updated 9/14/2006 11:31:33 AM ET 2006-09-14T15:31:33

Guests: Jerry Springer, Clint Van Zandt, Rachel Maddow, Pat Campbell, Dan Matthews

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks and welcome to the show, coming to you from Los Angeles, where “Dancing with the Stars” is in full swing.  I made my debut on that show last night.  For any of you who may not have seen it, and purely as a pubic service, here‘s a replay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Dancing the cha-cha, Tucker Carlson and his partner Elena Grinenko.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  I can‘t watch that, and I never will. 

Joining me now, a man who understands the feeling vividly.  He is Jerry Springer.  He is also on “Dancing on the Stars.”

Jerry, welcome.

JERRY SPRINGER, TALK SHOW HOST:  We‘ve set a new standard. 

CARLSON:  A new low.  Thank you.

SPRINGER:  We must make every contestant feel great.

CARLSON:  So what did you think? 

SPRINGER:  Actually, it was more enjoyable than I thought.  And I went last.  So I had to sit back there and see how great everyone was doing.  I said, this is—you know, but they had metal detectors, so I was assured that no one would hurt me. 

CARLSON:  I actually felt better watching Joey Lawrence and Mario Lopez, because they were on a different show than we were. 

SPRINGER:  Oh, Yes.  I mean, I there were two divisions here.  Let‘s say there were three divisions.  

CARLSON:  I didn‘t feel like we were competing with them

SPRINGER:  No.  No.  No, I didn‘t think either.  But, the crowd—you know, the crowd was—it‘s a fun—this really is a television show that, who can complain about it? 

CARLSON:  I agree. 

SPRINGER:  I mean, it‘s fun family entertainment. 

CARLSON:  No nastiness at all.

SPRINGER:  Yes.

CARLSON:  How nervous were you? 

SPRINGER:  I honestly wasn‘t because I just—I mean, I‘m comfortable in front of an audience, and then I thought, well, no one expects me to be able to dance.  I was only concerned about living.  I wanted—I wanted to be OK.  I did not want anything bad to happen like... 

CARLSON:  So you just wanted to remain standing? 

SPRINGER:  Yes, as I said, I wanted to be vertical and breathing. 

CARLSON:  Did you...

SPRINGER:  And both those things were OK.

CARLSON:  So you felt no cardiac indications the whole time that I did? 

SPRINGER:  Yes.  Well, you know, this was funny.  There‘s one point in the dance where I kind of go down on one knee and then I come back up.  And there was an audible gasp in the audience when I came back up.  Like...

CARLSON:  Like, you made it! 

SPRINGER:  And they started cheering.  They started cheering when I got back up, like that was the bar.  I had to live.  If I lived, they would cheer. 

It was nice.

CARLSON:  My prediction, and I know you will say, oh, no, no, no, but you are a very sophisticated person.  I know you deep down will agree with me.  You‘re going to be on the show for a long time.  Are you ready—this is a commitment.  Are you ready for this? 

SPRINGER:  I can‘t.  My knees hurt.  You know.

I‘m begging with people, don‘t—do not vote for me. 

No, it—who knows?  Who knows?  I mean, obviously I won‘t make it on the dancing, so the question is, is it entertaining?  You know, that‘s the thing with all of us, you know.

CARLSON:  Well, in your case, it‘s totally entertaining.  But this also means you‘re going to have to learn—and I suppose I will, too, if I remain on—new dances every week. 

Are you ready for that?

SPRINGER:  What?  Can‘t I...

CARLSON:  That‘s what they told me. 

SPRINGER:  No, because they said—I thought they said, you‘re going to improve.  Well, let me improve on this dance.  How can I improve on the cha-cha if next week I‘ve got to do another dance?

CARLSON:  You just want to keep honing it? 

SPRINGER:  I‘m going to hone it.  I figure, eight weeks, cha-cha, I‘ve got it down. 

CARLSON:  You‘re going to be positively Cuban by the end.

SPRINGER:  Yes.  They are going to say Mario who? 

CARLSON:  So what is the next  -- is it the quick step?

SPRINGER:  It‘s the quick step.

CARLSON:  Have you tried that at all? 

SPRINGER:  No, but I figure it‘s quick step, you learn quickly.  You do it. 

It‘s four days we have to learn the quick step.  

CARLSON:  Yes.  Are you practicing today? 

SPRINGER:  No. 

CARLSON:  Are you practicing tomorrow? 

SPRINGER:  It‘s Wednesday.  How can you...

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know what to—is there...

(CROSSTALK)

SPRINGER:  No, tomorrow I‘m going to start, and, you know, you do the best you can. 

CARLSON:  So have you essentially moved to Los Angeles for this? 

SPRINGER:  Well, I‘m going to at least—you know, if I‘m voted off I‘ve got—I am bringing my luggage to the show. 

CARLSON:  I am too. 

SPRINGER: Yes.

CARLSON:  I‘m taking the red eye home if I lose. 

SPRINGER:  Yes, see.  No, so—either one of us should accompany the other to the airport.

CARLSON:  I will—I hope you‘ll toast me as I leave. 

What did you think of the Italian judge? 

SPRINGER:  I thought—well, I thought they were all kind of funny.  Well, they play a role.  It‘s television.

CARLSON:  Totally.

SPRINGER:  Yes.  So they‘re playing a role.  And I thought he—I think they were all funny, and I love when the crowd boos them.  You know?

CARLSON:  Yes, it‘s—they can‘t hurt my feelings, because I work on a show like this, where, you know, nothing hurts my feelings.

SPRINGER:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m sure you‘re the same way.

SPRINGER:  Yes.  They better not hurt my feelings.

CARLSON:  Yes, well, exactly.  No, that‘s right.  I mean, at a certain point you get tough enough to handle, you know, grouchy Italian judges. 

SPRINGER:  Yes.

CARLSON:  But I wonder about some of the other contestants.  I mean, they said mean things and people looked wounded to me. 

SPRINGER:  I did—I thought they were particularly tough on—I thought they were particularly tough on the women, and when I was looking at it, they were dancing beautifully. 

CARLSON:  Awful.  Awful to the women.  I totally agree with that.

SPRINGER:  Yes.  When they were saying, “Oh, your hand wasn‘t right,” good lord.  Sara Evans?  I mean, they were mean as hell to her. 

SPRINGER:  Yes, and I thought she was great.  I looked at that and I said, “Oh, my gosh.”  That‘s—you know, I was shocked.  That was the most surprising, because I thought that she did great. 

CARLSON:  I thought—what was most surprising to me was how completely non-competitive it was.  You watch other reality shows, “Survivor,” or something, and everyone hates everyone else...

SPRINGER:  Yes.

CARLSON:  ... and they are all plotting against each other.

SPRINGER:  Oh, wait until next—oh, please.

CARLSON:  Maybe it will get that way. 

SPRINGER:  Yes.  You know, it‘s a different attitude today.  Yesterday, “Oh, hey, good luck.”  Today, in makeup they‘re going...

CARLSON:  Really?

SPRINGER:  ... “There goes that Springer guy.”

CARLSON:  People are going to be throwing olive oil on the floor?

SPRINGER:  Yes.  No.

CARLSON:  Banana peels?

SPRINGER:  Yes.  It—well, you know what?  This is different, because when you have a show like “American Idol,” all those that make it to the end obviously are great singers. 

CARLSON:  Right.

SPRINGER:  Here, first you are dealing with people that are professional entertainers of some kind.

CARLSON:  Yes.

SPRINGER:  And secondly, it‘s immediately clear who can dance and who can‘t.

CARLSON:  That‘s true.

SPRINGER:  So it isn‘t—so that sense of competition—it isn‘t like I‘m going up to Mario and saying, “Boy, did you miss that part (INAUDIBLE).”

So, you know, who knows?

CARLSON:  Well, this is also an opportunity to pander to America.  What would your pitch be to people who are voting or thinking about voting?  What would you—would you say?

SPRINGER:  OK.  I want to remember my partner Kim.  She looked pretty good, right?

You should see the outfit she wears next week.  I don‘t know.  You want to see what she is wearing next week, you will vote for me.

CARLSON:  That is go good.  That‘s the basest possible pitch.

SPRINGER:  Well...

CARLSON:  You go right to the half-naked chick.

SPRINGER:  You are talking to me. Come on.

CARLSON:  Who did you—who did you think had the most clever approach to this?  Who did you like watching? 

SPRINGER:  Well, I thought Joey.  The first hour, I thought, this is going to be brutal.  He‘s the first one out, and I thought he was tremendous.

CARLSON:  He was tremendous.

SPRINGER:  Yes.  And then, of course, Mario.  I think he is in a league of his own.  I mean, he is the best dancer.  Whether that results in votes, that‘s a separate question, but he is clearly—I mean, to watch him, it was like, you know, god didn‘t make us in the same mold.  It was—you know, I think when god made me he wasn‘t paying attention.

CARLSON:  Was anybody disappointing to you? 

SPRINGER:  No, I think, you know, it was all—it was all fun, you know.  It‘s like, gosh, with all the real stuff that we talk about going on in the world, whether it‘s you on your TV show or me on my radio show, this is like—you know, it‘s like rooting for the Yankees, or whatever.  There‘s nothing to get too upset about.

CARLSON:  Are you nervous for tonight? 

SPRINGER:  Oh, no.  No, I‘ve worked on my concession speech.

CARLSON:  What is it? 

SPRINGER:  “Well, it serves you right.  Now I‘m going back to my regular TV show.  See how you like that!” 

CARLSON:  Very good.

SPRINGER:  Yes.

CARLSON:  The show is keeping you off the streets.

SPRINGER:  If you want—if you want to keep America clean, you‘ll keep voting me on so I can‘t do my other show.

CARLSON:  That‘s it, arguably (INAUDIBLE).

Jerry Springer, I hope you win this competition.  I mean that.  That is heartfelt.

SPRINGER:  Oh, you‘re the best.  You are such a nice guy.  You really are. 

And that‘s—I mean that.

CARLSON:  Troublemaker.

Still to come, more from “Dancing with the Stars.”  Now I know some of the show‘s backstage secrets.  We‘ll reveal some just ahead.

And the outrageous backlash against “The Crocodile Hunter.”  Why PETA says Steve Irwin‘s death was “no shock at all,” and it gets uglier.

That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for “Beat the Press.”

If you watched “Dancing with the Stars” last night you may have seen me and Mario Lopez and Jerry Springer, but lurking in the background was the real star of the show. 

Watch.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BERGERON, “DANCING WITH THE STARS”:  ... watch to see who‘d win our odd (ph) little trophy this year with their always insightful, professional opinions, general crankiness, go back and wait for your scores. 

None of our stars wants to be the first to take the walk of shame back to their lonely stretch limousine.  Won‘t you help them with your votes—

Samantha.

Yesterday I was with a group of the staff watching you guys rehearse. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  It‘s just unbelievable.  Where‘s Waldo?  Did you see what all those frames had in common?  That‘s right, our own William G. Geist, though you know him as Willie.  He was in every moment of that show.

Unbelievable.  A natural star. 

Next up, Rosie O‘Donnell and her seconds week as one of the ladies on “The Views,” over on ABC.  Rosie has been pretty well behaved so far—at least for the first 10 minutes of the show.  But after that things get scary and the real Rosie comes out.

Take a look at this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, “THE VIEW”:  Here‘s what you do for diaper rash.  You get a friend who‘s just had a baby, the dog that‘s had babies.  You bring your baby over with the puppies, you let the baby naked, and the dog will lick the baby‘s (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh!

O‘DONNELL:  This is what a doctor told me, because there‘s antiseptic in the dog‘s tongue and the diaper rash will go away. 

You don‘t believe me, but I tried it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  You get a dog to lick your child‘s crotch and that‘s good?  How long before child protective services shows up, I wonder?  How many more “Views” before the state comes in and does something about it? 

We‘ll find out.  We‘ll keep you posted.

And finally, Nancy Grace, who as we‘ve seen often tends to forget she is supposed to be an interviewer, not an interrogator, she‘s been closely following the story about a 2-year-old missing boy.  His name is Trenton Duckett.

Nancy interviewed his mother, Melinda, about a week and a half after he went missing.  We should point out that just hours after this interview aired, Melinda was found dead.  She apparently shot herself to death with a shotgun. 

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HOST, “NANCY GRACE”:  Why aren‘t you telling us where you were that day.  You were the last person to be seen with him. 

MELINDA DUCKETT, MOTHER OF MISSING 2-YEAR-OLD:  And we‘ve already gone out and distributed the flyers and...

GRACE:  Right.  Why aren‘t you telling us and giving us a clear picture where you were before your son was kidnapped? 

DUCKETT:  Because I‘m not giving to give those kind of details out. 

GRACE:  Why? 

DUCKETT:  Because I was told not to. 

GRACE:  Ms. Duckett, you‘re not telling us for a reason.  What is the reason?  You refuse to give even the simplest of facts of where you were with your son before he went missing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

CARLSON:  I‘m not suggesting that Nancy Grace caused this woman to kill herself.  I am suggesting that‘s a disgusting way to speak to a woman whose child has been abducted.

It‘s just—I almost don‘t want to put Nancy Grace stories up there, because I hate being self righteous about it, and she makes me self righteous.  But her behavior on the air is so over the top that you just can‘t help but be outraged when you watch it. 

Maybe that‘s the whole point.  Maybe I‘m getting sucked into the Nancy Grace world.  I hope not.

In any case, that‘s awful what she did. 

Well, still to come, a former FBI profiler blasts Nancy Grace‘s interview techniques.  It‘s not just me who thinks this.  We‘ll hear from Clint Van Zandt about what the effect of that interview might have been.  He‘ll be with us in a minute.

And one Israeli official‘s shocking charge.  The president of Iran is more dangerous, he says, than Adolph Hitler.  Could it be true?

That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  As we told you in our “Beat the Press” segment, Nancy Grace is under fire for her interview with the mother of a missing toddler.  The woman later committed suicide.  And my next guest, a former FBI profiler, says Grace may have pushed her over the edge.

Clint Van Zandt is the author of “Facing Down Evil.”  He joins us from Washington.

Clint, welcome.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FMR. FBI PROFILER:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  What did Nancy Grace do wrong? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, we have to understand, I am no longer an FBI agent.  I‘m an analyst on television.  Nancy Grace is no longer a prosecutor.  She‘s not an investigator.  And in the interview that I saw, she stepped over the line because she started to interrogate the mother of this missing child. 

She started—she lost the ability to understand this could be a witness or a subject in a criminal case.  If you are going to interrogate, that‘s the job of law enforcement for a very careful constructed interview.  And my readings about this young women, who has now committed suicide, was that she was very delicate psychologically, she had a number of challenges going on in her life, things that Nancy Grace may not have known about, but the police would have because they were able to look at the woman‘s e-mail messages and they were able to look at her MySpace blog. 

But I think what all of us in the media have to understand is that you reach a line where you don‘t step across and insert yourself in a case.  You don‘t become the prosecutor.  You don‘t become the interrogator. 

You‘re a talk show host, you ask questions...

CARLSON:  Right.

VAN ZANDT:  ... but leave the tough questions up to police. 

CARLSON:  You know, or at least recognize that these are human beings, they‘re not just props in your own reality television program.  I mean, they are actual people who have these dramas and tragedies going on in their lives, and maybe you should treat them as such. 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, see, many times on television the drama lasts for an hour, and then we click over to another channel.  The drama was right within this 21-year-old.  Whatever she had to do with the—her child being missing, perhaps even dead, we don‘t know yet.  That was law enforcement‘s job.  But we do know that she was one of the critical people that could have solved this case.

And when her grandfather says in an interview that Nancy Grace kept pounding and pounding, eventually pushed her over the edge, I don‘t blame Nancy Grace for this woman‘s death.  But I‘m saying there is a lesson to be learned...

CARLSON:  Right.

VAN ZANDT:  ... and that‘s, ask questions, but don‘t interrogate and don‘t become the investigator in the case.  Leave that to the police. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  And just don‘t be so awful in general.  How‘s that?  I think that‘s good advice, too. 

There‘s also this culture of suspicion that exists, I‘ve noticed, among former prosecutors who have television shows, where, you know, the loved one is always the most likely suspect.  It‘s always the husband.  It‘s always the parents.

I mean, you know, there are cases where children are hurt where the parents didn‘t do it. 

Isn‘t that right? 

VAN ZANDT:  Absolutely.  I think—you know, whether your name is John Walsh or John Ramsey, or whatever it is, you know that you always become an initial suspect.  That‘s simply understood.  And this mother would have understood that, too. 

But the relentless questioning that she went under on television, “Where were you?  Why aren‘t you telling us where you were?  Why aren‘t you taking a polygraph examination?”  Those are not questions that the media should be asking, those are questions that the police need to answer. 

And this particular woman was delicate, was fragile psychologically, I believe, and I would have gone with a very careful, structured questioning of her, realizing that if she had anything to do with her child‘s death she would be a potential candidate for suicide. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Well, you‘re not a reckless gas bag, which may be what separates you from the person we‘re talking about. 

Finally, why do you think this woman, this mother, now deceased, would go on Nancy Grace‘s show?  I mean, that does seem like awfully bad judgment.

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  And I think the question is what she thought the show would be, whether she thought she would just be able to share information about her missing son, or whether she knew that she would be subject to a relentless, blistering interrogation. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Of course.  So that‘s the pitch.

The booker calls you up and says, look, you‘ve got a missing child, you want to get the word out there, maybe someone will know what happened to your baby, come on my show.  And then she comes on and she gets sandbagged.  Does that sound right to you? 

VAN ZANDT:  No, it doesn‘t sound right.  And I think we ought to cast ratings aside and the names of shows aside, and we ought to be more concerned with people. 

This is a—this is a fragile woman that was on the surface about ready to break, and we have a missing child, and now the investigation is further complicated.  We don‘t know what happened to this 2-year-old boy, and now the mother put a shotgun to her head and blew her own brains out because of the stress and pressure she felt, partially, at least according to her grandparents, attributable to the media pressure placed on her. 

CARLSON:  That is just—that‘s an awful story. 

Clint Van Zandt, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it. 

VAN ZANDT:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still to come, is Vice President Dick Cheney ruining America? 

One columnist says so.  We‘ll tell you why just ahead.

And comedian Sasha Baron Cohen may not have too many fans at the White House.  How his “Borat” feature film is sparking a diplomatic furor in real life. 

That story and more when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, is the president of Iran more dangerous than Adolph Hitler himself?  That‘s the explosive charge from one Israeli politician. 

And backstage secrets from “Dancing with the Stars.”

We‘ll get to all that in just a minute.  But first, here is a look at your headlines. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Time “3 on 3,” where we welcome two of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today‘s most interesting stories. 

Joining us first from Orlando, Florida, Pat Campbell.  He‘s the host of “The Pat Campbell Show.”  And from New York City, our old pal Rachel Maddow from Air America Radio. 

Welcome both.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  Hi, Tucker.

How are you doing, Tucker?

CARLSON:  Excellent.

First up, the question is, is America on the verge of a religious reawakening?  That‘s what the president thinks.  Yesterday he told a group of conservative journalists that he believes this country is in the midst of a religious revival, one that is leading many Americans to see the war on terror as fundamentally a battle between good and evil. 

Rachel, this is exactly the kind of talk that scares the hell out of liberals.  This is why people hate Bush in the first place on the left. 

I personally wish he wouldn‘t use language like this.  On the other hand, let‘s be real.  The threat that we face is not from a religious reawakening of evangelicals in this country.  It‘s just not.  And, in fact, the religious impulse that Americans have has historically been a really good thing. 

So, there‘s not much to be afraid of, in my view. 

MADDOW:  Well, I‘m not afraid of it.  I just feel like, you know, whether or not the president is the guy to trust on how America—how fervent Americans are at the moment—I mean, he‘s never met a prescreened audience in the past few years. So I don‘t really trust him on assessing that for the country.  I think it‘s reasonable that he wants that to be true.  I think he wants the world to be very simple.  He wants it to be himself representing good and other people representing bad, evil.  And he‘s good fighting evil.  He likes simple.  I understand that about him.

CARLSON:  Well, can we agree on one half of the equation, that the people we‘re fighting are evil?

MADDOW:  Well, sure.  If we want to talk about who we are fighting.  I mean, right now that‘s a very complicated thing in the world.

CARLSON:  Well, how about the insurgency in Iraq? I mean, the people who blow themselves up, who kill our soldiers, they‘re evil, aren‘t they? 

MADDOW:  Well, if you talk about in Bush‘s  terms who is evil, if we are  fighting people who are giving sanctuary to terrorists, then why aren‘t we fighting Pakistan?   If we are talking about people who (INAUDIBLE) Islamic extremism, why aren‘t we fighting Saudi Arabia?  You talk about people who aren‘t spreading the freedom agenda, then why is he inviting the president of Kazakhstan to go see his mommy in two weeks?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, I resent the mommy comment, but other than that, I think that‘s actually a pretty fair point, Pat.  As soon as you start framing  world affairs in moral terms, as this president likes to do, you kind of screw yourself because the truth is you have to deal with people like President Musharraf.  You have to deal with President Mubarak of Egypt.  You have to deal with the Saudi royal family because they are pro-American.   But they are still bad.  

CAMPBELL:  Well, Tucker, I had no idea.  You should have told me I was going to be on with a warmonger like Rachel here. 

(CROSSTALK)

CAMPBELL: Let‘s talk about the third awakening that Bush brought up.  I‘m not buying for a minute.  There was a brief third awaking.  We saw it right after  September 11, 2001.  I remember seeing it firsthand.  Churches, synagogues were filled for about  four or six weeks. 

CARLSON:  Right.

CAMPBELL:  After that, the crowds  dissipated.   So if there was a third awaking, it was short lived.  We are back to being  the hedonistic, self-centered society that we love. 

CARLSON:  Right.  OK, but isn‘t it in some ways  dangerous—I don‘t think  Evangelicals pose a danger to our country.  Actually, I think , by and large they make our country better.  But I do think there really is a problem  with framing our foreign policy in moral terms, because again, it is really morally muddy out there.  I do think that we are morally superior to other countries in the world, and that we ought to behave that way.  But we still have to make friendships.  We have to sit down  and eat dinner with pretty bad people.   I mean, don‘t we?

MADDOW:  If you can whip people into a frenzy by saying we‘re good and we‘re fighting evil, and that‘s a way to try to rally people around something, but it doesn‘t make sense if it indicates that you don‘t really understand what  enemy we are fighting.   Right now Bush has come up with about 25 different definitions of who it is that we‘re fighting in the war on terror. 

The national strategy on combating terrorism that came out last week had about, on the space of two pages, about seven different definitions for who we‘re fighting.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  You have to understand who we‘re fighting in order to figure out how to fight them. 

CARLSON:  I agree.  I totally agree with that.  And you have to understand why they hate us.  Something that we‘ve taken about eight minutes to think about since 9/11 and we ought to be really obsessing on because it‘s really important.   However, I notice that the left doesn‘t like to say that America is morally superior to other countries.  And that‘s why I think Democrats have a lot of trouble getting elected, because they can‘t clearly in simple language say, you know what, we‘re better than them.  They don‘t like to say that.

MADDOW:  Well, I mean, whether or not we‘re better than them.

CARLSON:  We are better than them.

MADDOW:  But Tucker, regardless of whether or not we‘re better than them, whether, even if you set aside that argument, you still have to figure out how we are going to fight.   What our strategy is, how we‘re going to advance our morally wonderful or morally stupid agenda.  Whatever it is, we‘ve got to be smart about what we‘re doing.  And right now I‘m much more in opposition to stupidity than I am to the idea that we are good and somebody else is... 

CARLSON:  I think you have to start with understanding the truth, which is, I am sorry, we are morally superior to Luxembourg.  We just are.  Not even to mention Brockina Fawcett (ph).

Next up, Dick Cheney, speaking of good and bad.  Is he ruining America?  That‘s the opinion of one “New York Times” columnist.  You guessed it, Maureen Dowd.  She says in a column, quote, “Dick Cheney may be so deep in denial, he doesn‘t even know he‘s ruining America.  He needs a symbolic moral super wash.”

Pat, do you think that he needs a moral super wash?  What the hell is that, anyway? 

CAMPBELL:  I am glad that we have got Dick Cheney as the vice president.   Thank God we don‘t have somebody like Walter Mondale or God forbid, Dan Quail.  I want somebody that is up for the job, somebody that‘s ready to step in that position, should anything bad happen to the president. 

I got to tell you what, I was really proud of Dick Cheney when I saw him on “Meet the Press,” with Tim Russert this past weekend.  He didn‘t do what I know people like Rachel would love him to do, is back down, second guess himself.  He said, having to do it all over again, even knowing what we know now, we did the right thing.   The world is a safer place now that Saddam Hussein is no longer in control. 

CARLSON:  Well, I thought he got his but handed to him on “Meet the Press.”   I thought he was defending essentially an indefensible proposition.  But he did, I guess, a stylish job, considering that it‘s impossible.

But, Rachel, I don‘t understand why Dick Cheney has always been the focus of all this hatred from the left.  I mean, the guy is the vice president, after all.  He isn‘t running the show.  I mean, that‘s just a fact.  He‘s not.  Why do people hate him much more than Bush?

MADDOW:  Well, I think that Dick Cheney gets more credit than he deserves.   I mean, there isn‘t very much that Dick Cheney has worked on in his life that he‘s done very well.  I mean, even just as CEO of Halliburton, he made some very, very bad business decisions.  He‘s the guy who bopped that whole other company into Halliburton right before it has the big asbestos liability.  I mean, I think he gets more credit...

CARLSON:  Wait, so the greed of ambulance-chasing asbestos lawyers is Dick Cheney‘s fault?  That‘s what you‘re saying?  

MADDOW:  No, but it was a dumb decision to make as a CEO.  I mean, listen, the problem with Dick Cheney on “Meet the Press” is that he said not only would he do it all over again with Iraq, but he would not change a thing.   Really, if you could do it all over again, you would wait another 18 months after sending soldiers into battle before giving them full body armor.   You would not secure the ammo—you really would do Abu Ghraib all over again?  There is nothing that you would change?  He‘s still maintaining that there was a relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam. 

When Tim Russert confronted him with the fact that the Senate Intelligence Committee proved that otherwise, he said, I haven‘t read the report.  That‘s not a tough guy.  That‘s a dumb guy.  And that‘s why I don‘t want him as vice president.  I don‘t think he gets—I think he gets way too much credit. 

CARLSON:  Well, Rachel will get a chance to vote him out in two years. 

How is that?

MADDOW:  Fair enough.  

CARLSON:  Well, I guess what bothered me, Pat, about that interview is that I don‘t even think, you know, the majority of the Republican base, people who still believe in the Republican enterprise, whatever that is or is supposed to be, as distinct from conservatives, but I mean partisan Republicans, you know, rah, rah, Bush administration people.  I don‘t even think most of them would want to reinvade Iraq knowing what we know now.  Does Cheney have to say that or does he believe that?  What do you think?

CAMPBELL:  I think that he believes it.   And, you know, there is something much bigger going on here, too.  Think about where we are militarily in the Middle East right now.  You got a U.S. military presence in Iraq.  You got a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.  What is right in between those two countries?  Iran.   There is a reason we are there.  It‘s a much bigger picture  than just the Iraq invasion.  And quite frankly, given the climate of that part of the world, I am glad where we are at right now. 

CARLSON:  Well, here‘s an interesting—I‘m glad you brought up Iran, because here is an interesting question.   The other day, Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel, now leader of  the opposition in Israel, said this about the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he said, quote, “Hitler was defeated because he could not develop—because he could not develop weapons of mass destruction, Iran stands close to developing nuclear weapons.”  Does the world understand?  In other words, Iran is more dangerous than Nazi Germany.   This is the position of a man who could some day, who knows, soon maybe, become the prime minister of Israel.   Take off both of your partisan hats.  

Rachel, you first.  What does this mean exactly?  Do you buy that and do you think this is going to influence our behavior in America?

MADDOW:  I think that if we did not have World War II to use as an analogy, we would be struck dumb in politics around the globe.  

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  Like you know what, there‘s a lot of bad people in the world. 

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  It really shuts down all debate.   And if we stop putting ourselves in Churchill suits and our enemies in Hitler suits, we could actually see what‘s going on more clearly in the world.  Ahmadinejad wants attention.  And he wants Iran to seem more important than it is.  The fact that he may be close to acquiring nuclear weapons, frankly, earns him that attention.  And the United States or Israel or  anybody‘s attempt to try to make him into something that he isn‘t, doesn‘t help. 

CARLSON:  What do you think of that, Pat?

CAMPBELL:  Well, here is the problem, and Rachel has a rather simplistic approach to Iran‘s leader right  now.  This guy is probably the greatest single threat to Western civilization in my lifetime.   He not only wants to kill Jews, he has publicly said that he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.  I can‘t think of anyone more dangerous.  And again, I am so glad that we are where we are militarily in Iraq, in Afghanistan, so that if need be, we can react to this crazy.  

MADDOW:  Pat, let me ask you something, though, if—when Israel was trying to work up some sort of international force to go into southern Lebanon, after the Lebanese-Israel conflict, Israel said...

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  But Israel put a condition on it.  They said we don‘t want any nation to send troops if that nation does not recognize the state of Israel.  That left it basically to us and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to produce the troops to be in southern Lebanon.   It is a mainstream position in the Islamic world right now to be for the destruction of Israel.  That has become mainstream because moderate Islam has been completely wiped off the map by the polarization that‘s happened in our great war on terror.   If you want Israel to be  stronger...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  What she just said is factually incorrect.  The position of the Arab world  has been that Israel does not have a right to exist since 1948 in the U.N. partition.  So it‘s not Bush‘s fault.   That‘s just not true. 

MADDOW:  The forces of moderation in Islam right now, the forces of moderation that say not Hammas, not Hezbollah, not the Iranian regime, those forces have been marginalized in the Arab world right now.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMPBELL:  Rachel, where are those forces?  Because I haven‘t seen them.

MADDOW:  What is happening right now with Egypt?  Right.  What is happening with the  moderate forces in Iran that in power until Ahmadinejad took power just last year?

CAMPBELL:  What moderate forces in Iran?

MADDOW:  You don‘t think—you wouldn‘t prefer (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to be in power, than Ahmadinejad?  Come on.

CAMPBELL:  It doesn‘t matter what I prefer.  We have got to deal with who is there right now and that guy‘s a crazy. 

MADDOW:  That guy is crazy?  That guy has only been there for a year. 

CARLSON:  OK, now we are name calling, calling the Iranians crazy.  That‘s just wrong and mean.  But I want to thank you both, neither of whom is wrong or mean.  Thank you very much.

CAMPBELL:  Good luck, tonight, Tucker. 

MADDOW:  Yes, good luck tonight Tucker. 

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  We are pulling for you. 

CARLSON:  Say a prayer. 

Well, Debra LaFave speaks for the first time since getting busted for sleeping with her student, a 14-year-old boy.  She blames someone else for what she did.  The shame.  Details in a moment. 

Then, Feminist Icons Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem launch an all women‘s talk radio network.  Who is going to listen to that?  We will tell you.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time to look at today‘s stories I just don‘t get.  First up, why the one-time liberal Activist Jane Fonda is creating new static. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE FONDA, ACTIVIST:  In order to know how to program for your audience, you have to look like your audience, you have to live like your audience, you have to empathize with your audience. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  A career change for the actress.  Fonda is now working behind the scenes on the new women‘s radio network.  She is sharing programming duties such as they are with Feminist Gloria Steinem and Rosie O‘Donnell.  Fonda claims their fledging network is about presenting global issues for women with no political agenda. 

And yet, here is what I don‘t get, a trio of feminists putting together a radio network that I am telling you now, here is my prediction, will deal very heavily with questions of appearance, weight loss, cosmetics.  Is that feminism?  Is that what feminism has become?  Yes, kind of.  We should note that.  Kind of sad. 

Next, I really don‘t get the confessions of a sex-ed teacher. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBRA LAFAVE, SLEPT WITH 14-YEAR-OLD BOY:  He wanted it, and yes, I gave it to him. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Weren‘t you scared to death he would tell someone?

LAFAVE:  Obviously not, because I did it again. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And again?

LAFAVE:  And again. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Her liaison with a 14-year-old student three years ago made Debra LaFave a top contender for the title of America‘s most infamous school teacher.  It also earned her three years of house arrest and a criminal record as a registered sex offender. 

LaFave now says she is solely to blame for her troubles, but not really.  She claims her actions stemmed for being raped at the age of 13 and her bout with bipolar disorder. 

Now, I can say this as one of the few people in the world who‘s publicly defended Debra LaFave, that‘s pathetic.  You did what you did.  Now you are blaming a rape that took place when you were 13 and some mental disorder?  No.  Take responsibility for it.  All my sympathy for you just evaporated in a puff of smoke.  You‘re a whiner like everybody else in America in 2006.  You ought to be ashamed of yourself.  Hah.  You are not the hero I thought you were. 

And finally the reaction by some animal rights activists, following

the death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin that deserves an explanation

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think he represented a movement towards nature protection.  And I always liked that abut him and I think at least most Americans that I know picked up on that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Of course not everyone shares the sentiments of that crocodile hunter fan.  PETA, in fact, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has branded Irwin a cheap reality TV star.  The group‘s spokesman, Dan Matthews, says Irwin‘s death last week by a stingray comes as no shock, considering that Irwin made a career, as Matthews put it, of antagonizing wild animals. 

So how could an organization that wants to be taken seriously, that is PETA, publicly celebrate the death of a human being?  Let‘s ask the man who said, Dan Matthews, himself.  He‘s the PETA spokesman.  He joins us. 

Dan Matthews...

DAN MATTHEWS, PETA SPOKESMAN:  Good afternoon.

CARLSON:  Why in the world would you appear to gloat over the death of a human being? That‘s repulsive. 

MATTHEWS:  We are not gloating.  You have kids, don‘t you?

CARLSON:  We have been through this before with PETA.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I am not going to get into my personal life with you.  So what‘s the point?

MATTHEWS:  OK, well, anybody out there who has kids, every wildlife agency in this country has a really tough job trying to convince people to not harassing wildlife.  Steve Irwin‘s show went against the advice of every wildlife agency, not only in this country, but around the world.  His message was really, to go in, disturb animals, harass animals, and be on TV about it.  If you compare his show to Jacques Cousteau, it‘s more like jack ass than Jacques Cousteau.  He was not a wildlife advocate in the sense that Jacques Cousteau and Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey were.  He went and disturbed these animals.  That‘s why I think anybody with a brain would not be surprised that swimming down a stingray would result in his death.  It‘s a tragedy. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I don‘t know if you‘re a marine wildlife expert.  I doubt it.  But as far as I know, it was surprising that he was killed by a stingray.

MATTHEWS:  Well, it is surprising...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Stingrays are very gentle animals.  They have to be provoked to attack like this.  So what we are saying is that the intelligent message to get from his death isn‘t oh, what a great guy, but instead to just leave the animals alone.  His whole career was made on harassing wildlife. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  What do you mean harassing wildlife? 

MATTHEWS:  Have you ever watched his show?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... jumped on animals, jumped on snakes, jumped on crocodiles...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I don‘t know how much time you spend in the great out of doors.  I suspect not a great deal.  But animals spend their lives...

MATTHEWS:  A great deal.

CARLSON:  I‘ll take that on faith though.  It‘s not obvious by the way you‘re talking because in fact animals spend their lives bumping up against things and eating each other.  So, the idea that if you pick up an animal, you‘re somehow harassing it, as compared to what?

MATTHEWS:  His whole TV show is based about invading an animal‘s habitat, jumping on an alligator, wrestling an alligator, taking a snake with a stick out of their dens.  It‘s just not the same kind of thing that true wildlife advocates advocate. 

CARLSON:  True wildlife advocacy...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Anybody that takes a look at his record.

CARLSON:   That‘s the problem with PETA.  OK, look, you have people that love animals who have a lot of animals like me, who spend a lot of time with animals.  I‘m a perfect candidate for a PETA supporter.  I would send you money, except you hate people and that‘s what makes me dislike PETA.  That‘s why I don‘t send you money.  Because you don‘t stop...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You mock people who get killed.  You made fun of Rudy Giuliani when he got prostate cancer.

MATTHEWS:  We‘re not mocking people.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re voicing the concerns of a lot of people, especially concerned parents out there who never liked the message of Steve Irwin, basically through his TV show, telling people to go and attack wild animals.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  OK, but the guy died.  All right?  He‘s got children.  He‘s got a couple kids.  He‘s got a wife.  I imagine—wait, let me finish my question.  You can, I would think, find better ways of getting your message out there than piggybacking on the tragic news of this guy‘s death and making his family feel bad.  What kind of ghoul are you anyway, Dan?

MATTHEWS:  We said the same things about how he harassed animals and the bad messages sent to kids about harassing animals in the wild.  We said it while he was alive.  And when asked, we responded after his death.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  That‘s the difference.  The guy is dead now, so you back off.  Look, there are a lot of people who I don‘t care for, when they die I pull back.  I am not like, you know what?  I am glad he died.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Because I have a sense of restraint, unlike you.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Tucker, the whole word is watching.  It‘s our responsibility as an animal advocacy group to talk about the real message here, which is to leave wild animals alone.  To portray him as an animal advocate is, pardon the expression, a crock.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You know what?  Your absolutist attitude doesn‘t help animals at all.  There are tagging programs, for instance.  People who care about wildlife, I think as...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  They tag animals...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  This show is like “Fear Factor.”  This was not a tagging program.  This was not a nature lover‘s show.  This was a show about harassing wildlife.  That‘s a very dangerous message to send to kids.  And responsible parents and animal advocates all agree that this is a bad thing to glorify.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I don‘t care whatever some phony (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  The fact is the guy got people interested in the great outdoors.  Kids, you know, get them to stop playing computer games and actually get outside and meet the animals.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s like saying a good way to get people interested in animals issues is having a TV show in which the host goes out and attacks women.  It‘s not the same thing.  This is a bad show.  It‘s a bad message to kids.  It‘s bad for animals.  And that‘s why PETA exists...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  It was a game defense.  You guys are too mean, though. 

That‘s your problem.  But I appreciate you coming on.  Thanks.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s responsible.  Thanks.

CARLSON:  All right, so I‘m not Fred Astaire.  What were you expecting?

We‘ll discuss my chances of winning to see yet another day on “Dancing with the Stars.”  We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  You saw him last night on “Dancing with the Stars,” sitting in the audience on camera more than anybody else in the show.   Ladies and gentlemen, here is in the flesh, the great Willie Geist.

WILLIE GEIST:  Tucker, that was no accident.  My agent (UNINTELLIGIBLE) increase my exposure and got me off this God forsaken show. 

CARLSON:  Speaking of which, I was getting a haircut in a trailer right before I went on last night, and in walks who?  My lawyer, amazingly enough.

GEIST:  Into your trailer?

CARLSON:  Yes, into the trailer.  He is also Mario Lopez‘s lawyer.

GEIST:  Is that right?

CARLSON:  Agent.  Yes.  Amazing.

GEIST:  Can I just stop you.  You said he walked into my trailer...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  The haircutting place, whatever.  But the point is, Mario Lopez and I have the same attorney.  I had no idea.

GEIST:  Wow.  And you‘re a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right now.

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  Tucker, one other moment that I had a hand in last night in the competition, when you were being scored, if you look at the judges.

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  Your friend, Bruno, on the right, see the pin on his lapel, the white circle with the arrow.  That is a Team Tucker official piece of merchandise.  It‘s a pin made by your friend, a full line of clothing.  I handed it to Bruno in the commercial break and I said, Bruno, you know you love Tucker.  You want to be on Team Tucker.  And he said, yes of course.  So I threw it to him.  He put it on his lapel, and as he gave you a three, incidentally.

CARLSON:  Yes, he did.  Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  He‘s gone.

GEIST:  Tucker, Rita Cosby was talking about you today.  There‘s been a lot of criticism of you—critiquing rather.  She talked to a dance instructor.

CARLSON:  There‘s a fine line between criticism and critiquing.

GIESE:  Yes, there is.  She was critiquing, I should say, with some dance instructor, whatever that means, on MSNBC.  Let‘s take a listen and hear what they thought of your performance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What is that action there?  That‘s an...

RITA COSBY, “DANCING WITH THE STARS”:  That‘s called a flat butt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Flat butt.  He obviously has some type of a complex with his hips.  But actually he‘s thinking of moving his hips too much, Rita.  That‘s what his problem is.

COSBY:  Now, let‘s take a look, though.  But look at the arm motion right here.  He‘s got a pretty good, it looks like a pretty good 180, right? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you think his shoulders could be any higher?  Does he have a neck?  He‘s starting to look like Donald Trump here.  I don‘t know what it is.  He‘s, from the back he could be, I don‘t know.  He‘s wearing shoulder pads. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  I guess I missed that.  I didn‘t catch that earlier today on

MSNBC. 

GEIST:  By the way, that was some thorough analysis.  They have the pointer they usually use...

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  Also, she talked a lot about your butt.

CARLSON:  Yes she did.

GEIST:  She tells me about your butt a lot in the MSNBC commissary, but I didn‘t know she was going to go public with that.

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  But, as long as she‘s making fun of you and they‘re criticizing you, let‘s just point out her little appearance with Taylor Hicks on “American Idol.”  Did you hear that? 

CARLSON:  What was that like?  I don‘t remember.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Being a reality star ain‘t that easy, is it?  We‘re just having fun, just having a little fun.  A little fun among reality TV stars. 

GEIST:  Tucker, there is some other news today.  As Hollywood veterans like you and I know all too well, rumors fly fast here in Tinsel Town.  So you had to be a little skeptical when we heard word yesterday that Britney Speers had given birth to a child.  But when we heard it was from “Us Weekly,” all doubt was instantly raised, of course.  “Us Weekly,” which is never wrong, and “People” magazine, which occasionally is, reports Speers and Kevin Federline welcome their second boy early Tuesday morning.  Mother and baby said to be doing well.  Dad is pretty much the same as he always is. 

Tucker, the beat just goes on for Kevin Federline.  Britney Speers is so invested in this, there is no getting out of it.  Now he has two children.  He has struck gold once again. 

A tip of the cap to you, Kevin Federline.  Hell of a job. 

CARLSON:  I did an interview with “Us Weekly” last night and I said, “Us Weekly, comma, which is never wrong, comma.”

GEIST:  Did you say that?

CARLSON:  I swear I did.  She looked a little confused. 

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  Tucker, one more thing for you.  It‘s going to sound like I‘m making this up, but I swear it‘s true.  President George Bush, the leader of the free world, plans to meet with the premiere of Kazakhstan, the former soviet republic, to discuss among other things, Borat, the fictional character from the “Ali G” show on HBO and the star of a new movie.  Borat is a crude, bumbling and by the way hilarious journalist from Kazakhstan who covers the U.S.  Kazakhstan‘s government says Borat gives its nation a bad name.  And he wants George Bush to do something about Borat.  Borat is a character on a TV show and he‘s having a world summit.  Sounds like a diversionary tactic.  Let‘s blame Borat for all our problems because he‘s giving the rest of the world a bad impression.

CARLSON:  That‘s why they hate us, Willie.  You wondered why.  That‘s why.

From television city, Los Angeles, that‘s Willie Geist and me signing off for today. 

Tune in tonight, 8:00 Eastern, for “Dancing with the Stars.”  We‘ll find out if I get to stay on.  Say a prayer. 

See you tomorrow.

Now, “HARDBALL” with Chris.

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

END   

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