updated 6/15/2006 11:57:15 AM ET 2006-06-15T15:57:15

Guests: Steven Hadley, Charlie Melancon, Joshua Denhalter, Melody Damoyo, Peter Wallstein

RITA CROSBY, HOST, “LIVE AND DIRECT”:  And that does it for me on “LIVE AND DIRECT” tonight, everybody.  I‘m Rita Cosby.  THE SITUATION with another hot hunk, Tucker Carlson, starts right now—Tucker. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  You flatter me, Rita.  And I like it.  Thanks, Rita.

Thanks to you at home for tuning in.  We‘re in Washington tonight. 

Good to have you with us. 

Coming up, FEMA fraud in the wake of Katrina.  More than a billion of your tax dollars wasted on things like “Girls Gone Wild” videos, Dom Perignon, football tickets, a Caribbean vacation, even a sex change.  You paid for it all.  We‘ll talk to a lawmaker who says FEMA is to blame.  But what about the criminals who stole your money?  Will they be held to account, too?  We‘ll find out. 

Also ahead, is a California high school silencing a student because of his political views?  The school allowed rallies for illegal immigration but prevented him speaking out against it.  We‘ll talk to that student in just a minute.

Plus, not only is World Cup soccer boring; it‘s evil.  Just the first step toward one world government.  We‘ll explain later.

But first, tonight, President Bush held a news conference earlier today fresh off of his whirlwind trip to Baghdad.  He insisted, and not for the first time, that a standard of no violence in Iraq is an impossible standard to meet. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  If people say, “Well, there‘s got to be no violence in order for there—this to be a successful experience,” then that‘s not going to happen.  All that does is give the power, you know, to a handful of murderers to determine success.  Obviously, we would like violence to go down.  And that‘s what the operation in Baghdad is intending to do, starting in the capital, is to reduce violence. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  But if Baghdad itself is so dangerous that the president of the U.S. has to fly in secretly, not even telling the prime minister, can that country ever reasonably be secure?  Well, earlier today, I talked to White House national security advisor Steven Hadley about that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Mr. Hadley, thanks for joining us.

STEVEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR:  Nice to be here.

CARLSON:  It‘s been reported that the prime minister of Iraq was not aware that President Bush was coming to Baghdad until about five minutes before he arrived.  It doesn‘t sound like we trust the new government of Iraq very much. 

HADLEY:  No, we certainly trust the new government of Iraq, but as you know, it‘s a difficult security situation right now.  And of course the president of the United States is what we would call a high value target in Iraq.

CARLSON:  Yes.

HADLEY:  So you know, look, whenever the president travels, whether it‘s at home or abroad, security measures are taken that seem appropriate, given the security threat.  And obviously, as I say, he‘s a high value target for al Qaeda and other terrorist elements, and an effort was made to ensure a small group of people were involved in the planning so that we would have no concerns about security. 

CARLSON:  But these measures seem, even by those standards, extraordinary.  I mean, the prime minister of Iraq, as I said, not knowing until five minutes beforehand, the press corps being told not to tell their spouses, the White House lying about the president‘s schedule the following day, some cabinet secretaries not finding out about this and the senior White House staff. 

I mean, it does seem like the United States is unable to secure Baghdad even sufficient for the president to come with people knowing about it.  What does that say about Iraq?

HADLEY:  Well, we were, of course, able to secure Baghdad, and these measures are not too different than what was done, for example, when he went to Baghdad before.  But obviously, as you‘ve reported, there‘s a security challenge in Baghdad. 

And one of the interesting things about this new unity government is that they have set security as a top priority.  And they‘ve set security in Baghdad as a top priority.  And just today, as you know, an operation commenced with Iraq forces in the lead to try and begin the process of enhancing security in Baghdad and restoring confidence to the people living in Baghdad that the security situation is in hand. 

This is a priority for the new Iraqi government.  It‘s something that the president talked to the new prime minister about and something, obviously, we will give full support to. 

CARLSON:  Is there any indication that foreign companies are beginning to believe Baghdad or Iraq is a country safe enough to start investing in?

HADLEY:  Well, we‘ll see.  One of the things that the new government has done is begun to lay out their plan going forward.  As you know, it involves security and reconciliation.  It involves enhancing the economic life of Iraq, constructing new infrastructure but also engaging the international community in these efforts. 

And there is going to be an effort to come up with what‘s called an international compact for Iraq, very much like done with Afghanistan, where the Iraqi government will come forward with their program, the international community will embrace it, hopefully help to fund it. 

And I think you‘ll find a lot of countries that will be interested in having their companies involved in Iraq.  Because Iraq is a company with a bright future: able people, oil resources.  And I think you‘re going to see that a number of companies are going to want to—to participate in this opportunity. 

CARLSON:  Do you know that specifically?  I mean, do you have companies in mind that have said they‘re planning on investing in Iraq, say, in the next 12 months? 

HADLEY:  Well, at this point, of course, we haven‘t seen the plan by the new Iraqi government.  And when they begin...

CARLSON:  Well, but you don‘t need a plan from the Iraqi government. 

I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

HADLEY:  ... I think we will see that in terms of the...

CARLSON:  If it‘s a country with a bright future, then I mean, different companies around the world are going to recognize that and want to get in on the ground floor.  Is there any indication any have, any at all at this point?

HADLEY:  There have been companies that have been on the ground.  Obviously, security is a situation.  Some of those countries—companies have left; some of those have not. 

The new government has made a priority getting control of the security situation.  As they make progress on that, of course, it will be even more attractive to companies to come in.  There‘s a lot of interest, for example, in investments in the oil sector.  There‘s an enormous infrastructure challenge there. 

So, look, we‘re going to have to see how it comes out.  A lot will depend on the plan of the new government, the progress they make on security.  But there‘s obviously a real opportunity there, and we will encourage countries to try and support the Iraqis as they make this effort. 

CARLSON:  The president has said recently and over the past three years that the United States will stay in Iraq as long as it needs to, to help the fledgling Iraqi government become strong and operate on its own. 

Is there a concern, though, in Washington that the new Iraqi government will want U.S. forces to leave before the job is done?

HADLEY:  No.  It‘s interesting.  What we—what the president said is we want to help the new Iraqi government govern itself, defend itself, sustain itself and be an ally on the war on terror.  That‘s clearly the agenda of this new government. 

And what the president heard from really all sectors of the population was not “is America going to leave,” but just the opposite, a concern that America would leave and draw down forces too soon before the instruments of this new government were able to take responsibility for the security situation, able to take responsibility for defending the country.  That‘s something they want to do, but they know they need our help.  They‘ve asked for our help, and their concern is that we stay—that we continue to support them until they‘re ready to do the job. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Stephen Hadley, thanks very much for joining us. 

HADLEY:  Thanks very much. 

CARLSON:  Now to the FEMA fraud outrage.  More than a billion dollars that was supposed to be spent on relief for Katrina evacuees eventually went for “Girls Gone Wild” videos, Dom Perignon champagne, season tickets to the New Orleans Saints, a Caribbean vacation, a sex change.  There was, to put it mildly, significant fraud.  The question is who‘s to blame?

My next guest says, quote, “I‘m outraged that FEMA allowed such rampant fraud.”  But is it FEMA entirely at fault?  What about the people who defrauded the agency?  Joining me now from Washington, Representative Charlie Melancon of Louisiana.

Congressman, thanks for coming on.

REP. CHARLIE MELANCON (D), LOUISIANA:  Thank you.  Good to be here.

CARLSON:  How could this happen?  I mean, why wouldn‘t—a lot of these apparently fraudulent claims were filed from addresses that don‘t exist.  How could no one have noticed this was happening?

MELANCON:  Well, obviously there was no oversight, you know, from the Congress, from the administration in FEMA.  There was no safeguards, obviously.  They just sent these cards out for the expenses, living expenses, the credit cards that they sent out, debit cards or whatever they were.  Nobody checked anything. 

And this was not just a Louisiana thing.  I mean, there were people all over the country.  There was a guy in prison that got his living expenses. 

CARLSON:  I think there were a number of people in prison. 

Isn‘t this exactly what you wanted?  Isn‘t this exact the fault of members of Congress, who demanded that FEMA respond instantly and waste no time in getting aid to the gulf region.  We knew at the time that there were no checks or balances involved.  People were just getting debit cars with cash on them.  We knew that.

MELANCON:  There may have been some people that said that.  All we wanted was the response to the disaster.  I don‘t think that I‘ve ever said anywhere that we needed to be getting money out to people.  We needed to try and get them housed, get them sheltered and get some semblance of order so that we could start back into the process, whatever the process was going to be at the time. 

CARLSON:  Right, but I mean, you know this better than anyone.  You know, your district was affected so profoundly by this.  People—everyone was saying—we did shows on it from down there.  I remember it really well.  People were saying, “Look, knock off the bureaucracy, no red tape, just send us aid.”

Nobody at the time cared one bit about checking to find out if the people receiving this aid were deserving.  I remember it really well.  Do you wish, in retrospect, someone had piped up?

MELANCON:  To be perfectly honest with you, when I heard about the debit cards that were going out, that‘s the first I heard of it, the day that they started giving them to people at the Astrodome. 

CARLSON:  Right.

MELANCON:  So to tell you that I was out there saying that‘s what you should do, I think what people were saying in Congress was, you know, that you have to start taking some actions.  But you don‘t take actions without oversight.  You don‘t take actions without some checks and balances.  I mean, I don‘t care whether it‘s a business or it‘s government. 

This is an organization that‘s supposed to be prepared for disaster and obviously was nowhere close to being prepared.

CARLSON:  Right.

MELANCON:  Why would anybody want five season tickets to the Saints

team?   I don‘t know. 

                CARLSON:  But isn‘t this inevitable?  That‘s what I mean.  You know a

lot about Washington, and presumably you know a lot about human       nature. 

When you—when you pass out free stuff to people or you promise that you‘re going to, you‘re going to get a lot of shysters coming up, looking to rip off the federal government.  And if the government, you know, is providing checks and balances on the flip side, it will take six months to get aid to anybody.  So you know, is there—is there a way to turn out money without fraud?

MELANCON:  Well, that‘s a question that oversight brings, and the problem we‘ve got is that we have not had oversight in the Congress for a number of years.  So to know what was going to happen with FEMA, once we what that disaster, there wasn‘t any oversight to ask the questions of what are you doing to prepare, what are you going to do for these people should they have—now, they did the Hurricane Pam scenario and a lot of the things that they found wrong when they did Hurricane Pam, they screwed them up again when the hurricane hit, when the real one came. 

CARLSON:  So what‘s going to happen to these people?  I mean, some of these, presumably, are your constituents.  I mean, the guy who took federal funds for a sex change, the guy who blew federal money on “Girls Gone Wild” are they going to jail?

MELANCON:  You keep saying it‘s a guy.  Are you sure it‘s a guy?

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  Who knows what he is now, or she?  But are they in trouble?  I mean they ought to be in trouble, should they not?

MELANCON:  Yes, I think they all ought to be in trouble.  I had a friend of mine‘s daughter that lives out in southwest Louisiana, and after Rita because she had submitted for the $2,358. 

And when sent them the information I gave it to my staff, and they tracked it down.  And then, when my staff came back with it, they said, “Well, you know, she answered the questions honestly.  She didn‘t qualify.” 

And of course, the friend‘s daughter says some of these people I know got the same check.  They didn‘t do anything different from me.  Their houses were in the neighborhood, et cetera, et cetera. 

And I told my friend, I said, “Well, you tell your daughter that the good news is that she‘s not going to ever go to jail.  The bad news is that some of her friends may have a problem in the future. 

CARLSON:  I hope they do.

MELANCON:  The system—Tucker, the system is always going to be scammed or gamed by somebody.  I mean you had a guy from North Carolina, you had people in prison.

CARLSON:  Of course.

MELANCON:  It‘s not just—it‘s not just Louisianans that scam...

CARLSON:  I‘m not blaming Louisiana. 

MELANCON:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  I just hope that they—no, I mean, everyone loves Louisiana.  Me especially.  I just hope the people who stole from the taxpayer are going to be held to account, and I fear they won‘t be. 

But I hope, Congressman, you‘re on the case.

MELANCON:  I hope that our government not only finds them but prosecutes every last one of them. 

CARLSON:  Thank you, Congressman.

MELANCON:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Charlie Melancon, from Louisiana.  Thanks.

MELANCON:  Thanks.

CARLSON:  Still to come, are you ready for a new direction for America?  Whatever that means.  Democrats hope you are.  They unveiled an amazingly dull and ineffective plan earlier today.  We‘ll tell you all about it after the break.

Plus high prices didn‘t cause this would-be thief to lose her shirt at a Kansas City convenience store.  A quick thinking clerk foils a thick-headed robber.  It‘s an old story, and we tell it again tonight.  We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, I‘ll tell you why World Cup soccer is part of a diabolical plot to undermine the American way of life.

Plus, is acting in adult films good practice for the governorship of Nevada?  We‘ll ask former porn star Mimi Miyagi when THE SITUATION comes back.

CARLSON:  Well, welcome back. 

Overshadowed somewhat by the president‘s news conference this morning, the Democratic Party came out with a new platform of sorts today.  A, quote, “new direction for America.”  It contains ideas about energy independence, health care, stem cell research, college tuition deductibility as well as the minimum wage.  Does not say a lot about the war in Iraq though, which raises the question, is it enough to win back Congress and the White House?

Joining me to answer that question among others, MSNBC contributor Flavia Colgan, joining us tonight from Burbank.

Flavia, welcome.

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  This is pathetic, Flavia.  There are a lot of smart Democrats.  I know some.  I‘ve lived next to a lot of them.  This does not do them justice.  I have here essentially the summary, this is the ad version of the new Democratic position.

“A new direction for America,” it says, make health care more affordable, lower gas prices, cut college costs, help working families, ensure dignified retirement, require fiscal responsibility.  This is kind of inoffensive.  Nothing about the single most important issue of this generation, this era, the war in Iraq.  Nothing about foreign policy, nothing about immigration.  What the hell is this?

COLGAN:  Well, no, and we‘ve talked about this many times.  And I think that it‘s a very big problem.  I mean, in the exact same news cycle you had here we are so united and then the dust-up between Kerry and Hillary over the weekend, presenting completely different views on the position on Iraq, which I think is the most important issue facing this nation.  But before I start...

CARLSON:  Hold on.  Let me just clarify and say that John Kerry, whatever his many thoughts, actually has a position on Iraq.  I mean, he‘s taken a position.  I don‘t even know what Hillary says. 

COLGAN:  Exactly right.  And it was very difficult to decipher what Hillary‘s position was in this past speech. 

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  A hundred of the House members have supported Murtha‘s plan, but at least a very detailed plan to get us out of what is now sectarian strife and civil war. 

CARLSON:  OK.  And—and...

COLGAN:  But before they pile on in terms of what this plan doesn‘t say. 

CARLSON:  Hold on.  The new NBC—Hold on.  Let me give you a background for our viewers here.  The new NBC poll out, I think, to, show that Iraq is the single most important issue, according to voters, that will decide their vote for Congress.  Fifty-three percent site Iraq that‘s far and away the most important issue. 

Can you even pretend to run for anything if you don‘t have a real position on Iraq?

COLGAN:  Well, this, of course—they did say that this was mostly their domestic agenda, and I do think that it‘s very important to have a national message. 

I mean, despite the bungles from the Republicans on Katrina and Iraq, the list could go on and on.  It could fill up a show.  The numbers still show that people aren‘t particularly upset with their individual congress people on the ground, a local election.

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  But again, like I said, I‘ve been remiss for some time at the cacophony that is the Democratic Party.  Certainly, the most disjointed of those is their voice on the Iraq war, which is very important. 

But I‘ve been calling for quite some time for them to have a positive vision.  It‘s not just enough to run against something.  This is a very hopeful country where people are very hopeful.  And I think that it really shows something about the Democratic Party that they‘re at least starting and coming out and saying here‘s what we want to do in terms of accountability, as far as pay as you go.  Here‘s what we want to do in terms of increasing the minimum wage.

CARLSON:  Give me a break. 

COLGAN:  No, Tucker.  No, let me...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You know what that is—I‘ve been in Washington a long time.  I know what that is.  That‘s the result of focus grouping.  Focus grouping, trial testing. 

What about immigration?  I mean, don‘t we have a moral obligation to tell us where they think the important issues ought to go? 

COLGAN:  Tucker, hold on one moment, because we‘ll get to the particulars.  But I want to just talk about priorities for one moment.  Because look at what the Democrats—the Republicans have done the last two weeks. 

First they debated a bill, an amendment playing politics with the most

sacred document this country has, the Constitution, that they knew would go

nowhere.  Now they‘re talking about flag burning when there‘s 12 flag

burnings reported last year.  And the, you know, crusading atheists that

are worried about—that are going to take, you know, “under God” out of -

that is what the Republicans have done in tough times. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Of course, look, I‘m not defending...

COLGAN:  Scare tactics, red herrings.  Compared to that, that says so much about the parties...

CARLSON:  I‘m not—OK, Flavia, slow down.  I‘m not defending the Republicans.

COLGAN:  Yes, but you‘re piling on.  I mean, what about offering solutions?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  What I‘m saying—we‘re almost out of time, so let me just

let me say very clearly saying...

COLGAN:  And a positive vision?

CARLSON:  ... and it‘s this.  The Republicans are about as popular as venereal disease.  This is the moment you can beat them if you‘re a Democrat.  You can‘t beat something with nothing, however.  You will lose to the unpopular candidate unless you articulate a separate and more popular vision of where you want to take this country. 

And they failed in that.  They still have time, but time is running out.  It‘s time to get their act together and tell us what they think about Iraq.  If they do, they can win.  If they don‘t, they won‘t.  That‘s all I‘m saying.

COLGAN:  I think—I think—I agree with you and I think that unity and vision equals conviction in the eyes of the voters.  And they will have to put out a very detailed plan on their vision for how to take America forward. 

I think that this plan does start in the direction of economic and bread and butter issues.  I think it also addresses accountability in terms of the deficit.  It also addresses energy independence and rolling back the huge billion dollars of tax incentives to big oil companies.  It talks about CAFE standards.  I think that there are a lot of issues that are addressed.

CARLSON:  All right.

COLGAN:  Yes, I‘m as concerned as you are that the issue that I think is on the minds of most Americans, with 2,500 casualties, and a trillion dollar war.

CARLSON:  Of course.

COLGAN:  The Democratic Party needs to come up with a plan to change course. 

CARLSON:  Of course.  Twenty years from now, that laundry list you just listed, you know, people won‘t remember that.  They‘ll remember Iraq.  It‘s time to come out and just, you know, get a spine, get a backbone.  I hope they do.  I‘m not voting for them, but just for—I don‘t know, just for America, you know, tell us what you think. 

Flavia Colgan, thanks for telling us what you think, appreciate it. 

COLGAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  A student sues his California school district for the right to hold an on campus anti-immigration rally.  We‘ll ask Joshua Denhalter about the details of his lawsuit after the break. 

Plus, new revelations about the family court judge wounded by a sniper in Reno.  The nationwide manhunt for the gunman continues tonight.  But did Chuck Weller have a long list of other enemies?  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Tonight‘s “Under the Radar” segment comes to us from Jurupa, California.  That‘s where high school senior Joshua Denhalter tried to counter several pro-immigration rallies in Riverside County with his own anti-illegal immigration rally, but he was denied. 

His school suspended him for handing out flyers about the planned rally and told him he couldn‘t wear a T-shirt with a slogan they thought was anti-illegal immigration. 

Here to explain why he wants an apology and $25,000 from the Jurupa Unified School District, Joshua Denhalter.  He joins us tonight from Santa Ana, California. 

Joshua, thanks for coming on. 

JOSHUA DENHALTER, SUING SCHOOL:  Yes.  My pleasure. 

CARLSON:  So as I understand it there were pro-illegal immigration rallies at your school.  Is that right?

DENHALTER:  Correct. 

CARLSON:  Were they big?

DENHALTER:  Yes, they were pretty big.  Our school is a large percentage of Latinos, and most of them were there. 

CARLSON:  So did the school suspend everyone who attended those?

DENHALTER:  Actually, no.  They allowed them to go, and they excused them from class to go to the rally.

CARLSON:  They excused them from class?  They officially said, “You can leave class and go protect on behalf of illegal immigration?

DENHALTER:  The one they had on the school campus.

CARLSON:  And so you responded by trying to your own rally?  Is that right?

DENHALTER:  Correct.

CARLSON:  And what happened then?

DENHALTER:  They told me I need to make an agenda in order for me to do that.  And so I made an agenda, and they denied it.  And after that I started passing out flyers before school started to advocate my rally, and they took them away and told me to stop passing them out.  And I refused, and I was suspended. 

CARLSON:  That‘s disgusting.  So they allowed one rally that comported with their political—they agreed with one rally so they allowed it.  They disagreed with your political point of view, so they suspended you for trying to hold a counter rally?  That‘s correct?

DENHALTER:  That is correct. 

CARLSON:  Now, you were wearing a T-shirt that they said had an offensive anti-illegal immigration slogan on it.  What did the shirt say?

DENHALTER:  It had a picture of Uncle Sam.  And it said, “Illegal aliens, we don‘t want you.”  And it kind of resembled the same poster that the military used to use back in the ‘50s, that said we want you. 

CARLSON:  Yes, their recruiting poster.

DENHALTER:  Right. 

CARLSON:  And you wore this to school, and did the teacher come up to you?

DENHALTER:  I was in the office talking to my counselor, and my counselor told me that I needed to either turn it out and I said I really didn‘t want to do that.  So they told me not to wear it again. 

CARLSON:  On what grounds?  I mean on what—I mean, on what grounds would they tell you that?  Did they say it was offensive to illegal immigrants?  What was the rationale?

DENHALTER:  They said it was distasteful to the illegal aliens we had on campus. 

CARLSON:  That‘s disgusting.  So what did you do next?

DENHALTER:  That was actually a week ago, and that was actually after my lawsuit was filed.  So—but after my protest that I had back in March, I went to the school board to try to get Mehta (ph) removed from schools.  And they haven‘t acted on it yet. 

CARLSON:  Does anyone at the school support you?  Has any member of the faculty come up and said, you know, good for you for having your own opinions about things?

DENHALTER:  I don‘t know if the faculty‘s come out and said that they supported me.  I‘ve heard from other students that their teachers played, like, my sessions when I was on the radio in class and said that they supported it.  But no faculty members have actually come up to me and said they supported it. 

CARLSON:  They‘re probably afraid to.  Where does your lawsuit stand right now?

DENHALTER:  I think it‘s in good terms.  We got a good lawyer and we got a strong case. 

CARLSON:  I wish you luck.  You‘re going off to join the Marine Corps in two weeks?

DENHALTER:  Yes, I leave June 26. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Joshua Denhalter, thanks a lot.

DENHALTER:  All right.  Thank you.

CARLSON:  I think you‘ve done a good thing.  I‘m impressed.

Still to come, you‘ve heard of the camera adding 10 pounds, and trust me, it‘s true.  But this nanny is convinced it subtracts a few seconds.  She‘s suing the camera maker for making it look like she‘s violently shaking this baby.  Should the company pay up? 

Plus, what do Angelina Jolie, Michael J. Fox and Elmo the stuffed puppet have in common?  The answer, of course, in tonight‘s “Top Five.”  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Up next, is your cafeteria kosher?  Does your company sponsor bible studies?  Then why should businesses and public facilities, ones you pay for, bend over backwards to make some Muslim women feel comfortable?  Interesting question.

Plus, Mary Carey (ph) made a valiant effort in California.  Now, another porn star wants dibs on the governor‘s mansion, this time in Nevada.  Hear about Mimi Miyagi‘s platform.  We‘ll have her here.  But first, here‘s what else is going on in the world tonight.

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Hi, everyone.  I‘m Milissa Rehberger and here is what‘s happening.  Iraq‘s government began a major security crackdown in Baghdad.  It includes massive searches, a weapons ban and an extended curfew.  Iraqi officials say it will involve 75,000 Iraqi and U.S.  forces.  Violence has dropped in Baghdad since the crackdown began however a car bomb exploded today, killing four people.

The wife of a Tennessee minister accused of fatally shooting her husband in their home in March pleaded not guilty today to first degree murder.  Mary Winkler also asked to be released on bond.  She has been held since she and her three young daughters were spotted by police in Alabama a day after her husband was found dead.  Authorities say she has confessed to the killing but they have not been given a motive.

And a hospital spokesman says 10-month-old conjoined twins have been successfully separated after a day long operation at Children‘s Hospital in L.A.  The twins were attached from the chest to the pelvis.  The girls had separate hearts and lungs but shared other organs.  Now back to THE SITUATION.

CARLSON:  We turn now to a man who unsuccessfully tried to get the day off to observe Flag Day.  We waived his contract in front of him, though, so he is here.

He is “The Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Those pesky contracts, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thank you, Max.  Glad we were able to reel you in on that one.

Here‘s a question.  How far should we go to respect the religious beliefs of people in this country?  Muslim women here are asking that the rest of us go pretty far.  Among the recent changes made to accommodate Muslim women, those who believe in a certain specific part of Islam, anyway.  A public pool in Seattle has set aside a swim time when men, including life guards are not allowed.  A fitness center in Michigan created a women-only workout area that is walled off from the co-ed section so that men cannot watch the women exercise.

So should businesses be forced to change so that one small religious group is accommodated?  Of course not.

Don‘t impose your religion on me and I won‘t impose mine on you.  Max, I know you have been agitating for an atheist weight room in your gym for years now, unsuccessfully.

Look, the problem—This is obviously just the very beginning of an assault backed, I‘m sure, by pro bono lawyers at some point very soon to break down the wall between church and state on behalf of the observant Muslims.  And it‘s happening in Europe and I think we should stop it before it flowers any more in this country.

KELLERMAN:  I agree with you, but here‘s the devils advocate position.  You say separation of church and state.  Where does this come from, the establish clause, First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Right?  So people usually interpret that or have come to interpret it, the courts have as separation of church and state.  But for religious stuff like this, you can actually use it.

A Muslim group might go to the state that you are enacting a law that is prohibiting the exercise of our religion.  Now, legally, the argument fails because the courts have upheld states rights so long as the intention of the state is not to prohibit the exercise of the religion.

Clearly, in this case these are not laws in place now, or rules in place now to prohibit Muslims but there is another—there‘s another argument, Tucker, kind of a common sense, let‘s all be reasonable and get along argument.  There are all kinds of laws in this country for Christians.  All kind of laws.  So for instance you don‘t get mail or don‘t go to school on Sunday or Christmas or Easter.  All kinds of laws like that.  You can‘t sell liquor on Sundays, blue laws .

CARLSON:  In some states.  But those are essentially secular laws.  I don‘t think people don‘t think that Sunday is a holy day.  And not just Christianity .

KELLERMAN:  What about Christmas?  I have to go to school on all kinds of Jewish religious holidays.

CARLSON:  Actually, you don‘t have to, but the school doesn‘t close on those days.  That‘s an excellent point.  Two very quick points.  One, a ton of Muslims have been here a long time.  Get along, good Americans, no problem.  The people who are demanding this by and large are members of a sect of Islam, people who with interpret the Koran in a very specific way.  This is not all Muslims.

And for another, again, this is just the very beginning.  This is going to be a story we are going to be reading about day in and day out very soon.

KELLERMAN:  And like all religions, Jewish, Christian, Islam, it‘s always the same where the really literalist fanatics try to co-opt the religion from normal people and turn it into stuff like this.

CARLSON:  But you are not seeing fundamental Christians or Jews committing acts of terror, at least in the year 2006.  But that‘s a different conversation.

The rest of the world, speaking of religion, is swept up in the World Cup soccer hysteria this month.  The U.S. is bravely fighting off an evil international campaign to impose that wholly un-American sport on our fair country.  The U.S. team laid a major egg in its first World Cup game against the Czech Republic on Monday re-enforce that Americans are not meant to play soccer.  Not born to play, not good at playing.  Thank God, hopefully never will be.

The rest of the world, meanwhile, has tried to guilt us into liking soccer by telling us it‘s the most popular game on earth.  The game‘s popularity is rising with the kids in the U.S.  That is simply a failure of good parent.

We have resisted the metric system, we should likewise resist soccer.  Max, I know you consider soccer a national pastime but you‘re wrong.  It‘s collectivist, it‘s anti-American, it‘s fundamentally Belgian sport and the rest of us ought to stand up and fight it off.

KELLERMAN:  I‘m not going to argue that point, certainly.  Finally we‘re discussing something of real importance here.

CARLSON:  Yes!

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, the rest of the world wants Americans to like soccer not because they‘re against this country but because they actually believe it‘s entertaining and the reason they believe it‘s entertaining because in most of the rest of the world there‘s very, very little competition for the entertainment dollar, they don‘t have the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball in the rest of the world and so they actually think this stuff is entertaining.

CARLSON:  You‘re totally right.  These are countries that have the paint drying network.  There‘s not a lot else going on.  The problem I have with soccer.  Look, there are people who play soccer and enjoy it, apparently even in this country.  But the point is the argument for soccer is, the, hey, all the other kids are doing it argument.  If I jump off a bridge would you follow me?

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, we have basketball.  Let me just quickly explain.  Basketball is to soccer as human beings are to chimpanzees or the monkeys from which we descended.  From whom we descended.

The thing is soccer is played on a 100-yard field.  So you can only play it outdoors and it‘s a lot of running around, very little scoring.  Basketball, they said who needs to be running up and down?  We‘ll shorten the field, we‘ll take away the goalie so people can score.  You know these opposable thumbs that separate us from most of the animal kingdom?  Instead of saying we‘re not allowed to use them, we‘re saying you have to use them.

In every way, they have evolved soccer into something that‘s actually entertaining, it‘s the NBA, it‘s basketball and the finals are going on right now.  Incidentally, the only reason there‘s a spike in soccer popularity right now is that every four years there‘s the World Cup.  I think it‘s four years.  Eight years, two years, I don‘t know.  Every once in a while the World Cup comes around, everybody gets all excited, when that‘s over it will thankfully go away and we don‘t go to deal with it anymore.

CARLSON:  And also a lot of the good shows, with the exception of this one, are now in reruns.  So there‘s nothing else to do.

KELLERMAN:  That‘s it.

CARLSON:  Max Kellerman.  Boy, you made a better argument than I could have.  I‘m impressed.  Thank you, Max.

KELLERMAN:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Singer Cher is lending her voice on behalf of our troops in Iraq. 

Cher was in Washington today promoting a group called Operation Helmet.  Its stated goal is to provide better headgear for American soldiers, upgraded helmets the Pentagon says it can‘t afford.  Cher says that is shocking, her enlistment in the operation marks another entry in the ever growing list of celebrity-inspired causes, some of them more annoying than others.

Tonight‘s top five features a cast of other famous crusaders who flex star muscles to flash a spotlight on some of the world‘s most fashionable problems.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  Sure they look glamorous in the Hollywood spotlight, but crusading stars rarely shine as brightly when they take their acts from the glamour capital to the nation‘s capital.

He may not have a pulse, but “Sesame Street‘s” favorite furry friend does have a cause.  Elmo donned a black suit as he appeared before a congressional committee in 2002 begging Congress for higher spending on school music programs.

Oscar winning actress Angelina Jolie often puts her glamorous life on hold as he tours poverty stricken refugee camps around the world.  She hopes her trips to Cambodia, the Middle East and Africa will alert Congress to a growing life or death crisis.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS:  Millions of people around the world are displaced from their homes.

CARLSON:  Few health scares compare in scope to the deadly AIDS epidemic.  But then few congressional crusades pack as much star power as the one led by Liz Taylor, Elton John and actor Paul Michael Glazer who lost his wife and daughter to the disease.

ELTON JOHN, SINGER:  I have made a commitment that the rest of my life I will do something for people with AIDS.

MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR:  Thank you for inviting me to testify today.

CARLSON:  Despite struggling with crippling health challenges, Michael J.  Fox and Christopher Reeve made the trek to Capitol Hill to deliver passionate pleas for stem cell research.

CHRISTOPHER REEVE, ACTOR:  No obstacle should stand in the way.

CALRSON:  Sadly Reeve did not live to see the potential benefits of such research.

His crusade on behalf of what he thinks will benefit the third world has earned musician Bono three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Now his crusade against hunger and genocide is getting a new boost of celebrity clout from Hollywood star George Clooney.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR:  I‘m not a legislator and I‘m not a politician, I just try to use the credit card that you get for being famous in the right instances whenever you can.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (on camera):  Coming up on THE SITUATION, from porn to politics, adult film star Melanie “Mimi” DeMeo (ph) helps to turn her fan base into a voting base as she runs for governor of Nevada.  We‘ll meet the candidate when THE SITUATION comes right back.  And don‘t forget, we‘ll be checking THE SITUATION VOICEMAIL tomorrow night.  You can call 1-877-TCARLSON.  Let us know what you‘re thinking.  You just might hear your call on the air.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  In tonight‘s SITUATION crime blotter, we learn that the shooting of a Reno, Nevada judge had launched a campaign to ruin that judge‘s career.  Judge Chuck Weller was shot in the chest by a sniper while sitting in his courthouse office on Monday.  He survived, thankfully.

A man named Darren Mack, who was reportedly upset about the way Weller handled his divorce case used the Internet to criticize and then threaten the judge.  Mack is also wanted for the murder of his wife.  She was killed on Monday, the same day Weller was shot.

A Florida nanny who spent more than two years in jail awaiting a trial on charges of child abuse is now suing the manufacturer of a hidden camera that appeared to show her shaking a five-month-old baby.

The charges against the woman were dropped in March after prosecutors agreed that the camera‘s images were distorted and unreliable.  Physicians found nothing wrong with the baby the nanny was alleged to have shaken.  The woman is suing for $15,000 in damages.

And a bungling thief loses her shirt during a robbery.  As you can see in the surveillance video, the woman tried to leap over the counter to grab some cash from the register.  But the convenience store clerk ripped her shirt off.  She ran away topless with three dollars.

The clerk got the cash back and the woman returned later to get her shirt.

We have had professional wrestlers, action heroes, downright criminals in our governor‘s mansions so why not a former porn star.  Melody “Mimi” Damoyo is an accomplished adult film actress.  She has starred in a long list of movies whose titles we cannot repeat here without receiving a fine from the FCC, but she is now a Republican candidate for governor in Nevada and she‘s quite serious about winning.

Melody joins us tonight from Las Vegas to tell us about her platform. 

Melody, welcome.

MELODY “MIMI” DAMOYO, FORMER PORN STAR & GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE:  Hi, Tucker, how are you doing?

CARLSON:  You look like a candidate.  I‘m doing great, thanks.  How did you decide to run for governor?

DAMOYO:  It was a decision because I‘m just a single mother concerned about the State of Nevada.  Las Vegas has been experiencing unparalleled growth over the past decade.  And yet no efforts have been made to enable the infrastructure or public services to meet the growing demands.

Las Vegas has one of the highest crime rates in the country.  Yet our

police force is woefully under staffed and our education level is at the

near bottom.  “Money” magazine actually stated us the 460th of the 500

metropolitan areas in the country.  When need to do something about it

CARLSON:  And your airport is bad in Las Vegas, would you do something about that?

DAMOYO:  That‘s another issue .

CARLSON:  Because you‘re winning me over bit by bit.  Before you answer that, tell me why you‘re a Republican.  I mean you don‘t normally think of porn stars as Republicans.  You may be changing that perception, but why Republican?

DAMOYO:  If you go back into history, in the 1840s, Republicans were for civil rights and for women‘s rights to vote.  We actually are the people that believed in abolishing slavery and civil rights.  And I‘m a minority, I‘m a woman, it only makes sense.  That‘s what I believe in.  I believe in individualism, I believe in free enterprise and economic prosperity and growth.

CARLSON:  Has the party embraced you in Nevada?

DAMOYO:  Oh, yes, I‘m actually way in the top of the Clark County Republican Web site.

CALRSON:  Do you think you‘re going to get any money from the national Republican Party?  Have you gone to Karl Rove?  Have you made the trip to Washington to make your case?

DAMOYO:  Not yet.  I‘m still waiting for my invitation to the White House. 

I would love to meet President Bush.

CARLSON:  President Bush.

Here‘s the problem, Mimi, you could win.  I mean have you thought about that?  Like what would happen?  You‘ve got a former mob lawyer as the mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman.  A great mayor by the way.  What would you do if you woke up on November 8 and you were in fact the governor of Nevada.  That would kind of blow your mind a little bit, wouldn‘t it?

DAMOYO:  It would be wonderful.  The first thing—definitely would be the initiative for the counter terrorism because I need to reverse federal policy allocating funds based on not just population, but it needs to account for tourism as well.

CARLSON:  Hmmm.  Now you know that if you actually do begin to pose a serious challenge to the Democrat in this race, he‘s going to take clips from some of your movies and run them in negative ads against you.  Do you think it‘s going to hurt?

DAMOYO:  I don‘t think so.  I hope it‘s as positive an experience for everybody as it was for me.  It‘s free enterprise.

CARLSON:  It‘s free enterprise.  But you wouldn‘t—Typically in a race like this, when it gets down and dirty, they cut these ads with a sinister-sounding voiceover, my opponent did this.  And it‘s kind of grainy and black and white.  But in your case, they would have full color footage of you doing what you do.  You wouldn‘t be bothered by that?

DAMOYO:  No, not at all, I have nothing to hide.  I am going to be the one politician that‘s coming out that is actually bare and honest at all times.  I have nothing left to hide so .

CARLSON:  Well, I guess that‘s true.  So how do voters receive you when you go to campaign events?

DAMOYO:  Oh, actually, I get a lot of looks and I have Democrats who protested during the Republican conventions, come over here, join us, why are you walking over there?  But it‘s in my heart because I believe in individual rights and equal justice and equality for us all.

CARLSON:  So you‘re going from a job where you make a pretty good amount of money to a job and adored by obsessive fans to a job where you‘ve got to stand up all day, nobody likes you and you don‘t get paid well.  I don‘t know if I wish victory on you.

DAMOYO:  Well, if it comes down to be down and dirty, it‘s something that I have done before.

CARLSON:  Well, good luck.

DAMOYO:  Thank you very much.

CARLSON:  Thanks for joining us tonight.

DAMOYO:  Thank you, I love you.

CARLSON:  I‘m not going to respond, but I appreciate it.

DAMOYO:  I‘m looking for a first man.

CARLSON:  All right.  Still ahead, President Bush calls a reporter out for wearing sunglasses at a press conference.  We‘ll tell you why that turned out to be a pretty embarrassing move for the president when THE SITUATION comes right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back, time for the “Cutting Room Floor.  We‘re here in the nation‘s capital.  Willie Geist, sadly at the children‘s table back at MSNBC headquarters.  Willie, everything under control?

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER:  Once again, Tucker, thanks for leaving me behind.

I have to say and this is not an indictment of you, but things are much more pleasant when you‘re not around.  Less whining, I find.

CARLSON:  But it‘s not an indictment of me.

GEIST:  People are just happier, I don‘t know why.  I can‘t put my finger on it.

CARLSON:  Must be a coincidence.

GEIST:  Right.

CARLSON:  Well, during his morning press conference on Iraq today, President Bush called on “L.A. Times” reporter Peter Wallsten.  Wallsten was wearing sunglasses at the outdoor event and Bush took the opportunity to poke a little fun at him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT:  Peter, you‘re going to ask that question with shades on?

PETER WALLSTEN, “L.A. TIMES”:  I can take them off.

BUSH:  I‘m interested in the shade look, seriously.

WALLSTEN:  I‘ll keep it then.

BUSH:  For the viewers there‘s no sun.

WALLSTEN:  I guess that depends on your perspective.

BUSH:  Touche.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Seemingly harmless except that Wallsten wears the sunglasses because he is legally blind.  Oops.  Wallsten says he was not offended because he has never told the president his genetic condition.  Bush later called him on his cell phone to apologize.

GEIST:  I‘m giving the president a pass on this one, Tucker.  He didn‘t know, you know what I mean.  It‘s not like the guy had a seeing eye dog with him or something.  But the one—it might be urban legend, you might no better than I, at the inauguration when President Bush allegedly waved hello to Stevie Wonder.  That is a sunglass situation that needs to be addressed.

CARLSON:  Not only is that not an urban legend, I played the tape on a former show on a former network where it actually happened Bush waving to Stevie.

GEIST:  So that is true.  That is a sunglasses gaffe.  I can‘t let that one go.

CARLSON:  That‘s just too great.

You know what they say, it‘s never too early to teach your kids how to ride livestock.  These kids are getting their first taste of what it‘s like to be in the rodeo at Nebraskaland Days, that states annual celebration.  They call this mutton busting where kids cling for dear life to a sheep as long as they can before getting tossed to the ground.

GEIST:  Two points here.  Number one, it doesn‘t get anymore depressing than a state fair.  Let‘s just put that out there.  Also the obvious point, those kids are not having fun.  I think they‘re being punished.  They talked back to their moms so their dads strapped them to a sheep.  Look at that, that‘ just a death ride right there.

CARLSON:  Oh!

It does look like something that takes place in Dubai or Qatar or somewhere in the Gulf region.  They have little Somalia children strapped to camels or something.  It‘s very primitive, I like it.

Well the trail on the hunt for Bigfoot has been fairly cold recently.  But a chilling new discovery might just break the case we have all been waiting for.  Locals in Deer River, Minnesota are convinced that the 15-inch footprints found near their quiet community belongs to Bigfoot itself.  One resident made a cast of those prints to conduct further research and to help the international dragnet to find that elusive beast.

GEIST:  You know, Tucker, it‘s been a lot of years, we still have not caught Bigfoot.  I have a wild theory I throw out when I get a few beers in me and people call me a nut job.  There may not be a Bigfoot.  And call me crazy, but I‘m going to say it out loud for the first time.

CARLSON:  You and I both know there is a beloved figure back at MSNBC headquarters, a friend to both of us that believes strongly in Bigfoot.

GEIST:  And I mean no disrespect.

CARLSON:  And for that reason I‘m defending the possibility that Bigfoot - Sasquatch, rather, does in fact exist.

GEIST:  I‘m just saying it‘s a possibility.  Consider it.

CARLSON:  Home Depot‘s slogan is “You can do it, we can help.”  In Massachusetts the motto ought to be amended to “You can do drugs, we can help you get them.”

A plumber discovered 40 pound of marijuana and three kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of $250,000 in a bathroom vanity he bought at Home Depot this week.  Another contractor found two 50 pound bricks of pot in the same cabinets.

Cops are investigating a drug smuggling operation.  Home Depot not believed to be involved.

GEIST:  To me, Tucker, that just speaks volumes about that vanity.  If it can hold 100 pounds of pots, imagine the toiletries it could hold, air dryers and hand towels.  Good work Home Depot.

CARLSON:  That‘s a lot of mouthwash.  Boy, that‘s a reason to shop at Home Depot.

GEIST:  I‘m there.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.  See you tomorrow.

GEIST:  See you.

CARLSON:  That‘s it for us tonight.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.  See you then.

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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