updated 2/16/2006 11:37:41 AM ET 2006-02-16T16:37:41

Guests: Brad Blakeman, R.J. Eskow ,Rebecca Guy, Sam Perkins

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thank you, Joe Scarborough.

And thanks to you at home for tuning in.  We appreciate it. 

Tonight, the Cheney hunting controversy grows even more fiery after the vice president admits on television he drank a beer before the shooting.  But is there still more we don‘t know?  Some on the left are alleging a massive conspiracy and cover-up involving the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, among other people.  We‘ll talk to one writer who‘s calling it Cheney‘s version of Chappaquiddick. 

Also, Wal-Marts in Massachusetts are now being forced by law to carry emergency contraception pills.  Since when does the state tell stores what to sell?  We‘ll debate it.

Plus, Rufus may have taken the top prize in the Westminster Dog Show, but we‘ll have the event‘s most popular pooch, live in our SITUATION studio.  Andy the Golden Retriever, best in breed winner, will join us in just a few minutes. 

We begin tonight with the growing controversy in Washington.  What exactly happened before and after Dick Cheney‘s hunting trip that left 78-year-old Harry Whittington in a Texas hospital with hundreds of bird pellets lodged in his body, one in his heart?

Well, in an interview tonight on FOX News Channel‘s “Special Report with Brit Hume,” the vice president addressed some of those unanswered questions.  Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The image of him falling is something I‘ll never—never be able to get out of my mind.  I fired and there‘s Harry falling.  And it was—I‘d have to say one of the worst days of my life at that moment. 

You can‘t blame anybody else.  I‘m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend.  And that‘s something I‘ll never forget. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, to find out how the White House is handling all of this, we welcome MSNBC chief Washington correspondent Norah O‘Donnell.  She joins us live tonight from Washington.

Norah, welcome. 

What does the White House think of what the vice president said today on FOX?

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

Well, the White House in part did this because they had become distracted.  And the president‘s message was being distracted from this, and they wanted to put an end to it.  And the only person to put an end to it was Vice President Dick Cheney.

And although he had been urged repeatedly by the president‘s press secretary and the communications advisor to get out in front of this, he did not do that.  He changed this today by breaking his silence after four days. 

They also believed that they had to change from a political story to a human story.  I mean, that clip you just played illustrates this so well.  The vice president really describing that, in his words, this was the worst day of his life and what it‘s like to realize that you shot a friend and asking him how he‘s OK, and he can‘t respond because he‘s on the ground bleeding. 

So there was—there was an effort by the White House to explain what really happened, to sort of show a softer side, if you will, of the vice president today and to try to take some of the political effect off of this and try and put the story back on the president‘s agenda and message.  He‘s trying to talk about healthcare and everyone‘s focusing on his accidental hunting spree. 

CARLSON:  You had—you had reported last night on this show that there was some tension between the West Wing of the White House, President Bush‘s staff, and the vice president‘s staff.  And with Bush people thinking that, gee, you know, we don‘t really need this, and the vice president better hurry up and clean it up.  Were they satisfied, do you think, with his interview today?

O‘DONNELL:  Just as the vice president was just about to tape this interview, Scott McClellan, the president‘s press secretary, gaggled on Air Force One.  The president was traveling today.  And made it clear that the president did not believe this had been handled in the right way. 

There have been long-standing tensions between the president and the vice president‘s office when it comes to press operations.  That‘s nothing new.  That was true when I covered the White House.

But what happened again here is an illustration of how there was that great fissure, that there were those in the president‘s shop that were urging the vice president “put out a statement.”  There was a statement prepared, we‘re hearing from sources, that was ready to go out and that the vice president himself nixed that. 

He essentially admit that today and that he said he thought it would be better for the rancher, Katharine Armstrong, to tell the story to a local newspaper. 

However, he said she would be the best source because she was an eyewitness.  But the vice president contradicted her today.  Remember that Katharine Armstrong said that it was probably the victim‘s fault, because he did not announce he was there. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

O‘DONNELL:  And Cheney said today, “It was my fault.” 

Also, one other thing.  Armstrong said that there was absolutely zero alcohol served at lunch.  And the vice president admitted today that he did have a beer under an oak tree when they were having some barbecue during a break. 

CARLSON:  I believe it was an ancient oak tree, he said.

O‘DONNELL:  Oh, is that right?

CARLSON:  Whatever that means.  Norah O‘Donnell in Washington, thank you very much. 

O‘DONNELL:  My pleasure.

CARLSON:  In the days since the hunting accident, some on the left have been speculating that the vice president may have been drunk at the time of the shooting.  Cheney told Brit Hume it‘s not a good idea to hunt with people who drink, but he did admit he had, quote, “a beer at lunch” and resumed hunting sometime after 3 p.m. 

As far as alcohol being a factor in the incident, here‘s what he had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY:  Five of us who were in that party were together all afternoon.  Nobody was drinking.  Nobody was under the influence. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  So was it irresponsible for the vice president to fire a weapon after having a beer?  After all the man does take heart medicine that, combined with alcohol, could make him a bit woozy. 

We bring in now former deputy assistant to the president, Brad Blakeman, who joins us live tonight from Washington. 

Brad, thanks for coming on.

BRAD BLAKEMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT:  Pleasure, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I suspect you think a lot of this controversy over how the vice president has handled this press operations is overblown and silly.  Is that correct?

BLAKEMAN:  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  I totally—I completely agree with you.  I think it‘s been an embarrassment to the press corps.  And I‘m embarrassed to be a journalist when I see it.

However, the question of whether the vice president was drinking before he shot, even one beer, I think is significant, because you‘re not supposed to do that. 

BLAKEMAN:  Well, that‘s not so.  It‘s—it‘s a situation where the—the vice president admitted he had one beer at lunch five hours prior to the incident.  And as a matter of law and as a matter of science, that one beer could not have had an impact on the vice president one way or the other. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know that we know it was five hours before the incident.  I don‘t think in his interview today, unless you‘ve spoken to him separately, I don‘t think he was that specific. 

But we don‘t—and of course, because you know, we don‘t have a blood alcohol reading from the vice president after the shooting, we don‘t know exactly what was in his blood.  But we do know that it is considered totally unacceptable—and I‘m sure you know this and I can tell you if you don‘t—to drink before shooting.  People just don‘t do it, and they don‘t do it because it‘s a very dangerous sport and it gets more dangerous if you drink. 

BLAKEMAN:  It depends when you ingested the drink.  And if you ingested the drink five hours or four hours even before shooting, one beer, it cannot have an deleterious effect on you as a matter of science.  It‘s completely out of your system. 

CARLSON:  That‘s interesting.  I don‘t think that that‘s settled science.  And I... 

BLAKEMAN:  I have it right here with me. 

CARLSON:  Let me just finish my sentence.  I don‘t think that we know that what medications the vice president is on.  I think we know that he is on some medications to respond to the coronary problems that he‘s had.   And it‘s not clear what effect the mixture of beer with those medicines has. 

And I guess my question to you, Brad, is why take the chance?  The reason people don‘t drink before they hunt—and they‘re really uptight about it in most hunts.  I mean, they say you can‘t drink period until you put the gun down for the rest of the day.  And the reason they do that is why take the chance?  Why did he take the chance?  Why do this?

BLAKEMAN:  There is no chance.  One beer cannot, and I have the figures right here with me, the blood alcohol charts that a man of his size, his age and one beer ingested, which he admitted to.  He said, “I drank one beer with lunch four to five hours before the incident.”  It cannot, as a matter of science, have any effect whatsoever on a human being. 

Now, you‘re talking about medication.  The vice president travels with a doctor.  Now do you think his doctor would have allowed him to have one beer if it would have a deleterious effect on his health?  Of course not. 

CARLSON:  I think Cheney gets to do pretty much whatever he wants, which is why he got that beer at lunch on a hunt.  I‘ve been on dozens of hunts.  There‘s no beer served at lunch.  You can‘t drink a beer if you shoot, period.  It doesn‘t matter if you‘re shooting five hours after it.  You‘re not allowed to do it.  This is the only time I‘ve ever heard of it, and I think he got to do it because he‘s the vice president.  I know I don‘t think his doctor can tell him not to have a beer. 

BLAKEMAN:  That sounds like—sounds like the Tucker rule.  But the -

as you know, the vice president was interviewed by law enforcement.  He told them the truth.  They were satisfied that he had one beer four to five hours before the hunt, which again, as a matter of science, could not have any effect on the vice president. 

CARLSON:  Again, for the third time, I don‘t think we can say that conclusively...

BLAKEMAN:  I can.

CARLSON:  ... because we don‘t know what medications he‘s taking.  I don‘t think we know what medications he‘s taking or what effect they may have. 

BLAKEMAN:  I‘ve been around the vice president.  I‘ve been around the president.  I know the doctors that travel.  And there is no way that a doctor working for the vice president would allow him to ingest anything that would interfere with his medication, or his judgment or his abilities. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t believe that for a second. 

But Brad, I wonder this.  The line that we keep hearing.  And again, let me just say at the outset I think a lot of this controversy has been completely overblown.  But we keep hearing that the vice president, in very specific terms, he was 30 yards away when he shot Mr. Whittington accidentally with his .28 gauge. 

Everybody I‘ve talked to who fires a .28 gauge regularly, and I do, too—I have some sense of it—thinks that that is not possible, that you couldn‘t get 200 or so pellets into a man‘s flesh at 30 yards through protective clothing.  Why this insistence on 30 yards? 

BLAKEMAN:  I don‘t know.  You have to ask the people that were there. 

But obviously, there were a lot of witnesses, including law enforcement.  The Secret Service was there.  They talked to the police.  They witnessed it, including the other four members of the vice president‘s party. 

So I think the story is pretty clear as to what happened.  Accidents happen everyday.

CARLSON:  Right.

BLAKEMAN:  Some happen without explanation, because you could recreate them and they would not happen in the same way.  So this is the way it happened.

CARLSON:  Why did he shoot this guy?  I mean, everybody—look, you know, I hunt all the time and never shot somebody.

BLAKEMAN:  Why do cars collide every day?  Accidents happen.  People aren‘t where they should be sometimes.  People are not observed as closely as one might think.  Accidents happen everyday.  Some just baffle the mind as to how they occur, but they do. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Brad Blakeman.  And I want to say, I do feel sorry for the vice president, as well as for the man he shot.  It must feel awful to shoot a friend.  So...

BLAKEMAN:  Absolutely.

CARLSON:  Thanks a lot for joining us.

BLAKEMAN:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still to come, is the hunting accident that severely injured Harry Whittington Dick Cheney‘s Chappaquiddick?  Our next guest says it is.  He‘ll explain his theory, as well as some others, after the break. 

Plus, why is the state of Massachusetts telling Wal-Mart it has to stock the controversial morning after pill?  It has to.  It‘s the law.  Should the retain giant comply?  We‘ll tell you when THE SITUATION comes back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, is it a federal crime to annoy people over the Internet?  The answer is yes, actually, according to a new law passed by Congress.  We‘ll bring you the appalling details.

Plus, one of the crowd favorites of the Westminster Dog Show joins us live in Studio Arf!  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  It took Vice President Dick Cheney four days to step before a camera and explain his role in the shooting that left a fellow hunter hospitalized.  Now, of course, conspiracy theories are flying. 

Was he drinking before the outing?  Who were the women accompanying him on the trip?  The vice president told FOX he initially left it to the ranch owner, Katharine Armstrong, to face the media.  Here‘s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHARINE ARMSTRONG, RANCH OWNER:  Katharine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement.  That is, she‘d put the story out.  And I thought that made good sense for several reasons.  First of all, she was an eyewitness.  She‘s seen the whole thing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, my next quest says that‘s not true.  R.J. Eskow has written a blog for the liberal site The Huffington Post, entitled “Cheney‘s Chappaquiddick.”  He joins us live tonight from Los Angeles.

R.J. Eskow, thanks for coming on.

R.J. ESKOW, THE HUFFINGTON POST:  My pleasure. 

CARLSON:  So there‘s so much in this blog that you‘ve written, “Cheney‘s Chappaquiddick.”  I want to get right to what really jumped out at me.  You seemed to suggest that the vice president was having some kind of—may have been having some kind of inappropriate relationship with one of the women on his shooting party.  She‘s a U.S. ambassador to a foreign country.  Why do you say that?

ESKOW:  Well, actually I didn‘t say that.  What I did was I started out by saying let‘s repeat the facts as we know them.  The facts as we know them are that Cheney and Harry Whittington were in a hunting party with two women, not their wives.  I‘m drawing no conclusions from that.  Those are the facts as we know them.

There was allegedly some drinking involved.  Now the vice president has acknowledged one beer.  That‘s what he‘s acknowledged.  The man has a history of drinking problems in the past. 

And there was a potentially fatal extent the vice president was responsible for.  And he avoided the law enforcement until the next day.  This is not speculation or rumor.  This is what we know. 

CARLSON:  OK, good.  But as you know, as someone who, I‘m sure, has been around for awhile, the parenthetical note “not their wives” suggests they‘re having sex with them.  And I‘m wondering if you know Pamela Willeford, the woman in question who I wasn‘t going to name, but we put her picture up, so too late now, she was traveling on this hunting trip with her husband.  Did you know that?

ESKOW:  No, I didn‘t.  But I did know that the four of them...

CARLSON:  Does that change—come on.  Hunting with women not their wives.  You know, they‘re sleeping with them.  They‘re tapping these women.  That‘s what you‘re saying. 

ESKOW:  NO.  What I‘m saying is you have a guy who won‘t answer questions for four days, who goes in and avoids the press, avoids law enforcement, tells law enforcement that there was no drinking involved.  They put that in their report.  Later acknowledging that there was minor drinking involved. 

And yes, suggested that they were with two women, not their wives.  If the man has seen law enforcement immediately, if he had contacted the press and—this wouldn‘t have happened. 

CARLSON:  Everyone listening knows what you‘re implying.  I think it‘s important to know all the facts before you make an implication like that.  Her husband was there.  Unless this is a really sick deal, nothing was going on. 

But what‘s your bottom line point here?  What are you suggesting?  I mean, we know that Cheney had a beer.  I don‘t think he should have had the beer.  But whatever.  He ended up shooting this guy accidentally.  It took awhile to tell the press.  What does this add up to?  What‘s the bottom line sinister fact of this that we don‘t know?

ESKOW:  Well, we don‘t know, because he has not been forthcoming about this whole thing. 

No, listen, I‘ve told you exactly what we know.  And what we know is that there was an unexplained delay of a day before he would see law enforcement.  There‘s not an attorney that I‘ve spoken to, and I‘ve spoken to several, or an attorney I‘ve read who has any other explanation for that besides alcohol.  Cheney acknowledges the consumption of one beer.

CARLSON:  Well, what do lawyers know?  Nothing. 

ESKOW:  Well, they are good for some things. 

CARLSON:  OK, I‘m half joking.  But here‘s what got me going. 

“Cheney‘s Chappaquiddick.”  Now I‘m not endorsing everything Cheney did.  I‘m certainly not endorsing the accidental shooting.  But to compare it to Chappaquiddick strikes me as a bit much.  In Chappaquiddick you had a woman who died who likely might have been saved. 

ESKOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  Had then and now Senator Ted Kennedy not run off—he didn‘t report this to law enforcement until the following morning.  He pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.  These just don‘t seem in the same league to me. 

ESKOW:  Well, I don‘t think we know, first of all, if she would have lived or not.  But secondly, you have an incident, Chappaquiddick, where a guy with a history of drinking—and we now know that he had been drinking at the time—avoids law enforcement until the drinking is out of his system.  Certainly, the thing that struck people the most about the Chappaquiddick incident before there were sufficient answers was the fact that he behaved like a guilty person covering something up. 

CARLSON:  But also—he also said in his press conference later that week.  He said, “I don‘t know why I didn‘t go to the police.  I don‘t know why I didn‘t go to someone who may have rescued Mary Jo Kopechne.”  He said, “I have—I have no answers to that.

In this case, nobody is disputing the fact that this guy was immediately taken to medical care, like, immediately.  So what could Cheney have done more to help Whittington?  Nothing. 

What could Ted Kennedy have done to save Mary Jo Kopechne‘s life?  A lot more.  That‘s the difference.

ESKOW:  Well, the question is what could Dick Cheney have done to be more forthcoming about his own role in this event?  We already know that the sheriff had bad information, which was that there was no drinking involved.  Now he‘s acknowledged a little drinking was involved.  That‘s what he‘s acknowledged, one beer, which is usually followed by the words, “Honest, officer.” 

So that‘s what‘s going on so far.

CARLSON:  But I still think—I still—unless I‘m completely wrong, I don‘t think this story goes anywhere beyond this.  And I do think that the enemies of the Bush White House are just going to scare the public by getting into too deep conspiracies about this.  I saw it on the other side during the Clinton years.

That‘s my suggestion.  Take it you want.

ESKOW:  I‘m sure the enemies of the Bush White House appreciate your concern.  But I think the real issue—you know, I think the real issue is why weren‘t we told the truth?  Why is there already discrepancy coming out about this story?

CARLSON:  All right.  We‘ll find out.  R.J. Eskow, thanks a lot for joining us.

ESKOW:  OK.  My pleasure.

CARLSON:  Still to come, forget about spam.  Now you can go to jail for sending out, quote, “annoying e-mails.”  That‘s right.  Annoying is now illegal.  And guess who gets to decide what‘s annoying?  The answer when THE SITUATION returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Welcome back.  Welcome back. 

Vice President Dick Cheney told FOX News anchor Brit Hume he hesitated to report the shooting, because he wasn‘t sure how badly injured Harry Whittington had been.  Brit didn‘t let him off the hook that easily.  Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  But there were some things you knew.  You knew the man had been shot.  You knew he was injured and you knew he was in the hospital.  You knew you‘d shot him.

CHENEY:  Correct. 

HUME:  You knew, certainly, by later in the evening, that all the members.  Family had been called.  I realize you didn‘t know the outcome.  We could argue that you don‘t know the outcome today, really, finally. 

CHENEY:  As we saw, if we put out a report Saturday night on what we heard then.  One report came in and said “superficial injuries.”  If we had gone with a statement at that point, we would have been wrong.  And it was also important, I thought it was important, to get the story out as accurately as possible. 

(end video clip)

CARLSON:  Do you believe what he said?  Here to share her thoughts and tell us who she thinks Democrats will be able to be as tough if not tougher on the vice president.

MSNBC contributor and now extra correspondent, Flavia Colgan.   Joining us live tonight from where extra correspondents congregate, Burbank, California—Flavia. 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, hello, Tucker. I like that

you showed the one clip from that interview where he wasn‘t playing T-ball

and footsie with the vice president.  I mean, that was such a soft ball

interview

CARLSON:  I think you could say that about a number of interviews on FOX.  And I am not a FOX defender, as you may know.  I think Brit is a pretty tough interviewer and pretty fair. 

But tell me this, the vice president of the United States admits he had a beer and then went out and put 200 pellets in one of his buddies while hunting.  This is a tough one.  Because on the one hand, if you‘re a Democratic running for office, you want to make the vice president look as sinister as you can.  On the other hand, you don‘t want to do any more than you‘ve already done to alienate the red states and attack people who hunt and chew tobacco, like NASCAR, occasionally, you know, pepper their friends with buckshot.  So how do you—how do you play this? 

COLGAN:  Right, Tucker.  Look, I‘m not condoning this.  I‘m from Pennsylvania.  And I‘ll tell you I‘d be lying to say that almost all the time they go out hunting they don‘t go out with a beer or two. 

And I have to respectfully disagree with one of my, I guess, progressive colleagues who came on before.  I‘m not particularly interested in Cheney‘s sex life or non sex life, or whether he had a beer or not.  Or a P.R. snafu.

There‘s a lot that does upset me about the story, though.  And one is, in fact, the Washington press corps.  Why are these people getting their knickers in a knot over this almost non-story? 

Where were they when they were impersonating stenographers in the lead up to the Iraq war?  That‘s No. 1.

No. 2, I think they feel the way I and a lot of people do, which is this like the straw that broke the camel‘s back.  Whether it‘s the 9/11 Commission, the Energy Task Force, whatever it is, the Bush White House, including Dick Cheney in particular, doesn‘t like to be forthcoming.  They don‘t like to share information.  They like to be secretive. 

And I‘ll tell you, Tucker, finally, the thing that really upset me the most, and as you know, I do a lot of work with veterans, is to see Dick Cheney today getting all teary eyed, which I do feel bad, as you said, about his friend. 

You know what?  Our guys in Iraq and Afghanistan have it a lot worse.  I didn‘t see him get teary eyed in his interview with Jim Lehrer last week about all Darfur and all the people dying there, or our guys... 

CARLSON:  Yes, but wait.  Hold on.  He‘s not responsible for...

COLGAN:  Post traumatic stress disorder.  He‘s not responsible?

CARLSON:  He‘s not responsible for killing anybody there.  Whoa, Flavia.  He‘s not responsible for killing anybody in Darfur.  That may be the difference.  Cheney is responsible for this.

But I want to know what‘s the angle of attack here?  Is it—is it Dick Cheney, the reckless drunk trigger man?  Is it hunting accident as metaphor?  I mean, how exactly do you take advantage of this?  I‘m not rooting for the Democrats, as I bet you could imagine.  But I‘m interested in how they‘re finally going to get a little bit of traction on the missteps of the Bush administration. 

COLGAN:  Well, one, I think that the angle is to show a pattern, a pattern of secrecy, a pattern of not being open.  Again, whether it‘s the energy task force, the 9/11 Commission...

CARLSON:  Yes.

COLGAN:  ... WMD.  I mean, Dick Cheney shill hasn‘t gotten the memo that Saddam Hussein wasn‘t involved in 9/11.  You know, I think that‘s—

No. 1, that the guy waited for 14 hours...

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  ... when someone had been injured.  I mean, I think it‘s highly inappropriate. 

CARLSON:  He can‘t be forthcoming about anything.  That‘s the point, then?

COLGAN:  Right.  He can‘t be forthcoming about anything.  And neither can the entire administration.  That‘s No. 1.

No. 2, you know, I don‘t think I‘m far off.  You know, did Dick Cheney pull a gun to anybody‘s head over in Iraq?  No.  But do I think that he and his neocon friends should think a little bit harder the next time they decide to said thousands of our men and women into war without a plan and without WMD. 

And I hope that him getting choked up will actually maybe humanize him a little bit more and shows a little more empathy.  Because I don‘t see that empathy and humanity when he‘s talking about our men and women who are making a huge sacrifice.  I think it‘s something you can actually delicately speak to also. 

CARLSON:  I sort of, you know, half agree with you that this administration has a lot to apologize for in Iraq.  But I sort of admire the fact that Dick Cheney is not a type of weepy New Age politician who wants to go on “Oprah” and cry about his childhood.  There‘s something kind of appealing bout his grouchiness, but maybe that‘s just me.

COLGAN:  Wimpy, New Age and Wolfowitz not knowing out of hundreds of people how many people are dead.

CARLSON:  I agree.  I agree.

COLGAN:  When the guy was one of the master minds is very different, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  You will never hear defending Paul Wolfowitz‘ conduct in the run up—right after the wary.  Flavia Colgan, from Burbank, California, thank you. 

COLGAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Up next, should the state of Massachusetts strong arm private businesses into stocking products those companies don‘t want to sell?  They‘re making Wal-Mart carry the morning after pill.  The woman who forced the issue joins us next.

And remember, if they can do it to Wal-Mart, they can do it to you. 

Plus, more hips on the Marlboro Man.  Country singer Willie Nelson is coming out with a song about gay cowboys.  Are there a lot of those?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Should the government really be telling businesses what products they can stock on their shelves?  That‘s debatable, but it is happening. 

Wal-Mart was ordered this week by the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy to carry the morning after pill.  It‘s an emergency contraceptive and a commercial one.  The directive came after three women, backed by abortion rights groups, sued Wal-Mart to carry the pill in its Massachusetts stores. 

Dr. Rebecca Guy is one of those women.  She joins us from Boston tonight with her attorney, Sam Perkins.

Dr. Guy, Mr. Perkins, thanks for coming on. 

SAM PERKINS, ATTORNEY FOR DR. REBECCA GUY:  Thank you.

REBECCA GUY, FILED LAWSUIT ON MORNING AFTER PILL:  Thanks for having us on the show. 

CARLSON:  Doctor, why should government be telling businesses what they can and cannot sell?  Or why should anyone be forcing businesses to sell things they don‘t want to sell?

GUY:  Tucker, the emergency contraception pill is not like stocking Colgate versus Crest tooth paste.  A pharmacy is a medical—it‘s part of the healthcare system.  It‘s dispensing medications that are crucial to patient care.  It‘s—the prescription that a patient goes to a pharmacy with is part of a physician-patient contract.  And a patient, when he goes to the medication, expects to be able to get that medication.  It‘s really part of the healthcare system.  So I think... 

CARLSON:  Hold on.  You say it‘s part of the physician-patient contract.  You don‘t own Wal-Mart.  I mean, you‘re not—right.  You don‘t have a business relationship with Wal-Mart, I assume.  Wal-Mart is owned by its stock holders.  And so why shouldn‘t they get to decide what Wal-Mart sells?  I guess I‘m missing this. 

GUY:  You‘re absolutely right.  What they sell on their shelves other than the pharmacy.  But the pharmacy itself is critical to the care of patients.  Whether they‘re stocking medicines to treat diabetes or hypertension, when a woman walks in to a pharmacy, she is getting a medication that she may need. 

And as you may know, emergency contraception is—the sooner you take it the more effective it is.  And time is of the essence.  And so if a woman goes to a pharmacy and is refused medication, it may not be as effective, if she has to go pharmacy shopping. 

CARLSON:  I actually am absolutely certain that‘s right.  But she can go somewhere else and buy it.  Or she can‘t.  But the fact is that it‘s not up to her what Wal-Mart wells.

I ant to get you, Mr. Perkins, in on this.  How is it that you get to choose what a store sells?  You could make the same argument about grocery stores.  I need to eat to live, right?  But I‘m not allowed to tell a grocery store what has to sell, and neither is government—yet. 

PERKINS:  Well, I think as Rebecca said, Tucker, this is a little different.  If Bloomingdale‘s decided that it didn‘t like the comments you made on your show so all of a sudden it stopped stocking bow ties.  That would be one thing that they have the right to do. 

But we‘re talking about something that is an integral part of the healthcare system.

CARLSON:  As defined by whom?

PERKINS:  And also, from the doctor‘s point of view, for someone to say, when a doctor has prescribed emergency contraception to a woman who may be at risk of having a baby that is unintended, that‘s the equivalent, if you won‘t give her that prescription at the time she needs it on an emergency basis or turning someone away from an emergency room.  Pharmacies are not Bloomingdale‘s. 

CARLSON:  With all due respect, what you‘re saying is rhetoric.  I mean, the emergency contraception pill is not a pill that saves a woman‘s life.  And moreover, here‘s I think the crux of it.  It‘s controversial.  Some people believe this pill is immoral.  This is tantamount to forcing people to perform abortions.  Some people think abortion is fine, and some don‘t.

GUY:  I‘d like to address that issue, because emergency contraception is just that.  It‘s contraception that works not through an abortion fashion.  It‘s often confused with RU-486, which is an abortion pill.  But emergency contraception is the same medication that is in most common contraception and works, as you may know, the same way that breast feeding and the IUD and other things work. 

CARLSON:  You know what?  I agree with you.  I‘m actually on your side of this.  I don‘t have a problem with it.  But some people do.  And so you‘re missing my point.  You and I may think it‘s fine.  There‘s nothing wrong with it at all.  But the fact is some people think it‘s immoral.  And they have a right to believe it‘s immoral.  And they have a right not to have their morals trampled upon by you simply because you disagree. 

In other words, you‘re forcing people to commit an act they believe is immoral.  And I don‘t know why you‘re doing that.

PERKINS:  Well, Tucker, as a matter of fact, I don‘t think that either Dr. Guy or I is forcing anyone to do anything. 

CARLSON:  Of course you are.  You‘re using the power of the state of Massachusetts to make people sell something they don‘t want to sell. 

PERKINS:  ... in Massachusetts.  Actually, no.  Who‘s making themselves something they don‘t want to sell is the border registration and pharmacy, backed by the commonwealth of Massachusetts.  No this is a regulated industry. 

CARLSON:  That‘s actually not true, Mr. Perkins or you wouldn‘t be involved in this lawsuit, which is forcing  -- the state is, at this point, not enforcing it.  You‘re trying to force the state to enforce it.  And I‘m not saying...

GUY:  That‘s not true, Tucker.  The Board of Pharmacy unanimously voted because under Massachusetts state law the pharmacies are required to stock medications that are commonly prescribed and needed by the community. 

CARLSON:  I‘m aware of that.

GUY:  And the Board of Pharmacy decided that this meets both of those requirements, and so it‘s now requiring Wal-Mart—not us but the Board of Pharmacy or the state of Massachusetts—to cover this medication. 

CARLSON:  You don‘t see—I‘m not going to use the word “fascism,” but you didn‘t see this as an authoritarian to force people to do something they think is immoral?

PERKINS:  If you‘re talking about rhetoric, now you‘re getting a little bit of rhetoric yourself.

It‘s true.  The fact of the matter is that they‘re regulated industries of every type.  Hospital emergency rooms have to treat people.  There‘s no way in the world that a corporation that‘s licensed by the state of Massachusetts to provide pharmacy services has the right to pick and choose what kinds of drugs, in violation of state regulations, it can do. 

CARLSON: I think...

PERKINS:  The gay person who goes in, who needs some sort of medication to help with HIV, it‘s not up to the pharmacy to tell them “We‘re not going to prescribe, we‘re not going to stock this kind of medication.” 

CARLSON:  OK.  That is so far off the topic that I can‘t believe that‘s the final word.  But sadly, we‘re out of time.

PERKINS:  Actually, it‘s right what we‘re talking about.

CARLSON:  It‘s going to have to be the end. 

It‘s not going to continue with that completely distracting point. 

PERKINS:  Well, it‘s not a distracting point at all.

CARLSON:  I‘m afraid—I‘m afraid we are out—excuse me, Mr.  Perkins, I‘m afraid we‘re out of time.  But I appreciate the explaining you‘ve gone so far.  And the same goes for you, Dr. Guy.  Thanks a lot.

Stay tuned there is still plenty more ahead on THE SITUATION tonight. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over): Cyber stalking laws.  Are they a warning message to Internet predators or an infringement on your freedom of speech? 

And use a sheep, go to jail.  A cautionary tale about why sex with barnyard animals could tarnish your reputation. 

Plus, like mother like daughter.  The bizarre story about two labors of love gave birth to a real medical oddity. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s my mom.

CARLSON:  Live on our stage, Washington state‘s top dog.  Wait until you see what makes this fetching guest a breed apart from the rest.

It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER:  Coming up, gay cowboy fever is sweeping the fashion.  But is it really possible outlaw Willie Nelson has caught the bug?

CARLSON:  Willie gets all “Brokeback” on us when we come back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  The Right Honorable Quinton McGarrell Hogg (ph), Baron of St. Marlbone, once said, “The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the right.”  That‘s my strategy too. 

Joining me now, “The Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman wearing sunglasses at night due to eye surgery.  Not going to make any excuses for you, but I felt I need to explain that to our viewers.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  In fact, to tell you the truth, I just like the way they look.  Is no one allowed to wear sunglasses inside anymore?

CARLSON:  Well, the assumption is you‘re either insane or blind.  And you‘re neither.

KELLERMAN:  Or to be more enthusiastic (ph), a jerk.  Or a blind person.  I‘m both.

CARLSON:  First up, news that several people around here ought to keep in mind.  It is now a federal crime to annoy people, specifically annoy them over the Internet.  A bill recently passed by Congress and aimed at cyberstalkers, whatever those are, makes it a crime to anonymously, quote, “annoy, abuse, threaten or harass” another person online. 

Violators could get up to two years in prison and an unspecified fine. 

No one‘s going to be prosecuted for annoying anyone, I suspect.  But the fact that this is on the books and passed by a straight-faced Congress is really troubling, because in the end, it‘s too subjective.  Annoying someone.  Being annoyed is in the eye of the beholder, completely.  And you have the constitutional right to annoy people with, say, your political views.  Criminalizing this is creepy.  Scary, actually.

KELLERMAN:  Well, the first thing in everything I‘ve read about this is that people aren‘t really taking—really focusing on this anonymously annoy, threaten or harass. 

First of all, annoy is put with threaten and harass.

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  You‘d think that...

CARLSON:  All of which are already illegal.

KELLERMAN:  And by the way, you can‘t threaten or harass people in any way...

CARLSON:  That‘s the point.

KELLERMAN:  ... in life, through the mail, on the phone. 

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  You‘re not supposed to do that.  To anonymously do it, when you say—annoy is put with those other words, and then you say it‘s anonymous, there‘s really an implicit threat there anyway, right?

CARLSON:  I disagree with that.  You have the right to express a political view anonymously.  You don‘t have to sign your name to a petition, say.  But this is part of a larger movement to criminalize the hurting of other people‘s feelings. 

“I don‘t like it when you say that.  You‘re trying to negate me as a person.  You are a bigot of some kind.  You shouldn‘t be allowed to say that.”

Actually, you‘ve got a right to say that.  The federal government protects your right to say that.  So does the Constitution.

KELLERMAN:  Actually, this comes from a case that was more of a—like a domestic abuse kind of—kind of case than trying to criminalize hurting people‘s feelings.  And I think the larger issue here is the kind of not invasion of privacy but invasion of your time—the taking up of your time dealing with essentially spam on the Internet. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  I think this is—falls more into that category.

CARLSON:  My right to annoy you is more important than your right to have an empty inbox in your e-mail.  Just my view.  I like to annoy you.

Fans of “Brokeback Mountain” now have a new theme song, a song that has been in the closet for 20 years. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIE NELSON, SINGER (singing):  Well, a cowboy may brag about things he‘s done with his women.  But the ones that brag the loudest are the ones that are most likely queer.  Cowboys frequently secretly found each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

CARLSON:  Country superstar Willie Nelson recorded “Cowboys are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other” last year and released the song this week for download on iTunes.

Nelson said, quote, “The timing‘s right for it to come out.  I‘m just opening the door.” 

I‘m not against this, Max, any more than I‘m against “Brokeback Mountain,” but here‘s the question I have.   Are there Italian (ph) gay cowboys?

KELLERMAN:  You‘re asking me?  You saved this question for me?  I don‘t know any cowboys.

CARLSON:  I‘m not against gay cowboys, but this is one of those—those trends that appears out of nowhere.  All of a sudden, everybody has got a tongue stud, right?  Or everybody is doing this or that. 

KELLERMAN:  Willie Nelson, I‘m just opening the door.  No, actually the door is wide open. 

CARLSON:  Exactly.

KELLERMAN:  You‘re walking through with your sack of money. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s my question.  Like, who comes up with these trends?  Is there a trend committee somewhere deep in Manhattan where people decide, you know, this is—this is the new thing, being a Samoan harmonica player?  There are a million of them.

KELLERMAN:  In Manhattan?  This doesn‘t come from—the gay cowboy thing I don‘t think comes from Manhattan. 

CARLSON:  But the idea that all of a sudden we‘re recognizing this heretofore ignored phenomenon of the gay cowboy. 

KELLERMAN:  Let‘s go back to...

CARLSON:  Is there really a phenomenon?

KELLERMAN:  ... the original question.  Is there a phenomenon?  People are sexual beings first.  Right?

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  So it may have come as a shock many years ago when people started hearing that there is actually a lot of homosexuality in prisons. 

CARLSON:  That was never a shock.

KELLERMAN:  I‘ll bet you there was a time that it was, especially prisons, a lot of tough guys.  The real—it‘s not homosexuality so much as the absence of the opposite sex.  And so there‘s sexuality in the absence of the opposite sex kind of by default it‘s homosexuality.  And maybe it‘s the same thing with cowboys or ranchers or herders, whoever they are, trapped among themselves. 

CARLSON:  Home on the range, and that‘s kind of what it‘s all about.

KELLERMAN:  Homosexual on the range. 

CARLSON:  Amazing.  OK.  I‘m willing to believe that. 

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t know.  That‘s my guess.

CARLSON:  All the cowboys are gay.  You learn something new every day. 

Thank you, Max for clarifying. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Coming up next on THE SITUATION, you might have a pretty cute dog at home with you right now, but I‘ve got a world-class cute dog with me right here in the studio.  A Westminster Dog Show champion, live when THE SITUATION rolls on. 

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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