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 top gov tracker and One America News national political correspondent, Neil W. McCabe to the newsmaker line to comment on James O’Keefe’s departure from Project Veritas and newly announced GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s chances.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, is our good friend, top gov tracker, and national political correspondent with One American News Network, Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Hey, guys. Good to be with you.
Leahy: Neil, Crom has a question for you.
Carmichael: Neil, on Project Veritas, what will happen with Project Veritas without James O’Keefe?
McCabe: You have to understand that James is the founder and the CEO. He created it to be a home for himself and other undercover journalists, people who wanted to expose corruption. And in the back of his head, he always wanted it to be something that would survive him.
And I’m not sure that this is how he planned it. But there are people there who are committed to the mission. You have trained undercover journalists. You have fantastic cameramen and editors. You have people who are experienced with how to use hidden cameras and everything like that.
Where do those guys go? Maybe some of them will join James and whatever venture he’s going to do. But there are people inside Project Veritas who say, we’ll just carry on the mission. Project Veritas was bigger than James. Okay.
Carmichael: My sense of it, and obviously I’m wrong, my sense of it was it was kind of a handful of people who kind of almost went around with James O’Keefe, who was kind of one of the undercover people. And I’m sure that’s how it started because I remember some very early Project Veritas, and it was James O’Keefe. Generally, it was James O’Keefe and one particular lady. What you’re saying is that in recent years, it’s gotten a lot bigger than my understanding.
McCabe: Right. So in 2009, the ACORN expose was James and Hannah Giles. But that was not Project Veritas. Project Veritas was started in 2011 because he felt exposed as a single guy, sort of basically freelancing and making the stuff himself.
He needed some organization, some stability, some structure, and that’s what he built. But there’s probably, I don’t know, 10-15 undercover journalists across the country who do various things. Many of them will probably want to continue doing what they do.
Carmichael: So there will be somebody, and they may have already named the person, James O’Keefe has been removed as CEO. Is that correct?
McCabe: I don’t know if removed is the word I would use. He was put on ice while the board did an investigation, and then he read that letter, which they took as a resignation letter. He packed up his stuff and walked out the door. The board hadn’t fired James.
In fact, the office was closed on President’s Day. There was supposed to be a board meeting Tuesday where things might be resolved and he basically used his FOB to get into the office and pack up his stuff and leave.
Carmichael: Then obviously they haven’t named a new CEO.
McCabe: Not that I know.
Leahy: We’ll see how that all plays out. Neil, you broke that story, by the way. Congratulations on that. Now let’s talk about the story that we knew about that was going to happen, that I invited you to watch Tucker last night. Our buddy Vivek Ramaswamy has announced his candidacy for president. What’s your take on Vivek in 2024 as a GOP candidate?
McCabe: I think that it is absolutely stunning that this guy has come onto the scene the way he has. And when he talks about woke capital, woke institutions, he’s talking as someone who saw it from the inside. And in a lot of ways, it sort of dovetails with what James and Project Veritas were doing.
I worked at Veritas, and so James would tell me that, in essence, what he’s trying to do is expose the private truth hidden by the public lie. And so a lot of these companies don’t really tell you what they’re up to and what Vivek is doing and others are doing, but certainly, it’s his running for president.
And I saw him on Tucker last night. The guy was phenomenal. I think Tucker was really impressed. I think Tucker told him he was really impressed. And what he’s doing is he’s saying, hey, whatever you’ve been told, put it to the side. This is what’s going on in the institutions. Financial, education, charity, and religion, everything that’s going on inside is working against you.
Leahy: Vivek is going to be out in Iowa today. Our own Matt Kittle with The Iowa Star is going to be with him and get some exclusive interviews on-site in Antonio, Iowa, and Des Moines, and a couple of the suburbs there. How do you think this will shake out in reality?
What are Ramaswamy’s chances now that former President Trump has announced, Nikki Haley has announced rumors that DeSantis may get in? How does this shake up, if at all, the 2024 GOP presidential nomination race?
McCabe: We’ll have to see if these presidential primaries follow the script that’s been sort of in place since 1972, 1976. Will Iowa and New Hampshire really be deciding what’s going on? The Trump campaign is focusing on South Carolina. It’s a winner take all state with 50 delegates, and it’s really the most important state because it’s a big conservative state with a lot of very interesting people in that state in South Carolina.
New Hampshire is kind of a wild card for Trump. And I think Iowa is a very difficult state to organize. And I’m sure Mr. Kittle learned very quickly that Iowa is, well he lives there.
Leahy: He lives in Des Moines.
McCabe: He knows that it is cold, and he knows that everything is 100 miles away, and these caucuses are held in, like, barns, and toolsheds.
Leahy: I’ve been to one, Neil, and you’re quite right. (Chuckles)
McCabe: Iowa is a tough row to hoe. And so it’ll also be interesting to see what happens in Iowa since they kneecapped Steve King, the congressman from the northeast corner of Iowa who was sort of a kingmaker in Iowa, and of course, The New York Times and Kevin McCarthy torpedoed him and he was very influential. And he’s frankly the reason why Ted Cruz won Iowa in 2016.
Leahy: Good point.
McCabe: But of course, he won Iowa but didn’t become president.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “James O’Keefe” by James O’Keefe.