Guests: Dick Armey, A.B. Stoddard, Mark McKinnon, Jennifer Palmieri, Michael Medved
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: The day after John McCain rolled to victory in the Florida primary, his lead in the GOP race solidifies with endorsement of one-time frontrunner Giuliani. Giuliani‘s spectacular collapse ended with his poor showing last night in Florida. He‘s expected to throw his support and whatever voters come with it behind John McCain this hour at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. We‘ll bring you that moment the moment it happens.
After that we‘ll talk about its importance. Giuliani‘s endorsement can‘t hurt McCain but how much does it help? And how much does the Arizona senator need after winning a closed Republican primary whose voters primarily, they said, were concerned with the economy? All good news for him.
On the Democratic side only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton remain after John Edwards announced the suspension of his presidential campaign this afternoon in New Orleans. Edwards said in his valedictory that he perceived commitments from both Clinton and Obama to make the problems of the poor and the working poor central to their campaigns.
Who will Edwards endorse? Will his supporters cast their votes?
We‘ll tell you in a minute.
And the plurality of Republican voters prefer John McCain lately, but the talk radio wing of the party talks about him as if his last name were Clinton. Why do Rush Limbaugh and many like him despise John McCain? What will their attacks mean to the presidential race?
We begin with those who favor John McCain. Chief among them Rudy Giuliani was expected to endorse last night‘s winner at any moment.
Joining us now we welcome the associate editor of “The Hill” A.B.
Stoddard and former House majority leader Dick Armey.
Welcome to you both.
Congressman Armey, what does it mean in practical terms that Giuliani endorses John McCain?
DICK ARMEY, FMR. HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I think there‘s a certain amount of following that Giuliani has and, of course, it doesn‘t hurt a bit. I think what‘s more important, though, is will John McCain listen to Giuliani on something as important as the one thing Giuliani brought to the table, which was an excellent tax plan.
And John McCain, if he can get right with the party and with the economy and the American people on taxes, will be a very attractive candidate to conservatives in America. And he‘s just got that one little extra hitch. Now he‘s.
CARLSON: So you think it‘s taxes. That‘s the.
ARMEY: Well, tax is a very important thing for him to pick up on. He‘s good on fiscal restraint. He‘s good on cutting out all the wasteful and non-necessary pork barrel spending. And that‘s an attraction to a lot of people. But he also needs to appreciate the importance of sound tax policy in the interest of growing the economy.
CARLSON: A.B., Margaret Carlson has one of the best leads for column -
for tomorrow‘s column I‘ve read in a long time. Like millions of New Yorkers, Rudy Giuliani chose to die in Florida.
A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”: God‘s waiting room.
CARLSON: But he didn‘t, unlike John Edwards, wait to make an endorsement.
STODDARD: No. No.
CARLSON: He made essentially the two announcements about at the same time. The latter was leaked. Was that smart? I mean presumably the McCain people think this is really going to help. You think it will?
STODDARD: Well, on Rudy Giuliani, I actually wrote in my column tomorrow that I was really surprised to see him go out on such a nice—
Mr. Nice Guy.
STODDARD: I mean this is the guy—this is the last thing we expected. If you‘ve listened to him in the last few days as he saw the polls sinking and he‘s been faith filled in Florida, he‘s been optimistic and positive. He refused to run any negative ads about his opponents. And I think the immediate endorsement of John McCain was a very classy thing to do.
I also think he was sort of at his best last night in his concession speech. But back to John McCain picking up his endorsement. For John McCain, it is more important, I think, than the average candidate to pick up—to have the field show the Republican electorate I‘ve got to go with McCain. It‘s not so much as Giuliani has all the support to offer John McCain.
STODDARD: And he does have some. It‘s that last man standing resurrected from the dead. Everyone is going to go with John McCain. It helps John McCain more than I think it would the typical frontrunner.
CARLSON: And it does look like the party wants to come around one guy and McCain may be that guy. The fact that Giuliani, quickly, Congressman, he‘s obviously not a great presidential candidate but he‘s such a talented person, I think. He‘s going to go back to making money, he‘s already rich. I mean what should he do? He‘d be a great, like, colonial governor of Afghanistan. What should he do with his talent?
ARMEY: I don‘t know. Probably some place as somebody with creative thinking should find. First thing I think he should is file a malpractice suit against his campaign adviser and at least publicly disclose the name so nobody else will hire the bird. He‘s got to be one of the most cockamamie plans I‘ve ever seen in my life. So I mean I guess this is a pretty good example of bad planning will lead to an early death.
CARLSON: How does McCain get the party behind him?
STODDARD: McCain will not get the party behind him. McCain is going
the interesting thing—what‘s happening is we‘re back to that question whether the party influence is what happens or those stupid voters. And the party can remain mad at John McCain but the voters are choosing him, last night‘s victory, of course, being the sweetest because it was a closed Republican primary.
John McCain is not going to change. I keep asking everybody when the establishment that‘s been picking on John McCain these last two weeks is going to come out for Rudy or Mitt, when they were going to finally do their best to knock off John McCain, because John McCain is not going to change in time for them. They are going to have to change they‘re going to have to fight for Mitt Romney. They never have. If they are going to fight for Mitt Romney in the next five days, you know, I‘ll be surprised.
CARLSON: I will be surprised.
STODDARD: And so it comes down to: can we even imagine a McCain convention? I mean this is all unthinkable still. And with all—I think Mr. Armey is being very generous to John McCain, it‘s not just on taxes. It‘s on drilling in the arctic refuge. It‘s on global warming. It‘s on tobacco regulation. It‘s on everything. It‘s on immigration, it‘s campaign finance reform. The list—I could stay here all night listing things. Partisan fights like on the use of the filibuster in the Senate.
John McCain is always on the wrong side of the heart and soul Republicans.
CARLSON: But it‘s also - but it‘s personal, though, is it?
ARMEY: Let me get (INAUDIBLE).
CARLSON: I mean why do people dislike him so much personally on the Hill?
ARMEY: First of all, John McCain likes being the maverick. And he has proven he‘s a man of courage, right? And conviction, and he‘s willing to offend his friends. Now we‘d like to see him be the one Republican that dares to offend a liberal Democrat and take on real reform on Social Security and retirement security in America.
He‘s a man that‘s got the courage to do that. We can take all that maverick energy and we can channel it to the good issues that are good for the American people. And I think we can have a jewel of a candidate there.
Now, the fact of the matter is, the party isn‘t so upset with John Wayne as some personalities are upset with John Wayne. And some personalities.
CARLSON: John Wayne, a euphemism for John McCain?
ARMEY: I‘m sorry, I‘m sorry, John McCain. I love John Wayne.
ARMEY: So where did that come from? But anyway, I like to watch this process. John McCain, like most mavericks, will make people uncomfortable. And you must understand, most people in politics are discomfort minimizers.
So they all resent anybody.
CARLSON: That‘s true.
ARMEY: .that makes them come to more harsh and rigorous documentation of their campaign funding activities and that sort of thing. It‘s an inconvenience but it is certainly no trespass against their fundamental right.
CARLSON: Yes. And McCain just likes giving people the finger.
CARLSON: All right. Up next, a high-level representative of the campaign, Mark McKinnon, joins us in a minute.
Plus it‘s been a while since Oprah Winfrey has hit the campaign trail for Barack Obama. It‘s just six days until super Tuesday. It‘s likely we‘ll see her again in California. That‘s what we‘re hearing anyway. We‘ll see if it‘s true.
This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. You are looking now at live pictures of Rudy Giuliani about to endorse John McCain at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL: .Reagan Library because President Reagan‘s leadership remains an inspiration for both John McCain and for myself.
When you run for president of the United States, you spend a lot of time thinking about what qualities you would want in the chief executive of the United States. Someone who can be trusted in times of crisis. Someone with the clear vision about the challenges facing our nation. Someone with the will and perseverance to get great goals accomplished.
Obviously, I thought I was that person. The voters made a different choice. But I made it clear at different times during this campaign that if I had not decided to run—I believe I even said it at a debate—that if I had not decided to run, the one person in this country that I clearly would have supported for president of the United States would be John McCain. And that came from the heart.
Today I‘m officially announcing my withdrawal as a candidate for president of the United States. And so deciding who to endorse in my particular case is not difficult, because if I endorsed anyone else, you would say I was flip-flopping after having already endorsed John.
John McCain is the most qualified candidate to be the next commander in chief of the United States. He is an American hero. And America could use heroes in the White House. He‘s a man of honor and integrity and you can underline both, honor and integrity. He‘s shown character throughout his life. We know his experiences in time of war. And just in this very campaign, as an adversary watching where he was and where he came from made me admire him even more.
And several times when I would see him at debates, I would shake his hand and tell him that. He came from way behind to go way ahead and once again displayed his tenacity, his courage, his ability to focus, his ability to get things done. I can‘t imagine a campaign better demonstrating who the person that should be president of the United States should be.
We were friends before. We were competitors for the nomination. We were even able to root for two different baseball teams during the World Series and not make any negative commercials about each other. And once a long time ago when he was running for president, I was very proud, because I was asked to do a negative commercial about John McCain, because at the time I was supporting another candidate, and I refused to do it.
I have tremendous regard for John. I‘ve always had tremendous regard for John. I had wished that throughout this campaign that when the campaign is over, and said it oftentimes, that we really will still remain friends no matter what happens. And part of the consolation for me was the bitterness that comes about with losing is that wish has come true. We will remain friends.
But most importantly, my country will have a candidate for president of the United States where I can rest very assured for myself, for my children, and for all the people that we care about so much, that this is a man prepared to be president of the United States at a time of great peril. We share a similar vision for the future of our party. A similar vision of the major challenges facing our nation. We both believe that America must stay on offense to win the terrorist war on us. We both believe in fiscal discipline, cutting taxes and wasteful spending in Washington.
Finally we both believe in building a stronger and broader Republican Party, a party that is growing and reaching out. One that competes for urban and rural voters of all races and all religions in all 50 states, because that‘s the way we‘re going to win this election, creating a revitalized 50-state Republican Party that can break through the red state-blue state divide.
John McCain gives us, as Republicans, our best chance of doing that. I‘m going to campaign with John as much as he wants, or not, depending on if I‘m in trouble or not at that particular point. I‘ll campaign with him in California, I‘ll campaign with him in New York, I‘ll campaign with him in New Jersey, in Connecticut, in Illinois, any place where he and his campaign believe that I am helpful.
I am fully aboard 100 percent. I don‘t do things halfway. I do them 100 percent. And when I believe in a man, like I do John McCain, this will become, to me, as important as my own election was. I‘m hopeful that we can secure his nomination very soon so we can unite our party and then begin the process of uniting our nation. So I am very proud to endorse my friend and fellow Republican, a hero, John McCain of Arizona for president of the United States of America.
God bless you, John.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL: I thank you, Rudy, and I‘m deeply honored. I‘m deeply honored by your friendship, which has been for many years. I, like all Americans, will never forget the defining moment of recent American history, the tragedy of 9/11. And I saw Rudy Giuliani unite this nation in a way that made us all proud. And all of us were recommitted to defeating the terrible evil that attacked New York City on September 11th.
I had the honor of spending time with him in New York City as he not only restored the spirits and the courage and the commitment for the people of New York City but the people of the United States of America. All life is full of anecdotes. My favorite anecdote was in the World Series of that year when Rudy came with me to Phoenix, Arizona, a packed stadium of 40-some thousand rabid Diamondback fans on the jumbo tron was the—was the face of Rudy Giuliani. Every one of those fans stood and applauded and cheered and cheered and cheered, because this man is a national hero.
And I‘m honored by his friendship. And I‘m honored to know a person who played such a great role in uniting the United States of America after one of its greatest tragedies was inflicted on it. So I want to say I not only thank him for his friendship, I want to thank him for his leadership of America. I want to thank him as we wage this struggle to secure the presidency of the United States. It will be a clear choice this November. And I believe that my life has prepared me, a life of service and a life of dedication, to lead this nation in the transcendent challenge of the 21st century.
The great threat, the evil of radical Islamic extremism which threatens everything we stand for and believe in, and my strong right arm and my partner and my friend in this effort will be the former mayor of New York City, an American hero, Rudy Giuliani. I‘m deeply honored. Thank you very much and thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You just saw Rudy Giuliani endorsing John McCain for president.
Joining us now to respond to what you just saw, senior advisor to the campaign, Mark McKinnon. Mark?
MARK MCKINNON, SR. MCCAIN ADVISOR: Hey, Tucker. How are you?
CARLSON: It comes from the heart, said Rudy Giuliani. This will become as important to me as my own election was. That is John McCain‘s election. I bought that, I have to say.
MCKINNON: Yes. It was very moving. And I think he truly believes that. There‘s a real shared DNA that these two have, not just friendship but sort of what they believe about the country and the importance of national security and their service. They really come from the same kind of bond.
CARLSON: Is this going to help unite the Republican Party, do you think?
MCKINNON: Oh absolutely. I think that what we know now is that John McCain has a broad message after winning Florida. He‘s proved that he can win among conservatives, among moderates, old voters, younger voters. And we need to reform the party, we need to grow the party, and—if we‘re going to win in November. And John McCain has got a record of reform that can do just that. And having people like Mayor Giuliani come aboard just sends a message that this is a very big tent and everybody is welcome.
CARLSON: Is this somewhat bewildering for you considering six months ago your campaign was a joke in Washington and all the smart people were writing it off as doomed and sort of embarrassing and now all of a sudden you‘re on the way to the nomination?
MCKINNON: Well, it‘s been—we‘re kind of dizzy right now, to be honest with you, Tucker. It‘s been quite a ride and so many things had to happen and all of them have. And—but most of all it‘s because of John McCain‘s tenacity and his courage and he just sucked it up and gutted it out. And we were glad to help him do that. But, you know, we‘re just glad to see his honor and integrity restored much less get the nomination.
CARLSON: So someone last night—I was at the McCain campaign headquarters last night in Florida when you all won and someone there told me that your campaign does not have a pollster. Is that true?
MCKINNON: That‘s true. We haven‘t had a pollster since June. We‘ve been flying by the seat of our pants the whole time.
CARLSON: How can—I mean are going to get up? I mean aren‘t you required to have a pollster? When are you going to get one?
MCKINNON: Yes. There‘s something and written somewhere that says we‘re supposed to. But as you know, John McCain likes to do things differently. And as you know, it‘s pretty hard to tell John McCain what to do or think. So we just take his leadership and let it rip.
CARLSON: I was struck by his remarks last night when, in his victory speech, I would—I kind of expected him to basically telegraph, this is over, I‘m the nominee now. Instead he seems to downplay his victory, saying it wasn‘t a landslide, when actually it was. You know, five points in a three-man race is a significant margin. And he seemed to say to his supporters, you know, we still have a fight ahead of us. Does he feel that way? What‘s the idea there?
MCKINNON: Well, I do think he‘s been close to the line so many times, Tucker, that it‘s—he‘s wary about declaring victory too early. But you‘re right. We did exceed expectations of all the pollsters and everybody in Florida. It gives us great confidence going into super Tuesday, because we showed that he can win among all demographic groups and all political groups.
CARLSON: So there—a lot of people who want to see John McCain, the nominee, right now. But there‘s also a smaller but pretty active group of people that just hates John McCain within the Republican Party. How are you going to win them over? Are you going to win them over?
MCKINNON: I think we will, Tucker. And John McCain is doing all he can to reach across all these lines and communicate with the entire party. He‘s got a great 24-year record. And it‘s frustrating for people like us as we hear some of that. But I think that when you look at the field out there, John McCain has won because of his character and his principles, but also his conservative credentials, a 24-year history on very important issues to conservatives.
And I think once when we get through super Tuesday we‘ll see the coalition come together in strong support of Senator John McCain for president.
CARLSON: Wouldn‘t it be just easier to fly down to Palm Beach and take Rush Limbaugh out to dinner and slobber all over him? I mean why not suck up to Rush Limbaugh? I mean wouldn‘t that just kind of—you know when it kind of fix some of your problems right away? Why don‘t you do that?
MCKINNON: Well, I think Senator McCain is going to communicate, as he has with others in the Republican Party, extend an olive branch, communicate on the issues that are important to him, and I think are important to Rush Limbaugh and everybody else in the Republican Party. And I think that the rift will be healed.
CARLSON: Mark McKinnon of the McCain campaign. Congratulations. When we have time just to get perspective and this huge wheel stops turning, I think we‘ll all recognize what a remarkable story McCain‘s comeback is because it‘s really just very, very amazing. Thanks a lot, Mark.
MCKINNON: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: John Edwards, meanwhile, is out of the race. The question is, what does he do next? It may matter.
Plus John McCain beat Mitt Romney among Republicans in Florida and Republicans only, blowing a hole in Mitt Romney‘s argument that he‘s the only one who can Republican votes. How does McCain now convince conservatives to stick with him?
This is MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS, FMR. ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL: Today I am suspending my campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be strong. We will be unified. And with our convictions and a little backbone, we will take back the White House in November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Like a loose fumble at the Super Bowl, John Edwards is now the latest prize coveted by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Edwards dropped out today in New Orleans leaving a base of supporters up for grabs heading into super Tuesday next February 5th. Now that he no longer seeks the throne, will John Edwards wind up the Democratic kingmaker?
Joining us now is former Edwards campaign strategist, Jennifer Palmieri. She‘s with the Center for American Progress, one of my all-time favorite Democrats.
Jennifer, thanks for coming on.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FMR. EDWARDS CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Tucker, my favorite conservative.
CARLSON: Thank you. Now that may be mean.
Why wouldn‘t John Edwards do what Rudy Giuliani just did, which is, you know, get out—I understand that. And by the way, my heart always goes out to any candidate who gets out of the race because I know how hard they work.
CARLSON: And I know how much their families has give up and I feel bad for John Edwards even. But why doesn‘t he just endorse right away?
PALMIERI: Well, I think that he—well, you know, he did seriously consider staying in until the convention to annoy you.
CARLSON: Yes. No, I would have liked that actually.
PALMIERI: You know—but I think that he wanted to—it‘s a big decision for him. And I think that he wanted to get out because I think he wanted people to have time before super Tuesday. You know you don‘t want to do this on Monday before super Tuesday. That‘s not fair to Clinton and Obama, right?
PALMIERI: So you want to get out with enough time that they can make their case to his voters. And I don‘t think he‘s ready to decide yet. I really—I think that is something.
CARLSON: I wonder what there is to think about. I mean here you have a guy, John Edwards, who has pretty much gone after Hillary Clinton exclusively for the past couple of months and he‘s been running against her really for more than a year. He knows everything about both candidates.
CARLSON: He‘s better informed than any voter. But what other information does he need?
PALMIERI: Well, I think that, you know—I think there‘s two ways to look at it. I think voters that are—that have been attracted to Edwards because of economic—like the economic populace, all that stuff, right?
PALMIERI: You could see how they would go to Clinton, right? I mean we‘ve seen that in, you know, exit polls and stuff, and people that are worried about the economy, they go to her. She‘s probably, you know, she‘s more specific on what she would actually do. On health care, you know, she‘s for a mandate. Obama is not. They are actually—if you look at the issues, he‘s closer to Clinton probably on more issues than Obama.
Now I think the people that are attracted to John, like he‘s a great candidate and he‘s inspiring and anti-establishment, you know, those people, you know, and that part of him is inclined to go to Obama. But I don‘t think it‘s as clear-cut as people think.
CARLSON: I mean a cynic would say, and I‘m not a cynic, but I have heard people say the explanation is obvious, he wants something. He is at the height of his value right now as a commodity and he‘s holding out for something in return.
PALMIERI: I think that that‘s spinning around more in reporters‘ heads than in actual, I mean, real conversations.
CARLSON: Well, let me—I want to play a sound bite from—great Mudcat Saunders, the rural strategist of the Edwards campaign.
PALMIERI: You managed to put the bite in sound bites. Yes.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly - exactly. And here‘s his sound bite from today MSNBC earlier.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DAVE “MUDCAT” SAUNDERS, FMR. EDWARDS CAMPAIGN SR. STRATEGIST: I can‘t speak for John. I can say this, you know, that being a southerner, being an American who has been completely devastated by the trade policies of the Clintons, I‘m going to do everything in my power to make sure that he does not endorse Hillary Clinton.
For Hillary Clinton to continue to talk about the unintended consequences of NAFTA, they weren‘t unintended, they were unconsidered. You know, we all heard about the giant sucking sound when they first started talking about this. And I just don‘t think the Clintons have been a friend, you know, of my people out in rural America.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CARLSON: “I‘m going to do everything in my power to make certain he does not endorse Hillary Clinton.” I think he speaks for a lot of people on the—I know he speaks for a lot of people in the Edwards campaign and for a lot of Edwards voters when he says that. I mean they‘re supporting Edwards because they didn‘t like Hillary. I mean come on.
PALMIERI: I don‘t know—I don‘t know that that‘s actually true. We don‘t know that‘s actually true. I think there are some people supporting Edwards because they—you know, because of where he is on economic issues and what not. I think that it could split. I don‘t think it‘s that clear-cut.
CARLSON: It might not be that clear cut, but when do you think it‘s going to happen?
PALMIERI: I don‘t know. It could happen before February 5th.
There‘s arguments for that. There‘s arguments against that. I have the
sense—obviously John keeps things very close to the vest. He does not -
he takes advice. He does not share. I had the sense that it could happen before February 5th. It seems to be on a faster track than not. He could wait.
CARLSON: I know this was a surprise. I talked to someone from that campaign yesterday who had no idea this was coming. Jen, thanks very much for coming on.
PALMIERI: Always a pleasure.
CARLSON: The best part of the John Edwards campaign. John McCain hasn‘t always gotten along with conservatives in the Republican party. Did last night‘s win in Florida prove something to them and will it help McCain win them over.
Plus, Hillary Clinton wins the beauty contest in Florida. It was a primary with no delegates. It was meaningless, but she gave a victory speech anyway. Some are comparing her to late Evil Knievel. We‘ll explain after the break.
CARLSON: Welcome back. We are waiting on pins and needles for the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to appear in a moment. We think it‘s possible he might come out and say something significant about the presidential race. If it happens, we‘ll go to it immediately.
John McCain‘s solid win in the Florida primary proved he could win a purely Republican contest from which independents were barred. But still the most conservative voters and the talk radio show hosts to whom they listen are not buying. What‘s McCain done to conservatives that is hard to forgive? Can he win them over.
Back with us, once again, the associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B.
Stoddard, and the former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. Welcome back. A quick semi-correction, we said the other day on the show—I think you may have been on, Alexandra—that Senator Kennedy, before he endorsed Barack Obama, called President Clinton rather than Hillary Clinton and that seemed odd. We now have from the Clinton campaign this claim which I‘m taking at face value, Senator Kennedy did call Senator Clinton first and left her a message asking her to call back. She did not. After that he called President Clinton. I feel honor bound to read that. Now I have.
I think it‘s remarkable that Joe Lieberman is campaigning so avidly for Senator McCain. I asked Lieberman yesterday, they are calling McCain a liberal. You‘re a Democrat, kind of liberal on a lot of issues. What do you think of that? Is it a slur. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: I know John McCain And I can tell you he‘s no liberal. He‘s independent minded, that‘s the important thing. He‘s a conservative Republican. I‘m an independent Democrat, but I cross party lines to support him for a very simple reason. John McCain is better prepared than any other candidate in either party to be the president and commander in chief America needs at this difficult time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: It‘s just amazing to me, A, that Joe Lieberman is acting as if liberal is a slur, when Lieberman himself is very liberal on a lot of social issues. For another, that a sitting Democrat in the Senate is campaigning for a Republican. I‘ve never seen anything like that. Have you?
STODDARD: No we haven‘t.
CARLSON: Does it hurt McCain? I guess that‘s the macro-question here among conservatives?
STODDARD: As we mentioned previously, I don‘t think John McCain can do anything more to hurt himself, do any further damage with conservatives. I think that the fact that he‘s going to use the support of Joe Lieberman on the trail in places like New York and Connecticut, New Jersey to attract moderates and crossover voters is probably a good thing.
At the end of the day, he wants, as he becomes closer—gets closer and closer to the nomination to talk like Barack Obama, to say, I have the most delegates. I have the largest coalition. It‘s a good argument. It helps him in the general election if he‘s built up a huge coalition in the primary.
CARLSON: Congressman, what‘s the scenario for Mitt Romney. Can he get the nomination?
ARMEY: No, I don‘t believe he can. I‘ve watched Mitt Romney very closely, met with him a couple of times. He just doesn‘t seem to be able tots any traction. I don‘t know why that is. I do think, for example, the best person in terms of putting out an economic plan people could get excited about was Rudy Giuliani. He put his plan out there and didn‘t show up for it, so it was scarcely noticed. I don‘t think McCain gets there.
I‘d like to go back to Lieberman for a minute. I don‘t believe he‘s a sitting Democrat. I think he‘s an independent.
CARLSON: He calls himself—
ARMEY: I think he was severely, harshly and horribly unfairly rejected and abused by the Democrat (sic) party. If I were Joe Lieberman, I would say, I‘m not going to love the Democrat (sic) party for what I do for it, because it sure isn‘t doing anything for him.
CARLSON: My point is, he‘s been a Democrat his entire life up until recently. I suppose he‘s a name. But his vote counts on the Democratic side, as far as I understand. Moreover, he‘s a flat-out liberal on the social issues.
ARMEY: Not all. Joseph Lieberman and I put school choice on Bill Clinton‘s desk to have it vetoed by the president. Joe Lieberman and John McCain are both big advocates of school choice and home schooling and protect the rights of parents to govern and decide how their children will be educated. Both Joe Lieberman and the president—or John McCain are together on the president‘s policies with respect to Iraq.
There‘s a great deal of kinship between these two gentlemen. And I‘m thinking that they are arguing Lieberman saying, I dared to be me and risk the wrath of my party. You dared to be you, risked the wrath of your party. Why don‘t we two independents get up and show America that we can take a middle ground and draw from both sides of the spectrum to the middle, that which will work for America.
CARLSON: The unity ticket. This kind of means money doesn‘t matter. Doesn‘t it, this election, if you think about it? McCain and (INAUDIBLE) said, no, they don‘t even have a pollster. They can‘t even afford a pollster.
STODDARD: The money thin is absolutely amazing, because from what I read, and I read it in the “Boston Globe” yesterday or so, Mitt Romney ran about 4,400 television ads to McCain‘s 470 in Florida. That‘s a big state where you need to run television ads. It‘s hard to get around. It‘s not the town hall trail of New Hampshire.
CARLSON: Why do we spend a lot of time talking about money.
STODDARD: It‘s interesting. Sometimes it works. In Nevada and South Carolina, the winner spent the most. But in Iowa and New Hampshire, it was -- excuse me, Michigan and Nevada. But in Iowa and New Hampshire, it was the inverse. If you spent the most, you came in second or third. I mean, you just never know.
CARLSON: You‘ve run for office many times. Don‘t we act like the guy with the biggest bank account is going to be the winner?
ARMEY: That‘s sort of been—I don‘t know—the main theory for years. I‘m one who has argued for years there‘s too much money in politics. I applaud Senator McCain for his good judgment in not hiring a pollster. Why would you—if you‘re trying to run a serious adult campaign, why would you hire a bunch of hacks around you. It‘s money well saved. Put less money to a better purpose and let the political hacks go unemployed and you‘ll probably survive.
CARLSON: So they shouldn‘t hire Giuliani‘s team?
ARMEY: I don‘t think he should hire a pollster, no matter if he‘s your brother-in-law. They are just worthless. I mean, who are these people? They set around. They parse words and they test words. If you don‘t know what you mean and you don‘t yourself know what the meaning of the word is is, stay out of politics.
CARLSON: I think I know exactly what consultant you‘re talking about.
ARMEY: -- them all. It isn‘t just one. They just aggravate me. Because what you really want to do—and McCain I think is trying to do this—why don‘t I just stand up and be me before the American people. Look, this is who I am. I believe in these things. I‘m willing to talk about them in whatever language I can express myself in, without it being pre-tested.
CARLSON: Amen. Thank you both. You‘ve totally won me over, by the way. John McCain‘s surge to front runner status is drawing fire from within his own party. Why are talk show hosts ganging up on him. We‘ll talk to one. Could the growing hostility hurt his campaign?
Talk about a close call; an Illinois driver stranded on the path of two on-coming trains. His daring rescue when we continue after this.
CARLSON: Just how many Republican voters get their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Medved? We‘re about to find out. John McCain has been the punching bag for radio talk show hosts recently. They attack him daily for his positions on everything from torture to tax cuts. Will these voices back Mitt Romney instead? Will their listeners follow them.
Will the last seven years change the way conservatives look at their candidates and take their cues? Joining me now, national syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved. Michael, thanks for coming on.
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you, Tucker. What a pleasure speaking to you, especially after the great victory yesterday for John McCain, who I am the only conservative national syndicated host, the only one who supports McCain and I‘m very proud I‘ve done so.
CARLSON: You‘re president of a very small club. Let‘s analyze the other team for a second. Why exactly do you think—let‘s put our shrinks hats on here. Why do they hate McCain so much?
MEDVED: They are acting like liberals. I know that‘s a terrible thing to say about people that I like and respect. I have great respect for Rush. But he‘s acting like a liberal on this. Liberals allow personality and emotions and feelings to take precedence over issues, substance and policies. That‘s what they are doing here.
If you actually look on the three essential elements of the Reagan Coalition, security, economics and social issues, McCain is solid. He is very conservative. He‘s a traditional Reagan Republican and there‘s no policy reason, no issues reason for people to be so hostile to him and to call him all these names and to bang on him day after day after day. I actually believe talk radio is hurting itself more than they are hurting Senator McCain.
CARLSON: Here is what really baffles me. I can see that there are some issues where McCain, from a conservative perspective, is infuriating. I thought his position on tobacco, campaign finance reform—it got me hot too. However, I don‘t think he‘s any more liberal than President Bush. On a lot of these issues, his positions are identical to President Bush. Yet, Bush is still revered by a lot of those hosts and he‘s hated. That‘s odd to me.
MEDVED: I would say, in terms of government spending, in terms of cutting the size of government, reducing the deficit, McCain is more conservative than President Bush. You‘re exactly right. What‘s happened here, I think there‘s this frustrating feeling that people have. They have been banging on McCain. They‘ve been demonizing him and McCain‘s been winning. He‘s been winning among conservatives.
In South Carolina, a very conservative state, 69 percent of the people who voted, identified themselves as conservative, they voted for McCain. The truth of the matter is what I think this is showing is that talk radio may be losing some of its influence. And we deserve to unless we open up, at least, to some alternate ideas and give a little more balanced perspective.
CARLSON: This is obviously, like the one I‘m in, a business driven by ratings, a business that seeks to, frankly, pander to its audience. Does this suggest that there are millions of conservatives who feel as passionately about John McCain in a negative way as the hosts do?
MEDVED: I don‘t think that‘s true. I don‘t think the voters have shown that. Look, one of the things—Rush told me this. Again, I got my start in radio guest hosting for Rush, and I love the guy. I really do. But one of the things he always said was don‘t confuse the callers with the listeners. Callers tend to be very much on the edge. They tend to be very, very motivated. They‘re activists.
Listeners out there are much more broadly representative of the conservative mainstream. The truth of the matter is, look, folks have to come to terms with the fact that McCain is very likely going to be the nominee. So for nine months are we going to be attacking a Republican nominee every single day, and calling him McVain, McLame, McAmnesty.
I think people ought to get used to calling him something else, Mr.
CARLSON: McAmnesty, that doesn‘t even rhyme. That‘s a particularly dumb one. Michael Medved, thank you very much.
MEDVED: Thank you.
CARLSON: There‘s a new cowboy stealing the spotlight on the rodeo circuit. He may not have the looks, but does have opposable thumbs. The unlikely pairing after this.
CARLSON: We go to the vice president for prime time, the man in charge of all the other news, Bill Wolff.
BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT: In charge of all the other news, Tucker. Hard to tear away from the unbelievably compelling political stories on both sides of the aisle. And I wouldn‘t do it, but we‘ve got good stuff today. Stay tuned.
The last time we heard from or heard about TV‘s Dr. Phil, his grand patron, Oprah Winfrey, was reportedly to POed at the syndicated shrink for meddling in the affairs of Britney Spears in such an inelegant and self-promotional way and then he didn‘t apologizes for being such a heal.
On this morning‘s edition of the “Today Show,” Matt Lauer interviewed the good doctor, and asked about the perils of being an unlicensed therapist dispensing therapy on television.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. PHIL, TV TALK SHOW HOST: I don‘t do therapy. I don‘t do medical therapy. I don‘t do individual therapy. I don‘t do couples therapy. You go to my website and click on “be on the show.” It says it three times up there that you need to understand that. I‘m very clear about that.
But Matt, that doesn‘t mean that when I retired from psychology after 25 years that I checked my brain at the door, that I checked my experience at the door, that I checked all of my contacts and the ability to take people to the right sort of caregivers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLFF: All right. So he didn‘t check his brain at the door. He didn‘t check his—I did check the door. He checked his shame at the door, Tucker. I saw it right there. It said shame and had his name, Phil on it.
CARLSON: Someone on the set whose name I will not divulge just said, when you go into psychology, you check your brain at the door. I‘m not endorsing that point of view, I‘m just throwing that out.
WOLFF: Me either. Some of my best friends are psychologists. Time out from politics and world affairs now for some gratuitous and injury-free violence. Dateline Illinois in suburban Chicago, where 72-year-old Franazec Shouldzic (ph) mini van found out what it‘s like to be hit not by one but by two trains.
Mr. Shouldzic had apparently had too much to drink, turned onto the railroad tracks thinking they were a road, got stuck. An unnamed but heroic Samaritan hurried the wobbly Shouldzic off the track before those choo choos made him a lot worse than sauced. Nobody was injured. Spectacular video was captured. Mr. Shouldzic got himself tagged with a DUI, which I think is better than being tagged with a DOA, which would have been his other option. How about that for some gratuitous video, Tucker Carlson.
CARLSON: Do you get the sense, Bill, that there‘s people with video cameras looming on every street corner waiting for something like this to occur?
WOLFF: And half of them are police officers, Tucker. That‘s what to remember. Big Brother now has dash-board cam. Behave yourself on the highways and byways, America.
What is the best combination of two things ever. Tucker? Me and you? Maybe. Chocolate and peanut butter? Possibly. Cardinal baseball and light beer? It‘s a front runner. How about an adorable dog being ridden by a hilarious monkey. Dateline Ft. Worth, Texas, and the stock show there. That‘s Whiplash the monkey, an 18-year-old who has been trained to ride Border Collies and herd sheep. Look at him herd. Come on.
A reminder to viewers, that is a monkey riding a dog. We talk a lot about Guinness Records, Tucker, and this video belongs in that book for the world record for hilarity between the species, inching out Britney Spears‘s relationship with paparazzo. Get it?
CARLSON: Sort of. I‘m so transfixed by the video, I couldn‘t really follow what you‘re saying.
WOLFF: It‘s inter-species oddity or humor and Britney Spears is one species and the paparazzo is another.
CARLSON: I get it. I‘m still transfixed.
WOLFF: Look at that. It‘s a monkey on a dog. Come on, I know the politics are good, but how much better are they than this, my friend?
CARLSON: I don‘t know; John Edwards getting out is right up there.
WOLFF: Pretty good by John Edwards. Very interesting to see which way that vote falls. I heard a statistic, a poll today, that said four of ten Edwards voters, their choice was Hillary, about a quarter was Obama. We shall see, my friend.
Let‘s not talk about politics. Let‘s talk about another candidate for the Guinness Book of World Records, this time the most useless technological advances. A lot of competition in this field. Our script is lifted, by the way, directly from the NBC News channel, whose great work we exploit every day.
A Japanese company has developed software to help customer service centers deal with angry customers. The software automatically detects when tempers are rising during a phone call. The equipment rates the emotional state of callers and phone operators by analyzing words, tone of voice, speech patterns and length of sentences. Developers studied thousands of angry customer calls over the course of five years to develop the computer program.
Now, Tucker, they needed a computer program to find out when a caller is mad. Usually when the four-letter word starts flying and the click starts happening on the other end, that‘s an angry phone caller. But, thank goodness they had the good sense to research that and confirm our suspicions.
CARLSON: The Japanese have a long history of doing things the hard way, inventing robots to, you know, iron your shirts.
WOLFF: Comb your hair.
CARLSON: Computer-driven toilets and stuff like that.
WOLFF: There‘s a sub-economy or a cottage industry, you might say, Tucker.
CARLSON: Apparently. Bill Wolff from New York. Thanks a lot, Bill.
WOLFF: You got it.
CARLSON: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We‘ll see you right back here tomorrow night. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris. Have a great night.
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