Guests: Rosa Brooks, Hillary Rosen; Juan Hernandez, Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome to the show. Coming to you live from Birmingham, Alabama.
Howard Dean attacks Republicans for using the phrase illegal aliens. He says it‘s, quote, “outrageous and immoral.” Are Dean‘s charges fair? Are they part of a larger strategy to win over Hispanic voters?
We‘ll tell you in a minute.
Plus, another Democrat, Bill Clinton, is using some softer language today. In an interview on ABC, Clinton says he is ready to put up Christmas ornaments and organize an Easter egg roll, that is if Hillary gets to the White House. Hillary, the one actually running for president, meanwhile is charging ahead. She is now warning Wall Street, “Get your act together, or I‘ll do it for you.”
We‘ll tell you what she‘s saying and how Wall Street is reacting.
Plus, a message to all you voters up and down the eastern seaboard. Keep your eyes on the sky. Ron Paul will soon be flying overheard. The Ron Paul blimp on its way.
And as Paul takes off, Rudy Giuliani‘s campaign has hit some turbulence. The “New York Daily News” has dug up more details about why and when New York City police began chauffeuring around his girlfriend. We‘ve got them for you.
But first, illegal immigration. Joining me now is the adviser to the former Mexican president, Vicente Fox, and the author of the New American Pioneers, Juan Hernandez, joins us live.
Juan, thanks for coming on.
JUAN HERNANDEZ, FMR. ADVISOR TO VICENTE FOX: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: So how was it suddenly immoral as Chairman Dean says to call illegal aliens illegal aliens?
HERNANDEZ: Well, first of all, the Democrats have also called them illegal aliens and it doesn‘t even work dramatically, my dear Tucker. We‘re talking about an adjective. We can‘t use it as a noun. People are not illegal. God sent all of us to this world. Legally, it‘s just that some people may not have the right documents to be at the right place at the right time. But I will tell you.
CARLSON: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a second. Wait a second, Juan. I‘m sorry. I actually have a pretty good grasp for the language and I can tell you now it is grammatically correct, it‘s legally correct.
There are different kinds of aliens. There are resident aliens who are here legally and there are aliens who are here illegally. It is a legal definition. It has been used for generations. It is correct and there‘s nothing pejorative or evil about it.
HERNANDEZ: Well, we can disagree about - that the word whether it is right or wrong. But people cannot be illegal. You can do an illegal act, if you will. But I think that what is very interesting with the (INAUDIBLE), my friend, is that we have, on the hand, some people using the vocabulary and documents at people like I do and some people using the world illegal.
It was very interesting in the debate, in the YouTube, how you had—you could see the struggle between the American people‘s heart, I think. On the one hand, you had Giuliani and Romney fighting about who had more documentary illegals (INAUDIBLE) their nose and did nothing about it. And you had people clapping.
But then you have McCain saying these are also God‘s children and people caught in a moor. I think that we‘re struggling. Not only we‘re struggling with vocabulary in this nation, but we‘re also struggling because our government has not been able to solve this problem. And as a nation, we want it solved in a compassionate way and also using the right vocabulary.
CARLSON: I think you‘re right in half of what you said. There is a debate about what to do.
HERNANDEZ: No. I‘m right. I can‘t believe this, Tucker.
CARLSON: No, but I mean, look, honest people have honest disagreements about what to do with the illegal aliens streaming over our border. Some people are for it, others are against, some are ambivalent. But here‘s what I really.
CARLSON: All right. Wait. Here‘s where I deeply resent, OK? Is when people try and stop the debate, when they claim, as Howard Dean has, that the other side is illegitimate, that they‘re somehow racist, that it‘s bigoted to object to people coming into your country illegally.
It‘s fair to object, maybe you disagree, but you‘re not a bigot if you don‘t like it. Are you?
HERNANDEZ: What I would say is that some people also stopped the debate immediately when you start to say anything positive about these people. For example them pressing your shirt and my shirt at 99 cents, you know it‘s not fair either way in what is most unfair and what is most immoral, my friend. Let me just finish—is that the Senate and whole Congress dropped the ball and did not continue the debate.
Now I know that some of them are against.
HERNANDEZ: .immigration reform and some in favor, but to drop the ball and not continue this debate, and find a resolution for this nation, that is immoral.
CARLSON: Well, I‘m afraid that‘s how our system works, Juan, is that the legislation doesn‘t appear to be necessarily wanted to.
HERNANDEZ: Dropping the ball?
CARLSON: But hold on, hold on. Let‘s just get back to motive here. What Howard Dean is saying is, you‘re against illegal immigration, therefore you are a bigot. That‘s the harshest term you can term in American life. He‘s short-circuiting the debate. No, but I don‘t any of the anti-illegal immigration saying of the other, “You‘re evil.” They‘re saying, “We disagree with you.”
There‘s a huge distinction. I resent deeply people coming in to our country, breaking the law, and then me being called names if I notice it. That‘s unfair.
HERNANDEZ: Well, my friend, but let‘s also listen to some people—I won‘t name names—some people just came out with a new book, a guy named Pat Buchanan, I won‘t mention his name, but which the way that they say illegal really sounds like some of the vocabulary we used to use and we don‘t use anymore.
But—I want to say something here, I find that there‘s something.
CARLSON: I know, what do you—hold on, hold on.
CARLSON: What do you mean by that? What do you mean by that?
HERNANDEZ: Oh my goodness, they are talking—it is like a synonym of criminals and today it is only a civil offense to have crossed that line. There is no punishment.
CARLSON: But it is a synonym for criminal.
HERNANDEZ: No, sir. No, sir. It is not—there are (INAUDIBLE) who wanted it to be a criminal offense. But there is no punishment today for having crossed that line. And I‘m going to say all of you people.
CARLSON: But let me ask you a simple question.
HERNANDEZ: But let me just mention one thing, even on the Republican side.
HERNANDEZ: .there are some people like John McCain who are trying to find a solution and it‘s not just the Democrats or Republicans. And you know, I really enjoy listening to people that are willing to get into the debate more like you and I sometimes, Tucker.
CARLSON: But wait a—I mean, Juan, you can‘t have a debate when you call people names. And you just did. You accused Pat Buchanan of being a racist. That‘s what you were saying.
HERNANDEZ: Oh, no, no, no, no. He has accused me of (INAUDIBLE) about, you know, these crooks are too so I‘m just answering.
CARLSON: And that‘s outrageous. Let me ask you this very simple question. If I may—hold on. If I‘m a Guatemalan trying to come in to Mexico over the Mexico southern border and I get caught, what happens to me? You know perfectly well what happens to me. I go to jail. I go to prison. I‘m behind bars. Just for coming in to that country. It‘s not just Mexico, by the way.
Its countries all around the world enforce their immigration laws by throwing offenders into jail. And yet somehow it‘s only in the United States that‘s a racist country if it attempts in anyway to enforce its own immigration laws. That‘s so unfair. How dare you impose that double standard?
HERNANDEZ: You know, my friend, you know, but—it is so—no, no, no, no. But my friend, there is a vocabulary that can be used. George W. Bush use a vocabulary in which he won up to 44, maybe 47 percent of the votes when he ran for president. And I‘m sorry, but many of those who are running today including the Democrats are losing us Hispanics If they really want to court us, I‘m sorry, they can‘t be talking about my family members, my friends, using a word.
HERNANDEZ: .that sounds like criminals.
CARLSON: OK. So just—so I understand your position, in order to win the Hispanic vote, you have to pretend that illegal aliens are actually legal or you have to pretend.
HERNANDEZ: No, no, no, no, no, no.
CARLSON: .that it‘s a good thing they‘re here. You can‘t in any way object to illegal immigration if you want to win Hispanic votes.
HERNANDEZ: That‘s not what I‘m saying. No, I‘m saying—no, no, no.
CARLSON: Is that what you‘re saying? That is what you‘re saying.
HERNANDEZ: No, no, no. No one, no one is in favor of illegal immigration.
CARLSON: You‘re in favor of illegal immigration. What are you talking about? You‘re in favor of it.
HERNANDEZ: The gentleman who just crossed today—the one who just crossed today the desert through Arizona with a jug of water risking his life would prefer to come today, sir, with a visa. And you can call him illegal or you can call him an undocumented.
HERNANDEZ: He‘s someone coming up here because we are inviting him, because he is in need, he‘s a push-and-a-pull. And he‘s doing wonderful things for this nation. And we will, by the way, my friends, will have a show in a couple of years from now, and these 12 million will be legalized.
CARLSON: Oh, absolutely. And that using the term illegal alien at that point.
HERNANDEZ: Oh, thank you.
CARLSON: .will be a criminal offense and you go straight to PC jail for saying that and I‘ll be living in the Barbados by then.
HERNANDEZ: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
CARLSON: And I‘ll be watching you on cable from my satellite hookup in that free island nation. Thanks a lot, Juan. I really appreciate it.
HERNANDEZ: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Bill Clinton says if his wife was elected president he would sit in on Cabinet meetings only if asked and would do his best to support her. He even promises to keep his mouth shut. Could he keep that promise?
Plus, Oprah Winfrey is set to hit the campaign trail on behalf of Barack Obama. A massive crowd is expected. Tens of thousands. How many will vote for him?
You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics.
CARLSON: Bill Clinton says he would have loved to observe the third-term as president. Will he get to, in effect, if his wife is elected? We‘ll tell you. We‘ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ABC‘S “10 MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE OF 2007”)
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC HOST: If your wife becomes president, I don‘t suppose that you‘re going to participate in the Easter egg hunt or the Christmas decorations.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: You know, I‘d actually like doing that.
WALTERS: You‘re going to do the Easter egg hunt.
CLINTON: If that‘s—if I‘m asked to do it, I would love to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You‘ve heard it straight from the man himself. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, Bill Clinton will be in charge of the White House Easter Egg Roll and the White House Christmas decorations. He might even help out that pastry chef with the building of the gingerbread house.
Amusing is all that may be to watch, there is a more serious question looming about his true influence as first gentleman.
Joining me now with their predictions for Bill as first spouse, do welcome, Democratic strategist, MSNBC political analyst, Hilary Rosen, and the “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa Brooks.
Welcome to you both.
HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Hi, Tucker.
CARLSON: Hillary, here‘s a—hi. This is—I just love this next question from Barbara Walters. This is when she asked about Cabinet meetings. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ABC‘S “10 MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE OF 2007”)
WALTERS: Would you sit in on Cabinet meetings if your wife is president?
CLINTON: Only if I asked and I think it would only be wise if it were on a specific issue. I think it‘s better for me to giver her my advice privately most of the time.
WALTERS: What if you disagree with the decision that your wife makes?
Would you weigh in?
CLINTON: Oh, sure. But when she made I‘ll do my best to support or keep my mouth shut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Interesting. What I‘m struck by here is theory is.
ROSA BROOKS: And the problem with that is what?
CARLSON: Well, here are two things that struck me. One, you‘ll always here the wives of candidates ask similar questions to what way they will be involved in policy. If any female spouse of a candidate said, “Yeah, I would sit on a Cabinet meeting from time to time.” People will have a heart attack.
Second, here he‘s saying pointblank he will attempt to change her mind on issues. Is this a problem? I mean, this is a big admission.
Well, you‘re twisting his words, Tucker. First of all, he didn‘t say sit in on Cabinet meetings. He said if he were asked on a particular subject.
ROSEN: That he might have expertise in, he would. But that‘s not that different from other former presidents who‘ve been asked by current speaking president to common consult with a Cabinet on critical issues. So I think that‘s all he meant in that—at least that‘s all I heard. And you know, I don‘t know, they weigh in on things?
CARLSON: Would you weigh in? Oh, sure, he said. Yes.
ROSEN: Well, would you expect him, you know, and do you think that Barbara Bush was silent when George Herbert Walker came upstairs and she disagreed with him. Do you assume that she was kind of quiet?
CARLSON: No, no, I don‘t. And I suspect that often, the spouse of the president weighs in and I think sometimes the spouse has a big effect.
ROSEN: But then—but they‘re more demure in public and deny that ever do. So.
CARLSON: Yes, that‘s actually exactly right. And here‘s—I mean, my question is I‘m not even sure how I personally feel about this. But I‘m pretty certain the public is uncomfortable with a spouse having undue influence. I am pretty sure that—polling seems to show that. Is this wise for him to say it out loud?
ROSEN: Well, I just think he was being honest. I think it‘d be hard for him to look credible if he said, “Well, no, I‘m not going to have any opinions and, you know, no, I‘m not going to say anything.” It just—it wouldn‘t wash really. Then you‘d be on tonight laughing at him for being so Clintonian.
CARLSON: Well, I‘m just hearing you—you are - you‘re right. I just—
Rosa, I‘m becoming more and more convinced that as much a rock star as he is with some of the Democratic base, Bill Clinton is an anchor on this campaign in the long run and things like this are going to prevent his wife from becoming president.
ROSA BROOKS, LOS ANGELES TIMES COLUMNIST: I don‘t agree, Tucker. I think he‘s a huge asset for his wife. I—and that‘s actually not a negative comment on her at all. But I think that—you know, my reaction to what Hillary Clinton just said is that not only why not, but second of all, Clinton is not an ordinary spouse. He‘s a former president of the United States. He‘s an asset to her because that‘s incredibly reassuring to a lot of Americans.
He‘s extremely popular, including among independents in this country right now. You know, I think, for a lot of Americans, it would actually—it‘s like a twofer. You know, even people who disapprove of his personal life decisions during his presidency, there are a quite a lot of Americans who would be quite delighted to feel like Bill Clinton was back in the White House in some capacity, weighing in on important policy issues.
ROSEN: I mean I think the point you‘re making, though, Tucker, is not invalid, which is there‘s an accountability with the president to the American people and there‘s an unaccountability with the spouse.
CARLSON: Well, he saw him with his wife. People—even—maybe it was unfair, maybe not. But they didn‘t like it. Here‘s—there‘s an “L.A. Times” piece that I‘m sure you both read about, women being uncomfortable - - some women, especially affluent women, Hillary‘s age—being comfortable with her candidacy.
Echoing Jane Fonda‘s line that Hillary Clinton is a ventriloquist for the patriarchy in a skirt, the “Times” suggest that, quote, “They‘re disgusted by the fact that while they struggle to break through barriers in the workplace, Hillary hitched her star to a man and followed him to the top.”
Is that the genesis of this uncomfortableness, do you think, Hillary with Senator Clinton‘s candidacy?
ROSEN: No, I don‘t think it is. I think women in Senator Clinton‘s generation have used all sorts of ways to try and make their mark in society. And sometimes that meant being married and having a leg-up that way and sometimes it meant super education, and sometimes it meant, a senior male partner at the law firm, being a great mentor and, you know, pushing you along when nobody else would.
So I think it‘s that women of a certain class don‘t want to be seen as needing a helping hand. And that‘s the case that Hillary Clinton I think can and will make to the country, which is she‘s not asking for their support because she‘s a woman. It‘s because she has, you know, a record and cares about issues hat women care about. And I don‘t think she‘s going to succeed with these women appealing to them just because they‘re women.
CARLSON: I—well, I hope that. Rosa, (INAUDIBLE), did Hillary Clinton spent all those years and, we noticed for certain now, helping to trash all these basically vulnerable women, younger or poor, that she accused of having a relationship with her husband.
BROOKS: Oh, my.
CARLSON: Well, on that basis of that alone, how can she be a feminist hero, trashing women weaker her? And that of her husband?
BROOKS: Tucker, I‘m not going there. I‘m not going to there.
CARLSON: No, I‘m serious. I never ever understood that.
BROOKS: I—no but you know what? I actually, I don‘t think anybody in America, except possibly on television, is all that in rehashing that stuff quite frankly. And I—the one thing I thought was wrong with that “L.A. Times” article and I also disagree with Hilary Rosen, on this one, I don‘t think most voters, male or female out there, really give a hoot about Hillary Clinton‘s gender and that‘s a goof thing.
I think that the people who like her like, like her for the right reasons, which is that they like her policies, and I think that the people who are uncomfortable with her, and there are a great many Democratic women who are uncomfortable with her, as well as Democratic men, as well an independent minute setter, are uncomfortable with her because they don‘t like her substance of policy (INAUDIBLE).
CARLSON: I hope you are right. If you‘re right, this is a better country than I am giving it credit for being, but I see polls of a lot of times.
BROOKS: But I think.
CARLSON: .and people are voting for her because she‘s a woman and I hope they‘re—that‘s wrong. I agree.
BROOKS: I don‘t think I—no, I mean, I think there are a lot of things that we‘re not talking about right now that the “L.A. Times” articles referred to it was not talking about that are actually really coming out for the first—really, in a big way, for the first time right now, you know, her judgment on Iran, her judgment on Iraq. All of these important issues right now are beginning to kind of enter into the public debate in a different way, and that‘s a really good thing.
CARLSON: All right.
ROSEN: But her.
CARLSON: We‘ll be right back.
A shocking new report out today says the New York City Police Department was driving around Rudy Giuliani‘s then girlfriend all the time and earlier than previously thought. How big a problem is this, or is it just another salacious tabloid story from New York City?
Plus, Hillary Clinton says Wall Street is partly to blame for the subprime mortgage mess. Then she asked investment communities support her proposals. What are those proposals and will they listen?
We‘ll tell you in a minute.
CARLSON: Is there more trouble out there waiting for Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani? Just out today, a new report that the former New York mayor‘s third wife, Judith Nathan, was being carted around on the taxpayers‘ dime even before their relationship was made public.
One source tells “The New York Daily News” this went on for months. Will a record like this do in America‘s mayor in his bid for the White House?
Back with us, Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst Hilary Rosen and the “L.A. Times‘” Rosa Brooks.
Rosa, here—I mean I don‘t want to be too self-righteous about this. He‘s not the only mayor with a girlfriend. Here‘s what bothers me, though, the abuse of power here, the idea that his girlfriend was entitled more security than the average person. This was a police car that could have been used to protect ordinary people, but instead it was used to ferry his girlfriend around. This is the kind of story that just annoys the hell out of me.
BROOKS: And it should. It should annoy the hell out of you, Tucker. I mean this is one of the many things about Rudy Giuliani‘s past that made New Yorkers not like him very much. It‘s a good thing he‘s America‘s mayor because the people of New Yorker weren‘t pretty—weren‘t particularly crazy about him.
You know, and I think, frankly, what we‘re seeing right now—we‘re seeing this with Hillary Clinton, we‘re seeing it with Rudy Giuliani on the Republican side—is that the frontrunners who had an aura of inevitability sort of built around them, largely by the media, everybody suddenly waking up, getting really interested in the race as we enter the primary season and taking a closer look, and in both cases, not always being thrilled with what they see.
CARLSON: See, I just think, Hilary, this is a tragedy. I mean, Giuliani, I don‘t care what anybody says, the evidence proves, as far as I‘m concerned, this guy saved New York City, the most important city in this hemisphere, from itself. He was the greatest mayor ever. And now he‘s running for president and he looks like kind of a schmuck when stories like this come out. It‘s just—it‘s depressing for me to watch a guy I admire, you know, have his past catch up with him in this way.
ROSEN: Well, it is, you know, the problem when local politics sort of has too much sunlight on it. Local politics is often a lot uglier than federal politics, but let‘s.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
ROSEN: I think we ought to be sympathetic because they said that Judy Nathan was having serious security threats against her, and that‘s why she needed this protection. Now, of course, I think that those serious security threats were from Rudy‘s wife. So why else would—of course, she needed protection.
CARLSON: But now, now, now, now, as far as I understand, this all took place before her existence in any way related to Mayor Giuliani was public. When is someone going to stand up, in general, though, and say those in power spend too much money, too many of our resources on their own, quote, “security,” which a lot of times just a lot of servants ferrying them around from place to place in the name of safety. It‘s outrageous.
ROSEN: Well, it is outrageous I have to say that.
CARLSON: When is someone going to say that?
ROSEN: But if you‘ve ever been in New York City traffic, you know that—you know, if you can get a car and a driver, you are going to do it. He‘s.
BROOKS: If you have ever been in New York City traffic, you know that you actually want to be taking the subway.
ROSEN: Oh, that‘s totally true also. But you know.
CARLSON: No. It.
ROSEN: Rudy Giuliani is somewhat of a prince this way, and, you know, he likes the trappings of power, and he always has. And I don‘t see that changing. It hasn‘t changed in this campaign, and I don‘t see that changing when he‘s president.
CARLSON: It‘s just a shame because his legacy was.
ROSEN: Which it won‘t, of course.
CARLSON: .was spotless, you know? That‘s why some people should run for president.
Well, maybe it‘s not a fluke—speaking of people running for president. A second poll shows Mike Huckabee in second place right behind Rudy Giuliani. Could he actually win the Republican nomination? A question many people are beginning to take seriously.
Plus, Oprah Winfrey hits the campaign trail for Barack Obama this weekend.
Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. She turns authors into best sellers.
Can she do the same for him?
We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: You think politics, you think hot air, of course, but some real hot air will soon be taking Ron Paul to new heights, as some Ron Paul fans get set to launch the Ron Paul Blimp. The blimp that will cruise up the eastern seaboard next week; is this political zeppelin legal? We‘ll find out from esteemed blimp experts in just a moment.
Also, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is taking flight. His rise in the early primary states now matched by a bull run in the latest national poll of Republican voters. He is number two, behind Rudy Giuliani, while Fred Thompson, unfortunately for him, headed in the opposite direction and fast.
And Barack Obama is hoping the Oprah factor can help fill in an 80,000 seat college football stadium in South Carolina this Sunday. Can she get Obama over the top? Here to discuss all of that and more, Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst Hillary Rosen, and “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa Brooks. Welcome back to you both.
OK, Hillary, the poll that came out recently, “L.A. Times”/Bloomberg, national poll on Republicans—we‘ll put it up. It was amazing, at least to me, Giuliani 23, Mike Huckabee 17. We looked at that and we said Mike Huckabee in second place; this has to be an anomaly. This can‘t be real. OK, AP/Ipsos poll, out now, Giuliani 26, Huckabee in second place at 18, John McCain 13, Fred Thompson 11, Mitt Romney 12. Mike Huckabee actually is moving up to be a front runner.
ROSEN: I think two things are happening are here. First is that we know from the beginning Republican primary voters have been unhappy with their choices. That was something that has sort of reflected itself in every poll for six months. You know, Mitt Romney has done nothing but made rich people richer, doesn‘t have any foreign policy experience. Rudy is kind of a bully. John McCain, the conservatives don‘t like him. And, you know, Fred Thompson was so laconic about getting into the race, people doubt he even wants to be president.
Mike Huckabee has been sort of hovering out there with energy, with intensity, and never believing anyone who says just, you know, be one of the crazies in this campaign, like Mike Gravel on the Democratic side and go away. Huckabee has just stuck in there.
And the second reason I think is something that I have to give my friend on the other side a lot of credit for, Pat Buchanan, who has consistently said that a Republican who comes along with an economic populous message and a social conservative combination is going to fill the vacuum in the Republican party that is needed, and, in fact, it‘s a bigger challenge against the Democratic party, because that sort of angry middle class that has traditionally felt more and more independent in politics over the last several years really can resonate with that economic populous message.
The rich guys are getting too rich, and it‘s just not fair.
CARLSON: I think that‘s a really fine analysis. Pat was right and not for the first time. Rosie, if you are running against Mike Huckabee—
Let‘s just say he does become the nominee, and you are Hillary Clinton, or, for that matter, Barack Obama, what are the obvious ways you run against him?
BROOKS: I think I hit him hard on the social conservatism agenda. Because, as Hillary says, you know, the economic populous agenda is going to be very popular pretty much across the board. I do think, though, that the social conservatism agenda is one that a lot of people in the middle, the moderates, the independents, are really sick of. You know, the—think back to the Terry Schiavo stuff, think back to the gay marriage fights. I think that a lot of people at this point are just really turned off by that stuff. And to the extent that he is going to be pushing on those issues as well, I think that is going to be his vulnerability in the general election.
CARLSON: Interesting. If you‘re—Let me say another hypothetical here, Hillary. You are Barack Obama, and you have got Oprah Winfrey on your side; and she has agreed to campaign for you, and this is the biggest story in this news cycle in American politics. Saturday, she‘s coming to campaign for you on the road. But that same day there may be a procedural vote scheduled in the Senate on the energy bill that is key to Iowa. Iowans are watching for the outcome of this. What do you do?
ROSEN: Well, I think he has to be in the Senate. I think, when push comes to shove, he has to be seen to be serious about politics and serious about being a leader on issues that are tough and facing this country. And he sends Oprah into the stadiums because that is who they‘re coming to see anyway. And I think that, as—Oprah is the draw, and she knows how to work a stage by herself. I think for him to miss another key vote would be a problem for him.
CARLSON: What do you think, Rosa, of—as an intellectual who likes Barack Obama, does it rattle you at all to see, you know, sort of the living representative of vulgar daytime TV sob fests come out and tug the heart strings of American women on behalf of Obama.
BROOKS: Tucker, I‘m not sure if that was flattery or insult and for whom. But, --
CARLSON: Is this—you like Obama for different reasons. What do you think of this? Is this too low?
BROOKS: This is very good for Obama. First of all, you are being unfair to Oprah. One of the things that is terrific about Oprah is that she—you know, she is not a dummy. You know, she is a thinker.
CARLSON: No, she‘s not dumb at all.
BROOKS: She almost single handedly has brought a lot of Americans back the book, frankly. You know, she talks about books. She talks about ideas. I don‘t always agree with her either. But she gets people thinking about serious issues and serious ideas in a way that her platform her enables her to do that not a lot of their people are even trying to do.
So I think that if she can do some of that for Obama‘s policies, as well as just for Obama, as a charming and charismatic guy, that‘s going to be really exciting. I hope that‘s what she is going to do.
CARLSON: Wait a second, you want Oprah Winfrey to be a policy adviser to Barack Obama?
BROOKS: No, no, no. What I do want Oprah Winfrey to do is something that she is very, very good at, which is asking people the kinds of questions that draw out from them, in a way that is clear and intelligible to people, what their policies are, in the same way that she get people to talk about books, to talk about very, very serious books, in way that is clear and intelligible to ordinary people, that really draws them and makes them think, I want to go read that book too. I can understand that stuff. I want to grapple with those issues.
I would like her to get Barack Obama out there talking about the wonkiest issues imaginable, and I would like her to use a little of her Oprah magic to really open that stuff up, because I think that‘s one of Obama weaknesses. He‘s a policy wonk, and if she can bring that out, that‘s going to be great for him.
CARLSON: If she can get them to read Anna Karenina (ph), she can get them to vote for Barack Obama. One is a lot easier than the other. What did you make, Hillary, of this new plan by supporters of Ron Paul, not the campaign—the Ron Paul campaign doesn‘t do that much. It kind of sits back and lets the supporters raise the money and generate the excitement. It really is a movement.
They‘re now going to fly this blimp up and down the eastern seaborne with the message, “Google Ron Paul.” Part of the reason this is interesting, apart from the fact it points to what a massive movement this really is—and it is—this may be a challenge to current campaign finance law. Is this an ad or is it not?
ROSEN: I was going to say, if you‘re Google, you‘re pretty happy about that, the way that this has become the verb.
CARLSON: That‘s a good point.
ROSEN: I actually think that there‘s some similarities between what‘s going on with Ron Paul and the Oprah issue, which is that politics is way to often seeming to the average person to be about people in power, and it‘s extremely hard if you are a person out there in the country working hard, trying to get by, to feel like you really can make a difference. And I think Oprah is about empowerment. I don‘t think that she‘s about the sob story. I think she‘s popular because people watch her and feel like they can make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others.
And I think people are who are supporting Ron Paul, in some respects, are doing the same thing, which is, you know what, just because you tell us who our choices should be, doesn‘t mean we listen to that. We think this guy can make a difference, and we can make a difference with him. More power to them.
CARLSON: Well, anybody who has spent any time watching Ron Paul—I was just on the road with him a week and a half ago. I was struck by the nature. I mean, there is a movement that that I think the other candidates ought to be paying closer attention to. Why is Ron Paul able to raise, you know, 4.5 million dollars in one day with no help at all and no infrastructure at all? What is it about Ron Paul, Rosa, that is making people do what they‘re doing for him?
BROOKS: We‘ve said it before. He is honest. He is a serious guy. You know, he is a straight shooter. He is not surrounded by consultants who package him to death until he is made of plastic. You know, people are hungry for that. People are absolutely sick and tired of, sort of, plasticized candidates.
ROSEN: It‘s reminiscent of the Ross Perot candidacy, I think, don‘t you?
BROOKS: Yes. There are a lot of really disgruntled Americans out there on the left, the right, and the middle, and he is tapping into that. Tucker, I was so happy you didn‘t ask me about law of the blimp.
CARLSON: I‘m trying to keep my love for Ron Paul under wraps. I don‘t want to out and out shill for a candidate here, so I‘m going to have to stand back and end the Ron Paul conversation before I embarrass myself. Hillary, the Bush administration has struck upon a just pretty straight forwardly socialist solution to the mortgage crisis. You know, take control of the market itself, freeze rates. This is not enough for Democrats in Congress.
Here‘s what Senator Schumer and Durbin would like. They would like the administration plan to be available to people who are current on their loan payments. In other words, a bailout of mortgage owners who aren‘t even behind in their payment on their mortgages. Why doesn‘t the federal government take over everyone‘s mortgage and cut out the middle man?
ROSEN: Well, I think the issue wasn‘t so much whether they‘re current or not. I think the issue is whether there‘s been some price gauging, and I don‘t think they are saying that people shouldn‘t be paying their mortgages, but that we should be moving people like that over to an FHA backed loan, where the rate of increase is more gradual. So I actually think that what the president has done is pretty good, in terms of trying to bring the industry to the table.
It seems that the Democrats could get a little more out of this game without actually passing legislation, if they were all willing to work together. But I do think that there is a sense among most voters that too many people have gotten themselves into trouble and they ought not to have the government bail them out. It‘s a quandary for politicians who are facing people with very real problems right now.
CARLSON: Real problems. On the other hand, if I sign a bad mortgage
and that‘s a tragedy for me and my family—but why should you be obligated to pay for it? Where in the constitution does it say it‘s your your responsibility to pay for my bad mortgage?
BROOKS: I don‘t—I don‘t actually—because we‘re going to pay even more down the line, frankly, if we don‘t help them out. If the economy goes into a tail spin because we have a whole bunch of foreclosures, we‘re going to pay so much more later. This is just—to me, this is just common sense that we need to try to keep this crisis from getting worse.
You know, I‘m not a religious person, Tucker, but I thought the Bible said something about usury. I mean, the rates that some of these adjustable mortgages are just—really do kind of shock the conscience. So I don‘t think what the president even is talking about here, frankly, it‘s not exactly all that radical. It‘s just saying, you know, let‘s not have rates that jump to levels that are unbelievably exploitative.
CARLSON: Look, anybody who writes a mortgage like that, I think, is a creep.
CARLSON: And should shunned by civilization, shouldn‘t get into the country club. His friends should look at him and say, I‘m not playing golf with you. That‘s disgusting. But I don‘t think the government, which is to say the rest of us, have the responsibility for your foolishness if you signed that loan.
BROOKS: But it‘s self-interest.
ROSEN: There were lending practices, of course, that would belie that, where it was so much cheaper just to do this. You—borrowers were directed into these riskier loans in a way, and questions about whether even fixed rates were available at the time. But I think that the point Rosa makes is right, which is, you know, entire communities get lost when real estate markets go south, and that‘s not in anybody‘s interest.
BROOKS: It‘s not even just about those communities. It is much more about the national economy as well. I mean, you could cut off your nose to spite your face, and say let them deal with the consequences of bad judgment. But we‘re all going to suffer.
CARLSON: You have confidence the government will make it better. I don‘t. We‘ll see who wins. Thank you both. Rosa Brooks, Hillary, thank you.
BROOKS: Pleasure to be here.
CARLSON: Remember that hideous Louis Vuitton handbag that cost more than 52,000. The mystery was, who bought it? We have the answer and the name. We‘ll tell you coming up.
Plus, she shook up the 1992 race for the White House by revealing a 12-year affair with Bill Clinton. Fast forward to 2008, and Jennifer Flowers is back. She declared who she might vote for. It will surprise you. Be right back.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton took a break from campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire this week to swing by Wall Street, and she let them have it, mostly for their role in the subprime mortgage mess. Was it a smart thing to do politically, and was she right on substance? Joining me now with answers is cNBC‘s on air editor and author of “King of The Club, Richard Grasso, and the Survival of the New York Stock Exchange,” the great Charlie Gasparino. Charlie, thanks for coming on.
CHARLIE GASPARINO, AUTHOR, “KING OF THE CLUB”: Thanks for having me, Tucker.
CARLSON: So she blames Wall Street, essentially, for the subprime mortgage meltdown? Is that fair?
GASPARINO: Wall Street makes an inviting easy target. Rich guys,
they do a lot of stupid things. They make tons of money, while all the
rest of our salaries are stagnating. But this is so off point, it‘s not
funny. I‘ll tell you why, I did a little research, because I have been
covering the subprime mess—and if you do a little research, you find out
that the policy, the germs of the policy began probably in the Clinton
administration, when you have politicians like Henry Sisneros (ph), the
head of HUD, later on Andrew Cuomo, who is now the governor of New York
State, by the way, and is doing an investigation into the subprime issues -
you have politicians—
CARLSON: The attorney general.
GASPARINO: Excuse me. He is the attorney general. His father was the governor of New York State. You have politicians like those advocating for loans to low income and middle income people, people that generally could not afford to buy 300,000 dollar houses. They were pushing for what later became subprime loans. This problem, this crisis began with policy, and very bad policy that was advocated by the Clintons. But also you got to share the blame with Alan Greenspan, who was a big proponent of this stuff too.
Wall Street responded to that policy call. You have to look at it this way. Banks—the only way banks can lend money to people without credit—and those are people that have subprime loans—the only way they can do that is if they can get those loans off their balance sheet at some point. Wall Street came up with a convenient way to get those loans off the balance sheet, and that‘s called the securitized bonds. A bunch of loans get put in a bond. Investors buy that bond on the belief that all—not all those people will default on their loans, even if they are subprime, that because they own houses and because the housing market is going up, that those loans would be money good at this point.
That‘s all Wall Street really did. They created the mechanism to allow the subprime market that the Clintons, the Cuomos and Alan Greenspan was advocating for so long. She is way off base. I‘ll tell you, this is convenient politically because it‘s so easy to attack these guys as rich, stupid, you know, white guys that want to screw the world.
CARLSON: That is the single most interesting thing I have heard all day long.
GASPARINO: Thank you.
CARLSON: And you—
GASPARINO: I was saving it for your show.
CARLSON: Seriously. You explained it in basically one breath. That is so interesting. I‘m going to read more about it tonight. Charlie Gasparino, thank you very much.
GASPARINO: Any time.
CARLSON: Well, here‘s one to stump everybody watching. You ready? What does the Pope have in common with Val Kilmer? You don‘t know? The answer ahead. Stay tuned.
CARLSON: Welcome back. A couple months ago, we brought you the news that somebody in the Washington, DC area had paid 52,000 dollars for an extraordinarily unattractive Louis Viton handbag? The question hung in the air, who would do that. Joining us now with the answer, the only people who might ever have the answer, Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger of the “Washington Post‘s” universally read gossip column “The Reliable Source.” Ladies, thanks for coming on.
Who would have done this?
AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Well, you know, we have been searching for months. And we were looking in all the obvious places. We were calling up all the local lady billionaires. We were looking around on the backs of chairs at all the ladies who lunch luncheons and, you know, trying to look under, you know, the dressing room doors at Sacks or Neiman‘s. Now—
ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: She got in trouble for that.
ARGETSINGER: But now, you know, everyone is buzzing about the latest suspect. We have no evidence to think that she has it. But it was recently emerged in Washington that two women had embezzled something like 40 million dollars from—
ROBERTS: I think it‘s up to like six trillion now.
ARGETSINGER: From the Property Tax Office.
ROBERTS: One of the things they did with that money is they bought all sorts of high end designer goods, And this woman has, like, what, 50 purses or something.
ARGETSINGER: Yes, all these designer bags, all these designer shoes. We keep thinking, this has to be the woman. However, we haven‘t been able to figure this out quite definitively, one way or the other. And do you know why that is? It‘s because the investigators are all men. Right now, we‘re printing up pictures of the purse and we‘re trying to figure this out.
ROBERTS: We can‘t go into the seized property room ourselves. They go like, hey, yes, there are purses there. That helps, right?
ARGETSINGER: We don‘t know if this is the woman, but we‘re working on it.
CARLSON: So, basically, you‘re suggesting that not only is she a thief, but she has bad taste. Boy, you are cruel.
ROBERTS: Money and taste, obviously, as we well know, have no correlation, unfortunately.
CARLSON: They absolutely don‘t. In fact, one can just abet the other. You have bad taste, and money is just gasoline on that fire. The Pope is coming to town. What is the Pope going to do here.
ROBERTS: I love this. When we found out the Pope was coming, we immediately looked into all the various things, the questions we had, like where was he going to stay? He will be staying at his—the Vatican‘s emmisary‘s house.
ARGETSINGER: He doesn‘t stay at the Four Seasons, doesn‘t stay at the Ritz.
ROBERTS: He is going to stay right at—the Vatican has a place right across from the Naval Observatory, where Dick Cheney lives. He is bringing the Pope Mobile. He likes to drink Fanta.
ARGETSINGER: If you run into him, --
ROBERTS: He will be wearing Serengetti Sunglasses, which is the same kind that Val Kilmer wears. And probably, he loves his red loafers. We think they‘re Prada, but Prada won‘t confirm that. My favorite thing about the Pope—I‘m just in love with this. He loves cats. He adores cats, and collects little porcelain plates with kitty pictures on them.
ARGETSINGER: It will be his birthday when he‘s here in Washington.
ROBERTS: We know the perfect gift.
CARLSON: He likes Fanta,. That is one of the coolest facts I‘ve ever heard. I like Fanta too, to be completely honest with you. I like Fresca better, but Fanta is a very close second, right above Mr. Pibb, but below Fresca.
ROBERTS: What about Dr. Pepper?
CARLSON: I like the DDP, the Diet Dr. Pepper. It‘s absolutely a great beverage. Jennifer Flowers back in the news.
ARGETSINGER: Back in the news. If you were wondering, who does Jennifer Flowers endorse for president, we now know. A reporter got her on the phone and asked her, and it turns out that Jennifer Flowers, the former paramour of President Bill Clinton, is endorsing Hillary Clinton. She says that she‘s impressed by Hillary, that she really wants—very much wants to support a member of her own gender. She thinks it‘s time for a woman president.
ROBERTS: They have a lot in common.
ARGETSINGER: And she says she thinks that Hillary Clinton is more experienced than any of them, except for Joe Biden. She really likes Joe Biden, by the way. But she really also wants to throw her support to a woman this year. So there we have it. Now you know.
CARLSON: I ran into her in a bar in New Orleans a couple of years ago.
CARLSON: She didn‘t—she was not in her political punditry mode. Let me ask you a quick question. Has either of you read her book and read the things she writes about Hillary Clinton in that book?
ROBERTS: No, what does she say?
CARLSON: I can‘t repeat it on the air because it‘s so over the top. But let me just say, she quotes Bill Clinton saying things about his wife I think would be pretty interesting in the context of the story you just told.
ARGETSINGER: Well, maybe she has gotten new information and has—
ROBERTS: Or maybe she had a revelation on the road to 2008.
ARGETSINGER: She‘s looking at it on the issues and that‘s a good way to—
ROBERTS: To dance around the subject.
CARLSON: Get thee to Amazon and get that book. Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts, you‘re the best. Thank you so much.
ROBERTS: Thanks a lot.
CARLSON: Well, that does it for us. Thanks for watching, as always. Have a great weekend. We‘ll be back here Monday night from Washington. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. In the meantime, have a great night.
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.