Guests John Bolton, Ben “Cooter” Jones
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: It‘s 6:00 p.m. in the East, as we continue live coverage of our breaking news—a hostage situation at the Rochester, New Hampshire office at Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign.
This afternoon around 1:00 p.m. a man described as deranged, possibly drunk, walked into the Clinton office. He opened his jacket, declared that he had a bomb strapped to his chest with duct tape and reportedly demanded to speak with Senator Clinton.
Since that time, four hostages have been released and night has fallen. According to NBC‘s Boston‘s affiliate, WHDH, one hostage remains inside the headquarters the perpetrator. Police call the situation stable, but fluid.
Senator Clinton was in Washington when the hostage situation began. She canceled her afternoon schedule here. The John Edwards and Barack Obama offices nearby were evacuated. All this taking place, as we said, in Rochester, New Hampshire.
Well, from the scene, we joined by—on the phone with the full story
NBC News campaign reporter, Mike Memoli—mike, are you there?
MIKE MEMOLI, NBC NEWS CAMPAIGN REPORTER: Yes, I‘m there, Tucker.
How are you?
CARLSON: What do you see? MEMOLI: Well, at this point, we‘re kind of in a holding pattern. We last had a press conference about over an hour ago, where they, unfortunately, weren‘t able to confirm many more details. As you said, they said the situation is stable, but fluid. We don‘t have a definitive count on the number of hostages who might still be inside. But some have said here—and the police have all of us kind of cordoned off, about a hundred—a couple of hundred feet away from Main Street. So we‘re not able to see, really, what‘s really going on outside the offices there.
But at this point, we‘re awaiting another press conference. That‘s scheduled for 7:00, where, hopefully, we can get a little more confirmation on what‘s been happening here.
CARLSON: How many people were in the office at the time, do you know?
MEMOLI: They haven‘t been able to confirm that. We had heard reports that there were four people in there, that without may have been released. But, again, these were kind of unconfirmed reports going around amongst reporters and based on what some local officers were saying, but not officially confirmed.
CARLSON: The man in question has been identified by law enforcement, tentatively by name. He apparently is well known around town as an older man who‘s described as mentally unstable.
Do we know anything else about him?
MEMOLI: Well, what‘s interesting is that apparently his stepson just randomly today wandered into the Governor‘s Inn, which is a local bed and breakfast type place not too far from Main Street and just kind of said to the staff there, give me a cup of coffee, it‘s been a long day.
As they started talking to him more and eventually as police came to interview him, they got more information from him. Apparently, he‘s just emotionally unstable. Last night, he went to a hardware store and bought a couple of road flares then told his stepson, apparently, to watch TV—to keep attention to the news the next day.
One of the staff at the Governor‘s Inn, who was talking with us earlier, said the stepson said, you know, he had been drinking and that he apparently had the intention of trying to get some help, but he thought that maybe this was the best way to do it, by causing this kind of scene. You know, he wanted to kind of get hospitalized, was the way she put it.
So, you know, but it‘s really remarkable that this stepson kind of just walked in nonchalant about what has really become a media circus here. I mean everyone is trying to get more information that a lot of the locals who were able to try and walk up to the scene here, talking to them. They had never seen anything quite like this.
But, of course, apparently this man has a history of trying to draw attention to himself here.
CARLSON: Are there staff from the Clinton campaign in the area?
And, if so, what are they saying?
MEMOLI: We‘ve been trying to reach some of the Manchester-based staff here. We haven‘t heard from them. And I‘ve been talking to some of the other campaigns who have offices here in Rochester. They just say that they had some volunteers who will remain in their offices. Police—Barack Obama‘s office is actually just two doors down from where the Hillary Clinton office was. They were evacuated just like everyone else here in downtown Rochester—told to evacuate the scene.
We‘ve heard from some of the campaigns that—that they may be, you know, height—ratcheting up security at some of their other campaign offices. But, you know, really, when you talk—especially some of these satellite offices like the one in question here—they‘re really just a storefront on Main Street, literally. Just—you kind of walk in, a couple of desks there with a couple of staffers. So, you know, it‘s really easy for anybody to just kind of walk in just like happened today. But that‘s kind of the idea. I mean this is New Hampshire. It‘s all about retail politicking—really, that personal contact with the campaigns, trying to get information from them and give them campaign signs, give them information and sign them up for the campaign.
So it‘s really going to change a lot of that, possibly, about what we‘ve seen in New Hampshire.
CARLSON: It‘s hard to imagine. I‘ve spent a lot of time in New Hampshire with campaigns and security never appears to be a concern. I mean the candidates are—at least in years past—have always been very accessible to ordinary people.
Has that been the way it‘s—that you‘ve noticed it on this campaign so far?
MEMOLI: Well, it‘s interesting, you know, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have Secret Service protection. So when people want to come to those events, you know, the security does a sweep, you know, before they let people in. And, you know, they‘ve taken on—they probably take a second look at some people as they come in.
Well, just a few weeks ago, I was here with John McCain in Rochester in a town hall meeting. People just walk right in. Some of the staffs will ask to you sign in so that they can add you to their mailing list or give you some information. But there‘s really no security to—you know. And what happens is we get a lot of these kind of fun campaign moments where, you know, people come to these town hall meetings and maybe cause a scene, but nothing quite like this.
But, you know, we actually asked John McCain a few weeks ago up here about security. You know, we asked him if he was interested. And he kind of shook—you know, he was going to—very adamant that he doesn‘t want security like Secret Service protection, that he‘s—especially having won the primary here in 2000, he‘s all about that retail politicking and he knows that that‘s the secret in New Hampshire.
And so we‘ll be interested now. We‘re five weeks away from the New Hampshire primary. Everyone has events scheduled—two or three events in a day. Now, we‘ll have to take a look and see if they change their procedures about letting people in, about maybe having some security personnel on hand.
CARLSON: Interesting. That‘ll be a huge and unfortunate change.
Mike, thanks a lot, from Rochester, New Hampshire.
CARLSON: NBC‘s Mike Memoli.
Well, for now, to learn more about what we have gathered about the suspect still barricaded inside the building, we go now to NBC News‘s Pete Williams—Pete.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, we‘re told his name is Leeland Eisenberg, that he‘s from the area and is well known to local law enforcement. The facts that I‘ve heard are the same as Mike has reported.
Now, this is—what you‘re seeing now is something that came from earlier in the day. And I can‘t attest to the emotional problems, but we do know that he did go into a hardware store earlier and bought some flares. If, in fact, that‘s what is taped to his chest, then obviously he doesn‘t have a bomb. But the police don‘t know for certain what else he may have. You can be a hundred percent certain that the police have searched his—his residence by now, which we think is an apartment—and are chasing down leads about him.
The local newspaper up there says that he has a history of being very outspoken. There was an article about him earlier this year, saying that he was objecting to a police tactic up there in Rochester where the police would go down the street and try the door handles of parked cars. And if they were open, the police would put a note inside saying, attention, driver—if we could get in here to put a note in, someone could get in to steal your car.
He didn‘t like that. He thought it was inappropriate. And he had a kind of an impromptu street theater news conference to complain about it. And there were pictures of that that were on the newspaper—the local newspaper‘s Web site now.
There is also a Leeland Eisenberg that has had some run-ins with the law before up there. So, as I say, he‘s well known to law enforcement and they have been chasing down leads about him, really, for the last several hours—Tucker.
CARLSON: So, presumably, if they‘ve named him, they must be certain it‘s him.
How would they know that?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think a couple of ways. First of all, by the eyewitness descriptions of people who are in there. Secondly, by the circumstance that you just heard from our reporter up there, about his son-in-law walking in and saying that he had been told that his father—we were told that he told his son-in-law, you be sure to watch TV this afternoon.
And just by putting all these—all these elements together, they‘ve been fairly confident of the name here for the last, oh, hour-and-a-half or so.
CARLSON: And there‘s no indication he‘s armed with anything else?
WILLIAMS: No, there isn‘t. There‘s no indication that he‘s carrying a firearm, but, of course, the police simply don‘t know. They can‘t get a good enough look at him. He‘s wearing a jacket, so he could have something concealed under that or in a pocket. They don‘t particularly know. They can‘t get a good look at the device. They don‘t know whether he‘s armed. So they have to just assume the worst here and act on that basis.
CARLSON: Do we know if law enforcement is in contact with him by phone right now?
WILLIAMS: That is the assumption. They‘ve said—you know, we don‘t know that. I can‘t say that for sure myself here. But they‘ve, you know, put a phone in there and have been trying to reach through to him. How productive those calls have been, I don‘t know.
CARLSON: All right.
NBC News‘ Pete Williams.
Thanks a lot, Pete.
CARLSON: Well, joining—we will have a lot more on this unfolding breaking news—a hostage situation in the Hillary Clinton for President headquarters in New Hampshire. We‘re going to have live pictures of that, when we come back.
CARLSON: A hostage taken at Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters in Rochester, New Hampshire.
We‘ll have live pictures from the scene when we come back in just a moment.
CARLSON: We‘re watching the unfolding hostage drama from Rochester, New Hampshire, where at least one hostage has been taken at a Hillary Clinton for President office there.
We‘re joined now by MSNBC terror analyst and former FBI hostage negotiator, Clint Van Zandt, whom we are very fortunate to have on payroll here at MSNBC.
You‘re in charge of this situation. You‘re still in law enforcement.
CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes.
CARLSON: What do you do?
What are you thinking right now?
What‘s your next step?
VAN ZANDT: Well, number one, I feel very comfortable in the situation right now. We‘re told that a woman, her child and two campaign workers, it appears, have been released. So as a negotiator, I say, hey, I‘ve got four people out. That‘s a pretty good day‘s wage right there. Whether he has anybody else inside with him or not, we don‘t know. Whether he has a bomb on himself or not, we don‘t know. Whether he has a gun, we don‘t know.
So right now, there‘s an old hostage negotiator axiom, Tucker. And it‘s time decreases stress and anxiety, which means as time goes on, an individual‘s stress and anxiety level comes down. This guy, we‘re told, has been drinking, has potentially got some emotional problems. He‘s been at this since about 12:30. He‘s probably getting tired.
CARLSON: OK. I just want to interrupt you very quickly here. We have live pictures. We can‘t tell exactly what‘s going on. That is obviously a member of law enforcement.
VAN ZANDT: And it could be...
VAN ZANDT: ...it could be a negotiator who is going to stand outside. My best case scenario would be, when I negotiated a surrender as an FBI hostage negotiator, he‘s heard my voice so much he‘ll say I only want to surrender to you. So then I‘ll stand outside. Now, SWAT will be there. But I‘ll stand outside—look, I don‘t have a gun or anything else. You‘re there. Come on—you come in to me. I‘m not coming to you, but you come to me. And when you get outside, SWAT will help take care of you.
But many times you‘ll have an individual. He wants to hear the same voice. He wants to be reassured safety is out here. And it‘s my job as a negotiator—without endangering myself, which is a delicate balance. But you want—you want closure. You know, it‘s like a car salesman—you‘ve got somebody right there. They‘re ready to buy the car.
What does it take, fifty more bucks off?
You‘ve got it.
CARLSON: But I think people watching—I‘ll bet 80 percent of people watching this at home are thinking why isn‘t there a member of the SWAT team crawling through the ventilation duct right now with a rifle or a grenade right now?
Why are we waiting?
VAN ZANDT: And the answer is everything has gone right today. We‘ve got people out. Nobody has been injured. Nobody has been harmed.
Why have the police precipitate an incident, go in, have the guy turn around with a stapler in his hand and somebody shoots him because it a black object that looks like a gun?
If we‘ve all day long, why not give the guy another half an hour?
The locals know who he is. Give him some time and get him out. There is no need for anybody to get hurt right now.
CARLSON: We‘re looking at tape now from earlier, of one of the hostages apparently coming out, having been released. This is three minutes old. So there was a hostage (INAUDIBLE).
VAN ZANDT: There was...
CARLSON: There was at least one.
VAN ZANDT: There may have been even one more, which would make a total of five that law enforcement has been successfully able to get out. Now, if, in fact, this person is the last one to come out, then all law enforcement has to do is get the subject out.
CARLSON: All right. I am told we are about to see the hostage taker being brought out. It looks like this crisis may have ended. Apparently, we‘re about to see pictures of the hostage taker being brought out of the Hillary Clinton office in Rochester, New Hampshire—the bomb removed from his body. Apparently, he will be taken out at gunpoint. I think this is it. This is tape. This is just minutes old.
Our tape is on a delay here, for obvious reasons.
VAN ZANDT: What law enforcement would want, Tucker, they would want him to lay down this believed explosive packet. They‘d want to be able to see he‘s not carrying a bomb or a gun or anything else. And then they‘d bring him outside so that SWAT can get their hands on him and make sure he‘s not carrying any type of a weapon, take him in custody.
CARLSON: All right. Here we go. That, apparently, is the man himself right there—his arms in the air. He‘s taken off his sweater. You can see taped around his mid-second...
VAN ZANDT: There‘s something on him.
CARLSON: ...is apparently what he claims is a bomb. He‘s dressed in a neck tie and he is undoing what he has claimed is a bomb. It‘s not clear whether it is or whether they‘re road flares with duct tape. But in any case, the police standing at a safe distance—or at some distance. He is taking it off and dropping it on the ground.
VAN ZANDT: Hands back up again. You know, we‘re going to see. And SWAT is going to go in now. They‘re going to him in hand. They‘re going to get him secure. They‘re going to handcuff him as quickly as they can, make sure he‘s not carrying another weapon. Go inside, search the building.
But it looks like, Tucker, this is another success. You know, 90 percent of hostage situations wind up like this. We get the individual to come out, surrender. Everybody is alive. Everybody goes home. And what we just saw is one of the reasons why you didn‘t want law enforcement charging in—because you give it a little more time. In most situations, you can get a guy out.
CARLSON: Yes. And they are not touching him. They have had him lie down on ground. They‘re not pouncing on him. This is not the climax of one of those Los Angeles car chases where nine cops pounce on the guy. They are standing back. He is lying face down, arm behind his back. This crisis, apparently—unless we‘re misreading these pictures—utterly is over.
VAN ZANDT: All right. They‘re searching—you know, realize, not only do they have SWAT on the scene, but they have bomb disposal officers on the scene, too. So they‘re going to make sure—absolutely sure this guy doesn‘t have any type of explosive device. Now they want to get him secure. They want to get him handcuffed. They want to search him.
But, by and large, Tucker, this is—this is over with. No one has been hurt today. These men and women of law enforcement, they did their job. They earned their money. They can go home saying a job well done.
CARLSON: I am struck, Clint, by the man‘s appearance. We‘ve been
hearing all day descriptions of him as drunk, as mentally deranged, as
someone who is well known in town for being unstable. You had this kind of
or I did—this image in my mind of someone who lives in the newspaper section of the public library. This man looks like a librarian.
VAN ZANDT: Well, it‘s interesting. You put it—when he got up this morning, he put on a tie and a bomb and...
VAN ZANDT: ...you know, and came to work, basically, as far as he was concerned. Maybe the tie—maybe he always dresses like this and perhaps he thought if he had a business type look, he‘d be able to get access to that office easier.
CARLSON: Well, certainly—he certainly got access to the office.
Apparently, again, to recap.
If you‘re just tuning in, you are looking at pictures, what we believe are pictures of the man who had held hostages in the office of the Hillary Clinton for President campaign in Rochester, New Hampshire. The final hostage appears to have been released. The man has been taken into custody. You can just see him at the very center of your screen—the flash of white—a white shirt and what appears fob a red tie. No longer a bomb strapped to his midsection.
This crisis, again, appears to be over.
We‘re going to take a quick break. We‘ll be back with more answers to what happened today in Rochester.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
For the last several hours, we have been following breaking news out of Rochester, New Hampshire, where a man—you‘re watching him right there from just moments ago—walked into the Hillary Clinton for President campaign office in that town with what he said was a bomb strapped to his midsection. It‘s not clear at this hour whether it was a bomb or some road flares that he apparently bought at a hardware store earlier this week.
But in any case, he took a number of hostages and the crisis appears to be over. Again, just moments ago, he was brought out of the campaign office at gunpoint by local police. You can see him pulling off what he claimed was a bomb, lie down on the ground and give himself up.
We are continuing to follow this story.
We are joined once again by MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.
Clint, a broad question, but maybe the question—what motivates people like this.
VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, many times, Tucker, it‘s just somebody in need. And, you know, I don‘t want to be a social worker on this. You know, I was an FBI agent for 25 years. But you find people that have issues. They‘re not able to resolve them any other way. They feel like the whole world has closed in the around them. I don‘t know who to reach out to.
I mean, my question always is why not last week or why not next month?
What happened to this guy within the last 24 to 48 hours that he became so frustrated that he had to put this whole scenario together—ostensibly, either because he wanted to talk to Senator Clinton and get a message or he wanted to be hospitalized and he had no other way to go to the hospital, you know, other than shoot himself in the foot, which did he emotionally today.
CARLSON: I‘m amazed and, I guess, also impressed by the resolution to this crisis.
VAN ZANDT: (INAUDIBLE).
CARLSON: In the end, peaceful. He gave up. No one was hurt. He was not killed. I wonder has—since the Waco disaster of 1993, do you think the way law enforcement approaches situations like this has changed?
VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, I was a hostage negotiator for the FBI for years and years. And I was at Waco. And, you know, a long story short, the negotiator was trying to say let‘s do something other than what happened at Waco. It didn‘t happen.
But I think law enforcement, over the years, has seen there is no reason why not to give something time to play out. Now, it went from daylight to darkness. It got to be a more challenging tactical situations. But, you know, Tucker, you almost keep a scoreboard. You say what things are going good and what things are going bad?
If more is going good than going bad, you give the situation time to play may out. Now, if he said in 30 seconds, I‘m going to kill somebody, then SWAT would have had to mount up, perhaps go through the door and deal with him.
But ever—but otherwise, why precipitate a situation where maybe this guy is just crying out for help or attention?
My challenge with a situation like this is that we‘re told this guy is a libertarian who, by and large, doesn‘t like the restrictive actions of police in his state. By what he did today, he may very well have caused more restrictiveness across the country as far as campaigns are concerned.
CARLSON: Let me just say, most libertarians are far more sensible and restrained.
VAN ZANDT: Absolutely. Absolutely.
CARLSON: And I will also add sober—than this guy apparently was.
Let‘s say, though, that the situation did begin to deteriorate rapidly. He made the threat you just mentioned.
VAN ZANDT: Yes?
CARLSON: Would there have been someone from the SWAT team inside the building already on the roof?
Are they prepared for that?
VAN ZANDT: Yes. They‘re prepared for what we call an emergency entry. SWAT gets on the scene, they immediately put together an emergency plan and a dedicated plan. Emergency says if we have to move in five to 10 seconds, this is what we‘re going to do. Dedicated says, let‘s take our time, figure out various ways to get in the building without being seen. And if we have to, very stealthfully, employ that, we can do it.
So SWAT has always got those two options. The negotiator is aware of both, but he or she—the negotiator is simply trying to bring about this nonviolent solution. At the same time, setting this guy up if you have to so that he presents the least threatening target for law enforcement as possible.
I guarantee you right now, negotiators and SWAT teams alike, they‘re all happy no shots were fired. They feel good. I‘ll tell you what—it‘s Miller time.
CARLSON: Are there non-lethal ways to subdue a guy like this?
I mean if it came to using force, are there ways to put someone like this down without killing him?
VAN ZANDT: Well, the answer is yes. The only challenge is if he has a bomb—a true bomb—a Middle East bomber‘s vest with a dead man‘s switch on it, you have to think how close do we want SWAT to get to this guy?
The last thing we want him to do is take out law enforcement officers at the same time. So you‘re trying to gauge what level of threat does he present, how real is that level of threat and what is the minimum amount of force that you need?
And what we saw today was the talking cure.
CARLSON: Will you take a look at this guy?
He just does not—he does not fit the profile of...
VAN ZANDT: He‘s not a stumbling drunk.
CARLSON: No. He is not.
VAN ZANDT: He‘s very cognizant.
CARLSON: The profile of the person we‘ve been hearing described all day long, who was essentially a derelict...
VAN ZANDT: Yes.
CARLSON: This guy, again, looks like—he looks like your accountant.
VAN ZANDT: Yes. He—somehow he had an issue. The terrible thing is that in our society today, we can‘t find ways to get heard, to get our point across, to get help. That many times we paint ourselves into this corner where at least this guy felt he had no other recourse to be heard other than to come up with a bomb.
CARLSON: You know, and it‘s—it‘s a shame. He should do what a lot of other mentally ill people in this country do and start a blog. You know, that‘s a handy way for a lot of the deranged in this nation to be heard.
VAN ZANDT: Yes. I will tell you, we will find out this guy wrote letters to the editor. He probably distributed his thoughts and ideas to people in town. This is not someone who‘s been quiet. He has—he has shaken his fist in the face of the beast, whether he believes that‘s government or what, for quite a while now. The problem is the beast hasn‘t responded. So this is the way he gets a response.
CARLSON: Clint Van Zandt.
I really appreciate it, Clint.
VAN ZANDT: Thank you, Tucker.
A great job.
CARLSON: Thank you.
When we come back, more on the resolution to this crisis averted and the latest political news of the day. There‘s a lot of it.
We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: If President Bush bombs Iran without Congressional approval, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware says he is prepared to impeach the president. At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Biden was asked what he could do to prevent President Bush and Vice President Cheney from launching a unilateral strike against Iran. Biden responded that he has drafted, quote, an extensive legal memorandum, pointing out the president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran.
If the president ignores it, Biden promised, he will move to impeach him. Is Senator Biden‘s claim legitimate? Joining me now, John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations and author of “Surrender is Not An Option, Defending America at the United Nations.” Ambassador, thanks for coming on.
JOHN BOLTON, AUTHOR, “SURRENDER IS NOT AN OPTION”: Glad to be here.
CARLSON: So the president could be impeached? Is this literally true? Could the president be impeached if the U.S. military were to bomb Iran without Congressional approval?
BOLTON: I think there‘s zero chance of that. I think Senator Biden needs to look at the constitution again. Number one, he is in the Senate, not the House, where this has to begin. Second, the Constitution is clear, Congress has the power to declare war, not make war. It‘s significant, if you look at the framers of the constitution; they had just fought a revolution where Congress had tried to make war. It was nearly a disaster. They weren‘t about to let that happen again.
Second, the framers knew who the first commander in chief would be. They trusted George Washington. They wanted the president to have extensive authority. And third, remember, it was tough to get Congress together during those days. This was not something where you could wait for Congress, necessarily, to act. So I think the president has full plenary authority as a matter of constitutional power if he wants to attack Iran.
CARLSON: I don‘t believe that the Democratic Congress would dare take a stand on this issue. They haven‘t shown a lot of appetite for actually featuring a battle.
BOLTON: Exactly. Politically, if people oppose a strike on Iran, they should use the appropriations power. That‘s what Congress really can look to if it wants to affect the president‘s decision, not after the fact impeachment.
CARLSON: Could you strike Iran without a ground war following it?
BOLTON: I think it would be a mistake to overstay Iran‘s possible reaction. I think we have to take that into account. I don‘t think a military strike against Iran‘s nuclear program is desirable. I think it is clearly a last resort. But if the choice is between a nuclear Iran and a targeted use of military force against that program, I think you have to look at it.
CARLSON: Is it possible? Do we have the capacity, the capability to knock out their nuclear production facilities?
BOLTON: We have the capacity now to take out critical links in the nuclear fuel cycle. As every day goes by, Iran has the potential to harden those sights against attack, or even more likely, move them away from the known locations where they are to someplace else. This is one of the reasons that an attack is risky, because you could engage in the attack, take all the political and economic costs as a consequence, but not break their control over the nuclear fuel cycle.
CARLSON: What do we do if Israel does it?
BOLTON: I think much the same has happened when Israel struck this facility in Syria on September 6th. I think we sit back and say, thank god they did it.
CARLSON: But it‘s a bigger deal to hit Iran, don‘t you think? It‘s a more significant country.
BOLTON: It is. It is harder. But on the other hand, look at the reaction to the Israeli strike on Syria, silence from the Arab world because they fear Iranian and North Korean involvement with the Syrians. I think they would be just as happy if Israel did undertake it. For Israel, it is a question of an existential threat. It‘s a small country; two or three Iranian nuclear weapons, there wouldn‘t be a country anymore.
CARLSON: So what would be the affect on us? You alluded a minute ago to the economic consequences of an attack on Iran. There would be some. There would presumably be a big spike in oil prices. Would we attempt to influence Israel‘s decision or just stand back and let them do what they will?
BOLTON: I think Israel will do what it has to, as it did in the case of the attack on Syria, where, at least, my understanding is they came to us. We urged them not to attack. They‘s aid, we‘ll wait until the end of summer and then they went ahead.
CARLSON: What do you make of this story from the Sudan? Gillian Gibbons, this British teacher who has been imprisoned there for naming a Teddy Bear Mohammed? Thousands in the streets demanding she be lashed or worse. It strikes me that it kind of points out how different that part of the world is from our part of the world, how fundamentally unreasonable, in least in Western terms, a lot of the people over there are. These don‘t seem like people who are ready to embrace democracy, representative government, the ideals we hold dear.
When you look at a story like this, does it make you rethink Iraq and our plans to democratize the region, which are based on the assumptions they really want democracy?
BOLTON: I think our strategic interests in Iraq today is preventing terrorism from taking root. I think our interests before was keeping Saddam from getting weapons of mass destruction. I think democracy would be a nice ancillary result, but it cannot be the center piece. In the case of Sudan, here‘s a government that‘s been committing genocide in Darfur for years, that has stood up to the entire UN Security Council to prevent a peace keeping force from being deployed, and has now gone to impose severe penalties on a teacher for allowing her six and seven-year-olds in a class to vote a name for a Teddy Bear. That tells you something about the nature of the regime.
CARLSON: And I think the nature of the population, too, it seems to me. Your book has some tough lines in it about the administration for which you worked. What has been the response from them to your book?
BOLTON: Largely silence, I think. I can understand why. I‘m very concerned for the next year, because the president has turned away from what I think his basic instincts are and certainly the main lines of his policy in the first term. I‘m quite worried with respect to Iran‘s nuclear program, North Korea‘s nuclear program, that allowing this divergence from where the president really is going to leave us in danger.
CARLSON: Divergence from where he really? He doesn‘t seem to be listening to the vice president in the way he did.
BOLTON: I think there is really one voice on foreign policy in the administration today. I think that‘s Secretary Rice. I don‘t think this situation has been equalled since the day Henry Kissinger held both the position of Secretary of State and National Security Adviser.
CARLSON: Because she is the smartest, most experienced person in the United States? Is that why?
BOLTON: I think because he listens to her above anyone else.
CARLSON: Why does he listen to her?
BOLTON: Not being a psychologist, I can‘t answer that directly.
CARLSON: Take a stab at it.
BOLTON: They have a very close relationship. He trusts her. And I think he wants to focus on Iraq, where, at least, his instincts he is following and we‘re getting success with the surge policy. And I think he has essentially said to these other areas, stay off my plate. And he is counting on her to do that.
CARLSON: But if you want to know where we‘re going, look at her.
BOLTON: Absolutely, no question about it.
CARLSON: Ambassador John Bolton, I really appreciate it.
BOLTON: Glad to be here.
CARLSON: Rudy Giuliani says a story about using taxpayer money to see his mistress was a debate day dirty trick. But the debate is over and we‘re learning even more information. In fact, it is not just about Giuliani anymore. We‘ll tell what you we know.
And later, John Edwards gets some help from the good old boys of Hazzard County. We‘ll explain what that means, coming up.
CARLSON: Rudy Giuliani dismisses this weeks allegations about him as debate day dirty tricks. Well, the original story of Giuliani‘s hidden security detail for weekend trips to the Hamptons did break that afternoon of the Republican debate, but this story is bigger than that, it turns out. The “New York Times” today reports on Giuliani‘s habitual truth bending and fact ignoring, it says, when he recounts his mayoral record. ABC News, meanwhile, reports that a former New York City official said that Giuliani‘s then girlfriend, Judith Nathan, quote, used the police department as her personal taxi service. That‘s not good.
Back again to talk about Giuliani‘s not very good week, we welcome “The Politico‘s” Josephine Hearn and the “New Republic‘s” Sacha Zimmerman. This is bad. OK, here‘s what bothers me, Josie. Giuliani comes out and dismisses this as a dirty trick. OK. Which I suppose is predictable. Then his explanation—I like Giuliani. I‘m not being mean. I‘m just being honest. His explanation doesn‘t add up. It is that he had to bill these security trips to the Hamptons, 11 of them, to various other New York City agencies because the Police Department wouldn‘t pay up fast enough.
CARLSON: But in the end, they did pay.
HEARN: Right. Apparently, if they billed it through the mayor‘s office, it didn‘t come back quick enough to pay the American Express card bill. That was the reason why it had to go through various loan offices and different sorts of very small agency that people don‘t usually look into.
CARLSON: Whose city is this? He‘s painting a picture of a completely dysfunctional city government. You have to bill the Disabled Citizens Office to get payment for your security guards.
HEARN: It does seem a bit implausible. But that is their defense. And I think this whole thing raises a sort of odd question of what exactly were the motives in sending this through here? Was it to—one of the questions is, was it to cover up this extra-marital affair that he had been having for several years, in the sense that people weren‘t going to be scrutinizing the Disability Office the way they would scrutinize the mayor‘s office?
CARLSON: Right. See, this is what bothers me. Sacha, if you stand back a little bit, I think Giuliani was an amazing mayor. I think he saved New York, which was a dump. He made it better. And he deserves to be lauded for that. That should be the first sentence in his obituary. He is screwing it up by running for president.
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, he really is. I love that he has this kind of two-tone explanation for all of this running around to the Hamptons and everything with Judith Nathan. And he is saying that all of this billing is—what it shows is that they‘ve been honest, above board, and thorough. I think whenever you‘re having an extra-marital affair, it is important to be honest, above board, and thorough.
CARLSON: We‘re not even factoring that in. I have a hard and fast rule that on this show I don‘t even go there with most—unless it is in your fact—and this is approaching in your face, i have to say, this story. I try not to go there. I guess what bothers me is this is why New York City politicians, as skilled as they are, typically don‘t run for and definitely aren‘t elected to president, because the qualities required to run New York effectively are not necessarily the ones we want to see in a president.
ZIMMERMAN: That‘s true.
HEARN: I think, though, that one of the other stories you mentioned, the one in the “New York Times” about him consistently screwing up his statistics. I think that could potentially be more damaging than this one, because there are pictures. There are video recordings to go with each of these statement. It is ready made for a political ad to say, he said this figure. The fact is this. He cited this. The fact is actually this.
The more you get a sense of, well, he is bending the facts or maybe it seems like he doesn‘t portray things as truthfully as they are, that can be incredibly damaging.
CARLSON: I disagree with you there. I see the point you‘re making.
I just think that most people—this attempt to pretend that David Dinkens
(ph), who is a loser and a failure and a joke as a mayor—let‘s be honest
somehow was responsible for lowering the crime rate, nobody Believes that. Did you ever to go New York when Dinkens was mayor? It was a slum? Giuliani comes in. He fixed it. He did that. Nobody is going to convince me otherwise.
So he screws up the statistics. He is bad at math or he is a braggart, more likely. You will never change my mind on that.
ZIMMERMAN: Some of those statistics are not that inflated either. It would be 1,500 murders versus 1,800 murders.
CARLSON: He did a great job.
HEARN: Whether the budget grew or whether it shrunk, I think that‘s pretty important.
CARLSON: The math major. OK, I want to read to you the single weirdest paragraph I read today. That‘s why we‘re putting it on TV. There is a new book by Elizabeth B. Miller about—of the “New York Times”—formerly, I think, of the “New York Times—about Condoleezza Rice. There‘s an excerpt today in the “New York Sun.”
Here‘s what it said about the relationship between the secretary of state and the president; quoting, “the secret of her initial elevation was that, beginning with Mr. Bush‘s presidential campaign, Miss Rice taught him about foreign affairs in a way that did not patronize him, or, as Miss Bumiller writes, quote, Rice made Bush feel sharper, particularly when she complemented him on his questions. Bush did not know many black people well and it made him feel good about himself that he got along so easily with Rice. One of the fascinating aspects of Miss Rice‘s rise is the way she so quickly became a Bush family intimate, unmarried, smart, good company, with a piano and her Watergate apartment to keep her at home, she accepted Mr. Bush‘s invitations to spend weekends with him.”
Now you just heard John Bolton say she is basically in charge of our
country‘s foreign policy on the basis of flattering Bush? If that‘s true -
CARLSON: I don‘t know, I recoil in terror and horror.
ZIMMERMAN: This is nothing new. Cronyism has been part of the Bush White House since day one. And I think him being able to say some of my best friends are blacks is hilarious. And that him watching the game with this spinster—the description of Condi is so demeaning, like only a piano to keep her company? Like she has so little in her life.
CARLSON: I‘m sorry, we‘re going to break in right now. Speaking of world leaders, we‘re going to take a statement now from Hillary Clinton, from Senator Clinton of New York. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: -- those who were held hostage. And I really commend their extraordinary courage under, again, very difficult circumstances. This has been a very hard day for all of us in our campaign. But even beyond that, every four years, extraordinary young people come to places like New Hampshire because they want to change our country. They believe in our future. They work around the clock. They are so committed to their cause.
And I just want to commend everyone of them from every campaign who really makes what is a sacrifice and a commitment. A lot of them postpone school, leave their families, move across the country. And I‘m so grateful for them every single day. And I‘m especially just relieved to have this situation end so peacefully without anyone being injured.
We don‘t have very many facts beyond what we garnered during the day. But I‘m on my way to New Hampshire now to thank the law enforcement officials, to see my staff, particularly those who were not only physically held hostage but all those who supported this effort during the day, to make sure we got information, that we kept families apprised, that we closely coordinated with law enforcement.
And I just could not be prouder at the people who are in my campaign.
And I want to thank them. And I‘m so grateful this day has ended well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, talk from an emotional standpoint what it was like. You talk about these young volunteers, people coming to work. When you first heard about this, describe your emotions that this was happening at your campaign office.
CLINTON: Well, it‘s been a very difficult day personally and emotionally, as I‘m sure would you all understand, if this were to happen to anyone. We care immediately about the safety of the people directly affected and then the ripple affect of all the rest of your staff, their families. Obviously, as this news spread across the country, there were a lot of worried family members and friends who were trying to get information that was accurate.
Talking to the families was probably the hardest part for me because, obviously, it is something that every parent can relate to. So I think that it has been a difficult, but eventually a very gratifying day with the way it worked out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you threatened personally? Did you have any threats against you?
CLINTON: We‘re not going to go into any details. We‘ll leave all of that to law enforcement. They‘re obviously still trying to untangle this situation, understand what was behind it, what the motivations were. And I‘ll leave any of that kind of comment to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, campaigns always have unique events that happen. This is truly one of the more extraordinary things. You‘ve been through campaigns before with your husband (INAUDIBLE)
CLINTON: Well, Every stopped. It had to, because we had nothing on our minds except the safety of these young people who work for me. And everybody pitched in. People were extraordinarily committed to being part of a team, the team that we‘ve been putting together over the course of this year. As I said, I could not be prouder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That was Hillary Clinton giving a press conference, wrapping up an extraordinary day, a crisis at her campaign office in New Hampshire, a crisis that ended well. That was her press conference, we believe, from Washington. This is MSNBC. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: It‘s hard enough for one candidate to run for president in one America, but is John Edwards really two candidates running for two Americas? Sound confusing? Joining me now to explain, John Edwards supporter and former Congressman, the star of “Dukes of Hazzard,” Ben Cooter Jones.
Ben, thanks for coming on.
BEN “COOTER” JONES, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Good seeing you again.
CARLSON: So the claim is that John Edwards is really two guys. There was a piece out today saying the moderate John Edwards ran last time. The liberal John Edwards is running now. What happened?
JONES: Well, that‘s not so. He‘s one guy and he is a good guy. I think he is more passionate this time. I think a lot of us are in the Democratic party. We‘ve had four more years of this irresponsible leadership, four more years of demanding a change. And that I think John Edwards is the man to make that change for a lot of reasons.
One is that he really is committed to the common interests, the public interests and not the special interests. He‘s made that clear. And you have to have that position to be able to make any change in this town. He is electable in ways that the other Democratic candidates are not. He resonates in the heartland of America, in the red states and the purple states. In poll after poll after poll have shown that he runs ahead of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in these battleground states.
Any Democrat—you or I, running as Democrats, we could win New York, Massachusetts and California. but now you have got that great heartland out there and all of south and the southwest and northwest. John Edwards can win in West Virginia and Tennessee and North Carolina and Virginia, in Iowa and other places like that. Hillary Clinton cannot.
CARLSON: He just seems—I understand the theory very well. When I look a him—and I listen to him speak—I see a talented speaker with a deep rural accent who is saying a lot of things that are conventional Hollywood liberal.
JONES: No, they are economic populism. It‘s Harry Truman. It‘s Jack Kennedy. It is where the Democratic party came from. It cared about the people. We‘ve gotten—as he has said often, this isn‘t about the rich versus the poor. It is about the very, very, very rich against everybody else. What we‘re talking about is getting back to the roots of the Democratic party. That‘s about jobs. That‘s about the economy. That‘s about health care. That‘s about education. That‘s about fairness and civil rights.
It is about a level playing field and opportunity for everybody. That‘s what he is talking about. And to me, it is just old-fashioned heartland Democratic party stuff. That‘s where we came from. And I think, in a lot of ways, the Democratic party has forgotten that.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton‘s press conference has shortened our time, unfortunately. But tell me, in just ten seconds, where should we look for him to win?
JONES: Well, I think Iowa is what it is all about. People have forgotten. This is a three-person race. If he comes out of Iowa with a win or runs a strong second, he goes into New Hampshire in great position. He‘s not going to quit. The guy is like the Energizer Bunny.
CARLSON: No, he‘s not going to quit. I agree with that completely.
JONES: He‘s a great political athlete.
CARLSON: Ben Jones, I really appreciate your coming on. I wish we had more time. Thank you.
JONES: I do, too. Thanks, Tucker
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. We‘ll be back here next Monday night. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes Of litigation.