updated 10/19/2007 11:37:32 AM ET 2007-10-19T15:37:32

Guests: Mike Huckabee, Pat Buchanan, Bill Press, Nita Lowey

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  It‘s beginning to look a lot like a presidential campaign. Two extensive small bits of news today indicate that it‘s time for someone to step up and win the Republican nomination.  Welcome to the show.

Item one came from the latest poll of the critical state of Iowa, which shows that while Mitt Romney continues to lead the field, from Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has risen into a virtual tie for second with former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee.  He‘s well within shouting distance of Romney himself.  Considering his limited campaign funding, Huckabee‘s assent is eye-catching and in a moment, Mike Huckabee will tell us how he‘s growing taller amid the trees of the GOP.

The second small but telling bit of news from the Republican field was reported.  The withdrawal of Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas.  Virtually, no one figured Brownback was actually going to win the nomination, and yet his withdrawal, like any other, does solidify those left standing.  And because Brownback‘s profile is both conservative and midwestern, his withdrawal may be particularly beneficial to at least one of the remaining candidates, could it be Mike Huckabee.

Also today in congress, members fell short of overriding President Bush‘s veto of the so-called s-chip program.  That‘s a measure involving insurance for children funded by taxes on cigarettes.  Inevitably, the defeated turned their attention to Iraq, and Congressman Pete Stark of California attacked the president in an extraordinarily personal way.  Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETE STARK, CALIFORNIA:  You don‘t have money to fund the war or children but you‘re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we could get enough kids to grow old enough old for you to send to Iraq, to get their heads blown off for the president‘s amusement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  For the president‘s amusement.  We‘ll discuss s-chip and Pete Stark‘s step over the line of good taste in just a minute.

We begin though with a man among Republican presidential hopefuls who‘s had the best day of all.  Joining me now is Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas.  Governor, thanks for coming on. 

MIKE HUCKABEE ®, ‘08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  My pleasure, Tucker. 

Great to be with you again.

CARLSON:  Thank you.  Congratulations on your poll numbers.  The latest Rasmussen poll, as you well know, has you just about tied with Fred Thompson in Iowa, beating Giuliani, the former mayor, by six points.  If I‘m a conservative, socially conservative Iowa caucus goer, I‘m obviously going to choose you most likely over Rudy Giuliani.  Why would I choose you over Fred Thompson?

HUCKABEE:  Well, I think it‘s the experience of having been in the executive longer than any one running for president in the democratic, republican side.  Having an authenticity of conviction and a consistency about those beliefs being put into public policy.  People are looking for someone who will actually get something done.  I think competence in government is going to be one of the real issues that will ultimately cause voters to decide.  Governors have to actually make things work when they serve in that capacity.

CARLSON:  I always thought that the Republican Party, especially during the presidential primaries, was dominated by social conservative people who were primarily above all opposed to legal abortion.  Why is Rudy Giuliani doing so well? Has the party changed?

HUCKABEE:  I don‘t think the party has changed.  I don‘t think the party is really focused on the candidates, and the issues and where they stand.  As they do, I think that you‘re going to see what you are seeing and that is that my poll numbers continue to go up.  And despite being incredibly outspent by other people, nobody is getting the kind of mileage that we are.  I tell people we‘re the electric car of the 2008 race.  And continue to be.  And I think that what you‘re seeing reflected in Iowa is that people are starting to pay attention to what candidates really stand for.

CARLSON:  I wonder, I always hear liberals say I like Mike Huckabee.  You know, I think former President Clinton said about you, he‘s conservative but he‘s not mad about.  I‘ve heard other liberals say nice things about you.  Are they still going to like you when they, as you said, focus and start to understand what you really believe?

HUCKABEE:  Well, I don‘t think people have to dislike me even if they find out that I‘m very pro-life.  That I truly do believe in the second amendment.  I think lower taxes are better than higher taxes and local government is better than a centralized federal government.  Those are stalwart things that conservatives believe.  But I also have a history of being able to actually govern, get things done, do it in a balanced budget.  And I am convinced that most people right now are looking for a president who not only fits their profile horizontally, left, right, liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, but they really want somebody who‘s going to fit their profile vertically, who will take this country up and not down.  That‘s what I think people will ultimately decide their candidate about.

CARLSON:  Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas apparently is going to be dropping out of the race.  Do you expect he‘ll endorse you?  Or are you actively seeking his endorsement?

HUCKABEE:  Well, I‘d love to talk to Sam.  He‘s a good man.  He and I believe the same things about the sanctity of human life and the importance of the foundation of traditional marriage.  I don‘t know of many areas in which we‘re incompatible.  But I‘d certainly love to have his support and that of his supporters.  But that‘s something the senator will have to decide.  I certainly wouldn‘t request it. I think he‘s a fine, outstanding person.  I‘ve enjoyed getting to know him in the course of the campaign.  And I consider him not so much an opponent, but a colleague for many of the same things that we both share and deep conviction.

CARLSON:  Well, apparently he‘s not going to be an opponent for much longer.  If Rudy Giuliani gets the nomination on the republican side, could you see a third party arising made up of disgruntled conservatives?

HUCKABEE:  I don‘t think so.  I mean, I know there‘s been talk about it, but I don‘t see any energy for a third party.  It probably only would serve to solidify Hillary Clinton‘s election, and I don‘t know too many conservatives who really want to see that happen.  You‘re certainly looking at one that doesn‘t want to see that happen.  So I just think that there‘s some dissatisfaction and some unrest.  And I think maybe I got a solution for those who are dissatisfied that maybe the national media has laid on the table.  Keep looking.  There‘s another alternative.  His name is Mike Huckabee.  And I just filed papers here in New Hampshire to become a candidate for president of the United States.  And I think they can be very comfortable with this conservative.

CARLSON:  Republicans this week called attention to a story out of a recent biography of Hillary Clinton that recounts her listing to a surreptitiously taped phone call between her husband‘s opponents during the 1992 campaign, and it could have raised the specters of all those stories one heard about the Clintons in Arkansas in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  You were there for that, involved in the state government in Arkansas for so long, are those relevant matters now?

HUCKABEE:  Well, in an election, somebody will say that all is fair in love and war.  One thing that I do bring to the race, I know Hillary Clinton probably better than anyone else running for president, democrat or republican.  Because I know her, I do respect her.  I‘m not one of those republican who say, boy, I hope it‘s Hillary Clinton because I know how disciplined and focused and intelligent that she is and how strong a candidate she‘s going to be.  That‘s why I think republicans put forward their strongest candidate the one that can best appeal, not only to our base of conservatives, but also to the rest of this country.  There‘s going to be a real contrast if Hillary and Mike Huckabee are the two people running in the general election in 2008.  I think it‘s the best kind of setting for a republican to be able to win.

CARLSON:  So you‘re not surprised that she is leading Barack Obama by 20 points in a lot of polls.  Put another way, 15 years ago when you knew her when she was the wife of the governor running for president, could you have, someone would have said she‘s going to be a leading presidential candidate some day, would you have laughed?

HUCKABEE:  No. I would have not laugh.  In fact, I wouldn‘t have been surprised if she had been the one who ran first.  I think those of us who do know her know how again focused and disciplined that she can truly be.  I‘ve told people all along that she‘s going to win the nomination in the democratic primary.  I think that‘s increasingly a foregone conclusion.  It would take something on her part to really up-end what is seemingly an inevitable nomination process for her.

CARLSON:  Yes.  She‘s got to blow it.  I agree with that.  Governor Huckabee, I appreciate you coming on.  Thank you very much.  

HUCKABEE:  Tucker, thank you.  By the way, you did a magnificent job on the Bill Maher show.  I‘ve never seen anyone handle that better and I congratulate you for standing tall and firm, absolutely magnificent performance.

CARLSON:  Boy, you are up late.  I‘m impressed.  Thanks, governor.

HUCKABEE: Thank you.

CARLSON:  The republican field apparently will soon be a little less crowded.  Sam Brownback is expected to drop out of the race tomorrow.  What will it mean for the other candidates still in?

Plus, Ron Paul has raised a ton of money.  Who‘s giving to Ron Paul?

We have the answer, it will amaze you, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The crowded presidential field is starting to shake itself out some.  Kansas conservative Sam Brownback is expected to drop out of the republican race for the White House tomorrow.  And in Iowa, according to at least one poll, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is actually beating republican frontrunners like Giuliani and McCain.  What does it mean?  Joining us now, two men who know. 

MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press.  We were just talking in the commercial break.  What will Sam Brownback do? It seems to me that he‘s not going to get the nomination, but his endorsement is worth something.  What do you think?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I don‘t think he‘s going to endorse.  I think a lot of his support will drift to Huckabee.  And I think there‘s a real possibility, I mean, Huckabee is pretty tied with Thompson but Thompson has no organization out there, I don‘t think he‘s setting things on fire.  I think Huckabee can come close to Romney.  And Tucker, if I were Rudy, I‘ll tell you, I would find guys to get $2 million into Huckabee in Iowa and urge him just to go just as hard as he can.  Don‘t go on attacks.  But if he can beat Romney in Iowa, I think that would knock Romney out and the winner of all that would be Rudy Giuliani.

CARLSON:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think Huckabee can do the distance.  He‘s only got about, less than $1 million in the bank.  He needs money and his friends should help him at this time, Tucker.  

CARLSON:  If you were Giuliani, it seems to me, Bill, that you would want above all the endorsement of an evangelical or someone who was sympathetic to evangelicals, a Christian conservative, wouldn‘t you?  That‘s kind of what you really need, isn‘t?

BILL PRESS, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO TALK HOST:  Sure.  I think Rick Perry‘s endorsement helps him a lot, by the way, in Texas.  True conservative, at least considered as such.  But he‘s not one of the evangelical Christians.  If he could pick up a Sam Brownback or one of the ministers, it might help Giuliani.  But I want to come back to Huckabee.  I think Huckabee is a sleeper candidate.  He doesn‘t have to win in my judgment in Iowa.  He comes in the top three, at the top two, the guy is launched.  And, you know.

CARLSON:  Wait.

(crosstalk)

PRESS:  But he‘s the perfect candidate for Iowa.

CARLSON:  When did the pro-life Baptist preacher get so popular among liberals? I like Mike Huckabee.  I‘m not attacking him at all.  I‘m just, I noticed that and I even said this to my (inaudible).  Every liberal I know, I like Mike Huckabee.  What‘s that about?

PRESS:  Look, I‘m trying to give you my analysis.

CARLSON:  No, but you like Mike Huckabee.

PRESS:  I‘m not going to give you my vote, OK.  I will not give him my vote, but I think he‘s a perfect candidate for Iowa.  Look, he‘s a former governor.  He‘s got that executive experience.  He‘s a minister.  He‘s a conservative without fangs.  He‘s a down-home kind of guy with a good sense of humor and he fits that state.  And I think he‘s going to do well there and shake up this race.

BUCHANAN:  I would bet on him running second, but the problem is he doesn‘t have the legs to go the distance.  I mean, he‘s way down in the national polls.  Even if he comes in with a moral victory, he‘ll go up, but he can‘t go the distance.  But what he do, he can trip up Giuliani if he doesn‘t have to win, if he comes and say, let‘s say Romney has got, excuse me, trip up Romney.  Romney has got 31% and he‘s got 28.  The media will say you know, Romney wins.  You know the real winner here is Huckabee.  They say, they made nominated, the way they did with Gary Hart.  And so then Huckabee will go up in New Hampshire and Romney will go down.  And the hope is that one of these other guys can stop Romney early.  If they do, I don‘t think Romney can win.  I think he needs the momentum of two or three straight wins.

CARLSON:  So, essentially what you‘re saying is Mike Huckabee and to some extent Sam Brownback would both help Giuliani in the end?

BUCHANAN: They do but he can‘t.  Brownback can‘t support Giuliani; he‘d cut his own throat, even with his own constituents because Giuliani is just too far out there.  Bob Jones enforced Romney.  Of course Romney is taking a pro-life position now and a harder line on gays.  But if you‘re an evangelical Christian leader and you endorse Rudy at this point, I think there‘s a real question of opportunism there, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, I think there‘s a question of opportunism in the political word, Pat.  I‘ve noticed, I don‘t mean to pull your mind as a multi-time presidential candidate but it does, I mean, if there was ever a time for that to happen, the so-called Christian right seems to be as disorganized as it‘s been in my adult lifetime.  What happened?

PRESS:  But I don‘t know where Rudy Giuliani goes for that support.  I really do think that he‘s more of a democrat than a republican.  He‘s playing a republican for the purposes of getting this nomination.  But I don‘t think the religious right is going to be fooled by Giuliani.

CARLSON:  I think the squiggy man issue is kind of to make or—I mean, that tells you everything, whether you‘re a Republican or a Democrat.  He was anti- squiggy man.  I think democrats on record is supporting a squiggy man in on record of supporting the squiggy man.  I think he really is a republican. 

BUCHANAN:  He‘s got two arguments, Tucker.  One of them is, I‘ll give you the fifth Scalia, and the other is I‘ll keep Hillary out of the White House.  For that, the Christian right has right to trade its soul.

PRESS: And it‘s security versus all the social issues, Pat.  And stronger are you on those social issues; they may be willing to throw them out the window.   If they think he‘s the one that can beat Hillary.

CARLSON:  Because we keep hearing that is the, that is a social issue all of a sudden. 

PRESS:  Crime is a social issue. 

CARLSON:  Wait a minute.  You know what?

BUCHANAN:  You know what it‘s not one of the ones of Mike Huckabee.

CARLSON:  No.  In fact, it‘s one of those talking points that‘s so deeply dishonest and that it‘s hard to believe that people keep repeating it and people keep buying it.  I‘m not attacking Rudy Giuliani, but I mean, you know, getting tough on the squiggy man is not the same as taking a consistent pro-life stand, for instance, on the issues.

PRESS:  Yes. But he‘s number one in the national polls on that issue.  

CARLSON:  We‘ll be right back. Barack Obama files his third-quarter financial report with the FEC.  We know he spend over a million bucks in credit card purchases.  Where did that money go?  We want details.  We know where Fred Thompson‘s campaign is spending its money and it‘s obvious that they like to eat, especially at one particular Nashville steakhouse.  You‘re watching MSNBC, the place where politics and dinner meet.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NBC/”THE TONIGHT SHOW”)

JAY LENO, HOST, “THE TONIGHT SHOW”:  You watch upon (inaudible) Hillary appears to be a shoo-in is what they say.  How discouraging is that?

BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Oh, It‘s not discouraging.  You know, Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare mission accomplished a little too soon.

LENO:  Right, right. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was Senator Barack Obama appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” last night, making it clear he‘s slowly taking off the gloves when it comes to the woman he‘s chasing in the polls, Senator Hillary Clinton.  Back with a check of the Obamater, we welcome MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Bill Press.

Here‘s something interesting, Bill that I‘ve discovered.  You remember a couple of months ago, it was in August, Hillary Clinton went after Barack Obama for taking nuclear weapons off the table on terrorists.  She said I wanted go to nuclear weapons.  She said “Presidents since the cold war have used nuclear deterrents to keep the peace.  I don‘t believe any president should make blanket statements with regard to use or non-use, remember that?

PRESS:  I do.

CARLSON:  Here she is Hillary in Manchester, New Hampshire yesterday at the YMCA.  She‘s asked this following question.  Thank you for talking about supporting women and girls, will you also support Iranian women and girls by taking nuclear weapons off the table regarding Iran?  Answer from Hillary Clinton, “Oh, yes.  Nuclear weapons are off the table.”  Should Hillary Clinton apologize to Barack Obama?

PRESS:  I think she‘s saying that nuclear weapons are off the table, I believe, I read from that that nuclear weapons are off the table in Iran, which I don‘t think is a very controversial position and I think Barack Obama.

CARLSON:  She said you should never take nuclear weapons off the table.

PRESS:  When I heard you read that, right? The question was about Iran, correct? Would she support women and girls in Iran by taking nuclear weapons off the table in Iran?  She says yes, nuclear weapons.  I believe in the context she‘s talking about Iran.

CARLSON:  Right, she‘s absolutely talking about Iran. There‘s no doubt.

PRESS:  And I think Barack Obama \would say the same thing about Iran.  

CARLSON:  He might, but she previously attacked him for making blanket statements about the use or non-use of nuclear weapons.  And here she‘s doing the same thing herself.  It seems to me it renders her previous attack on Obama unfair hypocritical, worth recanting.

PRESS:  Whether it does or not, I don‘t think it does.  Let me tell you something, Hillary Clinton is not going to apologize to Barack Obama for anything.  

CARLSON:  That‘s a very good point.

PRESS:  She‘s 33 points ahead of him in the polls.  You know, I saw a poll yesterday.  She‘s 24% ahead of Barack Obama among African-Americans in this country.  Look.

CARLSON:  That‘s a problem.  I agree.

PRESS:  Barack Obama, that missile has to ignite sooner or later. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

PRESS:  And sooner rather than later.  And it hasn‘t ignited yet.

CARLSON: So you ran for president a couple of times.  You know all about the process and the reports one has to file in the latest reports from the Obama campaign, a lot of money spent on credit cards, not itemized.  We don‘t know what the money is spent on.  Campaign says it‘s not a big deal.  Is it?

BUCHANAN:  How much money are they talking about?

CARLSON:  $1 million, around.

BUCHANAN:  On the credit card?

CARLSON:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  That‘s a big deal.  That‘s pretty big, really.  But they got to be able, I mean that shows a campaign that really at this late date, really should be much sharper than that in its accounting.  You can understand some things.  But that sounds like a problem.  But let me say one big thing, Tucker.  Barack Obama can be president of the United States still, but he does have to win either a moral victory or an outright victory in Iowa.  If he doesn‘t, with Hillary so far ahead nationally, so much money, so much expectations, so many endorsements from these democrats that just show up at the convention, the big shots, they‘ll all pile on and endorse her if she cleans his clock in Iowa or if Edwards wins in Iowa because Obama is out then.  Edwards will rise and Obama eclipsed.  So if he can win Iowa though, he‘s got the capacity to ignite.  He‘s got the ability to speak and set the country on fire.  He‘s got the money to go the distance.  He is the one person that can beat Hillary.  Now, he‘s not favored, but if he wins Iowa, I would put it down after Iowa as even money. 

CARLSON:  How about New Hampshire? You‘ve got Deval Patrick, who is the new governor of Massachusetts.  Apparently, pretty popular in that state, used to work for the Clintons in the Justice Department. He‘s come out and endorsed Barack Obama.  He can send lots of volunteers across the border into New Hampshire.  Is this significant?  Will it help in the primary?

PRESS:  Absolutely significant.  It‘s a big endorsement for two reasons.  One, as you say, neighboring New Hampshire, he can send a lot of people in there.  Second, Hillary has been doing well so far picking up some of the leading African-Americans like John Lewis, for example.  You have a younger leading African-American, first African-American governor of Massachusetts in Deval Patrick.  I think that gives Barack Obama a real solid enforcement.  But I come back to, I agree with Pat, I think Iowa is the play for Barack Obama.  He‘s got the money.  He‘s got the ground troops.  If he can win Iowa, I think it‘s a whole new ball game.  And all of Hillary‘s lead up to this point could evaporate that point, at that point and I agree with Pat, he can still do it.  But Iowa is the key.

BUCHANAN:  I bet he‘s got hundreds of people in Iowa working that state.  And in the caucuses, I mean, the republican caucuses we had about 100,000, maybe 125,000 out.  I don‘t think the democrats may not even be that many.  You get, you know, 40,000 people to the caucuses.  That‘s not too hard to do.

CARLSON:  People forget.  I mean, the Obama volunteers, all single women with multiple master‘s degrees and dangly earrings, you know.  They are for him in a way that I don‘t think Hillary supporters are for her.  We‘ll see.

BUCHANAN:  I think he‘s got tremendous grassroots support.  Barack Obama does.

CARLSON:  He does.

(crosstalk)

CARLSON:  Coming up, John McCain‘s presidential campaign is like a roller coaster.  One day it‘s up, the next it‘s down.  Today it‘s one of those up days.  Is he really the republican candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton? At least one poll suggests that that‘s right, he‘s the man.

Plus Ron Paul is getting support on the campaign trial.  In fact, he‘s got more money in the bank than John McCain does.  Who are the people behind that fundraising success?  It‘s an interesting group.  We name names, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETE STARK (D), CALIFORNIA:  The Republicans are worried that we can‘t pay for insuring an additional 10 million children.  They sure don‘t care about finding 200 billion dollars to fight the illegal war in Iraq.  Where are you going to get that money?  Are you going to tell us lies like you‘re telling us today?  Is that how you‘re going to fund the war? 

You don‘t have money to fund the war or children.  But you‘re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president‘s amusement. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  There‘s a lot of anger out there on the Bush administration for its decision to invade Iraq and its flawed execution of the occupation.  You just heard Democratic Representative Pete Stark of California respond to the president‘s veto of the SCHIP health care legislation by accusing the president of being amused by the deaths of American soldiers.  Here to discuss both SCHIP and the venom you just heard on the floor of the House of Representatives, we welcome back MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and the great Bill Press, also a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. 

Pete Stark; what was that? 

PRESS:  That was emotion out of control, indefensible, inexcusable, inexplicable and no business in the American political scene, certainly not on the floor of the House. 

CARLSON:  The Democrats aren‘t going to be beaten, in my view, this year.  They have to hurt themselves.

PRESS:  They have to beat themselves.  

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.  We‘ve seen the Republicans do it.  We‘ve probably over American history seen it go back and forth a lot.  But we‘re at this moment where the Democrats, I think, unless they‘re restrained by some leader in their party, are getting too radical for their own good.  They‘re going to alienate the middle. 

PRESS:  It happened all the time, the people in politics go over the line.  I think that when it does happen, you have to condemn it.  They‘ve got to withdraw it, make their apology, admit that they—that they were way over the line and then move on. 

CARLSON:  Do you think he‘s going to? 

BUCHANAN:  Who, Stark? 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  I think you‘ve got to.  That was awful.

CARLSON:  If you‘re a Republican—let‘s say the Republican party was functional and sane—it‘s not.  But let‘s say it was.  You would be on every show right now demagoguing the hell out of this, wouldn‘t you? 

BUCHANAN:  I would think every radio talk show on the right is probably doing that now. 

CARLSON:  Do you think they are? 

BUCHANAN:  Oh sure.  I‘m sure they jumped right on top.  I mean that‘s inexcusable.  It almost sounds like you wonder if there‘s something wrong with the way to make a statement like that.  If they‘ve got any sense, the Democrats will go to him and say get down on the floor and apologize right now. 

PRESS:  I‘m sure -- 

BUCHANAN:  A lot of Republicans have to say something is wrong with a guy that does something like that. 

CARLSON:  He‘s been pretty far out there for a long time. 

PRESS:  You could see that he was reaching for his cell phone.  I think that was Nancy Pelosi calling him before he got off the floor. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think so.  I think Nancy Pelosi—I‘ve always liked Nancy Pelosi in person.  But I think Nancy Pelosi is—I think the whole party—the leadership of the party is kind of out on the nut cake fringe right now.  They‘re obsessed with Bush. 

PRESS:  Tucker, you‘re wrong about that.  Nancy Pelosi will take Pete Stark—has already taken him behind the wood shed.  I‘ll bet you money on that right now. 

CARLSON:  Is this the same Nancy Pelosi that‘s pushing this literally lunatic Armenian genocide bill that‘s hurting our country. 

BUCHANAN:  It‘s the politics of posture, of theater.  It‘s the 1960‘s stuff.  I agree with you.  The only one—Hillary keeps one foot right in the center.  But the rest of them are constantly going out there with the MoveOn.org stuff, General Betray-Us, all of this stuff.  Bill, I think there‘s a lot of stuff in the bank Republicans can use to beat the Democrats next year. 

PRESS:  Well, of course there is.  And Democrats—if anybody can blow this election, Democrats can.  I just want to point out you are making a case about Nancy Pelosi not knowing the facts.  I‘m telling you, Nancy Pelosi would not tolerate that kind of speech.  I‘m sure she‘s already spoken to Pete Stark.  That does not represent Nancy Pelosi‘s style of politics at all.  Nor in the past Pete Stark‘s. 

CARLSON:  I wouldn‘t say at all.  I mean, I wouldn‘t say at all.  I think it kind of does.  I think that they are mono-maniacal about Bush.  It‘s not a defense of Bush.  Tell me this about SCHIP.  Democrats were not able to override Bush‘s veto.  That was expected.  Personally, I was kind of surprise that they weren‘t able to, because a lot of Republicans were unhappy with the veto as well. 

I wonder, is the Democratic leadership really unhappy about this or does this hand them what they think is a pretty effective cudgel for the next campaign? 

PRESS:  First of all, I think it‘s a big problem for Republicans to go into 2008 and defend the president‘s veto and to defend not extending health care for children in this country.  But the Democrats that I‘ve spoken to, Tucker, and some in the leadership want a bill.  And they‘re willing to compromise and make a bill rather than have a political issue for 2008. 

I mean, that‘s been discussed, saying, you know, let them defend it.  But I think the leadership will try to work something out to extend it.  To what extent they can compromise, he‘s willing to compromise, they are.  I don‘t know.  But their goal now is to come up with legislation, not just a political issue. 

BUCHANAN:  I think what Bush did here—I support him for this reason: he‘s had a horrible record on spending.  He‘s let things go by he should have knocked in the head.  And he took a huge and unpopular one and hit it.  And he‘s going to take a hit on that, but I‘ll tell you this, he does establish—

PRESS:  It‘s the wrong one, Pat. 

BUCHANAN:  But by taking the one wrong, he establishes his credibility and his party‘s credibility as these guys are concerned about spending to the extent they‘ll even cut their own throat.  That‘s not bad, especially if they get a little bit extra for the SCHIP program.  Take it off the table and clarify their position as: they are spenders and we are trying.  You get back something. 

CARLSON:  The demagoguery involved; if you‘re against this, you‘re against children.  Taxing smokers, like, the most unpopular, unhealthy, poorest segment of our society.  Why not make the general public pay for this?  If it‘s such a good idea, why shouldn‘t we all pay for it?  Why just cigarette addicts? 

PRESS:  Let‘s talk about demagoguery; if you‘re for this, you‘re for socialized medicine.  If you‘re for this—

CARLSON:  I agree with that, but I haven‘t heard anybody else say it. 

PRESS:  Are you kidding?  George Bush and the Republicans have been saying this, Mitch McConnell, every other sentence.  And the other thing they say is if you make 40,000, 45,000, 60,000 dollars year, then you are in the upper class and you don‘t deserve any help getting insurance for your kids.   

CARLSON:  The idea is that if you make 83,000 dollars a year, you‘re not poor. 

PRESS:  Eighty three thousand was never covered in this legislation. 

Never, never, never. 

CARLSON:  Never, never, never? 

PRESS:  That was a total fabrication of George Bush.  The limit is 61,000, by the way.  You try raising a family of four on 61,000, and you think you‘re well off?  Try it. 

CARLSON:  I wouldn‘t suggest that for a second.  I‘m not attacking children or poor people.  The question is should government guarantee health care to the middle class or the working class?  That‘s a legitimate question that ought to be debated without the injection of ailing children into the debate, which makes it impossible to have an adult conversation. 

PRESS:  Because it—the question really, Tucker, is are we going to make sure that children in America have health insurance?  You know as well as I, Pat, it was a Republican program, started by Newt Gingrich when Bill Clinton was president.  It was a good program then.  It‘s a good program today. 

CARLSON:  Why expand it into something it‘s not? 

PRESS:  Because there are four million kids not covered. 

CARLSON:  Hold on.  I just got to get to this John McCain poll because I want to know what you both think of this.  A new Fox poll match-ups between Republicans, Democrats.  This is all imaginary at this stage, but it‘s still kind of interesting.  It has John McCain coming closest among all the Republicans to beating Hillary Clinton in the general.  John McCain, whose campaign has been written off as a joke by virtually everyone. 

BUCHANAN:  He‘s still got great support nationally among independents and a lot of people, even Democrats like him.  I don‘t think it means very much.  He‘s at six percent in Iowa, Tucker.  He could come in fifth or sixth in the Iowa straw poll.  I don‘t see how he wins New Hampshire then and the game is over. 

PRESS:  I just have to say there is life in the old horse yet.

CARLSON:  You think so?

PRESS:  I do.

CARLSON:  Where he does win? 

PRESS:  New Hampshire. 

CARLSON:  New Hampshire? 

PRESS:  Yes, that‘s where he‘s focusing his time.  You see the old McCain back, the McCain that we loved in 2000.  He runs best as a maverick and that‘s what he‘s doing.

CARLSON:  I think he would do well against Hillary.  Ron Paul, I don‘t know if you all have given money to Ron Paul.  I don‘t think we‘re allowed to.  I‘ve given my heart to him.  I don‘t need to give him money.  But the “Wall Street Journal” has a list of who has given money to Ron Paul.  I just want to read some of this.

There‘s Wade Talkingten of Panama City, Florida; he donated 1,000 dollars.  He lists his occupation of tax slave to the federal government. 

Eric Hobdon of Olala (ph), Washington, is, quote, head slacker in charge of his company. 

Andrew Maul (ph) of Pittsburgh is a citizen fighting tyranny. 

James Harper of Vancouver gave 600 bucks.  For his occupation, he wrote, guess.

BUCHANAN:  That‘s what revolutions are made of, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  This is the new pitch fork brigade? 

BUCHANAN:  Muskets on the wall.

CARLSON:  Run toward the sound of gun fire; is that what you‘re saying? 

BUCHANAN:  Ride to the sound of the gun. 

CARLSON:  It‘s so good.

PRESS:  Thank god for Ron Paul.  That‘s all I‘ve got to say. 

BUCHANAN:  He‘s got three or four times as much money on hand as John McCain. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  He‘s got a lot of money on hand.  OK, I wonder—

PRESS:  I feel like going home and writing him a check. 

CARLSON:  You really do.  You‘re head slacker in charge of your house.  Very quickly, Fred Thompson, new FEC documents, 120 grand in catering expenses, 14,000 at the Crescent Club in Dallas.  I like good food.  I like good restaurants as much as anyone. 

PRESS:  Here‘s what I see about Fred Thompson. 

CARLSON:  That‘s three dinners, Tucker. 

PRESS:  He flies in chartered jets.  He stays at the finest hotels. 

He dines only at the finest restaurants, and he takes every weekend off.  He‘s either going to show us a brand new way of winning the presidency or he‘s just going to have a good time and flame out. 

CARLSON:  I kind of want a president like that.  I don‘t want a president who stays up late trying to make my life better.  I don‘t want a president who worries about how to raise my children.  They‘re mine, not yours.  I don‘t want a president who‘s got grand new ideas about how to restructure the world. 

I kind of liked Bush until he got grand new ideas about how to structure the world and went and invaded Iraq, which was the dumbest thing ever. 

PRESS:  I don‘t think you get many votes unless you‘re willing to go out and ask for them. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  You shouldn‘t be lazy.  But I want a president of limited ambition actually. 

BUCHANAN:  That‘s why I liked Reagan.  He showed up at 8:00, 9:00 and at 4:00, let‘s go lift some weights and watch “Little House on The Prairie” and get some ice cream and go to bed. 

PRESS:  He worked his butt off to get there. 

BUCHANAN:  He campaigned.  He believed deeply.  But he was relaxed. 

He was a relaxed guy. 

CARLSON:  Bill, every once in a while a story arises that takes place in a certain geographic locale.  It‘s a small story.  But it‘s also a metaphor for a much larger story.  Here‘s today‘s story.  It comes from a middle school in Portland, Maine, which has decided to provide birth control for middle schoolers, 11 to 13 year olds.  Barack Obama on the record saying he‘d like some form of sex ed for kindergartners.  This is not that crazy from the liberal point of view, is it? 

PRESS:  I find it pretty shocking, to tell the truth.  I do.  But it‘s one school.  It‘s a local school.  The school board voted.  I watched those parents last night.  A lot of parents were saying, you know, we hate to accept the fact that some of these kids are sexually active, but they are.  And the school board voted for it. 

Look, I wouldn‘t want—If I have—you have two daughters, Tucker.  I have two sons.  If I have daughters that age, you know, the last thing I want is for them to be sexually active.  But if they are, I want them to have education and protection. 

CARLSON:  Let me put it this way, if your kids are walking through the park and someone hands your child a condom, that person is going to be arrested.  So why should you let some creepy unionized teacher do the same thing? 

PRESS:  They have to have parental permission to go to this before they can even go into this health center and get whatever—

CARLSON:  Do any parents want to raise their own kids anymore?  Are we just going to let the village do it?  

PRESS:  That‘s a good question.

BUCHANAN:  But people given 11 year olds condoms back in the 1950s would be considered perverts, arrested and put away. 

CARLSON:  I still think that.

BUCHANAN:  Look at the Democratic party; Second graders are going to -

they can‘t learn about Adam and Eve.  But two princes getting married, they can learn about.  Read stories about that.  All the Democrats said fine in the public schools. 

PRESS:  This has nothing to do with the Democratic party.  This is a middle school in—

CARLSON:  No, these are right wingers.  Those are Ron Paul voters. 

PRESS:  This is a middle school in Portland, Maine and a school board vote.  Look, the fact of it is, kids know about sex earlier than we ever did.  They are sexually active a lot earlier than we ever were. 

BUCHANAN:  Do you think that they ought to be reading second graders stories about two princes getting married? 

PRESS:  Pat, stick with the subject. 

BUCHANAN:  This is part of the same subject. 

PRESS:  There are five girls in this school last year who said they

were sexually active.  Now, do you want them to go out and have kids or do

you want them to be told that they shouldn‘t be doing this and if they do -

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I kind of want—

BUCHANAN:  -- send them home to their parents if they find it out. 

CARLSON:  I think parents should raise their own kids.  I mean, what is this, anyway? 

PRESS:  That‘s obviously better.  But not all parents do. 

BUCHANAN:  So the school is going to take over and hand out condoms to 11-year-olds? 

PRESS:  No, the school is going to give these kids the education and the protection that they need. 

CARLSON:  Unfortunately, we are out of time. 

PRESS:  You want unsafe sex.  Fine, go ahead, Pat.  That‘s the choice. 

That‘s the alternative.

CARLSON:  Bill, Pat, thank you both.  The Hillary Clinton campaign said it‘s women who will carry the former first lady back into the White House.  The question is will they really?  And should they vote for her because she‘s a woman too?  I talk to a member of Congress on that coming up. 

Plus, Hollywood‘s favorite train wreck mom is at it again.  Why Britney is being barred from seeing her kids.  We have the answer.  That comes from our senior Britney correspondent, Bill Wolff.  That‘s up next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton has one quality no other presidential candidate has this time around; she‘s a woman.  And she‘s capitalizing on that.  Last night, the New York senator raised about 1.5 million dollars at the Women‘s Summit.  Can women really carry Hillary Clinton into the White House?  That‘s the hope of Congresswoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat from New York and a Hillary Clinton supporter.  She joins us now live.  Congresswoman, thanks for coming on.

REP. NITA LOWEY (D), NEW YORK:  Tucker, nice to be here with you again. 

CARLSON:  Thank you very much.  I‘m not exactly sure I understand the pitch that the Clinton campaign is making.  It‘s say Hillary is a woman.  Women out there should vote for her party because of that.  How will the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman make her a different president from, say, a man?

LOWEY:  A couple of points, Tucker.  First of all, if you saw the enthusiasm at this event yesterday and the other event on Monday in New York, there must have been 1,000 women at each.  They were cheering.  They were standing.  They were applauding.  The idea of a woman president leading this country and repairing the world and focusing on Social Security, focusing on child care, health care, the issues that really matter not just to women, but to families was palpable in that room.  People are really excited. 

CARLSON:  OK, I believe that.  All the polling that‘s been made public by Mark Penn, her chief pollster, seems to indicate women are really excited about the fact that she‘s a woman.  Which makes my question, I think, even more pressing; what is it about her gender that will make her a better president?  How will she be a different president than a male president.  Give me three ways she‘ll be different because she‘s a woman.

LOWEY:  Number one, she works in a collaborative way.  I‘m a neighbor.  I‘m a friend.  I am a colleague in the Congress.  It is a pleasure to work with Hillary in her office.  She tells it to you straight.  She‘s smart.  She understands.  She does her homework. 

When she goes to a hearing, she doesn‘t just walk in and wave.  She listens and she is prepared. 

CARLSON:  So men don‘t do those things? 

LOWEY:  Well, I am—I am telling the people of America that Hillary will be a great president not just because she‘s a woman.  But women are enthusiastic because they understand her priorities. 

CARLSON:  I understand all of that completely.  I‘m not challenging any of that, that she‘s well-prepared or thoughtful or smart.  I just want to know—the campaign is playing up the fact that she‘s a woman.  My question is who cares?  Why does that make her different from a male candidate?  She‘s the same on all the issues.  They‘re all for legal abortion.  They‘re all for fixing Social Security.  They‘re all for all the issues. 

What does being a woman have to do with anything? 

LOWEY:  Because she will make history.  Hillary Clinton will be the first woman president of the United States of America.  And frankly, I‘m very concerned about the United States‘ position in the world.  And a woman such as Hillary that‘s been to almost every country, that understands the issue, doesn‘t need practice.  She won‘t be a president in training.  She will understand what it is to be a president and lead us forward. 

CARLSON:  OK, but there‘s not one—we‘re almost out of time, Congresswoman.  I want to give you one more chance to name the thing about being a woman that makes her different from the other candidates. 

LOWEY:  From my perspective, one of the greatest strengths of women in government is that we‘re collaborative.  We listen.  We don‘t believe that the truth comes from up above.  We believe that you reach out to everybody, every part of our society, and you take the information, you think it through, you make a decision.  Her collaboration in the Senate is what has made her a great senator. 

CARLSON:  Congresswoman, I appreciate your coming on. 

LOWEY:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Well, you loved it or you hated it.  But there‘s no way you knew what the last scene of the “Sopranos” meant.  There‘s a report today that claims to clear up the fate of Tony Soprano.  We‘ve got that for you next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for our daily Britney Spears update.  Who better to bring that to us than NBC‘s man on the scene of that train wreck, Bill Wolff. 

BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT:  Not on the scene, but close enough, Tucker.  Now, I want to begin by saying that according to a television report, all of which are correct all the time, Ellen Degeneres has canceled the taping of her show until Tuesday.  But her doggy drama has basically settled to the point where we can now safely turn our attention back to Britney Spears, as you indicated.  And it‘s just in time, Tucker. 

Miss Spears, who had been granted visitation rights were two sons, had those rights revoked today by a California court.  The former pop star won‘t have any custody of the boys until she complies with a court order.  Now, it‘s not clear which court order she ignored, the one about the random drug tests, the one about spending eight hours a week with a parenting coach, or the one about not drinking for at least 12 hours prior to taking custody of her boys. 

When last we heard from Britney, she was asking a reporter outside traffic court, quote, where‘s the party at?  Not sure if that played into today‘s decision, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Can I ask an obvious question, Bill?  What‘s a parenting coach? 

WOLFF:  Well, it‘s not an obvious question, Tucker, for I don‘t know.  Now I‘m not a parent.  But I know—many of my friends are.  I‘ve never heard of a parenting coach.  It‘s a sad, sad story that continues to get sadder and sadder.  We‘ll bring you every detail as they become available. 

News now, Tucker, of fictional New Jersey; the “New York Post,” which has never printed anything that wasn‘t 100 percent accurate, reports today that David Chase who created “The Sopranos” essentially says that Tony Soprano lived after the show went to black in its final moment.  Chase has a book coming out about the show, and the Post‘s interpretation of the excerpt is that the lovably-hatable corrupt mob boss survives the scene at the ice cream shop, which never ended. 

However, viewers are encouraged by me to read Chase‘s interview with “Entertainment Weekly,” in which the excerpt will appear next month..  Now, while it is unwise to question the Post, it seems unclear to me the fate of Tony Soprano.  In other words, I don‘t think David Chase necessarily said that Tony Soprano lived, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I smell a sequel, Bill. 

WOLFF:  Well, of course you smell a sequel.  If there‘s money to be made—if there‘s means and opportunity—if there‘s motive and opportunity, Tucker, a sequel or a film is always in the offing.  Anyway, the Post has him living.  I‘m not sure I believe the Post in this case.  In all other cases, of course, I do with out question. 

There‘s sports news this day, Tucker.  I know you love sports.  It begins with the New York Yankees, the Evil Empire of baseball.  Widely beloved manager Joe Torre has been in limbo, living without a contract for next season, and uncertain about his future with the club.  That is until this afternoon.  After three days of management meetings in Florida, the Yankees offered Joe Torre a one-year contract that included a pay cut of more than 25 percent. 

Said Torre to the Yankees, no thanks.  Joe Torre rejected the Yankees‘ offer, and so ends one of the great eras in the history of that storied franchise, Tucker.  No more Joe Torre.  There you have it. 

CARLSON:  Couldn‘t happen to a nicer team, Bill. 

WOLFF:  Well, you know, by offering the guy a one-year deal, I think the logic is going to be that they were asking him to quit.  You know?  Here‘s a pay cut and a one-year deal for your 12 years of meritorious service.  They were asking him to quit. 

CARLSON:  So you‘re saying that the same people who run television networks also run professional sports franchises? 

WOLFF:  I‘m not at liberty to say that, Tucker.  I can neither confirm nor deny.  Now, there is trouble up I-95 in what denizens call Red Sox Nation as well.  The Boston Red Sox, as you know, because of your son‘s allegiance, are still alive in the playoffs.  But they must win three straight games from the Cleveland Indians, starting tonight, or they won‘t make it to the World Series. 

As you well know, one of the Red Sox‘s stars is slugger Manny Ramirez, one of the truly great hitters in the game.  Asked yesterday about the pressure to win three straight, starting with game five in Cleveland tonight, Manny had this to say—

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANNY RAMIREZ, RED SOX OUTFIELDER:  We have confidence every day.  Doesn‘t matter how things go for you.  We‘re not going to give up.  We‘re going to go play the game like I said and move on.  Doesn‘t happen, so?  Who cares?  There‘s always next year.  It‘s not like it‘s the end of the world. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFF:  It‘s not the end of the world, Tucker?  There goes the run for the governor of Massachusetts, I must say.  That‘s the end.  It‘s over for Manny Ramirez in Massachusetts state politics. 

CARLSON:  But I think Manny may smoke some pot, based on his answers.  He always says that and they still like him up in Boston for reasons that allude me. 

WOLFF:  As regards to your allegations of marijuana use, I have absolutely no comment, but Manny does not appear to care about much. 

CARLSON:  Not an allegation, just a suggestion.  Bill, thanks a lot. 

WOLFF:  My pleasure. 

CARLSON:  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  “HARDBALL” with Chris is next.  We‘ll be back tomorrow.  Hope to see you then.  Have a great night.

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

END   

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

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