Guests: Shelby Steele, Ed Schultz, Peter Fenn, Daniel Amen
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome to the show coming to you live from San Francisco. There‘s a lot of political news today. We‘ll get to all of it in just a minutes but first, we have breaking news coming to us from Omaha, Nebraska where there has been a mall shooting that has left nine people dead and at least five injured.
Milissa Rehberger joins us now with the latest.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Tucker, you can only imagine this. A crowded shopping mall doing—filled with people doing exactly what we all do this time of year. We‘re shopping for our loved ones. And it was a packed Omaha shopping mall today when police say in walks this 19-year-old man armed with a rifle and a suicide note that said, “I‘m going out in style,” and opened fire, killing eight people before turning the gun on himself.
So now a total of nine people dead today, including the gunman. A number of people are injured here, including several who are described as trauma patients having been shot. They have now been taken to the hospital and we‘re understanding that they are in surgery.
NBC producer Mike Sulzberger was in on Omaha today covering the president. He has since been rerouted. He is at that shopping mall and has been standing there for quite a while today watching what‘s going on and he is joining us with more on that story.
Mike, describe what you have been seeing.
MIKE SULZBERGER, NBC NEWS PRODUCER: Well, Milissa, I got here about an hour after the shooting. By the time I got here all of the victims that were transported—had been transported. That was a total of seven that were transported. Two of those subsequently died. And by the time I got here, it was actually fairly quiet. In fact, I saw some ambulance workers come out with stretchers that were empty, so initially we were thinking that, you know, this was pretty well over, and it wasn‘t until we heard the press conference that was on MSNBC live just about an hour ago where they came out and let us know that, in fact, there were nine dead in the mall.
They also told us in that press conference that all of the dead were in the Von Maur store. For those unfamiliar with Van Maur, it‘s a fairly upscale department store. It would be equivalent to, say, a Macy‘s in New York, if you can imagine that. We were also told by an eyewitness just a few minutes ago who was down at the Sears store, which is a little ways down the mall that she actually saw the gunman come out of the Von Maur and was shooting fairly indiscriminately down in the mall, and at one point he came across a teddy bear in a display that he‘d shot.
Since we were told by the police that all of the deceased were in the Von Maur, we would have to assume, then, that the injured were from the Von Maur and also from other parts of the mall.
REHBERGER: Mike, describe what the state is now. We understand that the mall is closed and that there is an investigation going on, correct?
SULZBERGER: That‘s correct. The mall is closed. In fact, at the press conference that again was a little over an hour ago, they told us that they still did not have everyone out of the mall. As soon as this happened they went on lockdown and told the customers to stay where they were. The police were going through each individual store and talking to each person and then as they were done talking to them, if they hadn‘t seen anything, hadn‘t heard anything, they were allowed to then leave and, in fact, we‘ve been seeing people all afternoon getting in their cars and leave.
SULZBERGER: We can assume those were the people that were cleared by the police.
REHBERGER: I‘m sure they are. Very anxious to get home to their families after this happening today.
NBC producer Mike Sulzberger, thank you very much.
A little bit of breaking news on top of everything else right now. We have just heard that the police have surrounded the gunman‘s house and are planning to search it. Shortly we will be following that for you. The gunman had turned the gun on himself and he is now dead along with eight other people.
You can only imagine the scene inside this shopping mall today. Absolute terror as people scrambled trying to save their own lives as this gunman walked in there and shot indiscriminately anybody. He even shot a teddy bear, as you are about to hear from this eyewitness who talked to our affiliate WOWT.
TERESA, WITNESS TO OMAHA, NE MALL SHOOTING: I saw a guy run by with this huge gun, and at first it didn‘t register, and then there is this woman that had an awful look on her face and with two little kids. She was practically dragging the one and pushing the stroller and he said he has a gun and is shooting people, and I grabbed the lady that I was helping and the mother with the kids, and I brought him back to the back area where we stock up all of our shoes trying to make sure they were safe.
And I grabbed the radio that we all communicate to each other and (INAUDIBLE), I said, “If anyone can here me, there‘s a guy in the mall with a gun and then shooting people. Please shut out doors because I didn‘t want him into Penny‘s.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: The woman who was running, did you help her?
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: What did you do?
TERESA: I just helped her grab her little boy so we could go and hide in the back room hoping that he wouldn‘t come into our store.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: What were you thinking in that back room?
TERESA: If I was going home tonight to my children.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: Have you talked to your kids?
TERESA: Just my daughter. She goes to Marion. She saw it on the news and called the school. At least I talked to her and reassured her that I was OK and (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: The gunman. Was he saying anything? You said he did some very bizarre things in addition to shooting people.
TERESA: He shot a teddy bear and just shove off the stuffing out of it. It‘s just weird. It was awful. Everyone was running and a man had a new baby, and he had lost his wife with their other son. They were shopping for Christmas clothes for their picture tomorrow, and she wouldn‘t answer her phone, and I felt so awful for him. And then I had a pregnant woman that was trying shoes on and she went with no shoes, and she was pregnant and spoke very little English, and so I had to show her a gun and tell her to come with me to get her out.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: So he shoots a teddy bear. Was he saying anything?
TERESA: No. I guess not. It was just crazy. And it was awful.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: The people that he was targeting, did it seem as though there was any sense to it? When he shot a teddy bear.
TERESA: No. I don‘t know. He had to have been very angry.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: How was he dressed?
TERESA: I can‘t tell you that. He just ran by me. That‘s all I saw of him. I saw the gun more than I saw him. He had jeans on or dark pants. That is all I saw. I can‘t tell you if he was wearing a coat. I can‘t tell you. But he was white. I can‘t tell you that he wasn‘t old that it‘d just—it was just a flash. You notice someone is—something caught from corner of your eyes (INAUDIBLE). That‘s all I saw. All I could see was that big gun.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: When I was talking to you just before we went on, you said that he was coming over from the Von Maur area, so did he target people in Von Maur and then JCPenny? Did he go elsewhere?
TERESA: He get and started there. And he didn‘t go into JCPenny‘s.
He was in the mall brand-new,
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: Just in the middle.
TERESA: And I don‘t know here he was going.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORER: Did you know any other people?
TERESA: I don‘t even know who has been shot. I don‘t know anything.
That‘s why I asked you.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: Can you make any sense out of this?
TERESA: Can anybody make any sense out of this?
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: Well, you have a lot to talk to your family about tonight and I don‘t even think you probably have to talk. You can just hugs and kisses.
TERESA: I can understand how 9/11 happened and using a cell phone in that scene because it was my only way on the outside. It was the only thing I could do to try to find my husband so he could get the kids, so that no one else told him.
UNIDENTIFIED WOWT REPORTER: Well, thank you for sharing the story, Teresa. You can take some comfort in your family tonight and your co-workers and colleagues.
TERESA: Yes, but it‘s so sad for the family that lost people today for what? For nothing. Nothing. Life is too short. Smile, be happy and forgive. That‘s all I can say.
REHBERGER: All right, Tucker. So what we have here today is just an absolute tragedy at this Omaha, Nebraska shopping mall. A 19-year-old gunman walked in described by police as a white male armed with a rifle and a suicide note that read, “I‘m going out in style.” He opened fire. He killed eight people. Several are injured including some described as trauma patients with gunshot wounds.
We are keeping an eye on their situation. Obviously, we hope that they will be all right. The gunman‘s house has been surrounded tonight by police who say they‘re going to go in and search it fairly soon.
But, Tucker, the killer things here today, the horrible situation is that these victims haven‘t even been identified yet. And there are families out there tonight whose relatives are not answering their cell phones. Just imagine how sickening that must feel. We will keep an eye on it for you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Milissa Rehberger. Thanks a lot there, Milissa.
Well, Barack Obama is surging in the polls right now. Many Democrats are excited about his candidacy. Some, though, say he will never be able to win. We‘ll tell you why when we talk to Shelby Steele coming up.
Plus, some people who run for president must be crazy. At least one psychiatrist agrees. In fact, he says they need their brain scanned reveal dysfunctions.
You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: He caught a lot of flack when he first said it but was Barack Obama right when he suggested we negotiate with out enemies? That and more coming up.
CARLSON: When Barack Obama said that as president, he would negotiate with the Iranians, Hillary Clinton called him naive and irresponsible, along with many other things. But was Obama right? Should we be talking to our enemies the way that Nixon did in China and Reagan did with the Soviet Union?
Joining me now is the man who argues yes. He‘s the author of “A Bound Man,” why were excited about Obama and why he can‘t win.
Shelby Steele joins us. Mr. Steele, thanks for coming on.
SHELBY STEELE, “A BOUND MAN” AUTHOR: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: So you wrote a piece in the “Wall Street Journal” arguing that it‘s not crazy to talk to Iran. Why?
STEELE: No, it‘s not at all crazy. In that piece I talked about there being sort of two kinds of wars—World War II, a war of national survival, but most of the wars we fought since World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq have been sort of wars of discipline where we enforce a world order and we fight more as enforcers than as people fighting for their lives, so we‘re—and we‘re in a situation where our basic survival is not under—is not threatened. In that kind of war, moral authority becomes a profound problem, and we almost have to fight for moral authority as harder, or even harder, than for military victory in those kinds of wars.
And so in that context, it makes sense for people very high in the government to do everything possible to bring a regime like Iran in tow, and if that involves some—the secretary of state flying to Tehran, then so be it.
CARLSON: And do you believe that‘s why Obama is arguing for negotiating with Iran?
STEELE: I‘m not sure why Obama is himself arguing for it, but it‘s a good idea because it gives us moral authority. We—we become bigger and larger and our character stands out more when we say we are willing to risk our national esteem by flying to enemy territory and talking directly to people who don‘t like us.
It makes us look bigger around the world. It gives us prestige. It gives us moral authority, and so it makes a lot of sense. No, whether Barack Obama had all of that in mind or not, I don‘t know.
CARLSON: I‘m fascinated by your book about Obama, which I don‘t think it‘s out. I haven‘t read it anymore, but I‘m going to. Here‘s part of the publisher‘s description of it.
“Obama had the temperament, intelligence and background to guide America beyond the exhaustive racial politics that now prevail. And yet he is a bound man. Americans are constrained by racial correctness so totalitarian they‘re afraid to even to privately ask for ourselves what we think of racial matters. Like Obama, most of us find it easier to program ourselves for correctness rather than risk knowing and expressing what we truly feel.”
What does that mean exactly, and how will it prevent him from being president?
STEELE: Well, I think that Barack Obama is what I call a bargainer. He is somebody who is traditional black America. There are challengers and there are bargainers. A bargainer is someone who says to white America, “I will not shame you or with America‘s racist past, if you will not use my race against me.”
STEELE: Oprah Winfrey is the sort of.
CARLSON: That seems like it would work. I mean that‘s.
STEELE: It does work. It does work.
CARLSON: You point out that‘s in contrast to say the candidacy of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.
STEELE: Right. It does work.
CARLSON: So why can‘t he get elected?
STEELE: Because it only takes him so far. There‘s a ceiling there where the goodwill that the bargainer generates really can‘t go beyond. After a certain point you have to tell us exactly who you are, what you want to do, what direction you want to take the country in. If you‘re talking about change, as he does all the time, what change? What—specify.
So it‘s I good platform. It brought him from, you know, the state legislature in Illinois to being a credible candidate for the presidency of the United States. So he‘s done a lot already. But it‘s not enough to—we have to know who you are in order to stand a real chance at becoming the president.
CARLSON: Hmm. That sounds interesting. And so—I promise I will read it. I appreciate you coming on very much.
Shelby Steele, thank you.
STEELE: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: We heard it with our own ears. Bill Clinton said he has always from day one been opposed to the war in Iraq. Well, he is now saying that we, the press, misrepresented those words. We‘ll tell you exactly what he means or appears to mean.
Plus, Mike Huckabee forgot to open his newspaper this week. Wait until you hear what big news he knew nothing about.
This is MSNBC. We‘ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That was Bill Clinton, of course, using the media to make the case, ludicrously, that he was against the war in Iraq from the very beginning. Now the former president and potential first gentleman is changing his tune about those comments. Now he says, and I‘m quoting, “I regret they were falsely represented by the press, who wants to make it a political story.”
Bill Clinton apparently trying to deny what we saw him saying and trying to suggest that anything he says from now until November would be political.
Joining us now Democratic strategist Peter Fenn as well as the host of the nationally syndicated Ed Schultz Show, Ed Schultz.
Ed, tell me, a man speaking on behalf of a political candidate at a political event about politics now tell us there was nothing political about what he said and we imaged it.
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW”: I‘ll tell you, Tucker. The Clintons are just burying themselves. If they‘re not whining about the media coverage, they‘re claiming that they‘re being attacked.
I‘m struggling with this as a good lefty Democrat. I wish the Clintons would just get out there and stay on message. The media is not the issue. And for Bill Clinton to try to reinvent what his position was isn‘t going to help his wife at all.
SCHULTZ: And so I think it‘s yet another misstep by the former president. Focus on your wife, focus on her positions and what they say and do about you really doesn‘t matter. He needs to become a surrogate and an advocate, and not somebody out there on the campaign trail defending his record of a number of years ago. I think it‘s another mistake by the Clintons.
CARLSON: It‘s also weird. It‘s weird, Peter, to see a man who makes a quarter million dollar a speech play the victim.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, that—don‘t we wish we could all be victims like that, right guys? Right?
CARLSON: Yes. I‘ll take a little victimhood.
FENN: Here‘s—I think you got a situation here, which is never complain, never explain. You know, I think there are a lot of issues for the president to talk about out there supporting Hillary, and this is not one of them right now. You know, he should be out there talking about her health care plan, which I think he is trying to do. He should talk about a fairer tax plan for middle income families. He should be talking about the state of our education system.
I mean, a lot of issues right now that people care about. I don‘t think they want to go back to whether or not he opposed it, when he opposed, how he opposed it, and that‘s not what people are interested in (INAUDIBLE) for her.
CARLSON: Well, what I am struck by here, Ed, is, look, if you‘re Hillary Clinton or her advisers, you see Barack Obama coming at you from behind. You‘re concerned. But it doesn‘t seem to me you should be terrified, and, yet, by what the Clintons have been saying, lashing out against Obama‘s record in kindergarten, complaining about biased press coverage, those are things people who are losing do.
You will get the feeling watching them that they‘re afraid. They‘re afraid they‘re going to lose the primaries.
SCHULTZ: Well, I think that when you are out in front, you‘re going to get more attention, and with that comes the negativity and the criticism and also the critique, but that should be accepted. That doesn‘t excuse the Clinton campaign making these horrific missteps, in my opinion by—they shouldn‘t be focusing on any other county. They ought to be full steam ahead on exactly where they‘re going to take the country.
There has to be a change in the way the country is being run, and I think that‘s where they‘re making a mistake. Barack Obama is talking about that. Barack Obama now looks really goods with this NIE report because he‘s been talking about negotiation all along, and it looks like Hillary Clinton has bought the Bush line about how to treat the Iranians. So it‘s just been a.
CARLSON: But what was it—but here‘s the problem, OK, it seems to me. So Bill Clinton comes out in the last couple of weeks and I don‘t think he‘s helped his wife‘s campaign. I think most people watching would come to that conclusion.
Peter, are there Democrats who can do anything about it? In the Democratic Party, Clinton is Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. You know, he is—he‘s a godlike figure among Democrats. Is there anybody who can take him aside and say, “Look, try to keep your self under control. You‘re not helping the effort.”
FENN: Well, I‘ll tell you. The one thing, of course, he is doing is he‘s getting great crowds be it in New Hampshire, these last couple of days, here in Iowa. So, you know, people are coming out to talk to him, see him, hear him. But, you know, Ed is right on this, I think, and that is that, look, he‘s got a lot to say. No one gives a better speech than Bill Clinton. You know, no one can make an argument better than Bill Clinton.
And I think that the more that he gets involved in these things—look, you guys love to put—are we talking about health care, the health care comparison between Obama and Edwards and Clinton? No. We‘re talking about these comments which everybody in there who‘s had a TV set in their household has seen many times over the last 10 days.
And—well, they‘ve got to get the debate back on the issues that matter to people.
CARLSON: Yes. I‘m not.
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, another thing about that, Peter, is that.
CARLSON: I‘m not—I wanted to say I‘m not convinced if you knew the details of Hillary Clinton‘s health care you‘d want to vote for her more. I mean the idea that you ought to be forced at the point of a gun by health insurance. They want us to talk about policy? Not process? OK, there‘s a policy for you.
FENN: That‘s correct.
CARLSON: How do you defend that? You can‘t.
FENN: Well, they—considering the Republicans have absolutely no health care plan, I like to have that debate any time, any where.
CARLSON: Well, no plan is better than totalitarianism as far as I‘m concerned.
CARLSON: Ed, give me your 15 seconds.
SCHULTZ: Well, the Clintons are inviting the media to change the subject. When they attack Obama or when they attack the media or when they play the role of a victim, they‘re just begging the media to change the subject and they‘re focusing away from what they really need, and that is the issues to get people to get into their camp in and support them. I think they made some unusual mistakes.
CARLSON: Yes. Well, they‘re not going to be last.
We‘ll be right back for more good news on Mike Huckabee. Not only is he leading in Iowa right now, he‘s also surging in the national polls. It looks like, for the first time, he really could be a contender for the Republican nomination. Is it real?
Plus, Mitt Romney fires the company that cuts his grass because—surprise, surprise—they hire illegals. But that wasn‘t his first reaction months ago and his Republican rivals are having a field day with it. We‘ll tell you more coming up.
CARLSON: Still to come, Mike Huckabee rises to the first tier of candidates in the latest national polls. Amazing. The question is: can he handle what comes with it? A much closer look. We‘ll tell you in just a minute. But first, here‘s a look at your headlines.
REHBERGER: I‘m Milissa Rehberger. We continue to follow a breaking news tonight.
Police say a gunman shot and killed eight people at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska and wounded five others before killing himself. Officials say two of those wounded are in critical condition. Police are still trying to piece details but they say the gunman apparently opened fire from a third floor balcony in the West Roads Mall.
Police tell our NBC affiliate the gunman was a 19-year-old male that he left a suicide note saying he was going out in style. They are reportedly about to search his home. Witnesses say they heard a burst of five to six shots followed by 15 to 20 more rounds.
Shoppers and employees ran screaming through the mall and barricaded themselves in dressing rooms after hearing the gunfire. The gunman was found dead on the third floor of Von Maur Department Store.
Once again, a gunman shot and killed eight people, wounded five others at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska, before killing himself.
Back to Tucker.
CARLSON: Welcome back. There is real movement in the race for the Republican nomination. Take a look at these numbers. Here they are. The highlight, Mike Huckabee, he‘s in seventh—second place in the new “L.A. Times”-Bloomberg poll, from seventh place virtually. Mike Huckabee, 17 percent right behind Rudy Giuliani at 23 percent. Fred Thompson 14 percent. John McCain 11 percent.
Message? Mike Huckabee, he could win.
Joining us once again, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn and host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz.
Peter, this is the kind of story that we all know has been coming for some time. We‘ve watched Mike Huckabee creeping up from behind. But it‘s one of those stories that I sense that people in Washington can‘t quite believe. Mike Huckabee really could have a shot at being the nominee.
FENN: I actually think that‘s right, Tucker. I mean, he‘s been everybody‘s sort of favorite long shot, at least on the Democratic side, for a while. But, you know, this is an extraordinary poll because Giuliani dropped nine points in this poll. Huckabee went up seven in a month.
The Republicans better keep this guy off a TV, keep him off—say no more debates. We don‘t want to be out there with this guy. They are dissatisfied in the Republican Party with their top three, with—or if you put Fred Thompson in there, I‘d question that, but top four. And initially, Huckabee is coming up.
If this guy wins in Iowa, substantially, which looks entirely possible, he‘s panicked Romney now who has to give a speech to go after the evangelical voters. It is going to roll into New Hampshire. In New Hampshire, Giuliani is way ahead in New Hampshire. It ain‘t going to last. I hear Giuliani is going to drop like a rock.
CARLSON: Well, here‘s what Huckabee needs, it seems to me, is his staff, as people to help him. I mean I ran into a friend of mine who ran into Huckabee at the airport the other in Dallas. He was by himself with his rolling luggage. And it shows sometimes. Here‘s an interview between Huckabee and David Paul Kuhn. It‘s an interesting, interesting exchange.
CARLSON: .about the National Intelligence Estimate, the subject, of course, of the president‘s press conference yesterday.
Kuhn says, quote, “I don‘t know to what extent you have been briefed or even been able to take a look at the NIE report that came out yesterday.”
“Huckabee: I‘m sorry?”
“Kuhn: The NIE report, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.
Have you been briefed or able to look at it?
“Have you heard of the finding?”
CARLSON: Now let me count the ways this is problematic. For one, you should know this. It was everywhere. You are running for president. For another, if you don‘t know, my god, don‘t admit it.
SCHULTZ: Well, I don‘t think you can be a Republican candidate out in front claiming to be the answer when it comes to national security and miss on a story like this 31 hours after it breaks. Now I really believe that Huckabee has been the most consistent when it comes to messaging and that‘s why he is starting to surge.
But at this hour he is juggling a couple of stories that are potentially dangerous to his campaign. Number one, this country has already been down the road of having a president that‘s a little short on details and high on Jesus. We‘ve had enough of that, OK?
The second story is how he paroled somebody down in Arkansas that re-offended with a rape and a murder. Now that is a flawed process, but it‘s also exemplary of a governor who showed poor judgment.
I think these two stories are definitely going to hurt Huckabee. I also think it‘s raw meat to Rudy Giuliani who was all about authority, all about power, and not about people. So this is a long way from being over, even though Huckabee is surging. I think he is juggling a couple of stories right now that could be potentially dangerous to his campaign, and he better do more than read the sports page.
CARLSON: Well, I believe that we know about that parolee story because it was given to us by rival Republican campaigns. Another example, Peter, of how seriously he is suddenly being taken, particularly, I would say, by the Romney campaign. This was all a scramble for the hearts and minds of conservatives, particularly of the evangelicals. And it looks to me like Huckabee won it.
FENN: I think Huckabee has won the first round, but you know, the other problem, as you point out with Huckabee, not only does he not have a lot of staff to show him the front pages of the morning paper, but he—and he is running like crazy, but he doesn‘t have a lot of money on TV with ads. And if Romney drops some bombs on him in Iowa and New Hampshire with some of this stuff, it could really hurt him.
I do think—I will say—I do think that Huckabee‘s strength, however, is to be cool under pressure. I mean, this guy—not much fazes him, and I don‘t think you are going to rattle a guy, whereas Rudy‘s strength is certainly—he is—you know, he rattles with every shake. And he‘s still not out of the woods yet on his trooper gate problem because he‘s, you know, now it looks like taxpayers are paying for not only his mistress but his wife‘s security so—and everybody.
CARLSON: Well, you know, it‘s interesting. This is sort of a—there‘s a double whammy here. One of you just mentioned the speech that—
I believe it was you, Peter—that Mitt Romney is going to be giving tomorrow to—presumably to reassure the country about his religion and its affect on the White House should he be elected.
There‘s a new survey out that shows what we‘ve known for a while. Voters are very uncomfortable with Mormonism. They‘re biased against Mormonism than they are against a generic Mormon candidate than they would be against a black candidate, a female candidate.
Ed, this really is one of the last surviving acceptable bigotries in America, the anti-Mormon feeling that‘s more common than I realized.
SCHULTZ: Well, I think Romney can come out of this, but he‘s going to have to play the same card that JFK played decades ago when he said that he was running as an American, and not as a Catholic, and he was going to be a president for the American people and not just Catholics.
And I think that Romney can come out of this, but he‘s going to have to play it straight and he‘s going to have to reassure the American people that his faith isn‘t going to get into the Oval Office and he understands the separation of church and state.
Romney‘s biggest problem is illegal immigration and all these people he‘s been hiring, and now he‘s trying to mop that out to try to catch a big problem.
CARLSON: Oh, but we‘ll talk about—wait, wait, wait. But hold on here. Talk about a BS story. I mean, this is—OK, so Romney may or may not have a consistent position on immigration. Probably his is to the left of mine. I‘m not defending his position. I‘m really saying here‘s a guy who hired a lawn service owned by Americans, legally, which apparently hired, in turn, illegal aliens.
The “Boston Globe” got on this twice. They just - have found the other day that this company still hires illegal aliens, and so Romney fires the company, issues a statement saying, “It‘s important I take this action.”
I would suggest, Peter, not only is it not important, it‘s exactly the kind of hollow gesture that means nothing and is a distraction from the real conversation.
FENN: I would agree. Maybe he felt he had no choice, Tucker. But you know, this looks ridiculous.
CARLSON: And it looked—come on, it is ridiculous.
FENN: One of every three lawn services has—has illegal immigrants working for them.
CARLSON: Oh, that‘s not true. One out of every three? No, no, it‘s nine out of every 10 at least.
FENN: That‘s what they reported this morning. I mean, maybe it‘s higher, you know? You can‘t tell.
SCHULTZ: Of course, it‘s higher.
FENN: Who the heck knows? But my point on this is, look, I think—
I have always said this on this show and many others, Tucker. I think Romney‘s an empty suit, and I think—I might as well disagree with that. Look, he is not going to call, Ed, for a separation of church and state tomorrow.
You know, and John Kennedy‘s speech in Houston, his quote was the separation of church and state is absolute. That was the exact words that he used. There‘s no way this guy is going to do this. He is walking a tight rope on this, and, you know, that latest poll is very interesting because it‘s the first one that really, in depth, has looked at people‘s feeling about religion. It found more people with concerns about Mormonism than voting for an atheist for president. Holy cow. I mean that‘s pretty scary right now in this country.
CARLSON: Wait, well, but.
FENN: He has to say religion should be not a part of the political process but he can‘t say that because he believes religion should be a part of the political process.
CARLSON: I don‘t think there‘s any evidence that Mitt Romney believes religion ought to be a part of the political process. I mean, the truth is, the argument about the separate of church and state is over. The country is far more secular than it was even 10 years.
There‘s—where nowhere near theocracy and I know that that, you know, Americans or Democratic actions of various liberal groups raise money on that notion that we‘re very close, you know, to installing the pope as president, but we‘re not.
SCHULTZ: Well, the voters are going to be able to decide on that. I mean Mitt Romney is going to have to make his case on this. It is an issue for him, but I think he can get past it. What he is going to have to get past is James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, Richard Viguerie, all these conservatives out there that wanted to make sure he is conservative enough.
SCHULTZ: for their standards, and I‘m not sure he can meet that test.
CARLSON: OK. Here‘s—Tom Tancredo is still running for president. I love Tom Tancredo because he honestly doesn‘t care what respectable people think, and, plus, I think he is smart. He has a new ad out about immigration that‘s not only over the top, but it‘s also accurate. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, TOM TANCREDO‘S CAMPAIGN AD)
REP. TOM TANCREDO ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi, I‘m Tom Tancredo, and I approve this message because someone needs to say it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mothers killed, children executed, the tactics of vicious Central American gangs now on U.S. soil. Pushing drugs, raping kids, destroying lives. Thanks to gutless politicians who refuse to defend our borders. One man dares say it must be done. Secure the borders, deport those who don‘t belong, make sure they never come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Let‘s be honest. This ad is very offensive to every good government liberal in America, but there‘s nothing in this ad that‘s inaccurate. It‘s inarguably true.
SCHULTZ: Well, now, held on now, Tucker. Don‘t be thinking that one party has got a lock on the market when it comes to protecting the border and enforcing the laws in this country. Both parties have failed when it comes to picture protecting the boarder.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right.
SCHULTZ: .and resourcing it, OK? So—but Tom Tancredo, if he is out in front, he doesn‘t run that ad. If he is in the running for the nomination, he doesn‘t run that ad. I don‘t think. You can‘t go around offending people. Now, he can do this kind of stuff and then, of course, people can either line up with it or disavow themselves from it. But here, again, I think he is a good candidate because he is bringing to light the issue for ‘08. The candidate, the party that can wrap his or her arms around this and satisfy the confidence of the American people.
CARLSON: I agree.
SCHULTZ: .that they will do something at the boarder, will win the White House. That was going to be the issue.
CARLSON: You‘re absolutely right. We are out of time, unfortunately.
Gentlemen, I really appreciate it. Thank you, both.
FENN: Thanks, Tucker.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
CARLSON: Brain scans for presidential candidates? Well, if they‘re vying for a spot in the White House, we should know if there are imbalances in their brains? Makes sense, doesn‘t it? We‘ll talk to someone who says it actually does make sense.
Plus, who is Jenna Bush afraid to call on “The Ellen Show” today?
We‘ll tell you when we come back.
CARLSON: Rudy Giuliani has some messy personalized John McCain a temper. Hillary Clinton acts like a robot. Does any of that psychological stuff actually matter in the presidential race? Some say it‘s key. We‘ll talk with a renowned brain expert next.
CARLSON: We‘ve heard some pretty far-out things during this race to the White House in the last year. Keep in mind Dennis Kucinich says he actually had a close encounter with a UFO, and maybe he did. But just when you think you‘ve heard it all, my next guest wants the candidates to undergo brain scans to determine if there is more than just talking points between their ears.
After all, if the candidates‘ physical health is fair game, why not his mental health? Joining me now is neuropsychiatries, Dr. Daniel Amen. He wrote at “L.A. Times” editorial on the subject. He‘s the director of the Amen Clinic and the author of “Change Your Brain, Change your Life.”
Dr. Amen, thanks for coming on.
DOCTOR DANIEL AMEN, NEUROPSYCHIATRIST: Thanks for having me, Tucker.
CARLSON: So what could you determine if you‘re to put presidential candidates in a brain scan, what would you learn?
AMEN: Well, you‘d learn how their brain works. We do a study in our clinics called brain spect, S-P-E-C-T. And they look at blood flow and activity patterns. And they basically tell us three things: areas of your brain that work well, areas of your brain that are low in activity, and areas of your brain that are high in activity, and we take those clinically and help patients with violence or depression or ADD or learning problems or depression, and we help balance their brain.
And for years what I have thought about, talked about, is we should be scanning the brains of presidential candidates because a president with a bad brain can ruin life on earth. A president with problems in the frontal lobe, for example, will have judgment problems. If they have problems in the temporal lobes, they‘re going to have problems with language or maybe problems with memory, and I‘m sort of tired of presidents who have a bad brain that are not leading the country in a good direction.
CARLSON: But, I mean, I have two questions. One, aren‘t the primaries their own kind of brain scan? I mean don‘t we get to see the candidates up close over the course of a year, hear them talk at great length? Can‘t we decide based on that whether the brains are in order?
AMEN: Well, that certainly gives good information, but did you know that brain scans can predict five to 10 years before people have symptoms whether or not they‘re vulnerable to Alzheimer‘s disease, and several of our candidates are older, and don‘t you want to know when you elect them whether or not they‘re vulnerable to that?
I would argue that President Reagan in his second term had evidence of memory lapses and that‘s sort of a national crisis.
CARLSON: Yes, but it wasn‘t in the end a national crisis. Everything turned out fine, so isn‘t that kind of proof it wasn‘t necessary?
AMEN: No. I don‘t think so. I mean, the Iran contra affair was a terrible affair that the country went through, and if you think, if.
CARLSON: I don‘t know. What‘s the long-term effect of the Iran-contra affair? We‘re all kind of OK now. Yes, it was embarrassing. They shouldn‘t have done it, but, I mean, in the end it was not a constitutional crisis or a crisis that even will be remembered 500 years from now, so who cares?
AMEN: Well, I mean for me personally I care, and the last two presidents have made it even worse in a sense. President Clinton was known to have issues with judgment and impulse control, and I really didn‘t need my 6-year-old daughter asking me, you know, why is oral sex not sex? That was a very divisive political scandal.
CARLSON: Well, then.
AMEN: .that came out of what I would say is bad brain function.
CARLSON: Well, so—here‘s—this is my key and my final question, where‘s free will in this? OK, so if you gave Clinton a brain scan and said, OK, this guy is probably going to have impulse control problems, self-control issues, it doesn‘t allow for his own will in the equation, does it?
AMEN: No, I don‘t think that‘s true. If you have low activity in your frontal lobe, as many people who have ADD who come to our clinics do, you can balance it with either supplements or medication or lifestyle changes. But if you don‘t know, then you‘ll just judge people, in its bad, say, “oh well, they, you know, they have free will. They just chose to do this. And you know, that‘s really 17th century thinking. That‘s what Rene Descartes, who separated the mind from the brain. And he was wrong. It‘s time we move the discussion to the next level, which is how is the braining? How can make it? We‘re better. And if it works better, won‘t we be more thoughtful, reliable, predictable, effective people?
CARLSON: Wow. If you can get Hillary Clinton into a brain scan, I will buy you dinner any place, anytime.
Dr. Amen, thanks a lot for joining us.
AMEN: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: We know how powerfully the president of the United States is, but the top powerful is a talk show host who‘s interviewing the president of the United States‘ daughter. Pretty powerful it turns out. We‘ll tell you what Ellen DeGeneres got Jenna Bush to do today.
We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Joining us now with an update on the dark side of American life, the vice president of MSNBC for primetime, Bill Wolff.
BILL WOLFF: No, no. I‘m here to make you feel better, to soothe your soul, Tucker, and may I say all of middle management at MSNBC undergoes brain scans. That‘s true.
CARLSON: You‘re not going to suck me into that conversation, Bill.
WOLF: Sometimes the angry discourse about American politics, Tucker, ignores the fact that the players, all of them, are people, and on a day when there is both fury in many quarters of President Bush and horror everywhere about the human tragedy in Omaha, Nebraska, here is a reminder.
Both of what‘s really important in all our lives and that‘s the president, like him or hate him, at his core is more like his critics than he is different from them. This is his daughter taped yesterday and aired today on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Tucker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ‘THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW”)
ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, “THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW”: Now, is it easy like if you just feel like calling him at any time, do they go he‘s in a meeting like.
JENNA BUSH, PRESIDENTIAL DAUGHTER: Oh, no. I usually call him in the evening or in the morning when I know they‘ll both be at home, my parents.
DEGENERES: Right. But like, if you wanted to—like, because if I call my manager, my agent, I always get, oh, they‘re in a meeting, which, you know, they‘re not. And so.
DEGENERES: But like, could you just pick up the phone like right now and call him?
J. BUSH: Sure.
J. BUSH: He‘s going to kill me, though. Maybe.
DEGENERES: Come on. You say hi.
J. BUSH: Do you think I‘m allowed to do this?
DEGENERES: Why not? You‘re his daughter.
J. BUSH: I mean—OK.
DEGENERES: I can just call the White House main line.
J. BUSH: What time is it, though? They‘re definitely asleep. What time is it?
DEGENERES: It‘s late? No, it‘s only 4:30 right now so it‘s like 7:30.
J. BUSH: So it‘s 7:30. Well, they may be in the Holiday reception but I‘ll try to call my mom‘s line.
DEGENERES: All right. We won‘t look. All right.
J. BUSH: I‘m going to get in trouble.
DEGENERES: Here. Just hit—to see if you have a dial tone. Hit nine.
J. BUSH: Well, you‘re not recording the number or anything?
DEGENERES: No, no, no. I‘m covering the—nobody is even looking.
I‘m not even looking. I don‘t want to get in trouble.
J. BUSH: I could get in really.
DEGENERES: No. I just want to say hi.
J. BUSH: OK. I‘m calling.
DEGENERES: I‘ll call your grandfather if he doesn‘t answer.
J. BUSH: OK. We‘ll try it. I‘m not going get anything I ask for for Christmas.
DEGENERES: I‘ll give you a really big one.
J. BUSH: They don‘t have an answering machine.
LINDSEY: This is Lindsey.
J. BUSH: Hi, Lindsey. Hi. I‘m on the “Ellen Show.”
J. BUSH: Are my parents there? My mom. She‘s going to kill me.
LINDSEY, ASSISTANT: Let me.
DEGENERES: Hi, Lindsey, how are you doing?
LINDSEY: Hi. I think she might be on your dad‘s line.
J. BUSH: OK.
LINDSEY: OK. But I‘ll transfer you. Just one second.
DEGENERES: Well, I don‘t want to talk to her. Let me talk to the dad.
J. BUSH: OK.
J. BUSH: They‘re going to kill me. I‘m going to be in so much trouble.
DEGENERES: No. They‘re going to be thrilled. Why wouldn‘t they want to say hi to everybody and say happy—merry Christmas?
J. BUSH: They may have wanted at the morning.
DEGENERES: We‘re not, like, barging in in their pajamas or something.
J. BUSH: Mom?
DEGENERES: It‘s a phone call.
J. BUSH: That‘s true.
J. BUSH: I hope so.
J. BUSH: Like a phone call straight to live television, you know?
DEGENERES: Just a hello.
J. BUSH: Hello?
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey, Jenna.
J. BUSH: Hi, mom.
L. BUSH: Hey. I‘m not watching you because you‘re just taping right now.
J. BUSH: Yes, but what are you doing then?
L. BUSH: I‘m just sitting here with daddy.
DEGENERES: Oh, hey. It‘s Ellen, I wanted to say hi to daddy.
L. BUSH: Yes. Daddy would.
J. BUSH: Dad? Mom? Dad?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey.
L. BUSH: There he is.
J. BUSH: OK. Bye, mom.
DEGENERES: No, wait.
J. BUSH: Well, I love you.
G. BUSH: Where are you going?
J. BUSH: I‘m not going anywhere. Hi, dad.
G. BUSH: Love you.
DEGENERES: Hello, President Bush. How are you?
J. BUSH: This is the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
G. BUSH: Oh, that‘s great.
DEGENERES: Hey. How are you doing?
G. BUSH: This is really great. Ellen, how is my little girl doing?
DEGENERES: Oh, she‘s great. She‘s scared she was going to get in trouble because I just said is it easy to just pick up the phone and call your dad anytime. She said yes, and I said, OK, well, then, let‘s call him and she goes, oh, and now she‘s scared she‘s not going to get any Christmas presents.
J. BUSH: Dad?
G. BUSH: Yes, baby?
J. BUSH: Are you mad?
G. BUSH: No, not at all. I‘m glad to talk to you.
G. BUSH: I‘m glad to talk to Ellen.
DEGENERES: Look, they were showing a picture of you holding your daughters when they were just born. That‘s beautiful.
J. BUSH: The best day of your life. Remember, dad?
DEGENERES: All right. Well, we just wanted to say merry Christmas and we thought you‘d want to say merry Christmas to our audience.
G. BUSH: I do want to say merry Christmas to your audience and I want to tell my little girl I love her.
J. BUSH: I love you, too, dad. OK. Love you, dad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLFF: Come on, Tucker. How are you mad at President Bush? How is anybody mad after that? You know what I mean?
CARLSON: I‘ve got three daughters. I know exactly what you mean.
That‘s pretty nice. His daughter is cute. She‘s an appealing girl.
WOLFF: Well, first of all, hilarious. They‘re at home. Well, where is home exactly, you know? It‘s not 1313 Mockingbird Lane. It‘s 1600 -- their home is not our home. Also, I always wonder, did the president have a phone that rings?
WOLFF: I guess so. Amazing. I don‘t know. I thought.
CARLSON: It was all pretty ordinary the closer you get.
WOLFF: I think you got to be fairly cynical not think that was pretty nice.
CARLSON: I thought it was sweet.
Bill Wolff at headquarters. Thanks, Bill.
WOLFF: You got it.
CARLSON: That was unusually nice. I‘m impressed.
WOLFF: Have a nice day.
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS”. We‘ll be back tomorrow. Have a great night.
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