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Obama Gives Speech on Race Issues; Will Fed`s Actions Help the Economy?; Young Entrepreneur Pens Book

Aired March 18, 2008 - 19:00:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Obama tries the impossible: o explain the controversy created by his former pastor.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve heard my former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, his incendiary language.

BECK: Really? Success or has he made things worse?

Plus, the Fed cuts interest rates again. A case of too little too late? What this means to your financial future.

And another governor, another affair. New York`s David Paterson and his wife admit to extramarital affairs. Is there something in the water? Is there one decent man in government?

All this and more, coming up.


BECK: Well, hello, America. I`m here in Orlando, Florida, where we`re doing some work for the Children`s Miracle Network. We`ll be back in New York tomorrow.

Well, it`s the most important of his campaign. That`s what many are calling Barack Obama`s speech this afternoon. He addressed the role of race in our nation`s history, this presidential campaign; the racist inflammatory remarks of Reverend Wright, Obama`s friend, pastor and spiritual adviser for the last 20 years. So here`s "The Point" tonight.

"The Point" is, I believe that the Reverend Wright`s comments are anti-American and racist, period. There`s no amount of explaining that can change his hateful thoughts, expressed in his own words. And here are just few.


REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary ain`t never been called a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

God bless America? No, no, no, not God bless America. God damn America.

Hillary never had to worry about being pulled over in her car as a black man driving in the wrong -- I am sick of Negroes who just do not get it. Hillary has never had her people defined as a non-person.

Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single parent home. Barack was. Hillary never had a cab whiz past her and not pick her up because her skin was the wrong color.

The poor black man, in a country and a culture that is controlled by and run by rich white people. He taught me, Jesus did, how to love my enemies.


BECK: I think he`s implying there that his enemies are the rich white man. I`m not sure, though.

Now here is Obama.


B. OBAMA: Remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren`t simply controversial. They weren`t simply a religious leader`s efforts to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country: a view that sees white racism as endemic, that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America.


BECK: OK. That`s all well and good, Barack, but your former pastor embraced Louis Farrakhan, possibly the most anti-white, anti-Semitic man in America.

You say that the reverend has a profoundly distorted view of America. Well, I agree with you. Unfortunately, it seems like he`s not alone. May I play some videotape that maybe you haven`t seen, Mr. Obama. It`s your wife, Michelle, and her own profoundly distorted view of America.


MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF BARACK OBAMA: And let me tell you something. For the first time in my adult lifetime, I`m really proud of my country.


BECK: OK. She explained that away later. I no longer believe that explanation.

You know what? I`m sorry, Senator, but I`m not buying your bull crap either. I`m disappointed. I thought you were one guy who would tell it like it is. I don`t think you are. Maybe you didn`t know what your wife was saying, because I`m going to cut you slack. A lot of us don`t listen to our wives, you know what I`m saying?

But maybe you need to -- maybe you need to go out on a listening tour with Hillary. You know, you should be listening to your closest advisers, because apparently you`re the last one to know about their profoundly distorted views of America.

I say Barack Obama is guilty of exactly what some of the reverend`s camp have charged people like me doing, and that`s cherry-picking moments from Reverend Wright`s speeches that don`t represent the whole man or his whole point of view.

Well, Barack Obama, I`m glad you can cherry-pick the sweet memories of Reverend Wright and how he was when he gave you and your wife the wedding and baptized your kids. However, I don`t believe you can deny that the views expressed in these sermons represent opinions shaped over 20 years.

No one can say these things this often and still be considered a rational, tolerant person that should have access as a spiritual adviser to the guy who might be sitting in the Oval Office. No one can say that 9/11 was a wakeup call for white America in a church, of all places, and still be seen as anything else but a hatemonger and a bigot.

So tonight, here`s what you need to know. Barack Obama says that his leading spiritual adviser has a profoundly distorted view of America. But those disgusting views don`t represent the sum of who Reverend Wright is.

Well, here`s my question: when I see the infamously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, when they`re protesting the funeral of a fallen soldier with signs that say "God hates fags," they do it over and over and over again, I don`t stick around to hear the rest of their message. Should I? I mean, I don`t check out their bake sale. I just stop listening.

Obama had 20 years to listen to what the Reverend Wright had to say. He should have stopped listening a long time ago. Hate is hate.

John Ridley, political commentary for NPR and "Esquire" magazine; and Amy Holmes is a CNN political analyst.

John, let me start with you. I just want to play a clip from Barack Obama`s speech today where he`s talking about the Reverend Wright and the things that he has brought to his community and the great things that his church does. Watch this.


B. OBAMA: It serves the community by doing God`s work here on earth: by housing the homeless; ministering to the needy; providing daycare services and scholarships and prison ministries; and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.


BECK: OK. Now, he says this and you think, oh, well, that`s nice. He seems like a nice guy. However, they`re selling these DVDs of his sermons, so -- and this has been widely reported, this is what the Reverend has said about HIV and AIDS.

And I quote, "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color."

How do you possibly associate yourself in any way with someone who believes the government invented the AIDS virus to kill African-Americans?

JOHN RIDLEY, NPR/"ESQUIRE": Glenn, I can`t defend that comment, and I wouldn`t even try to defend that comment. But I don`t know that you can make blanket statements about Pastor Wright or about Barack Obama for being there. I mean, look, Ronald Reagan said that AIDS was a judgment from God, and you didn`t see Republicans abdicate him.

BECK: Good God almighty, John. You`re not throwing -- you`re not throwing a 1982 quote at the beginning of the AIDS virus. You`re not throwing 1980s quote at me against the quote that has come in, in recent days, in recent times?

RIDLEY: You`re asking me, Glenn, if people are going to judge somebody by his statements. So I`m talking about the president of the United States and you`re talking about a guy who`s still running for the job.

So no, I said, Glenn, I`m not going to defend that statement. I don`t believe it. I`m not a person who`s going to say "G-D America." But if you`re talking about people abdicating individuals on statements, I mean, look, you want a more recent statement? Bill Bennett saying something like, "Do you want to think about how to cut down on crime? Abort all black babies."

Again, I don`t think Bill Bennett is a horrible person. I think it`s a matter of context.

BECK: It`s absolutely unbelievable. It`s unbelievable to me that people -- I mean, that quote on Bill Bennett has been used over and over again to destroy him, to destroy the man.

Yet, you can say things like, you know, the government invented AIDS to kill African-Americans. You can -- you can say things like 9/11 was a wakeup call to white America, that it`s the U.S. KKK of A. And yet, this guy is still being considered as a reasonable person that Barack Obama can hang out with.

Amy, let me switch to you.


BECK: Let me switch back to -- let me go back to another piece of tape from Barack Obama. Go ahead and roll this, please.


B. OBAMA: Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country: a view that sees white racism as endemic and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America. A view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.


BECK: OK, let`s just look at what he said, Amy, and help me out. He said that this Reverend sees white racism as endemic. He also sees that the problem in the Middle East is with the Jews, not with the extremist Muslims. Do you stay for 20 years in a pew at this man`s church?

HOLMES: Well, Glenn, that`s the problem and that`s what this speech failed to answer. Which is, if you have a man who you claim to be your -- one of your closest mentors, someone who`s really shaped your thinking, brought you to your faith, that has been a close friend, and he said someone like a family member for 20 years. Now, that`s a family member by choice.

And yet he said these things which you say are profoundly, profoundly wrong and distorting of the American culture and of your fellow Americans, your fellow citizens. How do you reconcile that? I don`t think that he did.

And I think that it would have -- I think it would have been more of an act of courage if he said, "You know what? I did stand up at my church, and I did tell my pastor, `Why are you making these remarks? They`re undermining the black community`." These are -- to think that America, the government created HIV/AIDS to be proffering that slander, to be spraying that slander, it`s not negative towards -- bad for America and for your fellow citizens but for African-Americans in terms of how do we then solve this problem?

If you think the -- if you think the cause of it is something that`s totally wrong, then how do you come to a solution?

BECK: Guys...

HOLMES: Barack Obama has not explained that he, at any point in 20 years, sat in the pews and did try to fight against some of these things that he says are profoundly wrong.

BECK: Guys, I have to run. I`ve got to cut it. But I think this could be the speech or the -- the implosion that would be the only thing that could have stopped Barack Obama. I think this is a mess that is only going to get bigger.

Thanks. We`ll be right back in a minute.


BECK: We`re still in Florida, where I`ve been doing some charity work for the Children`s Miracle Network. Welcome back to the program.

When you decide to break the rules, you have to suffer the consequences. At least that`s what I teach my children, and if we`re lucky that`s exactly what will happen to Democratic Party leaders in Michigan and Florida. You can`t break the rules and still get to play the game. Florida has now learned that lesson. Michigan is right around the corner. We`ll have full details on that in tonight`s "Real Story."

Now maybe I`m the only one that thinks the virtually overnight failure of the fifth largest security firm in the world is a big story, and I`m only asking that, because it seems like the stock market doesn`t really care. But that`s fantasy land.

Last Friday before the Bear Stearns news broke, the Dow opened at 12,100. Today, after pricing in Bear Stearns` government bail-court and its subsequent fire sale, the Dow traded well over 12,200. Why? Well, because cheap money trumps absolutely everything.

The Fed once again put our dollar on sale today by cutting federal funds yet another three quarters of a point to 2.25. The market was actually disappointed. They were looking for more.

There`s still an extremely deep rate cut that happened today, which says to me that the Fed is very concerned about what`s coming next, even though the market apparently isn`t. They get the free money. Our dollar plummets, and the only real loser here is you.

There is good news, I guess, kind of, to report on. Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest investment banks on Wall Street, actually crushed analyst earnings expectations this morning. I mean, it`s not like those expectations were real lofty, but still, it was good news for a financial sector that had very little good news lately.

Which got me to thinking about this. Welcome to the underground bunker and the conspiracy think tank. What makes Goldman Sachs different? How is it they can earn $1.5 billion the same quarter that Bear Stearns collapsed? And what about all the Goldman alumni who are now in the government fighting off this crisis? Did they learn at Goldman Sachs different things that may be influencing their decision that they`re making now?

Steve Cordasco, host of "The Big Money Show" at the radio affiliate that I have in Philadelphia, 1210 WPHT.



BECK: ... first of all, let`s start with the -- let`s start with the Fed cut. They are debasing our dollar. The loser here is the little people, the people who are worried about, you know, paying for gas every day, paying for milk every day. The Fed doesn`t care anymore about inflation. What does that tell you?

CORDASCO: It`s a scary thought. I mean, the Fed -- we have a two- mandate Fed. We`re the only ones in the world -- only country in the world that the Fed has two mandates. In Germany, they really worry about just inflation. Here in this country, the Fed`s primary concern is job creation and price stability.

And what`s happening right now is they`re worried about the liquidity crisis on Wall Street. They`re worried about the credit crisis nationally. And what is coming last is price stability. The average little guy is getting hosed. It`s $25 for a pizza and a beer in this country, and it all has to do a lot with what the Fed has been doing in manipulating rates and destroying our dollar.

BECK: Right. I have to tell you, I had a guy on from Barron`s last night, and it was really quite frightening. I said what does the little man do? What does the average American do to prepare?

And his answer was, "Well, you know, you`ve got to move your stocks and your money" -- I said, "No, no, no, the little man, the guy who`s fighting for the family every day."

He said, "Oh, it`s too late for him to be able to do anything. He`s just going to have to put up with the pain."


BECK: Is that the best answer we have?

CORDASCO: It`s not. You know, we need a voice. You`ve been a voice for quite a while now that something needs to be done for the little guy. And even the guy who`s a little guy who says, "I want to put money in my 401(k)." Everybody is getting hit from this to save Wall Street.

The argument right now in -- in the beltway and the argument right now with the Fed is that we need to save Wall Street, because Wall Street, if it fails, will trickle through to the little guy. And you`re right on; it`s hitting the little guy now. They`re disconnected with the little guy.

BECK: Right. We`re the little guy, and the little guy is the one who`s driving this economy.

Let`s -- let me change to Goldman Sachs. Let me just show you a picture of the mug shots of all the guys who are in Goldman Sachs who are now in government. These are the big players in our government, in the Fed. What does it say that Goldman sacks is performing so well, and these guys all left Goldman Sachs and are now running our country? Anything nefarious here?

CORDASCO: Well, I tell you, on the talk show I do in Philadelphia on the Big Talker, 1210, people have been calling in for at least the last seven, eight months talking about this exact issue and saying, "Hey, how can one Wall Street firm get it so right and everybody else get it so wrong? Are they that much smarter? And therefore, should they actually be the incubator of who ends up in government?"

You know, General Eisenhower had a big concern, and that was our military personnel running corporate America. Is this not the same thing? And the argument is -- the argument now and the debate now is, is it good to have good, smart people from Goldman Sachs in government to help in this situation, or is there something we need to be looking further into?

BECK: Oh, no, there`s nothing -- NOTHING like that. Steve, thanks a lot.

CORDASCO: Thank you.

BECK: Coming up, finally a story about someone taking a little bit of personal responsibility and facing the cold, hard truth of living the American dream. The American dream comes when you work for it. Can`t wait to introduce you to our next guest.

Then I`ll speak with the former -- the president of the former Soviet and Democratic Republic of Georgia. Here`s a guy who, with a few problems, but other than that, he should be running for president of the United States here.


BECK: Can I ask you an honest question? When did we become such a nation of whiners? I mean, so many people are walking around with their hands out like they`re owed something. They`ve forgotten that the key to the American dream is accepting personal responsibility. Wait until we get into "The Real Story."

You know, you`ve got to face up to your challenges and not blame somebody else for what you don`t have. Go out and get it, earn it.

There`s an inspiring new book that just has come out by a young man who wanted to see what he could actually achieve with a little willpower and a lot of hard work. It`s called "Scratch Beginnings: Me, 25 Bucks and the Search for the American Dream."

The author is Adam Sheppard, and he joins me now.

Adam, what inspired you to take your $25 and see if you could pursue the American dream?

ADAM SHEPPARD, AUTHOR, "SCRATCH BEGINNINGS": Well, I think a couple of things. First, of all, I had read "Nickel and Dime" by Barbara Ehrenreich, and he basically wrote on the death of the American dream. And so that inspired me to want to do this.

But I also looked around at my generation, and it just seems like, just like you said, we are a generation of whiners. We -- we have this sense of entitlement, like things are owed to us. And I wanted to take it back kind of to the -- to the basic core values that make America so great.

BECK: You know, it`s amazing to me that most people don`t recognize it. We all rate the rich, but most people don`t realize that 70 percent of those who are rich -- it may even be higher now -- are self-made.

SHEPPARD: Definitely (ph).

BECK: They started out poor. And yet people in your generation, they start and they think that they should start at the top, not at the bottom.

SHEPPARD: Exactly. Well, it`s the victim mentality. It`s -- it`s easy to say, "Oh, well, they made it because of this," or "I can`t make it because of this." It`s the victim mentality. And I think it`s easier that way to take the victim mentality, but it`s not as much fun.

I mean, to take the idea that you can do whatever you want in your life and that you are in charge of your own fate, that`s exciting to me. And that`s why I went about this book the way that I did.

BECK: You know, I don`t think -- and I have to disagree with you, I don`t think that it is easier to be the victim. I think, when you play the victim, you end up being a slave to somebody else instead of just being who you are and pursuing, you know, your own dreams.

SHEPPARD: Right, and I see -- I see what you`re saying but at the same time, yes, you played a victim. And maybe it is easier or harder, but for me, it`s more fun, I guess, is the best way to put it.

BECK: Yes.

SHEPPARD: It`s more fun to go for it. And you know what I`m saying? And to take control of your own life and say, "I`m not relying on anybody else."

BECK: OK. So now you`re -- I mean, you`re not a millionaire or anything. What is the American dream to you?

SHEPPARD: Well, I think to me, and what I discovered in writing this book, the American dream is the freedom to wake up in the morning and do what you want to do with your life. And if you want to go out and make money, great. If you want to travel, great. If you want to do all these different things, you can do it because America gives you that freedom.

And what I set out -- the goals I set out in this project, just to have $2,500, a car and a furnished apartment in one year, that enables me to do other things. And it`s a short-term goal to do everything else I wanted to do in my life: go to community college, start my own business. Whatever I want to do I can do it, because I`ve set myself up in this one year.

BECK: I got to tell you, man, we don`t hear this coming from very many people anymore. And it is -- it`s great to hear it from somebody who`s 25. I wish you the best of luck.

Coming up, voters in Florida and Michigan, crying a river: oh, poor us. You know what? The only help they should get is a tissue, and I ain`t paying for the tissue. I`ll explain, coming up.


BECK: Coming up, I`ll be speaking with the leader of Georgia, a man who grew up in the land of communism, behind the Iron Curtain. This guy understands democracy and capitalism and freedom, the way things should be here in America. He understands it better than the people who are running for president of the United States. And we`ll talk to him in just a second.

But first, welcome to "The Real Story."

I want to start with a woman who is suing that Atlantic City casino for not stopping her compulsive gambling. Then we`ll go to the homeowners who bought houses that they couldn`t afford, with loans they didn`t understand, asking now to be bailed out.

The same on Wall Street. They took the risks, they lost, they want to be bailed out.

Personal responsibility has all but vanished in America today. And "The Real Story" is, our government is leading the way.

The latest example is how some Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton, aren`t happy that the delegates from Florida and Michigan won`t be seated in the national convention because those states moved the dates of their primaries in clear violation of party rules. Well, you know what? Too bad.

It sucks to be you, doesn`t it?

You know something we don`t say enough anymore in America? Too bad. You agreed to the rules, you broke them. Now too bad.

Oh, but Glenn, we don`t want this decided by some backroom superdelegate. You mean the superdelegates that you designed and came up with? That system? Too bad.

Oh, but Glenn, you don`t understand. If we don`t seat the delegates from those states, then we might lose their votes in the general election.

Yes. Too bad.

But Glenn, the voters in those states are going to be disenfranchised if we don`t let their voices be heard.

Too bad.

Americans are not disenfranchised because our leaders won`t count the votes in a couple of states. They`re disenfranchised because our leaders aren`t doing their jobs. They`re disenfranchised because we are working hard every day.

You are busting your ass every day to support your family, to raise your kids, to raise your kids so they understand the difference between right and wrong. And what do your leaders do? What do the people in Washington do? The same thing every time, the exact opposite of what you`re teaching your kids to do.

My 3-year-old knows more about personal responsibility than the kindergartners we`ve got serving us in Washington, the ones we leant our power to. It`s time for them to be afraid of us, not the other way around.

In the case of Florida and Michigan, I`ve listened. I`ve listened to all the moving arguments about why there should be a do-over. But quite honestly, they`re not arguments at all, they`re excuses. And my response - - too bad.

If this race wasn`t close or if the states only were offering a combined 36 delegates instead of 366, do you think any of these people would actually care? Of course not.

And now the people in those states, the people who are sick and tired of being used as pawns for political gain, are finally standing up and saying enough is enough. By an overwhelming majority, voters here in Florida have sent a crystal clear message to the state`s Democratic Party - - no, no do-overs, no re-votes, no more excuses. Too bad.

The party isn`t listening. Oh, I`m sorry, the party says they`re listening. I don`t think they`re listening.

They`re listening in the same way the kindergartners always listen, the way my son listens. You know, he`s like, oh, uh-huh, uh-huh. And then as soon as I`m not looking he does it anyway.

Karen Thurman is the chairwoman for the Florida Democratic Party. And Peter Fenn is former Al Gore adviser and Democratic strategist.

Karen, when we`re not looking, are you going to keep trying to change the rules, or are you really listening?

REP. KAREN THURMAN (D), FLORIDA: First of all, I am going to say that I`m not sure that you have been listening, because we have been down here fighting the fight through the Florida legislature. The one thing that I`ve appreciated and understood about this primary season is that every state does something different.

In the state of Florida, it just happens to be that the Florida legislature -- and oh, by the way, House Bill 537, which is the same amount of numbers that Gore lost the race in 2000, was actually passed on and signed by a Republican legislature and a Republican governor. So, for us...

BECK: Oh, my gosh. Oh, I didn`t know you guys were victims.


BECK: Oh, you`ve been victimized.

THURMAN: Yes, absolutely.

BECK: Oh, no. Hang on.

THURMAN: Too bad.

BECK: Too bad!

You guys knew what was going on in the first place, Karen.

Peter, you and I were sitting there on the night that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton started saying this bull crap. And Peter, you ran with Al Gore, you helped Al Gore`s campaign. And what did you say? You looked it up and said, oh, my gosh, the Democrats knew.

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, I mean, my problem with this is that the Democratic National Committee established these rules. They set it up. They said if you vote in front of this deadline, then you`re not going to get your delegates. And you know, when you set up the rules, you`ve got to abide by the rules.

Now, at this point, as they suggested on that show, I think what they -- and Karen probably thinks I`m stark raving nuts, but I think in both Michigan and Florida, they ought to cut the delegates in half, because that`s the penalty that they should take, and they should divide the delegates evenly between Clinton and Obama.

BECK: Hang on just a second. I need to get Bob over here so I have access to his shirt.

Go ahead and tell me all of the -- tell me all of the ways you guys have been disenfranchised in Michigan, too. Tell me about the sad story here.

THURMAN: Well, I think there clearly is a different story there. They have a Democratic governor and a Democratic House who made the decision to do what they want. I know, you can cry. I...


BECK: But how did the evil Republicans steal that election?

THURMAN: Oh, look...

BECK: How did the evil Republicans do it?

THURMAN: Well, Glenn, besides the fact that, let`s see, there are two to one -- I`m talking about in the state of Florida. I can`t talk to Michigan.

BECK: I know.

THURMAN: But in Florida, clearly...

BECK: I know. Well, we`ll have to look for somebody else for an excuse then.

THURMAN: ... it was -- well, I`m not -- you know, look, Glenn, I have not been looking for excuses. I`ve been looking for ways to solve this.

In June, I started to look -- instead of doing a full vote on January 29th, looked at trying to do a vote by mail. Nobody said, you know, there`s just no money, we can`t do it. OK. Fine.

So then they said -- the DNC said, well, let`s do a caucus. Well, they wanted to give me $850,000 with 150 polling sites, when Florida has 6,700. Quite frankly, there are things that I stand on, and that`s principle. And those principles happen to have been that we needed to have...

BECK: So Karen -- so I agree with you...

THURMAN: ... and open -- and fair and open, and maximum participation, and that includes our military serving overseas. So, we kept trying to offer to play by the rules.

BECK: Yeah, yeah. All right.


BECK: OK. Listen, Karen...

THURMAN: OK. Sure, absolutely.

BECK: ... you`ve already played by the rules. It passed.

THURMAN: I have.

BECK: Nobody wanted to pay for it. It passed. Let`s move on with our life.

You guys...


BECK: ... especially in Florida, you keep trying to change the rule, election after election after election. Enough!

Let`s not -- let`s not make ourselves into a laughing stock to the people in the Soviet Union who look like they have more fair elections than Florida does. For the love of Pete, stop changing the rules.

FENN: But let me make one point, Glenn. My guess is that if the Republicans had the same problem, they would be going through the same process and having the same kind of trouble.

BECK: And you know what Peter?

FENN: Don`t you think?

BECK: And Peter, let me tell you something...

THURMAN: Well, and in fact they did.

BECK: ... you know me well enough to know...

THURMAN: And they did.

BECK: You know me well enough to know I would be telling the Republicans the same damn thing. You made the rules, you live by them.

Peter and Karen, thanks a lot.

THURMAN: Well, good.

BECK: That`s "The Real Story" tonight.

By the way, the monologue that we just did a minute ago on personal responsibility, "too bad," was adapted from a recent column that I wrote for If you would like to read the whole column in its entirety, head over to You`ll find a link to the full article.

While you`re there, you can also sign up for my free e-mail newsletter. It includes the complete column in tomorrow`s edition.

That`s, and it`s all completely free. It sucks to be me.

Coming up, a man who really knows democracy, the leader of Georgia. Not the nation -- I`m sorry, not the state, but the nation. I thought for a second we had Jimmy Carter on. I was going to freak out.

Hang on. We`ll be back in a second.


BECK: When you think of a peaceful transfer of power, embracing free markets, and capitalism, and rejecting government corruption, the former Soviet Union isn`t usually the first place that comes to mind, but that`s changing. At least in the young nation of Georgia.

President Saakashvili is the new president of Georgia. He is desperately trying to usher in a new form of government that rejects the Iron Curtain ways of the Cold War days. And it`s an approach that has put him at odds with the Russian leadership. And I say anybody who Vladimir Putin doesn`t like is all right with me.

Mr. President, it is a real pleasure to have you on.

I just used one of your quotes earlier on in the program, where you say it is time for the government to be afraid of the people and not the other way around. You are known for -- you are known for cleaning out government corruption.

How did you do it, sir?

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: Well, certainly it`s also a great pleasure for me to be on your program, Glenn.

I mean, we were one of the most corrupt countries, no exception, in many ways in our part of the world. And we needed to -- you know, we were brought to the government, not by special interests, but by popular revolution. And we really basically had to deal with -- you know, to do really radical measures.

First of all, the first thing we did a few years ago when I became president, we fired the entire police force of the country. And that was one of the most corrupt police forces throughout the European continent. We fired more than 40,000 people.

We recruited new people within several months. But here`s what the result is. You know, the previous police force had only five percent of population`s trust and confidence, according to the Gallup poll. Now we have more than 70.

So police moved from being universally hated to being universally loved by the people and having support of the people. And there are other radical reforms which we also applied -- cutting red tape, you know, downsizing the government`s functions, giving incentives to be honest, as well as watching the people very carefully.

BECK: I have to tell you -- let me give you another quote here. "The government is going to help you in the best way possible by doing nothing for you, but by getting out of your way. I exaggerate, but you understand. Of course we will provide the infrastructure and help get rid of corruption, but you have all succeeded by your own initiative and enterprise, so you should congratulate yourselves."

Sir, you sound like an American founding father, and we have lost that in our own country.

SAAKASHVILI: Well, in some ways the people -- I mean, I am not the only one. The people that came with me to govern my country are in a way founding fathers, because we are making a nation -- it`s a nation, but as a modern state, we are making it from the scratch.

And, you know, of course, one of the main things is to develop people`s initiatives, to empower people, to give them the sense that they are the ones to build their own country. They shouldn`t be looking at the government, because in our case, the more government intervenes, the worse it is.

You know, we cut red tape. You know, what`s our resource? We don`t have much of oil and gas, what`s our resource in our part of the world?

Our resource is having no red tape, having no corruption, having an efficient government. A small government, because big government, as a rule, means, in our case, corruption and inefficiency. (INAUDIBLE), and basically empowering people, giving them initiative, and basically encouraging initiative, because after all, after so many years of communism, after so many years of inaction, after so many years of cynicism and cynical rule, you need basically a new mentality to tell people, well, we are on our own. Our government is there to help when it can, and most of the times we can help ourselves to build our own country.

And after all, when people don`t give credit to some smart leaders, or smart governments, but saying, OK, this is up to us, this is our country, we have to build it, you get an entirely new nation. And that`s exactly what we are seeing in my country, in my part of the world.

You know, you (INAUDIBLE) by giving people more freedom. Freedom is the key word. Encouraging initiatives is the other thing, and having a government that knows its place and doesn`t want to overplay its hand, but also can be very efficient when it`s necessary to encourage that freedom is something that really helps and gets the results.

BECK: I have two questions for you I have to get in about a minute. Real quick, did you read any of our founding fathers or our founding documents when you got in office?

SAAKASHVILI: Well, obviously I was very encouraged by the founding fathers` example. I have to tell you, I mean, I went to Columbia Law School. And, you know, I had...

BECK: That doesn`t necessarily -- that doesn`t necessarily mean you studied American history.

SAAKASHVILI: I remembered those lessons until the very moment.

BECK: All right.

SAAKASHVILI: And I go back over and over and over again, because one thing that America really exports to us is idealists, is, you know, initiative, is believing, you know good spirits of men and goodwill of the mankind. But of course you have to work very hard.

One thing that changed in my country is that we told the people, look, you have to work hard and you have to accept the rule of law. And if those two match together, you can do just -- perform just miracles.

And, you know, Georgia has performed miracles. We moved from being a failed state to being one of the top business destinations in the world, one with the highest economic freedom, according to the World Bank, being the world`s number one economic reformer, doing very well, being the number one fighter with corruption worldwide, and being the top destination for foreign investments from all over the region, despite the economic problems worldwide.

BECK: Right.

SAAKASHVILI: And, you know, that`s quite remarkable success. And the main thing, people started to believe in institutions. People started to believe in democracy, and democracy works.

BECK: Mr. President, we could spend a lot of time with you. I`ve got a lot more questions, but I appreciate your time. We are out of it now.

SAAKASHVILI: I really love to be on your show. Thank you so much.

BECK: Now it`s time for tonight`s "Real America," brought to you by CSX.

In 1967, Austin Asher became a soldier in the U.S. Army. Today, he`s 60 years old, he still considers himself a soldier, and he is ready, he`s willing, and he`s able to serve. But the bureaucrats in Washington don`t want him.


MSG. AUSTIN ASHER, U.S. ARMY (RET.): The reason is I`m 60. And the policy. The policy needs to be looked at because we`re at war, and we need the leadership and we need people that care.

BECK (voice over): Yes, Mess Sergeant Austin Asher is 60, and that is the age of forced retirement in the U.S. Army Reserves. But after two tours in Iraq, Asher is volunteering to do a third. But his orders were rescinded.

ASHER: So now I`m 60. One day separates me from the soldiers. One day of my life separates me. I don`t understand that, because is my life less expendable, or is it more expendable at age 60, or less or more expendable than a 20-year-old who has his whole life ahead of him?

BECK: So Asher is trying to get back to active duty through the retiree recall program. Today, there have been approximately 585 soldiers sent back to duty, and currently 2,300 are waiting just like Asher.

ASHER: That`s the part I don`t understand, how they can take a senior enlisted, and because of my birthday basically just disqualified and mandatorily removed. But how do they mandatorily take what`s in my heart and my mind and take me away from our soldiers? That`s not fair. Mostly, it`s not fair to them.

BECK: Now, let`s make it clear. Asher isn`t asking to serve on the front lines in Iraq. He`s a mess sergeant. He just wants to go back and do what he does best, cook and take care of our soldiers.

ASHER: I had a mission every day to hug. I think I probably hugged at least 100 a day -- maybe 200.

BECK: So, for now, Asher is at home in Ohio with his family, and for the last nine months he`s been sending out packages full of endless paperwork needed to get him recalled.

ASHER: I`ve gotten to the point where nobody is really helping me. But what happens to that packet that I put my heart and soul into? I get a letter back thanking me for my dedication that reads as if the commander didn`t get to see it.

I need to touch the commander`s heart. It can be done. I just need help.

Our military is tired. Well, guess what? I`m not tired, sir. Yes, I am a body. And I hate to say that, but use me.


BECK: How do we not allow this man to serve? I believe he should be allowed to reenlist.

Now, if you would like to see more stories like this one, click on and look at the "Real America" section.

Tonight`s "Real America" sponsored by CSX. It`s how tomorrow moves.


BECK: Ah, New York, where you can finally say you`re in a state where your governor isn`t constantly cheating on his wife. At least that`s what we thought for a few minutes there.

Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in the middle of his prostitution scandal, handed over the governorship to David Paterson. The move, of course, was greeted with adulation, as Paterson was praised for overcoming the fact that he`s legally blind.

Unfortunately, it seems he`s kind of morally blind. The characteristic that he kind of has in common with a lot of politicians that is he`s cheating on his wife, or has cheated on his wife multiple times.

Paterson somehow didn`t find that information interesting enough to disclose until the day after he was sworn into office in an interview with "The Daily News." Seeing the headline this morning, it was -- well, it was almost impossible to believe.

I say almost impossible since it involves a politician, and so I`m just going to believe it. You know what I`m saying?

Paterson revealed that he had affairs with several women, one of which is a state employee. In fact, it was with someone who worked on Eliot Spitzer`s executive staff and is still there.

Now she is one of Paterson`s employees, meaning, I guess, that technically she`s still working under him. But that`s a different story.

Paterson said that the affairs had been over several years and they occurred in a rough patch of their marriage, where his wife was also cheating. He said, "I think we have a marriage like many Americans, maybe even one like you."

"Elected officials are really just reflections of the people we represent." Unfortunately, he`s right on that one.

And perhaps the most bizarre twist, Paterson would like to take his mistresses to a hotel in the upper west side, which at the time I`m sure was a high quality Quality Inn. But after the infidelity festival they were having in the marriage, the Patersons were trying to patch things up, and their therapist said, you should try new and exciting things in your relationship.

So they decided to get away and go to a hotel. And which one did they pick? Yes, the same one that he was using to cheat on her in.

Again, unbelievable, if it weren`t the life of a politician.

Now, I know this is probably too much to ask, but I`m just saying to mix it up a little bit, it would be nice to have a politician in office that occasionally was able to find himself in his own bed with his own spouse. I know, crazy requests, but a man can dream.

We`ll have much more on Barack Obama`s relationship with his former pastor in our e-mail newsletter. You can find it at

From Florida, good night America.