updated 9/29/2005 12:03:25 PM ET 2005-09-29T16:03:25

Guests: Steve Rosenbaum, Rachel Maddow, Curtis Sliwa

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Now to a man you loved as a kid, but you trust as a mother.  Tucker Carlson, he‘s up now with THE SITUATION.

Hey, Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  THE SITUATION, Joe, is not one mother in America trusts me, and that‘s OK.  But thanks anyway. 

Tonight, we‘re going to ask what the DeLay indictment really means for our government and for our viewers.  We‘ll talk to Chris Matthews and the great Pat Buchanan about that. 

We‘ll also, introduce you to revealing new behind the scenes documentary about John Kerry‘s ill-fated presidential campaign.  And we‘ll tell you why some Middle Easterners are saying no thanks to emancipation.  They‘d rather be oppressed after all. 

We start with the House Majority Leader Tom DeLay who says he will step aside after being indicted on charges of criminal conspiracy.  Today DeLay was accused of illegally funneling corporate donations to a Republican political action committee.  The indictment stems from a long-running campaign finance investigation. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD EARLE, TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  The indictment charges DeLay with conspiring to violate the Texas election code by contributing corporate money to candidates for the Texas legislature. 

REP. TOM DELAY (D-TX), FORMER MAJORITY LEADER:  This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history.  It‘s a sham, and Mr. Earle knows it. 

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER:  I hope everybody understands that you are innocent until you‘re proven guilty, and he will fight this, and we give him our utmost support. 

REP. ROY BLUNT (R-MO), INTERIM HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER:   I think largely because of his effectiveness as a leader, he became a target.  We all believe that he will return. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  For more on the DeLay indictment, we‘re joined by a man who knows Capitol Hill from every angle, the host of “HARDBALL,” MSNBC‘s Chris Matthews. 

Thanks, Chris. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, “HARDBALL”:  Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Now, we‘re treating this like a big deal, obviously, but is it?  Put this in perspective for me. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it will be on the front page of every liberal newspaper in the country.  How about that?  It will be on the top editorial of every liberal newspaper in the country.  I‘m waiting to see how the “Wall Street Journal” editorial page handles it, because I‘m not sure how they‘re going to handle it. 

The big question is not that the Democrats aren‘t going to jump up and yell, “We love it.”  That‘s already done.  It‘s whether the Republicans are going to split over this.  Will the party really stick behind DeLay and say, “He‘s innocent; he‘s clean as a hound‘s tooth”? 

Or will they say, “Well, we‘re going to stick with him for awhile,” and then secretly when they‘re talking to the magazines and the newspapers, with nobody watching, dump all over the guy.  And I think that‘s the big question.  We‘re going to see by probably tomorrow morning, are they secretly dumping on him and saying he‘s finished?

CARLSON:  Well, they‘re sticking with him now, at least. 

MATTHEWS:  On the record. 

CARLSON:  Outwardly.  Tell me about Roy Blunt, now that he‘s the temporary majority leader.  Is he actually going to be majority leader?  Will DeLay still be running things from behind the scenes?

MATTHEWS:  I would think that Blunt is a man of great ambition, who wants to be leader, no matter whether there‘s a Tom DeLay on this earth or not.  And so I think he‘ll try to assume the position with clout. 

I think Tom DeLay will in there and try to keep some of his clout unofficially.  Because he may need it in terms of an ethics committee investigation next year. 

You see, Tom DeLay doesn‘t just face this indictment, which he may be able to beat, obviously.  He could be innocent as hell.  It‘s whether he has to deal with this Abramoff situation involving his former staffer, who‘s become such a big-time lobbyist, and who was clearly the target of a major investigation. 

CARLSON:  See, this strikes me as pretty small potatoes compared to the Abramoff deal.  Abramoff is a sleaze, and there‘s really no other way to describe it. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it‘s a question—you know, we do understand the majority leader has been accused of getting corporations in Texas to kick in to a campaign to get people reelected—elected to the state legislature in Texas by sending money to the Republican National Committee in corporate checks, so the Republican National Committee can send back checks that don‘t have the corporate label on them so that they‘re legal contributions in Texas.

If he did that, that‘s a law that‘s been broken.  If he coordinated it, I think they can argue that he broke the law. 

CARLSON:  Everyone I know in politics is convinced that the public doesn‘t care about campaign finance in any way: reform, laws about it.  Do you buy that?  Do you think voters will care and vote on this?

MATTHEWS:  No.  It probably adds to the quality of the Democratic candidates who run this coming cycle.  They‘ll say, “Wait a minute, here‘s a chance to win House seat on the corruption issue I wouldn‘t have had a month ago.”  So it increases the pressure on the Republicans from stronger Democratic candidates. 

It also adds to this sort of mushroom cloud which includes the Frist thing, the no-bid contracts, the Kenny boy stuff with Kenny lay, the head of—I forget the name of the company down there. 

CARLSON:  Enron. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, Enron, so clearly, it‘s an overall thing.  I think in the end—I know what you‘re getting at.  Three years from now, it‘s going to be the quality of the Republican candidate against the quality of the Democratic candidate.  Republicans run some maverick clean-up guy like John McCain, for example, he‘ll be running against this sleaze.  He would in effect—even though he‘s a Republican, running against this kind of stuff. 

And if the Democrats want a weak liberal, she won‘t get voted or he won‘t get voted on simply because somebody thinks Republicans stink a little bit.  It‘s not going to have an impact. 

CARLSON:  I think you‘re also going to see a revolt in the conservatives, the few left. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s the issue here. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  Will conservatives go back to roots and say now that we don‘t have the hammer coming down on our head, DeLay is out, now we can vote conscience on all these spending issues, and we‘re going to go back to the reason we came here. 

CARLSON:  I hope—I hope that happens.  I hope you‘re right.  I suspect you often are, as you often are.  Chris Matthews from “HARDBALL,” thanks for coming on. 

MATTHEWS:  Thanks a lot.

Well, for more on the fallout from Congressman Tom DeLay‘s indictment, we‘re joined by former White House aide and presidential candidate, syndicated columnist, and best selling author as well as, last but not least, MSNBC political analyst.  Pat Buchanan. 

Pat, thanks for joining us. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Sure, how are you doing, Tucker?

CARLSON:  I‘m great.  This strikes me as weird, though.  I mean, think back to 194, when Republicans took control of Congress, not just on the claim Democrats were too liberal, but that the Democrats, correctly, I think, were too corrupt.  They were too in bed with vested interests and the Republicans are going to come in and, you know, clean house and be really, you know, good government once again. 

This strikes me as odd that the Republican leadership, coming under attack for this sleazy behavior, whether it‘s true or not. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  This is very big stuff.  You got the main man, the Republican leader, basically in the House, who has been indicted. 

I think it‘s a lousy indictment.  I think it‘s a stinking indictment on a petty little charge, but the words criminal conspiracy are impressive. 

But then you‘ve got Bill Frist on allegation of insider trading.  And if true, enriching himself for hundreds of thousands of dollars at the expense of someone else.  And he‘s the Republican leader in the Senate.

I think this is a big problem for the party, and the party has got a lot of other problems, one of them being that George W. Bush is off his game, and he is at the nadir of his presidency. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that, and for good reason because it seems to me, dropped his principles. 

There was a fascinating account I read today.  An NBC reporter talked with a member of Congress today who said that he believed, with Tom DeLay gone that House Republicans would be under less pressure to spend money.  They could find offsets for this enormous hurricane Katrina bill. 

In other words, Tom DeLay was actually an impediment to small government.  Do you buy that?

BUCHANAN:  I have to, because Tom DeLay just said a week ago, which astonished everyone, you know, we‘ve done a terrific job these last 11 years.  There‘s just no more fat to cut in the federal budget, even though domestic social spending, nondefense spending, nonsecurity spending has risen faster under George W. Bush than any president.  It‘s either since LBJ, or FDR. 

And he has not vetoed a single bill.  You had 6,300 pork barrel projects in that transportation bill. 

I‘ll tell you, Tucker, 10 years ago, Fred Barnes wrote about big government conservatives, and I think it‘s an oxymoron, but there‘s no doubt they took over the Republican Party, and this is the result. 

CARLSON:  You ran against the Republican establishment at a time when the Republican establishment was a lot more conservative than it is today, it seems to me.  At what point are conservatives going to say, hold on a sec?  The spending is out of control.  The refusal to deal with the immigration is just wrong.  And form a third party, or mount a credible challenge from the right.  Is there any hope that that‘s going to happen?

BUCHANAN:  Well, the only place to do that, Tucker, and I would not recommend third-party challenge.  You just can‘t raise the money.  You simply split the Republicans.  And at best, you‘re going to defeat a Republican and you‘re going to get a Hillary Clinton. 

I do think that you‘re going to have a battle royal inside the Republican Party, right after 2006, where I think the Republicans are going to lose that election.  I don‘t know how badly.

But then you‘ve got to have this great battle out.  Because, Tucker, there is no conservative party in Washington, D.C., today.  Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans.  They are both wings of the same bird of prey. 

CARLSON:  I completely, absolutely agree with you.  Who would lead such a debate, such a fight from the right?  Who are the standard bearers, the men of principle who are going to stand up and say, here‘s what the Contract for America said in 1994.  Let‘s compare that to what we‘re doing these days and see how far short we have fallen.  Who is going to be that person, any candidate that comes to mind?

That‘s the problem.  I think clearly moderates, liberal Republicans, although very good on spending, is John McCain.  I think he is a strong candidate he has the media behind him, a lot of independents behind him.

But I do not see right now, Tucker, a Republican candidate who has both the charisma and the cutting edge on the issues who can beat him.  Now, I think a strong conservative could beat McCain for the nomination, but I will be honest, I don‘t see that individual right now. 

CARLSON:  Pat Buchanan, a man who‘s been in Washington.  All his life, who has never betrayed his own principles.  Thanks for joining us.

BUCHANAN:  Still to come, Senator John Kerry can practically taste victory in the 2004 presidential election.  But in the end, it evaporated like the steam rising from don‘t either.  Were his strategists to blame?  You decide after this first ever look at what went on inside the bubble.

The godfather returns.  In just a few minutes, we‘ll hear from the man who says John Gotti Junior tried to off him, whack him, kill him.  Stay with us.

CARLSON:  Coming up, a day of reckoning for drivers of SUVs.  Plus, Congress is pretty busy these days with hurricanes, Iraq and rising oil prices.  Where did they find the time to regulate Major League Baseball?  We‘ll debate that when THE SITUATION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The president got $84 from a timber company he owns, and he‘s counted as a small business. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I own a timber company?  That‘s news to me. 

Need some wood?

SETTI WARREN, TRIP DIRECTOR:  Need some wood?  That‘s weird. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A timber company?  What the (expletive deleted) is he talking about?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Good question.  It‘s a glimpse of what was going on behind the scenes as John Kerry worked his way toward defeat in last year‘s presidential election.  It comes from a new behind the scenes documentary, called “Inside the Bubble” that premieres tomorrow night in New York City.  Steve Rosenbaum set up to answer the question, as he made it, what happened to the John Kerry for president campaign?  He joins me now.  Steve, thanks a lot for coming on. 

STEVE ROSENBAUM, FILMMAKER:  My pleasure, thanks a lot. 

CARLSON:  What did happen?

ROSENBAUM:  He lost. 

CARLSON:  I noticed that. 

ROSENBAUM:  Messed up the end of my movie. 

CARLSON:  Sorry.  I don‘t mean to blow suspense, but after following this man, and getting some pretty amazing access to the process, access that most of us did not get, what did you conclude?  Whose fault was it?

ROSENBAUM:  I think that conservatives are going to watch the film and take away something, and I think Democrats are going to watch the film and take away something else.  I don‘t know that it‘s my job to read the tea leaves and tell you what I discovered. 

I think personally, for me, I was hoping that there was going to be more discussion of the issues, and a little less, you know, stage management, but what you have to remember. 

CARLSON:  Come on, this is campaign. 

ROSENBAUM:  Hold on a second.  Remember that “The War Room” was made in ‘92.  So there really hasn‘t been behind the scenes look at campaign in a very long time.  And you know, the media, you guys, have changed things a lot out there. 

CARLSON:  Yes, we have, but the process itself, of covering campaigns, and I‘ve covered way too many of them, is always the same.  And you capture a moment that rang so true to me.  It‘s just the ignominiousness, if that‘s the word, of the process. 

It‘s this moment where Kerry ducks into what turns out to be a locker room, and he‘s waiting to do an uplink to some local television station in, like, Cleveland or Columbus or something.  And he‘s sitting there in this stinky locker room, sweating, trying to be nice, because he has to be nice, because they always have to be nice, no matter how much of a drag it is.  And finally, the satellite goes down, and he can‘t do the interview. 

And the point is, these guys really suffer, no matter who they are, as they run for office.  You feel for them. 

ROSENBAUM:  It‘s a terrible process. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

ROSENBAUM:  And you know, it‘s a process that probably doesn‘t necessarily bring out the best in anybody.  But again, I think the fun of the film, and the reason why I think people are going to enjoy seeing it is politics is a team sport, but it‘s also a sport that we all get to play in.

So someone said to me the other day, “What right did you have to make this movie?”  I said, “I got to vote.  I get to go to the polls, once every four years and pull down the lever.”  And I think that, you know, asking people to take a look at what happened and ask some questions Democrats, you know, and Republicans, are we happy with the outcome, are we happy with the election?  And if not, what are we going to do different?

CARLSON:  Who would say, “Where did you get the right?”  Please, we all have the right to know more than we do about what goes on.

I want to just throw a clip up here.  This is one Kerry staffer, Jim Loftus, in the communications shop, reacting to A “New York Times” magazine cover he doesn‘t like.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

JIM LOFTUS, WORKED FOR KERRY CAMPAIGN:  By any objective standards, what the (expletive deleted) is that?   This is the (expletive deleted) “New York Times” (expletive deleted) magazine.  Look at the (expletive deleted) picture.  They‘re not trying to (expletive deleted) us?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  It‘s a pretty horrifying picture. 

But the reason I ask you about the staff, and who was to blame, is right after the election, there was a huge amount of back biting, as you know, among Democrats, because if there was any year they could win, it was, of course, last year.  They probably should have won, but they lost.  And the staff, everybody was blaming everybody else.  Mary Beth Cahill, inadequate and mediocrity.  What did you think of the staff?  Were they good?

ROSENBAUM:  You know, I have to tell you, I liked every one of them.  And I liked working with them.  And I think they worked their tail off.  I don‘t think it‘s about an individual staff.  And frankly, I‘m not political pundit and I‘m not political operative. 

What some of the people say in the film, let me report what I hear, which is that the way they responded to swift boat was disastrous.  And people say that in the film, you know, for the first time.  And there‘s some sense of kind of what we want wrong there.

But I think the thing that I think is almost the most interesting is this idea that that original speech at the convention, the, you know, “reporting for duty.” 

CARLSON:  Oh, yes. 

ROSENBAUM:  With the salute, was the moment that Rove needed to be able to say, “He‘s a flip-flopper, because you can‘t tell whether he‘s a peace activist or, you know, or a war hero or both.” 

CARLSON:  Also, it‘s like you were in Vietnam.  I‘m really glad for you.  Good for you, but so were a lot of people.  I mean, so what, what does that have to do with anything? 

What did you learn about John Kerry, the man, in the end?  What insight did you get into him?

ROSENBAUM:  You know, I think that one of the things that Mike McCurry says in the film that‘s really true is, you know, that Kerry needs to figure out how to become comfortable with people.  And in the last two and a half weeks, three weeks, I watched him on film start to be comfortable with the hugging and the touching and the let me be near you, but you know, it‘s a rock star life.  And if you‘re not used to having crowds of people want to touch you, I think it can be really very off-putting. 

CARLSON:  Like Al Gore, who finally became comfortable on “Saturday Night Live,” and that was too late. 

ROSENBAUM:  Right.

CARLSON:  The movie is “Inside the Bubble.”  It opens tomorrow in New York.  Steve Rosenbaum made.  Thanks for coming on. 

ROSENBAUM:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, Bush emissary Karen Hughes tells Saudi women about virtues of voting and driving, but they say no thanks.  We‘ll debate their freedom to choose their own oppression with The Outsider, next.. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time once again for “The Outsider”, a man from outside the world of news, in the perverse task of advocating the devil‘s own position night after night.  Joining us, professional contrarian from ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing, Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Sometimes I get the feeling that I‘m arguing the angels. 

CARLSON:  You do. 

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t know what it is. 

CARLSON:  Not tonight, Max.  Listen to this.  Talk about a tough room.  White House special enjoy Karen Hughes has gone to the Middle East to sell American values.  But Tuesday, when she expressed the hope that Saudi women would soon enjoy the freedom to drive, to, quote, “fully participate in society,” her act went flat. 

Several women in the room said they had no interest I voting or driving their own cars and furthermore claimed to like the traditional head to foot body coverings they‘re required to wear in the country, to which I say, tough, it‘s not about them.  And their “I don‘t want to drive.  I don‘t want to vote.  I like wearing a bed sheet.” 

Who cares?  It‘s not about the 99 percent of people who choose those restrictions; it‘s the one percent bright enough and capable enough to not want to have to abide by those medieval rules.  So I‘m saying, let‘s impose freedom on people if we‘re going to do it, if we‘re going to get involved in the affairs of other countries and just ram it down their throats whether they like it or not. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, you have to do it in places that at least have a passing familiarity with democratic institutions.  In other words, some reform may work in Iraq.  They have a postal—if you mail a letter in Iraq, it will probably get to the place where you‘re expecting it to go, right?

CARLSON:  Right. 

KELLERMAN:  But it might not work so well in Yemen or Afghanistan or a place like that.

CARLSON:  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  These women, who are opposing Hughes‘ kind of let freedom ring speech. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

KELLERMAN:  It‘s a select elite of Saudi society.  It‘s not as though it was a cross-section of the rich and the poor.  This was a select elite.  And just because they were liberal, people say, oh, see, even the liberal Saudis don‘t want the Americans there. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

KELLERMAN:  You know, being the elite, they are actually more accustomed with western culture.  It‘s more in their faces.  It feels more patronizing.  And they want even more to assert their own kind of national identity. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but so what?  They‘re still wrong.  I mean, I‘m comfortable if most Saudi women don‘t want to drive.  It‘s probably better that they‘re not driving, but again, that small group who want to drive ought to be allowed to.  And we ought to be confident enough in our culture, our own values, to say, “I‘m sorry, it‘s wrong to keep women from driving.”

KELLERMAN:  But don‘t you see how it doesn‘t work, because if everyone votes and they don‘t want to drive, they will vote in a referendum not to drive. 

CARLSON:  Well, you‘ll notice the nuance here.  I‘m not advocating democracy for Saudi Arabia.  I‘m advocating forced freedom. 

KELLERMAN:  Let me just say one thing about Saudi women.  They don‘t have to wear make-up.  They don‘t have to do their hair.  They don‘t have to buy clothing.  And they don‘t have to drive anywhere.  I‘d like to be a woman in Saudi Arabia.  Are you kidding?  You don‘t have to worry about anything. 

CARLSON:  I think there are things you need to worry about. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  But that‘s for another show.

Well, could this be end of America‘s love affair with the SUV?  Car dealers across the country say small car sales are surging, while gas guzzlers are gathering dust on the lot.  And also predicting up to a 49 percent decline of sales of big vehicles.  Not surprisingly, they blame sky high gas prices, as well as end of summer sales incentives. 

OK.  This is why mandatory fuel standards are completely silly, because people actually respond to market forces.  When gas prices get really high, they decide to choose cars that get better gas mileage.  The federal government doesn‘t need to weigh in on this; people will do it voluntarily based on reality. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, except that it is good when the federal government takes a lead role.  For instance, with Bill Clinton, one of the things he was very strong on, he ran on it, conversion economy, and a lot of that was, you know, cars that got good gas mileage, for instance. 

I have an SUV, but Lexus now makes an SUV that‘s the top of the line SUV and gets incredible gas mileage.  It‘s a hybrid car.  And there‘s nothing wrong with the federal government incentivizing private corporations to kind of get out ahead of that and not wait for market forces to pressure people. 

CARLSON:  You‘re assigning a moral value to cars, which I‘m totally opposed to.  There‘s this group of people who hate SUVs, and invariably, they‘re the same kind of person, a Greenpeace activist, childless people who live in macrobiotic households and ride their bikes a lot, OK?  Right?  Normal people like me, have chosen to procreate.  You know, I have a lot of kids, have a lot of animals, have a lot of fishing poles.  You need a big vehicle.  All right?

KELLERMAN:  But you‘re allowing your hatred of these supposed people, ostensibly people like this.  I believe... 

CARLSON:  I grew up with them.  I know them. 

KELLERMAN:  Fine, fine.  But you‘re allowing your hatred of them to determine how you think about these things, which is just silly.  You have to admit it‘s a good idea for the federal government to try to help us convert. 

CARLSON:  No. 

KELLERMAN:  So we‘re less dependent on foreign oil.  

CARLSON:  I am an adult.  I can make my own driving decisions. 

KELLERMAN:  And you will.

CARLSON:  I just want to drive my Suburban unmolested by you, the federal government or Gary Greenpeace.  Leave me alone. 

KELLERMAN:  And you will respond to market forces later than you should.  The government can take a lead role.

CARLSON:  OK.  I can make my own dumb financial decisions in peace. 

That‘s what I hope.

KELLERMAN:  That‘s what this is about. 

From hurricane relief to Tom DeLay‘s indictment on the table, what was the congressional agenda today?  Steroids. 

Official from Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League all called before the Senate—Senate, rather, Commerce Committee to discuss two bills that would standardize drug policies across sports. 

Are you kidding?  It‘s like Major League Baseball is now a federal agency?  The Senate is going to weigh in on their employment practices?  That‘s like saying to you, Max, “I don‘t like the way you‘re running your business.  It‘s just not efficient.  All right?  I think you‘re giving too long lunch breaks to your employees.”  Back off.  They have no business in this at all.

KELLERMAN:  You bring up baseball, which is funny, because they‘re actually exempt from antitrust laws.  They‘re the only business in America really, big business, exempt from antitrust laws. 

And in 1972, when Kurt Flood, which is the landmark decision in the Supreme Court which allowed baseball players to become free agents, when that question was posed to them, they said it was on Congress to determine whether to repeal that antitrust exemption.  And Congress has not decided to do it yet. 

So, in fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress is indeed, and should, indeed, be involved in decisions affecting the business of baseball.  But not the other sports. 

CARLSON:  Let‘s just stand back a tiny bit just for one second.  The Congress of the United States, the Senate of the United States, getting involved in what baseball players do in their spare time, that‘s insane, just so you know. 

KELLERMAN:  Sure, been since 1922 when they got the exemption in the first place. 

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m just—this the first day I‘ve really pondered it.  So for me, it‘s a fresh, brand-new insanity.  And I‘m blown away by it. 

KELLERMAN:  I can understand. 

CARLSON:  Max Kellerman, thank you. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Stay tuned.  There‘s still plenty more ahead on THE

SITUATION.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  The DeLay debacle, congressional crook or political patsy?

DELAY:  I have done nothing wrong. 

CARLSON:  Plus, why President Bush is being labeled modern day FDR. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Nobody asked for these things but when they come, we have a duty. 

CARLSON:  Haunted by the mob.  Crime fighter Curtis Sliwa takes another whack at Junior Gotti. 

CURTIS SLIWA, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I‘m going to continue to hammer away at this revisionism of the Gotti legacy. 

CARLSON:  And the truth is out there.  How one tropical resort plans to prove we are not alone.  It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

SLIWA:  There are sycophants, toadies and lackies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM DELAY ®, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER:  Now, let me be very, very clear.  I have done nothing wrong.  I have violated no law.  I have violated no law, no regulatory, no rule of the House.  I have done nothing unlawful, unethical or I might add unprecedented.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was, of course, Tom DeLay denying any wrongdoing in the conspiracy charges filed against him today.

Joining me now to discuss that from Air America Radio it‘s our friend Rachel Maddow.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Hey, Rachel.  You know there are things I don‘t care for about Tom DeLay, tried to get me fired once, which I had a lot of trouble getting over.

MADDOW:  Really?

CARLSON:  Yes.  But look, beyond that, these charges are stupid.  Campaign finance regulations are stupid, right?

MADDOW:  OK.

CARLSON:  So, even if these are true and he‘s broken the law, which I‘m not condoning at all, it‘s hard to get upset on a moral level about it.  People have a right to give money to political causes they support.  Government is wrong and I believe it‘s unconstitutional to prevent them from giving that money to anyone they want, any cause they want.  So, I just can‘t get mad about what Tom DeLay is accused of doing.

MADDOW:  Well, the people of Texas have decided that in Texas if you‘re running for state legislature you can‘t get money from companies.

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  You can‘t get corporate donations.  That‘s the law of Texas.

CARLSON:  Or unions, right.

MADDOW:  Or unions, fair enough.  That‘s the law.  And what Tom DeLay is accused of doing is taking money from companies, bundling it all up, sending it to the National Republican Party, having them send back the exact same amount of money and then giving it out to state legislature candidates.

CARLSON:  Yes, that happens.  Having covered a lot of campaigns I can tell you that is not just common it‘s par. 

MADDOW:  It may also be illegal in this state.

CARLSON:  Yes, it sounds like it might be illegal depending on how you interpret it.  But, again, it‘s—everybody does it and it‘s an incredibly stupid law in the first place.

MADDOW:  Wow.

CARLSON:  Which leads me to my third point.  Again, I‘m not defending—no, hold on here.

MADDOW:  He‘s not the Rosa Parks of campaign finance disobedience here.

CARLSON:  Actually, you know what, I—I wouldn‘t raise him that high but I would say people hate Tom DeLay for ideological reasons.  They hate his ideas.  Why not attack his ideas?

MADDOW:  Well, Tom DeLay appears to be a very corrupt politician.  I think there‘s grounds enough to attack him on those grounds.  I mean look at the...

CARLSON:  He looks like a middle-class man.  He isn‘t made of money personally at all, no.

MADDOW:  Look at his history with the Ethics Committee.  He was rebuked for attacking lobbying firms that hired Democrats, God forbid.  He was rebuked for promising a Congressman he‘d give his son money for his son‘s campaign if he voted DeLay‘s way on the Medicare bill.

CARLSON:  He said that on the House floor.

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  It‘s not like it was some secret deal, I mean just to be, you know, just (INAUDIBLE).

MADDOW:  Right, I‘ll fund your son‘s campaign if you change your vote.

CARLSON:  Here I‘m defending Tom DeLay but it‘s just true.

MADDOW:  He also sicked to the FAA, federal resources on the Texas Democratic legislators who fled the state, right?  He‘s been rebuked three...

CARLSON:  No, he didn‘t.

MADDOW:  He got rebuked by the Ethics Committee for that, correct.

CARLSON:  OK.

MADDOW:  So, he‘s been rebuked three times.  He‘s not being investigated for being bribed by Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist.

CARLSON:  Well that‘s—that‘s a serious deal right there and I will say that is, you know, I‘m not laughing at that at all and if any of that is true, you know, he gets what‘s coming to him if it‘s true.  However, again, the point is wouldn‘t you rather see Tom DeLay taken on, on like real turf? 

You know, Tom DeLay, you say this about gays or abortion or religion or whatever and here‘s why you‘re wrong.  Why can‘t we have like a real debate instead of this glee over Tom DeLay caught in some, potentially caught in some stupid campaign finance technicality that means nothing and is probably unconstitutional anyway?

MADDOW:  Every day on Air America Radio I will tell you something stupid about  Tom DeLay‘s politics but what we‘re faced with right now is that the number two guy in the House, the guy who effectively runs the House for the Republicans.

CARLSON:  Definitely runs the House.

MADDOW:  Has huge ethics problems and appears to have illegally influenced an election in Texas that had huge national implications.

CARLSON:  How is it illegally influencing?  That money goes to buy campaign ads, which is another way of saying that money goes to disseminate political ideas.  Those are protected by the First Amendment.  Are you afraid of people expressing their political views in public?

MADDOW:  It is illegal to have corporate money go into a state legislature in Texas.  If Tom DeLay did that, he committed a crime and he should go to jail.

CARLSON:  OK, well we‘ll...

MADDOW:  You can be upset about the law but you can‘t be upset with this indictment.

CARLSON:  I don‘t know, we‘ll see.  We‘ll find out more about it.

MADDOW:  Well find out more and (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  Today, this is something that maybe we can agree on.  Today, Susan Page (ph), a political reporter, I believe chief political reporter for “USA Today” wrote a very smart piece comparing President Bush to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, OK, and here‘s what she said.

She said, “Bush promises not only to help hurricane victims through a rough patch but also to create jobs, foster home ownership, address the nation‘s legacy of racism and revive a destroyed city in the poorest region of the country.”  He might as well promise to cure the common cold and make our children, you know, mind us. 

This is what we were talking about last night.  I was (INAUDIBLE).  Government over promising, this is not what conservatives are supposed to do.

MADDOW:  This is not the day that George Bush became a big government conservative.

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m aware of that.

MADDOW:  George Bush has increased the size of the federal government more than anybody else since World War II.  It shrunk under Clinton.  It‘s grown under Bush.  He spent $200 billion in Iraq. 

They flat out lost, lost, misplaced, $8.8  billion in Iraq.  That‘s what we admit to losing, not a peep, but all of a sudden actually spending money reconstructing our own country when we‘ve had a huge disaster is cause for this “He‘s FDR.  We‘re spending too much money” stuff.

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  What do you mean not a peep?

MADDOW:  Why weren‘t you guys concerned before?

CARLSON:  I‘ve been concerned about the war in Iraq since the day that, you know, tanks rolled across the Kuwait border.  But I just think the philosophical point here is a really important one.  And that is when government endeavors to do everything, it really winds up doing nothing very well.

Government can keep the streets clean.  It can man an army.  It can keep our enemies from, you know, invading us.  But beyond that, it just can‘t really do that much and when are politicians going to stop pretending that government is going to solve our problems because it can‘t?

MADDOW:  What about the $286 billion—the highway bill?  What about that?  Is that promising too much?  I mean that was, you know, every Congressman in the country gets something to take home.  You get that bridge for the 50 people in Alaska that costs $250 million.  Is that promising too much?

CARLSON:  I think in cases like the one you just mentioned it‘s absolutely promising too much and not just promising too much.  It‘s stealing from everyone else to satisfy the whims of an individual Congressman whose only claim to authority is he keeps getting reelected by voters who aren‘t paying attention.  Yes, I think it‘s totally wrong.

MADDOW:  See, I‘m mad with wasted money on Iraq.  I‘m mad with wasted money about pork.  I am not mad about money being spent on reconstructing our own country after this disaster and I don‘t think most Americans are mad about it either.

CARLSON:  Really?  OK.  Well I‘m again in the slim minority on this.

MADDOW:  Slim but proud minority.

CARLSON:  The slim but proud but I don‘t mind.  Rachel Maddow, thank you for joining us.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, John Gotti was famous for walking away from government cases against him.  Today his son walked out of jail after serving time for a rap he couldn‘t beat, at least not yet.  We‘ll talk to the man who says John, Jr. tried to have him kidnapped and murdered.  It‘s a mob drama you won‘t want to miss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  John Gotti, Jr., the son of one of the most notorious mobsters in American history, got out of prison today after serving six years for racketeering.

Just one week ago a mistrial was declared in another case against Gotti that alleged he ordered the 1992 kidnapping of our next guest.  Curtis Sliwa is a founder of the Guardian Angels, a civilian crime fighting group.  He says John, Jr. was behind a bloody attempt to murder him 13 years ago. 

Curtis Sliwa thanks for coming on.

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER OF THE GUARDIAN ANGELS:  Oh, my pleasure.

CARLSON:  So, how does it feel to see the guy you say tried to have you killed get out of prison?  That‘s like a nightmare.

SLIWA:  Well, remember, every time I see this guy‘s mug I feel like a human pinata again because I relive the baseball bat attacks against me in the summer of 1992, followed up quickly by the shooting in a cab that aerated my intestines, and if I hadn‘t jumped out of that moving cab through an open window, I probably would have been room temperature and a human speed bump. 

So, yes, it causes me a great deal of duress and anger and I look and I say, “Judge, how could you let this marauder, this enemy of society out”?  He‘s got a target on my back.  Don‘t you realize three might be the lucky charm for him?

CARLSON:  Well, wait a second.  Why are you blaming the judge when it was the jury who couldn‘t reach a decision?  This mistrial was the result of their indecision.  I mean how could they not have convicted this guy?

SLIWA:  Well, Tucker, I can‘t blame all the jury because on four of the major counts, eleven of them found him guilty.  It was a lone holdout juror.  In the conspiracy to kidnap me, ten found him guilty, two were holdouts.  So, obviously there was division and that‘s why it‘s a hung jury and we‘ve got to go back and do it all over again on February 13th of 2006.

But I‘ll never forget the judge saying “I can‘t believe anyone would be crazy enough, if I were to release him on bail, John Gotti, Jr., to go out and commit crimes.” I‘m saying, “Judge, down to the marrow of his bone he‘s a member of organized crime.  He‘s the head of the Gambino crime family.  He‘s been responsible for murders, racketeering, extortion, bending legs, stuffing it in people‘s pocket.”  Where did he go at one point in his life to resign from La Cosa Nostra?  Is there a booth you go to...

CARLSON:  But wait a second.

SLIWA: ...where you get a pension and welfare (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  Curtis, haven‘t you been reading the tabloids?  He‘s a reformed man.  Now his sister, Victoria, along with her kids has achieved some celebrity on cable television.  What do you think of her?  Do you know her?

SLIWA:  You mean Victoria Gottilocks (ph) and the three little Dons, the glorification of the Gotti family takes place on the A&E reality show and, in fact, it became a bone of contention in the bail hearing because she put up that 14-room mansion in Old Westbury in Long Island as part of New York State as the collateral.

And I was like just chomping at the bit to say, “Judge, don‘t you realize the $4 million was the result of ill-gotten gain of the husband Carmine Agnello, who is now in federal prison who had the biggest chop shop in America, stealing cars and breaking them down for parts? 

How could you accept that as bail even the federal government said and not only that judge, there are liens on the property.”  But the judge seemed to have window shades on her eyes and she allowed him to have his homecoming, which to me is (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  So, do you think you‘re going to get whacked?  I mean are you worried he‘s going to try and kill you now that he‘s out?

SLIWA:  Tucker.

CARLSON:  Curtis.

SLIWA:  I‘ve seen the odds in Atlantic City, right, and Las Vegas that I am a dead man walking.  I got to do the rope-a-dope and it‘s not that John Gotti, Jr. is going to do this, no. 

But one of his up and coming young wannabes who want to earn their stripes, make their bones, would love to brain me and basically turn me into a pine box that‘s shoved six feet underground and I‘m pushing daisies because let‘s face it they don‘t want me to get in the witness box and redo it all again in February 13th of 2006.  Without me, let‘s face it, the case pretty much falls apart.

CARLSON:  Damn, I‘d move to a foreign country if I were you, Curtis Sliwa, but I sense you‘re going to stay right here in New York and I hope you‘re going to join us again.  Good luck.

SLIWA:  Well, right in his face every day of my life until God himself calls me up.

CARLSON:  Amen.  Curtis Sliwa joining us live tonight, thanks.

SLIWA:  Pleasure.

CARLSON:  Coming up, we check THE SITUATION voice mail, find some harsh words for Tom DeLay.  Did the majority leader get what he deserved?  The viewers chime in next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.

Time for voice mail.  Each night we recklessly divulge our personal number and each night you call us.  Let‘s hear what you said tonight—first up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANONYMOUS, PARTS UNKNOWN:  Yes, Tom DeLay is finally indicted for conspiracy and it‘s very good to see people who deal in criminal activity taking responsibility.  There needs to be punishment and consequences for criminal behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Punishment and consequences, you sound very excited.  Look, give me a break.  You hate the guy because you hate his ideas.  If you don‘t like his agenda, think of a better agenda.  Think of competing ideas and beat his ideas. That‘s the problem with Democrats.  They‘re right sometimes in their critique of what‘s wrong but they have no clue about what might be better, none, and until they do they‘re going to keep losing.  Good.  Next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA, AUSTIN, TEXAS:  This is Lisa (INAUDIBLE) from Austin, Texas and tonight was an absolute breath of fresh air as I heard you asking questions I don‘t even hear anyone bold enough to ask.  It is so wonderful and refreshing to know that someone that‘s self identified as a conservative understand that that does not mean blindly absorbing and accepting these fantastic tales of what‘s going on in Iraq despite what our eyes see and what our very common sense tell us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  You‘re talking about my interview with Congressman Wolf yesterday.  I agree.  I am literally the most conservative person I know and because I‘m conservative I want answers to very simple questions.  Why are we there?  How are we getting out? 

And, in return you‘ll notice, if you watch the interview the Congressman suggested I was hurting the troops by asking those questions.  It‘s outrageous actually and we‘re going to keep asking those questions on the show, simple questions, not attacking America, which I love passionately, but wondering why we‘re there and how we‘re going to get out every night until we get an answer—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA, FLORIDA:  Hi, Tucker.  This is Lisa from Florida and I just wanted to tell you I appreciate you sticking up somewhat or mostly for Michael Brown.  I don‘t know that many Americans are right now and I just think he was bashed really badly today even though he did—he does hold some responsibility for his failures but let‘s face it, it was a political issue.  Thanks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Yes, of course it was.  Of course Michael Brown screwed up but it‘s not his fault the hurricane hit.  I feel sorry for him.  I mean he is the underdog in this case.  Everybody hates him.  He‘s like Ken Lay.  He‘s the butt of jokes and it just bugs me and the Bush administration hanging him out to dry because it‘s politically convenient.  They hired the guy in the first place.  They ought to stick up for him a little more—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT, ONTARIO, CALIFORNIA:  My name is Rob Branson (ph) from Ontario, California and I have just a few comments on George Bush‘s approval rating.  The only thing lower than his approval rating is the Titanic and hopefully in three years we‘ll get a real president but until then I guess we‘ll have to go with the old saying from Laurel and Hardy, “Here‘s another fine mess you got us into.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Yes, that‘s a good bumper sticker.  In order to get a real president you‘re going to need a real candidate.  Good luck getting one of those.  It‘s been a long time.  Democrats could win in 2008 but they got to run somebody who, you know is normal—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYLVIA, DUBOIS, PENNSYLVANIA:  Hello, Tucker.  My name is Sylvia Hill.  I‘m from Dubois, Pennsylvania  I wanted to tell you I thoroughly enjoy the interplay between you and Max Kellerman, the outsider and your divergent views on the value of video games is an excellent example of this bantering.  This time, Tucker, Max is correct.  Video games do have therapeutic value for kids with ADD.  I‘m so sorry if they make you dumb.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Video games have therapeutic value?  Yes, they do have therapeutic value in a way that beer in the morning has therapeutic value when you‘re hung over.  It doesn‘t mean you should drink it, you know what I mean?  Video games they make you dumb.  I don‘t care what anybody says.

Let me know what you‘re thinking.  Call 1-877TCALRSON.  That‘s 877-822-7576.

Still ahead on THE SITUATION you‘ve heard of irresponsible government spending but wait until you hear about one mayor‘s plan to welcome creatures from outer space.  We‘ll get extraterrestrial on the Cutting Room Floor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Well, we think you‘ve waited long enough.  Time now for the Cutting Room Floor.  Willie Geist, our producer here with all the stories we couldn‘t pack in.

GEIST:  Hello, Tucker.  This has been a great show, if for no other reason than the fact that you asked a guest are you worried that you‘re going to be whacked?  That may never happen again.

CARLSON:  And he was worried about getting whacked.

GEIST:  Well, he should be.  You don‘t mess with the Gottis.

CARLSON:  No, you don‘t. 

Well, once thought to be a mythical creature of the deep, the Japanese giant squid has now been caught on camera, as you can kind of see here.  Researchers filmed the mysterious beast 3,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean.  The giant squid had been part of Japanese folklore but a team of marine biologists set out to prove it was real.  Sadly in the process they ripped off one of the squid‘s tentacles.

GEIST:  Too bad.

CARLSON:  But he has seven more.

GEIST:  That looks delicious.

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s a big calamari man.

GEIST:  Delightful.  The question I‘m asking myself is do you go straight cocktail sauce or do you need a stronger, tangier, tartar sauce?  I don‘t know the answer.  It‘s a question.

CARLSON:  Not to be mean but the Japanese will eat it. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

GEIST:  They were fishing.  They weren‘t looking for him.

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

In other aquatic news of the weird, a two-headed turtle has been captured from the banks of one of Cuba‘s most contaminated rivers and that‘s saying a lot.  A Havana police officer made the discovery and turned the turtle over to scientists who are now monitoring its health.  Biologists say the turtle is probably a week old and the two heads are the result of a congenital deformation.

GEIST:  You know, Tucker, I grew up on the similarly contaminated waterways of northern New Jersey, so I thought this was what turtles looked like until about three years ago.  I thought they all had two heads.

CARLSON:  But at least in New Jersey they admit it‘s the chemicals that do it.

GEIST:  Right.

CARLSON:  But the Cubans they‘re like oh no, no.

GEIST:  Congenital deformity, yes.

CARLSON:  It‘s congenital right.

GEIST:  God‘s fault, right.

CARLSON:  God‘s fault. 

Well, the saying goes a house is made of brick and stone.  A home is made of love alone.  But if you‘re this Lithuanian man, a house is made simply of your old liquor bottles.  Venus Yanus Skavishus (ph) has collected 18,000 beer, champagne, wine and liquor bottles over the past three years.  Now he‘s building a house out of them.  He says he‘ll need 30,000 bottles to complete his 1,600 foot dream house.

GEIST:  You know what, Tucker, I salute this guy for doing something constructive with his drinking problem, you know what I mean?  Most drunks break bottles and yell at their stepchildren.  This is nice.  This is very nice.

CARLSON:  He‘ll be so dead by the time that happens.

GEIST:  Thirty thousand bottles?  That guy can put them back.

CARLSON:  It‘s been three years.

Well, for decades now the locker room for the visiting football team at the University of Iowa has been painted pink.  The lockers, the carpeting, even the toilets are bright pink.  It‘s some kind of psychological warfare apparently.  Well critics now want the locker room changed because they say it demeans women and perpetuates stereotypes about homosexuality.  One law professor at the school calls the locker room “sexist, homophobic and offensive.”

GEIST:  Tucker, I‘m not sure how this is personally offensive to law professors and feminists.

CARLSON:  They‘re always angry.

GEIST:  Well, I played a little ball with my dad.  I don‘t know if I ever told you about that and I didn‘t see a lot of law professors or feminists hanging around the locker room, so I don‘t know why they‘re directly offended by that.

CARLSON:  That‘s why I like football, you know.

GEIST:  Do you?

CARLSON:  No, I don‘t but I like the idea that it‘s a feminist free zone.

GEIST:  Right.

CARLSON:  Very appealing.

Well the town of (INAUDIBLE) Puerto Rico was facing a monumental fiscal crisis right about now.  The mayor‘s solution build a runway for UFOs of course, makes sense.  The idea was first hatched by a local man who says he‘s been communicating with extraterrestrials since he was a child and he‘s sure they would visit if they simply had someplace to land.  The $100,000 project is not particularly popular with hundreds of locals who are unemployed.

GEIST:  Tucker, those whiners are so short sighted.  A UFO runway means jobs and baggage handling and TSA agents.  The food court is going to need people, you know what I mean?

CARLSON:  Think big, Willie, that‘s the lesson.

GEIST:  Think big.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.

That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  That‘s for watching.

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

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2005 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 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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