updated 10/29/2007 11:01:12 AM ET 2007-10-29T15:01:12

Guests: Glenn Horowitz, Rosa Brooks, Anne Kornblut, Jack Jacobs

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Hillary Clinton is 60 years old and she celebrated that milestone with a fundraising event that blurred the lineup between birthday party and coronation.  Welcome to the show.

While Mrs. Clinton‘s 2,500 well-heeled party guests and the “New York Times” seemed to already recognize the next Clinton presidency, some Democrats refuse to go along with the program and they are getting organized.  But a clash in committee not part of the right wing conspiracy but a group of anti Clinton Democrats will actively campaign to stop her?

In a moment we will talk to the president of Democratic Courage about his plan to steer his party away from Hillary.

Also today the international debate about new American sanctions against Iran continues.  The Iranian government thumbed its nose at the Bush administration while the reformist movement in Tehran warned its own government against confrontation with the U.S.  The president‘s critics accused him of marching towards war while the “Washington Post” editorial page praises those sanctions.  When will we know who is right?  And what are America‘s real military‘s military options?  Colonel Jack Jacobs joins us in a minute.

Plus Ron Paul joins the presidential campaign for real, dipping into his significant cash pile just as one prominent conservative Web site bans his famous Internet supporters.  A look at the remarkable Paul for president movement and those who would stop it.

We begin with the next Clinton presidency and a man who is organizing a campaign to stop it.  Democratic Courage is a political action committee of, by and for Democrats against Hillary Clinton.  Glenn Horowitz is the president.  He joins us now.  Glenn, thanks for coming on.

GLENN HOROWITZ, DEMOCRATIC COURAGE PAC:  Thank you for having me.

CARLSON:  First of all, of by and for Democrats, the first thing that is going to happen, you will go back to your computer tonight filled with e-mail from Clinton supporters calling you a tool of the right wing conspiracy.

HOROWITZ:  Well, we are going to be going after Hillary Clinton with publicly available information that is out there.  She is not able to withstand an attack from progressives, I don‘t know how she will be able to withstand an attack from the huge Republican attack machine.

CARLSON:  But if I‘m, say, a Texas oil baron .

HOROWITZ:  OK.

CARLSON:  Who really doesn‘t want to see Hillary Clinton become the nominee and then the president, I would probably give you money.  Will you accept money from people like that?

HOROWITZ:  We are happy to accept money from anybody who can legally give it.  But we are going to be talking about things like why Hillary Clinton is not the best choice for people who want universal health care and an end to the war in Iraq and a solution to the climate crisis.

And we think that Hillary Clinton has been way too close to both corporate lobbyists and has got her finger in the wind way too much when it comes to listening to polls and focus groups.  She is not the strong leader that Democrats want to be their nominee and not the strong leader that Americans want to be their president.

CARLSON:  But how dare you even say that, Glenn.  As you know the Democratic Party has made up its mind.  She is the nominee.  And really, dissent isn‘t helpful at this point.

HOROWITZ:  Well, certainly I think that is what the Clinton operation would like us to think.  But to me as a Democrat I think it is incredibly urgent that we not have Hillary Clinton as the nominee.  As I mentioned, she has got the record of surrendering over and over again both to corporate lobbyists and to the attacks from the right.  And when it comes to a candidate or a president who is going to achieve the big solutions to the big problems that we have, you can‘t always change what you are saying and back off the big solutions that we need just because of a little pressure.

CARLSON:  So of the candidates, just to get a sense of where you are coming from, of the candidates now in the race for the Democratic nomination, who do you think most closely matches your politics?

HOROWITZ:  I think there are a number of great candidates.  As a political action committee we are happy to accept support from backers of any candidate.

CARLSON:  But I mean, who do you think is the Democrat‘s Democrat in the race right now?

HOROWITZ:  Again, I think there is a bunch of people who would be great candidates.

CARLSON:  Mike Gravel?  Or John Edwards?

HOROWITZ:  Probably not Mike Gravel, as kind of the person who is the most winning candidate.  But I think with Hillary Clinton, it‘s like, if we don‘t have somebody who is a little more courageous, there is going to be big problems.  Because Americans know that if Hillary Clinton can‘t stand up to Rudy Giuliani and Rush Limbaugh, there is no way she is going to be able it stand up to American‘s enemy.

CARLSON:  So is your complaint that she is weak and brittle as a person, or that she is an accommodationist who is not as liberal as you would like to see in a nominee?

HOROWITZ:  I think both and I think they go hand in hand.  I think ideologically, I‘m in the sure where she is and I don‘t know if anybody is.  But I think she‘s on several occasions proposed some good ideas.  And then the right wing dumps on her and she immediately backs off.  And that is dangerous if you are somebody who wants health care for all or you are somebody who wants an end not war in Iraq.  There is going to be opposition even for whoever is in the white house to achieving those goals.

CARLSON:  But here is the counterargument—let me say, I admire your principle.  I don‘t think you‘re a secret right winger.  I think you think she is selling out important principles and you are upset about it, so good for you.

HOROWITZ:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  But the counterargument is this is not a radical country.  It‘s a fundamentally pretty conservative country.  Not a right wing country but conservative.  People don‘t like radical change.  And a truly liberal candidate, and the Democrats have put up a few over the years just terrifies normal people so you will never get one in the White House.

HOROWITZ:  I don‘t think people vote on issues or ideology so much as the kind of president that they would like to see in office.  And, you know, on that count, I think people want a strong leader who is sure of themselves and know what is they believe.  I mean, the Democrats have also gone down the road of having nominees who don‘t seem sure of themselves and don‘t seem like good fighters.  And we definitely can‘t afford to go down that road again.  I think, you know, with a people want is somebody who is confident.  And frankly, the climate right now favors progressives.

CARLSON:  OK, so I assume that was a veiled reference to the Kerry candidacy.  Kerry came a lot closer .

HOROWITZ:  A bunch of candidates.

CARLSON:  Let‘s just pick Kerry.  He came a lot closer to the White House than George McGovern did in 1972.  He came a whole lot closer.

HOROWITZ:  Certainly.  Looking at the McGovern campaign, I actually think McGovern was very similar to Hillary Clinton in the way that he proposed ideas and stepped back from them.  He proposed the $1,000 for every American thing .

CARLSON:  Right.

HOROWITZ:  And then the Republicans bashed him and he backed off a bit, very quickly.  And he looked weak and vacillating and I think that was a bigger part of the reason why he lost.  In addition to Nixon being super popular at that time.

CARLSON:  Sure.  But who is the model?  I mean, it you look back over the last 35, 40 years in American politics, where is the Democratic or liberal candidacy you look to and say you know what?  That is an honorable candidate.

HOROWITZ:  On the presidential level, I haven‘t seen the kind of candidate that I think we are seeing a bunch of right now.  I think we have a unique moment where people are disgusted with the Republicans, they want a big change but they want somebody who they have confidence in that is going to be able to achieve it.

CARLSON:  Then why all this, if we had the conversation a year ago, I would have said I think you are right.  They are going to nominate Barack Obama, maybe even John Edwards, someone who really wants to upend the system here and create something sort of new.  They have fallen in line like good little obedient party members in the end.  They are all supporting Hillary Clinton.  Thirty-one points is the spread as of today between her and the nearest challenger, Barack Obama.  Why is that?

HOROWITZ:  I think one thing that is going on that we are working to correct a little bit is that people in the general public really haven‘t tuned into this race in a big way yet.  But there are two places where Hillary Clinton is nowhere near as popular as she is in the national polls.  One is on the Internet where people are obsessed with politics.

CARLSON:  That‘s true.

HOROWITZ::  They are looking closer.  They are looking at her record closely and they don‘t like what she see.  And the other place is the early states where people are a little bit more tuned in and her lead there is nowhere near as big as it is in the national polls.  And I think even in the early states, there are a bunch of people who have not tuned in yet.  We are be coming up with hard-hitting, edgy, creative ads we think that will put some elements of her record that could be extremely persuasive right front and center in people‘s minds.

CARLSON:  I wish you luck.

HOROWITZ:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  I have got to warn you when she becomes president, you are not going to get that coveted ambassadorship to Belgium.  You are going to be SOL in the Hillary Clinton regime.  Sorry.

HOROWITZ:  Well, we could all be.

CARLSON:  Thank you, Glenn, I appreciate it.

HOROWITZ:  Thanks so much for having me.

CARLSON:  We are not at war with Iran yet, but Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are not waiting.  They are at war with one another over the possibility of war with Iran.  We‘ll tell you who‘s winning that.

Plus, Rudy Giuliani picks up endorsements from some unlikely sources.  And we are not talking about Boston Red Sox fans.  You are watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton celebrated her 60th birthday last night with a party in New York that brought in $1.5 million.  Bill Crystal emceed the event and Elvis Costello crooned “Happy Birthday, Mrs.  President” and Hillary stuck it to fellow New Yorker and fellow Yankee flip-flopper Rudy Giuliani.  It was a political fund raiser.  Hillary is inevitable.  Everybody is on her side.  You can‘t stop her, don‘t bother even to try.

That about sum up the state of play in the Democratic Party these days.  Will it always?  Joining us with the answer, “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa Brooks and the “Washington Post‘s” Anne Kornblut.

Welcome to you both.  I‘m amazed, Rosa, that there are other liberals who, in public, like, sincere liberals, who concede that they are not getting on the Hillary bus.  They are not buying into the program.  She is not the best for their party.  It is like you and Glenn, we just interviewed like four others.  Are there lots of these running around?

ROSA BROOKS, “L.A. TIMES”:  I think there are a lot of people out there for whom Hillary is not their first choice.  They are waiting to see what happens.  What is a little bit depressing is that there is this aura of inevitability which makes it feel like you might as well get on board now because otherwise you are going to be thrown to the wolves later.

CARLSON:  You want to be deputy assistant undersecretary of the Interior Department .

BROOKS:  Climb on.  And I think lots of people feel like if she is the nominee, they are going to rally behind her.  But it is a little depressing.  And we blame you, the media, Tucker Carlson.

CARLSON:  I think that is fair.  Actually, I work in the media, I always have.  I blame the media for lots of stuff.

BROOKS:  We all know that this is the way it goes.  The media covers the polls, the polls reinforce the media story.  The media stories drive polls that lead to the same results.

CARLSON:  What about the supposed heterodoxy of the Democratic Party?  They all think for themselves.  It is like herding cats.  You can‘t make Democrats agree on anything.  All the cliches we heard over the years about these free-thinking Democrats.  They are just obedient little people.

ANNE KORNBLUT, “WASHINGTON POST”:  And I have to say we in the media are spoiling for a fight.  Usually we are biased in flavor of a good tussle at about this point.  I wouldn‘t be surprised at all although you are right it does seem the Republicans are acting like Democrats and Democrats are acting like Republicans this cycle.  I wouldn‘t be surprised if somewhere between now and January 3, now that we know that‘s when the Iowa caucuses are going to be, to see some kind of reverse, some kind of Obama surge or an Edwards surge.  Something that is going to knock Hillary down a few pegs.  Whether it‘s a media creation, or something that actually happens on the ground.  I would be shocked if there were nothing like that.

CARLSON:  You remember, Anne, because you covered this at the time, all the latent resentment felt by liberals toward President Clinton.  They were mad about welfare reform.  They were, some of them even mad about the womanizing.  Remember that?

BROOKS:  Hillary has done a good job.  She has run a smart campaign, she has not stepped on any land mines.  She is sounding sane, she is sounding sensible.  She is sane and she is sensible.  She is seeming like a safe choice.  I think Obama, who generated a lot of excitement early on and has not been able to sort of follow up.

CARLSON:  What does she believe?  If you were to sum up her beliefs?

BROOKS:  I couldn‘t.  I couldn‘t.  And here is the problem with Obama and here is something that has gotten the play increasingly in the press.  His message is a great general message, which is let us heal our divisions.  Let us all come together, Democrats and Republicans alike.  But that is actually not what Democrats want it hear right now.  And Clinton, although in fact she is more of a centrist than Obama, in fact Obama is much more to the left on issues than Clinton.

CARLSON:  Definitely.  There‘s no question about that.

BROOKS:  Clinton‘s message out there on the stump is actually much more aggressive.  So, in a funny way, this is perhaps the tragedy for Obama will be that people, the Democratic core ends up seeing him as less of a fighter for their cause than Hillary Clinton, even though it is actually the opposite may be true.

CARLSON:  Well, the opposite is definitely true.  It is weird at a time when the party is supposedly so enraged, inflamed, engorged with anger, pick your sexually-charged metaphor.  No, it is true, that they are backing the most conservative candidate.  It‘s kind of weird.

KORNBLUT:  Well, I would say on an issue like Iran that we‘ve seen over the past few weeks really takes center stage.  That is where we are starting to see liberals in the party who are already very uncomfortable over Hillary‘s original war vote, wanted her to apologize, remember that whole thing?  Where did the non-apology story go?

CARLSON:  They wanted her to read the intelligence before actually voting on it?

KORNBLUT:  A number of things.  A lot of appeal .

CARLSON:  I didn‘t mean to be mean.

KORNBLUT:  That was a great deal of the appeal originally for Obama.  I think with Iran he has gotten some traction in reminding voters about the original vote but also saying, look when it comes to foreign policy, she is going to be just like George Bush.  She is truly a centrist like she says.

So in little bits and pieces we have seen him be able to do that.  But I think, you‘re right, overall his message of conciliation and hope has not been one that has gotten the party ...

CARLSON:  Let‘s be totally honest, I don‘t think the Clintons kill people. 

I don‘t think they killed Vince Foster.  I was never a conspiracy nut.

BROOKS:  That really big of you Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, I give the benefit of the doubt to people I disagree with, unlike a lot of people these days who think that Bush was behind 9/11.  But let me say that Hillary is tough and the people around her are extraordinarily tough and if you live in Washington, you are kind of a freelance intellectual, like you, Rosa, and you say things that publicly doubt Mrs. Clinton, in some sense, you are going to be punished for that and you know it, don‘t you?

BROOKS:  I live in fear.

CARLSON:  You don‘t care!  But a lot of people here do care.  They do care. 

Because they keep track.

BROOKS:  But I don‘t know.  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know.  This may be a little bit paranoid.  My sense is that Hillary Clinton is a really smart person.  And one thing that she is very good at is assembling good teams of people.  I don‘t think that Hillary Clinton is going to go out there and say I don‘t want these smart experts in my administration, they were once critical.

CARLSON:  You don‘t think she‘s making a list and checking it twice?

BROOKS:  I don‘t think they can afford to do that.  I think she knows she can‘t afford to do that.  I don‘t think she is a dummy.  I hope that is true.  I hope she is not going to do that.  I also think that she knows that her biggest weakness, both substantively and politically right now is that it looks like more of the same.  That is the big danger.

I think that she knows, if she is smart she realizes she needs to reach out to a new generation.  She is going to need, assuming that she maintains her lock on what increasingly looks like a lock on the Democratic nomination, she is going to need to really reach out to the Obama supporters.  And particularly there is some very high profile, really smart people, the Susan Rice, Tony Lake level.  I think she is going to have to reach out and bring them back into the fold.

CARLSON:  She may have to but I bet she knows exactly who has been naughty or nice.  And you‘ve been naughty, Rosa.

Sam Brownback is staunchly conservative on the social issues.  Rudy Giuliani is staunchly not.  So is Brownback really considering endorsing Giuliani?  We‘ll tell you.  Plus, Iran says all the talk about a possible U.S. attack is nonsense with raises the question, is it nonsense?  Could we go to war with Iran even if we wanted to?  That‘s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Add this to the list of odd pairings.  Sam Brownback and Rudy Giuliani.  It‘s not a certainty just yet, but the staunchly pro-life senator from Kansas seems to be warming up to the staunchly pro-choice presidential hopeful from New York, Rudy Giuliani.  Could we be watching an endorsement in the making?  And if so, how did this happen?

Back with us, “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa Brooks and from the Washington Post, Ann Kornblut.

Ann, this is, this is so shocking, and I have heard this from other people that this is really a potential reality, that Sam Brownback, really, kind of the Christian right archetype in politics, may be endorsing Rudy Giuliani.  This seems like a profound betrayal of principle.  How could this happen?

KORNBLUT:  Well, sure, he is the standard bearer for all the social conservatives.

CARLSON:  Yes.

KORNBLUT:  But on the other hand, Rudy is ahead.  And now we are seeing people who you wouldn‘t feel the need to jump in and make themselves relevant doing that.  He just got out.  He is being heavily courted by everybody who is in the mix.  And Giuliani is not on the social issues but certainly on foreign policy and on terrorism, he has presented himself to be a true conservative, one of several, I would say.  So it is surprising but when it comes to endorsements, we have seen a lot of surprised endorsements in the past.

CARLSON:  Boy, I think Giuliani‘s foreign policy is incredibly liberal in some ways.  Yeah, he is anti-Islamic extremism.  Good for him.  But he also seems to be endorsing this kind of weird utopianism of the Nush administration that we are going to build a better world through exporting democracy to countries that don‘t want it.

KORNBLUT:  It is hard to apply the labels.

CARLSON:  Exactly.

KORNBLUT:  Is interventionism liberal or conservative, is isolationism a Democratic or Republic one.  I think there you are right.  But I think sounding tough on crime he has been a true, and tough on terrorism, he has been sort of true hard-nosed Republican.

CARLSON:  I think you are right, but shouldn‘t there be in every party people who uphold their principles even if you personally disagree with them.  Sam Brownback .

BROOKS:  There should.

CARLSON:  Yes, there should.  So if Sam Brownback actually were to endorse Giuliani.

BROOKS:  It would be a terrible shock to my system but ill live with it.

CARLSON:  You would live with it?

BROOKS:  I would.

CARLSON:  I would not live with it.

BROOKS:  Another idol would be crumbling, but I would be living with it.

CARLSON:  I would be let down.  That‘s the moment you know the Republican Party is kind of over.

BROOKS:  It will be very interesting to see how right wing evangelical constituencies react if there is in fact a Brownback endorsement of Giuliani.  Because I think you are absolutely right, it would be very, very hard to interpret it as anything other than political expedience, as anything other than this looks like this is going to be the Republican candidate which means that if there is going to be a Republican president coming up, maybe there will be given the Democrats amazing ability to, you know, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it will be Rudy Giuliani, therefore, we want to have a seat at that table.  And it would be interesting to see with evangelical constituencies which tend to vote on principle, turn around and say, uh-uh, we don‘t want any part of this.

CARLSON:  The people on the pro-choice don‘t often say most Americans are pro-choice and by some measures that is kind of true.  But Giuliani is not in that kind of centrist well, it is bad but it happens.  He has come out on the record, repeatedly people who disagree with it, i.e., taxpayers, ought to have to pay for it, be required at gunpoint to pay for it at other people‘s abortions.

BROOKS:  Conveniently.

CARLSON:  I don‘t think it is so clear that he has changed.

KORNBLUT:  I don‘t think this would be the moment when the Republican Party is over, I think if everyone looks back 50 years from now and something has gone wrong with the Republican Party, I‘m not sure that Sam Brownback .

CARLSON:  Yes.  I will tell you why because parties in the end hang together on ideas.  Even when they go through dark periods, there are true believers who sort of keep the whole enterprise going because that is kind of what a party is in the end is a ...

BROOKS:  And I tell you what.  Here is the idea of the Republican Party.  Here is what it comes down to, circa 2007, this is really depressing to me to harp on a them that .

CARLSON:  You get 15 seconds.

BROOKS:  Torture, OK?  Brownback and Rudy, pro torture, no kidding.  Mucasey, the attorney general nominee, turned out that was the one litmus test for him for them.

CARLSON:  You are torturing me, Rosa.  You‘re torturing me.

BROOKS:  Abortion, forget about it.

CARLSON:  We will be right back.  Iran responds to the new American sanctions against them.  Calling them worthless and ineffective and quote, “doomed to fail as before.”

Does Iran want war?  Do we?

Plus, a conservative website is banning bloggers from talking about presidential candidate Ron Paul.  More on the No Ron Paul Zone after the break.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  New American sanctions against Iran aimed to deter Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  Should sanctions failed to achieve that goal, a possibility of military action would, by most people‘s logic, go way up.  We‘d have no other options.  So what are the chances that the U.S. would actually attack Iran?  What form would that attack likely take?  How effective would it be?  And can we pull it off militarily?

Joining us is MSNBC military analyst, retired U.S. Army Colonel Jack Jacobs.  Colonel Jacobs, thanks for joining us.

COL. JACK JACOBS, (RET), MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST:  Good evening, Tucker.

CARLSON:  So the most obvious question first.  Are we in a position to move militarily against Iran?

JACOBS:  Well, we are if what we‘re going to do is put a surgical strike using precision guided munitions and stealth aircraft on some specific targets, like those factories that produce explosively formed penetrators and the 240 millimeter rockets that Iran imports into Iraq.

But if what we are talking about and what some people are talking about is a large-scale attack on command and control centers in Tehran, getting the Quds force and Revolutionary Guards and all the rest of that, that ain‘t, I mean, it might happen but that would be among the dumbest things I could possibly think of because there is no way that we can follow it up.  Can‘t put troops on the ground and all the rest of that stuff and it would appear not to have any definitive tactical or strategic purpose.

So limited strike on some specific kinds of places that are giving us trouble in Iran to Iraq, yeah.  But anything other than that, no.

CARLSON:  A lot of people in Washington see or say they see signs that a much larger war is being planned right now by the Bush administration.  Do you see those signs?

JACOBS:  Well, I don‘t and if we are going to do something like that, we are going to require you and me to suit up and go on in there.  I can‘t think of how we are going to do it with the forces we have available.  We are committed everywhere in the world.  We have got, we can‘t even put enough people inside Iraq to get that job done.  Or Afghanistan, for that matter.  We are moving people from Iraq to Afghanistan so we can make sure we get the job done in Afghanistan.  I cannot see intelligent people doing anything of any significance inside Iran.

CARLSON:  So let‘s say we did launch some limited strikes against Iran, against the facilities you just mentioned.  We have got all these soldiers and Marines in Iraq right now, would they be at greater risk?  Would Iran whip the Shiite militias into a frenzy, would more of our guys get killed?

JACOBS:  The short answer is sure.  And I think they are not the only ones who are at risk.  Israel is also at risk.  We should never do something because we fear the other guys are going to do something in return.  We should not do something to the extent that we have no idea what the targets are.  We have no way of following it up and so on.  I don‘t think we should be attacking them just because they are going to retaliate.  But make no mistake about it, if we do conduct any kind of a strike on them, that there is going to be some retaliation and we and our allies need to be prepared for it.

CARLSON:  General Petraeus told Congress and he has said a number of time since in public that he is pretty certain, the Pentagon is pretty certain that Iran is responsible, in some way for attacks on Americans, that they are producing the materiel being used against our forces.  Is that a consensus?  Does everybody agree that they are fighting this indirect war against us in Iraq?

JACOBS:  Yes.  There are few observers both inside and outside the Pentagon who have not come to the conclusion that Iran is involved in Iraq, and in a way, that General Petraeus was talking about.  They are producing explosively foreign penetrators that are used in the most deadly IEDs.  And IEDs contribute the largest percentage of our casualties both killed and wounded.

They are also producing 240 millimeter rockets and importing those into Iraq.  And they are training jihadists and insurgents inside Iraq.  So to that extent, yes, Iran is involved in what is going on in Iraq.  And by the way, they are liable to wind up being involved long after we are gone because they are the single biggest supporters of the Shiite Muqtada al Sadr who is my choice for probably being the most irritating person to try to take over the central government of Iraq once we go.

CARLSON:  Just in 30 second, can you tell us why we didn‘t kill him long ago when we had the chance?

JACOBS:  The Iraqis asked us not to but don‘t forget he is Shia and so are most of they.  So we‘ve got to stop doing what other people ask us to do.  If we do that, think we will be much better off.  But that‘s the reason why.  Look, we couldn‘t get clearance, our guys on the ground couldn‘t get clearance to kill Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora when we had the opportunity.  That‘s another argument knot for not being involved in a big cumbersome bureaucracy to make decisions.

CARLSON:  Jack Jacobs.  Thanks a lot, Jack, I appreciate it.

JACOBS:  Good to be with you.

CARLSON:  The Bush administration‘s Iran strategy has obvious implications for the Middle East but it is also a factor in the presidential race here.

Hillary Clinton appears hawkish on Iran while her Democratic rivals particularly Barack Obama have chastised her for it.

Here to analyze the politics of Iran‘s policy we welcome back with pride, “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa Brooks and the “Washington Post‘s” Anne Kornblut.

Rosa, you have been busy, as always.  You have the column in the “L.A.  Times,” the slug, the headline, “Straightjacket Bush, the President‘s Warmongering Remarks on the Iranian Threat Suggest He is Psychotic.”  Period.  “Really,” period.  And you go on to support that deranged thesis. 

Are you suggesting that Iran is not moving toward .

BROOKS:  Don‘t you agree with me that the president is psychotic?  Tucker? 

Do you really disagree with that statement?

CARLSON:  I‘m pretty mad at Bush about a lot of different things, but not so mad that I can ignore the fact that they‘re trying to get nuclear.

BROOKS:  I thought you shared my views.  It‘s time to put this impeachment debate behind us.  It‘s totally divisive.  We should focus on involuntary civil commitment instead.

CARLSON:  OK.  Bush may be bad.  You don‘t like Bush.  But does that mean Iran is not trying to get a nuclear weapon?

BROOKS:  I‘m happy it agree that Ahmadinejad in Iran is also psychotic, but not all sigh chaotic are an imminent threat to US. interests and it is not necessarily a good idea to launch a military strike against all psychotics.  What frightens me about the situation we are in right 0 now is it very much parallels the run up to the Iraq War which means that we‘re getting increasingly bellicose rhetoric on both sides.  And yes, you can absolutely count on the equally psychotic people in Iran and there are some of them, unfortunately.

CARLSON:  Equally psychotic.  So Bush is on the same moral plane as Ahmadinejad?

BROOKS:  At this point I think he is getting awfully close in terms of his connection to reality.  Let me rephrase that.  Not in terms of moral plane but in terms of connection to reality.  I think we have got two men who believe in the end time.  I think that neither of them are doing much strategic thinking about what is good for their country.  I think that both of them are escalating rhetoric.  I think it‘s a very, very, very dangerous game.

CARLSON:  How many acts of terrorism have Methodists from Texas committed lately?

I mean, that is ludicrous.

BROOKS:  Not the same moral plane but the same plane of being in touch with reality.

CARLSON:  Let me ask you this.  OK, you just heard what Jack Jacobs said.  Leaving aside the fact, and I believe it is a fact, I think everyone agrees, they are trying to get the bomb and that is bad, bad for us, bad for everybody.

BROOKS:  And so are 30 other states in the world.

CARLSON:  But we are already at war with Iran.

BROOKS:  We are not at war with Iran.  Iran is .

CARLSON:  Supplying weapons that kill our guys?

BROOKS:  I don‘t think that is quote what the colonel says.  Iran is involved, Iran is meddling in the war.  Iran unquestionably linked in some ways to bad guys who are going after our troops and sometimes in direct ways.  That is not good.  We should try to stop them from doing that.  But the right way to stop them is not by launching a military strike against Iran.  We do have a lot of other options in addition to addition to sanctions and in addition to a military strike.  We have not in fact given any, made any serious effort to go the diplomatic route.  We really have not tried that at all yet.

CARLSON:  I‘m sure we can win them over because they‘re decent people.

Anne, let me ask you about the politics of all this.  Hillary Clinton has been attacked by Barack Obama and also John Edwards for calling elements of Iran‘s military a terrorist organization.  Here is the Clinton campaign‘s response.  And it is so nasty that it makes me think the attacks must be hurting.

And I am quoting now.  “Stagnant in the polls and struggling to revive his once buoyant campaign,” comma, “Senator Obama has abandoned the politics of hope and embarked on a journey in search of a campaign issue to use against Senator Clinton.  Never mind he once made the very same argument he is now criticizing back in November of ‘06.  Never mind that he cosponsored a bill that designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group back in April.  Blablablablabla.”

They clearly think that Obama‘s attack on her for being an Iran hawk is hurting.  Is it?

KORNLUT:  And we have seen even before they issued this statement they had sent out a mailer Iowa which cost a lot of money explaining her vote on that recent amendment in the Senate.  And following up with this, yes, absolutely.  Everyone I have spoken to in Iowa says this resonates, especially among voters who didn‘t like if the Iraq War and they don‘t like what they hear out of Obama saying this is the same in fact, she has now effectively given Bush license to have another war.  This is also what we are hearing from Senator Edwards, I would say.

Both of them really going after her.  And of course this has become very complicated because they are now going back and assessing his previous speeches and his previous votes in which he also said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was a terrorist force as well.  So there is a lot of nuance they are reading into.

But the bottom line is she has taken a more open slash hawkish stance on this.  One I think has exposed her to charges of being essentially like the Bush administration and that has forced her to attack Obama really for the first time in such harsh language and also to defend her vote and her position on this.  And explain it.

CARLSON:  But she is exactly like the Bush administration.  I happen to agree with her on this.  The Bush administration isn‘t always wrong I don‘t think.  They are sometimes right.  But she is a neocon.

KORNBLUT:  Well, she is a general election candidate.

CARLSON:  But she‘s been this way—Well, that‘s right.  Of course it‘s a political calculation .

BROOKS:  It is a little hard to tell where she is on Iran.  I actually think when you look closely at her rhetoric and Obama‘s, I actually don‘t find it terribly easy to distinguish between the two.  And her defense of the vote on Kyl-Lieberman which is what Obama is angry about, it is a plausible defense that this is not an authorization to go to war by any means.  This is just trying to kind of ratchet up the diplomatic pressure.

Only the problem of course is that that was her explanation of her Iraq vote as well.  You know, but I think that, I hope, I hope that if she is elected, if we have not gone to war with Iran by then, that she is going to be sensible enough to try to pursue other avenues.  But I think, but going back to the earlier issues, though, Tucker, I don‘t think anybody disagree that the world would be much, much better off without an Iran with a nuclear arsenal.  Absolutely.  That is the goal.  The question though is what is the best way to get there?  And how much of a threat would it in fact be?

CARLSON:  How is this for had a one-sentence question.  OK.  If we believed that we could stop Iran‘s march to acquiring a nuclear weapon by a one-day bombing are campaign of their nuclear facilities, would we be within our rights to do that?

BROOKS:  I don‘t think—I think asking the question of rights is the wrong question.  Ask the question is what would be the consequences.

CARLSON:  Is it a wise idea?

BROOKS:  No.  I don‘t think it would be a wise idea.

CARLSON:  So I see you have a gun, I think you may use it, I shouldn‘t take it away from you.

BROOKS:  Because I think it would be a mistake to con plate the idea of Iraq that possessed a nuclear weapon with an Iraq - I‘m sorry Iran.  With an Iran that is necessarily going to use it, because I think that there are more effective containment strategies even in the worse-case scenario and because I think that there are other paths toward preventing them from getting nuclear weapons.

CARLSON:  All right.  We will be right back to talk with a man who probably agrees with you.  There is trouble brewing in the blogosphere.  Where are supporters of Republican Ron Paul being banned from a site popular with Republicans?

Plus at the playground, this two foot daredevil is finding adventure underwater.  Bill Wolf brings us the latest bizarre accomplishments by pint-sized athletes.  You are watching MSNBC.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.

There is agitation in the world of conservative blogs.  Beneath the headline “Life is Really Not Fair” redstate.com recently it was the banning bloggers from posting Ron Paul-related comments.  The site bans Ron Paul posters as quote, “a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans.”  Others say the Internet is the perfect place for Ron Paul.  And you can‘t stop him.

Who is right?  Back again are our guests.  “L.A. Times” columnist Rosa Brooks and the “Washington Post‘s” Anne Kornblut.

Here is part of the statement put out by redstate.com.  I want to put it up.  It says a lot about a lot, I think.

“Effective immediately, new users may not shill for Ron Paul in any way, shape, form or fashion.  Not in comments, not in diaries, nada.  If your account is less than six months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want but you cannot pimp Ron Paul.  Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal.”

This is a measure, I don‘t need to tell both of you who write in public and have public e-mail addresses, Ron Paul is a big deal on line, no?

BROOKS:  Yeah, I‘m hearing from his supporters in my e-mail account.

KORNBLUT:  Of course this is the reason that you are even putting him on the show is to spite your ratings, because we know that every time we write about him, hits to our Web site, it‘s not a joke.  I mean, amazing, every time we write about him, the hits to the “Washington Post” go up.  They are very activist.  They are raising money.  Sort of amazing to me that given the real measure, I think if you measure the money alone, this is not just a phenomenon.  It is not six cranks sitting around writing about Ron Paul.  There are people who really like him.  Like it or not.

CARLSON:  There are 6,000 cranks sitting at home writing about Ron Paul.

BROOKS:  It actually is heart warming and I am not a Ron Paul supporter, but it is a kind of American phenomenon and I don‘t mean that it is an American phenomenon that there are crazy people out there although that is also American phenomena.  Because I don‘t think all his supporters are crazy.

But I think he is tapping into something that thank God is still there in America which is a lot of distaste for the kind of cookie cutter stuff of the major parties.  A lot of desire to have a candidate who just says whatever the heck he thinks.  And Ron Paul does that.  You know, and I am, he is a genuine phenomenon.  He is not of media creation.  And thank God that Ron Paul is out there though I don‘t agree with him on much of what he says.

CARLSON:  But who does agree with him?  Here is a guy who is against legal abortion.  He is going to ban abortion.  Very pro-marijuana, Ron Paul.  Doesn‘t believe the IRS ought to exist and is for the gold standard.  So just take those four among 4,000 positions he has taken in his public life.  Who is at the intersection of all those?  And who agrees with all of those?

KORNBLUT:  Have you ever been to New Hampshire?  This is sort of like rural New Hampshire or rural New England.

CARLSON:  I sort of agree—Well, I‘m not sure about the gold standard but on the rest of it.

BROOKS:  Ron Paul actually knows something that the other candidates probably deep down in their little shriveled hearts know but are scared to let themselves feel which is, you know, people will vote for you even if they don‘t agree with you on everything.  If they feel like you are a guy or a gal who has got a conscience, who has got some integrity, who has got some intelligence, who calls like you sees it.  Who thinks for yourself.  Who is not just a creation of a bunch of consultants.

CARLSON:  I agree.

BROOKS:  And he is that.  I‘m sure that there is nobody out there who agrees with him on everything, even in New Hampshire.

CARLSON:  I don‘t agree with him on everything.  I will say I agree with him on most things.

BROOKS:  Which piece of that do you agree and not agree with him?

CARLSON:  I‘m not for the gold standard.  I think Iran is trying to get a bomb and that is a problem.  I don‘t think it is not all a neocon plot to take over America.  But I‘m with him on the IRS.  I‘m probably with him on abortion, I‘m with him on marijuana.  I‘m kind of there on Ron Paul‘s side.

He has gone out with TV commercials, Giuliani hasn‘t come out with TV commercials.  He has got $5.4 million on hand.

KORNBLUT:  It is impressive.

CARLSON:  Is he going to have any affect in any specific state? Can you tell me quickly?

KORNBLUT:  I think certainly he will have an affect on the debate in places like Iowa and New Hampshire.  Whether he changes the outcome, I can‘t say fro sure.  But I will say it‘s worth nothing he‘s been more effective on the Democratic side as Mike Gravel who you could argue is equally wacky and inconsistent.  He‘s not had the same kind of groundswell that Ron Paul has.

So it shows, I think, a real craving on the Republican side for somebody who seems like they are being authentic.

CARLSON:  I would say Mike Gravel, as much as I love him, I think he actually probably is deranged and I think Ron Paul is just flamboyant and eccentric.  And there is a distinction.

Thank you both very much.

KORNBLUT:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  As we prove every day.

Well, the continent of Africa is spared for the moment.  Paris Hilton‘s mission of mercy has been postponed.  Why, you ask?  Vapid celebrities with causes correspondent Bill Wolff is next with the details on that developing story.  We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  If the editors of “US Magazines” got history degrees from Harvard, they would be Bill Wolf.  But they are not.  Only Bill Wolff is Bill Wolff and he joins us now.

BILL WOLFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Wow, I take that as a compliment, Tucker.  As you know, “US Magazine” is the magazine of record.  It is the study I do each week to make sure I‘m prepared next week in news, Tucker.  Speaking of news, we have some rare Neandertal news this Friday evening and prepare to rethink your understanding of that long ago species.

A team of research conducted a DNA study and now believe that Neandertals long believed to be brunettes might have been blondes and even redheads.  A gene called MC1R was discovered by the study, Tucker, and it is the chromosomal root of red and blond hair.

Neandertals, of course, were once thought to be our ancestors but now considered to be an evolutionary dead end.  Now, I‘m above telling blonde jokes Tucker and I don‘t like to generalize but it may this may give us some indication why Neandertals didn‘t make it through the time.

CARLSON:  They naturally selected out.  Huh?

WOLFF:  It is not nice, is it?

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not.

WOLFF:  I‘m going to resist.  Some of my best friends are blondes.  And others are redheads.

In possibly related news, Tucker, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are also all in the news.  Ms. Hilton, whose prison reformation resulted in her commitment to helping the poor people of Rwanda had her mercy mission to that nation postponed when the trip‘s sponsor, a group called “Playing for Good” pulled out.  Perhaps that group finally Googled her name and found out who she was.

In Britney Spears news, the former pop star was in a California courtroom today, I think she still is, with her ex, legendary Kevin Federline to discuss the custody of their two kids.  Get this.  It is only the third time since their split that they have been in the same room.  And that constitutes breaking news.

And the redhead among them, Lindsay Lohan has a mom named Dina and it is reported that Dina will be shooting her own reality show for E Entertainment Television beginning October 30.  By my count, that is Tuesday.  I think a reality show has got to be good news, Tucker for Lindsay‘s drug rehabilitation.  Nothing like seeing your family problems on the tube each week to keep you off the drugs.

CARLSON:  So you are suggesting that her mother‘s behavior, her own relentless quest for personal fame at the expense of her daughter‘s happiness might have something to do with Lindsay‘s drug addiction?

WOLFF:  I report, you interpret, my friend.

CARLSON:  OK, good.

WOLFF:  I‘m not a friend of Lohans, I know nothing about them.  They come from Long Island, seem like very, very nice people to me.  Of course, I‘ve never met them.

Now, every parent of a newborn, Tucker, knows there is nothing more important than protecting your baby.  And just in time for Christmas, private security firm Blackwater has made available its signature onesy.  Yes, you too can protect your baby from the elements and maybe more with this soft, durable onesy complete with the Blackwater bear claw logo for the low, low price of $18.  Your baby won‘t know how safe you are keeping it, but Tucker, you will be.  Can you believe that?  A Blackwater onesy.

CARLSON:  I may get that for my girl.  I think Blackwater is genuinely cool.  I know some people from Blackwater, good guys, impressive Americans.  Good for Blackwater.

WOLFF:  Is it the message you want it send to your infant, though?

CARLSON:  Of course it.  And the message is, you got to protect yourself in this big bad world even if you are just a toddler.  Toughen up, son.

WOLFF:  I understand.  You need to be protected.  You have to wear protection I guess is what you are saying.

CARLSON:  Yeah.

WOLFF:  Fair enough, I will leave it at that.  Some finally, troubling videotape from China, Tucker.  Having pretty much caught and passed the good old USA in terms of economic and political might.  China appears to have become cuter than we are, too.

This is a four-year-old boy in Qingdao, China, swimming around with a friendly, smiling giant beluga whale.  Our crack research staff here on the program informs me that there has never been anything cuter than this.  So, Tucker, unless we are able to impose some sort of cuteness tariff, once again, it appears that America is falling behind in yet another area we once dominated.  This one, cuteness.

Come on, what is cuter than what you are looking at?  I mean, who is cuter? 

The kid or the whale?  Together, they‘re exponentially cute, Tucker.

CARLSON:  You know what, Bill, I disagree with this pretty strongly.  There has never been anything cuter than a Chinese baby.  That is the marker for cuteness.  That, a Springer spaniel puppy, I‘m serious.  They have always had an edge on us that way.

WOLFF:  You are saying this is not a recent development?

CARLSON:  No, it is from the beginning of time.  The Chinese baby has always won the baby cuteness contest.

WOLFF:  Well, I‘m not that familiar with the history of cuteness.  I take your word for it.  You are a well studied man.  I think adding the whale gives them an unfair advantage.

CARLSON:  I think a golden retriever would have been better.  Bill Wolf from New York.  Thanks.

WOLFF:  Have a great weekend, buddy.

CARLSON:  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  We will be back here Monday, Chris and HARDBALL are next.  Have a great weekend.

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

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