updated 6/16/2006 11:50:01 AM ET 2006-06-16T15:50:01

Guests: Paul Hackett, Jack Burkman, Bex Schwartz, Bill Bussey, Rick Burgess, Melissa Whitworth

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Congress erupts into a smash-mouth debate in Iraq about whether the troops should come home.  Is the war on al Qaeda working, or is this vote on Capitol Hill just a cheap political stunt?  And then: Ann Coulter goes on Jay Leno, but not to make nice.  But some ask whether she‘s right that the media‘s just trying to bring her down.  And the Dixie Chicks kick off their big world tour, hoping their American fans will stick with them.  So why is their lead singer saying snarky things about being a patriotic American?

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passport required, only common sense allowed.  We‘re going to have all those stories tonight, but first:

The war in Iraq leads to a war of words again on Capitol Hill today as Republicans and Democrats go face to face in a bruising debate regarding a resolution pushed by Republican leaders on whether Congress still supports the Iraq war.  Now, Republicans accused Democrats of cutting and running, while Democrats attacked Republicans for pushing a resolution that‘s a shameless partisan ploy.  You know the Pentagon even got involved?

And you know, I was on the Armed Services Committee for almost four terms, and I never heard of them doing this.  But the Pentagon actually sent congressmen talking points on why they should support the war resolution.  While Congress debated, and the president celebrated the recent death of Zarqawi, Americans mourned the passing of its 2,500th soldier in Iraq, an undertaking that‘s only lasted longer than the Korean war.

For more on today‘s war over the war on Capitol Hill, let‘s head up to the Hill and talk to NBC‘s Chip Reid.  Chip, what have you got?

CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, you know better than just about anyone what it is like on the floor of the House when emotions are this raw.  And they are more raw on the issue of Iraq than anything in recent memory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D), TEXAS:  Americans are realizing there is a better way to support our troops than just sending more of them off to be killed!

REP. ANNA ESHOO (D), CALIFORNIA:  “Stay the course” is not a policy. 

So yes, we need a debate.  We need a debate about alternatives!

REP. JOHN LARSON (D), CONNECTICUT:  Instead, it‘s talking points outlined by Karl Rove in New Hampshire, sandwiched in between the president‘s photo op and a picnic this evening!

REP. PHIL GINGREY ®, GEORGIA:  The minority party offers no hope.  All we hear are ill-conceived and short-sighted strategies which threaten any chance of Iraq becoming a bastion of democracy in the Middle East.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  Now, the House is going to continue this debate tomorrow.  The Senate was also supposed to have a big knock-down, drag-out debate on the war in Iraq today.  John Kerry and some others were going to offer an amendment that would have required the troops to be brought back home, or at least get them out of Iraq, by the end of the year.  But democrats are so deeply split on that issue that they went behind closed doors to try to work out some kind of unified position.  They couldn‘t do it, so the Democrats succeeded in putting off this debate until next week.

But I‘ll tell you, if they have a debate on bringing the troops home, it is going to show how deeply divided the Democrats are—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it, and that‘s really the Democrats‘ problem right now.  Republicans have so many problems—and you all have heard me say it every night probably for the past two or three months, about just all the Republicans‘ problems and how it may lead for the Democratic Party to take control of Congress.  But I‘ll tell you what.  For that to happen, the Democrats have to start speaking with one voice, and they just haven‘t done that yet.  When you have Hillary Clinton giving speeches where she‘s being booed, when you have other Democrats being attacked for their position on the war by fellow Democrats, it‘s a serious problem.

Now, earlier this evening, I talked to two congressmen in the thick of the battle today, Peter King of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida.  And I asked Congressman Wexler, a Democrat, if this resolution was even worth debating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D), FLORIDA:  Debate is wonderful, but that‘s all we have is talk.  We‘re debating a non-binding resolution that does nothing.  It does nothing to end the insurgency.  It does nothing to provide an exit strategy.  It does nothing, actually, to address the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.  All this resolution does is present an unrealistic rosy picture of what is occurring in Iraq.  There‘s no relevance to this debate.  It‘s a debate for debate‘s sake.

SCARBOROUGH:  But Robert, isn‘t the biggest debate about the Iraq war right now between members of the Democratic Party, which appear to be split straight down the middle on whether we stay or go?

WEXLER:  There is undoubtedly a difference of opinion within the Democratic Party, and that is a matter of fact.  But the bigger issue for the country is how do we take the death of Zarqawi and how do we parlay that now into an exit strategy for America?  We‘ve already lost 2,500 of our brave men and women.  We‘ve spent almost $400 billion.  And the insurgency continues to grow.  We are not more safe in America, rather we are becoming less safe.  We‘re not doing what we need to do in Afghanistan to go after al Qaeda internationally.  Our troops are mired in this mild to medium-grade civil war in Iraq, and we‘ve got a pending nuclear program in Iran.

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK:  The fact is that as far as Afghanistan, as far as al Qaeda—al Qaeda is on defense.  Al Qaeda international has been broken.  That‘s why they‘re splintered up.  And it‘s very important that we don‘t send the wrong signal to Iran or to al Qaeda by having a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq.  Our policy should not be an exit strategy, it should be a victory strategy, and victory is having an Iraqi government which can defend itself.

WEXLER:  Memo to the Republicans: Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan.  We haven‘t gotten Osama bin Laden.  We are threatened by al Qaeda all over the world, and we are mired in what is now an insurgency, a civil war in Iraq.  Killing al Zarqawi was a terrific thing, a great victory for our troops and America, but let‘s not blow that to the proportion now saying that we now have a positive goal that we‘re likely to accomplish.  No.  We‘ve got terrible things happening in Afghanistan that actually do bolster up al Qaeda, and we‘re busy here, doing a do-nothing, say-nothing debate!

KING:  Joe, I would just say every rational analyst will say that al Qaeda is on the run.  Al Qaeda is on defense.  They‘ve not launched any attack against the United States in five years.  Al Qaeda has been fractured.  Obviously, more has to be done against al Qaeda, but they are on defense and they‘re on defense all over the world.

SCARBOROUGH:  Explain to Americans watching tonight, to Democrats who are very frustrated tonight at their own party, why there‘s still a split in the war in Iraq, why more Democrats don‘t come over to your side, which opposes the president.

WEXLER:  This is not the choice that some Republicans offer, which is you either stick with President Bush or you are in some way condemning America to failure.  We are now in a civil war.  We have Iran about to develop nuclear weapons, and we have Afghanistan getting worse, not better.  Our State Department states with its figures that incidents of international terror have quadrupled from 2003 to 2004 to 2005.  We‘re not winning the war on terror.  That‘s the memo.

KING:  No, the fact is, we are winning the war on terror.  Al Qaeda is on defense all over the world.  That‘s why they‘re splintering.  That‘s why they‘ve not attacked the United States in almost five years.  Any analysis of al Qaeda shows it is splintering.  And the fact is, as far as Iran, Joe, for the first time, we have all of the major countries together, standing together against Iran.  So our multi-lateral strategy is working with Iran.  The worst signal we can send to any of our allies, to Jordan, to Israel, to Egypt, any of the allies in the Middle East, would be for us to withdraw from Iraq before the job is done.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, guys.  Hey, thanks so much for being with us, and thanks to both of you for being straight shooters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, tomorrow, there‘s going to be a lot of straight shoot on the floor also over this question: Does America stay the course, or as Republicans would like to frame the debate, do they cut and run?  With me now to talk about it, MSNBC political analyst Monica Crowley, and also Paul Hackett, a major in the Marine Corps who fought in Fallujah and ran for Congress in Ohio.

Paul, let me start with you.  You were on the ground in Iraq.  You fought in Fallujah.  You‘ve got more credibility on this issue than most Americans.  Do you believe this debate that Congress is having right now helps or hurts our troops overseas?

PAUL HACKETT, IRAQ WAR VETERAN, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:  Well,

I should start off by saying that the troops on the ground over there are having similar debates, at the end of the day.  I think what the American people should know, and frankly, what the politicians who don‘t know a lot about the military should understand, is that what we‘ve asked our military, our American military forces to accomplish, they‘ve accomplished.

And furthermore, in political terms, we can‘t really expect our military to accomplish anything more because, ultimately, what the debate comes down to is kind of an interesting question.  And that is: Can a 22-year-old Marine with an M16 spread democracy?  I would suggest that if you become dispassionate for a moment about it and look at it somewhat analytically, I think we would all agree that it‘s somewhat silly to expect that American Marines and soldiers with M16s are going to spread democracy.  I mean, spreading democracy is more than a sound bite.  It‘s a complicated endeavor.  The military plays a role in that, but it‘s not the sole role.  There has to be political component.  There have to be cultural components.

And really, what—I have to tip my hat to President Bush and his administration this week.  What they accomplished was shifting the focus from, really, what has become not only a failed policy in Iraq but a failed president, a faltering stock market, a faltering economy, rising inflation.

So Karl Rove is back on his game, and I tip my hat to him because he‘s had a successful week, and he‘s definitely knocked the Democrats back on their heels.

SCARBOROUGH:  Monica, I want to ask you about something that Paul said.  Were I a Democrat running for Congress in middle America, this would be my argument.  The president said a few years back, “Mission accomplished.”  We take him at his word.  We‘ve lost 2,500 troops, almost 20,000 Americans badly injured in Iraq.  It‘s time to bring the troops home and let the Iraqi people go ahead and take it from now.  We‘ve given enough blood, we‘ve given enough money, we‘ve given enough sweat, enough tears.  Now let the Iraqi people take control of their own destiny.  What‘s wrong with that argument?

MONICA CROWLEY, POLITICAL ANALYST:  And that is the Democrats‘ argument, Joe.  But here‘s how the Republicans, including the president, are countering that argument, that the war in Iraq is, and the continuing American presence there, is not, as Paul suggests, to impose democracy on the Iraqi people, it is to remove the obstacles to liberalization, to democratization.  Can we do that for the Iraqi people?  Of course not.

But the American presence there right now is three-fold.  It is to ensure that the Iraqi security forces are well trained and well equipped enough that they can secure and defend their own country.  That is a long ongoing process.  We have a political component to this, and that is moving along quite well because now we have a new Iraqi government, a new prime minister there, that—a government that is made up of Shi‘ites and Sunnis and...

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY:  ... beginning to stabilize the country on its own, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  I was going to say, excuse me for interrupting here, but you just said that I enunciated the Democrats‘ position.  If I were able to enunciate the Democrats‘ position and get them all to say the same thing, I would be a wealthy political consultant.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  The fact is the Democrats don‘t have a unified position.

CROWLEY:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  And the Republicans are putting this resolution on the floor, I believe, for the single purpose of embarrassing the Democrats.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY:  Well, that‘s exactly right, Joe.  It is the Republicans forcing the Democrats to go on the record and say whether or not they‘re prepared right now to withdraw troops.  You know, you mentioned about how the Democrats are in total disarray on this debate.  When you were watching the debate today on the House floor, you heard the whole range of positions, everything from cut and run, withdraw now, to set a date certain for withdrawal, to stay the course, to intimations that perhaps we should increase the number of troops, and Joe, all those positions were coming from the Democratic side!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And Paul, that‘s right.  Obviously, that‘s the Democrats‘ biggest challenge right now, that they can‘t unify behind a position like yours.  What do you say to your Democratic brethren, who have an opportunity to take control of Congress on this issue alone?

HACKETT:  Well, you know, from my opinion, they have to drive the debate.  I mean, if you want to put it in military terms, they have to prep the battlefield.  And they are displaying an amazing inability to do that.  I would follow up and agree with you, Joe.  It‘s something that I had said last August.  If I had the ability to set the dialogue for the Democratic Party, what I would say is, All right, Mr. President, you‘re right.  I give you this.  We toppled a brutal dictator.  We gave the Iraqi people the vote.  We gave them a constitution.  And we have stood up their military.  That is all a military can do, and we‘ve done it.  Mr. President, the war is over.  Bring the troops home.

This notion that somehow or another again that we‘re going spread democracy any more than it‘s been spread by 22-year-old Marines and soldiers with M16s—it‘s just kind of silly.

CROWLEY:  But you know what...

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY:  ... a democratic process that‘s already under way, and we can‘t abandon it, at this point!

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We have got to go.  We‘re up against a hard break.  But Monica, thanks for being with us, as always.  And Paul, thank you so much.  The Democrats need to listen to you and get more Democrats running for office that actually understand military culture.

Coming up: Why is Ann Coulter being attacked in the media, by the left and the right?  We‘ll explain it when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  In tonight‘s “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY Showdown,” the media and Ms. Coulter.  Is the media using a double standard when judging the blond bomber?  Well, you know, some in the media are actually questioning Ms. Coulter‘s book sale figures now.  The “Village Voice” newspaper is asking tonight if Coulter is pumping her sales figures with, quote, “sales-hyping tactics and book buys from conservative and religious groups.”

Now, for her part, Coulter appeared on the “Tonight” show with Jay Leno last night, claiming that she‘s taking down the mainstream media.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, “GODLESS”:  I understand you had an Ann Coulter joke last night, Jay.

JAY LENO, HOST:  Oh, I had a bunch of Ann Coulter jokes last night.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTER:  That I was worried about Dorothy‘s house falling on me.

LENO:  I think that was the joke, yes.  And then I had the—I liked you—then the other joke was I like you better when you‘re fighting Sigourney Weaver in “The Alien.”  I think that was the other movie I did.

COULTER:  Well, see, that‘s my perspective.  I‘m Dorothy.

LENO:  Really?

COULTER:  And I‘ve just dropped my house on the mainstream media!  This alleged disruption of civility is conservatives being able to talk back now from talk radio, through the Internet!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So is there a media double standard against Coulter conservatives?  With me now to talk about it, Democratic strategist and MSNBC analyst Flavia Colgan.  Also Republican strategist Jack Burkman.  Flavia, let me begin with you.  Is there a media double standard out there, where Michael Moore can say whatever he wants and most of the media winks and nods while somebody like Ann Coulter is disruptive on the right and she gets bashed?

FLAVIA COLGAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, I don‘t remember you or Jack just nodding when Michael Moore had his comment (INAUDIBLE) I recall being on this program and having Jack compare him to a Nazi and Hitler, actually.  So—and I also think that Harry Belafonte and others who I have condemned on this program and said that I felt that their rhetoric was certainly very distasteful and coarsens the public, you know, discourse.  The differences is that they didn‘t repeatedly go on TV every single day.  So the news cycles, you know, really depend on what happened yesterday, and Ann Coulter has been going on this book tour.  And I agree with her that she‘s really put one over on mainstream media.  I mean, she‘s a serial provacateur...

JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  You know, Joe, I‘ll tell you...

COLGAN:  She does this to sell books...

BURKMAN:  I‘ll tell you...

COLGAN:  And Jack?  Jack, I know you‘re going to defend un-classy remarks, so try to at least be classy in allowing me to finish first.

I think that what she‘s doing is using that and manipulating it, and we‘re complicit in it by continuing to talk about it.  But what I found very interesting, the one thing I want to say is that the 9/11 widows did not take the bait.  They came out yesterday, and instead of, you know, asking for an apology or talking about Ann Coulter, they put the...

BURKMAN:  But Flavia, “take the bait”?

COLGAN:  They put...

BURKMAN:  The issue is the facts.

COLGAN:  ... the focus...

BURKMAN:  You‘re going on and getting off the track.  Joe, here‘s my thing.  Not only is this an example of media bias and media hypocrisy, it‘s gotten even worse than that.  Ann Coulter is not even getting a hearing.  There‘s one issue here.  Whether you agree with Ann Coulter or whatever you think of her, what are the facts of this case?  This program I think is the only forum in the country that is even efforting to get the facts.

The question is this: When did these widows hire public relations consultants?  Did they do it two hours after?  Did they do it a week after?  Did they do it a month after?  They had a full primetime one-hour interview in another venue, and they weren‘t even asked that question!

My question for the country is this: What in the world is everyone so afraid of?  What are these widows so afraid of?  If there‘s nothing to hide, isn‘t it the case, Flavia, that they should come out and lay bare everything on the table?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on!  Hold on!  Flavia, hold on.  I‘m going to—let‘s stay focussed on Ann Coulter and this double standard.  You brought up Michael Moore, and obviously, I was very disturbed by what Michael Moore said.  Let‘s take a look at what he said on his Web site in 2004, at the height of his fame.  Quote, “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not insurgents, or terrorists or the enemy.  They are the revolution, the Minutemen.  Their numbers will grow, and they will win.”

And this was what Michael Moore said about more American blood needing

to be shed in Iraq.  Quote, “The majority of Americans supported this war

once it began, and sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children”

must sacrifice their children? -- “until enough blood has been let that maybe, just maybe God and the Iraqi people will forgive us.”

And Flavia, I condemned Michael Moore in 2004, just like I‘ve condemned Ann Coulter in 2006, but there aren‘t a lot of people like me out there, unfortunately.  Most of the people in the mainstream media bit their tongues.  Most Democrats said absolutely nothing about Michael Moore.  About 150 or 160 members of Congress went to “Fahrenheit 9/11‘s” opening, while Michael Moore was calling for the death of more American soldiers so maybe God and the Iraqi people could forgive us.  I mean, come on!  I mean, if you‘re going to attack Ann Coulter, do you not have to attack one of your own?

COLGAN:  Yes!  Absolutely.  I mean, and I did that on this very program.  I think that this...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Where was the rest of the mainstream media, Flavia?  Why didn‘t they attack Michael Moore?  Why do they coddle him?

COLGAN:  Well, when he was on the “Today” show here, that question was put to him just exactly like the question was put to Ann Coulter.  So I don‘t know that I...

BURKMAN:  Flavia, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

BURKMAN:  I‘m amazed, Flavia.

COLGAN:  Jack?

BURKMAN:  In 2004...

COLGAN:  Jack, can you...

BURKMAN:  ... not only did you—you supported Michael Moore strongly.  That‘s totally false.  I was on this air with you many, many times.  You never once criticized him.

Joe, I‘ll tell you what‘s going on here.  Ann Coulter is taking a controversial position.  What Michael Moore did was even more off the charts.  The comparison is not even apt.  He put together a kind of false mosaic.  And when Flavia said there‘s a comparison to what the totalitarian regimes did, there is, and it‘s this.  He put together this juxtaposition, each image is true, but the whole thing taken together is fraudulent.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  So Flavia, go ahead.  Let‘s let you respond.  Get in here.

COLGAN:  No, well, first I wanted to respond to Jack‘s point that no one is responding.  That‘s absolutely false.  What the 9/11 widows came out with—and they stand up for themselves—they focused the attention on what it should be, which is what they called for in the 9/11 commission and some of the things that have still not been implemented, whether it‘s port security, whether it‘s...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what?  I don‘t care what they...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on!  I don‘t care what they have...

COLGAN:  And what did Ann Coulter...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... to say.  Go ahead.

COLGAN:  And what did Ann Coulter say when asked a very legitimate question last week about public officials saying she knowingly voted in the wrong district?  She said the public officials probably have syphilis, and they‘re retarded.  Come on!  I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

BURKMAN:  Still no answer, Joe.  Joe, this is...

COLGAN:  Let‘s stop—let‘s stop...

BURKMAN:  This is...

COLGAN:  Jack, let‘s stop talking about double standards and start talking about higher standards.

BURKMAN:  All right, let‘s talk about the facts...

COLGAN:  And a higher standard means that we should care.

BURKMAN:  How about this—

COLGAN:  ... about being Americans...

BURKMAN:  How about this, Flavia...

SCARBOROUGH:  Before we care about being Democrats or...

COLGAN:

BURKMAN:  Let‘s hear it for the truth!

COLGAN:  ... Republicans.  And the truth is...

BURKMAN:  How about we drop the discussion—how about we drop...

COLGAN:  The truth is that those widows...

BURKMAN:  ... the discussion of standards and get answers...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I can‘t listen in stereo.  Flavia, finish up, and then, Jack, to you.

COLGAN:  The truth is that I have no idea how Ann Coulter would know that the widows are taking glee in their husbands‘ death and that they probably were going to divorce them anyway.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me ask Jack that question—Jack, you‘ve come on and you‘ve defended Ann Coulter over the past several nights.  How do you know that their husbands that got on 9/11 were going to divorce them?  You keep talking about how they may have gone out and gotten PR agents 48 hours after their husbands, again, were burned alive on the twin towers on 9/11.  How do you know these things?  And if you don‘t these things, why do you coming on this show and suggesting that they hired PR agents...

BURKMAN:  Well, let—let me say this...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... forty-eight hours after their husbands‘ deaths?

BURKMAN:  Let me say this.  Good question.  I don‘t know it for sure, but I think there‘s a good chance of it because why are they hiding?  Why Joe, has this gone on for several weeks and there has been no attempt to answer basic factual questions?

SCARBOROUGH:  What are about the question of the divorce?  Do you know, does Ann Coulter know, do any of Ann Coulter‘s supporters know that their husbands were going divorce them anyway?

BURKMAN:  No.  That‘s pure supposition.  But I‘ll tell you this.  What is it that these women have to hide?  I mean, this reminds me—this reminds me almost of Clinton, when he was dodging questions during impeachment...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well...

BURKMAN:  ... and went on for months and months...

COLGAN:  Jack...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ve got to say, Jack—hold on a second!  Jack, I‘ve got to say that if you‘re the conservative‘s version of James Carville, instead of Bill Clinton answering the questions, Carville would always attack those questioning him.  You‘re not answering the questions about Ann Coulter.  You‘re attacking the widows.  So the fact is, Jack—and we agree a lot of times, but—you don‘t know that their husbands were going to divorce them.  Of course, I think that was just—that wasn‘t supposition, that was...

BURKMAN:  But Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... sheer hyperbole.  And Jack, isn‘t that hateful to say that sort of thing about these women who have suffered?  I don‘t care whether they‘re Marxists, I wouldn‘t say such a thing about them!

BURKMAN:  What I have said, Joe, is I have my suspicions and I have my feelings.  But what I am calling for—I think they should come forth.  If there‘s nothing to hide, let the nation see a timeline of when they acted.  It is certainly the case...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Jack, I‘m going to have to cut you off there because you‘re once again talking about the 9/11 widows instead of Ann.  Thank you, Jack Burkman.  Thank you, Flavia Colgan, as always.  I appreciate you all being with us.

And coming up: Baghdad‘s version of “Good Morning Vietnam”—remember that one? -- delivered by an all-American girl.  Tonight, you‘re going to meet the host of Iraq‘s most popular English language radio show.  And the Dixie Chicks are at it again, fleeing to Europe and now denouncing patriotic Americans along the way.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The Dixie Chicks cancel a U.S. tour date, flee to Europe, and then bash patriotic Americans while talking to a British newspaper, surely for themselves an even deeper P.R. hole.  Why don‘t these girls get it?  We‘ll talk about that coming up, but first here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, foreign car companies are laying claim to the “Made in America” slogan, and they‘re using it to try to sell you a new car.  And SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY recertifies Michael Jackson‘s credentials as Wacko Jacko with this creative reminder.  It gets creepy in a second. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories just minutes away.

But first, the Dixie Chicks launched a worldwide tour tonight in London at the place where Natalie Maines made the now-infamous anti-Bush comment in 2003.  And Maines marked the occasion by saying some tough things about American patriotism to the British press. 

She said, quote, “The entire country may disagree with me, but I don‘t understand the necessity for patriotism.  Why do you have to even be a patriot, about what, “This Land is Our Land”?  Why?  You can like where you live and like your life, but as far as loving the whole country, I don‘t see why people care about patriotism.”

With me now, we‘ve got Bex Schwartz.  She‘s a pop culture commentator for VH-1.  We have Melissa Whitworth, a reporter for the “Daily Telegraph.”  That‘s a British newspaper that has the controversial Dixie Chicks interview.  We also have from the “Rick and Bubba Show” in Birmingham, Alabama, Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey. 

Is it Bussey?

BILL “BUBBA” BUSSEY, THE “RICK AND BUBBA SHOW”:  Bussey.  Bussey, Joe, like a bus. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s wrong with me? 

Bubba, let me start with you.  You‘ve got the proper name to answer this question.  Chances are good people in red state America in the so-called flyover space are probably not going to understand why Natalie suggests that patriotism is a thing of the past.  Talk about how that‘s going to play with your listeners and most listeners in red state America. 

BUSSEY:  Well, Joe, we have a saying here when somebody says or acts so absurd we cannot believe it.  We go, “Well, bless their heart.”  Well, bless their heart to the Dixie Chicks, because I don‘t understand this marketing campaign they have going on.  It appears to be designed after the kamikaze pilot. 

I mean, did she not have eighth grade civics like the rest of us?  I mean, I understand if she wants to speak out against the president, I‘m fine with that.  But she is now attacking us personally, veterans personally, everybody here who loves this country. 

And, you know, really, if I‘d made the kind of money that Natalie Maines had made in this country, playing my guitar, I would get down and kiss the ground and I would know a lot about patriotism. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Rick, what do you think?

RICK BURGESS, THE “RICK AND BUBBA SHOW”:  She ain‘t right.  Hell, she‘s losing her mind.  I mean, seriously, you know how it is.  I know that, Joe, you went to college here near where we are broadcasting every day.  You ever had that person who‘d had too much to drink and you‘re going, “If we can just get this drunk into bed and get her to sleep, all of this will end”?  And, I mean, my gosh, her husband has to be going, “I had a new bass boat (INAUDIBLE) blowing it for all of us.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bex, this really cuts both ways though, doesn‘t it?  While it may enrage red state America, U.S. pop culture is even divided along party lines now.  This will win her a lot of fans on the East Coast and the West Coast, won‘t it? 

BEX SCHWARTZ, POP CULTURE COMMENTATOR, VH-1:  Yes, I mean, I‘m not a huge fan of their music, but I‘m a big supporter of what they‘re saying.  If you‘re someone who‘s in the public eye and you have the power to say something to change the way people think, use the power for good.  If you‘re not happy with the way the country is being run, talk about it.  I think she‘s doing a great job.  I‘m going to go buy that album.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and I think that‘s actually what‘s happening, Bex, where you‘ve got these women that are selling a lot of albums.  They‘ve had great publicity, and yet it‘s hard for them to sell tickets in some of the more popular country venues where they made $63 million back in 2003.  You think that‘s what‘s happening, people are buying the CDs, but don‘t want to go to the shows? 

SCHWARTZ:  Do you think that your musical tastes change because someone‘s ideology changes?  I mean, it‘s the same music that people were enjoying back in 2003.  I don‘t see why that should affect the way that they feel about the music.  It‘s the artist and the art, you know, they‘re two separate issues.  Buy tickets, people.  Come on.

BURGESS:  Yes, but, I mean, Joe, my wife loved the Dixie Chicks back when they were having fun.  I mean, if you‘ll look at pictures of them back then before all this started, they were smiling, they were happy, they were having a good time.  Now every picture looks like somebody broke wind on them.  I mean, you know what I mean?  They‘re frowny; they‘re unhappy. 

BUSSEY:  Why are they so said?  They‘ve got millions of dollars.  I mean...

BURGESS:  I mean, it‘s one thing to sit there and give your ideology. 

We talked about that.  I mean, that‘s what this country is all about. 

But when you start attacking patriotism, you don‘t understand how important it was to keep Germany from taking over the world, you don‘t understand how important it was that, when Japan tried to join them and take over the world, that something had to be done?  Freedom is never paid for.

And I don‘t know about you, Bubba, but I enjoy being able to be an entertainer in a country that pays me well for it.  And I‘m going to tell you what:  There‘s a lease going on for me to remain that free, and I‘m willing to keep paying it.  And when you start speaking out against that, you‘ve lost your mind. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Melissa, talk about the interview that the Dixie Chicks had with your newspaper.  Do you all know that she was going to return to what a lot of Americans consider to be the scene of the crime when she attacked George Bush and would be so outspoken again?  Did that surprise you?  Did it surprise others at the paper? 

MELISSA WHITWORTH, “THE DAILY TELEGRAPH”:  I don‘t think it surprised anyone.  I think they have shown that they‘re going to stand by their beliefs.  I think that they‘ve shown that they‘re going to have the courage to stand by their convictions.  And I think what she has been through, in terms of death threats and having CDs driven over, I can understand why she‘s giving those quotes to our paper. 

BURGESS:  Oh, well, you don‘t want your CDs to get run over, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on one second.  I want to ask Melissa. 

BURGESS:  They run over her CDs.  Uh-oh.

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you think these type of comments are going to actually make the Dixie Chicks more popular in England, more popular across Europe? 

WHITWORTH:  I think so, yes.  I think that Brits find these comments, especially from three ladies from Texas, I think they find it incredibly refreshing to hear voices of dissent and to hear other opinions coming from Americans. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Rick, you know, that‘s what always sort of bothered me about Americans—about actors and actresses.  I don‘t mind them attacking the president, people like me, the war, but what always bothered me was you‘d have actors that would go on a promo tour for the movie in America and say, “Oh, I support the troops, whatever.”  The second they get to Germany, or Great Britain, or France, all of a sudden they‘d start attacking us. 

In fact, I mean, they‘re—the actors that I really respect are—you know, you‘ve got some actors that will actually dare to take on American policy here in America.  But I think the Dixie Chicks know exactly what they‘re doing.  They go over to Great Britain.  They attack American patriotism, and they know it‘s going to win them a lot of fans over there. 

BURGESS:  Well, they‘ve got this hoo-hah going, hoo-hah, and they‘re loving it.  And the thing, the biggest mistake they‘re making, these people like we‘re talking about tonight, they‘re all (INAUDIBLE) and thing they‘re all courageous and everything. 

I‘ll tell you what‘s courageous is the men and women that are fighting right now against terrorists...

BUSSEY:  Amen.

BURGESS:  ... who want to kill us.  That‘s what courage is, not, “I‘m over in London where everybody loves me right now speaking out against my country, and I‘m going to play my guitar and sing a few songs, where everybody tells me how courageous and wonderful I am.” 

I‘ll tell you what with they‘re messing up though.  These people will leave them.  Their style of music and the people that made them the money and gave them the voice are the people that are infuriated and they‘re turning away.  And those people were loyal to them; they were their fan base that was going to support them. 

And this new batch of fans will not stay with them.  It will be a fling.  It‘s more about their political statements.  When all that fades way, they‘ll listen to it and go, “That sounds like hillbilly music,” and they‘ll dump them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re right, Rick.  And, Bubba, you‘re right.  Their husbands may even have to give up that bass boat in the future.  Thank you so much, Bex.  Thank you, Melissa.  Rick and Bubba, as always, appreciate you all being here.

BURGESS:  Thank you, Joe.

BUSSEY:  Thank you for having us.

SCHWARTZ:  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Tell everybody down there:  Roll tight. 

I‘m joined now by Rita Cosby.  She‘s the host of Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT.”  Rita, what do you have coming up for us next at 10:00? 

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Well, we‘ve got a lot of stuff, Joe, the all-out manhunt for sniper suspect Darren Mack continues tonight.  And we have exclusive new details about his other life.  You may be surprised to hear what he was doing the week before, despite being married.  We‘re going to expose his underground sexual lifestyle. 

Plus, the next time you‘re sitting in a restaurant in Los Angeles, look up.  A drone may be spying on you.  Does this infringe on your civil rights?

And, just in time for Father‘s Day, two daughters give their dad a real gift:  two years in the slammer.  We‘ll have that and a whole lot more, Joe, “LIVE & DIRECT” at the top of the hour. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Two years in the slammer.  You know what?  I hope my kids just go past that present and give me a laser.

COSBY:  A little gift?

SCARBOROUGH:  Just a little gift.  I‘ll just say give me a sleeve of golf balls.  That‘s fine.  Thanks so much, Rita. 

And coming up next, some southern comfort for the troops on the frontlines, an up-close look at an all-American girl who is raking up Baghdad.  And more evidence Darwin‘s theory is correct.  It turns out monkeys don‘t only like beer; they also like Fanta, all a part of “Must See SC.” 

But first, heroes and villains in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  And tonight‘s villain is a militant Islamic cleric linked to Al-Qaeda.  Now, officials believe he may be tied to the deadly bombings across Indonesia that killed scores of women and children and other innocents.

But today he says he wants George Bush to convert to Islam, saying it‘s the only way for our president to save his soul.  So what exactly does a radical cleric with blood on his hands know about saving souls?  I‘ve got to tell you, friends, nothing that interests me or, I‘m sure, the president of the United States. 

For that reason, this radical cleric is being converted to tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY villain.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Tonight, an all-American girl who‘s writing Baghdad‘s version of “Good Morning, Vietnam,” Specialist Kristen King is an unlikely star of the Iraqi war, but she‘s made a name for herself on the airwaves, broadcasting a little southern comfort to Baghdad.  NBC News‘ Jim Maceda has that story. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM MACEDA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  What gets an American soldier in Iraq through his dangerous day?  If he hails from the South or the West, it‘s likely to be...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Specialist King.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kristen King. 

KRISTEN KING, RADIO D.J., FREEDOM RADIO:  You‘ve got Specialist Kristen King on Freedom Radio, in Iraq.  If you‘ve got a request, go ahead and get those into me now. 

MACEDA:  In only weeks, this 21-year-old Louisiana D.J., the compact bundle of energy...

KING:  Full-out southern, I can just let it go. 

MACEDA:  ... has become a phenomenon. 

KING:  And I know that you guys all love that one. 

MACEDA:  Her live, four-hour, one-woman Armed Forces Radio show called “Country Convoy” is the most-listened-to English-language program in Iraq. 

KING:  Here‘s some Gary Nichols‘ “Unbroken Ground.” 

MACEDA:  A high-charged mix of country hits and homey chat, weather reports...

KING:  Baghdad, you‘re looking at a high of 101 today. 

MACEDA:  ... and public service announcements. 

KING:  ... spinning class at 6:30 in the morning, very, very early for you guys.  Karate at 6:00, and Brazilian jujitsu at 7:30 p.m.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is my favorite part of the day, listening to country music.

MACEDA (on camera):  No one is more surprised by her instant fame than King herself, an Army reservist in broadcast journalist who never even thought that she would deploy. 

Do you think it‘s that infectious southern personality of yours? 

KING:  Maybe it‘s that southern hospitality. 

MACEDA (voice-over):  But the soldiers who tune in six days a week are hooked. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It helps keep our morale up to have somebody energetic on the radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s mighty nice to know somebody does care.

MACEDA:  There is even talk of turning her story into a movie. 

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR:  Good morning, Vietnam!

MACEDA:  King says she‘s flattered by comparisons to the Robin Williams‘ character, a zany Air Force D.J. on a mission to cut through censorship at the height of the Vietnam War, but a “Good Morning, Baghdad”?  Up to a point.

KING:  Not the controversy, no.  I want to be controversy-free.

MACEDA:  King says she‘s free to speak her mind on the air and has strong opinions about the war. 

KING:  I don‘t think it‘s going to be one or two more years.  I think we‘ve got, you know, a good bit of time left here. 

MACEDA:  But she‘d rather bring a little country comfort to her fans on the frontlines. 

Jim Maceda, NBC News, Baghdad. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  I wonder if she‘s playing the Dixie Chicks. 

Well, you know, also tonight, a new way to look at the simple slogan, “Made in America.”  Chevy, Ford and General Motors, they employ hundreds of thousands in this country and are as American as, well, apple pie.  But more and more foreign auto companies are now fighting for that “Made in the USA” stamp. 

NBC News‘ Kevin Tibbles has that story. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  These days, carmakers are big on red, white and blue...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... Buick, Pontiac and GMC are donating $100...

TIBBLES:  ... playing on patriotism to get you behind the wheel, even if the companies are not really American.

MICHELLE MAYNARD, DETROIT BUREAU CHIEF, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”:  Toyota is trying very hard to paint itself as an American-style car company.  It‘s not an American car company, and I think it‘s been very effective for them. 

TIBBLES:  In the past few years, America‘s big three have seen their market share plummet from 61 percent to just 53 percent.  Some analysts predict it could be 50-50 with foreign carmakers by the end of this year.

Taking Detroit head on, many foreign companies want the U.S. consumer to know their cars are also made in America.  Toyota, Honda, BMW all have factories, suppliers or designers here, creating American jobs.  But not everyone is buying it. 

CHARLES CORY, BUYS AMERICAN:  The Japanese in particular are coming over here and manufacturing automobiles, but that money is going back to Japan. 

TIBBLES:  Level Field, a group of retired big three autoworkers, has launched an ad campaign of its own. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... but the truth is U.S. automakers still employ eight out of every 10 autoworkers. 

JIM DOYLE, PRESIDENT, LEVEL FIELD INSTITUTE:  By buying American cars today, we‘re encouraging innovation for the future and protecting tomorrow‘s jobs. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... the definition of great engineering.

TIBBLES:  Still, convincing drivers like Randy Conklin to bail out the big three is a tough sell. 

RANDY CONKLIN, TOYOTA OWNER:  If I believe that there was an American car that was just as reliable and I could drive it for 150,000 miles with the same type of success, of course I‘d buy American first. 

TIBBLES:  But today, the lines are blurring between what is and what isn‘t made in America. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Those lines are blurring.  And up next, the changing face of Wacko Jacko.  When we come back, the King of Pop‘s transformation over the years, a frightening part of “Must See SC.”  Ew, he‘s freaky.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” video you‘ve just got to see.  Up first, to the Metrodome in Minnesota.  Did you ever think about jumping onto the field and taking a trip around the bases?  You better make sure this Red Sox bat boy isn‘t around when you do.  The bat boy snapped into action during last night‘s game, tackling the would-be base-stealer and holding him down long enough for the security to step in.  The guy might have a spot on the Patriots this fall.  Nice tackle. 

Next up, to the Internet.  Now, check out this monkey that would make any fraternity chugging team proud.  After getting through some food on the table, the chugging monkey turned his sights on the lone Fanta bottle and he took it down fast.  That guy would have fit right in at my alma mater.  Roll tide, baby.

And finally, he‘s been called the Eighth Wonder of the World.  Others just know him as Wacko Jacko.  Now, finally, a Scottish man has decided to put to motion the wonder that is Michael Jackson.  Ah, the Internet can be scary sometimes. 

All right.  We‘ll be right back with tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY mailbag.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Time to dig into the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY mailbag.  And we go to Aggie from Florida.  And she writes in about that new poll that shows 69 percent of Americans support—think we can win the war.  She says, “Hey, Joe, when 69 percent of Americans say that we can win the war in Iraq, what do they mean by ‘win‘?  We already removed Saddam and we‘ve formed a new government.  If that‘s what they mean, well, we‘ve already won.”

Thank you, Aggie.  And thank you all.  Keep writing.  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Rita Cosby, “LIVE & DIRECT,” starts right now—

Rita?

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

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