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'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' for Jan. 17th

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Christopher Hitchens, J.D. Hayworth, Charles Gittins, Denise Austin, Max Kellerman, Rachel Maddow


TUCKER CARLSON starts right now.  Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight, baby?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  I can‘t quit you, Joe.  I‘m addicted.

SCARBOROUGH:  I can‘t quit you.  I can‘t quit you either, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you, baby.

CARLSON:  And thanks to you at home for tuning in.  We always appreciate it.

Tonight, we begin with the saga of American reporter Jill Carroll, now being held hostage in Iraq.  The 28-year-old freelance correspondent for “The Christian Science Monitor” was kidnapped 10 days ago in an incident where her interpreter was shot to death. 

The video released by al-Jazeera contains some chilling details on Carroll‘s fate.  For the very latest, we go now to NBC‘s Preston Mendenhall, who‘s standing by in Baghdad—Preston. 


Well, that video of Jill Carroll aired tonight on al-Jazeera.  It was only 20 seconds long, but it came with a message.  If the U.S. did not free female prisoners in Iraq in 72 hours, Jill Carroll would be killed. 

Now in the video, Carroll is seen speaking, but there was no sound.  It was silent.  This is the first we have seen of Carroll since her abduction 10 days ago.  It was probably welcome news for her family to see her alive, but they are clearly worried. 

The family issued a statement that read, in part, “Jill is a friend and sister to many Iraqis and has been dedicated to bringing the truth of the Iraq war to the world.  We appeal for the speedy and safe return of our beloved daughter and sister.”

Now, imprinted on that video today was a white sign that said “Revenge Brigades.”  Now, a group of that name has claimed responsibility for other violence in Iraq, but in the murky world of Iraq‘s insurgency, nobody is sure if it‘s the same group or just another one claiming responsibility for this abduction. 

Now, Carroll‘s translator was killed during the kidnapping and her driver escaped.  He was able to spread the news that another—yet another American had been captured in Iraq. 

Now, Jill Carroll joins dozens who have been captured here and held hostage by various militant groups.  And an estimated 10 have been killed in captivity here in Iraq. 

Now tonight the State Department and Jill Carroll‘s employer, “The Christian Science Monitor” newspaper, said that they will continue to do everything possible to win her release—Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I hope so.  Thanks, Preston.

Of course, we‘ll keep you updated on Jill Carroll‘s plight as we get more details. 

We move now to a remarkable story from Washington.  A number of lawsuits against the Bush administration were filed today, seeking to halt the president‘s domestic eavesdropping program.  While Bush has the National Security Agency‘s wiretapping both legal and necessary, the lawsuit which was filed by the ACLU says the plaintiffs believe their communications with friends and colleagues abroad were intercepted by the federal government.  Those plaintiffs include Greenpeace, NSA expert James Bamford and journalist Christopher Hitchens, who joins us live tonight from Washington.

Christopher Hitchens, thanks a lot for coming on. 


CARLSON:  Why did you join this lawsuit?

HITCHENS:  Well, it‘s enough already.  Today is Benjamin Franklin‘s 300th birthday.  Also the man who discovered the power of electricity.  I think it‘s a shabby way to celebrate his anniversary, to be bugging Americans without a warrant.  OK?  That‘s the simplest way of putting it. 

CARLSON:  But isn‘t—the Bush administration—I have mixed feelings about this, myself.  Unresolved feelings at this point.  But the Bush administration‘s rationale for this is pretty simple and not uncompelling. 

We have stopped terror attacks, they say, by this bugging, which they claim is within the rubric of the president‘s powers, and American lives have been saved as a result.  I know you‘ve written many articles and I believe at least one book on the war on terror, siding with the forces of progress in the west against Islamic fascism.  I‘m surprised you‘re not for this. 

HITCHENS:  If that matters, of course, I‘m—I always have been and I remain a very, very strong supporter of the president and of the interventions in Iraq and in Afghanistan.  But it‘s exactly for that reason that I think this is important. 

The more seductive the excuses, the more you have to distrust it.  I think you said earlier that the president said it was legal and something?

CARLSON:  Within the scope of his powers constitutionally. 

HITCHENS:  Yes.  Well, OK.  But within a few weeks ago it was secret, legal and all those things.  You and I are not supposed to be having this conversation.  It was first said by the president when this was revealed that it was a disgrace and possibly a crime that that was knowable that it was going on.  Now how do you like that for a constitutional...?

CARLSON:  I was totally outraged by the president‘s phony claim that somehow we don‘t have a right to know this.  I can...

HITCHENS:  Now he says—now he says, “Well, let‘s discuss.”

CARLSON:  But...

HITCHENS:  There are going to be hearings in Congress next week, I think—certainly by next month, and there‘s going to be a suit in the eastern district of Michigan, which was the last jurisdiction to strike down warrantless wiretapping as unconstitutional, upheld by the Supreme Court, by us.  And that‘s as it should be.  These things must be tested. 

You know, the NSA now, it turns out, started doing this before the president even knew about it.  He was the second person to be surprised.  Now we join his surprise in this.  This is not—this is not good enough. 

We‘re not a banana republic here. 

CARLSON:  Trust me, I‘m all for the public knowing as much as it can at all times, and I think the bar for keeping things secret ought to be really high. 

However, the question still remains, how does this hurt the public?  We know how it might help the public.  The Bush administration claims they presented the Brooklyn Bridge from being blown up with this program.  How does it hurt us?

HITCHENS:  Not blown up, actually.  It was sawed down by a guy with a blowtorch.  He may have been an evil guy, but I think he was unclear on the concept of bringing down the Brooklyn Bridge. 


HITCHENS:  Look, no, but one mustn‘t make light of this kind of thing.  I want to be sure that these people are being rounded up and smacked around, in general.  I don‘t mean tortured.  I mean to say given a hard time, made to feel unsafe and all that.  I count on these agencies to do this. 

Why should I do that, though?  They left us defenseless under empty skies on 9/11.  They haven‘t been reformed since.  Every time they‘ve been reviewed in the past, it‘s been found they were full of incompetence and veniality, as they still are.  The government says just trust them.  Why should we do this?  That‘s the first point.

The second point is suppose you lock onto a guy or a group who you really didn‘t like the look or the sound of.  You can—you can wiretap them for 72 hours and only then have to go to a judge for a warrant. 

CARLSON:  Right.

HITCHENS:  That‘s pretty expansive, wouldn‘t you say?

CARLSON:  Under existing law.  That‘s right.

HITCHENS:  Under existing law, which the president says he wants to change.  He wants to change it, he must go to the Congress to do so. 

We can‘t have emergency or panic measures becoming instated or institutionalized as permanent ones.  Especially since Mr. Lincoln, for example, when he was suspended habeas corpus, which only Congress can do, as you know, when he worked out it would be a long war, went back to Congress and said, “OK, I need your permission.”

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

HITCHENS:  Now, President Bush, who I think may be possibly at least as susceptible to temptation as President Lincoln, says we don‘t need permission. 

CARLSON:  No president ever wants to get permission from the Congress for anything. 

HITCHENS:  So—so I think it‘s a just war, but I also know that even in just wars, states try to take over the private and public sphere. 

CARLSON:  In the press release issued by the ACLU—I have not seen the text of the suits—but in the press release it implies that the people joining the suits, the plaintiffs, and you‘re one of them, believe that their communications may have been listened in on by the NSA.  Do you think your phone calls were wiretapped?

HITCHENS:  Or that I have implants in my teeth and the lights go dim when I...

CARLSON:  I‘m just quoting the ACLU.  Are you being watched?

HITCHENS:  We say that at a time when the NSA says, “We can listen to anyone in America we‘d like, and anyone they call or who calls them or e-mails them or who they e-mail,” we say, well, they‘d be dumb if they weren‘t interrogating the e-mails—excuse me, vigilating (ph) the e-mails of people like myself, who talk to the Middle East people several times a day.  That‘s all we say.

We not doing it for ourselves.  We‘re doing it for you, my dear, and of course, your friends.  They have no right to do this without a warrant, and that must be established.  There must be a line and we must know where it is. 

CARLSON:  If—if your phone—if it turns out that your phone calls to friends and colleagues in the Middle East were listened in on by the National Security Agency, would you feel violated and how, exactly?

HITCHENS:  Not I, because as you may know, I lead my life entirely in public and have no secrets and have no—nothing to conceal.  But that‘s not true of the people who talk to me. 

Just think about it like this.  Journalists like John Burns or Peter Bergen did far more to alert us to the threat of al Qaeda before 2001 than our hopeless and corrupt and uninvestigated and unaccountable intelligence agencies did. 

If people like them cannot tell their colleagues—excuse me, their contacts, “Trust me.  What you tell me is between us,” not just in the area of the Middle East but in Washington, former, present, future, members of the administration perhaps, well, it means that we already have to behave as if we are being invigilated (ph). That‘s not a very comfortable feeling. 

And then any power you give to this administration, you‘re going to give to the next one and the next. 

CARLSON:  Well, that is—that is...

HITCHENS:  What do you think?  What do you think when Hillary Clinton is president?

CARLSON:  That was actually one of the first things I thought. 

HITCHENS:  Will those others (ph) be so—be so pleased about this then?  I don‘t think so.

CARLSON:  And will President Hillary, you know, exercise the same restraint?  Probably not.

But I think you‘re absolutely right that Peter Bergen and John Burns did alert us more to the presence of al Qaeda than the CIA did.  At least, they alerted me more to...

HITCHENS:  And since. 

CARLSON:  No, I agree.

HITCHENS:  The CIA—bear in mine, I‘m a supporter of the Bush administration and I know enough about it to know the CIA has repeatedly leaked, deliberately, classified information in order to embarrass the president, to discredit the regime change policy in Iraq, to sabotage it in fact, and to undermine the troops. 

Well, why should that not be so?   This is what happens if you live in

a banana republic and you just go like that when you hear the name

“security.”  This is not a constitutional regime if it does that.  And it‘s

and it‘s time it was tested in Congress, by Congress, and in the courts, which I‘m very proud to be part of this process. 

CARLSON:  You‘re winning me over, and not for the first time. 

Christopher Hitchens, joining us live tonight from Washington, thank you. 

HITCHENS:  My pleasure.  Thanks.

CARLSON:  Still to come, are we being invaded by the Mexican army and don‘t even know it?  Do Mexican soldiers have a plans to counter-ambush if detected?  A story almost too outrageous to be true, and yet it seems to be true. 

Plus, Hillary Clinton shoots off her mouth on Martin Luther King Day, likening the Republicans to slave holders.  Should she be reprimanded for using the race card?

It‘s all ahead.  Stay tuned.


CARLSON:  Republican Congressman J.D. Hayworth launches a no-holds-barred attack on illegal immigration in his new book.  Up next, he stops by live to tell us why Americans are acting like, quote, “a bunch of defeatist wimps.”  Stay tuned.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

It seems Mexicans in search of a better life are not the only ones crossing the border these days.  Officials are warning border patrol agents in Arizona that heavily armed Mexican soldiers have been spotted north of the border recently.  Officials suspect some of those soldiers may be protecting drug shipments. 

Here to talk about this and what he considers America‘s, quote, weak stance on illegal immigration, Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth.  He‘s written a book, “Whatever it Takes: Illegal Immigration, Border Security and the War on Terror.”  Congressman Hayworth joins us live tonight from Washington. 

Congressman, thanks for coming on. 

REP. J.D. HAYWORTH ®, ARIZONA:  Tucker, good to be with you, tonight from New York City. 

CARLSON:  New York City, oh, my gosh, leaving the beltway.  Good for you. 

What do you make—what do you make of this report in the “Washington Times” today but apparently truth that the border patrol believes that on a number of different occasions, dozens of different occasions recently, armed Mexican soldiers have come across the U.S. border and, in some cases, they suspect, engaged in shootouts with American border patrol agents.  Can this be real?

HAYWORTH:  Yes, is can be real.  It is cause for concern.  It is one of many concerns we have on the border, but I would direct your attention not only to my home state of Arizona, where every night some 4,000 illegals crossed the border.

I would also direct your attention to Texas, the situation in Laredo and across the border in Nuevo Laredo, where you have former Mexican special forces who have sold out to the drug lords.  They go by the name Zetas. 

A situation there with an FBI agent—I detail it in the book—an FBI agent down there on duty gets a call on his personal cell phone from the head of the Zetas, saying, “Listen, you may have heard reports that we‘re going to rub you out.  We don‘t work that way.  We wanted to let you know that.  But if you‘d like us to rub out the guy spreading that rumor, we‘d be happy to do it.” 

It is a major cause for concern.  And this is fast escalating into a border war.  The problem, however, is one side, the United States, is taking on a role like Switzerland, like a neutral, rather than standing up for border sovereignty. 

CARLSON:  It seems even worse now.  We seem to be aiding and abetting.  And I mean, here you have the Mexican government actively helping illegal immigrants coming into our country, therefore, break our laws. 

You have its president, Vicente Fox, demand that the U.S. Congress and the president relax immigration standards.  And then you have the American president and a lot of members of Congress sucking up to the Mexican government.  How does that work?

HAYWORTH:  Well, there‘s a problem that transcends party lines, that transcends both the legislative and executive branch.  And simply stated, Tucker, it is this.  For so much of official Washington, for so many of my colleagues, they view illegal immigration and the threats on our border as a political problem to be managed, instead of an invasion to be stopped. 

And I got the wake-up call—I can recall earlier as I took a look at this problem, I wanted to see if a guest worker plan could work.  I was very fearful of putting our standing military on the border. 

But the more I listened to the people of Arizona living on the border, the more I looked back at history to 1986, and President Reagan signing an amnesty, where he said there would be strong enforcement and sanctions against business.  That may have been President Reagan‘s intent.  It was not the result.

So for 20 years we have seen a failure to enforce laws.  And now fast forward to late last year, when our secretary of the Department of Homeland Security says it is his goal to have operational control of the border in five years. 

Now, think, that announcement came 4 ½ years after 9/11.  Another five years, the irony would be by September 11 of the year 2011 we would have operational control of our borders? 

CARLSON:  It‘s ridiculous.

HAYWORTH:  That‘s wrong.  That‘s why it‘s time to do whatever it takes to understand this is a front in the war on terror. 

CARLSON:  But the attitude toward people like you, who say things like that out in the open is not merely skeptical, it‘s hostile in a lot of cases. 

I want to read very quickly an amazing part of your book, an anecdote in here.  It comes from a Republican retreat in West Virginia you attended some time ago, in which the president talked about his plan to coordinate the Social Security system with that of Mexico. 

You stood up and said you thought it was a bad idea.  The president said, “Thank you for telling that.  Thanks for being candid.”

Karl Rove, his chief political advisor, approached you afterward and said, “You say this.  You just don‘t want to help brown people, do you?”  In other words, J.D. Hayworth, you‘re just a bigot.  That‘s why you‘re against illegal immigration.  This is the Republican chief strategist Karl Rove saying this.  That just blows my mind.

HAYWORTH:  Here‘s the problem, and—and people can use the racist card—I guess the new terminology from the open borders lobby is nativist or xenophobe, but none of that is true. 

And I respect Karl.  I think he‘s got a very sharp political mind, but one thing I would caution all Republicans about, please beware of the myth of the monolith.  The notion that because someone has a Hispanic surname they instantly welcome the whole notion of illegal immigration.  It‘s not that way.

Look at my home state of Arizona.  Proposition 200 on the ballot back in 2004, 47 percent of self-identified Hispanics voted in favor of Prop 200, in favor of cutting off benefits to illegals.  That was a greater number than the 41 percent who voted for President Bush from the Hispanic community.  This transcends party lines.

And really, what you have, Tucker, is the perfect storm.  My traditional allies in business think they‘re getting cheap labor.  The left believes it will get cheap votes. 

But in the meantime, the American taxpayers get stuck with a huge bill in terms of health care and education and other entitlements. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

HAYWORTH:  And when you look at this, in terms of the war on terror, in terms of our own national security and our economic security, it is fast becoming evident that illegal immigration plays a part in every one of these issues.  It is the common thread that defines the challenge we confront here early in the 21st Century. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more.  And it is detailed in chilling detail, “Whatever It Takes: Illegal Immigration, Border Security, and the “War on Terror.”  The new book by Congressman J.R. Hayworth of Scotsdale, California. 

Congressman, Thanks a lot for coming on.

HAYWORTH:  Thank you.

Tucker, Thank you.

HAYWORTH:  Still to come, a sailor in hot water for swearing, swearing.  Were his remarks really sexual harassment?  Or has President Arrive gone overboard to appeased radical feminists?  We‘ll talk to the man‘s attorney, yes.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Swearing like a sailor.  Maybe once upon a time, but these days a Navy man can get in DEEP trouble for talking like one.  Just ask Navy Lieutenant Brian Black, a member of the faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Black faces a special court-martial and three criminal charges for allegedly using foul and sexually suggestive language in the presence of an especially sensitive female midshipman. 

Black‘s attorney, Charles Gittins, says the Navy is making an example of his client so show it‘s serious about rooting out sexual harassment at the academy.  Mr. Gittins joins us live tonight from Washington, D.C. 

Mr. Gittins, thanks for joining us. 


CARLSON:  I think a lot of our viewers have got to be staring in disbelief and thinking there must be more to this story.  Your client must have done something appalling to this midshipman to wind up being court-martialed.  Tell us briefly what exactly he did. 

GITTINS:  He had a couple of conversations that female midshipmen overheard.  He was speaking with men.  And in one case he did make a...

CARLSON:  He wasn‘t even speaking to the women here?

GITTINS:  No, no most cases not.  In one particular case he did speak to the midshipmen Fox personally, and he said something that was probably not appropriate. 

CARLSON:  What did he say?

GITTINS:  It certainly wasn‘t a crime.  I can‘t repeat it on here. 

CARLSON:  Characterize it for—did he say I want to sleep with you? 

I mean, give us one sense of what he said.

GITTINS:  He commented on a battleship and how battleships got him excited. 

CARLSON:  Give him an erection looking at a battleship, basically. 

GITTINS:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  That‘s it?

GITTINS:  And said something to the female, about, you know, doesn‘t it do the same for you?  And the midshipman responded and then my client realized that he‘d gone probably over the line.  And he cut off the conversation, and he apologized for it the following day. 

He apologized and the midshipmen accepted his apology and she considered the matter closed.  She had no intention of making a sexual harassment claim. 

Another female officer, who didn‘t particularly care for my client decided to bring it to the attention of the superintendent of the naval academy, who‘s under a lot of pressure for the handling of sexual assaults at the naval academy.. 

CARLSON:  But according to the “Washington Post,‘ this midshipman, Foxton (ph). 

GITTINS:  That‘s correct.

CARLSON:  Whose name is not being disclosed by the “Washington Post,” because the case involved sexual harassment charges, like she‘s been raped or something.

Choked up as she testified yesterday, choked up, saying she was, quote, appalled by Black‘s comments.  So it sounds like she was deeply wounded by his saying that he was aroused by a battleship. 

GITTINS:  Well, during the course of the apology with another midshipman present, she actually told my client that she went to another officer to find out if she should be offended.  And she told my client with another midshipman present that she hears worse language in the hall all the time. 

CARLSON:  Is this midshipman of if the people who are supposed to be defending our country from armed invaders.

GITTINS:  Yes, she is.  It‘s very sad. 

CARLSON:  Do you think that she‘s up to that task, someone who‘s, quote, appalled by someone saying he‘s aroused by a battle ship.  Do you think she‘s going to be ready to face down the people who want to kill us?

GITTINS:  No.  The problem is we‘re babying midshipman at the Naval Academy. 

CARLSON:  So what could happen to your client?  What kind of punishment is he facing?

GITTINS:  A federal conviction for using inappropriate language. 

CARLSON:  So what does that mean?

GITTINS:  A federal conviction is a federal conviction.  He could be denied the right to vote.  He could be denied the right to possess a firearm.  It‘s a terrible thing. 

CARLSON:  It‘s actually shocking.  Now, your contention is the academy or the Navy itself is using him as an example to show that they‘re cracking down on sexual harassment.  Is sexual harassment, getting better, do you think, at the Naval academy?

GITTINS:  Well, I think they don‘t understand—I don‘t think the midshipmen are being provided the correct definition of sexual harassment.  There‘s a book that the Navy puts out that midshipman, who I questioned under had never seen before. 

If you‘ve got a problem with sexual harassment, you ought to be putting out the Navy‘s booklet on how to handle it and how to handle inappropriate behavior and interactions between adult males and females. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more.  And I must say, just again, the idea that our country is supposedly being defended by people who can‘t even handle, you know, dirty word in public, who choke up remembering someone using a naughty phrase, just makes me shiver. 

I mean, people like that are not capable of protecting anyone, much less our nation. 

Thanks a lot for coming on, Mr. Gittins.  I appreciate it.  I hope your side prevails in this just disgusting example of political correctness gone crazy. 

GITTINS:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Up next, Senator Kennedy gets a taste of his own medicine, but should he have quit a Harvard social club just to say face?   I will defend Ted Kennedy for the first and possibly last time.  So don‘t miss it.



SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  When you look at the way the House of Representative has been run, it has been run like a plantation.  And you know what I‘m talking about.

We have cronyism.  We have incompetence.  I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country. 



CARLSON:  No mistaking who that was.  It was, of course, New York Senator and 2008 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton bashing the Republican Congress and the Bush administration at a Martin Luther King Day event yesterday.

Here to help us understand Hillary‘s sermon, from Air America Radio, our pal, Rachel Maddow—Rachel? 


CARLSON:  Nice to see you.  The House is being run like a plantation, and you know what I‘m talking about.  “Yo,” she should have said at the end.  What a ridiculous pander. 

MADDOW:  What are you talking about?  Why is it a pander?

CARLSON:  They all pander.  It‘s a pander because, first of all, she‘s putting on the kind of phony accent.  “And you know what I‘m talking about.”

MADDOW:  Oh, come on.  Arlen Specter gets up and talks like he‘s from the south of Georgia. 

CARLSON:  I hate that.  I hate that.

MADDOW:  Every senator, as soon as they‘re in the Senate, they take on a southern accent.  It just happens. 

CARLSON:  And you know what?  It always bugs me.  And it bugs me in this case. 


CARLSON:  But “run like a plantation, and you know what I‘m talking about.”  And I know what she‘s talking about.  She‘s saying, or implying, which is worse than saying, they‘re racists.  And I just wish they‘d knock it off.  It‘s always the same refrain.  If you‘ve got evidence that someone‘s a racist, call them out in public.  I‘ll denounce him, as will every other right-thinking American.  But don‘t imply it.  That‘s cheap. 

MADDOW:  THE SITUATION on MSNBC is becoming the “Don‘t call me a racist” watchdog show. 

CARLSON:  Yes, because it bugs the hell out of me.

MADDOW:  You‘ve been—I mean, you‘ve been, for weeks now, you‘ve been going on with this on the immigration thing.  “Stop playing the race card.”


MADDOW:  “Don‘t call me a racist.”

CARLSON:  You know what?  Because it shuts down...


MADDOW:  You‘ve been saying it about the death penalty, everything. 

CARLSON:  It shuts down legitimate debate.  I‘m opposed to the death penalty.  I‘m opposed to illegal immigration, right?  So I‘ve got views that are, I think, worth talking about, not necessarily consistent.  I don‘t want to be shut down in either case by name-calling, because then we can‘t have the conversation. 

MADDOW:  But the way that you‘re approaching both of these issues, your main angle on both of those issues for the past few weeks has been, “Don‘t call me a racist.” 

CARLSON:  Yes, because it‘s so tiresome and unfair, and it devalues the word, which is an important word, because it‘s an important and appalling phenomenon that all good people seek to fight. 

MADDOW:  Right. 

CARLSON:  And yet you get the impression it doesn‘t really exist because people throw the word around so much. 

MADDOW:  Well, throwing the word around, though, is that really worse that racism itself?  I mean, is that really worth talking about more on your show than racism?

CARLSON:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, I‘m not saying it is worse than racism itself.  I‘m saying I see no examples of racism that she‘s pointing to that we can talk about.  Instead, she‘s doing the worst thing, the worst kind of McCarthyite tactic, which is just to say, “My opponents, they are this.  They‘re racist, they‘re communist, whatever.” 

MADDOW:  When the Justice Department said—the Justice Department staff said, “It hurts minority voting rights to have the Tom DeLay Texas redistricting plan,” and the Bush administration came in and said, “Ignore that; approve it anyway.”  The Justice Department came in and said, “The Georgia Voter I.D. Act, it hurts minority voting rights.”  The Bush administration came in and said, “Ignore that staff opinion.  Do it anyway.”  Those, to me, are examples of racism in the Bush administration. 

CARLSON:  Boy, I...

MADDOW:  And you shouldn‘t—the issue there is not “Don‘t call it racist.”  It‘s is it racist or not?

CARLSON:  I strenuously disagree on both counts.  It‘s not racist to ask someone for his I.D. to vote, but... 

MADDOW:  The Justice Department thought that it was. 


MADDOW:  The Bush administration overruled them.

CARLSON:  The Justice Department—the civil rights division of the Justice Department is filled with a bunch of career lunatic lefties, as you know, as I know, since I live there. 

MADDOW:  Listen, wait, you just shut down...

CARLSON:  But we have a legitimate disagreement on this. 

MADDOW:  You just shut down the debate by saying it doesn‘t matter what they‘re arguing; they‘re loonies. 

CARLSON:  No, no, you were saying...

MADDOW:  You‘re name-calling, too.

CARLSON:  You‘re absolutely right.  I was saying that in response to your implication that the Bush administration was taking issue with its own people.  They‘re not its own people; they‘re people who violently disagree with the Bush administration.

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  The debate is, is it racist to show your I.D., to ask people to show their I.D.?  And I don‘t believe it is.  And we could debate that.

My only point is, Mrs. Clinton raised no specific issue at all.  She just, with the broadest possible brush, implied that her opponents were morally inferior.  And I just think that‘s a tactic that‘s grown old through overuse, overuse by Democrats.  And it‘s also wrong. 

MADDOW:  I think that you are overusing your—I think what you‘re overusing is the idea that calling somebody racist is the worst thing in the world. 

CARLSON:  No, I don‘t think it‘s the worst.

MADDOW:  And I think that racism is really one of the worst things in the world, and you should talk about that more than how horrible the allegations. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more that racism is worst than the charge of racism.  But genocide is worse than racism.  And you know what I mean?  It‘s not a question of, what‘s the worst thing in the world?  I am pointing to a specific instance of something that‘s bad and asking you to respond. 

Let me—if you think that‘s an overused conversation, try this one. 

“Hollywood is bad and doesn‘t share our values.”  Heard that before?  Here‘s Felicity Huffman last night at the Golden Globe awards.  She won best actress for the drama “Transamerica.”  Here‘s what she said upon winning. 



FELICITY HUFFMAN, ACTRESS:  I will like to salute the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation, and a life lived on the margins to become who they really are.


CARLSON:  “Transamerica” is, of course, a film about a pre-op transsexual, so this is Felicity Huffman telling us that they are brave.  Ang Lee, who won for best picture, the drama for “Brokeback Mountain,” gave a speech about how this movie tells us that homosexuality is something that, you know, is everywhere and not bad.  Geena Davis, upon winning for “Commander in Chief,” gave a speech about how we need a woman president. 

I‘m not attacking any of these pictures or shows on artistic merit.  I haven‘t seen “Brokeback Mountain,” but I‘ve heard it‘s good.  But the point is:  Isn‘t it about time that art was made for art‘s sake, a?  B, is it not true that Hollywood does have completely different values than the most of the rest of America and seeks to use its art to shove those values down the throats of the rest of America?  That‘s just true, whether you agree with the values or not.

MADDOW:  How is “Brokeback Mountain” not art for art‘s sake?  You‘re saying that it was driven by a political agenda and it‘s—therefore that overwhelms its artistic achievements? 

CARLSON:  No, I‘m actually not saying that.  I haven‘t seen it.  And I‘ve heard its artistic achievement are impressive. 

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  And so you can—I think you can enjoy for its own sake.  I am merely saying it is used by people with a political agenda, in this case its own director, to make a political point.  And it just seems to me, at some point, Hollywood should give up its mission as a kind of, you know, evangelist for a political persuasion and just shut up and make the movie. 

MADDOW:  Hollywood is an evangelist for making money.  They‘re telling stories that they think are going to make people want to go to the movie theater and see them.

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  And they‘re telling stories that they think make good artistic achievement.  They‘re trying to make money.  That‘s what Hollywood is doing.

I think it stereotypes Middle America.  I think it stereotypes American values to say a movie about gay people isn‘t about American values. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not saying it‘s not about American values.  I‘m saying it‘s about...

MADDOW:  You‘re saying Hollywood isn‘t our values.  What are you talking about?

CARLSON:  I‘m not saying it‘s not our values.  I‘m not saying it‘s un-American.  Hollywood is part of America.  I actually love Hollywood, and I have lot of friends there.  I‘m merely saying it‘s not the values of all of America.  They have a different set of values, and they are pushing their values on everybody else.  And...

MADDOW:  What do you mean “a different set of values”?  What‘s different about the “Brokeback Mountain” values?  What‘s different about them that‘s not everybody else‘s values? 

CARLSON:  I am saying that there is a profound disagreement in this country on social issues, including homosexuality, including abortion.  And I think Hollywood has a specific feeling about each one of those issues.  And it pushes it.  And it‘s a left-wing feeling.  And it pushes it on the rest of the country using its art.  And I wish it would stop. 

MADDOW:  I think that this idea that Hollywood is waging a culture war against the rest of America is weird and actually says...


CARLSON:  Really?  You really don‘t honestly don‘t see that? 

MADDOW:  I mean, look at the movies that won yesterday, right?  “Walk the Line”...

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  ... based in Arkansas and Tennessee.  “Brokeback Mountain” in Wyoming.  “Transamerica,” it‘s a road movie, a lot of it shot in the Southwest.  The TV shows, it‘s the Elvis mini-series, “Lackawanna Blues” about Lackawanna, New York, “Empire Falls,” about a town in Maine.  Like, you can say this is all Hollywood, this is all coastal...



CARLSON:  OK, they have geographic diversity. 

MADDOW:  But come on.

CARLSON:  You‘re absolutely right.  I‘m talking about ideological diversity.  I don‘t see it.

MADDOW:  Yes, the fact that there‘s—OK, you can‘t talk about Wyoming if you talk about gay people in Wyoming.  Is that because that‘s not American?  That‘s not normal?  Come on!

CARLSON:  I‘m not saying it‘s not normal.  And I‘m not saying it‘s not American.  I‘m saying it‘s liberal.  That‘s all I‘m saying.  There‘s no denying that.

MADDOW:  Everybody in America thinks that Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger are good-looking.  It‘s a Western.  They‘re gay.  If that makes it un-American, I think you‘re...


CARLSON:  For the ninth time, I‘m not saying it‘s un-American...

MADDOW:  You keep saying...

CARLSON:  ... and I never would.

MADDOW:  You‘re arguing it‘s un-American and then saying, “I‘m not arguing it‘s un-American.” 

CARLSON:  I‘m actually not.


CARLSON:  I‘m just saying it‘s liberal.  And they‘re pushing their liberal agenda on other people.

MADDOW:  It‘s different.  They‘re pushing their different agenda on the rest of us who are normal.  Come on, Tucker.  You‘re the least normal guy I know.

CARLSON:  I promise I‘m not saying that. 


I‘m saying I‘m pushing my conservative agenda on America, and I‘m a saying so as I do it.  They do it by stealth, under the cover of art, which I don‘t like, because I think it‘s sneaky.

MADDOW:  Stealth attack on American values?

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not an attack.  OK, I give up.  I give up.


MADDOW:  You sound like Pat Buchanan in 1990.

CARLSON:  I actually liked his speech in ‘90.

MADDOW:  The culture war thing? 

CARLSON:  I think it was ‘92, actually, in Houston.

MADDOW:  It was.  I hid under a couch for three months after that speech. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think it was aimed at you.

MADDOW:  I think it was.

CARLSON:  Rachel Maddow, thank you. 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Tucker.  Thanks.

CARLSON:  Still plenty more ahead tonight on THE SITUATION. 


CARLSON (voice-over):  Live from the “Power Zone”...


CARLSON:  ... fitness guru Denise Austin shows us how to look hot in tight leotards.

AUSTIN:  You are worth it.

CARLSON:  And a 37-year-old mystery uncovered.  Wait until you hear about the remarkable stroke of luck that put this guy back in the driver‘s seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s a miracle.

CARLSON:  We‘ll tell you why this fumble nearly left one diehard football fan permanently sidelined. 

Plus, the tale of the tell-all parrot.  How one unfaithful lover discovered that talking pets are for the birds.  It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

AUSTIN:  I love it.



CARLSON:  Welcome back.  The sixth century B.C. Scythian philosopher Anacharsis said, in Greece, “Wise men speak and fools decide.”  Joining me now live in our SITUATION studio, a man who always speaks his mind, “The Outsider,” HBO Boxing host and the host of Spike TV‘s new show, “The King of Vegas,” which premiered tonight, Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, HBO BOXING HOST:  And I caught about half of it.  It was excellent. 

CARLSON:  Was it really?

KELLERMAN:  If I do say so myself.

CARLSON:  I bet it was, if you were in it. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, thank you very much.

CARLSON:  It‘s on my TiVo at home.  I can‘t wait.

First up, pot meet kettle.  Just days ago, Senator Ted Kennedy took aim at Judge Samuel Alito for his ties to a group that opposed the admission of women and minorities to Princeton.  And today, Senator Kennedy announced he was severing his own ties with a former Harvard College social club that bans women members.  The senator had join Harvard‘s Owl Club in 1954.  He‘s been paying dues ever since, and they don‘t let the ladies in. 

All right, I‘m torn on this.  I have mixed feelings on it.  Ted Kennedy is an appalling hypocrite and blowhard, obviously, to belong to this club while attacking Sam Alito for sending in a magazine subscription to this other organization.

KELLERMAN:  Wait, a lifetime politician, a hypocrite?  Are you sure you want to say that on national television? 

CARLSON:  Of course, he really goes—and Ted Kennedy, to his great credit, I thought today did concede he would never make it through Senate confirmation himself, to put it mildly.

KELLERMAN:  Right, yes.

CARLSON:  However, I am on Kennedy‘s side in this way on principle.  I don‘t think there‘s anything shameful in belonging to a single-sex organization of any kind, whether it be all-female or all-male.  There‘s nothing bigoted about it.  There‘s nothing wrong about it.  And there‘s nothing embarrassing about it.  And you should not have to resign. 

I think Senator Kennedy ought to have stood up and said, “You know what?  I was wrong to attack Judge Alito, and I‘m not resigning from my club that I‘ve been a member of for 52 years.”  I‘m sorry. 

KELLERMAN:  Sounds like Ted Kennedy to me. 

CARLSON:  Yes, right, yes, OK.

KELLERMAN:  It sounds like any politician, you know, and—look,

there are several reasons you can defend yourself if you‘re Ted Kennedy for

belonging to an all-male group.  You can say, first of all, Harvard wasn‘t

even coed until relatively recently, early ‘70s, I think late ‘60s, early -

I think early ‘70s, when it became fully coed.  And so all the clubs that he would have belonged to would have been only male, right?

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  And it‘s—another thing, you know, also, of course, not to appear as a hypocrite, he has to quit at that point.  A defense would be, “I have to quit.  I just accused someone—you know, I realized my behavior is hypocritical.  I have to quit.” 

But the easy defense—and, by the way, I agree with you.  The devil‘s advocate position is, if it‘s OK to exclude women from a club, is it OK—of course, what the argument—to exclude black people from a club, Jewish people from a club, gay people from a club? 

CARLSON:  Let me give you the quick answer.  We acknowledge no innate differences between the races and the ethnicities.  We say in America—and we should say, and we should believe—that all of us are created equal in our ultimate potential for achievement. 

We do acknowledge the differences innate between men and women, because there are physical differences that we didn‘t create—God did—and there‘s nothing you can do about them.  They just are there, right? 

That‘s the difference.  Men and women are different; the races are not. 

KELLERMAN:  There are physical differences, but in a social club—and, you know, you‘re really—I guess you could argue the physical differences do come into play, but the idea is that it‘s actually an exchange of ideas when you‘re socializing.  It‘s not an orgy.

CARLSON:  All of us go to a single-sex social club every single day.  It‘s called the men‘s room.  And there‘s nothing wrong with that, and the ladies‘ room.

KELLERMAN:  But that‘s for practical reasons.  First of all, you could argue men and women have developed in the same places wherever they‘ve developed—you know, wherever there have been people, men and women side-by-side, and whereas different ethnicities and races have developed in different parts of the world with different experiences, adapted to different climates.  You may have a stronger case, according—you know, by that logic, to separate races and ethnicities than you would to separate the sexes. 

CARLSON:  I totally, totally disagree.  But the bottom line is...

KELLERMAN:  Well, so do I, but that‘s the argument.

CARLSON:  Ted Kennedy is within his rights to belong to this club. 

There‘s nothing to be ashamed of.  Hold your head up high, Ted Kennedy. 

Apologize for resigning...


KELLERMAN:  ... for belonging to a Harvard club?  You‘re a nerd.  You might...


CARLSON:  Yes, well, I agree with that.  I agree.  I agree.

KELLERMAN:  It‘s good that he resigned.

CARLSON:  That‘s my little experiment with defending Ted Kennedy. 

I‘ll never do it again; I promise.

Max Kellerman, congratulations on your show. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, thank you very much.  That was interesting to see, your defense of Ted Kennedy. 

CARLSON:  Thank you.  Ooh, it hurt.

Coming up on THE SITUATION, despite your new year‘s resolution, you just can‘t seem to muster the energy to go to the gym.  Well, what if we said we could get you in shape by just walking around the house?  The great Denise Austin is here to show you how she does it.  She joins us next.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We‘re 17 days into the new year, and I‘m willing to bet most of you have already given up on those new year‘s resolutions to get in shape. 

Well, if my next guest can‘t get you off the couch, it‘s time to consider gastric bypass.  Denise Austin is America‘s all-time favorite fitness guru.  Her new hit videos, “Blast Away the Pounds:  Indoor Walk,” and “Burn Fat Fast:  Cardio Dance and Sculpt,” are in my DVD player as we speak. 


My old pal, Denise Austin, one of my favorite people in the world, for real, joins us live tonight from Washington. 

Denise, you look great. 

AUSTIN:  Hi, honey.  Miss you. 

CARLSON:  So, Denise, I and I think everyone else on the planet except you feels a little heavy after the holidays.

AUSTIN:  Oh, I do, too, honey.  It‘s all normal, don‘t worry.  Just jumpstart that metabolism by exercising, eating right.  And it doesn‘t take that much to get in great shape.

Just start small and then gradually pick up the pace.  I personally only work out 30 minutes, but I do it most every single day.  Get up in the morning, get yourself set, and you‘re on the way to feeling good, losing weight, and burning fat.  That‘s the key.

CARLSON:  So let‘s say you‘re terrified of working out because—let‘s be honest—it‘s unpleasant.  What‘s a good way to start?

AUSTIN:  Well, first of all, walking is one of the best ways to exercise.  It‘s easy.  Everybody can do it.  Plus, it burns fat and it fights heart disease, the number-one killer for both men and women.  So get out and walk. 

Now, for those of you that live back here in the East Coast, that‘s bad weather, you can do an exercise program right in the privacy of your own home.  You can walk actually three one-mile walks right there in four feet of space.  It doesn‘t take that much space.  So you can do this with my new workout.  And it‘s really easy, because I get you motivated.  And we do all kinds of fun moves to really work the tummy, work the legs, and get that heart pumping. 

CARLSON:  So if you—how can you walk three miles in your house? 

You just go back and forth? 

AUSTIN:  Well, a back-forth.  I‘ve designed an entire routine to lift your legs.  You work abs.  Can I get up?  I‘m going to get up here. 

OK.  First of all, look how easy it is.  You just walk in place.  I take you forward; I take you back.  I use your abs by working those legs as you‘re exercising.  So you‘re actually working more muscles while working out right there in the privacy of your own home.  So it‘s easy, and everyone can do it. 

CARLSON:  But you got to close the shades before you start, right? 

AUSTIN:  It doesn‘t matter.  If you‘re by yourself...


CARLSON:  It matters to me, I‘ll tell you that.

AUSTIN:  ... in your home.  It‘s your house. 

CARLSON:  Now, what is that—I‘ve always wanted to ask you this—the ball you were sitting on?

AUSTIN:  Yes.  Let me show you.

CARLSON:  What is that?  It looks like a torture device.

AUSTIN:  No.  It‘s a simple way to get a flat stomach.  You just got to do these simple ab exercises.  I love it.  Everybody can do it, because it‘s easy and it‘s not that expensive.  You get them at the sporting goods store. 

And all you do is do simple crunches like this, because guess what?  The number-one area all of us need to target tone are the abdominals, the center, the core of your whole body.  And also, it keeps your back healthy. 

So, you know, working with the ball actually engages more muscles in the abs.  So you‘re really making your time more efficient.  I‘m into efficiency, and making it quick and easy for everybody. 

CARLSON:  And finally, tell us the one thing we should cut out of our diets and the one thing we should include in our diets?

AUSTIN:  You should eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  That‘s the number-one thing.  Seven to nine every single day.  You will start to lose weight naturally. 

Probably the number-one thing not to eat is partially hydrogenated oils.  So check the labels, especially on crackers, and cereals, and things like that.  Look for partially hydrogenated oils.  Those are the worst fats, the transfats that clog up our arteries.  So those are probably the two best things. 

And tighten up your tummy all day.  Pull that tummy in right now, everybody.  Tighten it for five seconds, and it‘s equal to one sit-up.  So you could be on your way to work.  You could be watching us right now, targeting that tummy, sitting up tall.  It shows good posture.

CARLSON:  Denise Austin, you give us hope, every single person you give—you‘re like an evangelist for this.  You make me want to get in shape. 

AUSTIN:  That‘s my mission, honey.

CARLSON:  “Blast Away Pounds:  Indoor Walk,” “Burn Fat Fast:  Cardio Dance and Sculpt,” two excellent videos by Denise Austin, America‘s favorite fitness guru, certainly mine.  Denise, thank you. 

AUSTIN:  Oh, thank you, honey.  Love you. 


CARLSON:  Bye, Denise. 

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, what could possibly go wrong when you buy an adorable, talking parrot?  Let‘s just say parrots aren‘t good at keeping secrets.  We‘ve got an amazing story, a bird betrayal, in the “Cutting Room Floor.”


CARLSON:  Just doing some ab crunches.  Time for the “Cutting Room Floor,” with Willie Geist, a disciple of Denise Austin.

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  I love her fitness philosophy:  Walk around the house, and sit and hold your stomach while you‘re watching TV. 

CARLSON:  She‘s so cool.

GEIST:  I can get by on that program.

CARLSON:  Thank you, Willie.

Pittsburgh Steelers fans are known to be the most diehard in all of sports.  One of them proved that quite literally on Sunday.  Fifty-year-old Terry O‘Neill was in a bar watching the Steelers nail-biting playoff game against the Colts, when Pittsburgh‘s Jerome Bettis fumbled late in the game.  Moments later, O‘Neill suffered a heart attack.  He‘s in the hospital recovering after having a pacemaker installed.  The Steelers won that game.

GEIST:  Wow, that is a diehard fan.  Tucker, now is good a time as any to ask you for your Super Bowl picks.  Who‘s going to the Super Bowl this year?

CARLSON:  I‘d say the Colts. 

GEIST:  They‘re certainly a long shot at this point, considering they‘re eliminated.

CARLSON:  You know what?  I don‘t think so.  Yes, but you know what? 

I have hope, Willie.  And that‘s what sets me apart from most fans. 

GEIST:  Good for you.

CARLSON:  It turns out “Polly want a cracker” isn‘t the only thing a pet parrot can say.  If you‘re not careful, it might say something like, “Suzy is a cheater.”  A British man named Chris Taylor discovered his live-in girl, Suzy, was cheating on him when his African parrot, which looks vaguely like the parrots you see here, began squawking, “I love you, Gary.  I love you, Gary.”

Taylor confronted his girlfriend about this Gary character, and the woman came clean about her affair. 

GEIST:  For this very reason, I don‘t tell my parrot anything.  Just small talk when I‘m with the parrot.

And you know what?  This story actually gets worse.  He got rid of the girlfriend, and then he had to get rid of the parrot.  Because after she left, he was still heckling on him about “Gary, Gary.”  So he kicked the parrot out of the house.

CARLSON:  No way.

GEIST:  It‘s totally true.  So now he has no girlfriend, no parrot. 

He‘s living alone, depressed.

CARLSON:  The parrot mocked him as a cuckold, is that what you‘re saying?


That‘s nasty.  I don‘t like parrots.  Willie Geist...

GEIST:  See you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  ... thank you.

That‘s it for THE SITUATION tonight.  Thank you for watching. 

“COUNTDOWN” with Keith is next.  Have a great night.


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