updated 10/6/2006 11:18:18 AM ET 2006-10-06T15:18:18

Guests: Michael Rogers, Frank Lasee, Alex Bennett, Ryan Sager, Domingo Garcia

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

A lot to get to today, including the gay activist blogger who claims some of the credit for outing Mark Foley and who warns he has more revelations to come. 

Plus, a radical plan to arm teachers and custodians in the wake of the deadly school shootings in Pennsylvania and Colorado.  We‘ll talk to the man who‘s sponsoring legislation to do that.

But first, the latest news on the Foley scandal up to the moment.  The House Ethics Committee has launched an investigation approving four dozens subpoenas so far for documents and testimony.  Earlier this afternoon, Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, who is fighting for his job, said this...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DENNIS HASTERT ®, HOUSE SPEAKER:  I don‘t know who knew what when.  We know that there are reports of people that knew it and kind of fed it out or leaked it to the press.  You know, we—that‘s why we‘ve asked for investigation. 

So let me just say, that‘s why we‘ve asked for an investigation, to find who that is.  If it‘s members of my staff, or they didn‘t do the job, we will act appropriately.  If it‘s somebody else‘s staff, they ought to act appropriately as well . 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, if Republicans were opening Hastert would put a lid on the scandal, today‘s statement has left them disappointed. 

Here with more, MSNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent, Norah O‘Donnell. 

Norah, if you were looking for the one man in this city less articulate than the president, you found him today.  He‘s the speaker of the House.  Are Republicans impressed?  Do they think he did a good job?  Do they think he tamped this down for now, or no? 

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Well, they are hoping that what Speaker Dennis Hastert did sort of moved the story along and quieted some of the furor, but it‘s not clear that he did that.  He did say that he‘s deeply sorry.  He said that “We are taking responsibility.”  He said, “As they say, the buck stops here.”

But what he is leaving it up to is the House Ethics Committee to continue this investigation.  He had hoped to announce at this press conference that he had secured Louis Freeh as an independent outsider, if you will, to help with this investigation, but the Democrats are not going along.  So at this point it doesn‘t appear that Louis Freeh will be brought in on this matter.

But you mentioned it.  Four dozen subpoenas by the House Ethics Committee, as well as that FBI investigation, which might suggest there are more interesting details from this whole scandal that are yet to be brought forth. 

I must tell you, too, the political fallout, Tucker, I think is another interesting element.  I spoke with a senior Republican who is very close to the White House this morning who tells me they‘ve been doing some internal Republican polling and that it does not look good.  And what they‘re particularly concerned about is suburban moms who have the “ick” factor looking at a lot of these e-mails, and that is exactly, they said, what they don‘t need.  As this Republican strategist told me...

CARLSON:  Right.

O‘DONNELL:  ... you know, “We don‘t have room to give at all because the landscape is already bad for us, and this is not helping.”

CARLSON:  Back up for a second.  You said that Democrats have basically nixed the idea of Louis Freeh as heading this investigation.  Is that because he didn‘t get along with Bill Clinton? Or what is the reason for finding Louis Freeh unacceptable?  Do you know?

O‘DONNELL:  My understanding is that Minority Leader Pelosi just objected to this particular matter of having Louis Freeh.  I‘m not—I‘m not clear why that is, but that she objected to having him brought as an outsider at this point. 

CARLSON:  OK.  What about—the Hill is reporting that Congresswoman Deborah Pryce from Ohio said that a drunk Mark Foley was stopped at some point by the Capitol Hill Police and prevented from ending a dormitory where male pages were staying. 

Do we know if this is true?  Do you know anything more about this?

O‘DONNELL:  This was first reported on MSNBC, and what we now have is two Republican leaders who have written to the clerk of the House to investigate this rumor, as they called it, that Foley showed up drunk at the dormitory of the pages.  It‘s not only Deborah Pryce, who, as you know, is a member of the leadership, but also the majority leader, John Boehner.

And this came up in a Republican conference call earlier this week, where one other Republican member brought up that this might have happened.  So, again, there is a lot of talk that it‘s Democrats or Democratic opponents or George Soros, et cetera, who were fueling this, but it‘s clear also there are a number of Republicans, too, who are pushing this further along and asking for more to be investigated. 

We also learned from “The Hill” newspaper—you mentioned that—that there is a report that it was a Republican aide who first put forward these particular e-mails and put them out there.  Not a Democrat. 

CARLSON:  Do we know where these e-mails have been for the last three years?  Who has—who has had custody of them since they were sent? 

O‘DONNELL:  We do not, although we know that several news organizations did have some e-mails, not necessarily the more sexually explicit or salacious IMs.  But some of the suggestive ones.

And I think, still, there are so many unanswered questions in this, because Kirk Fordham, who is that former chief of staff to Congressman Tom Reynolds, who also worked for Congressman Mark Foley, says he told the speaker‘s office three years ago.  He says he spoke with Denny Hastert‘s chief of staff. 

Denny Hastert‘s chief of staff has worked for Denny Hastert for 20 years. 

Says he told him specifically. 

Kirk Fordham is also saying that Denny Hastert‘s chief of staff sat down with Mark Foley.  Hastert‘s office is denying that. 

Someone here is not telling the truth.

CARLSON:  No.

O‘DONNELL:  And it‘s not clear why.  And that‘s why this investigation needs to reveal more. 

CARLSON:  And sum it up for me quickly, if you would, Norah.  Is Denny Hastert going to resign, do you think?  I know he said he wasn‘t, but...

O‘DONNELL:  Well, he didn‘t actually—he said that in a newspaper article today.  He didn‘t say that in the press conference today. 

I think it still remains to be seen.  One Republican today who we spoke with essentially said him resigning doesn‘t exactly help, they don‘t believe at this point, because more fingers would be pointed at John Boehner, who is the number two, about what John Boehner knew and why didn‘t he do more.  So they‘re not clear that that‘s the best thing.

What they‘re trying to do is just contain the fallout at this point, because they say their message is getting lost with so many weeks to the election.  You heard—you heard Denny Hastert sort of at the end, knowing that all of the cameras were there, saying, “By the way, remember the economy is going really well.  And remember that border fence initiative?  We signed that into law yesterday.  I know none of you paid attention.” 

But sort of desperately trying to bring it back to the issues, he said. 

It‘s not clear yet though—and Vice President Cheney I saw weighed in as well, saying there is no reason that Denny Hastert should think about resigning.  It‘s different than the way they treated Trent Lott. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  That‘s an excellent point.  And as long as they continue to support him, he‘ll probably be safe, I would guess.

Norah O‘Donnell, thanks a lot. 

O‘DONNELL:  My pleasure.

CARLSON:  Accusations about Mark Foley‘s X-rated e-mails to underage pages first surfaced on the Internet on blogs.  My next guest is a blogger who has been writing about former congressman Foley for over a year now and reportedly has warned of more revelations to come. 

Joining me from Washington, Michael Rogers, gay activist and blogger.

Michael Rogers, thanks a lot for coming on.

“Radar” magazine had an interesting item last night, writing about a site called stopsexpredators.blogspot, which appears to be the original site on which a number of these exchanges first surfaced.  It‘s not clear who runs this site, it‘s not clear who owns it, what the purpose of it is, but it‘s clearly an orchestrated effort to torpedo Foley. 

Are you behind this site? 

MICHAEL ROGERS, GAY ACTIVIST & BLOGGER:  I am absolutely not behind the site stopsexpredators.blogspot.com.  Absolutely not. 

I did receive the e-mails a little bit before they went up on Stop Sex Predators, and the Stop Sex Predators site administrator apparently, from an Gmail account, claiming that, told me about them, that they were posted there as well.  And then when I had first received them I made sure that I immediately confirmed that they had been handed over to the proper law enforcement authorities prior to my obtaining them.

CARLSON:  So it sounds like you were one of the very first people in America to see these exchanges.  Where do you think came from?  Who was behind this?

ROGERS:  Well, I think that “The Hill” reported on that today.  It‘s clear that it was a GOP operative.  And, you know, as we see, that‘s because the GOP is pretty much falling apart at the seams on this.  And the greatest kept secret for the GOP for the past six or seven years has been the extraordinary number of closeted men who have been helping to facilitate that anti-gay agenda. 

And I know that there are a lot of my friends on the Republican side who are fed up and have been feeding me information on people like Mark Foley for well over an year.  It‘s been known on my blog where I reported about him I guess last March of 2005.  So... 

CARLSON:  Wait.  So, just to make sure I have this right...

ROGERS:  Right?

CARLSON:  ... you believe that Mark Foley was outed, his behavior was revealed to the world by gay Republicans bitter at the fact he was not publicly identifying himself as gay? 

ROGERS:  I‘m saying it was gay Republicans.  It was people who are—I would think have something against Mr. Foley. 

We see in “The Hill” that it was a GOP aide. 

CARLSON:  Right.

ROGERS:  So clearly—and we have now known while people are claiming that this was released now, these are the folks that have sat on these for well over a year, and in some cases folks have been known, I guess, five years ago talking about this.  So what I would say is I think what‘s happening is we‘re finding a crowd of people who are looking to point fingers at people who are in Congress and staff members in Congress who are—they want to point, you know, all these gay folks. 

And what I would say is this: if gay men and lesbians are such a trouble inside of the Congress and they believe that it‘s such a problem, when I report on more of them before this next election, what are going to say about them?  Will they join me in having them resign from the House? 

CARLSON:  But doesn‘t—I mean, look, don‘t the people have a right, A, to lead private lives of their own choosing, and B, to have their own political opinions without being harassed about their private lives by other people?

ROGERS:  Absolutely, Tucker.  And the only thing that I come into in terms of my reporting on hypocrisy is when those private lives are in direct conflict with the public lives and the public persona that they lead. 

For example, if you are a gay man and you vote for the Defense of Marriage Act and refuse to support a repeal of Don‘t Ask Don‘t Tell, and serve as a Boy Scout leader—this has not been known, that Mark Foley is listed on the Boy Scouts Web site as a Boy Scout leader. And when that happens, you have to realize that these closets are just—they‘re perpetuating all of this.

And I think that what we‘ve seen is, time and time again, there is no—the lies—clearly someone is not telling the truth.  There are so many stories, the spinning that goes on. 

My question this: we have—we‘ve seen the family values crowd that this is affecting.  What is Lou Dobson—I‘m sorry, what is James Dobson, what is Tony Perkins going to tell his constituency and their constituencies when folks like Ken Mehlman are depending on that 72-hour turnout? 

CARLSON:  Right.

ROGERS:  I think this is a serious, serious problem for the Republican Party.  I think that what we‘ve seen happen today is that the House will flip to the Democrats.  That‘s my prediction.

CARLSON:  Yes.  I mean, this clearly hurts the Republican Party. 

I—you know, there‘s a lot of talk about how the Republican base, the fabled base is so intolerant of homosexuality.  I don‘t know.  I‘m not sure that‘s exactly right. 

ROGERS:  I agree.

CARLSON:  There are a number of conservative members of Congress who have gay staffers, openly gay staffers, and that doesn‘t seem to be a problem for them or for the staffers.

ROGERS:  And Tucker, there are a number of gay Republicans and Democrats in Congress who I have not identified because they don‘t spend their days beating up lesbian and gay individuals.  There are Republicans and Democrats that I have no interest on reporting on whatsoever because they‘re not hypocrites. 

It‘s not about being gay.  It‘s about being hypocritical.  It‘s about saying I want to live by a different set of rules than everyone else.  And that to me and I would hope to the American people, be it whether or not you‘re hitting on 16-year-olds online...

CARLSON:  Right.

ROGERS:  ... or you‘re deciding to restrict rights of the very community

that you‘re asking to harbor you secretly, it‘s unacceptable.  And I‘m

certainly going to continue to speak out about that

CARLSON:  All right.  Mike Rogers, thanks very much.

ROGERS:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, charges that a left-wing conspiracy is to blame for Mark Foley‘s troubles.  How will that story play with voters in November?  Will they buy it?  Ha!  Probably not. 

And attacks on schools that left six kids dead in a matter of days.  Horrifying.  But is arming teachers the answer to the problem?  One lawmaker says yes it is.  He‘ll explain when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

A heartbreaking scene today as one tiny Pennsylvania town held funerals for four Amish school girls.  They were killed by a gunman who burst into their classroom on Monday.  Six young girls have been killed and five of them have been seriously injured in school shootings in just the past few days.  The stories are horrifying. 

My next guest thinks he has the solution: arm teachers with handguns. 

Joining me now from Chicago, state representative Frank Lasee of Wisconsin.

Representative Lasee, thanks for joining me. 

STATE REP. FRANK LASEE ®, WISCONSIN:  Thanks for having me.

CARLSON:  I think I‘m as opposed to gun control as anybody I know.  I mean, I am adamantly emotionally opposed to gun control.  I hunt, I‘m a gun owner, have been all my life.  I‘m still not convinced this is a good idea at all. 

Why should we arm teachers? 

LASEE:  Well, when we have someone who goes into a school and they‘re willing to shoot children, and they are not met with any type of resistance, it‘s a turkey shoot and they‘re able to continue their rampage, and as we saw earlier in Columbine—and unfortunately, and I hope it doesn‘t happen again, but we‘ve seen it now elsewhere.  And I live in the Green Bay school district and two weeks ago we had three children who were going to do exactly this and had the weaponry to do it and were caught before they had. 

And when it happens in your back yard, it sensitizes it to you.  And in the gun control issue, I‘ve searched it for years, and it intrigued me that Israel has been doing this for 25 years in response to Palestine terrorists targeting their schools and their children.  And it has worked very well for them there and is safe, as well. 

I trust the people in the state to—and those people in the schools who are willing to go through the training and do this in a responsible manner to make our schools safer.  This isn‘t the silver bullet.  I don‘t think this is the only answer.  It‘s meant to generate a discussion of all the things we should be doing to make our schools safer . 

CARLSON:  Yes, but wait a second.  I mean, first of all, can you really think of any group less capable of handling firearms than teachers?  I mean, no offense to teachers, but let‘s—you know, let‘s be real here.  Do you really want to—is that the group you want to arm? 

LASEE:  These are not only teachers, they‘re custodians, they‘re superintendents, they‘re principals.  There is a variety of others that in our schools.  And don‘t forget we have a certain percentage of people in our schools who have military training, that have been in the military.  And they can use that background to build upon and do this safely. 

It‘s the factor of someone who has the intent to go into a school and hurt children that they would know that there is a real possibility that someone there will have a gun and will return fire if they start firing.  And that whole uncertainty factor is what makes this—makes this successful and workable. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s not—I mean, let me just say the obvious.  It‘s not a rational decision barging into a school and murdering children.  I mean, it‘s not clear people are going to be deterred simply because the lunch lady may be packing heat. 

Second, do you really think teachers who are overwhelmingly of the peacenik Barbra Streisand-listening lefty variety—I mean, they all voted for John Kerry—do you think you‘d convince them to carry weapons?  I mean, these are people who believe arms are for hugging.  I mean, they‘re not going to carry a gun.

LASEE:  Well, about 60 percent of our teachers or more are lefties, and there are a small percentage that are not lefties.  And again, it‘s not only the teachers that are in our schools that would fall under this proposal.

So, yes, there are a number of teachers that are lefties, but there—there are others that would view this as a safety mechanism.  And I predict as times goes on—and heaven forbid this happens again—but as we see more of these incidences—and I hope we don‘t—we‘re going to—I think we‘ll talk more about this possibility. 

I believe we can do it safely.  And you have a point.  There are some teachers that certainly wouldn‘t be right for this.  But others and other people within schools would. 

And it only takes one.  And there have been instances around the nation...

CARLSON:  Well, no, you‘re right.

LASEE:  ... in the past few years.  There‘s instances around the nation in the past few years.  One in Mississippi where the teacher ran out to his car, had to get outside the 1,000-foot zone because he had a gun in his trunk, opened the trunk, ran back in and prevented someone from killing more kids. 

CARLSON:  Right.

LASEE:  They had already shot some children, and he stopped them from shooting further ones. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

LASEE:  So there are examples where this has worked. 

CARLSON:  Absolutely.  And you can think of Luby‘s Cafeteria many years ago -- you know, 15 years ago.  If only someone had a gun there to defend, you know, the diners, fewer people would have died.  I get that.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more.  However, here—here‘s the bottom line on this.  Here‘s the bottom line on this.  This is why it bothers me, your proposal. 

Schools actually aren‘t dangerous.  You know, these are anomalies.  These are rare, these circumstances where some whack job with a gun comes in.  It doesn‘t happen that much.

Having armed teachers leave the impression and it will leave our children with the impression that school is a scary place to be.  And that‘s just not true.  I don‘t want my kids to think school is scary. 

LASEE:  Well, and if it‘s done right, I think most kids would never even know that there is one.  I don‘t envision they‘d be packing it in their hip or walking around in full display.  It would be something they would probably have locked in their drawer, or they might have it in their purse, or they might—if they wear a jacket they might have it under their armpit. 

CARLSON:  What about a derringer in the Bra? 

LASEE:  You know—well, wherever you want to go with that one. 

So it could be—it could be anywhere.  But I don‘t—I‘m not believing that—and nor would I advocate that they‘d be walking around with a hip holster and all the kids would be going, “Ooh and ah.”

I think this is something that you would b e largely unaware of that it would be done in a safe manner.  And some of the argument, well, if it‘s locked in a drawer, what good will it do?  When you hear shots down in the hall you know what they sound like.

CARLSON:  Right.

LASEE:  That‘s the time to go unlock your desk and get going. 

CARLSON:  All right.

LASEE:  And if you have two—if you have two individuals in the school that are armed, you know, while one is engaging and the other one can sneak up from behind, there‘s a whole bunch of possibilities.  And back to your thing that these kids aren‘t rational to do this and generally they‘re kids, you‘re right, they aren‘t rationale, but often there are bullies.  And bullies are cowards underneath all of it, and just the fact that someone would stand up to them and be able to return fire or fire first on them, or at least point a gun and say, “Disarm yourself there, kid,” I think will deter some of them.

And of course we‘ll never know how many they‘ll deter.  And the fact is, is it has worked where they‘ve already started shooting, and that would be definitely time to pull it out and get going. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Good luck with the proposal.  I appreciate it. 

Representative Frank Lasee from Wisconsin. 

LASEE:  Thank you very much.

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Coming up, Republicans sweating still over the Foley scandal, but could even this backfire on the Democrats?  Could they screw even this up?  Yes, they could. 

And Bill O‘Reilly is back where he belongs on “Beat the Press”.  See for yourself when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for “Beat the Press”. 

First up, the FOX News Channel and their subliminal messages.  We find them every day.

Take a look at what they labeled as “Hastert‘s office just hours ago.”  Do they know something we don‘t know? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  When we look at this kind of situation, then we have to be impartial.  And I think that no matter who serves on this committee takes this job very seriously.  It is peer review.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Hastert‘s office is the street.  And an unmarked police car. 

Will Denny Hastert be hitting the road?  Will he be out on the street? 

Will he be in legal trouble? 

I don‘t know.  What are you trying to tell us, FOX News?

Next, Bill O‘Reilly speaking out, sounding like ever the proud father.  He boasted about his book sales on his show Tuesday night.  Watch this.  This is amazing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  Time now for the most ridiculous item of the day.

Sales of “Culture Warrior” are approaching the 100,000 mark, a huge number for just one week out.  I can‘t thank you enough for supporting me on this important project. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Ha, that‘s the most ridiculous item of the day.  Well, it is, actually, because according to published reports, in fact, his book has sold 47,000 copies the first week, 47,000 copies now, according to Bill O‘Reilly, “approaching 100,000.”  Actually, it‘s less than 100,000.  It‘s not approaching 100,000.

It‘s pretty impressive.  More than my book sold the first week.  But it‘s not 100,000.  It‘s not even close to 100,000.  What a crock. 

Well, still to come, never mind the scandal.  Speaker Dennis Hastert says he‘s staying on the job.  But for how long?

And parents across the country are having nightmares after the deadly school shootings over the past few days.  But would armed teachers keep kids safe?  Think about that for a minute.

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, legislation that would allow teachers to carry handguns in the classroom, and not just teachers, custodians and the lunch lady.  Plus, one congressman‘s campaign ad is a lesson in how not to respond to a scandal.  All that in mere moments, but right now, here‘s a look at your headlines. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s time now for “3 on 3,” where we welcome two of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today‘s most interesting stories.  Joining us from New York City, Alex Bennett, host of “The Alex Bennett Program” on Sirius satellite radio.  And also from New York City, Ryan Sager.  He‘s the author of “The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party.” 

Welcome to you both. 

ALEX BENNETT, “THE ALEX BENNETT PROGRAM”:  Hello, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  First up, at a press conference today, House Speaker Denny Hastert—you saw him if you were watching—expressed how deeply sorry he is for the Foley scandal and called for a criminal investigation.  Hastert has accused ABC News and Democratic operatives of fanning the flames of this controversy.  That‘s an allegation talk show host Laura Ingraham addressed with Hastert on her show.  Listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  We have to look where some of that blame might have to have laid.  Who knew about this?  Who held this information up for weeks or years or days?  We don‘t know. 

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I mean, I have a real problem with Republicans that are saying, “Well, it‘s the vast left-wing conspiracy out there.”  That‘s what the Clintons did, and I didn‘t much care for it when the Clintons did it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Sort of a good point, isn‘t it, Ryan?  I mean, for Denny Hastert, who, you know, I hear from everyone who knows him is a good guy, but he‘s a wrestling coach and a Republican.  Should he really be out there whining like a little girl, “ABC News is being mean to me”?  No, pal.  You had a responsibility.  You blew it.  Suck up to—you know, suck it up.  Bear up under it like a man, and admit it.  Don‘t blame ABC News.  Come on. 

RYAN SAGER, AUTHOR, “THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM”:  Well, absolutely.  I mean, as a Republican, it‘s just embarrassing to see a leader of our party out there saying things like this.  He‘s out there saying today that the buck stops here, but you can say, “I take responsibility,” but there‘s a difference between saying that you take responsibility and actually taking responsibility, which might mean stepping aside at this point. 

CARLSON:  Alex Bennett, I don‘t change—my view is the Republicans ought to admit where they‘re wrong.  But you got to admit their one allegation may have some truth to it.  I mean, there may have been Democrats behind this.  And if it turns out that Democratic operatives had this information and sat on it for a number of months, are they implicated in the scandal, too? 

BENNETT:  Well, I would say that they would, yes, absolutely.  Anybody who kept their mouth shut during this thing probably is culpable here. 

I think that Hastert is handling this badly because he should just do a mea culpa, you know, “We didn‘t think of it as being something serious.  It turns out”—you know, whatever.  The public loves nothing more than redemption, and I think Hastert, by refusing to leave, and “I didn‘t do it,” and everybody—the Republicans actually created a circular firing squad here, in which they‘re picking everybody off, saying, “No, you heard about it.  I didn‘t hear about it.”

Actually, from what I‘ve been able to understand, most of Washington knew about it.  I talked to a guy on my show whose son was a page down there, and one of the first things he was told by anyone was:  Stay away from Mark Foley.  So if they knew about it...

SAGER:  Certainly.  I mean, the Republican Party has been doing a lot of this circular firing squad stuff recently, and, you know, it goes way beyond the Foley scandal.  It gets to the fact that the party is just in a disarray, and that‘s really been a function of the Bush years and even back to ‘98, the Hastert years. 

CARLSON:  So does, Ryan, it even—it doesn‘t even matter now.  I mean, I think it‘s pretty much a consensus here in Washington anyway that, no matter what he does, Denny Hastert is only going to be speaker of the House for another month or so, because the Republicans are going to lose control of the House.  What would Republicans get out of him resigning? 

SAGER:  Well, I think that, you know, Dennis Hastert came in as the beginning of an era when the Republican Party stopped really meaning anything.  It was a reaction against the Gingrich years, where we felt like we got tarred for being too anti-government.  And so he came in as this sort of compromise candidate with no real base, and he‘s the speaker, but he speaks for nobody in the Republican Party. 

There‘s almost no constituency that‘s really stepping up to defend him at this point, because social conservatives don‘t feel like he‘s done all that much for them, and libertarian, small-government conservatives like myself know that he and President Bush have, quite the opposite, done almost everything different than we‘d like to see happen. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree with that more. 

Meanwhile, as the Republicans, as you both point out, have been busy murdering each other, Democrats have been keeping a low profile as this scandal plays itself out.  Party leaders in the House and Senate have not called for Hastert‘s resignation.  However, Republicans have accused Democrats of leaking the Foley e-mails and instant messages.  Those are allegations Nancy Pelosi and others deny. 

Is it possible this scandal could somehow backfire on the Democrats?  I think it could.  I heard today Jerry Nadler of New York, one of the screechier Democrats, really, in the House of Representatives, going on about how virtually everyone on the Republican side of the aisle ought to resign, maybe kill themselves in shame. 

And it reminded me, you know what?  Democrats can push this too far.  You go back to 1983.  Republicans are starting to send this around, the Gerry Studds‘ censure vote, where Gerry Studds, of course, a congressman from Massachusetts had sex with an underage page, a boy.  And a lot of Democrats voted against in any way punishing him, Democrats who are still in the House.  I have the list here:  John Conyers, Vic Fazio, Steny Hoyer, Tom Lantos.  I mean, the list—Chuck Schumer, Ed Markey, Norm Mineta, Henry Waxman.

I mean, it goes on and on and on.  Norm Mineta, of course, went on to work for the Bush administration.  But the point is:  Don‘t you think, at some point—Ryan, I want to ask you—Democrats could overplay this and hurt themselves? 

SAGER:  Well, I mean, I think so far they‘ve really been—the national leaders of the party have been staying away from making these dramatic calls for resignations.  And I think that‘s probably, amazingly for the Democratic Party, they‘re playing it smart and they‘re playing it right. 

The problem is that, for the Republicans, it really doesn‘t matter if this was a left-wing conspiracy.  And, again, there shouldn‘t be so much whining.  I mean, the Republicans are going out saying things now like, “Oh, we couldn‘t investigate Foley because, if we‘d done, we would have been seen as being gay-bashers.  And we just couldn‘t do that, so we couldn‘t fulfill our responsibilities as congressmen and as the leadership of the House.” 

And this is just whining.  And this is just a ridiculous lie.

CARLSON:  Right, “We‘re intimidated by the gay rights lobby,” all of a sudden.  The Republican Party is run by the gay rights lobby.  Right.

(LAUGHTER)

So I mean, Alex Bennett, though, there is kind of undertone of moral outrage.  It‘s a little much, is it not? 

BENNETT:  Well, I don‘t know if it‘s a little much.  I think that the outrage against Foley is far less than the outrage against the people who covered it up, because it‘s a big political year, it‘s a big election year.  I mean, if the Foley thing stood only by itself, we‘d say, “Well, you know, this happens from time to time,” but it happened during an election year. 

The question then becomes the cover-up.  That becomes the larger question.  And so really, absent Foley at this point, there‘s still a controversy.

CARLSON:  Right.  No, that‘s an excellent point.

Now, I want you both to open your minds as wide as they can get.  I‘m going to keep mine very open on this next question.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  The Pennsylvania Amish community held funerals today for some of the children killed in this week‘s schoolhouse massacre, really one of the worst stories I‘ve seen in a long time.  That, of course, follows recent school shootings in Colorado and in Wisconsin. 

And we spoke earlier just a minute ago with a Wisconsin lawmaker who now proposes arming teachers and custodians with concealed weapon.  Is firepower in the classroom a solution?  Now, Ryan, the obvious answer is, no, this is insane, this is ridiculous, he‘s a gun nut, he‘s crazy.  Is he? 

SAGER:  Well, I think that some tragedies—you know, Republicans get incensed when Democrats come out after a tragedy like this and say, “Let‘s have more gun control laws.”  And just as that‘s ridiculous, coming out and saying, you know, this an argument for concealed carry laws or giving guns to teachers is probably equally ridiculous and opportunistic and generates a lot of press for the person who says, but it is kind of a silly idea. 

On the merits, there‘s something to the idea that the concealed carry laws can deter crime, but I think, in this particular case especially, somebody this disturbed, it‘s almost impossible that anyone could have foreseen or really protected against this.  There are jus things in life you can‘t stop. 

CARLSON:  But, I mean, Alex, there is something to the point that an armed society is a polite society? 

BENNETT:  It‘s also an armed society.  I mean, it‘s a society in which everybody has guns, and the minute they get afraid all of a sudden it‘s Dodge City.  I think the biggest problem here is—I remember some of the teachers I have in school, and I don‘t know if I‘d want them armed, you know?  It was...

CARLSON:  Well, have you ever met a teacher who could shoot straight? 

I mean, have you ever known...

BENNETT:  No, never.  And on top of that, you know, all you got to do is get one teacher to go nuts, and all of a sudden we‘re taking the guns away from the teachers.  But you also said custodial people, the woman who passes out the brownies?  I mean, come on, you know?

I think the best thing to do is to have somebody, you know, on campus who is in charge of that.  I think it would be terrific.  You know, that would take care of it.  Just be vigilant.  Know who‘s walking in the front door. 

CARLSON:  That might be a better answer.  The idea of the milk lady with the .9 millimeter, as pro-gun as I am—I‘m the most pro-gun guy I‘ve ever met in my life, until today.

BENNETT:  Have one entrance they go in through. 

CARLSON:  Yes, that makes sense.  All right, Alex and Ryan, thank you both very much.  I appreciate it. 

BENNETT:  Thank you. 

SAGER:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  One congressman calls for the end to the page program.  Are members of Congress really that unable to control themselves around teenagers that they have to banish teenagers from the building?  We‘ll discuss that when we come right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time for a look at today‘s stories I just don‘t get.  First, could the scandal including Congressman Mark Foley signal the end of Capitol Hill‘s page program?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK FOLEY ®, FORMER FLORIDA REPRESENTATIVE:  This has been a year you will remember for the rest of your lives. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That‘s Mark Foley addressing congressional pages during happier times.  But as Internet exchanges with one of these teens may have put the future of the program itself in jeopardy, Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood thinks it should be shut down, at least for a while.  He questions the necessity of a system that he calls “antiquated and potentially compromising” to his colleagues and to the pages.  In other words, Ray LaHood thinks members of Congress can‘t be trusted with kids.  Literally, they are not capable of controlling themselves around teenagers.  That‘s the message. 

Is it true?  Is that what he thinks of Congress?  Should that what we ought to think of Congress?  We need a new Congress, if that‘s the case. 

Next, why prisoners of war might be getting fed up with their treatment at Gitmo. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The U.N. report reminds us that there is no legal basis for holding most of the detainees at Guantanamo, and there are still very serious questions about the way they have been treated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That‘s the assessment of one human rights watch group about the treatment of Gitmo detainees, but starvation probably is not among the complaints.  Many of those detainees are now getting fat.  One has almost doubled in weight now.  He weighs 410 pounds.  The culprit?  The prison‘s high-calorie meals, which total a whopping 4,200 calories per day. 

That‘s right, ladies and gentlemen.  That‘s how America tortures its suspected terrorists, by feeding them 4,200 calories a day, by making them 410 pounds at public expense.  We‘re a mean country. 

Finally, another look at the case involving a Texas cop who‘s under the gun for not speaking Spanish.  That officer and the Royse City police force are being targeted by a Dallas attorney who claims that city was negligent for not teaching the cop basic Spanish.  Attorney Domingo Garcia says the language barrier led to a brutal confrontation between the officer and Garcia‘s client, a man who does not speak English. 

Now, Garcia is demanding that Royse City fork over more than $1 million in damages.  The town‘s police chief calls that lawsuit “frivolous.”  Mr. Garcia joins me now from Dallas to explain how he expects to win this lawsuit. 

Mr. Garcia, thanks a lot for joining us.

Let me see if I understand the reasoning correctly here.  Your client is not from this country.  He‘s not a citizen of this country, comes to this country.  His claim is that we need to learn his language.  And because we haven‘t learned his language, we owe him millions of dollars?  Is that correct?

DOMINGO GARCIA, ATTORNEY SUING ENGLISH-SPEAKING POLICE:  Well, actually Mr. Lopez is a legal U.S. resident. 

CARLSON:  But he‘s not a citizen, though, right? 

GARCIA:  No, he‘s not a citizen, but he‘s a legal U.S. resident.  He‘s here legally.  And in this particular case, the police officer thought that he was drinking a beer when he was drinking a soft drink at a high school football game.  Mr. Lopez did not understand his instructions.  The officer overreacted, used excessive force, and basically beat the crap out of him with steel-toe boots.  I don‘t think that‘s an American way of doing things. 

CARLSON:  No, it sounds awful.  And I‘m not in any way defending the cop‘s behavior.  I‘m willing to believe he overreacted.  I‘m willing to believe he acted in a brutal way with your client.  I think that‘s awful.  And I don‘t care whether you‘re legal, illegal, speak Spanish, Chinese, it doesn‘t matter, I‘m against that.  And I want to make that totally clear.

My beef is with your claim that the policeman had a responsibility to learn Spanish.  Why the hell should American police forces be required to learn a language that‘s not our language and be penalized by you for not doing so? 

GARCIA:  Well, because Texas is on the border with Mexico.  The reality of the fact of the matter is that, for 350 years, Texans spoke Spanish as a primary language and only for the last 150 years have we spoken English.  And it‘s really a bicultural, bi-language type of society. 

And if our officers are going to be dealing with the public, especially those whose primary language is Spanish, they at least know some basic phrases, like, “Put your hands up,” you know, “Give me your name,” “Surrender,” so they can communicate and avoid these type of confrontations. 

CARLSON:  But why just Spanish?  Why not Mong, or Chinese, or Vietnamese, or Finnish?  In other words, why should—this is an English-speaking country.  Why should the onus be on us to learn the language of those who come here to take advantage of all we have to offer?  Why shouldn‘t the onus be on people like your client to go ahead and learn our language, pal?  It‘s our country, not yours.

GARCIA:  Well, Tucker, I think you got it wrong.  You know, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had this discussion at the Constitutional Convention, and they decided not to have an official language of this country.  So the United States has no official language, because the first ballot at the Constitutional Convention was to make German the official language of the United States, and that failed.  So I think that we have freedom of languages and freedom of speech. 

CARLSON:  OK.  That‘s one of those kind of Ripley‘s Believe It or Not facts that is irrelevant to the conversation and the debate.  The point is: 

English is the common language of this country.  It is the language that is spoken in every state by the vast majority of Americans.  It‘s the language of our government, also, by the way, maybe not officially, but it is in fact the language of government.

And so if you come here, why shouldn‘t you be the one who makes the accommodation and learns our language?  And why should we have to pay for not learning your language?  That‘s so outrageous.  You don‘t see why that‘s outrageous? 

GARCIA:  I don‘t.  I do believe that all immigrants should learn English, and eventually immigrants, especially first- and second-generation, do.  But police officers, paramedics, firefighters who are dealing with these constituencies, whose first language is Spanish, just like when they were dealing with New Yorkers and people from Boston who‘s first language was Italian or German or some other language, had to at least learn some basic things so they could communicate and serve those communities. 

That‘s all we‘re asking for:  a hundred basic phrases which police officers in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso do every day.

CARLSON:  So should, I mean, police officers be required to know lo the many other languages that new Americans speak?  I mean, Spanish is just the very beginnings.  There are esoteric languages that, you know, are spoken by tens of thousands of peoples in this country.  Should cops know those, too? 

GARCIA:  Well, you know, Texas is a—you know, for the reality is, on the ground, Spanish is a dominant language in Texas.  In fact, it‘s probably now the majority of Texans are of Hispanic descent, and Spanish is their primary language.  And all we‘re saying is just...

CARLSON:  Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.  I thought you were claiming a second ago that most immigrants learn English.  I mean, that‘s a total crock, as you know.  They could care less about learning English, and they don‘t have to learn English because of people like you.  I mean, pick one.  Are immigrants learning English or are they not?

GARCIA:  Again, I believe in English-plus.  Everybody should learn English, and everybody should be bilingual.  There‘s an old European joke that somebody who speaks three languages is called trilingual.  Somebody who speaks two languages is called bilingual.  Somebody who speaks only language is called an American.  And that‘s a sad fact.  And why are you asking people to be ignorant and only speak one language, when they could have an opportunity to speak two?

CARLSON:  An opportunity?  It‘s not an opportunity.  You‘re saying, “Pay me millions of dollars because you haven‘t learned another language.”  I‘m telling you, I am proud to be an American and proud to speak my language.  And I think—I mean, you‘re right.  Your side of this argument will prevail.  Fifty years from now, you know, most people won‘t speak English in this country.  But I mourn that.  And I guess we just disagree. 

GARCIA:  Well, I‘m just as proud to be an American, but I believe we can be an American, learn English, and learn another language, and serve all constituents. 

CARLSON:  Ah, it‘s depressing.  But I appreciate your coming on. 

Thank you. 

GARCIA:  All right.

CARLSON:  A United States congressman fighting for re-election goes on television to answer charges he roughed up the woman he was having an affair with.  Adultery and domestic assault, it‘s a political double-whammy.  You‘ll see the awkward tape when we come right back.  Set your TiVo.  Don‘t miss this.  This is just too excellent.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for news so fresh it‘s steaming.  Willie Geist joins us with that. 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  ... actual serious breaking news.  A California judge has dismissed child porn charges against John Mark Karr, the guy who lied about killing JonBenet Ramsey.  The prosecutor says there just was not enough evidence to convict, so it appears John Mark Karr a free man walking the streets, and, boy, is that a scary prospect. 

A California judge, again, dismissing child pornography charges against John Mark Karr, prosecutors saying there is not enough evidence.  We‘ll keep an eye on him.  That‘s for sure. 

Tucker, you know, when you get to a certain age, you‘d just as soon have people not remind you it‘s your birthday.  Gertrude Baines of Los Angeles has definitely reached that age.  She turned 112 yesterday, and her family and friends threw a big bash for her in L.A.  Baines was born in 1894, when Grover Cleveland was president, his second nonconsecutive term.  So what is her secret? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERTRUDE BAINES, 112 YEARS OLD:  Don‘t drink, don‘t smoke.  You know, and run around, you know?  Like people do. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Oh, boy.  If that‘s the secret to longevity, I‘m just going to say goodbye now. 

CARLSON:  It‘s over for you, Willie.

GEIST:  It could be over as soon as tonight.  She looks really good, I have to say. 

CARLSON:  She looks great.

GEIST:  And everyone says, like, there‘s no end in sight.  She‘s totally hopping around...

CARLSON:  She looks about 70 to me. 

GEIST:  I know.  And she‘s actually the oldest person in California.  She‘s in the record books for that.  So congratulations to her.  Except for Keith Richards.  We‘re not sure how old he is.  Still doing some carbon dating on him.

Well, Tucker, Iran‘s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has a friendly reminder for his followers during the holy month of Ramadan:  Keep your hands to yourself, or actually away from yourself.  In an intensely awkward question-and-answer session on his Web site—yes, he has a Web site—the ayatollah says, “Intentional masturbation constitutes a breaking of the fast.”  He explains much, much further, but we‘ll spare you the details. 

Now, first of all, Tucker, is there unintentional masturbation?

CARLSON:  I was just thinking that exact same thing. 

GEIST:  It seems kind of like a tough mistake to make, I think.  I actually went to this Web site, which is a lot of fun.  You wouldn‘t expect it from the supreme leader.

CARLSON:  No, you really wouldn‘t. 

GEIST:  But he has this Q&A.  It‘s like the front of “Playboy.”  It‘s unbelievable.

CARLSON:  It sounds like a Mark Foley blog, actually. 

(LAUGHTER)

GEIST:  Well, the next question after the disgusting masturbation, which was really graphic, a viewer or a writer, whatever, asks, “I forgot to brush my teeth, and some tiny bits of food remained in my mouth.  I swallowed the bits unintentionally.  Do I have to perform repent for that day‘s fast?”

And the ayatollah says, “You know what?  That‘s fine, as long as you didn‘t intend to swallow it, it‘s totally fine.”  So it‘s a very semantic argument about fasting during Ramadan.  I invite you to check it out.  It‘s kind of cool, actually.

CARLSON:  I know.  I‘m there.  I‘m really there.  It sounds very appealing.  Must be...

GEIST:  Yes, the weekend‘s coming up.

CARLSON:  ... sucking people right into the faith with things like that. 

GEIST:  Log on and have a good time this weekend. 

Finally, Tucker, speaking of watching where you put your hands, four-term Pennsylvania congressman Don Sherwood has admitted during his fight for re-election to have a five-year affair with a young woman.  He denies, however, claims that he assaulted that mistress.  Here‘s his cringe-worthy response to the charge in a campaign commercial. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DON SHERWOOD ®, PENNSYLVANIA:  I made a mistake that nearly cost me the love of my wife, Carol, and our daughters.  As a family, we‘ve worked through this, because of my deep regret, our love, and the fact that the allegation of abuse was never true. 

While I‘m truly sorry for disappointing you, I never wavered from my commitment to reduce taxes, create jobs, and bring home our fair share.  Should you forgive me, you can count on me to keep fighting hard for you and your family.  I‘m Don Sherwood, and I approve this message. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  You know, Don, I was going to forgive you until I saw that commercial. 

CARLSON:  I totally agree with that, by the way.  Just be quiet, Don. 

I‘ll vote for you.  Stop.

GEIST:  The piano music, the soft lighting, the picture of his family behind you, I‘m not voting for you now, even I—this will though, Tucker, really test the power of incumbency.  If you can go on TV and admit that you had an affair and also absorb the accusation that you beat this mistress, boy, you can do anything.

CARLSON:  Pretty impressive.  Willie Geist...

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  ... news you can use.  Thanks, Willie.  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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