updated 10/11/2007 11:19:56 AM ET 2007-10-11T15:19:56

Guests: Ann Coulter, Bill Press, Matt Lewis

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  A day after Fred Thompson‘s premiere at the Republican debate in Michigan, the Republican race for the presidential nomination is as muddled as ever. 

Welcome to the show.  Among the fresh items for assessment tonight, the simmering tension between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.  The two clashed over their records as governor and mayor respectively, but it was Romney who committed the evening‘s most noted gaffe, when he repeatedly said he would confer with his lawyers before making a hypothetical military strike against Iran.  Who got the better of that?  We‘ll deliver a range of assessments, including the view from Ann Coulter, in just a matter of seconds. 

Fred Thompson‘s performance, meanwhile, was either solid or underwhelming, depending upon your expectations.  He clearly was well-studied.  He avoided any significant misstatements, but it remains to be seen if a very ordinary debate performance enhanced or diminished his standing. 

As for genuine sparks, most of them flew from the political flint and steel of Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.  He once again disturbed the general peace and Republican consensus with his genuine conservatism.  With demonstrable fundraising prowess, is Ron Paul an adjutant, a protest advocate, or a viable alternative in the Republican field, or maybe as a third-party candidate?  The man himself will join us later this hour.

From the other side of the aisle where the voters appear to be more satisfied with their choices, there was a remarkable full-page ad in the front section of the “New York Times” today virtually begging Al Gore to run for president.  Is the Draft Al Gore movement fixing a field that isn‘t broken?  We‘ll talk about it. 

We begin with our first guest, who never lacks for clear opinion or the will to express it.  She‘s the author of the new book, “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They‘d Be Republicans.”  Ann Coulter joins us live.

Ann, thanks for coming on.

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  What did you think last night of the debate? 

COULTER:  I think, more and more, it comes down to Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.  I think that‘s becoming clear to the six or seven people of us watching all of the debates. 

CARLSON:  Yeah.  Would you vote for Giuliani? 

COULTER:  You know, on principle I wouldn‘t, because I don‘t want to vote for a president of the United States who wouldn‘t protect the unborn.  But sort of knowing myself, I think that after a one-year campaign against Hillary Clinton, I‘d lie to all my friends, go in, and pull the lever for Giuliani. 

You know, but the point is, if a Republican candidate running against Hillary Clinton has trouble getting me to vote for him, that does concern me.  I mean, a lot of what we think of as the voters in the middle, they‘re very conservative—they may not be Republicans, but they‘re conservative on issues like abortion and guns.  And I do think that‘s a problem.  But, boy, can that man debate. 

CARLSON:  He can.  He‘s a great speaker.  But what does it say about the party that it is moving toward nominating a guy who‘s, in some ways, more liberal than Howard Dean on the social issues?  Dean is against gun control.  Giuliani has not been against gun control.  What does that say about Republicans? 

COULTER:  I think what it says isn‘t so much about Republicans.  I mean, I don‘t think the Democrat candidates are any great (INAUDIBLE) either.  I really think it traces back to campaign finance reform.  If you look at it in the opposite direction, how do you end up with a president like Ronald Reagan?  It‘s because, when he was first running for governor of California, you know, he could have three or four millionaires, back when that meant something, you know, say, “This guy is fantastic.  Let‘s run him for governor.” 

Now you either have to be independently wealthy, be a Hollywood star, or be willing to go through 18 rubber chickens a day for, you know, basically a dozen years of your life.  And I think that has a lot to do with why really neither side has stellar candidates. 

CARLSON:  But why Hillary?  I mean, it seems to me—two questions.  One, why is the party moving toward nominating her, when it seems to me you‘ve got perfectly serviceable candidates in Obama and Edwards, who are more antiwar than she is?  And why, given the fact that she, in that field, is maybe the most conservative—at least on the war, she‘s the most hawkish—why is she despised most by Republicans? 

COULTER:  I think the reason she‘s able to—for the same reason that the Democrats love her.  Both sides assume that she‘s a wolf in sheep‘s clothing, that she has an agenda, she has a to-do list.  She wants to socialize as much American industry as she can get her hands on, pass, you know, a national choice bill, would interfere with the civil liberties of her enemies, but because everyone already—she has that background, and that‘s what everyone assumes of her, she can talk like, you know, little miss sunshine. 

CARLSON:  You suggested the other day that, if women didn‘t vote...

COULTER:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  ... famously you suggested that Democrats wouldn‘t get elected if women didn‘t vote.  Do you think women should vote?  Or should they restrain themselves? 

COULTER:  No, I think it would have to be a blanket repeal of the 19th Amendment. 

CARLSON:  Would you be willing to give up your vote to do that? 

COULTER:  If they will, I definitely will. 

CARLSON:  Elizabeth Edwards, you got into it with her, again, famously.  She said the other day that Rush Limbaugh was a draft-dodger, raising—should women be—since we‘re talking about the draft, if the draft becomes reinstated, should women be drafted to fight our wars?

COULTER:  No.  No, I don‘t think women should be in combat. 

CARLSON:  Why? 

COULTER:  I don‘t think men should be drafted, either, but I absolutely don‘t think women should be in combat.  Women serve important roles in supporting the troops, both overseas and at home, but, no, I mean, talk to any cop about what he thinks about having a female partner instead of, you know, just going out on his own, he has a woman he‘s got to take care of.  And I think it‘s kind of a creepy thing. 

A few years ago, “The New York Times” magazine section had an article on how they were training the troops not to react when they heard a woman being tortured.  I think this was either before or after the Gulf War.  It was about that time.  They are actually—our military is training the troops out of a normal chivalrous impulse of a civilized society, because otherwise they‘d break down.  I think that‘s a little creepy. 

CARLSON:  You‘ve made all of our 11 viewers mad in the past five minutes.  What‘s it like for you?  What‘s your normal life like?  So many people despise you, are mad at you.  When you go to Safeway, do people yell at you in the produce aisle?  I mean, do people come up to you on the street? 

COULTER:  No, the worst hectoring I get tends to be on TV. 

CARLSON:  Really?  People never come up to you at the airport and say nasty things to you? 

COULTER:  Airports, no, no, no, certainly not the pilots.  No, out in America, I‘m pretty popular.  I‘m not that popular in a lot of TV stations.

CARLSON:  Does it bother you when people—I mean, do you like it?  I mean, this is always the question about you.  When you make people mad, you say intentionally inflammatory things, are your feelings ever hurt by the response that you get, when people say you should get executed or whatever?  Does that bother you? 

COULTER:  No, I wouldn‘t say it bothers me.  I mean, you‘d have to be some sort of sociopath to say, “I love when someone comes up and calls me an expletive.”  But, you know, I can see the bigger picture. 

CARLSON:  A lot of conservatives kind of like Obama even though he‘s obviously not conservative, but they like him better than Hillary.  Do you? 

COULTER:  He has a nicer personality but I think he has nuttier views.  I mean, he‘s only four years out of the Illinois legislature, right?  So it‘s not surprising that he doesn‘t have better views. 

CARLSON:  What more could you say about liberals and Democrats that you haven‘t said in your new book?  Your new book, if liberals were smart - - “If Democrats Were Smart, They‘d Be Republicans”?  What can you add to how bad they are?

COULTER:  Well, you have to wait for the next book to find out, Tucker.  There‘s more coming.  By the way...

CARLSON:  Any converts? 

COULTER:  By the way, could I mention something?  I mean, it‘s breaking right now as I was coming on air.  You mentioned Lizzie Edwards.  “National Enquirer” is breaking a major story that will be—we can start the time clock on now when the mainstream media will pick it up, on John Edwards having an 18-month affair. 

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m going to have to wait until the “National Enquirer” confirms that for me on my next trip to the supermarket. 

COULTER:  You can check online on my Web page right now. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, I have to say—you‘re putting that on your Web page.  You‘re not going to win support from John Edwards really no matter what you do.  But just tell me one thing about your book, one more insult that we haven‘t heard in the Democrats that we‘re going to find in this book? 

COULTER:  One more?  There are thousands. 

CARLSON:  OK, well, that‘s an inducement to buy it.  Ann Coulter joining us live.  Thanks, Ann.  I appreciate it. 

COULTER:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  And good luck at Safeway. 

Most observers were not expecting much from Fred Thompson in his debate debut.  Did he meet those low expectations?  We‘ll have tape, next. 

Plus, Al Gore could soon be a Nobel Prize-winner, and some now say this would be the perfect time for him to enter the race for president.  Should Al Gore run again?  You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for Al Gore speculation.  Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. SEN. FRED THOMPSON ®, TENNESSEE:  I think there‘s no reason to believe that we‘re headed for a recession.  We‘re enjoying 22 quarters of successive economic growth that started 2001, and then further in 2003, with the tax cuts that we put in place.  We‘re enjoying low inflation; we‘re enjoining low unemployment.  The stock market seems to be doing pretty well.  I see no reason to believe we‘re headed for—for an economic downturn. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  In other words, all is well, vote for me.  The reviews are in.  And while former Senator Fred Thompson did not fall flat on his face in the first Republican debate, it was not an Emmy-worthy performance, either.  Thompson stumbled out of the gate, though he did appear to get more comfortable as it wore on.  But even though Thompson literally towered over the rest of the field, did he do anything to stand out from the crowd?

Joining us now, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press, and all-around great guy, and Matt Lewis of TownHall.com.  Welcome to you both.

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  What kind of rationale, Matt, is that?  I mean, he may be right.  I think he is actually is right in some ways.  The economy is doing great, actually, compared to what we thought it was going to be anyway.  But is that really a case for his candidacy? 

MATT LEWIS, TOWNHALL.COM:  You know, I think that we have to remember the economy is doing good.  I mean, President Bush certainly hasn‘t gotten credit for the economy, but I don‘t necessarily think that‘s the only argument you can make. 

CARLSON:  But it‘s sort of hard as a rhetorical matter, leaving aside the actual condition of the economy, a candidate gets out there and says, “This, that, and the other thing are wrong, I‘m here to fix them,” doesn‘t he? 

PRESS:  Yeah, you know, look, Tucker, obviously, Fred Thompson didn‘t fall off the stage, right?  And I don‘t think he hurt himself.  He didn‘t make any mistakes.  But you‘re right.  He did not come across, I think, as any different than anybody else on stage, and maybe not as informed or as comfortable as the other people on stage.  So I don‘t think he helped himself a hell of a lot. 

He was really overshadowed by Romney and Giuliani on the economic issues.  You know, he knew his stuff.  He knew his facts.  He gave statistics.  But it was a pretty, you know, even, level, almost sometimes boring performance. 

CARLSON:  Well, as a man who spent a lot of his life on live television, you can attest to the fact that live television, and tape, and film are completely different.  And there‘s a lot to be said for the practice you get by going to these endless stupid debates. 

Here‘s Fred Thompson when asked, Matt, what would happen in Iraq if Saddam was still around?  Here‘s what he said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON:  The whole place would be nuclearized.  Saudi Arabia would probably respond to that.  The other Sunni nations would respond to it, and you‘d have an entirely nuclearized part of the world that we don‘t have now.  That would be extremely problematic for us from an oil standpoint, as well as a global stability standpoint. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  So the world would be less stable if Saddam were still in power.  I like Fred Thompson, and I don‘t mean to single him out or attack him.  I think it‘s very hard to make that case. 

LEWIS:  Well, you know, I think that possibly what we could have done is sort of like the original George Herbert Walker Bush war, because clearly Saddam Hussein was very dangerous.  I have no doubt—I don‘t have a problem with going to war over oil, because it is in our national security interest.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS:  But when you topple Saddam, and then we don‘t have this vacuum, I think that the case could be made that going in and doing something was important.  But are we in better shape today?  I mean, you can make a good argument we‘re not. 

CARLSON:  Is the region more stable than it was at the end of 2002?  I mean...

LEWIS:  And Iran, obviously, is now emboldened and stronger. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, I mean, I don‘t actually think that makes—I mean, I think it‘s kind of a demented argument, to be totally honest with you.  I‘m not attacking anyone.  But I just think that you can‘t make that argument with a straight face. 

PRESS:  No, and he bounced off that.  I think, as I recall from that moment, the response was—Chris Matthews asked him, didn‘t you just say the other day that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction?  And Fred Thompson said, no, that‘s not what I said.  I said he had him at one time and used them against the Kurds, but then he went into this little thing about the region is more stable and all that kind of stuff.  And I was scratching my head thinking, you know, what movie is he watching? 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  It seems to me, Matt, the rationale for his campaign is not, you know, Fred Thompson is going to burst upon the scene and wow us all.  It‘s Fred Thompson is a solid, enduring candidate who is perfectly acceptable to most Republicans, and he‘ll be on the scene when Giuliani and Romney collapse under the weight of their own problems.  Is that the idea?

LEWIS:  That‘s what some people think.  I mean, someone day compared him—I think it‘s a good analogy—to Roger Clemens.  You know, you have -- you bring in this old veteran who‘s supposed to come save the day.  And he shows up.  And Roger Clemens wasn‘t even—he ended up not even being in the last game. 

So, you know, I think Fred Thompson—it‘s sort of the game of seduction.  He had us four months ago.  And then he sort of put us off, and we sobered up.  And I‘m not just sure people are buying it today.  He did fine in the debate.  I mean, I think that, compared to a week ago, he‘s probably better off today than he was a week ago, but he‘s not better off than he was four months ago.

CARLSON:  Yeah, I don‘t know.  I mean, I think waiting.  I mean, this is all Monday morning quarterbacking, but waiting—I think it does leave us in the press feeling jilted, and we‘re very sensitive in the press, Bill, as you know.  Our feelings are easily hurt.  We get wounded really easily. 

PRESS:  Right, we have feelings.  You know, I talked to Rich Galen, who‘s one of his consultants, the morning of the debate. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

PRESS:  And the way they were prepping Fred Thompson, what I got from Rich Galen is that they would have been happy with a performance from Fred Thompson where he didn‘t make any mistakes, he held his own, and he just showed that he‘s able to be up there with those other guys. 

LEWIS:  I talked to Bill Lacy, the campaign manager that morning, same thing.  They said they want confidence and credibility, and he did that.  I mean, so that was their goal. 

PRESS:  He did that.  He achieved their goal, but I think they set their goal too low.  I think we were looking for a lot more, and most people were looking for a lot more.  I mean, my listeners on the radio show, we asked them, most of them said, “Well, he just looks like, OK, he‘s one of the guys now.”  He doesn‘t stand out, other than being taller than I thought anybody was.

CARLSON:  No, he‘s a big man. 

LEWIS:  Six foot seven.

CARLSON:  Until the other contenders set themselves on fire in public. 

We‘ll see if that actually happens.

LEWIS:  But the Romney-Rudy debate is where the action is. 

CARLSON:  As always.

A full-page open letter in “New York Times” urges Al Gore to run for president again.  This time he would enter the field as an Academy Award-winner, maybe a Nobel Peace Prize-winner.  Will he run? 

Plus, Ron Paul has big plans for his first term as president of the United States.  He joins us in a moment with details.  You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Is Al Gore running for president?  Well, he‘s not yet, but an open letter to Gore that ran as an ad in today‘s “New York Times” basically begs him to.  Will he?  Should he?  Back with us, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press, and Matt Lewis of TownHall.com. 

Bill, your people are restive, it turns out.  They‘re not satisfied. 

PRESS:  Let me tell you, Tucker, Democrats that I talk to across the country, I hear it every day.  “I‘m waiting for Al Gore.”  I heard yesterday from some big donor down in Texas. 

CARLSON:  I want to put up on the screen...

PRESS:  And when I saw that full page ad this morning, I thought, “Here they are, more of them.” 

CARLSON:  Well, for those who haven‘t seen it, I want to get your reaction to this.  Here‘s part of the ad:  “Mr. Vice President, there are times for politicians and times for heroes.  America and the Earth”—and the Earth—“need a hero right now, someone who will transcend politics as usual and bring real hope to our country and to the world.  Please rise to this challenge, or you and millions of us will forever be wondering what might have been.”  There‘s a religious quality to this.

PRESS:  And, you know, Al does have one advantage.  I‘m sure Matt would agree.  He was already elected president.  So, you know, he might as well serve.

LEWIS:  He‘s already the president. 

PRESS:  Exactly, but...

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS:  Here‘s an unusual campaign.  You win the Oscar, you get the Nobel Peace Prize, and then you become president of the United States.  It‘s not going to happen, but what a script for Hollywood. 

LEWIS:  The interesting thing, though, is that the further away from politics you get, the better you look, the more popular.  Similarly, Newt Gingrich, you know...

CARLSON:  Fred Thompson.

LEWIS:  ... Wes Clark, Fred Thompson.  It‘s not surprising to me that now Al Gore is more popular than ever.  As soon as he got in, it would be the same old Al Gore. 

CARLSON:  But, I mean, the truth is that most Democrats who deal with Al Gore, dealt with Al Gore, were involved in the 2000 campaign hated him. 

LEWIS:  That‘s what I hear.

PRESS:  Well, I don‘t know that he hated him.  But just today, look, you‘ve got to admit, I believe, Al Gore on the issues that I care about and a lot of the Democrats care about, on the war, on global warming, Al Gore head and shoulders above everybody else.  But I do agree with Matt.  What I always fear is that, if he got back into politics, then we would see the hesitant, unsure of himself...

CARLSON:  You know what I‘m struck by, though? 

PRESS:  ... Earth-colored clothing that we saw in 2000.

CARLSON:  Consider who Gore‘s heirs are.  Is Hillary Clinton Al Gore‘s heir?  Of course not.  She is—maybe phony, maybe not, but she‘s a centrist, essentially, by the standards of the Democratic Party.  She‘s not a true believer.  You know what I mean?  She‘s not true to the ideals of the party.  That would be John Edwards, and he‘s being spurned by his party because they don‘t believe he‘s electable.  They‘re choosing, you know, the kind of practical politics over true belief, aren‘t they, your party? 

PRESS:  Well, you want—the party wants to win. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

PRESS:  Right?  And Al Gore...

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS:  It‘s too late, practically speaking, even if Al Gore were the dream candidate, I think it‘s now too late. 

CARLSON:  But it‘s not late to write songs about Al Gore.  This is from DraftGore.com, a movement I personally support.  Here are some of the lyrics.  “How can you lose when you‘ve already won, way back before all the damage was done?  Now you‘re the number one favorite son, so run, Al, run.  I went to the movies.  What did I see?  I saw a great, big man from Tennessee.  To walk the red carpet must be fun, but there‘s a time to walk and a time to run.  Run, Al, run.”  He‘s a folk hero. 

PRESS:  I know he is a folk hero.  I don‘t think we could do any better personally than Al Gore as president of the United States.

CARLSON:  You really believe that? 

PRESS:  I really do believe, but he‘s not going to run, so just deal with it. 

CARLSON:  You don‘t think there‘s a messianic quality to Gore?  Every issue that Gore becomes attached to, whether it‘s profane lyrics in rock music or global warming, he becomes a preacher.  Doesn‘t that bother you? 

PRESS:  No, not if he‘s saying the right things. 

LEWIS:  What‘s funny is I think conservatives would view this totally differently.  We‘re worried about our field.  We were so worried we had to get Fred Thompson in.  We feel like—I‘ll speak for most conservatives—that the Democrat field is pretty strong right now. 

CARLSON:  Very strong.

LEWIS:  But the fact that they want to bring in Al Gore says that some of the base at least isn‘t satisfied or isn‘t happy. 

CARLSON:  I think it‘s probably nine unemployed bloggers living in mom‘s basement high on Ben and Jerry‘s who... 

PRESS:  Tucker, 136,000 people, supposedly at least, signed this or paid for this ad.  He‘s got a huge base of support out there. 

CARLSON:  The more, the merrier.  And I would like to see an actual Democrat challenge Hillary Clinton and her triangulating ways.  That would be nice to see a true believer.

The president is known for giving people nicknames.  His former aide, Dan Bartlett, is no different.  Wait until you hear what he had to say about some of the Republican presidential candidates.  Not nice, except for Ron Paul.  He wasn‘t mentioned in Bartlett‘s speech.  That‘s not a surprise.  Paul‘s not getting a lot of coverage in his race for president, but he does have a huge following.  We‘ll talk to the man himself, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, former Bush advisor Dan Bartlett unloads on the current field of Republican candidates.  We‘ll tell you what he said in a minute.  But first, here is a look at your headlines.

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Few of those in Washington who will offer unvarnished opinions about other people.  After all you see the same faces on the way down that you saw on the way down that you saw on the way up.

But some do—consider former White House counselor Dan Bartlett who let out a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently.  In that speech, Bartlett took the Republican presidential field out behind the proverbial woodshed for a rhetorical whipping.

Among the blunt observations, Mitt Romney will have trouble in the South because he‘s a Mormon.  Mike Huckabee‘s last name is too country and Fred Thompson is a dud.

According to Bartlett this morning, he watched last night‘s debate and came away confident the Republican field is in fact strong and deep.  It was a lot more interesting when he was bashing everyone.  So let‘s assess what he said in the first place with nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press and Matt Lewis of townhall.com.

This is—so interesting.  Dna Bartlett is not just some random White House staffer.  Literally one of the top two or three staffers in the White House when he was there, the closest to the president, personally.  A big deal, not widely known across Washington.  This is what he said about Fred Thompson.  Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN BARTLETT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL:  The biggest dud, Fred Thompson.  Biggest liability with whether he had the fire in the belly to run for office in the first place, what does he do?  He waits four months, fires a bunch of staff, has a big staff turnover, has a lot of backbiting.  Comes out with his big campaign launch and gives a very incoherent and not very precise stump speech for why he‘s running for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Ouch.  First, if I was Dan Bartlett, he‘s giving presumably a paid speech to a business group.  That tape somehow got to us.  I would be pretty annoyed if I were Dan Bartlett.  I bet he is.  That‘s absolutely right, though.  How painful is it?  If you‘re the Thompson campaign, how do you respond to that?

LEWIS:  I think you ignore it.  But the fact is I think he is dead on. 

You always have to assume you‘re being taped whenever you give a speech.  But maybe he didn‘t know.  But here is what is especially interesting to me -- a couple of weeks ago, a bunch of conservative writers met with President Bush.  I think Kate O‘Beirne was one of them.  When they came out of the meeting, they reported a lot of things that Bush said, in fact he said that McCain might actually make a resurgence.

A lot of Bartlett said sounds eerily familiar.  I wouldn‘t be surprised if he‘s not sort of echoing President Bush‘s thoughts here.

CARLSON:  My understanding, and I‘m pretty certain this is right, Bartlett is a personal friend of the president‘s.  One of his closest friends though they‘re obviously not the same age.  This does sound like Bush.  Do you think he is channeling the president?

PRESS:  First of all, I must say anything I say negative about the Republican candidates nothing compared to what Dan Bartlett said.

CARLSON:  Before you - here is what he said about Mitt Romney.  This is—listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARTLETT:  I think the Mormon issue is a real problem in the South.  It‘s a real problem in other parts of the country but people are not going to say it.  People are not going to step out and say I have a problem with Romney because he‘s Mormon.  What they‘re going to say he‘s a flip-flopper.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESS:  Again, I think he‘s right.  But for Dan Bartlett to say it carries an extra weight.  I think .

CARLSON:  We don‘t say that on this show.  It‘s too uncomfortable to say that.

PRESS:  Yeah.  But he is—he worked for George.  I don‘t think he‘s done anything to work for George Bush in his life, right?

LEWIS:  I think that‘s it.  His whole career.

PRESS:  Fourteen years for George Bush.  So he certainly kind of channels George Bush.  I‘m sure they‘re still talking.  For him to say that in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that was the group he was speaking to, you‘ve got to ask, you know, what‘s going on?  The only guy that he didn‘t really slam was Rudy Giuliani.  He said he thought Rudy Giuliani .

CARLSON:  And McCain.

PRESS:  And McCain.

LEWIS:  And Huckabee except for the name.

CARLSON:  It‘s interesting, though, because this president‘s father all but endorsed by my reading John McCain recently in South Carolina.  Is McCain—how weird would this be—the pick of the Bush family?

LEWIS:  Bush, President George W. Bush went out of his way in a recent meeting to say keep the eye on John McCain.  He may make a comeback.  Bartlett said essentially the same thing with the caveat that McCain needs more money, which we all know.  I don‘t want to read too much into this but something tells me that at least a lot of this .

CARLSON:  The last time I checked, the Bushes and McCain hated each other.  Hated each other.

PRESS:  That was in 2000.  In 2004, John McCain certainly did everything he could to preach that .

CARLSON:  But you got the feeling it was kind of against his will.

PRESS:  Yeah.  But he paid his dues.  More than paid the dues.  The other thing Bartlett said about John McCain is he said the ironic thing is John McCain might win New Hampshire again and lose everything else.  Replay of 2000.

Moral of the story, Tucker, is, in this business, and Dan Bartlett, anybody ought to know this—you can be at home in your bathroom and you can say anything out loud that you don‘t want to appear on the Tucker Carlson show.

CARLSON:  Good for him.  I‘m glad.  Good for Dan Bartlett for speaking the truth.

LEWIS:  But then he backtracked, and I thought he was more interesting, like you did .

CARLSON:  Then he goes on the “Today Show,” call the “Today Show,” bail me out.

PRESS:  Free at last.

CARLSON:  Bill - good for him—You were among the many who criticized this president for his lack of reflection, his unwillingness to concede mistakes.  Nancy Pelosi was asked almost exactly the same question recently, have you made any mistakes during your first nine months in office?  And she basically wouldn‘t cop to any mistakes.  She‘s been a bit of a disaster in my view.  She has not stopped the war and she promised she would.  She hasn‘t even tried.  Why shouldn‘t she admit she‘s made a lot of mistakes?

PRESS:  I disagree with your premise.  First of all, I‘m head of the Nancy Pelosi fan club.  I think she‘s tried to stop the war.  The Republicans in the Senate have blocked it.

CARLSON:  I thought the democrats were control of the legislative branch.

PRESS:  When you demand and require a filibuster, Tucker, in the Senate as you know on every vote—you can‘t get to 60 without enough Republicans.  But on your point about Nancy Pelosi.  My advice to any politician is always admit your mistakes and be willing to admit you made mistakes because it makes you appear humble even if you‘re not.

CARLSON:  Right.  I mean, demanding a huge plane to fly her family across the country.  Why didn‘t she admit that‘s a mistake.

PRESS:  She goes to California, she .

CARLSON:  I go to California Friday morning and I‘m flying commercial like everybody else.

PRESS (inaudible):  . to refuel.

CARLSON:  Poor baby.  I was in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport this morning refueling on a commercial flight.  Like every other citizen, she can do the same thing.

She did say - and I thought this was very interesting and kind of honest of her and good for her.  She is very frustrated with the anti-war lunatics, the Code Pink types camped out in her house in San Francisco.  They are harassing the help out of her family and should be ashamed because they‘re violating her privacy.

LEWIS:  It‘s truly ironic in my opinion.

CARLSON:  It is.  Nancy Pelosi, I thought it took some guts because nobody else in the party is willing to stand up to these nut cakes who kind of control the place now.

LEWIS:  Only Nixon can go to China.  But it‘s truly ironic.  This is her base.  She‘s a congressman from San Francisco.  Now she‘s finally I think getting a taste of her own medicine.  These liberal extremists are wackos.

CARLSON:  Can we agree they shouldn‘t go to someone‘s house?  Can we draw the line there?

LEWIS:  I would agree to that.  Absolutely.

CARLSON:  Why are the lefties always showing up at people‘s houses.  I lived near Karl Rove in Washington.  People showing up at the house.

PRESS:  Not just lefties.  When I was in Hollywood the Christian right used to march up and down in front of Lou Wassermann‘s house.

CARLSON:  Shame on them.  I don‘t like that at all.

Obama now targeting his campaign.  Seventeen-year-olds in Iowa.  Apparently the regulations in Iowa stipulate that if you‘re going be 18 by the election, you can caucus, participate in the caucuses in January.  So the Obama campaign is trying to getting out 17-year-olds.  Should a political campaign be targeting kids?

LEWIS:  The thing I don‘t like about it is the whole premise of going to the parents and the teachers and sort of the coercion that this has been applied.  But in terms of having a youth movement, I applaud him.  Every four years a candidate says they‘re going to win because of young people.  It doesn‘t work.  It gives Obama, I think, rather than actually a lot of voters, which I think is rather doubtful, it gives them an image.  When you have a lot of people on your campaign, it‘s that whole RFK image and I think it works for him.  It‘s smart.

CARLSON:  Young people like him anyway.  Politicizing children.  There‘s a Khmer Rouge quality to it.  I think it‘s scary.  If a right wing candidate came and targeted my kids I‘d be mad about it.  I don‘t want my kids near political candidates.

PRESS:  Come on, get real.  This is one of the best things I think Barack Obama has done.  It‘s very smart.  They are 17 today.  They are going to be 18 next year.  Volunteer this year, vote next year.

LEWIS:  And they‘ll be 22 four years from now or when he runs again.

PRESS:  In Iowa .

CARLSON:  Why not start in the fifth grade?  Train a new generation.

PRESS:  In Iowa, they‘re allowed to participate in the caucus in January even though they‘re not old enough to vote because they will vote in November.  So this is a whole new pool of new voters.  And if anybody can appeal to them, get them excited and get them involved in politics and in his campaign, it‘s Barack Obama.

CARLSON:  I think you‘re right.  I just disagree with it.  I just think you should lay off—don‘t come near my house.

PRESS:  You‘re not putting a gun to their heads.

CARLSON:  No.  But it‘s like - what are kids like?  They‘re impressionable.  That‘s why you should let them make up their own minds and not try to subject them to propaganda.

PRESS:  They‘ve got a driver‘s license, they can go in the military.  They‘re almost old enough to vote.  They can get involved in a political campaign.

CARLSON:  Creepy as help.  Are Republicans going to say anything - it seems like Republicans have accepted the idea that the middle class deserves entitlements too?

LEWIS:  Not this one.

CARLSON:  That Hillary Clinton‘s savings plan pays people, middle class people, people that make up to 100 grand, pay them to save money.  Since when does the middle class deserve entitlement?  And when are Republicans going to say something about that?

LEWIS:  Sadly, candidates like Mike Huckabee I think are playing up to this.  Sort of playing class warfare, essentially.  But I thought about this whole issue with Hillary Clinton giving everybody $5,000.  First I thought it was pandering or bribery.  I thought if she‘ll roll back all of the other entitlements and just give $5,000 at birth, I‘ll vote for her.

CARLSON:  That‘s not going to happen.

LEWIS:  I‘m game for that if she‘ll roll back the entitlements.

PRESS:  Two conservatives here.  Here is what I don‘t understand.  Why is it OK to give tax cuts only to the wealthiest of Americans but it‘s not OK to help the middle class?  It‘s like SCHIP.  When did the middle class become our enemy?  I think we could do much better helping the middle class than helping Donald Trump in this world.

CARLSON:  The idea is the government is not in charge of your life.  They‘re not in charge of your savings plan, they‘re not in charge of your health care, they‘re not in charge of your happiness.  They shouldn‘t be in charge of your life.

PRESS:  The argument you made was why do we have any obligation toward the middle class.  My question is, why do we have the obligation toward the rich?

CARLSON:  I don‘t think we do.  My God, I don‘t think we do for a second.  I think people go about their own lives and you leave them alone.

LEWIS:  Tucker this struck me as especially paternalistic.  It sort of reminded me of parents saying we‘re going to give you an allowance.  Or you‘re good if you take out the trash, we‘re going to give you a little bit more.

CARLSON:  You know why?  You‘re nothing without us.  You‘re nothing without the government.  You don‘t exist without the federal government.

LEWIS:  Why don‘t you give us a $5,000 tax cut.

CARLSON:  You know what, I would love to go on, but we have waiting in the wings, the master—before whom I genuflect—Ron Paul is about to come on.

PRESS:  Ron Paul who won the debate last night.

CARLSON:  Yes.  We‘re going to talk to him in a second.  Thank you both very much.

PRESS:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

The only Republican candidate who actually read the Constitution, Ron Paul.  If not, he may be the only one who actually understands it.  We‘re going to talk about last night‘s debate coming up.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REP. RON PAUL, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  This idea of going and talking to attorneys totally baffles me.  Why don‘t we just open up the Constitution and read it.  You‘re not allowed to go to war without a declaration of war.

Now as far as fleeting enemies go, yes, if there‘s an imminent attack on us, we‘ve never had that happen in 220 years.  That‘s fine.  That the Iranians could pose an imminent attack on the United States is preposterous.  There‘s no way.  This is .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s .

PAUL:  This is just war propaganda.  Continued war propaganda, preparing this nation to go to war and spread this war, not only in Iraq but into Iran.  Unconstitutionally.  It‘s a road to disaster for us as a nation.  It is a road to our financial disaster if we don‘t read the Constitution once in a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Woo.  That was Republican Congressman Ron Paul on fire at yesterday‘s debate.  Paul was trying to remind us, the Republican Party what exactly it means to be conservative.  And it appears the candidates are not listening.  So why is he keeping up the fight?  We‘re going to ask the man himself.  Joining us now, Ron Paul of Texas.  Mr. Paul, thanks for joining us.

PAUL:  Thank you.  Nice to be with you.

CARLSON:  You have this unexpected—some people didn‘t expect it, wellspring across the country mostly from anti-war people.  And they sent you a great deal of money.  And I wonder, do they know about your other views?  They know that you‘re passionately opposed to the war and intervening in other countries.  Do you know how strongly you support the Second Amendment for instance or how you want to eliminate federal departments?  You know that?

PAUL:  I think so.  I certainly believe that most people know about my position on the Second Amendment because they know I‘m a stickler for the constitution.  Anybody who‘s knowledgeable about the Constitution knows that it‘s a pretty explicit right in the second amendment.  As far as which departments, I would like to get rid of and how fast, I haven‘t dwelled on that.  Because I know what we should do.  But I also know we have to get a consensus.  The president has a lot of authority.  And can do an awful lot.  But still I would be one that would want to work with the Congress and make sure we do it in a proper manner.

CARLSON:  I guess my point is you don‘t buy the basic assumptions of American politics circa 2007 that the federal government ought to be subsidizing the middle class, that entitlements are Constitutional, things like that.  Am I correct?

PAUL:  Absolutely.  And we shouldn‘t be involved in that.  The job of the government is to provide liberty and protect liberty.  The people are supposed to take care of themselves.  Both in a personal way as well as in economic way.  And we‘re not supposed to tell other countries how to live.  That‘s what the Constitution dictates to us.

That was the strong advice of the founders and that‘s really what the people want.  And this message is getting especially important today because a lot of people are realizing central economic planning doesn‘t work.  They see failure at Washington.  Young people especially know they can‘t get Social Security and they‘re saw the disaster of trying to take care of New Orleans.  People lost confidence and that‘s a healthy sign.  They should restore confidence in themselves and in local government.  And then we can solve some of these problems.

CARLSON:  You don‘t think people expect and want government to take care of them.  If you got up on stage and said we should do away with Medicare, save your own money for your medical treatment, set up a retirement for yourself, Social Security is unconstitutional.  People would look away in horror.

PAUL:  Half of them would.  On the receiving end.  The other half going to the work force, I offer this solution all the time.  Get out of Medicare, get out of Social Security, assume responsibility for oneself.  But at the same time I say you don‘t have to put anybody on the streets.  We have plenty of money flowing into Washington.  It‘s the way it‘s spent and our priorities are all messed up.  We can save hundreds of billions of dollars if we change our policy and bring our troops home.  And actually build a stronger national defense, but save money, cut the deficit.  And take care of the people who have become independent.  I don‘t think it would work politically to put anybody out on the street.

And we have several generations now have been very dependent.  A lot of people think their money still is there in Social Security.  So there‘s enough wealth in this country to do this.  My argument is if we continue to do what we‘re doing right now, we‘re going to have total destruction of the dollar, which means runaway inflation and everybody is going to get poor and there won‘t be any transition period.

So I‘m arguing for the transition and offering people personal liberty and the Constitution.

CARLSON:  I agree with you completely.  Let‘s say you don‘t get the Republican nomination?  Will you fight for a speaking spot at the Republican convention in Minneapolis?

PAUL:  I guess I‘ll look at it and see what we do.  If we do well in the primaries and it‘s deserving, we certainly should do that.

CARLSON:  Would you ever entertain the idea of going third party?

PAUL:  I have no intention of doing that.  That is not a very attractive thing to .

CARLSON:  Even if Rudy Giuliani gets it nomination?  You would stand

by and let him represent your party?

PAUL:  Well, I would think he hijacked the party by then.  It would be a pretty bad thing for the Republican Party.

But right now, I—I don‘t have plans.  I have plans to keep doing what I‘m doing and to see if we can rally the Republican base.  See if they can be talked into restoring the values of limited government.  The foreign policy that George Bush even talked about in the year 2000.  A humble foreign policy and no nation building.

There is no reason why Republicans can‘t be anti-war and be fiscally conservative and believe in the Constitution, believe in personal liberties.  There is no reason why conservatives can‘t be civil libertarians?

CARLSON:  Amen, I agree.  And finally, congressman, I keep reading about the money that you have on hand.  You‘ve raised a lot of money and you have almost all of it still.  You haven‘t spent virtually anything.  Do you pay your staff?  Where do you stay when you travel?

PAUL:  We stay in motels like we do.  We stay in the more modest hotels and I still do fly commercial.  We do have staff and we do pay some.  But the staff is very modest, it‘s very small compared to the others.  We have a lot of volunteers.

As a matter of fact, we can‘t count our volunteers because they‘re out there doing their work and they‘re very independent.  So yes, it‘s a frugal campaign.  But we plan to spend that money.  The money was sent to us for a purpose.  And we are making our plans to be very, very much involved in especially these early primaries.  And that will be the determining factor on how we do in the first five or six primaries?

CARLSON:  All right.  Congressman Ron Paul, leader of the Ron Paul revolution.  Congressman, thanks for coming on.  I appreciate it.

PAUL:  Thank you very much, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Up next, Rudy Giuliani reportedly identifies a potential member of his presidential Cabinet.  Here are some hints.  He‘s a New Yorker, he‘s Italian American and looks like heel be looking for a job very soon.  If you feel teased, we‘ve done our job.  This is MSNBC, the place for teases.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Before the break, we gave you a riddle—who is the Italian American New Yorker Rudy Giuliani suggested might work in his presidential administration should he be elected?  I don‘t know the answer.  That‘s why we have Bill Wolf, vice president for primetime here at MSNBC to tell us.  Bill?

BILL WOLFF, VICE PRESIDENT IN MSNBC:  I know, Tucker, but let‘s extend the tease a little bit by hitting some other very, very important news.

CARLSON:  Ooh.  Cruel.

WOLFF:  No.  I‘m wise.

Now, Tucker, in show business you‘re not pregnant until a tabloid or Web site confirms you are.  So, congratulations appear to be in order for crooner Mark Anthony and his wife, Jennifer Lopez.  Internet rumors suggest that the 38-year-old woman whose resume includes singer, dancer, actress, cover girl and Ben Affleck and P. Diddy survivor, would announce the way most people do, during her concert performance at Madison Square Garden over the weekend.

However, she didn‘t.  Today, however, we have proof positive because “Us Weekly”, the magazine of record, reports that J-Lo is four months into the nine-month process called pregnancy.  According to “Us”, now that‘s “Us Magazine,” not us, MSNBC, Ms. Lopez‘s mother says the Lopez-Anthonys are expecting twins, Tucker.  Amazing.  Yes, news of the world, my friend.

CARLSON:  That‘s incredible.  She reproduces, I‘m impressed.

WOLFF:  Isn‘t that great?

CARLSON:  It‘s amazing.  I never thought I could happen.

WOLFF:  Can Ron Paul say the same thing?  No, all he‘s doing is running for president on interesting platforms.

CARLSON:  I think Ron Paul has six kids.

WOLFF:  Ron Paul is an interesting guy.  I must say that.  And you know what I think his appeal is, honestly?  He‘s genuine.  Not all people are.  I think that‘s part of his appeal.

CARLSON:  He means it.  He‘s not kidding around.

WOLFF:  And that has an appeal.  Now it‘s widely known, Tucker, that J-Lo, Jennifer Lopez, is an old-fashioned girl.  And it turns out to Pamela Anderson is too if “Life & Style” magazine is to be believed.  And I think they are.  Now that fine publication reports that Pam‘s wedding over the weekend was inspired by her own pregnancy.  She has denied that.

But “Life & Style” quotes a source who says she‘s two months knocked up with Rick Solomon‘s spawn.  Pam reportedly begged Mr. Solomon to keep the happy news to himself but surprisingly he blabbed to somebody who blabbed to a tabloid.  Of course, by reporting on Ms. Anderson‘s pregnancy, “Life & Style” broke an unwritten rule of tabloid courtesy—don‘t invade the private lives of people and make their lives worse until after the first trimester.  Bad manners by “Life & Style”, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Who is this Rick Solomon character?  Isn‘t he the one that shot a dirty movie of himself and Paris Hilton?

WOLFF:  He is.

CARLSON:  So he is not Mr. Privacy in the first place?

WOLFF:  That‘s one little slipup, I‘m not saying it‘s a lifestyle. 

But let‘s say he‘s had his run-ins with the publication of his intimate life.  How‘s that?

CARLSON:  Well put.

WOLFF:  Back to politics, if you don‘t mind, Tucker.

As you know, presidential hopefuls are generally coy when it comes to naming running mates and potential Cabinet secretaries.

Here comes the payoff to the tease.  That is, except, Rudy Giuliani.  “Time Magazine‘s” Mark Halperin has a new book coming out called “The Undecided Voter‘s Guide to the Next Election.”

In that book he asked the leading contenders about people they considered for Cabinet positions.  The only candidate who answered was Giuliani.  The name he gave for a Cabinet position, New York Yankee manager Joe Torre.  It‘s unclear which post Mr. Torre would potentially fill, whether his department would have a $220 million payroll like the Yankees or whether he would be asked to wear cleats and a cap to the office.

CARLSON:  Wow.

WOLFF:  Yeah.  Joe Torre.  What do you think?

CARLSON:  Well, he‘s going to be looking for work apparently, anyway. 

I don‘t think that‘s such a bad idea.  I‘m not a Yankees man myself, but I kind of like it.

WOLFF:  It‘s a great idea.

Finally, Tucker, “Radar” magazine this month offers fresh and disturbing picture of the race for the presidency.  They had a “Vanity Fair” cover in 2006 that had some naked actors on it.  There they are.  Here is what “Radar” magazine did for us.  Rudy Giuliani is Tom Ford, Hillary Clinton is Keira Knightley.  And there‘s Barack Obama as Ms.  Scarlett Johansson.  I don‘t know how they got those guys to pose for that picture, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I don‘t know but Hillary looks pretty darn good.  I‘m impressed.

WOLFF:  No official comment.

CARLSON:  Bill Wolff.  Salacious as always and much appreciated. 

Thanks, Bill.

WOLFF:  You got it.

CARLSON:  That does it for us.  Hope you‘ll tune in tomorrow.  We‘ll be here.  Have a great night.

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

END   

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

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