updated 8/24/2006 11:39:38 AM ET 2006-08-24T15:39:38

Guest: Andrew Grotto, Jamie Harmon, Ed Royce, Rich Masters, Melanie Morgan

TUCKER CARLSON, ‘TUCKER’ HOST:  Welcome to the show.

Today was supposed to have been Armageddon, August 22nd.  That’s the day at least one Islamic scholar predicted would be the beginning of World War III, a war instigated by Iran in an effort to fulfill a Shiite religious prophecy.  It hasn’t happened yet, though events may be moving toward conflict. 

Last month, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Iran put a stop to all nuclear enrichment.  Well, today, Iran presented its response, a so-called new formula and an offer of “serious negotiations.”  But the country’s semi-official news agency reported Tehran has rejected suspension of its nuclear activities. 

In other words, the bomb is on. 

Can we stop Iran before it threatens the rest of the world with nukes?   

Joining me now with answers, Andrew Grotto.  He is the senior national security analyst at the Center for American Progress.  He joins us from Washington.

Andrew, welcome.

Can we stop Iran? 

ANDREW GROTTO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Oh, I think so.  I think there is still time for diplomacy to work here.  It won’t be easy, but it’s still the only real path to success here. 

CARLSON:  Why is diplomacy the only path to success?  Why would the United States and other civilized nations put their security in the hands of the United Nations, which has not a very good record of guaranteeing anyone’s security? 

GROTTO:  Well, I think in this case, you know,. the path forward is trying to forge a realistic hard-hitting set of sanctions against Iran.  Now, the Russians and Chinese may drag their feet, it’s probable, but I don’t think it’s forgone, but it’s certainly probable.  If that’s the case, then the U.S. and the Europeans should sit down and work out a set of unilateral sanctions. 

What’s important here is not so much what those sanctions do, but, rather, that the U.S. and Europe put forth a clear, unified position here.  Because Iran has essentially been banking on this coalition falling apart.  We need to demonstrate this coalition is strong and that it’s not going to fall apart. 

CARLSON:  Iran has on its side a huge amount of oil which it can use to essentially bribe western nations into not imposing sanctions on it in the way that Iraq did—actually, pretty successfully, though in secret. 

Do you think that Europe will hold together with the United States to force Iran not to build nukes? 

GROTTO:  I think so, because Europe is at Iran’s back door.  You know, Iran is developing missiles that are currently capable of reaching kind of the parts of southern Europe and kind of the periphery.  They are working on missiles that could carry a warhead potentially further into European territory.  Europe has a huge interest in stability in the Middle East, both in Iran and the region more broadly. 

CARLSON:  Well, Isn’t that all the more reason for Europe to practice cowardice and appeasement, as it so often for the last 100 years?  I mean, Iran is a threat.  So, I mean, won’t European—won’t France and Belgium and Germany, won’t they say, no, don’t hurt us, Iran, we’ll do whatever you want?  I mean, isn’t that a more likely response? 

GROTTO:  Well, no, because, you know, all these economies, they depend on oil just as our economy does. 

CARLSON:  Right.

GROTTO:  They have a clear interest in stability.  Instability in the Middle East causes instability in oil markets.  You know, during Israel’s war with Lebanon and Hezbollah, oil prices were all over the map. 

CARLSON:  Well, speaking of Israel, it seems to me that Israel has the most obvious interest in preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.  The Iranians are almost a parity of anti-Semitism, denying the Holocaust, talking about the disrurection of Israel in virtually every sentence. 

If they get nuclear weapons, or seem to be on the cusp of getting a nuclear weapon, why wouldn’t Israel, which has a lot of nuclear weapons, act unilaterally and blow up the facility or nuke Tehran?  I Mean, why wouldn’t they do that? 

GROTTO:  Well, I think what’s important to realize here is, you know, you hear a lot of analysts talk, make the point that there are no good military options against Iran. 

CARLSON:  Right.

GROTTO:  That air strikes might be feasible.  I’ll take it a step further. 

I don’t think that at this time there is any military option, short of sending massive numbers of ground troops into Iran.  You know, as Israel’s war with Hezbollah and Lebanon showed, air power is not enough to defeat a determined enemy.  You have to send ground troops in. 

We’d have to send ground troops in to verify that we destroyed the Iranian facilities we know about, and we’d also want to send in ground troops to verify—to discover possible covert facilities and take those facilities out.  And I don’t think we have the capability right now to do that given our massive deployments in Iraq. 

CARLSON:  Right.  But, would, again, Israel, whose very existence is plausibly threatened by these—by nuclear weapons in Iran, I mean, what would prevent them from taking a really cold, hard look at the facts and concluding a preemptive nuclear strike is the only way to guarantee their own survival? 

I mean, that’s not—that’s not—it may not be a good thing, it’s a bad thing, but it’s not a crazy idea.  I mean, that could happen, could it not? 

GROTTO:  No.  I don’t think it could happen.  There’s—Israel would not come out ahead if it did that.  A, it would not—it would necessarily destroy Iran’s facilities. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

GROTTO:  B, it would spark, you know, a global anti-Israeli movement that would be unprecedented.  And I think that would actually jeopardize the state of Israel more than an actual Iranian nuclear capability. 

CARLSON:  And finally, Andrew, August 22nd, today, had been some predictions and some public hand-wringing about the beginning of a war with Iran today.  Is this date going to pass without one? 

GROTTO:  I think so.  You know, I think—there is a lot of hype about that date.  Who knows what the Iranian leadership was thinking.  It could be coincidence.  We just don’t know. 

The fact is that there is no war right now with Iran.  Iran, you know, made an offer to the Europeans, obviously not to our liking, but, you know, the offer still shows at least some willingness to give the appearance, at least, of playing by the rules. 

CARLSON:  That’s—that’s worth something, I would say. Andrew Grotto, thanks. 

GROTTO:  Thanks. 

CARLSON:  Now to the ever-expanding media circus that is the JonBenet Ramsey murder case.  John Mark Karr waived extradition today in California and agreed to be sent to Colorado, probably to face first-degree murder charges in the death of the 6-year-old beauty queen almost 10 years ago. 

My next guest spent a total of seven hours with Karr yesterday.  She says he is far from crazy. 

Attorney Jamie Harmon joins us from Los Angeles. 

Jamie, welcome.  He sure seems crazy.  That was not your impression though? 

JAMIE HARMON, ATTORNEY:  Oh, no, not at all, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, I mean, this is a guy who reportedly chose has his e-mail address the date of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder.  I mean, that’s one of the craziest things I think I’ve heard in a long time, and I work in TV, so that’s saying a lot. 

HARMON:  Well, I don’t have a quick response to that one. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

HARMON:  I think that he has been portrayed in the media on a variety of fronts as being a madman and an insane person and a media-seeking person, and I didn’t find that to be the case at all when I spoke with him. 

CARLSON:  Well, not simply portrayed in the media.  I mean, he’s portrayed himself by his own on-camera public statements, by—by the testimony, by the words of his plastic surgeon who talked about how he was planning on being castrated for a sex change operation.  I mean, he’s not a conventional guy.

My question to you is, why would you be saying in public as someone who might wind up representing this man at trial that he’s not crazy?  Wouldn’t you want the option of an insanity defense? 

HARMON:  Well, I guess one thing that everybody is overlooking is that the crime in this case occurred 10 years ago. 

CARLSON:  Right.

HARMON:  So, what was relevant then is not necessarily relevant now.  And vice versa.  So I think that’s... 

CARLSON:  Meaning?  Does that mean he couldn’t be crazy then but not now? 

HARMON:  His mental state—potentially.  I mean, that’s certainly a consideration. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

HARMON:  I find him—I find him very lucid, very conversant, very engaging now. 

CARLSON:  Why would you want to potentially represent this guy? 

HARMON:  Well, that’s a very good question.  For the substantive reasons

that the case involves, because—not because—nothing to do with the

media attention to it.  That’s a negative, a huge negative.  But because he

is so desperately in need of someone in whom to place his confidence and

someone to assist him with this process that he’s been literally mowed over

by. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I was just thinking that, poor baby.  I feel bad. 

But, wait, back to what you said a second ago, that the media attention is a bad thing, it would hurt your firm to all of a sudden really famous?  How is that? 

HARMON:  Well, I have no idea whether it’s going to hurt us or help us, quite frankly.  But that’s not—it’s not something we even considered.  We have a relationship with this guy because the woman who works for me was his lawyer five years ago.  And they spent a great deal of time together. 

So she has a personal and professional relationship with him that she wanted to extend herself through in this case.  And he welcomed the attention. 

CARLSON:  I bet he welcomed the help in his position. 

HARMON:  He did. 

CARLSON:  What did you all talk about for seven hours? 

HARMON:  We talked about a lot of different things.  We talked about the conditions that he was—that he is housed in.  We talked about the fact that he was on suicide watch and he didn’t want to be.  He was very upset by that. 

We talked about the case extensively, which I can’t discuss, obviously.  We had a very involved conversation. 

CARLSON:  Did his presentation of the facts to you differ dramatically from what he said about the case, about the murder, to other people, to the media, for instance? 

HARMON:  Because of who I am in the case, I wouldn’t be able to discuss that with you. 

CARLSON:  Do you think he did it? 

HARMON:  No opinion. 

CARLSON:  What do you mean no opinion? 

HARMON:  I wouldn’t express an opinion publicly one way or the other.  I don’t think it’s relevant, particularly. 

CARLSON:  Would you—so you would take this case if you thought he had murdered a 6-year-old girl? 

HARMON:  I would take this case for a variety of reasons. 

CARLSON:  But if you believe he killed JonBenet Ramsey, if you thought, if you had concluded that, if he confessed, for instance, to you, you would still defend him and try to get him off?

HARMON:  Well, that’s what defense attorneys do.

CARLSON:  No it’s not.  Defense attorneys defend people presumably they believe are innocent, particularly in murder cases.  You’d hate to think that an attorney, an American citizen, would try to get a guilty man off. 

You know?  You want to think that the defense attorney believes, you know, that O.J.’s defense team were the only people in America that believe he was innocent, or whatever.  You’d hate to think a lawyer would do that.  I’d hate to think you would do that.

You wouldn’t do that, would you? 

HARMON:  You know, I represent all people all the time who are perceived to be guilty by many others and my relationship with them is completely different, a completely different set of circumstances.  So, you know, the Constitution does provide for a defense in this country whether you like it or not.  And everybody gets one. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  You’d just—you’d like to think that the person providing it really believes in the cause. 

Finally, where does he go from here?  Where does Mr. Karr go from here? 

HARMON:  Well, hopefully he’ll go straight away to Colorado.  And...

CARLSON:  And do you think he is going to be charged in the murder right away? 

HARMON:  You know, I have no idea, quite honestly.  That was the subject of great discussion this morning, whether he has been charged, whether he will be charged.  That’s completely open to speculation. 

CARLSON:  It seems like from what he said, though, he would welcome being charged.  I mean, if he was against being charged, why would he voluntarily fly all the way here from Asia, not fight extradition, and basically tell the world that he did it?  I mean, it sounds like he wants to go to prison or be executed. 

HARMON:  Well, I think that’s a facile statement, and I don’t think he feels that way.  And I think that, you know, this is the kind of comment that’s difficult to deal with in a quick second. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

HARMON:  It’s a very complicated situation. 

CARLSON:  I bet it is.  I have no doubt about that.  And I—of course, I have no idea what the answer is, but I bet you do.  I wish you could tell us. 

Thanks for coming on though.  Jamie Harmon, appreciate it. 

HARMON:  You’re welcome. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, the Senate has a solution to illegal immigration, and it’s only going to cost you $126 billion.  That’s “billion” with a “B”.  There has got to be a better way. 

And the latest teenage craze in Salt Lake City Utah, polygamy.  Why these kids took to the streets to push for plural marriage that. 

That story when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  If you’re worried about the untold millions of illegal aliens streaming into this country every year, you can now rest easy.  The U.S.  Senate is now on the case. 

Washington’s solution?  An immigration bill that would cost American citizens about $126 billion over the next decade. 

Impressed?  Neither is my next guest, Congressman Ed Royce of California. 

He joins us now from Anaheim. 

Congressman, thanks a lot for coming on. 

I think our viewers will be as surprised as we were to see some of these numbers.  Just—one right out of the—right out of a hat here. 

This bill sets aside $3.3 billion for security barriers along the border, which I think most Americans want.  That is dwarfed by the $24.5 billion in tax credits for former illegal aliens, $15 billion in health care, $5.2 billion in Social Security, $3.7 billion in food stamps.  The entitlement part, the welfare part, far more generous than the enforcement part. 

How did that—how did that happen? 

REP. ED ROYCE ®, CALIFORNIA:  You know, I can yell you a little bit about this, Tucker.  I held several hearings on the border in Texas and in San Diego.  And the other thing I should mention is that on the policy side, we are not allowed to build those fences without the approval—without the consultation with the Mexican government. 

So, I wouldn’t—I wouldn’t be quick to assume...

CARLSON:  It’s like a parody.  It’s unbelievable. 

ROYCE:  In the meantime, they also tie the hands of local law enforcement so they cannot assist in visa overstays.  They can’t assist our immigration officials.  So it’s actually two steps back, not one step forward, in terms of the costs. 

The estimate that you’re quoting is based on an analysis that of every seven people that get amnesty, one will bring a dependent.  We know from past experience during the last amnesty that it was more than eightfold that.  So the numbers aren’t even right.  And still, it tallies to $126 billion in costs. 

CARLSON:  I mean, this—I mean, this country can’t afford spending like this.  This is demented.  And I guess the obvious question is, how have Republicans come up with something like this?  It’s very dispirting to those of us who voted Republican in the past. 

ROYCE:  I think I can answer that, because this was the Senate bill that was crafted by the American Immigration Lawyers Association working in concert with Senator Kennedy’s office.  These are their amendments into the bill which he championed and which he got the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary to accept. 

So, what we are actually fighting here is another one of Ted Kennedy’s amnesties.  And what I’m suggesting is that the approach we should be behind is behind the House bill, which is the enforcement bill. 

CARLSON:  Right.

ROYCE:  Enforcement first.  We need to defeat this Senate bill. 

CARLSON:  And I couldn’t agree more.  But it’s not—and I believe that you Ted Kennedy is the mover behind this legislation, but one of the great backers publicly of this legislation is the president himself, Mr. right-winger, supposedly, George W. Bush.

How did that happen? 

ROYCE:  But Tucker, remember what we did with the Real I.D. Act, where we didn’t have much support from the president but we went forward with the House support?

CARLSON:  Yes.

ROYCE:  Then we got the Senate on board when the people began to feel the heat.  The public got educated, they pushed the Senate to pass it.  It got to the president’s desk and he signed it. 

We need to do that right here.  We need to have the border security bill that the House passed.  The Senate needs to feel the heat.  The Senate needs to then pick that bill up, pass it to the president’s desk, and I’ll bet he signs that, too. 

CARLSON:  But you’ve got to one philosophically—and I don’t mean to pile on President Bush, and everyone dislikes him now, so I instinctively want to defend him.  On the other hand, this is indefensible, and I’m just wondering how someone routinely described as so conservative in the press by his friends and his enemies could get behind something like this which is kind of crazy? 

ROYCE:  Well, this bill is frankly so dysfunctional that we have talked to border guards, we have talked to the sheriffs.  We have had testimony from experts on border security.  They have all made the point that the direction the Senate’s going is going to do nothing to enhance our border security, which should be our number one concern.  And, instead, may actually lead to people all over the world believing that we might have a third or fourth amnesty. 

CARLSON:  Right.

ROYCE:  If we do this amnesty, it might increase illegal immigration. 

That’s what the experts are telling us now.  So I think...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I mean, don’t you think that—I mean, let’s be totally honest.  The people who are pushing these kinds of so-called solutions to our illegal immigration problem welcome illegal immigration. 

ROYCE:  People who believe in open borders do.  But, there is a reality here that free market economists tell us.  When you’ve got a welfare state, and it’s a magnet, and you compound the problem by allowing people to come illegally, you are going to, over time, push the politics in that country to the left. 

CARLSON:  That’s right.

ROYCE:  Because more and more people are going to be looking for government services.  We need to get control over this by getting border security now, especially post 9/11.  Then we can deal with these other problems.

You know, in another session we can figure out how to go from there.  We should just have the House-passed enforcement bill brought up to the Senate. 

CARLSON:  It is so depressing.  And you just feel like it’s a losing battle.  I hope it’s not. 

Thank you, Congressman, for fighting your part of this.  I appreciate it. 

Thanks for coming on.

ROYCE:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, it wouldn’t be “Beat the Press” without Nancy Grace.  She skated on the edge before.  Today she goes completely utterly off the edge.  You won’t believe what she said on her show last night. 

We have got the tape.  We’ll show it to you when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for “Beat the Press”. 

The JonBenet Ramsey story has taken over the news, and, of course, when a story explodes as this one has, exclusive interviews are the trophies every network is shooting for.  Apparently CNN scored one of those trophies last night when that network booked an interview with Lin Wood, the Ramsey family attorney. 

Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST, “LARRY KING LIVE” (voice over):  Tonight, exclusive.  What does JonBenet Ramsey’s father think about the suspect in his daughter’s murder? 

We’ll ask John Ramsey’s attorney for the past seven years.  Lin Wood in his first interview since last week’s arrest of John Mark Karr. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Oh.  But there is just one problem with that description.  It was not his first interview since this story broke.  On Wednesday the very same man, Lin Wood, the Ramsey family attorney—there he is on MSNBC, August 16th, 5:23 p.m. 

We can prove it.  Pretty bad. 

Next up, Nancy Grace.  Grace has made a pretty good living from her persona as a nostril-flaring hyperbole-spewing, man-hating, crime-busting shrew.  It could be a pretty amusing act, assuming it is an act—and we pray to god that it is—but at times even Nancy Grace can go too far, as she did with this discussion of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HOST, “NANCY GRACE”:  He stated that he drugged and raped this little girl.  Now, anybody that wants to look can see what this says about her hymen.  The hymen is represented by a rim of tissue extending clockwise between the 2:00 and 10:00 position. 

Now, Dr. Phillips (ph), she still had a hymen.  If this guy had raped her, how could that be? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  You know, I cringe and I feel guilty even putting that on the air.  We had a big debate this afternoon about whether to air that because it’s so revolting.  That is pornography.  And I apologize to our viewers who were discussed by it.  We really did for once not to be self-righteous put that on as a public service.

And our question is this, Nancy Grace, please, will you stop putting things like that on?  It is one thing to take the side of crime victims.  Good for you for doing that.  But it is quite another to take it so far that it becomes titillating and disgusting and, frankly, immoral to talk like that on television.

So, please, no more.

And as if that wasn’t enough Nancy Grace, take a look at this.  This is a side of Nancy that viewers were lucky enough to see just hours ago.  I caught this, in fact, watching here sitting in my office.

She didn’t think the camera was on her.  Look at that.  Off camera, she says, “Move!” to her director, one of the cameramen, her producer.  We are not sure who that is.  I bet it’s a man, though.  And she is growling at him. 

So, if you think Nancy is mad at rapists or some of the guests she has on her show, she is even madder at her staff.  The obvious question, how long before she brings a gun to work?  Ooh, I bet that’s a question her staff asks themselves every day as they shiver.

Well, how would you like to help us “Beat the Press”?  Call us, tell us what you have seen.  The number here, 1-877-BTP-5876.  Operators standing by. 

Still to come, is there a secret deal to get Hillary Clinton out of the race for the White House?  And if not, should there be?  What would make her drop her candidacy? 

Also ahead, this guy really does not want to be king of the math geeks. 

That’s why he is turning down more than a million bucks in prize money. 

That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, everybody assumes Hillary Clinton wants to be president but does she really have her eye on a different prize.  We’ll tell you.  Plus Utah teenagers rally for polygamy.  We’ll explain why having your own (INAUDIBLE) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  All that in just a minute, but right now here is a look at your headlines. 

MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC ANCHOR:  I’m Margaret Brennan with your CNBC market wrap.  A mixed day on Wall Street with the Dow Jones Industrial average closing the day down more than 5.  The S&P 500 up more than one point, the NASDAQ up by just two.  Prices at the pump falling last week by about 7 cents to a national average of $2.92 a gallon for regular.  Still prices are about 31 cents higher than a year ago.  At least one builder of so-called luxury mcmansions is feeling the pinch as home sales slow nationwide.  Toll Brothers reporting profits off by 19 percent in the latest quarter.  The company also lowering its outlook for the rest of the year.  Sylvester Stallone, John Cusack and former New York Mayor Ed Koch among several celebrities being sued by a failed hedge fund.  Lipper Convertibles want them to give back the millions they got after fund profits soared.  The fund apparently didn’t make as much as some thought because the portfolio manager was allegedly inflating profits.  Now back to Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Time now for three on three where we welcome a couple of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today’s most interesting stories.  Let’s get right to it.  Joining me today Melanie Morgan, she’s a radio talk show host on KSFO 560 in San Francisco.  And democratic strategist Rich Masters who joins us from Washington.  Welcome both. 

RICH MASTERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Hey, Tucker. 

MELANIE MORGAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Is it immoral to be against the war in Iraq? That’s the question.  You might think so if you listen to President Bush.  Here is what he said just yesterday. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  I fully understand that some didn’t think we ought to go in there in the first place.  But defeat, if you think its bad now, imagine what Iraq would look like if the United States leaves before this government can defend itself and sustain itself.  If we ever give up the desire to help people who live in freedom we will have lost our soul as a nation as far as I’m concerned. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Melanie the president goes on to say that it’s amazing that some people dare to campaign on a pull out from Iraq.  Now look, you can be against a pull out from Iraq and I think I’m probably against pulling out immediately from Iraq.  But we can all agree it’s fair to campaign against the president’s foreign policy.  Why is that anti-American or wrong?

MORGAN:  I think it’s unpatriotic and I wish that the president had actually called those people unpatriotic on national television.  I would have liked to have seen a much more robust speech by the president on this issue.  Because it is unpatriotic in a time of war when we have had war declared upon us, brought to our shores, the Islamic fundamentalists want to kill each and every one of us and then we have the Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore crowd and all those people who are urging immediate withdrawal and that jeopardizes the lives of each and every American.  And I think that’s wrong.

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  Slow down.  There are a lot of patriotic, indeed rapidly conservative people, including me, who are adamantly opposed to this war because they think it’s the wrong place and the wrong way to fight Islamic fascism.  I think it’s totally fair to say that out loud that doesn’t make me anti-American. 

MASTERS:  Absolutely not Tucker.

MORGAN:  Are you lying about -- 

MASTERS:  Not only are you not anti-American—

CARLSON:  Wait, hold on for a second.  I just want to hear Melanie respond to that because she’s got me going here. 

MORGAN:  I would like to respond by saying are you lying about the war? Are you making up facts? Are you calling it a quagmire, are you calling it Vietnam when in fact did you know for instance that the casualty figures today as of this day are lower than when I was in Iraq exactly one year ago to this date? How many casualties do you think that we have had right now? We have had 34.  How many did we have a year ago August? We had 87.  And that’s at a time when we were telling really great stories about reconstruction and building.  Now, if you are out doing any of those things, then I would call you happily unpatriotic, Tucker, but I don’t think you are. 

CARLSON:  Oh.  Melanie, I’m offended but I’m going to turn to Rich because he is here, too, and I want to hear what he has to say.  But I will come back to you, Melanie.  You wound me up. 

MASTERS:  Tucker, not only are people who criticize the quagmire that this administration has dragged us into because they didn’t listen to the military leaders who said we were going in undermanned and ill prepared to occupy a country for any length of time.  Military leaders, republicans and democrats, Chuck Hagel, McCain, I mean, across the board, we had people that said that this administration had a failed policy going in, and now we are in three and a half years later and there are still no ends in the sight.  So not only is it patriotic to question this.  Let’s get back to Tucker’s original question is it immoral to say that the Iraq war was wrong? I mean, the leader of my church Pope Benedict the 16th says that the war is wrong.  Cardinal McCarick, my cardinal here in Washington, D.C. says that it’s immoral for us to be in the midst of a war like this.  So, if we are going to talking about morality and if we are going to talk about virtues and values, let’s talk about these things. 

CARLSON:  I mean, I must say to the religious leaders as much as I am, see now you are pushing me to the other side there, Rich, as much as I am totally opposed to this war because I think it’s dumb and it hurts America and I think those who support it are hurting America by doing so.  I think that the religious leaders, the left wing religious leaders, including my church, the Episcopal church, who blithely throw out these broad sides against this administration and use moral terms to describe foreign policy aims, you know those people can just shut up.

MASTERS:  That’s the first time I’ve heard Pope Benedict called left wing though. 

MORGAN:  If you want to discuss what morality means then I would absolutely remind everybody of how immoral it was to take airplanes loaded with jet fuel and crash them into the sides of American buildings killing 3,000 people.  I think that’s immoral and I think it’s immoral to behead people and put them on Al Jazeera TV.  I think it’s wrong to launch on innocent civilian lives in Israel.

CARLSON:  Come on, come on.  I know the talking point that’s so reprehensibly dumb I’m embarrassed for you for even saying that. 

MASTERS:  Nobody is, even the president admitted yesterday Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

CARLSON:  Nobody is defending 9/11 here.  Nobody is saying that Mohammad Atta is a good man.  The question is merely one of procedure.  Is the war in Iraq the best way to fight Islamic fascists or is it not? Should we invade some other country? Should we make this a police action or whatever?  I mean it’s a question of how do we do it, it’s not a question of should we do it, nobody contests that.

MASTERS:  And let’s look at history frankly, Tucker.  When we talk about whether or not members of congress and political leaders running for election should and can talk about America’s foreign policy during a time of war, let’s go back, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, they have all been fodder for campaign rhetoric and more importantly let’s keep in mind who started this.  Karl Rove said to the republican national committee, republicans are going to run on the war.  They were the ones that politicized this. 

CARLSON:  No. 

MORGAN:  Keep in mind who started this? It was the Islamic Jihadists who started this.  It was the terrorists who killed us. 

CARLSON:  You have a pretty closely divided congress, ok.  Republicans in charge, but there are a lot of democrats and they could have put the brakes on this war had they wanted to. 

MASTERS:  You’re right. 

CARLSON:  They didn’t, they supported it, a lot of them.  A lot of them who are now in positions of prominence, including Hillary Clinton.  And a lot of those very same democrats are saying now, this war is being run ineffectively, Donald Rumsfeld is a bad guy.  Shouldn’t those people, John McCain said this today, maybe the Bush administration is not doing a good job running this war.  Maybe those people should face the truth that their complicity allowed this war to take place and that this war’s aims were dumb from the very beginning.  Why don’t democrats have the courage to admit that, Rich?

MASTERS:  Well I think, first of all, I think you are misrepresenting what a lot of democrats said, Tucker.  I mean, you know, when we went into this conflict, we were told across the board we were given false information, I was working in the senate at the time.  And that all of the information said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  And why?  Because Dick Cheney sat over and kept looking at his watch saying is it soup yet? Do we have weapons yet? Do we have evidence yet? I mean they cooked the books on the intelligence which is what drove us into war and what got a lot of democrats, frankly to vote for this.

MORGAN:  Oh please, please, please.

MASTERS:  Let me finish my thought on this.  For democrats and others who supported the war, they supported it based on assumptions that this administration gave that they are going to be throwing roses at our feet not explosive devices.  And right now, what we have got to do is we have got to say did this administration screw this entire thing up? No question they did. 

CARLSON:  Hold your horses. 

MASTERS:  We never should have been there three and a half years after

-- 

CARLSON:  Look I agree with that, but hold your own leaders accountable.  Melanie, set him straight. 

MORGAN:  Tucker let me just say something.  You just called me reprehensibly dumb and I think it’s incredibly stupid for us to forget about the same arguments that were made back in 1998 to go enter Iraq to invade Iraq to take out Saddam Hussein.  The only difference then was it was a different commander in chief. 

CARLSON:  I was opposed to Clinton’s foreign policy interventions and rumblings of interventions at the time because it seemed to me then as it seems to me now, the only good reason to send American troops into harms’ way is to directly protect this country from physical harm.  Not—theoretical wars never end well.

MORGAN:  If you think its fine Tucker to murder hundreds of thousands of Kurds if you think it’s fine for a dictator -- 

CARLSON:  I don’t think its fine, but I think my (INAUDIBLE) should die to prevent it, period.  Got that? I am not endorsing genocide.  I’m merely saying it’s my family’s responsibility to stop it. 

MORGAN:  I guess we have a different definition of morality here. 

CARLSON: I think we certainly do.  I wonder—see that’s an excellent question Melanie and I’m glad you brought that up.  Right now as we speak as you sit in the television studio in California.  Millions are dying in Africa, they are starving to death.  They are being killed by dictators and yet you sit there on the left coast of North America complacently, why aren’t you in Africa right now sacrificing your life so that they may live.  We must have a difference in morality, Melanie, I can’t imagine how you can sit by as that happens. 

MORGAN:  You’re right, Tucker, absolutely.  I have been a little bit too busy trying to support our troops in a time of war when there are people back stabbing them and undermining them.  I have got a little bit on my plate right now. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, you do.  You are single-handedly keeping America from, you know, from disintegrating Melanie.  You must be one busy chick. I am impressed.

MORGAN:  One TV appearance at a time Tucker, working on it. 

CARLSON:  Donald Rumsfeld, people are calling for him to resign, it seems to me Donald Rumsfeld whatever you think of him he’s not responsible for the war in Iraq.  Rich, I mean this is kind of a ridiculous thing to say.

MASTERS:  He is absolutely responsible for the war in Iraq.  And more importantly he is the one who single-handedly undermined army generals like General Shinseckey(ph) who said respectfully, we’re going in completely undermanned.  That we went in with a battle plan, his shock and awe.  We didn’t prepare America for long, drawn out and painful.  And so there is no question that Dick Cheney and George Bush are ultimately responsible for this.  But if Donald Rumsfeld—

MORGAN:  Rich, what’s your plan? What’s your plan?  What’s the democrat’s plan? Tell us, what’s your plan? 

MASTERS:  If Donald Rumsfeld were still in corporate America, with failure after failure after failure, he would have been fired a long time ago and that should be the situation now. 

MORGAN:  Please Rich, I’m still waiting.  What’s your plan, what’s the democrat’s plan? Tell me what John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, how would you do anything differently? Which (INAUDIBLE) would you have?

MASTERS:  Well, I mean, the truth of it is we had pretty decent sec defs, we had pretty decent secretary of states.  We had a secretary of state in Warren Christopher who in the Middle East went right into the Middle East and negotiated a shuttle diplomacy cease-fire in 1996. 

CARLSON:  Let me get to something that perhaps we can strike a cord of agreement on.  That is Hillary Clinton.  Would the Democratic Party be better off if Hillary Clinton were to drop her bid for president? That’s what some people are saying around Washington.  Possibly Mrs. Clinton should run the Democratic Party.  I don’t know if that means she would be a bad presidential candidate or better DNC chair, but the fact is a lot of liberals, a lot of democrats are saying maybe it’s not such a good idea for her to run.  Melanie, I know you are not a liberal, you have just explained that.  Do you think though that it’s better for the Democratic Party, step back a little bit, for Mrs. Clinton to run for president or to move on to some other pursuit?

MORGAN:  Well, I don’t think first of all that she is going to step back, unless it becomes quite apparent right up at the moment that she has to make a decision, pull the trigger or not.  She is very grasping and calculating and ambitious and that’s what her friends say about her.  So I’m assuming that she is going to make the run, unless she sees polling or evidence otherwise right up at the year from now. 

CARLSON:  Rich, the truth is there are so few men left in the Democratic Party.  There are so many woosies at the helm of that party. 

MASTERS:  Gee, thanks.

CARLSON:  Nobody has the huevos(ph) to stand up to Mrs. Clinton and say, you, you can’t win, step back you are not running for president.  Nobody is in charge.  So she just bulldozes everybody.  That’s the truth of it.  And you know it.

MASTERS:  It’s not the truth of it. 

CARLSON:  Oh come on. 

MASTERSS:  I mean there is no question that the Clinton name within the democratic ranks, people are still beholden to the entire Clinton legacy.  And now, looking back, six years ago to the Clinton presidency and how he left office, there is a reason that all of America should have warm feelings about them.  Now, that said, let’s talk about Hillary and let’s talk about what she may or may not do. 

CARLSON:  Can I make the obvious point? She was not president.  She was the president’s wife.  She has merely been an undistinguished senator for six y ears.  Why exactly do we think Hillary Clinton has the background, has the experience.  She has only had a full time job for relatively a recent period of time.  I mean, why should she be president?

MASTERS:  George W. Bush was an undistinguished governor in Texas who happened to be the son of the former president.  So, I mean, you know, in America we don’t necessarily look at these long—

CARLSON:  Wait, hold it, you are against Bush, so?

MASTERS: No, absolutely. 

CARLSON:  So what does that prove that she is only marginally better or worse than Bush? Shouldn’t she be aiming higher? Why not Diane Feinstein, why not Barbara Boxer? Why not run her for president?

MASTERS:  Listen, in the Democratic Party we have a wonderful rack of candidates starting with Mark Warner of Virginia who has a tremendous record.  We have Kathleen Sevilias(ph) in Kansas.  We have Evan Bayh(ph) in the senate in Indiana.  We have John Edwards who is a former senator.  There is going to be a vigorous debate within our party.  Now, Hillary Clinton is also, and I’m one of the people in this town that is convinced that she has not made up her mind.  She is a student of history.  She looks at history and if you look across—let’s look at the Kennedy brothers, Jack and Bobby and Teddy.  Who has had the largest and most lasting impact on American public policy?

CARLSON:  You just—Rich, you are of course right because the other two’s lives were tragically cut short by assassins.  But you just—and we are out of time, but let me just end on this note that you just made.  All three of those men ran for president.  One won, one might have won but he was assassinated, the third was not capable of winning but he ran.  One’s thought about running another time.  It’s in their blood, they can’t control themselves.  She is running.  Good luck to you.  Thank you both for coming on.  I appreciate it. 

MASTERS:  Thanks Tucker.

MORGAN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Teenagers rally for their right to be polygamists, but are they just too young to understand that having more than one wife is not as great as it sounds? We will discuss that when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  A brilliant mathematician solves a century-old problem but says he wants no part of the one million dollar prize he’s due for solving it.  So what’s his problem? Plus, Osama bin Laden is gaga for one of America’s biggest music stars.  Who is she and should she be worried?  Answers when we come back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time to check out today’s stories that I just don’t get.  Maybe you can help me understand them.  The first item on my “I don’t get” list, the appeal of polygamy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  When I married into this family, I guess I must have thought I was just marrying you.  And now I realize I was marrying all of you. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That’s from HBO’s “Big Love”, the series that begs the question.  Are three wives better than one?  Well these teens in Salt Lake City apparently think so.  They are from polygamist communities around the state.  And they want outsiders to know when it comes to love and marriage the more the merrier.  The Mormon Church officially stopped the practice of polygamy back in 1890, but there are still an estimated 30,000 polygamists in the state of Utah.  None of whom have apparently seen “Big Love.”  If you think polygamy is a good idea, and a lot of men do, it sounds pretty great, watch “Big Love” because then you understand the reality of polygamy is you may have five wives, but they are all mad at you all the time.  You don’t want that.  Well now to a story that really doesn’t add up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I’m wondering if I can ask to you dinner.  You do eat, don’t you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, on occasion, yeah.  Table for one.  (INAUDIBLE) change with the broth with a bird circling over head.  You know how it is. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Russell Crowe showed us just how strange math geniuses can be in the Oscar winning movie a beautiful mind.  But this guy here truly takes the prize for odd behavior.  He is 40-year-old Gregory Pearlman, a reclusive Russian math wizard who has been awarded the top honor in his field for solving a problem that’s perplexed his peers for a century.  That prize could lead to a-million-dollar payoff.  But Pearlman doesn’t want the prize.  He fears he’ll quote, “be type cast as a figure head for the mathematics community.”  And by the way, that is apparently a real photograph not a wax museum mannequin.  Here is the question.  Is there really a mathematics community? He appears to believe there is and he would know.  And if there is a mathematics community, how can I find out where it is and when it meets so I can avoid buying a house next to it or running into it on vacation.  The mathematics community, it’s real, it’s out there, be afraid.  And, finally, another example of your tax dollars at work, but not here at home. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  Today I’m announcing that America will send more aid to support humanitarian and reconstruction work in Lebanon for a total of more than $230 million.  These funds will help the Lebanese people rebuild their homes and return to their towns and communities. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now that Israel is done pummeling Lebanon to almost no effect by the way.  Uncle Sam wants to help clean up the mess.  Your hard earned tax dollars will include 42 million to help Lebanon’s military prepare for deployment in the southern part of the country.  Plus money to rebuild schools and mop up an oil spill off the Lebanese coast.  Here’s the question, if the United States was so opposed to the destruction, the physical destruction of Lebanon, so opposed to that it would pay for the reconstruction of Lebanon, why did we allow it? Why did we allow Israel, and we did allow Israel to use American arms to pummel Lebanon? Maybe that was a good idea maybe it wasn’t.  But the fact that we are paying for the clean up suggests that we were against it in the first place.  And if we were against it in the first place, why didn’t we do something about it?  Good question.  When Osama bin Laden isn’t busy with the whole jihad thing he is professing his love for an American celebrity.  We will tell you who the lucky lady is and why Bin Laden wants her famous husband dead.  It’s quite a story.  We have got it when we come right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Well, the real news can be pretty heavy and pretty depressing sometimes but not to Willie Geist.  He joins us now with his obliviously sunny perspective on the news.  Willie?

WILLIE GEIST:  I will take that as a compliment.  Speaking of depressing news, Tucker, I want to point something out.  We have been talking about this Iranian nuclear threat all day.  And as I watched the video we used for the story it looked a little less threatening.  So, they have a remote control airplane? Is that the idea? Which actually my nephew has one of those and it never explodes on takeoff which it is about to do right now.  So I think we can all sleep a little easier tonight knowing that all they have is a remote control airplane.  I feel better. 

CARLSON:  That is not a weapon of mass destruction, no. 

GEIST:  No, it certainly isn’t.  Meanwhile Tucker, some people had August 22nd circled on the calendar as the day Iran would deliver on its promise of Armageddon.  But the rest of us noted the date for another apocalyptic event, United States release of Paris Hilton’s debut album.  Her single “Stars are Blind” has already climbed up the dance charts.  Paris told “Blender” magazine quote, “I like cry when I listen to my album it’s so good.”  Now, Tucker, like Kevin Federline, we talked about him yesterday, the reflex is to mock Paris Hilton.  But actually, if you heard the song “Stars are Blind”, and you didn’t know who was singing it, you might sing along and actually like it until you heard it was her.  So I think, give her the benefit of the doubt. 

CARLSON:  I’m not bragging Willie when I say the chances of me singing along to a Paris Hilton tune even in a blind taste test are zero. 

GEIST:  Tucker you can act cool on TV, I know things about you.  “US Weekly” subscription. 

CARLSON:  That’s untrue by the way. 

GEIST:  Although he spends all his waking moments plotting the demise of western civilization, Osama bin Laden apparently has a soft spot for at least one piece of American culture.  That piece is Whitney Houston.  In a new book, the woman who claims to have been Osama’s sex slave says Bin Laden called Houston the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.  The author also says Bin Laden talked frequently of having Houston’s husband Bobby Brown killed.  That’s not very nice. 

Tucker, it seems to me that Whitney Houston attracts a certain kind of man and the scary part about this story is that Osama bin Laden, the worst person in the world is only slightly less desirable than Bobby Brown.

GEIST:  If they both showed up at your door with flowers and chocolate you’d kind of have to make a tough call. 

CARLSON:  She is wild though.  She has something about her that just draws these pretty dynamic yet pretty evil men. 

GEIST:  Yes, international terrorists love her.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist, thanks Willie.

GEIST: All right Tucker, see you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  That’s our show for today, thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL”, see you tomorrow.

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