updated 5/18/2006 2:55:15 PM ET 2006-05-18T18:55:15

Guests: Mel Martinez, Wendy Murphy

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Rita, John Daly flaked out.

RITA COSBY, HOST, “LIVE AND DIRECT”:  What a surprise.  What a surprise. 

CARLSON:  Thank you, Rita. 

Thanks to you at home for tuning in.  It‘s good to have you with us. 

Tonight, what may be the most shocking thing about “The Da Vinci Code” advance word that the would-be blockbuster is actually pretty bad.  Will outrage over the film‘s distorted version of Christianity doom the $125 million movie? 

Plus, a new low in the polls for President Bush.  Now Democrats are trying to win back voters from the Christian right.  It‘s a bold gambit.  Will it work?

A new HBO documentary that may be too graphic for viewers.  Why the Army is even warning solders and their families not to watch.  We‘ll tell you more about it in just a few minutes.

But first tonight, the latest salvos in the border war over illegal immigration.  The Senate took action today, voting to build a 370-mile fence along the border with Mexico.  That development comes just one day after the Mexican government threatened to sue the United States in court if National Guard troops patrolling the borders detain immigrants. 

But none of this addresses what could be the most explosive development in the long battle over illegal immigration, the Hagel-Martinez bill now pending in the Senate.  The Heritage Foundation says that bill would grant amnesty to up to 10 million illegal immigrants, setting off, quote, “the largest explosion of the welfare state in 35 years.” 

So will the Hagel-Martinez bill help secure our borders?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Joining me now from Washington, Senator Mel Martinez of Florida.  Senator, thanks for coming on.

SEN. MEL MARTINEZ ®, FLORIDA:  My pleasure.  Good to be with you.

CARLSON:  Thank you.  The Heritage Foundation did an analysis of the leg legislation you proposed with Senator Hagel.  And their conclusion was that if it were to become law over the next 20 years the U.S. would see an additional 103 immigrants -- 103 million immigrants come to this country in 20 years.  Is that fair, do you think?  Is that true?

MARTINEZ:  You know, look, I have a lot of respect for the Heritage Foundation, and I‘ve seen the study.  I‘ve even today heard a presentation by the fellow involved in it.  I‘ve got to tell you, the more I hear about it, the more questions I have.  The fact is that by an amendment yesterday that reduced the number of guest workers; this has already dramatically altered those projections. 

But what I‘ve got to tell you, Carl—Tucker, is that these projections are based upon certain inferences, assuming that every immigrant is now going to bring three people, and they‘re all going to become citizens.  The fact of the matter is, under this plan, which is pretty much what the president outlined on Monday night in his reports (ph), it will be 11 years before any of these folks could even have a path to citizenship. 

CARLSON:  OK, but how about—how about—the Heritage Foundation points that out under your plan, immigrants, once they become citizens, would be allowed to bring their parents over from their country of origin, who can then, in turn, become citizens.  Why would we encourage immigrants to bring their parents over?

MARTINEZ:  There‘s nothing in the law that we have done that says that.  What it is is that a long established immigration laws in our country, I think, allow for blood relatives to be able to join relatives in the county. 

But that assumes that every immigrant here now or every guest worker coming will end up becoming a citizen.  The fact of the matter is that people today that come and work here, our experience is that less than a third become citizens. 

CARLSON:  OK.  But why—just to back up to the point you just made a second ago.  Why would that be good for America for immigrants to bring the blood relatives, too?

MARTINEZ:  Well, I‘m not sure that‘s something that is—first of all, it‘s not part of this immigration bill.  That‘s part of the established laws of our country.  And...

CARLSON:  Right.  Since we‘re writing a new immigration bill why not change that?

MARTINEZ:  Right.  And maybe we should change that, because the fact of the matter is that the idea here is to deal with the working needs or the economic needs of our country to provide a work force where no American wants to do certain jobs. 

And it‘s not necessarily to expand the number of immigrants to this country.  That‘s really not the goal.  Particularly people in their elderly years, when they‘re frankly going to be a real drain on social services.  So no goal of this bill is to expand immigration as exponentially as suggested by the critics of the bill. 

The fact what we‘re trying to do is deal with two things.  One is handle the 10 million that are already here in a way, frankly, that is something less than deportation and more than amnesty by providing some path of legalization. 

And the second thing is understanding that prior bills on immigration that didn‘t deal with the demands for workers that our economy has, that because they fail on that basis, we felt it was important to provide a way for our economy to have a certain number of workers that were, you know, clearly connected to an employer and to a job to come here as guest workers for a period of time. 

CARLSON:  OK, but back to the first.  Something that‘s less than deportation.  Why less than deportation?  These are people who have broken American law.  The president‘s plan, as I understand, is to allow immigrants, illegal immigrants who have been in this country for some number of years, two years or more, to apply for citizenship. 

How—how is a person supposed to prove how long he‘s been in this country?  Aren‘t you begging for a huge market in manufactured counterfeit documents?

MARTINEZ:  Well, that‘s part of what we‘re debating on the Senate floor today, which is how are we going to verify that this is for real and the people are telling the truth?  What it is, is we‘re going to require third-party verification. 

It‘s going to have to be someone who‘s going to be able to say this person has rented a place for me.  This person has worked for me by affidavit, by sworn affidavit, by documentation that they‘ve got to show with the utility company.  Things that cannot easily be forged and that are corroborated by more than one source. 

So it‘s going to be the burden upon those seeking status here to go before an authority and prove their status.  What we‘ve got to do is make sure we fund the government agencies well enough to make sure that we have a mechanism for dealing with all of this.  It‘s a very difficult process. 

But unfortunately, Tucker, we‘ve ended up with an illegal system that has been with us for years.  We‘ve ended up in a mess.  We‘ve got to turn this illegal system into a legal system.  Part of that is going to be a tough transition.

CARLSON:  Part of that, of course, is establishing the border security.

MARTINEZ:  Right.

CARLSON:  The Senate voted today to create a relatively small fence along the border, I think just over 300 miles long.  Is there any chance we‘re going to see a border that spans the length of the U.S.-Mexican border?

MARTINEZ:  This is the length of fence that the Department of Homeland Security felt it was—was necessary for them to have.  And so Jeff Sessions, who is a strong proponent of border security, was the one that proposed the 300-mile fence. 

But in addition to the fence it has many points at which vehicle barriers are also going to be built, erected.  A combination of those two, along with having the technology that we have available to us that the president is committed to putting on the border, I believe we‘re going to have a secure border.  We can get to a secure border. 

CARLSON:  I sure—I sure hope so.  I think people are going to be held accountable. 

MARTINEZ:  Look, it‘s essential to anything we do here that we begin by securing the border. 

CARLSON:  Senator Martinez of Florida.  Thanks a lot, Senator.

MARTINEZ:  Good, Tucker.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  We turn now to the second major controversy of the day:

outrage over “The Da Vinci Code”, the movie.  The film debuted tonight at Cannes, and it doesn‘t even open to the general public until Friday. 

But already, what had been the most eagerly anticipated film of the summer is being called a flop.  Has Hollywood gotten it wrong once again?  And did the controversy over the movie‘s anti-Christian message help or hurt it?

My next guest says the movie may have been doomed from the very beginning.  Michael Medved is a film critic and radio talk show host.  He joins us tonight from Seattle. 

Michael, thanks for coming on. 

MICHAEL MEDVED, FILM CRITIC/TALK SHOW HOST:  My pleasure, Tucker, and congratulations on the wonderful reception “The Da Vinci Code” at the Cannes Film Festival”.  If even the French don‘t like a movie that attacks the Catholic Church, you know there‘s something wrong with it. 

CARLSON:  But does this matter?  I mean, this book has sold 40 million

copies.   Do a couple bad and maybe well deserved reviews have any chance of

                affecting ticket sales?

MEDVED:  Of course they do.  Now, one of the interesting things is Fandango, which does advanced ticket sales, shows very strong advance ticket sales for “The Da Vinci Code”, but it shows that 88 percent of the people who were buying tickets say they‘ve read the book. 

Now they need to reach other people beyond the people who have read the book for it to justify the kind of funds that they put in the movie.  I don‘t think the movie is going to be an absolute flop, but I think it‘s going to be a very big box office disappointment.  Partially because it‘s apparently very bad.

And the reason I say apparently is they‘ve hidden it from critics here in the United States and from critics around the world.  And it‘s always a strong indication if they don‘t show you a big, expensive high-profile movie in advance that they‘re embarrassed about something.  Apparently, there‘s a lot to be embarrassed about here.

CARLSON:  I have no doubt about that.  On the other hand, here we are talking about it, along with every other show on television tonight.  They‘ve done an amazing job of buzz control, don‘t you think?

MEDVED:  I do, but the buzz has turned very decisively negative.  When you see that there are people in India who are talking about fasting to the death to protest the film. 

When the Gallup poll shows that 48 percent of Americans say they will definitely not see “The Da Vinci Code”, that‘s not a good sign for a box office blockbuster. 

One of the things you see with this movie, Tucker, as I have been writing about this for 20 years literally, that Hollywood keeps attacking religion again and again and again.  Films that have anti-religious themes and particularly anti-Catholic themes and they never make a dime.  They tend to do very, very badly at the box office. 

Now this film has a guaranteed box office return because of the tremendous success of the novel.  But the idea that, by refusing to soften some of the anti-Christian, some of the—what people would consider to be heretical themes in the movie, that they could have, by softening it, I think ensured a much greater financial indication. 

CARLSON:  I believe you and I know that you have written about this very convincingly, as you said, for 20 years, and I‘ve read you in that time on this subject. 

MEDVED:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  However, it seems so counterproductive, so almost self-destructive of Hollywood.  Here Mel Gibson‘s movie comes out, “Passion of the Christ”, very obviously pro-Christian or Catholic movie.  Does huge numbers unexpectedly.  You‘d think that Hollywood would kind of take the cue at that time. 

MEDVED:  Well, they would, especially after “Chronicles of Narnia” last year. 

CARLSON:  Right.

MEDVED:  “Chronicles of Narnia” is another almost billion-dollar bonanza at the box office. 

Look, the people are deeply religious.  And the fact of the matter is, most people who are interested in a movie that‘s about the origins of Christianity and stories about Jesus and “Did he marry Mary Magdalene?”

People who are interested in that are going to tend to be people who are sympathetic to a traditional religious story, and “The Passion” showed that. 

What I think is shocking about this, Tucker, is the double standard that‘s been applied here.  Is “The Passion” was widely criticized in the establishment for alleged anti-Semitism...

CARLSON:  Right.

MEDVED:  ... for offending the sensibilities of a religious group of which I happen to be a member. 

And however, “The Da Vinci Code”, people are saying it is just entertainment, that it‘s OK to put forward a movie where Dan Brown in his book, he clearly isn‘t just doing this as entertainment.  He believes in the importance of restoring the pagan goddess worship and really slams Christianity very specifically in the novel. 

CARLSON:  I know.  Because Christianity, from Hollywood‘s point of view, is ridiculous.  It‘s not sensible like Scientology or something.  You know what I mean?  It‘s unbelievable.

MEDVED:  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  Michael Medved, thanks a lot for joining us. 

MEDVED:  Appreciate it.  The fear, of course, is that Christians want to spoil all the fun that people are having in the entertainment industry.  And I don‘t think they‘re going to end up having a lot of fun with this movie. 

CARLSON:  It still looks more fun than scientology.  I‘m biased, obviously.  But anyway, thanks, Michael. 

MEDVED:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, new details in the Duke rape investigation.  Striking yet another blow to the prosecution‘s dwindling case.  We‘ll bring you the details in just a minute.  OK, the military is warning its soldiers about the upcoming HBO film “Baghdad E.R.”  It documents the painful realities of the war in Iraq.  Gruesome images, amputations, soldiers dying.  Is it too much, too soon?  We‘ll debate it.

Plus, some heavy hearts in THE SITUATION newsroom tonight as the latest “American Idol” wannabe is sent packing.  Who got the hook?  Find out when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, could Democrats really win the Christian right in 2008?  Someone seems to have told them so, and they believe it. 

Plus, what do Rupert Murdoch, country crooner Kenny Rogers and Beatles legend Paul McCartney all have in common?  Well, for one thing, they‘re all in tonight‘s “Top Five.”  We‘ll tell you what ties them together beyond that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Now for the latest developments in the ongoing travesty known as the Duke rape investigation.  Dave Evans, the third player to be charged in that case, took a polygraph test several weeks ago.  It was administered by the FBI‘s long-time senior polygrapher.  The test included direct questions such as, quote, “Did you sexually assault the accuser?”  And “Did you hear or see anything on March 13 or 14 that would indicate the accuser was sexually assaulted at the lacrosse party?”

Evans answered no to both questions, and the result, as the polygrapher put it, quote, “This examination strongly supports the truthfulness of Mr. Evans”, unquote. 

The D.A., meanwhile, Mr. Nifong, has said he has no interest in the results of the test.  Could it be he also has no interest in the truth?  Joining from us Boston to discuss it is a former prosecutor, Wendy Murphy. 

Here is the former chief polygraph examiner for the FBI, and his work is good enough for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but it doesn‘t meet the high standards of Mr. Mike Nifong, elected D.A. of Durham, North Carolina.  I don‘t know how you could explain away his willingness to see these results. 

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  You know, I thought when you lost the bow tie, a little more oxygen might fly north.  You‘ve got to be kidding me, buying into this nonsense.  The nonsense that—right of all...

CARLSON:  How is that nonsense?

MURPHY:  Defense attorneys every day in this country don‘t get their polygrapher‘s exams into court.  It‘s not just a Nifong thing.

CARLSON:  Oh, no.

MURPHY:  It‘s because these things are a bunch of hooey...

CARLSON:  Oh, is that true?

MURPHY:  Primarily when the defense hires that thing we call a hired gun, paid him a boatload of money, waved their CV around and say this is an ex-FBI guy, so it must be real. 

CARLSON:  I get it.  I totally get it.  You‘re accusing...

MURPHY:  They measure heart rate.  They don‘t measure truth. 

Everybody knows that except you?

CARLSON:  And apparently the FBI, which has a stable of these people who work on cases every single day, including this mess. 

MURPHY:  It depends on how much he gets pay to write these kind of reports. 

CARLSON:  Hold on, hold on.  First of all, no one is suggesting that these results be used at trial.  They can‘t be used at trial, as you know. 

MURPHY:  They‘re not valid for trial.  You needn‘t talk about them. 

CARLSON:  Hold on.  They are—they are routinely used, and by routinely, I mean every single day, in this country by police departments to determine whether someone ought to be charged.  People go in voluntarily all the time and sit through polygraph exams.  Because they‘re totally crap?  No.  Because actually, they are—they point to truth, as you know. 

MURPHY:  The police say to people, are you willing to take a polygraph?  Because usually the guilty ones say no and the not so guilty say yes.  That doesn‘t mean that‘s always the case, but they use it as an investigative ploy, not as scientific proof. 

And if you know the data on this, Tucker, it‘s the people who falsely claim to be innocent, you know, that get to manipulate this data.  The ones that are—this is real.  You can trick a polygraph.  Everybody knows it. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I know quite a bit about it.  Let me say, Wendy...

MURPHY:  You can log onto the Internet and figure out how to do it tonight if you want to.  If you are in fact guilty, then the reverse. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, I know quite a bit about it.  I have in fact taken a polygraph exam from this exact same polygrapher.  And I know that it is theoretically possible to trick one of these exams.  It has happened.  It does not routinely happen, as you well know, which is why the FBI uses these exams routinely, not to prove the truth, but to get to the truth. 

Which leads to my larger question, and it is this.  Why has Mike Nifong not talked to other people who were at the party that night?  Why has he not taken—why did he not take statements from this guy, Dave Evans, before he charged him?  

Why is he using as the basis of charging him one thing, and that‘s an I.D., a half-hearted I.D. from the accuser that took place weeks after the actual event?  I mean, what‘s the evidence here?

MURPHY:  Look, stop it.  You know his DNA showed up under her fingernail. 

CARLSON:  We know no such thing. 

MURPHY:  And she said she‘s 90 percent certain it was him.  Ninety percent...

CARLSON:  That a guy with a mustache did it. 

MURPHY:  And you don‘t know what other evidence he has. 

CARLSON:  This guy‘s never had—what do you mean?  I read the transcript.  I do know what she said. 

MURPHY:  You don‘t know what else he has.  The fact he is not answering to you doesn‘t mean he doesn‘t have a case. 

CARLSON:  I know we‘re on television, Wendy, but look, hold on.  Tell me the truth.

MURPHY:  Part of the dog and pony show is the fact that the defense attorneys spin and you buy into it.  They said there are two DNA reports...

CARLSON:  Actually, Wendy, that‘s not true. 

MURPHY:  ... that prove the guy‘s innocence.  Have you seen any of the DNA reports?

CARLSON:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.

MURPHY:  I want to ask you a question. 

CARLSON:  Wendy—I want you to look at me, and I want...

MURPHY:  Do you have a copy of the polygraph results in your hand.

CARLSON:  Wendy, I want you to look at me.  I have—I have on—slow down.  I have on tape a man whose integrity is above reproach, even yours, saying that he administered the test and these are the results.

And I don‘t think he‘s part of the conspiracy you allege.  But I want you to... 

MURPHY:  Did you ask for a copy of the report or not?

CARLSON:  Talk about nonsense.  Talk about diversionary blather.

MURPHY:  Did you ask for a copy of the polygraph exam?  The DNA report?  I‘ve been asking for the DNA report since day one.  What is that attorney saying...

CARLSON:  Let‘s do this.  Look into—you‘re filibustering me, but I‘m going to ask you this until you answer.  And here‘s my question.  It‘s very simple.  I want you to look into the screen and I want you to tell me and our viewers that doubts are not beginning to mount in your mind about the prosecution in this case.  Are they?

MURPHY:  No.  No doubts.  No doubts in my mind... 

CARLSON:  Really?

MURPHY:  ... about what the prosecution is doing. 

CARLSON:  Wendy.  I‘ve got a cult you need to join. 

MURPHY:  I have a question.  I happen to believe that you can‘t really buy into the idea that the conspiracy between police, prosecutors, all the forensic people, they‘re all kind of in it to go against the Duke guys.  That‘s not how the system works.  They‘re not that stupid, Tucker.

But I do have a question. 

CARLSON:  You‘re alone, Wendy.  You‘re alone in that.  Just so you know.  I think you‘re the only person in America who has no doubts about this prosecution. 

MURPHY:  I have an interesting question, however. 

CARLSON:  We‘re out of time, so make it really quick. 

MURPHY:  All right.  Seligmann is charged with two counts, one rape, one sexual assault. 

CARLSON:  That‘s correct.

MURPHY:  One regular intercourse.  One is a different type of penetration. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

MURPHY:  However, if you read the transcript of her identification process, when she talks about Seligmann, he says, “What did he do?”

“He forced me to perform oral sex. 

CARLSON:  That‘s correct.

MURPHY:   Anything else?  No, nothing else. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

MURPHY:  Where did the two charges come from?  I‘m just being honest as a critic of the evidence.  I want to know the answer to that question.  Am I fair or what?

CARLSON:  That‘s one—I want to know where the man with the moustache went.  I don‘t know, Wendy.

MURPHY:  That‘s a red herring.

CARLSON:  We‘re out of time, unfortunately. 

MURPHY:  Shadows.

CARLSON:  But I‘m going to give you some time to think of an answer. 

Good luck with that.  Wendy Murphy joining us tonight, thank you. 

MURPHY:  All right.

CARLSON:  Still to come, Christian conservatives are some of the most loyal Republicans voters there are.  But with Bush‘s ratings at record lows, can they be won over by Democrats?  There‘s an idea.  We‘ll bring you details.

Plus a thick bra strap and a seatbelt can certainly protect you in a car accident accident.  But can they also save you from gunfire?  An amazing tale of one woman‘s survival when THE SITUATION comes back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back to THE SITUATION. 

A new poll by the “Washington Post” shows Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle issues like Iraq, the economy and immigration, if you can imagine. 

The Democrats want to turn that vote of confidence into votes.  They‘ve launch an aggressive complain to go after the most loyal constituents in the Republican Party, Christian conservatives.  Will the strategy work?

Here to talk about it, MSNBC contributor Flavia Colgan, joining us tonight from Burbank—Flavia.

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Good evening, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Here‘s the idea, Flavia.  The Democratic Party has poll-tested this question and determined that Social Security and the president‘s suggestion that we create private savings accounts, that‘s the way to peel off the religious right.  I think only Democrats can believe Social Security privatization is a religious issue. 

COLGAN:  Well, I think that there‘s a lot going on here.  I mean, you opened up with the polls.  When you have a president in a political party, not just at 30 percent, but also, as you mentioned, on 10 of the top issues having Democrats beating them by double digits, I mean, that‘s an open door. 

Christian voters are mothers and fathers and care about Iraq, Social Security, a number of issues.  So, I think you have that open door there.  As Martin Luther once said, “I would rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian.” 

So I think that when you have these competence issues coming out of the administration you have the beginning of a dialogue.  And I think that‘s what the Democrats need to do.  Because the Republicans for the last couple of years have certainly had a monologue when it comes to faith and politics and their very own vocabulary. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  But hold on.  Don‘t you think that there are couple of real issues?  One is euthanasia, and the other one abortion.  And for the most part, and there are some exceptions—Casey in Pennsylvania is one.  But there aren‘t many.  Most Democrats are uniformly pro choice, for euthanasia.  They‘re wrong on issues that are threshold issues for Christian conservatives. 

COLGAN:  I disagree with you on two front.  On I agree with that for a lot of Christians, antipathy to abortion and gay marriage is certainly what they consider moral values. 

When you look at the numbers and just even anecdotally, there are a lot of other people, and I really think there‘s going to be a huge, huge tipping point here on the environment.  What the National Association of Evangelicals did this year on the issue of climate change and the environment has just been really incredible. 

On the Sudan and human rights, and you‘re seeing the younger generation of evangelicals and conservative Christians really caring about different issues.  And also, you have to think about this.  Not only...

CARLSON:  Can I say...

COLGAN:  It‘s also the right thing to do.

CARLSON:  When Christians weigh in on evolution and say it‘s only a theory, liberals say you‘re not a scientist.  You‘re a Bible thumper.  Shut up.

But when conservative Christians weigh in on the environment and global warming and say it‘s bad, liberals say, “Yes, you know what?  Those Christians are on to something.”

I think I‘m for a consistent standard here.  Religious people, when they talk about science, let‘s just ignore them completely on all counts.  What do you say?

COLGAN:  I disagree with you, but I think you bring up a great point, which is the Democrats really need to begin having a dialogue.  We‘ve taken ourselves off the map with the religious community in general.  And this is a nascent development.

I mean, look at all the great progressive movements of this country, starting from abolition, to you know, women‘s suffrage.  It‘s been a union between progressive politics... 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  OK.

COLGAN:  ... and religious voters.  However, also the other thing to be won by Democrats is just like when a compassionate conservative says—talks about equality and talks about inclusiveness.  They might not get more black votes, but they will soccer moms or people in the suburbs. 

The other issue here for Democrats is to affect people that are nonconservative voters and show that they respect and care about a group of people that is enormously important to the country.  I‘m really excited that...

CARLSON:  We‘re out of time, but that last point I think is a really good one.  In other words to sum up what I think you‘re saying, they may not win actual Christian conservatives, but they‘ll win people who are sympathetic to Christians or who just like to see the party show respect to a different point of view.  If that‘s what you‘re saying, I agree with you completely.

COLGAN:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  All right.

COLGAN:  And I think that I‘ll be coming on here, and you‘ll be surprised at some of the inroads that Democrats are going to make.  Not only because of the failings of the Bush administration, but also because there are a lot of Christian values that are very much in line with the Democratic platform. 

CARLSON:  You may be right.  We will see.  Flavia Colgan from Burbank. 

Thanks, Flavia. 

COLGAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, why is the Army so upset with HBO?  Can a documentary about a Baghdad hospital really send soldiers over the edge?  That‘s the claim.  Judge for yourself in just a minute.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  In other words to sum up what I think you are saying they may not win actual Christian conservatives but they will win people who are sympathetic to Christians or just like to see the party with a different point of view.  If that‘s what you‘re saying, I agree with you completely.

COLGAN:  Exactly, and I think that I will be coming on and I think you will be surprised that the inroads that the Democrats are going to make.  Not only because of the failings of the Bush administration, but also because there are a lot of Christian values that are very much in line with the Democratic platform.

CARLSON:  You may be right.  We will see.  Flavia Colgan from Burbank. 

Thanks, Flavia.

COLGAN:  Thank you, tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come why is the army so upset with HBO?  Can a documentary about a Baghdad really hospital send soldiers over the edge?  That is the claim.  Judge for yourself in just a minute.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, is baseball slugger Barry Bonds the most hated man in America?  Why else would fans give the pitcher who pelted him a standing ovation?  Plus, meet a man who just cannot get enough of the booze and the babes in college.  Even after 12 years as an undergrad.  All that and more in just a minute, but first, here is what else is going on in the world tonight.

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Hello, everyone, I‘m Milissa Rehberger and here is what is happening.  The stock markets took a nosedive today.  The Dow Jones average plunging 214 points, its worst point loss in more than three years.

The NASDAQ fell 33 points and it is now in negative territory for the year.  It‘s all because of a larger than expected increase in consumer prices, which raised fears that the Fed will keep raising interest rates to curb inflation.

Jurors resumed deliberations in the morning in the fraud and conspiracy trial on Enron‘s founder Kenneth Lay and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling.  The jury got the case this morning.

The FBI searched a property near Detroit for clues in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.  The teamsters president was last seen in July of 1975 at a restaurant in suburban Detroit.

And following his best-selling autobiography, former President Clinton has a deal to write a new book.  He says he‘ll tell inspiring stories of some of those he met in the work and travel since leaving the White House.  Now back to THE SITUATION.

CARLSON:  Clinton‘s work and travel since he left the White House?  What the hell has he been doing since he left the White House?  Maybe he‘ll explain that.

Excuse me.  Welcome back.  We turn now to a man who according to figures he has compiled has never been wrong.  He is the “Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  I say that Clinton wrote a couple of books, which is more than our current president has done in the same amount of time.

CARLSON:  Yeah but he hasn‘t been sort of the running the country, he could cure AIDS and like .

KELLERMAN:  Sort of running the country.

CARLSON:  . end poverty.  He has been running around giving $300,000 speeches.

KELLERMAN:  Sort of running the country.  I think “sort of” is the operative word.

CARLSON:  Maybe.  I am not defending Bush, I am just saying Clinton, boy, is he a phony.  I feel better now.

It‘s the reality show that is a little too real for some people.  The upcoming HBO documentary show “Baghdad E.R.,” follows a real combat support hospital in Iraq and shows graphic and to some disturbing footage of doctors working on very injured American soldiers.  Amputated limbs, pools of blood and even a chaplain reading Last Rites.

HBO says the Pentagon support for the show has waned, perhaps because it will make the Iraq War even more unpopular.  Is it too graphic?  Is the show too graphic?  My point of view is if it is real, it‘s real, sorry.  I wouldn‘t watch it myself, actually, because I don‘t want to see American soldiers suffering and injured.  On the other hand it is hard to see what the complaint could be if it‘s real.

KELLERMAN:  I work for HBO and I can tell you it‘s not a non-profit organization.  At this point, everybody is profiting off this war it seems, except the soldiers.  Big business profits, television obviously profits, we profit, print media profits, at this point now even premium cable channels, HBO, profits.  How much of those profits are being shared by the shoulders who have had to buy their own bullet-proof vests?

Isn‘t it exploitation at a certain point.

CARLSON:  I don‘t know about that.  By definition, the country profits from the efforts of its military.  We have the military to protect us from being invaded and killed.  So whenever the military acts, presumably we are profiting.  The soldiers are dying, is that unfair?  Of course it is unfair.  But we‘re not going to solve that by banning an HBO documentary.

KELLERMAN:  But the difference is, this news coverage is one thing.  People feel they need to have the information.  A documentary, a film made for entertainment ostensibly on a premium cable channel is something else.  It is meant to boost HBO.  The soldiers are not profiting at all, from the entertainment, so to speak.  And as a result, it is fair to say it is exploitative.

CARLSON:  That is a very interesting point.  I have to say you kind of stopped me in my tracks.  I am going to ponder that.  I think maybe you are right.  I will think about it overnight.

KELLERMAN:  To me it is the smell test in this case.  Maybe the soldiers need to see a little bit of money sometimes.

CARLSON:  I kind of see what you are saying.  All right.

Well, on to the next, see if you can change my mind on this.  Barry Bonds is on the brink of catching legendary Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list.  Barry Bonds is also extremely unpopular.  Those things combined for an explosive scene in Houston last night.

Astros pitcher Russ Stringer apparently decided he was not going to be the one to give up the home run record that Bonds would win over Ruth.  He threw the first pitch behind bonds; eventually Bonds him in the shoulder with a 92-mile-per-hour fastball.  The pitcher was ejected from the game for intentionally throwing at the battler.  And Houston‘s fans cheered loudly as the pitcher left the game.

Max, I don‘t care what message you are trying to send, throwing a baseball at someone‘s head so far the top, and cheering it, come on!

I will be interested to hear how you defend that.

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, I will actually, here, change your mind, I promise you.

The culture of baseball between batter and pitcher is about the inside part of the plate.  And in recent years, who controls that part of the plate, that is who is going to be successful.  In recent years, hitters have come up and hung all over the inside part of the plate and the pitchers felt they have been run out of the area and so batters are much more comfortable up there, they don‘t have to move their feet and can really get settled and partly as a result of that been more successful.

Bonds comes up with body armor all over him, hangs over the inside of the plate.  The reason he got hit on that pitch is because he refused to move.  That time he moved, it was behind him this pitch he didn‘t move out of the way, he just took it on the arm.  Why?  Because he wears body armor on that arm.  He didn‘t feel that.  Or not as much as .

CARLSON:  You are saying the pitcher didn‘t intentionally hit him, he was trying to throw a strike and Barry Bonds was in the way?

KELLERMAN:  Not a strike.  But if you are trying to hit a batter - what I would be very upset about is if the pitcher had thrown behind Bonds‘ head, because the instinct is to duck and that is when people get hit in the head.  But if you actually throw at a guy, especially a guy with reflexes like Bonds, you are not actually trying to hit him.  You are trying to move him.

CARLSON:  I‘m sorry, I‘m not inside Russ Springer‘s head, but I don‘t believe that for a second.

KELLERMAN:  That is the truth.

CARLSON:  The crowd was cheering.  Everyone hates Barry Bonds because they think he cheated, right?  They think he took steroids and so his records are not worth what the records of yesteryear are worth and they don‘t like him as a result.  This pitcher clearly didn‘t want to be the guy to help him achieve the record books.

KELLERMAN:  I disagree with that.  I think this is a more hardcore baseball decision on Russ Springer‘s part.  I applaud him for it.  He is saying the inside part of the plate is mine, he threw five consecutive pitches telling Bonds, get off the inside part of the plate, it‘s mine.  Bonds would not move and eventually he got hit.  I don‘t even think he should have been ejected from that game.

CARLSON:  Talk about blaming the victim.  You are a hard man!

KELLERMAN:  I can‘t believe I didn‘t convince—it is the culture of baseball.  Take my word for it.

CARLSON:  It must be over my head.  Max Kellerman, thanks a lot.

KELLERMAN:  As long as it is not behind your head.  That‘s the danger.

CARLSON:  I am not standing when someone fires 92-mile-per-hour baseballs at me.  No chance.

KELLERMAN:  You are also not juiced up.

CARLSON:  Glad to be a talk show host.  Thanks, Max.

KELLERMAN:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, the long and winding road to marital bliss wasn‘t very long after all for singer Paul McCartney and his wife, Heather Mills.  After just four years the couple concedes they can‘t work it out and they plan to separate.  That is fueling a lot of speculation about what could turn into one of the costliest divorce cases in history.  The former Beatle is worth about $1.5 billion, and Heather claims there is no prenuptial agreement.  In tonight‘s top five, other heartbreaking examples why money can‘t buy you love there is something in the way it can settle a divorce.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  They vow to stick together in sickness and in health until of course fate or fortune interviews and it becomes a case of ‘til alimony do us part.

He‘s broken all kinds of records including one for his blockbuster close encounter of the divorce kind.

When Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving wrapped up their four year marriage in 1989, she walked away with a $100 million settlement.  It remains the gold standard for Hollywood breakups.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think he is incredible.

CARLSON:  Legend has it than when this Diamond‘s marriage didn‘t shine no more, Neil went out for a pack of cigarettes one night and didn‘t come back.  The price of becoming a solitary man again?  A hundred and ninety million bucks.  Talk about a nasty smoking habit.

NEIL DIAMOND, SINGER:  This is true.

CARLSON:  As one of the world‘s richest men, Saudi business tycoon Adnan Kashogi (ph) probably didn‘t blink when his wife Soraya bailed on their 20-year marriage.  The 1982 divorced netted her an estimated $874 million in an out-of-court settlement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I always was kind to her because I always thought she was sick.

CARLSON:  In 1999 after 32 years of marriage, media giant Rupert Murdoch agreed to let his wife Anna leave with $1.7 billion of his hard-earned cash.  But he found consolation in the arms of one of his employees and remarried 17 days later.

Kenny Rogers‘ divorce settlement with fourth wife Marianne (ph) pales in comparison to Rupert Murdoch, a mere $60 million.  But after five trips to the altar Kenny has got us wondering if he‘s finally mastered the art of the prenup.  After all it was he who said, you have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.

KENNY ROGERS, MUSICIAN:  I can‘t do that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (on camera):  Coming up on THE SITUATION, you‘ll meet a man who has been a college undergraduate for 12 years.  Is he hanging around for the parties and girls?  Or just for his love of hire education?  I think I know the answer.  We‘ll ask him anyway in just a minute.  Don‘t forget we will be listening to your voicemails tomorrow night.  The number again, 1-877-TCARLSON.  Give us a call and let us know what you think.  You just might hear yourself on the air, if you like that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  You have to figure someone who has spent a dozen years as a college undergraduate is either really, really dumb or really, really brilliant.  Twenty-nine year old Johnny Lechner just finished his 12th year at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and plans to go back for another.  He is not hanging around college simply for the education.  How and how is he doing this?

Johnny Lechner joins us tonight from Milwaukee to answer the questions. 

Johnny, thanks for coming on.

JOHNNY LECHNER, ENTERING 13TH YEAR OF COLLEGE:  Yeah, hey, thanks a lot for your time and letting me come on and fill people in on what is going on.

CARLSON:  So you are 29, still an undergraduate and still go to fraternity parties.  Isn‘t there something wrong about that?

LECHNER:  I think I should start out by saying yeah I‘m 29 years old and have no idea what I am doing with my life.  But I basically know that I wake up and I‘m happy with how things are going.  I have kind of taken a different path, but it‘s the right path for me definitely.

CARLSON:  What do the other kids think.

LECHNER:  You know what?  There are a lot of older students at the university where I‘m at.  There is a lot of younger ones.  The age is not necessarily an issue.  We are all in college and we are all in the classes together.  So .

CARLSON:  Yeah, but you‘re 29.

LECHNER:  You know, I‘m not the oldest guy in college, I know that especially at the university where I‘m at.  I do believe, though, that I‘m the most educated, so.

CARLSON:  What are you studying?  And will you ever stop studying it?

LECHNER:  I will stop studying someday.  Basically if I would have graduated this last weekend it would have been with a triple major and triple minor in the areas of emphasis of education, theater, communications, liberal studies, health and women‘s studies.

CARLSON:  And women‘s studies.  So all this time in college made you a feminist?

LECHNER:  You know what?

CARLSON:  Is that your cover?  That‘s your cover.

LECHNER:  I‘m pretty active on our campus.  No, it‘s not a cover.  I was a program coordinator for the women‘s center.  I started a group, men against sexual assault and violence.  It was just an area emphasis for a while .

CARLSON:  Very clever, that is—Look, I‘m not criticizing you, I am just saying that is really, that is pretty tricky.  So, who is paying for this?

LECHNER:  Well, my first couple of years I college did I take out some student loans.  But basically for the last eight years I have been paying as I go along, waiting tables.  I am a musician.  So I have been playing shows, selling CDs.  Now we have opened it up.  I know this has kind of caused a little controversy, but on the Web site that I have we have—we are accepting donation it is people want to help me out with my college career.

CARLSON:  So we work like straight boring jobs at Radio Shack and Applebee‘s so you can get drunk with 19-year-old Hooters girls, basically, that‘s what you‘re saying?

LECHNER:  There is a little of that going on, but I am going to my classes, too.

CARLSON:  Amazing.  You have got to go into sales, by the way, when you graduate.  By the way, without asking, without being too explicit here, but let‘s just make the implications, what is your social life like, honestly?

LECHNER:  I make no qualms about it.  I have figured out a way to really balance the social life end of college.  I am going out a couple of nights a week, we are throwing parties at my house.  I know everybody wants me to tell the stories where there is keg stands going on and I will admit we were drinking out of a fish bowl and we had a great time last night all the way until the early morning.  But it‘s not going on every night.  A few nights a week.  At the same time I am going to my classes.  You know I am an A-B student.  I went a stretch of like eight years where I didn‘t get a grade lower than a B.

CARLSON:  But you still haven‘t graduated?

LECHNER:  Well, I could have graduated.  I‘m 29, like I mentioned, and I don‘t know what I‘m doing.  There are other 29 year olds.

CARLSON:  I know what you‘re doing, Johnny.  I know exactly what you‘re

doing.  And I must say, I can‘t judge you totally anyway.  Congratulations

on what you‘re doing by the way.  I appreciate you coming on.  And you can

if you want to support Johnny Lechner‘s keg parties, you can go right to his Web site and give your credit card.  Johnny Lechner, thanks a lot for coming on.

LECHNER:  Have a great rest of the show.

CARLSON:  Thanks, see you.

Still ahead tonight, things are really getting good on “American Idol.”  We‘re down to the final two.  We are joined once again by our panel of “Idol” experts for the complete analysis.  That‘s so untrue.

But before we go to break, the next installment of “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  The good, the news that seatbelts save lives in more ways than one.  A Florida woman got lucky when her are seatbelt deflected a bullet that came streaming through the front windshield of her car as she was stopped at a red light.

Police say the seatbelt and a strong bra strap saved the woman‘s life.  Two men have been arrested in the shooting.

The bad, is the prank pulled by someone at a Dallas high school yesterday.  At least 18 employees got sick after eating a patch of muffins in the teacher‘s lounge probably laced with drugs, probably marijuana.  An 86 year old teacher is still in the hospital.  Cops are looking for a mysterious man who dropped them off yesterday morning.

And the ugly is the controversy that marred this world‘s ugliest dog contest.  A hacker with no respect for the competition went online and took votes away from two of the front-runners.  Event organizers say they will resume voting when the problem is resolved.  The winner will decided in California next month.  We will be covering it, it goes without saying.

That is “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” today.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Tomorrow on THE SITUATION, live at 11:00, “The Da Vinci Code.”  It‘s a full frontal assault on Catholicism and some Catholics aren‘t taking it lying down, Bill Donahue among them.  He joins us and is angry.

WILLIE GEIST:  Tucker, the first accused Duke lacrosse player gets his day in court.  Do we finally get a hint on what the D.A. has on these guys?

CARLSON:  It‘s about time.  That‘s tomorrow, 11:00 Eastern.

You have been waiting for it since you woke up this morning, and finally it‘s here.  “The Cutting Room Floor” with Willie Geist.

GEIST:  Boy, would that be pathetic if that were true.  I am sorry I am late, I was making a tax deductible donation to Johnny Lechner‘s fund.  I think he has a good cause.

CARLSON:  Get Johnny laid.

GEIST:  That guy has it all figured out.  He has got some never asking for money.

CARLSON:  Actually unbelievable.

GEIST:  Go on national television and plead for money for that cause.

CARLSON:  Hang around and take women‘s studies courses and hop on co-eds? 

No thanks.

GEIST:  He has it all figured out.  There is no criticizing him.

We just had on “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,: the ugly was the ugliest dog contest.

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  We would be remiss not to mention Sam, the ugly dog.  He left us last year.

CARLSON:  Yes, I know he did.

GEIST:  As you know, and he died.  But he left a legacy of hideousness that we should not forget this time of year.  He is the all-time world‘s ugliest dog.  There he is.  All time world‘s ugliest dog.  I just want to pay tribute to our dear friend.

CARLSON:  He looks like the Loch Ness monster.

GEIST:  Let‘s not criticize him while he is down, literally down.

CARLSON:  If you haven‘t watched “American Idol” yet and you don‘t want to know who got kicked off run into the room for the next 30 seconds.  Just come back.  There are only two contestants left on “Idol” after Elliott Yamin (ph) was shown the door.  That only leaves 21-year-old Katharine McPhee (ph) and 29-year-old Taylor Hicks (ph) in the running to become the next “American Idol.”  Some 50 million people voted to keep these two around.

GEIST:  I have to confess, I don‘t have a lot to say about this, Tucker.  We are the panel of experts that we advised.  We take an interesting approach to the panel.  We are the only two people in the world that have not seen the show.

CARLSON:  Ever!

GEIST:  But again, I will say, I was sitting next to the staff who was distraught when he was kicked off.  So maybe that means it was a surprising?

CARLSON:  I heard the scream from outside the door.

GEIST:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Jennifer Duroso (ph) quite upset.

GEIST:  Good analysis.

CARLSON:  One of the greatest acts in television history has turned a turned an unassuming accounting into an unsuspecting international superstar.  As we told you first Monday night, Guy Goma showed up on BBC television for an interview as a job as an accountant.  Through an incredible snafu, he mistakenly became a guest analyst on live TV.  He handled himself pretty well, by the way.  He says, quote, he feels like Prince Harry with all of the attention he is getting.  Entertaining TV interview press from around the world, he says, “I just want to be an accountant.  I hope I get the job at BBC.”  How could he not?

GEIST:  They are still considering him for the job?  What else would you like him to do?  Give him the job already.  You thrust him on national television and asked him to analyze something about which he knows nothing.  And he did a great job, by the way.

CARLSON:  That is why they can‘t hire him.  Here is an accountant who has no problem making stuff up.  You don‘t want this guy in your front office.

GEIST:  That‘s true.  He might cook the books.  But if he does it in your favor, maybe it is a good hire.  Who knows?

CARLSON:  Maybe he would.  Who knows?  He‘d make me nervous.

GEIST:  I love Guy Goma.

CARLSON:  Last night we told you about a small-town Arkansas mayor who was caught having sex with citizens in exchange for free water hook-ups.  Tonight, the Razorback state bestows another guest on us.

Police in Bentonville, Arkansas arrested 20 year old woman for using a stolen checkbook and credit card at a local Wal-Mart.  That‘s bad but here‘s the real problem.  She unknowingly used them to pay the Wal-Mart cashier she had stolen them from.

GEIST:  Whoops.

CARLSON:  Oops.

The checkbook and credit card had been stolen from the cashier‘s car on Sunday.  She wishes she would have chose an different line.

GEIST:  It is hard to have sympathy for someone like this.  The credit card and checkbook with a stole from a car at Wal-Mart and she went inside and used them at Wal-Mart.  You are not going be a successful thief with decisions like that.

CARLSON:  No, you‘ve got to pick a different Wal-Mart.

GEIST:  Think it through.  Of course.  Or go to Costco or something.  Buy in bulk.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist, thank you.

GEIST:  See you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  That‘s it for us and thanks for watching.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.  Have a good night.

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

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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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