updated 5/24/2006 12:48:12 PM ET 2006-05-24T16:48:12

Guests: Juan Hernandez, Lanny Davis, Paul Beane, Max Kellerman, Willie Geist, William Hung

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks to you at home for tuning in tonight. 

It‘s good to have you with us, as always.

Tonight, bill and Hillary Clinton, they‘re the Brangelina of American politics.  But will bill‘s fame and famous appetites help or hinder his wife‘s run for president?  Former White House advisor Lanny Davis talks about a possible Clinton candidacy and the ramifications. 

Also ahead, graduating while intoxicated?  Should high school students be forced to take breathalyzer tests to get their diplomas?  It‘s happening at schools in this country.  We‘ll tell you more. 

Plus, the question that has the entire country on edge: who will be the next “American Idol”, ladies and gentlemen?  We‘ll talk to the most famous contestant in “Idol” history who will predict the winner.  Stay tuned to that.  I promise, it‘s worth it.  We don‘t do a lot of “Idol” stuff on the show, but this will be good.

But first the battle over illegal immigration rages on Capitol Hill with the Senate on the verge of passing a bill that would give amnesty to two-thirds of the illegal immigrants in this country. 

Congressman Mike Pense, meanwhile, is proposing what he calls a no amnesty bill that requires all illegal aliens in this country to leave, go back to their home countries before applying for citizenship.  The question: would either plan secure our borders? 

Joining me to answer that, among others, Juan Hernandez, the former advisor to Mexican President Vicente Fox.  He‘s also the author of “The New American Pioneers: Why Are we Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”

Mr. Hernandez joins us tonight from Fort Worth, Texas.

Juan Hernandez, thanks for coming on. 

JUAN HERNANDEZ, FORMER ADVISOR TO MEXICAN PRESIDENT:  Great to be here, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Whatever you think of these two contrasting plans being debated on Capitol Hill—and obviously, I‘m far more for Congressman Pense‘s version of it than the Senate version.  You have to give the U.S.  credit for really trying to tackle this issue.  What do we do with people who want to become American citizens.

You cannot give similar credit to the government of Mexico.  An amazing story by the Associated Press this weekend pointing out something I didn‘t know.  And that is that in Mexico, you have to have been born there.  You have to have been born in the country of Mexico to hold all kinds of jobs, even to be, in some places in Mexico, a fireman, a policeman, a judge.  It is, I think almost by definition, a xenophobic government. 

Who are they to be lecturing us about our immigration policy?

HERNANDEZ:  Well, we—you can go down to Mexico next week if you want, Tucker, and we can solve all of their problems down there.  But this week...

CARLSON:  I don‘t want to—I don‘t want to solve their problems. 

HERNANDEZ:  ... let‘s solve the problems that we have in the United States.

CARLSON:  I want Mexico to not even solve its problems but to take a critical look on itself before casting aspersions on us.  The Mexican government has described this government as, quote, xenophobic, has implied that we‘re racist because we don‘t want more 10 million illegal immigrants in this country. 

I think Mexico ought to sort of take a look at the plank in its own eye before calling names.  Don‘t you think?  Don‘t you see the hypocrisy here?

HERNANDEZ:  Maybe you‘re right.  But Mexico is our friend.  We‘ve got the president of Mexico in the United States today.  And he‘s coming up here.  It‘s the second most important partner to this nation and wanting to do better and greater things with this nation. 

Mexico is now a democracy after 71 years of having only one ruling party.  I think that we should give some credit to our friends.  I don‘t think that we want Venezuela south of us.  Let‘s work with Mexico.

CARLSON:  I don‘t know why if that‘s a threat.  But I don‘t know why you keep calling Mexico our friend.  I personally like Mexico and Mexicans.  It‘s not personal animus here.  But Mexico is not behaving like our friend. 

The government of Mexico is not behaving as a friend behaves. 

HERNANDEZ:  Oh, sure.  Oh, sure, Mexico...

CARLSON:  Friends don‘t encourage—don‘t encourage the breaking of a friend‘s law.  Mexico is encouraging its citizens to break our law for their financial gain.  Is that how friends behave?

HERNANDEZ:  No, my friend, I don‘t think that that is fair.  We have encouraged in this nation for people to break our laws. 

CARLSON:  Why?  Because we have a good economy?

HERNANDEZ:  We have encouraged millions of people.  We have encouraged them to come up here because we need them. 

Now, they are not criminals today.  The Sensenbrenners, some of these other people are trying to make them into criminals.  But today they‘ve broken something like a misdemeanor only.  Let‘s not criminalize them. 

There are churches here in the United States.  You have the Joel Osteens, you have the Robert Morris, you have many, many pastors in this nation of priests are saying this is not fair.  Let‘s go ahead and legalize these wonderful people, because they are good workers. 

CARLSON:  I could care less what the pastors and priests say. 

HERNANDEZ:  Oh, no you don‘t.  No.

CARLSON:  I mean, I‘m sorry.  I mean, I go to church.  I‘m for pastors and priests, but I don‘t think their voices are not the definitive voices in this debate. 

Actually, I want to look toward Mexico for a sane immigration policy. 

HERNANDEZ:  The majority...

CARLSON:  In this country, we legalize, we make citizens of about a half a million immigrants every year in this country.  Do you know how many people become citizens in Mexico every year?  About 3,000.  Three thousand people in Mexico allowed to become citizens.  So again, before Mexico gets its own house in order, how dare they lecture us?

HERNANDEZ:  Tucker, nobody is lecturing the United States.  We need over a million and a half over here.  If you want us to work one the 17 in Mexico, that won‘t work in Mexico.  Let‘s do that next week.  Right now let‘s push Congress to do the right thing.

I agree with you with what you said at the beginning, my friend, the debate was good.  If we were pretending, as we have been for 20 years, that there was no problem, then we would seriously be a problem.  Today we‘re debating it.  We‘ve got it on the table.  And the majority of U.S.  Americans, we want the documented to be undocumented. 

CARLSON:  In other words, we want amnesty for the people who snuck into our country, aren‘t paying taxes, who are living here at our expense sending their money back to their native countries keeping a corrupt cleptocracy afloat and they are contending that they deserve citizenship by virtue of the fact they‘re here and broken our laws?  How does that work, exactly?

HERNANDEZ:  My friend, we‘ve been speaking out of our mouth in two or three different ways.  We‘ve been saying, “Don‘t come, don‘t come, don‘t come.  But if you can make it, there is a great reward.” 

Most U.S. Americans, up to 75 percent, say if a five-point criteria is met—that there are no criminals in the group, that they all pay Social security and taxes, that they not take away jobs, that they work on their English, that they pay a fine, they speak English.  That up to 75 percent say, “Let‘s go ahead and legalize those good people.” 

CARLSON:  What a slap in the face to people waiting all over Africa and Asia to immigrate here legally. 

HERNANDEZ:  No, no, no.

CARLSON:  But I must say, no one defends it as well as you do.  Juan Hernandez, you are a capable spokesman for a position that I disagree with.  But I appreciate your coming on. 

HERNANDEZ:  Thank you, Tucker, for having me. 

CARLSON:  Thank you very much. 

We turn now to the state of the union: the Clinton union.  A front page story in “The New York Times” this morning reports that Hillary Clinton‘s advisors worry that her husband‘s reputation could hamper her bid for the White House.  Hence, the fact the Clintons are almost never seen together in public.  And when they are, they don‘t simultaneously give speeches. 

Are the consultants right?  Does Bill hurt Hillary?  For answers, we welcome now former special counsel to President Clinton.  Lanny Davis joins us from Washington tonight.  Lanny, thanks for coming on. 

In this piece, there‘s an interesting quote from Leon Panetta, the

former chief of staff to President Clinton.  He just says it right out

loud.  He says there‘s no question that it‘s a very complicated candidacy -

this is Hillary Clinton‘s, because of the history of that relationship for marriage and what they‘ve been through. 

No one in the Clintons have said out loud that I‘ve seen up until this morning‘s “New York Times” and that is it‘s complicated that she‘s married to bill Clinton.  Is it good, is it bad for Mrs. Clinton‘s candidacy?

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL TO BILL CLINTON:  Well, first of all, Senator Clinton is going to be judged if she runs for president on the basis of her position, her capabilities to leads this country in the war against terror and her record in the Senate.  That‘s the primary people will vote for or against her. 

I think President Clinton‘s presence by her side will be helpful because he has become, to his credit, almost a larger than life ex-president.  And his charisma, his ability to be supportive and to describe why she would make a great president have to be an asset. 

There are people who don‘t like Bill Clinton.  Among those people, it won‘t be an asset.  But in general, I think it‘s about Hillary Clinton, not about Bill Clinton. 

CARLSON:  I would tend to kind of agree with you.  Yet, Senator Clinton‘s staff doesn‘t agree.  Here‘s what the “Times” piece said, “In choosing to keep the public life separate, people around the Clintons say that there‘s a political calculus at work.  People who work for Hillary Clinton believe that a close public association with Bill Clinton hurts her?

DAVIS:  I don‘t know why anyone would say that.  Because he‘s such a popular figure in both the country and around the world.  There are Clinton haters.  There always will be.  But I think that he‘s a great asset as somebody who is supporting her. 

And you hear him describe her capabilities and the reasons why she would make a great president, President Clinton does a great job as a campaigner, as well as her husband.  I don‘t share that view. 

DAVIS:  OK. And you may be absolutely right.  I‘m agnostic on it.  The piece, though, makes the point that he‘s a terrific communicator and she‘s not a terrific communicator.  She‘s wooden by comparison, and when you put them both together, she looks kind of mediocre. 

DAVIS:  First of all, comparing anyone to Bill Clinton is difficult.  But Hillary Clinton is a pretty tough act to follow, too.  What she‘s done in New York state, her popularity rating.

And most importantly, Tucker, I find that the Republicans in the United States who I used to be debating in the Clinton years will come up to me and say what a great senator she‘s been, how she‘s reached across the aisle.  How effective she‘s been.  How a lot of Republican senators have come to respect her. 

So I don‘t think anybody compared to Bill Clinton is a fair comparison.  But Hillary Clinton on her own has been a great candidate.  She showed that in the New York election and she will again. 

O‘REILLY:  On her own, I mean, what does that mean?  If she handed married to Bill Clinton, she wouldn‘t be senator.  She wouldn‘t go from being a board member of the Children‘s Defense Fund to being, you know, the senator of New York.  That wouldn‘t have happened if she had not been first lady, obviously. 

DAVIS: Actually, let me disagree with that as a personal historic statement.  When I met Hillary Rodham, then Rodham, I thought she was going be a United States senator after about five minutes.  And I always thought she‘d be the first woman president before I knew who she was going out with Bill Clinton. 

She‘s always been special.  She‘s always been above her generation as a leader.  And that‘s how I first came to know her when she gave the valedictorian speech at Wellesley way back in the ‘60s.  That‘s how old I am, Tucker. 

So I think this is an extraordinary political leader.  And let‘s see if I‘m right if she runs for...

CARLSON:  Look, I think she‘s obviously above average.  She‘s got a lot of talents.  I mean, I‘m not beating up on Hillary Clinton.  I‘m merely saying if you‘re looking for the first woman president, there are a lot of female senators who have a lot more experience and arguably more ability than Mrs. Clinton.  I mean, why not Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer?  They‘ve been there a lot longer than she has.  They‘ve done a lot more than she has.  And no one‘s talking about them.  Why?  Because they weren‘t married to Bill Clinton. 

DAVIS:  Look, I admit my bias because I‘ve known and admired her for about there decades.  And I certainly admire the people you just mentioned.  I admit my admiring her.  She‘s demonstrated electability in upstate New York.  She‘s demonstrated leadership in the ability to work with the Republicans and get something done with the Senate. 

And I think she‘s one of the best candidates as a public speaker and as someone who can articulate the issues that the Democratic Party has.  But as I said, I‘m pretty biased in favor of her. 

CARLSON:  yes.  Finally, quickly, if she is running, I think she could win.  That opens the very suddenly real question—what will Bill Clinton do as first spouse?  What will he do?  Is he going to have an issue?  Is he going to pick the curtains of the White House?  And it‘s going to be unprecedented anyway.  What is he going do?

DAVIS:  Well, I sure look forward to him being the first spouse.  I think that he‘ll a great advisor to the president if it‘s Hillary.  And I also think that he‘ll have a great presence in world affairs and relationships around the world.  He‘s so popular, especially in third world countries on all of the issues as you know that the president worked on. 

CARLSON:  Boy, that will be good or for bad.  I‘m not for it, but it‘s going to be awfully weird if it happens.  We can all agree.  Lanny Davis, thank you for coming on. 

DAVIS:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, Clinton is not the only William Jefferson causing problems for the Democratic Party.  We‘ll tell you about the New Orleans congressman who is single handedly making it pretty hard for Democrats to call Republicans corrupt. 

Also, the war against the Dixie Chicks.  The songs are dropped by country music stations around the country after the band‘s latest attack on the president.  I‘ll talk to one program director who‘s had enough of that trio. 

Plus, Taylor and Katharine turn in solid performances on “American Idol” tonight.  One of the most compelling figures in “Idol” history join us to handicap the competition when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still ahead, would you go out and vote in the next election if you were enticed by a million dollar lottery? 

Plus, a 44-year-old woman is caught having sex with a 13-year-old boy.  Prepare yourself for her mug shot.  We‘ve got it.  We‘ll show it to you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. WILLIAM JEFFERSON (D), LOUISIANA:  As you know, there‘s a criminal investigation going on regarding this.  And my lawyers have advised me not to discuss—and I will not discuss, any of the alleged facts in the case. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was Congressman William Jefferson, a former guest on this show, speaking yesterday in the wake of an FBI Search at his office on Capitol Hill.  Jefferson was caught on tape, apparently, accepting $100,000 from an FBI informant.  Agents later found all but $10,000 of that of marked bills hidden in the freezer in one of his houses. 

So will that scandal make it harder for Democrats to attack the Republicans in the upcoming election as the party of corruption?

Joining me now from Philadelphia, MSNBC contributor Flavia Colgan. 

Hola, Flavia!

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Good evening, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  You haven‘t heard a lot recently about the party of corruption from the Democrats.  And I think old Bill Jefferson is part of the reason.   Actually, there are others: the congressman from West Virginia who somehow has made $6 million in the past four years.  No one is quite sure how.  Also under investigation. 

Are we going hear a lot more about the party of corruption?

COLGAN:  Well, I think that—I think that as we talked about—I was just looking at a transcript from 2005 when we were on here talking about the same thing.  And I said then what I feel now, which is that I think that Democrats make a huge mistake in trying to paint corruption just as a Republican trait, because the American public simply doesn‘t buy it. 

And I actually, even hearing some of the commentators today, I think the Democrats should leave the comments in terms of showing the difference in scale and the systemic nature of the corruption.  The Republican Party to “The Washington Post” who made comments like, you know, there‘s a criminal enterprise coming out of the speaker‘s office and the leadership‘s office. 

And I think that, you know, you will see that there will be a little less coverage on this story, only because—you spent a lot of time in D.C.  Everybody knew who Abramoff was and Ralph Reid and, you know, Tom DeLay.  These people were major power players in D.C., whereas Jefferson is a lot more unknown and isn‘t as big of a player.  So I think you‘ll see a lot less coverage.

But I think what Democrats really need to do is take this as an opportunity to step out in front and really present a bold vision for campaign—not only campaign finance reform, but ethics reform.  And I think they need to counter which they haven‘t done yet. 

CARLSON:  Oh, come on. 

COLGAN:  Which they haven‘t done.  The Republicans have a very watered down efforts in...

CARLSON:  Hold on. 

COLGAN:  And they need to calm down and take this...

CARLSON:  This ethics and campaign finance stuff, with all due respect, it‘s all so dumb.  It does nothing.  I mean, look, the truth is—

I can say as someone who lived in Washington for 15 years.  As bipartisan statement—it‘s not very corrupt.  People think Washington is corrupt and they‘re all the take.  They‘re not.  Most of them are eagle scout types. 

They‘re ideologically construct.  That‘s the deep corruption.  They say they believe things they don‘t believe.  That‘s the scandal.  It‘s not that they‘re taking millions from the asbestos manufacturers so they can give our kids lung cancer.  It‘s that they claim to stand for things that they don‘t really stand for. 

COLGAN:  Well, Tucker, I have to say you often go out on a limb on your own, but on this one, with you saying the pay-to-play quid pro quo and the corruption that money—that money has an influence in politics, I think that you‘re in a very small group in terms of Americans... 

CARLSON:  Yes, but what does the money go toward?

COLGAN:  ... to feel that that‘s the case. 

CARLSON:  I mean, look, there are people like Duke Cunningham who are corrupt.  They‘re criminals.  And he‘s in jail, thank God.  But most of these guys take the money they raise and they do what with it?  They buy campaign commercials; they spread their message.  That‘s protected by the First Amendment.  It‘s not corrupt; it‘s called politics.

COLGAN:  Well, I think that a lot of people, myself included, feel that the amount of money that is given by special interests certainly has made an impact.  And as you see a lot of these investigations are pointing out, whether it‘s, you know, Indian tribes and so forth, they‘re making—they‘re buying influence with that money. 

And if you talk to people in Maine and Arizona and some of the states that have instituted clean elections, I think that you‘ll see that people feel that that allows for a lot more voice amongst the citizens.  But I think...

CARLSON:  It also makes it legal for people to express their political opinions.  And that is I don‘t see how you can square any of that with the First Amendment.  You have a right to say what you believe about politics essentially anywhere you want and any time you want.  And campaign finance laws prevent you from doing so. 

COLGAN:  Well, the main point is the Democrats should have a much stronger ethics reform bill in terms of stopping the revolving door, stopping and banning all of the gifts, stopping any travel that‘s paid for by, you know, all of these special interests groups. 

And I think that they need to come out and, instead of talking about how Jefferson isn‘t important or trying to make excuses or paint this simply as a Republican Party issue, they have to acknowledge the fact that corruption is a bipartisan trait and tell the American public what they‘re going to do to help, you know, change this level of corruption. 

CARLSON:  No, I don‘t think anybody will buy it.  They do that every two years when people come on and.  I‘m sorry.  We‘re...

COLGAN:  What I think it won‘t hurt Democrat. 

CARLSON:  Sum it up in one sentence for me. 

COLGAN:  There are a lot of other issues that are bringing the Republican poll numbers down, and if they follow Newt Gingrich‘s advice, as you recall, he campaigned and brought up the cash and checks scandal when he was involved and the Republicans were involved, because he pointed out the fact that when the people feel the Congress is dysfunctional and corrupt, what they do is boot out the incumbent party. 

CARLSON:  Just to...

COLGAN:  So I think that they can look back to 1994 for a lot of lessons and even that lesson is one of them. 

CARLSON:  Right.  We‘ll see if it works.  I mean, you can‘t replace something with nothing.  We‘ll see if they have something.  Flavia Colgan.  Very much of something.  Thanks for joining us. 

COLGAN:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still ahead, congratulations on graduating.  Here‘s your diploma.  Now take this breathalyzer test.  That might sound like a nutty proposition, but it‘s happening at a high school, possibly near you.  We‘ll bring you details. 

Plus, Madonna is embroiled in yet another publicity-generated conflict with the church.  We‘ll bring you our top five all-time controversies involving the material girl, if you can stomach it.  We‘ll show it to you.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Now to a story from the place where country music and politics intersect.  Today the Dixie Chicks released their new album.  The first single is a not-so-veiled reference to their feeling about the president.  It‘s entitled “I‘m Not Ready to Make Nice”.  By the looks of it, neither are many country music stations.

In fact, the Dixie Chicks will soon be getting a lot less air time in lead singer Natalie Maines‘ hometown of Lubbock, Texas.  Here to tell us why, Paul Beane.  He‘s the program director for 105.7 FM, the rebel country music station, in Lubbock. 

Mr. Beane, thanks for coming on. 

PAUL BEANE, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, 105.7 FM:  Thank you, Tucker.  It‘s a pleasure to see you this evening. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.  So are you going to take the Dixie Chicks off your station?

BEANE:  We‘ve had the Dixie Chicks off of the air since they made that remark just after the start of the Iraq war overseas in London.  And it wasn‘t a move that was instigated by the management or by the programming department at our radio station.  It was a move instigated by our listeners. 

Tucker, our e-mails, our faxes, our telephone calls ran 33-1 against us playing music by the Dixie Chicks.  And in a music-driven format, our listeners pretty much control what we play. 

CARLSON:  I want to know if, in effect, you aren‘t adding to the Dixie Chicks‘ publicity machine.  I mean, leaving aside the merits of their music, a lot of people like it.  They seem talented to me anyway. 

But this is clearly part of a publicity campaign.  You attack the president.  You get on shows, you know, all across television.  And by taking them off of the air, aren‘t you kind of validating their point, that you know, they‘re brave political protesters taking on the establishment? 

BEANE:  Oh, probably so.  But I notice they‘re on the cover of “TIME” magazine this week.  I‘m not sure that our FM station in Lubbock is going to contribute one way or the other to the publicity machine that‘s being generated right now by the Dixie Chicks. 

And let me say that I personally love their music.  I think they‘re some of the most talented young ladies I‘ve ever heard on record in my entire life.  And I miss not hearing them on my radio station. 

CARLSON:  It‘s interesting, because I mean, of course, the president‘s approval ratings are really low.  I don‘t know what they are specifically in Lubbock.  But you know, they can‘t be too high.  I mean, they‘re really at almost historic lows across the country.  So there have got be a lot of people in Texas, even, who don‘t like him. 

Why are the Dixie Chicks being focused on as offenders for not supporting the president?

BEANE:  Well, I can only speak for the listeners at our stations, Tucker.  I don‘t—I can‘t answer for anyone else.  But I can simply say that a local television station last night ran a survey: 86 percent of the people indicated they did not want to hear the Dixie Chicks‘ music or buy their new album. 

And, of course, as you can tell, we‘re in a red state here, Tucker, so like I said, our format is driven by the wants and needs of our listeners. 

CARLSON:  It‘s about as red—it‘s about as red as the coat you‘re wearing, where you live. 

BEANE:  Absolutely right. 

CARLSON:  And frankly, you‘ve been in radio for a long time.  Have you ever seen anything like this?  Has there ever been another artist who you pulled off the air from—in response to popular demand?

BEANE:  Oh, no.  Not since the days of what we used to call race music back in the 1950‘s with Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and “Annie Had a Baby” and that type of music when we got a lot of protests.  But nothing in the modern era of radio.  And I‘ve been in this business 50 years plus, Carlson.  So I‘ve never seen any phenom exactly like this. 

But Tucker, everybody pays a price for their political views, from the signers of the Declaration of the Independence to the Dixie Chicks to me.  I—last week I bet on the wrong horse in the Lubbock mayor‘s race, and I‘m sure that I‘ll pay a price down the road.  But everybody pays a price.  And, Tucker, nobody knows that as well as you. 

CARLSON:  Yes, well, and the Dixie Chicks got on the cover of “TIME” magazine.  I ought to start protesting things more often.  Maybe that can happen to me. 

Mr. Beane, thanks a lot for coming on.  I sure appreciate it. 

BEANE:  You‘re welcome, Tucker.  Thanks. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Still to come, how much is your vote worth?  How about $1 million.  We‘ll tell you about a plan to lure people to the ballot box with cold hard cash. 

Plus, “American Idol‘s” biggest star sings a classic on this show.  You don‘t want to miss it.  We‘re not kidding.  Stay tuned.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, first “The Da Vinci Code” and now Madonna.  What is it about her new tour that has many Catholics seething mad?  We‘ll tell you.

Plus, what a send off: diplomas and breathalyzer tests.  That‘s what some high schools are giving out on graduation day.  We‘ll get to that in just a minute.  But first, what else is going on in the world tonight?

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Pop diva Madonna is making her critics furious once again.  This time, she‘s incurred the wrath of church leaders by hanging from a giant cross and wearing a crown of thorns.  The musical stunt is part of Madonna‘s stunningly predictable new world tour called “Confessions.”  It opened Sunday night in L.A.

Members of the Catholic League are urging her to knock off the Jesus bashing.  But it might be hard to teach an old pop queen new tricks.  Provocation of the most banal kind has been the main attraction of her career from the get go.  In tonight‘s “Top Five”, we feature an entire album of Madonna‘s greatest controversial hits. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  She may be pushing 50, but Madonna apparently isn‘t ready to hang up the raunchy, controversial image that for the last two decades has made her one of the most talked about pop icons in the world. 

From the beginning, it seems, Madonna Louise Ciccone was destined to raise eyebrows with hits like “Like a Virgin” and “Papa Don‘t Preach”.

Madonna‘s trademark getup, lacy stockings and “Boy Toy” belt buckle, convinced critics this girl is anything but virginal.  In fact, Madonna gives birth to a new era in pop music. 

In 1985, a little more of Madonna‘s past comes into focus.  “Playboy” and “Penthouse” magazines published nude photos of the singer.  Although initially embarrassed by the layouts, Madonna is unapologetic about this newly uncovered body of work.  Fans applaud her model behavior, while sales of “Playboy” and “Penthouse” skyrocket. 

Four years later, Madonna signs a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal with Pepsi-Cola.  But the campaign fizzles when her latest music video, “Like a Prayer”, debuts on MTV.  Catholic groups attack Madonna, and Pepsi is forced to can her.  But she gets to keep the $5 million. 

In 1992, Madonna opens yet another chapter in her controversial career with the release of her erotic book, “Sex”.

JENNY JONES, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST:  More of Madonna than perhaps most of us would like to see.

CARLSON:  It features graphic photos of the pop star depicting acts of sadomasochism.  And despite an avalanche of bad press, the book becomes an instant best seller. 

MADONNA, SINGER:  There are two people in the world who haven‘t seen my book.  One is my father; one is the pope. 

CARLSON:  Madonna sets tongues wagging again in 2003, this time with a show stopping performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, featuring a lip locking gal pals Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.  Proof once again of just how far a credulous public and a little blond ambition will get you. 

MADONNA:  I know what it is to be bad.  I‘ve been bad. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  We turn now to a man whose beard is inspired by his two heroes, Abraham Lincoln and Kevin Federline.  He is “The Outsider”, ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host, Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Coming to you from an undisclosed location, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Looks like a comedy club, Max.  Are you performing tonight?

KELLERMAN:  Yes.  Yes.  In a manner of speaking, yes. 

CARLSON:  Good.  All right.

To the caps, gowns, and diploma that make up the pomp and circumstance of graduation day, we can now add breathalyzer, at least at some schools.  Paradise Valley High School in Arizona is one of the few schools now in the country that requires students to pass a breathalyzer test before receiving a diploma. 

The sobriety test is seen as a way of discouraging kids from getting drunk before they graduate.  Students who smell like booze or have bloodshot eyes are tested. 

This is ludicrous, Max.  Nothing to cheapen your big day like blowing into a breathalyzer.  I know you like the authoritarian quality of the idea?  Don‘t you?

KELLERMAN:  I really hate the authoritarian quality of the idea. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I know you do.

KELLERMAN:  The argument against—for this is simple, Tucker.  This is not like they‘re testing for marijuana, which stays in your system for 30 days or something.  They say, hey, if you smoked weed two weeks ago, you can‘t graduate.  They‘re saying if you‘re drunk at graduation there‘s a problem. 

I mean, don‘t you think that if you can‘t wait until after you get the diploma to have a few drinks when you‘re 18 years old maybe it‘s time to figure a few things out?

CARLSON:  Yes, I think—I do.  I do.  I don‘t know about that.  I don‘t know if it says anything about you the person.  I think if you show up steaming drunk to graduation, you‘re being obnoxious and obviously intoxicated, yes, you should get—I don‘t know, sent home or something. 

But the whole idea behind the breathalyzer is it allows people to know whether you‘re drunk, because they can‘t tell.  Because you‘re not so drunk that you‘re obviously drunk.  I don‘t know.  We don‘t need that information in order to award a diploma...

KELLERMAN:  Think of how long—think of how long and boring these high school graduation ceremonies are.  Just what you need, a bunch of drunk and high kids taking twice as long, giggling, and cracking up, and not paying attention.  Let‘s just—you know, if there‘s any drug to put these kids on, it‘s something like speed or something.  You know, get this thing moving. 

CARLSON:  That‘s actually a good point.  I‘m not endorsing that or anything.  But, I mean, look, the bottom line is, I‘m against testing people if there‘s no obvious reason to test them.  Right?  Unless people are doing something outrageously wrong, generally. 

KELLERMAN:  They used to do that to maybe.  I remember once at a junior high school, maybe it was high school dance.  The principal wanted to know if I was drunk.  And it was—you know, it was a teenager having a good time.  Leave me alone. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I‘m sure you weren‘t anyway. 

But, wait, there is more insanity tonight from Arizona, a place fast becoming this country‘s new Florida. 

KELLERMAN:  Florida.

CARLSON:  Some in that state are trying to determine who wants to be a millionaire.  A political activist is opposed to the idea of paying one lucky voter one million dollars after every state election.  Paperwork has been filed to put the idea to state voters on the referendum on the 2006 ballot. 

The idea is that the prospect of winning $1 million would drive people to the polls.  This might be—and a lot of competitors for this, Max, but this could be the dumbest idea I have ever heard.  People who believe they‘re going win $1 million in the lottery should not be voting in the first place.  Good luck defending this one. 

Look, the idea that you should lure people into voting with a cash reward kind of subverts the idea of democracy.  We want government chosen by people who know what they‘re doing, people who are informed and motivated to vote because they care and they‘re interested.  Not people who are dumb enough to think they‘re going to win the lotto. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, someone actually does hit the lotto, though the odds are against it.  That‘s the point, Tucker.  Look, it‘s an incentive for people to get out and vote. 

Now, you say, well, those are not the kinds of people you want voting, people who need to be incentivized by a Lotto, you know, payoff, potentially, which the odds are against it. 

But if they really—you can go to the store and buy a ticket that will pay you a lot more than $1 million if you win it.  The odds are pretty similar. 

So if anything, someone is going to actually bother to go down and register to vote.  Then go down and vote, it‘s not going be for $1 million.  That incentivizes them, they‘re going to educate themselves a bit about the candidates and involve themselves with the process.  Isn‘t that what you want?

CARLSON:  I don‘t think there‘s any evidence of that at all. 

KELLERMAN:  It hasn‘t been done before.  We‘ll see.

CARLSON:  Well, no, but the Democratic Party has registered, you know, the homeless and schizophrenics living on the street and, you know, mental patients and prisoners and people who, you know, by definition, probably don‘t know a lot about what‘s going on in politics.  I think you ought to have a moral obligation on not to vote on things you don‘t understand.  I don‘t vote on a lot of things because I don‘t know enough, and I think that‘s the attitude we should... 

KELLERMAN:  The Republican and Democratic Party have played plenty of dirty tricks on election day throughout history.  It‘s not like it‘s a partisan issue.  They‘ve both done it. 

And you know, we vote on things, Tucker, all the time that we—even when you think you‘re voting on something you know about, frequently, you in fact don‘t know about it.  Even in a presidential election when you think a certain candidate stands for something, in fact, later on, it turns out, no, you were wrong.  And maybe it was based on his voting record that you never really bothered to look into when he was a senator.  I mean, who knows?

                Carlson:   Well, that‘s true.

                KELLERMAN:   But the point is we‘re all educated to one degree or

another.  And the more involvement in the process among the population.  The more the population is willing to educate itself as a process, probably the healthier we are about democracy. 

CARLSON:  Probably.  But I don‘t think the misuse of winning the lotto is going to inspire people to get educated. 

KELLERMAN:  What is you‘re—Tucker, maybe it cab be me.  Maybe I‘m the guys who‘s going to win the lottery. 

CARLSON:  Not going to be a lot more on this story tomorrow, max.  We veal a lot more on the story tomorrow.  It gets me.  The only a society that hates itself would convince people to vote with a lottery.  But we‘ll talk much more about it tomorrow.  Max Kellerman, in the meantime, thank you, Max. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Coming up tonight on SHE SITUATION, mother and her son are forced to jump off of their balcony as fire chases them from their apartment.  We‘ll tell you how this dramatic scene ended.

Plus this woman‘s appearance ought to be a crime.  But that‘s not why she‘s posing for mug shots.  We‘ll tell you why she was arrested when he come back in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER:  Coming up, expert “American Idol” analysis from the most unforgettable star in the show‘s history. 

Plus Bruce Willis gets into trouble at the Cannes Film Festival.

CARLSON:  But it‘s the good kind of trouble, and you‘ll see it when we come back, in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  There‘s really nothing to spoil for you.  But if you haven‘t watched tonight‘s “American Idol” yet, you don‘t want to hear about it, turn away for a minute.  Just know you‘ll be turning away from an interview with the most memorable character in “American Idol” history. 

Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee gave their final performances tonight before one of them is crowned the newest “American Idol” in front of a Super Bowl sized national audience on tomorrow night‘s show. 

William Hung became an overnight sensation after performing his shockingly bad and endlessly entertaining rendition of Ricky Martin‘s song, “She Bangs” on “Idol” a couple years ago.  Who better to ask for a breakdown of this year‘s final than Mr. Hung himself? 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Mr. William Hung joins us tonight from Los Angeles. 

William, thanks for coming on. 

WILLIAM HUNG, “AMERICAN IDOL” WANNABE:  Thank you. 

CARLSON;  You have actually been in the arena.  You‘ve felt the blood, the sweat, and the tears of “American Idol” personally.  Who do you think is stronger?  Which one is going to impress us, Taylor Hicks or Katharine McPhee?

HUNG:  It‘s going depend on the performances.  So I‘m not sure.  It was very close last week. 

CARLSON:  Who do you think is fundamentally the stronger candidate, though?  Which one is more talented would you say?

HUNG:  Up—I would—I think it‘s—I think—I hope Katharine wins—wins tomorrow. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  You—I think you and a lot of others.  What‘s your favorite performance—God bless you.  What‘s your favorite performance been this season so far?

HUNG:  Favorite performance?  In terms of “American Idol”?

CARLSON:  Right, “American Idol.”

HUNG:  Well, there were at least four or five or six of them that the performance that really—really memorable.  I thought that—I thought Chris—the rocker—Chris. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Chris Daughtry.

HUNG:  I thought—Chris Daughtry, I thought when he sang “Walk the Line,” he did a great job on it. 

CARLSON:  So you join in the chorus of millions of American who say Chris Daughtry was robbed then?  Were you upset when he was booted off the show?

HUNG:  I was disappointed. 

CARLSON:  He—in some sense he joins you for that select group of people who didn‘t make it to the top of “American Idol” and yet somehow found fame anyway.  What can Chris from your experience expect now that he‘s failed to achieve victory but still become famous?

HUNG:  Well, I think—I think he‘s very talented.  So I think if he just keeps working hard and never give up...

CARLSON:  So what you doing now?  Tell us about your career.

HUNG:  Me?  I‘ve been traveling and performing a lot.  As some of you may know, I was the artichoke king at the artichoke festival just this past weekend. 

CARLSON:  Yes, in Castorville, California, the artichoke capital of the world. 

HUNG:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Do you keep in touch with the judges, with Paula Abdul or Simon Cowell?  Randy Jackson?

HUNG:  I was able to—I was able to see—see Randy quite a bit.  I also saw Paula a year ago or so at the Kids Choice kids awards. 

CARLSON:  Huh.

HUNG:  And—yes, go ahead?

CARLSON:  Do you think—I assume you watch “American Idol” regularly

I assume that‘s a given.  Do you think that Simon Cowell has gotten meaner?  Gotten to be a tougher judge over the years?

HUNG:  I think he‘s just doing his job.  And I think—I think producers is part of it, too. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  You think the producer pushes him to be mean?

HUNG:  Perhaps.  I have no—I‘m not sure. 

CARLSON:  What‘s your favorite song to perform?

HUNG:  For me?  Favorite song to perform?  I like “Achy Breaky Heart.”

CARLSON:  Could you just do one line of “Achy Breaky Heart”?  I know it‘s a little uncomfortable, but I can‘t resist here.  You‘re here with us.  Could you just sing a line from “Achy Breaky Heart”?

HUNG:  Yes, sure. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Go for it. 

HUNG (singing):  But don‘t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart I just don‘t think it‘d understand.  And if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart he might blow up and kill this man, ooh.

CARLSON:  I think—honestly, I mean this—I know it‘s ironic to like William Hung.  And everyone is kind of laughing at you and laughing with you at the same time.  I think you‘re pretty good.  I think you‘re great, William Hung.

HUNG:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  I hope your third album sells well.  Thanks a lot for joining us tonight. 

HUNG:  Thank you very much. 

CARLSON:  Thanks. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Still ahead tonight, Bruce Willis gets soaked during an interview about his new movie.  Was it a practical joke or an act of God?  We‘ll tell you in a minute. 

Before we go to break, though, it‘s tonight‘s installment of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”

“The Good” is the physical fitness and the will of 70-year-old Takao Aramaya.  He reached the top of Mount Everest.  The Japanese man is the oldest ever to summit the world‘s tallest mountain.  Aramaya is three days older than the previous record holder.  Congratulations to him.

“The Bad” are images of a woman and her son jumping off of a balcony to escape a fire in Germany tonight.  The boy jumped first.  He broke his fall by grabbing a railing of a balcony as he fell past it.  His mother then jumped all the way to the ground.  The pictures are bad, but the good news is the two suffered only minor injuries.  Amazing. 

“The Ugly” is the prospect of having sex with this individual.  Somebody did, albeit illegally.  The 44-year-old North Carolina woman was arrested on charges of statutory rape after cops say she had a month-long sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy.  No word if any charges are being brought against her for taping her glasses together for what appears to be a Band-Aid. 

That‘s “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” tonight.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor”.  Back by popular demand, including threats of physical violence, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  That‘s right, Tucker, my threats of physical violence. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

GEIST:  Something weird just happened when you just had William Hung on the show. 

CARLSON:  Yes, we did.  Yes, we did.

GEIST:  Did you notice that. 

CARLSON:  I did notice that.

GEIST:  I think that song deserves a little rewind.  Let‘s take another listen. 

CARLSON:  That was incredible. 

GEIST:  Smooth silky style.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

HUNG (singing):  Don‘t tell my heart my achy breaky heart.  I just don‘t think it‘d understand.

GEIST:  Yes.

HUNG (singing):  And if you tell my heart my achy breaky heart.

GEIST:  Yes.

CARLSON:  See, I think he‘s good.  I actually like that.

GEIST:  Here comes the best part. 

HUNG:  Ooh

GEIST:  Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That wasn‘t—that was not my favorite noise that he made. 

My favorite, the sneeze. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNG:  Katharine wins tomorrow. 

CARLSON:  What‘s your favorite performance been?

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

GEIST:  Hey, we don‘t mean to make fun.  That was just—there‘s no getting around it.  It was funny. 

CARLSON:  He didn‘t care.  That‘s what I love about it.  I like the guy. 

GEIST:  He‘s a pro.  He‘s a star. 

Again, slow mo.  Eye flicker and bang. 

CARLSON:  That‘s so mean.  We don‘t need to be mean.  I like William Hung.

GEIST:  I love him.  He can come back anytime. 

CARLSON:  The Cannes Film Festival in the French Riviera is a boondoggle for Hollywood types.  Going to lavish parties with European supermodels and laying on the beach is pretty good work if you can get it.  But there can be a downside to promoting your film near the ocean.  Just ask Bruce Willis...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR:  Very funny film.  A big funny cast—yes!  And that, my friends is the end of the interview. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  I actually—I like Bruce Willis. 

CARLSON:  I do, too.

GEIST:  This is good stuff.  He did “Die Hard.”  He gets a free pass.  Here it comes again—yes.  He was promoting “Over the Hedge”, an animated movie. 

Can I say, though, there is something gratifying while an actor is talking about his craft and immersing himself in the role to see something like that happen.  I hate when actors talk about their job.  That‘s all. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I agree.

When I say the name 50 Cent, what‘s the first thing that comes to mind?  If you said song writing, you‘re lying.  The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers selected the former drug-dealing, nine-time shot rapper as the song writer of the year.  Fifty was recognized for his work on last year‘s albums, “The Massacre”, which of course is at permanent home at the top of my iPod play list. 

GEIST:  You know what?  The easy thing here is to take a shot.  I am a 50 Cent fan, so I‘m going leave it to you.  I admit some of his lyrics are not quite as subtle or nuanced as they could be.  But I bought into the whole thing. 

CARLSON:  I wouldn‘t know 50 if he showed up in the shower with me, and he hasn‘t.  I‘m glad. 

GEIST:  You don‘t want him in the shower with you. 

CARLSON:  I‘ll give you one guess which country they‘re having fish play soccer in, preparation for the upcoming World Cup.  If you said Japan, you know a lot about the world. 

These fish are competing—I guess you can call competing, in a Yokohama aquarium.  The blue fish represent the Japanese national team, while the yellow represent, of course, Brazil, dummy. 

Neither team is winning because the fish don‘t understand how to play soccer. 

GEIST:  You know, I didn‘t think soccer could get any more boring than it is when humans play it.  But it is here, actually. 

Should we be worried about Japan?  I‘m very worried about Japan.  When do we start to worry about Japan?

CARLSON:  I‘m very worried about Japan. 

GEIST:  Robots dancing and playing soccer.  They have fish playing soccer.  I have my concerns. 

CARLSON:  You know, next time I hear some internationalist dork or some Canadian espouse the glories of soccer, I just want to show them—soccer, you Americans don‘t appreciate soccer?

GEIST:  Of course we don‘t.  Because it‘s tedious.  That‘s why.  We like sports. 

CARLSON:  Willie Geist. 

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thank you.

And thank you.  That‘s it tonight.  We‘ll be back here tomorrow.  See you then. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNG (singing):  Don‘t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart.  I just don‘t think it‘d understand.  And if you tell my heart...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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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