updated 5/24/2007 9:48:46 AM ET 2007-05-24T13:48:46

Guests: Jim Moran, Ibrahim Hooper, Dick Armey, Cliff May

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  To listen to Democrats, the U.S. Congress was elected with just one mission, change the course of U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, and especially in Iraq.  The might U.S.  Congress has for the moment struck out again. 

Today‘s news in and around and about Iraq was hauntingly familiar, only the names have changed.  Three more U.S. servicemen were killed by a roadside bomb there,  a body clothed in a U.S. Army uniform was discovered in the Euphrates River south of Baghdad. 

And in the Persian Gulf, nine U.S. war ships arrived as scheduled to demonstrate America‘s will to contain Iran‘s power.  It happened on the day that the International Atomic Energy Administration said that Iran has been defying U.N. orders by enriching large amounts of uranium and a day after ABC News reported the CIA has been operating inside the nation of Iran. 

Back at home Mr. Bush addressed graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with a speech that included newly declassified information that Osama bin Laden has instructed al Qaeda leaders in Iraq to launch attacks outside Iraq.  Those include attacks on U.S. soil. 

Line by line, story by story, theme by theme, today was uninterrupted Bush doctrine and the president‘s opponents in Congress can‘t or won‘t do anything about it.  They say yesterday‘s war-funding bill is the beginning of the end.  It takes away the president‘s blank check in Iraq.  But nobody seems to believe them. 

A moment ago I spoke with Democratic Congressman from Virginia, Jim Moran, to get his view of the war funding legislation and the deal that made it happen.  Here is that conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Lots of people voted for Democrats last fall with the idea they were going to end the war in Iraq.  Those people must feel had about now. 

Rep. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  I don‘t know, you know the next election isn‘t until November of ‘08, and I think things are going to be remarkably different then.  It will be a whole different context.  The fact is we are doing everything we can within the parameters of the political process. 

It takes 218 votes.  We have achieved five rebukes of the president‘s policy with 218 votes, but we can‘t get it through the Senate, let alone override a presidential veto. 

CARLSON:  Well, I mean, don‘t you think Democrats should have prepared their supporters for this?  I mean, Democrats came to power in January, elected last November on the idea they were going to end the war in Iraq.  You came on this show and told our viewers that.  Nancy Pelosi told the country that.  This is what we are going to do. 

I don‘t think Democrats have really done anything to bring the war in Iraq to swifter conclusion than I can tell, have they? 

MORAN:  The president is running scared on this.  But really in many ways this is a pyrrhic victory for the Republican Party and the president.  They want to make it clear to the world that they own this war.  And if that is what they want, they have achieved it. 

We are trying to work with the Republican Party and the administration to bring a conclusion.  They want to continue it.  They want to make it clear this is their war under their terms and they have achieved a small victory here. 

But the war against the war goes on, and we‘ll see you in September when the regular defense appropriation bill comes through.  And I think by then you will see two or three dozen Republicans side with the Democrats at that point if there isn‘t a substantial change in the course of this war.  And I don‘t see any change coming. 

CARLSON:  You may be absolutely right and we‘ll see, but if—the Democrats always say that the public is on their side, we speak for America they say time and again on the issue of Iraq.  If that is true, then why can‘t you must enough votes to override a veto?  If the public is really on your side, isn‘t that how democracy is supposed to work?

MORAN:  Because we have a tension here, it is an inherent tension.  We are determined to support the troops, Tucker.  That is the first priority.  And we will not take votes or any kind action that will deny the funds necessary for those kids fighting on the battlefield. 

They are the only ones being asked to make any sacrifice in this war.  They and their families.  We‘re simply being asked to go out and spend our tax cuts at the local mall.  So we are not going to make them fight a war under even more difficult circumstances. 

And that is what we were presented with.  If you want the money to support the troops, then you are going to have to go along with the president‘s approach to this war.  We disagree with it, but we will not sacrifice the support for the troops, that is where we are.  I think by.

CARLSON:  Wait, wait, wait.  That is not where Nancy Pelosi is.  She came out yesterday and said, quote: “I would never vote for such a thing.  I‘m not voting for this bill.”  I‘m not voting for funding the troops.  You just said how important it is to vote for funding for the troops.  Why isn‘t your own speaker going to vote for it? 

MORAN:  I‘m not going to vote for it either, Tucker.  But we are not going to create a situation where there will not be enough money for the troops.  We know this bill is going to pass with virtually every Republican vote and probably a lot of Democratic votes. 

But out of principle, in opposition to this fiasco in Iraq, I‘m going to vote against it.  But I know it is going to pass.  I know the troops will get their money.  We were not going to delay the process knowing that the president is going to veto everything we send up.  So we have—this is not particularly a retreat, but it is a strategic move in order to let the funds go forward. 

We‘re going to revisit the issue again in September.  By then I think we‘ll have an even tougher bill and we‘ll have even more support from the Republican moderates. 

CARLSON:  But can‘t you see why people who aren‘t sophisticated in the ways of Washington might be confused when the speaker of the house comes out and says, this is the deal we have struck, and by the way, I don‘t support it. 

This is the deal that I struck, I did, Nancy Pelosi, along with Harry Reid and the anti-war left, this is our deal but I‘m not for it?  Doesn‘t that—is that a little confusing? 

MORAN:  Well—it certainly in the way—in the context in which you put it.  I can understand why people might be confused.  But the reality is that this is the best that we could get.  We now know we can‘t get more than 218 votes.  We can‘t get anywhere near a veto override.  That‘s just the reality of the situation. 

Politics is the art of compromise.  We are compromising in the sense that we are letting this bill move forward.  It won‘t have our support, but the majority of the Congress wants to do this.  We are letting the—we are giving the president basically more rope.  He can do what he wants to do with it, but there is no question now that the president and the Republican Party own this war. 

We will give them the funds that they want to pursue whatever strategy they want, but personally, and from the collective standpoint of the majority of the Democrats, we don‘t think the strategy is working and that is what our vote will say. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, and you may be absolutely right, the strategy is not working.  But if you are paying for the war and you are, it is hard to see how it is exclusively the property of the Republicans.  I‘m wondering, if you.

MORAN:  The American people are paying for it.  And we are their elected representatives, but the power of the purse only goes so far.  The president has the bully pulpit.  He is the commander-in-chief and he may have prevailed on this legislative skirmish, but as I say, the war against the war is not over by a long shot. 

CARLSON:  I‘m wondering if your supporters will understand the art of compromise?  Moveon.org, among others, very angry about this, what they see as a sell-out of their beliefs by you all, the Democrats.  And they are passing around today this petition: “Congress show some backbone on Iraq, vote no on the supplemental.  We want a deadline to bring our troops home.” 

Does that have any effect on the way you think Democrats vote, members of Congress?  Or do they just—they don‘t care that the base is enraged? 

MORAN:  Oh, I think they care very much and I think moveon.org has taken a very responsible position.  They have been with us on every compromise to date.  I don‘t blame them for taking this position.  I would if I were them. 

But the process needs to move forward.  Mr. Obey negotiated as hard and as determinedly as possible.  The votes aren‘t there.  We have to respect that.  We respect our opposition.  We respect those who disagree with us. 

We have—basically this compromise is an agreement to disagree.  And we will revisit the issue.  You know, I know the way in which you want to characterize it.  I don‘t think that is particularly accurate, but it is understandable.  And I can‘t make fault with how you are characterizing it, Tucker, but I don‘t think it is the whole story. 

CARLSON:  Well, I appreciate your letting me give you a hard time today.  Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, thanks a lot. 

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN:  . was fair, you bet.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  One of every four Muslim-Americans thinks the—under the age of 30 thinks suicide bombings in the name of Islam can be justified.  Forty percent of all Muslim-Americans don‘t think Muslims perpetrated the attacks of 9/11.  What is going on?  We will tell you in a minute. 

Plus President Bush sites declassified information about Osama Bin Laden‘s activity in Iraq in order to continue his case for the war there.  Convenient timing?  Compelling evidence?  Both?  We‘ll tell you.  You are watching MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  If you have been watching cable news in the last 24 hours and we sincerely hope that you have been, you have probably seen one of the Pew Research Poll findngs that one of every four Muslim-Americans younger than 30 believe suicide bombing in the face—in the defense, rather, of Islam is justifiable.  The poll, of course, is subject to interpretation. 

Just look at the competing headlines in today‘s USA Today and today‘s New York Post.  One man‘s reassurance is the sum of another man‘s fears.  “Muslim-Americans Reject Extremes,” “Bombshell!” on the other side. 

Fascinating. 

Well, suicide bombing is one of the many remarkable questions in this poll.  For instance, here is a finding.  Only 36 percent of black Muslim-Americans in the survey expressed very unfavorable opinions about al Qaeda.  Here to tell us what all this means, Ibrahim Hooper.  He is the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Mr. Hooper, thanks for coming on.

IBRAHIM HOOPER, SPOKESMAN, CAIR:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  So if you ask any group of people in the world, how do you feel about al Qaeda?  And only 36 percent of the group say they have a very unfavorable view, that‘s a huge problem. 

HOOPER:  No.  I think  if you look at the overall results of this survey, it paints a portrait of a community that is well-integrated in the American society.  And that the vast majority of American-Muslims rejects terrorism and religious extremist. 

CARLSON:  Oh really?  The vast majority.  Then why do only 36 percent of American (INAUDIBLE) black Muslims have a very unfavorable view of al Qaeda? 

HOOPER:  Well, I think that might be a reflection more of the general alienation of many segments of the African-American community. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Then let‘s try this.  How about the overall all American Muslims, only 58 percent, 58 percent, a little more than half, had a very unfavorable view of al Qaeda. 

HOOPER:  Well, I think if you add that up very unfavorable and the favorable and all the negative responses you are going to get.

CARLSON:  If you add very unfavorable to unfavorable—somewhat unfavorable, you only have 68 percent. 

HOOPER:  I mean, 68, 70 percent, that is a pretty strong majority. 

CARLSON:  Of al Qaeda?  What about Hitler?  What do you think?  I mean, no, I‘m serious. 

HOOPER:  I think.

CARLSON:  If you can‘t take a stand against al Qaeda, then.

HOOPER:  You have got a study of more than 100 pages with innumerable questions in it, and I think it is wrong to focus on a couple of questions to put forward an agenda that goes against the bulk of the findings.

CARLSON:  There are a lot of questions.  Actually, the bulk of the findings I think are pretty clear, in case you don‘t believe it.  Here is what they are.

Are you concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in the United States?  Only 61 percent are concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism.

HOOPER:  Well, I mean, if you presuppose that American-Muslims don‘t see a rise of extremism in the United States, then that answer makes perfect sense. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

HOOPER:  I mean, I don‘t see a rise of religious extremism.

CARLSON:  You don‘t.  The guys who were just arrested in New Jersey?

HOOPER:  I mean, you‘ve got millions of American-Muslims.  There is going to be somebody who does something wrong.  And I think it is unfair to generalize the actions of individuals to an entire religious minority. 

CARLSON:  OK.  How about this.  There are questions—these are the problems facing U.S. Muslims.  What are the biggest problems?  Discrimination, being viewed as terrorists, ignorance about Islam, stereotyping, negative media portrayals, I‘m a victim, I‘m a victim, I‘m a victim, I‘m a victim. 

You get down to radical Islam, only 3 percent believe that is a major problem. 

HOOPER:  Well, again, if you don‘t believe that there is a strain of Islamic extremism in the United States, then you are going to answer that way.  And I think the vast majority of American-Muslims would say.

CARLSON:  Well, I think these numbers show that there is.  For instance, do you believe that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks?  Only 40 percent believed Arabs carried them out.  If you ask foreign-born Muslims in this country, Arabs, only 22 percent believe... 

HOOPER:  No, I think that is a reflection of some wishful thinking that people can‘t just believe that Muslims would have carried out such a terrible crime and they are hoping that... 

CARLSON:  Well, that is like the equivalent of Holocaust denial.  I mean, don‘t you think that your group and others ought to be doing more to educate people who are denying a basic historic reality?

HOOPER:  Again, again, I mean, as soon as Osama bin Laden issued his tape taking credit, we issued a statement saying it was quite obvious now that he did it. 

CARLSON:  Well, obviously you education efforts have fallen short if only 40 percent believe it.

HOOPER:  Well, again, I think if you did a poll.

CARLSON:  Do they think the Jews did it?

HOOPER:  I think a poll of the American community at large, you might get similar responses.  There are a great many people who buy into conspiracy theories. 

CARLSON:  Sixty percent of the population?

HOOPER:  I don‘t know what it would be.

CARLSON:  I mean, no, look, all I‘m saying is look, I‘m not saying you‘re unreasonable, I‘m not saying your group is crazy.  I‘m saying that 60 percent of the people who answer this question are by definition unreasonable.  And that is a problem in any community and you don‘t see there is one.  That bothers me.

HOOPER:  No, again, what I think it is, is they look at this horrendous act and they just say, how could any Muslim carry it out?  I‘m just going to, you know, block it out of my mind somehow that Muslims didn‘t do it, when in fact Muslims did do it. 

CARLSON:  I wonder what you see in the answer to this question.  Was the war in Afghanistan the right or wrong decision?  Forty-eight percent, about half, responded that that the war in Afghanistan was—so I mean, I‘m not surprised, considering they don‘t think that... 

(CROSSTALK)

HOOPER:  I mean there is a growing number of people, particularly about the Iraq situation, in the larger society, more than half of Americans believe it was wrong to go into Iraq.  So it is not.

CARLSON:  But Iraq is not Afghanistan. 

HOOPER:  No.

CARLSON:  They are very different.

HOOPER:  But it is not surprising that American Muslims have problems with our foreign policy.  That is clear.  We have stated that repeatedly.

CARLSON:  But they are not—they‘re not against al Qaeda in the numbers that most people are, judging by these numbers.  And they don‘t believe that Muslims were behind 9/11.  So I just think that.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You know what, objectively, that is a problem.  But you don‘t see it as one. 

HOOPER:  If you look at the totality of the survey results, the views of American Muslims, more or less mirrored the views of people of all faiths in America.  Work hard to get ahead, send your kids to school. 

CARLSON:  That is demonstrably untrue in these questions, just for the record. 

HOOPER:  On several questions out of hundreds of questions and it would be nice if you could focus on some of the positive aspects.

CARLSON:  I don‘t believe there were hundreds of—actually I had.

HOOPER:  .as well—instead of just cherry-picking a couple of questions. 

CARLSON:  I have the—some of the questions right here.  They are not hundreds.  And I thought those were the most telling and you are not concerned, but I am.  But I appreciate your coming on.

HOOPER:  I m concerned that you would pick on only negative.

CARLSON:  Right!  You‘re a victim!  Of course!  I totally forgot! 

It‘s always the media‘s fault, right.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  . no one in the community is unreasonable.  It is always the media.  I‘m sorry, I forgot my talking points.

HOOPER:  No.  I never criticize the media, the media is my friend.

CARLSON:  OK.  I can tell.  Ibrahim Hooper, thanks for coming on.  I appreciate it.

HOOPER:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  Al Qaeda didn‘t start in Iraq, but President Bush says al Qaeda is there and Osama bin Laden has been instructed to tell al Qaeda to come here.  It is a scary and urgent message, but does the president have the credibility to deliver it effectively?

Plus Rosie O‘Donnell is not worried about her credibility or her relationships with her coworkers.  Willie Geist has the highlights on a spat for the ages. 

If you haven‘t seen it, stay tuned. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  If you are just joining us, we spent our last block discussing the remarkable results of a Pew Research poll of Muslim-Americans.  We‘ll bring back some more of that amazing numbers in just a minute as we discuss their meaning with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. 

He is now the chairman of freedomworks.com, an organization that promotes lower taxes and less government.  And president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Cliff May, welcome to you. 

Welcome to you both.  First to the coverage of this, we put these graphics up just a minute ago in the last segment, but this story—this Pew poll was all over the papers this morning.  But played very differently.  USA Today did the headline that said, “American Muslims Reject Extremes.”  The New York Post, “Bombshell!: U.S. Muslims in New Terror Shocker!”, and “Timebombs in Our Midst.” 

It is amazing to me the instinct of the left in this country to downplay any evidence at all of Islamic extremism in this country, why is that? 

DICK ARMEY, FREEDOMWORKS.COM:  Well, it is interesting to me.  I have looked at this poll and one of the things that I found quite amusing was that Muslims have integrated into the community at large better in the United States than they have in Europe. 

CARLSON:  Much better.

ARMEY:  And I‘m thinking that our East Coast intellectual elitist multiculturalists that think we ought to be more like Europe are going to have a tough time digesting that fact. 

But what we see there is freedom works.  That the fact of the matter is, where you have a freer society with greater opportunity, people have different points of view, cultural backgrounds, religious perspectives, have a better job of integrating in the community, making a place for their families, because they—one, they can make a living here.

CARLSON:  I think that‘s right.  I think there are positive things about this.  And the per capita income among Muslim-Americans is really high, much higher than it is for instance in Europe.  But when you have got 60 percent of a population that doesn‘t believe 9/11 was brought about by Muslims, that is a sign of something really wrong. 

CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES:  Yes.  That is a really distressing number.  And sure it is true that America is different for a lot of reasons, more freedom, you can become an American in a way you probably can‘t become an Englishman or maybe even become a Frenchman. 

At the same time, it takes a small number of people who believe that terrorism is the right way to go.  To be frightening, it only took 19 people to create 9/11 after all.  That is all it took.  In the Muslim world, it is a small percentage that is likely to volunteer for suicide bombing missions. 

But when you have 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, a small percentage means thousands—tens of thousands of people who potentially are going to go out and try to kill the infidel. 

CARLSON:  I think the—why is it, I wonder, Congressman, that we‘re

you know, I can‘t remember the last time we saw a poll like this.  Why isn‘t the U.S. government, since it spends a lot of time propping up the price of cotton and soy beans, why can‘t it allocate a billion dollars to figure out why Muslim populations around the world feel the way they do about the United States? 

ARMEY:  Well, I think they could in fact do a better job than they do.  I see a lot of mistakes that we make, particularly in the Middle East, because we haven‘t taken the time to understand the history and the culture very well.  And the fact of the matter is they could take a lot of the money, as you point out, that they waste and become more well-informed. 

But also, you have to be a little careful with these pollings.  Quite frankly, very many of these people who are saying it wasn‘t Muslims that did 9/11, are probably saying, don‘t designate it in that way.  It wasn‘t a matter of people who have this religious belief have this position.

CARLSON:  Well, then how about this number—OK, OK, how about this number, what is your view of al Qaeda?  Do you have a very favorable, unfavorable view?  Only 36 percent of American-born African-American Muslims said they had a very unfavorable view, 36 -- of al Qaeda!. 

I mean, you know what I mean?  Like what does that mean?

ARMEY:  I think that was—that was in fact the most distressing thing.  I mean, there should be zero percent that find anything acceptable. 

CARLSON:  Thirty-six percent.  So you have got—you know what I mean, if it 64 percent that don‘t have a very unfavorable view, what does that mean? 

MAY:  Two things.  Some of the research you are talking about, the government is funding, and some of that research is taking place at various institutions including mine, but there is a lot more we need to know. 

But those numbers do speak for themselves, absolutely.  Look, there are a lot of people who have been convinced that the United States is the biggest threat to peace and freedom in the entire world and deserves to be punished.  We know that.  It is not just from Muslims, it‘s also from the far left. 

So if you believe America deserves to be punished, how judgmental are you going to be about those who punish the United States? 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  But it seems to me you ought to have some baseline.  I mean, we can argue about, you know, do we give too much money to Israel?  Should we be—you know, I mean, there is lots of room for argument in American foreign policy, but if you can‘t get behind the idea that al Qaeda is bad, it‘s kind of hard even to have a rational conversation. 

MAY:  I think that is true.  Unless you think that America is the big evil in the world, if you are convinced by that, and a lot of people are, then you think al Qaeda is bringing justice by bringing humiliation to the United States, that is what it should do. 

ARMEY:  Let me just say, for example, you have—I have many Irish friends in America and there has always been a greater diversity of opinion about the IRA within the Irish community than there was in America at large. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but the difference is that the IRA did—never blew up our pubs, I guess that would be the difference.

The Democrats couldn‘t stop President Bush on the war.  Maybe that will get his attorney general and then again, maybe they won‘t.  A key Justice Department lawyer testifies with immunity and does not spill the beans on Alberto Gonzales, imagine that. 

Plus, President Bush links Osama bin Laden and the war in Iraq once again.  And this time, he has got declassified information as his evidence.  Is the president the president who cried wolf, or is he right about his mission in Iraq?  This is MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  The war in Iraq wears on, and so it will now that Congress has agreed to fund the war without any restrictions on President Bush as commander in chief, no real restrictions anyway.  President Bush cited newly declassified documents that Osama bin Laden‘s connection to Iraq in a speech at the Coast Guard Academy.  In pressing his case to continue the war, the president say bin Laden has instructed al Qaeda in Iraq to carry out attacks world wide, including inside this country.  Will the president succeed in reconvincing the American people of the war‘s importance? 

Here to discuss it, welcome former House majority leader Dick Armey, now the chairman of FreedomWorks.com, and the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy‘s Cliff May.  Welcome back.  Cliff, is this new, the idea that Osama bin Laden wants to wage war on the United States, I mean, isn‘t that the whole ideas from the get go?   

MAY:  That part we know and we know that there are cells around the world.  What‘s important and we are still finding controversial is the fact that the most lethal branch of al Qaeda in the world today, by far, is located in Iraq.  Most of the killing they do in Iraq is against innocent Iraqis, is against Muslims, is against Arabs.  But that is the most lethal branch, and so you have to consider, if we retreat from the battlefield where al Qaeda is most lethal, what are the consequences.  And I think the consequences will be dire. 

CARLSON:  Well, I buy that completely.  I think that is factually true.  But isn‘t it also factually true that Congressman that that is due to our invasion of Iraq? 

ARMEY:  There are any number of explanations. 

CARLSON:  But al Qaeda was not infesting Iraq before we invaded. 

ARMEY:  I study on this all the time.  I worry about it.  I worry about what had been my role at another time.  The fact of the matter is I do not know any place right now where you can get information where you would dare to believe is reliable.  I know of no place.  So was al Qaeda present in Iraq before America invaded Iraq?  My understanding is that it was not.  It was not tolerated by Saddam Hussein. 

There was an entry that follows us into Iraq.  Then you could argue that we created the opportunity for them to develop this vicious core of people in Iraq.  My problem, looking at all of it is, I do not know who I can listen to and believe I am getting straight information.  That is the president‘s problem.  If he has a credibility problem with people like me, he has a credibility problem in America.  Can he sell it again?  I do not think he can. 

MAY:  Al Qaeda itself and its leaders say right now that the most important front in the international war that is taking place is in Iraq.  They say that.  If they say that, I think they get a vote in this.  The question that you posed is an important one for historians.  To what extent was al Qaeda active before?  Not a lot, although Zarqawi is there and Ansar al Islam is there.  But not a lot, because Saddam would only allow so much. 

But the fact of the matter is, policy makers are not historians.  Policy makers can‘t look back where they have to look ahead.  And the fact of the matter is, looking ahead, if you retreat from the most important battlefield with Iraq, they win.  You lose.  That is a great recruitment tool.  And al Qaeda will say, with some justification, you see, Allah gives us victory on the battlefield against even the king of the infidels, the great Satan the United States.  Do we want that?

CARLSON:  I buy that entirely.  I will be glad when historians do assign blame, because I think all lot of it rests with the president.  I do think that.  But I also believe the president when he says we cannot leave because it is going to be worse.  I buy that too. 

Al Gore has something to say about this.  His book is out this week.  You were in politics for many years.  Like Al Gore, you are now out of politics.  Why would you write a book like this if you were Al Gore? 

ARMEY:  There are two reasons.  One, I could take—my natural guess is that he is still bitter and angry because he lost the election and he is fulminating.  The other is it could be a strategic move.  He could be sensing that within his party, within his base, there is not a real high profile out there on the field of candidates and that if he comes out and speaks strongly of his anger against this presidency, that, in fact, there could be an emergent draft Al Gore.

CARLSON:  You really think there is a political element to this. 

ARMEY:  Is there a political element to everything Al Gore has ever done.  He has politicized science.  He graduated from Harvard or Yale or wherever and he had a choice, being confident and being political.  He chose political.  He has never been competent.  He has corrupted science.  He will corrupt diplomacy.  And now I believe he has written a book here that is probably a guy giving vent to his anger or it is a guy saying, I think I figured out a way I can be the nominee again. 

CARLSON:  If we have a field that includes Mrs. Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards, whatever you think of them, you‘ve got to regard that as a pretty strong field, for the Democrats anyway. 

MAY:  Yes, and I think he believes it‘s an outside chance that something could happen.  They could destroy each other and he could be drafted in.  It is probably something he dreams about late at night, but is not very likely.  When I saw the title “the Assault on Reason,” I thought, he‘s written his autobiography. 

CARLSON:  Democrats on Capitol Hill have learned the hard way how difficult it is to stop a president‘s foreign policy.  They went back yesterday and kind of caved on their end of the deal.  So they‘ve decided, you know what, investigations, that is the route to victory.  Monica Goodling, former Justice Department employee, was on Capitol Hill today for these hearings.  She has immunity.  She can presumably say whatever she wants, tell the truth with no fear.  Here is part of what she said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MONICA GOODLING, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE:  The best I can say is that I know I took political considerations into account on some occasions. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Was that legal? 

GOODLING:  Sir, I‘m not able to answer that question.  I know I crossed the line. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What line, legal? 

GOODLING:  I crossed the line of the civil service rules. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Rules?  Laws?  You cross the law on civil service laws—You crossed the line on civil service laws, is that right? 

GOODLING:  I believe I crossed the lines, but I did not mean to. 

(END VERY CLIP)

CARLSON:  Not very skillful cross-examination there from Congressman Scott of Virginia, but you get the point.  Is this a big deal.  I think it‘s kind of bad.

ARMEY:  Well, it‘s again fumbled.  They fumbled this ball.  I have said for years since Watergate, politicians get in trouble almost always over something they did not have to have done in the first place.  And here is a case where they did a ham fisted thing.  Yes, it was politics.  Of course it was about politics.  That is why—and everybody accepts it. 

The sin is letting the world see it for what it is.  That is the ham handed incompetent.  If you can‘t be competent at politics, which is juvenile delinquency, you do not have much of a chance at being competent at anything. 

CARLSON:  Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty has just issued this response to part of Monica Goodling‘s testimony: he says, quote, I testified truthfully at the February 6th hearing, based on what I knew at the time.  Miss Goodling‘s characterization of my testimony is wrong and not supported by the extensive record of documents and testimony already provided Congress.  It is bad when you see people start sniping at one another within the same administration. 

WAY:  It is bad and it‘s ham handed and it‘s everything Dick has just said.  The idea, of course, that in Washington someone wasn‘t taking politics into consideration about anything, that would be news.  People do not decide where to go to lunch without taking politics into consideration in this town.  That‘s the way it is.  By the way, I do not think it should be said that Democrats caved in.  I think what Democrats did is they didn‘t cave in on a number of cases to MoveOn.org and George Soros and all the forces on the left that are trying to get them to legislature U.S. defeat in Iraq.  I think this was—I give a lot of praise to those Democrats who said I‘m not going to go that far, even though I know there is going to be phone banks and marches—

CARLSON:  Wait a second, I agree with the outcome.  I hate the war and I am mad at the president for screwing it all up, but I do not think we should pull out immediately.  OK, so I agree with the outcome.  But that‘s not why.  They have said point blank, we are afraid of the political ramifications of not voting to fund the troops. 

MAY:  And they should be afraid of the national security ramifications. 

CARLSON:  They don‘t care about that.

MAY:  I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt in thinking that those Democrats who voted to fund the troops rather than voted for defeat did so out of principle, although it‘s probably --  

ARMEY:  Let me say one thing about Paul McNulty.  I do not know Mrs.  Goodling.  I hope you‘ll forgive me.  But I know Paul McNulty.  I have known him for years.  And I believe Paul McNulty to be a true, decent, honest man.  I do not want to say anything about Ms. Goodling.  I don‘t know her.  But I will take Paul McNulty at his word and I will personally take it to the bank. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Good to know.  I believe you.  That was heartfelt, I could tell.  There are millions of illegal aliens in the U.s.  right now and if they are legalized by the new legislation, they will probably choose a political party.  Which one do you suppose they will choose?  And how is that probability affecting this new legislation?

And who would win a fight between a cute pregnant, semi vapid right winger and a much less cute venom spewing left winger in three feet of water.  We almost found out today on “The View.”  Willie Geist extrapolates from there.  It‘s all coming up next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Think the immigration issue is only pressing along the U.S./Mexico border?  Consider the facts reported in the “New York Times” today that the government of Mexico has now established 47 consulates in the U.S., including in places like Little Rock, Kansas City and St. Paul, Minnesota.  St. Paul, Minnesota, yes, there is a Mexican immigration problem there.  Not all of it is legal.  So why is the Mexican government promoting illegal immigration to this country? 

Here to discuss it, we welcome former House majority leader Dick Armey, the chairman of FreedomWorks.com and president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy‘s Cliff May.  Why is it, Congressman Armey, that the government of Mexico is in full blown in favor of illegal immigration to this country, takes economic pressure off their government, and we do not really say anything about it? 

ARMEY:  Well, I‘m not so sure I would characterize their efforts like that.  There is a large Mexican American population in the United States.  We would hope as much as possible it is legal, but the fact of the matter is, wherever you go in this country, you will find Mexican workers in the community.  For them to establish consulates there, I do not consider that to be necessarily promoting illegal immigration. 

CARLSON:  Well, if you look at that in concert with the pamphlets they printed showing people how to cross the border illegally, it suggests maybe they have an interest in illegal immigration. 

ARMEY:  I missed that part. 

CARLSON:  You missed that part?  We had it on the show.  It was tremendous.  This is what John Boehner, the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives said yesterday about the president, this legislation.  He said, quote, “I promised the president today that I wouldn‘t say anything bad this piece of” blank “bill.”  So, John Boehner, whom I love for things like this, I think is speaking for many Republicans, Cliff, when he describes this as dung. 

MAY:  There‘s no question and particularly the conservative base that has been loyal to Bush—if bush wanted to find a way to antagonize them more efficiently than this, I don‘t know how he would have come up with one.  The conservative base is very much against this immigration bill for a host of reasons.  For me, I remain to be persuaded.  I am a national security hawk above all else. 

And I think the one thing 9/11 should have taught us is let‘s have immigration.  Let‘s have guest here.  Let‘s know who they are and what they‘re doing here.  And I‘m not yet convinced this bill allows us to do this.  The definition of a nation is not just a flag.  It‘s also a border.  We have to control our borders.  We have not in the past.  We need to now. 

If this bill does not do it, it is not good enough. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think the people pushing it even care.  I think the issues are on the Republican side labor, cheap labor, and on the Democratic side new voters.  Don‘t Democrats believe, and shouldn‘t Republicans believe that immigrants from Latin America are almost overwhelmingly going to vote Democrat 30 years from now?  That‘s their belief, isn‘t it?

ARMEY:  It may be.  I don‘t know.  I‘m very distressed by this.  This is a perfect example of the triumph of demagoguery over any kind of responsible common sense in public policy.  The fact of the matter is that America is a land that is rich in job opportunities.  If you look south of our border, you have people who have children they want to feed.  They are going to find a way to get to work. 

We have been incompetent as a nation.  As a federal government, we have been incompetent at, one, processing people who want to find work here as guest workers, as immigrants, however.  Because of that incompetence, we have left a problem to be resolved.  I watched Congress as they struggle with this and I watched the debate last night and tonight on the Senate floor, today.  After two years of just pure mindless demagoguery, it is almost impossible for anybody in office today to deal with these issues as responsible adults.  And I am frankly very distressed about it. 

CARLSON:  But wait a second.  We‘re talking about a huge increase in the population of the United States, massive increase in our population, net gain, because of immigration, illegal and otherwise.  There are political concerns and calculations at work here.  Democrats believe—maybe they‘re for it anyway—but they believe they are getting new voters and a permanent majority.  Don‘t believe that, for good or ill? 

MAY:  Can I say, I think that is right and I think part of the problem with the open borders philosophy is people are not coming here just to work, although many are.  They‘re also coming here for many the benefits that a welfare state offers.  That is a problem and it‘s a problem economically and a lot of other ways, though I would still argue that the most important thing here is national security. 

From a national security point of view, sure have guest workers, sure have immigrants, but do it legally.  Control your borders.  Know who is here and know what the people here are doing.  I do think that for people who are here as our guests or as immigrants, they should have some kind of identity card, biometric, so it‘s for real.  You should not have what you had at Fort Dix, people in this country illegally, arrested 70 times, and it doesn‘t ring any bells for anybody.  That‘s—

CARLSON:  Local authorities total ignore it.  We are sadly out of time.  Cliff may, Dick Armey, thank you very much. 

Tonight is the night.  In just a few short hours, America will have its new Idol.  Will it be Jordan or Blake and what are the implications of this election for the future of our nation?  “American Idol” expert Willie Geist answers those serious questions when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  There is a lot going on now in the world of reality television, so much that frankly I can‘t keep track.  For that we have Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  That‘s why I‘m here.  Before we get to “American Idol,” Tucker, I want to get you updated on an important developing story.  There is an orangutan on the lose in Taiwan.  Let‘s take a look at it right now.  It‘s a 330 pound beast that‘s just running rough shod, got out of his cage, knocking over some mopeds, knocked over a camera that was furniture.  He‘s not happy.  That‘s a strange looking orangutan.  Eventually he was tranquilized.  There was a peaceful ending to this, but not before an orangutan in Taiwan was terrorizing a small village.

Tucker, I don‘t mean to draw conclusions or paint things with a broad brush, but this kind of thing doesn‘t happen over here in the U.S.A., does it?  We don‘t have quite as many parliamentary brawls and lose orangutans in this part of the world, I‘ve noticed.

CARLSON:  Really, Asia is my next vacation destination. 

GEIST:  Look at that thing, scary.  All right, seriously now, let‘s get down to business.  I know these, Tucker, are the nights you live For, Election night 2007 in America.  And the stakes could not be higher.  The candidates are 17-year-old Jordan Sparks and 25-year-old Blake Lewis.  Reports say Jordan blew Blake away in last night‘s final “American Idol” performance.  She even cried earnestly at the end of one of her songs, driving it home. 

She is the heavy favorite to win.  Tonight marks the end of an Idol season that was highlighted by Antonella‘s racy Internet photographs and by the Sanjaya phenomena that revealed the true weakness and vulnerability of our nation.  Now, Tucker, I think it is a pretty easy call here.  I didn‘t see it last night.  As our resident Idol expert, I try to never to watch the show. 

I can‘t say I saw it last night.  But apparently Jordan crushed Blake and she is going to win it in a walk tonight.  Do you have any predictions? 

CARLSON:  Actually watching the show would sully the purity of your analysis. 

GEIST:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  You approach this as a theoretical phenomenon and not an actual show. 

GEIST:  I don‘t want any bias to enter my mind whatsoever. 

CARLSON:  I literally know nothing about it, though I was pro-Antonella, like you. 

GEIST:  Yes, I still want her to win.  But from what I Googled today, Jordan is going to win tonight.  You know what, Tucker, we call it championship week around here because we had new national champions being crowned left and right.  Last night your friends, or rather your family at “Dancing With the Stars” crowned Olympic gold medal speed skater Apollo Anton Ono as its champ.  And informal survey conducted in my living room, with myself as the only respondent, revealed Apollo won only because of that partner, Julie Anne.  She was a good one.

Tucker, did you watch last night?  You still have a vested interest in the program.  Are you going to be joining the dance troop that‘s touring the nation? 

CARLSON:  Are you kidding?  When they get a side show, I‘ll be signing on. 

GEIST:  Yes, you cut ties with them pretty quick. 

CARLSON:  Right next to the fat lady and the sword swallower. 

GEIST:  That‘s right Tucker.  Well Rosie O‘Donnell is leaving “The View” in a few weeks and she is flashing that trademark charm right to the very end.  She and co-host Elizabeth Hasselback nearly came to blows on this morning‘s show.  Rosie made a statement on the air the other day where she implied that American troop in Iraq were terrorists.  Well the topic came up again today around America‘ breakfast table, as I like to call it.  Hang on to your Cheerios. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH HASSELBACK, “THE VIEW”:  Defend your own insinuations. 

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, “THE VIEW”:  I defend myself.   

HASSELBACK:  Defend your own thoughts. 

O‘DONNELL:  But every time I defend them, Elizabeth, it is poor little Elizabeth that I‘m picking on. 

HASSELBACK:  You know what, poor little Elizabeth is not poor little Elizabeth. 

O‘DONNELL:  That‘s right.  That‘s why I‘m not going to fight with you anymore, because it is absurd.  So for three weeks you can say all the Republican crap you want.  I‘m not going to do it. 

HASSELBACK:  It‘s a little easier to fight someone like Donald Trump, isn‘t it, because he is obnoxious. 

O‘DONNELL:  I‘ve never fought him.  I have told you I support the troops.  I asked you if you believed what the Republican pundits were saying. 

HASSELBACK:  Did I say yes? 

O‘DONNELL:  You said nothing and that‘s cowardly. 

HASSELBACK:  No, no, do not call me a coward, because number one, I sit here every single day, open my heart and tell people exactly what I believe. 

O‘DONNELL:  So do I, Elizabeth. 

HASSELBACK:  Do not call me a coward, Rosie.  I do not hide.  It was not cowardly, it was honest.  What is cowardice? 

JOY BEHAR, “THE VIEW”:  Is there no commercial on this show?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Joy Behar to the rescue once again.  That was less than a minute.  That went on for more than five minutes. 

CARLSON:  That was all could I take.  Boy, that was uncomfortable television.  Rosie O‘Donnell has one of the meanest pair of eyes I‘ve ever seen in my life. 

GEIST:  I know she stares right through you.  How about Hasslebeck playing the Trump card too, wow, going for the knife right in the back.   

CARLSON:  Yes, I couldn‘t actually make out much of what they were saying. 

GEIST:  “The View” is getting very hostile, I‘ve noticed.  Isn‘t it supposed to be a show about, like, I don‘t know what it is about.  But they‘re going to lose the viewers if they don‘t knock it off pretty quick. 

CARLSON:  That‘s about the last thing I could handle watching in the morning.  I have to say. 

GEIST:  I watch it so you don‘t have to, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Thank you Willie.  You‘re a good public servant.  That does it for us today.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  We‘ll be back tomorrow.  In the meantime, have a good night.

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

END   

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

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