updated 7/30/2007 10:45:50 AM ET 2007-07-30T14:45:50

Guests: Roxanne Roberts, Amy Argetsinger, Mark Morial, Hillary Rosen, Bill Press

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  Greetings from Boston, a city justifiably taken for granted by the Democratic party.  Massachusetts went McGovern in ‘72, after all. Today‘s focus from the Democratic presidential field, though, was another traditionally Democratic voting block and another that some say is taken for granted by the party, African-Americans.  The Democratic field came to the city of St. Louis as guests of the National Urban League.  Clinton-Obama took a break from this week‘s dust up over foreign policy to speak to the concern‘s of a demographic, whose support they want very badly. 

In the last two presidential elections, black voters favored Democrats by a margin of nine to one.  Is there any chance that could change in 2008?  Which current candidate showed the best in St. Louis today and how powerful and united is black America politically?  Joining me now to discuss all of this is the President and CEO of the National Urban League, the former long-time mayor of New Orleans, Mark Morial. 

John Edwards said in a speech to the National Urban League said that if he was elected president his administration would expand affirmative action for federal contracting.  That the government would show even greater preference for black-owned businesses.  Here is my question:  affirmative action has been around since before I was born, and I‘m 38.  It was originally meant to be a temporary program.  How long do you think the government will continue to show racial preference for its contracts? 

MARK MORIAL, CEO & PRES. NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE:  I wouldn‘t look at affirmative action as a racial preference, but what I would do if the government, Congress and the executive branch got serious about enforcing the existing goals, then we could make some measurable progress.  I think the failure to enforce and take the existing goals seriously has inhibited the progress of the development of African-American businesses.  And I might add that affirmative action and business contracting was originally a Republican idea. 

CARLSON:  Yes it was.  You‘re absolutely right, it was Richard Nixon‘s idea. 

MORIAL:  And Art Fletcher (ph).

CARLSON:  It was sold, originally as temporary.  But those goals are preferences, they may be good, they may be bad.  But the idea is to give preference to minority owned businesses.  My question remains, how much longer do you envision those preferences being in place? 

MORIAL:  Well, today, I think the discussion was about the National Urban League‘s opportunity compact.  And that‘s about giving African-Americans and other urban residents the opportunity to thrive, earn, own, and prosper.  And prosper means to develop businesses of size and of scale.  One way to do is it for the government to commit to do it, not only by creating some efforts to give African-American businesses a chance to contract with the government, but by expanding financing opportunities, developing strategic alliances, there needs to be leadership on this issue. 

Generations ago, you had a president named Nixon and obviously, Fletcher and others, who tried to show some leadership on this issue.  Our opportunity compact is about the next president showing leadership on the issue of assisting African-American owned businesses. 

CARLSON:  Speaking of the next president, here‘s someone who might be the next president, Hillary Clinton.  I want to play you a byte that you listened to today but our viewers may not yet have seen and this is Hillary Clinton talking about the challenge of the intersection of the cities and law enforcement. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRES. CANDIDATE:  When we write them off and leave them behind, when we squander their potential, we squander America‘s potential.  And that is nothing short of a moral crisis.  When we let these young boys and men fall through the cracks, we make a decision to spend $32 billion a year on prisons. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  I‘m not sure I understand the reasoning here, someone goes to prison because he commits a crime, how is that the fault of the rest of us? 

MORIAL:  I think the reason, Tucker, that if we invest $30,000 per person to incarcerate an individual.  What might happen if we decided to invest more as we recommend today, with our opportunity compact on early childhood education?  There‘s no state in the union that‘s spending anywhere near that amount to educate individuals or educate children to help discourage the kind of behavior that may lead to criminal activity. 

Our opportunity compact suggests that there ought to be more up front investments in children.  And that more upfront investments in children may save us some money on the back end.  May save us money for expanding jails and expanding prosecutors.  It‘s a value judgment and the two are connected and we encourage the candidates to see them as a connection.  Lets invest in order to save. 

CARLSON:  I guess, I‘m really asking a philosophical question.  And I think Hillary is implying and I think you may be implying that when someone is commits a crime of violence, it‘s also the fault of the rest of us.  Do you believe that?

MORIAL:  I do believe that some young men and young women fall into drugs and lives of crime and violence because they have not had adequate educational attainment.  Because they don‘t have high school diplomas. And what we want as a National Urban League is less of an effort to try and find out why that is the case and more effort to try to correct the problem. 

Our opportunity compact, that was released today, is about solutions and suggestions.  That those who may have been incarcerated, need a chance to reunify with their families, a chance to gain a high school diploma, a chance to become a contributing member of society and someone who can earn income with a job. 

CARLSON:  I‘m for that.  I think that‘s a completely worthy goal.  But what I was confused by, I read the speeches of all the major candidates today.  Nobody said, hold on a sec, don‘t commit crimes.  When you commit a violent crime, you are hurting other people, often poor people in inner cities.  Why didn‘t someone stand up and say it‘s immoral to rob people and to hurt people and to sell drugs.  That seems simple, why didn‘t anyone say that?

MORIAL:  Tucker, think that‘s self evident.  I don‘t think ...

CARLSON:  I don‘t think it is.

MORIAL:  I think it‘s self evident and I don‘t think you‘re going to find anyone that will disagree with the fact that committing a criminal activity is immoral.  But what do you in a nation where the jails are busting at the seams?  What do you do in a nation that is continuing to invest in more jails, more police and more prosecutors and it hasn‘t abated crime long-term.  Would it suggest even police chiefs, those in law enforcement, will embrace the kinds of things that the National Urban League is suggesting and that is more upfront investments in children to try to prevent them from finding their way into lives of crime.  And you can‘t disassociate these problems from what we need to do on the front side. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Finally, Barack Obama said something very interesting.  He said basically, if I‘m elected president, America is different the day after.  When I‘m inaugurated, this is a different country.  If Barack Obama is elected president, as a black man, does that mean it‘s kind of hard to call America a racist country after that? 

MORIAL:  No.  I think what I could only comment that I think what it suggested is that it would be a powerful symbol.  And may serve to encourage young people that they too can become president of the United States.  I mean I think that‘s what he was trying to do. 

CARLSON:  Would you consider this still a racist country if he were elected? 

MORIAL:  Well, I don‘t like that terminology.  I think we should say that race is still an issue in this country and there‘s still racism in this country.  I wouldn‘t use the terms America is, quote, a racist country.  I would say America continues to have challenges with respect to race, racial division, racial disparities and racial discrimination.  And we ought to contextualize it in that fashion.  But, also say, let‘s commit as a nation, to continue the march for racial justice and equality.  I would hope people and encourage people to go to our website at www.unl.org to look at the opportunity compact, which I might, all of the candidates endorsed today. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Mr. Morial, I appreciate your coming on. Thank you very much.

MORIAL:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton is trying to profit financially from her public battle with Barack Obama, right now he‘s got more money than she does, but all that could change after this week‘s battle between the two of them.  Is Obama badly wounded in combat this week?

Plus, shock and awe over the identity over the so-called Baghdad Diaries.  He‘s been called a fake.  It turns out he‘s real.  Were his war stories real?  This is MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CARLSON:  We have been talking about today‘s National Urban League conference with the heavyweight presidential candidates and Dennis Kucinich spent the day trying to convince the audience that their presidency would be the best for back voters.  It‘s really a two-horse race for the black folk between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama so what would a Clinton administration mean for black people in this country?  And would an Obama presidency be an automatic victory for black America?  Joining us now MSNBC Political Analyst and veteran Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen and nationally syndicated radio show host, Bill Press. Welcome to the both.  Hillary, Bill and Hillary. 

BILL PRESS, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW HOST:  There we go. 

CARLSON:  It‘s irresistible.  Hillary, I asked former Mayor Morales, I think an impressive guy, this question, and I want to ask you, listening to the candidates today in St. Louis, you really got this kind of retro feeling that nothing has changed from 1972.  And I wonder when you have a country with all these immigrants coming here and taking jobs, immigrants who have nothing, no connections, and succeeding some of them.  You got to wonder how long can you have this series of racial preferences known as affirmative action?  Is it indefinite, forever?  Will my kids grow up under this regime, do you think? 

HILLARY ROSEN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think it feels a little retro, but in essence, it feels retro because so much hasn‘t been done.  There is still economic inequality, often based on race.  And hopefully your kids won‘t have it.  I think that both Obama and Clinton today tried to be a little forward thinking about it.  I think they tried to get out of sort of just the government program mindset and clearly that‘s what the next president has to do.  We know one thing, we know that this president has done nothing about it and doesn‘t seem to even pay attention to the fact that inner cities exist, much less economic inequality based on race. 

So, I think that they‘re struggling.  And what you saw, I think particularly with Hillary Clinton was interesting.  You know, it‘s very hard and very complicated to see the results of federal government programs.  And I very much have a sense with Hillary Clinton that they just didn‘t have enough time to do everything that she saw that needed to get done.  And perhaps Barak Obama will be the beneficiary of that because he can take it to another level. But I think they‘ve tried to bore down and see what‘s possible as opposed to just giving the audience pander today.

CARLSON:  Cities have actually gotten better under the Bush administration.  You and I live in a city and it‘s improved in the past six years, as you know.  But Bill, the one thing that offended me ...

ROSEN:  No, no, no.  Crime has gone down, Tucker, but that doesn‘t mean incomes have gone up. 

CARLSON:  Actually it does in Washington, D.C., it has gone up. 

Incomes have gone up and the city is less poor than it was. 

ROSEN:  That‘s because we‘re mostly government oriented and we‘ve had a lot more government spending as your colleagues note. 

CARLSON:  OK.  I would disagree with that.  But here‘s the thing that actually did get me a little red in the face.  Listening to the candidates.  I guess they meant to pander, attack of the criminal justice system as unfair and attack the problem of crime solely from one end.  In other words the problem with crime is you put too many people in jail.  Most people who go to jail are guilty of crimes against other people.  Victims, innocent victims.  Why did nobody point that out?  Is the problem with crime is that the sentences are too long? 

PRESS:  Tucker, I will get to that.  But let me just make a point to what is happening in cities.   You‘re right, the most innovative leadership today is taking place, not in Washington, D.C., is taking place in state capitals, Republican and Democrat.  With mayors, Republican and Democrat.  But it‘s not because there is any leadership in Washington, its because there is a vacuum of leadership.  There is no leadership coming out of Washington.  And if you want to see advances in health care and transportation and job creation, look at the cities. 

CARLSON:  Bill, as you know in real life, people succeed because they work hard and they make their own opportunities.  You show up here from Korea with nothing and buy a dry cleaner because your cousin lent you the money and you work 18 hours a day.  And send your kids to Princeton, which is the model for a lot of immigrants.  The government had zippo to do with that.  You did it yourself.  And that‘s still the model.

PRESS:  No, of course.  Government does play a role in making those opportunities available in it‘s policies.  It‘s the local government, cities, states and counties, where you have the real creativity happening today. 

On your point about crime, Tucker, I think you misread what both Hillary and Barack Obama were saying.  As Morial said to you, it‘s self-evident that crime is wrong.  It self-evident ...

CARLSON:  It‘s not. 

PRESS:  They don‘t have to say it Tucker because not everybody is as dense as you are. 

CARLSON:  What?  I‘m not committing crimes, Bill!

PRESS:  No, but you‘re assuming ...

CARLSON:  Cities are still plagued by crime.  Someone has got to tell people that crime is wrong!

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS:   You‘re assuming that because they didn‘t say that if you commit a crime you ought to go to prison. 

CARLSON:  No.  They‘re implying that people are in prison because the criminal justice system is run by racist white people.  That‘s what they‘re implying. 

PRESS:  No they are not.  I‘m saying there should be opportunities, we should think about the opportunities for these people for education. 

CARLSON:  I just want to get very quickly Hillary to something Barack Obama said today that really made me wonder.  This is Barack Obama talking about the effect of his election.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARAK OBAMA, (D) PRES. CANDIDATE:  The day I‘m inaugurated, the country looks at itself differently.  And don‘t underestimate that power.  Don‘t underestimate that transformation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Don‘t underestimate that transformation.  It does raise the question, does he believe himself to be not just the junior senator from Illinois, but in fact, the messiah? 

ROSEN:  I don‘t think it‘s the messiah, but Mark Morail was either being coy or naive in his response to you.  I think America would look at itself differently the next day after Barack Obama was elected as president.  We would have a sense that we have crossed yet another threshold. 

CARLSON:  You are right.

ROSEN:  I think that‘s right about Hillary Clinton, too, if we elected a woman president.  It‘s ridiculous to say that it doesn‘t matter.  If we elect Obama it‘s because we have moved beyond race in very large measure. 

CARLSON:  Actually you are right.  I‘m not going to argue with you because it‘s factually true.  In fact if Brack Obama is elected, a lot of people who make a living that claiming the country is run by racist white people maybe have to be quiet.  That will be a great thing. 

PRESS:  That will be a good day.

CARLSON:  That will be a good day, I agree with that, completely.  The so-called Baghdad Diarist has written horror stories about what‘s going on now in Iraq.  His postings were anonymous until until.  Now we know who he is, the question is are his stories true? 

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are leading the polls.  So why aren‘t they leading the latest polls in Iowa?

You are watching MSNBC, the place for politics. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Scott Vocamp is a private in the U.S. army currently serving in Iraq.  He‘s also revealed himself as the so-called Baghdad Diarist.  The once anonymous writer for the “New Republic.”  Vocamp is married to a staff at the “New Republic”, and according to the magazine, that‘s part why he was chosen to write a blog. 

He‘s used that blog to rip the military, the war, even his fellow soldiers.  Who he says often abuse Iraqis and amuse themselves by killing dogs, and playing with the skulls of murdered Iraqi children.

In one entry, he wrote, “I shot move, communicate, and kill.  The deaths that I inflict secure the riches of the empire.”  Question is, are his accounts real?

Joining us now the Editor of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Jack Kelly. 

Mr. Kelly, thanks for joining us.

JACK KELLY, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE:  It‘s good to be with you.

CARLSON:  We don‘t have as much time as I want, do you believe this guy? 

KELLY:  No.  His tales run from the highly implausible to the physically impossible.  And the quote that you just said, when he said that, when he wrote that, he was in Germany.  We haven‘t killed people in Germany since 1945. 

CARLSON: How do you know he was in Germany when he wrote that? 

KELLY:  That‘s where his unit was.  That‘s where he was based and that‘s where his blog entries were from. 

CARLSON: So when he says he was killing people, that‘s completely made up?  You point out in a good column today in your paper that the things that he describes his in blog are crimes. 

KELLY:  Yes, they are.  They‘re not major crimes, but both he and the people he describes, his friends in these incidents, will have run afoul of a UCMJ on the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s a thing that actually is sickening, he talks about being in a mess hall, and a woman walks in, he doesn‘t say if she‘s a soldier or a contractor.  but it says that her face has been mangled by an IED.  He says quote, “it really turned me on, melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses.”  And the woman apparently stalks, storms out of the room. 

Is there any indication about whether that actually happened? 

KELLY:  There is only Scott‘s word that it happened.  No one else at the base ever remembers seeing a woman like that on the base and it‘s highly implausible that a soldier would not be able to distinguish whether this woman was a soldier or a civilian.  Because soldiers in Iraq wear their uniforms and carry their weapons at all times. 

CARLSON: You also point out—he describes soldiers, or at least one soldier running over dogs with a Bradley fighting vehicles for fun.  Repulsive.  But you said the way he described it is not plausible? 

KELLY:  It‘s physically impossible.  The driver‘s hatch on a Bradley is on the left-hand side.  Between it and the right-hand side of the Bradley, there is the cooling vent for the engine and it rises above the driver‘s hatch.  The driver can‘t see anything to the immediate right of his vehicle. 

He could never have seen the dog to be able to run it over. 

CARLSON: The “New Repulibic” has said, look, conservatives are mad about this guy‘s diary entries because they believe the U.S. military is above this kind of behavior and they don‘t want to see their childish vision of Iraq polluted with this kind of reality.  What do you make of that? 

KELLY:  There are sadistic jerks in the army.  Scott Boshamp is in the army.  So we are not denying that possibility.  These stories are ranging from the highly implausible to the utterly physically impossible. 

CARLSON:  Interesting.  Jack Kelly from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.  Thank you.  You‘ve been the one person to actually think through this and do some reporting that advances the story.  I appreciate that. 

KELLY:  Thank you very much. 

CARLSON: John Edwards isn‘t leading in any of the national polls, but he does have a lead in an early primary state, one that matters, Iowa.  Should he be considered a front-runner?  Plus Fred Thompson goes online to tout his conservative credentials.  His words have attracted Republican primary voters but could come back to haunt him in a general election.  This is MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  Exactly who are the front runners for the 2008 presidential domination.  Well, in the face of most national polls the answers remain Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, with honorable mentions to Fred Thompson and none of the above on the Republican side.  However, in Iowa, a state that matters, the answers are different.  John Edwards and Mitt Romney, both of whom appear to be also-rans in the national contest. 

Have they wasted their aspirations on Iowa or could Edwards and Romney benefit from the fabled slingshot effect by winning that state and carrying the momentum forward.  Here to analyze the numbers, MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen, and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press.  Welcome back to you both. 

Bill, I‘m actually not surprised that John Edwards is doing as well as he is in Iowa.  He is going all out.  And to give you an example, we have pulled off Youtube John Edwards speaking yesterday in Cresston (ph), Iowa.  Hear it is.  This is a remarkable clip. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If we don‘t stand up to these people, if we don‘t fight and we don‘t beat them, they‘re going to continue to control this country.  They‘re going to control the media.  They‘re going to control what‘s being said.  They do not want to hear us talking about health care for everybody. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now Bill, who‘s this group that controls the media?  This unseen group; who do you think he‘s talking about? 

PRESS:  I have no idea who he‘s talking about.  That last line—we don‘t want to—what did he say, flip care? 

CARLSON:  He says they don‘t want us to hear us talking about health care for everybody; they.  Here‘s the broader question: has anybody noticed how far out John Edwards has gotten? 

PRESS:  Let me just say this; I can‘t comment on the speech.  I didn‘t see it.  It‘s the first time I‘ve seen the clip.  I didn‘t read the speech.  But, Tucker, you‘re absolutely right.  What really counts are the numbers in Iowa.  You know, we have been focusing on the national polls ad nauseam, and they are really meaningless horse race polls right now. 

What counts are boots on the ground in Iowa.  John Edwards has worked the state better than anyone else.  He is known to them because he was around there as vice president candidate.  And you‘re right, if he continues on that, and beats Hillary or Obama in Iowa and then slingshots into New Hampshire, this whole race could be totally changed, upside down. 

CARLSON:  Do you think, Hillary, Nevada, the addition of the Nevada caucus, changes the calculation?  Is Iowa as important? 

(CROSS TALK)

ROSEN:  Iowa is clearly important, but I think the key issue is that none of the three of them can afford to be third in Iowa, because it‘s the kick off, and so it‘s kind of the number one and two in Iowa that are going to very quickly be moving to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina.  And then, of course, we have all of those accelerated primaries that include Florida just a couple weeks later.  So really what we‘re talking about is how people are doing in individual states, and Iowa‘s just one of those.

But John Edwards has crafted a very specific, very aggressive, very liberal message for the populous crowd in Iowa.  And whether it translates to South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire is really yet to be seen. 

CARLSON:  I think you‘re absolutely right.  Do you, by the way, just for the record, Hillary, have any idea who these people are who control the country and the media and what we say, and maybe even our thoughts? 

ROSEN:  The rich and powerful interests, who are against the poor.  I don‘t know. 

CARLSON:  The rich and powerful interests.  OK.  I mean it does seem like—

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  Fred Thompson, Bill, as you know, is not in the race.  And with every day that he stays out of the race, his numbers appear to go up and up and up.  There was an interesting piece in the paper today about how he‘s doing that.  And one of the ways he‘s doing that is by writing these commentaries and posting them online, including on “National Review Online.”  They‘re actually—this warms my heart.  I‘m sure it terrifies you.  They‘re pretty darn conservative. 

He makes the case that gun control, for instance, contributed to the Virginia Tech massacre.  He comes out against the immigration bill, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  This has been kind of unnoticed by the national press until now.  I wonder why? 

PRESS:  Tucker, first of all, Fred Thompson is lucky that we have been so focused on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama snipping at each other and at John McCain falling apart, and not looking at the Fred Thomson campaign, which I think is going to be the only national campaign that implodes before explodes.  John Zogby told me this morning, watch out for the Freddie fizzle. 

You know, he‘s been losing staff members like one a day.  And they even had to chase down Mary Madelin in Croatia to get her to declare that she‘s sticking with Fred Thompson.  I think the campaigns a little shaky.  It hasn‘t raised as much money as he set out to do.  On these blogs, I find them very funny, because while he‘s asserting himself as a conservative, newspapers are carrying articles about when he was a lobbyist for—we talked about this the last time—Planned Parenthood.

And then as a big trial lawyer, he opposed tort reform.  He opposed limits on legal fees.  He represented people with illegal drug traffic—drug crimes.  He‘s not as conservative, I think, as he‘s pretending to be. 

CARLSON:  It‘s actually not Planned Parenthood; it was another abortion group.  But he lobbied on behalf of legal abortion.  There‘s no question about it.  But that doesn‘t seem to have had made much of an affect on the way conservatives see him, Hillary.  Maybe it‘s because he‘s just going around the national media. 

ROSEN:  Well, in part he‘s going around the national media, being very careful about what media he lets follow him and record him live in the private events he‘s doing, which is an advantage to being an undeclared candidate.  But I think he‘s also trying to take advantage of the real vacuum that exists among the conservative wing of the Republican party, to the extent that that‘s not the entire Republican party, and trying to position himself there.

But frankly, I think he‘s just kind of sounding like a whack job.  The Virginia Tech thing was not a gun control complaint.  It was if all of the students at Virginia Tech were able to carry guns to classes, there might have been a good old-fashioned shoot out, and we wouldn‘t have had the kind of massacre that we had.  I just don‘t think that‘s going to play to the general public if he gets the Republican nomination. 

CARLSON:  Even though it‘s true.  You‘re right.  I‘m sure that will scare all of the soccer moms.  But that doesn‘t make it less true.  It is true.  Hey, speaking of—this is the most interesting thing I have seen all day.  I got an email from the Hillary Clinton for president campaign, the campaign manager.  And she sent me this, since I‘m on their mailing list.  She said, this week Hillary Clinton has been attacked not only by the Republicans, but also be a Democrat, Barack Obama, who compared her to George Bush and Dick Cheney.  Can you imagine?  Here‘s what it says: I guess this is what Hillary gets for being the strongest, most qualified, the most substantive, the most experienced, the most ready to be president.  That‘s what Hillary has gotten all her career for being willing to fight for change. 

In other words, Bill, they‘re picking on poor Hillary.  The question is; is Hillary Clinton the strongest candidate, or is she the victim candidate.  Is she the Oprah candidate?

PRESS:  I think she‘s the smartest—She‘s proving herself.  At this point—I don‘t want to be too broad brush here—to be the smartest candidate, I believe, in getting herself out of this struggle with Barack Obama.  Barack Obama made a gaff.  It wasn‘t a very fatal gaff.  I think Hillary was smart to jump on him.  Barack Obama was smart to come back and say, hey, who was naive in voting for the Iraq war, and then let it rest. 

I think the longer he carries it on, the more Hillary is going to take advantage of it.  I thought this fund raising letter was funny, but also very clever and probably very effective. 

CARLSON:  You‘re absolutely right.  I agree with you completely.  This is how it ended, Hillary.  This is really amazing.  This is, again, the campaign manger, Patty Solos Doyle (ph), talking to the supporters: one thing is crystal clear, you are Hillary‘s family.  You are Hillary‘s friends.  You are her strength.  Almost one million of you and she‘s counting on you to stand with her. 

This sounds like a spiritual movement, not a political campaign. 

ROSEN:  Well, they obviously have at least one name wrong on the email list. 

(LAUGHTER)

PRESS:  Did you send her a check, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  I didn‘t.  I don‘t know what to say.  Again, this is the Oprah campaign. 

ROSEN:  Look, every campaign is essentially trying to maintain their base.  That‘s what primaries are about.  It‘s who do you have.  Who are your solids and how do you keep them in your corner.  You keep them in your corner by convincing people over and over again that the decision they made to support you is the right decision.  So I think it‘s very important, actually, that all of the candidates maintain their base as they try to branch out a little bit.  That‘s what—

CARLSON:  But her base—and you can really feel this as you read the letter—is women.  The message of this letter is the message that I think they send through back channels quite frequently, which is she‘s put upon.  She‘s a victim.  Everyone‘s mean to her.  She‘s—

ROSEN:  I don‘t hear that at all.  I hear she‘s the leader, so they‘re beating up on the leader, which is frankly exactly the Obama campaign‘s strategy and it should be, because what they need to do now—it‘s not so much gloves off.  It‘s that these candidates need to find these pints of departure, because this primary is closing down relatively sooner than maybe people thought. 

And Barack Obama has a lot of money.  He‘s got a lot of grass roots support.  He has to stretch this out as long as he possibly can.  And the Clinton campaign has to try and close it down as quickly as they can. 

CARLSON:  You‘re right. 

ROSEN:  So I think you‘re seeing them both trying to expand their opportunity there. 

PRESS:  Tucker, let me just add, I think the point of departure, however, cannot be a rush to meet with Fidel Castro.  I don‘t think that‘s Barack Obama‘s point of departure. 

CARLSON:  I think Barack Obama not only blew it, I don‘t think they understand the degree to which they blew it.  And I say that as somebody who hopes Obama beats Hillary in the primaries, but I think he really stepped in it. 

I wonder what you make of this, Bill; Rudy Giuliani made a pretty interesting point on Monday when he said, at no time during the three Democratic debates have the Democratic candidates used the words Islamic terrorists.  We checked and that‘s true.  I wonder why that is.  Is it the position that there are no Islamic terrorists.  They‘re not really Islamic?  Why not just call the threat what it is? 

PRESS:  I think it‘s totally meaningless.  I don‘t think Rudy Giuliani is in any position to be preaching to the Democrats or anybody else about what words they should be using to describe the war on terror. 

CARLSON:  Leave aside Rudy Giuliani.  OK, he‘s the one who said it.  But I think the point stands on its own.  Why not just—there is this reluctance by Democrats to call Islamic terror Islamic terror.  I‘m not imagining it.  It‘s real.  Why? 

PRESS:  I think the country is fighting the war on terror. 

CARLSON:  Who are they fighting against? 

PRESS:  They‘re debating the homeland security issue on Capitol Hill to keep the nation safe from future acts of terror.  So what exact words they used is just a silly debate. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not, because you can‘t fight a war until you understand who the enemy is.  Hillary, is it they‘re trying to—

(CROSS TALK)

PRESS:  I think we know who the enemy is. 

ROSEN:  I think Rudy Giuliani has coined the term Islamic terrorists, so he wants it in the vernacular.  But your point is that you don‘t believe that the Democrats are spending enough time focusing on the fact that terrorists are Muslim. 

CARLSON:  I think for P.C. reasons they‘re afraid to call it what it is. 

ROSEN:  I don‘t think that‘s the case.  I think they have been out there on this very issue.  I think they‘re aggressively promoting their own plans on fighting terrorism.  And I think that the issue about whether we should be slandering Muslims because lots of Muslims are terrorists is just a non-debate.  I don‘t think the Republicans want to go there either.  Rudy Giuliani will trip in this if he stays there with that definition. 

CARLSON:  The truth does set you free in the end, and it is true that we face a threat from Islamic terror.  That‘s just my view.  Maybe they‘ve been talking about it at some secret debates I‘m not privy to. 

PRESS:  Tucker, Rudy Giuliani is running the Bush campaign of 2004, terror, September 11th, and I‘m mr. September 11th.  The world has changed. 

CARLSON:  You may be absolutely right.  And I‘m not endorsing Rudy Giuliani or anything he says.  Except, I think this is an interesting point worth thinking about.  Anyway, we‘re out of time.  Thank you both, Bill and Hillary.  I love saying that.  Have a great weekend. 

PRESS:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  You wouldn‘t think that NFL player Michael Vick and Oval Office star Monica Lewinsky would have that much in common, but you would be wrong.  There is a connection.  We‘ll tell you about their link in a moment. 

Plus, today‘s L.A. court house circus is brought to you by Nicole Richie.  She‘s Paris Hilton‘s less talented and more emaciated best friend, if you can imagine that combination.  Willie Geist has all the Hollywood justice you can handle when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s been a long week in the news, with all kinds of serious things happening, Iraq, the ongoing battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the so-called flying imam bill.  But there is other news that people care about, like what does Michael Vick have in common with Monica Lewinsky?  For the answer to that, we check in with Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, the ladies of the “Washington Post‘s” universal read gossip column “The Reliable Source.”  Ladies, welcome.

ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  We miss you.  You‘re in Boston. 

CARLSON:  I am in Boston, holding down the New England bureau of MSNBC.  What exactly do Michael Vick and Monica Lewinsky have in common?  I‘m on the edge of my seat.

ROBERTS:  Billy Martin, who‘s a top criminal defense lawyer here in Washington.  If you‘re an athlete in trouble, he‘s your go-to guy.  He defended Jason Williams against charges of manslaughter when he accidentally shot his chauffeur. 

AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Accidentally? 

ROBERTS:  Accidentally. 

ARGETSINGER:  He was representing Allen Iverson in the recent lawsuit involving Allen Iverson‘s brawl at a D.C. nightclub. 

ROBERTS:  And other athletes basically know that if they‘re in trouble, they call him up.  Vick apparently, and his advisers, sat down and talked to a lot of people, and they picked Billy Martin because he‘s a well respected criminal defense guy.  He‘s a former prosecutor.  He has lots of experience in federal cases.  And this one‘s going to be an extremely tough case to try, because of so much emotion and so many charges.  This is going to be a tough one. 

ARGETSINGER:  But as you noted, he represented Monica Lewinsky‘s mother.  He represented Sandra Levy‘s parents.  In D.C., he‘s increasingly the guy in the headline making cases.   

ROBERTS:  He has an extremely good reputation.  So I think he‘s going to give Vick a very excellent defense. 

CARLSON:  So when you accidentally shoot your chauffeur, he ought to be on the speed dial.   

ARGETSINGER:  The go to guy. 

CARLSON:  Now, there is something that crossed by desk from you all that really baffled me, to the extent I was waiting all day to talk to you.  The D.C. most 50 beautiful people list came out. 

ROBERTS:  Now don‘t get all snarky on us. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not getting snarky.  I live there.  I just wasn‘t aware there were 50 beautiful people. 

ARGETSINGER:  That‘s a joke everything‘s making. 

CARLSON:  Whatever, I always sign up for the lamest jokes.  But the speaker of the House, 67-year-old Nancy Pelosi -- 

ARGETSINGER:  Yes, she‘s like number nine, right? 

ROBERTS:  Number four on the list. 

ARGETSINGER:  Every year “The Hill Newspaper” compiles its list of the 50 most beautiful people on Capitol Hill.  This is the staffers, the representatives, the lobbyists, even a couple of journalists now and then.  They have been doing this four years in a row, and they‘re very serious about this.  They do not have repeat people on this list.  So thus far they have been able to categorize 200 people who are beautiful on Capitol Hill, not just 50. 

But this year is the first time that a man tops the list and that is newly elected Representative Brad Elsworth.

ROBERTS:  Who‘s being a good sport about it.  He‘s Mr. tall dark and handsome, so he got the number one list.  There‘s a lot of really fresh faced 20 somethings that will get you in trouble, a few representatives.  Mary Bono, who was on the first list four years ago; her entire office got most beautiful office. 

ARGETSINGER:  And meanwhile, Mary Bono‘s boyfriend, Representative Connie Mack, is now on the list this year. 

CARLSON:  Outstanding.   

ARGETSINGER:  I know.  It‘s great.  They take beautiful glamour shots of all of these Hill people.  It‘s like looking through—I don‘t know, like the UCLA yearbook or something.  It‘s just these gorgeous, sun kissed people. 

ROBERTS:  Some people are embarrassed about it.  Mitt Romney‘s spokesperson was named on the list.  He didn‘t want to be on the list.  He begged not to be on the list.  He was number two on the list.  He said it‘s like being in the dunk tank of Capital Hill for a year. 

CARLSON:  Don‘t throw me in the briar patch.  Actually I‘m going to reveal myself as kind of a sicko.  I think the speaker of the House is kind of a handsome woman.  With that, we‘re going to end that before I get myself in trouble.  Thank you very much.  It‘s great to see you. 

If you thought Lindsay Lohan was wrong for diving a car while drunk, what about astronauts getting loaded before they fly into outer space?  NASA officials answer the charges of exploring space while intoxicated. 

This afternoon, Willie Geist has the hazy details when we come back. 

You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Joining us now, MSNBC‘s chief drunk flying correspondent Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CHIEF DRUNK FLYING CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, I am Tucker.  I agree with you completely about Nancy Pelosi.  No joke.—in a Leslie Stall (ph), Dianne Sawyer kind of way. 

CARLSON:  Maybe a little tight around the facing, but still, for a 67-year-old mother of six and a grandmother, seriously, she is very pretty. 

GEIST:  I‘m on board with that program. 

Well, Tucker, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton got nothing on NASA these days.  Officials there held a press conference today in part to discuss an independent report that said two astronauts flew on space shuttles while they were drunk.  The report says doctors warned flight directors that the drunken astronauts posed a safety risk, but the warnings were ignored.  A NASA spokesman said the space agency would move immediately to ensure that no more drunk astronauts get behind the wheel or whatever you use to steer a Space Shuttle. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHANA DALE, NASA SPOKESMAN:  This interim policy prohibits alcohol use for 12 hours prior to flight, and further states astronauts will neither be under the influence or the effects of alcohol at the time of launch. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Wow, they are really laying down the law.  No more can you be drunk and drive the Space Shuttle.  They just made that rule? 

CARLSON:  Think about that; 12 hours?  I have had hangovers that take 12 days to get over; 12 hours is not long enough. 

GEIST:  Let‘s say you‘re drunk until midnight.  You called it an early night, because you‘re flying the Space Shuttle the next day.  You can fly by noon?  I don‘t think that‘s a good idea.  When you crunch the numbers, it becomes worse and worse, actually. 

There is another one going up on August 7th, pretty shortly here.  So we will see if it‘s a drunk or sober trip this time. 

Well, Tucker, if Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are Iraq, Iran and North Korea in the axis of evil, then Nicole Richie is Venezuela, kind of an irritant, but not really a threat.  She made a poor man‘s Paris Hilton entrance and exit into a Glendale, California courtroom, where she was sentenced to four days in jail for a DUI. 

She has to show up to serve her time by late November—by September, excuse me.  That could be a little dicey though, because rumor is she may be pregnant.  Richie, who is the daughter of singer Lionel Richie, proved today that she could not draw like her friend, Paris Hilton.  Remember the scene last month when the media surrounded her car?  That‘s how you do a Hollywood media circus. 

To paraphrase the late Senator Lloyd Benson, Nicole Richie, you are no Paris Hilton.  She tried, but nobody cared. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t have Wickipedia in front of me, Willie.  But who is Nicole Richie? 

GEIST:  Here‘s the thing; you think Paris Hilton does nothing?  You don‘t know nothing about Nicole Richie.  She really does nothing. 

CARLSON:  Thank you for verifying my suspicions. 

GEIST:  She was on a show with Paris Hilton because Paris Hilton was famous.  And so, by association, she was famous?  Yes, it‘s worse than Paris. 

CARLSON:  I have to get in on that. 

GEIST:  I know.  It‘s a good racket.  Well, if you still need more evidence that L.A. should be leveled immediately, consider this, Prince Frederick Von Anhult, Zsa Zsa Gabor‘s ninth husband and the man who claimed incorrectly that he was the father of Anna Nicole Smith‘s baby, had a pretty wild morning yesterday.  Police found Von Anhult naked and hand cuffed in the back seat of his Rolls Royce in an abandoned Bel Aire parking lot. 

How do you explain that one?  Well, if you‘re Prince Von Anhult, you tell the police you were mugged and tied up by three women in a white convertible.  Prince Von Anhult, who is not technically a prince of any kind, says the women pulled up next to him, asked to take a picture with him, and then pulled a gun on him when they got out of the car, took his keys and his clothes and left him with the cell phone to call police. 

CARLSON:  Let me ask you one question, Willie.  Did the handcuffs—were they the furry kind? 

GEIST:  With dice hanging off.  That guy has one complicated private life.  Doesn‘t he?

CARLSON:  He is kind of an American hero, except he is not really American. 

GEIST:  And the fact that it got to the point he had to call the cops on himself.  He realized there was no way out of the situation.  That‘s a dark man. 

CARLSON:  What a party story. 

GEIST:  Finally, Tucker, only slightly less strange than Frederick Von Anhult being naked and handcuffed in the back seat of his Rolls Royce was the scene at the retirement ceremony for the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Annapolis today.  There was a parrot perched on the shoulder of Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England as he made his remarks. 

It turns out it was an inside joke between England and the honorees.  What was the joke?  Yes, that‘s the problem.  He never explained.  Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld were among the confused guests at the ceremony.  You can see there, Tucker, even the parrot saying to him explain the joke. 

Everyone thinks there is a parrot on your shoulder.  No one gets it.  It‘s like a rehearsal dinner when the college roommate of one of the girls tells this long story and no one has any idea what they are talking about.  Inside jokes bad for public speaking. 

CARLSON:  Did he use the word Arrgh in his speech?  When you have a parrot on your shoulder, you have to a Arrgh.  It‘s the rule.  Willie Geist, thanks Willie.

GEIST:  All right Tucker.  We will see you. 

CARLSON:  Have a great weekend.  And we hope you have a great weekend too, because that‘s the end of the show.  “HARDBALL” is next.  We‘ll be back Monday.  Hope to see you again.

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

END   

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

Transcripts

Watch Tucker each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,