updated 2/15/2006 11:53:39 AM ET 2006-02-15T16:53:39

Guests: Al Franken, Michael Medved, Rachel Maddow, Max Kellerman, Robin Leach

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  It‘s time to pass it on to a man who never mixes alcohol with shotguns.  Tucker Carlson, he‘s the star of THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON. 

Tucker, I‘ve got my cup out, ready to have a drink.  What is THE SITUATION tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  A drink and kill some birds while you‘re at it, Joe.  Thanks.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll do it. 

CARLSON:  Thanks to you—thanks to you at home for tuning in on Valentine‘s Day, especially the ladies.  We appreciate it. 

Tonight the film “Brokeback Mountain” stirs up yet another controversy.  This time on a college campus.  We‘ll tell you how some students are using “Brokeback‘s” gay love theme to attack their opponents on the playing field. 

Also, Al Gore denounces the U.S. government from Saudi soil, accusing America of committing, quote, “terrible abuses against Arabs after 9/11.”  We‘ll attempt to make sense of his comments and what they might mean for this country and his party. 

Plus, the federal government tried to aid Katrina hurricane survivors with $2,000 debit cards.  You won‘t believe how some of them spent that dough: tattoos, strippers, condoms, the list goes on and on.  The amazing details in mere moments.

We begin tonight with an update on the medical condition of Harry Whittington.  He‘s the 78-year-old attorney who was accidentally shot by the vice president on Sunday during a hunting trip.  For the very latest, we bring in MSNBC Washington chief correspondent Norah O‘Donnell.  She joins us live from Washington.

Norah, welcome.  What is the latest?

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, good evening, Tucker. 

Tonight we have learned that the vice president could face a grand jury if the man he shot on Saturday were to die.  This comes as we learned today that Harry Whittington did suffer a mild heart attack this morning after one of the shotgun pellets traveled to his heart.  Harry Whittington was immediately moved back to intensive care this morning, a hospital spokesperson saying that Whittington must now stay another week in the hospital to, quote, “make sure no more birdshot moves into vital organs.” 

Now the cardiologist also estimated that Whittington could have 150 to 200 birdshot still in his body.

The vice president has not publicly addressed this issue, but he did speak with Whittington by phone today and wished him well.  The White House was told of Whittington‘s heart attack earlier today before Scott McClellan, the president‘s spokesperson, held his daily briefing. 

But McClellan failed to disclose that Whittington had had this heart attack and instead, criticized reporters for spending too much time focusing on the story. 

Now, there are no plans at this point for Mr. Cheney to address this matter.  He does, Tucker, have a public event on Friday in Wyoming.  But already we‘re hearing that some White House advisors are concerned that Cheney‘s mishandling of this issue is now overshadowing the president‘s agenda—Tucker. 

CARLSON:  And Norah, you really saw that, or I think hints of it yesterday in the briefing, the televised briefing, not the gaggle, with Scott McClellan essentially blaming Cheney and the vice president‘s office for the way this was rolled out to the press. 

How tense is the relationship now between the respective staffs, President Bush‘s staff and Cheney‘s staff?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, senior aides are not—to the president are not hiding their disapproval of how the vice president has handled this.  And a good example this morning was in the gaggle, which is off camera in the morning. 

Scott McClellan came out.  This was just before 10 a.m.  And he had on an orange tie, and he joked that he was wearing that in order to avoid being hit by the vice president. 

Now, when Scott made that joke, he did not know that the vice president‘s office had just received a call that, in fact, the victim had taken a turn for the worse this morning by having this mild heart attack.  So they let that be known that Scott would not have made this joke, had he known that Harry Whittington had had this heart attack. 

So clearly there is some tension between the president and the vice president on this matter. 

I think it should also be pointed Marlin Fitzwater today, who of course was the press secretary to the first President Bush, said he was appalled by the vice president‘s staff handling of this.  Ari Fleischer, who was the press secretary to President Bush, said that he should have—this could have been handled better.  So there is criticism coming from a lot of Republicans, as well. 

CARLSON:  If Ari Fleischer is criticizing the White House, you know you‘re in trouble. 

Norah O‘Donnell from Washington tonight, live.  Thanks a lot, Norah.

O‘DONNELL:  You‘re welcome.

CARLSON:  For more on the Dick Cheney shooting controversy and how Democrats are responding to it, we welcome Air America radio host and author of the best selling book “The Truth With Jokes,” and possible Senate candidate from Minnesota, Al Franken.  He joins us from Minneapolis tonight. 

Al, thanks for coming on. 

AL FRANKEN, AUTHOR, “THE TRUTH WITH JOKES”:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t really understand the response to this Cheney story.  I mean, you know, I understand that it‘s interesting.  But I don‘t understand where the outrage comes from.  Where does it come from?

FRANKEN:  I don‘t know if there is outrage.  We—you know, when I heard about it I just thought it was hilarious.  Now, evidently the guy who‘s shot has made a turn for the worse, so it‘s in danger of not becoming even funny.  You know, the vice president shot a guy in the face.  It‘s kind—kind of funny, but if...

CARLSON:  I completely agree with you.  I mean, it‘s an irresistible story, but you heard people yesterday jumping up and down, the White House isn‘t telling us, you know, the information we need. 

FRANKEN:  Oh, I think that there is...

CARLSON:  I mean, who cares?

FRANKEN:  I think there‘s an issue in them not saying something right away, because you think, you know, what did they spend the day doing, trying to convince, you know, the—I guess he was hunting with the ambassador—U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, who‘s a woman.  Maybe they spent the day trying to convince her to say that she shot the guy.  I don‘t know.  You know, you don‘t know.  But you try to...

CARLSON:  You‘re joking.  I know that you‘re saying that as a joke.  But there are people out there on the Internet—at least I assume there are—who are actually spinning these very complicated—increasingly complicated conspiracy theories about what might have happened. 

I read today Lawrence O‘Donnell, who we both know is a pretty sober guy, who‘s not a crackpot...

FRANKEN:  Right.

CARLSON:  ... wrote in “The Washington Post,” which is a pretty mainstream liberal site...

FRANKEN:  Right.

CARLSON:  ... a blog, suggesting that Dick Cheney was drunk when he shot Mr. Whittington, and that‘s why he didn‘t receive a breathalyzer test.  I mean, that‘s ridiculous.  I think most would agree.

FRANKEN:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s ridiculous.  I mean, I don‘t think it‘s ridiculous.  I didn‘t see how Lawrence wrote it, but it‘s not ridiculous.  Guys, when they go hunting, take flasks and they drink.  And it happens.  And by the way...

CARLSON:  Actually, people don‘t—people don‘t drink when they hunt. 

Responsible people, I‘ve never, as someone who‘s hunted a lot...

FRANKEN:  Responsible people don‘t shoot their buddy.

CARLSON:  The people I know don‘t drink while hunting, ever. 

FRANKEN:  Well, have you ever—ever read any reports about hunting accidents?

CARLSON:  Well, I mean, look, if you‘re hunting...

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKEN:  Half of them are people who are drunk. 

CARLSON:  ... maybe you‘re drinking.  But I mean, look, there‘s no evidence the vice president has got a drinking problem. 

FRANKEN:  Beer.  So beer isn‘t drinking?

CARLSON:  Or anything.  I‘m just saying people—normal people don‘t get anywhere near booze when they have guns in their hand.  But here‘s my point. 

FRANKEN:  Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute.

CARLSON:  Yes.

FRANKEN:  Tucker, Tucker, listen to me.  If you read about hunting accidents, most of them are guys that are drunk. 

CARLSON:  Actually, I don‘t think—I don‘t think that that‘s true. 

I don‘t think that most hunting accidents—in fact...

FRANKEN:  OK.  I don‘t say that categorically.  But I grew up here in Minnesota reading little, you know, little things in the paper about a guy who was drunk and thought the guy bringing the beer was a deer.  You know?  They ran out of beer...

CARLSON:  My only point is—it‘s such—look, the hatred for Bush and Cheney—and this has got to be said...

FRANKEN:  It‘s not hatred.  It is...

CARLSON:  But it is out there.  I‘m not accusing you of hating anybody. 

FRANKEN:  Yes, OK. 

CARLSON:  I‘m merely saying that on the fervent left, and you know exactly whom I‘m talking about, because you deal with them more than I do, there is this monomania about Bush and Cheney comparable to the monomania you remember well from the Clinton years. 

People hated the Clintons so much they couldn‘t see the real Clinton.  That‘s going on on the left, and you‘re perfectly aware of it.  Don‘t you think it‘s one of the reasons Democrats haven‘t been able to capitalize on Bush‘s weakness?

FRANKEN:  I think that—no, I don‘t think that‘s it.  I mean, there are some backlashes sometimes against people who over say things and obviously—I don‘t think it‘s as bad against Bush, by the way, as it was against Clinton and certainly not sort of officially.  I mean, look at the number of subpoenas that came from the Congress...

CARLSON:  That‘s because Democrats don‘t control anything. 

FRANKEN:  Yes, you got me there. 

CARLSON:  I did.  I got you.  But if they take the House this year, I mean, you will absolutely see subpoenas.  You‘ll see...

FRANKEN:  Yes, but you‘re not going to see thousands. 

CARLSON:  We‘ll see.

FRANKEN:  You might have subpoenas about, like, war profiteering. 

CARLSON:  Let‘s hope it doesn‘t—let‘s hope it doesn‘t come to that, that being the conversion of the Congress from Republican to Democrat. 

Speaking of which, I think you‘re thinking, at least, about becoming part of that.  You have moved from New York City back to Minnesota, where you‘re from.  You‘ve been raising a pretty large amount of money for other Democrats. 

FRANKEN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  All the signs are there that you‘re running for Senate.  I know you‘re not going to announce it.  Why not just admit it?  You‘re running for Senate. 

FRANKEN:  You know what?  First of all, if I knew I was, I wouldn‘t admit it.  But I don‘t know.  And—I just don‘t know.  And I can say that, I don‘t know.  And I will probably decide, as we‘re talking before we started.  About sometime in 2007 I‘ll make a decision and I‘ll announce it. 

CARLSON:  Let‘s say you do run.  What‘s—I want to know your pitch not about your ideas.  I‘m pretty familiar, I think, with your ideas, and I‘m sure a lot of our viewers are, too.  They‘re read your books.  They‘ve heard you talk on television.

But about the experience part of the equation.  Why would voters want to elect someone who‘s smart, Harvard educated, as you are, experienced in a lot of ways, but who‘s never had management experience, never worked in government, who‘s never run anything.  Would why would they want to elect that person to the U.S. Senate?  That seems like a stretch.

FRANKEN:  I‘ve run a few things, but—I‘ve run TV shows and stuff like that. 

CARLSON:  Right.

FRANKEN:  I mean, no.  But Republicans, you know, didn‘t have a problem with a guy who lifted weights, took steroids, ran around half naked shooting automatic weapons. 

CARLSON:  Well, wait.  But your point is Republicans have low standards anyway.  So who cares what they do?  But you‘re from the Democratic Party, which has incredibly high standards of public behavior. 

FRANKEN:  There again.  There you got me again. 

CARLSON:  There I got you.  So why would they want to elect someone who did a great job on “Saturday Night Live” but has never been elected to city council?

FRANKEN:  Well, I think that—I think Minnesotans will look at my—it‘s a good question, and it‘s a question that the Minnesotans will have to decide for themselves. 

I have written about politics for a long time.  I think that comedians and satirists actually get to the truth of things sometimes in ways that politicians don‘t. 

CARLSON:  I totally agree.  But you‘re not going to do what they all do, all comedians do, the same thing.  I hope you won‘t do it if you run, which is to say when they‘re caught saying something that is controversial that they really mean, they retreat behind the shield of their job as a comedian. 

“Oh, I‘m just a comedian.  I‘m just joking.  You know, I have the license to say outrageous things.”  You‘re going to stand by what you say, aren‘t you?

FRANKEN:  You know, I got you.  Because I don‘t know any comedian who‘s running.  So when you say every comedian...

CARLSON:  If you ever debate a comedian, and I have many times, including you...

FRANKEN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  ... you will often hear, “Well, I‘m a comedian.  I didn‘t mean it.  You can‘t hold me responsible for what I said.  I‘m just making jokes.”  When you‘re running...

FRANKEN:  OK.  But you said when every comedian who‘s ever run for office does—that‘s what you said, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I‘m sorry, then I misspoke.

FRANKEN:  I got you. 

CARLSON:  Whenever comedians weigh into the public policy...

FRANKEN:  I‘m keeping track. 

CARLSON:  You are keeping track.  You‘re good. 

FRANKEN:  And I got you one.  No, I mean, when you mean something, you mean it.  And when you‘re joking, you‘re joking.  But sometimes you are being ironic. 

CARLSON:  Al Franken. 

FRANKEN:  Right.  Thank you.  I‘m not insane (ph).

CARLSON:  Soon to be a Senate candidate for Minnesota, whether he‘ll admit it or not.  I look forward to the race.

FRANKEN:  I don‘t know.  We don‘t know. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Al.  I appreciate it. 

FRANKEN:  Sure, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, Al Gore attacks the U.S. while on a trip to Saudi Arabia.  Prepare to be offended.  We‘ll tell you what he said. 

Speaking of anti-American, Hollywood is about to release Al Gore‘s exhilarating new film about global warming.  However, it‘s another movie that‘s generating anger around the world, American soldiers played by American actors portrayed as brutal killers preying on the Islamic world.  More when we return.  Stay tuned. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, a new openly anti-Semitic film portrays American soldiers as sadistic killers with the help of left-wing American actors.  It becomes a runaway hit in the Islamic world.  Has Hollywood finally crossed the line with its anti-American agenda?  I‘ll ask film critic Michael Medved when THE SITUATION comes back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

A Rambo-like movie pitting Turkish agents against a diabolical U.S.

Army is breaking box office records in Turkey.  “Valley of the Wolves:

Iraq,” a Turkish language film, stars American Billy Zane as the commander of U.S. Special Forces in Iraq. 

In the movie U.S. soldiers shoot small children at point blank range, an American Jewish doctor played by Gary Busey harvests kidneys from Iraqi prisoners and sells them in Israel. 

The film is openly anti-American, as well as, obviously, openly anti-Semitic, and yet virtually no one in Hollywood has said word one about it.  Why?

For an answer we‘re joined tonight by film critic and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved.  He joins us live tonight from Seattle. 

Michael, thanks for coming on. 

MICHAEL MEDVED, FILM CRITIC:  My great pleasure.  I mean, I think that obvious answer why is people are thinking, “Oh, Billy Zane and Gary Busey need work and this is work, and this is the most expensive Turkish movie ever made.”  But that‘s not good enough. 

I mean, try to imagine if people appeared in a movie that had been funded by David Duke or by the Ku Klux Klan somehow.  People would be outraged. 

CARLSON:  And in fact, this is worse than that, because David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan are essentially—are so pathetic they don‘t threaten us.  They‘re aren‘t taken seriously by anybody.  They don‘t have millions of followers.  Radical Islam does. 

MEDVED:  You‘re exactly right.  And I don‘t think there‘s any question that a movie like “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq” puts American fighting men in more danger.  Because it encourages this entire vision of the United States as diabolical. 

And the character that‘s played by Billy Zane is known as Sam Marshall, and as in Uncle Sam.  And he‘s supposed to be a Special Forces commander who somehow is commanding Marines who go in and they rape women at a wedding.  They shoot a bunch of children. 

And it shows Americans running wild in Iraq.  And, of course, this is supposed to be distributed and very popular with one of our foremost NATO allies in the Middle East.  It‘s shocking. 

CARLSON:  You know, I guess I‘m not as surprised by that.  I mean, anti-Americanism, even of the crudest kind has, I think, long been on display in Hollywood. 

What shocks me is the obvious out in the open, full-blown anti-Semitism of this movie.  You go to the movie‘s web site, and Gary Busey‘s character is described as a Jewish doctor who steals the organs of murdered Arabs and sells them in Tel Aviv.  I mean, this is reinforcing one of the most, I think, horrible lies in the Islamic world. 

MEDVED:  And, again, that‘s been featured in a lot of the Islamic television.  I mean, they are very upset about 12 cartoons in a Danish newspaper. 

There was a 49-hour mini-series on Egyptian TV that was seen all over the Arab world by over 100 million people, they claim, and it was a miniseries based on “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” that showed Jewish people killing Christian babies and drinking their blood, basically. 

CARLSON:  Literally, “Mein Kampf” last year was one of the bestsellers in Turkey. 

But here‘s my question.  So in my view there‘s very little we can do about the attitudes of people in Turkey and other parts of the Islamic world.  We can do a lot, however, through public pressure about the actions of people in this country, and particularly in Hollywood. 

Why is no one in Hollywood—you think a lot of—even liberals in Hollywood would be very offended by this.  Why haven‘t they said anything?

MEDVED:  Well, because they hate Bush so much and they hate the Iraq war so much. 

When you were talking to Al Franken, Tucker, you were exactly right.  This Bush hatred is a disease, and it‘s completely obsessive.  And it‘s reached the extent that if you take a look at movies that are nominated for the Oscar this year, one of the frontrunners, in fact the frontrunner for best foreign language film is a film made in the Palestinian Authority. 

Actually, they had to shoot it in Israel, because the production manager was kidnapped when they tried to shoot in the Palestinian Authority.  But it‘s a film that‘s, a, quote, “balanced view of suicide bombers.”  It‘s call “Paradise Now.”

CARLSON:  We interviewed the director, in fact, on this show. 

MEDVED:  Yes.  And the whole idea that there was a good side and a bad side of suicide bombing is obscene. 

Steven Spielberg‘s “Munich” is nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture.  And it‘s a film that has been reviled almost universally in Israel and by people who are committed in the Jewish community.

So I think, if nothing else, the kind of phenomenon that you‘re describing, Tucker, ought to disabuse people of that horrible old canard that Jews control Hollywood.  Certainly, not any Jews who are proud to be Jewish or have any feeling for Israel. 

CARLSON:  Yes, this—I do think, though, to be fair to Steven Spielberg—I‘m not interested in seeing “Munich.”  I disagree with the premise.  But there‘s a big difference between that and this. 

MEDVED:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  This is just anti-Semitism of the most vulgar, out in the open kind. 

You know a lot about the careers of actors in Hollywood.  Does Gary Busey have a future after this?  Will he be hired in America, do you think?

MEDVED:  I don‘t know if he had a future before this. 

What‘s surprising to me is Gary Busey is supposed to be a born-again Christian.  He‘s given testimony.  And for him to be involved in something that‘s so America-hating as this.

This goes along with a best-selling novel in Turkey which was about a war between the United States and Turkey.  And it‘s not a very realistic novel, because a real war between the United States and Turkey would not take up the full novel.  It would be a very short story.

CARLSON:  Yes.

MEDVED:  But the point about all of this, it seems to me, is that America-bashing is in vogue.  And if you take a look at “Syriana,” another film featured for prominent Oscars, that is a film that absolutely demonizes the United States and our oil companies and our CIA, and glamorizes homicide bombers.  And it‘s a film that almost no one has seen.  And yet, it‘s up for major awards, and George Clooney is praised because he helped to make that movie and won a nomination for best supporting actor in it. 

CARLSON:  An industry that makes itself irrelevant if it keeps that kind of behavior, in my view.

Michael Medved from Seattle, thanks a lot for coming on. 

MEDVED:  My pleasure, Tucker.  Let‘s hope for better movies. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.  I do hope.

Still to come, another movie controversy.  Does the faculty at Gonzaga University, need to give fans a break?  We‘ll tell you why spectators there are changing—“Brokeback Mountain” have professors there so upset to make your home inviting.  But they don‘t disperse scent quickly through the entire room. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  What‘s the worst thing you‘ve ever heard from fans at a basketball game?  I‘m willing to bet it‘s not “Brokeback Mountain,” “Brokeback Mountain.”

So why are professors and students at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, telling spirited fans to stop chanting the name of a gay cowboy movie.  And why are they chanting the name of a gay cowboy movie anyway?

Here to answer those questions, Ryan Olson.  He‘s the president of a group called HERO, it‘s a gay rights group on Gonzaga‘s campus. 

Ryan joins us tonight from Spokane, Washington.  Ryan, thanks for coming on. 

RYAN OLSON, PRESIDENT, HERO:  Thank you for having me.  I really appreciate it. 

Why are you upset about this?

OLSON:  Well, with anything, it‘s one of those things where this term that‘s meant to be a very positive aspect of life is now being turned into something that‘s very negative. 

And it‘s something that, as a university, with our mission of respecting the whole human person, that‘s not something we want our students to really be saying against other students. 

CARLSON:  I wonder why it‘s something that‘s being said against other students.  The implication of this is you‘re gay, right?  When the fans chant “Brokeback Mountain,” what they‘re saying to the other team is you‘re gay. 

OLSON:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Now, I think that‘s fair to say.  Your position is there‘s nothing wrong with being gay, and a lot of people agree with you.  A lot of people think there‘s nothing wrong with being gay.  So why is that a slur, exactly?

OLSON:  Basically, it‘s the new “that‘s gay.”  You know, gay is meant to be that‘s happy, you know, and over time it‘s been turned into, you know, a slur by many students.  And so this is just something that—it‘s pop culture.  They‘re trying to make fun of it.  And it‘s just something that our students really weren‘t thinking about before they said it. 

CARLSON:  Right.  But, again, your position, it seems to me, ought to be calling other people gay isn‘t a bad thing if being gay is not a bad thing.  And your position is that being gay is not a bad thing.  So, again, why is that bad?

OLSON:  Because the students—there‘s a difference between intent and what they said, you know.  They were intending to intimidate this player into—because of his—with this antigay rhetoric, you know, and that‘s the thing, and that‘s the biggest issue that we‘re really facing. 

COLMES:  What do you want the school to do about it?

OLSON:  Well, the school has taken many steps, you know, they within our letter.  Everybody at Gonzaga, saying we do affirm our students at Gonzaga.  And there is a place for everyone at Gonzaga. 

And so right now the administration of our school has really taken generous” steps to really plan a meeting with GOPBT students at our school to really talk about how we can make our school more affirming. 

This is one of those events that has really kind of woken a sleeping giant, in that this is an issue that has been really affecting Gonzaga for a long time.  And it‘s something that‘s now kind of forced us to really look at what‘s going on.  And we‘re looking now as a school at how we can change that. 

CARLSON:  It would just be a shame if this controversy ended up, as so many these do, with the university or people in power, whoever they are, telling other people what they can and cannot say. 

It seems to me it would be smarter for you, as the head of a gay rights group on campus, to embrace it and say, “Yes, you know, being gay is great, and so you‘re in fact complimenting the opposing team when you imply they‘re gay.”  Wouldn‘t that be better rather than bossing people around and, you know, putting into place more speech codes?

OLSON:  Well, it‘s not necessarily putting in more speech codes.  It‘s more allowing for more speech.  It‘s allowing for a dialogue to occur between students like myself to say, you know, this hurts me, this impacts who I am.  And when you say that, it‘s not just against that one student, it‘s against me and your fellow students who are gay or lesbian. 

And I think that this is—that we are trying to say that.  We‘re trying to say we need to talk about these things.  We can‘t just create this taboo on our campus as if it‘s not there, as if these students don‘t exist, as if I don‘t exist. 

And that‘s what our issue is, and that‘s why we really want to bring about a dialogue, you know? 

CARLSON:  All right.

OLSON:  I think one of—one of the biggest things with the student section it‘s one thing to just have them say it, but how many people spoke up and said something against it, you know, and used their right to say something and say, hey, you know, this affects me.  This is my students, my friends. 

CARLSON:  Of course, it‘s also possible they just didn‘t perceive it as a slur necessarily.  I mean, I don‘t know.  Not everyone thinks it‘s a bad thing. 

Ryan Olson, president of HERO, the gay rights group on Gonzaga‘s campus, joining us live from Spokane.  Thanks a lot for coming on. 

OLSON:  Thank you.  I appreciate it. 

CARLSON:  Up next, the outrageous purchases of Katrina evacuees:

massages, tattoos, condoms.  You paid for them all. 

Plus, are troubles brewing for the Tomcat.  The superstars‘ publicist addresses rumors about a possible breakup when THE SITUATION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We try not to talk to much about Al Gore on this show, any more than we have to, anyway.  There‘s no reason to.

But he made some comments in Saudi Arabia the other day that simply cannot be ignored or at least we‘re not going to ignore them.  The former vice president pandered to his mostly Saudi audience during a speech on Sunday saying the U.S. government had committed, quote, terrible abuses against Arabs following 9/11 attacks.  He said Arabs have been, quote, “indiscriminately rounded up and held in unforgivable conditions.”

Here to help us understand why Gore is badmouthing his own country in the Middle East and what it might mean, Air America Radio morning host Rachel Maddow.  Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I‘m sorry, it‘s mean to throw this at you.  You‘re not responsible for what this guy says.  But it does seem - on two levels.  First, the irony.  This administration always attack for sucking up to Saudi Arabia and sometimes those attacks are fair.  This administration does to some extent suck up to Saudi Arabia.  But here‘s Al Gore pandering to the lowest instinct of the Saudis.  Haw?

MADDOW:  I don‘t think it‘s that weird.  First of all I have to say as soon as I found out that Al Gore gave this speech in Saudi Arabia I thought I know what I‘m going to be talking with Tucker about this week.

CARLSON:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Another Democrat has done something in a foreign country that makes you upset.  And I know you feel like it‘s particularly—you‘ve argued in the past it‘s particularly offensive to say things against the United States in other countries.

CARLSON:  I do, I do.

MADDOW:  I that I that in the global media, whenever you‘re talking, you could be addressing the whole world so it doesn‘t matter where you‘re speaking.

CARLSON:  Well, there‘s a big difference between saying something in a cable news studio, which could be anywhere, and standing in a room, in a public forum in a foreign country, particularly Saudi Arabia, a country that is very hard to get to, you need a government visa to be there.  You are there at the invitation of the Saudi government or you‘re not there at all.

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  Yeah.  That is different.

MADDOW:  But in speaking to an audience of Saudis, a lot of them were educated in American universities, speaking to a very educated audience.  And there is something, I think, worthwhile in what he said.  That is, right now the biggest challenge we face, our generation and for the next 30 years is going to be the appeal worldwide of fundamentalist, nihilist, extremist political Islam.  Very appealing and growing in the world.  The appeal of that is growing in the world, while the appeal of American values is in decline.  America more reviled than it‘s ever been in our history.

And so how do we address the rise of extremist Islam?  Well, when we address Muslim audiences we need to talk about some of the things—we need to address some of the ways they‘ve characterized what Americans have to offer Muslims.

And there‘s this great propaganda point in the Muslim world against American values, which is, “Look how Americans have treated Muslims since 9/11.”  And we have done some things wrong.

CARLSON:  That‘s interesting.  Because Saudi Arabia is a country in which you are not allowed to practice religions except those prescribed by the state.

MADDOW:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  You are not allowed to say what you think about the government of Saudi Arabia.  Muslims in this country have endlessly more freedom than those Muslims living in the holiest place in Islam, Saudi Arabia.

But here‘s my problem with what Gore said.  It was a lie.  The U.S.  government did not, quote, “indiscriminately rounds up Arabs after 9/11 and hold them in unforgivable conditions.”  That‘s just not true.  We may have rounded up some people who were the wrong people.  We may still be holding them.  But it was not indiscriminate and it was not widespread.  That‘s a lie.

MADDOW:  There is an argument for what he said being the truth.  I don‘t necessarily think that it isn‘t true.  The Justice Department looked at the conditions under which Muslim and Arab men were held in New York after 9/11 when they were, to some extent, rounded up, and those conditions.  There‘s a citation from the Justice Department.  People being held for 23 hours a day, conditions very much like described like those described at Abu Ghraib.

CARLSON:  Jails suck everywhere.

MADDOW:  Right.  But our own Justice Department says the conditions were unforgivable.

CARLSON:  Have you ever been to Rikers Island?  It‘s bad.

MADDOW:  I‘ve plenty of time investigating prisons.

CARLSON:  And not just Arabs there.  Indiscriminately rounded up.  That is not true.  There is no interpretation of what happened in this country after 9/11 that would justify that and that‘s just pandering to people who hate us.

MADDOW:  What about Arab and Muslim men who lived in the United States, who had immigration and technical violations of some sort who had never been rounded up before, who had been living here and who can expect to go through the judicial process in some way.  But as soon as 9/11 happened, they were rounded up.  People knock on their doors and bring them to detention ...

CARLSON:  There are hundreds of thousands of people from South Asia and the Middle East in this country with technical violations on their immigration status that were not rounded up.  Those who were rounded up by and large were people who were doing something suspicious.  Now, they weren‘t all guilty.  Most of them weren‘t.  But it wasn‘t indiscriminate.  I mean - I .

MADDOW:  The best propaganda points that they‘ve got against us for the appeal of extremism right now is that Americans have done things bad to Muslims.  If we don‘t acknowledge what we‘ve actually done, we leave those propaganda points unspoken for.

CARLSON:  Maybe we should brag about what we have done and are doing and will do for Muslims.  Maybe we should brag about the good things about America because they exist but somehow Al Gore is blind to them.  That‘s the problem.

MADDOW:  Recognize the appeal of the extremists and answer their arguments, too.  It‘s not a dumb argument.

CARLSON:  But the flip side is never done.  Because people like Al Gore are deeply dissatisfied and I think contemptuous of this country.  That‘s why he wasn‘t elected president and I‘m glad.

MADDOW:  The other side of the speech was him telling them to stand up against Iranian nuclear power.  It‘s not like he was just there telling them .

CARLSON:  But he wasn‘t bragging about America in the way I think he should have been.  We have a lot to brag about and he doesn‘t see it.  Rachel Maddow, thank you.

MADDOW:  Thank you Tucker, thank you.

CARLSON:  Oh.  I get exercised.  Stay tuned.  Still plenty more ahead tonight on THE SITUATION.

(voice-over):  The uproar after the storm.  How your tax dollars may have helped New Orleans‘ nightlife get back on its knees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What surprises me is the scope of the fraud, the magnitude of the fraud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Then Big Brother at work.  Could this new technology leave American employees with a chip in their shoulders.

Plus—with these onion rings I thee wed.  We‘ll show you a cheesy way to say “I do.”  And are Tom and Katie preparing to take a pregnant pause and declare their relationship a “Mission Impossible”?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR:  You don‘t know, but I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUISE:  I‘m excited.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  The ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes once said, “One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings.”  Joining me now, one very original thinker, “The Outsider, ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host, Stevie Wonder.

Max Kellerman.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  I borrowed these sunglasses.

CARLSON:  You borrowed them from Ray Charles.  Max Kellerman, recovering from Lasik eye surgery.

KELLERMAN:  I just like the way they look.  I have to be honest.  I don‘t need them anymore.

CARLSON:  I like the, too.

CARLSON:  First up, workers are chipping into increased security at one Ohio company.  Two employees at citywatcher.com have had tiny silicon chips, so called radio frequency identification chips implanted in their arms. The workers volunteered to test the chips.  The company‘s chairman says they work like a key card.  Citywatcher is experimenting with the chips to restrict access to vaults where data and images are kept in police departments.  It‘s believed to be the first tests on living human beings in the United States.  And Max, I hope it is the last.  You don‘t have to be some sort of militia member from Idaho to be concerned about the idea that a company could track your physical whereabouts, could have a LoJack, basically, on you and know where you are at all times.  It‘s so creepy.  I‘m kinds of shocked that these people go along with this.

KELLERMAN:  Well, they could, but before we start discussing the slippery Orwellian slope, which is these stories—that‘s really the central concern, oh, the tyranny of the corporation that doesn‘t want you to have to carry your keys around, I mean, that‘s what we‘re talking about.  They‘re putting a little chip in so you don‘t have to carry your keys around.  It‘s not exactly the most tyrannical thing, Orwellian thing I‘ve ever heard.  I mean, it could develop into something else but we‘re kind of obsessed with this not knowing exactly where the technology will lead us, and, therefore, let‘s go away from the technology.

CARLSON:  I disagree.  I don‘t think we‘re obsessed enough.  In fact, I think we blindly accept it in exchange for minor incremental conveniences or small improvements in our living.  We trade sometimes unknowingly our privacy in really important ways.  Every time you go to CVS and give them your CVS card, a computer is tracking exactly what you buy and it‘s building a profile of you.  Maybe that‘s good, maybe it‘s bad.  But I don‘t think most people even know it.

KELLERMAN:  Maybe it‘s good, maybe it‘s bad.  We don‘t know.  Keith Olbermann on COUNTDOWN on this very network, when the space shuttle was launched he went through the whole list of the scientific advances and different everyday kind of gadgets that have made our lives better as a result of the space program that you wouldn‘t even think of.  And that‘s not the reason to have a space program, but the technology, the ancillary benefits of that technology are tremendous.  So, listen, one day I want to be able to put a chip in my brain that allows me to learn how to fly a helicopter like in the “Matrix,” without actually having to learn.

CARLSON:  That would be great.  In the meantime I want to be able to disappear and no one knows where I am.

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, I want to stand on the shoulder of giants and look down at them in contempt.

CARLSON:  You look like Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix,” actually, with those.

KELLERMAN:  Oh-oh-oh, Keanu Reeves.

CARLSON:  I‘m impressed.  Just when you think the post-Katrina corruption couldn‘t get any worse, there‘s word tonight that some storm aid was not spent exactly as it was intended, to put it mildly.  The $2,000 debit cards issued to evacuees to pay for food and emergency shelters were in some cases used for $400 erotic massages, a $450 tattoo and even $150 worth of products at a store called, quote, “Condoms to Go.”  That‘s a lot of condoms.

The Government Accountability Office and the Homeland Security Department‘s inspector general also concluded government officials squandered millions.  That‘s no surprise.  That‘s very much a dog bites man story.  But the fact that these debit cards were given over to people who said they were in need or said they were used for tattoos and hookers, and $150 worth of condoms tells you something about how foolish it is to give people cash, rather than the aid they actually need in the wake of a disaster like this.

KELLERMAN:  The opposing viewpoint, to play devil‘s advocate, is it‘s a condescending attitude, that once you give someone $2,000, well, they‘re saying, OK, they are saying they spent $500 on a tattoo and it was that $500 of the $2,00 they were given.  Maybe they had a little cash reserve that they were spending on the food they needed, so they used—once you give them two grand, it‘s their two grand.

CARLSON:  Here‘s my point.  We shouldn‘t be giving money to people who don‘t need it.  Why should tax dollars, which comes from the rich, but also, from the poor and the middle class, could be going to people who have an extra 500 bucks to blow on a tattoo?  Why?

KELLERMAN:  Because by and large they did need it.

CARLSON:  Yes, I agree.

KELLERMAN:  By and large there was a large segment of people who needed relieve.  And in so doing—in giving that relieve, some of the people—listen, I used to collect my allowance twice from my mom when she forgot when I was like 10 - Hey ma!  You got my allowance?  Didn‘t I give it to you on Tuesday?  No.

CARLSON:  And in so doing you discredited your brothers.  And by blowing their two grand on malt liquor and tattoos, these people discredit all the other honorable evacuees.

KELLERMAN:  My brother was getting it three times.  I was taking a percentage.

CARLSON:  Max Kellerman, one of our favorite blind musicians joining us tonight.  Thanks, Max.

KELLERMAN:  Thanks.

CARLSON:  Coming up on THE SITUATION, there is no greater spectacle in animal competition than the Westminster Dog Show.  Many worthy dogs entered.  But only one could leave as “Best in Show.  We‘ll show you the winner when THE SITUATION rolls on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  As host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” Robin Leach traveled the world granting champagne wishes and making caviar dreams come true.  These days he‘s in Las Vegas, a place with no shortage of the rich and famous.  Leach is the founder of Total Vegas Television and a contributor to the new AOL Vegas site where he gives a view of what really goes on in Sin City.

The great Robin Leach joins us from Las Vegas tonight.  Robin Leach, welcome.

ROBIN LEACH, HOST, “LIFESTYLE OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS”:  It‘s nice to be with you.  It‘s true that whatever now happens in Vegas is broadcast around the world.

CARLSON:  It doesn‘t stay there.  That‘s a total lie.  It doesn‘t stay in Vegas, does it?

LEACH:  I don‘t think it actually has, ever.  I just think it‘s one of the most clever marketing campaigns that you‘ve ever seen.  And in fact, if you look at the branding research it‘s the third most recalled branding in the world.

CARLSON:  But woe to the men who believe it.  Now, compare Vegas in terms of the rich and famous to other cities you‘ve lived in, London, New York, Los Angeles.

LEACH:  Well, I think this is really a very extraordinary city and it‘s sometimes overlooked but the entire gaming industry is the biggest industry in the United States.  We are definitely the world‘s number one playground.  We have 40 million people coming here a year.  The casino drop is about $112 billion for the year, the last set of figures.  We can‘t build the roads fast enough to accommodate the cars that people are buying.  We‘re building condominiums like crazy.  Real estate market is absolutely booming.  And we‘re building a brand new airport because we just don‘t have enough gates for the demand.  I have yet to be on a flight in the last two years that had one empty seat on it.

CARLSON:  I‘ve noticed that going in and out.  Are the rich people in Las Vegas more flamboyant, more vulgar, than they are in other places?  Do they let it hang out?  Are they more ostentatious?

LEACH:  No, actually, this is a very quiet backwater when it comes to the very rich.  The man who founded eBay, Pierre Omidyar, is probably the most flamboyant, but he‘s rarely seen.  He in fact bought an entire street of 10 building lots down on the southern end of Las Vegas, close to the border of Henderson, and so he has an entire street of houses that he is now building down there for one house, 67,000 square feet.  That‘s about the largest.

We have another home that‘s for sale for $52 million owned by the king of strip clubs who was involved in a lot of city council malarkey in San Diego.  So he‘s facing time, and, thus, his house is up for sale.  Those are about the two most ostentatious homes.

CARLSON:  I love the city fathers of Las Vegas are always on their way to prison.

LEACH:  No, no, the city fathers of San Diego.

CARLSON:  But now the city fathers of Las Vegas.  Now, you‘ve spent all these decades around the rich and famous.  What‘s the most outrageous thing you‘ve seen in all that time?

LEACH:  You know, we had a guy in Australia who was so rich that he had a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce that took guests from their bedrooms on a road inside his house down to the living room.  That was pretty outrageous.

CARLSON:  That‘s pretty over the top.  What about bad taste?

LEACH:  Pretty outrageous and I remember that on his desk, Tucker, there was a paperweight that contained a shredded $1 million.

CARLSON:  Who is the person with the worst taste?  Of all the people you‘ve interviewed and let‘s keep Donald Trump out of it, because he‘s the gold standard for bad taste.

LEACH:  I love Donald.

CARLSON:  Who doesn‘t?  Come on.  But who‘s got the worst taste of anybody you‘ve talked to?

LEACH:  I love to tell you that it was somebody famous, but it was somebody totally unknown.  It was a lawyer and his wife in Hong Kong and they were so rich that they had a house that they built entirely of gold.  The walls were gold, the crockery, the cutlery, the table, everything in the house was gold.  She even had three fur coats that she sprayed gold.

CARLSON:  That‘s disgusting.  But they‘re not in Las Vegas.  And you know how you know Las Vegas is a world class city?  Because Robin Leach lives there.

LEACH:  You‘re very kind.  It is an absolutely fantastic city and that‘s one of the reasons why we every day on America Online, we present you with this capsule of the city, both in video form, audio form and print form.

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m going to look it up and give you a buzz next time I come to Las Vegas.

LEACH:  Please do.

CARLSON:  Robin Leach thanks a lot.

LEACH:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, it‘s the news or the rumor or maybe it‘s the innuendo that has American whipped into a frenzy.  We‘ll bring you a major development in the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes charade when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor,” your personal clearing house for Tom Cruise lifestyle information.  Joining us to deliver it, Willie Geist.

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER:  And I‘ve got plenty of that.  But first, people often ask me, Tucker, how do you prepare for a show?  And I‘d like to show them right now.

If we could just queue up that video.  This is Tucker earlier this afternoon.  This is Tucker under all that equipment snowboarding down an 18-inch snow drift in the parking lot.  Boy, devil may care.  Look at you.

CARLSON:  In the parking lot here at MSNBC.  That‘s official snowboarding gear, by the way.

GEIST:  Tom and Katie!

CARLSON:  We hate to be bearers of sad relationship news on Valentine‘s Day but this cannot way.  “Life and Style” magazine is reporting tonight Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are splitting up.  The magazine quotes insiders, whoever they might be, who say Cruise and Holmes will stay together until the birth of their child this spring.

One of the sources says the couple has begun drawing up legal plan to secure financial futures for homes and the baby.  A publicist for Cruise and Holmes says the story is, quote, 100 percent false.

GEIST:  Tucker, you know what you have to admire about us?  We don‘t let the fact that “Life and Style” probably isn‘t a real magazine get in the way of a good story, do we?

CARLSON:  I‘ve never heard of it.

GEIST:  I‘ve never heard of it.  It‘s not real until “Us Weekly” tells us it‘s real.

CARLSON:  I totally agree with that.

GEIST:  I‘m holding out judgment.

CARLSON:  They‘ve never made a mistake.  That‘s holy writ when it comes to celebrity gossip.

From sad Valentine‘s Day news to sadder Valentine‘s Day news, the White Castle in Columbus, Ohio served as the church and the reception hall for five weddings today.  The brides and the grooms said their vows in front of the cashier‘s counter - wait, it gets even more depressing—The reception featured many White Castle burgers - they‘re already mini—and cakes made out of Twinkies.

GEIST:  Oh!

CARLSON:  The group wedding was part of a local radio station promotion.

GEIST:  Tucker, I caught something in there I‘d like to go back to.  Nothing classes up a wedding on your wedding day like wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey.  Do we have that tape?  Can we roll it out?  There it is.  It must be a Vera Wang Indians jersey.

CARLSON:  Too sad, Willie.  You know what?  They‘ll probably be married for 50 years.  It‘s the Super Bowl of dog competitions.  The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.  The show ended tonight with the award of the highest honor, that can be bestowed upon a dog, “Best in Show.”  This year that distinction belongs to Rufus, a bull terrier.  He won the Terrier division yesterday by beating a dog owned by Bill Cosby.

GEIST:  Tucker, I don‘t get the judging in dog shows.  It‘s too subjective.  Is one dog really cuter than the other?  I don‘t really understand how it works.  That‘s a handsome dog but I‘m sure there are other handsome dogs.

CARLSON:  That‘s a weird-looking dog.

GEIST:  Honestly.

CARLSON:  Good for Rufus.  You shouldn‘t be buying marijuana.  Let‘s just start there.  But if you really need it, you shouldn‘t be trying to buy it at your local police precinct.  That‘s a valuable lesson brought to us by a 20-year-old woman from West Fargo, North Dakota.  She called the cops over the weekend asking where she could score some pot.  The cops told her to come down and buy some from the station‘s evidence locker.  She showed up and was arrested.

GEIST:  Seems like we have one of these a week.  And we‘re starting to sounds like the more you know public service announcements.  Kids, this is what happens when you smoke weed habitually.  You call the police to find more of it.

CARLSON:  I was gonna say.  It‘s not good for your brain, let‘s be honest.

GEIST:  Lay off it.  Lay off it.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  See you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  That‘s it for us tonight.  Thank you for watching.  Up next, COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH.  Have a great night.  See you tomorrow.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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