On the June 14 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson asked Weekly Standard senior editor Andrew Ferguson if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "could, in the end, be a Jimmy Carter in the sense that she gets a significant percentage ... of evangelical votes," later asking: "Can you imagine a scenario, though, where the Democrat gets religious voters? Or is abortion is still the stumbling block?" Ferguson answered: "Only in -- religious in the way that Hillary Clinton is religious, which is to say of a very liberal Protestant sort of view, in which they believe in everything but God." Carlson said later, "I have never met anybody less sincere than the religious left."
As Media Matters for America has noted, during the "Obameter" segment on the February 7 edition of Tucker, Carlson criticized Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for being a member of a church that Carlson claimed "sounds separatist to me" and "contradicts the basic tenets of Christianity," a subject Carlson said he was "actually qualified to discuss."
Also, as Media Matters pointed out, Ferguson is the author of a June 10 Washington Post op-ed about former Vice President Al Gore's book, The Assault on Reason (Penguin Press, May 2007), for which the Post had to run a correction undermining a key point in Ferguson's lead paragraph. Ferguson claimed in the lead that the book does not have footnotes. The Post's correction noted that "[t]he book contains 20 pages of endnotes." At no point during his appearance on the June 14 edition of Tucker did Carlson ask Ferguson about the Post op-ed or its essential falsehood. Post ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote in her June 17 column that "Ferguson didn't check the back of the book," and quoted Ferguson saying, "I'm mortified about this. It was incredibly stupid. How I missed [the endnotes] is inexplicable."
Ferguson also remarked that "the ghost of Mother Teresa is not going to help" Clinton, a reference to the Clinton campaign's use of an image of the late Mother Teresa alongside Clinton in an online video narrated by former President Bill Clinton. Politico senior writer Ben Smith wrote that according to the Clinton campaign, it removed the image from the video "at the behest of [Mother Teresa's] missionary order." Carlson, who did note that the campaign removed the image, said its use in the video left him with the "distinct impression" that Mother Teresa supported Clinton and suggested that the Clinton campaign had presented the image as "basically an endorsement from Mother Teresa."
From the June 14 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, which also included former Rep. Tom Andrews (D-ME), national director of the group Win Without War :
CARLSON: I don't know if you know this, but Mother Teresa is for Hillary Clinton. That was the distinct impression I was getting --
ANDREWS: Distinct, huh? Distinct?
CARLSON: -- distinct impression I was getting from taking a look at the Hillary Clinton website. I don't know if we have a picture of this. But on her website, we -- we learn from Bill Clinton that Hillary, in effect -- this is a verbatim quote -- "was the face of America in Africa, in India." There you go; that's basically an endorsement from Mother Teresa.
So this comes out, a Catholic group notices it, Mother Teresa's own order back in India demands that that get pulled off the website. And it is. Here is a quote from Joseph Cella, who's the head of the Catholic group [Fidelis]. He says, quote, "We pointed out that use of Blessed Teresa's image was particularly inappropriate and disturbing, given Senator Clinton's staunch support of abortion here in the U.S. and abroad. Mother Teresa tirelessly fought to protect unborn children, while Hillary Clinton staunchly supports abortion on demand in all nine months of pregnancy, including partial-birth abortion, and taxpayer funding of abortion." It takes a lot of brass for her to put Mother Teresa up on a website, given that everything in that quote is indisputably true.
ANDREWS: On the issue of abortion, clearly. I mean, there's no doubt about it. There couldn't be a clearer difference between Mother Teresa and Senator Clinton. But --
CARLSON: It was not a small thing for Mother Teresa. It wasn't just, like, kind of --
ANDREWS: No, that's right, that's right, that's right. But, you know, there were a lot of other things on her plate, and that is dealing with poverty and the -- the hopelessness and the desperation of the people who she worked with and served. And, of course, that was something that Hillary Clinton cared a great deal about. That's what a significant amount of her time as the first lady -- she invested in traveling around the world, drawing attention to these horrendous situations, and building international support, and -- and calling on the American public and the government to do something about it. So, that is true.
CARLSON: I -- I missed that.
ANDREWS: That is true. That is true, also.
CARLSON: You know, I was here when she was first lady --
ANDREWS: That is true, also.
CARLSON: It was like she spent a lot of time looking for her billing records, couldn't find them, held a couple séances. I don't remember her curing world poverty. Maybe I -- I don't know -- maybe I was otherwise --
ANDREWS: That's not myopia. No, no, no. That's not myopia --
CARLSON: -- I was otherwise occupied. Will the -- the only reason I'm putting this up there is not just to be mean to Hillary Clinton. But this is part of a broader effort on the part of Democrats to appeal to religious voters. And I think they have a shot at winning them, possibly, because they're dissatisfied with Bush and the Republicans, and they ought to be. Do you think that Hillary Clinton could, in the end, be a Jimmy Carter, in the sense that she gets a significant percentage, Andy, of evangelical voters?
FERGUSON: Well, if she does, the ghost of Mother Teresa is not going to help her. You know, Mother Teresa was actually sort of a -- not a cynical person, but she was a very pragmatic person, and she used Hillary Clinton, too, to help raise money. So I think now maybe Hillary's using her in a slightly different way, but it's still the same pragmatism or realism.
CARLSON: Can you imagine a scenario, though, where the Democrat gets religious voters? Or is abortion still the stumbling block?
FERGUSON: Only in -- religious in the way that Hillary Clinton is religious, which is to say a very liberal Protestant sort of view, in which they believe in everything but God.
ANDREWS: You know, there were a number of evangelicals -- and Jim Wallis, Sojourners is his movement, evangelical movement -- that says look, you take care of God's creatures. You take care of the environment. You have a just foreign policy. You don't invade countries, as we have with Iraq, illegally. And they're speaking out. And I think that if -- people are looking for some sincerity. They're looking for people that have a foundation, a moral base.
And this -- and you may not find this easy to fathom, Tucker, but there's a firm moral base from progressives across this country that are calling on their government to take some moral and principled stands that may not -- maybe different on the question of abortion, but on the question of poverty, on the question of environment, on the question of inequality, there's a real moral calling --
CARLSON: I have never met anybody less sincere than the religious left. I mean, you think that Jerry Falwell was cloying and phony, honestly, you haven't met the religious left. They are just -- I do think -- don't you think voters, one of the messages they sent in the last election was -- and they often send this message -- the people who run Washington are just too far from us. They're kind of -- they're isolated. They live by different rules. You know the clichés.