updated 3/16/2006 11:12:17 AM ET 2006-03-16T16:12:17

Guests: Mike Allen, Herbert Richtman, Michael Medved, Mark Miller

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  And that‘s all the time we have tonight.  Let‘s go now to Tucker Carlson with THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.

Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Well, thanks a lot, Joe.  Don‘t go anywhere. 

We‘re going to see you in about 45 seconds. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK. 

CARLSON:  Meanwhile, we‘re going to start with those rumors of a huge shake-up within the Bush administration.  Allies of the president reportedly trying to convince him to make some changes in his cabinet. 

Republican Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota took it one step further.  Citing the administration‘s handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Dubai ports deal, Coleman said the White House team has, quote, “A tin ear” and should be replaced by more capable members. 

This comes on the heels of some new NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll numbers that show the president‘s approval ratings at just 70 -- rather, 37 percent.  Ouch. 

Here to explain what‘s going on, we welcome back the great Joe Scarborough, joining us live from Pensacola. 

Joe, is this—it‘s hard to know.  Is this a genuinely big deal?  These are historically low numbers, but all presidents stumble in the second year of their second term.  Is Bush stumbling more profoundly than most?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, he is.  And he‘s stumbling at the wrong time. 

We‘re now obviously in the middle of March. 

I remember when I started campaigning back in 1994 against Bill Clinton.  I knew by March, and I was about 10 percent in the polls running against a 16-year incumbent, I knew in March I was going to win the election because Bill Clinton had already made some colossal mistakes in 1993 and 1994. 

If the Democrats are smart enough out there, they know this president, this Republican president, has already laid the groundwork for Democrats to take back control of the House and the Senate. 

And I‘ll tell you what I‘d do.  I‘d talk about Katrina.  I would talk about corruption in Washington, D.C.  I‘d talk about the port deal every day on the campaign trail and when I‘m knocking on doors.  And I‘d also talk about an $8 trillion debt. 

You know, when Bill Clinton was president, we Republicans took control of Congress because he had a $4 trillion debt.  This president and this Republican Congress has rolled up a bigger debt over the past five years than America rolled up in its first 215 years of existence.  It is a dismal, dismal scene on Capitol Hill. 

CARLSON:  Yes, it is. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Republicans are in real danger of losing control. 

CARLSON:  But those—those are all domestic issues, I noticed.  You wouldn‘t bring national security into it if you were running against the Republicans as a Democrat in this election?

SCARBOROUGH:  Sure I would.  I‘d talk about the port deal.  I‘d talk about Iraq.  I‘d say, “You know what?  I support the troops.  I want us to stay over there.  But I want the president to tell us why we‘re still over there, when we‘re going to get out, and I want him to explain to us why this port deal was about to go through when you have a country that was connected to the terror attacks on September 11.” 

You know, Tucker, it may not play well in the Upper East Side or in Georgetown cocktail parties, but a lot of times if you have a situation like the port deal, an issue like the port deal, Americans understand that on a visceral level, a lot easier than they understand complexities and, you know, whether you‘re talking about national defense or what our five-year plan is in Iraq or the Middle East. 

Now, like I said, I‘d hammer the port deal day in and day out.  I‘d say port security is lousy.  The president wanted to turn it over to a country with connections to September 11. 

And let‘s face it, America‘s military is stretched out more than it‘s ever been before.  And we‘re going to have a nuclear Iran and there‘s nothing...

CARLSON:  That‘s a pretty good—I mean honestly, that‘s a pretty—that‘s a pretty compelling case, at least rhetorically.  How—how completely freaked out are Republicans on the Hill right now?  I mean, they could lose the House of Representatives.  Do they think that?

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re freaked out.  They are freaked out.  You know, Republicans, my Republican friends have been arrogant for the past nine years.  When I was in Congress, I was arrogant, too, about the prospects of Democrats ever taking over, because the Democrats just seemed so clueless politically.  They were so easy to get out on the campaign trail after the media would tell them every two years how superior they were and how stupid we were. 

And then we‘d get them out on the campaign trail, and we would just beat the hell out of them.  They were the easiest targets in the world.  It was like shooting catfish in a barrel.  Too easy. 

CARLSON:  Sounds like fun. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s not the case anymore. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Republicans are scared to death because they‘re the ones who are incompetent.  Now do you remember Michael Dukakis, 1988?

CARLSON:  Vividly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  His speech it ain‘t about ideology, it‘s about competence.  That‘s going to be the Democrats‘ battle cry again in 2006, and this time I think it‘s going to stick. 

CARLSON:  So, what is the counter case?  I mean, what is the Republican national platform going into the midterms which, just remind your viewers once again, are this year?  What do they say in response to that?

SCARBOROUGH:  The counter case is very simple.  Do you want Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the house?  Do you want Ted Kennedy to decide who‘s going to be on the Supreme Court?  Do you want Dick Durbin to be the second-most powerful person in Washington, D.C., when he compared our troops to Nazis, when he compared our troops to Stalinist thugs, when he compared our troops to the Khmer Rouge?

I mean, Democrats are just radical.  The Republicans are incompetent, but do you really want the Democratic Party running the military? 

OK.  Republicans have spent $8 trillion.  We are in debt.  Do we really think the Democratic Party is going to cut spending?  No.  We think the Democratic Party is going to raise taxes, going to hurt the economy, going to go do a lot of very bad things. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, there is no Bill Clinton out there.  There is no centrist that can bring all sides together here and that can speak to not only middle America but also Wall Street. 

Democrats have Howard Dean running the party.  Ted Kennedy is the face of the party (AUDIO GAP).  Nancy Pelosi is the face of the party, when you talk about the House of Representatives.  They have a lot of far-left types out there. 

CARLSON:  They certainly do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re just not going to play well in Indiana. 

CARLSON:  And that has pushed the people of Indiana, of course, into the Republican camp pretty profoundly. 

But going back to something you said just a second ago, Bush seems to be losing touch with those people.  At least, they seem to be dropping their support for him.  Is that your sense?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, there‘s no doubt about it.  And I always gauge Republican support with my dad.  I remember my dad.  He supported Nixon through Vietnam.  He supported Nixon through Cambodia, through Kent State.  I mean, through Watergate. 

And I remember the day—one day in August my dad looked at the newspaper and he finally said, “You know, if Nixon did half of this stuff, he should go straight to jail.”  And I knew, man, if Nixon loses my dad, who thinks Walter Cronkite‘s a communist, he‘s in big trouble. 

This weekend we were watching college basketball.  My dad turns to me, shakes his head and says, “What‘s up with Bush?  I just don‘t understand why he can‘t get things right.” 

And I went back to remembering Nixon, and when Nixon was in trouble, when middle class white guys like my dad turned on the Republican president then, that is bad, bad news. 

It is happening again.  And I don‘t know how he wins them back, unless the Democrats actually get a platform and start talking on TV more than five minutes.  And scare my dad back in the Republican camp. 

CARLSON:  As goes Mr. Scarborough, so goes the country.  Joe Scarborough, his honorable self. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

CARLSON:  Thanks for joining us. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks a lot, Tucker.  Appreciate it. 

CARLSON:  See you, Joe. 

So is the shake-up at the White House a real possibility?  To answer that question, we welcome “TIME” magazine White House correspondent Mike Allen, who joins us live tonight from Washington, fresh off some hot new reporting. 

Mike, welcome. 

MIKE ALLEN, CORRESPONDENT, “TIME” MAGAZINE:  Welcome back, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So, what is the president going to do?  I mean, members of his own party are acknowledging in public, Norm Coleman, for example, that there is a political crisis going on.  Is the president going to respond?

ALLEN:  Tucker, I‘m going to say three words that are rarely heard on television.  And that is: I don‘t know. 

CARLSON:  Well, good for you. 

ALLEN:  It‘s possible that nothing is going on.  Everyone inside the beltway is in a swivel (ph) about who‘s going to be gone by June.  While out in Wheeling, West Virginia, Natalie is wondering about her NCAA picks. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ALLEN:  But here‘s what we think we know.  That the president, if you want to reach this president, the way to do it is to not go to the press, as Senator Coleman did.  If Senator Coleman really wanted the president to consider his advice, he would have talked to him privately.  There‘s no better way to get this president‘s back up. 

Now, something that we have learned tonight is that if there is a change, what‘s likely to occur is that an additional person, an additional heavyweight, a David Gergen figure, as they‘re calling it, which I‘m sure they hate around the White House...

CARLSON:  But not David Gergen himself. 

ALLEN:  Right, right.  Well, he can have President Bush‘s list.  He has a long list of both parties. 

Might be brought in, who could minister to the Hill, who might bring a fresh perspective. 

Now, Tucker, the twist is I‘m told that, if this occurs, it‘s someone who‘s likely to be in the family, from the president‘s inner circle, someone the president already trusts, and is confident in. 

A good example would be the former commerce secretary, Don Evans.  So cool, he‘s the Fonz.  Today he was at the Exchequer Club, talking about the Doha round (ph).  Could he soon be in the White House, you know, trying to get their rudders back?

Karen Hughes, Josh Bolton, Ed Gillespie, Marc Racicot, familiar names who might bring the optics of change to this White House and yet would keep it very much still on course. 

CARLSON:  But look, not just familiar names but also friends of the president.  Don Evans, of course, one of the president‘s closest friends.  Karen Hughes, I think the same can be said of her, though of course far less competent than Don Evans.  Are these people really capable of telling the president things he doesn‘t want to hear?

ALLEN:  Well, I think they are.  These are people that can speak to truth to power.  One thing that people who love this president say there‘s very few people around him now, fewer all the time, who can tell him the bald truth.  And certainly, there are some, but the number has diminished over the years. 

CARLSON:  So, nobody‘s getting canned.  That‘s—you‘ve got a really interesting piece on the “TIME” web site tonight, suggesting that the White House—or at least is telling reporters that no one is likely to be fired, no one is likely to be asked to leave or even shift around—shifted around forcibly.  Why is that?  I mean, if you‘re at 37 percent, shouldn‘t someone be blamed?

ALLEN:  Well, Tucker, we‘ll go back to what we said at the beginning, which is only the president really knows. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ALLEN:  People in the White House say this is speculation.  I think that their plan at the moment is to just let these stories run their course. 

Scott McClellan, the press secretary, was joking about this today.  There have been these stories in the press about the White House staff being fatigued.  And somebody asked him today about the fatigue factor.  And he said, “Well, I‘m a little tired of these questions.”  But of course they‘re going to keep coming. 

And you‘re right about the 37 percent.  Something that told me—something that someone told me for “TIME” magazine this week is if this were a business, management would be kicked out. 

Now, you talk to people there, and they say if Iraq gets better, everything gets better.  Obviously, this is a tough time.  One of the strengths of this White House is people around the president, going back to the time he was governor, they know that when they‘re down, they get written off and they come back time and time and time again. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ALLEN:  and so, the president is able to ride out these storms while we‘re all, you know, salivating about this issue or that issue.  The question is, does that make them numb to times when maybe there needs to be a fundamental rethinking of the enterprise?

CARLSON:  This could be one of those times, seems to me. 

Mike Allen, not only one of the best informed but also one of the most honest reporters in all Washington.  Thanks for joining us, Mike.

ALLEN:  Have a great week, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Still to come, a Muslim jail chaplain receives a slap on the wrist after he calls the Bush administration a bunch of terrorists and refers to, quote, “Zionists in the media.”  Why should imam be allowed to keep his job?  Good question.  I‘ll ask it of one of his supporters who also happens to be a rabbi, believe it or not. 

Plus, we‘ll take a deeper look into the controversial new movie “V for Vendetta.”  Ready to see a film that turns a terrorist into a freedom fighting hero?  We‘ll ask critic Michael Medved what he thinks of the movie.  He‘s seen it.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It‘s not even out and already the new movie “V for Vendetta” s being denounced as dangerous garbage.  Film critic Michael Medved will join us to explain why.

Plus, the prescription drug Ambien may help you go to sleep, but could it also cause you to take your clothes off in public and eat butter covered cigarettes?  We‘ll tell you.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

The head chaplain from New York City‘s Department of Corrections got a slap on the wrist this week for saying, quote, “The greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House.”  He also blamed, quote, “Zionists in the media” for distorting Islam. 

But Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil is finding supporters in the most unexpected places.  Rabbi Herbert Richtman is the administrative chaplain for Jewish affairs in the Department of Correction and last year‘s recipient of the chaplain of the year award.  He was at a press conference yesterday, showing his support for the imam.  Rabbi Richtman joins us live tonight from New York.

Rabbi, thanks for coming on. 

RABBI HERBERT RICHTMAN, NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  How can you defend this?  This guy is attacking the Zionists in the media.  Those are the words that anti-Semites speak.  Why is this guy someone you would defend?

RICHTMAN:  Well, I‘m not here to defend the usage of the term Zionists.  I‘m here because I work with the imam, and I‘m here to defend his character. 

Sometimes people say something that they just—it‘s just because it‘s very popular in expressions today, and they may not really mean what the word is defined as. 

Imam Umar has been very supportive of the Jewish program in the jails.  I meet with him quite often.  He has been most helpful and has always been very respectful, very understanding. 

CARLSON:  I mean, I agree with you that we all say things we don‘t mean and we all pander, in our low moments, to people, and sometimes we say ugly things we shouldn‘t have said.  The problem—and I‘ve done it.  And you have and everyone has. 

What bothers me here is the audience to whom he was speaking.  He was speaking to kids, people who had come to learn, and he was reinforcing ugly and, unfortunately, very common stereotypes that are prevalent in the Muslim community here and around the world.  And that is that Jews control the media, it‘s a conspiracy and that the Bush administration or the U.S.  government is a bunch of terrorists.  And it hurts America when these lies are perpetuated, don‘t you think?

RICHTMAN:  Well, first of all, Tucker, what he—the way he explained it is that he was quoting somebody and it was taken out of context. 

CARLSON:  Well, we—I‘ve seen the transcript and listened to the tape and that‘s not true, I‘m sorry to report. 

RICHTMAN:  OK.  I have not heard the transcript, so I can only go by what he said and what I‘ve overheard by some other people. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

RICHTMAN:  Now what I can—again, first of all, I‘d like to say that my—whatever I say is not necessarily the opinions of the Department of Correction, nor of the commissioner or any of the other people in the department. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

RICHTMAN:  Again, we chaplains have come out to support him.  Jewish chaplains yesterday at the mayor‘s press conference, there were three Jewish chaplains present.  There was the executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, Joseph Potasnik.  You had Catholic chaplains.  You had Muslim chaplains.  You had Protestant chaplains. 

We all came out to support the imam because of the fact that we‘ve known him for so many years.  We work closely with him. 

CARLSON:  And I believe that he‘s a nice guy, but you‘re saying you‘re vouching for his character as a man.  This is a guy who denied saying these things until he was confronted with the existence of the tape proving that he said them. 

Here‘s a guy who‘s continuing to tell people, apparently you and others, that he was quoting someone when he wasn‘t.  Again, I listened to the tape, and he wasn‘t quoting anybody apart from himself. 

And again, here is a guy who is spreading these poisonous lies. 

And I wonder, parenthetically here, if you had been caught on tape attacking Muslims, saying there was a Muslim conspiracy and there was a—you know, the root of all evil and of all terrorism was in Mecca, would he come to a press conference supporting you?

RICHTMAN:  Well, this has been questioned by many people, but it‘s all hypothetical.  I don‘t know what the reaction would be.  I certainly imagine that there would be a lot of publicity, a lot of protest and we find this here in connection with the imam. 

Now, the question is does he deserve—because of these statements, does he deserve to be dismissed from the department?  That‘s the issue. 

CARLSON:  Well, because look, this is not—the mayor of New York tried to frame this as a question of free speech.  And he attacked proponents of political correctness and those on the right who stifle speech out of concerns about patriotism, et cetera. 

But this isn‘t just about free speech.  It‘s about terrorism and the potential for terrorism among Muslim prison inmates.  We‘ve seen it in Europe, here.  People get whipped into a frenzy in prison, become fundamentalists, extremists and go commit acts of terror. 

Is it dangerous to have a guy talking like this in prison?

RICHTMAN:  Well, he didn‘t make these statements in prison. 

CARLSON:  I know he did.  But that‘s because we don‘t have a tape recorder in prison.  If he said it to these kids in Arizona, why do we think he‘s not saying it to the inmates he‘s counseling?

RICHTMAN:  Because we have never heard any reports about that.  You understand?  And...

CARLSON:  Well, we wouldn‘t have heard, probably, reports about this if a group, not a Muslim group but a non-Muslim group, hadn‘t snuck a reporter into this meeting in Arizona with a tape recorder and taped it surreptitiously.  I mean, just because we haven‘t heard reports doesn‘t mean it‘s not happening.  Shouldn‘t we monitor what he‘s talking to inmates about, do you think?

RICHTMAN:  Well, I wouldn‘t say that there‘s an official monitoring of it, but there are officers, correction officers who sit in on the services, who are there to—actually to guard the inmates.  And nobody has ever come back and reported that he has said any of these things. 

CARLSON:  Well, I hope—I hope you‘re right, Rabbi.  I hope—I mean, you seem like a decent person, and I hope he‘s as decent as you say he is, for all of our sakes.  Thanks a lot for joining us. 

RICHTMAN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Up next, his approval rating is slipping, but why is the president still so upbeat?  Is it time to join his party?  He‘ll want an invitation.  We‘ll tell you why, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want everyone to remember why they need us. 

NATALIE PORTMAN, ACTRESS:  I wish I wasn‘t afraid all the time. 

HUGO WEAVING, ACTOR:  People should not be afraid of their governments.  The government should be afraid of their people. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It is you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Several prominent party members have been murdered, chief inspector. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is exactly what he wants. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Chaos. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  This is a clip from the new movie, “V for Vendetta”.  It‘s opening in theaters this weekend.  The film already has some critics fuming over its portrayal of a terrorist as a hero.  The film is set in London, where a masked creature called V uses deadly terror tactics to destroy a Hitler-like dictator and his henchman. 

Here to give us his take on “V for Vendetta” is movie film critic and talk-show host, Michael Medved, who has seen the film. 

Michael, thanks for coming on. 

MICHAEL MEDVED, FILM CRITIC:  My great pleasure, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So why is this—this movie has made people mad.  I have not seen it yet, unfortunately, so I‘m glad you‘re here.  What is so bad about the movie?

MEDVED:  Well, just to give you—to cut to the chase, the film‘s climactic scene involves blowing up the Houses of Parliament, and that‘s supposed to be a big, big triumph.  And apparently some—a large number of British soldiers are also killed in the process. 

But when you have the “Overture to 1812” blaring and fireworks going off and people applauding at blowing up the Houses of Parliament, the film opens with blowing up the Old Bailey. 

The whole theme of the film, V says that blowing up buildings can change the world.  Is that really a message that we should welcome right now? We‘re engaged in a war on terror.  There are people who are exposing their bodies and their lives to terrorists every day to try to make us safer. 

Hollywood has yet to make a film about the heroic role of American counterterrorist activities.  And yet they‘ve made several films that express sympathy and in this case treat as heroic terrorist activity. 

CARLSON:  Well, I suppose it depends what buildings, though.  I mean, we were glad to blow up certain buildings in the Green Zone, now the Green Zone, in Saddam‘s compound in Baghdad, happy to, you know, level the Khmer Rouge headquarters in Cambodia, had we done that, we didn‘t, but should have. 

I mean, in other words, isn‘t the struggle against illegitimate authority a good thing, something the founders approved of?

MEDVED:  Well, no.  Because you see, there‘s a difference between resistance and terror.  Even when you look at the French resistance to the Nazis, and this movie suggests that it‘s London 20 years from now, and a conservative government has come to power that is very Christian.  They have a flag that looks like crosses. 

Even during the Nazi period, the French resistance targeted primarily military sources.  Here is a guy who‘s going around murdering civilian leaders and at the same time blowing up buildings at random. 

And I think that, for a lot of people out there who believe, for instance that Bush planed 9/11, this film provides confirmation.  That‘s another big theme in the film, is that this government came to power illegitimate because of a phony terrorist attack that the government actually staged. 

CARLSON:  Well, how—I mean, the idea—so the idea is that Europe is somehow going to get a right-wing Christian government.  I mean, that is probably literally the most unlikely thing that could ever happen.  I mean, that‘s ludicrous.  Europe is much closer to getting an Islamic government than a right-wing Christian government. 

MEDVED:  Right.  And, by the way, it‘s a government that takes homosexuals out of their homes and tortures them and kills them, and also arrests and kills people if they own the Koran.  It‘s both anti-Islamic and anti-homosexual.

And clearly, there are references repeatedly to America‘s war in the Middle East, America‘s war in Iraq.  And the bad guys are people who served in Afghanistan, for instance.  One of the people who‘s murdered and deserves to get murdered, who‘s a right-wing TV commentator.  No bowtie, though. 

CARLSON:  Now, that is offensive.  And I‘m not one for censorship, but I‘m offended.

Now, I heard someone yapping on the tube yesterday about, “Well, it‘s just a movie.  Movies don‘t—I mean, it‘s just a movie.  I mean, it doesn‘t mean anything.  It doesn‘t inspire people to actually do anything.  It doesn‘t have an effect on the way people see the world.” 

What‘s your response to that?

MEDVED:  Well, of course it does, because movies define normal.  They define acceptable. 

I am just struck by the fact that recently the only big studio movies to deal with terror have been very sympathetic to terrorists: movies like “Munich”, movies like “Paradise Now”, which actually won an Oscar nomination for best foreign film, movies like “Syriana”, which was deeply sympathetic to terrorists. 

And then Oliver Stone, who has praised the 9/11 terrorist incidents, is coming out with the first $70 million big movie called “The Twin Towers” that actually shows what happens on 9/11.  It‘s absolutely outrageous. 

Hollywood during wartime in the past has always helped rally people to America‘s cause.  Here they seem to be rallying people to the terrorists‘ cause. 

CARLSON:  Boy.  And quickly, do you think this movie is going to be translated into Arabic?  Are there plans for that?

MEDVED:  I‘m sure it will be hugely popular.  This actually could lead young people to vandalism at best and some real terrorist incidents at worst. 

CARLSON:  Boy, I hope that‘s not true. 

MEDVED:  Me, too. 

CARLSON:  But I really appreciate your filling us in on that.  Thanks a lot, Michael Medved. 

MEDVED:  Yes, V is for venal, vicious, vapid and verminous (ph). 

CARLSON:  Outstanding.  Thanks, Michael. 

MEDVED:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Still to come, that nasty little propagandist Arianna Huffington is at it again.  We‘ll tell you how she dragged George Clooney into her web of deceit.  Poor George Clooney. 

Plus, blaming the sleeping pill for those midnight urges to raid the refrigerator.  Is it really Ambien that‘s making you stuff your face?  We‘ll debate that when we come back in mere moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Look, if you‘re happy with where you are, and it sounds like you‘re pretty happy about it, don‘t change. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m not going to. 

BUSH:  You shouldn‘t.  And I don‘t blame you.  I wouldn‘t either. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, even if his poll numbers are plummeting, the president is still finding something laugh about.  Could it be the Republicans are just plain happy people?

Well, a new poll by the Pew Research Center says 45 percent of Republicans surveyed consider themselves to be very happy.  That compares to only 30 percent of Democrats.  This is a trend that has been repeating itself for more than three decades.  It‘s real, in other words. 

Here to tell us what‘s behind the Democrats‘ long face, Air America radio host and perpetually maudlin person, Rachel Maddow. 

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST:  I‘m sorry.  The Patriot Act, just—I‘m sorry. 

CARLSON:  You are an unusually cheery lefty, I have to say, which is why I love having you on.  But there‘s really no getting around this.  I mean, this is essentially a longitudinal study.  They‘ve been studying the same—they‘ve been asking the same question since 1972. 

MADDOW:  Yes.  Lifetime, exactly.  I was born in 1973. 

CARLSON:  And they‘re getting the same answers.  Now, the obvious answer, and they even address this in the study, is, well, Republicans are richer, which isn‘t necessarily true anyway.  But the fact is, when you control for household income, the answers are the same. 

MADDOW:  Yes.  Even poorer Republicans are happy. 

CARLSON:  Are happier.  That‘s exactly right.  Liberals are less happy than conservatives.  Why the hell is that?

MADDOW:  Were you a goody two shoes in high school?  Were you a goody-goody?

CARLSON:  Not at all.  No, I had a problematic—but leaving me aside. 

MADDOW:  No.  I mean, it‘s a personal thing.  In high school, I was not a screw-up, like I got good grades and I did sports and stuff.

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  But I was perpetually terrified of being seen as perky.  You know, I was one of these people who kind of dots their “i‘s” with smiley faces and stuff.  And I always wanted to be more complicated and more interesting than that.  And now it turns out that, you know, I guess I am. 

I think it‘s—like to be perpetually happy.  It‘s over the course of my entire lifetime, Republicans are delighted for 33 years, absolutely ecstatic. 

CARLSON:  But shouldn‘t that be the goal? 

MADDOW:  Absolutely.

CARLSON:  I mean—it ought to be—isn‘t that what we‘re working toward, contentment and joy?  I mean, isn‘t that kind of what we‘re supposed to be doing in life, is to bring pleasure to ourselves and to others?

MADDOW:  Yes, but it is—when you look at the actual graph, it‘s like a flat line.  OPEC oil crisis, delighted.  You know, war, very happy.  Couldn‘t be happier to be here. 

CARLSON:  But see, in my view, that is great.  Optimism is outstanding.  In the face of adversity, sudden death doesn‘t matter.  If you are cheery regardless, you‘re a great person.  That‘s why Teddy Roosevelt was the greatest president we ever had and why Jimmy Carter was absolutely the worst. 

MADDOW:  But it also is weird to see, like, recession, inflation, happy, ecstasy.  The only little dip in the Republican happiness over the course of my lifetime, while this study is being done, is right after 1984.  It‘s like this unexplained difference.  The only time that Republicans got marginally less ecstatic.  What was that about?

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  But...

MADDOW:  But you are a...

CARLSON:  Every liberal is exactly the same way.  Anxiety is not morally superior.  In other words, you‘re not a good person just because you‘re...

MADDOW:  No.  But it‘s cooler. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s so not cool!

MADDOW:  You don‘t want to be perky.  You‘ve never been perky in your life. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not a perky person.  But I am actually a contented, happy person.  I wake up almost every morning and think, you know what, there‘s a huge fish out there, waiting to be caught by me.  There are my children to play with.  There‘s this really interesting job I have.  There‘s this whole world full of interesting stuff to see.  Right?  I don‘t wake up in a grouchy mood.  And I think a lot of lefties do.

MADDOW:  I‘m not grouchy even when I don‘t wake up and put a smiley face over my “i‘s.”  I don‘t feel—this study does not weird me out at all.  I just wore black on purpose tonight.  I feel like, you know what, if we‘re complicated and grumpy, good for us.  We‘re cooler. 

CARLSON:  OK, but here‘s the—I so fully disagree with that, A.  But B, I think it has implications for policy.  I think dissatisfied people want to make other people as unhappy as they are, and I think they want—in other words, they want to transpose their unhappiness on the rest of us.  My personal life is, you know, complicated and unfulfilling, my childhood was unhappy, therefore, I want to regulate you more.  That‘s what‘s going on.

MADDOW:  I feel—I mean, from the other side of this, what I see is, you know, liberals and Democrats look at the world and say how can we make it better?  There are things that aren‘t right in the world.  Let‘s make them right. 

Republicans think, there are things in the world that aren‘t right. 

How can I turn that to my advantage and make myself happier?

CARLSON:  Yes.  And make other people.  But it‘s not the whole purpose.  It‘s not to be sort of cool and noir.  And do you know what I mean?  The point is to be sunny and cheery.  Cheeriness is a virtue. 

MADDOW:  Perky.  Peppy. 

CARLSON:  OK.  I‘ll admit it.  I like that.  I‘d rather have—I‘d rather have a peppy person than a dour person. 

MADDOW:  You know what‘s weird about this, though?  Pets don‘t make a difference and children don‘t make a difference.  Having children does not make a difference in Americans‘ happiness but living somewhere sunny does.  I find that incredibly depressing. 

CARLSON:  And yet, actually they are related, in that people who are happier have more children.  And that‘s one of the reasons that conservatives...

MADDOW:  But people who have more children aren‘t happier.  No, there‘s no correlation between children and happiness. 

CARLSON:  Look, there‘s a huge correlation between party I.D. and child bearing.  Republicans or conservatives have far more children than liberals and Democrats.

MADDOW:  When you control for everything else, pets don‘t make a difference; dogs versus cats don‘t make a difference; kids don‘t make a difference; but living somewhere sunny does.  That to me is just—man, I just...

CARLSON:  Sunny optimistic people move to nice climates. 

Rachel Maddow.  Cheer up, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Tucker.

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

SITUATION.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  Luck be a lady tonight.  Why are more women betting that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? 

And, room with a groom.  We‘ll show you what makes this bachelor pad a bargain for any prospective housewife. 

Plus, crime and punishment.  The embarrassing consequences of committing an unlawful public act with a female dummy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I believe her name is Bobby Jo or Bobby Ray. 

CARLSON:  And caught on tape, the case of the infamous milk crate bandit.  Wait till you here how the cops finally put this master of disguises out to pasture. 

It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now the humiliation starts.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER:  Coming up, the millions of people who take Ambien could be getting a lot more than a good night‘s sleep.  We‘ll explain.

Plus, George Clooney gets mad. 

CARLSON:  Turns out George and I have a mutual enemy.  We‘ll tell you who when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Winston Churchill once said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”  Joining me, a man who rarely stumbles, but always seeks some version of the truth, “The Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO HOST:  Teddy Roosevelt the last segment, Winston Churchill this segment.  I mean, you know, these are the heavyweights, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  But notice that our president, in contrast to the British prime minister, a cheerier guy.  Americans are cheerier.  They‘re optimistic.

KELLERMAN:  That‘s great.  It has to do with introspection and I.Q.  correlation, I think, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  No, come on.  That is actually a good argument, false as it may be. 

Well, the popular sleeping pill Ambien may be doing its job a little too well.  New case studies suggest some users of the drug have frequent episodes of sleep eating. 

The reports say Ambien puts people in such a deep sleep they often wake up and eat entire meals without even knowing it.  Some of the subjects in the study say they wake up with food mysteriously smeared on their faces, cake frosting, for instance, or littered in their beds.  At least one person related a late-night craving for butter-covered cigarettes. 

Now look, Max, I guess two points.  The first is don‘t blame your snacking on some drug.  OK?

KELLERMAN:  Certainly not for butter-covered cigarettes. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right. 

KELLERMAN:  That‘s something—that‘s you.  That‘s not the pill. 

CARLSON:  Exactly.  Look, Ambien does work, according to the number of people I know who take it frequently.  It‘s a very, very popular drug.  But we convince ourselves drugs like this have no consequences; they just solve your problems with no side effects.  And that‘s a lie.  Let‘s be honest.  You know, it may make you go to sleep.  But are we surprised that it causes you to do bizarre things?  No. 

KELLERMAN:  First of all, it seems very convenient that the binge eating is accompanied by memory loss. 

CARLSON:  Yes, it does. 

KELLERMAN:  Wow.  Look at this.  And people will say the pills are bad because there is a side effect and you‘re not getting to the root of the problem. 

Let me tell you something, if you take a pill—you can‘t sleep, you take a pill.  Now you‘re sleeping, but you go eating in your sleep?  Invent another pill to stop you eating in your sleep when you take the first pill that makes you sleep and then eat in your sleep.  Just get another pill. 

This stuff works.  It‘s great, this stuff.  I don‘t take Ambien, but like you, I know so many people who do.  They swear by it. 

CARLSON:  Everybody—probably everybody in the world except me and you is on Ambien at this point.  It‘s probably—it‘s got to be the most widely prescribed sleeping pill there is right now. 

I just think, look, this is all, of course, a prelude to a class action suit, no doubt, or some sort of lawsuit.  There‘s no question that this is a predicate for some kind of legal action.  And I just think the idea behind it is totally phony.  I mean, you know when you go into this, when you take a drug like this, that while it solves your problem in the short term, it may cause another problem, and we just ought to face up to that, sign some waiver.  You know what I mean?

KELLERMAN:  Let me tell you, an alternative to Ambien, if you‘re having a problem going to sleep and you want a better side effect, Henry Kissinger, “Does America Need a Foreign Policy?”  I mean, the same effect and you actually learn something. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.  Plus, it makes a very handy door stop. 

March Madness is now just hours away.  After the Super Bowl, the NCAA tournament is the biggest betting event in the country.  These days, women are getting a bigger piece of the action. 

Las Vegas sports book directors report that women are moving away from the slot machines and roulette wheels to lay down big money on sporting events.  Vegas is reporting heavy action from women on this year‘s tournament. 

Perhaps the ladies were inspired by Wayne Gretzky‘s wife, Janet Jones.  She famously threw down $75,000 on this year‘s Super Bowl, even betting, I think, on the coin toss that kicked it off. 

Max, I‘m opposed to this.  OK?  I know we‘re getting a lot of angry letters from feminists, but the fact is men gamble, women try to prevent them from gambling.  That‘s women‘s role.  They are the reasonable people in this relationship.  Right?  They‘re the ones who say, “Actually, you can‘t spend eight hours at the blackjack table.  Come on out to the pool and talk to me.”  Right? 

And it‘s good that they do that, because if they didn‘t do that, we would have no self-control.  We‘d have no control at all. 

KELLERMAN:  First of all, you make it sound like feminists are the types to write angry letters, Tucker.  I don‘t know where you would come up with that. 

CARLSON:  I heard that. 

KELLERMAN:  Here.  Why do men and women—why are they together in the first place?  Right?  It‘s not because we have so much in common with them. 

And I had this conversation with my wife a couple years ago.  If she wasn‘t a woman and the relationship wasn‘t first sexual, then marital and therefore familial after awhile, why would I hang out with her?  Right?  I‘d hang out with my friends.  We have more in common. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

KELLERMAN:  Then—it‘s the yin-yang thing.  Let‘s face it.

Then she became a Yankees fan.  That was the greatest day of my life is when my wife became a Yankees fan.  My life got 100 percent getter.  There are some activities that are better without the women around that men do to exclude women intentionally to get away. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

KELLERMAN:  I assume, though I don‘t golf, that golf is one of those activities. 

CARLSON:  That‘s what I‘ve heard. 

KELLERMAN:  There are others that it doesn‘t matter.  They can‘t be ruined by participating, and gambling is one of those activities, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second. 

KELLERMAN:  It‘s pure adrenaline.  Doesn‘t matter who else is gambling with you. 

CARLSON:  Isn‘t it bad enough, Max, that you‘re a degenerate gambler?

KELLERMAN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  If your wife is a degenerate gambler, too, who‘s watching the store at that point?

KELLERMAN:  That was a legitimate question, isn‘t it?  Yes, sure.  Of course.  The responsible thing—but let‘s put responsibility aside and talk about quality—immediate quality of life issues. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

KELLERMAN:  Gamblers are interested in the immediacy of the whole thing anyway.  Immediately, she can no longer criticize you because you‘re gambling, because now she‘s gambling. 

Furthermore, she has a rooting interest in sports now.  When you‘re watching the tournament or the Super Bowl, anything, she‘s really into it.  And she‘s not asking a bunch of dumb questions, either.  She‘s probably done her homework. 

CARLSON:  OK.  That‘s pretty compelling, but my question still is who‘s worrying about the rent?  And I think it‘s sort of a big question. 

Max Kellerman.  Thanks a lot, Max. 

KELLERMAN:  Rent?  Rent?

CARLSON:  Yes.  The rent.  That‘s your wife‘s job, to worry about the rent. 

KELLERMAN:  Come on, those three-point spread, you know who‘s going to win.  What‘s going on?  Rent. 

CARLSON:  Thank you.

Coming up on THE SITUATION, the real estate deal of the century.  It‘s the house that comes with everything, including a new spouse.  We‘ll explain when THE SITUATION rolls on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

If you‘re looking for a two-bedroom town house with central air, a gas fireplace, and a beautiful wooden deck, we‘ve got the listing for you.  The place also comes, believe it or not, with a new husband, and all for the asking price of just $95,000.  You can get the town house and my next guest as your partner for life. 

Mark Miller joins me live tonight from his home in Greenburg, Pennsylvania—Greensburg—to explain just what he‘s up to. 

Mark Miller, thanks for joining us.  I‘m fascinated to learn when people‘s lives change.  When did this come to you that you wanted to sell yourself on the Internet?

MARK MILLER, PUT SELF FOR SALE ON INTERNET:  Well, I wouldn‘t say sell myself, but I made myself available to come with the town house.  This came about in November of last year. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Were you in the shower?  I mean, how did—how does an inspiration like in this come to—come to a person?

MILLER:  Well, I started this charity, American Association for Lost Children, about 18 years ago, and we were on a little break.  I took a sabbatical for health reasons, went to restart the charity.

And in November I found out last year this lady was selling her house and she came with it.  And I thought isn‘t this something?  And I thought I‘d like to be married and I‘d like to sell my town house and then also let people know that we‘re out there to be able to help parents that have missing children and get involved.  So I thought it would be a perfect fit. 

CARLSON:  Ninety-five grand seems kind of cheap.  I mean, if you‘re putting your marriage or yourself, really, up for sale with your house, I mean, that‘s a bargain. 

MILLER:  Well, thank you.  That‘s about the going rate for the town house here.  And based on compatibility, I figured that this would draw attention to the issue that I‘m really wanting to be—have a bride and also with the ministry, the charity. 

CARLSON:  And what kind of responses have you had?

MILLER:  So far, this is the first full week, and we‘ve had probably close to 100 e-mails.  It‘s been exciting. 

CARLSON:  What kind of ladies?

MILLER:  All different kinds.  I had one from Korea. 

CARLSON:  Really.  Are you—any of them pique your interest?

MILLER:  There‘s been several that‘s, you know, very interesting.  And a lot have been encouraging.  There were no pictures, just hats off to the ministry, hats off to the creative idea and being intriguing in the aspect of the whole concept. 

CARLSON:  Would you entertain offers from men?

MILLER:  No.  No.  To buy the house if they want to buy a house. 

CARLSON:  Right.  But you‘re not selling yourself any dude, are you?

MILLER:  No. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Good man.  Everyone has to have standards.  Glad you‘ve got some.  So, do you expect to really get married?

MILLER:  Yes.  I would love to be married. 

CARLSON:  But isn‘t there—I mean, do you think this is an effective way?  Have you thought about Match.com or singles bars or asking a friend?

MILLER:  Well—well, being that my life has been kind of creative in finding missing children—see, we track down missing children and think of ways to find the abductor and then, you know, get the children back to the searching parent, as we‘ve been in other countries.  So this was just another creative way that could fit. 

And to realize that the bride that I‘m searching, I‘m believing she could be part of the ministry and help me on cases and, you know, be involved.  And the more that she knows about what I do, you know, the more that I could find that would fit the bill that we would work together. 

CARLSON:  Well, I personally can‘t wait to find out what she‘s like once you do find her.  Mark Miller from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, thanks a lot for joining us. 

MILLER:  Oh, thank you for having me on. 

CARLSON:  Good luck with the sale. 

MILLER:  Oh, thank you. 

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, George Clooney is a handsome movie star who‘s just won an Oscar.  So what in the world does he have to be angry about?  We‘ll tell you what‘s got him steamed when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor,” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.”  To help us, a man who, unlike our last guest, is not for sale, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Actually, I am for sale. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well...

GEIST:  My price is low.  Nice man but $95,000?  He needs a little work on his self-esteem.  Don‘t you think?

CARLSON:  I was thinking that exact same thing.  Don‘t sell yourself short. 

GEIST:  I‘m selling myself and the house, Hamptons prices, baby. 

CARLSON:  Exactly, while you‘re at it.

Our old friend Arianna Huffington is at it again.  When she‘s not making absurdly false allegations about me and members of my family, she‘s fabricating blogs on her web site and attributing them to Hollywood stars. 

George Clooney was furious this week to see a blog supposedly written by him on her HuffingtonPost.com site.  Turns out Huffington cobbled together a bunch of Clooney‘s public comments about the Iraq war, interviews he did and pasted and passed them off as an exclusive blog.  Huffington calls her completely dishonest act, quote, “an honest misunderstanding.” 

GEIST:  Apparently, Clooney said he could use some of her quotes, but he actually issued a statement today and said, “You misled everybody.  I never said I was going to blog.  I just said you could quote me on a couple of things.”  And she pieced them together and made it into a blog. 

But now you and Clooney have two things in common.  You‘re both “People Magazine‘s Sexiest Man Alive”, and you both hate Arianna Huffington. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t hate her.  She‘s just—she‘s so loathsome.  It‘s hard to believe she, you know, draws a paycheck from anybody.  Who runs this country?

GEIST:  Who does she draw a paycheck from in?

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  But it‘s just—alimony I guess. 

If you‘re robbing a convenience store, you‘re already a loser, of course, but if you do it with a milk crate on your head, you‘re in a category of loser all your own. 

This Georgia man chose to conceal his identity with a milk crate during an armed robbery the other day.  He got rid of the crate on his way out of the store, giving everyone a good look at his face.  He was arrested just two hours later. 

GEIST:  All right.  So this guy‘s an idiot, obviously, but you know what you have to admire?  He didn‘t want to become an armed robbery cliche.  He could have gone with the ski mask. 

CARLSON:  The pantyhose. 

GEIST:  The pantyhose, which he probably could have gotten in that convenience store. 

CARLSON:  I know.  That is so hackneyed. 

GEIST:  But you know what?  He stepped outside the box.  He went with the milk crate.  And it backfired on him, but I give him credit for trying. 

CARLSON:  He didn‘t step outside the box.  He put the box on his head. 

GEIST:  That‘s right.  Not a smart man. 

CARLSON:  Any expert worth his sale will tell you the first thing a young child should learn is how to roller skate.  Roller skating is, of course, the foundation for all other childhood development and movement. 

This is 2-year-old Savannah Harkin (ph).  She‘s a roller-skating whiz kid from Oklahoma.  Savannah‘s parents had her in roller blades before she could walk.  Now she is the queen of the roller rink. 

GEIST:  And really, Tucker, if there‘s one place you want to get your kid started hanging out early in life, it‘s a roller rink. 

CARLSON:  Really.  Especially your daughter. 

GEIST:  Yes.  Local D.J.‘s, stale nachos, fake tattoo vending machines.  It‘s all there.  It‘s really—it‘s just a good place for a child to grow. 

CARLSON:  I can actually smell the stale menthol cigarettes from here. 

GEIST:  You know what I mean?

CARLSON:  We could all learn something from this weird guy standing by the side of the highway with a blowup doll.  The lesson, don‘t try to drive in the HOV lane with a dummy riding shotgun. 

Greg Pringle tried to do just that a couple of months ago, but Colorado police caught him in the act.  His punishment was to stand by the road yesterday with a dummy and a sign that read “HOV lanes are not for dummies.” 

GEIST:  So, this is basically, again, the state of Colorado saying they don‘t like Greg Pringle‘s lifestyle.  They‘re telling him his relationship must be between a human and another human. 

CARLSON:  They‘re so judgmental. 

GEIST:  Now, if he chooses to be in a relationship with a blowup doll, that‘s his prerogative and none of their business, frankly. 

CARLSON:  Totally.  It‘s just a different kind of love, Willie. 

GEIST:  That‘s right.  If you had your dog in shotgun, that‘s a relationship, too.  That should qualify for HOV. 

CARLSON:  You know what?  I‘m on his side.  I think HOV lanes, they‘re designed to snarl traffic.  People who hate cars thought them up, and I disagree with them. 

GEIST:  And frankly, they‘re never fast because you get behind somebody slow. 

CARLSON:  Exactly.  That‘s right.  Good for him.

Willie Geist, thank you.

GEIST:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thank you for watching. 

Up next, “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.  Have a great night.

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

END   

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