updated 11/3/2006 11:42:02 AM ET 2006-11-03T16:42:02

Guests: Mary Ann Akers, Charles Rangel, Duncan Hunter, Pat Buchanan, Stephanie Miller, Joe Watkins, Mike Stark

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  I‘m Tucker Carlson. 

Welcome to a special “Decision 2006” edition of our show, part of MSNBC‘s nonstop coverage of “Battleground America”.

We‘re coming to you today from Washington, a city that could look and feel very different just five days from right now.  The latest on the tightest races that will determine the direction of this country over the next several years.

All that in a minute, but we begin with more news from John Kerry.  The Massachusetts senator has apologized for insulting American troops earlier this week, but a newly unearthed comment he made during the Vietnam War suggests his recent remarks may have been more than just a botched joke, or so Republicans are claiming. 

During a 1972 congressional run, Kerry say, “I am convinced a volunteer Army would be an Army of the poor and the black and the brown.  We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam.”  He went on to charge that American troops in Vietnam habitually committed war crimes. 

So the John Kerry gaffe story has lived to see yet another day.  The question is, will it affect next Tuesday‘s election? 

For that and more, we bring in Mary Ann Akers.  She‘s a writer for “Roll Call” and one of the smartest people in Washington. 

And that says a lot, Mary Ann Akers.

MARY ANN AKERS, “ROLL CALL”:  Thank you very much.

CARLSON:  Does this have any bearing on next Tuesday, this Kerry story? 

AKERS:  I don‘t think so.  I think that it could actually have some effect in a couple of key House races, for example, but I think he disappeared.  He is gone.  He apologized.  He canceled his campaign appearances with many Democratic candidates, so I think it‘s done. 

CARLSON:  There was a remarkably coordinated response on the Democratic side to this gaffe. 

AKERS:  Yes, Republican...

CARLSON:  You saw all of his supposed friends leap in and kick him in the head while he was down. 

AKERS:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Who organized that? 

AKERS:  Well, I don‘t think it was as organized as the Republican response.  I mean, you saw the Republicans...

CARLSON:  Oh, yes.

AKERS:  ... in rapid-fire succession putting out press releases, very organized, very efficient.

CARLSON:  Right.

AKERS:  And then after about a day, a day of Kerry not apologizing, then you saw John Murtha, Howard Dean, Senator Clinton, many other Democrats coming out, saying, hey, he should apologize.  Then at some point Democratic leaders made it clear to him that he should just sort of ixnay on the campaign appearances, and he did. 

CARLSON:  How much hostility is there in Democratic circles to the idea of a Kerry 2008 presidential run? 

AKERS:  Well, I think there‘s a lot.  You know, I wrote in my column today that, I mean, Democrats seem pretty eager to hang him out to dry.  While Republicans were staunchly, you know, going after him and defending George Allen, for example, Democrats were saying John Kerry‘s a buffoon, but he‘s not running this time and he‘s safe.

As far as his ‘08 presidential ambitions, well, he might be a former ‘08 presidential hopeful. 

CARLSON:  That‘s kind of it at this point.  I mean, but it does...

AKERS:  I don‘t know.

CARLSON:  It does seem—it‘s coming from somewhere.  I mean, Kerry seems convinced that he can run in 2008. 

AKERS:  Oh, absolutely.  Absolutely. 

CARLSON:  Does he have the money?  Can he raise the money? 

AKERS:  And one thing that was clear from his gaffe is that Democrats don‘t like him so much.  He‘s not the most popular guy in the Democratic Party.

CARLSON:  No.  And I don‘t think—I don‘t think he ever has been.

Now, Harold Ford, who is one of the more popular people in the Democratic Party and a very smart guy, impressive guy now running for Senate against Bob Corker in Tennessee, down pretty significantly, it looks like as of today. 

AKERS:  Yes.

CARLSON:  You, in fact, wrote the first story about that now famous Playboy party at the Super Bowl a year and a half ago that he attended.  Has that fact really affected the race?  I guess maybe when you live in Washington it doesn‘t seem like such a big deal. 

Has it become a big deal?

AKERS:  Well, it has become a big deal only because of the way Republicans have twisted and portrayed it.  When I wrote the column, it was a throwaway item in my column that day that he had been sighted at the party and he was there.  And, you know, now a year later, it is a key campaign issue for the Republicans. 

CARLSON:  Right.

AKERS:  And they made that ad that was very controversial.

CARLSON:  You had in your column, though—you quoted someone in the piece, which I just read today, saying not good judgment for a potential Senate candidate to be at that party. 

AKERS:  Right.  That‘s true, and they thought that that was bad judgment. 

Now, I don‘t know why he didn‘t just come out a long time ago and say, you know, big deal, I went to the party. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

AKERS:  You know?  And a ton of other members were there as well.  But he didn‘t do that. 

In fact, he suggested that he, you know, never went to the Playboy mansion.  Well, that‘s not what I reported. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Well, I went to the Playboy mansion.  And I‘m a better

I‘m a better man for it.  I don‘t feel like it makes me a lefty at all. 

On what issues is he losing?  Is he just—is he too liberal for Tennessee?  Is that the bottom line?

AKERS:  Well, I don‘t know that he‘s too liberal for Tennessee.  I mean, he really isn‘t a liberal if you look at his record.

CARLSON:  Right.

AKERS:  But the abortion thing is really hurting him. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

AKERS:  These abortion ads are hitting him hard, I think.  And I think the Playboy ad really hit him hard.  And I think, unfortunately, running statewide as a black man in Tennessee is a difficult thing to do. 

He is a great campaign.  He‘s run a fabulous campaign.  He should be winning. 

CARLSON:  Well, the abortion thing, though, he came on my show on Monday and claimed that he was a pro-life candidate, which is not true.  It‘s not even close to true.  I mean, without even getting into it, but his voting record is pretty clearly pro-choice. 

Is he—he is not making the sale on that in Tennessee?  People think he‘s...

AKERS:  No.  And he is not making the sale on that at all because the ads very clearly point out what you just said.  He‘s not pro-life. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

AKERS:  And they have a woman in there saying, “Wow, he told me he was pro-life.”  And somebody else in the ad says, “Really?”  You know, he is definitely not, look at his record. 

CARLSON:  Right.

What‘s going on in Virginia.  Is Webb really up?  He‘s within the margin.  He looks like he‘s about one point up.

Is that significant? 

AKERS:  I don‘t know that that one percentage point is significant.  I mean, I think the fact is it‘s neck and neck and it‘s going to go down to the wire. 

CARLSON:  Right.

AKERS:  And, you know, the Kerry thing, for example, played over into Virginia because I think that Allen was so exited that it wasn‘t him screwing up for a change that, you know, he called on Kerry to apologize.  Well, so did Jim Webb.  He has a son over there fighting in Iraq.

CARLSON:  Right.

AKERS:  So, you know—and he‘s an Iraq Veteran.  So it really played an issue in that race. 

CARLSON:  Well, Jim Webb could plausibly do that.  I mean, for years, famously, Jim Webb refused to shake John Kerry‘s hand he was so angry about Kerry‘s behavior in Vietnam veterans against the war in the early ‘70s. 

AKERS:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  I mean, there was this kind of well-publicized feud between them. 

AKERS:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Just another example of the fact that Jim Webb is not a liberal. 

AKERS:  He‘s not a liberal.

CARLSON:  I mean, he‘s way more conservative that I think most Republicans in the U.S.  Senate, actually.

AKERS:  Right.  And he doesn‘t want to be lumped into that liberal category, you know, at all costs. 

CARLSON:  Does—does Allen have enough money at this point?

AKERS:  Well, I was hearing that he really doesn‘t have a lot of money.  But you know what?  He‘s probably already bought his adds.  And, I mean, there‘s only five days left.

CARLSON:  Right.

AKERS:  So I don‘t think that really makes a difference at this point. 

I think right now, can he get over the series of flubs in his campaign, from “Macaca” to his reaction to finding out that he‘s half Jewish, to this latest debacle the other day in which three of his aides tacked this guy and, you know, beat him up.

CARLSON:  My favorite was when he found out he was Jewish—no, not that!  No more slurs!

AKERS:  I still eat ham.

CARLSON:  Mary Ann Akers, thank you very much.

AKERS:  Sure.

CARLSON:  I appreciate it.

Well, for more on John Kerry‘s affect on the midterm elections and more, we welcome Congressman and possibly very soon committee chairman Charles Rangel of New York City. 

Mr. Rangel, thanks a lot for coming on.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK:  Good to be with you again, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  You saw the quote from John Kerry, from 1972, and of course you saw what he said just the other day.  There is a huge uproar about it.  Democrats are denouncing him, even, and yet what he said sounds almost exactly like what I‘ve heard you say a million times, which is it‘s the poor...

RANGEL:  You‘re kidding me.  No, no.  I‘m not attacking you.  I‘m merely saying I have heard you say time and again it‘s the poor, people with no options who go into the military. 

Why are people jumping on John Kerry?

RANGEL:  Because it appeared as though he was saying that they were uneducated and that they were failures.  And he was making a bad joke about the president, and he just screwed the whole thing up.  It‘s time to just give it up and quit. 

All I‘m saying is almost the opposite.  The Army is taking the cream of our crop.  They‘re taking the kids from the street that don‘t have many employment opportunities, but you—this is the most educated Army that we‘ve ever had because they have these educational requirements. 

So there is a big difference in what Kerry said and what I have been saying. 

CARLSON:  Why did so many Democrats leap on him?  Why did Hillary Clinton...

RANGEL:  Because...

CARLSON:   She didn‘t need to jump on him, and she kind of went out of her way to kick him in the face.  Why?

RANGEL:  I don‘t know whether she went out of her way.  But when you make—when you do something stupid and you don‘t apologize for it, then people of the same party have to distance themselves. 

But, you know, even though the president and everyone knew it was dumb thing that he said or did, they also knew that he never intentionally insulted the armed forces and our brave men and women.  And for the president to use this as a political weapon to polarize the military, I thought was unfortunate.

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know.  I mean, it does sound very much like comments he made in 1972.  And as you know, we were just saying, Jim Webb, all these years, refused to shake John Kerry‘s hand because of the way Kerry attacked troops in Vietnam, accused them of committing war crimes. 

RANGEL:  We can talk about all the mistakes that Kerry‘s made if you want.

CARLSON:  Right.

RANGEL:  All I‘m saying is there is no doubt that this Purple Heart winner...

CARLSON:  Right?

RANGEL:  ... did not accuse the Army of being stupid and being failures. 

CARLSON:  Right.  OK.

RANGEL:  And even when they show the stupid joke when it was written out, it was never intended to offend the people in the armed forces.  You know it, I know it, and President Bush knew it. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I don‘t think it was intended to offend them.  I think that‘s probably right.

Do you want him to run for president, John Kerry?  He wants to run again.  Are you going to support him?

RANGEL:  I am leaving that alone.  At my age, I am not even buying green bananas.  I am concerned with 2006, and that keeps me busy, busy, busy. 

CARLSON:  Now, you are—I want to know, Mr. Rangel, what you are doing to increase the tone of civility in our political discourse.  This week, “The New York Post” had you calling the vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney, “a son of a bitch.” 

Why did you say that and what do you mean by that? 

RANGEL:  Well, I should never have said it publicly, even though I would welcome the opportunity to say it privately.  The truth of the matter is that, here I am really trying to reach across the aisle and saying that if Democrats get the opportunity to govern, we only have two years to prove that we can get something done.  The president has two years to remain of his term.

If we‘re going to accomplish anything at all in tax reform, Social Security, Medicare, we have no choice except to work together.  And when the president of the United States—the vice president, rather, who has never been involved in any of these things singles me out personally as though I am a threat to our national economy, I think that‘s a cheep shot from an administration. 

CARLSON:  Now, you and other Democrats have accused this administration, President Bush, of basically—I mean, starting an illegal war, stealing two elections.  High crimes and misdemeanors doesn‘t even begin to describe it. 

Why wouldn‘t Democrats begin impeachment proceedings the moment they take power? 

RANGEL:  I can give you one good reason.

CARLSON:  OK.

RANGEL:  If you know Dick Cheney, you wouldn‘t think about impeaching Mr. Bush. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  So you are saying impeaching Bush would wind up putting Dick Cheney in the president‘s chair? 

RANGEL:  I didn‘t say that.  I‘m in enough trouble now, so don‘t start that talk. 

CARLSON:  OK.

RANGEL:  But I know people who think that.  And oversight does not mean impeachment.  And if you want to avoid mistakes in the future, you have to know what went wrong in the past. 

But right now I think that the American public really wants to see some degree of bipartisanship, civility, and avoid the gridlock.  And I think that after the election, because we can‘t expect much more than what we‘re hearing before the election...

CARLSON:  Right.

RANGEL:  ... after the election.  It‘s in the best interest of Republicans and Democrats, the Congress and the Country to try to work together. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Charlie Rangel, I appreciate it. 

Thanks, Congressman.

RANGEL:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, California congressman Duncan Hunter has joined the 2008 presidential race.  We will talk to him in just a moment. 

Plus, in Virginia, slug fest is more than just a metaphor.  You will meet the man who was on the receiving end of this smack-down from George Allen supporters earlier this week. 

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER ®, CALIFORNIA:  As I finish my final two years as chairman of the Armed Services Committee and serve you, I am also going be preparing to run for president of the United States in 2008. 

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was Republican California Congressman Duncan Hunter on Monday announcing his intention to run for president.  So what compelled him to jump into the race now, and what does he make of the very real possibility that his party could be out of power in just five days?

Congressman Hunter joins us now from San Diego.

Mr. Chairman, thanks for coming on.

HUNTER:  Hey, Tucker.  Good to be with you. 

CARLSON:  This is a very tough time to be a Republican, of course. 

Why now?  Why the announcement now? 

HUNTER:  Well, you know, I always go down to the waterfront where I started 26 years ago, running as a new congressman, and about a week or so before the election I go down and I tell my constituents what I plan to do over the next couple of years.  And this time I had a little something extra for them. 

You know, I could have held off until after the election, and, you know, I am sure some people would have recommended that.  But then you would have been criticized for not telling them.

I just figure I always lay my cards on the table a week or two before the election, and since I am out doing that I am preparing to run, although it‘s not a formal announcement yet...

CARLSON:  Yes.

HUNTER:  ... that I might as well tell them about it. 

CARLSON:  Well, good for you.

HUNTER:  Lay the cards on the table.  We did that.

CARLSON:  But there are—you would be—I think you are now that you‘re in the race the most conservative man running, and good for you.  You are going have to, it seems to me, though, defend Republican spending in the Congress against attacks in this race. 

How are you going to answer that, the Republicans have really become the party of big government? 

HUNTER:  Well, you know, Tucker, we have been—we‘ve also been a party that has been essentially in a war almost the full—the full portion of this—of this president‘s term.  And, you know, I just put in an amendment that we in fact passed and appropriated money for to add $20 billion to the president‘s defense budget because the Marines and Army came and said that we needed that.

And, you know, we have built this economy back.  We had the economy reeling after 9/11.  We had the airline industry collapsing. 

We‘ve added 3.9 million new jobs since then.  We‘ve got housing—new housing occupancy at an all-time high.

So we‘ve come back in kind of—what I would consider kind of semi-wartime economy.  I think that has to be viewed a little bit differently than a benign situation.

CARLSON:  So you don‘t think—I mean, so, you don‘t even think the government is too big?  You don‘t think the Congress spends too much? 

HUNTER:  Well, certainly not on defense, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Right.

HUNTER:  I‘m the chairman of the Armed Services Committee.  I‘m going to be doing that for the next couple of years.  And we are spending right now about 3.9 percent of GDP on defense.

John Kennedy spent nine, Ronald Reagan spent six. 

CARLSON:  Right.

HUNTER:  And I think in this—in this enduring war against terror, we‘re probably going to have to get that up to about 4.5 percent of GDP.

CARLSON:  But that‘s still a relatively small part of the overall budget.  Does it surprise you that we got a new entitlement—under prescription drugs—under a Republican Congress and a Republican president?  I mean, is that a good thing.

HUNTER:  Yes.  We‘ll see how this thing works out. 

I think that the Republicans—I think the conservative center, or the conservative base still holds—holds sway in the Republican Party.  But once again, you are in a situation where the president needed to get what he needed for the war against terror.  He needed that extra hundred billion dollars a year for the military.

And to some degree, you had the same trade-off that Ronald Reagan got with Tip O‘Neill...

CARLSON:   Yes.

HUNTER:  ... where Tip O‘Neill said, OK, you can have a lot of stuff for the military, but I do want to do that tunnel in Boston. 

This is (INAUDIBLE) you have that dynamic working.

CARLSON:  That tunnel in Boston. 

Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, now a presidential candidate. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I appreciate it. 

HUNTER:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still ahead, did John Kerry‘s botched joke kill any chance he may have had at yet another presidential run?  Did he ever have a chance to begin with?

We‘ll bring you the very latest on that.

Plus, Congressman Mark Foley resigned in disgrace five weeks ago.  He‘s still in rehab, but his name remains on the ballot.  Now some shocking new poll numbers painting a pretty rosy picture for his replacement.  Will Republican Joe Negron win in Florida?

We‘ve got the answers next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  You‘re joining our continuing coverage of “Decision 2006,” coming to you from the nation‘s capital, Washington, D.C.

We are less than a week away from the midterm elections and a potential shift in the balance of power in both the Senate and the House of Representatives -- 33 seats are on the table in the Senate, the Democrats need six of them to gain control.  On the House side, all 435 seats up for grabs.  The Democrats need 15 to take control of that House.

Joining me now for a closer look at a few key races and the aftermath of John Kerry‘s most recent comments, MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, all around wise man, Pat Buchanan.

Pat, welcome.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  What‘s happening in Pennsylvania.  Rick Santorum, two-term celebrity senator, a smart guy, not involved in any scandals that I know of.  But he‘s going to lose. 

Why? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think one reason is Casey is a—Casey‘s a good candidate for Pennsylvania.  His father is a legend.  He was a terrific Democrat, he‘s pro-life, socially conservative, and I think Casey is in that image and he‘s sort of the benign figure. 

And Sanatorium is—you‘re right, he is a tremendous conservative leader.  If he won Pennsylvania, I think he‘d be—I think he ought to go right to New Hampshire, because he‘d be an ideal conservative candidate.  But he‘s been down as high as 16 and 23 points, and I think he‘s something of a polarizing figure in Pennsylvania.

It‘s a bad year for Republicans—Iraq—and George Bush is extremely unpopular.

CARLSON:  Should conservatives care?  I mean, here you have Casey, who, as you said, seems to be a genuine pro-lifer. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  Just the kind of Democrat conservatives are always lamenting doesn‘t exist.  Here‘s one who does.

Should they care that Santorum is losing? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think conservatives should because we believe not only in pro-life, but Santorum‘s been good on everything.

CARLSON:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  I mean, he‘s been not only good on pro-life, he‘s been a leader out there.  That‘s one of the reasons the other side is so hostile to him.  He‘s been really out front, and he‘s been a very strong conservative behind the war and the whole bit.

CARLSON:  Any clue why Mike DeWine is losing in Ohio? 

BUCHANAN:  Oh, yes.  It‘s a disaster out there for Republicans.

Taft has been involved in a terrible scandal.  His ratings are down lower than any governor‘s ever been out there.  And it‘s the—another reason is the Democrats have picked up on the trade issue, Tucker. 

That is one area where free trade has brought de-industrialization and the loss of those jobs out there, manufacturing jobs.  That‘s what‘s killing the Republican Party, Bush‘s free trade policy.

CARLSON:  Conrad Burns, Montana? 

BUCHANAN:  I think Burns is coming back.  My brother Novak was out there in Missoula tracking him down, and he‘s coming back. 

And I think—that‘s the one I‘m going to—for “The McLaughlin Group” they‘ve asked us to do something.  I had him down.  I‘m going call this afternoon in “Final Call” and say, “I think Conrad Burns is going to come back and win it.”

And he‘s winning it.  This guy Tester is apparently—they found out he‘s in favor of all these taxes.  And they‘re just hammering him.  He‘s a big taxer, big taxer.

And Tester has been sinking like a stone.  And Conrad Burns has got the momentum.  So I predict the Republicans will hold. 

CARLSON:  John Kerry, is he finally a Republican plant?  What—why would he—is it bad luck? 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Thank you, Pat.  I appreciate it.

BUCHANAN:  We‘ll see you in Iowa.

CARLSON:  I‘ll see you there. 

Still to come, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist blasts President Bush and are troops in Iraq, accusing them of war crimes.

We‘ll bring you the explosive comments after the break. 

Also blogger Mike Stark joins me to discuss his violent confrontation with George Allen‘s campaign staff.

So stay tuned for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CARLSON:  He has lost the public support of almost every Democrat in America.  Is it time for John Kerry to call off a possible run for the White House in two years? Plus, much was made of the congressional page scandal involving Mark Foley.  But will the tawdry details actually have an effect on the midterm elections? Maybe not.  All those stories in just a minute, but right now here is a look at your headlines. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for three on three where we welcome two of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today‘s most interesting stories.  Joining us from Burbank, California Stephanie Miller, she is the host of the nationally syndicated “Stephanie Miller Show.”  At MSNBC headquarters in New Jersey, the Reverend Joe Watkins, former aide to the first President Bush and campaign adviser to the current President Bush, he‘s also a radio talk show host.  Welcome to you both. 

JOE WATKINS:  Thanks Tucker.  

STEPHANIE MILLER, HOST, “STEPHANIE MILLER SHOW”:  Hi Tucker, missed you.  

CARLSON:  First up, Senator John Kerry had his eye on another presidential run in 2008.  Did his remarks earlier this week dash those plans forever, even though he apologized for the comments the Democratic Party has likely already dismissed Kerry as a viable candidate.  This may come as very good news to presidential candidate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton who probably and not coincidentally was among the first to lay into Kerry yesterday.  Stephanie, what do you make of this?  Whatever happened to loyalty any way?  If John Kerry‘s remarks were so defensible, why didn‘t anyone on the left defend him? 

MILLER:  Lots of people on the left defended him Tucker, John Murtha just defended him on my show this morning, Howard Dean defended him.  I mean this really, I know I‘m just helping you extend this another news cycle but this is American politics.  And you know what, I say as long as the subject is back on Iraq and the president, bring it on. 

CARLSON:  I wonder though, there clearly is a political advantage for the Hillary Clinton industry, because that‘s really what it is at this point, the Hillary Clinton for President Industry.  In seeing John Kerry blow himself up.  And don‘t you think that‘s kind of why she gave him the boot yesterday?

WATKINS:  I think so.  Hillary Clinton has to be happy about this.  Her poll numbers haven‘t been all that great.  She is leading the pack right now but she only has about 29, 30 percent of the vote.  Thirty percent in those polls as an early possible candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.  So, John Kerry, doing what he did, he really is the gift that just keeps on giving.  I mean she could not have asked for a bigger gift at this time. 

CARLSON:  Stephanie, as a Democrat, tell me, who is his base?  Who sports John Kerry for president in 2008? Clearly, he is doing focus groups, he‘s not hoping, he‘s not entering this race blind.  He believes he has support.  Where is it coming from?

MILLER:  Well you know Tucker, you‘re probably right.  His shot is probably over.  Is that fair?  No.  I can‘t believe it and I know that since you got rid of your bow tie you have been getting blood to your head and I know that you‘re a fair man, even though you‘re on the right.  Come on, you saw the tape in its whole context Tucker, you knew he was talking about the president, people cut the tape off before the (INAUDIBLE).

WATKINS:  That‘s not the point though.

MILLER:  The kids would have all laughed if they thought he was making a joke about the president.

CARLSON:  Think of it this way. 

MILLER:  The president‘s joke—Tucker, the president‘s joke about missing weapons of mass destruction was about a thousand times more offensive.  

CARLSON:  I‘m not defending that, I‘m merely saying—

WATKINS:  John Kerry ought to leave the jokes to Dave Chappelle.   

CARLSON:  This comes from a guy who has a documented history of making these kinds of statements.  And they all follow the same theme so I don‘t think it‘s totally outrageous to take the guy at face value to evaluate what he actually said.  And what he said was pretty clearly a slur on the troops, I don‘t know what else to say. 

WATKINS:  Tucker, if he made an honest mistake and I think he did make an honest—I don‘t think he was trying to slam the troops but came out of his mouth did insult them.  And so he could have ended the whole thing by saying right away to the troops, I‘m so sorry for what I said, I know that what came out of my mouth didn‘t sound right, it sounded insulting, please forgive me for what I said.  And you would have had no story. But the problem is, is that Senator Kerry decided against an apology before he decided for one.  And that‘s really been the whole quest.  He‘s made himself the butt of these jokes and really killed his on political career.  

CARLSON:  Out of Florida, a lawyer for Mark Foley announced—

MILLER:  Oh Reverend, I can‘t get enough of that flip-flop humor. 

CARLSON:  It is very funny.  I know, ok it is tired, but it amuses me any way.  A lawyer for Mark Foley announced that the former Florida congressman will extend his stay in rehab.  Not clear what he‘s getting rehabilitation for, but in any case, it keeps him out of the public eye until Election Day.  Five weeks ago Foley dropped out, his Democratic challenger Tim Mahoney seemed headed for an easy victory.  Polls now show though that Joe Negron, the Republican running for Foley‘s seat is running neck and neck with Mahoney, despite the fact that Foley‘s name remains on the ballot.  So was the Foley scandal less potent than we imagined Stephanie?  We thought this was going to—and I suspected this was going to hurt Republicans across the board.  But if Foley‘s seat remains in Republican hands, what does that tell you? 

MILLER:  Well, (INAUDIBLE) Foley my favorite.  And may I just say, I‘m sure he will have an alcohol problem right until the day after the election.  You know, look Tucker, you guys used to be the party of personal responsibility and you‘re not any more.  And frankly, it‘s not even about him, it‘s about the cover-up by the rest of the Republicans.  And I don‘t think he‘s going to win the seat and I think it‘s the same theme in every Republican scandal.  

CARLSON:  But wait a second.  Then why isn‘t the Democrat 40 points ahead Stephanie?

MILLER:  Why is the Democrat what?

CARLSON:  Why is the Democrat not 40 points ahead?  If this is such a profound metaphor for Republican

WATKINS:  The voters are a lot smarter than that.

MILLER:  As you know it is a Republican district. That doesn‘t mean he‘s going to win. 

WATKINS:  It‘s a Republican district but the voters are a lot smarter than that.  They know that Democrats wanted to stretch this Foley thing out and make it some kind of a national conspiracy, the problem for all Republicans.  It‘s the problem of one guy who disgraced himself and he resigned, he stepped aside right away.  And Joe Negron has a good record, he‘s the Florida State House, he‘s a smart guy.  It‘s a primarily Republican district.  He‘s getting his message out and he has a very, very good chance to win.  I think he‘s going to win next Tuesday.  Hats off to the voters.

CARLSON:  I want to go too really what I think is the most shocking story of the day and I‘m not sure this has gotten enough attention.  These are words from Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Sy Hersh, who now works for The New Yorker.  He spoke last week at McGill University in Montreal.  He made some pretty over the top allegations about U.S. troops.  He said quote, this is part of what he said, quote, “In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation.  It isn‘t happening now, but I will tell you - there has never been an American army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”  Now Stephanie, I guess, this is the rambling of one man obviously.  But I‘d submit to you as someone who reads a lot of liberal blogs, this is not at all an isolated point of view, this is a pretty common point of view on the left, that the U.S. army is murderous, its behavior in Iraq, tantamount to war crimes.  The architects of this war ought to be dragged to The Hague in chains.  I mean it‘s all out there.  This is what the left believes, isn‘t it?

MILLER:  Tucker, first of all Mr. Boehner, Congressman Boehner was the first Republican to blame the troops yesterday, to say it‘s not Rumsfeld‘s fault, it‘s the troops fault.  Democrats have never blamed the troops, they are blaming the leaders that sent them there and the orders they‘re given.  Soldiers follow orders Tucker.  And what Durbin was talking about, what John Kerry has talked about that‘s been repeated endlessly, he was quoting a Red Cross report.  He‘s talking about the soldiers, about the orders these soldiers are given, whether they‘re torture or whatever they are.  

CARLSON:  Ok.

MILLER:  And they have also been put in an awful situation.  They‘ve been put in an absolutely awful situation.

CARLSON:  I agree with you there Stephanie.  I‘m sorry, Joe? 

WATKINS:  Seymour Hersh is attacking the troops.  What he‘s saying is just unbelievable mean and nasty and not at all untypical of what he‘s done in the past.  This is a guy who‘s made a career and he has been successful by the way in his career, he‘s a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  But this is a guy who has made his career out of taking off after people, going after soldiers, going after presidents and former presidents.  Going after administrations, whether they‘re Democrat or Republican and he‘s sold a lot of books.  He is trying to sell more books and of course to build himself up and he‘s doing it at the expense of the brave men and women who are fighting in Iraq.  I think it‘s so incredibly unfair and mean spirited.

CARLSON:  It‘s a pretty over the top generalization.

MILLER:  Reverend, wait a minute, Tucker, reverend.  First of all, I was --  

CARLSON:  Ok, but let me just say, Sey Hersh is a liberal hero.

MILLER:  It‘s always two on one when I come here.

CARLSON:  I know it is, it‘s totally unfair and you do a great job defending essentially an indefensible position.

MILLER:  Wait a minute Tucker, this is what you guys do on the right is you always try to make this about the left is criticizing the troops.  So what happened in Abu Ghraib is not wrong, it‘s that Seymour Hersh broke the story.  So it‘s not wrong that our Bush administration ordered the soldiers to torture --  

CARLSON:  I do think many on the left hate America and I think that not because I want to think it but because I read what they say.  And I don‘t think mainstream Democrat attack the troops, I think mainstream Democrats support the troops.  

MILLER:  Oh you don‘t think maybe because we love America as much as you do and we just want better, this country deserves better leadership. 

CARLSON:  There is a fervent fringe on the left and you know it exists.  It exists in blogs which really are the locust of left wing activism right now.  As you well know and I think that group does hold the troops and the U.S. government responsible for the world‘s ills and that‘s not an exaggeration. 

WATKINS:  Well said, Tucker.  

CARLSON:  And let me just say again --  

MILLER:  Tucker, this is always your talking point.  Outrage is not that Abu Ghraib happened, it‘s that the media reported it.  

WATKINS:  Stephanie I‘m not about bashing people for the sake of bashing people it‘s not fair, there are good people on both sides of the aisle.  But, you cannot take away what Seymour Hersh said.  And what he said was terribly mean spirited and hurtful to our American troops.  

CARLSON:  All right.  Thank you both.  I appreciate it, Stephanie Miller, Reverend Watkins, thanks.

WATKINS:  Thanks Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still ahead, it was the biggest political beat down since Reagan versus Mondale.  Next we‘ll talk to the citizen journalist Mike Stark about his very public run in with Senator George Allen.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It turns out Mark Foley will be remembered for more than just hitting on 16 year old pages.  You‘ll see the former congressman‘s cringe worthy performance in a low budget action film, when we come back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Coming to you from Washington, D.C. with more on our non-stop coverage of “Decision 2006.”  As if racial slurs and steamy sex scenes were not enough to keep a Senate race exciting.  Mix in a little violence and you‘ve got a fiesta.  This was the scene at a George Allen campaign event earlier in the week, where a heckler named Mike Stark took on the senator.  Three of Allen‘s staffers or supporters in any case intervened, they dragged Stark out of the room and threw him to the ground.  Joining me now, Mike Stark. 

MIKE STARK, STARTED SCUFFLE AT ALLEN CAMPAIGN EVENT:  Tucker how are you?

CARLSON:  I‘m great.

STARK:  Let me correct something if you don‘t mind.  You just called me a heckler.  Hecklers interrupt speeches, I waited patiently until the speech was done and then I went and I asked him a question as a constituent while he was doing retail politics, shaking hands. 

CARLSON:  That‘s a fair point.  It‘s the question, though, I guess I‘d wonder about—your question was, when did you stop your beating your wife, it was did you spit on your wife.  Was that your question? 

STARK:  Well you know his own sister wrote a book that talked about him -- 

CARLSON:  Before that, what was the question that you asked him?

STARK:  Oh I asked him did you spit on your first wife or otherwise assault her.

CARLSON:  What does that have to do with anything? 

STARK:  He made Jim Webb‘s treatment of women a big campaign issue and you know at the same time, Jim Webb wrote his things that Allen attacked him for.  Allen was going through a divorce and you know I just thought that was relevant.  He should not be able to escape scrutiny because he was able to pay a settlement and keep his wife from talking about it.  

CARLSON:  Well let me just say, I have said from day one that the Allen campaigns attack on Jim Webb as cruel to women or insensitive to women is ridiculous and beneath contempt and it offends the hell out of me personally.  So I am not defending that, but I guess, I thought after Clinton we all sort of agreed that attacks on people‘s private lives, especially on kind of the unknowable nuances of marriage, should be outside the scope of politics.  Wasn‘t that what the left was always yammering on about during the 90‘s, you remember that, don‘t you Mike? 

STARK:  Oh gees, this isn‘t unknowable, there are divorce records there. We all know they are there, all you have to do is ask the man and that‘s what I did. 

CARLSON:  Wait, hold on.  Mrs., the first Mrs. Allen, as far as I know is on good terms with her husband.  She came out and defended him when he was accused of using racial slurs in the 1970‘s.  So presumably if she wanted to tell America about what a crappy husband he was, she‘d be doing it, wouldn‘t she? 

STARK:  You know I might be on good terms with Mr. Allen if he gave me a lot of money too.  But I just want to make sure, you‘re not defending them throwing me down to the ground are you? 

CARLSON:  Do you have any evidence for that? Of course not, actually I don‘t support that at all.

STARK:  I just want to make sure.

CARLSON:  I mean this is America, you could say whatever you want as far as I am concerned. 

STARK:  Yeah, I thought so too, and as a constituent I should be able to ask whatever questions I want.  Let‘s get past the question. 

CARLSON:  No, no, the question is essential though.  The question is absolutely essential because whereas I support your right to scream something stupid, I think it‘s important to establish that it is stupid and it‘s contemptible to bring questions like the one you brought into a Senate race that ought to be fought on issues like Iraq. 

STARK:  You know, you did say that Allen‘s contemptible discussion of Jim Webb‘s writings was contemptible also.  But, you know, what‘s good for the goose is good for the gander in America and I think that‘s the standard we should play by at least in politics.  Because otherwise you allow yourself to be attacked and you do nothing about it and you get smeared and you lose the elections.

CARLSON:  That is a common belief in the left wing blogosphere and I think its self defeating.  But back to you, you‘re going to bring charges against these guys isn‘t that -- 

STARK:  Can I tell you the other question I asked too that started the violence? 

CARLSON:  Yes.

STARK:  The first question I asked was what was he arrested for in the 1970‘s?  And the truth is, any candidate that has an arrest record should own up to what his arrest record is.  And the other truth is when you are thrown down to the ground violently and the senator doesn‘t do anything to stop it, instead he walks away not knowing if my head‘s going to be bashed in or if I‘m going to be thrown through a plate glass window.  I think we do have our answer as to what‘s in those divorce records.  He seriously does not want those revealed.  

CARLSON:  Oh, come on.  I mean that is so ugly and stupid.  I mean look, I‘m looking at the pictures now of you getting roughed up and I think it‘s awful.  And I don‘t think there is any defending that kind of behavior and they ought to be embarrassed of themselves.  Though you‘re pressing charges, that does seem, I don‘t know.  It seems a little embarrassing that you‘d press charges, I mean you‘re not hurt, you‘re fine.  I mean toughen up son.

STARK:  I‘m glad you brought up the embarrassment point.  Because I watch videos from Japan and Korea of legislators fighting and I laugh at them here in America.  And this video has gone worldwide, Senator Allen could have stopped this at any time.  All he had to say was, hey, this isn‘t my campaign, this is not how we operate.  Stop that. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, I think that is a fair point.  No, no, actually I sort of agree with you and he should have done that.  And I‘m sorry he didn‘t.  Now back to you Mike.  I saw a picture today of you. You apparently disrupted a show over on FOX, the Sean Hannity Show, the Hannity & Colmes Show—

STARK:  Who says liberals don‘t have a sense of humor. 

CARLSON:  With a sign that says, “Hannity Sucks (EXPLETIVE.) Which seems to me is not a legitimate political statement, it‘s just vulgar.  It‘s kind of awful of you to do that.  I‘m not a big supporter of Fox or of that show, but that‘s not a political statement. 

STARK:  Come on Tucker, conservatives should really get a sense of humor.  Hannity does Suck (expletive).

CARLSON:  I have sense of humor.  I have a sense of humor.  But if you did that on my show, I would punch you out.  Because it‘s not fair for you to do that.  I mean if you have a political view, you know write it on your blog.  But to go and you know hold up a sign like that, I don‘t know, that doesn‘t get anyone anywhere, does it?  

STARK:  Have you been to my blog, my blog has a ton of different conversations I‘ve had with Sean Hannity.  We go back and forth over and over and over and over again.  This was just a little jab.  Come on, man, you‘re smiling, you‘re laughing.  You know this was funny. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, kind of funny, very annoying though.  I can tell you as somebody who does shows in public places.  Mike Stark I appreciate your coming on.

STARK:  Thank you. Take care.

CARLSON:  Thanks.  There is only one place to get yourself ready for “Decision  2006.”   The address, politics.msnbc.com.  You‘ll find video and detailed analysis of all the important races as we count down to Election Day next Tuesday.  Meanwhile, Mark Foley is caught hugging a minor.  Don‘t worry, it was only for a movie.  You‘ll see the former congressman star in a Hollywood flick.  When we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  You know him as a writer, a producer, one of the funniest people in television.  Say hello now to MSNBC political analyst, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST:  You flatter me Tucker.  Thank you.  But let me just say as a blogger myself, we stand together and I resent your line of questioning to Mr. Stark.  I‘m going to take retribution on you and write a really mean blog about you or something.  Watch out.  Tucker we have a couple of political spots we want to show you.  Our first one nobly attempts the impossible.  To make politics sexy.  See if these celebrity spokeswomen and their double in tundra arouse you to head to the polls on Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you want me to tell you about the first time I did it.  I think the best time is in the fall.  When was it, what year?  I like to do it in the morning when I‘m fresh.  It‘s kind of personal and I feel like you know, my synapses are clicking.  It was the summer of love, 1968.  I did a lot of research on the positions that I liked.  Once I did it in an old woman‘s garage.   Other people‘s houses.  Well it made me feel powerful.  Really important.  It‘s cool.  Pretty.  Sexy.  I felt grown up.  I wasn‘t a kid any more.  All of a sudden I felt liberated.  I have been disappointed, yes, when I didn‘t do it.  The first man I had a crush on, it wasn‘t my dad, it was John F. Kennedy and I really wanted to do it for him.  I made a good choice. You got all that energy flowing inside and you go in and commit, it‘s a beautiful thing. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Tucker that was a PSA from Women‘s Voices, Women‘s Vote.  Let me just say, the concept is good.  So I‘m watching and there‘s Angie Harman, the woman from “Desperate Housewives”, Regina King.  And then you start slipping on Thyne Dailey, ruining the fantasy a little bit. And then Joe the hard bitten New York photographer from “Melrose Place” comes on.  And it‘s all over.  I‘m not going to vote now. 

CARLSON:  It‘s totally.  Not only do I feel dirty, I feel like dropping out.  I‘m voting for Ralph Nader now. 

GEIST:  I was going to vote but I‘m going to stay home on Tuesday now.  Darn you Thyne Dailey.  Well Tucker, Democrat Jon Tester is challenging the Montana Senate seat long held by Republican Conrad Burns as you know.  The 71-year-old Burns was trailing by double digits just two weeks ago.  But Tucker as you and Pat Buchanan were just discussing, he has now closed the gap on Tester as Election Day nears.  That might be because Tester is campaigning on his hair.  Check it out.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Look around Montana and you‘ll see, Jon Tester is catching on.  Maybe it‘s because Jon Tester is a third generation farmer, who worked with Brian Schweitzer for cheaper prescription drugs and better schools.  Or because of Tester‘s plan for affordable healthcare.  Or because he‘ll put an end to Senator Burns kind of corruption and make the U.S. Senate look a little more like Montana. 

JON TESTER:  I‘m Jon Tester and I approve this message.  I approve the hair cut too. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Seems like a nice guy. Hair cut, vote for me. 

CARLSON:  I think it‘s a great ad actually.  I don‘t think I would vote for Tester, but I would come closer after watching.

GEIST:  You know what it calls to mind, the Lamar Alexander checkered shirt thing. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  Like, wear this shirt, vote for us.  I don‘t really get it, but I‘m not going to fall in line.  Any way, Tucker, our last clip, not a political spot but we could not resist.  It‘s really been a tough couple of months for Mark Foley.  First he resigned from Congress for that inappropriate relationship with a teenage page, then he checked into rehab and now this.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Daddy, daddy.  I missed you so much daddy. 

FOLEY:  Oh I missed you too baby. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There were a lot of bad men, daddy. 

FOLEY:  I know, baby, but it‘s all over now.  Oh God, I love you. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I love you too daddy.

FOLEY:  Wait for me in the car sweetheart, I‘ll be right there.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Good stuff Tucker.  That of course, the 2003 straight to DVD release, “Strike Force”, also known as the librarians.  Of course Congressman Foley meeting his kidnapped daughter in an emotional reunion and good for Mark Foley.  Maybe he has a future in the movies, who knows.

CARLSON:  That is so embarrassing, I‘ll be cringing until tomorrow inwardly.  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right Tucker, see you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  Thanks Willie.  Thanks for watching MSNBC‘s ongoing coverage of “Decision 2006”, it continues now with Chris and “HARDBALL.”  See you tomorrow.

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

END   

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

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