updated 5/30/2007 12:31:30 PM ET 2007-05-30T16:31:30

Guests: Doug Schoen, Peter Fenn, Richard Wolffe, Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Memorial Day weekend is break time for most of America and all of Washington with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton.  Senator Clinton begins this getaway weekend grappling with two issues she can‘t seem to get away from, her position on the Iraq War and the details of her life with her famous husband. 

Thursday night Mrs. Clinton voted against the supplemental Iraq War funding bill.  Her vote was cast after the matter was already decided.  And it will surely please the left wing of the Democratic Party and the all-powerful blogger community.  The vote could cement her previously nuanced stance on the war, which is that she would not have voted for the war if she knew then what she knows now. 

But now there may be a problem with that clever position.  The Washington Post obtained two copies of new books, Carl Bernstein‘s “A Woman in Charge”; and “Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Clinton,” by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. of The New York Times.” Both paint Hillary Clinton in a fairly unflattering but familiar light. 

But most significant among all of the assertions in these books may come from the Gerth-Van Natta book.  It is that Hillary Clinton did not actually read the pre-war national intelligence estimate before she voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq. 

With me now to discuss these two new Hillary Books is longtime Clinton pollster and Democratic strategist Doug Schoen, who is also the author of the new book, “The Power of the Vote: Electing Presidents, Overthrowing Dictators, and Promoting Democracy Around the World.” 

Doug, thanks for coming on. 

DOUG SCHOEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Happy to be here, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So she didn‘t even bother to read the National Intelligence Estimate before she cast the most important vote of a generation.  Why do you suppose that is? 

SCHOEN:  Well, she was briefed on it.  Her spokesman made it very, very clear.  That she had extensive briefings on it.  Meetings with key foreign policy leaders.  So whether she read every word of the assessment or had it presented to her in an interactive format, as politicians typically do, I don‘t think you could make too much of it.  I wouldn‘t, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Really, I‘m not sure you can make too little of it.  Because as you know, there were a number of senators who actually took the time to go over and read the document.  I think at the time you were in Washington, you may have been working for her then, you know how significant that vote was perceived to be at the time it was cast. 

This was a huge big, bad deal.  And there was a lot of controversy over it.  Why wouldn‘t you take an hour to go read the actual document rather than have some 27-year-old staffer summarize parts of it for you? 

SCHOEN:  Well, first, we don‘t believe—and it wasn‘t a 27-year-old staffer who would‘ve summarized it. 

CARLSON:  OK.  A 55-year-old staffer, whatever.

SCHOEN:  Second, we don‘t even know that she didn‘t read it.  What we do know from her spokesperson is that she had extensive discussions about it with a wide range of different experts and staffers.  And I‘ve been in a lot of those meetings.  And those kinds discussions are frankly as useful, if not more useful than actually reading the document word by word because it provides a context, a framework and a format for understanding frankly difficult issues and difficult to digest ideas. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Well, I agree with that.  I agree with that.  I agree with it completely that those briefings are helpful.  I mean, everybody in different context are familiar with those briefings.  In civilian life we have those too. 

But they are only helpful really if you have already read the document.  Then you talk to someone else to help you understand what it means.  Don‘t you think at very least it makes it hard for her to argue, as she has argued ever since, that she was misled.  If she didn‘t bother to actually look at the primary text in the first place, how can she say she was misled by the administration?  I‘m kind of missing that.

SCHOEN:  Well, again, to take one document and suggest that if she did not read it as a primary source before discussing it in an interactive format, is not being cognizant of it, I think is a mistake.  I think she was misled.  I think the American people were misled.  And I think she made it clear with her vote yesterday that she was not going to tolerate a policy that has failed. 

So I think actually what has happened is largely good news for her campaign, good news for her personally.  And I think you‘re really grasping at straws, Tucker, as is Van Natta in making the argument he does. 

CARLSON:  I‘m sure by the end of next week they‘ll be considered right-wing hit men too, these two New York Times reporters.  And Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, I‘m sure he‘ll be a right-winger too according to Hillary people. 

He quotes Bob Boorstin, who is an intimate—as far as I know a pretty close aide to the Clintons as saying this of Mrs. Clinton, quote: “I find her to be among the most self-righteous people I have ever known in my life.” 

The problem with quote is two-fold.  One, Bob Boorstin cannot be written off as a partisan Republican.  He‘s not.  And two, this comports exactly with a lot of people‘s gut feelings about Mrs. Clinton, that she is a lecturer, that she is self-righteous, that she is kind of a left-wing Jerry Falwell type. 

SCHOEN:  Tucker, I‘ve been in private briefings with her, the type that you describe.  And rather than be self-righteous, I‘ve always found her to be open, interested, to ask reasonable questions.  And if you disagree with her, she has been as open as any politician, including her husband, to willing—a willingness to listen to other alternatives. 

So Bob Boorstin I think is further to the left than Senator Clinton.  I think they have some philosophical differences.  But I can tell you having been alone in those rooms with both Clintons, she is open and I would be very comfortable with her as president going through those briefings on intelligence and other matters. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, here‘s the flip side—or the other half of the rap on Hillary, one that she self-righteous, the other is that she‘s paranoid.  In the Van Natta book, the claim is made that visitors to her Washington house, quote, “are asked to check their bags, cameras and cell phones at the door, and pictures are taken by an authorized photographer.”

This is her private house, not her Senate office.  This is where she lives.  That‘s pretty weird behavior, don‘t you think, asking visitors to check their cell phones?

SCHOEN:  No, I don‘t.  Quite the opposite.  Cell phones have cameras and a lot of elected officials guard their privacy.  I do.  You do.  And you know what?  If the Clintons decide that they want in large functions to have people not taking unauthorized pictures, that‘s they‘re privacy.  They deserve to have it.  Perfectly reasonable to me.  And it makes good sense. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s hard to argue that someone who has been planning a run for president for 30 years is interested in privacy.  It is almost an oxymoron by definition.  What do you make of the claim, I believe in both of these books, that Mrs. Clinton and her husband have been planning her run for president literally for decades.

Does that give you the creeps in the way it scares me? 

SCHOEN:  No, it doesn‘t, because I was there and I‘ll tell you, having met with Mrs. Clinton before the end of the first term and during the second term, I can tell you, we were there as political advisers.  She wasn‘t having conversations about running for president.  She was worried about his career and her job as first lady.  And I just think that‘s a fiction.  It certainly doesn‘t comport with my experience. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Good.  Doug Schoen, I really appreciate your coming on, thank you. 

SCHOEN:  Happy to.

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s bad enough that prewar intelligence about weapons of mass destruction turned out to be wrong.  But it‘s even worse that prewar intelligence about the consequences of invading Iraq was spot on and yet no one paid much attention.  Just ahead, a maddening revelation about what those in charge should and could have known about the consequences of the war in Iraq. 

And the new biographies of Hillary Clinton tread some familiar ground about her life and personality.  But they offer some fresh dirt on the would-be Democratic nominee.  How worried should the Clinton campaign be?  Answer is next.  This is MSNBC.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  So if the latest literature is true, Hillary Clinton is an extremely ambitious woman in a troubled marriage who reached near paranoid levels about her political enemies in the 1990s.  If every word of her personal history in these two new books is accurate, those words are more confirmation than revelation to most Hillary watchers. 

The question is, can that Hillary, the paranoid, self righteous one, actually win the White House?  Joining us now, Newsweek senior White House correspondent Richard Wolffe, and Democratic strategist Peter Fenn. 

Peter, I don‘t want to keep going over the same ground I did with Doug Schoen.  But very quickly, I was surprised, believing as I do, that line about Hillary being a very studious person who dots every I, crosses every T, not bothering to read the National Intelligence Estimate to which she had access on the eve of the most important vote in her life.  What the hell is that? 

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, first of all, as you know, there are a lot of National Intelligence Estimates and a lot of... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  No, no, but this was the big one. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  This was on the front page of The Washington Post.  Come on.

FENN:  But you know, I think Doug Schoen said it best.  Look, it wasn‘t like they didn‘t cover the substance of that, you know, she sat down with her advisers.  She went over it.  She knew—they knew what was in it.  She didn‘t have to troop over there to ask 307 or whatever the heck the rumor is called. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Yes, that‘s a long way.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  No, it‘s hard.  No, I know. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  She‘s a busy woman. 

FENN:  But—no.  But what is the point if you‘ve got it, your folks are there, and you‘re going over the details?

CARLSON:  Because you don‘t have it.  Because actually, here‘s the point, you don‘t have it.  And that is the whole point.  That‘s why it was guarded in a vault with armed members of the protective services standing outside because it was not allowed outside of the vault.  You had to go there to see it.  And she didn‘t.

FENN:  There are a lot of top secret documents that are precisely just like that, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, I wish she had gone.  I wish she hadn‘t voted for the war. 

FENN:  Well, you know, after you criticize her over and over again, maybe she‘ll wish she‘d gone too.  But you know, my point is, I don‘t think it makes any difference in the knowledge of what was going on, in her judgment and in her decisions that she made. 

CARLSON:  Well, she doesn‘t know because she hasn‘t read it.  Now you were here for the Clinton—these books, I haven‘t even gotten to this because it makes me uncomfortable.

RICHARD WOLFFE, NEWSWEEK:  Can I just say something about this?  Give this thought? 

CARLSON:  Yes, sure.

WOLFFE:  Reading the NIE, it wasn‘t just another document.  The intelligence community spent forever precisely wording these things.  All the caveats, all the qualifications on theirs judgment are in the report.  Not the executive summary, but the report.  That‘s why it was so crucial that senators read the stuff that said, well, we think they may have these weapons, but for X, Y, Z reason, they may not. 

So you cannot make a real judgment on the war without reading the actual NIE.  Getting a briefing, this wasn‘t a light decision.  People had to read it.

CARLSON:  Well, and moreover, Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee, not as big a celebrity as Hillary Clinton, I‘ll concede, but actually took time out of his busy life to trudge over there and read it.  And I respect him for it.  I believe he voted against the war after reading it.

WOLFFE:  Their only argument—their only argument..

FENN:  Well, he also is the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, by the way.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Because he has taken the time to like know his stuff.

FENN:  Look, if you can make the argument to me that she did not know her stuff, that she wasn‘t aware of the nuances and the specifics, because.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, she has already made that argument.  That is her argument.

FENN:  . because of discussion she had with people who had read it.

CARLSON:  No, no, no.  But she has made that argument.  She said she was misled.  If she had known what she knows now, well, maybe she would have known more if she had bothered to read it. 

FENN:  Tucker, it wasn‘t a question of the NIE.  It was a question of them talking about—of WMDs, of mustard gas and chemical weapons, of centrifuges that weren‘t centrifuges at all for nuclear.  I mean, the kinds of information that the secretary of state took to the United Nations and went up with was exactly—was wrong.

CARLSON:  But, Peter, other Democrats read it.  And they came to the conclusion that the war was a mistake and they voted against it.  She didn‘t.  And now she‘s trying to lay the blame on Bush for that.  I‘m not saying Bush isn‘t guilty.  He‘s the guilty one in this war.  But she made a big mistake and she hasn‘t admitted it. 

And now it turns out that she‘s sloppy and lazy, at least in this one instance, and it‘s embarrassing. 

WOLFFE:  And on other thing, her line is that she is responsible for her vote.  But the president is responsible for the conduct of the war.  If she is responsible for her vote, she should have read the damn document. 

And, you know, their best argument is, well, lots of other people didn‘t read it too.  I‘m sorry, they‘re all irresponsible and reckless.

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFFE:  . and not read the central evidence about the war. 

FENN:  OK.  But—yes, I guess—look, you can make the argument now after the fact that everybody should have gone over there.  Everybody should have read it.  They should have memorized the damn thing.  But if the fact was that there was information in there that she did not have, that she did not get.  And she said, oh, my God, I should have read that, that was in there, I didn‘t even know about that, there‘s no sense that that‘s what happened. 

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know.

(CROSSTALK)

FENN:  Well, because, you were disgusted and you were heavily breathing. 

WOLFFE:  How would you know if you hadn‘t read it?

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.  Now let me just ask you about something that I haven‘t brought up and I don‘t want to spend a lot of time on, but it is interesting.  And that is the questions of their marriage. 

Very quickly.  You‘ve covered it.  You‘ve been in Washington.  You were here when Clinton was president.  These books both have a lot about the former president‘s alleged infidelities and her knowledge of that.  At one point it has Mrs. Clinton interviewing a girlfriend of her husband‘s. 

You know, there is really no getting around this.  I don‘t want to talk about it.  Nobody wants to talk about it.  But she could be president.  This is going to be an issue in the campaign whether we like it or not, is it not?

WOLFFE:  Well, obviously, we don‘t like it.  Although we are talking about it.  I actually don‘t think that this stuff is terribly damaging because people have—anyone who was here the ‘90s has lived through it, come up with their ideas about who did what and when and who was responsible, who deserved sympathy, who doesn‘t.  So those judgments are formed. 

The NIE stuff, much more relevant, much more important.  The worst aspect of this is that it drags people back to those days that they would rather forget.  Who wants to be talking about this stuff anymore?

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s true.  On the other hand.

WOLFFE:  And do you want to have someone who brings all of that baggage with them?

CARLSON:  Well, that.

WOLFFE:  That‘s the bigger problem.

CARLSON:  And also, I think it‘s pretty revealing, in one sentence, according to this book, she interviewed one of her husband‘s girlfriends to make certain that woman was quiet in order that her husband‘s political career not be destroyed.  If that is true, that‘s a pretty cold-blooded thing to do.  Think about that for a second.

FENN:  I‘ll make two points here. 

CARLSON:  My wife wouldn‘t do it.

FENN:  I‘ll make two points here.  One is, I‘m not sure I would believe everything that‘s in the book.  Because you‘ve got people saying things, who are talking about things  that they may not knot know very much about.  That‘s point number one. 

Point number two is I think this—I think Richard‘s right that you don‘t want to bring this stuff up.  They don‘t want to talk about it.  This isn‘t what this campaign should be all about.  But I do think the old yawner trick.  I mean, I think this is kind of a yawner.  We don‘t see a lot of stuff coming out of this.

CARLSON:  Maybe, maybe.  But you‘re talking about.

FENN:  . that is new (INAUDIBLE). 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  OK.  Maybe, maybe.  But it‘s a pretty big job, president of the United States.  I don‘t know.

(CROSSTALK)

FENN:  It is a big job.  But you know something?  The American people know more about Bill and Hillary Clinton‘s personal lives than anybody else. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  That‘s true.  And for one, I wish I didn‘t.  But I must say there‘s no getting around certain conclusions when you read this stuff.  I‘m sorry.  I‘m not saying that as a partisan, I‘m saying that as a human being. 

Dick Cheney predicted that American troops would be greeted as liberators in Iraq.  Boy, was he wrong.  The prewar intelligence predicted something completely different.  We now know that they knew before the invasion what the outcome possibly could be.  What we don‘t know is, what were they thinking?  Will we ever know? 

And America has a wide variety of candidates from which to choose our next president, let‘s (INAUDIBLE) down to the real nitty-gritty here, which presidential candidate would you most like to barbecue with this Memorial Day weekend?  Believe it or not, there are poll results.  We have the answers.  We‘ll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Came a little closer today to solving one of the great mysteries of our age.  How did the U.S. wind up invading Iraq in the first place?  Well, a few hours ago, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released prewar predictions by the CIA and the National Intelligence Council. 

Among those predictions, sectarian violence and an increased al Qaeda presence, a power grab by Iraq‘s neighbors such as Iran, and heightened terror threats worldwide fueled by anti-American sentiment.  And the consequent recruiting of new jihadists. 

Quite plainly the intel on the nukes was dead wrong.  The intel on the post invasion disaster was spot on.  But nobody seemed to notice.  Newsweek‘s senior White House correspondent, Richard Wolffe joins us now.  As does Democratic strategist and contributor to The Hill‘s “Pundits” blog, Peter Fenn. 

Peter, this was information that the White House had, the Senate also had.  Democrats in the Senate also had this.  I think this war is the White House‘s fault, obviously.  I‘m not trying to lay it out on the Democrats.  On the other hand, I don‘t remember to many of them jumping up and reminding us about these consequences.  Were we in a state of denial as a country at the time or what? 

FENN:  You know, I think it‘s about that, Tucker.  I mean, it‘s extraordinary to me when you go through the list from that intelligence committee report of how well they called the shots on what actually has happened over there.  And we have not obviously been greeted as liberators. 

And it‘s not only that intelligence report, but you had in James Baker‘s autobiography and in President George Herbert Walker Bush‘s biography, they talked about the same kinds of things happening when Saddam Hussein was out of there. 

And you know, I think there is a rush to war, a rush to judgment here. 

I always have felt that way.  And this just confirms it. 

CARLSON:  Well, I wonder why we haven‘t, Richard, heard more about I think one of the big developments in the course of the Iraq War in the past five-and-a-half years, yesterday, in the Rose Garden, the president was asked if the Iraqi people, if the parliament of Iraq, expressing the people‘s will, asked us to leave, will we leave? 

And he said this, quote: “We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government.  This is a sovereign nation, Iraq.  Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution.  It‘s their government‘s choice.  If they were to say leave, we would leave.”

That‘s unequivocal.  I mean, there‘s no misunderstanding what he‘s saying.  And yet that‘s in direct contradiction to everything I‘ve heard him say for the past five years, which is, we‘re there for our own national security reasons.  What is going on?  What‘s the big shift? 

WOLFFE:  Well, he has said this before.  And it does revolve around this idea of Iraqi sovereignty.  They had this grand handover of the Iraqi sovereignty.  There‘s lots of things that don‘t match in terms of the president‘s recent statements about the war.  You‘ve picked on one of them. 

Another one would be, while this grabbing onto the al Qaeda threat, a few months ago he was giving speeches where he talked about the sectarian element of the violence.  Now it‘s emphasis on the al Qaeda side of things. 

He uses arguments as and when they‘re needed.  I think he‘s opening up a door... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  But this argument is that we‘re there in effect as a favor to the Iraqi government.  That‘s what he is saying.  You know, they asked us, and you know what?  As their big brother, we pitched in.  But that‘s completely contradictory to the argument he normally makes which is, we‘re going do die unless we do this. 

WOLFFE:  Because it‘s opportunistic.  Right now the best.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, then, you know what, he shouldn‘t be president.  If he can‘t even make a coherent argument about the most important matter of our time—I‘m serious.  This actually made me red-in-the-face mad.  Do you think—which one does he believe?

WOLFFE:  But he said before—he said it before.

CARLSON:  Well, I missed it.  And no one else seems to be paying attention either, because I haven‘t read it on the front page of The New York Times where it ought to be. 

FENN:  Well, Vietnam, we were there because Diem (ph) wanted us there, right?  We were there because the Vietnamese government, of course, which we put in, wanted us to be there.  I‘ll tell you, this absolutely blows my mind.  This president comes up with a new justification every time. 

CARLSON:  But I actually believed the first one.  I think if we left it would hurt our national security because it is full of al Qaeda. 

WOLFFE:  You don‘t think it already hurting... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Of course it is.  But I think.

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFFE:  I mean, the bigger problem they have is to say if it‘s a failure in Iraq, then it will be a disaster, but for many parts of the world it already is a failure.  People can already see.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  There‘s no question.  It weakens us and more importantly, makes us look weak in the eyes of the world.  But the point is, it can get worse.  It can always get worse.  And I believe it would get worse.

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFFE:  He has already made the argument about sovereignty, for instance, many the hunt for bin Laden.  He says, the reason we cannot put 100,000 troops into the tribal areas of Pakistan to look for bin Laden is because it‘s a sovereign nation. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  That‘s a national security argument.  Because he is saying, look, do you want to destabilize General Musharraf‘s regime and then put Pakistan in the hands of the nutcases?  No.

WOLFFE:  The sovereignty argument is played.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Do you know what—this democracy nonsense is poison, I think. 

FENN:  No—but this is his way also of an exit strategy.  Oh, the country wants us out.  Oh, the polls in the country show they want us out.  Oh, now the government says that they could do better without us in there.  Oh, we will begin to move out.  We are going to turn it over to them.  I mean, this is part of the September strategy, I‘ll bet you.  I‘m sure it‘s going to go that way.

CARLSON:  The loudest voices in the national dialogue about immigration oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.  Does a less vocal majority disagree and support amnesty?  The New York Times poll suggest a kindler gentler maybe more gullible America.  We‘ll give you details.

Plus, Hillary Clinton would bring Bill.  John Edwards is a legitimate southerner.  And John McCain could curse a blue streak.  They are all great qualities for guests at your Memorial Day barbecue.  But which contender for the ‘08 White House ranks highest among American barbecuers?  We‘ll tell you.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  You might remember the poll conducted during the 2000 presidential election that asked Americans which candidate, Bush or Gore, they‘d rather have a beer with.  Bush won easily.  Take this Memorial Day barbecue for what it‘s worth.  Quinnipiac asked people which presidential candidate would you most like to have at your Memorial Day barbecue. 

Rudy Giuliani won on the Republican said, most popular.  He got 37 percent of the vote.  McCain came in second.  Americans apparently cannot see Mitt Romney with a burger and a beer in his hand.  He got only six percent.

Among Democrats Barak Obama was the top choice at 33 percent.  But here‘s an amazing number, Hillary Clinton came in second with 24 percent of the votes, which means 24 percent of Americans would like Hillary Clinton at the barbecue.  What if anything do these numbers mean for electoral politics? 

We‘re joined once again by “Newsweek‘s” senior White House correspondent Richard Wolffe and also by Democratic strategist, Peter Fenn.  I want to get to this, but before we do, I just saw something so amazing. 

I‘ve got to put it up on the screen.

Bob Menendez, senator from New Jersey, is going on in the Senate the other day about how we—immigrants make America strong.  And he puts up these billboards with the names of naturalized Americans.  On there Desie Arnez (ph), Carlos Santana, Madeleine Albright.  There he is.

The problem, the names are misspelled.  Desie Arnez is misspelled.  Carlos Santana is Carlo Santana.  Madeleine Albright, she was a secretary of state, not an un-famous person, her name misspelled too.

I‘m not sure if that makes—I‘m not sure what that does to his argument.  Anyway, it is great thing.  Twenty four percent of Americans would like to have Hillary Clinton at their barbecue.  Peter, I know that you‘re a loyal Democrat and good person, and a kind person, but you can‘t look me in the eye and say that you would want Hillary Clinton at your barbecue, because I know you wouldn‘t.  You would runaway. 

FENN:  Come on, I‘d like to have her—

(CROSS TALK)

FENN:  She‘d be over there cooking my burgers.  Come on, I‘d put her over there with the whole thing on. 

(CROSS TALK) 

FENN:  I barbecue all the time.  Women should barbecue too, don‘t you think? 

CARLSON:  And then make some cookies for desert.  Does this poll.  matter?  I tend to think these polls actually do matter.

WOLFFE:  I think it‘s a really important way to pick a president, who would you rather have—because it worked so well in 2000. 

(CROSS TALK) 

CARLSON:  You foreigners think that‘s how Americans pick their presidents, and in fact your right.  

WOLFFE:  I can spell. 

CARLSON:  Aren‘t we right? 

WOLFFE:  Right about what?  About how to pick a president?  I think there are many great things about the presidential campaign.  I do.  And I actually think the way candidates are tested over time is incredibly important, the way people can get involved.  But sharing a beer and a burger, I don‘t think so. 

FENN:  The question obviously is all about the most personal of decisions that Americans make about their choice in politics, which is not for state rep.  It‘s not for mayor.  And they want to feel like they know them.  Maybe they didn‘t know—beer was not such a good idea with Bush, because he wouldn‘t have a beer.  In all seriousness, that‘s right, a near beer. 

The thing about it is that they need to feel comfortable.  And the comfort factor is not that far apart between Obama and Hillary. 

CARLSON:  I was definitely surprised by it.  I wonder, can we be honest about the immigration legislation pending before Congress now.  I think it has a shot of becoming law.  We‘ll see.  But both side have said, or at least Republicans have said there‘s no national I.D. card in this legislation. 

But in the end, let‘s be real, if this passes, we will have a card, Social Security card, whatever, that‘s, in effect, a national I.D. card.  Can we be honest about that? 

WOLFFE:  Sure, is that a problem for you?   

CARLSON:  It‘s a huge problem for me. 

WOLFFE:  Why?

CARLSON:  Because I think that the freedom to travel under the cloak of anonymity in this country, without being identified is actually a valuable freedom.

WOLFFE:  So when you‘re driving, do you carry a driver‘s license. 

CARLSON:  I do because I have to. 

WOLFFE:  Do you think that‘s an imposition upon your rights? 

CARLSON:  I personally find it an imposition upon my rights. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  The point is, leaving aside my own possibly crack-pot views on the subject, and I am stock piling weapons and food in Idaho, just so you know—

WOLFFE:  Burgers?

CARLSON:  But honestly, we‘re getting a national I.D. card.  I think that people ought to know about that up front.  There is so much lying about this bill on both sides, truly on both sides. 

WOLFFE:  You aware that people even with visas, who come into the country, get finger printed every time they come in. 

CARLSON:  I am fully aware of that.  But they are foreigners.  They are not American citizens.  You of all know the distinction between the two. 

WOLFFE:  I think in this age, you‘re looking to more security.  You‘re just going to have to face those compromises on what you think are key questions of liberty and freedom. 

WOLFFE:  That‘s right, and I think most Americans don‘t care.  But a small enlightened thoughtful percentage does care.  I think they‘re going to be mad about it.  Were you struck by the “New York Times” editorial/poll on today‘s front page that showed that most Americans want amnesty?  

FENN:  I was really surprised actually Tucker, because throughout last election cycle I saw an awful lot of polls which scared me on the immigration issue, scared me because I thought there was absolutely no hope for legislation.  And my sense of this—

CARLSON:  And that scared you? 

FENN:  Yes, because I think we need comprehensive legislation.  I think we‘ve got to solve the problem.  I think that the notion of having 12 million people out there, with folks on the local level saying you‘re going to have sheriffs who are going to arrest people and kick them out of the country or put them in the slammer is not a good thing. 

CARLSON:  It‘s scary to think that people could be arrested for breaking the law.  What are we coming to Peter.  You break the law, you get in trouble.

FENN:  No, because what you‘re going do is you‘re going to have profiling.  And every Hispanic in this country is going to be suspect.  And they‘re going to pick up innocent people and they‘re going to hold them.  If you don‘t have your drivers license with you, you‘re—

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  There are people who can‘t speak English, who are waiting outside Home Depot as day laborers might be under some suspicion of being illegal. 

FENN:  My whole point on this is that it‘s time to solve the problem.  That‘s where I‘m coming from.  I think the notion of what came out of that poll is that the American people do want to solve the problem.  They do want a comprehensive solution.  They are willing to make some compromises to see that happen.  And I think that‘s very healthy for the country, to be perfectly honest.

CARLSON:  What do you make of the pretty amusing argument between John McCain and Barak Obama?  John McCain issues a press release after yesterday‘s vote on the Iraq war funding bill, saying that Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton voted against funding for the troops.  This is the equivalent of waiving a white flag in the face of al Qaeda. 

Barak Obama comes back and issues a press release saying, that‘s funny.  John McCain, you required two armored personnel carriers, and a regiment of the U.S. army and a flak jacket to walk through the market in downtown Baghdad.  That‘s about the worst.

McCain comes back and says, after two years in the United States Senate, Barack Obama, you I guess have earned the right to cast (INAUDIBLE), by the way flak jacket is spelled F-L-A-K, not F-L-A-C-K.  You can‘t even spell Flak jacket right you green horn.  I love it. 

WOLFFE:  Who wins?  The American people win.  It‘s fabulous that these two guys are mixing it up.  Obviously, they have their own problems in their primary.  The fact that they‘re engaging with each other when they haven‘t gotten through the primaries.  That thudding sound you hear is the rear end of a PR guy in the Obama campaign, getting kicked by the candidate for not checking spelling.

Tucker, you know, it‘s entertaining.  It‘s entertaining, but both of these guys, on balance, the picture of McCain walking through that market was just terrible.  And pictures speak much louder than these press releases. 

CARLSON:  They do, and yet—

FENN:  I was going to ask one question.  You asked the question, Tucker, it‘s who gets the most flak. 

CARLSON:  Very good.  The flak who wrote the press release, I suspect.  McCain is cleaver and nasty sometimes, which I like.  But the words that really stuck out to me were after your two years in the U.S. Senate.  Now of course, I know a lot about Barak Obama, has only been in the U.S. Senate for two years and before then he was in some state legislature somewhere in the middle of the country, I guess. 

FENN:  Is there a point to that, maybe?

CARLSON:  The point is this guy‘s is a potential president.  I don‘t know.  Two years in the U.S. Senate. 

FENN:  We‘re going to find out in eight months.

WOLFFE:  You prefer the John Kerry two decades in the Senate?  I mean, what‘s the right length?  It‘s a matter of character. 

CARLSON:  You‘re absolutely—It‘s a matter of character.  Let‘s go back to Hillary Clinton‘s bizarre relationship with her husband?  Because that tells you a lot about her character.  It‘s all about character.

WOLFFE:  McCain can make an argument about character.  He is pretty unique in the whole presidential field about character.  But making an argument about length of service, I don‘t know what that tells you. 

CARLSON:  I thought—I agree with you on a political level that 20 years in the Senate doesn‘t help anything.  it Makes you unable to speak clearly.  On the other hand—

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  Isn‘t the wrap on George W. Bush that he doesn‘t really know anything, that he‘s not that smart.  He‘s incurious.  He doesn‘t have a deep reservoir of knowledge from which to draw on and make these decisions.  Given that, why would the party who‘s leveled those charges nominate a guy who got here like 20 minutes ago, seriously. 

FENN:  First of all, I think you have to say about Obama, this is not a guy without depth.  This is not a guy without a thoughtful approach.  This guys has written two wonderful books.  He has had experience in the state legislature dealing with issues.  He‘s going to be tested by fire in this campaign.  The question will be, not the two years, but how he does between now and January. 

Then people will make a decision.  And also, you know, a lot of folks want something new.  They said about John Kennedy, for crying out loud, how can you put in the presidency of the United States in 1960 who had only been in the United States Senate for eight years.  He hasn‘t been around long enough.  He‘s too young.

CARLSON:  He might like order an invasion of another country and then change his mind at the last minute, and then all the people wind up in jail.  Oh wait, Bay of Pigs, it happened.  I don‘t think that‘s a good example. 

WOLFFE:  The experience thing question is a totally elastic one.  People say Hillary Clinton is very experienced because she was in the White House.  And yet her big policy experience was hardly a success.  Democrats also point to Bill Clinton as being a great foreign policy leader and widely respected around the world.  It‘s true.

He came to office as an Arkansas governor with zero foreign policy experience, where his whole campaign was about no foreign debate.  I mean, it was a focus on domestic politics.  So what is experience in this context?  What does it mean?

Is it sitting on a committee or is it actually the character questions again?  Have you mastered the subject?  Do you know where you stand?  Can you lead the country and make the decisions?  Because I don‘t think there‘s any training for the kinds of decisions the president has to make. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  But are you used to making weighty decisions?  Are you familiar with the language of international relations even?  Do you know what I mean?  Are you the kind of person who could handle pressure?  I don‘t know, those things are learned? 

WOLFFE:  I can tell you many people in the Senate who have gone through all those hearings and still are not familiar with the language of international relations.  It‘s about capacity and judgment.

CARLSON:  You‘re saying Link Chaffee was not ready to be president when he left the Senate.  Is that what you‘re saying? 

FENN:  The one line John Kennedy had, bring him up again, is nothing prepares you for this job. 

CARLSON:  I‘m sure that‘s right.  But there are people who come to it more prepared than others. 

FENN:  That is true. 

CARLSON:  Thank you both very much.  That was fun.  Rosie O‘Donnell just announced she will not return to “The View.”  Did Elizabeth Hasselback‘s finger wagging performance run Rosie out.  And if so, where do we send Elizabeth our thank you cards.  Actually I‘m going to miss Rosie. 

Plus, when do you know it‘s time to take a presidential candidate seriously?  When he teams up with the Trumps.  Can you say Giuliani-Trump ticket?  Willie Geist can.  He joins us in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  While the rest of us were mired in the murky swamps of immigration and war funding this week, our next guests were skipping through the dandelion fields of Washington, D.C. dirt and gossip, which sounds like a lot more fun.  Here they are now to deliver the goods, Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, the ladies of the “Washington Post‘s” universally read gossip column “The Reliable Source.”

Welcome. 

ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I thought you were going to say poppy field. 

CARLSON:  That would be too close to the truth.  What‘s going on here in Washington? 

ROBERTS:  Fist fights. 

AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  It‘s been a very punchy week in Washington. 

ROBERTS:  You‘ll love this one.  Bob Beckel, Walter Mondale‘s—

ARGETSINGER:  1984 campaign manager.

ROBERTS:  He‘s the guy who famously appropriated where‘s the beef and turned it into a political catch phrase.  He‘s sitting in his car on Tuesday afternoon—

ARGETSINGER:  In a Bethesda grocery store parking lot.

ROBERTS:  Right, waiting to pick up his kids from school.  Now he has tinted windows.  So the guy‘s that come up to the back of his car to take off all of his anti-Bush bumper sticker don‘t realize he‘s in the car. 

ARGETSINGER:  What did the bumper say?  Can you remember?

ROBERTS:  They were all anti-Bush. 

ARGETSINGER:  Anti war.

ROBERTS:  Anti war, anti Bush.  They said support Bush‘s war, draft young Republicans; a village in Texas is missing an idiot. 

ARGETSINGER:  You know, you‘ve seen these.

ROBERTS:  Your basic sort of insulting bumper stickers.  And so he gets out of the car.  These are two 30-ish construction workers.  He said, boys, step away from the bumper stickers.  They said you don‘t have any respect for the presidency.  And he answered, I certainly do, I just don‘t have very much respect for this particular president.  And the guy went to go rip off the bumper sticker. 

And Beckel says he gently pushed him away and then he got sucker punched.

ARGETSINGER:  Guys always tell the stories this way, you should have seen the other guy.  Beckel claims that after that he just really laid out the other guy.  Unfortunately no police report exists.  And we haven‘t been able to—

ROBERTS:  One guy, he says, ran away.  The other one was sort of eating asphalt. 

(CROSS TALK)

ARGETSINGER:  I know Bob Beckel.  I like Bob Beckel.  I don‘t think it‘s Bob Beckel.  But here‘s the story as I understand it, he‘s sitting parked in his car, harming no one, in literally one of the most liberal zip codes in the world, outside Hugo Chavez‘s Venezuela, and he‘s got anti-Bush bumper stickers like every other single Volvo in the entire state of Maryland.  And these two right-wingers come up and beat him up. 

Do we think this happen?

ROBERTS:  No policy report sorry to say.  I don‘t know.  Maybe this is the new I walked into a door. 

ARGETSINGER:  Yes.  I don‘t know. 

ROBERTS:  I talked to him.  I think these guys.  It was sort of their little way of getting back.  You know?  They maybe were—This was mid afternoon.  Maybe they figured one less bumper sticker to ruin things.  To hear him tell it, they didn‘t realized he was in his car.  He was just waiting to go pick up his kids from school.

Maybe they figured, OK, we‘ll just take off this bumper sticker.  And we‘ll strike a little blow. 

ARGETSINGER:  He‘s walking around with a shiner.  That‘s his story. 

He‘s sticking to it. 

CARLSON:  That‘s incredible.  Give me the condensed version of what else is going on.

ARGETSINGER:  Similarly, Justin Miller, who‘s one of the New York Jets got arrested over the weekend in New York for punching a woman in the face outside a Manhattan night club.  Turns out the woman is Christian Jarvis (ph), who is a young staffer for Barack Obama, who is now weighing her legal options.  She‘s not talking to the media yet.  But I think this is probably more than Justin Miller bargained for. 

CARLSON:  That‘s horrifying.  He‘ punched a woman?

ARGETSINGER:  He punched a woman in the face.  He was drunk, belligerent, was trying to hit on one her friends.  People tried to intervene.  And she was the one who got slugged.  It‘s outrageous.

CARLSON:  I‘ve been drunk and belligerent.  I‘ve never ever thought of doing anything like that. 

ARGETSINGER:  You‘re a gentleman.

CARLSON:  If I haven‘t thought of doing it, it‘s wrong. 

ROBERTS:  The Bush twins were in town.  The good news is that nobody punched them in the face.  They‘re back. 

ARGETSINGER:  They‘re back at the Georgetown hot spots.  We‘ve gone months and months without having a dual Bush twin sighting in Washington, so this is something we really cherish, yes. 

CARLSON:  It‘s a measure of the poverty of my social life, I haven‘t run into them once.  But I‘m going to go out tonight and see if I can. 

ROBERTS:  You can hang with us.

CARLSON:  Maybe I will.  Thank you.  You‘re the best. 

Rudy Giuliani is following the old rule that says if you want something done right, call a Trump.  What role will the Trump family play in getting Rudy to the White House?  Trump expert and disciple Willie Geist will tell us when we come back.  You‘re watching MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  There he is.  And we‘ve studied this question, simply no better way to enter the Memorial Day weekend than with Willie Geist.  Here now, without further delay, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I conducted that study.  I‘m glad you reported that correctly.  I don‘t want to belabor this point, Tucker, but the D.C. Gossip lacks a certain sex appeal.  Do you want us to send you Lindsey Lohan down for the weekend, get you some real gossip.

CARLSON:  We had an actual Fox News contributor, a former campaign manager, beaten up outside his kid‘s school in Bethesda.  That‘s pretty Joey Buddafuco (ph).

GEIST:  I guess by your standards. 

CARLSON:  Maybe. 

GEIST:  Let‘s get to some big news here.  The now legendary Rosie O‘Donnell/Elizabeth Hasselback shouting match will be the last impression we have of Rosie O‘Donnell on “The View.”  Sad day.  ABC announced this afternoon that Rosie will not return to the show to fulfill the final three weeks of her contract. 

O‘Donnell asked the network for an early leave and received it.  In a statement, she said, quote, it has been an amazing year and I love all three women.  That apparently includes Hasselback, who ran her off the air Wednesday. 

Now, wasn‘t it just our luck that Donald Trump was keeping close tabs on this story and called into MSNBC with his take just a short time ago. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, “THE APPRENTICE”:  I‘m not surprised.  I‘ve been saying for a long time that Rosie is a loser.  She should have just filled it out.  She should have health her breath, gone into the studio, and held out her term.  Now she looks like nothing but a spoiled slob which is what she is. 

And I must tell you, while Elizabeth is not the brightest light in the universe, she did the planet a great service.  It is inconceivable—because it makes her look so bad. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  That was just the tip of the iceberg.  She said—Trump said Rosie is disgusting to look at and disgusting on the inside as well.  He said Elizabeth is a dim wit and that‘s been well documented, he said.  I‘m not sure by whom.  And she surprised to see that she actually beat Rosie in a debate.  So it went on and on and on. 

Good to get his take on the story. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think I‘ve ever seen Elizabeth Hasselback before, but she looked pretty good when she got mad.  Hard to look good when you‘re mad.  She pulled it off.

GEIST:  She looks good mad.  There was a story in the “New York Post” this morning, which was a little disturbing, that said, the poster, the pictures of Elizabeth Hasselback around the studio at “The View” had been drawn on with mustaches and they actually—the report was they traced it back to one of Rosie‘s writing partners or somebody on the staff with her there. 

They couldn‘t make the direct link, but they say Rosie might have been behind the mustaches.  She‘s really mature.

CARLSON:  I think the big news is she has a writer to do “The View.” 

GEIST:  Exactly.

CARLSON:  Come on!  You need a writer? 

GEIST:  What‘s the writing part? 

CARLSON:  That‘s pathetic. 

GEIST:  America‘s breakfast table.  I thought it was a ad lib.  It‘s so sad for me.  We already know what side Rosie Giuliani is on in the Donald Trump/Rosie O‘Donnell feud.  Giuliani has tapped the Donald for some presidential fund raising and this week he announced he‘s teaming up with the heir to Trump‘s gold encrusted throne. 

Giuliani has named 29-year-old Donald Trump Jr. to his all American fund Raising team.  It is a group of young guns committed to raising a million bucks for the Giuliani campaign.  Now you have to officially root for Giuliani because you want Trump Sr. in the cabinet, or at least some sort of an ambassadorship. 

Like if he is on team Giuliani, you know, Giuliani is indebted to him? 

Maybe we can see him out in the world.  I pray, I pray. 

CARLSON:  The secretary of style. 

GEIST:  Yes, the secretary of class, Tucker.  That‘s what he really is. 

CARLSON:  That‘s revolting. 

GEIST:  Is the Trump endorsement a good thing or a bad thing as a political point? 

CARLSON:  Honestly?  I like Donald Trump in spite of himself and also because he helps us as a cable new program with material.  But I don‘t know.  No, I don‘t think it helps, not with reasonable sane people. 

GEIST:  Well, it help with me, because I‘m neither reasonable nor sane.  Tucker, if you‘ve been watching MSNBC today, you are all too familiar with the story of Elise Gazowitz (ph) and her pet monkey Armani.  She‘s been on about 17 times today. 

Long story short, animal control officers in Maryland came and took Elise‘s four-pound monkey away because they said she was violating the state‘s wild animal law.  As you‘re about to hear, Ms. Gazowitz had a very special relationship with little Armani. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He knew how to turn the remote control on.  He knew the green button was on and the red button was off.  And we would watch TV together in the morning.  And he would go in the shower with me and take a shower.  And we would eat breakfast together and we would play in his play room.  And we would just have a normal day. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Just have a normal day!

GEIST:  Also, by the way, not to be a network shill, she watches the “Today Show” with her. 

CARLSON:  Really!

GEIST:  Yes, even monkeys watch the “Today Show.” 

CARLSON:  I don‘t even know if that‘s real.  Willie Geist, that‘s the greatest tape you‘ve ever played.  I really appreciate that.  Have a great weekend, Willie.

GEIST:  You too.

CARLSON:  That does it for us.  “HARDBALL” is next.  Hope you have a great weekend.  We will see you next week.

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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