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'Tucker' for August 23

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Peter Fenn, Cliff May, Steve King, Courtney Hazlett

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show. 

Yesterday, President Bush compared the current war to America‘s experience in Vietnam.  He might not have known how right he was, as today his plans for a continued surge in Iraq seemed to slip toward a quagmire. 

We have different developments, including the defection of a respected Senate Republican, may slow any momentum the administration might have had for its Iraq policy. 

We‘ll bring you details on that in just a moment. 

Later, we‘ll reveal who is responsible for hiring many of these illegal immigrant laborers.  Here‘s a hint—it‘s the government.  A Republican congressman from Iowa will join us to take on his own employer. 

Then we‘ll tell you about the new reality television series called “Kid Nation,” an adaptation of “Lord of the Flies” that may or may not violate child labor laws.  It‘s a great idea for a show, an unapologetic exploitation of children.  Is it both? 

We begin with Iraq and three significant news items.

First, this morning‘s “New York Times” piece described the power grid in and around Baghdad, which the paper reports is now controlled by warring independent militias.  Imagine violent gangs controlling your air-conditioning this summer. 

Next, details of the latest national intelligence estimate were leaked to the press.  The report gives a bleak forecast for the Iraq war, where modest improvements in security are not expected to lead to political reconciliation, which is, of course, the administration‘s definition of success.  At the same time, the report suggests pulling out of Iraq would be a disaster.

And finally, this afternoon, Senator John Warner, the respected and ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, broke ranks with the administration and its troop surge. 

Here was that moment.


SEN. JOHN WARNER ®, VIRGINIA:  No clearer form of that than if the president were to announce on the 15th that, in consultation with our senior commanders, he has decided to initiate the first step in a withdrawal of armed forces. 


CARLSON:  Well, Senator Warner did not call for the immediate or the complete withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, and he couched his position as a message for the Iraqi government about its responsibility.  But for John Warner, a veteran of World War II and Korea and a former secretary of the Navy, to call for the end of the current troop surge is a big deal. 

Well, joining me now to discuss it, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn and the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Cliff May. 

Cliff, this does seem a big deal.  John Warner has been wavering on Iraq.  There have been signs before today.  But still, at the very moment when public, or at least the lead opinion, seems to be turning toward the idea the surge may be working, for him to come out and say this is bad for the Bush administration.


Well, yes.  He‘s certainly out of step with what‘s going on there.

It is bad because we have had about a dozen different Democrats who have come back from Iraq over this summer and said to their great surprise, we are making progress, let‘s give it more time. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  So what‘s going on with John Warner?

MAY:  And the media, which happens to be, one Republican, that fairly balances...


MAY:  What‘s happening with Warner is that he has been...

CARLSON:  But it‘s not just any Republican, you‘ll concede.  John Warner—I mean, it is John Warner.  I mean...

MAY:  But, John Warner, as you know, going back months and months and months...


MAY:  ... has taken the view that, I don‘t think this is succeeding. 

I don‘t think we can succeed.

I‘m sorry he is saying that, I‘m glad he is not saying any more than that.  He is not saying, all right, let‘s start to draw down now, let‘s get out.  Let‘s accept defeat.

He‘s not quite there yet, but I‘m disturbed by where he is.  But again, if you look at where the debate has moved over the summer from where we started, which was, Bush is going to have to accept defeat there, to where we are now, which is, yes, Petraeus is making military progress, can we translate that into the political progress, the debate is in a better place now. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t see any—I don‘t see how Democrats on the 15th of next month, when David Petraeus comes to the Hill to deliver his report—and we think we know what‘s going to be in it—can in the aftermath of that say we are calling for a immediate withdrawal. 

They‘re not going to, are they?

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  I think they‘re going to do exactly what John Warner is suggesting, which is to say, let‘s being to move these troops out of there, let‘s have a plan to get them out, and let‘s start concentrating on the political.  Look, this is 80 percent political, 20 percent military.

And Cliff, with all due respect, Democrats are coming back and acknowledging that in certain  places like Anbar, that there has been some progress made.  But no one is saying we are winning this war.

CARLSON:  Well, then let me ask the obvious question.  Hold on.

Given that we saw portions of the national intelligence estimate this morning...

FENN:  Right.

CARLSON:  ... the piece in “The New York Times,” they suggest what we already kind of know, which is the political situation in Iraq is sadly lacking.

FENN:  Right.

CARLSON:  On the other hand, withdrawal from Iraq, according to the NIE, would mean a complete disintegration of basically every institution in the country.  So how is the political situation going to improve when the only think keeping the country stable from a security standpoint, us, is taken out of the picture? 

FENN:  I think what is going to happen and what should happen is that we will begin this withdrawal process, we will do it properly, not like Vietnam.  That‘s the only analogy that I see with this Bush thing. 

It will prevent any further quagmire in this country, to quote Mr.  Cheney, who used that term in ‘94.  And if you have an organized process, you are sending a message to the country that, you know, it‘s your job, it‘s your act.  And I think—look, I think you are seeing it and I think this is where Cliff‘s right.  You are seeing a very responsible response from Democratic candidates for president about this.  Outside from a couple. 

CARLSON:  OK.  So, Cliff, the NIE says—or appears to say—that security forces have improved but not to the extent that they can operate without direct American involvement. 

I mean, if at this point, after all the money, all the effort we put forward, they are still at this lame stage, it‘s not a harbinger of good things to come, is it? 

MAY:  First of all, we have our military leaders on the ground there who I think need to be making these decisions, including when to turn over power and a responsibility to the Iraqis, and that is happening.  When they say—when we say they can‘t entirely do without us, that is true.  That means we provide logistics.  That means our generals help. 

CARLSON:  But aren‘t you disappointed?  Wait a second.  I mean, all these years after, doesn‘t this—doesn‘t this...

MAY:  We still have troops in South Korea.  We still have troops in Okinawa.  We still have troops in Europe.

CARLSON:  No, no, wait.  No, hold on.  Yes, we do, but not overseeing the South Korean army, which can handle itself. 

I mean, the reason—the NIE says, if we were to pull out, the army would essentially disintegrate.  Shouldn‘t they be farther along?

MAY:  We would all love it to be farther along.  But the army was totally dissembled.  We started from scratch.

You can train a private or a corporal in a matter of weeks.  How long does it take to train a general?  About 25 years in this country.


FENN:  We dissembled the army.

MAY:  And that was probably a mistake, let‘s say.  But look, whatever we did in the past, let‘s concentrate on the present.

FENN:  OK.  OK.  OK. 

MAY:  And on the present, if we start to say, we‘re leaving on this timetable no matter what the conditions are, we lose all power to facilitate—understand—and I think you both do understand this—you must have security in place before you are going to have a process of political development.  They‘re not going to be simultaneous and you can‘t have political development without military progress.  We are having military progress.  Now Petraeus needs some more time. 

And he has said two things.  One is, he is turning power over to Iraqis more and more.  And two, by next summer, he can draw down—not eliminate our troops.  We‘ll need to keep their backs.

CARLSON:  So, Peter, just answer this question for me really quickly if you would.

Barack Obama said today—it was reported in a David Ignatius column in “The Washington Post”—that he would like to withdraw troops, but it‘s going to take at least a year under his vision of it, maybe longer, and troops will remain in Iraq to fight al Qaeda, among many other things.  We‘re still going to have troops in there if Barack Obama is elected president.

When are the liberals going to wake up and realize he is not for an immediate withdrawal?  And when are they going to get mad at him about that?

FENN:  Well, that‘s a very good question.  I mean, if this becomes a key issue in the campaign, you‘ve got one guy...

CARLSON:  It is the campaign.  I mean, what else is the campaign about?

FENN:  No, no, no, no, no.  This is what—this is the interesting

thing, because you—look, Hillary Clinton says to the Defense Department

which they blew her off—give us a withdrawal plan.  Now everybody says we can do two brigades a month, right, and we can do this logically and it will take about a year. 

And so most candidates out there are calling for that.  But it is going to be interesting to see whether or not—I think—look, I think this is how many people are dancing on the head of a pin right now.  The key is a responsible position, which we... 


CARLSON:  OK.  Well, I can just tell you we‘re out of time.  Let me just—we‘re out of time, unfortunately.

The bottom line, you may be right, we may all be right here, but the net roots, the fervent crazies who run the Democratic Party, they don‘t agree.  And they don‘t know that their candidates, the guys they love, are not for immediate withdrawal.  And I hope someone tells them.

They‘re going to flip out when they find out.

John Edwards said—speaking of flipping out—says, if you really want change, vote for him.  After all, he‘s not a Washington inside, at least anymore.  He is not bought and paid for by big money interests, if you don‘t count trial lawyers. 

Can Mr. Edwards make it back to Washington with his stuff? 

This is MSNBC, the place for politics.


CARLSON:  The campaign for president may feel like it‘s almost over, but it‘s not.  Actually, the candidates are only about halfway to show time, yet they are increasingly desperate days for Edwards.  Re-launching his campaign today, Edwards bore his proverbial teeth.

Here‘s the general idea of what he said.


JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats. 


EDWARDS:  Just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of another is not what we need.  The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale, the Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent, and lobbyists‘ money can no longer influence policy. 


CARLSON:  Wow.  In case you missed it, that was John Edwards calling other Democratic candidates corporate, perhaps because, until a couple of days ago, the other Democrats have earned $500,000 from a hedge fund they had invested $16 million in, only to learn that fund foreclosed on the mortgages of a couple dozen Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans.

Wait.  Oh, sorry.  That was John Edwards.  Got confused there for a minute.

Here to help me understand the Edwards strategy, hall of fame Democratic strategist Peter Fenn and the president of the Foundation of the Defense for Democracies, Cliff May.

So, he just basically goes after Hillary.  And it‘s so interesting.  Apparently, that line was adlibbed.  It‘s not in the original text, the “Lincoln Bedroom” line.

FENN:  The “Lincoln Bedroom” line.

CARLSON:  He is speaking, and to his, in my view, great credit.  He is being true to a consistent set of beliefs.  He is speaking for the hard left, some of whom I know, many of whom hate Clinton for his compromises.  The speech is littered with oblique references to the compromises of the Clinton years.

He‘s the Hugo Chavez campaign.  And I have to say, I admire it. 

FENN:  It‘s quite—it‘s quite a populist redo if it‘s the Hugo Chavez campaign.

CARLSON:  No, but really, he is running the anti-Clinton campaign.

FENN:  Which I think is absurd.  I mean, I think it‘s actually pretty stupid of him, because it‘s not going to help him get Democratic votes. 

Here‘s the problem with where John Edwards is.  He keeps thinking he has to go further and further left to win this thing. 

CARLSON:  How much farther can he go before we get to...


FENN:  Well, you know the problem?  I will tell you, the corporate stuff, I think, is B.S.  I really do.

CARLSON:  Of course it‘s B.S.

FENN:  I‘ve about had it with this.  And one of the things about it which bothers me is, he talks about lobbyists.  And I have worked for the trial lawyers.  I know the trial lawyers.  He is a trial lawyer and he makes a lot of money from trial lawyers. 


FENN:  So, hello?  I mean..


CARLSON:  But actually, let me—I don‘t think we even can appreciate how radical this campaign is.  Like, we say, oh, we know John Edwards, we covered him last time.  He‘s this kind of charming, populist guy.

No.  Listen.  This is—this is the root of his speech today.  “Real change starts with being honest.”  So he‘s going to be.  “The system is rigged and our government is broken.”

It‘s rigged.  It‘s a conspiracy theory.

MAY:  He is a former senator, a trial lawyer, a multi multimillionaire.  Talk about reeducation camps?  I think he has been in the Chavez reeducation camps, and he is, therefore, remade his entire identity.  Does he know who he is? 

CARLSON:  That‘s just because you‘re part of the Washington establishment.  You‘ve got a vested interest.

MAY:  I‘m nonprofit. 


MAY:  Not intentionally, of course.  But...

FENN:  I would plead guilty to that.  But I don‘t think this is smart politics, is my point. 

I think his—his campaign of “Two Americas” last time was a brilliant campaign.  I think he has got a lot to offer with his health care plan.  I think he has got a certain strong argument to make on NAFTA and other things.

He ought to make those arguments and he ought to stay away from the name calling in the process.

CARLSON:  I think it‘s actually as matter of—as a matter of policy, it‘s actually stupid, because America, if anything, is becoming more Democratic.  I think devices like the Internet make the government ever more responsive to the people.  And maybe that‘s not a good thing.

FENN:  And the last time I looked, he wasn‘t running as an Independent.

MAY:  But isn‘t the explanation pretty simple?  He is well behind Hillary Clinton, well behind Barack Obama.  He‘s got to try something very different if he is going to bring any attention to himself.

CARLSON:  Oh, I think he believes this.

FENN:  He‘s ahead in Iowa.

CARLSON:  You could watch the flex of foam on his lips as he speaks. 

He means it.  I think people believe their own rhetoric.


CARLSON:  You really think so?

MAY:  I think he thinks, what can I do so at least I can get the net roots and the far left with me, and maybe that will propel me through the primary?  What else can he do?

FENN:  Here‘s why I think it‘s a mistake for him.

CARLSON:  You‘re right.

FENN:  Look, if this is a national subject he‘s going to get clobbered with this.  But in Iowa, he is still ahead amongst delegates.  He spent a lot of time there. 

I think this rhetoric and this approach is going to hurt him, because you know what they‘ll say?  This guy can‘t win.  The guy can‘t win.  With rhetoric like this, with this approach, he can‘t win.  And that‘s a mistake.

CARLSON:  But he is telling the truth about Hillary Clinton.  She‘s a creature of Washington.  She is the establishment.  And the administration of her husband all eight years was a series of profound ideological compromises that sold out the left in a lot of ways.

FENN:  Listen, the guy remade the country.  We were doing left when he left.

CARLSON:  He gave us school uniforms.  I mean, let‘s be real.  He didn‘t give us squat.

FENN:  He gave us a budget surplus.

CARLSON:  He didn‘t do that to us.


MAY:  I think as a candidate, he has got to attack the front-runners.  I don‘t—I don‘t blame him for that.  The question is his own identity, which I find to be just so strange and false for him to decide on this persona as the champion of los pobrecitos...


When he gives his $16 million to the poor, then I will listen.  Until then, no. 

FENN:  He‘s going to buy these houses.

CARLSON:  Well, speaking of phonies, just where does Mitt Romney stand on anything?  His latest fluctuation involves abortion.  He opposes it.  He wants a constitutional amendment to ban it.  Or maybe he doesn‘t. 

If President Clinton was “Slick Willy,” is former Governor Romney “Slippery Mitt”?

This is MSNBC, the place for politics.


CARLSON:  Could it really be true that the U.S. government employs thousands of illegal workers?  My next guest says it is true. 

A new audit by the Social Security inspector general has revealed that federal, state and local governments are among the biggest employs of the half-million people here illegally who use what are called non-work Social Security numbers.  It turns out that some of these paid government employees even have warrants for deportation issued against them.

How is this happening?  And what, if anything, will the Bush administration do to end it? 

Joining me now is the man who is blowing the whistle, Iowa congressman Steven King.  Mr. King is a ranking member on the House Immigration Subcommittee and a Republican.

Congressman, thanks for joining us. 

REP. STEVE KING ®, IOWA:  Oh, I‘m glad to.  Thanks for having me on. 

CARLSON:  This just doesn‘t seem real.  So the Bush administration employs illegal aliens?

KING:  Well, the Bush administration should have known this.  The inspector general‘s report that came out in June of 2006, that came out of the Social Security Administration, issued that report.  I can‘t imagine the administration not knowing about this, and I can‘t imagine them not taking action on it, except that the culture has grown within the administration not to push hard to enforce immigration law until such time as they got comprehensive immigration reform. 

CARLSON:  Well, OK.  But that‘s kind of—that‘s on the level of the theoretical.  I mean, you can be for amnesty.  That is very different from actually hiring illegal aliens.  I mean, that‘s a bit much, don‘t you think? 

KING:  Well, I don‘t know that they went out and willfully hired illegal aliens.  I think what they did is they just accepted the Social Security numbers without checking.

And then the culture grows within the administration.  And, you know, I can‘t—but to not run the traps for the administration, the people working under the president, not to see this and go out and purge those that aren‘t lawfully working in the United States, from their federal government roles and to not put the pressure on the state and local governments, I think says there is a culture within government that they‘re going to turn a blind eye and they‘re going to accept this just the way it happens out in the business world. 

CARLSON:  Well, now that you have said this on television, they will be so mortified, so embarrassed, that I assume they‘ll fix it tomorrow, right? 

KING:  Well, I think they should be embarrassed, and I think they ought to address it tomorrow.


KING:  And I would think that Michael Chertoff would say, well, I know to the Social Security Administration, you send me those 521,428 number every year.  Now we‘re going to distribute those numbers throughout every department and government and ask them to come back with a list of people that they have fired and asked to be deported who are working for government today. 

CARLSON:  I mean, presumably, those are the kind of computer calculations you could do on your laptop, right?  I mean, how difficult is it to run Social Security numbers?  Pretty easy.

KING:  It is very simple.  You could find thousands and perhaps millions of Americans that would have the technical capability of running those numbers.  But it‘s a fact that the Social Security Administration delivers that database to the Department of Homeland Security every year. 

Homeland Security then needs to pick it up and say, my gracious, we have a half a million people here that could be working somewhere in the United States illegally.  Let‘s distribute these numbers and clean up government first, before we unload those 20-some different methods of enforcing immigration reform that Michael Chertoff announced here a week or two ago. 

I think the government has to clean up their own house first.  And

then I‘m happy to enforce the law the rest of the way.  But you simply

can‘t do it if you hire illegal aliens and you keep them on your payroll,

at least those that are on non-work Social Security numbers.  They‘re not

guaranteed to be illegal aliens.  But we do know that about 60 percent of

those numbers are not valid to work in the United States, and some of them

in fact, many of them—are here illegally. 

CARLSON:  Well, call me ignorant, but I was amazed to learn that there are that many foreign nationals, let alone people here illegally, working for the government. 

How does that work? 

KING:  The foreign nationals that come in, perhaps they come in on a -

on a student visa or some kind of visitation visa.  If they got a—if they got a non-work Social Security number, they went to work wherever they could get a job.

Nobody tested them or challenged them, even though the card itself often says “non-work Social Security number”.  And we know that their report has to go to the Department of Homeland Security.  All they have to do is make sure that it‘s been enforced, and they have not done that. 

Do Democrats care enough to hold hearings on this in the Congress? 

KING:  We shall see.  I have drafted a letter asking for hearings, and that letter hasn‘t actually gotten into the hands of the chair of the immigration subcommittee (INAUDIBLE) yet.  That will get in her hands in the next few days, and we will see how they react.

But I‘ve called for hearings.  We need to raise the level of awareness for the American people to know that government now has said and Michael Chertoff has said he wants to enforce immigration law using the tools that are there.  We‘ll raise the level of awareness to the American people and ask government to clean up their own house.  And they need to do that first.  And then they can put pressure on American businesses, which I will support.

CARLSON:  Yes, I agree.  Yes, leave the chicken farmers alone until you get them out of the federal government.  It‘s unbelievable. 

Congressman, thanks a lot.

KING:  Physician, heal thyself.

Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Amen.  Thanks, Congressman.

Well, just four more days until Michael Vick is sentenced to enter a guilty plea to those dogfighting charges.  His old friends turned on him literally, and he hasn‘t had many new friends since, until now.  But are his new pals helping or hurting his cause?

We‘ll tell you their position.

Plus, Hillary has a plan to save us all.  A health care plan.  She has had over a decade to improve on her first one.  Was that enough time?

You are watching MSNBC, the place for politics.


CARLSON:  Still to come, Mitt Romney‘s stance on abortion is turning into a slippery slope.  First he says he wants a constitutional ban.  Now he wants the individual states to decide.

Which is it?  It can‘t be both.

We‘ll tell you in just a minute.

But first here‘s a look at your headlines.



CARLSON:  Picking low hanging fruit, shooting fish in a barrel, identifying Mitt Romney‘s political flip flops; none of these is particularly difficult, but all are useful if you like fruit or fish or principled national leaders.  The latest on which Mr. Romney appears to speak from both sides of his mouth at least is abortion.  Having declared his hope to see a constitutional amendment to ban abortion in this country, Romney told a Nevada journalist that he supports each state‘s rights to its own abortion laws. 

That is one complex sentence that includes two simple propositions that don‘t line up.  Here are two question, where is Mitt Romney on abortion, and will America elect a president whose positions are so consistently so slippery? 

Here to tell us, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn, as well as the president of the Foundation For the Defense of Democracy‘s Cliff May.  Cliff, I want to like Mitt Romney, and then he says stuff like this.  I would be much happy if Mitt Romney came out said, you know what, I commit abortions in my spare time; that‘s how for abortion I am.  You know what I mean? 

MAY:  A generous interpretation would be that you can only have an constitutional amendment if two thirds of the states agree to it.  If you got rid of Roe v. Wade, every state would make its own decision, because eliminating Roe v. Wade doesn‘t mean abortions become illegal.  It means the states decide, and then the states could also decide on an amendment. 

If he is ambivalent about this, he is where most Americans are. 

CARLSON:  Hold on, that‘s not exactly what he said though.  He said—he was asked by the journalist in Las Vegas, is it OK with you that Nevada is a pro-chose state?  Whatever that means, I guess, where abortion is legal, and he said yes.  If you‘re against abortion, you hate abortion, why would that be OK with you?

MAY:  There is one view, and it‘s a conservative view, that this should be part of the political process, this should be decided not be a constitutional amendment, certainly not by a court, and therefore each state gets to choose as its voters want to.  But, as you say, that is not necessarily the position he has held up until now. 

FENN:  He will take a position whoever he is in front of.  I mean, he

was the guy that, in a debate with Ted Kennedy, said I‘m pro-choice.  I

support a woman‘s right to choose.  I‘m going to be more liberal on gay

rights than Ted Kennedy.  You elect me, I‘m your gay rights guy.  This is -

this is a—

CARLSON:  I have asked this question before, but I‘m fascinated.  How pro-gay rights would you have to be to be more pro-gay rights than Ted Kennedy? 

FENN:  My guess is—

CARLSON:  You would have to be in drag. 

FENN:  Senator in drag, which is what he was running for at the time. 

Here is this guy‘s problem; he is the Eddie Haskell of American politics.  You remember from “Leave it to Beaver?”  Always complimenting the person, Mrs. Cleaver, what a nice dress.  This guy doesn‘t believe in anything.


CARLSON:  He is not the only guy with fungible believes.  The question is, why is he the only guy who can‘t keep them under wraps?  OK, you were in politics.  You‘ve been around a lot of candidates.  You sit down with them and a lot of them, you realize, are soulless, automatons, who are just trying to grasp power.  Don‘t you sit down and say look, here is your position; stick to it, buddy? 

MAY:  Yes, and if you‘re in a presidential campaign, you better figure out what your position is and figure out how to talk about.  And I understand that in real life—campaigns are not real life—people are ambivalent.  People think, I don‘t know.  I‘m kind of pro-choice with restrictions, pro-life with exceptions.  I don‘t know. 

FENN:  The interesting thing about this guy—here is a 64-year-old man who has been a Mormon all his life.  The Mormon church is very clear on this issue.  Suddenly, when he is running for governor the Massachusetts, the Mormon beliefs that have been clearly ingrained in this guy, he flips on.  And so he‘s pro-choice.  Now he comes back and it is—I‘ll tell you; it‘s right out of the Mormon play book.  It‘s rape, incest, life of the mother, that is the Mormon church‘s straight position. 

CARLSON:  The Mormon playbook, where can we get a copy of it. 

FENN:  Just write to the church.

CARLSON:  Speaking of religious faith, it is an article of religious faith among the Democrats that universal health care is a good thing and that we‘re going to get it.  I believe that we probably are when a Democrat is elected. 

FENN:  This also is the Romney/Schwarzenegger position. 

CARLSON:  And I leave the country.  That‘s a whole separate questions.  Hillary Clinton gave this long speech about health care today, and we‘ve got a right to universal care.  Here is Barack Obama‘s plan for a healthy America, I got in an email today.  He said making a new national health plan that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health care, similar to that available to federal employees.  No one will turned away or charged more due to illness, and everybody who needs it will receive a subsidy for their premium. 

In other words, it is free.  There‘s nothing—That is like fairy tale.  That supposes that health care doesn‘t cost anything and that once you get the rapacious health insurers out of the picture—that is stupid.

FENN:  I‘m not sure I read it that way.  Obviously federal employees have to pay for their health insurance.  My wife is one.  The question is, I mean he is trying to get to a point where it is universally available and where it is universally affordable.  That is, of course, you know, the 64,000 dollar question and the trick. 

CARLSON:  Why don‘t the Republicans stand up and say, let‘s spend a week in Great Britain, and take a look at what national health care means.  Or Canada; do you ever talk to the Canadians.  Do you know what I mean?  You don‘t want to need a voluntary procedure in either of those countries, because you‘re going to wait a long—why don‘t they that?   

MAY:  I don‘t know why they don‘t say that.  They should.  If you have had any dealings with the government, whether the IRS or the Motor Vehicle Department of Washington, DC, surely you don‘t want such a bureaucracy handling your health care.  That‘s what it would come down to.

CARLSON:  That‘s such an obvious point that most Americans understand, but the Republicans have refused to articulate it, because they are cowards. 

MAY:  Probably so, because—if you look at the polls, what do you find?  People are upset with the state of health care for good reason.  The problem is, count on government to make it worse than it is now. 

FENN:  I don‘t agree was that.  First of all, you have 44 million Americans who don‘t have any health insurance. 

CARLSON:  Name a single service that the government provides better than the private sector, apart from fighting wars.

FENN:  Building roads for one. 

CARLSON:  You really think so?  You live in Washington, D.C.  You think that they are better maintained than privately maintained toll roads? 

FENN:  I‘m not talking about bridges in Minnesota.

CARLSON:  Name a complex service they do better.

FENN:  I think government does a lot of things extraordinarily well. 


CARLSON:  If you put your Social Security money in the stock market 25 years ago, you would be a lot richer—


CARLSON:  That is a fact. 

FENN:  You go over seas and you look at the way that things are run, you come back to the United States, you are very happy to be here.  My only point on the health insurance is this; if you are going to insure the uninsured—if you have 51 percent of the people right now, according to the Pew poll, who are dissatisfied with the insurance that they have got, something has to be done.  The cost are going up.  The quality is going down. 

MAY:  There is no problem so serious that the government can‘t make it worse if it tried. 

CARLSON:  I want to play for you—switching gears to the man who, I think, most considered the front runner for the Republican nomination, Rudy Giuliani, and there has been some question about just how liberal he is.  He seems very liberal.  How liberal is he?  Well, we came into possession today of a clip of Rudy Giuliani on Charlie Rose in 1995.  It couldn‘t be more perfect.  It‘s like every liberal cliche.  This is Giuliani on Charlie Rose talking about the National Rifle Association.  Here we go. 


RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The NRA, for some reason, I think goes way overboard.  I mean it is almost what the extremists on the other side do.  I think the extremists of the left and the extremists of the right have the same tactic, the slippery slope theory. 


CARLSON:  First of all, I think that is factually untrue.  But as a matter of electoral politics, Cliff, as someone who has been in it, can you really get the Republican nomination and can you win as a Republican after saying that?  You need the NRA on your side? 

MAY:  It is increasingly difficult for Democrats to win without the NRA, without second amendment supporters, as Bob Casey and other Democrats who have won recently will tell you. 

CARLSON:  Jim Webb. 

FENN:  I think you will see that in an ad in Iowa and New Hampshire, along with the calling for federal funding of abortions, which they have a nice little clip of him. 

MAY:  Perhaps his ideas have evolved since then.

CARLSON:  But hold on, on abortion Giuliani can stand back and say, look I‘m pro-choice.  We all know people who are.  You may disagree with me.  But it‘s a position of conscience, and I‘m sorry.  That is my position.  And a lot of people on the right seem to have accepted that.  He can‘t get away with that.  You can‘t say that you‘re against a constitutional right, second amendment.  I mean, it‘s in the Bill of Rights.  There is no way around it.  And he is mocking it, and mocking the NRA? 

MAY:  He would probably say I‘m not mocking the second amendment, I‘m mocking the NRA, which has gone too far.  I don‘t happen to agree with that. 

CARLSON:  That is not a position he will be able to explain to people who care. 

MAY:  It is very hard for a Republican candidate not to address the



MAY:  He has to go to them and say what he meant, and it‘s going to be a long walk. 

FENN:  He will not fight the NRA.  His no position is look, what may work in New York isn‘t going to work in South Carolina or Iowa.  That‘s his new position on guns.  And he will disavow—you watch, he will disavow that. 

CARLSON:  Yes, well constitutional rights apply, I guess, to all 50 states.  That was my impression. 

Very quickly, Peter, the NAACP has come out to defend Michael Vick.  I just wonder why.  At that point—do you know what I mean?  I understand he is a black guy.  They feel like they have to defend him.  But I wasn‘t defending Scott Peterson because he was a white guy.  There is no reason to defend—can we stop taking the NAACP seriously pleas?

FENN:  Well, I take them very seriously, but I don‘t take that statement seriously at all.  Look, this is someone who engaged in absolutely despicable behavior.   The NFL should remove him from football, not only for what he did to the animals, but also for the gambling, which they are apoplectic about.  And I think these kinds of statements, to get behind somebody like this, is a big mistake.  Monday, they‘re going to throw the book at him.

CARLSON:  Let‘s just remember that the next time they get up and start wagging their finger in self righteousness at somebody else.  Thank you both very much.  I appreciate it. 

Senator Chris Dodd looked like your typical presidential contender during last Sunday‘s presidential debate.  We‘ll look closer to reveal what or who was trying to crawl into his spotlight.  It‘s going to blow your mind.

And imagine sending your kids to camp with no supervision.  That‘s the set up for the new reality show, Kid Nation, on CBS.  Dozens of parents signed their kids up.  you won‘t believe what they agreed to.  We have the contract next. 



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Parents of America, you have never seen your kids do anything like this. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m a 30 year old trapped in the body of a 14 year old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hauling water, cleaning latrines, cooking meals and washing dishes, all on their own. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  As Martin Luther King Jr. said, I have a dream. 


CARLSON:  That was a preview of an upcoming CBS reality show called “Kid Nation.”  It‘s basically a modern day “Lord of the Flies.”  Here‘s the premise: 40 kids, aged eight to 15, left to fend for themselves in a New Mexico ghost town for 40 days.  No contact with mom or dad, and all the parents agreed to this.  In fact, a look at the contract they signed show they pretty much gave the network free reign over their children. 

Is CBS to blame, or are the parents, hopeful that TV exposure will turn their children into happy child stars like Lindsay Lohan or Michael Jackson or Britney Spears.  Joining me now is Courtney Hazlett, senior reporter with “OK! Magazine.”  Courtney, the show—I‘m not attacking the show, which actually looks pretty good.  I think I would watch it. 

I am amazed by the contract these parents signed.  I want to put—this was in the “New York Times” this morning.  I want to put it up on the screen for those who haven‘t seen it.  The contract says that the minor and the parent, the child and the parent are solely responsible for, quote, emotional distress, illness, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and pregnancy that might occur if the child, quote, chooses to enter in to an intimate relationship of any nature with any other person. 

As if an eight-year-old is going to choose to enter into an intimate relationship. 

COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK! MAGAZINE”:  You would hope your eight-year-old isn‘t going to choose to do that.

CARLSON:  That actually is called child molestation, I think.  Who would sign something like that? 

HAZLETT:  Not only that, Tucker, this contract gets so specific, it actually protects the networks from being sued if the child died while they were doing this reality show.  You have to wonder here, who is more to blame.  Is it the parents, who must have had their eyes closed when they signed this contract, or is it the network for preying on people who couldn‘t read or know better? 

CARLSON:  Well, these are the kind of people—You have to think that the “New York Times” reporter who wrote, Edward Wyatt (ph), must have chuckled to himself when the mother of one of the participants said this about her daughter, quote, my daughter does a lot of pageants and therefore is used to being closely observed.  I‘m sorry. 

HAZLETT:  The last thing we need here is anything that reminds us that we have some sort of Jon Benet thing going on here.  But I actually know what parent he is referring to.  In the advance cut that I saw, there is this little beauty queen, who says things like, I‘m a pageant winner.  I don‘t do dishes. 

The things that are happening on the show, --

CARLSON:  She is ten years old.

HAZLETT:  She‘s ten years old and she‘s saying things that I think are going to come back and bite her in the rear when she becomes an adult.  These kids aren‘t old enough or savvy enough to know that what they say could be cut up and reedited into personalities that they don‘t really have.   

CARLSON:  Is it your sense that producers of the show are doing that?  Like on Survivor and a lot of these reality show, it‘s pretty clear that you are seeing a composite of behavior.  And each character is a caricature.  Is that happening in this show, do you think? 

HAZLETT:  You have to imagine that it is going to happen.  Basically, every reality show that has been out there, that happens to some degree.  It has to be good television.  You have to make it compelling.  And you have, with all these kids, a possible situation where it‘s just going to be a lot whining or yelling and bickering.  You have to somehow shape it into a story.  And I don‘t see how you couldn‘t do that with some amount of editing. 

CARLSON:  If there is a parent who is willing to send her daughter to pageants at age 10, and then willing to sign a contract saying, if the child gets AIDS, she‘s responsible for it, can you send that parent to prison?  Do you know?

HAZLETT:  Legally, I‘m not sure that you could send the parent to prison.  You could make the parent get in trouble for yanking their kid out of school to do this, which is what all these parents had to do.  The taping began in April, when everyone was still in school.  There are also the questions of the child labor laws.  Were they really violated.  These kids are being given a stipend at the end of the show, and every three episodes, they stood to win 20,000 dollars, which the host said could pay for a lot of college.  It also could pay for a lot of legal fees and therapy. 

So the parents, on some level—listen, they probably new what they were getting into, to some extent.  But there is no way they really understood how they would be portrayed now. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t mean to be holier than though.  I work in TV.  So, by definition, I make profound moral compromises every time I wake up in the morning.  It is a good show?  Is it good to watch, from what you have seen? 

HAZLETT:  It is extremely compelling.  At the same time, it was kind of sad.  These kids are so stressed out.  This one little boy is crying, saying I‘m so stressed, but I have just got to push through.  I‘ve got to keep trying.  I wanted to say no, you don‘t.  You should be practicing with your little league or something.  You are putting these little kids in very adult situations. 

And yes, the network is saying that we have producers on staff.  We had doctors who were supervising the whole think.  You can‘t really supervise a complex situation like this, when you are yanking the kid out of their house and saying, OK, you need to create a town.  Go have it. 

CARLSON:  It‘s just so over the top.  Can we have 30 seconds on Lindsay Lohan, if you would?  Apparently, she has made some sort of deal with the prosecutor over her DUI charges.  Is she go going back to rehab or what is the state of her life? 

HAZLETT:  Well, she is still in rehab.  This was all done in California, while she‘s in Utah.  Let‘s be clear on that.  And it looks like she will serve one day in jail when she‘s done in rehab, and then have to do—I think it is ten days of community service, if I‘m not mistaken.  A lot of people are going to say this sounds like she is getting off easy. 

But she still has a lot to clean up.  She has a career that is in peril.  A lot of people aren‘t going to want to sign her for movies.  A lot of insurers aren‘t going to want to insure her in her movies.  And if you can‘t get insurance, the financial arrangements aren‘t going to come through.  She needs to do a serious 180.  This is a good start.

CARLSON:  She‘s going to wind up in the clutches of Donald Trump. 

That‘s my prediction.

HAZLETT:  That‘s a pretty good prediction.

CARLSON:  Thanks a lot of joining us.  I appreciate it.

HAZLETT:  Any time, Tucker.

CARLSON:  The Internet sensation Obama Girl was spurned by Barack Obama this week.  So now she has changed her tune.  Who is she backing and how soon can we expect a new video?  Willie Geist, something of an Internet sensation himself, has that story when we come back.  You are watching MSNBC. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time now for a very special Willie Geist from headquarters.  Willie? 


CARLSON:  Willie, it is—let me just say, it is a sad day here at the show, because we are losing the greatest intern of all time, Jessica Romo (ph), who is spending her last day with us today.  Really one of the smartest, hardest working interns ever.  I am just saying this out loud, because I want to be the person on the record to call her as a famous television producer before anybody else.  You will hear her name again. 

GEIST:  She is smart as a whip and we will all be working for her some day.  You can write that down.   

CARLSON:  Probably sooner rather than later.  I have a present for you today. 

GEIST:  Oh good.

CARLSON:  Now, I don‘t come with very good video very often, but I‘ve got it today.  This is from Sunday night‘s Democratic debate.  This is Chris Dodd, senator from Connecticut.  You will notice—that is right.  Not only do his constituents love Chris Dodd, but insects do too.  One has landed on his hair, which notably does not move at all, as the insect makes its way slowly down his forehead.

GEIST:  Amazing.  You know what they say, flies swarm to—I don‘t know what.  They swarm to something. 

CARLSON:  To sweet things. 

GEIST:  Yes, he needs a stronger aerosol to repel those bugs. 

CARLSON:  I think there‘s some on his head.  I actually like Chris Dodd so much.  But there is an insect and he didn‘t notice.   

GEIST:  When you have helmet hair, that keeps the bugs at bay.  Well, Tucker, as you know, journalism can be a hazardous profession.  Not for me, but for real journalists it can be.  A reporter from the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia went knocking on the door of a man accused of assaulting his 79-year-old mother.  Here‘s the reception that reporter got from the guy. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The charges against you involving your mom. 


GEIST:  He went on to say, that is what I think of TV news, as he flashed her.  Despite the fact that we blurred the area, we can assure you that his opinion of TV news is, in fact, very small. 

CARLSON:  He is all the braver for revealing it on television. 

GEIST:  I would hate to see that again.  But do we have it in slow motion, by any chance?  Let‘s see if we can get a look.  Oh, mercy.  There we go. 

CARLSON:  I respect that.   

GEIST:  Desperately in need of a gym membership. 

CARLSON:  So great. 

GEIST:  Well, Tucker, James Brown was not just the Godfather of Soul. 

It‘s starting to look like he was the father of about half the country.  The “New York Times” reports today that since Brown‘s death last May, no fewer than a dozen people have come forward to have their DNA compared to Brown‘s.  So far, three of the tests have come back as matches.

Now, a 45-year-old woman named Loranda Petit Brown (ph) says the—she told the Times today she recently received confirmation of what she had been telling people her whole life, that James Brown is her father.  When asked if she would now fight for a piece of Brown‘s estate, she said, quote, I will get some, end quote. 

Tucker, these people are all coming forward.  We should say, they are coming out of the wood work.  Only three have been confirmed so far.  But everyone wants a piece of the James Brown pie. 

CARLSON:  At least a dozen have had the blood test.  As the “New York Times” pointed out this morning—this is not a quote.  This is the reporter wrote, when James Brown bragged about being a sex machine, he wasn‘t kidding. 

GEIST:  I read that.  He told the woman, the woman we just talked about who was proven to be his daughter—she approached him many times.  He said, no, me and your mom were just friends.  We were just friends.  WE never hung out together.  I guess they were special kind of friends.

Well, we have had a nearly summer long drought here—not funny at all—without a single parliamentary brawl.  But today we get some relief from an unexpected source, Bolivia.  This fight broke out after members of the Bolivian Congress started to argue about the fate of some judges on trial for corruption.  In yet another affirmation of the inherent lameness of parliamentary brawls only one person was injured.  In that brawl, one person was injured.  That is just wrong.  That was a closed fist.  Usually it‘s slapping and pushing.

CARLSON:  That is not like Taiwanese parliamentary brawl, where it is all slap fighting.  These guys—the Bolivians, they fight. 

GEIST:  You‘re right.  Taiwan struggle.  They need more closed fists.  I would like to see some chairs involved here.  I guess a couple were broken.  That is a good start. 

CARLSON:  Burkino Faso, they really throw down.   

GEIST:  Need to turn to South America, that‘s the lesson.  Finally, Tucker, earlier this week, Barack Obama said that his daughter was upset by the famous Obama Girl video, seen here.  Obama went on to give a brief, slightly annoying, lecture about respecting his family.  Well, it looks like Obama Girl is granting his wish, and leaving him alone.  Instead, she is becoming Hillary Girl. 

Amber Lee Ettinger, who plays Obama Girl, told a magazine, quote, I have to say, I am really impressed with Hillary Clinton.  I watched her recent debates, and I like a lot of her answers, Tucker.  So Obama Girl is switching camps.  I don‘t know what you‘re implying, Willie, but frankly it‘s kind of hot.

GEIST:  It is.  I don‘t know if I want to see her dancing for Hillary though. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I will admit it, because I am not ashamed.  Willie Geist from headquarters.  Thank you, Willie.  For more of Willie, check out Zeit Geist, his video blog.  It can be found at  That does it for us.  Another show over.  Thank you for watching it.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Mike Barnicle.  We will be back tomorrow.  Have a great night.



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