updated 5/25/2006 11:09:33 AM ET 2006-05-25T15:09:33

Guests: Wendy Murphy, Brian Hiatt, Mark Osterloh, Rocky Twyman

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Hey, Lauren.  Thanks a lot. 

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

Tonight you may think “American Idol” is over for the season, but it turns out winning is just the beginning.  We‘ll talk to a music industry insider who says sometimes it‘s the loser who comes out on top. 

And it‘s Oprah‘s world.  The rest of us are just living in it.  The proof, a campaign to nominate the queen of daytime television for a Nobel Peace Prize.  The man behind that campaign will tell us why Oprah deserves to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King and the Dalai Lama. 

Plus, we‘ll tell you which state wants to give you $1 million just for voting in an election.  A twisted case of democracy in action just ahead. 

But first, we have breaking news out of Washington tonight.  Vice President Dick Cheney could be called to testify in the perjury case against his former chief of staff, Scooter Libby.  This news just in. 

For more on it we go to MSNBC Washington correspondent David Shuster, who first got wind of this story earlier this week.  David joins us by phone now. 

David, what is this? What‘s going on?

DAVIS SHUSTER, MSNBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  What‘s happening, Tucker, is that two weeks ago in court prosecutors were asked by the judge to indicate which—indicate what news articles they wanted to introduce as part of the Libby trial. 

So the prosecutor filed a motion saying that they would introduce Joe Wilson‘s column and, oh, by the way, they‘re going to introduce Joe Wilson‘s column that has Vice President Cheney‘s hand-written notes on the top of it.  The idea being that this would suggest there were several people within the vice president‘s office, including Libby and Cheney who were focused on Valerie Wilson and her role at the CIA. 

Last Friday, Scooter Libby filed a motion saying that, in his grand jury testimony, he didn‘t remember the vice president‘s notations, didn‘t remember the Joe Wilson column with the vice president‘s notations, and suggested if prosecutors wanted to put that in evidence, the defense wasn‘t sure how they would do that.. 

So what‘s happened now is for the first time, prosecutors are formally indicating that they may, in fact, call Vice President Cheney as a witness, both so that they can introduce the Joe Wilson column with Cheney‘s hand-written notes. 

But there‘s another purpose to it, and that is the whole issue is trying to show that Scooter Libby, when he talked to the grand jury, when he testified and he said he first learned about Valerie Plame from reporters, prosecutors want to show no, he learned about Valerie Plame from all sorts of government officials, including the vice president. 

And if the judge allows them to get Cheney‘s hand-written notes, the implication, of course, left with the jury would be, hey, if the vice-president was focused on Valerie Wilson‘s status at the CIA, then it‘s likely to conclude that Scooter Libby, as the chief of staff, would also be focused on that.  And therefore, it‘s another reason why the jury might consider convicting Libby. 

CARLSON:  The bottom line, Vice President Dick Cheney could be called to testify.  David Shuster, really the first and last source on this case.  David, thanks a lot.  We‘ll have much more on this as we find out more in the coming days. 

SHUSTER:  You‘re welcome.

CARLSON:  Thanks, David.

And now the latest developments in the Duke rape case.  Members of the university‘s women‘s lacrosse team are getting involved now.  They plan to wear sweat bands reading “innocent” in a game on Friday.  That‘s a show, of course, of support for the three members of the men‘s team who have been charged with rape. 

Meanwhile, more questions being raised about the accuser‘s credibility, now in tatters.  According to published reports, the woman has admitted having sex with at least three men, none of them players on the team, around the time of the alleged attack. 

So with so many holes in the story, is it time to drop the case?  Of course it is.  Merely a rhetorical question.  But to respond to it nonetheless, former prosecutor, Wendy Murphy.  She joins us tonight from Boston. 

Wendy, welcome. 

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR:  Hi, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Virtually everything in this case is falling apart.  We learn now from the more than 1,000 pages of evidence that the prosecutor is obliged to turn over to the defense that medical technicians at the hospital found no tearing of any kind, contrary to rumors we had heard, in the alleged victim in this case.  No DNA, of course, has been found from the lacrosse players on her body. 

You know, what is there to suggest these guys did anything wrong at all?  I‘m kind of confused at this point.

MURPHY:  You know, I have a new nickname for you, Tucker.  I‘m going to start calling you Tucker the Sucker.  Because...

CARLSON:  You are being suckered.  You give me—I want evidence on what these guys did.  They‘ve been accused of a very serious crime here. 

MURPHY:  Let me tell you something.  You are being spun like a dumb dog.  Every time the defense just spews nonsense you accept it as fact and you put it on your show. 

CARLSON:  That‘s what you say every week.  I want actual evidence.  I brought evidence here.

MURPHY:  Let me ask you something. 

CARLSON:  You bring evidence to prove your point. 

MURPHY:  No, that is not evidence.  That is not evidence; that is spin. 

CARLSON:  Wait a minute.  It is evidence.

MURPHY:  There are 1,300 pages released to the defense.  Now how many have you seen, Tucker?

CARLSON:  By the prosecution.  By the prosecution.

MURPHY:  How many have you seen?

CARLSON:  I have seen none.  On this channel...

MURPHY:  Exactly.  There are two DNA reports.  The defense tells you -

no, no, this is my turn.  There are two DNA reports, two, that you have said prove this woman was not raped.  How many of those DNA reports have you seen, Tucker?  Why don‘t I just answer it for you, none.  You have seen nothing.

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  This is not hearsay.

MURPHY:  Nothing.  And you want...

CARLSON:  Slow down.  You‘re making allegations that I must rebut. 

You are suggesting that I am making this up or buying it from the defense.  That is not true.  Dan Abrams earlier today on this show said point blank he and his staff have seen much of this evidence from the prosecution. 

MURPHY:  Much.  Much.

CARLSON:  Hold on.  From the prosecution not the defense.  This is, in some cases, sworn testimony.  It‘s not made up.  It‘s being entered in the case.  You claim to be an attorney; you understand how this works. 

MURPHY:  Thirteen—look it, 1,300 pages.  The defense has copies. 

The defense has 13 -- no, no, no.

CARLSON:  What‘s the countervailing evidence?  No more name-calling, Wendy.  Give me evidence. 

MURPHY:  I am telling you something.  The defense has much more freedom to spew nonsense in the court of public opinion and people spin it.  And the prosecution is not free to tell the truth, because they get in trouble.  The defense attorneys whine and complain and file motions to dismiss and suppress, because it‘s not fair when the government tells the truth. 

CARLSON:  Speaking of—speaking of...

MURPHY:  But we happen to have a legal system where defendants can lie with impunity. 

CARLSON:  Let me ask you a very simply question.

MURPHY:  We saw it in the Kobe Bryant case.  We‘re seeing it in this case, and you appear not to have seen the light about this issue. 

CARLSON:  We‘re drifting off into crazy world here.

MURPHY:  No, we‘re not.

CARLSON:  Is it—is it true or is it not—is it true—hold on.

MURPHY:  You want me to argue against a ghost. 

CARLSON:  Hold on, hold on.  Is it true or is it not true that the prosecution is obliged to hand over its evidence to the defense?  It is true, is it not?  Yes, it is. 

MURPHY:  And they can also share it with you and I, including those two DNA reports.  They‘re allowed to share them with you, Tucker, and me.  And guess what: they‘re hiding them.  Why are they hiding the DNA reports, Tucker?

CARLSON:  Here‘s—here‘s what we know, Wendy. 

MURPHY:  Draw a negative inference for once. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s what we know.  We know that the accuser in this case gave at least four different versions of what happened to her in the first hours after she met with doctors and police.  That there is no DNA that we know of...

MURPHY:  No, we don‘t.  No, we don‘t.

CARLSON:  We know for a fact because I read the transcript myself...

MURPHY:  We don‘t.

CARLSON:  ... that this woman said she was raped by a man with a mustache.  Nobody on that team has a mustache.  How do you spin that away?

MURPHY:  That is not an inconsistent statement if a guy had stubble. 

We‘ve been through this before.

CARLSON:  Come on.

MURPHY:  Give me something new.

CARLSON:  That‘s insane.

MURPHY:  Look it, I‘ve been a prosecutor.  I‘ve prosecuted hundreds of cases.  I can‘t tell you the number of cases I‘ve seen where...

CARLSON:  Man, I can‘t imagine that the government allowed you to prosecute a case, Wendy.  That‘s chilling to me.

MURPHY:  ... they said they saw a beard or mustache because that very hairy guy in fact looked like he had a lot of stubble when he did his dog and pony show with his lawyers.  And it wasn‘t even night time. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Your—you know what?  Your position on this is a woman is always telling the truth.  A woman is always a victim.

MURPHY:  No.  No.

CARLSON:  A man by definition is a perpetrator. 

MURPHY:  No. 

CARLSON:  I want you to give me one piece of evidence that suggests these...

MURPHY:  Guess what.  I just think we wait for the trial rather than dump it, which is what you cry for every night. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not—look, I am asking you what I‘ve asked you every night, and that is to put up against the mountain of evidence that these guys didn‘t do it, that I‘m proffering here, a single piece of evidence that they did.  And you have none.  Instead, you call me a dummy, a lack for the defense.  Give me facts. 

MURPHY:  I have—I have this.  Are you ready?  I have this. 

No. 1, over 99 percent of cases indicted are in fact legitimate; the guys are guilty.  I have scientific, statistical proof. 

CARLSON:  Oh, so in general, so it must be true. 

MURPHY:  And No. 2, you give zero value to the fact that police, prosecutors, forensic experts and the grand jury all vetted this case.  And that‘s not good enough for you.  You better move to another country. 

CARLSON:  You know what you have, Wendy?  You have feminism.  I have facts.  You have feminist theory.  And I think facts win over feminist theory.

MURPHY:  I have common sense.  You might want to borrow some some night, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Good lucky, Wendy.  Were you really a prosecutor?  Is that honestly true?

MURPHY:  Of course I was a prosecutor. 

CARLSON:  I may move to another country, but Wendy Murphy, in the meantime, I‘m glad you‘re here.  Thanks for joining us. 

MURPHY:  You bet. 

CARLSON:  And now a complete change of pace: the winner of “American Idol.”  But first, as a service to our West Coast viewers and those of you who may have missed tonight‘s show and maybe TiVo‘d it, here‘s our patented SITUATION spoiler alert.  Turn away if you don‘t want to know that the winner is—drum roll please—Taylor Hicks. 

Well, my next guest says the competition isn‘t over yet.  Even “Idol” losers like Katharine McPhee could have a hit record.  So who is headed for stardom and who is fated to be a pop culture footnote?  The Refrigerator Perry of “American Idol”?

Joining me now, an expert on all things “Idol”, Brian Hiatt, associate editor for “Rolling Stone”.  He joins us tonight from New York.

Brian, thanks for coming on. 

BRIAN HIATT, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “ROLLING STONE”:  Thanks for having me.

CARLSON:  So which one of these people, the winner or the loser, is going to be more successful commercially, do you think?

HIATT:  Well, preface that by saying I‘ll try to have no feminism in this answer. 

CARLSON:  I‘d appreciate that. 

HIATT:  But you know, I think that there‘s two contests.  Right?  There‘s the contest that everyone watches on “American Idol”, and then because these people are supposed to go out and become recording artists, the contest in record stores and on iTunes and everywhere else. 

CARLSON:  Right.

HIATT:  So we‘ll see.  I mean, I think Katharine McPhee fits a lot better into existing format.  I think it‘s going to be—I like Taylor better but, you know, I wouldn‘t want to have the challenge of figuring out how you make a record by this guy that fits in today‘s pop market. 

CARLSON:  What‘s interesting, this is, of course, a democratic process, or at least that‘s the way it‘s advertised.  These people are chosen by the public.

HIATT:  Sure.

CARLSON:  And yet, in the end, those who are not chosen by the public turn out in some cases to be more popular in the eyes of the public.  It‘s kind of weird. 

HIATT:  It is weird.  I mean, the only example so far that someone has actually turned out to be more popular than the winner is Clay Aiken. 

CARLSON:  Right.

HIATT:  But that‘s a big example; he‘s a big star.  You know, not my -

I‘m not a big fan personally.  But...

CARLSON:  Sure you are. 

HIATT:  No, not so much.  But yes, I mean, that‘s an example.  And also, we‘ve seen that other runners-up, not even No. 2, even further down, have had at least successful careers. 

CARLSON:  So you‘ve covered this stuff for a long time.  I‘m interested in the mechanics of it.  What specifically happens now?  How do these people, the winner and the runner-up, go from, you know, this show on to recording careers?  Are they contacted by agents?  Is that set up by the show?

HIATT:  Well, you know, the deal is that it‘s actually all hooked up into Arista J Records.  There‘s a deal to put them out through a specific record company.  So they‘re both going to go on and make records for this record company. 

And then it‘s going to be a matter of who‘s comes out first.  That‘s always an issue.  You don‘t want the runner-up to come out before the winner.  You don‘t want them coming out the same week.  So that‘s all automatic and it‘s all built in.  In fact this record company, which is part of the Sony/BMG conglomerate, has the option—first option to sign all the semifinalists.  So they could sign all 10 if they want.

CARLSON:  Interesting.  You said a second ago that you thought that Katharine McPhee fit into format—I think that was the word you used—formats better than Mr. Hicks, the winner.  What do you mean by that? 

HIATT:  Well, you know, Katharine McPhee, she‘s a very pretty woman who sings ballads very nicely.  That‘s something that people understand, you know.  That‘s something that‘s very clear.  And that‘s something that‘s a pop format. 

Taylor Hicks does sort of like a blues, soul singer.  He used to play

used to go around and play blues festivals.  That‘s great, but how do you get that onto pop radio, which is what “American Idol” is supposed to be about?  And I don‘t know what the answer is to that. 

CARLSON:  That‘s an excellent point.  It‘s not—I mean, it is hard to see that on the top 40 charts.  Is Katharine McPhee, do you think—could she reach a Kelly Clarkson level here?

HIATT:  I‘m not—based on—it‘s hard to say, because I wouldn‘t have said about Kelly Clarkson, just based on the first season, that she would have reached this Kelly Clarkson level. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

HIATT:  You know, she—she has blossomed.  I mean, I will say I think now that she‘s very—I always thought she‘s a good singer but now I think she‘s actually really talented. 

Katharine McPhee, I don‘t think her depth of talent goes as far as Kelly Clarkson.  But we‘ll see.  I think she‘s more of a pretty face.  We‘ll see, though. 

CARLSON:  To be—I mean, to be completely vulgar about it, what kind of numbers are we looking at?  What could these two make?

HIATT:  What could they make?  I mean, you know, I mean, I think they‘re going to be set—I think they‘re going to be set for quite awhile, you know.  You‘re talking about, regardless of the record contract, which I think is somewhere around $1 million, which doesn‘t mean they get $1 million, you know,  But that‘s—but they‘ll get—they‘re going to get a substantial amount of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars, from if not recording contract, from touring, from endorsements.  They can do all sorts of things.  So they‘ll be just fine. 

CARLSON:  I‘ve got to do that show.  Brian Hiatt from “Rolling Stone”. 

Thanks a lot, Brian.

HIATT:  Thanks for having me.

CARLSON:  Still to come, is Oprah Winfrey really, quote, “a human angel of light who has revolutionized the entire world”?  Think of that for a minute.  A member of a movement trying to get the talk show host a Nobel Peace Prize say yes, she is.  I know she‘s got good ratings, but are we ready to compare her to Mother Teresa?  Maybe we are.  More on that in a minute.

Plus, the story we first brought you last night.  Why are voters in Arizona being wooed by a $1 million lottery?  We‘ll ask the man behind that idea when THE SITUATION comes back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still ahead, John McCain latches out at opponents of illegal immigration.  Who did he target specifically?  We‘ll tell you.

Plus, yet another appalling idea from Hillary Clinton.  Be afraid; be very afraid.  But stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Now, who wants to be a millionaire voter?  For Arizona, voting could turn it into a lot toe voting.  It is intended to increase voter turnout.  But since when is paying voters the American way? 

Good question.  Dr. Mark Osterloh, an ophthalmologist and past political candidate, is sponsoring the measure in Arizona.  He joins us tonight from Tucson.

Dr. Osterloh, thanks for coming on.

OSTERLOH:  It‘s a pleasure.

CARLSON:  So why should we pay people to vote?

OSTERLOH:  Because our voter turnout in this country is abysmal and has been getting worse.  And I figured the thing to do is let‘s use capitalism, that it worked in every other field in our country.  Let‘s use it to get people to the polls.  Let‘s make an incentive to be there so they‘ll want to actually go and vote. 

CARLSON:  It seems to me the system is working pretty well.  I mean, we have a government chosen by people who care enough to get up and go to the polls.  People who presumably—it‘s a self-selected group, people who know enough and care enough to vote.  Isn‘t that the group you want choosing your government?

OSTERLOH:  No, I want our government to represent everybody.  There‘s no such thing as a bad voter.  We want 100 percent voter participation. 

But a lot of these aren‘t voting because they‘re fed up with the system.  They know they‘ve got bought and paid-for politicians.  They realize that whatever happens, things don‘t change.  Something like this would have a huge increase in voter turnout, and then they would start having people that would represent them. 

CARLSON:  Wait.  Wait a second.

OSTERLOH:  We just need to get them to the polls. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  First of all, there‘s of course such a thing as a bad voter.  A voter who doesn‘t know what he‘s voting for is a bad voter. 

OSTERLOH:   No.  No, I disagree. 

CARLSON:  Well, how does that work?

OSTERLOH:  I totally disagree.

CARLSON:  If voting is so important, presumably you want people that know what they‘re doing. 

OSTERLOH:  What does it say?  It‘s government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  That‘s all the people. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

OSTERLOH:  Anybody should vote.  There‘s no I.Q. test.  We don‘t want to have these things, well, you‘re not a good voter because you... 

CARLSON:  Why not just do it at random then?  Why don‘t just—I don‘t know.  Why not just have it like the function on your iPod? 

OSTERLOH:  Everybody that votes will have a chance to randomly win $1 million. 

CARLSON:  Why not just pick a candidate randomly?  It doesn‘t matter if you know what you‘re voting for, as you just said, it doesn‘t matter as long as you‘re a warm body pressing a button.  That‘s democracy at work.  Then why not cut out the middleman and just, like, choose the candidate with a computer program that picks them randomly?

OSTERLOH:  No.  That‘s a different issue.  That‘s confusing the issue. 

CARLSON:  Well, look, don‘t you think, since lotteries are ridiculous

I mean, truly, a lottery is a tax on the foolish.  I mean, you‘re not going to win the lottery.  Isn‘t this exactly the thing that kind of gimmick that draws exactly the kind of people who you don‘t want voting?  I mean, do you...

OSTERLOH:  No. 

CARLSON:  How about this.  Wouldn‘t it be easier just to give away malt liquor?  Why not just give out, you know, 40 ounces of Old English 800?  Wouldn‘t that just be easier, if you‘re...?

OSTERLOH:  No.  We want everybody to vote.  This is all about true representative government and true democracy.  That means everybody is voting.  And when everybody is voting the government will represent everybody.

Right now only maybe half of the people register, and of those only half of them vote.  So maybe one out of four people is voting right now.  In Australia if you don‘t vote it‘s a $20 fine; 95 percent of the people in Australia vote. 

CARLSON:  That‘s true.

OSTERLOH:  Then there‘s health care. 

CARLSON:  Well, in North Korea—if you don‘t vote in North Korea, I mean, they shoot you.  Now that‘s an effective system. 

OSTERLOH:  I know, but we can‘t do that here. 

CARLSON:  Why not?

OSTERLOH:  We can‘t force people to vote.  Because it‘s a free-speech issue.  But what we can do instead of using their stick we can use a carrot.  We can encourage people to vote.

CARLSON:  Look, I wonder.  I wonder, will you tell—I know we‘re on TV, but let‘s tell the truth here.  Sixty-three million people voted for “American Idol”.  OK.  Why did they do it?  Not because they were going to win the lotto.  They didn‘t get anything for it.  It cost them money.  They did it because they are interested. 

People don‘t vote because they‘re not interested, not because some high—you know, high-sounding reason, they‘re fed up with the system.  It‘s they can‘t want to be bothered.  So let‘s just be honest about that.

OSTERLOH:  Now they will be—now they will be bothered.  It is a good incentive to get them to the polls.  All we want to do is get them to the polls.  There‘s huge amounts of money being spent right now in these get out the vote efforts, and it hasn‘t worked.  We can get almost everybody to the polls for a $1 million possible winning of a prize, and all that money we save can go into educating those voters so you will have educated voters. 

CARLSON:  I‘m for the malt liquor option, but that‘s just me.  Dr.

Osterloh, thanks for joining us. 

OSTERLOH:  If you want to do it. 

CARLSON:  Malt liquor.  Well, maybe we can make that next time. 

Thanks for coming on. 

Still to come, speaking of voting, presidential hopeful John McCain comes out swinging against some of the more vocal opponents of illegal immigration.  We‘ll tell you which television and radio hosts he believes are, quote, fueling the problem of bias against illegal aliens. 

Plus, Jeb Bush and Condi Rice may soon be battling it out for an office of distinction.  It‘s not all that she might be thinking of, though.  We‘ll you what it is when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

The Senate is poised to pass an immigration bill tomorrow.  But the hard work has just begun.  The House version of that bill is in some ways much tougher on illegal aliens.  But apparently, not as tough as some in the media have been. 

In a recent closed-door meeting with some of New York‘s wealthiest, most influential political donors, Senator John McCain of Arizona accused broadcasters like Russ Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs at CNN and Michael Savidge of fueling the immigration problem.  And he warned Americans not to, quote, ghettoize immigrants. 

Here to talk about what‘s really going on in the immigration debate, Air America radio host Rachel Maddow.

Rachel, welcome.

RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  The key to this and I like John McCain, as I‘ve said many times.  But the key to this is the audience.  He‘s talking to rich people.  And rich people of both parties support illegal immigration, because they benefit from it is the bottom line. 

I think this and again, I say this as a fan of John McCain, since it‘s an outrageous thing to say.  That nativist elements in the broadcast media are, quote, helping to fuel the problem of illegal immigration.  The problem of illegal immigration is fueled by the government of Mexico, among -- and by employers in the United States, big business in the United States.  Why do we always blame the press, bipartisan problem, for what, you know, the governments are doing, basically?

MADDOW:  What he reportedly said was that the right-wing figures in the media are ghettoizing immigrants and that creates problems like they have problems in France, for example, when immigrants are ghettoized and that‘s fueling it. 

But I totally agree with John McCain on this.  I think that this is a media-manufactured crisis.  And not very much has changed empirically about illegal immigration and immigration generally in the last few years.  But the Republicans and the right-wing media types, and you are part of this, have decided to run with this issue because it‘s good for ratings on TV and it‘s good for some elements of the Republican Party in politics. 

CARLSON:  I will say, I‘m not sure it‘s good for ratings.  It is recently.  It hasn‘t been always good for ratings.  We were doing this story back when producers were saying this is a boring topic.  Why are we doing this?

And I‘m doing it because I think it‘s the most important issue facing America.  Period.  I can say that with a clean conscience.  I did this a year ago.  I did it a year and a half ago.  I did speeches about it.  It‘s been bothering me for a long time.  I grew up on the border.  I‘m doing it, I promise, for reasons that are pure.  I believe it.  That‘s why I‘m doing it.

MADDOW:  What happens in this country is this is a constant in American politics.  In the 1890s and in the 1930s and in the 1980s, what happens is people decide to make an issue of illegal immigration.  Not because of what‘s actually happening on the ground, but when it‘s politically useful.  And the people who are pounding their chest about this for a long time and nobody was paying attention to were people like the Minutemen and Tom Tancredo, who are really seen as very fringe figures unless this became a mainstream political issue by virtue of right-wing figures in the media. 

CARLSON:  By virtue...

MADDOW:  And now these guys are mainstream.

CARLSON:   Actually, that‘s totally untrue.  The polls show, and I‘ve looked at them for more than a year and a half, that the average person, not rich people, not liberals in New York, the average people in the red states in this country totally opposed to illegal immigration. 

MADDOW:  Yes, very recently because it‘s been made a huge issue in the media. 

CARLSON:  That‘s—it‘s actually exactly the opposite.  Mainstream radio ignores the subject.  Talk radio has been on this for a long time, as you know.  But the average person has been mad about it for good reason for a long time. 

MADDOW:  I completely disagree.  I talk to a lot of average people. 

CARLSON:  It‘s actually provable, check the polls.  Truly you can. 

Check it out.

OK.  Onto an issue I‘m not exactly sure what I think of.  It‘s this.  The executive branch of the government, the FBI, the Justice Department, goes up to Bill Jefferson, a congressman, Democrat from Louisiana, goes to his office and searches it on Capitol Hill. 

He‘s been apparently caught on tape getting a bribe of $100,000 apparently.  OK?

I kind of like him; he has been on the show.  But he‘s obviously in deep trouble.  Republicans raised an outcry on, it seems to me principled grounds.  They‘re saying, look, separation of powers suggests this is wrong for the executive branch to be coming up here and getting into our business on Capitol Hill.  Good for the Republicans for once for standing up on principal on this. 

MADDOW:  It is an astounding political development.  I mean, this presidency, if you care about separation of powers, if you care about the power of Congress, this presidency has done more to erode the power of Congress and the separation of powers than any other modern presidency. 

And the Republicans who are supposedly conservatives, have completely gone along with this until the issue the issue that is the final straw.  The one thing that‘s really going to get them upset, which is the possibility that their offices will be raided. 

CARLSON:  It‘s actually a pretty good reason.  The thing is, you never saw—a lot of liberals hated Clinton because he was not very liberal, actually.  He was a New Democrat.  They never said anything.  They all fell in line like, you know, the good party people they were in the end and sucked it up, never said boo in public.  And I‘m just glad to see the Republicans for once and finally standing up on principle to a member of their own party even though he‘s in power. 

MADDOW:  But it‘s hugely embarrassing that this is the issue they decided to take their stand on.  I mean, you look at like the signing statement thing, Bush takes away their ability to override a presidential veto.  It is a central thing that Congress can do.  Bush has never vetoed anything and signs these signing statements that and say, “I‘m not going to follow the law anyway, but I‘m not going to veto it either.”  So Congress cannot override a signing statement. 

He took away a fundamental function of what Congress does.  Not a peep from a single Republican on that. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

MADDOW:  But when it comes to the possibility that their offices will be raided, they are upset and they ought to be. 

CARLSON:  Well, good.  At least they‘re taking a stand.  But I must say, if a Democrat wins in 2008, you will see Democrats behave like the good, little obedient robots they always are and say nothing for the whole time, no matter what that person does, ever. 

MADDOW:  Maybe.  But right now the Republicans, this is a strange issue for them. 

CARLSON:  Good, good.  I am glad they‘re standing up.  At least it‘s something.  Rachel Maddow, thank you. 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come why is Hillary Clinton telling you how fast to drive on the highway?  When are politicians going to stop lecturing the rest of us about saving gas and start saving some themselves by stop flying in private planes?  There‘s a start. 

Plus, Mother Teresa got it.  So did Nelson Mandela.  Should Oprah Winfrey be the next recipient of the Nobel Peace Price?  You‘ll meet a man on a mission to make that happen.  He joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Up next, she hadn‘t mediating international conflicts or rid the world of nuclear weapons, but does Oprah Winfrey still deserve the Nobel Peace Price?  Plus, word is out, a member of the first family considers joining the NFL.  We‘ll tell you who we‘re talking about, but first, here is what else is going on in the world tonight first.

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hello, I‘m Milissa Rehberger and here is what is happening.  Iraq‘s new prime minister tells NBC News in his first interview the country‘s security forces should be able to take over from the coalition troops in 18 months.  He says after that, American troops can play a supporting role.  He spoke on a day when 18 Iraqis and one more U.S. soldier were killed by bombings and drive by shootings in Iraq.

A Pakistani immigrant faces up to life in prison after being convicted in New York of plotting to blow up one of the city‘s busiest subway stations.  That‘s the one in Herald Square.

Prosecutors say the plot was in retaliation for Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse in Iraq.

And after months of delays a delta rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral carrying the first in a new generation of weather satellites into orbit.  The satellite will allow forecasters to better pinpoint hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe storms.  But we are told it probably will not be in use for another two years.  Now back to THE SITUATION.

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  I have nothing against Oprah Winfrey.  She seems like a fine person, does some good things with her money.  Although that Legends Ball with John Travolta crying was just about too much to bear.  I am not sure that Oprah deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

There is a pretty big, pretty serious group out there, though, that disagrees with me.  The Oprah Winfrey for Nobel Peace Price Fan Club is now collecting signatures.  It‘s even petitioned former President Jimmy Carter to help get Oprah the award this year.

Rocky Twyman is the founder of that group and joins us now from Washington to explain why Oprah deserves the Nobel Peace Price.  Mr. Twyman, welcome.

ROCKY TWYMAN, WANTS OPRAH WINFREY TO WIN NOBEL PEACE PRIZE:  How are you, Tucker?  I love your show.  I love your fire and your enthusiasm.

CARLSON:  Thank you.  Should I get the Nobel Peace Prize?

TWYMAN:  I don‘t know.

CARLSON:  I don‘t meet the bar.  Why should Oprah?  Tell me why should Oprah get the Nobel Peace Prize?

TWYMAN:  I just want to say that God inspired me to start this movement.  We think she has raised the awareness about the serious issues of homeless, hunger, poverty and AIDS and women‘s rights.  Not only has she raised these issues, these are the issues that separate the haves from the have nots and hinder peace in the world.  And she not only talks about the issues, but she encourages the world to donate their time and also, to donate their money to alleviate the problems.  And we just want to give her a shot at it.

CARLSON:  Again, I am not attacking Oprah and I certainly respect her ratings.  Here is how you describe her to give our audience some sense of your feelings about Oprah Winfrey.  You describe her as quote, “A human angel of light who revolutionized the entire world.”  That suggests almost that she is a god-like figure.

TWYMAN:  I don‘t think she is God, but I think she is close to God.  And I think that she realizes that God has really, truly blessed her, because this is what inspired me to start this movement at this dinner I went to.  She got up and praised God for her every breath and then she proceeded to donate some money to children whose parents are incarcerated.  This is a spiritual movement I would say, Tucker.

CARLSON:  It sure sounds it.  Now I think some of the viewers who heard you compare her to God and say she is like God may not be aware .

TWMAN:  I am not saying she is God.  I am saying .

CARLSON:  She is like God?

TWYMAN:  I am not saying she is like God.  I am saying that she is someone that God placed here on this earth to enlighten us to the importance of helping others in the troubling times.

CARLSON:  So she‘s like an emissary from God.  She is like an Old Testament prophet but with higher ratings.  Let me just give you some sense—I will give the viewers a sense of the fact that you‘re not unique in this.  You are, of course, the founder of the Oprah Winfrey for Nobel Peace Prize Fan Club.  On your steering committee, your board you have someone from Young Adults for Oprah Winfrey for Nobel Peace Prize Movement, someone from the Church Musicians for Oprah Winfrey for Nobel Peace Price Movement, someone from Youth for Oprah, Entertainers for Oprah.  There are a lot of para-Oprah groups.  Do you have a convention every year?  Do you come together with other Oprah supporters?

TWYMAN:  We all come together under one umbrella.  And the movement has just spread and I just got back from Morocco and there was a movement over there, the Madonna of the Arab world, Hayfa (ph) that endorsed Oprah for the Nobel Peace Prize.  And I see this as a means of possibly bringing about world peace.  Because the entertainment world and the arts world transcends the political world.

And we are trying to bring some of the Arab artists over here to do a fundraiser for the Katrina victims.  The Oprah‘s Angel Network and vice versa.  We want to take some of our American artists over to the Middle Eastern countries to help with some of the problems that they have there, to do a big benefit concert, that is all in the making.

CARLSON:  Interesting.  I thought it was just a television show, I didn‘t realize it was so close to a church.  But I appreciate your telling us more about it.  Rocky Twyman, thanks very much.  And good luck.

TWYMAN:  Please have everybody go to our Web site.  Oprah-number 4-peaceprize.org.

CARLSON:  Our viewers have been there many times.

You are talking to an audience that is steeped in Oprahology.  So yeah, they know where it is.

TWYMAN:  I want you to sign up too, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Maybe I will.

TWYMAN:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Fittingly we turn now to a man who won last year‘s Nobel Prize for fantasy baseball.  It‘s the “Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host, Max Kellerman.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Yeah.  I never gave up on Contreras, that is why.  Tucker, I am all for this Oprah thing.  I‘m serious.  She is a good person.  She does good works.  And every time I turn around my wife is watching the show.  She is happy that Oprah is helping somebody.  And Arafat won for crying out loud.

CARLSON:  And so did Rigoberto Menchu and a whole host of other phoneys.

She is a lot better than some of the creeps who have won it in the past.  I am not attacking Oprah—that is against the law, as you know.  But I just had no idea that the movement was so, what‘s the word, vehement.

But OK.  On to the stories of the day.  It is hard to keep track, Max, of Hillary Clinton‘s pet issues from day-to-day and even harder to find out where she comes down on them.  Today, it is the national speed limit.  Senator Clinton told the National Press Club that quote, “most of the country should be required to return to a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit.”  She said the lower speed would help conserve gas.  Clinton declared, quote, “People will accept it, we ought to do it.”

Well, senator, I won‘t accept it and we ought not to do it.  Max Keller man is your guy on this.  He loves it.  Look, Max, the idea is to save fuel.  Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, flies in private planes every week, why?  Because she has places to go and has to be there, unlike the rest of us who have boring quotidian lives of getting home to our family and children and Little League games and parent‘s night at the school.  We can wait in traffic driving 55 and Mrs. Clinton can hop on her jet and burn thousands of gallons of fuel because she is a U.S. senator.  Buzz off.

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t get Hillary Clinton.  She is such a smart, educated person and says dumb things from time to time like this.  You do get it because it is political.  But look, 55 speed limit and this is coming from a guy who just had to appear in traffic court the other day.

A 55 speed limit is a very good idea, but it has nothing to do with conserving fuel.  You want to solve an energy crisis, her husband had good ideas.  Incentivize for carmakers to invest in alternative energy sources making the cars run.  But driving slower?  No.  The reason you drive 55 is because it saves thousands of lives every year when you do.  That is the reason.

CARLSON:  I mean there is no doubt that is right.  Driving fast however improves the lives of people who survive, and that‘s the majority there is a counter case for a higher speed limit.  Getting home has value, a lot of value for those of us want to be home more than at work.

KELLERMAN:  Why don‘t make the leftmost lane the autobahn lane, you can go as fast as you want.  And the other two lanes could be slower.

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more but just contemplate really quickly the arrogance of someone who flies in private jets lecturing you about how you are driving too fast and wasting too much fuel.  It‘s actually mind boggling.

KELLERMAN:  Ponder the arrogance of someone who talks about Made in America, buy America, buy American and drives around in German luxury cars.  Pat Buchanan.  Come on, politicians do it all the time.

CARLSON:  I don‘t have to like it and I don‘t.

Well it is pretty clear that Jeb Bush will not be the next president of the United States.  Some people are suggesting he settle for the second most powerful position in this country, the commissioner of the National Football League.

The NFL recently approached the Florida governor about his interest in replacing Paul Tagliabue who is stepping down in July.  Today Bush said he was flattered but would not consider any offer until the term was up next January.

Would Jeb Bush make a good NFL commissioner?  Of course he would.  He is smart and much more impressive than his brother.  Max can‘t stand to see another Bush in power it will probably going to be someone attached to the administration.  Word is Michael Powell a former FCC Commissioner, I just heard a minute ago and I believe it to be true, is also under consideration for this.  I think that Jeb Bush is the most impressive candidate I can think of.  He actually really is an impressive guy.  Anyone who talked to him about vouch for that.

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, you have representation in the entertainment business.  What is it always about?  What is the argument that carries the day in every entertainment discussion among agents and these kind of people?  It is always brand.  Branding, branding.

CARLSON:  Yes, right.

KELLERMAN:  You could be losing a negotiation but as soon as you say brand they say perfect, that is it.  Brand.

The NFL brand is the number one brand in the world in entertainment.  Forget sports.  It is the most powerful, successful brand.  Do you really want to associate it with Bush right now?  Probably the least-popular brand in the world?  Is that really a great idea for the thriving league?

CARLSON:  That is actually a very compelling argument.  In other words, not on the merits, Jeb Bush might be the best administrator the NFL ever had.  He might be the smartest person or most charming diplomat to have that position.  But just as a matter of public relations you think it is a bad idea?

KELLERMAN:  That, one, and two, I don‘t want to see the Saudi royal family awarded the next franchise NFL.  I think enough Bush family friends have gotten rich.  If you look at the Texas Rangers, enough family friends have gotten rich off it.  Enough already.

That was a cheap shot.

CARLSON:  It is so cheap and so unfair, and yet I have to say it amused the hell out of me.

KELLERMAN:  I‘m playing devil‘s advocate.

CARLSON:  You win.  That is pretty good.  Max Kellerman, thank you, Max.

Still ahead on THE SITUATION tonight, conventional wisdom, Ronald Reagan, Fran Drescher and Gary Coleman have nothing at all in common, but we will tell you why they are practically family in tonight‘s top five.

Plus the ugly feud between Howard Stern and former employer is over for now.  Who got the last laugh in this game of public name calling?  We will tell you.

Don‘t forget, we will be listening to the call tomorrows night.  If you have something you have to get off your chest, desperate to talk to someone?  Call us and leave a message.  The number 1-800- -- that‘s not right, 1-877-TCARLSON.  You might hear yourself on television.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRAN DRESCHER, ACTRESS:  I don‘t know if I am coming or going.  You give me mixed messages.  You act like you want me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of course I want you.  You are a very sexy, beautiful woman.

DRESCHER:  Now would be a good time to end this argument.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  TV‘s nanny, Fran Drescher may be preparing for a new role, one that might be staged in Washington not Hollywood.  Drescher tells Howard Stern she would like to become a senator or congresswoman from the State of New York.  No word yet on her party affiliation though she is an outspoken opponent of the Bush administration.

Drescher is a strong opponent of government TV censorship and she has lobbied Congress for health initiatives.  Of course, Drescher is not the first entertainer to consider a run for office.  In tonight‘s top five, we press the flesh with other celebrities who have been inspired to take their act to the political stage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  They say politics make for strange bedfellows.  But that old adage is perhaps never truer than when showbiz people decide to toss their hats into the ring.  TV fans will remember this tyke from the ‘80s sitcom “Diff‘rent Strokes” may have thought, “What you talkin‘ bout, Gary?” when he announced candidacy for California governor in 2003.

GARY COLEMAN, ACTOR:  You will see some real change, vote for me.

CARLSON:  Coleman‘s run was supposed to be merely a satirical statement about left-coast politics.

JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST:  Welcome to California, now a division of Ringling Brothers ladies and gentlemen.

CARLSON:  But some people didn‘t get the joke apparently.  Gary actually received more than 14,000 votes.

He was once the target of Cher‘s comedic slings and arrows.

SONNY BONO, DECEASED ENTERTAINER AND CONGRESSMAN:  I am blessed with a nice wife and also I‘m blessed with a wonderful singing voice.

CHER, ENTERTAINER:  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

CARLSON:  But Sonny Bono wasn‘t joking around when in 1988 he decided to switch from Hollywood sidekick to Palm Springs‘ leading man.  His successful stint as mayor propelled Bono to a seat in Congress six years later.

Tragically, Congressman Bono‘s impressive final act was cut short by a skiing accident in 1998.

As Jesse “the Body” Ventura, he was used to tossing his weight around the ring, but Jesse‘s main event came in 1998 when he tossed his hat into the political ring.  Despite winning the title of Minnesota governor, Ventura was outmatched as he wrestled with critics and opponents in this new arena.  Jesse threw in the towel after just one term.

As a Hollywood action star, few could outmuscle are Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

But three years ago he opted to terminate his film career .

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR AND GOVERNOR:  Hasta la vista, baby.

CARLSON:  For the real life role of California governor.  Life in

Sacramento, though has not exactly been a blockbuster.  Still, Arnold vows

SCHWARZENENGGER:  I‘ll be back.

CARLSON:  In 2008.

His is the quintessential American tale.  A remarkable rags to riches story about a life guard turned broadcaster, turned actor.  After monkeying around in Hollywood for 30 years, Ronald Reagan was cast as California governor in 1966.  And then 15 years later as the 40th president of the United States.

RONALD REAGAN, ACTOR AND PRESIDENT:  We can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.

CARLSON:  Talk about the role of a lifetime.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (on camera):  Coming up tonight, Katharine McPhee may not be the new “American Idol” but she has already been offered a major endorsement deal.  We will tell you who is throwing cash at the runner up when we come back.

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

The good is a settlement in the ongoing feud between Howard Stern and his former employer, CBS.  CBS filed a ludicrous suit against Stern in February claiming he used the last year on the station to promote the upcoming move to Sirius Satellite Radio.  Stern signed a five year, $500 million deal with Sirius, and Stern and the CBS chief Les Moonves had a very public, very ugly feud.

The two sides have now settled for an as-yet undisclosed amount.  Let‘s hope Stern won.

The bad is this horrific video shot from a dash cam of a police car in Michigan.  It shows an SUV being run off the road by another car and flipping across the highway many times.  The woman in the car suffered injuries, but did survive the spectacular wreck.  The hit-and-run culprit got away.

The ugly, the behavior of a St. Louis middle school teacher arrested after showing up at school drunk, asking a student to go get more cognac from his car, fondling another student and making sexual remarks to yet another student.  Sterling Johnson was charged with assault and disturbing the peace.  Experts say the incident could potentially hurt his chances of getting tenure.  Doubtless the union will be fighting for him anyway.  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.”  Guess who is here?  That‘s right.  Willie Geist.

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER:  Sorry to disappoint you, everybody.  It‘s just me.  Tonight, was a big night on “American Idol.”  Very dramatic that moment when they announced the winner.

But we‘ve been getting a lot of email requesting—If you didn‘t see last night, perhaps the biggest “American Idol” moment came on this show last night.  This moment right here.

CARLSON:  Yeah.

GEIST:  That was it.

CARLSON:  That is so mean.  I can‘t believe how mean we are.

GEIST:  We have been flooded with emails from viewers who wanted to see it again.  They wanted to see it slower.  I think they did.

CARLSON:  They wanted to see it slower?

GEIST:  They did.  But I don‘t think they‘re going to - there it is.

Look at him fight it, fight it, fight it, and the battle is lost, there it is.

That is enough.  William Hung.  He was a great guest and we appreciate him coming on.

CARLSON:  He is a good guy.

GEIST:  And a good sport.

CARLSON:  A spokesman for Jack in the Box, by the way.

Katharine McPhee may not have won “American Idol” tonight but the news is not all bad for her.  Kentucky Fried Chicken has offered McPhee a $10,000 a contact to write a jingle and star in a new commercial.

In addition to the 10 grand she will receive a year supply of KFC‘s Famous Bowls, which is some kind of new potato and gravy thing they‘ve concocted to cut your life expectancy down by a few years.

GEIST:  Sounds delicious.  Is it me or a long way down from the winner to second place?  You are the biggest star in the world tonight or $10,000 and some mashed potatoes from KFC.  Ten grand.  In the real world that is a lot of money.  Once you bring your agent and taxes .

CARLSON:  Your agent, your lawyer .

GEIST:  You are making like $2,000 off that.

CARLSON:  You‘re eating your KFC by the end.

GEIST:  Right, exactly.  For free it turns out.

CARLSON:  Don‘t take it, Katharine.

You and I know that bikes don‘t fly.  But why spoil the fun for these Lithuanians in their flying bikes competition?  There were 36 different futile but creative attempts to make the bicycle fly at the annual contest today.  One bike was dressed up today as a beer mug and another as an ice cream truck.  Competitors traveled down a ramp and plunged off a 20 foot high platform into the lake below.

GEIST:  That looks like fun.  It seems to me it‘s a lot of work to immediately—you build this huge float just to put it immediately at the bottom of the lake.  Nobody asked me, but maybe they should throw a little parade beforehand.

CARLSON:  That‘s the beauty, Willie, it‘s like sushi.  Hours going into preparing it and then it‘s consumed thoughtlessly.  It‘s ephemeral.  Its beauty is in its transience.

GEIST:  Wow, you‘ve given this a lot of thought.

CARLSON:  I ought to be an English professor.

GEIST:  You should be at the flying bike competition next year.  Be the keynote speaker or something.

CARLSON:  I bet they‘d love me.

GEIST:  I bet they would.

CARLSON:  Nothing brings a family together quick like an evening of betting the ponies at the race track.  The Colorado Horse and Dog Racing industry knows better than anyone, it has started offering free admission to kids.  That‘s right.  Round up the children and bring the whole family on down to the dog track.  One racing official says quote, “the fan base is aging and declining and so we have got to attract new people.”

GEIST:  Wow.  They should have child services experts at the turnstyles and take the kids as they come through and turn them right back around.  This is kind of fun, you and your old man at the track bettin‘ on the trifecta, losing dad‘s paycheck.

It‘s a good night out.

CARLSON:  I am not necessarily against it, because it kind of has a gritty, hard-boiled quality to it, but the dog track?

GEIST:  The dog track.

CARLSON:  The dog track—That is, you know, we make a lot of fun of crystal meth, on this show.  That is sub.  That‘s below.

GEIST:  The dog track has been a good punch line for me.

CARLSON:  I found myself at a dog track once in South Florida once when I was in college.  Drunk at the dog track and I lost.

GEIST:  Oh no.  Was that rock bottom?

CARLSON:  For me it was rock bottom.

GEIST:  You know what else is rock bottom?  This right here.

CARLSON:  Not again.

GEIST:  Sorry.

CARLSON:  That is so .

GEIST:  Can I just say for the record, God bless you, William Hung, in more ways than one.

CARLSON:  If there is a cable TV hell, Willie, you are going.

GEIST:  I am going.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  I‘ll wait for you.

CARLSON:  See you there.  That‘s it for us tonight.  Thanks for watching. 

See you back here tomorrow.  Have a great night.

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

END   

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

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