updated 2/5/2007 12:50:25 PM ET 2007-02-05T17:50:25

Guests: Dennis Kucinich, Frank Donatelli, Steve Jarding, Col. Jack Jacobs, Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Part of the appeal of any candidate is his or her appearance of genuineness, authenticity, true belief.  It‘s a problem for some—Hillary Clinton—and an advantage to others.  For or against his ideas, you‘ve got to respect Democratic presidential extra-long-shot Dennis Kucinich, of Ohio, a true believer, and a pretty genuine guy, not to mention the only vegan in Congress.

We spoke this afternoon, just after the DNC winter meeting.


CARLSON:  You spent a lot of your speech talking about Lebanon and the Israeli bombing of Lebanon.  Why that?  We‘re at war with Iraq.  Why Lebanon?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO:  Well, it‘s a metaphor for what happens to innocent civilians everywhere.  You know, in Lebanon, in Israel, in Palestinian, in Iraq, in—you know, all over the world.  So I thought it was important to humanize war and talk about the impact that it has on families. 

You know, we‘ve got to get out of Iraq.  We -- 650,000 innocent civilians died, 3,100 of our brave soldiers died. 

I have a plan.  I put it on my Web site at Kucinich.us to secure Iraq, get our troops home.  It can work.  That‘s what‘ I‘m—that‘s what I‘m proposing.

CARLSON:  You‘re supporters were very visible in the room full of political supporters because some of them were heckling Hillary Clinton.  People with “Kucinich” shirts on, with your shirt, were heckling her when she spoke about Iraq. 

Did you notice that?

KUCINICH:  Well, I don‘t approve of heckling, but I will tell you that, you know, I‘m the only one who‘s running for president who voted against authorizing the war.  And I‘m the only one who‘s consistently voted against funding the war.  I mean, some—some in this race may have not voted for the war because they‘re weren‘t in Congress.

CARLSON:  Right.

KUCINICH:  But I say that if you vote to fund the war, you‘re voting to keep the war going. 

It‘s interesting.  You have candidates who are saying they oppose the war, but they vote to fund it. 

My candidacy is truth-telling, Tucker.  I‘m going to make sure that the people of America know that they can elect a president who was right from the start and who also has a plan for peace and who also doesn‘t believe in preemption unilateralism.  And, you know, we have a war that‘s building up in Iran right now.  Somebody‘s got to stop and tell the people, wake the town and tell the people. 

CARLSON:  What do you think of the idea that Mrs. Clinton put out there of de-funding the Iraqi troops that we‘re paying for right now? 

KUCINICH:  Look, I hope Hillary Clinton will vote against funding the war.  I hope Barack Obama will vote against funding the war.  I hope Joe Biden and Senator Dodd and all of the candidates will join me against funding the war.  I said...

CARLSON:  Why don‘t they?  They‘re—I mean, in their hearts, I think you believe, as I believe, that they would like to do that.  Why don‘t they do it?

KUCINICH:  Well, you know what?  When you‘re in Congress and you‘d like to do something, then stand by your conscience, stand by your convictions. 

If you‘re against the war, don‘t vote to fund it.  And, you know, every one of them who has said they‘re against the war now has voted to fund it.  I‘m drawing a line in this, the American people have drawn a line.  They supported the Democrats taking over the Congress based on the war.

If you‘re opposed to the war, don‘t vote to fund it.  The truth time is coming up real soon.

CARLSON:  And finally—I know you‘ve got to catch a plane.  You mentioned again, as you had last time you ran, building a department—cabinet-level department of peace and nonviolence.  Give us a sense of what—like, can you think of any candidates to head it?  What sort of person would head it, that department?

KUCINICH:  Well, first of all—first of all, I need some explaining, because domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, violence in the school, racial violence, violence against gays, police community—police community clashes, all of these things cry out for some kind of an organized national program.  The department of peace and nonviolence takes the dreams and the work of Dr. King and others, and religious leaders, Gandhi, and the work of Christ, and it actually finds a practical application in supporting community groups and education groups in teaching our children peacekeeping, peace-giving, peace-sharing, mutuality, look at the other person as an aspect of one‘s self.

We have a chance to transform this country.  That‘s what my presidency will be about. 

CARLSON:  Should we use violence against al Qaeda? 

KUCINICH:  Well, you know what?  I think we always have to look at what are the first, non-violent options.  And, the thing to keep in mind is that before al Qaeda became what we know, there was violence percolating. 

My plan is to always try to intervene at the earliest possible to avert violence.  You know, there‘s a point at which you just have to defend your country.  And I‘ve been there for that.

But in Iraq, we went on offense, and not defense.  And, you know, I was a third string quarterback, Tucker.  I know the difference between offense and defense.  And we went on the offense against Iraq.  And it was not only wrong, it was illegal. 

CARLSON:  Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.

Thanks a lot, Congressman.  Appreciate it.

KUCINICH:  Thank you, Tucker.



CARLSON:  Coming up, if Hillary Clinton is the front-runner, John Edwards is the man of the people, the populace, the big “D” Democrat.  So how did his act play Friday morning in Washington, and how will it play out in the primaries?

We‘ll take a look at that.

And as for the positioning of Barack Obama, he appears to be going for the diplomatic niche, the uniter, not the divider, you might say.

Don‘t believe it?  We‘ve got evidence.

We‘ll be right back.   


CARLSON:  Time for our daily look at “The Obameter.”

Freshman center Barack Obama of Illinois spoke to the DNC this morning and sought unprecedented political ground, ground without enemies.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS:  Our rivals won‘t be one another.  And I would assert it won‘t even be the other party.  It‘s going to be cynicism that we‘re fighting against. 


CARLSON:  Here for analysis of Obama‘s performance this morning, we welcome Frank Donatelli,  Republican strategist, former Reagan White House political director, also Steve Jarding, Democratic strategist and former campaign adviser to Virginia‘s Democratic senator, Jim Webb.

Welcome to you both.

Frank, you heard Senator Obama.  Our rivals won‘t be one another.  They won‘t even be the other party.  Cynicism is our rival. 

So can you imagine—Barack Obama‘s not running against the other Democrats, or even the Republicans, but against cynicism itself.

Are they going to cut ads against cynicism?


CARLSON:  It is.

DONATELLI:  And that goes over well with some Democrats—sorry, Steve.

But no.  You know what?  I think there‘s a method here, and I think it is that he is going to try to seize the mantle of being the great uniter. 

There is always a candidates every time.  You know, it was George Bush six years ago...

CARLSON:  That‘s true.

DONATELLI:  ... that said, “I‘m a uniter, not a divider.”  And Barack Obama I think is going to try to seize that mantle. 

It goes well with the idea that he is running sort of a non-ideological campaign, some issues to the left, some issues to the right.  And being a uniter, seems to me, is a place Hillary Clinton cannot go. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

DONATELLI:  You can say a lot of things about her, but what you can‘t say is that that she‘ll be able to unite the country. 

CARLSON:  No, that‘s an excellent point. 

Steve, though, I wonder—and I think this is—I think Obama is impressive and certainly clever.  I wonder, though, if this is the right message for a Democratic or really any primary.  When he came out today, he was the only candidate who had no signs.  He had no music, and that was by design.

He got a standing ovation.  People went wild when he came out.  The enthusiasm I thought dribbled off.  These people wanted to hear, you know, “Bush is evil.”  They wanted red meat, he didn‘t give it to them.

Can he sustain this?

STEVE JARDING, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, it‘s tough.  I mean, I understand his message.  It has to be a terror for them, because you never want to tell a candidates you‘ve got to be somebody you‘re not.

CARLSON:  Right.

JARDING:  And I think when Obama does that, that‘s Obama.  He believes that.  You see it in his writings, you see it in other speeches, the way he conducts himself.

But it‘s arguable it‘s a wrong message in a Democratic primary.  They do want red meat.  I believe at the end of the day, Democrats want to win more than anything.  They are tired of eight years of Bush. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Yes.

JARDING:  They know that we took the Congress but it might be meaningless if we don‘t get the White House.  We have to finish the deal.  And I‘m not sure that‘s not more of a general election message than it is a primary message.

So it‘s risky.  But right now, when it‘s early, the flip side of the argument is, who is he going to attack?  Is he going to come to that event today in front of 400 Democrats and say, Hillary Clinton, you‘re a bad person for doing this or that?

CARLSON:  No, that‘s right.

JARDING:  So it‘s a safe thing for him to do, it‘s who he is.  And until he feels his way, you know, into the process, I think you‘re going to see him...

CARLSON:  I was struck by how much his speech today, Frank, sounded like his books.  One of his—somebody who worked for him said to me today, you know, he wrote it himself.  And I actually—I buy that.  It‘s very cerebral, though.  Listen to some of the things that he said.

“Cynicism we have to fight against.  It asks us to believe our opponents aren‘t just wrong, they‘re bad.  It‘s time to free ourselves from the constraints of politics.”

What the hell does that mean?  I mean, is it—is it too sort of high flown to be a political message?

CARLSON:  Well, again, remember the contrast with Mrs. Clinton.  She comes out of eight years of the Clinton administration where there was armed combat between the parties.

CARLSON:  Right.

DONATELLI:  She‘s been in Washington during the Bush years, which were also highly ideological. 

Obama has only been in town for two years ago.  I mean, he worked in the state—he was in the state legislature, of course, and so forth.  But I think he would say that he doesn‘t have the background of relentless partisanship the way Washington has been through, say, the last 15 years or so.

I do agree with Steve, though.  In the final analysis, you‘re going to have to give the base, certainly those who participate in the Iowa caucuses and vote New Hampshire primary, you‘re going to have to give them red meat.  But that the not for now, that‘s for next December and January. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s right.

Steve, this is, you know, among many other things, a black candidate, and the first, I would say, truly viable black candidate that‘s ever run for president.  This guy could win, in contrast to Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. 

He did mention a single word about race or civil rights today.  Not even any allusions to them.

That‘s obviously by design. 

What‘s the strategy here? 

JARDING:  Well, because I think he is trying to establish himself as a national candidates.  He‘s not, I think, a black candidates or an African-American candidates.  He‘s not a candidate of a certain part of, you know, this kind of polarizing politics.

He‘s trying to establish a new branding, if you will, a new identity, saying, I think the nation needs to be healed, I think the nation needs someone who will bring it together.  That‘s who he is.

And I think if he would have gotten in to those things, I think you‘re right—by design, he did not.  But if I were advising him, I would say, no, don‘t do that.  You need to go out and tell people who you are and make yourself the alternative.

But I would come back to the—to, look at what Hillary has done in the last couple weeks now, as opposed to Obama.  Obama keeps his message.  She‘s out there saying, if Bush hasn‘t ended this war by ‘09, I will. 

CARLSON:  Right.

JARDING:  She is out there saying, I‘m going to go after—when I get hit, I‘m going to hit back hard.  She‘s giving Democrats that hope that “I‘m going to be the feisty candidate.  I will not roll over.”

The danger for Obama, I think, is, it sounds good, but at some point, people are going to say, but are you going to be able to fight the fight?  Because you‘re going to get hit.

CARLSON:  How long does he have before he comes out and starts slugging? 

DONATELLI:  Well, he‘s got some time.  And he‘s not been on the stage as long as she has.  And so I think it‘s smart to try to identify yourself first by some policy positions and so forth, but certainly by summer or certainly by fall, I think he‘ll be more negative or more anti-Bush, or however you might want to phrase it.

CARLSON:  But then they‘re going to come back—I mean, some people—I, in fact, will come back with quotes like these—you know, “This campaign should not be about making people look bad.  It should be about doing good.”

I don‘t know.  With that positive stuff, you paint yourself into a corner. 

Coming up, John Edwards took shots at his competitors this week in an online interview.  Did he bear his proverbial fangs and front (ph) his Democratic cattle call?

Here‘s a hit—yes.

Plus, no matter who wins the nomination on the Democratic side, Iraq will be the central issue of the ‘08 election.  The national intelligence estimate arrives with confirmation of our suspicions.  It is a civil war, it could get worse.

Analysis of that and the politics of it when we come back.



CARLSON:  Well, the war in Iraq and the new and very grim National Intelligence Estimate in just a minute, but first analysis of a man who voted for the Iraq invasion just four years ago, and has spent the ensuing years trying to atone for it.  John Edwards runs third in the latest National Journal predictions for the Democratic nomination.  He spoke Friday to the DNC.  Here‘s a sample. 


JOHN EDWARDS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Why are we here?  We‘re here because today, somewhere in America, an eight-year-old little girl will go to bed hungry. 


CARLSON:  So how is Edwards doing at this point?  With their views, we welcome once again Frank Donatelli, Republican strategist and former Reagan White House political director, and Steve Jarding, Democratic strategist and former campaign advisor for Virginia‘s Democratic Senator Jim Webb. 

Welcome to you both.  You heard from former Senator Edwards said there about the eight-year-old girl going do bed hungry, because her father can‘t find a job.  Listening to this, and the portrait he is painting of America, and an image came to mind.  It wouldn‘t leave.  I want to put it on the screen here.  It‘s a very famous photograph by Dorthia Lang (ph), taken in the 1930‘s. 

There it is right there, called, I think, “Migrant Mother.”  He really, John Edwards, Steve, is painting a portrait of America right out of the Dust Bowl area.  I mean you really expect the Jodes (ph) to come up on stage and join him.  He‘s not describing modern America, so far as I can tell. 

JARDING:  Well, he‘s describing America for a lot of people.  I mean, you can‘t deny the numbers.  Whether it‘s the 30 plus million in poverty, or, you know, the people that working two jobs now, seven, eight percent in much of the Midwest and the South, approaching 10 and 11 percent in some states, people having to hold two jobs.  I mean, there‘s no question there‘s an audience there. 

CARLSON:  Wait, here‘s what he said:  He said there‘s a girl going to bad hungry tonight because her father was laid off and can‘t find a job.  How many families do you think in America, with a father—intact, an intact family, with the father looking for work, have children going hungry?  It‘s a tiny, tiny number.  The number one cause of hunger and poverty in this country is broken families.  Forty percent of Americans kids born out of wedlock.  He didn‘t mention that.  How can you not mention kids born out of wedlock and broken families when you‘re talking about poverty?  The two are linked inextricably, and he ignores that. 

DONATELLI:  The bottom line for John Edwards, and I think his message, is we have problems in America.  We have ignored, really, the underclass, if you will, in America, the poorer sections of our economic system, whether it‘s hunger, whether it‘s jobs, whether it‘s health care.  Health care‘s gone up 73 percent, 47 million Americans without it. 

That‘s what he‘s addressing.  He is looking at people and saying, I know you have issues and problems that the government should be solving.  I think the issue for John Edwards is—by the way, I think that kind of populist theme is not a bad one.  But I think the biggest issue is you come back to where John Edwards was four years ago and say, are you ready on some of the other issues?  These are important issues, but I don‘t think anyone out there is going to say the war or terrorism, they‘re not going to be at the forefront. 

So, at some point, I think, you have to ask John Edwards, where are you going to take us on those issues.  I think that‘s what he‘s going to have face in Iowa and New Hampshire.

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  Frankly, it was interesting, none of the candidates, John Edwards included, so far as I could tell, mentioned abortion, gun control, gay marriage, none of the social issues.  And John Edwards, as we were just saying, focused pretty exclusively on economic issues, and from a pretty hard left perspective.  He gave this sort of Hugo Chavez speech. 

Unemployment today is 4.6 percent.  The average during the Clinton years, 5.2 percent.  We have lower unemployment now than we did under the fabled Bill Clinton.  Is this message—I mean, people are sympathetic, of course, but is it really going to move voters to vote? 

DONATELLI:  Well, the misery index, which was constructed by Jimmy Carter a generation ago is as low as it has ever been.  It‘s lower today than it was under Clinton.  It‘s lower than it was under Ronald Reagan, under the first Bush.  But the public‘s mind is focused elsewhere, unfortunately.  I think that the thing about Edwards, which is interesting is that he wants to get the federal government, apparently, back into the poverty business. 

There‘s a reason that we got out of it in the 1960‘s and got rid of the Great Society.  Washington may be good at sending a man to the moon and fighting wars, but it‘s not very good at defining the purposes of—the cause effects of poverty and dealing with it.  In fact, the best anti-poverty thing that the federal government has done, I think, in the last generation, has been welfare reform, which has forced people to get off of welfare and try to train them for jobs, and so forth and so on.  It‘s an interesting dynamic that he‘s trying to use.  I think it‘s of some interest to Democrats, but let‘s face it, the successful Democrats in the last generation have been Bill Clinton and Chuck Schumer, that won the Senate back for the Democrats, and they have focused relentlessly on the middle class, not the, so called, poverty issue.

CARLSON:  That‘s a fair point.  The problem of poverty is not a question of a lack of will.  I think all good Americans want to cure it, would spend than we spend now.  The question is how.  I thought it was interesting, Steve, his position on the Iraq war.  I want to play a brief clip of what he said, real fire and brimstone stuff.  John Edwards on the war:


EDWARDS:  I believe it is a betrayal, a betrayal for us to not speak out against the escalation of this war in Iraq.  It is a betrayal for this president to send more American men and women to die in Iraq when he knows that this is not going to succeed. 


CARLSON:  Steve, he goes on to indict Democrats.  He said, essentially, it‘s immoral for us to remain silent.  It is a betrayal not to stop this president‘s plan when we have the power to do it.  It‘s a betrayal.  He is attacking the others in the field.  He‘s taking the opposite of Obama‘s approach.  Smart? 

JARDING:  Well, I think, by the way, -- again, I hate to always—we‘re talking politics here and I hate to always bring politics into this, because I don‘t impugn Edwards when he says, listen, I think we have to talk about this.  But you could certainly make the case politically now that what he‘s saying is, yes, whatever my vote was I have already apologized, if you will, for that. 

I‘m not in Congress today.  I don‘t have to make these tough choices, but Congress, you people that are, whether it‘s Hillary Clinton or, you know, Barack Obama, my opponents, you better step up to the plate, because I‘m watching you.  I don‘t have to take that vote.  You do.  But you better do something, or I‘m going to be out here trying to capture that part of the political agenda, if you will, that says hey, they‘re there and had their chance.  Give me my chance.  So, again, I don‘t impugn him, but you could make a political case that that‘s what he‘s doing. 

CARLSON:  And Hillary Clinton, actually, almost answered his critique when she spoke after him, when she attempted—Hillary Clinton‘s not a great speaker.  Let‘s be honest, and she was particularly, I thought, off her game today.  But she tried to say to the crowd, look, you don‘t understand how hard it is to be in the Senate.  It takes 60 votes.  And it was really strains of Bob Dole in 1996, or even John Kerry in 224, trying to explain to voters, you know, how tough it is to be in the Congress.  They‘re totally right, but the public doesn‘t care. 

DONATELLI:  It‘s why it‘s so difficult to be elected president when you are in the Senate.  It‘s why it hasn‘t happened since 1960 with John Kennedy, and it‘s why so many of these people that want to be president, get out of the Senate.  Bill Bradley did it.  Bill Frist did it and then changed his mind.  Now John Edwards has done it, because he can look back from afar, and just sort of indict the whole system.  Whereas she, and the other Democrats, have to say, as you point, look, it‘s not that easy. 

He is clearly positioning himself on the left side of the Democratic party.  I mean, if he feels like he has got a shot to win the Democratic nomination, it‘s to go to the old base of Howard Dean, to the bloggers, you know, to be the most liberal candidate in the race, and he sees the way to do that is Iraq, and you have to say, he has a shot.  He is ahead in Iowa, and if he is competitive in the money race, he is one of the big three candidates. 

CARLSON:  He is—This is a big departure from Bill Clinton.  If you look at his rhetoric today, it is just about 180 degrees from Clinton.  This is not a guy who is running as a moderate.  Thank you both, very much, Frank Donatelli, Steve Jarding, thanks.

And now to the civil war in Iraq.  That‘s what the National Intelligence Estimate now calls the conflict, a civil war.  The NIE paints a grim picture of America‘s prospects for success in Iraq.  The report concludes with President Bush‘s choice for army chief of staff, General George Casey, expressing optimism about the war.  Here to sort out who is right, MSNBC military analyst, retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs.  Colonel, thanks for joining us. 


CARLSON:  You saw General Casey tell the Senate this war is winnable, the president‘s plan makes sense and it can work.  As someone who has commanded troops for many years, what is your response to that?

JACOBS:  Well, it depends on how much time we have.  I don‘t think we have the kind the of time that is going to be required.  With this kind of distribution of forces that we have, this kind of commitment and the character of the Iraqi government, we don‘t have enough time.  There‘s probably not enough time left in my lifetime to get it done. 

And so I think that General Casey‘s talking through his hat.  He either does not know what he is talking about, which is always possible, I guess, or alternatively, there‘s something else afoot here.  And the objective in Iraq is very much different from than that which has been painted to the public. 

CARLSON:  I‘m totally baffled by, not that I doubt them, but by both your assertions.  How could General Casey not know what‘s going on there, and what could possibly be the hidden agenda?

JACOBS:  Well, he probably does know what is going on there.  But I can‘t imagine a circumstance in which a general officer would say that he‘s got enough troops, and, as a matter of fact, may have too many troops committed to the battle.  That just doesn‘t make any sense whatsoever.  You want as many troops as you possibly can.  It‘s a bit like having money.  There is no such thing as too much money. 

So, he doesn‘t have enough troops.  Unless, what the objective is not what we think it is.  It‘s not to flood the zone, to clear Baghdad of the bad guys, to knock off Moqtada al-Sadr and his 60,000 man Mahdi Army, to make the entire country safe for Iraqis and then leave.  It‘s probably nothing like that at all.  The objectives are going to be very, very limited, is the conclusion one has to draw.  We are going to be in a few neighborhoods in Baghdad, a few places in Anbar Province. 

We‘re going to be fighting guys, largely, who have gone to ground.  The Mahdi Army has taken a break.  It doesn‘t mean that we‘re not going to take casualties.  There are going to be civilian casualties.  There‘s not going to be a lot violence.  There‘s going to be plenty of that, but the size of the force that we have committed there is probably appropriate only if you have got limited objectives.  You want to demonstrate to the Iraqis how to dit, and then you‘re going to kind of mooch home. 

CARLSON:  So basically, you‘re saying—the conventional view is the Bush administration believes we can win in Iraq, but they have committed far too few troops.  You are saying, they are actually more sophisticated.  They understand that we can‘t win and that rhetoric to the contrary is just that, rhetoric, and that basically our objectives are just tiny.  And they‘re not saying so. 

JACOBS:  I think they‘re very tiny.  And the size of the force that‘s committed force will tell you that it‘s tiny; 21,500 additional troops.  I mean, even Secretary Gates, last week or the week before, he said that he was looking toward the possibility of reducing the number of troops that‘s going to be in Baghdad, reducing that number, the surge number, maybe by the end of the springtime or early summer.  It‘s clear to me, and I think it should be clear to anybody who pays any attention to the use of the military instrument, that the administration has already decided that it is going to leave, that there is going to be a draw down, and that the objectives of this surge are very, very narrow indeed. 

CARLSON:  Boy, that is just—you know, if you‘re right, and I suspect you are right.  You‘ve been right many other times in the past, that is so contrary to what the average person understands about what the Bush administration is doing. 

JACOBS:  Well, and the opposition, and by that I mean both the Republicans and the Democrats in the Congress, are carrying on with their hair on fire, about the surge and escalation.  To me, it doesn‘t seem to be any of that.  In my mind, and I think when Casey says that he not only has enough troops, but maybe he‘s got too many, suggesting he may have too many, it indicates to me the that, in fact, maybe the conclusion that we‘ve drawn is probably right. 

CARLSON:  Fascinating.  Colonel Jack Jacobs, thanks a lot. 

JACOBS:  Good to be here.

CARLSON:  Coming up, Paul Wolfowitz shares plenty of responsibility for the mess in Iraq, of course.  His punishment, running the World Bank. 

You wouldn‘t wish that on your worst enemy.  So how come this guy can‘t

afford new socks?  We‘ve got the scoop.  It‘s next

Plus, how will the Super Bowl effect the 2008 presidential race?  Well, it won‘t, at all, in any way.  They‘re going to play the game anyhow, though MSNBC chief hype correspondent, Willie Geist, has his chin strap buckled, and files his ultimate pre-game report.  Stick around for that.


CARLSON:  I spent my morning with the likes of Senators Clinton, Dodd, Obama, Congressman Kucinich, just to drop a few names.  It turns out that‘s not all that was going on in Washington today though.  Here to fill us in on everything, we are joined by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, the women behind the Reliable Source, “Washington Post‘s” universally read gossip page.  

ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I like the universally read part.

CARLSON:  Well, because everybody here—This is a very shallow city, so they turn to your section first.  I know I do. 

ROBERTS:  Well, you know, we appreciate that. 

ROBERTS:  Do you have any holes in your socks today? 

CARLSON:  I hate buying new socks.  I do.  Why?

AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Take off your shoes and show us.

CARLSON:  I can‘t. 

ARGETSING:  The big news this week, as you know, Paul Wolfowitz went to Turkey.  The World Bank president went into a mosque, took off his shoes and revealed, in accordance with the etiquette, and revealed the fact that he had a bunch of holes in his socks.  This created an international scandal.  It‘s been appalling to people.  I guess it shows how frugal he is, perhaps.  Is that a good sign? 

ROBERTS:  Well, but it‘s sort of stupid.  I mean, he knew he was going to the mosque, where it‘s customary to take them off.  Not just one, both socks had great big holes in them, you know.  What was he thinking?

ARGETSINGER:  Fortunately international aid workers, in the form of the Sock Lobby, came to his aid yesterday, delivering several shipments to the World Bank offices in Washington—the Gold Toe Sock company; I think we‘re all familiar with them.  They are the ones who make the socks that have the gold toes.  They delivered a shipment—how many pairs, like 24 pairs or something. 

ROBERTS:  21, three weeks supply, on the assumption that he changes his sock every day, with I think is seriously doubtful. 

CARLSON:  May I ask a vital process question here.  Who is assigned to take the Paul Wolfowitz foot picture? 

ROBERTS:  That was actually Turkish reporters, who saw him take off the shoes, and then went, sort of, oh my god, or whatever, however you say that in Turkish. 

ARGETSINGER:  I hope they‘ll be eligible for the Pulitzer in spot news photography, because that was hot.  That was good, fast work.   

ROBERTS:  Also, this is the most covered trip of Wolfowitz‘s career, since going to the World Bank, by far. 

ARGETSINGER:  That was not the only sartorial news in Washington this week.  Even bigger story though, George Schultz, former secretary of state, showed up at a very fine dinner for the U.S. Institute of Peace, over the weekend, wearing a suit, follow me hear, wearing a suit with pin stripes, in which the pin stripes were made by his own name being spelled out.  Is that gangsta or what?

ROBERTS:  You had to get really close, but if you got close, this gorgeous suit, going down the suit, George Schultz, George Schultz.  We couldn‘t find out where he got his, but you can buy them, custom made, for about 10 grand.   

CARLSON:  For how many. 

ROBERTS:  For one.  And it doesn‘t have to be your name.  It could be, I love the Redskins, go Peyton Manning, you know, I love Jennifer Aniston,  whatever you want you can have in there. 

ARGETSINGER:  This is a big story though, because until now, it was largely believed that Condoleezza Rice was the sharpest dressed cabinet secretary, present or future.  I mean, she was the first secretary of state to rock a pair of dominatric boots, as you may remember, the other year.  She is going to have to step up her now.  That‘s all there is to it.

CARLSON:  That is one of the most over-the-top things I‘ve ever seen.  That‘s like subliminal advertising.  That‘s like reading the word sex on a Ritz cracker.  I mean, that‘s like getting you at a level you‘re not perceiving.

ROBERTS:  If someone gave you this, all right, so you didn‘t have to put out the ten grand, would you wear, Tucker, Tucker, Tucker, Tucker, all over your body? 

CARLSON:  I do.  If you look very, very closely, woven into the fabric of my clothing is my own name.   

ARGETSINGER:  You are that gangsta. 

ROBERTS:  I haven‘t gotten that close, because you‘re married, but now I have permission. 

CARLSON:  That‘s just unbelievable.  Boy, I don‘t know two women with sharper eyes than you two.  Roxanne Roberts, Amy Argetsinger, of the “Washington Post,” thank you very much.

ROBERTS:  Thank you.

ARGETSINGER:  You‘re welcome.

CARLSON:  Coming up next, does Rush Limbaugh belong in the company of Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama?  Some think so.  Willie Geist, a humanitarian in his own right, joins us with the details, after the break. 


CARLSON:  Joining us now, a man who‘s running for something, not clear exactly what, in any case, Willie Geist, from headquarters. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m not ready to disclose it yet Tucker.  I do have an exploratory committee.  I‘ll be making an announcement next week.  Please, don‘t preempt. 

Tucker, our final installment of Super Bowl trivia.  Before Sunday‘s Super Bowl XLI or Super Bowl X-L-I, as they call it, we ask simply this, are the Roman numerals really necessary when talking about the Super Bowl?  Tucker, your answer? 

CARLSON:  My answer is, of course they‘re necessary.  They reflect the grandeur and the pageantry of the Super Bowl.  Without them, it‘s just a game.  With them, it‘s an American moment.

GEIST:  That‘s exactly right.  And it reflects this idea of football as Roman gladiators going at each other.  Doesn‘t it?

CARLSON:  Yes, I never thought about that analogy.

GEIST:  Actually, to be serious, Pete Rozelle brought it in after the fifth Super Bowl, because he wanted it just that, the pomp and circumstances, to make it like the Roman coliseum.  So, he made it a little more confusing, but I guess it works. 

CARLSON:  Literally, in my house we do thumbs up, thumbs down. 

GEIST:  When you feed the Christians their lions. 

CARLSON:  Yes, exactly.

GEIST:  Well, Tucker, Rush Limbaugh may not be the first person who comes to mind when you think of the Nobel Peace Prize.  But to the people at the conservative public interest law firm, Landmark Legal Foundation, Rush is a regular Nelson Mandela.  Landmark has nominated Limbaugh for the 2007 Nobel Prize, saying, quote, Rush Limbaugh is the foremost advocate for freedom and democracy in the world today, wow, end quote.  It‘s not clear whether Limbaugh‘s momentary lapse of humanitarianism in publicly mocking Michael J. Fox‘s Parkinson‘s disease last year will hurt his chances to win the prize. 

Now this news, of course, sets up a Nobel smackdown for the ages, between Limbaugh and Al Gore, whose nomination by a pair of Norwegian parliamentarians was announced yesterday.  Wow, look at that, nose to nose.  Tucker, Rush has the weight advantage, Al has the reach.  Who do you think takes that smackdown? 

CARLSON:  Actually, I think Gore has the weight advantage these days.  But I have to say, I mean, either one of these guys would be better than most winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Rigaberta Minch, a total phony, Yasser Arafat, who killed a bunch of people?  I mean, I don‘t think Gore and Limbaugh murdered anyone lately, so I think they‘d be a step up. 

GEIST:  So, you would take Gore over Limbaugh, or are you still deciding? 

CARLSON:  That would make Gore even more pompous and ubiquitous, so no, probably not, I‘d go Limbaugh. 

GEIST:  It‘s going to be good.  Left meets right, east meets west, maybe, I don‘t know, something, but it‘s going to be really good.  Well, the only thing more closely guarded in this country than our nuclear codes may be the secret Coca-Cola formula.  Today a former Coke employee learned just how seriously the company secrets are taken.  A federal grand jury found Joya Thomas (ph), one-time executive assistant at Coke, guilty of conspiring to steal Coke‘s secrets and sell them to Pepsi.  True story. 

Williams faces 10 years in jail, in a case that involved undercover FBI agents and even a whistle blower at Pepsi.  Now Tucker, if you read into this story, it‘s amazing.  She‘s on a security camera taking all these documents.  She made a deal with Pepsi.  She thought she was going to get a 1.5 million dollars with to co-conspirators, from Pepsi, for Coke‘s secrets.  Unfortunately, Pepsi, give them credit, blew the whistle the minute they got the offer. 

They called Coke.  Coke called the FBI and got them in trouble.  They might have to make a movie, or something.

CARLSON:  I‘m not surprised at all.  I don‘t think the formula to Coke is a real mystery.  The real mystery is the formula to Mountain Dew.  If you can figure that out, now that would be—


GEIST:  Mountain Dew is so good, isn‘t it?  You know, our friend, Max Kellerman, a mutual friend of ours, has a great rif about Coke.  He says it‘s so delicious that if a wine steward brought it to you, and you didn‘t know what Coca Cola was, if a wine steward brought it to you after dinner, gave you a sip and said, this bottle is 200 dollars, you would say yes, of course it is.  It‘s the most delicious thing I‘ve ever tasted.  And I think he‘s right.  Coke is pretty good. 

CARLSON:  Yes it is.  I‘m not sure that good, but yes, it‘s good. 

GEIST:  Well, last Friday, Tucker, we said a fond preemptive farewell to the Costa Rican man who likes to wrestle his pet 16-foot crocodile.  Unless we missed something in the obituary pages, it appears the man has cheated death for another week, and good for him.  So, for now, we turn our concern to this guy.  They call him fish man. 

Yesterday he began a 70-day, 3,375-mile swim up the Amazon River, yes, the one infested with crocodiles, piranhas, sharks and other animals.  The swim began at the source of the river in Peru, and will end where it meets the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil, if not much, much sooner. 

Now, Tucker, this guy, he‘s going to swim 14 hours a day, 14 hours a day.  He‘s been training two years for this.  He says he‘s aware of the problems and he says it‘s worth the risk.  I don‘t see how it is, but good for him, I guess. 

CARLSON:  He‘s aware of the problems, like the small needle-like fish, with one way barbs on it, that aims for human orify, that goes in, but doesn‘t go out? 

GEIST:  He actually addressed that specifically. 

CARLSON:  Did he really? 

GEIST:  He did actually.  He‘s going to wear a wet suit, so as to expose fewer orifices—how do you say that. 

CARLSON:  I go for orify. 

GEIST:  Orify, OK.  There‘s actually another sad chapter to this.  He said when he was young he was beaten by his parents, so that will contribute to his ability to endure the pain. 

CARLSON:  I bet, Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right Tucker.

CARLSON:  New you can use.  Thanks Willie.  That does it for us. 

Thanks for watching today.  Up next, “HARDBALL.”  We‘ll see you Monday. 

Have a great weekend.



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