updated 2/23/2006 11:09:40 AM ET 2006-02-23T16:09:40

Guest: Mike Allen, Jean Abinader, Bruce Reilly, Marc Roberge, Bubba the Love Sponge


Tucker, what's the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  The situation, unfortunately, Joe, is you never win when you play in a casino.  We're having that man's lawyer on tomorrow night, by the way.  We're going to hear all the answers.  I literally can't wait.  Thanks, Joe. 

Thanks to you at home for tuning in.  We appreciate it.

Tonight the White House admits President Bush knew nothing about an Arab company takeover of six major American ports until after the deal was done.  Why was Bush left in the dark?  And why are his supporters calling their opponents bigots? 

Also, I'll talk to a convicted murderer I met last night in Rhode Island.  Bruce Reilly was just released from prison after 12 years.  He says felons ought to have their voting rights restored once they reenter society.  We'll debate that. 

Plus, Bubba the Love Sponge take THE SITUATION's studio by storm.  The radio host tells us how he's resurrected his career on Sirius Satellite Radio after being forced off the air by the FCC.  He'll also tell us about working alongside Howard Stern.  Bubba joins us live, on set, in just a few minutes.

But we begin tonight with a backlash against President Bush over his plan to turn American ports over to an Arab government, the government of the UAE.  The White House admitted earlier today that the president knew nothing about the port deal until after it was already approved. 

If that news was meant to placate the president's critics, it didn't work.  Key members of Congress, many of them Republicans, are vowing to stop the administration from turning over six of the country's biggest ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. 

So how did Bush get himself into this mess?  To find out, we welcome one of the best connected reporters in all of Washington, D.C., Mike Allen of “TIME” magazine, joining us live tonight from the District of Columbia. 

Mike Allen, thanks for coming on. 

MIKE ALLEN, “TIME” MAGAZINE:  Good evening, Tucker.

CARLSON:  So as you pointed out, and I thought a very smart point you made earlier, this is this kind of weird role reversal between Republicans and Democrats.  The Bush administration spent the last four years reminding us of 9/11, keenly attuned to the threat we face from the Middle East, essentially, and now it kinds finds itself in this position, trying to calm us about the threat from the Middle East.  What's going on?

ALLEN:  Well, Tucker, that's right.  Who would have thought that President Bush would be this great hero of the Arab world?  At this rate, I think Karen Hughes is going to be out of a job. 

Tucker, let's face it, though.  What we're talking about here is an issue of substance—is an issue of perception more than substance.  But you know that perception kills in this business.  And the president has spent five years very successfully appealing to people's emotions and those fears about terrorism. 

And so now he's getting a little of what my mother would call a taste of his own medicine.  Democrats, Republicans are talking about the danger of having a country where several of the hijackers traveled through, sent funds through from 9/11, one of only three countries that represent—recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, letting them come in and run one of our most vulnerable points of entry, the ports. 

Whereas the president is trying to make a more academic or intellectual or subtle argument and saying that we have to be consistent about working with our allies in the war on terrorism.  It's a fact that the United Arab Emirates has been more helpful than any other Gulf state...


ALLEN:  ... in the financial war on terror, and they're important for intelligence.  They're important for ports.  But all that is getting drowned out in this emotional argument. 

CARLSON:  And Bush may be absolutely right.  Actually, I think he has - and I don't necessarily agree with him—but he has a real case.  I mean, it's not—this is not random.  They have defensible points, I believe. 

But they're not going to get anywhere, are they?  I mean, we heard Tom DeLay today say he would support an override of the president's veto if the president were to veto attempts to stop this port deal.  I mean, that's terrible.  Whose idea was this?

ALLEN:  Well, Tucker, I think it's clear that it's not going to come to a veto.  There's not going to be that sort of showdown.

I think it is surprising that the president drew as a small circle for himself as he did yesterday.  I think it would be more in keeping with their typical M.O. for him to have said, “Well, let's review it.  Let's work with Congress.”

He's going away to India and Pakistan next week.  Things will calm down.  I think that clearly they're going to have to agree to some additional sort of reviews, certainly bring Congress in, in the future. 

And Tucker, you talk to these people.  You know Congress is just annoyed about being left out and left behind. 

CARLSON:  What—that's a theme that's been going on for a long time. 

ALLEN:  Right.

CARLSON:  But who—the idea that Bush would come out yesterday and throw down the gauntlet and say, “I will—I will take this to the point where I will veto something for the first time in five years,” this is obviously a political strategy somebody thought through.  Who helped Bush come to these very foolish conclusions?

ALLEN:  Well, I'm not going to buy that it was a foolish conclusion, but I will say that the statement was thought through.  I thought that perhaps he didn't mean to make the point about veto. 

But I'm told that, as he began those remarks, the unusual visit by the pool to the front of Air Force One.  As you know, Tucker, usually we're in the back with our own movie screen and wouldn't even know the president was on it. 

We came up.  They did expect him to get that question, and they did expect him to give that answer.  Now, he didn't repeat it on camera, but it was clear that he really had his back up against this.  And I think it's because he wants to be consistent about having barrier-free international trade.  He talks about it all the time.

You would look foolish in the Arab world if you don't stick with it.  Secretary of State Rice is in the region now.  And he wants to reward that now.  And the Bush family has a long memory—I also mentioned, the United Arab Emirates, which—and here's the inconsistency in his foreign policy, has made very few steps toward Democratic institution, but they did help with the liberation of Kuwait back in the first Gulf War. 

CARLSON:  And that's an excellent point.  And I think it would be humiliating for the United States if this deal didn't go through.  But maybe that's why the deal shouldn't have come about in the first place.

Mike Allen from Washington.  Thanks a lot, Mike. 

ALLEN:  Tucker, have a beautiful week. 

ALLEN:  Thanks.  You, too. 

So how do you feel about turning America's biggest ports over to the government of a Middle Eastern country?  Does that idea make you a little uncomfortable?  Then you may be a racist.  At least that's the charge being thrown around today by Arab groups here and abroad and at least implicitly by the White House itself. 

For more of the debate over whether bigotry plays a role in America's reaction to the port deal, we welcome one of the board of directors at the Arab-American Institute, Jean Abinader.  He joins us live tonight from Washington. 

Mr. Abinader, thanks for coming on.


CARLSON:  So why is it—why is bigotry being thrown around here?  Why is it racist to be uncomfortable with the idea of the government of the United Arab Emirates playing a role in managing our ports?

ABINADER:  Well, the whole way you phrase it is wrong in the first place.  It's not turning it over to the government of the UAE.  It's not being a takeover by the UAE.  This is a business proposition. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ABINADER:  If the Dubai ports didn't want to be in the business they wouldn't be in the business. 


ABINADER:  And so people are not, as Mike said—you know, the administration has spent five years now convincing people that anything that comes out of the Middle East, whether it's oil or people, is a threat to our national security.  They're going to get a taste of their own medicine.  So people looking at it as a business proposition, and treating it as politics, I think, is bigoted. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Why not—OK.  But hold on.  The average person looking at this story from the vantage point of his home—right—sees that a government, not just a company, but the government of the United Arab Emirates will be taking over management of these ports.  Won't be responsible for the security.  But this is...

ABINADER:  No, that's incorrect.  Port security is the responsibility of the Coast Guard. 

CARLSON:  That's right.  You misunderstood. 


ABINADER:  ... and all of a sudden they're going to become terrorists, this is a specious argument. 

CARLSON:  Hold on.  That's what I just said.  They won't be taking over security.


CARLSON:  But they will—they do own the company that will be managing the ports.  And you said, “Well, hold on a second.”  The UAE is the country through which a number of the 9/11 terrorists traveled.  They had bank accounts there.  It's one of—as Mike Allen just said—one of the three governments in the world to recognize the Taliban.

ABINADER:  Why don't we look at the business of Dubai Ports?  That's really what this is about.   Look at the 450 countries who are already domiciled in Jubal Alley (ph) in Dubai.  And ask those American companies if once—if once in the 30 years that American companies have been there have there are any incidents of attacks or even theft of American companies. 

CARLSON:  OK.  That's an excellent point, and now you're making a rational, adult argument, in contrast to the argument you were just making a second ago, which is people who are uncomfortable with this are bigoted.  That's not an argument.  That's a standard (ph).

ABINADER:  Look at the arguments they're making, though.  Look at the arguments they're making.  They're saying that UAE is related to Islamofascism, the UAE is a rogue state.  These are statements made by members of Congress.  These are made by members of—people on the airwaves.  Those are bigoted statements.

CARLSON:  It's a rogue state.  Look, it is not a Democratic country.  It's an authoritarian country. 

ABINADER:  So what?  Look what happened.  Are you happy with the results in Palestine?

CARLSON:  Let me finish my question here, OK?  I'm merely saying, isn't—or asking, isn't it fair for people to have concerns?  The UAE is not the same as Great Britain.  The president yesterday said, “Well, it didn't bother you when Great Britain owned this company.  Why does it bother you when the UAE owns this company?”

ABINADER:  The point is...

CARLSON:  They're different countries.  And...

ABINADER:  The bottom line is that this is a business proposition.  It's not looked at as a business proposition. 

I agree with Mike Allen that maybe the White House should have spent a little more time in consultation with Congress.  And I hope, in fact, that they do so.  OK, let's take 30 or 60 days and look at it.  But the debate has to be framed about is this a good, viable business proposition? 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.

ABINADER:  Does it meet the needs of the consumer, and does it meet the needs that we have as people who want the ports to work effectively?

CARLSON:  And you short-circuit—you short-circuit that debate when you start throwing around terms like bigotry and racism.  You don't allow for a debate.  You name call.

ABINADER:  But if you—if you look at the remarks people have made, they have been bigoted comments.  They're saying this is a bad business deal.  They're not saying that security is going to be threatened.  They're saying that these people are unreliable in terms of running the ports.  That's a bigoted statement.

CARLSON:  Wait, hold on.  For one thing, polling done by the Zogby company, which I think does pretty accurate polling in the Middle East, shows that the overwhelming majority of the people in the UAE hate us.  OK?  So that's not—that's a statement of fact. 

Second, the idea that this is an example of Islamophobia makes me wonder, well, why wouldn't Americans have every reason to be Islamophobic when they look to the Middle East and they see people in the name of Islam burning effigies of Uncle Sam and...

ABINADER:  Well, here you are.  You're going—you're doing the bigoted routine right now.  By saying, OK, let's take some isolated behaviors of people, or let's take polling data and say that somehow that's going to affect the management of the ports. 

CARLSON:  No, no, no.  No, no.

ABINADER:  You're mixing apples and oranges. 

CARLSON:  I'm not mixing—I'm not mixing. 

ABINADER:  The basic issue here is...

CARLSON:  I'm not mixing apples and oranges.

ABINADER:  ... are our ports going to be protected? 

CARLSON:  I'm merely saying...

ABINADER:  Are these ports going to be well managed?  That's the only things that should be on the table.

CARLSON:  For the third time, I am agreeing with you that those are the valid questions and the valid debate points.  And I would love to talk about them.  And I think we have talked about them on this show. 

What I object to is your not giving credit to the average person for having—you're accusing the average American of being a bigot.  Right?  Anyone who's opposed to this is a bigot.

ABINADER:  We're not talking about average Americans at all, because we're not talking about average Americans.  What we're talking about are people in Congress and people in the media who are making these irresponsible comments.

CARLSON:  I wish you—I wish you spent...


ABINADER:  If there was a debate on this then I think it would be a great idea, but there isn't. 

CARLSON:  Mr. Abinader, I wish you spent a little more time—I wish you spent a little more outrage on the people who are murdering innocents over these ludicrous cartoons. 

ABINADER:  Specious argument.  Specious argument.  It has nothing to do with this.

CARLSON:  Call it a specious argument if you want to.

ABINADER:  And I think you understand very well that we have always come out against any kind of violence against any civilians in the world. 

CARLSON:  Really?  Because I actually—you always say that...

ABINADER:  So I think to make that argument, Tucker, is to ignore the history of Arab-American...

CARLSON:  I never see you as—I never see you as exorcised about behavior like that as you are about these supposed Islamic...


ABINADER:  Then obviously you haven't visited the web site of our organization or talked to our leadership in a long time. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, next time something like that happens, I invite you to come on and display your outrage. 

ABINADER:  Well, you know I'm glad to do that.

CARLSON:  You have an open invitation to do that. 

ABINADER:  I appreciate it.

CARLSON:  Jean Abinader, thanks a lot for coming on. 

Still to come, an unlikely marriage of convenience, Bush and Clinton.  As Hillary elevates her status in the Democratic Party, Republicans also getting a shot in the arm.  Are they helping each other?  We'll explain.

Plus, should convicted felons regain their voting rights when they exit prison?  Last night in Rhode Island, a man asked me that very question.  Little did I know he'd just been released from jail after serving almost 12 years for murder.  That man joins us live, next. 


CARLSON:  Still ahead, a 17-year-old student discovers a way to kill anthrax spores.  We'll ask him about his amazing discovery and find out why he's playing with dangerous biological agents in his basement.  Stay tuned.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

There's more evidence tonight that the deal with Dubai Ports World is in jeopardy.  The company, based in the UAE, has hired former presidential candidate, Bob Dole, to help lobby Congress on its behalf. 

Joining us now from Burbank, California, to tell us what all of this means, MSNBC contributor, Flavia Colgan. 

Flavia, I'll tell you.  You want to know that I resent, Flavia?  OK, I'm glad you asked.  I'll tell you.  I resent the idea that people who are uncomfortable with this arrangement are bigots.  I mean, I think the White House, actually the more I read about it, has a defensible position on this, not that I agree with it.  But it's not a crazy position.  But the idea that if you don't agree you're a racist is an outrage. 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  I completely agree with you.  And I found that your last guest, Jean, editing is one of the highest form of commentary.  And the few quotes that he decided to pull, first of all, are not indicative at all. 

People are very upset about this scenario for a number of reasons.  If you can find any criticism, you could say some of the concerns might be political.  I think a lot of them are emotional.  And I think a lot of them are with respect to real concerns about national security. 

To me, one of the most disconcerting parts, as you pointed out, is that it's owned by the UAE.  It's not as if it's just a company from the UAE.  I think that's a very important point, one.

I think it's kind of the cumulative effect of the Bush administration not really being a team player in terms of working with Congress, having more transparency, not being forthcoming.  So I think you see a lot of people upset with respect to that process. 

Also, you saw them coming out today and giving a little more information.  Yesterday they came out, you know, “my way or the highway,” cowboy mentality.  And you had that 1993 rule, saying very clearly—that Congress passed, very clearly—that if it's something owned by a foreign government...

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  ... there should be an investigation, which the Bush administration didn't do. 


CARLSON:  And in fact, Congress prevented, you know, the Chinese government from controlling Unocal, and Congress steps in all the time. 

COLGAN:  Exactly.  Exactly.

CARLSON:  Here's—there's an interesting, really interesting piece, I thought, in “The New York Observer” this week about Hillary Clinton.  And it had this statistic, which I found fascinating.  It's from the NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll, that 31 percent of Americans and 34 percent of Democrats see Hillary Clinton as the voice of the Democratic Party.  Higher, I think, than any other single figure. 

This is significant for two reasons: one, because it shows that maybe there is someone in control of the Democratic Party; and two, it's great news for the Republican Party, because it could use a Hillary Clinton right about now.  Is this good for the Democrats?

COLGAN:  Well, I'm not so clear that it's good for the Democrats.  Again, you know, as I've said so many times on this program, I guess that's what the general public feels. 

I still feel—I still feel the Democratic Party is a bit of a cacophony and there's no real unified vision or leadership.  And maybe in the absence or that sort of vacuum of leadership, if you will, Hillary Clinton, because she is the front-runner, because she's a big name, steps in. 

This is great for both sides, I think, which that article pointed to.  One, it's great for the Republicans, because everyone needs a boogey man. 

CARLSON:  Right.  And Ted Kennedy is getting awfully old.  That's right.

COLGAN:  And Hillary Clinton...

CARLSON:  She's a younger version of Kennedy.

COLGAN:  Look, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy—Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy raise a lot of more money for the Republicans than any of their leaders do, just the same way that, for instance, Newt Gingrich or Jerry Falwell used to for us.  And look, conservatives are getting...


CARLSON:  Hold on.  I get that completely. 


CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton is an answer to prayer for Republicans...

COLGAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  ... who want to, obviously, divert attention from their own record, honestly, right about now, and move it to someone who is terrifying to a lot of Americans, Hillary Clinton.  Why, however, is it good for the Democrats?  That's the part I don't get. 

COLGAN:  Well, I don't know that it's good for the Democrats.  It's good for Hillary for a number of reasons.  It's good for Hillary, one, because if they're constantly talking about her it elevates her and makes her appear exactly what you said that poll says, which is that she is a Democratic, you know, front-runner.  And people love to be with the winning horse.  That's No. 1. 

No. 2, she doesn't really have a Senate, you know, challenge.  So it helps her in raising money, also. 

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  Because if she goes out there and says, “Oh, my gosh, these people are beating up on me every day.  Please help me.  Please help me.” 

And third, and perhaps most importantly, Hillary Clinton, to be very clear about it, on Iraq and on the bankruptcy bill and a lot of things, has either been more conservative or has been a little bit all over the map in trying to have it both ways. 

CARLSON:  Well, sure...

COLGAN:  I think that her being able to...


CARLSON:  I can't decide—yes, I can't decide whether...

COLGAN:  ... whatever you want to call it.  Right.

CARLSON:  ... Mrs. Clinton is a screaming crypto-Marxist or whether she is, as a lot of leftists think, this neocon sell-out.  I tend to think she's...

COLGAN:  Well, I can't even decide what a—what a crypto-Marxist is, so you'll have to let me know during the commercial break. 

CARLSON:  I know some of them.  Right.

COLGAN:  But what I do know is this quiets a lot of the liberals, because then they can focus on “Oh, poor Hillary.  She's getting beaten up.”  And have a little empathy for her. 

CARLSON:  Exactly.

COLGAN:  As opposed to being focused on...

CARLSON:  Which is the only—it's the only reason she is in statewide office in the first place, is because her husband cheated on her.  People felt sorry for Mrs. Clinton.  That's why they supported her.  A weird, weird, weird phenomenon. 

COLGAN:  I'm sure there's another reason. 

CARLSON:  I can't imagine that there is.  Flavia, no.  She's a perfectly talented person.  Flavia Colgan, a very talented person.  Thanks a lot for joining us. 

COLGAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, do you suspect anthrax in your mail?  If you do, don't worry; there's a simple way to deactivate it.  A high school senior who discovered how to render suspicious mail safe reveals his secrets to us, next.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

I met our next guest just last night.  He approached me at an event in Rhode Island and asked me what I thought of legislation that would give paroled felons the right to vote.  I told him I opposed it.  Anyone foolish enough to commit an act of serious violence, I said, isn't the kind of person I want helping to pick the next president.

He looked at me calmly and said, “Well, I'm a convicted felon.”  Bruce Reilly is a 32-year-old student at Rhode Island College in Providence.  He struck me as smart, engaged and well read.  He was actually reading “Hamlet” when I first saw him. 

He is also, though, a convicted murderer who served almost 12 years in prison for his crime.  He was released last spring.  He's currently on probation.  Bruce Reilly joins us tonight from his apartment in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Bruce, thanks for coming on. 


CARLSON:  Now, as I told you last night when we talked about this, my problem with allowing convicted felons, people convicted of serious crimes anyway, to vote is they've shown really bad judgment in committing the crimes they committed.  And I don't want people with bad judgment helping to pick the president.  What's the counter argument?

REILLY:  This is true.  However, after someone has been released from prison they have a chance to make new judgments.  And although I'm a bad illustration—I'm not the average person who's getting out of prison, they don't do 12 years; they don't do it for murder.  And most people that are disenfranchised are disenfranchised for nonviolent crimes, mostly drug crimes.  You know, the usual arguments about people that potentially don't even belong in prison to begin with. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

REILLY:  But there—when you get out, are you let back into society?  Are you embraced?  Is there rehabilitation?  People that vote are the ones that are engaged, the ones that care about the issues. 

CARLSON:  Well, that is a very smart point.

REILLY:  The last guy to get up and vote—I mean, the guy who's worried about, you know, getting his next fix is not going to show up on election day. 

CARLSON:  However, the reason—I mean, there's a political element in all this.  Let me just say right at the outset, as we were talking about it last night, let's just factor out people who are in jail or prison for nonviolent low-level drug offenses, who I agree with you probably shouldn't be there.  And you know, aren't a menace to society and aren't profoundly antisocial, probably. I'm just talking about serious violent crimes.

There's—the political element is this.  The Democratic Party sees newly released felons as voters, Democratic voters.  And it wants to organize these voters, even if they're off hunting for their next fix, into a voting bloc.  That's the reason this legislation is pending.  So you've got to assume a lot of these people will be rounded up, organized and led to the polls on election day.  Doesn't that bother you?

REILLY:   Well, ironically, there was a study done in Maine.  You would be surprised how many conservative voters are locked up in prison.  Prisoners don't vote so liberal or definitely not Democratic as one would think. 

This is a very—what state is more Democratic than Rhode Island? 


REILLY:  And yet, we're trying—it wasn't a Democratic Party that put this on the ballot.  This was done mostly by, you know, so-called liberal, you know, but the community organizations and led by mostly a Brown student and a released prisoner who is now a Brown student.  So it's not a party sort of issue.  It's an overall constitutional issue.  Who gets the right to take away our rights?

CARLSON:  Well, it seems to me the rights were taken away by the felons themselves when they committed those felonies. 

And again, something we've talked about last night that I've never been able to get over.  The people who are pushing for restoration of voting rights to serious felons are not for restoring their rights to own firearms. 

And here's my problem with that.  If we think you're responsible enough to vote, how can we say you're not responsible enough to carry a firearm?  The right to vote is, of course, more sacred than the right to own a firearm.  So how can you be, you know, adult enough to do one and not adult enough to do the other?

REILLY:  Well, there are different people pushing for those rights.  The people that want to own firearms are typically the red state people.  Those that want, you know, criminals to regain their right to vote are so-called blue state people.  But I kind of disagree that they're blue state people.  They're people in general that believe in constitutional rights. 

I personally don't feel a need to own a firearm.  I don't feel, you know, threatened in any way.  I mean, who's going to break into my house?

CARLSON:  Right.  But it's not a question of whether you want to own one.  You can't own one, because you're a convicted felon and that's the law.  You're not allowed to own one.  And so...

REILLY:  But I don't need to raise a state militia. 

CARLSON:  OK, but your right, in any case, has been taken away from you.  The right that I have to own firearms you don't have.  So society does not trust you to own a gun.  Because they're afraid you're going to do something bad with it.  But we are—some of us are trusting you to select our next president.  How does that work?

REILLY:  Well, it's mostly a symbolic thing. 


REILLY:  I mean, obviously, my vote is not going to change the presidency. 

CARLSON:  Right.

REILLY:  And neither is, you know, several hundred thousand votes in the course of millions across the nation.  Or there's 13,000 Rhode Islanders.  Even if, you know, 50 percent of them show up and 50 percent vote Republican and 50 percent vote Democrat, I mean, is it—is it really going to swing elections?  Probably not. 

CARLSON:  We've had some pretty...

REILLY:  ... for the released prisoner.

CARLSON:  We've had some pretty close elections. 

Finally, I was interested you said a second ago that not everyone behind bars is a liberal Democrat.  Did you meet conservatives Republicans in prison?

REILLY:  Tons.  You would not believe how many conservative people.  It's—I mean, it's the spectrum just like you are out there.  I mean, well, I'm one of you out there now. 

But there's fathers in prison.  There's people that care about the same issues you care about.  And they get out, and they want to be a part of society.  They want a job.  They just want to own a home and live a life like anybody else. 

And so the message, you know, from society to us is, does it count that we do the right thing? 


REILLY:  Do you want us back?  So by not giving us any kind of rights and by keep saying, as I've heard many times, too bad.  We don't care. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

REILLY:  You know, do what you got to do.  We have no say in, like, rehabilitative services.  Well, I say you're proving the guy right who's out there selling drugs saying, “Bruce, why do you care?  Why do—they're never going to give a job.  You're going to that college degree.”


REILLY:  “You know, you want to do the right thing.  Who cares?”  I'm trying to say...

CARLSON:  I guess—I disagree—I disagree with that.  But I think you've raised some really interesting and thoughtful points.  And I've interviewed a lot of people who just got out of prison.  You're the best informed I've ever interviewed.  So I hope there are a lot more like you.  Bruce Reilly, joining us tonight from Providence.  Thanks a lot. 

REILLY:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Up next, should serving in the military and fighting a war be  prerequisites for running for president?  We'll debate that.

Plus, Bubba the Love Sponge joins Howard Stern's Sirius Radio, and in mere moments, he joins us live on our set.  Don't miss it.



MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY:  We have every reason to believe that this infection is an isolated, accidentally and naturally transmitted case. 


CARLSON:  That was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, trying to calm fears of another anthrax attack like the one in 2001, in which anthrax-laced letters were sent to NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw, as well as two U.S. senators.  

In today's case, officials believe a 44-year-old man was exposed to spores of anthrax in raw animal hide he imported from Africa to make drums. 

So we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  Anthrax-laced letters are still a threat, or perceived to be one, anyway.  If you suspect your mail may be contaminated listen to 17-year-old Marc Roberge's advice.  Marc won first place in a science contest for discovering a way to deactivate anthrax in mail.  He joins us live tonight from Pittsburgh to tell us how it's done. 

Mark, I'm glad are you here.  Tell us, how is it done?

MARC ROBERGE, SCIENCE CONTEST WINNER:  Well, just simply put the iron on the envelope and iron it back and forth for five minutes in the high temperature range, and it killed all the bacillus spores that I used. 

CARLSON:  Wait.  So all you do is you take the kind of iron that you iron your shirts?


CARLSON:  And you just put it on the envelope and go back and forth.  And that's it?

ROBERGE:  Yes.  Apply pressure and it's gone. 

CARLSON:  So as I remember, back in 2001, the federal government was spending millions and millions and millions of dollars to decontaminate mail, and all they needed was an iron?

ROBERGE:  Well, no.  This is not what I would call the first response to anything.  The CDC and the government and my recommendation is that if you ever get a suspicious envelope, the first thing you should always do is contact the proper authorities. 

This is a backup for, you know, the extreme imagination.  You get snowed in and the authorities can't get to you.  You don't want to leave the mail alone, because you're really worried, then you can iron it.  But this is never the first response.  Always—the first thing you should always do is contact the proper authorities. 

CARLSON:  But if you do get an anthrax laden letter in the middle of a blizzard, the iron will do?

ROBERGE:  Yes, it will work, at the high temperature setting. 

CARLSON:  How did you—I mean, I think our viewers are wondering the obvious question: what were you doing playing with anthrax spores at home?

ROBERGE:  Well, first of all, I didn't use anthrax.  I used a surrogate, bacillus subtilis, which is similar.  Same family but nonlethal, which is a good thing, of course. 


ROBERGE:  And more resistant to dry heat than anthrax.  So the ideology behind this is if it worked on bacillus subtilis, it would work at least equally well, if not more so, on anthrax. 

And that also reminds me.  I did—I only used dry heat in this project.  So that's the other reason I stuck with bacillus subtilis, is because it was—it's more related to dry heat experiments than using steam heat. 

CARLSON:  Where can you get—can you get bacillus subtilis at CVS?  Or where do you pick up...

ROBERGE:  No, I ordered it from a special company, SGM Biotech. 

CARLSON:  When you do that, your name is obviously put on some sort of highly secret CIA watch list.  You know that, right?

ROBERGE:  That's classified; I can't tell you. 

CARLSON:  OK.  So have you passed this information on to the federal government?

ROBERGE:  Well, it's being submitted and published in the “Journal of Medical Toxicology.”  And my dad actually works for the government, so I know his bosses have heard about this.  But I have not been in contact, and they have not been in contact with me, either way.  So...

CARLSON:  Aren't you supposed to be making, like, model rockets or baking soda volcanoes or something like that?  I mean...

ROBERGE:  That was last year. 

CARLSON:  OK.  How did you—how did you determine how to kill anthrax in mail?

ROBERGE:  Well, it's partially, again, thanks to my father.  In 2001 when this all began, my father was asked by CNN to answer a question by a caller.  And a woman called on and said, you know, “I know the post office is doing things about this.  But if an individual is worried, could you iron your mail?”

And my dad's response was something to the degree of hypothetically, yes, but there's really been no sort of study done on this. 

And last year I was taking A.P. biology in high school, and our teacher, Mr. Crotec (ph), always wants to us do some sort of science project.  And I forget if I was talking with somebody or read something and just I remembered—anthrax came up and I remembered this, because Dad had discussed this with our family.  And I thought that that would certainly be an interesting and new project to do.  Certainly not a generic, old project. 

CARLSON:  Certainly not.  That kind of goes—that's kind of the understatement of the year.  So I mean, do you plan to continue doing research along these lines?

ROBERGE:  Well, in terms of my future, I am looking at becoming either a doctor or medical researcher.  And you know, one idea I had, if I did this project over again, you know, which obviously—or if somebody else did it would be to try it with steam heat. 

But again, I chose not to do that that for this project, primarily because there's an ongoing debate about whether steam heat may actually incubate the bacteria, and also, you know, steam can rip open envelopes.  And if you haven't killed the bacteria yet, that could be a slight problem. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I wouldn't—I wouldn't try that at home.  Just my advice.

Marc Roberge, a name we are almost certain to hear again and again through the years, thanks a lot for joining us, Marc. 

ROBERGE:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Stay tuned.  Still plenty more ahead tonight on THE SITUATION. 


CARLSON (voice-over):  Love connection: radio bad boy Bubba the Love Sponge joins us live to tell us why he's now taking a Sirius approach to his career. 


CARLSON:  Then...

Lotto fever: your one-way ticket to paradise?  Or a sure bet ticket to loserville?  We'll do the math.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I heard about it.

CARLSON:  Plus, he she-she said.  Wait until you hear what's got Martha and The Donald all fired up now.  And it's not a good thing.

MARTHA STEWART, FOUNDER, MARTHA STEWART LIVING OMNIMEDIA:  I think the viewing audience is going to be in for a surprise. 

CARLSON:  and from Japan, an unusual display of monkey business that's guaranteed to capture your attention.  It's all ahead on THE SITUATION.

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL:  Very attractive.  Very, very smart. 



VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER:  Coming up, hide the women and children.  Bubba Love Sponge is in the house.  He's the most offensive man on the radio, and he's proud of it.

CARLSON:  Buckle your seat belts.  Bubba the Love Sponge is here.  We return in just 60 seconds.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  The great philosopher, Homer Simpson, once said, “Facts are meaningless.  You can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true.”  Joining me now, another great philosopher, “The Outsider.”  From ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing, Max Kellerman—Max. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Homer Simpson also said he wants with to break the surly bonds of gravity and punch the face of God. 

CARLSON:  Close.  First up, is a president fit to be commander-in-chief if he or she has never served in the military?  Some say no.  In a piece on Salon.com, Garrison Keillor quotes a radical theory calling for a constitutional amendment that would require any candidate for president to have at least two years of full-time military service.  Keillor says it would be good for the country, the military and America's young people.

Kind of hard to see how someone who supported and voted for Bill Clinton, the first modern president who didn't serve in the military at all, could say something like this.  Among the many problems with this, it disenfranchises women, obviously, who haven't ever been subjected to the draft.  So they are not likely to have served in the military.  I think it's a stupid idea. 

KELLERMAN:  You disqualify plenty of good candidates, but then again, you do that already by saying if you're not born, you know, in America.

CARLSON:  And 35, right.

KELLERMAN:  And you're not 35.  You know, plenty of good candidates are disqualified by rules.  The question is, is there an upside?  In the state of Israel if you want to be a citizen you've got to serve two years in the military.  It's helped their military. 

Not only would it be a good example for young people and good for our armed forces, but, you know, the chicken hawk regime that is in power right now that has led this country into—into a quagmire maybe wouldn't be so fast.

CARLSON:  You said so many bumper sticker cliches in one sentence, I'm not sure how even to parse them.  But let me just say this. 

KELLERMAN:  What, chicken hawk and quagmire?

CARLSON:  Obviously, I—look, I don't support the war in Iraq.  However, I just despise this argument, because it ignores civilian control of the military.  The military doesn't get to make decisions about American foreign policy.  Civilians do.  That's the way things are set up.  You don't want the generals running the country, in other words. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, when generals have ran the country, like George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt—was he—did he actually make general?  He was a colonel, right.  But high ranking military, things have been pretty good. 

CARLSON:  Teddy Roosevelt served in uniform for about two months.  But...

KELLERMAN:  Yes, but he led them into battle, Tucker.

CARLSON:  OK.  They say money can't buy happiness, but eight workers in a Nebraska meat packing plant are about to test that adage.  They claimed the biggest lottery jackpot in history today, $365 million.  That's about $15.5 million each after plenty of taxes. 

Three of the winners quit their jobs as soon as they hit the jackpot.  And I'm sure—I hope all of them live happy, productive lives from here on out.  The odds suggest they won't. 

What bugs me about this—I'm all for hitting the Lotto, and I hope you hit tomorrow...

KELLERMAN:  Thank you.

CARLSON;  ... because I know you're a big Lotto type guy.

KELLERMAN:  Exactly.

CARLSON:  But what bugs me about stories like this is Lotto really is a tax on people who can't afford it and people who are unreasonably optimistic about their chances of winning, which is everyone who plays.  Right?  So it's a tax on dumb people, and the only people who benefit are the government, and that's just... 

KELLERMAN:  It's a triple tax on dumb people, really, first.  Because the Lotto itself is like a tax, because it's very unlikely you're going to win.  Then, if you chose lump sum, which is the only smart thing to do, you get, like, half the money.

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  And then you have to pay taxes on that.  So you're really being taxed thrice.

However, if you look at the expectant payout versus the odds of winning, it's about what it should be.  It's like—if you were to say, “Here's a 10-1 bet.”

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  You give me a dollar, and if you win, you have a one in 10 chance of winning, and if you do, you get $10.  You'd say, “OK, the payout is what it should be.”  And that's essentially what Lotto is. 

CARLSON:  Actually, I would just say I'll get another job if I need more money.  Because the problem with Lotto is its promise is false, that you get something for nothing, you're somehow going to come into things you don't deserve.  Because in the real world, you don't.  If you want more dough, you've got to work.  I'm sorry. 

KELLERMAN:  Think about the people at that—at that Nebraska plant who—“are you going to chip in for the Powerball ticket?” 

“No, it's five bucks.  No, we're never going to hit anyway.”  Think about how they feel right now. 

CARLSON:  I am so pleased for all eight of them.  I hope none of them winds up addicted to crack and homeless, but I think the odds are that some of them will.  And it bugs me.  But the government ends up...

KELLERMAN:  The odds are that all of us might.  Any one of us might.

CARLSON:  That's true.  But Lotto winners seem particularly susceptible to homelessness.  Just an observation.

Max Kellerman, thank you.

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, the man who makes Howard Stern look like a Mormon missionary.  The raunchiest voice in radio, Bubba the Love Sponge, will be live in our studio.  We'll turn him loose when THE SITUATION comes right back. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Howard Stern, it turns out, is the second most offensive man in radio.  The most offensive is sitting next to me right now.  Bubba the Love Sponge has gotten himself into trouble for doing things like having a wild boar castrated and slaughtered live on the air.  He's the proud record holder of the largest fine ever levied by the FCC. 

Now Bubba and Howard Stern have joined forces on Sirius Satellite Radio.  The show airs on afternoon drive time on Sirius Channel Howard 101.  Bubba the Love Sponge live in THE SITUATION studio tonight. 

I'm a fan, Bubba.  I'll admit it. 


CARLSON:  Thank you.

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  I paid homage to you.  That's how we say it down in Florida, and we're a little—the necktie.

CARLSON:  You look great.  Usually a color goes over it, but I like it even like that. 

So you are—even before you got to Sirius, you were famous for being the most offensive person in all of radio.  How is—now that you have essentially no limits, have you become more offensive or less offensive?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  You know, Howard and I have come to an agreement as to how far we can push the envelope.


BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  And we work well together.  And it's, you know, Sirius Satellite Radio.  Not only Howard and I's channel, but just the whole satellite radio.  Sirius Satellite Radio offers just the most liberating experience when it comes to radio, whether it's the commercial free music, whether it's the Martha Channel, whether it's Shady 45.

CARLSON:  I don't like the Martha Channel. 

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  Well, that's for women.  That's for women.

CARLSON:  Must be it.



BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:   To each his own.  And we have something for everybody.  And we can get more controversial than we have in regular, old-fashioned, terrestrial, censored radio.  It's—I mean, the government is shutting it down.  They shut me down.  They virtually ran Howard out of the business.  And now you have all, you know, 160 some channels to choose from.  So it's the most liberating form of the media that's left.

CARLSON:  It's pretty liberating.  I mean, I like it.  I have Sirius, and I like it a lot.  But is it too liberating?  I mean, is it sort of disappointing not to have someone to rail against?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  No, it's not too liberating, that fact that we, Howard and I, have an agreement as how far to go.  And if you want to know how far that is, become a subscriber.  It's $12.95 a month, and the equipment is about $49 bucks.  But we push the envelope daily. 

CARLSON:  Lie, what wouldn't do you, though?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  Well, I can't give you any things that I would or wouldn't do.  Would or wouldn't do.  I mean, that's a spontaneous call based on the—executing the format within what Howard and I have spoke about daily.  But there's not—I can't really give you a list of what... 

CARLSON:  Are there any topics that you're just not going to bring up, you're not going to do?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  No, I'll do—there's not a topic that I'm afraid of.  I mean, there's some topics that are highly polarized.  I don't like to get into abortion...

CARLSON:  Right.

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  ... JUST because it's so 50-50.  But I'm not afraid of it. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Is there anything you've ever heard on the radio that offended you personally?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  No, not really.  I mean, I don't—again, I don't like talking about abortion and any highly polarized issues with regards to, because you're just right on the fence; half the people like it and half of the people don't.  So at that point, you're just splitting hairs. 

But there's really nothing that really offends me.  I mean, I'm the most offensive—the most fined personality in the history of our country, collectively.  Howard is No. 1, actually, overall, and I had the largest fine.  So him and I are one and two, two and I respectively, and we joined forces.  And it's an unbelievable radio station. 

CARLSON:  So why even impose limits at all, though?  Why even impose limits on yourself?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  Well, I mean, you know, because at the end of the day, I mean, you know, you just can't—you just can't say the “F” word just to be saying the “F” word.  You have to be creatively dirty.  You have to be creatively entertaining.  If you just go and go to the edge every day, then it doesn't become funny or entertaining. 

You know, in fact Howard and I had a meeting today for an hour about, you know, hey, listen, you know, let's do a little bit more of this and little bit less of that.  And let's—you know, let's learn how to shock and titillate even more creatively.  So you know, Howard and I are constantly meeting and constantly trying to give the best possible product on Sirius Satellite Radio.  And I think that we're doing a pretty damn good job.

CARLSON:  I think you are.  Do you miss all the words, the euphemisms you used to use for body parts?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  No.  No, because we still put them in there.  Like, you know, I had a girl in there, it would be like, you know, show me your deals.  Or you know, hey, let me see those big gimmicks.  So you know, I think that's funny.  I think that's more creatively dirty than it is to say the word, actually.  So we will say the word occasionally, but we'll also use some euphemisms, as well. 

CARLSON:  What is Stern like?  Privately, he's probably a completely sedate guy who doesn't use any vulgarity at all?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  No, Howard is—Howard, honest to God, without sounding like I'm kissing ass, Howard resurrected my career and saved me, because I was dead in the water.  I mean, the FCC made me the bad guy.  And Howard took a chance. 

He was the only person to step up and say, “Bubba, I think you're good.  I think you're in the same boat as me.  Clear Channel made an example out of you.  The government railroaded you.”  And Howard gave me an opportunity to do a show.  And he's the only one.  Sirius Satellite Radio and Howard was the only people to take a chance on me. 

CARLSON:  Good for him.  Why Bubba the Love Sponge?  That's your legal name, right?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  That's my legal name.  I changed my name.

CARLSON:  What does it mean?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  It doesn't mean nothing.  I'm a Bubba.  I'm not a Skip or a Chip or a Slim.  I'm a Bubba.  Look at me.  And the Love Sponge, a play on words when I was in college.  We thought of something kind of smart ass.  And then it stuck.  I changed it legally when I ran for sheriff in Pinellas County, because I wanted it to be on the ballot as such. 

CARLSON:  It is on your driver's license?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  And it's—yes, it's on my driver's license, and it's federally trademarked.  Bubba the Love Sponge is federally trademarked.

CARLSON:  When you get pulled over for speeding and the cop looks at “Bubba the Love Sponge,” what kind of—or when you check in at the airport, what do they say?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  They go—well, a lot of times it's some TSA person that's not even from our country, and they go, “Bubba?  Bubba?”  And they think, but my passport says “Bubba the Love Sponge.”  And they don't think I'm a Taliban.  I don't look like the Taliban. 

But I mean, I get a lot of crazy looks and a lot of laughs.  But it, you know, the name is kind of gimmicky. 

CARLSON:  I like it.  I still don't know what it means, but I dig it.  Who's coming on your show?  What can we—those of us who listen, what can we hear?

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  Tomorrow we have Henry Rollins.  We've got some “Penthouse” girls coming up on Friday.  We had some “Hustler” girls a few days ago.  But you know, I invite you to be on my show. 

CARLSON:  Any time. 

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  I would love that.  I would love that more than anything.  I have a lot of respect for you.  I think you're a little too conservative at times.

CARLSON:  I'll...

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  But creatively conservative; not so far to the right that I can't hang with you. 

CARLSON:  I'm so far to the right that I don't like the FCC, so we're on the same side that way.

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  Yes, I do agree on that.

CARLSON:  Bubba the Love Sponge. 


CARLSON:  Howard...

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE:  I'll give this to you as a gift. 

CARLSON:  Thank you.  I appreciate it.


CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, I don't time to explain what you're looking at right now.  It would take too long, and you might find it disturbing.  You see, there was a man in a monkey suit on the loose in the Japanese zoo, and the rest of the story, not surprisingly, is on “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Be right back.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for the “Cutting Room Floor.”  The great Willie Geist is here.

What can I say—you're going to get a lot of outraged mail for this, but I like Bubba the Love Sponge.

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  I was just going to say, not only hilarious on the radio but a great guy.  We've been hanging out for an hour, a great, great guy.

CARLSON:  Totally.

GEIST:  Reason enough to get Sirius Radio.  Everybody should go get it.  Tonight.

CARLSON:  It sounds like we have stock in it, but we don't.

GEIST:  We don't.

CARLSON:  Well, it is the biggest heavyweight fight since Ali-Frazier.  Donald Trump and Martha Stewart are throwing haymakers at each other over who's to blame for the failure of Stewart's version of “The Apprentice” on NBC.

Martha drew first blood by taking the shot at Donald in the current issue of “Newsweek” magazine.  Trump pulled no punches in his response.  He said, quote, “Your performance was terrible.”

GEIST:  Ooh.

CARLSON:  “I knew the show would fail as soon as I first saw it.  Essentially, you made this firing up just as you made up your sell order for ImClone.”  Ouch.

GEIST:  Boy, Donald goes for the jugular, doesn't he?  This is actually a clash of the Titans.  It's kind of scary.  You know what I mean?  It's kind of like the Russians and the Americans at the Cuban missile crisis.  If these people go to war, we're all going to die.  It's that big.

CARLSON:  But the difference is, I knew who to root for in that standoff.

GEIST:  You don't know?

CARLSON:  No, I don't.

GEIST:  Donald.

CARLSON:  You're right.  I guess you're right.

GEIST:  You don't know who to root for?

CARLSON:  Close, though.

Just when you think you've seen it all from the Japanese, they go and dress up in a gorilla costume and stage an escaped animal drill at the Tokyo Zoo.  A man dressed up as a gorilla pretended to escape from his cage and run around the park today.  The faux gorilla was shot with a fake tranquilizer gun and dragged away in a net.  Officials later practiced their response to an escaped snake.  A stuffed snake, anyway. 

GEIST:  Remember, this is only a drill.  If there were a real emergency, there would not be a man in a monkey running around in the zoo.  And you know what else is great with that video?  The stunned children watching it as a costumed gorilla was shot and corralled and dragged away in the net.

CARLSON:  With a fake tranquillizer gun. 

GEIST:  What is the deal with Japan?  There's something so chilling about their characters.  It's like look at that thing.  Hello Kitty, Pokemon.  Why are they scary? 

CARLSON:  I don't know.  I'm just glad they don't have an army, honestly.  I'm glad they don't have an army.

GEIST:  We want to mention one other thing here, Tucker.  Tomorrow, 10 a.m. “Olympics Update” hosted by our good host here, Tucker Carlson. 

CARLSON:  That's right.

GEIST:  Here's a little preview of what you'll see at 10 a.m. Eastern tomorrow.  Tucker riding the Zamboni. 

CARLSON:  Oh, yes.

GEIST:  And you might notice they didn't let him actually drive the Zamboni. 

CARLSON:  Just hitching a ride on the Zamboni, that's all.  You know, I had more fun with that Zamboni driver.  I asked him, “Do you ever feel like running over the hockey players out of spite?” 

And he said, “All the time I think that.”

GEIST:  Is that right?


GEIST:  And actually, that's the least humiliating thing you've done on that show. 

CARLSON:  If you say.  Angry Zamboni driver. 

Willie Geist.

GEIST:  See you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  That's THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thank you for watching.  Up next, “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN.”  Have a great night.



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.

Watch The Situation with Tucker Carlson each weeknight at 11 p.m. ET


Discussion comments