious kind of vulgar political opportunism is going on. Something bad happens, blame your political opponents. But there seems to be kind of a deeper problem in America where whenever something bad happens, someone‘s got to pay, someone‘s got to be held into account, nobody‘s willing to accept that actually in real life bad things happen, and there‘s nothing you can do about it a lot of the time.
SCHULTZ: Oh god, Tucker, please, please.
MAY: Ed, Ed, I let you speak. Give me a few seconds to speak, as well. Ed, you are right that there is a percentage of bridges in the country that are structurally unstable. Actually we have 600,000 bridges and about 27 percent of them are structurally unstable. Now, it‘s possible that that instability set in only when Bush and Cheney took office, or it‘s possible that Michael Moore road over those bridges in an SUV and caused them to become unstable. The fact of the matter is that anytime in the 1990s when those bridges were also unstable, the Clinton administration could have done more or this Democratic Congress could have made that a higher priority then say getting (INAUDIBLE) out of Gonzales...
SCHULTZ: I‘m not denying that. I‘m not denying that.
MAY: So what I‘m say, you‘re right. So, Tucker is right that the effort to get political and partisan benefit out of a tragedy like this is shameful and despicable. You shouldn‘t do it, no body else should do it.
SCHULTZ: I‘m not doing it. I‘m having a serious discussion...
CARLSON: Answer this, hold on. Is it effective, as a tactic politically? I mean, literally they‘re pulling bodies out of the water and Harry Reid is blaming Bush. I don‘t think that helps Harry Reid very much, do you think it does?
SCHULTZ: Tucker, I can‘t believe how one-sided you are on this. First of all, the president came out and the statement he made about the loved ones that were lost in the Mississippi River, out his the same sentence he starts talking about the Democrats not sending up a budget to him and getting the money inferring that it‘s the Democrats fault that this bridge fell down. So, the president of the United States was the first one to politicize this entire issue, and you know that.
CARLSON: You know what? We‘ve got to go. I will check the tape on that. If he said that, that‘s disgusting. I would never defend that.
All right, we‘ll be right back.
What‘s wrong with...
Hold on, we‘ll be right back.
John McCain is a stanch supporter of the troop surge in Iraq and he was stanch supporter of the failed immigration deal reached at the White House. But he is not any more. Why?
Plus, chaos erupts on the House floor after a closed vote. We‘ll tell you what happened. Be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. John Edwards called on his fellow Democratic presidential candidates yesterday to reject and in some cases to return campaign money from Rupert Murdoch, the man behind Fox News, among other things. In a mailing to supporters, the Edwards campaign wrote, quote, “John Edwards will never ask Rupert Murdoch for money. He won‘t accept his money.”
Well, unfortunately for Edwards, that‘s not true. He did accept money from Rupert Murdoch, 800,000 dollars to write a book not so long ago. So will Edwards return that money? And why should Hillary Clinton and the other Democrats listen to him? Why should voters listen to him?
Let‘s bring back our panel, Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, and Ed Schultz, host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show.” Ed, I‘m not really sure what to say. I‘m kind of speechless here. What a phony.
SCHULTZ: No, Tucker, there‘s a big difference between a business deal, a book deal. John Edwards earned that money. And he gave it to charity. The other thing is there‘s a difference between a book deal and a campaign contribution. I admire John Edwards for saying what he‘s saying. He‘s right on point. Hillary should give that money back.
We all know what Fox is all about.
CARLSON: But wait a second Ed, did he accept a tax break, the tax deduction for the money he gave to charity?
SCHULTZ: He did a business deal, Tucker. Are you against business now?
CARLSON: I‘m not against business at all. Hold on. I‘m not the one on—I‘m not saying the money was ill-gotten. I‘m not saying it‘s illegitimate. I‘m merely saying, once you accept close to a million dollars from Rupert Murdoch, it‘s kind of hard to tell other people not to accept money from Rupert Murdoch, if you see what I mean.
SCHULTZ: He did not accept the money from him. He earned it in a business deal. That‘s what he did. He didn‘t take a campaign contribution. You don‘t think there‘s a difference there?
CARLSON: Why defend that? I must say, Cliff, is this a distinction that you understand?
MAY: No, it‘s not a distinction that‘s coherent. I guess that means that the Democratic candidates could go on Fox News as long as they‘re paid to do it, because then it would be a business deal. I think what‘s happened here is Edwards is so wealthy that he forgot about that particular 800,000 dollars, which is such a minor part of his income for that year. But that‘s also one of the problems with Edwards.
e doesn‘t know that there‘s a war taking place. As a member of the super rich, he‘s going on as if he is the defender of the poor.
SCHULTZ: No, I want to get this point in. You mean to tell me that John Edwards should have done that book for free? Is that what you‘re saying?
MAY: He could have gone to another publisher?
SCHULTZ: That‘s another thing that this is about. This is about media consolidation and Rupert Murdoch
CARLSON: And that‘s my question. Stop right there. Now, obviously John Edwards is a phony. There‘s news from nowhere.
SCHULTZ: No, he‘s not a phony, Tucker.
CARLSON: It‘s not even worth discussing.
SCHULTZ: Tucker, I am not going sit here and allow you to call John Edwards a phony. He did a business. I did a business deal with Rupert Murdoch‘s books.
CARLSON: You can defend John Edwards all you want on those grounds, but let‘s get to something substantial. And that is his point—John Edwards‘ point that somehow it‘s illegitimate for Rupert Murdoch to buy the “Wall Street Journal,” Dow Jones. Why should it be up to the government who can own media outlets? Why should the government control the news that we receive? That‘s scary, isn‘t it?
SCHULTZ: If you‘re putting media ownership out in front of the American people, the American people do not like the idea of all this consolidation that is taking place. We all know that Rupert Murdoch has taken his media properties and he‘s bent them to the hard right. He squelches many voices. There is no doubt about that.
CARLSON: That‘s sad.
SCHULTZ: What? You don‘t think media ownership is an issue?
CARLSON: I think it‘s shocking to hear a liberal endorse government controlled media.
CARLSON: Hold on. Cliff, bring a little reason to this discussion.
MAY: Yes, Ed says it‘s OK for Edwards to do a business deal, but it‘s not OK for Murdoch to do a business deal. The fact of the matter is there‘s more media diversity than there ever has been. There are talk shows like Ed‘s. There‘s Fox, MSNBC, CNN. There are all the bloggers. We‘ve got a lot of media diversity right now.
SCHULTZ: There‘s less competition now than there‘s ever been, and you know it.
MAY: Ed, if you count in talk radio, and you count in the blogs, there‘s more. You can count. There is more. Right or wrong?
SCHULTZ: The blogs? Anybody can have a blog.
SCHULTZ: There‘s a big difference between the free airwaves of America, cable, satellite and all the different options. We‘re talking about the free airwaves. We‘re also talking about the ability to have ownership.
CARLSON: This debate would have been better in 1975. It‘s been overtaken by events. I want to get—let me get to something that‘s happening today, Cliff. And it comes from the John McCain for president campaign. And apparently—I may be misreading this in some way—but it looks like McCain has changed his position on immigration. He was, of course, for the president‘s so-called comprehensive bill that provided a path to citizenship.
Now, this week, I believe yesterday, he has come out and endorsed a new bill that does not provide a path to citizenship. This seems like a last-ditch, desperate attempt to win back conservatives who are mad at him for promoting amnesty. Is that how you read it?
MAY: If you‘re asking me, I would say that‘s one way to read it. I think he would say, look, I was for a comprehensive bill. We couldn‘t get that, so let‘s do one part of it. The part that the conservative base wants to do is to have secure borders first, and then look at amnesty and other measures. But let‘s start with securing our borders. So I don‘t hit him real hard for saying I will take one piece of the bill if I can‘t get the comprehensive bill.
CARLSON: Ed, as a political move, this doesn‘t strike me as particularly smart. I‘m sure you‘ve got nothing nice to say about John McCain, but put on your analyst hat for a minute. He‘s still getting attacked by the right. They‘re never going to be convinced, the anti-amnesty people, me, for instance, that he‘s against amnesty. And the pro-amnesty people, who kind of liked him, because he was on their side, are now mad at him. What does he profit by this?
SCHULTZ: Well, it‘s a desperation move, Tucker. He‘s trying to revitalize his camp. I know he‘s taking pressure from some high donors that want him to move to the right on this issue and solidify the base a little bit better. He‘s actually been all over the board on illegal immigration. He‘s been very liberal, for that matter.
He‘s trying to jump start his campaign again. The best way to do is to change positions for, I think, the fourth time on this. He‘s got to appease some of his donors. So, politically, that‘s one of the reasons why he‘s making the move.
The other reason is he‘s realizing how out of step he‘s with Americans on this.
CARLSON: I wonder if Tom Tancredo, speaking of, is out of step on the question of bombing Mecca and Medina, Cliff. I don‘t know if you‘ve seen this, but Tom Tancredo, the Congress from Colorado, Republican running for president, frequent guest on this show—I like him a lot—he said that if he were president, he would essentially hold the holy Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina hostage, and if there was an attack on the homeland, we would bomb or threaten to bomb those two cities.
The State Department has described this as, quote, absolutely crazy.
MAY: Yes! It is. I like Tom also. I know him from Colorado days. But imagine you‘re Osama bin Laden, what could you want more than for the infidels to bomb Mecca and Medina, thereby getting basically a billion Muslims around the world to side with you and against the Americans. I can think of nothing that Osama bin Laden would welcome more than Tom Tancredo‘s idea.
CARLSON: I wonder, Ed, Sean Penn is in Venezuela right now, sucking up to Hugo Chavez. I wonder what the appeal is to liberals of Chavez, whose an authoritarian, who doesn‘t believe in freedom of the press, who is seeking to control evermore aspects of life in Venezuela, who hates America passionately. Why would liberals, American liberals, want to suck up to Chavez? Why is that?
SCHULTZ: Well, I don‘t think they‘re sucking up to him. You‘re broad brushing this.
CARLSON: Of course he‘s sucking up to him.
SCHULTZ: I am a liberal. And I don‘t suck up to Hugo Chavez. I can‘t speak for Venezuela. But I can say that they do a better job with the poor people in their country than we do with theirs.
CARLSON: You really think that.
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. There‘s no question about it.
MAY: You think it‘s better to be poor—
SCHULTZ: There‘s no doubt that they have a better social program in their country when it comes to health care and when it comes to dealing with the poor.
CARLSON: You believe the health care in Venezuela is better than it is in the United States?
SCHULTZ: I didn‘t say that. I said for poor people.
CARLSON: Why is it always nations—why is it Robert Mugabe or Fidel Castro, people who sincerely hate America and American values, always kind of heroes on the left? Why is that?
SCHULTZ: They‘re not.
CARLSON: They are, actually.
SCHULTZ: How can you broad brush that like that. You‘re saying that liberals are un-American, Tucker.
CARLSON: I‘m not saying that at all. I‘m saying why the hell would you defend someone who hates us like that?
SCHULTZ: You know, Tucker, you need to realize that something, Tucker, that liberals and Democrats are dying in Iraq right now. For you to make a comment like that is way off base.
CARLSON: I‘m merely describing what you just said. You said their system works better than ours. There‘s a lot to admire about Chavez‘s Venezuela. I‘m saying that‘s a grotesque statement you‘ll regret.
SCHULTZ: They do more for poor people in their country when it comes to health care than the United States does.
MAY: Tucker, let‘s figure out how many poor people in Venezuela want to come to America, as opposed to how many poor people in America want to emigrate to Venezuela. Maybe the poor people know what they‘re talking about.
SCHULTZ: That‘s a good hypothetical that means absolutely nothing.
MAY: Here‘s what it means; if you are poor in Venezuela—you are seriously poor, much worse than you are in the United States. You can look at any facts and figures. By the way—
SCHULTZ: Why don‘t they overthrow the guy then?
CARLSON: Why don‘t the North Koreans overthrow Kim Jong il, because it‘s pretty hard to overthrow a government without getting killed.
SCHULTZ: Don‘t paint the liberals in this country in the same boat with Hugo Chavez. That‘s wrong.
MAY: It is Sean Penn who has gotten in the boat with Hugo Chavez. Your beef is with him, not with Tucker or with me. Why is Sean Penn there, playing kissy face and hugging with Hugo Chavez, one of the great tyrants of the world, who, by the way, also hugs Ahmadinejad, who is screaming death to America every day. You know that.
SCHULTZ: Does Ann Coulter speak for absolutely every conservative in this country? Sean Penn can‘t do what he wants to do?
CARLSON: The bottom line is this, Chavez hates us. And that‘s reason enough not to go suck up. Just my view.
SCHULTZ: There‘s a lot of people who hate us, Tucker.
CARLSON: There are, and you don‘t suck up to people who hate America.
I don‘t know. It seems pretty clear to me. It‘s not very clear to others. And I‘m not sure why. Unfortunately, we can‘t explore this any deeper because commercial concerns beckon. Thanks for joining us guys. Nearly all of America‘s liberal bloggers gather in one place for a meeting of the lefty minds. Is there a Democratic candidate willing to lean far left enough to win their favor.
Plus, this woman has no one to blame but herself. Can you guess what she was pulled over for and arrested for? Sometimes the t-shirt tells the whole story. Willie Geist inducts another member into the mug shot hall of fame when we come back.
CARLSON: All but one of the Democratic presidential candidates is in Chicago this weekend for the Yearly Kos. That‘s the annual convention of liberal bloggers, or as the “Washington Post” called it, Blogopalooza. Are the Democrats in danger of alienating the political center in next year‘s election to curry favor with the left wing?
Here to discuss—and I would guess probably dismiss that possibility is Paul Shipley. He‘s communications director for Bill Richardson‘s campaign. Paul, thanks for coming on.
PAUL SHIPLEY, BILL RICHARDSON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Hi, Tucker, thanks for having me. I hope you‘re easier on me than the last segment.
CARLSON: As long as you don‘t defend Hugo Chavez we will be fine. Unbelievable. Here‘s my question, what do you think the people at the Daily Kos think of Hugo Chavez? I bet he‘s pretty popular. What do you think?
SHIPLEY: You know, we‘re here because we want to get Governor Richardson‘s message out, because we‘re willing to talk to this very active and, frankly, we think, widely read group of bloggers. You can‘t ignore the affect the Internet has had on a lot of things in our lifestyle—in our lives. Look at what your network does with websites. You can‘t just have a website. You have to be interactive.
It‘s the same thing with these blogs. You ignore it at your peril.
CARLSON: I agree completely. I actually admire the left-wing blogosphere in a lot of ways. They‘ve created something out of nothing. They are enterprising people. Some of them are really smart. I don‘t think it‘s a bad thing overall. I‘m kind of impressed by it. But I do think it‘s not a mainstream phenomenon at all. I think their positions— it‘s pretty clear their positions are not mainstream positions.
They may be right, they may be wrong, but they‘re not centrist positions.
SHIPLEY: You know, but the great thing about the blogosphere is that there‘s a wide variety of positions. But what I want to make very clear is that we‘re not—Governor Richardson is going to be here tomorrow. He‘s not coming here to change his positions or to pander to anybody, much less the blogosphere. He‘s going be here to give his message about getting all of our troops out of Iraq and creating a plan that gets to renewable energy and gets us off foreign oil, and helps bring down global warming.
That‘s the message he‘s going to bring. He‘s been consistent with that. I can assure you, it‘s not going to change just because he‘s here at Yearly Kos.
CARLSON: I believe you. Is he going to point out something that I‘m not sure the Kosacks (ph) are aware of, and it is that their top two—the top two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are not for withdrawing all the troops in Iraq. They plan to keep a lot of troops in and around Iraq to fight al Qaeda there. I‘m not sure the base knows that. Why don‘t you all point that out? Why don‘t you tell them the bad news?
SHIPLEY: Thanks for saying that, Tucker. If we say it long enough and loud enough, we hope that that message will resonate. There‘s a lot of great candidates, but the governor‘s position on Iraq is different than the other candidates. He is for withdrawing all of the troops, with leaving no residual troops.
It‘s not operating in a vacuum doing that however. It‘s part of a three-pronged policy of a reconciliation conference, and a rebuilding conference, an all Muslim peace keeping force and to involve the whole region in peace keeping in Iraq. We don‘t want to leave them in the lurch.
But it‘s the leverage of our potential and pending withdrawal that will help this process forward. It hasn‘t happened yet, so we‘re trying to get that message out and I appreciate the opportunity to do so.
CARLSON: What if a non-Muslim wanted to join that peace-keeping force? Would he be allowed to? And how are you going to check to make sure everybody in that peace keeping force is a Muslim? Is there a blood test? How are you going to know that for certain.
SHIPLEY: I‘m not going to get down in the weeds with that one. I think that‘s up to the people in the region, and the people that are putting that one together. I think it‘s clear that we need a peace keeping force that‘s not going to inflame tensions there any more than they‘re already inflamed.
CARLSON: OK, and very—I can‘t resist since you‘re with the governor. I was amazed by his remarks at the last debate when he said he would provide free health care for illegal aliens. Why, at a time when American citizens can‘t get decent health care, would we want to pay for people who don‘t even belong here to free health care.
SHIPLEY: Well, Tucker, I don‘t think he said that he would provide free health care for illegal immigrant. He said he would extend the universal health care and make it available to the undocumented workers as well. The beauty of Governor Richardson‘s plan, which we will be detailing again very soon, is that people can buy into that, that everybody pays their fair share, the government, the state, the cities and the people and the employers. It‘s not free health care.
It‘s giving them the opportunity—First of all, we believe that there needs to be a comprehensive immigration plan, but that‘s probably another show. It extends the universal health care benefit opportunity to the undocumented workers too, and we think that‘s a good thing.
CARLSON: All right, Paul Shipley from Governor Richardson‘s campaign.
I appreciate you coming on. Thanks.
SHIPLEY: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: There was chaos on the floor of the House of Representatives last night, complete with shouting and a Republican walkout. How did it stack up against the best international parliamentary brawls, especially those from Asia? Let‘s just say Willie Geist was not impressed. He joins us next.
CARLSON: Well, it‘s Friday in August and all around America, people have delayed their trips to Martha‘s Vineyard or the Hamptons in order to see Willie Geist. So, without further delay, here he is.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: They‘re on the beach and by the pool, Tucker, It‘s just you and me talking. Tucker, there were actual flashes of almost sincere emotion on the floor of the House of Representatives last night. Some Republicans now accusing Democrats of being, quote, desperate cheaters because of alleged fishy math on an immigration vote.
Here‘s what the so-called chaos sounded like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the motion has been agreed to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: Hey now. It kind of sounded like British parliament in there. But when it comes to legislative fights, Tucker, we‘re not going for British parliament. We‘re shooting for Taiwanese parliament. Now this is how a bill becomes a law, my friend. This kind of brawl happens literally once a week in Taiwan‘s parliament. Before we get too excited about our big Congressional fight, we should remember we have a long way to go before we meet the Taiwanese gold standard. Are those guys crowd surfing? What‘s happening right there?
CARLSON: Willie, I hate to wreck your theory, but that‘s the thing about Asian parliamentary brawls. They‘re really nerf brawls. You know what I mean? They‘re kind of slow motion. It‘s like a Godzilla movie. No one gets hurt.
GEIST: It‘s pushing, a little slapping.
GEIST: But that fight literally doesn‘t even make the Taiwanese evening news. It happens once a week. It‘s like they don‘t even care. So, we‘re a bunch of sissies.
Well, it also turns out, Tucker, that Bill Clinton may not be the most sexually prolific person from Arkansas after all. Jim Bob and Michelle Dugger (ph) welcomed their 17th child into the world yesterday. Yes, 17th. Mom is doing well and already talking about, surprise, surprise, having more kids.
The oldest of her 17 children is 19 years old. Now, if you crunch the numbers on that one, you‘ll see Michelle has been pregnant pretty much non stop for the past two decades. The family‘s Arkansas home has dormitory style bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a commercial kitchen and four washer/dryer sets. They have gone through an estimated 90,000 diapers over the 19 years with the 17 kids.
I‘m all for a big family. I know you agree with that. But when you can field a full football team and have six reserves on the sidelines, that might be a little much.
CARLSON: I kind of like it.
CARLSON: Yes, I kind of do. I don‘t know. I‘m sort of a primitive, tribal person at heart. Big family, big gut.
GEIST: That‘s a really big family and a really big gut. I wonder if dad has thought of the eight weddings he‘s going to have to pay for, or the now—what is it -- 17 colleges he‘s got to pay for.
CARLSON: I hope he has a pretty good gig.
GEIST: I was going to say. Let‘s get Bill Gates raising these children or something. Well anyway, Tucker, a Florida woman probably saved police the trouble of breathalizer and field sobriety test when she was pulled over for driving erratically in Tampa the other night. All they had to do was read her t-shirt. Here‘s the latest entry into the Mug Shot Hall of Fame.
In case you can‘t read her t-shirt, it says, quote, I‘m not an alcoholic, I‘m a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings. As you may have guessed, she was arrested for DUI. It was her second DUI arrest in the last four months. Tucker, that‘s a pretty good t-shirt. If you have ever been to Florida, to any gas station or spring break destination, they have just one after another.
My two favorites, I think, I have a drinking problem, only two hands and one mouth. And then the other one is, zero to horny in 3.5 beers. That‘s another good one. So you get all kinds of classy t-shirts down in the Sunshine State.
CARLSON: I love America so much. I‘d rather not know the details.
GEIST: You know what? That‘s funny, I had the same reaction. I turned to one of our producers, Alexis, and said, god, I love this country. I really do. A t-shirt like that makes me love America. Finally, Tucker, we met five-year-old tennis prodigy Yan Silva (ph) on “The Today Show” this morning. There he is. He goes four feet tall, weighs 60 pounds, and he‘s already competing with kids three times his age at an elite tennis academy in France.
But if he hangs around Meredith Viera any longer, he may never get the chance to reach his potential. Yan and Meredith played a little so-called friendly singles outside Rockefeller Center today. As you‘re about to see, Meredith reached back and unleashed a barrage of point-blank range forehands at the poor kid. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEREDITH VIERA, “THE TODAY SHOW”: Here‘s one. Whoa. All right, I‘m going to call it quits. Oh, one more. Here you go. Want to hit to me?
I don‘t want to kill the kid before he‘s famous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: Just point-blank shots. She is just ruthless. Actually, can we listen to the five-year-old suffering one more time?
Sorry. I just wanted to hear that again. Now, not for nothing, I love Meredith Viera, as does everyone in the country, but I‘m saying maybe Matt Lauer should do the sports segments. And here‘s another case in my point. Remember—let me take you back to March 26. This is her figure skating with Will Farrell. Didn‘t go so well.
He‘s promoting his ice skating movie. She goes down and hits her head. So, I‘m just saying as much as we love Meredith, Matt Lauer should do the sports segments on “The Today Show” from now on.
CARLSON: Fantastic, “I don‘t want to kill the kid before he‘s famous.” That was an ad-lib.
GEIST: She‘s pretty good.
CARLSON: Thanks Willie.
GEIST: All right, Tucker, have a good weekend.
CARLSON: Well, for more on Willie Geist, check out his ZeitGeistblog. That does it for us. Mike Barnicle is next on “HARDBALL.” Have a great weekend.
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