updated 12/13/2005 11:42:50 AM ET 2005-12-13T16:42:50

Guests: Al Sharpton, Mike Spence, Richard Wolffe, Max Kellerman, Rachel Maddow, Tom DuPont

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks to you at home for sticking with THE SITUATION.  We always appreciate it. 

Tonight, we‘ve got the very latest on the impending execution of Stanley “Tookie” Williams.  He is now exactly four hours from death in the state of California. 

The 51-year-old Williams, who founded the Crips street gang in 1971, is set to die by lethal injection for murdering four people during two holdups in 1979. 

Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied clemency requests for Williams late this afternoon, saying he is unconvinced Williams has changed and pointing to the fact Williams has never apologized for the murders. 

A late appeal was also rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby will be one of only 17 members of the press to witness Williams‘ execution at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time in just a few hours.  She joins us now live from San Quentin State Prison in the state of California. 

Rita, thanks a lot for joining us. 

Describe the scene.  Are there many people are, and if so, are there more supporters of the execution of defenders of Tookie Williams?

RITA COSBY, MSNBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Tucker, in the last few hours we‘ve seen several hundred people come out in front of the east gate of San Quentin.  I‘m literally right in front of it.  And I can tell in the last few hours the crowd has really beefed up, predominantly very supportive of Tookie Williams, very upset that now it looks like the death penalty is going to be carried out just a few hours from now. 

And in the last few hours or so, I‘d say even like the last hour, Tucker, it seems that the crowd has gotten a lot more emotional, a lot more heated on both sides. 

I mean, we saw somebody walk by with a sign that said “Cook Tookie.”  And you can imagine the reaction that that got from the pro-Tookie supporters out here.  They were very angry to see that man.  The deputies all had to surround him.

But you can tell that things are getting tense on both sides, and there‘s a lot of concern what‘s going to happen inside this prison, outside the gates and also in south central Los Angeles. 

CARLSON:  Well, tell us—tell us about that. 

COSBY:  Tookie Williams founded a gang.

CARLSON:  Are there real concerns, Rita?  We‘ve been hearing scattered reports that authorities in Los Angeles fear some sort of civil disturbance tonight after the execution.  Are those concerns real?

COSBY:  Authorities I talked to say that they‘re not taking any chances.  They‘re not quite sure how to read this.  They‘ve gotten some leads from some informants who work with the Crips, and they say they‘ve gotten some tips.  These are guys that still look up to Tookie Williams. 

Remember, he never ratted out the Crips.  He said, “I wish I never got involved in the gang.”  He‘s tried to get kids off gangs in the last few years, but he hasn‘t ratted out the gangs and also spilled sort of, quote, gang secrets.  So a lot of these guys who are still involved in gangs very much look up to Tookie Williams.

And also, he maintains his innocence on these four murders.  He says he didn‘t do it.  He said he‘s a black man being framed.  And because of all of this, he still has a large following inside the prison and outside. 

Also, remember, Tucker, the Crips are a very popular gang inside prison.  Gangs are very much rampant in a lot of prisons, particularly the Crips, which is one of the biggest prison gangs, also biggest gangs, basically in the world, predominantly also in South America, also South Africa.  This is a large, large group. 

So authorities say that they did get some tips that, should this execution be carried out, there could be some violence, particularly in south central Los Angeles, where Tookie Williams and also another man founded the Crips many years ago, but of course, they don‘t know if those are, you know, credible tips.  But there‘s not taking any chances.  We understand that they‘ve beefed up security in Los Angeles and also outside this prison as well. 

CARLSON:  Now, in a little less than four hours you‘re going to watch this man die.  That‘s a pretty heavy thing, even for someone who‘s traveled a lot, as you have, to watch a man be put to death in a systematic, methodical way on a timer.  Are you ready for that?  What do you expect to see?

COSBY:  You know, I don‘t know if you can ever be ready for that.  My name was picked out of a lottery, and it‘s one of those things, honestly, Tucker, I have mixed feelings on. 

It‘s going to be very hard, no matter what this man did.  Obviously, he participated in heinous crimes.  Not only was he the co-founder of the Crips, he spawned generations of gangsters that we‘re feeling the rippling effects of his violence. 

This is obviously a man who did some very horrible things, and still, to this day, says he‘s innocent of these four particular murders, which is one of the things that Governor Schwarzenegger took issue with.  He said he hasn‘t repented.  How do we know he‘s really redeemed himself?  He still is saying that he‘s innocent. 

So I have a lot of mixed emotions. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

COSBY:  And on the other hand, you know, I‘ve also met this man.  I sat face to face with him in one of those little pens in San Quentin, you know, right behind me.  And I actually talked to him for a few hours one day about a year ago, and then I‘ve spoken to him twice.  I‘ve done two interviews with him over the phone since then. 

No matter how you feel, this is going to be a human being whose life is going to be lost before my eyes.  It‘s going to take about half an hour.  I understand there‘s not a lot of movement, because it is lethal injection.  It‘s a lot more peaceful, more humane means.  Regardless, it‘s going to be hard to see done.  I think it‘s going to stay with me, Tucker, a long time. 

CARLSON:  I believe it.  Pretty creepy no matter how you slice it.  Rita Cosby at San Quentin, standing by for us live, should anything break during the course of the show.  Thanks a lot, Rita. 

COSBY:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Many celebrities have come out full force in support of Tookie Williams, including actor Jamie Foxx and the rapper Snoop Dogg.  Our next guest also believes Williams has turned his life around in prison and should not be executed.  Reverend Al Sharpton joins us live tonight from New York. 

Reverend Al, thanks a lot for coming on. 

REV. AL SHARPTON, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST:  Good to be with you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So California politics is very complicated.  Most of us don‘t understand it.  Explain to us what the political considerations might have been behind the governor‘s decision today to refuse clemency to Tookie Williams.

MIKE SPENCE, WRITER:  I‘m not going to—because you‘re my friend, I‘m not going to put you on the spot by asking you the names of the four people Tookie Williams killed, three Taiwanese immigrants and a 7-Eleven manager in California.  But I suspect—I am positive that virtually no one defending this man tonight has any idea the names of his victims, nor any idea what became of their families after he murdered them, and that bothers me.  Does it bother you?

SHARPTON:  First of all, no one is at all trying to excuse the pain and suffering of any other families.  I think what Tookie Williams has said and what his defense lawyers have said is that he has said repeatedly that he did not commit the crimes and he was convicted all based on witnesses that had something to gain.  Snitch deals.  There were no eyewitnesses or anyone that did not have something to gain, even some that said they were with him and quoted him as saying horrific things, were people that did that in exchange for them not being prosecuted. 

CARLSON:  But Rev, sorry to interrupt you, but that‘s simply not true.  I took a very close look at the case today, and that is a line you often hear repeated by his defenders, but it‘s false.  There were eyewitnesses on the scene who saw his car outside the 7-Eleven. 

SHARPTON:  Such as?

CARLSON:  Outside the 7-Eleven where he killed Mr. Owens.  There were a number of family members, including his brother, to whom he bragged about these killings. 

SHARPTON:  Tucker, a car outside of 7-Eleven is not an eyewitness. 

CARLSON:  But come on.  He bragged to his brother, to his friends. 

SHARPTON:  According to a witness that...

CARLSON:  People who were not indicted.  People who were not under indictment. 

SHARPTON:  And people who were under investigation.  I mean, the manuscripts and transcripts are very clear that they do not have anyone there that did not make statements that had nothing to gain from that.  Having said all of that...

CARLSON:  You‘re implying that he‘s innocent, and if you think he is, that‘s something I haven‘t heard today. 

SHARPTON:  No, what I‘m saying is—what I‘m saying is that he said he was innocent, and to continue to say that someone should apologize for something they said they didn‘t do really doesn‘t make a lot of sense if his crane (ph) was there. 

Secondly, he had more to gain by saying, “I did do it and I‘m sorry” and then try and, in some way have the public enticed that he was repentant than to say, “I didn‘t do it,” which is something that to me is more compelling because he‘s not trying seeming to try to play the political game here with the judicial system.  He‘s saying, “I didn‘t do it.”

CARLSON:  Not trying to play the political game, this is entirely political.  Look, you know as well as I do that if people truly believe Tookie Williams did not kill those four people, this would be a much bigger case even than it is.  Even his supporters.  And I can tell even by the sound of your voice, even you suspect, yes, this guy did it and he did it, by the way, for racial admissions, by his own admission. 

“I killed him because he was white.”  That‘s what Tookie Williams said to one of his accomplices. 

SHARPTON:  Said to who?

CARLSON:  He said that to a man named Tony Sims.  Who in fact did not...

SHARPTON:  What did Tony Sims get for saying that he did that?

CARLSON:  He got zero.  He got bupkiss.  He got life in prison.  He did not plead.  He did not say that during the trial.  He refused to testify during the trial.  He said that when he was arrested.

SHARPTON:  It has been very—fairly well documented by his defense attorney.  But there‘s another side of this argument, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  That‘s the side I wanted to bring up, the idea that Tookie Williams is somehow redeemed, even though he‘s still lying about the case, but redeemed and someone convincing young people not to join gangs.  I would like one single example of one single young person whom he has convinced not to join street gangs. 

SHARPTON:  You have several, including many artists like Snoop Dogg and others who have said that he‘s influenced them to start working against gangs and to do things positive in the community.  You don‘t need one.  You‘ve had several over the last several years. 

CARLSON:  Then why hasn‘t gang activity in Los Angeles subsided at all?  Gangsters are as much in L.A. as they‘ve always been.

SHARPTON:  First of all, that‘s why saying why have a police department, because we still have crime?  He has made the best efforts possible.  Clearly, it will take more than one person, but that doesn‘t mean he‘s ineffective any more than I would say we don‘t need LAPD because we still have crime in L.A.  That‘s absurd. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think it‘s absurd.  If the claim is that Tookie Williams has made this a better country, and you balance that with the lives he took...

SHARPTON:  If Tookie Williams has people that have gone on the record saying he‘s changed their lives, changed their minds about gang banging, changed their minds about violence, which they have, he has made it a better country.  He has not been able to eradicate all gangs, but that does not in any way take away from the fact that he has made a difference. 

CARLSON:  I still think that this is—the interest in him is disproportionate.  Snoop Dogg and Susan Sarandon are not having fund raisers of the daughters of the 7-Eleven clerk who was murdered buy Tookie Williams, and it bothers me. 

Let me ask you this.  Is there going to be a civil disturbance tonight in California?  Do you think...

SHARPTON:  I would hope not.  I don‘t think any of us want that.  And I understand Reverend Jesse Jackson, I was talking about not long ago, who visited Tookie Williams today who said—Tookie Williams said he does not want his name used for violence.  I think Williams has made it clear that is not what he‘s about or any of us are about. 

But we still say that the governor would have served a greater good to let this man spend his life in jail, continuing to proselytize against violence and gang warfare.  There‘s nothing gained with killing this man tonight.  Absolutely nothing.

CARLSON:  And you may be right.  Actually, as it turns out I honestly am not even advocating for the death penalty.  I don‘t think governments should kill except in self-defense.

However, it just seems like Tookie Williams is being turned into a hero, and he‘s not a hero.  He‘s a very bad man, and it would make me feel better to hear you say that. 

SHARPTON:  I think that Tookie Williams is a tragedy, but I think that out of the tragedy there can come some good.  And he began doing a lot of that good for many years, and that should have continued. 

I don‘t think any of us are saying that what he was accused of in any shape, way or form, if it was in fact true, and what we do know is true, his gang activity was not heroic, but it was redemptive when he condemned it and convinced others of it.  And I think the far greater good would have been for the governor to continue that behind bars than to kill him tonight as revenge that will not return these victims and not help to convince young people in redemption or in the lack of violence in gang warfare. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Good.  Well, maybe after tonight, maybe some of the fans can set up some sort of fund for Albert Owens‘ girls.  And if we can help them to live a more decent life, afterwards (ph). 

SHARPTON:  I think we should do what is responsible for all. 

CARLSON:  I hope so.  The Reverend Al Sharpton, thank you.  In New York tonight.  Thanks.

Still to come, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied clemency for Tookie Williams, as you just heard, difference pleas from tinsel town.  Is there a chance Arnold Schwarzenegger could soon be replaced by another Hollywood heavyweight? We‘ll look into the, and it is vulnerable.  Whatever a note, the looking to the intimacy of Mel Gibson when we come back. 

Plus, Bush in the bubble.  Why has the president cut off key members of his cabinet?  An inside look at our isolated leader with “Newsweek‘s” Richard Wolffe when THE SITUATION returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  A look at the president within the White House walls.  Is it good for our country that George Bush appears to have frozen out everyone in Washington except for a slight Angie, thank you. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  You‘re looking at live pictures outside of San Quentin, where at 12:01 a.m., Stanley Tookie Williams, convicted murder, founder of the Crips street gang in Los Angeles, will be executed by lethal injection.  As we said a minute ago, the Supreme Court has denied a last-minute request from his supporters and attorneys to delay his execution.  Now he will be, as we said, in fewer than four hours, executed. 

His fate was sealed, though, earlier today when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied him clemency.  Here to talk about that decision will affect an already troubled governorship is Mike Spence.  He‘s the president of the California Republican assembly.  His group is questioning whether to endorse Governor Schwarzenegger before the primary.  He joins us live tonight from Pasadena, California. 

Mike, thanks for coming on. 

SPENCE:  Good to be with you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  California politics is very complicated.  Most of us don‘t understand it.  Explain to us what the political considerations might have been behind the governor‘s decision today to refuse clemency to Tookie Williams?

We were troubled by the process.  And we were concerned about where the governor was heading on this particular decision.  You know, he has a track record over the last two years.  He has pardoned 30 times, or paroled 30 times as many people as Gray Davis, the Democratic Davis did in five years, and so we were a little troubled about where this was heading.  But we‘re obviously, based on the evidence, pleased that clemency was not granted. 

CARLSON:  Overall, how dissatisfied are core Republicans with Governor Schwarzenegger at this point?

SPENCE:  Well, since the special election, there‘s been a lot of dissatisfaction.  He had the way had the clemency hearings were done.  He‘s proposed a world record of state spending on bonds—through bonds, $50 billion.  That‘s $100 billion with interest.  We‘re going to hear more about that. 

And of course, he appointed a liberal partisan Democrat to be chief of staff.  Someone who was in the Davis administration as the cabinet secretary and actually was the former executive director of the Democratic Party.  And that‘s very troubling to Republicans that believe in things and believe in ideas. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but no offense, sir—no offense, but I‘m from California.  I know something about Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He was a liberal when he was elected.  Everybody knew he was a liberal.  Everyone knew he was a social liberal, probably a big spender.  He turned out to be both of those things.

Can you say you‘re surprised?

SPENCE:  Well, I‘m not completely surprised, but he campaigned as a fiscal conservation.  The line even hires vocal talent.  The line we always here is that he‘s a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.  And the reality is, Republicans have swallowed a lot of different things over the years to be supportive of the governor in these last few years.

But now he‘s abandoning all fiscal conservatism by supporting this bond.  In you just got done with a mystery, back it from them to use.  And now that that failed, tee was a park with the film.  Sometimes or California taxpayers.  And that‘s a problem for us.

CARLSON:  So Meg Gibson for governor.  That‘s the option people are talking about.  I‘m not knocking it.  It‘s California, anything could happen.  But why would Mel Gibson be a better governor than Arnold Schwarzenegger?

SPENCE:  I think Mel Gibson knows what he stands for and can articulate that to people.  So we have a long history of people getting involved.  He brings instant recognition.   And in the entertainment-side why political industry we‘re going to ask in a few years, and the particularly sequel involved in politics. 

And imposition Ronald Reagan might well, bring or out so we don‘t have to worry about that.  He obviously, he‘s a lunch authority right now filming, and that‘s haven‘t a person to discuss that with him, but that‘s why we set up the web site, MelGibsonforGovernor.com.  So that people can - - and we can gauge the interest for this type of campaign.

CARLSON:  Because California needs another actor with a foreign accent as governor.  Actually, I bet he‘d be a great governor, I have to say.  Controversial though.

All right.  Mark Spence, thanks for joining us.  I really appreciate it.

SPENCE:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, is President Bush inside a bubble, and if so, who‘s giving him advice, Dick Cheney?  What about Condoleezza Rice?  We‘ll talk to a man who actually knows, “Newsweek‘s” Richard Wolf, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, is President Bush inside a bubble.  But thanks for the courage of the Iraqi people, the pour of the Middle East and the history of freedom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  That was President Bush, of course, giving a series of speeches designed to lay out the strategy for victory in Iraq.  Well, he‘s going public with his plans and it think some microbrews.  So think that privately, the president probably came isolated.

In fact, my next guests says he might be the most isolated president since Richard Nixon in the latter years. 

Joining me now in the studio to talk about this, Richard Wolffe, senior White House correspondent for “Newsweek.” 

Thanks a lot for coming on. 

RICHARD WOLFFE, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “NEWSWEEK”:  Hey, Tucker, great to be with you.

CARLSON:  You‘ve got some amazing examples in here to back up your contention he‘s isolated.  You said the White House has no idea that Congressman Murtha was going to come out with this statement of the war and the, really remarkably, you have this little vignette where Bush goes out before a crowd of supporters and talks about his Social Security plan, apparently unaware that it‘s completely dead. 

WOLFFE:  Right.

CARLSON:  Who does he talk to?

WOLFFE:  Well, it‘s a good question.  It‘s not that he doesn‘t talk to people.  The question is, does he listen?  He met with plenty of members of Congress about a Social Security plan.  And listening to the White House, they say look, he knew it would be a tough sell, but he wanted it to be resolute and push them on. 

The question is about judgment.  Did he hear what they were saying when they said it was dead and did he push it beyond the dead stage?  Was he flogging a dead horse?  And that‘s the real question that we tried to frame this week. 

CARLSON:  But there‘s almost a procedural question.  The president said in an interview with Brian Williams earlier today that he doesn‘t read your magazine.

WOLFFE:  My magazine.

CARLSON:  Or “TIME,” or “U.S. News.”  Presumably doesn‘t read news weeklies.   He has to get his information from somewhere.  You point out he gets it from Andy Card and Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, and from a couple others.  Do they tell him the news, just basic day-to-day news?

WOLFFE:  Well, you know, they say they do, but it‘s interesting what the president told Brian Williams today was that he‘d spoken to the president elect of Honduras.  He said, “I talk to people.  I spoke to this president.”

Scott McClellan, his press secretary, said it was a 10-minute call, a congratulatory call, where the two men said, you know, “Well done and let‘s meet up soon.”  If that‘s what the president thinks is talking to people, then maybe he needs to get out more. 

CARLSON:  I‘ve gotten the impression just from watching him over the last couple weeks that all this bad news and this plummeting approval rating has actually been good for him.  He seems to actually, on Iraq, by the way, making the case more forcefully with a greater level of detail and possibly even fewer slogans than I‘ve noticed in the past.  Do you think that‘s fair?

WOLFFE:  I think these speeches have been a very different term from what we‘ve heard before and the president should take some credit for that.  He should especially get credit for taking questions today, something he didn‘t even do last week when he was talking to the Council on Foreign Relations. 

So yes, you‘ve got to give him thumbs for up that. 

CARLSON:  So you say you think Andy Card, the chief of staff, may be on his way out that, that as you put it, he‘s tired of coming in before dawn every morning.  Who will he be replaced by?

WOLFFE:  The rumor mill is working pretty much overtime in Washington. 

And the big name is Josh Bolton.  He‘s the Office of Management and Budget. 

He‘s an insider. 

CARLSON:  Very smart guy. 

WOLFFE:  He‘s a very smart guys, but he‘s one of the inner circle.  He was there in Austin in ‘99.

CARLSON:  You make the point that other presidents—second-term presidents, these are always a bit of disaster.  They always have pretty significant problems.  And the tradition has been to bring in people from outside, elder statesman types and you make the point this is about as likely as Texas becoming part of France.  Do you really think that?

WOLFFE:  Yes, I do.  It comes down to what the president‘s circle is like.  We described it like the Robert De Niro character in “Meet the Parents.”  There‘s a circle of trust, and it‘s introvert hard to break into it.  The few people have, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, they‘ve seen that decline over the last year.  So the chances of someone coming in is pretty low. 

CARLSON:  Dick Cheney, you‘ve been hearing all sorts of rumors, and it‘s hard to know if it‘s true, that he‘s been shut out to some extent.  Is that knowable and is it true?

WOLFFE:  It is very hard to guess the relationship between the president and the vice president.  But a number of very well-placed sources who are actually favorable to both men, tell me that it‘s not that it‘s not that he‘s been shut out but he has become less influential.  His voice is less important.  Not just with the president but from the interagency president debate, which is actually where Taiwan had been most ridiculous. 

You‘ve—as you also point out, and I certainly noticed it myself, you have this group of pretty strong women around Bush, some of whom openly tell him what to do. 

WOLFFE:  Right.

CARLSON:  Condoleezza Rice has joined that group.  I don‘t know if she tells him what to do.

But we thought of her as sort of hawkish.  You make the point that now that she‘s gone to run the State Department, in the grand tradition the he State Department is to become an internationalist. 

WOLFFE:  Right.  There was always an open question about Condi Rice.  You know, was she a hawk?  Was she a neocon?  As we quoted in the story this week, she‘s no Colin Powell, but she‘s no neocon, either.  And she‘s taken a much more moderate line.  And the people around her, people like Bob Zoellick, Nick Burns, they represent the mainstream of foreign policy. 

CARLSON:  What is she telling the president about Iraq?  Do you have any idea?

WOLFFE:  Yes.  Well, we know for a start that she has been very clear on the whole torture position.  And...

CARLSON:  She‘s against it?

WOLFFE:  She is against torture, and cruel, in humane, degrading treatment, which most of us would call torture.  But on Iraq, she‘s taken a much more inclusive position for our allies and she‘s been promoting very heavily the political go between work.  It‘s been pretty small. 

CARLSON:  Interesting.  Richard Wolffe, thank you.  It was a great piece.  Up next, can you hear me now? Opponents for the war in Iraq find a way to protest quietly and save a few bucks at the same time.  How they do it when we come back. 

Plus, a close eye on developments in the San Quentin state prison in California where hours from now, Stanley “Tookie” Williams will be executed.  Is redemption a valid reason to save someone‘s life?  We‘ll debate that next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STANLEY “TOOKIE” WILLIAMS:  I said no last meal.  I don‘t want anyone to be there.  Who would I possibly want to see me die?  So I would have no one there.  I want no meal from this place. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was Tookie Williams talking to our Rita Cosby last month.  Williams is scheduled to die by lethal injection in California‘s San Quentin prison in less than three and a half hours.  Here to discuss his fate, Rachel Maddow, Air America Radio.  Rachel, thanks a lot for coming on.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  Hi, Tucker.  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  The problem with the death penalty is, it can make you feel sorry even for Tookie Williams.  Here‘s a guy—if anybody deserves to die, it‘s him.  And my feeling with the death penalty has always been it‘s not a question of whether they deserve to die—of course they do—but a question of whether we ought to kill them.  And it does—nobody should have to know the exact hour of his death, it seems to me.  And so even I, who think Tookie Williams is one of the worst people on the planet, sort of feel a twinge of oh, I think this is wrong. 

That said, his defenders are taking a kind of indefensible position.  They should show, it seems to me, at least as much sympathy for and concern for the families of his victims as they do for him, but they don‘t. 

MADDOW:  Well, I mean, but does opposition to the death penalty mean that every crime needs to be excused or every person needs to be explained or every circumstance needs to be expunged in terms of...

CARLSON:  No.

MADDOW:  No, I really—I‘m with—I mean, I think we‘re both opposed to the death penalty on principle, but for me, what that means is, it doesn‘t really matter how bad the person is who you want to kill.  The point is whether or not you want to be the kind of person who kills people.  And whether or not you want to be the kind of government that kills people.

CARLSON:  But that‘s not—and I think—actually, I completely agree with you, but that‘s not the case they‘re making, and that is never the case they make. 

MADDOW:  It‘s the case I‘m making. 

CARLSON:  It is, and you‘re in a very small minority, the people who have the chutzpah to make that or the bravery to make that argument, that the death penalty is wrong for these various reasons, on principle. 

They make an argument that you‘re killing a good man or you‘re killing an innocent man or it‘s a racist plot to kill this guy because or this color, or whatever.  A series of specious arguments that on the facts are almost always false.  Tookie Williams is a monster who killed these people and has lied about it all these many years.  There‘s no reason to make him into a hero, and yet they always do. 

MADDOW:  But you know, the reason we debate the death penalty in this country, we kill somebody every couple of days in this country, and we don‘t talk about it every time.  We talk about it when there is a case that gets a lot of attention.  The reason Tookie Williams‘ case is getting a lot of attention is because he was the founder of this gang, he wrote these children‘s books, a big case has been made about who he is and what the case is for his redemption. 

But that gets us down a cul-de-sac.  It kinds of gets us up against the wall of whether or not we want people like Arnold Schwarzenegger scrutinizing this case and squinting at this guy and saying, has he been redeemed?  I mean, how obnoxious is it to read Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s personal soul-searching assessment of whether or not this man has been redeemed?  Who the heck is Arnold Schwarzenegger to decide that? 

CARLSON:  He is a man we elected to decide that. 

MADDOW:  He‘s a man we elected (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  That‘s what a democracy is.  We decide the guy who gets to decide that.  But I even think that whole discussion is itself offensive, because the second you make Tookie Williams out to be this benevolent character, this person who has been redeemed, then you are, in my view, morally obligated to care about the people his murders left blind, like the daughters of the 7/11 guy he offed, heartlessly, for no apparent reason, and yet Susan Sarandon and Snoop Dogg and all these morons, they could care less what happened to the families of the people this guy killed. 

MADDOW:  There‘s nothing—there is nothing about what they‘ve done in their advocacy for Tookie Williams that tells you they don‘t care about the victims. 

CARLSON:  Really?  Absolutely there is, because they excused Tookie Williams‘ unwillingness...

MADDOW:  No, they don‘t excuse him. 

CARLSON:  Yes, they do.  They excuse—he will not admit what is clearly true, and the more you read about this case, the clearer it is.  He killed these people.  A lot of people saw him do it, and they all told the police about it.  He bragged about it to relatives, and he did it for racist reasons, and they excuse that away. 

MADDOW:  No.  What‘s happened in the advocacy for Tookie Williams is that the people who do not want him to be killed are making the case that he‘s a human being, that he has a value on this Earth that is greater than the value of killing him.  And so you make that by describing who he is, by talking about his life, by talking about the fact that he maintains his innocence in these crimes.  You may not believe him, but that‘s part of who he is, and that‘s part of explaining what it means to kill this guy. 

And we need to see him not just as a number.  We need to see him as not just any other person that we kill every 48 hours in this country. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  I think we should always—that‘s what I hate about lethal injection.  That‘s why if you‘re going to execute people, behead them.  Don‘t pretend it‘s a medical procedure, don‘t pretend, you know, you‘ve got guys in lab coats and syringes and a gurney, that somehow this—you know, it‘s like abortion.  It‘s like all this phony euphemism and rhetoric designed to cloak the truth. 

I agree with that, I just think they‘re turning him into a hero and he‘s not. 

MADDOW:  They‘re not turning him into a hero.  They‘re turning him into a man.  And there‘s something about being a death row prisoner that takes away that manhood, takes away that personhood, and makes it easier to kill people.  They‘re trying to talk about him as if he‘s somebody who you might have met in your life.  Not some monster who‘s locked away, because that‘s what it means to kill somebody.

CARLSON:  Oh, man.

MADDOW:  I mean, the question...

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  ... whether you would kill the worst person in the world or whether you wouldn‘t?  Are you the kind of person who kills or are you not?  Are we the kind of society that kills, or are we not?  That‘s the question. 

CARLSON:  I would be actually—I would be delighted to see his victims‘ families kill him slowly with knives.  I just am unhappy with the government doing it because it‘s too far removed from justice.  It‘s too corporate, it‘s too sterile, it‘s too Soviet or something. 

MADDOW:  You may want a vigilante world.  I just know I will never trust the government enough to let their decision be the thing that kills somebody, because when they‘re wrong, you can‘t take it back.

CARLSON:  I tend to agree with that.  I will trust the families, though.  And I do sort of want a vigilante world when it comes down to it, actually.  Sorry.

MADDOW:  Really? 

CARLSON:  Yeah, kind of. 

MADDOW:  You really?

CARLSON:  (INAUDIBLE) trying to do.

MADDOW:  Are you sure?

CARLSON:  Yeah, I‘m sort of sure.

(CROSSTALK) 

CARLSON:  In this case, you can.  Maybe when I cool down, I‘ll change my mind.  Rachel Maddow.

MADDOW:  I believe in justice.  I don‘t believe in that, but I (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  I think it‘s a kind of justice.  Anyway, we can get into this tomorrow now that I‘ve revealed myself as that far out.  Thank you. 

MADDOW:  You did it. 

CARLSON:  We‘ve still got a lot more to discuss on THE SITUATION. 

Here‘s just a taste of what lies ahead. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  Born supremacy.  You may not believe how this woman shattered an age-old record. 

Then, the rat patrol.  New Yorkers learn the shocking truth about one of their city‘s most gnawing problems. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There are more rats than people. 

CARLSON:  Plus, we‘ll show you what makes this traffic cop‘s beat an arresting sight for holiday travel. 

And you‘ll get a kick out of watching German elephants play with their balls.  That‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  An American president once said, “it takes a great man to be a good listener.”  Joining us now from Las Vegas, a great listener and a good man, or a great man and a good listener, in any case.  Max Kellerman from ESPN Radio and HBO boxing.  Max, welcome. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  I‘ll take either one of those compliments, or all three. 

CARLSON:  Do you know who the president was? 

KELLERMAN:  You know who it sounds like?  It sounds like Bill Clinton, to tell you the truth. 

CARLSON:  No, he talked too much.  No, it was Silent Cal.  Calvin Coolidge.

KELLERMAN:  Sure, Calvin Coolidge.

CARLSON:  The president who said the fewest words of any of them. 

All right, first up, speaking of American politics, the so-called war tax on your phone bill.  It‘s been there on and of since 1898.  Officially, it‘s the federal excise tax on phone usage, first adopted to pay for Spanish-American War.  It‘s just pennies per bill, you may not even have noticed it, but it rakes in about $6 billion a year, and war protesters nationwide are refusing to pay.  Some phone companies are letting them get away with it, but the IRS takes a dimmer view, saying, quote, “there is no law that permits a person to refuse to file a federal return or pay a federal tax based on what the government spends on programs or policies they disagree with.”  End quote. 

You know, I‘m against the war tax.  I‘m against a lot of taxes.  But in this case, shut up and pay your tax.  Because the irony here is, the very people who are now refusing to pay this so-called war tax, which does not just go to war, incidentally—or it‘s just not the Iraq war, but also wars that keep America free—but these exact same people are the ones who are always agitating for more taxes.  They just don‘t happen to like this one.  So until these same people start agitating for lower taxes, I don‘t take them seriously, and I think they ought to pay. 

KELLERMAN:  First of all, it‘s pennies on the bill, and it raises $6 billion—sounds like a pretty good idea. 

But you know what?  I‘m philosophically opposed to certain taxes.  For instance, the estate tax.  Doesn‘t seem fair to me that the government should come in and take money that‘s being passed from a parent to a child.  Or capital gains tax, where you sell a piece of property and it‘s made a certain amount of money, and instead of adjusting for inflation, they just take what you made in real dollars.  Just doesn‘t seem fair. 

CARLSON:  Exactly.  I agree.

KELLERMAN:  You mean to tell me there‘s a tax on a phone bill to pay for a war?  That‘s ridiculous.  Are you going to make like a taxes on shoes to pay for a nuclear program?  There should be some correlation between the tax and what the money is being used for. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, but look, there are many things the federal government does that I don‘t agree with at all, many of which I violently disagree with. But I have to pay my taxes, therefore I do.  And it just seems to me, as much as I agree philosophically with a lot of people who oppose this war, I despise them anyway.  It‘s sort of like the death penalty.  I‘m not for the death penalty, but I hate everyone else who is against the death penalty.

KELLERMAN:  Why is that?

CARLSON:  They‘re just not my kind of people.  They don‘t care about the victims.  It‘s a whole another debate which we‘ve had throughout the show.

But look, here‘s my point.  They should pay the taxes, because maybe it will awaken them to the onerous burden that taxes represent to ordinary people.  I let every one of these protesters is upper middle class, for one thing. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, first of all, it‘s pennies on the phone bill.  A lot of people haven‘t even noticed it.  So the stand they‘re making is a philosophical one.  They‘re making an ideological point.  You know, we‘re against the war, we don‘t want to pay this tax.  It‘s not actually because the tax hurt them, the tax—maybe they feel the pain of paying the tax.  So having them pay it is not going to teach them that it‘s, you know, bad tax, taxes are bad.  Do you understand that, because it‘s literally pennies on their phone bill.  

CARLSON:  Yes, but it will annoy them.  So maybe they‘ll vote differently in the next election.

All right.  Next up, most people can agree that racism is bad.  But is it a form of mental illness?  That‘s the debate now ongoing.  Some psychiatrists are saying that it is, based on seeing patients whose racism, opposition to homosexuality and others prejudices are so severe as to be critically disabling.  They describe people whose daily functioning is paralyzed by persistent fears and worries about other groups.  The proposed new guidelines have not yet been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, or who knows, maybe they will, and they shouldn‘t be. 

They absolutely shouldn‘t be.  This is just another example of people excusing away immoral and crummy behavior.  If you are—if you‘re Jesse Jackson or Louis Farrakhan or someone who was exposed—or espoused hatred toward other races, you shouldn‘t be able to hide behind, you know, it‘s a mental illness that I developed somewhere along the line.  No, it‘s something wrong with you.  It‘s a moral failing, and you ought to take responsibility for it. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, in the first place, they‘re not saying that all racism is mental illness.  They‘re saying that racism that results in paralysis is mental illness.  Which seems rational to me.

But if you think about the insanity defense in a court of law, what is the insanity defense?  In order to prove that you‘re insane, you have to prove that—or the person you‘re representing is insane—you have to prove that that person didn‘t understand the difference between right and wrong.  Right?  So actually it is—there is a moral component to the insanity defense.  What‘s a sociopath, by definition?  Someone who can‘t empathize with someone else.  They don‘t have the ability to empathize, and so they can‘t put their—you know, they don‘t understand what they‘re...

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  OK. 

CARLSON:  OK, you‘re right, but it‘s still...

KELLERMAN:  That‘s a moral issue.

CARLSON:  It‘s still self-inflicted.  You‘re still doing it to yourself, knowing that it‘s wrong, and after a while, it becomes disabling, but it‘s still your fault. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, but I don‘t think that they‘re saying that insanity -

well, yes, I suppose if you‘re saying insanity, it does remove some kind of culpability...

CARLSON:  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  ... but the idea that there isn‘t a moral component to insanity I think is not true.  I think there is a moral component to insanity, and this seems to speak to it. 

CARLSON:  There is a moral component to insanity?  You know, I‘m not going to debate you, because you are in Las Vegas right now, so I guess you would know. 

Max Kellerman from Las Vegas tonight.  Good luck at the tables, as always.  I hope you‘re up. 

KELLERMAN:  I‘m not, but thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Plenty still ahead on THE SITUATION.

Ever wonder where Donald Trump does his Christmas shopping?  In the pages of the most incredible holiday catalog you‘ve ever seen.  You‘ve got $2 million cars and trips to the moon under the tree when THE SITUATION rolls on. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  If you only ask for an iPod and a sweater this Christmas, you are selling yourself short.  Leaf through the pages in the DuPont registry, and you will see just how short.  A million-dollar watch, a $100 million trip to the moon would look pretty good in the old stocking, wouldn‘t it?  They are both available in the outrageous catalog published by my next guest.  Tom DuPont joining us live tonight from St.  Petersburg, Florida, with some pretty amazing gift ideas.  Mr. DuPont, thanks for coming on. 

TOM DUPONT, PUBLISHER, DUPONT REGISTRY:  Thank you, Tucker.  Pleasure to be with you. 

CARLSON:  Now, why is there a wheel behind you?  What‘s that?

TOM DUPONT:  You can‘t go anywhere without this wheel.  This is the latest in bling-bling wheels.  They‘re the best-made, Asanti (ph) AS 1, CZ, for cubic zirconium wheel.  It‘s specially decorated.  You need a set of four.  They‘re only $250,000. 

CARLSON:  Do people buy those? 

TOM DUPONT:  Absolutely.  You put them on your big hummer, you put them on your Rolls Royce or your Bentley, and you go out to dinner, and you take an armed guard with you. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I was about to say, you‘re begging to be carjacked. 

What is the vehicle behind the tire? 

TOM DUPONT:  The vehicle behind the tire is the pride of the fleet.  That is an H-6 Hummer.  It‘s a stretch Hummer with four wheels on the back, and fully outfitted inside.  It‘s the ultimate SUV.  It‘s called the H-6 players edition, and they are built here in Florida by Legendary Motor Cars.  It‘s just a fabulous car inside, full limousine.  You‘ve got six screen TVs, you‘ve got a bar made out of walnut, three air conditioners.  Great for tailgating.

CARLSON:  What is that going to set you back? 

TOM DUPONT:  The Hummer is a bargain.  It‘s $103,000. 

CARLSON:  That is just mind-numbingly vulgar.  I love it. 

Now, the bike behind you, from reading your catalog, I suspect that‘s the Ferrari bicycle, but it looks pretty much like a bicycle. 

TOM DUPONT:  Well, it may look like a bicycle to you, but you are correct, it‘s Canalgo‘s (ph) bike for Ferrari.  It‘s a fabulous bike.  It‘s all made out of modern composites and kevlar.  It will make you go faster than you even think you can go, and stop quickly as well, because it‘s got some fantastic brakes on it.  $7,500 to cruise around the neighborhood, you can‘t go wrong. 

CARLSON:  That‘s amazing.  What is the most expensive thing you have had in the DuPont registry? 

TOM DUPONT:  Well, you know, in the pages of the DuPont Registry, you can find almost anything you want to buy.  If you want to top something out, the trip to the moon is something that is in a competitor‘s magazine, but we‘ll mention that tonight.  I think that‘s $100 million. 

CARLSON:  That‘s a lot. 

TOM DUPONT:  That‘s a lot.  But tonight, if you want to look at something really expensive in these pages, you want to go to the McClairen SLR (ph), over my right shoulder.  Sticker price on that car is $465,000.  The other car you want to pay close attention to is very rare, in the pages of the DuPont Registry as an exclusive.  To my left is a Porsche Carrera GT.  It‘s owned by Tiger Woods.  Tiger is selling it because he just took a new car in delivery, didn‘t have room in the garage.  That‘s going to run you $475,000. 

CARLSON:  Now, who buys this?  I mean, the obvious question, and I don‘t want to be mean, obviously or snobbish, obviously, but the fact you are selling it implies there‘s someone willing to buy it, and who would that be? 

TOM DUPONT:  Well, you just never know who is going to buy these.  We have got 100,000 readers every month at the DuPont registry.  You can buy it on newsstands, you can subscribe to it.  There‘s active buying and selling going on almost every day in this magazine.  As a matter of fact, we did have to bring tonight a $1.2 million Padic Philippe (ph) wrist watch, $1.2 million.  But we couldn‘t bring it because it‘s already been sold and been delivered, and it‘s not available for us to show off, except for in the pages of this issue. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, but who—make a sweeping generalization for me. 

What kind of person would pay a million bucks for a watch? 

TOM DUPONT:  OK.  Let‘s start with your average high-paid athlete, who just made $28 million last year.  Baseball, football, basketball, tennis, golf.  They have all got the wherewithal to spend some money of these kind of things.  How about a dot-com survivor, somebody who lived through the crash and has made mega billions on the stock market?  There‘s a lot of people—actors, actresses—that like to go to the supermarket in a Lamborghini. 

CARLSON:  I just think you are courting violent revolution when people behave that way.  But that‘s just me.  Call me a lefty.  Tom DuPont of the DuPont Registry, joining us live there from St. Petersburg.  Excellent catalogue.  Thanks a lot. 

TOM DUPONT:  Thank you very much, Tucker.  Have a good evening. 

CARLSON:  You too. 

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, sure, this cop‘s signals are a little confusing, but a couple of traffic accidents a small price to pay for entertainment this great.  We‘ll meet a man who really loves the job when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor,” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Joining us, often indicted, never convicted, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, THE SITUATION:  You‘re darn right.  Can I just say, if you have $250,000 wheels, you are just an obnoxious person and I don‘t like you very much. 

CARLSON:  How about a bike for 7,500 bucks? 

GEIST:  I don‘t know.  I was going to send you to the moon, but the $100 million was a little much. 

CARLSON:  Kind of prohibitive. 

GEIST:  One way I could have done. 

CARLSON:  Well, this guy gives a whole new meaning to police brutality.  His dancing, absolutely brutal. 

Retired Providence, Rhode Island police officer, Tony Lapore (ph), showed off his moves while directing traffic today.  The former cop comes back every December to reprise the routine he began performing in 1984 to spice up his traffic shifts.  Lapore‘s dancing has earned him some fame.  He now performs at birthday parties and special events. 

GEIST:  And Tucker, really, what makes any event more special than a dancing retired police officer?  Really spices up a bar mitzvah. 

CARLSON:  Absolutely.

GEIST:  Those hand signals are kind of confusing, though, don‘t you think?  Is it worth the bloodshed and the accidents for entertainment? 

CARLSON:  Oh, I‘d drive into a bridge if I saw that, no, totally. 

Now, here‘s a Guinness record that actually means something.  You‘re looking at the oldest person on Earth.  Maria Ester Capovia (ph) is 116 years old, 116.  Born in Ecuador on September 14, 1889, she is now in “The Guinness Book of World Records,” which checked out her birth and marriage certificates last week, and officially declared her the oldest person in the world.  Congratulations. 

GEIST:  I would like to see her papers.  She looks pretty good, seriously, doesn‘t she?  She doesn‘t look like any 116-year-old I know. 

CARLSON:  I agree.

GEIST:  Can you imagine what she would look like if she was 100?  Just to give our viewers—just want to give our viewers a little perspective.  When she was born, Joan Rivers was only 6 years old. 

CARLSON:  Is that true?

GEIST:  Amazing.  Yes.

CARLSON:  To my knowledge, elephants don‘t normally play soccer.  That‘s what makes this video so unusual.  This is the German elephant soccer team, polishing its skills at the Munich Zoo in preparation for the World Cup, The humans-only international soccer tournament will be held in Germany next year.  The elephant team is considered by most experts to be frankly kind of a long shot. 

GEIST:  Yes, we had a story on these exact elephants a couple of months ago, Tucker, and I have to say, the fellows really aren‘t showing the kind of improvement we would have expected at this point. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.

GEIST:  Those elephants stink at soccer. 

CARLSON:  This whole long memory thing?  Totally false, obviously. 

GEIST:  Very disappointing group of elephants who play soccer. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  The fact they play at all is kind of impressive. 

GEIST:  They‘re going to fail at the World Cup. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  There‘s an Oscar Wilde quote in there somewhere. 

Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s it for THE SITUATION tonight.  Thank you for watching.  Up next, “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.  Have a great night.

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