updated 10/8/2007 10:49:55 AM ET 2007-10-08T14:49:55

Guests: Barbara Comstock, Ed Schultz, Michael Crowley, Hilary Rosen, Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show. 

The race for the presidency has become a brawl, and you can count Mitt Romney in.  The week that saw Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani take off after one another, the Log Cabins go after Romney, and the Edwards campaign taking swipes at Barack Obama concludes with Romney‘s biggest shots to date at Rudy Giuliani Thursday in New Hampshire.  The theme of those attacks?  Giuliani‘s liberalism, both fiscal and socialism. 

Romney criticized Giuliani‘s opposition to a presidential line item veto, as well as his support for a commuter tax.  It is Romney, says Mitt Romney, who is the genuine fiscal conservative.  Furthermore, he questioned Giuliani‘s electability in November of next year.

Romney contends that Giuliani‘s left-leaning social policies will turn off the Republican base and give Democrats the advantage in voter turnout.  That attack came a day after the NBC-“Wall Street Journal” poll indicated that Republican voters give Giuliani the best chance to defeat Hillary Clinton.  They rate Romney‘s chances fourth best.

In just a moment, a top adviser to the Romney campaign joins us to talk about it.

Also today, the Rush Limbaugh phony soldiers controversy gets new life from, of all people, Elizabeth Edwards.  With her husband‘s campaign listlessly falling behind Hillary Clinton‘s, Mrs. Edwards used a radio interview to attack Limbaugh as a draft dodger. 

Is Limbaugh‘s war record relevant to the presidential campaign, and will Elizabeth Edwards‘ entry into that debate help her husband‘s campaign? 

Ed Schultz weighs in later in the hour.

Plus, government officials in Kentucky sues the makers of the drug OxyContin, claiming that company is responsibly for widespread addiction to the so-called hillbilly heroin. 

We‘ll tell you more about this remarkable case in just a minute. 

But we begin tonight with the race for the Republican nomination.  And joining us is the adviser to Mitt Romney‘s campaign, Barbara Comstock. 

Barbara, welcome.

BARBARA COMSTOCK, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN ADVISER:  Thank you.  Good to be here. 

CARLSON:  So these attacks on Giuliani must in some way be a response to this kind of remarkable poll by “The Wall Street Journal” that says pretty overwhelmingly voters think Rudy is the one to even have a shot at beating Hillary and Romney not much chance. 

COMSTOCK:  Well, actually, we‘re—you know, we‘re entering a phase where you‘re contrasting and getting your record out.

CARLSON:  Yes.

COMSTOCK:  And somebody in New Hampshire had asked Governor Romney the difference between him and Rudy Giuliani on taxes, and he pointed out that he has been the first person and really the first major Republican candidate to sign the tax pledge and that he had a record in Massachusetts when he was governor of cutting budgets.  He cut 15 percent of the budget when he went in there.  It was a $3 billion deficit, and he cut those budgets and he kept taxes under control there. 

He actually, very remarkably, with an 85 percent Democratic legislature, got a retroactive capital gains tax increase that the Democrats are trying to put in place.  He got them to repeal it by going... 

CARLSON:  Good for Mitt Romney. 

COMSTOCK:  I mean...

CARLSON:  I mean, that‘s an explanation of his record.  That‘s not—you haven‘t leveled any attacks against the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, by some measure the frontrunner in this race.  Why is... 

COMSTOCK:  On the national polls. 

CARLSON:  On the national polls, that‘s right.

COMSTOCK:  The national polls.  But when you look at...

CARLSON:  OK.  But I‘m just saying, he‘s going after Giuliani.  Why is he doing that? 

COMSTOCK:  Well, we‘re talking about the contrast that we have on the records.  And most importantly, the contrast that he‘s pointed out consistently is, the Republican Party, 30 years ago, what Ronald Reagan laid out there, was a Republican Party, a coalition of national security conservatives, economic conservatives, and family value social conservatives.  And we believe it‘s very important to keep that mainstream conservative coalition together and have somebody who can represent all of the factions of the party. 

You know, leave no Republican behind here.  We really do need to have the entire party unified.  But Governor Romney has also demonstrated that he can work in the bluest of blue states and get things done, like cutting the budget. 

(CROSSTALK)

COMSTOCK:  No.  Well, he fought for marriage in Massachusetts when the judges...

CARLSON:  Well, he said the other day—he said the other day—he appeared to contrast his own 30-odd-year marriage with his wife to Rudy Giuliani‘s much more kind of complicated marital history. 

Is that what he was doing?  It absolutely seemed like what he was doing. 

COMSTOCK:  I didn‘t see that at all.  But, I mean, the Romneys are—what you see is what you...

CARLSON:  Would the campaign never do that, allude to Giuliani‘s divorces? 

COMSTOCK:  Well, the point, they are who they are.  I mean, I‘m celebrating my 25th anniversary soon. 

CARLSON:  Good for you.

COMSTOCK:  It‘s who you are.  A junior high bride, but, you know, they‘ve been married for 30 years. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s great.  But my question is...

COMSTOCK:  I‘m not familiar with what their situation is.

CARLSON:  ... you don‘t think that the Romney campaign would ever allude to Giuliani‘s divorces?

COMSTOCK:  Well, that‘s something that, you know, people can look at.  That‘s—you know, we‘re looking at the character of the man.  And I‘m focusing on the character—the integrity of the man that I‘m working for...

CARLSON:  Right.

COMSTOCK:  ... and who I think is the best person to bring the party together on all these three areas. 

And he does believe—he talks about family and the importance of family, and that‘s because he does—when you look at family breakdown, that‘s one of the biggest drivers of poverty in the country.

CARLSON:  Amen.

COMSTOCK:  So that‘s not talking about somebody else‘s divorce.  You‘re talking about—when you talk about family breakdown, you‘re talking about families that have never formed...

CARLSON:  Of course.

COMSTOCK:  ... single parent families in the inner city.  And that‘s a very valid, important issue that he has addressed.  He consistently addresses it, and he‘s probably the only candidate who is really aggressively...

CARLSON:  And I think he ought to.  The question was just, though, is he attacking another man‘s marital history?  Which would be something else entirely. 

Back to his record on economics, ABC today—I‘m not sure these numbers are exactly right, but they sound kind of right—suggest that had Mr.  Romney not put $8.5 million of his own money into his campaign, he would have had about $500,000 left cash on hand, which is much less, about, you know, a 10th as much as Ron Paul. 

Is that the fiscal conservatism, a man who has burned through all of his money and has to throw his own money back in? 

COMSTOCK:  No.  Well, he made a decision early on because he was not as well known as the top contenders, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, to do some early advertising and spend some money.  And he‘s—but he‘s raised as much as any of the top Republicans.  I think he and Rudy probably about tied on actually raising money. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

COMSTOCK:  And he has also put some of his own money—he said he‘s willing to invest that.  And people—we have a big turnout.  We have over 100,000 donors, because people do believe in his message and the importance of having all of the parts of the party together to move forward for the, you know, challenges that we face. 

CARLSON:  Is it conservative to force people to buy health insurance whether they want to or not, as Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts, as Hillary Clinton would like to do across the country?  Is that a conservative principle, compulsory at the point of a gun health insurance? 

COMSTOCK:  He made a very different distinction than Hillary Clinton makes.  Hillary Clinton, as usual with the Democrats, are talking about a one size fits all policy. 

CARLSON:  Right.

COMSTOCK:  What he‘s talking about is having private sector health care. 

That‘s why he supported the president vetoing the SCHIP. 

CARLSON:  But this is the state of Massachusetts forcing me to buy health insurance, just in Massachusetts, where he was governor.  That strikes me as a pretty left wing thing to do. 

COMSTOCK:  Well, what they did is they looked at the fact that we were providing health care whether you were paying for it or not.  We all pay for people‘s health care, even if they aren‘t insured.  They show up in the emergency room, they show up somewhere.  We don‘t say, sorry, you don‘t have insurance, we‘re turning you around.

CARLSON:  So we‘re all responsible for one another, basically? 

COMSTOCK:  No.  This is making it personal responsibility. 

The private insurance that you have to buy a minimum policy so that I‘m not paying for you when you crack up your car or you‘re injured and you‘re going in there.  You have your own private insurance. 

So it‘s a—but he said—the important thing is he said, that‘s for Massachusetts and how they are going to do it.  What he said is he wants to see states be able to be more innovative.  That‘s what he did in Massachusetts with a Democratic legislature. 

CARLSON:  Also on gay marriage the same attitude, the federalism there. 

COMSTOCK:  No, on marriage—marriage is a status, not a.... 

CARLSON:  I knew your answer.

Barbara Comstock, thank you very much. 

COMSTOCK:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Elizabeth Edwards on the attack again.  This time, she‘s taking aim at Rush Limbaugh, calling him a draft dodger for not fighting in Vietnam.  But wait, where‘s her husband?  Isn‘t he running for president?  Why is she doing all of the criticizing? 

Plus, what‘s her war record?  We‘ll tell you in a minute.

Plus, Barack Obama‘s flag flap.  He says wearing a flag pin has become a substitute for true patriotism.  Who is he calling unpatriotic? 

We‘ll tell you in a minute. 

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

For 15 years, we‘ve been hearing about the two for one deal of Bill and Hillary Clinton.  But they are not the only husband-and-wife team in politics or Democratic politics.  Consider for a moment John and Elizabeth Edwards. 

Mrs. Edwards, though not technically in the race for president, has become her husband‘s sharpest and most relentless defender on the campaign trail.  She seems to relish saying things her husband cannot or will not say. 

Her most recent target—and there have been many—Rush Limbaugh. 

Here to tell us why she is attacking a radio personality is a radio star himself, Ed Schultz, host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show”. 

Ed, welcome.

ED SCHULTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Welcome to you, Tucker.  Great to be with you. 

CARLSON:  Well, thank you.

I want to put up on the screen for our viewers who may have missed it, what exactly Elizabeth Edwards said about Rush Limbaugh most recently.  Here it is.

“My classmates went to Vietnam,” she said.  “He did not.  He was 4F.  He had a medical disability.  The same medical disability that probably should have stopped him from spending a life time in a radio announcer‘s chair.”

But it is true, isn‘t it?  If he has an inoperable condition that allows him to serve, presumably it should not allow him to sit for long periods of time the way he does.  I think this is a serious enough offense for the people who fund him, who buy ads and allow him to be on the air.  They need to be asked if this is what they really stand for.”

It‘s almost unbelievable that she is attacking him for not serving in Vietnam. 

Do you think that‘s a fair attack? 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think it‘s very fair.  And I think Limbaugh has thrown himself into the arena and become a target for one of the very rare times in his career. 

This guy is out there calling people phony soldiers who are putting their lives on the line.  He‘s being challenged by a gentleman who had a head injury and has now done an ad.  And Rush twice this week on the radio has had to backpedal.  How is it that...

CARLSON:  But wait a second, wait a second.  No, but hold on.  I want to get to the core. 

Is it fair?  I thought we had reached a point in American life where it was OK to concede that you didn‘t serve.  Now, John Edwards didn‘t serve.  He was 18. 

SCHULTZ:  I didn‘t serve. 

CARLSON:  I didn‘t serve. 

SCHULTZ:  I didn‘t serve.  Did you serve? 

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  John Edwards didn‘t serve in Vietnam.  He was 18 in 1971. 

SCHULTZ:  But John Edwards—well, now, wait a minute.  John Edwards was elected by the people.  John Edwards was elected by the people and he has voted on policy dealing with the military budgets in a very responsible way.  Now, you know...

CARLSON:  I‘m lost.  I‘m not following your argument. 

SCHULTZ:  ... you got Rush Limbaugh out there attacking John Edwards, calling him the “Breck Girl,” making fun of him, going after his policies. 

CARLSON:  And that shouldn‘t be allowed in the new world order?  Is that what you are saying? 

SCHULTZ:  Well, it should be allowed.

CARLSON:  Oh, OK.

SCHULTZ:  So it‘s OK for Rush to attack candidates, but it‘s not OK for candidates to point out what Rush‘s record is? 

CARLSON:  No, you‘re totally missing my point.  Of course attack Rush Limbaugh.

I‘m taking issue with the fairness of the attack itself.  Liberals have always held up people who dodged the draft—Bill Clinton, for instance, the Berrigan brothers—as moral heroes.  They didn‘t agree with the Vietnam War, they didn‘t serve, and that was a good thing.

Now all of a sudden everybody is more patriotic than thou, more ferocious than thou.  Elizabeth Edwards, why didn‘t she serve in Vietnam if she is so incredibly patriotic?  She could have gone over there.  She didn‘t.

SCHULTZ:  She—there‘s a lot of different ways to show you—Tucker, there are a lot of ways to show your patriotism.  The first way to do it...

CARLSON:  Then why is she attacking Rush Limbaugh for not fighting the commies in Vietnam? 

SCHULTZ:  You know, can I answer—you‘re throwing about five questions at me.

CARLSON:  OK.

SCHULTZ:  And I‘m trying to get to the first one.  OK?

CARLSON:  OK.  I just want to know, is it acceptable to have not served or not?

SCHULTZ:  OK.  You want to know why you think there‘s a double standard here?  There not. 

Limbaugh is a target, just like the Edwards family is a target.  And I don‘t think in any sense of the word that Elizabeth Edwards is going to hold back at this point when her husband has been ridiculed repeatedly by Limbaugh. 

CARLSON:  She—I‘m not suggesting she hold back.  I‘m suggesting she‘s—it‘s great that she attacks Rush Limbaugh.  I‘m just saying it‘s unfair to attack Rush Limbaugh for not serving in Vietnam when her husband didn‘t either, she didn‘t, you didn‘t, just about everybody in the Democratic leadership didn‘t.  Since when is it unacceptable to have not served in Vietnam? 

It‘s an unfair attack.  That‘s all I‘m saying. 

SCHULTZ:  You know, Tucker, if you want to check and see how many Republicans in the Senate served in the military, I think you might have a short list there. 

CARLSON:  I‘m sure very few did.  I‘m not defending the Republicans.  I‘m only saying...

SCHULTZ:  You know, you want to know about—you want to know about Limbaugh being attacked by her.  Hey, listen.  He‘s a target.  What he has said is despicable about men and women in uniform. 

CARLSON:  OK.  That may be true, but if you wanted to be treated as...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  That puts him on a totally different level now. 

CARLSON:  So it‘s a good idea to make ludicrous arguments against him?  If you want to be treated as a serious adult, and presumably Mrs. Edwards does -- it‘s getting harder, by the way to do that, to treat her seriously.  But if you want to be, you have to attack people on legitimate grounds. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  You‘ve always had a jaded opinion about the Edwards.  There isn‘t anything the Edwards family could do to make you happy, Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s totally untrue.  I‘ve always liked Elizabeth Edwards.

SCHULTZ:  The fact is, you know, you‘ve been after him all along. 

CARLSON:  I‘ve been after John Edwards on the issues.

SCHULTZ:  What is wrong with what Elizabeth... 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s very fair to point out Limbaugh‘s record that he probably should have been in Vietnam, but the fact is he is a draft dodger, and he did it with an anal cyst.  Now, I had callers to my talk show today saying that they had the same thing and they ended up going to Vietnam. 

CARLSON:  So why—OK, he‘s a draft dodger.  I wonder if you can explain to me, since this is the standard we‘re applying to people in public life circa 2007, why is John Edwards not a draft dodger? 

SCHULTZ:  Because it wasn‘t time for him to go.  They didn‘t draft him. 

CARLSON:  What are you talking about?  He was 18 in 1971.  There—a lot of guys died that year in Vietnam.  What do you mean it wasn‘t time for him to go? 

SCHULTZ:  So you want John Edwards to say that he‘s sorry that he didn‘t get drafted?  The fact is, is that Limbaugh was on his way and that he used a deferment, a 4H, to get out with a cyst on his rear end.

Now, here he is coming back years later with people who have got head injuries.  He‘s referring to them as phony soldiers.  I think that deserves some serious critique.  Limbaugh is a phony and Elizabeth Edwards is calling him out on it. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  But making illegitimate and stupid attacks on people that are not based in principle gets you nowhere.  And so the Democrats...

SCHULTZ:  You know, the one thing is, Limbaugh is on the defensive.  Limbaugh is out there explaining himself for three hours a day on what he‘s saying. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not here to defend Rush Limbaugh.  I‘m here to call Mrs.  Edwards and the Edwards campaign to account, for one, using the guy‘s wife as a hit man and, two, making stupid attacks.  Attack the guy fairly and we‘ll listen. 

That‘s all I‘m saying.

SCHULTZ:  Well, no, because everybody in...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Unfortunately, we are out—this is—I‘m going to have to declare this segment 4F, unfortunately, because we are out of time and we have a commercial coming up.  But thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  You bet.

CARLSON:  Barack Obama says wearing a flag pin is a substitute for real patriotism.  So who‘s a patriot and who is not, according to Barack Obama?

We‘ll tell you.

Plus, Rudy Giuliani‘s radio days are coming back to haunt him.  Could his years as a radio show host hurt his chance of winning the Republican nomination?  We have the ferret tape queued up and ready to go.

Do not change the channel, this will be better than “Wheel of Fortune”.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Time to check our Obamater. 

Has the Illinois senator pinned his presidential hopes on a nuanced definition of patriotism?  Obama recently explained that he removed an American flag pin from his lapel because he wants to express his love for his country through his deeds, not his fashion accessories.

What exactly does that mean?

Well, Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst Hilary Rosen joins us now, as does The New Republic‘s Michael Crowley.

Mr. Crowley wrote an amazing piece about Obama in this week‘s issue of the magazine.  Reason enough to buy “The New Republic,” though I don‘t agree with anything in it.  It was a great piece.

MICHAEL CROWLEY, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  Subscribe.  You mean subscribe.

CARLSON:  Subscribe, sorry.  Support your local print organ.

So here‘s what—here‘s what Barack Obama said. 

OK, so let me just state at the outset, I have totally sympathy for Barack Obama.  I don‘t wear a flag pin.  I love America.  It‘s not a measure whether you love America. 

HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Are you sure? 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think it is.  But someone asked Obama—or asked his campaign, why doesn‘t he wear a flag pin?  Well, most candidates don‘t.  John McCain doesn‘t.

Here‘s what he said: “I wore the pin right after 9/11, but after a while, you know, you start noticing people wearing a lapel pin but not acting very patriotic, not voting to preserve veterans with resources they need, not voting to make sure disability payments are coming out on time, et cetera.”

In other words, other people weren‘t patriotic, so I decided not to wear the pin. 

Why is he calling into question other people‘s patriotism? 

CROWLEY:  I don‘t think he‘s saying other people are anti-patriotic or unpatriotic.  I think he‘s just saying that...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  He does.  He says, “I saw people not acting very patriotic.”

CROWLEY:  Well, look, I just think that he‘s—this is just not a relevant story in the general scheme of things.  But I think he‘s paranoid and terrified of this sort of media circus that we have now, takes something like this and blows it up into a huge story.  It‘s totally meaningless.

I was so interested in—I think it was a wire story today about all the another candidates, including conservative politicians, who don‘t wear the pin either. 

CARLSON:  Right.

CROWLEY:  Maybe he felt like, if I‘m going to have to talk about this, if I‘m going to have to say something because it came up, the press raised it, you have to do—maybe throw a little bit of meat to the base of the party.  But I don‘t think he‘s trying to put some broad indictment out...

CARLSON:  Well, see, I think this is his problem.  He—he‘s an intellectual, he talks too much—I do too, but I‘m a talk show host, not a candidate—and he over-explains.  He shouldn‘t have said... 

ROSEN:  This is one of those areas where it‘s classic over-explaining from inexperience.  I mean, any politician on the road, on the run, would say, left it at home, love that pin.  You know, and move on. 

CARLSON:  Yes, whatever.  Hillary Clinton was asked today, what do you think of the fact that he doesn‘t wear a pin?  And she said, “You should ask him.”

End of story for Hillary Clinton. 

ROSEN:  I just think that he doesn‘t—he can‘t afford to do these too many things.  I don‘t this is fatal by any means, and god bless him for trying to actually be serious about questions, because he should get some credit for that.

CARLSON:  Yes.

ROSEN:  But every question can‘t be taken seriously, and he just needs to find a way to move back to his comfort zone, because he just sounds bumbling when he does this. 

CARLSON:  Well, his comfort zone is an interesting question.

Your piece, which I alluded to a second ago—unfortunately, I left it on the train in New York yesterday or I would have it here, pointing out parts I like.  But you followed him around on the campaign trail and described moment after moment where he almost scolds the crowd for interrupting him.  He‘s grouchy?

CROWLEY:  Yes.  I mean, it was subtle.  It‘s not like he‘s cranky, but I was struck by—he kept telling people not to give speeches.  And if somebody would give a long question, I thought he was inpatient. 

He tells this story, it‘s kind of a part of his stock stump speech now, where he‘s very grouchy in the morning and he gets fire up by a crowd.  But you are kind of thinking—there are moments where you sort of think that he might not love the kind of—the interaction with people, the kind of pressing the flesh quality that Bill Clinton, for instance, kind of epitomizes. 

CARLSON:  Right.

CROWLEY:  And so, you know, I think that‘s a sign that this is new to him.  He also in some ways I think is kind of—has a cerebral and academic way about him.  And it may just be that he—I think quite understandably—it‘s how I would feel if I was in that position—feels like going out and answering what are often kind of kooky questions.

And shaking hands of people who are, you know, kind of saying strange things to you is not the most fun thing in the world.  But I definitely felt like there were moments where he could have won people over and he just kind of missed the moment a little bit or was maybe just slightly not as warm as he could have been. 

CARLSON:  It was a devastating critique.

ROSEN:  But the—I thought the undercurrent, though, of Michael‘s story was that Barack Obama is trying to change politics. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ROSEN:  You can‘t really run a successful campaign for the first time, I think, trying to change the very thing you‘re participating in.  You just don‘t have that—that swift-footedness.

CARLSON:  That may be absolutely right.

ROSEN:  And I think that that‘s why he keeps stumbling. 

CARLSON:  He may not have the authority (ph).

ROSEN:  He doesn‘t respond enough.  He‘s not—he keeps evaluating everything in this context of, is the new way I want to do things or is this not? 

CARLSON:  I know.  It‘s like—right.  He‘s soaring above his campaign looking down, and it‘s uncomfortable. 

ROSEN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton‘s favorable ratings are rising like a successful shuttle mission.  Now she‘s getting support from some unlikely voters.  We‘ll tell you who they are.

Plus, Bill Clinton could be back in the White House for another four years.  That‘s if his wife gets elected.  She‘s already got a job for him, to restore America‘s reputation around the world. 

Can he do it? 

This is MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  Senator Hillary Clinton‘s fast expanding lead over Barack Obama and John Edwards in the national polls may derive from a sudden burst of popularity among men.  Yes, men!  The “Washington Post/” ABC News poll, which this week shows Clinton‘s overall lead to be 33 percent, also showed that 48 percent of male Democrats now support her bid for the presidency.  That number is up 19 points from just a month ago.  Should her good favor among men surprise us?  Of course it should.  And in either case, what explains it? 

Here to discuss it, Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst Hillary Rosen, plus the “New Republic‘s” Michael Crowley.  Welcome to you both.  Hillary, as I have said before, every time I hear Hillary Clinton speak, I involuntarily cross my legs.  I think there is something about her that is almost intrinsically anti-male.  Why are men supporting her on the Democratic side? 

ROSEN:  That‘s terrible. 

CARLSON:  It‘s true though.  It‘s totally true.  It‘s heart felt. 

ROSEN:  You know, I don‘t think her opponents in the lead, Barack Obama and John Edwards are exactly the macho kinds of guys. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

ROSEN:  So it‘s not like this is going to play either way. 

CARLSON:  So she may be tougher than her opponents. 

ROSEN:  I don‘t think that.  I just think that nobody is really pushing the anti-woman thing in the primary in a way that potentially a tougher opponent might try or a different kind of opponent might try.  But I think what‘s happen is that even though Hillary Clinton is where she is now on the war, which is the same place as the rest of the Democratic candidates, she has spent a lot of years looking at national security issues, looking at the fence issues, serving on the Armed Services Committee.  I think that guys see a commander in chief in her.  And I think that‘s a well-deserved analysis. 

CARLSON:  I think that may be true.  I don‘t think—this is my guess

that the Clinton‘s marriage is not going to get a great deal of attention should she become the nominee, as I think she will, because reporters are still squeamish about it.  But her husband in England, I believe yesterday, said this to the BBC about his relationship to his wife.  It‘s interesting.  Listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 

Contrary to the image that has been cultivated about my wife, she‘s always been a rather reluctant electoral person.  When we met 36 years ago, after we had gone together for almost two years, I told her I thought she should leave me because I had to go home to Arkansas and go into politics.  Now I considered her the most gifted person of our generation and I thought it was a terrible waste for her not to do this.  She laughed and said she would never run for public office. 

She said, you know, it‘s just not my thing.  I don‘t know if people would ever want to vote for me.  I‘m sort of too outspoken. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Yes.  So the Clintons have been in and out of public office for 30 years.  I believe 1978 he was first elected attorney general of Arkansas, and she‘s a reluctant electoral person?  Moreover, when they were dating 36 years ago, they were already planning their political careers to the extent he said you should leave, because I‘m going to—there is a level of calculation here‘s that‘s off-putting. 

CROWLEY:  There was a kind of internal paradox there.  Not interested in electoral politics back when we were obsessing over it in our early 20s.  That said, I kind of believe it.  And I actually think it might have been a different version of that statement I heard the other day, where he said that she told her, I can never be a candidate, because I‘m too hard headed or something like that. 

And it was almost like she was aware of that quality she has that turns some people off.  I think maybe this thing that makes you cross your legs, which I don‘t clearly understand.  She may have known that there was something a little bit off-putting about her. 

CARLSON:  It‘s a scolding quality.  It‘s, I know what‘s good for you and I‘m going to impose it.  Or I would be better at raising your children than you are.  I‘m part of the village that ought to be raising your children, rather than you and your family.

CROWLEY:  I think she‘s done a good job of keeping that in check, to the extent that it may be true, keeping it in check.  And in this campaign, I think that, you know, if you want to over-generalize, why are men warming up to her, maybe they‘re looking for toughness.  I think you make a great point.  She‘s not exactly up against sort of a hog farmer, in his over-alls that projects that image. 

But also, I just think the defining quality in these debates—she gets a question about if we are attacked by terrorists; we‘re going to hit them back hard.  She surrounds herself out with generals.  She hangs out with Jack Keaney (ph), architect of the surge.  I think that‘s exactly right.  I think she projects a kind of toughness.  And it‘s been a brilliant part of her campaign that they have found a way to get that intangible vibe out there. 

There‘s really nothing very feminine, in the kind of classic stereotypical sense of the word, about the way she‘s running. 

CARLSON:  It‘s going to be very hard for a woman to win in this or any other election running from the left.  I mean, no one in this field has gotten to the right of her.  And I think that was a decision they made early on.  I think it‘s very smart. 

Here is what Bill Clinton said also in England yesterday about what his wife wants him to do.  He said, quote, if she‘s elected, she will ask him to, quote, go out and immediately restore America‘s standing in the world.  It‘s like, pick up toilet paper, a couple limes, immediately restore America‘s standing.  That‘s not going to happen. 

ROSEN:  In fairness to Senator Clinton, I think that was more about President Clinton than it was about Senator Clinton.  And I think he has a hard time, sometimes, frankly, trying to define his role when people ask him what it might be.  Having said that, Bill Clinton is beloved around the world.  And to the extent that she is president and he fulfills some of that kind of classic first lady role—I mean, Laura Bush has been traveling around the world and when Hillary Clinton was first lady, that‘s what she did.  There is that kind of ambassadorial role that the first spouse has, and what a great person to do it, Bill Clinton. 

CARLSON:  Boy, just the endless self-aggrandizement; I‘m a great guy.  That‘s always the message.  I don‘t think I can bear it.  Speaking of messages, the “New York Times” today, amazing piece, the paper went back and listened to 55 hours of Rudy Giuliani‘s radio show that he put on weekly for most of the time he was mayor.  This gives us an opportunity to replay the famous ferret tape.  This is an exchange that took place between Giuliani and a Ferrets‘ Rights Activist whom we have had on this very program, who called in and said Mayor Giuliani, why are ferrets illegal in the city?  Giuliani became exasperated; here is what he said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  There is something really, really very sad about you.  You need help.  You need somebody to help you.  This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.  Something has gone wrong with you.  Your compulsion about it, your excessive concern with it is a sign of something wrong in your personality.  And I know you are real angry at me and you‘re going to attack me, but actually you are angry at yourself.  And you‘re afraid of what I‘m raising with you.  You know, you need help.  And please get it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That is just—

ROSEN:  I love that. 

CARLSON:  I listened to it at home.  I want to make it my ring tone on my phone. 

ROSEN:  I love that.  If only politicians running for president on a regular basis could be that honest and direct with people. 

CARLSON:  I think it would really help.

ROSEN:  It would be amazing.  But Rudy Giuliani, who knows what he stands for now, he is probably pro-ferret now, because he‘s completely changed everything else he stands for. 

CARLSON:  But that‘s not something you can change.  That‘s a reflection of who he is as a person, like it or not.  He‘s a pugnacious, tough human being.  How long before something like that happens on the campaign trail?  It‘s going to happen.  Will it be good or bad?

CROWLEY:  Well, and should he be president?  And we have some diplomatic standoff, and he‘s dressing down Ahmadinejad, and saying, you are a complete nut, get a grip on yourself.  I mean, in some cases it might be applicable, but it‘s not how you‘re supposed to conduct yourself. 

CARLSON:  It worked.  The hostages, 555 days in Iran they were held.  Ronald Reagan gets elected president.  They think he‘s a complete full blown psycho.  They let the hostages go. 

(CROSS TALK)

CROWLEY:  I would say there‘s something funny about his response to that person.  He‘s saying your obsession with these creatures shows that you have a problem.  But there is something kind of obsessive and out of proportion about Rudy‘s tirade that makes you think no, Rudy, all these things apply to Rudy.  You are the one who has some weird problem with the ferret people. 

CARLSON:  Here are examples of other things he said—the Times dug all this up.  Marvin from Brooklyn called in in 1998 and complained the mayor talked too much about the Yankees.  He got off the line.  Marvin, where did you go, the mayor said?  Did you go back into your little hole, Marvin?  Listen, I enjoy sports, Marvin.  Do you think that makes me a bad person?  Marvin, get a life. 

He said to somebody else, you should go to a hospital.  You should see a psychiatrist.  Why don‘t you seek counseling somewhere? 

CROWLEY:   On a more serious note, I think an objection that I‘ve heard Democrats make to Giuliani‘s candidacy is that this reflects a guy that thinks in some ways he‘s above the law.  He has a sort of authoritarian dictatorial view, where he gets to berate people and snap his fingers and make things happen.  There are some people who may be attracted to that, who feel that‘s a quality you want in a mayor or president. 

But there are some people who are very alarmed by that and frightened by it.  And I think that‘s the serious dimension to this. 

ROSEN:  And people consistently say—I hear pundits say this all the time, the Democrats want—he‘s the one Democrats don‘t want to run against, because he comes to the closest to Democrats on social issues and other things.  But the fact of the matter is, it‘s this Giuliani behavior that is going to be so predictable?  He‘s the one Democrats actually are more prepared to run against. 

CARLSON:  If we‘re attacked in the next 12 months, and the nation is again terrified, I don‘t see how you would beat Rudy Giuliani, how anybody would beat Rudy Giuliani?  Seriously, that‘s exactly what you want when you fear that your family is going to be killed by terrorists.  You want someone who is a full blown psycho.

ROSEN:  I don‘t think his 9/11 record is going to end up being as rock solid as he tries to put it.  I think it is going to be more alarming to people than it is secure. 

CROWLEY:  Who can game out that debate.  But I think there is a response that says the 9/11 attacks led us into a war that most Americans think has been a complete catastrophe.  And I think that Democrats, someone like Hillary Clinton, could make a comeback, that says, don‘t fall into what happened last time, jingoism, crazy lashing out, acting before we think.  So who can game it out?  But I think that would be the counter-argument. 

CARLSON:  State of Kentucky suing the maker of Oxycontin because so many people in Kentucky are addicted to the pain killer.  I was just struck by this story.  It seems to me, one, an obvious grab for money by the state of Kentucky.  Two, it seems if you get addicted to a drug, it‘s the maker of the drug‘s fault? 

ROSEN:  Hill-Billy Heroin. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not making light of OxyContin addiction, which is really prevalent and really sad, and a huge problem.  But the maker of OxyContin?  It does feels like the ultimate shifting of responsibility. 

ROSEN:  It normally would be.  And I‘m quite ambivalent about blaming corporations for activities when people use their products.  In this particular case, the makers of OxyContin actually pled guilty in several court cases to having misled the public about the impact and use of their product.  And so here it seems to me a state interest is that there‘s a huge number of public health costs associated with things like addiction, and there is a compelling state interest to do that, if, in fact, the company has pled guilty to the charges that they did. 

CARLSON:  They are not conceding in this case at all. 

ROSEN:  Obviously it raises a whole—

CARLSON:  Shouldn‘t the injured individuals be compensated if it‘s the drug makers‘ fault, which seems a stretch to me.  Why should the state get rich off of that? 

ROSEN:  It actually was a civil lawsuit originally that they ended up settling out.  People have gotten compensated for it, and here the state is saying there are public health costs as well. 

CROWLEY:  I think we should be fairly merciless to companies that get caught lying about the potential health risks of their products.  I mean, that‘s—

CARLSON:  Everybody knows pain killers are addictive.  You know what I mean?  It‘s like, you didn‘t know that?

CROWLEY:  What are they lying about.  There‘s something they think people don‘t know—

CARLSON:  I think the original case is a total crock, personally. 

Just my view. 

ROSEN:  They pled guilty.

CARLSON:  Yes, they did.  Companies often do, because they are cowards, as you know.  Thank you both very much. 

Fred Thompson‘s wife says she‘s no trophy wife.  So how did she turn the eyes of a senator 24 years her senior? 

Plus, PETA is known for defending wild animals.  Why are they siding with Kevin Federline in his custody battle with Britney?  Huh?  Bill Wolff will tell us in just a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We‘ve told you the news.  Now it‘s time for what‘s going on deep beneath the news, in the molten heart of Washington and the gossip we find there.  Joining us now, the ladies of the universally read “Washington Post” gossip column, “The Reliable Source,” Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts. 

ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Molten heart, I like that.   

CARLSON:  That was an ad lib too, I want you to know.  It was the beating heart, pulsating heart.  I settled for molten.  So what‘s going on?

ROBERTS:  So, I hear you hate motorcades, right? 

CARLSON:  I yelled at one today outside where I was eating, literally today. 

AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  You tell them. 

CARLSON:  I do tell them. 

ROBERTS:  Yes, it‘s a fact of life here.  It‘s a little bit like death and taxes.  You are going to be inconvenienced because all sorts of big shots move around in town.  Latest example was Wednesday night‘s book party for Clarence Thomas.  The book party was at the home of conservative pundit Armstrong Williams.  And neighbors were up in arms because they—he lives on a corner, so two full streets were closed off that afternoon. 

ARGETSINGER:  For most of the day, no parking anywhere on the street. 

ROBERTS:  Now,  in this case, I have to actually defend—

CARLSON:  That‘s outrageous.

ROBERTS:  I have to defend it, though.  The vice president was there.  The chief justice and all of the Supreme Court was there.  A bunch of leaders from the Hill—

ARGETSINGER:  And they want a place to park apparently. 

ROBERTS:  No, no, no, no, no.  I‘m going to defend this. 

(CROSS TALK)

ROBERTS:  The idea here is that they don‘t want any unoccupied vehicles that haven‘t been thoroughly checked out parked right next to the house. 

ARGETSINGER:  You can imagine this went over really well with the neighbors, especially the neighbors that weren‘t invited to Armstrong Williams‘ party for Clarence Thomas. 

ROBERTS:  A lot of them were.  He was smart about that. 

CARLSON:  Ladies, I can‘t hear a word you‘re saying.  When you criticize motorcades, they find a way to fool with your audio, apparently.  So, I‘m going to have to thank you.  But whatever you‘re saying, I agree with you completely.  Down with motorcades, power to the people.  Roxanne Roberts, Amy Argetsinger, thank you for joining us.  Sorry about that.   

We‘ll be right back.  The most famous time killer of the 1970s is back.  It‘s nerdier than ever.  Crank up your Pablo Cruz on the A-track.  Vacuum the shag carpeting in your conversion van, and stick around for a Rubik‘s Cube update.  This is MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  I want to apologize for the technical difficulties you just witnessed.  We‘re bringing the big guns now, the vice president of prime time for MSNBC, here to make every bad thing right, Bill Wolff. 

BILL WOLFF, VICE PRESIDENT OF MSNBC:  God bless you, Tucker.  That‘s the intro of all intros.  Some people consider me a technical problem.  But I‘m going to do my best for you, friend.  It‘s a big sports weekend, as you know, what with the baseball playoffs going on full tilt, a couple of huge college football games, most notably Oklahoma and Texas, and the usual slate of NFL action on TV.  But real sports fans, Tucker, are heading for Budapest, Hungary for the 2007 Rubik‘s Cube World Championships. 

Yes, some 300 participants are in Budapest now competing over three days to determine who is the true master of the craft least likely to attract romantic interest from anyone.  It should be noted, Tucker, that Budapest is home to Mr. Rubik himself, the inventor of the cube.  But that country‘s contributions to our culture don‘t stop at the Cube.  They also gave us the ball point pen, goulash and Zsa Zsa Gabor. 

So thank you to Hungary for all of it.  Now, Tucker, were you ever able to master the Rubik‘s Cube? 

CARLSON:  No, of course.  Let me put it this way, I have four children.  Is that the profile of someone who spent his early years playing with the Rubik‘s Cube?  No. 

WOLFF:  I hear you buddy.

CARLSON:  I‘m not bragging or anything.  I‘m just saying there is a direct connection between hours spent playing with the Rubik‘s Cube and procreation.  It‘s an inverse relationship.

WOLFF:  I can‘t explain my own childlessness, I must say.  I haven‘t been able to do either, frankly.  But I did turn a mood ring black against all odds.  What can I tell you?  I was an unhappy kid. 

CARLSON:  I totally believe that actually. 

WOLFF:  It‘s absolutely true and pathetic.  When we were kids, Tucker, we were essentially promised flying cars, colonies on the moon and robots to take care of everything.  By now it all should have happened.  But we‘re zero for three so far.  But we appear to be getting closer.  This is a concept car from Nissan called the Pivo-Two.  We must assume it‘s much better than the Pivo-One. 

Anyway, the car runs on battery power and its cabin can rotate a full 360 degrees, so you never have to back up.  The wheels can rotate 90 degrees, so it‘s no trouble to parallel park.  And there‘s a robot on the dashboard which can sense your mood from your facial expression and cheer you up if you need it, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  What does it do to cheer you up, Bill? 

WOLFF:  I have to admit, the wire copy I read did not indicate what the robot would do.  I have a few ideas about what it could do.  However, I‘m usually so enraged in traffic that there is no helping me. 

CARLSON:  Let me ask you a question; isn‘t it true—you‘re from the Midwest.  You probably know this, home of most American cars.  These companies spend millions trying to come up with appealing names that sound lyrical, that everybody can relate to, the Impala, the Mercury, the Saber.  Who came up with Pivo. 

WOLFF:  You‘re asking me why do they that?  I‘m sorry, someone was in my ear. 

CARLSON:  Why would you call the car Pivo?  It‘s the most unattractive name that I‘ve ever heard. 

WOLFF:  It rhymes with Tivo.  Everybody loves Tivo, so it‘s Pivo. 

It‘s like Tivo, only better, because it‘s a car. 

CARLSON:  It‘s a car, not a DVR. 

WOLFF:  Feel good about it. 

CARLSON:  It‘s like Devo, the ‘80s band. 

WOLFF:  You‘ve got it right, Tucker.  You‘re starting to play along.  Welcome to the Midwest, buddy.  It‘s fantastic.  You‘re convinced!  It‘s official, my friend, everyone is down on Britney Spears.  The last group to pile on?  PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Tucker.  Apparently, the erratic behavior, which allegedly makes Britney a bad mom, makes her a bad dog owner. 

According to TMZ.com, the website of record, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk (ph), who has been on this show, wrote a letter to Britney‘s ex, the great Kevin Federline, that went a little something like this: quote, for the sake of your children and the animals who at risk while in Ms.  Spears custody, we hope that you will do the right and best thing for all involved and pursue a custody order for the animals, so that your sons can continue to have the company of the animals they have grown to adore. 

Huh?  Apparently Miss Spears doesn‘t have a dog safety seat in the car or something, Tucker.  It‘s bad when PETA piles on. 

CARLSON:  It seems to me that PETA has a point.  I‘ve defend Britney Spears from the beginning.

WOLFF:  I know you have.  You‘re a dear friend. 

CARLSON:  All of these bitchey fashion writers are calling her fat.  I think it‘s totally unfair, totally wrong.  It‘s completely mean.  This girl is someone you should feel sorry for, not someone you should make fun of.  She‘s in the Larry Craig category that way.  However, her boys ought to have their dogs.  So good for PETA.  You never separate a child from a dog. 

WOLFF:  Who is going to keep Britney company? 

CARLSON:  That‘s an excellent point.  Los Angeles is a town full of Cabana Boys, so I‘m sure she‘ll have no problem there. 

WOLFF:  You‘re heartless.  Well, I got some bonus news for you, Tucker.  It‘s bonus Britney news, fresh off of “Life & Style Magazine,” one of the very best magazines, reports that Britney‘s first visit with her two sons since she lost custody of them did not happen.  Apparently she planned to see the boys at the hotel room she was checked into, but figured it was better to see them in an actual home. 

She went home with her assistant.  They took a nap, because, you know, they‘re busy.  The kids were supposed to be there at 10:00 a.m.  But according to “Life & Style,” they buzzed at the intercom, buzzed again and again, and nobody answered.  By the time Britney made it to the front door, the kids were gone and Britney was devastated.  Things are just not going her way, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Boy, that‘s really sad.  Again, from the very first time—

I interviewed Britney Spears four years ago.  I felt sorry for her then.  I feel sorry for her now. 

WOLFF:  Yes, PETA, get off her back.  Finally, brief baseball update for you, Tucker, here we go.  Last night, the Cleveland Indians took game one of their series with New York Yankees, a 12-3 pummelling.  Of course, the Indians losing right now.  The Colorado Rockies knocked the Philadelphia Phillies into a two games to none hole with a 10-5 win in Philadelphia.  The Diamondbacks beat the Cubs eight to four to take a two zero lead in their series. 

The Yanks are playing Cleveland as we speak.  The Red Sox and the Angels tonight in Boston, with the Sox leading by one game to none.  And this is just in to MSNBC world headquarters, Tucker.  The Mets completely blew it, and they are not in the playoffs. 

CARLSON:  That just happened?  Just a couple of days ago.  The news is filtering in on horseback, as it often does. 

WOLFF:  The Mets choked.  Who do you like?  Do you like the Red Sox, Yankees? 

CARLSON:  My son likes the Red Sox.  I‘m going with the Red Sox.  

WOLFF:  I think it‘s a fairly decent bet, although I predict the Yankees are big trouble for your Red Sox. 

CARLSON:  I hope that‘s not true.  Bill Wolff at world headquarters, thanks a lot Bill.

WOLFF:  Have a great weekend. 

CARLSON:  You too.  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, Chris on “HARDBALL.”  We‘ll be back on Monday.  Hope to see you then.  Good 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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