updated 11/21/2006 10:35:10 AM ET 2006-11-21T15:35:10

Guests: Charles Range, Jack Jacobs, Kenneth Adelman, Jonathan Alter, Joshua Muravchik, A.B. Stoddard, Joe Trippi

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

Let‘s get right to our top story of the day, the potential return of the draft.  Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York announced yesterday his plans to push for the military draft.  That would be the nation‘s first since 1973 and the end of the Vietnam war.  Rangel has raised the idea before, but in this increasingly anti-war climate suddenly his idea is generating some heat and discussion.

Here‘s what he said on “Face the Nation” yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK:  There‘s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm‘s way. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  But would the draft make our military stronger and would the American people even accept it? 

Joining me now from New York, Congressman Charlie Rangel, the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. 

Mr. Rangel, thanks a lot for joining us.

RANGEL:  Good to be back with you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  You‘ve been on a couple times on this show over the last week gallantly defending Nancy Pelosi and explaining that Democrats really are unified.  With that in mind, I was amazed to read Nancy Pelosi essentially disavowing your plans to reinstate the draft.  She said yesterday on television that you “don‘t have jurisdiction” to do anything like that and she doesn‘t support it even if you did. 

Why?  Why doesn‘t she support your idea? 

RANGEL:  Well, first of all, the committee haven‘t organized.  And I don‘t ask anyone to support my legislation until we have to support it. 

Recently, General Abizaid said that for those who want to send more troops to Iraq, that we don‘t have the resources to do it, that we would have to increase the active service.  And so either that means going deep into the reserve, the Marines and the Army are not meeting their goals—they have $4 billion that they‘re spending in recruiting, especially setting up recruitment in cities that have the highest unemployment or the poorest communities.  They‘re offering $40,000 in some cases as a bonus, $70,000 in educational benefits, and they‘re not reaching their goals. 

How are they going to do this unless they have the draft? 

CARLSON:  But I‘m confused, Mr. Rangel, because you don‘t support them doing it.  That is, you don‘t support, as far as I know—at least you didn‘t last week—support sending more troops to Iraq.  So why would you want to increase the size of the military?

RANGEL:  Well, I would think that if they recognize we have this shortage, that people would be less prone to make the decisions to put the military as an option on the table if they thought that it just won‘t be my communities that would be affected, but everyone in the Congress, in the Pentagon, in the White House, and throughout the country.  I am thoroughly convinced that if we had a draft, we would not be in Iraq today. 

CARLSON:  But wait a second.  Two points. 

One, the Pentagon, because of, in fact, your complaints, has studied this question very specifically.  And they found that—that those serving in combat in fact don‘t come disproportionately from your community, as you put it.  They tend to be Hispanic, middle class, or white, actually.  That‘s what the Pentagon discovered.

And second, isn‘t it a pretty democratic system that we have now?  If you support the war in Iraq, you know, you join the military.  If you don‘t, you don‘t.  I mean, that‘s pretty democratic isn‘t it? 

RANGEL:  No.  First of all, that‘s just not so.  I have statistics to show in higher-income communities we don‘t have anyone that‘s enlisting.  And the poor communities in the city of New York is where we have our casualties and where we have enlistees.

And really, you don‘t need any report to know that kids from affluent families...

CARLSON:  Yes?

RANGEL:  ... that have an opportunity economically do not really consider going to Iraq and being in harm‘s way as an option.  Now, when I was 18 and dropped out of high school and didn‘t have any place to go for employment, I, too, sought the Army.  And so, $40,000, $70,000 for education is not as voluntary as you might want to make it. 

You don‘t have the options that more affluent people have.  And that‘s a fact.

CARLSON:  But wait—but wait a second.  Isn‘t—I mean, you‘re essentially making a philosophical case that, if you‘re going to have—a draft would require policymakers to think through their policy, right?

RANGEL:  Yes.

CARLSON:  It would require all of us to support a war effort in order to have a war.  But isn‘t—a voluntary Army the means to do just that.  Again, it‘s perfectly democratic if you support it and you join it.  If you don‘t, you don‘t.

RANGEL:  Well, let me say this.  I love my country like anybody else.  I served in the Army, I got shot, the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, and I would have rather not have had that option. 

CARLSON:  But you served during—there was a draft, of course.  You served in Korea.

RANGEL:  I enlisted.

CARLSON:  OK.

RANGEL:  I enlisted.  And I‘m just saying that, once you‘re in, the patriotic thing to do is to do what you are told to do.

CARLSON:  Yes.

RANGEL:  But when you‘re out, we have to wonder why would there—in the first place, I owe it to the military.  Kids that are going over there three or four times, and this is not what they‘re volunteering to do—and if we are going to expand our ability to introduce military troops, I‘m saying it‘s unfair just to have the same troops going over, over and over.

We‘ve got about 150,000 troops over there, one-third of our National Guard.  You don‘t believe that the National Guard‘s people should be going over there two or three times. 

CARLSON:  No, I don‘t.  I think it‘s awful.  I think it‘s one of the many tragedies of this war. 

I don‘t support it.  It makes me feel sad and sick to my stomach.  I agree with you...

RANGEL:  And so what you‘re saying is...

CARLSON:  But hold on.  But your idea is taking it—for a draft, it‘s not supported by the people who run the military. 

RANGEL:  No, it‘s not supported by anyone who wants to be in harm‘s way. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

RANGEL:  But what I‘m saying is that, if it‘s in our national interest, everyone should be prepared to make a sacrifice and not go to the communities and offer money and college education benefits for those people who really can‘t afford not to go.

Now, you know that makes sense, Tucker.

CARLSON:  But that‘s just not the truth, Mr. Rangel.  There have been—I mean, this is a subject, again, thank to you that has been studied exhaustively.  And the people serving in combat positions are not again—this is a matter of fact, not of conjecture—disproportionately from poor backgrounds.  They‘re just not.  That‘s just not true.

RANGEL:  Listen, I am glad, if nothing else, that there be studies.  But if you believe those on the way to Harvard and Yale are volunteering in the military, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you. 

CARLSON:  I already bought it.

Mr. Rangel, thanks a lot.

Charlie Rangel from New York.

RANGEL:  It‘s good to be back with you.

CARLSON:  Thank you.

It‘s been more than 30 years since this country has had a draft.  In that time, America‘s military has changed pretty dramatically.  Would a draft even work today?  And what would it mean for our troops in Iraq?

Joining me now to talk about that, Medal of Honor winner Colonel Jack Jacobs.  Also MSNBC military analyst.

Colonel Jack, thanks for coming on.

COL. JACK JACOBS (RET.), MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST:  Good to be here with you.

CARLSON:  A draft?  I mean, do people who think seriously about the military think that‘s a good idea?

JACOBS:  No, they don‘t think it‘s a good idea for a number of reasons.  It would be nice if we did have a draft to the extent that we had universal service. 

I came in to the Army in the first place because I believed then and I believe today that everybody owes some sort of debt to the country that keeps them free.  I grew up in the post-World War II generation.  My father served in the second world war, and so on.

But the only way you‘re going to be able to get consensus about service is if you have a political culture that values service.  And we don‘t have that at the moment.  And it wouldn‘t work because it‘s politically infeasible. 

CARLSON:  But as a military matter would it work?  Would it make the armed services more effective or not?

JACOBS:  We need—we have 300 million people in this country.

CARLSON:  Right.

JACOBS:  We have 1.6, 1.7 million people active duty under arms.  We need more than that in order to accomplish our worldwide missions, but we don‘t need 100 percent of the kids between the ages of 18 and 26 to serve.  We can‘t use all of them, and it would be deleterious to drag into the service people who don‘t want to be in the service.

We‘ve done very well so far with an all-volunteer Army, but we need more of them.  And I don‘t know how to bridge the gap between those stalwarts we have now—we have the best-armed, best-equipped, most intelligent, best-educated soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines we‘ve ever had in the 40 years I‘ve been—more than the 40 years I‘ve been following it. 

How you get from that number that we have now to the number we really need, which is significantly more, but not all the kids we‘ve got... 

CARLSON:  Right.

JACOBS:  ... between 18 and...

CARLSON:  Well, by making the benefits more appealing.  That seems to have been the trend. You know, you heard Charlie Rangel say a minute ago they‘re paying, you know, these signing bonuses and luring, he was saying, poor kids into the military. 

Is that true?

JACOBS:  But, it‘s not—no, it‘s not true.  I mean, we are paying bonuses and we are giving kids the opportunity to select their first port—or station where they‘re going to serve, or the military occupational specialty, or any kind of a number of other specialties where they can—where they can excel in the services.

But these are not kids who otherwise would wind up on the dole.  I mean, these are first class people.

CARLSON:  Right.

JACOBS:  I‘ve spent a lot of time going to Iraq and Afghanistan and visiting the kids, and at post camps and stations around the world.  These are first class people.

So we‘re not dragging unceremoniously or luring unceremoniously kids who otherwise would be on the dole.  These are first class people. 

CARLSON:  Finally, what‘s the really number of troops needed in Iraq?  You hear—you know, people throw these different numbers.

If we are going to pacify Iraq, how many more men do you think we would need there? 

JACOBS:  Well, unfortunately, the number we needed before is not the number we need now.

CARLSON:  Right.

(CROSSTALK)

JACOBS:  So we need a lot more now given what‘s happened over there.

But at the moment, I think we need certainly at least twice as many as we have now.  But not only numbers—nobody‘s focusing on the mission.  It‘s not enough to have lots and lots of people there.  We have to be doing the things we need to do in order to make it work.

And that is to conduct a proper counterinsurgency operation in the way in which we really know how to do it.  But to do that we‘re going to have to accept two things.

First of all, that we‘re going to have to be ruthless, and as a result there‘s going to be collateral damage and people are going to get irritated about that.  And second, we‘re going to take casualties.

And one of the reasons we‘re in the predicament we are today, and one of the reasons why we‘re coming home—make no mistake about that...

CARLSON:  Yes.

JACOBS:  ... is the fact that we don‘t have the stomach to take...

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.

JACOBS:  ... either casualties or put up with collateral damage and hurt civilians.

And that‘s why we‘re going to—you know, between now and the election in ‘08, we‘re going to be winding down.

CARLSON:  We‘re going to fail because we don‘t have the political will.

JACOBS:  That‘s correct.

CARLSON:  I‘ve heard that story before. 

Colonel Jack Jacobs, thank you very much.

JACOBS:  Good to be here.

CARLSON:  Thank you.

Still to come, a one-time true believer turns against the White House because of Iraq.  Kenneth Adelman and what he calls the debacle that was Iraq.

And the Clinton battle plan, will it put the junior senator from New York in the White House?  And if so, how?

We‘ve got details.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  It‘s no secret Iran has a nuclear program, an active one.  What do we do about it?  We could ignore the problem, see how that works out.  We could try to be diplomatic and hold endless talks with people who are unwilling to negotiate, and see how far we get with that.  Or, if you ask Josh Muravchik of the American Enterprise Institute, we can bomb Iran. 

And with more on his proposal, here he is.  Joshua Muravchik joins us now from Washington.  Thank you very much for joining us Mr. Muravchik. 

JOSHUA MURAVCHIK, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE:  Thanks for having me on Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So bomb Iran.  If we bomb Iran, you concede in your piece, we will definitely face immediate consequences from Iran, either in Iraq or in increased terrorism against U.S. targets, or both.  Why—it seems kind of radical.  Why would we do that?

MURAVCHIK:  It‘s very radical to talk about an act of war like this and there will be consequences, we‘ll pay a price for it, but I think the alternative is worse and the alternative is having this crazy radical missionary regime in Iran with nuclear weapons in its hands.  I don‘t see that the negotiations, the diplomacy, the sanctions that we can‘t even get through the Security Council, are going to make a difference.  We really, I think, have just two choices, either to try to bomb—and when I say bomb Iran, I don‘t mean permiscuously throughout the country, but I mean their nuclear weapons sights—either bomb that, or say we are just going to live with a nuclear weapon in Mr. Ahmadinejad‘s hands and close our eyes tight and hope for the best. 

CARLSON:  But we did live with a crazed, as you put it, missionary, heavily armed dictatorship, the Soviet Union, for 70 years and it was ugly and they killed millions of their own people and a lot of other people, but we didn‘t go to war with them.  Wasn‘t that a success?

MURAVCHIK:  Well, it was—It was a partial success.  There was actually a lot of death and destruction that was caused by the cold war and the existence of those nuclear arms in the Soviet hands was the cover for the aggressive things that the Soviet Union did, but also it‘s true, Tucker, that we did get out of the cold war miraculously easy.  You know, the great thing that happened there was Gorbachev and Gorbachev just sort of called it off and said I‘ve seen that our way of doing things is wrong.  We don‘t need to be an enemy of the west and we‘ll have a new era.  And, in fact, the whole Soviet Union disappeared, but I wouldn‘t want to count on getting off that lucky the second time. 

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know though.  I mean, if the alternative is a war, possibly with a nuclear armed state, I mean, we are pretty certain that‘s going to be a disaster.  So, I mean, why not hope for the best?  I mean I know it‘s considered week and appeasement and all that, but I don‘t know, is it, after witnessing what‘s happened in Iraq over the past three years, is it really stupid to try to contain a country like Iran? 

MURAVCHIK:  Well, bear in mind, I‘m not talking about invading Iran and getting into the same kind of thing we‘re in in Iran.  I‘m talking about trying to use air power to cripple their nuclear weapons program.  This is an extremely radical regime, really more so than the Soviet Union was.  President Ahmadinejad has a slogan, which is he wants to see a world without America and—

CARLSON:  And a world without Israel as well? 

MURAVCHIK:  Yes, yes, but the thing is there‘s been much more publicity about his repeated statements about wanting to wipe Israel off the map, I guess, because it seems to people less far-fetched that he might really try that somehow and people don‘t seem to take seriously that he also wants to wipe America off the map.  But I think we ought to take it seriously. 

CARLSON:  Well, I mean, are we—what‘s your bottom line prediction, since you are deeply involved in thinking about this kind of thing?  Will we do something?  Will we strike first preemptively and, more to the point, will the Israelis?  They, as you said, have a lot more to worry about even than we do.

MURAVCHIK:  Well, they may.  I believe that President Bush probably will strike Iran‘s nuclear weapons.  I think that if I were to put myself in the president‘s shoes, everything he has tried to do for his entire presidency will be neutralized or rendered hollow if, in terms of the war against terrorism, if he leaves office and nuclear weapons are suddenly in the hands of the biggest terrorist supporting state in the world. 

CARLSON:  I bet you that is exactly what happens.  Joshua Muravchik of the American Enterprise Institute, thanks for joining us. 

MURAVCHIK:  Thank you Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Just when you thought things couldn‘t get any worse for George W. Bush, some of his closest ideological allies suddenly have turned against him, denouncing the very Iraq policy they once championed. 

Meanwhile, the response from the left ranges from calls for a draft to demands for immediate withdrawal.  Either way Iraq is certain to be at the very center of the president‘s two remaining years in office.  The question is, is anyone still on George W. Bush‘s side in all of this. 

Joining me now A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of the “Hill.”  A.B.  welcome.  Are you surprised to see, and I don‘t mean to pile on here, but the very people who called for war really enthusiastically—cheerleader is not too strong a term to describe them—in 2003, three years ago, all of a sudden turning on Bush and Rumsfeld and saying oh, you screwed it up and I was never for this to begin with.   

A.B. STODDARD, THE “HILL”:  No, you don‘t stay on a sinking ship.  You jump into the water.  You don‘t go down with it.  It sounds—it sounds cruel, but it‘s actually—though they are criticizing the execution of the war, I actually found some of their comments recently—I mean, I think they are complicit from Kenneth Aidelman (ph) to Richard Pearl, to even Mr. Muravchik.  I think that they have acknowledged that they rallied for the invasion and the war and that they share some responsibility. 

And I do think that their criticism now is constructive and it‘s useful, because we see the White House engaging criticism finally, not turning their back on it, welcoming it.  We see the beginning of an open and obviously a noisy debate that will really begin in earnest when this Baker-Hamilton Commission report comes out, but I think that the administration is ready to face this down and I think that they‘re not looking for friends any more, so much as, you know, an answer. 

CARLSON:  Isn‘t the debate on the macro level kind of over though?  I mean, with the exception of McCain and maybe a few others, very few people are arguing for increases in troop levels or for staying the course.  I mean, we‘re getting out, aren‘t we?

STODDARD:  Well, you know what, we‘re getting out, it‘s a question of when, but I think there‘s many ways to do that.  I think we are now looking at—there are no new options.  We‘re looking at the lesser of seven or eight evils and I don‘t think there will be a solution.  I think there will just be a plan and a plan will involve—I don‘t think anyone will be able to take credit. 

I think the plan will, sort of, hopefully involve a confluence of events that will have—largely be driven by luck and occurances for which we can‘t really foresee right now.  And that‘s the way things deteriorate and sometimes it‘s how they improve.  So, I think that we‘re going to see a lot of—a lot more debate about how long we stay, how we pull out.  There‘s many different arguments and actually most of them have merit and all of them have their problems, but—

CARLSON:  What about the draft?  Just to take one of the kind of ancillary debates here, brought up by Charlie Rangel.  All of a sudden, you saw Pelosi, who he had been valiantly defending on this and many other shows over the past two weeks, kind of come out and just dismiss it out of hand, oh, you know, the Ways and Means Committee, which he‘ll be chairing soon, has no jurisdiction there.  And then you saw Steny Hoyer, who I think also had his cause taken up by Mr. Rangel, also dismiss it and say no, we‘re not for that.  What is that about?

STODDARD:  I think it‘s a great, you know, talking point for Charlie Rangel.  I think it‘s sort of a lever to pull in the debate about maybe, you know, the administration rushing to war and making a big mistake.  That is good for the Democrats, but John McCain is opposed to reinstating the draft and therefore, I guess, Hillary Clinton is going to have to be.  I don‘t think you are going to see the Democratic Congress reinstating the draft.  It‘s just a good thing to talk about now in the context of the larger debate, but it‘s not—I don‘t think we are likely to see this happen. 

CARLSON:  Is there another human being, who holds elected office and currently resides in Washington, D.C., who is for this? 

STODDARD:  Not that I know of. 

CARLSON:  OK, so it‘s Charlie Rangel out by himself. 

STODDARD:  Charlie Rangel has earned the right to fly solo. 

CARLSON:  I guess he has.  He certainly is good at it.  And finally what do you—The Baker Commission is coming out apparently next month with its recommendations about what we ought to do in Iraq.  It is bipartisan, but is seen, kind of, as a Republican, for whatever reason, a Republican effort.  Will Democrats, do you think, abide by its recommendations? 

STODDARD:  Well, that, of course, depends on what the recommendations are, but I have a feeling that the recommendations are going to be ones that—I think Jim Baker has even said this—that the administration is not going to love.  We know that it will involve at least one—on one level some kind of discussion with, you know, with Iran and Syria, which the administration now bristles at, and I think that you‘ll probably see support for that from a lot of Democrats and so I think that the Democrats would be wise to cool their powder when that comes out and try to work with -- it is a bipartisan group created by Congress—and I think that they should welcome the realists in the Republican party, Jim Baker, Bob Gates, who really want to get to work and solve this, and are not beholden to the Bush administration. 

CARLSON:  Boy, I hope that‘s true.  The great A.B. Stoddard.  Nobody covers Capitol Hill like A.B. Stoddard of the “Hill” newspaper.  Thank you A.B.. 

STODDARD:  Oh Tucker, thank you.

CARLSON:  John Kerry pulled off the impossible a couple of years ago, he lost to George W. Bush in the presidential election.  So is he coming back for more in 2008?  We‘ll tell you what he says.  Plus Kramer loses his mind in public.  Former Seinfeld actor Michael Richards goes off on a racist rant, laced with some pretty unattractive language.  We‘ll show you the tape.  We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Senator, how much damage has this done to you possibly seeking the presidency in 2008? 

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  The voters will decide that in the future. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You have not given up the thought of running for president in 2008?

KERRY:  Not in the least.  I am looking at in the same way.  The people that I have talked to across the country are—my team is confident and strong. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was Senator John Kerry yesterday confirming many Democrats‘ worst fears, he is considering another run for the White House.  Kerry insisted his so-called botched joke about American troops serving in Iraq will not hurt his presidential aspirations this time around.  But is he a viable candidate anymore.  And if he couldn‘t beat George W. Bush in 2004, what makes him think he can win in 2008?  For answers we turn to a man who has run a presidential campaign, Democratic strategist Joe Trippi.  Welcome Joe.

JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Great to be with you.

CARLSON:  What do you think of this?  Are Democrats as upset about the prospect of Kerry running as I imagine they would be? 

TRIPPI:  I don‘t think so.  I mean, I think it is going to be a no holes barred battle of ideas for the nomination.  And I think, you know, anybody who counts Kerry out—I am not going to make that mistake.  I mean he was dead going into Iowa.  I mean everybody wrote his obituary and this man can come back from the dead.  He‘s done it before.  I know better than anybody.  Howard Dean knows.

CARLSON:  You certainly do, as a man who was running his opponent‘s campaign in Iowa, I remember really well.  That‘s right Kerry is formidable, but there‘s this weird dynamic that happens, maybe in both parties, when a man loses the presidential election, he really is kind of banished.  I think Mike Dukakis is teaching Sociology at a junior college somewhere in Massachusetts, or whatever.  I mean they kind of disappear. 

TRIPPI:  Yes, no, actually that‘s true, particularly in the Democratic party.  We tend to treat our past nominees like leapers and we don‘t want them around, but two, Al Gore and John Kerry—Kerry in particular before the botched joke—was doing pretty well, I think, in terms of keeping himself relevant and Al Gore, a past nominee who has lost, also has done that.  So, I don‘t think—there‘s something else going on and I think someone who puts bold ideas out there, takes the rest of the field on, and tries to lead the party, has a shot and John Kerry is capable of doing that.  It is going to be tough for him. 

Frankly there‘s nowhere to go but up from here, which is a big asset this early on.  I mean, John Edwards, who leads in Iowa, it‘s hard to carry a lead that long, for a whole year, in Iowa, with everybody gunning at you.  And that‘s what‘s—so, you know, some people are big fans of Edwards right now.  I think he is doing a great job, but Kerry is actually starting from a better place in that strange way of coincidence. 

CARLSON:  -- I mean, Hillary Clinton must be considered the institutional candidate.  You have Barack Obama, the possibly celebrity candidate.  John Edwards would be the insurgent candidacy.  And so where exactly does that leave Kerry?  I mean what kind of candidacy would he have?

TRIPPI:  Well it would have to be a different candidacy than the one we saw, which is going to very interesting.  I mean, I think the way to get past the Obamas or the Hillaries of this world are to have real bold ideas.  Hillary is likely to be careful and cautious, like the Kerry front-runner campaign was of 2004.  So, the only way out, the way to break out of that pack is to have real bold ideas and to run like you have got nothing to lose, which Kerry could do, and if he does do that, I NEVILLE: ink he and Evan Bayh, a lot of the other candidates—I think you‘re going to see someone break out of the pack because they run that way. 

CARLSON:  What about money?  I mean everyone talks about the importance of money.  You had great success raising money for Governor Dean last time around.  With so many—essentially with Hillary and Obama, is there money left in the Democratic party for John Kerry? 

TRIPPI:  Well Kerry was able to write that—the one thing that did help him in Iowa was that 6.4 million dollar check that he wrote his campaign.  I don‘t know what, the wherewithal.  I think there‘s more there where that came from.  So, I don‘t think money is going to be Kerry‘s problem.  I think it is going to be, you know, can he break out of the mold of being that careful, cautious guy that we saw in 2004, and instead be, you know, the other guy that we‘ve seen along Kerry‘s career, bold and tough. 

CARLSON:  So you—you, obviously—your world is the consultant world.  You know everyone in it.  Who is hiring?  All the people you, all your friends, all the consultants you know, they are starting to pick teams now.  Where are people going? 

TRIPPI:  They‘re starting to pick teams but I don‘t think Obama has really decided yet whether he‘s going or not.  I know there‘s a slug of people who would love to go work for him if he makes that decision.  I think Hillary‘s—people are waiting to go to work for Hillary and I think there are a lot of people waiting to see what Al Gore does, as well. 

CARLSON:  Do you think Gore might actually run, I mean, honestly? 

TRIPPI:  No, I think there are people in the party who hope he does. 

I definitely—you hear that.  I think—the one thing I would say to caution everybody is look, no one at this point believed a guy named Howard Dean was going to—even knew he was running or that he existed.  His mom didn‘t know he was running at this point in the 2004 cycle. 

CARLSON:  But that almost makes more sense though, because it‘s Howard Dean.  You haven‘t heard of him.  I mean I had heard of him because we went to the same high school.  But honestly that makes more sense though than Al Gore.  Don‘t you think Gore, there‘s such, I don‘t know? 

TRIPPI:  No, but I‘m saying that there‘s a Vilsack.  I‘m saying that right now I wouldn‘t count anybody out of this thing, no one.  No matter how dead you think they are, no matter how old show you think they are, no matter how unknown you think they are, this thing right now—you know, certainly Hillary is the front runner.  Obama, if he gets in, really, really shakes up the field, but there are other people out there that could emerge.  

CARLSON:  So, who are you working for?  Then we‘ll know who‘s going to get it.

TRIPPI:  I‘m not working for anybody. 

CARLSON:  No, but three months from now when your addiction comes back and you‘ve had enough vacation, who are you working for? 

TRIPPI:  It has kicked in every four years like clock work, so I‘m not going to deny it, but I am not working for anybody right now. 

CARLSON:  Just yet, all right.  Joe Trippi, I appreciate it. 

TRIPPI:  Thanks Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well Michael Edwards leaves an audience gasping—Richard rather.  He‘s not running for president, he‘s a comedian, or was.  In any case, his profanity laced, racist tirade shocks the audience.  We‘ll show you the amazing tape when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Well, he hasn‘t officially announced yet, but for 2008 the smart money is on this man, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I have hired Joe Trippi.  You asked him and I didn‘t want him to say so, but you just blew it for us, thanks. 

We have a little breaking news for you Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Outstanding. 

GEIST:  Be grateful that you pre-ordered your O.J. book, “I Did It,” Amazon.com because they are canceling it.  They are discontinuing the book.  Fox has also called off the “If I Did It” special.  Rupert Murdoch, news corp chairman, said, quote, I and senior management I agree with the American public that this was an ill considered project.  We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.  You remember, this was the hypothetical interview and book, where he said, no I didn‘t kill them, but here‘s how I would have done it, if I had killed them.  So, we did the story last week.  We condemned it, you and I, as—it wasn‘t actually a renegade position. 

CARLSON:  It was along the lines of children are our future. 

GEIST:  Right, but anyway, they finally—Fox, give them credit, they bagged it and they stopped the book. 

CARLSON:  You know, since we‘re all still mad about O.J. killing those people, and I guess we should be, what about the jurors, where are they? 

GEIST:  I haven‘t heard anything from the jurors, but actually they‘re responsible for this whole thing.

CARLSON:  It‘s time to track them down at some point. 

GEIST:  Let me hear there book. 

Well, another sort of disgusting news, Tucker, Kramer—you remember the Seinfeld character, who will go down as one of the most memorable characters in TV history.  The man who played him may now be remembered for something else.  Michael Richards was doing a stand-up routine at the Laugh Factory in west Hollywood on Friday night when a couple of audience members, both of whom were black, started to heckle him.  Here is how he responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL RICHARDS, ACTOR:  Shut up.  Fifty years ago you had your arms tied down with (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fork up your (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  You can talk, you can talk, you can talk.  You‘re brave now mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  Throw this man out, he‘s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  He‘s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  He‘s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  He‘s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). A (EXPLETIVE DELETED) looks where‘s (INAUDIBLE).

It‘s uncalled for you to interrupt my (EXPLETIVE DELETED), you cheap mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  I‘m not sure quite what to say.  Here‘s the thing Michael Richards, Chris Rock uses the N word, funny.  Michael Richards uses the N word, not funny.  

CARLSON:  I noticed one of the audience members responded, called him a cracker.  Actually, I‘m saying it is kind of deserving at that point. 

GEIST:  No, it is.  It was disgusting and Jerry Seinfeld released a statement.  He said he thought it was sick.  Here he is.  He said it was extremely offensive.  He apologized, so everybody‘s disgusted and hopefully he‘ll apologize.

CARLSON:  I think there‘s something profound going on there.  We‘ll probably find out later.

GEIST:  One other quick one for you.  It was the wedding of the century.  You may have heard of it.  Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married in a medieval castle in Rome.  You should look into this stuff.  As you know, the couple has been prone to compensatory public displays of affection and reports say the wedding was no different.  Georgio Armani called their kiss at the altar a never-ending kiss.  Some guests put the make out session at three minutes long.  They made out for three minutes. 

CARLSON:  That sounds very heterosexual. 

GEIST:  We don‘t have cameras.  We don‘t know exactly what it looked like.  But here‘s probably what it looked like.  That mashed face kiss.  I never want to see that again.

CARLSON:  All my doubts have evaporated.  Three minutes man, wow, that settles that.  Willie Geist, thank you.  That‘s our show for tonight.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, HARDBALL with Chris.  See you tomorrow.

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

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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