updated 9/19/2006 11:21:10 AM ET 2006-09-19T15:21:10

Guests: Father Thomas Williams, Ibrahim Hooper, Pat Buchanan

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

Lots to get to today, form a call to impeach Republican Bush from a Republican, to Kinky Friedman on his run for the governorship of Texas. 

But first out top story, death threats against the pope. 

Security at the Vatican has been increased as outrage explodes in the Muslim world.  One al Qaeda Web site promises jihad, saying, “God enable us to slit their throats and make their money and descendants the bounty of the Mujahideen.” 

All this after the pope apologized yesterday for a speech he made last week that offended some Muslims.  In it, the pope quoted a 14th Christian emperor who referred to elements of the Muslim faith as “evil and inhuman.”

Joining me with the latest from Rome, MSNBC analyst Father Thomas Williams. 

Father Williams, thanks for joining us. 

What is the latest in the reaction to the pope‘s speech?  Have there been killings of Catholic clergy around the world that you‘re aware of? 

FATHER THOMAS WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well, what we have so far, Tucker, as far as I know, we have the bombing of at least five churches in the Middle East and the West Bank and Gaza.  We also have the death yesterday, shooting death, of an Italian nun in Somalia.  Also, it appears as a result of some provocative talk by one of the leaders of the Islamic community there, a very shameful thing.  A 70-year-old nun who was working in a hospital caring mostly, ironically, for Muslim children. 

This is what we‘re seeing, and it‘s a very distressing thing at the moment


CARLSON:  Can you tell me, Father Williams, what the pope meant?  He has apologized or seen, at least from our vantage, to have apologized for these remarks, quoting this 14th century whomever, king, I believe, emperor he was quoting.  But what exactly...

WILLIAMS:  Emperor, yes.

CARLSON:  ... did he mean by quoting him in the first place?  What was the point? 

WILLIAMS:  Well, you know, this was in the midst of a long academic discourse.  This was a half-hour talk he was giving to the faculty and the students to the University of Regensburg in Germany.  And he was talking about the relationship between reason and faith.  And he was talking about different versions of this. 

He spoke about Lutherans.  He talked about the idea of Sola Scriptura, what he saw as being wrong with that.  He talked about Emanuel Kant (ph).  He talked about Catholics in the past who have thought of god as being volunteeristic, he can command—and then he also spoke about Muslims.

And he said that there was this idea of the Islamic—the Islamic rule, the Koran, that said conversions can be wrought also by the sword.  And he was saying that this is not—this is not right, violence cannot be ever justified by religion. 

So it was the midst of a lot of other things that he was talking about.  This, of course, was picked out by the media and isolated as a sound bite and as a title for newspapers.  And this is what the Islamic community has reacted to. 

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m a little confused, then.  I mean, clearly, Islam has been forced on nonbelievers by the sword through history.  I mean, you know there—that‘s beyond dispute.  That has happened; that continues to happen. 

Is the pope now saying that doesn‘t happen?  What exactly is he apologizing for? 

WILLIAMS:  No, I think it‘s important to make a distinction here, Tucker, because the pope never apologized for his words.  The pope apologized, “for the reaction taken as an offense by the Muslim community.”  In other words, he was very sorry that this had caused this sort of reaction, that it was taken as offensive, when that was not his intent. 

He has never retracted his statement.  He has, however, distanced himself, also, from the words.  He says, you know, “These words that I was quoting, obviously I‘m quoting somebody else in the midst of a discussion.  I wasn‘t attributing those to myself.  This is not my own opinion.”

So there was a little bit of distancing from the content, but the apology itself was with regard to the reaction that it caused among the Muslims.

CARLSON:  So what does the pope think of the fact that Islam, as least as interpreted by some in the world in 2006, does seem to inspire violence? 

WILLIAMS:  Well, I think he‘s very, very concerned about it.  And I think that unfortunately these days, since the pope‘s words, have only borne out the very worst possible interpretation of these words in the sense that he was saying violence cannot be justified by religion.

Instead of the Muslim community standing up and saying, we agree with that, we don‘t like the way you worded that, we think you should take that back, but we agree fundamentally, violence cannot be sustained by religion, no, we have none of that.  In fact, we have the exact opposite, death to the pope, to the dog in Rome, and these actual acts of violence in the Middle East.  And this has got a lot of us here in Rome and I think throughout the world very, very concerned because it kind of bears out the violent nature of certain sectors of Islam. 

CARLSON:  What is—what is being done at the Vatican to increase security around the pope and other Catholic clergy that you know of? 

WILLIAMS:  Well, as far as I know, I mean, it‘s kind of hush-hush at the moment.  The only thing I know because it‘s been reported here in the Italian news is that there has—it has been upped.  There has been a greater security alert and they are doing things to try to tighten things up. 

What that means in particular, how many helicopters, how many Secret Service people, I honestly don‘t know.  I do know that they‘re on special alert and I know they‘re especially worried because of all these—these threats that have been made. 

CARLSON:  Reverend Thomas Williams joining us from the Vatican.

Father Williams, thanks a lot. 

WILLIAMS:  Always a pleasure, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  It doesn‘t look like the pope‘s apology will diffuse an increasingly volatile situation.  One influential Iranian cleric insisted Benedict—that‘s the pope—does not fully regret his statement, saying, “The pope should fall on his knees before a senior Muslim cleric and try to understand Islam.”

But are threats of violence any way to respond to claims that Islam is a violent religion? 

That‘s the question for Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American Islamic Relations.  He joins us from here in Washington. 

Mr. Hooper, thanks for joining us.


CARLSON:  Do you see, I hope, the irony in this: “No, Islam is not a violent religion, and if you don‘t agree, we‘ll kill you”? 

HOOPER:  Obviously, any threats or violence in reaction to this are completely inappropriate, should be repudiated, condemned and stopped.  But I would take issue with your statement earlier that you take it for granted that Islam was spread by the sword and should be spread by the sword. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not what I said.  Wait—that‘s not what I said and that‘s not what I meant. 

I don‘t think Islam is always and everywhere spread by the sword.  I was merely saying there are many instances throughout history in which Islam has been spread by the sword.  That‘s a historical fact.

HOOPER:  That would come as a shock to the early Muslims who protected the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem...

CARLSON:  I‘m sure it would.

HOOPER:  ... protected the Monastery of St. Catherine‘s in Sinai, invited Christian delegations to mosques in Mecca.

CARLSON:  Look, I—I get—look, Islam has an honorable history.  There have been—I think throughout most of Islam‘s history it has lived alongside other great world religions in peace, and it‘s been a force for good in a lot of places throughout history.  And that‘s the tragedy.  And that‘s why I don‘t understand that you‘re more incensed by the pope‘s comments than you are by the fact that, for instance, five Christian churches have been burned in the West Bank in response to those comments. 

HOOPER:  That‘s a premise that I don‘t share with you, that I somehow am more incensed with one than the other.  I‘m upset any time anybody carries out an act of violence in the name Islam.  It should be stopped.  We issued a statement calling for increased dialogue in response to this. 

There have been very good relations built up over the years, primarily under the previous pope, between Catholics and Muslims worldwide.  And we‘d hate to see anything damage those relations, including these inaccurate and divisive remarks. 

CARLSON:  Is there a single country in the world you‘re aware of in which the government will imprison or execute someone for denouncing Christianity or leaving the Christian faith?  No, of course there‘s not.  And yet there are a number of Islamic countries where renouncing Islam can get you killed. 

Don‘t you think that‘s a problem? 

HOOPER:  Well, and when that came up as an issue in Afghanistan, we also issued a statement saying that when that person left Islam it was a private matter, not a state matter. 

CARLSON:  Well, but what do you mean—what do you mean when it came up?  That is—that is not something that just happened.  That is the state of play.  That is the status quo in Saudi Arabia, for instance. 

If a Muslim gets up in Saudi Arabia, which is the seat of Islam—Mecca and Medina are in Saudi Arabia—gets up and says, “I renounce Islam, I‘m converting to Judaism,” that‘s a crime, as you know. 

Why aren‘t you mad about it? 

HOOPER:  Well, I am mad about it, and that‘s why we issued the statement.  In the Koran it says (SPEAKING ARABIC) -- there is no compulsion in religion.  And that‘s what we abide by. 

CARLSON:  But it just seems to me—you can see the point that I‘m making.  There is this tendency to violence in elements of modern Islam, and yet groups like yours that have, I guess, as their charter to defend Islam always and everywhere ignore seem to ignore those and hop on the pope who says something that can be interpreted as an attack on Islam, where at the same time ignoring these outbreaks of violence in your own world. 

HOOPER:  Every faith can be misused and misconstrued to lead to violence. 


HOOPER:  I mean, you—we don‘t have to go into the history of the middle ages and the Crusades and the Inquisition—and how about Muslim Spain for 700 years, when the... 


CARLSON:  You‘re right on every count.  No, no, but I agree with you.  I agree with you. 

HOOPER:  They gave them the choice of convert or die. 

CARLSON:  Or die, that‘s exactly right.  And that was a black chapter in the history of Christianity.  It‘s appalling, it‘s disgusting even to hear about. 

HOOPER:  So no faith is free of this kind of misuse of the religious text.

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more.  Nobody disagrees with that.  That‘s absolutely right.  And Christians are appalled by what was done in the name of Christianity. 

Muslims don‘t seem to be appalled by what is being done today in the name of Islam.  And that‘s what I don‘t understand.

HOOPER:  Well, this Muslim is appalled, and we issue regular statements.  You can have us come on every time that we issue a statement.  For instance, on 9/11 we issued a statement headlined “U.S. Muslims Repudiate al Qaeda‘s World View.”

CARLSON:  Well, how about this?  How about this?  Why don‘t you look into the camera right now and say to the government of Saudi Arabia and its clerics it is wrong for you punish people who criticize Islam in public?

HOOPER:  I don‘t have to say it.  We‘ve said it already.

CARLSON:  Really?

HOOPER:  It‘s wrong to punish people by the state if they renounce Islam. 

It‘s a private matter, it‘s not a state matter. 

CARLSON:  So you would never want to take any money from the government of Saudi Arabia, a government that would do that, right? 

HOOPER:  And, you know, I know where you‘re going with this.  And to my knowledge, we don‘t take money from the government of Saudi Arabia.

CARLSON:  Good for you.  Good for you.  I appreciate that.

Ibrahim Hooper, thanks a lot for coming on and for helping explain what‘s going on.

Still to come, you won‘t believe which well-known conservative wants to impeach President Bush.  He‘ll tell you why he wants to impeach the president just ahead.

And the Republican campaign against Rosie O‘Donnell.  Is the GOP trying to get her fired from “The View”?

That story when we come back.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

My next guest says President Bush deserves to be impeached.  Not for the war in Iraq, but for failing to stop what he calls the invasion of America by illegal immigrants. 

Joining me now from Washington, author of the best-selling book “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America,” MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.

Pat, welcome.

PAT ROBERTSON, MSNBC ANALYST:  Tucker, if I could, I‘d like to Mr. Hooper first. 

CARLSON:  Of course. 

ROBERTSON:  Well, let me just say, with regard to the Holy Father, what he said was—he took an earlier sura of Mohammed where he said compulsion and religion are in conflict, and then later sura of Mohammed where he said the faith has got to be spread by the sword, which is a legitimate argument between force and religion. 

But let me say this: Mr. Hooper, really, I think, libeled Christianity—the—Islam was a fighting faith.  It came out of the desert, it conquered the holy land in North Africa and Spain by force of arms in a hundred years.  When the Spanish expelled it, they were recapturing Christian land.  When the crusades were conducted against Jerusalem, they were recapturing Christian lands which had been taken by the sword. 

Now, here we have the Holy Father basically asking whether violence is consistent with Islam, and what is the response?  Assassinate him and murder him.

I mean, I don‘t—I mean, some of the things—the Holy Father probably shouldn‘t have used that part of the quote which called about evil and inhuman, but for heaven‘s sakes, the Muslims over there are making the point the Holy Father was raising. 

CARLSON:  Well, of course.  I mean, the irony alarm is going off.  I‘m not violent, and if you say I am I‘ll behead you!

ROBERTSON:  You‘ve got to defend the church, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  It‘s unbelievable.  I‘m not even Catholic, and now it‘s up to me to defend the pope.  I‘m happy to though.


CARLSON:  Pat Buchanan, tell me about impeachment.  This is something Republicans are saying Nancy Pelosi is going to be pushing if the Democrats take back the House of Representatives.  And here you are, lifelong Republican, worked for many administrations, suggesting impeachment. 


ROBERTSON:  I like George Bush, but if I were a member of Congress and I saw this relentless refusal to enforce the immigration laws of this country even less than Clinton did, and his refusal to protect the states of this union from invasion, which he is mandated to do in the Constitution, I would drop a bill of impeachment in to the hopper in the House to get the nation‘s attention and his attention. 

Tucker, for the life of me, I have done 200 radio shows.  I‘ll bet 190 of them asked me—and most of them love the president, or like the president, or supported the president—they say, “Pat, why in heaven‘s name won‘t he defend the border?”  And none of us understand it.  We don‘t know what to do. 

We have 80 percent of the country that supports us.

CARLSON:  And what‘s your—of course, and I‘m—you know, I‘m in that 80 percent, I‘m proud to say.  But what‘s your answer?

I mean, you‘ve thought about this.  You‘ve written a book on it.  You‘ve probably brooded on this—on this question.

Why isn‘t the president willing to stand up and do what the Constitution requires of him in this case? 

ROBERTSON:  I‘ve got a chapter in there called “Behind the Paralysis,” and it must have 10 reasons, but let me give you three of them.

Rove and the president are scared of a backlash from the Hispanic community.  They‘re scared of all the usual talk, racists, xenophobe.  They think what will happen to them, what happened to Wilson and the party in California, will happen to them. 

The corporate—the corporations in this country are demanding not only amnesty for ilegals, but pardons for themselves for hiring illegals.  That‘s in the Senate bill.  And I think they feel that the corporations will take a walk on the party and the Hispanics will, and they can‘t afford to do that. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

ROBERTSON:  And finally, I think the president, fundamentally, he agrees with this open borders North American nonsense where we erase the borders, everybody moves back and forth like the EU.  I think in that sense he is his father‘s son. 

CARLSON:  I think—I think that‘s an actually very smart analysis.  I think all three are absolutely right.  I don‘t think, however, that anybody is going to—is going to suggest that he be impeached over the next two years. 

ROBERTSON:  Well, let me say that.  I don‘t...

CARLSON:  Do you think anyone...

ROBERTSON:  ... to see—I don‘t want to see him impeached.

CARLSON:  Right.

ROBERTSON:  And I don‘t think that he‘d be convicted.  And frankly, the Congress is complicit in this. 

CARLSON:  Well, they are.  That was my next question.  They are complicit, aren‘t they, with a few exceptions? 

ROBERTSON:  Well, now, at least as of last December, the House got it.  The House gets it. 

They‘ve been home, Tucker.  They‘ve talked to those folks at home.  And the folks are saying, why doesn‘t our president defend the border?  I mean, these aren‘t people that dislike Bush, but 90 percent of these talk show hosts love him and they support it. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Well, then, that‘s my last question. 

To what extent do you think faithful conservatives, faithful Republicans, are going to stay home during the midterm election because they‘re mad about immigration? 

ROBERTSON:  Well, the truth is, we are members of the family, you know, Tucker, like it or not.  And we fight inside the family and this is a bloody battle.  But when the family‘s in a fight with outsiders, we tend to come home and pick up the musket as well. 

CARLSON:  Boy, that...

ROBERTSON:  And so I think we‘re—I think—well, frankly, I find it very, very hard to vote against Republicans except when I‘m on the ballot. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I mean, I see what you‘re saying.  I think there‘s the option though as to not vote at all. 

ROBERTSON:  I think a lot of people might do it...


ROBERTSON:  ... but conservatives are very, very—I mean, down deep, they‘re very loyal to the party. 

CARLSON:  We will see soon. 

Pat Buchanan, thank you very much. 

ROBERTSON:  OK.  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Coming up, showdown at the United Nations.  Iran‘s president hopes to force George W. Bush into a face-to-face debate.  The White House says it‘s not going to happen.  But should it happen?  Would it help?

And Bill Maher says Katie Couric‘s free speech segment not so free after all.

That story on “Beat the Press” when we come back.


CARLSON:  Time now for “Beat the Press.”

First up, CBS, Bill Maher and free speech. 

Maher was invited to do the so-called “Free Speech” segment on the “CBS Evening News,” but here‘s what he says happened when he suggested a topic.


BILL MAHER, “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”:  I asked if I could talk about religion, and that was a deal breaker right from the beginning.  But that...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, that‘s ridiculous. 

MAHER:  And they said we—that‘s my point.  They said, “We‘ll send over a list of acceptable topics” for our segment on free speech. 



CARLSON:  Here‘s what “CBS Evening News” executive producer Rome Hartman had to say. 

“Bill Maher was never told that he couldn‘t discuss religion in a ‘Free Speech‘ segment.  In fact, ‘Free Speech‘ has already addressed religion and we expect others will in the future.”

We‘ll never know probably exactly what happened.  I‘m tending to think that Bill Maher is probably on to something.  Bill Maher hates religion.  How surprising would it be if some producer at CBS said, “You know what?  We don‘t really want to have you on the air ranting to our elderly audience, many of whom go to church every week, that god is dead and religion is bogus.”

Well, they probably were against that.  And they will probably have similar

problems in the future if they continue—they being “CBS  Evening News” -

to have a segment called “Free Speech.”  There will be a lot of topics they don‘t want to put on the air because they don‘t want to offend their advertisers and their viewers. 

So here‘s an idea.  Why not just eliminate it?  It‘s a news program.  Tell us the news. 

How about everything that happened yesterday?  Or today even?  Why don‘t you just tell us about that?

Why not a news show about news?  Wouldn‘t that be easier?  Probably. 

Next up, Bill O‘Reilly.  If you don‘t watch his show you may have assumed it was about politics and ideas.  That‘s the reputation.  The reality though is different. 

Friday night, O‘Reilly introduced a new segment he‘s calling “America‘s TV Icons.”  Think “US Weekly” but with sound. 

O‘Reilly‘s first guest was charming but hardly newsworthy.  The game show host Bob Barker.



BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  What is it that you do in your personal life that has contributed to your endurance? 

BOB BARKER, GAME SHOW HOST:  I‘m a vegetarian, first of all, Bill.  And I became a vegetarian out of concern for animals.  But I hadn‘t been a vegetarian long before I realized that this is a good thing.  And I believe that—that I‘ve had far more energy—I know I have—and I really believe that I probably would have retired years ago had I not been a vegetarian. 


CARLSON:  Just to recap, just last week Bill O‘Reilly told his audience, “Please believe me when I tell you I have absolutely no interest in the lives of celebrities.”  That was then, this is now. 

Again, if you don‘t watch his show, and you don‘t have to, because we‘re going to watch it for you, you may think it‘s Bill O‘Reilly ranting about the border, Iran, the coming election, issues that matter.  In fact, it‘s kind of a cheesy show. 

Just last week his topics included the death of Anna Nicole‘s son; John Mark Karr and the JonBenet Ramsey murder; Debra Lafave, the Florida teacher convicted of having sex with one of her students; the company that makes and markets “Girls Gone Wild” videos—that was a topic—and on and on and on. 

Rosie O‘Donnell was another.  You get the point.  This is not a show that is as deep or hard as its reputation would leave you to believe.  It‘s a show that wants, as we all do, ratings, and tabloid stuff rates. 

So, Bill O‘Reilly, welcome to cable television.  Everybody does it, maybe you can start admitting it. 

Still to come, a new threat against the pope: become a Muslim or die. 

Sound like a peaceful religion to you?

And a mother is viciously attacked and her newborn baby is kidnapped.  Some people are actually blaming the victims in that case.  It‘s an outrageous story. 

We‘ll tell you more when we come back. 


CARLSON:  Still to come, John McCain faces off against the White House.  But is he putting his presidential campaign in jeopardy?  And the country singer who could be the next governor of Texas, Kinky Friedman, joins us live.  All that in just a moment, but right now here‘s a look at your headlines. 


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 Washington, D.C., Armstrong Williams, commentator and radio talk show host on WWRL; and from Pensacola, Florida, Mike Papantonio, co-host of “Ring of Fire” on Air America Radio. 

Welcome both. 

First up, the story that has dominated the headlines for days—and rightly so—Muslim outrage over the pope and his controversial speech on Islam.  The pope‘s apology did nothing to calm the situation apparently, but should Benedict have apologized for what he said in the first place?  Or was he actually onto something? 

Mike, do you see the irony in Islamic leaders denouncing the pope for suggesting that Islam somehow abets violence and then encouraging their followers to commit violence? 

MIKE PAPANTONIO, CO-HOST, “RING OF FIRE”:  Well, the problem is, right now, if we were to pick one of the most explosive, delicate issues that the entire Western world is facing, it‘s the balance of the strained relationship with the world of Islam.  And so that‘s what‘s important to me.  This is not the time to not pay attention to political correctness; unfortunately, political correctness matters right now. 

CARLSON:  Well, wait a second.


CARLSON:  So, in other words, we‘re being held hostage by a bunch of lunatics who hurt other people who disagree with them and...

PAPANTONIO:  Well, that‘s not...

CARLSON:  ... we should just sort of do what they say or else they‘ll hurt us? 

PAPANTONIO:  No, no, no, the truth is, Tucker, right now there‘s one billion Muslims worldwide.  If the pope advisers chose to put the Muslim issue, this criticism issue out there to promote a dialogue, now is not the time to do it. 

You understand, this man is very different from Pope John Paul II.  John Paul II was always trying to find common ground, Tucker.  He was always trying to find common ground between the common faith to try to unite Christians and Jews and Muslims, and he always was there to remind people that all of that unites under one God. 

This is a different pope.  And I don‘t know why, but if you recall, this is the pope that made a speech several years ago where he said that only the Roman Catholic Church provides the path for salvation.  He said that other religions...


CARLSON:  And I remember, when he said that, Mike, I remember burning him in effigy.  I think I even shot a nun that day.  As an Episcopalian, I was so offended by it, I lashed out in violence.  I mean, come on. 

PAPANTONIO:  But you‘re missing the point.

CARLSON:  No, that is the point, is that, just because you disagree, it doesn‘t mean you get to commit acts of violence. 

PAPANTONIO:  Now is not the time for more divisive language.  And whoever is handling this guy, whoever is his inside adviser, his speechwriter, made a terrible mistake when they didn‘t look at what he was about to say, when they allowed him to do this.

CARLSON:  OK.  Armstrong, apparently, according to news reports, this pope, Benedict, writes his own speeches; these were his own words.  Do you blame him? 

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, RADIO HOST:  You know what?  Listen, I‘m glad he does write his own works.  I mean, you know, people are just a little sick and tired of these Muslim extremists feigning respect.  I mean, they go around the world, these Muslim extremists, they blow people up, their alternative landscape of the world, they come—the Al Qaeda issues a directive to take out the pope.  They kill a nun, assassinate her.

I mean, this is barbarian, this is savage behavior.  The only thing the pope was doing was quoting someone early on in this history who talked about the inhumanity of the extreme Islam.  The pope was absolutely right; he should have never apologized. 

You know, people are just a little tired of this fake respect of this Muslim world.  What it shows is that the Muslim world, these Arab states are losing respect because they have this double standard where it‘s OK for us to do whatever we want to do, ungodly and dastardly acts, but yet they want to hold the pope and everybody else to a different standard.  Well, you know what?  People are just a little sick of this.  The pope was absolutely correct, and he should take a stand.  He should never apologize, and he should have never backed down. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, from international disputes to domestic ones, John McCain, his dissent from the president‘s detainee interrogation, will it cost him support from Republicans as he runs for the White House in 2008?  McCain, of course, is a former prisoner of war.  He said, quote, “The detainees deserve nothing except the fundamental rights that all prisoners have under the Geneva Conventions.  We should not do things which would be condemned by everyone in the world.” 

Armstrong Williams, do you think, having been around politics a while, this is a smart move for John McCain to separate himself from the president‘s position on interrogating detainees? 

WILLIAMS:  Well, it may not be a smart move, Tucker, but, listen, the most important thing that we have as Americans is our high moral standard and our honor.  And regardless of how they treat us as detainees, the one thing that we hold around the world is that we do not compromise on moral standard and our honor.

And we cannot give these rogue states and these rogue nations an opportunity to rewrite their interrogation laws so they can continue doing the same things that they‘re doing now.  Even if we are the only ones upholding these laws, no matter what our enemies may do, no matter what they may do, we have an obligation to be the moral example of the rest of the world. 

And I think Senator McCain, serving in war, had lived during those times, can understand that more than anybody else.  You have a lot of people speaking on this issue who have not served in war, who have no idea what it means to be captured, to be in combat. 

CARLSON:  Right.

WILLIAMS:  If you go back to the early years, the Vietnam and World War I and World War II, what was most effective for these interrogators were getting to know people through kindness and understanding and our higher moral standard.  And they were able to get more information and help the cause than using this, to use these prisoners, where you beat up...

PAPANTONIO:  You know, Armstrong, Armstrong, I agree with you on part of what you said.  Really, if you look at the Geneva Convention, in 1949, you had Dwight D. Eisenhower that said we came out of the World War II, we saw how soldiers were mishandled.  It was Dwight D. Eisenhower who pushed forward these ideas of a Geneva Convention to protect its soldiers. 

Listen to this:  You have 14 American generals that were critical of this president, admirals and generals that said that the Geneva Convention is there to protect soldiers.  You had 54 percent of the American public say that the Geneva Convention actually protects American soldiers.  This is a fight not between Republicans and Democrats; this is a fight between chicken hawks in the Bush administration and real soldier who have been in combat...

CARLSON:  Oh, no, wait, wait...


CARLSON:  Hold on.  Wait, wait, wait, wait, that‘s so unfair...

PAPANTONIO:  That‘s what the fight‘s about. 

CARLSON:  ... that I‘ve just got to stop there.  I‘m not even sure where I stand on this personally, but I do think it‘s unfair to suggest that people who have not served in combat have somehow less a right to speak out about America‘s foreign policy.  I mean, most women haven‘t served.  Gay people haven‘t served.  Just because you haven‘t served doesn‘t mean that you don‘t have...

PAPANTONIO:  Tucker, you know what?

CARLSON:  ... every bit as much a right as everyone else to comment on what your country‘s doing. 

PAPANTONIO:  Let me pick up on what Armstrong just said.  Here‘s the way I look at it:  This fight really is about protecting Rumsfeld and protecting a small crowd of Bush underlings against being prosecuted for the War Crimes Act.  That‘s what this is about.  The Common Article Number 3 of the Geneva Conventions...

CARLSON:  War Crimes Act?  Do you think the United States has committed—do you think the U.S. has committed war crimes? 

PAPANTONIO:  If you take a look at the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, there are a lot of people—not just Mike Papantonio—talking about the fact that a lot of these people fall squarely within what the Common Article 3 was supposed to be.

CARLSON:  So you think—wait, so you believe that the leaders in the U.S. government have committed—see, this is where the left—this is where you lose me, OK?  It‘s one thing to be against the war...


CARLSON:  ... and it‘s another thing say that we ought to abide by the Geneva Convention.  Fine, I‘m on board with both those.  But to say that our leaders have committed war crimes, that‘s when—you know what?  You‘re off in Jane Fonda land and you‘re not on my side anymore. 

PAPANTONIO:  But it‘s not.  If you take a look at it—and I‘ll tell you what, George Bush, I can promise you, has never read the Geneva Convention or he‘d understand how important it is to protecting U.S.  soldiers.  Alberto Gonzales—think about this, Tucker—Alberto Gonzales says that we need to define what outrageous, inhumane, degrading treatment...

CARLSON:  Right, no, I get the debate. 

PAPANTONIO:  ... of prisoners is. 


CARLSON:  As soon as you start saying that our government is guilty of war crimes, no.  No, no, no.  I‘m not on your side.


WILLIAMS:  ... should be the least road we should travel.  We should restore our honor and integrity for the rest of the world.  That‘s what‘s most important.

CARLSON:  Speaking of war crimes, there are countries that have committed war crimes.  One of them is Iran.  And tomorrow, at the United Nations, it should be quite a day, because President Bush will make a speech there in the morning focusing on the threat Iran poses to the world.  And just hours later, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak in the exact same room. 

Now, the White House has said it wants to pursue diplomatic relations with Iran in some way, and yet Bush refuses to meet with the Iranian president, even though they‘re going to be there at the same time.  Listen to the explanation. 


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I certainly hope we never have to use our military again.  On the other hand, if diplomacy fails, the United States has, you know, to leave all options on the table.  I‘m confident diplomacy can work. 

JOURNALIST:  Would you be willing to perhaps meet face-to-face with Ahmadinejad?  And would this possibly be a breakthrough, some sort of opportunity for a breakthrough on a personal level? 

BUSH:  No, I‘m not going to meet with him. 


CARLSON:  Huh.  Armstrong Williams, what do you think of that?  And I can sort of see it both ways.  But, you know, why not take the—the guy is there, and you‘ve got a message for him.  What‘s the downside of talking with Ahmadinejad? 

WILLIAMS:  You know, I think, Tucker, we have to be very careful when we put the prestige of the president of the United States and this great nation of ours on line to meet with someone like the president of Iran.  He‘s shown no diplomatic tact.  He‘s shown no respect for the right for Israel to exist. 

Some of the things that he has said has been outrageous.  He just returned from that conference where there were stations where they had an effigy of Bush looking like Hitler.  And he condemned the president.  And if he had the grace, and the dignity, and sort of the character of a president where he could look presidential, at least have shown that he‘s willing to find some kind of diplomatic solutions, and that he‘s earned the right to meet with our president, that would be one thing. 

CARLSON:  Well, no, wait, I mean, the point is not whether he has grace and dignity.  The question is whether he‘s got a nuclear program.  I mean, look...

WILLIAMS:  That‘s not—he‘s not deserving.  He has not earned the right to meet with the president of the United States.  I‘m sorry. 

CARLSON:  OK, but here‘s—now, Mike, I can see what you‘re going to say.  I mean, I can anticipate what you‘re going to say.  Why should we meet with...



CARLSON:  ... on the other hand, wasn‘t it liberals who attacked Bush for conducting an unusually and, as they said, overly personal foreign policy, where he, you know, complimented Putin and said he looked into his soul?  And you know what I mean?  So who cares...


PAPANTONIO:  Tucker, not long ago you did a good story on cowboy diplomacy of Bush.  I remember the story.  I thought you handled it really well.  “Time” magazine did a cover story on George Bush cowboy diplomacy.  They said it hasn‘t worked in five years, and it‘s still not working. 

The truth is, if Bush had his finger on the bomb button during the Cuban missile crisis, more than three-quarters of this country would still be radioactive, and that scares Americans.  This is a man—it‘s an all-time low in statesmanship when you have a president that‘s afraid to carry on a face-to-face diplomatic discussion with a man who is as crazy as this Iranian president. 

This is an Iranian president who said that he‘d like to wipe Israel off the map.  Those are the people we should be talking to, Tucker.  And you know, right now, what‘s happened is you have a president...

CARLSON:  What, to convince him not to wipe Israel off the map?  We‘re not going to—I mean, come on.

PAPANTONIO:  Well, you know, you don‘t—but you don‘t get there, you don‘t get there by not talking.  You don‘t get there by closing the door to diplomacy. 

WILLIAMS:  Someone should talk, but it shouldn‘t be our president. 

CARLSON:  Thank you both.  Armstrong Williams, I‘m sorry we‘re totally out of time.  Mike Papantonio, thank you both very much.  I appreciate it.

PAPANTONIO:  Thanks a lot.

CARLSON:  Kinky Friedman for governor of Texas, those words may have sounded like a joke just a few months ago, but have you seen the polls lately?  They‘re amazing.  Kinky Friedman, potentially the next governor of the state of Texas, joins us in just a minute. 

Plus, if cocaine is illegal, why are they selling it openly at convenience stores all across the country?  We‘ll tell you when we come right back.


CARLSON:  Time for a look at today‘s stories I just don‘t get.  We begin with a shocking crime in Missouri. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We just want Abby home.  Anyway that we can get her, we‘ll take her.  It‘s just we want her home safely.  We love her. 


CARLSON:  A grandmother‘s plea for the safe return of her newborn granddaughter snatched from her St. Louis-area home last Friday.  Her mother‘s throat was slashed during the abduction, but she survived the attack. 

Meanwhile, the FBI and National Guard have joined the search for the child and her kidnapper, a woman resembling this composite sketch.  Investigators suspect she was lured to the parent‘s house by the front yard sign announcing the birth of their daughter.  The child‘s grandmother says she now deeply regrets putting that sign there.  Now, that‘s an understandable thing for the grandmother to say, but it‘s also a deeply troubling thing. 

If this society has become the kind of place where you can‘t announce the birth of your child for fear some weirdo is going to come and steal the child, it‘s over.  We might as well give up and move somewhere else, move to Canada, at that point.  This country is out of control.  Society has fallen apart. 

We haven‘t gotten to that stage yet, and so I think the rest of us ought to announce with pride and fearlessness the birth of our children without worrying about some kidnapper coming.  Because if it gets to the point where we can‘t do that, you really can‘t do anything.  It‘s over at that point. 

Next, the political career of Virginia Senator George Allen might hinge on a poor choice of words. 


SEN. GEORGE ALLEN ®, VIRGINIA:  Let‘s a welcome to Macaca here. 

Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia. 

There was no racial or ethnic intent to slur anyone.  If I had any idea that that word, to some people in some parts of the world, was an insult, I would never do it, because it‘s contrary to what I believe. 


CARLSON:  Senator Allen there still apologizing for a demeaning

reference to a young college student of Indian descent.  One month later,

Allen is embroiled in a heated fight for his seat on Capitol Hill, and many political observers believe that remark has enabled Democratic opponent Jim Webb to quickly turn what was once an uphill battle into what is today a pretty level playing field. 

Both parties are watching this race closely because the Democrats consider Virginia a prime target now as they aim to regain a majority in Congress and take back the Senate.  George Allen may lose in the end.  If he loses because he called this kid “Macaca,” that‘s got to be the worst possible reason to lose a race. 

Look, if you are against the war in Iraq, if you are not conservative, you‘re liberal, and you disagree with George Allen‘s views on this, that or the other thing, vote against him, but don‘t vote against him because he called some kid “Macaca.”  Who cares?  Who cares?  That whiny little kid.

This is a story that has essentially been fanned by the “Washington Post,” which is atwitter, outraged that George Allen would use that word.  But if you‘re going to vote against George Allen, again, do it for the right reasons.  Please, have some dignity.  Macaca?  Please.  Who cares? 

And finally, a Texas politician with an atypical campaign style. 


KINKY FRIEDMAN, CANDIDATE FOR TEXAS GOVERNOR:  And what the hell is (INAUDIBLE) I‘d like to know that.  Also, where is the trans-Texas corridor going?  Is it going through your little town or your old farm or your church?  Somebody knows this, folks.  Somebody knows this right now, and we don‘t. 


CARLSON:  Entertainer-turned-gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman vows that, if he‘s elected, there will be no more secrets in Austin, the state capital.  Besides open administration, Kinky is offering a plan to improve his state‘s education by legalizing casino gambling.  He favors beefing up National Guard troops along the Mexican border to decrease illegal immigration, and he wants convicted pot smokers out of jail to make room for violent criminals. 

He sums up his campaign with four letters:  KISS.  They stand for, “Keep it simple, stupid politicians.”  That would be KISP.  Whew, too complicated for me. 

Laugh if you want, but at least one poll has Friedman running a close second to the Republican incumbent, Rick Perry.  So what would the state of Texas look like with Kinky Friedman at the wheel?  Let‘s ask the man himself. 

Kinky Friedman joins us from Austin, Texas.  Kinky, welcome, congratulations.  I‘m amazed by how well you‘re doing.  Are you? 

FRIEDMAN:  Tucker, I‘ll tell you, if we were doing any better, I‘d be nervous about it.  It‘s going absolutely great, and it‘s very, very exciting. 

CARLSON:  Well, but what if you‘re the dog who catches the car?  I mean, what if you actually win, what are you going to do? 

FRIEDMAN:  Oh, we‘re totally ready for this.  I know what I want for Texas.  I want no pay toilets and no toll roads, you know?  We want to get rid of the toll roads.  I want 10,000 National Guards troops on the border.  Governor Perry has 1,500 of them down there now with weapons but no ammo. 

You know, they don‘t even have a Barney Fife bullet in their pocket there. 

I mean, what are they doing there?  They don‘t have the authority to detain an illegal.  So is it for show?  I would suggest that, yes. 

CARLSON:  Now, you referred to Katrina refugees in Houston as, quote, “thugs and crackheads.”  Now, that‘s the kind of thing you can say if you‘re kind of joking around—and I‘m not even disagreeing with you—but if you‘re governor, can you say that? 

FRIEDMAN:  Well, look, I‘m a smart guy.  There‘s 250,000 evacuees in Houston.  Surely, I don‘t think that 250,000 people are thugs and crackheads.  There is a small group that came in with them, and that group we have not been able to catch.  And they‘ve terrorized the evacuees, as well as the people of Houston. 

What I‘m faulting the governor—look, I‘m not a racist.  I‘m a realist here. 


FRIEDMAN:  And what I‘m faulting the governor for is not that he brought all of these people over but that he didn‘t—he invited them to somebody else‘s house for dinner and he didn‘t stick around to pick up the tab.  I want to send $100 million to law enforcement in Houston so we can get 1,200 more cops on the street, overtime for all the cops and law enforcement, because the evacuees have been responsible for 20 percent of the homicides in Houston last year. 

CARLSON:  That is shocking.  That is shocking.  That‘s upsetting, and good for you for having the brass to talk about it in public.  You‘re winning me over, by the way. 

Now, you agreed early, I think, in the campaign to have a documentary film made about your run for governor, and I‘m just guessing here, but I bet when you agreed to that you didn‘t realize that you‘d be within striking distance of the incumbent.  Do you regret that decision? 

FRIEDMAN:  Not at all.  I think we might even be beating him today because, you know, these people are obsessed with the likely voters, Tucker.  But in Texas‘ last governor‘s race, they spent $100 million to drive 71 percent of us away from the polls, so only 29 percent voted.  So we‘re counting on the people showing up at the polls. 

And if that 71 percent—you know, like the Lieberman race, I think there was 50 percent more people voted than they thought would vote.  I mean, if we get anything even approaching that, it‘s going to be a landslide for us. 

CARLSON:  So if you win fewer than two months from today, what‘s the very first thing you‘re going to do? 

FRIEDMAN:  First thing I‘d do is be a good shepherd instead of a hired hand, instead of a politician.  Set up a phone line, a listen phone number.  People can call the governor every day.  It won‘t be monitored for quality control.

I also want to open the Indian casinos.  That‘s why I wear this little Indian chief—oh, I‘m sorry, I didn‘t mean to—I wear this little Indian chief to remind me—it‘s a little joke, Tucker—to remind me to open the Indian casinos, which have been shut down.  And we want legalized casino gambling in Texas to pay for education once and for all and to lower the property taxes. 

Now, all this is common sense, and that‘s what George Washington said politics needed:  common sense and common honesty. 

CARLSON:  Amen.  Amen.  And more of that ring talk.  You win me over with that.  Kinky Friedman, good luck. 

FRIEDMAN:  Yes.  Never re-elect anybody, Tucker.  Remember that. 

CARLSON:  Thank you, Kinky.

FRIEDMAN:  Thanks, Tucker.  Thank you.

What do Republicans fear most this season, apart from Kinky Friedman?  You guessed it:  Rosie O‘Donnell.  It‘s an all-out war between the Republican Party and “The View.”  Willie Geist will explain when we come right back.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  It‘s that time again where we unveil Willie Geist, live from headquarters.  Will, you there?  

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Hello, Tucker.  We‘ve had a lot of guests on our show who dislike you, hold you in contempt, but I think Kinky Friedman is the first to actually give you the finger on the air. 

CARLSON:  It‘s really—and it was in so doing that he won my vote. 

GEIST:  I know.  You‘re going to move to Texas and vote for him because he gave you the finger. 

CARLSON:  I love that.

GEIST:  That‘s how Tucker operates.

CARLSON:  Yes, it‘s true.

GEIST:  Tucker, I‘ve got a question:  Have you ever yearned for the physical and psychological effects of cocaine but not felt like dealing with the messy legal implications?  Of course you have, friends!  Well, now there is a way to get cocaine without serving time. 

A new energy drink subtly named “Cocaine” promises all the same effects of its namesake drug without containing anything illegal.  The drink‘s Web site brags that it gives you 350 percent more energy than Red Bull.  That‘s a lot.  “Cocaine” inventor James Kirby (ph) says, quote, “I can think of no other product except real cocaine that could have that effect on the public.” 

This is really over-the-top, Tucker, and I predict it‘s really successful.  I‘m going to sound like a fogey.  Call me old fashioned here, but we see these phony copycats come down the pike every so often.  I‘m a sucker for the real thing.  I think there‘s no substitute for the original, and we shouldn‘t fool ourselves into thinking there is. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not—I totally disagree with you.  I‘m up for trying anything knew, and I like this, except the carbonation hurts my nose a little bit. 

GEIST:  Right, 350 percent more than Red Bull.  That‘s frightening. 

Have you ever seen somebody on a six-pack of Red Bull?  It‘s dangerous. 

CARLSON:  Oh, I‘ve done it.  Yes, it is.

GEIST:  All right, Tucker, we already knew obviously Rosie O‘Donnell frightens small children, but it looks like she‘s got the Republican Party scared to death, too.  The RNC‘s official Web site has an entire page titled “Dems‘ Rosie View on War on Terror.”  It lists some of the things Rosie had said on “The View” about the war on terror and then shows all the Democratic candidates she‘s given money to, the suggestion, of course, that Democrats taking their cues from Rosie and the rest of Hollywood. 

Tucker, there‘s no question that Rosie is an instrument of the terrorists and a threat to the American way of life, but don‘t you think this is a little misguided by the Republicans? 

CARLSON:  Oh, I don‘t know.  I mean, Jane Fonda basically in retirement, Rosie O‘Donnell is absolutely perfect.  Actually, I really would—it‘s the oldest trick in the book.  Well, if you don‘t disagree with her, then disown her.  I would like to see, you know, Hillary Clinton attack Rosie.

GEIST:  Right.  Don‘t you think it‘s a little sad, though, that “The View” is controlling the political culture in our country?

CARLSON:  I just wish it was on NBC.  Willie, thank you.

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s our show.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, HARDBALL with Chris.  See you tomorrow.



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