updated 9/27/2006 11:22:11 AM ET 2006-09-27T15:22:11

Guests: Terry McAuliffe, Mike Weaver, A.B. Stoddard, Mark Williams, Bill Press

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show, coming to you today from Los Angeles, California. 

I‘m Tucker Carlson.  We‘ve got a lot to get to today, including the conspiracy theory that‘s sweeping the country. 

Is the White House deliberately manipulating the price of gasoline?  And will a declassified report on terrorism in Iraq destroy what‘s left of the Bush administration‘s credibility? 

Plus, later, Oprah pushes her own presidential candidate.  Will it work? 

That‘s all coming up.

But first, our top story.

Finger-pointing continues over Bill Clinton‘s record on al Qaeda.  The former president lost control of himself famously during a FOX interview on Sunday.  The story does not end there. 

Here is what President Bush and Hillary Clinton said about it today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We‘ll let history judge all of the different, you know, finger-pointing and all of that business.  I don‘t have enough time to finger-point.  I have got to stay—I‘ve got to do my job, which comes home every day in the Oval Office, and that is to protect the American people from further attack. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  And I‘m certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States,” he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests that it was taken by our current president and his national security team. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  And of course that is still not the last word.  Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told “The New York Post,” “What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years.”

So who wins this latest partisan dustup on the legacy of 9/11? 

Weighing in from Washington today, Terry McAuliffe.  He‘s the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Terry, thanks for joining us. 

I must say, it takes a lot of chutzpah, it seems to me, for President Clinton—former president Clinton and his defenders to pretend the Clinton administration did an adequate job fighting al Qaeda.  The record shows otherwise, and you know it. 

TERRY MCAULIFFE, FMR. DNC CHAIRMAN:  I think the 9/11 report States just the opposite of that, Tucker.  I have got to ask you, what did Condi Rice and George Bush do in the eight months since they took office in January when they came into office after the election in January 2001?  They did nothing. 

CARLSON:  Well, that—but I would say that you‘re probably about right, they did not do enough.  I mean, the proof is 9/11.  But that‘s not the question I asked.  The question was not...

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  Well, let me remind you, Tucker, that 9/11 occurred under George Bush‘s watch. 

CARLSON:  I got—I got that, Terry, several months in. 

MCAULIFFE:  9/11 occurred when George Bush was president of the United States. 

CARLSON:  But hold on.  Wait, wait, wait.  Wait a second.  You‘re dodging the question, just as your former boss dodged the question. 

MCAULIFFE:  I‘m not dodging anything.  9/11 occurred on George Bush.  He‘s got to stand up...

CARLSON:  Look, I‘m not here—I‘m not here to defend the president‘s response to al Qaeda or the administration in any way.  I am merely here to talk about the legacy of the Clinton administration...

MCAULIFFE:  Really?  And I‘m here to talk about George Bus.

CARLSON:  ... which, it seems to me, is embarrassing.  You have at least, by my count, a half a dozen examples of the Clinton administration turning down, passing up opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden or to take him into custody, for reasons that I don‘t think hold up to scrutiny years later.  The Clinton administration and its former partisans sort of pretend that‘s not true, it never happened, we did all we could.  They didn‘t do all they could. 

MCAULIFFE:  Tucker, they did everything that they possibly could in 1998 when they got a similar presidential daily brief.  They convened terrorism meetings inside the White House, they alerted the New York airports, they alerted CIA, alerted the FBI.

When George Bush was alerted on August 6th of 2001 that al Qaeda was to strike, what did he do?  He went golfing.  He didn‘t alert the CIA, the FBI to do anything at all. 

CARLSON:  OK.

MCAULIFFE:  9/11 occurred under George Bush. 

Bill Clinton tried.  He went out there, he tried many different times, didn‘t get support.  And he didn‘t have the FBI or the CIA director willing to tell him that it was Osama bin Laden responsible for the USS Cole. 

CARLSON:  Well, I wonder, Terry, if looking back at 1996, Sudan offers to the United States Osama bin Laden, and the geniuses in the Clinton administration said, you know, we don‘t have adequate evidence to charge him in a court of law, so, no, actually, we‘re going to take a pass on taking Osama bin Laden into custody. 

Looking back, do you think that was a wise choice? 

MCAULIFFE:  When you have the head of your Central Intelligence Agency and your head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation not willing to confirm—

Bill Clinton had given the authorization that we need to strike, but we need to strike with adequate intelligence.  Something that George Bush doesn‘t know how to use is intelligence data.  And we never had proof, and George Bush had proof after Bill Clinton left office and did nothing about the USS Cole, absolutely nothing, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Right.  I‘m wondering again, Terry, if you‘re...

MCAULIFFE:  Yes, sir?

CARLSON:  Look, again, I‘m not here to—I actually think the Bush administration was negligent in its response to al Qaeda. 

MCAULIFFE:  There‘s no question.

CARLSON:  Right, there‘s no question.  But you are weighing those months of it, of the Bush administration being in office, against eight years of negligence on the part of the Clinton administration. 

And here‘s my point.  Reasonable people loking at the evidence, including the reasonable people who wrote the 9/11 report, assigned a great deal of blame to the Clinton administration.  And my question to you is, why can‘t Bill Clinton, who is nothing, if not a profound self-justifier, at least admit that he and his administration screwed up and Americans died as a result?  Why not just admit the truth? 

MCAULIFFE:  I think Bill Clinton was very frank in his conversation the other day, said what he had tried to do and certain parts of the aspects he had failed.  But he had tried.

But I remind you, Tucker—here‘s a point I would like to make to you.  Osama bin Laden, before September 11th, never had Bill Clinton been given any evidence by the CIA or the FBI to say he was responsible for the USS Cole.  Now, once 9/11 occurred...

CARLSON:  Oh, come on. 

MCAULIFFE:  Wait a minute.  Once Osama bin Laden started doing videos every other day, he was enemy number one. 

CARLSON:  Terry...

MCAULIFFE:  George Bush let him walk out of Tora Bora.

CARLSON:  Terry, that is—you know what?  That is...

MCAULIFFE:  They asked for more troops.  They never got the troops in Tora Bora.

CARLSON:  You‘ve got to—you know what?  Firing the man who‘s writing your talking points, I say. 

I worked for CNN at the time.  On our air at CNN Peter Bergen talked to Osama bin Laden over at ABC.  Their correspondent, John Miller, talked to Osama bin Laden.  And he said, Guess what?  I‘ve declared war on the United States.  I‘m going to kill you. 

So for you to say that the Clinton administration had no idea he was a threat or had declared war on us?  It was on TV. 

MCAULIFFE:  Tucker, a lot of people say things every day about the United States of America.  But instead of talking to your CNN correspondents you‘ve got to have proof.  George Bush likes to act without it.

CARLSON:  Got to have proof?  Oh, OK.

MCAULIFFE:  After September 11th he became enemy number one and George Bush did nothing.  He disbanded the operation inside the CIA to get rid of him.  He let him walk out of Tora Bora.  George Bush knew he was the number one enemy and he did nothing. 

CARLSON:  It‘s interesting to see since I covered Clinton, knowing you for all of those years, it‘s interesting to see the attacking machine cranked up again.  I notice you all are trying to paint Chris Wallace as some kind of—over at FOX—as some sort of right-wing lunatic. 

You‘re aware of the fact that Chris Wallace, I don‘t think, is a right-

winger, for one thing.  But for another, you know, he had Donald Rumsfeld

on his show—and I‘m not here to defend FOX.  I‘m just telling the truth

and he gave Rumsfeld a hard time about 9/11, too. 

Why is it that every time someone calls the Clinton people to account they all of a sudden start screaming, “You‘re a right-winger, you‘re part of the conspiracy against us”?

Why can‘t you evaluate criticism on its own terms?  Why do you need to name call?

MCAULIFFE:  I know Chris Wallace.  I have appeared on the FOX Sunday show many times with Chris Wallace.  Let me be crystal clear, Roger Ailes pays his paycheck, he is a tool for the Republican Party, and that‘s fine.  I still go on his show, and I still like Chris.  But he is what he is, and that‘s... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You know what?  That‘s just—that‘s just McCarthyism.  That‘s so low. 

MCAULIFFE:  Oh, it‘s McCarthyism?  You bet it is.  You‘ve got the bow tie on too tight today, Tucker.

CARLSON:  It‘s embarrassing.  I‘m serious, Terry.  Why can‘t you just evaluate...

MCAULIFFE:  Your bow tie‘s on too tight.

CARLSON:  Why can‘t you just evaluate—I‘m not even wearing a bow tie, man. 

MCAULIFFE:  You‘re not?  Oh, you‘re out in California now, so you‘re going to wear dance stuff.  So you‘re not wearing the bow tie anymore? 

CARLSON:  Look, if somebody—look, if somebody says something, why not just say, you know what?  That‘s either reasonable, it‘s unreasonable, and here is why. 

Why is it always a personal attack against the motives of the person asking the question?  Why is that your style?  Why?  That‘s what children do.  You‘re not a child. 

MCAULIFFE:  Tucker, you must be from outer space or you‘re out in California taking some hallucinogenic drugs.  You‘re telling me about FOX?

From the day Bill Clinton became president it was one accusation after another.  All some little two-bit thing after—so please don‘t talk to me about FOX and Bill Clinton.  You have no credibility even saying it, and if you want to go back and look at the history of FOX when Bill Clinton was the president of the United States, they are a tool of the Republican Party, which is fine.

I still go on their show.  I love to go on their show, fair and balanced.

CARLSON:  Look, I‘m not—I‘m not going to—look, I‘m not here to defend FOX.

MCAULIFFE:  It is what it is.  Don‘t kid yourself.

CARLSON:  I‘m merely here to attack you.  Now, let me—let me...

MCAULIFFE:  Oh, come on, Tucker.

CARLSON:  ... just suggest that this is all part of a larger strategy, Clinton, and I think this is even—I mean, Democrats have conceded this in the public in the last few days.  This is part of Clinton‘s efforts to remind Democrats you‘ve got to be tough.  You‘ve got to fight back.  You can‘t take it when they call you weak on national defense, you‘ve got to stand up for yourself. 

Tell me this, Howard Dean got to—he helped himself by hating George W.  Bush?  In other words, screaming, being angry, calling Bush evil, that gets you where?  It gets you nowhere. 

Is there any evidence that that gets anybody elected ever?  No.  Why are you doing that?  It doesn‘t work. 

MCAULIFFE:  Tucker, all I can tell is when they asked him a question, which was not a question, it was an accusation, and the president, rightfully so, responded on something as serious as 9/11, that was not a question.  The way he had framed it was an accusation against the former president of the United States. 

I‘m glad he got mad.  I think it‘s about time people—and it‘s unfortunate that the former president has to get up and defend himself.  We need more people. 

George Bush has made this nation less safe.  The national intelligence estimates are now out.  Everything that we‘ve said has now come true.  George Bush has made us less safe.

Bill Clinton had every right to defend himself, and I want every person out in America today who thinks the war in Iraq is wrong, they need to start voicing their opinion.  Bill Clinton fought hard against Osama bin Laden.  George Bush got notice, he went golfing, he did nothing. 

CARLSON:  OK.

MCAULIFFE:  He didn‘t—nor did Condi Rice.

CARLSON:  You know what?  I‘m sure—maybe the haters in the Democratic base...

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  They‘re not haters.  This is a democracy.

CARLSON:  Oh, there are a lot of haters in the Democratic base.

MCAULIFFE:  Listen, Tucker, I‘m entitled to say what I want.

CARLSON:  They may be whipped into a frenzy by that, but ordinary people aren‘t going to vote for Democrats if you don‘t tone down the rhetoric to a reasonable volume.  That‘s my prediction.  We‘ll see what happens.

MCAULIFFE:  Yes.

CARLSON:  You could blow this midterm.  We‘ll see.

MCAULIFFE:  Turn on FOX and watch FOX for 24 hours.  But who cares?  I mean...

CARLSON:  All right. 

MCAULIFFE:  ... you know, you get yourself all wired up about FOX.  Who cares?  This is a democracy.  You make your statements clear, and let‘s go forward and see how we do in the election.

We‘re going to do great this November.

CARLSON:  Terry McAuliffe, good luck.

MCAULIFFE:  Tucker, I love you.  Keep surfing, man.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Terry.

Still to come, the intelligence report that charges the war in Iraq made us less safe.  How devastating will it be to the White House?

And why almost half of Americans surveyed think President Bush is fixing gas prices somehow. 

That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Americans love a good conspiracy theory.  And this one is bigger than anything Oliver Stone has ever dreamed up.  Close to half this country in a recent poll said they believe President Bush is personally manipulating gasoline prices to help Republican candidates in this November‘s midterm elections.  Not surprisingly, two-thirds of those who buy into the conspiracy theory are registered Democrats. 

My next guest appears to be one of them. 

Joining us now from Louisville, Kentucky, state representative Colonel Mike Weaver, who is currently running for Congress. 

Colonel Weaver, thanks for joining us. 

STATE REP. COL. MIKE WEAVER, KENTUCKY:  Well, thanks for inviting me, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Now, how exactly could the president of the United States, this or any other, control the international petroleum markets?  How is Bush pulling this off? 

WEAVER:  Well, you just made the assumption that I‘m one of them. 

CARLSON:  OK.

WEAVER:  I am not one of them.  I do not believe that the president of the United States, nor anybody in his administration, can control that.  I don‘t think they can control the price of gasoline at the pump. 

CARLSON:  You...

WEAVER:  What I do think this administration has done is they have an energy policy that favors big energy, big oil and gas, and they have given them record profits.  And because of that, record tax breaks, and because of that they have made record profits.  I believe that has happened, but as far as the president...

CARLSON:  OK.  But you were—wait, hold on.  You were quoted the other day as saying—I quoted in I believe “The Washington Post” as saying you -- to your supporters, people at one of your campaign events—that you found it very suspicious and that they ought to find it very suspicious as well the gas prices have come down in the months before the midterm elections. 

Did you not say that? 

WEAVER:  I said that, but I don‘t mean that the president of the United States or anybody in his administration has the power to do that. 

CARLSON:  Well, what exactly do you mean by that?  Well, what do you mean by that, then?

WEAVER:  I think the issue we need to be talking about is what we are going to do about the cost of gasoline and what we are going to do about the price of energy.

CARLSON:  Well, no, no, no.  OK, that may be the issues.  But you are playing to people‘s fears, you‘re stoking their paranoia, you‘re contributing to their belief in a conspiracy theory, are you not, when you say it‘s “suspicious”?

WEAVER:  No.

CARLSON:  You said it‘s suspicious.  What exactly—what precisely is suspicious? 

WEAVER:  I think it‘s suspicious to anyone that the price of gasoline has gone down dramatically.  But I don‘t think this administration had anything to do with it. 

CARLSON:  Well, then what‘s suspicious about it?

WEAVER:  I think the big oil companies are the ones who caused the price of gasoline to go down, and I think it‘s the big oil companies that we need to bring back into control. 

CARLSON:  Well, how exactly...

WEAVER:  But I think...

CARLSON:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Wait, slow down.

How exactly could the “big oil companies”—and by big oil companies you mean specifically which companies, A?  B, how exactly did they bring the price of oil down since they don‘t control the price of oil, as I‘m sure you know. 

WEAVER:  They control the supply of oil, but that is—that‘s not the issue.  The issue is that big oil companies are making record profits, and those record profits are being felt by working men and women, and it—everything...

CARLSON:  Yes?

WEAVER:  ... that they buy, everything that they do is affected by this. 

CARLSON:  That is—that is one of the issues.  The other issue, though, is you have close to half the country believing that the president of the United States is in control of gasoline prices.  That‘s what ordinary people believe, according to the latest Gallup Poll.

And you know htat, of course.  And a lot of Democrats believe that.

And you are pandering to their false belief when you say things like, we ought to be suspicious of the drop in gasoline prices.  And I‘m saying, as an intelligence man who‘s in a position of leadership in this country, aren‘t you negligent and irresponsible to be pandering to people‘s worst instincts and fears, as you are apparently doing?

WEAVER:  I am not apparently doing that.  I think we have a problem with energy in this country.  I think the price of gas is too high.

I think that it is too high because we have an administration that allowed the big oil companies to have record tax breaks and then make record profits on gasoline at the pumps.  And it has an adverse impact...

CARLSON:  You say it‘s too high...

WEAVER:  ... adverse impact, dramatic adverse impact on working men and women in this country. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  There‘s no doubt—there‘s no doubt about that.  And, in fact, on everybody in this country.  I don‘t know what you mean by working men and women, whoever they are.  Everyone in this country pretty much has a job.  We‘re all working men and women.  OK?

But I don‘t understand what you are mad about.  You said gasoline prices are too high, but then you‘re complaining to your—your crowd of supporters that they are too low, it‘s suspicious how low they are.  So, are they too high or are they too low?  Pick one. 

WEAVER:  You sound very mad.  I don‘t sound mad at you at all.

CARLSON:  Well, I‘ll tell you why—I‘ll tell you why I‘m annoyed, is because you are going out and talking to people who are willing to believe what you say, and you are leaving a false impression.  But you are doing it in a very indirect way. 

You‘re saying it‘s suspicious, rather than just coming out and saying, look, the Bush administration is controlling gas prices for political reasons.  If you made that statement you‘d have to defend it, but you‘re not even willing to do that.  You‘re implying it, which makes it—it‘s a shifty position, if you see what I‘m saying, and it leads to people being even more suspicious of their government, which is a shame.

WEAVER:  Here I am in Kentucky looking directly into a camera and you, I believe, are in California.

CARLSON:  Yes.

WEAVER:  And I am telling you and everybody who is watching this show that I do not believe that the president of the United States or anyone in his administration...

CARLSON:  Right.

WEAVER:  ... has manipulated the price of gasoline.

CARLSON:  OK.

WEAVER:  I do not think they have the power to do that. 

CARLSON:  Right.  That‘s because I‘m confronting you on television and you are unwilling to imply what you implied to people in a rally with no television cameras.  And that‘s why I am annoyed by it, if you see what I‘m saying.  I‘m sure you do.

WEAVER:  Well, I think you wanted to be annoyed at me before we ever started this.  And I would just...

CARLSON:  No, actually—I promise, I didn‘t. 

WEAVER:  I would just tell you that you knew exactly what you were going to ask me.  I don‘t even remember what rally you are talking about or—certainly you weren‘t there. 

CARLSON:  No, I wasn‘t. 

WEAVER:  And so you have taken something that I said, probably taking it out of context, and confronting me with it on national television because you want to make a point that all Democrats are bad and that we are accusing the president of the United States of something that he didn‘t do. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

WEAVER:  And I am appearing on your television show and telling you and everybody that‘s watching that the president of the United States does not have the power to do that, and I do not believe he is personal responsible for that. 

CARLSON:  Good.  Well, I‘m glad—I‘m glad we could clear that up on this program.  See, television does have a good use. 

Thanks a lot for joining us.  I appreciate it.

WEAVER:  Well, thank you.  Thank you for having me. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, George Allen‘s campaign is going from bad to worse.  Now there are charges he‘s a long-time racist.  We‘ve got the latest on that. 

And the most powerful woman in America gives the nod to a presidential candidate.  Will Oprah put her man in the White House? 

That story when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, the intelligence report that some say can strike a fatal blow to the Bush administration‘s foreign policy. 

And Oprah picks a presidential candidate.  With friends like that, is this mystery man a lock for the Democratic nomination?

All that in just a moment.  But right now, here‘s a look at your headlines. 

(NEWSBREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

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., A.B. Stoddard, she‘s associate editor of “The Hill” newspaper.  And from Sacramento, California, radio talk show host Mark Williams.  Welcome to you both.  First up, more harsh words for Bill Clinton, this time from the secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.  Earlier we discussed the “Fox News” interview in which the former president accused the Bush administration of not doing enough to stop terrorism and kill Osama bin Laden before 9/11.  In a strong rebuttal, Rice claims Clinton‘s claims are quote, “flatly false.”

A.B. I‘m not sure, I mean I am sure that I disapprove of and am infuriated by the former president‘s self righteousness and grandstanding and tantrum, etc.  I‘m not sure though it‘s smart politics to come back at him for the Bush administration.  What do you think?

A.B. STODDARD, EDITOR OF THE HILL NEWSPAPER:  I agree.  And after Condi Rice today we had to hear from Senator Hillary Clinton who had to say -- you played the tape earlier in the show, had to say that her husband and his national security team would have played much closer attention to a report that actually was given to President Bush in August of ‘01.  A presidential daily briefing saying that bin Laden was determined to attack us inside of the country.  So now we have to have a back and forth continuing throughout the day.  It‘s not productive, I think it excites the base of both parties, so I guess that helps in electoral politics, we‘re looking at the mid-term elections coming up.  But for the rest of us and for our government needing to keep us safe in the future, I just don‘t think it‘s productive.  And with all due respect to I guess all executive branch employees from the commander in chief on down dating back to 1993, no one, no policies or no leadership were able to keep us safe from an attack here at home.  So I wish they would cut it out frankly. 

CARLSON:  Well that‘s literally true.  Mark, it seems to me Clinton looked pathetic.  I mean it looks like a man who‘s got a lot of free time, whose brewding about his tarnished legacy, who‘s incredibly thin-skinned.  Why not just leave it at that?  It seems to me politically, Bush does best when he says I‘m not going to point blame, I‘m not going to cast dispersions, enough time for finger pointing.  I mean people like that, don‘t they? 

MARK WILLIAMS, RADIO TALK SHOW  HOST:  Yeah, the Clinton thing was the most entertaining thing I‘ve seen on TV since “Turner” stopped running the “Three Stooges” during Braves rain breaks.  I got to tell you, it was just amazing to watch.  He believes what he says, which is why it‘s inappropriate, I think, for the Bush administration to be responding.  This is where you call your friends in the media, you get the op-ed pages going, you get the columns running.  Everybody knows the truth and the funniest—the highlight of the whole thing was when Bill Clinton rose out of his chair responding to did you do enough in eight years to stop terrorism saying by going, well they had eight whole months and they didn‘t do anything.  Hello Willie.  

CARLSON:  No, I think that‘s an excellent point.  Well he‘s not the only one who was angry.  President Bush today angrily announced that he would declassify part of an intelligence document that allegedly reports the Iraq war has increased the terrorist threat to the U.S.  Bush defended the war, he rejected comments it has made the U.S. less safe.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  Some people have guessed what‘s in the report and have concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake.  I strongly disagree.  I think it‘s naive.  I think it‘s a mistake. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Bush is upset and for good reason.  This intelligence report seems to me could sound the death nail for his policy in Iraq.  A.B.  Stoddard, I mean if his own government, which is, keep in mind there are 16 intelligence agencies—intelligence divisions within the agencies come out and say the Iraq war is bad for America, I mean what does Bush say?

STODDARD:  There were warnings from the intelligence community in advance of the invasion of Iraq, so I don‘t think this is exactly new that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and company really were, you know, selective about.  I mean you could argue really both sides and dating back a while now.  I think it was wise to declassify it because the administration says that the whole of the report is not so consistent with the one section that was described in press reports.  But on the Iraq—I mean the democrats are going to use this.  They‘re holding field hearings on Iraq right now and we‘ll hear a lot about the national intelligence estimate in the next four weeks before the election.  But I think that the Iraq issue is now over with.  I think that the persuadable voter listened to President Bush spend all of September talking about terror and the securing of the homeland every day this month.  I think it worked like gang busters.  And I think that voter is really scared and they‘re going to vote with Bush.  And I think the voters who are angry about Iraq have made up their mind and this just might make them drive the car a little faster to the ballot box.  But I don‘t see it affecting—

CARLSON:  Let me just apologize by the way, you can probably hear the noise in the background.  Eric Estrada, I‘m in Los Angeles, has pulled up his motorcycle right outside our camera position, revving the engine, it‘s very annoying and I‘m trying to get him to stop but he won‘t.  Mark I‘m wondering though, I mean, I think a very smart point that people have kind of chosen sides on Iraq but doesn‘t this get to the core of the Bush administration‘s appeal?  People are voting for Bush because as A.B. said and I think she‘s right, they‘re afraid, they think Republicans will protect them.  Bush‘s own government is saying actually you‘re making it more dangerous for us, doesn‘t that hurt him? 

WILLIAMS:  Well Tucker, isn‘t it patently absurd to say something like that and pull that one line out of this report?  I mean that‘s like saying police cause crime.  Because when you go after criminals, the criminals adjust their tactics.  Anybody who thinks that you fight a war and the other side is going to go oh, sorry, you‘re here, I‘ll give up, they‘re out of their minds.  When we see the whole report we‘ll know what‘s in there and we‘ll know that it all makes perfect sense.  We went after the bad guys, the bad guys came back at us, we have to go around and kill them.  And you‘re right though that people have made up their minds.  They know that if we vote Democrat that just hastens the day we disappear in a nuclear holocaust.  People have made up their mind about Iraq.  They know that we have 140,000, 130,000 men and women there now.  They‘re to be supported and that rearguing and rearguing and rearguing how they got there is not only pointless but is going to get them killed.  

CARLSON:  You know you may be right in some sense, but this is not just partisan bickering here.  I mean the administration is finding well, there is this kind of left-wing element within CIA and NSA and maybe the defense intelligence agency and other parts of the government and they are kind of trying to torpedo our efforts in Iraq.  But these are still people who work for the president.  They‘re executive branch employees.  They‘re not DNC staffers, I mean these are people who work for the U.S. government.  

WILLIAMS:  There is no litmus test for ideological purity or loyalty to the man who happens to hold the office to work in the executive branch. 

CARLSON:  They‘re harder to dismiss, are they not? 

WILLIAMS:  Well yeah but you have people in a political season plucking individual pieces out of a classified report, feeding it their friends in the media for who knows what reward.  How many new Lexus‘s are driving around Capitol Hill as a result of this one?  I mean come on, that‘s the way it‘s done, you know Tucker.  

CARLSON:  Oh come on.

STODDARD:  All right, how many times have we heard that the administration cherry-picked the intelligence before invading Iraq.  I mean as the president pointed out today and rightly say, you know the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, the first attack on the twin towers.  Many terrorist events occurred before we were in Iraq.  He makes a good point and people just might be listening when he spoke to the U.N. last week he made the point that Middle East was no nursery school before we went to war in Iraq and before the September 11th attacks.  And so I think if he continues to make that point, we‘re just talking today about the effect of this data coming out, not the validity of it or whether it‘s valuable, sort of the political affect.  And I think it‘s going to be minimal.  

CARLSON:  Ok.  Well, if you thought this debate was ugly, the state of Virginia, that defines it.  More trouble for George Allen, the senator there.  Earlier this year he apologized for using the word Macaca, whatever that means, to describe a person of Indian decent.  Allen is now denying allegations that he used the N-word back in the 1970‘s and 80‘s when referring to black people.  A former college football teammate also claims Allen stuffed a severed deer‘s head into a black family‘s mailbox.  A.B.

Stoddard, I don‘t know really what to think about any of this.  I think

it‘s possible that Allen used these—I mean, you know, nothing shocks me

about people‘s behavior I guess is the point I was making.  I don‘t know if

STODDARD:  We don‘t know that these stories are true.  

CARLSON:  I‘m not suggesting they are.  I am suggesting—

STODDARD:  We can‘t assume they are.  We‘re praying that their not, but -- 

CARLSON:  Well of course, but are they the point? I mean are they—I Mean the guy‘s been a senator for six years - he‘s for the war in Iraq, isn‘t that the point. 

STODDARD:  Listen, this is the point, this is a massive setback for Senator Allen, it‘s September 26, time is running out for him.  He was the governor of Virginia.  There are a lot of new voters who don‘t know him as governor of Virginia.  This is a different ballgame for him.  The whole debate is now about his—it‘s a referendum on his character.  He is no longer driving the debate on public policy the campaign is about defending himself from these horrible stories and so many new voters, young voters watching you tube, watching the macaca video are going to go to the polls in a few weeks.  I don‘t know what will happen but I think it‘s a disaster for him right now.

WILLIAMS:  Tucker this is a deliberate—

CARLSON:  You have a guy, you‘ve got a West Virginia sitting senator, who was a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan and somehow it‘s—it‘s like in bad taste to mention that, but, you know what I mean, it‘s like—is it relevant?  I‘m not even defending Allen I just think this is such a distraction from the issues that matter, it bugs the hell out of me. 

WILLIAM:  Tucker this is a deliberate smear campaign being run by salan.com against George Allen because he‘s emerging as a credible presidential candidate.  The numbers to remember are 19, 2 and 1.  Salan interviewed 19 of Allen‘s former teammates and asked them point blank is he a racist?  Sixteen said no, two sat there and said I‘m not going on the record with anything and one guy came out of nowhere and said yeah I remember the redneck godfather incident.  I have interviews here and statements from a bunch of other people saying it‘s not only patently false, it‘s completely wrong.  And this morning before we did this I had a conversation with Allen‘s personal biographer, Kathy (INAUDIBLE) who told me that in the year and a half she‘s been conjoined to this guy, not a single bit of evidence.  I have met him, he‘s actually a friend of my wife and I.  I have met the man, I know the man.  Not a racist bone in his body.  He sat in Thomas Jefferson‘s seat in the legislature in Virginia, he‘s been in the U.S. Senate, he‘s been governor and now this one guy remembers something from way back when, when Salan coaches him and the only other witness to this alleged incident just happened to have recently dropped dead.  

CARLSON:  Sum it up.  Let‘s just sum it up here.  I want quickly from each of you, do you think this ends his presidential aspirations?

STODDARD:  I think he is no longer a credible presidential candidate.  He might squeak out this race but I disagree and I think his problems on that front started a long time ago. 

CARLSON:  Mark, what do you think?

WILLIAMS:  I think it‘s a despicable smear and it‘s about time the Democrats came around and joined the rest of America and moved this country forward.  

CARLSON:  But do you think that this will, fair or unfair, obviously you think this is a slur against him it‘s unfair, but do you think it will destroy his chances of being president?

WILLIAMS:  Only if the rest of us and the rest of the media allow these little tiny, whack job things like salon online control what we believe and what we know about this guy.  

CARLSON:  All right, Mark, A.B., thank you both very much. 

STODDARD:  Thank you.  

CARLSON:  The TSA changes its latest knee-jerk security policy on liquids and gels.  Could it be that toothpaste and deodorant are not that dangerous after all?  More details in a minute.  Plus, she doesn‘t want the job for herself but who is Oprah Winfrey throwing her weight behind for president?  We‘re about to find out.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:            A class action lawsuit is filed by people who claimed they had no idea light cigarettes were bad.  They can‘t be serious, can they?  Yes they can.  Plus, Oprah‘s endorsement can instantly make a book a best seller, what will it do for a promising young politician.  We‘re back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time for a look at today‘s stories I just don‘t get.  First up, mass confusion among air travelers over what to pack and how to pack it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It doesn‘t make sense for us to have our TSO‘s out there fishing out lip gloss and mascara at the gate area.  We have much more important things for them to do.  

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  A safety official explains why his administration is relaxing airline safety rules for carry-on items.  But not all passengers are aware of the new bag it or lose it policy.  Here it is.  Liquids, gels and aerosols must now fit into a single quarter-sized plastic baggie that closes.  Each item cannot exceed more than three ounces.  Got that?  Still, after spending three quarters of a billion dollars on research, the TSA concedes it still lacks an effective way to screen for liquid explosives.  Let‘s see if we got this right.  Last month the TSA informed us that toothpaste was a threat to our nation.  Now we‘re informed that toothpaste is not dangerous as long as it‘s small and in a clear plastic bag that closes.  Could it be time to admit the TSA really has no idea what it‘s doing?  I think that time is now.

Next, a legal decision that‘s got cigarette makers in this country fuming.  A federal judge is giving a green light to a class-action lawsuit involving tens of millions of cigarette smokers.  The suit alleges that cigarette companies fooled smokers into believing their so-called light cigarette somehow wouldn‘t hurt them.  Lawyers for the plaintiffs are asking for as much as $200 billion in damage.  That amount could triple if the cigarette makers are found guilty of fraud.  Here‘s what I‘d like to see, I would like to see a single person, and I‘m not defending tobacco companies here.  But I‘d like to see a single person come forward and say in public I had no idea my light cigarette could hurt me.  Had health problems, was bad for me.  I thought this was good for me, it was a light cigarette.  I would like to see someone admit that in public.  Not one person who smoke light cigarettes in this country in the past 40 years was under the impression they were good.  Everybody knows cigarettes are bad for you, let‘s be honest, please.  

And finally, Oprah tosses a hat into the ring for president, but not her own hat. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY:  Take your energy and put it into Barak Obama.  That‘s what I would say.

LARRY KING:  Is that your favorite guy?

WINFREY:  That would be my favorite guy.  

KING:  Senator Obama is your senator? 

WINFREY:  He is my senator.

KING:  And your choice?

WINFREY:  And my choice.  And I would hope that he would run for president. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  TV‘s ruling chat queen reveals who she‘d like to see move into the oval office in 2008.  Barak Obama has yet to declare his intention to run for president. But the Democrat from Illinois has already won Oprah‘s vote because he hails from her home state.  Ironically when a fan tried to endorse Oprah‘s run for the White House last week, her lawyer threatened to hit him with a lawsuit. 

Joining me now a man who believes Oprah‘s endorsement could be the boost Obama needs to give Hillary a run for her money.  He is the author of the book “How the Republicans Stole Christmas”.  He‘s also a friend of mine, he is Bill Press.

BILL PRESS, “HOW THE REPUBLICANS STOLE CHRISTMAS”:  Hey Tucker.

CARLSON:  Bill?  Barak Obama, I mean actually, the one time I met Barak Obama I was impressed, I liked him, he seems like a really nice guy.  But he‘s been a senator for about 10 minutes, he‘s not really known for anything.  Isn‘t it cruel to push him to run for president when he can‘t win?

PRESS:  What do you mean cruel?  First of all Tucker I want to make it clear, my first vote would go for Oprah.  I would vote for Oprah Winfrey for president in a flash, all right, I just want you to know that. 

CARLSON:  Can we be honest? I mean Oprah is like a lefty, right? 

PRESS:  I don‘t know whether she is or not I just think she‘s great. 

But also, now back to Barak Obama, he will have been in the Senate four years if he runs in 2008.  As far as I am concerned Tucker, that‘s two years too long.  The more time they spend in the Senate the longer a paper trail they have, the more votes they have got, the more problems they have got.  I say get him out of there, have him run for president while he‘s still credible.  Before people can trap him in too many stupid votes. 

CARLSON:  But apart from a handsome guy, who‘s good at platitudes, like what does Barak Obama believe?  Who is Barak Obama?  If I support Barak Obama, I‘m supporting what exactly? 

PRESS:  Well I‘ll tell you, if you‘re supporting Barak Obama, number one, you‘re supporting somebody who‘s competent, unlike the guy that we got in there now.  And who‘s going to run against him, George Allen, Tucker?  Come on, I mean -- 

CARLSON:  But how do we know, I mean apart from that, we haven‘t gotten to the lesser of two evil‘s argument yet.  What is he competent at doing? Like how do we know, Barak Obama, though I think he‘s a nice guy, how do we know he is competent? 

PRESS:  Number one you know the guy is very smart.  He was president of the Harvard Law Review.  He was seven years in the Illinois Senate.  He‘s got a great record on education.  Four years in the Senate.  He‘s worked a lot on veteran affairs issue.  He‘s on the foreign policy committee.  I‘m telling you the guy, I think he represents change, he represents youth, he represents kind of a new direction for this country and that‘s all you need.  Let me tell you something else Tucker.  Remember the Democratic Convention, who was the most exciting speaker at the convention?  Not John Kerry, it was Barak Obama.  He gave that speech where he said we worship an awesome God in the blue states.  This guy can go in the red states and win votes, I think he‘s a—if he runs, he‘d be a very strong candidate. 

CARLSON:  Oh, so he‘s a bible beater, he‘s a Jesus (INAUDIBLE).  I thought we were against those.  

PRESS:  No, I say he‘s a man of values Tucker.  

CARLSON:  Values, kind of like Jerry Falwell, he‘s a man of values.  Wait a second, I‘m kind of getting confused though, when is it ok to wave the bible and when is it wrong? 

PRESS:  No it‘s not waving the bible. It‘s just I think—you mentioned my book, I wrote in that book, I think Republicans stole religion because Democrats were afraid to talk about religion for too long, since the days of the civil rights movement.  Barak Obama brings that back.  He speaks about his faith, genuinely and sincerely, it motivates his politics and I think people respect that in a politician.  

CARLSON:  But look, I mean let‘s be honest, I saw this happen, and you saw it to Wes Clark who‘s a very smart guy.  Smarter than I bet Barak Obama, much smarter than I and Wes Park is like a genius.  And Wes Park was probably the worst presidential candidate in my lifetime.  Because he didn‘t have the experience, he‘d never done it before, he wasn‘t seasoned enough and yet he did it because people pushed him into it, Democrats pushed him into it.  Don‘t you fear that would happen to Barak Obama?

PRESS:  Tucker, stop feeling sorry for Barak Obama.  Hey Tucker, he‘s the king of the world right now.  Listen, I love Wes Clark, but Barak Obama is much, you have to admit, he is a much more experienced public servant.  He was seven years in the Illinois State Senate.  He‘s a great speaker, he‘s a great campaigner.  What‘s he done for the last two years?  He‘s raised more money for Democrats than anybody than Hillary Clinton. You go around the country anywhere Barak Obama is a rock star Tucker.  

CARLSON:  And finally, isn‘t this irrelevant?  He‘s going to be getting the nomination because Democrats basically do whatever Oprah tells them to do.  That‘s true, don‘t you think?

PRESS:  Yes.  And if Democrats did everything Oprah told them to do, the Democrats would be in better shape today than they are. 

CARLSON:  Bill Press, the last honest Democrat, thank you Bill.  Former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura throws his support behind a major political candidate and a frequent guest on this program.  We‘ll tell you who‘s getting his blessing when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Joining us now from MSNBC headquarters, one of the very few cable news producers personally endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST:  I hadn‘t caught word that.  That‘s great news for my career.  Oprah thank you.  Tucker this is my fault as much as it is yours.  We have to remind ourselves not to do construction on the set during the show.  That jackhammer in the background, lesson learned, I guess.  You know Tucker, yesterday we marveled at the incredible brawl between two minor league stockcar drivers during a race on Sunday.  The highlight, this flying drop kick by Mike Simco through the windshield of Don St. Dennis‘ car.  Well the two got together for the first time since the fight on MSNBC today.  NASCAR star Michael Waldrip called in to interview the—to ostensibly chastise the young drivers, but it sounded like Waldrip enjoyed the fight just as much as we did. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALDRIP:  The whole thing was, at least you made a nice move, Michael.  That was pretty much—I‘ve never seen anybody jump through somebody‘s windshield.  So you didn‘t look goofy, you looked like you were right on target.  And then, Donnie, when you got out, there was no way anybody was going to stop you from getting where you were going. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  I can‘t see that big guy running out of the car enough.  It‘s so good.

CARLSON:  So great.

GESIT:  It‘s so funny that they had the NASCAR call in and teach these young guys a lesson and he was just ra-ra, cheering them on, great fight boys.  That‘s pretty good.. 

CARLSON:  See I think a little bit of hockey increases the appeal of

NASCAR. 

GEIST:  There‘s no question about it.  I will continue to watch if they continue to fight.  Tucker, Paris Hilton was formally charged in Los Angeles this afternoon with driving under the influence.  The charge comes from that September 7th incident when she was pulled over with a .08 blood alcohol level.  So where was Paris just a day before she was charged with drunk driving? You guessed it, promoting beer at Octoberfest, of course.  Paris showed up for the annual German booze fest in Munich decked out in pigtails and a traditional Bavarian dress.  She had to leave early because she was swarmed by photographers.  She‘s a little tone-deaf among other things.  You know, you probably don‘t want to go to Octoberfest in the midst of a drunk driving trial. 

CARLSON:  But who is her agent that she gets gigs like that?  She gets to show up at Octoberfest and get paid a lot of money for it?

GEIST:  Do you think she even has any idea where she is?  They put her on a leer jet and she shows up, it‘s another party.  It honestly does not matter to him.  Does it, no of course it doesn‘t.  It‘s another party. 

CARLSON:  That is so true.

GEIST:  Tucker, if ever there was a more unlikely gubernatorial candidate than writer and musician Kinki Friedman , it was former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura.  Well Ventura won his election and served as Minnesota‘s governor for four years as you know.  So Kinki has enlisted Jesse “The Body” to help with his independent run for the governor‘s mansion in Texas.  Ventura has joined the cigar chomping Friedman  on a college tour of the state.  And what a timely moment to join the campaign really Tucker.  On the college part of the tour you go to the sorority mixers and Q&A‘s and just kind of mix it up with the ladies.  I don‘t know, Ventura when he was elected, I think that was his one moment, those few months in his campaign where people saw some measure of sanity behind his eyes.  And that has evaporated since I think. 

CARLSON:  No it evaporated almost immediately.  Plus he turned out to be a blow hard.  Kinky Friedman and here‘s my pitch for Kinky.  First he‘ll come on our show if he‘s elected.  But more important, he will never become a blow hard.  He will always have, you know realistic since of himself.  He will not become Jesse “The Body.”

GEIST:  That‘s right.  I just liked him because he flipped you off on the air last week.

CARLSON:  He got my vote actually by doing that.

GEIST:  I know he did.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist from headquarters, thank you Willie.  That‘s our show.  Thank you for watching, up next “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS.”  We‘ll be back tomorrow, see you.

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

END   

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