updated 10/5/2006 11:11:08 AM ET 2006-10-05T15:11:08

Guests: Peter Fenn, Patrick McHenry, Robin Brand, Sam Greenfield, Leslie Sanchez, Eleanor Smeal

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

We‘ll get right to our top story, the latest on Mark Foley‘s X-rated emails and the scandal that has resulted.  The disgraced former congressman‘s former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, who counseled Foley last week, resigned this afternoon in the wake of that scandal.  Fordham now says he warned Denny Hastert‘s office, the speaker of the House‘s office, two years ago about Foley‘s misconduct.

And the Justice Department said today it wants Foley‘s office computer preserved as it is.  That‘s a signal, of course, that a criminal investigation may be not far off. 

All of this comes after the ex-congressman‘s attorney tried to calm the storm of outrage in a news conference yesterday.  He offered several explanations for Foley‘s sexually-explicit messages to underage pages. 

Here‘s one. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID ROTH, FOLEY‘S ATTORNEY:  Mark Foley wants you to know that he is a gay man.  Mark has asked that you be told that between the ages of 13 and 15, he was molested by a clergyman.  Mark will address this issue further upon his release from treatment. 

He is absolutely positively not a pedophile.  He is apologetic for the communications that he made while under the influence of alcohol. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Foley‘s multiple explanations for his behavior don‘t seem to be doing him much good these days. 

Here‘s a Democratic TV ad charging the cover-up put the welfare of children at risk. 

Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It shocks the conscience.  Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children.  For over a year they knowingly ignored the welfare of children to protect their own power. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Effective, but it does raise the question, would Democrats be better off letting the Republican Party destroy itself?  Which it is, of course, in the process of doing. 

Joining me now from Washington to help answer that question, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn. 

Peter, welcome. 

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Hi, Tucker.  How are you? 

CARLSON:  I‘m great. 

I‘m wondering though about the Democratic strategy on this question.  There‘s that old axiom in campaign politics, you know, stand back as the other guy sets himself ablaze.  And that‘s clearly what‘s happening, the Republican Party is imploding. 

Is it wise politics, do you think, for the Democrats to pile on? 

FENN:  Well, I‘m not sure in this case this is piling on.  This is an ad that in fact our firm did, Tucker, for Patty Wetterling from Minnesota.  Her 11-year-old son was abducted 17 years ago.  She spent her entire life since then fighting this issue. 

In fact, in some of your B roll she‘s standing behind Mark Foley because she‘s been in Washington many times to get legislation passed.  She‘s pretty outraged that the Congress has not acted responsibly on this, that the leadership has not come clean on this.  And right now it looks—looks to a lot us like there‘s a lot of covering up going on. 

CARLSON:  Yes, it looks that way to me, too, to be honest with you.  And obviously I‘m not saying that for partisan reasons.  I would like to know why the Republican leadership didn‘t act earlier and more vigorously.  I would like to know exactly what they knew. 

I think I speak for a lot of voters when I say that.  There‘s a lot more we can know, and it makes the Republicans look bad as we learn more.

However, do Democrats in general benefit from attacking the Republican Party on the basis of this scandal?  And are they really in a position to be self-righteous about it, do you think? 

FENN:  I mean, I don‘t know about the self-righteousness.  I‘m not big on self-righteousness.  But I do think that there is a lot of outrage in the country right now. 

There‘s a lot of concern about this.  They see this as politics as usual right now in Washington. 

The very notion, Tucker, that Tom Reynolds could say to the speaker of the House that he had real concerns about Foley and the speaker not remembering that conversation, that‘s beyond the pale.  That‘s not believable. 

I mean, he might have forgotten about how somebody voted on an issue or what‘s going through a committee, but if he was told about something like this, there is no way that he wouldn‘t remember it.  So...

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know.  Actually, Denny Hastert is the one guy who you could sort of believe, you know, wouldn‘t remember.  And I don‘t mean that as a compliment.  But I—I wonder here though—hold on. 

There‘s a war going on, and it‘s a war that Democrats never tire of pointing out, and it‘s been mismanaged really badly by the White House, and it‘s a war that‘s been supported by the Republican Party since day one.  Wouldn‘t it be better to win the midterm on something that matters, that actually is going to change the face of the world?  Is this scandal, is it something you really want to win an election on? 

FENN:  Well, listen, I think this is part of the mix whether we like it or

not.  You‘re covering it, other people are covering it.  This is—this is

this is huge out there right now.

But I agree with you.  Look, the campaign is about issues, it should be about issues.  A lot of us who have had real concerns about this war and turning it around and the information in Bob Woodward‘s book I think was extraordinarily explosive. 

Most of us want to get back and talk a lot about that.  But, you know, there‘s a lot of people who say, hey, you know, this is a serious problem in this country. 

We‘ve had three school shootings in a week.  We had—you know, what is going on out there?  And it does affect people, I think, their emotional—their emotions are into this. 

CARLSON:  There‘s so much that we don‘t know about this scandal with Mark Foley, and one of the key questions that remains unanswered is, where exactly did these e-mails and IMs come from?  This is a partisan town, he‘s a member of Congress.  I mean, it‘s not beyond the imagination that there was a partisan element to all this, that the Democrats are involved in getting this information out there. 

Do you know anything about that and are you concerned about what we might learn? 

FENN:  No, I don‘t know anything about that.  All I know is, you know, a lot of newspaper had this, the Florida newspapers had it. 

CARLSON:  Right.

FENN:  Now we‘re discovering...

CARLSON:  But where did they get it?

FENN:  ... that this is 10 years—well, I mean, you have a lot of pages. 

He has been doing this evidently for 10 years. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

FENN:  In “The Washington Post” today was a copy a letter that he wrote to a former page and talking about getting together in San Diego at the Republican Convention in 1996.  I mean, this is not new stuff. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not.

FENN:  And so, you know, I actually think—you know, one of the things about Congress—and I was a page up there as a 16-year-old kid—one of the things that I think a lot of us in this town know, these folks won‘t confront each other, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Right.

FENN:  They won‘t take each other on.  Somebody should have said to him last spring, listen, Tom, you‘ve had a great—Mr. Foley, you‘ve had a great career here...

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

FENN:  You clearly—it‘s time for to you step down. 

CARLSON:  I agree—I agree with you.  But just to—you know, there‘s not a word of defense which is true.  I‘ve seen the exact same thing happen in schools.  I think people are that way.  You know, they‘re just non-confrontational.

FENN:  I think that‘s right.

CARLSON:  Peter Fenn, I appreciate it.  Thanks a lot. 

FENN:  Thanks a lot. 

CARLSON:  As the scandal grows in Washington, pressure mounts on House Speaker Dennis Hastert.  Some are calling for his resignation, but my next guest says, “He reacted appropriately.  Last week I talked to the speaker.  I have full faith that he is doing everything in his power to get things back on track.”

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Joining me now from Charlotte, Representative Patrick McHenry, Republican of North Carolina. 

Congressman, thanks for joining us. 

REP. PATRICK MCHENRY ®, NORTH CAROLINA:  Thanks for having me on, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Bob Novak‘s column today has a pretty remarkable development.  Novak is claiming that even after the Republican leadership found out that there were congressional aides who felt threatened by the sexual overtures of Congressman Foley, that the Republican leadership worked to convince Foley to run again. 

Is that true, and if so why? 

MCHENRY:  Well, the truth is slightly different from that.  The reality is, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee asked every incumbent to run again this year, because it‘s the sixth year of our president‘s term.  And the president‘s—the president‘s party in Congress always loses seats in the sixth year. 

So the idea was we needed to get as many incumbents to run again in 2006 as possible.  So the idea that Foley was singled out is just mistaken and untrue. 

CARLSON:  OK.  But presumably the other incumbents weren‘t going after little boys.  I mean, here‘s the—here‘s the sticking point, even for conservatives, maybe especially for conservatives like me. 

It seems pretty clear now and clearer by the day that the speaker of the House and other members of the Republican leadership had a pretty good idea that this guy was a predator and interested in little boys.  Why didn‘t they do more about it? 

MCHENRY:  Look, the facts are that no one knew about these explicit instant messages until the story was broken last week.  Not the House leadership, no member of Congress, to my knowledge, had any—any knowledge of what was going on here, nor did they know the extent of Foley‘s actions. 

It‘s clear today as a result of those explicit instant messages that were released last week that he‘s a child predator.  That‘s clear now. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but...

MCHENRY:  However, when the original...

CARLSON:  No, I know that.

MCHENRY:  When the original e-mail came out, Tucker, CREW, a liberal ethics group, as well as numerous media organizations—on top of that, the Republican House leadership—they all made the same determination—the same determination that the FBI did, that there was nothing actionable in that e-mail. 

CARLSON:  Nothing actionable, maybe; nothing illegal, possibly.  I don‘t know, I mean, having sex with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office wasn‘t illegal.  That‘s not the point.  It was wrong.  And it made the parents of this boy uncomfortable. 

So who care what the FBI thought about it?  The parents of this boy—and they‘re not liberal, so far as I know—were very uncomfortable with the congressman‘s behavior toward their son. 

That right there, if you think about it for just 30 seconds—and I‘m willing to believe they didn‘t think about it—but if you do, you think, you know what?  This guy is a major creep and he‘s going after little boys.  And maybe a way to grab him by the face and tell him to knock it off or tell him to leave Congress. 

MCHENRY:  I guarantee you, had Dennis Hastert been concerned about Mark Foley‘s being a predator, he personally would have drummed him out of Congress and probably roughed him up in the process, I guarantee it.  Now, what we know today is far different than what we knew two weeks ago. 

Now, the question remains, though, Tucker, who had those instant messages, those sexual explicit messages, and what group, entity or political organization had them?  And whoever had them was complicit in this crime, they‘re an accessory to this crime, because they kept Mark Foley out on the streets possibly preying on other children.  That is the question that remains. 

CARLSON:  That‘s an interesting question.  I‘d say it‘s not necessarily central. 

I wonder though about this question of whether or not the speaker of the House ought to resign.  Is it—even if he does resign, is it your impression that he‘s going to be replaced by a Democrat anyway come November?  I mean, do Republicans think they can hold onto the House realistically at this point? 

MCHENRY:  Well, I hope we don‘t lose the House.  This certainly does not help.  This is certainly a horrible scandal, and as a conservative it‘s very objectionable to me at its—at its core, the realities of this situation. 

I don‘t want to have a colleague who is preying on children.  But the facts are that we have to deal with the scandal as it is now. 

And the facts are clear that the House Republican leadership acted appropriately on the information they had.  It‘s the same decision the FBI made.  But the questions that remain are the ones that I posed to you just a second ago. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Where did this—and I think that‘s—that‘s an interesting question.  I don‘t think it absolves the Republican leadership of its responsibility, but I would like to know where these things came from. 

Finally, though, “The Washington Post” is saying today that pages have been talking for 11 years.  It quotes a page who 11 years ago said he was aware that Foley was a creep and that he liked boys. 

Had you ever heard that?  Were you aware that he had an unusual sex life, that he was interested in boys?  Did you ever hear anything like that? 

MCHENRY:  No, I have not.  But this is my first term in Congress, so I can‘t speak to what was talked about in the 1990s. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

MCHENRY:  I think it is clear today though that Mark Foley is a sick, sick individual, and that federal prosecution must ensue based on the actions that have been uncovered.

CARLSON:  Congressman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, first-termer.

Welcome to Washington, Congressman. 

MCHENRY:  Thanks, tucker.  What a—what a start. 

CARLSON:  It‘s not always like this.

Thanks for joining us. 

MCHENRY:  Thank you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Still to come, threats to out more gay politicians in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal.  Is this a legitimate political strategy? 

And Republicans are deep in damage control mode, but can the scandal be contained in time to save the party in the midterms? 

That story when we return. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

The sexually explicit e-mails that cost Congressman Mark Foley his job also revealed him as a gay man.  Now some bloggers are threatening to do the same to closeted gay staffers on Capitol Hill. 

But since when is sexual orientation part of the public record or the public‘s business?  And is outing an acceptable political tactic? 

Joining me now from Washington to answer that, Robin Brand.  She‘s senior vice president for politics and strategy at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

Robin, thanks for joining us. 

ROBIN BRAND, GAY & LESBIAN VICTORY FUND:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  You know, I‘m not defending Mark Foley, but I will defend—because I think what he did is appalling and wrong—but I will defend his right to be gay in private if he wants to be.  And I think it‘s wrong that people with a political agenda are threatening to out gay politicians.  It‘s no one‘s business. 

BRAND:  I think ultimately voters care more about what their elected officials are doing to fix their roads or to pass legislation that‘s going to help with healthcare, access to health care.  But ultimately we have found that if elected officials, particularly those that are gay, are open and honest about who they are, that actually even strengthens their relationship with their constituents. 

CARLSON:  OK.  But why is it—you say honest.  I mean, why is it your business, exactly? 

There is this impulse on the left to dig into people‘s personal lives and, you know, reveal that people are gay or not.  I mean, why not just back off and let people decide for themselves whether they want to talk about their sex life?

BRAND:  And we‘re not asking anyone to talk about their sex lives, but we do think that it‘s important to be honest with your constituents about who you are.  Again, most important is what are the issues that are important to the people that you want to represent?  But being honest with voters is something that‘s important, and I think something that voters want. 

CARLSON:  Well, Foley—OK.  Foley—let‘s just—to use an example, Mark Foley obviously is gay, he—that was announced yesterday, everyone here in Washington knew that, you knew that.  I have no doubt you‘ve known that probably for a long time, as did I.  And he was under pressure for years to concede or to talk about, admit, whatever, that he‘s gay, and he said, you  know what?  I‘m not interested in having that conversation. 

That‘s not dishonest. 

BRAND:  It‘s not.  But I think that he certainly could have come out while in office.  We‘ve had a lot of elected officials who have chosen to go that route and were reelected to office, and are continuing to serve their constituents well, effectively.  So I think it‘s an unfortunate choice that he made. 

CARLSON:  But it‘s—there is this feeling, there is this kind of conformity on the gay left, where, you know, if somebody is gay and isn‘t towing a certain political line, then he‘s self-hating, he‘s trapped in the closet, he loathes himself.  I mean, there‘s all this psychoanalysis that goes on.  It‘s phony and dumb, in my opinion. 

I mean, why can‘t someone be gay and not agree with your politics? 

BRAND:  Well, I think that there are people who are gay and do not necessarily agree on all the issues.  And certainly from our organization‘s perspective we are not asking elected officials to agree on certain policy issues. 

We just think it‘s important to have more openly gay elected officials serving in office, because if people can talk openly and honestly about their life experiences, about issues that are important to them, and also have, you know, strong colleague-to-colleague relationships, that‘s important.  And so that—that is what we think is important to have, a voice at the table, a vote when it matters, and we think it‘s very important to have as many or at least a fair equal number of openly gay elected officials serving across the country. 

CARLSON:  A lot of people here in Washington, a lot of people, believe that these e-mails and instant messages were sent to the press by gay activists who were mad at Mark Foley for being a closets gay man. 

Have you heard that? 

BRAND:  Oh, I think that—I‘m sure he‘s been under some pressure to come out. 

CARLSON:  Well, we know for certain he‘s been under a great deal of pressure to come out.  He couldn‘t run for Senate because of it, as you know...

BRAND:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  ... in 2003. 

BRAND:  That‘s right. 

CARLSON:  But are you aware of gay activists who sent these IMs or these e-mails to the press? 

BRAND:  I am not aware of these activists.  But obviously, as you said, I am aware that Mark Foley has been under pressure in the past to come out. 

As an organization, the Victory Fund does not believe in outing elected officials.  We like to work with elected officials to come out in a way that‘s on their own terms.  We find that to be the most strategically beneficial way to come out. 

And like I said, we‘ve had elected officials come out from around the country, very successfully, when they decide to do it on their own terms.  And so that is—that is the type of scenario we are trying to create. 

But I am aware that there are activists with a different strategy. 

CARLSON:  All right. 

Robin Brand, thanks for joining us.  I appreciate it.

BRAND:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Coming up, the Foley scandal does bear some similarities to the uproar over Jim McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey who outed himself.  The question is, are scandal-prone politicians now attempting to play the gay card, whatever that is, and is it working? 

And wait a minute.  Mark Foley is a Republican, isn‘t he?  You wouldn‘t know that from watching FOX News.  That story on “Beat the Press” when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s time now for “Beat the Press”.

First up, Bill O‘Reilly over on FOX News. 

Politicians have been known to change political parties, of course, but they usually do that on their own.  It looks like FOX took it upon themselves to take care of that for former congressman Mark Foley. 

Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  He did it for so long, and he did it in a methodical way, that he wouldn‘t have resigned unless he got caught.  So I can‘t give him any points. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Catch that?  Mark Foley (D), Florida.  Yes.

Mark Foley is a Republican.  Jim Traficant was a Democrat, but Mark Foley is a Republican.  Got to be honest about it. 

Next, another one from the FOX News Channel. 

Sometimes in TV we anchors have to vamp.  That‘s to try to fill time when a guest isn‘t in place or there‘s some sort of technical problem.  Over on FOX, though, they fill time with news alerts.  Watch how they chose to fill 58 seconds of air time yesterday morning.  This is amazing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A FOX News Alert.  And we are awaiting a news conference at the hospital where the victims of that awful school shooting in Pennsylvania yesterday were taken.  When that news conference begins we‘ll take you there live. 

You might have heard, two more little girls died overnight, a total of six dead in that awful shooting rampage.  We‘ll keep you updated on FOX.

And get this.  A man who claims to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith‘s new little baby, the baby girl that she gave birth to in the Bahamas, is demanding a paternity test.  He‘s demanding that Anna Nicole and the baby girl come back to the states for all of that to happen. 

At last report she was still in the Bahamas.  We‘ll keep you updated on what‘s going on there. 

U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is speaking right now about North Korea.  North Korea this morning saying it will test nuclear weapons. 

Let‘s listen in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  The Amish school shooting, Anna Nicole Smith‘s pregnancy, and the threat of nuclear Armageddon from North Korea.  All in under a minute.  Such is the news bouillabaisse on FOX News.

Let‘s be honest—in all of cable news.  It‘s not just FOX.  It‘s amazing though. 

Still to come, another resignation today in the Mark Foley scandal.  Who will be next?

And the most disgusting story of the day, and there was a lot of competition. 

A threat to disrupt the funerals of Amish girls killed in this week‘s schoolhouse shootout, that‘s when we return. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, we know the page e-mail scandal is bad for Congressman Mark Foley, but will it really hurt the Republican Party in the midterm elections next month?  Some people don‘t think so, believe it or not. 

Plus a magazine gets women together to brag about their abortions, for real.  All that in just a minute.  But right now here are your headlines. 

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  Time now for three on three when we welcome two of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today‘s most interesting stories. 

Joining us from New York City, Sam Greenfield. He‘s the host of the morning show on WWRL radio, and from Washington D.C., Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez.  Welcome both. 

SAM GREENFIELD, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Thank you. 

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  How are you.

CARLSON:  First up, after years of rumors that Mark Foley was gay, his lawyer announced yesterday that in fact, he‘s gay.  The Congressman‘s admission sounds a bit like the very public declaration in 2004 by former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey that he was gay.  But are both of these guys using their sexuality as some kind of defense for their behavior? 

It seems—Sam, look, yesterday—the crescendo of that news conference yesterday was his lawyer, who was a nice guy—I spoke to him today—staring into the camera and saying “Mark Foley wants you to know he‘s a gay man,” as if you hadn‘t figured that out already. 

It‘s an excuse.  It‘s saying I‘m a member of a protected group, you can‘t be mean to me.  You know what I mean?  Be lenient, I‘m gay.  I think it‘s outrageous he‘s trying to hide behind that.

GREENFIELD:  I think it‘s amazing that we‘re confusing pedophilia with

being gay.  They‘re not necessarily together, just like being a straight

CARLSON:  Well, first of all, just be clear.  Pedophilia is the sexual attraction to prepubescent children.  And that—nobody is being accused of pedophilia here.  It‘s not pedophilia to hit on a 16-year-old. 

GREENFIELD:  OK, then the ugly factor that a man in a position of power is hitting on someone young enough to virtually be his grandchild. 

CARLSON:  Right.

GREENFIELD:  But to say—the part about this that bothers me is I‘m not hitting on kids, I‘m gay.  One has nothing to do with the other in the sense that being a straight man doesn‘t make you a spouse abuser.  I thought it was—you know, frankly, in the midst of this tragedy, I think the thing we have to keep our eye on is what you said at first. 

This is a man in a position of power, you know, hitting on someone of the same sex via e-mail, via IMs, that‘s what this is about.  It‘s about these young people who parents trust to members of Congress being violated.  That‘s what this is about.

CARLSON:  Absolutely, but it‘s also about politics.  And, Leslie, here‘s what I want to ask you.  Think of Jim McGreevey, OK.  So last year it‘s revealed that he has appointed his boyfriend, this Israeli character, to run New Jersey‘s Homeland Security Department, which is a pretty big job, actually. 

GREENFIELD:  Like the gay Bernie Kerik. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.  Exactly.  Nicely put, Sam.

GREENFIELD:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  So he gets outed.  He gives this press conference saying I‘m a gay American.  What happens?  He doesn‘t slink off in disgrace, he gets a book deal.  “New York” magazine serializes his book.  He makes a ton of money, and in some ways he‘s more successful than he‘s ever been.  If he had been straight and appointed his girlfriend to the position, would “New York” magazine have serialized his book?  Would he have gotten a book?

GREENFIELD:  The guy you‘re talking about is 31 years old.  He‘s 31. 

Big difference.

SANCHEZ:  But Tucker—true, I know.  I think we‘re missing the point.  I would agree with you on there.  I don‘t know if he‘s gay, if—speaking of Foley, if he was sexually molested, if he‘s an alcoholic.  I‘m going to take him at his word for now on that.  I don‘t know if it‘s a cry for help or a cry for leniency. 

I would speak to the point that the bigger issue is how is this thing going to unfold.  I think the American public is looking for accountability on this issue, and leadership.  And that‘s what‘s void in the entire debate, and that‘s part of what this Republican meltdown is all about. 

CARLSON:  I just think in this funny way, if you‘re gay, you have some protection.  I mean, if I attack you and you‘re not gay, I‘m just attacking you.  But if you‘re gay I‘m a homophobe all of a sudden.  I think he‘s hiding behind his gayness.  Like anybody cares.  I‘m glad you‘re gay, Mark.  I‘m applauding you.

GREENFIELD:  I think we care.  That‘s all we‘re talking about today is the fact he‘s gay. 

CARLSON:  No. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I mean, I‘ve known this guy is gay for 10 years.  I‘ve never talked about it once in public because I really didn‘t care. 

GREENFIELD:  But did you know he was hitting on kids? 

CARLSON:  No, and that‘s what we care about.  In other words ...

SANCHEZ:  That‘s what we care about.

CARLSON:  ...the point is his behavior with pages, not his homosexuality. 

GREENFIELD:  That is correct.

SANCHEZ:  Right.  Let‘s not politicize an issue that‘s not already there.

GREENFIELD:  Yes.

SANCHEZ:  The issue is who knew what when.  Who knew it six months ago?  Whether it was Republican or Democratic staff, whether it was congressional leadership, whoever it was, they had a moral and legal obligation to say something and if they did not, they need to go. 

CARLSON:  Well I mean, that is the political question too.  I mean, the midterms are literally a month away.  And Republicans are scrambling now to do damage control.  But their efforts may be too late, given that the party leadership did not fully investigate the Foley issue in late 2005 when initial reports surfaced of an inappropriate e-mail from Foley to a House page. 

And I have to say, Leslie, Foley‘s request for a picture kind of says it all.  There‘s really no excuse for a man in his 50s to be asking a boy in his teens for a picture, unless it‘s a cop and it‘s a lineup.  I mean, there‘s no excuse.  That kind of—you know the score when you read that and yet they didn‘t do anything. 

SANCHEZ:  No, there‘s no doubt that sounds very creepy.  And I think there should have been a quicker trigger, you know, in terms of reacting to that.  But I go back to the fact, I think there needs to be an independent investigation of this, somebody with incredible integrity on this issue, who Republicans and Democrats can trust to find out and do their own investigation. 

It‘s not just the Republicans that knew.  There‘s Democrats that knew, members of the media knew.  I mean, how long and how deep does this go?  And until we actually know that it‘s going to continue to be politicized—

I think it unfortunate the Democrats think this is something that they can champion in the November elections beyond looking at the true issues. 

It‘s unfortunate and it needs to roll itself out.  Republicans are going to pay the price, no doubt about it.  But it‘s important that we find out really what came to pass. 

GREENFIELD:  I don‘t think that the Democrats—I hope that the Democrats aren‘t looking to politicize this because, I was—no, no, I mean that, because if I was part of the Democratic Party, you know what I would do?  I would get out of the way of this careening car.  Let them—please. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

SANCHEZ:  Agreed.  You know, you have Tony Blankley asking for Mr.  Hastert‘s resignation, you have Richard Viguerie asking for Hastert‘s resignation.  You‘ve got John Boehner saying, well, I told him.  I figured he‘d take care of it. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.

GREENFIELD:  I mean, this is—I haven‘t seen this much ducking since Floyd Patterson fought Liston.  It‘s amazing.

CARLSON:  Do you know what—even in more recent history, you know what this reminds me of is 1998 when you had the president.  I mean, back there for a moment you had a lot of Democrats very angry at Bill Clinton.  And, of course, Republicans screwed it up for themselves by piling on and making the story the out of control Republican Congress, rather than the goatish president. 

GREENFIELD:  Well, they made it bloodlust is what they did and they paid for it. 

CARLSON:  No, but that‘s right.  Lanny Davis who, of course, worked in the Clinton White House as part of his special counsel said this just today.  I thought this was a very smart point.  He said Democrats have to be really careful not to try and turn this into a partisan political issue.  And it seems to me if there‘s the equivalent of a Starr report in all this, Republicans benefit.  Do you see what I mean, Sam? 

GREENFIELD:  Well, you know, I do.  But once again—and correct me if I‘m wrong—I think that everyone I‘ve heard on TV talking about this is a Republican.  Virtually everyone.  Oh, occasionally you‘ll hear a Democrat saying this is terrible. 

SANCHEZ:  Look at Nancy Pelosi. 

GREENFIELD:  Now, really—yes, but—well, Nancy Pelosi will talk.  If you open up the refrigerator and the light goes on, she‘ll talk, so that‘s not a surprise.

SANCHEZ:  Clearly, she‘s the Democratic leadership.  You can‘t talk about this in a void.  You have to look at who is speaking for the Democratic Party. 

GREENFIELD:  Doesn‘t matter.  The thing we have to keep our eye on is that a young kid was hit on by someone his parents sent him there in their care and trust. 

SANCHEZ:  Clearly.

GREENFIELD:  Everything else is baloney.  And I know Nancy Pelosi spoke on this, but I promise you if the Democrats have a brain this big, they‘re going to stay out of the way of this and just let these guys circle around each other and stab each other. 

CARLSON:  Well, sure, because at some point, don‘t you think, Leslie, people are going to ask the question, I wonder if Republican members of Congress really do have much weirder sex lives than Democratic members of Congress.  And when you get to that conversation, who knows who‘s going to win that battle, but why even have it?

GREENFIELD:  I don‘t want to talk about ...

(CROSSTALK) 

SANCHEZ:  We‘re missing the point.  The fact that we‘re taking the conversation there is a perfect example of not reigning this in.  We need an independent investigation, we need to know who knew what when. 

And until we find that out it‘s really just conjecture on our part to see who‘s head should roll, and I say that with respect to the speaker, because already we‘re sentencing him without a trial, not defending him.  But let‘s be very clear.  I mean, we have to have a mutual standard of understanding, and this has to be investigated by both sides.              CARLSON: 

And it will be.  And since this isn‘t the last moment in our show, when we‘re going to be that want—very quickly from each of you to get anything you‘ve heard about the origin of these e-mails and these I.M.‘s.  Start with you, Sam, do you have any sense of where these came from? 

That‘s the next part of the story. 

GREENFIELD:  You mean other than Mark A. Foley 54? 

CARLSON:  What have they been doing for the last three years?  Some of these were sent in 2003.  Where have they been?   

GREENFIELD:  I guess they—you pardon the pun, I guess they‘ve been on his hard drive.  That‘s the only thing I can think of.  Good night everybody.  No, if they‘ve haven‘t been published, then that‘s where they were.  But I have a theory.  I want to say this very quickly, because I know we‘re short on time.  I don‘t think he ever had sex with these kids.  I think this was vicarious e-mail and I.M.ing.  I don‘t.  I really believe that.  I think that this is a creature of the Internet.  I do not think he ever actually was intimate with any of these kids, because if he was, he would have been caught much earlier. 

SANCHEZ:  You know, the whole point is you have 52-plus e-mails that show a conversation that did make some of these teens very uncomfortable.  You had parents who came to Congress and asked their members to intervene.  You have a whole line of evidence here that‘s going to be disclosed and hopefully very soon and we‘re going to find out who is accountable.  People want accountability and leadership, and I think until we have that you‘re going to see people upset and they‘re going to take it out in November. 

CARLSON:  Amen.  Leslie, Sam, thank you both very much. 

GREENFIELD:  Thank you very much.

CARLSON:  Well, a group of women get together with a magazine to brag about their abortions.  It‘s happening.  We‘ll talk to the woman organizing it. 

Plus a babysitter picks up the wrong kid from school.  Imagine the parents‘ surprise when they came home to see a strange child in their house.  We‘ll tell you how it happened when we come right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It‘s time for a look at today‘s stories I just don‘t get.  We begin with the case of a Texas police force under fire for not teaching its officers Spanish. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What we‘ve got here is failure to communicate. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That appears to be the problem with the Royce City Police Department.  At least that‘s what one attorney is claiming in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a client who was allegedly assaulted by a cop there.  The plaintiff, Jose Lopez, does not speak English and his lawyer says the city was negligent for not teaching the cop who arrested him Spanish.  The suit seeks more than million dollars in damages.  Royce City‘s police chief is standing behind his officer, calling the complaint frivolous.  We will, by the way, have Mr. Lopez‘ lawyer on the program tomorrow. 

Here‘s what I don‘t get.  People don‘t understand that this kind of case, this sort of law suit, which we laugh at now.  Oh, that‘s so outrageous.  It‘s one of those hot coffee from McDonalds lawsuits.  This is the future.  This kind of suit that we think is outrageous now will be par for the course 10 years from now.  That‘s my prediction and I predict it with sadness. 

Well next, members of a fringe congregation agree not to take their fire and brimstone act to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s the only righteous message for this evil nation that has gone the way of the Brokeback Mountain.  God‘s wrath is upon this nation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That‘s the Reverend Fred Felps (ph).  He‘s the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.  His group was planning to stage a demonstration at the funerals of those five Amish girls who were executed in their school house.  Why?  Because the governor of Pennsylvania, where the killings took place, is an outspoken critic of Felps and his followers, but now church members have apparently agreed to call off their demonstration in exchange for radio air time to express their sentiments.  That‘s right, a radio talk show host has said I will give you an hour on my program if you won‘t go demonstrate. 

Here‘s what I don‘t get.  It‘s wrong to negotiate with terrorists, we know that.  Why don‘t we recognize it‘s wrong always and everywhere to give Fred Felps, one of the creepiest people on this earth, an hour of radio air time.  I don‘t care if you think it‘s for a greater good, it‘s wrong.  Ignore Fred Felps, please.  This guy feeds off our attention.  He‘s a creep.  I doubt he even means what he says.  He exists to infuriate us.  Don‘t make him happy by giving him attention, please. 

And finally take a look at MS Magazine‘s latest issue.  The Fall issue will feature the names of thousands of American women who have come out to declare they‘ve had an abortion.  What‘s the point of this?  Well joining us to explain, Eleanor Smeal (ph).  She‘s the president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.  She joins us from Washington.  Eleanor Smeal, why would women want to brag about having abortions? 

ELEANOR SMEAL, PRESIDENT, THE FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION:  Well, they‘re not bragging, they‘re telling their stories.  And it‘s about time that we get into the focus of this debate, women‘s lives.  Because right now, for example, in the November ballot in South Dakota they‘re considering a ban on abortion.  These are times where politicians play into their right wing, are making extreme statements about outlawing abortion, and yet abortion has played a significant role in saving women‘s lives, and they want to tell their stories. 

CARLSON:  But abortion, even people who support legal abortion recognize that abortion is horrible, it‘s depressing, it‘s awful.  That‘s why we want it to be rare, in the famous and phony formulation of president Clinton.  I mean it‘s an awful thing.  Why would you want to talk about it? 

SMEAL:  You want to talk about it because you want it to stay legal, you want to say the importance it has been to your life.  You want to put a woman‘s face on it.  This is not just something for politicians to bandy about.  But it‘s—MS is providing a forum so we get into focus why abortion has been needed and necessary for millions of women in the United States. 

CARLSON:  But I thought the whole—

SMEAL:  And when it is made illegal, women suffer and die. 

CARLSON:  But I thought whole—I mean the propaganda is we‘re not for abortion, we‘re pro-choice, we‘re merely for the option.  But you‘re basically coming out and saying you‘re for abortion. 

SMEAL:  What we‘re coming out and saying is that this has played an important part of millions of American women‘s lives, and worldwide.  And where it is not there, where it‘s made illegal, women suffer.  And so what we want is tell their stories, what‘s going on.  Why did they have an abortion.  You know, one of the big surprising things, Tucker, about this is when we verify the people‘s names and make sure they want to tell their story, they thanked us for giving them this opportunity.  Because so often the debate is on slogans.  It‘s on meaningless conditions that don‘t exist in real lives.  These people wanted to say why they did it and why it‘s important.

CARLSON:  I agree with you there.  The whole pro-choice is designed to make you not think about the fact that abortion is at the root of it. But I wonder this.

SMEAL:  Pro-life slogan is also wrong, too.

CARLSON:  Oh, I agree, you‘ll never hear—I couldn‘t agree with you more.  This is a debate about abortion and we should say so.  You don‘t hear me use the phrase pro-life or pro-choice.  We‘re of one mind on that.  But why do you think women do feel bad about getting abortions?  You seem to think they shouldn‘t feel bad about all.

SMEAL:  Some women do feel bad.  Some women feel bad, others realize that it was an important decision that they had to make because the conditions of their lives, the pregnancy was difficult, for many reasons.  Some women are ill, some women need it because they are too young or they‘re too old or there‘s something wrong at that moment in time.  It was a decision.  And we know what happens when women, when abortion is made illegal.  Around the world wherever it‘s illegal, women -- 70,000 women are dying from it.

CARLSON:  Do you agree with Mrs. Clinton though—Hillary Clinton in almost every speech on this subject, abortion ought to be rare.  Do you think it ought to be rare?  And if so, why?

SMEAL:  Of course.  If you have effective contraceptives available and frankly free of charge, because right now they‘re very expensive, maybe that would happen.  But right now we don‘t have that.

CARLSON:  There‘s wrong with it, why should it be rare?  I‘ve never understood that.  If there‘s nothing wrong with abortion, why would we want it to be rare?

SMEAL:  Well, it‘s a medical procedure, that‘s obvious.  And for that reason, you would like to avoid that medical procedure if you didn‘t have to.  But the reality is for many women...

CARLSON:  ... It‘s a pretty minor medical procedure.

SMEAL:  It‘s, well, it‘s a surgical procedure or it could be a medical procedure if taking the pill depending on the time. 

CARLSON:  Right, so this is not a big deal physically.

SMEAL:  But it‘s just like contraceptives.  Would you prefer to use none if life was free and you could have as many children as you want?  Probably, but the reality is everybody has to decide if they have to limit their births.  And I think most women and men decide that, don‘t they?

CARLSON:  I think we—everybody with the exception of perhaps people like you on the extreme fringe of this question...

SMEAL:  ... I‘m not on the extreme fringe.  Millions of American women have an abortion in the United States.

CARLSON:  I know they do.

SMEAL:  Something like 44 percent of American women.

CARLSON:  People recognize it‘s a tragedy.  I think even people who are for legal abortion recognize it‘s a tragedy.  They know in their gut, boy, this is really, really sad, and you seem to be denying that.

SMEAL:  No, no, what I really want and what the magazine has hit a responsive cord, obviously, because thousands of women are coming forward, is that women themselves should tell the story, to put a woman‘s face on it, humanize it.  So frankly we don‘t get into this kind of banter back and forth, but we talk about real women‘s lives and why it‘s necessary to keep it legal.

CARLSON:  Eleanor Smeal, thanks for joining us. 

Paris Hilton and her entourage: find out what happens when you mess with a member of the “Dancing with the Stars” posse.  Which master of the cha-cha mixed it up with Paris Hilton last night?  We‘ve got that information.  We‘ll give it to you when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Joining us now a man who both reports and decides, a man whose news you can‘t use but somehow want anyway, Willie Geist.

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER:  Here‘s some news you really can‘t use, Tucker.  Sad news out of Camp Vaughniston.  “US Weekly,” which as you know is never wrong, reporting it is splitsville for Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston.  Sources, insiders, pals, most of whom who probably have never met or spoken to either of them say the couple is 100 percent done.  That‘s a quote.  A sad day, Tucker, a sad day.

CARLSON:  That chick just can‘t catch a break, can‘t she?  I feel sorry for her.

GEIST:  No, she can‘t.  More entertainment news, Tucker.  Tucker will tell you, “Dancing with the Stars” cast members travel in packs.  You mess with one, you mess with all of them.  Well Shanna Moakler, who was eliminated from the show a couple of weeks ago, reportedly popped Paris Hilton in the jaw at a club in Los Angeles last night, as her “Dancing with the Stars” family—and yes, it is a family, stood by her.

It was all something about Paris making out with Moakler‘s ex-husband.  Well Hilton filed a police report with the LAPD.  Moakler also filed a police report, saying Hilton‘s date poured a drink on her head and pushed her down some stairs. 

Tucker, is this how you guys roll over DWTS?  Like when someone steps to one of you, is it like Joey Lawrence and Mario and the whole gang just comes up and says, what is up now?  Is it like that?

CARLSON:  Instantly I hear it, instantly.  Joey Lawrence called me on my cell phone about 3 a.m. to report the altercation.

GEIST:  What are you hearing?  Is there any inside word on the story?

CARLSON:  Actually the only person I have kept talking to is Harry Hamlin and I don‘t think he knows anything about this.

GEIST:  He wasn‘t there with Lisa Rinna.

CARLSON:  No, he‘s got a real life.

GEIST:  Well Tucker, here is a story everyone can sympathize with.  You are stumbling drunk on a Tuesday morning, wandering around neighbors yards fishing through their trash.  We‘ve all been there.  Well this time it happened to a bear near Boulder, Colorado.  Police say the animal probably got trashed on fermented apples before staggering around a residential neighborhood.  Look at him, he just can‘t keep his feet.  The drunken bear was finally tranquilized before any damage was done at all.  And the tranquilizer kind of seems like overkill there, doesn‘t it?  He‘s sort of self-tranquilized himself.

CARLSON:  Yes and also you don‘t know how the drug combinations are going to react.  How will the tranquilizer go down with the fermented apples?

GEIST:  That‘s right.  That looks fun actually.  Is that a guy in a bear suit?  Wait a second.  Get out of here.

And by the way, wouldn‘t it be nice for someone to do that for you? 

Like you‘re stumbling around drunk like telling wrong stories to people.  Somebody just tranquilize me and actually bring me home.  It would be a good deal.

CARLSON:  You‘re at a dinner party and all of the sudden you‘re face forward.

GEIST:  Maybe a blow dart inside of the neck.  We should start that business.  People would like that. 

Finally Tucker a babysitter in Long Beach, California probably is going to have a little trouble finding work after she picked up the wrong five-year-old from his elementary school this week.  She pulled up to the school, called out for a boy named Angel.  Well Angel got in the car, but unfortunately it was the wrong Angel.  Whoops.  The woman spent five hours baby sitting the wrong kid while the missing child alert went out all over the television.  The parents eventually came home and discovered the mistake.

Now Tucker, you have kids, so you know better than I do.  But I‘m thinking you have to shave a couple of bucks off the tip for something like that, don‘t you think?  I mean, that‘s pretty outrageous.

CARLSON:  I‘d tone it down from 20 to maybe 17 percent.

GEIST:  Yes, I think even the hourly rate you‘d trim up a little bit.  It‘s kind of weird though.  The babysitter never met the child and the parents and instructor would just go to the school and shout for Angel.  Whoever gets in the car, it‘s fine.

CARLSON:  Right, it‘s probably a nickname.  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  Nice talking to you.

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

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

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