updated 6/18/2007 11:44:33 AM ET 2007-06-18T15:44:33

Guests: Tim Russert

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show.  The violently anti-western faction Hamas grabs power in Gaza, bringing the entire region to the brink of something new and potentially awful.  And calling into question whether Democratic elections really do lead to peaceful governments.

Meanwhile, President Bush‘s comatose immigration bill shows a faint pulse, but it is still unclear how he is going to sell it to his own party. 

The 2008 presidential race heats up with the candidate getting all the coverage, isn‘t even in the race yet. 

Plus, Father‘s Day is Sunday.  Are you ready? 

There aren‘t a lot of people around with keen insights into all of these stories, but today we have found one.  Joining us now, NBC News Washington Bureau Chief, and author of “Wisdom of our fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons,” Tim Russert. 

Tim, thanks for coming on.


CARLSON:  Does what has happened in Gaza, call into question the Democracy agenda?  The Bush administration‘s contention that if a Democratic election takes place, good things will happen? 

RUSSERT:  Yes, and they will acknowledge it, privately, the people I have talked to.  It‘s a real problem because we are now seeing embracing Fatah, and that only makes Hamas more popular.  And so, as we look around the world, there are a lot of people who now are saying should we do things that are in our security interests?

CARLSON:  Right.

RUSSERT:  As opposed to saying, we are for free elections everywhere, and no matter who wins, we will live by it.  You see what can happen when that happens. 

CARLSON:  Do you think the Bush administration—this is critical in Iraq, because there are so many things we have not done because we are respecting the sovereignty of the people who run the country.  Who, you know, we helped get elected.  Do you think the U.S. government will be willing to recognize that, you know, the free will of the Iraqi people is secondary to our own security concern? 

RUSSERT:  I think it would be impossible to do that publicly.  But we are certainly taking steps now, I think, I believe, to saying—I think the conversations between the president and Prime Minister Maliki, the tone changed considerably.  It‘s much more, wait a minute now, we have done this.  We have invested 3,000 -- more than, plus lives, and 25,000 wounded and injured, and $350 billion and you have got to step up.  You cannot be taking two-month vacations.  I believe that‘s the message that is being sent to Iraq. 

CARLSON:  What do you make of the almost open warfare between the president and his conservative supporters in the Congress but also at the grassroots level over immigration? 

RUSSERT:  It‘s quite striking.  But I think—you identified it and explained it exactly right.  The first time I ever met George W. Bush was when he was a governor, and I went down to Texas, and he wanted to talk two things, single parent families and immigration. 

He‘s passionate about those subjects.  He believes from both a policy standpoint and political standpoint, that immigration reform is essential, not only for the country, but for the future of the Republican party.  He remembers what happened in California when Governor Wilson was perceived as anti-immigration, what it did to Hispanic registration in California, Democrat versus Republican. 

He believes very deeply that unless you really do some kind of meaningful reform and deal with the illegals who are here, you will never solve the problem.  But secondly, if you look at the demographics, the Republicans need Hispanic voters in order to maintain the majority status.  He—that argument is not resonating right now. 

CARLSON:  Is it a real argument?  I hear this all the time.  But—people study these subjects pretty intensely, right?  Shouldn‘t we have data that show that first time Hispanic voters will either go for the Democratic party or Republican party.  What are the numbers showing? 

RUSSERT:  Traditionally, Hispanic voters in the 50s and 60s, smaller number obviously, were Republican.  Strong family values.  Now it‘s trending more and more Democratic.  The new registrants are overwhelmingly Democratic.  And what the political advisers of the president are saying, we cannot afford to have another block like African-Americans, and Hispanic Americans.  If we have Hispanics and blacks voting ten to one Democratic, we are in trouble. 

Here is how the electoral college breaks down, in 2000 I said Florida, Florida, Florida.

CARLSON:  Right.

RUSSERT:  In 2004 I said Ohio, Ohio, Ohio.

In 2008 I am saying New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada.  If the Republicans—if the Democrats can win three of those four, they can be elected president. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t see how the Republicans can win even two of those four. 

RUSSERT:  That‘s the game. 

CARLSON:  All but Arizona strike me almost by definition, Democratic states at this time. 

CARLSON:  That‘s the key.  If the Democrats win three of those four, they could lose Ohio and Florida and win the presidency.  If they win the same states that Gore and Kerry won in 2000/2004.  

CARLSON:  But is someone presenting the president with numbers that suggest that increased Hispanic immigration, legal or illegal is going to help the Republican party?  Who is coming up with these numbers?  Or is it just a theory? 

RUSSERT:  Well, Karl Rove has always believed strongly that Hispanics had to be brought in the Republican role. 

CARLSON:  Right.

RUSSERT:  There‘s no doubt about it.  But I also think from a policy standpoint, this president understands and believes that our economy really is aided by immigrants. 


RUSSERT:  That‘s essential to keep ...

CARLSON:  He said today it was, quote, “dependent upon immigrants.” 

RUSSERT:  I—he believes that, and he points to his record and experience as governor of Texas.  You know, you talk to the governor of Florida, his brother or the governor of California, who happens to be an immigrant.  But they come to pretty much the same conclusion.

CARLSON:  Bushes rhetoric on this drips with contempt when he talks about his conservative opponents on this one issue.  It almost seems personal.  Is it? 

RUSSERT:  Well, you know what?  It‘s the only issue I have heard him talk about this year, other than Iraq, where he really doesn‘t need a text, he is animated, he is focused, he is passionate, he believes it.   And he understands it, in his mind.  And he is familiar and comfortable with the subject.  And so I think that‘s why he is not afraid to take on his own base.  I think he has paid a pretty big political price. 

CARLSON:  Certainly has.

RUSSERT:  His favorable ratings are down below 30 now.  John McCain, in our poll, has dropped eight points in two months and I think a lot of it‘s attributed to their stand on immigration. 

CARLSON:  So since he‘s below 30, why wouldn‘t he commute Scooter Libby‘s sentence?

RUSSERT:  That‘s a very good question.  If, in fact, you are going to aggravate the conservative base by dealing with the immigration issue can you offset that or neutralize it by doing something like pardoning Scooter Libby? 

CARLSON:  Why not?  Is the president famous for loyalty, personal loyalty? 

RUSSERT:  Yes.  I think the difficulty he has on the pardoning issue, is that he has always abided by the Justice Department guidelines, and to suddenly wave those, and say I am going to make a unique situation regarding Libby, he realize there will be an uproar, an upheaval within the Democrat party.  How will Independent voters respond?  Will it be, here is a president, when it comes to a classified information, he said he would not tolerate this, now pardoning people.  But I think that he has to make a huge decision.  I think it may take Vice President Cheney going into the Oval Office, and saying, Mr. President, George W., this one is important to me and important to your administration.  And I don‘t what he is going to do. 

CARLSON:  Is it your impression that Cheny‘s been an advocate for Scooter Libby behind the scenes? 

RUSSERT:  I don‘t know, they will not confirm that.  But I would believe that to be true.  He is very fond of and loyal to Scooter Libby. 

CARLSON:  Is Obama going to raise more money than Mrs. Clinton, do you think? 

RUSSERT:  I believe so, yes.  Every indication I have is that his base of fundraisers, donors after the first quarter was $100,000, twice as many as Hillary Clinton.   I believe that the Clinton people are saying Obama is going to hit $40 million. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Why not $100 million!

RUSSERT:  That‘s hype. 

CARLSON:  But they are also saying that it doesn‘t matter, but why doesn‘t it matter?  It seems significant to me, doesn‘t it?

RUSSERT:  Well, if you look at the record of people who get nominated, it‘s usually the person who races the most money, or the second most money, so they are both in contention.  The fact is, when you have the kind of campaign cycle schedule we have, money is important.  It primes the process and Obama will be competitive in the terms of money which means he will be competitive in the process for at least the first four to six primaries. 

CARLSON:  So if he‘s got a $100,000, I mean, just as a measure of popular support, if he has got over 100,000 donors in the first quarter.   And he‘s getting all this amazing amount of free media, why isn‘t he more competitive in national polls with Hillary Clinton? 

RUSSERT:  Still getting known.  It takes a long time ...

CARLSON:  You think so?

RUSSERT:  ... to get known.  Secondly, I think she‘s had good performances in the debates.  The first two.  I think in the end, Tucker, it is going to come down to this.  People are going to look at Hillary Clinton and say, yes, she is more experienced.  Yes, she is more tested she has Bill Clinton, who is very popular in the Democratic party, versus turning the page.  Barack Obama, if you look at his fund-raising letters, it says turn the page.  What he is saying is, in every election since 1980, you voted for either a Bush or a Clinton, their names are on the ballot.  If he starts saying, turn the page on the Bushes and the Clintons, you link Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and George Bush, and in a very subtle way, but his tying up.  His book, Barack Obama‘s book has a whole page about it‘s time to stop the dormitory debates ...

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

RUSSERT:  ... about the Vietnam War.

CARLSON:  The baby boomers, he makes it a generational thing.

RUSSERT:  And I think the Democratic party has to say to itself, OK.  Do we want to go in this election with Hillary Clinton and all that means, good and bad, or do we want to try this fresh face, Barack Obama, good and bad.  And I know the answer.

CARLSON:  I think it‘s a resident argument.  I think its a compelling argument, just me.  Up next, more with Tim Russert, moderator of “Meet the Press,” and author of “Wisdom of our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons.”   We will be right back. 


CARLSON:  Well, every father knows of the special bond that exists between father and child.  Not many can quite explain what it‘s actually like.  Joining us now is a man who can and who has.  NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and author of “Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons in Letters from Daughters and Sons,” Tim Russert.

Tim, thanks for coming on.  This—I‘ve seen this book and I mean—everywhere, and I had never read it until last night, and I‘m a little embarassed to say, and I mean this with total sincerity, it made me—made me weepy.  What is it—would you explain what this book is?

TIM RUSSERT, AUTHOR, “WISDOM OF OUR FATHERS”:  In 2004, I wrote a book about my dad, “Big Russ and the Father and Son Lessons of Life.”  And I told a rather simple story of a young man and young boy in Buffalo who quit school in the tenth grade and enlisted in the army in World War II, terribly hurt when his V-24 Liberator (ph) crashed and spent six months in a military hospital. 

And then he came home and met my mom, and embarked on a second mission, and that was to raise and educate his four kids.  And he worked two full time jobs, as a truck driver and a sanitation man for 30 years, and he never complained.  He‘s 83 now, Big Russ, and he‘s the most optimistic man you ever want to meet. 

Today, his glass is two-thirds full.  And I wrote about the lessons I learn just watching him.  He didn‘t preach a sermon, he lived one, accountability, preparation and respect, civility.  And I thought Irish Catholics in my neighborhood of south Buffalo would read it and respond to it, and Tucker, suddenly, all across the country, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, it didn‘t matter about race, region, religion. 

He (ph) said that‘s my dad, or let me tell you about my dad.  I got 60,000 letters and e-mails, all of them saying, this is what my dad taught me, none of it material, no material goods.  Always he took me to a game, people were sneaking in a side door, I started following the crowd and tugged my wrist and said you didn‘t pay for that, we go where we paid.  He said to this day, the son said, whenever I want to do something, and I‘m thinking whether it‘s right or wrong, I can feel that virtual tug. 

Lesson after lesson, and so I compiled those into this book, and you, I know, have three daughters, and a son.  The daughters‘ letters are remarkable. 

TUCKER:  They are.

RUSSERT:  So much more passionate and more focused and direct.  We kind of back into it.  You know, my dad was a good guy, the daughter‘s saying, I‘m daddy‘s girl. 

TUCKER:  Well, and they‘re so much more direct.  I mean, they really are.  What (ph) got me, most of these are other people‘s stories, there are a number of stories of yours, though in here, and the one that just blew my mind last night was about your son, Luke (ph), and a tattoo that you found that he has.  Tell that story.

RUSSERT:  Writing these books has changed my life in a way I never expected.  It‘s a journey that has begun and hasn‘t ended.  There‘s not a day that goes by where someone doesn‘t want to come and talk about this book or about their dad. 

After I wrote the book, my son read it, and he came home, we came home from midnight mass, on Christmas of 2004, and suddenly, my wife screamed and said oh, my God, I said, what‘s wrong?  She said, he‘s got a tattoo.  I said, tattoo? 

I said Luke, come here, we talked about this, I talked—we talked about the health consequences, you tell me you weren‘t going to do a tattoo.  And he said—I said raise your arm.  And he said no, he had his arms locked, I said raise your arms.  He lifts his arm up, and there, in purple stencil are TJR. 

My dad‘s name is Timothy Joseph Russert, mine‘s Timothy John Russert, and he looks at me and said, after I read the book, I always wanted you and my grandpa on my side.  And I just collapsed in the chair, and I—that‘s the nicest tattoo I‘ve ever seen.  I didn‘t know what to do. 

TUCKER:  That‘s the nicest tattoo I ever heard of. 

RUSSERT:  But it just—it was such a bonding, and we‘re bonded by blood, but now we‘re bonded by a tattoo in an extraordinary way, and for me, it was more than just the tattoo, it was a symbolic embracing, a real embracing, of all the lessons that I tried to pass on from my dad to my son.

Growing up in Washington, his life is so different than mine in Buffalo in terms of access and privilege and opportunity, but it gave me a chance to say Luke, accountability, preparation, respect, civility.  You‘re always, always loved, but you‘re never, never entitled.  Just because your old man works for NBC doesn‘t mean anything in terms of your life and what‘s expected of you. 

I told him about Saint Luke, to whom much is given, much is expected, and now, he has taken that to heart, and tells me that there‘s another tattoo, Luke 12:48. 

TUCKER:  Man, it‘s a passage.

RUSSERT:  I‘m still looking for it.


TUCKER:  God, if you‘re—if you‘re boy becomes a man and winds up like that, I think you win. 

RUSSERT:  I‘m trying so hard. 

TUCKER:  We‘re back in a minute with NBC‘s Tim Russert, author of “Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons.”  We‘ll be right back.

Plus, the Duke lacrosse case comes to a dramatic conclusion in court, and the man on trial was the prosecutor, Mike Nifong, who resigns in tears.    We‘ll show it to you.  You‘re watching MSNBC. 


CARLSON:  Father‘s Day is this Sunday.  What will you say to your father?  Joining us, once more, NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and author of “Wisdom of our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons,” NBC‘s, Tim Russert.  Tim, thanks for joining us again. 

Tim, what—you know, I went through this book last night and I‘m at the end of each account that people sent in about their fathers and you have the dates that the father lived.  And I was struck again and again by how young many of these guys died.  Late 40‘s, 50‘s, and early 60‘s.  America has changed. 

RUSSERT:  Dramatically, men who died from a lot of hard work, many of them smoked.  I remember a hearing I went to with the late Daniel Patrick Boynehan (ph) up in Lackawana (ph), New York.  Bethlehem Steel and there were a panel of 50-year-old steal workers, all of them looked much older.  But they all had these enormous hands.  And they said Senator, find us work.  Get—these hands can still work, give us a job, give us our dignity.  And it made such an impression on me, I did a whole chapter on hands, how many sons and daughters talked about their dad‘s hands, because that‘s what they observed and watched.  Him coming home, tired, exhausted, dirty hands, and many of them did not have long lives because of that. 

CARLSON:  And it was all so taken for granted at least by their kids. 

Your father is 55, he dies.  It seemed normal like at 30 years ago.  What -

having read thousands of accounts that people have written about their own fathers, what are the moments that kids remember in their lives with their fathers? 

RUSSERT:  It‘s nothing to do with anything that is planned or expensive, or material.  It is being at the end of the—foot of the bed reading a story, or answering questions about stars, or where do people come from.  It‘s being in the stands when the kids at the batter‘s box, 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth.  It‘s being in the second row, or the back row of the recital.  That‘s all they remember.  Is my dad, one time I was in the backseat of my car and I was stuttering because I was talking so fast and kids were laughing at me, because I stuttered.  And my dad reached around with big his hand and squeezed my hands and I stopped stuttering.  And to this day, he has been dead 20 years, when I start to stutter I squeeze my own hand, I can feel my dad. 

Andrea Defusco (ph) up in Massachusetts, her dad worked from 4:00 a.m.  until midnight, he would draw little pictures, little ducks, and put it in her lunch bucket and her knapsack.  And he died 10 years ago.  She went to clip her hedges, found the clippers and dropped down from the box were goggles and gloves.  The gloves smelt like Aquavelva (ph), what her dad wore every day, and the goggles had a little duck on it saying please wear these goggles and protect your beautiful brown eyes.  That‘s what kids remember.

You know, Tucker.  Time, the most priceless commodity, once you give it, you never get it back, but you give it to your kids, you will get it back like you never dreamt of.  They listen and watch and observe everything.  This book is a road map for young and old fathers.  Kids are telling you, this is how you do it dad.  Don‘t be someone who is going to give me $20 and say, go have a good time.  Be there with me.  Be there with me. 

CARLSON:  You received a letter from  a guy who said that his son was driving cross country and said, why don‘t you come?  And he dropped everything and went, and you said it inspired to do the same. 

CARLSON:  Absolutely.  I drove—and my son has a pickup truck.  And unfortunately, when the first book came out, and I was doing radio interviews while driving with my kid.  He finally pulled over on the Jersey Turnpike and said dad, this is our drive.  Knock off the radio.  Boy, what a lesson!  He taught me a big lesson.  What was I doing?  I threw the phone out the window.  Lets go.  Lets talk.  We talked baseball, football, you know, and he had questions about everything under the sun.  And, boy, it was a magical moment.  Nothing—I will relive that trip the rest of my life. 

CARLSON:  You know, you hear so much complaining about fathers.  These all are positive.  Do they reflect most of the letters you get?  Positive?

RUSSERT:  By far, the vast majority were positive.  There were some  sad ones, and I eluded to those, people whose dads drank too much, that did not come home or beat up their mom, and I think that we—that does exist in society.  There is a wonderful chapter on characters, and I don‘t know your dad well, but I‘ve observed him from a far, and he is a character. 

CARLSON:  Yes, he is. 

RUSSERT:  And I think there is a uniqueness in a dad who is a character, and you can learn an awful lot from that kind of free spirit.  I think I captured that in that chapter.  Because a lot of sons and daughters were confused saying, my God, my dad is such a pistol, and they get to be 30 or 40, and they will say, he is one hell of a guy. 

CARLSON:  Amen.  Hey, I—this book actually made me cry.  I will admit it.  I thought it was great.  Tim Russert, thank you. 

RUSSERT:  Happy Father‘s Day.

CARLSON:  Happy Father‘s Day to you, thank you.

Well, Tim was busy on this Sunday, he will be moderator, as always, on “Meet the Press.”  He will talk exclusively to U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. 

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has a message for Mexican immigrants, stop watching your Spanish speaking televisions, otherwise you will never learn English.  Meanwhile Governor Bill Richardson complains he has to speak English in the next presidential debate.  More in a minute.  This is MSNBC. 


CARLSON:  Still to come, the district attorney in what was once the Duke rape case apologizes for getting a bit carried away and then offers up his tearful resignation.  More on that in just a minute, but, first, here‘s a look at your headlines.


CARLSON:  Mike Nifong, the Durham district attorney who brought charges—false charges, it turned out—against those three Duke lacrosse players was in court today.  Presented with evidence that the charges were, in fact, trumped up, and that it was his fault, and he broke down in tears, and he announced that he was resigning from his job.  Joining us now is someone who has followed that case very closely from the very beginning, MSNBC general manager and NBC News chief legal correspondent Dan Abrams, who joins us by phone.

Dan, are you there?


CARLSON:  So is this it for Nifong?  I mean, can he be held responsible beyond this or is he just going to fade from the scene after today? 

ABRAMS:  Well, we‘re talking about a number of different levels.  So now he‘s saying he‘s going to resign as the D.A.  He‘s not saying he‘s going to give up his law license, and that‘s what this hearing is about.  I mean, this hearing could result in Nifong losing the ability to practice law at all, forget about being the D.A.

And then there‘s the question, again, after this, of civil lawsuits.  The family could sue Nifong for comments that he made out of court.  But I think, in terms of sort of the criminal side of this, I don‘t think you‘re going to see any criminal case brought against Nifong.  You never know; it‘s still possible.  But this is a first step. 

CARLSON:  So this is a complete and utter vindication for those who said, really from the early stages of this case, that it was trumped up, made up, that Nifong was out of control?  It turns out they were right? 

ABRAMS:  Well, look, I think we‘ve already learned that, when the North Carolina attorney general stepped in and basically came forward and announced, in very strong language, that there wasn‘t any evidence here to move forward with the case, and went beyond that, talking about criticizing Mike Nifong, criticizing those who brought the case, criticizing the woman involved in the allegations. 

So the North Carolina attorney general I think already set the stage there.  The question now is, all right, this is a mess.  But the issue for Mike Nifong is, did he lie?  Did he deceive the court?  Those are fundamental questions that this ethics committee is going to have to decide. 

CARLSON:  Are there indications that the families of these three former lacrosse players are going to sue the school, going to sue Nifong?  And what about the woman behind all of this, the woman who made up these allegations, Crystal Gail Mangum, the stripper? 

ABRAMS:  Yes, I mean, I think that it‘s unlikely anything will happen to her, although, you know, again, she could get charged with lying to authorities.  I think it‘s unlikely that they‘re going to move forward with that case.  I think this is the sort of case that they‘d like to make it go away rather than anything else.  It‘s not out of the question that they could pursue that, though. 

CARLSON:  Boy, let justice be done.  That‘s my view.  Dan Abrams, NBC News chief legal...

ABRAMS:  You know, Tucker, real quick, Reade Seligmann‘s testimony today I‘m sure has had an enormous impact, the fact that he‘s looking Mike Nifong in the eye and telling him what this case meant to him.

CARLSON:  I hope he has, and I hope that every women‘s studies professor across this country, particularly those at your alma mater, Duke, who proclaimed these guys guilty before the verdict was rendered, you know, I hope they all resign in shame.  They deserve it.  That‘s my view. 

Dan Abrams, thanks a lot for coming on. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Tucker, see you.

CARLSON:  We are joined to talk about the rest of the day‘s news—and believe it or not, there was some—by nationally syndicated radio show host and author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion,” Bill Press, also, Republican strategist, former RNC Committee senior adviser Terry Holt.

Welcome to you both. 

TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Tucker, good to see you.

CARLSON:  Yesterday on the show, we announced that Harry Reid had allegedly described at least one U.S. general and possibly another, David Petraeus, as incompetent.  And today he basically conceded, yes, he did.  Is it a good idea, do you think, for the top Democrat in the Senate, Bill, to be running around attacking military commanders?

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  You know, I think we have a double standard in Washington, or maybe we can‘t get it straight in Washington.  We kind of complain that politicians always talk in generalities and spin and everything, and then when somebody talks plainly and tells the truth, then we say, “Oh, he‘s gone too far.”  Look, I think...

CARLSON:  You‘re right, but hold on.  He hasn‘t told us—if you were to come out and say, “You know what?  I think Petraeus is incompetent for the following nine reasons,” I would say, “You know what?  I‘ll listen—maybe he is incompetent.  Convince me.”  But it was just an epithet. 


PRESS:  I think the first he said was incompetent was Peter Pace.  And I think Peter Pace has been an embarrassment as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.  Look, Tucker, the war in Iraq is a mess, whether you think we should have gone there in the first place or not, and Pace has to bear some of the responsibility.  And for four years, and then as vice, and then two years as chair, he was just a yes man for Donald Rumsfeld.  You know, I don‘t think he was there really fighting for the troops in Iraq to get the equipment they needed, the armor they needed, the support that they needed.  And why didn‘t the White House reappoint him if he‘s such a great guy? 

CARLSON:  I think, Terry, this is the only good news that Republicans have had in a long time.  Bush started this war.  It‘s his fault.  Republicans supported him for the most part for all these years.  They shouldn‘t have, in my view.  They‘ve been waiting for the Democrats to overstep and overreach, and now they have.  It‘s like Christmas.  It‘s like the only good news they‘ve had in a long time, no? 

HOLT:  Well, and not well-publicized, but earlier this week, we saw poll numbers that have been sort of lagging for a while.  Now the Democrats in the Congress, the leaders in the Congress, are seeing their lowest poll numbers since they took over, now below 30 percent.  They look at this Congress as a business-as-usual Congress, as a do-nothing Congress, and I think this attack, attack, attack stand that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is taking is really wearing on the party as a whole.  I think people are wanting to see more than just negativity from the Democrats; they want to see leadership.  And this isn‘t leadership. 

CARLSON:  I mean, is this going to be—again, Republicans want to tie Democrats to the war to the extent they can, obviously.  Are we going to see this in ads?

HOLT:  Well, I think that Harry Reid would be a great ad to have on today.  I mean, Harry Reid taking on the U.S. military, which in spite of the problems in Iraq, still enjoys an enormous favorability rating with the American people.  People still like the military.  Leaving aside whether Pace did a good job or not, the American people don‘t put Peter Pace‘s face on the United States military.  They put the sons and daughters and the people in their community‘s face on their military, and I think that‘s dangerous. 

PRESS:  Yes, I just want to point out, Harry Reid was not taking on the military in Iraq.  He was making a comment about Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs...

CARLSON:  And Petraeus.  And Petraeus.

PRESS:  ... and the White House is not reappointing—yes, we can get to Petraeus.  And, listen, Peter Pace is not a sacred cow.  You know, when I first started out, I learned, if there‘s any sacred cow, there‘s sacred bull.  And it‘s sacred bull to say you cannot criticize Peter Pace. 

CARLSON:  I agree with you.  I would agree with you completely.

HOLT:  Absolutely not.  And, in fact, I think it‘s important that, if he‘s not doing a good job, get him out of there.  We‘ve got to find some victories and some success in Iraq.  We‘ve got to win the war on terror, whether you‘re a Democrat or Republican.  And if he‘s not doing the job, he should be out. 

CARLSON:  But then why—I don‘t want to belabor the point, but this is a simple question.  If Harry Reid knows something about David Petraeus‘ performance as commander of U.S. troops in Iraq that leaves him to believe he‘s not up to the job, share it with the rest of us.  Tell us about it.  Don‘t just go off and whine to liberal nutcase bloggers about it.

PRESS:  Quickly, I think the Petraeus thing was based on this.  On the very same day that the Pentagon came out with this report saying that with the first three months of the surge there has been no change in the level of violence in Iraq, the very same day that report came out, that things are as bad if not worse than ever, Petraeus came out and said we‘re making, quote, “phenomenal progress.”  Now, I think maybe that indicates he might be out of touch with what‘s really going or with what the Pentagon is saying.  At least it‘s a valid question.

CARLSON:  It‘s a valid question, but I also think we need to keep our minds open enough to accept the possibility, maybe there are nice parts of Iraq even now.  I don‘t know.  I haven‘t been there in a while.

Here‘s the only reasonable thing I‘ve heard Arnold Schwarzenegger say in probably two years, and it is this.  At a speech before Spanish-language broadcasters, he said—and I‘m quoting—“You‘ve got to turn off the Spanish television set, so you‘re just forced to speak English, and that just makes you learn the language better.  I know this sounds odd, and this is the politically incorrect thing to say, and I‘m going to get myself in trouble”—and indeed he did.  Immediately, Spanish-language broadcasters started whining about how you‘re not supposed to say this. 

But here‘s a guy who learned English as his second language by watching English-language television.  This is such an obvious point.  What kind of world do we live in when it‘s considered bigoted to say that?

HOLT:  Duh!  You know, I took Spanish every year I attended college and didn‘t learn a lick of it until I had to in front of a television, but I had to learn the Spanish from the television.  I think it‘s important that we just tell the truth in these cases. 

It is absolutely true that people only succeed in America when they take on the attributes of the country, and English is fundamental to success.  You won‘t find a Hispanic-American that hasn‘t worked up the ladder of success after having spoken the language.  They have to learn English. 

CARLSON:  That will change, as huge portions of America, thanks to the efforts of liberals, don‘t have to learn English, right?  And so you‘ll just have Spanish—it‘ll be Quebec in various parts.  That will happen.  You watch. 

HOLT:  But I think that it‘s important.  If you‘re going to own a home, if you‘re going to have a job, it‘s still English, and you‘ve got to recognize that.  And Arnold Schwarzenegger should be applauded for having the guts to say that. 

CARLSON:  Well, if this immigration passes, that will completely change. 

PRESS:  It is English.  You‘re absolutely right what you said, but they have to learn English, and they are learning English.  I just think it‘s funny, frankly, this comment about the Spanish television.  When I lived in L.A., I watched the news in Spanish on television, because I wanted to help pick up the language.

CARLSON:  If you‘ve ever watched a Mexican soap opera, you don‘t need to know the language to know what‘s going on, because the acting is so over-the-top, it‘s unbelievable!

PRESS:  So here‘s Arnold saying what I think is very funny.  He‘s saying that you can‘t watch Spanish television, somebody who has a hard time pronouncing the world “California” still.

CARLSON:  I mean, he‘s trying.  I guess that‘s the point. 

Bill Richardson, meanwhile, is mad that he‘s got to speak English at the Univision debate.  There is a Democratic debate, sponsored by Univision, and it turns out that most voters even in 2007 speak English exclusively.  Sorry, it is America.  And so he‘s mad, he‘s outraged that he has to speak English in the debate. 

HOLT:  He should be presented with a pander-bear this week, because he‘s pandering to a group of people that he should be doing well with but he really hasn‘t caught on with anybody, including Hispanics.  He would like to leverage something, an advantage I think he has over Hillary Clinton or some of the other candidates, and I think he‘s just whining because he didn‘t get his way.

PRESS:  So we‘re going to have a debate with Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd, because they‘re the only—or maybe we throw George Bush in there because he says, “Mi casa es su casa.  Mi casa blanca es su casa blanca.”  No, I mean, come on.  This is the United States.  English is our national language.  All the candidates are running for president.  The debate is going to be in English. 

CARLSON:  It‘s actually not.  It‘s not our national language.  It is not our national language. 

PRESS:  Yes, it is.  It‘s not official, but it‘s our national language.

CARLSON:  When Congress was debating whether or not to make it our national language, Harry Reid stepped up and said that‘s racist. 

PRESS:  No, they were trying to make it the official language, meaning you couldn‘t have Spanish anywhere on any—bilingual anywhere else.  It is our national language.  We are an English-speaking nation, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  We are now, but I bet you—I bet you my house, and I say this in all sadness—huge parts of this country will not speak English. 

PRESS:  I‘ll take that bet. 

CARLSON:  Really?  Good.  I hope I lose. 

PRESS:  Because I know your house. 

CARLSON:  Thank you.

Hillary Clinton is the richest Democrat running for president, thanks to her husband, the former president, but what are they doing with all that money?  They might spend it on a new Japanese robot.  How‘s that for a transition?  This one can do everything, crawl, talk, walk.  But luckily no need for diaper changes.  You‘re watching MSNBC.


CARLSON:  When Bill and Hillary Clinton left the White House, they were knee-deep in legal fees, some of which they neglected to pay, by the way.  But, my, what riches lie in the lecture circuit for a sought-after former president.  Hillary was serving in the Senate while Bill was raking it in from Denmark to South Africa, lots of it.  Now, questions are being raised about how the Clintons vested their millions. 

Even the normally reserved Obama for President campaign is sounding the alarm about the Clinton‘s financial interests, including reported investments in pharmaceutical firms, big oil, and companies that benefit from outsourced U.S. jobs.  So to discuss the potential implications of all this, we welcome back nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press and Republican strategist Terry Holt.

Welcome to you both.  Before we move into that, I cannot resist, because it is just so compelling, and I think important existentially, to put up a couple of Mike Gravel for President campaign spots.  You can‘t overstate how weird these are.  We‘re only going to show you portions, so go online and watch the whole thing.  But here‘s part of it, Mike Gravel for President, watch this. 

OK, in case you‘re wondering what happens next, the answer:  Nothing happens next.  Mike Gravel stares in the camera, just like that, for one minute and 10 seconds, and then he does this. 

And that‘s it.  That is possibly the single strangest thing I think I‘ve ever seen inside or outside of politics. 

HOLT:  It didn‘t have to be a long message meeting, though.  I mean, you didn‘t pay your media guy very much for that ad.

CARLSON:  That goes for two minutes long, by the way.  He stares for a minute and 10 seconds, like at you like that.  Oh, it‘s enough to give you the willies.  I mean, what is that about? 

PRESS:  I wish I knew.  I must say, I‘ve seen a lot of television commercials in my days, and made a lot of them.  I‘ve never seen anything as bizarre as that ever.  And, I mean, it‘s YouTube, but, still, you would think you have—in two minutes, you could say a lot, right? 


HOLT:  I think it fully encapsulates the Democratic message.  It says all there is you can say about the philosophy of the Democratic Party right there in two minutes. 

CARLSON:  Well, the beauty of it is...


CARLSON:  No, his spokesman said, you know, we don‘t always need to be talking about things.  Well, you know, he literally didn‘t say a word. 

PRESS:  Imagine how much he paid a consultant to come up with that concept. 

CARLSON:  Well, he‘s only raised $100,000 so far, so probably not so much. 

Speaking of money, the financial disclosures are out.  We‘ve learned that there are all sorts of interesting numbers here.  The richest presidential candidate of them all, John McCain.  Few people know that.  And the richest Democrat, of course, is Hillary Clinton. 

PRESS:  At least he married money.

CARLSON:  Nancy Pelosi is the richest person of the congressional leadership, speaking of marrying money.  She is worth up $89 million.  Now, the first thing that popped into my head when I read that number was, “Good for her.”  She can afford her own plane.  Why is she trying to stick taxpayers for this jet to fly across the country with her family and friends on it, though?  Why doesn‘t she pay for it herself?  I mean, you know what I mean?  We‘ve got a deficit here.

PRESS:  Tucker, George Bush is rich, too, and he flies on Air Force One.  He could afford his own plane.

CARLSON:  He‘s the president.  She‘s a congresswoman from California.

PRESS:  Come on, seriously.  She‘s the speaker of the House of Representatives.  She deserves her plane, just like Denny Hastert had a plane.  And since she lives farther away, she deserves a little bigger plane to get to California without having to stop in Indiana to refuel. 

CARLSON:  No speaker deserves a plane, Republican or Democrat, and I‘m embarrassed that I didn‘t know Denny Hastert was using a plane.  I went after the Republican FBI director this week for using a jet.  I think it‘s ridiculous.  Take JetBlue like everybody else.  You‘re not God. 

HOLT:  It does send the wrong signal to most Americans. 

CARLSON:  It‘s awful.

HOLT:  You know, in 1994, I ran a little campaign against Tom Foley, who was then the speaker of the House of Representatives.  Our campaign began and ended with a spot with Foley getting in and out of a limousine.  It tells the American people that they‘re out of touch, and I think that there needs to be a little bit of coming back to Earth by politicians to demonstrate that they care about real people.

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more.  Now, Bill Clinton cares.  He cares a lot.  He was going to spend his years after the presidency cure AIDS in Africa.  Instead, he has spent it raising money for himself, almost $50 million, we‘ve learned.  He took, among many other fees, $150,000 from the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles to give a speech.  Now, how in good conscience could you do that?  I don‘t even think I would do that, and I‘m not on my high horse about anything, $150,000 grand from the Boys and Girls Club?  Come on.

PRESS:  First of all, Tucker, it‘s not fair to say that Bill Clinton has done nothing about AIDS in Africa.  I think Bill Clinton has done more than any person alive about AIDS in Africa, but you did say that he promised to do it, and he‘s done nothing.  That‘s just not true.

CARLSON:  No, I didn‘t say he‘s done nothing.

PRESS:  He‘s raised millions and millions of dollars for AIDS in Africa.


CARLSON:  But how can you take $150,000 grand from the Boys and Girls Club? 

PRESS:  But even that‘s not true.  He‘s also I would say sort of twisted arms in the pharmaceutical companies to provide cheaper drugs, AIDS drugs in Africa.  He‘s done an awful lot in that area.  He is the most popular, sought-after speaker in the United States today, around the world, and he made a lot of money. 


CARLSON:  Here are his investments.  We‘re almost out of time, but very quickly, the Clintons liquidated their investments.  They put them all into treasury bonds, cash.  But up until now, they‘ve owned more than $100,000 in News Corp., parent company of FOX, Pfizer, Exxon-Mobil, Wal-Mart.  I mean, these are not the kind of investments you‘d expect socially-conscious progressives to make. 

PRESS:  There‘s a blind trust.  They did not make the choices.  City Corp. made the choices for them.  They didn‘t even know what was in their trust. 

CARLSON:  They could have told City Corp., “Don‘t invest in things we disagree with.”

PRESS:  A blind trust is a blind trust. 

CARLSON:  They didn‘t have to have a blind trust.  They could have said, “Don‘t invest in things we disagree with.”  Why didn‘t they? 

HOLT:  I think that if they think they‘re good investments, they should invest in them and be proud of them.  This is America.  America was built on the idea that anybody can make money and get rich.  God bless. 


CARLSON:  I only wish they were as committed to capitalism as...


CARLSON:  They are American firms.  They also invested in foreign firms, but we‘re out of time.  I‘d love to tell you about that and curl your hair, Bill.  Terry, Bill, thank you.

PRESS:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  It‘s the end of an era on the “Price is Right.”  Bob Barker bids farewell after 35 years on the set.  We‘ll have some final farewells.  Come on down.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We‘ve got some breaking news to report about our comrade, our friend, really one of my all-time favorite people, Willie Geist.  And for that we go to Bill Wolff standing by. 

BILL WOLFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Here I am, Tucker.  Yes, breaking news from the Bronx, New York, where last night at 7:07 p.m., Lucy Joy Geist came into this world.  That is the child of Willie and Christina Geist.  The baby, I‘m told, is 6.6, which is amazing, because I don‘t think Christina is more than about five-foot—six pounds, six ounces.  It makes much more sense now. 

Well, Tucker, we have good news for Willie and his wife, Christina, and baby Lucy from the island nation of Japan.  There now appears to be no need to go through all the hassles of pregnancy and childbirth, because a team of scientists at Osaka University has developed a robotic child.  Robochild has silicon skin, makes facial expressions, crawls across the floor, sees through cameras, hears and speaks.  Of course, developers considered the name Lucy, just like the Geists, along with Madison, Lila, Oliver and Jacob, but settled instead on CB2.  Romantic. 

I must say, I‘m not sure I would adopt a robot child for the sake of the real child, the natural born child.  I spend a lot of time in my youth pounding on my little brother and my older sister, Sam and Jane, for which I‘ve apologized to them.  I cannot imagine pounding on a robot child.  What would the point be, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  That robot looks a lot like Stretch Armstrong.  I don‘t know if you remember that, one of the great toys of all-time in 1977. 

WOLFF:  I remember it along with Sucker Man, who you could through against the wall and he sticks. 


WOLFF:  Anyway...

CARLSON:  Can I just point out thing, Bill, really quick?

WOLFF:  Yes, you would.

CARLSON:  Lucy Geist was born, as you predicted, on the birthday of Donald Trump.  They now share a birthday, Willie‘s daughter and Donald Trump.  That‘s just so perfect.  So congratulations. 

WOLFF:  And I believe her name is Marla Gibbs, she played housekeeper Florence on “The Jefferson.” 

A couple more indications that the Chinese are going to dominate the world that Lucy Geist and her robo-sibling, CB2, occupies.  First, they‘re about finished with their new national theater.  Take a look.  It‘s in the heart of Beijing, site of the 2008 Olympics, only on NBC.  It seats 6,000 people and looks like an egg, spawning hysterical paranoia that the theater will hatch and American megaplexes will be dominated by giant Chinese super-theaters. 

If that doesn‘t put the fear of Mao in you, the Chinese are producing a 50-episode TV series about Bruce Lee.  More than 100 people auditioned for the lead role, meaning there are least 100 people in China with Bruce Lee butt-kicking skills.  We‘re in huge trouble, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Oh, Bill, you‘re scaring me. 

WOLFF:  I don‘t mean to.  It‘s just the way it is, Tucker.  And, quickly, because we‘re running out of time, our final note on this penultimate afternoon before Father‘s Day, children everywhere have one fewer reason to fake being sick to stay home from school, as the father of perhaps the emperor of TV game shows called it a career, Bob Barker signing off from “The Price is Right” for the last time this morning.  In case you‘ve lived without electricity for the last 35 years and have no idea how Bob would say farewell, here it is.


BOB BARKER, FORMER HOST, “THE PRICE IS RIGHT”:  I want to thank you very, very much for inviting me into your homes for the last 50 years.  I am deeply grateful.  And please remember:  Help control the pet population.  Have your pet spayed or neutered.  Good-bye, everybody. 


WOLFF:  Tucker, I have a confession to make.  As our viewers can see, I was once an audience member on “Price is Right.”  I still have the name tag.  What can I tell you?  Tucker, I‘m recommending you get a sign-off like “spay or neutered.”  I‘m recommending, “The end is night.  Hoard canned goods.  Goodbye, everybody.”

CARLSON:  I‘d prefer, “It‘s too late now.”  Bill Wolff from headquarters, thanks a lot.

WOLFF:  Have a great weekend.

CARLSON:  Thank you.

That does it for us.  That does it for me for the next week.  I‘ll be off, but I‘ll be thinking about you.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Mike Barnicle.  Have a great weekend. 



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.


Watch Tucker each weeknight at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET


Discussion comments