Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil W. McCabe to the newsmakers line.
During the third hour, McCabe discussed some personal details from his growing relationship with Roger Stone and his takeaways from the Republican National Convention.
Leahy: We are joined on the newsmakers line by our good friend and long time colleague who is now the national correspondent for The Tennessee Star and Star News Network based in the Washington, D.C. area Neil McCabe. Good morning Neil.
McCabe: Michael and Crom. Very good to be with you today. What’s going on?
Leahy: Well, a lot going on. The first thing is I want to thank you for being the intrepid journalist that you are scoring all of these national interviews for us. You spoke with Roger Stone and had an exclusive interview with him. A great interview. And thanks to you he’s going to be on our program tomorrow morning.
McCabe: And he’ll be in the Nashville Metropolitan region this weekend.
Leahy: Yes. A church in Mt. Juliet that was vandalized because apparently he will be speaking there this weekend according to the pastor. He’ll be there this weekend. Roger Stone who is very controversial, colorful, and brass knuckles political operative from the Republican side who was convicted on these trumped-up charges shall we say by a politicized jury.
McCabe: Lets put it this way. We were told two or three years ago that Roger Stone was a courier for Russian intelligence between Vladamir Putin and the Trump campaign. That’s what we were told. In the end, he was convicted for threatening to kill his friend’s dog.
Leahy: Yeah. And how serious did his friend take that?
McCabe: Not serious at all. I really got to know Roger. I met him during the 2016 campaign. Over the last four or so years, I’m not saying that we are BFF’s but I’ve really got to know the man. He loves his country. He loves his family. He has a set of skills (Leahy laughs) that have made him valuable.
Leahy: He has a particular set of skills, doesn’t he? (Chuckles)
McCabe: Yeah. He is one of the most lethal political operatives that has ever lived. And that’s really why they went after him. A lot of people think he was behind the taking down of Dan Rather. Just to give you an example.
When Al Sharpton ran for president, Roger Stone financed it as a political stunt to create discord in the Democratic Party. But he’s also a guy who has had personal troubles. I’m friends with his first wife Ann Stone. His personal life hasn’t been pristine.
Leahy: A mess would be another way to describe it.
McCabe: But yet, he has a personal story of redemption. He’s still a practicing Catholic in Ft. Lauderdale but he participated in a Franklin Graham revival held in January of 2020 with Franklin Graham. And he met with Reverend Graham.
He said that Graham gave him the same advice he received from everybody else including his parish priest. But because he heard it from Graham he took it to heart and he attended the revival in Boca and reaffirmed his conversion to Christ. And he says it what got him through it.
He told me that was right after the revival experience in January when it came out that the jurors in his trial were completely biased and bogus. That got the attention of President Trump and that led to his sentence being commuted. So he credits the Lord with saving him from his persecutors. It’s a wonderful story.
Leahy: We will have him on tomorrow thanks to you. And that will be an interesting segment. What else is going on today in the Washington, D.C. area? What do you see are the big stories coming out this week?
McCabe: It’s hard to ignore the Republican convention because you and I know and we’ve talked about this before that one of the devastating questions in the polls. Remember Pat Cadell would tell us while we were doing the polling together.
Leahy: At Breitbart in 2016. You and I with Pat Caddell and a polling team at Breitbart.
McCabe: Right. We knew the people were lying to the pollsters so Pat would create these sorts of questions to try and tease out where they really were. And one of the questions that told Caddell that Trump was going to win was, do you agree that Donald Trump cares about me?
And those numbers were devastating for Trump and devastating for Clinton. One way or the other. And so Trump’s numbers were off the charts. People believed that Trump cared about people like them. This convention especially last night, Donald Trump cares about people like you. And we also got to see him in a more personal intimate setting where this is supposed to be some angry mean guy. And he’s a wonderful guy. He talks to people. And when pardoned that bank robber.
That was not the act of a crazy. What you hear on CNN all the time is that mean Mr. Trump wants us to die right? That’s not that the guy at the convention. I thought Melania was fantastic. Rand Paul was fantastic. In fact, I talked to my former colleague at One America News the bureau chief John Hines and it was actually an enjoyable and interesting convention to watch. The production is fantastic. The message is strong. You have to see this. You have to be seeing the same things I’m seeing. This is really well done.
Carmichael: Neil on your last point. I think that’s right on the money because these speakers are people that virtually know Americans know who they are. And they are fresh. What they had to say is compelling. Their own stories are very compelling. And whereas with the Democrat convention they trotted out Bill Clinton who looks terrible. They trotted out Hillary Clinton whose hairstylist has not seen her in months. (Leahy chuckles)
McCabe: She looks like a war criminal. (Leahy laughs)
Carmichael: I’ll tell you what. There are few people who look angrier. She gets angrier looking every day and that takes a lot of work. And then you had Michelle Obama essentially scolding us from her $15 million home about how terrible this country is to people like her. And then you had Barack Obama. And then you had the Hollywood people who think that the average person cares about what they think.
And the Republican convention is exactly the opposite. It is a bunch of hard-working people. Hard-working politicians at the state level that nobody has heard of. And then Tim Scott was fabulous the first night. Daniel Cameron from Kentucky, gosh he was terrific. Last night was riveting from the beginning to the end.
McCabe: I’ll tell you Crom, one of the things I was talking to John Hines about was that I couldn’t break away. It’s like do I really need to sit through this? I couldn’t turn it off.
Carmichael: After the first night the question was, gosh, what are they going to do to make it better than the first night? And they did. Now the question is what are they going to do tonight to keep it as captivating. I’m confident they will. I will be tuning in just to see. They’re covering so many topics that Americans care about.
And the Democrat convention covered topics that the thugs who run the government employee unions care about. It was like the Democrats sat around 10 powerful people in Washington and asked what are we going to talk about to make ourselves happy?
Leahy: 30 seconds to wrap it up Neil.
McCabe: I thought it was also interesting that as our cities have become Benghazi the Democrats have turned our cities into Benghazi the convention is an upbeat, lighthearted, serious, but it is not angry like the Democrats are. The people know what’s going on in Kenosha. And I’m glad the Republicans aren’t taking that bait.
Listen to the third hour here:
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