updated 8/1/2006 11:35:07 AM ET 2006-08-01T15:35:07

Guests: Harvey Levin, Ray Richmond, Arye Mekel, Katrina Szish

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show.  I‘m Tucker Carlson.

We begin with the latest scandal out of Hollywood.  Getting arrested for drunk driving is bad enough, but Mel Gibson found a way to make it much, much worse.  The Oscar winner reportedly launched into an X-rated tirade when he was pulled over by cops early Friday morning for driving more than 40 miles an hour over the speed limit on the Pacific Coast Highway.  Among the lowlights from the actor‘s booze-fueled rant, Gibson allegedly asked a deputy if he was Jewish and said, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” 

Well, upon sober reflection, Gibson apologized, saying, “I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed.”  But with suggestions of an attempted cover-up by the LAPD, the story is unlikely to end there. 

Joining me now with more, Harvey Levin.  He‘s the managing editor of TMZ.com.

Harvey, welcome.  Are we positive to ask the most obvious question, first, if this is true, this actually happened, that he said these things? 

HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM:  Yes.  I can tell you we have posted four pages of the deputy‘s report that—that ended up not making it into the report that the sheriffs wanted to file.  They sanitized this thing, but he writes it out line and verse.  And there‘s also an audiotape at the scene that has a lot of what happened, and then they also videotaped him at the station when they arrived. 

CARLSON:  Has a lot of what happened, does it have specifically the anti-Semitic comments? 

LEVIN:  I don‘t know the answer to that, whether that—that occurred while they were driving from the scene to the station. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Well, I mean, but that—I think you would agree, that is the essence of this.  A lot of people get picked up for DUI, a lot of people behave boorishly.  But blaming the Jews for all the wars in the world, I mean, that‘s—that‘s of a different order. 

LEVIN:  Yes.  I mean, there was a lot that was kind of memorable here.  He also, according to the deputy, tried to flee the scene.  And that is on tape.  And, you know, threatened the deputy and said, “Hey, I own Malibu.  I‘m going to f you.  I will spend all the money that I have to get you.”

So there was an awful lot that was said. 

CARLSON:  Well, OK, right.  But again, that‘s all pretty conventional.  I mean, if you‘ve ever been around anybody who is busted for drunk driving, people do stuff like that.  People don‘t tend to say the things about Jews that he said, though.  That strikes me as crazy. 

I mean, that‘s not just drunk and out of control, and that‘s the portion of this story that will be remembered forever, that will be in his obituary.  And that‘s why it seems to me it‘s so important to make certain that point can be verified, that specific part, the anti-Semitic part can be verified. 

And you think it can be?

LEVIN:  Well, yes.  I mean, I‘m just telling you that it‘s in that—in that deputy‘s report.  And obviously, we haven‘t heard Gibson deny that.  And that is the incendiary part.  And you would think if that weren‘t true, that would have been the headline in his press release over the weekend. 

CARLSON:  There‘s so many obvious questions.  First, I mean, do we have any idea why a man worth the money Mel Gibson is worth, would be driving drunk?  You know, why doesn‘t he have a driver? 

LEVIN:  Well, you k now, Malibu is kind of a weird town, Tucker.  I mean, there are a lot of people there, a lot of big stars.  You run into them at the grocery store, you run into them at McDonald‘s.  So it‘s kind of a laid-back town on many levels.

And yes, they do drive around.  I mean, they don‘t necessarily want an entourage with people everywhere they go.  And, you know, this is not the first time that Gibson has been pulled over. 

We found out that in the last three years, he was pulled over twice and let go.  And once was three years ago on that same stretch of highway, when a deputy felt he might be under the influence, but just didn‘t want the hassle and let him go. 

The second time was a year ago, and a deputy caught him speeding.  The deputy said—the deputy apparently walked up to the window and Gibson was on his cell phone and never got off his cell phone.  He was talking to somebody and almost was so cocky, he didn‘t want to be bothered, and the deputy just said, go, didn‘t ticket him. 

CARLSON:  Really?  That does not work for me, that technique.  That seems to make the police mad.

He mentioned in his response today, in his pretty abject apology for his behavior, he alluded to problems with alcohol.  I assume it was alcohol.  Do we know about that?  Does he have a history of alcoholism? 

LEVIN:  Well, not that we knew of.  And, you know, there was an awful lot revealing about that statement. 

You‘ve got to remember, too, that by the time Gibson issued that statement, we had already published our story and said there was an audiotape at the scene and a videotape at the station.  So, you know, it‘s pretty hard to kind of stonewall when you know that some of this stuff, if not most of it, is on tape. 

CARLSON:  If you just back up from this story a little bit, it suggests a man who is falling apart.  I mean, this is a guy who‘s been accused of anti-Semitism in the past from on, from my point of view, pretty flimsy grounds.  But he‘s been accused of it.  And here he goes and confronts it in the most blatant over-the-top way, saying to a perfect stranger, “Jews start all the wars in the world.”

That sounds like someone who is deranged to me.  And I mean that seriously.  Do we have any indication that he‘s been struggling with emotional or mental problems? 

LEVIN:  No, and, you know, I‘m not pretending to be Dr. Phil in this one. 

We‘re just reporting what happened.

CARLSON:  Right.

LEVIN:  And, you know, I can tell you this, it was said completely out of context.  It wasn‘t as if they kind of eased into the conversation.  He was on a rant—he was on a rant in the back of this car...

CARLSON:  By the way, how would you ease into that conversation? 

LEVIN:  You know, it just—it started out with f‘ing Jews, and then he said the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world, looked at the officer and said, “Are you a Jew?”  And the officer didn‘t respond. 

CARLSON:  I mean, I‘m not piling on here, I‘m being completely sincere.  That‘s demented.  I mean, that sounds like someone who‘s had a mental break, does it not?  I know you‘re not a shrink, but play one for a second.

I mean, that‘s not normal.  That doesn‘t happen a lot on the PCH in Malibu, does it? 

LEVIN:  Well, no.  And I‘ll give you another layer to this.

What I‘m told is that Mel Gibson, you know, he blew a .12, which is definitely drunk.  But I‘m told he was not like out-of-his-mind drunk in the sense that people, you know, almost have an out-of-body experience, that he wasn‘t really having that kind of, you know, break down, that he was kind of in control enough that he knew what he was doing, but was kind of unedited and going off.  And I guess it makes it a little more troublesome. 

CARLSON:  It certainly makes it a little bit more odd, a lot more odd.  I don‘t think I‘ve ever heard of anything like this before. 

Do we—has he ever said—he, of course, hotly denied the allegations a year and a half ago or so that he was an anti-Semite.  He had a lot of—a number of Jewish people on his staff come forward and vouch for him. 

Is he on record ever before saying anything overtly anti-Semitic?  You know, blaming Jews for wars and crackpot things like that?

LEVIN:  No.  I mean, I‘ve never heard that before.  And, you know, let me give you—you know, I‘m sorry for harping on it, because I‘ve done this today, but I called the lieutenant.  When I got wind of this, before I actually physically got the papers, I called the lieutenant at the station and I said, “I heard he said “f‘ing Jews” and that he—and I mentioned a couple other things. 

And she said to me, “No.”  She said, “I‘ve been here the whole day and, I mean, I never heard anything like that.”

Well, it turns out she totally had heard this, that the deputy dealt with her—the deputy who wrote the original report dealt with her, and she was one of the people who said take this stuff out.  So, for some reason, they didn‘t want this out and they were trying to hide it. 

CARLSON:  How do we know—I mean, that doesn‘t make—I mean, that kind of defies common sense.  Why would the Los Angeles Police Department, which presumably does not have a cut of Mel Gibson‘s future movies, risk the profound scandal that‘s going to result if that ever came to light, that they‘re trying to cover up his behavior?  Why would they do that? 

LEVIN:  Well, first of all, it‘s the LA County Sheriff‘s Department.

CARLSON:  OK.

LEVIN:  And Gibson has a history with them.  I mean, he did a public service announcement for them.  He‘s helped with charity events with the sheriff himself.  So he does have a history with them.

Now why did they do it?  You know, why did they let him go twice before? 

There are a lot of why‘s in Malibu. 

I mean, there are stars who really are treated a little bit differently, and part of the reason is because, you know, they really do have a lot of power and money.  And they can create a lot of grief for deputies who do arrest them or come down on them.  And Mel Gibson, in many ways—you know, Mel Gibson said to this deputy, “I own Malibu.”

You know, in some ways, Mel Gibson may be right, based on what we see here. 

CARLSON:  Boy.  It‘s just a different world, different from cable news, anyway.  We can‘t get away with that.

Harvey, thanks a lot for coming on. 

LEVIN:  My pleasure, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, Mel Gibson‘s behavior obviously crossed a line, but will it cost him his career? 

Joining me now, “The Hollywood Reporter‘s” Ray Richmond.  He joins us from Burbank, California.

Ray, welcome.

Will this cost him his career?

RAY RICHMOND, “THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER”:  Hi, Tucker.

This is—clearly, this is going to have an impact on his career.  I mean, you know, he‘s got—you can‘t say stuff like this, or allegedly stay stuff like this and have it just kind of bounce off.  But I think it‘s going to be a slight wound to his career, not a killer at all. 

I mean, this is—this is Mel Gibson.  He‘s a power monger.  He‘s got the love of the Christian community.  And, in fact, you know, generally, the American people will forgive just about anything if you apologize, and Hollywood will forgive just about anything if you‘re successful.  And I think that‘s what we‘re looking at here on both counts. 

CARLSON:  Well, just start at the beginning.  I mean, do people—is this accepted uncritically?  I mean, do people believe this?  This is such—as I was saying a minute ago to Harvey, this is such a confirmation of what people had accused him of in the first place, that it‘s especially shocking.  Do people just assume it‘s true? 

RICHMOND:  It is.  I think they probably do assume it‘s true. 

I agree with you, it‘s weird that it just came out with no context whatsoever, out of nowhere.  It‘s almost like—it almost sounds like something that could have been planted, you know, or ascribed to him without him actually saying it because of all “The Passion of the Christ” stuff that surrounded him when that came out. 

But the fact is, his father, Hutton Gibson, is a known Holocaust denier.  This is a guy who has had a swirl of anti-Semitic controversies surrounding him for a very long time.  So this is not—this is not necessarily new or news.  It‘s only the way it came out.

And also, if you talk to people who are experts on alcoholism, they will also probably tell you that these—when you drink excessively, thoughts don‘t automatically just simply spring into your her head.  They have to probably be there initially.

So the fact is that whether he‘s anti-Semitic or sexist or whatever that has been ascribed to him, it‘s going to matter less than the fact that he‘s going to apologize and over the next several months going to give mea culpas everywhere.  You know he‘s going to do the tour, “People” magazine.

CARLSON:  Really?  I mean, I don‘t know.  I mean, you obviously know much better than I.  I don‘t work for “The Hollywood Reporter.” 

On the other hand, being called a racist or an anti-Semite—in this case apparently behaving like one—is one of the pretty—the very unforgivable or difficult to forgive sins you can commit in American public life.

RICHMOND:  Yes.

CARLSON:  And it seems to me that there are going to be people in Hollywood who say, you know what?  I don‘t care what this guy‘s movies make.  I‘m not going to deal with him just on principle.

RICHMOND:  There are probably people that aren‘t going to want to work with him, but there will be enough that will because he‘s big box office, because he‘s powerful.  The fact is, yes, he said stuff that was unfortunate. 

He can go on Diane Sawyer, he can go with Dr. Phil wagging a finger in his face and say, “The alcohol was talking.  I don‘t believe these things.  This isn‘t me.  That was a different person.”

He can do that and they can spin it forever.  So, by the time “Apocalypto” comes out in December, you know, we could be thinking, you know, he stopped to change a flat tire and he was swearing under his breath and a deputy stopped.  I mean, that‘s obviously an extreme example, but the fact is, again, he did a big mea culpa, he did an “I‘m responsible, I apologize.”

People are going to say he took accountability.  And, you know, the Christian way is to forgive.  So enough people are probably going to forgive him, I think, and I think that‘s already beginning.  You see it on the Internet. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Well, I‘m a Christian and I‘m offended.  Can you think of other examples...

RICHMOND:  Oh, I mean, we should all be offended, clearly.

CARLSON:  Yes.  I mean, definitely.

RICHMOND:  And he can‘t just be—he can just be let off the hook because he was drunk.  But looking at it strictly from a Hollywood business perspective, this is not a career killer.  Murder, rape...

CARLSON:  Can you think—can you think of anybody, after, say, Fatty Arbuckle, in this—in your business, in the business of making motion pictures, who has been hurt by his personal behavior? 

RICHMOND:  You mean O.J.?  You mean—Like—clearly...

CARLSON:  Yes.  Hugh Grant, Roman Polanski, people who, you know, have run-ins and trouble with the law or... 

RICHMOND:  Robert Blake. 

CARLSON:  Yes, Robert Blake, exactly.  I mean, do people get hurt by that sort of thing? 

RICHMOND:  Well, I mean, certainly O.J. has never been forgiven, as far as I can tell.  And I think Robert Blake is...

CARLSON:  Well he murdered people.  I mean, short of that.  I mean, that‘s

you know, that‘s a little different.

RICHMOND:  Right.  I mean, I think Hugh Grant has totally been forgiven.  I think this is a different level than that. 

This was a guy who, you know, who knows, maybe lost track of his senses briefly.  But he didn‘t say—when he hit on the woman on the street, he wasn‘t—he wasn‘t castigating Jews. 

You know, again, the majority of America is not Jewish.  And I think that enough people are going to forgive him for this transgression.  Maybe a Jew who is saying anti-Christian stuff would be a different story. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I‘ve never seen anybody...

RICHMOND:  It‘s possible if you turned it around.

CARLSON:  I‘ve never seen anybody, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, get in trouble for saying anti-Christian stuff.  I don‘t think that—you don‘t get penalized for that. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  What‘s his next step?  Does he go to rehab?  I mean, he kind of has to go to rehab now, doesn‘t he? 

RICHMOND:  I‘m not sure if it‘s going to be rehab or just the apology tour.  I mean, yes, he‘s—I hadn‘t heard that he had alcoholic tendencies before, but, yes, there could be a rehab thing like there was with Pat O‘Brien.

CARLSON:  Yes.

RICHMOND:  We could see rehab, but I don‘t think so.  I think it‘s simply going to be more of an apology tour and “That wasn‘t me and I‘m sorry.”  Maybe he‘ll be asked to speak at the ADL luncheon.  Who knows.

But he‘s going to have—he‘s going to have some—he‘s going to have some explaining to do, as Ricky would say to Lucy, some ‘splainin‘ to do over the next several months, but he‘ll do it. 

CARLSON:  It‘s going to be so ugly. 

Ray, thanks for joining us.

RICHMOND:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, Israel‘s bombing of the Lebanese town of Qana killed up to 56 civilians.  That includes at least 34 kids.  It may also have killed any hope of peace in the Middle East, at least for the foreseeable future.  But has the White House blundering made the crisis there even worse?

And why are Republicans hugging Michael Moore?  Apparently they are. 

Our Willie Geist has that story on our new “Breaking the News” segment.  So stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  It‘s time for “Beat the Press.”

First up, FOX‘s Bill O‘Reilly.

On his radio talk show last week, O‘Reilly offered his critique of American foreign policy.  Confused about what we ought to be doing in Iraq and the Middle East?  Here‘s Bill O‘Reilly‘s solution. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, HOST, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  The reason we‘re not winning in Iraq, in my opinion, is because we didn‘t level Falluja when we should have leveled it.  Level it.  Give every civilian 24 hours to get out and blow the hell out of it. 

I‘m an intellectual.  I mean, macho doesn‘t get you anywhere in this world.  It really doesn‘t.  You swagger around being a macho guy, and you‘re not going to get anywhere. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You can be macho and swagger and still be smart. 

O‘REILLY:  You‘re not going to win—no, you‘re not going to win the war being macho. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Let‘s see, the solution in Iraq is just level it, turn it into a parking lot, an ice rink, just kill everybody, knock every building down, pulverize it to dust.  On the other hand, macho solutions are no solutions. 

This is what happens when cable news does foreign policy.  Bill O‘Reilly, he‘s an intellectual. 

Next up, “The New York Post” took a dig at CBS anchor Katie Couric over the weekend. 

Here‘s what they wrote: “Couric had fellow passengers aboard a New York-bound jet on the warpath this week when, as their plane was about to taxi to the runway, she got out of her seat and begged the pilot to allow one of her late-arriving producers to board.”

Whatever Couric said it worked.  The producer made the flight.

Now, it is very, very fashionable to beat up on Katie Couric, and it‘s pretty easy some of the time, but in this case, slow down, think this through.  If Katie Couric had held a New York-bound jet for her own reasons, for her makeup case, for instance, or to get a haircut on the runway like Bill Clinton did those many years ago, it would be worth criticizing her. 

Here you have an on-air personality, a famous well-paid one doing everything she can to help someone who works for her, a producer.  She‘s going out of her way to help someone who is beneath her. 

Good for Katie Couric.  Good for her. 

And finally, one of our known, New York‘s NBC station, WNBC, which last week decided to address the issue of imaginary friends.  The station devoted more than two minutes to a piece advising parents how to react when they find out that Mary‘s little friend Jane isn‘t a real person after all.  Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How should parents react?  Some suggestions.  Don‘t let the imaginary friend be your child‘s only companion.  Be alert for more general social withdrawal.  Done let your child use the friend to avoid blame. 

Kids should be responsible for their own actions.  Let your child know it‘s OK to have this friend.  It may allow the child to deal with difficult, real-life situations.  But don‘t let the friend dictate family life.  Everyone should follow family rules. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  OK.  Can we be completely honest?  If it weren‘t for weather and fear, no one would watch local news, but the fear can sometimes—sometimes really spin almost out of control.  The idea that you ought to be terrified of your child‘s little friend, as if this is an early warning of schizophrenia, so you want to buckle your seatbelt and be very, very afraid, too much crossing the line even by the incredibly low standards of local news. 

Well, how would you like to beat the press?  If you would, give us a call, tell us what you‘ve seen. 

Operators are standing by 24 hours a day.  The number here, 1-877-BTP-5876. 

That‘s 877-287-5876.

Still to come, think you‘ve heard the last of Mel Gibson‘s booze-fueled rant?  Think again.  We‘ll have the latest just ahead. 

Meanwhile, the governor of Massachusetts uses the term “tar baby.”  Some are offended, others confused.  That story when we return. 

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

We spent our last segment beating the press.  Now we‘re going to break the news itself.

Actually, Willie Geist is going to do that for us.  Here he is—Willie. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER:  Thank you, Tucker. 

We start in Massachusetts, where Governor Mitt Romney almost certain to run for president in 2008.  He appears to have the credentials, but if he really wants to move into the White House, he should probably cool it with the racial epithets, I think. 

While speaking at a Republican luncheon in Iowa on Saturday, Romney referred to the messy Big Dig construction project in Boston as a “tar baby.”  That is, of course, an ugly term once used to describe black children.  The governor later apologized and simply explained he meant the Big Dig is a sticky situation. 

You would have to be pretty foolish to believe the governor meant it any other way.  When the head of the Nation of Islam in Boston can‘t find a problem with it—and he couldn‘t—you probably shouldn‘t either.  But just to be safe, let‘s have the governor brush up on his slurs before he runs for president. 

In other upsetting, perhaps even nauseating Michael Moore says he receives unsolicited hugs from Republicans every day while walking the streets of Traverse City, Michigan, where he‘s working on his latest movie.  In a recent interview, the documentary film producer said, “If you were to hang out with me here, it wouldn‘t be five or 10 minutes before you see a Republican hug me.”

Moore says the hugs are a sign that the world is finally coming around to his point of view.  This obviously is not true. 

No one would voluntary hug Michael Moore.  Even if you agree with his politics, it‘s just not a sanitary thing to do.  Furthermore, in my experience, conservatives not real big huggers.  I‘ve been trying in vain to get a man hug out of Tucker for a year and a half, it‘s not going well.

All right.  Enough of this trivial news.  Let‘s get back to Mel Gibson.

Most of the coverage of this story has centered around his anti-Semitic remarks he made to police officers, but Jews aren‘t the only people who should be offended.  There‘s a little something for everyone here.

According to the police report, Gibson also used an unflattering name while yelling at one of the female officers.  I can‘t repeat the term here, but trust me when I tell you, Gibson struck the perfect balance between condescension and anatomical offensiveness.

The report also shows Gibson threatened another officer by saying he “owns Malibu” and he‘d use his money to get even.

Nice.

Today, Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, the man who inspired Jeremy Piven‘s Ari Gold on the HBO series “Entourage,” called for everyone in show business to shun Gibson and to refuse to work with him.

I second that.  Especially if it‘s for another sequel to “Lethal Weapon.” 

Enough already.

Tucker, we‘ll get back to Mel Gibson a little bit later in the show, but I have to put the question to you.

You‘re a conservative.  What would you do if you saw Michael Moore walking down the street? 

CARLSON:  That‘s a good question.  Actually, considering all the segments of television he has inspired, I would probably hug him, too. 

GEIST:  We need the guy, don‘t we? 

CARLSON:  Yes, we do need the guy.  We‘re grateful to him.  We would have to invent him if he didn‘t exist. 

Willie Geist, thank you.

GEIST:  That‘s right.  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, when illegal immigrants enter this country from Mexico, they don‘t just leave their country behind, they leave mountains of trash at the border.  What‘s being done about this disgusting problem?  We‘ll look into it.

Plus, John McCain‘s 18-year-old son joins the family business.  How does the senator feel about sending his son off to war? 

We‘ll tell you when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Still to come, has the tragedy at Qana turned the international tide of support toward Hezbollah?  We‘ll discuss the repercussions in the state of Israel.

Plus, will Mel Gibson‘s fans turn their backs on him after his drunken tirade?  We‘ll get to all that in just a minute, but first, here‘s a look at your headlines. 

(STOCK MARKET UPDATE)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  The crisis in the Middle East continues at this hour.  Despite international pressure to resolve its conflict with Hezbollah, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert said there would be no cease-fire in the coming days. 

This comes after Israel agreed to partially halt the bombing campaign after a missile killed almost 60 civilians in the Qana, Lebanon.  For the very latest on this violent situation, we start with Peter Alexander in Haifa, Israel—Peter?

PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Tucker, good evening to you. 

This amounted to what was essentially a motivational speech by Ehud Olmert.  It‘s unclear whether it was halftime or the end of the third quarter, but it did appear, in his eyes, and the eyes of the state of Israel, that this conflict is not done. 

He began this speech before the nation—only the second time he‘s spoken to Israel since the 20-day conflict began—by saying there is no cease-fire, there will be no cease-fire.  Israeli forces continue fighting by air, sea, and ground. 

And he was met by applause from his audience, which was made up mostly of mayors from the small towns and villages in northern Israel, the very towns that have been heavily targeted in the course of this conflict by so many Katyusha rocket strikes. 

He said that Israel had no choice but to attack, that it was simply defending itself, reiterating the comments he has made before.  But he said this will not end until those rocket strikes end and until all three kidnapped Israeli soldiers are returned, not just the two kidnapped in south Lebanon by Hezbollah, but also the one, Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped last month in Gaza by Hamas. 

As for the incident in Qana, he referred to that, as well, again apologizing to the people there who either lost loved ones or were forced to flee their homes now in this temporary cease-fire.  He did, however, not apologize for the current offensive. 

As for that offensive, right now, we are learning from the Israeli army that the fighting continues just across the border as they target some new towns and villages looking for Hezbollah.  Earlier today, the army reported that Hezbollah guerrillas fired anti-tank weapons, that were able to hit one tank in particular where three Israeli soldiers were hurt. 

There are some other incursions they have reported, and gunfire exchanged on all sides.  With this small temporary lull in the action, if you will, we only saw two what appeared to be rocket strikes today. 

But I just spoke to the Israeli police and they report that what they thought were initially rocket strikes turned out to be two mortar strikes in northern town of Kiryat Shmona.  This is significant because you can compare it to yesterday, Tucker, when there were more than 150 strikes in the northern—in that northern part of this country, which was a record number. 

And finally, as we wandered the streets of Israel today for what appeared to be a relative calm as people returned to the streets to visit with friends and return to businesses, some businesses opening up for the first time since this conflict began, the calm was again interrupted, this time not from the threat of Hezbollah but a threat within. 

Two suicide bombers—suspected suicide bombers—were arrested by Israeli police.  We were there, and we he witnessed this happen.  These two men were basically disrobed by the police, who had received a quick alert, noting that two men who turned out to be one Palestinian and one Arab-Israeli, were suspected to be driving a certain car that the police found. 

I spoke to Haifa‘s police chief at the scene.  He said they did not find explosives, but that that was not beyond their understanding of the situation.  It was very possible these two men were meeting up with another member of this plot‘s scheme. 

And tonight, Tucker, having just spoken to Israeli police, they confirmed that since this conflict began, there have been no less than five terror plots thwarted from within Israel—Tucker?

CARLSON:  Peter, great reporting.  I appreciate it.  That was the suspected suicide bomber wearing pink underwear. 

Now to Tyre, Lebanon, where NBC‘s Richard Engle got a firsthand look at damage from Israeli air strikes today. 

Richard, what did you see?

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Tucker, I went back to the town of Qana, which is not very far from here, the site where that three-story building was destroyed yesterday by two Israeli air strikes, where about 50 people were sheltering in the basement of that building, most of them killed, most of them children. 

We saw yesterday the bodies of boys being taken out of this building, being dug out of the rubble by recovery workers and brought to the morgue where they were wrapped in plastic tarps and then put into small wooden coffins. 

Today, the town was very quiet.  There was no one on the scene.  There was very few people in Qana at all.  No rescue workers.  Just some relatives who had come by to look at this damage site.  Most of the victims were from two extended families.  The extended families live all throughout the area and were coming there to mourn. 

There was also quite a bit of movement on the street from Hezbollah.  We hadn‘t seen that yesterday.  Today, for the first time, we saw Hezbollah members that were gathered at what looked like a cafe or some sort of social club right in the center of town. 

They didn‘t want to be filmed, but there were a lot of activities.  Young men, they told us they were Hezbollah, and they clearly looked the part with the tattoos and radios and new model vehicles.  They were actively going around the town. 

I couldn‘t say that they were re-supplying, but as the civilians—and throughout the day, there‘s been an exodus of civilians from south Lebanon taking advantage of this lull in the fighting, an Israeli pause, if you will, in air strikes—while the civilians were leaving, it looked like Hezbollah was getting ready for a new stage of fighting. 

CARLSON:  Richard, two very quick questions.  One, you said there were no rescuers there.  Does that mean there are no international aid groups in Qana?  And two, what do you mean the tattoos?  Do Hezbollah members have specific tattoos, Hezbollah tattoos? 

ENGLE:  Not a specific logo, but you can—a lot of Hezbollah members will have a sword tattoo, or tattood on their forearms.  Sometimes, they will just have tattoos that—I mean, this one guy today had a tattoo of an emblem of a woman. 

But it is more of a personality disposition, the way they talk.  I asked them, frankly, “Are you guys with the resistance?”  That‘s what Hezbollah is called in Arabic, the resistance.  And after talking for a little while and having a little bit of coffee, yes, they said that that‘s who they were with, and just making small talk. 

So there‘s a personality disposition that you can identify and the way they talk and the language that they use and the specific issues that they continue to talk about.  One of the guys, to make it really obvious, was wearing a t-shirt of a Hezbollah leader.  So there can be really no doubt that these guys were from Hezbollah, and they were clearly on the move today. 

CARLSON:  Outstanding.  Richard Engle, thanks a lot, from Tyre. 

Well, Israel and the United States appear to be at odds over a cease-fire in the near future.  Here is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaking in Jerusalem earlier today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE:  I take with me an emerging consensus on what is necessary for both an urgent cease-fire and a lasting settlement.  I am convinced we can achieve both this week. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  So is there a falling out between Israel and the United States?  Joining me now, Ambassador Arye Mekel in New York. 

Ambassador Mekel, thanks for joining us.

AMBASSADOR ARYE MEKEL, CONSUL GENERAL OF ISRAEL IN NEW YORK:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Here‘s what your prime minister said, obviously you‘re familiar, but for our viewers who may not be.  Quote, “The fighting continues.  There is no cease-fire, and there will not be any cease-fire in the coming days.”  Meanwhile, Israel‘s chief sponsor, chief benefactor, the United States, is calling for a cease-fire.  This is a split between the two countries, is it not?

MEKEL:  I don‘t think so.  The president said that America wants a sustainable cease-fire.  That means not one that will collapse in two days, two weeks, or two months.  And I think we are working together with the Americans.  And I think later this week with some others, the framework of the United Nations, in order to achieve this sustainable cease-fire, not just a cease-fire for the sake of a cease-fire. 

CARLSON:  Well, but the United States, I mean, again, seems to be calling for a cease-fire, perhaps a sustainable cease-fire, now.  Not in the future at some point.  And again, your prime minister said it‘s not going to happen.  So, I mean, at some point we like to pretend that there‘s no daylight between the U.S. and the Israeli position, but let‘s be honest.  There is in this case, isn‘t there? 

MEKEL:  No, there isn‘t.  I think secretary said, if we listen carefully, that she hopes that it can be achieved this week.  Well, if a sustainable cease-fire can be achieved as soon as possible, that‘s a good thing. 

But I don‘t think she means that it has to be done before we achieve our goals, which is that Hezbollah will not be anywhere near our borders and will no longer be able to send missiles or rockets.  And then there‘s also the issue of the soldiers that your correspondent also mentioned a few minutes ago. 

CARLSON:  Right.  The kidnapped soldiers.  And there ought to be.  And, look, everyone American, I think, understands intuitively Israel‘s position, and I think most Americans sympathize, including me very much, with Israel‘s position.  You all were attacked.  It was unprovoked.  You‘re fighting back against people who attacked you, and good for you.  No one begrudges Israel that right.

But there are many Americans who recognize that while Israel has the right to defend itself and is doing so, that defense sometimes causes problems for the United States, and that we don‘t always have the same interests, Israel and the United States.  We‘re separate countries, we have separate interests, in some cases, and what you‘re doing may be hurting us.  Not an attack on Israel, merely the acknowledgement of reality.  Do you see what I mean? 

MEKEL:  I see what you mean, but I think could theoretically happen.  But this is exactly case where we and the United States have the same interests.  That interest is to get rid of the terrorists, to get rid of Hezbollah, and not to allow Iran to spread its influence over the Middle East even further. 

This is exactly what America wants, and this is what we want.  So I actually see no way for any daylight or clashes of interest, not just to speak about, you know, not just, you know, even loftier goals.  Even interests, we are exactly on the same page...

CARLSON:  Yes, but the United States—look, the truth is, fair or unfair, the United States gets blamed for what Israel does.  And again, I‘m not taking a position on whether that‘s fair, it‘s just reality.  I know it, and I know that you know it.  In a situation like that happened at Qana happen—and those happen in all wars, everyone‘s war, it‘s inevitable, it happens—the U.S. gets blamed.  And that‘s a problem for us.  Why wouldn‘t it be a problem for us? 

MEKEL:  You know, Qana was a very sad situation.  We really feel the pain of everybody.  But I think as far as the United States is concerned, they‘re not being blamed for anything.  Exactly the opposite.  The Saudis believe that we need to destroy Hezbollah.  The gulf countries, the Egyptians, do you know—let me ask you, Tucker.  Do you know anybody that wants Hezbollah to win? 

CARLSON:  Everybody despises Hezbollah, except the fact is that 40 percent of the population in Lebanon, almost by definition, supports it.  You‘re not going to eliminate Hezbollah, and you know it.  I wish you would, but you know you‘re not going to short of occupying the country once again.  And I don‘t think that‘s going to happen.  So I mean, at some point, don‘t we have to be realistic about what we can achieve when it comes to Hezbollah?  We can‘t eliminate it, can we?

MEKEL:  We can eliminate Hezbollah, not by occupying Lebanon, but creating a situation that the people of Lebanon will understand once and for all how these hurt their interests, and they themselves will get rid of them and not allow them any more influence. 

I think that we are on the right track.  I think the Americans support this idea.  And I think that most of the Arab world, all the Sunni countries, they don‘t want the Shiite to take over.  They don‘t want Iran to take over. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  And I still hope you‘re right, Mr.

Ambassador.  I really do. 

MEKEL:  I think we are right. 

CARLSON:  I truly, sincerely hope you are.  Thank you very much for joining us.

MEKEL:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Time now for some quick hits.  Arizona Senator John McCain‘s youngest boy is carrying on his family‘s proud military tradition.  18-year-old Jimmy McCain will soon be reporting for duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as an enlisted man.  His father, who served in Vietnam as a Navy fighter pilot, says he is proud of his son, but with no foreseeable letup of hostilities in Israq, the senator admits he is also understandably a little bit nervous. 

Consider the McCains next time you hear someone make the claim that no one in power or no one who has money, no one has influence, ever serves in the armed forces.  It‘s not true.  Anybody who says that has no firsthand experience with the armed services in which many upper middle class people serve, in fact.  Now here‘s another.  Good for Jimmy McCain.

Now trash talk.  Despite three-year effort, the Feds say they‘re making progress cleaning up the mess left behind by illegal aliens who cross our nation‘s border.  Nearly 25 million pounds of trash are believed to be out there, and that‘s just in the Arizona desert alone. 

Surprised?  You shouldn‘t be.  Most of these immigrants are coming from countries in which littering is a way of life.  Not an attack, merely an observation.  I‘ve been there.  If you‘ve been there, you know exactly what I mean.  But the bottom line is, this is, among other things, an environmental disaster, among other things. 

Where‘s Greenpeace?  They ought to be mad about this?  Where‘s the Sierra Club?  Maybe they‘ve issued a lot of press releases, but I haven‘t gotten one.  Let‘s hope they do.

Well, is it hot enough for you?  Nobel Prize-winning ozone expert Paul Crutzen warns it could get even hotter, but he thinks he knows how to spare the world from further global warming.  The professor suggests firing sulfur-laden missiles into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight and heat back into space. 

His idea might sound radical, but he fears that all other offers of hope are too little, too late.  He‘s going to be mocked.  Is it any dumber than Kyoto, a treaty that exempts some of the biggest polluting countries in the world just because they‘re third world countries?  No.  It‘s no dumber than that at all.  Fire the sulfur rockets, I say.  I don‘t know.  No more insane than a lot of theories I hear. 

Hail to the chief.  Venezuela‘s leftist leader Hugo Chavez has been awarded Iran‘s highest state medal for supporting Tehran‘s right to develop a nuclear program.  This, despite strong condemnation from the U.N.  The Iranian government also regards Chavez as a good friend because he‘s an outspoken critic of what he calls American, British and Israeli imperialism. 

Hugo Chavez, hero to the Iranian revolution!  And he‘s not even Muslim.  Imagine that.  Remember that, however, next time you hear someone defend Hugo Chavez as a victim of American imperialism.  He‘s not.  He is a perpetrator of his own brand of imperialism.  Worth remembering. 

Still ahead, people are outraged by Mel Gibson‘s behavior.  People also love his movies.  Will they choose their morals or his film?  We‘ll debate that with someone who knows when we come back.       

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  You know you‘re in trouble when Michael Jackson‘s former publicist calls your situation, quote, “a nuclear disaster.”  That‘s what one leading Hollywood publicist said about the Mel Gibson mess.  So is there any way out for him?  Joining us now, “Us Weekly‘s” Katrina Szish. 

Katrina, welcome.

KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Is there any way out for Mel Gibson? 

SZISH:  I think once Mel has another popular movie, once this dies down a little bit, I think people are going to say, “What Mel Gibson issue?  What nuclear disaster?”  I think it‘s one of those things that will raise a lot of fire right now, and then we‘re all going to forget about it. 

CARLSON:  Really?  It seems to me Mel Gibson is not your ordinary movie director, movie producer, or actor, for that matter.  He‘s taken seriously, and maybe he should.  He‘s got serious things to say.  He has a message that he wants to disseminate.  And so people listen very carefully to his personal opinion about things.  You don‘t think this will pollute how people feel about him? 

SZISH:  Well, it might pollute how some people feel about him?  I don‘t think it‘s going to hurt his overall box office cred—or I should say, his ability to draw moviegoers.  I‘m sure some people out there will say, “I‘ll never a Mel Gibson film again.”

But I think a lot of other people say, “Oh gosh, he was really, really drunk.  And I probably wouldn‘t want people to hear what I would say under some situations when I‘m drunk.”  Not that it‘s appropriate, but some people out there might feel for him. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I mean, like who drunk hasn‘t blamed the Jews for starting wars?  I mean, come on.  Look, I hate to pile on.  I think his comments are very weird, at best.  They are very weird.  Now, what do you do, specifically, if you‘re Mel Gibson?  I mean, we were talking about this a minute ago.  Do you have to go to rehab now that you‘ve hinted at an alcohol problem? 

SZISH:  He has spoken about having substance abuse problems for quite a while.  And I do feel it wouldn‘t be a bad idea for him to check himself into some sort of rehab or some sort of program to show that he clearly was way out of line and he does intend to get himself back on track.

He has issued an apology, which is really the best thing he could have done.  He did it immediately, which is important.  But then again, the question still remains, even if he was drunk, the words that allegedly came out of his mouth, where do they come from?  There must be something within him that feels that way.  And that‘s perhaps where he‘s going to have a hard time, I guess, living this one down. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  People are gunning for him.  People hated him already just because of the content of his previous film.  And speaking of his films Apocalypto?  Is that the correct name?  And if so, is that still coming out?  And is it good?

SZISH:  I have not heard if it‘s good, but I‘m sure, if Mel‘s involved, it‘s going to be interesting.  Let‘s put it that way. 

CARLSON:  What does that mean?  Deeper than your average Hollywood picture? 

SZISH:  More than what? 

CARLSON:  You mean, deeper than your average movie? 

SZISH:  I‘m sure they will—yes, I would say deeper.  And I‘m sure lots of things for people to argue about, to debate.  But again, even whether Mel is on screen or not, or behind camera or not, we‘re definitely talking about him, as he is one for hot debate. 

CARLSON:  Well, he‘s apparently working on a Holocaust-related movie. 

That‘s going to be pretty to sustain.  Mel Gibson now working a Holocaust -

I mean, that can‘t continue, right? 

SZISH:  I would think it would be difficult.  That‘s something he started doing after people had lots of backlash about his film “Passion of Christ.”  He got involved in this project to say, “Listen, nothing was meant by it.  I have no anti-Semitism.”  And now that‘s maybe not going to be quite as believable. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I would say somewhat less believable.  Yes, I think that‘s—you are a master of understatement.  I mean, the tragedy is “The Passion of the Christ,” whatever its merits as a film, wasn‘t anti-Semitic.  I mean, that was a total crock.  I saw it.  There was nothing anti-Semitic about it.  It may have been bad for other reasons, but now it turns out maybe is an anti-Semite.  So, very quickly, did you have any sense—was there talk in Hollywood that maybe this guy actually is an anti-Semite? 

SZISH:  Oh, absolutely.  Especially the fact that Mel‘s father has also made some anti-Semitic remarks in the past and Mel didn‘t immediately come out and say, “I disagree with him.”  There have been lots of rumblings within Hollywood that Mel perhaps does have some anti-Semitism in him.  So it‘s definitely something that this particular episode only seems to confirm. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  It doesn‘t help.  It doesn‘t help.  He may not end up giving the holiday address to the B‘nai Brith this year.  That‘s just a guess on my part.

SZISH:  My guess is no.

CARLSON:  Katrina, thanks for joining us.

SZISH:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Coming up, Israel admits it has been surprised by the fight Hezbollah has put up.  So will Israel ever unleash its full military might?  They could squash Hezbollah like an insect if they wanted to.  Will they? 

We‘ll discuss it when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back to the final moments of our show, those moments

when we throw our program over to you, our faithful voice-mailers.  Here we

go.  First up

BARRY IN TEANECK, NEW JERSEY:  Barry, Teaneck, New Jersey.  Do you think it‘s odd that the people leaving Beirut have to pay back the government, but the people we‘ve helped in Iraq sitting on all that oil don‘t have to pay us back a single penny? 

CARLSON:  If by odd you mean repulsive, offensive, yes.  Enough to keep you up at night?  Without question.  Absolutely.  The Iraqis owe us.  And the one thing the U.S. government exists to do is to take care of American citizens, and yet, we charged Americans coming out of Beirut.  Upsetting.  By the way, they flew us out for free on the military helicopter, and I‘m grateful for that.  Just want to put that in there for the sake of accuracy.  Next up. 

SCOTT IN EDGEWATER, MARYLAND:  Scott from Edgewater, Maryland.  I want to know, where are the patriot missiles that Israel used to do defend against a rocket in Desert Storm?  I haven‘t heard anything about them in this battle, and I would like to know what‘s going on. 

CARLSON:  Well, Israel has those missiles, and it has, I think, far more sophisticated anti-missile installations throughout the country, but they‘re not able to knock down those little Katyusha rockets coming over from Lebanon.  The fact is, Israel has a lot of hardware it‘s not using.  They could crush Lebanon much worse than they‘re doing now, but they‘ve chosen not to.  Something to keep in mind. 

Keep the calls coming on everything and anything.  The number, 877-TCARLSON.  That is, 877-822-7576.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris.  We‘re back tomorrow.  See you then.

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

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