updated 10/18/2007 11:54:51 AM ET 2007-10-18T15:54:51

Guests: Bob Franken, Ed Schultz, Adam Smith, David Paul Kuhn

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  The president of the United States warns that World War III hangs in the balance of the Iranian nuclear issue.  Welcome to the show.  President Bush‘s chilling reference came toward the end of a wide ranging press conference as he discussed the importance of derailing Iran‘s atomic ambitions.  Here is exactly what he said.


GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT:  So I‘ve told people that if you‘re interested in avoiding World War III it seems like you ought to be interesting in preventing to have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.  I take the threat of Iran with nuclear weapon very seriously.


CARLSON:  Iran was but one of several topics Mr. Bush addressed today.  He saluted the Dalai Lama in the face of official Chinese disapproval.  He lambasted the U.S. Congress for its Armenian genocide resolution.

And as he spoke of his hope that Turkey would not respond by attacking the Kurds in Northern Iraq, the Turkish parliament overwhelmingly authorized its army to strike across that border.  Just a moment I‘ll analyze what the president said what it means.

Also today Barack Obama has at last directly criticized Hillary Clinton as we the omniscient media have recommend that he do for months.  The result?  Well, Obama has slipped even further behind Clinton in the national polls.

Could the media have been wrong about his best strategy?  It‘s hard to believe but we‘ll ask Congressman Adam Smith, a key Obama ally in the House of Representatives coming up.

Plus, Senator Larry Craig told Matt Lauer and the rest of us his side of the Minnesota Airport bathroom story.  Ahead, we‘ll check the highlights that have, the senator stuck to his guns on point after point.  Could he be telling the truth about his private life, is he lying or is it somewhere in between them?

We begin with the defiant president whose approval rating in today‘s Zogby Poll is at its lowest point ever recorded.  The public and the Congress be a damned, though, President Bush is not going quietly into his final year in office.  Here to discuss the president‘s warning of World War III we welcome online columnist and long time campaign reporter Bob Franken and host of the nationally indicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz, welcome to you both.

You heard the president‘s quote there.  Here is the predicate which we didn‘t have on tape which I found interesting.  He said this of Ahmadinejad, Bob.  “We‘ve got leader in Iran who has announced he wants to destroy Israel.”  That was the threat that the president cited.  What does that mean?  Why wouldn‘t Bush point to a threat against the United States?

BOB FRANKEN, ONLINE COLUMNIST:  Because I think that there‘s a view in this administration and others that Israel really is part of the United States.  That a threat against Israel is a threat against the United States.  I agree with you.  That was an interesting preface to what he said about World War III and it was interesting, the home he talked about World War III, Ken Burns started seeking funding for a new program.

CARLSON:  I love Israel.  I think—I‘d move to Israel.  It‘s not the United States.  And I did think that was an odd way to begin justification for the concern he expressed.

ED SCHULTZ, “ED SCHULTZ SHOW”:  I wonder if he has a new pair of cowboy boots.  I mean, this is reckless rhetoric.  This is ridiculous that the president would talk like that.  Interesting sound bite he said, “I‘ve told people,” has he talked to Pooty like that?  Has he talked to Ahmadinejad like that?  We know he hasn‘t because we haven‘t had any diplomatic relations with him for 28 years.

But the American people are curious about this, we know that this president, you know, Bob, governed him for a long time, that he‘s not very good off script.  OK.  And he‘s up there winging it at a press conference, he says, he‘s told people, who?  What conversations has he had?

FRANKEN:  You think he was off script?  I think somebody said you want to have the sound bite of the day.  This is it.  Let‘s do the World War III.

CARLSON:  There are things about that this bother me.  I‘m starting from the belief that we‘re not in a position to attack Iran in a significant way right now.  I may be wrong, that‘s my sincere belief.

SCHULTZ:  Well, with nukes we are.

CARLSON:  We are.  That‘s right.  I don‘t think we‘re going to do that.  But let‘s just take what the president said face value.  If you‘re interested in avoiding World War III it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing the Iranians from having a nuclear weapon.  Can really disagree with that, can you?

SCHULTZ:  Well, the only person that is keeping George W. Bush from going after the Iranians right now is Vladimir Putin and he all of a sudden is interjected himself into this confrontation between the Iranians .

CARLSON:  So he‘s the reasonable guy here?

SCHULTZ:  Well, let‘s just say that he knows what the situation is with the weak Democratic majority.  And he knows that the Bush administration has a way of manipulating things to get things the way they want them.

CARLSON:  But Putin doesn‘t have our interests at heart.  Putin wouldn‘t cross the street to save our lives.

SCHULTZ:  It doesn‘t do Putin any good for us to be at each other‘s throats, the Iranians and the Americans.  They‘re a business partner to the Iranians.

CARLSON:  Of course.

SCHULTZ:  So that‘s where he‘s at.  He‘s getting in there saying look, I‘m going to make sure that the United States doesn‘t go after Ahmadinejad.

CARLSON:  And yet—Bush is clearly an imperfect vessel for this message he‘s so distrusted and as I pointed out, he is so low in the polls right now.  But we‘re kind of standing back and watching this slow motion horror film progress where Iran, this nut cake country get a nuclear weapon.  Should we do something about it?

FRANKEN:  First of all, there are any number of questions, what about North Korea, what about the suspicion that this sounds like the kind of resounding messages we got that we heard when we were leading up to the Iraq War.

CARLSON:  But one crazed autocracy at a time.  Iran.  I agree, there are lots of countries you can be worried about, Syria among them as we just saw after the strike by Israel on Syria.  There clearly trying to do the same.  But Iran everyone seems to agree is it‘s way to producing nuclear weapon, should we stop it?

FRANKEN:  Here you have another autocracy, or a developing autocracy, Russia with nuclear weapons .

CARLSON:  Right.

FRANKEN:  Trying to bring intermediary here.  But of course Putin might be the useful intermediary to George W. Bush.  Maybe, maybe .

CARLSON:  So you think that .

FRANKEN:  No, I don‘t think .

CARLSON:  It‘s possible, you seem to believe, that Putin is acting as a kind of moderating force on Bush and that‘s a good thing for us?  I see it as he‘s in league with our enemies.

SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s not like the Iranians are going to be able to launch next week.  There is conflicting intelligence on exactly .

CARLSON:  Shouldn‘t we do something about their ability to launch .

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s talk to them, Tucker, we haven‘t had any diplomatic relations with them for 28 years.

CARLSON:  We‘re going to be able to say to them, look, I‘m sorry for being mean, please don‘t build a nuke .

SCHULTZ:  I think if we‘re down to the last card of the deck talking about World War II we don‘t have much diplomatic savvy.

FRANKEN:  But let‘s look at the context here.  Back to Israel.  Israel, no matter what the president doesn‘t admit just bombed a Syrian nuclear facility.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

FRANKEN:  And everybody says, and I agree, that this was also a message to Iran.  So that brings us back to Israel and to the comments that the president made.

CARLSON:  What‘s really going on here I believe the meaning of Bush‘s predicate to the World War III line, if we don‘t stop this Israel is going to act.  Act against Iran, we‘re going to be drawn in to this war because we have no choice, once in Israel is at war with Iran we‘re going to take Israel‘s side.

FRANKEN:  I think you can be a diplomatic reporter.  You got that nuance .

CARLSON:  Isn‘t that what he is saying?

FRANKEN:  It sounds like it.

SCHULTZ:  We agree it was a reckless comment about World War III.  You don‘t think so?  How sit going to be received.

CARLSON:  I don‘t have a lot of trust left for Bush on foreign policy but I think the bottom line point that it‘s scary they‘re building this weapon and we ought to do something about it is kind of true.

SCHULTZ:  Yes, they may be building it.  Putin says they‘re not.  He says it‘s for civilian use.

CARLSON:  If it‘s a contest between trusting Bush or trusting Putin, I‘ll actually, controversial statement here, throw my chips in Bush‘s pot.

SCHULTZ:  Tucker, how is this going to be received by the rest of the world?  Aren‘t we in this to get some friends and some allies and not some adversaries?

CARLSON:  All right.  We‘re going to take a quick break.  Barack Obama takes aim at Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, are these swipes consistent with his message of hope?

Plus House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the prospects of vote on an Armenian genocide are dwindling.  The nonbinding resolution had plenty of support earlier this week is it dead now?  We‘ll bring you the latest coming up.


CARLSON:  He promised campaign based on hope, but now that Senator Barack Obama is over 20 points behind Hillary Clinton in virtually all the polls, he doesn‘t sound as hopeful, he sounds a little nastier.  He‘s been attacking Mrs. Clinton on everything from her vote on Iran to the possibility of Bill Clinton back in the White House, Obama is sharpening his rhetoric.  He also sent an e-mail to supporters urging them to close the gap with Clinton.  That worked so well he was able to raise almost a million dollars since just yesterday morning.

Here to shed some more light on Obama‘s apparently new campaign is key Obama supporter Adam Smith, a Democratic congressman from the State of Washington.

Congressman, thanks for coming on.

REP. ADAM SMITH, (D) WA:  Thanks for having me, Tucker.  I appreciate the chance.

CARLSON:  For our viewers haven‘t been following this as closely I want to play a sound bite from Senator Obama in Iowa recently talking about the Clintons, here he is.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Because it‘s a known commodity, been around a long time.  We kind of know what we‘re going to get.  But that‘s exactly the problem, we know what we‘re going to get.  We‘re not going to get the significant change.

I believe I can deliver message that Senator Clinton can‘t.


CARLSON:  There‘s really no way to argue with what Obama says.  It‘s absolutely defensible and correct on every level.  But I‘m not a partisan primary voting Democrat.  I wouldn‘t vote for Bill Clinton.  A lot of Democrats in the primaries love Bill Clinton.

SMITH:  Hillary, by the way, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Hillary.  I‘m just saying, why is he attacking the legacy of Bill Clinton, it doesn‘t get you far in a Democratic primary, does it?

SMITH:  I think what he‘s saying this election should be about the future not about the past.  He‘s not so much attacking the legacy, I mean that was fine.  From ‘92 to 2000 I think Bill Clinton did a lot of very good things.  That was awhile ago.

This election should be about the future.  Who can make the changes necessary in this country right now that Democrats and independents a lot of Republicans desperately want.  That is Senator Obama‘s message.  He‘s the one what can bring change now.  Yes, 15 years ago, when Bill and Hillary and others were campaigning in ‘92 they were clearly the agents of change.  But that was then, this is now.  And I think Senator Obama is making the case that he is the agent of change who will move us forward instead of focusing on the past.

And I think that‘s a very good argument.

CARLSON:  Oh. I think it‘s a great argument.  Yet every time he makes that argument or says anything even mildly or implicitly critical of the Clintons the Clinton campaign comes back says, oh, there you go again.  I thought this was the campaign of hope.

SMITH:  But they‘re wrong about that.

CARLSON:  But wasn‘t it foolish to set that up as standard in the first place?  Didn‘t Obama hedge himself in by talking almost nonsense about hope?

SMITH:  Here is what happened.  Senator Obama very correctly said he‘s going to run a different campaign.  He is going to talk about hope, he is going to talk about change.  He is going to focus on bipartisan issues as opposed to partisan attacks.  He never said I‘m not going to explain why I‘m better than the other candidates.  He never said, I‘m not going to say anything critical of the other candidates.  The media has sort of created this fiction that when you talk about running a hopeful campaign, you somehow can‘t ever say anything about the opponents that you‘re running against.

Now if Senator Obama was doing a Swift Boat like attack or doing some vicious character assassination, then you have a point.  But he‘s not.  He is drawing a very clear, as you yourself said, inarguable distinction.

CARLSON:  And yet in the latest Gallup Poll, Senator Clinton‘s approval numbers have gone up, her favorable rating has gone up, for the second time in a row Obama‘s has gone down.  I wonder if that is not a reflection of voter reaction to his more negative attacks?

SMITH:  I think it‘s really hard to tell on a national poll when nationally as you and I have talked about before.  I mean, we‘re obsessed with this stuff.  You follow every little in and out of the campaign.  Most voters don‘t.  I don‘t think national polls at this point in the presidential race mean much.  You can look at Iowa, you can look the New Hampshire, and you can see those numbers where people are paying a little bit more attention.  But still, even then we‘re still three months away from the first contest.

CARLSON:  The other day, Senator Obama said in a Greenville, South Carolina church, he said, “I am confident we can create a kingdom right here on Earth, I want all of you to pray that I can be an instrument of God.”

Do you believe Senator Obama is an instrument of God?

SMITH:  I believe we‘re all instruments of God, Tucker.  I believe we‘re all down here with a purpose.  I think that‘s what Senator Obama was saying.  He wasn‘t saying that he had some special relationship as opposed to anybody else.  That he believes in a purpose here on Earth that he is fulfilling in his own way.

CARLSON:  What would his kingdom look like?  The one he‘s going to be building here on Earth.  What kind of kingdom do you think he means?

SMITH:  Well, I think he wants to create more opportunity, more equality in this country.  I think he wants to make sure that people have access to the basics of life, so that they can achieve their own personal goals to the greatest possible extent.  And that he believes there‘s a lot of work we have to do on that in America right now.  To create more opportunity, particularly when you focus on economics, health care, jobs, issues like that.  I think he wants to give people that better life full of opportunity and a government that makes that happen.

CARLSON:  The other day on Fox, former Mayor Giuliani said this, “I don‘t know Hillary‘s experience, she‘s never run a city, she‘s never run a state, she‘s never run a business, she‘s never met a payroll, she‘s never been responsible for safety and security of people, much less hundred of people, I‘m trying to figure out where her experience is here.”

Why doesn‘t Barack Obama make that point that she‘s been able to get away with the notion that she is the candidates of experience.  But she‘s not.  Why doesn‘t he say that?

SMITH:  First of all I‘ve got to point out I find it ironic that Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York, is running as this foreign policy expert on this complaining about somebody else not having experience.  I think that‘s rather ironic argument for him to be making.

CARLSON:  You may be right.

SMITH:  But Senator Obama isn‘t going to pick whatever to attack Hillary on.  He is saying, here‘s the difference.  I can bring about change.  I can work in a more bipartisan fashion.  I can break some of the gridlock in Washington, DC.  Senator Clinton really can‘t, given the history.  And Senator Obama is not just going to grab whatever charge out there and throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.

He‘s running on a clear message.  And he‘s going to stick to that message, when he‘s talking about himself and when he‘s talking about what makes him better than the other candidates in this race.

CARLSON:  All right, Congressman Adam Smith, as one instrument of God to another, I want to thank you, congressman.  I appreciate it.

SMITH:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  The House vote on Armenian genocide looked like it was on it‘s way to passing but a lot has changed in just one day.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dropped plans for a vote on that measure.

Plus Mitt Romney‘s new advisor said he‘d torture a prisoner quote, “in a heartbeat.”  Romney says he‘s against torture personally but he supports the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.  Where does he stand?  We‘ll tell you.  You‘re watching MSNBC.


CARLSON:  Well, here something you don‘t hear every day.  Reason appears to have won out in Congress today.  Apparently the symbolic and controversial resolution condemning the mass killings of Armenian Christians 90 years ago might not pass after all.

Just a few days ago House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pushing ahead full steam but heavy pressure from the White House, threats from Turkey, key Iraq War ally and plea from fellow Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha allowed cooler heads to prevail apparently.

Here with the play by breakdown we welcome online columnist Bob Franken who covered the Hill for many years and host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz.

Ed, it‘s not amazing to me that a lot of sensible Democrats have dropped out as sponsors of this bill which is one of the most wrong-headed things I‘ve seen in 15 years in Washington.  What‘s amazing to me that Nancy Pelosi is still making excuses for this.  It says something bad about her judgment.

SCHULTZ:  Well, I spoke with Dennis Kucinich on the program earlier this week, he was against it.  OK.  So there was a wide range of moderate conservative and liberal Democrats that started to come to their senses on this deal.  The timing of it was wrong.  It was ill-advised.  Whether it was a political tactic to put pressure on the White House, it couldn‘t have come at a worse time.  We need friends, we need allies, we don‘t need adversaries this is the last thing we need as the Turks feeling their oats and going into northern Iraq and taking on the Kurds and trying to shut down these guerrillas that are going on.

It‘s a hot spot militarily I don‘t think manpower wise we can deal with right now.  So the right thing happens.

CARLSON:  So, Bob, Nancy Pelosi promised, the speaker promised a vote on this resolution if it cleared the committee.  It did clear the committee.  Can she go back on that promise?

FRANKEN:  Well, we‘re going to find out.  And I mean this is a such a political debacle for the Democrats to be very honest about it.  Around the country most people think that the Ottoman Empire is a furniture manufacturer.  It is not the kind of thing, what happened in the World War I era is really not something that is in the forefront right now of the people of the United States.

What it does do, though, it gives the administration and George W.  Bush ammunition to argue that Congress in the meddling in international affairs is messing things up.

CARLSON:  But they‘ve done nothing with it.  This typical - the Republican Party is in such disarray, the most interesting fact I‘ve learned about this is apparently during the Clinton administration Denny Hastert, then speaker on the Republican side wanted to pass this very same sort of resolution.  Clinton called Denny Hastert on the phone and said, between you and me, please don‘t do this because it can cause us problems with the Turks.  That‘s the most interesting thing about this whole thing.  You think every Republican in Washington would be on TV every day letting us know that happened.

FRANKEN:  But why if you‘re opponent is shooting himself in the foot do you get involved?

CARLSON:  But most people don‘t understand it.  It‘s just the Republicans aren‘t even in position to take advantage of found money which is what this is.

SCHULTZ:  I think the Democrats misjudged the reaction of the Turkish people.  I think this may have been well intended to push the political envelope to try to get better resolution in Iraq.  And I think it backfired on them.  I know that the lines were hot on Capitol Hill.

CARLSON:  Here is what I don‘t get.  Obviously this is a result of lot of lobbying Armenian Americans.  Let me just say I‘m totally sympathetic for them, they got a raw deal from the Turks.  I‘m not attacking them.

But isn‘t this kind of in some deep sense anti-American.  When you come here aren‘t supposed to leave your ancient grudges behind in Europe?  Why are we carrying on—I‘m not apologizing what the Turks did.  They did something awful.  But why are we fighting about this here?  Isn‘t this the new world?  Aren‘t we supposed to leave that stuff in the Old Country?

FRANKEN:  But Tucker, ethnic politics really is the foundation .

CARLSON:  I hate it!

FRANKEN:  You may.


FRANKEN:  But most people don‘t.  Most people remember the Old Country and these—they bring with them their grudges all that type of thing.

CARLSON:  I‘m not mad at the Norwegians for whatever they did to the Swedes 300 years ago.  People can just get over it.  It‘s totally anti-American to tie up our political system and hurt our country‘s interests on behalf of some grudge that you should have—you know what I mean?  That your grandparents are still mad about.

SCHULTZ:  Bad move by the Dems.  Not a smart move.

CARLSON:  Why did the president say, here is what the president said, Bush occasionally does get off a good line this is one of them.  Here he is.


BUSH:  With all these pressing responsibilities one thing Congress should not be doing is sorting out the historical record of the Ottoman Empire.

Little time left in the year, Congress has little to show for all the time that has gone by.  Now is the time for them to act.


CARLSON:  Sorting out the record of the Ottoman Empire.  Not bad.  Are you going to see the White House continue to hammer this?  These people are irresponsible.  I‘ve heard people in the past 24 hours, maybe Pelosi deeper motivation was she wants the Iraq War to fail because ...

SCHULTZ:  No.  She doesn‘t want to lose the Iraq War.  She wants change of policy, a change in strategy.  And I think this might have played into that.  Had the reaction to the Turkish people been so vehemently opposed to it.  It had the potential of exploding into a real hot spot where we would have had to answer to it militarily.  Also, the military base at Incirlik is really strategically very important to us and this resolution may have jeopardized our stability in that region which we couldn‘t afford to have.

FRANKEN:  How could the Democrats claim to be surprised?  Eight, count them eight living secretaries of state, warned that exactly this would happen.  The White House repeatedly said this is going to happen.  The Pentagon said, this is going to happen.  What are the Democrats going to say?  Gosh, what a surprise.

SCHULTZ:  What the Democrats should be doing is put focus how Putin has not done a good job in civil liberties in his own country.  But we‘ve got bigger fish to fry.

CARLSON:  But this is not the first time Pelosi has sort of pig headed, I‘m doing it no matter what you think kind of move.  I don‘t think she‘s serving the interests of the Democrats.  Bush is so unpopular that nobody notices what she‘s doing because everyone is busy hating Bush.

But when he‘s out of the picture there will be pressure to drop her. 

Just a guess.  All right.  We‘ll be right back.

When we do come back Fred Thompson was supposed to be the savior of the Republican Party.  But now that he‘s actually in the race all that has changed is the rising star now falling star we‘ve got numbers.  Plus Larry Craig says he‘s not giving up his Senate seat even though he said he would.  Craig says he‘s in the political fight of his life, will he be knocked out? 

Details from his remarkable interview with Matt Lauer just ahead.



CARLSON:  Time for quick look around the potpourri before we review the Larry Craig tapes.  And we start with Mitt Romney‘s new national security adviser, retired General James Spider Marks.  Having a national security adviser named Spider may have intimidation value, but Spider Marks has bite beyond his moniker.  Asked by CNN two years ago if he would torture an enemy to prevent an attack, save a soldier or free a hostage, Marks said, quote, I‘d stick a knife in somebody‘s thigh in a heartbeat.  Good for him. 

Does Mitt Romney therefore believe in torture as a legitimate means of war conduct?  Here to discuss the political ramifications of that and other developments, online columnist Bob Franken and host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show,” Ed Schultz.

I must say—by the way, to be fair to retired General Marks, who is, it should be said, an impressive guy, as far as I can tell.  He did say he believes that torture ought to be illegal, but that there are times when you go outside the law. 

FRANKEN:  And stick a knife into somebody‘s thigh.  You do not want to be at a steak dinner with spider marks. 

CARLSON:  Good point. 

FRANKEN:  What‘s interesting is to listen to Mitt Romney, which is really what this is all about, sort of trying to have it both ways, which I know is not Mitt Romney.  He never likes to do that.  But they‘re all saying, no, it should be illegal.  It‘s a bad thing.  But, maybe we should use it some time.  I‘m not sure that I see how those reconcile. 

CARLSON:  But I think you‘re right, he‘s not—he and actually a lot of people who are much more deeply involved in this than Mitt Romney are pushing the kind of gray area.  They‘re saying, let me quote, we don‘t torture people—this is Romney—but we‘re not going to tell what you we will do. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s a don‘t ask, don‘t tell torture policy. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s what it is.  If I have this correct—I‘m not an expert on the Romney campaign.  But I can tell you that sounds a lot like the president‘s.  It‘s just like the president.  Look, we don‘t torture, but don‘t ask us about what we‘re doing.  I want to know directly from each one of the Republican candidates, do you believe in rendition flights.  Do you believe in expanding Guantanamo Bay, which Romney says he does. 

That ought to tell you something about where he‘s going with torture. 

And how‘s that going to be viewed around the world. 

CARLSON:  Hold on.  Actually he says, people simply ought to close Guantanamo—this is Romney speaking—my view is we ought to double Guantanamo.  I don‘t think that‘s same as endorsing torture.  But the question is, without Guantanamo, which states are going to accept the creeps in Guantanamo?  Is your state?  Is Minnesota begging for—

SCHULTZ:  No, we‘ve got enough.  You don‘t have to take them out of Guantanamo.  You just have to treat them under the rule of the law.  I think that‘s really what the big thing is.  Not go outside international law and realize that, you know, we are a country of civility and humanity.  Whereas we see someone as a combatant on the field doesn‘t mean that we got to torture them when we get them behind closed doors.  Let them go through due process.  That‘s going to restore moral authority in the world. 

CARLSON:  I just don‘t think—Leaving aside whether you‘re right or whether you‘re wrong, I don‘t think—I think you made a serious argument, but I don‘t think in a Republican primary you‘re going to lose a lot of votes by having a national security adviser named Spider and sort of endorsing torture.  I don‘t think that‘s a problem. 

FRANKEN:  That‘s the kind of thing that might eat into the 9/11 lead that Giuliani has.  You can come out and say, I‘m even harder on the adversaries than he is, that just might help, at least today. 

SCHULTZ:  No one‘s really pressing the Republican candidates on, what do you think about spying on Americans before 9/11?  Are you in favor of that?  If it was going on to the extent that we now believe it was going on, why do we get hit?  How are we safer under any administration?  I just think that the pressing by the media has got to be intensified on the Republican side. 

That‘s one of the reasons why none of them are breaking out—

CARLSON:  You don‘t think Bush is under enough scrutiny.

SCHULTZ:  I think Bush is, but thank God he‘s not running any more. 

Unless it‘s Jeb. 

CARLSON:  Speaking of the press, as a long time veteran of the press -

FRANKEN:  -- long time—

CARLSON:  I‘m impressed by it because I used to work with you, and I know how good you are.  Carol Simpson, long time ABC News woman, came out last night in New Hampshire and said this of the former first lady, Hillary Clinton; “I endorse your for President of the United States.”  Boy, we‘ve been waiting for that endorsement, the Carol Simpson endorsement.  “It‘s very freeing now that I‘m not a journalist.  I‘m able to speak my own mind.  But I wanted you to know I had a dream that before I died I would see a woman as president of the United States.  I think you are the woman and I think this is the time.”

That means a lot to me, Carol Clinton said.  Thank you very much.  She probably blushed.  Why is this significant.  Carol Simpson was a flack for the Democratic party while she was working at ABC, and the proof, if you don‘t believe it, watch it online, the 1992 debate in Richmond on the Republican—the presidential debate.  She hammered Bush. 

FRANKEN:  But that doesn‘t make her a flack for the Democratic party. 

I think it‘s very easy to draw that conclusion.  She is saying, she‘s not a

journalist now, so she has the right to say whatever she wants.  Carol‘s a

good friend, I should say that right up front.  But the truth is you have

to talk about does this confirm the suspicions of so many people who feel -

it may have confirmed yours, but I‘ve always taken the position that as human being I have opinions, but not when I‘m working. 

CARLSON:  I wonder, is it good—everybody knows that the liberal—the media are liberal, OK. 


FRANKEN:  Frankly I‘ve always challenged that.  If anything, I think the media are oftentimes way too conservative. 

CARLSON:  My god, I don‘t know anybody—how many people in the press do you know who are not pro choice? 

FRANKEN:  To be honest with you, I can‘t tell you how few times I‘ve asked. 

CARLSON:  I must say I don‘t think I‘ve met like three or four who go to church, who own a gun, who hunt.  They‘re just—it‘s a tiny number.  My only point is, whether it‘s true or not—I believe it is true—this kind of just helps confirm it.  Maybe Carol Simpson can keep her endorsement to herself. 

FRANKEN:  Carol Simpson is one person. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s right.  I don‘t think it‘s her endorsement.  It‘s what she said.  I think she represents what a lot of women in this country feel, that a lot of women want to see a woman in the White House in their lifetime, because the issues of equal pay, equal opportunity—

CARLSON:  I want to see a man in the White House because a man understands me.  He‘ll represent my view.  I vote purely on the penis question.

FRANKEN:  We have a bunch of them, and what have they done? 

CARLSON:  I just think the idea that you would vote based on gender is really what dumb people do. 

FRANKEN:  The whole history; we‘re talking about somebody who is, whatever else you want to say about her, whatever the merits of her becoming president, she is the first woman who has a real bona fide chance of becoming president.  That‘s historic. 

CARLSON:  I know I‘m supposed to be excited about that, but I could care less. 

SCHULTZ:  She‘s not the first retired journalist to come out and endorse somebody. 

CARLSON:  I love women.  I don‘t know anybody who likes women more than I do, a lot in my house.  I just think that‘s not a relevant criteria.  If it is relevant, how is being a woman, how will that make her a different president?  If it‘s so important, how will it make a difference in her presidency? 

SCHULTZ:  There are women‘s issues that have not been addressed, Tucker, equal pay, equal opportunity.  Look at the managerial—

CARLSON:  Equal pay and equal opportunity?  Women actually make more if you adjust for time spent at work?  Women make more than men.  They‘re better educated than men.  More graduate from college than men.  They get higher grades. 

FRANKEN:  Wait a minute. 

CARLSON:  Let‘s be honest.

FRANKEN:  Number one—number two, they still have not risen as high, as a general rule.  Number three, the reason that they don‘t spend as much time at work is because they‘re still expected to go home and be the part-time housewife.  So these issues—

CARLSON:  But they also choose to have children. 

FRANKEN:  They don‘t have much choice.  The man can‘t carry the child. 

CARLSON:  My only point is—

SCHULTZ:  You‘re not demeaning motherhood are you, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  I have four children, and one of them is in my studio.  I couldn‘t love children any more.  My only point is, the idea that we need a federal law to say that—to regulate the amount of money you make at work is—I don‘t know, I don‘t think you need to be a libertarian to see that as frightening. 

FRANKEN:  So you don‘t believe that there should be laws that require that people receive equal treatment in the workplace? 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think the federal government should get into the private sector and tell anybody how much anybody else should be paid, period under any circumstance, absolutely not, absolutely not.  I think if it‘s a private company—I‘m a libertarian.  I mean it.  I don‘t think the federal government has any right to tell me what to do with my money. 

SCHULTZ:  Tucker, what you‘re saying is that women are inferior in the workplace.  That‘s dangerous territory.  Because there‘s a discrepancy in pay in this country.  It‘s not ridiculous. 

CARLSON:  We have 100 percent female staff.  They‘re better.  That‘s not my point.  I don‘t want the feds involved. 

SCHULTZ:  They don‘t get paid as much.

FRANKEN:  Do you have somebody who can act as taster tomorrow? 

CARLSON:  I wanted to get to Fred Thompson but we‘re basically out of time.  I want to get to Larry Craig.  Actually Fred Thompson is doing better than a lot of people think.  I looked at the numbers today.  He is basically tied in South Carolina.  He‘s second in Iowa. 

FRANKEN:  He‘s slipped nationally almost ten points since the first debate. 

CARLSON:  That‘s inevitable.  He‘s doing better than I thought he was.  I got to get to Larry Craig.  I want to play a Larry Craig sound byte that just—his amazing interview with Matt Lauer.  Matt Lauer asked him, are you bisexual, which is one of those questions that has got to be tough to ask.  I thought Lauer did a pretty good job.  Here is the exchange.  It‘s interesting to watch.


MATT LAUER, “THE TODAY SHOW”:  You have taken, senator, several opportunities to say—come out point blank and say, I am not a homosexual.  Which raises two questions in my mind.  One of them, and you‘re going to have to forgive me for this, are you technically not a homosexual; is it possible you‘re bisexual? 

SEN. LARRY CRAIG ®, IDAHO:  It‘s no to both. 

LAUER:  The other question is, do you think it would be something that would be awful?  In other words, do you view it as something that would be awful to have to admit that you were gay? 

CRAIG:  I don‘t agree with the lifestyle.  And I‘ve said so by my votes over the years and by my expressions.  Have I viewed it as awful, I viewed it as a lifestyle I don‘t agree with. 

LAUER:  You wouldn‘t view it as something that would be a source of great shame if you had to admit it? 

CRAIG:  I‘m not sure that I‘ve ever looked at anyone else‘s sex life as great shame. 


CARLSON:  What do you make of that?  It‘s an interesting exchange.  Do you think that Larry Craig knows himself well?  Do you think he‘s telling the truth?  He doesn‘t look like he was lying. 

SCHULTZ:  He‘s been through so much.  I don‘t want to pass judgment on him personally.  I think the focus should be that a United States senator broke the law in the judgment of a law enforcement official doing his job.  He was arrested.  He pleaded guilty.  Now he‘s doing some judge shopping. 

That‘s the story. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  Of course that‘s story.  But it‘s an interesting exchange.  He looked like he was telling the truth, even though I believe that he probably was doing what he was accused of. 

SCHULTZ:  They‘re still selling tickets. 

FRANKEN:  I have one really over riding question, why in heaven‘s name would he do an interview?  Why? 

CARLSON:  That‘s the question.  That is the question. 

FRANKEN:  Maybe he‘s going to get a talk show.  He‘s looking for a talk show? 

SCHULTZ:  He probably wants a job after he gets out of the Senate. 

Maybe it‘s making him feel better. 

CARLSON:  If Jenny Jones could do it, I don‘t know why not Larry Craig. 

SCHULTZ:  Because she‘s not a United States senator. 


CARLSON:  Thank you both.  The women‘s vote, minority vote, are those the only ones that really matter?  If you ask the candidates, yes.  We‘re about to talk to someone who says white men are actually the forgotten demographics.  Stick around for the details. 

Plus, it‘s been a while.  So we decided it‘s time to roll some animal video, ratings gold.  Our senior bovine correspondent Bill Wolff has that story up ahead. 


CARLSON:  Minorities may soon become the majority in America, but it looks like white men could still be part of the key to winning the presidency.  In the last election, soccer moms, church goers were the electorate to court.  But now some think this election fight may come down to whether Democrats can narrow the gap with white male voters. 

Here to talk about this theory is senior political writer for “The Politico,” and author of “The Neglected Voter: White Men and the Democratic Dilemma,” David Paul Kuhn.  David, thanks for coming on. 


CARLSON:  Here is what you point out.  Since 1980 Democrats have not won more than 38 out of every 100 white men who voted.  We‘re all sort of aware of that.  But that‘s a little more dramatic than I realized.  Why is that? 

KUHN:  Well, the party in some sense after 1972, the Democratic party, shifted.  With the rise of George McGovern and the Democrat‘s focus on minority voters, on women—they came to see by 1980 sort of women as the key swing block.  These men all the while came to feel almost on the other side of the liberalism.  So these white guys, working class, middle class white guys by 1980 simply felt in part like the liberal antagonist. 

CARLSON:  The explanation I always hear to this day is that the Democratic party lost white men because white men are racist.  And desegregation in the south and the famous Nixon southern strategy and all that just pushed all the racists out.  Since most white men are racist, they split and became Reagan voters. 

KUHN:  Yes, it‘s unbelievable how poor the conventional wisdom is and how wrong it is.  Clearly, were some white men racists?  Absolutely.  Were some African American men sexist, just like some white men?  Absolutely.  Was the deep south in Mississippi, for example—did that shift on racism? 

Absolutely.  But Mississippi is not Tennessee.  And so the south—

CARLSON:  Or Michigan.

KUHN:  Or Michigan.  So this whole southern flip, in fact, is completely inaccurate.  It‘s been like received as conventional wisdom.  But if you look at the polling from the civil rights era, the myths—for example, Mississippi clearly did shift over racism and so forth.  But the first in roads in the south were not in 1948 when the Democrats began taking on the civil rights mantle.  They were 1928.  And in 1928 the opposition to sort of the Democratic candidate was that a big city Democrat from New York who was against prohibition, was a catholic.

So the first in roads in the south by Republicans were actually on cultural issues.  So one, this idea of the southern flip has been misunderstood.  And two, absolutely, if you believe that all these white men left because they‘re racists and they‘re sexist, well that can make you feel good.  At least you‘re fighting a good fight.  You may be losing, but you‘re doing the right thing. 

The problem is that was not only wrong, as far as exit polling, it was philosophically wrong, because the Democratic party was willing to sort of take a second look at, for example, like the riots in inner-city Detroit.  Liberals understood and many Americans understood that was sort of a valid anger, that African Americans had been mistreated by police.  But they weren‘t willing to offer the same tolerance towards like the working man‘s feelings as over Vietnam and other issues. 

So these guys became branded as sort of the bigoted Archie Bunker from “All in The Family.”

CARLSON:  I‘ve heard smart Democrats talk about the need to win back white male voters.  But if you actually do anything about it, that is somehow unacceptable, socially unacceptable.  When Howard Dean came and said, we want to win the votes of the guys with the battle flag stickers on their trucks, people attacked him over that.  Can they actually have outreach to white men? 

KUHN:  Two problems there with the Howard Dean example and the John Kerry example.  One was that, of course, when Howard Dean said that, he said it in such a patronizing glib way.  What does he now, Howard Dean, about these guys.  He‘s not culturally in line with them in many respects. 

But it was honest effort.  It was like—it came from a good place.  And what is so ironic is when you look at John Kerry in 2004, this man who was picked, if not only for his supposed machismo, for like Vietnam, look who they had to reach for, look who the Democratic party had to reach for to identify as a masculine candidate.  They had to reach for a man who exudes northeast establishment. 

Now I like John Kerry.  He‘s a nice guy when you get to know him.  But clearly like he doesn‘t match sort of the American male archetype of the western man. 

CARLSON:  Very quickly, he—Hillary Clinton is going to win white men? 

KUHN:  No.  I mean, can she win white men?  Can she make in roads?  That‘s what we have to understand here.  This book is not saying that the Democrats need to win a majority of white men.  If you look at who left the Democrats in the last half century, who took their majority with them, it was overwhelming, by more than two to one, white men.  Now when Hillary Clinton comes into the 2008 race, should she win the nomination, she‘ll carry the same burden as John Kerry, Al Gore and Democrats before her. 

It‘s not that Hillary Clinton, in fact, -- because she‘s necessarily a woman.  It‘s because she has the same biography of every Democrat before her.

CARLSON:  She‘s the same McGovernite elitist, I think.  David Kuhn, book, “The Neglected Voter, White Men And the Democratic Dilemma,” thank you. 

Always funny, always happy, always dancing, Ellen Degeneres shocked her viewers yesterday morning sobbing through what was supposed to be her monologue.  We‘ll bring it to you when we come back.  This is MSNBC. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  You know, going to commercial break throughout the show we have what we call teases, where we tell you a little bit about a story so you‘ll come back to find out the rest.  We just told you about Ellen‘s break down on television.  I honestly can‘t wait to find out what that was about.  Here is tell us Bill Wolff. 

BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, Tucker, the rest of the western world and many developing countries continue at this hour to track the Ellen Degeneres pet saga.  As everyone from Chief Justice Roberts to the Kurdish rebels, but apparently not you, now knows, Tucker, the daytime talk comedian adopted a dog from a rescue dog agency, decided the dog wasn‘t a good fit in her household, gave the dog to her hair dressers kids without authorization from the adoption agency. 

The agency took the dog away from the kids.  If you haven‘t seen yesterday‘s on air melt down, what‘s the matter with you?  Here it is, Tucker. 


ELLEN DEGENERES, “ELLEN”:  I thought I did a good thing.  I tried to find a loving home for the dog because I couldn‘t keep it.  I was trying to do a good thing.  And because I did it wrong, those people went and took that dog out of their home and took it away from those kids.  And I feel totally responsible for it.  I‘m so sorry.  I‘m begging them to give that dog back to that family. 

I just want this family to have the dog.  It‘s not their fault.  It‘s my fault.  I shouldn‘t have given the dog away.  Just please give the dog back to those little girls.  I‘m sorry.  I didn‘t call you.  I‘m sorry I did the wrong thing.  Just give it back to the family.  Please, please, please. 


WOLFF:  Now, while you, Tucker, were busy with your world crises and political intrigue, the dog adoption agency, which is called Mutts and Moms, said it has found a new home for the dog, not the hair dresser‘s kids.  And one of the owners of the dog Mutts and Moms agency said, she has received death threats.  Once again, it is clear, Tucker, people like dogs more than they like other people. 

CARLSON:  Of course.  I definitely like dogs than I like other people, and I like Ellen Degeneres.  I completely sympathize with what she is saying.  That was so intense, however, I had to look away.  That was too intense.  There is a level of intensity on television where it just becomes unbearable and burns your corneas.  That was it right there. 

WOLFF:  I had a tough time watching myself.  I must say, is it really anybody‘s business?  I know it‘s kind of a big deal.  But the bawling on the TV because of a dog.  Seemed a bit much of a public display of emotion to me, Tucker.  I‘m repressed.  Somewhere way down the pecking order from people and dogs are cows, Tucker.  Until you and our audience see this—

Dateline Barion County, Georgia.  That big cow in the front is the mom and those three little three cows, calves, so cute and innocent, are triplets.  Yes, triplets, Tucker. 

The odds of a cow having triplets are one in 105,000.  The odds of all three calves surviving are longer than that.  But look at them standing there in the field.  Look at them chewing cud and mooing.  Tell me, Tucker, that dogs are cuter than that.  I defy you. 

CARLSON:  Ever seen a Springer Spaniel puppy, Bill. 

WOLFF:  No, never have. 

CARLSON:  I‘ve got one in my kitchen right now.  I will say, those calves are cute.  Nothing beats a Springer Spaniel puppy. 

WOLFF:  I‘m a people person, I got to be honest.  Traffic news now, Tucker.  Not a traffic report are, per se.  I expect wherever you are, delays will—you will incur delays.  No, this is traffic news.  The latest official record of whose commute is most brutal and infuriating says its the New York metro area. 

The average New York/New Jersey commuter takes 36 minutes to get to work, and that includes people who get on subway downtown and take it eight minutes to get to work.  That means really if you are going from Jersey to New York City during rush hour, pack plenty of nicotine gum, because it‘s going to be awhile. 

In related news, MSNBC will move operations from here in New Jersey to NBC News world headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City on Monday.  So enjoy the commute, everybody. 

CARLSON:  Congratulations on that, Bill. 

WOLFF:  I‘ve heard nothing but good things.  People are excited.  In other workplace conduct news, a British study suggests that cursing at work, cursing, is good for the staff.  The study, published in the Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, determined that frequent swearing can reinforce solidarity among staff and enable them to express their feelings, such as frustration, and develop social relationships. 

It seems that lower level employees are most apt to curse and younger managers are more tolerant in the workplace of cursing.  Now I should note for the record, I report this news in the name of tele-journalism.  As a manager, I do not encourage swearing.  It‘s neither cathartic nor hilarious, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not what you said in our conference call this morning, Bill.  But I appreciate the effort. 

WOLFF:  I deny it.

CARLSON:  From headquarters, thanks, Bill.  That does it for us.  Thank you nor watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL.”  We‘re back tomorrow.  In the meantime, have a great night.



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