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'Tucker' for Dec. 31

Guests: Hugh Hewitt, Art Torres, Jonathan Martin, Ed Schultz, Michelle Cottle

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  It‘s been another remarkable day in politics. 

Good evening and welcome to the show.  I‘m Tucker Carlson. 

Republicans had to be alternately cheering and cringing at the endorsenator, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger threw his support behind John McCain, the Republican that Republicans love to hate but are at the same time apparently about to make their nominee. 

Is the Republican race in effect over? 

And former president Bill Clinton is on the front page of “The New York Times,” this time, like all times lately, for unflattering reasons.  A remarkable new account explains how he made more than $100 million for his personal foundation by sucking up to a foreign dictator.  It‘s a story with everything, uranium mining, big money, Kazakhstan and, of course, large amounts of defeat. 

Details on all of it in just a minute. 

Plus, how upset are conservative radio talk show hosts with the prospect of a John McCain candidacy?  We‘ll ask for them coming up. 

But first the carriage on its way to the Clinton coronation had better hurry up because midnight appears to be coming quickly.  Everyone from the Kennedys to “The New York Post” this morning has jumped the Obama bandwagon while stories about Clinton connections continue to make news, and not all of them good news.  And what about John Edwards?  He dropped out of the race yesterday.  What happens if he endorses Barack Obama before next Tuesday? 

Joining us now senior political reporter from “The Politico,” Jonathan Martin. 

Jonathan, are you there? 


CARLSON:  What are you hearing about endorsements?  There are a number of kind of shoes waiting to drop.  First is Edwards but then you also have Bill Richardson and Al Gore.  What are you hearing about where they might go? 

MARTIN:  I think that, you know, you saw the endorsement recently of Senator Ted Kennedy, but also more important, Tucker, the entire Kennedy mystique being sort of bestowed on Barack Obama, a passing of the torch, if you will, that carries great symbolic weight. 

What‘s being talked about now are a few names, Jimmy Carter, you mentioned - you know, also the prospect of Al Gore potentially as well.  There are a few sort of big, iconic names left in Democratic politics that would give him yet another boost, I think. 

CARLSON:  What do you think John Edwards would want?  I mean clearly there‘s horse-trading going on.  We‘re not privy to it. 

MARTIN:  Right.  Right. 

CARLSON:  Unfortunately despite my best efforts all day on the telephone to find out exactly what it is John Edwards expects in return for his endorsement. 

MARTIN:  Oh yes. 

CARLSON:  .but he‘s clearly considering backing Hillary Clinton, which is kind of remarkable.  Do you have any idea what he wants? 

MARTIN:  Well, you have to look at sort of two tracks here, Tucker.  Publicly what he‘s saying is that he wants them to affirm their commitments to talk about poverty issues and poverty in America.  Now privately, of course, in politics, oftentimes, much more important what is happening behind the scenes.  What does he want in an either Obama or Clinton administrations?  Does he want to be the attorney general?  Does he want some kind of a senior post?  That‘s what we have to assume is being discussed behind the scenes.  I‘m not sure exactly what it is. 

But here‘s the thing, Tucker.  A lot of the folks who are for Edwards are also not fond of the Clinton wing of the party.  So even if Edwards doesn‘t endorse Obama, I still think Obama gets quite a bit of the benefit with him being out of the race. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s right.  There‘s talk today that they‘re all these phantom delegates.  Hillary Clinton won Michigan.  She won Florida, both states by agreement of the Democratic National Committee had no real delegates, right?  But she won the state. 

MARTIN:  Right.  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  What would happen if Hillary Clinton shows up to the convention, we go to the convention, and she somehow says, you know what, those delegates ought to be seated and they ought to have a vote and that vote ought to be for me. 

Could she do that and would the party splinter if she tried? 

MARTIN:  I think she could well do that, absolutely.  I think it would cause internal fractures in the party.  But keep this in mind, who in the Democratic Party is going to want to throw the states of Michigan and Florida under the bus, Tucker?  These are two places that could be very important in a general election, and why do you want to unduly anger them when you‘re going to need them in a few months? 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s—that‘s an absolutely fair—that‘s an absolutely fair question.  But wouldn‘t it—I mean at that point it seems to me it might seem to some within the Democratic Party, the some who don‘t support Hillary Clinton, like a theft of the nomination basically. 

MARTIN:  Right.  Well, there‘s no question if she got to that point that she‘ll be trying to sort of game the whole system.  But politically, though, I think it would be tough on national Democrats to try not to seat them and endanger their standing in those states and sort of risk the wrath of key battleground states. 

CARLSON:  What do you think—the conventional view is that Obama is moving up.  There‘s poll today pointing to an 11-point bump in recent days for his campaign. 

MARTIN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Is it smarter, do you think, going into tonight‘s debate, for him to take the bellicose stand, Hillary Clinton is wrong for America, she‘s a divisive figure, or is it better to play that role. 

MARTIN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  .that comes, I think, more naturally to him, the kind of cool, above-it-all observer? 

MARTIN:  Yes.  I think if you look at how much money he raised, Tucker, just this month alone, it does seem like he has the big mo on his side.  And so I think because of that he‘ll probably going to look for the sort of more professorial Barack Obama, the pipe and elbow patch Obama, if you will.  He‘s going to be—want sort of keep this thing on a higher plain. 

They recognize, Clinton and Obama both, that many folks are turned off when these two candidates go at it and they also know darn well that for a lot of Democrats they‘re going to be tuning into those race for the first time and they don‘t want to show a sort of angry, nasty side. 

CARLSON:  The professorial Obama.  That—I think you would need to be a professor to understand the phrase, the fierce urgency of now.  I don‘t have a master‘s degree.  So I don‘t get it.  Maybe you can explain it to me later. 

Jonathan Martin at the scene in California.  Thanks a lot. 

MARTIN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Speaking of California, California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, throws his considerable weight behind John McCain.  In that he joins Rudy Giuliani and just about every other party luminary.  They‘re all coming behind John McCain.  Will it be enough? 

Plus, Barack Obama is being compared to John F. Kennedy in a new ad and in the ad speaks someone who actually knew John F. Kennedy. 

You‘re watching MSNBC. 


CARLSON:  John McCain picks up another big endorsement, maybe the biggest endorsement, by pounds anyway.  It‘s from the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  But will it help McCain win conservatives to his side? 

We‘ll be right back. 



GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA:  .is a fantastic, outstanding public servant.  He‘s a great American hero and an extraordinary leader.  And this is why I‘m endorsing him to be our next president of the United States.  So let‘s hear for Senator McCain. 


CARLSON:  He‘s fantastic, says Arnold Schwarzenegger of John McCain. 

Will that endorsement of Arnold Schwarzenegger help John McCain solidify his lead on super Tuesday?  What are the practical effects of it?  We‘ll tell you in a minute. 

But first, there were a few contentious moments between John McCain and Mitt Romney last night during the debate.  Here to tell us what they meant, we are joined by MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and the host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show” Ed Schultz.  Welcome to you both. 


CARLSON:  So here‘s—let me just play the clip that if you‘ve been watching television the last 15 hours, you‘ve seen this.  I want to know what it means.  This is Mitt Romney, John McCain arguing over timetables last night.  Watch. 


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  Governor, the right answer to that question was no.  Not what you said and that was we don‘t want to have to lay—have them lay in the weeds until we leave and Maliki and the president should enter into some kind of agreement for, quote, “timetables.”  Timetables was the buzzword for withdrawal. 

MITT ROMNEY ®, ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  Why don‘t you use the whole quote, Senator?  Why do you insist. 

MCCAIN:  I believe the whole quote where you said—

ROMNEY:  .on not using the actual quote?  That‘s not what I said. 

MCCAIN:  The actual quote is we don‘t want them to lay in the weeds until we leave. 

ROMNEY:  Is it not fair to have the person who‘s being accused of having a position he doesn‘t have be the expert on what his position is?  How is it that you are the expert on my position when my position has been very clear? 


CARLSON:  Mitt Romney makes a logical point.  You know?  If you want to know what I think, why don‘t you just ask me?  On the other hand, they‘re talking about national security, Pat.  Doesn‘t that hurt Mitt Romney and help John McCain? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I can understand Mitt Romney being angry about this thing.  It was a cheap shot and it was fabricated and it falsified Mitt‘s position and it hurt him badly when he got hit on last Saturday in Florida by McCain.  And you could see it, I mean, he said that‘s just an dishonest thing and it changed the subject and it helped McCain I think win in Florida. 

But I think McCain has hurt himself in terms of his reputation for decency and integrity, because I think it was a dishonest moment in this campaign, the most dishonest John McCain has had. 

CARLSON:  Stand back, Ed.  I mean if you‘re in the business of talking about, you know, public affairs and current events, you understand that everyone hates the war of the words.  It‘s bad.  Here you‘re watching a debate between two guys each of whom is trying to prove that he‘s more for the war than the other guy. 


CARLSON:  A lot of people support the war, I guess, is what we draw from that. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s a classic McCain.  He‘s a veteran of the campaign trail.  He‘s getting Romney talking about something he really doesn‘t want to talk about.  He wants to talk about his strength, and that‘s the economy and that‘s growing jobs, and now he‘s got him somewhat defensive saying wait a minute, I didn‘t say that, and now it‘s a he said, she said, she said, he said kind of deal. 

And this is way up McCain‘s alley because everybody knows how strong McCain is on security and they know it‘s such a war hawk.  So I don‘t know how - Romney is factually right.  Pat, you‘re right.  He‘s factually right on that.  But it‘s not the best part of his game. 

CARLSON:  Par, you noticed that everyone says Mitt Romney is great on the economy.  When did Republicans begin to assume that the president is in control of the economy?  I thought Republicans and conservatives rejected that idea and understood no one person controls the economy or can. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, that‘s right.  But they do think that politically, look, things are in a mess in Washington.  What‘s the president and the Congress going to do?  What‘s Allen Greenspan or Bernanke is going to do?  So I think—and Romney does look like a guy if things are messed up in the economic situation, here‘s a guy who knows his onions, who was in business, made hundreds of millions.  He might be one of these genius fellows, one of the Robert Rubens.  You bring these guys in because they know more than I do.  And that‘s what the average guy thinks. 

But down in Florida it didn‘t work.  McCain won the economic folks concerned about the economy.  So, that was a real surprise, I‘ll tell you.  But one thing Romney has got a real point.  Look, if he had said, we got a timetable to get out of there, we got to have it, he had been beaten like a drum ever since April he made that statement. 

SCHULTZ:  He never said that. 

BUCHANAN:  Nobody brought it up until last Saturday. 

CARLSON:  No, that‘s right. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes, that‘s right.  That‘s right. 

BUCHANAN:  McCain discovers, hey, he wants a timetable, a deadline for withdrawal. 

CARLSON:  It‘s just amazing, it‘s just amazing to me.  If you live in the media world, you never meet anybody who is for the war.  And it turns out there are millions of voters who are.  And they‘re, you know, McCain and Romney. 

BUCHANAN:  You don‘t want to lose in war, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.  But I mean, in the end, do you think that Mitt Romney can do anything over the next four days to come back? 

SCHULTZ:  Well, he‘s got the money to do it.  I don‘t think there‘s any doubt about that.  He‘s got good infrastructure in these 22 states.  He‘s not out of this thing by any stretch of the imagination.  You know, John McCain did well in Florida because of an older demographic that showed up.  Plus, there‘s a bunch of retired veterans down there and he plays well to that crowd.  No, I think this is still a dogfight to the finish and I think Romney‘s got enough money to do what he‘s got to do. 

CARLSON:  What about Schwarzenegger, Pat?  I‘m not impressed by the guy at all, but he is a crossover Republican.  Lots of liberals like him, maybe primarily liberals like him. 


CARLSON:  Is this a meaningful endorsement? 

BUCHANAN:  I think he‘ll get something out in California where there are a lot of moderate Republicans.  It will help there.  It tends to build a momentum.  You got Rudy, you Schwarzenegger, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas is going to go tomorrow. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  So I think it does those things.  And it does give the sense that the bandwagon is really moving.  But I agree with you nationally I don‘t think Schwarzenegger helps a great deal.  But I think it‘s a lot tougher the situation given the states up there that are winner-take-all, that are Rudy states that are turning to McCain in the northeast.  That could give him a real solid bloc. 

CARLSON:  Do you know what Democrats—they could lose.  I thought for the last year and a half, there‘s no way the Democratic nominee could lose. 

SCHULTZ:  Oh this is the panel. 

CARLSON:  But he could lose, he or she could—you guys nominate Hillary Clinton, John McCain is the Republican, he could beat her.  Are Democrats waking up to that fact? 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I‘m not going to talk anybody into a loss here.  We‘ve got a long way to go. 

CARLSON:  This thing is possible. 

SCHULTZ:  Sure, anything is possible, but, especially the way Bill Clinton has been acting, anything is possible. 


SCHULTZ:  I think this Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsement is going to help John McCain.  You know, Arnie‘s an interesting dude.  He went after the teachers.  He went after the nurses.  Then he comes back and, you know, he‘s been good on the environment.  That‘s the first thing John McCain said today when he stepped to the podium, about how good he‘s been on the environment, that‘s a big deal in California. 

And then the other thing is he‘s kind of fiscally paralleling McCain.  He‘s talking about cutting 10 percent of the budget, letting a bunch of people out of prison, cut in all—you know because they got billions of dollars of deficits out there, that‘s exactly what McCain would do.  So they‘re a lot alike. 

BUCHANAN:  They got a balance up there. 


BUCHANAN:  You know? 

CARLSON:  Yes, good luck, Ed.  I suspect they won‘t.  That‘s just my guess. 

After Hillary‘s loss in Iowa, there was talk of a shake-up in her campaign.  Then she won New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada and Florida.  Did the shake-up ever happen? 

Plus, Barack Obama won‘t be spending a lot of time campaigning in California between now and next Tuesday.  He‘ll call on his old friend Oprah Winfrey.  Will he? 

You‘re watching MSNBC. 



CYNTHIA MCFADDEN, HOST, “NIGHTLINE”:  So here‘s what a lot of people want to know.  Can you control him? 

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  Oh, of course.  You know, there‘s only one president at a time. 

MCFADDEN:  “Newsweek” magazine this week says flatly if you‘re elected, it will be a co-presidency. 

CLINTON:  Well, that is not the case.  I. 

MCFADDEN:  Well, maybe it‘s a good idea. 

CLINTON:  Well, no, it‘s not.  It‘s not.  I learned that.  I learned that the hard way. 


CARLSON:  Ooh, well, she couldn‘t control him when he was governor or president but now she wants to tell us she can control him as first gentleman.  That‘s the argument the Obama camp is making.  On the other hand Bill Clinton has toned down his attacks on Barack Obama this week.  So maybe she can control him or somebody can.  Have the dynamics within the Clinton campaign changed? 

Joining us is now is someone who knows, the senior editor of the “The New Republic” magazine, Michelle Cottle. 

Michelle, thanks for coming on. 


CARLSON:  What does that mean, I learned the hard way that a co-presidency doesn‘t work?  Do you have any clue what that means? 

COTTLE:  Well, you know, back then they were denying it was a co-presidency.  But—and you know, at this point, she‘s, like, been there, done that, I want everybody to know we‘re not going to make those same mistakes again.  Keep them in line. 

CARLSON:  It is a all so weird.  I mean I‘m not trying to be mean, I‘m not attacking Mr. or Mrs. Clinton.  I just—you can‘t talk about this entire subject without getting pulled into the role of a shrink.  So, to your piece, which is—back to the here and now, the tangible, you have a really interesting piece on what happened to the Clinton campaign after that loss in Iowa. 

You had this amazing, deeply uncomfortable scene in your lead.  This is the conference call the day after that loss.  A bunch of people on the call, you say, “After a pregnant pause, Hillary jumped back in to talk for a few minutes about what she saw as the next step.  Again, she was met by silence that stretched out awkwardly until a displeased Hillary snipped, this has been very helpful talking to myself, and hung up on the group.” 

COTTLE:  Yes.  How awkward is that? 

CARLSON:  My palms sweated actually as I read that. 

COTTLE:  Yes.  I‘m uncomfortable just saying about.  I mean clearly post-Iowa, the top leadership, in particular, was kind of stunned and didn‘t exactly know where to go next.  And I think, you know, the point of that call was to illustrate that, you know, that there was disarray and the candidate clearly understood that something needed to change.  And they had to make a big jump going forward if they wanted to pull it out in New Hampshire and beyond. 

CARLSON:  I think every political campaign, conservative, liberal, doesn‘t matter, is pretty dark at its core at least in my experience.  But I get the impression that maybe the Hillary campaign is maybe a shade darker than normal.  You say this, I‘ve never seen a campaign where everyone feels so bad about themselves, says one campaign staffer, echoing others. 

COTTLE:  Well, yes, this is a campaign that prides itself on having a united front and being disciplined and tight-lipped.  I mean if you talk to campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, this is her proudest thing, it‘s kind of what, what a united, non-leaking right group this is.  But if you‘re in the midst of that and, you know, you‘re trying to get ideas heard or trying to kind of get around the tough, tight core of leadership, it can be, I think, a fairly scary, depressing place. 

CARLSON:  What‘s the guiding idea over there?  Why the tense relationship with the press?  Why the—I mean, there are exceptions to this.  There are good people who work there, open-minded people, but in general it‘s very hard to get close to what‘s going on in the Clinton campaign.  And that‘s by design.  And what is the idea there? 

COTTLE:  Well, you know, that always—that flows from the top.  Whether it‘s because of what happens during Bill‘s administration or what, you know, Hillary and her core circle of confidantes are very distrustful and very uncomfortable dealing with the press.  On some level they think the press are out to get them and on another level they just think they are a distraction, that kind of the press isn‘t going to stay on the message that they want to promote, and so they don‘t really need to let them in.  So, you know, it‘s a kind of this self-fulfilling cycle.  They don‘t like the press. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COTTLE:  .so they treat the press badly, so the press is mean to them or, you know, treats them like adversaries. 

CARLSON:  And the press does. 

COTTLE:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  The press is actually out to get Hillary Clinton. 

COTTLE:  Well, I don‘t know think they‘re out to get her.  But they do sense that she has an adversarial posture toward them.  And you know, I mean, the point if you treat them like the enemy, I‘m not sure how they‘re going to respond. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Not well.  You say in here that there was an effort afoot within the campaign to get rid of Mark Penn, who‘s the chief pollster and the chief strategist, partly because, this was news to me, he‘s considered too conservative, too right wing? 

COTTLE:  Well, you know, he has very pro-business policies.  And there are, obviously, a range of political views on the Hillary campaign. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COTTLE:  And you know, he tends toward the more conservative spectrum, but I mean I think more than that, it‘s just kind of like there are—you know, there‘s this core leadership, it‘s called the five or the big five or whatever, of Mark Penn and, you know, Mandy Gronwall, the campaign manager, the policy chief. 

CARLSON:  Do they have matching tattoos or brands or anything like that? 

COTTLE:  I think they have little jackets.  It‘s very sweet actually.  And the communications director.  And they‘re just—they‘re very controlling or they have traditionally been very controlling and Mark‘s always kind of the front man and he‘s seen as like the uber-strategist and people think he has too much control over strategy and polling.  So you know, he‘s very forceful personality and when he took a hit with his ideas in Iowa, they thought that maybe it was time for him to go. 

CARLSON:  Does it occur to anybody on this or any campaign that maybe in the end it‘s not the ad buys, the fundraising, the strategy, the day-to-day tactics, maybe it‘s the candidate?  Maybe people like or don‘t like the candidate?  Does anybody ever get that? 

COTTLE:  Well, I mean, that‘s also an argument that‘s always gone on.  Back to the 2000 Senate race is whether or not they need to loosen Hillary up and. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COTTLE:  .whether, you know, address the likability issues, because, let‘s face it, you know, a huge part of the country has that gut level reaction of ugh.  You know? 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COTTLE:  So that‘s actually been an ongoing debate and Penn has usually come down on the side of stick to the issues, stick to the toughness.  You know, don‘t get all warm and fuzzy. 

CARLSON:  What is this you found, one question, when you were reporting this piece, which I‘m sure took you a long time, because it‘s hard to get access.  Did you hear people say to you again and again, what I hear people say to me again and again, if you only knew her, if you spent time with Hillary, if you knew the Hillary I know, you would love her. 

COTTLE:  That is their campaign theme in Iowa, the Hillary, right?  Of course, you hear this and when I was doing, like, reporting with all these Hillary-land people who‘ve been with her for, you know, 15 years or whatever. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COTTLE:  .that‘s always it.  Oh she‘s so nice, she‘s so sweet, she‘s so lovable. 

CARLSON:  Why don‘t we see that? 

COTTLE:  Because she‘s also just incredibly pathologically private and cannot bear the idea of somebody getting in there and mucking around.  And all these women on some level are defined by their respect of that and their kind of helping her. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COTTLE:  .and enabling her to keep that wall around her. 

CARLSON:  So you‘re saying that here‘s a politician for whom loyalty is the most important thing. 

COTTLE:  Oh it‘s incredibly important. 

CARLSON:  Wait.  So I thought we spent the last seven years complaining about Bush on those grounds, that he appoints people who‘s main qualification is their personal loyalty to him. 

COTTLE:  You‘re suggesting we have like a flat learning curve. 

CARLSON:  I‘m—Michelle Cottle, I am suggesting that, thank you. 

COTTLE:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Bill Clinton has been criticized lately for things he has said on the campaign trail.  But that‘s nothing compared to the brewing furor over his business dealings held far from public view.  Details on that in a minute. 

Plus John McCain might be the Republican frontrunner but no all Republicans are pleases especially conservative radio talk show hosts.  We‘ll talk to one in just a minute. 

You‘re watching MSNBC. 



CARLSON:  Bill Clinton entwined with a shady donor.  No, this is not a flashback to the ‘90s, though, often it seems that way.  It‘s a story from the front page of today‘s “New York Times.”  It‘s an amazing story that includes Canadian mining tycoons, third-world dictators, uranium deals in Kazakstan and hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Here to parse the details, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and the host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz.  Ed, this is actually an unbelievable story.  And the bottom line is—the outline very quickly; Bill Clinton goes to Kazakstan with a friend of his who owns a mining company or series of mining companies in Canada.  They show up and Bill Clinton basically charms the president of Kazakstan, sufficient that he gives this uranium deal to Bill Clinton‘s friends and in return Bill Clinton gets 31.3 million dollars for his foundation and a pledge of 100 million dollars more. 

Here‘s the quote from the “New York Times” that I think is going to hurt his wife‘s campaign; “Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader‘s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy.  Mr. Clinton‘s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakstan‘s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton‘s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.” 

Bill Clinton, the former president, out there contravening official American foreign policy on behalf of some anti-Democratic dictator so his buddy can get and he can get rich as a result of.  It‘s unbelievable. 

SCHULTZ:  The bar talk on this would be Bill Clinton just loves to be the man.  He loves to—he loves to be in the action.  In the minutia of this whole story, tucker, Democrats are out there saying, OK, hold the phone here.  Is this the way it‘s going to be?  Is this the kind of stuff we‘re going to have to put up with?  They got to mop this thing up and they got to do it fast. 

To Bill Clinton‘s credit, he is disassociating himself.  He‘s cutting a lot of ties.  I know he‘s very good friends with Ron Burkle (ph).  They‘ve done a lot of things together.  In fact, I‘ve been out at Ron Burkle‘s place, quite the digs, let me tell you.  And they are good friends. 

But I think Bill Clinton is doing the best he can to disassociate himself.  When you are one of the most popular people in the world, you‘re going to be involved in deals like this.  They come to you.  They seek you out. 

CARLSON:  Also one of the greediest.  Listen to this, Pat, “just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton‘s charitable foundation received its owned windfall, 31 million dollars from Mr.  Guistra, Clinton‘s friend from Canada, that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month.  That gift, combined with more recent and public pledges to give the foundation an additional 100 million secured Mr.  Guistra a place in Mr. Clinton‘s inner circle.”

One hundred million?

BUCHANAN:  This is greasy influence pedalling on a global scale.  I‘m old enough to remember when as a young guy, the five percenters, they were lobbyists that took five percent of deals in D.C., that almost got—sent Truman‘s reputation and poll ratings into the tank.  Now, this stuff is done.  It‘s done in this city.  It‘s done globally.  And for a former president of the United States to have that noble office—can you see General Eisenhower doing something like that after he left office, dealing with -- (INAUDIBLE) 

SCHULTZ:  Pat, now, Bush 41, his association with the Carlyle Group is a little interesting, too, when it comes to the Saudis and deals such as that.  So Bill Clinton is not the first guy that‘s ever done an international deal. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me agree with you.  That‘s the case,  This is really the selling of the presidency of the United States.  Whatever you said about Nixon, he wouldn‘t give speeches for fees.  He did them for free.  He wrote books to make money.  And I think Carter does the same thing, although he interferes in politics almost as—at a sharp level. 

CARLSON:  Jimmy Carter, and this is a bipartisan consensus, is highly annoying.  But nobody‘s ever accused him of being corrupt.  A hundred million dollar pledge to Mr. Clinton‘s charitable foundation; we don‘t know the names of those donors, is one of the many things we don‘t know about the former president‘s dealings in the last seven years.

I suspect if his wife, if the Democrats are reckless enough to nominate her, we‘ll spend the next year talking about this stuff.  The “New York Times,” the “Washington Post” is going to dig it up.  It‘s never going away.  Have the Democrats thought about that? 

SCHULTZ:  The rocks go with the farm.  The rocks go with the farm. 

CARLSON:  This is a lot of rocks, though, I mean. 

SCHULTZ:  As far as Hillary‘s concerned, she‘s going to have to make sure she maintains control of this thing and she‘s going to have to get—it‘s a chance for her to show real leadership and toughness by straightening him out on stuff like this and making sure none of this stuff happens again.  But when you‘re a world figure like that, deals come to you like this.  You can‘t fault the boy from Arkansas for making a dollar, can you? 

BUCHANAN:  Look, you get these—you get former secretaries of state, cabinet officers, senators, congressman, they come in.  They not only work deals here, they go work for foreign companies that want to get a benefit at the expense of an American government.  Influence pedalling is unbelievable. 

CARLSON:  It‘s disgusting.  And particularly when it takes place over seas, I think.  But when you have a former president essentially endorsing, saying nice words about a dictator, right, and recommending him for an international office that the U.S. policy disagrees with—exactly—that‘s kind of a big deal, no?  Or nobody cares about anything, I guess, anymore. 

SCHULTZ:  Like I said, in the minutia of it all, people are going to want to know if this is the way it‘s going to be.  Bill Clinton has some answering to do.  And notice, he‘s not taking any questions on the stump anymore.  Somebody might ask him about this one.  He‘s going to need an hour to explain it. 

CARLSON:  Is it possible, Pat, that John Edwards endorses Hillary? 

BUCHANAN:  I would be surprised and I think it would hurt Edwards to a degree if he came out before Tuesday to endorse her.  It would look like a deal, speaking of deals.  He‘s out there to the left going after her, the lobbyists all that stuff. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s been a couple days, Tucker.  We‘re only in the second news cycle here. 

CARLSON:  But it‘s about perishable commodities.  His endorsement doesn‘t mean a lot after next Tuesday. 

SCHULTZ:  I think he was a team player yesterday when he stepped out.  He‘s given his supporters a chance to think about Super Tuesday.  He‘s got time to jump into this thing and support somebody and campaign for them between now and Tuesday.  And I think his supporters are so passionate—he‘s been so strong for unions, so strong for the middle-class, a real advocate for change—and I think he would disappoint his supporters if he didn‘t jump into this thing.  I think he will support Barack Obama. 

CARLSON:  On the side of Obama. 

SCHULTZ:  I do.  Thy think he‘ll support Barack Obama. 

CARLSON:  I heard today, Pat, from someone who I believe knows, that the Hillary campaign is very actively trying to convince Governor Richardson of New Mexico not to endorse Barack Obama.  I think his tendency is to go with Obama.  They don‘t want him to before Tuesday. 

BUCHANAN:  If he endorses Barack Obama and she goes out there and wins that Hispanic vote, which is what he is supposed to deliver, he‘ll be hurt very badly there.  I think that‘s why he got out of that thing.  He didn‘t want to be humiliated.  I think if I were him, I‘d look very hard.  And Hillary were going to be the nominee and Richardson would like to be secretary of state, maybe in the second term, or some big job there, I would look at endorsing Hillary, and then you can say, when she wins the Hispanic vote, I helped do it, now you owe me. 

CARLSON:  Exactly.  Speaking of Obama, I want to get your reaction to this new Obama ad with Caroline Kennedy-Schlossberger, Caroline Kennedy, whatever she is going by now.  Here it is for Obama. 


CAROLINE KENNEDY, DAUGHTER OF FORMER PRESIDENT KENNEDY:  Once we had a president who made people feel hopeful about America and brought us together to do great things.  Today, Barack Obama gives us that same chance.  He makes us believe in ourselves again, that when we act as one nation, we can overcome any challenge. 

People always tell me how my father inspired them.  I feel that same excitement now.  Barack Obama can lift America and make us one nation again. 

OBAMA:  I‘m Barack Obama, and I approved this message. 


CARLSON:  Make us believe in ourselves.  Remember, he‘s not running for Jesus.  He‘s running for president here. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s a ten on sincerity.  It‘s a ten on credibility.  And one thing is for sure, Caroline Kennedy‘s not looking for any political pay back.  And this going to help Barack Obama. 

CARLSON:  That‘s a fair point. 

SCHULTZ:  -- where he needs some help, with women.  And I think Ted Kennedy‘s going to help with the Hispanic, Latino community, where he‘s been very gracious and very supportive.  He‘s going to work New Mexico.  He‘s going to work southern California.  This is the same thing that Bobby Kennedy did.  He was very strong in that community.  These roots go back a long way. 

I know a lot of people on the conservative side like to beat up the Kennedys, northeastern liberals and everything else.  There has never been a man who has been more supportive of unions than Ted Kennedy, the working folk, moving people forward.  He‘s going to be a big endorsement on the campaign trail, and I think that ad right there is an absolute ten.  It may be the best ad so far. 

CARLSON:  You know the Democratic party much better than I do.  I‘m sure you‘re absolutely right.  I look at this and I say, this cuts against Barack Obama‘s basic message, which is I‘m the future; I‘m going to get away from all this Baby Boomer obsession with 1968 and Woodstock and all the musty battles gone by. 

BUCHANAN:  (INAUDIBLE)  Look, it works with liberals in their 50s and 60s, the Kennedys do.  I don‘t think most people know who Caroline Kennedy-Schlossberg.  Teddy Kennedy is 75 years old.  He got whipped by Carter 30 years ago.  I don‘t think he can deliver.  I will say this, he is an institution.  Obama, if this is true—I heard Obama in the—once the polling on the same day in Florida, Tucker, you know, the voting that day, ran even with Hillary.  Now, if that is true, that is very, very impressive.  Because I was looking at the numbers -- 

CARLSON:  I believe he beat her. 

BUCHANAN:  If he beat her on the day—


BUCHANAN:  -- that could be a harbinger of things to come that would surprise me.  I was surprised by the 11-point jump, I‘ll tell you. 

CARLSON:  I think—

SCHULTZ:  Here‘s where that 11-point jump comes from.  The word that‘s being tossed around in the Obama camp is poise, maintain your composure. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  You‘re the first campaigner that‘s ever been out there that has had a former president go after you.  Don‘t wag your finger at the camera.  Don‘t get mad at anybody.  Maintain your poise and be presidential.  I think over the last three weeks that‘s exactly what Barack Obama has done. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s smart advice.  Thank you both very much. 

Senator John McCain‘s campaign was left for dead last summer, not by Democrats, but by his fellow Republicans who refused to buy a ticket on the Straight-Talk Express.  Now that McCain is the clear front runner, many talk radio show hosts, particularly conservative ones, are incensed. 

Earlier today, I spoke with one of them, Hugh Hewitt, host of radio‘s “Hugh Hewitt Show,” also the author of “A Mormon in the White House, Ten Things Every American Should Know About Mitt Romney.”


CARLSON:  Hugh, thanks for coming on.  I get the impression you are one of the sizable number of conservatives who believes a John McCain nomination would maybe severely hurt the Republican party.  Is that right? 

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO SHOW HOST:  I think it will severely hurt the Reagan coalition.  I‘m not sure it can‘t win.  In fact, I‘ll work hard to see that he does, if he‘s the nominee.  But as a conservative, he‘s not my first choice, by any means.  He wasn‘t even my second choice. 

I think what you see out there, tucker, is a finally a focus on the fact we got two people in this race.  It‘s McCain, Romney.  And the conservatives are going to go to Romney and we‘ll see if there‘s enough there to keep this the party of Reagan. 

CARLSON:  Right.  If there‘s not—if there are not enough Romney supporters to get him the nomination, will all of those, the majority of those conservatives, do what you said a minute ago you were going to do and get behind John McCain? 

HEWITT:  The majority will.  Will that be enough to win?  I don‘t know.  I get, as you probably do, scores of e-mails each day by self-selected, not now, not ever, McCain people, largely the illegal immigration people, some on judges.  A lot of people hate the global warming initiative that he‘s behind with Joe Lieberman.  A lot of people haven‘t forgiven the votes against the Bush tax cuts. 

But Hillary—what did Sam Johnston (ph) say?  The prospect of hanging concentrates a man‘s mind wonderfully.  I think Hillary would bring a lot of people back in.  I can‘t say that about Obama.  I mean, do you think Obama has the same effect on conservatives as Hillary?  I don‘t.

CARLSON:  A lot of conservatives like Obama.  Obama takes conservative ideas seriously.  He rejects them, but he doesn‘t mock them.  So no, I think a lot of conservatives like Obama. 

Here‘s what I don‘t get.  I understand a lot the criticisms of McCain from conservatives.  I‘m conservative.  I‘m very bothered by his stand on global warming, for instance.  But immigration, his position on immigration is almost identical to the president‘s position on immigration.  And yet the president gets a pass from professional conservatives.  Why is that? 

HEWITT:  Well, he didn‘t get a pass from me.  He didn‘t get a pass from most of the talkers out there.  My colleague, Michael Medved, liked McCain/Feingold/Bush—excuse me, McCain/Kennedy/Bush.  I didn‘t like McCain/Kennedy because of the Z-Visa provisions and because of the failure to distinguish between Latin American, south American refugees and immigrants and those from the Middle East. 

CARLSON:  I agree completely. 

HEWITT:  So I don‘t think President Bush got a pass. 

CARLSON:  You don‘t think he did? 

HEWITT:  I don‘t think he got a pass. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t hear Limbaugh—I don‘t hear, I don‘t know—I haven‘t heard you, but maybe I missed it, going after Bush in the same personal way people are going after McCain.  It just does seem different and much more personal with McCain than with Bush. 

HEWITT:  I don‘t know that it‘s as personal as it is as repetitive.  With President Bush, I separated from him on the Dubai Ports Deal and on the immigration bill, a couple of minor things, but that‘s it.  John McCain is a serial poker in the eye of conservatives, as you know.  It‘s not like it‘s a two or three instance.  It‘s a half dozen, no exploration in Anwar, the Gang of 14 -- I can go on a long, long time on John McCain‘s indifference to and sometimes hostility to conservatives. 

Combine that with this; George Bush has never had the personal style of John McCain.  I think we saw it in last night‘s debate.  It was angry.  McCain was defensive when he was called on the distortion of Romney‘s position on timetables.  He often has a my way or the highway attitude, which makes it really hard to warm to the guy. 

That doesn‘t mean you take your ball and go home if you‘re a conservative facing Hillary Clinton, but I‘m a professional analyst of this stuff and I look at this, and I say, I‘m very worried about the fall when an aging and tired and divisive John McCain goes up against a buoyant, post-partisan Barack Obama who just raised 32 million dollars.  John McCain‘s out of cash, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Right.  I personally don‘t—McCain has been out of cash, you know, most of a year.  And he‘s on the cusp of becoming the nominee, which tells you how important cash is.  We overvalue it, in my view.  But anyway, look, here‘s the—do you really believe that Mitt Romney, who has nowhere near the proved ability to draw independents, has a better shot against the Democrat in the fall that McCain does? 

HEWITT:  Yes, easily.  In fact, I‘m quite convinced of that.  And I don‘t think it‘s just the money, although the money between now and September matters a great deal.  And John McCain did raise seven million dollars in January, but it‘s all gone.  Mitt Romney‘s got the ability to, of course, self-finance and combine the most money raised of anyone out there. 

But mostly, he has the energy of the conservative roots.  If you can get the nomination and bring those conservatives together—John McCain has not won more than 35 percent of any contest.  It‘s hard to call him a front-runner on that basis.  Now, he has a nice path to the nomination if Huckabee voters stubbornly insist on throwing their votes to a guy who can‘t win. 

But if Romney pulls together the conservative votes, especially out here in conservative California Republican-land.  This is a state that nominated Bill Simon over Dick Reardon (ph) five years ago.  Bill Simon, the businessman, the experienced conservative, pro-growth, pro-social values conservative, versus Dick Reardon, who is very much like John McCain, kind of the anti-conservative. 

If Romney does well in the Golden State—and I think he‘s going to do much better than the mainstream media expects him to do, all of a sudden you‘ve got a new ball game.  He‘ll still be behind McCain when the dust clears next Tuesday night, but if he can keep McCain to 35 percent and get himself in many markets over 40 percent, 45 percent, it‘s a whole new ball game, and I don‘t believe you‘ll see conservatives urging Mike Huckabee to throw in with John McCain.  And I don‘t think you‘ll see Huckabee‘s delegates following him in on a second ballot. 

CARLSON:  A very, very quick question.  I am interested in your response to it.  I agree with you that McCain gives the finger to professional conservatives and enjoys doing that.  Do you think he‘s a liberal though? 

HEWITT:  No, I think he‘s a nationalist.  I think this is an important point.  He‘s not a liberal.  He‘s a nationalist.  He‘s an anti-conservative often.  He does not value the First Amendment the way that you and I do.  He did not value the judicial originalism the way that you and I do. 

Robert Novak confirmed today he wasn‘t pro-Alito.  But he‘s not a liberal. 

He‘s a nationalist. 

CARLSON:  Interesting.  Hugh Hewitt, I appreciate you coming on. 

Thank you. 

HEWITT:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  For the first time since the start of the race, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will go one-on-one tonight in a debate in California.  Will they behave?  A preview next.


CARLSON:  And then there were two.  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are all that remain of the Democratic field that was once eight strong.  The question is, who will former rival John Edwards endorse before Super Tuesday, if anyone?  Joining us now the chairman of the California Democratic party and former California state senator Art Torres.  Senator Torres, thanks for coming on. 

ART TORRES, CHAIRMAN OF CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY:  Hey, you‘re great.  How are you doing, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  Excellent.  So, senator, who do you think—I suppose we don‘t know—we don‘t know who Senator Edwards will endorse.  Who do you think his voters will gravitate towards? 

TORRES:  I think they‘ll be evenly divided.  Women may very well go with Hillary and more progressive activists here in California might go with Barack Obama.  It‘s anyone‘s guess at this point.  I know they—both camps are lobbying him very hard for his endorsement. 

CARLSON:  Why does Hillary Clinton appear to be at least, in the most recent polls, so far up among Latino voters in California? 

TORRES:  Because she‘s a known quantity.  They‘ve seen her.  They know her.  They‘ve been campaigning here since 1991 in California.  Chelsea went to Stanford, and they came to visit often.  California was almost their second home.  They‘re a known quantity. 

And also it‘s the fact that she‘s a woman.  The Latino community is a very matriarchal society as well.  So a white mother who is campaigning for president of the United States is a very appealing character, a force for them.  And then you have younger Latino voters who are moving toward Barack Obama with many support—supporters who are there across the state.  So it‘s going to be a very interesting race come election day. 

CARLSON:  Both the Obama campaign and the Hillary Clinton campaign have both suggested on background and off the record that Latino voters are hesitant to vote for a black man.  Do you think that‘s true? 

TORRES:  No, not at all.  You know, I headed up Tom Bradley‘s mayoral

campaigns here in Los Angeles four times in a row.  Overwhelming support

from the Latino community.  In fact, when a Latino ran against him, housing

health secretary Mario—Tom beat him ten to one in the Latino community.  Carl Washington of Chicago, Dinkins in New York; there is a consistent pattern if people know the candidate are familiar with the candidate, the Latino community is not afraid or hesitant to vote for an African-American candidate. 

Here they have a better-known quantity candidate as far as they‘re concerned, who they are familiar with, know her positions on issues and relate to her.  If that were—if Obama had been here many years as well, I think he would have gotten a lot of the support as well and he may very well may get substantial support.  But history does not show that Latinos do not vote for African-American candidates.  It shows that they do. 

CARLSON:  Interesting.  So, very quickly, Senator, since you‘re the party chair, you think about what‘s best for the Democratic party of California.  Do you think it‘s better for the party if the two candidates tonight have it out over the issues, just throw down and settle some things?  Or is a polite debate better for the party in the long run? 

TORRES:  I think an energized debate is better for the party and, quite frankly, better for the campaign and better for America.  I think we need to get back to discussing the issues of the environment, the economy, the war in Iraq, health care, accessibility in education, and quite frankly, how are these candidates, if they become president, going to bring back the integrity of the United States in the world. 

I just spent an hour with 40 foreign press reporters and it was very interesting to see their perspective. 

CARLSON:  Senator, I appreciate it.  Art Torres, chairman of the party in California.  I appreciate it. 

That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  We‘ll be back here tomorrow night.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris.  See you then.



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