Guests: Pat Buchanan, Bill Press, Al Sharpton, Rep. Charlie Rangel
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: The Democratic presidential candidates have spent the last couple of weeks trading sound bites and press releases like so many jabs and uppercuts. Tonight, Hillary Clinton and her pursuers will come face to face in Las Vegas in the latest pre-primary debate.
Welcome to the show.
Yesterday Hillary Clinton tried to clarify her almost impenetrable position on giving drivers‘ licenses to illegal aliens, and her Democratic competitors immediately bashed her for it. Will Obama Edwards and Dodd and Biden keep it up when she‘s actually in the room with them tonight? Who will be the primary attacker, and at what risk?
Pat Buchanan and Bill Press join us in just a moment for a preview.
And while Senator Clinton speaks directly in her defense tonight, her campaign promotes an Iowa caucus video that is generally funny.
Here‘s a selection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wouldn‘t you like to take a big bite of sizzling, grade A beef smothered in melted cheese, pickles, tomatoes and mayonnaise?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exercising is hard.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (singing): O‘er the land of the free and the home of the...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Singing is hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton makes you laugh. You don‘t see that every day.
Will Iowa caucus-goers be charmed into her camp on January 3rd?
Also today, the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives yet again has passed a war appropriations bill and yet again attached a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq. And yet again, the measure is universally expected to fail.
Later in the hour, the man who controls the purse strings, Ways and Means chairman Charlie Rangel, joins us to talk about Congress‘ 41st attempt to end the war in Iraq.
All that, plus the Reverend Al Sharpton will join us in just a moment to talk politics and explain the protest he is going to be leading tomorrow in Washington.
But we begin with Senator Clinton and the debate tonight.
Here with their pre-game analysis, we welcome MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press.
Welcome to you both.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Tucker.
CARLSON: The one thing we know is that Governor Spitzer‘s driver‘s license plan is going to come up tonight. So, for some background, the sound bite that started it all, here‘s Hillary Clinton‘s answer to the question in the previous debate. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: It makes a lot of sense. What is the governor supposed to do?
He is dealing with a serious problem. We have failed and George Bush has failed.
Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation trying to get a handle on this?
Remember, in New York, we want to know who is in New York. We want people to come out of the shadows. He‘s making an honest effort to do it. We should have passed immigration reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Pat, when I am BS‘ing I talk extra fast hoping people wouldn‘t notice. That‘s clearly what Senator Clinton was doing. She came out yesterday and said she‘s glad the plan has been dropped.
She‘s going to be asked about this more than once, most likely. What is she going to say?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I don‘t know what she‘s going to say about the flip-flop and all the rest of it, but I think that she‘s taken the right position. So did Spitzer.
I mean, Spitzer was dropping like a stone, he‘s 25 percent. Hillary Clinton is taking a hit on it, she‘s dropping.
You can‘t take this position, as we talked about I think last week.
BUCHANAN: You can‘t take this position into a presidential campaign and win.
CARLSON: You called it.
BUCHANAN: I mean, that is worth three or four points gone. And Hillary Clinton and Obama can‘t afford this, and Obama is still out there on it.
I think she did the right thing. She‘s going to take her hit tonight. But move on. It was the worst two weeks of the campaign, but I think she took the surgery today, and I think it was the right thing to do.
CARLSON: So she‘s going to say—she‘s going to be asked tonight, no doubt—Wolf Blitzer likely will ask her, what is your position, Senator Clinton? You appear to be on both sides of it. Where are you now?
To which she says what?
PRESS: She says she—she says what she said today, that as president she would never support drivers‘ licenses for people who are here illegally. I think politically I agree with that. She finally came to the right position. And If I were Hillary Clinton, what I would love to see her do tonight is turn to Barack Obama and say, by the way, Barack, why do you still support this?
CARLSON: Exactly. Do you think—and by the way, John Edwards, who is...
PRESS: And John Edwards.
CARLSON: ... an actual threat in Iowa, is on the record saying he‘s for giving real drivers‘ licenses to illegal aliens.
PRESS: I think this is a great opportunity tonight on two issues for Hillary to turn the tables. One is on illegal immigration—Barack, why do you support this? And if they come back to that Iran resolution for which she was hammered the last time, turn to Barack Obama and say, by the way, Barack Obama, how did you vote on that Iran resolution? Because we all know he ducked the vote. He wasn‘t there.
Edwards—I mean, Biden was there, Dodd was there, Clinton was there. He was off campaigning in New Hampshire.
CARLSON: Definitely. I agree.
BUCHANAN: He‘s liable to say, Tucker, look, I do support drivers‘ licenses for illegal aliens, and it didn‘t take me two weeks to make up my mind. So, I mean, I don‘t know if I‘d go after—you never ask somebody a question you don‘t know what the answer they‘re going to give you is to. So I‘m not sure I would do it that way.
She would say, that‘s my position, the others have different positions.
But I wouldn‘t get into an exchange over it.
CARLSON: I suspect no one at the debate will speak as clearly to say, “I support drivers‘ licenses for illegal aliens.” That‘s too—that‘s too straight forward, you know. “I support some form of identification card for would-be Americans,” or something like that.
PRESS: Obama will say, let me go to the bigger issue here.
CARLSON: Right. It will—it will turn into a sociology course, as it always does.
CARLSON: You think they‘re going to go after on the planting the question?
Her campaign famously recently planted a question on global warming.
BUCHANAN: What I would do is, you know, don‘t go after her. Just—you can throw it in as a light line to reference it.
BUCHANAN: That‘s what I would do. I mean, you don‘t want—the confrontation stuff is always risky. But if you throw in something like that and a light line, everybody will get it and there will be a lot of laughter. And that‘s what you want to do.
PRESS: I think Pat‘s on to something. I think the—I know everybody is talking about the pressures on Hillary tonight. She‘s got to show that she‘s back on her game, and she does in a sense.
I think the real pressure is on John Edwards and Barack Obama tonight, because the least little criticism of Hillary tonight is going to be interpreted as piling on, ganging up, they‘re still at it. I think they have really got to be making their points of what they want to do. Not ignore Hillary, but they have got to be careful, very careful.
CARLSON: But look—but I think you make a smart point, but, on the other hand, look at the effects of their attacks on her in the last debate. They were wary of doing that.
Barack Obama is clearly afraid of her, probably rightly. But they finally come out and pile on, and her numbers drop. And she—her campaign clearly can‘t handle it very well. They get all tense.
BUCHANAN: And they drop because of her—I thought she was—even in the last debate, she was getting beat up. She was handling it well, it was just when she got into the mess over the drivers‘ licenses...
BUCHANAN: ... back and forth, back and forth. And the second, third, fourth, fifth day they really beat her down. But I thought other than that, I thought she handled the beating pretty well.
CARLSON: You think they‘re going to pull back and not be as aggressive?
PRESS: I think the risk is that they will look too aggressive. I think they know that and I think they will pull back.
BUCHANAN: Look, Edwards is—he‘s got to go for it. I mean, he wins Iowa or he goes back to North Carolina for good. And I think if he has to go after her, he will do it.
CARLSON: What does he do there, by the way?
CARLSON: Since he has no job but presidential candidate.
BUCHANAN: He helps the poor. He works down in New Orleans and places like that.
You‘ve seen him down there, Tucker.
CARLSON: Oh, of course I have.
BUCHANAN: Habitat for Humanity.
PRESS: He can also go back and make a lot of money as a trial lawyer.
CARLSON: How much more money do you need?
BUCHANAN: He needs to heat that House.
CARLSON: It will be interesting. I‘m watching.
PRESS: This is the most watched—will be, I think, the most-watched debate.
BUCHANAN: Oh, yes. Everybody‘s watching this. It‘s the second Schmeling-
CARLSON: Reverend Al Sharpton and hundreds of other people headed to Louisiana to proprotest the treatment of the so-called Jena Six. Tomorrow they‘re coming to Washington and heading to the Justice Department to call attention to what they call is a wave of hate crimes across this country.
Mr. Sharpton joins us in a minute to explain.
Plus, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney calls Hillary care bad medicine. But what about the deadline for Mitt care that‘s now forcing residents of his state, Massachusetts, to sign up for universal health coverage or else?
This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Is the federal government ignoring a rash of hate crimes? Well, that‘s what the Reverend Al Sharpton may say tomorrow as he and the son of Martin Luther King, Jr. lead a march on the Justice Department here in Washington.
Well, where exactly are these crimes taking place and why is the government ignoring them? Here to tell us, the founder of the National Action Network, the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Reverend, thanks for coming on.
AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Good afternoon. Evening, I should say.
CARLSON: Will it be difficult to lead a protest against an epidemic that doesn‘t exist? According to the Justice Department, they are prosecuting fewer hate crimes than they have in the past 10 years. Over the past 10 years, the number of hate crimes reported to them has gone down by 60 percent.
So if this is an epidemic, it‘s not reflected in the numbers.
SHARPTON: In the last 10 years they have prosecuted 71 percent lower than percentage-wise it was. One of the reasons why there are many not reported is because people don‘t have confidence they‘ll do anything about them.
If you look at what‘s going on around the country today, hangman nooses found all over from Maryland, here, to Columbia University, all over the country. Not one of them has the federal government intervene and prosecuted.
But then you have the high-profile cases that we‘re looking at today, Jena, where in the House Judiciary Committee the U.S. attorney testified that he could have prosecuted those students, the white students that hung the noose. He chose not to.
Megan Williams in West Virginia, certainly there could be a hate crime there. They raped her for a week, called her the N-word. If that‘s not a hate crime, what is?
I mean, when you look at all of these cases, how can all of them be beyond the scope of the federal government?
CARLSON: OK. Those are all appalling cases in one way or another, though probably more complicated once you get down to the details of them. But the fact is, a 60 percent drop in reported hate crimes doesn‘t suggest that it‘s getting worse, it suggests it‘s getting a lot better.
SHARPTON: First of all, in my judgment, as I said, in the judgment of Mr. King and others that are leading the march, the reports went down because the confidence in the Justice Department...
CARLSON: But how do we know that?
SHARPTON: Just a minute. The other point of this is, even if—let‘s say your argument is right, that the reports went down. How do you explain that the reports that were received, you prosecuted 71 percent less than were reported?
So you want to argue whether it is 100 or 10. I want to argue out of the 10 you‘re not doing what was done by the Justice Department before you.
CARLSON: How many—how many black Americans were killed in hate crimes last year?
SHARPTON: I would ask the Justice Department.
SHARPTON: Whether it‘s thousands or one, the Justice Department is supposed to do its job.
CARLSON: Well, you‘re leading a protest about it, so you don‘t know how many died?
SHARPTON: I‘m leading a protest saying the Justice Department has a mandate to protect the civil rights of its citizens. And whether those citizens are 50,000 or 10,000, the defense should not be, oh, you have got to have a certain number for us to do our job.
CARLSON: I‘m not saying that. I‘m just wondering. I‘m just wondering, if this is such a pressing problem that it demands your attention...
SHARPTON: That‘s correct.
CARLSON: ... and the attention of hundreds of thousands of other people, I want to know the scope of the problem. I want to know how many people are injured and die every year. Any other crime we‘ve got statistics for it. What are the statistics here?
SHARPTON: The statistics are that 71 percent of the crimes reported to this Justice Department are not being prosecuted. And that is a huge increase over the last 10 years. And you—government has a responsibility, as it does in every other area, to take care of what it is mandated to do by law.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
SHARPTON: And that is what the protest is about. Where is the civil rights division on critical civil rights issues?
CARLSON: Here is my question, though. I‘m not saying there aren‘t racists out there. I‘m not saying there are no hate crimes. Of course there are, and it‘s a tragedy. But I am saying maybe this isn‘t the most pressing problem in black America.
Maybe we need to have the majority of black children born out of wedlock, maybe that‘s a slightly bigger deal.
SHARPTON: And that is a big deal.
CARLSON: So where is the march for that? I‘ve never seen one.
SHARPTON: Oh, well then you haven‘t been watching.
CARLSON: I live here. I never miss a march.
SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I can tell you a few you missed.
CARLSON: An illegitimacy...
SHARPTON: We had many marches, rallies, all kinds of things around that.
CARLSON: Really? Name one.
SHARPTON: But Tucker...
CARLSON: A get married march.
SHARPTON: First of all, you don‘t say this is a problem, but I want you to deal with this problem. Look, we should be dealing with all of the problems. And there has been no march on Justice on this issue. And to act as though you are going to reassign people‘s concern on bias to think that they‘re already dealing with is absolutely ridiculous.
CARLSON: I‘m merely saying if you can‘t name off the top of your head—I can name, you know, 10 people who were raped or murdered. If you can‘t name 10 people who died in hate crimes last year, and on the other hand you have a community in which, again, the majority of children born out of wedlock, that‘s a tragedy. Everybody recognizes it.
SHARPTON: I just named you several cases from Megan Williams in West Virginia to the case in Jena, to—I just named you several cases that the Justice Department should have dealt with. Should we deal with out of wedlock birth at the same time? Absolutely. But that doesn‘t excuse the Justice Department.
CARLSON: I‘m not suggesting it does. I‘m saying it‘s a waste of time and energy.
SHARPTON: What you‘re trying to do—no, it‘s not a waste of time.
CARLSON: Of course it is.
SHARPTON: If you were a victim of these situations, if you were in a situation, this Justice Department says that blacks are three times more likely to be incarcerated for the same crime, same criminal background. If you were victimized by an unequal criminal justice system, it would be important to you.
CARLSON: Wait a second. Wait a second. You‘re telling...
SHARPTON: I can understand you not feeling it‘s important because you‘re not victimized.
CARLSON: Oh, OK. I‘m a racist too, I guess.
SHARPTON: I said you weren‘t a racist.
CARLSON: I just don‘t care. That must be it. I‘m hardhearted. Right.
SHARPTON: I‘ll give you an example. Last week, Abe Foxman, the head of ADL, and I put out a joint statement about we should stop the federal government, others should step in more on swastikas and on hangman nooses. So I guess he and I are just—should be dealing with other things. I think that those in civil rights deal with civil rights. Those with civil rights violations.
CARLSON: I‘m merely saying—I‘m merely saying—first of all, it‘s not a civil rights violation to have a noose. You can have ugly opinions in this country if you want.
SHARPTON: Civil rights. It is a civil rights violation. It is a civil rights violation to hang up a swastika or a hangman noose in a workplace threatening people based on...
CARLSON: I agree. That‘s exactly—OK.
SHARPTON: But that is what—don‘t distort what the march is about.
CARLSON: I‘m merely saying, if you‘re trying to lift up and protect a community...
SHARPTON: What you‘re trying to do...
CARLSON: ... this is a comically irrelevant, comically—sadly irrelevant subject.
SHARPTON: You‘re talking about your march.
Our march is to protect people‘s civil rights. What you‘re trying to do—you should be in the Democratic debate today. You‘re trying to change the premise and argue your premise.
Your premise is correct, it just happens not to be ours. Ours is to protect people‘s civil rights. Unfortunately for your argument, you don‘t have to qualify to get civil rights in this country. Everyone is supposed to have them, and it‘s the federal government‘s job to protect them. And that‘s what the march is about tomorrow.
CARLSON: You just haven‘t, of course, established that they‘re not doing that.
But I guess we‘re going to have to go.
SHARPTON: Four times.
SHARPTON: Seventy-one percent decrease.
CARLSON: But you have—I‘m sorry to inject logic into this. You haven‘t established that the cases they‘re not prosecuting were actually crimes. Every prosecutor has discretion. He gets to decide what‘s a crime and what‘s not everywhere at the state, local, federal level.
SHARPTON: With a 71 percent decrease, as I quoted again—maybe you don‘t listen when I‘m talking.
CARLSON: I hang on every word.
SHARPTON: I just said the U.S. attorney—the U.S. attorney said at a Judiciary Committee hearing, we could have prosecuted in Jena. We chose not to. He didn‘t say it wasn‘t a crime. In fact, he said it was a crime.
They chose not to. So we‘re not talking about crimes that were not crimes. We are not talking about crimes that they said they couldn‘t have prosecuted. He said we could have, we chose not to.
There are those of us that say that the Justice Department can not continue to choose not to.
CARLSON: All right.
The Reverend Al Sharpton.
Good luck tomorrow.
SHARPTON: Thank you so much.
CARLSON: Former book publisher Judith Regan says she was told to lie about her affair with Bernard Kerik. Rudy Giuliani calls it gossip. Maybe so, but will it hurt his campaign?
And then a new Clinton campaign ad suggests America better get ready for another two-for-one presidential run. Are voters excited for that?
You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics and for the Reverend Al Sharpton.
We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney getting a taste of his own medicine? Today is the deadline for Massachusetts residents to get health insurance or risk penalties under a plan Romney signed while he was governor of that state. After today, most insurers in Massachusetts will not guarantee coverage by November 31st. And those who do not have coverage by then will lose their personal tax exemption on the next state income tax form.
Does that sound like socialized medicine to you?
Well, back with us, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press.
CARLSON: ... all this talk about everybody needs health care and we need a national solution to a national problem, when it comes right down to it, what you‘re talking about is forcing people to do things they don‘t necessarily want to do, like buy health care. There is a—you know, a compulsion in here. They‘re making you do something.
Do you think most Americans get that?
PRESS: I think most Americans are for universal health care. And I think Romney is making a mistake by running away from this.
You have got two Republican governors, Romney and Schwarzenegger, who have put a universal health care plan in place. They didn‘t just talk about it, they did it.
And whether it‘s a perfect plan or not, it‘s Romney‘s plan. So I think he ought to be up there defending this plan and saying, look, with this plan, everybody‘s covered. It‘s cheaper in the long run for everybody, so you save lives, you save money, it‘s a good plan, and every governor ought to take my—take—you know, follow my example.
CARLSON: I still am moved, really, in my soul by the chutzpah it took for Mitt Romney to attack Hillary Clinton‘s plan.
BUCHANAN: Well, you know, your point‘s well—look, if the Republican Party is about anything, it‘s about freedom.
BUCHANAN: It‘s not about coercion. Now, I can understand why you have got to have automobile insurance, because if you bang into another guy, he‘s got to be taken care of.
CARLSON: Of course.
BUCHANAN: But not yourself.
Look, when we were in college we had friends who joined insurance companies that are coming around trying to sell us life insurance. You know, it would cost you a buck, and we‘d say, get out of here, I don‘t want it. And if a kid doesn‘t want to buy health insurance or a guy doesn‘t want to buy health insurance for himself, he ought to be free not to do it, for heavens sakes, in a free society.
PRESS: Pat, but here‘s the difference.
CARLSON: Of course.
PRESS: Here‘s the difference. When everybody is not covered, what happens is you have got a lot of people, they put off getting any health care, then they go to the emergency room and you and I pay for them. The cost of health care goes up to cover all these people who are uninsured. So Romney...
BUCHANAN: But no, no. We pay for the care and then he goes into bankruptcy court, where he ought to be.
CARLSON: But wait a second, Bill. I mean, you were a philosophy major.
You know that that‘s a big step.
When we decide that everything you do has an affect on me, therefore I get to determine what you can and cannot do based on that, you basically have no free will left. I can determine what you eat, who you sleep with, where you live, because your health is now my business.
Do we really want to be in that society?
PRESS: Not to get too philosophical, it is a slippery slope, but there‘s some things we have decided that it‘s good that government requires—seat belts, helmets on...
CARLSON: I‘ve not decided that. I think those are totally authoritarian.
You can‘t make me protect myself.
PRESS: You haven‘t, but most people accept that.
CARLSON: I don‘t.
PRESS: And most governments—it‘s required everywhere across the country.
CARLSON: Protect yourself or we‘ll kill you. That‘s the message.
PRESS: OK. Drivers—driving—car insurance is another one.
PRESS: And health insurance, I think, is going to be the same way.
CARLSON: You should say that‘s liability.
BUCHANAN: I think you should have a kid—you should have a kid belted in the car, but if the driver is dumb enough that he doesn‘t want—doesn‘t, you know, buckle up or doesn‘t want to buckle up, he‘s making a mistake. But once you get into coercion on individuals, that‘s not what this government is all about.
CARLSON: But why shouldn‘t I be able to say who you sleep with? Your sex -- I mean, seriously. There are health ramifications based on your sexual behavior, of course. I may be—I may be financially liable under your way of thinking for those ramifications. You get sick from the sex you‘re having and I‘ve got to pay for it.
Why shouldn‘t I be able to control who you sleep with?
BUCHANAN: Should we shut down all the gay bars? Should we shut down the gay bars?
PRESS: Yes, but wait. Let‘s get back to the topic here.
CARLSON: No, that is the topic.
PRESS: I know what the topic is.
BUCHANAN: The topic is freedom.
PRESS: We can disagree on this plan or on whether or not you think universal health care is a good thing. But I would make this argument, after the war in Iraq, I think health care is going to be the biggest issue in the 2008 campaign.
CARLSON: No doubt. I think you‘re right.
PRESS: Mitt Romney has got a plan, Schwarzenegger has got a plan. He‘s a governor, he did it.
He can‘t deny it. He can‘t run away from it.
So, my point is, make it a positive and say, listen, these guys may talk the talk, I walk the walk. I put a plan...
CARLSON: He will. But...
PRESS: He‘s running away from it.
CARLSON: Well, that...
PRESS: He‘s attacking Hillary Clinton.
BUCHANAN: Drivers‘ licenses will trump health care.
CARLSON: No, I think that‘s—I think that‘s right.
BUCHANAN: You watch. Immigration will trump it, Bill. When you get down to the end of this campaign, amnesty is going to be the big word. It‘s not going to be universal health insurance.
CARLSON: All right.
PRESS: Pat, you want to make it that.
CARLSON: We will be right back.
Bill Clinton has been vocal recently on the campaign trail. Is the country ready for another two-for-one presidency?
Plus, Democrats are 0 for 40 in their attempts to end the war in Iraq. Now they‘re trying for the 41st time. The chairman of the House and Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel, will join us in a moment with the odds.
You‘re watching MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wouldn‘t you like to take a bite of grade a beef smothered in cheese, pickle, tomato and mayonnaise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exercising is hard.
Dancing is hard.
Singing is hard.
Caucusing is easy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simple, huh? Unlike some other things.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Say what you want about Bill and Hillary Clinton, they‘re skilled campaigners. Will their latest attempt at charm and humor shore up support among Iowa caucus goers, who have lately made the Democratic race into a three-way tie. Here again, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press.
I have to say, if you watch this whole thing—and you should—I don‘t say this lightly, it‘s very entertaining. You can not help but be charmed by this. And it seem to me this is exactly what Hillary Clinton needs. If Hillary Clinton makes you laugh—
BUCHANAN: What it says is they‘re both good sports. They‘re laughing at their own flaws and they‘re using them to make a point, come on out. It‘s very soft and it‘s very friendly and it shows they‘re good sports and likable. Whenever Hillary is in that role—and she‘s been in that a number of times, kidding about her husband—do I know about evil, wicked men? When she does that, she adds people who are not with her ideologically, and she helps herself across the board.
CARLSON: There is nothing more appealing than self-deprecating humor. You watch her sing—I mean, It took a lot of brass to put that—she‘s a bad singer. I am too. I‘m not mocking her. She‘s bad. That was embarrassing. And she put it up anyway. I‘m impressed.
PRESS: You know what I like about that spot—I watched the whole thing—it is trying to encourage people to come out—it is meant to encourage people to come out to the caucuses, particularly people who have never been there before. And it tells you how to do it. It‘s easy. Get there by 6:30 p.m. because the doors close at 7:00. It‘s got all this great video. And it never says, come and vote for Hillary. It doesn‘t have to.
It just says, come in here, you‘ll be greeted by some Hillary people. Come over to this corner. People have Hillary buttons. It‘s such an effective, soft sell. It is very, very clever.
BUCHANAN: In fact, we‘re using it here on television. Hundreds of thousands of more people are seeing it.
CARLSON: For a Hillary Clinton video to get me to laugh and be charmed, that‘s not easy.
BUCHANAN: Frankly, her first kick-off video—they put it out on cable, and it was on MSNBC. i saw it. I said, this is terrific. It was very soft and it‘s a conversation we‘re going to have.
PRESS: We‘re also seeing here, it‘s people of all ages. You have college kids and older folks, too. One girl who says she‘s not 17 yet, but she will be next November. So, I mean, it lays it all out there. Tucker, there is hope for you yet when you have something good to say about Hillary.
CARLSON: Now you‘ve got the one thing in the video that annoyed me, that idea that you would be targeting kids, 17 year olds to go and caucus for a political candidate infuriated me. One, most 17 year olds have no idea what they believe, what they should be caucusing for. They are just tools of other people. And, two, let‘s keep kids out of politics.
BUCHANAN: I understand that half of the people coming to the Democratic caucus have never been to one before, and this is aimed, I think, at the older folks to say, come on out; it‘s no big problem, no big deal and it‘s no big hassle. It‘s a lot of fun. Come on out to the caucuses.
PRESS: It‘s aimed at the young and the old. She needs them all.
Tucker, those 17 year olds, they‘re voters.
CARLSON: They never—we have never seen a race where they have had a definitive role. And, of course, if they come out in force, Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee. You wonder how hard she‘s pitching them. This is a perfect role I think for her husband. He‘s a pretty good actor. He always looks good in the Christmas videos they would do at the White House.
CARLSON: He‘s a ham. But David Broder has this really interesting piece today, in which he says the biggest problem facing the Democrats in this election, which, obviously, favors Democrats, is not Hillary‘s sex or Barack Obama‘s race; it‘s the idea that you would put a former president back into the White House. People are very weary of that. A lot of people don‘t like it. Do you agree with that, Bill?
PRESS: No. Some people are, it‘s true. I hear it among Democratic friend around the country. But I still come to—we‘ve talked about this before—Bill Clinton is a huge plus to Hillary Clinton. There‘s no doubt about it. He‘s the most popular politician on the plant, most popular former president ever, and I think people see him as—they pine for the days of Bill Clinton. Democrats do today. I think it‘s a net plus across the board.
CARLSON: That‘s because the memory of Bill Clinton has faded. It‘s like one of those Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds ads.
CARLSON: I‘m not attacking Clinton or the 1990‘s. I‘m just saying that when you hear Clinton speak, you‘re reminded that he‘s deeply self-centered and very annoying and he can‘t stop talking.
PRESS: No, you realize how articulate he is and how much he understands the problems and how on top of his game he is, compared to the guy we have there now.
BUCHANAN: He‘s outstanding in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. When you go national, I don‘t think he‘s all that popular nationally, when you go to the whole country. And he brings back a lot of memories. And all this stuff about the little woman putting his arm around her, and they‘re ganging up on Hillary and doing this—I think there is a paternalism to this. You wonder, is she going to be the commander in chief when she has her husband defending her against John Edwards, for heaven‘s sakes?
CARLSON: She wouldn‘t be there if he hadn‘t been the commander in chief. Broder makes the point that I hadn‘t seen anybody really articulate before, which is what is his practical role going it be? He‘s going to be living—the former president is going to be living in the White House. She, of course, had a significant role in his first term, at least, if not the second. What is he going to do all day?
PRESS: She has said that she will use him, if he‘s willing—and I think he is certainly willing—as some sort of a good will global ambassador. Let me tell you something, Bill Clinton is smart enough. He‘s not going it get in Hillary‘s way.
CARLSON: If he‘s so smart, then why did he cause trouble for her campaign this week or last week when he comes out and accuses her opponents of being sexist. That‘s not smart, but he did it anyway, because he can‘t control himself.
PRESS: He‘s defending his wife, which I think most people accept and understand.
BUCHANAN: You defend the little lady. You don‘t defend the president of the United States.
PRESS: He‘s not half as outspoken as Elizabeth Edwards. People accept that. Bill Clinton is going to be out there campaigning for Hillary. Good for him.
CARLSON: Yes, I don‘t think Elizabeth Edwards helps her husband all that much. But I think, because of the gender differences, it matters. Hillary‘s whole task here is to seem strong enough to defeat terror and protect the country.
BUCHANAN: Her campaign is, I am not simply Bill Clinton‘s wife; I‘m an experienced, knowledgeable, public official, a senator and a president of the United States. When he puts her back in the wife role, he reduces her, Bill.
PRESS: Pat, I disagree. He is a great asset, and I think she is using him very skillfully in this campaign. He does not overshadow her at all.
BUCHANAN: Her staff is not happy about some of the paternalism.
CARLSON: It‘s going to get worse. Probably because also they‘re screaming man-hating feminists, too. That may be an issue, as well. Bernie Kerik indicted this week. Also, this week, Judith Regan comes out claiming that she was asked by her employer to lie about her relationship with Bernie Kerik in order to help Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani thus far has written it off, dismissed it as gossip. Is it any more than gossip? Will this hurt him?
BUCHANAN: This is a preemptive strike by Judith Regan and a very effective one. She splashes a little bit of mud on him. There‘s no connection, you can see when you go through it. The problem is, Tucker, he‘s been three days—Rudy Giuliani is out there in Iowa and they‘re saying what about Judith Regan and Kerik and what about this? He says, I‘m not going to talk about a gossip story. And that‘s three days wasted campaigning. It‘s negative stuff. Our campaign is 24/7 on this issue and I think it‘s hurting Rudy to a degree. I don‘t think it has drawn blood on him yet, but it is a little stink.
PRESS: Plus, you‘ve got more to come. You‘ve got the Judith Regan trial, when that goes to trial, and the Bernie Kerik trial, because he is going to fight his charges. This thing is not going to go away. All I‘ve got to say is, I don‘t know how much it will hurt him. But if I were John McCain, if I were Fred Thompson, if I were Mitt Romney, I would be using this. Damn right. And I‘d be saying, hey, if he made those kind of mistakes in judgment as mayor, just think the guys that he could bring into the White House.
BUCHANAN: What you raise, Tucker, is people are saying, wait a minute, is there some bomb that is going to go off in the middle of this campaign we don‘t know about? We have this guy as a nominee and you get an Eagleton (ph) problem and boom.
CARLSON: When is this toast going to pop. We have been talking all week about this kind of remarkable—it seems to me the disintegration of, at least the splintering of the evangelical movement. Rudy Giuliani getting Pat Robertson‘s endorsement; National Right to Life going to Fred Thompson after these pro-choice remarks on “Meet The Press.” It seems to me, the long-term effect of this is pretty significant. Without the evangelicals strongly behind—united behind the Republicans in coming elections, I don‘t see how you get a Republican president elected.
BUCHANAN: The one thing that they‘re all counting on, and it‘s probably reliable—they should—is Hillary can bring them together for the last hurrah.
CARLSON: Because she is who she is.
BUCHANAN: Because she is who she is, yes, I think she will. And the Supreme Court justice is going to be a huge issue in the fall. I mean, everybody has promised another Scalia. And that will bring them together and Hillary will bring them together. But I agree with you. The fragmentation that has taken place, the—some people we won‘t even vote for Giuliani and Robertson endorses him. There‘s no doubt that—that whole movement is part of the Reagan coalition --
CARLSON: When all these—the small issues have been forgotten and the Republican party goes in to the next or two elections from now with no united based on evangelicals, who is the Republican base?
PRESS: I think this is hugely significant, because of the fact that they‘re split all over the place, as you point, which will have an impact in two ways, it seems to me. One, in the choice of candidates. They could very much dictate who the nominee was, if not who the president of the United States was, by hanging together and being that strong building block. Secondly, in the kind of issues that are in the forefront of the campaign. You know, without them united putting the pressure on, the Republican party is not going it be so much on the—we‘ve already seen it on the social issues. I think that‘s a huge difference in American politics.
BUCHANAN: The whole Nixon/Reagan coalition, which is the greatest coalition of the last century, without the possible exception of the New Deal coalition of FDR, is falling apart. It not only agrees on the social, cultural, moral issues; it disagrees on trade. It disagrees on borders. Bush is over here, disagrees on the war. It is at war with itself. And I don‘t know where you get that unity back. I don‘t see that conjury of issues which everyone will sign on to.
Taxes is one, a strong national defense. But there are fewer and fewer.
PRESS: One other quick point, which I think we have learned about—some of the evangelicals, they care more about winning, or political power, than they do about their core issues. Look at that endorsement of Thompson over Mike Huckabee.
CARLSON: I wish I could sit here and defend them and say that‘s not right. But it is absolutely right. And that‘s also the hallmark of a fading movement. You know, the second—exactly right. Pragmatism, that is exactly right. That is the last step before disintegration, always and everywhere.
CARLSON: When you guys are on, it‘s just a very deep show. Thank you very much, Pat Buchanan, Bill Press. Thank you.
Coming up, we asked a leading Democrat why his party, which controls both Houses of Congress, of course, cannot reverse the president‘s war policy in Iraq. New York Congressman Charles Rangel up next.
Later, the holder of baseball‘s most hollowed record has been indicted on perjury and obstruction charges. The feds say Barry Bonds lied in a Grand Jury steroid use case. Details in a moment. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Zero for 40; is that the post-season batting stats for Alex Rodriguez? No, it‘s not. It‘s the Democrats‘ record when it comes to forcing President Bush to end the war in Iraq. Forty times, since taking control of Congress last November, Democrats have tried to get the president to change course in Iraq; 40 times, they have lost. Why is that? Joining us now, one of the most powerful men in the United States, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, congressman Charlie Rangel of New York. Mr. Chairman, thanks for coming on.
REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Good to be with you.
CARLSON: So what is the point of voting for Democrats if, with the majority in both Houses, they try and fail 40 times in a row to get the president to change course in Iraq. Why vote Democrat?
RANGEL: Well, I was with you. I really thought we had a Democratic majority in the Senate. But we really, truly don‘t. The Republicans in the Senate have taken advantage of the parliamentary tool they have called the filibuster. And they have blocked everything that the Democratic majority wants to do, which means that Reid and the Democratic chairman have to get 60 votes for any procedure at all.
RANGEL: In order to get that, then they have to compromise, even avoiding conferences, and reach bipartisan agreements. And, certainly, they can‘t get that with the Republicans. On the House side, however, we have had different types of problems. That is, one, we have groups of Democrats and others that are anxious to stop the war, but want to be satisfied that none of our men and women are going to be in harm‘s way as a result of cutting back in the funds. And then, two, we have others that want to compromise this, reach out to the Republicans who agree that this war is an immoral war, that it‘s not working, that we are losing lives and we have to stop; and, so, when you put the Republican language in there, then the liberal Democrats don‘t want to support it.
But one thing that is abundantly clear, the voice of the House is being heard loud and clear. And last night, we voted to make certain that the 50 billion dollars, which was only part of what the president requested, has a timetable for withdrawal. So, it is not an easy thing to do when you want to protect the troops, but you don‘t want to leave them out there stranded, and others just say stop it all, no matter who is hurt. Get the heck on out.
CARLSON: So basically, the Democrats are too disorganized to get anything done. That is essentially what you said.
RANGEL: You can call it disorganized, but I‘ll tell you one thing, if you wanted to end the war, you would have to be concerned about the same thing. You would have to make certain that we don‘t have our men and women in harm‘s way as we cut the price, and that we‘re satisfied that we want to end the war without putting any of our young people in further harm. You can call that disorganized, but it‘s a very delicate, serious question that we have to deal with.
CARLSON: I agree with you. But that‘s not how Democrats got elected. As you know, I watched very carefully. I have a PHD in Democratic campaign ads from 2006, and they didn‘t say anything like that. They said, this president got us into an immoral war and we‘re going to get us out. They oversold what they could do, and you know that.
RANGEL: You‘re 100 percent right. As a matter of fact, I was under the impression that we did have a Democratic majority in the Senate. It just isn‘t so.
CARLSON: No, but come on, Mr. Chairman, a filibuster was not invented by Karl Rove in 2006. It has been around for a long, long time. That‘s the way it works. If the public is so on your side, then you can, because politicians are responsive to public opinion—if the public was clamoring for it, we‘d get it. The truth is, the war is more popular now, a year after you guys were elected, than it was. Why is that?
RANGEL: I don‘t believe that at all. I think the American people are fed up with the House. They‘re fed up with the Senate. They‘re fed up with the Congress. They want this war to end. And, listen, as bad as the filibuster has been used in the past, in order to stop social justice from prevailing in the Senate, it never has been used in the history of the United States to paralyze the one-vote majority that the Senate has. You can‘t get a bill on the floor no matter what it is without compromising your principal in order to pick up the 60 votes.
Now, I am agreeing with you that the American people don‘t understand and shouldn‘t have to understand it, when you say—and the president misuses it, too, in saying it‘s a Democratic-controlled House and Senate. So, for all practical purposes, we‘re taking our lumps. It‘s very difficult to explain. But more and more, the people want to get us out of this war.
And just this evening, I had a meeting with some Democratic senators and I shared with them that for, God‘s sake, before you go and dilute the spirit of the House bills that we are sending, on the war and some other issues, for God‘s Sakes, stand up and let them filibuster, so the American people can see what you‘re up against, rather than can see what agreements you‘ve negotiated. And we want that so that the American people understands what we‘re up against.
But I agree with you. They voted in the Democratic House and Senate and they expected that we would do more and so did I.
CARLSON: I bet they won‘t make that mistake again.
RANGEL: They‘re not going to make a mistake. They are going to give us a landslide. They have to give us a landslide.
CARLSON: Let me ask you very quickly, your tax plan, which is complicated, but it is a tax increase on people you call rich. They don‘t seem rich to me, but you say they are. It‘s a tax increase. I am wondering if the Democratic nominee, likely to be Mrs. Clinton, will endorse your plan.
RANGEL: I don‘t know, because I‘m trying to get people to help me to work out to see what is wrong with my plan. You talk about the rich, well, I‘m telling you that 91 million people that will be getting a tax cut and all of the people under 500,000 dollars, none will have an increase in taxes that was more than they had with Clinton, and 3.5 million between 200,000 and 500,000, with the removal of the alternative minimum tax, will receive a tax cut.
Now, if you want to talk about the rich, you talk about 1.5 million people, as opposed to the rest of the tax payers. What are we asking for except a 4.6 surcharge. So, instead of a billion dollars they‘re talking about, we‘re talking about 850 billion dollars.
CARLSON: I‘ll be fascinated to see if the Democratic candidate endorses that. Mr. Chairman, I really appreciate it.
RANGEL: I hope the president joins with me and tries to get something bipartisan.
CARLSON: I don‘t think you‘re going to get that. But what do I know?
Charlie Rangel, thank you very much.
RANGEL: Thank you.
CARLSON: Up next, he was the best baseball player on the planet as recently as three years ago. Now the home run king Barry Bonds is indicted on perjury charges. We‘ll tell you what that story means and why it‘s significant. That‘s coming up.
CARLSON: Breaking news in the world of sports. For that, we turn to our own Bill Wolff, who spent many years at ESPN and Fox Sports Net, before coming over to the dark side. Bill, what is going on?
BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT: Well, Tucker, Barry Bonds, who is baseball history‘s most prolific home run hitter, was indicted on perjury and obstruction charges late this afternoon by a federal Grand Jury. The jury alleges that Bonds made false statements under oath when he denied using steroids or any other performance-enhancing drugs and when he said his trainer never injected him with those substances.
The testimony was part of a four-year federal investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, or BALCO as it‘s widely known, whose owner conspired to provide steroids to a bunch of high profile athletes. Bond the most famous of those athletes. As you know, Bond broke Henry Aaron‘s career home run record in August. But when the season ended his team, the San Francisco Giants, chose not to offer him a new contract, making him a free agent. And even before today‘s indictment, nobody was particularly interested in signing up Barry Bonds.
And now, I expect, no one will want him. So, it‘s an enormous story when the greatest home run hitter of all time is under indictment on federal charges. It‘s an enormous deal for the public image of baseball, Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, baseball, of course, obsessed with statistics. Are his statistics safe? Will there ever be an asterisk next to his record?
WOLFF: I think there won‘t, but I‘m guessing. That remains to be seen. They‘ll certainly have to deal with it. The baseball community, the insiders will all demand it. But my suspicion is, no, they‘ll let the record stand. We‘ll see.
CARLSON: All right. Bill Wolff, thanks very much.
WOLFF: You got it.
CARLSON: You can also hear Bill on sports on NPR in the morning. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We‘ll be right back here tomorrow night. Up next Chris Matthews and “HARDBALL.”
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