Guests: David Frum, Max Kellerman, Dennis Rodman
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: Now it‘s time to go to Tucker Carlson, to find out what THE SITUATION is. Tucker, what‘s THE SITUATION tonight, buddy?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Every night, Joe, I say there are many situations tonight. Not exaggerating in any way.
CARLSON: This is unbelievable.
SCARBOROUGH: A cornucopia of situations.
CARLSON: The Harriet Miers resignation...
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s huge.
CARLSON: ... the end of the nomination, and this.
CARLSON: This is “The New York Times.” Every night for the past three nights, we‘ve had breaking news right before we go on the air. And tonight is the biggest of all.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s huge.
CARLSON: According to “The New York Times,” tomorrow‘s edition, the vice president‘s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, will be indicted. It‘s a very confusingly written piece with a lot of hedges, but that‘s the bottom line. Scooter Libby, says the “Times,” will be indicted. The grand jury will be extended. Karl Rove may be indicted but not tomorrow.
We‘re not exactly sure what this means, but we‘re going to find out. For starters, I‘m going to bring in MSNBC political correspondent, David Shuster, who joins us live—David.
DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, good to be with you.
CARLSON: If this is—I‘m just going to read, because I think it‘s interesting, and probably telling, the first couple of sentences, the first line of this. “Associates of Scooter Libby, the vice president‘s chief of staff, expected an indictment Friday, charging him with making false statements to the grand jury in the CIA leak case,” comma, “lawyers in the case said Thursday.”
I assume that means they think Scooter Libby is going to be indicted. I can‘t read it any other way, though it‘s not very straightforwardly written.
SHUSTER: Yes. I mean, the only thing you can deduce from this is that—that the prosecutor likely told Scooter Libby‘s lawyer, “That‘s it. Your guy is being indicted on Friday.” And so for whatever reason, Scooter Libby‘s lawyer or his legal team has decided to go ahead and tell “The New York Times,” which is odd.
But even stranger than that, Tucker, is I think when you look at “The New York Times” and how to handle Karl Rove, and they suggest that Karl Rove is not going to be indicted but the investigation will continue, my issue with that is—comes under the credibility of who we think has probably talked at “The New York Times,” and that is Bob Luskin, who has not always had the most credibility, as far as dealing with the press and how the press views him.
And the bigger issue, Tucker, is if I‘m representing you, and it‘s a close call as to whether or not you get indicted, and I as your lawyer found out that, well, prosecutors are probably not going to indict you, I wouldn‘t go telling that to “The New York Times” the morning when the prosecutor is going to be heading to the courthouse. It just doesn‘t make sense to me.
CARLSON: No, you wouldn‘t, but if you were the prosecutor, you would probably be telling “The New York Times” this. You probably would have told “The New York Times” three days ago about a conversation Scooter Libby supposedly had with the vice president, in which the vice president leaked the name of Valerie Plame to Scooter Libby. That‘s what you would probably do.
And yet time and again, we are hearing from people that, no, this prosecutor does not leak, and yet these appear to me to be leaks from Fitzgerald‘s office, maybe not from Fitzgerald himself, but I don‘t see another explanation for them. Do you?
SHUSTER: Well, Tucker, I still believe—I still believe that this is not a prosecutor who leaks, at least his spokesperson, or the other people on his staff. I don‘t think they leak. I mean, who knows what Fitzgerald does personally, but that has never been Patrick Fitzgerald‘s M.O., to leak to reporters.
SHUSTER: However, I still think that there‘s a reasonable explanation for why Scooter Libby‘s camp would want to get the story out there a couple of days ago about Cheney being the source and thereby undermining Scooter Libby‘s own testimony.
I still think it has to do with either maybe some sort of effort to try to put out the news about Cheney before it may come in the form of some sort of a conspiracy indictment and suggestions about Cheney. Why not put the news out on your own terms to “The New York Times” than wait for a blockbuster surprise in an indictment?
SHUSTER: And secondly, I still think there may be some way that either White House officials are trying to signal their loyalty to this White House by what they‘re saying to the papers.
CARLSON: Well, we‘re going to find out soon. And of course, it would be a terrific irony if the prosecutor in the leak case was himself leaking.
Here‘s another sentence that I want to get your take on, in this same story. It said, “People involved in the case did not rule out the disclosure of previously unknown aspects of the case.”
That is suggesting that there will be other people pulled into this, people we have not yet anticipated. I‘m sure you‘re hesitant to name names on the air, if in fact you know them or have an idea who they might be.
Do you think this is true? Are people talking about—your sources telling you, others, not Scooter Libby, not Karl Rove, who might be sucked into this fiasco?
SHUSTER: Well, I read it a little differently, Tucker. And that is, as you know, every time that a grand jury indictment comes down, whenever an indictment is filed, there is always, always a surprise in the indictment. There‘s always information that has been presented to the grand jury that is the basis of a charge that we don‘t know about until the indictment is released.
You look at Bill Clinton, nobody knew that the cigar story was coming until it was in the Starr report. You look at Whitewater, there were allegations about some of the fraud that was not known until Jim Guy Tucker was indicted, the governor of Arkansas who followed Clinton.
So I think that‘s where that sentence is going, that‘s suggesting there‘s going to be information that nobody knows it about. I don‘t see it as, you know, there may be figures that we don‘t know about.
SHUSTER: I think we‘ve talked about some of the main figures, the people who are under—who are deputies to Scooter Libby in the vice president‘s office, maybe some of the other neocons in the White House who were pushing so hard for the war.
CARLSON: I just cannot remember a whodunit this complicated, where there are so many unanswered questions. And while, you know, the day anyone is indicted, is a sad day, no matter who it is, I can‘t wait to find out what the answers are.
David Shuster, thanks a lot.
SHUSTER: Good to be with you, Tucker.
CARLSON: All right. Next, we bring on one of my all-time favorite thinkers about politics, former presidential candidate, MSNBC analyst, Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Tucker, thanks. Good to be here.
CARLSON: What do you—it seems to me—here‘s what we know, or what we think we know from the “Times,” that Scooter Libby will likely be indicted tomorrow for false statements he supposedly made to the grand jury. Is that enough to justify a 22-month-old investigation by Pat Fitzgerald, or do you think, as I‘m beginning to think, that there‘s something much bigger here that we don‘t know about?
BUCHANAN: Well, you hear, and you read on the Net, I think that there‘s a very, very broad situation here that the—Patrick Fitzgerald is looking into, and it‘s was there forgeries, and were crimes committed in making the case in the run up to war. Specifically, the Niger uranium forgeries.
You‘re hearing about the Italian intelligence bringing them to the United States, but Fitzgerald has not gotten into this until very, very late in the game.
And you know, I know that “New York Times” has said they‘re going to extend the grand jury. I don‘t know that that you can extend the grand jury once it‘s been extended once. So either it‘s going to be a narrow case on Libby, or if he‘s going on to a new grand jury, it could get much broader.
CARLSON: So if it is just what we think we know now, a narrow case aimed at the vice president‘s chief of staff, having to do with the supposed crime that took place after the investigation began, that strikes me as survivable, politically, for this administration.
BUCHANAN: Not only that, it‘s very small beer (ph), quite frankly.
BUCHANAN: You‘ve got Libby. OK, he‘s the chief of staff to vice president. Nobody knows who he is. But if they say, “Well, you know, they didn‘t deliberately try to out a secret, covert, CIA agent. However, they let her name go and they didn‘t tell the truth about what they were doing.”
BUCHANAN: That‘s perjury. It‘s a bad—it‘s a bad thing. It can get you sent to minimum security facility. But this is not an administration breaker at all, if that‘s what it is.
CARLSON: It‘s just hard for me to believe that. I‘m just beginning to suspect, there must be something here, that Patrick Fitzgerald cannot face the television cameras with a straight face and say, “I spent all this money and all this time on this.”
BUCHANAN: You‘ve got to ask yourself, what has he been doing 22 months?
BUCHANAN: I mean, this was a very simple case, who leaked her name? And then you find out who did it and did they tell you the truth? You don‘t need two years to discover something like that.
CARLSON: I don‘t think you do.
BUCHANAN: That‘s why I think—Fitzgerald has got a huge operation
there. He‘s an aggressive guy. That‘s why I think there‘s—I think Bill
as I mentioned, Bob Bennett said he‘s working on a very big case. I think it must be much broader than this, but it‘s going to be interesting to find out what happens tomorrow. But where do we go from there, Tucker?
CARLSON: There was a piece today floating around the World Wide Web by a man named Pat Buchanan: “Harriet Miers Withdrawal, A Godsend.”
BUCHANAN: Oh, it saved—look, Harriet Miers did the right thing. It would have been—I think she could have been humiliated before that committee.
CARLSON: You don‘t think she‘s humiliated now? When you see her, don‘t you kind of feel sorry for her? As much as I was opposed to her nomination, isn‘t it kind of sad?
BUCHANAN: She‘s a very nice lady. She‘s a conservative lady. She‘s loyal to the president. She did the job. He should never have sent her up. She‘s not qualified for the Supreme Court. And yes, I felt sorry for her.
And I think it‘s a fine thing she did, not having to go through this. Frankly, she did a good thing for the party, for the country, for the president, for everybody, so the president can nominate someone now who really is qualified, Edith Jones, whether it‘s that Luttig or someone like that, and bring this party together.
I think this is the nadir of the Bush presidency. And I think if all it is is Libby tomorrow, he can start turning this thing around this weekend.
CARLSON: I was surprised and interested to see that the only people who seemed upset about the withdrawal of her nomination the president, who said through a spokesman, he was deeply disappointed in the process.
CARLSON: Presidents always are, and Democrats, Harry Reid and Arlen Specter, I guess as a Republican, sort of, but liberals were upset.
BUCHANAN: Sure they were upset, because, look, the conservatives have been fighting this. The withdrawal of Miers means the president of the United States has got a chance to put a great conservative constitutionalist on the court, and they‘re going to have to stop him. And they‘re going to have to stand up and be counted, and they don‘t want to do that.
This is such an opportunity for the president. You know, it‘s like I compare it Tucker, it‘s like you know, Bush, we were at fourth and five to go into the end zone at the end of the Super Bowl, but Bush throws interception. We‘re leaving the stadium, and suddenly, the play is called back. We got one more shot at it.
CARLSON: Well, wait a second. You‘re sounding like every conservative I‘ve talked to today, hopeful about what‘s going to happen in the future, almost thankful to Bush for allowing this to happen. But what does it say about Bush‘s judgment, that he would nominate a woman who you believe is completely unqualified to serve on the high court? And doesn‘t it shake your faith in him as a president?
BUCHANAN: He made a terrible mistake. There‘s no doubt about that. Presidents have done that. My president, Ronald Reagan, put the troops in Lebanon. He should not have done it. A lot of us said, “Don‘t do it, sir. There‘s nothing in there.” He admitted the mistake.
Look, the president of the United States made a mistake in Harriet Miers. I think he ought to know that now. I hope he does. I hope he doesn‘t get sort of angry at the right, and say, “I‘m going to give them Gonzales now,” et cetera.
Just stand up and say, “Look, my troops are divided. Let‘s unite them. Let‘s go into battle. Let‘s change that Supreme Court. This is the stuff of legacy. This is what I came here to do.”
CARLSON: Can he get—given this leak investigation, can he get an actual outspoken conservative with a conservative record through the Senate?
BUCHANAN: Suppose he nominates Edith Jones, then Luttig, then Alito, yes, if he will fight one, two, three times, it will be a phenomenal victory.
We‘ve got to have this fight, Tucker, if we‘re going to change the court. The Democrats are not going to roll over and play dead. You‘ve got a lot of squishy Republicans who are going to fight. But if he goes at them again and again and again, he can win it.
CARLSON: Well, how about changing people‘s minds, too? How about the effect of the rhetorical case you have to make to support your nominee on the country? Isn‘t it good in its own right to articulate your beliefs, to bring people on, to convince them you‘re right?
BUCHANAN: And it‘s far easier to do that if you‘ve sent up somebody like a Luttig, who‘s got that. And he‘ll go—you‘re exactly right. He can go and make the case to the country. He will have second and third echelons of support backing him up. He will bring this whole, you know, district movement and coalition behind him.
This is a 55 percent win issue for the president, Tucker, and it‘s a historic opportunity, a golden opportunity, and that‘s why a lot of us were celebrating today.
CARLSON: Amen. Congratulations, Pat Buchanan, thank you.
BUCHANAN: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Still to come, we‘ll have much more on the breaking news out of Washington tonight.
Plus, a conservative group that launched an anti-Miers ad campaign gets its wish. Who do they want the president to nominate in the place of Harriet Miers? We‘ll ask one of their members and leaders. Columnist and former Bush speech writer David Frum joining us live in just a minute.
Plus, making a mint from Halloween candy, dentists came up with a novel and sort of bizarre plan to prevent tooth decay. But doesn‘t it take all the fun out of trick-or-treating? A graduation (ph) gets sweet, next.
CARLSON: Coming up, basketball star Dennis Rodman tells all about his dunks, drinks, and dating Madonna. Plus, Jesus makes an appearance in Rochester, New York. We‘ve got proof when THE SITUATION returns.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Now that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her troubled nomination to the Supreme Court, some conservatives hope the president will put forth a stronger candidate they can all support. The trouble, of course, is finding just such a candidate.
David Frum is a columnist and also a former speechwriter for President Bush. He‘s an advisor to the conservative group Americans for Better Justice. This week, that group launched an ad campaign against Harriet Miers that was successful.
DAVID FRUM, FORMER BUSH SPEECHWRITER: Thank you. I‘m not sure—I think this is like a wedding, where I‘m not sure the congratulations. Maybe it‘s best wishes. I don‘t know what is the right thing to say.
CARLSON: Well, I—I mean, this was for the first time in a long time an issue that united conservatives pretty much. The Iraq war split them. You and Pat Buchanan, on the same side of an issue, which I‘m sure must blow your mind away.
FRUM: I know. Made me wonder whether I was really right.
CARLSON: Whether you were doing the right thing. You were. So let me ask the question that‘s been occurring to me all week. You were partly responsible for an ad campaign...
CARLSON: ... against Harriet Miers. Who supported this ad campaign?
FRUM: We had about two dozen donors, big and small from across the country, and money coming in. But it was one of these weird things that sort of happened. It cohered. I‘ve never been in anything like this. I mean, I‘ve sometimes had to raise money for it. There‘s a lot of begging and pleading, usually.
FRUM: In this case, it sort of formed itself, because people were so disappointed, so dismayed.
CARLSON: What didn‘t they like? There‘s this debate about whether—you saw it on television today. I saw one network, not this network, explaining this as, you know, revenge of the right-wing wackos, all from Idaho, attacking this poor, defenseless Harriet Miers.
What was it? Was it that she seemed liberal or that she seemed unqualified?
FRUM: Well, I think it‘s like that joke: is it a breath mint or is it a floor wax? It was both.
CARLSON: I don‘t know that joke, but I like it already.
FRUM: That she was unqualified and she was too liberal and she wasn‘t independent enough. I mean, just on that last point, the crony point, think of this: one of the most important things the Supreme Court is going to do is assess the constitutionality of powers the president has claimed during the war on terror. And I think many conservatives, many liberals hope the court will say the president has the power to defend the country against terrorists, and the things he‘s done since 9/11 have been correct.
But what kind of power would that have, would those judgments have if they came from the person who wrote the opinions in the first place?
CARLSON: Good point.
FRUM: So that‘s a problem. It‘s a problem that she‘s not overwhelmingly qualified. And it‘s a problem that, as we learned, as we went along, she was not as conservative as the president said she was.
I worked with her, and I had a lot of regard for her the way people work with her did. She was a nice person. But I think it was just obvious to everybody who had contact with her, this was not a Supreme Court justice.
CARLSON: If you don‘t live in Washington, it may not be clear just what a social risk you took in taking this position. The White House, of course, is the hub of Washington in any administration. It‘s from where the power flows, right? So to take a public position against the White House, particularly when you‘ve worked there, is a big thing to do.
I suspect they are mad at you. I suspect they probably kind of despise you at the moment.
FRUM: I—I‘m afraid that‘s right. And it‘s no fun, and it‘s not because you‘re afraid of them or because—they‘re good people and they‘re friends.
But you know, this was the next quarter century on the Supreme Court. This is that important. And sometimes your friends are wrong. And you do them no favor by saying, “Way to go! Well done.”
And what was even more dispiriting was—I‘ll tell you, one of the things I found very disturbing, is there‘s a lot of talk, and you have a lot of e-mail. They send them to us from all over (ph) the country. And the inability—the continued insistence, “Well, you must have some personal motive. You must...”
FRUM: “Maybe you didn‘t like her.”
CARLSON: You‘re a sexist. You‘re an elitist. Right?
FRUM: Maybe she marked up your speeches too much. And you know—and you know, sometimes there are people you have nothing against, actually kind of like, but there are public reasons why you have to do this.
CARLSON: Of course. Now at this point, the White House, which I think has some probably great contempt for conservative activists and has for awhile, has got to be pretty mad at people like you.
And I wonder if that anger won‘t affect the next Supreme Court choice. The president saying, “You know what? I‘m sick of the critics from my own side. Buzz off. I‘m appointing Alberto Gonzales.”
FRUM: Well, the president is also pretty smart, and I think it would be good if he took the weekend on this. But if he were to nominate Gonzales, he would make tremendous difficulties for himself, not just politically, but also that point I was making about judging the constitutionality of the war on terror.
If Gonzales were the nominee, it would be an eight-member court. He could not rule on his own constitutionality of his own actions. And judges decide—the Supreme Court decides for itself whether to hear or not to hear. But it would be pretty crummy if, you know, you were the attorney general, and then you go to the court and say, “Yes, what I did was constitutional.”
FRUM: So he‘d probably have to recuse himself. Eight members, four-four, that wouldn‘t be good.
CARLSON: No, it would be bad. David Frum. I don‘t often congratulate political activism. I‘m pretty suspicious of it. But in this case, I think you did a great thing. Thank you.
FRUM: Tucker, thank you. That means a lot. Thanks.
CARLSON: Still ahead, Ford Motor Company puts the brakes on long trips to the John for employees. Will this cost-cutting move flush away its problems, and more bathroom related puns when THE SITUATION returns.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
If you‘re just joining us, we‘re discussing the breaking news appearing on tomorrow‘s editions of “The New York Times.” It says this: tomorrow, Friday, Scooter Libby, the vice president‘s chief of staff, likely to be indicted for lying to the grand jury looking into the CIA leak case.
Also, Karl Rove, according to “The New York Times,” not going to be indicted tomorrow, but possibly in the future. And finally, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is extending or asking for an extension of the grand jury. His investigation so far has gone on about two years. He says apparently he needs more time.
To discuss this and the Harriet Miers withdrawal today, we bring back, gladly, as always, Rachel Maddow.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST: Nice to see you.
CARLSON: I just think I don‘t have a lot to say about this because there‘s so much we don‘t know. And I will say, I am not convinced, and I‘m beginning to strongly suspect there‘s a lot more going on here. I just don‘t believe Patrick Fitzgerald, who by every account is a serious, diligent person, after two years of working full time on this, has come up with a single charge of perjury to the grand jury.
I‘m not minimizing it, but I don‘t think that charge, even if it‘s true, justifies two years of effort, and I think there‘s got to be more.
MADDOW: Well, I think that the idea that Scooter Libby is going to be indicted is not that big a surprise. That seems like it‘s kind of what we felt like...
CARLSON: Boy, it‘s a surprise to me. The idea that Scooter Libby, one of the most careful, thoughtful, smartest people in the White House—and there‘s some smart people in the White House, and he‘s definitely one of the smartest—could have intentionally lied to the grand jury. It‘s just so dumb. I have trouble believing it. I really do.
MADDOW: Well, it may also be that he‘s taking the fall. I mean, we saw from the character of the different leaks that were coming out that Libby—the leaks were basically against Libby from day one. Everything was...
CARLSON: Yes, they were. I know they were.
MADDOW: It was making it look like he was going to be taking some of the blame. So that‘s not that big of a surprise to me.
What is a surprise to me is this weird statement from “The Times,” if it‘s true, Karl Rove will not be charged on Friday but will remain under investigation. Will remain under investigation? Something is still being investigated, something still needs more time? There‘s going to be extension of the grand jury? That to me is a surprise.
MADDOW: What are they going to get Karl Rove for in the future that they can‘t get him for tomorrow? I don‘t know.
CARLSON: This is a personal obsession of mine, so I won‘t belabor it, but one sentence, that sentence right there, tells you that this prosecutor is leaking to “The New York Times.” I don‘t think the lawyer of anybody involved would say that. That has got to come from the prosecutor‘s office, and leaking in a leak case, the irony bells are ringing. I can barely stand the sound.
MADDOW: We don‘t name any—we don‘t know who any of the leakers are. Every single...
CARLSON: No, we don‘t.
MADDOW: ... thing that we‘ve had the entire time has been from an unnamed source, from the very beginning.
CARLSON: It has been, but we will find out, and I am just beginning to suspect it‘s coming from him.
Look, I want to talk about something that‘s even more confusing, believe it or not, than this investigation, and that‘s the response today to Harriet Miers‘ withdrawal from the process of becoming a Supreme Court justice.
MADDOW: And you and I both correctly predicted she wouldn‘t make it to her hearings.
CARLSON: And I don‘t mean to self-aggrandize, but I believe this was the first show that predicted she would not make it, on the second day of her nomination. It was obvious, I thought, that she was never going to make it.
But the president‘s upset, and Democrats are upset: Harry Reid; Ralph Neas, liberal People for the American Way; John Kerry, all issued statements saying this is a terrible thing. Dianne Feinstein called critics of Harriet Miers sexist.
Does that mean Democrats think Harriet Miers was qualified to sit on the Supreme Court? It sounds that way.
MADDOW: What‘s happened—what people are upset about is that the White House explanation for why they had—her withdrawal had to be reluctantly accepted...
MADDOW: ... which was so patently ridiculous and patently false, that there was impasse over her White House papers. And that‘s why she had to withdraw.
CARLSON: Of course.
CARLSON: Well, it was a face saving. That‘s the way always (ph). I mean, it was the equivalent of saying, “I want to spend more time with my family.”
CARLSON: Right. Or whatever. Let‘s face it.
MADDOW: We had the exact same situation with John Roberts‘ papers, and that wasn‘t impasse that couldn‘t...
CARLSON: Wait a second. The Democrats are arguing on her behalf.
And I think, leaving politics aside, on the merits, she was not qualified. She was not up to the minimum standard for entry to the Supreme Court. Not that I am, but she wasn‘t either. So why are Democrats defending her?
MADDOW: Democrats—I mean, I, as a Democrat, I as somebody on the left, don‘t feel like she was qualified.
MADDOW: And that was the basis of my objection to her right from the beginning.
But I think what Democrats are upset about is that the reason the Republicans pulled this, the reason the White House—excuse me—pulled this, is because you had to look at where the turning point came for the right wing pressure groups.
Concerned Women for America decided that she was not qualified to be on the bench when we got the transcript of a speech she gave in 1993. That didn‘t show she wasn‘t qualified. It shows she might not be anti-abortion enough.
The reason her nomination got pulled is because she wasn‘t seen as being anti-abortion enough and right wing enough. And so say that‘s why you‘re pulling her.
CARLSON: See, this is prime example of how dumb partisanship is.
This is where “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thinking, leads you.
So Democrats look and they say, “The people who dislike Harriet Miers are all screaming right wing evangelicals. Therefore, let‘s defend Harriet Miers.” And that—it‘s kind of a herd mentality. It happens on both sides, but I‘m just calling attention to a case where Democrats are doing it, and they wind up defending something they don‘t even like. That‘s why partisanship is for dumb people.
MADDOW: No. What the Democrats are saying is you are lying about why you are withdrawing this nomination. You‘re withdrawing this nomination because Harriet Miers isn‘t right wing enough. Say that your qualification is that you need to be Genghis Khan, and we‘ll all be on the same page.
CARLSON: Yes, but that was only—that was only part of it. I mean, look, in the questionnaire to the Senate, she missed a question on constitutional law.
CARLSON: I mean, seriously, she offended liberal Republicans on the committee by the scant nature of her answers. She just didn‘t do her homework, is the problem.
MADDOW: But if you see somebody like Janice Rogers Brown get this nomination, somebody who is, I would say, less qualified than Harriet Miers for this job, despite the fact that she‘s been a judge...
CARLSON: Oh, no. I don‘t think...
MADDOW: ... she‘s somebody who I feel like is patently unqualified for the job. Then we will see whether it is purely your stance on abortion or whether it‘s actually your qualifications that makes you a right wing favorite or not.
CARLSON: Well, I would just—look, just to remind you, there‘s never been a Republican president running for office who said he would have abortion as a litmus test for choosing members of the Supreme Court. However, the last two Democrats, John Kerry and Al Gore, both said, out front, in cold type, “That‘s a litmus test. I‘m not appointing anybody.”
MADDOW: Rightfully. And that‘s the point. And you agree with this. You agree with this because I know it from what you‘ve said before. If your litmus test is abortion, come out and argue the point. Be up front about it and let‘s argue the point.
CARLSON: I agree with—look, I think you should always say what you believe and damn the consequences.
CARLSON: I just think that it‘s impossible to criticize other people for imposing litmus tests when you do so yourself.
MADDOW: No, you can impose a litmus test. Be honest about the fact that that‘s what you‘re doing. Don‘t say it‘s the White House.
CARLSON: The standards are changing, but that‘s all right.
MADDOW: No, they‘re not changing. Listen, you need to be honest about what the criteria are. They haven‘t been honest.
CARLSON: I‘m always honest about it. You‘ve got to be—you‘ve got to have the right political beliefs, but you also have to be a clear thinker, and not write like a DMV bureaucrat, like this woman did.
Rachel Maddow, clear writer, clear thinker, though often wrong, still admired by me. I appreciate it.
MADDOW: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Coming up, I‘m not sure where Dennis Rodman stands on the CIA leak investigation, but we can ask him. He joins us live, one of sport‘s all time great characters, here to tell us why he should be, quote, “dead by now.” Straight ahead on THE SITUATION.
CARLSON: Welcome back. A big company has its eye on workers‘ bathroom breaks, dentists want to take candy away from kids. Now, who would defend outrages like these? There is only one man we know. He‘s the Outsider. Please welcome, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host, Max Kellerman, live tonight, as always, from Las Vegas.
KELLERMAN: You like the no-mustache, goatee look?
CARLSON: I should have noted, in a tribute to Abe Lincoln, the newly shaven Max Kellerman.
KELLERMAN: Actually, a friend of mine, executive over at MSNBC now, Bill Wolff, I bet him last year that the Cardinals were the only National League team bad enough to get swept like that in the World Series, and I lost the bet, because the Astros got swept too. So I had to shave my...
CARLSON: That‘s why I don‘t play around with sports. I like to keep my face consistent. But you look great, Max.
KELLERMAN: Thank you very much.
CARLSON: All right. First up, the Ford Motor Company used to have a slogan, “Ford has a better idea.” Well, in this case, that‘s debatable. Supervisors at the company‘s Michigan truck plant are being asked to time workers‘ bathroom breaks. Plant managers say some employees have been spending more than 48 minutes per shift to use the bathroom. And that‘s a lot. According to Ford, that‘s slowing down the production line. The company lost $284 million in the third quarter. Now, this, I am sure, this is a leak from the UAW, who‘s flocking the story.
But let‘s be clear about what it means to be a worker in a Ford plant covered by the United Auto Workers, a pretty good deal. UAW employees in Ford plants have 67 paid holidays a year. That includes Election Day. Christmas bonus, profit sharing, health care, dental, tuition assistance, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I am not saying it‘s the greatest job in the world to be an auto worker—I am not one—but there are a lot of worse jobs. And if you are taking 48 minute to use the john, I think it‘s probably fair to like get a stop watch out there at some point.
KELLERMAN: OK, that‘s a good macro view, that‘s—but let‘s take another macro view. What is loss in productivity usually about? Is it about the labor not working hard enough? No. When there are huge losses like this, it‘s not about labor not working hard enough. It‘s almost always about executives making poor decisions. And what happens when companies don‘t make money because executives make poor decisions? They tighten the belt, and labor feels it. This is just another example of it.
CARLSON: Whoa, wait a second. Wait. Without getting into an economics lecture, if you look at what is happening to the airline industry now, the problems airlines, big airlines are facing are probably partly a result of bad decisions from the board room, but they are mostly a result of demands from labor. Labor costs is what is bankrupting American and United and a lot of major carriers, and hurting air travelers and frankly hurting the country. Labor costs.
KELLERMAN: So they claim.
CARLSON: (INAUDIBLE) American workers are questioning people‘s right to collective bargaining; I am just saying, labor costs are out of control in a lot of old industries.
Immigrants don‘t have—you know, the average Korean grocer doesn‘t have union protection. I‘m just saying, look, 48 minutes in the john is too much.
CARLSON: Everyone wants to—you want to hold people to standards like Korean immigrants in grocery stores? That‘s 24-hour-a-day job, Tucker.
CARLSON: No, I am merely saying...
CARLSON: ... union workers are lucky. They‘re lucky. If you are union line worker in Michigan, you have got a good job.
KELLERMAN: I prefer to think of it as people who are not in unions are unlucky.
CARLSON: That may be true.
KELLERMAN: Than people in unions are lucky. And 48 minute break?
One guy, one time took a 48 minute bathroom break. Oh, it‘s the bathroom. It‘s not that. Executives—make fuel-efficient cars, maybe, and you would sell more of them.
CARLSON: I spent the summer working in a union factory, and 48 minutes, I believe it. I absolutely believe it.
All right. Next up, talk about taking candy from a baby. Orthodontists across the country want to take away kids‘ Halloween candy to save them from tooth decay. They‘re sponsoring Halloween buybacks, where trick-or-treaters can turn in their contraband for $1 or $2 a pound. Not coincidentally, October is national orthodontic health month, and it‘s all part of a conspiracy, Max, of health workers to take over our private and personal lives. Buzz off, Mr. Orthodontist Man. None of your business how much candy my kids eat. Moreover, $2 a pound for the buyback? That‘s insulting. To an 8-year-old, a pound of candy is worth—it‘s incalculable. A million, a billion, a frillion? I mean, you can‘t put a price on a pound of candy to a little kid. $2 is insulting.
KELLERMAN: Seinfeld had a great routine about that, talking about how to a little kid, their whole world is candy and obstacles to their candy.
KELLERMAN: You‘re right. And you know what, Tucker, I am going to use your own argument against you. What do you always say about, when people will start driving fuel-efficient cars? It‘s what the market will bear. And if the market will not bear $2 a pound, or $1 a pound, the kids ain‘t going to sell. So there‘s no problem.
CARLSON: No, but it‘s not a market-based solution. It‘s not simply orthodontists saying, you know what, I will pay you more for your candy than you will enjoy eating it. They‘re saying, look, if you are a good parent, if you really care about your kids, if you‘re not a negligent, kind of, you know, drunken bumpkin type mom, you will come to me and turn over the kids‘ M&Ms and Rolos. They are using guilt to get parents to act. And I think they should just buzz off, and you know, do their braces work, and leave the rest of us alone.
KELLERMAN: Two things. One, that candy is being sent to soldiers in Iraq, or at least it has been in the past. I just want to mention that. And it‘s not being sold, it‘s being given. So that‘s one thing.
The other thing is, do you remember hoarding your Halloween candy as a kid? Did you ever do that, Tucker? Did you ever go trick-or-treating? Were you allowed to go trick-or-treating?
CARLSON: Yeah. With a vengeance. Actually, I still do, I‘m going Monday with my kids and I am going to eat a lot of their candy.
KELLERMAN: But the point is, when I would get my candy and hide it from my mother, because she just confiscated it, I would stuff so much candy, I would get sick. Someone should have taken that candy away from me.
CARLSON: No, no.
KELLERMAN: It‘s not even enjoyable after a certain...
KELLERMAN: This is a good service, Tucker.
CARLSON: Kids have very few pleasures. It‘s very difficult, and mostly unpleasant, to be a child. You‘re not control of your own life. Let them have candy.
KELLERMAN: Let the kids have their candy!
CARLSON: Let the kids have their candy.
KELLERMAN: Let the kids have their candy, for crying out loud!
CARLSON: Max Kellerman, newly shaved, but still as sharp as always.
KELLERMAN: See you tomorrow.
CARLSON: See you tomorrow, Max.
Stay tuned, still plenty more ahead on THE SITUATION.
ANNOUNCER: Live from L.A. Former court jester Dennis Rodman tells us why he should be dead by now.
DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER PRO BASKETBALL PLAYER: There‘s going to be a clash.
ANNOUNCER: Then. The feces really hit the fan over one man‘s bad taste for bathroom humor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I was a judge, that man would never see the light of day. It‘s nothing but the back end of the toilet brush.
ANNOUNCER: Plus. The tall tale of how one great dane collared a page in the record book.
And, is this really a maple miracle, or are true believers barking up the wrong tree? It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got so tired of looking at your mug and had to turn to “Sesame Street,” and sure enough, Elmo was wearing a bowtie.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Sports fans know Dennis Rodman as perhaps the greatest rebounder every to play basketball. The rest of us know him as perhaps the biggest character ever to walk the Earth. When he wasn‘t winning his five NBA championships, Rodman was dressing as a woman, gambling in Las Vegas, and hanging out with women like Carmen Electra and Madonna.
He details his life, his very wild life, in a new book called “I Should Be Dead By Now.” Dennis Rodman joins me live from L.A. tonight.
Dennis Rodman, thanks for coming on.
RODMAN: It‘s all good. It‘s al good.
CARLSON: It is all good, except you could be dead by now. Why could you be dead?
RODMAN: There‘s a lot of things, a lot of reasons, a lot of incidents, a lot of—oh, man, just...
CARLSON: Well, give me an example of something that could have killed you.
RODMAN: That could have killed me? Let‘s see, being in a Learjet, 20,000 feet over L.A., and the engine just shut down. And I was doing a nose dive, and luckily it came back on. And they came back on, and so basically I am still here. But like I say, it‘s been so many, so many things that could have—that could have took me out of here, man.
CARLSON: Wow. Now, in the book, you write about your relationship with Madonna, which I don‘t know if that was life-threatening or not, but it certainly was different. You say she wanted you to impregnate her?
RODMAN: Oh, that was—that was the first book. You know, that‘s old news. That was back in the day. But you know, I wrote about a lot of things that‘s happened in my life, and if for some reason a lot of people think my life is very interesting, and I have never really shown everything about my life, or maybe just partial things of my life, and Madonna wanted me to do this. A bunch of girls wanted me to do a lot of things, so, you know.
CARLSON: You don‘t seem to have held back that much. I mean, I know a lot more about your life than I do about, say, like any member of my own family‘s. So it seems like you don‘t have a problem sharing. But what do you want to share with the rest of us in this book? What don‘t we know?
RODMAN: I think this is more like you can relate to me, and people like me, as far as like having a conversation, instead of like a lot of people like me don‘t want to talk to you, as far as, like, you know, like everyday life and stuff like that, what we go through and how we live. And this book is pretty much like—more like having a conversation with me. And people that I hang around with, my bodyguards, my friends, my social life, my whatever life I have, it‘s like being character in the book, so you are not—you are not saying, OK, well, this is—I don‘t believe this, but just more like you are really and you‘re actually talking to me.
CARLSON: Now, the enduring image I have of you is wearing a woman‘s wedding dress. What do you think of the new NBA dress code? You wouldn‘t meet the standards, by the way, but what do you think of it.
RODMAN: I don‘t think I meet the standards, just because, you know, I
am very free spirited, I‘m very outgoing. I‘m elusive. I just couldn‘t go
I will be dressing the way I want to dress. You know, as far as like bling-bling, I don‘t wear bling-bling, I just wear jewelry like this kind of jewelry here, I don‘t wear diamonds or nothing like that. You know, I got five championship rings I‘ve never even—I haven‘t seen my rings in five years. So basically, I really don‘t even wear any jewelry pretty much.
CARLSON: I mean, but what do you think of the way other players in the NBA dress? I mean, do you think it‘s fair to tell them they have to wear coat and ties and can‘t wear certain clothes?
RODMAN: Well, David Stern needs to shove it up his, you know, but I just think that he should have sat down with all the owners and told the owners to go back to (INAUDIBLE) teams and tell your players, how do you want to dress, can we come to a compromise, and come to an agreement that we are going to do certain things, you know, in the proper situation. Instead of just saying, OK, we‘ll write this amendment, and that‘s it.
RODMAN: There‘s no ifs or buts about it. We are going to do it this way. That‘s it.
CARLSON: Now, there‘s—in other professional basketball news, Sheryl Swoopes in the WNBA announced just recently that she is a lesbian. Do you think that a male player in the NBA could announce that he was gay, introduce the world to his boyfriend, and get along in the NBA? Would that be accepted?
RODMAN: Isn‘t that funny, though, you can actually say, I am a lesbian, and people say, oh, we knew that. What‘s new? You know, but if you are an athlete and you‘re a male, Lord, my God. It‘s like you would be crucified just like Jesus was on the cross. It‘s like, wait a minute, hold on. I forgot that a woman can say that, because everyone think every woman that is playing professional basketball is a lesbian. So it‘s OK, but it‘s like, but you can go over to the man‘s side, you know what, you cannot dress that way, because you will ruin the image of all the kids. But on the women‘s side, you are gay, it‘s fine, you can still play ball. So I don‘t get that one.
CARLSON: Well, it‘s not the biggest surprise, I guess, at least...
RODMAN: Well, not a surprise, you know, right.
CARLSON: To people who watch. Do you ever think about going back to the NBA?
RODMAN: I have always thought about coming back to the NBA. I wish that David Stern would—you know, leave the teams alone and quit talking to them and saying, don‘t bring Dennis back, because he is going to disrupt the team and just make this league look bad and stuff like that. Let me come back, let me retire my number, like all the great players in the league, and I am done with it. You know, but like I said, I am not going to pursue this. You know, I play all over the word, exhibition games, and having fun, just living my life the way I want to.
CARLSON: All right. And writing books. The book is, “I Should Be Dead By Now,” but he‘s not. Instead...
RODMAN: I‘m not dead. I‘m not dead yet.
CARLSON: No, he is not.
RODMAN: Not dead yet.
CARLSON: And you can buy Dennis Rodman‘s book at Amazon.com, and book stores everywhere, November 1st. Dennis Rodman, thanks for coming on.
RODMAN: All right, brother.
Coming up on THE SITUATION, last night we told you about the grisly crime scene this fecal bandit left behind at a grocery store. One viewer has a creative proposal for the man‘s punishment. We‘ll check our voicemail when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for our voicemail segment. Every morning, we wake up and check the voicemail, and it‘s packed, bursting at the electronic seams with messages from you. Here are a couple of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANONYMOUS: Hi, Tucker. I normally respect your opinions, but tonight I think you were off on Cindy Sheehan. What she‘s saying I think is that there‘s one question President Bush has never answered about this war, if it‘s this necessary, this important, this noble, is he willing to put his own daughters, his nieces, his nephews, on the front lines to serve? Is he willing to make the same sacrifice that Cindy Sheehan made? What she objects to about this war is the hypocrisy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Yeah, I mean, I‘m not for the war. I don‘t feel like that, however, but I don‘t think that‘s a fair criticism. We don‘t send our children off to war. They join up voluntarily. They‘re adults. We don‘t send kids to war, we send people who have free will, legally, and in some deeper sense. You know, they go themselves. It doesn‘t make it any less of a tragedy, but you can‘t send other people to war when there‘s no draft. So I‘m not sure it‘s a fair point to make.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEITH: Tucker, my man, this is Keith in (INAUDIBLE). You are ubiquitous, man. You were everywhere today, hanging out with that Mathers (sic) dude, and I think I saw you with Olbermann. I got so tired of looking at your mug, I had to turn it to “Sesame Street,” and sure enough, Elmo was wearing a bowtie. What gives, man? Geez.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, thanks for your support, Keith. I appreciate it. They wouldn‘t let me on “Sesame Street” for anything. And no, I was not even on Olbermann. But they definitely wouldn‘t let me on “Sesame Street.” I don‘t think they have a lot of libertarian characters. I don‘t think even Snufalafagus passes muster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNN: Sorry, Tucker, this is Lynn from Lafayette, Indiana. I saw the story about the man and his feces spreading spree in the doughnut shop. This man should be hung out to dry. He should be made to clean the sewers and never come out. If I were the judge, that man would never see the light of day and nothing but the back end of a toilet brush. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I just think that‘s way too lenient. If this guy had walked into a bar, gotten into a fight with someone and shot him cold, killed him in the bar, he‘d be doing much less harm to society than by doing what he did. I‘m opposed to the death penalty under almost all circumstances, except this one. What this guy did was unforgivable, and society ought to impose the ultimate penalty. Sprinkling feces on doughnuts. That‘s just beyond the pale. You do that, you pay the price, pal. We kill you.
Let me know what you‘re thinking. 1-877-TCARLSON. That‘s 1-877-822-7576. You can also send your questions via our Web site. That‘s firstname.lastname@example.org. And I will respond to anything you come up with. I haven‘t been responding recently, because we‘ve been on the road, but today I managed to bang out a couple of responses. Tomorrow, when news slows down a little bit, I‘ll bang out more. You can see the responses at tucker.msnbc.com.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, if this looks like the biggest dog in the world, that‘s because it is. We‘ll give you his unbelievable measurements when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor,” next.
CARLSON: Thanks to a liberal furlough program, Willie Geist is back, joining us again for “The Cutting Room Floor.” Willie Geist!
WILLIE GEIST, THE SITUATION: Not a furlough program. I escaped, actually, Tucker. I‘m not proud of it, but I had to get here for the show tonight.
CARLSON: Take the initiative, man.
GEIST: Got to get right to it tonight. They‘re in the prompter, buddy.
CARLSON: Well, people have seen the image of Jesus Christ in everything from bathtub water stains to grilled cheese sandwiches, so it should come as no surprise that he‘s turned up on the side of a maple tree in Rochester, New York. The image jumped out at a man who was walking past the tree recently. Now people are flocking from all over New York to see it.
CARLSON: I for one am not going to mock it. I mean, that could be real.
GEIST: No, actually, and as those things go, those Jesus images, it‘s a pretty good one. It‘s better than the grilled cheese.
CARLSON: It does. I recognized it.
GEIST: It‘s not bad. You know, I don‘t want to be a naysayer, though, but I find it hard to believe that Jesus would, after all these years, reveal himself to us outside a men‘s Suit Factory in Rochester.
CARLSON: You never know. At least they‘re not trying to sell it on eBay.
GEIST: That‘s true.
CARLSON: All right. As you know by know, THE SITUATION is an unapologetically canine-friendly show. Aggressively so. Well, tonight, we tip our cap to the tallest dog in the world. He‘s a great dane named Gibson. He stands 7 feet tall. Wow. The Guinness Book of World records officially certified him as the tallest dog on the planet this week.
GEIST: Tucker, to me, great danes, they‘re almost not dogs. You know what I mean? They‘ve almost equine, whatever the world is. When I see them walking around New York, I get scared. It‘s like “Jurassic Park” or something. They shouldn‘t be pets, I don‘t think.
CARLSON: Not in Manhattan, anyway.
CARLSON: That‘s a shih tzu kind of town.
CARLSON: We‘re not sure why Colorado farmer Dave Schlogel (ph) took the time to build a machine that can launch pumpkins half a mile. Actually, I am sure why. But we‘re certainly glad he did. Schlogel (ph) took scrap parts from old farm equipment, got himself some compressed air, and built a pumpkin cannon. He says by next Halloween, he hopes to have a cannon that can shoot pumpkins a mile in the air.
CARLSON: I love this country.
GEIST: I look forward to that. But Tucker, don‘t you think this should probably be the final nail in the coffin of farm subsidies? They have so much money lying around that they‘re building machines that launch pumpkins a mile. I mean, come on.
CARLSON: You know, it‘s impossible to argue with that, Willie.
American ingenuity, always the best.
We want to update you now on a story we‘ve been following very closely, we here on THE SITUATION. Remember the guy who was arrested in New Hampshire a couple of months ago after he was caught in the waste tank of a public toilet looking up at women as they went to the bathroom? Justice has now been served in that case. The man must maintain good behavior for the next two years, or face a 30-day jail sentence. The judge chose not to send the man to jail, because she says he‘s already been exposed to enough public humiliation.
GEIST: I don‘t know about that. And by good behavior, sir, we mean just kind of keep yourself out of the sewer system altogether. All right, Chief? You know what I mean?
You know what—remember, this is the same guy, Tucker, who when he was confronted by the police, he said he was looking for his wedding ring that he had dropped in the women‘s room toilet somehow, and he was merely digging for his ring, and he happened to look up, and there were women.
CARLSON: See, I think he ought to be locked up with the pastry feces sprinkler.
GEIST: They should. They could be cell mates.
CARLSON: Creepy people like that.
CARLSON: Willie Geist!
GEIST: See you tomorrow, Tucker.
CARLSON: See you tomorrow.
That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight. Thanks for watching. Up next, “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN.” We‘ll be back here tomorrow night from Washington, live, with more breaking news. See you then.
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