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MSNBC "Tucker" - Transcript

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Joining me now from Washington, Republican Congressman Ray LaHood of Illinois.

Congressman, thanks for coming on.

REP. RAY LAHOOD ®, ILLINOIS: Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: Republicans—I mean, just got it handed to them last week, but all of a sudden are feeling optimistic because of this? Is that true?

LAHOOD: Well, I think we just got it handed back to us. I think Pelosi is in the self-destruct mode and has been in that mode all week. And she‘s not off to a very great start for somebody who is talking about, you know, bringing her whole caucus together. It looks like she‘s parted ways with many of them.

CARLSON: Well, what does—I mean, stand back a little bit, since you actually work there and know everyone involved. What does this mean? I‘m having trouble getting my hands around this.

I mean, Murtha is more liberal in some ways than Steny Hoyer, but he‘s also more conservative in other ways on the social issues, for instance. Is this a left-right split? What is going on?

LAHOOD: What it is, about relationships. And Steny has built up relationships during the time that he was whip, during the time of the campaign. People are very grateful to him for the campaign he waged with them in the trenches. And frankly, Jack didn‘t do that. And they‘re grateful to him for the resources that he provided.

He‘s been at this now for many, many years. And it paid very big dividends for him today. That‘s really what it‘s all about, Tucker.

CARLSON: So he succeeded at the internal politics. That makes sense. I wonder, though, for those of us who don‘t work in Congress, how important is the endorsement of Nancy Pelosi or any incoming speaker? Is that usually decisive?

LAHOOD: It didn‘t make any difference today.

CARLSON: I know.

LAHOOD: And it shows—it shows pretty ineffective speaker-elect. And I also think it shows that there is a huge split now within the Democratic Caucus.

They can say what they want, but Hoyer and Pelosi are at odds with one another. And Steny will never forget what she did to him during this election.

CARLSON: Well, I know that they‘ve been at odds since—I mean, they ran for leadership post a number of years ago. She obviously won. They probably don‘t like each other because of that.

But is there an ideological split between them? I mean, is she that much further to the left than he on Iraq?

LAHOOD: Look, a lot of the Democratic Caucus members would love to have Steny as speaker because he represents their values, their ideas, their philosophy. I guarantee—and there‘s 40 or 50 Democrats that are not even on the same wave length as their own speaker because she‘s far too liberal for them, and they would much rather have somebody more like Steny and the way that he thinks about things.

CARLSON: I completely believe that. On the other hand, she was one of the architects of this midterm election strategy in which you saw a lot of genuinely—or some genuinely conservative Democrats. Heath Shuler, I mean, that guy is more conservative than most Republicans in the House.

LAHOOD: Well, look, Tucker, the one that deserves the credit for this is Rahm Emanuel. He recruited good candidates, he funded them, and he gave them good ideas to run on.

Rahm is the one that is the architect. He‘s the one that put this together and sold it to the people and sold it to the candidates. He deserves the lion‘s share of the credit.

I don‘t think she had much to do with this. As a matter of fact, you didn‘t see her out there campaigning much.


LAHOOD: You saw Steny out there and you saw Rahm out there. I don‘t

I think Pelosi was missing in action in a lot of these districts.

CARLSON: And Rahm Emanuel got the number four spot in his party. I agree with you, that seems—that doesn‘t seem like much of a reward.

What about on your side, the Republican side, the race for minority leader pitting Boehner against Pence? Pence seems the more conservative candidate, to me, anyway. Who‘s going to win?

LAHOOD: I think the lineup for tomorrow will be Boehner as leader;

Roy Blunt as whip, Adam Putnam as conference chair. And then, you know, it sort of falls off from there. But, you know, I think those will be our three top leaders.

And Adam brings a new fresh face and somebody who I think our party can really rely on to be a good spokesperson. But John Boehner is going to win overwhelmingly tomorrow because of the job that he‘s done as majority leader in a very, very tough spot. And Roy Blunt has done a good job, and members really respect him, and I believe Roy will win handily tomorrow also.

CARLSON: Putnam, great guy. He‘s about 19 years old. I like him.


LAHOOD: He looks about as young as you do, Tucker.

CARLSON: He‘s actually a lot younger than I am. But Pence, there‘s no role for Pence in the Republican leadership?

LAHOOD: Well, look, Mike Pence has played a role, you know, as the conservative spokesman for the conservative wing of our party. But tomorrow will be John Boehner‘s day. And I think people will reward Roy for the work that he‘s done as whip and keeping us together on some very tough issues. And Adam brings a fresh new face.

I believe that will be the lineup for us tomorrow.

CARLSON: Congressman Ray LaHood of Illinois.

Thanks a lot, Congressman.

LAHOOD: Thank you, Tucker.

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