Guest: John Moustakas, Jim Fallows, Patricia Clarkson, Max Kellerman, Rex Miller
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Thanks to all of you at home for watching. We appreciate it every night.
Tonight, we‘ll tell you why the indictment of Scooter Libby, which until recently was considered a slam dunk by almost everybody, might come to nothing after all.
We‘ll also have more on the controversial bomb theory involving the World Trade Center we told you about the other night. And we‘ll be joined by Peg, a 4-month-old puppy who will soon fitted with a prosthetic paw by a man who lost a leg of his own.
But first, a senior Democrat who voted for the war in Iraq, and a conservative Democrat, calls for immediate withdrawal, leading to a war of rhetoric on the floor of the United States Congress.
Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha, a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam, and the top Democrat on the House appropriations defense subcommittee, said that troops could be home within six months. Here‘s a piece of Murtha‘s emotional news conference earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Our military has done everything that has been asked of them. U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It‘s time to bring the troops home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: House Republicans immediately shot back at Murtha, accusing Democrats of being defeatist and playing politics with the war.
Here to discuss the latest skirmish over policy in Iraq, live from Washington, Rachel Maddow.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST: Hi, Tucker.
CARLSON: I think this is a “big deal” speech. This is not Nancy Pelosi, you know, jabbering on about some left wing minutia that nobody else can relate to. This is John Murtha, who‘s a serious guy, nobody‘s liberal.
And I think he made a compelling argument in a way. He was not arguing, as so many on the left do. That we‘re not worthy of bringing democracy to Iraq. He was arguing that this war is bad for us. He was making a nationalistic argument. And I think in the end, his argument will win.
Here‘s the problem with it. When the White House says immediate withdrawal is impossible, that it‘s dangerous, that it will cause Iraq to become Somalia, and it will be dishonorable. As frustrating as it may be, they‘re right.
MADDOW: Well, maybe they‘re right, but what‘s the alternative? Staying? Because Iraq is a great place now, because things are going in the right direction in Iraq right now?
I think what Murtha pointed out is that everybody wants an honorable withdrawal for American troops from Iraq, and he‘s saying that the American military has done everything that‘s been asked of them in Iraq. And they have served honorably and they have performed honorably there.
And the question is, if we leave them there, what exactly else can they accomplish? Can they actually get anything done?
CARLSON: Well, they can, and we‘re going to actually do an interview about that later in the show. They can create a security force to replace them, at least in part. I mean, the Iraqi army essentially doesn‘t exist now, and they have to be at some sort of threshold level of readiness before we leave or else chaos ensues, and you have Syria, and you have Iran, and you have Turkey in the north, swooping in, into this power vacuum. You have to have that.
And it‘s frustrating, I think, for all of us who think the war is hurting America. That includes me. But I don‘t see an option.
MADDOW: But what if the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is the thing that is keeping us from our objectives there? What if the presence of the U.S. troops is the thing that‘s keeping Iraq from reaching those objectives that we all want to see Iraq get to in terms of security and stability?
CARLSON: That‘s partly true.
MADDOW: That‘s one of the things he pointed out today.
CARLSON: And I think he was partly right. There‘s no question that the presence of U.S. troops fuels the insurgency. There‘s just no doubt about it.
Almost provable, in my view. However, it doesn‘t change the fact, once we leave we have to be replaced by somebody. That somebody, I guess fledgling government is not strong enough to maintain control over the country. It‘s not. I don‘t think any objective observer believes it is.
Maybe we need to threaten withdrawal, sufficient to get the Iraqi to get their act together. If we start leaving next month, which is what Murtha said, who thinks that‘s not going to be disaster? Do you honestly think it wouldn‘t just collapse inward?
MADDOW: But you know, I think you‘re getting close to a very important there, which is there‘s been this argument made by the Republicans, made by the Bush administration, that if we set a time table for withdrawal, if we tell people when we‘re going to leave, then that tells the insurgency how long they have to wait us out.
Well, the converse of that is that without giving somebody a withdrawal date, without telling the Iraqis the date by which we‘re going to leave, we‘re basically telling the Iraqi government, you know, you never have to get your act together. You never have to be responsible for your security in your own country.
HANNITY: That‘s right.
MADDOW: If they know we‘re leaving, they have to get their act together to take over, and they have more of an interest in it than anybody else in the world including us.
CARLSON: Well, this is...
MADDOW: Telling them we are going to leave will make them get it together.
CARLSON: That‘s a conservative argument, incidentally. I know you may be unhappy to hear that. But this is the argument conservatives have made, correctly in my view, for many years about welfare. And it is this: nobody is going to do something for himself he‘s certain someone else will do for him.
If I guarantee you an income, why are you going to work? You‘re not.
But if I say to you you‘re got two years to get your act together, at which point I‘m going to cut you off. Will you start looking for a job? And it works. It‘s provably effective. And I agree.
MADDOW: Sending somebody 50 bucks a week on general assistance is a different thing than killing 2,050 American soldiers, and then unknown totals...
CARLSON: It‘s a—it is, but human nature...
MADDOW: It‘s a different stake.
CARLSON: It is, but human nature remains the same the world over, in every, it seems to me, environment. And you know, it remains the same here.
So I sort of halfway agree with you. I want to know what you think of the response to Fitzgerald, that would be Pat Fitzgerald, the special counsel, continuing this at this point pointless investigation, turning, you know, Washington upside down, causing turmoil.
He was named today by “People” magazine one of the sexiest, hunkiest dudes in the world or something like that.
Here‘s my question: here‘s a guy who has been terrible for the journalism business, terrible for the public‘s right to know what its government is doing, terrible for reporters. He put one in prison, and threatened a bunch of others with prison. Why is the press celebrating this guy? It‘s masochistic; it‘s bizarre.
MADDOW: Tucker, you have been waging a one-man campaign against Patrick Fitzgerald.
CARLSON: Yes. One man, that‘s right.
MADDOW: And nobody else is jumping on the bandwagon.
MADDOW: It almost makes me feel a little bit sorry for you, although I completely disagree with you on this.
CARLSON: Because I‘m taking a principled stand, because I‘m not allowing my irritation with George W. Bush to supersede the principle here, and that is, you shouldn‘t put reporters in prison for doing their job, A. And B, the public has a right to know what its government is doing. I‘m taking a principled stand; it‘s not a political stand.
MADDOW: Well, yes, but what Patrick Fitzgerald has done, as the special prosecutor in this case, is that he has proceeded very methodically, very conservatively. He has issued one indictment. He‘s continued his investigation.
He hasn‘t done anything wrong as far as anybody can tell other than the contested issues around the freedom of the press things. I mean, the Judy Miller and Bob Woodward developments in this case tells us that the two reporters who were most kind of in favor of what the Bush administration was doing in terms of selling the war and selling the lies on the war, the two biggest names reporters involved in that, didn‘t come clean about what they knew about government officials leaking Valerie Plame information to them.
I mean, I think Judy Miller is a scapegoat in this case, but I am starting to feel much less sympathetic toward her.
CARLSON: You know what? When the Democrats take over the executive branch and they win. These things are—they will, if this is all cyclical, of course. They‘ll probably be in power in 2008. I‘m going to wonder what the Democrats are going to say then, when some special counsel gets in power and starts impeding, you know, journalists‘ right to know what the government is doing.
I think they‘re going to understand that it‘s foolish to betray your principles because you‘re mad at a president. Reporters hate Bush. That‘s why they are sucking up to Fitzgerald in the end. But they‘re foolish to do that.
MADDOW: Nobody—but nobody else is against Fitzgerald besides you, because what Fitzgerald has been investigating is the leak of a CIA officer‘s identity, and it happened to be to the press, but this is a national security issue, not a First Amendment issue, in most conservative terms.
CARLSON: I don‘t care if not a single person in the universe agrees with me. I‘m proud to say that. I think this is a violation of a sacred principle. I think we have a right to know what our government is doing at all times. We need more information, not less. And again, I don‘t care if I am the only guy in the world saying that, and everyone else thinks I am a crack pot. I really believe that. Anyway, I‘m going to win you over, Rachel Maddow.
MADDOW: Fitzgerald is the wrong target for you here, Tucker, but I appreciate your principles in the matter.
CARLSON: Well, thank you. Rachel Maddow live from Washington tonight. Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
CARLSON: Is everything we were told the last month about the CIA leak case now irrelevant? My next guest believes that testimony from Bob Woodward in that case has cast serious doubt on the investigation itself, that investigation, of course, led by special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald.
Joining us live from Washington, former federal prosecutor, John Moustakas.
Mr. Moustakas, thanks a lot for coming on.
JOHN MOUSTAKAS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You‘re welcome. It‘s good to be here.
CARLSON: So I want to believe your point, because I think that the case against Scooter Libby is—shouldn‘t have been brought, as I‘ve said. However, he‘s being charged with perjury, as I understand, and obstruction of justice. How does what we learned from Bob Woodward yesterday affect his trial when it happens?
MOUSTAKAS: Well, let me say a couple of things about that. I mean, obviously the indictment is only a series of charges, and it has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
MOUSTAKAS: And—but more importantly than that still is the implications that Woodward‘s testimony has on a number of issues that underlie the indictment.
Obviously, this investigation began as an investigation into whether classified information was leaked. At some point, the special prosecutor confirmed with the Department of Justice that he had the authority to investigate perjury and obstruction and false statements, as well.
But underlying all of this, and I think the American public will not like the flavor of this prosecution, if in the end of the day there wasn‘t a substantive offense that was provable and that was at least plausibly committed.
CARLSON: In other words, Fitzgerald started out, his job description was find out who committed this leak, and if it was a crime. And if at the end of the investigation no one is charged with a crime of leaking Valerie Plame‘s name, the public will look at this as a waste of time. Is that what you are saying?
MOUSTAKAS: Not necessarily only a waste of time, although there certainly is that aspect, that a lot of resources have been committed. And let me say, I‘m not a Patrick Fitzgerald basher. I mean, if you read that indictment, it‘s obvious a lot of careful lawyering went on.
MOUSTAKAS: This guy is a top-notch prosecutor. But underneath it all ought to be a substantive offense. I understand the argument, and he‘s articulated the argument about as well as he can, that in order to investigate criminal offenses, we have to have sort of a fealty to this transcendent interest that we have in truth telling. We can‘t get to the bottom of the stories unless we know the truth.
CARLSON: Right. You always hear prosecutors say that.
MOUSTAKAS: That‘s right. But in this case, they know (AUDIO GAP) the bottom line. They know an Espionage Act violation under title 18793 has been committed. They know that an Intelligence Identification Protection Act violation hasn‘t been committed, because among other things, they know that there was no knowing disclosure, no one...
MOUSTAKAS: ... who mentioned Valerie Plame‘s name knew or would have benefited from disclosing the fact that—or outing the fact that she was a covert agent, No. 1.
No. 2, and equally importantly, if not more importantly, I believe that there‘s a very serious question about whether she even falls within the statutory area.
MOUSTAKAS: What I mean by that, you‘ve got to have been a current—you either have to be current covert agent stationed abroad or you have to be an agent who has been stationed abroad within the last five years.
CARLSON: That‘s pretty—that‘s pretty hard to prove. But again, that‘s not what Scooter Libby is being charged with, of course.
Give me the three-sentence pitch if you‘re Scooter Libby‘s lawyer, and you just learned about Bob Woodward‘s testimony and all it entails. What is your pitch for why the charges against your client will not result in a conviction?
MOUSTAKAS: Well, it bolsters Libby‘s version of events. Libby says, “This thing was being bandied about, and I heard it from some members of the press, and then I repeated it to members of the press, thinking that there was nothing wrong repeating something that the press already knew.”
We now have Bob Woodward saying, “I heard it before Libby told anybody,” and so that bolsters Libby‘s contention that he heard it from someone, some member of the press beforehand. I think that‘s very significant.
CARLSON: I agree with you, and I‘m sort of amazed by the instinct on the part of many journalists to suck up to this prosecutor, to anyone in power, frankly. This guy comes out and lays out his case, does a good job, he‘s articulate. And all of a sudden, he‘s one of the world‘s sexiest people and everyone loves him.
There‘s just not enough skepticism. Whatever happened to the press corps being skeptical? Story to rant. John Moustakas, former federal prosecutor, joining us tonight live from Washington. Thanks a lot.
CARLSON: Still to come, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq is a hotly debated subject. But is the Iraqi army prepared for us to leave? Is there even an Iraqi army? The answers are ahead.
Plus, you continue to pound our mail box with comments on Professor Steven Jones and his theories about the collapse of the World Trade Center. We‘ll respond to a caller who wants the professor back on our show when THE SITUATION returns.
CARLSON: Still to come, find out what an Oscar nominated, Emmy Award winning actress thinks about FEMA‘s response to the tragedy in her hometown of New Orleans. Plus, an inspiring story about a three-legged dog getting a new limb. Don‘t miss our interview featuring Peg the puppy when THE SITUATION returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURTHA: This is a flawed policy, wrapped in illusion. I like guys got five deferments and never been there, and sent people to war, and then don‘t like to hear suggestions about what needed to be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Former Marine, now congressman, John Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, making an emotional case earlier today for bringing home the troops from Iraq. Republicans countered by saying it would be irresponsible to withdraw troops immediately, in part because Iraq is not ready to defend itself.
Joining us from Washington to help us understand why the Iraqi security forces cannot stand on their own just yet, is national correspondent for the “Atlantic Monthly” magazine, Jim Fallows. He wrote an article about this in the latest issue of the magazine, and it‘s excellent.
Jim Fallows, thanks a lot.
JIM FALLOWS, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, “ATLANTIC MONTHLY”: My pleasure.
Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: Let me start at what is essentially the end of a very good piece, the terrific piece that you wrote in this month‘s “Atlantic Monthly.” This is the conclusion, one of the conclusions that you reach.
“I have come to this sobering conclusion,” you write. “The United States can best train Iraqis, and therefore best help itself leave Iraq, only by making certain very long-term commitments to stay in Iraq.”
This is—you‘ve been a critic of the war. I think a reasonable critic but definitely a critic. I was surprised to read this. This is essentially the case Republicans are making. Maybe yours is more nuanced but essentially the same. Why did you reach this conclusion? What does it mean?
FALLOWS: Well, I distinguished what I was saying from what I think has been the Republican administration‘s line. There‘s been this sort of taken for granted line by the president and vice president, the famous “As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down” formula, which assumes this is going to be a relatively near-term phenomenon, that certainly within the president‘s term, we‘ll be able to make significant withdrawals.
What I end up arguing, based on interviewing a lot of people, is that‘s going to be a very long time, certainly into the next president‘s term, and perhaps even beyond that, that the U.S. would have to have a serious commitment to Iraq, if we want to do this in an kind of orderly way.
For example, they‘re not going to have any kind of air operation for the Iraqi forces. They‘re not going to have intelligence systems. They‘re going to need American advisors for a long time. So I think it‘s a little bit different from the standard Republican argument, because I‘m saying, yes, it requires a commitment, but not a year or two, but five or six years.
CARLSON: But a lot of critics of the war are so frustrated with how badly they believe things are going that the impulse, the natural impulse, is to say, let‘s just get out as soon as we can. This is a disaster.
FALLOWS: I think this is, of all the things I‘ve worked on in journalism in what is now a sort of depressingly long career, this one is really the hardest for me, both intellectually and morally, if you will, because it does seem to me that you have a—you have two bad alternatives.
One difficult alternative, and politically perhaps impossible, is to make the six- or eight-year commitment to be there and to have the Iraqis build their own force.
The other is to say that that‘s just not going to be feasible for us, and it‘s going to end badly at some point. And therefore, we‘ll do the disorderly and in the sense dishonorable thing of just getting out of there, knowing there‘s going to be a lot of chaos that comes with it.
I think, as best I can figure out, those are the choices we face now. And I think that Congressman Murtha was saying something like that, when he was saying that he thought it wasn‘t going to end well at any point. You might as well end it quickly.
CARLSON: Yes. Your point—your piece makes the point that one of the most important things the U.S. government can be doing, maybe the single most important thing it can do, is to build up this Iraqi army to a state of self-sufficiency.
And then it asks the question. Why hasn‘t this been done? Can you sum up why it hasn‘t been done?
FALLOWS: Yes. And I think the main points are these. First, the job of training an effective military is a very hard one, even in the best of circumstances.
To train American officers takes decades. To train—to turn a civilian into a Marine or into a soldier, takes years. So it‘s hard anyplace. It‘s particularly hard in Iraq for all the historical reasons, the ethnic reasons, the fact that Saddam‘s residue left officers who are essentially parasites and troops who were essentially cannon fodder and NCO‘s, who basically didn‘t exist, probably the most important part of the army at all.
And also, the U.S. was really, really slow in getting to it. Essentially, there was a year and a half, maybe two years, of wasted time, after the fall of Baghdad. In the last six or eight months, the effort has been getting more serious, but at that same time, the insurgency has been getting much worse. So I‘d say those are the main ingredients.
CARLSON: But still, even at this point, you make the point that neither the Pentagon nor the White House seems absorbed with the task of doing this.
I want to read this to our viewers, this kind of amazing paragraph. This is from a Marine lieutenant colonel, who e-mails you. He says, “You tell me who in this White House devotes full time to winning this war. The answer seems to be, Megan O‘Sullivan, a former Brookings scholar, now the president‘s special assistant for Iraq.
As best I can tell from Nexus and other online sources, she has made no public speeches or statements about the war. What does that mean?
FALLOWS: Well, it means that if you can argue analytically, what matters most to the U.S., and as I tried to argue, is getting this Iraqi force up and running. You would think that Secretary Rumsfeld would be working on this 24-7, whereas military transformation matters more to him. And that the president and vice president would give more than just lip service to it in their speeches.
And the way this works in sort of detailed matter is, for example, getting a whole bunch of more Arabic speakers over there in a big hurry, and making sure a lot of the military‘s best officers are deputized to this task, and making sure there‘s no practical limitation in terms of equipment or ammo or anything else to the training effort. And none of those things has been done. So if this really mattered as much as it seems to, you‘d think this would be priority No. 1.
CARLSON: You certainly would. And shocking it‘s not, and very useful that you exposed it. Thank you very much. Jim Fallows. The piece, “Why Iraq Doesn‘t Have an Army,” cover story, this month‘s “Atlantic Monthly.” Very much worth reading.
CARLSON: Thanks a lot for coming on.
FALLOWS: Thank you.
CARLSON: Coming up, a true case of puppy love, a man who lost one of his own legs tries to help a dog who‘s lost a limb, too. THE SITUATION returns in just a minute.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
It‘s been a pretty tough season for journalists, coverage of Hurricane Katrina brought to light the suffering of communities that usually go unnoticed, and the government‘s lame response to that tragedy, the press got points for that.
But this week‘s news about legendary reporter Bob Woodward hiding information in the CIA leak case has some people thinking reporters are in cahoots with the White House, fairly or unfairly.
The new movie, “Good Night and Good Luck,” starring my next guest, raises important questions about the role of the press in a free society. Patricia Clarkson plays a radio and television producer in that film. She also stars in the newly released movie, “The Dying Gaul.” She also, and I should add, is excellent, “Six Feet Under.”
Patricia Clarkson is in our studio tonight. Ms. Clarkson, thanks a lot.
PATRICIA CLARKSON, ACTRESS: Thank you for having me.
CARLSON: So everyone is down on journalism, including me sometimes. Did this movie, “Good Night and Good Luck,” and working in the movie change your view of journalism?
CLARKSON: Well, no, because, see, I‘ve—I mean, I‘ve learn more about Murrow, of course, and I do think he is a remarkable man and heroic. But I‘m a news junkie, and so I‘ve always loved the news, loved journalists. I have—I think there are remarkable journalists out there today.
CARLSON: Good for you.
CLARKSON: I watch all the channels. I can name everyone everywhere.
CLARKSON: Yes. I mean...
CARLSON: So you think it‘s still an honorable business to go into?
CLARKSON: Oh, I think it‘s still truly one of the most glorious professions in our country.
CARLSON: If there was a reporters union, I hope you‘d be the spokesman for it. We could use you.
CLARKSON: I think in my next life, I‘d like to be a journalist. I don‘t know that I‘d be very good, because I think you have to be truly objective, have true objectivity at times, and I‘m too emotional and maybe that‘s why I‘m an actress. But—but I think the men and women who are covering Iraq, I think—I think how the journalists stepped up to Katrina.
CLARKSON: I mean, whew.
CARLSON: Yes, what did you think of that? You‘re from New Orleans. Your mother is a city council woman there, who I‘ve met, a very charming person. What did you think of the press coverage from New Orleans, Katrina?
CLARKSON: I thought it was excellent. I thought people really stepped up and people really—there was great coverage, because it was—it was rough and tumble.
CLARKSON: I mean, I don‘t think people shied away. I think people
were willing to cover people in true distress, truly neglected, and I think
and I think for the first time I saw true outrage in journalists‘ eyes.
CLARKSON: And in their voices, about what was happening.
CARLSON: Most of the reporters, obviously including me, who were down there, are not from the area. They‘re not from the South. A lot of them have Ivy League degrees. They‘re from the northeast. And it‘s a self-selected group, journalists. I wonder if you thought the coverage of the region, the Gulf region, was fair, were there stereotypes that you thought were misleading?
CLARKSON: No, I mean, I felt the coverage was right. I mean, I felt everyone was depicted, and I think—I do think, yes, in a disaster of that scale, people are going to be left behind. The poor, the elderly, the disabled, and I think that became very apparent.
CARLSON: Yes, it did.
CLARKSON: And it was everywhere. Day in, and day out. And it was great for our country to see that.
CARLSON: I agree, when there are thousands of poor people standing under a bridge, it‘s kind of hard.
CLARKSON: And it was a great—yes, it was a great moment.
CARLSON: So “The Dying Gaul” is—you have two movies out, which is amazing to me. “The Dying Gaul” is one of them, received less publicity maybe nationally, but the reviews have been just excellent. What‘s it about?
CLARKSON: It‘s a rather dark emotional thriller. With Hollywood as the backdrop, and it‘s a triangle between a rather young, naive screenwriter, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and a studio executive, played by Campbell Scott, and his Hollywood wife, played by me. And it‘s about—it‘s almost Jacobean. It‘s love and revenge, and hate and betrayal.
CARLSON: Is the studio executive evil?
CARLSON: So it‘s not really true to life then.
CLARKSON: He‘s complicated, but that‘s the thing. No, I mean, what I think, it‘s a testament to Craig Lucas‘ writing and directing, is that, you know, to make—to have these Hollywood characters as caricatures, you know, it‘s shooting fish in a barrel.
CARLSON: Yes, it is.
CLARKSON: These are true. These are very—they‘re flesh and blood characters, and Hollywood, is, I think, simply the backdrop for something much more involved and probing about human emotions, and but it‘s very sexy, and there‘s nothing out there like it right now. It‘s—it‘s very hot.
CARLSON: Sexy and dark.
CLARKSON: Sexy. And my old-fashioned Southern family will just love it.
CARLSON: And you‘re in it. I‘ll see it. “The Dying Gaul.”
CLARKSON: I‘m in a white bikini.
CARLSON: I hope it becomes huge. Patricia Clarkson, excellent actress. Thank you very much.
CLARKSON: Thank you so much. Thank you.
CARLSON: Still ahead, we‘ll debate a new proposal that would put 2,000 miles of steel and wire fence on the U.S.-Mexican border. Good idea to keep out terrorists or a giant waste of money? “The Outsider” is next.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
On the funk classic “Superstition,” Stevie Wonder sang, “When you believe in things you don‘t understand, then you suffer.” No danger of that here.
Joining me now, a man of many beliefs and deep understanding, he‘s “The Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman, now wearing a tie for the first time.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO: I‘m coming from an event.
CARLSON: You look great.
KELLERMAN: So that‘s what it is, “When you believe in things that you don‘t understand.” I never knew what he said at the end of that line.
CARLSON: Then you suffer.
KELLERMAN: Superstition is the way.
KELLERMAN: As it is.
CARLSON: You have a nice voice. Talent.
KELLERMAN: Let‘s calm down. Let‘s calm down.
CARLSON: The tie brings it out in you.
All right. First up, if it‘s true that good fences make good neighbors, this may be an idea whose time has come.
California Representative Duncan Hunter, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wants to build a 2,000-mile steel and wire fence on the U.S.-Mexican border, both to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into this country and protect against terrorists. More than 20 other lawmakers agree with him.
The White House, meanwhile, argues that the fence would be a waste of money, costing up to $8 billion. Since when does the White House mind spending $8 billion? This White House...
KELLERMAN: I remember a surplus when Bush got to office.
CARLSON: No, no, no.
KELLERMAN: You talk about spending money.
CARLSON: I‘m just saying, this is not a White House that worries about spending money too much. But the point is, look, a fence works. You know how we know that? Israel.
Before the fence, separating Israel from the occupied territories, 25 terrorist attacks in Israel proper a year. Since the fence came up, three. Three, 90 percent reduction. Fences work. They‘re ugly, maybe offensive, but they‘re effective.
KELLERMAN: Well, I‘m not ideologically opposed to fences, and you‘re right, if you‘re not ideologically opposed, then the question is do they work? Empirically, the answer is yes.
But here‘s the argument against them. In Israel, Palestinians were coming in, terrorists, and blowing up buses. That‘s not what Mexicans are doing across the Mexican border. You know, they‘re not coming in and blowing stuff up. They‘re coming in and, like, working, as dishwashers and stuff.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
KELLERMAN: It doesn‘t seem to me like we need to be terrified of the dishwashers streaming in from Mexico.
CARLSON: That‘s a fair point. And a lot of Mexican immigrants, everyone I‘ve ever met, has been a decent person who works hard and I like.
KELLERMAN: And holds, carries three jobs.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right. You never see a Mexican immigrant begging for one thing, which says a lot. I haven‘t. I never have, and I grew up next to Mexico.
However, why have immigration policy then? Why not just have open borders? I mean, there is a cost to immigration, as much as I happen to like Mexican immigrants personally. There is a cost. That‘s why we have an immigration policy. That‘s why we don‘t let everyone who wants to come here come here. And as long as we have it, we ought to enforce it.
KELLERMAN: Well, traditionally, we‘ve let certain kinds of people come here, but not other kinds of people. Hitler put 3,000 Jews on a boat:
“Eastern Europe? Eastern Europeans, not so good.” We turn them away.
Meanwhile, people from other countries were getting in. So it‘s always...
CARLSON: Let me—we actually fought a war and overthrew Hitler.
KELLERMAN: Yes. Oh, listen, you know, but this has always been our immigration policy.
CARLSON: Right. I agree.
KELLERMAN: So give us tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, unless they‘re Mexicans, and then we need to put up an $8 billion fence.
CARLSON: Actually, both parties, both parties want unfettered immigration, is the truth of it. And just the rest of the country, the average person hates it.
KELLERMAN: Not only are you right about this issue, but you didn‘t bring up the most important point, which is terrorists can come in through the border.
CARLSON: Exactly. Exactly.
KELLERMAN: I got to argue your point for you?
CARLSON: No. Don‘t I didn‘t need to say it, so obvious.
KELLERMAN: All right.
CARLSON: A little piece of children‘s literature has gone up in smoke. Clement Hurd is the illustrator of the classic storybook, “Good Night Moon,” very weird but very good book, was originally pictured on the jacket with a cigarette in his hand. But now publisher Harper Collins has digitally altered his picture to remove the cigarette. Harper Collins says they want to avoid the appearance of encouraging smoking, and they are...
KELLERMAN: Instead, encourage the appearance of rolling a booger in his finger. What‘s he doing?
CARLSON: Look. That‘s so vulgar, I‘m not going to respond.
No, they‘re sending a very clear message, I think, to children. That is, if you don‘t like reality, ignore it. Because the reality is that Clement Hurd was a cigarette smoker. The reality really is that Clement Hurd lived to be 80 years old, despite the fact he smoked cigarettes. I‘m not...
KELLERMAN: Maybe he would have lived till 90 had he not smoked cigarettes.
CARLSON: I‘m not shilling for the tobacco companies. I don‘t smoke.
I‘m not for smoking. But that‘s just a fact.
CARLSON: So don‘t lie about the facts.
KELLERMAN: OK. Here it comes, I got you, six ways to start, at least on two arguments.
Yesterday we were talking about freak dancing. Again, kids, I apologize if it‘s not really called freak dancing, but that was the issue, freak dancing. And you were saying, it‘s not good because, yes, teenagers are sexual beings, yes, they do want to have sex, and yes, they should be discouraged from having sex.
Well, why would you hold a cigarette in a picture? You know the guy is taking a picture of you for a book cover. It‘s a children‘s book cover. You‘d hold it in your hand if you thought cigarettes made you look cool.
CARLSON: Yes. That‘s right.
KELLERMAN: And you know what? They do make you look cool. It does look good to hold a cigarette. And therefore, it shouldn‘t be in a children‘s book.
CARLSON: Oh. Look, I would understand if we were talking about changing an illustration, but a photograph is an image of a very specific point in time. It‘s history, almost by definition. A photograph is a reflection of something that happened, of a reality that was, and is no more. OK? You can‘t change that. It‘s wrong to alter that, because it is lying, it is lying.
KELLERMAN: They do it all the time. Our Constitution used to say a black person was two-thirds of a human being. We changed that.
CARLSON: No, no.
KELLERMAN: Images and documents change all the time.
CARLSON: Yes, but that‘s exactly the difference. If we change the Constitution, as in “Animal Farm,” cross out the slogans, paint a new one over it, and pretend that they never changed, that would be a lie.
CARLSON: If we alter things to make them more acceptable and admit it, such as the Constitution, that‘s acceptable.
KELLERMAN: “Freakonomics”: morality is what we‘d like the world to be, economics is what it really is. I like the thesis. How about from a business point of view. If they leave the cigarette—they‘re reissuing the book, 60th anniversary, whatever anniversary.
If they just leave the cigarette in, no controversy. They‘re not on THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON. If they take the cigarette out, not only do they get the moral high ground, but controversy. They‘re in the news.
CARLSON: Then why not just take a machine gun to a shopping mall if you want to be in the news?
KELLERMAN: There‘s no moral equivalent.
CARLSON: Come on. No, there isn‘t. But it‘s still.
KELLERMAN: We‘re one and one. We went head up today. You got the first one, I got you.
CARLSON: I think the tie gives you an advantage.
Max Kellerman, thank you. See you tomorrow.
KELLERMAN: See you tomorrow.
CARLSON: Stay tuned. Still plenty more ahead on THE SITUATION.
CARLSON (voice-over): Walking the dog. Medical science goes out on a limb to help man‘s best friend.
The grapes of bath. Japanese wine connoisseurs give a whole new meaning to the term bottoms up.
Why Old Blue Eyes has die-hard fans spinning in their graves.
Another enterprising idea for Captain Kirk.
WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: I‘m just seizing an opportunity.
Arresting behavior, we‘ll show you why one cop does more than just walk the beat. It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.
VANESSA MCDONALD, SITUATION PRODUCER: Still to come, Peg, the three-legged puppy, stops by to show us her new prosthetic paw. Plus, pictures from a Japanese wine bath that you won‘t want to miss.
CARLSON: THE SITUATION returns in all its glory in 60 seconds.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
If you‘ve seen THE SITUATION before, you know we like to keep you up to date on the developments in the animal kingdom, as well. For dog lovers, tonight‘s story is breaking news.
Peg, a four-month-old puppy, was born without an ankle joint or a right paw. Rex Miller, who currently makes artificial limbs for humans, lost his leg in a train accident when he was 15 years old. Together, they‘re about to make medical history. Rex is custom designing a prosthetic leg for Peg, and they both join us from the Greater Flint Prosthetic Center in Flint, Michigan.
Mr. Miller, thanks a lot for coming on.
Peg, thanks to you.
REX MILLER, MAKES ARTIFICIAL LIMBS: Thank you.
CARLSON: So we‘ve all seen three-legged dogs hopping around. I‘ve never seen a dog with a prosthetic leg. How did you—how did this happen?
MILLER: Well, I originally received a phone call from Peg‘s owner, and she was asking about if there was anything that could be done for a dog that was born without a—or with an incomplete residual limb.
And at first, I didn‘t think I could do anything, but then I had her give me—had her schedule an appointment, and she came in, and I took a look, and said, well, you know, due to the remainder of the limb there, I think we can possibly fit her with a prosthesis.
And so we started the fitting process last Friday, and here we are today, with a second prototype prosthesis, and it seems to be going very well.
CARLSON: What does Peg think of the process?
MILLER: Peg is pretty tolerant of it, but she‘s—as you can tell, she‘s quite a handful, and she‘s very energetic, so we‘re just kind of letting her try it out on her own terms, and she‘s teaching us as much as we‘re trying to teach her, as far as how to make the prosthesis fit her properly, and how to make it operable.
CARLSON: Well, how do you keep her from chewing on it? I know when dogs are operated on they have those funny cones, those embarrassing cones they have to wear. Does she have to wear one of those for life?
MILLER: No. She won‘t have to wear one of those for life, but that option came up yesterday. We were thinking about putting one of those on her, but instead, through behavior modification techniques, when she goes to chew on the prosthesis, we just tell her not to chew and give her a chew toy to chew on instead. And that seems to be working pretty well.
We‘ve also designed the prosthesis, so that if she does chew on it, if any of the small—if she chews off a small piece of the prosthesis and she ingests it, it‘s nontoxic, and it shouldn‘t be harmful to her.
CARLSON: So does it work? I mean, can she chase balls and run around? And I mean, how does it operate?
MILLER: Well, she‘s not using it every step yet. At this point, when she‘s out walking around, every once in awhile, steps on the ground. She‘s learning that she can put weight on it, and I think within the next couple of weeks, she‘s going it to be using it all the time.
CARLSON: What‘s the advantage to having a prosthetic limb for a dog?
MILLER: Well, the advantage is that we can take some of the body weight and distribute it between the left and right shoulders. Right now, all of her body weight, when she‘s walking, is on her left shoulder, and we want to be able to bear some weight on the right shoulder, so that we don‘t cause premature arthritis in her shoulder or her back, or even her rear hips could be affected by this.
MILLER: Due to her bringing her left foot into the middle of her body every time she walks.
CARLSON: Now, you lost a limb, too, when you were young. I mean, does this help you empathize with Peg?
MILLER: Oh, I can definitely empathize with her. She‘s a young creature, I guess you could say, that is in need of a prosthesis, and I thought I would be able to help. A lot of people have helped me along the way, and that‘s how I got into the field myself.
CARLSON: Good for you. Are you doing this—I mean, this must be expensive.
MILLER: Generally, it can be expensive. However, because of the circumstances, and there‘s—there are nonprofit organizations involved here, donated my services.
CARLSON: Good for you. Now, is Peg going to be a working dog when she‘s older?
MILLER: No. She is going to be, I believe the term is called career changed. She‘s going to be a therapy dog, probably for people in nursing homes, or she can visit children in hospitals or hopefully, she can visit amputees that lost a leg, and she can maybe cheer them up and let them know that they‘re going to learn how to use a prosthesis and move on.
CARLSON: Good for her, and good for you. Rex Miller, thank you.
MILLER: Thank you.
CARLSON: Still ahead, will Scooter Libby benefit from the Bob Woodward bombshell? And who told Woodward about Valerie Plame in the first place? We‘ll try to get some answers when THE SITUATION comes back.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Time for our voice mail segment. You‘ve been burning up the phone lines. Let‘s waste no time in listening to what you said. First up.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CALLER: Hey, Tucker, before you start dumping on Pat Fitzgerald, you might want to replay the tapes of the press conference. I think what he actually said was that Scooter Libby was the first person known to have done this. He was not stating this as a fact. He was stating what he knew at that time to be the truth.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CARLSON: You‘re absolutely right. I think I said that on last night‘s show. And that‘s the point I was making. He didn‘t know. After two years of investigating this, he didn‘t think to ask Bob Woodward, the most famous recipient of leaks in the world? Come on. What kind of prosecutor is this? After two years he couldn‘t come up with that? Pathetic. And what else doesn‘t he know? That‘s exactly the point. It‘s a question of competence. Doesn‘t sound very competent to me.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CALLER: Summersville (ph), West Virginia. My name is Steve Apple (ph). You really ought to do some investigating into the government scam on 9/11 there, buddy. And don‘t forget, you‘ll be judged along with them if you don‘t come clean and tell the truth to the American people. You better have Mr. Jones back on there.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CARLSON: Boy Steve, that sounds like a threat. I never lie on TV, ever. I always say exactly what I think is true. And so far as I know, there is no evidence at all that anybody blew up any of the World Trade Centers buildings. They fell down because planes hit them. If there‘s actual evidence to the contrary, we are always a place where people can air that evidence. We tried with Professor Jones, who was unable to. If there‘s someone else, you‘re welcome on our show.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CALLER: Tucker, how you doing? This is Jeff from Staten Island. Last night, you had a cute young lady on “The Cutting Room Floor.” What‘s her name and please, please can you show her again? She rocks. Thank you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CARLSON: All right, Jeff. For you, we will bring back Vanessa McDonald. She is our producer. Stay tuned, Jeff. She‘ll be on in under three minutes.
Let me know what you‘re thinking. Call 1-877-T-CARLSON. That‘s 1-877-822 -- get a pen -- 7576. You can also e-mail us at Tucker@MSNBC.com.
And if you want to read yet more of my opinions—can you imagine, there are more—you can check my daily blog out. It‘s at Tucker.MSNBC.com.
Up next, we have pictures that give new meaning to the term “body of wine.” Japanese badgers take a plunge into the River Beaujolais. THE SITUATION rolls on.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.” Willie Geist is normally here. We thought he‘d been on assignment in Aruba. Turns out no. MSNBC‘s cameras caught him, not in Aruba at all. There he is, impersonating a police officer, in fact, impersonating the police officer from the Village People, it looks like. Willie Geist, busted.
In his stead, the great Vanessa McDonald.
MCDONALD: How are you doing tonight?
CARLSON: Kind of tragic, what happened to poor Willie.
MCDONALD: I like him, too.
CARLSON: Sort of a sober guy in real life.
All right. Here‘s another story you could call kinky. Actor William Shatner recently successfully passed a kidney stone. Eww. And since nothing says obsession like purchasing your idol‘s kidney stone, he wants to offer it for sale to fans on eBay. The former Captain Kirk plans to give the proceeds to charity, or so he says. But first he has to convince the people at eBay, where they have strict rules about the sale of body parts.
MCDONALD: I have so many questions here.
CARLSON: Is a kidney stone a body part is the first question.
MCDONALD: Like, how much is it worth? But bottom line, is he going to get some kind of, like, certificate of authenticity with it?
MCDONALD: How do we know it‘s actually Shatner‘s?
CARLSON: Yes, and how did it emerge from Mr. Shatner, and what do you do with it when you get it? Make it into an engagement ring? Sort of a keepsake memento? All these questions.
Well, the Chairman of the Board is still topping the charts, even from beyond the grave. Frank Sinatra‘s “My Way” is the single most popular song at funerals in Great Britain. That‘s according to a survey by a company called Funeral Care that says the No. 2 choice is Bette Midler‘s “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
This is a story that raises several questions. First, when did funerals become an occasion for karaoke? And second, Vanessa, what song would you choose?
MCDONALD: Sinatra‘s great and all, but the first three letters of “funeral” is “fun,” and mine would be Kool and the Gang. Come on.
MCDONALD: Definitely. Come on. Everyone‘s having fun at my funeral.
CARLSON: That is so perverse.
MCDONALD: What about you? What about you?
CARLSON: I can‘t even imagine. The Grateful Dead. I mean, just start coming up with names (ph).
MCDONALD: I want all my friends celebrating.
CARLSON: All right. More news from Japan tonight. They‘re, of course, big fans of the Beaujolais over there. But this story may fall under the heading, failure to understand the concept.
Revelers in Tokyo celebrated the arrival of this year‘s Beaujolais Nouveau not simply by drinking it but by bathing in it. That‘s quite a celebration. The average bottle of Beaujolais costs about $25 in Japan. A similar bottle goes for about $5 in France.
Can I just point out, Japan is probably the weirdest country on earth.
Sort of sweet but first there‘s Hello Kitty and then this.
MCDONALD: I would not be caught dead swimming in it unless I had a straw.
CARLSON: I agree with you.
MCDONALD: Come on. It‘s good wine.
CARLSON: Yes, but there‘s all these other Japanese swimming in it, too.
MCDONALD: If you had a straw then you could make a party out of it.
CARLSON: Kind of destroys the smoky flavor of the Beaujolais.
Vanessa McDonald, thank you.
MCDONALD: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: That‘s THE SITUATION for this evening. Thanks for watching. We appreciate it. “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN” up next. Have a great night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.