updated 3/13/2007 1:22:38 PM ET 2007-03-13T17:22:38

Guests: Bill Press, Pat Buchanan, Roger Stone, Debbie Melnyk, Bill Caine

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show.

Strange days indeed for the Republican Party as we approach the 2008 presidential race.  Senator Chuck Hagel staged a press conference today in his home town.  He assembled the national media, only to tell the world he‘s not sure whether he‘ll run for president.

Actor and former Senator Fred Thompson, meanwhile, went on television over the weekend to say he‘s not sure whether he‘ll run either.

Rudy Giuliani is, in fact, running, and he picked up a big endorsement from a genuine southern conservative today.  But the firefighters of the city Giuliani once ruled want nothing to do with him. 

The fireworks and the duds in the still wide-open race GOP race for president in just a minute.

But first, another poignant development in the Hillary Clinton for president campaign.  Earlier this month, Clinton gave a speech to a primarily black audience in Selma, Alabama, in which she recounted that while a high school student back in 1963, she strongly supported Martin Luther King. 

It sounds good, except that as Bob Novak points out in a column this morning, Hillary Clinton wrote in her own memoirs that she supported Barry Goldwater for president the following year.  It wouldn‘t have been unreasonable to support Martin Luther King in 1963, and it wouldn‘t have been unreasonable to support Barry Goldwater in 1964.  But both of them at the same time?  That doesn‘t make sense.

In fact, Goldwater was one of the few Republicans, one of six to join segregationist Democrats in opposing the ‘64 Voting Rights Act, which was, of course, inspired and championed by Martin Luther King himself.  Backing both King and Goldwater is a little like campaigning for both Kerry and Bush.  Or, for that matter, Hillary and Giuliani. 

It‘s like smoking pot but not inhaling.  In other words, it‘s phony, and it‘s also insulting in the way that inept pandering always is insulting.

More than anything, it‘s sad.  Here‘s a person who wants to be president, wants it badly, but doesn‘t even know who she is, or worse, doesn‘t want to tell us who she is. 

Well, now to the Republicans and who exactly might run for president next year under their banner.  We welcome MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, and nationally syndicated radio show host and the author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion,” Bill Press. 

Welcome to you both. 

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  All right.  Tucker.

CARLSON:  All right.  Everyone who has a press pass loves Chuck Hagel. 

He‘s the media candidate of ‘08.

I want to put up, for those who love Chuck Hagel—and I actually like Chuck Hagel.  I‘m among those who like him.  I want to put up part of what he said this morning.

Judge Chuck Hagel based on this.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL ®, NEBRASKA:  I‘m here today to announce that my family and I will make a decision on my political future later this year.  In making this announcement, I believe there will still be political options open to me at a later date. 

Well, I am a Republican, I believe I will continue to be a Republican.  Where the world goes, what the political current are next year, I can‘t predict.  But I said in my statement that I‘ll continue to raise money for Republican candidates, do everything I can to help. 

America is facing its most divisive and difficult issue since Vietnam—the war in Iraq.  This is an issue that I have been deeply involved in.  I want to keep my focus on helping find a responsible way out of this tragedy and not divert my energy, my efforts and my judgment with competing political considerations. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now, Pat, leave aside the fact that Chuck Hagel looks like he just went bankrupt and just woke up at the same time.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Right.

CARLSON:  Not, I didn‘t think, a very effective presentation. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  What exactly is he saying?  He held a press conference to say he may be at some point thinking about running for president? 

BUCHANAN:  I hope a lot of these reporters didn‘t file their expense reports to fly to Lincoln, Nebraska, for that one.  They‘ve got a lot to answer for.

CARLSON:  Well, some did, in fact.  It was interesting.  He opened up his remarks by thanking the press, which is his truest constituency. 

BUCHANAN:  There‘s some ticked off press guys flying home.  But no, I don‘t understand that. 

I agree with you.  I think Chuck Hagel is an authentic guy.  I think if he got into this race he would really bring an articulate, conservative antiwar position.  And I would like to see him get in, frankly.  But I don‘t understand why you hold a press conference, Tucker, at this relatively late day, March of 2007, to say I may be running or I may not be down the road. 

I think it‘s a mistake. 

CARLSON:  Yes, it is.  I mean, I think the idea is, as I understand it -- 

I mean, there are smart people thinking this through.

PRESS:  Yes, right.

CARLSON:  He‘s smart, he has smart people working for him.  The idea is it‘s sort of like when you‘re in traffic, you pick a radar pigeon.  You know, someone you can drive behind and he gets pulled over first by the cop with the radar gun. 

His idea, I guess, is that McCain and Giuliani are going to, you know, implode and then he‘ll jump in?  I mean, is that realistic in this cycle? 

PRESS:  Well, Tucker, we‘ve talked before.  I think there‘s an opening on the Republican side for somebody who is genuinely an anti-interventionist when it comes to foreign policy. 

CARLSON:  On a principled—a principled, antiwar conservative.  I agree.

PRESS:  Yes, right.  And that Chuck Hagel would be that person. But this, I thought, was one of the biggest con jobs ever perpetrated on the national press. 

I mean, he made it clear he was going to make a major announcement about his political future.  And so, you know, he hold a news conference to say I haven‘t made up my mind yet? 

CARLSON:  You think he‘ll run? 

PRESS:  No, based on today.  I don‘t think so.

BUCHANAN:  I was surprised.  He was—that word that he was getting in, everybody‘s heading out there for the announcement. 

PRESS:  Well, that‘s what—we were made to believe that. 

BUCHANAN:  Yes.  This leads me to believe he‘s not. 

CARLSON:  Well, maybe he—maybe that‘s because he talked to Fred Thompson.  Fred Thompson over the weekend...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  ... I mean, you never know.  I think they‘re friends.  Fred Thompson, former senator, now movie actor, announced, sort of, on FOX this weekend that he is in fact thinking about it. 

Is he a realistic...

BUCHANAN:  You know, if Fred Thompson had gotten into this six months or a year ago, I‘d say yes he was.  But he‘s not into it yet, and this looks like something he‘s saying, well, it‘s sort of wide open, what Newt is saying, it looks like there‘s a real opening here, maybe I‘ll step in.  But you‘ve really got to show I think a lot more determination and resolve, because this is going to be a real battle. 

We‘re already—some of these guys may fall by the wayside, but the people in there now, Tucker, are going to pick up the pieces and move forward.  So I don‘t know why these fellows are hesitating.  If they want to get in, I think there is an opening for both of them.  I mean, they would not be top-tier candidates, but they‘d be second-tier candidates right now.  It‘s not a bad position to be in. 

CARLSON:  But Fred Thompson, he looks like a president.  I mean, to take nothing away from him or his ideas or his, you know, value as a man, he kind of—he just looks like the result of a genetic experiment designed to produce the perfect president. 

PRESS:  He looks like a president, and I do think on both sides there is a scenario where the frontrunners fade and one of these second-tier candidates or somebody waiting in the wings, whether it‘s Pat Buchanan or Fred Thompson, comes right up the middle—or Al Gore on the other side. 

But I‘ve got to tell you  just a quick story.

CARLSON:  Wait, quickly, can you elect a guy who played a role on “Matlock”? 

PRESS:  Sure you can.  I mean, you can elect a guy...

BUCHANAN:  How about a guy that played on “Bedtime for Bob-O”? 

CARLSON:  I guess you‘re right.  No, you‘re right.

PRESS:  Exactly.

CARLSON:  I knew you were going to say that. 

PRESS:  He said it before I did.

I just want to say, I was in Los Angeles this last weekend for a talk radio seminar, OK, hanging out at the talk radio seminar the whole weekend, sitting in on meetings, sitting in on conferences, shaking hands, going to cocktail parties—Fred Thompson.  And then I come back here and I pick up the paper and it says Fred Thompson is thinking for running for president.  And I thought he didn‘t look like somebody who was running for president to me this last weekend. 

CARLSON:  Then what is—I mean, Fred Thompson was asked when he went on FOX—Chris Wallace said, well, this is obviously a reflection of the weak state of the Republican field.  And he said the least true thing uttered this year—No, it has nothing to do with the field.  I mean, this is what it appears to be, isn‘t it? 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  I‘ve looked at the track and I‘ve got a horse, and I think he can win against this field.  That‘s exactly what it is. 

PRESS:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  Everybody sees all three of the frontrunners have got real problems, especially with the social conservative base.  Big problems and some of them aren‘t liked.  And it‘s wide open.

That‘s why Newt pulled the thing with Dr. Dobson last week, you know?  Everybody gets to keep (ph) problems out of the way so you can run down the right sideline and go the distance.  And there‘s a real opening.

PRESS:  Yes.  It‘s a preemptive strike...

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

PRESS:  ... on his extramarital affairs, is get them out there. 

BUCHANAN:  Control, burn, Tucker.  You‘ve got...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Boy, I just thought that was unnecessary.  I mean, in 2007 you need to come out and say, you know, by the way, yes, I did cheat on my wife?  And all the stories... 

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS:  Better to get...

BUCHANAN:  Better now than at the end of the Iowa caucuses. 

PRESS:  And Rudy Giuliani defended him, because of course Rudy Giuliani is a multiple adulterer.

CARLSON:  Boy, I just think after Clinton you could be a cross-dresser and, you know, what could people say?  What, you‘re too weird to be president?  I don‘t think so.

BUCHANAN:  We have a different party than those guys, Tucker.

CARLSON:  The Republicans used to be different.  Now I don‘t think Republicans can credibly stand up and say we have, you know, more conventional sex lives than Democrats.  I don‘t think anyone believes that.

PRESS:  Well, I look forward to hearing Newt Gingrich or Rudy Giuliani talk about the sanctity of marriage. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

PRESS:  That would be a great day for America.

CARLSON:  I don‘t think you‘re going to hear that.

Coming up, FOX News is rustling some feathers of the Nevada Democratic Party—that‘s Nevada, of course, if you live there.

Plus, mirror, mirror on the wall, apparently Hillary Clinton needs to clean her mirrors because she thinks she‘s the John F. Kennedy of 2007, and she‘s actually coming out and saying so.  You‘ve got to hear to it believe it.  We‘ve got it.

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  And now the politics of politics and the Democratic run for the presidency.  The Nevada Democratic Party had planned a debate for August in Reno.  That‘s the self-described biggest, little city in the world.  It would air on the FOX News Channel, or would have.  Late Friday, though, organizers pulled the plug on that event. 

Why?  Ostensibly because FOX News chairman Roger Ailes told a joke at dinner Thursday night that appeared to link Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden because their names sound sort of alike.  But nobody thinks that‘s the real reason.  FOX says the debate collapsed because Nevada Democrats “... appear to be controlled by radical fringe out-of-state interest groups.” And there is, in fact, no question that liberal bloggers did play a role in all this. 

Joining once again to sort it out, MSBNC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press. 

Welcome to you both. 

Bill, here‘s the joke that Roger Ailes actually told.  “It is true that Barack Obama is on the move.  I don‘t know if it‘s true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, “Why can‘t we catch this guy.”

Now, I mean, OK.  It‘s sort of a dumb joke.  It‘s really a joke at Bush‘s expense, though, actually, which nobody has noticed.  Bush is so dumb he can‘t tell the difference between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden. 

But that‘s—that‘s not the real—the real reason is the liberal blogging world, the net roots, hated the fact that FOX was hosting a Democratic debate and prevailed upon the Democratic Party in that state to cancel it.  That‘s what‘s happening, right? 

PRESS:  Yes.  I don‘t know this whole flap, Tucker.

First of all, I just want to make clear, you know, I‘ll appear on FOX any time they call me because I‘m a media whore.  Right?  I mean, just to be honest here.

But I don‘t think you want --  if I were the Democratic Party chairman, I don‘t think I‘d want to be during a debate with a network and the president who is making fun or comparing my top—one of my top candidates to a terrorist.  So I don‘t mind pulling the plug. 

But you know what?  I‘ll bet you MSNBC is already talking to them.  I‘ll bet you CNN is already talking to them.  This debate will go forward on another network.  So big deal.

CARLSON:  And look, I hope FOX‘s loss in this, as in everything else, is our gain.

PRESS:  Right.

CARLSON:  And I expect that it will be.  And I‘m in no way defending FOX. 

I just think this is yet another piece of evidence, Pat, that the liberal blogosphere is very, very powerful, particularly this year.  John Edwards had already pulled out of the debate, by the way, by the time the party canceled it, and he pulled out because he was under lots of pressure from liberal bloggers. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, look—and I agree with you, Tucker.  That joke was at the expense of the president.  He doesn‘t know the difference between Obama and Osama. 

CARLSON:  Right, Bush is dumb.  That was the joke.

BUCHANAN:  It was kind of funny.  Well, he was kidding around about it. 

CARLSON:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  Now, but here‘s the thing.  Look, I think the Democrats, if they can‘t stand up to Brit Hume, for heavens sakes, who‘s a fair, tough-minded conservative—I mean, Republicans and conservatives, we used to have to go on ABC, Brinkly, and there‘s Sam Donaldson sitting right across from you.  And we said, look, if you can‘t handle Sam Donaldson, go up against him, you don‘t belong in the NFL. 

Why can‘t they go against FOX News?  Everybody knows it‘s got a conservative tilt to it and that Brit Hume—but he‘s a tough guy.  I mean, having him a moderator, that‘s a problem for Democrats?

CARLSON:  Well, because it strikes me as... 

PRESS:  Well, the problem was Roger Ailes‘ joke.  But if they think...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  How close-minded can you be?

PRESS:  Look, if they think they can boycott FOX News...

BUCHANAN:  Right?

PRESS:  ... which I‘ve heard some people talk about—Democratic candidates don‘t go on FOX News—that is as dumb as I‘ve ever heard.  That is suicidal.

CARLSON:  Here‘s what Dennis Kucinich said.  I think...

PRESS:  This debate will be carried by somebody else. 

CARLSON:  ... Kucinich makes a good point.  He says, if you want to be president, you can‘t be afraid to deal with people with whom you disagree with politically.  He says, essentially, I don‘t agree with FOX, but come on.

I remember Howard Dean once said to me directly—he said, “I don‘t read conservative publications.  I don‘t read conservative authors.  I have nothing to learn from them.  They‘re wrong.  They‘re stupid.  And I‘m not even interested in what they have to say.”

And I thought Howard Dean‘s not very smart, that‘s part of the reason he said that.  But I thought that‘s part of the kind of close-minded reactionary world view that doesn‘t really get you anywhere.  And I‘m afraid people like that are now increasingly in charge of the Democratic Party.

BUCHANAN:  You know, there is an elitist contempt, I think, for conservatives inside—some folks on the left wing of the Democratic Party really disrespect people on the right.  I mean, whatever you say about FOX News, it‘s been a huge success.  You know, it is conservative, its leanings, and they have got a lot of neoconservatives in there.  But look at George Bush.  When he comes to a press conference he doesn‘t only have FOX News guys there.  He‘s got guys up there in his face from liberal publications, conservative.

That‘s the nature of politics. 

PRESS:  But I would also have to say, Pat, fairly, that there are some people on the right who disdain anybody on the left. 

CARLSON:  Yes, there are.  Definitely there are.

PRESS:  Or anything they have to say as well.  And so I don‘t think—they‘re not representative of either side. 

BUCHANAN:  But candidates don‘t walk away from this.

CARLSON:  But here‘s the difference.  I agree with you, of course there are lunatics on the right.  I mean, it goes without saying.  But they‘re not, at least at this point in history, in control of the Republican Party.  There were times in the ‘90s when they were coming close to that, and it hurt the Republicans. 

I fear right now you have a situation where the activist left, the people who have nothing in common, very little with mainstream America, are increasingly in control of the party.  And like smart Democrats, I‘m sure Carville, Begala and the people over on the Hillary campaign, they‘re worried about this, wouldn‘t you think? 

PRESS:  Well, I‘m just telling you as somebody who makes a living in the media, right...

CARLSON:  Right?

PRESS:  ... I mean, I see putting some pressure on FOX and telling them, listen, you‘ve got to be fair and that story wasn‘t fair, or this story wasn‘t fair. 

CARLSON:  Right.

PRESS:  But to think that you can run for president or run a campaign without taking advantage of FOX News and all the people that they reach is bone-head stupid. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  You don‘t let these guys pull you so far to the left in the primaries that they‘re going to pull you so far out of the center that you‘re dead in the general election.  That‘s a real fear...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  On the Daily Kos today, this really said it all to me.  The Daily Kos today had this little mini editorial atacking Dennis Kucinich as a sellout and a tool of right wing FOX News. 

Now, if your world view leads you to believe that Dennis Kucinich is a sellout to the right, you‘re actually demented at that point. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  And you should have no power.  Just my view.

Coming up, Ronald Reagan might have started a trend.  Is Fred Thompson now considering a move from the silver screen to the White House?  Does Fred Thompson even have a chance?  We‘ll talk to a Republican who may know the answer to that.

Plus, Barack Obama is no Al Sharpton, and from Al Sharpton‘s point of view that‘s a bad thing.  What did the reverend say about the senator, and what does it mean for black politics in America? 

Stick around.  We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  A lot of people back then said, well, you know, America will never elect a Catholic as president.  But those who gathered here almost half a century ago knew better.  They believed America was bigger than that and that Americans would give Senator John F. Kennedy a fair shake. 

So when people tell me or one of the pundits says it, “I don‘t think a woman can be elected president,” I say we‘ll never know unless we try. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was Senator Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in Nashua, New Hampshire this weekend, wrapping herself in the memory of a young John F. Kennedy.  At some point one might actually feel sorry for Hillary Clinton.

Think about it for a second.  She did all the homework all her life.  She skipped every Saturday night at the bars to write her English paper.  She didn‘t get into any kind of incriminating trouble.  She put up with her husband‘s many peccadillos which were splattered across every TV screen on earth. 

Now, when it‘s supposed to be her turn to be the barrier-breaking national candidate of a new generation, Barack Obama is in line ahead of her.  Poor woman. 

Then again, where does she get off invoking JFK.? 

Here to tell us, MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan, and nationally syndicated radio show host and author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion,” Bill Press. 

Bill, I didn‘t know Jack Kennedy.  I didn‘t work with Jack Kennedy.  But I have a lot of trouble believing that Hillary Clinton is Jack Kennedy.  I mean, the naked appeals to gender identity?  It‘s kind of sad. 

PRESS:  Yes, he was a friend of mine. 

Tucker, here‘s what I find sad, really.  I think, first of all, there‘s only one JFK, as far as I‘m concerned.  And he inspired me to get involved in politics.  I actually shook his hand when I was a junior in high school. 

CARLSON:  Wow.

PRESS:  So, you know, the problem I find is that Hillary‘s campaign is too reactionary to what Barack Obama is doing. 

CARLSON:  Right.

PRESS:  Everybody—all of us know that the comparison was being made between JFK and Barack Obama. 

CARLSON:  Right.

PRESS:  And so Hillary should have just let that go.  But instead, to me, it‘s like Selma, Alabama.  Barack goes, she‘s got to go.  There‘s a comparison to JFK, she‘s got to say, no, I‘m the real JFK.

I think she ought to just run her campaign and forget about trying to out-match Barack Obama at every step, or she‘s going to be in trouble. 

CARLSON:  On the other hand, you remember The Monkeys, right?  The Beatles knockoff band? 

BUCHANAN:  (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  Yes, exactly.  That‘s exactly right.  People made fun of The Monkeys, but they made millions and millions and millions of dollars. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  In other words, sure, she‘s imitating Barack Obama and responding to him, as Bill said, in a pretty reactionary way, a reactive way.  That doesn‘t mean it won‘t work.

BUCHANAN:  Well, no, I do think it‘s reactive and I don‘t think it‘s working.  I mean, I think she is a walking cliche. 

What was it Milbank called her that, Dana Milbank?

CARLSON:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  And I don‘t think her campaign‘s got much electricity or fire or energy or anything.  It‘s just like—it‘s expected that she‘s going to be the nominee.  And frankly, I didn‘t think she‘s running well.  I think she‘s running like a dry creek.  I really do.

CARLSON:  But what about—I mean, but what about the whole idea, I‘m a chick, vote for me?  I mean, it‘s like, who cares? 

It strikes me that we‘re a little bit beyond that.  I do think electing a black president, that is a kind of significant milestone, and when a woman is elected it will be, of course, noteworthy.  But I just—I don‘t think many people in 2007 think a woman is disqualified for being president because she is a woman. 

BUCHANAN:  No.  And people are tired of firsts and all this stuff.  I mean, the Nancy Pelosi thing I think was overdone. 

PRESS:  Well, I disagree.  I mean, I think that the first woman president -

we‘ve had this conversation before...

CARLSON:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  Right.

PRESS:  ... is going to be a big freaking deal, not only in this country, around the world. 

CARLSON:  Oh, the media will make it a huge—the media will make it a huge deal.  But why is it significant, exactly?  Like, how will she be a different president because she‘s a woman?  I keep asking that, but people keep saying, “Oh, you‘re mean.  You must not like women or something.” 

No, I think it‘s a valid question.

PRESS:  Well, because there has been a glass ceiling for women in the corporate world, and the political world here, and when you crack that ceiling it will be a big deal.  But here‘s my point, is that everybody knows that about Hillary.  She doesn‘t have to say it everywhere she goes. 

I do agree with Pat.  I think she‘s got—and she‘s great.  I think she‘s got to get her own campaign and go out and be who she is and stir some electricity and excitement, and stop worrying about Barack Obama. 

CARLSON:  Who is she?  I mean, I don‘t even—it‘s not like I dislike Hillary Clinton because her politics are so left.  I like Dennis Kucinich, and he‘s a socialist. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Who is she?

BUCHANAN:  What is it she‘s going to do and all this—instead of this nonsense back and forth, Barack, what are these people going to do?  I mean, I haven‘t seen any of them that‘s really got some dramatic ideas.  That‘s why I was hoping Hagel would get in and say, “I am different than them, here‘s where I‘m going.  It‘s a new, different direction.”

I haven‘t seen it yet on any of them. 

PRESS:  Well, I have to say, of the frontrunners, the one who‘s been (INAUDIBLE), I believe, is John Edwards.

BUCHANAN:  Edwards does have something, yes.

PRESS:  On healthcare and on the war...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  But just in one sentence, Bill, since you are very familiar with Democratic politics, former chair of the party in California, does this stuff work when she says, we‘ve got to try to elect a woman?  Do female Democrats say, “You know what?  You‘re right, we do”? 

PRESS:  More women vote than men.  I think being the first woman is a big plus for Hillary.  But again, I don‘t—I don‘t think she has to repeat it at every stop. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, everybody—there are people out there, women out there who will vote for her because she‘s a woman.  She‘s already got them.  She‘s got to get to folks that aren‘t—I mean, don‘t particularly like her and aren‘t that big a deal on the idea of a woman being president. 

PRESS:  She doesn‘t have them all yet because some of them are in love with Barack Obama. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  One thing, I hope they stay that way. 

Coming up, he was good in the U.S. Senate, he was great on “Matlock”.  And the idea that he‘d run for president has the media all atwitter.  It doesn‘t take much, trust me.

Will Fred Thompson run?  And what does that say about the GOP field? 

Plus, left wing pseudo-documentarian Michael Moore gets Michael Moored.  Just ahead, a chat with the two filmmakers who started out as fans and then made a film about of him.  How do they feel about Michael Moore now?  We‘ll tell you.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  So who will win the Republican nomination?  Rudy Giuliani is out in front, but conservatives seem unconvinced.  After all, why would Fred Thompson, Newt Gingrich and Chuck Hagel be in a holding pattern if they didn‘t think there would eventually be a good place to land?  Joining us now from Fort Lauderdale, is the legendary Republican strategist Roger Stone.  Roger, welcome. 

ROGER STONE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Tucker, good to be with you. 

CARLSON:  Thank you.  What is Chuck Hagel doing?  If he were to get in, would there be the money there to finance a presidential run? 

STONE:  I think what he‘s doing is recognizing there‘s a great potential for a vacuum in the Republican party for a candidate who is opposed to this war.  What the race does not need is yet another candidate who is in lock step with the Bush administration on the war in Iraq.  I looked at polls of Republicans in suburban areas in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, growing disenchantment among Republicans against the war. 

So in a multi-candidate field, in a race in which the front runners have become stale, because they‘ve been around the stage for so long, I think Chuck Hagel could have a very good late run, post-surge run here, on the war issue alone. 

CARLSON:  Well, the conventional wisdom, as you know Roger, is that though yes, there are many conservatives who oppose the war and oppose it on conservative principles—I‘m one of them—Republican primary voters, the conservatives, hate to hear people attack the president.  They take it as a sign of disloyalty and they take it as an indication that the person doing it is liberal. 

STONE:  I really don‘t buy that, actually.  I looked at suburban New Jersey, I looked at suburban Republicans, 49 percent of them disapproved of the—gave a bad job approval to the president.  And 62 percent said that the Iraq war was a mistake. 

Now, is it a majority in the Republican party?  No.  In a six-way field, it is a plurality.  It will certainly allow a Hagel to hit the scoreboard in Iowa or New Hampshire.  He doesn‘t need to be first, Tucker.  He doesn‘t even need to be second.  But if he‘s third or second, it‘s a new ball game. 

CARLSON:  But is the money there?  Can he raise enough money this late?  I mean, you‘ve got all these people Hoovering up the money. 

STONE:  Actually, I think you can, because all these states moving to February 5th actually just puts a premium on Iowa and New Hampshire in the Republican party.  So the real question is just, does Chuck Hagel—can he raise the money to fully fund Iowa, New Hampshire and the launch of his candidacy.  If he were to score on the issue of the war, as the only candidate who‘s been a critic of the administration, but who is conservative on all other issues, guns, abortion, stem cell. 

He is a Reaganite.  Chuck Hagel is a Reaganite, and a Vietnam War hero.  You want to call him a liberal, you want to call him a weakling, do you want to call him a coward?  I don‘t think so.  So I think Hagel‘s potential candidacy is very interesting. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  And, in fact, the Bush people have been whispering that he‘s a liberal for two years now.  They‘re the liberals actually. 

STONE:  Well, the truth of the matter is if you could strike a spark in Iowa or New Hampshire, the February 5th primaries will take care of themselves, because the media wave you would ride into those primaries would mobilize the vote we‘re talking about, an anti-war vote. 

CARLSON:  Do you take Fred Thompson seriously? 

STONE:  Fred Thompson was a fine legislator, he‘s a fine lawyer.  He probably would be a fine president.  What this race does not need is another conservative Republican who supports the war.  It‘s got plenty of those.  And I really kind of question whether Fred Thompson has the energy.  As you know, Tucker, he didn‘t run for re-election in Tennessee largely over the issue of energy.  And he wanted to do different things.  He‘s a TV star, like Ronald Reagan, I like that. 

But I think maybe this is more about brushing up one‘s celebrity. 

CARLSON:  Yes, what the hell, it‘s free.  Roger Stone, from Fort Lauderdale, thanks a lot Roger. 

STONE:  Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s not a good sign when a certain Reverend Al Sharpton isn‘t on your side and you run for the White House.  Or is it a good sign?  The Rev came out swinging against Senator Barack Obama.  Could it be a hint of jealousy?  Back to weigh in, MSNBC political analyst, and former presidential candidate himself, Pat Buchanan, and nationally syndicated radio show host and author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion,” bill press. 

Bill, we know, not because I‘ve talked to him directly, but we know from the “New York Post,” that people around Sharpton—I want to be totally clear about how we think we know this—are saying that he profoundly resent Barack Obama.  It makes sense in a way.  Barack Obama does not come from the same background as Jesse Jackson, as Al Sharpton.  If Sharpton comes out and attacks Obama directly and starts sniping at him, does that hurt Obama? 

PRESS:  First of all, there‘s nothing written anywhere, I don‘t think, that says, for an African-American, you have to come from the same school of politics as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.  But I think, if you‘re Al Sharpton, this is the worst possible scenario, because you succeed in edging out Jesse Jackson and pushing him aside.  You succeed in being the leading black Democratic politician, and then along comes Barack Obama and Al Sharpton is political history, I believe. 

And of course he resents that.  I think he‘s a little jealous about it.  But I don‘t think it will hurt Barack Obama.  I think this could be Barack Obama‘s Sister Soldier moment. 

CARLSON:  Yes, we‘re going to have Sharpton on this show to explain exactly how he does feel.  I want to go, Pat, to Rudy Giuliani and the question of abortion.  I got a call last Thursday from Congressman David Dryer, good guy, Californian, conservative, supporting Giuliani, and he said it‘s outrageous what you said on the air the other day, that Giuliani has supported public funding for abortion.  The Giuliani campaign is very exorcised over the notion that people would call Giuliani a supporter of public funding for abortion.  I want to play a clip, courtesy of YouTube, of Rudy Giuliani speaking in 1989 on this exact question.  Here‘s Rudy Giuliani from 1989. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  There must be public funding for abortion, for poor women.  We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion, because she lacks resources.  I have also stated that I disagree with President Bush‘s veto last week of public funding for abortion. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Can‘t get any clearer than that, can you? 

BUCHANAN:  That‘s clear and cold.  And let me say, look, they shouldn‘t have gone after you.  That‘s very foolish, because the guy is for it.  I under he‘s for partial birth abortion.  Let me tell you what‘s going to happen here, Cardinal Egan (ph) is going to be on the spot in New York and the Archbishop Worrell (ph) here in Washington D.C., because the holy father is very pro-life.  And they‘re going to be under great pressure to speak out on whether or not Catholics should support a candidate who is as pro-abortion as Rudy Giuliani is. 

Because this is a burning issue inside the Catholic church, as you know.  And Cardinal McCarrick (ph) was under great pressure to speak out and he didn‘t do it, and some people say that‘s why Cardinal McCarrick‘s early retirement was accepted.  Now I don‘t know that for sure, but this is going to be a blazing issue.  And I think Mr. Giuliani ought to be aware of it.  And certainly Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Worrell are.

CARLSON:  If you think about it, Bill, this is a position that‘s far to the left of that espoused by a lot of Democrats who won in the last cycle, in 1996.  I can think off the top of my head of 10 Democrats who would never say something like that.  I mean, just to put it in some context here. 

PRESS:  You know, Rudy Giuliani had a great run.  He had a great run.  He was up 20 point ahead of John McCain.  I think the wheels are coming off the wagon, fast, his, yes, absolutely.  His son won‘t campaign for him, the firefighter have said, the firefighters have said that he was not loyal to them on 9/11, or right after 9/11.  He‘s got the whole thing with Richard Lamb from the Southern Baptist Convention, saying that his divorce was a divorce on steroids, that he could never support it because he was out there flagrantly running around with Judith Nathan, while he was still married to Donna Hanover.  And now this on the abortion, I don‘t know how you can overcome all those things. 

CARLSON:  In a lot of ways, this is not a surprise at all.  Not to brag, but I said last week that he held this position on our air. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  And yet conservatives are still supporting this guy. 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t know why Dryer would come and challenge you on something like that, because the whole thing is repeated.  I‘ll tell you what the conservatives are saying.  They‘re saying, look, we looked at Romney and he was pro-choice all the way, pro-gay rights, and McCain they don‘t like, and this guy has a bad record, and the other three guys are saying, look you guys, we‘re going to have to pick somebody.  Who do we want. 

We‘re not going to get somebody who is with us all the way, but are we going to have a horse in this race.

CARLSON:  And that‘s why Fred Thompson is taking a break from shooting “Law and Order” to say, why not me. 

BUCHANAN:  Roger Stone, I have to say, I agreed 100 percent with everything Roger said.  There is a wide open avenue down here, and also the very fact that they stacked every primary in the third week, those first two weeks, if somebody comes out of there who is a surprise, like Gary Hart.  What did he get, 17 percent in Iowa.  Boom, all of a sudden he was a big deal.  If Hagel could go into Iowa and come in second or third, strong, it would be enormous focus on him.  Then if he could win New Hampshire, he‘s in the ball game. 

CARLSON:  I tend to agree with you. 

PRESS:  I think we better go back where we started this show and call Chuck Hagel, and tell him to do another news conference tomorrow morning, comb his hair, shave—

CARLSON:  And put on a little makeup. 

(CROSS TALK)

PRESS:  And jump him. 

CARLSON:  I completely agree.  Now, to President Bush, who is traveling—now I know everybody dislikes President Bush, but this is the American president traveling to foreign countries, and his presence has incited riots, people hate him in Latin America, as they do in the rest of the world.  He said something very interesting though, I thought.  He pointed out that, look, we as a country give an enormous amount of money, 8.5 billion dollars to the region, including the Caribbean, and this is what we get in return. 

My question to you, Bill is, the president is out there saying, we give you all this money, we are going to give you even more.  This is what we get in return.  What the hell are we doing?  What are we paying for exactly? 

PRESS:  Well, if you want, to their credit, they‘re more interested in a foreign policy, namely a war that they don‘t agree with, than the pennies that Bush may be throwing to their country. 

CARLSON:  Eight point five billion?   

PRESS: This isn‘t just George Bush.  If you go back far in our history, our whole attitude and policy toward Latin America has been one of benign neglect or gun boat diplomacy.  I think every president, except maybe JFK.  JFK was starting to bring it around and then he got killed.  Bush is part of that legacy. 

(CROSS TALK)

BUCHANAN:  Look, Bill, these guys have been independent for 200 years.  If they can‘t hack it now in their own countries, it ain‘t our fault.  Why should we go down there and be given these guys money to these governments that are left wing, radical left.  What did you just say?  You don‘t like us, get lost. 

PRESS:  Pat, that‘s democracy.  They may elect leaders that we don‘t like.

BUCHANAN:  We don‘t have to pay them. 

PRESS:  What we used to do is send the Marines in and overthrow their governments, Chile, Guatemala, Cuba, Dominican Republic.  Go down the list. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  You need to run for president again, Pat, let me just say, because I would vote for you.  But I don‘t know, if they‘re so into self determination, determine yourself.  That‘s my view.

BUCHANAN:  Sure, you want Chavez, you got him. 

CARLSON:  Have fun.  Thank you both by the way. 

PRESS:  We‘re all Americans, can‘t we get along. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, what happens when an angry and self-righteous filmmaker is the subject of a film in his own genre?  In a moment you‘ll hear from the directors who “Michael Moored” Michael Moore.  They‘ll join us next with the genuine scoop. 

Plus, one of the all-time best candidates for a public flogging is still on the loose.  We‘ve got the latest on the search for the creep who stole the purse of a 101-year-old lady, then knocked her down like a tough guy, plus her reaction.  Stay tuned. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Very few people savage their political enemies like Michael Moore does.  His movies, including “Roger and Me,” “Bowling for Columbine,” “Fahrenheit 9/11” shed uniformly unflattering light on corporate America, the gun lobby, the Bush administration, people he perceives as conservative. 

There are those who think Michael Moore is a hero of the every man.  Our next guests turned their lens on Mr. Moore and got a rare closeup look at him.  Joining me now, the producers of the movie “Manufacturing Dissent,” Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine, welcome to you both.  I just want to make very, very clear, Debbie, if you could speak for the both of you, you both are not right wing hit men, or people, right? 

DEBBIE MELNYK, “MANUFACTURING DISSENT”:  No, we‘re left wing, left wing liberals, actually in Canada you would consider us socialists. 

CARLSON:  Thank god we‘re not there.  What exactly—

BILL CAINE, “MANUFACTURING DISSENT”:  I don‘t know about that, the health care is fabulous.

CARLSON:  See, for when this interview is put on YouTube and you‘re both attacked as agents of Richard Mellenscape (ph), I just wanted to make it totally clear that, in fact, you‘re not.  What did you find out about Michael Moore? 

MELNYK:  One of the interesting things we found out, which was actually quite surprising, and we found this out close to the end of our film making process, was that Michael had actually talked to Roger Smith, the CEO of General Motors, and actually had interviewed him for the film, “Roger and Me.”  But it ended up on the cutting room floor and it wasn‘t in the final cut of the film. 

CARLSON:  But the whole point of the film was that he wasn‘t able to talk to Roger, because Roger wasn‘t kind enough to speak to him. 

MELNYK:  Right, but he did.  So that was a bit shocking, and that really disappointed me a lot. 

CARLSON:  A brilliant writer named Matt Labash, a number of years ago, wrote a piece about Michael Moore and talked to a lot of still liberal producers who worked for him.  The famous Haskell Wexler was one of them.  And uniformly they said this is a guy who‘s terrible to deal with.  One said, working for Moore is like working for Idi Amin, without the laughs.  Randy Cohen, his producer at TV Nation says, quote, I despise Mike and regard him as a vile and dishonorable man. 

Did you get the sense that he has trouble getting along with the people beneath him? 

MELNYK:  Yes, it‘s funny, we actually had talked to some of the same people whom you just mentioned and they did say the same things.  But at the same time, we didn‘t want to do a, oh, he‘s a horrible employer and anything mean and petty, because then it gets down to the petty level.  So we wanted to sort of keep it on the up and up, and say look, these are the film making techniques he does.  These are the issues he attacks.  But at the same he doesn‘t actually change anything with his films.  There‘s no social infrastructure put in to make any social change for all these issues he‘s espousing. 

CARLSON:  Did he speak to you? 

MELNYK:  Well, we talked to him at various events.  I went up to him at a Paul Wellstone Memorial Award in Flint and at one of the premieres of “Fahrenheit 911,” where I told him I wanted to speak to him.  And he did talk to me at the Flint Memorial Award, but he still didn‘t do a sit-down interview, which is what we wanted.  And I wasn‘t as prepared as I should have been when I talked to him in Flint. 

CARLSON:  Rick, has he begun to attack you yet, preemptively? 

CAINE:  Look, I have no definitive proof of this—

MELNYK:  No, he hasn‘t actually said anything. 

CAINE:  At this point the wizard is still behind the curtain. 

CARLSON:  When does your movie premiere and where can we see it? 

CAINE:  There‘s two more screenings here in Austin, Texas, at the South By Southwest Film Festival.  There‘s one on the 13th, another one on the 17th.  Then it‘s next off to Brazil, to a film festival called It‘s All True.  And then Hot Docks in Toronto is showing it in April. 

CARLSON:  Will it be in theaters at some point? 

MELNYK:  We hope so. 

CAINE:  We‘re working on that. 

CARLSON:  I hope so, too.  The movie “Manufacturing Dissent,” Debbie Melnyk, Rick Caine, good luck.  I can‘t wait to see it. 

Al Gore is already well on his way to saving the environment, and now he says he‘s ready to save democracy.  Willie Geist, our chief democracy correspondent tells us how exactly the former vice president plans to do that one, when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Joining us now, newly back from his latest fact-finding mission from Darfur, is Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  We‘ve got to go in Tucker.  We‘ve go to go in. 

CARLSON:  Are you laughing about Darfur Willie?  You‘re a cold guy.

GEIST:  I‘m sorry.  That was insensitive.  And let me just say, I am going to be taking a brief respite beginning tomorrow.  I‘m off to jury duty Tucker.  So, you‘re on your own my friend.

CARLSON:  Remember Willie, they‘re guilty. 

GEIST:  Always, always,  Tucker, the search is over.  We have found the biggest coward on the face of the Earth and we have him on tape.  The unidentified man is seen on this surveillance video, slapping, punching, and robbing a 101-year-old New York City woman as she was on her way out the door to church last weekend.  Rose Morat spent three days in the hospital with a broken cheekbone after the incident, but the feisty woman says, the mugger is just lucky she is not a couple years younger. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I would have killed him. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  If you were younger? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I am sure I would have killed him. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Yes, I would have killed him.  That‘s right.  They also suspect this guy, Tucker, which we‘ll a freeze of him up, so if you know him, you can go find him, of beating up and robbing an 85-year-old woman just moments later, and stealing 30 bucks from her.  For 30 bucks, beating up an 85-year-old and 101-year-old.  Tucker, there‘s not much to say about him but all I will say is, tough guy, it took you four punches to knock down a 101 year old.  So good luck in prison.  I hope that goes well for you. 

CARLSON:  That really is someone who ought to be flogged.  I mean that really about as bad as it gets. 

GEIST:  At the very least.  Well Tucker, I am no Colonel Jack Jacobs, but I am pretty sure its is not a good thing that the United States Army is now recruiting Paintball players to head to the front lines in Iraq.  “Newsweek Magazine” reports that Army recruiters are setting up shop at paintball events across the country, looking to sign up soldiers who are willing to trade paint pellets for real bullets. 

Last month, the Army even signed a 100,000 advertising deal with Paintball Sports Magazine, which incidentally, is a great read.  This strikes me as kind of being like the NFL drafting people who are good at playing Madden 2000 football.  You know what I mean.  Where is the connection?  I don‘t get it.

CARLSON:  Let me say, I spent a summer one year working on a contract crew in rural Vermont, and the guys who drank the most Miller High Life after work were always the best paintball players.  I don‘t know.  I don‘t judge one way or another, but there was definitely a correlation. 

GEIST:  Well, we might need them at this point.  Well Tucker, the Israeli ambassador to El Salvador, he went looking for the outer limits of diplomatic immunity a couple of weeks ago.  According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, that relieved him of his post today, the ambassador found them. 

Surial Rafael (ph), seen here, was found by Salvadorean police, drunk, naked, and tied to a tree outside his home.  He was also surrounded by sex toys.  The BBC reports that the ambassador was able to identify himself only after a rubber ball was removed from his mouth.  Rafael did not break any laws, but a spokesman for the Israeli government said today, quote, we are talking about behavior that is unbecoming of a diplomat.  I think this is that bad fruit of the end of diplomatic immunity, where they just think they can get away with anything. 

CARLSON:  It may not be unbecoming.  It‘s not necessarily uncommon.  And I am glad that as long as you are doing this, that a ball gag was involved.   

GEIST:  It is so much worse than that, Tucker, but in the interest of decorum you‘ll have to go online for the worst.

CARLSON:  I confess, I have been so caught up in this whole Fred Thompson, Chuck Hagel thing, I haven‘t even read that story.  But I‘m going right back to my computer to read it. 

GEIST:  Get yourself on MSNBC.com.  You will have a good old time.  By the way you live in D.C.  You see diplomats.  You know how they act.  So I don‘t think this is terribly surprising right?

CARLSON:  Doesn‘t shock me one bit.

GEIST:  Finally, Tucker, you really have to give it to Al Gore for shooting high.  First, he set out to save the planet, now he says he is ready to save democracy.  And thank goodness.  The former vice-president was in Great Britain today, in part to promote his interactive television channel, Current TV.  He says his channel democratizes the medium, that is controlled by a few media moguls and their points of view. 

Gore went on to compare himself to Johann Gutenberg, saying, quote, before the printing press, if you wanted to be a writer, you had to be a monk.  Modern democracy really came about in the wake of that communications revolution.  Next, Tucker, he will turn water into wine. 

CARLSON:  You know what, I would not count him out.  Judging what he has done to his hair, somehow, he regained huge amounts of hair in just the last three years.  Maybe he is capable of miracles. 

GEIST:  I think Doctor Bosly and his hair plugs are the miracle worker in that case, but apparently MSNBC, we are aiming a little too low.  We‘re not saving democracy.  We‘re just targeting younger viewers.  Maybe we should be shooting higher. 

CARLSON:  And doing some police chases.  We do what we can.

GEIST:  We do what we can. 

CARLSON:  Willie Geist, off to jury duty.  America‘s gain, our loss.  We will miss you.  See you in a week.  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with the great David Gregory.  We will see you tomorrow.  Have a great night.

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

END   

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