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'Tucker' for Dec. 11

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Adam Smith, A.B. Stoddard, Josephine Hearn, Sally Bedell Smith

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Welcome to the show. 

At this point, Barack Obama appears to have the momentum in the race for the Democratic nomination.  In other words, he really could be president.  But how much do you really know about Obama‘s history and his positions on the issues? 

Well, this morning, the “Politico” did it‘s part to fill in the blanks by publishing a 12-page questionnaire that Obama filled out during his 1996 run for state office in Illinois.  Obama‘s yes or no answers painting picture of unabashed liberalism.  Did he support legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns, the survey asked.  Yes was the answer.  Did he support capital punishment?  No. 

Obama‘s answers indicate opposition to any restrictions on abortion as well as support for a single-payer, government-run health care system.  Well, the reaction to the “Politico‘s” reporting was swift.  Obama‘s campaign claimed that the then candidate did not answer the questionnaire himself—even though it contains the word “I” over and over—but instead had an aide do it. 

The “Politico” noted that an unnamed Obama rival had assisted the unearthing of the document.  You can guess who that might have been.  And within minutes, the Hillary Clinton campaign e-mailed its supporters to take note of Obama‘s liberalism.  Irony of ironies. 

Well, will Obama‘s position 10 years ago in a statewide election scare off centrist Democratic voters?  In a moment we‘ll talk to Congressman Adam Smith, a key Obama ally in Capitol Hill.  He‘ll join us live. 

Also today, it‘s reality check time for Mike Huckabee.  Huckabee‘s remarkable ascend in Republican polls meet a sobering new survey that shows the former Arkansas governor getting crushed in hypothetical match-ups with every leading Democrat now running for president. 

A new Mitt Romney ad, meanwhile, attacked Huckabee‘s immigration policies.  The Huffington Post hammers away at his record on crime in Arkansas and critics go after his position on the AIDS epidemic in the early ‘90s.  How uneasy rest ahead it would wear the Republican crown?  Or, put another way, is Huckabee nervous now that he has something to lose? 

Finally, Bill Clinton waxes nostalgic about his courtship of Hillary Rodham.  He says she was the most talented person of their generation and that includes all kinds of people including Bill Gates.  He says he urged her to dump him and run for office herself.  This would-be first gentleman laying it on a little thick at this point.  We‘ll tell you. 

But we begin with the latest potential bump in Barack Obama‘s road to the White House.  His answers to a 1996 campaign questionnaire that paint him a surprisingly left of center.  Joining me, a key Obama supporter, Democratic congressman from the state of Washington, Adam Smith. 

Congressman, thanks for coming on. 

REP. ADAM SMITH (D), OBAMA SUPPORTER:  Thanks for having me, Tucker. 

I appreciate the opportunity. 

CARLSON:  He supports the banning of the manufacture, sale or possession of handguns.  That‘s not a mainstream view. 

SMITH:  And it‘s not one that he holds.  He does not support that. 

And I think when you look at this memo and the explanation has been clear.  He didn‘t fill it out and he did not support those positions then.  The easy thing to do is, you know, Senator Obama has spoken about these issues many times other than in this one document and he has never supported the banning of handguns. 

CARLSON:  But wait a second.  I mean, this document it doesn‘t say what does your candidate support. 

SMITH:  Right. 

CARLSON:  It says what do you support.  And it was filled out as if by him. 

SMITH:  Tucker. 

CARLSON:  He‘s a candidate running on the authenticity platform and now he says he never even saw it?  Is that what he‘s saying? 

SMITH:  Yes.  Do you have any idea how many questionnaires show up during the course of a campaign?  I do.  I‘ve run in those campaigns. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SMITH:  Now a more important question is: if this is Senator Obama‘s position, as you claimed, if it ever was his position. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SMITH:  .then there ought to many examples have been taken in.

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s not—wait, no, no, I should make it clear.  I‘m not claiming that.  No, but hold on. 

SMITH:  Tucker, Tucker, you have to help make a point. 

CARLSON:  Hold on, Mr. Congressman.  I‘m not claiming it‘s Obama‘s position. 


CARLSON:  Obama claimed it was Obama‘s position. 

SMITH:  No, no, no, no. 

CARLSON:  It says his name on it.  He got the support of the group that printed this questionnaire. 

SMITH:  Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So all these years he never corrected it? 

SMITH:  This is ridiculous. 

CARLSON:  It‘s an honest—it‘s not ridiculous.  It‘s an honest question. 

SMITH:  He—but the statement you just made is totally wrong.  All these years he never corrected it.  He corrected it every time he made it clear that he doesn‘t hold those positions. 

CARLSON:  But then why did he take their endorsement? 

SMITH:  Why did he seek their endorsement? 

CARLSON:  No.  He accepted their endorsement after filling out, apparently, in a phony way, this—or having his staff fill out incorrectly this document. 

SMITH:  Right.  But Tucker, we can—I will stipulate to this. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SMITH:  In 1996, it appears that State Senate candidate Barack Obama made a mistake. 


SMITH:  .in how a single questionnaire was filled out.  I doubt there is any candidate in the history of politics who doesn‘t have at least one questionnaire during the course of a campaign where they didn‘t make a similar mistake. 


SMITH:  So I will stipulate to that.  I will give you that. 


SMITH:  The more important issue. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SMITH:  .is what is his position on those issues. 

CARLSON:  You‘re absolutely. 

SMITH:  And that is not it.  He has made that clear repeatedly. 

CARLSON:  But hold on, let me just—OK.  But—OK.  Your macro point is absolutely correct. 


CARLSON:  And as I said 20 times in this program I like Barack Obama. 

If I were a Democrat, I‘d vote for him.  I hope he crushes Hillary Clinton. 

SMITH:  Right.  We‘re making progress though. 

CARLSON:  On the other hand, I‘m holding him to the same standards on hold any candidate. 

SMITH:  But. 

CARLSON:  His campaign manager filled this out. 

SMITH:  Sure. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not a small thing.  She presumably believes she was speaking for him. 

SMITH:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Why did she think. 

SMITH:  In 1996. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SMITH:  .the State Senate campaign of Barack Obama made a mistake on this questionnaire.  Congrats, you got us. 


SMITH:  Now can we actually move on to the issues that matter in this race. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  OK.  Then let‘s just do that.  I‘m glad you suggested it. 

SMITH:  Because they‘re not his positions on those issues. 

CARLSON:  On this questionnaire, he says, “I support no more restrictions on abortion.”  Is that true?  Does—and if not, what are the restrictions he supports on abortion? 

SMITH:  And to be honest, I‘m not sure of all of the positions on the different aspects of abortion.  I know more on the other issues.  I know, for instance, on the death.

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, let‘s move on to the next one. 

SMITH:  On the death penalty, he does not support completely banning the death penalty.  What he supported was the moratorium that Illinois did when it was discovered that so many people had been falsely accused, had gotten very close to being executed on death row.  He supports a more judicious use of the death penalty. 

CARLSON:  Are these. 

SMITH:  He‘s been clear on that for quite some time. 

CARLSON:  So he‘s not against it the death penalty philosophically. 

He just wants to make certain that it‘s applied correctly and fair. 

SMITH:  Exactly. 


SMITH:  That we don‘t execute innocent people. 

CARLSON:  That‘s fine.  He also says in that he supports a single pair health care system.  He has corrected himself over the years.  But I don‘t support actually implementing it. 

SMITH:  Again. 


SMITH:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  But I support the idea of it.  And I don‘t understand that position. 

SMITH:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.  Where did he say that he supports the idea of it? 

CARLSON:  My understanding, and I may be wrong. 

SMITH:  In that questionnaire. 

CARLSON:  No, no, no.  Presently. 

SMITH:  Right. 

CARLSON:  I believe Barack Obama‘s position is the best system is a. 

SMITH:  It‘s not true. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not true? 

SMITH:  Well, Barack Obama‘s position on health care is about as detailed as you can get. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SMITH:  He‘s put out a lengthy and extensive plan that calls for universal access.  What he may be saying is he supports the idea that everybody ought to have health care.  He supports universal access. 

CARLSON:  Well, here she doesn‘t. 

SMITH:  He doesn‘t support the single-payer system as the lady did then. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s what the “Politico” says today, and I‘m quoting, “The campaign,” meaning the Obama campaign, “says Obama has consistently supported single-pair health care in principle.” 

SMITH:  I don‘t—that does not strike me as accurate.  I think he‘s consistently supported universal access to health care making sure that everybody has health care in this country.  That‘s why he put out the detailed that he put out, a plan which, by the way, also focuses on what is equally important.  And that is getting the cost of health care under control so the people can actually afford it. 

CARLSON:  OK.  See, at—to this point, my reading is, Obama has run a campaign that has been about two things: change, generational change. 

SMITH:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  You know, a new—a fresh start for America and. 

SMITH:  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  .not being Hillary Clinton.  And those are two great things to run on.  And I hope he wins on the basis of those. 

SMITH:  Right. 

CARLSON:  However, if he does win, he‘s going to be asked very hard-nosed questions about what he believes. 

SMITH:  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  And it seems to me, based on just watching him talk for the past year, he is, in fact, probably more liberal than Hillary.  Will that hurt him in the general election? 

SMITH:  Well, it‘s a hard—it‘s a hard thing to judge.  It really depends on the issue.  I mean we like labels for the purposes of television commentary.  They‘re liberals, they‘re conservatives. 

CARLSON:  No, not just television.  Voters use labels, too. 

SMITH:  But, yes, I think it‘s more important to focus on the substance of the issue.  And like I said, when it comes to health care, both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, and a number of other candidates in the race, have very detailed positions on it.  Those are some that we don‘t have to guess or rely on what either you or I have to say.  They‘ve laid out very clear positions on what they would like to do on that issue. 

CARLSON:  Well, the “Politico”—again, the “Politico” is claiming that the Obama campaign agrees in theory with the idea the government. 

SMITH:  Right. 

CARLSON:  .should be in control of the way health care. 

SMITH:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  .is distributed in this country. 

SMITH:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  And philosophically, that‘s kind of a big statement to make. 

SMITH:  Yes, and I don‘t think that‘s accurate.  I really don‘t think that‘s an accurate description on where Senator Obama is coming from.  Again, he wants universal access.  He also recognizes that the government has a role to play.  Certainly through Medicare or Medicaid, and I think of a number of other areas to try to help make sure the people can afford health care.  He does not want the government completely running our health care system like they do in Canada and other places.  He‘s been very consistent on that.  If he wanted that, he would have put it in his plan. 

CARLSON:  “The New York Times” today, finally, contains an email—reprints an e-mail from Hillary Clinton‘s staff, a really high level member of her staff. 

SMITH:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Poking around, trying to get information, oppositional research on Senator Obama‘s years as a community organizer in Chicago.  Do you think that that‘s fair?  Is that within bounds for the Hillary campaign to do that? 

SMITH:  Well, I mean, they‘ve gone all the way back to his kindergarten days already. 

CARLSON:  Yes, they have.  I know. 

SMITH:  So apparently they‘re going to leave no stone unturned.  Look, here is the important thing about this race.  Senator Obama represents change and that‘s why he‘s moving in the polls.  We talked a couple of months ago and I remember you were very concerned that he wasn‘t moving. 


SMITH:  That he wasn‘t making progress.  And I told you then it‘s the four weeks before Iowa. 


SMITH:  .the four weeks before New Hampshire that matter.  That‘s when people start to focus.  That is now and that is when Senator Obama is making his move.  His people don‘t want to go back to 1992 again.  They want change.  They want to move forward.  And as I‘ve said before, you know, Bill and Hillary Clinton were the candidates of change in 1992 and good for them. 

But it‘s 2007, going into 2008, and Senator Obama is the candidate of change for now and moving forward.  And I think that‘s the message he‘s delivering and that‘s why he‘s moving in the polls in all of the key states and even nationally. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I must—I thought literally yesterday morning about that conversation you and I had. 

SMITH:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  And I said when is he going to move, and you said, hold tight, in the last month, he will start to move.  And you were right.  I‘ll concede it right now. 

Congressman, thanks a lot for coming on.  I appreciate it. 

SMITH:  Thanks for the chance. 

CARLSON:  We now have a fresh picture of Barack Obama‘s positions or what we thought was a fresh and accurate picture from 10 years ago in a slew of social policies.  Will his rivals seize on it to paint him as an unelectable liberal? 

Not that it bothers Oprah, the question is: how many voters truly care what Oprah thinks.  We have fresh polls on the public‘s view of the most popular television personality in the history of the medium. 

That‘s coming up next. 


CARLSON:  Oprah loves Obama but is the senator‘s record in Illinois too liberal for some Democrats?  And will the Hillary Clinton campaign claim that? 

We‘re back in just a minute with answers. 


CARLSON:  Once a candidate moves up in the polls, the digging begins.  Research into his life‘s work and statements known as APO in the political business.  It‘s happening to Mike Huckabee and it‘s definitely happening to Barack Obama. 

Have the statements unearthed today his previous positions as stated anyway on abortion, gun control and health care hurt his campaign? 

Joining us now for the assessment, the associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, and the “Politico‘s” Josephine Hearn.  Welcome to you both.  Josephine, do you buy that?  Adam Smith, I think a terrific surrogate for Barack Obama, is taking the campaign‘s positions that basically—the positions described on these questionnaire have nothing to do with Obama‘s positions even though they were filled out by his campaign manager and not corrected until today. 

JOSEPHINE HEARN, “POLITICO”:  I don‘t know whether they‘re really his positions.  But I think it is reasonable to believe that people entering politics for the first time—this is his first race on Chicago‘s south side—they tend to be more ideologically pure. 


HEARN:  As you get farther into politics, you tend to nuance your positions a bit more.  These are very pure, cut-and-dry positions.  Yes.  No.  He didn‘t qualify it in any way, which is in line, I think, with people just entering politics have a lot of idealism and are running for a specific electorate.  He made a run, obviously, for Illinois Senate, now he‘s running for president.  He‘d had to broaden his views a bit. 

CARLSON:  Do you have to - I mean, I think you‘re right.  I think it‘s a totally fair description of the process.  Do you have to participate in the process?  Do you - if you‘re running for the first time, you‘re Barrack Obama, do you have to fill out the questionnaires? 

A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL:  You know, I always think these stories about questionnaires are kind of a little bit—I don‘t think they can—I don‘t he‘s in hot water from the questionnaire.  Fred Thompson had a questionnaire story early on a few months ago in his campaign. 

CARLSON:  They always pop up, which makes me think why would—why don‘t people sign it? 

STODDARD:  But I don‘t think that they stick so much.  I mean, I think this was a long-time ago.  I think Hillary Clinton has also nuanced and broaden her positions.  I‘m sure there‘s picture of her reading the communist manifesto somewhere in her long 35-year career. 

CARLSON:  Of serving this nation, Alexandra. 

STODDARD:  As a nation, as a nation of change. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

STODDARD:  And so I think this put—but the story is more important here, which is that there is a whisper campaign that the Clinton campaign is conducting and I think it‘s probably going to be affected, which is that Obama is untested and David Yepsen is sort of the dean of the political press corps.  “Des Moines Register” also wrote this week about it‘s time for Obama before the caucuses to have some of his negatives revealed and he needs to be tested as a candidate. 

The Clintons are making the case to the Democratic voters that he‘s untested.  He‘s never really run a tough campaign --  he‘s not been tested by the Republican Party against a Republican opponent in the way that she has and the way that she‘s, I mean, she‘s sort of perfected the art of avoiding the Republican trap.  And they‘re making the cases that he‘s—should he mistakenly become the nominee, will have trouble in the general election for this reason, that he. 

CARLSON:  Is too liberal. 

STODDARD:  Now I don‘t think it—no, see, I don‘t think it‘s necessary that he‘s too liberal, is that he is not a skilled politician. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

STODDARD:  And that once you nuance your positions, you not only have to nuance some, but you have to avoid traps.  The problem is. 

CARLSON:  So the rationale for the Hillary campaign according to the Hillary campaign is, she has—she‘s a brilliant triangulator.  She‘s got more self-control.  She plays the game more effectively. 

STODDARD:  And you see that on social security reforms.  She won‘t be trapped because she‘s thinking generally. 

CARLSON:  You know, I have to say.  I mean, I‘m not buying against the Obama spin (INAUDIBLE), but as a human being, I think that‘s a kind of a repulsive argument.  That I lie better than you?

STODDARD:  Well, they‘re not making it out. 

CARLSON:  No, but she‘s saying. 

HEARN:  Or can‘t be pinned down as easily, let‘s say. 

STODDARD:  That‘s right.  Can‘t be pinned down. 

CARLSON:  But—I mean, in some sense, we‘re assuming that this came from them, from the Hillary Clinton campaign, or. 

STODDARD:  I‘m not assuming anything. 

CARLSON:  Look, we know that they are disseminating. 

HEARN:  Or a rival campaign. 

CARLSON:  They‘re sending this around.  OK?  So that‘s proof enough.  Would you have thought 10 years ago, someone said, “Hey, Josie, by the way, 10 years from now, Hillary Clinton‘s going to run for president to the right of her chief rival.”  What would you have said to yourself? 

STODDARD:  Right. 

HEARN:  Right.  Well. 

CARLSON:  World turned upside down? 

HEARN:  Well, I mean, yes, you kind, I mean, you can‘t see it because this was something that was coming up for a long time that she knew Obama was going to be a threat.  Now we‘re seeing the beginning of—kind of the unleashing of all this stuff that they‘ve been getting on him over the past, you know, I don‘t know, year, two years. 

CARLSON:  You think they‘ll trash him as a slut and a psycho?  Oh, I‘m sorry.  I‘m sorry.  I got my villains confused.  I‘m sorry.  That was Monica.  What do you—OK.  So—but the narratives just in some of—you believe the narrative is going to be he‘s inexperienced.  He doesn‘t know what he‘s doing.  I think that‘s the line. 

STODDARD:  He hasn‘t been tested. 


HEARN:  Yes, there‘s been a lot of that already. 


HEARN:  I mean I think they‘ve been seizing on some of his mistakes already.  So, yes, in terms of the narratives, it‘s already begun. 

CARLSON:  I kind of like the slut and the stalker thing.  Maybe they‘ll pull that out again.  It worked right the first time.  All right.  We‘ll be right back. 

Fred Thompson‘s not going back to New Hampshire at all before the January primary in that state.  Will his Iowa Or Bust strategy just be a bust?  That‘s up next. 

Plus, who‘s got the bigger guns?  Sorry.  A “New York Times”-CBS News poll proves former President Bill Clinton is a highly effective campaign weapon, maybe more effective than Oprah.  Bite your tongue, it could be true.  We‘ve got the polls. 

Back in a minute. 


CARLSON:  Iowa Or Bust.  That‘s the new idea behind the Fred Thompson campaign.  The candidate‘s staff says he has no plans to be in the state of New Hampshire again before the end of the year. 

With Thompson already fighting the image that he is lazy, can he afford to look like he‘s not bothering the campaign in one of the most primary states out of the 50 states? 

Here once again, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard and the “Politico‘s” Josephine Hearn. 

A.B. Stoddard, there are a bunch of problems with this.  But here‘s the most obvious one.  It was just the other day that Thompson basically said, “Well, I promise I‘ll be back in New Hampshire campaigning.”  And now he‘s saying, “I‘m not coming back to New Hampshire.” 

So what is this—I mean, is the campaign continuing?  What does this mean? 

STODDARD:  New Hampshire really doesn‘t like Fred Thompson.  He is not

I mean he really hasn‘t spent enough time there.  Period.  But I‘m confused by this.  I mean, I—he started his campaign officially September 6th.  There‘s lots of excitement before he started that.  So it‘s

technically started in the summer.  And he is just now realizing that Mitt Romney has an early state strategy and Rudy Giuliani has a February 5 big state strategy, and he has a state of confusion. 

This is the first state he‘s decided he has to win it and he has to go there and saturate Iowa.  But why didn‘t you do this four months ago or three months ago? 

CARLSON:  That‘s it. 

STODDARD:  I‘ve no idea why he‘s deciding now. 

CARLSON:  Is this a real strategy? 

HEARN:  Also. 

STODDARD:  But he‘s ignored New Hampshire. 

CARLSON:  I agree.  I like Fred Thompson.  I‘m just wondering: is this a way to get out gracefully of the race having decided, “I don‘t really want to run”?  Or is this a real strategy?

HEARN:  I think it could be a real strategy in the sense that things have changed for quite a lot in the past week or so for Fred Thompson, right?  One poll had him in 19 percent and another has him at 10 percent.  Huckabee—the Huckabee surge has taken all the gas out of, you know, whatever momentum Thompson had built for himself.  So I think you‘re seeing a scaling down of the campaign, a rethinking of where they want to spend their resources now that it looks like—I mean, I think it always looked like things weren‘t really panning out as they wanted. 

But even more so, now it seems like, you know, the momentum—any momentum are just dissipating before their eyes.  I think they figure, you know, let‘s cut our losses and focus on one place. 

CARLSON:  It‘s so sad.  I mean talk about a guy who is just liked by, I think, everybody who came into contact with him, well regarded both in Hollywood and in Washington.  That‘s not—not many conservatives can say that.  And here, he‘s redefined his obituary, essentially, to read failed presidential candidate.  That‘s depressing. 

STODDARD:  I don‘t know what his game plan is.  I don‘t know what‘s his problem but I think... 

CARLSON:  I wish him well.  I‘m not attacking the guy.  I just. 

STODDARD:  I think even if it all ends tomorrow, I don‘t know if it‘s going to bother him.  But there was much talk—I mean the New Hampshire thing is really strange.  There‘s much talk at the start about whether or not, you know, he was going to spend enough time there.  And they waited with great anticipation and he—when he is late for things and cuts the visit short, I mean, New Hampshire—they have a real problem with him and he knew that going in and he‘s—I mean he‘s been there just a few times. 

But it wasn‘t as if he was spending—putting all his eggs in Iowa. 

I mean, it‘s just—I just.... 

CARLSON:  Well, maybe there‘s a secret plan and that‘s point. 

STODDARD:  I don‘t—what point?  What state—is it South Carolina? 

CARLSON:  Now wait, maybe Fred Thompson is out-foxed all of us. 


CARLSON:  No, truly. Well, that—I mean that‘s the implication that it‘s South Carolina on to February 5th, the Tsunami Tuesday.  But maybe there is some this whole campaigning on the Internet, by YouTube.  Maybe this is just going over our heads as the most... 

STODDARD:  Right around (INAUDIBLE). 

HEARN:  Well, maybe, maybe, you know, I mean, maybe things are passing all three of us by. 

CARLSON:  You work for the “Politico,” you should know this.  Is there a ground swell that we haven‘t heard? 

HEARN:  We‘re like a giant sieve.  We don‘t miss anything. 

CARLSON:  Yes, you are. 

HEARN:  Well, I mean, I think the thing that‘s always been said about Thompson was did he have the fire in the belly to do this, you know? 


HEARN:  Did he really want to do it?  Well, he made some comments about serving in the Senate that, you know, he wasn‘t that interested in it.  And so I think it—maybe there are some times in politics where you want to be, instead of a Fred Thompson, in this case, you want to be like a Colin Powell, somebody who everybody wanted to run, who maybe had the potential to do great, and simply said, “You know, for a variety of reasons I‘m not going to do it, even though all these people are clamoring for me to do it.” 

CARLSON:  Right. 

HEARN:  Maybe that was a better move for Fred Thompson. 

CARLSON:  Well, see, because he would - he‘s the perfect guy to be the special commission‘s head.  Next time we have a terrible disaster in this country, I‘m serious, and the government blows it some profound way, you call in Fred Thompson, this kind—you know what I mean?  The gray beard to come in and make it all right because everyone kind of likes and trust him.  I‘m afraid he‘s blown that position.  I mean, can you really call him in to head the, you know, the joint committee on this, that, or the other thing? 

STODDARD:  I don‘t know. 


STODDARD:  Maybe if John McCain has a revival and makes it on the campaign further than we are expecting, he‘ll include Fred Thompson in his future plans. 

CARLSON:  He got to be framed.  History. 

STODDARD:  Only lame Congress I‘m seeing here. 

CARLSON:  The farfetched category. 

HEARN:  President McCain. 

CARLSON:  I‘ll remember that in case it happens.  You‘ll get full points. 

Up next, Bill Clinton says everything that went wrong during his administration—and almost nothing did by the way, just so you know - that it was his fault and everything that went right, that was Hillary. 

Plus, Mike Huckabee‘s recent surge, his support is getting a ton of attention but a new poll the former Arkansas governor would get spanked by every single Democrat running for president except for Dennis Kucinich. 

Coming up, a reality check on Mike Huckabee. 


CARLSON:  Bill Clinton rolls out a brand new strategy on the campaign trail.  He takes credit for everything that went wrong while giving Hillary credit for everything that went right. 

Will voters buy it?  We‘ll tell you just a minute, but first, here‘s a look at your headlines. 


CARLSON:  President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton didn‘t always agree on policy, we now learned.  Speaking in a Newton, Iowa campaign stop yesterday, Mr. Clinton told the crowd in somber tones that his wife believed that the U.S. should have intervened in the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which hundreds of thousands of people were murdered with machetes. 

The former president told the crowd that U.S. military intervention would have, quote, “saved at least a third of those lives,” and that President Hillary Rodham Clinton would have done that. 

Well, how will this regret play as part of Mr. Clinton‘s wife‘s campaign? 

Back to tell us, the associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, and the “Politico‘s” Josephine Hearn.  I want to put up right on the screen former President Bill Clinton‘s claim here.  OK?  About Rwanda. 

Quote:  If I had moved in then, we might have saved as many as a third of those lives, and I think she clearly would have done that.  I know she always thought that was something we should have done.” 

Now Clinton, I must say, has expressed regret over the years repeatedly for not going in to Rwanda.  But if this is true, this means Hillary, as I‘ve said it a thousand times in this show, to much derision and laughter, is a neocon like everybody else, committing American troops where there‘s no American interest, strategic interest, for humanitarian purposes.  Do you buy this and do you think this reflects poor, I mean, doesn‘t this make her the same as the Bush administration? 

STODDARD:  Well, I mean, that‘s a good point. But I also—I don‘t know.  I wonder Bill Clinton wouldn‘t pick any of his major decisions to say she actually disagreed with me on balancing the budget or. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

STODDARD:  .or attacking Saddam Hussein‘s weapons arsenals or anything. 

CARLSON:  Or welfare reform. 

STODDARD:  I mean—right.  I mean, and so—it‘s just sort of interesting that he just picked this.  I don‘t—I mean I don‘t really know if I believe that it‘s really true.  And I don‘t know if voters are worried—scratching their heads saying, you know, that‘s she‘s secretly a neocon.  But I think that it‘s just a really strange—obviously it works. 

I mean there are some at—there is a poll that shows that she‘s doubled her support because of her husband. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

STODDARD:  That half of her support comes from people who just like her outright, another half of her support within two percentage points have come to her because of Bill. 

CARLSON:  Well, the fact he. 

STODDARD:  So he—it doesn‘t really matter what he says about what a goddess she is and how smart she is on policy and she would have—if he had only listened to her in these two times that he got something wrong.  People, obviously—this is working for them. 

CARLSON:  It‘s unbelievable.  It is working.  I mean we‘ve—it‘s interesting.  We‘ve talked a lot about the Oprah fact and to what extent will she help.  Here‘s some numbers -that—these are the ones that we‘re just alluding to, “The New York Times”-CBS News poll. 

Likelihood Bill Clinton‘s involvement will influence you to support Hillary.  More likely, 44 percent, unbelievable, less likely, only 7 percent.  No difference, 46 percent.  Compare that to the Oprah numbers.  Will the fact that Oprah has endorsed Barack Obama make—more likely you will support Obama?  More likely, 1 percent.  Less likely, 14 percent. 

In other words, Oprah really hurt -- 80 percent don‘t care.  I don‘t believe those numbers for a second. 

HEARN:  I can‘t believe those numbers.  I was shocked by those numbers.  I mean. 

CARLSON:  People are lying. 

HEARN:  I mean, look, also, look also, maybe they don‘t want to say that they‘re influenced by TV host. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

HEARN:  Right?  That‘s being shallow and they‘d rather be influenced by.

CARLSON:  First of all, there‘s nothing shallow by being influenced by a television host, up to and including them letting them name your children.  I think it‘s totally acceptable. 

HEARN:  There are television hosts and television hosts. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  Thank you, Josie. 

HEARN:  But seriously, I mean, just think about it. Oprah is actually an independent person who has decided to endorse Barack.  Bill Clinton, you know he has to be with Hillary.  They‘re married.  You know there‘s a reason why on job applications they don‘t ask for—to give your family members as references. 

You know, they‘ll say whatever, right?  They love you.  They want you to succeed.  And that‘s kind of—when I think of what Bill Clinton‘s comments where he said earlier this week something about she had been the most capable, he had seen her as the most capable person of his generation.  You know, I mean, come on.  This is the woman he‘s been married to.  I think he would say anything. 

CARLSON:  I think that—the (INAUDIBLE) quote this, “I thought she was the most gifted person of our generation.”  Now you consider—now trust me, I don‘t think a lot of that generation—the baby boom—has basically been a blight on humanity and I‘ll be glad when they‘re gone. 


CARLSON:  Honestly, I mean, no, I mean that with all sincerity. 


CARLSON:  No, no.  No, no, I didn‘t say - I know - but you know what?  That‘s not an effect, I honestly, sincerely believe that if I have to hear one more person talk about Woodstock and the day Bobby died, I‘m going to vomit on my self.  But let me just say, there are some impressive people in that generation.  Bill Gates, the guys who isolated the AIDS virus, they‘re all in that generation. 

But Hillary Clinton, who has accomplished, let‘s see, I can‘t remember, she‘s more impressive than any of those people? 

STODDARD:  The thing is, if he‘s pulling this out now before the primary, I‘m telling you, in the general election, there‘s going to be—they‘re going to slow dance.  There‘s going to—some—no, it‘s going to get really bad.  But it works.  I mean, it‘s obviously to the people that she still—she—they must believe that the undecided that she needs to still pick up, the wavering, I don‘t know, Hillary and non-Hillary voters.  They must—it must be all right to do this. 

CARLSON:  It‘s unbelievable. 

STODDARD:  They‘re laying on this thing. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s something so interesting that came out today in the “New York Times.”  The deputy Clinton campaign manager, a man named Bob Nash, sends an e-mail.  Keep in mind, an e-mail is a letter that never goes away.  You can‘t burn e-mail.  But he sent his letter to a friend whose name is reduct in the e-mail.  I think we can put the e-mail up on the screen. 

“Subject: Barack.  How are you?  I am fighting hard.”  Let‘s talk about self-dramatizing.  “Second, are you personally aware of the work Barack did on the south side with community organizations etc. Bob.  What did he do, for how long and with who?  Please tell Bob hello Bob.”

A lot of Bobs in that.  A lot of misspellings.  A lot of I am fighting hard.  But they‘re basically—they‘re doing (INAUDIBLE) on him as all campaigns do.  But they‘re doing it in a sloppy, easily traceable way.  This is kind of amateurish, I thought. 

HEARN:  That‘s exactly the word I would see him.  Gosh, what an amateur effort.  You know, it‘s all in caps.  You know there are misspellings and things.  It‘s seems—and it‘s coming this late in the game as you‘re saying.  I mean, shouldn‘t they have done this a year ago?  It just—it seems like a—gosh, it‘s just—it‘s really surprising because their campaign has been so together, so professional.  And to say something like this, it just comes out of nowhere. 

CARLSON:  Well, you would think they have hired the cigarette-smoking man out of “The X-Files” and Anthony Pelicano and a team of, you know, retired FBI agents to crawl into Obama‘s life.  Instead they‘re sending e-mails in all caps, do you know anything, Bob?  Signed, Bob. 

HEARN:  Hello, Bob?

STODDARD:  Maybe when you‘re 25 points ahead all the time, you just get. 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s a. 

STODDARD:  You get - you feel confident and you don‘t spend your time doing that.  You spend your time raising money. 

CARLSON:  I think this helps Obama.  I think to the extent she reinforces the stereo type of her campaign as corporate, in trench, you know, the same old same old, you know, sort of GM versus the little guy.  Do you know what I mean?  He‘s the insurgent campaign.  I think Democrats will fall hard for that. 

Speaking of falling hard, OK, Mike Huckabee, out of almost nowhere.  You know, he‘s all of sudden looking like the winner or will be - soon to be winner of the Iowa caucuses on the Republican side.  Interesting, very interesting series of polls this morning, asking people, you know, how exactly does Mike Huckabee do head-to-heads with Democrats.  So interesting.  And take a look at some of this. 

This CNN Opinion Research poll.  Hillary Clinton 54, Mike Huckabee 44.  Barack Obama 55, Mike Huckabee 40.  John Edwards 60, Huckabee 45, presumably splitting the southern vote. 


STODDARD:  I tend to not really take those hypothetical match-ups very seriously.  I think Huckabee is still an unknown entity to most of the national polling population.  I really do.  He was to the GOP primary voters just until a few hours ago. 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s right. 

STODDARD:  In those same match-ups, John Edwards eats the entire Republican field for lunch.  I don‘t think that would be the case if the general - if he was matched up against a Republican today so I don‘t know.  We also talked about a recent poll where Mike Huckabee was the—one who beat Hillary the best out of all the Republicans. 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s right.  And. 

STODDARD:  So, I mean, it‘s—I mean I think that, you know, people are taking a very—a closer look.  There‘s a lot of OPO research out of hand.  He‘s having a tough week.  But I mean, to the general election, (INAUDIBLE). 

HEARN:  Well, one point. 

CARLSON:  Wait a minute.  Josie, since you‘re here and you cover the Congress, let me ask you this.  This is from  Interesting site.  Voters go to the poll Tuesday today.  The cast ballots in congressional special elections in Ohio and Virginia.  Expect low turnouts of votes.  In Ohio, the NRCC, the Republican campaign committee, spent 16 percent of its total cash on hand just to hold on to what most believe is a safe Republican seat.  If that‘s true, that‘s unbelievable. 

HEARN:  Right.  Right.  I mean, it‘s sign and these special elections are often as a sign of—that there‘s this continuing cynicism about the GOP, that they‘re having so much trouble breaking through. 

CARLSON:  My gosh. 

HEARN:  And you know one point about the Huckabee poll is that, really, any Democrat at this point beats any Republican of the candidates that are running.  So, I mean, yes, Huckabee is behind.  He‘s behind in double digits.  But, gosh, all the Republicans are behind except maybe Giuliani and John McCain. 

Now John McCain actually does very well in these.  I think also Huckabee, in particular, you know, there are drawbacks.  He‘s an evangelical.  There was a recent poll that showed that, well, 25 percent of people view—can view a Mormon unfavorably, a Mormon presidential candidate.  Sixteen percent view an evangelical unfavorably. 

Now, and imagine a lot of those are the Democrats. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  No, I‘ve got it. 

HEARN:  But it is a liability.  Much of it as his strength in Iowa, it can be a liability in the turnout. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s right.  People are uncomfortable with preachers in politics.  Finally, and I know that you, you know, had - you‘ve worked in network news, A.B. Stoddard, John Stossel, one of the smartest people on, I think, in all of television news, my personal favorite, conducted an hour-long interview with Dr. Ron Paul.  OK?  Another personal hero.  It‘s not airing on ABC.  Instead they‘re putting it on the Web site for an hour.  Don‘t you think we deserve to see Ron Paul on television for an hour? 

STODDARD:  I don‘t know the reason that they‘re not—if that was invested. 

CARLSON:  But won‘t you make a blanket statement anyway? 

STODDARD:  No, I will not.  I think that it‘s great for Ron Paul that he‘s going to have an airing of an interview for an hour on the Web, but I think many of his fans won‘t tune and stay online for the entire hour and soak it up, and it‘ll be great.  I think Ron Paul has gotten lots of nice publicity and lots of money and lots of attention.  I don‘t think he‘s left out in debates.  I don‘t think he‘s. 

CARLSON:  Oh boy. 

STODDARD:  I know.  I. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t he‘s gotten the attention in what we call the MSM he deserves frankly. 

STODDARD:  And again, I don‘t know what ABC, I don‘t know, I don‘t know the reason. 


STODDARD:  .that they came to that decision. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, I can‘t read the Web in bed.  So I hope they‘ll reconsider and put Dr. Ron Paul on TV.  Thank you both very much. 

Well, the love affair with Bill Clinton didn‘t leave when he left the office.  In fact, 44 percent of voters today said they will likely to vote for Hillary because of Bill.  Is America ready for two Clintons back in the White House? 

Plus, Mike Huckabee has been taking heat about pardons he handed out while governor of Arkansas.  There‘s at least one active clemency in particular that caught our eyes. 

Bill Wolff explains when “Super Tuesday” continues.  Be right back. 


CARLSON:  What kind of influence will Bill Clinton have in Hillary Clinton‘s White House?  Enter the time when voters are screaming for accountability.  Is two for one such a good idea as a strategy?  We‘ll tell you in a minute. 


CARLSON:  For the most part, Hillary Clinton‘s campaign downplays the role her husband might play where she to become president, the Founding Fathers, of course, never even imagined a scenario like this. 

But the questions remains:  what would the scenario be were Hillary Clinton to be elected?  What would her husband‘s role be? 

With me now is the author of a genuinely interesting new book called, “For Love of Politics:  Bill and Hillary Clinton, the White House Years,” Sally Bedell Smith joins us. 

Hi, thanks for coming on. 


Good to be here. 

CARLSON:  What is—I mean, to the extent we could guess, what will his role be? 

S. SMITH:  Well, I think they‘re avoiding it like the plague. 

CARLSON:  Yes, they are. 

S. SMITH:  Really what we‘re faced with is an unprecedented

circumstance of having presidents in the White House.  We‘re not having a -

we wouldn‘t have a president and  first laddie or a first gentleman or a first spouse.  It would be two presidents.  And the fact that he has such experience and such an overwhelming personality.  He‘s not exactly a shrinking violet, as one of his friends said  He‘s always evangelizing for the Church of Bill. 

He—if she were to be elected, he wouldn‘t sort of go off and spend his time globe trotting.  He‘s been doing that for seven years.  He would want to be in the engine room of the West Wing helping devise policy and the fact that his role would be ambiguous by necessity because she couldn‘t appoint him to any role over which she had control and authority because of the anti-nepotism law. 

That, in itself, would create a certain amount of uncertainty and perhaps intimidation.  I mean, I think, it would be very tough to be her vice president or perhaps even the secretary of state knowing the range of his experience and also the, you know, the deeply entwined political relationship that the two of them have had for so many years. 

CARLSON:  That is a very odd scenario.  I mean, as you point out in a piece in the “Wall Street Journal,” like what would you do if you were her vice president and you know that you‘re not second in command.  You‘re really third in command at least.  I mean, I don‘t know where Chelsea falls in all this.  But, you know, you are definitely not number two. 

S. SMITH:  No.  And one of the reasons I wrote my book about Bill and Hillary Clinton in the White House years was to examine the effect of that political partnership and that marriage on the conduct of the Clinton presidency.  And one repercussion was the rivalry that existed between Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, who was quite a formidable vice president.  But it did create a fair amount of problems and confusion. 

CARLSON:  You have some tremendous moments in your book, which I haven‘t finished but I love so far.  You contrast the two, you say, she was as unsentimental as Bill was mushy. 

S. SMITH:  Right. 

CARLSON:  She once told to a college friend, “Unthinking emotion is pitiful to me.  When Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis sent a check to their campaign, you write, in 92, Bill Clinton says, “We can‘t cash this.”  And his wife says—what did his wife say? 

S. SMITH:  She said, “Make a copy, and then cash it.” 


CARLSON:  So she is, I mean, what the—what she sort of see or sense really is true.  I mean, she‘s a lot harder nosed than he is. 

S. SMITH:  Yes.  I think, although he‘s not exactly a pushover, I think.  James Cargo(ph) said once if you stick your, you know, your finger half an inch, you know, it may be soft on the outside, but it‘s tough on the inside.  But he certainly relates to people in a much, you know, in a much more congenial way and much more magnetic ways that she does.  I mean she‘s kind of very sort of posture perfect and very calibrated and very cautious.  And he‘s much more free-wheeling, obviously. 

CARLSON:  Can I—finally you‘re hearing reports—I‘ve heard reports recently that the Hillary campaign is upset with him because, as you just.

S. SMITH:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  As you just said, his speech is always the same.  It‘s a pitch on behalf of his own legacy and that sometimes detracts from her message of the day.  Is there any stopping him?  Or will he continue to talk as long as she‘s running. 

S. SMITH:  I think he‘s been sort of living in unfettered life for the last seven years and he hasn‘t been subjected to the kind of discipline that was imposed on him when he was president.  I mean he‘s not a very disciplined person.  And I think it‘s a danger. 

There was a speech that he gave in Iowa, I think it was last week, where the first 10 minutes, he used the word “I” 94 times and he mentioned Hillary seven times. And, you know, he is fighting very hard to embellish his own legacy and that can invariably come at cross purposes with what she‘s trying to do.  So they‘re, you know, they‘re obviously aligned in so many ways, but they‘re also, underneath, rather competitive.  And they have a lot of baggage and a lot of kind of buried grievances in that relationship. 

CARLSON:  Oh man.  I don‘t want to go back to psycho analyzing.  That‘s why I hope Obama wins.  I really appreciate you‘re coming on.  Thank you so much. 

S. SMITH:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  It‘s an interesting book. 

Bill Clinton has seen a lot of his time in the political spotlight.  It‘s probably safe to say, though, he never expected this.  A campaign moment you have to see to believe.  And we‘re not even hyping it for once. 

We‘ll be right back when “Super Tuesday” continues. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We‘ve given you about 53 minutes of politics.  But we have saved our best tape for the end.  Here with us, the vice president for primetime at MSNBC, Bill Wolff. 

BILL WOLFF, MSNBC PRODUCER:  Skillful production, may I compliment the staff which has stacked with television all stars, Tucker.  That‘s how you get to this. 


WOLFF:  Robots are people, too.  At least on the campaign trail in Iowa, Tucker, where yesterday a University of Iowa professor, that man, dressed like an extra from “Lost in Space” heckled no less than former President Bill Clinton in the middle of a talk.  Here‘s Bill. 

The robot man, Kembrew McLeod, stood on a chair and demanded an apology from Mr. Clinton for Mr. Clinton‘s comments about rapper Sister Souljah in 1992.  You will recall that Clinton scolded Miss Souljah for her statement after the L.A. riots that a week of exclusively black-on-white violence were called more attention to the problem of black-on-black violence.  Clinton compared Sistah Souljah to David Dukes at that time and Professor McLeod, tenured at the University of Iowa and chapter president of Mad Robots in Favor of Bill Clinton Apologizing, was not arrested, Tucker. 



WOLFF:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Did they taser him ala John Kerry? 


WOLFF:  As a matter of fact, they did not and he said we are polite in Iowa.  They were polite to me, I was polite to me, and they escorted me out, and that was the end of it.  He explained that he has a unique message and he thought he would bring it to the public eye in a unique way.  And I think he achieved one of the two. 

CARLSON:  You know, unique is the word. 

WOLFF:  Yes.  It can‘t be modified either, don‘t forget that. 

CARLSON:  Singular.  That‘s right.  It can‘t be very unique.  It‘s either unique or not.  That‘s neat. 

WOLFF:  It can‘t be really unique or truly it‘s just unique. 

In other robot news, Tucker, the horrible inconvenience of having a human being make and pour your coffee, or even more horrible, having to do it yourself, may soon be a thing of the past.  Japanese automaker Honda today unveiled its latest version of the ASIMO robot.  The 51-inch droid makes and delivers the coffee and can even recognized orders and carry then to the people who made them. 

Honda hopes to have those robots baristas working in cities around the world by 2020, just in time for the first ever robot presidential candidate, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Yes, that‘s perfect.  We‘ve got too many people employed in this world. 

WOLFF:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  You know, doing complicated jobs like making coffee. 

WOLFF:  Well. 

CARLSON:  I mean, how much free time would you have to have to devise something like that? 

WOLFF:  And how lazy do you have to be to want to use it? 

CARLSON:  Good point. 

WOLFF:  Now those robot baristas do come with unfinished screenplays that they‘d like you to read and give to some influential friend of yours. 

A progress report on humanity now, Tucker.  This news is encouraging.  Former Major League Baseball pitcher Mark “The Country Boy” Litell has used his time in retirement for the betterment of mankind with his new invention, the Nutty Buddy.  This is a cup that Litell claims is the most effective athletic supporter in human history.  And to prove it, he put on a little demonstration using his product, a pitching machine and some old fashioned bravery.  Here we go. 




WOLFF:  Oh, yes.  The country boy put forward $40,000 of his own cash into the form fitting device.  His response to dubious corporate cup manufacturers, (INAUDIBLE) quote, “Let‘s get the CEO of every cup company.  You put your cup on, I‘ll put my cup on, and we‘ll see who‘s left standing,” end quote. 

CARLSON:  So unbelievable. 

WOLFF:  Yes.  Unbelievable.  Very quickly, I want to tell you that Mike Huckabee is in trouble because he pardoned everybody, a thousand people, in 10 years as governor.  You know who else he pardoned, Tucker?  Keith Richards.  Keith Richards had a driving bust in 1975 and Governor Huckabee arranged for his pardon.  Not all pardons are created equal, my friend. 

CARLSON:  That is unbelievable. 

WOLFF:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  It sounds like something out of “The Onion.” 

Bill Wolff, from headquarters of “30 Rock,” I really appreciate it. 

WOLFF:  You got it. 

CARLSON:  That does it for us.  Thank you for watching.  As always, we‘ll be back here tomorrow night.  I hope you‘ll join us then.  But now, “HARDBALL” with Chris.  Have a great night. 



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