updated 10/4/2005 11:26:59 AM ET 2005-10-04T15:26:59

Guests: Eleanor Smeal, Pat Buchanan, Flavia Colgan, Keith Wright

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  That‘s all the time we have tonight.  Let‘s go on right now with THE SITUATION with Tucker Carlson.  Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Good for you, Joe, by the way.  I‘m glad you‘re doing that.

We‘ve got a lot to tell you tonight.  I‘ll be joined in just a moment by Pat Buchanan.  He‘s not at all pleased with President Bush‘s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, and neither are many conservatives. 

We‘ll also tell you about the Florida town that wants to kick 6,000 people out of their homes for their own good, supposedly.  Plus introduce you to some kids for their right to eat junk food in school.  And God bless them.

We start with President Bush‘s nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court today.  Miers was a long time friend and advisor to the president, was nominated to fill the seat left by the retirement of another woman, Sandra Day O‘Connor. 

Miers currently serves as White House council.  She has no experience as a judge and has very few widely known opinions. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Selecting a nominee, I sought to find an American of grace, judgment and unwavering devotion to the Constitution and laws of our country. 

HARRIET MIERS, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE:  If confirmed, I recognize that I will have a tremendous responsibility to keep our judicial system strong and to help ensure that the courts meet their obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution. 

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  We know less about this nominee than we knew about John Roberts.  And because this nomination is for the swing seat on the Supreme Court, it means learning the nominee‘s judicial philosophy is going to be even more important than it was for John Roberts. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Meanwhile, less than a week after being indicted for criminal conspiracy, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was charged by a grand jury with money laundering today.  DeLay and two associates.  Indicted on charges, they steered $190,000 to state legislative candidates.  They call it prosecutorial abuse by district attorney Ronnie Earle.  More on that in just a minute.

Joining me now to talk about today‘s major political developments, former White House aid and presidential candidate, syndicated columnist and best-selling author, as well as MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan. 

Pat, thanks.

PAT BUCHANAN, POLITICAL ANALYST:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  One of the best things I‘ve read about this nomination was that—it comes from Richard Brookheiser (ph) from National Review, said it‘s not as bad as Caligula putting his horse in the Senate. 

So it‘s not quite that bad, the Harriet Miers nomination, but in the eyes of many conservatives, me included, it‘s pretty close.  Why was Harriet Miers nominated?

BUCHANAN:  She‘s nominated because she‘s a personal friend of the president and because she‘s a woman.  It‘s an act of cronyism.  And it‘s affirmative action for the highest court in the United States.

As Mr. Shumer said, the swing seat on that court that could decide the destiny of law and social policy and cultural and moral policy in this country for 20 years.  It‘s a disappointing and deeply depressing appointment. 

CARLSON:  In a very smart column you wrote today, that‘s being read, I think, all over the country right now, you point out that there are plenty of women whom the president likes.  He could have nominated.  Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, Edith Jones all had experience as judges.  All are openly conservative; all, of course, as women.  Why didn‘t he nominate one of those?

BUCHANAN:  I think he wants a candidate with, quote, “no paper trail,” but why, if you‘re out for excellence, would you pick a judicial cipher rather than a great judicial conservative like‘s Edith Jones? 

I don‘t understand it.  The president looks like, Tucker, he has ducked a fight.  What I don‘t understand, his appointments have been outstanding.  John Roberts was a brilliant choice politically and could be a great conservative.  Why he did this at this crucial time, I don‘t know.  It goes against all the grain of my judgment as to what you do.  His whole base was ready to unite behind him for a great philosophical battle, and he booted it.  He punted—he punted on first down. 

HAMMER:  Here‘s the especially weird thing, this is going to buy him absolutely nothing from his enemies it seems to me. 

We‘ll talking to Eleanor Smeal in the next block.  And we haven‘t spoken yet, but I assume she‘s not pro-Harriet Miers.

On the other hand, it‘s going to alienate the very people he needs or has needed.  She says this.  I‘m quoting it: “Many people I know, most of them pro life Catholics who opposed the war and much of the rest of Bush‘s agenda, felt obligated to vote for the president on this one issue, that issue being abortion. 

I know a lot of people that way—who feel that way and at least he‘s pro life.  At least for a long time, going to appoint people.  Many voters feel that way.  This seems to alienate the very people. 

BUCHANAN:  Tucker, I‘m one of those people.  I was against the president and the war, on immigration, on spending, on a number of issues.  And people said why are you supporting him?  I said because I want George Bush not John Kerry, picking the next two Supreme Court justices. 

I mean, social issues—the Supreme Court decides all of them for us.  It shouldn‘t, but it is deciding them.  And to turn this glorious opportunity into a crony appointment, a gold watch for an old friend, I think it‘s a recoil from greatness. 

Here‘s one of the most interesting I‘ve seen, Christian conservative groups that I defend, I think they are condemned in the press a lot of the time, but they just instinctively backed this nomination. 

James Dobson, Focus on the Family, “We welcome the president‘s nomination of Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court,” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

               

The head of the Christian Coalition, Roberta Colmes. Quote, “I‘m honored that the president nominated a women.  Quote, “As a woman, I‘m honored that the president would choose another woman.

You can‘t find a dumber sentence than that.  Why is the Christian right, people who are supposed to be committed to ideas, instinctively, with knowing nothing about this woman, backing the president‘s choice?

BUCHANAN:  All about phone calls.  They were probably informed it was coming, and they probably tall on the G.T.  And somebody told me about David Souter, she‘s solid or he‘s solid, go along with the program here.  Solid, we‘ve get them on this one.  We can get this through easily. 

I think that‘s exactly what happened.  Some of us didn‘t get any phone calls, Tucker, and we woke up and we saw it cold.  And we‘ve been waiting for this opportunity, and we reacted normally and naturally as conservatives. 

This—look, this could turn out to be a good choice.  But you don‘t roll the dice with the critical Supreme Court appointment.  You don‘t appoint someone to this great and honorable position who simply is not qualified for it.  What are Harriet Miers‘ qualifications for the United States Supreme Court?

CARLSON:  That‘s a solid question.  In the piece you wrote today, you said her qualifications are, quote, “nonexistent.” 

What do we know about her?  All of us, I think—I certainly am, it seems as you are—are assuming that she‘s going to turn out to be more liberal than conservative, but do we have any evidence about what she thinks about social policies?

BUCHANAN:  I do.  I have some information from people that knew her in Texas.  And they said she‘s a very conservative lady but they never knew her to be ideas or to be brilliant, that she just was a naturally conservative lady. 

So what we are doing, this is a leap in the dark here.  And the hope is, when she gets up onto the Supreme Court, she will follow the lead of Roberts, a Scalia, a Thomas and be with that group and vote reliably with them. 

What she‘s got to do, Tucker, is she‘s to have to stand up to the terrible pressures in this town, which you know will be pushing her and drawing her left ward.  So the question is, does she have the moral character of Clarence Thomas to go through the beating, the whipping he took, he takes every year and to stand your ground?

And to do that, we have people who will do that.  Edith Jones has done it.  These folks have been through the fire.  That‘s why you pick someone like that.  You know from day one, if they get through and you have to fight, if they get through, we‘ve won.  We are rolling the dies here. 

I spoke to someone today who knows Harriet Miers well and says she is very nice, sweet person, fair, and said I would be shocked if she turns out to be conservative. 

Up next, the woman who heads the Feminist Majority.  She tells us where she stands on the latest nominee to the high court.  Plus rewriting the history books, a growing trend to teach history with more racial sensitivity that would lead to a more accurate account of America‘s past or simply stir up racial tensions?  That‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The government makes a grab for Florida beach front property that could lead to the bulldozing of 2,000 homes.  If the term Redskins offends you, look and see who came up with it. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Today President Bush nominated White House counsel, long time friend Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O‘Connor on, the Supreme Court.  The 60-year-old Miers is described as a trail-blazing woman in the field of law.  How does she fare with women‘s groups?  Thanks for coming on. 

ELEANOR SMEAL, PRESIDENT, FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION:  Good talking to you. 

CARLSON:  She is, I guess, according to those who keep track of these things, a trail blazer among women.  You must be thrilled. 

SMEAL:  Well, I‘m glad he appointed a woman and there‘s no question she was the first woman president of the state bar in Texas and of the Dallas bar and she was the first woman partner or senior partner presiding, managing partner of a major law firm in Texas.  That‘s all good. 

CARLSON:  Congratulations, you can retire now.  Basically, you‘ve achieved your goal to get Harriet Myers to positions of power?

SMEAL:  As you said in the promo, I did testify for Sandra Day O‘Connor.  But that was a different time.  But not only that; we knew more about her. 

What the problem here is is that she is essentially, at this moment, a stealth candidate.  She has virtually no paper trail.  And what‘s at stake is, for women, basic rights.  We have a lot of five-four decisions that affect the rights of women, so we‘re going to be looking very closely at where she stands on key fundamental rights for women. 

CARLSON:  But at the time, you testified on behalf of Sandra Day O‘Connor, we had no idea that she would wind up supporting Roe v. Wade.  I remember it.  I wasn‘t that old, but I remember it really well.

And I don‘t think President Reagan ever would have nominated her or been able to get past his conservative base, nominating her, if he knew at the time that she was going to support Roe v. Wade, as she did.  And yet, you testified on her behalf anyway, not knowing that.  How is this different?

SMEAL:  I don‘t think that was true.  We did know more about her.  She had been on the bench there.  She‘d also been the majority leader in the Arizona Senate. 

And we felt that she had not only experienced sex discrimination but she was in favor of eliminating it.  And also, and I felt that she was going to be a person that would not going erase women‘s fundamental rights and reproductive rights.  And I think my judgment was right. 

CARLSON:  You must be looking at the contre temp now in progress over, the conservatives being upset about her nomination, with some pleasure. 

I mean, here‘s a woman who has not said nothing particularly conservative for a good long time, who gave money to the Al Gore and Bill Clinton campaigns.  And has succeeded in infuriating people like Pat Buchanan, and for that matter, me.  Those are pretty good signs from your point of view, aren‘t they?

SMEAL:  I just loved hearing Pat rant and rave.  But our problem right now is although, yes, it‘s good that he got part of the equation right, that he‘s putting another woman on.  Frankly, I‘d like to see two more women on, but right now we don‘t know where she stands. 

And so she‘s a stealth candidate.  We‘ve got to investigate that. Think that the Senate must ask tough questions in this time.  They must get answers.  And if they don‘t get answers, we can‘t take the roll of the dice twice in a row. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s the part I‘m confused by.  Why isn‘t it enough that she is a woman?  Why isn‘t her sex enough?  I have this piece that you wrote today...

SMEAL:  We‘ve never taken that position.  We‘ve never taken that position.  We‘ve been for women who are promoting women‘s rights.  And we have come out against other women in the past. 

CARLSON:  Well, isn‘t that sort of weird to designate a certain position, a pro-woman position?  Does that mean women—hold on.  Does that mean women who are opposed to that position are anti-women?  How can that be?

SMEAL:  Well, if she‘s for, for example, equal protection clause for women, if she‘s for Title 9, who is equal educational rights.  if she is for the right to choose and reproductive rights and the right to privacy.

A lot is at stake for women.  Affirmative action, you mentioned it before—that‘s very important to for us.  Right now what we know in public, for example, on the right to choose, it appears when she was the state Texas bar president, she introduced a resolution that was for essentially reversing or eliminating its position, which was pro reproductive rights. 

CARLSON:  Why would the American Bar Association weigh in on something like abortion?  I think—I hope you‘re absolutely right, and she turns out to be, you know, an operation rescue. 

SMEAL:  I didn‘t say that. 

CARLSON:  I hope—let just say for the record, I hope that she invites Randall Terry over for dinner her first night on the court. 

SMEAL:  By the way, it appears that Operation Rescue, or at least some parts of it, have come out against. 

But I think that one thing both sides are saying here is that the stakes are very high, and we do have a right to know.  The public wants to know the answers.  And so I think that the burden will be on her to answer the questions now. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Well, if you‘re suspicious and I‘m suspicious and Pat Buchanan is suspicious, my question is, who is pleased with this?  If you‘re pleased, give us a call.  We‘d love to have you on. 

In the meantime, Eleanor Smeal, thanks for coming on. 

SMEAL:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still to come, food fight in a Pennsylvania high school.  Teenagers boycotting healthy school lunches and demanding their pizza and their French fries.  Back to that story in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:   It‘s a dirty job, but someone‘s got to do it and nobody does it better than our outsider.  He‘s the professional devil‘s advocate, who joins us nightly.  from ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing, it is Max Kellerman.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Happy Rosh Hashanah, Tucker.  Happy new year. 

CARLSON:  Happy new year.  What year is it, by the way?

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t know.

CARLSON:  Come on now.

KELLERMAN:  I‘m very impressed.  I‘m watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” on Sunday.  It‘s one of my favorite shows.  And they make, like, three Tucker Carlson references. 

CARLSON:  And all of them they were highly complimentary. 

KELLERMAN:  If you have a bow tie, and you‘re a white guy, apparently you‘re Tucker Carlson. 

CARLSON:  If you‘re not, you‘re Louis Farrakhan.  Those are the rules.

KELLERMAN:  Apparently, yes.

CARLSON:  First up, eminent domain on the Riviera.  Riviera Beach, Florida, that is.  It‘s a poor, mostly black community where the mayor plans to create jobs, he says, by building a billion dollar water front yachting and housing complex.

To make room for it, more than 2,000 homes could be bulldozed.  Developer says people with yachts need a place to keep and service them.  He actually said that.

When that Supreme Court decision came down earlier this year and people said, you know, it‘s not going to be widespread, this idea that government can take your house away from you because someone else might put it to, quote, better use. 

But it turns out, yes, it is now widespread.  And this is just the case we heard about.  This is—I mean, this town is actually probably going to be saved by the fact it‘s mostly poor and black.  There will be an outcry.  Jesse Jackson, I hope, will go.  One good thing Jesse Jackson does.  But the principle is almost outrageous. 

KELLERMAN:  I‘m not going to defense eminent domain on the principle.  This is how I‘m going to defend this particular situation. 

If this situation shines a light on what they‘re trying to do with Justice Souter‘s house because there‘s a conservative movement that they are trying to requisition his house based on eminent domain, turn it into the Lost Liberty Hotel, because it would be a tourist trap, and it would generate more revenue than Justice Souter‘s house does in late beginning community, if this.

If examples of eminent domain serve to help that go through, help the requisition Justice Souter‘s house, that‘s a good thing. 

CARLSON:  To convince people that eminent domain‘s a bad idea.

KELLERMAN:  Ultimately, yes.  I want Souter—even if eminent domain stays, I want him to lose his house.  He‘s a Supreme Court justice who I‘m ashamed to say is on the left and voted for eminent domain.  And it was a brilliant idea to use his house as an example.

CARLSON:  You are basically making exactly the same argument Charles Manson made when he sent his minions out to commit those murders.  Right?  He said these murders are bad, but they will waken people to injustice in American society, thereby spurring a war, thereby cleansing America.  Two wrongs do make a right. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, the Manson argument.  The only one.  Aren‘t you supply side?  This is just kind of a form of supply side. 

CARLSON:  It is so horrible.  This will open peoples‘ eyes to really how scary government could be. 

KELLERMAN:  This is scary. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more.

All right.  Next up, is the term Redskin an insult?  That‘s what some professional grievance groups claim, demanding that Washington‘s football team remove the so-called slur from its title. 

But a Smithsonian scholar says the word isn‘t offensive or wasn‘t always offensive.  Ides Goddard (ph) concluded the word was first used by Native Americans themselves in the 18th Century.  Needless to say, it was not considered an insult.

This is a fascinating piece in the “Washington Post” today. 

I would say, of course it was not an insult originally.  And in fact, I think the polls, most Native Americans, most American Indian groups are not offended by it now.  This is just another reminder that there are groups in our society that feed off of grievance and unhappiness, and strife and conflict. 

That‘s where they get their money.  That‘s where they get their reason for being.  And we should ignore them.  And this is just another reason to ignore them as they pipe up. 

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t know Native Americans, or American Indians or whatever the politically correct term is for them now, but I don‘t imagine redskin is considered a very complimentary term. 

And if you look at the history of the United States, maybe the only people who had it worse than black people in this country were the Native Americans. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  There were genocidal policies.  The state of California had a genocidal policy.  The first governor of California wanted to solve the Indian problem by giving bounties for proof of Indian deaths.  I mean, this was genocidal policy in this country. 

Mount Rushmore was built illegally on the Black Hills, which is a Sioux national holy site. 

CARLSON:  There‘s no question that a lot of Indians got the shaft. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Nobody is debating that.  The term redskin, but you have revealed what the debate is really about and that‘s guilt.  It‘s about guilt. 

We feel bad as Americans to what was done to the American Indians and what has become of the American Indian, for that matter. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  And so we transpose that on to this term.  We must think, “They must hate the term—they hate the term redskin because it sounds bad.”  Well, it turns out it was never meant as a derogatory term.  And maybe there are bigger problems the Indians are facing now. 

KELLERMAN:  Affirmative action is based on the idea that there is an equity based on something, based on some injustice in the past.  And there must be—something done to balance the scales.  And if the guilt of the people who enjoy the status quo helps to fulfill that idea, fine. 

CARLSON:  Well, it actually hasn‘t.  It hasn‘t helped at all in the end. 

KELLERMAN:  A little, maybe.

CARLSON:  I don‘t think so.

Well, it looks like you can lead a kid to health food but can‘t make him eat it, duh.  At least not in some Pennsylvania high schools.  Students there are boycotting school lunches, rather than eat food that‘s lower in fat and sugar. 

A school official said, quote, “We do have some grumbling from kids who want pizza and fries for lunch every day.  But it‘s not going to happen.  He said it with glee and a barely suppressed chuckle. 

OK.  My favorite quote out of this whole story comes from student Stacy Armstrong.  She says, quote, “We are not interested in good nutrition.  We‘re teens.” 

Exactly, so fight the battles you can win.  You can‘t make teens eat broccoli, but you can teach them grammar.  Who cares about what they‘re eating?  Cram the information into their heads.  That‘s your job as an educator.

KELLERMAN:  OK.  Fine, but children, and they should be able to eat whatever they want.  It‘s ridiculous.

CARLSON:  Yes.  Thank you, Max.

KELLERMAN:  However, the best argument I can make is, since children are not respected in this culture and with the laws of the United States do not respect children as people, as adults who can make up their own mind about things, they‘re not allowed make up their own mind about what they want to eat either, not in public schools.  Not where taxpayer money goes.. 

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m kind of against student revolts, generally, because they‘re usually pretty annoying.  But in this case, good for them; boycott those—boycott those wholesome macrobiotic lunches.  Right?  Hold out for your snickers bars.  You deserve them.

KELLERMAN:  Yes.  Yes, they do.

CARLSON:  You‘ve got a friend in me.  And in you, Max Kellerman.  Thank you. 

KELLERMAN:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Stay tuned, there‘s still plenty more ahead on THE SITUATION.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON (voice-over):  Another supreme decision for the president, but why is his latest choice so hard to judge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘ll have to wait and see.

CARLSON:  More money problems for Tom DeLay.  This another attempt by Democrats to bring the house down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m confident that a fair jury will say that Tom DeLay didn‘t do anything wrong. 

CARLSON:  Plus, a truly tasteless endeavor.  Wait till you see what‘s hopping in St. Louis. 

And from China, an inspiring lesson for those of you battling a monkey on your back.  It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It is a very bold and aggressive agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Joining us for the very first time, straight from Los Angeles and Philadelphia and probably many other places, we welcome MSNBC contributor Flavia Colgan.

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Thank you for having me.

CARLSON:  Thank you for joining us.

COLGAN:  Absolutely.  It‘s my pleasure.

CARLSON:  So, cognitive disconnect here, I get the press release by e-mail this morning from the RNC or some official Republican group describing Harriett Miers as “a female trailblazer” and I should support her.

COLGAN:  A pimple (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  Yes, but a female because this is another first for women, even though it‘s not.  My question is who are they appealing to?  And let me answer my own question.  Nobody.  They are doing to conservatives what the Democratic Party does to minority voters, taking them completely for granted.  You‘re always going to vote for us, so just be quiet, right?

COLGAN:  I mean I was just shocked.  Your producer called me this morning and surprise, surprise, I was in meetings that have nothing to do with politics.  I do do other things, so I hadn‘t even heard about it and she didn‘t have time to tell me who it was. 

And I just said, look, this is why we have elections.  The president won.  He gets to pick his people.  If she‘s qualified, if the person is qualified, it‘s not my fight so long as they‘re not some big ideologue.

Went home, looked on the Internet, saw who it was.  I speed dialed your producer back so fast.  And I said, “If Tucker is going to defend this choice, tell him to be ready for WWF SmackDown.”

This is outrageous.  I mean this is like telling someone who is on a tee ball team, by the way starting tomorrow you‘re going to be pitching for the World Series and every day for the rest of your life.

CARLSON:  Yes and it‘s not...

COLGAN:  This woman has no experience.  Didn‘t we learn anything from Mike Brown?  You don‘t put cronies and political friends into very important positions.

CARLSON:  And it‘s not even commentary on her decency as a person, which is according to everyone who knows her obvious and apparently she‘s just a kind, fair person but that again is immaterial.  This is playing exactly to the age old criticism of Bush that he values loyalty and personal loyalty to him above all else.

COLGAN:  Blind loyalty and look it didn‘t do—it didn‘t do LBJ any good to do this to pick someone that he‘s so close to and she has had some problems.  When she was at the lottery when she was the head of her law firm all scandal ridden. 

And David Fromm said today that she said that Bush was “the most intelligent man she had ever met.”  Now, look, I‘m not in the camp who thinks Bush is an idiot.  You don‘t become president by being an idiot.  But for someone who hasn‘t mastered his own language to be called the most brilliant man in history...

CARLSON:  No, no, but I think—I think that‘s fair.

COLGAN: ...is a bit of a stretch, OK, blind loyalty.

CARLSON:  You could—you could say Bush is the most decent, Bush has the best instincts, Bush is the most decisive of course.

COLGAN:  I mean that is...

CARLSON:  Do you think though, you get the sense Republicans always feel this way.  They always think, well, you know, if we make enough accommodations the left will sort of like us but the left won‘t ever like Bush period.  He gains nothing from his enemies does he?

COLGAN:  This person just, look—no, no but look no one wins.  This person is not qualified.  When I—when I first saw this I said is this a Lanny (INAUDIBLE) movie?  I mean is he putting someone out there just to bring him down so he can seem like?  But that‘s not Bush‘s kind of game.  I don‘t think he thinks that way.

CARLSON:  No.

COLGAN:  But I can‘t imagine the conservatives are not—I mean you have Pat—I‘m agreeing with Pat Buchanan, David Fromm, Bill (INAUDIBLE), you it seems like.  You know the left is progressive.  I mean I can‘t see anyone besides her parents...

CARLSON:  But I will say...

COLGAN: ...and her brother in Austin or wherever they are that are supporting this woman.

CARLSON:  Well, I will say though just in the defense of somebody the criticism from the right is principled.  The criticism from the left is just like (INAUDIBLE).

COLGAN:  Oh, I totally disagree with you.  The criticism from the left I think is very legitimate, which is this person is being nominated to the highest court in the land and she‘s never sat on a bench.  And, yes, OK Rehnquist didn‘t sit on the bench.  She‘s not a legal scholar.  She‘s not a legal mind.  You can criticize John Roberts.  I may disagree with everything he has to stand for or stands for.

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  The man is a genius period and everybody who knows him knows it.

CARLSON:  Yes, well this...

COLGAN:  What has this woman done?  Nothing.

CARLSON:  I think the bottom line apart even from...

COLGAN:  And she‘s close to him.  She‘s his general counsel.

CARLSON:  Right, it‘s bad politics.  I‘ll tell you someone...

COLGAN:  This is very bad politics.

CARLSON: ...who understands politics better, Tom DeLay, not probably anybody‘s favorite person, not personally popular even in Washington, even amount Republicans, even among conservative Republicans on the Hill, not personally all that popular but he at the very beginning of this process, he was indicted last week and he immediately came out of the box and said this is political.

COLGAN:  Bring it on.

CARLSON:  And that was smart and it turns out today more evidence that it in fact was political.  He was re-indicted by a brand new grand jury.  You know we don‘t have the time or the space, probably the attention span of anybody to do into the details of it but the closer you look at this the more obvious it is, it is political and I think he was very smart for saying that.

COLGAN:  Well, look, he‘s a Gary Hart who‘s gotten away with it, basically said, bring it on, bring it on.  I mean the guy is called the hammer for a reason.  I mean he‘s a dirty politician who plays hardball.  He shouldn‘t be surprised when people are playing him at his own game.  And, look...

CARLSON:  Wait, no, no, no.  Prosecutors aren‘t supposed to prosecute people because they don‘t like their politics.

COLGAN:  Well, first of all it smells bad, it looks bad.  You‘re right.  We‘ll never know for sure.  But here‘s what saddens me about this whole thing and I don‘t take glee by the way in DeLay going down.  I‘ll tell you that right now.  I don‘t.

And the reason is, one, I think we should be focused on real campaign finance reform not bringing down someone who is just more grossly doing something that everyone is trying to do, which is to get, you know, find loopholes in campaign finance.  Secondly, it shows politicians on both aisles that this works.  Going after people, getting big headlines.

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  They should do in Washington, D.C. what we send them and pay them to do, sit in a room and create bills that are going to improve our lives.  And third and worstly (sic) this is the worst of all because I just came from a young professionals conference and this is the type of thing that erodes people‘s confidence in politics, engagement, you know, institutions across the board and I know you think that less is more when it comes to voting but I disagree with you on that.  I think the more people that vote the stronger our democracy is.

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m not against voting obviously.  I just think that people ought to know what they‘re voting for.  I don‘t vote for a lot of things because I don‘t fully understand them.  I do think though if you disagree with somebody‘s politics, you ought to engage that person on political terms. 

You ought to say, “I disagree with what you‘re saying and here‘s why.  Here‘s a better case.  Here‘s a better argument.  Here‘s why your policies are wrong and mine are right.”  You shouldn‘t immediately appeal to someone with a gun, the federal government, a prosecutor, the police to settle what is essentially a political dispute.

You wrote I thought a really interesting op-ed today in which you lay out the case for why the Democrats ought to appeal to religious people.  Most Americans are religious and the Democrats lose the religious vote dramatically.

COLGAN:  Bill Clinton didn‘t but recently.  Bill Clinton won the majority of the evangelical Christian vote.  That‘s a fact.

CARLSON:  I don‘t think that‘s right but we don‘t have time...

COLGAN:  It is right.

CARLSON:  We don‘t have Google on the set, OK.  But look the point is the more often you go to church the more likely you are to vote Republican as it stands.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact Democrats often seem, fairly or not, hostile to organized religion, at least traditional organized religion.

COLGAN:  I agree and look I just went on the Huffington Post before I came on here and, again, I saw the post against my op-ed saying, oh, Flavia, there shouldn‘t be more religion.  People that are religious always support the war in Iraq, so forth and so on.

It‘s simply not true.  And one of the things I talk about in this article is that as someone who is a spiritual religious person, I spent years studying divinity at Harvard as you know, it drives me bonkers when the Republicans pretend like God or religion is somehow Republican.

I mean when you look at the Sudan, right, the human rights, who was there first, evangelical Christians on the ground talking about this issue long before the Congressional Black Caucus. 

Environmental issues, ten years ago they did billboards all along the Rust Belt that said what would Jesus drive?  Still the only slogan I remember to this day.  The pope, what did he come to speak to Bush about?  Not pornography.

CARLSON:  The war in Iraq.

COLGAN:  He came to ask him not to go to the war in Iraq.

CARLSON:  But the bottom line is on these symbolic issues the Pledge of Allegiance, it‘s a small thing but it matters to people symbolically.  It‘s always the left that‘s saying, oh, you know, it‘s a theocracy because we say under God.

COLGAN:  There are a lot of other issues.

CARLSON:  Right, exactly.

COLGAN:  But there are a lot of other issues and did that—look, I serve as chief of staff to the lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania, right.  One of the things that that does is oversee the Board of Pardons.  Do you think I get that many calls from Mike Farrell (ph), Alec Baldwin, no.  I‘ll tell you who is on the forefront lobbying against the death penalty.

CARLSON:  Nuns.

COLGAN:  Priests and nuns every day.  The sooner Democrats realize that they have more in common with people of faith and get out of L.A. and New York and realize that Pat Robertson and other crackpots on the right in the religious community do not represent people of faith in America, the better off they will be politically and I would say the better off they‘ll be just on a human level to get that.

CARLSON:  Yes.  But I got to say there are some crackpots on the religious left but we can invite some of those on later to prove the point.

COLGAN:  I wouldn‘t deny it.  It‘s equal opportunity crackpots all around.

CARLSON:  Flavia Colgan, all right, thanks.

COLGAN:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, a New York State commission wants more slavery taught in public schools.  Critics crying political correctness.  The man leading the movement to rewrite your kids‘ textbooks joins us here next live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCDONALD:  Coming up, if you were holding your breath waiting for Paris Hilton‘s engagement to end, you may not exhale.  We‘ve got details of a Parisian breakup on the Cutting Room Floor.

Plus, Tucker dials in to the viewer voice mail.

CARLSON:  You just can‘t afford to miss that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  A new commission in the State of New York is examining whether or not students in public schools are being taught enough about slavery.  The Arnistad Commission, named for the famous slave ship, is pushing for classroom emphasis on “the physical and psychological terrorism of the African slave trade.”  Critics say the commission is using the politically correct agenda to circumvent the state board that sets curriculum.

I‘m joined now by Democratic New York City Assemblyman Keith Wright.  He‘s the author of the Arnistad Bill.  Assemblyman, thanks for coming on.

ASSEMBLYMAN KEITH WRIGHT, (D), NEW YORK CITY:  Good evening.  Thank you.  It‘s a pleasure to join you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I‘m all for history and I think kids should know the history of slavery and I think that all Americans ought to but why at this point—how is this going to help prepare kids better for adulthood and the job market and what is this going to do for kids?

WRIGHT:  Well, I think what it will do for children, especially here in New York, it will create a commission that will I guess make a comprehensive, thorough examination of slavery.

I don‘t think—slavery, you have to remember, is the foundation.  It‘s the bedrock upon which this country was built upon.  The free labor built our cities.

CARLSON:  Parts of this country.

WRIGHT:  Well, for the most part most of the country.

CARLSON:  There was no slavery in northern New England, for instance.

WRIGHT:  OK, well OK northern New England.  There was slavery here in New York State.

CARLSON:  Right.

WRIGHT:  There was definitely slavery in New York State and I don‘t think it‘s really been thoroughly examined.  We haven‘t even reached the tip of the iceberg in terms of what children study and what they know about slavery and how, in fact, it did build this country.

CARLSON:  OK, so what‘s...

WRIGHT:  If not for slavery, we would not even have an (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  OK, that may be true.  I think that‘s—I mean that‘s something that‘s been debated for a long time and you may be absolutely right.  But what‘s the point?  I mean of all the things kids need to know to grow up and become productive members of society, get a decent job, be good parents, how is this specific set of facts going to help them do that?

WRIGHT:  As I said, I mean slavery is the bedrock upon which America was founded.

CARLSON:  Right, so America is corrupt?  Is that the point?  What‘s the point?

WRIGHT:  If you don‘t—if you don‘t know—if you don‘t know your history you are destined to repeat the failures of the past and add to the fact that because of slavery if we study slavery, we will probably have a more tolerant society. And right now, as you know Tucker, we do not live in one of the most tolerant societies here in America.

CARLSON:  Well that‘s a total crock actually, Assemblyman.  Having been to countries all over the world...

WRIGHT:  Oh, I disagree.

CARLSON: ...I know a lot about the world and I can promise you this is for all its many faults that we talk about every night on this show...

WRIGHT:  And we do have many faults.

CARLSON:  We certainly do but this is one of the most tolerant countries in the world.  Now let me...

WRIGHT:  Oh, that‘s something we can debate ad nauseum.

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, let me put your it seems to me reasonable desire to get kids educated about a facet of American history up against a current fact and that is that 35 percent of black students in New York State graduated high school, 35 percent.

WRIGHT:  OK.

CARLSON:  That‘s kind of a tragic figure, not kind of a tragic figure, out and out a tragic figure.

WRIGHT:  Well that just actually...

CARLSON:  How is this going to help change that figure?

WRIGHT:  Well, actually it will probably improve graduation rates and this goes to my point, especially in New York.  Our public school system has failed our children in so many respects, you know.

If I were a student, I would look toward suing the educational system for educational malpractice in so many ways.  As a matter of fact, there is a lawsuit pending that the governor of New York keeps appealing talking about how our kids have been shortchanged.  Kids have been shortchanged throughout the state of New York.

CARLSON:  I totally believe that but if I‘m an employer and you come to me and you say “I know a ton about the history of slavery in America,” I‘ll say that‘s great but what do you know about math?  Can you write a coherent essay?  Are you well read in other subjects?  And, if all you know about is one fact of American history, I‘m sorry, I‘m not hiring you.

WRIGHT:  Well, we‘re not just talking one part of American history.  We‘re talking about the main part of American history and that being slavery why this country was built and certainly we have not done enough in all of these years to educate children about slavery here in New York and throughout these United States.

CARLSON:  All right, New York Assemblyman Keith Wright, thanks for coming on.

WRIGHT:  My pleasure, Tucker, thank you so much.

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Coming up, were victims of Hurricane Katrina wrong to ever expect the federal government to come to their rescue?  Of course they were.  I‘ll bat that around with a call when we check THE SITUATION voice mail next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.

It‘s that time again, voice mail time.  Every night we recklessly hand out our number.  Every night you call and we play what you say—here we go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE, BOBTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA:  Hey, Tucker, this is Mike from Bobtown, Pennsylvania.  If you want to know all you need to know about the Iraqi military, when they‘ll be able to step up, how many are ready now, just pull our troops out and tell them that the only way we‘ll step in to help them out again is if it‘s a foreign power invading them.  Sink or swim time, that‘s it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Mike, I don‘t think that‘s such a bad idea.  I don‘t know if you‘re being facetious or not but I think that might actually work.  There‘s not a huge incentive for the Iraqi military to step up as long as, you know, there are more than 100,000 American troops there.  That seems like a reckless thing to do.  Is it more reckless than invading in the first place, probably not—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORDON, VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA:  Hi, Tucker, this is Gordon calling from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  A few nights ago I heard you say that people shouldn‘t expect the government to come save them right before or after a disaster.  I couldn‘t agree more and I think you‘re the only one I‘ve heard make that point, so good for you.  As a matter of fact, I don‘t want a government in office that wants me to depend on it to bring me a bottle of water.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Gordon, I think you—of course, I agree with you since you‘re agreeing with me.  I mean I think it would have been nice had the government shown up.  And when we were down there, I was offended by the slow government response because I think they have made a promise to people and particularly poor people, people who were dependent on the government anyway that they‘re going to come to the rescue. 

But I don‘t think people should believe the promise in the first place.  In the end, you‘re responsible for yourself and your family period.  Never forget that.  That‘s not an ideological point.  That‘s the truth, practical point, so don‘t expect someone to come and rescue you.  If somebody does, great.  It‘s your lucky day.  But it‘s most likely not going to be your lucky day.  Keep that in mind—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL, VIENNA, VIRGINIA:  This is Neil, Vienna, Virginia.  Hey, buddy, your answer to bullying, an eye for an eye makes the world blind my friend.  Your answer is if a guy bullies you, punch him in the face.  All we‘d have is playgrounds full of wars my friend.  Peace at its best.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  No, that‘s not peace Neil.  That‘s capitulation and humiliation.  If someone is pushing you around, you got to make him stop.  Sorry, I‘m not endorsing fighting but you got to stop the bully because he‘s not going to stop with you.  He‘ll go bully the next guy. 

And you don‘t feel good about yourself if you sit and take it from a kid on the playground or from a co-worker, from your boss or from the federal government.  You don‘t feel good about yourself when you swallow someone else‘s, you know, B.S. like that.  You got to put an end to it right away.  Sorry, that‘s your duty.  There‘s really no way around it—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHAD, MULBERRY, INDIANA:  How you doing Tucker?  Enjoy your show.  This is Chad Rogers (ph).  I live in Mulberry, Indiana.  It was nice to see kind of a lighter story in journalism with all the things that‘s been going on in the gulf coast and whatnot.

But in the future, I don‘t think we have to go down that canine, telepathic highway.  That was pretty rude for you to actually let your intelligent viewers think that you were believing that she was talking to your puppy during the interview.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Want to hear something funny, Chad?  I actually did believe it.  I did believe it and when I got home Friday night, believe it or not, because it‘s earlier on the west coast, I called her and she told me more about my elderly Golden Retriever who she said felt abandoned.  And, yes, I kind of do believe it.  I can admit that since this is a late night show. 

It‘s now 11:53 and 23 seconds.  I can tell you, Chad, sitting at home just between us, yes, I think there‘s something to what she said.  I know it‘s embarrassing to admit that in public but I‘m going to.  I like that segment.  It wasn‘t light to me.  It was actually kind of heavy.  I can‘t explain why she talks to dogs but, you know, I think there may be something there.

All right, tell us what you think.  Give us a call at 1-877-TCARLSON.  That‘s 1-877-822-7576.

Still ahead, who knew they made Nicorette for chimpanzees?  The world‘s most famous smoking primate kicks the habit.  We‘ll tell you what made her put down the Newports when we visit the Cutting Room Floor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.

You‘ve waited 54 minutes for it but now it‘s time.  The Cutting Room Floor Producer Willie Geist is here with all the stories we couldn‘t pack in—Willie.

GEIST:  Hey, Tucker, so you spent the weekend on the phone with Dr. Monica?

CARLSON:  You caught me.  I did call the pet psychic Friday night at home.  I‘ll admit it.

GEIST:  It sounds like a dream, dream, Indian summer weekend.  It sounds great, enjoy.

CARLSON:  Thank you, Willie.

Well, that loud gasp you heard on Saturday was the world‘s stunned reaction to the news that Paris Hilton had broken off her five-month engagement to Greek shipping heir and aren‘t all Greek shipping heirs also names Paris. 

The 24-year-old Hilton confirmed to “US Weekly” magazine, which it goes without saying is never wrong that she is not ready for marriage and she didn‘t want to end up divorced.  Still unclear what will happen to her 24-carat, $5 million engagement ring.

GEIST:  Tucker, if you took the under on six months, you‘re a big winner tonight and you‘re happy.

CARLSON:  Yes, I think.

GEIST:  Unfortunately I took the over.  I‘m a believer in Paris.  I thought this was the guy for her and I‘m red in the face here and I lost a lot of money.

CARLSON:  So, I believe in the dog psychic.  You believe in Paris.

GEIST:  I do.

CARLSON:  Which one is more foolish?

GEIST:  I‘m much worse.

CARLSON:  Yes, I think so.

Well, it‘s time now for this week‘s evidence that the Guinness Book of World Records does, in fact, need to be abridged.  Contestants gathered at the St. Louis Science Center over the weekend to make a run at the world record for spitting a cricket.  That‘s right.  They are spitting crickets, the insects, for distance.  The current record holder, Danny Capps (ph), showed up to break his mark of 30 feet but he and the rest of the people who spit crickets for fun came up short.

GEIST:  I think Danny‘s record is going to stand for a long, long time.  That‘s just too impressive, 30 feet.  I wonder how these people acquired this talent, you know what I mean? 

CARLSON:  Right.

GEIST:  I mean he‘s sitting in the yard eating insects and how do you—how do you learn to do that?

CARLSON:  It‘s sort of like a Reese‘s peanut butter cup.  One day the chocolate fell into the peanut butter.  One day a cricket flew into somebody‘s mouth and ugh.

GEIST:  If you‘re Danny Capps, I guess I tip my cap to you but I have to wonder why you‘re so skilled at this.

CARLSON:  That‘s almost too weird...

GEIST:  Too weird.

CARLSON: ...for the Guinness book.

GEIST:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Well they‘re the remarkable 16-year-olds who were taking up calculus, captaining the soccer team and running student government.  Then there were the remarkable 16-year-olds who are walking tightropes backwards and blindfolded while dangling over hungry lions, tigers and jaguars.

GEIST:  Wow.

CARLSON:  You‘re looking at the latter.  It took just eleven minutes for this teenager to make it the full 200 yards across the big cat enclosure at the Beijing Wildlife Park.

GEIST:  My goodness the stakes are high, although I will say I think the big cats might be a little gratuitous.  You‘re already doing it without a net, so you‘re going to plunge to your death as it is and you just want to be mauled by big cats on top of it.  I don‘t think—I think it‘s just a little too much showmanship there.

CARLSON:  They play for keeps in China.

GEIST:  They really do.

CARLSON:  They have none of those workplace safety regulations in China.

GEIST:  No, no, no or child labor laws.

CARLSON:  Well, Ai Ai, the Chinese smoking chimp is a dear friend of this show and we‘re happy to report tonight that she has kicked the habit completely.  You‘ll remember that Ai Ai began smoking 16 years ago by picking up the unfinished cigarettes of zoo visitors.  The 27-year-old chimp has now sworn off the smokes in favor of morning walks and a sensible diet of dumplings and bananas.

GEIST:  This is a nice step, Tucker.  Now, if we can just get her off the smack we‘ll have something and that‘s the next mountain to climb.  Let‘s celebrate this and move on.

CARLSON:  Can I recommend Nicorette to Ai Ai? 

Well attention citizens of Seattle.  The government wants to take away your constitutionally protected right to receive a lap dance.  Under new rules proposed by the mayor and supported by the city council, dancers would have to stay four feet away from customers.  Private rooms would be banned.  Customers could not give money directly to the entertainers.  City council meetings have drawn hundreds of concerned strippers and I can understand why.

GEIST:  Tucker, I feel about lap dances the way you feel about guns from my cold dead hands.  Government hands off my lap dances.

CARLSON:  (INAUDIBLE) lap dancers, Willie Geist.

That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thank you 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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