GLENN: Third most listened to show in all of America. From Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, third most listened to show. Hello, you sick twisted freak. Welcome to it. Little pig, little pig, let me in. Do you feel like the big bad wolf today saying to the House, I'm going to blow your house down if you let me in? Little pig, little pig, my gosh what did they do last night in the Senate? Oh, I am for a bailout but the wool research and the NASCAR tracks kind of make this feel really dirty. But maybe it's just me. And Sarah Palin, tonight the big debate. Sarah, just go out and be yourself. And if you flub it, if you screw it up, then go back to Alaska and keep working on it and come back. Just don't change. Don't let them win. I swear to you I don't know why people -- I don't know why people run sometimes. I really don't. I think this is why Fred Thompson was kind of like, oh, jeez, really? All right, I really don't want the job but, okay, I'll do it. Fred Thompson is with us now. Hello, Fred, how are you, sir?
SENATOR THOMPSON: Hello, Glenn. Hey, man, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you, okay?
GLENN: (Laughing). Run for your life! Jeez, Fred. Let me ask you this: Could you have voted for this last night?
SENATOR THOMPSON: Look, I'm here today with John McCain's folks and with Sarah Palin and I'm focused on her today and I've got a lot of thoughts about this other but, you know, it's not my place just to give my own personal opinions all day when I'm here on their behalf. I will say that the thing that concerns me the most is not that they've come up with a big bill. It's that there's not been time enough. It takes them six months to change a light bulb up there ordinarily and they were kind of giving a (inaudible) and no hearings and none of that. I'd feel a whole lot better about it if we had some other alternatives that were truly considered and some other experts contacted and gotten their ideas who are coming out now, Isaac and Larry Lindsey and people like that who have a great deal of confidence in, who haven't been talked to about it. I'm just not at all sure, from the outside looking in, but not at all sure that we've explored all the options here.
GLENN: That's the longest answer I've ever heard for, these people are fools. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. I mean, it's working so far. The Dow is down 232 points.
Anyway, so let's talk about Sarah Palin. How do you -- people are saying that the McCain people have boxed her in. I don't know if it's the McCain people as much as it is the media. I think she is so afraid of making mistakes now because everything -- I mean, the question that she had on television the other day, "Where do you get your news, where do you get your news, where do you get your news." What do they think? The Dummy Times? She can read. What difference does that make?
SENATOR THOMPSON: That's all about them.
GLENN: Yeah, how do you not lose your confidence when everyone is trying to kill you?
SENATOR THOMPSON: She has undergone what -- I don't know of anybody else in public life since I've been around has gone through. She's undergone a frenzied attack on her and her family and, you know, everything from having her e-mail hacked into, to criticism of her children and her life and they've descended on Alaska, you know, they got more lawyers up there than they got polar bears now trying to dredge up any kind of scandal that they can on her. They have now taken to -- they got a backlash on that. So now they are using the news media to ridicule her and take these little snippets from these interviews and embarrass her. Anybody who's been in public life, certainly Barack Obama and Joe Biden have had these days, have had these answers, have had these particular moments and so forth and they are just doing whatever they can. The media's got a vested interest in her demise. She was not on their short list. They did not get a chance to vet her beforehand. We know what that means. They were surprised. They don't like surprises. They are not getting the access to her that they want and now they are making her pay a price for it. It always happens that way. You always pay a price, and the American people have to decide whether or not this is fair treatment or this is a double standard, and it obviously is. Joe Biden is protected by the fact that his gaffes are so numerous and on such a regular basis that they just kind of shake their head and smile and say that's just Joe being Joe.
GLENN: Do you remember --
SENATOR THOMPSON: And she says a little something, you know, and the world's coming to an end.
GLENN: Do you remember when Hillary Clinton made the, "You know, I was under sniper fire."
SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, Joe did the same thing.
GLENN: I was just going to ask if you knew about, this amazing story. Where is this story?
SENATOR THOMPSON: Where is the story when he was in Iraq, supposedly he got shot at, his helicopter was supposedly forced down in Afghanistan. None of it happened.
GLENN: And yet --
SENATOR THOMPSON: This top level meeting that our officials had in Iran with Iranian officials didn't happen. He apparently didn't know we get half of our coal from -- half of our electricity from coal plants. He certainly didn't know who was President, you know, when the stock market crash happened. You know, he's made ethnic jokes. And this is the guy with a background, with a plagiarism problem. You would think that that would be relevant to today's media, but they're giving him a pass. They mention it briefly and go on, giving him a pass basically because he's been doing it for 35 years and they're just now catching Sarah Palin a little bit here and there and that's, you know, the day of her debate and that's their idea of equal treatment. I'm tired of her getting beat up with no response and I'm like you. I think, just let her do what she's done. It's not exactly like she's been unsuccessful. She has been successful in everything that she has done, and the only people that she's accountable to love her in overwhelming numbers.
GLENN: It's down I think to, like, what is it? 78% or something like that?
SENATOR THOMPSON: I wish some of these detractors had numbers like that.
GLENN: I know. There's --
SENATOR THOMPSON: Compare that to 9% approval rating in congress.
GLENN: Which Barack Obama are part of and John McCain as well.
SENATOR THOMPSON: All of the experience out.
GLENN: So. Fred, what I'm honestly trying to figure out is these weasels, there's too many of these weasels in Washington just sold their soul to the devil. There are a lot of good people there, but there's a lot of people. We are now paying for the people in the Nineties just doing special favors so they could get elected and reelected and reelected. That's what we're paying for.
SENATOR THOMPSON: And we sit back and watch it happen and reward them too often.
SENATOR THOMPSON: We have ourselves to blame for a lot of this, Glenn. You know, it is the ultimate test of democracy when you learn you've got the keys to your own treasury. Now, what we're doing, we're seeing our financial markets brought down as we speak because people in congress who are now leading the reform effort, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, primarily what they did in protecting reform from Freddie Mae when John McCain was trying to get that changed and all. Now we're looking at an entitlement crisis as we become a more aging population. Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable. We're told that by all the experts. We're seeing the next big crisis play out on a daily basis. We're being told by a few knowledgeable people, neither the politicians, nor the people apparently will have that addressed because it requires some temporary changes. We've simply got to get behind that and make these politicians pay a price for not addressing it and reward the ones who have guts enough to stand up and do it. One of the things McCain doesn't get enough credit for is that when they expanded the entitlement program up there a couple of years ago, he's one of the few conservatives to vote no.
GLENN: Yeah, I will tell you this, that I do believe that he has fought many times against big government. He has fought against earmarks. However, I mean, you're on his dime today. So I'm going to ask you a question about him. I for the life of me don't understand how he could have voted for it when there were earmarks for wooden toy arrows, wool research and say, you know what, if we believe in this package, we do it. I'm a guy who had my arms pulled out of the sockets, for the love of Pete. You do something with honor. But there's no honor in this bill. This is ridiculous.
SENATOR THOMPSON: What they apparently did is take the tax extenders and another bill, totally separate thing, and put it with this because it was "Must-pass" legislation. They do that all the time unfortunately.
GLENN: But why, with the country --
SENATOR THOMPSON: You've got to vote up or down on the whole package.
GLENN: I understand that. But with the country 9-1 against, John McCain standing in front of the capitol building and saying America, this is what they're doing. I believe in the bailout and we need to have a bailout, but I have you on my side. These guys are just going for pork, they're just doing whatever's good for them. You believe in something; I believe in something. You put pressure on them to pass a clean bailout, from three pages to 453? He would have -- it would have been a clear win for him.
SENATOR THOMPSON: I can't speak for him on that because I haven't talked to him about it, but I think it's clear that he got up there and he talked to the people that he needed to talk to and the ones that I haven't and the people whose judgment he relies on. He's been up there a long time, and he concluded that we had to do something and that this was the only thing that was going to be timely enough to do any good, and you had to make those compromises in order to do that. That's the only thing that I can see and, you know, we'll just have to talk to him about that. He's his own best person on that but, you know, he's the last guy, he's the last guy that deserves criticism for not standing up against all odds on things.
GLENN: I know, I know.
SENATOR THOMPSON: That's been his entire career. This gets back to the qualification issue that they mention on Sarah Palin. What's more important? Having the experience doing the wrong thing or being willing to raise a little hell and change things that need to be changed. That's her history. That's her background. That's McCain's background. Compare that to all these other folks on Wall Street and in Washington with all this expertise who we've been relying on. The underlying problem here is that nobody trusts anybody in Washington or Wall Street today and that's the reaction that you're getting. People are sitting back and saying, you know, they may be right, but why should I trust them? I have no reason to trust them.
GLENN: You are exactly right. You are exactly right on that, which goes to this fundamental question. Sarah Palin, somebody coming into this system, and I know she's not -- this isn't just some housewife off the street and say, hey, you're going to be the vice president. I know she has experience and significant experience. She was dealing with corruption in Alaska with the oil industry.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Exactly.
GLENN: And she won. So she's got experience and she's a tough cookie. However, what America likes about her is that she's real and she's connected to people. Is it possible, Senator Fred Thompson, to go to this cesspool and remain true to yourself? Is it probable that you can get into Washington and not be sucked into it and just --
SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, Glenn, I think John has done that. I think John has done that. You'd be surprised at some of those luncheon meetings that we would have up there. I sat next to him on the floor of the Senate for a long time and, you know, the Democrats two or three times a week get together and have their luncheons and plot strategy as to how to defeat Republicans, Republicans do the same thing on the other side of the capitol. You'd be surprised how utterly isolated on some occasions John would be and he would turn out to be right, he would turn out to be doing the right thing but he has been willing to be unpopular and to do the courageous things on occasion after occasion, some of which I've not agreed with him on but he's always been consistent in showing the courage and determination, looking out for the long-term interest of the country. And that's what I tried to do. And that's why I think in my case it's worth a few years of your life but it's not worth your entire life. Because you're not all you can do, until the people determine that there ought to be more people like him, not much is going to happen. And we sit back, I mean, we've got to look ourselves in the mirror. We sit back and we -- all of us spend probably more than is prudent and all of us just let things roll, let the good times roll and the stock market's going up. We ask no questions, and the government is creating Fannie and Freddie and the government is putting everybody in a house whether they can afford one or not. I grew up my life renting, my folks did. And I rented part of my own life. You know, it's not the end of the world if you can't afford it to wait a little bit until you can afford a down payment. But we all go along with all of that. Then it hits the wall and, you know, we're looking for somebody to blame. There are plenty of people that reside in Washington. Wall Street and some of them reside in our own living room.
GLENN: Very good. Fred Thompson, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Appreciate it.
GLENN: You've got it. Bye-bye.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Thank you.