updated 10/17/2007 10:32:11 AM ET 2007-10-17T14:32:11

Guests: Walter Shapiro, Josephine Hearn, A.B. Stoddard

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  There is fresh evidence that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee probably the president, that is unless she blows it in one of 10 different ways.  We‘ll tell you those ways, welcome to the show.

Both fundraising and poll numbers are going Mrs. Clinton‘s way today.  She raised 35 million dollars from her primary campaign according to the tally out today.  That‘s about 10 percent than Barack Obama has raised.  And her aggregate war chest of $50 million is three times bigger than Rudy Giuliani‘s is.

A new “USA Today” Gallup poll shows a full 50 percent of Democratic and Democratic leaning independents support the Clinton campaign.  She is a freight train.  The tracks look clear from here to the White House unless Hillary Clinton completely implodes and in a minute we‘ll talk to man who has imagined and outlined 10 ways she could do that.  Will it happen?  Stay tuned.

On the Republican side, meanwhile, there is no momentum corresponding to Mrs. Clinton‘s, there is also considerably less money, but that hasn‘t stopped Rudy Giuliani like spending like a teenager with his father‘s credit card.  Giuliani‘s $11 million haul in the third quarter was best in the field and it‘s not even a third of Hillary Clinton‘s, so why would he stay in thousand dollar a night hotel suites all over the country?  On the other hand, why wouldn‘t he?  We‘ve got the scoop on campaign spending and it‘s remarkable.

Plus Don Imus will return to the airwaves a month from now.  Few dispute his right to work but who will sponsor his program and who is going to go on it after the political firestorm that accompanied his ouster last spring?

Later this hour the Reverend Al Sharpton joins us with his response to the Don Imus news.  But we begin with Hillary Clinton, whose ascension to the Democratic nomination looks more certain with every passing day and each new measurement of the race.  Could she blow it?

Joining me now is a man who has thought and written a lot about from salon.com, the author of terrific book on the last presidential campaign “One Car Caravan”, Walter Shapiro.  Walter, thanks for coming on.

WALTER SHAPIRO, SALON.COM:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, you thought a lot about this.

SHAPIRO:  Oh, I spend every waking hour.

CARLSON:  OK.  Let‘s put up on the screen for our viewers who haven‘t seen your piece, which was the first thing I read this morning, 10 ways, according to you that Senator Clinton might blow it.  When bad things happen to good candidates.  Number one.  She could say something stupid.

SHAPIRO:  Also, every front runner since I covered my first race which was Woodrow Wilson‘s re-elect in 1916, every frontrunner has gone from a month to eternity when they‘re in trouble.  Hillary has yet to have that period.  And how she reacts to the first protracted bad news will tell us a lot more about her staying power than polls or anything else.

CARLSON:  But isn‘t that why she‘s the front runner in the first place?  She seems like the kind of candidate who is not going to say something stupid.

SHAPIRO:  Just like George W. Bush, didn‘t say anything stupid but still lost the New Hampshire primary by 20 points in 2000 to John McCain.

CARLSON:  Right.

SHAPIRO:  Front runners come back often.  But they go through bad patches.

CARLSON:  Which, interesting, the political calendar, number two.

SHAPIRO:  This is so, if there are ever three states to line up that are going to cause Hillary problems, it‘s—for the Democrats it‘s Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.  Iowa is the only state in the country where John Edwards is making it a three candidate race.  And as a consequence, as a consequence it is possible, not likely but possible Hillary could come third in Iowa.

New Hampshire is a state just made to order, despite the polls, for the kind of good government, low key, soft spoken, brainy reformer like Barack Obama.  And South Carolina which will come next, half the Democratic electorate is African American.  So Hillary could go oh for three.

CALRSON:  That point seems to me it makes tough case that she‘s not the front runner at that point.  Sixty two percent, give or take a percent or so, of Democratic Iowa caucus goers are female, doesn‘t that give the advantage to Hillary Clinton just off the top?

SHAPIRO:  Right now if you look at the latest Iowa poll, 71 percent of all Iowans are backing another candidate.  Or put another way.  Nobody knows what‘s going to happen in Iowa.  The pollster Mark Blumenthal on his blog pointed out there have been 13 Iowa polls in the last six months.  There are 11 different methodologies for predicting who is going to go a caucus on very cold night in January.  We have no idea whether it‘s going to be 125,000 people show up or 200,000 people show up for the Democrats.

CARLSON:  That‘s a good point.  Number three is essentially Barack Obama gets his act together that‘s really a question of prayer.  What about number five—sorry, her husband alienates voters.

SHAPIRO:  Fundamentally, we have not—First of all, Bill‘s—Bill Clinton‘s capacity to cause problems or those around him has been demonstrated in the past.  Secondly of all, the fact is the country has still not worked through the weirdness of a White House where the former first lady is the president and the former president is the first spouse.  It may be nothing.  Right now Bill Clinton has been an asset to Hillary Clinton.  But we don‘t know whether that is going to last all the way through or people are going to say, this is a little strange.

Add to which, there have been a few flicks at questions being raised by, can you get to the new president by giving money to the Clinton Foundation?  By giving money to the Clinton Library?

CARLSON:  Why won‘t the former president release the names of those donors, it seems to me he‘s going to have to at some point and he should know that.

SHAPIRO:  I‘m puzzled by the fact, take the argument that he promised people anonymity he can‘t release the names of donors in the past.  But why can he not announce tomorrow that no donor to the Clinton Library, no donor to the Clinton Foundation will be ever granted anonymity again.  And from here on in, it‘s an open book.

CARLSON:  They have to have thought this through, the Clinton people.

SHAPIRO:  Well the intersection between Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton collectively thinking things through, sometimes is different than them individually thinking things through.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  And the nature of their relationship fundamentally, and I‘m giving them every benefit is mysterious.  Let‘s be honest.  We don‘t really know.

SHAPIRO:  And as a reporter, there are days where I despair of typing the three words, “the Clinton marriage,” ever again.

CARLSON:  Number six, essentially you say she‘s a hawk on foreign policy.  Why hasn‘t that been a bigger problem in the Democratic primary so far?

SHAPIRO:  One of the things, I should praise her, she has run even top advisors to her rival will admit she‘s run a masterful campaign for the first eight and a half or nine months.  Of 2007.  But then she voted about to call the Iranian National Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.  And she is sort of more in favor of leaving residual troops in Iraq than any other major democratic candidate.  Including Joe Biden.

CARLSON:  Absolutely.  She‘s basically a neocon in some important ways and nobody seems to notice on the Democratic side.  Why is that?

SHAPIRO:  Part of it is she has blurred things a lot.  I‘ve heard her so many times say when I‘m elected president, we will remove or start to remove our combat troops from Iraq.

CARLSON:  And that‘s enough.  I‘m surprised in an anti-war party that seems to do it.

SHAPIRO:  Part of it is, it‘s a failure of her rivals, particularly Barack Obama to consistently call her on it.  But lot of it is, voters are not yet paying attention.  In a national Pew Research Survey only 29 percent of Americans said they‘re paying a lot of pane to the election.  In New Hampshire 55 percent of all Democrats said in another poll that they had not made up their mind yet.

CARLSON:  Amazing.  Finally, number 10 struck me the most forceful you say, there‘s the element of surprise.  You write, the future is not unchanging extrapolation from today.

SHAPIRO:  And it‘s the unexpected—expect the unexpected problem.  Every campaign turns out differently than you expect.  For example, if you had been on a desert island from mid 2003 to 2004 and I told you John Kerry were the Democratic nomination you‘d say, that‘s boring.  But you would have missed totally the rise of Howard Dean.  If I told you the same thing about George W. Bush in 2000, you would have missed the john McCain almost going to the nomination.  So, even when things work out with the right predictable conventional wisdom nominee the process works out to be so different than you anticipate, because the voters don‘t, to their credit like being told what to do.

CARLSON:  And we have jobs as a result of that.

SHAPIRO:  And we have jobs.

CARLSON:  Amen.

That maybe the best part.  Walter Shapiro, thank you very much.

SHAPIRO:  Thanks a lot, Tucker.

CARLSON:  It‘s not a lock.  Well, Hillary Clinton is against warrantless wiretapping except when she does it herself apparently, explosive charges against the former first lady, are they true?  Details in a minute.

Plus Wall Street has been supporting Republicans since they took control of Congress in 1994 and long before that in fact.  But not any more.  Big business is now giving more money to Democrats we‘ll tell you why in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The conventional wisdom right now says Hillary Clinton is solidifying her frontrunner status on the Democratic side, but her smooth ride to the nomination could get bumpy if rumors of scandal resurface and what do you know, they have.

A new book out by pair of Pulitzer Prize-winning “New York Times” reporters makes a startling claim.  Back in 1992 it says Hillary Clinton allegedly eavesdropped on the phone calls of her husband‘s political opponents.  Some Republicans say that smacks of hypocrisy especially since Senator Clinton criticizes the warrantless wiretapping of suspected terrorists.  Trouble for Hillary Clinton?

Well, now we welcome associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard and “The Politico‘s” Josephine Hearn.

This is an amazing story.  First I kind of thought, this is 1992, who cares.  Take look at this.  This is from the book I‘m ashamed to say I‘ve not read, I‘m going to read by Don Van Natta and Jeff Gerth, both formerly from the “New York Times.”

And it says this, let‘s put a graphic up on the screen.  This is an excerpt from the book.  “Hillary listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics plotting their next attack.  The tape contained discussions of another woman who might surface with allegations about an affair with Bill.  Bill‘s supporters monitored frequencies used by cell phones and the tape was made during one of those monitoring sessions.”

That‘s pretty—if that‘s true that‘s not like tape recording a phone call which you can explain away if you‘re on the phone call.  Even if it‘s illegal, I think it‘s not an evil thing to do.  Tape reporting people‘s cell phone calls with a police scanner?

JOSEPHINE HEARN, “THE POLITICO”:  And it looks like it is illegal.  And was illegal then in 1992.  But on the other hand she was just listening to a recording, right.  She wasn‘t actually - it was not like she was there with the equipment as the phone call was happening.

CARLSON:  That‘s fair.

HEARN:  She just listened to the recording.  Maybe—We don‘t know the circumstances of it.  Maybe there was—everybody was listening to it then you know, would you incriminate the intern who was also sitting there listening to it at the same time.

CARLSON:  I‘m not suggesting that charges ought to be brought against her.  I think - and I‘m not.  I‘m not huffing about its illegality.  I‘m just saying having covered a lot of campaigns, some of them sort of intimately I‘ve never heard of anything like that.  I‘m not just being .

HEARN:  You‘ve never heard of illegal activity.

CARLSON:  I‘ve heard of a lot of illegal activity.  I‘ve heard of buying votes, I‘ve seen a lot of things that are screechy if not outright wrong.  I‘ve never heard of anybody taping phone calls on a scanner, ever, have you?

HEARN:  I haven‘t, no.

CARLSON:  Have you?

A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”:  No.  I think that it‘s very tech savvy and definitely illegal.  But I think that again, Josephine is right, you‘re going to blame Hillary Clinton for listening or are you going to get the guy who did the recording for the Clinton camp.

I think any one of her rivals given the opportunity in this very same situation would listen if offered a recording like this to know what was coming.  And any wife who has—whose husbands around is probably going to do the same.

CARLSON:  I think that‘s fair.  I would listen, too.  Absolutely.  And I‘m not faulting her for listening.  I‘m faulting the campaign and Clinton operation and the culture around the Clinton for being so hard ball, it‘s the same impulse that led me to tell me personally when the Monica thing broke that Monica was a whore and stalker, which is what they told me.  You know what I mean?  There‘s a meanness and toughness that‘s too much.

HEARN:  Why would you be in the campaign where somebody would feel it‘s OK to do this.  Yeah, I think it‘s a big deal if someone decides to investigate it.  It‘s 15 years old.  Lacking an investigation, I don‘t know, it seems pretty tenuous right now.

CARLSON:  The Clinton people seem to think that.  They don‘t appear worried about it.  Because here is what Clinton‘s press secretary said, asked for comment, he said, I‘m quoting now, “We don‘t comment on books that are utter and complete failures.”  In other words, we only comment on John Grisham novels.  That‘s the only thing we‘re going to talk about.  What do its sales numbers have to do with the truth or falseness of the allegations?

HEARN:  Nothing at all.  If you‘re him you don‘t want to admit anything on this.  They never—apparently they never challenged anything in the book at all.

CARLSON:  Right.  That‘s what the authors say.

STODDARD:  And obviously .

CARLSON:  And just because these are not two guys from the “American Spectator.”  These are, at least one case a pretty well established at least former liberal, they‘re not screaming right wingers.  They‘re just .

STODDARD:  And we‘re all guilty of not reading the book right when it came out discovering this for ourselves?

CARLSON:  I‘m embarrassed.

You know what, I didn‘t read it for the same reasons a lot of people didn‘t, what could you tell me new about Hillary Clinton?  I spent the entire ‘90s writing about this stuff, but I guess there is a lot new.  My strong sense about Hillary Clinton is, people don‘t want to know.  They don‘t want to know.  They don‘t care.

STODDARD:  Well, the people who support her and have decided to overcome their discomfort and support her.  And there are a lot of them.  And that number is growing.  Probably don‘t want to hear about it.  It will be interesting to see what she says about it if she‘s pressed.  But for Republicans they have to work with what they have.

CARLSON:  They don‘t have squat.  If this were about .

STODDARD:  They will take what they can.

CARLSON:  If this was story about Rudy Giuliani from 1992 it would lead every show on MSNBC every day.  There is no question that it would.  You know it would.  Rudy Giuliani?  Using a police scan tore listen to people‘s cell phone calls?  Holy smokes.

STODDARD:  She .

CARLSON:  It was her campaign.  If it was Bernie Kerik working on behalf of Rudy Giuliani.  I am not just claiming media bias, but would that be a story?

STODDARD:  Might be true.  Anything about Bernie Kerik is a story.

CARLSON:  We‘re going to be back.  If you thought that was bad news for forever, not any more.  We‘ll tell you what happened in a minute.

Plus Al Gore says he‘s not running for president despite the calls for him to do so.  Which Democrat will he endorse?  Could be Hillary Clinton?  You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Third quarter fundraising totals are in.  The Democrats are crushing Republicans.  They really are.  Out raising the GOP by three to one.

Take a close look at the numbers you‘ll see why.  Wall Street and big business are giving to Democrats, big time.  Are they betting on the winner, of course they are.  It‘s not out of love.  An obvious rhetorical question.

But in any case we welcome back to answer it, associate editor of “The Hill” A.B. Stoddard and “The Politico‘s” Josephine Hearn.

OK.  Actually the numbers are unbelievable.  I could bore viewers all day with breakdowns.  Here is just one.  Goldman Sachs, 71 percent of money from Goldman to Democrats.  J.P. Morgan, 68 percent to Democrats.  The obvious explanation is they didn‘t get to be big business by being stupid.  They perceive Democrats are going to win.  Is there another explanation or is that it?

STODDARD:  I think there are two reasons.  I think there is the perception that the Democrats will hold power for the time being and on the other hand also, they‘re punishing Republicans because they think that if you go back to the last 12 years, and the last seven that they weren‘t minding the store.

CARLSON:  You think they‘re legitimate complaints not just hedging against the future.

STODDARD:  There are.  There are economic conservatives who will never vote for a Democrats because they associate the party still with big unwieldy social programs and , but you look at lot of sort of centrist Republican, right leaning independents, they‘re going to break away.  They‘re going to lean the other way.

CARLSON:  Here is the fact that nobody ever, ever mentions Democrats win rich people, over 100,000 in income who are likely more than not to vote for Democrats.  People never point that out.  Rich people vote liberal.  I don‘t know what that‘s all about.  Drug companies, this is the most amazing fact of all, Democrats spend their entire waking hours, Josie, is this correct, beating up the big drug companies.

HEARN:  Right.

CARLSON:  Fifty percent of money from big drug companies is going to Democrats.  Is this masochism?

HEARN:  Well, I think overall business was really upset with the Republicans for the past 12 years.  If you‘re a businessperson, especially successful one, and you‘re looking at the sort of poor management we saw with Katrina, we saw with Iraq, the lack of fiscal responsibility, the lack of accountability.  I think you‘re pretty disappointed with the Republicans.

CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton who gets up—I saw her give speech recently which she said, those energy companies, they make big profits, I‘m going to take those profits do something useful with them.  As if you can sort of wander over and take people‘s profits for yourself.

HEARN:  Right now business has to do fence mending because they haven‘t been paying attention to Democrats at all.  Right now I think you‘re seeing some overgiving.  But once we see Democrats kind of doing the things that Democrats tend to do which is looking more at regulation, looking more at areas where they might be able to raise taxes in order to balance the budget.  Then I think you will see some of the business kind of pulling back a little bit saying, hey, we want to be your friends but we‘re not quite ready for this.

STODDARD:  But until there‘s a Democrat in the White House, it‘s going to be a great ride for them.  The whole perception has shifted after the Clinton years, balancing the budget, producing surpluses then into the Bush tax cut.  Now sort of Republicans are associate with debt spending and deficit spending and Democrats are associated with Clinton era of big government is over.

CARLSON:  Clinton sucked up to big business relentlessly.  When did you hear Mrs. Clinton attack hedge funds, try that, when is the last time she ever said word one about hedge funds.  If you‘re making $500 million a year, that‘s kind of high for executive compensation package, have you ever heard her say that?

STODDARD:  No.  She is not beating up on drug companies either.  I think that she is—she‘s really a champion straddler and she is able to talk out of both sides of her mouth and please everybody, we all know that.  She‘s joined the other ones on the presidential campaign trail where they spend the Bush tax cut with ease.  But if she comes into office and the sun sets in 2010 she‘s going to have very tough time taking that away.

CARLSON:  But the irony is Bush takes all this, I‘m watching.  Naomi Klein, I saw the other day, if you‘re a left winger, fervent left winger you know who she is a big celebrity with critique of capitalism.  Saying correctly to some extent that bush is spending his entire term sucking up to business.  The irony, all these rich people who run big corporations supporting the Democrats.

STODDARD:  But they‘re Republicans and they‘re changing their mind. 

It‘s not every single one of them.

CARLSON:  But if Bush is doing the bidding of big business why aren‘t they rewarding him or his heirs.

Or he hasn‘t been doing the bidding of big business?  It can‘t be both.

HEARN:  And I think they have been pretty upset with him.  But in a lot of cases there‘s this discipline that Republicans have used with the business community where you can‘t not give because there is a possibility for retribution.  So I think there are a lot of Republicans that felt that they have had to give even if they don‘t see what they would like .

CARLSON:  Let me just say, the drug companies, I have contempt for them for doing this.  These people, demagogue, beating up on the drug companies day in and day out and they give them money, they deserve everything that they‘re going to get.  A vigorous spanking at the hands of the Democrats.

Coming up the Democrat candidates raised nearly times the amount of the Republican counterparts.  A hundred and four million to $36.5 million.  Wow.  Republicans even have enough money to compete in ‘08?  Plus Don Imus could be back in the radio in just a couple of months.  His loyal listeners will be pleased, what about his critics?

Speaking of that, we‘ll speak to the Reverend Al Sharpton live.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  It‘s not often that the term paltry is an appropriate adjective for 16 million dollars.  but in the campaign fund raising business, Republican front runner Rudy Giuliani‘s 16 million dollar war chest isn‘t a lot compared to Hillary Clinton‘s 35 million for the primaries alone.  Or how about Barack Obama‘s 32 million.  If dollars are votes the Republicans would be out of it.  But they are not votes. 

What is to learn from today‘s tally of third quarter fund raising numbers?  What will today‘s cash advantage mean to the Democrats when all is said and done in November of next year?  Here to tell us, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard, and “The Politico‘s” Josephine Hearn. 

Josie, this is like such a blow out. 

HEARN:  Yes, and it is a problem in the general because a lot of these donors, a lot of these Democratic donors the campaigns can go back to again.  They haven‘t all maxed out.  So it does matter this late that we‘re still seeing this enormous divide where Democrats have such an edge.  It doesn‘t bode well for Republicans in the general election. 

CARLSON:  It‘s shocking.  Where are all the Republican donors?  There were a lot—

STODDARD:  I think they‘re unhappy and I think Rudy Giuliani is hoping that they haven‘t given and that they‘re going to rally around the nominee and they‘re going to flush his coffers with lots of money, if he becomes the nominee and has to run against Hillary Clinton.  But it doesn‘t look good.  He should obviously stop spending on the hotels. 

But it‘s a very tough position to be in.  She has so much money and she‘ll have more.  She‘ll see to it. 

CARLSON:  It‘s unbelievable.  Now, the McCain campaign apparently is in the red.  They owe money, which is a bad place to be.  Of course, the campaign itself or the candidate himself have admitted that they didn‘t—they weren‘t good stewards of that money.  But there‘s a “GQ” piece by Robert Draper just out and there are excerpts of it floating around the web that suggests that the candidate himself—full disclosure, I like John McCain, always have—really is in a tough place. 

In this piece, apparently he accuses Mark Salter, his closest aide, co-author of all his books, a man who has devoted his adult life really to helping McCain and a great guy, loves McCain, of being disloyal.  Now if that‘s true, that suggests a candidate who is on the edge. 

HEARN:  Yes, you have seen a number of staff shakeups in that campaign already.  You haven‘t seen—this entire year, you haven‘t seen the McCain that a lot of us who cover Congress know.  You‘ve seen—he‘s been—seemed, as everyone said, a bit tired the entire time.  You wonder kind of what‘s happening on the inside there, and you haven‘t seen the McCain that a lot of people have come to admire, the maverick, the reformer, the campaign finance guy, the guy who went after Jack Abramoff, all these—the crusader against pork barrel spending. 

All these labels that he‘s had you haven‘t seen during this campaign. 

And you do wonder what is happening on the inside there. 

CARLSON:  The conventional explanation is he‘s hated by conservatives. 

I think that‘s right.  They don‘t like John McCain.  They don‘t trust him.  He has very high negatives.  He‘s less popular now than he was after he lost to George W. Bush eight years ago—seven years ago.  But Hillary Clinton had really high negatives too, and she was able to over come them.  Why can‘t McCain? 

STODDARD:  Well, John McCain has re-emerged recently, running an insurgent, no staff, no strings, drive yourself around to campaign stops, streamlined campaign.  And we‘ve all read these stories.  He has had a bit of a bounce, especially after General Petraeus testified before Congress in September.  And there was—he‘s now on the stump talking about his no surrender tour, talking about how he always knew we couldn‘t do it without the proper amount of troops and that he was always a war critic.  But look now, we have al Qaeda on the run in Iraq. 

He‘s not in the shape he was in when I think these anecdotes were reported back, let‘s say eight, 12 weeks ago.  John McCain, as you pointed out, doesn‘t look like there‘s a state he can win.  His campaign is in the red.  But, as we‘ve said so many times together on this show, we‘re leaving the porch light on for John McCain.  I‘m not going to bury him just yet. 

CARLSON:  It‘s kind of hard to see how he does.  Let‘s say, Josie, you‘re one of the nine Republicans still giving money to McCain.  And you‘ve decided to give money to Rudy Giuliani on the belief that he can win, he can beat Hillary, but he‘s going to be a good steward of your hard-earned dollars.  Let‘s just take a look—

HEARN:  I‘m going to be surprised. 

CARLSON:  -- at some of Rudy Giuliani‘s hotel bills.  Let me say, I like nice hotels.  I don‘t want to be holier than thou on this subject.  But then I‘m using my own money most of the time.  Here we go, the Greenbrier Hotel, 2,010 dollars, 4,000 dollars for La Costa outside San Diego, 5,370 for the Fairmont Hotel in California.  Now, presumably fund raisers take place in these hotels.  I don‘t know.  Would you resent that? 

HEARN:  Yes, if I were—

CARLSON:  Huge amounts on private jet travel. 

HEARN:  There is a donor quoted in the story who said hey, as long as he‘s on top of the polls, that‘s OK.  I‘m sure there are people of that view.  You do wonder.  This seems like so much that it kind of calls attention to it.  And if you‘re a campaign, you never want stories to be generated off of your campaign finance reports.  That‘s bad.  And that‘s what‘s happening here.  People are looking and saying, look at this. 

CARLSON:  Unless you‘re giving money to crippled children or to the other organization.  That‘s right.  Al Gore, not going to run for president; I think it‘s clear.  He‘s won every award there is.  He is popular with a lot of liberals.  The question is, who will he endorse.  Now Roger Simon has an interesting piece that I would have ignored had it not been written by the great Roger Simon, who is often right, very often right about things.  He says he believes Gore is going to endorse Hillary Clinton.  I thought Gore hated the Clintons. 

STODDARD:  I don‘t know Al Gore personally.  I was surprised to read it as well, as I have just recently predicted he is going to endorse Barack Obama.  We‘ve all read about the animosity—

CARLSON:  Yes. 

STODDARD:  -- and really hostility between the Clinton camp and Al Gore.  There was a feeling in 2000 that he—we know that he didn‘t run on the Clinton record.  He ran a bit away from the president.  Hillary and Bill Clinton didn‘t like that.  In addition, the White House was really helping her Senate campaign, so goes the Gore side of the story, and not helping his run for president.  And there‘s a lot of resentment.  At least that‘s what I‘ve read all these years.  I‘m going to be so surprised if he endorses Hillary Clinton. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think—

STODDARD:  The people that petition for him, the people that are pulling for him to come out of his happy retirement back into politics, they‘re not.  It would just stun me if he endorsed Hillary Clinton. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  If John Edwards drops out, Al Gore endorses Obama, he could have a shot. 

HEARN:  He could.  It would give him a little bounce.  I think if you‘re Al Gore, I would say, don‘t endorse anyone.  You made a mistake on Howard Dean before.  You got burned on that.  Also, he‘s creating kind of a Jimmy Carter image for himself.  That he goes above politics a lot of the time.  He‘s more of a crusader for these certain causes.  He‘s creating a legacy for himself that doesn‘t have political aspects to it.  I would say, just step back and—people admire you for your work, they don‘t want you to be kind of down and dirty and in politics any more. 

CARLSON:  And unlike Carter, don‘t attack Israel.  Not a good career move. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  So, Larry Craig and his wife sit down for an interview with Matt Lauer.  I want to play you a sound byte from that interview, which the whole thing is coming on tonight on NBC.  Here is Larry Craig‘s wife, Suzanne, explaining what her experience has been. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUZANNE CRAIG, WIFE OF LARRY CRAIG:  When Larry told me that this story was going to break and he hadn‘t told me about it before that, I felt like the floor was falling out from under me.  It happened right here in this room.  And I felt like almost like I was going down a drain for a few moments. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now, I don‘t think when you get in trouble for soliciting gay sex in a men‘s room you ought to drag your wife in to it.  I think that‘s poor form.  On the other hand, when you watch that, I feel hostility toward the sanctimonious members of the press corps and of the Senate who attacked Larry Craig.  Let‘s just ignore—you know what I mean?  Other people get hurt in this. 

STODDARD:  It was the killer moment in the interview for sure.  It reminds you that he didn‘t tell her.  And the problem is that he dragged her into an interview with a reporter from the “Idaho Statesman” back in May when we didn‘t know any of this and had her sit there and listen to an accusation that was really tawdry and really upsetting.  She burst into tears.  He knew that he was going there to face down bathroom sex accusations.  He wasn‘t going to talk about foreign policy. 

He knew exactly what he was doing when he brought his wife.  There‘s another thing; in this interview that airs tonight he says, I‘m a fighter, and everyone knows I‘m a fighter.  And if you listen to the audio of Larry Craig when he was with the—when he was arrested and being interviewed by the undercover officer, he wasn‘t fighting anything if he was there to use the bathroom.  So the problem is for him, even if he did nothing wrong, he‘s just done politically, because he pled guilty to a misdemeanor and he didn‘t fight anything.  He didn‘t tell his wife. 

CARLSON:  He‘s obviously such a troubled guy.  I just hope that we would ignore him and let him live out this tragedy. 

STODDARD:  He wants to be on NBC. 

CARLSON:  Apparently he does. 

HEARN:  More press on this. 

CARLSON:  Thank you both.  Don Imus is returning to the airwaves six months after being fired for attacking the Rutgers women‘s basketball team.  He has said he‘s sorry.  Not everyone believes him.  We‘ll talk to Reverend Al Sharpton next. 

And Britney is back in the news.  But did she ever really leave.  It has to do with the law, shocking.  Our roving Britney Spears reporter Willie Geist has that story coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  He‘s back.  He‘s coming back anyway; radio host Don Imus has survived being dumped by both CBS and MSNBC after making controversial comments about members of the Rutgers women‘s basketball team.  In fact since he made those remarks back in April he hasn‘t simply survived, he‘s been relaxing at his ranch in New Mexico and winning a reported 20 million dollar settlement from CBS. 

Now the word is he‘ll be back on the air as early as December on the number one talk radio station in the country.  How does that sit with the man who led the charge to get him fired.  Joining me now, founder of the National Action Network, Reverend Al Sharpton.  Rev, thanks for coming on.

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  So, you got him fired.  He apologized, what more should he do? 

SHARPTON:  Well, I think, you know, it has always been a contention of everyone he has a right to work.  The question is, does he have a right to disparage people and expect advertisers to use consumer dollars to do it. 

Now that he‘s coming back, I think that if in fact this is his coming back

we‘ve heard this announced two or three times and he didn‘t come back. 

But if this is real, I think that advertisers and a lot of the advocacy groups have a right to ask his employers what kind of safeguards have they put on to make sure he doesn‘t go in the way and in the pattern that he did when he was on before. 

CARLSON:  What kind of safeguards would they need?  Apparently—the reports are that he has delay, and that there will be someone in the booth.  If he says something over the top, they will blank him out, so you won‘t be able to hear what he says.  What further safeguards could they do. 

SHARPTON:  We need to know if those safeguards are in place.  The National Association of Black Journalist that was really the first group to call for his firing and then we came in with National Action Network and others, have asked for a meeting with Citadel to see where the safeguards are.  I would assume that if Imus was sincere about his apology, and if the new employers are sincere, they will welcome such a meeting so they could say we‘re serious.  He‘s not coming on to do this.   

CARLSON:  Wait a second, he had such a meeting before he got canned.  He went on your show and sucked up to you for like an hour.  Al, you‘re so great, what‘s the—I watched the whole thing.  You still came out for his firing. 

SHARPTON:  He came on my show because he asked to come on my show.  He knew when he came on, my position was that he would be fired and that my position would likely going to remain that.  He came on.  We‘re not talking about him doing somebody‘s show.  We‘re talking about him meeting—not him meeting but his employers meeting with the broadcast group that represents blacks in the business that started this call for his firing.  If you have nothing to hide and in fact want to show a new leaf, you ought to embrace such a meeting.  They should have called them for the meeting. 

CARLSON:  OK.  You were in Washington today testifying on Capitol Hill.  I heard you on C-Span today about the Jena case in Louisiana.  I haven‘t heard anybody—I didn‘t hear anyone today and maybe I missed it - - express sympathy for the kid who got beaten up because of the color of his skin.  What about him?  Have you met with him? 

SHARPTON:  We reached out the them.  In fact, I did a television show where he was at and we reached out right there.  But though I might say that even the Justice Department official today from the Bush administration, who took quite a tact, said that he can‘t say for certain why this kid was beat.  He should not have been beat.  No one has said that we condone the white kid getting beaten. 

What he we do not condone is the black kids that allegedly beat him were charged as adults for attempted murder and the white kids that pull guns and then hung nooses were not prosecuted. 

CARLSON:  But wait a second.  First of all, I‘m not endorsing the sentences, which seemed over the top to me too.  I agree with you there.  But the kid who was beaten up isn‘t apparently someone who pulled a gun on anybody.  He was beaten up because he was white.  I haven‘t heard you condemn his beating—hold on.  I haven‘t heard you condemn the violence against him. 

SHARPTON:  You haven‘t been listening.  We condemned it then.  We condemned it today at the judiciary hearing, and I condemn it now.  But you are wrong, the white kid that got beat up was subsequently arrested for bringing a gun—he was not arrested.  He was found to have brought a gun to the school.  So you‘re wrong. 

CARLSON:  Have you apologized to the Duke lacrosse players? 

SHARPTON:  If you tell me what I should apologize for. 

CARLSON:  OK, I‘ll put it right up on the screen.  This is you on Fox on April 19th talking about that case.  You said, “I think there are certainly a lot of racial factors.  I think when you look at the racial atmosphere, when you look at the fact that there were allegations of racial statements, when you look at a lot of feeling that they‘ve been treated differently, where this girl has basically had a character charged in the media, there‘s a lot of racism in the air.  I commend a lot of blacks and whites who stood vigilant to come together in the community to stand up for this girl.  I think in the midst of this there‘s some good.” 

This girl in the end was revealed she made false statements.  She tried to destroy these guys‘ lives and you defended her.  Shouldn‘t you apologize for that? 

SHARPTON:  First of all, I‘m glad you put the statement up.  I didn‘t defend her at all.  I said I‘m glad to see blacks and whites come together on this, since they brought it.  I was asked to come down there.  I did not go.  You asked me to apologize and you showed a statement where I did not malign these young men.  I gave analysis of the climate there and what was happening around that girl.

(CROSS TALK) 

SHARPTON:  Where did I say anything about these young men to apologize for. 

CARLSON:  You said the community is standing up for this girl who turned out to be a total fraud in the most malicious way. 

SHARPTON:  If the community was wrong that stood up for her and that informed all of us, maybe they should apologize.  But again, what should I apologize for.  I did not discuss the young men in the quote you put up.  You can‘t put up one quote and like I can‘t read.  I didn‘t say anything about—

CARLSON:  I know you can read.  I would like to hear you attack this woman for trying to destroy these guys‘ lives. 

SHARPTON:  I think if this D.A. did what it appears he‘s done, he ought to be attacked.  And this young lady, who I never spoke with and no one else ever did, clearly left everyone out there.  I‘m not one of them.  I did not go to North Carolina.  I observed per question by you and other reporters what was going on there as one that does civil rights cases.  Had I led the charge and been involved in the charge, I think your question would be appropriate.  But since you can‘t come up with a quote for me to apologize for, I think you are just fishing. 

CARLSON:  OK, the Reverend Al Sharpton, it‘s hard—pretty good answer.  Thanks Rev, I appreciate it. 

It turns out Dick Cheney‘s favorite in the 2008 presidential race might be a Democrat.  Willie Geist tells us why family ties, that‘s right, family ties could have the vice president privately rooting for Barack Obama.  Remarkable details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Joining us now man who woke up at 3:00 a.m. this morning to do television—he‘s fading fast.  We‘re glad to have him, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Does it show, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  I can‘t even—no, you look great. 

GEIST:  Good.  The red screaming from my eyes doesn‘t read on camera, good.  Tucker, with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton boring us to tears lately by selfishly rehabilitating themselves and helping others, Britney Spears has stepped admirably to fill the self destructive disaster girl vacuum.  Last night, she turned herself into police in Los Angeles to face misdemeanor charges of hit and run and driving without a license. 

She drove to the police station disguised in a pink wig.  Now if you are trying to avoid attention, you probably shouldn‘t wear the wig preferred by clowns and hookers.  Just my two cents.  Britney was booked and released in less than an hour.  As she left the jail, members of the local media asked the hard-hitting questions that really get to the heart of this important legal matter. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Any plans for Halloween? 

BRITNEY SPEARS, SINGER:  Not yet. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No outfits for the kids? 

SPEARS:  Not yet. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Any plans for Halloween asked the reporter in the jail house interview, hard hitting stuff.  Actually, Britney in that same interview came out and said to the reporter, where‘s the party at?  So, she‘s ready to get back in there and she‘s ending her sentences and prepositions. 

CARLSON:  It just makes me sick when members of the press troll for Pulitzers that obviously.  You know what I mean?

GEIST:  That grandstanding is disgusting, isn‘t it? 

CARLSON:  Sam Donaldson circa 1986. 

GEIST:  In fairness, it was one of many questions he asked.  But I loved that one. 

Tucker, as you know, I‘m all for yelling at inanimate objects.  I berate my computer on a daily basis.  But I can‘t say I‘ve ever gotten into such a heated argument with my toilet that the police had to be called in.  A Scranton, Pennsylvania woman was cited for disorderly conduct the other night when a neighbor called police to complain about foul language coming from the woman‘s bathroom window.  It turns out the woman was screaming profanities at her overflowing toilet, like the one seen here.

She now faces up to 90 days in jail and a 300 dollar fine.  Tucker, the ACLU has already stepped in to take exception to the fine.  A spokesman said, quote, you can‘t prosecute somebody for swearing at a toilet. 

CARLSON:  Of course you can.  The Cruelty to Lavatory Statute is popular in some New England states.   

GEIST:  It turns out the neighbor was an off-duty policeman, heard the yelling, thought something strange was going on, asked the person to keep it down.  The screaming, the obscenities continued, and that‘s when the authorities—uniformed authorities were called in.  What a case. 

CARLSON:  I‘m glad they‘re there. 

GEIST:  Tucker, I‘ll share with you now a couple of interesting new approaches to international diplomacy.  First, director David Lynch, the prince of darkness behind Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, offered a new road map to peace while in Israel meeting with President Shimon Perez this week.  Lynch explained to Perez that transcendental meditation would end violence and bring world peace.  It would have been nice if someone mentioned that say a few thousand years ago. 

India and Pakistan are trying a different approach to detente.  Wrestlers from both countries met in the disputed Kashmir region yesterday and smacked each other around to help promote peace between the nuclear rivals.  Tucker, you laughed me out of the room when I suggested that half nude man on man slap wrestling would one day lead to a peaceful world.  Who is laughing now, my friend?  Look how tiny those shorts are.  It‘s all in the name of peace.

CARLSON:  You know what—has Kashmir ever been mentioned without the word disputed before? 

GEIST:  No.  War torn, yes. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  That‘s like oil rich Kuwait.  It‘s required. 

GEIST:  Tech heavy Nasdaq.  Tucker, get this story.  If you had to pick one public figure who has the least in common with Barack Obama, it just might be Vice President Dick Cheney.  Obama has railed against Cheney and the Bush administration throughout his presidential campaign.  But it looks like that could be a sore spot at the next family reunion.  The vice president‘s wife, Lynn Cheney, dropped a huge revelation during an interview with Norah O‘Donnell today right here on MSNBC.  Listen to this.   

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNN CHENEY, WIFE OF VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY:  In my book there‘s a lot of genealogical research, you know, going back, Dick‘s family, my family.  These heroic and amazing tales of people who went west.  But one of the things I discovered is that Dick and Barack Obama are 8th cousins.  Is that an amazing thing?  You go back eight generations, they have a common ancestor. 

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR:  So you‘re for Barack Obama? 

CHENEY:  No, but I thought I should admit this fact as evidence that maybe I‘m not completely objective about Mrs. Clinton. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  There you have it, Tucker.  Dick Cheney and Barack Obama long lost cousins.  I thought I saw a resemblance. 

CARLSON:  And that‘s why Mrs. Cheney may not cast a vote for Hillary Clinton in the end. 

GEIST:  It‘s family ties.  It‘s loyalty.  Nothing to do with politics. 

CARLSON:  Thanks Willie.  For more Willie, and you can‘t get enough, check out Zeit Geist.  It‘s his video blog.  It‘s at Zeitgeist.MSNBC.com.  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, HARDBALL with Chris. 

Well be back tomorrow.  See you then.

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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