updated 9/18/2006 12:33:53 PM ET 2006-09-18T16:33:53

Guests: Ahmed Younis, Elisabeth Benjamin, Sam Seder, Pat Campbell, John O‘Hurley

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  Welcome to the show.  I‘m Tucker Carlson in Los Angeles. 

Lots of news today from a Republican rebellion against the White House to world leaders bashing the United States in a meeting just miles from our shores. 

But first, our top story: Islam versus the pope. 

Benedict XVI is under fire from leaders throughout the Islamic world today for remarks that some say were insulting to Islam.  One Turkish politician even compared the pope to Adolph Hitler. 

But what exactly did the pope say to make so many Muslim so angry?  Well, in a speech in Germany on Tuesday, the pope quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor saying, “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Now Muslims around the world are demanding apology.  But was the pope at fault? 

Joining me now from Washington, Ahmed Younis, national director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. 

Ahmed, thanks for joining us. 

AHMED YOUNIS, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL:  My pleasure, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I think it‘s important to point out two things.  One, that the pope did not endorse this sentiment, that he was merely quoting it.  Maybe he believes it, maybe he doesn‘t.  We don‘t know from what he said, though. 

And two, that the outrage over these remarks is a lot stronger than the outrage I have seen in the last five years over suicide bombings against Christians or even against Muslims throughout the Islamic world.

This is another example of misplaced outrage.  People in the Islamic world ought to be taking a hard look at their own religion, it seems to me. 

YOUNIS:  Absolutely.  I mean, I think Muslims around the world need to take a hard look at Muslims and what Muslims are doing what they call the tradition of the prophet and the words of the Koran. 

The problem with what we‘re hearing from the pope, of course, is that it supports the narrative or the concept of Islam that is endorsed by the extremists and the terrorists, including Osama bin Laden and the others.  And it cuts at the knees the vast majority of moderates that are attempting to present a counter-narrative, that are attempting to say that what the prophet revealed was in support of the ideas of reason and enlightenment, was in support of there being a comity or a dialogue of civilizations. 

And this clash of civilizations ideology which the pope negligently bolstered by quoting some guy from Byzantine times...

CARLSON:  Right?

YOUNIS:  ... this kind of an ideology is exactly what we are trying to fight. 

CARLSON:  No, but wait a second.  Wait a second.

What the pope—what this quote suggests is that Islam is not a religion that encourages pluralism.  Right?  It‘s not tolerant of other religions...

YOUNIS:  Well, that‘s...

CARLSON:  ... and that is, as far as I can tell, completely—now, hold on.  Because as far as I can tell...

YOUNIS:  There is not a religion.

CARLSON:  ... countries governed by Islamic law, right now, 2006, do not, in most cases, I believe, allow legally the practice of other religions. 

YOUNIS:  That‘s absolutely—that‘s absolutely not true. 

CARLSON:  Saudi Arabia does not allow—really?

YOUNIS:  Saudi Arabia is the only...

CARLSON:  Is it legal—wait, slow down.  Is it legal to open a church in Saudi Arabia, which is...

(CROSSTALK)

YOUNIS:  Saudi Arabia doe not represent Islam.  And I do not represent Saudi Arabia.  If you look to Malaysia... 

CARLSON:  I‘m not saying you.

YOUNIS:  I‘ve just returned from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, major Muslim majority countries that have women heads of state.

CARLSON:  Those countries are not governed by Islamic law.

YOUNIS:  Of course they are.  They are countries that are defined by Sharia and my the engagement of plural societies.  Even if you were to look to places like Egypt, Lebanon, et cetera.

Listen, what‘s important to say is that what we are hearing from the -

from the pope is exactly what we have been hearing from the extremists all along, that there is an abode of peace and abode of war, and that the abode of war is anti-Muslim.

CARLSON:  Oh, this is—come on.  It‘s...

YOUNIS:  Hey, look, I mean, if the crusades were engaged in...

CARLSON:  Why are you why are you whitewashing the truth? 

YOUNIS:  How am I whitewashing the truth? 

CARLSON:  You‘re whitewashing it by—hold on.  By—hold on.  By suggesting there is religious freedom in the Islamic Middle East when you know perfectly well that that‘s a lie, that non-Muslims don‘t have equal right in any Islamic country except possibly Lebanon because... 

YOUNIS:  Look, Tucker—look, Tucker, I, and Muslims of the West and the majority of the Muslims in the world are at the forefront of the idea of religious phraourism in Muslim countries.  And you‘re right, the majority...

CARLSON:  Then why don‘t non-Muslims have equal rights in the Middle East?

YOUNIS:  Hey, look, you are talking to a guy that says that there is no Islamic state in the world today because of treatment of minority religions and because of the treatment of women.  Having said that, it‘s the Koran that said that there is no compulsion in matters of faith and we can‘t force people to engage in certain religion or certain ways of life. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Amen. 

YOUNIS:  It‘s—the prophet said—the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, that married the most successful businesswoman of the time...

CARLSON:  Right.

YOUNIS:  ... of Arabia and engaged in a free market society and engaged in a pluralism.  It‘s the Medina Constitution that was the first constitution that led to a pluralism of multiple religions that had rights and responsibilities towards each other in Medina after the prophet and Muslims were persecuted in Mecca. 

My point is very simple.  We can either be...

CARLSON:  You‘re making my point for me.

YOUNIS:  ... with the prophet and god—wait, let me just finish this second, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Yes.

YOUNIS:  We can either be with the prophet and god, or we can be with ignorant humans that have manipulated the integrity of our religion for a politicized and political gain.  It was not Christianity. 

CARLSON:  OK.  OK.

YOUNIS:  It was not Christianity that led the crusades to the brutal butchery of a whole world of... 

CARLSON:  Oh, give me a break.  Crusades.  That was 1,000 years ago. 

You know what?  That‘s more victimology. 

YOUNIS:  How is that victimology, Tucker?

CARLSON:  That‘s more “woe is me” whining.  I‘m the victim.

YOUNIS:  He is quoting—he is quoting...

CARLSON:  Wait, slow down.  Let me—let me finish. 

YOUNIS:  Please.

CARLSON:  Because, A, that was 1,000 years ago.  Nobody is defending the excesses of the crusades, which took place, incidentally, on both sides.  But my point is not what happened then, what is happening right now.  And that is the hijacking of a great world religion, Islam...

YOUNIS:  Absolutely.

CARLSON:  ... a point you were just making, by some of its own adherents.  And that is the tragedy here.  Not what the pope says.  It‘s what‘s going on in the Islamic world.

YOUNIS:  But if we understand—we are in agreement, but if we understand the connection between what the pope said and the ability of the extremists to win the argument, we would understand how this kind of rhetoric is at the core of the war on terrorism globally and the war on extremism within Muslim discourse.  It‘s only if we understand why it matters do we understand why it‘s so important.

CARLSON:  No. 

YOUNIS:  We are not calling for an apology from the pope.

CARLSON:  That‘s totally false, because—no, what you are saying is

what you are saying is that extremists are extreme because they are reacting to, you know, Christians making outrageous statements.  That‘s not true at all.

YOUNIS:  No, that‘s not what I‘m saying.  That‘s not what I‘m saying.

CARLSON:  OK.  What are you saying?

YOUNIS:  What I‘m saying is extremists are extreme when they are able to argue that there is a legitimacy within their religion that allows them to do the extremist activities that they are doing.  And what the pope is doing is he is supporting the religious identity, the Islamic legitimacy of the extremists that exist in that part of the world. 

It is not about political correctness.  It‘s about fighting the war on extremism within Muslim discourse, and meeting the pope and meeting the head of Jews and meeting the heads of Muslim to come together to counter extremism and counter this ridiculous proposition. 

CARLSON:  You know what?  I don‘t buy that. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I don‘t buy that.  Why exactly is it the business of the Catholic Church or the head of Jews, whoever he might be, as you just said, or the—of Judaism to take on, to fight this rot at the very center of this great world religion?  No, it ought to be up to moderate Muslims, liberal minded Muslims like yourself to fight it. 

I mean, why is it the Catholic Church‘s business?

YOUNIS:  Well, let‘s leave the word “liberal” out of it.  It‘s about moderate Muslims fighting the fight.  Moderate Jews... 

CARLSON:  I meant liberal in the best way, in a Western way...

(CROSSTALK)

YOUNIS:  Moderate Jews, moderate Christians are looking to other people of other faiths who are also moderate to bolster their representative capacity for the people that they are speaking on behalf of.  If we look to bin Laden and say he is a spokesperson for Islam, we are undermining and undercutting the vast majority of Muslims that are fighting bin Laden.  And when the pope negligently quotes someone who clearly does not, number one, understand the doctrine of Islam, number two, does not understand the experience of the prophet, it is not a historical fact that Islam was spread by the sword. 

That is a historical fallacy that...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You know what?  You say the vast majority of Muslims are against bin—if the vast majority of Muslims are against bin Laden, why hasn‘t one member of that “vast majority” turned him in?  You know?

YOUNIS:  I mean, that‘s ridiculous.

CARLSON:  Why do the majority of Muslims in the Middle—no, no.  Wait, hold on.  Slow down.  Why do the majority of the populations of every Middle East country in which I‘ve seen polls done support suicide bombing?

YOUNIS:  That‘s a conversation...

CARLSON:  If the vast majority is moderate.

YOUNIS:  That‘s a conversation that has to do with socioeconomic realities and political realities of these people. 

CARLSON:  Oh, please.

YOUNIS:  Hey, look, the reality is that the vast majority of people... 

CARLSON:  I think the vast majority is not so moderate.  Maybe that‘s the truth.

YOUNIS:  Hold on, Tucker.  The vast majority of the people—look, I have condemned suicide bombing, and we as a community have condemned suicide bombings... 

CARLSON:  I know you have because you‘re a moderate.  But the vast majority is not.

YOUNIS:  Well, I disagree with that.

CARLSON:  OK.  Here, wrap it up in one sentence because we are out of time.

YOUNIS:  And I think in addition to that we have to remember that it is Muslims articulating on behalf of the legitimate and authority of Islam that is going to allow us to counter the extremists.  And when we continue to say where are the moderates, the moderates are preaching in mosques and the moderates are making sure that young people have avenues to express their discontent with society...

CARLSON:  Yes.

YOUNIS:  ... other than the avenues that are created by extremists like bin Laden.  And we expect of the pope, a reasonable person that represents us as people of faith, to bolster the Islamic identity. 

CARLSON:  All right.  I get it.  I‘m sorry.  We are out of time. 

You are, I would say, officially a moderate.  I hope you win more people over to your side.  Thanks a lot.

Ahmed Younis, thank you.

YOUNIS:  Thank you, sir.

CARLSON:  Still to come, the battle over breastfeeding in New York City in a toy store.  Why the New York Civil Liberties Union is taking aim at Toys “R” Us.

And one final “Dancing with the Stars” interview.  We‘ll talk to one of the show‘s biggest stars ever.  But first we go to break with dancing video from last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”:  And on “Dancing with the Stars” the other night conservative pundit Tucker Carlson is gone.  He got the least number of votes.  A Republican stopped by a lack of votes.  When does that ever happen? 

I don‘t know, but—well, we can see why he couldn‘t dance, a conservative Republican.  He was born with two right feet.  That‘s the problem.

Did you see it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I didn‘t see it, man.

LENO:  Did you watch him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I didn‘t check it out.

LENO:  He spent half his time in the chair.  Sitting in a chair with a girl dancing around him.  Show us.  Take a look. 

(APPLAUSE)

That‘s not “Dancing with the Stars.”  That‘s lap dancing with the stars.  He stayed in the chair the whole time.  Anyway...

CARLSON:  I mean, that is horrifying.  And I‘ll grant you...

LENO:  That was horrifying.

CARLSON:  But to be fair, I‘m not the only one who‘s embarrassed myself on the dance floor.  And we have proof. 

Allan (ph), roll it.

(APPLAUSE)

LENO:  Thank you very much.  Tucker Carlson.

Thank you very much, Tucker.

Tucker Carlson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

A big city toy store is being called an enemy of breastfeeding moms.  The New York Civil Liberties Union is warning Toys “R” Us that it violated a civil rights law by telling a mother she could not breastfeed her baby in its Times Square store.  A saleswoman reportedly told the mom that breastfeeding was inappropriate with kids nearby and asked her to move to the store‘s basement. 

The mother called the whole thing humiliating and dismaying.  Apparently, it was the worst thing that had ever happened to her.  A measure of how cushy we have it here in the United States. 

Joining me now from New York, Elisabeth Benjamin.  She‘s a director of the Reproductive Rights Project of the New York Civil Liberties Union. 

Elisabeth, thanks for joining us. 

ELISABETH BENJAMIN, DIRECTOR, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS PROJECT:  Thank you for having me. 

CARLSON:  I just want to say up front I could not be more supportive of breastfeeding.  All four of my kids were breastfed.  I think it‘s natural, it‘s great, it‘s important.  It‘s a wonderful thing in every way. 

It‘s just seems to me that stores have rights here, too.  And one of those rights is the right to enforce standards of behavior within—within public areas.  And they are not telling this woman she couldn‘t breastfeed.  They just said, just don‘t breastfeed here. 

Why are you involved in this?

BENJAMIN:  Actually, that isn‘t an accurate state of the—state of the law in New York State.  In New York State, the law—the civil rights law clearly says that a woman has the right to breastfeed in any public place.  And there‘s sort of no ifs ands or buts about that. 

If stores or anyone else could tell people where to breastfeed, then,

you know, people would be asked to breastfeed in the janitor‘s closet.  So

and that‘s exactly what the law was designed to prevent. 

CARLSON:   Well, I don‘t know. 

BENJAMIN:  The stories don‘t get to this...

CARLSON:  But hold on.  Wait.  Wait.  Slow down, Elisabeth.

But wait.  Hold on.  There are a lot of laws in this country.  Many of them are unenforced.  The great majority of them are ignored because most people don‘t know that they are on the books. 

People find their own kind of natural accommodations having to do with, you know, taboos and subtle understandings.  And I just wonder if highly aggressive lawyers like yourself entering the fray makes this a happier country or not. 

Why are you getting involved in this, of all issues, is my question.

BENJAMIN:  Well, I‘m the director of the Reproductive Rights Project for the New York Civil Liberties Union, and we believe that being able to reproduce means to be able to, you know, have babies if you so choose, use birth control, have accurate sexuality education in the schools, and be able to breastfeed in accordance with the law. 

And the law of New York State is that women are able to breastfeed whenever and wherever they want to as long as they are allowed to be in that place.  And in this case she was allowed to be in the store and she‘s welcome. 

She should be welcome to breastfeed.  Especially in a family friendly store like Toys “R” Us. 

CARLSON:  Well, wait.  Wait.  Stop for a second.  Now, hold on. 

First of all, a family friendly store.  I don‘t think the law specifies whether the store is family friendly or not.  That‘s merely your subjective opinion. 

BENJAMIN:  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  Second, I don‘t think the law says a person is welcomed to breastfeed.  I mean, I think that the law says a person is allowed to breastfeed, unless I‘m misreading it.  In other words...

(CROSSTALK)

BENJAMIN:  It says a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple is displayed.

CARLSON:  I get it.

BENJAMIN:  So the law is very explicit. 

CARLSON:  I get it.  Wait a minute.  Hold on. 

The law is explicit, and it explicitly says you are allowed to.  It doesn‘t mean that the employees of Toys “R” Us have to like it or that other customers have to like it. 

We don‘t legislate attitudes yet in this country despite your efforts. 

And I‘m wondering...

BENJAMIN:  Well, but they called security.

CARLSON:  ... if it‘s illegal now to say I‘m uncomfortable with what you are doing.  Is that illegal?

BENJAMIN:  Well, they said it was inappropriate and they called security—a security guard on her.  And I think it‘s ironic, Tucker, that on 911, the fifth anniversary of 911, Toys “R” Us felt it was appropriate to call security on a breastfeeding mother.  And usually—I think we have more serious...

CARLSON:  I think that‘s a total overreaction, Elisabeth.

BENJAMIN:  ... more serious security matters.

CARLSON:  I would think you would have more serious things to do.  And I agree with you. 

Look, I totally—I think that‘s totally over the top.  I would be very annoyed if that was my wife.  I would be outraged.  OK?  Or my sister or my mom or whatever. 

I agree with you to that extent.  However, you still have a right, again, despite your efforts, to express contrary opinion, un-PC opinions.  And isn‘t it the right of Toys “R” Us or one of its employees to say, you know, it‘s not appropriate.  I don‘t care for that, when you‘ve got breastfeeding in public. 

It‘s not legal to say that?  That seems to be your—your contention here. 

BENJAMIN:  Well, I think—I think Ms. Meyerson‘s (ph) civil rights were violated.  Public accommodations cannot come up and tell someone that it‘s in appropriate to breastfeed and call a security guard to...

CARLSON:  So the language is criminal?

BENJAMIN:  Well, no.  But they called security on her. 

CARLSON:  Oh, OK.

BENJAMIN:  It‘s sort of more than a language question.  I think when you...

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  It‘s a language question.

BENJAMIN:  ... call a security guard, I think that‘s more—that‘s an action.  And it sort of crossed the next step.  And that‘s why we have civil rights laws, especially to protect breastfeeding, because, you know, all of our public—you know, the federal government, the surgeon general...

CARLSON:  Give me a break.

BENJAMIN:  ... the Department of Health, everyone, American Medical Association, all have endorsed breastfeeding. 

CARLSON:  I get it.  I‘m for breastfeeding.  I‘m for—I‘m endorsing breastfeeding.  You‘re missing the point.

My point is this: there are huge parts of New York City where you I cannot walk or we‘ll be killed.  And you know that that‘s true.  That‘s not a violation of my civil rights? 

It‘s, like, why are you wasting your time on some dumb Toys “R” Us case when real civil rights are being violated but they‘re not fashionable so you ignore them?  That‘s a—I mean, I don‘t get it.

BENJAMIN:  Well, I don‘t know if there‘s any civil rights laws that prevent people from walking on the streets, but there is a civil rights law that prevents Toys “R” Us from telling a woman it‘s in appropriate or calling security guards on her for breastfeeding. 

CARLSON:  OK.  I‘m not going—I‘m not going to win you over.

Elisabeth, but I appreciate your coming on. 

BENJAMIN:  I don‘t think you will.  Oh, sure.  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Thank you. 

Coming up, what do the presidents of Venezuela and Iran have in common?  Well, they‘re both meeting in Fidel Castro‘s Cuba and they‘re both bashing us.  Just 90 miles from our shores. 

Also ahead, it wouldn‘t be “Beat the Press” without her.  See why Nancy Grace made it this time when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for “Beat the Press.”

First up, Nancy Grace and her coverage of missing 2-year-old Trenton Duckett.  Grace is getting a lot of criticism for an interview she did with the little boy‘s mother last week because just hours after that interview the mother was found dead.  She killed herself with a gun. 

That mother may be deceased, but Grace isn‘t ready to let her off the hook.  Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HOST, “NANCY GRACE”  To make 40 bucks off her kid‘s car seat before the child is even reported missing, I find that very, very disturbing. 

What about it, Harold?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, you know, Nancy, I haven‘t focused in on that.  I guess my reaction, children, you know, outgrow car seats, and so it‘s possible that the mom was just merely saying, listen, I‘ve got to buy another one.  I‘m going to sell this one.  It‘s in decent shape.

GRACE:  Harold...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  It seems to me Harold has a point.  People do sell car seats, but the larger point is, the woman is dead.  She killed herself.  Do you really have to keep screaming at her?  I mean, she‘s dead. 

Nancy Grace cannot decelerate.

Next up, Bill O‘Reilly, well known for his rants against Hollywood, but wait.  He‘s changed his tune.  Take a look at this new series he‘s promoting. 

Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They were America‘s favorite people, dominating TV for years.  But what happened to them when the cameras stopped rolling?  “The Factor‘s” new Friday series, “America‘s TV Icons,” is on. 

Whose story will Bill bring you next?  Find out on “The O‘Reilly Factor.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Wow!  A little “US Weekly” on “The O‘Reilly Factor.” 

Interesting. 

I don‘t have a very long memory, but I can remember last week, for instance, when Bill O‘Reilly said this—it was only September 7th of this year—he said, “Please believe me when I tell you I have absolutely no interest in the lives of celebrity.  None.” 

Got that?  “None.”

And I believe him, actually.  I bet he‘s not interested in the lives of celebrity.  I know I‘m not. 

The truth is that lives of celebrity rate pretty well, though.  Other people really are interested.  So you turn your show over to it and you get better ratings. 

That‘s the name of the game. 

And finally, our clip of the week.  This one comes to us courtesy of Rosie O‘Donnell and it showcases her cure for diaper rash.  Here‘s her suggestion. 

Listen to 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—a dog that‘s had babies.  You bring your baby over with the puppies, you let the baby naked, and the dog will licks the baby‘s behind.  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:  Rosie O‘Donnell suggesting you let a strange dog lick your child‘s crotch.  Claiming that she‘s done it herself, that she has let strange dogs lick her children‘s crotches. 

I‘ve watched this clip four times this week and my conclusion?  She‘s joking.  She‘s got to be joking.  It‘s not real. 

She doesn‘t really do that.  Don‘t follow her advice.  It‘s just a joke. 

How would you like to help us “Beat the Press”?  Give us a call and tell us what you‘ve seen. 

The number here, 877-BTP-5876.

Still to come, a Republican rebellion may be brewing against the White House.  Will it be a battle between John McCain and President Bush?  It looks that way.

And Kinky Friedman‘s grassroots campaign for governor of Texas.  It‘s highly entertaining.

We‘ve got that story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, the Republican rebellion has got the White House fighting mad.  And one final dancing interview, we‘ll talk to the smoothest contestant ever.  All that in just a moment but right now here is a look at your headlines.

MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Margaret Brennan with your CNBC market wrap.  Stocks ending the week on an up note, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 33 points, just 164 points away from its all time closing high.  The S&P 500 up more than three and a half.  The NASDAQ up close seven points on the day.  Stocks rising on a report showing inflation remains tame, boosting hope that the Fed will leave interest rates unchanged at next week‘s policy meeting. 

Another report out today showing consumer confidence at a seven month high.  A gloomy day for U.S. automakers.  Ford announcing it will cut 14,000 salary jobs and offer buy-outs to all 75,000 union workers as part of an aggressive makeover strategy.  Ford shares plunging more than 11 percent in today‘s trading.  Meantime, German automaker DaimlerChrysler says its U.S. division will more than double projected third quarter losses. 

And a federal judge tells Northwest airlines flight attendants they can‘t go on strike over the airline‘s proposed pay cuts.  Instead he says they‘ll need to try harder to work out a deal.  Now back to Tucker.

CARLSON:  Time now for three on three where we welcome two of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today‘s most interesting stories.  Joining us from New York City, the author of “Fubar, America‘s Right Wing Nightmare,” Sam Seder, he‘s host of “The Majority Report” on Air America Radio.  And from Orlando, Pat Campbell, host of “The Pat Campbell Show” on 540 WFLA.  Welcome both. 

PAT CAMPBELL, “THE PAT CAMPBELL SHOW,” 540 WFLA:  Hi Tucker.

CARLSON:  First up, the Havana Summit.  Some might call it a hall of shame of enemies of the U.S.  Fidel Castro is not healthy enough to show up but Venezuela‘s Hugo Chavez and Iran‘s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did, among others.  Chavez took aim at the White House saying quote, “If the United States invades Cuba, blood will run.  We will not have our arms crossed while bombs are falling on Havana or they carry Raul off in a plane.” 

Raul being of course Raul Castro, head of the Cuban military and a noted loser.  Sam here‘s my question, is it obvious now for the American left which has supported Fidel Castro all these years that the guy is kind of evil actually.  Are we willing to admit that or are we still talking about the educational gains of the Cuban health care system.  Is the left willing to admit it?

SAM SEDER, “THE MAJORITY REPORT” ON AIR AMERICA:  Well you know I have been to Cuba.  I‘m not a huge fan of Fidel Castro‘s certainly.  But that doesn‘t mean that I agree with the notion of this silly blockade and embargo.  It simply hurts the Cuban people.  In fact it plays right into Castro‘s hands.  He can actually say that the U.S. is a villain.

CARLSON:  I get that.  I actually have to agree with you.  I fully agree with you and actually that if we were to drop the embargo, Starbucks would overwhelm Castro in about 10 minutes.  But that doesn‘t change the fact that the left has not just argued against the embargo is argued on Castro‘s behalf for more than 40 years.  And it seems to me there‘s a come to Jesus moment.  Maybe that moment‘s right now, where the left has to, we were wrong.  We supported this fascist all these years, we‘re guilty, we repent.  I mean why aren‘t we hearing liberals admit that this guy‘s a really bad guy?

SEDER:  Well I mean I don‘t know who you‘re listening to.  I can‘t speak for the entire left but I can tell you that I have a problem with his regime.  I wouldn‘t call it fascist, I mean I think I would call it socialist and I think he‘s got some dictatorial issues as well.  But I don‘t know what to tell you.  You know it‘s really a question of what‘s the U.S. policy here.

CARLSON:  Some dictatorial issues?

SEDER:  What are we doing, we‘re hurting the Cuban people?

CARLSON:  OK, so it‘s our fault.  I guess that‘s the point I‘m making. 

Pat, you‘re in Florida and I know that the politics of Cuba are very complicated and as I said, I think the embargo actually is a bad idea and I say that from a conservative perspective.  But have you noticed that there has been this consistent chorus speaking out on behalf of Fidel Castro all these years.  I actually don‘t get it considering there‘s nothing liberal about the way he‘s governed. 

CAMPBELL:  Well you know it‘s one of those odd moments, I think all three of us are actually in agreement.  I agree the blockade has been an abject failure.  In fact Castro has pretty much been laughing at the United States.  I mean how many presidents has he outlived so far.  I‘m a little concerned about this summit though and the paranoia, especially from Hugo. 

First of all, you know, does Venezuela even have a standing army? I think the fact that this guy, there‘s a lot of empty saber rattling going on down there.  I don‘t know if anybody is talking about possibly invading Cuba at this point.  But what kind of leverage does this guy have with us other than the oil itself.

SEDER:  Well that‘s a huge leverage isn‘t it?  I mean the guy supplies 60 percent of the oil to this country that we import and you have Donald Rumsfeld back in February comparing him to Hitler.  I mean talk about paranoid, I mean that‘s ridiculous. 

CAMPBELL:  Well you know Pat Robertson may have actually been on to something when he suggested possibly assassinating Hugo Chavez. 

SEDER:  Well there you go.  I mean that‘s where the paranoia stems from to a certain extent.  Pat Robertson is an adviser to President Bush.

CARLSON:  Yes, but there‘s an assumption here.  Pat Robertson is a bit of a kook, we all know that. 

CAMPBELL:  A bit of a kook?

CARLSON:  Or this or any other conversation but Hugo Chavez is not and what is this impulse to defend the enemies of America every time. 

SEDER:  I‘ll tell you something.

CARLSON:  Literally, it‘s every time. 

SEDER:  I agree with you Tucker.

CARLSON:  He‘s not so bad.  Robert—he‘s not so bad.  I mean what is

that?  I don‘t get that at all.  Just because you hate America doesn‘t mean

CAMPBELL:  Here‘s the deal, I think it‘s actually designed to make . 

SEDER:  What we are seeing here is a result of the Bush administration‘s failed foreign policy around the world where it actually helped people, it actually helps leaders of countries to bash America. 

CAMPBELL:  Here‘s the deal.

CARLSON:  I want to get to news today.  We had news today about the Bush administration and its foreign policy.  And the battle now within the Republican Party over it.  Bush has lost support of some high ranking Republicans, including John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, former secretary of state Colin Powell, all of them are speaking out on the issue of how to interrogate terror suspects.  Torture in other words, the White House says it won‘t compromise though.  Here‘s what Bush said, watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  The bottom line is simple, if Congress passes a law that does not clarify the rules.  If they do not that do the program is not going forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  It seems to me and maybe Pat you have a different point of view but these Republicans who are mad about this, mad about torture are all people who supported the war in Iraq.  And it seems to me this is displaced hostility.  Rather than coming out and say you know what, we were wrong for supporting this stupid war from day one, they‘re taking out their hostility on Bush over this question of torture and interrogation.  It seems to me this is a minor issue compared to the war in Iraq but they won‘t face up to the major issue. 

CAMPBELL:  Why don‘t they be intellectually honest at least like J.

Rockefeller and do a 180, completely reverse their position right now. 

Look.

CARLSON:  Yes, exactly. 

CAMPBELL:  First of all, what constitutes torture?  You know we talked about this last week on the program.  You want to talk torture let‘s talk John McCain, Hanoi Hilton, hooking somebody‘s genitals up to a car battery, that constitutes torture.  At Gitmo they‘re talking about sleep deprivation, they‘re talking about loud noise, hypothermia.  According to those dictates I guess I‘m torturing my family because I keep the air conditioning kind of low at home. 

I don‘t remember the last time I got eight hours sleep like they get at Gitmo.  And loud noise my daughter is torturing me by turning the stereo up.  I mean come on, give me a break.  These guys get eight hours, they get five times to pray every day, they‘re on a three meal a day.  Do you know they get 4,200 calories a day and they also got Subway and filet of fish McDonald‘s at Club Gitmo.

SEDER:  Well then if there‘s no problem with the way that we‘re treating these prisoners what is George Bush talking about?  I mean for gosh sakes ...

CAMPBELL:  There is no problem.

SEDER:  If there‘s no problem, why are the CIA agents taking out insurance because they feel they tortured people?  I mean I don‘t see what the issue is then.  If George Bush has a problem with the legislation coming out in the Senate, he should veto it, but he‘s too much of a coward to do it. 

CAMPBELL:  Sam, name the last war where we actually released detainees before the war was over?

SEDER:  I‘m sorry. 

CAMPBELL:  I said name the last war where we released detainees before the war was over. 

SEDER:  What war did these detainees come from? 

CAMPBELL:  What war did this, Afghanistan, hello. 

SEDER:  No.  You‘re wrong.  You don‘t know what the people down there

None of the people down there are from the theater of Afghanistan. 

CAMPBELL:  It‘s from Taliban, Afghanistan and you‘ve also got insurgents there from Iraq. 

SEDER:  You‘re absolutely wrong. 

CAMPBELL:  Who do you think is there?

SEDER:  Well I could tell you who is there.  People from all around the world.

CARLSON:  I want to get your take on this.  This is a pretty inflammatory op-ed from a woman we like very much on the show and I like personally, Rosa Brooks, wrote in the “L.A. Times” today.  She writes about what she calls quote, “A conservative crusade to purge universities of liberal professor.”  A pretty tall order as far as I‘m concerned.

Here‘s what she wrote, quote, “Last week they insisted that universities be purged of liberals and quote, “improved to serve national security and they urged students to “strongly criticize the continued presence of liberal and secular professors.”  Oh, wait she writes, whoops!  Those quotes were from respectively—Ayatollah Abbasali, Amid Zanjani, the hard-line Islamist president of the University of Tehran and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

Silly me getting my militant conservative Islamic extremists mixed up with my militant conservative Judeo Christian extremists!  Now though I think about it they seem to have an awful lot in common.”  This is a line I‘ve been seeing a lot from the left recently Sam Seder that really there‘s not really that much difference separating say Jerry Falwell from Osama bin Laden, they‘re all religious nuts.  This is, not only is it wrong it‘s bad politics I think.  What do you think of that argument? 

SEDER:  Well I mean I don‘t know that it‘s bad politics necessarily.  I mean that‘s for someone else to answer, but I can tell you this that I think that clearly we have a problem around the world with fundamentalism.  And now I don‘t think that Jerry Falwell is as violent as Osama bin Laden.  But clearly you know you have a guy here who has this fundamentalist agenda and frankly I think he‘s more of a danger to America than Osama bin Laden. 

CAMPBELL:  Oh jeez, come on.  Come on.

CARLSON:  Wait, slow down, I want to hear.  Did you just say you believe Jerry Falwell, annoying though he may be, is more dangerous to the United States than Osama bin Laden who killed 3,000 people on 9/11? 

SEDER:  Yes, I think when I talk about America I‘m talking about American values and about the constitution and about the way our founding fathers set up this country.  And while I think Osama bin Laden

CARLSON:  I have to say, you‘re living in a parallel universe I think. 

SEDER:  Osama bin Laden creates a danger to us really in terms of just how far we will go to destroy the constitution like George Bush wants to do or break the Geneva Conventions.

CARLSON:  Let me just suggest.  That‘s why liberals—I mean as much as the Republicans really have screwed up I think in a profound historic way, I‘m not defending them at all, that‘s why liberals aren‘t in charge because they actually believe that Jerry Falwell is more of a danger than Osama bin Laden.

SEDER:  I‘m not ...

CARLSON:  I know, but I‘m just saying people with those views like John Kerry never get elected because it scares the hell out of people. 

SEDER:  I don‘t know that John Kerry agrees with that but I certainly will make the case. 

CAMPBELL:  You know, come on Sam.  Is Rosie O‘Donnell channeling through your body today, come on, give me a break. 

SEDER:  I‘m sorry?

CAMPBELL:  I said is Rosie O‘Donnell channeling through your body. 

This is the same crap she put on “The View” the other day.

SEDER:  I‘m not a fan of Rosie O‘Donnell, what are you talking about?

CAMPBELL:  This is the same crap she put out on “The View” the other day.  You know exactly what I‘m talking about Sam. 

SEDER:  I‘m sorry?

CARLSON:  Leaving aside Rosie O‘Donnell, Pat Campbell, is it, do you think, a matter of religious extremism being a threat to world peace or is it a specific kind of religion that inspires a specific kind of extremism?  Is it zealotry in general or a specific kind of zealotry? 

CAMPBELL:  Islamic fascism is the threat right now.  It‘s right there plain and simple. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Well that was crisp to the point and in my view true.  Pat, Sam thank you both. 

SEDER: Thank you Tucker it was a pleasure. 

CARLSON:  The Ford Motor Company shuts down more plants and cuts 10,000 jobs.  Why can‘t the U.S. compete in the industry it invented? Are American cars just not very good? We‘ll discuss it when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time for a look at today‘s stories I just don‘t get.  First off the nation‘s number two automaker tries to steer clear of bankruptcy. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The simple fact is that the business model that serves us in North America projecting no longer works.  We must change to a new business model that delivers greater bottom line contributions and actions that move rapidly to reduce our costs to achieve profitability. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  President of Ford Mark Fields explaining why his company must slash 10,000 salaried jobs and offer buyouts to all of its 75,000 hourly workers in this country.  It‘s part of an effort to turn the corner on major profit losses, perhaps as much as 9 billion dollars by the end of this year.  General Motors offered its workers a similar buy-out earlier this year.  A clear signal the U.S. car industry is in a heated race from not going the way of the hedsel (ph).  Here‘s what I don‘t get, that people don‘t understand what the problem is. 

The problem is the product.  And anyone who shopped for an American sedan, if you want to buy American as I do, and you spend time comparing American cars, not 4x4s, not big cars SUVs, trucks, but ordinary sedans made in America to those made in say Germany, you‘ll find that the American cars aren‘t as good.  That‘s the problem.  When American products are good people buy them.  When they‘re not very good they don‘t.  Make the cars better, your business will improve.  It‘s that simple.

Next, a gubernatorial candidate wants to clear the air about a smoky political issue. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  People ask me do I have the political knowledge to run the state.  I point out that knowledge is something that can be used as a hammer to hurt people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Independent candidate Kinky Friedman wants to bring a new style of politics to Texas and that includes his plan to legalize marijuana if he‘s elected governor.  Friedman says he‘ll push to get locked up pot smokers out of prison to make room for violent criminals.  In his opinion the U.S. has lost the war on drugs and it‘s time to implement a new strategy.

Here‘s what I don‘t get, most people don‘t understand that this is the direction we are moving.  No matter how you feel about decriminalizing marijuana or I feel about it, the fact is not a single person under 30 in this country I have ever met is opposed to decriminalizing marijuana.  That means 20 years from now pot will be decriminalized, that‘s just the truth.  There you go. 

And finally, someone needs to explain my unexpected early dismissal from ABC‘s “Dancing with the Stars.”

True, I came up short of victory but in so doing I joined the ranks of men like George Hamilton and my next guest, John O‘Hurley, and that‘s an honor.  John O‘Hurley is among many other good things the new host of “Family Feud,” he joins me from New York.  John, losing, I took comfort in the fact that you, a much smoother man than I, failed to win.  Why didn‘t you win?  You deserved to win. 

JOHN O‘HURLEY, HOST, “FAMILY FEUD”:  Well I won the dance off which was done later on, so that‘ll have to be enough for me.

CARLSON:  I guess that‘s true.  What did you think, what did you think of the judging?

O‘HURLEY:  Well, you know, I actually enjoyed the judging.  I thought that was the most legitimate part of it.  What I always had trouble with was the audience voting.  I thought that was—at least in the first season a little bit askew.  But I thought the judging is great.  And of course they‘re their own personalities.  You have Lynn who‘s the very elegant and the rest of it sometimes is a revisit to the Spanish inquisition.

CARLSON:  Exactly.  Except more violent.  Why didn‘t you like the audience voting?  I mean do you think people have their own constituencies or it‘s rigged? 

O‘HURLEY:  I don‘t believe that it‘s rigged.  I think it‘s certainly skewed towards a certain area because you have to certainly be signed on to ABC.com in order to be able to vote online so not everybody wants to go on and wait 24 hours to have their e-mail—or their passwords confirmed and what have you.  But you know, this is the nature of what it is.  It‘s supposed to be—it‘s all in good fun and it‘s an elegant piece of television and I think it deserves to be blessed with permanence because I think it‘s something we need more of.

CARLSON:  And you, it turns out, are a tremendous dancer.  Do you still dance?

O‘HURLEY:  I still do actually.  We ended up, my partner Sherlada Jorgensen (ph) and I actually put out a dance video a how to video with her training me all over again.  I enjoy it.  For me it was kind of a life altering experience.  And I hope it was for you and you‘re not licking your wounds too severely ...

CARLSON:  No. 

O‘HURLEY:  It was an extraordinary experience for me and I learned about leaping and letting the net appear.  Its interesting to expose your Achilles heel in front of, which is dance for me, in front of 25 million people.

CARLSON:  If that‘s your Achilles heel you‘re in pretty strong shape I have to say because you looked great to me.  I read today and this is neither here nor there, but I was so amazed by it, you of course played Jay Peterman on “Seinfeld,” a tremendous role.  I read today that you were actually a part owner of The Jay Peterman Company, is that true? 

O‘HURLEY:  It is, I have a different life off screen.  In 1999 I actually bought The Jay Peterman Company with John Peterman.  So we own it together.  It‘s a rather remarkable story in American media that I ended up owning the company after I parodied the role. 

CARLSON:  That‘s unbelievable.  “Family Feud,” how is it going to be different with you at the helm? 

O‘HURLEY:  It‘s a totally different show.  Brand new set, brand new energy, brand new writing.  The whole look of the show is different.  When I took on the, this is the 30th anniversary, when I took this on I said I want this thing to jump through the roof and I want it to be what it used to be. 

This used to be a good prime time show in the hands of Richard Dawson, one of the most eloquent men on television and I said I want to return to that area.  I want to go back to wearing a suit, I want it to have an audience.  Its theater in the round now and the ratings in four days later have already shown.  We‘re jumping extraordinarily every day.

CARLSON:  Where do the surveys come from? 

O‘HURLEY:  You know that‘s an interesting point.  They hire a survey company to actually do these things.  Isn‘t it funny? But people love, they love answering survey questions.  That‘s what makes this game show such a success.  People love answering questions.  And the funny thing is I was on the show 20 years ago as a guest.

CARLSON:  No way. 

O‘HURLEY:  I was, actually they ...

CARLSON:  With your family? 

O‘HURLEY:  No, no, they had the men of ABC daytime.  It was the men of ABC daytime against the women of ABC daytime.  And I remember when I was playing the game, and I really didn‘t understand the rules all that much I just played it.  But I was always watching Richard Dawson and I said this is an incredible gig I have to tell you.  And low and behold 20 years later it has been dropped in my lap.

CARLSON:  You‘re going to be so much better than Richard Dawson. And I liked him too. John O‘Hurley, thank you very much.

O‘HURLEY:  Great to talk to you Tucker.

CARLSON:  I appreciate it.  President Bush certainly has his problems these days but for some reason there‘s a record amount of laughter coming out of the White House, supposedly.  We‘ll explain when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  What better way to end our week in Los Angeles than with Willie Geist who incidentally I believe is staying here. 

WILLIE GEIST:  I‘m going to stay for a few days.  I have lunch at the Ivy with Paris Hilton in about 15 minutes.

CARLSON:  Paris and her sporty little dog.

GEIST:  Exactly.  Tucker on Jay Leno last night as you know, I would like to point out here was the guest list.  Tucker Carlson, Julie and Louie Dreyfuss, Jude Law, Bob Seiger, a superstar line up.  Who was first on the show? Who was the first guest? Tucker Carlson.  Now because of “Dancing with the Stars” a bigger star than Jude Law, Hollywood heartthrob.  Congratulations my friend. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not exactly right but I like the sound of it. 

GEIST:  Oh I don‘t know, it is objectively right.  You were on the show first.  You tell me, right?

CARLSON:  Right. 

GEIST:  Now I don‘t want to dwell on this, and this will be the last time I mention it to you.  In hindsight you had a couple of days to think about it.  Do you wish you had gotten out of the chair earlier?

CARLSON:  I think I wish I had gotten out of the chair earlier, yes, that was actually a part of the routine. 

GEIST:  That was a good move.

CARLSON:  But you know we don‘t see ourselves clearly is the truth. 

GEIST:  Do you wish you had gotten out of the contract for the competition earlier?

CARLSON:  No.  I have no regrets. 

GEIST:  Good.  It was fun.  It was a good time.  And by the way speaking of Jay Leno he was very complimentary of you.  Turns out he‘s an MSNBC fan, watches the network very, very closely.

CARLSON:  He‘s a fan of yours as he told us last night.

GEIST: No, he‘s a fan of yours Tucker, we know that. 

CARLSON:  Thank you Willie.

GEIST:  Well believe it or not we‘re going to say goodbye to Tucker and “Dancing with the Stars.”  There‘s a little other news in the world.  If you thought Tucker‘s dancing was painful, I did not think it was painful, it was terrific.  How about giving birth to a 14 pound 13 ounce baby? A Connecticut woman delivered this not so little guy on Tuesday. 

The boy who is named Steffan is the biggest baby on record at Williams Baptist Hospital in Norwich and we all know they have had a lot of big babies there.  It‘s just an amazing phenomenon there.  The doctor who delivered Steffan says the boy is built like a linebacker and apparently scholarship offers have rolled in from USC, Oklahoma, Florida State and I‘m sure Bobby Bowden has already purchased his family an Escalade.  Don‘t you think, a little corruption down in the south land.

CARLSON:  He‘s one big chunky kid I have to say. 

GEIST:  He‘s a big boy.  Any of your kids in the 14 pound range.

CARLSON:  My kids are big though, oh yes, big husky kids. 

GEIST:  They‘re not husky now though.

CARLSON:  Yes but they‘re solid.  It‘s hard to knock them over.

GEIST:  Solid.

CARLSON:  Yes they are. 

GEIST:  Like dad.

CARLSON:  Yes, little Swedes.

GEIST:  Tucker you wouldn‘t think there‘d be a lot of laughter at the White House these days given the world‘s circumstances but in fact there is.  In fact 330 percent more laughter than there used to be. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I hate to say it Les but you have done it again.  I answered a completely inappropriate and irrelevant question.  Go ahead. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  There‘s the fun factory.  White House Press Secretary Tony Snow cracking up the press corps.  He‘s been doing a lot of that lately apparently.  The Washington Examiner which apparently has too much time on its hand studied the transcripts of the first four months of Snow‘s briefing and compared them to those of former press secretary Scott McClellan in his first four months.  The study shows Snow has drawn a whopping 330 percent more laughter than McClellan did.  So, there‘s that.  The numbers are up.  Something ...

CARLSON:  I know the guy who did this study and I believe everything he writes A, B, the previous guy about as funny as athlete‘s foot, I totally believe this. 

GEIST:  I‘m not sure bragging about being funnier than Scott McClellan is really an achievement.  It‘s like I bench press 300 percent more than Donald Rumsfeld.  It‘s not really a good standard.

CARLSON:  Actually I think Donald Rumsfeld can do one arm push ups. 

GEIST:  Seriously.

CARLSON:  Yes, though Donald Rumsfeld ...

GEIST:  Well I know Madeline Albright ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  She and Pat Robertson.  Animals.  Willie Geist .

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.  See you back in reality.

CARLSON:  . good luck here in L.A.  Come back.

All right.  That‘s it from L.A. this week.  Thank you for watching. 

We‘ll be back on the East Coast, we think, next week with no more dancing.

Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris.  Have a great weekend.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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