updated 6/15/2007 11:15:34 AM ET 2007-06-15T15:15:34

Guests: Ron Paul, Andrew Ferguson, Tom Andrews, Steve Murphy

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show.  The deteriorating situation is Iraq suddenly is flanked by violence in countries all over the region.  The Democrats and President Bush debate the best or least bad course of action.  Tensions in Baghdad, Gaza, Lebanon, move toward the breaking point this afternoon. 

In Iraq, strict curfews and pleas for calm, have for the moment, limited violence in response to yesterday‘s bombing that Shiite shrine in Samarra.  But no one expects that relative calm to last. 

In Gaza the terrorist group, Hamas, appears to be on the verge of resting control from it‘s rival faction, Fatah.  Whose leader, Prime Minister Abbas will reportedly dissolve the fledgling government there. 

And in Lebanon, where violence between the army and al-Qaeda faction raged a week ago, tens of thousands of mourners marched in memory of a anti-Syrian leader who was assassinated yesterday.  While civil war in Iraq is bad enough, what if the entire Middle East erupted?  To the neoconservative Bush administration, America‘s responsibility is clear, stay engaged in the region.  But what does a decidedly non-neoconservative think we ought do? 

Well, as it happens we have one on hand, we are honored to be joined by presidential candidate, and Republican Congressman from Texas, Ron Paul.  Congressman, thanks for joining us.

REP. RON PAUL, ® TEXAS:  Thank you, Tucker.  Good to be with you.

CARLSON:  So the conventional explanation for the problems between Israel and Palestine is, partly anyway, the United States doesn‘t intervene enough, we‘re not engaged enough in the peace process.  Do you buy that, should we be engaged in that peace process? 

PAUL:  Well, I don‘t think the fact that we are involved has caused the problem as much as I think they are naturally enemies and they are going to fight.  They have been fighting for a long time and they are going to continue to fight.  But I think our presence there doesn‘t do much good, it‘s not going to solve that problem.  You know, it reminds me of that statement Ronald Reagan made in his memoirs when he was explaining why he left Lebanon in the early 1980s.  He said, the irrationality of the politics of that region made him change his policies there.  And he brought the marines home after, you know—and we left but—he just sort of threw up his arms and said it was beyond his ability to solve this problem. 

CARLSON:  But we take a side in the Israel-Palestinian conflict broadly.  We send billions to Israel.  We also send money to the Palestinians, but essentially we are on Israel‘s side, most Americans think we ought to be.  Do you think we ought to be? 

PAUL:  I think we should be on the side of neutrality and friendship with everybody and not subsidize either side.  I mean, in the Middle East we are strong allies and we subsidize Israel, but we have been propping up the Saudi government for more than 50 years, since World War II.  And it sort of fits my argument that intervention doesn‘t lend itself to a peaceful world.  Especially for us, we lose a lot of men and women now, being killed and a lot of money being spent and there is no more peace than if we weren‘t there.  Matter of fact, I think Israel would do quite well without us there.  They would probably have a peace treaty with Syria.  They want to talk peace with Syria and we interfere with that process and say, oh no.  You can‘t talk with the Syrians.  So Israel would have great incentive to work out agreements with some of its neighbors.  Now the Palestinian affair is a lot tougher than Syria, but I think they‘ve worked on an agreement with our help, with Egypt.  But there would be a tremendous incentive to work with Syria, come up with it.  Work with the Arab League, so I don‘t think we add a whole lot to solving that problem over there. 

CARLSON:  A new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll finds that 52 percent of Americans, more than half of Americans, want the Democrats to take over the White House in this upcoming election.  Obviously bad news for you, running as a Republican.  But doesn‘t it speak to the larger trend that shows pretty clearly, Americans want more from their government, they expect to do more for them than they expected say, 15 years ago.  How do you reverse that trend? 

PAUL:  Well, I think that‘s the real contest.  Because obviously, the people that work for me and campaign for me, want it exactly opposite.  They want to get the government off their backs.  And, you know, 52 percent might want a Democratic president, but that doesn‘t sound all that strong.  I mean, right now, the Democratic Congress isn‘t rating very high.  That‘s a healthy sign that the American people are waking up and they are getting disgusted with what they are getting.  So, maybe they will come to realize that we need less government and not more government if they are unhappy, we can hardly argue that we‘ve had minimal government over the past 50 years.  All we do is have an expansion of government.  And that fits my argument that we have too much government and we need a lot less. 

CARLSON:  But, your government, as you just put it, you want government off our backs.  You want government to stop interfering in people‘s lives, but isn‘t interference the natural consequence of government service?  In other words, when someone does something for you, he is by definition, interfering in your life.  So if you want less government incidents, you are going to get fewer government services.  You are not going to have government provided health care, for one thing.  

PAUL:  Yes.  You know, this is the whole thing.  When you get something from government that‘s all they talk about.  The politician brags about it and the people who receive it, they feel good unless the services don‘t arrive on time, like in Katrina.  You know, the services didn‘t work out, so well.  So I think what we forget is—are the people who have to pay.  There‘s the other half of the equation, yes, the people who have to pay and the young people, especially today, who are sick and tired of the mess and who are inheriting this debt and inheriting this war, they have to pay.  So services always come with a cost whether it is direction taxation, future taxation, borrowing, interest payments, or a debased currency.

CARLSON:  Then would you be willing to say out loud and into the camera that the people of New Orleans ought to be responsible for rebuilding their own city?  That it is not the responsibility for the rest of the country.

PAUL:  Well, that is the way it was supposed to be, originally, under the constitution.  It is only very recent years, the last 10, 15 years that it became central economic planning from the federal government.  It hasn‘t worked that well. 

PAUL:  So would you support a return—I mean, I guess my point is, if you say something like that outloud, it is taken by most people as callous, as mean.  Would you be willing to endorse a system in which regions, or cities, or states are responsible for their own disaster relief and the federal government says, I‘m sorry we‘re not getting involved? 

PAUL:  Well, I think it is calloused and mean to depend on the federal government to go down there and make a mess out of—trying to save New Orleans.  They did such a lousy job.  So, economic—central economic planning doesn‘t work.  It sort of like, are you saying, are you going to be mean and not be a socialist, aren‘t you going to take care of poor people and starving people?  Well, socialism doesn‘t work, central economic planning doesn‘t work.  And, you know, in the past, a long time ago, in the 1900 Galveston was wiped off the map and they rebuilt and FEMA didn‘t exist.  The sea walls they built are still there.  So it isn‘t like it wouldn‘t happen, it just may happen better, cheaper, and more efficiently instead of federal agents getting in the way, taking the guns from the people, not letting private owners get to their property.  I get so many complaints about FEMA once we have an emergency in our district. 

CARLSON:  You‘ve been to a number of, three or four Republican debates so far.  What‘s it like backstage?  Who do you like?  If you weren‘t voting for yourself, who would you vote for for among the other nine or ten guys running? 

PAUL:  Well, you know, I have a tough time because my philosophy is strict constitutionalist and anti-war and pro free markets and nobody fits that bill.  And probably one of the reasons I am in this race.  So, it would be very hard for me to get enthusiastic about anybody who is supporting this war and not reassign it and making an effort to bring our troops home.  And not supporting the idea that you don‘t go to war without declaring war and win them and get them over with and be more precise and put more responsibility on the Congress.  So I‘d have a hard time picking one of them right now.

CARLSON:  How about Giuliani, he‘s the front runner overwhelmingly, if you ask Republican primary voters?  Would you vote for him? 

PAUL:  I would have a lot of trouble.  I think he is an authoritarian.  I think he would use government way out of proportion to what the constitution ...

CARLSON:  He is an authoritarian?  What do you mean by that? 

PAUL:  That means he likes to use government force.  I mean, he

wouldn‘t mind using some of these—laws that have been put on the books

since 9/11.  The Patriot Act, and the rejection of Habeas Corpus.  I think

I sense that among the whole group that they are quite willing.  And of course, the other night we had this debate, or to a degree a debate --  discussion on whether we would use a nuclear first strike against a country that has no nuclear weapons.  That has not, you know, attacked us, and they are all for it.  So that, to me, is difficult.  And yet, I feel comfortable as a Republican because I think I speak for traditional conservative Republicans and I defend the constitution. 

CARLSON:  Ron Paul, of Texas, running for president.  I appreciate you coming in, Congressman.

PAUL:  Thank you.  Very much.

CARLSON:  The U.S. troop surge in Iraq does not appear to be working.  So far, violence is rising and so is the number of U.S. troops killed in Baghdad.  Democrats want the troops out.  Will they be able to pass legislation to make that happen?  Meanwhile, Barak Obama‘s friendships have made headlines.  His former pastor and indited businessman.  Does he have shady business connections and could they derail his campaign?  This is MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  White House Press Secretary Tony Snow made a point of beginning of today‘s press briefing by singling out Senator Harry Reid for comments he made to bloggers about two U.S. generals.  Reid is quoted on a number of Web sites as having referred to outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Pete Pace and top Iraq war general, David Petraeus as “incompetent.”  Snow said if the reports are true, Reid ought to apologize for remarks like that made in a time of war. 

Tom Andrews, National Director of Win Without War and former Democratic congressman from Maine joins us now, as does Andrew Ferguson of “The Weekly Standard,” who is author of “Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe‘s America.”  Welcome to you both. 

TOM ANDREWS, WIN WITHOUT WAR:  Thank you. 

ANDREW FERGUSON, THE WEEKLY STANDARD:  Thank you for having us.

CARLSON:  It seems to me, Tom, and I‘m not any kind of historian, but

it was less than six months ago that Reid voted to confirm David Petraeus -

it was unanimous, every Democrat did, why would he say—what does that mean incompetent, he‘s incompetent?  And if he really believes that, why is he telling a bunch bloggers that?  Why doesn‘t he get up on the Senate floor and tell the rest of us?  We want to know.

ANDREWS:  Well, the way to you and the regular media that—this media of course is through bloggers.  So, if  you want to get something out, you go over the bloggers and boom.  It‘s out.

CARLSON:  We still have press—look, he is pandering to the nutjob base and you know it. 

ANDREWS:  No, here‘s the thing.  People—the level of frustration with generals who have got in the line—the thing about Petraeus is people thought, well, this guy‘s going to be a straight shooter.  At least we can believe what he‘s going to tell us, let‘s vote to confirm him and see what happens.

Now, he comes back and says that this surge has provided stunning success, that he says there‘s an astounding signs of normalcy in Iraq.  I mean, nobody believes that, 230 American soldiers have been killed in the last two months, more than in any period of the war.  The violence has increased all over Iraq, we‘ve never seen things as worse as they are right now, and he is talking as this is an astonishing sign of normalcy. 

Well if this is normalcy to him ...

CARLSON:  Well I don‘t think that‘s ...

ANDREWS:  ...well then I think we should be questioning it. 

CARLSON:  So you think he‘s incompetent, do you think David Petraeus is ...

ANDREWS:  Well, I think we should be questioning people who are getting in line—people want their generals to tell the truth, give us the straight story.  Don‘t fall into this neo contra (ph), don‘t fall into happy talk as we‘ve heard from all the administration officials. 

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know, I mean ...

ANDREWS:  Give us (INAUDIBLE), and he‘s not, he‘s not.

CARLSON:  I haven‘t been to Baghdad in a number of years.  I actually don‘t know if that‘s true.  I would—I mean, if he‘s saying that, I would like to see the evidence, I mean, let‘s keep an open mind, do you think ...

ANDREWS:  The evidence is the other way, Tucker, it‘s just ... 

CARLSON:  That‘s the way it seems to me as a newspaper reader, but I, you know, I‘m trying to keep my mind open. 

Andy Ferguson, is it, do you think good politics for the leader of the Democrats in the Senate to call the commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq incompetent?

FERGUSON:  Well, that‘s all it is.  I mean, these are the words of a desperate man, you know.  I think in the new NBC poll, the—the Congress‘s approval rating is even lower than President Bush‘s ...

CARLSON:  You didn‘t think that was possible.

FERGUSON:  ...which means he‘s like, yes, like ...

ANDREWS:  I thought that might come up.

FERGUSON:  Yes, so he‘s got on his left flank, these, as you say, these foam-at-the-mouth bloggers, who are saying why haven‘t we pulled out of Iraq yet?  That‘s why we—isn‘t that why we put you there?  And of course, they think they put this poor Harry Reid in his job.  So, Harry Reid says you can‘t give them actual—he throws out words like incompetent, and he says you know, he starts criticizing the guys in uniform, which by the way, is bad politics.  It may work with the bloggers, but when you start taking on generals like Petraeus, it doesn‘t look good on the rest of the country.

CARLSON:  No, I—I actually agree with that.  I mean, it‘s a serious

thing to say, it‘s a serious matter, the war in Iraq.  I‘m saddened by it,

I think most people pay close attention are saddened by it.  But if you

really believe that our strategy is fouled up and Petraeus is responsible

for it, then that‘s a matter of international significance that, as I said

a minute ago, you ought to share with the rest of us.  But you also ought

to do something about it.  I mean, does Reid want to put himself in a

position of really critiquing the military strategy of U.S. generals, is he

he‘s qualified to do that?

ANDREWS:  Somebody has to.  You know, I mean, again, it‘s just been

happy talk from the White House, there‘s been no accountability.  Every

Congress up to this point had just given them a rubber stamp, and listen

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  ...Harry Reid over the—you don‘t think the distinction between, hold on.

ANDREWS:  ...dead-enders, last throes, all these quotes that—all this happy talk from the very beginning, and it has led to a disaster.  And thank God someone in Washington is standing up and calling them on it.

CARLSON:  Standing up to whom and calling them on what?  Saying that David Petraeus isn‘t prosecuting the war correctly, what exactly does that mean?  I mean, it‘s one thing to say that this war was a mistake, that—that the surge is a bad idea, but to say that this specific man running the war effort, regarded by everybody I know who knows him, left, right and center as a very serious person—as incompetent?  What the hell are you talking about?

ANDREWS:  Because words matter, Tucker, and what you do with them ...

CARLSON:  Yes, they do, until you stand up what these words mean (ph).

ANDREWS:  Exactly.  So, when you stand up, and you say, as General Petraeus has said, there are astonishing signs of normalcy, things are going quite well in this war...

CARLSON:  Right.

ANDREWS:  ...I mean that defies all the facts that are before us.  So, you know, you have to take—if he‘s going to engage in the political debate, if he‘s going to come forth with statements like this, in light of the disaster that we have in front of us, people are going to question his competency, and they should question his competency.

FERGUSON:  You think that maybe there are facts in front of General Petraeus that are not in front of you, as a reader of “The New York Times” and the watcher of the CBS Evening News?

ANDREWS:  239 soldiers ...

FERGUSON:  Is it possible that General Petraeus maybe knows things that you don‘?

ANDREWS:  You know something, I think maybe the facts that we can see clearly before all of us, whether we read “The New York Times” ...

FERGUSON:  When was the last time you were in Baghdad?

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS:  You don‘t have to be in Baghdad to realize that place is going up in smoke and someone has got to stand up in Washington and call them on it.

FERGUSON:  All right.

CARLSON:  I think it‘s bad—I think it‘s a foolish thing to say. 

And if it‘s not foolish, he‘ll get up and say it again, we‘ll see.

Barack Obama is downplaying his friendship with a corrupt—

apparently corrupt fundraiser.  The political in business associates tell a

different story.  Will Barack Obama‘s apparently shady Chicago connections

notice the qualifiers—keep him from the White House?

The judge in the Scooter Libby trial rules against him, letting him remain free during appeals, which means the former Cheney aide is a lot closer to prison.  With time running out, should the president pardon him, will he?

You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Today‘s Obameter is showing a slightly lukewarm reading.  The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the Illinois Senator has fallen six points more behind Hillary Clinton.  Meanwhile the front page of today‘s “New York Times” explores the relationship between Obama and a long-time supporter named Antoin Rezko.  Last fall Rezko was indited for fraud and influencing, pedalling and state government.  Obama has implied that he really wasn‘t that close to Rezko.  The “Times” reports otherwise.  Will it matter? 

Joining us once again, Tom Andrews, National Director of Win Without War and former Democratic Congressman from the state of Maine. And Andrew Ferguson of the “Weekly Standard,” also author of an excellent new book on Abraham Lincoln. 

Any—what I think a lot of people maybe you are among them, are really hoping that Barak Obama will stop Hillary before she rules the world.  Everybody I know, every Democrat I know says every single day, prefers Obama to Hillary, most Americans, don‘t who are voting Democrat.  Why is that?

FERGUSON:  Well I think they realized that once Obama stops Hillary we‘re going to wish that Hillary will turn around and stop Obama. 

You know, and we are just getting to know him, that‘s the point of this time story and why it‘s so interesting.  It shows why there has not been a serious presidential candidate from Illinois since 1956, Adlai Stevenson.  Illinois politics is uniquely corrupt and anybody who succeeds in it is go going to, sooner or later, wind up in bed with a man like this Rezko fellow.  Politics in Illinois keep guys like him around to help with a real estate deal here, or maybe to give their cousin a job, or you know, fill up a board seat there.  You know, this is—you can‘t get away from this in Illinois politics and nobody has.  And sure enough, Barack Obama is one of them. 

CARLSON:  I think his opponents are definitely banking on this.  It actually doesn‘t look that great, Tom.  This Rezko helped the Obamas‘ buy their house, a very expensive house.  The “Times” reports, quote, “the land sale occurred after it had been reported that Mr. Rezko was under federal investigation.”  Now this is odd behavior for anybody but particularly a politician who is running on his own personal ethics.  What explains this?

ANDREWS:  Well, we need to get a up-front explanation that is consistent.  I think what Barak Obama has done is fallen in the track where you sort of try to dismiss the story before it takes hold.  He says, well, he was a one time fundraiser, I really didn‘t know him very well.  It turns out he has been involved in more than one campaign, in terms of fundraising.

CARLSON:  Oh, yes, for years.

ANDREWS:  He has had an on going relationship with him.  So people will find out, obviously, it‘s going to get reported and the story is going to keep going and you are going to be backtracking and you are going to look like you‘ve got something to hide.  That is the problem.  I don‘t know if ...

CARLSON:  Well he is hiding!  He is—already the campaign said, we never did—Barak Obama never did any favors for Mr. Rezko.  According to the “New York Times,” the state legislature, Mr. Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting Mr. Rezko‘s business efforts from which he profited close to a million dollars.  So he did do favors for the guy.

ANDREWS:  Well, what Barak Obama has to do is address this particular story, that particular allegation.  I mean, up to this point, if I—the story in today‘s “Times” says look, there was nothing improper here but the questions that it raises need to be addressed and it ...

CARLSON:  Right.

ANDREWS:  Maybe there is, you know, an explanation which often times there is, that can straighten this out and clear things up.  So just come out and lay it out. 

CARLSON:  But it fails the hypocrisy—Barack Obama gets up, I believe it was in New Hampshire recently, and gave a commencement speech at a University and he said I hope a lot of you don‘t do the obvious thing and chose money when you leave.  Choose the highest paying job.  Now here we find out that Barak Obama is living in this very expensive house that he got with the help of a sleazy campaign contributor.  Basically, he‘s as greedy as anybody else.  Maybe he shouldn‘t say things like that in public. 

FERGUSON:  But of course, I guess he means is he hasn‘t really made the killing that he might have been able to make as some Illinois politicians have been able to do. 

His problem here now is now a second order problem, which is, how do you explain this sort of thing?  And he hasn‘t explained it very well well.  Partly there is a hypocrisy problem, but he also has come out and said my mistake was allowing this guy to help me with a real estate deal and do something that appeared to be a favor.  Well, it didn‘t appear to be a favor, it was a favor.  If this guy had hadn‘t interceded they wouldn‘t have been able to guy his $1.6 million house.  And so now he finds himself, pretty soon he will have a third order problem which is to explain what he said in the second time—that the problem came around.  So, you know, it is becomes a tar baby—

CARLSON:  It is definitely bad judgment.  I mean there‘s no doubt, it‘s like, buy your own house.  You know what I mean?  I think a normal person would have concluded that. 

FERGUSON:  Unavoidable, though, in Illinois.

CARLSON:  In Illinois and you say that as someone from Chicago-land. 

FERGUSON:  Absolutely.

CARLSON:  Even Mother Theresa‘s religious order is getting involved in the ‘08 presidential election.  And they are not supporting Hillary Clinton, in fact they want nothing to do with her at all.  They say she has been using Mother Theresa‘s image as a political tool.

Plus, Bill Richardson is smart, charming and accomplished, but is there something wrong with him?  We‘ll get the official word from his campaign, in a moment.  You are watching MSNBC, the most impressive name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  Judge Reggie Walton, who presided over the trial of Dick Cheney‘s former chief of staff Scooter Libby, ruled this afternoon that he will not delay Libby‘s two and a half year prison sentence while an appeal is prepared and processed.  Though there is no date set for Libby to report to jail, it is believed he has about six to eight weeks.  Today‘s ruling will amplify, no doubt, pressure on President Bush to pardon his former aid.  Will he? 

Joining us, Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War and former Democratic congressman from Maine, and Andrew Ferguson of the “Weekly Standard,” and author of a tremendous new book on Abraham Lincoln.  Andy, will the president pardon Scooter Libby? 

FERGUSON:  I tend to doubt it, but it is unknowable.  His father wasn‘t—

CARLSON:  Why wouldn‘t he?

FERGUSON:  Well, his father wasn‘t a big pardoner and Bush himself hasn‘t been a big pardoner.  And the statements that he has made so far through his spokesman really I don‘t think should warm the cockles of Libby‘s heart.  He says, you know, the president has tremendous sympathy, particularly for his family, which is sort of like, they‘re going to have a tough two years ahead of them, which suggests that he‘s not going to do it. 

CARLSON:  How ungrateful do you think Bush can be? 

FERGUSON:  This would be pretty ungrateful.  My own view of it is all this guy was doing was the president‘s bidding.  It was part of a larger effort to sell the war to people, which I think was a patriotic duty on his part, as someone working for Bush.  If Bush can let him dangle like this, which he has actually already done, his approval ratings may be down in the 20s.  They already are I think. 

CARLSON:  Tom, Bush pardoning Libby would be bad for Bush.  It would tie Bush directly to this scandal in a way that he‘s not tied now.  Scooter Libby is the one guy who was convicted of this.  Nobody else was convicted.  This is a point—and I think it‘s a fair point to make.  That was a point made by Robert Bauer, who‘s the chief counsel of the Obama For President campaign, on the “Huffington Post.” 

He said this—let‘s put it up on the screen.  “A pardon is just what Bush‘s opponents should want.  A pardon brings the president into the heart of the case. It compels him to do what he has so far managed to avoid doing, accepting, in some way, responsibility for the conduct of his administration in communicating with the public about national security and its treatment of dissent.”

In other words, a pardon is good for the Democrats.  So this guy posts this up on “Huffington Post.”  It is slammed by the left, people who don‘t read beyond the first paragraph, for being a traitor.  The Obama campaign all but apologizes for it.  What a bunch of humorless morons.  I mean, seriously, he‘s making—Is that how reactionary they are on the left, that they can‘t even hear the guy‘s argument? 

ANDREWS:  Well, listen, here is a guy—obviously this was a scandal that outed a CIA agent.  Obviously it did damage to her.  It did damage to everyone who she was associated with.  It did damage to intelligence gathering in the United States.  This was a horrible thing that happened. 

CARLSON:  No evidence of that at all.

ANDREWS:  Why?  Because Scooter Libby obstructed a federal investigation.  He lied.  So someone—listen, anybody, please, let‘s have some accountability here.  So I think what people are saying is, my god, if this is the only one who‘s going to being held to account, he should at least be held to account. 

Of course, what Bauer is saying is, of course, the political pint, that after saying no one in my administration—anyone in the White House that was involved in anything like this, I‘m not go going to stand for it.  That was what the president was saying.  And now, as Bauer says, he will have his fingerprints on this, which of course will be bad for the president, bad for Republicans.  It‘s a purely cynical political point of view.

CARLSON:  Do you think that members of the Internet mob, some of whom are literate, presumably—they read blogs—are aware of the fact that Scooter Libby was not convicted of—charged with anything having to do with the outing of the Valerie Plame‘s identity?  Do they even know that?

ANDREWS:  It was his role.  It was the fact that he obstructed this investigation; the fact that he misled, that he lied, that he stood in the way of Fitzgerald doing his job.  And that‘s a very serious thing to be doing, particularly in a case as important as this.  He should be held accountable. 

CARLSON:  But he is not being held accountable for anything having to do with the case, anything having to do with the war in Iraq, anything having to do with intelligence or the CIA or Joe Wilson or Mrs. Wilson.  

ANDREWS:  Well, at least he wasn‘t awarded the Medal of Freedom, you know. 

(CROSS TALK)

ANDREWS:  I mean this is the Bush administration, Tucker. 

FERGUSON:  There is something to Bauer‘s actually kind of incomprehensible argument that he is making here, which is that it is a way for Bush to assert his own responsibility, which I think, in the long run, is good for him.  I was joking about the approval rating a minute ago.  But I actually think there are people who would say, all right, you know, he stood up for the guy who is taking the fall for him and he is not going to let him take the fall and he‘s going to—

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  Nobody—the White House has not made the case that Scooter Libby was a rogue element within the White House, freelancing, doing his own thing.  They have never said that.  They have essentially conceded that he was, as you put it, doing the president‘s bidding.  And therefore, he is suffering on their behalf, and Bush is allowing it.  Bush has total contempt for his own supporters. 

FERGUSON:  I don‘t think that is quite a fair conclusion to draw, but I‘ll let you do it. 

CARLSON:  Well, no, I mean, look!  Two weeks ago, he gets out and says, if you are against my immigration bill, you right wing nut jobs, then you are either stupid or you are a Democrat. 

FERGUSON:  I mean, the right wing nut jobs were actually pretty tough on him. 

CARLSON:  As one of them, I was offended. 

FERGUSON:  The president probably shouldn‘t fall to their level.  That‘s true.  But it still makes sense for him, even for his place in history—there would be a fire storm after he did it.  My god, the bloggers might actually melt down, which would be actually a good thing.  But it would do his standing good in the long run. 

ANDREWS:  Sort of a Gerald Ford moment, I guess, is what—

CARLSON:  Look, if Patty Hearst can get a pardon—you know what I mean—I think Scooter Libby can. 

I don‘t know if you know this, but Mother Theresa is for Hillary Clinton.  That was the distinct impression I was getting—

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  -- impression I was getting from taking a look at the Hillary Clinton website.  I don‘t know if we have a picture of this.  But on her website, we learn from Bill Clinton that Hillary, in effect, -- this is a verbatim quote—was the face of America in Africa and India.  There you go, that‘s basically an endorsement from Mother Theresa. 

So this comes out, a catholic group notices it: Mother Theresa‘s own order back in India demands that get pulled off the website.  And it is.  Here is a quote from Joseph Seller (ph), who‘s the head of the Catholic group.  He says, quote, we pointed out that use of Blessed Theresa‘s image was particularly inappropriate and disturbing, given Senator Clinton‘s staunch support of abortion here in the U.S. and abroad.  Mother Theresa tirelessly fought to protect unborn children, while Hillary Clinton staunchly supports abortion on demand in all nine months of pregnancy, including partial birth abortion, and tax payer funding of abortion. 

It takes a lot of brass for her to put Mother Theresa up on a website, given that everything in that quote is indisputably true. 

ANDREWS:  On the issue of abortion, clearly.  I mean, there is no doubt about it. There couldn‘t be a clearer difference between Mother Theresa and Senator Clinton. 

CARLSON:  It was not a small thing for Mother Theresa.

ANDREWS:  That is right.  That is right.  But, you know, there were a lot of other things on her plate and that is dealing with poverty and the hopelessness and the desperation of the people who she worked with and served.  And, of course, that was something that Hillary Clinton cared a great deal about.  That is what a significant amount of her time as the first lady—she invested in travelling around the world, drawing attention to these horrendous situations, and building international support, and calling on the American public and the government to do something about it.  That is true.  

CARLSON:  I missed that.  I was here when she was first lady.  It was like she spent a lot of time looking for her billing records, couldn‘t find them, held a couple seances.  I don‘t remember her curing world poverty.  Maybe I was otherwise—I was otherwise occupied.  (INAUDIBLE) is not just to be mean to Hillary Clinton.  But this is part of a broader effort on the part of Democrats to appeal to religious voters.  And think they have a shot at winning them possibly, because they‘re dissatisfied with Bush and the Republicans.  And they ought to be. 

Do you think that Hillary Clinton could, in the end, be a Jimmy Carter, in the sense that she gets a significant percentage, Andy, of evangelical voters?  

FERGUSON:  Well, if she does, the ghost of Mother Theresa is not going to help her.  You know, Mother Theresa was actually sort of a—not a cynical person.  But she was a very pragmatic person.  And she used Hillary Clinton too to help raise money.  So I think now maybe Hillary‘s using her in a slightly different way, but it‘s still the same pragmatism or realism.   

CARLSON:  Can you imagine a scenario, though, where the Democrat gets religious voters?  Or is abortion still the stopping block?

FERGUSON:  Only religious in the way that Hillary Clinton is religious, which is to say a very liberal Protestant sort of view, in which they believe in everything but God.

ANDREWS:  You know, there were a number of evangelicals—and Jim Wallace, Sojourner is his movement, evangelical movement—that says look, you take care of God‘s creatures.  You take care of the environment.  You have a just foreign policy.  You don‘t invade countries, as we have with Iraq illegally.  And they are speaking out.  I think that people are looking for some sincerity.  They‘re looking for people that have a foundation, a moral base. 

You may not find this easy to fathom, Tucker, but there is a firm moral base from progressives across this country that are calling on their government to take some moral and principled stands.  They may be different on the question of abortion, but on the question of poverty, on the question of environment, on the question of inequality, there is a real moral calling.   

CARLSON:  I have never met anybody less sincere than the religious left.  I mean, you think that Jerry Falwell was coy and phony, honestly.  You haven‘t met the religious left.  They are just—I do think --  Don‘t you think voters, one of the messages they sent in the last election was—and they often send this message—the people who run Washington are just too far from us.  They are isolated.  They live by different rules.  You know the cliches.

Given that, Nancy Pelosi‘s attempt to get her family, adult children, to fly free on her already tax payer financed jet across the country is kind of a bit much.  Why would she go to bat over something like this?  Isn‘t there a war going on?  Why is she wasting her time arguing with the Defense Department over this? 

ANDREWS:  Tucker, first of all, she is not arguing.  She has posed a question.  Secondly, she has not said, OK, all the kids; let‘s get in this nice big fancy jet.  We‘re going all over the world.  She is saying that in the cases in which a spouse is not able to go and there is an adult child of a member of Congress, who would like to accompany them as far as the protocol and so forth of this particular trip, that should be allowed and that should be reimbursable. 

It doesn‘t cost any more money.  If the spouse went, we pay for the

spouse.  If the adult child goes and the spouse does not go, we pay for the

at least paint the picture the way it is. 

CARLSON:  Why don‘t they just fly Jet Blue?  That‘s just my feeling. 

You know what, Andy, I was reading Al Gore‘s book the other day.  I know that you just wrote a book on Abe Lincoln.  And I was amazed to see Al Gore quote Abe Lincoln. 

I want to put up on the screen this quote from our 16th president, and it seems to speak really to what Al Gore is concerned about.  This is Abe Lincoln, as quoted by Al Gore: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.  As of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow.  And the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.”

Kind of a prescient quote from Abe Lincoln.

FERGUSON:  It is amazing how far seeing—he has a lot about Iraq, I guess, Abe Lincoln, even though it hadn‘t been invented yet, Iraq.  No, this is a bogus quote that has gone around for almost—well over 100 years, about 130 years.  Thought up by the people who were the Al Gores of their days, the people who hated the capitalists. 

CARLSON:  You mean to tell me that Abe Lincoln never uttered those words.   

FERGUSON:  It‘s very hard to believe, but no, he didn‘t.  He is not the trembling kind.  You know, Abe Lincoln, if he trembled, he kept it to himself.  He didn‘t talk about how he was trembling for the country too much.  There‘s a bunch of other things in there that don‘t sound like him.  And the overall point even isn‘t like Abe Lincoln.

I mean, Abe Lincoln was a very committed capitalist.  He had a lot of rich friends.  He was a rail road lawyer.  He liked corporations.  He liked people who made lots of money.  He liked to take from people who made lots of money, for his presidential campaign, of course.  So, this is just an example of how we always say we want our kids to be like Lincoln.  Really, we want Lincoln to be like us.  And Al Gore is a prime example.   

CARLSON:  Very good. 

ANDREWS:  You know, it was President Eisenhower who was shivering over the military—

CARLSON:  That is true.  And you know what, I knew Abe Lincoln.  He was no Abe Lincoln.  Thank you very much, both of you.  Tom, Andy, I appreciate it.. 

On paper, Bill Richardson appears to be one of the most qualified presidential candidates of all time, maybe the most.  He‘s also a down to Earth guy, pretty appealing.  Why isn‘t he running up front among Democratic candidates?  We‘ll ask his campaign in a minute.

Barack Obama has been a sensation on the campaign trail, meanwhile, and now he‘s quickly becoming a sensation on YouTube thanks to a woman with a crush on him.  Wait until you see it.  We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  For a long time, people who watched campaigns pegged New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as perhaps the lone Democrat with a shot of breaking into the top tier alongside Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards.  But so far the former U.N. ambassador and energy secretary has barely made a sound in national polls, even with a hilarious set of self-deprecating commercials already on the air. 

Here to tell us what is happening, Steve Murphy, senior media advisor to Bill Richardson.  Steve, thanks for coming on. 

STEVE MURPHY, SENIOR MEDIA ADVISOR TO GOV. BILL RICHARDSON:  Good afternoon. 

CARLSON:  So that is kind of the macro question.  Isn‘t it insulting to Bill Richardson, who has been all of these things, this high profile diplomat, governor, congressman, energy secretary, charming guy, knows everybody.  And he‘s getting spanked by this character who has been in the Senate for about 20 minutes, Barack Obama, who has done essentially nothing?  Why is that? 

MURPHY:  You know, Barack Obama is far better known. 

CARLSON:  But why?  Richardson was a cabinet secretary.

MURPHY:  He is the governor of New Mexico.  It is a small Western state, a very poor state that he has completely turned around.  You know, a lot of folks don‘t look at his record, but that is what we‘re pushing in this campaign.  You know, 80,000 new jobs, many of them good paying jobs in technology, because he passed a tax credit in New Mexico for any company that gives a new job that pays above the prevailing wage. 

He is the greenest governor in America.  New Mexico obeys the Kyoto Treaty, but, you know, the Bush administration doesn‘t.  His record on education is completely unassailable; 600 million dollars into schools with accountability.  Cut the administrative overhead while putting money into the schools. 

CARLSON:  Then I guess you—if he‘s such—Here is the question, and you know it, people think there must be something wrong with Bill Richardson if he wasn‘t chosen by John Kerry last time as his running mate, for instance, the fact that he‘s being beaten by John Edwards in the national polls.  John Edwards, I mean -- 

MURPHY:  He withdraw from consideration, because he had only been governor for two years and had a lot more to do.  You know, it was flattering—

CARLSON:  He wasn‘t chosen.  I know that to be true.  OK, he may have

withdrawn, but he wasn‘t going to get chosen and you know it.  Look, I‘m

not attacking the guy, I‘m just saying -

MURPHY:  Probably should have been chosen.  We would have one New Mexico that way. 

CARLSON:  I think he would have been a much better running mate. 

That‘s my personal view.

MURPHY:  Mine too.

CARLSON:  But let‘s get right to this piece that you all don‘t like, this “New Republic” piece by Ryan Lizza.  We had him on yesterday.  I‘m glad you could come on to talk about it.  It opens up with a scene which I find kind of amusing, where he‘s—let‘s me put the quote up on the screen.  They‘re at a baseball game.  There‘s Richardson eating his hot dogs, talking a mile a minute, very appealing. 

And then he sees two women up in front of him.  “They are both young and attractive, probably in their 20s.  The governor rotates his large frame sideways and shimmies out of his row.  The two women smile up at him.  As he passes, Richardson reaches down and places his fingertips on the head of one woman, tickling her scalp as he opens and closes her hands,” et cetera. 

He touched her.  There were complaints—his lieutenant governor complained that he touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable.  Has he touched you, and what is this deal with touching? 

MURPHY:  Of course he has touched me.  Everybody touches everybody.  And his lieutenant governor is a vice chair of his campaign and said he never did anything inappropriate.  You know, he is a very friendly guy. 

CARLSON:  He is a friendly guy.  I agree with you. 

MURPHY:  Everybody he meets, he reaches out to.  Sometimes he touches them.  He wants to say hello to everybody when he does an event.  This is why we‘re moving up in the polls.  This is why we‘re at 10 in Iowa and New Hampshire.  He goes to the—

CARLSON:  Very quickly, I know he does and I actually like that about him.  Very quickly, will he concede it was a mistake to say he supported Alberto Gonzales in his heart, because Gonzales is also Hispanic?  I mean, appeals to racial identity like that aren‘t good for the country.  Can he just admit that was a mistake?

MURPHY:  He also knew the guy and he said he gave him two days to testify and prove himself.  He doesn‘t make judgments based on ethnicity.  And yes, he did say it was a mistake.  If you want a candidate who is slick and evades the questions, knows all the bridging, knows all the segues, then Bill Richardson isn‘t your guy. 

Bill Richardson is an honest guy.  He will always tell you what he thinks. 

CARLSON:  I like that.  Steve, thanks a lot for coming on.  I appreciate it.

MURPHY:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Barack Obama is doing better than Bill Richardson in the polls, but he is still trailing Hillary Clinton.  Look out though, Obama could be getting help from a new YouTube video.  We‘ve got it.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  This is a moment when we usually introduce Willie Geist, but he is off about to become a new father.  And so in his place, the vice president of MSNBC, our friend Bill Wolff. 

BILL WOLFF, VICE PRESIDENT OF MSNBC:  Thanks Tucker, an update from Columbia Presbyterian here in New York.  No baby yet.  Willie and his wife spent the afternoon watching the Yankees win.  Some pressure on Christina to have the baby before 11:59 Eastern, because today is also the birthday of Donald Trump.  You know, how Willie feels about—

CARLSON:  Not really? 

WOLFF:  Yes.  So Willie‘s putting the pressure on her now.  I think if it gets to be about 11:50, he ought to sneak up behind her and just say, boo.  Kind of like curing the hiccups.  Anyway, they‘re going to get it done. 

Breaking news, Tucker, right now, or at this point, broken news.  As Willie Geist has been reporting in this space for what seems like months, Paris Hilton has spent the last week in a mental ward at L.A.‘s Twin Tower Prison Facility.  Now perhaps knowing that Willie wouldn‘t be here, and thinking that the news would therefore go unreported, Paris was transferred back to an all-women‘s jail, because her condition was declared stable. 

That is the breaking news.  She was taken late Wednesday night to the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, California—beautiful country down there—where she originally freaked out bad enough to get sprung back to house arrest in the first place.  She is in the medical unit now, but if all goes well—and I‘m sure it will—she will be returned to the jail‘s special needs unit, the place that freaked her out in the first place, and released on June 25th, which would then be another national holiday, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Special needs? 

WOLFF:  Special needs.  She‘s got special needs, Tucker.  She is alone.  She gets separated from her fellow inmates.  Apparently, that isolation didn‘t work out the first time, but when she is released, it will be a national day of joy, because we will never have to cover her again, my friend. 

CARLSON:  Oh, but we will, Bill.  Yes, we will. 

WOLFF:  True enough.  True that.  Happy news from the People‘s Republic of China now; Bau Zi Shun (ph), the world‘s tallest man, has taken himself off what is surely a very hot market.  The 56-year-old seven foot nine inch Bau got engaged, asking his 28-year-old five foot six inch girlfriend to marry him. 

Now, like so many men do when they finally want to settle down, Bau took a knee, looked down into her eyes as she stood there, and popped the question.  He is the same guy who gained fame last year when the Chinese government called on him to pull a piece of plastic out of a dolphin‘s throat.  You will remember the dolphin swallowed the plastic.  They needed somebody really tall to reach down in there and grab the plastic.  And the great Bau took care of it. 

Now, I think this answers a question.  You always wonder, how does a person who is seven foot nine break the ice with the apple of his eye.  The answer is: hey, baby, you like dolphins?

CARLSON:  You know, it‘s funny, we did that story last year.  I believe Willie Geist brought us that story.  I, in my heart of hearts, didn‘t believe it.  I know technically everything we say is true, but sometimes I do have my doubts.  But that really was true. 

WOLFF:  It really was true.  And he really is engaged to a woman he met earlier this year.  He is having a custom-made Mongolian wedding outfit made so he doesn‘t have to return a tux, Tucker. 

Finally tonight, possible trouble for Democratic presidential hopeful and extremely cool seeming guy Barack Obama.  Not political trouble, though it would qualify as domestic.  As his campaign has unfolded, his wife Michelle has emerged as a no-nonsense partner, frequently preventing her husband of becoming too full of himself by reminding him of his domestic shortcomings, including bad bed making and failing to put away the butter. 

Men everywhere know he appreciates it.  Though it is interesting to wonder about Mrs. Obama‘s reaction to the latest YouTube sensation, a satirical tribute to her husband‘s hotness.  Here‘s a sample. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFF:  Now, I‘m no expert on relationships, Tucker, but my guess is that Barack Obama this evening is putting that butter away.  You know what I‘m saying? 

CARLSON:  I think I know.  I think I know exactly what you‘re saying. 

I think he is trying to keep Mrs. Obama off the Internet. 

WOLFF:  All I‘m saying, I don‘t want to interfere in their relationship, but it‘s not his fault, not his fault. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more.  I‘m taking Obama‘s side and not for the first time.  Bill Wolff from headquarters, thanks a lot Bill.

WOLFF:  My pleasure.

CARLSON:  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with the great Mike Barnicle.  We‘ll be back tomorrow.  Have a great night. 

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

END   

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