updated 2/7/2007 10:52:11 AM ET 2007-02-07T15:52:11

Guests: A.B. Stoddard, Pat Buchanan, Dan Gerstein, Charlie LeDuff

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the show.

It is hypocrisy day on Capitol Hill—isn‘t it always—as angry Democrats point their collective finger at Republican for blocking debate of an antiwar resolution.  But a new survey shows that half of Democrats who voted for the war still stand by their vote. 

We‘ll sort out the heroes and the villains and everyone in between.

We‘ll also bring you the story of the most twisted love story in the history of the space program.  Yes, the space program. 

We begin with a controversy in Texas that may soon be coming to your state. 

Last Friday, Republican governor Rick Perry issued an executive order requiring every sixth grade girl in Texas to be vaccinated against he Human Papillomavirus.  HPV is sexually transmitted and it can cause cervical cancer.  That‘s a disease that kills several hundred Texas women every year.

The vaccine is a genuine medical breakthrough, and some parents would be pleased to have their kids receive it.  But should children be forced to get the vaccine?  Put another way, does Governor Perry know more about what‘s best for kids than their own parents do?

Keep in mind that cervical cancer is not contagious.  You cannot catch it from a classmate.  Perry is using the power of the state to force a strictly preventive measure on children. 

Once you decide to do that, why stop with HPV?  Why not require every 12-year-old girl in the state to get a birth control injection.  That would curb unwanted pregnancies.

No doubt, somewhere deep in the California legislature someone is working on a bill that would do just that.  The Harvard Medical School and “The New York Times” editorial page will endorse it.  It will probably become law.  But before that happens, it is worth reminding autocrats like Rick Perry that even in 2007, governors are not god. 

Knowing what‘s best doesn‘t give government the right to impose it.  That‘s a right only parents have, thank god. 

Here to make sense of the day‘s news, associate editor of “The Hill” newspaper, A.B. Stoddard, our all-time favorite; MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan; and former senior Joe Lieberman adviser and founder of the political blog “Dangerous Thoughts,” a dangerous man, Dan Gerstein. 

Thank you all. 

DAN GERSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Dan, you‘ve been in politics a long time.  It seems to me that Giuliani has always planned—Mayor Giuliani, former of New York, Rudy—has always planned to announce for president, or has for some time, but has delayed it with the idea that he didn‘t need to get in.  All of a sudden, people are talking about his resolve as a man, does he really want it, the fire in the belly nonsense and all that. 

So he kind of has to announce.  Is that what you think forced this announcement yesterday? 

GERSTEIN:  I think a little bit.  Yes, he was trying to quell any doubts. 

But I think it‘s also he was being smart.

He was kind of taking the measure of his prospects and whether he could raise the money and assemble the team.  And he‘s been able to do that.  And I think he‘s been heartened by some of the polls showing that he‘s a viable candidate.

I also have to say that some of the, you know, hysteria about this, you know, you look back to when Howard Dean announced for president in Vermont.

CARLSON:  Right.

GERSTEIN:  You can‘t tell me when he did it, you can‘t tell me how he did it, but, you know, he catapulted to the top. 

CARLSON:  I was not there.  That‘s true.

GERSTEIN:  Yes.  So I think, you know, three, four months from now, people will forget all this stuff. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, speaking of something that we‘re not going to forget now, we‘re going to go now—we‘re going to take a quick cutaway now to an arraignment in progress of Lisa Nowak.  She‘s, of course, the astronaut in Texas who‘s being arraigned for attempted murder, who shoed up at the airport in diapers yesterday.

Part of a bizarre love story that we will hear much more about in the show.

Right now, though, you‘re looking at live pictures of her arraignment.  She is an actual NASA astronaut who was actually in space, I believe, for 13 days.  She‘s a federal government employee.

Here we go.

(BREAKING NEWS)

CARLSON:  You‘ve been watching a live arraignment of Navy captain and NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak.  She was arrested late Tuesday night at an airport in Orlando, Florida.  She‘s now been charged with threatening the life of a woman she perceived apparently as a romantic rival.  She was wearing diapers at the moment she was arrested. 

We‘re going to have a lot more on this amazing case in just a minute.

Now, though, money in politics, lots and lots of money. 

Former senator John Edwards has decided to turn away public funds for his presidential campaign.  He‘s choosing instead to raise much more money privately.  He‘s not the first to do this—see Hillary Clinton—and he won‘t be the last.  But it is a remarkable choice for a candidate who is framing himself as the champion of the have nots in America, of the poor. 

Here with analysis of his, Mr. Edwards, and big money, we are joined by associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard; MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan; and former senior Joe Lieberman adviser and founder of the political blog “Dangerous Thoughts,” Dan Gerstein.

Welcome back to you all.

A.B., can he get away with this?  I mean...

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

CARLSON:  I mean, can—I guess nobody cares about campaign finance anymore.  That‘s the idea? 

STODDARD:  You know, you‘re going to get mad at Edwards and not Hillary? 

CARLSON:  I got mad at Hillary.

STODDARD:  I know.

CARLSON:  I think if John McCain does it, it will be the most outrageous of all. 

STODDARD:  I think that, you know, he is going to run as the son of a mill worker.  And he is—as—he truly started as one of the—as the little guy, and he made his millions helping the little guy.  And he‘s been out there talking and spending all his time with—with working Americans in the right primary states. 

I do not think because he has a big fancy house and the fact that he‘s going to choose to snuggle up to bundlers (ph) to raise enough money to compete with the other people in this campaign is going to do him harm.  I really don‘t.

CARLSON:  You don‘t?  As far as I know, his money came from the little guy.  His money came from jury awards given to people injured apparently by defective products, and he took a huge cut of it.  So he got rich off the suffering of the little guy, as far as I can tell. 

I‘m wondering, Pat, though, as a matter of principle—and I know nobody cares about principle—but, I mean, can you espouse campaign finance reform and then ignore it, or is it one of those issues that really only nine percent of the population pays attention to? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I don‘t think it‘s even nine percent.  The city pays big attention to campaign finance reform, Tucker.  But the truth is, both McCain and Edwards, if they want to win this thing, you can‘t go up against Hillary‘s $100 million and Giuliani‘s $100 million unless you pretty much do the same thing.

I mean, if he goes for matching funds, you hit a limit and you‘ve got to stop spending, and that‘s the end of the ballgame after the third or fourth primary for you if you‘re spending at the same level of these other folks.  So I think he has just decided, look, I like campaign finance reform, it would have been a good idea, but they haven‘t moved the limits high enough, and if I want to play and that‘s what I‘m in here for, I‘m going to have to go all the way, and that means I‘ve got to raise as much money as these folks, or as near to it as I can get.

CARLSON:  Well, I guess everyone‘s doing it, so who‘s going to criticize him?

Dan, I hate—I hate ever to criticize a man‘s home or in any way criticize someone personally, but John Edwards has been running on, to some large extent, his personal story, the son of a mill worker.  “I‘ve been there, I once lived in an apartment.”

He now lives on a 100-acre piece of property in a 10,000-square-foot house. 

“The New York Post” has a piece on it entitled “A State of Denial.”

The fact that he really is this populist plutocrat, that he is this rich guy living in this sort of unbelievable circumstance, does it devalue his story at all?  Does it make it harder for him to claim...

GERSTEIN:  You know, it could, but, I mean, look back to Bobby Kennedy. 

Bobby Kennedy came from this Patrician clan in 1968 and ran one of the

great populist campaigns of all time, and really connected with people of -

across all racial and economic divides.

So, I think with Edwards, I think it‘s much more going to be is what he‘s saying resonating, is he walking the walk?  The fact that he took, you know, the last several years after the campaign to found a center on poverty, he‘s been out going around the country showing solidarity with workers, you can say he‘s tacking left, but he‘s doing it in a very methodical way that‘s  meaningful and that‘s resonating with people.  I don‘t think they‘re going to care about his house.

CARLSON:  No.

GERSTEIN:  And to be honest with you, the fact that they forgave John Kerry for, you know, being a windsurfer shows that they‘re more willing to... 

CARLSON:  Kite surfer.  Kite surfer.  And there‘s a difference.  Anybody can windsurf.  Only the very rich  kite surf. 

And it hasn‘t—none of this has gotten in the way of Edwards‘ $30,000 pool house.  I mean, you know, I don‘t know, at a certain point I find it nauseating.  I guess I‘m the only one.

I don‘t know why it is that the Democratic Party loves to elect limousine liberals, rich people, aristocrats.  They love dynasties. 

Why is that?  That‘s not a populist stand.

BUCHANAN:  Well, they‘re the FDR, JFK tradition of Patrician sons...

CARLSON:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  ... is a big—but this guy is a trial lawyer, and he‘s got to get rid of that, because they‘re not a popular crowd. 

But I‘ll tell you, Tucker, you‘ve got to admire what he‘s done.  He‘s positioned himself extremely well.  He‘s gone out for two years and worked.

He‘s got himself right behind Hillary and Obama in Iowa.  And if Obama slips, he becomes the alternative to Hillary.  And that is an inside track to the nomination.

So, in terms of what he‘s accomplished, I agree with you, there‘s a lot of phoniness to it.  But I think he‘s accomplished an awful lot with it.

CARLSON:  But he is—and he is—he is—I think he‘s the most talented politician in the whole thing.  He‘s the best speaker.

You saw on Friday, he was the only guy who gave a rousing speech.  Every time I see him—A.B., we were just talking about this during the commercial break—I like him.  He‘s hard not to like.  He is very likable, and his wife is very likeable.

BUCHANAN:  His wife is very likeable, yes.

CARLSON:  She‘s excellent.

However, is there—is there—he said in a speech on Friday—he said, you know, the factory workers and mill workers, you know, I‘m on their side.  There aren‘t many of them left, honestly.

STODDARD:  That‘s true.  But you know what?  The hotel workers are the ones who have spent all this time with him within the last—he‘s talked to all these unions, he‘s been at picket lines. 

He hasn‘t been hanging out with—with Hillary Clinton or, you know, his rich friends.  He has been—he‘s been walking the walk, as Dan said.  And I think that those are the people that are going to decide how popular he is and how much support he will receive.  Not you.

BUCHANAN:  Tucker...

CARLSON:  The long walk from his $30,000 pool house to his 10,000-square-foot mansion, it‘s a long walk. 

I‘m sorry.  I know that drives you crazy.

BUCHANAN:  The trade issue is really going to get blazing hot with Fast Track coming up and the Doha deal and all this stuff, Tucker.  That‘s coming up midyear, whether they strip Bush of the authority, basically, to get trade deals and run them right through Congress.

And he is going to have to stand and go after this, which is going to hurt him with a lot of these big fat cats. 

CARLSON:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  This is going to be one of the blazing issues of this year, Fast Track. 

CARLSON:  Well, I think if he does that, if he at least puts the brakes on so we can talk about it, you know, good for him. 

Coming up, Barack Obama delivered a new speech on his Iraq war plan this morning.  Find out what he said, how he said it, and why it‘s unlikely to make any difference at all.  Not to be pessimistic.

Plus, more on the arraignment of the astronaut gone wild, really wild.

The diaper story ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, you couldn‘t write a movie with a better story line than this: A NASA astronaut charged with attempted first-degree murder of a fellow astronaut, as well as attempted kidnapping.  It‘s a crazy plot involving BB guns, pepper spray, a steel mallet, rubber tubing, a large garbage bag and, yes, diapers.

All that in just a minute.

Right now, though, here‘s a look at your headlines.

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  Last night the Senate voted against debating the non-binding anti-war resolution, put forward by Senator John Warner of Virginia.  It was a blow to sincere anti-war Democrats, like Russ Feingold, but a new survey by the Politico shows that nine of the 18 senators who voted in favor of the Iraq invasion continue to stick by their chose. 

So what gives with the party elected to end the war?  Here to discuss that, among other things, associate editor of the “Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate—I voted for him—Pat Buchanan, and former Lieberman advisor and founder of the political blog “Dangerous Thoughts,” Dan Gerstein.  Welcome back.

Dan, how can half the Democrats who voted for—essentially for the resolution that gave the president the power to go to war in the first place in 2002 -- they won‘t retract their vote.  They won‘t recant?  How does that work?

GERSTEIN:  I think it‘s pretty easy to explain.  And I think this is what Hillary Clinton has done, which is to separate the decision about going to war, versus how the war has been conducted.  I give Hillary Clinton a lot of credit for not doing the politically expedient thing, and going what Edwards did in repudiating that vote, because she thought it was the right thing to do.  She sort of says I‘m not going to do revisionist history. 

But you can still say it was the right thing to go to war and say that the Bush administration has completely bungled—

CARLSON:  Possibly, but here‘s Senator Cornyn, who I don‘t believe I‘ve ever quoted before on the air, but I think he makes a really good point.  Mr Cornyn of Texas said today—he said, if you really feel like what is happening in Iraq cannot be justified, if you feel like we have already lost and we are only sending troops into harm‘s way, with no chance of accomplishing the mission—as some of those Democrats feel, I believe -- then I would say the only real vote that would matter is the vote to cut off funds. 

I man, how can you—I‘ll put this to you Pat—how can you sincerely believe that the war is a disaster that only endangers Americans and not do everything in your power to end it? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, there‘s a third course and that‘s a salvage operation.  And that is, in other words, look, if we turn around and walk out right now, there will be a humanitarian blood bath and a complete and total disaster.  What is it we can save?  How do we get out and preserve as much as we can and keep the country from falling apart?  I think that‘s the only argument. 

I don‘t think it‘s an either/or, if you oppose the surge you ought to cut off the funds.  I do think there‘s a middle course and I think Hagel and some of these other fellows, I think, would not recommend just walking away, cutting off funds.  And so I think that‘s it.  And really that‘s what Joe Biden is saying.  And I think, if you read what he said in the “New York Observer,” after you get past the Obama comment, it‘s very intelligent.  I think he said, wait a minute, we have got vital interests here, and let‘s find a way to protect them, and Edwards isn‘t. 

Edwards doesn‘t know what the heck he‘s talking about.  Hillary‘s plan is a total disaster.  That‘s why I hope Biden stays in there, and some of these centrist guys.  So how do we get out of there, Tucker, without really having what I think could be really the end of Pax American, the end of the American century, if that thing collapses. 

GERSTEIN:  But let‘s be clear Pat.  There‘s a difference between what Hillary Clinton is proposing and what Edwards is proposing.  To cap troops is one thing, to cut off funding and have an immediate withdrawal would create a disaster in the area, and as Biden has said, is irresponsible.  

CARLSON:  A.B., as a political matter, it seems to me Democrats are being goaded, both by the Republicans and by their base, into a further left position on this.  And I would not be surprised if you saw an actual vote on defunding a couple months down the road.  This reminds me of the government shutdown of 1995, where you have Republicans take power and they overextend.  They go too far.  They are goaded into this by President Clinton, and they blow it.  They lose in the end. 

Do you think that Bush could actually end up winning politically over this? 

STODDARD:  No, I don‘t.  And we‘ve discussed this many times, and you think they‘re cowards, and --  

CARLSON:  But that‘s not even the point I‘m making.

STODDARD:  No, no, no, I really don‘t believe that they‘re going to defund.  I don‘t think they‘re going to go so far, like the government shutdown, on the other side, and actually vote to cut the funds.  They‘ve made a decision, and when I talk to them, there are specifics now out about what they are going to do, which set up a series of votes.  None of them are going to be so big that you could pick off a few here and there. 

It is going to be a series of times where they really can force the president to be on the record about certifying military readiness.  Are the troops we‘re sending level one, or whatever the details are?  Putting him on the record over and over and over again, so that you‘re building the political pressure on the Republicans, depressing support in the public, building the pressure on the president, but, again, not owning the war.  That is their strategy. 

BUCHANAN:  Democrats—I mean, Harry Reid would not let the Republicans have the two other votes.  The Republicans agreed, OK, vote on the Warner Amendment, and that will embarrass the president.  We‘ll give you that vote, but we want to vote on defunding the war.  Why?  Because the Republicans know there‘s a wing of the Democratic party which would say defund the war.  And that isn‘t where the country is, and that would show the split in the Democratic party as well. 

So, I think there is a part of the Democratic party, I think, which is beyond where the American people are right now. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree with you more.  Let‘s talk, Dan, about where Barack Obama, the potential, I believe, likely nominee on the Democratic side is on this.  He released his Iraq plan in some detail today. 

Here‘s the end of it.  It calls for regional diplomacy, launching a comprehensive regional, international, diplomatic initiative, to help achieve a political settlement in Iraq, end the civil war there, prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and regional conflict.  The president should appoint a special envoy and carry out this diplomacy within 60 days.  It mandates the president submit a plan to prevent the war in Iraq from becoming a wider regional conflict.  In other words, pray, pray, really, really, hard.  It‘s suggest—

STODDARD:  Sounds like a great plan. 

CARLSON:  It suggests no solution at all.  It‘s like, here‘s my plan, you deal with it.  That‘s not enough.

GERSTEIN:  Well, that wouldn‘t be the first time that a presidential candidate put forward something that‘s unrealistic, but that‘s sort of the advantage of being a candidate and not the commander in chief.  You don‘t have the responsibility to put forward something that‘s going to work.  You have to put forward something that sounds good and is appealing to primary voters. 

I think that‘s going to be the danger in this primary process, is a lot of these guys are going to feel the pressure to appease, rather than to lead.  And I think Obama‘s big challenge is going to be, can he show leadership, to show the stature to overcome the doubts about his experience, that he‘s prepared to be commander in chief.

CARLSON:  Thank you for stating the obvious and puncturing my outrage with the truth.  Quickly now, the “New Yorker” suggests, in a recent issue, that Joe Lieberman might leave the Democratic party.  He was dissed by the Democrats pretty dramatically, of course, in the primary this year.  But if the Democrats vote to defund in the Senate, he might just throw up his hands and leave.  You worked for him for many years.  Is that going to happen? 

GERSTEIN:  No, and I think this sort of constant speculation on the far left about this just sort of shows a bizarre obsession.  He said during the campaign that he is a proud Democrat.  He‘s going to stay in the Democratic party.  He‘s going to caucus with the Democratic party.  He is just concerned about the future of the Democratic party and where some of the more extreme elements are taking it, in sort of a pacifist, isolationist direction. 

And they don‘t understand the fundamental threat of radical Jihadism to the American people.  I think he is making a very important point about the future of the Democratic party. 

CARLSON:  I agree with you, but I‘m not a Democrat, so I rarely say that, because I can‘t deal with the e-mail that would result.  Some Democrats don‘t understand the fundamental nature of the threat from the radical Jihadism.  I actually completely agree with that.   

Pat, do you think there will be more than just Russ Feingold on Democratic side, pushing for a vote on really ending the war? 

BUCHANAN:  I think this is what Reid is afraid of, and that‘s why he wouldn‘t give the Republicans the vote.  I think there‘s a lot more than Russ Feingold.  There‘s a lot of folks out there who will vote to cut off funding for the war.  They will vote, basically, for a resolution.  I think Richardson came out today, did he not?  I hope I‘m not mistaken.  But he said, look, we authorized the war.  Let‘s vote to unauthorized the war. 

The Democratic party is moving very hard, very fast to the left and Reid doesn‘t want the country to see that what you have here is 1975 Democrats, who cut off all aid to the South Vietnam, when that thing went down.  That‘s what they‘re terrified of.  What they want to say is: we don‘t like the surge.  We don‘t like the policy.  He messed up the war.  But he‘s going to run it.  We don‘t want responsibility.  

CARLSON:  In the minute we have left, A.B., explain something very complicated in simple terms—

STODDARD:  Wait.

CARLSON:  Is it possible to deauthorize the war, Richardson‘s idea, Pat just referred to?

STODDARD:  I think that the only choice they have is to cut off funds. 

I think that you have to actually get to the line item of funding.

CARLSON:  Right, you can‘t just say it‘s not OK anymore. 

STODDARD:  Right, I think that‘s the only choice.  I just don‘t see, at this point, that they are going to do that.  I remain convinced that they are going to make him own this war, make Republicans end it.  I just don‘t think they are going to take that step. 

CARLSON:  Well, two years from now, they are going to have to figure out what to do about it anyway, so—in my view.  Thank you all very much, A.B., Pat, Dan, thanks. 

Coming up, there are certain things that make American men American men, the timeless genius of the Three Stooges—before we go to that, the space program, something even more shocking than a Martian invasion or Capricorn One, an astronaut was just arraigned on charges of first degree murder.  It involves two astronauts, an engineer, some pepper spray, a BB gun, a nearly thousand mile car ride, some diapers.  We could go on.  Why do that, we‘ve got a live report.  Lisa Nowak was just arraigned on charges.  Here to make sense of it all, NBC‘s Tom Costello, joining us live.  John?

JOHN COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, it‘s strange, but a Martian invasion, that would do it for me.  I‘m sorry, that‘s a bit much.  Here‘s what happened in that hearing that we just had.  A new charge of attempted first degree murder has now been added.  However, Lisa Nowak is going to be allowed to leave the state, with conditions.  And here are the conditions the judge has now imposed:  He has raised the bond from 15,500 dollars, up to 25,500 dollars.  In addition, she does have to with wear the GPS ankle bracelet, so they can keep track of where she is at any time. 

She can leave the state of Florida.  She can go to Texas, back home to Texas.  Of course, she is based at the Johnson Space Center, outside of Houston.  However, if she comes back to Florida, she cannot go east of Orlando.  Because east of Orlando, if you know the map at all, you know that that‘s where the Kennedy Space Center is, and that‘s where her alleged victim is, Captain Colleen Shipman.  She works there at the Kennedy Space Center.

So, at this point, Astronaut Captain Lisa Nowak is, it would appear, not going to have to spend another night in jail in Orlando.  She is going to be posting 25,500 dollars bond.  She‘ll then be going home and it was made very clear today, by her attorney, that she apparently needs help.  Her attorney making that comment on several occasions and also saying, frankly, that there are people back in Houston who care about her, including her family and her colleagues, the staff of the Johnson Space Center, at NASA, in Houston, who all want to do all they can to help her.  And so that is where this stands now.

CARLSON:  Wait, Tom, very quickly, she has a husband and an employer, apparently.  Her employer is the federal government.  They want to help her?  I mean, she‘s being accused of attempted murder here, and acting like a complete nut case.  They haven‘t said anything disapproving about that and where is her husband in all of this? 

COSTELLO:  Well, I think you underscore the problem when you say she acting like a nut case.  Everybody concedes that this woman needs help at this point, and they want to get that to her.  Will she ever fly again in space again?  That‘s highly, highly doubtful. 

CARLSON:  You think so?

COSTELLO:  I think that‘s highly doubtful.  Where is her husband? 

CARLSON:  The union‘s not going to step in to protect her?

COSTELLO:  Boy, you are a skeptic, aren‘t you?

CARLSON:  I am.

COSTELLO:  I think it‘s highly unlikely, also—back to the point, where is her husband?  We don‘t know the answer to that.  We know that she has a teenage son and she has two other kids and it‘s a tragedy for them, as you can imagine.  What it must be like to be a teenage boy and have this happen to your mom.  We are very thankful that, of course, nothing happened to Captain Shipman.  The defense attorney was making the argument that the only reason they added the charge of attempted first degree murder is to try to up the ante here and to get her to stay in the jail.  The judge clearly thinks that her flight risk is not very great, and they are more concerned right about getting her whatever help is necessary. 

CARLSON:  All right, NBC‘s Tom Costello, thanks a lot Tom.

COSTELLO:  You bet, look for those Martians.

CARLSON:  They would be less weird that this story.  Coming up, there are certain things that make American men American men, the timeless genius of the Three Stooges, obviously one.  Up next, the “New York Times” reporter who traveled this country to find out the others. 

Plus, there are too many inappropriate segues to list here, from what makes an American man to Ted Haggard.  Let‘s just say that the evangelist who enjoyed quality time with male prostitutes has a new revelation for us.  It turns out, buckle your seat belt, he‘s not a gay American.  Details straight ahead. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It is every man‘s dream, take a year off, truck across the country, hang out with other men, get a sense of they‘re thinking, what they‘ve been feeling, get inside their heads.  That‘s exactly what Charlie LeDuff of the “New York Times” did.  He wrote a book about it, “Us Guys:

The True and Twisted Mind of the American Man.”  He joins us now from New York.  Charlie, welcome.

CHARLIE LEDUFF, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”:  Hey brother, thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:   I‘m glad to have you.  I read your entire book. 

LEDUFF:  Did you like it?

CARLSON:  Not something most people that host TV shows can say.  And it‘s got all these fascinating vignettes of the different subcultures you spent time with.  You joined a circus.  You did a bear knuckle brawl.  You hung out with homicide detectives and Little Big Horn reenactors.  Give us some kind of a general perceptions into American men that you came to by the end of this. 

LEDUFF:  We don‘t know what it is to be men anymore.  You are supposed to honor—look, this whole book starts with, actually, some politics.  How did Bush win?  They tell me it was the Christian conservatives.  OK, that‘s 17 million and a lot of those guys drink and are divorced and all that.  What about the 40 million other people?  The ones I know, the America I live in, we watch football and drink beer on Sunday.  We don‘t go to church.  So, why don‘t I go play pro football in Texas and look at from the inside out and who are the guys under the helmets, playing, you know, semi-pro ball.

If this cheap dream doesn‘t work, man, you know, like we all want to be novelists, we all want to be rappers, we all want to be pro football players, what‘s on the other side in this country?  A whole lot of nothing all of sudden.  Where are our factories?  Where are the good paying jobs.  I see a lot of scary guys out there.  People don‘t take care of their kids.  We‘re the drug generation.  We‘re the divorce generation.  Immigrants, we don‘t know what it is to even be American anymore.  So what I see is a lot of I don‘t know. 

CARLSON:  So, do you think the changes taking place in American society, and there are a lot of them, and you write about them in your book, hurt men more than women? 

LEDUFF:  That‘s a good question.  Someone is going to have to write “Us Gals.”  The reason I focus on men is because I‘m a man, and that‘s what I know.  And I like to participate, you know what I mean?  No one wants to read a book about talking about a boxer.  Let me get my head knocked in by this guy and tell you what it feels like.  So, yes, it effects men and women differently.  Women have got to do all the work, all of a sudden.  They‘ve got to raise the kids.  They‘ve got to go to work.  They got to try to make some semblance of a family.  And ultimately, that‘s probably what‘s the biggest curse of living today, our families are broken.

CARLSON:  So you said you started this book with a political inspiration, trying to answer the question, how did Bush get elected.  If you were running for president in 2008, and you wanted to appeal to the disaffected men you‘re writing about in this book, what would your pitch be?  What would you say to them?

LEDUFF:  OK, number one, we‘re going to redo affirmative action.  Yes, we want to help the kid in the ghetto, the kid in the bario, and the kid on the reservation, but what about the kid in the trailer.  He counts too.  We got to help him. 

Two, fair immigration reform.  We‘re not talking about running people out of this country.  You‘ve been here 10 years, you have kids in school?  You‘re a citizen, come on.  If you‘ve been here 12 months, no way man, get a card, work here three years, we garnish 20 percent of your wages, collect it on the way back, get back in line, and this way we can control it.  You have to talk about NAFTA.  We have to enforce some of those clauses, right, to slow down the drain, so we can catch up.  Detroit is broken.  Have you been there lately?  It‘s broken.

You have to talk about health care.  If every man has a right to a gun, he has a right to a doctor.  GM wants it.  The unions want it.  We all want it, because our companies can‘t compete.  That‘s what I‘m talking about.  Health care—yes, thanks man, I am actually going to resign from the Times and I‘m am announcing my candidacy for presidency of the United States.   

CARLSON:  I think I would vote for you.  I think I‘m going to have to have dinner with you just a couple times more to be absolutely certain, but Charlie LeDuff, if you start a party, I hope you‘ll announce it on this show.  The book, “Us Guys,” Charlie Leduff of the “New York Times.”  Thanks a lot, Charlie. 

LEDUFF:  Thanks, and hi ma.

CARLSON:  Coming up, who says rehab is just a celebrity PR tool?  A couple of weeks away cured the Reverend Ted Haggard of his homosexuality, if not his affinity for Crystal Meth.  Willie Geist looks into Haggard‘s unique 12 step program when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Joining us now, a man who can complete a 12-step program in just three steps, joining us from headquarters, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Nothing like the one I‘m about to tell you about, Tucker, though.  Before I get to that, I have to say about this whole astronaut story, which I find riveting, actually.  A lot of holes in the plan, but I think the biggest one was the diapers.  You‘re going to have to stop for gas anyway, so why not use the bathroom when they‘re filling up the gas.  The diapers were overkill, don‘t you think? 

CARLSON:  I think that unless there is a medical reason for you to be wearing, if you are wearing them, you are enjoying it.  I mean, let‘s be honest.

GEIST:  Perhaps.  Among the many problems she has, that might be one of them.  Well Tucker, as you just mentioned, rehab has gotten a really bad wrap lately, as a place celebrities go to hide from their problems.  Well, the Reverend Ted Haggard is here to tell you rehab works.  After three weeks of intensive counseling, Haggard says he is now, quote, completely heterosexual.  Hallelujah. 

It‘s an amazing turnaround, really, when you consider the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals was partying with Crystal Meth and gay hookers not so long ago.  Haggard broke the news of his miraculous healing to a four person oversight board that‘s monitoring his recovery.  Here is how Haggard‘s alleged former sex partner, homosexual prostitute Mike Jones, reacted to the news today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE JONES, HOMOSEXUAL PROSTITUTE:  I‘ve heard from a couple other gentlemen who have indicated that through some gay dateline sites that they had hooked up with Ted Haggard themselves, but they‘re afraid to come forward, because of the taboo about being gay.  And they‘re worried about their jobs. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  First of all, that guy is the most famous gay hooker of all times.  I‘ve seen a lot of that guy in the last couple months.  If only AA were this effective.  Right Tucker?  Three months of counseling and a lifetime of repressed of homosexuality flushed out of the system.  It has to be the most effective program. 

CARLSON:  Well, but Haggard was a good candidate, because you know Willie, as he explained also today, he only had sex with one gay man ever.  I mean, ever, it was just this one guy.  It happened to be the one that he got caught doing.  That was the only time ever. 

GEIST:  Right, he was experimenting for three years.  He was just sampling it to see if he liked it.  It was kind of a trial period, I think.  But it‘s a place in Arizona, a treatment center in Arizona, undisclosed treatment center.  But whatever they‘re doing in there, it appears to be working.  So, if you‘ve got a problem, you might want to go. 

Well, in other news of closeted sexuality, it turns out the scandal surrounding former Congressman Mark Foley has actually helped the Congressional Page Program.  That‘s right.  Foley, of course, resigned from Congress last September after several male pages came forward with e-mails an Instant Messages from Foley, requesting sexual favors and pictures, actually. 

Since then, both the House and Senate page programs have seen an increase in the number of requests for information.  Some members of Congress had called for a suspension or even an end to the page program in the immediate wake of the Foley scandal.  This is pretty amazing, Tucker, but I guess it is the old any publicity is good publicity.  Who knew Mark Foley actually being used as a recruiting tool for the page program.  You, too, can be harassed by creepy old guys.  And we do not discriminate, women, men, whatever, just come on down. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know, that calls into question the talent pool of the page program. 

GEIST:  I wonder who these people are who are suddenly interested in being harassed by old guys. 

CARLSON:  If you are drawn to the Mark Foley story like a bug light, you probably shouldn‘t be on Capitol Hill. 

GEIST:  Yes, I don‘t think so.  Here‘s another guy who is not too impressive.  We just mentioned a couple.  When you break into a pizza joint to steal 20 bucks from a tip jar, you probably deserve to run smack into the glass door when you‘re trying to get away.  That‘s exactly what happened to this genius in Limerick, Pennsylvania.  He smashed through one door to get in and there he is, running into the opposite door.  Whoops.  So, in the seven seconds it took him to commit the robbery, he forgot which door he had come in through basically.  He ran full speed into the wrong one, you know, the one with the glass still fully in tact. 

Look at him swiping the tip jar, there you go.  Now I‘ll just slip right out the way I came in, right.  Whoops, nope, right down.  Tucker that is not impressive.  So not only did he commit a burglary for a tip jar, he got between 15 and 20 dollars, but he ran out the wrong door and in the wrong process lost all the money that he had.  So really he just came out with a big hole in the front of his head. 

CARLSON:  It‘s totally irrelevant to him.  I mean, by the time you are breaking into pizza places to steal the tip jar, you‘ve been huffing so much paint that you don‘t even where it is.   

GEIST:  That‘s a really good point.  I mean, I don‘t mean to critique his burglary, but as long as you‘re in there, smash the register open.  I mean, you‘re going for seven bucks in tips.  Or get a slice.  Do something.  That‘s just pathetic.  I just want to see him hit one more time.  And there we go.  Poor form. 

CARLSON:  Typically you commit the robberies you deserve.  Willie Geist from headquarters, thanks Willie. 

GEIST: All right, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  That‘s it for us today.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL.”  We‘ll be back tomorrow.  Stay tuned.  Have a great night.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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