updated 5/4/2006 11:44:38 AM ET 2006-05-04T15:44:38

Guests: Juan Hernandez, Mike Huckabee, Max Kellerman, Megan DeSales

RITA COSBY, HOST, “LIVE AND DIRECT”:  I‘m Rita Cosby.  THE SITUATION with Tucker starts right now—Tucker. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks. 

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

Late word tonight on Mexico‘s plan to legalize drug use.  Will cocaine, heroin, LSD, and marijuana, not to mention peyote, be readily available for personal consumption there?  Could a drug supermarket be opening just across the border?

Also ahead, a teenage girl survives 30 hours alone in the woods after a brutal attack breaks her neck.  Rescuers were amazed she survived.  We‘ll show you the top five remarkable survivor stories of all time. 

And which really matters more, your vote for the next “American Idol” or your vote for the president of the United States?  The votes are in.  We‘ll have the definitive answer just ahead. 

But first tonight, the top news of the day, the Zacarias Moussaoui verdict.  The only person convicted in the U.S. court for the 9/11 attacks will spend the rest of his life behind bars, but he escaped the death penalty.

As he was led from the courtroom today, Moussaoui yelled, quote, “America, you lost.  I won.”  He clapped his hands as he was escorted away.  But when New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said he preferred the death penalty for Moussaoui, some members of the September 11 victims family spoke just after the verdict was announced. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARRIE LEMACK, MOTHER DIED IN 9/11 ATTACKS:  I think my mom would be proud that he‘s going to spend the rest of his life in jail and that there‘s going to be no more bloodshed in her name or in anyone else‘s name.  Because this isn‘t about death; this should be about life. 

ALEXANDER SANTORA, SON DIED IN 9/11 ATTACKS:  I just couldn‘t believe that they came back and said that they didn‘t give him the death penalty.  Just for the sake of him not being able or having the ability to kill or hurt somebody else. 

(END VIDEO CLIP0

CARLSON:  So did Zacarias Moussaoui get what he deserved today?  Joining me now to answer that question, MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan, joining us tonight from Burbank. 

Susan, welcome. 

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Hey, Tucker, how are you?

CARLSON:  Great.  So here is the only man convicted in these attacks on the United States.  We have one guy left we think was connected to the 9/11 attacks.  Why didn‘t he get the death penalty today?

FILAN:  America won today.  We showed the world that we‘re not a vengeful people; we‘re a reasonable people. 

The jury weighed the evidence that was put before them.  They found mitigating factors, and they weren‘t unanimous in voting for death.  And that automatically yields a life sentence. 

Why didn‘t he get it?  Because I think they felt in some way, he‘s the only person charged.  His connection‘s slightly tenuous.  They did convict him, but they couldn‘t go the extra mile and kill him, as well.  And that‘s probably right.

And the other thing that‘s good about it is, you know, the government had some serious problems in this case.  And it‘s not an appeal-proof verdict.  So now that it‘s taken down a notch and it‘s not a death-penalty case, I think that may help in the appellate process.  I don‘t think the government wants to have to try this again. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s right, and there was also some concern that Moussaoui was, in fact, inflating his role in 9/11 because he wanted to be put to death.  He wanted to become a martyr and get to the virgins as quick as possible.  So it‘s probably...

FILAN:  Exactly.  Although the jury...

CARLSON:  Hold on.  Hold on, I just want to put to you a question about the jurors‘ deliberations that you referred to a second ago.  Three of the jurors said they believed that Moussaoui had only limited knowledge of the 9/11 attacks and may not have had any role at all in those attacks.  What exactly was he convicted of, for our viewers who might not know?

FILAN:  Lying.  Basically, lying to the feds.  They asked him a question pre-9/11.  The answer that he gave was false.  The theory is that, had he told the truth, perhaps he could have prevented 9/11, and that is what they convicted him for.  That is what they condemned him for. 

But they didn‘t condemn him to death because in a sense, he isn‘t really the one that pulled the trigger or flew the plane into the building.  In a way, it‘s kind of a balance.

CARLSON:  Do we think he was the 20th hijacker?

FILAN:  I‘m sorry?

CARLSON:  Do we think that—he was described in some news accounts as potentially the 20th hijacker.  Do we think that he was that closely allied with the 19 hijackers?

FILAN:  I think he would like you to think he was.  Maybe he was sort of a wannabe terrorist.  He was definitely allied with them but probably not to the level that he would want you to believe.  I think al Qaeda even thought he was kind of a goof up, really, not to be trusted with the big stuff. 

CARLSON:  So what exactly, I mean, does this mean for his future?  Is this the end?  Is he appealing this case?  Are we going to hear from Zacarias Moussaoui in open court again, or is this it?

FILAN:  Oh, sure.  Absolutely.  Now, you‘re definitely going to hear more about this.  There are going to be appeals, and he‘s probably go to the most difficult prison in the country, where he‘s going to be locked down 23 out to have 24 hours a day.  It is not going to be pleasant for him.  He‘s going to be confined forever. 

And I think that sends the perfect message to the world.  Don‘t you dare come to this country and terrorize us.  Don‘t you dare think you‘re going to get away with it. 

But even if you do, we‘re not vengeful.  We‘re not necessarily going to kill you.  We‘re going to do this the right way.  Just because you don‘t respect us doesn‘t mean that we don‘t respect you. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

FILAN:  We‘re very fair. 

CARLSON:  I think they should put him in the general population.  It worked for Jeffrey Dahmer, didn‘t it?  Susan Filan.  Sorry, I was striking a vengeful note there.  You‘ll excuse me.  I can‘t help it.  I‘m not as—

I‘m not as good as the rest of America, apparently. 

(CROSSTALK)

FILAN:  But isn‘t (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Tucker.

CARLSON:  Susan Filan from Burbank, thank you very much. 

FILAN:  You‘re welcome. 

CARLSON:  We turn now to Mexico‘s proposal to legalize drug use.  The Mexico senate voted overwhelmingly last week to allow legal possession, not just of marijuana but of cocaine, ecstasy, opium, peyote, and heroin. 

Late tonight, though, just hours after U.S. officials warned the plan would encourage drug tourism, Mexican President Vicente Fox indicated he will not sign the decriminalization bill into law. 

The question is why was he even considering signing it?  Here to help us answer that question, Juan Hernandez.  He‘s a former advisor to President Fox.  He‘s also the author of the book “The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”  He joins us tonight from Fort Worth, Texas. 

Juan Hernandez, thanks for coming on. 

JUAN HERNANDEZ, FORMER ADVISOR TO VICENTE FOX:  Thank you, Tucker. 

It‘s great to be here with you. 

CARLSON:  Thank you.  It looks pretty clear that the United States government pressured the Mexican president, Vicente Fox, into not signing this legislation, but he clearly was considering signing it.  Why?

HERNANDEZ:  Well, to start with, we‘ve got a democracy now in Mexico, which is really great, after 71 years. 

CARLSON:  Congratulations on that. 

HERNANDEZ:  We now have a president from a different party.  I mean, the PRI ruled for over 71 years.  That‘s longer than communism.  And that party could just do anything it wanted to do. 

Now you have a split congress.  There are three strong parties, and they are having to deal with the reality of a Mexico in the 21st Century.  Mexico has really not had a problem with drug consumption.  It‘s starting to grow in their country, and they‘re trying to decide what do we do about it, as we are also in the United States. 

CARLSON:  Mexico has had a real problem with exporting drugs to the United States, as I‘m sure you know.  I mean, the U.S. government believes about 90 percent of all cocaine in the United States comes through Mexico.  Vast majority of heroin.  The vast majority of methamphetamine sales controlled by Mexican drug gangs in this country.  Mexico is a huge drug exporter.  What is Mexico doing about that?

HERNANDEZ:  The drugs come through Mexico.  Mexico is not the great grower and producer of drugs.  But yes, Mexico is the country, and by the way a country that has been complaining to the United States for decades, saying do something about your drug appetite in the United States.  It‘s causing problems in Mexico. 

CARLSON:  Stop us before we sell you more drugs?  Is that... 

(CROSSTALK)

HERNANDEZ:  ... share among the growers, the distributors and then in this country, of course, the billions of dollars of business. 

But I think that if we work together and if we really fight the cartels and fight the distributors, the pushers in our schools, I think that we could win this war. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  So in other words, Mexico is the conduit through which the overwhelming majority of heroin and cocaine come into the United States, but Mexico‘s position is, that‘s your fault.  You American heroin addicts, that‘s your fault.  It‘s not the fault of Mexican nationals bringing the dope into your country.  It‘s your fault for being addicted to it.  Is that the position?

HERNANDEZ:  No, I‘d say that mid-Mexico, like mid-American, most people in both countries would say there is a huge problem with drugs.  Mexico, I‘ll repeat, for decades has been saying, we don‘t want this problem, these cartels in our country.  Please, the United States, do something about your drug addiction.  And we have failed miserably there.  You had people a bit earlier today talking about Colorado.

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  Wait a second.  Mr. Hernandez, you have had in the last couple of months, drug gangs dressed in the uniforms of Mexican federalis, of government employees, with automatic weapons, fire on U.S.  marshals and border patrol agents on the border.  And you‘re saying that‘s somehow America‘s fault that Mexico can‘t control its own drug gangs? 

HERNANDEZ:  What I‘m saying is that drugs are terrible and that most good people in both Mexico and the United States despise what drugs does to people. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

HERNANDEZ:  And we need to work together, because we‘re not going to solve it by ourselves in the United States or in Mexico. 

CARLSON:  I think what you‘re really saying is build a wall, a very high wall, at least 20 feet high. 

HERNANDEZ:  Is that what I‘m saying?

CARLSON:  With guard dogs and machine gun emplacements and make certain not a single drug trafficker crosses that southern border from Mexico into the United States.  That‘s the case you‘re making, is it not?

HERNANDEZ:  No, Tucker, that‘s not what I‘m saying. 

CARLSON:  Oh.  That would work, though, wouldn‘t it?

HERNANDEZ:  What I‘m saying is that if we put our heads together, I think that we can attack this cancer.  We can do something about it.

CARLSON:  OK.  But shouldn‘t the government of Mexico take responsibility, again, for the border?  I mean all the emphasis is on what is the United States going to do about the porousness of this border?  Can we stop, you know, the flow of people and drugs into the United States? 

Why doesn‘t the Mexican government spend some money on tightening up its border controls and preventing cocaine and heroin and crystal meth from coming into our country?

HERNANDEZ:  Yes, but those are two very different issues.  You don‘t have the drug pushers, the drug distributors coming through the desert with a jug of water risking their lives to come to the United States.  They‘re not going to risk their drugs to lose them. 

CARLSON:  They pay poor people to bring them through the desert. 

HERNANDEZ:  They come through boast.  They come through—it‘s a billions of dollar business.  People are coming up here to work.  They‘re good, wonderful people.  They‘re helping our nation of the United States.

CARLSON:  And some of them are also selling crystal meth.  I mean, look, I understand that—I think the majority of illegal immigrants from Mexico are good, decent people who just want to work hard and make money and send it back to their families, but some of them are here, you know, selling crystal meth.  They control the crystal meth trade in this country. 

HERNANDEZ:  No, no, no.  Not the undocumented, those wonderful people that were marching.

CARLSON:  So they‘re all legal?  All the crystal meth dealers actually have green cards?

HERNANDEZ:  Those are the type of people.  They are good citizens of this nation.

CARLSON:  Is that what you‘re saying?

HERNANDEZ:  And all they‘re asking for is a paper that will let them prove to the United States that they are. 

CARLSON:  Just—not to cut you off, Mr. Hernandez, but just to make certain I understand exactly what you‘re saying, you‘re saying that the drug gangs that control virtually all the crystal meth sales in this country, all those guys are legal?  They are—they‘re documented?

HERNANDEZ:  Oh, I‘m sure they are.  Do you think that—that the drug cartels in this nation, billions of dollars of business, are going to risk it, giving the drugs to undocumented...

CARLSON:  So they ignore our drug laws, but they pay scrupulous attention to our immigration laws?  Wow, those, they‘re tricky people, those drug lords. 

Juan Hernandez, I really appreciate your coming on.  Thank you.

HERNANDEZ:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still to come, Democratic leader Howard Dean makes news yet again, this time over comments about Jews and the GOP.  We‘ll bring you the details.  Pretty amazing stuff. 

Plus, it‘s down to the final four contestants on “American Idol”. 

We‘ll tell you who got bounced,

Plus is it possible Simon Cowell held in higher regard than President Bush?  We will explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, the new cola wars.  Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee stops by to discuss the latest initiative to remove sugary sodas from all public schools in America.

Plus, under appreciated stay-at-home moms stay tuned.  You‘ll be heartened by what a recent study claims your work is worth.  We‘ve got the numbers.  It‘s all next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Ever wonder what the difference is between the Democratic and Republican parties?  I bet you have.  Well, the ever-helpful Howard Dean explained it in plain English today.

In a speech to the American Jewish community, Dean said, quote, “When it comes right down to it, the essential difference is that the Democrats fundamentally believe it is important to make sure that American Jews feel comfortable being American Jews,” end quote.

So here‘s the question.  Is playing the anti-Semitism card a sound strategy for the Democratic Party?  To answer it, MSNBC contributor Flavia Colgan, joining us from Burbank.

Flavia, look, the... 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Hello, Tucker!

CARLSON:  Hello, Flavia! 

The position appears to be not only is the Republican Party the party that is against poor people, against black people.  It‘s also the party that is anti-Semitic.  Why not just criticize the policies of the party you oppose, rather than calling them names, especially, you know, absurd names like this? 

COLGAN:  Well, look, Howard Dean suffers from foot-in-mouth disease.  He‘s been afflicted with it ever since he got onto the national stage.  So I‘m not going to apologize for his choice of words. 

But I think I know what he was getting at.  I think that he was pointing out that a party that kisses up, even John McCain, to Jerry Falwell, who said that the antichrist is a Jewish man walking in this country, is a party that some Jews might feel uncomfortable being a part of. 

I think he was also alluding to the fact that people feel uncomfortable, people of faith, particularly in minority religions, feel uncomfortable with the president‘s kind of lunge towards theocracy.  And most importantly...

CARLSON:  Really?  Does the White House chief of staff feel that way? 

I mean, the Jewish White House chief of staff?

I mean, it‘s so absurd.  This is a party, I agree, that has something in common with Jerry Falwell.  It‘s also a party that has a lot in common with Israel.  I mean, I would like to see specific examples. 

I‘m not even defending the Republican Party for any reason other than I think this is just such an unfair thing to say.  It‘s false.  Can you give me one example of anti-Semitism in the Republican Party?  I can‘t think of one.

COLGAN:  First of all, I don‘t think that he was trying to be anti-Semitic.  And you know me well enough, Tucker, to know that I hate identity policing on every level.  I think that it‘s absurd to suggest that one group of people, whether it‘s Jews or blacks or anyone, should be a member of one party of another. 

And I think Jewish Americans can speak for themselves.  They don‘t need Howard Dean offering social commentary.  Seventy-five percent of them vote for Democratic values and for the values of social justice that they feel represent their faith, their religion, and their values, as exhibited in public policy. 

However, I think that Howard Dean was making a larger point, and his point was to talk about the lack of an energy policy, the Bush administration‘s refusal to do anything on CAFE standards. 

CARLSON:  You know what this is?  No.

COLGAN:  Fuel efficiency.  No, and he was saying—he made a specific point that you didn‘t bring up, and his point in leading into that quote was to say that those are also national security issues, and that we‘re fighting terrorists, fundamentalist organizations... 

CARLSON:  I know.  I‘ve heard the speech from both sides 1,000 times. 

COLGAN:  ... that do not like Israel. 

CARLSON:  OK.  I...

COLGAN:  And so that‘s what he‘s talking about.  The reason...

CARLSON:  Howard Dean is also—wait.  Hold on, slow down, slow down.  Howard Dean is also trying to reestablish his bona fides with the group to whom he was speaking today. 

Remember, it as Dean who alienated a lot of Jewish Democrats by saying, you know, members of Hamas, Hamas terrorists, were, quote, “soldiers in a war”, that we need a more, quote, “even handed Israel policy,” that we shouldn‘t, quote, “take sides” in the way we do when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians.  This is a guy who a lot of people thought was too hard on Israel, and he‘s trying to, you know, establish himself as someone who is not.  That‘s what it‘s about. 

COLGAN:  Tucker—Tucker, this is an easy fight for you to win if you‘re going to ask me whether I think Howard Dean is great when it comes to semantics.  I‘m not.  I don‘t feel comfortable with a lot of things that he‘s said.  Rather than deal...

CARLSON:  But it‘s not semantics; it‘s the idea that I disagree with. 

COLGAN:  I know, but hold on.  But hold on, Tucker.  I would rather—

I mean, if people parse Howard Dean‘s words, I mean, spent as much time parsing the policies of the Republican Party we‘d be in a better place. 

CARLSON:  Parsing his words?  He said something really clear, and I‘m taking it at face value. 

COLGAN:  I‘d rather he—I‘d rather people feel alienated—I‘d rather people feel alienated from Howard Dean‘s words than Ken Mehlman, who the same day got booed off the stage because of his comments on Iraq and Iran.  As a Democrat...

CARLSON:  Really?  OK, let me—let me just stop you right there

COLGAN:  Howard Dean continues—hold on.  Let me just say something as a Democrat. 

CARLSON:  Let me say something as a non-Democrat. 

COLGAN:  OK.

CARLSON:  Hold on, Flavia.  You brought Iran very quickly.  Iran will not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons period, said Howard Dean.  Howard Dean is sounding more right-wing on that question than President Bush himself, no?

COLGAN:  Yes, I‘m simply pointing out that Ken Mehlman, speaking to the same group, which we haven‘t discussed, not only didn‘t just put his foot in the mouth.  He actually got booed from the audience when he was discussing the policy on Iraq. 

And a lot of people in the audience felt that the saber rattling and so forth in Iran.  And right after that quote, I might add, Howard Dean said that we should not be approaching Iran the way the—the current administration is.  And he laid out a plan for it. 

CARLSON:  OK.  All right.  I haven‘t gotten to...

COLGAN:  The point I‘m trying to make here—hold on. 

CARLSON:  No, no, no—OK.

COLGAN:  The point I‘m trying to make as a Democrat, which you keep not letting me make is that this really does infuriate me that Howard Dean continues to make over the top rhetorical comments like this.

CARLSON:  Give me a break.  He represents your party.  Hold on.  Everybody in your party defends the guy.  You elected hum the head of your party.  I mean, to say, you know, he doesn‘t speak for Democrat, he does speak for Democrats.  They give him money.  He‘s head of your party.  I mean, I‘m sorry.  Join a new party. 

You‘re welcome to the Libertarian Party.  You know what?  You‘ve got my number.  Call me.  You and I will go to a libertarian event.  We‘ll both feel better about ourselves, I promise. 

Flavia Colgan, sorry.  On that helpful note, meet me after the show. 

We‘ll go over there.

Thank you, Flavia.

COLGAN:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, we all remember the moment in 1987 when, after 58 long hours, Baby Jessica McClure was rescued from a well in Texas.  Up next, we‘ll bring you our top five all-time survivor stories, so stay tuned for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

From St. Louis, an incredible story about one teenage girl‘s will to survive, following a brutal attack that left her with a broken neck.  Seventeen-year-old Ashley Reeves was rescued more than 30 hours after being left for dead in the woods.  Police say the assailant—assailant is 26-year-old Samson Shelton.  He‘s a high school teacher and a would-be pro wrestler.  They think he used his forearm to break Ashley‘s neck. 

Shelton is now behind bars facing kidnapping and attempted murder charges.  Ashley, meanwhile, is in serious condition, but she will live to talk about her frightening ordeal, an extraordinary case of perseverance in the face of almost certain death. 

In tonight‘s top five, some other amazing survivors who have beat the odds.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  These are the stories of ordinary people in not so ordinary life or death situations.  They‘re incredible stories that make us wonder how anyone could face such an ordeal.  They‘re inspiring stories about the will to survive. 

Jessica McClure was only 18 months old when in 1987 she fell into a well near her home in Midland, Texas.  It took frantic rescuers 56 hours to pull her out. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right.  Cheers all around!

CARLSON:  In the end, Baby Jessica emerged temporarily scarred by her ordeal, but forever an endearing poster child of amazing survivals. 

A vacation in paradise became a nightmare in hell for model Petra Nemcova when she was swept from her bungalow by a massive tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in 2004.  She clung to a palm tree for eight hours waiting to be rescued.

PETRA NEMCOVA, TSUNAMI SURVIVOR:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) be gone in a couple of seconds.

CARLSON:  She suffered a broken pelvis and internal injuries, but she survived.  Her fiance and 200,000 other people were not so lucky. 

Three years ago, 27-year-old rock climber Aron Ralston was forced to do the unthinkable while exploring a remote desert canyon in eastern Utah.  With his right arm pinned by a boulder, Aron had only one chance of survival, and that was to amputate his own arm with a pocket knife. 

ARON RALSTON, ROCK CLIMBER:  I did what I had to do.

CARLSON:  Never one to pass up new challenges, Aron Ralston continues to explore the outdoors with the aid of a special prosthesis. 

It was the air disaster no one should have survived.  In 1989 United Airlines Flight 232 suddenly lost its hydraulic system.  With few controls in operation, the plane crash landed at an Iowa airport. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I had just resigned myself that there was no way. 

CARLSON:  One hundred 11 people died in the crash, but 185 others lived, thanks to the extraordinary skill of flight Captain Al Haynes and his crew. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You want to call it a miracle, but I don‘t know that it‘s unbelievable.  None of us should have survived. 

CARLSON:  Finally, what many have called the ultimate survival story.  In 1972, a plane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team went down in the treacherous frozen Andes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Friends were dying every day, and—and death was getting closer to you.  And you were the next one to die.

CARLSON:  The will to live led members to cannibalism.  Their ordeal ended two months later with the deaths of 29 people.  Sixteen others, however, lived to tell what‘s now considered the miracle of the Andes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We had to keep our mind strong and say, “We must keep going (ph).” 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Well, earlier this week we did a segment on the Rush Limbaugh drug case.  Limbaugh spent years and untold millions fighting charges that he bought too many prescription painkillers. 

I made the point on the show that the case never should have been brought against him in the first place.  He didn‘t steal.  He didn‘t sell drugs.  He didn‘t hurt anyone but himself in any way.  Where, I wondered out loud, was the ACLU in all of this?  Why weren‘t they defending Rush Limbaugh?

Well, it turns out, they were defending Rush Limbaugh, repeatedly.  The ACLU filed a friend of the court brief on Limbaugh‘s behalf and issued a series of press releases supporting his right to keep his medical records confidential. 

Over the years I‘ve spent a fair amount of time beating up then ACLU, and I assume that tradition will continue in earnest.  But in this case, I was wrong; they were right.  Good for the ACLU.

At least we admit, always and everywhere.  If you think we‘ve been wrong, tell us.  If you disagree, don‘t bother.

Still to come, sugary sodas will soon be outlawed in elementary and middle schools.  Shouldn‘t we be more concerned with our kids watching MTV and abusing crystal meth?  I‘ll ask Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in just a minute. 

Plus, how much would a full-time, stay-at-home mom be worth on the open market?  We‘ll reveal the high-priced figures when THE SITUATION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUCKER CARLSON, NBC ANCHOR:  Still to come, Bill Clinton wages war against soda in school.  Why is a former president sticking his nose in your parenting duties?  The question plus, which is more important a vote for “American Idol” or a vote for the president of the United States? You might be surprised by the answer.  We‘ll get to that in just a minute, but first, here‘s what else is going on in the world tonight. 

MILISSA REHBERGER, NBC ANCHOR:  Hi, everyone I‘m Milissa Rehberger and here‘s what‘s happening.  A jury decided confessed 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui should be sentenced to life in prison without parole, rather than death.  The verdict came on the seventh day of deliberations.  In sparing him from the death penalty, three jurors decided Moussaoui had only limited knowledge of the 9/11 plot and three described his role in the attacks as minor if he had any role at all.  The judge will impose the life sentence tomorrow morning, bound by the jury‘s decision.

The Bush administration outlined its plan for combating a widespread human bird flu outbreak in the United States, it includes stockpiling vaccines and restricting travel and using the National Guard in cases of civil unrest.  A report warned states and cities not to count on a federal rescue.  And the house of representatives approves criminal penalties and fines up to $150 million for oil companies caught price gouges as gasoline prices rise.  The bill heads now to the senate.  Now back to THE SITUATION.

CARLSON:  Now to a story that will affect almost everybody under 18.  Former president Bill Clinton announced today that most sugary sodas and drinks will be permanently removed from American schools.  The former president called the deal with the largest U.S. beverage distributors, “A bold step forward in the struggle to help 35 million young people lead healthier lives.”  Kids in elementary and middle schools will only be able to buy water, unsweetened juices and low fat or skim milk.  Diet sodas and sports drinks will remain in high schools.

Joining me now to discuss today‘s sweeping announcement is Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.  Along with President Clinton Governor Huckabee has waged a fight against childhood obesity.  He joins us tonight from Little Rock.  Governor Huckabee thanks for coming on.

GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, ALLIANCE FOR A HEALTHIER GENERATION:  It‘s a pleasure Tucker, thanks.

CARLSON:  This is the quote from you in “The New York Times”, I believe tomorrow‘s edition, “We have to get moms and dads involved in this, if parents don‘t set the right example, set the right table, set the right schedule, then we‘re not going to see this problem change, this problem being childhood obesity.”  Why is it the government‘s place to tell parents what to feed their kids?  

HUCKABEE:  Well government isn‘t telling parents what to do.  This is a matter where the industry themselves that‘s taking an initiative and I applaud them.  I think it‘s a remarkable thing and an historic day that the beverage companies themselves, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Cadbury-Schweppes, have all come together, signed a memorandum of understanding.  The thing is they have preempted regulation, legislation, and litigation and instead they‘ve decided that what they wanted to do was to be a responsible corporate citizen.  I think what they‘ve done is remarkable, it‘s going to be, you know, I think the first of many that you‘ll see who say all of us have some responsibility. 

Now let‘s be honest, Tucker.  Kids drinking sodas is not singularly the cause of  obesity, there are many, many factors.  But the fact is that, it can be a contributing cause when kids take in, whether it‘s eating or drinking, a lot of unnecessary and non nutritious calories. 

CARLSON:  But it just seems to me governor that maybe you‘re going after the wrong culprit here.  We got the statistics on exactly how many calories various beverages have.  For instance, Coca-Cola Classic, the old fashioned sugary, bad for your teeth Coke, 145 calories per 12 ounce can, right, that is in the ban from schools from now on.  Same with root beer, 156 calories, sugary root beer.  Juices, however, unsweetened juices will be allowed.  Let‘s check those out.  Apple juice, unsweetened, 180 calories.  Orange juice, 180 also.  Cranberry juice, 216 calories.  Juices have by and large more calories than sugary sodas and yet they‘re still allowed why?

HUCKABEE:  Well first of all, there‘ll be portion control sizes that‘ll contain the calories, but more importantly, orange juice for example has folic acid, it has Vitamin C, it has a host of nutrients.  It‘s not just empty calories, it‘s actually calories that have nutritious value and that‘s a very significant difference.   

CARLSON:  But Coca-Cola has caramel coloring in it.  I mean you can‘t compete with that.  

HUCKABEE:  Yeah I‘ve had some—really read the label, it has some very powerful things.  I mean Tucker let‘s face it, there‘s not a kid in America that‘s somehow going to be parched and laying on the floor dying of thirst because somehow he didn‘t get a sugar-filled soft drink.  The good news is, is that this one part of, and it‘s not the biggest part at all.  But this one part, the industry has taken it upon themselves to, rather than get pushed in the pool, they‘ve jumped in the pool and they‘ve decided to swim and call others to join with them.  I think it‘s great.  

CARLSON:  Let me ask you a question, as a parent, and if this is too personal, tell me to stop.  But as a parent, would you rather your children drank a six-pack of Mountain Dew or watch an hour of MTV?  

HUCKABEE:  Well, that‘s like asking had I rather them get hit by a car or hit by a train.  The real reality is a good responsible parent‘s going to do two things, one, try to make sure that children are getting a good activity level and the second thing is good nutritious food.  So parents shouldn‘t be picking and saying, well we can‘t really do a full parenting job, so I‘m only going to do part of the deal. 

Here‘s the reality.  A lot of parents, myself included.  We haven‘t done the best job we could have done.  In some cases we didn‘t really understand what an issue obesity was.  Well, but now we do.  And once we understand how many kids are getting diabetes, this is now a true epidemic, it‘s not just a false epidemic, it really is going to take the lives of kids. 

CARLSON:  I believe that.  I absolutely believe that.  But I guess I see this potentially as a threat to the sovereignty of the family.  I mean you‘re suggesting that the government, which let‘s be honest can barely deliver the mail in some cases, is going to do a better job directing the nutritional needs of children than parents will.  And I just have trouble swallowing that I guess.  

HUCKABEE:  Well I‘m way too conservative to want a nanny government, in fact this is what I like about this particular announcement today that President Clinton and I made in New York.  It isn‘t government telling parents what to do.  It‘s simply saying that we‘re not going to see the sodas put in front of  kids at schools.  But we didn‘t make the decision, government didn‘t, the industry did.  Parents still have the responsibility and if when the kid gets home, if they want to give them a six pack of  whatever sugary soft drink they want, there‘s not a thing in government regulations that‘ll keep them from it.  But what will happen, they won‘t be subjected to that while they‘re at school and away from the parents, where the parent may not have as much control.  

CARLSON:  That‘s an interesting point.  Okay.  Thank you.  Governor Mike Huckabee, the second longest serving governor in the United States out of 50.  Thanks for joining us tonight. 

HUCKABEE:  My pleasure Tucker.  

CARLSON:  We turn now to a man who exists entirely on a diet of Mountain Dew and Gummy Bears and some Fun-yuns, too.  He is the outsider.  ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman.  Max, hello.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO & HBO BOXING HOST:  Diet Dr. Pepper, too it almost tastes like the real thing Tucker.   

CARLSON:  DDP, I love it, from West Texas.  It‘s often said that being a mom is the toughest job in the world, so what would be an appropriate salary for such grueling work?  According to a new study a full-time stay at home mom would earn more than $134,000 if she were paid for all the work she does.  Researches go to that figure by calculating the earning power of people who perform the jobs moms do.  Housekeeping, day care, cooking, driving, even psychology. 

So is $134 grand a little much or a little too little?  In my view, it‘s irrelevant Max for a couple of reasons.  One, you can‘t put a price on this, right, I mean raising decent children is more valuable than anything.  And two, women in almost every household I‘m familiar with, every household I know of any way, control the money anyway.  I mean, women are the ones who make the retail purchases.  That‘s why advertisers target women.  There‘s nothing wrong with that, but they already have the money I guess is my point. 

KELLERMAN:  I‘m not even allowed to see my paycheck Tucker, I‘m not even allowed to look at it.  But it‘s relevant with far-reaching implications this study.  Let me just say, if it‘s true, then a divorce settlement should never be able to be more than $134,000 times the number of years they were married.  But Anna Nicole Smith has no case right now, right.  I mean there‘s an implication.  $134,000 a year is the most you can get.  But I question—

CARLSON:  She was never a stay at home mom, just to set the record straight.  

KELLERMAN:  But seeking of psychology, I question the study itself because if you were evaluating a company on the stock market, you want to know their total, you know capitalization.  I guess in this case, you would say both parents‘ actual salaries plus $134,000.  That does not seem to be the case and I think one of the problems with the study is they did things like say, well, if she‘s working 10 jobs, one of them is psychologist.  Actually, what you‘re paying a psychologist for, or a teacher for is their training, not just their time.  It‘s their time based on their training.  Most mothers have zero training in psychology or in teaching, they have zero training, and so they would not be very valued by the marketplace in those capacities. 

CARLSON:  But they‘re better at it any way than licensed teachers or shrinks most of the time which tells you how absurd higher education is.  

KELLERMAN:  They‘re better at it, in other words we‘re very happy with where we are as a country and where we‘re headed and think that our general population behaves the way we would like them to?  

CARLSON:  I think the average mom teaches more than the average say women‘s studies professor.  Yeah, in about an hour—

KELLERMAN:  I actually agree with that.  But I was trying to beat you.  It seems that from the right all you ever hear is we‘re going to you know where in a hand basket. 

CARLSON:  Yeah.  I don‘t know, it‘s still a great country any way.  Well which vote carries more weight, a vote for “American Idol” or a vote for the president of the United States?  Might sound like a silly question, and yet 35 percent of people polled in a new survey said they believe their “Idol” vote counted at least as much as their vote for president.  “American Idol” gets about 35 million viewers every week.  If you haven‘t seen “Idol” yet tonight, cover your ears right now because voters turned out en masse to boot Paris Bennett off the show. 

I think it‘s good (INAUDIBLE) vote for “American Idol,” because it means they‘re not voting for president.  The fact is that people know a lot about the contestants on “American Idol,” right?  They‘re intensely engaged in the run-up to the voting on  “American Idol,” they know everything about the contestants.  They‘re not so intensely engaged in the presidential race.  And so I‘m happy that people are spending their time, people who care about “American Idol” are spending their time voting for “American Idol.”  If you don‘t care about who the president is, don‘t vote.  This just doesn‘t bother me.  

KELLERMAN:  I mean in addition, we have an electoral college that determines the outcome of the election and so it‘s not, if you live in a state like New York for instance, or California, the vote‘s probably going, no matter who you vote for, it‘s going to the democratic candidate.   And in fact if you live in Florida in certain counties, your vote won‘t be counted at all because the Supreme Court will hijack the election under equal protection of all things. 

CARLSON:  Well if you vote for Pat Buchanan accidentally, and then try to blame the ballot, yeah that does happen.  

KELLERMAN:  However, think of how much better, I‘m not even going to use Kerry as an example.  Think of how much better off we‘d be with Al Gore right now, Tucker than George Bush.  I mean it does in the end make a difference, even if people only --  

CARLSON:  But Al Gore on “American Idol” or in real life?

KELLERMAN:  In real life as president—

CARLSON:  You mean as President of the United States, as the man in control  of the U.S. military, for instance? 

KELLERMAN:  Well, better than Bush or worse than Bush?

CARLSON:  You have got to be kidding.  I didn‘t vote for Bush last time because I was so mad about Iraq.  But Al Gore as president of the United States, I think we need to remind you what Al Gore was like.  In fact I wish we had a graphic or video to throw up of Al Gore just so you could recoil in horror and repent of what you just said.

KELLERMAN:  How about the idea that you switch George Bush with the winner of “American Idol”? I mean he couldn‘t be doing any worse.  And he sort of is an “American Idol.” That‘s how he got elected, personality. 

CARLSON:  I bet his album would sell pretty well. 

KELLERMAN:  If he can sing, he‘s in there. 

CARLSON:  Max Kellerman.  Even if he can‘t.  Thanks Max.  Coming up on THE SITUATION you‘ll meat a real-life “Sex in the City” girl, to tell us why good food might be the quickest way to good sex.  We‘ll explain in great detail when THE SITUATION rolls on. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANESSA MCDONALD, SITUATION PRODUCER:  Coming up, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes prepare for the inevitable by signing a record-breaking prenup.  Plus food and sex make a delicious combination when we go spooning. 

CARLSON:  Yum, spooning.  When THE SITUATION returns in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back, everybody knows book clubs are simply a  reason for women to get together once a month and confirm for each other that men are in fact pigs, as they are.  The latest trend in (INAUDIBLE) female gatherings is the cooking club where women swap advice on food, men and sex, mostly on men and sex.  Megan DeSales is a proud member of a weekly cooking club, she‘s also the co-author of an excellent new book “Spooning: The Cooking Club Divas Turn up the Heat.” Megan DeSales joins me here in the studio tonight and welcome.

MEGAN DESALES, CO-AUTHOR, “SPOONING”:  Hi, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  What is spooning, can you be specific?

DESALES:  Spooning is a form of cuddling from in front or behind, you know, spooning, but it‘s also, it can be like spooning in the kitchen, so there‘s two different meanings to it, so, go with whichever you choose.  

CARLSON:  So in your book there‘s this nexus between food and sex, and one leads to the other.  

DESALES:  Food, you know, the way to a man‘s heart, they say, is through his stomach.  So it‘s like cooking him food and finding true love.  So it‘s finding the perfect recipe for the perfect guy, and so they both sort of collide and mix.  

CARLSON:  Well I‘ve always thought that food was the way to a man‘s heart, stomach is the way to his heart.  But it your book it turns out that the opposite is true or the same is true for women.  Any way you have this scene where one of your characters is in the Caribbean and winds up with this man who barely speaks English and she‘s thinking to herself, should I sleep with him.  And she‘s running through a list, all the reasons, well I‘m on an island, it‘s all part of the vacation package, I‘ve never had sand in my pants—on the beach.  Here‘s what stuck out at me though, he cares about me, he fed me.  Do women feel that way?  If you give a woman a meal, she feels like you really care?

DESALES:  You know there‘s a difference, I think you know everyone says if you take a girl out to a restaurant or feed her, that‘s one thing, but if you cook a meal for her, I mean she really thinks you care about her.  I think if you get in the kitchen and you attempt, doesn‘t mean it‘s successful, but if you attempt, I think it‘s the way to a woman‘s  heart, it turns her on, sort of speak.

CARLSON:  Really?

DESALES:  Yeah.  Don‘t you cook for your wife?

CARLSON:  No I‘m a take-out guy I‘m a restaurant man.  

DESALES:  Does she cook for you? 

CARLSON:  There‘s not too much cooking in my house. 

DESALES:  Okay so a lot of delivery.  

CARLSON:  Yeah, there‘s a lot of delivery.  I had no idea.  I always thought that women took cooking as kind of an effete thing to do, sort of wimpy?

DESALES:  You think so? I think cooking‘s back in style, I think cooking‘s in vogue now with all like the cooking shows on TV, Rachel Ray, Najela(PH), even a lot of men, Bobby Flay.  I mean cooking is the hot thing right now.  So I think, you know, I think it‘s coming back in style and whether you‘re a guy or a girl, I think cooking is the in thing to do. 

CARLSON:  So when did you write this, you‘re a senior producer at “MTV,” you travel around the world for “MTV News”.  When did you and why did you write this book?

DESALES:  Well I think it came about, the girls, actual cooking club girls, there‘s six of us.  We would meet once a week and one night my co-author‘s mother called and said, you know you‘re not going to meet a guy unless you know how to cook.  It was as blunt as that.  That old kind of adage and so—

CARLSON:  Is she from the south?

DESALES:  She‘s from the north.  She‘s a New England woman, she‘s a great lady.  And so Deri turned to us and said, you know, I think this is a book and I think we need to start a cooking club.  So basically the cooking club formed out of all that and once a week we meet and tell our stories, and it‘s sort of based loosely on these girls. 

CARLSON:  How graphic and be honest if you can, I know you will be.  How graphic are the conversations when women get together, they‘re graphic aren‘t they?

DESALES:  It‘s just like men.  

CARLSON:  No.

DESALES:  Are you graphic when you go to a bar?

CARLSON:  Graphic with other people but you‘re not graphic about yourself.  But in the book, you really get the feeling, this confirms what I‘ve always suspected, that when women get together, I mean it‘s just completely down and dirty. 

DESALES:  We get to the heart of things, I thing we cut to the chase and really  open up and all of us bounce off each other and give our ideas and thoughts about guys about work, and everything, you open up.  Definitely.

CARLSON:  I just blushed on page after steamy page of “Spooning: The Cooking Club Divas‘ Turn up the Heat.”  Yeah, actually, I can‘t wait to get home after reading this.

DESALES:  Spoon together. 

CARLSON:  Megan DeSales, co-author of this excellent book, I hope it sells millions, I bet it will. 

DESALES:  Thank you so much, I hope so.  

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION tonight, now that Tom and Katie have had their child, they can get to the important business of deciding how much cash she‘ll get when their relationship inevitably falls apart.  Not to be cynical or anything.  The astronomical figures lie as always on the cutting room floor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for the cutting room floor and you know what that means, that means Willie Geist is in the house.  Willie?

WILLIE GEIST, :  Hi, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second Willie, what‘s that?

GEIST:  Oh my gosh, is that Fudgie the whale?

CARLSON:  It‘s Fudgie the whale, happy birthday.  It is Willie Geist‘s birthday.   Happy birthday, Willie.  

GEIST:  Thanks.  You know Fudgie the Whale, Carvel, it does not get any better. Cookie Puss is the other one.  They‘re so good. 

CARLSON:  But nothing beats Fudgie the whale. 

GEIST:  Boy that looks delicious.  My eighth cake of the day, I look forward to it.  

CARLSON:  Happy birthday Willie. 

GEIST:  You don‘t know what spooning is?  You have lived such a sheltered life.  

CARLSON:  Yeah I guess I have.  I‘ve never been Amish so I didn‘t know that, no.  

GEIST:  Everyone on earth should buy the book “Spooning” every man woman and child should own that book.  That good.   

CARLSON:  Did Megan DeSales write it?

GEIST:  Yeah Megan DeSales wrote the book, “Spooning.”  Spooning, spooning. 

CARLSON:  I‘m buying it.  

GEIST:  Good. 

CARLSON:  Well when the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes relationship dissolves, the unofficial over-under on that is nine months, by the way.  Holmes could walk away with $40 million.  “The Daily Mail of London” is reporting the couple have signed a prenuptial agreement that gives Holmes and the baby $15 million regardless whether she and Cruise get marry.  If they do marry and later divorce, the paper reports Holmes will get an additional $25 million.  

GEIST:  Wow.  I don‘t want to be a skeptic here Tucker, but today is May 3, my birthday.  If this couple is together on my birthday next year, I‘ll give you my house.  I don‘t have a house, but I‘ll give you someone‘s house.  

CARLSON:  You were just saying to me in a commercial break, for this money you would move to Massachusetts and marry Tom Cruise yourself. 

GEIST:  Well $40 million‘s a nice figure, I‘d certainly consider it.  

CARLSON:  Every man has a price.  Well if you‘re considering a switch from your channel, Chanel no. 5, or that trusty Drakur Noir, because we know you wear it.  Perhaps you‘d like to give off the sweet aroma of play-doh.  Hasbro the company that has made the strange squishy toy for 50 years has now released a perfume called Ode to Doh.  The $19 bottle is made for people who, “Seek a whimsical scent reminiscent of their childhood.”

GEIST:  Can I say something about Play-Doh.  I don‘t want to encourage children to do anything they shouldn‘t be doing.  Not only does it smell good, it is delicious.  Have you ever eaten Play-Doh?  

CARLSON:  I totally—oh I‘ve eaten like 19 pounds of it.

GEIST:  I used to live on that stuff.

CARLSON:  And you‘re like 6-4.

GEIST:  Exactly.  Grew like a weed.  If you put that on a dessert menu and didn‘t tell people it was Play-Doh, you would sell out in about 10 minutes, it is that good.  Eat Play-Doh kids.

CARLSON:  Silly putty‘s not bad either actually.

GEIST:  Eat Play-Doh it‘s good.

CARLSON:  Glow in the dark‘s the best.  According to experts most kids take their first steps at the age of one, they speak their first words at 2.  Hopefully they‘re potty trained by three and of course they run their first marathon at four.  A 4-1/2 year old Indian boy named Boobia(PH) ran 40 miles yesterday in just over seven hours.  The marathon kid ran with an entourage of doctors and cops as a national audience watched.  Children‘s groups say they have concerns about the boy‘s safety, not surprisingly.  

GEIST:  I can‘t put my finger on it, but there‘s something terribly, terribly wrong about this story.  That kid‘s like a robot or something.  That‘s not human.  They need to check his genes.

CARLSON:  Kind of inspiring. 

GEIST:  Why does this always have to be India or something like that. 

4-year-olds don‘t run marathons in the United States.  

CARLSON:  Because the number one goal of every Indian child is to make the Guinness Book of World Records. 

GEIST:  And he just did—

CARLSON:  Willie Geist, happy birthday.

GEIST:  Thanks Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s it for us tonight, we‘ll see you tomorrow, have a great night.

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

END   

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

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