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'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' for Sept. 19th

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Rachel Maddow, Fred Warr, Jesse Jackson

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight, but stick around, because a man who was once a refugee at CNN, but now who‘s home at MSNBC is up next.  THE SITUATION with Tucker Carlson. 

Tucker, what‘s THE SITUATION tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Joe, once was lost, but now I‘m found. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Amen, amazing grace. 

CARLSON:  Amen. 

Well, Bill Clinton comes out against George W. Bush, the most self-serving way, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson joins us to answer questions about his insistence that refugees be called evacuees, as if it matters.  May, indeed, have mattered, and may have hurt Katrina‘s victims. 

Top story this hour, though, is Tropical Storm Rita.  That‘s exactly what could happen, and soon.

Tropical Storm Rita is now approaching Florida Keys, where he last thing anyone in the Gulf regions wants to see, of course, is another devastating hurricane.  That‘s exactly what could happen, and soon.  Tropical Storm Rita is now approaching the Florida Keys, where there‘s a mandatory evacuation order at this hour. 

Donna Gregory is live in Key West with the very latest.  Donna, what‘s going on?

DONNA GREGORY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Tucker, just want to give you a couple of numbers to mull over.  Six to nine feet.  That‘s the storm surge expected tomorrow.  Fifteen inches, that‘s how much rain could fall when this tropical storm, which everyone thinks is going to be at least a Category 1 hurricane, buzzes by the Keys tomorrow.  They are saying anywhere from 2 p.m. in the afternoon to about 6, when the eye wall is expected around p.m. tomorrow night. 

Keeping all those numbers in mind, you‘d be amazed at the numbers of people that are still here in Key West.  We saw a lot of people walking around the downtown businesses. 

We‘re on the famous Duval Street.  And even though the businesses behind me are boarded up, there are many businesses that are still open.  We‘ve had a lot of cars and trucks driving by.  People are taking the storm in stride here, those who have decided to stay. 

You did mention the mandatory evacuation.  We‘ve heard from the sheriff, between 12,000 and 26,000 people.  The Keys are expected to head north on highway 1.  That‘s the only way out of the island. 

Those who stay will find no shelters set up.  In fact, the hospitals have evacuated all of their critical care patients.  Even the power company, Tucker says, it will not send crews out until the hospitals are open, because they say fixing these downed power lines is such a dangerous job for their employees, so you don‘t get the sense of doom and dread that we got in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans a few weeks ago. 

These folks, remember, lived through Katrina.  It was a Category 1 storm when it hit, knocked power out for a few days.  A lot of the people simply plan t o ride it out, take the boards off once the water is gone, and just assess the damage.  So not a lot of foreboding here tonight, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Hard to convince Key West people that something bad is going to happen.  Donna, is the government down there, local or state, are they trying to force people to leave?

GREGORY:  Actually they say they can‘t, Tucker.  They say there‘s no way they can force people to leave their property.  They are encouraging them strongly to evacuate.  They have made it very simple. 

But they knew that in every disaster are the people death who say no and ride these out.  And you‘ll find those here, as well.

CARLSON:  All right.  Donna Gregory, live in Key West.  Thanks.  The storm of Katrina are still raging in the headlines, encouraging them strongly to evacuate. 

Here to forecast the political climate, Air America‘s Rachel Maddow.


CARLSON:  Rachel, thanks for joining us.

MADDOW:  Sure.

CARLSON:  Well, a sudden about face in New Orleans this afternoon, just as some evacuees were beginning to head back home, Mayor Ray Nagin buckled under pressure from the White House and others.  And not only called off the opening of his city but told they‘ve stayed behind in town to clear out ahead of Tropical Storm Rita.


MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS:  My decision is made, and it‘s always about people.  And I‘m going to continue to do that.  I‘m concerned about this hurricane getting in the Gulf, so that we make sure that we have everybody out.


CARLSON:  That was, of course, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

You know, huge parts of New Orleans are completely devastated.  Parts of it aren‘t.

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  Parts of it are totally dry.  Some people do have generators.  Parts of the city, I believe, do have electricity, small parts, possibly.  People have a right to go back to their own homes and Ray Nagin is not God. 

He‘s the mayor, a mayor who‘s fumbled, I would say, pretty dramatically the past three weeks.  And the federal government is not God either.  Neither one is in a position to prevent people from going to their own homes.  Adults returning home.  I‘m sorry, they‘ve got a right to do it, and no one should prevent them. 

MADDOW:  Well, people have a choice about whether or not they‘re going to do it.  I mean... 

CARLSON:  No, they don‘t. 

MADDOW:  In the Florida Keys, for example. 

CARLSON:  Yes, they do there. 

MADDOW:  You are being told, you have to go, we want you to go, but if you stay, there‘s nothing we can do. 

CARLSON:  People with automatic weapons preventing homeowners from returning home to their homes. 

MADDOW:  But so Mayor Nagin had said earlier, “You can go back.  Go back and there are certain areas of the city we want business owners and homeowners to go back and assess the situation and see what you can do. 

President Bush waited and said, “No, I don‘t want you to”.  The federal authorities on the ground weighed in, no, we don‘t want you to. 

Well, Nagin is saying, listen, the federal government at this point has fumbled everything that they‘ve been given as well. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

MADDOW:  If individual people can go back and assess their property and we think they can do it safely, they‘re probably going to do a better job of getting the city back on its feet than FEMA, which is still continuing. 

CARLSON:  They don‘t want people to die in the city.  People have already died because of lawlessness there and because of the weather problems, because of the failure of the levees. 

It seems to me, though, the best thing you can do for people is to allow them to go home.  Yes, there‘s risk.  This storm poses a risk.

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  There are lots of risks in life.  Adults get to assess those risks and make their decisions.  They‘re not being allowed to here, and it‘s wrong. 

MADDOW:  How much information do people actually have, though?  Does everybody understand that the levees in some cases that were 17 feet high, are now zero feet high?


MADDOW:  Any of the storm protection that New Orleans had, and it obviously didn‘t help for a Category 4 that hit it, but a lot of the protection that was there already is gone, and even just rain could really flood New Orleans at this point. 

Plus, there‘s no drinking water. 

CARLSON:  That‘s absolutely right.  And that was people who were planning on returning know those things and they still get to make the choice. 

And again, this is the best thing you can do for people.  People want to go home.  And I know it‘s risky.  I sure I‘m going a lot of hate mail for saying this on TV, but people ought to be allowed to take risks.  It‘s America.

MADDOW:  So Nagin has been trying to make that decision.  And what‘s interesting is that you had the federal authorities, including President Bush himself...

CARLSON:  I know.

MADDOW:  ... saying I disagree with the mayor on this.  I want to make the decision here from Washington.  Nagin is saying, “Listen, federal authorities, you guys don‘t have much credibility right now in terms of the way you dealt with the people.” 

CARLSON:  No.  That‘s not what he is saying.  He rolled over immediately and said they‘re right.  Based on that, we‘ll expel you if you‘re here.

MADDOW:  He rolled over and said, “Oh, there‘s another hurricane coming.”  That‘s what he said.  The idea that you should follow President Bush‘s and FEMA‘s advice on this right now is—carries less water than it ever did in the past. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Well, in the wake of Katrina, the news out of New Orleans has gone from bad to worse, but was the post hurricane crime spree we told you so much about just media hype?

Well, that‘s the gist of a “New York Times” story this morning.  According to the “Times,” a number of news programs, including this one mentioned by name in the paper today, engaged in, quote, “lurid rumor mongering about rapes and murders in New Orleans that could not be confirmed.” 

The story goes on to confirm that, in fact, a lot of rapes and murders did occur in the wake of Katrina.  But the point, apparently, it didn‘t happen until the “New York Times” reports it. 

Probably the dumbest story I‘ve read in that paper in a long time, and that‘s saying quite a bit. 

But look, there has been hesitance, particularly in “The New York Times” and other papers like it, to report the seriousness of the crime that took place in New Orleans after the hurricane, for whatever reason.  I‘m sure there‘s some agenda.  I‘m not exactly certain what it is. 

But they definitely have been hesitant to talk about the kind of outrageous lawlessness that mostly hurt poor people, by the way, that took place in that city.  It‘s considered wrong to talk about it. 

MADDOW:  Well, no, I think that it was not considered wrong to talk about it broadly if you look at the media.  I mean, the anarchy was the headline in a lot of papers in the middle of what was going on. 

There was a lot of reporting, and there was a lot of unconfirmed stories that were reported as if they were fact.  It‘s been very, very difficult to confirm what actually happened. 

CARLSON:  Well, we confirmed, we reported, and that is that people had been raped and people had been murdered. 

MADDOW:  Because you saw it. 

CARLSON:  In both cases, we had interviewed people who had witnessed...

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON: ... in one case, two rapes.  In another case, a murder. 

MADDOW:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Right.  So we did report it.  But the idea that the arrogance of the assumption that unless it‘s in the paper, it‘s not true. 

I‘ve worked at newspapers.  I‘ve worked in print 10 years, and I‘ve worked in television for five, and I can tell you the idea that it‘s somehow less accurate if it‘s on TV than if it‘s in print is a total crock. 

MADDOW:  I don‘t think that‘s the distinction the “Times” is making.  I‘m not defending them here, but I do think that they had a point in saying, listen, “Stuff was reported as if it were true,” and only later mentioned, by the way, we haven‘t confirmed that. 

CARLSON:  Mistakes are, of course, made in spot news reporting by everybody.  But there‘s this feeling to talk about the behavior of some of the residents in New Orleans is blaming the victims. 

Some people behaved like animals in New Orleans.  We saw it, and its after effects.  And to say that out loud is considered somehow wrong.  And I‘m just—I‘m going to say it because it‘s true. 

MADDOW:  To talk about people as if they‘re animals. 

CARLSON:  No, I said they behaved.  Small percentage a very small percentage of people behaved very badly, and therefore hurt a very large number of people who had no defense against them. 

MADDOW:  If you go back 10 days in time, and you look at the way this was reported in the middle, we started to realize there‘s no law enforcement in New Orleans.

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  It was reported as if, you know, there was this natural disaster, but those people in New Orleans, they‘re monsters.  That was the tone of a lot of the...

CARLSON:  I didn‘t see that. 

MADDOW:  That was absolutely the tone of the press that was going on, and people were saying, “Wow, we had no idea that people were going to treat each other so badly down there.  It brought out the worst in people instead of the best.” 

That was the way it was reported, and it had a very racial tinge to it. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know why it would have a racial tinge.  What I saw down there was not rich white people being hurt.  They had guns and the means to leave. 

Poor black people who had no recourse at all were the victims of this crime.  We should say that really clearly.  So there‘s nothing racist about pointing out a small number of people behaved like animals.  They did.

MADDOW:  And there was nobody there to protect them. 

CARLSON:  Well, in other news, a harsh sentence in the latest CEO scandal.  Former Tyco big wig Dennis Kozlowski, notorious for his $6,000 shower curtain and $15,000 umbrella stand—who cares, by the way—got eight and a third to 25 years behind bars for stealing from his company and defrauding shareholders. 

He was also docked $170 million.  That‘s $20 million more dollars than he‘s accused of stealing in the first place. 

OK, so he gets up to 25 years in prison.  Old man. 

MADDOW:  Eight to 25.

CARLSON:  You are right.  Let‘s say he serves eight.  I think he‘s 58.  That‘s a significant sentence.  Bernie Ebbers gets 25 years, which he will serve.  John Rigas, who‘s in his—I believe in his 70‘s, 15 years.  He‘ll die in prison.  I think he‘s 80, in fact, OK? 

MADDOW:  So at this point, it‘s hard to say that the Bush administration is soft on corporate crime.  I would say they‘re way too hard on corporate time.  They‘re not spending a lot of time tracking down the people who, did, in fact, commit real rapes and murders, pardon to the New York Times, in New Orleans two weeks ago. 

But no.  They‘re tracking these guys who didn‘t murder anyone. 

CARLSON:  He was convicted of 22 felonies.  How does that not translate to eight years for you?

MADDOW:  It absolutely might.  I am saying, sentencing, the way we punish crime in general is always measured relatively, so nothing is in isolation.  If we are going to give Kozlowski, minimum eight years of prison, we probably ought to give a rapist, say medium, 30 years in prison, because the effect a rapist has not only on the individual only but society generally, is much more damaging than anything, some money stealing CEO who gives the money back, by the way, could ever get.  He‘s forced to give the money back.  I mean, the guy was...

CARLSON:  I‘m not defending him.  He‘s a creep. 

MADDOW:  But you know, he was a total creep.  And the reason we did this is to punish people.  When you‘re convicted of 22 felonies, you can expect to spend years in the prison.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

MADDOW:   It would have been different state court versus federal court.  That explains some of the difference between the sentences for Ebbers and Kozlowski, for example. 

Why is he there?  He‘s there for punishment.  This isn‘t for deterrence.  And the way we punish people in this country, is we say we‘re going to take away your liberty X number of years, and based on based on what you did. 

And it‘s stupid.  You realize when it‘s a CEO, you realize when it‘s a rich white guy, like, OK, like punishing him by putting him in jail does nothing.  It‘s going to rehabilitate them, it‘s not going to turn and deter anybody.  It‘s going to have cost to us.  It‘s not going to help society.

CARLSON:  It will.  Actually, it will deter people.  But the bottom line—the bottom line on this is that violent crime, not white collar buy your $6,000 shower curtain kind of crime, not drug crime, not nonviolent drug crime, violent crime is the crime that we ought to punish the most severely. 

MADDOW:  And what do we do to people who steal on a large scale sort of stealing on a large scale?  Steal a piece of pizza, you‘re going to go to jail. 

CARLSON:  You are not getting eight years when you shouldn‘t. 

MADDOW:  You get mandatory minimums for stealing small things.  Big things you get off because you are a rich guy?  I don‘t think so. 

CARLSON:  If you steal it three times in a row, that‘s the idea.  Not that I‘m endorsing it.  Rachel Maddow. 

MADDOW:  Thanks. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, the Reverend Jesse Jackson takes issue with the term refugees.  Would victims of Hurricane Katrina had been a lot better off with that label, after all?

Plus, NASA wants to spend billions of dollars getting man back on the moon, while the government considers medical cuts to help pull for Christianity. 

Sound like a good idea to you?  If so, stay with us.


CARLSON:  Coming up, the mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi, tells us why the federal government forced him to break the law.  Plus, Jesse Jackson joins us to explain his role in the Hurricane Katrina tragedy. 


CARLSON:  In many cases, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina showed the worst side of government dysfunction.  In ravaged Gulfport, Mississippi, the pace of the federal government‘s response, the very slow pace, led the local government to resort to means they never thought they‘d have to. 

Joining me now to explain is the mayor of Gulfport, Fred Warr. 

Mr. Mayor, thanks a lot for joining us. 

FRED WARR, MAYOR, GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI:  Well, thank you, Tucker, proud to be here. 

CARLSON:  There‘s kind of an amazing “Washington Post” story about you and your efforts in the past three weeks to keep your city from really going under, and I just want to read the first line.  Republican mayor of Gulfport even ordered his police chief to hot wire a truck, to steal a truck. 

Why did you order him to do that and what did he say when you did?

WARR:  Well, I asked him if he thought he could.  And he said that he didn‘t feel like he was much good as a criminal.  That‘s the reason he went into law enforcement. 

We were at a point where we were down to the last few hours of being able to support the city.  We had treatment systems and pumps going that were trying to pump sewage and waste water and water, generators that we were needing to keep running.

And we had some fuel that we had gotten in, but we didn‘t have any way to get the fuel from the big 8,000 gallon tank into the generators and the pumps that we were having to run this stuff with, and we knew that it was going to be running out anytime, just a matter of hours. 

So we did know of some fuel transport vehicles around town.  They didn‘t necessarily belong to the city.  People who they belonged to had evacuated, so we had to go and figure out a way to get them running so that we could put them into use.  That‘s what we did. 

CARLSON:  Have you talked to the owners of those vehicles?

WARR:  We have not heard back from the owner of that particular transport vehicle.  Now, we did have to borrow from a friend of ours a portable kitchen so that we could feed workers, and they later came and told us that they were glad that we had done so, and we‘re now using it with their blessing. 

CARLSON:  So I assume the city of Gulfport is going to pay back the owners of anything you used. 

WARR:  Oh, yes.  I know they were all proud for us to do it.  And to be honest with you, I mean, it was a question of do that or let the city of 80,000 people go without water.  And we were not about to let that happen. 

CARLSON:  Well, I think you made the right choice.  Now you‘re a Republican mayor in a Republican state dealing with a Republican administration that kind of let you down, it sounds like.  How do you feel about the Bush administration‘s response to this disaster?

WARR:  Well, that‘s really to the contrary, Tucker.  They didn‘t let us down.  There‘s a system that‘s put in place that did not perform well.  They did everything that they could do, and everything they had to do to keep us—like that fuel that I‘m speaking of, they got the fuel to us. 

Now, the true of it is, the system could deserve a good looking at.  I believe that it‘s set up to prohibit people from taking advantage of it.  And in reality now, it‘s probably set up in such a way that it keeps it from almost being able to be used.  And the federal government has never had to deal with anything like this on U.S. soil. 

So it hadn‘t been tested to the degree that it should have been, and I‘m certain that now that we understand that there are problems and hurdles that we need to overcome, I feel that they are—that they‘re going to work with us to help create the system, so that, God forbid, anyone has to go through it again, it will be much quicker.  And much for fluid, the way to be managed and responded to. 

CARLSON:  We have done dozens and scores of stories on this show, and on this network, about New Orleans and how it‘s faring after Katrina, very, very few on your state.  Even fewer on Gulfport. 

WARR:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Which was hit very hard.  Why did you think the press—

Now, my heart goes out.  And all of our folks here go out to New Orleans.  And clearly they—they need a lot of help, not to say that we don‘t need it as well, you know?

WARR:  The Mississippi coast never did get the opportunity to have the relief that you get from being within the eye of the storm.  And I‘ve ridden out many hurricanes, and usually it gets bad, and you get within the eye of the storm, you get a few hours of rest, and then you go through the other side of the eye wall.  We stayed on that northeast quadrant the entire time. 

I will tell you exactly what it was like because I stayed in my home here.  It was like being in a blender on the highest speed you could set it on for six and a half hours. 

It was the most incredible wind storm in history.  However, I got to tell you, municipalities, and this is truly my opinion, and I believe this with all my heart.  We are the ones here.  We have the fire department, the police departments, the public works departments, the engineering on the ground.  We are responsible for taking care of ourselves.  And concerned—and we should be prepared to do so, and that‘s we did. 

CARLSON:  There‘s a sentiment, Mr. Mayor, you don‘t hear every day, in fact, I haven‘t heard that all month.  But thank you for sharing that with us.  I appreciate it. 

WARR:  Well, thank you, Tucker, we appreciate it. 

CARLSON:  Thanks. 

Up next, President Clinton blames the suffering on tax cuts for the rich, implies the Bush administration is heartless and racist.  Wait, isn‘t Clinton now working for that very same administration as head of the relief effort?  What‘s going on here?  We‘ll debate it next.


CARLSON:  After a long absence, “The Outsider” has returned.  Joining us now to debate the big stories of the night, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host, Max Kellerman, who I will say, looks better than ever. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Thank you very much, Tucker, like-wise. 

CARLSON:  And I mean that in the warmest way. 

KELLERMAN:  Look at you.

CARLSON:  Bush has some promised a lot of other people‘s money to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans.  Today he promised the moon, literally. 

NASA unveiled a $104 billion plan to return to the moon, by 2018. 

This is—I don‘t know.  This is insane, actually.  OK.  So we haven‘t been to the moon in—since 1972.  Why is that?  Because we‘ve already been there.  We‘re not going to cure polio again, right?  We‘ve already done that. 

If we had an infinite number of dollars in the federal budget, we might go to the moon again just for fun.  There‘s a lot of things we can do just for fun.  But right now, this is offensive. 

KELLERMAN:  OK.  I‘m a fan of MSNBC.  I like all the programming here, even and especially even Keith Olbermann, “THE COUNTDOWN”. 


KELLERMAN:  Great show.  And one great episode of “THE COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN,” the end of it, he went over all the ancillary benefits that the NASA space program has had: $380 billion, taxpayer dollars, including CAT scans, MRI‘s, global positioning systems, Doppler radar, which tracks storms like Katrina and Rita.  I mean, the ancillary benefits of the space program far outweigh the taxpayer dollars. 

O‘BRIEN:  Look, the ancillary benefits of ridding the world of crab grass, OK?  How many man hours would be saved if crab grass, if we were eradicated, we had a federal wrong, crabgrass? 

If we took $200 billion, and said end crab grass as the blithe it is.  The number of people sweating on the lawns of America would be reduced entirely, right?  That would be great. 

A lot of things would be great.  We can‘t afford it, so we just focus things what we need to do, like bringing bottled water to people who have been displaced by hurricanes. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, but it‘s almost like you‘re—you‘re putting a string in front of a cat, and tell the cat, don‘t go after the thing (ph).  We‘re human beings.  The moon is there.

And this is actually not just to go there again.  It‘s to set up a permanent base there.  There‘s no way to stop us, especially Americans, from thinking, hey, it‘s possible to set up a permanent base on the moon?

CARLSON:  What‘s the point?  Look, Magellan circumnavigated the globe.  He was the first to do it.  It was worth doing because it had never been done.  We learned a lot. 

That‘s like saying, well, now we‘ve done it, let‘s I don‘t know continue, to circumnavigate the globe forever and ever, because it‘s just cool.  It‘s been done. 

KELLERMAN:  The technology to set up a permanent base on the moon is much different than just getting there and coming back.  It‘s the next step.  Should we never go into space again?

CARLSON:  If it‘s worth doing, then Richard Branson will pay for it. 

KELLERMAN:  Privatize. 

CARLSON:  Yes, privatize. 

Well, it‘s been a bad month for George W. Bush, and who joined the chorus of criticism over the weekend but former president, Bill Clinton.

Mr. Clinton was on ABC‘s “This Week” Sunday, and harshly criticized Bush administration‘s Hurricane Katrina relief effort for overlooking America‘s poor. 

He also attacked President Bush for tax cuts and the war in Iraq, among many other things. 

He should be quiet, Max.  Not just for our sake.  We shouldn‘t have to listen to that.  We had eight years of it, but his own sake, he‘s well remembered, President Bush, getting better.  We‘re forgetting about the sort of...

KELLERMAN:  Wait.  President Clinton?

CARLSON:  President Clinton.  Getting increasingly well remembered.  Every time he opens his mouth, we as a country are reminded, he‘s only interested in talking about himself.  Never has a man talked more about himself. 

The substance of his comments on ABC this weekend: “I was a great president.  I‘m a great guy.  I could have done it better.  I had better ideas than the current president does.  Me, me, I, I, I.” 

Well, as a solipsist, if he was quiet, people might like him. 

KELLERMAN:  Actually, I think he‘s really saying, her, her, her, not I, I, I.  He‘s campaigning for Hillary already. 

But the fact is President Clinton was born poor.  He wasn‘t born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  And Ann Richards, the greatest line I ever heard in politics, said Bush was born on third base, thought he hit a triple.  You know, Bill Clinton had to work his way on and earn every base he got. 

CARLSON:  He wasn‘t born poor. 

KELLERMAN:  OK, fine.  Poorer.

CARLSON:  He lived in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  He didn‘t live in a tar paper shack.

KELLERMAN:  Right.  Of course, but poorer than George Bush, certainly. 

CARLSON:  That‘s true. 

KELLERMAN:  He may have sensitivity to lower income people not having the resources to get out of town who don‘t have flood insurance and the like, and George Bush might not be as sensitive to that.

CARLSON:  That‘s certainly his argument that he would have done a better job, because you know what, Max?  He just cares for.  He‘s got a bigger heart.  He‘s just a caring guy, whereas Bush is just a mean robotic type character.

What a crock.  I don‘t care how much you care.  All I care is how good a job you do. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, I mean, there were people...

CARLSON:  And Bush did a bad job on this. 


CARLSON:  But Clinton should stop bragging about himself.  He also—for him to say he opposes the war Iraq, he and his wife publicly came out, and I oppose the war in Iraq, good for him.  However, they publicly came out and said, “We‘re for the war in Iraq.”  His wife voted for the war in Iraq.  And now, “I told you so.  I never would have done it that way.” 

KELLERMAN:  All I‘m going to say about—since you bring up Iraq and you bring up the relief effort, you know, there were people in the Superdome who could have used supplies. 


KELLERMAN:  They could have flown in helicopters and dropped supplies. 

CARLSON:  I agree. 

KELLERMAN:  They‘re doing it in Iraq.  What, are there anti-aircraft around the Superdome?  So I mean, if you bring—Bush looks bad on both counts there. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree with you more.  I‘m merely making the obvious point that Bill Clinton is not an evil man.  He‘s not a left wing man.  He‘s not a communist.  He is, however, the most annoying man in human history. 

KELLERMAN:  I‘ve heard him described as the white Don King, actually. 

CARLSON:  Really, I like Don King. 

KELLERMAN:  And that was by a lefty.  That was by a lefty, calling him the white Don King.

CARLSON:   And he is no Don King.  Max Kellerman, you are, however, sort of a Don King. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you very much.  I think.  Wait a minute. 

CARLSON:  Good to see you. 

Stay tuned.  There‘s still plenty more on THE SITUATION tonight. 


CARLSON (voice-over):  A Giant relief for the displaced Saints.  We‘re live in a far-out home game. 

HARRY CONNICK JR., MUSICIAN:  It‘s great, really makes this feel nice. 

CARLSON:  Plus...

Why the serfs deserve to be crowned burger kings.  All ahead on THE


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s what it‘s about.  Giving them something to smile about.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Over the weekend, a piece in “The New York Times” claimed That many Hurricane Katrina victims would be better off if they had been officially labeled refugees, as they were called at fist, rather than evacuees, and had been accepted for resettlement by the United States. 

Reverend Jesse Jackson joins me now live from Las Vegas to discuss that assertion and his commitment to the term evacuee. 

Reverend Jackson, thanks for coming on.  I know you were in New Orleans today.  And I appreciate your coming on—coming on to talk to us. 


CARLSON:  now, right after the storm broke, and it became clear that a lot of people were going to be displaced, I saw you on television, repeatedly—we checked today.  You were on TV 21 times in the first eight days. 

And, in a lot of those appearances, you made the point that the term refugee was somehow wrong and that people ought to be called evacuees. 

Learning now that it would have been better had they been refugees, do you

does this argument still hold water? 

JACKSON:  No, you know, these were citizens who were displaced by a violent storm and a flood. 

Refugees usually are escaping poverty or pestilence or famine or war from another country, and they come at the mercy of another country.  So, refugees come on privilege.  And citizens have rights.  And we simply had citizens displaced, for whom we have no plan to rescue or to relocate them.  But these were American citizens. 

CARLSON:  Well, but refugee does not—does not necessarily mean that a person is not a citizen.  It‘s just someone seeking refuge. 

But looking back, doesn‘t this whole conversation strike you as silly and frivolous?  I mean, who cares in the end?  Isn‘t the point, these people need a place to go, water to drink, food to eat? 

JACKSON:  Well, the people who were called refugees, it took on a connotation they were something other than American citizens. 

Imagine you‘re in Iraq or Afghanistan fighting a war, and your parents or relatives or children back home are known as refugees.  These were citizens, and therefore deserved a citizen‘s response.  Unfortunately, though we had five days of warning that this storm was coming and that the levees could very well break, there was no—there was no plan in light of the warning. 

So, there was no plan for mass rescue or mass relocation.  Even tonight, 150,000 citizens are living in rescue centers tonight, when there are, in fact, unused military bases, for example, English Air Force Base in Alexandria, Louisiana. 

For the life of me, I can‘t understand why, at three weeks later, there‘s no place for those 150,000 others thrown across 41 states. 

CARLSON:  Well, probably because nobody anticipated that the levee was going to break.  It does seem like a huge waste of time to engage in a semantic argument like that.


JACKSON:  But it was a reasonable anticipation.

And I repeat to you that, when Emma Lazarus says on the Statue of Liberty, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.  These were refugees seeking refuge.  And they became citizens.  Citizens have to seek a different status than refuges. 


Now, you said—in a commercial break, you were telling me that you had just come from New Orleans today, and that you are upset because some of the suspension of federal labor law in that city, you claimed, was hurting people.  Can you explain that to me briefly?  I‘m confused.

JACKSON:  Well, it is that by suspending Davis-Bacon, you suspend workers to minimum wage without health benefits. 

Well, that has locked them into the same poverty that disallowed them the option to have a car and buy gas and escape in the first place.  So, on the one hand, for the people who should have incentives to return home and have priority on jobs, job training in country, to give them minimum wage without health benefits, but, for Halliburton and Bechtel, you give them no-bid contracts. 

What I found astonishing today was to see Bechtel with $26 a yard for hauling, when they pay workers $6 per yard to haul it.  So...

CARLSON:  But wait.  Wait.  Wait a second. 

I mean, at this point, isn‘t this kind of like the debate, the pointless debate over refugee vs. evacuee?  At this point, if there are people suffering—and I am sure you will be the first to recognize this, Reverend Jackson, having seen a lot of people suffer—people suffering, isn‘t the point to alleviate the suffering?  And who cares if it is Lucky Luciano getting the contract?  Who cares?  The point is, alleviate the suffering now. 

JACKSON:  Well, it really does matter, because there are people from New Orleans and Slidell and Gulfport who are capable of, in fact, cleaning up debris. 

I mean, why would you bring in Bechtel and Halliburton to get these huge no-bid contracts, when there are citizens there?  The reconstruction money should prioritize those who are disaster victims.  The disaster victims should have priorities on job training and jobs and contracts and incentives to return home. 

CARLSON:  Now, all...

JACKSON:  They cannot stay at the mercy of other people but so long and be received of their full citizenship. 

CARLSON:  Now, I wonder if—if we wouldn‘t even be having this conversation if you and maybe others like you at the very beginning had lobbied the federal government to treat these victims as refugees, rather than evacuees. 

Had you come out at the very beginning and said, look, these people are refugees, they‘re American citizens, but they‘re refugees seeking refuge, treat them as refugees, they would immediately have all the benefits that refugees coming from other countries have.  And this conversation would be moot.  Aren‘t you—don‘t you regret you didn‘t do that?

JACKSON:  No.  No.  As a matter of fact, they‘re neither refugees, nor fugitives.  These are citizens who deserve first priority. 

The real deal is, why didn‘t the president, looking at them for five days—within two days, we got to citizens in Indonesia.  We dropped bread and water.  Within two days, he was at ground zero in New York, holding up the arms of firemen and policemen, as he should have done.  He never went to ground zero in New Orleans, nor did a member of Cabinet, nor did the Red Cross. 

Why did we abandon these citizens trapped in that flood?  More of them probably died from dehydration and starvation than flood itself.  The lack of preparation itself is somewhere between immoral and criminal. 

CARLSON:  All right. 

Jesse Jackson joining us live tonight from Las Vegas—thanks a lot coming on. 

JACKSON:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, jazz greats, former presidents, and thousands of screaming New York Giants fans show their support for the New Orleans Saints as they play their first home game 1,400 miles away from home. 

A live report from Giants Stadium next. 


CARLSON:  Coming up, New York City rolls out the welcome mat for the New Orleans Saints and their fans.  The Big Apple embraces the Big Easy—when THE SITUATION continues. 


CARLSON:  Well, today, the New Orleans Saints played what was supposed to have been their season home opener, but, instead of the Superdome, they played at Giants Stadium outside New York City.  The Saints have become a symbol of the battered Gulf region.  And sports pages across the country have called them America‘s team. 

MSNBC‘s Monica Novotny is at Giants stadium and witnessed the reception the Saints got. 

Monica, what happened tonight? 

MONICA NOVOTNY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Tucker, well, very exciting night.  “Monday Night Football” is always exciting, but of course, much more emotion in tonight‘s game. 

You know, they redecorated Giants Stadium.  They painted Saints in the west-facing end zone.  They had banners up all over the place.  They had the New Orleans Saintsations, the cheerleaders, out.  The players were wearing their home-color uniforms.  So, in some sense, this was a homecoming, if you will. 

Of course, they are nowhere near the Superdome, where they should be.  This game was meant to be played yesterday, the 18th, there.  They won‘t be playing any games this season in New Orleans. 

But this was a homecoming, of course.  The Giants fans were welcoming.  They did say, look, when it comes to the game, football is football.  We are still here rooting for the Giants, but they were welcoming to the New Orleans Saints. 

Now, if you are a fan of the Saints, you know that this team, they are the perennial underdogs, but they are now being called America‘s team.  And, in fact, they are a symbol for many people from New Orleans and for the entire Gulf Coast region, really, of the rebuilding and the recovery effort. 

Now, they lost tonight, 27-10.  But the season is young, and the fans are loyal. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It shows their resilience.  You know, disasters happen all over the world, but they‘re Saints fans.  So we got to keep—continue on.  Just like the war and things like that, it‘s no better for those people than it is for the people of New Orleans.  So, we are happy that they are able to pick up and keep moving on. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It can be depressing and everything thinking about the city being under so much damage and so many people I know displaced and businesses gone and everything.  But, you know, you just got to try to enjoy yourself.  Either way the game goes, I will guess I will be happy, and I will just have a chance to get out of the city and enjoy a good football game, just have a good time. 


NOVOTNY:  Now, that last gentleman that you just heard was not only a Saints fan.  He was actually an evacuee.  The NFL actually brought more than 600 displaced people and gave them tickets, provided transportation, and got them here to the game. 

We spoke to a handful of them.  And, you know, they all said the same thing, Tucker.  They said:  Win or lose, this game gives us three hours of a break.  And throughout the season, we will be watching the Saints because, at least for that three hours, no matter how they do, we get a break from our new reality. 

Of course, they said, you know, if they do win, then we get a whole week‘s break, because then we get to gloat about the game all week. 

CARLSON:  Monica Novotny at Giants Stadium.

Good for the NFL, by the way. 


Coming up on THE SITUATION, what could possibly justify this kind of behavior in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?  A viewer tells us when we check THE SITUATION voice-mail next.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Time now our voice mail segment, where you tell us what you think of the news and/or us.  And you have in great numbers. 

First up:


BERNARD, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE:  yes, Tucker, this is Bernard from Nashville. 

I was watching your show earlier tonight on Friday.  And I just wanted you to know, I mean, you seem to be upset at people looting, taking shoes, which was absolutely necessary, walking around in the nasty water, barefoot, not knowing whether there was glass, nails or steel or metal or anything else going on. 

So, for you to have that type of opinion, yes, it may be wrong to loot, but these people were doing what they felt was absolutely necessary.  So, I‘m outraged at your comments.


CARLSON:  Give me a break, Bernard.  You need 11 pairs of Nike Cross Trainers to survive the hurricane?  That‘s a crock.  You are taking advantage of disaster to steal other people‘s stuff. 

Other people have to pay for it.  Look, the problem with looting is not just the theft, which is wrong.  It‘s understandable, though, in some cases.  But the problem with widespread, out-of-control looting is, it leads to chaos, and chaos leads to rape and murder and arson, and people die, usually poor people.  So, you have got to keep the chaos under control, as we learned in Iraq and again in New Orleans.  And, hopefully, we will learn a lesson for good at some point, I hope. 

Next up:


JENNIFER, LOWER PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA:  Hi, Tucker.  This is Jennifer from Lower Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.

I am outraged at the fact that, before the levees in New Orleans broke, before Katrina hit Mississippi, my parish was ground zero.  There‘s been no coverage of this from the media.  The government took two weeks to get there.  And here we are, three weeks after the storm and still have no information for the residents of our parish. 


CARLSON:  You have every reason to be outraged, as far as I am concerned.  Your parish was leveled, absolutely destroyed by the hurricane.  You wouldn‘t know that from watching television. 

There are a bunch of reasons for this.  One, most people have not been to your parish, St. Bernard‘s or Plaquemines, below New Orleans.  I mean, Commander‘s Palace and Arnaud‘s are not in your parish, so people don‘t know about it, for one thing.  And for another, the plight of the poor is better covered than the really forgotten class in the country, the working class, you know, blue-collar people.  They‘re the ignored class. 

I‘m not—you know, it‘s better to be working class than it is to be poor.  However, in a time like this, the poor get more attention than you do.  And I agree with that.  And I—you know, we are part of the problem.  And I apologize.  Sorry. 

Next up:


DR. STILES, FLORIDA:  Hi.  Dr. Stiles, Florida.

The Republicans‘ idea of cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is totally absurd and oxymoronic.  Old people, disabled people that are all living on poverty-level incomes, should not be the ones to subsidize trying to recreate a town of poor people. 


CARLSON:  Oh, I agree with you.  I don‘t think we should do this on the backs of the poor, but how about means-testing for Social Security?  How about rich people who get Social Security?  Maybe there should be some cutoff?  Maybe so.  Maybe we should think Social Security, because what about the rest of us?

No politician will say that, because he won‘t get elected if he does.  But it‘s the truth and you know it.  Social Security takes up a huge portion of the federal budget.  And it‘s time to reexamine it.  I don‘t know.  Demographics have changed.  America has changed.  And I think it‘s plausible to look at Social Security as a way to cut federal spending a bit.  It just is.  And I‘m just sorry politicians won‘t say that out loud. 



GREG, WALNUT CREEK, CALIFORNIA:  Hey, Tucker.  It‘s Greg Ford (ph) calling from Walnut Creek, California. 

And, Tuck, looking at this budget situation, you know, and funding the rebuild of New Orleans, the first place you ought to look is these no-bid contracts that all the cronies of Bush administration get right off the bat. 

Hey, thanks for your show.  Bye-bye. 


CARLSON:  Greg, it‘s time to throw out the Michael Moore videos.  It‘s time to log off the Web site, Greg.  Who cares at this point? 

Now, over the long term, it‘s important that we not waste money.  And I know we are going to, no matter what we do, in this reconstruction effort.  But, right now, people need a place to live.  They need something to eat.  They need something to drink.  I don‘t care if Sammy “The Bull” Gravano gets the contract, as long he does do a good job.  Competence, competence is the key.  What you saw the last three weeks, that‘s incompetence.  I will take a little corruption in favor of competence than total honesty with incompetence, because incompetence actually kills people. 

So, let‘s just get the job done.  I don‘t care who does it—right now, anyway. 



ERIC, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH:  Hi.  This is Eric from Salt Lake. 

Tucker, your closing on the school prayer bit last night was the bomb.  God bless the atheists.  If there isn‘t a God, the joke is on us all.  But whose joke is it, anyway?  I have change to bow ties.  See if you can get Rachel to wear one.  And where is Max?  I‘m missing his perspective in all this.  Thanks.


CARLSON:  Well, thank you, Eric. 

Yes, I—the atheists, I feel sorry for the atheists. 

There you are.  Rachel—Rachel looks pretty good, actually. 


CARLSON:  I feel sorry for the atheists.  God is dead?  There is no God?  Life has no meaning?  Existence is pointless?  When you are dead, you just rot?  I mean, these are not sort of cheery tenets.  You know what I mean?  It‘s got to be hard recruiting for atheism, though I think we have an official atheist lobbyist on the program tomorrow night. 

And we will ask her directly, how do you win people to atheism?  Got to be a tough sell. 

Let me know what you are thinking about.  You can call 1-877-TCARLSON, or that‘s 877-822-7576.  Give us a call.  We will probably put you on the air. 

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, “The Guinness Book of Records” continues to make people do the dumbest things.  Take this guy, for example.  His bee-wearing effort was enough to capture a world record?  Was it?  The answer lies on the “Cutting Room Floor.” 


CARLSON:  Well, it‘s time for the return of the “Cutting Room Floor,” after a three-week hiatus for Hurricane Katrina.  Our producer Willie Geist brings us the very best stories that didn‘t quite make the cut. 

Willie, what do you have tonight? 


CARLSON:  Good to see you back, by the way.

GEIST:  I missed you.  I missed you. 

You remember, after September 11, Rudy Giuliani went on “Saturday Night Live” about three weeks after and said, it‘s OK to laugh again?


GEIST:  I think the country looks to me in times like this.  And I‘m about...


CARLSON:  I don‘t think there‘s any question. 

GEIST:  I am here to announce, it‘s OK to smile again.  And it starts right there. 


CARLSON:  Thank you, Willie.

GEIST:  My pleasure.

CARLSON:  I will take those instructions and run with them. 

Well, there were some important amendments to “The Guinness Book of World Records” you may have missed somehow over this weekend.  For starters, a team of cooks whipped up the world‘s biggest hamburger at a barbecue competition in Serbia yesterday.  The 62-pound burger was cooked on a giant grill and served up fresh on a monster bun. 

GEIST:  Mmm.  You know, Tucker, nobody does barbecue like the Serbs, you know?


GEIST:  Ah, so delicious.

They also, incidentally, set the record for most cases of E coli in one sitting, which I thought was kind of a nice ancillary benefit to the whole thing. 


GEIST:  Did you see them manhandling that meat? 

CARLSON:  Plus, it‘s...


GEIST:  ... get you some gloves...


CARLSON:  It‘s premade and frozen.  That‘s like a nightmare burger. 


Well, in other “Guinness” news, a Colombian man claims he set the world record by covering his body in about half-a-million bees.  Noberto Morin (ph) stood nearly naked in a shopping center while his assistants spread a thick layer of bees all over him.  The new record has not been made official yet, but early eyewitnesses estimate that Morin shattered the previous record of 350,000 bees. 

GEIST:  I remember where I was when they set that record, 1998.  And I said to myself, that will never be broken. 

CARLSON:  I know.

GEIST:  It was like Babe Ruth‘s record.

CARLSON:  I know.  We didn‘t even have the imagination. 

GEIST:  No.  No.  And here we are, seven years later. 

CARLSON:  I know.

GEIST:  Is it that important to these guys, to break these records? 

You can put a half-a-million bees on yourself?

CARLSON:  Well, who are the assistants and where do they get the bees? 

So many questions. 

GEIST:  Very kinky. 

CARLSON:  So little time. 

But, wait, there‘s more world-record-breaking to report tonight.  An Italian couple set a new record by spending 10 days under water.  The divers spent their time in an aquatic house that had two sofas, a waterproof television and exercise equipment.  They had to sleep underneath their bed, so they didn‘t float to the surface.  Once back on dry land, the couple‘s first request was—quote—“for a real bed and some dry clothes.”

GEIST:  I would say first, congratulations to them.  But this strikes me as an unromantic trip to take your girlfriend on.


GEIST:  You know, 10 days in Italy, honey, under water, no talking. 


GEIST:  I love you.  You always wanted Italy, didn‘t you, honey? 

CARLSON:  In a wet suit. 

GEIST:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Not high on the romance. 

Well, building stadiums and beefing up security are rituals of any city preparing to host for Olympics.

But Beijing is going a step further for the 2008 Summer Games.  The city is changing its culture.  The Chinese government has launched a campaign to improve the manners of its people.  Officials will attempt to break habits like spitting and urinating in public. 

Initiatives include civilization contests and televised manors classes.

GEIST:  Those sound fun. 

You know, Tucker, China is developing very quickly.  They have got a lot to be proud of.  But if you have to teach your people not to urinate in public, I am not sure you are ready to host the Games. 

CARLSON:  Well, what‘s the penalty? 

GEIST:  Why don‘t we...

CARLSON:  Well, what‘s the penalty for doing it?  That‘s my question.

GEIST:  Why don‘t we bump it back to 2012, see if we can work out some kinks in the urinating?

CARLSON:  But this is such a poignant story, China, which essentially invented civilization, now reduced to teaching civilization classes. 

GEIST:  It‘s a cultural revolution.  It‘s amazing.


CARLSON:  It really is.  They will never get them to stop spitting, by the way. 

Well, think of the toughest job interview you have ever had.  Now imagine it at an elevation of 12,000 feet.  A Japanese Internet company called Image Net conducts its interviews at the top of Mount Fuji.  That‘s the highest peak in Japan.  The company does the interviews there to be sure applicants—quote—“have what it takes to scale the heights of business.”

GEIST:  Wow. 

CARLSON:  Quite a literal people, the Japanese. 


GEIST:  Yes, they really are. 

Isn‘t that the classic bad dream everybody has?  You show up at your job interview naked on the top of Mount Fuji? 


GEIST:  I don‘t know.  Maybe that‘s another dream I had. 


GEIST:  Sorry.  That‘s terrible.

CARLSON:  It‘s just, Japan is one of those countries, delightful place to visit. 

GEIST:  Sure. 

CARLSON:  You don‘t want to work there. 

GEIST:  No.  And you don‘t want to interview for a job at Image Net, because you have to scale Mount Fuji.  It‘s not worth it. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s my question.

GEIST:  Plenty of other Internet companies.

CARLSON:  A quick follow-up question, Willie.

GEIST:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Those applicants who make it to the top, are there some who don‘t get the job? 

GEIST:  Of course.  That‘s just the tip of the iceberg.  You get there, then you have to pass the job interview. 

CARLSON:  The bitterness—the bitterness...

GEIST:  Mountain climbing does not get you a job on the Internet.

CARLSON:  The bitterness of that.  Explain that to your wife when you come home jobless. 

Willie Geist, it‘s great to have you back. 

GEIST:  You, too, Tucker.

He‘ll be here all week. 

That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thanks for watching.



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