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MSNBC "Morning Joe" - Transcript

Interview

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MR. SCARBOROUGH: Well, but, you know, the thing is, though, I mean, Dick Cheney's a different type of vice president.

Tom Davis, if the vice presidency is -- I think it was Sam Rayburn who said it's not a warm bucket of spit because you don't do much.

REP. DAVIS: That was John Nance Garner. John Nance Garner said that.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: All right, so Garner said that. Naval Observatory is pretty big. You've got a big front yard for the kids to run in. Maybe she can do it.

REP. DAVIS: You get up every morning, you take the president's pulse, and if it's running, it's your day.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: (Laughs.)

MR. SCARBOROUGH: The problem is, what if it's not running? I'm going to ask you the same question I've asked everybody that's cycled through here.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Ah, here we go. Yes or no.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Who's your chief of staff?

REP. DAVIS: My chief of staff?

MR. SCARBOROUGH: In Congress, when you're -- yeah.

REP. DAVIS: Bill Womack right now.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: How long have you known Bill?

REP. DAVIS: He's with me eight, 10 years.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Okay. Would you have hired a chief of staff to run your congressional office or your committee that you'd only met for two or three hours?

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Yes or no.

REP. DAVIS: The answer is I could, yes. And, in fact, my first campaign --

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Could.

REP. DAVIS: -- my first campaign to head the county government in Fairfax, I hired a guy over the phone; met him and it was signed.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Wow.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Okay. That's honest.

REP. DAVIS: And it worked out beautifully. It worked out beautifully.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Okay. So I guess, Chrystia --

REP. DAVIS: Now, for every story like that, you know --

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, there can be bad ones.

REP. DAVIS: -- but it worked out beautifully.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: I guess it's like the book "Blink."

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

MR. SCARBOROUGH: If you like (seeing ?) really nice Christmas cards in Texas, you too can be a Supreme Court nominee. (Laughter.) So maybe Gail's (picking up ?) my point.

REP. DAVIS: Well, they're breaking up the good-old-boy network. I mean, that's what has happened here.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Thank God.

REP. DAVIS: Yeah, breaking it up. They've given her a tremendous opportunity. Her speech tonight in the debate will be critical for her. But assuming she gets through that, this thing could be a stroke of genius. The campaign needed some spice. Obama needed mayonnaise and he got mayonnaise.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Well, and the Republicans, when we can speak as former congressmen, current congressmen, the Republican Party is probably at its lowest ebb since 1974, isn't it?

REP. DAVIS: No question about it at this point. And if you run on the brand name, you're down 10, 15 points.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: So you've got to find two people that you can sell as mavericks.

REP. DAVIS: You've got to jazz it up. And I'll tell you what. She has electrified a lot of the base of the party. And that's important, because McCain they were kind of tolerating because they saw maybe they'd win. But the delegates are excited about her. That's important, because the energy in this campaign has been with Obama, and this adds some energy to the campaign. But she's still got to perform. She's got a couple of hurdles to get over. But she's been given a tremendous opportunity. She got off to a great start.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. Compare, though, St. Paul with Denver and how excited the delegates were in Denver compared to St. Paul. A lot of them look like they're sleepwalking here.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Actually -- and you know what, Tom Davis? That's a great point. The McCain campaign wins when the topic is Barack Obama. Didn't they make a mistake by doing the surprise instead of dumping it in the middle of Barack Obama's week? Let the media vet her, since they decided they weren't going to vet her, and then, by the time this convention started, they could be attacking Barack Obama every night.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

REP. DAVIS: No, I think they did the right thing. It kind of stops the momentum. It shifts it from Obama. It moves it on. They're going tell their story this week. We got off to a tough start Monday because of the hurricane. Last night, as you said, it was a little sleepy. This thing -- America is tuned in tonight to hear Sarah Palin.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. By the way, this guy knows congressional districts and Senate races better than anybody else.

How ugly is it going to be this fall for the Republicans? Forget about the presidential race. Are you going to lose about 20 in the House, maybe seven or eight in the Senate?

REP. DAVIS: Joe, we're on two tiers. You've got the presidential race, which is close, competitive. And then you've got the other races, where the generic ballot is hurting incumbents. So the lineup is not pretty at the congressional level. But the presidential level, at this point I think we're very hopeful.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Wow.

REP. DAVIS: But they're on two -- there will be a lot of ticket- splitting, McCain running well ahead of the ticket across the country. So you get people who have been reluctant to embrace McCain through the years; all of a sudden he's the potential --

MR. SCARBOROUGH: And McCain's probably safe in Virginia, isn't he?

REP. DAVIS: Well, safe -- you never say safe, but I think McCain will be fine in the South.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: "Toss to Willie," it says.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: I don't want to toss to Willie yet.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Well, I'm just saying; they told me, you know.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: I've got Gail here.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Okay, one more.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: So Gail, are you going to be writing about the Republican vice presidential selection for the rest of the year? I mean, it's just fascinating.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: It's too delicious.

MS. COLLINS: It may be possible to do that. You know, I would like to know, though, at some point during this campaign, exactly what this ticket is supposed to be about besides being about not being George Bush.

REP. DAVIS: It's change.

MS. COLLINS: Change to do what?

REP. DAVIS: Well, that's what we'll see the next couple of nights.


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