updated 5/26/2006 1:07:46 PM ET 2006-05-26T17:07:46

Guests: Juan Jose Gutierrez, Barbara Boxer, Jack Burkman, Laura Schwartz, Sara Carter, Carmen Rasmusen, Jessica Sierra, Pat Lalama, Katrina Szish, Gloria Allred

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

The Senate passes an immigration bill, a mini amnesty.  Are lawmakers thumbing their noses at the law?  And stunning words from the commander in chief.  Tonight, admitting mistakes and saying he sent the wrong signal to world.

And more people voted for Taylor Hicks than George W. Bush.  But did America still get it wrong?  Why some say the best idol never had a chance.

Welcome to the special 10:00 p.m. edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

We’re back.  No passport required.  Only common sense allowed.

We’re going to have those stories straight ahead and ask why Enron businessmen are soon going to be spending more time in jail than child molesters.

But first, the Senate passes an immigration bill that millions of Americans consider to be nothing short of amnesty.  While political pundits and media elites praise the work of Washington politicians,  middle America is mad.

They’re mad at politicians for awarding illegal behavior.  They’re mad at elitists for calling them racists for simply supporting the rule of law.  They’re mad at the president of the United States they voted for because he no longer shares their values.

Now friends, like it or not, that’s the view of most in middle America.

Now outside the confines of Washington or Manhattan, the question regarding illegal immigration is framed very simply.  Will America enforce its laws or not?

Tonight, millions believe we will not.  So does this Senate bill really grant amnesty?  Will its passage spell the end for the Republican majority?  And will conservatives forever turn on the president they elected in 2004.

Let’s go ahead and bring in MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.

Pat, I want to ask you, did the president today along with the senators betray - many of the concerned who voted for them just 18 months ago.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  Now she did do that.  Not only betrayed the conservatives, I can hear you loud and clear.  Can you hear me?

SCARBOROUGH:  I can now, go ahead.  

BUCHANAN:  OK.  The president of the United States has really sold out  middle America on this, Joe.  He has given people who -- 12  million people who broke the law. broke into our country, he is giving them a path to something we used to consider priceless.  That’s American citizenship.

We have now depreciated that currency.  And the president of  the United States is responsible for doing it.  We now have a situation where the House of Representatives alone, the people’s House is going to  have to decide whether it stands with the president, Vicente Fox and George Bush, or whether it  stands with the American people.

This is one of the most important issues, Joe, and the biggest issues of my lifetime because it’s about the face of America, what we’re going to look like 30, 40 years from  now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, it’s so interest, Pat is when I’m in Washington, when I’m in New York, when I’m talking to a lot of my friends that  haven’t gotten out in middle America in quite sometime, they act like Americans are racist if they oppose granting what they consider to be amnesty to these illegal immigrants.

But the fact is I think this is the single issue that will blow up in the faces of Republicans in the House, in the Senate if they pass it.  And that—I’m saying that as a political analyst.  I’m not saying that, you know, as far as whether I support this bill or not.

You go out into middle America and the anger is palpable out there.  And Pat, I just don’t think Republican leaders in Washington get it.  

BUCHANAN:  OK I think the House leaders do, Joe.  But I’ve got to agree with you 100 percent.  If the House of Representatives, the Republican House goes out and tells the American people, look, we’ve heard you, we’ve listened to you, we don’t care what you say, we’re going to go with what the corporations demand, there is no  longer an argument for a Republican House.

I think if the Republican House does not stop this amnesty bill, this guest worker bill, the Republican party loses the House.  And I  think they deserve to do it.

I mean, this is a bill.  Look who’s behind it.  You got these  service workers’ union.  You got La Raza.  You got Teddy Kennedy.  You got McCain.   You got Frisk.  You got Bush.  You’ve got the establishment and the chamber of commerce.

Whereas middle America is 100 percent behind - or against amnesty.  They want the laws the United States of America enforced.   This is a—Joe, this is going to be a great battle.  And I’ll tell you, it  will decide the Congress of the United States. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I think it will.  And what’s so interesting, and you touched on it when you talked about big business, for some of these people to support this bill, it has nothing to do with the immigrants coming in and becoming citizens.  It has everything to do with big business getting cheap labor.

Now tonight, I talked to Senator Barbara Boxer about the divisive debate.  And I asked her if she believed the Senate just gave amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA:  It’s not amnesty.   It basically says that if you’re in this country, and you have a clean record, and you can prove that you’ve been here for five years, then you get to the back of the line.  You have to pay a fine.  You have to learn English.  And you have to wait your turn.

Amnesty is just saying everyone in this country is a citizen.  

We certainly don’t do that.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Why doesn’t the Senate, why doesn’t the House, why doesn’t the president take more aggressive steps to punish businesses that profit from illegal immigration? 

BOXER:  It’s very difficult, I believe, to go after a legitimate business that is trying hard if you don’t have the proper identification, if you don’t have a border that is protected.  

SCARBOROUGH:  The conservative basis certainly at odds with the president over his stand on illegal immigration and immigration reform.  Why don’t you talk about the president?  How do you think he’s been   handling this issue? 

BOXER:  In speeches that I’ve heard, I heard him talk about a  guest worker program only.  I heard that for a long time.  And I looked at his guest worker program.  And I was very worried about it because I felt it would take away jobs from American workers.  I felt that it was not practical because the way he had it - he had drawn it up, you would have to go home after you were here six years.  I didn’t think people would do that.

And so I thought it would open up the door to many more illegal  immigrants.

Then he told James Sensenbrenner over at the House that he supported the enforcement piece.  And that was a very, very tough piece, as you know, over on the House side that made people felons if they helped an illegal immigrant, let alone if they were an illegal immigrant.

So then I was confused on that.  And I don’t really know exactly  where the president’s coming down, but in general I agree with him that this is definitely an issue that we have to tackle.  And I think what’s come out of it is a pretty good compromise.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey Senator, thanks as always for being with us.  I really appreciate it. 

BOXER:  Thanks, Joe. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Along with Pat Buchanan now, let’s bring in investigative   reporter Sara Carter and Juan Jose Gutierrez.  He’s the director of Latino Movement USA.

Juan, talk about the Senate bill that passed today.  A lot of   middle America doesn’t like it.  They think it’s amnesty.  Are they wrong? 

JUAN JOSE GUTIERREZ, LATINO MOVEMENT USA:  They’re wrong.  We didn’t get everything that we wanted in this bill, nonetheless, I think that tonight, we achieved something truly historic.  

Think about where immigrants were when the House of   Representatives passed that horrible bill, HR 3477, better known as the Sensenbrenner bill, that only penalized and criminalized   immigrants.  So we’ve come a long way from there.

I think that the millions of people that took to the streets and   decided to say enough have achieved something that they can feel proud of.

And I’d like to mention, you know, something that Mr. Pat Buchanan said a little while ago in no uncertain terms, that what’s at stake here is what America is going to look like 20 or 30 years from now.  And I don’t see why he sees a problem that America will look more diverse and more integrated.  I think that that’s really racism.  And he needs to be called that.  And. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, are you a racist?  Pat, are you a racist?

BUCHANAN:  No.  Pat Buchanan—no, I’m not a racist.  And these are not immigrants.  These are illegal aliens who have broken into our country, broken our laws, and now are demanding the rights of citizens.  And American citizens should stand up and say no, you go back and you get in line.

As for who comes here, we decide that, my friend, not you.  

GUTIERREZ:  Well, you know what?  I’m a human being myself.  And I don’t think that the fact that you’re agitating the right wing in this country makes you, you know, the only source of truth. 

The fact of the matter is that these people are not illegal aliens.  They’re workers.  They create wealth.  You know, they’re part of a community.  They’re doing a lot of good for this country.

You know, they’re here and they have been here for a number of years.  And America has done well.

You know, to be calling them illegal aliens and law breakers, and so on and so forth, you know, really.

BUCHANAN:  .that’s not.

GUTIERREZ:  .change the fact that, you know, when your ancestors came to America during the potato famine of the 18 - you know, mid 1800s, you know, the Irish people that came here, you know, they came in.  And they came in easy.  And that was all right. 

Well, why is it that you have a problem when the new immigrants are Mexicans or Central Americans?  Look, Pat, you know, you have to deal with reality.

BUCHANAN:  I’ve got no problem.

GUTIERREZ:  You can’t be calling us, you know that, we can’t be here.  

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

BUCHANAN:  Look. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead, Pat.  

BUCHANAN:  I’m calling - look, let me talk little bit.  I’m not calling you any name if you’re an American citizen.

(AUDIO GAP)

.well they serve in its armed forces.

What we’re talking about is 12 million people that broke into   our country.  6 million of them have tried to break in under George Bush.  We’ve got an invasion.

GUTIERREZ:  Oh, no, no, no.

BUCHANAN:  And if you’re an American citizen, you would  believe we ought to stop that invasion.

GUTIERREZ:  Jesus Christ.

BUCHANAN:  And we don’t reward invaders.  We don’t reward criminals.  They’re not felons, but it’s a misdemeanor here.  And it is a  felony in Mexico.  And it is the Mexican government that is pushing these folks into this country, because it’s a corrupt and failed regime which the biggest problems... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Sara here.  Sara Carter, you’ve been investigating this for sometime now.  Talk about the border guards.   Are they feeling overwhelmed?  Do they believe that this is going to make their job even more difficult?

SARA CARTER, INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN:  They absolutely do believe that this is going to make their job more   difficult.

And one of the things that they told me today is that they were so disheartened by what happened today in the Senate.  And they’re angry.  They don’t even know why they’re doing their job if there’s no   problem on the border.  And if each time, people cross into this country illegally after a certain number of years, they’re going to be given the opportunity for amnesty, why are they at the border to begin  with?  What does this mean?

You know, Pat brought up a point here.  You know, the House is going to fight.  And I talked as well to many congressional leaders over the last few days, who said they’re going to fight the Senate bill that they do not want to see amnesty take hold, and that this guest worker program is nothing more than a path to amnesty.

And there are laws.  And one, let me tell you this.  Mexico does have very stringent laws against illegal immigrants in the country of Mexico.  Yet they do have a public relations firm here in the United States that pushes for more migration policies and for the   legalization of those who live here illegally.  So.  

GUTIERREZ:  Well.

CARTER:  .it’s certainly a conflict.

GUTIERREZ:  May I say something?  May I say something? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Sure, Juan, go ahead. 

GUTIERREZ:  The question is what are we going to do about the millions of hard-working, tax paying undocumented workers that are here?  Is Pat Buchanan proposing that because they came in without proper authorization, that we ought to round them up and send them all back to wherever they came from?  Yes or no?  I thought that we defeated fascism in World War II.  

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me answer that, Juan.  Let me answer that.

GUTIERREZ:  And he’s proposing that we do it all over again.

BUCHANAN:  You asked me a question.

GUTIERREZ:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  You asked me a question.  No, I don’t believe in setting up a gestapo.  I don’t believe in running down nannies and expelling them.

What I do believe in is this.  We’re not given illegal aliens citizens.  And we are going to expel or should deport these gang bangers, people arrested for felonies, people driving cars at 90 miles an hour, killing people.  Anybody who breaks an American   law, a felony should be defeated immediately.  As - but no amnesty, my friend. 

GUTIERREZ:  Pat, I mean, I thought that you were a thoughtful and serious person.  You know, but all you do is throw gas into the fire.  Look.

CARTER:  Juan?

GUTIERREZ:  .why are you agitating people to, you know, to feel bad against a hard-working part of the American working class?

BUCHANAN:  I’m not.

CARTER:  But why?

GUTIERREZ:  You’re talking about.

CARTER:  There are many Americans. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, my problem.

SCARBOROUGH:  Sarah, go ahead.  

CARTER:  You know, Juan, there are many Americans who live along the border with Mexico.

GUTIERREZ:  Yes.

CARTER:  .who suffer a great deal as well.  We have coyotes and payeros (ph) running people across their land.  We have gang members and narcotics traffickers.

GUTIERREZ:  Yes.

CARTER:  .using the border to transport.  90 percent of narcotics that come into this country come through Mexico border, the southwest border.

There are serious issues.  Of course, there’s issues with  people who have lived here for more than five years.  And they’re illegal immigrants.  And of course, this is a difficult - very, very difficult and contentious issue as to what should be done, but the border is also a very serious issue.  And many people, ranchers and regular people who live along the border are also suffering as well.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, you know, we’re going to have to leave it there.   Sara, thank you, Sara.  Thank you, Pat.  Thank you, Juan.

My prediction, we won’t get a bill this year.

Now when we come back, it was painful to watch.  He almost choked on his words but tonight, the president said he was sorry.   I’ll tell you why he did it when we return.

And the votes are in.  And the new American Idol is crowned.  He got more votes than George Bush, but did the wrong idol win?  We’ll have that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Sorry seems to be the hardest word, so sang Elton John.  But tonight, it was the president singing that sad song.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH:  I’m saying bring it on.  Kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people, that I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated  manner.

You know, wanted dead or alive, that kind of talk.  It—I think in certain parts of the world, it was misinterpreted.  And so I learned  from that.

And you know, I think the biggest mistake that’s happened so far, at least from our country’s involvement in Iraq, is Abu Ghraib.   We’ve been paying for that for a long period of time. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  I tell you what, that was painful for the president.  Was this really the same guy who told America he never made a mistake in 2004?  Well, is the president getting introspective in his final White House years?  And does it prove George Bush’s critics right that he was a  cowboy commander in chief that encouraged terrorists?

Here to talk about the president’s mea culpa, a Republican strategist Jack Burkman, Laura Schwartz, a former special assistant to President Clinton.  And still with us, Pat Buchanan.

Jack, I guess the president’s critics were right all along.  This guy was a cowboy that wasn’t up to being a commander in chief.  Is that your take?  

JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  No, I don’t think he was a cowboy at all, Joe.  I’m hoping he was just trying to  help Tony Blair with the British electorate tonight.

But it’s a terrible, terrible mistake to apologize.  He owes the world no mistake.

Listen, if America wands to lead the world, you can’t worry about European public opinion.  You saw where they went in the second World War with policies of appeasement.

They are a group of people who contribute nothing to collective  security.  And for us to offer apologies now.

This war is a success.  The problem with it is the president has never been able to articulate, define, and explain it to the American people in the world in large measure because he just doesn’t have the public speaking ability, but now is not the time to retreat.   I thought it was a horrible mistake. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Laura, I’ve always been struck that every time the president stands next to Tony Blair, he just seems inadequate.   As many problems as I had with Bill Clinton, your former boss, and I had a lot with him, I couldn’t help but think that were that Bill Clinton standing next to Tony Blair, selling this same war, a lot more than 29 percent of Americans would be supporting it.  

LAURA SCHWARTZ, FMR. SPECIAL ASST. TO PRESIDENT CLINTON:  You’re absolutely right.  He was the president that could talk diplomacy and talk tough.  You know, linguistics are not the reason that we have 2,463 American soldiers dead, 17,000 wounded, and over $360 billion spent on this war.

Like you said tonight, I heard your comment about Bush apologizing for his remarks was like Fonzi apologizing to Richie Cunningham.  And I would have to say that the president, this president, jumped the shark when he initially resisted a torture ban.  And.

BURKMAN:  Well, you say that.  And you throw those numbers around, but let me ask you this.  What would be an appropriate number of dead?  I don’t want to lose one soldier, and I don’t want to spend one dollar, but.

SCHWARTZ:  Well, that’s what the Republicans should have sent the right body armor.

BURKMAN:  Well, hold on a minute.  For invading the heart of the Arab world, for invading the heart of the Arab world, for setting up a new government, for doing all the things that we did, if you’re going to throw those numbers around, you tell me, what would be an appropriate number of casualties?  Do you have a number?

SCHWARTZ:  Oh, it’s a lot less.  I think actually it should be 38 percent less if we had sent the original body armor correctly.  So check with the Pentagon on that one.

BURKMAN:  So you have no answer?  In other words, you’re criticizing the war, you’re saying it’s a failure, you’re saying 2300 is too high, but when I ask you, a spokesman, national spokesman for the Democratic party what is an appropriate number of casualties, you have no answer, correct?

SCHWARTZ:  Well.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, let me tell you what.  Let’s move along and talk about the president, what he apologized about, since that’s the topic.  This is one of the statements the president apologized for, that he made shortly after 9/11 regarding hunting Osama bin Laden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  I want justice.  And there’s an old poster out West, as I recall, that said “wanted, dead or alive”.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, should the president have apologized? 

Or was he just playing into the hands of the moveon.org crowd?

BUCHANAN:  It’s appalling.  It’s an appalling performance, Joe.

Look, he’s the president of the United States.  There’s no doubt we’ve made a number of mistakes.  Not enough troops.  We all know what they are.  Abu Ghraib’s not the president’s fault.

I don’t think the president as commander in chief in a time of war ought to be up there sounding like he’s confessing to adultery on Oprah or something like that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Why did he do it?

BUCHANAN:  And so, I think the - I don’t know who’s advising the president to do this, or whether this is coming out of the president’s own feelings now, which would be the worst possible situation.

BURKMAN:  Well, I’ll tell you why, Joe.

BUCHANAN:  But he ought not to have done that.

BURKMAN:  It’s an effort to capture swing voters.  I mean, the White House is in a political free fall.  I don’t think they’re listening to me anymore.  They’re trying to nibble off swing voters around the edges.  They figure they can get a few soccer moms with some soft statements like this.

And I do feel it also - Bush and Blair have a close friendship.  And it is aimed at the British electorate because Tony Blair is probably the only major politician in the world in worse trouble than Bush right now.

BUCHANAN:  But.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, we’re going to have to leave it there.  Thank you so much, Laura Schwartz.  Thank you, Pat Buchanan.  Thank you, Jack Burkman.  Greatly appreciate you being with us tonight.

Now it’s time for another fly over of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  First up, Port Orange, Florida, where a local condo association has a problem with the American flag.  Property managers are taking one of the condo owners to court.  Why?  Because she’s flying old glory.  The flag’s hanging on a military mom’s front porch as a tribute to her children.  But condo board members couldn’t care less about her flag, her feelings, or her family members who are serving America.

They say the flag breaks their condo code.  And they want it taken down now.

Next up, Black Jack, Missouri where a single mom is getting singled out.  Officials in this small town say unmarried parents need to move along.  They’ve even denied one unmarried couple and their three children an occupancy permit for a home they already own.

The Missouri town has a law in the book that forbids three or more unrelated people from living together.

The couple says they’re going to fight the law in court.  And you can expect Black Jack, Missouri to have to fold on this antiquated rule.

And from condo boards to school boards, we go next to Frankfurt, Kentucky, where the school board there is trying to change history, or at least historical dates.  The acronym B.C. and A.D. have always been used in American culture to explain dates that were either before Christ or after his birth, but the PC police want to change history now.

The board there is recommending that teachers use C.E. or Common Era to replace A.D.  And they want B.C.E. or Before the Common Era to replace B.C.  But I say go peds, how about D.I. for Dumb Idea?

And when we come back on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, our national obsession is over, but the controversies have just begun.  Were the best contestants in the final two in last night’s “American Idol” contest?

And Wacko Jacko moonwalking back into the spotlight.  This time, though, it’s custody trouble.  And as the pop star dances.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  This child rapist got off without a prison sentence, but Enron businessmen are probably going to jail for the rest of their lives.  What does that say about our legal system in America?  We’ve got issues straight ahead.

But first, here’s the latest news you and your family need to know.

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  He’s known to millions all over the world for his dance moves and child molestation charges and now Jacko is Backo in the news.  We’ll tell you why.

And later, the Olsen twins creating a show about health and nutrition for children.  Yeah, you heard me right.  We’ve got issues straight ahead.

But welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We’re going to be talking about those stories in minutes but first time for tonight’s must see, SC video you have just got to see.

We start under the sea where a team of scientists captured one of nature’s most amazing displays of power.  An underwater volcanic eruption.  Explorers recorded the powerful eruption last month off the Northern Mariana Islands at nearly 1,800 feet underwater.  You can see the volcano spew sulfur and rocks into the sea and scientists say it’s one of the best volcanic eruptions ever captured on video, which is, of course, why it’s must see SC.

Next we go to Oregon where crews destroyed the old Trojan nuclear power plant.  A model for Homer Simpson’s job site and for the movie “China Syndrome.”  Homer and Jane Fonda’s plant was closed in 1993 for safety reasons.  How appropriate.

And finally, when you’re a prison in Thailand, sometimes all you can do is laugh.  About 40 inmates took part in a laughing contest there.  But you know what, friends?  With 100,000 inmates jammed in only 137 prisons one wonders what a prisoner in Thailand would have to laugh about.

Now to “American Idol” where millions watched and it call came down to the southern soul patrol and Taylor Hicks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The winner of “American Idol” season five is Taylor Hicks!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Taylor is the new “American Idol” grabbing more votes last night—what does it say about America—than George W. Bush in 2004.  But the question this morning and throughout the day is did America get it wrong?  With me now from “Us Weekly,” Katrina Szish, former “American Idol” contestants Carmen Rasmusen and Jessica Sierra.  And celebrity journalist Pat Lalama.

Carmen, let me start with you.  You were there at the Kodak Theatre last night.  Talked to a number of former “American Idol”s.  Did most people think that Taylor and Katharine should have been the last two standing and that America selected the right “American Idol”?

CARMEN RASMUSEN, FORMER IDOL CONTESTANT:  I think out of the two that were remaining Taylor Hicks was the one to win but a lot of people felt that Chris should have been there and my second pick would have been Paris (ph).  I think that Chris and Paris vocally were the best and I think performance-wise they were the best as well.  So I would have liked to see them battle it out on stage but out of the two that were remaining, I think that Taylor Hicks was the right one to win.  Like I said before, I think he was the most polished performer.  I think he had the most charisma.  He is very talented and is a prolific musician.  So I was happy to see him win.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina, many believe the wrong idol won last night not just between those two but for all the contestants involved.  And the judges from the beginning questioned how well Taylor would do as “American Idol.”  Let’s roll—Do we have that tape?  Matt, do we have that tape?  Can we roll that?  My control room is asleep.  I guess we don’t have the tape.

But anyway, at the beginning Simon questioned how well Taylor would be doing.  So do you think, Katrina that, they selected the right idol?

KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”:  I agree with what Carmen just said between the final two standing Taylor was the right pick, without a doubt but as far as the “American Idol” competition I would have loved to have seen Chris Daughtry win.  I think he has the energy and the voice, he has kind of a sexy presence and maybe he doesn’t have as much charisma as Taylor but there is something about him that really just seems to scream celebrity superstar and I really think that he should have been the “American Idol.”

RASMUSEN:  I agree.

SCARBOROUGH:  So why do you think Taylor won?

SZISH:  Because, well, gosh, I’ve been asking a lot of people that and people just said because he was such a great guy.  People wanted to get to know him.  He’s the kind of guy you would like to hang out with and have a beer plus he can sing like crazy.  He was the underdog as we all know Simon said that he would pass on him during the auditions and seeing the underdog come through and take the crown I think was what really made everybody route for Taylor and in the end that’s why he got the votes.

SCARBOROUGH:  The guy reminds me - I’m going to get in a lot of trouble with my friends in Birmingham, Alabama the guy reminds me of Bill Clinton.  He tries so hard.  He ingratiates himself with the American people.  Bill Clinton always called himself the comeback kid.  This is just a likable guy.  Jay Leno meets Bill Clinton.  Separated at birth.  Jessica, I want to play you this tape of what they said to this guy when he first did his auditions for “American Idol.”

Take a watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They will not put you in the final group.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We won’t know that until we see how you do.  I say yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And I say yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  He looks a lot different, Jessica, doesn’t he?  They kind of cleaned him up.

JESSICA SIERRA, FORMER IDOL CONTESTANT:  Yeah, they did.  That’s what “American Idol” is known for.  Bringing these people off the streets and cleaning them up and making them look like an “American Idol”.

SCARBOROUGH:  But this guy really didn’t look like an “American Idol” to me.  Maybe that was part of his attraction, right?

SIERRA:  I think America is getting tired of the normal categorize of “American Idol.” Carrie Underwood.  Kelly Clarkson.  All of these people who are, they look like “American Idol”s.  I think America is, you know, ready for somebody new.  A change.

SCARBOROUGH:  I’m not laughing at your answer.  I’m laughing looking at this guy.  He seems to be the unidol.  Pat Lalalma, what’s going on here.  Why did this guy who was so likable win?

PAT LALAMA, CELEBRITY JOURNALIST:  Well, you know what?  I don’t know the answer to that.  I can only tell you what I think.  I give him credit because I think he had a little realness in him.  He was a good old boy.  I do think he had some talent.  He had edge, he had true soul.  Everybody else seems to me.  This is why I can’t have whole problem with the “American Idol” thing altogether.  I’ll steal a phrase from a “Chicago Tribune” media critic who called them all “pliable puppets” this isn’t the true essence of music.

So I will give him credit for breaking through that barrier, just being who he was.  Otherwise I think the show is wrought with sexism, ageism and every other ism that you can find.  And has nothing to do with real music.

SCARBOROUGH:  So Pat, you think this is a development to every guy that is real that is not a puppet reaches out, grabs America’s heart strings and pulls them and becomes the new “American Idol.”

LALAMA:  I think if you can stop the hungry masses from following the shepherd and say hey wait, look over here, here is someone who really has a true soul, who writes his own music.  Look, I’m not putting down any contestant.  God love all of them.  I love music.  This is not a personal attack.  I don’t like the machinery that this has become.  He broke through.  He is not what you would call conventionally hot.  He’s no Brad Pitt and all that stuff.  You ruined it for me when you said he looked like Bill Clinton.  But I’ll try forget that.  But I do think he’s got true soul.  He’s got real funk in him.  He’s a real guy.  I love that.  I love that raw raspiness and God love what’s her name, Katharine, she should be down with the Disney kids singing in Anaheim, California.

SCARBOROUGH:  Seemed a little slick there.  I am going to ask all of you to make a prediction.  Carmen, do you think this guy that won last night will ever have a big hit?  Will he ever be as successful as, say, Kelly Clarkson?

RASMUSEN:  Absolutely.  I think has potential.  I agree with Pat, I think that Taylor Hicks won because he is believable.  Because people believe him and his music.  He does sing with soul and as Katrina said he is just a regular guy that was following a dream and became the “American Idol.”  Taylor Hicks I think was a long shot but he won and I think that’s the American dream right there that anyone who believes in themselves and has got soul and has got guts can do it and he did.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina, I’ll ask you.  Are you going to be the tough guy tonight and say this guy will never have a hit?

SZISH:  Well, I think he’ll have a hit but I think of Taylor more as sort of a niche artist.  He’s going to have a hit but perhaps not a number one pop charts, top 10 in the states hit.  I think he will have a successful career but I think as more a niche artist.  He’s not going to be a Kelly Clarkson.

LALAMA:  And that is unfortunate.  If he were mainstream and sang every other dopey schmaltzy song like everybody else, maybe he would have a top 10 hit.  It’s sorrowful for me that people that do have the edge and do have real soul probably won’t have real staying power.  It makes me sad.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We have got to go.  We’ll leave it there.  Thank you Katrina, thank you Carmen, greatly appreciate it, thank you, Jessica and Pat.  Right now, let’s move on and joined by Tucker Carlson, host of THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.  Hey Tucker, what have you got coming up at 11:00?

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  I was wondering if you realized how much the winner of “American Idol” looks like Mike Isikoff from “Newsweek.”  And have you ever seen them in the same place?  You have not.

SCARBOROUGH:  No.  I never have, actually.

CARLSON:  That’s weird.

SCARBOROUGH:  He does kind of look like Isikoff.

CARLSON:  He does, it’s weird.  I’m waiting for him to break a story. 

And speaking of stories .

SCARBOROUGH:  It’s frightening.

CARLSON:  Tonight on our show .

SCARBOROUGH:  And I thought Isikoff just worked - I think he was workalcoholic.  Now we know the real story.

CARLSON:  Exactly.  He’s stepping out at night.

SCARBOROUGH:  He does karaoke in DC bars.  So, Tucker, what do you have?

CARLSON:  Unable to fix our border, we have a guest who says just ignore them.  Allow everybody in North America free access at any time to any country in North America.  Interesting.  We’ll debate it.

Plus how desperate is this?  A leading Democrat suggesting that in fact the Democratic ought to run Hillary Clinton and Al Gore for president, not clear who is president and who is vice president, in 2008.  I don’t know.  We’ll bat it around.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  It was greatly appreciated.  And make sure you watch Tucker Carlson.  11:00 p.m. Eastern. 8:00 p.m. on the West Coast.  Coming up Michael Jackson living in luxury in Bahrain while facing legal and financial problems at home.  The new bombshell in the Jackson camp coming up.

And what does this child molester have in common with Ken Lay?  We’re not joking.  I’ve got issues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jacko’s backo.  A judge’s ruling means Michael Jackson could be facing a prospect of losing custody of his kids.  Now we’re going to talk about that in just a minute.  First where is Michael Jackson?  He disappeared into the Middle East minutes after his trial for child molestation was over.  And everybody has been wondering what he has been up to since.  Lucky for you, though, “GQ” magazine’s Devin Friedman went on a trek to Bahrain to track down the dethroned prince of pop.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEVIN FRIEDMAN, “GQ”:  Michael Jackson is as far as we can tell dressing like a woman.  He was spotted in—first in the mall in Dubai wearing an ubayo (ph) which is cloak that is worn by women traditionally in Islamic cultures and I think he thinks that presumably it gives him some disguise but maybe he enjoys wearing it, too, I don’t know.

He also put his kids in cloaks which actually are not worn by kids in Islamic cultures.  So everyone thought that was pretty funny over there.

I got off the plane and found out that Bahrain is in fact an island.

Because I get confused between all the different Gulf nations.  Then I just

started going around.  I filed news reports and started interviewing

people.  Went to places where he was shopped, he went to the Panasonic

store.  I’m bad

He would just come in and say I want three of those and two of these what happened does that do?  I would like that.  Let’s get some laptops and lets get some TVs.  I guess he had a big Christmas list.

He also went to the movies a lot.  He likes fantasy movies I guess.  He went to see “Harry Potter” and I think he went a few times to see “King Kong.”

This guy, Sheikh Abdulla is the producer of a record of this single that Michael Jackson cut while he was over there to benefit the survivors of Hurricane Katrina and I think Snoop Dogg is on the record and a bunch of other people which hasn’t been released yet.  And it’s sort of moldering on tape over there so who knows if we’ll ever see that.

We’ll always be thinking and studying Michael Jackson.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Michael Jackson—department of Michael Jackson studies at Princeton next year and I think that he is—as much as he wants to run away from us he probably is missing the media right about now.  I think that he is used to having all that attention and reporters piled outside the gates of Neverland and I would be surprised if he didn’t come back here, personally.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  He is a strange, strange being.  In tonight’s culture crash Michael may be find his way back to America to fight for his children.  His ex-wife is suing for parental rights.  And now a judge has ordered all documents in the case to be made public meaning this could get very ugly very quick.

With me now to talk about it, defense attorney Gloria Allred.  She is also the author of the book, “Fight Back and Win” and once unsuccessfully to have the state take Jackson’s children away.

Gloria, do you think Jacksons’ kids are better off with their mother than with Michael Jackson in Bahrain?

GLORIA ALLRED, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, I think it is interesting, Joe, that the mother has fought a battle to reinstate her parental rights which she gave up a number of years ago that she was successful in this battle to reinstate them with the Court of Appeals and just yesterday the California Supreme Court declined to hear the case so her parental rights are going to be restored and now she can fight for either custody or visitation.  She has a whole lot more leverage than she did before and I’m glad that apparently she is going to have rights because I do think it is important that at least somebody else monitor what’s happening to those children.

SCARBOROUGH:  Should Michael Jackson have those children taken away from him?

ALLRED:  I think they should be temporarily removed from his care while the Child Protective Services does an intensive investigation.  That’s been my attitude for a long time.  That’s why I asked them to do that.  I think if he were not a celebrity, Joe, it would have been done a long time ago.  Given the allegations in 1993 against them where there was a settlement reportedly of multi millions of dollars for the child who was alleging child sexual abuse, given the serious felony charges against him at the trial even though resulted in an acquittal.  Given his dangling the baby over the balcony, which you just showed on the Joe Scarborough show and given other allegations, yes, I do think his children should be temporarily removed from his care.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you, Gloria Allred.  We’re going to be continuing on this story.  And Gloria, we want to have you back here.  This is going to get very public very quickly.  It’s going to be very ugly.  We’ll be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back.  I’m Joe.  I’m SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY’s idol. 

I’ve got a big issue.  It is my own country, I can say I’m it’s idol.

My issue is with a Nebraska judge who sent a 5’1” man convicted of

sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison so he gave

him probation instead,

Now, friends, this comes on the same day when the Enron guys, Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were both found guilty of conspiracy and fraud and both of them could face the rest of their life in prison.

So for those of you keeping track at home, bankrupt a company spend the rest of your life in jail but sexually abuse a child and get no jail time because the judge is afraid you may not be treated so well behind bars.  What is happening to our judicial system, friends?  It is a mess.  And that comes from an attorney who worked in that system for some time.

And we’ll be right back with tonight’s mailbag.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wake up grandma, it’s time to go to the mail bag.  Gail in Arizona writes, “Your indignation over the TSA debacle was right on.  Consider me just another member of the traveling taxpaying public not getting their money’s worth again.”

Friends, we want to hear from you on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY send me your email to joe@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and hometown and here is a special bonus.  If you write us an email right now and we select it we’ll give you an official SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY bumper sticker.  You will be the envy of your neighborhood.  I guarantee that.  My parents certainly are.

That’s all the time we have for tonight.  We’re going to be right back here at our normal time, 9:00 p.m. all next week.  Stay tuned now though for THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.  Tucker, what’s the situation tonight?

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

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.

Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,