updated 4/25/2007 11:35:05 AM ET 2007-04-25T15:35:05

Guests: A.B. Stoddard

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show, coming to you today from Los Angeles.

Last night, President Bush‘s father described the mood in this country as—quote—“Bush fatigue.”  More accurate may have been the term “bad news fatigue.”  And the last 24 hours have caused yet more wear and tear on the national psyche. 

There was more bad news for American troops on the ground outside Baghdad, an attack that killed nine soldiers from the same unit from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for that.

Meanwhile, the president and vice president each scolded the Democratic Congress for proposing a withdrawal date from Iraq.  Once again, the president threatened a veto. 

And, if that wasn‘t enough, there was dramatic and unsettling testimony on Capitol Hill this morning about the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman.  He‘s the former NFL player accidentally killed by his own comrades there. 

Fatigue, indeed, and sorrow, and also worry—we will bring you the substance and analysis of all these stories. 

But the so-called fatigue brings us to the country‘s extraordinary and extraordinarily early interest in the next presidential election.  New polls suggest a significant shakeup in the run for presidential nominations, with the first candidates debate little more than 48 hours from now. 

In sum, the news appears to be better for Barack Obama than it is for Hillary Clinton, and better for John McCain than for Rudy Giuliani. 

Joining us to analyze the country‘s mood, the current president, the next one, whoever that may be, we welcome associate editor of “The Hill” newspaper, A.B. Stoddard, and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.

Welcome to you both. 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Hello, Tucker.

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

CARLSON:  I want to ask you about the Democratic candidates meeting in South Carolina in just a moment.

But, first, what struck me is a significant poll from Zogby.  These are numbers—South Carolina Republicans asked, who do you favor among the potential Republican nominees?  John McCain, strikingly, leads that list, John McCain, 22 percent, Rudy Giuliani, 19, Fred Thompson—not even in the race, we should add—at 11, Mitt Romney still at 10. 

Pat, at this moment, every smart person I know who covers politics is kind of glibly writing off John McCain. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Is this evidence that he is not dead? 

BUCHANAN:  Oh, he is not dead at all.

And I think it is very good news for McCain, and it‘s somewhat bad news for Giuliani, because Giuliani has been down there in South Carolina, Tucker, and he has now fallen behind McCain.  And it‘s hard to see what there is in Giuliani‘s portfolio that would raise him above McCain. 

The only good news here, Tucker, is that, by the time you get to South Carolina, I think Iowa and New Hampshire may pretty much decide this for both parties. 

CARLSON:  It‘s interesting, isn‘t it, A.B., and maybe a little ironic, that South Carolina, of course, was the—the site of the destruction of John McCain‘s last presidential bid in 2000.  That‘s where he lost to George W. Bush and was essentially out of the race. 

Why is he leading in South Carolina?  I thought that state was famously hostile to John McCain.  Any idea?

STODDARD:  I just think, sooner or later, all the hard work that he has put in over the course of, what, is it six years now, in all of these key states was going to pay off.

And I‘m a member of the lonely crowd who believes that we haven‘t seen the last of John McCain.  And I have readers asking me if I‘m somehow related to him, because I keep sticking up for him, when everyone considers him dead. 

But I think that he has laid so much groundwork in all these really critical areas.  And he learned from his mistakes in 2000.  And he has really good people working for him.  And I just think that—that, sooner or later, as the voters get to know more about Giuliani, that is going to be a—a problem for Giuliani—Giuliani. 

As we have talked about before, the bright lights are not going to be so kind to him.  And I think John McCain‘s very hard work is going to pay off. 

CARLSON:  Pat—Pat...

BUCHANAN:  Tucker, the—also, it is—it‘s not good news for Mitt Romney.  He is at 10 percent.  He‘s an attractive figure.  He has been down there. 

It really places a tremendous premium on Iowa.  You recall there were only two tickets out of Iowa for the Democrats last time, Kerry and Edwards.  And Kerry ran the table, except, I think, for South Carolina and Oklahoma...

CARLSON:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  ... coming out of there. 

And I think, if you are going to beat McCain, somebody has got to knock him down at least in Iowa or New Hampshire, or it‘s over. 

CARLSON:  I think that is right. 

Now to the Democrats in the South.  I want to show you a couple polls.  Tell me what you make of these.  This is from Alabama.  This is the “Mobile Register”  poll of the Democratic candidates: Hillary Clinton, 33, leading;

Barack Obama, 25; John Edwards, 12; Al Gore, 8.

Let‘s go to South Carolina and break it down a little more.  In South Carolina, Hillary is leading Obama 41-29 percent with black women.  Here is the interesting thing.  Obama leads Hillary with black men, 34-28. 

So, the gap isn‘t a racial gap.  It‘s a gender gap.  What do you make of that, Pat? 

BUCHANAN:  I will tell you, what it—I think it means is that they are very close in South Carolina.  Either could win it.  The important news in that poll is, I think Edwards won South Carolina last time, didn‘t he?  He is from South Carolina.  And he‘s running a poor third. 

He is—he is one fellow, too, Tucker, has got to win Iowa or New Hampshire, or he can—he can forget about it before he gets to South Carolina. 

CARLSON:  It is a little remarkable, isn‘t it, A.B., that Hillary Clinton, from Chicago, representing New York, is losing (sic) to the—the South‘s favorite son on the Democratic side, John Edwards.

I want to put up a little bit of evidence of why I think that is.  This is Hillary Clinton earlier this week.  And it suggests why she is doing pretty well in the South.  Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  When I walk into the Oval Office in January 2009, I‘m afraid I‘m going to lift up the Rutgers, and I‘m going to see so much dust under there.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

CLINTON:  You know—you know, what is it about us always having to clean up after people? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  You can just hear the grits in her mouth as she talks. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  She has got a thicker Southern accent right there, A.B., than John Edwards does.

STODDARD:  Where did she...

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  No wonder she is beating him. 

(LAUGHTER)

STODDARD:  Where did she get that accent? 

It is a really poor showing for John Edwards.  And it‘s—and it‘s surprising, actually.  But she has learned from the master, her husband, Bill Clinton.  And she is—you know, she has a very good operation.  She is making the right moves. 

Whenever these Southern accents appear—and Barack Obama had one that weekend in Selma, as you remember—it‘s always really painful to hear. 

But the fact is, she does the work on the ground.  And I think that is a—it‘s—that‘s very good news for Hillary Clinton. 

CARLSON:  Right.  And she has also bought at least one preacher, as we

as we learned earlier. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Hey, Pat, take a look at these favorability numbers for Hillary Clinton.  These are some of my favorite polls, always:  Do you like or dislike the person?  What is your gut read on—on the person in question, in this case, Hillary Clinton?

Here they are from Siena Research, their latest poll.  Favorable, April 2007, 50 percent, unfavorable 42.  Compare those to March, last month, she has dropped six points in favorability.  That‘s in New York State. 

Why is that? 

BUCHANAN:  In New York State? 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  I—it‘s got to be she has been hit a little bit nationally.  But—but those are terrible numbers.  And that is the nightmare of the Democratic Party, Tucker.  It is that they go forward and they nominate Hillary, and she simply bumps her head at 46 or 47 percent, no matter who she runs against, and they lose the White House for four more years.  That is the nightmare of the Democrats watching those other numbers. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Are you hearing that, Alexandra (ph), from people you‘re talking to on the Democratic side?  Are they worried that people just, in the end, won‘t like her enough and won‘t vote for her as a result? 

(CROSSTALK)

STODDARD:  Well, that was the worry all along.

And I want to take a stab at why this is happening in New York.  I mean, it‘s a liberal bastion.  And that is because of Obama.  She—she is popular in New York.  She has worked hard to be popular in New York.  But she started running for president with only 3 percent undecided in this country.  She doesn‘t have a lot of room to grow.

And, so, the Obama phenomenon has really cut into her.  And it‘s not at all surprising it would cut into her in New York, where there is a lot of money and a lot of liberal star power.  And they‘re they excited by the phenomenon of Obama. 

CARLSON:  I think that is a solid point.

BUCHANAN:  You know...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  It is wise to remember Hillary Clinton is not the most liberal person in this race, even by a stretch.

We will be right back.

Remember, this Thursday, all the major Democratic contenders will face off in the first presidential debate of this campaign season.  MSNBC is the only place on television where you are going to see it live from the campus of South Carolina State in Orangeburg.  It will be moderated by NBC‘s Brian Williams.

The first Democratic presidential debate—live Thursday, 7:00 Eastern, only on MSNBC.  And we will be there. 

Next:  There was dramatic testimony about the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman today on Capitol Hill.  We will bring you the gripping words of Tillman‘s family.  Did the U.S. government fabricate its story to sell that mission to the rest of the country?

Plus:  President Bush‘s own father says America may simply be tired of his son.  Can W. reawaken his popular support?  And, if he can‘t, can he still effectively govern America? 

You are watching MSNBC, exclusive television home of the first presidential candidates debates.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  A Democratic lawmaker says the government created sensational details and stories about Pat Tillman‘s death in Afghanistan, as well as the rescue of Jessica Lynch in Iraq.  Are we getting wrong information from the battlefield?  We will tell you. 

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN TILLMAN, BROTHER OF CORPORAL PAT TILLMAN:  Pat‘s death at the hands of his comrades is a terrible tragedy.  But the fact that the Army, and what appears to be others, attempted to hijack his virtue and his legacy is simply horrific.

The least this country can do for him in return is to uncover who was responsible for his death, who lied and covered it up, and who instigated those lies and benefited from them; then ensure that justice is meted out to the culpable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Those were the words of Pat Tillman‘s brother Kevin today on Capitol Hill in hearings into the military‘s handling of Tillman‘s death in Afghanistan and into the rescue of Jessica Lynch in Iraq. 

The implication of critics is that the military spun the stories in their most dramatic and positive light for P.R. purposes. 

Here with a report on those hearings is NBC News‘ Chip Reid—Chip.

CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Tucker.

I will tell you, these were two of the really high-profile hero stories from this war.  And, in both cases, the Tillman family and Jessica Lynch say that, basically, the military intentionally lied to create these hero stories, when there weren‘t hero stories at all. 

In the Tillman case, for example, Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire.  And, in fact, at the hearing today, it came out that dozens of soldiers knew immediately afterward that it was friendly fire.  One testified today that he was told by higher-ups not to tell the family.  In fact, he was ordered, and said there would be consequences if he did tell them, because, in fact, Tillman‘s brother Kevin was not far away.  And they didn‘t want him to find out about it. 

Now, certainly, there could be a justification for that, that he is dealing with his brother‘s death.  Does he also want to deal, at that moment, with the fact that he was killed by friendly fire? 

But it spun out of control after that.  And they created this big hero story that actually never happened.  And, in fact, it was friendly fire. 

And, at one point, Kevin Tillman at today‘s hearing explained why they had come to Congress to tell their story. 

Let‘s listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TILLMAN:  The content of the multiple investigations reveal a series of contradictions that strongly suggest deliberate and careful misrepresentations.

We appeal to this committee because we believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family, but, more importantly, to deceive the American public.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  And what they are saying is, that things were going so badly in Iraq at that time, that what the military did was get this story in Afghanistan and create a hero story in order to try to offset or counterbalance some of the bad stories that were coming out of Iraq, so that they would at least have something out there to talk about that was positive. 

The mother of Kevin and Pat Tillman also testified today.  And she said: “We shouldn‘t be allowed to have smokescreens thrown in our face.  You are diminishing their true heroism to write these glorious tales.  It‘s a disservice to the nation.”  And she went on to say, “We all have been betrayed.”

And it was a similar message from Jessica Lynch.  Of course, she was

in that battle in the very early days of the war in Nasiriyah shortly after

just a few days, couple of days after crossing the border into Iraq. 

And she was portrayed as having acted heroically. 

Today, she made very clear that was not true. 

Let‘s listen to her. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JESSICA LYNCH, FORMER PRISONER OF WAR:  When I remember those difficult days, I remember the fear.  I remember the strength.  I remember the hand of that fellow American soldier, reassuring me that I was going to be OK.

At the same time, tales of great heroism were being told.  At my parents‘ home in Wirt County, West Virginia, it was under siege by media, all repeating the story of the little girl Rambo from the hills of West Virginia who went down fighting.  It was not true. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  That doesn‘t mean she wasn‘t heroic in her service.  But the facts of the story as told by the military were not true. 

And, Tucker, let me continue what she—with something else she said.  She said: “The bottom line is, the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes.  And they don‘t need to be told elaborate lies.”

And there are just a lot of people in Congress from both parties just stunned that the military wouldn‘t realize that, ultimately, this would catch up with them and would hurt more than it helps—Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Chip, am I—I may be misremembering this or imagining it, but didn‘t Jessica Lynch participate in a book about her own heroism? 

REID:  Yes. 

She has been out there publicly—well, she has been out there publicly before.  But she has always downplayed what happened.  And now she‘s finally at the point of just saying that it—it just didn‘t happen the way they said at all.  But, yes, she—her story has changed a bit over time. 

But the Tillman family‘s really has not.  They found out about five weeks after this happened.  And they have been furious ever since.  And they are just furiouser and furiouser as time goes on.  And they are still very much in search of the truth here—Tucker.

CARLSON:  Interesting.  What a sad story. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Chip Reid—thanks a lot, Chip. 

REID:  You bet.

CARLSON:  Is the country simply tired of President Bush?  His father seems to think so.  If it‘s true, much danger does that put the U.S.  abroad?  Can we expect anything positive to happen here at home? 

Plus:  Democrats revive their cry of the Republicans‘ culture of corruption.  Is there a culture of corruption?  More important, are the Democrats wise to play the corruption card?  You know what they say about people in glass houses. 

This is MSNBC, America‘s most impressive news network. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN TILLMAN, PAT TILLMAN‘S BROTH:  Revealing that pat‘s death was a fratricide would have been yet another political disaster during a month already swollen with political disasters.  And a brutal truth that the American public would undoubtedly found unacceptable.  So the facts needed to be suppressed.  An alternative narrative had to be constructed. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Did the U.S. military fabricate stories about the death of Pat Tillman and the rescue of Jessica Lynch in order to save face or sell its war efforts?  Here to discuss today‘s dramatic Congressional hearings, we welcome back associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. 

A.B., I think I understand the facts of the Tillman story, at least as we know them.  He was killed by friendly fire.  That wasn‘t obvious.  Or at least it wasn‘t known to the family right away.  They are upset about it.  They lost a son.  I get it.  What I totally don‘t understand is the political aim of the Democrats who staged this hearing today.  Is the point the Army is bad?  They lie?  Is it that Pat Tillman wasn‘t really a hero?  Is it that the war in Afghanistan is illegitimate?  What was the point of this? 

STODDARD:  The point is to illustrate the mishandling of the Iraq war

and create these symbols.  The Democrats right now are unable to affect

change in the war in Iraq.  They don‘t have the votes.  It‘s still Bush‘s -

Bush holds the cards right now.  So they are going to find a way through these hearings to create these—to build the pressure, to create symbols, Haditha, Abu Ghraib, Lynch, Walter Reed, Tillman, so that the next election remains, just like in 2006, is another election about the mishandling of the Iraq war.  And the Republican party will be the party of Iraq war. 

Today you heard Congressman Waxman, who runs the committee, say that the government invented sensational stories and details about the rescue of Jessica Lynch and about Tillman‘s death, but they are going to continue to keep up these sensational hearings, because this is the way that they can build the pressure, when they can‘t do it on the House and Senate floor. 

CARLSON:  Boy, I think they are blowing it.  For one thing, Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, not Iraq.  For another, this is an attack on the U.S. military.  Maybe it is warranted, maybe it‘s valid.  I don‘t have any trouble believing the military lied about his death.  I buy that.  I don‘t know if it‘s true, but I‘m willing to believe it anyway. 

But to have Henry Waxman, of all people out there, it looks like he is attacking our good intentions, our government and again, the war in Afghanistan, which is sacrosanct.  You can‘t criticize that; we are there for good reason.  Can you?  

BUCHANAN:  You‘re right Tucker, and it is a attack, in essence, on, frankly, what they consider a culture of lying in the United States military, which is widely supported.  And I think they feel it spills over on to the administration, not telling the truth about the war, lying from the get go, in the small things, as well as the big things.  And what bothers me is that—as Jessica Lynch says, look, we don‘t lack for real heroes over there. 

I can understand the Tillman thing.  Here is a hero, a guy that gave up everything, and the Army said to itself, my goodness, he died in friendly fire, that‘s a debacle.  Why not make him a hero and sort of get us out of hook of some really lousy publicity.  So, you can understand it, but you can‘t excuse it, because these look like open and shut cases. 

CARLSON:  Yes, and in the case of Pat Tillman, of course, it‘s ridiculous to think that people supported the war in Afghanistan or even Iraq because of Pat Tillman.  He had nothing to do with either one.  In any case, A.B., of Jessica Lynch it seems to me the press is at fault.  I always thought that story was a joke and that Jessica Lynch is a poor woman who was horribly mistreated by the animals—sexually assaulted by the animals who held her captive.  But it was obvious that she wasn‘t a hero from day one, and we in the press are the ones, particularly in television, who made it out like Jessica Lynch was Audie Murphy.  It‘s our fault, isn‘t it? 

STODDARD:  Well, yes, you can put it on the media that they should have gotten to Jessica Lynch‘s story before she finally sort of, through the months and years, evolved to what she is telling us today in the hearing.  But at the same time, it‘s really—it‘s this is—look, you can see why the Democrats want to game this.  It‘s still bad to hear that the military would lie about Tillman‘s death or her rescue. 

The media could have been better at ferreting it out, and Jessica Lynch could have told the truth from day one.  But the Democrats—I mean, this might backfire on them.  You might be right. 

CARLSON:  So many better ways to attack the war in Iraq.  I mean, I‘m opposed to the war in Iraq, I think, because it hurts America.  But attacking the memory of Pat Tillman or whatever, being seem to attack the permanent U.S. military, non-political U.S. military, I think it‘s insane.  I think Waxman is totally out of touch with the rest of country.  Or maybe I am. 

BUCHANAN:  No, that‘s what killed Joe McCarthy, is when he went after the United States Army.  Most folks didn‘t understand that, Tucker, when he went after the Army.  But here you can see the Jessica Lynch thing—you made a very good point.  This was the period of collusion, of embed journalists, of all the riding on the—and the humvees.  They were riding in the Bradley Fighting Vehicles.  They were all with us.  The first days of the war of the; and so the media seized upon the story and really built it up and played it. 

And you read this incredible heroic story, you know, she going down, shooting the M-16 until it was empty, the whole bit.  And she went along with it. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I just—it had the whiff of the untruth from day one.  Not to brag.  All right, we will be right back.  Barack Obama faces significant challenge to win the favor of the most prominent black leaders in America.  They have largely supported Hillary Clinton and her husband.  Has Obama succeeded in supplanting Hillary?  Does he have their support? 

We‘ll tell you next.

Plus, President Bush faces a significant challenge of governing a country that, according to his own father, may simply be tired of him.  What are the implications of that for his ability to lead?  We will tell you.  This is MSNBC, America‘s most impressive cable network. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  It‘s barely a stretch to say the last unequivocally positive development for President Bush was his reelection in November 2004.  The list of trials, in some cases literally, tribulations, disasters and the course of the Iraq war seems to grow longer every day.  Among today‘s downturn for the administration is the new report in the “L.A. Times” that a previously obscure corner of the government called the Office of Special Counsel is now preparing to launch a broad investigation of the White House political operations.  Those, of course, are headed by Karl Rove. 

This latest bad news for the administration is another tile in the mosaic of discontent with the president, which his father described last night to Larry King.  Listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR:  Earlier this month, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney praised your son Jeb as quite a guy.  And he said, if his name wasn‘t Bush, he would be running for president.  What do you think of that? 

GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 

There is something to that.  There might be a little Bush fatigue now. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Back to discuss Bush fatigue and its affect on the president‘s ability to lead us in dangerous times, we welcome back associate editor of the “Hill Newspaper,” A.B. Stoddard, and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.  Welcome back. 

Pat that is true.  At a certain point—and you worked for Nixon, so you maybe have seen this—a president becomes so unpopular that even his potentially popular moves are ignored and it just becomes this kind of endless downward spiral.  Is Bush there?

BUCHANAN:  He is awfully close to it, Tucker.  You know, the Gonzalez thing is very bad news.  We got the Wolfowitz thing over at the World Bank.  And the latest is Karl Rove.  This, as I understand, is a civil investigation that Rove and these folks may have been actually playing politics in the White House when they are supposed to be working for the taxpayer. 

I can tell you this, Tucker, in 1972, you would have a harder time finding us doing anything other than politics in the White House.  This is one of those charges, I think, that is—that is little bit unfair.  Everybody knows White House aides play politics. 

CARLSON:  But A.B., is the idea that the White House is not only wrong and the president is not only misguided and maybe slow, but that they are actually corrupt, that they are out to screw you for their own gain; does this get traction in the polls?  Do people buy that?  Is this a worthy avenue for the Democrats to explore? 

STODDARD:  I don‘t think that the Bush White House is seen by voters as corrupt at this point.  But I think that the administration is seen by many, most importantly swing voters and independent voters, as incompetent.  and That is a really big problem for them, much bigger problem for the Republican party.  The were the party of incompetent government in the 2006 elections. 

They don‘t want to be the party of incompetent government in the 2008 elections.  And Hurricane Katrina and mishandling the Iraq war, the Department of Justice under fire, Walter Reed, it really makes a big, bad mountain of trouble for Republicans. 

CARLSON:  I‘m willing to believe that.  I actually think that those corruption charges matter, whether they‘re legal charges or just essentially, you know, insults.  I think people are willing to believe their government is corrupt, even though most of the time it‘s not.  Tom Delay, Pat, is still around.  He‘s out of government.  But he is still making noise.  He is now promoting a book.  And he had this to stay about the Democratic leadership yesterday.  This is amazing, watch this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM DELAY, FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER:  I think Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are getting very, very close to treason. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Treason, that‘s a pretty serious charge. 

DELAY:  And I‘m serious about it.  For the majority leader of the United States Senate, in the time of war, with soldiers dying on the ground, announcing that we had lost the war, is very close to treason.  I looked it up while driving over here, what the definition of treason is.  It‘s the betrayal of trust.  I have never in my adult life, nor in my understanding of history, seen something so blatantly outrageous for political reasons. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now, Pat, treason is a capital crime.  Do you think there is a chance Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi could be executed for it?  I mean, why would he say something like that? 

BUCHANAN:  He has got the wrong definition.  It‘s not a betrayal of trust.  Treason in the constitution consists of giving aide and comfort to the enemy in a time of war.  It generally means Benedict Arnold turning over West Point to the British, when he is the revolutionary commander.  But what a lot of folks mean—Clearly Harry Reid did a dumb thing when he said the war is lost.  And he has been paying for it. 

But I don‘t think the hammer does Republicans any good when he sort of escalates the rhetoric beyond what Reid‘s offense would carry.  So I think Reid has hurt Democrats to a degree.  He‘s back pedaled.  And I think he hurt himself.  But I don‘t think folks are going to go for the treason charge just yet. 

CARLSON:  No, and A.B., it seems to be—

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  This helps Harry Reid.  It‘s like when MoveOn.org or some real extremist on the web come out and compare Bush to Hitler.  It helps Bush, doesn‘t it?

STODDARD:  It‘s amazing.  It used to be, oh, how the mighty have fallen.  And now it‘s, oh, how the mighty have fallen, and gone on book tour.  If you notice, Tom Delay‘s book is called “No Retreat and No Surrender.”  He is not going anywhere.  And he is trying to get into the pages of newspaper.  And he can‘t unless he says stuff like this. 

CARLSON:  So you think this is an Anne Coulter moment?  This is purely a commercial decision. 

STODDARD:  Tom Delay is going to keep this up for years.  He is not going away.  He needs to say stuff like this to get press. 

CARLSON:  I wonder if there is anybody in the Republican party, and you would know this since you cover the Congress, A.B—is there anybody who can say to him, look, you know, I understand you want to get a higher Amazon ranking, but this actually hurts our efforts to be seen as reasonable and non-crazy. 

STODDARD:  You know, I don‘t know who talks to him.  I don‘t think his friends who talk to him privately are going to say that.  But I talk to Republican all the time.  And as they move away from the Tom Delay era, it would surprise you who actually happy to see it over with.  I mean, I‘m surprised at how much, now that he is gone, sort of how unpopular he was.  When he was running things, and he did it well, they really kind of owed him. 

He was popular because he got things done and he ran a tight ship. 

But now that he is gone, they don‘t want to hear his name mentioned. 

CARLSON:  Well, success and intimidation have that affect on people.  They‘re not likely to attack you.  Pat, we talk about this every day, virtually every day, but give us the quick update on where you think politically the showdown between the president and the Democratic Congress over the war is.  He came out today and said, I will veto any attempt to put a time table, in effect, on this war.  The vice president came out of the hospital, I believe, and attacked the Democratic leadership for trying to micro manage the war.  Who‘s winning?   

BUCHANAN:  I think the president‘s going to win this one.  Tucker, I saw the president‘s entire speech.  He spoke very softly, but those were some of the hardest, toughest words I have heard to date.  He is, in effect, setting up the Democratic party, and saying, if you continue down this road and set the deadlines, and those deadlines are imposed, you will be held accountable for losing the war in Iraq, for the terrorist base camp set up in Anbar, for what happens as a sequence. 

The Democrats, first, better watch where they are going with this, because they are going to have to give him the funds.  And that‘s the second point; after this veto both Cheney and Bush know, and here Delay was right, those guys are going to blink.  And they are going to give him the funds with no strings attached, because otherwise they are putting—making themselves vulnerable to the charge that they undercut the troops in battle and caused an American defeat.  And I think that is a mistake for them, because right now it is Bush‘s war. 

CARLSON:  That is right.  They take over responsibility when they get involved to that degree.  A.B., there is this ongoing battle, largely behind the scenes, for the hearts and mostly the votes of black voters, a big and important constituency in the Democratic party, that‘s going on between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Here is what Charlie Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the dean of the New York delegation, said about that race.  And I‘m quoting now. “Everyone I talk with supports her,” meaning Hillary Clinton, “I don‘t know Obama supporters in New York.” I don‘t know Obama supporters in New York. 

Now, that‘s absurd.  Do you think that it is that overwhelmingly in Hillary Clinton‘s favor in New York among black voters? 

STODDARD:  It could be right now, and it‘s—you know, obviously this is going to move.  What is—what I have been interested to learn in reading about this is that there are many—obviously Senator Obama is making big moves to try to pick up the endorsement of Al Sharpton and he is, you know, really getting right under Hillary‘s feet to try to stop Sharpton from endorsing Hillary Clinton. 

He already has the endorsement of Jesse Jackson, but there are lesser-known black politics whose are excited by the candidacy of Barack Obama, who have not heard from him.  And she is really wise to go out and make direct appeals and ask for their votes. 

And there is something—I think that if she finds an effective way to make this pitch which I think she understands she is doing to where she compliments Obama, talks about how exciting his candidacy is, but then I think she is making the case that, look, if he can‘t win the general, I need to be the nominee, you know, you could be excited and you could feel proud, but in the end, if he is going to lose votes in the South or he can‘t win the—you know, he can‘t win—be in for the long haul, win the presidency, I am the one to best represent the priorities and concerns of African-American voters.  And I actually think that this appeal is going to have a lot of sway. 

CARLSON:  It may.  I‘m waiting, though, Pat, for her—the obvious next step for Hillary Clinton is just to say point blank, I‘m the more authentically black candidate.  How long until that happens. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  I think she would let her—even though she is working on the accent, Tucker, I think she had better send Bill out to do that.  But the key thing here is, this is—the black vote is enormously important in the Democratic Party in South Carolina, but it is not very big in New Hampshire, and not very big in Iowa. 

So, I mean, I have seen these polls in New York that Barack is moving.  I think those polls are irrelevant.  All you need is those first three states, I think, and I think they are going to decide Super Tuesday. 

CARLSON:  I think you are exactly right.  And I think that‘s—the whole idea is to compress this process to such an extent that Hillary Clinton has the advantage.  Not a conspiracy, but I think that is what is going on. 

We will be right back.  The government keeps a close eye on televised depictions of sex, remember Janet Jackson?  Of course you do.  Is the FCC‘s plan to keep closer of TV violence though a good idea? 

And the government doesn‘t have any policy about TV‘s Rosie O‘Donnell, and thank goodness.  Any restriction might prevent Willie Geist from bringing us the latest eruption from Mount Rosie.  Stay tuned for that on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Federal regulators say the government should have more power to regulate violence on television.  Should the government tell people what they can watch in their own homes?  Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CARLSON:  Entertainment television has grown noticeably more violent in recent years, from crime dramas with their shootings and beatings to pro wrestling‘s weekly smackdowns.  Today‘s Washington Post reports that the FCC will recommend that Congress pass legislation to give government unprecedented power to curb the depiction of violence in the hours when kids are most likely to watch television. 

Those are 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. most of the day.  Is this wise public policy or the unfair restriction of the free market?  And will the FCC‘s suggestion be made into law?  Here to tell us, associate editor of The Hill, A.B. Stoddard; and MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan. 

Pat, can this—is there any way to define violence truly? 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  I mean, specifically enough that you could actually regulate it? 

BUCHANAN:  Tucker, when I was a kid, I saw an awful lot of Indians get killed on TV, I will tell you. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  And that is what made you the man you are today, I bet. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Right, but look, yes, there is, once you get over the air television, the argument is you have got these three or four networks, they dominate everything, they make trillions of dollars because they get the licenses, therefore you can set rules.  And I think probably you can. 

And especially in the areas of really gross pornography and some of this overly brutal violence.  And I think the Congress will start to reflect the country on that.  But once you get to cable, I think it‘s Katie-bar-the-door. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  And increasingly, that is what matters if you think about it.  I wonder, who benefits from this, A.B., the idea that government ought to restrict what the rest of us, the two-thirds of American households that don‘t have children in them—that does not include mine, but most people don‘t have kids at home, I mean, who benefits from restricting what they can watch on TV? 

STODDARD:  Well, I mean, look, the—I‘m a terrified mother of three and I‘m not an expert on communications or regulation or anything else, I think that what we are talking about here is excessive violence, not violence. 

I mean, the FCC was asked by Congress to study this.  They are coming up with a report asking Congress to find a way to regulate excessive violence.  I mean, I think there is a lot of people, even without children in their households that believe that excessive violence on television is not so necessary and so beneficial. 

CARLSON:  So who is going to be the champion—I guess my question is a political one, who is going to be the champion of the broadcasters in this? 

STODDARD:  Well, this will be tricky. 

CARLSON:  Obviously they don‘t want more restriction and for the record, I don‘t either, actually, want Congress getting involved in decisions like this.  They are not smart enough.  But who is going to be their champion?  Will it be the libertarian right, will it be the civil libertarian left?  I mean, who is going to stand up against decency, I guess is what I mean to say? 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t know that you are going to get pretty much anybody.  But don‘t worry about the broadcasters.  They have got those guys on K Street, Tucker, who are working behind the scenes and frankly they are doing a lot of this obviously because they make money and they get audience and they get eyeballs by doing it. 

But you know, there is a tradition, in Shakespeare, for example, the murder of Macbeth is done offstage.  A lot of these things, because they are considered obscene, which means should be offstage and I think people really feel that and certainly parents who are trying to monitor kids and stuff.  So my guess is that Congress is pretty much going to go along with it. 

CARLSON:  Boy, it is just—it is amazing to me that the libertarian impulse on the right, I think, basically, has been killed.  I mean, there is poor Ron Paul from Texas who nobody maybe apart from me takes seriously.  And then there is, let‘s see, I don‘t know, are there any—A.B., give me the quick roster, how many small-government, libertarian-minded Republicans are left on Capitol Hill? 

STODDARD:  It is a lonely few.  But look, this will be hard for the Democrats.  I mean, they will, you know, be under pressure from the entertainment industry and the broadcasters and everything else.  It is not exactly something they want dumped in their laps. 

And if none of these restrictions can stand up to court challenges anyway, and they will be ruled unconstitutional, maybe this whole thing is a moot point.

CARLSON:  Yes.  Well, that may be right.  Maybe this is just an effort to scare broadcasters into setting their own limits, which, you know, might not be a bad idea.  A.B. Stoddard, Pat Buchanan, thank you both very much. 

BUCHANAN:  OK, Tucker.  Take it easy.

CARLSON:  I appreciate it.

Well, for Sheryl Crow, the fight to save the environment begins in your bathroom.  Today she clarified her controversial one-square position on toilet paper use.  Willie Geist has the environmentally-friendly details when we come back.  You are watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Joining us now from headquarters, the great Willie Geist—

Willie. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER:  Hello, Tucker.  If you think you are making me jealous with those palm trees behind you, you are not.  Have you ever seen the swamps of New Jersey this time of year?  They are absolutely beautiful. 

CARLSON:  They are pungent.

GEIST:  They are pungent.  They are very pungent.  Tucker, big news, Sheryl Crow, you will remember, made news over the weekend, not just for her screaming match with Karl Rove, but also for the suggestion that as part of the effort to save the environment, we all limit ourselves to one square of toilet paper per bathroom visit.  A little aggressive, most of us thought.

Well, in a blog posted on her Web site today, Crow says she was just kidding after all of that.  She writes, quote: “The toilet paper thing, it was a joke.” End quote.  It would have been nice if she could have revealed that information sooner, you know, before we had to hear this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM “THE VIEW”)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”:  One little thing?  Has she seen my ass? 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)             

GEIST:  Actually, Rosie, I think we have seen your butt.  If I remember correctly, it was just about a month ago, I think we have the footage here.  Yes.  There it is.  Maybe not the butt, but we have seen plenty of Rosie O‘Donnell, more than we ever needed to see. 

Tucker, there was also a story about Rosie, yesterday at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, she was at a ladies lunch attended by high school girls, Barbara Walters, all of these refined woman.  She was asked about Donald Trump, grabbed her crotch and said, quote, “he can eat me.” So she is really a sweet, sophisticated woman.  She is a real sweetheart, isn‘t she?

CARLSON:  You know, I‘m not even sure what to say.  Let me just make the obvious observation first, someone got to Sheryl Crow, publicist maybe, a close, trusted  friend, maybe a relative, and pointed out, it is very hard to be a sex symbol when you are telling people.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  So she wisely tried to play it off as, oh, it was just a joke, of course.  One of my many toilet paper jokes... 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  . when I talk about the environment.  Second, Rosie O‘Donnell, on whose side I never find myself, actually is making sense.  The images you just showed notwithstanding, which were disturbing, I kind of agree with what Rosie‘s position on this is. 

GEIST:  Of course, of course, I‘m glad the Sheryl Crow one-square thing only lasted one day because it was just going to absolutely wreak havoc on this country.  And frankly, if that‘s what it took to save the environment, the environment was going to be on its own as far as I was concerned.  I mean, I‘m not going that route. 

Tucker, a month ago the death of Keith Richards‘ mother probably would not have made news, but that was before the death-defying Rolling Stones guitarist said he had once mixed his fathers ashes with cocaine and snorted them together.  Doris Richards, the mother, died on Saturday night at the age of 91 with Keith by her bedside.  Presumably she opted for burial so her son would not be tempted on his next all-night bender. 

Now I think the solution, if she wants to go cremation, we need a combination lock on the urn so when Keith gets that urge there is no way he will remember a three-number combination.  I think it is pretty safe.  Just keep it locked away, don‘t you think? 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I may be the only person in America, I‘m sure I am, as usual, who found that story kind of touching. 

GEIST:  I—well, we all mourn in our own ways, as we have said in the past. 

CARLSON:  I mean, it is Keith Richards, what do you expect?  He is going to scatter your ashes over Mount Kilauea or something?  No, of course not. 

GEIST:  I know.  It was kind of a.

CARLSON:  He is going to cut them into a line with a credit card, roll up $100 bill and snort him. 

GEIST:  It was a little bit beautiful, wasn‘t it?

Tucker, it is only Tuesday, but we already have our shoo-in for story of the week.  Dateline, Melbourne, Florida.  The lead on the Associated Press story reads as follows: “A Brevard County doctor dressed like Captain America was arrested after police say he pulled a burrito out of his tights and groped a woman.  That‘s the end of lead. 

Here he is now, Tucker, the 54-year-old doctor was on a bar crawl with a group of doctors and nurses dressed in superhero costumes, we have to ask about that later.  Police say he stuffed his Captain America tights with a burrito, and was asking women to check it out. 

The doctor allegedly groped one of the women he was harassing and the women‘s boyfriend stepped in.  The police were called and the good doctor was picked up out of a lineup of out of several Captain Americas.  Yes.  The cops dragged all of the Captain Americas into the parking lot and lined them up. 

Oh, and just for good measure, the arrested Captain America tried to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet at the police station and he was caught doing that, too.  It is hard to know where to begin with something like this, Tucker, but he is just a disgrace to superheroes everywhere.  The burrito is way too messy for that job, you don‘t use a burrito. 

CARLSON:  I totally—I completely disagree.  If you look around the world, look at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, from Greenland to Addis (ph) to—you know, every major metropolitan area on this planet, there are people lined up to emigrate to the United States.  Why?  Because you can let your freak flag fly when you get to this country. 

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  Only to a point, and then you find yourself in a lineup with six other Captain Americas in a parking lot in Melbourne, Florida, and the dream sort of dies, I think, at that moment maybe. 

CARLSON:  Was it really a burrito, Willie?  Well, that‘s what he says or maybe he was just happy to see them. 

Well, Tucker, finally, on second thought, maybe 4-year-olds shouldn‘t be standing on the sidelines of major college football game with 250-pound monsters running toward each other at light speed.  This little guy was watching the Colorado State University spring game on Saturday afternoon when a player dived for a ball in the end zone and plowed into the boy.  An ugly scene.

As blood gushed from the kid‘s head and as the crowd and players held their collective breath, the boy‘s father and team medical staff rushed over to him.  Somehow, Tucker, all the boy walked away with, 30 stitches and an autographed football from the Colorado State football team. 

And if you look at that video, that is very, very scary stuff and we are glad he is OK.  But, Tucker, that is tantamount to taking your kid to the zoo and then letting him go into the cage and play with the crocodiles. 

You go to a football game, you are 4-years-old, up in the stands, those guys are huge, they are monsters, they are killers. 

CARLSON:  I knew you were going to blame the victim, Willie. 

GEIST:  I always do, especially when they are children or the elderly. 

I especially.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  The elderly.  That‘s right.  As long as it was one of our weakest... 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  Exactly.  Exactly right. 

CARLSON:  . Willie will not take that person‘s side.  Willie Geist at headquarters. 

GEIST:  All right.  Tucker, enjoy the rest of your time out there. 

CARLSON:  You have got a heart of stone but we appreciate it anyway. 

GEIST:  Thanks.

CARLSON:  That does it for us. “HARDBALL” is next.  We will be back tomorrow, same time, different place.  Thanks for joining us.  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 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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