Guests: A.B. Stoddard, Bill Press, Mike Pressler
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: A terror attack in Scotland and a foiled plot in London have the U.K. on edge, and America is wondering if it is just a matter of time before similar attacks are carried out on U.S. soil. Welcome to the show.
Authorities say the attempt by several men to drive a jeep into the main terminal at Glasgow Airport in Scotland was just part of a wider plan to detonate a series of devastating car bombs in London and elsewhere in the U.K. A massive manhunt continues for more suspects, who may have been involved. We will talk to a leading terrorism expert to find out if this is the new phase of al Qaeda, and whether or not we ought to be bracing for more spectacular attacks on our shores this summer.
Also ahead, the new fund-raising numbers are in and Senator Barack Obama is the big winner by quite a bit. We‘ll take a look at how much he raked in and whether or not it‘s already become a two-horse race among Democrats. Sorry, Joe Biden.
Plus, are you disgusted with Congress? Polls show most people are.
One of those who is happens to be the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
She says she hates her institution.
Plus later, the Duke rape case comes full circle with the resignation of Durham DA Mike Nifong, and not a day too soon. We will talk with the former men‘s lacrosse coach at Duke and ask him why was he fired.
But first we go to London and NBC‘s Stephanie Gosk with the latest on today‘s developments in the U.K. terror plots. Stephanie, what is the latest?
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC NEWS: Well, Tucker, we are just learning that there has been an eighth arrest. There are now eight suspects being held. We‘re not told where this eighth arrest took place, whether it happened here in the U.K. or abroad.
Together, there were three arrests today, and we are beginning to learn more and more about the suspects that were arrested.
At least two of them are doctors, including 26-year-old Mohammed Asha. He studied medicine in Jordan. He was caught on the highway with his 27-year-old wife on Saturday night. His house was searched this morning in northern England.
The second doctor, Bilal Abdullah. He is an Iraqi, who received his degree in 2004. He was the passenger in that jeep Cherokee that crashed into the Glasgow Airport on Saturday. The driver of that car is in critical condition with serious burns in the local hospital.
At that hospital today, earlier today, there were controlled explosions in a car that police thought was suspicious—Tucker.
CARLSON: Is there any evidence that that car was a some—part of a terrorist plot, or was it just someone‘s car that got blown up?
GOSK: Well, at this point, we are not sure. The police are not saying. We, you know, there was an NBC reporter there on the scene who said that it did not appear as if there were explosives in that car.
There was another controlled explosion at that same hospital yesterday. And on Saturday, when they brought in that driver with those severe burns, he actually had a belt on him that they thought was an explosive belt. Later on, police determined that there weren‘t explosives in that belt, but certainly that hospital has been a hot spot here in this case so far—Tucker.
CARLSON: Stephanie Gosk from London. Thanks a lot, Stephanie, I appreciate it.
Well, what does—what does this situation in the U.K. mean for the United States? The al Qaeda threat—apparently, it is changing. Do we face the threat of home-grown terror here on U.S. soil? NBC News terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann joins us now with answers.
Evan, thanks for coming on.
EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC NEWS TERROR ANALYST: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: Everything we know about the men who have been arrested in this U.K. plot cuts against what I thought I knew about terror plots in Europe. The conventional explanation was, these are people who are marginalized by European society, they live in housing projects, they have no hope, right? They are children of immigrants, and they—and because they are on the outside, they lash out against the culture.
Two physicians arrested suggests to me these are people who had a lot to live for, and yet they were throwing their lives away and committing acts of terror. Why?
KOHLMANN: Well, it‘s funny you should ask that. I think it‘s part of the stereotype that goes into terrorism. I think it‘s something that people learn from watching too many episodes of “Syriana,” that every terrorist has no money, has no education, is poor and disenfranchised.
The reality is that a lot of people who are being drawn to terrorism these days are professionals, have skill sets, are smart, are well educated.
We just had a case here in New York, in the Southern District of New York, where we had a doctor, a Columbia University-trained physician, who was convicted of attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda. He actually thought that he would go to the front lines in Afghanistan and serve to give first aid to the mujahideen, the holy warriors.
So you know, it is just about everyone who gets pulled into this. And always keep in mind, the deputy commander of al Qaeda, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, he is a doctor. He is not just any doctor. He‘s a pediatrician. So you know, just because you are smart or because you are educated, that is not a block to be drawn into this ideology.
CARLSON: So in other words, all this trope that you constantly hear, this cliche—we just need to be educated. If we just knew more about each other, right? If we were just more aware of one other, we‘d all get along—it‘s a complete lie, as it turns out, actually, in the end.
KOHLMANN: It really is meaningless. And look, al Qaeda, they are not stupid. They are not looking at pulling morons into their organization. They are looking to pull in people with skill sets, who are useful, who are smart, who are going to be able to outthink authorities. If they are only pulling in people who are morons, chances are most of their terrorist plots are going to fail.
And I should stress, it‘s not just al Qaeda specifically. Even in home-grown terrorist plots, I think we‘re most commonly used to seeing plots like the Fort Dix plotters, who are not the brightest bulbs in the batch, but there are some really smart people being pulled into this.
You had a 20-something guy over in London who was running circles around the FBI and Scotland Yard with his knowledge of the Internet and how the Internet can be used to support terrorism. Literally running circles around them.
So don‘t underestimate these folks. I mean, they can be quite intelligent.
CARLSON: So they‘re ideologues. They‘re not doing it for the money, they‘re not doing it because they‘re desperate. They are doing it because of belief.
Where are they fed? Are they getting their ideological reinforcement
from the Internet? Are they getting it on cassette tapes? I mean, where -
who is feeding these people the ideas that are causing them to try and kill?
KOHLMANN: Well, a lot of the people that are in the United Kingdom are receiving this message, number one, through the Internet; number two, through watching satellite television like Al Jazeera. There is even bookstores in the United Kingdom—for instance, in Birmingham, were some of these searches have taken place already—you have a book store called Maktabah al Ansar, which specializes in selling videotapes of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda leaders.
But you know, reality, we don‘t really know much about the folks that are specifically involved in this plot. They are Iraqis, they are Jordanians. One—you know, the tendency, at least in my mind, is to think that maybe their motivation has to do with the participation of the United Kingdom in the war in Iraq, and the repercussions of that. And potentially the anger of seeing this through the eyes of Western media. And I mean, they certainly wouldn‘t be the only ones.
CARLSON: See, you have got to figure that every person who goes and buys or orders radical Islamic literature online or goes to a book store like that in the United States or frequents chat rooms on jihadist Web sites is being monitored by our intelligence services, right? Please tell me yes.
KOHLMANN: I mean, I wish the answer was yes, but the reality is no. It‘s not. I mean, there are definitely people out there who are involved in this world, who are active participants, who are not being monitored as closely as you might like.
I mean, the guy who I was just telling you—talking about, who had ran circles around the FBI and Scotland Yard, he called himself Irhabi 007, Terrorist 007, because he was literally able to move without being detected. Eventually, he made stupid mistakes and he was captured, but you know, there are people out there who are tremendously skilled and who are visible in the world of online terrorism, and yet their identities are still somewhat unknown to law enforcement.
Again, it is a scary thing to say, but it‘s impossible to do this job perfectly, and I think especially when it comes to online recruitment, we have a long way to go in terms of progress.
CARLSON: Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., there are literally roadblocks—I got caught up in one two weeks ago—that pull you over if you are not wearing a seatbelt. Just to give you some sense of what our law enforcement dollars are going toward.
Evan Kohlmann, I appreciate you coming on. Thank you.
KOHLMANN: Thank you.
CARLSON: Barack Obama finishes first in the all-important dash for campaign cash, but is it all-important? What‘s behind his record haul, and how much pressure does it put on Hillary Clinton?
Plus, Fred Thompson says he is a reformed outsider ready to take on Washington. But how much of an outsider is he really? And how deep-rooted is his family tree? Questions about Fred Thompson, next.
CARLSON: Barack Obama raises more money than anybody in the history of politics in the last three months. So why isn‘t he top in the polls? Why is Hillary Clinton still beating him, according to surveys? That next.
CARLSON: Time to check today‘s Obamameter. Barack Obama‘s campaign coffers are overflowing as he topped front runner Hillary Clinton in the second quarter money race. That is the Obameter going off, by the way, in the background. Obama ranked in a staggering $32.5 million, compare that to an estimated $27 million for Hillary. And he raised that cash from over 150,000 people. Hillary‘s camp is yet to release he donor tally. It is expected to be dwarfed by Obama‘s list, though. You can bet on that.
Here to tell us what it all means, A.B. Stoddard. She‘s executive editor of the “Hill,” and Bill Press, you know who he is. He is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host.
Now, I‘ll never forget, A.B., in 1999 I was traveling with Bush as a magazine writer, and I actually in the car with Bush when he announced his fund raising totals, at the time was $37 million for the first two quarters. That was mind-blowing, $37 million, that was the biggest to date. It was shocking, it was staggering. I called my editor, OK. Fifty-eight million Obama has. I mean, this is without precedent.
A.B. STODDARD, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, “THE HILL”: It is, but I think the fact that the new dollar amounts to me are just not as riveting as the fact that he surpassed Hillary Clinton. He was never supposed to the first time, he was never supposed the to the second time. It was unthinkable.
It is staggering and it‘s stunning. I do not know how it is going to translates to votes, it is not translating in the poll numbers. But they are small inspired donors who can come back again. And it is just unbelievable that anyone—no one on either side of the isle, on either party, was supposed to be able to come up against that machine.
CARLSON: Here‘s some of the numbers, Bill. Once you break it down,
110,000 online donors, 90 percent of those were for $100 or less, 50
percent of the online donations, so more than 50,000, were for less than
$25 apiece. I mean, everyone talks about grassroots support, that is
BILL PRESS, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Absolutely. I have to tell you, we were sitting at dinner the other night, and Carol said, oh by the way, did I tell you I wrote a check to Barack Obama? And she‘s one of those people. I mean, he is picking up ...
CARLSON: She only sent him $25?
PRESS: A little more ...
STODDARD: People bring ...
CARLSON: Come on!
PRESS: A little more than $25, but the point is, you know, this is phenomenal. It really is a phenomenon in fundraising, particularly bringing so many new people in. In the entire year of 2003, Howard Dean had 250,000 contributors online. Right?
Barack Obama in the first half of 2007 has 258,000.
CARLSON: OK. But he has shattered every record.
PRESS: And she is right, they will come back and back and back.
CARLSON: It‘s about, and I don‘t mean to seem drippy here, I‘m not voting for Barak Obama, obviously, but here‘s the narrative. Hillary Clinton is the establishment, she is the Death Star, right?
CARLSON: He is the insurgent, you know? He‘s the Viet Cong marching 50 miles a day on a bowl of rice with the support of the peasantry or whatever, you know, pick your dumb metaphor.
But, the truth is, he is the outsider that has the support of all these people. She is the Washington insider. When is he going to start saying that explicitly?
STODDARD: Well, you know, I don‘t—he has not wanted to take her on. I think he is waiting for her to take him on so he can respond. It is probably going to become a real liability for him if he does. He‘s trying to wage a new kind of politics, a new kind of campaign.
We‘ve talked about that maybe being to his detriment. She has getting Bill Clinton out there to fundraise and then starting tonight to campaign. It is going to be a big problem for Barak Obama. She is the frontrunner. She is the front runner and she leaves him behind. He has to catch up. I do not know what the dollars are going to mean in terms of him really taking him on. His campaign is trying to lower expectations that he won‘t come up to chip away at her support until early next year, but at some point, these inspired, excited people in his army of believers have to propel him to the front where he actually becomes ...
CARLSON: This is the Democratic Party, Bill. The establishment is not going to win in the end, right, someone is going to give the middle finger to the man, OK? And the man in this case, is a chick, Hillary. She‘s the man here. Right? She‘s the DNC. When are ordinary Democrats going to say that we are sick of having Rome, or whatever, the man tell us what to do and start backing Barak Obama?
PRESS: Look, Tucker, at some point Barak Obama is going to make his move. I do not know whether he is going to be able to overtake Hillary or not. But the fact is, and this shows it, he is going to have all the resources he needs, all the people he needs, to tackle Hillary and take her head on. She is going to have a full fledged, totally ...
CARLSON: Seems like kind a wuss, though. Don‘t you have to be tougher than just the man who is against cynicism. The purer than thou candidate? Vote for Barack Obama because he is more decent and you are, come on.
STODDARD: He is going to have to get past that.
PRESS: There is a side—he is, but there is a side of Barak Obama that we have not seen yet. We don‘t have to see it now. I think he is in a perfect position of second place and ride that through. Look ...
STODDARD: I think he‘s waiting too long.
PRESS: I disagree. I don‘t think he‘s waiting too long.
CARLSON: What is he? I mean, does he strike you as a little soft?
STODDARD: The problem is that people—he is trying to convince people not to take the safe route. The safe route is a Clinton. The safe route, in 2000, was Bush, his daddy was president. These are scary times. You don‘t take a Senator who has been in office for two years. And if he wants to start establishing himself as someone who can really have what it takes in the long haul and be president of the United States, I think he better start soon.
PRESS: I think you are both just impatient and don‘t recognize the reality of politics. It is like the Kentucky Derby. The one that comes through is not the first one out of the gate that leads all the way, look at the last couple of races.
CARLSON: She is just going to spank him like a red-headed stepchild.
She is tough.
PRESS: Obama will make his move when the time is right.
CARLSON: You know what, they are mean as hell, the Clintons. And I say that with a mixture of disgust and awe and a tiny bit of admiration. But I‘ve lived here and I‘ve watched it and they are mean.
PRESS: He may not make it. But this is too early for him to make his move.
CARLSON: Alright. Fred Thompson came out swinging against the Cubans. No one really flinched except for Hillary Clinton. She immediately attacked Thompson and defended the Cuban people. Is Thompson the candidate Hillary takes most seriously? It looks that way.
Plus John McCain‘s campaign seems to be treading water at best. Reportedly he is laying off scores of staffers and his own campaign manager will be working for free. This on top of a dismal second quarter fundraising record. Does McCain still have a shot at the presidency? Are writing him off too soon? We will tell you when we come back.
CARLSON: Although Rudy Giuliani is still running first in most national polls, Hillary Clinton might be keeping a closer eye on the guy nipping at his heels. He is former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee and he has yet to officially jump into the race. But that did not stop Hillary from treating him like the Republican to beat. The New York Senator got fired up after Thompson went off of the cuff down in South Carolina. Listen to what Thompson said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED THOMPSON, FMR. SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE: The year 2005, we apprehended over 1,000 folks that originally come from Cuba. They are coming from Cuba. Where else are they coming from? And I don‘t imagine that they are coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We are living in an era of a suitcase bomb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Hillary blasted Thompson for the alleged Cuban terrorism link. And she said, “I was appalled,” I can‘t do her accent, I‘m sorry, but here‘s what she said. “I was appalled when one of the people running for or about to run for the Republican nomination talked about Cuban refugees as potential terrorists. Apparently he doesn‘t have a lot of experience in Florida or anywhere else, and doesn‘t know a lot of Cuban-Americans.”
Huh. So how worried is Hillary and the rest of the Democrats for that matter about Fred Thompson? We welcome back with answers, A.B. Stoddard, she‘s associate editor of the “Hill.” And Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host.
Apparently he does not have a lot of experience in Florida and doesn‘t know a lot of Cuban-Americans. In other words, Hillary knows a lot of Cuban-Americans, and she knows that they would not commit terror. Because she knows them, like some of her best friends are Cuban-Americans. What the hell is she talking about?
PRESS: Look, Tucker. When somebody gives you an opening like that you are a fool if you don‘t take advantage of it. It was a stupid thing for Fred Thompson to say.
PRESS: If there are terrorists ...
CARLSON: Is he not allowed to say something bad about Cubans because they are a voting block?
PRESS: No, it was a stupid thing for him to say, because if terrorists are coming to this country, and they will be and some of them are already here.
PRESS: Let me tell you. They are not going to Cuba and then floating over to the Keys on inner tubes. I mean, they are—that is not what they are going to do.
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t know. I don‘t know why not. I mean, we‘ve
PRESS: Come on, Tucker. That‘s absurd.
CARLSON: It‘s actually not absurd. There are people in federal
prison right now, Cuban nationals who were arrested, who are they for espionage, who came floating over, who were spying on us. So, I don‘t know, I do not think that is crazy in the slightest.
PRESS: There is scary things in this world. Cuba is not one of them. OK. Miami can relax, Hillary is right. Fidel Castro is not going to invade southern Florida.
CARLSON: So she knows, Hillary knows the Cuban people so intimately. You know, Hillary is pandering to the Cuban exile community. You know, Republicans had kind of a lock on the pander to that community, but Hillary being a wise woman, has decided that she is going to attempt it, too. This is like the most revolting ethnic pandering. What they are above terrorism, Cubans?
PRESS: Oh, Tucker, Tucker.
STODDARD: Hillary—I really think Hillary is speaking to the Democratic base and showing them before the general election campaign that she is going Republicans off at the ankles. And that she has promised to do. And she is trying to show them, without sniping at her rivals on the Democratic side, how tough she is. Because she is going to not let one Republicans whatever attack go unanswered. And she took an opening and that was a misstep and it was an opening. I think John McCain and Rudy Giuliani wish that they beat her to it.
STODDARD: But she took an opening to show that she is the macho candidate that will not let the Republicans sleep at night.
CARLSON: I don‘t think I have ever heard a presidential candidate in either party, even Independent, ever say a single bad thing about Cuban-Americans. I like Cuban-Americans, personally. But it is interesting, Thompson is the only person who didn‘t go out of his way, to you know, pander.
PRESS: Which shows why he is not ready for Broadway yet.
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t know! Maybe it is nice to have a guy who does not pander once in awhile.
PRESS: A little more practice.
CARLSON: There was an interesting piece in the “Washington ...
Right. You got to—he‘ll be down telling us about the wonders of soy beans soon and how good ethanol is. They all get the same patter after awhile.
The “Washington Post,” today has got a piece on his two boys—
Thomson‘s two two sons were lobbyists, followed him into the lobbying business after he was elected to the U.S. Senate, back in 1994. NBC—our first read, our note, our political director had a really interesting piece, point this morning, he said, Thompson‘s camp ought to view this piece as a warning that this guy has got to define himself soon. Because the Democrats are on their way, maybe fairly, to defining him as a Washington lobbyist and you don‘t want that.
How would you define yourself if you are Thompson? Who are you? Are you the outsider southern guy? Who are you?
PRESS: I think Thompson should stop, by the way, I think you‘re Reid is absolutely right, that this is a wake-up call to Fred Thompson.
PRESS: That once he becomes a candidate, everything, everything is going to come down on him. And he has been portraying himself, wants to still, I think, as the folksy outsider in the red truck, right? From Tennessee. And that is not really who Fred Thompson is. He was a lobbyist for 17 years, he was a senator for what, eight years or more, I forget, 10 I think. And I think he has got to fess up that he is an insider, maybe with better answers or with better direction or a better candidate or more of a conservative. And stop this outside thing because it doesn‘t play.
CARLSON: Well here is Newt Gingrich, very quickly, this is the nastiest, cattiest thing I think I‘ve read in a long time. Lloyd Grove interview Gingrich for the “Washington Post.” Gingrich says of Mr. Thompson, I think he becomes the establishment alternative, “I have been fond of Fred since the red—the Hunt for Red October. I think he was totally convincing as an admiral.”
Talk about faint praise!
STODDARD: Newt Gingrich is actually waiting to see if he is going to make a move in September to see what happens to Fred. To see if Thompson implodes in the next few months. Everybody is threatened by Fred Thompson. Everybody.
CARLSON: I don‘t feel threatened.
STODDARD: It has messed things up for Romney ...
CARLSON: Doesn‘t threaten my masculinity. I kind of like the guy.
STODDARD: And its messed things up for McCain, for everybody. And like we keep saying, once he is in, he is going to be under all of this scrutiny. He is going to make missteps and he is going to have a rough time, as they all do. But depending on how badly or well he does, we will see what he does, to everyone right now, they are all really nervous.
PRESS: My advice would be, hold off as long as you can before making any announcement.
CARLSON: I would say get in soon.
STODDARD: He is going to have to make the announcement because there is thing with their finances and it is becoming ...
CARLSON: He‘ll be better than Wes Clark was, that‘s all I can say.
Anybody would be—I‘d be better than Wes Clark was.
A leader never gives up on her team. Right? Well if you are Speaker Nancy Pelosi, not quite. Fielding criticism of Congress over which she presides, Speaker Pelosi threw in her two cents of disappointment. I‘m disappointed with Congress, she said, so much for loyalty.
Plus disgraced DA Mike Nifong is officially, finally unemployed, that‘s almost a year and a half after he falsely accused three Duke University students of rape. We‘ll talk to those boys former lacrosse coach, a man who was himself forced to resign in the middle of that non-scandal/hoax. That is all coming up.
CARLSON: Welcome back. He was once considered the likely Republican front runner for the White House in 2008. Now Senator John McCain is reportedly cutting his campaign staff by 50 or more people. This after six months of lackluster fund raising and a third place finish in the first quarter race for cash. As of today, McCain has raised reportedly just 11.2 million dollars in the past three months. He‘s making his sixth trip to Iraq, where he will spend the Fourth of July.
The question is, are these trips and his unyielding support of the president‘s war policy and his immigration policy costing McCain a shot at the White House? A.B. Stoddard joins us again. She‘s associate editor or “The Hill.” As does Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host. Welcome back.
There‘s no way to spin this. This is bad, firing 50 people on your campaign. These numbers are terrible. But if you take a look—and these numbers aren‘t out, but I have talked to someone familiar with this. The burn rate in this campaign—McCain had almost no money on hand at the end of the first-quarter and is likely to have very little on hand at the end of this quarter, when it gets reported in two weeks. This campaign is just not well run, the McCain campaign.
PRESS: I think the only candidate with less cash on hand is Mike Gravel, which is pretty embarrassing for John McCain. I like John McCain a lot, Tucker. You and I were with him in 2000 in New Hampshire. But I think today you can stick a fork in him. I think he‘s done. I don‘t know how you can turn this thing around. One thing, you have to admire that he really does believe in certain things. He believes in that immigration bill and he believes in Iraq. and he has ridden both of them, I believe, to disaster.
CARLSON: It‘s interesting. You get a sense from a campaign what sort of president someone might be. George W. Bush‘s campaign in 1999/2000 was run basically like the White House is run now. It was the same. McCain—his campaign announced today 50 people are getting fired. The fundamental leadership of the campaign will not change, the fundamental leadership. Which means John Weaver, who‘s running the campaign, will remain in that job. Widely regarded as incompetent by, I think, everyone who has dealt with him, hated by many people around McCain and yet, he is going to keep his job.
What does this say about McCain that his campaign is going right into the toilet and they don‘t can the guy who is responsible for it?
STODDARD: We see it in the administration right now. He‘s a very loyal fellow and they don‘t want to change the guard.
CARLSON: Do you think McCain knows? I think people have told McCain you‘ve got get rid of this guy. You‘ve got to make—I know they‘ve told him you‘ve got to get rid of this guy. You‘ve got to have a major shakeup. Do you think McCain is aware of how badly he‘s perceived as doing?
STODDARD: I have a feeling that he‘s a loyal person who doesn‘t want to throw these people that have worked a long time and very hard for him over, when actually it‘s immigration and other troubles that are spoiling his chances at the White House.
CARLSON: The campaign is being run by a liberal Democrat.
STODDARD: I just think getting rid of John Weaver might not fix things for John McCain.
CARLSON: It might not. And let me just say this: do you remember Iowa four years ago? Right? It‘s 2004, and John Kerry is considered a joke. I remember laughing at his supporters. Two weeks later, he wins the Iowa caucuses and is the nominee, essentially. I mean, he destroyed Howard Dean in a day. John McCain, I wouldn‘t put it past him. What, is Giuliani going to kill McCain in the end? I don‘t think so.
PRESS: No, but Tucker, look, you have to have the resources to get there. I mean, two million dollars you burn—in these campaigns you burn two million dollars in one trip, or certainly in one advertising buy. So he‘s going to have to have the resources in Iowa, even though he‘s pretty well known. And, you know, it‘s a more crowded primary with more heavy hitters. I think Romney is a heavy hitter. Giuliani‘s a heavy hitter. Fred Thompson is a heavy hitter.
CARLSON: I bet you in the end he cans John Weaver, sooner rather than later, one hopes. And I bet he‘s got a pretty good shot at being the nominee. You heard it here, July 2nd, 2007.
PRESS: He certainly believes that. I was at an event last week where he talked candidly about his problems and he said these are just the ups and downs of campaigns. I‘ve been there. I know this. I know what the rhythm is. I‘m in good shape right now. I‘m not worried at all.
CARLSON: You know, people don‘t like Congress, Alexandra, at all. And I was amazed to—I understand why. I was amazed today to find out that Nancy Pelosi, who runs the House of Representatives—she‘s the speaker of the House—she‘s not happy with Congress either. Quote, I‘m not happy with Congress either. What does this mean?
STODDARD: She‘s upset with the Republicans in the Senate.
CARLSON: A House divided against itself cannot stand. I don‘t know if you know that.
PRESS: Did you just come up with that?
CARLSON: I did, just like that.
CARLSON: Thank you.
STODDARD: It‘s a real problem for them. They go home and tell their constituents that they‘ve changed the debate on Iraq. And they have. But they have not done anything else. They have not been able to—the whole ethics reform earmark appropriations thing became a complete mess for them and embarrassment, with Republicans holding their feet to the fire. They have not passed the 9/11 Commission recommendations. They have not forced the government to negotiate prescription drug prices.
They have not done all these things, passed an immigration reform bill. They are not legislating. They are investigating, but they are not legislating, and they have not been able to muster the votes for Iraq. Now, they are going to come back and do all this stuff in July again, deauthorization, a redeployment plan, more readiness certifications for the troops.
But they know that six months in they are running out of time. They are running out of time before they are actually going to campaign for those seats again and before the presidential campaign overtakes them.
CARLSON: It‘s my kind of Congress, doing nothing. I love it.
PRESS: The bottom line here is, if you‘re going to have a revolution, you need to have enough troops. And the Democrats simply don‘t have enough troops.
CARLSON: That‘s not what they told us when we voted for.
PRESS: In the House, they said they were going to pass six things. OK, they passed all six in the House. George Bush vetoed one of them, stem cells. He signed minimum wage. The other four are bottled up in the Senate. Immigration, bottled up in the Senate.
CARLSON: No one even remembers what they were because they were so insignificant.
PRESS: Iraq, George Bush vetoed it. So, if you don‘t have enough votes, you can‘t over ride a veto.
CARLSON: Those four or 19 items, whatever, the contract with the world, or whatever the hell they were calling it, is so meaningless that it will be forgotten in a year. Iraq is why they were elected, and they haven‘t done squat about it.
CARLSON: Then they shouldn‘t have told us that they had the votes. That‘s my view. On to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the president‘s house. The “Washington Post” has a really interesting piece about the president‘s habit, heretofore unreported, of bringing in historians and other deep thinkers to talk about his presidency and what went wrong.
Here is Erwin Steltzer (ph), who is an interesting—I can vouch for him—very smart, thoughtful person from the Hudson Institute here in Washington. Here‘s what he said, quote, “you don‘t get any feeling of somebody crouching down in the bunker. This is either extraordinary self-confidence or out of touch with reality. I can‘t tell you which.”
He says that Bush in private is like Bush in public. He doesn‘t have a care in the world and doesn‘t feel under siege and he is not apologizing. Could that be real?
STODDARD: Well, the fact that he‘s bringing in people and having these very private meetings that are not on his schedule, et cetera, to humbly ask where have I gone astray, I think, shows that he‘s self-conscious about this, that he wonders why America is hated and why he is hated.
I actually thought it was quite profound to learn that he was doing this. And the fact is Jack Kingston, Congressman from Georgia, had an interesting quote in there, saying, it‘s sort of his strength and his weakness, that he‘s not effective. It‘s why he carries on with the things that he believes in on principal, like immigration and Iraq. And it‘s also what makes him incapable of listening to dissent and criticism. It‘s helped him and hindered him.
CARLSON: Sum it up super quick.
PRESS: Yes, I thought that was a sad article, because obviously he
knows he‘s in trouble. His polls are in Nixonian levels. The Iraq war is
not going well. He‘s got a year and a half to go. And he knows his legacy
basically he doesn‘t have one.
And he‘s bringing these people in, saying where did I go wrong? What did I do? You know what, listen to the American people. That‘s what he ought to do.
CARLSON: If you feel bad for him, now I‘m starting to feel bad for him. Bill Press, A.B. Stoddard, thank you both.
The lives of those three students changed forever a little more than a year ago when they were falsely accused of raping a North Carolina stripper. We‘ll talk to their former lacrosse coach about what it was like in the days following, unfortunately, an infamous, extremely uneventful Duke lacrosse party.
Plus, so much for President Bush having a home ocean advantage. It seems Russian President Vladimir Putin is no rookie when it comes to fishing. Our MSNBC senior angling correspondent Willie Geist will bring us details.
CARLSON: Mike Nifong, the disgraced Durham County district attorney officially entered a letter of resignation today. The writing had been on the wall. First the rape case fell apart spectacularly. then Nifong was disbarred. In June hew was suspended from office, not a moment too soon. Later this month, Nifong could face more trouble—keep your fingers crossed. A judge will decide whether he broke the law while prosecuting those three Duke lacrosse players for a rape they did not commit.
All charges against the trio have been dropped with extreme prejudice. Another person dragged down by that investigation, one that was botched from the start, is the former coach of the Duke lacrosse, Mike Pressler. He resigned under heavy pressure shortly after the firestorm began in the Spring of 2006. Pressler is back coaching again. He is at Bryant University in Rhode Island. He has reached a financial settlement with Duke and he has also co-written a new book titled “It‘s Not About The Truth, the Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives it Shattered.”
Joining us now is Mike Pressler. Mr. Pressler, thanks for coming on.
MIKE PRESSLER, FMR. DUKE UNIV. LACROSSE COACH: Thanks, Tucker. Great to be here.
CARLSON: I‘m really glad to talk to you, because your element—your part of this whole disturbing story was the one that confused me the most from day one. Why were you forced to leave Duke? You were never accused of anything, were you?
PRESSLER: That‘s a great question. I think you‘ll have to ask the Duke administration. We never really got an answer to that and I‘m certainly very surprised that my termination was a result of this. So I think you have to ask them.
CARLSON: But what did they say to you when they came to you? You heard your team, most members of your team had been at this party, and that an allegation had been made about conduct at the party. And then the university comes to you and says because they are on a team you coached, you‘ve got to leave? What was their explanation to you?
PRESSLER: There was never really an explanation. I was given basically an hour and a half to decide my future, and that‘s what happened. There was not a lot of dialogue there at that time. And you‘ve got to remember, Tucker, there was a few weeks there, from the 13th of March to April 5th of 2006. So there was time there and this case was spiraling downward in the public opinion polls and certainly in our communities.
So I think they have the answers to the questions you‘re seeking. I have not spoken to them since regarding this, and don‘t expect to from here on out.
CARLSON: I thought it was B.S. from day one. I just smelled it on the story from day one. I thought this woman was lying, and it turned out she was. But it seemed like many people at Duke didn‘t have the same B.S. detectors. My feeling, at least from Washington, looking down at Durham, was that a lot of people on Duke‘s campus assumed from day one that your players were guilty. Is that right?
PRESSLER: So many folks. There‘s a great quote in the book, you know, if there was 50 of us that believed one truth, and 50 million who believed another. And nobody wanted to hear the truth.
PRESSLER: Everybody prejudged this. Again, I think you go back to the story from the beginning. There were so many ingredients that came into play. To quote, the perfect storm, the title of chapter one, the haves versus the have nots; race; Duke University and the Durham community. There were so many ingredients that came together and here we have this tidal wave against myself and the team. And, you know, I think that was the most difficult thing. There was no evidence, and nobody wanted to see any evidence. We were all prejudged here.
CARLSON: Were you convinced the entire time, from the moment you heard these allegations, that your players were innocent?
PRESSLER: Absolutely. I found out 48 hours after the event, and the captains swore to me on my children that they didn‘t do this, that this is totally untrue. And I said, boys, I will back you until the end and support you until the end. And from that moment on, I had absolutely no doubt that certainly didn‘t do this, but were not capable of doing this.
CARLSON: How has it affected their lives, the three that were accused?
PRESSLER: I think certainly today we‘re all in a better place. If you asked us the same question a year ago at this time, I think we‘d have a much different answer. But David Evans has moved on. He‘s got a great Wall Street job. Reade Seligmann is going to be my neighbor here up in Brown University. I‘m a Brown fan right now. And Collin Finnerty is going to find his school here very soon, and continue his lacrosse career. So we‘re all moving on, moving forward, and the D.A. is going through the judicial process that, you know, he deserves. So we‘re all in a much better place today.
CARLSON: Do you think he‘s going to be punished? I mean, the D.A., let‘s be honest, he‘s resigned his job, but he hasn‘t been punished. Do you think he‘s going to go to jail?
PRESSLER: I expect the full—whatever punishment the system levies on this guy, he deserves that and then some. You‘ve got to remember, this guy maliciously pursued this case, knowing that these kids were innocent from soon after this case broke. So that‘s criminal, in my opinion. And he could have got out of this on many, many occasions, but continued—you know, he wanted to take this to trial and put these guys away for 30 years on capital rape charges.
So he‘s getting what he deserves. Disbarment was one piece of it, resignation is number two. And certainly the criminal and justice system doing their due diligence here.
CARLSON: Our society entrusted Nifong with so much power and he abused it for the smallest reasons. I hope he goes away for a long time. I‘m really glad to talk to you finally and I appreciate you coming on.
PRESSLER: Tucker, two things. First, you and Dan Abrams, I remember, early on, were trying to slow this case down. And you were one of the few in the media—you and Dan—that were really, wait, let‘s see some evidence here before we judge this team and this program. So I want to thank you both for your support from day one.
CARLSON: I appreciate it. Mike Pressler, thanks a lot for coming on.
PRESSLER: Thank you.
CARLSON: What do Vice President Dick Cheney and Michael Jackson have in common besides their inherent creepiness? Let‘s just say, they might be running into each other at the block party this year. Willie Geist has the neighborly details when we come back. You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Before the last break, I promised to reveal what Dick Cheney has in common with Michael Jackson, and the truth is I have no idea. Thank god Willie Geist is here to clear it up. Willie?
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: That‘s why I‘m hear, Tucker. You know how you and I get really excited when the Reverend Al Sharpton is coming on the show for say a five or six-minute segment?
GEIST: Well, in about five minutes, you‘ll get an hour of the Reverend Al Sharpton guest hosting hardball. I dare you to turn the TV off. How could you not watch that?
CARLSON: Can you just do that? Can you just turn your show over to Al Sharpton? I didn‘t know that was allowed. I‘m going to try that.
GEIST: He might take your show. It‘s up to him. We‘re playing by his rules.
CARLSON: Right, I‘d come back from vacation and find it was the Al Sharpton Show.
GEIST: Absolutely. I‘d watch it, believe me.
CARLSON: I‘m too insecure to do that.
GEIST: He‘ll be on in a couple minutes. So stay with us. Tucker, quick bit of news, Lindsay Lohan, your friend and mine, turned 21 years old today. She can finally take that first drink she‘s so been looking forward to. I have to be honest with you Tucker, I thought she was like 35 years old. But apparently she turns 21 today. She‘s lived a lot of life for a youngster.
CARLSON: She road hard and put up wet. She‘s been around.
GEIST: Unfortunately, she‘s spending it quietly with her family because she‘s in rehab.
CARLSON: At Promises. Everyone goes to Promises. I want to go to Promise at some point.
GEIST: Tucker, the kind of dirty Heidi Fleiss is doesn‘t come off with soap and water. But that didn‘t stop her from opening a coin laundry outside Las Vegas yesterday. The one time Hollywood madam said she opened the 24 hour washer/dryer facility, called Dirty Laundry of course, to get her mind off the death of her beloved pet Macaw. I‘m not making that up.
Fleiss, who once ran a call girl service that served some of Hollywood‘s biggest names, says the coin laundry is only the beginning. She plans next to open Heidi‘s Stud Farm, a bordello where women will be able to enjoy the company of male prostitutes. Kind of a poignant tail there, isn‘t it Tucker? At one time rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite, now opening up a coin laundry 60 miles outside Vegas.
CARLSON: Yes, but you know, the whole stud farm idea, that has been tried again and again and again. It just conflicts with a basic truth about human nature, women aren‘t going to pay for it. They don‘t have to and they won‘t.
GEIST: Of course not. You‘ve got men. We‘re the most willing beasts on the face of the Earth. Why would you pay for it? It‘s so ridiculous.
CARLSON: It‘s like capitalism, everyone would be undercutting everyone else‘s prices. You‘d wind up free in about four minutes.
GEIST: She‘s actually offered Mike Tyson a job as one of the studs.
So that‘s next level of depression.
CARLSON: My gosh.
GEIST: Well, President Bush and President Vladimir Putin met again today at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine. After a couple of hours of breakfast chit-chat about things like containing the Iranian threat and building a missile shield, the two presidents got down to business. They went fishing, Tucker.
The president had a little bit better luck today than he did yesterday, when his boat got stuck on some rocks and he had to be freed by the Secret Service. Bush and Putin fished for about an hour and half this morning. But the president later reported Putin was the only one who caught anything. Score one for the Russians, Tucker.
Just another example of the erosion of American power under this administration. We can‘t even beat him fishing in our own backyard. You live there. You spent your whole life growing up. You know where the fish are. You have to win the fishing dual.
CARLSON: What‘s infuriating to me. I spent the weekend fishing in Maine. And I had a pretty slow weekend, fish-wise, and to think that Vladimir Putin caught have been the reason.
GEIST: He plucked one out of there.
CARLSON: Right, that he caught a bigger—this foreigner, sneaking into our country, doesn‘t even like us and catches a bigger fish than I do in Maine. It‘s just infuriating.
GEIST: Frankly, it‘s humiliating. And Bush should not have admitted it. What do you think they were going for?
CARLSON: Stripers. They were going for striped bass.
GEIST: Maybe hit some blues up there too every once in a while.
CARLSON: Making me jealous. If Vladimir Putin could be fishing in Maine, kind of makes you wonder what we‘re doing here?
GEIST: I know, it‘s pathetic. It‘s pathetic. Well, if reports out of Maryland‘s eastern shore are true, here‘s your story, Tucker, Vice President Dick Cheney may not be the creepiest guy on his block for long. Word is that Michael Jackson was house hunting for water front property the other day in St. Michaels, Maryland, where the vice president has a home.
Jackson reportedly was traveling with an entourage and his every move was followed by a hovering helicopter. That will win him over with the neighbors. The good news about having the vice president of the United States in the neighborhood, a strictly-enforced no-fly zone will keep Jacko‘s choppers at arms length and will not disturb the rest of the neighborhood.
So, I don‘t know, maybe they can keep the choppers away, but I‘m not sure the eastern shore is ready for a neighbor with an amusement park in the backyard. That‘s going to ruffle some feathers, I‘m afraid.
CARLSON: The amazing is Michael Jackson, according to your reporting, actually—I know all about this because of you, Willie—
CARLSON: He‘s completely broke. He has less money than I had in college. Yet he still somehow leases a helicopter to fly over him. Who is extending him credit?
GEIST: I don‘t know. And who are the member of this entourage? Are they being compensated? And if so, how? I don‘t know. There‘s so many unanswered questions when you talk about the Jacko budget. You know what I mean? There‘s a lot of questions.
CARLSON: I think it‘s all the Jesus juice you can drink. That‘s about it.
CARLSON: Willie Geist from headquarters. Thanks, Willie. For more of Willie Geist, check out ZeitGeist at Tucker.MSNBC.com. It‘s worth it. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL” with the Reverend Al Sharpton. Don‘t miss that. We‘re back at 6:00. See you tomorrow.
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