updated 1/3/2007 5:20:12 PM ET 2007-01-03T22:20:12

Guests: Steve McMahon, A.B. Stoddard, Chuck Todd, Jim Moran, Jon Hilkevitch

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the show.  The funeral of former President Gerald Ford has dominated Washington this day.

But news in the rest of the world and politics went on, as well.  And those developments include the intersection of the two big stories in America - the Iraq war and immigration.

Yes, there are Iraqis headed our way - many thousands of them, potentially.  There are now close to two million Iraqi exiles.  The majority of them have fled since the fall of Saddam.

Last month alone, more than 100,000 people left Iraq, fleeing violence and registered as refugees.  So far, though, they‘re not coming here.

Over the past 3.5 years, only a few hundred Iraqis have been granted asylum in the U.S.  Democrats would like to change that.  Later this month, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts will hold hearings on making it easier for displaced Iraqis to come to this country.

The subtext almost certainly will be U.S. guilt.  We invaded their country; now we owe them citizenship.  Except that we don‘t.  Americans owe the Iraqi people nothing, and certainly no more than the 3,000 lives and countless billions we‘ve already given.

Anyone who advocates for increased Iraqi immigration to this country, whether it‘s Ted Kennedy or George W. Bush, ought to first answer one simple question.  Will more Iraqis make this a better country?

In other words, is it good for us?

That‘s the question we should have asked more forcefully before the invasion itself, and from here on out it needs to be the litmus test for all American foreign policy.  Let‘s hope that question is asked first, foremost and often.

Joining me now for the first show of the New Year, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard; Democratic strategist Steve McMahon; and editor-in-chief of “The Hotline,” Chuck Todd.

Welcome, and happy 2007.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Happy New Year.

CARLSON:  I hate to start the year, Steve, by being mean to Democrats, because there are .

(LAUGHTER AND CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why don‘t you start it the way you ended, Tucker?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is that your New Year‘s resolution?

CARLSON:  No, actually, you know .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You mean it today.

CARLSON:  . I‘m getting - I‘m getting increasingly nonpartisan.  And there are Republicans who are taking the same position, but let‘s start with Democrats.

Ted Kennedy holding hearings on why we need more Iraqis coming to this country, because somehow we owe the Iraqi people citizenship?  Can you sell that politically?

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s a political story, Tucker.  I think it‘s a question of whether the United States is doing what it needs to do, and what it‘s obligated to do.

I mean, this country has given political asylum to immigrants for hundreds and hundreds of years.  And these people are fleeing a country that they can‘t live in.  Frankly, they can‘t live there, because they can‘t be safe there because of what we‘ve done.

It‘s not about guilt, though, it‘s about .

CARLSON:  So, it‘s our fault.  So we .

MCMAHON:  No, it‘s .

CARLSON:  . need to let them come here?  That‘s the idea?

MCMAHON:  Well, as you indicated earlier, there are two million people who have fled their country.

CARLSON:  Right.

MCMAHON:  Now, they have to go somewhere.  And the United States certainly has some obligation, because we did invade the country, because we did create the conditions on the ground there that are causing people to flee, and because many of these people are, in fact, political - they‘re seeking political asylum.

Many of them worked for U.S. contractors or for the U.S. government, and their lives are in danger over there, because of the civil war that we created.

CARLSON:  I think that we helped unleash.  But clearly, there were, you know, latent hostilities probably for centuries before we got there.

But, A.B., is this something the president is going to be behind, too? 

It sounds like something Bush would be for.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “THE HILL”:  I think it‘s - I mean, President Bush and Ted Kennedy don‘t know what to do with the immigrants that we have in this country now.  And the administration is certainly trying to not deal with this issue.

It seems - it‘s one of those seemingly unresolvable problems.

Every time you have a war, you know there are going to be refugees.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

STODDARD:  And they knew this going in.  It just all goes back to this question of, what were they thinking besides these WMDs that ultimately didn‘t exist?

And it was so, sort of - it‘s just one more thing that they didn‘t plan for.

And right now, if you look at the administration‘s estimates, which were - I guess they expected 500 out of Iraq in the last year, and now it‘s tens of thousands per month.

I mean, you can tell by their analysis of the problem that they don‘t have a handle on it.  So .

CARLSON:  Well, and you knew this was going to happen.  Every time a greater power goes to war in a lesser power, a good portion of the population of the lesser power winds up in the greater power.

I mean, that‘s - look in Europe.  Look at the many citizens of former colonies that live in Europe.  Look at the Vietnamese living in this country, the Laotians and Cambodians living here.

Chuck, is this something that is politically sellable?  Isn‘t there a constituency in America who is going to say, actually, it‘s not good for us to have a million Iraqis move here?

CHUCK TODD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, “THE HOTLINE”:  No, actually, I think nobody‘s going to be - I think you‘re not going to have the same crowd that maybe is upset over illegal immigrants fleeing from south of the border into this country, I don‘t think are going to be speaking out on this, because .

STODDARD:  I don‘t either.

TODD:  . I think you will have the president sort of standing behind.

Now, look.  During the Kosovo war we set up shop in places like St.  Louis and some other cities in this country, where refugees can come over from there.

So, it would be - it would actually be unheard of if we somehow rejected these folks.  It‘s actually kind of odd that it‘s taken this long for this issue to come up.

CARLSON:  Boy, I don‘t think it is.  I mean, here you have - I mean, just on national security grounds alone - you have a significant, potentially significant problem.

I mean, Americans by the thousands are being killed in Iraq by forces we don‘t even understand and can‘t even identify.  And we‘re going to randomly let in hundreds of thousands of .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right.  Now you‘re getting into .

CARLSON:  . people heading into .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now you‘re getting into potentially racially profiling immigrants, which is .

CARLSON:  Yes, as I think it is sensible - but is it racial?

TODD:  Which is .

(CROSSTALK)

TODD:  But it is how we profile.

CARLSON:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) nationally profiling.

TODD:  Whatever.

CARLSON:  Sure.  As you should.

TODD:  Well, I mean, that‘s going to open up a can of worms in a debate behind us that - it‘s going to get kind of ugly, if that‘s the case.

MCMAHON:  I don‘t think there‘s anybody on either side of the aisle who would say that somebody who poses any kind of a risk to - a security risk .

TODD:  Right.

MCMAHON:  . or a risk to citizens of the United States should be coming here.  Those aren‘t the people we‘re talking about.

They‘re going to be processed just like any other immigrant will be processed.  And I presume they‘re going to have background checks.  They‘re going to have all the things that go on every single day.

It‘s just that this county in the past two years, as these people have fled their country, has only let, I think, 400 of them in.

And, you know, you could say that we don‘t have an obligation to the two million, but we certainly have some obligation that goes beyond 400 refugees over the past year.

CARLSON:  God, I think we have paid our obligation in the lives of 3,000 Americans and the billions we‘ve spent there.  That‘s just my view.  Obviously, I‘m not going to win this argument.

Let me ask you, A.B., can Democrats - you‘re hearing Joe Biden, for instance, senior Democrat on foreign policy, suggest that he will block President Bush‘s attempt to send more troops to Iraq.

Can Democrats really do that?  Can they block it?  And how would they do that?

STODDARD:  Well, Democrats have decisions to make about whether or not they‘re going to act as a group or act individually, and I think it‘s going to be interesting to see.

If you look at the Senate right now, we‘re expecting this decision about a surge to come within the next week or 10 days, or so, if press reports are correct.  And you see Senator Biden has all these plans to hold hearings in the Senate.

And then people in the - the representatives in the House are trying to focus on their 100 hours agenda, and plan to react individually to the president‘s announcement.  And so, if you look at it, the Democrats have not made a decision to react as a group.

I think Senator Biden, who happens to be running for president, will do what he can to obstruct the administration‘s plans.  But whether or not all the Democrats are going to be on board with him in the House or Senate is another question.

CARLSON:  It‘s kind of weird, though, don‘t you think, Chuck?  I mean, here you have a party that, one, if there‘s one mandate from this last election - and I think it is a real mandate - it‘s to do something about Iraq.  And you look at the Democratic agenda, at least in the first 100 days, there‘s no Iraq on the agenda.

TODD:  Right.

STODDARD:  And that‘s .

CARLSON:  Doesn‘t it do something?

TODD:  No, I think that‘s right.  And I think that that‘s why these Biden hearings will mean something.

And I think it‘s right that they‘ll block a surge.  I think this .

CARLSON:  You think they will?

TODD:  I actually think they will.  And I think there‘ll be a lot of - if Democrats .

CARLSON:  By cutting off funding?  How would they do that?

TODD:  No, I think they‘ll at least block the surge of troops, of sending more troops.

Now, how they do it and the funding things - I mean, look, they control the process now.  So, it‘s not like there‘s going to be a poison pill in the bill that makes it look like that they‘re voting against the troops.  In this case they‘d be saying, look, we‘re not going to send more troops.

And they get to at least design the legislation this time.  And I think that they will design legislation that will support the troops that are there and not support the surge.  I think they politically can‘t.

If they support the surge, I think the base of the Democratic Party will revolt against the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON:  Do you agree with that?  Do you agree with that, Steve?  I mean, the Democrats are in a tough position - I‘ll grant them that - politically.

But quickly, do you see it possible for Democratic leaders to say “no” to the president, you can‘t send more troops to Iraq?

MCMAHON:  I think you can attach any kind of conditions that you want to, appropriations.  They‘re not going to cut off funding, because nobody wants to not support the troops.

On the other hand, they‘re going to impose some pretty stiff conditions.

And I think the American people spoke pretty clearly on November 7th, and they want a new direction in Iraq.  And they want to start moving troops out of Iraq, not moving more troops in.

The Republicans are even figuring that out.  Senator Hagel, you saw just recently .

CARLSON:  Yes, described the president‘s - we assume the president is going to suggest sending more troops to Iraq - and described that idea as an Alice in Wonderland fantasy.

TODD:  Not fair to equate Chuck Hagel with the base of the Republican Party.

CARLSON:  No.

MCMAHON:  No.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  No, a smart guy.  He doesn‘t get the credit he deserves, in my view.

Coming up, as President Bush readies his new battle plan for Iraq - whatever that might be - Rudy Giuliani‘s battle plan for the ‘08 election falls into the wrong hands - our hands.  We‘ll reveal what those battle plans say.

Plus, as of this morning, Jeb Bush is no longer the governor of Florida.  Why on earth has he been written off for national office?  We‘ll tell you.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It‘s Pelosi-palooza the rest of the week.  Nancy Pelosi is celebrating her new job as the first female speaker of the House.  But mostly, she‘s celebrating herself.  Is this how Democrats want to start the new Congress?  We will ask the panel.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  At least 1.8 million Iraqis have fled their country during the U.S.-led war there.  And the current plan of our government allows for about 500 of them per year to immigrate to the United States.

This month, though, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts chairs hearings on the subject and America‘s responsibility to make room for more Iraqi refugees.

It was on the front page of the “New York Times” today, and here to discuss it, Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia.

Congressman, thanks for joining us.

REP. JIM MORAN, D-VIRGINIA:  Happy New Year, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Happy New Year.

Do you think letting in hundreds of thousands of Iraqis will make this a better country?

MORAN:  I don‘t think that hundreds of thousands are ever going to be let into the United States.

CARLSON:  How about tens of thousands?

MORAN:  But I think we should do better than we‘re doing, which is maybe a couple hundred.  You know, we ruined their country.  Many of them, because they helped the Americans, now have their lives in danger, and that of their families.  And it doesn‘t seem very fair.  But I think .

CARLSON:  We ruined their country?  It was kind of crappy country to begin with.  No offense to Iraq, or anything.  But I‘m sure you‘ve been - I‘ve been there.  I mean, it‘s .

MORAN:  Do you want to get into the Iraq war?  I think .

CARLSON:  I‘m not just saying the war.  I‘m just .

MORAN:  . we may have made it worse than it was.

CARLSON:  No, I‘m not - I‘m just saying - what I‘m really stressing, that we‘ve paid a lot in Iraq, to the Iraqi people and on their behalf.  And maybe it was misbegotten from the beginning, I‘ll grant you.  But do we owe them?

MORAN:  Well, I don‘t think their lives are all that much better.

But the point is that we‘re talking about immigration.  And I think what we ought to do is work with Jordan, Egypt - even Syria, for that matter.

Those are the countries that are getting hundreds of thousands of refugees.  They don‘t have the resources to take care of them.  I think we ought to work with them, provide some resources to those countries.

And in the case of Jordan, we give a substantial amount of aid, Egypt, as well.  Egypt and Jordan are the second and third-highest recipients of aid.

I think we could use some of the aid we already give to help out the Iraqi refugees, who are really fleeing for their lives.

CARLSON:  Should we give money to Syria?

MORAN:  I think we should help with the refugee immigration into Syria.  I don‘t think that we necessarily have to give it to the government, but I think we could help with some refugee agencies.

CARLSON:  The new - a new Gallup poll says 69 percent of Americans say

the top priority of the incoming Democratic Congress ought to be Iraq.  And

I think it‘s fair to say Democrats won this past election, because of Iraq

MORAN:  I would agree with that.

CARLSON:  . and people‘s dissatisfaction with the course of the war.

Given that, does it not astound you that Iraq is not even on the list of Democratic priorities?  You‘re not going to see Democrats - you will not be voting on any significant Iraq legislation in the next couple of months.  Why?

MORAN:  Well, not in the first 100 hours, just because we don‘t want to make promises that we can‘t keep.  We can keep the promise in terms of the minimum wage and in terms of a strong ethics package, in terms of the stem cell research - I think a number of things that are really low-hanging fruit.

Solving the Iraq war is not low-hanging fruit.  That‘s right at the top of the .

CARLSON:  Yes, but that‘s why you all got a what - not you, who would get elected no matter what.

MORAN:  Well, I think we‘d .

CARLSON:  But, I mean .

MORAN:  Tucker, we‘re going to address it.  We have to address it. 

The Iraq supplemental is going to be on our plates immediately.

CARLSON:  Right.

MORAN:  This month.  The president is going to ask for as much as $160 billion, most of it for Iraq.

I think that the Appropriations Committee, Defense is going to deal with that.  And I expect that we are going to require a change in course in Iraq through the appropriations process, as well as through Ike Skelton‘s leadership on the Armed Services .

CARLSON:  But I‘m just struck - I mean, of course, our policy will be changing.  But it may be changing because the president changes it, rather than the Congress.

And I‘m struck by the contrast to 12 years ago when the Republicans came in, and they ended up making a hash of it, obviously.  That‘s why they got kicked out.

But, they came in, and in the first 100 hours they said, here‘s what we believe here, the nine things we believe here, the 25 things we want to do.  And they were serious things.

Democrats came in and, as you said, it‘s low-hanging fruit.  I mean, it‘s micro policies.

MORAN:  Well, that was low-hanging fruit, too.  Most of the contract on America was procedural in nature - things that they could do for themselves.  And it didn‘t have a whole lot of impact upon the nation itself.

The only thing they wound up doing that had national implications was eliminating the Interstate Commerce Commission.  There was nothing else that had any major public policy ramifications.

I think what we‘re doing has a lot of public policy ramifications.

CARLSON:  But the Republicans .

MORAN:  It‘s going to affect people‘s lives.

CARLSON:  . they articulated ideas.  I mean, Newt Gingrich, you know, who was a bit of a megalomaniac, obviously, came in, went and spent two days celebrating his election as speaker by talking about what he believed.

Nancy Pelosi, by contrast, who will be elected speaker in mere hours, is spending four days celebrating herself, having a series of events, church ceremonies to talk about how great she is.  There‘s a street being named after her in Baltimore.

I mean, it does smack of a kind of cult of personality, and it is a little embarrassing, isn‘t it?

MORAN:  She‘s the first woman to be speaker of the United States House of Representatives in American history.  I think that‘s a big deal.  She‘s going .

CARLSON:  Why?  Why is that a big deal?  What does that mean?

What will she do differently because she‘s a woman?

MORAN:  There was a time when women couldn‘t even vote in this country.  Now we have a woman speaker who is third in line to run this country.

I think that‘s a big deal .

CARLSON:  But what effect will it have?  I mean, here‘s my - I mean, what effect?

She‘s a woman.  That‘s great.  I know some, too - a lot of women in this world.

Why will the fact she‘s a woman affect her performance?  What will she do differently that she wouldn‘t do if she were a man?

MORAN:  I don‘t think that, because she‘s a woman, it‘s going to affect her performance.  But I think people are going to be very impressed with her performance.

And I do think that issues like the minimum wage, making college education more affordable, making the Congress more beholden to the people who elect them - the agenda that she has put forward is her agenda.  She has her mark on it.  She‘s going to get it in enacted.

And I don‘t see anything wrong with celebrating her cultural heritage, her Italian heritage, the fact that she has five children, that she‘s Catholic, that she went to Trinity College.

All of these institutions want to celebrate this success story.  So let them celebrate.

CARLSON:  And she wants to be celebrated.  And it‘s great, it‘s great.

MORAN:  Well, I don‘t know about her.

CARLSON:  As you think, and finally - and finally .

MORAN:  I think that‘s part of the role.  Just like the fact that she had to raise millions of dollars to help Democrats get elected.  That‘s part of her role.  And I don‘t .

CARLSON:  She‘s being celebrated against her will.  Stop them before they .

MORAN:  I don‘t know that it‘s against her will, .

CARLSON:  Do you think .

MORAN:  . but I don‘t think it‘s her idea.

CARLSON:  What else?  She‘s having a street named after her.  What else is she going to name after herself, do you envision?  Bridges?  Monuments?

MORAN:  Oh, Tucker .

CARLSON:  Highways?

MORAN:  Pieces of legislation .

CARLSON:  OK, great.

MORAN:  . (UNINTELLIGIBLE) people‘s lives.

CARLSON:  Great answer.  Jim Moran, thank you very much.

MORAN:  My pleasure, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Coming up, talk about a touchdown dance, the new speaker of the House has a Pelosi-palooza party planned that‘d make Bob Guccione blush.  Be careful what you wish for.

Plus, there are marriage proposals, and then there is the single greatest marriage proposal of all time.  He won the big game, the crowd went wild and he took a knee in front of his cheerleader girlfriend, and he made it happen.  Happy, Happy New Year, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The biggest development in Washington circa 2006 takes effect in this, the first week of 2007.  The Democrats are coming.  In fact, they‘re already here.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is giddy about it all.  Here again to discuss Pelosi-palooza, among many other things, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard; Democratic strategist Steve McMahon; and editor-in-chief of “The Hotline,” Chuck Todd.

Steve McMahon .

MCMAHON:  Picking on me again.

CARLSON:  I can‘t help it.  I can‘t help it.  Nancy Pelosi, I mean, .

MCMAHON:  Happy New Year.

CARLSON:  Yes, Happy New Year to you.

Shouldn‘t - I mean, I think that there are Democrats - I know there are, because I know some of them who are dissatisfied with incoming Speaker Pelosi‘s judgment, even in the past month-and-a-half.

And I wonder how they feel about the relentless focus on the person of Nancy Pelosi - her Italian heritage, the fact she‘s a woman.  I mean, all of this is a pretty big distraction from the things Democrats say they want to accomplish, isn‘t it?

MCMAHON:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s a distraction at all.

I mean, she is, as the congressman just pointed out, the first woman speaker in the history of our country.  And it‘s a significant .

CARLSON:  Sorry.  I passed out.  I was - come on!  Who cares!  Who cares?

MCMAHON:  It‘s a significant moment .

CARLSON:  It‘s so 1975!  I mean it‘s .

MCMAHON:  It‘s significant - well, maybe it should have been 1975, but it didn‘t happen until 30 years later, or 32 years later.

So, it‘s a significant moment.  And I think it deserves some celebration.

And you and I can disagree about how much celebration it deserves.

CARLSON:  Big (UNINTELLIGIBLE) .

(LAUGHTER)

STODDARD:  The big thing about this is this, that she obviously is not celebrating against her will, as you suggested.

CARLSON:  She‘s not being dragged to the celebrations, no.

STODDARD:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  Right.  I mean, that she doesn‘t do a lot of TV, doesn‘t get out in front.  She‘s hardly a visionary or revolutionary, as Newt Gingrich was.  He wanted to promote himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right.

STODDARD:  And he was a man of big noise and lots of ideas.  And he wanted to get on the cover of .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

STODDARD:  . “Time” magazine.

And so, the pomp and circumstance surrounding his arrival was really fitting.

I‘m rather surprised about the fact that she, while she has been a huge - you know, obviously, a hard-working leader for the party and she has raised a ton of money over the years, and she‘s very excited about this accomplishment, it is an interesting sort of moment, based on her personality.

And one wonders, is she going to retreat in the background as speaker, just like Dennis Hastert, which is what we‘re sort of assuming?  Or is she going to burst out on the scene (ph) as a leader of the Democrats?

So far, she has really been, you know, kind of - no, really, in the background.

(CROSSTALK)

So, that‘s what‘s surprising.  But I will be paying the most attention to her speech, because her speech is the most important, really significant moment in the next couple days.

And when she gets up there, to see what she talks about, how the speech is written and who she appeals to, is much more interesting to me than the visit to Baltimore.

CARLSON:  Yes, but having a street named after her, it‘s so Elena Ceausescu.  I mean, it really is.  I‘m sorry.  It is.

And speaking of dictators - OK, I‘m sorry.

TODD:  I wanted to say one thing.  Look, she‘s going to be potentially a pariah.  The Republicans are going to try to turn her into a problem for the Democrats and whoever the Democratic nominee.

MCMAHON:  They‘ve been trying for a long time to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) .

TODD:  They want to try to do - basically, what I‘ve always said is, they‘re going to try to neuter her.  To do to Newt Gingrich - what the Democrats did to Newt Gingrich .

CARLSON:  Right.

TODD:  . with Clinton, and do that to her.

I think by starting off with the personal is actually better.  She needs to soften up her image.  There are a lot of people like you who are very cynical about who she is.  And so .

MCMAHON:  Do you think Tucker‘s cynical?

CARLSON:  Oh, no!  No, actually, you know what?

(CROSSTALK)

TODD:  I think she needs to soften the image up a little bit.

CARLSON:  I don‘t - actually, I‘m not making a case against her.  I‘ve talked to her many times and liked her, and she‘s very charming.  I don‘t despise her at all.  I kind of like her.

But I guess the - it‘s just striking.  For all we mocked Newt Gingrich, the guy, as I said a minute ago, came in with all these ideas that actually were bigger than himself.

She doesn‘t appear to be doing that.  And I just think her judgment so far has been bad.  And she is .

TODD:  That she‘s a machine .

CARLSON:  That‘s what she is.  That‘s exactly - I think that‘s right.

TODD:  She‘s a machine politician.

CARLSON:  Speaking of .

TODD:  She‘s an operator.

CARLSON:  Well, I think that‘s right.

Of dictators, Steve, what do you make politically .

(LAUGHTER AND CROSSTALK)

STODDARD:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) segue.

CARLSON:  I‘m just kidding.

What do you make of the hanging of Saddam Hussein as a political matter?  Does it affect anything in the end?

MCMAHON:  Well the bonehead who let the cell phone in to get the video ought to be hung himself.  Hanged, I guess, would be the appropriate word.

CARLSON:  Yes, I think it would be.

MCMAHON:  Hanged himself or herself.

I think it‘s - I mean, I actually think that it‘s going to contribute to the racial division, the civil war that‘s already going on, because it looked a little bit like retribution.

CARLSON:  Well, it was very much retribution.  I mean, that‘s what .

MCMAHON:  Well, but it looked .

CARLSON:  . that‘s what (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is.

MCMAHON:  It looked a little bit like religious - it didn‘t look like it was a man who had been convicted of gassing his own people, and had gotten due process the way we understand it.

CARLSON:  Right.

MCMAHON:  I mean, .

CARLSON:  It looked like Shiites taking their revenge (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MCMAHON:  It looked like Shiites marching him there.  Let‘s get it done before the New Year, and let‘s get it done before the religious holiday.  And won‘t this be fun.

And then taunting him on the way to his, to meet his maker.

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t think there‘s any question, that‘s what happened.

But I wonder, A.B.  I‘m having to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) because I wasn‘t here .

STODDARD:  I think what‘s interesting is, it‘s actually just - it was this question of the fact that we‘ve sort of unofficially chosen the Shia over the Sunni.  We have this .

CARLSON:  Yes.

STODDARD:  . 80 percent solution kicking about in the administration right now.  And it‘s just a matter of time, I guess, before it becomes a formal declaration.

But in debating the potential for a surge, critics in the Republican and Democratic Parties are talking about requiring a political solution before - either accompanying the military one or before a military one.

CARLSON:  Right.

STODDARD:  And this question of the fact that the lights are still off, unemployment is worse than it was under Saddam Hussein and the streets are controlled by death squads, is now at the fore again, because Saddam Hussein was executed, and the Sunnis are reacting, you know, storming the mosque at Samara.  And we‘re focused on this question.

But that is the fundamental question anyway that was going to have to be debated as we look for a new way in Iraq.

CARLSON:  But you would expect - I mean, I don‘t know, if someone had told you 3.5 years ago, Saddam will be hung in 3.5 years, you would say, well, that‘s kind of - I mean, Bush got a big bump - or some bump - out of the capture of Saddam.  And I don‘t see something happening here .

STODDARD:  It‘s too - his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) - it‘s too disconnected from the problems .

CARLSON:  Right.  I agree with you.

STODDARD:  . there today.

CARLSON:  Coming up, want to know Rudy Giuliani‘s weaknesses in the approaching presidential contest?  Look no farther than his own dossier, which, thanks to a careless staffer, we have.

Plus, was there or was there not a UFO at O‘Hare Field in Chicago?  A bunch of pretty legitimate people say, oh, my God, yes there was.  What‘s the government saying?  Find out as paranoia takes center stage - next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Plus, was there or was there not a UFO at O‘Hare Field in Chicago.  A bunch of pretty legitimate people say, oh my God, yes there was.  What‘s the government saying?  Find out as paranoia takes center stage next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, a possible UFO sighting over Chicago‘s O‘Hare Airport.  A group of airline employees including a couple of pilots says it‘s no joke.  The FAA though claims it may have been a weather phenomenon.  Is the government covering up an alien invasion?   All that in just a minute.  Right now, though, here is a look at your headlines. 

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Milissa Rehberger.  Here is what is happening. 

Public viewing of President Gerald Ford‘s flag-draped coffin has begun at the Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Viewing will continue until tomorrow morning.  Then, there will be a private ceremony in Grand Rapids, followed by burial at the museum. 

Mr. Ford‘s body was brought to Grand Rapids after today‘s funeral at Washington‘s National Cathedral.  President Bush was among those who delivered eulogies today.  He said, in President Ford, the world saw the best of America.  And America found a man whose character and leadership would bring common healing to one of the most decisive moments in our nation‘s history. 

The Plains states are still digging out from a weekend blizzard, the areas second major storm in a week.  Tens of thousands are without power in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.  And at least a dozen deaths are blamed on that storm.

And Massachusetts lawmakers voted to allow a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to proceed.  Currently, Massachusetts is the only state where gay marriage is legal. 

Now back to “Tucker.”

CARLSON:  If the words Area 51 stop your remote control from changing the channel, there is fresh intrigue for you, coming right from Chicago‘s O‘Hare Airport. 

Several people, including some United Airlines pilots, reported an unidentified saucer-shaped flying object above the airport this fall and reported it to the authorities.  The authorities, though, say it was an odd weather occurrence of some kind.  But the Leonard Nimoy in me, not convinced.

Joining me now is the “Chicago Tribute‘s” transportation reporter, Jon Hilkevitch.

Jon, thanks for coming on.

JON HILKEVITCH, CHICAGO TRIBUNE REPORTER:  You are welcome, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So even aliens have to change planes in O‘Hare?   That‘s the bottom line out of this?  

HILKAVITCH:  Yes, one controller quipped that these aliens came 700 million light years to O‘Hare and they could not get a gate.  So they had to turn around and go home. 

CARLSON:  That‘s so good.  This sounds not like most or many of the other UFO sightings one reads about, where a farmer in some rural area thinks he saw a funny light.  This sounds like this object or whatever it was, was close, wasn‘t it?  

HILKEVITCH:  It really does.  It was close.  These are veteran airport employees, as you say, ranging from pilots down to mechanics and ramp workers.  And they saw this gray metallic object in the sky, in a stationary position above one of the United Airlines gates at O‘Hare for some minutes. 

It was not a light show.  The FAA has dismissed this as some kind of weather phenomenon after a cursory investigation.  And these workers say what they saw up there was real.  They just don‘t know what it is.  And they wish the FAA and United Airlines would do more to determine that really for a safety issue.  This is the world‘s second busiest airport.  There‘s obviously a lot of traffic above O‘Hare.  And they want to know what is up there that could possibly be a collision risk. 

CARLSON:  In your story today—it was an excellent story, by the way

you describe this object, whatever it was, as taking off at such a speed that it punctured the cloud cover above it.  Is there indication—I‘m sorry? 

HILKEVITCH:  Yes, it was an overcast—yes, it was an overcast day.  And when this did streak towards the clouds, it created this big hole of open, blue air on a day that was mostly gray and cloudy.  It indicates a tremendous amount of energy as this object went through. 

An airplane or helicopter, anything else, will just slice through clouds and really not interfere with the clouds.  This made, as I said, this huge hole that did not close up until the drifting wind pushed it back together. 

CARLSON:  If you step back a second, this is an unbelievable story, actually.  The pilots—from your piece, it sounded like you interviewed quite a number of people, none of whom was willing to go on the record.  Why is that?  

HILKEVITCH:  Well, United Airlines interviewed these people, almost interrogated them, asked them to write narratives, draw pictures of what they saw, and then told them not to talk to the press.  This happened on November 7, during daylight. 

All these witnesses are sure they saw something that was very real.  And it took me sometime to work up a relationship with some of these witnesses, and assure them anonymity so that I could move forward with this story.  I also did a Freedom of Information Act request that I hope will turn up some information as well. 

CARLSON:  What would be the motive in telling the employees to be

quiet?   Why would United Airlines not want this incident to get publicity?  

HILKEVITCH:  I am not exactly sure.  But as everyone knows, United

Airlines has a lot of problems on its plate.  It came out of bankruptcy.  It‘s now trying to make some money for the first time.  And maybe they just see this as an embarrassment, that people may be a little leery of flying United because they think their employees were kooks or something.  But I don‘t agree with that.

If this were a runway incursion or something kind of human error incident, I could see why an airliner would want to keep it quiet.  But there were employees doing what they are supposed to do—keep their eyes open and report a potential security or safety hazard. 

CARLSON:  Well, I think airlines‘, their default positions is always don‘t tell you anything.  Finally, Jon, what day did this take place?  

HILKEVITCH:  It happened on November 7 at 4:30 in the afternoon. 

CARLSON:  Wasn‘t that Election Day?  

HILKEVITCH:  That was Election Day.  So I don‘t know.  Were they stuffing the ballot box in Chicago with Martian votes?  

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  It wouldn‘t surprise me one bit.  Thanks a lot, Jon.  Jon Hilkevitch with the “Chicago Tribute.”  I appreciate it. 

HILKEVITCH:  You are welcome. 

CARLSON:  We join the fray here.  Today‘s panel of excellence, including associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, Democratic Strategist Steve McMahon, and editor in chief of the “Hotline,” Chuck Todd.  Welcome to you all.  That‘s actually an amazing story. 

TODD:  Yes, I will go back and read it immediately.  This is an obsession-type story.  Was it the Discovery Channel, History Channel that always has the UFO stuff? 

CARLSON:  Well, there‘s been all sorts of stuff.  There‘s of course the hanging of Saddam Hussein, the funeral—the multi-day funeral and observance for former President Ford.  Kind of lost in the avalanche of holiday news has been the entry into the race of one John Edwards, former Senator who?

(LAUGHTER)

How tragic is this for John Edwards.

TODD:  Actually, it‘s interesting.  They supposedly picked that week for the very purpose of slow news week.  They knew they would own it.  They would be the only ones.  And I‘m sure they did not count on Gerald Ford‘s death.  They didn‘t count on the Saddam execution.  Both of which sort of stepped on things a little bit. 

But I think they were right in this sense.  Had they announced in January or February, like everybody else, they would have been, guy runs a second time, nobody cares, nobody gives a darn anymore.  And he would not get any coverage.

I think by at least doing this, he did—he got his “Today Show” gig.  He got all the requisite interviews that go with your announcement day.  So you know, things did not go as well as I am sure they had hoped.  But I think it would have been worse and it would have been somewhat—it would not have been what they wanted in January or February. 

CARLSON:  Steve, there is a story that spoke, I think, to this ongoing tragedy that has been unfolding in Florida over the past year.  And it has to do with Jeb Bush. 

This governor—republican governor of Florida, in a very mixed state, whose brother is the least popular president since Nixon, who has ended two terms as governor—over 50 percent—he is still popular, which tells you everything you need to know about his political skill and possibly his wisdom as a manager.  And, yet, he‘s written off, out of hand, as a presidential candidate because of his last name.  Fair?  

TODD:  Did you called that a tragedy?  

CARLSON:  I‘m not an advocate for Jeb Bush.  I‘m just saying...

TODD:  I think you‘re calling it a tragedy.

CARLSON:  It is.  It‘s unfair. 

TODD:  Wow.

CARLSON:  Jeb Bush is so much more impressive than his brother.  Anybody who‘s spent an hour with the guy can tell you, why isn‘t he running for president.  I mean that would...

MCMAHON:  Is it that a pretty low standard though really?  I mean...

CARLSON:  He‘s certainly a lot more impressive than—I don‘t mean to be mean here—Nancy Pelosi.  But my point is, is it fair to disqualify a man because of his last name?  

MCMAHON:  I think the record speaks for itself.  And this country now has had two George Bushes as president.  This George Bush presidency hasn‘t gone very well.  I think his favorable, unfavorable ratings in is quite good, as you point out.  He‘s got a 63 percent favorable.  But around the country, it‘s upside down.  It‘s 28 percent favorable.  It‘s 45 percent unfavorable.  And that‘s because he‘s—he‘s the president‘s brother. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I know. 

MCMAHON:  And people do not want another Bush in the White House. 

CARLSON:  I know.  I guess that‘s my point.  It‘s like unfair.  It‘s like blaming somebody for what his father did.  Jeb Bush is not responsible for the missteps of this administration.

MCMAHON:  Why would anybody want to take another chance? 

CARLSON:  Because genetics—in America, genetics are not destiny. 

MCMAHON:  What is the old saying?  Fool me once, shame on me or shame on you?

STODDARD:  You get the advantage of being in the Bush family when it helps you, and it‘s a disadvantage to be connected to George W. Bush now. 

CARLSON:  Well, that isn‘t fair now.

(CROSSTALK)

MCMAHON:  One of my favorite line during the ‘94 campaigns for governor, when Jeb Bush had been campaigning for three years, this was his thing.  He was working really hard at it.  And then, it looked like one day George W. Bush said, oh, what the heck, I‘m going to run for governor of Texas.  And apparently, like Jeb turned to reporter and said, oh great, now “People” magazine‘s going to cover me.  And it was like the one critical moment that there was.  And then, whatever, Daddy got to him and said, don‘t say that, don‘t be critical. 

And you just wondered, does Jeb mumble in the mirror.  And just wondered is this, like, his destiny has been taken.  He‘ll never be president. 

CARLSON:  It‘s true. 

MCMAHON:  And it‘s probably not fair.

CARLSON:  I remember vividly in January of 2000, when McCain beat George W. Bush in the New Hampshire primary by 19 points, Jeb Bush sent an e-mail to somebody I happen to be sitting next to, saying 19 points, and then he used an expletive after.  But he was basically mocking his brothers‘ loss, which tells us, I though, something pretty deep about their relationship. 

MCMAHON:  Back in 1994, George Bush ran against Ann Richards.  And nobody thought Ann could be defeated.  And Jeb Bush ran against Laughton Charles.  And nobody thought Laughton Charles could win reelection.  And so, everybody expected George to lose and Jeb to win.  And Jeb was going to have the leg-up on the race for the White House. 

And I think most people agree with you, Tucker.  He probably would have been a much better president than his brother.  But we‘re never going to know. 

CARLSON:  NO, you are right.  We‘re not. 

Very quickly, A.B. Stoddard, Giuliani—Giuliani‘s plans for his presidential campaign, 125-page memo apparently left somewhere by a member of his staff, all sorts of interesting stuff.  And two things I want to get your response to.  One, he believes he has to raise $125 million this year, 2007.  Can he do it?   And two, does it look like a lot of people who would be supporting Giuliani‘s are already pledged to McCain?  

STODDARD:  No, I think that Giuliani‘s place in the polls, which most often now these days is above McCain, makes him quite viable.  Because McCain and Giuliani are being lumped into the star power, not perfect conservatives.  They are being lumped into the same category. 

So I don‘t think that a lot of—I think if you signed up to work for John McCain, it might be hard to leave.  But I think a lot of primary supporters might go back and forth. 

On the question of the money, that‘s what everyone is being told.  It‘s $1 million.  It‘s several million really soon, early ‘07, $100 million this year and a possible total of $500 million all told.  So that is not a crazy number. 

Memo to Rudy, I think you should hire people that don‘t leave secret documents in strange places. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  It‘s bad for business.  You ought to switch places with Steve here, and become a consultant.  You‘ve got it all figured out.  Thank you very much.

A.B. Stoddard, Steve McMahon, Chuck Todd, thank you.

TODD:  Thank you.

MCMAHON:  Thanks.

Coming up, it‘s the talk of the town and of this show today.  And it promises to be the biggest party since—well, probably Sunday night.  It‘s Nancy Pelosi‘s celebration of Nancy Pelosi.  The real dirt just ahead in our “Daily Gossip” roundup.”

Plus, the self-objectifying, surgically-augmented set has a new cause celeb for the New Year.  Find out which sex symbols have joined forces for which political fights.  Zorro.  Stick around. 

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Former Senator John Edwards might not be getting a lot of press coverage, but when sex symbol Bo Derek teams up with the Barbie twins, cameras will be flashing.  You‘ve got to stay tuned for this.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  If you missed the gossiping days of high school, then you clearly don‘t live here in Washington, where gossip is currency through which power is acquired.  A bit of an overstatement maybe.  But still, today‘s dish, we got it.  We turn to Patrick Gavin of the “Washington Examiner.”

Patrick, what have you got?  

PATRICK GAVIN, COLUMNIST, “WASHINGTON EXAMINER”:  Well, Washington, all this week, is getting ready for Pelosi Palooza, which is a three-day unveiling of the democratic majority, and led by the new speaker of the house. 

Between Wednesday and Friday, she has almost ten events, talking about the new majority and the new leadership.  And what is great about it, it covers the gamut, trying to hit what I think is pretty much every target group. 

You have one event, a mass for victims of Darfur and Katrina.  You have a woman‘s tea.  Hit the older senior citizens.  You have an embassy event at the Italian embassy.  Hit the embassy set.   You have another mass, interfaith, to keep both sides happy, for the troops.  So you get the military angle.  And then finally, you‘ve got a little concert to wrap it all up. 

So she‘s really, I think, coming out with a huge public...

CARLSON:  What do you mean, Darfur and Katrina?  These may be deeper waters than we want to enter right now at the end of the program.  But what do you victims of Darfur and Katrina have in common?  

GAVIN:  Sorrow. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  I‘m sorry to laugh.  It‘s not funny.  But it is a little odd. 

GAVIN:  Yes.  It certainly is going for the tears and going for the heartstrings on that one.  But she really has done an impressive job going after everybody. 

And one has to wonder if, perhaps, part of this is—you know, have such a big offensive be so much Pelosi, all Pelosi, all the time.  But by the time she has to come legislate, people will be so sick of her, they won‘t pay attention. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s...

GAVIN:  Well, it‘s impressive P.R. anyway.

CARLSON:  It really is.  It really is.  Now, to a group of people who really don‘t need P.R. agents because they are sort of attention grabbers in themselves—the Barbie twins and Bo Derek.  What‘s brought them together?

GAVIN:  Well, Bo Derek has been campaigning all of 2006 to support the ban on horse slaughter, which passed the House.  And nobody knows if the Senate‘s going to take it up. 

CARLSON:  Horse slaughter?

GAVIN:  Horse slaughter.  There are three factories or farms in the United States that now slaughter horses for export, because it‘s illegal to eat it in the United States.  But for foreign countries, it is. 

CARLSON:  But the French eat a lot of horse meat?

GAVIN:  Exactly.  So to help out, Washington is going to get a lot better looking, because the Barbie twins, who were famous in the ‘90s for being obviously identical, very voluptuous blond twins, are now going to join the campaign to help Bo Derek try to get this thing through the Senate. 

CARLSON:  So this is not—can I—let me just—I want to bring our political experts in here.

Steve, now which—clearly Democrats have kept this issue out of the Senate as part of some elaborate suck-up to the people of France?   Do you think now the Democrats can take a stand on this important issue of—yes.

MCMAHON:  Horse slaughter.  I think the time is right. 

CARLSON:  You do?  

MCMAHON:  I think the time is right.  But remember, it was the Republicans who controlled the Senate until recently. 

CARLSON:  That‘s a good point.

MCMAHON:  So it‘s the Republicans who are conspiring to protect the French and their weird way of eating, not really the Democrats. 

CARLSON:  Well, why was - I mean, why wouldn‘t the Senate—this is sort of give me, don‘t you think?  

TODD:  You would think.  But there had to be a referenda in Oklahoma to stop cock fighting.  So just remember, it‘s not these bans on animal violence. 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s because there were a lot of Oklahomans who cock fight.

TODD:  That‘s right.  But apparently, these are much more difficult.  They‘re politically—nobody wants to touch them.  There are very powerful... 

CARLSON:  The Schavalburger (ph) lobby or something? 

GAVIN:  Pelosi should have had an event at a farm. 

(LAUGHTER)

GAVIN:  It‘s a horse slaughter lobby.

CARLSON:  No doubt, we‘re going to get that.  It‘s going to be some kind of transgender event.

GAVIN:  That‘ll be next.

CARLSON:  And finally, you were telling me there is a hotel in Washington that has just bottled the scent of the city? 

GAVIN:  Exactly.  When I think of D.C., I think is smells like corruption.  And the Park Hyatt, Washington, thinks differently.  They‘ve actually hired a French person to bottle a—basically a hotel scent—bottled spray on everything that smells like Washington. 

So they combined things like Petulie (ph) and rose and sandy musk and all sorts of scents, and including the Potomac River which, as anybody in Washington knows, smells awful.  They have actually incorporated that into their smells.  So, it will be interesting to see what the Park Hyatt smells like when you walk in. 

CARLSON:  Boy, that‘s just revolting.  What do you think Washington smells like?  

You‘ve been here a while, Steve.

MCMAHON:  I love it in the springtime, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  You do?  It smells like cherry blossoms?  

MCMAHON:  Cherry blossoms in the spring.  In the summer it does have -

around the Potomac, there was the occasional stench.  But generally speaking, it‘s a pretty nice place to smell. 

CARLSON:  Would you take the odor of Washington, Chuck, and dab a little bit behind your ear before going out?  

TODD:  It depends on which odor.  If it were Dennis Hastert‘s Washington, it would smell like a Shoney‘s.  So it‘s probably—it‘s not such a bad thing to smell like.

CARLSON:  Don‘t knock the breakfast bar.

Patrick Gavin, gentlemen, thank you. 

GAVIN:  Yes, thank you.

CARLSON:  See if you can find the mistake in this picture.   We shore up the difference between a terrorist mastermind and the Democratic Party‘s brightest young star.  You don‘t need to be a rocket scientist.  We‘ll help you, though, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  We go now for all the news we missed as we were foolishly talking about politics and world events to the great Willy Geist at headquarters with the rest—Willie? 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC HEADQUARTERS:  Hello, Tucker.  That‘s not all you talked about.  Anyone who questions whether or not this is an inside D.C.  show didn‘t hear you just talk about the way the city smells for the last couple of minutes.  You really, really analyzed it.

CARLSON:  And we did a UFO segment too.

GEIST:  We did.  We‘ve got it all on this show, let me tell you.

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

GEIST:  I want to show you something quickly.  This is a security camera from Lawrence, Massachusetts.  The manager at the front desk, as an SUV plows into the store.  This happened on Friday.  Look at that.  He was pinned up against the counter but miraculously escaped with only cuts and bruises.  He‘s OK, but woo.  Being a 7-Eleven manager does not get any easier, does it?

CARLSON:  No, that‘s awful.

GEIST:  Amazing stuff.  But he‘s OK.  So we‘re all set.

Now, to the real news, Tucker.  It‘s been said of Senator Barack Obama that his chances of becoming president may be hurt be his very name.  His middle name is Hussein.  And his last name, just one letter away from Osama.  Well, things like this don‘t help much.

CNN ran a graphic yesterday, promoting a segment about Osama bin Laden that read “Where‘s Obama” instead of “Where‘s Osama.”  The show‘s host, Wolf Blitzer, apologized on the air today, and later called Obama personally to make amends.  Obama said he accepted.

Now, for those of you scoring at home, terrorist mastermind and worse person in the world, Osama bin Laden, on the left.  On the right, that is Senator Barack Obama.  Now we clear that up. 

Obama‘s press secretary, Tucker, said I guess we accept the apology. 

But the S and B keys aren‘t real close on the computer.  So there...

CARLSON:  No, that‘s actually a very—it‘s got—it‘s got...

GEIST:  It‘s kind of a touch mistake to make.  But we‘ll get it sorted out soon enough.

Well, he is not Osama bin Laden, Tucker, but Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke Lacrosse case, not a real popular guy these days either.  Despite the fact that the rape charges he brought against three Duke players have been dropped and that the North Carolina State Bar has filed ethics charges against him for his handling of the case, Nifong was sworn in today for a brand new four-year term as Durham district attorney. 

Nifong pledged to be a part of, quote, “the healing process.”  The healing process, which he created, Tucker.  I can‘t remember how you feel about Nifong.  Do you have a reaction to the story?  

CARLSON:  The day he is led away to prison will be a happy day in my life.  I think there‘s nothing scarier—and I hate to be Mr. self-righteous ACLU guy about it—but there is nothing scarier than the abuse of government power.  And you‘ve seen it on display from day one in this case. 

It was obvious right away, A, that these boys didn‘t do it—the

lacrosse players weren‘t guilty of committing violent rape against this

woman, and, B, that Nifong brought the charges and pursued them in public

merely as an effort to whip up support in the community for his re-election

his election to office. 

I mean, it was the worst, most dangerous kind of abuse of government authority.  And I hope he‘s punished severely for it. 

GEIST:  And it‘s not over yet, Tucker.  He still has the outstanding kidnapping and sexual offense charges. 

And our analyst, Susan Filan (ph), I saw her on today saying, as a prosecutor, It‘s OK if your case falls apart.  It happens.  But then, you drop the case at that point, which he is not doing.  He‘s still perusing it.

But on to a little bit happier news, Tucker.  You do not have to be a football fan, Tucker, to enjoy last night‘s David versus Goliath college football game. 

Boise State University—little Boise State—undefeated this year.  But not exactly a traditional powerhouse, and a heavy underdog in the Fiesta Bowl, got its chance against mighty Oklahoma and won in dramatic style late last night. 

As if Boise State‘s improbable victory was not a story enough, the Bronco‘s star player, Ian Johnson, a running back who scored the deciding points on the game‘s very last play, did this in front of a national television audience after the game. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MEYERS, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS:  I know you‘re going to propose to your girlfriend.  Congratulations.  Hold on.  Wait a minute.  Tommy, he‘s going to really do this. 

UNIDENTIFIED:  Yes. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  I got to say, I was watching that live.  It was shocking.  It was almost like it had been set up.  They had this dramatic—there was no chance.  They weren‘t even supposed to be competing in this game.  They won the game, and then the cherry on top. 

Although, I will say, the interview, Chris Meyers from FOX, kind of blew it for Ian Johnson when he said, “Now I understand you need to propose to your girlfriend.”  And she looked at the—Chris Meyers shocked.  It probably would have been nice if Ian could have delivered that news himself. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s not the first time a TV reporter has gotten in the way of real life.  But don‘t you think, 30 years from now, when they‘re sitting on the beach in Hawaii and meeting a new couple ask how did you all propose to each other?   They‘ll win that contest.

GEIST:  In front of 50 million people, that‘s how.  Amazing.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right, Tucker, we‘ll see you from headquarters.

CARLSON:  Thanks a lot, Willie. 

That does it for us today.  Thanks for watching, as always.

Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow.  Have a great night. 

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

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