updated 9/5/2006 11:37:27 AM ET 2006-09-05T15:37:27

Guests: Peter Beinart, Jed Babbin, Laura Schwartz, Pat Campbell, Armstrong Williams, Jody Huckaby

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks, and welcome to the show.

I‘m Tucker Carlson. 

Let‘s get right to our top story.

Rumsfeld as lightning rod.  The secretary of defense has been drawing fire for comparing criticism of the war in Iraq to appeasement of the Nazis.

Here‘s what he said earlier this week in a speech to the American Legion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:  A sentiment took root that contended that if only the growing threats that had begun to emerge in Europe and Asia could be accommodated, then the carnage and the destruction of then recent memory of World War I could be avoided. 

It was a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among western democracies, when those who warned about a coming crisis, the rise of fascism and nazism, they were ridiculed or ignored.  I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in effort to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  And he is not backing down.  In today‘s “L.A. Times,” Rumsfeld wrote, “The struggle is too important—the consequences too severe—to allow a ‘blame America first‘ mentality to overwhelm the truth that our nation, though imperfect, is a force for good in the world.  “I do worry about the lack of perspective in our national dialogue,” he wrote, “a perspective on history and the new challenges and threats that free people face today.  Those who know the truth need to speak out against the myths and distortions being told about our troops and our country.”

Well, Rumsfeld‘s argument does not hold water with his critics.  Some congressional Democrats are reportedly pushing for a vote of no confidence on the secretary later this month. 

Joining me now to discuss the Rumsfeld situation from Washington, the editor-at-large at “The New Republic,” Peter Beinart.

Peter, welcome.

PETER BEINART-EDITOR-AT-LARGE, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  Nice to be with you.

CARLSON:  Rumsfeld has said things this week that offend me, I think

that offend a lot of people.  On the other hand, to watch Democrats attack

some of whom, by the way, voted for this war—attack Rumsfeld as if he‘s responsible for getting us into this war, it‘s a bit much.  They‘re misdirecting their fire, in my view. 

BEINART:  Well, I don‘t think you have to—it‘s not either, or.  I mean, you can be critical of Bush and of Rumsfeld. 

The amazing thing about Rumsfeld is that this is a guy who has been considered a disaster not only by people who were against the war, but by many people who were for the war.  Bill Kristol and John Mccain think Rumsfeld has been a disaster because he hasn‘t sent enough troops there, because of the disastrous mistakes in disbanding the Iraqi military. 

So, Rumsfeld has the unique distinction of being someone who is considered—been considered a total disaster from right to left. 

CARLSON:  No, but that‘s the whole point.  That‘s why the criticism of Rumsfeld is so deeply phony, is because people who supported this war—and I point at your magazine among them...

BEINART:  Sure.  Sure.

CARLSON:  ... “The New Republic,” who—part of the reason we went to war in the first place—are now  saying actually. rather than reexamine the bad ideas that got us there, let‘s just blame the technocrats in charge.  So, it‘s, you know, if only we had more troops.  Maybe we should all admit that the ideas that got us there are wrong. 

BEINART:  Well, Tucker, actually, if you read my book, you would know that on page three of my book I say I was dead wrong to support the Iraq war, period.  Not...

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Peter, I know that.  I‘m talking about your magazine, which is not, as far as I know—and I read it every week—said that in its editorials.

BEINART:  Sure.

CARLSON:  But, no, I agree.  You have said that. 

BEINART:  Look, I—you and I agree, and I think I was dead wrong in thinking that this war could be a success.  But it is not inconsistent to believe that we could have fought the war better had we had more troops, which is what a lot of the generals wanted, and not made some mistakes that people were warning against at the time.  Like, a lot of experts warned about disbanding the Iraqi military. 

That‘s not an inconsistent position to take, that we could have done better at this than we have done if we haven‘t made some bone-headed decisions.

CARLSON:  Yes, I agree with that, but it‘s still very much like the argument you used to hear from liberals, well, communism was a great idea, it was a noble experiment that just—it had bad leaders.  I mean, Stalin kind of screwed it up.  Lenin put it off on the right foot, but then Stalin came in, power hungry, corrupt, and wrecked the whole experiment in utopia.

What a crock.  It was a bad idea.  And the idea that we should export democracy at the point o a gun is a bad idea.  Why can‘t we just admit that?

BEINART:  Well, it‘s actually really mostly conservatives, though, Tucker, who are trying to make the argument that Iraq was a good idea but it‘s been prosecuted badly.  I mean, that‘s really what “The Weekly Standard” and John McCain have been saying. 

Your beef is really with them, by and large.  And I do think it‘s important to recognize that even thought this—this was a bad idea, there are still—there is still a question of confidence here in your government that I think we have—we have a right to talk about and expect. 

CARLSON:  Well, of course we do.  Of course we have a right to talk about it.  And I was offended, and I said so all week, by the implication, I thought, in what Rumsfeld said, that if you‘re against the war in Iraq, somehow you‘re an appeaser or you‘re on the side of Islamic extremists.

I mean, that‘s—that‘s an outrageous thing even to imply.  I do, however, agree with him in that many on the left do blame America first.  They do.  They don‘t see America as particularly noble, they don‘t see it as morally superior to the rest of the world.  And that‘s wrong. 

BEINART:  I don‘t think that‘s true.  I think if you looked in the 1990s, in fact, you‘d find that in many ways the argument was the opposite.  It was liberals in the Clinton administration who were arguing that America really had a mission to confront genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo, for instance. 

And most conservatives were saying, you know what?  We don‘t have a dog in that fight.  Who cares about that?

What‘s is that since 9/11, because of speeches like the one that Rumsfeld is giving now, he has self-polarized the country so much that it‘s made it much, much harder for liberals to be supportive of American power because they fell like this war on terror has become a club that is used to beat them over the head again and again and again.  And that tends to make liberals less pro the war on terror than I think they should be. 

CARLSON:  Well, this war has been used as a club to beat them over the head.  But I think to some extent they deserve it.  I mean, listen to what you just said.

You said liberals are less supportive of the exercise of American people.  I mean, that‘s a pretty—did you mean to say that?  That‘s a pretty heavy thing to say.  We should all be supportive of the exercise of American power.  We can disagree over what circumstances it ought to be exercised in, but, I mean, we should all be for it, don‘t you think? 

BEINART:  Sure.  But what‘s happened is, look, a lot of Republicans were not very supportive of the exercise of American power under Bill Clinton. 

CARLSON:  Right.

BEINART:  Because they didn‘t trust Bill Clinton.

CARLSON:  Right.

BEINART:  But we don‘t—when a Democrat take power again, we may find the Democrats, in fact, become much more supportive of this.  I agree that Democrats should not allow their legitimate anger at the Bush administration to push them into a position where they don‘t recognize that we have very, very real enemies who are not only a threat to our security, but are fundamentally affront to liberal values. 

And I think Democrats have to resist that temptation.  But Donald Rumsfeld is really the problem in this regard, because in a country that needed to be unified after 9/11, he has self-consciously gone out at every opportunity by—by—by saying completely unfair and misleading things about the opposition and made the country weaker and more divided. 

CARLSON:  Let me just say one thing about the war.  The wars of the 1990s wars, if they even rise to that word, you say that liberals supported it.  It seems to me the liberal idea then and now is the same, that only wars in which America doesn‘t directly benefit—from which America doesn‘t directly benefit are morally just wars. 

In other words, if we were to go to war in Iraq because our oil interests were threatened, that would be bad.  But since we‘re there and we‘re not actually getting any oil from Iraq, it‘s OK.

America doesn‘t have a right, in other words, to act on her own behalf?  That seems to be the liberal idea to me.

BEINART:  Sometimes, but liberals were very supportive of the war in Afghanistan, which is a war both for our interests, I think, because it was a war of response, a war of self-defense, and a war for our values to overthrow the Taliban.  So I think—I think there is sometimes that tendency amongst liberals, but it‘s not always so clear where American ideals begin and where American interests end.

CARLSON:  Right.

BEINART:  And I think liberals on Afghanistan were right on both. 

CARLSON:  No, that‘s actually a good point.  It‘s not always so clear. 

It is clear, though, the Democratic Party at this stage, 2006, September 1st, actively, aggressively against the war in Iraq.

How then is Hillary Clinton the front-runner for the Democratic nomination?  I know it‘s early, right?  But it‘s not that early.  A lot of Democrats support Hillary but hate the war.

How does that work?

BEINART:  I think Democrats—what you see, by and large, is the Democrats are willing to give politicians a pass who were pro-war but are actively anti-Bush.  Where Lieberman really got himself in an enormous amount of trouble was, he seemed not only pro-war, but essentially pro-Bush.

There are a lot of other candidates, like John Edwards, for instance, who supported the war, although he‘s now, he said, like myself, that he was wrung, but who were able to make this distinction between being—having the support of the war to begin with, being very, very tough on Bush.  If Hillary Clinton can walk that line, I think she still may be able to win the primary.

CARLSON:  Oh, how shallow and embarrassing is that, though?  In other words, it‘s all about Bush the man?  If you hug Bush, if you seem to have affection for the guy, then you are evil? 

I mean, shouldn‘t it be about the ideas and the policies?  If you‘re for this misbegotten war that hurts America, you should be punished, it seems to me.  And if you‘re not for it you ought to be rewarded. 

So, again, Hillary Clinton, she‘s just popular because she‘s famous, don‘t you think?

BEINART:  Well, it seems to me, Tucker, you‘ve just made a statement which almost guarantees that you‘re going to have to support the Democratic candidate in 2008.  Because there‘s virtually no chance we‘re going to have a Republican candidate who says they were wrong to support the war in Iraq.

So, I mean, I congratulate you on flipping over to the other side here.

CARLSON:  Well, I doubt I‘m going to support the Democratic candidate. 

Whether I‘ll support the Republican candidate is a whole separate question.

I didn‘t last time, I may not this time.  But the point is, shouldn‘t you make your decisions based on the ideas and the policies and kind of the reality on, you know, Hillary Clinton, she‘s a woman.

BEINART:  Sure.

CARLSON:  I mean, if you want a woman—I keep asking this question and nobody answers it—why not Barbara Boxer?  Why not Dianne Feinstein?  Why not someone with a proven track record?

BEINART:  I don‘t think—people in the Democratic Party are not rallying behind Hillary Clinton primarily because she‘s a woman.  The support comes from the fact that they think that Bill Clinton was a really, really good president, and they think that she believes most of the same things that he does, and she would have many of the same kind of people around her. 

That‘s basically the idea for the Hillary Clinton presidency.  I mean, I agree with you that Democrats should not focus on Bush so much the person.  But Bush‘s policies are beyond Iraq. 

I mean, the terrible things that he‘s done don‘t stop with the war in Iraq. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I don‘t know.  Iraq is enough for me.

Peter Beinart.

Thank you, Peter.  I appreciate it.

BEINART:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Coming up, more on the left-wing backlash against Donald Rumsfeld.

Plus, a crime that has made headlines worldwide.  A father breaks into his neighbor‘s house, stabs the man almost a dozen times, and kills him.  Was that neighbor a child molester, and was the father justified in what he did?

That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  As we mentioned in our last segment, congressional Democrats are pushing for a no confidence vote on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  Is Rumsfeld to blame for the current debacle in Iraq?

Joining me now to discuss his troubles, the former deputy under secretary of defense in the first Bush administration, Jed Babbin. 

Jed, thanks a lot of joining us.

JED BABBIN, FMR. DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:  My pleasure.

CARLSON:  As I said a minute ago in the previous conversation, I don‘t

I don‘t—of course Donald Rumsfeld is not responsible for the war in Iraq.  He didn‘t dream it up.  But I wonder if he is the right guy to be leading this republican P.R. effort on the eve of the midterm election to convince America that all is well in the war on terror and in the war on Iraq.

Do you think that‘s smart politics? 

BABBIN:  Well, I think it‘s good politics.  I think Rumsfeld is one of the better spokesmen in the Republican Party.  After al, he is secretary of defense.  He‘s got a good voice and a good head on his shoulders.  And, quite frankly, he goes across to the American people a lot better than any of the Democrats do. 

So I think it‘s a great idea.

CARLSON:  Well, he is—he is articulate as hell, but he is also—though, again, I don‘t hold him responsible for thinking up the war or initiating it.  He as overseen it, and things aren‘t going very well in Iraq. 

You and I can‘t walk down the street in Iraq without being killed.  That says a lot three and a half years later, over 100,000 troops in this country.  And we still can‘t walk through downtown Baghdad.

So why wouldn‘t we hold him partly responsible for that? 

BABBIN:  Well, I think you should hold him partly responsible for it. 

But I think you also have to credit him as much as you fault him. 

I mean, this is a man who has been the architect of transforming the Defense Department under fire, and he‘s done an enormous amount of good.  In fact, the war in Iraq is not going well right now, but I‘ll tell you what, it‘s doing a lot better than people have forecast. 

And I think, also, if you look seriously at what‘s going on with the Democrats, I think, frankly, Tucker, it‘s hilarious that these guys are all puffed up saying, “Oh, my lord.  He‘s calling us ‘appeasers.‘”  He never said what.

You know what?  Me thinks they protest too much because that‘s what they really are.  They fear this.  I think the Democrats are seeing numbers in private polling that‘s telling them things are going bad, south for them, because in five years of war, five years, Tucker, I have yet to hear one Democrat say, “How are we going to win?”  All they know how do is retreat and lose. 

CARLSON:  Well, and also, I think we have a problem with many Democrats.  And there are exceptions.  Peter Beinart, who we just had on, is one.  But most Democrats are unwilling to name the enemy, which is radical Islam. 

BABBIN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  And I agree with a lot of what you said. 

On the other hand, there are conservatives, real conservative like me, who understand we are fighting radical Islam, think we ought to be devoting even more resources to doing so, but still believe the war in Iraq hurts American interests, really hurts this country.  I really believe that.

BABBIN:  Well, I think you‘re wrong.

CARLSON:  And I am very offended by—very offended by the implication that I am somehow an appeaser for believing that.  And I thin Rumsfeld is implying so. 

BABBIN:  Well, I don‘t think he‘s implying that at all.  I think what he‘s saying, Tucker, is those people who‘d want to cut and run from Iraq, who want to withdraw, regardless of the consequences, those people are appeasers.  And I hope you are not in that category. 

I think we see...

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know.  But maybe you could make the argument -

no, actually I‘m not.  And I‘m even more angry at the Bush administration because I don‘t think we can leave Iraq because I do believe it can be worse.  It can always be worse.  That‘s the lesson of Iraq, it can always be worse.

BABBIN:  Well, it will be worse...

CARLSON:  However...

BABBIN:  Tucker ...

CARLSON:  Yes?

BABBIN:  ... the real issue—the issue here is that the neocon idea of waiting and creating democracy before we take the battle to the center of the enemy, that‘s—I‘ve been talking about that and I‘ve been writing about it since about two weeks after we hit Baghdad. 

The fact of the matter is—and we—you know, I have a big war going on with Rich Lowry at “National Review.”  He says people like me are “to hell with them” hawks.  You know, get on with the war.

What I am saying is, we don‘t want to wait.  The battle in Iraq is not central to the war on terror anymore because we have to take the battle to the heart of the enemy.  That‘s Tehran, that‘s Damascus.  And unless and until we do that, we could be in Iraq for 60 days or 60 years and, quite frankly, things aren‘t going to change a hell of a lot. 

CARLSON:  OK.  But you could still make, it seems to me—this is just on sort of the level of principle here.  You could make an argument that Iraq has hurt American interests. 

We have gone in.  We have shown that we are not as powerful as many around the world believed we were.  We‘ve shown our cards.  People are less afraid of us than they were three and a half years ago.  That is bad. 

That‘s not an argument in favor of appeasement.  That‘s not an anti-American argument.  That‘s not an  un-American argument.  That‘s a pro-American argument, and I don‘t think Rumsfeld leaves room for acknowledging that. 

BABBIN:  No, I think that‘s wrong. 

CARLSON:  And it bugs the hell out of me.

BABBIN:  Well, number one, you shouldn‘t be offended because what you‘re saying, at least in part, is correct.  I don‘t think we have shown our hand.  I don‘t think we‘ve played all our cards by any stretch of the imagination.  And if you ask the senior military leadership—and I talk to those guys fairly frequently—they will tell you that we have not done those things. 

And, you know...

CARLSON:  Really?  Then why is—why does Iran clearly have no fear of us?  Iran is clearly not afraid of the United States acting.  That is really bad. 

BABBIN:  Don‘t talk to Don Rumsfeld about that.  Talk to George Bush and Condi Rice.  Condi Rice talked George Bush into that berserk idea of backing the eunuchs of Europe in their incentives program for Iran. 

CARLSON:  Right.

BABBIN:  That‘s why we don‘t have a fear in Iran.  That‘s why they‘re playing us like a cheap fiddle. 

What we have to do is take the battle to the center of the enemy.  The idea that we shouldn‘t do that is not coming out of the Pentagon.

CARLSON:  All right.  Jed Babbin, thank you.  That was an interesting, interesting defense of Donald Rumsfeld that I will be thinking about tonight, actually, even more. 

Thanks a lot.  I appreciate it.

BABBIN:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still to come, no-strings financial aid for illegal immigrants?  It could happen in California.  But should it, is the question.

And CNN bathroom broadcaster Kyra Phillips does “David Letterman.”

We‘ve got it.  We‘ll show it to you on “Beat the Press.” 

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It‘s time to “Beat the Press.”

The good people at “Good Morning America” got a taste of some good old-fashioned polygamist hospitality this morning. 

Correspondent John Quinones was wandering around Colorado City, Arizona.  That‘s where Warren Jeffs‘ sect is based.  He quickly discovered he was not welcome there. 

Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN QUINONES, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”:  What do you think about the arrest of Warren Jeffs? 

(voice over):  And then suddenly things turn ugly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want you off this property now. 

QUINONES:  The store manager angrily orders us off the parking lot, even though it‘s public property. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re trespassing.  Off of this property now.

QUINONES:  And as we try to leave, he attacks our camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, you get your hands off the man‘s camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Don‘t point the camera at me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You ought to get in your cars and leave the property.

QUINONES:  And then the local police are called in. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Go. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK.  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We are. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not quick enough, mister. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Oh, it just makes you want to send the National Guard in there and arrest every one of those creeps. 

Good for John Quinones. 

I hope you camp out there.  I hope you move there and harass those people every single day.

Good for you.

Well, Bob Schieffer of CBS passed the torch to Katie Couric last night on the “CBS Evening News.”  The network gave a fitting tribute to a man who filled in admirably after Dan Rather was forced out, but the last image of Schieffer on the “Evening News” many of us will have is that of a botched man hug with CBS News president Sean McManus.

Watch and cringe.  Your toes will curl.

Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB SCHIEFFER, “CBS EVENING NEWS”:  Goodnight, everyone.  I‘ll see you the next time from Washington.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

CARLSON:  Oh, that is awful.  And Bob Schieffer, who is a great guy, who did a great job, deserves far more than that. 

Hey, CBS brass, keep your hands off Bob Schieffer.  Look at that right there. 

Ew.  Repelled like magnets.  That is just wrong. 

Keep your hands off the anchor.

Well, it‘s beginning to look like Kyra Philips‘ nationally broadcast bathroom break may be the best thing that ever happened to her.  Last night the CNN correspondent and anchor went on the “Late Show With David Letterman” and she read her top 10 excuses for leaving on her mic while she got something in the ladies‘ room the other day. 

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, “LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN:  Top 10 Kyra Phillips excuses.

Number 10...

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR:  Still haven‘t mastered complicated on-off switch.

LETTERMAN:  I see.  Thank you.

PHILLIPS:  I was set up by those bastards at FOX News. 

(APPLAUSE)

LETTERMAN:  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

Number 4...

PHILLIPS:  Like you have never gone to the bathroom and had it broadcast on national television? 

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN:  Exactly.  Exactly.

(APPLAUSE)

LETTERMAN:  I hear you, sister. 

Number 3...

PHILLIPS:  I just wanted that hunky Lou Dobbs to notice me. 

LETTERMAN:  Yes, there you go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  So good. 

Kyra Phillips, I have to say, has really pulled this off.  One more note in defense of Kyra Phillips. 

If you or I were tape-recorded talking to a friend in the bathroom, do you really think it would be as innocuous and nice as what Kyra Phillips was caught saying?  She attacked her sister-in-law, big deal, but she complimented her husband, didn‘t use profanity, said nothing bad about her bosses or the United States of America. 

Kyra Phillips, really, you get to wonder if maybe this was all a set-up from the beginning. 

Who knows?

Still to come, an army of faceless terrorists who drive taxicabs in the daytime and kill at night.  One senator says they‘re out there.

And a state trooper is unmasked as a former KKK member.  Should he lose his job?  He‘s still on the job.

That story when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, Brad Pitt takes a stab at solving the Katrina crisis.  Is he on the right track?  Who knows?  And the single most shocking moment at the MTV Music Video Awards. We‘ll get to all that in just a minute.  Right now though, a look at your headlines. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for three on three, where we welcome three of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today‘s most interesting stories.  Joining us from Philadelphia is WWRL radio talk show host Armstrong Williams.  From Orlando, Florida, Pat Campbell, the host of The Pat Campbell Show on WFLA.  And from Plymouth, Wisconsin, democratic strategist Laura Schwartz.  Welcome all three, thank you.

First up, should a member of the Ku Klux Klan be allowed to hold any kind of public office in this country, particularly one that revolves around law enforcement? That is one of the questions raised by a story from Nebraska.  A state patrol trooper there was fired in March after admitting he‘d been a member of the clan.  Now it looks like he‘ll be back on the job after an arbitrator ruled he‘s not a threat to the public.  This is a really interesting story Laura, this state trooper was a member of the Klan, he was on the Klan Web site, I guess there is a Klan Web site.  He was caught.  His excuse was that he was mad at his wife who had married someone of a different race, and he rejected the Klan and he was reinstated.  Do you think we ought to have just sort of a general rule that if you‘ve been in the KKK, you shouldn‘t be able to hold important public office?  What do you think of that?

LAURA SCHWARTZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well I think it has two sides to the issue, but I‘ve got to say, no matter what this guy said his reasons for being in the KKK was, there are no good reasons to be in the KKK, it shouldn‘t exist.  It‘s ridiculous.  So (INAUDIBLE) that he was, and was dismissed by the law enforcement agency, you know I‘m torn.  When you wear the badge and the uniform, you represent that uniform and that badge.  And I guess he did a pretty good job.  Had no problem.  And what you do when your off hours are your off hours.  But you know when you take the oath of conduct for a police officer, you have to uphold your conduct that‘s becoming of an officer at all times.  I don‘t think belonging to this organization is.  Now, it‘s really a tough subject because then you have other public office holders like Senator Byrd, who once was a member of the KKK. 

CARLSON:  No, wait Laura, if I can stop you there, that‘s not exactly right.  He was not a member of the KKK, he was a recruiter for the KKK. 

SCHWARTZ:  Either way you call it, he was very involved in the KKK for about a year and a half and then he denounced it, then he ran for office.  And the constituents of West Virginia voted him in, but you know -- 

CARLSON:  Laura, I‘m afraid we‘re having—I‘m agreeing with everything you‘re saying but we‘re having audio problems with you, so I want to go to Armstrong Williams.  Armstrong, where are you on this?  Does this man who has repented apparently of his association with the Klan deserve a second shot at being a cop?

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR AND HOST, WWRL RADIO:  Well Tucker all of us have a past and the beauty of this country is that we can overcome and remove ourselves from things that we‘re associated with that is very disturbing and filled with hatred, and one of the reasons why this country still fights this issue of racism today.  But you know, it all depends upon whether it was a part of his value system, which is hard to kind of separate the fact that he was attending the meetings.  And their whole purpose in life was to make sure that blacks did not get their proper respect, and the kind of jobs and opportunities that were deserving of them as human beings and Americans in this country.  You know I‘m not saying we should hold his past against him, but we can only judge as how he dealt with people that came into his circumstances as a police officer.  Did he treat them fairly, unfairly, did he profile them? And if you don‘t have someone outraged by the fact that they‘re saying that he profiled them, he was unfair.  If he was able to dispense justice in a fair and objective manner, then I don‘t see anything wrong with it.  But only if—

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  If you‘re—I mean it is 2006.  I mean if you‘re joining the Klan in 2006, they‘re only like eight guys in the Klan, they‘re all retarded.  If you‘re joining it now, you have seriously bad judgment.  I mean seriously bad judgment.  Pat, what do you think?

PAT CAMPBELL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, WFLA:  I like the line about them all being retarded.  Look, the last place this guy belongs is on a police force.  And I‘m glad you brought up Robert Byrd.  Not only was he a member of the KKK, he was a recruiter, you‘re right.  He was called a Kleagle, he got $10 a head for each new member he brought into the Klan.  

CARLSON:  Like you‘ve never done that, come on Pat, cast the first stone, ah.  

CAMPBELL:  Hold on a minute, hold on a minute.  Now the best part is, although he has publicly renounced his membership to the Klan, and we‘re talking about one of the highest ranking democrats in Washington, D.C., his actions betray him.  It was not—it was what, four years ago he was on another cable network where he dropped the “N” bomb.  He lost the hood, but he never lost the attitude.  It is outrageous that the people in West Virginia would even vote this guy into office.  The trooper in Nebraska has no business being on the police force.

SCHWARTZ:  But you have to look at his policies.  His policies trump that personality trait and dropping that word there‘s no excuse for that either.

CAMPBELL:  Once you‘re a hater, you‘re always a hater and that‘s the last place he belongs is in public office. 

CARLSON:  Well speaking of hater, hold on, I want to get to—there is a republican since we‘ve been pounding on this democrat who has being accused of hatred, I suppose.  Montana Senator Conrad Burns, he‘s in hot water for comments he made recently, we should say this is in the context of a very hotly disputed senate race.  At a fundraiser with Laura Bush the senator said this country is threatened by what he called quote, “a faceless enemy of terrorists” quote “who drive taxicabs in the daytime and kill at night.”  So all of a sudden Laura, he is being called a bigot for saying this.  And people are saying, well, you know what an outrageous thing to say, it‘s kind of profiling.  I don‘t know, I think there‘s probably some truth in what he‘s saying.  I mean does this offend you? 

SCHWARTZ:  You know what, I think he needs to keep his mouth shut and his eyes open for the rest of the season before he loses by double digits. 

CARLSON:  Why?  Why should he keep his mouth shut—there probably are cab drivers who are sympathetic to terror.

SCHWARTZ:  I mean every time he opens it up, something else comes out.  Something else comes out completely outrageous.  The little Guatemala man, now that the taxi cab drivers are terrorists.  I mean --  

CARLSON:  What‘s outrageous about it, I don‘t understand what‘s outrageous about that at all?  What‘s outrageous about suggesting—

SCHWARTZ:  You know the republican jabs, the macaca with Senator Allen, they‘re all showing that you know what they fail to know the value of diversity. 

CARLSON:  Diversity?  He‘s attacking, what, terrorists are part of the diverse tapestry of America now?  He‘s attacking terrorists? 

SCHWARTZ:  I mean everything—but what about the taxi driver that comes to this country that are legal that are of all different descents, Pakistani?  

CARLSON:  Well, he‘s not attacking all taxi drivers as far as I know, he‘s just saying.

SCHWARTZ:  Well yes he is, it sounded like all of the taxi cab drivers.

CARLSON:  So he lost the taxi driver vote, I mean come on, see this is the problem—

SCHWARTZ:  He‘s not going to get picked up any more on the street I‘ll tell you that.  

CARLSON:  This is the problem, Armstrong Williams, do you see this as an offensive statement? You‘re someone who, you know, spends time thinking about, you know, how America treats its minority groups.  Do you think this is a—I mean are you offended when you hear this?

WILLIAMS:  Listen, come on Tucker. A, it‘s an outrageous statement.  He is painting everyone with a broad brush.  Listen, I am one who take taxi cabs all the time in our nation‘s capital, most of them are of Muslim descent, we have very engaging conversations and none of them have ever given me the impression that would ever do any harm to America.  They denounce the silliness of these people who have no value system, they don‘t value life, you cannot negotiate with them.  I think Senator Burns should not—unless we have information from our Justice Department or the intelligence community that say that cab drivers go out and drive during the day and commit dastardly acts at night, he should apologize.  And there‘s nothing to support that.

CARLSON:  So what you‘re saying is because in your trips from say the train station to the (INAUDIBLE), no cab driver has ever admitted being in Al-Qaeda.  This is wrong?

WILLIAMS:  I don‘t think our intelligence community has reaffirmed that Tucker. Come on now.  

CARLSON:  Ok, come on now.  Hey Pat, what do you think are you offended by this?

CAMPBELL:  Well I‘m not sure who he offended, did he offend the taxi drivers, did he offend the terrorists? Who should he apologize to?  Obviously the comment is out of line, it‘s totally inappropriate for somebody in public office.  He owes an apology.  But again, I don‘t know exactly who offended.

CARLSON:  I think it‘s funny.  He didn‘t offend me. But when is vigilante justice appropriate? A Connecticut lawyer is charged with murder after he allegedly broke into a neighbor‘s house and stabbed a man to death after his wife told him the neighbor had molested their two year old daughter.  Now what do you think of this, I mean, Laura Schwartz, tell me that you‘re on this guy‘s side? If you had information or you believed that someone had molested your child, it‘s not too over the top to kill them, is it?

SCHWARTZ:  I think that‘s probably the first instinct of any parent.  I‘m not one, but I can empathize with that, absolutely.  But, you‘ve got to look at the law (INAUDIBLE) system.  We‘re not Iraq.  We have a justice system, we have laws.  Now if they would have taken those claims immediately to the police, filed a charge, get it investigated, who knows, maybe this guy was a serial molester.  Maybe he was connected to a child pornography ring and they could help justify or you know bring justice for all the other victims.  But they won‘t have that chance any more. We have laws in place for a reason.

CARLSON:  Wait, well maybe by killing the guy they did bring justice to the other victims.  I mean it‘s kind of irrelevant now—

SCHWARTZ:  You know, this guy never even had a trial.  I‘m not on either side, it has to be aired out in the court, but it can‘t now because the guy crawled through his window and stabbed him.  Justice and laws are in place, no matter how frustrated we are with the system or how slow they are, they‘re there for a reason.  

CARLSON:  Society can‘t stand by and allow that to happen, I‘m not suggesting that the guy shouldn‘t be arrested.  But I am suggesting that a lot of us can understand why he did it if in fact he did do it.  Armstrong can you understand? 

WILLIAMS:  Oh, absolutely, especially given all the stuff that has been reported about John Karr and JonBenet Ramsey and sexually molesting little girls.  The wife came to him, his wife is credible.  The guy had been coming out in the community in his boxer shorts, and has been reported that he was nude.  Obviously this guy had problems.  He felt that he harmed his two year old daughter, the daughter reported this. The guy snapped.  He lost his mind.  He wanted to do something to show his child that he cared and would protect his child at any cost and he went in there and killed the guy.  It may have been a mistake, but I have to tell you, any American who has children and understand that how children are violated by these sickos and these perverts today, can understand that somebody taking justice into their hands.  And if I were a juror, if that were the case, I certainly would not find him guilty.

CARLSON:  Now Pat what would you do, if you were a juror would you—

SCHWARTZ:  You need to take and get justice with the justice system, not on the street.

CAMPBELL:  Well Tucker this reminds me of the case of Gary Plachet(ph), I don‘t know if you remember but back in the 80‘s, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Gary‘s 11 year old son was kidnapped, abducted by his karate teacher, taken out to California, sexually violated.  Gary Plachet(ph) waited in the airport for the cops to bring him and back and pulled out a gun and wasted the guy right there in the airport.  They brought him up on murder charges, the jury would not convict.  In fact, when all was said and done, Gary Plachet(ph) wound up with five years probation.  Now, as a talk show host I can‘t condone this type of behavior, but you know what, as a parent, father of five, I understand it.

CARLSON:  Yeah, I can actually as a talk show host, I can condone it.  Good for Gary Plachet(ph).  Thanks a lot Pat, I appreciate it.  Armstrong Williams, Laura Schwartz, thank you all.  

CAMPBELL:  Thanks Tucker.  

WILLIAMS:  Thank you guys.  Have a nice Labor Day weekend.

SCHWARTZ:  Thanks Tucker.

CARLSON:  Have a good weekend.  Warren Jeffs has given polygamy a bad name, but what about having multiple wives creeps us out so much?  Is it really that much more unconventional than gay marriage?  Interesting debate if you think about it. And we‘ll have it.  Plus Brad Pitt of all people has a plan to help build New Orleans. It‘s a noble effort.  Does it make any sense?  We will discuss that when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time for a look at today‘s stories I just don‘t get.  First, why actor Brad Pitt doesn‘t get the concept of government bureaucracy.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD PITT, ACTOR:  I understand there is red tape you go through, but we‘re also a great nation of ingenuity and drive, and there is no reason why we cannot solve this problem. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  One year after Katrina Pitt says he is dismayed by how little progress has been made rebuilding the ravaged areas of New Orleans.  Pitt visited New Orleans this week to unveil his notion of a better and so called greener city.  Part of that involves a healthy building concept.  Housing, that according to him, will be energy efficient and affordable.  A great idea, but here‘s what I don‘t get though.  If you‘re for a greener New Orleans and also for hurrying up and rebuilding New Orleans, you may notice the conflict between the two.  One of the reasons it‘s taking so long, (INAUDIBLE) environmental regulations.  True fact.  I don‘t get why people don‘t get that.  

Next, I really don‘t get California‘s latest strategy in the battle to curb illegal immigration. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ®, CALIFORNIA:  I (INAUDIBLE) because I think that we have a terrific relationship with Mexico.  

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  And that relationship is likely to get even tighter now that California law makers considering allowing illegal aliens to apply for college financial aid.  That plan already has a green light in the state assembly.  Governor Schwarzenegger supports it too.  The school of thought here is that everyone in this country has a right to an education.  Which may or may not be true, but the point is illegal aliens aren‘t in this country, at least legally.  They‘re not American, they‘re not American citizens, and the idea that American citizens would get short changed in favor of or to make room for people who snuck into this country and are here illegally, is completely outrageous.  Let‘s just be totally clear.  If you support giving free college education to illegal aliens, you are not in any sense of the term against illegal immigration. You are actively for it.  Just to be clear.

And finally a follow up to the challenge I made here on Wednesday, I demanded an explanation right now about the stigma surrounding polygamy.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  If we are going to expand marriage to beyond one man and one woman, why not include multiple men or multiple women?  I don‘t know, why not? I‘d like to hear the argument, if you have the argument, you‘re invited to be a guest on this show.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  My invitation was prompted by the arrest of accused polygamist Warren Jeffs.  He says he‘s a victim of religious persecution and so far no rights group, no liberal group like the ACLU that we know of any way, has rushed to defend the practice of multiple marriages, not even those groups that support same sex marriages.  However, I did receive a really interesting email form the group P-FFLAG. That‘s Parents Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays.  They say they‘d be more than willing, happy in fact, to come on this show and explain why polygamy is more offensive than gay marriage.  Jody Huckaby is the executive director of the group Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and he joins me from Washington.  Thanks a lot for coming on Mr. Huckaby, I appreciate it.

JODY HUCKABY, PARENTS, FAMILIES & FRIENDS OF LESBIANS & GAYS:  Thank you Tucker for having me. 

CARLSON:  It seems to me that if you‘re for redefining marriage to include combinations not simply limited to one man and one woman, why stop at two men and two women, why not four men or four women or one man and six women or six women and one man?  I mean what‘s to say gay marriage is the place you have to stop?

HUCKABY:  Tucker you need to reframe, this is not about defining marriage or changing the definition of marriage.  What we are looking at as PFFLAG and as everyone who‘s advocating for allowing gay people to actually be married is to actually end the discrimination that exists against gay people.  Because what is marriage, marriage is the institution that protects the relationship of one person with another person and the family they choose to bring into the world. And that‘s what we‘re looking for.  We‘re looking for having the same—getting rid of that discrimination that has been existing --  

CARLSON:  No problem, I‘m not even—look Jody, I‘m not even arguing against you here. I‘m merely asking the obvious question, why not get rid of the discrimination against polygamists too?

HUCKABY:  Again, what happens in the discussion about marriage equality obviously is that all of these distractions take place, polygamy and bestiality and all the things that we‘ve heard.

CARLSON:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  I cannot let that stand Jody.  Polygamy is not on the same moral point as bestiality, for one it‘s only humans involved, for another, unlike gay marriage, polygamy has been around since the beginning of time.

HUCKABY:  It‘s a distraction.

CARLSON:  Jody, polygamy exists all over this globe right now.  Most cultures are polygamists.  Western Europe, the United States, Canada are not, but the rest of the world is.  There‘s no gay marriage in the rest of the word, except for a few countries.  So, polygamy is the norm, gay marriage is not.  Why are you attacking polygamy? 

HUCKABY:  Let‘s talk about the countries where gay marriage actually is in existence, we‘re talking about Canada, we‘re talking about Spain, we‘re talking about—let‘s talk about Massachusetts, the Netherlands, Belgium.  Now you said yesterday on your show the slippery slope, everybody‘s concerned about the slippery slope.  That if we allow gay people to get married, there is this whole slippery slope that we have to worry about.  Now polygamy is going to become legalized.

CARLSON:  But why shouldn‘t it be legalized, that‘s my question?  Why shouldn‘t polygamy be legalized, I want to know the argument against legalizing polygamy? 

HUCKABY:  Well I can tell you, in terms of the Warren Jeffs case, and I‘m not a polygamy expert not at all, but I can tell you certainly in hearing the conversations, the interviews with the wives and the children that he Warren Jeffs was engaged with in terms of his community, that‘s exploitation, that‘s clearly exploitation.  

CARLSON:  Well he‘s a creep.  That‘s like saying Roy Cone was a creep and therefore all gays are bad.  I mean that‘s unfair, Warren Jeffs doesn‘t stand for all or represent all polygamists, so.

HUCKABY:  My point is you keep changing the topic.  Because the real topic is about why it is that this country continues to have discrimination against tax paying American citizens -- 

CARLSON:  I‘m not changing that, I‘d be happy to—no, no, no.  I‘d be happy to have that debate.  I think there is a compelling debate for gay marriage, I‘m not arguing against.  I‘m merely saying what‘s the argument against polygamy, which is again, established in the history of the world, it‘s widespread around the world.  There are bigots, and I hope you‘re not one of them, who are arguing against, I‘m being facetious here. But I‘m just—I‘m using your rhetoric to point out the obvious point, which is there is no good argument against polygamy if you‘re for gay marriage?  And you can articulate it if there is.

HUCKABY:  Absolutely, absolutely.  Again, Tucker, it‘s needing to

reframe the discussion.  Because what I‘m trying to point out is that

polygamy always comes up as this distraction, this fear.  People talk about

you talk about the it factor yesterday.  On your show you talked about well, nobody knows any polygamists and even across the country.  What we know is PFFLAG with over 500 chapters across the country, we‘re moms and days, we‘re family members and friends, we know gay people.  You know I have a gay brother and I have a straight brother and they both have kids, they have partners, married.  My straight brother‘s married, my gay brother is. 

CARLSON:  Well people in Utah know polygamists.  Should polygamy be legalized do you believe Jody?

HUCKABY:  That‘s a question that you need to ask the polygamists. 

CARLSON:  Well what do you think, I want to know your opinion, what do you think?

HUCKABY:  I think it‘s not relevant to the discussion, that‘s why I‘m here.  I don‘t think it‘s relevant to the discussion. 

CARLSON:  It‘s relevant if you‘re—look, there are more people in polygamist marriages than there are in gay marriages by a factor of 10 probably in this country. It‘s relevant to them and they‘re rights are at issue here and I want to know what you think of their rights.  Do they have a right to be married or not?

HUCKABY:  I think the ratios would be very different if we actually saw more states like Massachusetts grant the --  

CARLSON:  You‘re not going to answer the question.  Come on Jody you can answer, don‘t be afraid to answer.  Tell me what you think.  I want to know what you think of polygamy.

HUCKABY:  Tucker I know you have taken logic classes, you‘re a very educated man and I think that you‘re unconcerned about the way that you‘re framing the discussion.  What we‘re talking about—I am serious.  You put out these distractions out there. 

CARLSON:  It‘s not a distraction at all.  I just want to be really clear for our viewers --  

HUCKABY:  Bring me back on and we can have a conversation about why it is that marriage equality can actually be good for this country. 

CARLSON:  You might absolutely be right and you‘re unwilling to make the argument.  My only point is that gay marriage is a boutique debate that affects a tiny, tiny percentage of this population and the world‘s population.  Polygamy is a huge debate that affects a huge number, millions upon tens of billions of people.  Tens of millions of people.  It‘s not a distraction, it‘s a key argument, and unless we‘re willing to be intellectually honest enough to face up to it and say, we have no reason to make this illegal, you cannot argue in favor of gay marriage.  It‘s not a distraction, it‘s real.

HUCKABY:  I completely disagree with you. I think that when you look at what‘s happening in this country today, what is the dialog.  What‘s been happening with the federal marriage amendment discussion over the summer time?  What‘s happening with ballot measures across the country?  People are talking about the issue of marriage and gay marriage, allowing gay people to actually get married to end the discrimination.  Why? Because it‘s happening in their communities across the country.   

CARLSON:  There is also an endless stream of pro gay marriage propaganda, which may be accurate, it may be good, but it‘s still true. If there‘s endless that we‘re told that it‘s a good thing, nobody stands up for the polygamist.  I‘m not standing up for him, I just you would Jody.  That‘s my only point, but I appreciate your coming on.  

HUCKABY:  That‘s the problem, you want me to stand up for the polygamists, when what I‘m standing up for is the right for one person to marry another person, have protections for their relationship, protections for their family, protections for their children.  That‘s the dialog that‘s happening across the country.  

CARLSON:  I guess it‘s a shame they don‘t have those protections.  

HUCKABY:  Well that‘s the dialogue you should be having on this show.  

CARLSON:  Thanks Jody I appreciate it.

HUCKABY:  Thanks for having me Tucker.

CARLSON:  Reverend Al Sharpton, he says he‘s already got his running mate lined up for the next presidential election in 2008. Wait until you hear who it is.  He‘s famous.  That‘s our one hint.  We‘ll tell you when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Like a cool rain on a hot day, a warm blanket on a cold night, a comforter of souls.  Willie Geist is here to make it all better.  

WILLIE GEIST:  Boy you‘re poetic.  A regular Anderson Cooper Tucker, I‘m impressed.  11 days, my friend, until “Dancing with the Stars.”  The countdown is on.  Mario Lopez and the gang, Tucker Carlson will be getting down in 11 days.  Tucker we mentioned coming into this segment Al Sharpton announced. 

CARLSON:  Yeah—

GEIST:  Ben Affleck will be his vice presidential running mate.  He may have said that because Affleck just gave him five grand for the National Action Network.  I don‘t know, but he did say that, so we‘ll see if it holds.

CARLSON:  I like them both. 

GEIST:  Tucker, nothing as you know brings a party to a screeching halt like a global warming lecture from Al Gore.  Gore took the stage at last night‘s MTV video music awards and addressed a glazed over crowd that included such intellectual heavyweights Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson.  See if you can hear the yawns. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE:  The cause of the rapid build-up of global warming pollution in our earth‘s atmosphere it has also been suffering.  Here is a photo of a glacier in the Italian Alps and here‘s a shot of that same glacier now.  Here‘s a glacier in Argentina 20 years ago, same glacier today. This is Peru 27 years ago and today. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Boy that room was just electric, wasn‘t it, Tucker?  I just don‘t get that.  Isn‘t that kind of like having P-Diddy perform at a global warming conference.  What‘s the point, I don‘t get it.

CARLSON:  I thought the girls kissed at these events, I like that better.  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  Thanks Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s our show, thanks for watching.  Up next Norah O‘Donnell and “HARDBALL”.  Have a great weekend.

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

END   

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