Guests: Mike Allen, Bill Blum, Mel White, Jennifer Berry
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: That‘s all the time we have for tonight. THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON starts right now. Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight, buddy?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Joe, you‘re the best.
SCARBOROUGH: You‘re the best.
CARLSON: And I am not embarrassed to say that at all. Thank you, Joe.
CARLSON: Thanks to you at home for tuning in. We always appreciate it.
Tonight a gay group plans on crashing the annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. Is there any place in America kids are safe from politics? I‘ll ask that group‘s leader.
Also, left-wing activist Harry Belafonte has lost control of himself yet again, this time calling the Department of Homeland Security, quote, “the new Gestapo.” Why are Democrats stick sucking up to this guy? We‘ll debate that.
Plus I‘ll be joined live in our studio tonight by newly crowned Miss America, Jennifer Berry. I just met her. You‘ll be impressed. I‘ll ask the Oklahoma beauty how she stayed in such great shape, despite her avowed affection for French fries soaked in ranch dressing. She‘ll be here in just a minute.
We start tonight with President Bush once again on the offensive, this time firing back at critics of his domestic spying program.
Speaking in front of about 9,000 people at Kansas State University today for two hours, the president defended warrantless eavesdropping, which he said could be called, quote, “a terrorist surveillance program.” Here‘s what Bush had to say to say to those accusing him of breaking the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, you hear words, “domestic spying.” These are not phone calls within the United States.
You know, it‘s amazing. The people say to me, well, he‘s just breaking the law. If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, Mike Allen was in Manhattan, Kansas, covering the president‘s speech for “TIME” magazine. And even after flying all the way back to Washington, he joins us live tonight to talk about what he saw.
Mike, thanks a lot for coming on.
MIKE ALLEN, “TIME” MAGAZINE: Hey, Tucker. I thought Jennifer Berry was going to be here.
CARLSON: No, she‘s right here. In fact, she‘s right in the other room. I just saw her.
Now let me—instead of asking you a question, I just have to throw to you my—the greatest quote of the year so far—this is President Bush today: “I‘m mindful of your civil liberties, and so I had all kinds of lawyers review the process of warrantless eavesdropping.” All kinds of lawyers.
It struck me that Bush was really not apologetic at all about this. It seems like the White House thinks this domestic eavesdropping could help them. Is that your take?
ALLEN: Yes. They definitely are trying to turn what has been an embarrassment into a weapon.
And you saw last Friday, Mr. Karl Rove, the president‘s political advisor, talking about how terrorism is an important issue in the midterm elections, that Republicans are stronger on it. And so the president‘s not hiding from this at all.
In fact, on Wednesday he‘s taking a field trip to the National Security Agency headquarters here in suburban Maryland. Now, if that isn‘t an in-your face to Democrats, I don‘t know what is.
The president really seem to want to explain himself about this today. Tucker, he talked for an hour and 40 minutes, one of the longest road events he‘s had in this entire presidency. He took questions and answers, unscreened. They figured some of them were going to be hostile. Kansas is a pretty Republican-friendly state.
But after he‘d answer eight questions, even some of staff was thinking, “All right, it‘s time to wrap this up. Time to go.” The president took 13 questions today.
So people saw him a little more as the staff says they see him, which is someone who‘s willing to engage on these issues. And...
CARLSON: And he was pretty good. I thought he was pretty relaxed.
But back to the thing you said just a second ago, about how the White House hopes this is going to be an advantage in the ‘06 and ‘08 elections. How big is the Republican advantage on national security and terrorism now?
ALLEN: Well, obviously, the Republican advantage is huge. The question is, does this diminish it? If it‘s found that something improper was happening here, if the “New York Times” story, saying that this was a massive data mining operation that tapped into the backbone of Verizon and got a lot of private citizens wrapped up into it, then that could be a real problem.
And so that‘s why someone who is previewing the president‘s State of the Union address a week from tomorrow with me was saying that the president is going to be very aggressive about saying, “I‘m going to do what I need to do as president to protect people.” And they‘re trying to put this under that rubric.
You saw the president very pleased with himself there when he said, “If I were trying to hide something, why would I—why was I briefing Congress?”
Now Tucker, as you know, some members of Congress are saying that those briefings were misleading...
ALLEN: ... or incomplete, or that there was nothing that they could do about them.
But what‘s really going on here is all this is going to be aired. February 6, the same day as the president‘s budget comes out. The Senate Judiciary Committee is going to start looking into this. And the administration wants to have its points in people‘s minds, to have in people‘s minds the idea that this is part of fighting an enemy that‘s still there. Today you have the president...
CARLSON: They‘re smart to do that.
ALLEN: ... talking about the attacks of 9/11 were not an isolated incident, that they could happen again. So keeping people on edge is clearly part of the strategy.
CARLSON: Well, I bet they‘re also doing this in preparation for the drop of the other shoe, that you wrote about in what I think was an exclusive piece in “TIME,” about how there are, in fact, photographs out there somewhere—I think five of them, you said—of the president with Jack Abramoff, the disgraced, now officially a felon, lobbyist in Washington. Where are these pictures and are we going to see them?
ALLEN: Tucker, what‘s interesting about this is the White House is sort of handling this story the opposite of the way that they‘re handling the eavesdropping case or the terrorist surveillance program case.
On that they came out very quickly. The president acknowledged what had been reported in “The New York Times,” or at least his version of it. The White House is saying today that those stories left the wrong impression with people. But he came out about it and is talking about it aggressively.
Jack Abramoff, as you know, it‘s been sort of “Jack who?” As you know, the White House said the president doesn‘t remember meeting him, doesn‘t know him. So these photos show that clearly, the president has met him.
And today the White House said something different, which I think they‘ll be able to stick with, which is the president does not have a personal relationship with Jack Abramoff. And indeed there‘s no evidence of that.
CARLSON: How about there is no—there is no personal relationship with Jack Abramoff? Think they‘ll try that one?
ALLEN: Yes, well, the president said he didn‘t see “Brokeback Mountain” today, so the—these photos are—most of these photos are the sort of formal photos that are taken at fundraisers. They call them the clicks (ph). The president‘s taken tens of thousands of them during his presidency.
And so you saw Dan Bartlett from the White House today telling Norah O‘Donnell on your air that this is much ado about nothing and that this is a Democratic fishing expedition.
And so what you‘ll see is the White House saying that, you know, these events—you know, reporters get their pictures taken with the president at the holiday parties.
ALLEN: Before a fundraiser, the president arrives early. He disappears before he goes to the podium, and he‘s taking pictures with the top contributors.
And what‘s interesting about this is people that appear in public with the president...
ALLEN: There‘s an extremely intensive vetting process, but with these fundraisers, there‘s no way they—he can‘t know everything about everyone that he‘s getting his picture taken.
CARLSON: Yes, I mean even—even you and I had our picture taken with the president, which just shows how low the standards are.
Mike Allen, in Washington, I‘ll see you at the State of the Union.
ALLEN: Have a beautiful week, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks, Mike.
It‘s still not clear what is going to come out of last week‘s audio message from Osama bin Laden. One thing, however, is clear. American author, Bill Blum, has benefited substantially from it. “The Rogue State: A Guide to the World‘s Only Superpower,” a five-year-old book by the Washington historian, was personally recommended by bin Laden on that tape. In the days since, it has jumped over 200,000 spots on Amazon.com on its best-seller list.
He joins me live tonight from Washington to discuss his book‘s sudden success. Mr. Blum, thanks for coming on.
BILL BLUM, AUTHOR, “THE ROGUE STATE”: Thank you.
CARLSON: Are you embarrassed at all, horrified that your book was recommended by Osama bin Laden?
BLUM: No, I‘m glad it was. There are two elements at play here.
CARLSON: You‘re glad that he recommended your book?
What you be glad—I don‘t know—if Hitler or Pol Pot rose from the grave and recommended your book?
BLUM: It would depend on the circumstances.
CARLSON: OK. Explain why you‘d glad.
BLUM: There are two elements at play here. On the one hand I totally despise any kind of religious fundamentalism and these societies which—that spawn—like the Taliban in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, I‘m part of a movement which is committed to fighting the American empire, hoping to stop it from committing any more of the crimes around the world, all the invasions and the bombings and occupations and so on.
Now, to do that, we need to reach the American public. And for that we need publicity. And this kind of endorsement helps my book reach many more people. And that‘s...
CARLSON: So it‘s like the Hitler-Stalin pact. It‘s an arrangement of convenience?
BLUM: That‘s why I‘m glad. What you‘re saying is it‘s cute, but it has no bearing on my case.
CARLSON: So the point is, you despise America. Osama bin Laden despises America. You maybe despise each other, but you‘re working toward a common goal?
BLUM: I don‘t despise America. Wait a second. I despise American foreign policy.
BLUM: Not America. That‘s a big distinction. If you can‘t understand that, we can‘t even talk.
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t know. I was taking a look today at some of the things you‘ve written, and it‘s a distinction in some cases that seems without a difference. You appear to take Castro‘s side...
BLUM: That‘s American foreign policy. That‘s not America.
CARLSON: Right. Well, I mean, the whole basis of Castro‘s 40-odd reign of—reign of power in Cuba is antagonism toward the United States. And you‘re taking his side in that.
BLUM: He‘s antagonistic toward American foreign policy. How many times do I have to say that?
BLUM: It‘s American foreign policy; it‘s not America. It‘s not American music or television or fashions.
BLUM: It‘s Americans—the American foreign policy.
CARLSON: Does it strike you, though, that Osama bin Laden is more dangerous than the United States‘ foreign policy? I mean, would you think that Osama bin Laden or the U.S. foreign policy...
BLUM: To whom?
CARLSON: ... is more dangerous to the world and to the United States?
BLUM: Let‘s compare the records. Since the end of the Second World War, the U.S. government has attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments. It has suppressed about 40 social movements all over the world. It has assassinated or attempted to assassinate about 40 people. It has invaded and occupied tens—dozens and dozens of countries.
It has—and in the process of doing all this, it has killed a few million people and left a few more million living in misery and despair.
BLUM: Now tell me—compare that record with Osama bin Laden.
CARLSON: So you‘re saying—you‘re saying that Osama bin Laden is less bad than the United States, in his effect, anyway?
CARLSON: OK. Do you think if Osama bin Laden were to somehow—and his movement were to take power of the United States, don‘t you think you‘d be about the first person he‘d execute?
BLUM: I would—I think maybe you would come before me.
CARLSON: I don‘t know about that, actually. It seems to me—and that‘s not at all a personal slight against you, by the way. That‘s no mark of shame to be someone whose life is despised by Osama bin Laden. But it seems to me that the goals and the lifestyle of the American left are exactly what Osama bin Laden and the Islamists are railing against. They hate liberalism. I wonder why you don‘t recognize that.
BLUM: Well, I hate—I hate him. So we‘re equal. I hate him, also. I don‘t care for his lifestyle. I don‘t care for his fundamentalism.
CARLSON: Right. But it seems to me that the American left and you, absolutely, in the things you just said, in essence, in effect anyway, make apologies for Osama bin Laden and for the radical brand of Islam he represents. And that‘s just odd, considering again, you would be first on the execution list as a leftist.
BLUM: You call—you call it an apology when I said a moment ago that I despise his religious fundamentalism and the Taliban society. So how is that—how am I being kind to him?
CARLSON: Because you said the United States government is more evil than Osama bin Laden.
BLUM: OK. So correct. They‘re both evil.
CARLSON: And that strikes me as a prima facia unified statement.
BLUM: They‘re both evil.
CARLSON: Well, let me put it this way, Mr. Blum. The United States government allows you to live in this country and reach No. 41 on the Amazon best seller list. Osama bin Laden, were he in control, would hang you from the nearest tree.
BLUM: That‘s no excuse for the American empire‘s crimes against the world. That‘s no excuse for what we do.
CARLSON: But still, when asked to rank each one relatively, you put Osama bin Laden on a higher moral plain than the U.S. government. And that‘s just—I guess is shocking to me, and it seems to me...
BLUM: The U.S. has done more harm over a longer period of time than Osama has done. That‘s the basis of my ranking.
CARLSON: Any idea how Osama bin Laden got his hands on your book?
BLUM: Yes. The British version of my book was translated into Arabic, and I assume that it‘s that book that he read.
CARLSON: That‘s a shame. Do you feel any guilt in—because of the fact that your poisonous writings have fallen into the hands of people who already hate the United States, causing them to hate the country more?
BLUM: I tell you, I‘m glad. I‘m glad about the help to publicizing the movement that I‘m part of.
CARLSON: All right. Bill Blum, joining us live tonight from Washington, D.C., No. 1 in the Osama bin Laden book club. Thanks a lot, Mr. Blum.
BLUM: Thank you.
CARLSON: Still to come, a potentially explosive situation on the White House lawn. What‘s going to happen when a gay rights group crashes the family-friendly Easter egg roll? I‘ll find out from the man leading that charge.
Plus, boys will be boys. But are they being treated like defective girls in the classroom? Are young women now the gold standard when it comes to learning? We‘ll answer both questions when THE SITUATION continues.
CARLSON: Still to come, more inflammatory comments about the Bush administration from actor turned lunatic Harry Belafonte.
Plus, Miss America, Jennifer Berry, stops by to tell us what it‘s like being a swimsuit clad member of the American royalty. Stick around.
CARLSON: Welcome back. It looks like the next battlefield in the culture wars will be the White House lawn, during, of all things, the annual White House Easter egg roll.
A group called Soul Force is encouraging hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families to descend on the White House on April 17 so that Americans take notice of their nontraditional presence. The Rev. Mel White is the co-founder of Soul Force and a former speechwriter for Jerry Falwell. He joins us tonight from Lynchburg, Virginia.
Mr. White, thanks a lot for coming on.
REV. MEL WHITE, CO-FOUNDER, SOUL FORCE: Hi.
CARLSON: Hi. I understand you want to make a political point. What I don‘t understand is why you‘re planning to make a political point with children. The White House Easter egg roll is a children‘s event. Why are you imposing your politics on kids?
WHITE: Well, actually, FamilyPride.org got the idea, and I think it‘s a great one, that we simply make ourselves visible. That‘s the only political possibility, that we bring our children, that we show America that we‘re in loving, long-term committed relationships and try to do away with the myth that we are not good parents and that our kids don‘t turn out right.
CARLSON: What do you mean make yourself visible? I mean, television is filled with gay families, with gay characters. It‘s no secret there are gay families out there. You can make yourselves visible in Lafayette Park, where people stage political protests every day. Why are you doing this at an event that centers on kids?
WHITE: Well, at this point we feel like gay and lesbian families and their kids deserve to be at the White House lawn, too. There will be no political statement, no politicizing—no any kind of outward exposure to some kind of chant...
CARLSON: With all due respect, Mr. White, and I do have respect for you, that‘s crock, and you know it. There have been gay families at the White House Easter egg roll. Nobody presents them from coming. You‘re not prevented from coming, as you know. They‘ve never been presented from coming, that I know of. And no one‘s preventing them this year.
This is a political protest, though, that you‘re staging, which is different, and I guess I object to it. I would object to it if the NRA were having a protest at the White House Easter egg roll. It‘s a kids‘ event. My kids have been. It‘s not a place for politics, including yours.
WHITE: Tucker, it‘s not a political protest. We just haven‘t had a chance to tell gay and lesbian families that they‘re really welcomed there. There‘s going to be no political process. I‘m bringing my grandchildren and my granddaughter, and we‘re going to join with the rest of the folks.
CARLSON: No wait a second. That‘s absolutely not what the e-mail you sent to people who sympathize with your group said. You suggest you‘re going to wear T-shirts in a coordinated way.
And then you said this to the people who received your e-mail:
“success of this year‘s action—action depends on keeping it under the radar of the media and the administration.” Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point.
That‘s not—that‘s—you‘re describing an action, a political action, a protest. You can call what it you want, but that‘s what it is when you send out e-mails encouraging people to come secretly and then show up wearing T-shirts. I mean, come on, let‘s be real. It‘s a protest.
WHITE: First of all, we‘re not talking about people showing up secretly. We‘re talking about people showing up.
And in terms of an action, when we get together and show off our families and show to the country who we are, that‘s a kind of action, Tucker. And it has nothing to do with making some kind of protest. There will be no protest. We‘re simply saying gay and lesbian families, show...
CARLSON: You‘re making a political statement at an event that most people just go to because their kids enjoy it, running down the lawn after the Eastern eggs. You mean, it‘s a totally wholesome event, and there‘s nothing wholesome about a political action. And I don‘t care what action it is, whether it‘s yours or the NRA‘s or NARAL‘s or National Right to Life?
It‘s a political expression. And shouldn‘t we have a sphere that is separate and apart from political actions? No?
WHITE: I don‘t think anything is nonpolitical, Tucker. I think
it‘s really important that gay families be seen. That‘s the only
political action we‘re trying to do. You know, Falwell and Robertson
and these guys, Dobson, they caricature and demonize us. We want people
to see what we are normal families. And that‘s the only political
statement we‘re coinciding
Normal families don‘t show up at the White House with coordinated T-shirts to the White House Easter Egg roll, after sending each other e-mails. There‘s nothing normal about that at all. It has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. I think it‘s a creepy thing to do for anyone, including you. And I‘m just glad my kids aren‘t going this year.
WHITE: I think it‘s kind of sick for you to say. I think if you‘re keeping away from our kids, that‘s kind of sick.
CARLSON: No, no. I‘m keeping my kids away, because if I no longer want to live in Washington. I‘m saying if I still lived there, we would still go and I would be offended by the presence of anybody pushing a political line, no matter what that line is, even if I agreed with it. It‘s not the time nor the place. And I think on some level you know that. It violates decorum, good taste and common sense, and it‘s just wrong.
If you want to do it across the street from the White House, where people can protest, go ahead.
WHITE: Tucker, it‘s not a protest. Can you hear me? This is not a protest. If gay and lesbian people are there with their families, all the better. And it is not a protest. It‘s families mixing on the White House lawn. And our T-shirts, if any, would say “Love Makes a Family.” That‘s the other T-shirt we would...
CARLSON: I lived in Washington long enough to know an organized political demonstration when I see one. You can call it what it want, but I hope is fails as much as you seem like a decent guy.
Reverend Mel White, we appreciate it. Thank you.
Still to come, a leading Democrat goes off the rails. Who is actor and singer Harry Belafonte comparing to the Nazis this time? His latest outrageous comments when THE SITUATION returns.
CARLSON: It is still a man‘s world, but that could soon change, especially is schools continue to favor boy school students and ignore the needs of young boys. So says my next guest, who was featured prominently in this year‘s “Newsweek” cover story, “The Cover Crisis.”
According to Dr. Michael Thompson, schools treat boys, quote, “like defective girls.” Dr. Thompson is the co-author of “Raising Cain:
Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys.” He joins me live tonight from Boston.
Mr. Thompson, thanks a lot for coming on.
DR. MICHAEL THOMPSON, AUTHOR, “RAISING CAIN”: Thanks, Tucker.
Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: Now, I remember my wife was a teacher for a long time. And it wasn‘t that wrong ago I remember her telling me that the schools she worked for were very concerned about girls. And the idea was that schools shortchanged girls. I mean, this couldn‘t have been more than 10 years ago. All of a sudden we‘re convinced schools shortchange boys? What is going on?
THOMPSON: There have always been traditional differences between what girls were good at and what boys were good at. And for 30 years we paid attention to the ways in which girls were behind.
Thirty years ago girls lagged behind boys in math and science. And a dedicated generation of women teachers looked after that and tried to change that. Many women went into science and became science teachers, and they closed that gap.
Now we have gaps where boys are behind girls and I‘m just saying we‘ve got to pay attention to that, because all of the educational gains of the last 30 years in the United States have been made by girls.
CARLSON: It‘s interesting. It seems to me that elementary schools anyway are designed for girls. I mean, you‘ve got to sit still and follow directions and keep within the lines and have good penmanship and do all the things that little girls are better at than little boys.
At least my little boy is for as good at my little girls. Isn‘t that the case?
THOMPSON: Absolutely. I mean, little boys come to school, and they think, “What‘s school about?” It‘s about sitting still and—and listening to women talk. It would be helpful if there were more male teachers.
CARLSON: Kind of like marriage.
THOMPSON: You said it, I didn‘t.
THOMPSON: It would be helpful if there were more male teachers. It would be helpful if there were more recess. It would be helpful if teachers could tolerate boys learning while standing up.
There are some simple things that you can do for boys that make the classroom a friendlier place. But as we become much more worried about test school‘s and the curriculum‘s become more rigid and we‘re cutting expenses by cutting back on aides at recess, it begins to get—the school day gets tougher for boys.
CARLSON: Well, boys are very physically active. They‘re restless. They‘re obsessed with violence—right? I mean, all little boys are obsessed with, you know, guns and violent things. And schools have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior.
Now, should they be more tolerant of the way boys naturally are?
WHITE: Some teachers are. Look, there some really gifted teachers who understand boys and love boys, and boys know it. But there are teachers who are intolerant of the fantasies that boys have, stories of power and dominance that end with dramatic killings or space explosions. Those kinds of things are going in the boys‘ heads and their teachers who are understanding, teachers who seem to think they can discourage that or knock it out. And they never will.
THOMPSON: No, they—no, they absolutely won‘t. Give us a sense of how profound the disparity is now. More girls go to college and more graduate. Give us a sense: test scores, how big is the divide?
The divide is huge with respect to college admissions. Twenty years ago 58 percent of students in college were boys—I mean, were young men. It‘s now down to 44 percent. There are many colleges fighting to keep a 60-40 girl-boy ratio on campus.
The biggest gap, however, is in writing. The average 11th grade boy in this country writes at the level of the average 8th grade girl. That‘s a huge gap, as big as any traditional gap we‘ve seen in education. And yet we‘re not trying to close it the way we did with that math and science gap between girls and boys.
CARLSON: Right. Is it because there aren‘t organized men‘s groups whining about it?
CARLSON: And should there be?
THOMPSON: Well, I‘m whining about it. I‘m trying to be pleasant, but I‘m saying we need to look at this.
CARLSON: And what‘s the response you get from schools when you bring it up?
You know, it‘s interesting. I thought teachers—because they‘re largely women -- 84 percent of teachers in this country are women—I go to elementary schools where there are no men at all except the custodian, and the boys love him, because he‘s got a hammer and keys. But I digress.
I thought women teachers would take it hard or feel criticized or defensive.
That‘s not the case. Most women teachers came up to me afterwards, and they say, you know, I was hurt that schools are unfair to girls, but what my eyes and my ears and my senses tell me is it‘s harder for boys. And it‘s always been harder for boys.
CARLSON: Well, good for them for being honest. And good for you for bringing this up. Dr. Michael Thompson, co-author of “Raising Cain:
Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys” joining us from Boston. Thanks a lot.
THOMPSON: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: Still to come, her highness is in the house, this house. The newly crowned Miss America drops by to answer the one question on everyone‘s mind. We‘ll tell you what it is when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY BELAFONTE, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, I have to tell you, not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people—millions—support your revolution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That was Harry Belafonte, blasting President Bush in front of America‘s enemies in Venezuela earlier this month. He was back at it on Saturday, calling the president a liar and comparing the Department of Homeland Security to the Gestapo.
Here to help us make sense of Belafonte‘s rants, from Air America Radio, our old pal, Rachel Maddow—Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Tucker.
CARLSON: I feel almost mean bringing this up, but here‘s why I‘m doing it. You know, it‘s typical in politics, you bring out, like, the most far-out lunatic you can find and say, “Why don‘t you denounce this person?”
Exactly. That‘s exactly right. Usually it‘s someone with the Klan, married to his cousin, I.Q. of 75.
Harry Belafonte, though, is actually still a marquee speaker on the left, even in mainstream Democratic circles. He recently spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus. He was down at Duke University not long ago, just less than a year ago, comparing the United States government to the Nazis. Just the other day he was in Atlanta, marching in this organized march commemorating the Voting Rights Act.
Hasn‘t he gone sort of beyond the pale at this point? Is it a wise decision to ask Harry Belafonte to speak for your group?
MADDOW: Well, I think that—as you know, one of my pet peeves is that I can‘t stand Nazi analogies.
MADDOW: And I think that you don‘t really call anybody the Gestapo other than the Gestapo.
CARLSON: The Gestapo.
CARLSON: I agree.
MADDOW: And I don‘t think you should have evoked Hitler when you spoke to Bill Blum earlier, making that analogy, too. It‘s one of these things that argumentatively I don‘t like.
CARLSON: No, I invoked Hitler because I was talking about historical figures—is there any historical figure that is too evil for you?
MADDOW: Making an analogy between Osama and Hitler.
CARLSON: No, I said would you, if Pol Pot or Hitler or Stalin were willing to—you know, how evil do you have to be to not be blurb worthy?
MADDOW: So argumentatively, we differ about whether it‘s OK to have her evoke World War II and Hitler.
No, that‘s not the point. Not the point. The point here is that...
CARLSON: You‘re just short of my words. But anyway, answer my question.
MADDOW: I disagree with Harry Belafonte calling the Homeland Security Department the Gestapo. But he also said, in the same brief, was that we are losing some of our rights, and that you can be arrested without being charged. You can be arrested without access to a lawyer. We are sacrificing some of our rights. And that is true.
CARLSON: Totally fair points that you could read in a Cato Institution report any day of the week.
CARLSON: Libertarian group in Washington. And I have no problem with him anything that.
And I have no problem with him saying that. But that‘s not all he‘s saying. He‘s going before the government of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez‘s government, whose whole raison d‘etre is hating America and attacking the president as a Nazi.
I‘m just saying, shouldn‘t the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democratic—mainstream Democrats groups, so called, say we‘re not going to have you speak for us anymore. You‘re too extreme.
MADDOW: You have often made the point that it makes a difference -
what somebody says makes a difference, whether they say it at home or whether they say it abroad. And I don‘t think that‘s true. I think that if you say something at Duke University, you can say it in front of...
CARLSON: He said it. Should the Congressional Black Caucus have him speak? I just don‘t think there‘s any—I mean, it‘s irresponsible for having him to speak before them.
MADDOW: I think Harry Belafonte is a fire breather and is using some inappropriate rhetoric, but I don‘t disagree with him.
CARLSON: I think he‘s just a—he‘s a disgrace to the country.
Speaking of disgraces, I don‘t understand how you could oppose an incredibly sensible bill now pending before the state house in Wisconsin...
CARLSON: ... that would allow 8-year-olds to hunt with their parents. I don‘t see the argument against this. Hunter is something that is often, for one thing, done on private lands, but even when it‘s not, it‘s always done with a parent when children do it. There‘s nothing innately deadly about hunting, right, except to the animals.
MADDOW: When used as directed.
CARLSON: But seriously, what‘s the argument against this?
MADDOW: Well, you live in New Jersey, right? You live in the most densely populated state in the country. I live in rural western New England, just off a dirt road next to a state forest. Lots of hunters all around me. Sound of gunfire every weekend.
There‘s a lot of hunting around where I live. I don‘t want an 8-year-old with a shotgun, for the same reason that I don‘t want an 8-year-old driving the giant snow plow down my streets. There are things, as an 8-year-old, if you can‘t open your own juice box and write cursive, you can‘t have a shotgun. I just think live ammunition should not be—you should not be allowed to do it until you can handle it.
CARLSON: But don‘t you think that should be a call that the parent makes?
CARLSON: I have seen with my own eyes—I have, in fact, shot with kids younger than 8. I‘ve seen them fire shotguns fine, and do it in a safe way, accompanied by their parents. And I just don‘t think it‘s one of those calls the state ought to get involved in.
If I, as a father, think my kids are ready to hunt, I should make that take off.
MADDOW: In Wisconsin, the state where this is being considered...
MADDOW: ... you can hunt at age 12. Right? Hunters between age 2 and 17, they get about 14 percent of the licenses. They get 28 -- they cause 28 percent of the hunting injuries.
It‘s just—it‘s a documented state. In the state where they‘re considering this that kids who are younger than most hunters have trouble with guns. It‘s a matter of attention span and coordination and all of those factors.
CARLSON: If their parents are negligent. I just think nobody—I have never met anybody who knows more about the land and the natural world and does more to conserve and preserve it than hunters and fishermen. They are the great conservationists in this country. And there are fewer and fewer of them every year.
And I think raising up a generation of them is a great strategy from the age of 8 is a great strategy for preserving America‘s wildlife.
MADDOW: If you want to bring your 8-year-old with you hunting, I have no problem with that. I have no problem with hunting. I have no problem with you bringing your 8-year-old. I have no problem with your 8-year-old being with you every step of the way.
But firing the shotgun is where I draw the line. If it‘s really important for the hunting experience that the kid actually kill the animal, then how did your 8-year-old spring forth from the blind and ring little Bambi‘s neck, or hit that duck with a ball peen hammer. But don‘t fire the shotgun.
CARLSON: That‘s where I break the law. That‘s where I secretly, beyond the gaze of Rachel Maddow or fish and game authorities, hand the kid the shotgun and say, “Blast away.”
MADDOW: That‘s because you live in New Jersey and nobody‘s blasting away in your backyard.
CARLSON: There‘s a lot of hunting in New Jersey, actually. And I‘ve done it myself, hunted in Jersey, and I do it for freedom.
MADDOW: You do it for freedom.
CARLSON: Rachel Maddow, thank you.
MADDOW: God bless you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Stay tuned. There‘s still plenty more ahead tonight on
(voice-over) Long Island‘s infamous Lolita and former pal, Joey back in the news. Wait until you hear why they‘re planning to reunite.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like I‘m doing a really, really positive thing.
CARLSON: Then, Hollywood‘s grandest celebrities unveiled. You won‘t believe who took top honors in this old competition.
Plus, a story with plenty of buzz. Guess how many busy bees it took to accomplish this record-breaking feat.
And a truly crowning achievement for our show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss America, 2006...
HANNITY: She is Jennifer Berry, love on our stage.
It‘s all ahead on the situation.
JOEY BUTTAFUOCO, INVOLVED WITH AMY FISHER: Think what I miss do.
JENNIFER BERRY, MISS AMERICA: I‘m Jennifer Berry, Miss America 2006. There was only one place I wanted to begin my reign, on THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.
CARLSON: Your wish is our command, Miss America. Jennifer and I will be back in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss America 2006 is Miss Oklahoma, Jennifer Berry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: There she was on Saturday night, Miss America. And so without further adieu, here she is, just back from Vegas and live in our studio, the freshly crowned Miss America, Jennifer Berry.
Miss America, thank you for joining us.
BERRY: Thank you, Tucker, for having me.
CARLSON: I have all sorts of questions I want to ask you. I‘ve gotten so many e-mails from our own staff here at THE SITUATION, all asking the same question, which is you love French fries with salad dressing on them, but you don‘t look like you do. What‘s your exercise regimen?
BERRY: Well, being a ballet dancer, I‘ve been involved in exercise my entire life. It‘s an important aspect of my life since I was about 9 years old. But I don‘t eat the French fries and ranch on a daily basis. Daily.
CARLSON: So maybe two sentences. You wake up and you do, like, six or seven hours on an elliptical or what do you do?
BERRY: No way. No way. I wake up, maybe go to the gym for an hour, not even seven days a weak. And just try to maintain a healthy diet mostly. It‘s a combination of those. I go to ballet class and just stay active.
CARLSON: Impressive. You‘re about to spend an entire year on the road, 20,000 miles a month, you said?
CARLSON: Traveling around the country, talking about drunk driving. That is an entire year of no swearing, no drinking in public, no smoking. Are you ready for that?
BERRY: I‘m very ready for that, yes. I started competing when I was 17. So being in Oklahoma, doing the same type of thing, of course, not traveling 20,000 miles a month, but still having to maintain the same role model image, it‘s nothing new. It‘s just on a national level now.
CARLSON: Wow, so you‘ve been on good behavior for a long time.
BERRY: I have.
CARLSON: What‘s going to happen at the end? Are you just going to completely fall apart?
BERRY: Pageant rebellion.
CARLSON: Does that happen?
BERRY: I don‘t know. I don‘t know. I haven‘t talked to a lot of girls who have gone crazy after the year is over.
CARLSON: No. I haven‘t read that many stories about that.
BERRY: No, it doesn‘t happen very often.
CARLSON: So how does your life change when you become Miss America? I mean, what does it do to your dating life, for instance? Does it scare men away?
BERRY: Actually, they flock towards you.
CARLSON: I get. But then when they get close to you, they just say...
BERRY: But then they get a little intimidated.
CARLSON: It‘s like the Holy Grail, I can‘t get too close.
BERRY: Yes. A little bit intimidated. I‘m not sure. It‘s only been 48 hours, so I haven‘t really established the dating life yet.
CARLSON: So what is it like—I hate to ask you these questions. But I‘ve always wondered. You hear about all the tricks that pageant contestants use to enhance their appearance—Vaseline on the teeth or taping various body parts together or putting Preparation H under their eyes. Is that true?
BERRY: Well, that‘s the thing. It‘s all a secret.
BERRY: Now Tucker, when you become a pageant girl, I‘ll let you in on all of it.
CARLSON: Would you really?
BERRY: Yes, we can talk later if you‘d like.
CARLSON: I don‘t I could pass the swimsuit portion.
BERRY: You could. I mean, what‘s your workout regimen?
CARLSON: I‘d tell you if I had one. What‘s the most embarrassing thing you saw in the run-up to Miss America? You‘ve got 50 women, competitive, intelligent, intense women, living together.
CARLSON: I mean, it must be—you must see some remarkable stuff.
BERRY: I really didn‘t. The funniest thing I guess I could see is that by Friday—OK, we had been in L.A. for a week. Then we‘d gone to Las Vegas for a week. And we had been working nonstop all day long.
And by Friday the best scene that I saw was I walked out after rehearsal after I had an interview, and I looked at the stage and all of the girls were laying down on various parts of the stage on the stairs. I mean, probably all 50 of them.
CARLSON: Did you get a picture?
BERRY: I didn‘t. I didn‘t have my camera. But Miss New Jersey looked at me and said, “I need my camera.”
CARLSON: Were they happy for you when you won? Or was there some hatred?
BERRY: I don‘t think there was any hatred. I didn‘t see it. They didn‘t express it towards me.
CARLSON: Really? Good.
BERRY: We all become really close. And I know that sounds cheesy, so fake, but it really is the truth. Because no one else experiences that bond like we do. No one else will ever know what that experience is really like, other than the 51.
CARLSON: It‘s not cheesy. It sounds actually really sweet. It‘s not as interesting, perhaps, as cattiness and anger.
BERRY: We don‘t have the secret stories that you think we do.
CARLSON: This is the crown.
BERRY: That‘s it.
CARLSON: How does it feel?
CARLSON: Can you put it on?
BERRY: Of course.
CARLSON: How does it stay on?
BERRY: Well, actually, we have pieces of elastic right here, and then you use bobby pins to pin it on. And I always joke around and say you have good crown days and bad crown days. It‘s like hair days, you know. Some days it‘s wobbly, some times it‘s really sturdy. So you hope for the best.
CARLSON: The night you won, did you go back to your hotel room and just kind of...
BERRY: I wore it the whole night. I even put on my pajamas, but I still had the crown on.
CARLSON: No way.
BERRY: Yes way.
CARLSON: How did you get your pajamas on?
BERRY: It‘s a challenge. But you know, I‘ve been practicing for five years. So after I won Miss Oklahoma, I slept with my crown next to my bed with me.
CARLSON: Really? Wearing pajamas while your crown is still on.
BERRY: I could.
CARLSON: So you want to be an elementary school teacher?
BERRY: That‘s right.
BERRY: Yes, really.
CARLSON: You don‘t want to go to Hollywood?
BERRY: Well, you know, can I take this off?
CARLSON: You may, yes.
BERRY: Before it falls on the ground and they yell at me? I do. I‘ve always wanted to be a teacher. I was that girl that went to college and never changed my major for four years. I‘ve always wanted to be a teacher. I love children. I can‘t imagine a more influential job for me. And of course, this year opens doors of opportunity everywhere.
CARLSON: Wait a minute. What about cable news? It doesn‘t beckon at all? You don‘t think to yourself, teaching geography to fifth graders would be fun, but still, I could have my own show and stare at the screen.
BERRY: The good thing about being an elementary education major is that being a teacher is something I can always go back to.
CARLSON: That‘s true.
BERRY: So my first priority will be to finish my education. And of course, this is a scholarship organization and it‘s paid my way through school and will continue to pay my way to receive my masters. However, if other doors do open, I will—I will go towards them. I can always teach later.
CARLSON: I suspect they will. Jennifer Berry.
BERRY: I hope they will.
CARLSON: Former Miss Oklahoma, now Miss America.
CARLSON: Crushed Miss Georgia to take the crown. Congratulations.
BERRY: Thank you very much.
CARLSON: Thanks for coming on.
BERRY: Thanks for having me, Tucker.
CARLSON: Coming up on THE SITUATION, as if the Denver Broncos‘ performance against the Steelers yesterday was not humiliating enough, we‘ll tell you the incredible story of the Pennsylvania teacher who physically harassed one of his students who dared root for the Broncos. The amazing details, ahead.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
In the 14th Century, St. Bridgette of Sweden, the patron saint of THE SITUATION, incidentally, said, “To write well and speak well is mere vanity if one does not live well.” Joining me now, a man who knows something about living well. Live in our SITUATION studio, “The Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host, the great Max Kellerman.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO: If I knew how to live so well, why am I eight shades lighter than this piece of paper?
CARLSON: That‘s a good point.
KELLERMAN: I need to get away from it all, Tucker.
CARLSON: And you‘re not in Vegas as you normally on are.
CARLSON: First up, 17-year-old Joshua Vannoy is a Denver Broncos fan. John Kelly, who teaches his Honors Ethnic Relations class in Pennsylvania, is not. So when the teenager showed up in a John Elway jersey on Friday, two days before the Broncos played the Steelers in the AFC championship game, his teacher made him sit in the middle of a circle of desks and told other the kids to throw paper at him.
Joshua said he was humiliated and couldn‘t finish that day‘s test. According to Kelly, the whole thing was a joke and, I might add, a pretty funny joke.
And if you can‘t handle that, Joshua Vannoy, good luck handling life, buddy, where you get fired without warning and you get hit by a taxicab crossing the street, where the IRS can open an audit up on you and send you to prison. I mean, there are a lot of bad things that can happen in this world. If you can‘t handle being mocked for your team affiliation...
KELLERMAN: Well, if he was humiliated after that, I imagine how he felt after the actual game.
Look, yes, sure, you could easily argue if you‘re a Broncos fan, in all places, in Pittsburgh, to come out and say that before a playoff game...
CARLSON: You‘re a free thinker.
KELLERMAN: I mean, maybe if you were someone from Pittsburgh and you were in Denver, you‘re in Pittsburgh, you‘re kind of tough. You‘re in Denver. You‘re OK. You‘re not worried about it too much.
KELLERMAN: “So yes, I‘m a Pittsburgh fan. What about it?”
But you‘re a Broncos fan and you‘re in Pittsburgh? It‘s not the smartest thing in the world. But it takes guts.
KELLERMAN: It takes guts to sit there in the middle of the Pittsburgh class and say, “I like the Broncos.”
KELLERMAN: With a John Elway jersey on, and you‘ve got to respect it.
CARLSON: I absolutely respect it. And I would respect it more if the boy had taken his lumps without whining. You stand up for your unpopular...
KELLERMAN: You‘re missing the brilliance in it, Tucker. He was unprepared to take the test. The teacher gave him an out. He‘s watching the—he‘s watching the game. He‘s thinking about football. He‘s got football on the brain, not—no ethnicity in public life—whatever the course is. It‘s an ethnicity course that they were taking. So it‘s a perfect out.
It‘s like he‘s getting the paper thrown at him, he‘s thinking, “You know what? That‘s right. Here‘s my excuse. I‘m emotionally disabled at this point.”
CARLSON: I‘ve got post-traumatic stress disorder from having paper thrown at me.
KELLERMAN: Yes. Pretraumatic test disorder, and I need to postpone this thing. And...
CARLSON: So essentially, this was an elaborate scam thought up by this genius brave kid, in order not to take this—what is ethnic studies test. What the hell is ethnic studies, anyway?
KELLERMAN: It wasn‘t even elaborate. It was a great extemporaneous kind of artistic thing he did, where on the spot he used creativity—I was once so up prepared to take a math test in high school that I claimed I got jumped in Central Park, had my little brother punch me in the face so I‘d have a black eye and I couldn‘t concentrate. “Where were you?”
“I got jumped in Central Park.” And then I went home. I swear to you. Because I needed an extra day or two to prepare for the test.
CARLSON: And you got into Columbia anyway.
KELLERMAN: And it worked. And by the way, the scene with my brother was like right out of “Raging Bull.” He didn‘t want to hit me. And I was, like, “Come on, hit me. Come on, don‘t be a little girl about it. Hit me.” And it was actually like the scene between De Niro and Pesci in “Raging Bull.”
This kid deserves credit for the ingenuity.
CARLSON: That is—actually, you‘ve won me over.
KELLERMAN: Thank you.
CARLSON: I‘m so glad we‘re on this late at night Eastern, because that‘s such a bad lesson for our children. I hope not one person under 18 is watching.
KELLERMAN: Actually, the lesson is how sick the pressure kids feel to get punched in the eye to get out of a test.
CARLSON: I couldn‘t agree with you more. Max Kellerman.
CARLSON: Thank you.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher are giving it another go. The couple who made underage extramarital affairs and auto body shops romantic again reunites on “The Cutting Room Floor,” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.”
Joining us now Mr. America, Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: Funny you should mention it. I was just putting the finishing touches on Miss America‘s restraining order against Max. He was chasing her out of the studio.
CARLSON: I believe it.
There are a few different routes you can take to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. You can be eight feet tall. You can have the world‘s largest stamp collection. Or you can cover yourself in 400,000 bees. This guy went the bees route. He‘s a Columbian villager who shattered the old world record of 350,000 bees. This was his second attempt at the record, and he won.
GEIST: Tucker, that is a Guinness record. That‘s what I‘m talking about, we‘re tough on Guinness because of their poor records. That‘s not most grapes caught in your mouth or most time doing your laundry in one day. That‘s Guinness at its finest. Look at that. That guy deserves every honor that comes his way.
CARLSON: Truly, those bees could kill him in about a second.
GEIST: He doesn‘t care. He wants to be in the book. Good for him.
CARLSON: I‘m impressed. He deserves it.
As if Tony Danza needed yet another award to put on his already crowded mantel, he‘s been named America‘s sexiest celebrity grandparent for 2006. This according to “Grand” magazine. “Grand‘s” editor says, “Quote, “Mr. Danza epitomizes today‘s passionate, funny, devoted grandparent.”
Other finalists included Tina Turner, Colin Powell and last year‘s winner, Harrison Ford.
GEIST: And Tucker, once again this year, the least sexy grandparent, Bea Arthur. She‘s really—she‘s building a dynasty. Hats off to her.
CARLSON: She was really on the list?
GEIST: No. No, I don‘t find her sexy. You do. I apologize. I don‘t.
CARLSON: Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher are getting back together, we can report. This time for a television special that will include Joey‘s ex-wife, Mary Jo. You‘ll remember Joey and then 16-year-old Fisher had an affair that culminated in a jealous Fisher shooting Mary Jo in the face.
Joey was jailed for statutory rape, says he plans to ask Amy why she shot his wife. He says, quote, “There‘s going to be a lot of shocking revelations.”
GEIST: I bet there will. Talk about often wondered. I‘ve often wondered to myself how did this story end. What ever became of these folks? And now we‘re going to have the answer to those questions. What happened in the last 10 years to them? I think I know, and I think it‘s pretty sad.
CARLSON: Because really, in America, these stories never really end.
GEIST: This is going to be sad.
CARLSON: I‘m going to watch it.
GEIST: I know you will.
CARLSON: Willie Geist, Mr. America, thank you.
That‘s it for THE SITUATION tonight. Coming up, Keith. Hope you have a great night. See you tomorrow.
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