Guests: Richard Wolffe, Lynn Sweet, Steve McMahon, Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: The week that saw George W. Bush move left on Darfur, AIDS and global warming concludes with a loss of one the president‘s most trust advisers. Dan Bartlett, an aide to Mr. Bush since 1992, and a key member of his inner circle, resigned this morning effective around July Fourth.
Bartlett turned 36 on Friday and said that his decision was based solely on his desire to spend more time with his wife and their three children. His resignation leaves an extraordinarily small group of trusted advisers left in the West Wing.
And it happens as the administration appears to be drifting away from its policy standards of the last six years. Last weekend, The New York Times reported that the administration was developing concepts for withdrawal from Iraq. That‘s a military strategy President Bush has never considered publicly.
Tuesday saw the president take a more aggressive role in Sudan over the Darfur crisis. And on Wednesday, he pledged even more money to combat worldwide AIDS.
On Thursday, Bush gave his most forceful speech about climate change, meanwhile, he attacked his own Republican base over immigration.
What does it all mean? Joining us now to decipher it, Newsweek senior White House correspondent Richard Wolffe.
Richard, thanks for coming on.
RICHARD WOLFFE, NEWSWEEK: My pleasure.
CARLSON: Dan Bartlett is one of those guys I don‘t think most people outside of Washington have heard of, but I think it is fair to say he was one of Bush‘s most trusted advisers.
WOLFFE: Oh, yes, no question about it. One of the top three people around the president right now, and for several years recently. The other two being Karl Rove, of course, and Josh Bolten, his chief of staff.
So—and among them, I would say he had this pretty unique ability to walk in there, tell the president stuff he didn‘t want to hear. And when I reported about Hurricane Katrina, for instance, that the president wasn‘t award of the situation on the ground, it was Dan Bartlett who produced the DVD of the nightly news and took it to the president, saying, you‘ve got to watch this.
Now you can say, it was all late, but he is the one who did it.
CARLSON: It‘s interesting. The three guys you just mentioned, Bolten, Rove, and Dan Bartlett, I interviewed all three of them when they were working for the governor, Governor Bush—I mean, they have been there that long. Bush doesn‘t seem the kind of guy who brings in new trusted advisers, or at least he hasn‘t.
WOLFFE: No. And to this day, Josh Bolten is seen as a new guy because he wasn‘t of Texas. But he joined from Goldman Sachs, he joined them in ‘99. I mean, he joined them before they had a campaign headquarters. He is still seen as the new guy. That says a lot about how tough it is to break into their inner circle even now.
CARLSON: I wonder, is with the—you know, six years of hindsight, is being from Texas, do you think, an important criterion for employment at the White House?
WOLFFE: Well, I know you have a problem with Texas.
CARLSON: I don‘t have any problem with Texas. I have relatives there and I love the Lone Star State. I just—what I‘m suggesting is that when you hire people based on where they‘re from and how long you have known them, maybe you don‘t get the most capable people. And I‘m speaking specifically of Karen Hughes.
WOLFFE: Well, you know, campaigns, presidencies rot from the head down. So I think you can blame all sorts of hiring questions, but in the end those key decisions come from the president. Take it or leave it.
Now the question about him, why does he stick with such a small circle even though I know—even as I say these words, the White House is e-mailing me, saying, oh, but we‘ve had lots and lots of people. Why is there such a small trusted circle around him?
Clearly it was his experience from his father‘s presidency. His father‘s White House, the backstabbing that went on, the problems of loyalty there that very much shaped his worldview.
Do other presidents have small circles? What is stranger, having one small group of friends that you carry with you, or the Clinton experience, where there was one group and another group, and one got thrown out and then there was another trusted group.
CARLSON: Everyone is Clinton‘s best friend.
WOLFFE: So you know, I don‘t know what is normal. All of these guys are individuals. They are all people.
CARLSON: You mentioned Bush‘s father. He obviously came to office determined not to repeat any of the mistakes that his father had made. And yet he seems to be repeating one of them, the big one. And that is alienating your own supporters, your own base. The first Bush did that and lost because of it, as you remember, over taxes.
This Bush has moved, in my view, markedly left in the last six months and he is making his own allies furious with him. Why is he doing that? Who is advising him to do that?
WOLFFE: Well, what do you think makes him moving to the left? I mean, you mentioned AIDS—HIV-AIDS, Darfur...
WOLFFE: Immigration, I readily can see, but HIV-AIDS, Darfur have been promoted as an interventionist policy by some of the Christian conservative movement as well as liberals.
CARLSON: OK. I‘m just saying, those are not—and I‘m not attacking the substance of the president‘s proposals, though I would be happy to if we had more time. My point is only these are not the traditional priorities of a conservative.
Moreover, his efforts on global warming, the speech he gave this week saying, you know, we take this seriously, won him predictably no friends on the left. No liberals said, you know what, that George W. Bush, I kind of like him now.
WOLFFE: Right. No it didn‘t. And in fact, what he actually said was
he didn‘t speak in this kind of urgency that the environmentalist movement wants. So it‘s very hard for him, ever really, to please that group.
I would say on HIV-AIDS and Darfur, you‘re actually looking at, I mean, it‘s a hackneyed phrase, it‘s something he pulled up in 2000, but the compassionate side of what we always stood for was never something purely conservative.
He said he was going to run as a different kind of Republican. And again, he—you can say that didn‘t, but that was an attack on the Tom DeLay-Newt Gingrich wing. And he is returning to that.
CARLSON: I don‘t think they perceived it. In other words, Bush was never a doctrinaire conservative, never an ideologue.
WOLFFE: No. I don‘t think he was.
CARLSON: And his supporters mistook him for one, and now they are sorely disappointed.
WOLFFE: I think one of the key tricks that the Bushes use as a family is to speak the language of the conservative right, but basically to run from the middle. The Clintons do the same thing for the left. They speak the language of the left, but basically run from the middle.
Bush is now returning to that centrist position where I think he is most comfortable. Now he hasn‘t governed like that. He can be very opportunistic. He feeds whatever he needs to. And Karl is very—Karl Rove is very adept at feeding that. But what you are seeing here, especially overseas, much easier to be compassionate overseas, is a return to those sorts of roots.
CARLSON: He‘s a guilty white Connecticut liberal. They all are.
WOLFFE: You said it.
CARLSON: I said it, and I thought it from day one, and no one believed me and I hope they do now. Richard Wolffe, thanks for coming on.
CARLSON: Hablo English? Will Congress pass legislation making English the official language of the U.S.? That‘s right. It is not already the official language of the U.S. Will it be?
Plus, John Edwards says he did in fact read a classified intelligence report on Iraq. His campaign says he didn‘t, which is true? We declassify the answer next.
CARLSON: Between his proposed immigration bill and his internationalist efforts on the Darfur Crisis, the AIDS epidemic, and global warming, Republican President George W. Bush looks an awful lot like a liberal lately.
The resignation of a key adviser, Dan Bartlett, adds fuel to the burning question, what is going on inside the Bush administration? Is the executive branch adrift and who is counseling the president? Why has he chosen this moment to come out of the liberal closet? Here to tell us, The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Lynn Sweet, and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon.
Welcome to you both. Here is the least surprising response I‘ve seen probably this year. It comes from Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives. She is responding to the Bush plan to attack global warming. The president comes out really for the first time in a widely-covered forum to say global warming is real, we need to do things about it immediately.
She said, I have to say, I‘m disappointed by the president‘s announcement today. Now I think Bush could have gone out there and just read Greenpeace talking points and Nancy Pelosi would have said she is disappointed today. You will never win over Nancy Pelosi or her friends. Why is Bush trying?
LYNN SWEET, THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Because it is—maybe he thinks it‘s the right thing to do. And whether or Nancy Pelosi doesn‘t give him a pat on the back, Tucker, isn‘t the only reason for doing something.
The point is, it‘s a big change for him, it is a shift. I don‘t know if you want to say that for conservatives this is a classic case of what is the yard stick for being a conservative, by the way. And so whether or not Nancy Pelosi gives him his “attaboy,” I don‘t think is a major factor here.
CARLSON: Right. I mean, I think you are partly right. I mean, I believe that Bush believes this. And I don‘t think your position on global warming is the measure of how conservative you are.
I just think that taken together, the issues that this White House has spent its time focusing on lately, Darfur, AIDS, immigration amnesty, and global warming tell you something about their priorities.
Why is Nancy Pelosi unable—not big enough to concede that Bush is moving in the direction that she favors?
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think it‘s a question of how far and how fast the president ought to move. I mean, what he basically did was the fundamental equivalent of saying that the Earth is round.
And it‘s like, well, thank you very much. We all know the Earth is round. What are we going to do about it? And the president just trotted out two tired old proposals. He did not talk about a systematic market-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
He just talked about the things that he has talked about before. And I think—you know, I am willing to say that this is a step in the right for the president. But I‘m not willing to say that it‘s a step far enough to really.
CARLSON: . just really, really quick. Nancy Pelosi says, this is, “not enough to reverse global warming.” That is unknowable. She doesn‘t know whether this is enough to reverse global warming. We don‘t know whether global warming is reversible. Nobody knows that. That has not been determined. And for her to pretend otherwise is a lie, why does she do that?
MCMAHON: Well, it‘s a fair point to say that we don‘t know what it will take to reverse global warming.
CARLSON: We certainly don‘t. We don‘t know whether it‘s.
MCMAHON: But it‘s also a fair point to say that the president has not come very far. He has acknowledged the existence of a problem that has been obvious to everyone in the world for quite a long time. And he has finally said the United States is going to try to become part of the solution instead of the part of the problem by denying the existence of global warming.
And I think that is step in the right direction. But what he has proposed to combat it is nothing more than what he had been talking about for the last six years. It‘s not really a significant policy step forward. It‘s an admission that‘s nice, it‘s interesting. It‘s late. But the question now is, what is he going to do about it?
CARLSON: It will be interesting to see when the next president, who I assume will be a Democrat, and I assume Democrats will hold on to the Congress, when they have the power to do something about global warming and they have to explain to the public that, yes, we possibly might be able to stop global warming, reverse it a tiny bit, and oh, by the way, we are really going to hurt or slow down the U.S. economy in so doing. Are they going to be—I mean, are they ready for that.
I mean, it‘s easy when Bush is against global warming and Jim Inhofe is the face of the Republican Party and all that be like, yes, I‘m for the environment. But when it means your electricity bill doubles, that is kind of a big thing to tell the public, don‘t you think?
SWEET: I would like to deconstruct a little bit of the things you said because the price doubling and all that, I don‘t—I want to say I don‘t agree with you on it. But in order not to argue.
SWEET: I have a bigger point. I have a bigger point. There is another byproduct of this that isn‘t bad when you look at some other issues. The United States helped—the rejection of the Kyoto Accords when Bush came to office, and this was pre-9/11, helped set a stage for an anti-American sentiment, not wanting to go along...
CARLSON: They were rejected during the Clinton administration by the entire Senate—rejected them, every member of the Senate, 99 members voted against it.
SWEET: I‘m glad you brought that up. But the jacket—the man who wears the jacket who has been rejecting it is President Bush. So I‘m saying, this—to be part of a universal global solution to a global problem of which the United States is heavily responsible for is also part of what you get in the package here.
The other part is, and as an interesting, that is the Democrat candidates and Nancy Pelosi, who now when they fly on their planes are talking about they are going to the private market carbon credits to say, well, I took this plane, but we‘re going to do the offset credit. That‘s where I think.
CARLSON: I wish I could use the—B.S., but the actual word on TV, because that is the word I would use in response to that. So like rich people get to like buy indulgences when they fly private planes across the country?
I mean, like how does that work? If you are truly worried about global warming, Steve, why would you take a private plane? I don‘t care how much money you give to the pope or whatever, to the Sierra Club, that is wasteful and it hurts our planet by their own definition, right?
MCMAHON: Well, I don‘t take private planes, I don‘t there is probably much need for most people to take private planes. There are exceptions, however. When you are running for president, you need to be in Nevada and South Carolina and Iowa and...
CARLSON: Don‘t need to be.
MCMAHON: Well, sometimes you do. Sometimes.
CARLSON: It depends how much you care.
MCMAHON: . you do and you need to be there.
CARLSON: Do you really care? Do you really care about the planet?
MCMAHON: And there‘s not convenient commercial traffic, I can really tell you this for a fact. Trying to get back and forth from Burlington, Vermont, Manchester, New Hampshire, Des Moines, Iowa, Columbia, South Carolina and some of the places that the presidential candidates have to be on a routine basis, sometimes in a single day, is not easy.
CARLSON: It‘s difficult, and I‘ve done it commercial. I‘m just saying it‘s a question of, you know what, yes, it‘s more convenient to have a private plane and to have some personal injury lawyer pay for the plane for you. I mean, obviously it‘s more convenient.
MCMAHON: Or the taxpayers in the case of the president, right?
CARLSON: I would like to give—the taxpayers or whatever, exactly, in the case of president, you are absolutely right. But if you balance that against the Earth itself, our island home, you know what I mean, if you take the rhetoric seriously.
MCMAHON: If you can buy a carbon credit, make the effect of that neutral, than that‘s better than doing nothing. It‘s not perfect, Tucker, I‘ll give you that, it‘s better than doing nothing.
CARLSON: OK. Then you know what, that is like saying, but I am going to cheat on my wife but give money to the battered woman‘s home. And that‘s going to make up for it.
CARLSON: Yes, I did it, but I paid for it.
MCMAHON: It‘s more like, I‘m going to cut down a tree, but I‘m going to plant another one over here.
SWEET: . an easily renewable resource.
CARLSON: It‘s unbelievable.
Senate Jim Inhofe opposed the legislation you might have assume was already law, to make English the national language of the U.S. Will it pass?
And the story of Andrew Speaker gets more alarming, confusing and actually pretty outrageous by the moment. We have today‘s developments in the case of the TB carrier whose father-in-law is a TB expert at the CDC, and whom a border guard let cross into this country because he looked healthy. This is MSNBC.
CARLSON: The United States has an immigration crisis and that crisis fosters yet another language. The Washington Times reports that Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, will propose legislation to make English our national language, thereby requiring Americans seeking most government services to do so in English.
Legislation would reverse the policy installed by President Clinton that made many government services available in a myriad of languages. Here to discuss the proposal, we welcome back The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Lynn Sweet and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon.
Steve, do you think—the last time we had a debate over this in the Congress, Harry Reid described efforts to make English the national language “racist.” He says racist if we want to do that somehow. One of the dumbest things ever uttered on the Senate floor.
Do you think Democrats will take the same line, that it is somehow racist to want English as a national language? What is wrong with this?
MCMAHON: Well, I think what‘s interesting is the Republican point of view on this. Because the Republicans are the party of smaller government and low control. And this is a decision that frankly probably could be best left to local officials in different places, like in Texas, for instance, where they probably need bilingual education and bilingual services more than they do elsewhere.
CARLSON: No, but this—wait, hold on, but this is federal legislation that would affect the federal government, which is by definition a national question. So leaving aside—presumably municipalities will be able to make their own decisions.
But why is it a bad idea for the federal government to recognize English as their national language? Is there something intrinsically wrong with that?
MCMAHON: Well, for one thing, there are 12 million people who live in this country who may not speak English at all. There are several others who perhaps might not be as proficient in English.
You want somebody who is going in to fill out a government form or to take a driver‘s license test, or to do anything to be able to demonstrate their proficiency in safety or the laws of driving or anything like that.
I recognize that this is a federal law, but it doesn‘t seem to me to be a great burden on anybody who speaks English to offer an option to somebody who doesn‘t.
CARLSON: Well, here is the problem, though. I mean, multilingual societies tend to be at war with themselves. They tend to be divided societies. This is not a country that is based on race or ethnicity. People from everywhere can become Americans.
But we are tied together by our culture, and our culture revolves around our language. Culture and language are very hard to disentangle. They are pretty much the same thing. Don‘t we court a kind of Canadian or Belgian situation or a Rwandan situation—don‘t we court problems if we wind up with a society where people don‘t share a common language?
SWEET: May I leave your lofty area that you are.
SWEET: And say I think that there is a—just get to the bottom line here politics here of it is that the people that are probably most upset about this are potential Democratic voters, I‘m guessing, far more than Republican voters. It is an issue that can be demagogued, and everything you‘re saying true, of course.
I would look at—I am the granddaughter of immigrants on both sides. And within one generation everyone spoke English. I don‘t know the language of my grandparents, OK, that‘s gone, it‘s out. I never knew it. My parents knew some of it.
That is how fast it happens. So the point is there, and generations of immigrants have done it. But we are really talking about a political equation here. And if it were—the positions were reversed, I don‘t know if the Republicans would be as eager to pursue this.
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t know why it needs to break down along party lines. I don‘t understand what the Democratic problem—except a kind of deep distrust of our own culture, what the problem is with making English our national language.
I mean—and the Bush administration is against it too, by the way. The current legislation says that English will be our common language, which means literally nothing. Most Americans don‘t know that.
They think—right, so I don‘t understand why the Republicans, apart from the fact they are stupid, wouldn‘t run on this. Like 80-something percent of Americans think it ought to be our national language.
Over 60 according to the new CBS poll say immigrants don‘t learn English fast enough. That‘s not demagoguery, that‘s just fact. Why don‘t Republicans run on that? Because they are weak and dumb?
MCMAHON: I think—well, they are weak and dumb...
MCMAHON: But—not all of them. But the reason that they don‘t want to run on this is because they recognize that there are Spanish-speaking people coming to this country every day who will learn English and become United States citizens and become voters. And they will remember that the party.
MCMAHON: . the party that tried to keep them out, send them home, and punish them.
CARLSON: No, it‘s not! It‘s the party that is sucking up to them assiduously, led by dummy-in-chief, the president, who is out there saying, you know what we need.
LYNN: If you have a mandate for a language, it‘s just tougher on some people than if you don‘t. It‘s almost.
CARLSON: But what about the country, what about the rest of us?
Shouldn‘t we be united by a language?
MCMAHON: English is the common language. It has been the common language. It will always be the common language.
CARLSON: we have never had immigration.
CARLSON: We have never had immigration levels like we have now, ever,
ever! This is brand new. We are gaining population faster because of
immigration than we ever, ever have. This is a brand new thing. Shouldn‘t
there be one thing that brings us together as a country? Just one. Just -
how about language? I don‘t know what‘s wrong with that!
SWEET: But that is not the point, it isn‘t the main point because there is a political dynamic here, and that is, of all of the things facing the country right now, by the way, having a federal law, an unfunded mandate which Republicans usually are the first ones to run against...
CARLSON: This is not an unfunded mandate. In fact, it would save money.
CARLSON: We don‘t have to print ballots in Urdu anymore. I mean, actually it would save money—I mean, do you know what I mean?
SWEET: I don‘t know if I agree. But I‘ll.
CARLSON: No, but—I mean, I just think this matters more than almost anything. I think immigrants would be for it. I think consequences.
SWEET: Local matter, local questions. You have Urdu-speaking people, you could do it. That‘s my point.
CARLSON: Yes, but, you are not at all fearful about the potential for a country at war with itself?
MCMAHON: No. If my kids learn Spanish, I say good for my kids.
CARLSON: I completely agree. I‘m for learning other languages. My kids try to learn Spanish and I hope they succeed. That‘s not the point at all. I‘m saying there has to be one language that we all have in common, there has to be.
MCMAHON: We do. It‘s English.
CARLSON: We don‘t, though. We don‘t.
MCMAHON: We do.
CARLSON: We don‘t.
MCMAHON: . it‘s just like offering something else on the menu. You go to Burger King or McDonald‘s, you can get a hamburger, but you can get other stuff too. It doesn‘t hurt the hamburger lover.
CARLSON: I don‘t know, I go to places in the country where people can‘t speak English. And I think it‘s good for anybody. I don‘t know, OK. I guess I‘m a racist then for Harry Reid‘s (INAUDIBLE). But I think it‘s terrible for the country.
Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian, got sprung out of jail today and into the embrace of a famous American television journalist. Why do some people still hail him as a hero?
And Andrew Speaker caught a terrifying case of tuberculosis and thought it was a good idea to board an international flight. Somebody let him do that. Somebody else let him back into the country. His father-in-law is the CDC‘s tuberculosis expert. Something‘s going on here, what is it? We‘ll explain next.
CARLSON: Andrew Speaker is the 31-year-old personal injury lawyer who contracted a rare strain of tuberculosis, left the country on an airplane, risked infecting his fellow passengers and then returned to the U.S. via a crossing on the American/Canadian border guard. When the guard there thought Speaker looked healthy enough, he let him in. Speaker is confined to a Colorado hospital where he awaits surgery on his infected lung. This morning, he spoke publicly about the risk he posed on his flight to Europe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW SPEAKER, TB PATIENT: I don‘t expect those people to ever forgive me. I just hope they understand that I truly never meant to put them at harm. I never meant to hurt their families or them. I just hope that they can find a way to forgive me for putting them in harm. I didn‘t mean to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Joining us with the latest on the story from Denver is NBC‘s Leanne Gregg. Leanne, thanks for coming on. What do we know about the connection between Mr. Speaker and his father-in-law? That seems like a remarkable coincidence.
LEANNE GREGG, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well it certainly is. I mean, his father in law is one of the heads of the tuberculosis unit at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. And apparently we are told he was at the wedding in Greece, and that they had discussed this, but in a father son type of manner, not in a government official way.
But then it even gets more bizarre. We have gotten word from the mayor in Santarini, in Greece, where this wedding allegedly took place, and he said there was no wedding. He said they traveled to Greece, but they didn‘t have the proper paperwork, so they stayed for three days—this is Andrew Speaker and his fiance—and then came home.
So, it‘s quite bizarre. And then, of course, they came home through Canada, crossed the border. So strange story.
CARLSON: So, just to make certain I have this right, Leanne, you‘re saying that the father in law, or man who says he is the father-in-law, who works at the CDC researching tuberculosis, knew that this guy was on a plane with drug-resistant TB and didn‘t do anything about it?
GREGG: You know, that is what we‘re hearing. Some sources tell us he was in Greece, and apparently when he was in Europe, Andrew Speaker found out that he did have this drug resistant form of TB. Now, as to whether the father-in-law learned of this as the same time Andrew Speaker did, we don‘t know.
CARLSON: Interesting. That‘s amazing. Leanne Gregg in Denver, thanks a lot. I appreciate it. It‘s a remarkable story. Dr. Jack Kevorkian was released from a Michigan prison today having served eight years for second degree murder, which according to a jury of his peers is another way of saying assisted suicide. Kevorkian was physically embraced outside the prison by Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes.”
Wallace interviewed “Dr. Death” this afternoon. Kevorkian is on probation for the next two years, but is permitted to speak publicly on subject of assisted suicide. He is not allowed, by court order however, to treat people over the age of 62.
Here to talk about Kevorkian‘s release and his place in our society, we welcome back the “Chicago Sun Times‘” Lynn Sweet, and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon. Lynn, you‘ve been a journalist for a long time, little strange, Mike Wallace of CBS is publicly embracing Jack Kevorkian?
SWEET: I don‘t know if it‘s strange, but I think if the rule is people over 62 he needs to stay away from treating, I just find it amusing who goes to see him. Look, the thing, Doctor Kevorkian put legalized suicide on the map. Some states have embraced it. He did start a national debate and conversation going about it.
He has said that he knows—he is not going to—while he is still an advocate of it, he is not going to do anything to get himself tossed back into jail. I think the eight years --
CARLSON: Do you hug a lot of people you interview?
SWEET: Do I hug a lot of people I interview?
CARLSON: I‘m just trying to get a sense of the propriety of Mike Wallace hugging Dr. Kevorkian.
SWEET: I‘m trying to think—if anyone out there, if I‘ve hugged you in an interview, I don‘t know. Maybe it just doesn‘t come up. Maybe I have. I don‘t want to give a blanket no here. I just don‘t think I would greet them that way.
MCMAHON: Wouldn‘t be enthusiastic—
CARLSON: It doesn‘t suggest objectivity. And Mike Wallace is, of course, a pretty well known proponent of doctor-assisted suicide. Can we just go ahead and admit that Dr. Kevorkian is a creep?
CARLSON: We can‘t admit that?
SWEET: He served his time.
CARLSON: He killed over 100 people.
SWEET: He assisted in their suicide. There is a difference.
CARLSON: As far as I know—OK, there is a difference. It looked a lot like killing. Was it not killing?
SWEET: Yes, it‘s a form of killing called assisted suicide.
CARLSON: We can dress it up, but it is killing.
SWEET: I won‘t quibble on that point.
CARLSON: Is he just a guy doing good deeds or was there something kind of wrong with Dr. Kevorkian?
MCMAHON: He was serving the unique needs of his patients.
CARLSON: This is unbelievable. It we get to a place—
MCMAHON: Mom, don‘t go near that guy. Don‘t go near that guy.
SWEET: You know he didn‘t solicit people on it. People did come to him. It wasn‘t like he was going out—
CARLSON: He was clearly getting a sexual thrill out of it. Have you seen his paintings. I‘m dead serious. This is a guy who has clearly—
Look, you don‘t need to be Freud to read into this. This is a guy who‘s got a hangup about death, who gets a sexual thrill from death. There‘s no question. Take a look at his art, available on the Internet. I‘m serious, the guy is a weirdo.
SWEET: I guess I have not looked at that.
CARLSON: I‘m telling you, as a man, this is a good way to understand men. It truly is.
MCMAHON: Not a very good way to understand this man.
SWEET: What are these pictures of, Tucker?
CARLSON: They are the most ghoulish—This guy clearly gets a thrill out of death and killing. Moreover, do you think that someone who has ALS, or late stage emphysema, who is clearly at the most desperate lonely place a person can be, isn‘t it ripe easy pray for someone like Dr. Kevorkian, who‘s looking for publicity, and looking, in my view, to fulfill some deep six need?
MCMAHON: Just to be fair, I would always make a different kind of living than Dr. Kevorkian did.
CARLSON: Going out on a limb there.
MCMAHON: On the other hand, I don‘t think he sought out patients. I think it was the other way around. Patients sought him out because he offered a unique service to those patients, who were desperate enough to want to be in a position where they were willing or anxious to take their lives.
And, you know, I can‘t—If I were in that position, you don‘t know what you would do. But you get to a desperate point if your condition is terminal and if the end is near—
CARLSON: It looks like preying upon the weak to me. I wonder, speaking of the weak, John Edwards—I don‘t want to beat up on Edwards. I think that campaign is over. That is my view. Everyone I know thinks the same thing.
MCMAHON: I don‘t think so.
CARLSON: You don‘t think so, OK. I hope not. I like a good race. But I think it‘s over for him. He got in a lot of—took a lot of heat yesterday for saying, yes, I did read the classified intelligence. His staff said, no he didn‘t. I don‘t even want to beat up on him because it‘s not even worth the time. What this reminds us of though is he is not the only one who didn‘t bother to read the classified National Intelligence Estimate before voting on Iraq. Hillary Clinton didn‘t. John McCain didn‘t. And he should of, in my view. Is he going to take any heat for that?
SWEET: I think they all are. If there‘s an I they should have dotted or a T they should have crossed on the way to that vote, and you‘re running for president, and there‘s something you should have looked at, you‘re going to get flak for it and you deserve it. Now, whether or not if you read it, it would have changed your mind is still the next question, Tucker.
The revisiting of what you read, when and how you handled yourself is the kind of question of leadership and preparation and staffing, all of these thing that contribute to how you make up your mind. I think they‘re valid questions. What is hard is, on the Edwards campaign, just tell me, did you read it? Didn‘t you? To get bogged down on this question is not good for him.
MCMAHON: Do we think the president read the National Intelligence Report? I mean, come on, be serious. Do we think the president sits back in the Oval Office and reads these things? Ninety four of the 100 U.S. senators that cast votes didn‘t read it. They did read a summary.
CARLSON: But not all 100 senators are running for president. Now, if
you are running for president, especially against the war, it seems to me -
MCMAHON: He wasn‘t against the war at the time though, Tucker.
CARLSON: But Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are running against the war. So, it seems to concede—
MCMAHON: Hillary is not running against the war.
MCMAHON: At the time when the National Intelligence Report was prepared and presented to the Senate—and by the way, everybody read the summaries of those reports.
CARLSON: How do you explain Bob Graham, Senator Graham of Florida, serious guy, also running for president—
MCMAHON: I can‘t explain Bob Graham.
CARLSON: Honestly, Bob Graham is not a fool. And Bob Graham says I was for the war. Then I read the entire National Intelligence Estimate. I took time out of my busy life to do my job, and I changed my mind.
MCMAHON: Listen, there‘s no question --
CARLSON: Kind of tough to explain away if you‘re Hillary Clinton, isn‘t it?
MCMAHON: -- that America would have been better served if all the U.S. senators had read the report, if the president had --
MCMAHON: If the secretary of state had not gone and presented a false case --
SWEET: Hold on, if I may, isn‘t the question—there‘s a big Democratic debate Sunday, it‘s the second one—whether or not the second tier will use this as a way to attack?
MCMAHON: I predict that Barack Obama—this is not a second tier, first tier thing. This is were you against the war, or were you in favor of it? If you were in favor if, have you apologized, as John Edwards and John Kerry did? Or do you continue to defend your vote? And if you didn‘t read the National Intelligence Estimate, and you continue to defend your vote, how can you continue to do that? That‘s going to be the question.
CARLSON: They didn‘t even bother to read it. I just—
MCMAHON: First tier, first tier. Hillary should prepare for that.
CARLSON: So the “Washington Times” reports—this is one of the saddest stories I think I‘ve ever read in my whole life. The “Washington Times” reports that the Republican National Committee has had essentially a revolt from members over this immigration bill, the amnesty bill. Republicans are really, really mad, really made. The base is infuriated, and they have done what they ought to do, which is stopped giving money.
Good for them. So what does the RNC do? They fire the telemarketers.
MCMAHON: They blame the phone bankers. They blame—can you believe these guys. Anybody who creates a problem for this administration gets blamed, gets smears, gets fired, and this is just—it‘s getting to the point where it‘s funny.
SWEET: You know, don‘t you give the Republicans credit that if something is not cost effective, then you cut your losses and move on and find another way to make money?
CARLSON: How deep in denial are they? We interviewed the head of the Republican party yesterday, Mel Martinez, nice guy, smart guy. Republicans are really mad about this immigration bill. No they‘re not, he said. Huh? Do you think they really believe that?
SWEET: Well, what‘s interesting is it‘s a big focus group. When you talk about—this isn‘t just about wining and dining the big donors with a big name Republican, where you will always be able to get the wealthy. When you do telemarketing, you are really having to sell. You know, it‘s phone solicitation, and if somebody doesn‘t want to give, that is a pretty big sample you‘re getting every day of knowing.
And usually the people who get called are party faithful or sympathetic. So, what‘s interesting is, if nothing else, they don‘t get the intelligence that you get when these people are calling and saying, you know, talking to someone who‘s given every time I called and now they‘ve dried up, and this might be useful.
CARLSON: And don‘t give, as long as they‘re going to offer amnesty to 12 million people. Thank you both very much.
Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative, and she wants to tell her story to the public. The CIA won‘t let her. She‘s suing. We‘ve got details.
Plus, it‘s the best sporting event of the year. It‘s the National Spelling Bee, and our chief non-contact sports correspondent Willie Geist has all the H-I-G-H-L-I-G-H-T-S. You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Congress is on recess, which proves one thing, politicians are not the only people in Washington who misbehave, find themselves in uncomfortable social situations and run red lights. Yes, The world of D.C. gossip went on without them this week. And here to tell tales out of school, to give us seven steamy days worth of must low down low, we welcome, as we always do on Fridays, Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, the ladies of the “Washington Post‘s” universally read gossip column, “The Reliable Source.”
ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Hello, hello, hello.
CARLSON: What is going on with Valerie Plame?
AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Well, Valerie Plame, if you haven‘t heard—and she would like you to hear this—is coming out with a book this fall from Simon and Shuster.
ARGETSINGER: Yes, a shock. Yes, a book called “Fair Game.” It‘s a memoir of her time in the agency. However, every CIA former employee, former employee, who writes a book has to submit the manuscript to the CIA, just to make sure that nothing classified slips out. Right now though, her publisher and the CIA are at loggerheads over one particular detail that she wants to have in there, which is how long she was in the CIA.
ROBERTS: Which is public knowledge.
ARGETSINGER: It kind of is public knowledge now. CIA sent her a letter last year saying, you know, while you‘re inquiring about your pension eligibility, here‘s the date that you started, here‘s the date that you finished. The CIA is now saying that that is classified information and that she can‘t have that.
ROBERTS: But wasn‘t that read into a Congressional record?
ARGETSINGER: That‘s is what her publishers is arguing? This was all read into a Congressional record. I‘m here to tell you the classified secret. She started in November of 1985.
ROBERTS: You‘re going to get arrested. I‘m going to have to write the columns by myself.
ARGETSINGER: The CIA‘s argument is that look, it‘s a matter of principle here. It‘s a matter of precedent. This is supposed to be classified. It got out accidentally. It was never supposed to be mailed to her. Simon and Shuster‘s is like, look, this is public information. You can‘t make the information disappear. So we‘ve got a good forth amendment—
ROBERTS: So just pretend you never heard that.
CARLSON: So you just revealed a national security secret on the air?
ARGETSINGER: I did, yes. I got it out of the Congressional record.
ROBERTS: And she doesn‘t even look guilty.
ARGETSINGER: I don‘t feel very guilty.
CARLSON: I‘m impressed, a whistle-blower you are. Now, Bush and Cheney are running again? Some of us that was constitutionally impossible.
ROBERTS: It‘s so great. It‘s so great. Charlotte Bush and Alexis Chaney, Chaney with an A, are two high school juniors at Woodrow Wilson High School here in Washington. They met each other and said, wouldn‘t it be funny if we ran, ha ha. Well, yesterday they ran on a ticket. They have an actual platform of fix the AC, open the bathrooms, let‘s not yell at teachers.
But they ran a tongue and cheek campaign comparing them to their more famous counterparts. Alas, Bush lost, Chaney won, because it was a split ticket. I don‘t know if this offers anything.
CARLSON: So at least in one place, Cheney is more popular than Bush.
ARGETSINGER: Yes and in both place Cheney seems to be in control.
CARLSON: That‘s very good. Quickly, tell me, if you are coming to Washington, and you‘re not from here, but you want to know where the beating heart of the city lies, not just the White House, but somewhere else, where would you go?
ARGETSINGER: Well, the beating heart of Washington and the ground zero for Washington scandal culture it turns out is the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Pentagon City.
ROBERTS: A very lovely hotel.
ARGETSINGER: It‘s not even in Washington. It‘s in Arlington. But we have gone and discovered that this is where everything happens. This is the hotel where Linda Tripp recorded Monica Lewinsky dishing all the details about her relationship with the president. This is where Merv Albert (ph) had a fateful date with an ex-girlfriend and got arrested for battery and assault.
This is where Congressman William Jefferson was photographed accepting large—
ROBERTS: Large wads of cash.
ARGETSINGER: -- from an investor. And this is also where our favorite person, the D.C. Madam, would have her employees take their clients.
ARGETSINGER: Point being, if anyone asks you to meet them for a drink at the Pentagon City Ritz Carlton, don‘t go or take your lawyer if you do.
CARLSON: Boy, I was headed there after the show. No, I haven‘t.
ROBERTS: It‘s a lovely hotel. It‘s just got this weird Karma.
ARGETSINGER: I think people act out there because they think they‘re outside the city and it‘s OK.
CARLSON: It is off my dinner list. Thank you for that and all the other tips. Amy and Roxanne, I appreciate it. See you next week.
Paris Hilton isn‘t due in jail for another 96 hours, but she‘s already figured out how to make big money off her time there. How much would you pay to read the Paris Hilton prison diary? Nothing, we hope. Willie Geist has already pre-ordered it at Amazon.com, by contrast. He joins us next with details. You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. You wouldn‘t want to start your weekend without a dose of Willie Geist. And thank god you don‘t have to. Here he is.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Here I am, Tucker. Here I am. Here to let you down going into the weekend. Tucker, I don‘t know if you were up watching the spelling bee last night, it was good stuff.
GEIST: Oh, you‘re going to watch it later. Well, ear muffs then, because I watched the whole thing, and I have a complete report for you. Remember, Tucker, when the spelling bee was just a friendly contest held in your elementary school class room, and when the public humiliation of misspelling a word was limited to that room?
Well last night the spelling bee turned into the Super Bowl. ABC put the National Spelling Bee live in prime time. The broadcast was complete with a color analyst, dramatic music montages, and post-bee interviews to capture the drama. The only thing missing was Joan and Melissa live on the red carpet.
The big winner was Evan O‘Dorney of Danville, California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVAN O‘DORNEY, NATIONAL SPELLING BEE WINNER: S-E-R-R-E-F-I-N-E,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are correct. You are the champion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: That was the winning word right there, Tucker. I actually watched the whole thing. It is compelling. You can‘t get around it. It is unscripted human drama. It‘s fun to watch. But there was one hang-up, and I don‘t mean to set you off here. But I have to bring it up. The other finalist—mind you this is the national spelling bee—the other finalist was Canadian. What‘s going on? We opened the borders a little bit and they start pouring in from the north and the south.
CARLSON: I‘m actually for that. On the one hand, Canadians slip over the border unseen and live among us as if they are among us. I mean, there is a kind of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” scenario. On the other hand, every single person in Canada with a high I.Q., ambition, really a desire to get out of bed in the morning and do something with his life, comes to this country. I like that. We are a magnet for people from all over who want better.
GEIST: I guess so, but he came up short last night. I‘m just glad
the trophy stays in the U.S.A. where it belongs. The best moment, Tucker -
we didn‘t have a kid feinting or anything like that. But the best moment of the whole competition was this 11-year-old kid, happened on Wednesday, kid from Terre Haute, Indiana, who was so amused by the word itself, he could not get through his answer. He did eventually answer it right, but watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sardoodledum (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sardoodledum?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sounds about right. Sardoodledum
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sardoodl --.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: Come on, it is a funny word, sardoodledum is a funny word.
CARLSON: Give that kid the medal. I couldn‘t agree more.
GEIST: He was great. It was fun. You have to watch it next year, Tucker. It is good. Let‘s get more serious now. The countdown is on. Paris Hilton now facing her last weekend on the outside. She‘s due in jail on Tuesday by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time.
A report in the “New York Daily News” today says Paris is planning to keep a prison diary, a modern-day “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” if you will. She will sell it for big money when she gets out. The report also says Paris has summoned a hair and make-up team to her home to prepare her for what will be the perp walk heard round the world. Tucker, are you buying the Paris Hilton Mein Kampf when she gets out?
CARLSON: No, I think it will be a little racier than that, a little shorter on the big think, a little longer on what really happens inside a women‘s prison.
GEIST: I certainly hope so. One of my favorite parts of this story is the guards in the jail where she will be have been instructed not to take pictures of her, or they will be fired. So it brings up a tough choice. Do you compromise your 18,000 dollars a year jail, or take a million dollars from “US Weekly” for your picture? It‘s a pretty easy choice, I think.
CARLSON: And we are the beneficiaries.
GEIST: That‘s right. Quickly now Tucker, now we have had the riding lawn mower DUI. We had the horseback DUI. We even had the wheelchair DUI the other day. Now we bring you police dash cam video of the golf cart DUI. It happened the other day in Ohio.
As you can see, this guy didn‘t fare too well with the field sobriety test when he was pulled over in his golf cart. He was out playing golf with some buddies, when he decided in the middle of the round he wanted to swing by a local bar to see some other buddies. So he veered off the fairway and traveled eight miles in his golf cart to get to the car.
He was pulled over on his way back to the golf course with a blood alcohol level two times—There he goes, look at this little move here. Two times the legal limit. He said to the police officer, quote, I shouldn‘t be driving a vehicle, of course. That‘s why I‘m driving a golf cart. Kind of hard to argue.
He also says on the tape, Tucker—the officer says sir, have you been drinking. He says, since I woke up this morning.
CARLSON: I‘m not going to say I‘m on his side, because I could lose my job, but I kind of am. Willie Geist.
GEIST: All right Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks Willie. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. Have a great weekend. See you Monday.
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