“My life has taken a bit of a turn,” lobbyist-turned-felon-turned-reform advocate Jack Abramoff told the crowd assembled in Tucker Carlson’s living room in Northwest D.C. on Tuesday night. “I used to be a right-wing guy who sort of disdained the New York Times, 60 Minutes and Michael Moore. Now, I’m happy to be on 60 Minutes, I love the pieces in the New York Times and Michael Moore is my new best friend.”
Meet Abramoff 2.0. Sixteen months after his prison term from the most infamous Washington corruption case in recent memory ended, Abramoff was addressing an audience of journalists and friends about how his world has been turned upside down. In the midst of a publicity tour for his book Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist — Twitter feed, Facebook page, snazzy website, the works — Abramoff said he knows his new stances on reform aren’t earning him any friends.
“It’s an extraordinary thing. I’ve obviously come out and taken some positions that some people in this town are not as thrilled about and I’m saying some things that probably a few people aren’t happy about, but it is what it is,” Abramoff said.
“I’m no longer part of what I used to be. I know certain things — I did certain things — that my presence in some of these discussions can be helpful. And as a consequence, some folks who used to be friends are kind of scared and some folks who where incredible enemies of mine and really went after me are cheering me.”
Abramoff says he knows K Street isn’t going to greet him with open arms, but he’s at least hoping to get a conversation going about reform.
“I guess even I and Michael Moore can agree on certain things and hope that there’ll be some changes or at least some discussion about some of the things that are in the book,” Abramoff said, adding he was trying to show people that he doesn’t “have a tail and horns.”
Introducing Abramoff, Daily Caller Editor-In-Chief Carlson said he was hosting the party because he thinks he’s a generally nice guy and because Carlson doesn’t trust anyone who hasn’t been humiliated in public.
“And I say that as someone who’s been on Dancing with the Stars,” Carlson joked.
“But more than that, I say that as someone who’s philosophically committed to the truth that unless you fail — and I don’t mean in a minor I-didn’t-live-up-to-my-personal-expectations kind of way — but in a real way, where your neighbors avert their gaze when you pull into your driveway at night, when people think you’re a loser, if you haven’t had that experience, then you really don’t know yourself really well, you don’t know your limits, you don’t know what you’re capable of and more importantly, you don’t know what you’re not capable of,” Carlson said.
“I want to honor that, especially in a city that is given to quick and phony judgements about other people, the underlying point being ‘I’m better than him.’ I raise the middle finger to those people, and I raise a glass to Jack Abramoff and I’m proud to do so,” Carlson said.
Jack is back.
Fuller video here.