updated 9/24/2007 11:34:22 AM ET 2007-09-24T15:34:22

Guests: Lawrence Keane, Rosa Brooks, Hilary Rosen

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR, TUCKER:  Welcome to the show. It‘s been a long time since Democrats have made gun control a centerpiece of their political agenda. It‘s been even longer since the leading Republican candidate for president came out for seriously restricting the right to bear arms, but Rudy Giuliani has.

In June of 2000, then New York Mayor Giuliani announced his city would be joining a lawsuit against gun manufacturers on the theory that firearms makers somehow are responsible for crime. As Giuliani put it at the time, quote, “This is an industry that is profiting from the suffering of innocent people. What‘s worse, its profits rest on a number of illegal and immoral practices. This lawsuit is meant to end the free pass that the gun industry has so long enjoyed.”

Those words, and many more like them, now haunt Giuliani as he seeks the Republican nomination for president. Giuliani spoke to the National Rifle Association today in an effort to explain why though he‘s more liberal than Howard Dean on gun control, NRA members ought to vote for him anyway. Here‘s part of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  There are probably a few things we disagree about, but there are many more things that we have in common. I was a very big supporter of it, I worked for Ronald Reagan. I remember his 80 percent—my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

CARLSON:  Senator John McCain, among others, was not sold. He reminded the audience that Giuliani once referred to them as extremists.

The question is, can Giuliani win over gun owners? Lawrence Keane is the senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an organization that represents gun manufacturers. He joins us now.

Thanks for joining us.

LAWRENCE KEANE, NAT‘L. SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION:  Glad to be here, Carl (sic).

CARLSON:  So you are part of an industry that profits from the suffering of innocent people?

KEANE:  No, that‘s an unbelievably offensive and defamatory statement by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. This is a responsible and law-abiding industry that works cooperatively with law enforcement. We were shocked, at the time, shocked by Mayor Giuliani‘s comments and we‘re probably equally shocked by what he‘s saying today.

CARLSON:  He is not in any way winning you over then, with his speech to the NRA. Is that what you‘re saying?

KEANE:  No, he can try to camouflage his record, but we can see right through it. He‘s wearing blaze orange as far as his anti-gun record goes.

CARLSON:  Huh. What do you think the response from ordinary gun owners is going to be to what he says?

KEANE:  When they learn that he made comments calling NRA members extremist and claiming the industry engages in immoral and illegal activities, they will look at his record, and they‘re going to see that he has a history of being hostile to gun owners, hostile to the Second Amendment.

He has a very curious view of the Second Amendment. He apparently thinks the Second Amendment is different, depending on whether you live in Manhattan or Montana. And that‘s not simply—simply not the case. That‘s not how the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. Your Second Amendment rights are the same whether you live in Manhattan or you live in Montana.

CARLSON:  I assume that would also apply to the rest of your rights in the bill of rights. Say the First Amendment, your right to free speech.

KEANE:  Or Fourth Amendment.

CARLSON:  That‘s right, exactly right.

Here‘s a line that Giuliani has used many times in different forms during his career in public life. This is one quote, but there are again, many, many, like this.

“We reserve the right to regulate driving automobiles so we too must sensibly regulate gun purchases to preserve safety of all Americans.”

In other words, if you need a license to drive a car, you ought to need a license and, maybe insurance, to own a gun. What do you think of that?

KEANE:  He‘s trying to say now that this Second Amendment issue should be decided by the localities.  Again, somehow your rights as a gun owner, your Second Amendment rights, are different if you live in South Carolina or Manhattan or Montana. And that‘s not the case.

And, in fact, he has favored national laws to licensed gun owners.  He‘s favored the assault weapons ban. So he‘s trying to camouflage his record. He‘s trying to walk away from the fact that he sued the industry. A lawsuit, Tucker, that is still going on this very day. In fact, today an appellate court in Manhattan heard argument on that case. The industry members are still spending $1,000s and $1,000s on that very lawsuit that he filed back in June of 2000.

He said today that somehow, that that lawsuit is not going in the

right direction. Well, Tucker, it‘s going in the very direction he said it

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.

KEANE:  Right to the jury. If it‘s not going in the right direction now, that‘s only because he‘s trying to do an about-face.

CARLSON:  I believe that. It‘s also absurd on its face. It‘s like suing General Motors for drunk driving. It‘s absolutely ridiculous.

KEANE:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  I wonder, though, just so our viewers understand this, Giuliani was party to this lawsuit, and in a quote that we read, attacked gun manufacturers as responsible for violent crime, in part. Hillary Clinton, Left wing she may be, has never done anything like that, has she?

KEANE:  Not to my knowledge. Rudy Giuliani is the only Republican mayor to sue the industry. All of the other lawsuits filed by mayors were filed by Democratic mayors.

CARLSON:  So, you‘re saying essentially on this issue, firearms of the Second Amendment, Rudy Giuliani appears to be more Left wing than Hillary Clinton?

KEANE:  That would appear to be the case.

CARLSON:  What does that mean for you all?  And for the NRA and for people who own guns and care about the Second Amendment on principle? Who are you going to support? Let‘s say Giuliani is the nominee on the Republican side and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side. You have to support someone, don‘t you?

KEANE:  No, we don‘t have to support someone. But we certainly aren‘t going to support someone who sued us. They can try to camouflage their record all they want, but they are not fooling anybody. He said that he tried—today he mentioned he was excessive in all of his efforts to reduce crime.

Then he took a phone call from his wife during his speech. Maybe he should have taken a phone call from the industry and learned a little about the fact we are a law-abiding industry. And we are not profiting off of innocence and we are not engaged in immoral and unethical acts.  We are not about to forget those statements.

CARLSON:  Just to be clear, you‘re an American industry, by the way, presumably these are mostly American companies, right?

KEANE:  That‘s right. Supplying all law enforcement agencies in the United States, including the NYPD.  

CARLSON:  Well, I really appreciate, Mr. Keane, you reminding voters of this. I hope you keep it up throughout this campaign.

KEANE:  Glad to be here.

CARLSON:  Thanks very much.

Senator Hillary Clinton stands firm on her decision not to condemn a controversial ad for MoveOn.org. Will decision come back to haunt her as the campaign progresses?

Speaking of campaign trails, Fred Thompson is hitting a rocky road.  He‘s supposed to be the candidate choice for conservative Christians. Why is at least one evangelical leader declaring him off-limits? This is MSNBC, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CARLSON:  What happens when a group created to advocate for issues itself becomes the issue? That‘s what Left wing group MoveOn.org finds itself after running an ad in “The New York Times” that accused General David Petraeus of betraying his country. MoveOn hasn‘t been able to end the war in Iraq, but it has succeeded in galvanizing beleaguered Republicans.  Here‘s President Bush on the subject.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I thought the ad was disgusting. I felt like the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus but on the U.S. military. Most Democrats are afraid of irritating a Left wing group like MoveOn.org, or more afraid of irritating them, than they are of irritating the United States military.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

CARLSON:  Republicans have run with that issue all the way to the Senate floor, leading a successful vote condemning MoveOn.org. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, led 24 other Democrats who opposed the measure. One senator who sat out the battle was Barack Obama. He did not vote though he was in Washington.

As he later explained, quote, “By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against this empty politics. I registered my views on the ad, itself, the day it appeared.”

Joining us now to discuss what all of that means, Rosa Brooks, a columnist for the “L.A. Times” and MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen.

Welcome to you both.

What a dodge. I mean, I disagree with Hillary‘s position. I think the ad was contemptible. But I think, you know, it‘s fine to condemn it.  But Barack Obama? 

ROSA BROOKS, COLUMNIST, “L.A. TIMES”:  Oh, no!  Oh, no!

CARLSON:  I mean, you‘re running for president and you‘re not even taking a position on it?

BROOKS:  That is a position.  His position is this debate is totally stupid. Doesn‘t the Senate have better things to do than go denounce an organization led by a 27-year-old for a stupid ad?

CARLSON:  But it‘s so phony. What do you mean a 27-year old? 

BROOKS:  It‘s a waste of time.

CARLSON:  MoveOn.org gave more money

BROOKS:  Eli Pariser is 27 years old.  

CARLSON:  What does his age have to do with it? 

BROOKS:  So, he had a stupid sophomoric ad.  Move on, as we say. Move on. Who cares?  The Senate doesn‘t have better things to do like, you know, focus on the actual war?

CARLSON:  So, symbolism doesn‘t matter?  Is that what you‘re saying? 

I‘m curious.

BROOKS:  Symbolism matters but this is the U.S. Senate. This is the nation without free speech?  I can put an ad out. I can say General Petraeus is a big, fat bozo. So what?

CARLSON:  No one is trying to squelch their free speech. 

BROOKS:  The Senate does not have to go and have a resolution against it.  Who cares?  

CARLSON:  Yes, well, because the Senate spends a lot of its time passing measures, resolutions like this.  

BROOKS:  We know they spend a lot of its time doing that.

CARLSON:  We have the Princess Diana People‘s Princess Resolution, OK?

BROOKS:  We know that.

(CROSS TALK) 

CARLSON:  So Barack—

HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  I cannot say that the Senate spending a day and a half on MovOn.org is more important than the five minutes they spent today on whether or not we were going forward with a withdrawal timetable.  Right?

CARLSON:  I‘m not suggesting that at all. No. I‘m merely saying Barack Obama ought to take a position on this.

(CROSS TALK) 

BROOKS:  He did.

CARLSON:  What kind of position is that?  No.

ROSEN:  I kind of agree with that.  If he had not gone in and voted for the, I want to have it both ways amendment, which was the alternative Democratic amendment, which is nobody should be mean to anybody.

BROOKS:  Yeah, let‘s all be friends.

ROSEN:  Then it seems like maybe he would have a point to say this is not the debate we ought to be having. But I sort of thought he should have gone one way or another.

CARLSON:  It‘s so Bill Bradley. So like I‘m above this. This is so low.

(CROSS TALK) 

BROOKS:  But he came out right after the ad and he said, this is not helpful.  We don‘t need this stuff.  Let‘s talk about the substance. Let‘s not impugn people‘s motives. He said that.

CARLSON:  He‘s already weighed in on it then.

BROOKS:  But let‘s—OK, but—

CARLSON:  So he can‘t not weigh in on it now on principle.

BROOKS:  But let‘s not turn this into something about Barack Obama.

Again, this is just turning into—

CARLSON:  You‘re right. It‘s not about Barack Obama. That‘s just one angle of it. That‘s a very good point.  It‘s not fundamentally about Barack Obama.  It‘s about the ad. It‘s about the politics of MoveOn.org, which by the way, apparently gave more money to candidates in the last election than the NRA did. So, this is not some 27-year-old. This is a big deal group.

ROSEN:  Not really—sorry. Go ahead.

BROOKS:  We all know there are a lot of Democrats who are wishing MoveOn.org would move on some are else like outer Mongolia or outer space for a little while.

CARLSON:  Right.

BROOKS:  I think they know that. I think it would have actually been helpful for MoveOn to say, you know, we shouldn‘t have said that. Sorry.  Let‘s go on.

CARLSON:  Why won‘t they say that?  Because I have said so many dumb things over the years and I would admit it.

ROSEN:  I think that‘s why they won‘t say it. They won‘t say it because the White House, instead of letting a conversation happen about what‘s really—what General Petraeus said, decided instead their only strategy after the Petraeus testimony was not to discuss the facts of the testimony, but rather to turn this into a—you know, are the Democrats too Left?

That‘s why they almost can say it. Because the very fact of what the ad said, which is are you going to talk about the truth, or the country or are you going to betray us, you military leaders?  

CARLSON:  Wait a second. Not only is the pot calling the kettle black, what are you saying?

(CROSS TALK) 

ROSEN:  By the way, no, wait, let me make one more point.

(CROSS TALK) 

CARLSON:  This ad came out before General Petraeus even spoke.

ROSEN:  General Petraeus was well known over the last four months—I may go even Lefter than MoveOn here. Over the last four weeks, before his testimony in the Senate, it was well known Petraeus was meeting with the White House staff every day. He was plotting with the communications people, plotting with the political people. He turned himself and the president turned him into a political operative, not just a military general. You take those hits as a political operative when you deserve them.

(CROSS TALK)  Hold on. You may be absolutely right, and you‘re certainly right that the White House used his testimony as a political tool. There‘s no question. There was a political element to it. Always has and always will. But that does not obscure the base argument about Iraq, which is what happen when‘s we leave? That‘s an argument that Democrats have been unwilling to engage—at all. Their reaction is everything will be fine when we leave because we are the problem. That‘s BS and everybody knows it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:   No, no, no.

CARLSON:  So they have not entered into a good faith argument about what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:   That is not true. They—the democrats on both the House and Senate committees repeatedly asked Petraeus and Crocker for more information about what specifically would happen. All they got back was generalities and disaster.

CARLSON:  More information?  Oh, please. Come on. We‘re fighting a war against a—

ROSEN:  The very people who have said we are going to be successful here, I know it, I know, I know it, we need to be here. The very people predicting disaster are the ones who lied in the first place about why we have to be there.

CARLSON:  I‘m not defending the dumbness of getting into the war in the first place. I‘m just saying no thoughtful person who follows this closely believes that getting out now completely would lead to anything but disaster. I‘m serious.

BROOKS:  I don‘t think anybody is actually proposing getting out now completely.

CARLSON:  Are you not listening to what they are saying on the campaign trail, day after day? 

BROOKS:  I absolutely am listening to what they‘re saying.

CARLSON:  If the president won‘t do it, I will. They are demagogu-ing the hell out of this issue and they‘re lying!

(CROSS TALK) 

BROOKS:  Everybody is talking about some version of a phased withdrawal, everyone is precisely trying—

ROSEN:  I mean, clearly

(CROSS TALK) 

BROOKS:  Not the front runners actually.

ROSEN:  I actually got—I actually got a

CARLSON:  John Edwards is.

BROOKS:  Speaking of MoveOn.org, one of the last few times I was on your show, when I made a offhand reference to MoveOn being the only people who wanted an immediate withdrawal, I got a huffy e-mail from them, saying you have misstated even our position.  We are not calling for an immediate withdrawal. We are calling for a responsible phased withdrawal, and a discussion of what that means. I actually think that that‘s true.

CARLSON:  Where is the discussion of what that mean?  You see, that is what I‘m missing here.  Where is—I have never heard that discussion.

BROOKS:  Oh, Tucker, I‘m having that discussion all the time. I mean, I think they‘re having that in the Senate today.

CARLSON:  What happens?  You know, what happens? 

BROOKS:  They‘re—they‘re—

CARLSON:  Nobody has any idea!

BROOKS:  I think it‘s a tough situation. Nobody does have any idea.

But that‘s part of the problem.

CARLSON:  Then how can you—this is a faith-based plan. And it‘s scary.

(CROSS TALK) 

BROOKS:  Nobody‘s got a crystal ball, including Petraeus. Well, the Bush plan is a faith-based plan.

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not. The status quo is not—look, the status quo was terrible. 

BROOKS:  Sure it is.

CARLSON:  The only question is, could it be worse? The status quo is not faith based, it‘s reality and it‘s what we are facing now.

(CROSS TALK) 

BROOKS:  The status quo—the status quo—

ROSEN:  No.

(CROSS TALK) 

BROOKS:  We know we have a horrible situation.

CARLSON:  Right.

BROOKS:  The question to which the answer nobody does know is which of the many alternatives, sticking with what we have got, trying this, trying that, will make things worse, which will make things better, which will keep things the same. That‘s the really tough one. I think people are trying to work that out. I think this whole—

CARLSON:  The MoveOn people aren‘t. It‘s just like anybody who is not for withdrawal right way is somehow evil.  They are squelching debate.

(CROSS TALK) 

ROSEN:  No.

BROOKS:  No.

ROSEN:  I don‘t think those polemics are actually what‘s going on. I think that there is a—

CARLSON:  I don‘t hear anything but those polemics. Wesley Clark is the only Democrat I have talked to in the past six months who said actually, this is complicated. Iran will take over southern Iraq if we leave.

BROOKS:  No, no. I don‘t think that‘s true.   

ROSEN:  The key issue is whether we have the current strategy right.

And that‘s the debate we are not having. That Petraeus would not engage in;

Crocker would not engage in. That when John Warner, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee said, does this strategy make us safer?  They had no answer. The question is, do we have the right balance of military force and political solution?

BROOKS:  That‘s right. That‘s right.

ROSEN:  Are we willing to give up enough of Iraq‘s independence or, you know, Sunni militia to the—the cost of freedom? Are we willing to give more American lives for that price?

(CROSS TALK) 

ROSEN:  That‘s the debate that‘s not happening at all.

BROOKS:  There are several serious proposals out there that are coming

(CROSS TALK)  

CARLSON:  They are not being abetted by MoveOn.org.  I can promise you that.  They are shutting down people with other ideas. And I just don‘t think they‘re—

ROSEN:  For you not to say that the debate over this MoveOn ad, over the last three days has been completely manufactured to exactly cloud over that debate, seems—you know, just so much less intelligent—

CARLSON:  Of course. I said that every day. No, no, I said that every day.

ROSEN:  OK.

CARLSON:  Of course, it‘s helping the Republicans. But I‘m saying the Democrats are totally irresponsible. I mean totally irresponsible at the level of Bush level irresponsibility. Bush was irresponsible to go in.  They‘re advocating some thing that is—

(CROSS TALK) 

BROOKS:  I wouldn‘t agree—I will agree with you, there‘s sort of—

I am beginning to have a plague on all of their houses feeling.

CARLSON:  Oh, God, yes!

BROOKS:  Which is that unquestionably, the status quo does suit everybody a little bit,, because the Republicans get to say, gee, we are trying our best but the Democrats keep undermining us.  The Democrats say, hey, we are trying to withdraw the troops but the Republicans won‘t let us.  So everybody is sort of fat and happy in the Congress.

(CROSS TALK)  Producers are telling me we got to go.

BROOKS:  We‘ve got to go.

(CROSS TALK) 

CARLSON:  OK. Here we go. President Bush says former Mexican President Vicente Fox is his pal, his come padre. If that‘s true, why is Fox attacking him?  I‘ll tell you what he said next.

Plus, Fred Thompson gets and earful from Christian conservatives. He was supposed to be their saving grace. Now he‘s the one who may need saving. Details in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CARLSON:  Fred Thompson, Fred Thompson, the hype surrounding his presidential campaign was remarkable, but now that he‘s actually jumped in the race, that hype has turned to raised eyebrows, shrugged shoulders. and mumblings he may be less than advertised. The latest knocks come from the crucial Republican voting block, evangelicals.

We welcome back to discuss it, Rosa Brooks of “The L.A. Times” and Hilary Rosen, MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist.

Welcome to you both. I know you both are deeply involved in the evangelical conservative community. But I want to know, Rosa, the attacks on Thompson by Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family, out in Colorado.

BROOKS:  Yeah.

CARLSON:  Seemed partly based on his support for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

BROOKS:  Dear to the hearts of some, but not to others. Dear to the hearts of McCain-Feingold, for instance. But fortunately not to almost any others, it turns out.

CARLSON:  Yeah, nobody—nobody defends McCain-Feingold.

ROSEN:  I think actually Thompson lost of the evangelicals when he said he doesn‘t go to church. 

CARLSON:  You know, it‘s interesting.

BROOKS:  A minor detail.  Don‘t you think that‘s kind of—that‘s picky, picky!

ROSEN:  They thought they had found the right guy.

BROOKS:  The right, Right guy.

ROSEN:  Yeah, the right, Right guy and all of a sudden—

CARLSON:  But I mean, going to church, the Clintons pretended to go to

To Foundry Methodist, some ludicrous church here and—

ROSEN:  He wouldn‘t even pretend.

CARLSON:  The weird thing is, here Thompson lobbied on behalf of an abortions rights group.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:   Only for like 10 minutes, though.

CARLSON:  Still you got money to spread the gospel of abortion, and they are not attacking him over that.  They are mad because he doesn‘t go to church?

ROSEN:  Yeah.

BROOKS:  It‘s important to keep up appearances, Tucker.

CARLSON:  It just seems a strange—I mean, if you‘re going to hit the guy, hit him on—like the real things. 

ROSEN:  I think they are surprised that Fred Thompson is who he is. At first they thought he was going to be the savior. We had this conversation a thousand times. The true conservative in the race, John McCain, is the one none of the conservatives like. So they keep shopping around for one of the other guys and they really thought Fred Thompson would be it. Now he seems to be all over the map on what the right constitutional mix is to prevent things like same-sex marriage, although I would not trust him on that.

He says openly that he doesn‘t have much use for going to church—I mean—

CARLSON:  And he doesn‘t remember the details of the Terri Schiavo case.

ROSEN:  He does not remember Terri Schiavo, which was their banner case.

BROOKS:  Which is really unforgettable.

CARLSON:  More over, if you were living in this country, would you have to remember the government prevented the family from keeping her alive (ph).

BROOKS:  I like to see the evangelical right defending themselves, but I actually fear that this could help Fred Thompson with moderates, which is not good for the Democrats.

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s a complicated—

(CROSS TALK)   

CARLSON:  That‘s a very sophisticated analysis, Rosa.

Iran‘s president get snubbed by the boys in blue in the Big Apple.  That doesn‘t mean he‘s staying out of sight.  Actually he‘ll hit the stage at one of America‘s top universities. 

And Mexico‘s former president takes the Bush to task over his Spanish, his horseback riding, his stubbornness over the war in Iraq. Should Vicente Fox be quiet and go back to Guadalajara?  That next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come—Obama snubs seniors.  Dan Rather says yes to suing CBS.  Iran‘s president gets the cold shoulder from New York‘s finest.  What a week.  What will review it all in a minute.  First here‘s a look at your headlines.

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Milissa Rehberger with breaking news. 

Fidel Castro has just appeared in a taped interview on Cuban television.  They are the first pictures of him since June.  The 81-year-old Cuban leader appears frail more than a year after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery.

There‘s word that bail has been denied for one of the six black teenagers charged with beating a white classmate in Jena, Louisiana.  Mychal Bell is the only one of that group put on trial so far.  He was convicted of second degree battery and jailed.  But his conviction was thrown out by a state appeals court.  The case led to yesterday‘s massive civil rights rally in Jena.

Delaware State University was locked down today after an overnight shooting that left two students wounded, one of them seriously.  Police have identified two students as persons of interest and are questioning one of them.

And an student was arrested at gun point after she walked into Boston‘s Logan Airport wearing a computer circuit board and wiring outside of her sweat shirt.  Authorities call it a fake bomb.  She called it art.  She‘s been released on $750 bail.  Now back to TUCKER.

CARLSON:  Senator Barack Obama‘s pretty young but is he disrespecting his elders?  In the State of Iowa, voters are being treated to Obama‘s latest TV ad in which he invokes his late mom.  He also takes a gentle swipe at his chief rival, Senator Hillary Clinton.  But Obama was nowhere to be found at last night‘s AARP debate while the candidate he was facing was center stage.  Wise politics?  We think not.

Welcome back “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa Brooks as well as Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen.  Welcome back.

Now, Rosa Brooks, you‘re Barack Obama.  I know old people don‘t vote—oh, yeah, no.  Sorry, I got that wrong.  Why wouldn‘t you go to this?

BROOKS:  You know, Tucker, Barack Obama just obviously hates old people.  There‘s no explanation for it.  He is probably the kind of guy who kicks old ladies.

CARLSON:  Yeah, crushed walkers—It‘s pretty easy to show up at one of these events, just for the symbolic .

BROOKS:  The trouble with AARP, did you notice AARP is getting bigger and bigger, Americans are living too long.

ROSEN:  And they keep lowering the age.

BROOKS:  So the AARP now includes, you‘re probably eligible for it.

CARLSON:  Sure.  At 38, I‘m a member.

ROSEN:  The problem with Barack Obama right now I think is that he keeps struggling to demonstrate how he‘s running a different kind of campaign for a different kind of politics.  And so I think he said, I‘m going to stop showing up at these cattle call debates.  I‘m going to stop voting in the Senate on things that I don‘t think are meaningful and the problem is that he needs to take that differentness and translate it into something proactive that makes people compelled to be for him.

CARLSON:  It‘s not enough to stand above the process, the process stinks .

BROOKS:  He needs to make a campaign commercial in which he comes out for kicking old ladies with walkers.  He needs to take that .

CARLSON:  Here‘s what I—look, if he would actually make that ad, I would probably vote for him because that‘s so brave.  On Social Security, he‘s running a new kind of campaign.  I don‘t want to get into the boring details but I‘m going to anyway.

BROOKS:  OK, Tucker, more power to you.

CARLSON:  He says on his latest press release on Social Security, I don‘t want to cut benefits for Americans or raise the retirement age.

ROSEN:  That‘s a daring statement.

CARLSON: That‘s the least daring statement ever.  You don‘t want to raise the retirement age?  Americans living decades longer than the system was founded in 1933.  You don‘t want to raise the retirement age because you do not want to alienate old people.  You also don‘t want to means test it.  Billionaires collecting Social Security.  That‘s cowardice, actually.

ROSEN:  Don‘t be surprised he‘s staying off the same rail.  And by the way, every Republican will .

CARLSON:  You‘re right.  You‘re absolutely right.  When Ron Paul is brave enough to tell the truth.

ROSEN:  How different will he be?  When do we start seeing what it is he will do different?

BROOKS:  And I think it is true, there‘s still a sense with Obama that, he generated a lot of early excitement.  I‘m still quite excited about his potential in his candidacy but I think we are still kind of waiting for him to go the next step.  And we will see.  We will see if he can do it.  The campaign season is finally heating up, we hope, because this is kind of boring.  And we will see.

ROSEN:  The good news is he has the money to stay in this for a long time.

CARLSON:  But why doesn‘t he make the Baby Boom argument?  One of the reasons I always liked him was in his book .

ROSEN:  You Baby Boomers, get out of the way.

CARLSON:  We are tired of hearing about Woodstock and the day Kennedy died.  Why don‘t you just be quiet and move to Boca and let the rest of us lead the country.

BROOKS:  I think Barack Obama is being too polite so far.  That is the big criticism that can be made of his candidacy so far.  He is being too careful.  He is being too polite.  It‘s time for him to come out swinging or time for him to say things like, you know what, Hillary Clinton, you‘re nice.  We like you, Bill Clinton you‘re nice, we like you.  But you guys have to get out of the way.  You have been in charge for a long time.  We are tired of the dynasty.  Let‘s let a new crowd, some new ideas come along.  Get out.

ROSEN:  He did let his wife say that last week.

CARLSON:  I‘m for her saying that.

Now to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Michelle Obama for president.  Boy.  I don‘t know about that.  But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad coming to New York next week to the United Nations.  Wanted to go to Ground Zero.  Not going there.  He is speaking at Columbia University.  I‘m not contesting Columbia‘s right to have whoever it wants to speak.  But shouldn‘t they acknowledge that he is our literally mortal enemy in that we are fighting him, American soldiers are dying because of what his country are doing.  We are fighting a war against Iran in Iraq.  Shouldn‘t someone say that out loud?

BROOKS:  First of all, a lot of people are saying that out loud.  I‘m not sure that‘s a completely accurate description of the situation.  We think there are segments of the Iranian government which may or may not be under the direct control .

CARLSON:  We know there are arms supplied by the government of Iran that are killing American solders.

BROOKS:  One of the things is that a big question to what extent he has actually control over the groups.  I think that‘s a question.

CARLSON:  His government of which he is the titular head in any case.  He is killing Americans.

BROOKS:  I think we have got a complicated proxy war.  Iran is not playing a positive role in that situation.  I think equally clearly for there to be any ending that is not totally catastrophic, forget happy endings because that‘s not going to happen in Iraq at this point, we desperately need the Iranians to at least not play a horrible role and ideally play some constructive role.  It‘s possible that that could happen.  There‘s some possibility Ahmadinejad would like it to happen.  I think it‘s really important to engage him.

ROSEN:  I think that might be true but .

CARLSON:  Is this how to engage him?

ROSEN:  But I‘m not sure this is about engaging him.  I think that‘s kind of an accommodationist analysis, which is not necessarily wrong.  I sort of have a broader view about it, though.  I just think this is an academic institution.  He‘s coming to New York anyway.  Students—we want American students to understand right from wrong and opportunity and where leaders take their countries afoul.

CARLSON:  Understand right from wrong?  I don‘t think we are teaching them that at all by having him speak.

ROSEN:  What‘s better than to have American students be confronted with a leader who truly is an enemy of the state.

CARLSON:  Boy, my .

ROSEN:  It‘s an opportunity to learn something that they would not otherwise learn.

CARLSON:  My perception is they are all so completely cynical relativists .

BROOKS:  No.

ROSEN:  On the contrary .

CARLSON:  I‘m not in any way advocating preventing the guy from speaking at all and I would never say that.  I‘m merely saying he‘s a creepy bad guy and Columbia should say that and I don‘t think they are going to.

BROOKS:  I think a lot of people will be saying that.  And I think it‘s a good object lesson both for the Columbia students and, frankly, the rest of the world.  Let them see them up there.  Let them see him up there.  Let them see in America Columbia students can ask him critical questions and not get in trouble.  Let people in the rest of the world including Iranian Americans, including Iranians living outside Iran including hopefully this will get on the Internet and make into Iran so they can see what happens.

CARLSON:  And nobody gets tasered at this speech.  Only the John Kerry speech.

ROSEN:  Martin Luther King said, “You can‘t fight darkness with darkness. 

You have to fight darkness with light.”

CARLSON:  I do think it‘s important - Martin Luther King also said, “Call a spade a spade.”  And in this case, he‘s a bad guy.

ROSEN:  He didn‘t say that.

CARLSON:  He didn‘t say that?

BROOKS:  But it‘s a good phrase .

CARLSON:  Who knows what he said?  All right.  Dan Rather suing CBS, $70 million.  Dan Rather, obviously, a sad character and kind of whatever, living in a lonely hell of former anchors.  What I‘m surprised by is .

BROOKS:  A lonely but comfortable .

CARLSON:  A lonely but very affluent hell.  The rewriting of history .

ROSEN:  A career many journalists who would have loved to have had.

BROOKS:  I aspire to live like that.

CARLSON:  The idea somehow the Bush administration was at the helm of CBS News during the last election and CBS is this hotbed .

BROOKS:  You mean the administration doesn‘t run MSNBC?

CARLSON:  I mean, they do obviously but that‘s not something they we can typically concede on air.  It‘s so ludicrous, the idea that‘s being taken seriously by the dummies at Huffington Post or whatever, Mary Mapes wrote this big long piece .

ROSEN:  You cannot be possibly calling Mary Mapes, a fantastically talented producer, a dummy.

CARLSON:  Not only is she a dummy but she‘s a terrible journalist and a negligent journalist who helped destroy her own news division by not checking the facts.

ROSEN:  But the irony of this is there were a lot of things in that story that actually were right and a few thing that‘s seemed to be not sure about.

CARLSON:  They didn‘t check.  They didn‘t check.

ROSEN:  There was an issue of a couple of documents.

CARLSON:  Several documents.

ROSEN:  Excuse me.  They had the former lieutenant governor of the State of Texas, a credible guy in that story saying, you know what, I made a phone call to keep George Bush out of Vietnam .

CARLSON:  I‘m not saying nothing in the story was right.  I‘m saying the center of the story was wrong and it was their fault that was wrong.

ROSEN:  It wasn‘t the center of the story.

CARLSON:  Center of the story .

ROSEN:  But this is my point.  This is my point.  That story came out at a very heated time during the election.  It might have been calculated when it came out.  But nonetheless, this lawsuit, if it brings out finally whether this—people will acknowledge that George Bush is a coward, who is willing to send kids to war today, and he wouldn‘t be willing to go .

CARLSON:  I love this.  This cracks me up.

ROSEN:  . more power to Dan Rather.  Forgive me Les Moonves for saying that.

CARLSON:  I think obviously Bush did not want to go to Vietnam and took the easy way out and he‘s got nothing to be proud of in his behavior and I‘m certainly not defending him.  The idea if you don‘t go to Vietnam you‘re a coward, consider Clinton was like an open draft dodger.  Oh, no, really?  He did the honorable thing.  Now all of the sudden if you didn‘t go to Vietnam, you are a coward.

BROOKS:  He was open draft dodger.  George Bush lied about it for years. 

That‘s the point.

CARLSON:  Clinton lied.

This is—it so amuses me.  Vicente Fox, another amusing character.  Let me put it up on the screen.

BROOKS:  George Bush is a coward.  Vicente Fox said George Bush was scared to get on a big horse.  He calls him a coward.

CARLSON:  Exactly!  He call him a “windshield cowboy.”  Bush is quote, “scared of horses, a horse lover can always tell when others don‘t share our passion.”  This sounds like an ad for something.  His Spanish is “grade school level.”  “He‘s the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life.”  “I can‘t honestly say I had ever seen George W. Bush getting to the White House.”

What does it say about George Bush‘s judgment that he actually believed this guy was his friend?

BROOKS:  I think we already know everything we need to know about Bush‘s judgment.  We don‘t need to add to it.

ROSEN:  It has to be said so I‘m going to now defend George Bush for a second.

BROOKS:  Oh, Hillary .

ROSEN:  In this one small regard.  It seems like—I have not the read the book but apparently this book is replete with props and compliments of George Bush.  What has now happened is that the six things he said that are not so nice are everywhere.

CARLSON:  I‘m sure—that‘s the way it is.

BROOKS:  This is Fox joining—how many books have just come out, in which people say several years after the fact, by the way, I knew all along that Bush was a total bozo.

CARLSON:  But it was so obvious Fox was a sinister guy and you knew that from day one.  Bush was like, oh, no, he‘s my compadre.

Very quickly, Tom Vilsack, obviously a big supporter of Hillary Clinton, part of the campaign, comes out and attacks—let me put it up on the screen, Rudy Giuliani‘s personal life.  “He has a very interesting past.  I can‘t even get into the number of marriages and the relationship he has with his children and what circumstance New York was in before 9/11.”

It is a little much for a Hillary Clinton campaign guy to be attacking the personal life of an opponent.  Shouldn‘t Hillary Clinton be quiet about people‘s marriages?

ROSEN:  It was—I think it was wrong for him to say.  I think it was cavalier, and, by the way, Senator Clinton 10 minutes later when asked about it disavowed it.

CARLSON:  No, she didn‘t.

ROSEN:  Yes, she did.  She said, I did not say it.  I am not going to engage in that campaign.

CARLSON:  She said he can speak for myself.  She did not say I wish he hadn‘t said it.

ROSEN:  She said, I am not going to do that.  That is not what my campaign is about.  You won‘t that coming from my campaign.

CARLSON:  But she did not say she wish she had not said it.  I wish she would have said that.  It‘s so brazen.  The Clinton campaign attacking somebody‘s marriage?  It‘s unbelievable.

BROOKS:  What I want to know is are there more marriages in Rudy‘s closet?  Was he married more times than we know?  That‘s the important journalistic question.

CARLSON:  Rosa, I assign you that.  When we come back, I want you to unearth the fourth and fifth marriage.  Thank you both very much.

He would win the Utah vote.  I appreciate you both coming on.

The presidential candidates are hoping to be crowned next January but only one is actually related to the king of rock ‘n‘ roll, Elvis.  Find out who ahead.

Plus art is the in the eye of the beholder, but when it‘s beheld by airport security, you‘re just lucky you didn‘t get shot.  Willie Geist has travel tips for the artistically inclined, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We told you what‘s going on in the world.  Now let‘s tell you what‘s really going on in the world.  Joining us now, the ladies of “The Washington Post‘s” universally read gossip column, “Reliable Source”, Annie Argotsinger (ph) and Roxanne Roberts.  Welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Happy Friday.

CARLSON:  Happy Friday.

The question I have been pondering all week, why don‘t we know more about Fred Thompson‘s personal life, his family?  Where does Thompson come from?  And you all have the answer, apparently.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He comes from very, very good genetic stock.  It turns out he is eight cousins once removed from Elvis Presley.  Which, frankly, we may have been going crazy here.  But looking at enough photos, swear to God, they look a lot alike.  They both have this kind of gleam in their eye, this kind of wicked snarl-like grin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The hip swivel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This kind of growly voice, bombshell girlfriends all the time.  Terrible movies, both of them.  And now we know why.  Fred Thompson‘s father and Elvis share the same great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents.  This is extremely exciting news.  I think it will make all of the difference.  Thus far we believe only one U.S.  president has been descended or been related to Elvis, that is Jimmy Carter, actually, of all people.  And there‘s another president, some of the other candidates, John Edwards is distant cousins to Harry Truman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s not interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  George W. Bush and Britney Spears .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Britney‘s interesting.  I think Thompson should—every sentence should begin with—thank you, thank you very much.  Ladies and gentlemen, Fred Thompson has left the building.

CARLSON:  What about bacon and peanut butter sandwiches?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s what they are going to serving on the tour stops from now on.  The Thompson campaign was excited when we delivered this news to him.

CARLSON:  That‘s much needed good news for the Fred Thompson campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The only good thing I heard about Fred Thompson in at least last four weeks.

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  Miss DC or Mrs. DC.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Mrs. DC.

CARLSON:  I didn‘t know what this means p there‘s a pageant with a Mrs. DC in it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There‘s Mrs. America pageant.  I think they already competed out in Arizona.  But the show itself is going to be on the air on some other basic cable ..

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  TV .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  But guess what she wears?  She dresses up like the U.S. Capitol but like a very sexy version of the U.S. Capitol.  I hope you have the photo to show the people.  It‘s strapless and short .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And short.

CARLSON:  Can there be a sexy version of the U.S. Capitol?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And she says, does this make my hips look fat?  And she has a dome that looks like a wedding cake on top of her head.  Anyway, Susan Sweat (ph), we are rooting for you.  Mrs. DC.  Represent.

CARLSON:  She looks pretty good.  Speaking of DC, there‘s probably right now a book party .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Even as we speak.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  About another 10 minutes to get your free glass of chardonnay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Here‘s the deal, Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell, who are both Jewish but non-observant, accidentally scheduled a book party for 6:30 tonight.  Invitations went out to 200 people until somebody said, oops, it‘s Yom Kippur.  It starts at sundown, at 7:07 to be exact.  So they frantically had to call .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s supposed to be 6:30 to 8:30.  It‘s no go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They had to frantically call all of these a-listers to say, you have to come early.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  4:30 to 7:00 is what they changed it to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  4:30 to 7:00 so everybody who was observant could go party and then pray.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s difficult.  There are like two gods in Washington.  Alan Greenspan .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Who has the higher power?

CARLSON:  There‘s not a special dispensation for the Alan Greenspan party you‘re saying?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, since he‘s the former head of .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  If he was currently head of the Fed, he might get equal status.

CARLSON:  If Ben Bernanke was doing it, that would be OK in the eyes of God.  Ladies, thank you for the update.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Have a great weekend.

Not that Rudy Giuliani was not interested in talking to the NRA but he really had to grab a phone call in the middle of his speech this afternoon.  Who was calling?  And why didn‘t Giuliani send it straight to voice mail? 

Willie Geist has the answers in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Now, time for the beating heart of the program, the entrance of the great Willie Geist.  Willie?

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hello, Tucker.  Fred Thompson is not

the only one with blood lines to Elvis Presley.  Oprah Winfrey claims to be

not a joke—a distant cousin to Elvis Presley.  In fact she calls Lisa Marie Presley her cousin when she has her on the air.  So they‘re cousin.

CARLSON:  I missed that episode of Oprah somehow.

GEIST:  I read about it somewhere.  I read about it on my TiVo last night. 

But, Elvis, the blood flows all over the place.

CARLSON:  Nice.

GEIST:  Tucker, I have some support today, further support for my theory that no one is dumber than a really smart person.  A 19-year-old MIT student was arrested at gun point at Boston‘s Logan Airport this morning because she was walking around with a fake bomb strapped to herself.  A Massachusetts Port Authority worker spotted the woman wearing the sweat shirt with a circuit board, wires and putty connected to it.  State troopers swarmed the woman with submachine guns drawn.  That‘s when she explained, tucker, the fake bomb was merely art and they didn‘t understand.  She was making a statement of some kind.  The student was arrested and charged with possession of a hoax device.  That‘s her on the right there.  A state police spokesperson said of the woman, quote, “she‘s lucky to be in a cell as opposed to a morgue.”

CARLSON:  Ooh.

GEIST:  Saying that they might have shot her down if she wasn‘t careful.

CARLSON:  That‘s a little grim.

GEIST:  Yeah.  It‘s a little grim.  Don‘t you hate when people don‘t understand art criticize it?  It‘s subjective.

CARLSON:  Yeah.  Such philistines, unbelievable.

GEIST:  I hate that.  Art is what you want it to be.  And if it‘s a bomb .

CARLSON:  But art is also to afflict the comfortable.  Get your middle class sensibilities and shove them up your nose, OK?

GEIST:  Exactly.

CARLSON:  And make you pay for it, by the way, at the same time.  That‘s real artwork.

GEIST:  You know who would like to criticize that art, the people who missed their flights when they evacuated the terminals.  There are a few art critics in that crowd who would like to meet that lady.

As you discussed earlier in the show, Tucker, Rudy Giuliani, one of several candidates to speak to the NRA in Washington today.  He probably didn‘t do a lot to win over the skeptical audience when he paused to take a phone call in the middle of the remarks.  He also did not do a lot to convince us he‘s not awkward with his wife on the phone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The language of it is the people shall be secure.  This is my wife calling, I think.

Hello, dear.  I‘m talking to the members of the NRA right now.  Would you like to say hello?  I love you, and I will give you a call as soon as I‘m finished, OK?  OK.  Have a safe trip.  Bye-bye.  Talk to you later, dear.  I love you.

It‘s a lot better that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Awkward pause at the end.  I think he thought that would be funny, but it was just weird, wasn‘t it?

CARLSON:  At the back of the studio my intern looked at me and went—ah - - and that‘s how I feel.  By the way, the NBC report on this points out that this has happened at a number of speeches in exactly the same way.  We‘re not claiming it‘s in any way staged.

GEIST:  He maybe wants to let everybody know how much he loves his wife and what a family man he is, perhaps.

CARLSON:  I get the shivers watching that.

GEIST:  I get the opposite effect.  I don‘t want to know about his family life.

CARLSON:  Same with me.  I agree completely.

GEIST:  Well, Tucker, it‘s time to hand out some hardware, out “Human of the Week” comes to the O.J. Simpson case.  No, it‘s not O.J. himself.  I could not name him human of the week, even sarcastically.  And it‘s not the ponytail judge-slash-strip joint bouncer from the O.J. hearing.  It‘s the run-away star of the O.J. circus, Jake Byrd.  Yes, the guy from the lawyer‘s press conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We expect Mr. Simpson to be processed and released .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  .. fairly quickly.  Other than that, we do expect Mr.

Simpson to go back to Florida in the next few days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My only focus up until this point in time has been securing Mr. Simpson‘s release.

UNIDENTFIIED MALE:  Nice work, dude!  Up high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Up high!  Don‘t leave me hanging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you, thank you.  I appreciate that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you, buddy.  Nice work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And that‘s been our focus here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is your client innocent or not guilty?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m not sure there‘s a difference in the eyes of the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s both, dude, he‘s innocent and not guilty.

GEIST:  All right, Tucker, if there‘s a better human this week, I would like you to tell me about him.  Jake Byrd, that‘s my man right there.

CARLSON:  Who looked more ludicrous, Jake Byrd or the lawyer at the podium?

GEIST:  Jake Byrd is actually sort of right in this whole thing.  He‘s the sane one.  Pointing it out to us.

CARLSON:  Plus his hat, I love famous people.  Perfectly captures .

GEIST:  Excellent.

CARLSON:  If I can use it.  The zeitgeist of America right now.

GEIST:  Welcome back, O.J.

CARLSON:  Willie, have a great weekend.

GEIST:  All right, you too TUCKER.

CARLSON:  For more of Willie Geist, check out ZeitGeist, speaking of, his video log at zeitgeist.msnbc.blog (ph).  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, HARDBALL with Chris..  Have a great weekend.  See you Monday.

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

,