updated 9/7/2007 11:03:57 AM ET 2007-09-07T15:03:57

Guests: Karen Hanretty, Jonathan Alter

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  Welcome to the show.  Osama bin Laden reportedly will address the United States by videotape as the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches.  The tape is expected to come in the next 72 hours.  It would be the first such appearance by bin Laden since 2004.  NBC‘s Pete Williams will bring us the very details on that in just a few minutes from now.

Meanwhile, the news of the day is largely political here in the U.S.  and it‘s largely Republican.  The race for the GOP nomination is considerably more interesting tonight than it was yesterday thanks to two long-scheduled events.

First, the hopefuls who‘ve been slogging it out on the campaign trail for months traded more barbs than usual at their latest debate.  This one in New Hampshire last night.  The prevailing wisdom suggests that Mitt Romney finally had a bad night.  We‘ll hear the highlights and assess the results of that debate in a minute.

But the big winner of the night may have been Fred Thompson, who wasn‘t even there.  He was 3,000 miles away here in Burbank, California at NBC where he did a star turn on Jay Leno‘s show to confirm what we have known all summer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED THOMPSON, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  That‘s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about.

JAY LENO, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST:  All right.

THOMPSON:  I‘m running for president of the United States.

LENO:  All right.  There you have it, ladies and gentlemen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Thompson literally separated himself from the pack last night.  But how will his luck run now that he‘s just another candidate in a race full of candidates?

Also today, Michelle Obama puts another unflattering picture of her candidate husband.  While Oprah Winfrey weighs a bigger role in the Obama campaign as her weekend fund-raiser approaches.  How are Mrs. Obama and Ms.  Winfrey affecting Barack Obama‘s run for the White House?  We‘ll tell you in a minute.

Plus, just after days got Robert Draper‘s inside look at President Bush, another biting examination of the president approaches newsstands near you.  We‘ll go inside the so-called bunker and talk about the effect of George W. Bush the man on the history of this country.

But we begin with the Republican Party and specifically the long awaited entry of Fred Thompson into the race for that party‘s presidential nomination.  To do it we welcome an old friend of the show who‘s now the deputy communications director of the Thompson campaign, Karen Hanretty.  Karen, thanks for coming on.

KAREN HANRETTY, THOMPSON STAFFER:  Sure, Tucker, thanks for having me.

CARLSON:  So out of all the handsome former senators in this world, why Fred Thompson?  Why should he be president?

HANRETTY:  I tell you why Fred Thompson should be president.  He is a man who has a vision for this country.  It‘s summed up in security, unity and prosperity.  And here‘s what impresses me most about Fred Thompson and it has impressed me as I watched him over the testing the waters period and it‘s really impressed me having met him and talked with him personally.  This is a man with solid convictions.  He knows exactly what he believes and more importantly, he knows why he believes it.

And a lot of his core first principles do back to the idea of federalism, which is I think something the Republican Party has gotten away from.  And the notion that federal government ought not be doing what the states can decide for themselves.  And if you look at whether it‘s abortion, Second Amendment, immigration, all of these issues really stem from this core, fundamental belief.

CARLSON:  Well, if he knows what he believes and acts on those beliefs, why did he lobby for a pro-choice group?

HANRETTY:  Well, here‘s the thing.  I think if you look at his voting record, he has a solid pro-life voting record.  All eight years in office as a U.S. senator.  And as far as this lobbying for an organization, I don‘t want to parse the words here, but I think it‘s fair to point out he was part of a larger law firm that lobbied some.  He lobbied some.  He wasn‘t—I don‘t think lobbying was the entirety of his career.  Certainly.  And he was asked to give some legal advice and spend a few hours advising a client of that law firm.  And he did that.

And I don‘t think that he did anything that conflicts with his core beliefs about pro-life, he‘s very pro-life.  You know?  And I think if you look at his voting record, I think the voters will judge him by how he was as a U.S. senator, and I think they‘ll find he‘s a consistent conservative on that issue.

CARLSON:  Well, the rap on Fred Thompson has been that he doesn‘t want the job badly enough.  I am not in a position to assess whether that‘s true.  I have literally no idea.  But I was struck by a line in his announcement, which was posted on the Web site, 15-minute on-camera explanation of why he‘s running for president.  He‘s talking about his life and he says this.  He saying, he was in private practice quote, “Then a Senate seat opened up in Tennessee.”  He presents his entry into the Senate almost an accident of happenstance.  A seat became available and he took it.  You don‘t get the sense from that, nor do you now, that this is something he‘s been thinking about for years.  This is a man who wanted to be president for a long time.  When did he decide exactly that he wanted to be president?

HANRETTY:  There‘s that long-standing joke, every day 100 senators get up and look in the mirror and see the next president of the United States.  I don‘t think that‘s Fred Thompson.  There‘s a lot of ambition people in Washington, DC, and this is a man who I think if you look throughout history of his career, a man who rises to the occasion and serves his country when he‘s called upon to do that.  And that happened during Watergate.  It happened as a federal prosecutor when he went after fraud and corruption in the State of Tennessee, and it happened when there was a seat that came open for the U.S. Senate and people asked him to run and he saw a position he could fill and a way to serve his country.  And I think this is, again, Fred Thompson looking at the future of America, the challenges that we face from radical Islam, from illegal immigration, from out-of-control spending at the federal level, and looks at this and says, realizes that he has a vision for this country and he can serve his country, and he‘s rising to that challenge.

CARLSON:  But you got close to 10 other guys who also have visions for the country, who also have a lot of experience.

HANREETTY:  Very ambitious men.

CARLSON:  Who want the job.  That‘s exactly right.  They are ambitious.  They say what they believe presumably.  If you can name one thing they don‘t have that Fred Thompson does have, what would it be?

HANRETTY:  I would say Fred Thompson has core convictions right down to his very soul, and I‘m not saying that the other candidates don‘t have convictions.  Every man running in this race on the Republican side, I have a great deal of respect for.  But I do think that Fred Thompson has leadership, he has unwavering, consistent, conservative principles, and I think that he—you know, it‘s one thing to have multiple positions on an issue.  It‘s one thing to have principles that are made flexible, given the circumstances, but I think if you‘re going to be president of the United States, you better know exactly what you believe and why you believe it and where you want to take this country.

And if you watch that 15-minute video, and you know it‘s longer than all of these other announcement videos, but it really lays out the rationale for why Fred Thompson believes he‘s the best person to be president of this country.  It‘s exactly why I have decided to work for him, and I think it‘s why we are seeing increasingly support around this country for his candidacy.

CARLSON:  All right.  Karen Hanretty.  Thanks a lot for joining us.

HANRETTY:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, John McCain hopped right back on the straight talk express last night and headed straight for Mitt Romney.  Some say McCain was the winner of last night‘s debate.  Who else did well?

Plus, depending upon your point of view, Michelle Obama either attacks or humanizes or presidential candidate husband.  This time she publicly explained the Obama sleeping arrangement.  Too much information?  You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  We stayed up late last night watching the 411th Republican debate so you didn‘t have to.  Here‘s the conventional wisdom at this hour.  Mitt Romney got spanked, Rudy Giuliani did fine.  John McCain isn‘t dead yet, and, of course, Ron Paul continued to get no respect at all.  Hearing us now to confirm or destroy these perceptions, former presidential candidate and MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan.  Welcome, Pat.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  How are you doing, Tucker?

CARLSON:  I was amazed by the nastiness the other candidates focused on Fred Thompson.  We have a quick montage of some of what they said about the fact he wasn‘t there last night.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Why the hurry?  Why not take some more time off?  Maybe January, February might be a better time to make the final decision about getting into this race.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Or maybe we‘re up past his bed time, but the point is .

RUDY GIULIANI, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I like Fred a lot.  I think Fred is a really, really good man.  I think he‘s done a pretty good job of playing my part on “Law & Order.”  This is a nomination you have to earn, though.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARSLON:  I mean, wow.  This is not a group, with the exception of say maybe Ron Paul and Brownback and some of the lesser, less likely to win candidates, they don‘t attack each other so much.  Why go after Fred Thompson?

BUCHANAN:  Well, Fred Thompson has got a pretty much of a free ride.  He‘s got all this publicity.  The great man is coming into in to save the party.  And these guys have been working, Tucker, night and day taking hits.  It‘s like the first round draft choice out of college.  He gets a $12 million out of contract and these guys have been 10 years in the NFL don‘t tend to like it so they give him the hits.  And that‘s what they were giving him last night.

So I think Fred is going to have a tough time in there.  I thought it was a great debate.  I‘m like you, I stayed up through the date and through HANNITY & COLMES and the after debate thing, I don‘t agree with the marking system, though.  To me, Ron Paul won that debate last night.  He won in the poll.  He came out 33 percent, twice what anybody else got.  He has a tremendous constituency and they are using him as a foil, which is to his advantage.

Among the front runners I agree McCain about well for the same reason Paul did well.  He exudes certitude.  Whether you agree with him or not, he‘s the commander, we will charge forward in this war, like it or not.  And on the other side Paul says, we made a mistake, we have got to get out.  That‘s clarity on each side.  But I didn‘t think Rudy had that good a night and I didn‘t think Romney had that bad a night.

CARLSON:  Interesting.  Ron Paul wins every debate in my heart personally.  I don‘t agree with everything he says but he‘s clearly the man of principle there.  I want to bring in Jonathan Alter, senior editor from “Newsweek.”  Jonathan, you get the sense watching these guys, Pat and I were saying, watching the other candidates respond to Fred Thompson that they perceive him as a real threat.  It‘s kind of early to call him a threat, isn‘t it?  Or is it?

JONATHAN ALTER, “NEWSWEEK”:  No, if you look at the national polls, hey look, we are calling Hillary Clinton the front runner on the democratic side because she‘s leading in national polls.  So if you look at the national polls, you got to call Fred Thompson a big threat.  He has done extremely well.  Personally, I think it is going to fade for a variety of reasons but right now he‘s very much a real live possibility to get that nomination.

CARLSON:  Here for me was the most interesting moment of the debate.  Take a look at this.  This is Mitt Romney, followed by John McCain, a man who we were saying just yesterday, practically, was dead in the water.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY:  The key is, we don‘t start pulling back troops.  We don‘t go into a support mode until we are successful with the surge and we are providing the security and the stability that we anticipate for this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Senator McCain?

MCCAIN  Governor, the surge is working.  The surge is working, sir. 

It is working.  Not apparently, it is working.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  People have said, Pat, from the very beginning is that McCain‘s problem is he tied his fortunes to the war.  Nobody expects Iraq to become Belgium any time soon.  However, if things improve, his fortunes improve, don‘t they?

BUCHANAN:  They do.  But what you get here in the McCain/Romney exchange is I think contempt on the part of McCain for Romney who he sees as really a son of privilege and son of wealth who came up a very easy way and who is bright and handsome and good looking and he‘s older and tougher and really had the hard knocks.  And who is Mitt Romney to be talking to him about foreign policy and the war?

I do think McCain is going to  come up somewhat, but I find it very hard to believe, especially when you take a look, he ran tenth in the Iowa straw poll and they were booing him out there.  I think you can get a minor surge in New Hampshire, but I find it very hard to see how he comes all the way back.  I will say this, Tucker, if I were Romney, I would be looking for him coming after me whether he wins or loses because McCain is liberated by the fact that he‘s lost his lead.

CARLSON:  I think you‘re right.  The irony, of course, is John McCain, is not an attack but merely an observation of the truth, is himself a child of privilege, and grew affluent, went to boarding school, is the son and grandson of admirals.  He went to prison.  But he was also young, rich and handsome at one point anyway.  We will be right back.

Michelle Obama likes to tell campaign crowds her husband doesn‘t put his socks in the laundry or the butter back in the refrigerator.  Oh, but there‘s more.  Prepare yourself to learn a lot more than you ever wanted to about the personal habits of the Obama family.  Brace yourselves.

Plus, Bill Clinton has met with world leaders, living saints, winners of the Nobel Peace Prize but according to him, none is half as impressive as a certain woman who shares his last name.  Seriously, details in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time for a check of the Obameter.  And there is fresh activity.  First, an aide close to Obama says that Oprah Winfrey may take a visible role in the campaign.  Possibly as a surrogate of sorts.  Winfrey hosted her fundraiser for the campaign Saturday night in California.  The new development comes from Michelle Obama, who again spoke plainly about her husband to “Glamour” magazine.  Referring to their daughter, she said this, quote, “We have this ritual in the morning, they come in my bed and dad isn‘t there because he‘s too snorey and stinky.  They don‘t ever want to get into bed with him.  But we cuddle up and talk about everything from what is a period to the big topic, when do we get a dog?  What kind?”

That‘s what she said.  Did you want to know that?  Well, you do now.  So does everyone else.  Joining us again, former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and senior editor of “Newsweek,” Jonathan Alter.  Jonathan Alter, the Obamas do not sleep in the same bed Mrs. Obama is saying.  Why is that my business?  Why is she talking about this?

ALTER:  Too much information.

CARLSON:  Yes.

ALTER:  It‘s like when Jimmy Carter, when they released he had hemorrhoids, or when Bill Clinton‘s staff told us that they deducted their used underwear .

CARLSON:  Yes.  You‘re the only person who remembers that apart from me.  Good for you.

ALTER:  And George W. Bush, they talked about how the dogs would come up in bed with him and he would put his clogs on go out and get the paper.  I don‘t want to hear that.  Meanwhile, important things like, say, Hillary Clinton‘s letters to her pastor when she was younger, they won‘t release, even though the pastor says, fine, go ahead and look at them.  They won‘t release them.  Or Fred Thompson in the past couple of days, he won‘t led anybody talk to his cancer doctor, even though he had cancer.  They want to release what they want out there, even if it makes you squirm.  But on things that actually could be relevant to real insights, then they clam up.

CARLSON:  I‘m not sure, Pat, I want to vote for a stinky, snory guy who doesn‘t sleep in the same bed as his wife.  Here‘s his wife‘s rational, and I‘m quoting, “Let‘s not deify him, because when what we do is deify, then we are ready to chop it down.  People have notions of a wife‘s role should be in the process, it‘s been traditional, one of blind adoration.  My model is a little different.”  It certainly is a little different.  I wonder why she thinks the process of running for president is the process of deification.  You‘ve run for president.  Did you feel deified?

BUCHANAN:  I sure didn‘t and neither did the people who cover me deify me.  No, I agree with Jonathan.  Really, I don‘t want to hear this.  Frankly, I remember the deductions for the underwear but I have forgotten the hemorrhoids if I ever knew about them, with Jimmy Carter.  I think this is too much.  It really is—I think the old idea of presidency of Ike, where you had a president who was somewhat removed, some distance from the people, is a good thing.  A certain sense of majesty and distance.  I think we have gotten all together too close and too intimate and knowing too much about all of these folks.  Now we learn, George W. Bush, he cries a lot and things like that.  These are not really things I think I want to know about him and I‘m not sure it‘s good for them or the country to know all of this stuff.

CARLSON:  I could have told you George W. Bush cries a lot.  If you were to ask me this morning, is Barack Obama snory and stinky, don‘t think I would have known that.  She is adding to the reservoir of available knowledge about her husband.

Do you think—Oprah Winfrey totally doesn‘t care about the snory or stinky part.  She‘s supporting Barack Obama.  And there is a suggestion today, Jonathan, that she will be a surrogate for him possibly.  Do you think that could happen?  Is that a big deal?

ALTER:  Well, I have heard that as well.  I think if it does happen, it could be at least a pretty big deal.  We are in kind of unchartered territory here.  We simply don‘t know whether the amazing popularity of Oprah, which transfers to book authors and, you know, she sells millions of copies of books that used to sell maybe 10,000 copies.  If that same phenomenon does work in the political realm especially with women who just worship Oprah, that could be politically significant.  We just simply don‘t know yet.

But it is going to be one of the fascinating things to watch all this fall.  Remember, Hillary‘s edge is with women.  If that erodes under the Oprah factor, could be important.

CARLSON:  I don‘t know, Pat, why it wouldn‘t erode.  I don‘t think endorsements help that much but Oprah, that seems like the one endorsement.  There are a lot of kind of robotic television watchers who will do what Oprah says, good, bad or indifferent.

BUCHANAN:  I think that‘s right, Tucker.  I think she has tremendous clout and an enormous following.  And as Jonathan said, if you sit down there with a book and she talks about it a half hour, you‘re number one on amazon.com and on the best-seller list.  I think it might—I‘m not saying for sure because it‘s difficult—a lot of folks come out with all of these Hollywood stars and nothing translates.  I think this could conceivably translate with working class women, stay-at-home women who are watching TV, African American women and that‘s really Hillary‘s strong suit.  If she‘s out there, I think that can help.

CARLSON:  I think you‘re exactly right, and I bet she agrees with Mrs.  Obama.  Given Oprah‘s views on men, she probably completely agrees that he‘s a stinky, snory guy.  All right.  We are going to be right back.

Question—who is the real President Bush?  Does anyone truly know the answer to that?  We‘ve got new revelations on the commander and chief and we‘ll give them to you coming up.

Plus John Edwards wins another big endorsement from big labor.  It‘s his fourth so far.  What‘s the attraction and does it matter?

You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come—“Vanity Fair” profiles the president of the United States.  What they found.  He cares most of all about exercise and chopping wood.  Is it true?  Is it scary?  We‘ll tell you in just a minute.

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  With the top Iraq commander preparing for political battle next week over the future of the war, President Bush is under close and unflattering examination on two fronts at least.  First there was Robert Draper‘s book, rolled out on Monday, which portrays Bush as rigidly devoted to his policy in Iraq, comforted by his wife in times of self-pity, and frequently tearful in private moments.  Next up, a “Vanity Fair” peace entitled “Inside Bush‘s Bunker” by Todd Pergam (ph) is due in October.  That story apparently will describe Mr. Bush living in an atmosphere of disconnection and illusion, virtually alone, surrounded by sycophants and yet ever optimistic about his choices and the future. 

Here to talk about these stories, what they may mean, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and “Newsweek” senior editor Jonathan Alter.  Jonathan, I‘m struck by Todd Pergam piece, what we have seen of it so far, just excerpts, but apparently he has sources in the White House at pretty high level saying nasty things not just about the Executive Branch, but about Bush himself, the man.  One said to Todd, he cares most about exercise and chopping wood.  I mean, nasty things directed at their boss.  We have not seen that yet. 

ALTER:  No, we haven‘t.  But the rats are leaving a sinking ship, and it‘s about time that this started to come out.  The Robert Draper book is very credible.  Remember, he was very supportive of Bush, wrote a puff piece about him.  So they gave him access.  He came back with a devastating portrait of a toxic mixture of arrogance and incompetence.  That‘s how this administration will be remembered.  It doesn‘t matter what happens from here on out. 

He‘s in the bottom rank of American presidents.  He was unsuited to the presidency.  He was too immature for the presidency.  And we have all been paying the price. 

CARLSON:  So that‘s not an endorsement then of Bush or his policies, I guess. 

ALTER:  This used to just be like—

CARLSON:  Wait.  Let me say, it does matter what happens next.  And if by some miracle Iraq turns out to be a great place, he wins.

ALTER:  It matters tremendously to the country what happens next.  His reputation will be hard to redeem.  There‘s too much water under the dam.  I‘m not saying this because I don‘t agree with him politically.  I‘m serious.  If these kind of portraits came out about some liberal Democratic president, I would say the same thing.  In fact, when it happened to Jimmy Carter, I said the same thing. 

This is a portrait of failure.  You can‘t get around it.  The guy didn‘t get it done.  He was unsuited to the presidency.  We know this now.  It will be very—there will be very few historians who will depart from that assessment, a few, but very, very few. 

CARLSON:  We will find out decades from now.  But in the meantime, Pat, I was really surprised to see in the Draper book the president currently sitting in office telling Mr. Draper about his plans to buck rake, to give speeches for money and how he was pretty excited to make money, and Clinton makes a lot of money and so does my dad, et cetera.  I can‘t imagine Bush of the first term, Bush of three years ago, ever saying something like that.  Is this an indication he‘s kind of given up? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think it‘s a bad indication about the character of his values.  And I would find it hard to believe his father saying that and I know Richard Nixon‘s been condemned.  But his whole idea—he looked down with contempt on buck raking.  He thought an ex-president should write books and give advice.  So I think this presidency—he will go out and make a lot of money on the speaking circuit—suggests a pretty low level of values, I‘m afraid to say. 

Secondly, you get an awful lot now of people close to the president, which bothers me a bit, going out and trashing him now that it appears he is a failure.  I disagree with Jonathan to this extent.  Whatever you say, Bush has had a fairly good economy once they came out of the recession.  He may have refrained the Supreme Court if he gets one more choice.  However, I agree, Tucker, that everything rests on Iraq.  If this goes down and is a disaster for the United States, which it could well still be, I don‘t see how you redeem his presidency. 

On the other hand, who knows what his so-called Democratic revolution is going to look like eight or ten years from now.  So I think the jury is out.  I would not trust the historians.  They have never been very good with Republican presidents. 

ALTER:  I remember Richard Nixon said that to me once.  He said you have to distinguish between history and the historians.  The historians are liberal.  That‘s very true.  One thing on Pat‘s point about the buck raking, if he was like Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, didn‘t have any money, you could say all right, fine.  Let him refill the old coffers, as he said.  But the guy is worth eight to 12 million dollars. 

CARLSON:  You could say the same thing about Clinton now, who driven by greed continues to spend all of his entire life. 

ALTER:  He‘s not buck raking the way he was when he left office.  He‘s basically stopped that and dedicated himself because he has money now. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t believe that his recent financial disclosure or his wife‘s recent financial disclosure forms indicate that at all.  It indicates that he never stops traveling, making money for himself. 

ALTER:  They do.  He‘s making some for himself. 

CARLSON:  Some money?  Millions. 

(CROSS TALK)

ALTER:  -- than to say if you have 12 million to say that you‘re going

to go out and buck rake when you leave the presidency.  Tucker, you know

this, you have the

(CROSS TALK)  

CARLSON:  It‘s vulgar to say it now. 

(CROSS TALK)  

CARLSON:  I‘m saying there‘s no reason to give Clinton a pass for the appalling orgy of greed he‘s been involved in the last seven years. 

ALTER:  I agree with you.  I hit him hard for it.  But you know the character of this man.  You were the first to expose it in 1999, in that magazine piece, when he chuckled over the execution of a woman. 

CARLSON:  A lot of good it did me.  It pleased absolutely no one.  But it was true.  Pat, John Edwards got endorsed by the Transportation Workers yesterday.  He‘s been endorsed by four major unions so far.  He doesn‘t seem likely to get the nomination.  That‘s pretty much the consensus among people I know watching and covering the race.  Why is he getting endorsements?  Are these endorsements of the heart? 

BUCHANAN:  You know, David Bonior, who is with him, I have always felt was really someone who was in touch with Reagan Democrats and the union folks up there in Michigan.  I think his hitting of NAFTA and he‘s hitting these issues that Gephardt hit and which to me are really the issue of jobs, inequality of income, what is happening to the America we knew.  I think the de-industrialization of the country. 

I think, Tucker, this is the hidden swing issue, which could win this for either party.  And Bonyard knows this and Edwards taps into it.  He just doesn‘t look the role, quite frankly.  The haircuts and the rest of it have hurt that.  But that is why he is there.  An awful lot of these unions respond to that economic nationalism, economic patriotism, workers first, putting your country first, forget the foreign guys, putting them first, forget the global economy. 

This is a real latent issue and they are moving around it and moving toward it. 

CARLSON:  I agree with about 80 percent of what you said.  I personally believe he‘s an imperfect vessel for that message. 

BUCHANAN:  I think so, too. 

CARLSON:  I wonder, Jonathan, David Petraeus is coming to Capitol Hill next week, the commander of American troops in Iraq.  And he apparently is going to give a message that is largely or partly positive about progress on the ground there.  Democratic leaders are indicating now that they are not going to continue to demand an exit certain date from Iraq.  Is the base going to put up with this?  Are liberal voters who hate Iraq and want to get out yesterday, are they going to put up with this? 

ALTER:  It‘s a great question.  I think not.  I think you‘re going to see the liberal base in pretty much full revolt against the Democratic leadership.  They don‘t understand the basic political calculus.  The Democrats don‘t have the votes to stop this war.  And the Democrats think sort of halfway measures, like Jim Webb‘s bill to allow those who have rotated out to stay at home as long as they have served in country, that those kinds of things, while reasonable, are not going to satisfy the base. 

So it might be that they can get sort of a John Warner proposal to get a few thousand home by Christmas, to sort of appease the base, appease the war critics to say there were few people coming home, but I think even that is going to be insufficient.  There are going to be some real problems in the liberal base. 

BUCHANAN:  Tucker, they have the votes to stop the war cold.  They could defund the war.  But they don‘t have the guts to do that.  And they have been beaten.  I think they are a whipped majority.  I agree with Jonathan, they are going to go with a Warner-type compromise, because they do not want responsibility for bringing an immediate end to this war, which they could do, because they don‘t want to face the consequences, so they are going to face the base. 

CARLSON:  I think you‘re exactly right.  Pat Buchanan, Jonathan Alter, thank you both very much. 

We have breaking news to tell you about right now.  Osama bin Laden is reportedly planning to release a new videotape before the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  NBC‘s justice correspondent Pete Williams is live in Washington right now.  Pete, what do you know about the tape? 

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, it hasn‘t come out yet.  It is probably going to come out in the next, say, 24 to 72 hours.  But already what‘s described as a still picture is posted on a radical Islamic website, one that has announced these videos in the past.  And person said to be bin Laden has a newly darkened beard and appears to have gained some weight.  In older videos, for example, his beard was much more gray. 

Now this is not a big surprise.  Al Qaeda has put out a video every a few days before the 9/11 anniversary.  But bin Laden has not done one of these since 2002, and the last confirmed video from him was two years ago.  So while intelligence officials were expecting something like this, they caution—this is not, by the way, the tape we are talking about.  This is earlier tape.  They caution there‘s no way to know whether this is really new and really bin Laden.  They are going to have to see it and hear what he says. 

Aside from this, Tucker, there are no credible indications of any planned terror attacks against the U.S.  Nationwide police departments, including in New York City, are not planning to beef up their security in any way to coincide with the 9/11 attacks. 

CARLSON:  Pete, obvious question, where does this tape come from?  How do we know the tape is coming?  Who is going to get it?  How will we see it? 

WILLIAMS:  Well, you know, al Qaeda has become very fancy about putting these things out.  They used to record these things and have the tape sort of smuggled to al Jazeera.  They have long since abandoned that.  They now do it through the Internet.  There are sites in the U.S. that monitor these radical sites and can actually look at where these videos are in their cue and see when they are coming. 

They look, if you pardon the expression, the authorized al Qaeda PR website and they have seen this is coming.  And that‘s how we know it will be out.  When it comes out, it will be on that website. 

CARLSON:  Just amazing that it‘s all in plain sight.  Pete Williams from Washington, thanks a lot, Pete.  Appreciate it. 

Ted Kennedy, the man who once could do no wrong in the eyes of the left, suddenly is getting some serious heat from liberal groups.  What did he do to make his most loyal fans angry.  We will tell you in a minute. 

Plus, it wouldn‘t be a show without mention of Larry Craig.  Willie Geist tells us about one group that‘s rallying to Mr. Craig‘s side with a bizarre boycott.  Those stories and more when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Senator Kennedy, gas is three dollars a gallon and global warming is melting the glaciers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A real shame. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Middle East is a complete mess.  Even the president is saying we‘re addicted to oil. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What‘s your point. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why are you trying to stop America‘s first offshore wind project take wind?  It would generate enough electricity for 170,000 homes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, but I might see them from my mansion on the cape. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Call your senators and tell them it‘s not about the view from Ted Kennedy‘s porch.  It‘s about a vision of America‘s clean energy future. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Ouch!  After a 40-year love affair, the relationship between Ted Kennedy and activists on the left appears to be on the rocks.  It‘s not just that they have grown part or don‘t talk anymore.  There‘s a real reason, a wind power project off Nantucket.  Kennedy is against it apparently because the wind mills would mar the view from his sailboat.  Environmentalists are running ads like the one you just saw.

Joining us now with the juicy details, syndicated columnist Roma Hara (ph).  Thanks for joining us. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  What is the explanation?  One wants to be fair to Senator Kennedy.  It can‘t just be that he has aesthetic problems with the wind farm, can it? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That is the explanation and it‘s an extraordinary explanation.  But that‘s what he says.  Also I think perhaps he‘s unhappy at the idea that he can‘t control everything that happens in Nantucket Sound. 

CARLSON:  Ted Kennedy is the living embodiment of environmental activism.  He has been pushing—

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Not anymore. 

CARLSON:  -- more than 40 years in the Senate, that‘s remarkable.  He‘s basically saying, not in my front yard.  I don‘t want to see it.  I don‘t want to sail past it.  Has he actually said anything like that? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  In fact he told someone, these are that waters I sail in, which was his way of saying that he controls whatever happens there.  And that if he doesn‘t want to see wind turbines from Hyannisport, he shouldn‘t have to.  That‘s what he thinks. 

CARLSON:  So there is no—

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s extraordinary. 

CARLSON:  It is.  It‘s almost unbelievable.  It‘s, on the other hand, so believable.  He is the embodiment of limousine liberalism and this is, of course, the kind of archetypal thing to do.  It‘s taking a private plane to an environmental event.  It‘s nauseating but it‘s real. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He‘s not pleasing liberals these days.  He‘s been waging jihad against this wind farm for six years. 

CARLSON:  Is the wind farm actually going to be built? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think so.  There are a few hurdles left.  The Interior Department has to do an environmental review and, you know, there will be a permitting process.  And it‘s possible that the opponents of the wind farm will appeal the permits.  But, otherwise, it looks clear sailing.  And we could have wind by 2010.  We could have wind in Nantucket Sound. 

CARLSON:  Is there—just for those of us following along, and I‘m sure the rest of us are somehow going to pay for it.  That‘s just my default assumption, just as we paid for the big dig in Massachusetts, even though most people don‘t go there.  But is there any other good reason why the wind farm shouldn‘t be built?  Is it going to displace the Guarder Snail?  Is it going to hurt some exotic species we never heard of? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Those are phony arguments that Kennedy has made.  The wind farm will be in a place called Horseshoe Shoals, which is really a sandbar.  And there are almost no fish there to begin with.  The wind turbines will be six to nine football fields apart, so anyone can sail his yacht around him.  If he can‘t, he needs a new hobby. 

There is no good reason other than, you know, these rich summer people on Cape Cod who have waterfront property don‘t want to see these turbines.  In fact, they will be very hard to see.  Only on the clearest day will they see them.  And for most of the summer when they are there, it‘s hazy, so—

CARLSON:  They need to pick a new summer place.  I appreciate you‘re coming on.  That‘s a remarkable story.  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  President Bush was the victim of a strange prank in Australia today.  Let‘s just say some members of his security detail are probably looking for new jobs even as we speak.  Willie Geist is up with the embarrassing details next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We just received a call from the Obama campaign during the course of our show taking issue with something I said a minute ago.  It appeared to me, I said, that Michelle Obama was saying she and her husband don‘t share the same bed.  Just to be clear, I know nothing about the Obama‘s bedroom habits, beyond what Michelle Obama has told the rest of us. 

To be clear, let‘s reread what Michelle Obama said about the subject.  Quote, we have this ritual in the morning.  They come into my bed, the children, and dad isn‘t there because he‘s too snory and stinky.  They don‘t ever want to get into bed with him, et cetera, et cetera. 

I don‘t know anything she hasn‘t told me.  If there‘s more they want to tell bus about their bedroom habits, this is the show to tell us on.  Next up, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Tucker, I would rather not hear about their bedroom habits, if it is just the same to you. 

CARLSON:  It is the same to me.

GEIST:  Good.  Don‘t you hate when a wind farm blocks your view of the Nantucket Sound? 

CARLSON:  Like you‘re in your yacht with, I don‘t know, a new attractive female and you look ahead and there‘s a wind turbine.  It makes you want to pass legislation right away, doesn‘t it? 

GEIST:  It‘s enough to make you go to the Vineyard for the summer, if you can imagine that.  Slum over on the Vineyard.  Speaking of Ted Kennedy, by the way, here something a little disgusting too.  Last night they had Grammies on the Hill.  It‘s sort of a musical event for Congress people.  There he is, Senator Ted Kennedy on stage with Quincy Jones singing “We Are The World.”  They were singing “We Are The World.”

He was called up on stage, arm in arm, showing that music indeed brings us all together.  Ted Kennedy shouldn‘t be singing. 

CARLSON:  First of all, that‘s not Quincy Jones.  That‘s Q. 

GEIST:  Oh, Q, my bad.  Sorry, I‘m not out in L.A. like you are, man. 

CARLSON:  Sorry. 

GEIST:  Tucker, did you really think we would let the entire show go by without mentioning Larry Craig? 

CARLSON:  I hope not. 

GEIST:  Not if I have anything to say.  As you know, Senator Craig‘s friends in Congress did not exactly rally around him after the news came out about his arrest in the sex sting in the men‘s room in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.  But finally Craig has found an ally, a strange ally, but an ally nonetheless.  The American Land Rights Association is calling for a boycott of the Minneapolis Airport because the group says police there ambushed Senator Craig. 

The group said those police are contributing to the weakening of private property rights.  And the airport should be punished for it.  They expect that international airport to shut down at any moment in the wake of this stinging rebuke, Tucker.  Will you stand with the American Land Rights Association and steer clear of the Twin Cities, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  I kind of like the airport in Minneapolis.  Though I do wish

somebody would have the stones to stand up for Larry Craig.  I mean, I hate

I‘m not defending what he did in the John.  But I do think all of these people who loved him two weeks ago, at least 10 of them ought to stand up and say he‘s a good guy.  But they‘re cowards and it bothers me. 

GEIST:  All the people who he endorsed for president. 

CARLSON:  Yes, Mitt Romney specifically ought to get out there.  Mitt Romney ought to be ashamed what he said about Larry Craig. 

GEIST:  I don‘t think anybody is going to rally around him at this pint.  But I am just worried about the hand signals under the thing.  We need to straighten those out. 

Only slightly more infamous than the men‘s room at the Minneapolis-St.  Paul airport is the Watergate in Washington.  Now you can own a piece of the infamy.  The Watergate Hotel is undergoing a renovation and this week it is selling its beds, sofas toilets, dishes, and TVs, among other things.  The hotel itself was not the site of the break-in, of course, but the burglars did stay there.  Items from the rooms where they slept are said to be going quickly.  The liquidation sale is expected to raise about 700,000, dollars Tucker. 

Will you be able to get back to D.C. in time to by G. Gordon Liddy‘s bathrobe, Tucker?   

CARLSON:  You know, the building that was the site of the break in, I believe is now a dorm for George Washington University.

GEIST:  Is that true.

CARLSON:  Yes, I think that is true.

GEIST:  And Monica Lewinsky used to live there.  Trivia abounds with the Watergate hotel.  So get back to D.C.  I think you have until Saturday night or Sunday to get some gear. 

CARLSON:  I will send my wife over. 

GEIST:  Get in there.  Well, President Bush is in Australia at the APEC Summit, where today he discussed climate change and international security with the Chinese president and other world leaders.  But the day‘s real headline came from a prank pulled by an Australian comedy troupe.  Get this, the group assembled a fake motorcade and pretended to be a Canadian delegation as it rolled through two different checkpoints and got within yards of the Sydney Hotel, where President Bush is staying. 

But, wait, it gets more embarrassing for the security people there. 

One of the members of the comedy group was dressed as Osama bin Laden.  Yes, he was sitting in the car dressed as Osama bin Laden and was waved right through those checkpoints.  What does a fellow have to do to get arrested in Sydney, for god‘s sakes, Tucker?  Bin Laden wasn‘t enough to raise red flags?  Dress up like Stalin or Pol Pot or something?  What‘s the threshold? 

CARLSON:  Let me put it this way, Bob Hawk, the former prime minister, a couple prime ministers ago in Australia, was also the holder of the world‘s record for beer drinking.   

GEIST:  Is that right? 

CARLSON:  True fact. 

GEIST:  Security may not be a priority. 

CARLSON:  It‘s great country. 

GEIST:  It is a great place.  But they might want to tighten it up a little bit, and maybe go back to the academy for some of the guys at the first two checkpoints, reevaluate. 

Finally, Tucker, I have to show you this.  We have been talking a lot about dumb criminals lately.  This one not the guy who put a tree branch over his head to disguise himself for a bank robbery, or even the guy who duct tape his own head to hold up a liquor store.  It‘s pretty good.  This man walked into a bank in Little Rock, Arkansas yesterday, and passed the teller a note asking for all the money.  So far, so good. 

But if you look four feet to the right of the man in the picture, you will see a uniformed police officer.  The cop stood up, stopped the robbery.  Had a brief struggle with the guy, but he did detain him, and made the arrest, Tucker.  The guy had no disguise.  He literally walked in, waved hello to the uniformed police officer and attempted, without a weapon, to rob the bank. 

This new generation of robbers and burglars that we are seeing before us every day is, frankly, a disgrace. 

CARLSON:  Unbelievable. 

GEIST:  Just a disgrace. 

CARLSON:  It‘s a disgrace to the profession. 

GEIST:  It is. 

CARLSON:  We have to downgrade it to a trade at this point. 

GEIST:  There‘s a right way to rob a bank and wrong way.  Do it the right way, young people, or don‘t do it at all. 

CARLSON:  They need a union.  They need standards.  Willie Geist. 

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  See you.  Check out ZeitGeist, Willie‘s video blog.  That does it for us.  Thank you for watching.  “HARDBALL” is next.  We‘ll be back tomorrow.  Have a great night.

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

END   

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

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