updated 7/17/2007 12:33:34 PM ET 2007-07-17T16:33:34

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Larry Korb, Byran Daly

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show.  The mystery of Senator David Vitter‘s whereabouts has been solved.  He‘s at home in Louisiana.  And in just moments, we‘ll hear his first statement since he confessed to being a client of the so-called D.C. madam.  Vitter made his confession by email a week ago, then disappeared.  Louisiana Democratic Party called for his resignation, and at least one Louisiana conservative group joined that chorus. 

Vitter‘s statement is expected within the next five minutes from Metairie, Louisiana, and the senator will reportedly return to Capitol Hill tomorrow and is not planning to resign.  That‘s what we‘re hearing, anyway.  This being politics, friends of David Vitter are pretty hard to find these days.  His ally, Congressman Bobby Jindal—likely to become the next governor of Louisiana—would only support Vitter as far as to say that his family is praying for the senator. 

So what will David Vitter have to do to gain forgiveness and acceptance from his constituents and his colleagues in Congress, none of whom have ever done anything like this, ever?

Well, as we wait for David Vitter‘s statement, we welcome MSNBC‘s congressional correspondent Mike Viqueira with the view from Capitol Hill.  Mike, what is the view from Capitol Hill?


Well, the view is absent one David Vitter, at least it has been for the last seven days.  Senate has been in turmoil, discussing that big defense authorization bill that includes all that debate about Iraq. 

Ever since last Monday night when that AP story about David Vitter‘s confession and his asking for forgiveness from his wife popped out on the wire, we have not seen David Vitter here in Washington.  He has not voted in the Senate all along all last week.  It was finally revealed last night that he planned to come back to Washington sometime this week.  And as you said, just about four minutes from now, we‘re expecting to see David Vitter with his wife Wendy.  We do not expect to see him with any of his four children.  They‘re in Metairie, Louisiana, where he is from.  Of course, the former Rhodes scholar and Harvard graduate.

We expect him to talk a little about local issues there in Louisiana.  It‘s unclear or not whether he is going to get into the allegations specifically.  And it‘s unclear or not whether he is going to take questions.  So it could be a relatively quick and uninformative—at least as far as the assembled press corps is concerned—visit by Senator Vitter. 

CARLSON:  So he‘s been taking cues from Senator Chuck Hagel on how to hold press conferences, apparently. 

Governor Blanco, the governor still of Louisiana...


CARLSON:  ... who has presided over the mess after Katrina, said the other day that she was really worried that this scandal would affect the view of congressional leaders of Louisiana.  She‘s coming up to Washington soon to ask for more money for the state. 

Is there any indication that Harry Reid and Speaker Pelosi will be less likely to want to give money to Louisiana because David Vitter went to a prostitute? 

VIQUEIRA:  You know, let me speculate if you‘ll allow me.  No.  First of all, the recovery of New Orleans, post-Katrina recovery has been a big cause of Nancy Pelosi.  And Jim Clyburn, of course he is the number three House Democrat and African-American, has made Katrina recovery a cause celebre of his.  David Vitter really wasn‘t driving the agenda there on the House side. 

On the Senate side, they have got a somewhat capable Democratic senator there named Mary Landrieu, who may or may not be on really good terms with David Vitter, probably on the down side right about now.  But she also has been carrying the load. 

Yes, David Vitter has pushed very hard, had competing plans with Landrieu in the immediate aftermath of Katrina.  Whether or not, however, congressional leaders are going to look askance at Katrina recovery efforts because of the scandal of Vitter, that might be a stretch. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I wonder—the assumption, I guess, at this point is that David Vitter is the only person out of 100 senators with an offbeat sex life.  I guess that‘s kind of the idea here. 

VIQUEIRA:  You do the math, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  But let‘s just assume that there may be one or two others, OK?  We‘ll just go way out here.  Are those one or two others concerned, do you think, that their private lives might be hauled into public view now? 

VIQUEIRA:  Well, I guess we have to wait to hear from Larry Flynt on that, Tucker.  And I know you have got a real good friendship going with that particular publisher. 

I obviously do not know who might be next in the docket, if there is anybody here in Congress.  Of course, Senator Jim DeMint, he is a Republican from South Carolina, had some comments that were looked at in kind of a funny way last week when he said, you know, we‘re here all alone, members of Congress, many of them without our families, and this might not be—and I‘m paraphrasing here—the first time that this is going to happen, and people are vulnerable. 

So your guess is as good as mine on that front.  Of course, I‘m referring to Larry Flynt.  As many people know at this point, it was Larry Flynt and his reward money, if that is the right word, that was partly responsible for bringing Vitter out into the open at this point, as it was ironically back in 1998, when Vitter‘s predecessor in the House, Bob Livingston, was forced to resign because he had to admit to extramarital affairs—Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I remember that day well.  How is Vitter...

VIQUEIRA:  December 19th

CARLSON:  Yes.  I was there.  I think you were, too. 

VIQUEIRA:  I was. 

CARLSON:  How is Vitter‘s staff handling this?  Presumably they didn‘t know.  They were told in a conference call right before he sent off that email, the now-famous email to the Associated Press.  Are they coming to work every day? 

VIQUEIRA:  As far as I know, they are. 

Largely mum, except for putting out that statement last Monday.  And then last night, another statement was released, a very brief statement, saying that Senator Vitter would indeed be returning to work here in Washington, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  And finally, Mike, do we have any indication—have you heard anything about the senator‘s plans?  We have just heard that he is not planning to resign, but you‘re right on the scene.  Have you heard more on that? 

VIQUEIRA:  No, no.  Everybody is saying he is going to stick it out.  I saw a top leadership staffer on my way over here walking through the Capitol on the Senate—just outside the Senate chamber.  So there has been radio silence from the Vitter camp in terms of talking to the leadership about his plans.  That leads people to believe that he is going to stay on. 

Remember, Tucker, we have got three weeks to go here before a four-week August recess in Congress.  I think it‘s not unreasonable to assume that if he can weather these three weeks—and you never know what‘s going on down in Louisiana, you know, Louisiana politics‘ reputation in its own right, and apparently from what I‘m hearing over the course of the past week is very well preserved—well deserved, rather.  And the long knives are out in some Republican circles locally there for Vitter. 

But at this point, from everything that we‘re hearing in Congress here in Washington, Vitter will ride this out.  And here‘s David Vitter, I understand, now.

CARLSON:  Yes.  To Metairie, Louisiana.  Here‘s David Vitter.

SEN. DAVID VITTER ®, LOUISIANA:  ... to attack me because of my past failings, well, so be it. 

Unfortunately, my admission has encouraged some long-time political enemies and those hoping to profit from the situation to spread falsehoods too, like those New Orleans stories in recent reporting.  Those stories are not true. 

Now, having said all of this, I‘m not going to answer endless questions about it all over again and again and again and again.  That might sell newspapers, but it wouldn‘t serve my family or my constituents well at all because we all have a lot of important work to do for Louisiana. 

For my part, I‘ll be helping finalize a crucial water resources bill to provide much better hurricane and flood protection.  I‘ll be following up on our important defeat of a bad immigration bill by working for good border and workplace security.  

I‘ll be fighting the complete I-49 and LA-28 and LA-1 and much more. 

From here, I‘ll go directly to the airport and to Washington for votes, because I‘m eager to continue my work in the U.S. Senate to help move Louisiana forward.  Thank you. 

WENDY VITTER, DAVID VITTER‘S WIFE:  To those of you who know me, are

you surprised that I have something to say?  You know, in most any other

marriage, this would have been a private issue between a husband and a wife

very private.  Obviously, it is not here. 

Like all marriages, ours is not perfect.  None of us are.  But we choose to work together as a family.  When David and I dealt with this privately years ago, I forgave David.  I made the decision to love him and to recommit to our marriage.  To forgive is not always the easy choice, but it was and is the right choice for me.  David is my best friend. 

Last week, some people very sympathetically said to me, “I wouldn‘t want to be in your shoes right now.”  I stand before you to tell you very proudly, I am proud to be Wendy Vitter. 

That‘s not to say that last week wasn‘t incredibly trying and very sad, not for our marriage—our marriage is stronger every day—but for our children. 

And now I‘m going to speak to you as a mother and I hope you will understand.  It‘s been terribly hard to have the media parked on our front lawn and following us every day.  And yesterday, the media was camped at our church—at our home, and at our church every day. 

As David returns to work in Washington, we‘re going to return to our life here.  I would ask you very respectfully to let us continue our summer and our lives as we had planned. 

Thank you very much. 

D. VITTER:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Remarkable.  A remarkable statement by David Vitter and his wife Wendy, speaking from Metairie, Louisiana, addressing directly this scandal that has driven Senator Vitter from public view for the past week. 

Joining us now to discuss what we‘ve just heard, Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst Hilary Rosen and “Newsweek” senior White House correspondent Richard Wolffe.  Welcome to you both. 

I thought—I have such mixed feelings about all this, but Wendy Vitter‘s point that the press is camped out on her front lawn and followed her to church, that‘s disgusting.  I mean, is that possible to defend?  I say this as someone who has been in the press my whole life.  You have, too.  Following the family to church because the guy went to a hooker?  I mean, is there any defending that? 


CARLSON:  On what grounds?

WOLFFE:  Well, he engaged in illegal behavior.  He campaigned publicly on family values and traditional marriage, and he hasn‘t been seen in the press—in front of the press for a week. 

CARLSON:  Well, he‘s not required to be seen in front of the press. 

That‘s not part of his job. 

WOLFFE:  His job is to serve the people. 

CARLSON:  Well, hold on, hold on.  To serve the people, not to serve the press.  And presumably, he gets—he‘s a senator, he should be able to go to church without having cameras in his face and in his kids‘ faces. 

WOLFFE:  There is something horribly unseemly about it.  But it wouldn‘t have happened had he not behaved the way he did. 

CARLSON:  Come on, by that standard, I mean, is that the new standard now?  You stray from a marriage...


WOLFFE:  ... traditional marriage, yes.  He has made—he has put his family values in the public arena.  He has got to live and die by that. 


CARLSON:  He is living and dying by that.  He hasn‘t changed his position on that. 

ROSEN:  Well, he‘s not.  He is enjoying the benefit of the other side of his hypocrisy. 

You know, I was so prepared before this statement started to just say, you know, in Washington, we really, as much as it titillates us to get involved and speculate on the private lives of people, we really have a very good tradition in this town, you know, of finally letting people go of it, you know, despite the sort of impeachment battle that we lived through. 

But I‘m appalled by that press conference.  To stand up there and act like the victim?  That‘s just nuts. 

CARLSON:  Well, how are they—if they‘re not the victims, how are they the perpetrators?  What have they done to you?  This guy went to a hooker.  How does that hurt you?  Does that hurt you at all? 

ROSEN:  I‘m sorry, the point that Richard made...

CARLSON:  They are the victims.

ROSEN:  Get out of my private life?  You know what, David Vitter?  Get out of my right to choose my—whether I have an abortion.  Get out of my right...

CARLSON:  What the hell does that have to do with it?

ROSEN:  ... to—to...


CARLSON:  So if you‘re pro-choice...

ROSEN:  Get out of my right to love who I want as a gay person.  Get out of my life!

CARLSON:  This is insane!  These are standards you will regret...

ROSEN:  No, it‘s not...


CARLSON:  You will regret endorsing these standards, it seems to me.  If you disagree with David Vitter‘s position on any public policy issue, argue against it.  But don‘t send a camera to follow the guy and his four kids to church.  That‘s disgusting. 

ROSEN:  You know what?

CARLSON:  (inaudible) defend that?

ROSEN:  You know what?  It‘s not right to follow the kids.  They should leave the kids out of this. 

WOLFFE:  I agree.

ROSEN:  But if they‘re going to stand up and act like victims instead of saying, you know what?  We made a huge mistake, let‘s move on.  You‘re right, in fact, we didn‘t live by the values we‘ve been preaching and trying to force in a public policy environment on other people. 

CARLSON:  That‘s a double standard.

ROSEN:  If they had actually acknowledged some of the hypocrisy they had lived in just this press conference...

CARLSON:  Really?  OK, so...

ROSEN:  ... I would have a totally different reaction right now. 

CARLSON:  It‘s actually—I mean, it just seems to me that we are setting ourselves up.  I‘m not defending going to a hooker.  I‘m just saying, we are setting ourselves up to a standard that I don‘t think any of us want to see applied across the board.  All right?  Everybody falls short of his own ideals. 

WOLFFE:  No, no, but he campaigned on marriage.  He campaigned...

CARLSON:  Teddy Kennedy is an advocate for women‘s rights, and he killed a woman!  So, I mean, he doesn‘t get hit with that at every press conference, and he shouldn‘t.  At some point, we should just back off.

ROSEN:  It was an accident, and nobody‘s paid a bigger price or apologized more.

CARLSON:  A bigger price?  He‘s a hero.  I‘m just saying, look...


CARLSON:  ... we all fall short.  And if all of a sudden, we say it‘s OK to get into your sex life because we don‘t like your position on abortion, I don‘t think we want to go there.


CARLSON:  He‘s still the advocate for it.  He fell short of his own—what he‘s espousing.  I just...

ROSEN:  He is acting like a victim, Tucker.  That‘s the problem. 


ROSEN:  If he apologized with some grace and acknowledged it... 

CARLSON:  The Reverend Rosen would be satisfied by that? 

ROSEN:  Reverend Rosen and a whole lot of Americans. 


CARLSON:  It‘s unbelievable.

The Senate is set to begin debate on the Iraq war tomorrow night, but is it all for naught?  Will U.S. troops stay there until the Iraqis ask us to leave?  And who cares what the Iraqis think anyway? 

Plus, Hillary Clinton promises to bring our troops home if she is elected president.  She also promises to keep our troops there for the foreseeable future.  What is her position?  We‘ll tell you in a minute.  You‘re watching MSNBC.


CARLSON:  The Senate plans to work through the night this coming Tuesday.  Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks that will help fight off a Republican filibuster on the latest troop redeployment plan.  It still appears, however, the Democrats lack the votes to override an all-but-certain veto by President Bush.  Now, the president has some breathing room for mass Republican defections at least until September, when General David Petraeus delivers his report.  But as the push to change course in Iraq gathers steam, one thing is becoming clear: U.S. troops could be in Iraq for years to come, whether or not the candidates admit it. 

Joining us now is Larry Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.  Thanks for coming on.


CARLSON:  If a Democrat wins in this upcoming election, it seems to me certain that you will know personally really well the secretary of state, whoever that might be, because that‘s your world.  Tell me this, do the Democrats really believe that if a Democrat is elected, we‘re really going to pull all troops out of Iraq?  They don‘t really believe that, do they?

KORB:  Well, I think nobody wants to stay there forever. 

CARLSON:  Right.

KORB:  People know that at some point, you have to set a specific date to get out.  Because if you don‘t, you lose control of your policy.  Because the last thing you want—for example, let‘s say somebody were to assassinate the Ayatollah Sistani, who holds the Shias back really from even more violence.  All hell would break loose.  And you‘d have to run out.

If you don‘t set a date, you do not have control of your policy and you look like you are cutting and running, if you will.  So I think whoever gets elected is going to set a specific date...

CARLSON:  But what does that mean, to pull out?  I mean, this seems like the essential term to define, pulling out.

KORB:  Right.

CARLSON:  It doesn‘t mean withdrawing all American combat forces from Iraq, does it?

KORB:  No, I think the real question is where do you leave them.  Nobody—and if you want to go back to when Jack Murtha in the fall of 2005 said, you know, let‘s strategically redeploy, which is a plan that we put out at the Center at the same time—you leave forces in the area, because you do have interests in the region.  You can have forces in Kuwait, where we‘ve had them ever since we threw Saddam out of Kuwait.  You can put a marine expeditionary force in a carrier battle group over the horizon.  You have got facilities in Bahrain and Qatar, so you are not leaving the region. 

CARLSON:  But wait, I thought the whole point of pulling the troops out of Iraq, or one of the main points was, the presence of the American military in a Muslim country is destabilizing just by itself.  Just as it was in Saudi Arabia.  So why would you want to destabilize other Gulf countries, like Bahrain or Qatar? 

KORB:  Well, basically you‘re already there.  So, I mean, that‘s not -

in other words what happened is, when you went into Iraq, that became the big recruiting tool for al Qaeda.  It wasn‘t our presence in Kuwait.

Now Saudi Arabia was a beginning of a recruiting tool.  But not Kuwait.  Not Bahrain and Qatar.  But they‘ve asked us to come.  It is a big difference between sort of forcing yourself in there and being asked—

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t—that‘s—I don‘t buy that distinction for a second.  But let me ask you this.  General Rick Lynch, “New York Times,”  today piece, John Burns, had this story in the Times, in which General Lynch, who commands a great deal of Iraqi and American forces in Iraq said, if we leave, what happens to all people who supported us? 

KORB:  Well, that‘s important when you leave.  First, of all, it is a disgrace that we‘re not letting more Iraqis into this country.  I mean, the administration treats them like they were, you know, people that we would have no dealings with.  The people who have helped us, we have to help get into the country.  Two million people have already left the country so we‘ve have to.  And that‘s why it important for us to set a deadline, then we can help those people get out and get over here like we did with the Vietnamese. 

CARLSON:  So there will be millions of Iraqis coming into the country. 

KORB:  Well, again, it‘s already two million ...

CARLSON:  Wouldn‘t every person in the country say, I helped America.

KORB:  Well, not everybody.  You would know.   We know who has helped us, OK.  We have pretty good records of who helped us and who has not.  We know that. 

Unfortunately, they‘re afraid to tell their neighbors.  And that has been a problem ever since we got there.  When I went there in 2003, and found out the Iraqis working with us were afraid to tell their neighbors, I said, we‘re not greeted as liberators.  You know, this is not going to work the way that we ... 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I thought the same thing, actually. 

KORB:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Larry Korb, thanks a lot for joining us. 

KORB:  Nice to be with you.

CARLSON:  I appreciate it.

They say you cannot have your cake and eat it too.  Apparently they, who ever are they are, never ran for president.  Ask Hillary Clinton about bringing the troops home from Iraq.  What are those plans?  We will tell you.  We‘ll be right back.


CARLSON:  If Senator Hillary Clinton is the next president, and she could be, don‘t kid yourself, will she end the war and bring home the troops?  Or will she leave the troops there to fight al Qaeda and keep Iraq from becoming a staging area for the next big attack against the U.S.? 

Well, it turn out she has made both claims.  Today‘s “Washington Post” describes a speech Mrs. Clinton gave in Iowa last week, in which she told the crowd she would keep American troops in Iraq because “we cannot lose sight of our very real strategic national interests in this region.” 

And yet at the same time, her campaign put out a press release boasting that “Hillary Clinton announced her plan to end the war in Iraq and urged President Bush to act immediately.” 

They can‘t both be true.  Here to tell us which version we can believe, we welcome Democratic strategist and MSNBC Political Analyst Hilary Rosen, “Newsweek‘s” Senior White House Correspondent, Richard Wolffe.  Hilary, here is Mrs. Clinton.  Just in case you are thinking, oh, there is that right winger again ranking that about the former first lady.  He can‘t be true.  Here‘s Mrs. Clinton telling us two different things.  The first byte is from Tuesday, it‘s from March.  And the second from last Tuesday.  Here‘s Hillary Clinton. 


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I hope that the president will extricate us from Iraq before he leaves office.  But let me assure you, if he doesn‘t, when I‘m president, I will. 

I will order specialized units to engage in narrow and targeted operations against al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in the region.  They will also provide security for U.S. troops and personnel, and train and equip Iraqi security services to help keep order.  Only to the extent we believe such training is actually working. 

I would also consider, as I have said before, leaving some forces in the Kurdish area to protect the fragile, but real democracy, and relative peace and security that has developed there. 


CARLSON:  Boy.  I am completely confused.  When she‘s talking to firemen, she said—and she say‘s this a lot, I‘m getting, you know, Bush‘s plan‘s insane and I‘m going to be the antithesis of that.  And then, in the second, from last Tuesday, she articulates Bush‘s position, almost exactly.  What position is real? 

ROSEN:  Well, it wasn‘t articulating the president‘s position.  There are hundreds of thousands of troops there now.  That is a big difference to say we‘ll bring the majority of them home and yet we‘re going to keep a small number of troops there to protect.  A narrow measure to protect our special interests. 

So I think she is being relatively consistent here. 

CARLSON:  She is? 

ROSEN:  Yes.  You know, but there is no ...

CARLSON:  When she said ...

ROSEN:  ... she is emphasizing different portions of her plan in different venues.  But I don‘t think she is being inconsistent with the overall plan. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I mean, I love you, Hilary, so I‘m not going to be mean and it is not your job to defend the former first lady.  But, I mean, I know B.S. when I see it.  And she doesn‘t—I mean, come on.  I actually agree with her second point, I think she is being responsible and smart.  But she doesn‘t tell audiences that.  She‘s like, Oh!  I‘m going to end the war!  No she‘s not.

WOLFFE:  Right.  Let me try and clarify for you.

ROSEN:  That is ending the war. 

WOLFFE:  Let me try to clarify it.  She wants to win the primaries and she also wants to run a general election. 


WOLFFE:  And the two have come into a bit of a clash here. 

CARLSON:  See, that‘s what‘s so nice to have a man who covers politics.  Because you boil it right down. 

WOLFFE:  That‘s the problem.

CARLSON:  John Edwards begins a three day poverty tour of America.  The only problem is that there aren‘t all that many poor people left in this country.  Winning campaign theme?  We‘ll tell you when we come back.



CARLSON:  Lots of people dislike George W. Bush, but only a fervent few would compare him to Hitler.  Well, Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison is one of those.  Speaking to a group called Atheists for Human Rights, the congressman, who is a Muslim, said this about 9/11, “it‘s almost like the reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that.  After the reichstag was burned, they blamed the communists for it and it put the leader of that country, Hitler, in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.” 

Ellison went on to imply that he believes the Bush administration was behind 9/11, but doesn‘t want to say so because he doesn‘t want to be called a nut case.  Well, Ellison‘s speech was videotaped and it immediately made news.  He responded this way, quote, “Unfortunately, some have tried to misconstrue my remarks.  Obviously, Osama Bin Laden and the hijackers who carried out the murderous events are responsible for 9/11.  The questions is, however, how do we respond to this tragedy?  With fear and rage or with courage and reason?  I‘m for courage and reason,” he claims, though you would never know it. 

Joining us once again, MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen and “Newsweek‘s” senior White House correspondent Richard Wolffe.  What‘s the appeal, Richard, of comparing everyone to Hitler? 

WOLFFE:  I have no idea.  They should get it in their orientation packs, no references to Hitler and no escort services.  The two things are forbidden.  Unless you‘re talking about the second world war, no references. 

CARLSON:  How many times have you seen this? 

WOLFFE:  Always wrong. 

ROSEN:  And it always blows up in their face.  But this guy is a freshman Congressman and we‘re going to forgive him his sins.  Because I‘m all about forgiveness today.  Today I‘m all about forgiveness.  The point he was making, which is irrelevant at this point, given to his listeners, is that the president has taken advantage of the national tragedy and over-expanded his powers.  And he could have said that without talking about the Third Reich. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s absolutely a fair point.  It doesn‘t bother me that people make it.  They may be right.  I don‘t think that‘s what he was saying, because the belief is the Reichstag was torched by the Nazis and blamed on this Lubbe guy, the Dutch communist.  It was all part of a plot. 

He goes on to say—went on say this, Keith Ellison did, quote, “I‘m not saying 9/11 was a U.S. or anything like that, because, you know, that‘s how they put you in the nut box and dismiss you.”

In other words, I would say that if I didn‘t get criticized for it.  He‘s implying he believes the Bush administration was behind 9/11.  I‘ll forgive him for comparing Bush to Hitler.  Whatever, he got excited.  I won‘t forgive him for that.  That‘s too much. 

ROSEN:  No, absolutely too much.  And he did say that his rationale for believing that was they created—self-created a crises so that they could establish and grab hold of more power.  So that was the analogy. 

CARLSON:  That‘s pretty sick. 

ROSEN:  It‘s pretty sick.  It is simply obviously not true.  And this guy just made a huge mistake. 

CARLSON:  I am blown away -- 

ROSEN:  He‘ll be remembered by it—for it for several years. 

CARLSON:  I bet he won‘t.  I bet he will not because so many people believe it.  Someone I know, who I respect, who I think is pretty smart, said to me recently that he kind of thought that. 

WOLFFE:  A lot of people believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not as poisonous as believing that your government—

WOLFFE:  It isn‘t? 

CARLSON:  That Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11? 

WOLFFE:  I think false information is poisonous in any context. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not.

WOLFFE:  It‘s always poisonous, but there are degrees of poisonousness

poisonousness.  Some are more poisonous than others, these false theories.  And this one is particularly so.  You‘re saying your government killed 3,000 people. 

ROSEN:  One‘s a rationale for war; one‘s a rationale for revolt. 

CARLSON:  You kill your own people so you can what, pass the Patriot Act. 

WOLFFE:  As journalists, as people involved in the media, you want people to be out there in the most informed possible way.  There is no factual basis for either claim.  I‘m not saying there is a moral equivalence here.  But people believe crazy stuff in spite of everything that we put out there or all the good information that‘s out there. 

You know, having a member of Congress come up with this kind of conspiracy theory is, at best, not helpful and, at worst, scurrilous. 

ROSEN:  Particularly at a time when the debate is getting very pointed, and very much divided.  But consensus may be, at least in the Congress, somewhat near. 

CARLSON:  A lot of people on the far anti-Bush left think this and it‘s a shame.  You can make a pretty good case against Bush from a conservative point of view.  I do.  You don‘t need to be crazy, right, to dislike Bush. 

You may need to be crazy to believe in this; the “New York Times” has this piece today about this new Democratic populism.  The theory is that running against Clinton‘s economic programs, basically, that he backed throughout the 1990‘s is the ticket for Democrats.  Getting against globalization on the side of the poor is kind of the way to win in 2008.  Is there any evidence for this at all? 

ROSEN:  Well, I don‘t think that Democrats view this as running against Clinton‘s policies.  I think what people have said is that; has globalization gone too far?  Are we not putting the kinds of restrictions on trade that should be there?  I happen to be a free trader and disagree with this strategy. 

But I think there is a growing anxiety in America—we saw it in the last election—that the haves are getting richer and everybody else is working a little harder.  And people don‘t really know why.  And I don‘t think that this president has done a good job addressing the middle class in this country.  And I think that Democrats are obviously obliged to try to figure it out and see how to rectify it. 

CARLSON:  Boy!  Here‘s some interesting numbers—John Edwards is on this poverty tour where he‘s going around and going through basically a greatest hits of war on poverty events from the 1960‘s, going to where R.F.K. went, et cetera, et cetera.  He is the candidate of the poor.  And yet, according to the “Washington Post”—it is interesting—you ask poor people, who do you want to vote for?  You ask people with households with incomes under 20 grand; John Edwards gets 10 percent of their support, Barack Obama 20, Hillary Clinton 55 percent. 

What does that—Don‘t you find that sort of odd that the guy who has devoted his life, he says, to helping the poor doesn‘t have their support? 

WOLFFE:  Yes, I think it says a lot about his campaign and where he has to take it.  But I‘m not sure that he‘s doing this as a sort of idea of well, if I go to poor towns, then poor folks will vote for me.  It is a question of what he stands for and his work with his poverty center.  And he‘s not the only one.  You don‘t have to go back to the 1960‘s.  Bill Clinton did the same thing in 1990. 

The question is, do you have policies in place that speak to people‘s values?  It is a values question.  Nobody votes—I hear a lot of Democrats who say how can poor folks not vote for something that‘s in their economic self-interests?  A lot of those Democrats who say that are actually pretty wealthy. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

WOLFFE:  It‘s a question of what values does he represent?  Is he trying to communicate with this tour.  If people are talking about poverty, I think it‘s a good thing.  

CARLSON:  I‘m not saying it‘s bad at all.  I‘m just saying that the person to whom this is aimed, the group that this message is designed to reach is not the poor.  It is affluent—it‘s the daughter of your accountant who is 24, unmarried, living in Boulder, working on a drama degree, something like that.  It‘s affluent white people who are turned on by this.  Poor people?  No, they like Hillary Clinton. 

WOLFFE:  Nobody identified themselves as poor people. 

ROSEN:  That‘s where Edwards needs to go.  And that is why he is extremely strong with the unions and the like.  But people—voters see Hillary Clinton more as an experienced fighter for their issues.  And I think Edwards is having trouble getting in there. 

But I have to agree with Richard, I think this is a great divide.  Price Water (ph), Kentucky is just as poor today as it was when Robert Kennedy visited it.  And the fact that this is going on in America—If John Edwards can bring 50 news cameras to poor Kentucky, I‘m all for it. 

CARLSON:  How about 50 new ideas?  It does tell me something about our anti-poverty program, having spent billions since the Johnson administration.  People are just as poor.  That kind of tells you maybe we need a new approach. 

ROSEN:  Nobody in power right now is working on it.

CARLSON:  We‘ve got all these programs and they‘re not working.  Let me ask you quickly about the Catholic church.  Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has come out and said that they are going to pay all these people who have been molested by the church.  Survivors of that abuse came forward today and pointed out that there are still priests who molested children on staff in the diocese of Los Angeles.  Shouldn‘t Roger Mahony, given all this, sort of pause before he weighs in on all these other political questions of the day, including immigration? 

WOLFFE:  Absolutely.  It is shocking that the Catholic Church is still having to deal with this.  We talked earlier about the victims and about what is comparatively a fairly trivial story.  When you look at the kids whose lives have been ruined, who are now adults, it is just an appalling story. 

CARLSON:  What is appalling—it is not everyone in the church.  Obviously, the church does so much that‘s good.  There so many decent people in it.  Roger Mahony doesn‘t fall into that category as far as I‘m concerned.  A lot of evidence he shifted priests around to keep them from being apprehended.  And he is out there wagging his finger in the face of America, saying if you don‘t support Bush‘s immigration plan; if you‘re not for open borders, you‘re against Jesus.  How dare he? 

ROSEN:  You know, Bill Maher had an interesting column today; the Catholic Church is sort of like a business.  Only, if it really were like a business, Mahony‘s board of directors would have thrown him the heck out of there a long time ago.  There is overwhelming evidence that they hid files, that they transferred molested priests, and now he has cost his company 700 million dollars, which is paid for by little old ladies putting the quarter in the plate every week.  It is just shameful. 

CARLSON:  So next time he gets up and lectures us that we‘re sinful because we have fences at the border, you tell him to be quiet.  Do you mind?   

ROSEN:  I would be happy to. 

CARLSON:  Good, thanks Hillary.  Thank you Richard.  I‘ll hold you to that.  Days after 9/11, President Bush assured the country that Islam is a  religion of peace and extremists were responsible for the terror attacks.  Is that really the case?  We‘ll speak to someone who says no, it‘s not.

Plus, Hillary Clinton has problems with men.  more than half say they won‘t vote for her under any circumstances.  MSNBC chief pollster Willie Geist explains why that number could reach nearly 100 percent.  You‘re watching MSNBC.


CARLSON:  In the wake of terror attacks by Muslims across the globe, world leaders have been cautious in their response.  President Bush, for instance, says it is imperative to, quote, help the forces of moderation win the great struggle against extremism, presumably within Islam.  The president and others put blame for these violent attacks and suicide bombings squarely on a fringe element within a peaceful religion.  President Bush says it is these radicals who are Islam‘s, quote, true enemy. 

That‘s what most of us believe.  That‘s what all of us want to believe, certainly.  Is it true?  Joining us now, Byran Daly, the co-director of the new film “Islam, What The West Needs to Know.”  Mr. Daly, thanks a lot for joining us.

BYRAN DALY, “ISLAM: WHAT THE WEST NEEDS TO KNOW”:  Hi Tucker.  Thanks for having me on. 

CARLSON:  So is that true?  Is Islam a peaceful religion hijacked by a small minority? 

DALY:  The short answer is no.  From an Islamic standpoint, Islam is not primarily or solely a religion. not in the western sense of the term.  Islam is not a spiritual creed or a personal faith.  Islam is a political ideology.  It is a system of law.  Islam is a government.  And this particular government is not peaceful.  It is explicitly expansionary. 

CARLSON:  What does that mean explicitly expansionary? 

DALY:  Allah orders Muslims to conquer the world and institute the laws of Allah over the whole Earth through warfare, following the example of Mohammed‘s conquest of the Arabian peninsula in the seventh century.  His order is set down in the Koran, which is the immutable eternal word of Allah.  It stands for all time and cannot be changed or questioned from an Islamic standpoint. 

The other basis for proper action in Islam is not some western notion of justice or some Christian morality or some secular humanist ethic, but rather the actions of Mohammed, who was not a pacifistic preacher, but was a very successful warlord and governor in Medina and Mecca in the seventh century, whose behavior includes not only assassinations and intrigues to ascend to power, but also he engaged in many battles and raids, selling women and children into slavery, as well as waging—

CARLSON:  I think I understand your essential point, which is the justification for violence is contained within the holy book.  I think I believe that.  I think that‘s true.  But it doesn‘t answer the question, why only in the past six years or maybe 20 years since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan have we seen this global movement bent on acting out this violence?  Why is that? 

DALY:  Well, we haven‘t recognized it, but it‘s been going on since the earliest days of Islam.  After Mohammed died, the four Rightly Guided Caliphs conquered north Africa, the Mideast, central Asia and significant parts of Europe.  They were stopped by force of arms in 732.  And the Jihad continued through Asia minor and made it all the way to Vienna by the 17th century.  It was repelled by superior power in the western civilization.  But it is not new.  We are new to it. 

CARLSON:  So we‘re just waking up to this struggle that has been taking place for more than a millennium.  And we haven‘t noticed? 

DALY:  Correct.  That‘s exactly right.  Islam was in decline as America was in its—I would say—comeuppance in the 20th century.  In the 21st century, we‘re living in a time when Islam is reemerging as the political force that it was always meant to be.  Understanding Islam as a government, as a theocracy that does not divide church and state, the religious and the secular, is essential to understanding the problem the world is facing today. 

CARLSON:  More than just a religious faith; that‘s a really interesting point.  Bryan Daly, thanks very much. 

DALY:  Thanks for having me on.  

CARLSON:  I appreciate it.  Rudy Giuliani‘s link to the Mafia is exposed—or fake Mafia, anyway.  Which member of the Soprano crime family is backing Rudy‘s run for the White House?  Concrete shoes correspondent Willie Geist has the answer in a minute.  You‘re watching MSNBC. 


CARLSON:  When you thought you couldn‘t take anymore and you thought, you know, I‘m going to flip off this show and go over to “Wheel of Fortune,” see what Vanna White‘s doing, we have relief.  Willie Geist is here. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Go to “Wheel of Fortune” now!  Vanna White, much better than me.  I hate to admit it.  She‘s been doing it a long time.  You just tip your cap to the Vanna Whites of the world.

CARLSON:  Got to give her credit.  I‘m not exactly sure what she‘s been doing.  But whatever it is, she‘s been doing it a long time. 

GEIST:  As you know, Tucker, it doesn‘t matter what you‘ve been doing, as long as you do something.  She looks exactly the way she did 25 years ago. 

CARLSON:  Everything you have said is very true.  There‘s a deep life lesson here.  I wish we had more time. 

GEIST:  It is not a pretty life lesson.  With Paris Hilton laying low since she got out of jail and Lindsay Lohan spending the last month and half looking deep inside her soul at the Promises Rehab Facility, all has been relatively quiet on the western party girl front.  That is about to change.  Actually it already has. 

Lohan finished her six-week stay at Promises on Friday and made a bee line for a place where she would be safe from temptation. a place where she would be insulated from the evils that sent her to rehab in the first place, a place called Las Vegas.  Yes, Lindsay continued the rehabilitation by going to a birthday party at a Vegas nightclub Saturday night.  Witnesses say she did not drink a drop of booze. 

In fact, she is wearing an ankle bracelet that detects alcohol in her system and stores it in a computer that monitors her behavior.  If you need a computer to monitor your behavior, your problems are really big, aren‘t they?  You have like hardware monitoring your every move.  That‘s not a good sign. 

CARLSON:  It is pretty creepy, actually.  I‘m kind of on Lindsay Lohan‘s side on that one. 

GEIST:  Tucker, you‘re like me.  Whenever you need to detox and ground yourself, you go to Vegas and it brings you back? 

CARLSON:  Always.  Always.  You‘ll find me at the ghost bar at the palms getting in touch with my inner self. 

GEIST:  I love.  I love how we all fall for it.  She‘s getting better. 

She was in rehab.  Really?  She was in Vegas the next night.  Poor girl.  Anyway, that‘s enough of that nonsense.  Now, my fellow Americans, fear not, the United States still the official home of the absurd lawsuit.  The guy suing his dry cleaner for 54 million dollars over a lost pair of pants is still fighting, for example. 

But it is important to recognize achievement in the field outside our borders as well, like the South Korean tourist who is suing a monkey that he says stole a pair of sunglasses from his hotel room in India.  This is not the victim here.  We don‘t want to implicate anybody.  He filed a complaint with local police against the monkey that he claims swiped his 100 dollar shades.  It is not clear what he is seeking from the alleged thief. 

Tucker, I would love to mock this man and mock this story, but we do live in a country where you pour coffee on yourself and McDonald‘s pays you.  So, it‘s kind of hard to make fun of the monkey lawsuit.

CARLSON:  Actually, I think this says a lot.  People say America‘s cultural influence is on the wane.  Not really; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  This guy is basically saying, I‘m American. 

GEIST:  That‘s right.  He is American.  We have frivolous lawsuits and Paris Hilton.  Those are our two exports.  We‘re doing great.  Well, I think the metaphor in this next story, Tucker, is pretty clear.  So I will just report the straight fact.  The newest collectors item on the presidential campaign trail is a Hillary Clinton nutcracker.  They‘re going like hot cakes in Rochester, Minnesota, where the idea for the nutcracker was hatched. 

It‘s a Hillary doll with serrated stainless steel thighs that, well, crack nuts.  If you can‘t make to it Minnesota to pick one up, you can go to HillaryNutcracker.com and that could be yours for the low, low price of 19.95.  They‘ll also throw in a bag of Hillary nuts for five bucks.  I don‘t know what they‘re getting at here, Tucker.  What do you think they‘re saying about Hillary?

CARLSON:  I don‘t know, but that is so perfect.  I have often said, when she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs. 

GEIST:  I know you do. 

CARLSON:  I‘m getting one, by the way. 

GEIST:  Go to the website.  It sounded like a little country store in Rochester, Minnesota.  This guy just had the idea.  Now they‘re literally flying off the shelves so he had to start a website.  And people can‘t get enough of these things.  You have covered a lot of campaigns.  You always get these sort of keepsakes that come with the campaign.  I think this will be one of the best. 

CARLSON:  I still have, in fact, on top of my dresser a Howard Dean beanie baby. 

GEIST:  Is that right? 

CARLSON:  Someday it will be worth a lot. 

GEIST:  Did it scream? 

CARLSON:  It is remarkably passive, actually. 

GEIST:  That‘s too bad.  Well, Tucker, the New Yorker on the Republican side of the race is dealing with some nuts of his own.  I‘d better explain.  A list of recent celebrity donors to presidential campaigns reveals some interesting names, but perhaps none more excellent than one on Rudy Giuliani‘s list of supporters. 

Giuliani received a 1,000 dollar contribution from actor Tony Sirico.  Yes, that‘s Pauly Walnuts from “The Sopranos.”  In addition to playing the best supporting character on that show, he has said publicly that he is a far to the right Republican.  He actually campaigned for Bush in 2004. 

Tucker, I would take Pauly Walnuts‘ support any day of the week. 

CARLSON:  You know, I‘m not completely sold on Rudy Giuliani or his candidacy.  People say endorsements don‘t matter.  That does matter to me. 

GEIST:  Yes, send him out to the polls on election day.  Do you know what I mean?  Take care of business a little bit. 

CARLSON:  Totally, Polly Walnuts, boy, that says a lot.  Willie Geist, Thanks a lot. 

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  For more of Willie Geist, you can check out his video blog, his vlog, at ZeitGeist.MSNBC.com.  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  See you tomorrow. 



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