updated 10/25/2005 10:09:51 AM ET 2005-10-25T14:09:51

Guests: Howard Fineman, Greg Mitchell, Norm Stamper, Max Kellerman, Tracy Quan

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks to all of you at home for staying with us tonight.  Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has passed away, as you just heard, at the age of 92.  We‘ll look back at her remarkable life a bit later in the show.

But first, breaking news involving Dick Cheney and the CIA leak investigation.  This story, in the “New York Times,” likely to be on tomorrow‘s front page, filled with information we didn‘t know before.  Not exactly clear what all of it means, but, for some explanation, we bring in now HARDBALL‘s David Shuster—David? 

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Tucker, good to be with you. 

CARLSON:  What‘s the reaction?  I know this story has only been out a little over an hour.  But have you gotten any sense of how it‘s going over at the White House or on Capitol Hill? 

SHUSTER:  Well, I can tell you, Tucker, how it‘s going on over at the Georgetown Safeway, because that‘s where I was when I heard... 

CARLSON:  The social Safeway, as it‘s known in Georgetown. 

SHUSTER:  But actually, the reason that‘s significant is because I ran into a top Clintonite, whose essentially cell phone started ringing off the hook with it. 

This is going to be a blockbuster for a couple of reasons, Tucker.  First of all, the basic news of this is that the “New York Times” is reporting that Vice President Cheney learned Valerie Plame‘s identity from George Tenet, the former director of the CIA, and that it was Vice President Cheney who then passed it on to Scooter Libby, his chief of staff. 

The reason this is so significant is because, for Scooter Libby, first of all, Scooter Libby testified—according to his lawyer, Scooter Libby testified that he learned Valerie Plame‘s identity from a journalist, not from the vice president. 

So you‘ve got a problem there with Scooter Libby‘s own testimony to the grand jury.

But then there‘s a question about the vice president.  If, in fact—and, again, we‘re, of course, surmising that the “New York Times” story is true—but if, in fact, Scooter Libby was somehow—either his memory didn‘t jog with what actually happened, or for whatever reason, if prosecutors surmise that Scooter Libby was somehow trying to protect Vice President Cheney, then the big question is, why? 

Sure, it might have been embarrassing for Scooter Libby to testify that his boss, the vice president, told him about Valerie Plame.  But in the course of a federal investigation, you still want to try to be honest with federal prosecutors, especially when there might be some sort of criminal exposure. 

So there‘s a big question tonight about Scooter Libby and what this does to his status.  And reading the article, one would conclude that Scooter Libby‘s exposure may be greater than we‘d even thought.

But then the second big question tonight—and this is the million-dollar question, Tucker—and that is Vice President Cheney‘s status.  What does this mean for him?

And perhaps the only person who really knows that tonight is Vice President Cheney and the prosecutor in this case, because you‘re almost certain, Tucker, that Cheney was asked, in his own interview, about how he learned Valerie Plame. 

If Cheney said to prosecutors, “Look, I‘ll be honest with you.  I learned it from the CIA director, and I told my staff,” that may help Vice President Cheney, obviously, even as his chief of staff may face some charges.  But if it turns out that Vice President Cheney couldn‘t remember, or there were some problems or some conflicts, that‘s where, I think, Washington is really on edge now with this story. 

CARLSON:  Well, one thing that everybody in Washington immediately wonders upon an appearance of a piece like this, where did it come from?  Because where it came from tells you a lot about what it means and what it forebodes.

And in this case, if these leaks that comprised this story in the “New York Times” tonight came from the prosecutor, it seems to me it bodes poorly for the vice president.  This cannot be anything but a kind of message from the prosecutor. 

If they came, these leaks, from one of the lawyers representing somebody else in the White House, they mean something probably entirely different.  Do we have any sense where this information came from? 

SHUSTER:  Tucker, the indications we have is that it came from either Scooter Libby or his attorney.  And I can‘t exactly explain why.  Maybe, as we get a little more information, we‘ll be able to go on the air with that. 

But the point being—and it‘s worth pointing out—why, if this is coming from the vice president‘s chief of staff or his attorney, why would they put it out now? 

And the only theory, I think, that‘s out there that may have any sort of credibility is the idea that, if this is bad news, better to put this out on your terms, on Scooter Libby‘s terms, or his lawyer‘s terms, to the “New York Times,” than have it take Washington by surprise, when the indictments—if the indictments come down in the next two days. 

You don‘t want Washington to be thunderstruck by a huge allegation that suddenly comes out of nowhere in the indictment, so better to put it out on your terms.  I think that‘s the only reason I can see, because it doesn‘t certainly seem to do any good to Scooter Libby.  I think it increases the potential for his exposure.  It also raises questions about the vice president. 

CARLSON:  It absolutely—it doesn‘t reflect well on Scooter Libby at all.  In fact, parts of it don‘t seem to even make sense.  But we‘ll get into that later.  Thanks so much, David.

SHUSTER:  Good to be with you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  We‘ll be talking to MSNBC‘s Howard Fineman in a moment.  But first, the great Rachel Maddow. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANALYST:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Air America Radio, thanks a lot, Rachel.

MADDOW:  This is great stuff.  This is very interesting stuff. 

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m confused.  I‘ll admit it.  You‘re not supposed to admit it on TV when you‘re confused, but I am confused by this story in a bunch of different ways. 

The most confusing nugget in the whole story is the claim that Scooter Libby did not tell the grand jury about this purported conversation he had with his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney. 

Dick Cheney, the piece says, told Scooter Libby, “Oh, did you know that Joe Wilson, this critic of our administration, is married to this woman at the CIA?”  That‘s plausible to me, because I think he had reason to wonder about who this guy was and who he was married to. 

But why wouldn‘t Scooter Libby tell the grand jury this?  This guy is a very serious lawyer, who is famous even in a town full of lawyers, Washington, D.C., as being scrupulous, a detail man, a person who would not forget something like this, to not tell the grand jury this is insane, and he would have had to have known that. 

MADDOW:  Well, I think what this indicates is—you have to look at what we knew about their strategy before and what this seems to indicate about a change in their strategy now. 

What was the strategy before?  It was to blame reporters.  “We all

learned this just from the reporters we were talking to.”  That‘s basically

they‘d been blaming journalists for having started this whole discussion. 

Now they‘re not.  Now they‘re saying this information came from Dick Cheney. 

I think the reason this interests me—and I‘ve been saying all along, I‘ve been very skeptical about, “Oh, it‘s unnamed sources.  We don‘t know where this is coming from.  We don‘t know if it‘s disinformation.” 

The reason this is exciting story for me, the reason this seems new, is it seems like, if Scooter Libby‘s lawyer, or Scooter Libby himself is giving this to the “New York Times,” that doesn‘t speak well of how things are going between Dick Cheney and his chief of staff. 

CARLSON:  Well...

MADDOW:  If his chief of staff is turning against him...

CARLSON:  I don‘t buy that for a second.  And I‘ve talked to a number of people tonight, too.  And I also heard that this leak came most likely from Scooter Libby‘s lawyer, Joseph Tate, in Philadelphia.  He‘s a Philadelphia lawyer. 

I don‘t buy it.  I don‘t buy it.  I don‘t think it makes sense.  I am not even sure it‘s all that relevant.  And I hate to get into the weeds on that one particular question.

But I do wonder—this story, does it tell us anything about law breaking?  Is there anything illegal in this story?  I don‘t see anything here.  I see the vice president miffed because this guy, Joe Wilson, is complaining about the administration. 

And he calls up his CIA director, the CIA director, and says, “Who the hell is this guy?  And why did you send him to Niger?  What‘s his story?”  To which Tenet says, “Well, actually his wife works there, and his wife suggested him.” 

That doesn‘t seem criminal to me.  In fact, I don‘t see how it is criminal. 

MADDOW:  Well, there‘s nothing criminal about Cheney and Libby—probably—discussing her status, because they‘re both probably cleared to have that sort of information. 

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  What may be criminal is if they lied about it, if Libby actually told prosecutors something that happened, that “I learned this from the reporter,” and actually he learned it from his boss, that‘s a lie.  That may indicate... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  But imagine...

MADDOW:  He‘s facing jail for having lied to prosecutors, that may be why he may be turning against Cheney. 

CARLSON:  However, these—we know this, at least according to the piece, because of Scooter Libby‘s notes of the conversation that took place in June 2003, apparently, handwritten notes he took while speaking to the vice president. 

He, having been involved in representing many, many people, would have to know that those notes would be ultimately subpoenaed, that they would come to light, that people would find out about it. 

So it just doesn‘t—I‘m not even defending Scooter Libby.  I‘m not a friend of Scooter Libby‘s.  I‘m merely just pointing out a contradiction in a logic at the center of the story.  Something very big and very weird is going on here. 

MADDOW:  Something weird is going on.  And I think you‘re right to zoom in on that fact, of how could he have possibly thought this wouldn‘t have come out?  Why would he have thought that the prosecutor wouldn‘t have seen these notes and he would have told a story that contradicted the notes?

They obviously thought they weren‘t going to get caught with any of this.  And that‘s why they‘ve made big mistakes along.  That‘s why they‘ve done a lot of stuff, like, have all the reporters‘ names in all the logs of entering the White House or calling into the White House.  They shouldn‘t have done that, if they were going to try to get away with it.  They thought they would never get caught.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Or maybe they thought—maybe they assumed, doubtless they did, that it was not a crime from the beginning.  We‘ll find out.

MADDOW:  It was a crime, if they disclosed her covert... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, we‘re going to Washington, D.C., tomorrow.  We‘re taking this show to Washington, D.C., for the rest of the week.  This is a big story.  We recognize it as such.  We‘re going to be there covering every part of it. 

Rachel Maddow, hope you‘ll be back every night. 

MADDOW:  Outstanding.  Thanks. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.

And now we got to MSNBC‘s and “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, who has been covering this story from day one. 

Howard, do you agree that there are really confusing elements in this “Times‘” account?  And if you do, what do you make of all this? 

HOWARD FINEMAN, REPORTER, “NEWSWEEK”:  I‘ve been reading it backwards and forwards.  David Shuster and I were just sitting here reading the thing yet again. 

That‘s the situation we‘re in right now, because the “New York Times” has the scoop, has the story.  And all we can do is try to read between the lines of it. 

A couple of things I would point out, Tucker.  One of them is that somebody who also worked at the CIA with former CIA Director George Tenet says that, contrary to what Libby‘s notes apparently say, that it wasn‘t Tenet who told Dick Cheney about Valerie Plame being the wife of Joe Wilson, et cetera, which is fascinating in and of itself.

Because, if that‘s true, then Cheney learned about it otherwise than from the CIA, which I mentioned because what this story is all about is showing that Dick Cheney was a much more hands-on actor in this thing, in terms of not only selling the war, which we know, but trying perhaps to discredit Joe Wilson. 

That‘s one of the important things here. 

CARLSON:  Well, give me some perspective on this.  I mean, I have said from the beginning I don‘t think the core alleged crime at the center of all of this is that big a deal.  I don‘t care to what they told reporters about Joe Wilson‘s wife.  I really don‘t. 

However, I do think it‘s kind of weird—sounds weird to me, anyway -

that Dick Cheney himself, the vice president of the United States, and an unusually involved vice president, would be involved at this level. 

Is it normal for a vice president to be getting involved in responding, at least internally, to “New York Times” op-eds?  Maybe it is.  Maybe I‘m lacking perspective.  It seems weird to me. 

FINEMAN:  I think you‘re right on one level.  And it does seem picayune on one level.

But on another level, this is the heart and soul of the whole identity of the Bush administration after 9/11, Tucker.  It was all about taking the fight to the enemy.  It was all about kicking butt, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. 

It was all about the neo-cons and Vulcans view of the world, that you had to use force, military force, if necessary, to remake the Middle East, if we‘re ever going to be safe from terrorists.  It was about Dick Cheney‘s black-and-white, sort of Hobbesian view of things. 

And it was Dick Cheney who was central to that view.  It was Dick Cheney who helped sell George W. Bush on it.  It was Dick Cheney who was the operational key to it, both in the run-up to the war and in the effort to defend the war, after it had been launched, and defend the rationale for it.

And I can tell you, from my own personal experience, Tucker, in that spring of 2003 and summer after the war, that the Cheney‘s office, the vice president‘s office, was vigilant in the extreme on anybody who was writing or talking about this issue. 

Joe Wilson was on the radar screen.  Joe Wilson was clearly feeding the “New York Times,” Nick Kristof, you know, on the op-ed page, feeding the “Washington Post.”

Don‘t forget, on the morning that this conversation took place between Dick Cheney and Libby, the notes of which are now known, the “Washington Post” had a front-page story that was engineered by Joe Wilson, apparently, talking about this trip to Niger, you know, to check out the claims about Saddam seeking uranium. 

CARLSON:  So it‘s not just that Joe Wilson wrote this now famous “New York Times” op-ed saying the administration was pushing hokum on the public. 

FINEMAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  He really was a kind of active force, working behind the scenes to undermine the administration‘s case for war. 

FINEMAN:  No question about it.  They identified that early.  And he was on Dick Cheney‘s radar screen, we now know at least a month before Bob Novak‘s article appeared in which Novak named Valerie Plame, so that‘s an important fact, too. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Howard Fineman, this is going to be big tomorrow.  I really believe that. 

FINEMAN:  It‘s big that you‘re coming to Washington. 

CARLSON:  I can‘t wait.  I‘ll see you there.  Thanks.  Thanks, Howard.

FINEMAN:  OK.

CARLSON:  Coming up on THE SITUATION, Hurricane Wilma was the strongest Atlantic storm on record.  How much of that power did Florida feel today?  We‘ll have a live report to assess the damage. 

Plus, one of the heroes of the civil rights movement has passed away tonight.  We‘ll look back at the life of Rosa Parks when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Florida is recovering tonight after feeling the wrath of Hurricane Wilma.  Over 6 million Floridians were reportedly left without power and stuck in severe flooding after the Category 3 hurricane tore through the state with winds of up to 125 miles per hour.  At least six deaths are currently being blamed on that storm. 

NBC‘s Ron Blome was right in the middle of it all earlier today.  He joins us now live from Naples with the very latest—Ron? 

RON BLOME, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Tucker. 

Well, Wilma‘s the storm that doesn‘t want to be predicted too well.  And after all, it was two days away from Naples for almost a week.  Now it‘s racing up the Atlantic coast, still a Category 3 with very strong winds. 

They weren‘t sure whether it was going to come in as a strong 1, or a weak 2, or a strong 2 yesterday, and then towards the end, they said, “Well, it could be a 3.”  And, boy, was it, when it came ashore. 

We were talking to one of the amateur weather trackers who was out here yesterday or early this morning.  He said he recorded 135-mile-an-hour winds on the anemometer on top of his vehicle. 

Here in downtown Naples, we were getting a steady 50 to 60 with gusts, to 80 or higher.  And all of that brought down a lot of tree limbs and pulled up some water lines as the trees toppled over.  It caused quite a bit of problems. 

Al Roker had trouble.  It took a couple of cameramen to hold him down, to keep him from being blown away. 

It was surprising.  And what surprised us was how ferocious the winds were on the back side.  I got to tell you, I‘ve been through dozens of hurricanes.  Each one seems to hold a new surprise.  And the surprise of this one was the winds on the back side. 

Just ask the people over on the east coast of Florida, Miami, Ft.  Lauderdale, that whole area got pummeled.  We understand that there were a lot of windows in the high rises that were blown out. 

Kerry Sanders of our staff said that a tree fell on his wife‘s car in his neighborhood in Ft. Lauderdale.  There were some churches that were downed up in West Palm Beach, where Ron Mott was reporting.  He was blown around quite a bit. 

And down in the Florida Keys, they really suffered this week.  They lost two festivals.  They lost millions of dollars in tourism revenue.  And a third of the town was flooded.  So Wilma leaves a legacy, not to mention there‘s no power here for about half the state for a couple of days. 

Back to you.

CARLSON:  NBC‘s Ron Blome in Naples.  Thanks, Ron. 

Well, there is sad news tonight from Detroit, Michigan.  Rosa Parks, the seamstress who helped spark the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, has died at the age of 92.  After Parks was arrested and jailed, Martin Luther King called for a bus boycott of Montgomery, Alabama. One year later, the Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional. 

Bob Dotson has more on the life of Rosa Parks.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB DOTSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  For a century following the civil war, the American way of life came with a separate door, whites in front, blacks in back.  A quiet seamstress, Rosa Parks, refused to take that door and started a civil rights revolution. 

ROSA PARKS, LATE CIVIL RIGHTS ICON:  I didn‘t get on with the intention of being arrested. 

DOTSON:  But she was, for failing to give up her seat to a white man. 

In 1955, that was the law in Montgomery, Alabama. 

ANDREW YOUNG, FMR. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SCLC:  She was the kind of person who had the total respect of the community, and they rallied around her and started a movement. 

DOTSON:  An unknown 27-year-old minister named Martin Luther King ordered a bus boycott. 

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER:  I don‘t believe that we are ever going back to any segregated buses. 

(APPLAUSE)

DOTSON:  The boycott spread across the country.  A year later, the Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional.  Rosa Parks got her seat.  It took her to Detroit, away from threats of violence.  There, in her home, 38 years later, she was beaten by an intruder who stole $53. 

PARKS:  I was screaming and trying just to ask him to not hit me. 

DOTSON:  He had forgotten.  Rosa Parks never did.  She would not budge on that long-ago bus, because she had been forced from the seat once before by the same driver the day she tried to register to vote in 1943. 

PARKS:  As long as we did give in, it meant that they could say that we were satisfied with that type of treatment. 

DOTSON:  Rosa parks never was. 

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I thank the Congress for honoring Rosa Parks. 

DOTSON:  And for that, she was given this country‘s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.  People said she was tired the day she refused to give her bus seat to a white man.  “They were wrong,” she said.  “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

Bob Dotson, NBC News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)  

CARLSON:  Rosa Parks, dead of natural causes at the age of 92.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

The nearly two-year investigation into the leak of a covert CIA officer‘s name could end this week with indictments handed down to top aides at the White House. 

But Karl Rove and Scooter Libby aren‘t the only ones in danger of losing their jobs in the wake of this scandal.  “New York Times” reporter Judith Miller is also facing a growing chorus of opposition, some of it from her own colleagues at the “New York Times.”

Greg Mitchell is editor of “Editor and Publisher,” a journal that closely follows the newspaper industry.  He wrote a column calling for Judith Miller to be fired.  He joins us now live from New York to talk about that column. 

Greg Mitchell, thanks for coming on. 

GREG MITCHELL, “EDITOR AND PUBLISHER”:  Hi, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know Judith Miller.  I‘ve never even met her.  I have no personal allegiance to her or affection for her.  But I‘m just honestly confused by the vitriol aimed at her. 

One sentence from this piece you wrote, quote, “She has brought dishonor to the paper for so long and in so many ways, you have to wonder how and why does she get to keep her job?”

What are you talking about?  Can you give me a couple of examples of her, in print, bringing dishonor on her paper? 

MITCHELL:  Well, most notably, before the Valerie Plame episode, was her reporting on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which was so faulty and so flawed that it was eventually—the “Times” itself had to bring her to task on that. 

CARLSON:  Well, I keep hearing that.  I keep hearing people say almost exactly what you said, and I‘m willing to believe it, but I‘m a little confused by what specifically you‘re talking about.  Can you give me one specific example of mistakes she made that she shouldn‘t have made, that she made through negligence or some other reason? 

MITCHELL:  Well, her whole reporting on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  She was one of the prime leaks for people in the administration, which now came up again in the Plame episode.  And her stories in the “Times,” in the front page of the “Times,” on four or five different occasions presented evidence that simply, as we now know, did not pan out.  But, you know...

CARLSON:  Hold on.  You could say that same of, boy, almost everyone in Congress on both sides, of me, possibly of you, of anybody who was involved in gathering or disseminating or repeating the news back in 2003.  Everybody got it wrong, pretty much, about WMD. 

What did she do that no one else did? 

MITCHELL:  Well, she was a real activist in reporting these things.  Some of the information and the things that people then repeated that became conventional wisdom came out of her articles. 

One of the main things that she promoted, the specter of Saddam‘s nuclear capability and the fact he had nuclear weapons, which was then seized on by Vice President Cheney and then became a drum beat in the press.  So she was a real activist in that, much more than other reporters.

But I hate to dwell on that, because people who are on her case and on the “New York Times‘” case now because of the Valerie Plame revelation...

CARLSON:  Right. 

MITCHELL:  ... and Miller‘s role in that often say that people are just still mad at her about the war and about WMDs, and so forth.  And, you know, yes, there are people who still resent that, including many, many people at the “New York Times.”

CARLSON:  But you, in your piece, this is the part that really troubled me about your piece about her.  You appear to be siding with the government, criticizing Judith Miller for not giving her notes over to the prosecutor quickly enough, and being confused about where they were. 

Isn‘t it a little bit odd for a journalist or someone who covers journalism like you to side with a prosecutor over a reporter? 

MITCHELL:  Well, not in this case, because I think the question is, what was she really doing?  What was her real agenda?  Was she acting as a real reporter in this or was she acting as basically an arm of the Bush administration, as she did in so much of her coverage? 

CARLSON:  You‘ve given me not one example of her doing that. 

MITCHELL:  Well, I‘ve given you the numerous articles she wrote in covering WMDs and the fact that, as we found in the “Times” own article that they ran last week, that she was acting in trying—not in so much protecting her source, but protecting Scooter Libby and other people in the administration. 

I mean, as David Halberstam told us today this afternoon, he said what troubled him the most about her was that she seemed to owe her primary allegiance not to her newspaper but to the vice president‘s office. 

CARLSON:  Again, I keep hearing that.  And I would just love—mostly almost exclusively from the left.  I don‘t know why it‘s breaking down along ideological lines, but it seems to.

And I also hear a lot of personal attacks against her.  Maureen Dowd had this incredibly nasty and catty column the other day—I think on Saturday—in which she recounted a story about how Judy Miller wouldn‘t give up—or wanted her seat in the White House briefing room. 

I mean, she‘s a reporter, you know?  You‘re around reporters all day long.  They‘re not the most polite people.  So what?  Why are these attacks being repeated? 

MITCHELL:  Well, it goes to show how much she has rubbed people the wrong way, even in her own office.  And so she‘s made an awful lot of enemies along the way.  And it comes out in a case like this, where she was involved in a very dubious operation, as involved in the—both the Plame scandal and her WMD reporting before that.

And she—I mean, another thing that‘s very important in this, when you‘re talking about firing, is that she did not cooperate fully with her paper, when they were trying to tell the full story, just within the last two weeks of what happened.

CARLSON:  Incidentally, she disputes that, but I would—unfortunately, we‘re out of time—but what I would really in the future love to see—I am convincible on this—specific examples of how she screwed up for malicious reasons, you know, worse than anyone else. 

But, anyway, thanks a lot for joining us. 

MITCHELL:  I‘ll be happy to provide that. 

CARLSON:  Good.  You got my e-mail.  Greg Mitchell, thanks. 

Stay tuned.  Still plenty more ahead where that came from on THE

SITUATION.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON (voice-over):  The Donald gets a new day job. 

DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESS MOGUL:  I am not doing a very good job of doing Donald Trump. 

CARLSON:  Use a pumpkin, go to jail.  A cautionary tale about Halloween pranks that bomb. 

Plus, why business is picking up for one doctor who makes unusual house calls. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just have to grin and pick it up. 

CARLSON:  And one woman‘s very public outcry for gratifying sex.  It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, this really isn‘t that bad. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

While violent crime may be at historic lows in America, the number of arrests for drug abuse violations has more than quadrupled since 1970.  Last year, more than a million and a half drug-related arrests were made. 

My next guest has a solution:  Make drugs legal.  And not just pot and cocaine; he wants to legalize meth and heroin, as well. 

Norm Stamper is the former police chief in Seattle.  He‘s written a book about his 34 years on the force, called “Breaking Rank:  Top Cop‘s Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing.” 

He joins us now live from New York. 

Mr. Stamper, thanks a lot for coming on. 

NORM STAMPER, AUTHOR, “BREAKING RANK”:  Thank you.  Thank you very much. 

CARLSON:  Now, here‘s the part I don‘t get.  I am completely for and have been for a long time decriminalizing most drugs, because then you still have legal leverage over people who go over the line, who can‘t control themselves right, who abuse drugs, and that isn‘t good for society, as you know. 

What‘s the argument for legalizing drugs? 

STAMPER:  Well, when you consider that this is a war, declared back during the Nixon administration, that has been prosecuted by seven successive presidents, and those statistics of the type that you just cited continue to roll in predictably year after year after year, I think we need to conclude that the war on drugs has not been successful. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not working.  But why legalization?  Why is that the answer? 

STAMPER:  That‘s, I think, the important question.  Legalization would have the effect of regulating drug trafficking.  It would take drug trafficking out of the hands of the black market. 

It would impose standards.  It would—the reason kids, for example, are able to score drugs so easily is because dealers don‘t card them. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

STAMPER:  If we were to regulate all drugs, take it off the black market, we would then see government licensees who don‘t want to lose their licenses, insisting that people be 21 years of age to purchase drugs. 

CARLSON:  Well, wait a second.  I mean, you were a cop for more than 30 years.  You know, kids have no problem getting alcohol or getting cigarettes. 

STAMPER:  They have a...

CARLSON:  Isn‘t that the problem?  I mean, there would be more drugs if they were legal.  That‘s pretty common sense.  I‘ve heard libertarians argue the opposite, but that‘s garbage, and you know it.  There would be more drugs. 

STAMPER:  No, I‘m going to side with the libertarians on that. 

CARLSON:  How does that work?  Once they‘re legal, and anyone can get them, there will be fewer drugs? 

STAMPER:  Twenty years old and up...

CARLSON:  Right.

STAMPER:  ... those individuals can get drugs under the plan that I would propose.  The problem today is that kids know that they can score tobacco, they can score a six pack of beer much more—it‘s much more difficult to purchase tobacco and alcohol than it is to purchase half a lit of marijuana. 

CARLSON:  Yes, maybe.  Yes, maybe pot.  But, I mean, still, the arrival kid, certainly the average middle class kid, literally the average kid in America, is not exposed to heroin.  He‘s just not.  It‘s just not everywhere.

I mean, there are pockets of heroin used in the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the country, but the average person doesn‘t come across heroin very often.  He comes across beer, because it‘s in every convenience store. 

So you would all of a sudden have heroin in every neighborhood.  How could that be good? 

STAMPER:  I‘m not sure that we would have heroin in every neighborhood.  What I do know is that taking the drugs off the black market would give government an opportunity to control them and to exercise responsibility over those licensees so that, if there are any fractions, they can be dealt with effectively and aggressively. 

CARLSON:  But then you have a scenario—I mean, I think you‘re partly right.  But then you also have a scenario with a moral cost.  You have government profiting from the addictions of its citizens.  And that‘s an ugly place to be, isn‘t it? 

STAMPER:  Well, an even uglier place to be, it seems to me, is to have drug traffickers monopolizing all the funds that are associated with this illicit commodity.  The commodity‘s not going to go away.  It never has.  It never will. 

So if we want to begin to make sense of the drug scene and government‘s response to drugs, it seems to me logical that we would impose these standards and enforce them rigorously. 

CARLSON:  You‘ve gotten—the most controversial line, I thought, in the op-ed that you wrote summarizing your position on this, you used the phrase “responsible drug use.”  Few people have the brass, frankly, to come out and say that.  I completely agree with you. 

There can be responsible drug use.  Not everyone becomes a dope fiend after using dope.  But there are some drugs like heroin where there aren‘t really recreational users of heroin, or not so many.  I mean, it‘s physically addictive after a while. 

So what‘s the justification for that, heroin? 

STAMPER:  Well, so is alcohol to an alcoholic. 

CARLSON:  Not to that extent. 

STAMPER:  Alcohol, certainly, causes more problems than all other drugs combined. 

CARLSON:  Right.  But a person who has—who drinks beer on 10 successive nights is not likely to become an alcoholic.  The person who shoots heroin 10 successive days will be addicted to heroin. 

STAMPER:  Well, I don‘t think somebody who drinks a lot of beer 10 successive nights has probably got drinking problem. 

I belong to an organization called LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.  And a growing number of police officers have come to the realization that they‘re just shoving against the tide, that this drug war has failed. 

If we want to make our communities healthier, if we want to make them safer, and, indeed, if we want to make sure that our children are shielded from drugs, it‘s far better to have those drugs peddled, if you will, by government licensed agents as opposed to traffickers on the streets. 

CARLSON:  All right, Norm Stamper, former chief of police of the city of Seattle.  Thanks for joining us tonight. 

STAMPER:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, you have probably seen a few scary pumpkins this Halloween season.  We‘ve got one that was scary enough to call in the bomb squad.  Plenty of tricks and treats for you, next on THE SITUATION.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Anyone can start an argument and many do.  But when it comes to no-holds-barred debate, one man takes the rhetorical high-wire, without a net, falling off sometimes, but never injured. 

Appearing tonight without his stunt-double, ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman, live from Vegas. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO HOST:  You ready to enter the octagon with me, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  I‘m ready. 

KELLERMAN:  No-holds-barred. 

CARLSON:  Totally ready. 

All right.  First up, when you think of fine dining, McDonald‘s may not be the first thing that comes to mind.  But that could change soon. 

The company is kicking off a campaign to call attention to the quality of its food.  New print ads feature McDonald‘s “Top-quality USDA eggs,” and “high-quality chicken.”  Marketing experts say the company wants to shift the focus away from its burgers‘ fat and calorie content to its quality. 

This is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea, Max, for two reasons.  One, McDonald‘s is about price and convenience.  People go to McDonald‘s not because the food is good for them but because it tastes pretty good, and it‘s nearby, and it‘s fast, OK?  So always stick with what you have going for you, A. 

B, people don‘t want to think about what‘s in McDonald‘s.  They don‘t want to know.  Don‘t even bring up the subject.  It‘s that great unspoken.  And the less it‘s talked about, the better it is for McDonald‘s. 

So once you get people thinking about what‘s inside, bad. 

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t know.  You know, you talk about calories and fat on the one hand and quality on the other.  Aren‘t calories and fat good things, calories, fat, vitamin, proteins, carbohydrates?  Those are all things that the vast majority of people who ever lived on planet Earth lacked enough of, and McDonald‘s has plenty of them. 

These attacks on McDonald‘s, like “Super Size Me,” this guy made a disingenuous propaganda piece about McDonald‘s, where at the end of his month-long only-eating-McDonald‘s stint, he was grossly—you know, he was basically diseased.  But that‘s because he would have 16 Big Macs for—you know, if you eat excesses of anything you wind up in bad health. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

KELLERMAN:  There was a reporter who did a counter to “Super Size Me”... 

CARLSON:  We had her on this program.  She went on the McDonald‘s diet.  I think it was a lot of Filet ‘o Fish, but, still, it worked. 

KELLERMAN:  And she lost weight and her cholesterol fell and everything.  It‘s totally possible to eat McDonald‘s and be healthy.  Why not explore that in the public campaign? 

CARLSON:  Because then it‘s going to raise the obvious question:  What is the secret sauce?  You don‘t want to go down that road, Max. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, all right.  Fine, I lose. 

CARLSON:  And ‘tis the season, the pumpkin season, that is. 

But Halloween or not, a homeless man is facing jail time for a trick gone bad.  Thomas Brato‘s pumpkin in a festival Saturday in Boston was admittedly unique, a hollow gourd stuffed with wires and some bags of powder. 

It didn‘t help matters much by telling a nearby fireman to, quote, “have fun in eternity.”  According to police, who cordoned off the area and blew up the pumpkin, Brato‘s been ordered to undergo a much-needed psychiatric evaluation. 

I say, go easy on the homeless pumpkin bomb nut, because, Max, it‘s actually kind of funny.  Look, it‘s a little bit over the top.  There are signs at airports telling you not to make bomb jokes, probably for good reason.  There are no signs in the public square telling you not to make pumpkin bomb jokes.  I think it‘s kind of amusing.

KELLERMAN:  Do you know how we always say, “We can‘t change our way of life, because, if we do, then the terrorists have won”? 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

KELLERMAN:  OK.  This is one way in which we have to acknowledge the terrorists have won.  You cannot make bomb jokes in public areas, period.  If you do, it should be considered, as it is here, pending a psychiatric evaluation, criminal behavior. 

CARLSON:  Yes, except—except there is the little-known pumpkin caveat. 

(LAUGHTER)

If you make a bomb joke that entails a jack-o-lantern, it‘s so over-the-top and ridiculous—pumpkin shrapnel?  Imagine that.  It‘s basically a confectionary product.  It‘s pie at that point.  You are hurting people with pumpkin pie.  Not possible.  So pumpkins just aren‘t scary. 

KELLERMAN:  You think that because the special—the secret sauce is

what do they call it at McDonald‘s—the special sauce argument worked that the pumpkin pie argument‘s going to work, Tucker? 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

KELLERMAN:  Look, if I saw wires in a pumpkin, in a public area, and the guy is telling someone nearby something‘s going to happen, I would assume that he‘s a terrorist, and I‘d be happy when they would arrested them. 

CARLSON:  Except if the bomb was orange...

KELLERMAN:  It is delicious, yes.

CARLSON:  ... and a jagged smiley face carved in it.  At that point, you know he‘s just a nutty homeless guy.  You smile and let him pass on by. 

KELLERMAN:  If the bomb is delicious, it‘s hard to argue that...

(CROSSTALK)  

CARLSON:  Exactly.  It sounds like Johnny Cochrane quote. 

Max Kellerman, live from Vegas, see you tomorrow.

Still ahead, there just aren‘t that many high-end call girls who become successful authors.  There is one, however.  And she‘s with us live tonight.  We‘ll (INAUDIBLE) at the top of the world‘s oldest profession, when we come back.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Tracy Quan‘s books about the life of a high-priced New York City call girl named Nancy Chan are technically novels, but her stories appear to be as much autobiography as they do fiction.  Quan ran away from home at the age of 14.  By 20, she was a high-end call girl in New York City. 

In 2001, she wrote her first book, called “Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl.”  The latest is called “Diary of a Married Call Girl.”  Tracy Quan joins me live in the studio. 

Tracy, thanks for coming on.  “Diary of a Married Call Girl.”  So what do you learn about marriage?  What insights do you have as an unmarried person who worked as a call girl about marriage? 

TRACY QUAN, AUTHOR, “DAIRY OF A MARRIED CALL GIRL”:  Well, first of all, of course, most of the men that we see are married.  And a lot of guys like to talk about their marriages.  I learn a lot from my clients about relationships about, in fact, even how to make a marriage work against all odds. 

CARLSON:  So give me one or two things you learned about making a marriage work, based on the exit interviews you‘ve done with all these men. 

QUAN:  Discretion.  One of my clients told me—he said, “My wife understands that every human being needs to have a gray area”...

CARLSON:  OK.

QUAN:  ... “an area of life that is not constantly under scrutiny.” 

CARLSON:  So just when your spouse splits in the middle of the day for four hours, don‘t ask questions? 

QUAN:  Well, for two adults to live together happily, there has to be a respect for privacy.  Now, I also shared a working apartment with a married call girl early in my career. 

CARLSON:  With a married call girl?

QUAN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Now, I think in a conventional—I‘m going out on limb here

but in conventional, bourgeois marriage, of the kind most Americans are in, that would be threatening, I think, to most men, to think that your wife was, in fact, a prostitute on the side. 

QUAN:  The secret of bourgeois happiness is what‘s not said.  It‘s much less to do with what we do.  It‘s not what‘s not done or what‘s done.  It‘s what‘s not said or what is said. 

CARLSON:  So, when you were working as a prostitute, did you have conventional relations?  Did you have a boyfriend? 

QUAN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  What did he think? 

QUAN:  Which one? 

CARLSON:  Well, in general, what did they think?  I mean, did they know about it?  What did they...

QUAN:  The thing about being a call girl—I was a kind of boyfriend magnet when I was working in the business. 

CARLSON:  Really? 

QUAN:  Yes, because I think that the energy that goes into being a successful call girl is, for better or worse, it‘s also the energy that attracts boyfriends. 

CARLSON:  But that‘s a lot for most men to swallow, the idea that not just you might stray once in a while, but you‘re straying on a habitual, in fact, professional basis.  You‘re doing it all the time with all these random people. 

QUAN:  Right.  Well, some of my boyfriends knew about it and some didn‘t. 

CARLSON:  Did any find out? 

QUAN:  I mean, not unless I told them. 

CARLSON:  How could you keep something like that from a man you were dating?  That‘s kind of hard to hide, wouldn‘t it be? 

QUAN:  I preferred not to.  I liked being able to tell my boyfriends. 

But I had some girlfriends who did not and did not tell their boyfriends. 

And this is a big sort of culture war within the sex industry, are the girls who tell and the girls who don‘t tell, which is a lot of what my novel is about.  Because the main character, Nancy Chan, is very attached to the traditional bourgeois thing of not telling your boyfriend.

And her best friend, Allison, is an idealist.  And she thinks that, you know, everyone should know.  People should be honest.  People should be open.  And so there‘s, like, a struggle between this new age kind of call girl and the kind of 20th century... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Isn‘t it—I mean, after you‘ve been working all day as a prostitute, isn‘t sleeping with your boyfriend the last thing you want to do? 

QUAN:  Depends on the boyfriend, the nature of that relationship.  I mean, if you are—some women find—some women in the sex industry find that working kind of gets them ready for a more romantic experience. 

CARLSON:  Kind of the hors d‘oeuvre before the main course. 

QUAN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Do you miss it, being a hooker? 

QUAN:  Well, now that I‘m writing about it, I feel that this is the way for me to channel that energy today.  I mean, I don‘t really—I started at a very young age. 

CARLSON:  Fourteen. 

QUAN:  Yes.  I felt like it was time for me to move on, so I can‘t say I really miss it.  But I would not have been happy quitting and becoming, you know, a school teacher, or a banker, or doing something that was completely unrelated to prostitution. 

I like the fact that my work now is about, you know, discussing prostitution, making up stories about it, and staying in touch, also, with people who are in the sex trade, who are sort of on the ground now. 

CARLSON:  So you‘re sitting on a flight from LAX to La Guardia next to somebody.  “What do you do?”  “Well, I work for AT&T.  What do you do?”  “I‘m a former prostitute who writes about it.”  What‘s the response you get? 

QUAN:  I‘m not like that.  I‘m very discrete.  I don‘t people on airplane flights that I‘m a former prostitute. 

(LAUGHTER)

I mean, that‘s just not my style.  But I have noticed that people are

I mean, I do get a lot of feedback from my books  And I have noticed that people—you know, people react to the vibe that you put out. 

If you feel good about your sex work history, other people have a positive response.  If you feel guilty about it, then you will attract these negative attitudes. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

QUAN:  But I don‘t feel like I‘ve been attracting that. 

CARLSON:  You are a very good writer.  Tracy Quan, former columnist for “Salon.”  I used to read your stuff.  I thought you really had a way with prose.  Thanks for joining us.

QUAN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  “Diary of a Married Call Girl,” there it is. 

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, just when you thought Donald Trump couldn‘t get any better, he tries his hand at acting on a daytime soap opera.  The Donald returns and turns thespian.  We visit the “Cutting Room Floor,” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Thanks to a new furlough program, he is back, Willie Geist with the “Cutting Room Floor”—Willie? 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Thanks, Tucker.

We just want to make sure our viewers know somebody forgot to pay the phone bill.  We‘ll have voice mails back tomorrow. 

CARLSON:  Yes, we will.  Had a little breaking news.  Crowded them out.

GEIST:  You and Trace Quan had some good chemistry.  It‘s almost as though you met before. 

(LAUGHTER)

Take them away. 

CARLSON:  Thank you, Willie.

You may have noticed that Donald Trump is a bit of a hero to the show.  Well, the legend grew this afternoon, when he made a cameo appearance on the NBC soap opera, “Days of our Lives.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

TRUMP:  Excuse me.  I am really very flattered, Mrs. Kiriakis. 

ARIANNE ZUKER, NICOLE WALKER ON “DAYS OF OUR LIVES”:  Walker, Walker. 

Please, Nicole. 

TRUMP:  Ms. Walker, I‘m a happily married man.  And, if it‘s a job you‘re looking for, I have all of the apprentices I need, but perhaps I could get you set up with Martha? 

ZUKER:  Oh, OK. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Yes.  There it was. 

CARLSON:  Words fail. 

GEIST:  I am so in love with that man that I am worried it‘s beginning to affect my marriage, actually.  I love him.  He does not care.  Want to be on “Days of our Lives”?  “Sure, I‘ll do it.”  He doesn‘t care.  I love him.

CARLSON:  That is so—I understand where you‘re going.  I haven‘t felt the love...

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  Keep watching.  You cannot deny it. 

Also, by the way, he got paid a million and a half dollars yesterday to make a speech for one hour.  He‘s doing OK. 

CARLSON:  I do admire that. 

Well, when Tom Barry isn‘t educating the youth of Salt Lake City, he‘s cleaning up dog bombs in people‘s yards.  Dr. Scoopy Poo, he calls himself, supplements his teacher‘s salary by charging his 70 customers $7 to $10 a week to cleaning up after their dogs. 

All told, Dr. Scoopy Poo says he picks up about 400 pounds of waste a week.  He‘s a very sick man, and I bet he‘d do it for free.  That‘s my personal editorial.

GEIST:  Tucker, this is the last straw.  We have to pay our teachers better.  There‘s been a lot of rhetoric about this.  But when they‘re supplementing income by cleaning up dog poo, it‘s time. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not a shrink, Willie...

GEIST:  I need action.

CARLSON:  ... but I bet you my car this guy enjoys it.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  It‘s more than just about the money. 

GEIST:  Gross.

CARLSON:  Well, there‘s no easy way for me to tell you this, so I‘ll just come out with it.  A Brazilian woman is suing her partner because he did not give her an orgasm. 

The 30-year-old woman not seen here with the offender, as far as we know, filed a complaint at the local police station after her 38-year-old mate failed to bring her to climax.  The police say they‘re looking into the matter.  How deeply, they didn‘t specify.  I do think, at this point, if your mate accuses you of that in public, suicide the only honorable option. 

GEIST:  Tucker, I hope she loses.  This is a very dangerous precedent. 

I might have a class action suit on my hands.

(LAUGHTER)

Just kidding, of course.  Totally kidding.

CARLSON:  That is so embarrassing.  I mean, it‘s one thing to be called a war criminal, you what I mean?

GEIST:  Yes.  It doesn‘t get you...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  When you‘re called the man who can‘t provoke the big-O, let‘s lock him up—Willie Geist.

That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  Up next, COUNTDOWN with Keith Olbermann.  Thanks for watching.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow.  We‘re on our way to Washington for the latest on the scandal.  See you then.

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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