Guests: Ann Bremner, Tom Tancredo, Verne Edstrom
RITA COSBY, HOST, “ON THE RECORD”: I‘ve Rita Cosby. THE SITUATION with can you Tucker starts now.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Thank you, Rita.
And thanks at home for tuning in. It‘s our one-year anniversary tonight. It‘s a special night to have you with us.
Coming up, it‘s a rare good day for the White House. Karl Rove, it turns out, will not face criminal charges in the CIA leak case. So why is Howard Dean still saying he ought to be fired?
Also ahead, the coming immigration nightmare. You‘ve heard that the Senate‘s reform bill would allow 60 million additional immigrants into the country over the next 20 years. Congressman Tom Tancredo is here to tell you why that is not the worst of it.
Plus, a brawl outside a high school caught on tape. But why were grown women beating up on kids? We‘ll have that story.
But first, is the Duke rape case about to collapse? From the beginning, there have been serious questions about the accuser‘s story. The Duke law professor who led the school‘s own investigation into it is calling for a special prosecutor to take the case away from D.A. Mike Nifong.
He says of Nifong, quote, “I don‘t think he‘s showing detached judgment. I have no confidence in him.”
My next guest defends Nifong, says the case can and should go to trial. Ann Bremner is a trial attorney and a legal analyst. She joins us tonight from Seattle. Ann, thanks for coming on.
ANN BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: This isn‘t such a bad idea. I mean, this is a hoax and the case ought to be tossed out. But short of that, why not have Mr. Nifong, if he cares about justice, step down? He clearly is a lightning rod. He‘s distracting from the facts of the case. And if what‘s he‘s interested in seeing justice done, why wouldn‘t he let another prosecutor take over?
BREMNER: Well, it is—a prosecutor is an advocate. They represent the people of the state. And that‘s what he‘s doing. And so detached judgment is not in the equation. That‘s not what is required.
And if he‘s a lightning rod, think about this. The public opinion out there, I think, is against him in a lot of ways, so it‘s not as if he‘s gaining any advantage politically or otherwise by staying on the case.
CARLSON: Wait, wait, wait. One—one point at a time. Of course detached judgment is required. Even an advocate, an advocate for anything has to look at the facts coolly and assess the right thing. Assess what happened. The truth.
And there‘s a lot of that evidence that he ignored evidence that was counter to his supposition that these guys did it.
BREMNER: A prosecutor‘s duty is to do complete justice, to see that justice is done. Ask yourself this, though. Do you want to hire a detached lawyer in a case where your liberty is at stake or you have an important property interest? I don‘t think so.
CARLSON: But this guy represents the state. And more than anything, we want to see the guilty punished and the innocent let go.
BREMNER: That‘s right.
CARLSON: Look, for instance, to give you one among a thousand examples. I know you‘re aware of all of them.
BREMNER: I am.
CARLSON: It hasn‘t gotten a lot of publicity. There were non-lacrosse players at that party, the party in question. They went forward, a number of them, to Mr. Nifong and said, “Look, we‘d love to give our DNA, too, take polygraph tests, get our pictures taken.” We were at that party.
He said no. He did not take their DNA. He did not take statements. He did not take heir pictures, even though, of course, they could have been the rapists in question. That‘s negligent.
BREMNER: Well, no. What he‘s doing in this case is he‘s got a case -
think about this. You‘ve got the defense out there doing all kinds of P.R., and he‘s quiet. You know, it‘s like there‘s—the defense says this is my side and there‘s the wrong side. But you know what? There‘s not another side. Because the D.A. is doing what he‘s supposed to be doing, which is being quiet. We don‘t know exactly what he‘s done.
CARLSON: He gave 70 interviews to the press before the indictment.
BREMNER: You know what? Guess what? Everyone jumped all over him for that, and now what? Guess what? He‘s quiet.
CARLSON: Look, this isn‘t a case, and I agree. I don‘t have a problem with him being quiet. He ought to shut up. He ought to have shut up a long time ago. And so I‘m not attacking him for that.
BREMNER: I agree with that.
CARLSON: I think he‘s doing the right thing. It‘s a question of evidence. And there doesn‘t seem to be a lot of evidence that these guys committed that crime. And we could say let‘s let justice take its course. Let‘s let the jury decide.
On the other hand, you have three young men who‘ve been accused of a heinous felony sex crime here, and they‘re hanging fire as this process goes forward. At some point, shouldn‘t we say, “Look, this is obviously a hoax. The woman‘s not credible.” And let‘s stop this before people‘s lives are destroyed.
BREMNER: OK, but then here‘s the ultimate question. Who has talked to her?
BREMNER: Who has interviewed her?
CARLSON: Her parents have talked to her. And they have said—her father has said recently in an interview last week that she wasn‘t ready to testify. Her mental state was so fragile he said.
BREMNER: Well, whose wouldn‘t be? Whose wouldn‘t be? Has Bob Bennett, and the suits, have they talked to her? No. You know, everyone...
CARLSON: She‘s an adult. I don‘t understand.
BREMNER: Well, here‘s...
CARLSON: There are plenty of rape victims who are compass menace (ph), who can, you know, tell a coherent story who don‘t blame the innocent. I mean...
BREMNER: With all the debate out there, it‘s kind of like criticizing things you don‘t know about. We don‘t know about her credibility. That‘s what happens on the witness stand. When they take an oath, you look at their manner while testifying, any bias, prejudice they may have and the consistency of their testimony in light of all of the evidence.
This so much as hearsay, improper opinion, like it‘s a crock, that won‘t come in during the course of the trial. All these things we‘re hearing may well not be admissible.
CARLSON: I think that‘s right. But you have at the end, what? You have a great deal of evidence, some of which may not be admissible. But some of which—much of which will be that suggests these guys, and particularly one of them, Reade Seligmann didn‘t do it.
And on the other side, the countervailing side, you have, what, statements of one woman whose credibility at this point is in tatters. You also have a district attorney who was under considerable political pressure for a good friend of his, Woody Vann, who was on the show yesterday and said point blank, look, he can‘t—he can‘t dump this case. He can‘t do the right thing, because he‘s under a lot of pressure from a community in Durham, from his constituents. That‘s just wrong.
BREMNER: You don‘t need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows on this one. People are not supporting Nifong. Everybody out there is criticizing Nifong. If you get on Google and you Google “Duke rape case,” there‘s four million hits.
CARLSON: You‘ve got the NAACP and most of them—most people who take the time to learn about this are shocked by his negligence. But you also have the NAACP in Durham and a bunch of black preachers getting up and saying you must see this case through. He is beholden to his constituency.
BREMNER: Yes, but listen if we have this debate right now on television and it was just you.
BREMNER: OK, you win, right? If you don‘t hear me. That‘s what‘s happening right now in the public in this case. We‘re only hearing from the defense. Therefore, they seem to be winning.
CARLSON: I don‘t think that‘s true. We‘ve got—we‘ve got the evidence he‘s gathered. Much of it has become public. Almost 1,300 pages of evidence that Mike Nifong gathered. We know what a lot of it is.
BREMNER: You know what we need to do. Now these motions have been filed, one, to suppress the I.D., saying it‘s unduly suggestive. It‘s not. It‘s only that there‘s lacrosse players in the photo montage. And they didn‘t have to put in pictures of the Seattle Mariners. We know it was a lacrosse player. It‘s not unduly suggestive of a particular person or person.
Second, the search warrant, they want to throw out the DNA that matches one of the perpetrators. They want to basically say that they want the grand jury somehow to be different. And the fact is, you don‘t to have to bring exculpatory evidence to a grand jury. That‘s what they‘re doing. Let‘s see the response.
CARLSON: I just—you know, in the end, I think these guys are going to get off. I think you probably, in your heart of hearts, believe that, too. It would just be nice to clear them now, while they still have one chance to have, you know, normal lives.
BREMNER: Tucker, you‘re very persuasive. And the debate is out there.
CARLSON: That‘s because I believe it, and I‘m not—you know, I don‘t have any motive other than what I think is true.
BREMNER: I know that.
CARLSON: Ann Bremner, I appreciate it, really much, for coming on.
BREMNER: My pleasure, thanks.
Now the legislative atrocity known as the Senate immigration bill. Republicans in the House of Representatives say it‘s even worse than they feared, if possible. House Speaker Dennis Hastert said today he wants to take, quote, “a long look” at the bill before coming to a quick compromise.
One amendment in that bill would require the United States government to check with Mexico before building a fence along the border. The Heritage Foundation says the plan would allow 55 to 60 million additional legal immigrants into this country over the next two decades.
My next guest calls the bill, quote, “the largest illegal alien amnesty in American history.”
CARLSON: Joining us now, Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado.
Thanks for coming on.
REP. TOM TANCREDO ®, COLORADO: Pleasure, as always, Tucker.
CARLSON: There is so much about this bill to discuss and feel revulsion over. Let‘s just start with the most offensive amendment to the entire bill, added by Chris Dodd, senator from Connecticut, that requires the U.S. government to consult with Mexico, the Mexican government, before building any kind of wall along the border. What‘s the idea there?
TANCREDO: The idea, of course, is not build the wall. And so what you want to do is to be able to tell people in certain areas, when you come back and you‘re campaigning, you want to say we voted to build a wall. Then what you want to tell the other people in your constituency who are interested in a continual flow of cheap labor, primarily your business interests, “Don‘t worry. It‘s never going to get built.”
CARLSON: But isn‘t there a sovereignty issue here, too? I mean, it‘s our border. This will be built on American land to protect the United States of America. Why would the Mexican government have veto is power, implied or otherwise, over that?
TANCREDO: That‘s a great question. And one—you know, how can the Mexican government—you talk about chutzpah. Again, I‘m not sure how that translates into Spanish. Maybe it‘s just chutzpah. But you talk about chutzpah. They have threatened to sue us and take us to court, to the world court, over these things like building a wall and trying to put the military on the border. They have actually threatened to bring to us to some sort of world judicial body. I mean, give me a break.
CARLSON: Yes. I think the term is juevos (ph) in Spanish.
TANCREDO: Juevos (ph), juevos (ph).
CARLSON: Tell me another part of the bill that would grant discounted tuition for public colleges and universities to illegal aliens. Taxpayer subsidized education for people who are here illegally? Who put that in and on what grounds?
TANCREDO: I don‘t know who put it in. But I know that it has been floating around for a long time. It used to be called the dream act on the House side. It‘s the same thing.
And many states are actually doing it themselves, although it is against the law. Presently against the law. It‘s against federal law. The federal law says that you cannot give anybody that kind of—if you give someone that kind of special rate, you have to give it to anybody.
That is to say, if you had—you know, at school, you‘re a California institution of higher education and you say to an illegal alien, you can come here at in-state tuition rates, the federal law says that then you must offer that to everybody. The kid from Colorado who wants to go to California.
TANCREDO: None of them do it. Nobody pays attention to the law. Because like so many laws we have on the books our administration chooses not to enforce them. But they‘re just going to simply repeal the law and let states do it.
CARLSON: Here‘s what confuses me as a political matter. This seems like an overreach. I mean, I think a lot of Americans are on the fence about immigration. They don‘t like illegal immigration, but they like legal immigration.
Parts of the bill like this shove in the face of American voters these kind of crazy ideas almost certain to alienate them. I think if the average person if he became aware that the Senate was proposing to subsidize college education for illegal aliens, would be mad about it. Why do they do things like that?
TANCREDO: I think that there are some senators who do not know that happened. The bill is, what, 800 pages long, something like that, and I guarantee you that there are a number of senators that did not read it and that are reading about it now for the first time, and hearing about it when they go home. Also...
CARLSON: They deserve what they get, then, if they don‘t read their own legislation. That‘s their problem.
TANCREDO: Absolutely. I agree. You know, Tucker, an interesting little factoid here. Something like 90 percent of all of the senators who voted against the bill are up for election this year.
TANCREDO: What does that tell you?
CARLSON: I absolutely believe it. I mean, the election of now Congressman Bilbray from California tells you a lot. He won on the question of immigration.
TANCREDO: On one issue.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right.
What about the provision that would award Social Security benefits for work done illegally in this country to illegal aliens?
TANCREDO: Right now there is—in fact, the government—the Bush administration has already concluded an agreement with Mexico. These are called totalization agreements. We have them with other countries.
But—well, in every case, they‘re only for people who are legally working in the United States and for our citizens who are legally working in the recipient country.
TANCREDO: Well, the Bush administration has already concluded the deal with Mexico. Now, they have not sent the deal. It is required that the House of Representatives act upon it. I mean, we could do nothing, and then it would become law. But he has not even sent it to the House of Representatives, because he knows, of course, it won‘t happen. But they put that into the bill. It‘s—it is another thing—here‘s what happened. I really believe this.
CARLSON: Social Security is going broke, meanwhile, so the idea that you would be paying out benefits for work done illegally, I mean, that just seems demented to me.
TANCREDO: Plus, Tucker, there are so many parts of this bill to complain about. How about the fact that, you know, if you show you‘ve been here five years or longer, you‘re fine. Ollie, ollie, oxen free, right? No problem, you‘re here. Amnesty for everybody.
TANCREDO: Do you believe that there‘s a single soul who‘s in this country illegally who will actually have to go home because everybody they have not been here for five years? Because everybody will have a false document.
CARLSON: It will tie up the courts too.
TANCREDO: Absolutely. Every single—every single printing press, every single copy machine is going to be going overtime presenting up utility bills and everything else that will show, no, I‘ve been here five years. There will be no one who has ever been here less than five years.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right.
TANCREDO: That‘s just one part of a massive number of problems with that particular bill.
CARLSON: Well, you‘re begging for fraud. Now, you on the flipside, though, you sent out a press release this week saying that the addition of, I think, 55 National Guardsmen on the border per the president‘s order has actually done something to reduce illegal immigration. How would 55 or a very small number of Guardsmen do something like that?
TANCREDO: I think it was actually an A.P. article. I don‘t think it was ours. An A.P. article if I‘m not mistaken that talked about the fact that there has been a reduction in the number of people apprehended at that part of the border where we have right now only—of the 6,000, there are only 55 presently down there.
What we‘re saying is look, if the threat—if just the fear that can be engendered by 55 guardsmen can actually reduce the number of people coming into the country by, I think by 20 percent in that area, think what would happen if you really did apply the human resources, the National Guard in a major fashion to that border? You could begin to actually stop the flow. This is an important thing.
But, you know, what I worry about, Tucker, is this is just a little bit of a show. It‘s not for real. This is what...
CARLSON: I wouldn‘t believe it for a second. On the other hand militarizing the border is a much better option than militarizing the country. I mean, at some point—there are already immigration checkpoints within our borders, up near the Canadian border, checkpoints in that highway. That is troubling to me as a civil libertarian. Much better to put troops on the border where American citizens aren‘t affected.
Exactly. I have bee on the northern border, where we actually had a two-week exercise with 100 Marines. It was great. A hundred Marines, three drones, and two radar stations, and I guarantee you, nothing came across that 100 miles of border that we didn‘t see at 2 a.m. in the morning. It was—it can work.
CARLSON: Tom Tancredo. One of the few men in Washington who actually read the bills before they become law. Thanks, Congressman.
TANCREDO: It‘s a pleasure, Tucker.
CARLSON: Still to come tonight, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald alleged tells Karl Rove he will not be charged in the CIA Leak investigation. So why are some Democrats like Howard Dean still proclaiming Rove‘s guilt?
Plus, outrage over a new music video that allegedly shows a U.S. Marine singing about killing members of an Iraqi family. What should happen to the soldier responsible for the grisly tune, if indeed he is responsible? We‘ll have that when THE SITUATION returns.
CARLSON: Still ahead, the so-called teaching career of Professor Ward Churchill may thankfully be coming to an end. We‘ll tell you why.
Plus, why all the secrecy surrounding the president‘s surprise trip to Iraq? The report from Baghdad when THE SITUATION returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN, CHAIRMAN, DNC: Karl Rove would have been indicted it would have been for perjury. That does not excuse his real sin, which is leaking the name of an intelligence operative during a time of war. He doesn‘t belong in the White House. If the president valued America more than he valued his connection to Karl Rove, Karl Rove would have fired a long time ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: During a time of war. What a pompous character. That was Howard Dean, of course, earlier today, reacting to the news that after a three-year investigation and at least five grand jury appearances, Karl Rove it turns out won‘t be indicted in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. Rove is cleared. The White House is thrilled, and Dean is saying he ought to be fired anyway.
Here to explain, Air America radio host Rachel Maddow.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST: Nice to see you, Tucker. I totally agree with Howard Dean, utterly.
CARLSON: You know, it‘s just—I can‘t—look, I‘ve said it a thousand times. I think this case is ridiculous. Nobody is ever going to be indicted—it turns out I was right, by the way—for the leaking of her name.
MADDOW: We got one indicted.
CARLSON: OK, but nobody will be indicted for—I believe you owe me something for that. I think a new car. But whatever. I‘m not even going to hold you to that.
MADDOW: The worst thing was you made such a bad bet there. You promised to give me your car, and you never asked anything of me.
MADDOW: That‘s a bad bet.
CARLSON: So certain was I that I was right. And I was, in fact, right.
But here‘s what bothers me. Look, if you don‘t like Karl Rove, you don‘t like the White House policies, if you‘re mad about Iraq, totally fair. Beat them at the ballot box. OK? That‘s how you win. That‘s how you get the realignment you‘re looking for. That‘s how you get Democrats to power, is by appealing to voters and winning during the election, not by indicting people. It‘s—you know what I mean?
MADDOW: If people do something wrong that‘s criminal, they ought to
be indicted, clearly. I mean, I‘m not—I don‘t take any joy in Karl Rove
I wouldn‘t take joy in him being arrested. I don‘t feel incredibly disappointed that he‘s not going to be. If he perjured himself or obstructed justice or could be indicted for actually having leaked the name of a CIA operative, then I would want him to be. But if he‘s in the clear, he‘s in the clear.
I mean, when David Savavian (ph) and Duke Cunningham and the Department of Homeland Security spokesman pedophile guy, when all these people get arrested, you don‘t feel happy about it. You feel disgusted. But if they‘ve done something criminal, you want them to be held accountable.
CARLSON: You didn‘t hear me defending any one of those guys, all of whom, I thought, deserved everything they got at least. I just think this is a totally different case. I just don‘t—as I‘ve said, I don‘t want to repeat myself endlessly. I don‘t think this was a case for which people ought to go to prison.
But look, here is the political point I would make. From the very beginning, Democrats have said, this Patrick Fitzgerald, he really is above partisan politics. What an upstanding man. I will abide, they have said one by one, whatever he decides, we‘ll stand by that, and that will be good enough for us.
Lo and behold, he decides Karl Rove shouldn‘t, you know, be indicted, isn‘t guilty of a crime, and Democrats are still saying he is guilty of a crime.
MADDOW: No, no. People are saying he ought to be fired. What happened was in September and October of 2003, Bush and his spokesman both said we want to know who leaked the name, who leaked this classified information, and if we find out who it is, they‘re going to be fired.
During the course of the investigation, we found out that Karl Rove did leak the name. He was the second source for Bob Novak, and he was one of the sources for Matt Cooper. He was the leaker. Now all along the mantra from the White House has been, “We can‘t comment on this because it‘s an ongoing criminal investigation.”
CARLSON: Right. That‘s what they all say.
MADDOW: It‘s no longer an ongoing criminal investigation, and so now it‘s time to find the real killer and to actually fire him.
CARLSON: I agree. I couldn‘t—that‘s where he—I don‘t think it‘s time to fire him, but that‘s where I agree. I want more information from my government. The rap on these guys from day one has been they‘re closed mouthed. They‘re not going to tell the public anything. The public has a right to know. I have always agreed with that.
They don‘t tell people anything. Leaking is good. It‘s our government. We pay for it, we elect it. We have the right to know what goes on it in.
That‘s why all this talk about leaking, it hurts our country. No it doesn‘t. It helps us, the voters, decide who to vote for.
MADDOW: Tucker, do you care that in October 2003 the president said, “Whoever I—I‘m going to find the leaker, and we‘ll take care of them.” Scott McClellan later clarified he meantime that person would not longer be in the administration once they found who leaked. Now they know who leaked. He said that person would be fired. What‘s happening? What‘s happening?
CARLSON: Actually, first of all, I thought it was a ridiculous—it was Bush bowing to, like, popular...
MADDOW: Saying he would do something.
CARLSON: Exactly. And first of all, that‘s not the only promise he‘s broken? I‘m not here to defend Bush. I don‘t think he ought to have made the promise in the first place.
And second, we actually don‘t know who leaked the original story to Bob Novak. We don‘t know. We still don‘t know. And you know what? I don‘t care. I‘m just glad to know it. I‘m glad to know it. I want to know, the public has the right to know. And we have the right in the press to disseminate that information to the public, period.
MADDOW: The White House does not have a right to burn the cover of CIA operatives in order to make political hay.
CARLSON: You work in language—she was hardly an operative. I have a next-door neighbors with more cover than that. Come on.
MADDOW: Are you trying to make the case that it isn‘t a crime because of who she is? And that‘s absolutely wrong. The CIA would have never sicked the Justice Department on it if it weren‘t true.
CARLSON: Trust me, I lived in D.C. for a long time. I know how this works. And with all due respect, you‘re wrong.
MADDOW: Trust me. I know who can be outed in the CIA and who can‘t.
I don‘t trust you on this. I trust the CIA.
CARLSON: I still want to know. Rachel Maddow, thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: You‘re wrong!
Still ahead, the president surprises everyone by showing up in Baghdad, what does his secret visit say about the current situation in Iraq?
Plus a head-to-head showdown between Oprah and Condoleezza Rice.
We‘ll tell you where and how the two are competing, when we come back.
CARLSON: Tonight‘s “Under the Radar” segment comes to us from the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq. That‘s where President Bush surprised everyone, including Iraq‘s new prime minister, by ditching a planned video conference and meeting instead with the Iraqi cabinet face to face.
This was Bush‘s second unannounced visit to Iraq. His message this time, Iraqis must seize the opportunity they‘ve been given, and the U.S. will not abandon them.
Here‘s NBC‘s Richard Engle with more from Baghdad.
RICHARD ENGLE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, presidential aides say this visit was designed to give support to Iraq‘s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to show to the Iraqi people that he is a credible leader.
Many Iraqis just want a strong leader, someone who is capable of bringing security. Tomorrow Maliki plans to unveil his security plan for Baghdad, sending out thousands, tens of thousands of extra Iraqi police and soldiers onto the streets, setting up checkpoints, flying checkpoints, conducting raids, tightening curfews. This is what the Iraqi people are wanting.
Now President Bush is showing that he‘s lending his credibility, saying that Maliki is an international leader of international status. The president said he came to ask Maliki if there was anything the U.S. government could do to help him succeed.
The president also said he wanted to look Maliki in the eyes and judge his character.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I‘ve come to not only look you in the eye, but I have also come to tell you that when America gives its word it will keep its word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENGLE: Throughout his visit today, the president was clearly excited. When he was meeting with troops, he was getting a rock-star reception. He stopped to pose for pictures. He was signing autographs, but he got his biggest applause when he talked about last week‘s killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Our military will stay on the offense. We will continue to hunt down people like Mr. Zarqawi and bring them to justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENGLE: The timing of this visit couldn‘t have been better. Zarqawi has been killed. The Iraqi government is now complete. The security plan is about to start. President Bush said he had one message for the Iraqi people, seize the day—Tucker.
CARLSON: Mr. Engle in Baghdad.
Up next, an after-school brawl caught on camera, but this fight pits a girl against grown women. Why did adults pick a fight with a freshman member of the track team? Find out when we come back in just a moment.
CARLSON: Still ahead, should the government force to you wear a motorcycle helmet or let you decide whether or not to protect yourself?
Plus the author of “White Trash Etiquette” shares some tips on what to drive, where to work and how to pick the best mate in the trailer park.
It‘s all ahead in just a minute. But first, here‘s what else is going on in the world tonight.
CARLSON: Turning now to a man who will celebrate the anniversary of this show by losing a pair of arguments to me, a fitting and welcome gift. He is “The Outsider”, ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host, Max Kellerman.
Max, thanks for throwing the fight.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO: Tucker, it‘s my pleasure. That‘s what I‘m here for.
CARLSON: I appreciate it.
A motorcycle accident involving the star quarterback of the Super Bowl championship Pittsburgh Steelers has reopened the national debate about helmet laws. Ben Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet when he collided with a car while riding a Suzuki in Pittsburgh yesterday. The quarterback underwent seven hours of surgery to repair a broken nose and a broken jaw. He also suffered a nine-inch laceration to his head.
There‘s no helmet law in Pennsylvania, but one would have prevented Roethlisberger‘s injuries. Should helmets be mandatory, people are asking, for all motorcycle riders?
Of course they shouldn‘t, Max. It‘s a decision each rider has to make on his own. As usual, you prefer to let the government tell you how to live your life. And I think that‘s a shame.
Look, you know, helmets are a wise idea for some people riding motorcycles. I ride a motorcycle. I wear a helmet most of the time. On the other hand, it‘s not the government‘s place to tell me to protect myself.
KELLERMAN: Well, I applaud the consistency of your sort of laissez faire libertarian approach. And I know this is a pet issue of yours, this and things like it, because it apparently compromises a libertarian principle.
CARLSON: Compromises—I mean, the core principle, and that is you shouldn‘t tell people how to live their lives unless the way they‘re living their lives is hurting other people. And it isn‘t.
KELLERMAN: But Tucker—right. Although, cigarette smoking you get to a gray area. Here‘s an example where the only person you‘d be hurting is yourself.
CARLSON: Needless to say.
KELLERMAN: However, when a principle becomes so overpowering that it interferes with common sense, what is that? That means you‘re an ideologue at that point. And to be a libertarian ideologue? What do ideologues do? On a case-by-case basis, you don‘t really have to pay attention. “Oh, they‘re trying to tell you what to do. I resent the authority so much, I‘m going to spite yourself.” Tucker, how hard is it to put on a helmet?
CARLSON: You just described your own—you just described your own position. To hue to conventional wisdom, to do what Oprah tells you to do, that requires no thinking at all.
But when you really begin to think it through, you understand these are really important principles. The principle you‘re espousing is protect yourself or we‘ll kill you, which is a perverse principle.
KELLERMAN: No, no, no.
CARLSON: The one I‘m espousing is, look, adults get to make their own decisions. Sometimes those decisions are foolish decisions, but they‘re not mine to make.
KELLERMAN: However, operating a motorcycle is not a right. This is not a government, or a local, state government you must walk around with a helmet when you walk outside, because you might fall down and hit your head. You get a—you have to earn a license to drive a motorcycle.
CARLSON: Which is...
KELLERMAN: It is something that the state gives you if you pass requirements.
CARLSON: I have one, and they‘re difficult to get. And the whole thing is infuriating and stupid, and there‘s no justification for that. But...
KELLERMAN: So it‘s a privilege. And they‘re allowed to say, you know, for operating this heavy machinery, you have to take certain precautions. One is wearing a helmet.
CARLSON: It‘s not—it‘s not a moral privilege. It‘s an arbitrary privilege decided by a power-hungry state. But let me just tell you the truth very quickly.
KELLERMAN: If you‘re operating a Bunsen burner with a chemical, shouldn‘t you put on the goggles?
CARLSON: You can burn down the building. But a motorcycle hurts only you.
Let me just tell you the truth about motorcycles. They‘re always dangerous. If you have a helmet or not, you‘ve got leather or not, doesn‘t matter. They‘re dangerous. That‘s part of their appeal, but that‘s the truth about them. If you want to save lives, ban motorcycles, and that‘s coming.
KELLERMAN: Have you ever heard of anyone who rides consistently who hasn‘t had a major accident? I‘ve never heard of anyone who rides consistently who hasn‘t had a major accident.
CARLSON: Yes. And adults get to make that choice, at least as of 2006. But I bet by the time my kids are adults, they won‘t be able to. We‘ll all be, you know, forced to stay inside in rubber rooms for our own safety. It makes me mad.
KELLERMAN: It was a great country, wasn‘t it, Tucker?
CARLSON: Exactly. Making me mad.
If you‘re—excuse me. If you‘re having a dinner party and you can invite one female public figure, who would it be? Good question, a question posed to the Readers of “Esquire” magazine recently, and they chose Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the woman they‘d most like to eat with.
Respondents apparently preferred talking foreign policy to hanging out with Hollywood celebrities like Oprah, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. That‘s sick, Max. Obviously, you‘d take Jennifer Aniston over anyone else in that list. Max‘s heart tells him Bea Arthur, but his head says Condi Rice.
I mean, Condi, I‘ve got to think it‘s Condoleezza Rice or really even Oprah or Angelina Jolie, although she does seem a little intense for me. But to eat with? I mean, take the most authentic looking one. That‘s obviously—obviously Jennifer Aniston.
KELLERMAN: I just want to make sure we‘re talking about the same thing. Eat, is that a euphemism for sex?
CARLSON: No. No, it‘s not. I mean, who‘s the most normal? I mean, who are you going to have the most normal conversation with? It‘s certainly not Oprah.
KELLERMAN: You can have a normal conversation at dinner with—you know, any day of the week. You have a chance to sit down to dinner with the secretary of state, who, by the way, has been accused in Richard Clarke‘s book, for instance, of not really recognizing what or who al Qaeda was the first time he brought it up. I‘d love to find out stuff like that or at least ask the question.
CARLSON: Yes, but see. OK, I‘ve done a lot of interviews with people like Condoleezza Rice. I mean, a lot. Many, many, many for many years.
KELLERMAN: So for you it‘s another...
CARLSON: And you don‘t get the answer. See, that‘s the truth. You don‘t get the answer. You get a rehearsed statement that has been given to 1,000 other reporters just like you. You meet Jennifer Aniston, she might actually tell you. You know, is Vince Vaughn a decent guy? Yes, he‘s a pretty good guy. You know, that‘s kind of interesting.
KELLERMAN: Yes. Tucker Carlson, yes. Because you have interviewed so many secretaries of state, right?
CARLSON: Yes, I have.
KELLERMAN: I haven‘t. I‘d like to—you know, most people haven‘t -
responding to this question in “Esquire”.
And by the way, Condoleezza Rice, not only can you ask those questions, you can ask her, last topic, about Ben Roethlisberger‘s motorcycle injury. You know, if she wanted to be commissioner of the NFL, what does she think the odds are that Pittsburgh can repeat without Ben Roethlisberger? Or with Ben? You can actually talk football with her.
CARLSON: That might be interesting. But other than that, you‘re just going to get the same answers you get in a press release, and that‘s why government is not as interesting as it ought to be.
KELLERMAN: I‘d like to force Jennifer Aniston to eat some more high-calorie stuff. She used to be better looking when she had a little more weight on her, meat on her.
CARLSON: Let‘s not go there. Let‘s not go there, Max. That‘s just a hobby for you.
KELLERMAN: Another helping of dessert.
CARLSON: For our viewers‘ sake, I want to stop you right there. Max Kellerman, as always, thank you.
CARLSON: It wasn‘t that long ago that being a red neck or white trash was a bad thing, but a recent surge in redneck pride has made white trash fashionable and marketable, whether it‘s being a redneck woman or wearing a wife beater T-shirt, trailer fabulous is in.
A man calling himself Dr. Verne Edstrom Esq. is the author of a hilarious new book called “White Trash Etiquette: The Definitive Guide to Upscale Trailer Park Manners”. And it is, indeed, that.
Dr. Edstrom joins me tonight from Cleveland to help bring out the white trash in all of us.
Doctor, thanks for joining us. Good to see a man smoke a cigarette.
DR. VERNE EDSTROM, AUTHOR, “WHITE TRASH ETIQUETTE”: How you doing there, Tucker?
CARLSON: I‘m doing excellent. Now what is white trash? I mean, how do you know what you are?
EDSTROM: Well, you kind of—it‘s something that you try to achieve, you know, in your life. Pretty much anybody could achieve it. If you look at the original white trash, like they were the Indians, you know. They didn‘t have jobs. They just rode around and fought each other for no apparent reason. You know, they were like the first motorcycle gang, you know. So pretty much anybody could achieve this. You don‘t even have to be a white guy.
CARLSON: So what are you attempting to achieve? What are the characteristics? Hard work and personal hygiene, or no?
EDSTROM: No, no, no. Take a look at me, man. I mean, we don‘t really go for hard work or personal hygiene at all. The goal is to hardly work at all. You know, get yourself a nice back injury or something like that, a nice disability scam. You‘re living high off the fat of the land like them granola eaters is always talking about.
CARLSON: It sounds like you‘re living the dream.
EDSTROM: I sure am.
CARLSON: So who‘s joining you in the dream? You‘re—presumably even people like you are in search of someone to share this life you‘ve created with. What are you looking for in a white trash woman?
EDSTROM: You‘re looking for—you know, obviously, the first thing is you want a woman with some, you know, quality baby-making hips there, you know. And then you want somebody who has a little creativity, maybe somebody who, you know, like draws Easter decorations in the grease on the kitchen wall, you know, at Easter time. Somebody like that.
Maybe somebody, you know—you probably don‘t want her, like, putting her cigarette butts in the drain in the shower, but you know, anything pretty much goes.
CARLSON: You write in your book, and I‘m quoting, from page 95, quote, “Never marry a woman that has less than two drunk driving arrests.” What‘s the thinking there?
EDSTROM: Yes. Well, you know, because you‘re probably going to pick up five or six. A guy like you, you probably get hammered a lot, doing a lot of drunk driving. You know, you want to be able to come home, hammered out of your mind, too lat—you know, two hours late for supper and not have her be able to squawk at you. In case, you know—you don‘t want one of them feminists who‘d probably rat you out on that feed mill burglary you did last week, you know?
CARLSON: So you don‘t want—you don‘t want any moral superiority going on?
EDSTROM: No, no. You want to keep the moral high ground, Tucker.
CARLSON: You write in here one of the key questions to ask a potential mate, or a potential mate, can she cook a decent steak. “Road test her. Have her cook a steak after she just pounded a quart of Jim Beam or after you just got home with lipstick on your pants zipper and called her “Lucy” by mistake. If she can still nail the steak under these normal conditions, you‘ve got yourself a keeper.”
EDSTROM: That is a keeper right there. That‘s my wife I was writing about.
CARLSON: I can‘t tell if it‘s a low standard or a high standard?
EDSTROM: It‘s an incredibly high standard. Look at, like Ken Lay is trying to get to be one of us now, you know. He didn‘t live right. He was a CEO of a big company. Probably sinned a lot, drank a lot of fruit drinks, you know, played golf.
But now he‘s got a racket and he‘s going to the slammer for, you know, his golden years, hang out with some decent people. Doesn‘t have to go to the Beef Wellington soiree no more. You know, people can achieve this, Tucker. Even guys like you can, fancy TV guys.
CARLSON: Fancy TV. Does it bother you that you are—you are the representative of, really, the only class of Americans who you can mock with impunity? Do you—at what point are you going to become a persecuted group and hire some high-powered attorney to sue people on your behalf?
EDSTROM: Well, I was going to be persecuted and sue the studio a couple minutes ago, because they wouldn‘t let me smoke in here. They calmed down when I threatened litigation. I was going to send my little lawyer to throw some paperwork at them, and these guys backed off right quick.
CARLSON: You know, I‘m kind of on your side, I have to say. Are there—are there members of the white trash community in every state?
EDSTROM: Oh, yes. They‘re everywhere. They‘re in Canada, not France. We don‘t let them be in France. But Sweden, Russia. You know, they‘ve got a ton of drunks in Russia. So you can be pretty much anywhere, you know.
Like look at Ann Coulter, another famous TV guy. I swear I seen her at the Greyhound depot a couple years ago. She‘s one of them ladies, you know. You can rise up from anything.
CARLSON: Dr. Verne Edstrom, Esquire. “White Trash Etiquette”. Got a picture of a plumber‘s crack right on the cover of the book. A great book. Thanks, doctor.
EDSTROM: Thanks, pal.
CARLSON: See you.
Still ahead, Batman and Robin, Ben and Jerry, and Ann Coulter and Jesse Jackson. We‘ll tell you what brought this strange duo together when THE SITUATION returns.
VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER: Coming up, a high school track star is attacked outside school by an angry mother. We‘ll show you the brutal beating caught on tape.
Plus, the University of Colorado finally finds a valid reason to fire Ward Churchill.
CARLSON: Can‘t come too soon. We‘ll be back in 60 seconds.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Now for tonight‘s installment of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.
“The Good” is the recommendation by a board on the University of Colorado that Professor Ward Churchill be fired. Churchill is, of course, the man who compared the victims of the World Trade Center attacks to Nazi Adolph Eichmann. A committee to look at allegations that Churchill plagiarized and fabricated material in his research.
Churchill says, of course, the investigation is politically motivated.
“The Bad” is a four-minute music video posted on the Internet that purports to show a U.S. Marine singing about killing Iraqis to the cheers and laughter of other Marines. The Marine Corps condemned the obscenity laced song today as, quote, “clearly inappropriate.”
Location and identity of the Marine are not yet known. Professional complainers at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, though, are predictably demanding an investigation and disciplinary action.
And “The Ugly” tonight is this attack on a high school track star in Philadelphia caught on tape. The ugliest part of the story is the attack was carried out, not by other teenagers but by a mother and her friends.
The group of women waiting in a car just off school grounds and jumped the girl as she passed by. Police say the woman who led the attack is the mother of a student who was expelled from the school earlier this year. They don‘t yet know why she attacked the girl.
That‘s tonight‘s “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.
We have reached a milestone of sorts here on THE SITUATION tonight. It was exactly one year ago that this program made its illustrious debut on MSNBC, and what a great year it‘s been. From tragedies like Katrina and the London terrorist bombings to the Iraq war to remarkable shaggy dog tales, we have covered it all. And so wake the kids, notify the neighbors, it is time for tonight‘s “Top Five”. We‘ve rounded up a few Hallmark moments from THE SITUATION‘s first year. Here they are.
CARLSON (voice-over): From nature‘s hard blows to political blowhards, the weird, the wild, the just plain odd.
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, “GODLESS”: The Pill and burning bras and rampant premarital sex and polymorphous perversity.
CARLSON: It‘s what we like to say here on THE SITUATION, if it happens anywhere in the world, it‘s news to us.
(on camera) Why are you attacking them?
(voice-over) Push came to verbal shove last April when Jesse Jackson, always the opportunist, jumped into a media fray involving an alleged rape victim and Duke University‘s lacrosse team.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: If this would have been 40 young black athletes and this had been a white stripper, you‘d have your bowtie on tonight.
(on camera) CARLSON: I have no idea what you‘re talking about. I think you‘re implying that I would take—I would take the side of the stripper because she was white, which is absolutely ridiculous. And you know it, because my life is not organized around race, as yours is.
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Many of those tax dollars were sent to build an infrastructure in Baghdad and Iraq and not in their own cities.
CARLSON (voice-over): Reverend Al Sharpton created a new storm when he blew into the scene following Hurricane Katrina and suggested the Bush administration was solely to blame for the refugee disaster.
(on camera) I think some of the blame goes to the city of New Orleans. It may be unfashionable to say that. I‘m sure it is. But it‘s also true, I can tell you, because I‘m standing here right now.
WILLIAM HUNG, “AMERICAN IDOL” WANNABE (singing): And if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart, he might blow up and kill this man, woo!
CARLSON (voice-over): Granted, he‘s no “American Idol”, but here on THE SITUATION, William Hung knows how to hit the right note with our discriminating viewers, and that‘s nothing to sneeze at. Not to humiliate you, William, but let‘s see that again in slow motion.
It‘s a jungle out there, and once in awhile in our studio, as well. Here now some pet moments featuring feline feats, dog dancing, doggie yoga, a hamster named Elvis and a crazy chimp who went bananas on our set.
(on camera) How many TV sets has Mikey wrecked?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several.
CARLSON: And finally, captured on tape, a rare look at the suave and ever so graceful Willie Geist loosening up before air time. It‘s a nightly ritual here on THE SITUATION and definitive proof that white men can dance.
CARLSON: We are not ashamed. Actually, we‘re proud and we‘re happy that this show has lasted a year. It‘s trite, possibly cliche, but it‘s also true. It‘s because of you, those who watch every night. So thanks for doing that. We appreciate it. We hope we‘re here next year.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, President Bush has announced an official state trip to one of the world‘s most important landmarks. We‘ll tell you why he‘s visiting the king when THE SITUATION continues in just a minute.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Joining us now, a man who over the last year has neither changed nor grown as a person. Here he is, same as he always was, Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: You flatter me, Tucker.
How was that the Willie waltz?
CARLSON: You were out there. You were out there dancing, booking down, Willie.
GEIST: I was merely an accessory to your crime. I did it to prevent you from being totally shamed.
Speaking of shamed, that was a good piece. One of my favorite moments was on the holiday special. I don‘t know if you remember, we were in your back yard. If I‘ve learned anything from you over the last year, Tucker, it‘s just have no shame.
CARLSON: Willie, you‘re wearing a duck hunting cap. You look like some, like—you look like a Nordic ax murder.
GEIST: Wait. Whose hut was that again? Oh, yes, that was your hat.
CARLSON: That was mine, but I only wear it when I hunt ducks.
GEIST: I ripped that right out.
CARLSON: You, meanwhile, wore it in my backyard.
GEIST: Well, happy anniversary anyway, I guess. Paper anniversary.
There you go.
CARLSON: Well, today we learned the answer to the question that‘s been on the minds of people the world over. What has Daryl Hannah been up to since she was in “Splash” with Tom Hanks 22 years ago? Apparently, she‘s been hiding in trees in L.A.
Hannah was evicted and removed from a tree today, a walnut tree. She was protesting in the tree the destruction of a community garden. Police hoisted the tree-hugging actress from the tree, where she‘d been for the last 23 days. She was arrested with 15 other protestors.
GEIST: And Tucker, we have fresh video just coming into THE SITUATION of Ms. Hannah leaving prison today. There she is. She continues to fight. She‘s so strong, isn‘t she?
CARLSON: I mean, how dead is your career if you can spend 23 days in a tree?
GEIST: I was going to say, ever notice that celebrities like this, who hang out in trees and peaked 20 years ago?
CARLSON: They may soon have to revise the second line of the classic jingle, “Beans, beans are good for your heart.” You know the rest. Venezuelan scientist believe they‘ve developed a bean that does not cause flatulence. The research team has patented its ground breaking method of removing agents that cause gas. They‘ll be at the market within the year.
GEIST: Once again, Tucker, with cancer and AIDS safely cured, our scientists have been freed up to develop flatulence-free beans. I‘m glad they have time to do things like this in Venezuela. It means life is pretty good there.
CARLSON: The world gets better every year.
CARLSON: Well, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi—Koizumi visits the U.S. later this month. He‘ll have an audience with both the president and the king. The White House announced that President Bush and the prime minister, a self-described Elvis maniac, will visit Graceland in Memphis on June 30. The Japanese prime minister and a one-time member of the Elvis fan club says he‘s always wanted to visit Presley‘s home.
GEIST: I don‘t want to say that President Bush has given up, Tucker, but he‘s holding international meetings in the Jungle Room with heads of state. He‘s like, whatever, let‘s just go to Graceland. Fine.
CARLSON: You know, Willie, as a jingoist, I look at it from the other point of view, which is how insane is Japan? I mean, every night it‘s a new facet.
GEIST: Karaoke, you know where it comes from.
Thank you, Willie.
GEIST: See you, Tucker.
CARLSON: And thank you for watching tonight and for the last 364.
We‘ll see you tomorrow.
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