Guests: Kate O‘Beirne, Sacha Zimmerman, Charmaine Yoest, Dr. Patrick Moore, Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Bill Clinton is a legendary politician widely considered the Michael Jordan of his craft, but his recent public pronouncements have left some asking the previously unaskable—is Bill Clinton more an asset or a liability to his wife?
In the last 10 days, Mr. Clinton compared his wife‘s treatment by her fellow Democrats to John Kerry‘s campaign experience with the Swift Boat Veterans. He implied that America is more sexist than Argentina for never having elected a woman. He said that he and Mrs. Clinton are maybe artifacts, and 13 years after the fact took responsibility for the failure of national health care planning he entrusted to his wife.
Is any of that good for the Hillary Clinton for president campaign? In a moment we will talk to eyewitness to Bill Clinton‘s week.
Far across the political aisle, meanwhile, the dust is still settling from the apparent splintering of the evangelical coalition this week. Christian conservative icon Pat Robertson endorsed pro-choice New Yorker Rudy Giuliani. Dyed-in-the-wool conservative Sam Brownback picked John McCain. And influential conservative leader Paul Weyrich tapped Mitt Romney.
The question is, who speaks for the Republican base?
And given the rough week for Hillary Clinton and the better fortunes of Rudy Giuliani, we‘ll ask the natural question one year in advance of the general election—who‘s got the edge between the junior senator from New York and New York‘s most famous mayor?
Well, we begin with famous former president, Bill Clinton, and his work lately on the campaign trail on his wife‘s behalf.
Joining us now with their insights into the possible campaign liability that Bill Clinton could become, The National Review‘s Kate O‘Beirne and The New Republic‘s Sacha Zimmerman.
Welcome to you both.
This is the moment I thought maybe Bill Clinton won‘t be the asset that many have suggested he will be. In Iowa this week, talking about electing a woman to the presidency, he compared it to the experience of foreign countries. Here is what he said. Listen to this.
He was asked, “Are you confident America is ready to do this?” And we‘ve got the sound bite in just a minute. Let me just read it.
He said, “When there‘s an actual choice if there‘s a woman there, and she‘s better qualified, she tends to win. Germany has a female leader. Argentina did. You know, it‘s hard to believe that America is more sexist than Argentina.”
I just don‘t—I don‘t think you get too far, Sacha, by attacking voters.
America is a sexist place if it doesn‘t vote for my wife? Does that work?
SACHA ZIMMERMAN, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”: Yes—no, it‘s really embarrassing.
I mean, this is Michael Jordan going to play for the Wizards. You know?
This is—this is a “Saturday Night Live” skit waiting to happen.
Bill Clinton is the guy behind the local news reporter, you know, “Hi, mom.” Like he can‘t stop. And it‘s just getting embarrassing.
I think though that the good news is, Hillary certainly got the wherewithal to handle this. And you know what? I think lesson learned. I bet after this week we don‘t see him too much.
CARLSON: I think you‘re probably right. But this is exactly the attack I think that her campaign doesn‘t want to take. She‘s most appealing when she seems strong, least appealing when she seems weak and whiney and plays the victim.
They played the victim for the past two weeks. Why?
KATE O‘BEIRNE, “THE NATIONAL REVIEW”: I think it was mistake. I‘m not sure how much of it was the campaign herself, how much was some of her allies. Geraldine Ferraro was not helpful in attributing the Democratic candidates criticizing Hillary Clinton with sexism.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
O‘BEIRNE: It‘s not helpful to have Bill Clinton explain resistance to his wife‘s candidacy could only be motivated by sexism.
I do think he‘s an asset during the Democratic primaries and caucuses, though. I mean, he‘s enormously popular. He gets this kind of attention. I don‘t think her campaign ought to fall into the pattern of sending him out when she appears to be in some trouble. I think that‘s a potential weakness.
CARLSON: Yes, because it‘s, you know, calling big daddy.
CARLSON: Calling the reinforcements. Dennis Thatcher didn‘t get out there on the campaign trail for his wife.
CARLSON: And no one thought that he needed—that she needed him to.
Bill Clinton also said something totally bizarre this week. I thought totally bizarre. I wasn‘t there. Also very partisan. Here‘s what he said.
“I think she‘s done pretty well,” he said of his wife. “The extreme right wing faction of the Republican Party which has controlled their national party since 1980 has been working on her for 16 years. I think she‘s held up pretty well. Looks good for a 60-year-old girl, I think.”
“So don‘t worry about that. She can win this race. She‘s in way better shape now than she was before I got nominated.”
Here‘s what I think is bizarre. If you‘re Bill Clinton, you‘re a former president, in addition to a lot of other things, you don‘t want to use phrase like the “extreme right wing faction of the Republican Party,” because you sound like a partisan hack. You—don‘t you want to rise above that kind of rhetoric, or no?
ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely. And I think that he‘s also not really reading the tea leaves with what is going on in the campaign on the Republican side.
I mean, the far right of the Republican Party really hasn‘t been a major force in it at all. So to kind of even hearken back to bringing him up, bring up specters of these, you know, days gone by...
CARLSON: That‘s actually a deep and honest point, and thank you for making it. That the people who—the far right wing—in other words, the people who actually believe something—have kind of faded into obscurity to be replaced by triangulaters on the Bill Clinton model.
ZIMMERMAN: That‘s right.
CARLSON: Right. So in fact, the far right wing just kind of doesn‘t exist.
ZIMMERMAN: It may be that he doesn‘t know how to fight against likeminded politicians.
CARLSON: The people just like him.
O‘BEIRNE: If it‘s a shorthand for Hillary Clinton‘s critics, it‘s encompassing an awful lot of Americans. You know? I mean, some huge number of Americans resist Hillary Clinton‘s appeal as a candidate.
O‘BEIRNE: You know, that goes well beyond conservative voters.
I think the message she‘s delivering to Democratic voters is that—and I think it‘s welcome—that they have been tested, tested as a team. You know, it is true that they have been on the hot seat, you know, for the past 16 years.
CARLSON: They have, sure.
O‘BEIRNE: And a presidential race is enormously demanding. There‘s a reason why veterans of national races do well. And I think he‘s pointing up that experience with respect to Hillary Clinton.
CARLSON: See, the conventional view is that Al Gore was an idiot for not enlisting Bill Clinton‘s help in the 2000 campaign. The Clinton people hate Gore for that reason. Spurned his overtures.
I always thought Gore was absolutely right. I don‘t think Clinton is going to help her in the general campaign I think he‘ll remind people, you know, what the ‘90s were about, the unattractive parts of the ‘90s.
And let me just ask you this—how many candidates in the past seven years have benefited from a Bill Clinton endorsement? How many races has he been decisive in? I can‘t think of any.
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I can‘t think of any either now that you put it to me. But I think that—you know, I think Kate‘s right that in the short term he can be helpful because people have lot of Clinton nostalgia. In a general election, you‘re right, he‘s got a ton of doubt.
O‘BEIRNE: I think there‘s a message that could be helpful. I think
there‘s sort of a broad amnesia about the ‘90s. And when people look back
I mean, it was, of course, pre-9/11, pre-Afghanistan, pre-Iraq—it seems like a period of peace and prosperity.
I think he could be talking about that instead of talking about the vast right wing conspiracy, you know, trying to bring his wife down. I think there probably is a message that could work with voters when they think about the ‘90s.
CARLSON: Yes. Well, here is a mixed message that confused me again.
This is about Hillary‘s health care plan, which has been kind of controversial on the Democratic side, particularly Barack Obama and John Edwards slamming her for not getting it done. You say you‘re going to fight for us, but you didn‘t fight in ‘93.
Here‘s what Bill Clinton said about that the other day in Iowa. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She has taken the rap for some of the problems we had with health care last time that were far more my fault than hers. I mean, let‘s just face it. We couldn‘t raise money. This time when you let the tax cuts for upper income people expire, they will create a pool of money that wasn‘t there last time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: OK. I didn‘t even understand that explanation really. We couldn‘t pay for it before? Like that was the problem. It wasn‘t.
But here is the logical disconnect that strikes me. Hillary Clinton is running on, since she doesn‘t have the thickest resume in the world, she‘s running on the idea that she ran this health care effort of the ‘90s. It was a noble effort, it was doomed by the right-wing crazies. Bill Clinton is standing up and saying, no, actually she‘s not really responsible for it, I‘m responsible for it.
You can‘t say both, can you?
ZIMMERMAN: No, it‘s an absolute mixed message. And I think just like Bill Clinton should probably not be talking about sexism, he shouldn‘t be talking about health care. It‘s just loaded and it makes people think of the failures of it and not the positives of it.
I think Hillary, on the other hand, can talk about health care because she‘s so sturdy and so forthright. And I think that she can make herself known and understood in a way that Bill Clinton just sound like he‘s nostalgic.
CARLSON: Bill Clinton shouldn‘t be talking about sexism. You‘re a much more clever person than I am or I would have made that point in the very first sentence.
How much chutzpah do you have to have if you‘re Bill Clinton to cry sexism in our country?
O‘BEIRNE: Look, Tucker, he got away with it in the ‘90s. He did. He remained a favorite of the feminist base and the Democratic Party. They rallied to his defense.
He wound up on balance to them being a big proponent of women, being great on women‘s issues.
CARLSON: I‘m not attacking the guy‘s sex life. I never mention it. It‘s not my business and I‘m not going there. But don‘t lecture me about sexism, pal. You of all people be quiet.
I guess that would be my view.
We‘ll be right back.
What happens when the host of “The 700 Club” says he‘s going to cast his vote for the pro-choice former mayor of New York City? Is it the end of Christian conservative movement in American politics?
And where does that former mayor stand in a hypothetical match-up with the junior senator from his state? Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton appear even in the latest polls, but who has the edge at this moment?
We‘ll tell you when we come back.
CARLSON: They were given a lot of the credit for getting George Bush elected not once, but twice. Now the once unified Christian conservative movement appears to be fracturing along 2008 campaign lines. How else to explain Pat Robertson‘s decision to endorse Rudy Giuliani, a man who appears to stand for everything Evangelicals distrust and despise?
Joining us now is Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council with answers.
CHARMAINE YOEST, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Oh, I‘ve got the answers.
CARLSON: You do have the answers? Pat Robertson, seen correctly or not by many Americans, particularly those who are not Christian conservatives, as an icon. He stands for the Christian conservative movement. He ran for president on the platform in ‘88.
He endorses Rudy Giuliani. I mean, how did that happen?
YOEST: Well, you know, I mean, Tucker, let‘s face it, the bottom line is when people say inflammatory things. That‘s part of what makes them a media darling. And so the media has really run after this story and made a big deal about his endorsement.
And you know, please help me here, because the big story of the week has completely been missed. People are talking about, you know, endorsements from the Christian movement. And yet they‘re not reporting at all that Don Wildman, who is the founder of the American Family Association, a huge heavyweight on the Christian right, that he came out this week for Huckabee. And people are not talking about that.
That‘s much, much more significant. Much more significant.
CARLSON: Well, but hold on. Maybe in that world. But in the rest of the 300 million people who aren‘t following that, you know...
YOEST: Well, but in terms of talking about how it affects—people are saying, how does this affect the Christian right and how—and the representation of, you know, the grassroots.
CARLSON: OK. So you‘re saying Pat Robertson doesn‘t speak for many Christian conservatives.
YOEST: I think that this in the long term is going to have very little impact on the race. And for Rudy Giuliani.
For one thing, there‘s such a disconnect between who Pat Robertson—who his supporters are and what they believe, and Rudy Giuliani‘s stance. There is no way that Pat Robertson rehabilitates Rudy Giuliani.
CARLSON: OK. So you think the people who watch “700 Club” and send money to Pat Robertson—and presumably there are a lot of them—aren‘t going to follow his lead in voting for Giuliani?
YOEST: No, absolutely not.
Let me show you a couple of polls that I...
YOEST: Yes, I know.
CARLSON: I mean, I would have agreed with you...
YOEST: Yes. Yes. Yes.
CARLSON: ... until I saw these numbers.
First is an NBC-“Wall Street Journal” poll. It measures voter preference among very conservative Republicans. Who do you like?
First place, 31 percent, Rudy Giuliani. Second, Fred Thompson at 18. Boy, not even that close.
Second, another NBC-“Wall Street Journal” poll. This is Giuliani‘s—people—white Evangelicals asked if they like Giuliani. Fifty-three percent said yes.
YOEST: I know. That seems a little weird, but here‘s the truth of the matter.
Fifty-three percent, you know, right at half. And that means the other half are not going for him. And when you‘ve got an electorate that is this divided, for the Republican Party to say, hey, you know, we can lose half of this constituency, where George Bush was getting 78 percent...
CARLSON: Oh, but wait a second. OK, but this...
YOEST: Plus, I know you‘re not going to like to hear this, but this is the truth. You and I are so focused on this election, a lot of people, normal people, still are not.
YOEST: There are still high polling numbers on people, particularly Christian conservatives, not knowing...
CARLSON: OK. But everybody knows that Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice and pro-gay rights. I‘m not attacking him.
YOEST: No, not everybody knows that. Believe it or not, really people are not paying attention.
CARLSON: Well, then they definitely know that Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher, is not and shares their views.
So here‘s my question. I‘ve always assumed that the Christian conservatives meant it, that they were sincere in their beliefs. You know, they‘re against abortion and they‘re going to vote for the person who agrees with them. I was totally wrong. They‘re completely insincere judging by these numbers.
YOEST: Oh, I don‘t think—I don‘t think so at all. Yes, there‘s going to be some people who go and vote on different issues. But the bottom line is they‘re not—the base is not going to be energized, they‘re not going to come out in the solid numbers that the Republican Party is used to.
That‘s—you know, when you talk about energizing and mobilizing your base, that‘s what you want. Fifty percent, I mean, that‘s very low.
CARLSON: OK. Well, I‘m one of the Evangelicals‘ few defenders in the media.
CARLSON: They‘re roundly (ph) hated by everyone, as I‘m sure you know.
But the net effect of this, as far as I can tell...
YOEST: I hope not.
CARLSON: No, but I‘m just saying in the elite media world, not a popular group. They‘re despised. I always take up their cause.
The net effect of this is they‘re not going to be taking seriously, and their issues are going to be taken much less seriously by the next generation of Republican politicians, because you don‘t have to be pro-life to get their support. That‘s the bottom line. So why would they be?
YOEST: Well, no, no, no. No. You know, Pat Robertson does not a movement make. That‘s the point I‘m trying to make with you about Don Wildman.
CARLSON: Yes, but 53 percent of Evangelicals. White Evangelicals say, yes, we like Giuliani despite his views?
YOEST: Well, you know, did the poll question say, even though he supports abortion? I mean, that‘s what I‘m saying to you, Tucker, is you look at other polling data, there are still a large percentage of people who don‘t know where he stands on abortion.
CARLSON: OK. We will find out. I mean, I—you know what? I hope you‘re right, because I like it when people vote their beliefs when they‘re sincere and they really mean it.
YOEST: I think that‘s what you‘re going to see as the bottom line.
CARLSON: I hope so. I really do.
YOEST: I really do.
CARLSON: Charmaine, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
YOEST: Thank you.
CARLSON: Two weeks ago you could have gotten long odds on Rudy Giuliani‘s chances against Hillary Clinton in next year‘s election. After the week she had and the week he had, where does their hypothetical match-up stand today?
Plus, Bush‘s brain speaks out. Karl Rove says Democrats did win Congress, but they dropped the ball once they got there.
What the man behind the curtain has to say about how Democrats have handled their newfound power, that‘s coming up.
CARLSON: Giuliani versus Clinton. New York versus New York by way of Chicago and Little Rock. Not a single primary vote has been cast yet, but widespread speculation forecasts Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani in a showdown for the ‘08 presidential election. Maybe it will happen, and surely it would be the most entertaining contest to write and talk about. But does the country have an appetite in the end for two New Yorkers on a single ballot? And if so, who‘s got the edge?
Joining us now once more, The National Review‘s Kate O‘Beirne and The New Republic‘s Sacha Zimmerman.
Kate, if you stand back—now, I know that you‘re a New Yorker.
O‘BEIRNE: Unlike Hillary Clinton.
CARLSON: Unlike Hillary Clinton.
But if you stand back a little bit, it‘s kind of grotesque. I mean, this is really going to happen. Is this really going to happen?
O‘BEIRNE: It could. You‘re figuring it‘s a big country, for gosh sakes?
CARLSON: Kind of.
O‘BEIRNE: Sure, it could happen. Yes, it could happen.
I mean, he‘s not conventional frontrunner even though he has a lead in the national polls. He doesn‘t have the same kind of commanding lead on the Republican side that Hillary Clinton has on the Democratic side. And, of course, he‘s not leading in the early states. But, yes, it could happen.
CARLSON: What I meant to say more precisely is when voters in the primaries vote for a candidate, for their party‘s leader, are they thinking about the general election match-up, or they thinking about that candidate in the context of the other candidates on their side? In other words, are they thinking Rudy—it‘s Rudy versus McCain, I like Rudy better, or are they thinking Rudy‘s the best guy against Hillary?
O‘BEIRNE: I think—I think voters obviously do both. I think the fact that in Rudy Giuliani‘s case, some significant number of Republicans are calculating that he would be the best against Hillary Clinton is helping him in the polls.
O‘BEIRNE: Polls show overwhelmingly when Republicans are asked who is your strongest candidate against Hillary Clinton, far and away they pick Rudy Giuliani. Even though head-to-head match-ups don‘t verify that opinion of theirs.
CARLSON: No, they don‘t.
O‘BEIRNE: John McCain polls every bit as well against Hillary Clinton, as does Rudy Giuliani. In fact, one recent poll found that Hillary Clinton polls 48 to 49 against every top Republican candidate, even ones who aren‘t particularly well known. At the moment, those polls seem to be a referendum on Hillary Clinton rather than a choice between a Democrat and a Republican.
CARLSON: Right. Though Tom Tancredo...
O‘BEIRNE: But I think some number of Republicans are making the calculation that Rudy Giuliani would be the strongest against her.
CARLSON: How bad was this week for Hillary, do you think, Sacha?
ZIMMERMAN: I don‘t think in the scheme of things it will be that bad. It was one week, it‘s so early still.
I mean, I think that the nomination of John Kerry proves that people are looking towards electability in their calculus for who they‘re going to go for. And I think that if it ends up being a subway series between Giuliani and Clinton, that it‘s not going to be much different than if she were against anyone else.
It‘s a polarized country right now. You guys had, you know, Brownstein on Chris Matthews‘ show earlier, and I think that‘s the nature of the beast these days.
O‘BEIRNE: Well, what troubles (ph) things is not so much their common—their common residency in New York. It‘s the Republican Party nominating somebody from the Northeast. That would be a real experiment on the part of the Republican Party.
CARLSON: Yes, that would be...
O‘BEIRNE: I mean, they won five out of the last seven presidential elections by putting together a coalition that did not rest on the shoulders of a Northeast liberal, certainly on social cultural issues.
CARLSON: But no one‘s in charge. I mean, it‘ snot like there are smart people sitting in a room thinking, oh, it‘s Bob Dole‘s turn. You know, like you imagine there used to be.
Now it‘s kind of like, you know, who knows? You know, why not Mike Huckabee? I don‘t know?
You know, nobody—do you get the sense that nobody‘s in charge?
O‘BEIRNE: No, absolutely. Well, especially in a wide open year like this.
O‘BEIRNE: No sitting vice president. No heir apparent. Nobody was in charge in that sense, but there was clear frontrunner. The Republicans have always sort of liked the idea of it being somebody‘s turn.
CARLSON: It‘s an orderly thing. Right. You always feel in the Republican Party...
O‘BEIRNE: This one is intriguingly wide open.
CARLSON: Yes. It‘s—do you think that for the other candidates on the Democratic side, Sacha, there has been a crack in this armor of inconvincibility for Hillary Clinton? That they sense, you know what, maybe we actually could beat this woman?
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I think that‘s definitely true. I think that...
CARLSON: Well, that‘s a beautiful thing, isn‘t it? Because, I mean, it means race. I mean, does it mean actually that Barack Obama has—I mean, stripping it all away, do we really have a shot at watching Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton for real?
ZIMMERMAN: Possibly. I mean, I think looking at the numbers in Iowa, John Edwards even still has crack at it.
I mean, seriously, there are going to be anti-Hillary Democrats who are going to look to those guys, and I think they have as fair a chance right now. I think also that when it comes to this race between Giuliani and Clinton looking inevitable, that the Iowa caucuses will surprise you. I mean, John Kerry‘s nomination surprised us.
CARLSON: Yes, totally. But then, of course, you had Howard Dean in the process of melting down on the campaign trail in Des Moines.
ZIMMERMAN: That‘s right.
CARLSON: And if you remember—I‘m sure you were there—the last couple of weeks you felt like Dean is kind of bonkers. And that was the consensus among people following, this guy‘s got a real problem.
ZIMMERMAN: I think it‘s fair to say Edwards and Obama are not bonkers.
CARLSON: No, but—but more to the point, it‘s fair to say Hillary Clinton is not all of a sudden going to rip off the mask or—you know, she‘s a very controlled person, which is why she so desperately wants to control the rest of us.
All right. We‘ll be right back.
He was Rudy Giuliani‘s right-hand man, but today he got hauled into court to face federal corruption charges. Will Bernie Kerik‘s trouble hurt his former boss‘ chances on Election Day?
And think about it, no smog, no foreign oil, and an almost inexhaustible source of power. Why are some environmentalists still against nuclear power?
We‘ll tell you in just a minute.
CARLSON: Rudy Giuliani‘s presidential campaign picked up the endorsement of Christian conservative icon Pat Robertson, and Giuliani‘s standing in this week‘s poll was as strong or maybe stronger than ever. But today, Bernard Kerik, Giuliani ally and New York‘s former police commissioner when Giuliani was mayor, was finger printed, processed, and pleaded not guilty on 16 criminal counts. Those include conspiracy, mail fraud and lying to the IRS.
Will Kerik‘s legal problems become Giuliani‘s campaign problems? Back to tell us, the “National Review‘s” Kate O‘Beirne and the “New Republic‘s” Sacha Zimmerman. Sacha, what do you think?
ZIMMERMAN: I think that this is dangerous for Giuliani. There‘s going to be a trial. There‘s going to be, you know, a lot of following the case, possibly. And I just think it‘s damaged goods.
CARLSON: It doesn‘t—hear‘s what—to take up the Giuliani side of this, here‘s what he said about Bernard Kerik, asked about this yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that voters should look at it. What they should say is, in that particular case, I pointed out that I made a mistake. I made a mistake in not clearing him effectively enough. I take the responsibility for that. But I think they can then look at the results that I had as a United States attorney general, the results that I had as associate attorney general, and most importantly, the results that I had as mayor. And say to themselves, if he makes the same balance of right decisions and incorrect decisions as president, the country will be in pretty good shape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That‘s a good answers, I thought. On the other hand—and I like Bernard Kerik, actually, personally—this is a question of judgment. It‘s not like some random guy he appointed to be police commissioner. This is one of his closest friends and associates, with whom he spent a lot of time. A lot of rules were bent on Kerik‘s behalf. Pretty bad judgment I thought.
O‘BEIRNE: It would go to—it obviously raises questions about his judgment. Maybe he‘s susceptible to misplaced loyalty, which is a management problem. Somebody in an important position can‘t afford to be.
CARLSON: Have we seen that any time in recent history.
O‘BEIRNE: There you go. There were already all sorts of stories about had he—was he in a meeting when people were briefed. Should he have known and didn‘t? This is not helpful. The fact that it‘s a New York kind of scandal. It is patronage. It‘s city contracts. It‘s even mob ties. It‘s another reminder that it ain‘t Salt Lake City.
CARLSON: Two words, Mike Isikoff. OK, so I can just see every “Newsweek”—and I think it‘s completely justified—but spending the entire course of the general election campaign, every month or so, unearthing a new angle on this. It looks ugly.
O‘BEIRNE: When questions about Rudy Giuliani‘s troubled personal life were raised, he announced I‘m not running as a perfect candidate. He used the same line with respect to the Bernie Kerik stuff. Those Republicans who are looking for contrasts next year, between their candidate and Hillary Clinton, it‘s going to be unwelcome if certain issues, certain vulnerabilities they see in the Clintons, are taken off the table, because their candidate is Rudy Giuliani.
CARLSON: That is a very, very—that is a very smart point. That‘s a very smart point. What did you think of Karl Rove‘s op-ed in the “Wall Street Journal?” Rove wrote this op-ed that basically said, yes, Democrats took over Congress. But so what. They have blown it. Why write that? What was the point of that?
ZIMMERMAN: I‘m not sure, because I feel like that was pretty conventional wisdom at this point. I think that the Democrats have really kind of not done anything when it comes to legislation or—you know, they‘re bringing up the Ottoman Empire in the middle of session. I don‘t understand what‘s happening with the Democratic party. But it doesn‘t seem to be affecting the top.
I mean, the candidates are the voice of the people. They‘re strong. They‘re coming out and being exciting. And yet, the Democrats have gone nowhere. The fact that Karl Rove points this out now strikes me as a non-issue.
CARLSON: What I thought was weird about it was, as a conservative
citizen, it‘s the optimum situation, you know, gridlock, disarray,
confusion, lack of consensus, nothing gets done. It‘s beautiful. It‘s a -
it‘s Christmas for libertarians at this point, when Nancy Pelosi gets nothing enacted. Why complain.
O‘BEIRNE: I agree with you. A much stronger charge against the Congressional majority is not that they‘re not doing their budget bills on time and they haven‘t produced things. It‘s content free. It‘s all process. A much stronger charge—and Karl Rove does do a certain amount of this—is huge increase in spending, proposing huge tax increases. They‘re cutting off funds for our troops in the field. Those, I think, are much more salient criticisms.
I do think I know why he did it, even though all of the charges are familiar from the Republican side. I think he did it because he really enjoys getting the goat of Democrats. And I think he appreciated that an op-ed making those charges, byline by Karl Rove, will drive Democrats nuts.
ZIMMERMAN: Especially since the Republicans did all of that laundry list when they were in charge.
CARLSON: They screwed up pretty bad, which is why the Democrats are in charge now. Here is one point that he made that I thought was smart and worth thinking about. This is on SCHIP? He says this: “the Democrats refused a bipartisan compromise on expanding SCHIP. Instead, wasting precious time sending the president a bill they know he would veto. They did this knowing that they wouldn‘t be able to override that veto. Why? Because their pollsters told them putting the children‘s health care program at risk would score political points. Instead, it left them looking cynical.”
Do you believe that to be true?
ZIMMERMAN: I think it probably is true. I think the fact that Karl Rove of all people is pointing out like, oh, my god, someone‘s being politically savvy, is ridiculous.
CARLSON: Pretty amusing. Here‘s my prediction: in ten years, five years, nuclear power will be an issue endorsed by everybody. We will be the French in five years. What‘s striking to me now is we‘re on the cusp of this energy crisis, maybe even in one, and nobody is even mentioning it. Take a look—this is part of a new ad Hillary Clinton is running in Iowa on energy. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We could create millions of new jobs through new energy. Let‘s start investing in what I have called a Strategic Energy Fund that will put 50 billion dollars to work with wind and solar and bio-fuels. And where would I get the money? I would take away the tax subsidies from the oil companies. They don‘t need your tax dollars any more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you‘re ready for change, she‘s ready to lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I watch that, and I think—literally the first thing I think is Hillary Clinton is smarter than that. That‘s a dumb person‘s ad. But why not do something radical and interesting and smart and say, you know what, it works in France. It can work here. It doesn‘t pollute. Let‘s go nuclear.
O‘BEIRNE: Tucker, you may well be right. Because concern about the environment, including global warming, is bipartisan, when it comes to rank and file people in both parties—because both parties seem to offer very confusing remedies, some of this and a little of this, when nuclear power is right there for us to adopt, anyone serious about eliminating emissions from fossil fuels should be seriously looking at nuclear power. I agree with you. I think it could be definitely sellable like it wouldn‘t have been 30 years ago.
CARLSON: When is that—do you think there‘s a coming change in the consensus on that question?
ZIMMERMAN: I think so, but I don‘t think it‘s an exclusive answer. I think that Hillary‘s ad and a lot of these Democrats plans about alternative fuels, and looking for other sources from wind, from solar, this kind of menu of energy option, I think that is the future. I think we can‘t rely solely on one thing. That‘s what oil taught us.
So while I think that the world is going to have to get used to using nuclear power a lot, and we‘re going to have to start building reactors all over the place, it‘s not going to be the only thing.
O‘BEIRNE: No, but there are parts of the left that will be strenuously opposed. I don‘t think as large a number as would have been the case some time ago. But there is an element that Hillary Clinton still has to appeal to, that would rather we all put on sweaters and buy solar panels and ride bicycles.
CARLSON: I grew up not far from a nuclear reactor and I‘m totally fine, to some extent.
O‘BEIRNE: Exhibit A.
CARLSON: Thank you both very much. With oil close to 100 dollars a barrel, and gas averaging 3.00 dollars a gallon, many Americans are worried about an energy crisis. Could nuclear be the answer, as we were just discussing? Well, Patrick Moore co-chairs the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, along with Christy Todd Whitman. He is also the co-founder of Greenpeace.
Joining us now, Dr. Patrick Moore. Dr. Moore, thanks for coming on.
DR. PATRICK MOORE, CLEAN AND SAFE ENERGY COALITION: Hi, Tucker, good to be here.
CARLSON: Why is the co-founder of Greenpeace endorsing nuclear power of all things?
MOORE: Well, largely because it doesn‘t produce any air pollution or any greenhouse gasses. In fact, we have a choice to make for the future whether, we‘re going to continue building fossil fuel plants, which are dirty and produce a lot of greenhouse gas, or whether we go to cleaner technologies like nuclear.
CARLSON: Didn‘t nuclear power plants kill all those people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
MOORE: Yes, that‘s the problem. Back in the early days of Greenpeace and the environmental movement, we got a lot of things right. But I think we made one serious mistake, in that we tended to lump nuclear energy in with nuclear weapons, as if they were all part of the same Holocaust. We failed to distinguish the beneficial and peaceful uses of the technology from the destructive and even evil uses. I think we need to change our thinking on that.
CARLSON: How many Americans have been killed by nuclear power?
MOORE: In fact, not one American citizen has even been injured by the nuclear power plants in the United States. Everybody thinks of Three Mile Island as some kind of terrible disaster. It was a bad mechanical failure that cost a lot of money. But no member of the public was injured. There have been many follow up health studies on the people who lived around Three Mile Island when that accident happened, and there‘s no evidence of any harm.
CARLSON: So if nuclear power doesn‘t contribute to greenhouse gasses, doesn‘t pollute the air—if we don‘t have to buy it from the Middle East, and if it‘s safe enough that no one‘s been killed by it in this country, what‘s the argument against it?
MOORE: I think a lot of people are kind of stuck in the ‘70s. Tucker, I think it was a very big movement back then. And the anti-nuclear movement included nuclear energy. I think people haven‘t caught up with the fact that climate change has changed the whole climate of the environmental debate on this planet. The one technology that is contributing most to reducing greenhouse gasses in America today is nuclear energy. We could do a tremendous amount to increase that.
CARLSON: Unless you‘re leaving something out, I buy what you‘re saying completely. How then explain this from the Sierra Club—This is the Sierra Club‘s statement on nuclear power: “We oppose the licensing, construction and operation of new nuclear reactors, utilizing the fission process, pending development of adequate national and global policies to curb energy use and unnecessary economic growth.”
They‘re taking a stand against economic growth. You have to be a rich kid to do something like that. Is that the only justification? We‘re just against civilization, so we‘re not for nuclear power?
MOORE: There must be a lot of that in it, because they‘re not only against nuclear energy. They‘re also against hydro electric dams. They‘re also against fossil fuel energy. If you add those three up, that‘s about 99.2 percent of all the energy used in our civilization. They‘re just plain against civilization.
CARLSON: Here‘s a question that maybe you can answer. Why do we in the press take the Sierra Club seriously, when it‘s clearly a lunatic fringe group? Why do we book interviews with them, listen to what they say? This is ludicrous.
MOORE: Well, they have done a lot of good work in wilderness conservation. But what I don‘t understand is they‘re worried about the air quality, say, over the Grand Canyon. That‘s not being caused by nuclear power. That‘s being caused by huge coal fired plants. If those were nuclear plants, the air would be clean.
CARLSON: so, the consensus has got to be changing. I have a couple of liberal friends who are for nuclear power, all of a sudden. I notice that Barack Obama seems to be open to it at least. Are there any other Democrats running for president who are for it? I know Richardson said he‘s not. Hillary is kind of on the fence. Is anybody else for it?
MOORE: I don‘t think anybody else is strongly for it in public. But the Democratic party voted for the Energy Act in 2005, which is clearly in support of nuclear energy. But more and more people are coming to support nuclear energy. I‘m working with Christy Todd Whitman, who is the former governor of New Jersey, with the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition to try to build grass roots support among labor, business and community leaders across the country. It‘s working because people understand these points.
CARLSON: Finally, Dr. Moore, has there ever been—this is a sincere question—a two-headed fish or animal produced by a nuclear power plant?
MOORE: Not that I know of.
CARLSON: OK, just checking. I watch “The Simpsons.” Dr. Moore, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.
MOORE: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: If you were blown away by family ties between Obama and Vice President Dick Cheney, just wait. We‘ve got the blood lines linking Hillary to some of Hollywood‘s hottest stars.
And people in South Korea are simply flushed with joy over the latest attraction. But what message are they trying to send? Bill Wolff tries to decipher the meaning behind the eye-sore you‘re watching. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Have you thought to yourself, I‘d like to cast a vote in the up-coming presidential election. But I can‘t until I find out who Tyra Banks is voting for. If you ever thought that, wonder no more. Joining with us the answers, among others, Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger, the ladies from the “Washington Post‘s” universally read gossip column, “The Reliable Source.”
ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Welcome.
AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Glad to be here.
CARLSON: The suspense is killing me.
ROBERTS: You‘re waiting to hear Tyra‘s pronouncement. Aren‘t you?
ARGETSINGER: We‘ve been tracking—every couple months, we track to see who is doing best in the celebrity primary for 2008. This started early on when Paul Simon was stumping for Chris Dodd. And then Bill Richardson sewed up the very important Whoopi Goldberg vote. We had some new news here this week. Tyra banks—you want to know about Miss Tyra. She has contributed 2,300 dollars to Barack Obama.
ROBERTS: Then Julia Roberts—I love this quote, “she‘s really digging Obama.”
ARGETSINGER: I‘m really digging Obama.
ARGETSINGER: Yes. Chuck Norris has really come out very strongly with a series of essays on a web public publication, World Net Daily, endorsing Mike Hukabee, who is a well rounded real American patriot, avid fisherman, hunter and member of the NRA. That‘s why he is backing him. Finally though, this week, we‘ve all been wondering who Borat—
ROBERTS: This is my favorite. I love this one.
ARGETSINGER: Sasha Baren Cohen in the persona of perpetually offensive, bumpkin Kazakh journalist Borat—he tells Reuters that, “I cannot believe that it possible a woman can become premiere of U.S. and A. In Kazakstan, we say that to give a woman power is like to give a monkey a gun, very dangerous. We do not give monkeys guns anymore in Kazakstan. I personally would like the basketball player Barack Obama to be premiere.
ROBERTS: That cracks me up every time.
CARLSON: Has Obama responded to that?
ARGETSINGER: No. One can only assume he‘s grateful.
ROBERTS: Wisely, I think, he‘s retained a certain silence about this.
CARLSON: You all have been doing a little genealogical work, and dug into Hillary Clinton‘s background.
ARGETSINGER: Yes. We broke the news a couple weeks ago that Fred Thompson is 8th cousins to Elvis Presley. But that was—we were only scratching the surface there. We found out last week that Hillary Clinton is kin to the most controversial and polarizing and powerful women of the past decade.
She is 10th cousins to—wait for this—Angelina Jolie, Madonna and Camilla Parker Bowles (ph).
ROBERTS: That‘s right. I forgot about Camilla. I‘m convinced—honestly I‘m convinced that I must be related to her. Amy must be related to her. Tucker, I bet you you‘re—if you go back far enough, I bet we can find a way that—
CARLSON: I was thinking that same exact thing. We‘re going back to Lucy in the Rift Valley.
ARGETSINGER: We‘re going back to the 1600‘s and a bunch of French people who immigrated to Canada.
ARGETSINGER: I figure if Dick Cheney and Barack Obama are related, then basically anybody is related. Absolutely.
CARLSON: You know, you—the essence of your message, one world. I appreciate it. You‘re bringing the world together.
ROBERTS: That‘s our mission. That‘s our mission.
CARLSON: You‘re succeeding. Thank you very much.
ARGETSINGER: Thank you.
ROBERTS: You‘re welcome.
CARLSON: Up next, O.J. Simpson was in court today in Las Vegas. What happened? We have no idea. But Bill Wolff does. He joins us next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. I sincerely have no idea what this next segment will be about. But I‘m looking at the teleprompter and I see the phrase, snake guy. So I know it‘s going to be good. Joining us now to tell us, Bill Wolff.
BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you for not implying that I‘m the snake guy, Tucker. As you know, I am not neither a snake, nor do I like snakes. But, as you know, as we reported, yesterday was Guinnes World Record day, and the official stance of this television segment was against it.
However, a man in Texas earned his way on to this program despite his connection to Guinnes. Jack Bibby (ph) of Dublin, Texas spent 45 minutes this week in a tub full of 87 rattle snakes. Coincidentally, there was an established official Guinnes Record for sitting in a tub full of snakes. It was also held by Binny, and 87 broke the record by 12. Shattered the record, I might say. Quite a feat, if by feat you mean act of utter reckless insanity, Tucker.
CARLSON: It‘s also repulsive, if I can make that obvious point.
WOLFF: Well, 45 minutes with 87 snakes; sounds like lunch in Beverly Hills to me. A little show business joke for you, Tucker. Now an update to a story we first reported some weeks ago in this space; Dateline Swan City, South Korea, where the world‘s first toilet house is now complete. And thank god, there it is, in all of its porcelain glory. Its creator, Sim Jai Duck (ph), long ago earned the title Mr. Toilet for beautifying the public restrooms of his country for the 1988 Olympics and the 2002 World Cup.
This is his Chez Douve (ph). For 50,000 dollars, Tucker, you can stay in the toilet house. The money will go directly to the World Toilet Association. I did not make that up. This master work comes complete with a centerpiece bathroom, a toilet within a toilet, if you will, with floor to ceiling windows that fog up for privacy at the touch of a button. Putting two and two together, Tucker, I bet that house has an extensive periodical section.
CARLSON: You think the “New Yorker” or “US Weekly?”
WOLFF: Well, I‘m a big “US Weekly” guy, as you know. But the “New Yorker,” they tend to be longer more involved pieces. So I guess it all depends, doesn‘t it.
CARLSON: You ever notice that a richer a country gets, the more deranged it becomes?
WOLFF: I would say the toilet house is deranged. You understand that this guy is actually trying to raise public consciousness to the fact that there are like literally two billion people in the world who don‘t have proper sanitation facilities. It‘s just that a toilet house seems an odd way to do it.
CARLSON: Right. It‘s one thing to get a toilet, another to worship it.
WOLFF: Or live in it. I can think of very few things worse. More news from Asia now, where the Tom Cruise 1988 film masterpiece “Cocktail” has apparently had more influence than it did here in the United States. Dateline, Macaw, where bartenders from across that continent gathered to compete for title of best flair tender. Contestants got five minutes to show off before four dead serious judges. The winner isn‘t that guy, although He‘s very, very talented. But it is, in fact, that guy, dressed as Spider-Man.
In reality he‘s an 18-year-old from Thailand who was apparently bitten by a radioactive spider with a yen for hooch. There you go. Spidey is the winner. Would you take a drink made by that man?
CARLSON: No, I really wouldn‘t. I like my bartenders to be out of costume so I know what I‘m getting.
WOLFF: With the towel around the belt, and a kind ear for a sad story, Tucker. That‘s how I like my bartenders.
CARLSON: That guy looks lacking in empathy.
WOLFF: He‘s 18. What does he know about getting drunk from your sorrows. You know, 18? How does he know what a cocktail is, quite frankly.
CARLSON: Or a sorrow is, for that matter.
WOLFF: Precisely and well said, my friend. Finally, it‘s beginning to look a lot like Christmas right around here at Rockefeller Plaza, where green week moved toward its conclusion with 84 foot high burst of green. That, sir, is the 75th annual Christmas tree here at Rockefeller Center. And it was raised right outside the windows here, right over there, not very far. It came, Tucker, from somebody‘s yard in Connecticut. I think the people who owned it agreed to it.
They‘re going to string up decorations and then they‘re going to light that thing up on November 28th. Merry Christmas, a few days early to you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Who‘s yard in Connecticut did that tree come from, Bill?
WOLFF: I have to plead ignorance. I‘m going to tell you the truth. I get these stories off a web site and they give you a very brief summary of the news. It‘s kind of the cheapest possible way to report anything. I just kind of say what‘s written there.
There it is. I‘m not much of a reporter, Tucker. There I said it.
CARLSON: Basically, the normal defense is, I don‘t make it up; I‘m merely reporting it. But your defense is, I just pull it off a random website.
WOLFF: It‘s not a random website. It‘s a specific website. I do pull it off. Can you imagine how much popcorn they are going to put on thread to cover that thing.
WOLFF: Take all night, man.
CARLSON: Bill Wolff, at 30 Rock in New York. Thanks a lot, Bill.
WOLFF: Have great weekend.
CARLSON: You too. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We‘ll be back Monday. Have a terrific weekend. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews, live.
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