Guests: Pat Buchanan, Mort Zuckerman, Ed Schultz, Dr. Timothy Church
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Unconventional times produce unconventional politics. More prevailing wisdom was dashed today when conservative icon Pat Robertson publicly endorsed twice-divorced pro-choice New Yorker Rudy Giuliani for president.
Welcome to the show, coming to you from sunny Fort Lauderdale. Wish you were here.
For nearly a year, insiders and experts in newsrooms and cocktail parties everywhere have said that Giuliani would never survive the Republican primaries because the party‘s base wouldn‘t support him. He‘s too liberal. Well, meanwhile, he‘s remained atop the national polls. And now that he has Robertson on his side, is Giuliani passed the media‘s doubt?
Giuliani did not receive the endorsement of red state conservative Sam Brownback. That nod went to John McCain. Yes, John McCain is still in the race, and in a moment we‘ll discus his burst of campaign sustaining support.
Does the Arizona senator still have a shot at the Republican nomination?
And where do today‘s big conservatives endorsements leave Mitt Romney? He surely hoped his newfound abhorrence of abortion and his lifetime NRA membership would appeal to the base of his party, but he is clearly far from having a corner on the conservative market. How big and bad was this day for the Romney campaign?
And no show is complete these days without a look into camp Clinton, which is still embroiled in the eight-day-old immigration snafu from the Republican debate Monday. Mr. Clinton, the candidate‘s wife (sic), compared his wife‘s situation to John Kerry‘s with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Today‘s “New York Post” reports that senior Hillary Clinton advisers say President Clinton‘s remarks weren‘t part of the campaign strategy and that they were considered counterproductive.
Things must be quite chilly in Chappaqua tonight.
But we begin with the Republican Party and two important endorsements from conservatives. To analyze Pat Robertson‘s pick of Rudy Giuliani and Sam Brownback‘s nod to John McCain, we welcome MSNBC political analyst and a former presidential candidate himself, Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: How are you doing, Tucker?
CARLSON: I‘m great. Talk about strange—strange bedfellows.
Here is what Rudy Giuliani said in his announcement press conference today about Pat Robertson.
He said of Pat Robertson, “His advice is invaluable and his friendship even more invaluable.”
His friendship. Are they pals now? Are they friends?
BUCHANAN: Well, welcome to politics, Tucker.
Look, let me say this—look, this is clearly a benefit for Rudy. It gives him a real measure of insulation on the ride, and it‘s going to help him out with some folks as he tries to make his case to Christian conservatives. But the real meaning of this is a real split in the Christian conservative movement, the pro-life, pro-family movement.
And the values coalition—I mean, Dr. Dobson and others have said that Rudy is completely intolerable because he‘s pro-choice on abortion, he‘d a veteran of half a dozen gay pride parades, he‘s the type of Republican politician they have been fighting their whole lives.
CARLSON: Well, yes. I mean, it raises the question, once you get into the Pat Robertson club, is it a club worth joining? I mean, has Robertson so devalued his moral authority by this endorsement that the endorsement means less than it would have meant?
BUCHANAN: You stated it very well. There‘s been a real devaluation, I think, of Pat Robertson‘s moral authority by virtue of the fact that he has endorsed even before it‘s necessary as it might be, say if Rudy got the nomination, he has endorsed someone in an open active contest for the nomination against a pro-life conservative like Mike Huckabee; against Romney, of course, who has joined the pro-life movement; against John McCain, who‘s voted pro-life; against Thompson, who‘s voted pro-life.
All of them oppose gay marriage. All of them have been social conservatives. And he reaches out endorses the one person who is anathema to much of the Christian conservative movement that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell initially began.
CARLSON: So what do you think Robertson was thinking here? What‘s in it for him?
BUCHANAN: I think he thinks Rudy is going to win and I think he wants to go with a winner. And he said that Rudy‘s going to be a lot tougher than anybody on the greatest danger to America, which is Islamic terrorism.
I think there is an argument there that Rudy, with the 9/11 credentials and with the crime credentials—but all these other things—I mean, John McCain is as hard as they come when it comes to being a hawk on Islam and Islamofascism and all these other terms. And so it really—it is hard to understand other than fact he wants to be with a winner.
CARLSON: Here‘s what Giuliani said today at that announcement ceremony about the current state of the Republican Party. I‘ll be interested to hear what you think of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope it sends a message that we have the same goals, all of us in the Republican Party. There are always some disagreements about means, but the reality is I think this underscores the point that I made right from the very beginning of my candidacy, I think speaking in California, Ronald Reagan‘s advice to us that my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, everybody in the Republican Party has the same goals, Pat. That seems maybe an admirable goal, but it seems far from true. I mean, there are huge parts of the Republican Party that if you really come down to it, are working for very different things.
BUCHANAN: You are exactly right, Tucker. Look, we don‘t agree on right to life. Rudy certainly doesn‘t agree there.
We don‘t agree on gay rights. Rudy certainly doesn‘t agree.
We don‘t agree anymore on free trade. We don‘t agree anymore on whether the Iraq war was a wise war. We don‘t agree on whether we ought to attack Iran.
Ron Paul disagrees with almost all of them up there on foreign policy. Tancredo has taken McCain on, on immigration. This is a party which does not have a leader, it does not have a bible, it does not have a pulpit to speak (INAUDIBLE).
It is a movement, Tucker, to which you belong, generally speaking, and I belong my whole life. And we don‘t know what it means to be a conservative. But we did know or do know that being pro-choice on abortion, being pro-gay rights, being pro-affirmative action, being pro-gun control that‘s not conservatism as we‘ve understood it. And Pat Robertson knows that.
CARLSON: And yet, the party leadership, to the extent there is still a party leadership, seems willing to embrace this leader that doesn‘t stand for the party‘s traditional core values. It tells that you the party is in the midst of remaking itself. That‘s the conclusion I reach anyway.
BUCHANAN: Yes, what do we stand for anymore as a party? Whatever you say about the Republican Party, sometimes we were faithless to our principles. But we always had principles.
We always understood when we were off the reservation where we went wrong. And even Ronald Reagan, we said, why did you raise taxes here, sir? Or why did do you this? And we held even our greatest leader to account when he stood by these principles or didn‘t. And he understood that.
But now it doesn‘t seem like there are any hard and fast principles in which the Republican Party believes other than the fact we‘ve got to get rid of—or we can‘t have Hillary Clinton.
CARLSON: And very quickly, Pat, do you think in retrospect it has been a mistake for Republicans to treat Pat Robertson seriously all these years despite evidence that he‘s a flaky guy basically?
BUCHANAN: Well, you know, early on—let me say, I worked with Pat Robertson early on, Tucker, and he was a lion in the pro-life cause and these other causes. He was hard core at the convention in making sure it stayed pro-life.
Sure we‘ve had our disagreements, he and I have. But basically on these issues, he would say, yes, we‘ve got to stay there but we think Dole can do it better, or we think Bush can do it better than Buchanan. But at least we thought he stood with us on those issues, but this is the embrace of an individual whose whole political career has been based upon trashing that wing of the conservative movement.
CARLSON: Amazing. It‘s an amazing...
BUCHANAN: It‘s an astonishing day.
CARLSON: It really—it really, really is. And it‘s going to reverberate for a long time.
Pat Buchanan, thanks a lot for that perspective. I appreciate it.
BUCHANAN: It is revelatory, revelatory, Tucker.
Thank you very much.
CARLSON: Thank you, Pat.
Rudy Giuliani gets a big endorsement from evangelical leader Pat Robertson. Has America‘s mayor passed a key test before the primaries or is Pat Robertson past his prime?
Plus, Bill Clinton catches heat for comparing criticism of his wife to the so-called Swift Boat attacks, and he‘s coming from his wife‘s own campaign. Will he become a liability to Hillary Clinton for president efforts?
You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Now that Rudy Giuliani has Pat Robertson in his camp it raises the question, does it matter? Will Robertson make it OK for other evangelical leaders to get behind the former New York mayor?
And where does this leave the former Baptist minister Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney? Sam Brownback has decided not to support Huckabee, but instead, Senator John McCain. Is that enough to lift McCain‘s campaign out of the doldrums?
Editor-in-chief of “U.S. News & World Report,” chairman of “The New York Daily News” joins us. He is Mort Zuckerman. And host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show” does as well. He, of course, is Ed Schultz.
Welcome to you both.
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW”: Good to see you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Mort, the conventional understanding is—thank you—this is great news for your friend, Mayor Giuliani. But it seems to me Robertson does come with baggage. I want to put up on the screen a quote I‘m sure you‘ve seen many times but it‘s worth seeing again, I think. This is from television appearance right after 9/11 where Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell were talking about the causes of that attack.
And Falwell said this: “I really believe that the Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say ‘You helped this happen.‘” To which Pat Robertson says, “Well, I totally concur.”
Now, I don‘t think Giuliani has been asked about this yet, but when he is asked about it, what is he going to say?
MORT ZUCKERMAN, “NEW YORK DAILY NEWS”: Well, he‘s going to respond to this by saying, thank you very much, Pat Robertson, because Pat Robertson is going to really insulate him against an all-out opposition from the Christian conservatives. But I find that the earlier conversation with you leaves out the most important point.
The only way you can do anything about abortion is through the Supreme Court of the United States. And Rudy Giuliani has pledged that he will appoint conservative justices in the mode of Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Now, given the fact that the court is but divided 5-4, basically in favor at this point of Roe versus Wade, that will shift the balance of the court. Remember, Justice Stevens is now I think 88 years old. So it‘s entirely likely that at least one appointment will go to the next president of the United States.
ZUCKERMAN: And therefore, the Supreme Court will be able to do something about abortion. So on this basis, you cannot ignore these fundamental fact.
Whatever Rudy Giuliani is saying, well, I‘m going to stay to my earlier positions, what he is also saying is, folks, with a wink, wink, wink and a knock, knock, knock, hey,, I‘m going to appoint people to the Supreme Court who are basically going to be inconsistent with this fundamental view that he, Rudy Giuliani, says he has about abortion. And everybody understands that.
John Ashcroft just basically said, I can support somebody who will appoint those kinds of justices to the Supreme Court. And that is critical issue, because that‘s the only venue in which you can do anything about abortion, if that‘s what you want to do.
CARLSON: Well, that is—that is one view. I think it‘s a smart view.
Here‘s the other view—that the Supreme Court is a lagging not a leading indicator. It follows public opinion, it doesn‘t shape it. And if you‘re going to end abortion in America, you have to make the case for why it‘s wrong, for why killing people who can‘t fight back is a bad thing.
So changing—changing public opinion is the key thing to do. And Giuliani is the one person who can‘t do that because he‘s pro-choice.
But it‘s—I understand. I think it‘s fair to say that though, that that is clearly what Robertson believes, that in the end the Supreme Court is what matters.
ZUCKERMAN: Of course.
CARLSON: I wonder, Ed, is this—I mean, looking at it from a Democratic point of view, is this another sign that ultimately Giuliani is going to be the candidate? That the party is coalescing around him? He‘s the guy. He‘s the anointed one now.
Is that what you see?
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, I think that Mort‘s making a good point here, but the fact is there‘s a lot of people in the center that don‘t want to hear that kind of talk. They want choice.
And Rudy Giuliani is going to have to decide, what is he going to do? Is he going to go for pro-abortion or is he going to go with the way it is right now?
The fact is, is that you take a look at Robertson, Pat Robertson. He‘s not the impact player that he used to be. His profile has been diminished, his credibility has been diminished.
He‘s been reduced, and I think this is a good endorsement for Rudy Giuliani, because he needs all the help he can get in these social conservatives‘ movement. But it‘s not the same as if James Dobson comes out or Tony Perkins comes out with the Family Research Council. So it might be somewhat of a help, but certainly not the push that Robertson used to be able to give him.
CARLSON: Right. He‘s seen as having sold out long ago.
I wonder what—I‘ve always asked this question, Mort, but you‘re smarter than most people I ask it of, so maybe you‘ll have the answer. Why not McCain?
Here‘s what Sam Brownback said. I‘m reading now from a letter he sent to McCain‘s supporters. He‘s endorsed McCain.
Here‘s what he says: “We don‘t have to and our principles of life, faith and family to defeat the Democrats. We can stand with John McCain.”
In other words, this guy is already conservative. He can win. Why not back him?
Why aren‘t most conservatives buying that argument?
ZUCKERMAN: Because they don‘t believe he can win. There‘s only one candidate whom they think can defeat what for the conservatives is sort of the devil incarnate, which is called Hillary Clinton.
ZUCKERMAN: And they believe that Rudy Giuliani has the best chance to—and that‘s why they‘re getting behind him. Particularly since in real terms he does not violate their concerns about the whole issue of abortion, quite the opposite.
If he has said this, that he‘s going to appoint somebody who “is totally opposite” to him in terms of what he believes about abortion to the—if he‘s going to appoint that kind of person to the Supreme Court, that‘s the only place where you can do anything about abortion in America today. I happen to think he‘s wrong, but that‘s neither here nor there.
As a political matter he covers both ends of the spectrum. He can appeal to the middle of America, a lot of whom—and a lot of Republican women who are support—who are pro-abortion, I might add.
ZUCKERMAN: So he has the best chance to retain the Republican majority. What is more, the people who are totally opposed to Hillary Clinton who will support and need to support a winner in their minds against Hillary. So that makes perfect sense to me politically.
CARLSON: All right.
Conservatives have been leading the Republican Party since Newt Gingrich took back Congress in 1994, by not anymore, apparently. The Republican Party plans to unveil a new image. Will conservatives be taking a back seat in the new revised version?
Plus, Rudy Giuliani became known as America‘s mayor after 9/11 and it appeared he was hoping to become America‘s president because of 9/11. Why is he downplaying it now?
We‘ll tell you. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: There are renovations going on in the House Republican Party, but not of the new floor, new wallpaper, now crown molding types. Instead, the party is going for a whole new agenda, or at least a new brand.
With the party going through an identity crisis, leaders are desperately trying to buff up its image. The trouble is the party is divided, maybe too divided to agree on exactly what that new image ought to be.
How can they implement a brand if they can‘t agree on what it should be?
Back with their best re-branding tips, we welcome editor-in-chief of “U.S. News & World Report” and chairman and publisher of “The New York Daily News,” Mort Zuckerman. And host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz.
Ed, interesting, very interesting piece today I thought in the “Politico” about this question. The question being, what is the Republican Party stand for? The party‘s grappling with it, something the Democratic Party I think should do, too.
Here is one of the findings from a study on attitudes of Republican members. Seventy-eight percent of the members who have served one or two terms in Congress describe themselves as conservative. Of those who had served three to five terms, only 20 percent said they were in favor of a conservative agenda. In other words, they get a lot more liberal over time in the Congress.
Why is that?
SCHULTZ: Well, the country shifted, Tucker. I told you on this program several months ago that I thought the Republicans had an identity crisis.
You‘ve got to be more to the American people than being just about tax cuts and gays, guns and God. And the fact is the country wants health care, the country wants to reduce the deficit, the country wants out of this war.
The Republicans are out of step with the majority of the American people. And so you can go back and put lipstick on a pig all you want. You‘ve still got a pig and you‘ve got a party that has got an identity crisis.
CARLSON: Now Mort, you‘ve owned a lot of different businesses. Can you confirm my suspicion that if you get to the point where you think a new slogan is going to save you, a re-branding is the answer, you‘re already lost?
ZUCKERMAN: Oh, for sure. Look, the Republican Party has the objective of every political party. They want to win. And the fact is that the conservative agenda under George Bush has been dramatically diminished. And they have got to move out to the center, because the agenda that is associated with the Bush administration is a loser.
You put George Bush in conjunction with any Republican senator or any Republican congressman and they‘re going to lose. So they have got to move in some different direction, and they‘re just pursuing what any political party would, which is how in the world are we going to win?
And they have got to change their focus, because the vast majority of the American public today are no longer associated with the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Including a lot of Republicans.
CARLSON: But see, here is what confuses me, Ed, is George W. Bush is not a conservative. He‘s not for small government. He hasn‘t done a lot for the religious conservative pet issues. He‘s not in favor of restrained, sensible, realistic foreign policy. He‘s not a traditional conservative in any way. He‘s a big government liberal in a lot of ways.
Why do conservatives stand away and let him steal their label, call himself
why don‘t they challenge him on that and say, you‘re not conservative, pal, stop defiling that brand?
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, Tucker, this is all part of the plan for the neocon agenda, to blow this federal budget deficit up to the point where they can cut back government to where they want it. They‘re all about privatization. They‘re all about getting rid of entitlement programs. But that‘s not what the American people want, and that‘s why the conservative agenda is suffering in this country.
CARLSON: Wait a second. Bush has created a new entitlement program. Who‘s the last Republican to do that? He created the prescription drug benefit.
SCHULTZ: This is all part of the plan for him.
CARLSON: What, making government bigger so you can make it smaller?
SCHULTZ: They‘re going to try to come back and cut government as best they possibly can. And look, this is a 25-year plan.
SCHULTZ: This is what this is.
CARLSON: When was the last time we cut a middle class entitlement? Let‘s see—never. Because we never will because middle class Americans think they‘re...
SCHULTZ: You know, I‘d like to ask you guys, do you think they‘re trying to break the bank? Do you think they‘re trying to break the bank? You‘re damn right they‘re trying to break the bank.
They‘re trying to break the country to the point where we‘re not going to be able to afford anything anymore. This is part of the agenda of the neo-nuts out there to go out there and blow up the federal budget deficit and then eventually come back and cut government because we‘re broke. And that is the issue.
CARLSON: Boy, that‘s a pretty—that‘s a pretty clever plan.
SCHULTZ: And if Mr. Zuckerman can stand behind that, then...
CARLSON: Oh, OK.
Do you buy that, Mort?
SCHULTZ: That‘s where it is, Tucker. That‘s where it is.
CARLSON: What do you think, Mort?
ZUCKERMAN: I‘m afraid I don‘t agree with that. I really don‘t think that‘s the real agenda that‘s behind the Bush administration. And in fact, in fairness to them, the budget deficit has gone down by quite a bit because tax receipts have gone up so much.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
ZUCKERMAN: But I do think they do have a particular kind of agenda which today is no longer acceptable to the vast majority of the American public. And that is on a lot of major issues, whether it be, in fact, the long-term health of Social Security, health care programs, immigration. You could go through a whole series of major issues, and we have not been able to address them because of the sheer partisanship not just to the Republicans, I might add, but of the Democrats as well.
SCHULTZ: No, it‘s not the partisanship, Mort. No, no, no.
ZUCKERMAN: And so I do think—I do think—excuse me. Let me just finish.
SCHULTZ: No, you had the House, the White House and the Senate and you didn‘t do anything with it. The conservatives had total power with delay and with President Bush, and they got nothing done. That‘s the bottom line.
ZUCKERMAN: Look, let me just say one thing.
CARLSON: All right.
ZUCKERMAN: You want to know why the prescription drug program was put through? It was put through because there‘s a huge population called the elderly who really supported that program, and it was a hugely popular program.
ZUCKERMAN: Paying for it is somebody else‘s problem. In the meantime, they got a lot of credit for that program.
SCHULTZ: And a sellout to the corporations.
ZUCKERMAN: That‘s why they did it.
CARLSON: Because in the end—in the end, voters want free stuff. That‘s the oldest—that‘s the oldest truth in politics.
ZUCKERMAN: Right. Right.
CARLSON: All right. We‘ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: No they don‘t. They want accountability, and they don‘t want privatization of something that works such as Social Security.
CARLSON: No they don‘t.
I respectfully disagree.
We‘ll be back in a minute.
Bill Clinton compares the attacks on his wife to the so-called Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry. Her Democratic rivals say that comparison is farfetched, at best, even ludicrous. And even Hillary‘s campaign says that comment was “counterproductive.”
Could Bill Clinton be hurting his wife‘s chances of becoming president, or is she hurting herself? How much damage did she do on her own at last week‘s Democratic debate?
You‘re watching the channel with all the answers, MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. You just heard the news, a Chinese toy that if swallowed turns into a date rape drug. Well, there‘s a damage control problem. Back in American politics, veterans of damage control problems look upon Hillary and Bill Clinton and conclude the two have done less than stellar work, at least in the wake of last week‘s public double talk on the issue of drivers‘ licenses for illegal aliens.
Now eight days from the original maladroit moment, Mr. Clinton‘s Swift Boat comparison drew rebuke from inside his wife‘s campaign. A new poll suggests that the slip up last Tuesday, arguably Mrs. Clinton‘s very first of this campaign, has had a negative affect on her public standing.
Back to analyze the issues and the numbers, we welcome back editor in chief of “U.S. News and World Report,” chairman of the “New York Daily News,” Mort Zuckerman, and host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz.
Mort, this kind of gets to the key question, which is what is the affect of Bill Clinton, this larger than life figure, the most popular guy in the Democratic party, on his wife‘s campaign. Everybody from the Clinton campaign that I‘ve talked to, or in its orbit, said the same thing; this was unscripted and unwelcome. Are we going to see more of these?
ZUCKERMAN: For sure, this is just to remind the country once again, eight days later, of Hillary Clinton‘s worst performance on a debate, a debate in which she was able, unilaterally almost, to shift the discussion to—from her pragmatism, her effectiveness, her knowledge, her forcefulness, to one about her character and her evasiveness, and her credibility. This is where she is weakest. This had finally begun to fade, and here comes Bill Clinton, who has made a few political mistakes in the past, who made one this time, which is quite remarkable, not only by bringing it up again, but brining it up in terms that are virtually insulting, and frankly an inaccurate analogy to what happened to John Kerry.
So he, once again, reminds the country, and reminds everybody, especially in the Democratic party, of exactly what it is that Hillary Clinton is trying to get everybody to forget about, which is this failed performance that she had, in which—not just on the issue of licenses for immigrants, in which she basically was waffling back and forth, but on a whole series of four or five issues in that debate. She seemed to give the impression her answers were completely political. She was saying, on the one hand, but on the other hand, in order not to offend anybody. Nobody got a sense of what she stood for, and that reminded everybody of exactly what they‘re concerned about her, the negatives that she does everything for political purposes.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right. Ed, consider the response to this, OK. So Hillary Clinton had a not great debate. I mean, she didn‘t throw up at the podium, but she did a fine job. It wasn‘t her best, as she herself has conceded. It happens to everybody. Now it happened to her. The way they responded to it, she and her husband, is what fascinates me. They were clearly rattled by it. They were clearly really, really bothered. They kind of panicked under the pressure here, and that‘s why they kept the story alive.
SCHULTZ: The Clintons are not used to loosing. I think Bill Clinton probably forgot more about winning campaigns than anybody in her camp, so let‘s keep this in perspective. I think it just shows that Bill Clinton misses the lime light. I think it shows he can‘t wait for the fight. He wants to be in this thing.
Let‘s give a little credit where credit is due here, Mort. The fact is, Hillary Clinton has looked pretty strong in all of these debates except the last one. She‘s admitted that. I think she‘s been very solid on a lot of the issues. She‘s the front runner. She‘s getting all the attention and any mistake she makes is going to be magnified. There‘s still a couple of debates left. I think she‘ll do very well in them.
But to say that she‘s waffling on all the issues is a stretch. Now for Bill Clinton to come out now, I don‘t think it‘s his best issue. I think he could have let this thing go by and probably would have been a better situation.
CARLSON: Wait, Mort, I want you to take a look at the numbers. I‘m sure you‘ve seen these, NBC poll numbers on Hillary Clinton before and after the debate. They are significant. I think they tell you something potentially really important about where this is going. Hillary Clinton 10-29, 10-30; she was at 52 percent. After the debate, Halloween, November 1st, 43 percent, drop of nine points. Barack Obama in the same period rose two. He wasn‘t necessarily the beneficiary. But nine points is a lot to drop in just a couple of days.
Do you think that‘s from the debate and is this a trend?
ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I don‘t know if it‘s a trend. But I think it was from the debate. As I said, it reminded people of the reasons why she has such high negatives. In the Zogby poll, 50 percent of the American people said they would never vote for Hillary Clinton. I‘m not saying that‘s the way it‘s going to be in a general election, nor did I say she was wrong on every issue.
I‘m just saying she seemed to waffle on more than one issue. And here it was Bill Clinton reminding the country—these things are forgotten in a week. But he brings it up again. And here we are talking about it again on television. It can‘t do anything but hurt her. So I‘m—she still has a very wide lead over anybody in the Democratic party. She‘s the odds on favorite to be the Democratic nominee. And at some point we‘ll forget about it, unless Bill Clinton continues to remind us of it.
Certainly everybody else is going to try to remind us of it, because she‘s vulnerable on this one issue of her credibility, of her trustworthiness, and whether or not she speaks, in a sense, for political benefit, rather than giving the impression that she‘s talking about the way she feels.
CARLSON: That is a significant issue.
SCHULTZ: You know, Tucker, this idea about trustworthiness. I don‘t see the Republicans getting their arms around the illegal immigration issue either. This all came up because of her answer on driver‘s license and whether she supported Governor Spitzer‘s position on this. It turns out nobody‘s got a really good answer for it. You look at New Mexico, you look at Oklahoma, you think you have got two different countries.
The point here is that the people who have been in power have not been able to get their arms around illegal immigration and it‘s going to be a huge issue for the next year. Hillary is not going to be the only candidate that is going to have a hard time talking about it.
CARLSON: As you know, the people in power on the Republican and Democratic sides are united in their support for illegal immigration. It helps business. The Republicans are for it. It brings new voters to the Democratic party. So they‘re for it. But ordinary people are bugged about it, in my view. And that‘s kind of the problem.
SCHULTZ: Look at John McCain. He‘s shifting his position right now. The American people want the border protected, just like it was back—the economy stupid in ‘92. Well, in ‘08, it‘s the border, stupid. That‘s where it is.
CARLSON: If that‘s true—if that‘s true, I will say the Democrats are going to be at a disadvantage going into this election, because they will not coalesce around a nominee who opposes open borders. Work to do? What do you think, Mort, of the report that Rudy Giuliani has stopped making reference to 9/11 as frequently as he once did? Smart?
ZUCKERMAN: Of course, as he should. Look, what is emerging as sort
of the dark horse candidate for number one issue to the country is what‘s
happening to the economy. You can‘t sit there and talk about your ability
mind you, he was General Grant of 9/11, the one hero to come out of 9/11. He‘s not going to lose that. So what he‘s got to do is establish his bones on other issues, and the other issue, particularly the one that is emerging, has perhaps the most important issue next year, is going to be the economy.
It‘s not just the economy today. It is the way people look to the next year and to the next couple of years. And they‘re very pessimistic about the economy, much more so than I would have thought, given the last half a dozen years, in which we‘ve done so well. That is why he‘s got to move to other issues. He can‘t be a one trick pony.
CARLSON: That‘s right. I wonder, Ed, what you think of Barack Obama‘s announcement this week that he really is the candidate of the working class. Hillary Clinton, of course, on the Democratic side, polls best with Democrats who are less educated, less well off. But Barack Obama wants to be their man. Here is his pitch summed up today on why he‘s the candidate of the blue collar working man. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I go to Africa or any poor country around the globe, I can tell them, I‘ve got a grandmother who lives in a small village in Africa without electricity or running water. I know what that looks like and how people are struggling. That gives me a different level of credibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I like Barack Obama, but you must be kidding. This is a guy who grew up in Honolulu, went to school with my cousins at a private school there, went on to go to Columbia, and then Harvard Law School. This is a product of a series of elite systems. This essentially a rich guy. He‘s telling me that because he has relatives he didn‘t meet until he was an adult that live in poverty—that‘s ridiculous.
SCHULTZ: You‘re being too rough on Barack Obama here. No, it‘s not ridiculous. He comes from a culture that has not had the same opportunities that other Americans have had. I don‘t think there‘s any problem with him pointing that out.
CARLSON: He grew up with his white grandparents in Honolulu.
SCHULTZ: The fact that Hillary Clinton—the fact that Hillary Clinton has gotten a lot of union endorsements, I think is a counter punch that he‘s coming out talking like this, because he doesn‘t have the union endorsements that Hillary Clinton has been able to get or John Edwards. So he‘s got to be talking about labor. He‘s got to be talking about the middle class. So I think it‘s as much strategic move as it is anything else.
CARLSON: Mort, I see Barack Obama, whom I like, again, but as the candidate of liberal white intellectuals. That‘s exactly who he is. Yet, now he is striking this populist tone. He said today, these are folks, the working class of the United States, who aren‘t spending their time reading the “New York Times,” listening to cable talk shows. They have got better things to do.
I mean, those strike false notes coming out of the mouth of a graduate of Harvard Law School.
ZUCKERMAN: Well, not necessarily. But I have to say that, in a sense, one of his political advantages and one of his political disadvantages is that he comes across, to some extent, as an elitist candidate. You know, it‘s a little late in the game for him to start looking out for the blue collar workers. This is something that has been part of the Clinton constituency, both Bill Clinton and Hillary. And that‘s a part of the Democratic political organization. They have cultivated it. He hasn‘t.
He has emerged dramatically. He‘s the real dark horse of this whole candidacy, that he emerged with such a wide appeal. Nevertheless, he cannot win the nomination without going beyond his current base, which is the young people and the elites of the Democratic party. He‘s got to go after where Hillary has done better, which is, in fact, the basic blue collar, the working man of America, which is still the bread and butter of the Democratic party.
He hasn‘t been able to connect with that community yet. He‘s trying to. He may succeed. He did it when he was involved in a small district in Illinois. He did it when he ran for the Senate in Illinois. He hasn‘t done it nationally yet. This is what he‘s trying to do. I think he‘s going to have a very tough time doing it.
CARLSON: Yes, good luck.
SCHULTZ: He doesn‘t have to do it nationally. All he has to do is do it in Iowa. He‘s a major player in Iowa. He‘s got more boots on the ground in Iowa than anybody. He‘s polling well. Half the people haven‘t even decided who‘d they‘re going to support in Iowa. To write off Barack Obama in Iowa is a real mistake. I think the Clintons know that too.
CARLSON: What do you think of his new line, which is also his old line, it‘s in one of his books—I find it compelling—he said today, look, Hillary Clinton is a baby boomer. She‘s a member of a generation that‘s still arguing about things they have been arguing about since 1967. They‘re never going to bring the country together, people from that generation. It‘s time for a member of a new generation.
What do you think of that as an argument? Is that going to alienate older voters?
SCHULTZ: Tucker, I think that Barack Obama is still very new to this national political scene. He still doesn‘t have the name recognition that some of the other candidates have. It‘s like Americans expect somebody to step up and hit it out of the park right away every day. It doesn‘t happen that way. He‘s a generational leader. He‘s going to be around for a long time. And if he doesn‘t win this nomination, he ought to go back to Illinois, run for governor, get out of Washington.
That‘s just what I think. He‘s going to be around for a long time. I think we‘re expecting way too much. He‘s come so far in his fund raising; he‘s come far in his message. He plays well in Iowa. Look at the crowds this guy has drawn all over the country. I believe the people on the ground more than I believe the polls right now.
CARLSON: That is just not—from my point of view, that‘s not good enough. He has split the anti-Clinton vote. If he blows this and Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee and the president, I think he‘ll have a lot to answer for. Mort, very quickly, I want to get your take on something that the governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, said, recently. He‘s proposing, by executive order, short circuiting the process, not going through legislature, to impose a series of so-called green reforms on the state, energy saving devices in the state of Colorado.
He‘s making the argument that you often hear, that by saving energy, by force, by mandate, at the point of a gun, you don‘t necessarily lose money. In other words, we can have booming economy and curbs on industry at the same time. It doesn‘t cost anything to be green. We can make money being green. That sounds like B.S. to me. Do you buy that?
ZUCKERMAN: No, I don‘t think it‘s totally B.S. I think that over states the concern. It‘s just not going to address the real issue. The real issue is clearly a whole series of energy efficient measures which will reduce gasoline consumption and reduce electricity consumption. Basically, you can‘t—it‘s good that he‘s starting something at the state level. I‘m all for it. But we‘ve got to do it on a national level, and indeed on an international level.
We‘re very, very far from that. We are unwilling to take any steps to increase our own energy production in the way of either oil, whether it be in Alaska or off shore of the United States. And we are unwilling to do what is necessary to reduce our real consumption of energy, either it be electricity or gasoline. So until we take a serious position on this in the country, we‘re not going to make any real progress. It‘s all rhetoric at this stage of the game.
CARLSON: I agree with that. Finally, Ed, what is the real—summarize in one sentence why the left still opposes nuclear energy, which has never killed a single person, and is essentially the cleanest kind of energy that even the French embrace? Why is the Sierra Club against that again, apart from just being stupid?
SCHULTZ: I am for nuclear power. You got the wrong guy on that one.
You‘re not going to hook me on that one.
CARLSON: Yes, would someone tell the crazies in your party about that? I hope so.
SCHULTZ: Well, there‘s a few crazies over on your side, too, that are denying global warming when the science is already in. The door swings both ways, buddy.
CARLSON: All right. Ed, Mort, thank you both very much.
A new government study blows a hole in the battle against obesity or at least in the rhetoric about it. Could packing on extra pounds actually be good for your health. Will you live longer if you‘re fatter? We‘ll tell you in just a minute.
And the latest divorce battle of the century gets uglier than previously imaginable. Paul McCartney‘s daughter gets involved and gets petty. The details, repulsive as they may be, await you after the commercial break.
CARLSON: Get fat and live longer, don‘t even try to tell that to the skinny, tanned beautiful people down here in Fort Lauderdale. But yes, there is a new federal study out, and it‘s one most people can love. It turns out so-called over-weight people have a significantly lower death rate than those who are skinny. How‘s that possible?
Joining me now is obesity researcher, Dr. Timothy Church of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dr. Church, thanks for coming on.
DR. TIMOTHY CHURCH, PENNINGTON BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER: Thank you very much.
CARLSON: This is—I don‘t think I have read a story this remarkable in—I don‘t know—this year. It found, apparently, that people who are fat or overweight are much less likely to die of Parkinson‘s, Alzheimer‘s, and a bunch of other diseases. How is that and why haven‘t I heard that before.
CHURCH: Well, those are just certain diseases. They looked at a lot of different diseases. Quite frankly, this is a brilliant study. But it‘s really a new spin on old news. That old news being, is that when you look at, say, cardiovascular disease or heart disease, or, say, cancer or all caused mortality, yes, the more you weigh, the more risk you are of dying of those things prematurely. But that risk doesn‘t really go up until you are in the obese class. Overweight individuals‘ risk isn‘t really that much greater.
Now these other things you‘re talking about, say, Parkinson‘s or lung disease, it kind of makes sense. If you have a little bit more weight on you, you can battle those diseases better.
CARLSON: Well this actually says not only does your risk not go up, it goes down. According to the “New York Times” account of the study anyway, it says that over the last year there were 100,000 fewer deaths among overweight people. In other words, being fat saved 100,000 people from dying.
CHURCH: Well, you‘ve got to be careful with the fat part, because this is where a lot of Americans get confused, is a lot of people who would be classified as overweight by these guidelines, which can be very, very confusing, you or I wouldn‘t consider fat. They would actually look pretty normal to us. Remember, overweight is only a zero—only about one to 30 pounds, kind of, above your optimal weight. That optimal weight cut point is a tenuous number at best.
So these are individuals who are not carrying that much extra weight.
CARLSON: I‘m not saying side show fat. But I am saying, in the United States—it‘s a fine line in the U.S. Britney Spears comes out and jiggles a tiny bit and all of a sudden she‘s freakishly obese, according to “People Magazine.”
CHURCH: That‘s a great point. She‘s probably at a very healthy weight right now.
CARLSON: We should stop mocking her and start saluting her, is that what you‘re saying?
CHURCH: In terms of health, that‘s probably not a bad idea. We really do need to rethink our norms, in terms of what is a healthy weight. Supermodel thin is not healthy.
CARLSON: Well, I hope you can come to Congress and testify to all the many members who want to tax snack food and tell them that they‘re hurting America. Dr. Church, I appreciate you coming on. Thank you.
CHURCH: Thank you.
CARLSON: Up next, Fabio is back and he‘s up in the face of Hollywood‘s biggest movie star. He was scary on those romance novel covers. Find out how scary he is in all three dimensions. The Fabio section, next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time now for a man who, despite being slightly under weight, is healthy as a horse, Bill Wolff.
BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT: Know something I don‘t know?
Slightly under weight? I don‘t know.
WOLFF: I don‘t know, Tucker. I don‘t know.
CARLSON: You‘re kind of runway thin, Bill.
WOLFF: Runway? Airport runway. What do you get when you mix something cheesy with something smooth? If you said Velveta, you were right. Until last Friday night that is. That‘s when romance novel cover boy and muscle man Fabio encountered everybody‘s gravel voice dream boat George Clooney at a west Hollywood eatery. According to the “New York Post‘s” Page Six, which is never wrong, Fabio‘s entourage of ladies snapped photographs until Clooney asked them to stop.
Fabio told Clooney to, quote, stop being a diva, man, end quote. It was on, sort of. A bunch of out of work actors—I mean waiters—intervened before it got too ugly. Fabio‘s manager did say that George Clooney was lucky he didn‘t wind up in the E.R. Tough talk—more tough talk than actual toughness, Tucker.
CARLSON: He can beat him to death just with his hair. I will say, I‘m always—I like George Clooney—to see him doing an interview while chewing Nicorette, good man.
CARLSON: There are guys who are universally adored who I‘d like to see Fabio beat up. I won‘t name them, lest I every meet them and have to confront them. But George Clooney is not one of them. He does beer commercials and makes good movies. There you have it.
The Paul McCartney-Heather Mills could not get any uglier, until it gets uglier. Sir Paul made the front page of the New York tabloids this morning by being caught on film canoodling in the Tony Hamptons region of Long Island with reported New Jersey trucking heiress Nancy Chevelle (ph). But that‘s not ugly, it‘s beautiful. It‘s young love.
What is ugly is the reported new jewelry available from Paul McCartney‘s daughter, the designer Stella McCartney. According to the British tabloid “The Daily Mirror,” which is often wrong but never dull, it is a silver pendant worth 300 British pounds, or 17 million dollars at today‘s exchange rates. It is a single leg, widely interpreted as a dig at Paul‘s ex, Heather Mills, whose left leg, of course, was amputated below the knee after an accident with a motor bike in 1993.
If it‘s true, classy, Stella, very classy.
CARLSON: You got to admit, that is the funniest thing ever.
WOLFF: Funny and evil, Tucker, which are related. Finally, the foreclosure rate in this country is soaring. It appears to have touched one of our national treasures, Mr. Michael Jackson. Jacko‘s Neverland Ranch, featuring a petting zoo and choo choo train, and god and his lawyers only know what else, is listed in the November 5th foreclosure detail report for Santa Barbara County, California. According to a foreclosure report from October 12th, Jackson owes 23,212,963 dollars on a 23 million dollar loan on the property.
The good news, Michael‘s on the cover of “Ebony Magazine,” and he looks like a million bucks. Not sure what that is worth on his mortgage, of course, Tucker. Looks kind of like Terri Hatcher there.
CARLSON: That is with we call lacking in equity. Bill Wolff from New York. Thanks, Bill.
WOLFF: My pleasure.
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We‘ll be back in Washington tomorrow night. In the meantime, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. Have a great night.
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