updated 11/15/2006 10:52:48 AM ET 2006-11-15T15:52:48

Guests: Wayne Barrett, Pat Buchanan, Charlie Rangel, A.B. Stoddard, Jerry Springer

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show.  I‘m Tucker Carlson.  We‘re coming to you from Los Angeles today, where training continues with the “Dancing With the Stars” finale.  More on that later, including an interview with one of our fellow dancers.

But first, our top story today: Giuliani for president.  Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is one step closer today to entering the race for the Republican nomination two years from now.  The man some see as the GOP frontrunner—in fact, the man the polls say is the GOP frontrunner—is now forming an official exploratory committee, the traditional first step in a run for the White House. 

Republicans praised Giuliani as the hero of 9/11, but not my next guest.  He‘s the co-author of “Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11.”

Wayne Barrett joins us from New York. 

Wayne, thanks for coming on.

WAYNE BARRETT, CO-AUTHOR, “GRAND ILLUSION”:  Glad to be here, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I know you‘ve written extensively about Mayor Giuliani, a couple of books about him.  Neither one particularly flattering.  It hasn‘t made a dent in his popularity, though.  Give me the 30-second pitch for why he‘s not the hero that most people apparently think he is.

BARRETT:  Well, he‘s said all the right things, Tucker.  But he did all the wrong things.  In the lead-up to 9/11 he didn‘t prepare the city, despite the fact that the city had been bombed in ‘93.  He failed to deal with everything from the radios, to a sensible location for the bunker.  And that had dire consequences that day.

And then he failed in the aftermath of 9/11 to do something about the toxins at Ground Zero.  And I think that the toxins are going to haunt this presidential campaign—the respiratory problems.

CARLSON:  Couldn‘t you say about his—the lack of preparation you allege the same thing about virtually every single office holder in the United States on September 10th?  None of us was prepared.

BARRETT:  Well, you know, I think you could in some ways.  But Rudy is the one who has projected himself as the prophet of terrorism, the guy who understood the threat. 

I think he‘s projected himself repeatedly when he was the “TIME” “Man of the Year” in the aftermath of 9/11 as the man who prepared the city and who really especially was qualified because of his law enforcement credentials.  He was also the only mayor of a city in the United States that had been attacked.  So he had a unique obligation to do something about it, and he failed to do something about it.  And, in fact, I think our book makes the case he failed to really understand it in its most basic ways. 

CARLSON:  Do you think Giuliani‘s appeal stems from his response to 9/11 more or from the widespread perception that he‘s the one who cleaned up Manhattan? 

BARRETT:  Well, I think it‘s a bit of both and both are myths.  I mean, crime has continued to decline in New York City under Mayor Bloomberg dramatically for five years after Giuliani was out of office.  It actually declined for 36 consecutive months under Mayor Dinkins before he took office. 

Yet, somehow, most Americans are convinced that he is the great crime buster of New York, as well as the great 9/11 hero.  He is neither. 

CARLSON:  Boy, if none of that is true, if everything about the way the ordinary person understands Giuliani is a lie, this is one of the great con jobs in American history.  How did it happen?  Does he have a particularly able P.R. department, or what? 

BARRETT:  Oh, I don‘t think it‘s a great con job.  As I said on your show before, Tucker, he did say all the right things.  He was there at 9/11 at the scene of the crime, the visuals that most Americans live with. 

The things he said that day—he said that day, “We‘re not going to scapegoat the Muslim community of our city.”  He said remarkable things.  He‘s done some remarkable things.

And certainly he did have an impact on the crime rate in New York.  He appointed Bill Bratton.  Bill Bratton, innovative—one of the most innovative police specialists in the United States, did great things.  And then Rudy fired him because he got the cover of “TIME” magazine before Rudy did.

So yes, he has done some good things.  I don‘t think it‘s all a negative picture of Rudy Giuliani.  I certainly don‘t want to play—to suggest that. 

CARLSON:  Right.  You know him well.  Obviously you are not a huge fan.  But as objectively as you can, tell us how you think he would hold up under the intense scrutiny of a presidential campaign. 

BARRETT:  Well, it all depends on people like you, Tucker.  I mean, it‘s what visuals you show.  There‘s not only the visual of him on 9/11, which is a grand visual.  There‘s the visual of Donna Hanover in front of Gracie Mansion announcing that he had a relationship with another woman who worked for him in city hall who was... 

CARLSON:  Well, wait a second.  Wait, wait, wait.  Wait, wait.

Aren‘t we all in agreement now that we are supposed to ignore stuff like that?  I thought it was all liberals, people like you who were telling us when Clinton was president, you know, who cares about his private life?  I thought we were supposed to—aren‘t we supposed to turn a blind eye to that?  Isn‘t that the deal we made? 

BARRETT:  Well, you know, I don‘t think we made a deal like that.  Not at all.  I don‘t think you inform your divorced—your wife that you are going to divorce her on television.  And he did that.

CARLSON:  Well, who—no, wait.  But who knows that?

BARRETT:  I think there are all kinds of standards.

CARLSON:  But, wait, wait.  Come on.  You‘re an adult.  You‘ve been around.  Everybody knows that there are many sides, usually more than two, to any divorce, and who knows what‘s true.

BARRETT:  Of course. 

CARLSON:  I mean, we don‘t know what happened between them. 

BARRETT:  Of course we don‘t, Tucker.  Of course we don‘t.  You‘re asking whether or not that kind of baggage is going to hurt him in a political campaign. 

CARLSON:  No.  Actually, I mean...

BARRETT:  And it is going to hurt him in a political campaign.

CARLSON:  I agree with that totally.  But will—I‘m asking actually about his temperament.  You know what it‘s like in a presidential campaign.  People are firing questions at you, you have no sleep.  I mean, it requires a lot of physical stamina.

Do you think he can handle that?  Or do you think he‘ll snap, he‘ll lash out at people?

BARRETT:  I think he‘s got—I think he‘s got enormous physical stamina. 

I think he‘s extraordinarily good on this medium.

I think he‘s tremendous on his feet.  He‘s got a great mind.  And I think he will project well as a candidate, and I think he‘ll be a strong candidate.

I‘m just saying that he has this baggage, this personal baggage, which most Americans would regard your third wife as a bit of personal baggage. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

BARRETT:  And I think he has that.  And I think it‘s going to be particularly difficult for him to transcend that in Republican primaries. 

He does have the security card.  I think it‘s a phony card.  But he plays that card, and he believes the security card will transcend all of this baggage.

CARLSON:  Yes.

BARRETT:  He may well be right.

CARLSON:  Yes.  I don‘t know.  I think—I think you‘re right, though. 

It‘s going to be a problem. 

Wayne Barrett, I appreciate it.

BARRETT:  Glad to be here.

CARLSON:  So, does Rudy Giuliani have a chance to win the Republican presidential nomination?  Can he edge out John McCain?  And will that baggage hurt him?

Here from Washington to look at the odds MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. 

Pat, welcome.

What do you think of that?  Is the fact this is a man who‘s been married three times, are those sort of facts relevant, still?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, certainly it‘s relevant in the Republican primary, which is a very, very conservative—conservative ordeal.  You saw what happened to Harold Ford when it was simply mentioned that he had been at the Playboy mansion or the Playboy party.  That was clearly directed at the Christian conservative community and probably damaged him to a small extent.

A lot of these folks are very traditionalist folks, and they‘re not into Manhattan values. 

CARLSON:  Manhattan values like the fact that when Giuliani moved out—when his second marriage collapsed, he moved in with a couple of gay dudes?

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  I mean, is that...

BUCHANAN:  Holy smokes.

CARLSON:  I mean, think that‘s literally true.  I‘m not even taking a stand on it.  I just...

BUCHANAN:  I know.  I heard that.  I didn‘t—you know, I‘ve used the example he marched in the Gay Pride Parade at the same time North American Man-Boy Love Association had a float right, you know, a few yards from him. 

And things like this—I mean, New York just—these things just go right by the board.  But you tell folks in Iowa that and South Carolina and places like that, and they say, well, that‘s a mark—you know, that city is decadent and he‘s right in the middle of that and that‘s not us.  That‘s not our values.

So look what happened to George Bush over the fact that he‘d—you know, he had been arrested while he had imbibed 25 years before.  That sank him three or four points in the national polls. 

CARLSON:  No, that‘s an excellent point.  And his blood alcohol level—

I‘m not defending drunk driving, of course—but, you know, it‘s not like he was wasted.  He wasn‘t at all.  It was like three beers or something.  No, you‘re absolutely right.

What about his actual policy positions?  I mean, if you go through on the social issues...

BUCHANAN:  Right?

CARLSON:  ... he is literally more liberal than Howard Dean.  I mean, Howard Dean is not for gun control, Giuliani is. 

BUCHANAN:  Right?

CARLSON:  Is that instant death?  I mean, why is he even considering running?

BUCHANAN:  Well, he‘s in favor of, you know, amnesty.

CARLSON:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  He‘s in favor of abortion.  He‘s in favor of affirmative action. 

He‘s pro-gay rights and he‘s anti-gun.

As I told Joe Scarborough, you know, you‘ve got five deuces right there going in.  And it‘s a very, very difficult hand for him to play, especially when his—his competition is not, say, Brownback or some conservative. 

He‘s got to move John McCain out of the way to become the candidate of, if

you will, the center moderates of the Republican Party against the right

and the populists.‘

And it‘s very hard for me to see why or how he moves McCain out of the way, which is his first problem, when McCain has done a tremendous job of lining up Bushites, of lining up money, of lining up people in the states.  Why would they say, well, let‘s get rid of McCain and go with Giuliani? 

CARLSON:  On the other hand, he is—two factors.  He is enormously charming.  He is, I would say, the greatest speaker the Republicans have.  He can really give a speech, as you know.  And also, I keep hearing from people I know who have covered this, political reporters, that when he gives speeches in the South to heavy evangelical audiences, they love him. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.  Well, here—let me tell you what that is.

Rudy‘s probably giving the same speech he gave at the convention.  I thought it was about the best speech at the convention because it got conversational in tone.  It wasn‘t the declamatory style, if you will...

CARLSON:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  ... from a lot of those podiums.  And the stories and the anecdotes about these guys what they‘ve said to him, it‘s marvelous.  And as he hits each state, people are going to love that.  The state convention is going to love it.

And then after the first month that he‘s given this speech, you can‘t—you don‘t get the big crowds anymore.  You get smaller crowds, and they want to hear what you‘re going to do.  And then you‘ve got to be interviewed by local radio and TV and all of these things, and they‘re going to go into all of these issues, and people are going to find out that Rudy is on the other side.  And worse than that, Tucker, he‘s going to have opposition which is going to go at him and point all these things out you and I are talking about. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  And some of them are going to (INAUDIBLE).  You know, the family stuff, or whatever it is.  And all these things are going to be hurtful to him.  And when you get into one of these bloody things at the end—you know what they did to McCain.

CARLSON:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  I mean, Republicans can be as mean as—mean as sin on this stuff. 

CARLSON:  They‘re tough.  My prediction, I bet a year from now he‘ll be doing the full Harold Ford, telling us how much he loves Jesus.  That‘s what I—Pat Buchanan.

BUCHANAN:  I‘m not sure he‘s going to get in, Tucker.  Don‘t be for sure he‘s going to get in.  I think what he‘s doing, he‘s putting this out there so folks like you and me and everybody and Barrett and everybody else will be talking about it so they can get back all that feedback so people can tell him...

CARLSON:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  ... “Rudy, don‘t do it,” or “Rudy, go.”

CARLSON:  The old trial balloon.

Pat Buchanan from Washington.

Thanks a lot, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  OK, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, the Democrats‘ big midterm victory was just a week ago and already the party is at war with itself.  Will Jack Murtha beat Steny Hoyer for the post of majority leader?  The fight has taken a vicious turn.  We‘ll explain after the break.

And Tony Blair wants to work with Iran and Syria.  Is he abandoning the Bush administration? 

That story, too, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It looks like the honeymoon is over for Democrats in Congress just a week after the midterm election victories.  Incoming speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is backing Jack Murtha for the post of House majority leader.  Steny Hoyer has his fans as well, including “The Washington Post,” which endorsed him today for speaker.

Now Murtha says his critics are “swift-boating” him by bringing up his role in the 1980s‘ ABSCAM scandal.

So will the battle split the Democratic Party? 

Joining me from Washington to answer that, New York‘s Democratic congressman, Charlie Rangel, who is, of course, the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. 

Mr. Chairman, welcome.

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D), NEW YORK:  It‘s good to be with you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  So it‘s been about 10 minutes since the Democrats have been in power, and they‘re not even in power yet.  They‘re just on their way to power.

RANGEL:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  And already they‘ve convened a circular firing squad.  What is this? 

RANGEL:  This can‘t hurt anybody.  We‘ve got two outstanding candidates.  It‘s a bump in the road, I wish we didn‘t have it.  But, hey, being in the majority means we can take this body blow easily.

CARLSON:  Well, look, I‘m not here to attack Jack Murtha, who I think is actually a great guy.  I like Jack Murtha.  And I say that as a conservative.

However, I think this is bad for Democrats because it‘s all of a sudden leading to all these charges about Jack Murtha having questionable ethics.  “The Washington Post” editorial page today, a very liberal editorial page, reprinted part of the transcript where Jack Murtha is talking to an undercover FBI agent during ABSCAM.  You know, 26 years later.

I mean, the charge is that Nancy Pelosi has a blind spot when it comes to ethics.  That‘s bad, isn‘t it?

RANGEL:  It would be bad if what you say is true, but I‘m not certain that the evidence you said is actually there, as far as I‘m concerned.  We‘re talking about a Purple Heart hero who spent 36 years in the Marines, served in Korea and served in Vietnam.  So I really think that you‘re talking about an outstanding American, and I would be very skeptical of any evidence that would attack his character. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not—I‘m not attacking his character.  But, I mean...

RANGEL:  I know you‘re not.  But you‘re reading—you‘re reading what someone else said.  I know you‘re not doing it.  Tucker—you‘re above all this, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Actually, I‘m not above it.  I‘m not above it, Mr. Chairman.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL:  Well, sure you are.  No, in fact I enjoy it.  I just like Jack Murtha.  But, you know, you‘ve got left-wing ethics watchdog groups, the normal annoying groups that go after everybody, attacking Jack Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic leadership in general.

RANGEL:  Hey.  Hey, we‘ve got a hero year, 36 years in the service, United States Marines, served his country in the Vietnam.  So what the heck are you going to do with that, Tucker?

You can‘t handle that.  And not only that, but the Democratic Party, when he came out against the war and said that we couldn‘t win it militarily, it turned the whole Democratic Party around.  And many people who did not have the political courage to stand up against the wall said that if he could do it, if Murtha could do it, they could do it.  It made a difference in our Democratic Party. 

CARLSON:  So you‘re supporting Jack Murtha for majority leader? 

RANGEL:  No.  I haven‘t got a dog in that race. 

CARLSON:  What do you mean?  Thirty-six years in the military serving our country, Mr. Chairman.  How could you not support him? 

RANGEL:  Steny Hoyer has done a heck of a job as our whip.  And I have not found any reason why he should not get support.

CARLSON:  All right.  Well, here‘s one.  Let me quote from Jack Murtha‘s press release today.

He says, “Congressman Hoyer‘s position has been to stay the course with President Bush in Iraq from the very beginning.  And like Senator McCain, he advocates sending more troops to Iraq.”

That‘s from Jack Murtha‘s press release.  You would support a man who advocates sending more troops to Iraq? 

RANGEL:  Yes, because a whole lot of people have got to support me.  And they have a very different opinion on a lot of issues than I do.

That‘s why I think the Democratic Party is just so terrific, because we represent America.  America doesn‘t believe in pulling out or staying the course or any of those things.  America is looking for peace.

And just because we don‘t read from the same page, as some reporters do, doesn‘t mean that we have to be against each other.  There is enough room in the Democratic Party for these two views. 

CARLSON:  Well, but they are diametrically opposed views on the single most important question of this era, this generation, the big deal question. 

RANGEL:  Let me make it clear to you, a leader‘s position as it relates to his or her constituency is far different from their responsibility to keep our party together.  And so, one guy is from Philadelphia, the other guy is from Maryland.  Their personal views do not supersede their ability to bring our party together on key issues.  So that is not unusual unless you are looking to pick a fight.

CARLSON:  Hey, they‘re the ones fighting. 

RANGEL:  I know you‘re not.

CARLSON:  I‘m merely standing back and enjoying it. 

Rudy Giuliani announced today that he—announced that he‘s not necessarily running for president but he may be.  You‘re from New York.  You‘re from Manhattan, of course.  You know him well.

What do you think of that?  Do you think Rudy Giuliani would be a good presidential candidate? 

RANGEL:  I think he would be excellent.  I don‘t know him that well, but I don‘t think god would be good enough to me to allow me to see Giuliani running for president.  I mean, not that I think—but, I mean, that is just too good.

And for cartoonists and for reporters, oh my god.  No, no, no.  I don‘t want to discourage him.  As a matter of fact, if I could afford it, I‘d send him a couple of dollars. 

No, really.

CARLSON:  Why are you such an enthusiastic Rudy Giuliani supporter?  And do you have the bumper sticker yet on your car? 

RANGEL:  Because unlike most Americans, I knew Giuliani before 9/11.  And he was not only not America‘s mayor, he was hardly New York‘s mayor.  But I don‘t want to say anything discouraging. 

I just hope that he puts his money there and he runs.  It‘s going to be fun. 

CARLSON:  Who would you say...

RANGEL:  I can‘t wait. 

CARLSON:  Who would you say—honestly, it‘s going to be a great season. 

I can‘t wait myself.

RANGEL:  I know.

CARLSON:  Quick—I know you‘re not going to answer this question, but speaking of god—on a high, I feel this moral obligation to ask it—

Obama, Hillary?  This actually is going to happen, this match-up.

Who do you think you‘re more likely to support?

RANGEL:  I have so much to do in the next two years that I‘m not thinking about 2008.  As Claude Pepper once said when he was my age, we don‘t buy green bananas.  So we‘ve got to take this one day at a time.  And there‘s enough to do -- 2008 can take care of itself.

CARLSON:  All right.  Mr. Rangel, Charles Rangel, congressman from New York, soon to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, I appreciate your coming on.  Thanks.

RANGEL:  Good to be with you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the world will have to accept a nuclear Iran.  Well, Tony Blair suggests a partnership with Iran.  Is it a slap in the face for American foreign policy?

We‘ll take up that story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CARLSON:  Still to come, much more on the increasingly ugly war of words between Jack Murtha and Congressman Steny Hoyer.  Right now though, here‘s a look at your headlines.

REBECCA JARVIS, CNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Rebecca Jarvis with your CNBC market wrap.  Another record breaking day for the Dow, blue chips up almost 85 points, closing at a record setting 12,217.00.  The S&P 500 reaching a six year high of 8 points and the NASDAQ up 24.  Falling prices for gas and new cars led to a record 1.6 percent decline in the producer price index last month.  Lower gas prices also blamed for a two tenths of a percent drop in retail sales.  Ipod users will soon be able to plug into in flight entertainment on six airlines including Delta, Continental and United.  Apple announcing the deal on the same day Microsoft comes out with its iPod competitor the Zune and companion music downloading site.  And President Bush met with CEOs of Detroit‘s big three automakers today.  On the agenda healthcare and trade, Tucker has more on the president‘s day ahead.  From CNBC first in business worldwide, now back to MSNBC and Tucker.  

CARLSON:  its official, President Bush has chosen who he wants to lead the Republican National Committee and in just a few hours, President Bush will be leaving behind the woes of his party‘s loss of control in the House and the Senate and heading east, on a free nation swing through Asia.  First he‘ll stop in Moscow, then head to Singapore.  Bush will then attend an Apex summit in Vietnam, that‘s followed by a trip to Indonesia.  He‘ll finish up in the states in Hawaii. 

Joining me now with more on all this NBC‘s Kevin Corke at the White House.  Kevin?

KEVIN CORKE, NBC NEWS:  Tucker, good day to you.  You‘re right, it is Mel Martinez the very popular senator from the state of Florida who will now be the general chairman of the Republican National Committee replacing Ken Mehlman who suffered that humbling defeat at the hands of Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections.  The president saying that he was very confident in Mel Martinez, called him a fine leader.  Mel Martinez for his part said today that he‘s looking forward to working with Mike Duncan who will be chairman and also he said, look, his main focus will remain the priorities of the people of Florida.  But he also feels confident that he can lead his party back in particular with an important 2008 presidential race staring him right in the face. 

You mentioned the president‘s busy travels Tucker, you‘re right, boy he is going to be busy indeed.  He has that trip to Asia coming up.  That trip an important one because the president wants to sort of reassert American leadership in the region.  Most notably with all the challenges happening with China and of course North Korea presenting a nuclear threat, the president wants to get back on familiar ground and show that the U.S.  can not only be a political leader in the region but also an economic leader.  He‘s still going to be looking to branch out to some of those emerging economies and try and establish more ties between the U.S. and some of those economies, most notably Vietnam.  Though he doesn‘t have a trade deal in his hip pocket just yet, he may before he gets there. Tucker? 

CARLSON:  Kevin, big news internationally today has been the divergence of opinion on the question of Iran and of Syria for that matter.  Tony Blair in Great Britain has said basically they could be diplomatic partners.  How has this White House responded to that? 

CORKE:  Well I think you have to give the people some context and I know you do a fine job of that.  People are talking about what Tony Blair.  He said last night look, there would be a way or it is possible that Iran or even a Syria could be a partner in peace in that particular region.  But as we listen to him give his remarks he also laid out a number of steps that the regime in Tehran for example would have to meet just to get to that point.  Would that happen, is it likely that that could happen?  Well if history is any indication, it‘s unlikely.  And clearly from the administration‘s standpoint, they seem to be at odds with that because they‘ve said for a long time, look we do not deal with terrorist states and the administration has for quite some time considered both Syria and Iran to be just that.  Still, you know, hope springs eternal.  Tony Blair the British Prime Minister feels like it could be possible, it could possibly happen.  Just less optimism, perhaps a great deal more skepticism here Tucker.

CARLSON:  Excellent point.  Kevin Corke at the White House, thanks a lot Kevin.

CORKE:  You bet.

CARLSON:  Before leaving on his trip to Asia, President Bush as we were just talking about, rebuffed British Prime Minister Tony Blair‘s suggestion that the U.S. and the U.K. form some kind of partnership, potentially in the future with Iran and Syria to discuss troop withdrawal from Iraq.  Blair says dialogue with Iraq‘s neighbors is important.  Earlier today he presented his views to the Iraq study group, a panel that‘s looking at options for us, what to do next in Iraq.  Joining me now to discuss all this, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of “The Hill.”  A.B.  welcome.  

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “THE HILL”:  Hi.

CARLSON:  Is this—what is this?  Put this in further context, is this a split between the United States and its most stalwart ally on Iraq or not?

STODDARD:  You know I think that President Bush, clearly the nuclear ambitions of Iran are a huge obstacle in our dealings with them and bringing them to a table, this is no secret, we‘ve been talking about this all summer and fall.  And I think that Tony Blair makes a really good point.  It‘s a point that might be made by James Baker in the recommendations that come out of the Iraq study group next month, which is that we have to engage these neighbors in the region or we‘ll be able to chip away at the control that Iran asserts over the Shiite militias (INAUDIBLE) to Hezbollah.  He makes a good point and again we have been reading in the papers now about the secret workings of the Iraq study group and one of the things that has emerged among some sort of old kicked around ideas, one of the new ones, is engaging Iran and Syria.  So I understand why Bush is saying no, because it clearly—we‘re trying to convince Iran to disengage their nuclear—potential nuclear weapons program.  I mean they say it‘s not, we say it is.  But at the same time, the Iraq study group—we‘re hanging all our hopes, the members of both parties are hanging all their hopes on the recommendations from that committee and I have a feeling that‘s sort of the most novel idea that‘s going to come out of it.

CARLSON:  Boy they‘d better come up with something clever because everybody is hoping they have a solution.  What do you make of Joe Lieberman all of a sudden, it looks like he‘s going to be the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.  Just last month he had been disowned by his party, by his former friends.  They were ignoring him and supporting this Ned Lamont character.  This must have been pretty tough to swallow for some Democrats. 

STODDARD:  I think, you know Joe Lieberman is my favorite story of the entire political season.  I think it‘s just a fascinating tale.  He of course as you know was elected by more Republicans than Democrats on Election Day.  But he is very good friends with Susan Collins, Senator of Maine who‘s been chairing that committee and who will now be his ranking member.  She went out and campaigned for him in Connecticut.  Joe Lieberman is in a very good position to serve as sort of a bridge between both parties and in this very pivotal period as obviously both parties try to solve the nation‘s problems and get their hands on the White House in two years.  And I think that Joe Lieberman—I just think it‘s an amazing comeback story.  I think he‘s going to be a pivotal figure in the next two years.  And if the Democrats who initially abandoned him in August who later completely abandoned Ned Lamont in September by the way, can‘t figure out that they need to be his friend that will be their problem. 

CARLSON:  He‘s the single most powerful man in Washington.  I mean he is the guy who determines who controls the United States Senate and all that that means, Supreme Court nominations, etcetera.  What do you think of the fighting all of the sudden that‘s broken out among Democrats on the House side over who‘s going to be majority leader?  It‘s kind of amazing how bitter it‘s become and so fast.

STODDARD:  It really is.  And I spoke to a Republican member of Congress today who told me that his Democratic friends were opening questioning Nancy Pelosi‘s moves on the House floor today.  I mean just everyone is sort of shocked because you know yesterday everyone believed that the letter that Pelosi sent in response to a request from Murtha endorsing him was really a way of approving of her long time friend.  She‘s very loyal to him and sort of making sort of a symbolic gesture and it was declared a letter of intent.  I don‘t think people thought that she was really counting votes yesterday for Jack Murtha and leaning on the caucus to change their votes from Hoyer.  As far as we know, Hoyer had it completely locked up.  And today it‘s—

CARLSON:  I‘m sorry, you said you think Steny Hoyer of Maryland has it locked up? 

STODDARD:  Yesterday, Hoyer‘s camp—everyone believed he had it locked up.  Today Hoyer‘s camp tells me they still have the votes but the problem is we‘re hearing from the Murtha camp now that Pelosi is actually - - one member told me today who‘s whipping for Murtha that Pelosi started making those calls quietly last week and she‘s putting her foot down.  If she is really working that hard, obviously she‘s going to be able to turn some votes and not definitely cause an upset, but she obviously has the power to influence members of that caucus against Steny Hoyer and that‘s a very big deal.  And by the way, “The New York Sun” today said Charlie Rangel was going to vote for Steny Hoyer, so --  

CARLSON:  How embarrassing is this? The rap on Democrats has always been they can‘t organize a dinner party.  No, but it‘s actually its true—

I hate to say it, I like a lot of these people.   I think some of them have very good intentions and I‘m not attacking them personally but talk about living down to a stereotype—it‘s unbelievable. 

STODDARD:  I absolutely.  I agreed with you on this last week when we saw Rahm Emanuel, who‘s now the complete rock star of their caucus, sort of step down and be willing to take another job as caucus chairman so that James (INAUDIBLE) of North Carolina can be the whip, that was a potentially huge really contentious fight that she managed to make go away.  I thought that was pretty impressive.  I was surprised that she would want to side with Murtha and create a distraction because a distraction it is.  It is the favorite drama of both sides now across town.  I mean the Republicans are as excited about it as the Democrats are upset about it.  

CARLSON:  Here‘s why it‘s a big deal I guess for people and this is so inside Washington sounding and I‘m sure we—you know, some people have tuned out.  But here is why it‘s rhetorically and in the end important because Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats came to office in some ways largely because of this feeling that Republicans were corrupt.  And Jack Murtha, though I think it‘s probably unfair, has this reputation as a guy who has ethical problems and how funny it is that it‘s come down to ethics again.  I mean this is just not the message they want.  

STODDARD:  It is true.  And both in the case of the question of who she will place as intelligence chairman on the intelligence committee and in the case of Jack Murtha, there are ethical spots on the past of Jack Murtha as well as Alcee Hastings who is the potential chairman of the intelligence committee.  And she has created -- 

CARLSON:  Who was impeached as a federal judge. 

STODDARD:  As a federal judge.  And she is obviously, there‘s much appeal to Jack Murtha as majority leader, as Congressman Rangel was just saying.  But it‘s true, after promising that you‘re going to drain the swamp, it‘s probably not perfect eight days later to be inviting all these questions about people that you‘re putting forth in the leadership, having ethical problems.  

CARLSON:  And it is perfect because it just makes this such a more compelling soap opera and I‘m really glad you‘re there to tell us about it.  A.B. Stoddard, thank you.

STODDARD:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Does the Democratic takeover of Congress mean the country is moving to the left?  Does it open a door for Hillary Clinton to move into the White House?  We‘ll ask the great Jerry Springer, he joins us when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Jerry Springer is about more than just world class ballroom dancing, he‘s also a one time practitioner and a lifelong connoisseur of politics.  Jerry joins me right here when we come back in 60 seconds. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Last week‘s Democratic victory in Washington.  Apparently the political winds are shifting across the country.  A “USA Today” Gallup poll shows that 61 percent of Americans want the Democrats in Congress to have more influence over the direction of this country, that‘s nearly twice the influence they‘d like the president to have.  Is America moving to the left?  Joining me now with his expert insight, the former mayor of Cincinnati and dancer extraordinary, Jerry Springer, whose show by the way is on the air in 53 countries around the globe, amazing. 

JERRY SPRINGER, FMR. CINCINNATI MAYOR:  Well that helps our national defense because other people see my show and they no longer want to take us over.  We don‘t have to send our troops every place.

CARLSON:  I bet the Islamic extremists hate no one more than you and I mean that as a compliment.  

SPRINGER:  Well thank you.  I certainly hope they‘re not watching. 

CARLSON:  No they‘re not.  So was last and I also should say you have a radio show every day, which you discuss politics pretty insightfully.  Would you say last week‘s election results were an embrace of the Democratic world view or a rejection of the Bush administration policies? 

SPRINGER:  Well primarily a rejection of the Bush administration‘s policies but I think that‘s pretty clear, but I think it goes hand in hand.  They‘re saying no we don‘t like that approach and let‘s try the other one.  And I think on some pretty clear economic issues, I think the country is more liberal.  I think the country does support minimum wage increase, I think the country does support such issues as healthcare for all our citizens.  I suspect we‘re far more liberal than the politicians talk. 

CARLSON:  Why has the country moved to the left? 

SPRINGER:  I don‘t know that it has—well I think it‘s a national progression of things.  I think society is more liberal today than it was 20 years ago, 30 years ago.  I keeping saying on my talk show the liberals have won.  Even if you vote conservative, even if you call yourself a conservative, if you talk to your kids, look at the music they listen to, look at the movies they go to, the TV shows they watch.  We live today far more liberated, no one questions any more interracial dating or marriage.  I just think we become more liberal every decade and—

CARLSON:  We‘re basically moving in the direction of Europe which has become more post modern every year, but also more kind of depressing and empty, don‘t you think?

SPRINGER:  No, I think this is a very exciting great, wonderful country and honestly if we weren‘t talking about the war in Iraq, I think people would start to feel very good about what‘s going on in America.  You take a look, you know obviously today‘s headlines—you get all excited about it, but you take a look at newspapers of any year and you look back and back then it‘s the end of the world, oh my gosh, this is the worst thing that ever happened.  No, I think life in America for most people is very good and we have to figure out how to make it better for everybody and I think that‘s why the Democrats probably are doing pretty well right now.  Because I think people see them as the party of the middle class.  I really believe that.  

CARLSON:  Obama versus Hillary, who wins?

SPRINGER:  I think today Hillary wins but it will be interesting to see what happens.

CARLSON:  I look at that and I think to myself, who are voters going to feel better voting for?  You know, are you going to really feel good about yourself voting for Hillary, probably not.  Obama, yeah, you might feel good about yourself voting for him.

SPRINGER:  I think—well you‘re talking about going through the primaries first?

CARLSON:  Yeah, that‘s right.

SPRINGER:  And I think Hillary‘s organization right now is just, you know, she‘s really paid her dues within the party.  I think it‘s going to be pretty tough to beat her in the primaries, I really do.  Now once she becomes the candidate, I think she has a very good chance of winning, simply because I don‘t see her losing any state that John Kerry wants.  And if you start out on that premise, then all you will have to do is add one more state and I have to feel that America is ready for after all these years of a Republican president, maybe they‘re ready to go back again and I think there are going to be an awful lot of people three days before the election that are going to say, you know what, we could the first woman president.  And that‘s a silent vote that won‘t be reflected in polls.  They‘re going to go into the polls and say you know what, this is kind of cool.  I have a daughter, one day she can grow up to be president.  It only has to be two percent that feel that.

CARLSON:  I‘ve got three daughters and I don‘t want them to grow up to be Hillary Clinton, I have to say.  Speaking of elections that really matter, tomorrow “Dancing with the Stars”, who‘s going to win?  

SPRINGER:  I think I‘m going to win on the write in. 

CARLSON:  Really?

SPRINGER:  I thin it‘s clear.  No, well Mario is a phenomenal dancer and Emmett‘s got a huge fan base because you know you want to grow up and be Emmett. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, totally.

SPRINGER:  Because he‘s so cool.  I don‘t know.  I‘m happy I‘m off.  

CARLSON:  You got training that you‘re going to use at your daughter‘s wedding, are you?

SPRINGER:  I‘d like too, that was the intent.  But the truth is, unless they play the exact same song, that‘s the only routine I know.  I haven‘t learned how to do any dance.  But I sure know how to dress.

CARLSON:  Are you going to wear that to your daughter‘s wedding? 

SPRINGER:  Well I‘m negotiating with ABC right now so that I can keep the clothing. And right now the only thing they‘re going to give me is the samba outfit with the fluffy shirt. 

CARLSON:  I know any negotiation you‘re going to prevail.  Jerry Springer, great to see you.

SPRINGER:  You‘re the best, thanks Tucker.  “Dancing with the Stars” not only my first foray into televised competition, it was not.  I did a little better on jeopardy.   Willie Geist goes behind the scenes with Alex Tribek when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  There it is, the fabled Hollywood sign.  We‘re coming to you this week from Los Angeles.  And here from the mean streets of Malibu, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST:  Tucker, I‘m sitting in the same seat as Jerry Springer. 

I‘ll never wash these pants again. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think you would anyway.  

GEIST:  That‘s a good point.  In front of the Hollywood sign, we have made it my friend, we have made it. Well as long as we‘re here in L.A., celebrating your reality TV career Tucker, I thought we‘d take a look back at the appearance that really gave you the bug to compete in front of millions of people. Alex Tribek and the good people at “Jeopardy” offered me the chance to go behind the scenes to celebrate the show‘s 5,000th episode at last week‘s celebrity “Jeopardy.”  As you‘ll see, Alex remembers you vaguely but fondly.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Please welcome author and Crossfire co-host Tucker Carlson. 

CARLSON:  What is a double? 

TRIBEK:  Double is right.  

TRIBEK:  Tucker?

CARLSON:  What is Russia? 

TRIBEK:  That‘s it.  Tucker again. 

CARLSON:  What is Kenya? 

TRIBEK:  Tucker? 

CARLSON:  What is Japan? 

TRIBEK:  Yes.  Tucker? 

CARLSON:  What is General Electric?

TRIBEK:  Right. 

CARLSON:  I promise it says chief justice of the Supreme Court.  

TRIBEK:  It does, our judges agree with you, you risked $8,000 that takes you to $20,800. That means you are the winner today. 

GEIST:  Tucker‘s crushing defeat of lightweights Bob Woodward and Peggy Noonan on “Jeopardy Power Players” a couple of years ago was a display of intellectual superiority no one will soon forget. 

CARLSON:  What is all the president‘s men?

TRIBEK:  You are right.

GEIST:  That historic day when Tucker Carlson defeated Bob Woodward and Peggy Noonan.  What do you remember most about that day? 

TRIBEK:  Absolutely nothing. 

GEIST:  Ok.  Maybe Alex Tribek had no memory of Tucker whatsoever, but I planned to make him remember me when I went to New York City‘s Radio City Music Hall to play Celebrity “Jeopardy.”  Sadly they require you to be a celebrity to play celebrity “Jeopardy”, so I had to settle for watching Regis Philbin, Nancy Grace and Carson from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  Carson was confident he had a handle on the tricks of playing the game.  

CARSON:  What about the buzzer? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The buzzer. Yeah.  They told you, yes.  I think I‘m going to be fine with the whole jerking motion thing.  I‘m good.  

GEIST:  That sexual innuendo later turned to down right sexual harassment.  

CARSON:  Oh, you feel good.  

GEIST:  Thanks, Carson. 

CARSON:  Bye, everybody. 

GEIST:  After a quick shower, I watched in the wings as Carson dominated the game.  

CARSON:  What is a German shepherd?  

GEIST:  But when it came winning time in final “Jeopardy”, he botched his wager and handed Regis Philbin a cheap victory. 

REGIS PHILBIN:  That‘s the key right there. 

GEIST:  Where does this rank? You have beautiful children, a fine professional career, where does this rank among your lifetime achievement?  

PHILBIN:  It‘s pretty high.   The mistletoe.  

GEIST:  The tension between you and Alex is palpable.   From one game show host to another.  Do you hate him as much as it appears you do? 

PHILBIN:  No, no, I admire Alex, but he has a certain look to him, you know what I mean? A certain look that‘s—

GEIST:  Shifty?

PHILBIN:  Shifty is the word. 

GEIST:  Yes.

PHILBIN:  Alex Tribek is shifty.

GEIST:  Regis was feeling awfully good about himself after winning celebrity “Jeopardy.”  It was one thing to beat a fashion guru and a legal expert, but would he take my offer of a shot at Tucker Carlson? 

CARLSON:  What is Louisiana?   

GEIST:  What do you say you and him, mano y mano, no cameras, two men enter, one man leave. 

PHILBIN:  Tucker Carlson, I mean very smart, politically oriented, knows everything.  No, I‘ll turn him down right now, no thanks, Tucker.  I‘m quitting while I‘m ahead.  

GEIST:  That‘s what I thought, Reg, that‘s what I thought.  

CARLSON:  Finally.  

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

GEIST:  Tucker, you won that decisively, by the way.  I don‘t think we showed the final score but you cleaned the—you cleaned them up.  Woodward, Peggy Noonan.  

CARLSON:  I just can‘t get over what that Carson guy did to you.  

GEIST:  He was friendly.  

CARLSON:  A little too. 

GEIST:  No, he‘s a people person.  He likes to get out with the people a little bit. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not just saying this because we‘re in Los Angeles right now, at the very center of really game show culture, but Regis Philbin, one of the great people of all time.

GEIST:  He is, he and Jerry Springer, we‘ve had two in the last couple of minutes.

CARLSON:  Completely agree and George Hamil.  Anybody who endures in Hollywood I respect. 

GEIST:  And we thank Harry Friedman, executive producer of  “Jeopardy” for letting us backstage.  It was fun.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.  That‘s it from us today from Los Angeles.  Thank you for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  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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