updated 5/2/2006 11:03:49 AM ET 2006-05-02T15:03:49

Guests: Juan Hernandez, Sara Carter, Evelyn Sanchez, Jennifer Giroux

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  On a day of protest, the national anthem in Spanish.  It‘s a new twist on an old standard.  Tonight, why millions believe the song should remain the same.

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passport required, only common sense allowed.  Tonight, as we speak, hundreds of thousands of immigrants skipping work and jamming U.S. streets as the Day Without Immigrants boycott continues into the evening on the West Coast.  Right now, it‘s 6:00 PM Pacific Time as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle continue to feel the impact of protests that are aimed at allowing illegal immigrants to gain citizenship through a worker visa program.

Those protests have been taking place in cities across America today.  In Los Angeles, the first of two rallies drew a quarter of a million people.  In Denver, 75,000 protesters amassed at the state capitol.  Meantime, police in Chicago said 400,000 people marched through the Windy City streets, through the business district there.  And in New York, thousands took to the streets in each of the city‘s five boroughs.

Now, in other cities, thousands marched while waving flags from Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico and El Salvador.  And here in the nation‘s capital, nervous Democrats were fretting that the protests, combined with a new Spanish version of “The Star Spangled Banner” could actually hurt their cause and help conservative lawmakers who want to derail the immigration reform plan that‘s now being debated in Congress.

But the largest rallies are in Los Angeles, where MSNBC‘s Jennifer London is live tonight.  And Jennifer, you‘re on the scene.  Tell us what you‘re seeing.

JENNIFER LONDON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Joe.  A second rally is under way in Los Angeles at this hour, and by some estimates, we‘re hearing the crowd could be as large as 400,000 people.  They are currently marching down Wilshire Boulevard.  They are heading—they began, I should say, in MacArthur Park.  They are heading toward a place called the La Brea tar pits.  That takes them right through a microcosm of LA‘s essential part (ph) of ethnic diversity.

Now, this is a second rally, and it was organized in part by the archdiocese of Los Angeles.  Organizers say they wanted to hold this second rally later in the day, so it would give those people that decided to go to work today and those students who stayed in school today an opportunity to participate in the rallies.  There was an earlier rally this afternoon, where marchers crowded the streets here in downtown Los Angeles and descended upon City Hall.  One unofficial estimate said that was a half million people or more that crowded the streets.

They were calling for equality.  They were calling for justice.  And in one voice, the crowd screamed “Viva America.”  We‘re told that many of the major businesses in the downtown Los Angeles area were not affected by today‘s boycott and demonstrations.  However, and perhaps ironically, Joe, it was the small businesses in the Latino community that were affected the most.  Some of the stores and businesses say they closed voluntarily.  Others say they were forced to close because of the sheer volume of people, and they simply had no way of knowing if the protests and demonstrations would get out of hand.

But Joe, I can tell you, the earlier demonstration outside of City Hall today remained peaceful, for the most part.  We saw a sea of American flags waving.  Also, we saw Mexican flags.  There were demonstrators from many countries.  And Joe, one of the more poignant figures I saw was a man and a woman dressed in wedding gown and a wedding tux, and they were wrapped in the American flag and they had a sign that said, “America, will you marry me?”

SCARBOROUGH:  Jennifer, you‘re looking—these scenes we‘re showing right now—we‘re showing American flags, and they‘re going through this just massive crowd.  Again, estimates of close to 600,000 people in the protests in Los Angeles.  Of course, in San Francisco, we reported earlier they‘re talking about Honduras flags and flags from El Salvador and other countries.

But for the most part, have you seen American flags?  Have you seen people talking about their desire to become U.S. citizens?

LONDON:  Predominantly, I would say, Joe, the flags we saw waving today were American flags.  Now, that‘s not to say that there were not some Mexican flags and even flags from other countries.  We did speak to one person who was from Brazil, another immigrant from Iran.  But for the most part, they were American flags.

And I spoke to one woman who had marched here to City Hall earlier today, and she said, I may have been born in Mexico, but I live in America, and now I want to be an American.  She says this is where she works.  This is where she makes a living.  This is where she‘s raising her children.  And she would like to have the same rights as people who are actual citizens, and the demonstrators today really demanding that they be given a fair pass to citizenship.  That‘s what they say they really want.

SCARBOROUGH:  So I would take it—just judging by the size of the crowds in Los Angeles right now, 600,000, again, last report, jamming LA city streets—that organizers would have to believe that this protest was a great success, whether or not they were able to shut down enough businesses to have a real economic impact.  Is that correct?

LONDON:  Well, I think the economic impact toll, we may have to wait for a couple days to find out how great of an economic impact there was.  As I mentioned, the reports we were given have been that major businesses were not impacted, that it was some of the smaller businesses within the Latino community that were impacted the most.  However, some of those businesses closed willingly, so they knew what they were taking on.  Others say they were forced to close down.

But I think if you ask the protesters if today‘s rally was successful, they will say the point was to be given a voice.  Joe, I spoke to one person earlier  today, he said, This is a wake-up call.  We want to awaken everybody to what we go through as undocumented workers and the paths to citizenship that we seek.  They say, We don‘t want to be considered illegal immigrants.  We want to be here legally.  And they‘re asking for everyone to give them a chance and give them a pass to be legal citizens.

So if you were to base the success of the protests and the marches and the demonstrations on that, I would say that the organizers would say that today was successful.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much.  NBC‘s Jennifer London live from Los Angeles at the scene of some truly remarkable protests, some images that we‘re going to be carrying at least throughout the first half hour, as we talk about it.  Again, they‘ve had two protests right now, that one earlier in the day that was supposed to have about a quarter of a million people.  Right now, Jennifer‘s saying police estimates range (ph) here about 600,000.  In Chicago, the police and “The Chicago Tribune” estimating crowds between 300,000 and 400,000 there.  Again, packed, you know, just absolutely packed.

And what they want is, if you ask them, they want a right to become American citizens.  In Chicago, they were chanting, “Let us pay taxes.”  In New York City, they were demanding dignity.  In Los Angeles, many of them want to be able to work in America and bring their families to a place where so many have been working for years now.

But it doesn‘t just impact Los Angeles, Chicago, New York.  It affects American cities from coast to coast, big and small.  And to talk about the debate that really is not only dividing Washington, D.C., but also large segments of the American populace, let‘s bring in award-winning investigative reporter Sara Carter, and also Juan Hernandez.  He‘s former adviser to Mexican president Vicente Fox, and he‘s the author of “The New American Pioneers.”

Juan, I want to begin with you.  And if we can show the images of these people in the streets—I—I—they‘re remarkable pictures, Juan.  And when you—and these right now are from Florida.  But you have people protesting from southern Florida to southern California to Washington state, over to Washington, D.C., but they‘re not all American flags, and some Democrats on Capitol Hill were privately fretting earlier today that they believe these protests were actually going to hurt their cause.  It‘s going to make passing these immigration reforms that much harder.  What do you say to those Democrats that are very nervous tonight that this actually hurts the cause?

JUAN HERNANDEZ, FORMER ADVISER TO VICENTE FOX:  Well, my friend, I think the message is not just to the Democrats and to the Republicans, but it‘s to the entire United States.  This is a day that is going to be remembered as a very important day.  The giant has awakened.  It is a giant that is saying, as you just showed, America, will you marry me?  America, I want to pay taxes.  America, I‘m already a good U.S. citizen.  Give me the document to prove it to you.

SCARBOROUGH:  But Juan, you know, a lot of Americans would say they‘re not American good citizens.  In fact, the first act they committed was a criminal act, when they crossed the border without a legal visa, which, of course,  immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Asia have to have when they come in.  Why should these people be able to walk across the border, break our laws and have us ask them to marry them?

HERNANDEZ:  Well, up to today, it is not a criminal act.  It‘s just a misdemeanor.  If you speak to attorneys—we have been speaking out of both sides of our mouth.  We‘ve been saying, Don‘t come, Don‘t come, but if you make it, there‘s a great reward.

We do want them to work here.  We need them.  I‘ve spoken to I don‘t know how many governors in the United States, and they tell me, How can I get more people here to do the jobs that most of the citizens don‘t want to perform?  I know we‘ve heard this over and over, but that is the truth.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Juan, I want to read you something about the impact of a Day Without Illegal immigrants.  Congressman Tom Tancredo, who obviously has been opposing this reform from the very beginning...

HERNANDEZ:  I know him very well.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Tom wrote this in the “National Journal.”  He said

or “National Review.”  He said, If, in fact illegals went home for a day, youth gang membership would drop by 50 percent, auto theft would drop by 40 percent, Phoenix emergency rooms would have about 20 percent fewer patients, OB-GYN wards in Denver would have 24 percent fewer deliveries, and Los Angeles maternity ward deliveries would drop by 40 percent.  And he, of course, says that all of those costs go on American taxpayers‘ shoulders.

What would you say to Congressman Tancredo and the millions of Americans who agree with him that America would be better off without illegal immigrants?

HERNANDEZ:  Well, I would say that millions of Americans, the majority of U.S. Americans, do not agree with the gentleman you have just mentioned.  And to somehow say that most are in bandidos, that most are with gangs, that most of them are committing crimes, that is not fair at all.  There are pastors in this nation that have spent yesterday praying, fasting today.  There are priests—Mahoney himself—who had said, If this is going to become a crime, then I‘m sorry, we‘re going do fight so that we change the laws, and we may have to break some laws, even Mahoney said, because...

SCARBOROUGH:  Sara...

HERNANDEZ:  ... we will help the undocumented.  We will feed them.  We will shelter them...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right...

HERNANDEZ:  ... even as the Bible teaches.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  I bring in Sara Carter right now.  Sara Carter, you‘ve obviously been working and reporting along the border for some time now.  What have you heard about the possibility of a backlash to these marches?

SARA CARTER, “INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN”:  You know, Joe, today, I was speaking with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.  I was talking to analysts.  And they say this is going to backlash.  You‘re right, Democrats are worried now.  They‘re worried now that their guest worker proposal may not go through, that they may not be able to pass it.

And right now, what we‘re looking at, I mean, is obviously a demonstration, a will (ph) of people from—most illegal, some legal, speaking out and looking for hope.  But the question we have to ask is this.  And maybe we should ask Mr. Juan Hernandez.  Why are so many people fleeing Mexico?  Why are so many people fleeing Mexico and coming to the United States for a better life if Mexico is such a wonderful place to live?  I mean, this is the question.

And we‘re going to see a backlash from this.  I know that congressional leaders right now are planning on focussing on national security first and putting the guest worker program on a back burner until a national security issue can be developed.  And I know that the Senate right now is probably looking at the same thing.

SCARBOROUGH:  Juan, why—answer Sara‘s questions.  Why are things so bad in Mexico that you have millions of their residents flooding into America?

HERNANDEZ:  Well, Sara presented two areas there that we have to comment on.  Number one is that I‘ve also spoken to legislators, my dear Sara, my dear friend, but they‘re telling me the opposite.  Finally, the people, the immigrants, but not just immigrants, most of those people who are marching are U.S. citizens, and they are saying, Why do we...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re saying most of those people that we‘re seeing on the screen are U.S. citizens?

HERNANDEZ:  Yes, sir!  Yes, sir!  You‘re finding...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You really expect us to believe that?

HERNANDEZ:  ... Hispanics today—well, my friend, I‘m talking about the pendulum has now gone the other way, and we will get together I bet six months, a year from now...

CARTER:  Juan...

HERNANDEZ:  ... I hope you‘ll invite me back to your show—let me finish, my dear Sara—and we will see that legislators will have passed a law to dignify these people...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right...

HERNANDEZ:  ... not to criminalize them.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Now, my dear Juan, I have to ask you to answer my question...

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and that is, Why are people leaving Mexico if it‘s such a great place?

HERNANDEZ:  No, Mexico is a great place, and the United States of America is the land of opportunity.  The United States of America is probably the place that anyone around the world would dream about coming.  There is a push and there is a pull.  Mexico needs to get its act together.  Yes, Mexico needs to work to create jobs down there so that people don‘t have to come up here because they can‘t feed their families.  And there are many who come because of that.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right...

HERNANDEZ:  But there‘s also a pull, my friends, both of my friends.  There‘s also a pull.  We need these people here.  Let‘s create a program that is good for America.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Juan...

HERNANDEZ:  Let‘s give them the visas.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m sorry, we‘re coming up on a hard break.  We‘re going to have to go.  Juan Hernandez, Sara Carter, we thank you for being with us today, on this historic day.  And it is a historic day, and we will see how America responds.

Coming back—when we come back, we‘ll be talking about the national anthem in Spanish with Pat Buchanan.  That‘s when we return.  And the Kid from Brooklyn.  Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  “The Star Spangled Banner”—it‘s a song that‘s been ingrained in American culture since Francis Scott Key penned a poem for the original flag that survived a night of British bombardment at Fort McHenry back in 1814.  Now, maybe the national anthem‘s long and storied history is why so many Americans are upset that a new Spanish version has not only changed the language but also key words.  So now even “The Star Spangled Banner” has made its way into the increasingly contentious immigration debate.  Changing the national anthem‘s words is not a concept that caught on with the Kid From Brooklyn, either.  And if you don‘t like the sound of bleeps, time to go pour yourself another cup of Sanka because the Kid is back, he‘s mad as hell, and he‘s not going take it anymore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  About the national anthem, Joe, what the (DELETED)‘s the story?  They want to do it in (DELETED) Spanish now?  Are you (DELETED) kidding me?  The last time I heard, this was the United States of America!  If you don‘t know how to sing the national anthem in English, then get the (DELETED) out!  Go back where the (DELETED) you came from!  This is America!  Anyway, this is the big man.  I‘m steaming up with that national anthem, www.thekidfrombrooklyn.com and the big man‘s always happy to see you!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘m sure some of our viewers are always happy to see you, big man.  Our thanks to the Kid From Brooklyn for celebrating the 2nd Amendment with us tonight.  Now, if you want your voice to be heard, send us your video blog to joe@msnbc.com.

A lot of Americans are so angry, and we‘re going to continue celebrating the 1st Amendment now, though, through a more dignified manner with MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan, and also, from northern California, Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition person Evelyn Sanchez.

Pat, let me begin with you.  Americans—so many Americans I‘ve talked to are very angry about this issue.  Why?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well, it‘s a provocation and an insult.  And you know, as the great grandson of Francis Scott Key said, I mean, for a foreigner to come into this country and then insult and alter our national anthem is simply despicable.

SCARBOROUGH:  But isn‘t America the melting pot?

BUCHANAN:  Yes, America‘s the melting pot, Joe, but we have our own—we have our own symbols of nationhood.  People are welcome to come here and become Americans.  They‘re not welcome to come here and insult the symbols of our country, and that‘s what these outsiders have done.

But it‘s a good thing in this sense.  The American people are awakening to the character of these people.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you say they‘re awakening to the character of these people—you see this as a direct assault.  Others would say—the State Department, in fact, Condoleezza Rice, said it was a good idea because it would have more people singing their allegiance to the America.  Do you disagree with Condoleezza Rice?

BUCHANAN:  I certainly do.  I think this is an insult.  Even Teddy Kennedy said “The Star Spangled Banner” ought to be sung in English, and it ought to be sung with the words of our national anthem.  The good thing about this insult is that I think a lot of Americans are going to tell their senators and congressmen, You had better not capitulate to these people demanding amnesty and demanding the right to control our border, when a whole bunch of them are here illegally.

SCARBOROUGH:  Evelyn Sanchez, what‘s your take on the Spanish national anthem?  Do you think this is going to actually hurt immigration reform being passed?

EVELYN SANCHEZ, CA IMMIGRANT WORKERS FREEDOM RIDE COALITION:  Well, no doubt that the national anthem being sung in Spanish, as you have said in the introduction, has entered the debate, but by no means is it the central issue of this debate.  What‘s more, I think it‘s just a distraction point.

The important thing here is that there are millions of both immigrants and U.S. citizens that are family members of these immigrants that have taken the streets today, proclaiming that they want citizenship, that they want to become part of society, that they want Green Cards so that they can integrate into our communities fully.  I think that is the important thing that we need to focus on here...

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ:  ... and not get distracted by little—go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH:  No, I was just going to say, Pat Buchanan, do you think that this—this Spanish national anthem is a red herring?

BUCHANAN:  No (INAUDIBLE) Well, look, it was done as a deliberate provocation and insult, but there‘s also a side effort here.  These characters want to make some money.  They know if they offend the Americans, the Americans will react because we love the national anthem and will act like your friend did in Brooklyn.

But I do think—to get back to the fundamental point, I think the lady is correct, there is a basic point here, and our basic point is you cannot break our laws, walk into our country, then march in our streets under foreign flags and say, Give us citizenship in the United States.  If you‘re so happy under that flag, return to the country whose flag it is.

SCARBOROUGH:  Evelyn Sanchez, respond to that.

SANCHEZ:  Well, I would only have to say that these immigrants are people that have been here now for literally years.  They have formed families here.  They have jobs here.  Many have even bought houses, have contributed to the economy as consumers, as workers, as taxpayers, as cultural assets, et cetera.  So they have won their right to become fully integrated into these communities, and that‘s what the point of all these mobilizations are today.  But...

BUCHANAN:  These are not immigrants.  These are not immigrants, these are intruders.  We have legitimate immigrants in this country who are entitled to all their rights, includes marching, if they wish to do so.  We have American citizens.  These are people who broke in and do not belong here.  And if you take a look at it, they cost us in net (ph) enormous amounts of money.  Their crime rate is far above the national crime rate.  They come in without health inspections.  There many diseases now in the United States that were not here 10 years ago, that are being brought from the third world.  And we got to get control of our borders.  And they‘re not the ones to decide this.  American citizens are!

SCARBOROUGH:  Evelyn Sanchez, do you understand why many American citizens would be angry about these people taking to the streets today, protesting, using our 1st Amendment to protest and then claiming that America is shutting them out, when many Americans just believe they don‘t belong here because the first act they took was a crime, when they crossed the border?

SANCHEZ:  Well, I don‘t know how many mobilizations Mr. Buchanan has been to, but I‘ve been to several now.  And I can tell you that there is widespread support on behalf of citizens for immigrants.  America has always welcomed immigrants, and it‘s no different today as it was in the beginning of last century or in the founding of this country.

So I believe that all Americans accept immigrants and are willing to embrace them, and that what is more, there are thousands (ph), and most American citizens are pushing for the Senate to do the right thing and to integrate these people into our society and to give them citizenship.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  We welcome immigration.  We don‘t welcome an invasion by 12 million illegals!

SCARBOROUGH:  And Pat, very quickly, do you believe that, in the end, that this immigration bill will die because of this issue and because of the marches today?

BUCHANAN:  I think today‘s marches—and I think this—this “Star Spangled Banner” insult will make it very, very difficult for Republicans or Democrats to start declaring amnesty for the people that did it!

SCARBOROUGH:  And I think we heard that today, as you say, even from Teddy Kennedy.  This was not helpful today for those that believe in the president‘s immigration reform bill.  Pat Buchanan, Evelyn Sanchez, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

BUCHANAN:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH (on-camera):  And now it‘s time for another “Flyover” of

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, stories the mainstream media‘s not reporting, but we

do.  First up tonight, the Cornhusker state, land of the Huskers and home -

actually, we‘re going to go from the land of the Huskers to the home of the Ducks, where Oregon‘s top liquor control administrator got into a little too much liquid last week and found herself busted for drunk driving.  Seems the head of the liquor control lost control of her car, got into a car wreck and then lost her job.  Whoops!  Talk about liquor control gone wrong.  But I‘m not judging.  After all, sounds like Southerners‘ idea of gun control.  That is, Will you hold the shotgun steady while you shoot?

And also, we go to California, where a fashion crime sent a released convict back to jail in Redlands, California.  Joseph Azter (ph) was recently freed from prison after serving time for theft.  But it seems Mr.  Stickyfingers forgot to leave behind his prison-issued windbreaker before he walked out of jail.  The bright yellow jacket (INAUDIBLE) the following word, “CDC Prisoner.”  Duh.  After seeing the former and future convict on the street, an understandably concerned citizen called the cops, who rearrested Mr. Azter and promptly shipped him back to jail, where he can now show off his prison-issued windbreaker night and day.  Alas (ph), a happy ending for all.

And still ahead: He‘s one of the worst dictators in the world, starving his people and hoarding nuclear weapons.  But now you don‘t believe which (ph) Ivy League institution is telling his students they need to give him respect.

And then...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hee-hee.  That‘s great.  (INAUDIBLE) watch movies and cuddle, kiss and make out, then head up to your bedroom and touch each other and have sex.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  NBC‘s done it again.  They‘ve caught perverts in the very act of soliciting sex from children, “DATELINE‘s” latest sting netting a student from an evangelical college, a teacher, and many more.  It‘s behind the scenes, and you won‘t believe what you see.  That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The Catholic Church is now calling for an all-out boycott of “The Da Vinci Code.”  The question is:  Will the church‘s move hurt or help this sure-to-be summer blockbuster hit? 

We‘ll be talking about that straight ahead, but first here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The pope‘s church taking on a popular movie even before it‘s released.  One of the top officials calling it, quote, “anti-Christian.”  But will Catholics and other Christians heed the call to boycott “The Da Vinci Code”? 

And it‘s one of the most respected universities in the world.  So what kind of example is Harvard setting by asking some students to be respectful of one of the world‘s worst tyrants? 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘re going to be talking about those stories in just minutes, but first it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” some video you got to see. 

Now, if you missed it over the weekend, the White House Correspondents Association held its annual dinner, and the highlight of the evening was the president making some shots at himself with the help of a well-placed look-alike. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I‘m absolutely delighted to be here, as is Laura. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, IMPERSONATOR:  She‘s hot. 

(LAUGHTER)

Muy caliente. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH:  As you know, I always look forward to these dinners. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, IMPERSONATOR:  It‘s just a bunch of media types, Hollywood liberals, Democrats like Joe Biden.  How come I can‘t have dinner with the 36 percent of the people who like me? 

BUSH:  You know, it‘s good to see so many influential guests here tonight, Justice Scalia, Justice Alito. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, IMPERSONATOR:  Yes, all the usual suspects.  Speaking of suspects, where is the Great White Hunter? 

BUSH:  I‘m sorry Vice President Cheney couldn‘t be here tonight. 

(LAUGHTER)

So I want to talk about some serious issues, such as...

GEORGE W. BUSH, IMPERSONATOR:  OK, here it comes, “nuclear proliferation,” “nuclear proliferation,” “nuclear proliferation.” 

BUSH:  “Nucular proliberation.” 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, the president‘s routine gave the D.C. crowd what they loved best:  false modesty. 

And you know, like the Gridiron Dinner, these events are supposed to singe and not burn.  Unfortunately for the president, the press and the presenter, Comedy Central‘s Stephen Colbert took a blowtorch after Bush in a way that left even his biggest fans, including myself, uncomfortable, a feeling that was shared by liberals and conservatives in the audience alike. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  So don‘t pay attention to the approval ratings that say that 68 percent of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing.  I ask you this:  Does that not also logically mean that 68 percent approve of the job he‘s not doing? 

(LAUGHTER)

Look, by the way, I‘ve got a theory about how to handle these retired generals that are causing all this trouble:  Don‘t let them retire.  Come on, we‘ve got a stop-loss lost program.  Let‘s use it on these guys. 

I‘ve seen the Zinni and that crowd on Wolf Blitzer.  If you‘re strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you‘re strong enough to stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle.  Come on. 

Listen, let‘s review the rules.  Here‘s how it works:  The president makes decisions.  He‘s the decider. 

(LAUGHTER)

The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down.  Make, announce, type.  Just put them through a spell check and go home. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  The press wasn‘t laughing at that.  They don‘t laugh at themselves very well.  I know; I‘m one of them. 

But Stephen Colbert a very, very funny man and his show, “The Colbert Report,” one of the funniest on television.  In fact, it‘s even got me switching from David Letterman to Comedy Central. 

However, it was just off.  His humor didn‘t translate there.  And, in part, again it‘s because, when you go to these things, it‘s supposed to bring the press and the politicians and the president together for one night, and there was just something about seeing the president five feet away, especially with his wife right next to him, that offended a lot of people. 

Anyway, if you think the president was uncomfortable with that performance, you should see how nervous “DATELINE NBC‘s” undercover investigation is making child predators. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HANSEN, CORRESPONDENT, “DATELINE NBC”:  What makes a man get in a car and drive two hours? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know.  Just somebody wanted to meet me, and I wanted to meet them, I guess. 

HANSEN:  At 2:00 in the morning? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I didn‘t really want—I mean, I wasn‘t looking for nothing. 

HANSEN:  You walk into a house...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I wasn‘t—I mean, I was kind of scared about it, to be honest with you, I mean...

HANSEN:  Well, you walked in. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, joining that man are two others in the heartland who got an unexpected date with “DATELINE.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Where are you? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m just going upstairs to get a Band-Aid.  I‘ll be right back down, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right.

HANSEN (voice-over):  Then he appears to pull down the zipper on the front of his pants.  What he‘s planning to do next we‘ll never know. 

(on camera):  How are you tonight? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Fine. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  He stops as soon as he sees me.

(on camera):  Now, what were you doing with your pants there when you were heading towards the door?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My zipper came down.  Excuse me.  I was just going outside to make sure everything is OK. 

HANSEN:  Well, you brought quite the selection tonight. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, sir.

HANSEN:  What do we have here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s mine. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  Alonzo claims the 12-pack of beer and two six-packs of Mike‘s Hard Lemonade are all just for him. 

(on camera):  Were you going to give any to the 15-year-old? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.  I don‘t do that. 

I‘ve got a 15-year-old daughter myself. 

HANSEN:  Well, come on, Alonzo.  You brought the 12-pack and two six-packs here to his house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I said, what does she like to drink?  I said I was never—I was going to bring it.  You got in black and white saying that I‘d say that I bring it.

HANSEN:  And you brought it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, I did.

HANSEN:  You say that...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But she also asked for it. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  Alonzo says he didn‘t want to drink in front of his daughter, so he came here to drink, not to have sex.  But he seems to leave the door open. 

(on camera):  It appears to be clear from this transcript that you are open to the idea of having sex with this girl. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.  Well, it appeared yes.  Would I?  No, or maybe.  All right, maybe.

HANSEN:  What is it, Alonzo?  Yes, no, maybe so. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Maybe. 

HANSEN:  Maybe. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

HANSEN:  So maybe you would have had sex with this girl?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Maybe.

HANSEN:  What should happen to you, Alonzo? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I should go to jail. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  And that‘s exactly what‘s about to happen. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sheriff‘s office.  Put the beer down right now. 

Put it down. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Put your hands in the air. 

HANSEN:  Like our most recent investigation, Perverted Justice is cooperating with local law enforcement, providing the Darke County, Ohio, sheriff‘s men with the evidence needed to make an arrest.  Here in Ohio, showing up for sex with a minor after soliciting them online is a felony. 

After deputies read Alonzo his rights...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sir, listen to me right now.  You have the right to remain silent, do you understand that? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, sir.

HANSEN:  ... he‘s taken in for questioning, photographed, fingerprinted, and put behind bars. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Where you at?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘ve got to get a Band-Aid (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Just hang out...

HANSEN (on camera):  Hey, why don‘t you hang out—have a seat right there next to the bar for me, will you?  Keep your hands out of your pockets, Jason.  Come on.  Just go over here and have a seat, please.  No, no, sir, right here, please. 

What‘s going on?  Why don‘t you tell me, to get things started:  Tell me what was happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know. 

HANSEN:  You don‘t know? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I do, and I‘m sorry. 

HANSEN:  You‘re sorry for what? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For being a frickin‘ idiot.

HANSEN (voice-over):  And it turns out Jason really does work at a firehouse as a paramedic. 

(on camera):  Now, in your chat here, you essentially say you‘re a firefighter. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

HANSEN:  Don‘t you think that might impress a 13-year-old girl? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, look, I‘m sorry.  I...

HANSEN:  What was your plan here today? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know. 

HANSEN:  You don‘t know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I seriously don‘t know. 

HANSEN:  Well, it looks like you knew, based upon this chat.  “Want me to rub your feet?” 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, no, OK, all right.

HANSEN:  What would have happened if I had not been here? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would have done something stupid. 

HANSEN:  With a 13-year-old girl? 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Something stupid to a 13-year-old.  Again, for parents out there, you watch these “DATELINE” specials, you‘ve got to be nervous.  You‘ve got to understand it is so important to stay on top of your children‘s usage of the computer, especially when they go on the Internet or they go into these chat rooms.  Their lives literally could be at risk. 

I‘m joined now by Rita Cosby.  She‘s host of “LIVE & DIRECT.”  Rita, what do you have coming up for us tonight? 

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Well, we‘ve got a packed show tonight, Joe. 

We have photos that could prove to be pivotal in the Duke rape case.  They‘re going to show one of the suspects at the bank.  But why was he there? 

Plus, Howard Stern unplugged.  We‘re going to have a lot more of my interview with radio shock jock Howard Stern who talked about Hollywood and whether he would buy a major media company himself.  Some of his answers will surprise you. 

And, Joe, we‘re going to have that and a lot more at the top of the hour.  Hope you tune in, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I certainly will.  And speaking of Hollywood, Rita, you look very good standing next to George Clooney. 

COSBY:  Thank you very much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Great night.

COSBY:  I‘m going to put the picture on the blog. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m sure you will.  Thanks so much. 

And make sure you tune in to Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT,” coming up next at 10:00. 

And next year, all the Hollywood elites will be whooping it up in New York this August.  But given that it‘s Bill Clinton‘s birthday, the event‘s sure to stay presidential, at least while the cleed lights (ph) are on. 

Plus, the Vatican takes on “The Da Vinci Code,” and the church is calling the movie slanderous and asking all Catholics around the world to boycott it.  We‘ll have that debate straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The premiere of “The Da Vinci Code” is now just days away, but as it draws closer, the controversy over the movie just keeps getting hotter by the minute. 

On Friday, the Vatican‘s archbishop called for a boycott of the film, saying, quote, “I hope all of you boycott this film.  It contains slander, offenses and errors that, if they were directed toward the Koran or the Holocaust, would rightly have provoked a worldwide uprising.”

This on the heels of the archbishop of Canterbury using his Easter sermon to rip the movie and the book apart.  So the question tonight:  Is “The Da Vinci Code” a blockbuster or is it blasphemy?

With me talk about it, the growing firestorm, Flavia Colgan, MSNBC analyst and a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School.  And also with us, Jennifer Giroux of Women Influencing the Nation. 

Flavia Colgan, I think the pope‘s man makes a very good point, the cardinal, by saying that, if these attacks were directed towards the Koran or the Holocaust, there would be worldwide uprising.  Why should the Catholic Church just sit back and take it with a smile on their face? 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  I don‘t think that they should take it with a smile on their face, but I think the approach—I completely disagree with it. 

One, I think it misses a tremendous opportunity.  I mean, this is a great springboard and a platform for people to get into discussions about the real life of Jesus, and about the New Testament, about the Gospel.  And I think that they should do what many pastors across this country are doing, which is using this as an occasion to talk to both Christians and non-Christians about the historical and biblical issues that the movie brings up.

SCARBOROUGH:  So you‘re against the boycott?

COLGAN:  Absolutely.  And not only that, but I think it‘s only going to cause people to see the movie more.  I mean, Sony should send them a check for this. 

I mean, in terms of the freedom of expression, I think that Americans tend to take a very bad view as feeling as if they‘re censored.  I think the much better idea here, in order to prevent bigotry, would be to engage and have discussion and dialogue about it. 

And I certainly don‘t think that the church should shy away from this discussion; I think they have very good answers.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, let me bring in Jennifer Giroux here.  Jennifer, what‘s the big deal?  It‘s a movie.  The Catholic Church has been around 2,000 years.  They can withstand this, right?

JENNIFER GIROUX, WOMEN INFLUENCING THE NATION:  Flavia, this is not about shying away from a discussion; the Catholic Church is about guarding and advising souls.  And the best way to do that is to let them know that, when something is attacking the very heart of what our church is about, and this movie is about exploiting people‘s lack of knowledge on scripture history and the Catholic teaching, that goes right after a legitimate and holy institution of Opus Dei within the church. 

And it is dangerous in the sense that it says that it is fictional, but you will notice on the first page of the book it talks about facts within the Catholic Church, which are erroneous.  This is very dangerous.  And because of the lack of...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Jennifer, aren‘t movie-goers smart enough to know that this is just a Hollywood movie? 

GIROUX:  You know, Joe, unfortunately, because the last 30 years there have been a breakdown in the teachings within the Catholic Church, there are some Catholics that don‘t know their faith well.  And that is a very sad thing.

I think there is a comeback going on within the church and catechesis, but it leads Catholics, even strong Catholics, into dangerous waters of conspiracy and planting seeds of doubt. 

And the honest fact is:  This is an attack, again by Hollywood, on the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church has always held firm on the things that cause Hollywood hate:  homosexuality, abortion, teaching on no sex outside of marriage. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Let me bring in Flavia here. 

Flavia, you‘ve got a divinity degree from Harvard.  A lot of my

friends don‘t.  And they read this book, and they come to me and they say -

and I mean, these are people that have been going to church for years. 

The say:  What parts of those are true?  I mean, there are some very confused people that have walked away from “The Da Vinci Code” that have questioned their faith.  You can understand that, can‘t you? 

COLGAN:  Absolutely.  And that‘s exactly why people should inform themselves, and not not see the movie, and educate themselves.  It‘s for me as a person of faith...

(CROSSTALK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  But if their lies, though, why do they have to see lies to have their beliefs in their church reinforced? 

COLGAN:  Well, first of all, I do think that we have to keep in mind, as you pointed out, that this is a fictional movie.  And I do think that it infantilizes people. 

And I find it a bit of an insult that, through thousands of years when the church has been attacked and misrepresented, that somehow a fictional movie is going to cause people to have doubts about their faith. 

I think that, in terms of anti-Catholic bigotry or persecution, people should be concerned about real persecution going on in China and around the world.  I mean, we should be, you know, limiting our outrage to things like that.  And this should serve as a way for us to get into a discussion.

GIROUX:  Flavia, there is a lot of dangers here—there‘s a lot of dangers here of leading people down the path of purporting that Christ came to Earth to elevate feminism?  Give me a break.  You know...

(CROSSTALK)

GIROUX:  You do not let a child play with a Ouija board in order for him to understand the dangers involved in it.

COLGAN:  It‘s a movie. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We‘re going to have to...

COLGAN:  It‘s a movie.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... leave it there.  Flavia says it‘s a movie.  Jennifer says...

GIROUX:  It‘s a bigoted movie that it absolutely assaults the Catholic Church.

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s what Jennifer says.

And we‘ll be right back.  Thank you so much for being with us.  Be right back in a second with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘m Joe, and I‘ve got issues with Harvard.  It seems, according to the “New York Post‘s” Deborah Orin, that Harvard is offering alumni a $636-a-night totalitarian luxury tour of North Korea, where people earn less than $600 in an entire year.

The “Harvard Alumni Magazine” encourages its graduates to show proper demonstrations of respect for the country‘s late crazy leader and his crazy son, Kim Jong Il.  Respect to the most oppressive Stalinistic regime on Earth?  Why?

We‘ll be right back with our mailbag.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And now it‘s time for the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY mailbag.  First, from Greta in Florida:  “Joe, I have nothing immigration demonstrations, but why aren‘t the immigrants demonstrating in their own country for better wages and living conditions?”  Very good point.

And this from Jennifer in Tucson, Arizona:  “Dear Joe, I‘d like to propose that everybody in the United States go one day without gasoline.  This will prove that we will not allow Big Oil to dictate what we will pay at the pump.  What do you think?”

I think it‘s going to take a lot more than one day, but that‘s a good start.

And we want to hear from you in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Send your e-mails to Joe@MSNBC.com.  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT” starts right now—Rita?

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Thank you, Joe, very much.  And good evening, everybody at home.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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