updated 4/2/2004 3:23:13 PM ET 2004-04-02T20:23:13

Guests: Dr. D. James Kennedy, Bill Anderson, Jennifer Giroux, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Lisa Bloom, Richard Reich, James Woolsey

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY:  Tonight “The Passion” proves that Jesus sells.  You‘re about to enter SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, no PC police allowed. 

“The Passion” is one of the most successful and profitable movies of all time, but the Christian theme is seeing staggering success in other markets as well - books, TV, music.  It seems like everybody is cashing in. 

Is that good for religion?  Or can the finances cheapen the faith? 

We‘re going to be asking Dr. D. James Kennedy about the potential and the pitfalls of religious media. 

And then, Richard Clarke has been changing his story so often, he can‘t even keep it straight, so why has the media been lapping up his lies?  We‘re going to give you the real deal on Clarke‘s contradictions. 

Then Court TV has reports that, while Michael Jackson has been getting the red carpet treatment on Capitol Hill, his friends back home have been getting served with subpoenas.  Is the king of pop headed for jail? 

But first, Jesus is big business in Hollywood these days.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now the fact that Jesus is big business probably doesn‘t shock you in middle America, but it does shock a lot of the media‘s elites.  They have been watching “The Passion‘s” staggering success over the past few months, and they are seeing Jesus is hot. 

I mean look at “The Passion,” sold over $300 million.  It‘s crashed the top 10.  Chances are good, by the end, it‘s going to be probably the fifth or sixth biggest movie of all time. 

And then, of course, there‘s the “Left Behind” series.  This book series is one of the biggest book series over the past decade.  This week, the latest installment of that series was profiled on the front page of “The New York Times,” and people are going to be flooding to their book stores to pick up this book. 

And then, of course, you‘ve got all those horrible made-for-TV movies about Jesus and the disciples and Judas.  I mean they keep piling them up, one after another after another. 

I‘ll tell you, Hollywood has taken notice, and they do recognize what you have known all along, that Jesus sells.  He is big business.  There are a lot of Christians out there who have been ignored for too long of a time. 

But you know what?  While that may be great news for this pop war, this culture war that America has been engaged in for some time, there is reason to be concerned. 

I, of course, remember back in the 1980‘s, like most of you do, when Jim and Tammy Faye Baker and religious charlatans were out there deciding to cash in on faith and make a quick buck. 

And you know what?  In return, all they gave was scandal, and they made tons and tons of money, mostly from people like my old grandmother, that gave them a good chunk of her retirement check. 

You know what?  That made me angry back then.  It still makes me angry now, and it really bugs me to know that there are a lot of people in Hollywood right now taking notice of what Mel Gibson did, taking notice of the “Left Behind” series. 

And you know what they are thinking; they are going to cash in on this Jesus thing.  And when they do, that means nothing but more scandals in the future.  Buyers beware, and that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, Christian-themed entertainment is transforming big media.  “The Passion” has pulled in close to $320 million, is expected to bank in hundreds of more overseas and in DVD sales. 

The “Left Behind” book series has over 60 million copies world-wide.  And overall, religious books sales shot up an incredible 30 percent last year. 

Until recently, this was all happening under the elite media‘s radar screen, but here to help us understand this explosive growth and how deep it goes is Dr. D. James Kennedy.  He, of course, is from Coral Ridge Ministries. 

Dr. Kennedy, help us understand, why is Jesus so hot in 2004? 

DR. D. JAMES KENNEDY, EVANGELIST, CORAL RIDGE MINISTRIES:  Good question, Joe, and it certainly has been going on underneath the radar of the elite media. 

But Christ is the greatest person that has ever lived.  Poll after poll has shown that he is the most beloved person that ever walked on this planet. 

And therefore, since his story is the greatest love story the world has ever known, there have been hundreds and hundreds of millions—and growing at an enormous rate today—of people who love him and want to see more about him and know more about him. 

And, of course, there are others that are just coming out of curiosity.  But, of course, we thank God that it has broken through the radar screen and Hollywood and television are seeing it. 

One mistake they‘re making is they suppose that just because “The Passion,” which tried to follow very close to the script of the scriptures, has been so successful, that they can put any kind of old botched up heresies they want on the screen and that people are going to like that just as well. 

They better find out what Christianity really is all about if they expect to make any profit off of Jesus. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, you know—and, of course, it‘s not just the movie makers that are following this line.  You, of course, have news agencies trying that are trying to do profiles on Jesus. 

In fact, you have an upcoming interview with Peter Jennings from ABC News where you talk to him about the search for Jesus, which is 2000 ABC News Special, and also talk to him about another upcoming special that ABC is airing, called “Jesus and Paul.” 

Now, has “The Passion” success changed the way that even elite media outlets look at Jesus and Christianity? 

KENNEDY:  Well, Joe, that, I really don‘t know.  Now, we are very familiar with the program that he did, “The Search for Jesus,” four years ago, and that was overwhelmingly leaning toward the left and the liberal and the unbelieving side of radical Christianity and was a huge disappointment to me and to millions of other Christians around the country.

Now, whether this will be more of the same, it‘s hard to tell.  I‘ve had the interview with him.  He is an extraordinarily gracious gentleman, but it‘s very difficult to know if it‘s going to be just more of the same, the same liberal Jesus seminar people, and more of them are on this program than before. 

I am hoping it will be different, but I am not overly sanguine that that‘s going to be the case.  I guess we will just have to wait and see. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Overall, over the past few years, do you think there‘s been a move towards a more Christian-friendly or religious-friendly view of Jesus and Christianity and these other—I mean do you think people have moved beyond sort of the 1960‘s God is dead phenomenon that we saw—you know, cover of “TIME” magazine and sort of had this cultural revolution.  Do you think we are moving away from that now, and “The Passion” is possibly the nail in the coffin of that phenomenon? 

KENNEDY:  There is no doubt about that.  There are all kinds of studies that would show that that is true, especially among young people.  We see that young people are becoming far more conservative than they‘ve ever been before.

The second largest pro-life group, anti-abortion group, are teenagers today, and the overall country has changed their whole view about abortion, from 57 percent pro-abortion, 43 percent pro-life, a decade ago, to exactly the opposite, with 47 percent of the people in the country today being pro-life.

And numerous young people are turning away from promiscuous sex.  The number of abortions among teenagers has dropped lower than it ever has been recorded before.  There are many good signs...

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

KENNEDY:  ...of the moral renaissance in the country.  And the number of Christians in the world and in this country is growing dramatically, and that is what is fueling these changes toward a more moral, conservative, spiritual country. 

And I think we are just beginning to see what‘s going to be a tremendous change in this country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s move to Dana Kennedy, from Dr. Kennedy to Dana Kennedy.  She‘s MSNBC‘s entertainment editor. 

Dana, you know, there are a lot of movie people out there that have to be looking at the numbers of “The Passion” and trying to figure out how they can cash in on Christianity.  First of all, give us an update.  What are the very latest numbers on “The Passion”? 

DANA KENNEDY, MSNBC ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR:  Well, Joe, you know, they are still high.  It‘s about $320 million.  And with this holy week in front of us, it‘s looking for another spike at the box office for “The Passion.”  We could see it maybe even go back to No. 1, possibly No. 2.  I‘m not really sure. 

But, you know, I have to say that Hollywood is certainly looking at “The Passion.”  I think they are just stunned.  I think Hollywood executives are just amazed. 

I have told you on the program very honestly that I had no idea “The Passion” would make this kind of money. 

But, you know, I think Christian theme movies, Joe, are not totally new in Hollywood.  This is not a brand-new theme.  In fact, I think Christian-themed entertainment has a lot in common with porn, in that there‘s a lot out there.  Most average people, I hope, don‘t know a lot of the titles. 

There‘s not that much good stuff—and I‘m talking about porn and Christian-theme entertainment.  Think of the “Last Tango in Paris by Bernardo Bertolucci years ago.  That was X-rated, and it was actually thought to be a good movie, staring Marlin Brando. 

“The Passion” was directed by Mel Gibson, who certainly knows what he is doing.  He has an incredible track record of more than 25 years in Hollywood.

But the “Left Behind” series—I actually watched the “Left Behind” original movie.  I rented it, and it‘s interesting, but it‘s not incredibly well done.  There‘s a reason why all the “Left Behind” titles, Joe, on film go straight to DVD.  They‘re not the highest artistic caliber. 

But again, I mean, on television, there was “Touched By An Angel” that ended its nine-year run just last year.  And in the 80‘s, Michael Landon‘s “Highway to Heaven” ran for five years. 

But there‘s certainly always been Christian theme entertainment, some good and some not so good. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And it sounds like you‘re saying that a lot more that‘s not so good, as far as quality goes, than is actually good. 

I want to ask you, Dana, what are the chances—I mean I would guess that chances are good that the top movie and one of the top books of this year are going to both owe a lot of their success, in large part, to evangelical Christians. 

Can you tell us, is Hollywood planning to tap into this massive new market, or do they not consider it to be a new market? 

KENNEDY:  I don‘t think they consider it to be a brand-new market, but you better believe they are looking for any new possibility they can milk out of this genre. 

As you said earlier, the “Left Behind” series has sold 50 million copies world-wide.  And there‘s a book called “The Purpose Driven Life,” a nonfiction Christian-theme book that‘s been on the best seller list for three years. 

So you better believe that anyone now who wants to get a great publishing deal in New York City should write up a treatment, a proposal with some sort of religious, spiritual or Christian theme. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Let‘s bring in right now Bill Anderson.  He‘s the head of the Christian Booksellers Association that represents almost 2,400 retail stores and 600 suppliers, including members that are publishers. 

Bill, “The New York Times,” of course, reported on its front page this week that the finale to the “Left Behind” series is expected to enjoy massive sales numbers.  Just how big of a marketing tool is Jesus these days for selling books?

BILL ANDERSON, PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION:  Well, Christian books have been popular for years.  And actually for the last couple of decades, we have seen tremendous growth, and so this is not really directly tied to “The Passion.”  It really precedes that, but certainly “The Passion” movie has accelerated that. 

The “Left Behind” series, I think, was introduced in 1995 and has sold between 40 million and 50 million copies.  It‘s a phenomenal series, but we‘ve seen all of Christian books on the grow, as well as Christian music and Christian videos and children‘s products, because people are looking for books and materials that help them understand their faith and put their faith into practice. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Bill, this is what I don‘t understand, though.  I mean people have always been seekers out there, for 2000 years, or actually a lot longer than that. 

Why is it that, like, for instance, book sales—Christian book sales have popped 30 percent over the past couple of years.  Christian-theme music sales continue to explode, and now, of course, we‘ve got “The Passion.” 

What‘s going on out there when people go into book stores and they decide that they‘re going to buy a Christian book? 

ANDERSON:  Well, for one thing, I think the quality of the products has increased dramatically.  But also, the Christian retail stores—there are about 3,000 Christian retail stores across the country, and those stores are better retail locations that are doing a much better job of marketing and reaching out to their communities and displaying the products. 

But I think, particularly, the spiritual hunger that is rampant in the land—and that was punctuated, of course, by the change in the millennium, and then September 11 spiked it even more. 

People are looking for security.  People are looking for purpose in life.  And when they lay down their hard-earned dollars in exchange for a book or music or a video, they are looking for a message, they are looking for answers that work and answers to their questions in life. 

And so the spiritual hunger certainly is feeding this as well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Kennedy, I think you may be on to something here.  Obviously, the 1960‘s you had the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King‘s assassination.  A lot of social turmoil actually turned people away from religion and away from institutions that really were at the basis of this Republic. 

Do you think maybe 9/11 and 2001, the Iraq war, some of the economic

turmoil we‘ve seen in the past couple of years may actually be the result -

·         or may actually be the cause of people coming back and reexamining their faith? 

KENNEDY:  I think that‘s very true, Joe.  But as I say, there has been a consistent, over the last several decades, growth in the number of Christians in the world and in the number of Christians in America. 

And that continues to move upward and is having an effect upon every facet of our society.

It‘s affecting the way young people are acting.  It‘s affecting what people want in motion pictures.  It‘s affecting their desire for religious books and spiritual books. 

There is, as was just said, a spiritual hunger.  When people come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, by faith, and realize that he has become their savior and their lord, he has come to live in their hearts, he has died for their sins, they have eternal life, life has a whole new dimension, a dimension that has been almost entirely ignored by much of the media.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

KENNEDY:  And now, this is growing, and it‘s coming to a crescendo, and it‘s going to have even greater effects in the next decade than we have ever seen before because of the numbers. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Dr. Kennedy, as always. 

Dana Kennedy and Bill Anderson, we appreciate you being with us tonight. 

And coming up, we‘ve got Richard Clarke‘s flip-flops.  They‘re piling up so fast he could be a front runner for John Kerry‘s vice presidential pick.  I don‘t think so.

Clinton cabinet member Robert Rice and former CIA Director James Woolsey tell us if Clarke has a credibility problem.

And then, why did the nation‘s capitol roll out the red carpet for Michael Jackson?  And why should Michael Jackson be concerned that his inner circle could be crumbling?  You‘re not going to want to miss that bombshell from Court TV‘s Lisa Bloom. 

Plus, two guards beat the heck out of a couple of inmates, and prosecutors don‘t even consider pressing charges.  We are going to tell you the incredible reason why this tape was released to the press.  That‘s coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re back with more of the explosive success of Christian-themed entertainment.  Now I‘d like to bring in Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, radio talkshow host and outspoken critic of “The Passion.” 

We also have Jennifer Giroux.  She‘s founder of SeeThePassion.com and director of Women Influencing the Nation. 

Jennifer, I want to ask you.  There are a lot of social critics out there that are saying the problem with all this sort of pop culture—

Jesus and pop culture is that it may get people into movie theaters and into book stores, but that may be a replacement for them praying and going to church.  What‘s your response to that? 

JENNIFER GIROUX, FOUNDER, SEETHEPASSION.COM:  Not at all, Joe.  Actually, I think “The Passion of The Christ” and religious books, good religious books, are actually meditative tools that help people. 

And I can‘t tell you how many people have said to me, “The Passion” just stays with me when I‘m in church, when I‘m doing the stations, when I‘m praying with my minister.  The visual images come back and actually help me with my prayer life.

Now, I think what‘s important to mention here is not just any religious movie or book is going to sell.  Something that‘s good and something that is true to the gospel is going to sell.

Discerning Christians can tell when someone is trying to make a cheap buck, and when somebody comes up with something like “The Passion of The Christ,” which Mel Gibson did, it‘s in a league of its own. 

When you are talking about a politically correct type of movie, like, for instance, “Judas”—I mean they actually had Claudia saying to Pilate, we‘ve got to make it look like the Sanhedrin are making you do this, I mean it insults Christians that know what the knowledge of what the New Testament tells us. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and they pick it up, right? 

GIROUX:  Right.  And it‘s driving Hollywood crazy because now they realize, the day of them insulting the Catholics and the Christians and making them abusers and making them blasphemous—we‘re not taking it anymore. 

For years, Hollywood has driven away with their wrapped up filth Christians, and now, all of a sudden, they‘re realizing there‘s a market out there for them to tap into, but they can‘t just feed us anything. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Rabbi Boteach, I want to show you a clip from the always controversial Comedy Central cartoon, “South Park,” and this was on last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, yes, I saw Mel Gibson‘s movie, “The Passion,” and Mel Gibson says in the movie, Jews are the devil. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He does not. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How do you know?  I‘ve seen “The Passion” 34 times now, Kyle.  You haven‘t seen it once.  There‘s even one part where the Jews had a chance to save Jesus.  And you know what they do?  They let Barabbas, a serial killer, go free instead and laugh about. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Go see the movie, Kyle. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Rabbi, does that cartoon illustrate exactly what you have been afraid of over the past few months? 

RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, RADIO TALKSHOW HOST:  Well, the cartoon does, and especially a lot of what I have heard tonight does, because of course Jennifer Giroux is correct that our culture, American pop culture, has become so decedent, so vulgar and so misogynist that, on any given night, you know, you turn on TV and you see women portrayed in only four stereotypes of the brainless bimbo, the greedy gold digger or the publicity-seeking prostitute, and capped off by the back stabbing b-i-t-c-h.  No one wants to see that kind of decadence. 

But having said that, do we really want Jennifer Giroux‘s intolerance?  I mean this is what happened in the Islamic world.  The Islamic world experienced vast wealth because of their oil reserves, and they O.D.ed on all kinds of material goods that left them like us, depressed, disillusioned, and finally, in our culture, divorced. 

But then they O.D.ed on religion and they became vastly intolerant. 

Now, I don‘t think that, in the United States, we‘re going to start shooting and killing each other or becoming terrorists, because the institutions of democracy are so deeply embedded, but we can become intolerant.

Now, I don‘t want to hear a culture that says anything goes, but I don‘t want Jennifer Giroux‘s culture that only Jesus goes.  I mean Dr.  James Kennedy has talked over and over again about how important it is to find God, but it‘s all about Jesus.  Jesus is the most powerful.  Jesus is the most special. 

There are Jews in this country.  There are Muslims.  There are Hindus.  There are Siekhs.  The important thing is God.  I never hear them talk about God.

I mean Jennifer Giroux and I have now been on your show, Joe, several times.  And I have a pointed question to ask her.  I have said several times, and I will say it again, that Christianity is great world religion that has brought hundreds of millions of people to God, and I salute it and I want it to grow. 

Jennifer, can you say the same thing about Judaism?  Can you get on TV and tell us that Jews lead a virtuous life and who are righteous are going to go to heaven and they don‘t need Jesus to find salvation? 

GIROUX:  Rabbi, I am not going to back away from the fact that I believe that Jesus, by his own words, tells us I am the Way, the truth and the life.

BOTEACH:  So what happens to people who don‘t believe in him, Jennifer?  That‘s the question.  You are complaining about a decedent culture that degrades humanity, but you are degrading Jews by telling us that we have no spirituality.

GIROUX:  I am not degrading Jews.  No, Rabbi, I am not degrading Jews. 

BOTEACH:  Then what are you doing, Jennifer? 

GIROUX:  I would be the first—I would be the first one, if Hollywood came out and showed rabbis as adulterers cheating on their wives and beating children, to say that that is offensive to Jews. 

BOTEACH:  But when we were shown as people who killed god, you praised it.  That‘s even worse.

GIROUX:  Excuse me, Rabbi. 

BOTEACH:  Adulterers have not killed God.  I mean... 

GIROUX:  How many times can people say to you that we all take on the blame of killing Jesus?  We can‘t change historical fact.  We can‘t make it that the Irish went back and were part of conspiring to kill Jesus. 

I am Italian.  I should be taking issue with the fact that the Romans look so bad in that movie.  I don‘t, Rabbi.  It was history. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We are going to have to leave it there.  Jennifer Giroux, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, as always, thank both of you for being with us tonight.  I am sure we are going to see you again very soon. 

And just ahead, former Bush terror adviser, Richard Clarke, said the attacks of September 11 couldn‘t have been prevented, but then he said they could have been.  Is Clarke having trouble keeping his story straight, or is he just trying to sell books?  We‘ll debate that. 

And then, Jackson‘s inner circle has stuck by him through thick and thin, but is all that about to change?  We get a new report from Court TV suggesting the answer could be yes.  We‘re going to tell you about that in just a little bit. 

But first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News desk. 

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Richard Clarke‘s testimony was so disturbing to the White House that Condoleezza Rice will try to counter it next week.

But in the meantime, more discrepancies and exaggerations seem to be turning up in Clarke‘s record. President Clinton‘s Secretary of Labor Robert Reich is here, he‘s backing John Kerry, and not pleased at all Richard Clarke is under attack for inconsistencies.

Thank you so much for being with us, Mr. Secretary.

ROBERT REICH, FMR. SECRETARY OF LABOR:  How are you doing, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  I am doing great.

Mr. Secretary, I want to ask you what you think about the firestorm Richard Clarke finds himself in the middle of and do you believe America should trust what he has to say?

REICH:  Of course, they should.  I mean look it is not just Richard Clarke, it is also David Kay, the weapons inspector, it is Paul O‘Neill, the former Treasury, under George Bush. They all say the same thing, Bush administration essentially disregarded all of the warnings. Bush administration had its eyes on Saddam Hussein instead of on Al Qaeda.

Bob Woodward, in his book, made exactly the same point after investigating a lot of people in the Bush administration. This is not a new charge, but it is a very dramatic, and it‘s becoming more and more credible as more and more people step forward and say exactly the same thing.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me show you what Mr. Clarke said, 2002 press briefing. That is, of course, when he praised Bush administration for tackling terror, and said this.

“The overall point is there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.”

But on “Meet the Press” this weekend, Clarke seemed to flip-flop when he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

RICHARD CLARKE, FMR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR:  The president of the United States was active on these issues in the Clinton administration. The president of the United States was not active on these issues prior to 9/11 in the Bush administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Mr. Secretary, was Richard Clarke lying in 2002 when he said the Clinton administration was doing nothing, or is he lying now when he is saying the Clinton administration gave the Bush administration the great plan for Al Qaeda?

REICH:  I don‘t know the answer to that, but I do know Richard Clarke is a registered Republican, he served under four presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan, he is an expert on counter-intelligence. There is absolutely no reason why he would lie.

SCARBOROUGH:  But he is, though. Look at the record. First of all.

(CROSSTALK)

REICH:  Joe, let me.

SCARBOROUGH:  He voted for Al Gore in 2000 -- but I want you to answer my question.

REICH:  This is important.

SCARBOROUGH:  Did he lie—

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to know if he lied in ‘02 or ‘04.

REICH:  What the White House keeps on doing and it did exactly the same thing with Paul O‘Neill, when Paul O‘Neill said that George W. Bush and administration had hearts and eyes set on Saddam Hussein, right from the beginning of the administration. What this administration does is it tries to discredit all these people that once worked for the administration instead of dealing with the actual substance of the allegation.

SCARBOROUGH:  Fine.

REICH:  It is a kind of a character assassination.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, let me just say, OK, let‘s say I agree with you

on that point. Let‘s say I agree with you that the Bush administration was

asleep at the switch. I just want to know, when it comes to Richard Clarke

·         because he obviously is at the center of Washington debate right now—do you believe he was lying in 2002 or lying in 2004, or does it not matter to you when he was lying?

REICH:  Well, Joe, if he is lying, obviously it matters to me, but I don‘t see any evidence he is lying. All I have, your quotation from 2002, I haven‘t seen that. But I don‘t see any reason for this man to lie. I don‘t see any reason for Paul O‘Neill to lie. I don‘t see any reason for David Kay, the weapons inspector, to lie.

SCARBOROUGH:  You are exactly right. There‘s no reason for Paul O‘Neill to lie, no reason—

(CROSSTALK)

REICH:  Joe—

SCARBOROUGH:  Clarke has a million reasons to lie.

(CROSSTALK)

REICH: If we were dealing with only one person who said it.

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t care about these others.

REICH:  Maybe the credibility issue is a real issue, but we have all these people who have said exactly the same thing.

SCARBOROUGH:  Paul O‘Neill has—ok, Paul O‘Neill has great credibility. Again, I am not going to the substance of the charges, I‘m going to these substance of Clarke‘s credibility, because again, this guy drops a book, he makes a million bucks, he changes his story. I am just concerned this guy is getting a free pass.

REICH:  Are you suggesting that he is saying something that is different from what all of these other people have said?

SCARBOROUGH:  No.

REICH:  In other words, let‘s concentrate.

SCARBOROUGH:  Mr. Secretary, hold on, you know exactly what I am saying.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I am not saying he is conflicting with what the others are saying. What I am saying is he is conflicting, what he is saying now is in great contrast to what he, Richard Clarke, said two years ago.

(CROSSTALK)

REICH:  Here is a good example—

SCARBOROUGH:  I think that what he‘s saying is consistent with what a lot of people that don‘t like the Bush administration.

REICH:  Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  I am just saying Clarke is in conflict with himself.

REICH:  You are saying there‘s a lot of people who don‘t like the Bush administration, but Paul O‘Neill and Richard Clarke and a lot of others used to work for the Bush administration. There‘s another allegation you just made or insinuated, the Bush administration has made as well, and that is Clarke has timed these hearings and timed the book with these revelations.

SCARBOROUGH:  Of course, he has.

REICH:  As a matter of fact, Clarke actually wanted to publish the book last Christmas, but couldn‘t get the clearance he needed from the White House. So once again, what the White House is doing and what you are allowing them to do, in fact, you are amplifying their message.

SCARBOROUGH:  No, I am not.

REICH:  And that is criticizing the messenger instead of actually listening to the content of what these people are actually saying.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you, Mr. Secretary.

REICH:  The fact of the matter is, Joe, this White House did not—and has not prosecuted the war on terror accurately—it had its eye on not Al Qaeda, but Saddam Hussein, instead of Al Qaeda.

SCARBOROUGH:  Mr. Secretary, you are saying the same thing over and over again. I said, even if I agree with you on that point, let‘s not what we are here to debate about tonight. But I appreciate you being with me, as always, very entertaining guest, and you certainly argue your point very, very well.

REICH: Well, as always, you are a Republican, Joe, and I always admire Republicans and like to argue with Republicans.  You take care.

SCARBOROUGH:  That, he does.

We also have former CIA Director James Woolsey.  He is here.

And I believe Mr. Director, we probably won‘t have repeat performance of that.  Now, I am confused. And I want you to clear this up for me.  Robert Reich, wanted to turn me into some instrument of the White House.

I think the White House was asleep at the switch. I think America was asleep at the switch. I was in Congress 1994 to 2001. I was asleep at the switch. The Armed Services Committee was asleep at the switch. All of us were asleep at the switch.

That being said, I am concerned about Richard Clarke saying one thing in 2002, saying another in 2004, and I just want somebody to tell me, can we trust what this guy is saying now or not?

JAMES WOOLSEY, FMR. CIA DIRECTOR:  Well, Joe, my direct analysis of one thing Clarke said, I think would pose some very strong doubts about him.

He has in his book an allegation that the author, Lorie Millroy (ph), who is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, claimed that we caught the wrong man, for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. That we did not catch Ramsey Useth (ph). That Ramsey Useth spent years, as Clarke says, lounging at the right hand of Saddam Hussein.

Well, that charge—he also suggests that Paul Wolfowitz and I believe the same thing—that charge is simply false. It‘s not remotely related to reality, it is not what is in Lorie Millroy‘s (ph) book. It is not related to anything I, or to the best of my knowledge Paul Wolfowitz, has ever said.

What Lorie wrote, is that although we captured Ramsey Useth, and he is in prison right now, there is a question as to whether or not the Iraqi government helped him with a false identity. But there was never any allegation that Ramsey Useth eluded capture and spent years lounging at the right hand of Saddam Hussein.

Clarke either has been fundamentally confused, for 10 years, nearly, about one major issue with respect to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, or he just invented this out of whole cloth. There is no other possibility than those two.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. In so many of these instances where there‘s so many conflicts, he is either lying at one time or another. And some in Congress are also scratching their heads about Clarke. I want to play you a quick clip of what Bill Frist said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER:  Mr. Clarke has told two entirely different stories under oath. Two entirely different stories under oath. In July 2002, in front of congressional joint inquiry on September 11 attacks, Mr. Clarke testified under oath, the administration actively sought to address the threat posed by Al Qaeda during its first seven months in office.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I think it‘s a simple question. Either Richard Clarke was lying under oath in 2002, or he‘s lying under oath now.

WOOLSEY:  Well, I haven‘t reviewed his 2002 testimony. But there are some things that I know something about, that he wrote about. And he not only denies there was any Iraqi involvement in September 11, and he may be quite right there, and he not only denies that the Iraqis sponsored Al Qaeda in the sense of paying for and directing it, and that may be right.

But he denies there was any connection, any support, as he put it—ever—on “60 Minutes” he said, ever. There had never been any connection or support by Iraq of Al Qaeda.

But George Tenet wrote to the Senate on October 7, of 2002, that there were high-level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back 10 years and that Iraq had trained Al Qaeda, quote, “in poisons, gasses, and conventional explosives”.

Now, we found in Afghanistan that Al Qaeda was working on anthrax and that they were working on VX nerve gas, in laboratories—primitive laboratories, but working on it. I don‘t know how Clarke can say that there was no support ever and no connection ever. That is just demonstrably untrue.

SCARBOROUGH:  He also made explosive charges against President Bush.  He told “60 Minutes” that the president dragged him into a room and told him, quote, in a very intimidating way, to find evidence that Saddam was responsible for 9/11.  He sexed up that claim on PBS, saying the president put, quote, “a finger” in his face.

But in his book, he writes, that a concerned Bush said to him, quote, “I know you have a lot to do, but I want you to go back over everything to see if Saddam did this.”

Director Woolsey, I don‘t want to put you on the spot, but if you were still running the CIA, would you hire a CIA agent that seemed to have this record of embellishment, even for the lowest level position in that agency?

WOOLSEY:  Well, look, I want to give Dick Clarke some due here. He pressed hard for what he conceived to be tough stands against terrorists, both in the Clinton administration, early in the Bush administration, some of the things he supported, such as these cruise missile attacks on empty facilities, 1993 and 1998, I don‘t think did particularly any good. He did work on trying to get terrorist financing stopped, and so on.

But he is a very—I have known him for 15 years. He is a very, very decisive and rigid individual. And that doesn‘t sit well with the craft of interpreting intelligence. Intelligence is always going to be trying to get a picture of a jigsaw puzzle when you have only a few pieces or maybe more than a few, but certainly not a full picture.

You are continually trying to learn more, and so you are continually adjusting what you think may be more probable than not. And you have to continually do what the president asked him to do on 9/11, which is go back, look at your assumptions, look at things with a fresh eye. Tell me what you think. That‘s your job as intelligence analyst. It seems to me what he was saying in the book is he objected to having to do that.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. As always, thank you for being with us tonight, Director James Woolsey. We appreciate it.

WOOLSEY:  Good to be here.

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, Michael Jackson was in Washington, D.C., but is it time to sell the ranch back home? We are going to tell you about a new report from Court TV that suggests the answer may be yes, and Jackson could be in big trouble.

And later, we will tell you why this brutal video was released. The reason, as shocking as the video itself.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Court TV reporting tonight devastating witness who is a very close friend of Michael Jackson may be preparing to testify against the pop star. We have Jackson family friend and NBC analyst, Stacy Brown with us tonight. He is going to tell us the latest.

Stacy, who is this witness? And how bad of news could this be for Michael Jackson?

STACY BROWN, NBC ANALYST:  Hi, Joe. It‘s Bob Jones, and it‘s interesting.

I was talking to Bob earlier. He saw the Court TV report, he says, Wow, I don‘t believe they are making such a big deal out of me.

He also knows he is the one guy that‘s been with Michael for years, we‘re talking 25, 30 years, and he has been around. And he seems to believe that perhaps the prosecution is going to try and show a pattern, and they are looking at people like Bob who has been around to kind of confirm this pattern of behavior, pattern of abuse, as it were, on Michael‘s part.

SCARBOROUGH:  So if there were misdeeds, if big if, if there were misdeeds done by Jackson, is this guy close enough, is Bob Jones—who you spoke to and talked about, the reports—is he close enough to Jackson to be able to tell prosecutors what they need to know?

BROWN:  Oh, absolutely. And I am sure the district attorney feels that way too. Again, Bob has been around, and he has traveled with Michael on a number of occasions, countless occasions. A lot of times you couldn‘t see Michael without seeing Bob, as far as even if you turned on the television, you saw Michael being filmed overseas somewhere, or here in the States, you saw Bob.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know Bob, right?

BROWN:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  Is Bob the type of guy—I mean, I am not talking about the Jackson camp. I can tell you in Washington, D.C. there are sycophants around that would lie for their bosses. Is Bob Jones a straight shooter, if he saw Michael Jackson do something wrong—big if, again—but if he did, would he testify to that, would he tell the prosecutors that?

BROWN:  Well, let me say this, Joe, Bob has told me unequivocally he has never seen Michael molest a child. However, he has made it clear he will not lie for Michael or anyone else. He is not going to perjure himself. He has made that very clear. We have talked about that extensively, especially since yesterday, when he was served.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. Let me bring in another guest. We have Lisa Bloom, she is from Court TV. 

Lisa, sounds like this could be very some very explosive news in the Michael Jackson case. Do you think this guy could be, if he comes forward and testifies, could be the state‘s star witness that could put Michael Jackson away?

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV:  I do, Joe. It reminds me very much of the Richard Clarke story on the political front. Here on the legal front, is someone very close to Michael Jackson, someone who has been in his inner circle, someone who knows what‘s gone on. If he blows the whistle on Michael Jackson, it‘s very much like Richard Clarke blowing the whistle on the president. They have worked closely together. He is telling on the big guy.

SCARBOROUGH:  Don‘t bait me, Lisa. Don‘t even make me go there and tell you why Richard Clarke.

BLOOM:  It is an analogy, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s a bad one, because he wouldn‘t hold up in court.

I want to ask you, Lisa Bloom, I know you saw the circus on Capitol Hill. I am not talking about Richard Clarke. I am talking about Michael Jackson going up to Capitol Hill.

Of course, as you know, I served on Capitol Hill. I may have told you that once or twice before. What do you make of Michael Jackson being embraced by these representatives on Capitol Hill, while he is in the middle of a child molestation case?

BLOOM:  Exactly. I think it‘s disgraceful that our elected representatives, who we pay their salaries, are embracing this man with nine serious felony accounts against him. Now, look, he is innocent until proven guilty, if he wants to do something good for AIDS in Africa, that is wonderful and I applaud him for that.

But what I don‘t like is our elected representatives bowing and scrapping before a man who is accused of child molestation. It‘s simply not appropriate.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, let me ask you, Stacy, when you saw these pictures of Michael Jackson, still being embraced by some of the more powerful politicians in America, what was your take on it? What is it about Michael Jackson even with very serious felony charges against him, that elected leaders still rush to him and want to embrace him?

BROWN:  Like it or not, Michael Jackson is the biggest star in the world. There‘s nothing we can do about that. He has set all types of records, achieved things that even Elvis and the Beatles didn‘t achieve. So there‘s always going to be, even if he is convicted, there‘s always going to be this mystique, and always this curiosity, and Michael, he is a curiosity person.

BLOOM:  You know what, Stacy, I have to disagree with that. You say like it or not, he is a big star. In this country, we are all equal. Even a little child with no money, who brings charges against a super star has rights. That child has the right to be treated as an equal by members of Congress, to multimillionaire, and he should be, and he is not being treated equally.

BROWN:  Lisa, I don‘t disagree with what you are saying, but the question that Joe asks, why is it like that with Michael.  I think I am just stating the fact that, hey, this guy achieved things that was unimaginable. It doesn‘t excuse any inappropriate behavior, if, in fact, there was inappropriate behavior. I am not trying to excuse Michael.

SCARBOROUGH:  You are just saying, they flock to a super star, right?

BROWN:  Oh, absolutely. Someone made a great point earlier. When the Clintons left Washington, so did the celebrities. Michael coming back, like the Clintons.

BLOOM:  Well, this is the celebrity that the Republicans have—I don‘t know about that. I think we can expect more of our elected officials, though, than to be star worshipers, and just fawn over this guy who is accused of very serious crimes.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Lisa Bloom, we are going to have to leave it there.

Stacy, thank you so much for coming on.

And I also want everybody to know, we were supposed to have a Jackson family spokesman Firpo Carr (ph) on the show tonight, but unfortunately, he called us at the last minute and said he got caught in traffic, and couldn‘t make it.

But Stacey Brown and Lisa Bloom, thanks for joining us on SCARBOROUGH

COUNTRY.

And still to come, in California, another case of the authorities being caught on tape, beating people up. They claim it was self-defense.  But state senator isn‘t buying it. You look at this tape when we come back.

And tell us whether you buy it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  At a youth correctional facility in Stockton, California, this video was taken, and it reveals prison guards beating the heck out of two young inmates. San Joaquin County initially decided not to prosecute the guards involved in the beating, so a California state senator released the tape, hoping prosecutors would reconsider.

Union officials said the guards were, quote, defending themselves.  Adding an attack on the guards had taken place off camera, and was much worse than the beating than the guards gave inmates on the camera. I wonder why we didn‘t see that on the camera.

Thanks for being with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We will see you tomorrow night.                                                                                         

END   

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