Guests: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, A.B. Stoddard, Stephanie Cutter, Ron Paul
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Much as lot of other campaigns must wish that Ron Paul‘s presidential bid would go away, the libertarian congressman from Texas is still here and gaining steam. Welcome to the show. It is a great show today.
Dr. Paul‘s anti-war conservatism inspires rabid loyalty has hyperactivity among his devotees on Monday of this week, an online drive called thisnovemberfifth.com the Paul campaign raised $4 million in just 24 hours. Will millions already in his coffers, the adulation of a growing number of supporters and the curiosity of the national press corps peaked as Ron Paul crossed over from the fringe protest candidate to the top tier of Republican hopefuls.
In a moment the man himself, Congressman Ron Paul joins us live.
Also today, the defense of Hillary Clinton crossed over from the strident to the ridiculous, according to the AP prospective first gentleman compared his wife‘s experience in last Tuesday‘s Democratic debate to the experience of John Kerry with the swift boat veterans for truth in the ‘04 presidential campaign. Was Bill Clinton serious? Did that comparison do more harm than good to his wife‘s run for the presidency?
And the man is heartbeat away from the current presidency, Vice President Dick Cheney faces the wrath of Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich has wrath when he wants to. Kucinich today called for House vote on his measure to impeach the vice president for lying to Congress and the American people in order to go to war in Iraq.
With the issue now moved from the House floor to committee, what chance does Kucinich‘s quest really stand? Congressman Kucinich himself joins us later in the hour to answer that question.
But we begin with the increasingly remarkable rise of Congressman Ron Paul and his formerly quixotic quest for legitimacy in the ‘08 presidential race.
Joining us now to talk about his campaign and remarkable $4 million fundraising day and its potential moving forward to Republican congressman from Texas Dr. Ron Paul. Dr. Paul, thanks for coming on.
REP. RON PAUL, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nice to be with you.
CARLSON: So who are these people who are giving you $4 million in one day?
PAUL: I don‘t know. I haven‘t met them all. There‘s a lot of them out there.
CARLSON: Who do you guess they are?
PAUL: I believe they‘re very diverse. They‘re coming from all positions, and all parts of the political spectrum, it‘s a very diverse crowd every time we meet with them. So I think we just bring a lot of people together that would like to be left alone and get the government out of their lives.
CARLSON: So that is the unifying theme of your campaign, then, small government.
PAUL: I think so. But we get attention, of course, on foreign policy. But that of course is getting us out—getting government out of their lives too because they have to pay for it. And they see the war as not going well. So the war is a big issue, the economy is a big issue, but personal liberty is the big issue because the government tells everybody how they‘re supposed to run their lives and they tell them how they are allowed to spend their money then they come up with these programs of policing the world. It‘s a very popular position to take.
CARLSON: All of the sudden the Ron Paul campaign seems like the Ron Paul movement. Are you prepared to lead a movement?
PAUL: Sometimes that sounds easier to do than some other responsibilities that we have. No I think so. I think that a movement can‘t be one person. A movement reflects a lot of people‘s attitudes and things that have been going on for a long time. I think there‘s been a generational change.
I‘ve been in this business a long time. And certainly in the ‘70s when I came to Congress this couldn‘t have happened. But today there‘s lot more people, very attuned to the problems that we have and see that it can‘t work and continue to do what we‘re doing. The dollar is on the ropes, at the same time we have foreign policy that‘s failing.
So I think it‘s very ripe for this message and the seeds have been sewn we‘re starting to see the benefits of that.
CARLSON: Now, this fundraising success took place on what in Great Britain is Guy Fawkes Day, which was the day foiling the plot to blow up the house of Parliament in the 17th century. Why that day. What is the significance for you?
PAUL: No significance to me. Other than fact that now I know that November 5th is an important day in fundraising. But I wasn‘t too much aware of that particular point in history, nor the movie that they recite and refer to.
And I have not met the individual who put this all together. All I know, it‘s been spontaneous, it wasn‘t driven by the campaign. We certainly didn‘t discourage it but we had nothing to say about it because the individuals were organizing on the Internet. I think it shows the power of an idea.
CARLSON: What do you mean. You never met the guy responsible for organizing more than $4 million in money for you?
PAUL: If I did, I don‘t remember it. Somebody said, we ought to get his telephone number now that it‘s over, you ought to probably call him. I plan to do that. But if I‘ve met him it was pretty casual, but I don‘t think I have to met him to tell you the truth. But this is part of the campaign. The fact that we have over 1,100 meet up groups is rather significant, they‘re coming from around the world.
So the message I think is very important and the people are responding to it. But to me it‘s just message which is something that I‘ve been talking about for years. It‘s a message of what has made America great, our Constitution, important of individual liberties and self reliance and self responsibilities. So it‘s not a strange message. A lot of Americans have forgotten about it now we‘ve revived the interest all of a sudden we found out that it‘s a very exciting message.
CARLSON: Well, but that message was routinely ignored by our own party by Republican Party time and again you were the only dissenting vote on various pieces of legislation, not a small government party any more, hasn‘t been the last seven years anyway.
If you don‘t get the nomination, what are you going to demand of your party? You‘ve got all these people who love you, give you money, do you want speaking role at the convention first off? And what do you want after that?
PAUL: I haven‘t thought about that. I don‘t know if they‘re not likely to give anything demanding it won‘t make a difference. I think that if you impress them with votes and money raised and supporters, they will respond. Most people here in Washington are really political if they sense a shift in the wind out there, they‘re going to start shifting their position. So I don‘t think I‘m in the demanding position. What I‘m doing now is just continuing to campaign and trying to do as well as I can in all the primaries.
CARLSON: Are you—This is almost like a Zen attitude you‘re affecting here. This is like a Deepak Chopra book. You‘re kind of standing back letting it happen, is that really the way you run your campaign?
PAUL: In a way, sort of laissez faire, and it‘s doing pretty well. I wish we could take all the credit say we had that fantastic genius understood the Internet put this all together. We thought about how could we use the Internet but the Internet is using us. And they have joined us.
So it isn‘t any big secret the fact that people do pay attention on the Internet and they spread out a lot of information, I think the big story is, is that the message was so well received by so many.
CARLSON: I think that‘s a big story, too. I‘m glad to see people agree with your vision of small government. Ron Paul, thanks a lot for coming on. I appreciate it.
PAUL: Appreciate it.
CARLSON: Bill Clinton says his wife is swift boated. She is being criticized by both parties for position on giving driver‘s licenses to illegal aliens. They say she‘s a flip flopper. Could both parties be wrong?
Plus, Dennis Kucinich‘s resolution to impeach Dick Cheney apparently is now dead. Will he give up his crusades we‘ll ask him live in just a minute. You‘re watching MSNBC. The place where both Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.
CARLSON: Swift boating, it used to describe riding the rivers of Vietnam in search of the enemy now part of the American political lexicon particularly on the whiney left. It refers to group of former soldiers, sailors and marines called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth who according to Democratic Party mythology unfairly kept John Kerry from taking his rightful place in the White House in ‘04.
So when Bill Clinton in speech to the postal workers union compared the treatment his wife received after waffling her way through last week‘s debate to swift boating, some wondered whether the Clinton campaign was cracking under the pressure of being the frontrunner. Or was trotting out the defense to defend his poor piled upon wife smart politics?
Joining us now to answer those questions, the associate editor of the Hill, A.B. Stoddard and Democratic strategist and communications director for said Kerry campaign ‘04, Stephanie Cutter.
Stephanie, this must cut to the bone for you to watch Bill Clinton, whatever the merits, we have to say we all love Bill Clinton, to get there and whine about valid questions his wife faced compared them to something I‘m you sure of something you have strong feelings. You must have thrown your beer bottle at the television set.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: First of all, let me say a couple of things about swift boats, it was not mythology and they did impact the race and they are probably the reason that John Kerry is not president.
CARLSON: Maybe, yeah.
CUTTER: And it‘s become now part of the lexicon of how you do gotcha politics. And I think that‘s what Bill Clinton was saying.
CARLSON: But the swift boat veterans were decorated Vietnam veterans, were they not?
CUTTER: Yes. They weren‘t telling the truth.
CARLSON: I don‘t know. It was the word of a score of men versus one man, it seems to me they had legitimate point of view that the liberal left crazy media ignores they‘re all hit men—I know some of them. They‘re like decent veterans.
CUTTER: I‘m not saying they‘re decent people they just happened to be absolutely wrong about John Kerry‘s record. Don‘t take my word for it it‘s been written over and over again—we can talk about Bill Clinton and .
CARLSON: But the point is, it has gone down in historical record which is written by certain sort of push as this outrage, unfair attack on poor John Kerry. How do you feel watching the former president muster that same defense on behalf of his wife, she wasn‘t unfairly attacked.
CUTTER: I understand the point he‘s making, and this is the point. That for two years now the Republican right wing attack machine has been using immigration issues as a wedge political issue. They tried to use it in 2006 and they‘re making it clear they‘re going to use in 2008.
The point he‘s making is that if she tries to answer this in 30 second sound bite gives an answer that they think they can have fodder with six months should she be the nominee that swift boating. Republicans are baiting Democrats into these issues because they are divisive.
CARLSON: I think you make a fair point.
CUTTER: They are complicated. And they divide the Democratic electorate and general electorate.
CARLSON: Let me read you a quote from famed right wing Republican Barack Obama who one of the people swift boating Hillary Clinton because he‘s such a ferocious right winger. Basically a General Franco fan is Barack Obama.
Quote, This is from his spokesman, Bill Burton. “The only person playing politics today is Senator Clinton. It is absurd to compare a simple yes or no question about immigration that Senator Clinton still won‘t answer seven days after the debate to the despicable attacks against John Kerry and Max Cleland‘s patriotism.” Etc, etc.
I mean, it‘s kind of interesting that Clinton is using this line of defense against Democrats not just right wingers.
A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”: I just—I want someone to tell me whether or not it‘s comparable that she provided an opening in a debate that her rivals rightly pounced on as she would have. And then she—they bring out the big ammo of Bill Clinton, which I think they should save for extreme emergencies, to try to compare—morphing Max Cleland into Osama bin Laden or questioning someone‘s military service. That‘s not—I watched the debate, it‘s not what happened last week.
CARLSON: But it‘s so perfect, it‘s cry baby politics, it‘s woe me, how dare you attack me, that‘s the M.O. that we saw for eight years while the Clintons were in Washington. And it‘s also - it is though. Everyone is mean to me, oh, it‘s bias. You don‘t like me because of my politics, for ever it‘s ignoring the validity of the central question. What is your position on driver‘s license, I still don‘t know what her position is.
CUTTER: . separate from the issue of what her position is.
CARLSON: That‘s a fair question, though. Would you concede that‘s a fair question?
CUTTER: I wouldn‘t call this swift boating but I do understand what President Clinton is saying. He was using it against Republicans not—he wasn‘t mentioning Democrats unless I misread that transcript he was talking about Republicans attacking Hillary Clinton.
CARLSON: No one has told Barack Obama that.
CUTTER: That‘s a statement that Barack put out.
STODDARD: The purpose is fending off Barack Obama and John Edwards comments.
CUTTER: The other point that I will make, it is absolutely not comparable to what happened to John Kerry and Max Cleland but we‘re now four years later from what happened to John Kerry, six years later from what happened to Max Cleland this has taken on, it‘s become, slang in terms of the style of politics it‘s less about somebody‘s military honor and more about political .
CARLSON: John Kerry ran a campaign based on his military service, whatever you think of it, it‘s fair to question that, if that what his campaign was run on. Max Cleland cast vote people disagree with. He lost because of it. That‘s unfair? He was wounded in Vietnam so you can‘t criticize him. I disagree with the way history has been written because I think it‘s inaccurate.
STODDARD: We are talking about normal back and forth in the presidential campaigns and debates. I watched the whole debate, I don‘t know what happened that was different. And what happened in the Republican debate.
CARLSON: I don‘t know what position she has on driver‘s licenses. But I do know this. If they seem like whining—Mrs. Clinton‘s biggest strength is her strength. She‘s a tough woman. She gets elected by being a tough woman. The second she‘s a weak whiney woman she loses. Why are they doing this? They‘re smart people, they‘re hurting themselves. Do you see what I mean?
CUTTER: I do see what you mean. I think she needs to find way to answer this type of question. I‘m not sure that I would use the word swift boating but I think the point that the president was making is that Republicans are using her as punching bag and that is very important point in the Democratic primary.
CARLSON: Maybe that‘s right. Maybe it is—I think what you‘re saying is right. He‘s playing to Democrats in saying this. They‘re so unfair to us. Fox News controls the world that kind of demented worldview, I don‘t know.
We‘ll be right back.
Coming up next, the 2008 presidential election getting lot of attention right now, but today is election day, right now voters in Oregon will weigh in whether to raise the state cigarette tax to pay for children‘s healthcare, good idea? We‘ll tell you.
Plus, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is becoming the it guy among some in fashionable Hollywood circles. What‘s exactly is his appeal? You‘re watch super Tuesday coverage only, needless to say, on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress pays for SCHIP by taxing cigarettes. Now they want to expand the program. Going to cost billions. Which means we need more smokers, 22 million to be exact. So, here‘s where you come in. We need you to start smoking, a lot. Look, I know congress has spent billions trying to get people to stop but we‘re taking about kids. You want them to lose their healthcare? Join me. Help your country. Help your Congress. Light up for kids. And remember, with every cigarette you smoke you could be saving a life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Oregon residents are voting today on whether or not to raise taxes on cigarettes in order to pay for expansion of children‘s health care in that state. If the measure passes it will mean taxing about 20 percent of the state‘s population, the poorest least healthy percent of the population to pay for a program that will benefit everybody in the state. And whatever happens in Oregon will resonate on Capitol Hill, Congress is looking at that same kind of taxing to fund SCHIP, the State Children Health Insurance Program.
With me once again, Associate Editor of “The Hill” A.B. Stoddard and Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter. Kind of hard to get away from the deep truth behind that little YouTube club, isn‘t it, Stephanie, the government spends all the money discourage smoking but without smokers no healthcare for kids. Shouldn‘t we thank smokers?
CUTTER: You know that is not the case. That this is productive incentives program, one, to get people to stop smoking, two, give children healthcare, the healthcare they need.
CARLSON: If they stop smoking there‘s no more healthcare. Because the smokers are paying for the healthcare?
CUTTER: Do you think that‘s going to happen soon?
CARLSON: Do you think it‘s moral to prey upon the addictions of the most helpless among us?
CUTTER: The additions of the most helpless .
CARLSON: People who still smoke are the losers in our society. They‘re the poorest, the fattest, the least healthy.
CUTTER: Not necessarily. I know lot of people that smoke that are anything but helpless.
CARLSON: You‘re right. Overall, that‘s true. It‘s poor people smoke.
CUTTER: I‘m not sure if that‘s true, Tucker. They are running up the healthcare costs. They are the people that end up getting sick. If they are the poorest and most helpless they‘re going to hospitals without any insurance coverage. Let‘s get people to stop smoking and while we‘re at it provide kids healthcare.
CARLSON: So what happens when last smoker steps out his butt? Who is going to pay for a government, A.B?
CUTTER: Which is tomorrow.
STODDARD: I really don‘t know. Maybe they will find some other people with vices.
CARLSON: Who will those people be?
STODDARD: Since you‘re running on the smoker‘s rights ticket. I am here to talk .
CARLSON: By the way, I don‘t smoke.
STODDARD: I understand this.
CARLSON: Smoking is wrong, OK, it‘s bad for you.
STODDARD: Smokers‘ rights. Just to balance it out I‘ll, I don‘t know, take Stephanie‘s side. Regardless of your opinions about the last smoker and drying up all the federal funds for SCHIP I think that there is—this was a bipartisan proposal at the federal level. And it will rise again. And it will likely, in this very political environment pass in some way using tobacco taxes. Whether or not you think that the going to run out of money is another question. It‘s politically it‘s too .
CARLSON: It‘s consistent with what America is. A society in which we punish the unpopular reward the popular. I‘m serious. If you were Paris Hilton you don‘t do anything but you‘re famous, you get endorsement deals. If you are a fat, poor, unemployed cigarette smoker people hate you guess what we‘re going to tax you more. Why shouldn‘t all of us pay for this if it‘s such a good idea?
STODDARD: I think we all pay for it.
CARLSON: How‘s that?
STODDARD: It is a government program, there are funds going to SCHIP right now. It‘s a proven program. And it ends up saving us money.
CARLSON: What about toilet paper. Everybody uses it why don‘t we all pay for it then.
CUTTER: I‘m willing to pay for it. I think Republicans need to decide where they‘re against this. I‘ve heard many different arguments, one, you shouldn‘t tax tobacco products. Two, this is first step in government run healthcare. Three, it‘s a state‘s issue.
CARLSON: Those are all good reasons. Keep going. Keep going. You‘re there.
Middle class people shouldn‘t get entitlements.
CUTTER: A.B. is right, this is a very popular program, a proven program, got to find something to do about healthcare. We can‘t let this continue.
CARLSON: Hold on. A little part of you must say, you know what, this may be a good end like we all kind of want healthcare for kids. But part must say, it‘s kind of morally questionable to land on the least popular minority in our society to bear the entire burden of something that benefits everybody. Doesn‘t that bother you a little bit?
CUTTER: It depends—bothers me that you‘re determining who the least popular segment of society is. I‘ve got my own opinions on that.
CARLSON: You can sit around—I am just saying everybody hates smokers. Even smokers hate smokers. Everybody hate smokers. I shouldn‘t smoke, I know it‘s bad for me. They‘re self hating so nobody likes them. Is there a least popular group I‘m not aware of one?
CUTTER: Tucker, how about this. They‘re the least popular group because you can be in a room with a smoker, and damage your health but without any of your control.
CARLSON: I‘m just saying .
CUTTER: But you can turn this argument a million different ways. At the end of the day this is about a very good program that protects kids, that has strong bipartisan support there‘s a reason why the majority of governors are behind this. They need help.
CARLSON: Why is it, A.B., that nobody, all these self appointed defenders ever the weak, right, I protect the weak, people with no voice, nobody stands up for the truly unpopular. I‘m dead serious here. You never hear any of these fashionable liberals standing up. For the people of Darfur who they will never meet. They don‘t stand you for the least popular in our society, ever. They‘re so unpopular it‘s like a joke even to mention it. Why does nobody stand up for them?
STODDARD: It‘s so unpopular .
CARLSON: Exactly. It‘s too unpopular. It‘s better to be sort of unpopular than you got your own defense committee.
STODDARD: I promise they‘re getting around to it.
CARLSON: Pedophiles are more popular. They have rehabilitation for pedophiles. Nobody rehabilitates smokers. Coming up new poll measures America‘s feelings on water boarding you do you think it‘s torture and if so should it be allowed. The answers may surprise you.
Plus Fred Thompson let‘s us in on a secret thanks for getting caught with the microphone on, a bad sign when someone running for president doesn‘t expect to become president or is it a good sign. This is MSNBC. The place that will tell you whether or not it‘s a good sign. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: The confirmation hearings of Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey brought forward a national debate about water boarding. That‘s an interrogating method used by the U.S. government on any number of terror detainees. Mr. Mukasey would not say that water boarding, indeed, constitutes torture. A new CNN poll reveals that by a margin of 69 to 29 percent though Americans think water boarding is torture.
But when asked if our government ought to allow water boarding on terror suspects, 58 percent said no, but 40 percent said, go ahead.
Back to talk about water boarding, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, and Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter. A.B., I guess, I‘m not really surprised that Americans are—believe it‘s torture and are kind of for it anyway. I‘m not sure if this is—this is the kind of issue that gets certain people very, very upset. I‘m not attacking them for being upset. It‘s OK to be upset about it. But I don‘t think the average person cares if we torture people.
STODDARD: Well, I think, much like the death penalty, it‘s sort of circumstance dependent, where you don‘t want to take another life. But if it comes to somebody raping your grandchild, you want their brains pulled out through their nostrils before they‘re shot by a firing squad.
CARLSON: Quite an image.
STODDARD: And then, when it comes to torture, we‘re all scared of being victims of another terrorist incident. We‘re all—if you—it‘s like when they focus group on terror and they ask people, what if we could find out certain information that would be key to getting—to capturing more people and preventing, keeping us safe. It‘s circumstance dependent. So it‘s very hard to imagine that we would come up with like a strong majority of people who said—who would say emphatically, we oppose torture. We are a nation that opposes torture of all kinds.
Just look at the Republicans and their primary. They clearly know that believe that torture is effective at some level, even though it‘s unpleasant, and that‘s why they all support it.
CARLSON: This idea that—there‘s a big debate, does torture work?
Clearly it can elicit false confessions. There‘s much history of that.
But it‘s also obvious that under some circumstance it does work. That‘s
why torture has been used for so long, and to this day used in some of our
countries that are allies of ours. Again, do you think that this is like a general election issue Democrats are going to run on, can run on, should run on?
CUTTER: Democrats running against water boarding? Is that what you‘re suggesting?
CUTTER: No, I think Democrats are going to run on protecting this country from terror with tough and smart policies.
CARLSON: They‘re not going to take the ACLU position that the single biggest problem in American life is the fact we use torture.
CUTTER: I don‘t think that‘s the ACLU‘s position.
CARLSON: I‘m actually not for torture myself. I‘m not mocking them. I‘m just saying, a lot of lefties are really upset about the idea we might use torture.
CUTTER: Yes, they‘re upset about this because it‘s the latest in a long string of things that happen under this administration, where they have trampled on constitutional rights or Geneva Conventions.
CARLSON: It also confirms what they think about America, which is America is capable of doing evil things, and does a lot.
CUTTER: I think they also understand that there are consequences to -
if we‘re going to water board terrorists from Iraq, then they‘re going to water board our guys. That‘s what has happened in history.
CARLSON: They‘re going to water board our guys. They‘re going to behead them anyway. They‘re animals. Don‘t you think?
CUTTER: I think that‘s a real possibility. I think that once you violate something like the Geneva Convention, there‘s real consequences for our troops. That‘s why you can‘t poll on these types of issues, because the more people understand about them, the less likely they‘re going to support it. But the immediate gratifications is, do whatever it takes to get the terrorists.
CARLSON: Yes, people lie in polls. But do you think—the bottom line question is, will Hillary Clinton, if she gets the nomination, run against torture.
STODDARD: It would be hard.
CUTTER: I think she‘s going to run against violations of the Geneva Convention, which, at the end of the day, protects our troops and keeps us safe.
CARLSON: I get this e-mail, speaking of Hillary Clinton, from Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton e-mailed me today. That‘s actually a very clever formulation. I think you ought to be communications direct for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
CUTTER: They‘ve already got a very good—
CARLSON: Yes they do. So I get this e-mail from Bill Clinton and he
says, basically, these three civilians, Hillary supporters, have won this
contest to sit and watch the debates with Bill Clinton. So he says, I‘m
sitting watching the debates; it was great setting—I‘m reading this now
just a few of us sitting down on a couch, watching the debate, cheering for Hillary, talking about what was unfoldings. I love talking to Hillary supporters and it‘s even better when we‘re watching her on stage.
After the debate, I got a call from Hillary—parenthesis, we often talk right after they‘re over. She talked to Glenda, Claire and David, too. I had to pull the phone away from David because the two of them were reminiscing about Parkridge, Illinois, where Hillary grew up, exclamation point.
I could go on, but I can tell you are already cringing. Why does he do this? We don‘t want—This the like the—if you ever see—
CUTTER: At the end of the day, it‘s from Bill Clinton. This is from the Clinton campaign Internet team to get people to sign up to their website, raise money.
CARLSON: It says this is from Bill Clinton.
STODDARD: I‘m going to say the same thing that I‘ve said on this very topic, and I‘ll say it with more emphasis; Bill Clinton is the attraction. They pump him in all the fund raising e-mails. This video, which I watched with the sound down, because I couldn‘t really take it all at once, of him kicking back on this couch, and these civilians with stars in their eyes—these are videos for Bill Clinton groupies on the left to watch. He eats chips. He laughs. He pushes glasses back. He puts those big long hands on his knees.
It‘s all about the appeal of Bill Clinton, and not about the appeal of his wife.
CARLSON: Yes, that is so clearly—
CUTTER: Bill Clinton is the most popular Democrat we have today. but I don‘t agree that all of his wife‘s support is because of him. Because he is not out there on the trail that much. She‘s got very strong numbers on her own. I do think that on the web it‘s a strong appeal. And they have probably made lot of money off that.
STODDARD: Stoking the Bill Clinton love.
CARLSON: When you actually watch it, you realize they have contempt
for their supporters, because only a truly stupid person would be turned on
CUTTER: Republicans don‘t do anything—
CARLSON: Republicans—I‘m not saying that the Clintons have a monopoly on this kind of nonsense. I get emails from Republicans that are so stupid that they embarrass me too. So, of course—but they just always take it a tiny bit further than anyone else.
Speaking of far, Bernie Kerik, the nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security who withdrew his nomination, now in deep trouble, close friend of Rudy Giuliani‘s. He was police commissioner in New York. Rudy was asked about this at a campaign event. Here is what he said. This is, I think, a pretty interesting response; he said, “Bernie Kerik worked for me while I was mayor of New York City. There were mistakes made with Bernie Kerik, but what Bernie Kerik did wrong did not implicate what the results were for the public. The crime rate went down.”
He goes on in this whole riff about how it‘s a much safer city. He‘s standing by Bernie Kerik.
CUTTER: He‘s standing by his record.
CARLSON: He didn‘t do what Romney did to Larry Craig. That‘s disgust, he said. i never met the guy, weirdo.
CUTTER: Larry Craig hadn‘t done anything for Mitt Romney.
CARLSON: He endorsed him.
CUTTER: Look, I give Giuliani credit for saying that there were mistakes made with Bernie Kerik. That is not like a lot of people in the Republican party. But what he‘s doing there on the criminal record in New York and the crime rates going is down defending his own record. He has to say that. That‘s a major argument for his presidential campaign.
STODDARD: He‘s studied the Karl Rove school of politics; Hillary Clinton is Karl Rove‘s best pupil. Which is you take your liabilities head on. You go on the offensive. You go right in to it. You never run from it. And you find a way to say something positive about it. And there‘s like four paragraphs on Bernie Kerik. He goes on and on. He‘s not running. He‘s not wimping out. He‘s not showing any nervousness. And I think it‘s totally effective.
CUTTER: -- told George Bush to never admit a mistake. It was five years into his presidency before he admitted a mistake.
CARLSON: I must say, it works. I‘m not a natural Giuliani voter. I‘m way more conservative than Giuliani, a lot more. But I found that appealing. I don‘t know. I definitely did.
Mitt Romney won the endorsement today of Paul Weyrick, been here a long time, big social conservative in Washington. He also has the endorsement of Bob Jones III, and a bunch of other Evangelical leaders. Twenty years ago this would have meant, wow, he‘s getting pretty close to the nomination, to clinching it. Evangelicals, are they significant enough that this matters?
CUTTER: Since I am the expert on Evangelicals—I would say this, I think it is a plus for Romney, because there are real question in the Evangelical community against Romney, particularly in some of those early contests. But I think that it also demonstrates that Evangelicals and the conservative base are making a calculated judgment about who is going to win, not who is supportive of their policies or ideologies. It‘s about who is going to win. Romney looks like a pretty good candidate.
CARLSON: That‘s actually—See, you do know a lot. It‘s always interesting, I think, to ask people who are on the outside looking in what they think of what they‘re seeing. Naomi Campbell went to Venezuela to suck up to Hugo Chavez. Why is that? I know that—
STODDARD: It‘s easy. This is—
CARLSON: What‘s the appeal.
STODDARD: The thing is, you have to find someone who hates Bush as much as you do, and who you know will get you some good press coverage. If you hang out with Hugo Chavez or Ann Coulter, you‘re going to get noticed. It works every time.
CARLSON: Hugo Chavez doesn‘t just hate Bush. He hates America. What is the appeal of going to loom around, hang around a dictator? What was the appeal of Castro? I don‘t get that?
CUTTER: I highly doubt it has to do with substance and more to do with their camera ratings, how much press they‘re getting.
CARLSON: That‘s a measure of the fact that there‘s constituency for this kind of thing. Some people find it appealing that you hang out with Hugo Chavez. It‘s this weird impulse on the left to embrace dictators who hate the country. What‘s that about? Seriously, I don‘t know.
I‘m serious, wait—
STODDARD: The left?
CARLSON: You‘re not the left.
CUTTER: I am, but I‘m not hanging out with Hugo Chavez.
CARLSON: You never saw conservatives go cut sugar cane for General Franco but you saw a lot of liberals go cut sugar cane for Fidel. Why?
CUTTER: Of all the liberals in this country, how many are going to see Hugo Chavez, not that many.
CARLSON: Six or eight.
CUTTER: Why do you think they are going to see him? Not because they want to join Hugo Chavez administration, but they‘re trying to send a message and they‘re trying to get themselves press.
CARLSON: Boy, it‘s such a bad way to send a message, I have to say. Speaking of messages, Fred Thompson caught—Fred Thompson caught—I don‘t know if we actually have the tape of this. I think we have the words, the actual graphic here. But Fred Thompson was at an event. Carl Cameron over at Fox was talking to him. Carl Cameron said something like, the next president of the United States has schedule to keep, tongue in cheek. Carl Cameron is a pretty funny guy.
Thompson says, and so do I. Now, number one rule of campaigning for president, you always act as if you‘ve already been inaugurated. I kind of love Thompson that he said that.
CUTTER: This is the new honesty in campaigning. He‘s being realistic.
CARLSON: Don‘t you think there is a Zen quality to that? No? You don‘t see him as the Zen candidate?
CUTTER: There‘s a Zen quality, but there‘s not a winning quality there.
CARLSON: Really, you think it‘s a mistake?
CARLSON: You always have to sort of—
CUTTER: I think it‘s an examples of, you know, didn‘t realize the camera was on, didn‘t realize he was being taped, and was just making a joke.
STODDARD: I think—I see your point. I think it would have been funny. It‘s really my kind of humor. But if he was really doing well on the stump, doing well in the polls, doing well with the establishment, doing well with the fund raisers, really wanting it, earning it, panting for it, and then he made a joke like that, it would be a different situation. We see Fred Thompson as this guy being dragged around by an invisible hand. We‘re all trying to figure out why is he doing this?
CARLSON: This is the sign that he‘s going to lose. Anybody with like a sophisticated or ironic sense of humor cannot be president. You have to live in totally irony-free world.
STODDARD: That‘s what happened to John McCain.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right. Tell jokes that everybody gets. If you don‘t do that, off the stage, buddy. You suck!
All right, thank you so much. I appreciate it. America can‘t stand a funny candidate.
Up next, Congressman Dennis Kucinich tries but fails to lead a charge of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. We‘ll talk to him about today‘s dramatic turn of events. That‘s coming up next.
And listen up kids, do we have the sport for you. All you need are a couple of plastic cups and a ton of time on your hands. We‘ll explain next, coming up.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich says he believes Vice President Dick Cheney ought to be impeached. This afternoon on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Kucinich tried to force a vote on that impeachment. Republicans and Democrats engaged in a procedural battle over whether or not a resolution on impeachment will actually come up for a vote. In the end, it went to committee. That means it‘s dead, effectively, for right now.
Joining me now is the man behind the movement, Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Congressman, thanks for coming on.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks Tucker. I would take issue with the assertion that it‘s dead, because I think that there‘s a ground swell from people of all political parties who are concerned about the abuse of power by the vice president. I think that there will be hearings in the Judiciary Committee.
CARLSON: OK, I‘m willing to absolutely believe that, that there are some people who do want to overthrow the government. But I wonder why more Democrats don‘t? Democrats control the House of Representatives and the Senate. Presumably, if they wanted to get an impeachment trial rolling, they could. But they don‘t. Why not?
KUCINICH: When you equate impeachment to the overthrow of the government, you have to keep in mind that Article II, Section IV, which was part of the constitution that constituted this government, was put in by the founders to restrain administrative abuse of power. That‘s why I brought this resolution to the floor.
CARLSON: Of course. But it‘s literally the leadership of the executive branch—taking the leadership and removing it. I‘m not saying it‘s illegitimate. It‘s constitutional. By definition, it‘s legitimate. I think it‘s warranted sometimes. I‘m merely saying, it‘s a radical step.
Why isn‘t your party behind it.
KUCINICH: Tucker, actually, it‘s not a radical step. It‘s something that the constitution provides for and specifically because the vice president lied to take us into war against Iraq, facilitated that, because he‘s lying to try to take us into war against Iran; he‘s being called to an accounting.
That‘s what the Constitution calls for. It calls for prosecution for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that prosecution is the process of impeachment.
CARLSON: No, no, I got that. Again, I don‘t think—I think impeachment is legitimate under some circumstances, OK?
KUCINICH: Lying to go to war; is that legitimate.
CARLSON: For the third time, my question is, why aren‘t more Democrats behind this? They promised transformative change last election, 2006. They haven‘t delivered. We‘re still in Iraq. Men are still dying, pretty much the same rate. We still have the same president and vice president. Where is your party, Congressman? Are they afraid?
KUCINICH: Actually, I agree with you, Tucker. People did vote Democrat in 2006 to take a new direction in Iraq and the American people have right to expect that the Democratic party will stand up to this president and bring our troops home, stop the war. They also have a right to expect that the Democratic party will hold this administration accountable for abuses of power.
However, we‘re at a point right now where what we need to do is have a debate. All across this country, people are beginning to become activated on this issue. There‘s town hall meetings, Tucker, going on all over America on the issue of impeachment right now, because people are concerned that we‘re losing our Democratic form of government.
CARLSON: But let‘s be real. You impeach Cheney, the affect on the way the government is run, not measurable. It doesn‘t mean anything. He‘s the vice president of the United States.
CARLSON: His job is to go to funerals for foreign dictator.
KUCINICH: Do you really believe that?
CARLSON: I do believe that. You have an election a year from now. If you‘re committed to letting the people speak, why not let them speak in the election. This is merely a ceremonial act you‘re attempting to pull off.
KUCINICH: Well, not really. This administration is planning at this moment to go to war against Iran. The defense budget shows that they‘re retrofitting stealth bombers B-2 bombers with 30,000 pound bombs that would be used to drop bombs on nuclear research labs which exist in Bushir (ph) in Iran. That would create an ecological and humanitarian disaster. We really are called upon to defend the Constitution. That‘s why I brought the resolution forward with the articles that are backed up by facts, Tucker.
This isn‘t a political move. This is something that I feel is needed to protect our constitution.
CARLSON: OK, but again, the question is, why not wait? The election is—
KUCINICH: We can‘t afford to wait. Are you kidding, in a year how much damage could be done.
CARLSON: But this isn‘t going to happen.
KUCINICH: Don‘t be so sure.
CARLSON: OK, I can‘t let you go without asking you; every time—I see “Saturday Night Live,” this Saturday, you are pictured at the debate making out with your wife. I thought it was kind of a sweet portrayal. Do you think that? Are you offended by it? Have you seen yourself on “Saturday Night Live?”
KUCINICH: I haven‘t. But I‘m ready to be on “Saturday Night Live.”
It would be second only to appearing on your show.
CARLSON: Congressman Kucinich, it is always an honor to have you on.
Thank you very much.
KUCINICH: Good to see you.
CARLSON: Losing custody of her kids, being accused of using drugs, occasionally getting caught not wearing underwear; none of that got in the way of Britney Spears releasing a new album. Who is buying it? We‘ll talk to one man who may admit to doing so, Bill Wolff, coming up.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Britney Spears, how does she do it? Well, joining us now is the man who helps her do it, Bill Wolff.
BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT: Wow! I‘ve been empowered, Tucker. I must say, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich on the same show, amazing. Two of the most interesting guys going. One, we never salute enough Jameson Lesko (ph) for booking guests like that. And, two, I am not worthy.
However, here I go. After a seemingly endless tumble down the stairs of life, Tucker, Britney Spears has sole custody of the number one record album in America. That according to Roger Friedman (ph) of Fox News. Mr. Friedman reports that “Blackout,” the new LP from Britney will sell between 325,000 and 350,000 copies, which would make it number one for the week.
Now people looking for a reason to mock Miss Spears would point out that 350,000 is a relatively weak number compared with sales for guys like Kanye West, or even pre-downward spiral Britney Spears, whose last record sold more than 600,000 copies in week one. But those people, Tucker, are just mean. I wouldn‘t do it.
CARLSON: I agree with that. At least Britney Spears does something, sort of. At least she hires background singers over whom she can lip-sync or something. You can‘t say that about Paris Hilton. I don‘t know. I‘m for her recovery.
WOLFF: Absolutely true. And I defy you not to like the new record.
I don‘t own it, but I‘ve heard it all on the Internet, and it‘s good.
CARLSON: It‘s crappola, Bill. But I just like the idea of her, not the reality.
WOLFF: Have you heard it?
CARLSON: No, of course not. I hate what I don‘t understand.
WOLFF: Well, that‘s what I‘m saying. Give it a listen, and then give it your review. Now, before we allow our new man crush on Nicholas Sarkozy to alter our view of the French, we must consider this, France‘s latest export, the automatic dog washer. You just stick the dog in the machine, Tucker, punch a few buttons and look at him get washed. It only takes four minutes to wash and dry and, according to its oblivious entrepreneurial inventor, Fido will never be cleaner or happier.
Well, one out two of ain‘t bad. Your dog will hate you forever, Tucker. Look at that miserable pooch. My god, that‘s terrible.
CARLSON: It does look like water boarding.
CARLSON: It does.
WOLFF: It‘s awful.
CARLSON: That actually Gitmo right there. I love dogs but—when was the last time you tried to wash a dog?
WOLFF: I don‘t have one. I have a cat.
CARLSON: I have a couple of dogs. Washing dogs is maybe the single most unpleasant thing you can every do. as much as that does look slightly cruel, I‘m kind of for it.
WOLFF: Tucker, all I have to say is I have a cat, and he is self-cleaning.
To the Internet now, Tucker, quickly, for weirdness from the continent of Asia. This unnamed man you‘re about to see in Thailand saw his marriage fall apart and lost his job, and then, when things looked their bleakest, he met a baby crocodile. This Japanese television report tells us that the man has raised that croc as his son. The two share a happy life together, at least until the croc reaches his rebellious teens years, feels his father doesn‘t understand him, and bites his head off.
Come on, that‘s weird. Please, is that not weird?
CARLSON: That‘s very—it‘s actually so weird, the croc has got to be dead.
WOLFF: I‘m afraid that I don‘t like crocodiles. I think they‘re scary because they have survived the millennia. Anything that has survived everything wants to eat me. Therefore, I cannot endorse adopting a baby croc to your own family. You know my stance on reptiles. I‘m against them. Mammals.
CARLSON: Safety first, Bill.
WOLFF: You got it.
CARLSON: That‘s our byword. Bill Wolff from headquarters, thanks a lot.
WOLFF: My pleasure.
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We‘ll be back here tomorrow night. In the meantime, don‘t go away. “HARDBALL” is live with Chris Matthews coming up now.
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