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'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' for April 19

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guest: Rachel Maddow, Kyle MacDonald, Susan Finlan

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks.  Thank you at home for tuning in.  It's good to have you with us, as always. 

Tonight the tide turning in the Duke rape case.  The pictures seem to tell a very different story from the one first told by the accuser.  But will new evidence exonerate the players who've already been charged?  A look at what's behind the case that has torn that campus apart. 

Also ahead, an arrest in the Vegas beat-down we showed you last night.  Even the cops found this one shocking, but will it crack our list of the top five caught on tape moments?  We'll show you. 

Plus, how this guy changed a single red paper clip into a duplex in Phoenix.  He'll tell us what he's going for next. 

But first, the White House shakeup. 


SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  The White House is going through a period of transition.  Change can be helpful, and this is a good time and a good position to help bring about change.  I'm ready to move on. 


CARLSON:  That was White House press secretary Scott McClellan announcing his resignation earlier today. 

But it was not the only staff shakeup at the White House.  Karl Rove also will give up his policy-making role to focus on keeping Republican control of Congress. 

The players are changing, but will the game remain the same? 

Joining me now, a former White House official.  She is Jennifer Palmieri.  She was deputy press secretary for President Bill Clinton.  She joins us tonight Washington. 

Jen, thanks for coming on. 


CARLSON:  It seems to me—tell me what you think of this—that presidents often make the mistake of hiring and promoting based on loyalty rather than competence, that's how I think all presidents, not just this but all of them, Bill Clinton included, tend to elevate people who are loyal to them rather than maybe the best candidates.  And that's kind of what we've been watching in this White House press secretary.  Do you think?

PALMIERI:  It's true.  I think that Clinton certainly had that problem early on in 1993.  He had a lot of people that came up from the campaign that eventually were moved out.

I worked for Leon Panetta, who was the second chief of staff.  He was brought in to take over for Matt McCarty, because I think, to be honest, a 16-year member of the House was thought to be a more experienced Washington hand. 

So we had the same phenomenon, but I think we corrected it sooner than Bush did.  Clinton doesn't, you know, some may say it's a good trait.  Some may say it's a bad trait, but he doesn't have the sense of loyalty to a fault that I think Bush can, where he is blinded by it. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I think that—I think that's fair.  I always thought the most effective, by far, press secretary I've ever seen was Mike McCurry, who always gave you the sense that he was kind of freelancing a little bit.


CARLSON:  That he was sort of telling you more than he was supposed to be telling you.  I think that serves the president pretty well.  Presidents probably disagree with that. 

What should the new White House press secretary be like?  What's the most effective press secretary you can imagine?

PALMIERI:  Well, I think—I think the most effective press secretary is the—and this something that McCurry would talk about a lot, is someone who equally balances representing the press's interest in the White House, as well as the president's interest at the podium. 

And Mike always talks about how the White House press secretary's office is halfway in between the White House briefing room and the Oval Office.  And that—and that's symbolic of what the job should be. 

I think McClellan was very well liked by reporters.  I know that everyone thinks highly of him as a person.  I don't think that he was out there lying for two years.  I think he was lied to. 

But what I think that he didn't do a good job of, and most don't understand this role, is as a press secretary you have to represent the press in the West Wing.

CARLSON:  Right.

PALMIERI:  And you have to say in the chief of staff's office, “You know what?  They're never going to buy that, and they're going to kill us every day.”  They in this case being the press.  “They're going to kill us every day until we deal with X, Y or Z.”

CARLSON:  Right.

PALMIERI:  And I think that McClellan didn't—just wasn't listened to.  I don't think the White House cares. 

CARLSON:  I tend to agree with that.  I think they dislike the press.  Would it helpful, though, to have a press secretary who was once part of the press?  And with that idea in mind, what about Tony Snow?  His name has been floated. 

PALMIERI:  I'm so intrigued by that.  I think Tony—Tony is obviously a very conservative guy.  I happen to like him.  I think he—I think he was a great speechwriter in the White House, and I think that he's been good on television. 

It seems that—I think that's a really hard transition to make.  People try to make it on the other end.  For example, when George Stephanopoulos left the White House and went to ABC, you know, it's all worked out for him fine.  But it's—I think that it's hard to make that adjustment from one side of the field to the other. 

And I think that—I mean, I know that Tori Clark has said many times that she doesn't want to do this.  I happen to think she would be terrific.  She—the White House press corps, I think, has a lot of respect for her.  She definitely seems someone who would command respect within the White House.  I think that she's—you know, she's one of those people that have the personality where you can be friendly with the press, but not have them, you know, not have them take advantage of you.  I think she would be good.

CARLSON:  Yes.  There's nothing wrong with having the press like you.  Just because the press likes you doesn't mean you're evil.  Politicians should know that.

PALMIERI:  They should know that. 

CARLSON:  Exactly.  They ought to know that.  Thanks a lot for joining us.  I appreciate it.

PALMIERI:  Thanks for having me, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  We turn now to the other top story of today, the Duke rape investigation.

They say every picture tells a story.  But the pictures obtained by MSNBC's Dan Abrams appear to tell a different story from the one we heard from the accuser in this case. 

According to the defense, this photograph of the alleged victim is the most important.  She appears to be smiling with her clothes in tact.  The picture was taken at 12:31 a.m.  That's some time after the rape is alleged to have occurred. 

Lawyers from the defendant also say the two players charged so far, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, can demonstrate they were not even in the house at the time the woman says she was attacked.  So what is really going on in this case? 

For answers to that question, we turn to Susan Finlan.  She's MSNBC's legal analyst.  She's also a former prosecutor.  She joins us from Stanford, Connecticut tonight. 

Susan, thanks for coming on. 

SUSAN FINLAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Hey, Tucker, how are you?

CARLSON:  I'm great.  I'm still keeping an open mind.  I hope you are, too.  But my mind is closing a little bit, I have to say, after the release of this picture. 

You said last night I was buying defense spin.  But let's look at this objectively.  This picture is problematic, don't you think, for the prosecutor?

FINLAN:  Not necessarily, Tucker, because timeline here is very mushy.  It's very vague.  We don't exactly know when this alleged rape actually took place. 

She recollects that it took about 30 minutes, but her recollection of that may be very, very inaccurate, because victims who go through a traumatic experience often don't have a clear recollection as to time.  So the timeline is off. 

And the defense, by going forward with this faulty timeline and this alibi defense, may be setting themselves up for a fall.  Because as a prosecutor you're really delighted when you hear alibi, because if you can knock down alibi, bang, conviction. 

CARLSON:  That's a good point.  But it's not only the defense that's come out with theories about this case.  It's also the district attorney came out recently and said, “Look, the DNA was not discovered on the victim's body, partly because the accused were wearing long-sleeved shirts.”  And her fingernails apparently couldn't have grasped their skin because they had long-sleeved shirts or jackets on. 

But according to the photographs NBC has gotten a hold of, a lot of these guys, including one of the accused, wearing short-sleeved shirts.  It gives you the impression maybe the D.A. doesn't know what he's talking about.

FINLAN:  Big deal.  He was wearing a short-sleeved shirt at the part.  He gets ready to leave.  He puts his jacket on, and maybe that's when he goes into the bathroom and the alleged assault takes place.  So just because he's got a photo of him in a short-sleeved shirt doesn't mean at the time the attack occurred he wasn't wearing a jacket. 

You're referring to the DNA that should have been under the fingernails.

CARLSON:  That's right.

FINLAN:  Because she said that she scratched his arms so hard in an effort to get him off of her that she broke five of her nails off.  So you'd expect to find DNA under those fingernails.  When you don't find it you think, “Oh, then it didn't happen.”  Not necessarily so if he was wearing a jacket. 


FINLAN:  Just because that photo in the shirt-sleeved shirt doesn't show him in a long-sleeved shirt, it doesn't mean that at the time of the attack he wasn't wearing long sleeves. 

CARLSON:  That is—that is—I think that's a fair point.  The two potential alibis both have explanations that the prosecution could raise and maybe defeat them with those explanations. 

However, we haven't really heard anything from the prosecution so far.  Instead, in place of explanations, we have seen search warrants today executed on these two guys.  Cops searched their two rooms after they were indicted. 

It adds up to me to a picture of a prosecutor who really doesn't have his ducks in a row, who may not have the evidence that we suppose he has.  And maybe—this is speculation here—this guy wanted to bring forth indictments before the election that he's going to have to face 12 day from today. 

FINLAN:  Hey, Tucker, that's a real misunderstanding.  And I say this as kindly as I can...


FINLAN:  ... on your part, because a prosecutor's job is to continue to investigate a case post-indictment. 

CARLSON:  Right.

FINLAN:  And anybody worth their salt is investigating their case and the defense's case right up and through trial.

CARLSON:  Of course.

FINLAN:  So just because he's still working on it post-indictment doesn't moon that he doesn't have a game plan or he doesn't know what he's doing. 

CARLSON:  That—that—that's absolutely conceded.  I'm fully aware of that. 

However, he has given us no other facts to go on, essentially.  He gets up there at these press conferences, says you know, we're going to get them.  We have the evidence.  The defense, meanwhile, has come out with what looks like tangible evidence after a piece of tangible evidence. 

It's been responded to by the prosecutor with nothing.  At some point, doesn't he have to kind of justify these indictments publicly or no?

FINLAN:  OK.  Well, there's two things going on.  One is the court of public opinion, and one is the court of law. 

CARLSON:  Right.

FINLAN:  And this prosecutor has come under heavy criticism for having made any statements to the press whatsoever.  If he had ever kept his mouth shut he wouldn't be in the position that he's in right now, where he falls under attack from you for not responding to what the defense is putting out.  But maybe, maybe he shouldn't have spoken in the first place. 

That having been said, it's in the defense's interests to continue to work away our minds in the court of public opinion, to plant the seed of doubt.  Because remember, reasonable doubt is what's going to rule the day in the court of law.

CARLSON:  Right.

FINLAN:  They need to plant the seed, plant the seed, and get us kind of thinking, “Oh, my gosh, have innocent people actually been indicted?  Is there—is there a travesty of injustice here?

CARLSON:  It looks like real evidence, though.  I mean, this is not innuendo.  They say they have—they have receipts, for instance, from an ATM machine and the takeout restaurant proving that the guys were there.  That is real, not just attacking the character of the alleged victim. 

FINLAN:  It may be real; it may not be real.  But let's say for the sake of argument it is real.  We still don't know, Tucker...


FINLAN:  ... in the timeline whether the alleged assault took place before or after these guys have these photographs of themselves outside of the house. 

You showed a photograph where she's coming out of the house, I think you said around 12:30, where she has what people are saying is sort of a silly little grin on her face. 

CARLSON:  Right, right.

FINLAN:  The other dancer that she was there with, who gave an interview on camera, said that when she got there, she was sober.  And when she left, there was something wrong with her. 


FINLAN:  Inebriated, intoxicated, impaired in some way.  And she saw her drink something from a drink.  So if she had been given some kind of a date rape drug, that might explain she has what we think is an inappropriate grin after an alleged sexual assault.

CARLSON:  And we'll know when we—when we get access to the toxicology reports, that they took. 

FINLAN:  Except, Tucker—except, except...

CARLSON:  I'm sorry.  On that mysterious note, Susan, we're going to have to go.  Hold that thought.  We're going to find out if this prosecutor actually has the goods or not.  He better, or he's going to owe these guys a pretty big apology.  We'll find out.

Susan Finlan, thanks a lot. 

FINLAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, we'll have more on the White House shuffle. 

How will the current shakeup affect Republicans in the coming months? 

We'll talk to someone quite familiar with turmoil.  Watergate veteran G.

Gordon Liddy stops by in just a minute. 

Plus, was this vicious attack in Las Vegas part of a larger spree of violence?  We'll bring you details, plus other unforgettable moments caught on tape.  We have them.  We'll be right back.


CARLSON:  Still to come, convicted Watergate felon, talk radio show host, and all around great guy, G. Gordon Liddy joins us with his take on the turmoil at the White House. 

Speaking of the White House, is President Bush the worst leader in U.S. history?  Some say it.  We'll debate it, next.


CARLSON:  Yet another angle on turmoil enveloping White House again.  President Bush's second term is turning out to be one rocky ride.  Could the turmoil derail the administration completely?

Joining me now, a man who knows first-hand how a White House under fire operates.  He is G. Gordon Liddy.  His new book is “Fight Back:

Tackling Terrorism, Liddy Style”.  Mr. Liddy joins us now from Washington, D.C.

Mr. Liddy, thanks for coming on. 

G. GORDON LIDDY, AUTHOR, “FIGHT BACK”:  Good evening, Tucker.  It's a pleasure to be with you again. 

CARLSON:  Well, thank you.  Is this—is it significant who the White House press secretary is, who the chief flack is, since he essentially just repeats the talking points anyway?  Does it matter?

LIDDY:  Well, he has to be skillful at it.  After all it's a duel of wits between that individual and the White House press corps.  They have a very inflated view of hits own value.  And you know, you have got to be able to think on your feet.  And you have to dual with them. 

CARLSON:  It seems to me that Scott McClellan was, from the Bush administration's perspective, the perfect press secretary, in that he almost verbatim repeated the talking points day after day, but in so doing made the press hate him.  It seemed kind of counterproductive to me after awhile. 

LIDDY:  Well, he's really a surrogate for the president.  They press hates the president, and so they're going to hate the surrogate. 

CARLSON:  Right.

LIDDY:  I don't think it's McClellan's fault. 

CARLSON:  What do you think of the news of Karl Rove focusing entirely on political matters rather than policy?

LIDDY:  Well, I think it's probably a good move.  They're in deep political trouble, because they came to power as a conservative Republicans who were going to shrink the size of government or at least not expand it.  And here they are, they've put in the biggest entitlement program since Lyndon Johnson and have been spending like drunken sailors, haven't vetoed anything. 

And I agree with the president's positions with respect to Iraq, but he's 180 degrees out of face with the American people on the illegal alien problems. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Do you see parallels between this president and the president you serve, Richard Nixon, both of them non-doctrinaire Republicans, both of them, from a spending point of view anyway, kind of on the liberal end, it seems to me, and both having profound political trouble?  Do you see that...

LIDDY:  That is true.  After all, it was the Nixon administration, President Nixon, who started the whole EPA. 

CARLSON:  Right and affirmative action. 

LIDDY:  That and he also started that business of the endangered species.  The idea was to save the bald eagle, not to save all kind of little worms and things at the expense of children's hospitals. 

CARLSON:  That's an excellent point.  Why do you think the president is taking on terrorism, made terrorism his defining issue, really his legacy, the fight against terrorism?  Why would he be so soft on border security, since there is an obvious connection between the loose borders and acts of terror?

LIDDY:  I think it's an accident of history.  So he was brought up on the border in the Tex-Mex culture and does not perceive the situation in the same way that the American people do. 

He does not think of the wholesale invasion of America by Mexican nationals as a problem.  The rest of the country does.

The rest of the country well remembers, as I do.  My father's folks were Irish immigrants, and my mother's were Italian immigrants.  And the only thing they had in common was their Roman Catholic faith.  That's how they got together.

My mother did not speak Italian, because her parents would not permit it.  Their attitude was we are here to become and be Americans.  We will speak English.  You will speak English.  You'll speak no other language.  And they wanted to, and they did assimilate completely. 

The current crop from Mexico, their allegiance is to Mexico.  They have no intention whatsoever of assimilating into Americans, whether we give them citizenship or not. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIDDY:  They believe that the entire southwest of the United States belongs to them anyway, and we are the interlopers.  It's not going to work. 

CARLSON:  What—what's the one thing—your book is about how to protect yourself not just against terror, but against all kinds of threats. 

One of the things you write about is how to protect yourself against kidnapping, being grabbed off the street.  I've heard you talk about this before.  I'd be interested in your quick summation of what you ought to do if you're wondering down the street, particularly if you're a women, and someone grabs you and tries to, say, force you into a car.  What do you do?

LIDDY:  OK.  Well, first thing you do is if you're going to yell, yell fire, don't yell help. 

CARLSON:  Right.

LIDDY:  People don't come to the aid of people who yell help, but fire, people come looking for the fire and want to put it, and what have you.  You'll gather a crowd that way. 

But the main thing is, you've got to be aware.  Don't walk down the street looking at the sidewalk, hoping nobody is going to notice you. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

LIDDY:  You know, you've got to walk with your shoulders squared, constantly being aware of what's around you.  And at the slightest hint of trouble, defend yourself.  There's no reason why anyone should be without a weapon. 

CARLSON:  I agree. 

LIDDY:  All you need—all you need is, assuming that you cannot get for some reason, a permit to carry a pistol...

CARLSON:  Right.

LIDDY:  ... carry a little note pad and carry an Everhard Faber pencil sharpened in an electric pencil sharpener.  People will think you're just taking notes.  But if you know what to do you can kill someone before you hit the ground with it. 

CARLSON:  That is one you're one of my all-time—all-time favorite people.  G. Gordon Liddy.  “Fight Back: Tackling Terrorism Liddy Style.”  And a plug for the pencil manufacturers.  Good for you.  G. Gordon Liddy.

Thank you. 

LIDDY:  You're very welcome, sir.  My pleasure. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, should athletes in wheelchairs be allowed to race against runners in high school track and field events?  A judge in Maryland says so.  We'll bring you all the details on that. 

Plus an elderly man with the breast of intensions.  Find out why this sleazeball decided to pose as a doctor and make a few house calls.  We'll tell you who fell for it when we come back.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Cops in Las Vegas are closing in on a group of teenage thugs suspected of orchestrating a series of mob attacks on people around the gambling Mecca.  A particularly brutal assault was caught on tape just outside the MGM Grand Hotel Casino.  The victim here suffered a broken jaw and a crushed collar bone. 

But this surveillance video led police to one teenager.  More arrests are expected soon.

A stern warning to criminals that in today's high-tech terrorism conscious society, you never know who is watching you.  Don't take our word for it.  In tonight's top five we have the video to prove it. 


CARLSON (voice-over):  Look out, James Bond.  Spy cams are no longer the sole property of big-screen super-sleuths. 

A scary reminder that Big Brother isn't the only one watching. 

How much is that doggy in the window?  Makes no difference to these masked thieves, caught in the act of snatching a dozen pedigree puppies from an Orlando pet shop.  Incidentally, the crooks were never collared. 

A store video cam recently captured this disturbing scene in California.  Three pedestrians, two of them kids, seriously hurt by an out-of-control car.  The 79-year-old unlicensed driver fled the scene but later turned herself in. 

Kids, don't make me turn this bus around.  Is it any wonder school districts are now equipping their buses with surveillance cameras?  Maybe they ought to consider seatbelts, too. 

A tiny dash cam comes in handy for high-speed action such as when this Florida cop literally put his butt on the line of duty.  He escaped with only minor bruising. 

And from Minnesota, yet another reminder that a little hindsight is a good defense when you're patrolling a busy highway. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Anyone that watches that tape will say why is he alive?

CARLSON:  And our dubious caught on tape honor goes to the cabby from Dallas, Texas, captured in the act of sprinkling his own feces on food at a grocery store. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is so disgusting.

CARLSON:  The culprit claims it was just a joke, but jurors weren't laughing.  He was given five years behind bars to hone his bathroom humor skills.


CARLSON:  Nothing beats surveillance video. 

Well, just when you thought our government's Middle East policy could not be more inept, a supposedly confident Democratic leader pipes up to remind you that yes, in fact, it could be more inept and indeed, it likely will be more inept if Democrats take over the Congress this fall. 

Consider what Senate minority leader Harry Reid told a crowd in Nevada today.  According to the A.P., Reid says the Bush administration should be taking the lead in convincing Iran to give up nukes but instead is relying on Germany, France and England to do the heavy lifting. 

“It is hard to comprehend,” Reid said.  “We should be involved trying to arrive at a diplomatic solution not just these three countries.” 

So let's see, President Bush should enlist more countries, but he should also make certain that America takes charge of those countries alone.  Excuse me.  The very thought gives me a frog in my throat. 

In other words, Reid wants multilateral action and unilateral action simultaneously.  Very, very tricky, Harry Reid. 

Well, obviously, Harry Reid has no clue what we ought to do in Iran.  Nor do his colleagues in the Democratic Party.  If they did know, they'd tell us, possibly even fulfill their role as a check on the president's foreign policy ambitions.  But they're as clueless as anyone else or probably more clueless than everyone else. 

And so yes, Republicans may get slaughtered in the elections this November.  Possibly.  Then again, maybe they won't get slaughtered.  Because no matter how bad Bush is, you can't beat something with nothing. 

Democrats ought to remember that. 

Still to come, the war in Iraq, and the response to Hurricane Katrina, the Dubai courts debacle.  President Bush certainly has had his fair share of screw-ups.  But is he really the worst commander in chief ever?

Plus, are you ready to view 103 inches of Star Jones in high definition?  We'll tell you about a stunning new television apparently built for the visually impaired when THE SITUATION comes back. 


CARLSON:  Still to come, “Rolling Stone” asks the question, is George Bush the worst president in history? A little over the top, we'll debate it any way.  Plus, a high school teenager in a wheelchair wins the right to compete against non-disabled track athletes.  Now who is that good for exactly?  We'll tell you, but first, here's what else is going on in the world tonight. 

MILISSA REHBERGER, NBC ANCHOR:  Hi, everyone I'm Milissa Rehberger and here's what's happening.  Half a dozen people whose relatives were killed on September 11th testified today for the defense at the death penalty trial of confessed 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.  A woman who's son was killed in the World Trade Center told jurors her family doesn't want to be caught in a whirlpool of sadness and anger.  Last week nearly four dozen 9/11 survivors or relatives of victims testified for the  prosecution.

The family of a 19 year old man arrested  in Aruba says he had nothing to do with last year's disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway.  In a statement released  tonight, the family also says Geoffrey van Cromvoirt is not even friends with any of the others previously detained in that investigation.  And oil prices closed at a record high for a third straight day.  Crude climbed another 82 cents ending the day at $72.17 a barrel.  A larger than expected drop this week in gasoline supplies pushed oil higher.  Now back to “The Situation.”

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  With the resignation of White House press secretary Scott McClellan, and the announcement of a revised role for presidential advisor Karl Rove, speculation mounts that the Bush administration shakeup will escalate.  Well nothing the president does though is likely to placate his critics very much  including “Rolling Stone” magazine.  The latest issue of “Rolling Stone” hits newsstands on Friday, its cover shows a caricature of Bush wearing a dunce cap, next to the question “The Worst President in History?”   

Joining us now with her answer to that question, our own pal “Air America Radio” host, Rachel Maddow.  Rachel?


CARLSON:  This just goes back to my theory that, you know, the one thing Bush has going for him right now is his critics.  I do think the monomania of the Bush haters is, as I've said it many times before, helpful to Bush in the same way the American spectator was helpful to Clinton.  It's alienating to the rest of America. 

MADDOW:  And interestingly I think it's playing out right now with the Donald Rumsfeld criticism.  I think the one thing that's definitely going to keep Donald Rumsfeld in office is people openly criticizing him. 

CARLSON:  That's true, I agree with that.  

MADDOW:  In terms of the Bush presidency though, I mean there are things that I really, really personally viscerally dislike about Bush.  You know I really hate the opposition to stem cell research, I really hate the Terri Schiavo intervention, I really hate his arrogance, I really hate all these other things.  And that's just about what I dislike  about him and there's a lot of Americans who disagree with me.

But there are objective, massive failures associated with this presidency that have nothing to do with me being a liberal.  I mean you can't talk about the destruction of New Orleans as being something that came from his critics.  That's something that he's going to have to live with -- 

CARLSON:  Or from him.  I mean I do think that actually came from Mother Nature as I remember, it was a storm, not a White House policy.  

MADDOW:  Yeah, but people are mad about the reaction, people aren't mad about the storm.  

CARLSON:  Right, I mean you were saying objectively.  How about this though, I beg your pardon, I have throat issues tonight.  This truly is my belief that Bush, maybe 50 years from now it will be recorded as the worst president in American history.  However, if his plan in the Middle East succeeds, a plan I do not support, but if it does succeed, he will be recorded as one of the greatest president's in American history.  Because his plan is to transform the Middle East from this cluster of dictatorships, repressive governments into this democratic region.  If that actually works, I mean, he'll  be the best. 

MADDOW:  Yes, if the likely hood that what Bush's intervention in the Middle East is going to do, is that it's going to create democracy, that it's going to bring little, you know, Thomas Jeffersons up to the floor in countries all over the middle east, is about as likely as it is that he won't be considered the worst president. It's just not going to happen. 

CARLSON:  But that's my point, it's exactly as likely.  In other words, Bush plays out on a grand scale.  And you have to kind of give him credit for that as much as I said a million times I disapprove of the ideas behind the war in Iraq.  But you got to concede, if they're right, he is not a technocrat, he is not Bill Clinton, he's not a tinkerer, he is a massive historic figure.  

MADDOW:  Yes, he is massive, you talk about comparing him to Clinton.  He took Clinton's biggest  budget surpluses ever in U.S. history and in about five minutes turns them into the biggest budget deficits in U.S.  history.  

CARLSON:  None of that will matter.  That won't even be a footnote in history if Iraq succeeds. 

MADDOW:  But Iraq won't succeed.  And Iraq is a massive failure.  Iraq is a massive failure not only for the Americans who have died there and who have been wounded there and for what we have been paying for all this time, Iraq is a massive generational failure.  What we have done right now is that we've created a new foothold for Iran in the middle east in a way that never could have been done had Bush not taken us there.  

CARLSON:  Maybe.  We'll see.  I mean I fear that, but I think we have to agree that we actually won't know that until you and I are elderly. 

MADDOW:  But what we know right now is that he wiped out those budget surpluses.   We know that New Orleans got wiped off the map and we know that he decided to invade Iraq.  And maybe there's some hope in 50 years we'll think that's a good thing, and maybe I'll grow wings, you never know. 

CARLSON:  You're a hard sale Rachel, I don't think we're going to win you over.  But I am trying any way.  Rachel Maddow, thank you very much. 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  We turn now to a man whose passionate love for President Bush is exceeded only by his passionate love for the Boston Red Socks.  He is the outsider, ESPN Radio and HBO boxing host, Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO & HBO BOXING HOST:  I didn't start out a Bush hater, by the way Tucker, I did not start out that way. 

CARLSON:  You didn't?

KELLERMAN:  No I didn't. 

CARLSON:  He brought you to it.  You're blaming the victim, aren't you?  Well here's a question, is it a good idea to allow disabled athletes to compete in non-disabled high school athletic events?  Good idea or not, they are doing it in the state of Maryland.  16 year old Tatiana McFadden who uses a wheelchair won a lawsuit that allows her to participate on her high school's track team.  McFadden won two metals at the 2004 Para Olympics in Athens.  Her times will not count against her non-disabled peers, but she says she's just excited to be out there.

Well obviously I think Tatiana's an admirable person, but she shouldn't be suing for the right to be on a high school track team when she's in a wheel chair.  Max meanwhile will take up her cause.  Look Max, I think it's distracting for the athletes she's  competing with.  There really is no comparison between running and rolling.  I'm not saying one is better than the other.  I'm not weighing with a value judgment, but they are about as related as roller skating and poll vaulting which is not the same sport. 

KELLERMAN:  I was wondering how you were going to attack this.  Whether you felt that they were being too litigious, that's a separate argument.  But let's just take it at face value.  Right, she's rolling with her arms not running with her feet.  What's high school sports really about Tucker?  It's about giving these kids, and that's what she is, a chance to go out there and feel good about themselves and learn about hard work and discipline and just be athletic, right? 

Well, in this case, she's not endangering herself, she's not endangering any other student and she wants to compete.  She's a girl in a wheelchair who wants to live a normal life.  I don't really see the argument against it.  

CARLSON:  All of which I think is terrific, and she ought to compete, she ought to compete against other people who are rolling wheelchairs. 

KELLERMAN:  That's not what's happening.  What's happening is she's just out there by herself, you know, rolling herself around the track and she wants to compete against other people.  

CARLSON:  Right, but there apparently are no other people for her to compete against.  I mean --  

KELLERMAN:  Oh there are. 

CARLSON:  Usually the point of high school sports is to teach lessons and one of the lessons is, you complete against evenly-matched people.  You don't beat up on little kids, right, because what, that's unfair.  You don't compete in a sport or even next to someone in a sport if you're participating in a different sport.  Right, because they're not the same.  

KELLERMAN:  If it was, actually that's kind of the argument for it.  What harm does it do?  If it were football, right, because someone could get hurt.  But they are just timing how fast they go around the track.  Does it really distract other people that she's in a wheelchair?  

CARLSON:  You're making me feel mean, so I'm going to have to move on. 

Is there such a thing as a television that is too big?  Well there may be. 

Panasonic has unveiled a new 103 inch plasma television.  Yes 103 inches.  So basically you're inviting life-sized human beings into your living room every time you turn on the TV.  The new screen wears 400 pounds.  Panasonic recommends a huge wall, needless to say, and professional installation.  The 103 inch monster will be available in time for Christmas.  Yes, Max there is such a thing as too big a television.  This is it.  I know you'd prefer if every wall in your apartment was taken up by TV screens, but that would be wrong. 

KELLERMAN:  What makes you think it's not?

CARLSON:  Actually I think it probably is.  Here's what's wrong with this, it's so big that it blurs or even destroys the line between fantasy and reality. 

KELLERMAN:  That's the whole point.  

CARLSON:  No, no.  That's called schizophrenia, okay? So, if you can't perceive that the people on television are in fact on television and not in your living room, then you are almost by definition insane, you're mentally ill. 

KELLERMAN:  The southern agrarian in you—I can't wait for the holographic images.  I remember when the big TV in my parent's house, I was a little kid, a 13 inch color screen, I was like, oh my gosh, then it was a 20 inch, then 25 and 27 inch, then 35 inch.  I have a 60-inch screen in my house and as you know, I've had corrective eye surgery.  I see better than 20/20, it's not big enough Tucker.  There is no such thing as a  television too big.  And it's such a great example of technology pushing us forward and increasing the standard of living for everyone.  Because you can get a 27-inch TV now for like a couple of hundred bucks, which is less expensive than it was 20 years ago.  

CARLSON:  I think it's grotesque, it's yet another example of technology making us more passive and sedate and dumb, right, and willing to accept the world as it comes to us rather than going out and changing the world.  I mean it's actually kind of  disturbing.  

KELLERMAN:  I want to see a 104-inch image of Tucker Carlson when I Tivo this show and go home and watch, I want to see Tucker Carlson 104 inches on my wall. 

CARLSON:  Man I am Tucker Carlson, I wouldn't want to see that, that would scare the hell out of me.  Max Kellerman, thanks Max.  Thanks for the vote of confidence, I appreciate it.

Coming up on THE SITUATION you have to be some kind of salesman to offer a red paper clip and get a new house in return.  You are about to meet a man who's doing it.  An incredible story of trading your way to the top when we come back.  Stay tuned.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  My next guest may go down as the most resourceful man in all recorded history.  Kyle MacDonald set out last July with just a single red paper clip and the goal of parlaying it into a new home.  He started by trading the paper clip for a pen, he has since made surprisingly good progress toward his goal, so how does this barter game work?  We ask the man himself.  Kyle MacDonald joins us tonight from Phoenix.  Kyle, you look great by the way.  

KYLE MACDONALD:  Thanks a lot.  Check this out.   Carrying the torch for all of us Carlson.

CARLSON:  Outstanding.  I can tell by your accent Kyle that you're Canadian.  Let me just say, as I said to you a minute ago in the commercial break, you are more than welcome in our country.  We welcome you with open arms, truly we need people like you.

MACDONALD:  I appreciate it.  

CARLSON:  I mean it. How did you get from a paper clip to a house?

MACDONALD:  Well, I started with one red paper clip last summer and I traded it for a pen shaped like a fish.  I traded the pen for a doorknob, that for a Coleman stove.  I did trade for bigger and better things, nine more times and I just traded a recording contract for a year's worth of rent in Phoenix, Arizona.  

CARLSON:  Wait, who traded you a doorknob for a Coleman camping stove?

MACDONALD:  A fellow in Massachusetts named Sean Sparks.  And the doorknob was like a ceramic custom job and the Coleman camping stove he actually tried to sell at a garage sale, and then he tried to give it away, and he still couldn't give it away, so he actually had to barter it with me to get rid of the thing. 

CARLSON:  Wow.  And then you took the Coleman camping stove and traded that for a generator? 

MACDONALD:  You got that right. 

CARLSON:  That's a pretty good trade.  How did you talk your way into that one? 

MACDONALD:  Well, you know, I traded it with a marine down in Camp Pendleton.  He had a bunch of things and he really wanted that camping stove because it was a special model. 

CARLSON:  And then you took the generator and you parlayed that into a keg machine.  

MACDONALD:  Yeah that's right, this was like a crazy keg, it had like an IOU and a neon Budweiser sign.  I traded that for a snow mobile.  And I traded the snow mobile for a trip to the Rockies.  

CARLSON:  You traded that for a snow mobile?


CARLSON:  Now that's a step up.  You're going from a Kegerator to an actual vehicle.  How did you work that? 

MACDONALD:  Well, I made the trade in New York City, I brought it up to Montreal.  And beer is a lot more expensive in Canada.  So, and snow mobiles are a dime a dozen over the border.  So it worked out pretty even. 

CARLSON:  Wow, everyone in Canada traded their dogsleds for snowmobiles,  progress.  So then you went from the snow mobile for a trip to British Columbia.  And then where did you go from there? 

MACDONALD:  I traded the trip to beautiful Yahk, D.C. for a cube van, like a big box truck. 

CARLSON:  So you actually owned the truck? 

MACDONALD:  I sort of—I never actually owned any of these things, I'm just the middle man.  It's all in promises hand shakes and ball park figures.  But I had ownership of the truck per se and I traded it for a recording contact at a studio for an album. 

CARLSON:  So these are basically leveraged buy-outs.  Okay, did you record the album? 

MACDONALD:  I didn't.  It's in the hands of Jody Gannett here in Phoenix, Arizona, she's going to fly out and record her album in the next few months.  

CARLSON:  Amazing.  And are you living now in the house that you've been given occupancy of? 

MACDONALD:  Sort of.  I sort of have ownership of it I guess for the time being.  But I'm looking to trade it and if any one wants a year's worth of rent in Phoenix, Arizona, swing on over to, I'm taking offers right now.  

CARLSON:  So where's this going to end up?  What do you want in the end, control of the United States, I mean what's your goal?

MACDONALD:  It's kind of a secret, so I won't let you in onto it.  But it is, like a subliminal form of world domination.  But I think what my first goal will be is to get from a paper clip to a house.  

CARLSON:  But are you going to keep going after the house?

MACDONALD:  Well like I said, it's a bit of a secret.  I can't really, maybe if you call me later on, but like I said, world domination.  But the house first. 

CARLSON:  Boy I think you're capable of  it.  Kyle MacDonald, a Canadian in America.  Are you enjoying America by the way? 

MACDONALD:  I love it.  Sunny and hot.  No dogsleds any where. 

CARLSON:  It's the American dream man.  He goes from a paper clip to a house.  Try that in Canada.  Kyle, thanks for joining us.  

MACDONALD:  Hey, no problem.  Have a good one.

CARLSON:  Thanks. 

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, President Bush was so busy kicking people out of the White House today, he forgot to tune up the old presidential chopper.  We've got the president's embarrassing failure to launch on the cutting room floor, we'll show it to you in a minute.

And don't forget tomorrow night we'll listen to your voicemail.  The number to call 1-877-TCCARLSON, dial us up and you just  might hear your own message on the air tomorrow night.  We'll be right back.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  You just saw him in an add on your screens, here he is in real life.  Willie Geist, the cutting room floor.

GEIST:  I look better live I think. 

CARLSON:  Yeah I think you do.

GEIST:  I've analyzed them carefully, I look better live.  You know what's funny about that guy Kyle who you were just talking to, he was great.  He's clearly taking advantage of  some mentally-weak people.  If people are giving up cars for pens, I think he's preying on -- 

CARLSON:  I know.  It's the low-hanging fruit, there's a lot of it --  

GEIST:  A guy gave him a truck for a trip that he already took, how does that work exactly? 

CARLSON:  A recording contract?

GEIST:  Yeah I don't know, good for him.  But don't pick on those people. 

CARLSON:  Yeah, but he's a Canadian.  That's kind of funny.  Welcome to our country.  

GEIST:  I like Canadians. 

CARLSON:  I do, too.

GEIST:  Oh you do?

CARLSON:  They're very sweet.  As long as he's making changes at the White House, President Bush may want to shake up his aircraft maintenance staff too.  The president boarded his helicopter Marine 1 at the White House today to make his trip to Andrews Air Force Base, but he and his staff promptly had to get off the chopper because it had a radio malfunction.  The president had to settle for a limo ride to Air Force 1. 

GEIST:  I'm not sure a radio malfunction should ground Marine 1.

CARLSON:  Yeah, I know.

GEIST:  I mean what, he didn't get the FM station he wanted?  Well you do have to say about Bush, like him or not, he handles moments like this really well.  That's where he comes across as the real guy he is.  Like when the door was locked after the press conference in Beijing, the door was locked, and he couldn't open it and—he handles these situations well.  I will give him that.  

CARLSON:  Yeah. 

GEIST:  He got off the helicopter, laughed, waved and made jokes.

CARLSON:  Exactly for him.  Have you caught your breath yet? It's been a full day since we learned the historic news that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were the parents of a baby girl.  The talk today, is of the strange coincidence that Cruise and his rival Brooke Shields had babies on exactly the same day.  But it gets stranger than that.  Both babies were seven pounds seven ounces, both are 20 inches long, there are also reports both were born at the same Los Angeles hospital. 

GEIST:  Actually some of the reports say they were born on the same floor, like down the hall from each other.  That's actually true, I'm not, that's not a joke.  It is, it's chilling.  But I think the differences outweigh the similarities here.  I doubt Brooke had the silent birth.  I doubt they had signs up reminding Brooke to be silent.

CARLSON:  I think that's right.

GEIST:  I doubt she took the baby home to live in a vacuum-sealed chamber or whatever they are going to do. 

CARLSON:  There's no placenta eating—

GEIST:  Right, the end of the similarities, right? 

CARLSON:  But I'm still shocked by the coincidences.  Ronald Wilson Reagan, each word has six letters.  What does that tell you?

GEIST:  Who, conspiracy.

CARLSON:  I know, creepy.  Nothing says the great outdoors like Donald Trump.   At a press conference today the Donald donated 436 acres of land he owned outside New York City, it will now become a state park.  The park's name, what do you think? Donald J. Trump State Park, of course.  The neighboring park is named for the slightly less important and significantly less stylish, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  

GEIST:  How much luxury high-rises did FDR ever build? That's what I want to know.  You know what though, there's nothing the Donald loves more than a good half-day hike  and a night under the stars around the camp fire.

CARLSON:  Oh totally -

GEIST:  Donald is the great outdoors, don't you think.  He tells a mean ghost story. 

CARLSON:  Right, especially in the Browne fields outside New York City.  It's really no place better to camp.  If this man said to you, trust me, I'm a doctor, would you? I didn't think so.  He's a 76 year old who went door-to-door in Florida dressed as a doctor offering women free breast examines.  He had the old school black doctor's bag and everything, he was arrested this morning and charged with sexual battery.  Here's the worst part, at least two women agreed to the breast exam. 

GEIST:  All right Tucker, this guy is a creep.  But, can we talk about those two women who said sure, elderly stranger with a black bag and a stethoscope, of course you may fondle my breasts.  These are the people who should be looked away, or at least have their voting privileges taken away or something.  

CARLSON:  I think these are the people who are bartering with Kyle MacDonald.  

GEIST:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  It's one of the women who gave him a snow mobile for a pen.

GEIST:  They are preying on the weak, Kyle and the doctor. 

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right Tucker, see you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  Thank you Willie.  That's SITUATION for tonight, thank you for watching.  We'll see you back here tomorrow, have a great night. 



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